Monday, August 31, 2009

Right on Target

Those who know me well, know that Target must receive at least 10% of my gross pay each year. I can't even remember a time before Target was my "go to" for all things I used to buy at CVS or the grocery store. And then, (for my loyal Target shoppers) designer Isaac Mizrahi started a women's clothing line that transformed my thoughts about buying cute clothes at Target!

Sadly, Isaac no longer has his line, but an old favorite, Merona, has really stepped it up. They started a line this last year called "Merona Collection" which is mostly comprised of great business casual wear. PERFECT for the office or running around town looking put together. I particularly favor the dresses- varied in color, style, shape, length...each time I peruse their inventory, I find some great new little treasure of a dress with fantastic details, rich colors, and superb pricing! In fact, just this weekend, I picked up a great red wrap dress with mini ruffles along the hem for $24.99 and absolutely love it!

Merona Collection makes a wide variety of clothes: dresses, skirts, suiting separates, quality t-shirts with special detailing, and even shoes. I haven't purchased any shoes yet, but I will say the options look appealing. And if you're still shopping for that pewter shoe, this one looks particularly cute! I also like the idea of this red flat, which would be great with tights and a black dress.

So, next time you're walking around Target picking up shampoo and paper towels, walk through the Merona section, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Free Fallin'

Fall is around the corner (perhaps not for my southern readers), but nonetheless, that clear, crisp air is just begging for a few updates to our wardrobes. I'm ready because redheads just look better in fall colors :)

Lucky for you, I have a few thoughts about what to wear/purchase/hold onto/pull out from the depths of your closet for my favorite season. A friend suggested this blog entry last night, so while the juices are flowing, here's some ideas (ladies only for this post; gents, I'll get to you later):

  1. The color PURPLE: preferably in a deep eggplant or jewel toned magenta. Wear it in dresses, tops, accessories...even a great pair of purple ballet flats will be perfect with jeans and a great crisp white button down.
  2. Ruffles on shirts and jackets: it will add femininity and detail to the most ordinary of tops, but keeps you looking fashion forward. I've noticed great cardigans sporting elegant ruffles, which can easily be worn for evening events. I have my eye on this cardigan from Ann Taylor LOFT.
  3. Cinched waist emphasizing belts: wear them over button-down blouses, sweaters, cardigans or dresses...even the classic trench coat looks classier with a great patent-leather belt over it!
  4. Pins/Brooches: go dig in your mom or grandma's closet, and those brooches are hot! Again, it's about the details on your clothing. So, go find a great flowered or gem stone brooch, pin it to a blazer or sweater, and your need for jewelry is done. Watch how many people comment on them!
  5. Metallic flats: Think of this as a neutral shoe. You can wear it with any color; it adds a little flare to your feet, and if you're smart, they'll be incredibly comfortable. I am a huge fan of FSNY's pewter metallic flat- they are like a dream to wear!
Happy shopping!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Great White T-Shirt Dilemma

I have a favorite white t-shirt. In fact, when I find one that fits particularly well and is the right combination of "bright white" and thickness (nothing worse than a thin shirt), I tend to buy multiples. After all, the white t-shirt is a basic staple for any great wardrobe.

My guess is you know the dilemma I allude to: the underarm stain situation. It's devastating. The perfect shirt, over time, discolors under the arm- perhaps for reasons I shouldn't share, but the fact is...we now are faced with the questions: Throw away? Salvage? Or wear with those embarrassing stains?

The solution has been found (again, I'll give my mom her proper credit here): There is a GREAT product called "Stain Solution" made by The Laundress ( that works like a charm. I was so skeptical about using it on my shirts after they had been laundered many times, setting those stains firmly. But, to my delight, with this product and a little patience to work it into the stain well, my white shirts restored their whiteness! No more underarm ick! So, if you want to hold onto that great white can, too- hooray!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Never underestimate the power of eBay

This year I decided that I wanted to own china, and specifically fell in love with several of Kate Spade's patterns. I spent hours looking through, trying to decide which one suited me best. I realized if you mix and match several of her platinum patterns, they're almost better than deciding on just one! (How smart are those designers?!) My mom (again, the good little shopper that she is) discovered that the Dillard's in our hometown turned into a mark down/close-out department store. On one of her visits, she found 4 or 5 Kate Spade platinum patterns, and I became the proud owner of my first pieces of china. Success!

So my mission: Add to the collection! Enter the world of eBay. I learned that if you misspell an item that you are looking for, you come up with a whole list for your search item that most people never see! And let me tell you because of this, my Kate Spade collection has grown significantly! Try it- you'll be surprised the quality stuff you find!

And for those who are interested or care, Cypress Point is my favorite pattern in case you want to supplement the collection :) (but Bonnabel Place is a close second!)

Monday, August 24, 2009

How it all started

I grew up in a middle class family just outside of Dallas. My parents made a comfortable life for us, but by no means did we have the typical regional standard of wealth. So even though I may not have always owned the brand name clothing item, Mom believed there was nothing wrong with just looking. And hence, her favorite term, "wandering," came to be our special time together. We would go to different shops and boutiques with the intention of just wandering around, looking at the window displays, checking out fabrics and current trends, all to acquire what my mom would say, "a great idea!" She rarely would take me out with the intention to buy; it was more about the exploring.

And there it all began. The genesis of my addiction to shopping.
(And don't worry, my older sister got the gene, too. She's has a special affection for finding shoes and handbags!)

And come on folks, no trip to Dallas is worth much without mentioning the words SHOPPING. Those of you who are familiar with Northpark Mall know that this is practically the epicenter of the city. Not to mention the Galleria, Vista Ridge, Prestonwood...I could go on and on. Shopping has become the only way I can survive a summer trip back home. That heat makes me crazy.

So fast forward about 25 years, and I'm now a resident of Boston (although I never deny my true Texas roots). I have made a good professional life for myself in education, but my true love, shopping, is how I maintain hope and joy in a world of chaos and upheaval. It sounds crazy to say that shopping is what makes me happy, but honestly, when I wake up early on weekend mornings with few plans for the day, I exhale knowing that I can find some time to head out to the Atrium, Chestnut Hill or Natick Mall (which has, by the way, dramatically improved since its transformation into "The Collection.") I get a chance to "wander" on my own, often wishing my mom could join me, and peruse the latest trends, colors, and ideas for consumers.

I never claimed to be good at shopping, but it's been evident to me over the years that I am in fact, pretty good at it. It's not even the fact that I can spend money well (and believe me, friends will attest that they DO spend more when I'm around!); it's more that I have a knack for seeing the potential in an item, or coordinating clothing, or finding the best layout for the bedroom furniture. I feel silly even admitting it, but friends and family tell me regularly enough that I have a special gift- so hence, the idea for the blog.

A friend gave me the idea to write about this little talent of mine. We had just been out at the Wrentham outlets shopping for a few key items for her wardrobe, and after successfully finding the PERFECT black dress (and I mean literally perfect...She put it on, and I screamed), she reminded me that I am good at this shopping gig. She often repeats my little tips about fit, styles, colors, or designs to look for- and I feel especially proud when she calls me from Philadelphia to share the story of a recent purchase, all with the appropriate rationale for why it's truly a perfect addition to her wardrobe. I have taught her so well. (sniff, sniff)

So, friends, here's my stab at sharing a few of these tips, ideas, thoughts, or special finds that I discover about shopping. I don't claim them all to be my own, in fact, most are little tidbits I pick up from reading magazines, flipping through catalogs, or watching great shows like What Not to Wear on TLC. But I do think there could be a few people in the world who may like what I say. Or they are at least kind enough to entertain my passions :)

Texas Transplant Tip of the Day:
I find that Lands' End has the BEST cashmere sweaters. My friend Betsy introduced them to me a couple years ago, and I was sold. Great colors, superb quality, reasonably priced (they are on SUPER sale now in their "overstock" category online), and BEST yet: hand washable. I've tried many a brand, and rest assured, you won't regret this. I also find their fit to be slightly larger than standard. So, while I normally would buy a small top, their x-small is better. I recently ordered a lovely clear blue crew one for $39.99!