Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Weekend Recap

It seems like every day I hear about a new boutique, consignment shop, vintage store, etc. that I can't wait to scour! Often, though, I hear about a place that sounds amazing only to forget the name of the store or where it's located. Too many places were slipping through the cracks, so I started keeping a notebook of places I wanted to checkout. I include the name, address, phone number, website, hours, and any other info I deem necessary and I highly recommend doing the same; I don't know how I survived without it! I hope to check out at least one new store (window shopping only, I swear) a weekend and report my findings. This weekend, however, I managed to knock two off the list.

I don't spend a lot of time in Alexandria, so I'm not familiar with the stores in that vicinity. Recently I heard of two very intriguing stores, though, and decided it was worth an outing to Old Town!

The first store I visited was Treat. Personally, I'm very envious of my friends in NY that are blocks away from all those amazing sample sales. The girls behind Treat must have read my mind; Treat is a sample sale boutique! You may figure that since the items are from sample sales that the store is filled with 0's, 2's and size 5 shoes. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they carried a wide variety of clothing and shoe sizes. In addition, they had multiple sizes in some of the pieces, which was also very exciting. The website claims they have 1/2 priced Chloe bags and they do! I saw a Chloe bag for around $600 with my own two eyes; you know I could never lie about something like that. They also carried Marc Jacobs, Tracy Reese, Theory, Joie, and Nanette Lepore just to name a few. Things are spaciously arranged, so you do not feel overwhlemed having to dig through piles of stuff, like you might at an actual sample sale. The store is a great concept and definitley worth a visit!

My next stop was a mere hop, skip, and jump away: Diva Boutique. Within 2 minutes of walking into the store, I was informed that everything was 10% off (it was their birthday) and clearance items were an additional 50% off. I also almost immediately found this great grey D&G dress, that I had to pry myself away from; needless to say, things were off to a good start. The store is in a former town house and every nook and cranny has something in it. In addition to a great selection of clothes (Chanel, Armani, Tocca, Tory Burch, and more!) they also had an entire wall of handbags (I noticed several Kate Spade bags) and a decent selection of shoes. It's also worth noting the fabulous decor in every room; everything is fun and girly, making for a great shopping experience.

My favorite thing about places like Treat and Diva Boutique, is that they are constantly getting in new pieces! Department stores only get new things a few times a year and most of the time you keep seeing the same items over and over again. The beauty of consignment-type stores is that you always have an excuse to visit, because they'll always have something new!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Weekend Recap

Due to budgetary constraints and a new knitting project, I did not do quite as much research as intended this weekend. But nonetheless, I did do a little exploring.

Shoes by Lara
I had heard from a shopping buddy that this was a place I just had to check out; after viewing her finds, I was sold. I visited the store on 14th St, NW and was rather skeptical at first. When you walk in, you have to go downstairs to get to the shoes. At first I saw many many boxes of nothing terribly exciting. My friend quickly grabbed my arm and guided me to "the back wall." The back wall is 50% off all shoes AND that's where the good stuff is hiding. The shoes in the rest of the store are what you might find at a mid-level department store, and they're not any cheaper. On the 50% off wall, though, you'll find Stuart Weitzman, Betsy Johnson, French Sole, Delman, Sigerson Morrison, and Roberto Cavalli, just to name a few. Apparently the turnover is high, so it's a good place to drop by on a regular basis to see what's in stock. One of the best things about this store is there are 4 of them! So, I mean, if you don't find something at one location, you can simply check out one of the others. Who am I kidding: go to all of them, all the time! However, if you wear a size 8 you should probably steer clear or at least go at your own risk, because I may have to fight you for those really cute quilted French Sole's...

While in the vicinity, I felt it my duty to go to Filene's to see what they had to offer. The one downtown was overhauled recently and is quite nice now. Just to give some quick highlights...Upstairs they still had some of those wonderful Missoni scarves, that I previously wrote about and they had a large selection Spanx footless pantyhose for 50% off! Moving onward and downward, in the basement there were not really any shoes that caught my eyes except for a snazzy snakeskin pair of Sam Edelman t-bar flats for $60 that were really hard to leave behind. It gets better. Lurking in the racks of clothing from Barney's was this amazing giraffe-print, Valentino, wool cape. Sadly, it was still almost $1,000 a.k.a. not in my budget. There were some affordable pieces in the Barney's section, so it's definitley worth a look.

All in all, it was a productive weekend, and I can't wait to scope out the other Shoes by Lara locations to see what they have in stock!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Check Out My New Logo!!!

Thanks to my dear, very talented friend Katie I now have a snazzy logo for my blog!!! Check back on Monday for updates, because I plan on doing quite a bit of "research" over the weekend :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Wine So Cheap, You Can Buy the Cheese to Go With It!

Sometimes even buying highly-discounted designer pieces can leave you with rather limited funds for those little extras like groceries and, more importantly, wine. Some may say that you need to make trade offs: you either shop or you drink. What's the fun in that? If you can't go out or have parties at your place, what are you going to do with all those lovely outfits you've purchased?! On the flip side, if you're socializing you have to have the appropriate ensembles; it's truly quite the quandary. While Happy Hour specials offer some relief, they're not always feasible for those of us that work late. We've all walked into the wine store and tried to find a cheap bottle of wine that doesn't come in a box and doesn't taste like a combination of vinegar and fingernail polish remover. A trusty beverage shop (especially one that runs regular sales!) with knowledgeable employees is a good place to start; however, those are not always easy to come across, and they also do not always have the really cheap stuff.

Thanks to the lovely folks at the New York they have come up with a list of 10 wines under $10 that are palatable. I would sift through the descriptions and write down the ones that appeal to you, so you can find them the next time you're out beverage shopping.

If you have REALLY gone overboard on the shopping, or you're going to need multiple bottles, $10 may still be too much to shell out. Those cunning folks over at Radar took wine tasting to a whole new low [price] by doing the best wines under $4!!! I know, I know, it sounds too good to be true, but it is! I have been a long time fan of the "2 buck chuck," but I can't wait to sample some of the $1.99 varieties. When I think about how much wine I drink...if I started cutting back from $15.99 bottles to $1.99 ones...I wonder how long would it take me to save enough for that eggplant Balenciaga bag...

If you, like me, have not sampled the wines in the lists above I think it's an excellent excuse to host a wine and cheese party. With the money you save on wine, you can go buy yourself a new outfit; it's like they're giving you shopping money!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Saks Beauty Event

Being the practical girl that I am, I try and hold off on buying beauty products until the bi-annual Neiman Marcus or Saks Fifth Avenue Beauty Event. My logic is that if you have to buy sensible things like shampoo, conditioner, and moisturizer anyway, you may as well wait until you can get something free with them! Over the past 4 years I have it perfectly timed, so my Frederic Fekkai will last me until the next beauty event; it's a very precise science.

I was a negligent blogger and failed to post about the Neiman's Beauty Event a couple of weeks ago, but I'll do my best to make up (no pun intended) for it! If you're not familiar with the ins and outs of how to get the most free goodies for the fewest purchases, allow me to guide you...

First thing's first: when is it? The Saks event started on October 4 and runs through October 13 in stores, BUT it's good online 'til October 14. If you're buying online, just be sure to enter REELBEAUTY in the code box at checkout, so you get your gifts.

The basic concept of a Beauty Event is you spend a set amount of money ($100 for Saks) and in return you get a lovely tote filled with everything from wrinkle creams and perfume samples to eyeshadows and mini mascaras. What many people don't realize, is there are other free gifts if you know where to look. Here are a couple of tips before you set off on your beauty bonanza!

1. Don't buy, just to buy: this is how people end up with drawers full of unused lipsticks and eye shadows. As I mentioned earlier, I look at Beauty Events as a time to stock up on things I need and use on a daily basis; however, there's nothing wrong with buying a fun lip gloss from time to time. Plan out your shopping list in advance; this is extremely important if you're going to the store. It is very easy to get caught up in the excitement and the pretty colors, so stick to your list: don't be thwarted!

2. Don't think the gifts stop with the goodie bag! Most individual brands have specials as well, but you have to really look through these to get the good ones. A lot of the brands require you to spend a specified amount to get the free gifts, but for the Saks Event both Dior and Kiehl's are offering free gifts with ANY purchase. If you look on the Saks website, you will not see these offers. I discovered them the good old-fashioned way; the catalog! If there is a particular GWP (gift with purchase) you have your heart set on, I would either call the store first or order via telephone to make sure it's in stock and you actually get it!

Finally, if you don't know what to do with your new tote bag I highly recommend using it for grocery shopping! Wouldn't you much rather carry a stylish Saks tote than an ugly plastic bag?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Weekend Recap

This weekend there were some things old and something new. I checked out the Vintage Trunk Show at Project 4 on Friday and I finally made it to the new Bloomies on Sunday.

Some Things Old...
Last week when I found out about the Trunk Show, I really wasn't sure what to expect; I was braced for the worst and hoping for the best. Friday after work I rushed home, grabbed a few trusty shopping buddies, and we were off to U St. ! When we arrived at the gallery there were ample mojitos, champagne, and other delightful cocktails, so things were off to a promising start. There was one main rack of clothes, a smaller rack with coats and then a display of shoes and another of handbags, hats, and scarves. A quick glance at the clothing and one could spot some lovely dresses, but with vintage things it's always the question of "is this thing actually going to fit me?" I ventured off into one of the changing rooms with an armful of dresses, a cocktail, and a fully loaded bank card. Several of the dresses looked quite nice, but a mustard colored wool dress from the 50's (complete with a leopard belt) was the obvious choice. Needless to say, I was quite excited!!!

Several girls were milling about "modeling" some of the dresses, but the atmosphere was light and fun like a bunch of girls going through their grandmothers' closets finding each new dress more fun than the last. I found out that Uesa Goods provided the vintage pieces and had an upstairs room fully stocked to replenish the racks as needed. Since the trunk show was all weekend that meant that Saturday and Sunday were prime shopping days as well! It took every ounce of restraint for me to not go back...

Something New...
I had heard good things about the new Bloomingdale's in Chevy Chase, but obviously I had to go see for myself. Everything is nice and new and shiny and wonderful, but more importantly the selection is quite impressive! More than anything, though, I was excited by the large contemporary section. It's organized primarily by designer/brand, with the jeans having their own section and let's just say they definitely needed a section all to themselves! The store was very spacious and the layout made everything easy to navigate. Low racks and few walls also make it easy to spot your shopping buddy across the store eyeing a jaunty ensemble , allowing you to intervene and save you both some embarrassment. I did not purchase anything on this visit, but I'm anxiously awaiting their sales!!!

All in all I'd say I was relatively well-behaved this weekend; at least in terms of shopping...