Le Hoarder
Le Hoarder

A NYC-ish* Style and Shopping Blog

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

My Magic Rebecca Taylor Dress

I'm sure you recognize my favorite Rebecca Taylor Kiku print dress from last year (and the year before LOL) but what you don't know about it is that it's magic. When I purchased the dress I was 40 lbs. lighter (as seen on me here) and at the time I was surprised I could fit into a sample size 2. And somehow it still miraculously fits. OK it's a little snug across the chest but it's still wearable and pretty flattering. For summer I'm all about easy summer dresses - and now that it's finally warm around here, be prepared to see a parade of new dresses. I finally caved and picked up a few so I'd have a few options that fit my new size :)

From head to toe:
  • Sunglasses: Dolce & Gabbana, Century 21, $15
  • Dress: Rebecca Taylor, sample sale, $50 (RV $550)
  • Bag: Street Level fringe bag, Nordstrom Rack (clear the Rack find!) $7.50, RV $50
  • Bracelet: Dannijo Lacey cuff, sample sale, $25 (RV approx. $350)
  • Heels: Loeffler Randall x Suno, sample sale, $75

You can shop my style here:

Thank you Belle for this round of pics :)

In addition to my sample sale picks from last week, Jonathan Simkhai is the only one that catches my eye. J. Crew and MCM are on right now but J. Crew tends to have tons of randomness and MCM isn't cheap.

Jonathan Simkhai
June 21-22, 10-7
252 West 37th Street, 3rd Fl

J.Crew & Madewell
June 19-25
W-Sat 10-8, Sun 10-5
260 Fifth Avenue

June 21-25
W-Sat 11-8, Sun 11-6
150 Greene Street

Kids are officially done with school so I'm in full-time mommy mode. We're still working out summer plans (I'm a last minute kinda gal) but I have wanderlust in my veins so let's see where that takes us :)



Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Storyteller

I've always felt that my clothing tells a story. Some stories are more complex than others - and some are just short stories. Someone messaged me on Insta the other day asking how I came up with the name LeHoarder. To me it's obvious but I guess I should explain. Simply put, I love clothing. I'm a fashion hoarder. I collect shoes and bags like they are memories - because they are. I can still remember what I wore to school on my first day of nursery. I even remember shopping with my dad and choosing it for myself at the store. The 'Le' is just because the name Michelle is French. When I was looking for a blog name I wanted something that stood out and was just a tiny bit wrong. Ergo, LeHoarder. For years I had the nickname 'Shoppinggal' - but now at almost 43 years old it doesn't really fit anymore. I'm not just about shopping, or the acquisition of the goods. I'm a collector and storyteller, creating memories as I go.

Just below this pic there is a Lookbook button. I still haven't quite figured Lookbook out because I barely get any views on my pictures there. If you can take a moment to click on it and like it, I'd really appreciate it. Otherwise this is the last time I use it. If you use Lookbook and have any tips, I'd love to hear them!

I can't tell you how many times I head to the City in one thing - and leave in another. Such is sample sale life LOL. I made the mistake of lugging the cutest slides to shoot, but after purchasing these Lena Glitsnake glitter heeled booties at the Zadig et Voltare sale for just $75 (RV $498!) I wore these around NYC for the rest of the day. They are probably the most comfortable booties I own right now. For some reason I find a low heel more comfortable than a flat. Anyone else feel that way too? I'm a little sad to finally put them away for the season now that it's finally warmed up around here.

I didn't get a ton at the Zadig sale - just these boots (and trust me, I tried on a TON of shoes!), my $40 fringed leather belt (seen here) and my new $20 skull clutch, which I can't believe I haven't shared yet. It fits my giant phone and I take it into every sample sale these days. The great thing (for me) about the Zadig sale is that all the shoes are pretty much size 40 (yes!) and the clothing is all size small/medium - and all current season samples. I'll be sure to give you guys a heads up the next time it's announced.

I had been looking for the perfect (inexpensive) longer denim jacket for ages. Every time I try to loose 20 lbs, I gain 20 lbs. Sigh. I just wanted a need a little more coverage right now. Plus a longer line jacket = a vertical line, which will always make you appear taller and thinner. This was a lucky find from Marshalls. I went hunting for a few colorful spring accessories and had almost given up on finding a jacket like this. So when I found the last one in the store for $25 I did a little happy dance.

Everything else is on repeat so I'll just break it down:
  • Sunglasses: Moschino, Century 21, free with rewards
  • Jacket: Marshalls, $24.99
  • Dress: H&M, $5
  • Bag: Rebecca Minkoff, sample sale, $75
  • Bracelet: Dannijo, sample sale, $50 (RV $595)
  • Boots: Zadig et Voltaire, sample sale, $75 (RV $498)

You can shop my style here:

This wall is outside Fashion Institute of Technology, my alma mater. Belle and I were passing by and I was inspired. I never plan where I'm going to shoot - I usually wander around until something catches my eye. There are so many colorful locations around NYC but I'm just not organized enough to go running around looking for specific walls. I'm a little more in the moment, sharing looks I actually wear as I wear them. But I am learning that where you shoot is almost as important and what you shoot. I look for a background that will make my look pop. Be it with color or contrast. At some point I really want to take a photography class so I can put all the ideas in my head into words and learn the more technical aspects.

Belle had just picked up this cute coat at the Christian Siriano sale that morning (we split up to divide and conquer LOL) so I had to take a couple pics of her too. Christian actually designed her custom wedding gown (you can see it here) and honestly it's once of the most beautiful gowns I've ever seen. She said she tried on over 100 dresses before having him design this one for her. I did take a few pics of her at his showroom at her last fitting that I'll probably share them at some point. When I was getting married I went to the Badgley Mischka sample sale and purchased the first dress I tried on. I saw it and just knew. Plus you know that a $20,000 gown for less than $1,000 just had to come home with me. But back in the day (I'm talking 10-20 years ago) sample sales were crazy cheap - deals like that don't really exist anymore.

Belle's now husband Bren surprised her with her new Chanel bag as an engagement gift. He's right up there with my brother who treated my SIL to a Birkin when they got engaged. I'm still waiting for my Birkin. I wish I splurged 20 years ago when I was single and had lots of disposable income. Chanel and Hermes are great investment bags. They last forever and their prices just keep going up...

Now on to the sample sale front. Clothingline has a few blowouts on the schedule right now which never disappoint. Dannijo started today but I'm sitting this round out. The last sale wasn't all that inspiring and not much cute stuff on the cheap. Ulla Johnson also started today and Miguelina starts next week, but I'm not sure what their pricing looks like (I do love their beachy, boho vibes thou). Alice and Olivia is still going on but I decided to skip this year (I have enough) - plus at this point all the best pieces are long gone (so if you haven't already gone, don't bother). La Perla is another fan favorite but I don't really do lingerie sales anymore. Give me a $12.99 nude Wacoal from Century and I'm a happy camper.

Milly (blowout sale!)*
June 14-15, 11-7
261 West 36th Street, 2nd Fl
*everything is sample size 4/6

June 14-15
W 10-8, Th 4-8
263 11th Avenue, 2nd Fl

Ulla Johnson
June 14-15
Weds 10-7, Th 10-6
168 Bowery

La Perla
June 14-18
W-Sat 11-7, Sun 11-5
150 Greene Street

Rachel Zoe + Karen Millen (blowout sale!)*
June 20-22, 11-7
261 West 36th Street, 2nd Fl
*not just sample sizes at this one!

June 21-23, 10-6
325 West 37th Street, 2nd Fl

Happy shopping! I've been bitten by the travel bug and the kids have been asking for an adventure. It's been a while since we jumped in the car and road tripped or even hopped on a plane. Ella told me she wants to go to Paris LOL. What are you doing this summer? If you have any family friendly travel ideas I'd love to hear them!



Monday, June 12, 2017

NYFW 2017

I was just thinking it was time for highlights and I'd realized the last time I got them was right before New York Fashion Week. That's when it occurred to me that I had never shared any photos from the last NYFW. Honestly I played hookey again and only attended one show. It was snowy and cold so I was more than happy to take it easy again. So here is where I went and what I wore.

After attending a pre-NYFW event with Scarlett Hao, she invited me and Belle to MB45 Studio downtown for a free mani and blowout the next day. You know I always say yes to freebies so it was kinda a no-brainer. After a bitter winter, we were gifted just one magical unseasonably warm day so I took advantage and put on a spring outfit and some kicks for a day on my feet. I had a fashion week party to attend that evening so I had some cute booties in my bag too :)



Nothing super exciting - just cute and casual. You've seen this H&M dress last summer here and this green jacket before here. The necklace is AV Max - and their sample sale is actually on this week! Head to my previous post (here) to read all my latest sample sale picks!

After my blowout I ran to have my hair cut and looking back at these pics I kinda regret it. I'm going to resist the urge to fix my hair for a while - other than a few new highlights soon. I do have to say that as much as I loved the idea of the quick pampering, my mani didn't make it thru the day (and it was gel!) and at this point I'm a pro at waving my hair that I don't really need anyone else to do it.


The one show I attended was Anniesa Hasibuan. I actually met up with a few blogger friends which is probably the reason I showed up LOL. I can do a show solo (it's a faux pas to ask for a +1 so you're usually on your own) but it's always more fun with friends. I love that Belle went for it with her layered vintage look. Some mean girl actually said she looked like a vintage sofa - but I'm guessing it was because Belle was sitting in front of her in the front row of a show that morning LOL. #jealousmuch?

I actually spotted Belle on WWD in this look. So proud of my girl! And so excited for her because she's getting married this weeked!

I always chicken out when it comes to dressing for shows. I put together crazy looks than right before I leave I put on more subdued numbers. Most of this is on repeat other than my new Kate Spade furry hat. Got it for about $25 (RV $128) at Nordstrom Rack and I couldn't resist. We had exactly two minutes to shoot because we were running late for the show so we shot a couple and ran inside. It was also late in the day so the light wasn't all that great.

Just a few scenes for the Anniesa Hasibuan show. Shira of A Sequin Love Affair got inside first and was nice enough to save us a few seats :) The show was chock full of modest looks with a play on textures and dramatic silhouettes.

I figured my last post was so long I'd take it easy on you. You can read all this week's sample sale picks in my last post here.

I have a busy week so be sure to watch me run around on my Insta stories :)

Michelle, Living the Life...


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Bargainista Almost-Spring Style & Epic (Jimmy Choo!) Sample Sale Haul!

I've had this adorable eShakti dress for a few weeks but I've been waiting for it to warm up a bit so I could finally wear it. I got sick of waiting and just threw a cape on and matched up my mom's Prada bag for my niece's engagement party. I'm so jealous of all the bloggers on Insta in cute shorts and tanks - and the warm, sunny weather that goes with it. I pulled out my new colorful Sophia Webster Chiara heels and some tasseled earrings to add a touch of spring. Speaking of Sophia, her NY sample sale is coming on the 10th. I have the details down below with all my sample sale picks for the week.

eShakti is a great website where you can customize dresses (and some other garments) to your specs for less than $100 a pop. You can shop by size or for $9.95 you can put in your measurements and have it cut for your body. You can also select from sleeve options or varied hemlines free of charge. I customized my dress by removing the pockets (I don't like having extra fabric at the widest point of my body) and I input my measurements for a perfect fit. I meant to make it longer but forgot so this is above the knee and I would have preferred it knee length. This dress actually comes with a belt but I chose not to wear it because it made the dress even shorter. The last dress they sent me wasn't as successful because some of the seams were sewn sloppy - and details like that drive me nuts. Luckily they have free returns so I sent it back and chose this dress instead. They always have coupons and promotions but right now their best deal is $25 off your first order which is pretty good considering most dresses are $50-80.

Popular dresses sell out pretty quickly (mine is no longer available) so if you see something you like - jump! I did find a similar dress here. eShakti is the perfect solution if you have a hard time finding clothing that fits - or want something that everyone else doesn't have. Right now they are flush with cute summer dresses so I recommend checking them out ASAP.

Head to toe:
  • Earrings: AV Max, sample sale, $5 (their sale is coming up again - see details below!)
  • Cape: Vince Camuto, sample sale, $25
  • Dress: Eshakti, RV $59.95 + $9.95 customization fee, gifted
  • Bag: Prada, borrowed from my mom again :)
  • Shoes: Sophia Webster, Nordstrom Rack, $107 (RV $575)

You can shop my style here:

Thank you to my amazing 12 year old son who left the party buffet to shoot me in the streets of Queens. He told me he wants to start getting paid for taking my photos. I told him his own computer and cell phone were payment enough. Plus I have to do the editing which is the hardest party anyway.


Because it's been a while since I shared a peek at my blogger mail and sample sale scores...

I know I rag on Influenster a lot but this time they came through with a winner. I got this Lancôme Voxbox with a Matte Shaker Lipstick, Bienfait UV Spf 50+ and Visionnaire crescendo 28 day peel. My favorite is obviously the lipstick but the peel was ok too. They included the sunscreen to put on after the peel to protect your skin. I actually got a $50 gift card in the mail from Influenster this week - I guess I won a contest for completing a badge. The way Influenster works, you sign up and they send you free products to review. You can often get stuck with boxes of random stuff but every so often you get a good one. They also require you to do a ton of tasks/reviews to complete a badge for each box. If you're a blogger just getting started (or even a regular mom) this is a great program to join.

I've received some pretty good feedback on my flatlays lately so I wanted to break it down for you with a few tips. I always shoot outdoors on sunny days to get the best lighting. I'm sure strangers are looking at me funny when I drag a large white foam core board (I get mine at a local art store) outside in my front yard or driveway to shoot with my DSLR. If you shoot too early in the morning you can get a strong shadow so I like to try to shoot early afternoon. Later in the day the light won't be as bright so my photos get a bluish tint. Even if I brighten up my pics when I edit, I'll usually use the Juno or Ludwig filter on Insta to really pop the white. I also try to create contrast in my pictures so I've been grabbing whatever colorful flowers are growing in my front yard. I refuse to do the marble flatlay that every one seems to be using because I like the white to break up my busy, colorful feed.

I usually don't buy eye cream because I live off samples from Sephora (cheapskate tip 101) - so I was excited to try Lancôme Visionnaire Yeux when it popped up on Octoly. It's so good! In just a couple days I saw a HUGE improvement in the texture if my under eye skin. And it brightens so I don't need as much concealer as I used to apply. I have really sensitive eyes and allergies so I can't wear most eye products - but this totally works for me. I highly recommend it. I grabbed the L' Absolu Rouge Hydrating Shaping Lipsticks so I could have something else to review with the eye cream. I've really only worn the rose color but I don't like that they don't have pointed tips (it makes it harder for me to apply). I'm actually wearing the rose (pictured below on the right) in my photos above with my eShakti dress.

As you can see, I've been on an Octoly bender ordering up free luxury makeup. If you have over 10k on Insta or YouTube, you can apply for Octoly here to shop their free shop. They send you free stuff of your choosing in exchange for a post. I've been trying to either showcase my style or promote sponsored posts on Instagram as free stuff doesn't pay the bills. However, Octoly has been tempting me with pretty amazing high end goods - and they let you clump together 3 reviews at a time. It's like shopping Sephora for free so I'm hooked.

I knew all the pink would be prefect for my YSL Mon Paris Eau de Parfum Star Collector by YSL Beauty. I needed another YSL item (I like having at least 2 items to review at a time) so I grabbed The Shock mascara in Underground Blue. The blue was very subtle but it clumped too much for my taste. My all time favorite mascara brand is anything by Korres - which is super natural and gives you that fanned out, un-clumpy lashes without falsies look. They do have sample sales a couple times a year but never seem to have the mascara :(

I love my Samina bow slides in hot pink that I was gifted at the Nina Shoes fall preview. I wish the heels were a little lower so I could wear them daily. I paired them up with my Kate Spade diary that I got on sale at Nordstrom (I could only find it full price now, sorry) thanks to a tip from Tracy's Notebook of Style.

I was excited to try the Dior Airflash foundation even though they didn't offer my color - I just chose the lightest color available (200 light beige) and figured I'd apply lightly. I love it. I usually prefer a dewy finish but this literally made every imperfection vanish. You spray it on and it's amazing. I grabbed the Rouge Dior lipstick in 634 strong matte and it's ok but again, the bullet does not have a pointed tip.

Linking up all these goodies should you need them too :)

Finally, here are my favorite sample sale scores from the past couple weeks.

Rebecca Minkoff wasn't as exciting as years' past but I still managed to score some goodies on the last day. I'd hoped they would do epic markdowns on bags at the end (they did not, they went to $75 across the board but the selection was weak) but they did slash all clothing prices down to $20 so I grabbed a leather "Rockin" skirt (RV $398). Not sure when I'll wear a mini again but who knows. I had my eye on the Minnetonka Moccasins collab shoes but I found they ran big and they were not made in half sizes. I'm typically a 9.5 in her shoes but in these I would have needed a 8.5. Luckily their sample 9s run a little smaller than the production 9 so I snapped these up for $20 (RV $98). All the shoes at the sale (except the samples) were $84 for 3 pairs ($28 each) on the last day so my partner in crime, Belle and I split three pairs. I got an extra discount on my sample shoes, which were originally priced $30, when I complained they should not cost more than the brand new boxed shoes. They had a few really cute booties but these "Jennies" (RV $225) were the only ones left in 9.5. I wish they were at least leather because I haven't been able to wear suede with all the rain we've had lately.

Saving the best for last, let's talk Choo! Jimmy Choo, started markdowns earlier in the day than expected so I missed most of the good stuff on their last day. I still managed to snap up these crown glitter "Crown" heels for $100 (RV $895) and my piece de resistance, my $2,895 Lockett Petite Boho Purple and Silver Sprayed Metallic Dégradé Python Shoulder Bag that was just $350. I was annoyed that they charged an $200 upcharge for exotic skin on the last day (they usually don't) as it would have been just $150 at previous sales, but I felt better when I googled the price. I was also informed that it was on the $700 luxury table (which didn't get marked down at all) on the first day and it probably shouldn't have been with the regular bags anyway. Because it was a current design and I loved the color I went for it. Most of the bags at the sample sale on the last day are typically pretty beat up and several seasons old so I got lucky. As it was, someone must have put it back because it wasn't there when I first arrived. The reason I was late to begin with was because I was at a sponsored event - and my paycheck more than covered all my Choo finds, hence justifying my splurge. I also grabbed a couple pairs of $50 men's shoes for my son for his Bar Mitzvah but one pair turned out to be too small for him. He's 12 and already has bigger feet than me - and mine are pretty big LOL.

I found a few of these (or similar on sale) so I linked up what I could:

So I realize I could have easily split this post into 2-3 different ones, I like just putting out one post a week. It's long, so feel free to come back and finish at any time. But like all my posts, they are jam-packed with info that you probably don't want to miss.

And now for my sample sale picks for the next couple weeks...

Sample sale season is on and new ones pop up daily. I recommend checking sites like Chicmi, which has the most comprehensive NY listings these days (they also cover London, LA and San Francisco). Some of the best sales are word of mouth and may not even appear anywhere online. I always share the sales that I personally shop and the ones that tend to have the best values for designer bargain hunters like myself.

So if you're super cheap and super chic - this is where you need to be:

The last few sales have been pretty lackluster but they always have some inexpensive accessories or $40 shoes worth checking out. Wait for markdowns.
June 1-4
F-Sat 10-8, Sun 10-4
260 Fifth Avenue

A.V. Max
My all time favorite jewelry sale boasts prices of $5-25, friendly smiles and mimosas in their beautifully lit showroom. You'll see. You can read past sale reports here and here. The designer Amy often asks customers how they found the sale so be sure to mention I sent you :)
June 5-9
M 10-5, T 10-7, W-Th 10-5, F 10-2
39 W 38th St, 10th Fl

Not sure how pricing will be but I love their use of patterns and colors so I'll be taking a peek.
Met Pavillion, 125 West 18th St
June 5-7
M-T 10-8, W 10-5

Carmen Marc Valvo
If you need a gown on the cheap check here first. Samples range from $25-100 and stock maxes out at $300.
June 6, 10-6
132 W 36th St, 2S

Vince Camuto, 1.State & More
This Clothingline sale was where I found my $25 cape pictured above a while back. It's sample sizes only so don't bother if you're not a 4/6 (though I've spotted plus-sized samples as well in the past).
June 6-8, 10-6
261 West 36th Street, 2nd Fl

There is usually a crazy cheap lingerie sale about now and I'm not sure if it's this one. If you know which one I'm talking about please comment below!
June 7-8, 10-4
Dana Co Showroom, 102 Madison Avenue, 3rd Fl

Halabaloo Kids
I love their detailed designs and I read prices were $10-40 so I'll be taking a peek for my girls.
June 8-9, 9:30-6
423 West 43rd Street, Ground Floor

Sophia Webster
My all time shoe love is finally back in NYC. This past month she had a pop up downtown and I was lucky enough to meet her. I put on one of favorite pairs and of course forgot to ask her to sign them. Then again it probably would have been pretty gross to pull off my stinky shoes as ask her to sign LOL. At this point all the RSVP spots have been filled so you'll have to arrive after 2pm if you don't already have a reservation. Prices are good but not dirt cheap. You have to really love her shoes to go. Hoping they'll have a sample table again as that's where I did most of my damage last round. Read about my last adventure here.
June 10, 10-6
80 Wooster Street

Usually not super cheap and you have to dig thru piles of stuff to find anything decent (lots of used and damaged goods mixed in) but this brand has a cult-like following and worth a trip for their super fans.
June 10, 10-4
Met Pavillion, 125 West 18th St

Teri Jon
This sale is every modest girls dream for party dresses. At previous sales sample dresses started at $75. Read a past sale report here. Lines are crazy so get there at least an hour early on the first day for best selection.
June 11-12
M 9-5, T 9-4
241 W 37th St, 2nd Fl

Alice + Olivia
I usually don't get a lot, but what I do buy is usually pretty amazing. Samples are the best deal (usually size 2-6) and you can read past sale finds here and here. Not sure what's gonna fit me from here but you betcha I'll be buying for future size 6 (I started T25 again) Michelle.
June 12-17
M 12-8, T 9-8, W-Sat 10-8
260 Fifth Avenue
Purchase an early access voucher for $10 here - I highly recommend it for this sale!

I plan on being out and about next week. Be sure you're following my Insta stories for a peek inside sales as I shop. Hope to see you around! As always, please say hello :)

Happy shopping!

Michelle Amidst the Sample Sale Madness


Thursday, May 25, 2017

LeHoarder's Top 10 Daily Necessities

This post is sponsored by L'Occitane En Provence.

As a busy mom & blogger on the go, I'm often asked for a peek inside my bag. Now my that my kids are bigger, I've downsized from my large diaper bags to smaller cross-body bags - and I try to pack as light and efficiently as possible. I like to pride myself as the queen of packing, and I often pack and repack my purse daily. The contents vary depending on my daily activities. For example, when in mommy-mode, I'll often have a couple snacks or extra hair accessories for my girls. But there are a few go-tos, like L'Occitane hand cream and lipstick, that I just can't leave the house without.

I'm going to take you through NYC gal-on-the-run mode. When I'm on my feet all day running around to sample sales and blogger events this is what you'll always find in my bag:

1. Hand cream. I have insanely dry hands. Hand cream is a must-have essential for me. I always keep a tube of hand cream in my purse, on my nightstand, in every bathroom in my house, at my front door....you get the idea. I have to say L'Occitane En Provence Shea Butter Hand cream is like magic. It keeps my hands smooth and moisturized. It's enriched with 20% organic Shea Butter, honey, almond extracts and coconut oil - and smells sooo good. I love that it comes in two sizes - just $12 for the smaller 1oz size and $28 for 5.2oz. I always pop the smaller one in my bag. Be sure to head to Sephora to grab one (or two!) for yourself. Honestly I'm obsessed with all their hand creams. Right now I'm alternating between the Shea Butter, Cherry Blossom, Amande and Lavender. Try one for yourself and you can thank me later.

2. Lipstick. I like to let my face breathe on days I don't have events - not that I wear a lot of makeup when I do. But you'll never find me without a bright lippie in my bag. I can be bare faced but if I swipe on some lipstick, I'm camera ready in a flash. Plus with a Sephora everywhere in the City, I can just pop in and touch up as needed.

3. Sunglasses. My eyes are super sensitive so I avoid eye makeup. My hack is to put on lipstick and sunglasses when I'm shooting and it saves me time and irritation.

4. Flip-Flops. I blew out my knees in my 20s. I'm blessed with good skin genetically but my knees...not so much. I can't run around the City in 6-inch heels like I did in my youth.

5. Tote bag. I always have a tote to carry home sample sale scores, or to shlep around all the stuff that doesn't fit in my purse that day. It's also helpful to take home whatever swag I'm gifted at events. If it's a rainy day I also bring a plastic garbage bag to wrap my goodies so I don't have to go home clutching wet paper bags that fell apart. I just bag everything in plastic and toss it in my favorite giant blue tote.

6. Phone. Seems obvious but I've left the house without it a couple times. Once I was on the bus into the City when I realized I left it at home so I borrowed a stranger's phone and called my husband to meet me at a bus stop - I jumped off and waited for him to bring it to me. It's not just for calling, but I need access to my calendar, social media, and camera. Though if I'm shooting a look I grab my DSLR as well. A phone charger is helpful but not always necessary because some coffeehouses have some to borrow for free.

7. Tissues. I always take a few because I have allergies - and sometimes you get stuck in a toilet stall without paper. A girl has gotta be prepared!

8. Water. I love those tiny kid-sized bottles. I'll even refill it at a water fountain so I won't have to pay crazy NYC prices for a drink.

9. Wallet. I always have some cash, a credit card or two, ID and a Metrocard on me. The cash is very important because there are some places that you can't charge. And if you want to buy a snack like fruit from a street-cart, you need a few dollars at all times.

10. Reading Glasses. This one is a new one for me. When I hit 40 my eyesight started to get a little wonky. I can still see distance perfectly but I misread a price tag one too many times and now I always have a pair on me.

So that's a peek inside my purse! What are your daily bag essentials?

Thank you to Sephora & L'Occitane En Provence for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own. 

Michelle, Momma on the Go

Monday, May 15, 2017

Adventures in Sample Sale Land.

So most of you know how dedicated I am when it comes to sample sale shopping. It's been a while since I've done a how-to tutorial for sample sales (read my last one here) so I thought I'd revisit it after finally editing these pictures from the recent NYC snowstorm. That was the day that I hitchhiked into Manhattan from NJ because public transportation in Jersey was down. I had to do it because I had seen a friend's Insta-stories boasting of $50 designer shoes (Rochas, Proenza, Marc Jacobs...) at the Jil Sander sample sale preview.

When I say hitchhiked, I mean it. I literally stood by the side of the highway and waited for a bus for almost an hour. I finally put up my thumb and waited for someone to pick me up. Is it safe? Maybe...maybe not, but I should mention it wasn't my first time LOL. Luckily a couple heading into work picked me up and drove me over the bridge. Even on a nice day there are often people who want to pay the carpool rate to cross the George Washington Bridge so they pick up a commuter or two so they can use the carpool lane and pay a few dollars less. I've been around the block a few times so I obviously use my judgement when getting in a car. This couple was friendly and I spotted the empty carseat in the back and figured they'd be a safe bet.

The great thing about NYC is that it pretty much is always up and running. I've lived there thru a couple serious blackouts and 9-11, when the City was pretty much shut down. Otherwise for the most part, public transportation of one kind or another is always running in Manhattan. Those aforementioned days were the only times I ever had to walk 70+ blocks back to my apartment. I actually used to walk 50-100 blocks a day when I lived there just because I loved wandering the City. There's a reason I packed on the pounds in suburbia.

Any smart City girl knows it's all about layering. Winters are bitter cold so you pile it on if you plan on being outdoors for more than 5 minutes. And on shopping days I never wear stupid shoes. Never. I knew I needed a serious boot so I pulled out my thrifted Pajar boots that are waterproof and super warm. For me it was about function, not fashion - though I threw on my cute $3.99 Zara sale scarf that I had just scored.

Thou it's not fashion,  I figured I'd break it down for those of you who appreciate how I little I spend. From head to toe:
  • Hat: H&M, $1
  • Sunglasses: Moschino, Century 21, free with rewards
  • Scarf: Zara, $3.99
  • Gloves: Carolina Amato, sample sale, $10
  • Bag: Balenciaga, Nordstrom Rack, 75% off
  • Coat: One of my husband's really warm coats - gift from my brother.
  • Leggings: Comm-ci, gifted (RV $69)
  • Boots: Pajar, thrifted, $20 (RV $200)

So I digress, I got into the City, jumped on a subway and headed down. I was lucky because above ground subways were closed, but the A train is below ground in upper Manhattan. I got there just after opening and my friend Belle (who took all my pics that day) was already there. She scored a pair of the Proenza silver booties I wanted but of course they didn't have my size. They actually didn't have ANYTHING in my size. So after all that....

I did make plans with an-Insta friend, Diana who was visiting the City so I told her to meet me at the sale. She scored some cute shoes and dresses so it seems I was the only unlucky one. Win some, you lose some. We headed out to byChloe which was miraculously open! For the first half hour or so we had the entire restaurant to ourselves. Then little by little people trickled in as the City began to awake from it's snow induced slumber. We took the train down to Century 21 to find it closed so we just grabbed some tea and hung out until we decided we all had enough.

Message to any other bloggers visiting NYC - feel free to reach out if you want to hang out or shop, and I love to take pics. I wouldn't call myself a photographer but I have a pretty good eye and some basic editing skills. If you want to see NYC on the cheap, I'm your girl!

In NYC plan to walk on a bad day. Subway service is spotty sometimes and it's almost impossible to call a car in bad weather. Poor Diana learned that the hard way. When she was with me I dragged her around on foot and via subway - which she quickly learned is the only tried and true way to navigate the City. She probably froze that day but I probably should have warned her to bundle up.  She did look super cute though :)


Belle thought she looked like a little boy that day but I thought she looked adorable. Plus the pops of pink were just enough to scream girl LOL.


Unfortunately the buses still weren't running over the bridge so I had to hitchhike back as well. I stood there for about 20 minutes helping people flag down pedestrian cars when a woman finally gave up and called a car service - and she was going to my town. My share was almost triple of what a bus would have cost but I figured it was worth the convenience, instead of hitching over the bridge and waiting for my husband to dig out the car and pick me up. Normally you can walk over the bridge to but the walkway was closed so I really had no choice.

So in the end, one could argue that FOMO got the best of me and I really didn't need to go after all. Then again, I have quite the story to show for it.


I don't always get around to posting my hauls so I decided to start sharing some of my best finds on a weekly basis. Last week I hit the Rebecca Minkoff NYC sample sale - I came for the preview and hung around waiting for a friend who came in with the public. I didn't go crazy because I plan on heading back for markdowns. I scored this Julian backpack for $75 that I probably didn't need but I really like the iridescent hardware. I also scored a few of these tassel belt bags for just $15 each! I grabbed a bag strap for me and a shorter version for Ella also for $15 each in the sample bin. I shared a peek of my strap on Insta here.

On my Insta stories I shared that H&M was having another mega sale so I popped into a couple locations. I found this coat for $7 from $99 and it rang up half price for $3.50!!!! Score!

And finally, these super cute Mimilore tassel earrings were in a swag bag from a blogger breakfast where I ran into Kyrzayda, a blogger I met when I was first getting started. I shared our meet-cute story here on Insta but I just have to say I can't believe I'm getting invited to the same events. For me that's a big win. In blogging you have good days and bad and it's easy to get discouraged. I was recently invited to an influencer event and the hosts pretty much ignored everyone - and fawned all over a couple bigger bloggers. The lesson is to be nice to everyone. As I grow I make friends big and small I try to show kindness to other bloggers just getting started because it wasn't always shown to me. So I try to treat others the way I wanted to be treated when I felt invisible. So for all those people who break you down - hang in there because there are some good ones who will lift you up and give you a hand when you least expect it.

So let's get down to the nitty-gritty. Sample sale season is in the house!

I'm gonna start with one of my favorite sale - Jimmy Choo. You can take a peek inside a previous sale report here. As far as strategy goes, get there early on day one for small leather goods and the best selection. But if you're thrifty like me and you already own everything, just go on the last day for markdowns. Last year I walked out with $50 shoes for my husband, the bag I dyed (see tutorial here) for $50, and a couple pairs of shoes for $100 that each retailed for over $2,000. This sale is epic. You can see other past hauls here and here. You can register for it here and use the password lance. You're gonna need your IKEA tote to haul everything home from this sale!

Jimmy Choo
May 16-18
Tues 11-7, Wed 8-7, Thurs 8-6
The Metropolitan Pavillion, 123 West 18th St.

My other weekly picks include the Modo eyewear sale for $20 designer glasses and sunglasses, The Best Kids Sample Sale for designer kids stuff (I usually get cheap hair accessories and odds and ends), 90% off retail at Alex & Trixie sounds worth a peek, and if I'm remembering correctly, The News has cheap jeans and such. Kendall & Kylie is new to the scene but it's a Clothingline sale so it may not be super cheap. But you never know.

The Best Kids Sample Sale
May 15-19, 10-5
34 West 33rd Street
This is a multi-showroom sale. Get a directory from security before you get in the elevator. Cash only.

Modo Eyewear
May 16-18, 11-7
594 Broadway, Suite 801

Alice & Trixie
May 17-19, 11-7
265 West 37th Street, 11th Fl

Kendall & Kylie
May 17-21
W-F 11-8, Sat 11-6, Sun 11-5
121 Prince Street

The News
May 18-20, 10-6
495 Broadway, 5th Fl

For the brides out there (I'm talking to you Belle!) check out Jenny Packham for Bridal, lingerie & accessories, Janis Savitt for some bling, and Eberjey and the Riviere Agency sales for your honeymoon.

Janis Savitt
May 17-19, 11-4
200 West 58th Street, Suite 12-B

Jenny Packham
May 18, 8-6
71 Gansevoort Street, Suite 2B

May 18-19
The Metropolitan Pavillion, 123 West 18th St., 8th Fl
RSVP required: rsvp@eberjey.com
*it's in the same location as Choo so you might as well...

The Riviere Agency
May 19, 11-5:30
139 Fulton Street, Suite 413

And for all sales ALWAYS BE FIRST IN LINE. It's the only way to get the goods.

Happy Mother's Day to all you mommas out there! I gave up expecting gifts other than small handmade trinkets from my kids - which is pretty much all I got. I told my husband after the Zadig & Voltaire sample sale last week that he got me a pair of boots (Teased on Insta here and here), a cluch and a belt - and I saved him a ton because it's all current season stuff still selling for full price. I'm a good wife after all :)

I spent my Mother's Day at the Rebecca Minkoff sale LOL. What better way to celebrate? Prices didn't go stupid cheap for bags so I grabbed a few for gifts, shoes which came out to $84 for 3 pairs (I split with Belle) and clothing went to $20 so Belle and I each grabbed a leather skirt. I found her the cutest sweaters and someone literally stole one out of her bag. Welcome to NY where sample sale shopping is a serious sport!

As always be sure you're following my Insta-stories for a peek inside the sales! Happy shopping :)

Michelle the Fashion Mom

© Le Hoarder

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