Le Hoarder
Le Hoarder

A NYC -ish* Style and Shopping Blog

Friday, December 8, 2017

Conversations with My Daughters x RoC®



As a woman over 40 I can honestly say the worst thing a person can say to me is that I look good for my age. And the funny thing is that it usually only happens after I tell them my age. It's that qualifier of "for my age" that always makes me cringe a little. Why can't a woman just look good? Period. While typically I'm complimented for my youthful appearance, unfortunately it's those backhanded compliments that tend to resonate. I'm so excited to team up with RoC® Skincare to share my ageist experiences - and the amazing new RoC® RETINOL CORREXION® MAX Daily Hydration Crème.

The last time I really cringed was last year at my younger brother's wedding. I was getting ready and the photographer showed up and asked me where to set up. I'm guessing I was the first person he bumped into so I pointed him in the direction of both the bride and groom who were also both getting ready and then he asked me; "Are you the mother of the groom?" Wait, what? I was so confused because while I'm technically old enough to have a child of marriageable age, it never occurred to me I looked old enough to have a 37-year-old son. I know they met before so he knew what my brother looked like (and if not his exact age, he must have had some kind of approximation). I told him I was the groom's slightly older 42-year-old sister and then to add insult to injury he answered, "Oh, you look good for your age." And in that moment I wanted nothing more than to punch him in the face. Thanks, dude. But I think what really made me mad is that I said nothing.





Digging into this phenomenon, RoC® partnered with Wakefield Research on a nationwide survey of 1,000 women aged 40+ to take a closer look at the impact of negative words on women as they age. This language is something that needs to change as it’s a problem women are facing every day. They found that 82% of women have been told that they look “great for their age” in the past year. Plus, a majority of women would rather not be served a compliment at all than receive one paired with the modifier “for your age.” I know that's true for me! In fact, women have received this backhanded compliment on average every six weeks in the past year. And even more frustrating, 87% of women agree that society expects women to act their age - but look younger. Crazy, right?

The goal of this research is to heighten awareness and pull back the curtain on these misguided negative phrases to change the current vernacular that can have a huge impact on a woman’s self- perception and how she defines her beauty. One’s beauty should be determined by her actions, her methods, but not her age.





I'm a mom of three, and I always have to consider how my actions and words will affect my littles. I try to teach my daughters body and beauty positivity. Every person is special in their own way. I want my girls to feel beautiful inside and out. I make sure to tell them everyday just how beautiful they are. I also try to give each of my kids special attention and often take them out on mommy and me dates to check in and have some serious and not-so-serious conversations alike. Little girls feel just as much pressure to be thin and beautiful - probably as much as older women do. I want Ella and Ava to learn from my example. I make sure they see me working out, eating right, indulging in moderation, and taking care of my skin. I've already taught 10-year-old Ella how to cleanse her face, properly remove makeup, moisturize and do an occasional face mask. If my girls see me taking care of myself, loving myself, then they'll understand just how important self-care is and make sure to love themselves too.




Most people ask me my beauty secret when they hear I'm 43. Truth is, so much of it is good genes (thanks mom and dad!) but I've also been taking care of my skin since I was 16 years old. I've been pretty lucky and other than a bout with adult acne in my 20s, I've had good skin most of my life. Over the years I've used skincare from everywhere. From drug stores to fancy department stores - both high and low end, and I've found that fancy packaging and/or a high price tag does not determine how effective a product can be. This isn't the first time I've used products from RoC® - and I was excited to try their new RETINOL CORREXION® MAX Daily Hydration Crème, which is available at national food, drug and mass merchandisers.

If you're not familiar with RoC®, it's a leading French brand with over 50 years experience developing products that guarantee visible and lasting results for healthier, younger looking skin. They were pioneers of stabilizing the first over-the-counter retinol for daily use. Every RoC® product is artfully-crafted and scientifically-tested to ensure nothing but the best in quality.





RoC®’s RETINOL CORREXION® MAX Daily Hydration Crème is a new dual-benefit cream offering the best of both worlds: a powerful retinol formula that reveals deeply hydrated and beautiful skin. Made with the maximum level of RoC® Retinol and a 24-hour moisturizing formula clinically proven to visibly reduce fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots while leaving skin looking healthy - in just one week, with with continued improvement each week. It's an exclusive oil-free and non-comedogenic formula won’t clog pores - perfect for my sensitive skin! I've been using it for about one week and already my skin feels more hydrated and refreshed. And I'm looking forward to seeing even more improvement in the coming weeks.




Join me and women like actress Thandie Newton who are flipping the script on this #ForYourAge conversation. To quote Thandie, “Life is an exciting, beautiful journey, and we discover ourselves in it a bit more every day. And choosing products to help us figure out who our best self is, love the journey and fearlessly progress toward the destination is where the future (and fun) of beauty should lie.”





You can read more about this campaign at www.rocskincare.com/for-your-age.

Have you ever been told that you look good 'for your age'? Next time that happens to me you better believe I won't remain silent. Join the movement and help us celebrate beauty at every age.

Thank you to RoC® Skincare for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.  

XO
Michelle
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Sunday, December 3, 2017

My EPIC Jimmy Choo NYC Sample Sale Haul!



You asked for it - you got it! Time for my epic Jimmy Choo sample sale haul! Jimmy Choo's NYC sample sale is known for amazing designer deals for killer prices. In my last post I discussed the difference between a good sample sale and those that are a waste of time. Choo definitely does NOT fall in the latter category. When prices are 90% off or better you need to run. The Jimmy Choo sale is a Bargainista's paradise. I discovered this sale a few years ago and I haven't missed one since. You can read previous sale reports and hauls here, herehere, here and here, but let's get started with my finds from the Fall 2017 sale!

Don't feel bad if you missed out. They typically run this sale 1-2x year, and there should be another come June. And before you complain that you live out of town, you may want to consider flying in for this one. The savings will pay for your plane/bus/train ticket. That said, some sales are better than others and this year most definitely did not disappoint.

These fringed bag charms were just $30 each (on the last day). I googled them and saw they retailed from $215-285. Small leather goods start at $75/100 depending on the year and I've seen them marked down to as low as $25 on the last day.




I also grabbed the red star wristlet (RV $695!) and green wallet for $30. The wallet has some marks but I figured I could put some stickers on it or paint it as a fun DIY project - plus the basic zip around wallet retails for $450 so I felt stupid leaving it. The rosegold hightop sneakers are Ella's first Jimmy Choos. I realize most 10 year old kids don't have Jimmy Choos but I got them for her to wear to my son's Bar Mitzvah. Then we had an event at Saks and she wanted to wear them...




But you have to admit she looks pretty darn cute in them. They were $100 (I'm guessing they retailed for about $600) which is a little nuts for a kid but plenty of people spend more on UGGs for their children so I don't feel so bad about splurging. Plus I was excited that she finally fits women's sizing.




Where I really killed it was in men's shoes. I wanted to grab a few pairs for my son for his Bar Mitzvah and ended up grabbing for my husband as well. On the last day men's shoes get slashed to $50 which is insane. Some of these retail for as much as $1,500. Crazy.




I'm sure you can guess which are for my husband and which are for my son :)




The best deal at the sale is probably the $10 belts. Again, this is a last day markdown. If you want a better selection or you are super picky then you probably want to go first day. But if you're happy to dig, and don't mind a scratch or two, wait for the end for rock bottom pricing. I grabbed four belts and made sure at least one was adjustable so Ella could wear it too. Poor Ava was sad that she didn't get anything but she's not really ready for designer goods - nor does she fit anything at Choo anyway.




And let's not forget my new white Lockett which was only $150 - over 90% off! Score! I know I already got a python Lockett last year (seen here) but I don't regret grabbing this one too.




Last but not least, my shoes. I was actually looking for these Romy glitter heels (RV $675) so I was so excited to find them in rose gold for $100. When I found the matching ombre Trinket bag (RV $1,050) I had to take it too. It was $200 so I almost didn't take it but I'm a sucker for a matching set. And I can't seem to find these open toe blinged out crystal Evelyn heels online anywhere but similar ones retail for over $2,000. Maybe they're samples? Maybe they're a few seasons old? All I know is they look brand new and and I'd be insane to have left them.

So who plans on joining me for the next Choo sale?




So if you have an insatiable itch for Jimmy Choo right now, I'm linking some sale Choos for you to shop online right now. But IMHO you should seriously wait for further markdowns.




There are TONS of sales on the current NYC Sample Sale calendar and this time of year it can get overwhelming. I'm picky (and cheap LOL) so these are the ones on my radar...

A.V. Max
December 4-8, 10-4 (open till 7 on the 5th)
39 W 38th St, 10th Fl

Alice and Olivia
December 5-10
Tues 8-8, Wed 9-8, Th 10-8, Fri 9-8, Sat 10-7, Sun 10-4
260 5th Ave

Sophia Webster
December 16, 10-5
79 Greene St

Happy Shopping! FYI I heard the Louboutin sample sale is coming up. That's one sale I can't seem to get in to. I'm thinking maybe I haven't tried hard enough. But if you have an invite and take me as your plus one - I'll love you forever. Going to that sale in on my bucket list. Seriously.

XO
Michelle







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Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Hierarchy of Sample Sales and Black Friday 101



Not all sales are created equal. People always ask me how do I know which ones are the "good" ones but you have to understand - I've been sample sale-ing for over 20 years now. I probably hit my first NYC sample sale back when I was studying at F.I.T. After a while you develop an instinct for where to shop and when the deals are gonna be epic.

When you first discover sample sales, it can be overwhelming. You have to fight the urge to shop every sale and you can get yourself into real financial trouble. Luckily over the years I've honed my editing skills and while I still make a mistake or two, these days I tend to under-buy and error in the side of caution. I'm still kicking myself for not buying more $50 Tamara Mellon heels or clothing at her first couple NYC sales (read about them here and here) or more $99 furs from Elizabeth and James - they haven't had another sale like that one since.

These days the term sample sale is often misused. A true sample sale is when a brand or manufacturer sells off their previous season's samples. Real samples (often one of a kind pieces made for the runway or garments made to show to buyers) are often the best deals at any sample sale. It drives me nuts when a sale consists of stock merchandise for moderate discounts - and you can often find better deals at end of season department store sales. I always look for pieces that nobody else has (as they were never produced - like these white Rebecca Minkoff booties) for killer prices.

My favorite sales are almost always always run by the brand themselves in their showroom or a rented space. When you cut out the middle man you often get the best deals. One of my all time favorites is Jimmy Choo. The brand runs their own sale in Metropolitan Pavilion 1-2x a year and on the last day they slash prices and you can walk away with $2,000 heels for $100, $50 men's shoes, and bags and wallets for as little as $30. When discounts hit 90% or better, you're speaking my language. I know I picked up a Lockett bag at the last sale but when I saw this lil white stunner for $150 I couldn't resist.




From head to toe:

  • Sunglasses: Wildfox, gifted in Fashion Week swag bag
  • Dress: H&M, $29.99 - get it now for 20% off and free shipping with code 1662 - click here
  • Bag: Jimmy Choo, sample sale, $150 (over 90% off!)
  • Socks: Forever 21, $2.90
  • Boots: Rebecca Minkoff, sample sale $30 (not sure if these were ever produced) 





This round of pics is by my amazing 12 year old son, Akiva. He's getting pretty good, right?




You can shop my style here:



Other sales are run by companies that buy end of season goods and samples and sell them at discounted prices. Some of these companies work directly with the brands to sell - so they don't have to do it themselves. These are the middle men. They can often be hit or miss. Companies like Clothingline (look for their blowout sales!), 260 Sample Sale (not as good as they used to be), Jen X (on the expensive side but their Balenciaga sale makes it all worth it!), Shelly and Renee (I always skip because they aren't cheap enough for me) and Global Fashions (mostly slightly damaged and not well priced) all fall into this category.

And then there are the sample sale sites. Always check to see if a listing is sponsored because if they were paid to list it. you don't know how authentic their review is. At this point I'm lucky enough to  have a crew of bloggers and readers who share when something amazing happens. IMHO the site Chicmi has the most comprehensive listings right now - and they don't just cover NYC sales. Before I hit the City I'll check in there - plus I check a few of my fellow bargainistas' Instagram feeds (and stories) for updates and a peek inside the sales. Shout out to my girls LakeishaDinara and Mushkie!

And now on to Black Friday/Cyber Monday!

I have to confess that I don't really do too much for Black Friday anymore. Back in the day I used to wait for hours in the middle of the night (in the freezing cold!) to get the best deals. These days thank goodness so much of it is online! Typically when I shop I'm not much of an online girl (better deals are almost always in-store unless we are talking about a rare online glitch) but for the next few days I'm happy to shop in my PJs.

Nordstrom Rack is the on only sale that will get me out of bed in the morning. Take 30% off all red tag clearance and in past years they have had 50% off clearance dresses. Fingers crossed for some refurbished Louboutins!*

*ETA no extra discounts on dresses this year and not a single Loub in sight. Booo.

Kohls always offers extra Kohls cash this weekend ($15 for every $50 you spend) so stacked with deals and rebates it's always a win. For this and the rest of my picks you can just shop online and skip the in-store madness.

I'm always on the hunt for cheap Crocs Sexi Flips. Crocs.com is offering 40% off sitewide (plus some doorbusters with additional discounts) and free shipping on orders over $24.99.

Amazon will be chock full of deals this weekend! I spotted some cute Aldo bags on sale for around $50 or less that are very Gucci inspired. Click here, here and here. I also love this little glittery cutie. When buying inexpensive bags the trick is to look for texture and embroidery to make it look luxe. For example the velvet or fabric bags will always look more expensive than the pleather verisons.

More Amazon finds from this year include my air fryer and Firestick. My husband got one for me and I've been using it nonstop. I saw several on sale for under $100 and I would highly recommend grabbing one. Even my kids throw in fresh cut potatoes and make their own healthy fries. And thanks to my Firestick I don't really watch cable anymore.

I always check Canon.com for refurbished deals for this sale. My T5 camera is currently on sale (but out of stock) but you can still snag a T6 for a little over $200! And I have my eye on a 24mm lens. I have the 40mm (you get crisper images with a prime lens) and I love it but I hate stepping so far back to take a shot.

You've all heard me rave about Kidpik basics before - now take 50% off sitewide plus free shipping on orders over $50. Time to stock up on inexpensive basics for your girls!

My list could go on and on but basically anywhere you want to shop - pretty much has a deal right now. Needless to say, I'll be checking slickdeals.net all week! This is definitely the best time to shop electronics. Clothing sales are always better at the end of December/early January.

As for sample sale picks for the week, there are a few new ones that have popped up! Golden Goose will be having a one day sale with discounts up to 75%. I know it's not as inexpensive as I'd like but I really want a pair of their sneakers. They have limited quantities so get there early. A.V. Max also announced their holiday sale which is where I always stock up on jewelry gifts for $5-25! Alice and Olivia usually has great samples if you can fit a 0-6, but for stock wait for the end for discounts.

Golden Goose
November 28, 12-5
ESP Showroom, 231 W 39th St, #715*

*ETA I was informed that they are limiting purchases to 1 per customer until 4pm.

A.V. Max
December 4-8, 10-4 (open till 7 on the 5th)
39 W 38th St, 10th Fl

Alice and Olivia
December 5-10
Tues 8-8, Wed 9-8, Th 10-8, Fri 9-8, Sat 10-7, Sun 10-4
260 5th Ave

Happy shopping! Hope you had a great Turkey Day!

XO
Michelle













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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Urban Camouflage



I had randomly dropped into H&M the day before these pictures were taken and found this super cute oversized camouflage parka on sale for $30 from $69.99. It's actually still full price on-line. And better yet my tank dress was marked down to just $3! Score! I decided to pair it up with my 85% off Altuzarra bag that I picked up at their NYC sample sale and my new $30 Rebecca Minkoff sample boots. I can't find them online anywhere so it's possible they were never produced. If you don't already live the sample sale life, you don't know what you're missing. I'm totally spoiled by one of a kind designer pieces that I pick up for next to nothing.

I've actually wanted a pair of white booties for a while - they just freshen everything up. Plus they are so unexpected for fall. These are crazy comfortable and I figure if they ever get really dirty I can easily dye them black - just like my $50 Jimmy Choo sample sale bag.

What you don't know about these pictures is that I was probably running a fever and breaking out in sweats - but I didn't want to miss the Glow Recipe preview at Henri Bendel that morning and I was going stir crazy in my house after being under the weather for days. But the swag was so good - I shared on my stories a little while back and some of it appeared in this Insta post as well. I just couldn't say no to amazing K-Beauty products and a personalized makeup case. #yesplease




My look from head to toe:
  • Sunglasses: Dolce & Gabbana, Nordstrom Rack, $0.01
  • Coat: H&M, $30
  • Dress: H&M, $3
  • Bag: Altuzarra, sample sale, 85% off (Retailed for $3,000+)
  • Boots: Rebecca Minkoff, sample sale, $30




You can shop my style here:








Thank you to Esther Santer for these photos. I ran into her at the event that day and we used her camera to shoot these. I did have my camera (we just popped in my SD card) but I wanted to experiment with using different cameras and lenses. I'm due for an upgrade so I'm doing my research. I'm torn between a new lens or a whole new camera altogether. I typically use my Canon T5 with a 40mm lens and it's super lightweight and takes decent pics - even on auto LOL. If anyone has a setup that they love please do share!

And now to my NYC sample sale picks! Lots going on - but you really don't need to hit them all!


I was going to preview this sale the day I took my girls to check out the new American Girl Doll store in Rock Center but never had the chance. I usually grab some cute hair accessories and boutique-y pieces on the cheap.

The Best Kids Sample Sale
November 13-17, 10-5
34 West 33rd Street, Floors 3, 9 & 12

This stylists showroom sale has had some gems in the past. If you go PLMK what you find!

Mahna Mahna Showroom
November 15-17 & 20-21, 11-6
134 Spring St, #304

I heard that the preview wasn't all that impressive. No shoes and bags were eh. 

Marc Jacobs
November 15-19
W-Sat 9-8, Sun 10-5
150 Greene Street

I'm a HUGE Teri Jon fan and their dresses are my go-to when I need to be fancy. Sample dresses usually start at $75 which is a great deal considering they retail for $500-1,000 easy. You can read a past sale report here.

Teri Jon
November 19-20, 9:30-5
241 West 37th St, 2nd Fl

Happy shopping!

XO
Michelle












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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Statements on Statements



I keep reading magazine articles about buying a single statement piece to transform your wardrobe. And I laugh. So what do you do when your whole closet screams statement? I'm a hard-core maximalist who believes more is more. Minimalism is just not my cup of tea. As far as I'm concerned, gimmie all the trends. And then put them all together. And repeat.




At the recent Nordstrom Rack opening in NYC I picked up these statement Prada sunglasses - I thought they were a fun twist on their classic Baroque style. I did end up returning them because they kept sliding off my face. My kids thought they were too weird but honestly the fit issue was my only problem with them. If you haven't already checked out the new Rack at 31st and 6th - it's three floors chock full of discounted designer merchandise. On my Insta stories from the grand opening preview I shared all the "deals" I spotted. Unfortunately the prices were high but the selection was pretty good. It's actually pretty close to the new Target. Midtown is totally getting a shopping upgrade! Speaking of the Rack, yesterday kicked off the latest Clear the Rack. Take 25% off all red ticket clearance in-store and online. I struck out at my local store but I'd love to hear about any amazing deals you score!





I collect statement shoes, coats, bags and sunnies and play around until I find the perfect combo. I love my medium Drew but kinda wish I found a smaller version. At 75% off it was too good of a deal to resist. I actually scored it a while back at a previous Clear the Rack. And I feel like I practically stole this jacket from Marshalls for just $25. When I found it I was on the hunt for an oversized denim for a while already. Such a lucky find! Don't even get me started about my Zadig boots - they are so insanely comfortable. Wishing I grabbed more at their showroom sample sale a while back when all their current season shoes were just $75! Their last sale was at 260 and prices and selection were just not the same.

I think the trick to wearing multiple statement pieces is keeping the colors more neutral. I usually do a color overload (or at least a pop) but I decided there was enough going on. As always, I'm breaking it down for you - bargainista style :)

From head to toe:
  • Sunglasses: Prada, Nordstrom Rack, $99.97 (RV $365)
  • Jacket: Marshalls, $25
  • Dress: Topshop, $32, Nordstrom - on sale now at the Rack - linked below!
  • Bag: Chloe Medium Drew, Nordstrom Rack, $510 (RV $2,050)
  • Boots: Zadig et Voltaire, sample sale, $75 (RV $498) 




You can shop my style here:




Thank you to my girl Lakeisha for this round of photos - and standing out in the freezing cold with me. The weather here in NYC can go from hot to cold in a flash and that day started as denim jacket weather and made it's way to winter coats and umbrellas. How cute is her new Gucci bag? She got it right before the price increase - and used a cash back site to save a few hundred dollars. Color me impressed. Good Gucci is so hard to find at a discount these days. And it most definitely makes a statement!




What's your favorite statement piece in your wardrobe? Don't bother asking me - I have too many LOL

Sample sale season is in effect! Wooo! Jimmy Choo was last week and I killed it on the last day. I'm trying to figure out the best way to share my hauls. Do I continue to share bits and pieces as I wear them, go back to haul posts, or move it to YouTube? Would love to hear your thoughts.

As for the next few weeks, there are a TON but I'm only gonna mention my faves. Be sure you're following me on Insta where I share sales as they pop up - both in my feed and stories.


LeHoarder approved NYC sample sales:

Just got word that L.K. Bennett has additional markdowns.  Read about my epic haul from several sales ago here. You're supposed to book at appointment for this one but at this point I'd just drop in.

L.K. Bennett
November 9, 10-7
595 Madison Avenue, 13th Fl

This Clothingline can get a little crazy but they just announced markdowns for today. Expect lots of crazy deals - sample sizes only thou.

Vince Camuto
November 9, 10-6
261 West 36th Street, 2nd Fl

I've actually never been to this kids' sale but with prices of $6-20 (girls? sizes infants thru 16) it's worth checking out!

Sugar Plum
November 9-10
Th 9:30-5, F 9:30-4
463 Seventh Avenue, Suite 602

The Botkier sale has been historically great for gifts! Lots of $30 bags...and some years they have $10 samples.

ETA 11/10 Prices went up and resellers got their hands in this one. May not be worth it...

Botkier
November 9-12
Th-Sat 11-7, Sun 12-6
65 Greene Street

I usually pop in the kids' sale to score cheap hair accessories or cute pieces on the cheap for the girls. Note that they usually start previewing today (11/9) so if you're in the hood I would pop in and check it out.

The Best Kids Sample Sale
November 13-17, 10-5
34 West 33rd Street, Floors 3, 9 & 12

260 sales haven't been all that for a while but I need to mention MJ just in case. A few sales ago the shoe situation was epic. Last sale, not so much...but you never know...

Marc Jacobs
November 15-19
W-Sat 9-8, Sun 10-5
150 Greene Street

I'm a HUGE Teri Jon fan and their dresses are my go-to when I need to be fancy. Sample dresses usually start at $75 which is a great deal considering they retail for $500-1,000 easy. You can read a past sale report here.

Teri Jon
November 19-20, 9:30-5
241 West 37th St, 2nd Fl

Happy shopping!

XO
Michelle






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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Zappos x Kamik, Mommy & Me Style!



Sponsored by Zappos

I teamed up with my friends at Zappos.com to step outside and share a little fall fun in our new Kamik boots! We took the kids for a family outing at a local farm to look at pumpkins and fall foliage. We spent a couple hours stomping around and exploring all mother nature had to offer. 


Zappos offers a huge selection of Kamik footwear and apparel - for men, women, and children. So much so that we all had a hard time choosing our favorites! The girls settled on these cute rain boots with a pop of pink, and Ella neeeded a matching puffer coat in black and pink. Zappos offers free shipping, easy returns or exchanges - which is every busy momma's dream. Luckily I ordered everyone's sizes correctly after reading all the customer reviews (so helpful!) and everyone loved their final picks! 





The girls are wearing the Stomp 2 in sizes 2 and 4 - I'd say they run true to size. The girls raved about how comfortable they were and happily ran around in them all day.  Come winter I'll probably add some boot socks for warmth when it's time to play outside in the snow. Ella's Leona jacket is a size 12 and it does run big. Most of her other winter coats are size 10 and just fit so I figured I'd size up for this so she could wear it for a while. I had to fold up the sleeves and my skinny minny will probably be able to wear this until early adulthood. In my book that makes it a great investment!




I chose the Evelyn boots for myself and I sized up to a 10 (I'm typically a US 9/40). They're super comfortable and are gonna be perfect for all the upcoming rain and snow coming our way. I actually also ordered super cute red Kamik Jennifer rain boots for myself (on sale!) and I bought ahead for Ella another pair of Scribble rain boots with hearts (both not pictured).







I couldn't leave my son out (plus he just outgrew his old boots) so I ordered him a pair of Kamik Fargo boots. He's wearing a men's 10 as they do run small (I sized him up - he's more of a 9/9.5). They're a little heavy but he can handle it.





Have you tried Kamik boots? So far we are loving all of ours. And I would definitely shop again with Zappos! Ordering was a breeze and a week later our boxes came beautifully packaged and all in one piece. So bring on the rain and snow - we're all ready for you!

Thank you to Zappos for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely our own.  

XO
Michelle


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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Reflections on 15 Years of Marriage.

Friday was my 15th wedding anniversary. That means I've known my husband for about 17 years  - which is almost all of my adult life. Crazy. I almost feel like it's not fair that social media (even Facebook) did not exist back then. All my kids' cute baby pics were before blogging really even existed. So now, I'm evening the score by taking a trip down memory lane with you. And this is for all of you who think I look like I'm still in my late 20s - this is what 28 actually looked like for me.




We got married at the now defunct Huntington Townhouse in Huntington Long Island. One of my best friends actually got married there a few years before so I knew it was huge and gorgeous. My husband and I are both one of seven kids, which I took as a sign on our first date that I was supposed to marry him. We had tons of family to invite and ended up with over 550 people on our combined guest lists. I was limited to finding a wedding hall large enough to accommodate our guests - and in budget.  I still have guests who like to complain that I made them drive from NJ all the way out to Long Island but there was no other location that gave me the crazy deal that I negotiated. They were also pretty mad that I made them go outside for my Chupah ceremony in cooler October weather but one look at that gazebo and I knew it was meant to be.




My dress was a $20,000 beaded lace Badgley Mishka that I scored at their sample sale for about $1,000. My mother didn't think it was modest enough so I paid for it myself. The girl ahead of me in line at the sale took my size 6 so I had to pay about $500 in alterations to take it in (mine was a bridal 8, which is about a 4/6) because I was teeny tiny back in the day. My waist was so small my husband could span it with his hands - you can actually almost see it in the last picture below. I did buy an extra yard of fabric from Badgley Mischka to build up the front which I kind of regret. The seamstress reshaped the neckline in the process and it never looked quite right to me. And my mom still thought it wasn't covered enough so I probably shouldn't have bothered anyway.

My veil was custom off eBay for about $50 - maybe less? My jewelry and hairpins were all inexpensive sample sale finds for $5-10 each. I don't remember the brand of my shoes but they too were sample sale scores for less than $50. They had a lower heel and blue soles. Maybe they were Nicole Miller? I lent them to a friend who got married after me and never got them back. That was back in the day before I really had an appreciation for designer shoes and if I were to do it again I probably would wear a similar dress, but I would totally redo my heel situation.


My Family


The men were easy - I bought everyone $50 tuxedos at Moe Ginsburg when it went out of business. Cheaper than renting. My colors were pinks and purples - I actually purchased extra fabric at the Badgley Mishka sale and gave it to my bridesmaids with a sketch for a cocktail dress individually designed for each girl. I also found them a local seamstress who only charged $100 per dress so they wouldn't have to spend a fortune on something they might not wear again. I wish I had a picture of all the flower girls in their pink dresses - there were probably about a dozen nieces all decked out in the same (rented) dress.  I'd like to think I wasn't Bridezilla (you're gonna have to ask my family and friends about that one) but I was just trying to do the best I could with a limited budget. I didn't grow up with money and even though my father had reached some level of success by the time I got married, I refused to break the bank for just one day. Looking back I'm pretty impressed with myself that I was able to pull it off.




Weddings are supposed to be the happiest day in your life but I have to be honest and say I don't think mine was. I've had many happier days both before and after that day. I remember feeling terrified. Cold feet maybe? I just pretended I was an actress and played the role of bride - and that's how I made it through the day. Once it was in motion there was no going back. I put on a smile and went on with the show.




I also feel bittersweet looking at these photos. This was one of the very few times in my life that I really felt thin and beautiful. Probably because the weeks before the wedding were so stressful that my dress ended up hanging on me. I think the straw that broke the camels back was when my Mother-in-law told me that I wouldn't have a wedding until my daughter got married. And as horrified as I was when I heard those words come out of her mouth, she wasn't entirely wrong. Weddings are about family. They're not just about you. But where she went wrong is that they are not about the mother of the groom.

A major life lesson I learned is that you can't tell anyone how to spend their money. I asked for a budget from both families contributing (we paid for some stuff ourselves too) so we could make our own choices. I was a 28 year old independent woman. At 23 I moved out of my parent's home into my cute NYC apartment and supported myself from that day forward. But we were lucky to have parents to help us, and I was lucky that my parents respected my right to make my own decisions. I scrimped and saved on areas that were not as important to me so I could have details that I really wanted. My flowers were minimal, I chose a hall that didn't need any additional decoration and had an inexpensive in-house caterer, had a limited bar, used the band that was somehow related to my husband's family, used an online printer for invitations, did my own makeup, let everyone choose their own outfits, etc. While my In-laws appreciated my thriftiness, and all the money that I saved, they refused to hire the photographer I loved and insisted we use the cheaper one they used a few years before. I remember offering to pay the difference myself and being shot down. And it honestly wasn't much more. And now 15 years later, I'm still disappointed. I'm disappointed that I didn't get the shots and creativity I wanted. I'm disappointed that I didn't fight harder for something that was so important to me. And I'm disappointed that I still don't have any wedding portraits because that unprofessional photographer would pretend to not be home every time we called or showed up at his house to collect. I'm honestly lucky to even have an album. It took me over three years to get it. He never gave us the digital images (and we're not gonna talk about how terrible my video was) so I'll probably never have any other wedding photos other than these. I just hope to remember whose wedding it is when my children get married.

I've always had an eye for photography so I made the best of a bad situation when I put this album together. At the time I was working in publishing so I had seen the magic an art director could do. I had a vision. I had it printed in a square format. I had some prints done in black and white. I chose the moments that told a story - not just the bland portraits of people posing for the camera. Not every photographer can do more than just take pictures. I had to be my own editor and in the end chose the story I wanted to tell.







Marriage is a choice, just like happiness is a choice. You have to choose to be happy and choose to stay married every single day. I got married because I did what I thought I was supposed to do. But I was pretty lucky and married a really nice guy - and we have three beautiful kids together. I'm still not sure how much we have in common (we are polar opposites in so many ways) but over the years he became one of my best friends. I know the way his brain works and often what he's gonna say before he says it. And who's to say that I wouldn't still be single if I didn't marry him? I have friends who are still single in their 40s. I choose to stay a part of this family we created together.

After 15+ years together, I can honestly say that marriage probably isn't for everyone. So many people sugarcoat it and you just don't know what to expect as a newlywed. For the first year of marriage my husband and I kept our separate apartments - and didn't see each other every night. It's a HUGE adjustment. There is a reason celebrities probably get divorced so easily every few years. If you have the means, and don't need anything from anyone, it's so easy to give up at the first sign of adversity. My advice to anyone single is decide what you really need (not just what you want) and that's what you should look for in a potential mate. And always remember to choose happiness.

XO
Michelle





















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