May 2014 | Le Hoarder
Le Hoarder

A NYC-ish* Style and Shopping Blog

Friday, May 23, 2014

H&M bikini review and Clear the Rack finds!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! That means it's time to start thinking about swimwear. Personally I'm a bikini girl. I rocked them for all three pregnancies too :) Even at my heaviest I still had a defined waist so bikinis worked better for me (with a strategically placed cover up) than a tankini, and frankly I have not worn a one-piece since I was 12. Unless you're on a swim team, let's face it, most one-pieces are for the elderly or babies. I actually cringe every time I see someone wearing a one-piece when they shouldn't. This applies to a few people I know so if you're an offender, yeah, I'm talking to you!

For years I had a ritual that just before my birthday (7/11) I would run to Loehmann's and get a new birthday bikini using my birthday discount. As my birthday approaches...and a pool party this weekend...I hit the stores this week to see what I could find.

With Loehmann's out of business, I've been shopping for swimwear in Marshalls and TJ Maxx. The trick is to shop off season when items are marked lower -  plus you typically have more of a selection. I headed first to my local stores and they were already a pretty picked over. Last year I noticed that H&M cuts their bikini tops by cup size and I was very tempted to buy. Unfortunately I was at my heaviest and didn't hit the pool too many times last summer. I managed with what I had and promised myself some new pieces when I lost the weight. I'm down a good 20+ lbs from then so it's most definitely time to buy :)

In the "olden" days (ie 10-15 years ago) if you were a larger than a B cup you typically had to head to a specialty store to find a swim top. Luckily for me I was a 34B until I had my kids and could easily shop just about anywhere. I had well endowed friends and family who easily spent $50-100 on a suit, whereas I could easily grab a discounted designer one for 20 bucks or less. Now, thanks to H&M I can get a great designer inspired bikini (that fits) for less than $10!

I went to H&M looking for a top as close to a bra as possible LOL. I'm down to a 34D (they got bigger when I did) so I need a little support these days. As an almost 40 year old, gone are the days I can go braless. No more flimsy, strappy triangle bikini tops for me - I need wide straps and an underwire LOL. I've always liked having small breasts but as long as I have these bigger ones, I'm going to put them to use. You just have to make sure they are in the right place, KWIM.

I noticed this cute patterned studded top a few weeks ago for $9.95. In-store (not online) at H&M right now it's a "fashion find" and marked down to $4.95 - as is the bottom! It has shaped cups (no crazy Victoria's Secret padding) and an underwire. Unfortunately it ties in the back and the top so it's not as supportive as I would like but for five bucks you can't go wrong. They have it in sizes 34A thru 38D. (Some styles cut from 32A all the way up to an 36E cup.) I got this top to wear with my black skirted bottom I already have and probably should go try on - hopefully it's not too big.


close up detail of pattern and studs

My JAG swim skirt is pretty similar to this one; slight a-line, built in panty, not too short and I'm pretty sure it was $10 at Marshalls a couple years ago. If you need one in a hurry you can grab this one for $37.50 at Bonton.com.




The set also comes in brown (which I prefer) but I figured the black and white pattern would match my black swim skirt better.



I also grabbed a second top in neon pink that has a ruched cup and fits like a glove. Somehow this shade of pink even makes me look tan. It ties at the neck too but it does clasp at the back like a bra for a better fit. It's not available online yet and it was $17.95 but with the 20% off a single, full-price item coupon from my mall office (I collect the coupon booklets several times a week LOL) it was less than $15. The fit is similar to this white top which I also tried on. I would have grabbed it in-store but it's full price there (it's only a "fashion find" online and then you have to pay $5.95 shipping) and you can't return online items to the store for some reason. Stupid policy.

My new tops. Pink looks less orange-y IRL.

White top also has a great fit, underwire, and no extra padding (just shaped). Available in sizes 34A thru 38D. FYI - don't get this top in the green, it cut small.
I also got this $12.95 dress and this $19.95 necklace this week (both 20% less with my coupon LOL).


A little sheer but not too bad.


I haven't worn a necklace like this in years but it's so striking on.

I still may return my $5 top (my pink one is really much better) but I'll decide after the weekend.

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Clear the Rack started today at Nordstrom Rack and even though I didn't need anything, it's always worth a peek when they offer an extra 25% off clearance items.

I picked up a few odds and ends in the jewelry department - all $3-16 pre-tax, after discount. I seem to be finding a lot of inexpensive jewelry lately. I really love the Robert Rose earrings but they are a little heavy for me so they may need to go back :(



My best find was probably my refurbished Choos :) For $229.97 I wouldn't have bothered but they got me with that extra 25% off. No tax in NJ so these Jimmy Choo "Crowns" were just $172.48. Jimmy Choo decided not to do a sample sale this year (Boo!) so they weren't as great as my $90 deals from last year, but still pretty good.

Jimmy Choo Crown open toe pumps, retail $695


Don't bother calling - you can't track a refurbished item :(
Stock photo

I did spot this Herve Leger bolero for just $150 (retail $990) after discount but I passed. You can call the Bergen Rack and have it shipped for $9 if you want it. I left it on the designer rounder in the back.




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Some of my other finds this week included these Judith Jack sterling silver earring for $30 from $150. I didn't think they would make it to Clear the Rack so I grabbed them.



I also scored these beautiful Argento Vivo sterling silver earring (I'm guessing they are gold-plated) from TJ Maxx for just under $20. Too bad I couldn't find my $20 reward or they would have been free. I'm not sure what kind of stone this is but the mint color sets off my hazel eyes perfectly :)




And that's all folks - have a great weekend! Be sure to check out Clear the Rack, now thru Sunday :)
-Shoppinggal 
 
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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Just an average week...

No crazy designer deals this week - it's been slow and slightly stressful. My husband just tried to kick me off the computer. I told him I needed to finish working. He corrected me and said "you mean hobbying? It's not working if you're not making money. Until you do you can't call it work." Sigh. It's just been one of those weeks. And thanks for the support B :)

On Monday I headed to the Rack bright and early because it was shoe markdown day! I'm sure you've seen my crazy photo on Instagram and Facebook. I spent over two hours turning over every single shoe in that store LOL. Paid off!



I also picked up this cute Laundry by Shelli Segal cutout faux leather peplum sheath dress. It looks a little plastic-y for my taste but it was $265 and marked down to $23.90. Do the math and figure out how many pairs of penny shoes I found :)



Not sure why tag reads $148 - it was on their website for $265.


 These were my favorite penny find - my new Delman flats :)




The Rack used to have more $1, $5 and $10 items on clearance but they seem to have changed their markdown structure and I'm not to happy about it. Now they mark things down to a penny and pull them from the shelves to send them off to their clearance center. This is the most penny finds I've found in an outing. Last year in kids I think I got seven in a day.

On Tuesday when I went in for men's shoe markdowns I didn't find a single penny item. I think they were more careful as they were a little upset that so many were not pulled the day before LOL. I did find a $5 Ralph Lauren denim moto jacket for my SIL or sister - whoever fits it.



97% off!

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Wednesday, I headed into the City to Bumble and Bumble to model for their ponytail class. For some reason every time I go into the City it rains. I got up early, grabbed my umbrella and headed in. When I was on the subway by 14th street I got a ping (love WiFi on the subways!) Bumble emailed me an hour before my class to cancel because some stylists from Chicago got stuck in their airport. They graciously apologized and offered me a $10 product credit if I would rebook. I SAW RED. OK, I actually I just got a really bad migraine. I quickly wrote back asking if they could accommodate me as I just came in from NJ just for this class and I've been a model for Bumble for over 10 years. I was pissed to say the least. My commuting costs alone were more than $10. I quickly walked around Nordstrom Rack in Union Square (I was too stressed to shop or take pictures) then I headed west to BbU. If they were going to cancel on me they were going to have to do it to my face - or just give me more free product than a lousy $10 worth. When I showed up they were so nice and made me an alternate, and luckily I was seated. I think they were a little afraid of how I would react if they didn't seat me - I probably would have lost it LOL. I do have to say that nobody else who got canceled had the balls to show up despite their emails and phone calls :) I probably should go back to Nordstrom Rack and pick up that bracelet I tried on...



My friend D said she didn't get it - it's just a ponytail. Clearly you can't tell from just looking at it but this ponytail took over three hours. Each hair is meticulously put in place. I asked my stylist (I think her name was Luz - she's from Atlanta) and she explained that they have to take this class in order to qualify for an exam given by Bumble and Bumble, and if they pass they can work Fashion Week. I was hoping to run back to Sephora to meet up with Cliff again and play with makeup and take more pics but the class ran so late I barely made it back home in time to pick up the kids from school. Instead I took a few selfies with my phone and my camera in the unisex restroom at Bumble and Bumble.

I like this one because my younger sister told me it made me look half my age LOL. Lately I've been getting a lot of complements on my skin. I do take pretty good care of my skin but it's really my Dr. Jart+ Black Label BB cream. If you haven't tried BB or CC creams yet, march to Sephora and sample as many as you can in your skintone until you find the perfect one. This morning at Nordstrom Rack, one of the empolyees actually asked me if I was expecting (I'm not!) because my skin was glowing. I think it was just the humidity that gave me a dewy look. Either that or she was calling me fat and came up with a really good recovery.


From Instagram - just wearing BB cream and my new Laura Mercier Wildflower lipgloss



And this is why I cropped the other one in so close. A- I have creepy man hands and B- the front is super slicked back which is not so flattering on me. Later I took it down and brushed it out and it looks much better today IMO.

I used to just get free hair cuts at Bb.U but I started signing up for styling to get me out of the house, and to earn free 'hairmiles' which you can trade in for free products. With this visit I had $50 coming to me so I cashed in my credits and hairmiles for a $30 shampoo and a $26 hair primer from their new Hairdresser's line. I'm not exactly sure what a hair primer is but I like that it's heat and UV protective which is perfect for summer. Plus it makes your hair less frizzy and super smooth. These two cost me just $6 and change out of pocket. I used to use drugstore shampoo that I got for free from my couponing days but once you start using salon products it's really hard to go back.


If you're interested in signing up for Bumble and bumble. University Model Project you can sign up here. Please use my name as a reference (Michelle Blashka) so we can both get a product credit :) Did I mention all services are free and they tell you not to tip - so it's really free! They do have occasional classes outside of NY so like their Facebook page to see the latest openings all over the country.

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I decided to check out my favorite thrift store this week and I'm sad to report I'm still on a slump. I probably didn't need this embroidered linen Tracy Reese matching 3/4 sleeve jacket and strapless dress but I love Tracy - and it was $15 for the set.




May be a bit 'much' to wear together. We'll see...

I also found this fun sequin midi skirt on the clearance rack at Target this week for $8.98




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Locally there are a lot of consignment stores and every time I think about going, I look online to check their pricing and I'm usually disappointed. I typically find better deals at thrift, outlets or the department stores end of season sales. I got an email yesterday that one local store would be participating in their town's sidewalk sale today, and they were going to have racks for $5, $10 and $20. I figured it was time to visit all the consignment stores in that area :)

Sorry so small - they created this document in word so I copied it into Paint and the jpg came out tiny.

I made the mistake of stopping at the Rack first so by the time I got there they didn't have too much left. I sifted thru their $10 shoes and found these almost-new Repetto ballet flats that retail for just under $300.



I also found these gorgeous Bruno Magli black velvet pumps with the most beautiful golden enameled heel. They are a smidge tight but so pretty (and also $10!) so I'm going to see if I can stretch them a little.




Love!

If you're in the Ridgewood, NJ area their Spring Sidewalk Sale is going on thru Saturday, May 18th. LMK if you find anything!
-Shoppinggal

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Friday, May 9, 2014

My NYC photoshoot


If you look to your right you'll see a brand new button. I've officially joined IFB, Independent Fashion Bloggers. I kept seeing that little button on other fashion blogs so I decided to join in. After I applied I hadn't heard back for a week so I was beginning to think I was rejected because my blog wasn't fashion-y enough. I thought I would get an email or something, but I was able to sign in so I guess I've been accepted. I don't really have any blogger friends so I'm navigating blindly and always trying to figure out what to do next. For now I'll just keep telling my story :)

It's been about three months since my last color and my hair just hasn't been working for me lately. My last Bumble and Bumble cut wasn't so great. I guess that's the downside of being a hair model. The previous cut was great but this time they cut too many layers. I have hair that just hangs around my face and there is this disconnect between the top layers and the ends. I need a little clean up right now - even chopping a couple inches off would be a major improvement.  For now I decided a little color would brighten things up. Months ago I signed up at Frederic Fekkai online at beafekkaimodel.com and I just never heard from them. Monday morning I got an email with openings for highlights so I jumped.

I headed to the 5th avenue salon and I'd forgotten how fancy it was. Upon arrival they offered complementary drinks and I felt like a lady when I was presented with my tea. Later I had some lime infused water and it was delicious. Color is only $20 cash which in NYC is the bargain of the century. They also had a presentation of green apples by the waiting area so I grabbed one on the way out. I'm hoping they weren't just for display :)

I'm a little teapot..

Their sofa was so pretty I just had to take a pic of my new lovely Balenciaga. I'm a little obsessed with it at the moment (I did wait almost 20 years to get it) so get used to seeing many, many pictures of it LOL.

Love how it picked up the purple from the pillows :)

My new color is pretty good - I wish she (I think her name was Jessica - I do remember she's from Dallas) put in a few more highlights but overall I'm happy with it. When I was done I called my niece Meira who is a budding photographer to take some pictures. It's been a good 10 years since I've let anyone photograph me but she has a really good eye. If you're in the NY area and you need an inexpensive photographer for a photo shoot or an event, she's your girl. Message me and I'll put you in touch with her.

First stop was H&M - both of our closets needed a little refresher for spring. I grabbed a bright yellow dress that's super sheer and may have to go back - I'm undecided. (ETA - I'm keeping it.)

Dress with ruffled sleeve $34.95


I did spy the dress I got last week on sale for just $10 (marked down to $30, was 50% off and I had a $5 off coupon). At this store it was still full price for $70. It has a very Chanel-y tweedy look - I got it for my girly girl moods.


close-up of fabric - and I didn't take a size 2

I have to admit, I'm a little spoiled by the H&M in my mall. In the mall office they have coupon booklets and there is a 20% off one full price item that I never shop without. Last week I used it to buy this cute $13 dress.


I saw this dress online last night for just $18 so I was hoping to get it today but they didn't have it :(
Also comes in blue
Needless to say I'll be checking again next week.

Anyway, back to yesterday. After H&M we popped into Sephora. For some time I've wanted to learn how to do my eyes better. I have such sensitive eyes that I have a hard time finding cosmetics that don't irritate me. When I go into a Sephora looking for someone to play with I always check out their makeup. If I don't like their makeup, I'm not going to let them touch me. I looked around and I noticed Cliff and I had a good feeling - and luckily I was right. I told him I wanted 'crazy eyes' thinking I would get a smoked out eye. He had an entirely different vision.

Getting started. I thought the green on his hand was for concealing. Little did I know...


Mint!

In the mirror - this is an unfiltered pic, similar to the photo I posted on Instagram.
Instagram version
Me and my reflection.

I'm so impressed that he was able to do this look in 15 minutes. I love how editorial and on-trend the mint liner is - plus it was perfect for our photo shoot. It did temporarily blind me (I've never had liner on the inner eye) but Cliff said to blink it out and that I would get used to it, which I did. He also strengthened my brow with the Anastasia powder in medium brown which really did make a difference. My skin is pretty good so he didn't use any base but I wish I paid more attention to what he used to the concealer he used - it was a highlighter and concealer in one and I don't see my dark circles at all. I think it was Guerlain - I'm going to have to email him to ask him. Thank goodness I got his contact info!

After Sephora, Meira and I stopped at the NY Public Library on 5th and 4nd as it's one of her favorite places to shoot. Unfortunately her battery died but we did manage to get this one before it did. I never realized how square my face could look just by leaning forward. There really is something to knowing your face and your angles. I'm still learning mine.

Me and my Bal :)

After I dropped M off (she had a study-date) I headed down to my mothership, Nordstrom Rack. I actually walked past the Rebecca Minkoff sample sale and didn't even notice it. For all of you who didn't go, it's not too late as in NYC it goes on thru Saturday at 5 PM. There also is a sample sale online right now if you aren't lucky enough to live close to one :)

At the Rack I saw a Lanvin wallet in the display case but it was $175 and I didn't love it. I passed and it was snatched up moments later. I didn't get anything but I did see these great YSL & L.K. Bennett refurbished boots by the 9.5 sale section (they are both size 40). If they were cheaper or they were Louboutin I might have grabbed them. If you're interested call the NYC store and see if there are still there.

Saint Laurent booties $250

YSL

L.K. Bennett boots $180 - they fit my skinny calves but I really want a boot with a chunkier sole so I can wear them to death.



And now I really have to exercise and tidy up before my niece comes for the weekend. Happy Mothers day to all the moms out there! I don't really expect my husband to get me anything (he keeps telling me I'm not his mother LOL) but here's to hoping...

XOXO
Shoppinggal

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