October 2017 | Le Hoarder
Le Hoarder

A NYC -ish* Style and Shopping Blog

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.



Sunday, October 22, 2017

A Local Gal's Guide to Navigating New York Fashion Week

Fashion Week from a local's perspective is completely different than that of an out-of towner's. I don't have to deal with booking hotels because my biggest expense is the subway. But that also means I have to wear one look for the entire day because I can't just pop in to my hotel room to change between shows. I always make sure my look is weather appropriate before I step out the door and I'm wearing comfortable shoes - or I have my favorite Crocs flip flops with me (my secret weapon!) This year was Ella's first NYFW - so we're gonna share our mommy and me style.

Honestly in retrospect I wish I punched up this look with a red beret or some plaid ankle socks but that's what happens when you dress in 5 minutes. Don't be surprised if you see this look again with those. (Read my previous post about the Art of the Fashion Repeat here.) Ella styled herself first so I wanted to coordinate by picking up on the red. I added the heels, fingerless gloves and lipstick and ran out the door. I didn't even bother with jewelry. It was probably enough but for NYFW you really want to do more.

Every morning before I leave for the day I mentally go through my checklist, although sometimes I physically write it out to make sure I don't forget.

So basically this is a what's in my bag, NYFW edition. 

Tote. This is key. When sample sale shopping I always have at least one blue IKEA tote bag stuffed in my bag but for NYFW a regular tote works just fine. I actually picked one up at Trader Joe's for 50 cents. I gave Belle one too LOL. It makes it so much easier to carry your heels and all your front row swag. (Check out my front row tutorial here.)

Metrocard. Until the day I'm a car to door girl, the fastest way to navigate NYC traffic is subway or by foot. Way cheaper and faster than an Uber. If it's your first time using the subway make sure to connect with a local or you may get lost. It took me a couple years to really learn the subway system and it can be very confusing to a newbie.

Comfortable shoes. If you can wear sneakers or flats all day, good for you. But I'm only 5'5" and it's pretty hard for me to stand out in a sea of models without my heels. My trick is to pack my heels and wear my Crocs Sexi Flips between shows. Before you cringe at the word Crocs, check them out. They are super chic and so comfortable. Unlike other flips flops they won't fall off your feet because they have a back (great for driving too!) and won't turn your feet black because they are made of rubber (other materials always discolor my feet). And because they are so lightweight, you can fold them right into your purse. You better believe I had my Crocs with me that day because I can only do those red heels for 3-4 hours tops.

Cash. I never leave my house with less than $20 in my wallet. In NYC it's so easy to grab a quick snack at a food truck or buy a cute pair of sunglasses on the street - but most vendors are cash only.

Lipstick and Sunglasses. I don't like dragging a whole makeup case around with me so as long as I have my lippie to reapply and my sunglasses (in case my eye makeup wears off - or it's really sunny) then I'm good to go. There are so many free lounges for hair and makeup for touch-ups - not to mention a Sephora at almost every corner.

Camera. Any day I want to shoot I make sure to take it with me - that way I can hand it to a friend or friendly stranger. Thank you to Belle for my pictures this round - I took all of Ella's. Maybe one day I'll work with a photographer, but until then I'll be editing my own stuff. Just make sure you have your battery and SD card - trust me when I say you need to double check. Last week I dragged my camera into the City to find I left my battery charging at home. Ugh.

Charger. Especially for all you iPhone girls whose phones die in about an hour. My old phone cracked so my brother gave me his Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and it's kinda amazing. Better photos and video than an iPhone and the batteries last forever - it's also half the price. I can sometimes go 2 days without having to recharge. It's life changing. I really want to upgrade to an 8+ (I hear the camera is even better!) but I'm gonna wait to see what pops up on Black Friday/Cyber Monday.

Water/Snack. Sometimes shows are back to back and you don't have the time to grab a proper meal. I usually toss a small water and protein bar or small apple in my bag because you can't always count on free food at the show venues.

From head to toe:
  • Sunglasses: Jason Wu, Modo sample sale, $20
  • Cape:  Make Me Chic, C/O (sold out but linked similar below)
  • Dress: ASOS, $33.50 (I'm wearing an XS - they run huge!)
  • Gloves: Carolina Amato, sample sale $10
  • Bag: 3.1 Phillip Lim medium Pashli, Nordstrom Rack, $160 after using some Nordstrom Notes (retail $895)
  • Heels: Tamara Mellon, sample sale, $50

You can shop my style here:

Mini me's look started with this super cute Zara kids sweatshirt dress. We wanted something bold and bright - and sure to catch the photographers eyes. It was less than $30 and you can probably still find it in store. A statement like the Girl#power on the back is always a bonus. She layered it over Ava's Kidpik lace skirt and plaid Justice top. She swiped my Mini Rockie and Perverse sunglasses (they're a little too small for me anyway) and she borrowed my grandmother's Chanel pin. My fashion gene was passed down from her to me, to Ella, so we were honored to take a piece of my 94 year old Grandma with us to NYFW.

I actually linked Ella's bag and shoes above should you or your mini need them too.

Stay tuned for my last New York Fashion Week look and guide to getting invited to NYFW! This week I'll be hitting one of my all time favorite sample sales, Rebecca Minkoff! Oscar de la Renta is this week too! New to my radar is Rebecca Taylor who is teaming up with a couple other brands and well as Zadig and Voltaire. Unfortunately Zadig will be at 260, not in their showroom, so I doubt the prices will be as good.

Rebecca Minkoff
October 23-29
M 11-8, T-F 10-8, Sat 10-7, Sun 10-4
260 Fifth Avenue

Oscar de la Renta
October 24-29
T 10-8, W-Sat 11-7, Sun 11-4
151 Wooster Street

Frances Valentine, Rebecca Taylor, & White + Warren 
October 25-27, 8-6
80 West 40th Street, Suite 80, 8th Fl

Zadig & Voltaire
October 31- Nov 5
T 9-8, W-Th 10-8, F-Sat 10-7, Sun 10-5
260 Fifth Avenue

Happy shopping!



Sunday, October 15, 2017

Mom Hacks 101; the Art of the Fashion Repeat.

As a busy mom, time is at a premium for me. While I don't consider myself a mommy blogger, I am a mommy and a blogger. I've been lucky enough to be a stay at home mom for my kids and fortunate that I've been able to find blogging as an outlet to maintain my sanity, thou some might argue that calling myself sane or any mom for that matter is debatable. There's this concept that women can have it all but I'm here to tell you that you can't. There is no such thing as having it all. Everything comes at a cost. If you have an amazing career, chances are you have a nanny raising your children. If you stay at home with your kids, you probably won't have money to afford that Chanel or even cleaning help. I've long given up on having a tidy house. And that's OK. The first lesson as a mom is to learn is that it's okay to be perfectly imperfect and you just gotta do whatever it takes to make it through the day.

I recently wore this look to New York Fashion Week. I never plan out my outfits in advance (it stresses me out - plus I'm local so it's not like I have to pack) so when I woke up in the morning I decided to repeat. And not just repeat and re-accessorize, a full head to toe repeat. I've spoken to other moms who have confessed to me that they too wear outfits for several days in a row. Like I said, you do what you gotta do. I did visit the Bauble Bar showroom earlier that day thanks to @sequinloveaffair who took me as her plus one. They gifted me these adorable furry earrings - so at least there was one new element to this look from the last time I wore it when I went to meet Sophia Webster.

From head to toe:
  • Sunglasses: Moschino, Century 21, free after rewards (they were selling them for $59.99), RV $295
  • Earrings, Bauble Bar c/o
  • Jacket: Marshalls, $24.99
  • Dress: Shop Tobi c/o (also seen here)
  • Bag: Jimmy Choo Lockett, sample sale, $350 (RV $2,895)
  • Fringed belt: Zadig & Voltaire, sample sale, $40
  • Shoes: Sophia Webster Keira Doiley sandals, sample sale, $95 (RV $750)

I was wearing my favorite MAC Miley Cyrus Viva Glam lipstick and it drove me nuts that I didn't have my Urban Decay Menace with me, which is the perfect pink for these earrings. Another note, these earrings come in blush pink too! This little furry touch is such a great way to add some color to your look - and they are super light and comfortable. So good!

Shop my style here:

To create some balance in my life, several days a week I'll go out sans makeup and in mommy-mode so chances are even if you bumped into me, you may not recognize me. I'll confess that some days I run out without even washing my face. I think women in general put waaaaay to much pressure on themselves to look perfect. You don't need to put on a full face of makeup and have your hair done to hit the supermarket. If I'm lucky enough to have 5 minutes to get ready, I'll grab a lipstick, some tinted moisturizer or BB cream, sunglasses and head out the door.

I take pride in knowing I'm physically and emotionally available to my children. My cost is that I've long given up any hopes of having a power career as a lawyer or fashion editor. And my dream Birkin is still out there waiting for me. Luckily I can sate my fashion itch with sample sale scores, thrift stores and the occasional Nordstrom Rack or TJ Maxx find. Speaking of thrifting, I recently put together a few tips on thrifting for thredUP - check them out here.

If you're a mom, what are some of your hacks to make your life easier? How do you deal with the mom guilt of trying to have it all?

Photos were taken by the amazing @littlefashionstylist. Thank you Belle for your endless patience :)

As for sample sales, I just got notification that Rebecca Minkoff is back! While it hasn't been as epic as the good old days (see past sale reports and hauls here, here and here), you can still find some good deals throughout the sale. I always go for the first day, at least one day in the middle and last day for markdowns. Also, there is an amazing fur sale by my adorable friend Shirelle, for those of you willing to travel to Brooklyn. And last but not least, Oscar de la Renta will be back - hopefully with amazing shoes for less than $100 again!

Fur Event
October 21-22
Sat 8pm-11pm, Sun 11-6
1393 Carroll Street, Brooklyn

Rebecca Minkoff
October 23-29
M 11-8, T-F 10-8, Sat 10-7, Sun 10-4
260 Fifth Avenue

Oscar de la Renta
October 24-29
T 10-8, W-Sat 11-7, Sun 11-4
151 Wooster Street

Happy shopping!



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

How to Sit Front Row at NYFW.

Happy fall everyone! As always I'm a little behind in sharing my NYFW adventures so I figured I'd make it up to you by creating a series of tips and tricks for navigating the craziness of New York Fashion Week. This look is centered around my Zara 'Optimism as a lifestyle' sweatshirt dress that I picked up for $25.90. I can't tell you how many people stopped me to comment on its' positive message. But the key to sitting in front row (when you're not given a front row seat) is looking like you belong and having a set of really big balls.

For day one (or for my day one, because I decided to skip my first day of shows) I had a marathon of shows, events and parties so I needed to dress comfortably. I grabbed an empty tote to fill up with swag, a pair of pink flats and ran out the door. You know I can't do an all black look so I popped it with my hot pink Moschino bag and my killer Paul Andrew Chrysler heels. And not kidding about killer - they are painful AF but oh so gorgeous. My formula for front row is to collect iconic designer pieces on the cheap (scroll down to see how little I spent!) and mix it up with some fast fashion.

My partner in crime for the day was the lovely Belle, who took all my pics. She is the master of street style and literally had photogs chasing her down EVERY day. She went for color and vintage and completes every look with a smile.

From head to toe:

  • Hat: Rag & Bone, Nordstrom Rack, $18
  • Sunglasses: Jason Wu, Modo sample sale, $20
  • Earrings: Dannijo, sample sale, $20
  • Dress: Zara, $25.90 (still in store now!)
  • Bag: Moschino, Rent the Runway showroom sale, $166 - RV $1,695
  • Ring: Galtiscopo, C/O (from their fashion show swag bag!), RV $193
  • Bracelet: Dannijo, sample sale, $50 (RV $595!)
  • Heels: Paul Andrew Chrysler heels, sample sale, $125 - RV $1,395

Shop my style:

I realized I was holding my hat in every picture, probably because a hat on a windy day is not the best idea. By the end of the day it was in my tote bag too.

But now for my tips for front row. The big deal about front row is that you get better pictures/video because the lighting isn't as good anywhere else. It's also more fun to be able to reach out an touch the models - not that I recommend doing that. Ever. I love the thrill of being up close to fashion. It's a huge rush for me. Plus you're more likely to be remembered if you're sitting in the front. Fashion Week is all about seeing and being seen by brands, PR and other people in the industry. And bonus, front row always gets better swag bags. You know I love me some free stuff!

Getting invited will be a whole other post, so for now let's discuss how to score that front row seat.

Front Row 101

1. Get there early if you don't have an assigned seat. 

When you are given a ticket, it will either have a seat number, indicate priority standing or standing. If you don't have a seat number than you have to be there super early. My first event that day was for the Galtiscopo show. I was given a third row seat and I got there maybe 5 minutes before the show was set to start. Everything always starts late so I knew I'd be ok. I went right inside to find out that Belle had a standing ticket and was still on-line outside. I told her I'd save her a seat inside and sat down in my assigned seat. A couple minutes later I spotted several friends sit down in second row - and then they moved up to first. I quickly grabbed my bag and sat down next to them. The show was so overbooked that regular standing wasn't even allowed inside so sadly Belle got locked out. For any standing seat you really want to be at the front of the line or it almost doesn't pay to go.

2. If you do have an assigned seat (and it's not front row) don't get there too early. 

If you get there too early it's harder to nab front row because PR is watching and you don't want to start a scene with whoever's seat you've appropriated. But get there too late and front row has already been filled in and you've missed your opportunity. Ideally look for empty second row near empty first row seats as soon as you walk in. You have a better shot there. And do not sit too close to celebs - they're gonna notice you don't belong a whole lot quicker.

3. Look for seats near empty front row seats. 

So let's discuss what my friends did right. Turns out they were given priority standing (they didn't even have seats) and went right for primo empty seats. They didn't hesitate which is key. As soon as you walk into any show you have seconds to figure out where you are supposed to sit and where you really want to sit. I should NOT have sat in my assigned seat  - if you do a PR person may notice and then realize you don't really belong in front row. Luckily I didn't have any issues.

4. Look like you belong.

Make sure you are dressed for front row. Pull out your phone. Chat with your seat mates. And do NOT make eye contact with the PR people scurrying around.

5. Don't forget your swag bag! 

Most shows offer bags of goodies for attendees. And yes, if you see an extra left over at the end - be sure to grab it for your friend. I nabbed one for Belle as a consolation prize for getting closed out.

This year I only had one legit front row but managed to sit front row at every show other than one because I hesitated and was escorted to standing. Luckily PR noticed Belle and I and seated us in second row. It was such a crush that we were just happy to sit at that point. There also was the Philipp Plein show which was insanity - but I walked right to the front of the line and got myself in. There were thousands of people who showed up and didn't make it in. I refuse to be locked out. It really is all about confidence. And my big balls.

*Quick disclaimer, not sure this will work on top tier shows like Marc Jacobs or Ralph Lauren because I don't get invited to those...yet.

Speaking of Paul Andrew - his sample sale is back! Unfortunately it's on the upcoming holiday of Succot so I can't go. Ugh. Eddie Borgo is back too and I'll be heading there for lots of $5 damages! A whole bunch of decent sales popped up too but I'm only focusing on super cheap (and chic!)

Eddie Borgo
October 11-13
W 12-6, Th 9-7, F 10-6
204 Elizabeth Street, 2nd Fl

Paul Andrew
October 12-13, 12-7
41 West 58th Street, Suite 2A

Thanks for reading! What other aspects of NYFW would you like to hear about? I plan on doing a general tips as well as a how to get invited guide. If there are any other aspects you'd like to hear about, please comment below!

For all of you celebrating, happy Succot and as always, happy shopping!


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