These boots were made for walking

I came, I saw, I  bought.  And bought.  And bought, bought, bought.  OK, one too many ‘boughts’ there, but you get the idea.

My last post documented my struggle of  “should I or shouldn’t I? ” purchase a pair of equestrian-style riding boots.  The “yes you should” won  (surprise, surprise) and that night I found myself in the lion’s den – DSW Shoe Warehouse.   $10 coupon in hand, mind you.

And, as many of my shopping excursions start out, my purchasing intentions were very minimal. And I did all the right things to prevent excessive spending:

1.  I was on my way to meet some friends at 6:30 that evening, and I arrived at the store at 6:00.  How much damage could I do in less than a half an hour?  Ok, don’t answer that..

2.  When I entered the store, I did not pick up one of those huge shopping bags they give you.  I was only there to buy one pair of boots, remember?

3.  Prior to arriving at the store, I checked my bank account one last time, to mentally imprint on my brain just how much I could spend.

4. I put my imaginary blinders on and I walked directly to the tall boot section, passing all other temptations…

Side note here – I am not a typical Sex in the City shoe-aholic type person.  I consider myself very practical and conservative when it comes to  buying footwear.  Comfort always trumps style  for me, and I easily pass flashy shoes or boots,, no matter how cute they are.  It just doesn’t make sense to purchase a pair of shoes you may only where once with one outfit.    I don’t oogle over 4-inch strappy buckled gold-plated Jimmy Choos or anything like that.   There is a practical side to me….

That being said, Practical Brenda found the pair of Madden Girl Zarah Riding Boots immediately.  Almost too quickly, because a quick look at my watch told me I still had about 10 minutes to spare before I had to meet my friends.

So I decided to take just a quick look at their sale racks, in the back of the store.  Anyone who has been to DSW knows about those racks….that’s where you find incredible sales if you’re out shopping for shoes and boots.  That’s where you need those big  bags to fill up, if you’re ready to get serious…

But I wasn’t out shopping for shoes and boots, remember?  I was just there to pick up one pair of  riding boots……

And actually, my trip to the sale rack was very successful.  Practical Brenda was in complete control as I tried on a few pairs and easily discarded them because I really didn’t need any shoes.  Then I saw these:

They were only $15 (on sale for 70% off).   And yes, they were kind of impractical and goes against everything I just wrote about Pratical Brenda.  But what’s $15 – and I could totally see these with a pair of jeans. So I decided to delay my manicure a week to make up the cost of these shoes.  See?  It’s all about choices..

So I was on my way to the checkout line, feeling pretty good about myself when suddenly it hit me.  You know, I really didn’t have a pair of casual (what I call “knockaround”) short-heeledt boots.  In that split second, I realized that I had thrown out my both of my short-heeled boots (black and brown) last year because they were about 6 years old and looked the part.  And I was planning on purchasing new pairs……..this season!

Let’s just say Practical Brenda left my body and Shopaholic Brenda took over.  And in less then 10 minutes, I  left the store with these:

Liz Claiborne Taylor - Dark Brown
Nine West Dende - Black
Madden Girl Zahar Riding Boot
Chinese Laundrey Sandals

I don’t regret any of the purchases except for the sandals.  I may take those back.


Giddy up

No surprise here, but I have been totally obsessed with my stylish friend Charlotte’s tall riding boots ever since I saw her wearing them last week (that’s her on the left).  Granted, she purchased them from Bloomingdale’s Coach department in NYC, so there is that intrinsic coveting that comes with very nice things.  Usually I can control that desire with assuring myself that someday I will be able to afford a $300 pair of boots.

Anyways, you may remember that I have sworn off of purchasing any clothing (including shoes/boots) until January 1, 2010. I have some solid financial goals, and I’ve put myself on a pretty aggressive budget  (I haven’t been 100% successful – my last blog details my “slip”).

One trick that’s been helping me refrain from purchasing is to NOT jump on the current style bandwagon, especially when I’m not real crazy about the look anyways.  Trench coats, for instance.  Nice on other people, but not a fan.

And take a look at some of these – there’s not a single Top Pick that I would want to purchase.

Editor Picks: Top 10 Must-Buys for Fall 2009 – Ishra Sharif

OK, most of these styles are pretty easy to pass up (A jumpsuit?? Seriously?).

So the equestrian riding boots were a trend I was willing to forego this season, because I just wasn’t too in love with the whole look.   Until I saw Charlotte’s boots.

And then I saw this pair of Madden Girl Zarah Riding Boots available at DSW for a price I can afford! And I have a $10 off coupon!! All of a sudden every single outfit I want to wear absolutely needs those boots.  I decided my whole wardrobe is obsolete without a pair of flat riding boots.  And the shopaholic in me needs a black pair AND a brown pair.

In a weak moment last night, I went online to purchase them, but got fed up because I was a DSW Rewards customer, but I didn’t have my Rewards customer number. I decided that was a sign from above telling me not to purchase them.

However, the first email I opened this morning was an enewsletter I subscribe to for professional purposes (I’m in marketing and communications), and it said this:

“I understand that some of you live and breathe by your budget.  Most of the time that’s a great thing.  But it can be very limiting.  And it can hold you back.  (A budget is a guideline by the way, and not chiseled in stone.)

Take this to heart:  Whatever you believe becomes your reality.

If you believe you can’t afford something, it becomes real.  Your limited negative thinking will actually repel money.  You’ll become so focused on staying inside that budget that you will miss golden opportunities. You’ll start to believe that not only can’t you afford something, but you shouldn’t have it or don’t deserve it.  Your world will actually start to shrink from your limited thinking.”

Did you read that??  My world is going to shrink if I don’t buy these boots!  That’s what it says!!  I especially like the earlier part about a budget being a guideline, and not chiseled in stone!

Guess where I’m going after work?

It’s Charlotte’s fault…

Well, I  didn’t make it. In my first post, less than a week ago, I made a commitment to not purchase any clothing until January 1, 2010.  As I said, I didn’t make it.

In all honesty, I knew on Wednesday this week that I wasn’t going to make it.  My friend Charlotte was wearing this adorable outfit, and I knew I had to replicate it. I took the picture with my phone, so the image is not clear.

Long, brown cowl neck sweater (H&M – $10),

black pencil skirt (from Paris – she wouldn’t say how much she spent, she just said it cost  ‘too    much’)

black leggings (H&M – $5)

tall black boots (Bloomingdales’s Coach – $300).

I was going to try to stay away from the long sweater and leggings style this winter, but once I saw her in this outfit, especially with the black skirt to soften the leggings look, I knew I had to take a shot at trying to replicate it.

That’s the bad part about shopping resale, however.  You never find what you are looking for.  I had my mind set on a long, dark brown, cowl neck sweater, and chances are one in a million that I’d find it.

I knew that, but I still went…

When I told my other friend Sue I was going to break down and shop, she tried to talk me out of going.  She said I must be feeling stressed in some part of my life, therefore I felt some need to relieve it through shopping.  She explained I was just looking for that “high” you get when you find that perfect article of clothing;  the “rush” you feel when you’re in the “zone”; the adrenaline the search brings you.  She said I needed to fill those highs with more healthy things, like exercise and blah blah blah.

Actually the more she talked about that rush I’d get when I was shopping, the more I thought to myself, “Hell yes that’s what I’m looking for so shut up and get out of my way so I can get it!”

Shopaholic, remember?

Anyways, I found myself at Goodwill, and get this – Sue’s words rung in my ears, and the whole shopping experience just wasn’t that fun.  Nothing I saw really excited me, gave me any kind of rush, and actually I felt a little depressed.  Damn Sue!

I even hung out in the purse section, looking for a nice little $2.99 purse that might spark my attention.   I’m not even a purse person, but I thought maybe I should become one, because at $2.99 a pop, I could buy a new one every week, and be that person who has a different purse for each outfit.  I don’t have any room to hang any more clothes, but I’m sure I could find a place to store purses…..

Well, I overcame that insanity, and was patting myself on the back as I was walking out the door – purchase-free, mind you, only 10 feet from the exit when I saw this:

New with tags!  Only $4.59!  I mean, come on!!!  What’s the harm in THAT???

Next thing I knew, my arms were flying everywhere, and I was lost in the “rush”, grabbing at everything I could get my hands on.

Thankfully, I left with only four pieces, including the one on the left.

This is a Liz Claiborne jacket that I love – the pleating in front and the detailing on the sleeves give it an equestrian look – and while I’m a little too conservative to complete the look with some jodphurs and riding boots, this is going to be a nice little jacket.  Price:  $4.59

I guess I was in a “brown” mood, huh?  Or actually, this proves that I just started grabbing once I found that first jacket, because at Goodwill all the clothes are color-coordinated, and I was  in the brown section.

This is a Dana Buchman long jacket (for only $4.59!!), and is my answer to the brown long sweater that Charlotte wore.  Can’t you just picture this with a black pencil skirt, black leggings and tall, black boots?  Maybe, we’ll see.  I’m actually not in love with long jackets;  I’m in love with Dana Buchman jackets at $4.59.

(in a shopaholic’s world, Label always trumps Logic)

This is an Eddie Bauer skirt I found when I briefly scanned the skirt section.  I was actually looking for a brown pencil skirt to match the Liz Claiborne jacket above, and ended up with this.  I had hoped it would go with the Dana Buchman number above, but not even close.

It was $3.89,  but I think I’m going to try to resale it at a consignment store.  This skirt was a mistake…

So, I’m back on the wagon, and I’m going to try again to not buy anything until January 1, 2010……My friend Sue tells me that the longer I stay away from going into a store, the easier it will be….I have her on my speed dial in case I get the urge…she can be a real “buzz kill” when it comes to shopping…

Fashion for less

Yesterday I posted these outfits, and begged for mercy on my pathetic poses, and disturbing frowny faces.  Now that I’ve gotten past the initial embarrassment, I’d like to brag a little about these outfits.  One of them cost less than $20 – can you guess which one?

Outfit #1 – The Naturalist

fashion 001

I like this outfit because it’s simple and unassuming.  A very nice fall outfit.  I’ve had the skirt for years, and it’s one of my “10 items that I would save in a fire”.

Dark Brown Sleeveless Turtleneck – Christopher & Banks (purchased at Goodwill) – $2.89

Sweater – Casual Corner (purchased at Goodwill) – $3.59

Skirt – Casual Corner (local consignment shop Fashion Junction) – $18.99

Boots – Franco Sarto – bought new @ Foley’s in Houston – can’t remember how much they were, but I’m sure they were on sale…

Outfit #2 – Nothing to Cry About

fashion 002

Even though I look like I’m crying in the photo, I am actually crying tears of joy over this Awesome  Bargain Outfit – this is the one that cost less than $20.  When I found the jacket at Goodwill, I looked above me to see if I was standing underneath a rainbow, because I knew I had found gold!  I found the brown pants on the same day, and I I just couldn’t wait to get these washed so I could wear them.

Jacket – Banana Republic (Goodwill) – $4.59

Sleeveless light blue shirt (Goodwill) – $3.59

Pants – Banana Republic (Goodwill) – $4.89

Shoes – Enzo Angiolini (Goodwill) – $4.59

And there you have it, folks – $17.66 for an entire outfit!

When I wore it to work, I was beaming with pride.  And – get this, a woman on the elevator said “Nice jacket!”  Of course, I HAD to tell her it was Banana Republic, and I bought it at Goodwill for $4.59.  She looked at me kind of funny…which actually leads me to a future post I’m going to have to write – Why do I feel it necessary to announce to people how much I pay for something when they compliment my clothes??  Like I said….that’s a future post, but feel free to comment if you have that same need to confesss/explain, or any explanation  as to why…

Outfit #3Black and White and Red all over!

fashion 004

I used to wear this houndstooth skirt with a black jacket, but recentlyI’ve started wearing red with all my black and white ensembles.  It’s amazing how that splash of color livens up an outfit.  The jacket is a recent Goodwill find (yea!), however I already own 6 other red jackets (shopaholic – remember?).  Another “I-really-don’t-need-this-but-I-just -can’t pass-up-such-a-good-deal” situation.

Jacket – Liz Claiborne (Goodwill) – $4.59

Sleeveless turtleneck – Black and White (Goodwill) – $3.59

Skirt – Casual Corner – local consignment shop – bought years ago, and can’t remember how much it was, but I wouldn’t have bought it if it were over $20…

Shoes – Liz Claiborne – bought new @ DSW Shoe Warehouse $14.99

So there you have it – 3 fabulous outfits under $50, all purchased at secondhand stores (except for 1 pair boots, 1 pair shoes).  I’ll try not to break my arm patting myself on the back…..  🙂

Picture (not) Perfect!

OK, writing this blog is going to be hard!  Not the writing part, mind you.  I could write all day about my clothes (remember – shopaholic!).

But a large part of the content of this blog will be showing off fantastic outfits that I buy at outrageously low prices at my secondhand stores.  Am I the only one who wants to announce it to the world when I’m wearing an Ann Taylor jacket that cost me less than most people pay for a medium pizza?

And that means, of course, I’m going to have to post pictures of myself in these outfits.  Ugh!  But I have researched enough blogs on fashion, and I have decided that the ones I like best are the ones that have photographs of real people in real outfits.  So that means me, photographed and posted.  Double ugh!

So when You Look Fab announced the Maxxinista contest last week, I thought it was the perfect opportunity for me to practice taking pictures of myself and post them.

It did not go well.  At all.

First, it became expensive.  I had to buy a tri-pod, which is an expense I had expected.  Second, I had to figure out how to use the tri-pod, which I tried to do without reading the instructions, which unfortunately resulted in my dropping the camera and breaking it.  So I had to buy a new camera, which was an expense I didn’t expect.

$125 later (I bought the Nikon Coolpix thanks to Ashton Kutcher’s cheesy yet effective marketing appeal), I read the instructions to the tri-pod and I was off to the races.   Technical problems were solved, except the fact that I didn’t realize I had to buy a memory card, and could only take 5 pictures at a time.  Very time-consuming.

An then begins the horror of posing.  And smiling.  Or not smiling.  Let me just leave it at this – a picture is worth 1000 words, so look at the photos  below, and I’m pretty sure you’ll see that this is not the most natural thing for me to do…..

In my next post, I’ll describe the only things I like about the photos below – the CLOTHES! I’ll let you know where I purchased the clothes – 95% of the items below were purchased at secondhand clothing stores.  Can you guess which outfit cost me less than $20, including the footwear?  You’d think I’d be smiling more, huh?

fashion 001fashion 004fashion 002


One down, 53 to go….

On my first post I made the commitment to not purchase anything until January 1, 2010.  And get this – my horoscope today warned me how hard it was going to be:

Libra:  November 9, 2010

“Although it appears that your main concerns have to do with money matters today, Libra, you may be distracted by people who are trying to get you focused on other things. The most important thing to avoid today is impulse buying. Just because someone else wants or has something, that does not mean that you need to overextend yourself to match that desire, but, without a good degree of discipline, that could very well happen. So don’t let anything overcome your good judgment when it comes to money today, it could create further problems.

And 5 seconds after I read my horoscope, which I get as a daily blog, I went on to read a different blog, this one from a fashionista, and the urge to impulse buy hit me like a brick.  Here’s what she wrote:

I bought the most amazing black skinny jeans for a petite woman.  The pants are skinny, stretchy, and make you look so great. As a petite woman I know how hard it is to get a great pair of skinny pants or jeans that make you look long and lean. These are the ones:

skinny jean

Are those jeans awesome or what????  And they are from 7 for All Mankind, which always fit me great!

The point is, my horoscope was definitely looking out for me today.  I mean, how can someone resist the description above (well, the jeans do cost $191, but who doesn’t want the perfect pair of black skinny jeans!!!).  I even resisted prowling ebay for them…..but I will tag them and revisit after 1/1/2010 to see if they’re available…..

But one day of no purchases down, 53 to go…..

Hello world!

This is my first post.  I decided to start this blog about a month ago while I was training for a  marathon.  I knew that when that was over, I would need a new goal, a new project, a new passion.

Shopping is not a new passion, but writing about shopping – now there’s an idea I can sink my teeth – er, fingers – into.

Check out my About Me page to read a little about my background and why I’m actually doing this blog

So here it goes.  Here are a couple of things that are going on since I decided to do this:

1.  I am in complete fear to start.  I have a billion ideas in my head, but haven’t been able to sit down a write them.  So as you read this, I am in the process of walking through my fear.

2.  Writing this blog will not help my addiction to shopping, in fact, I’m afraid it might exacerbate it. What’s happening is that I’ve subscribed to a zillion  blogs on shopping and fashion (for research purposes), and once I see something I like, I just have to have it.   My first dozen posts will describe my recent shopping expeditions that have resulted from “researching” this blog.

3.  That being said, I am imposing a shopping  ban on myself.  No clothing purchases until next year, January 1, 2010.   There, I said it.  I’m doing it.  Really…..and don’t worry, I have PLENTY to write about until then!

4.  OK, my first post is done.  Now I just have to push “Publish” and it’s real….here it goes……