Thursday, April 25, 2013

The thrill of shopping, the agony of shopping!

Oh dear.

Old habits die hard.

As you know, I have put myself on a clothes budget for both fiscal and self-reflective reasons.  My closet was the burial ground of fads and things I "thought" I needed.  I am trying really hard to stay on track.  And as you know, I just purchased some lovely things a couple of weeks ago that had me borrowing against my may and June clothing allotment (and by the way, those alterations are still not complete!  I had to call this a.m. To remind them about me!).

But then the companies have new releases and then other people start buying things and I think " hey, I could use that, too!"

Today was one of those days.  I got home from the memorial service (hmm, do you THINK my shopping is ever stressed-related?  Someone call Dr.Freud!) and was looking at the blogs and the JCrew and Madewell sites and started seeing things I needed.

But of course I didn't need them.  For 2 hours I mindlessly surfed sites and put things into virtual shopping carts.  2 hours!  I could have read a book, solved world peace and learned to crochet in 2 hours!

I eventually placed an order for the following things:

The Marina mini-wedge espadrilles in chambray:

Marina mini-wedge espadrilles in chambray
Now this might be a gap, but how would i know as I haven't gotten my summer shoes out yet!

The daisy lace mini.  How cute would this be.  Size up a size and it goes to the knees. I was imagining it and the shoes above with the lovely Nougat London Boho top I recently purchased.  

Daisy lace mini

Oh and I was pretty sure I needed this tortoise shell bracelet, too!

tortoise circle link bracelet


So I placed the order, then 10 minutes later, I cancelled it.  I love clothes.  I would even describe myself as bing mildly obsessed with them! 

But I wasn't shopping because I had a gap (though I am pretty sure those espadrilles might fill a gap!).  I was shopping recreationally and I was shopping mindlessly.  I was shopping because I was seeing things on others that I wanted to be a part of too!  Every new sale and rollout does not require my participation and the difference between 30% off and 25% is miniscule and does NOT require a decision of what to buy at that very moment.

I am sitting here writing this post and looking at my closet, which I perceive to be bulging.  I have enough for the summer from my purchases to date this year and from previous years.  In fact, I would say I have more than enough.  Even if the espadrilles are a gap, I can live without them.  At the very least, I need to think seriously about them before I buy them. 

So I will keep on keeping on.  I know we are a whole culture built on consumerism and that my struggles to cut those ties will require vigilance and an ability to live vicariously through others' purchases!  I would love to hear about how you make out with all of this.  Do you ever buy things you wish you hadn't bought or don't need?



On a decidedly less whiny note, the memorial service at the nursing home was lovely.  The head nurse became visibly choked up when she described each deceased resident in turn; she had a little story to tell about each one that was unique and personal.  The folks at this place were lovely.  I am not sure if I told you this before, but in the 2 or 3 days prior to my day's death, we had been playing Christmas music for him and telling stories.  The night he died I had gone home for a couple of hours to sleep and shower.  All of a sudden, he started to pass away, and they called immediately for us to return, which is approximately a 10 minute drive.  While they waited for us to arrive, and as he passed from this life to the next, they put on his favourite Nat King Cole christmas music for him to see him out as they knew that.'s what I would have done.  That is a kindness and generosity that always humbles me. In the perfect world being born can be a wonderful, joyful experience.  The same can also be said of dying when one is old and one is supported by people who want to make it a loving, positive experience.

What's on tap for today?  I am running to take my car to the shop to get the winter tired off and then I may do housework today as the next two days are supposed to be lovely and I could get a lot more of spring yardwork done.  What about you?  what are you up to this fine day?


And for those of you who did buy yesterday: today's post is no judgement of that at all - this is just my stuff that I am working through!  And I feel better having written it down!  ;-)

Have a great day and stay safe out there!




69 comments:

  1. Thank you for reminding me to get my own snow tires off the car! I knew there was something I was forgetting. It must finally be spring if we are doing this?

    That is great you cancelled your order. I am of the buy now, return later mentality, which is tiresome and I need to quit the habit. 30% new arrivals will get me every time and Mickey and Jenna know it!

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    1. I know! that was the trap I was in last fall! My problem is that the only way i can try something on is to order it and try it. sigh...

      Damn that Mickey!

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    2. I'm near enough to stores to try things on, but my stores don't get a lot of the things I want to try. Not the espadrilles or the skirt you showed above. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it! :)

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  2. I don't buy as much as I used to but I did put in an order yesterday with the free shipping & 30% off. Only bought one item, not expensive, the engineered striped tee in navy. Stripes are my poison and I probably have double-digit permutations of striped shirts. This time my excuse was well, the stripes are a bit different, engineered to start lower on the sleeves according to the copywriter from space...

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    1. marie - that is too funny! I like stripes, too, though not in the double digits!!I may yet order the espadrilles, but need to see my shoe situation!

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  3. Wendy don't beat yourself up! I have been reforming my shopping habits so I know exactly how you feel. I have done the exact thing you did yesterday right down to cancelling the order and then thinking what a waste of time! The thing is, mindless shopping that comes from admiring things on websites/pinterest/blogs is just so relaxing! It definitely is a stress cure except that it then can (not always) cause more stress (over-budget, having to return etc).
    What helps me is getting really organized so that I KNOW I don't need anything else. And sometimes you do need to replace shoes or whatever, especially summer shoes as they tend to get wrecked.
    That nursing home sounds like a special place, I'm so happy they took such wonderful care of your father.

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    1. I think that is the thing. I KNOW I don;t have a white skirt. I can't even remember my summer shoes - how weird is that? Okay - I am exaggerating, but I do need to get them out and take a look. The issue for me was getting caught up in it, without taking the time to determine if this is what I really wanted and/or needed. That's how they get us, I guess!!

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    2. That is totally how they get us. They create a false sense of urgency.

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  4. Finding proper loving care for our loved ones can be so difficult no matter if they are two or ninety. Your father's caregivers are genuine angels. The memorial service sounded lovely and needed for not only you but for the staff as well. Not sure how you feel today, but it's okay.

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    1. Hey BB - feeling much better today! I was ambivalent about going yesterday, but really was glad to go and thank the staff!

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  5. CONSUMED Hi WMM, I was in deep like for that tortoiseshell bracelet (as well as the flower one) but it is too long for my wrist. And while that might well not have stopped me, I remembered the photo of abandoned bracelets I posted during my little stint here, and quit clicking.

    My "issue" is I vacillate between wanting to be prepared (like DBP, Mai Tai), not last-minute buy, but then realizing, particularly for summer, I have had items for weeks, but our wearing season for many of them is super-short. I also frip away on things I like (sandals, good tees) while not saving for pricier gaps I need (that trench, new black tall boots).

    Much as I adore many "JCAs", on "roll-out" days I choose to pretty much stay away from the style blogs. Ditto on no judgement meant, I just don't want to get caught up in the cycle again, as much as I admire everyone's eye and effort. And there is lots to read online and elsewhere.

    Am advising, I did buy one item - a summer errand tote I will use almost daily - in the recent sales. Also realizing the 25-40% sales are pretty much constant at JC, BR etc. and even Brora has a healthy clearance. Pop-backs are the norm. So why the panic buying *shakes finger at self*.

    It's understandable you would want a cheer-up after yesterday. Just think of your lovely new goodies from couple of weeks back - and fact they don't really "need" anything else. What the staff did for your Dad so sweet and meaningful. Care workers are so under-valued in our society.

    Oh, I am feeling a bit sick about Joe Fresh (Primark, Children's Place et al) and Bangladesh. And thank you for being your usual honest self. Think all of us struggle with some aspect of consumerism at some point, regardless of closet or income.

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    1. SORRY big LONG ramble, you just touched on couple of topics - losing parents, needs v. wants - I ponder a fair bit.

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    2. I don't check the rollouts on the exact day anymore either. Appealing to the need for "newness" is another retail ploy so good to sit back and not be played.

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    3. Lane, so true, it is a "game" they play with consumers, very successfully. Many tactics in their arsenal. As much as the styles, think that is why I am more drawn to Everlane, Brora, Sea Bags etc. - good product for a fair price without the endless up-and-down games.

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    4. Thanks GF - was thinking about Banglasdesh as well this morning and then about Joe Fresh when I hear that's where they do their clothes - along with everyone else. When I heard that the average wage is $37 a month, I realized why I can find lovely soft Joe Fresh tshirts for $6. sigh...

      Good idea on the new flyby rule on rollout day! I was checking for an M skirt, but then saw all kinds of goodies!

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    5. GF: I dont read new roll out posts either or even look at new arrivals, I only do that when I've earned enough to splurge otherwise it would make me miserable.

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  6. Also, that nursing home sounds terrific, what a special thing to do.

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    1. Cate - they were really wonderful!

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  7. I think you're doing fine; you seem mindful of what you are getting and that will pay off. My clothes log is so helpful in determining what I have and will need as I too forget that,oh, I DID buy a black skirt last year , now where is it? I like to put the original price and then what I paid as this helps me feel more frugal than I am!

    What a great nursing home! Is this the rule in Canada? A home like environment is the best for all. Wonderful memory to carry with you.

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    1. Lane - I keep forgetting to complete my clothing log! Thanks for the reminder - that would make a HUGE difference!!

      Nursing homes are mostly nonprofit around here, though some are privately owned, like the one my dad was in. Regardless of private versus public, those folks under a certain income have their care subsidized up to the full amount of the cost. Others, like my dad, paid for his care. Both offer equally good care, but there are not enough beds to go around and the quality differs based on philosophy and the age of the nursing home structure (my dad had a large room in a lovely new building and could bring a lot of his own furniture, some older homes double the seniors up). It is a real hodgepodge. I know all of this intimately, as about 5 years ago was responsible for all of the home care and nursing home care for seniors in our province. I learned a lot and did a lot of homework before picking which homes we would put my dad's name in for!

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    2. What do you guys write in your clothing log? That sounds like a good idea that I should try, but I don't know where to start.

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    3. I think GF and xoxo have one too! We need a template!

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    4. Mine is just a boring, not pretty Excel spreadsheet list with seasonal and type of item (skirts, trousers, tees, button-downs, beach vacation) categories. I also note what I have consigned here, to keep track of it. And I have an asterisk system for items that will need replacing ex. boots, sandals at end of summer.
      One of the templates I looked at is at bottom of this post, you can download >
      http://www.coletterie.com/style/the-wardrobe-inventory
      Also willing to post mine somewhere if you pinkie swear not to laugh or gasp at my tally of striped tees. ("Hi, my name is Anne, I am a striped tee addict...")

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    5. Thanks GetFresh! You don't have to post it, but if you do I promise I would never laugh. My list of tees would be embarrassing... not to mention the number of duplicates I have in two different sizes because I fluctuate so much. I will take a look at the link you posted!

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    6. Oh, and cate, the log wasn't assisting my discipline and gaps much on my computer (filled in but out of mind.) In January I posted a printed copy - along with two photos of trips we want to take in 2014 - near my closet. That has helped! It is not possible for me to see everything I own at once (small condo, so items divided up) but the tally on the list has helped remind me "you have (more than) enough, mind the gaps!" The Consigned section also helps me not re-buy things I like but that don't work in my life (unlined wool trousers, skinny heels, skirts I feel self-conscious in).

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    7. GetFresh, I love that template from the coletterie.com site you posted, that will be a perfect starting place. I was just thinking I prefer to write it on paper because the computer is a bit of a black hole, but printing it and posting it on the wall solves that problem. Thanks so much!

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    8. Cate, no worries, I'll do my best to post a blank of mine somewhere this week and post in WMM's comments. One thing I found mission critical for me when listing is being exact about each item (style, colour, even retailer etc.) not just type ex. pullovers or capris.

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    9. I have a list too, but it's about as unwieldy as my clothing storage. I like the idea of printing it out!

      Wendy, you are lucky that you knew what to look for in a nursing home, and your father was lucky too.

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    10. Old school here: I use a section of my Filofax ( these are coming back,btw) and list item/price/sale price I paid and store. When an item exits to the Goodwill, I mark the month/yr. I keep a few years in the Filofax and file the rest. I have many years of data! Also a big proponent of index cards and Moleskines for everything.

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    11. Thanks GF! This is awesome! I went at my spring/sumemr shoes and winter shoes with a blade this morning and realize I still have lots. Embarassing amount actually...A post coming on that!!!

      Lane - who have I seen lately on TV that swears by their filofax? This is driving me mad! It wasn't you, was it? :-)

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    12. Yes, dahling, of course it was me :). GF-- just went to that website and it is fantastic!!! Interview with Eliz. Cline of "overdressed" in Feb, for instance. Thanks!

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  8. You are so right, Wendy. Shopping mindlessly as a form of stress release? Yes, often. More so since my injury and lack of daily yoga.
    We live in truly strange times.... I've just spent the evening taking about war (ANZAC day here) and sharing stories of friends' grandparents who were in POW camps... On to stories of traveling pre Internet.
    The way our lives are shaped and defined these days has changed beyond all imagination. The internet really does define our lives in many ways. Some positive, some not so positive.

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    1. I hear you Ruth! I am working hard to wean myself off the consumer side and stick to the less costly stuff. On the other hand, the internet has saved me a lot of money when I really needed to research or needed something!

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    2. Hi, Ruth, I watched ANZAC Day ceremonies on BBC news, Oath, Last Post, choked up as I usually do at memorials. The tiny villages in France where the church door has a sign directing visitors to the next largest town and the Memorial stone in the center of the village where the letters of the names of the lost get smaller with each successive slaughter...

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    3. Fred - I am like you - I am getting more and more emotional as I get older!

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  9. Hi Wendy,
    I have been there more than often... Except that I did not cancelled orders, neither return anything... I had so many clothes it was impossible for me to wear everything, same for the shoes, yet I was often complaining I could not get dressed. As said in other comments, yes it is a game they're playing with us... Again I strongly advise you to watch "Hungry for Change" While the movie is oriented on food, I found that all the reflections that are in the movie are so accurate on so many levels... We are pushed to "better, bigger"... We are shown huge closets with shoes of every shades, every height of heels, assorted bags... How cool is that huh??? But does this makes us happier... Not really, we are overwhelmed in our closets, houses, minds... I personally find your post very "healthy".
    Your father has been very lucky to be able to leave his life on earth in such a beautiful way...
    Wishing you a great one
    Take Care

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    1. Steph - I am going to look for that on Netflix this weekend - it sounds great! I agree - things don't make us happier, though nice things that reflect us can make us feel good and boost our self-esteem! It is a real balance!

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    2. I agree that nice things that reflect us make us feel good, but they don't need to always be new :-)
      But yes, it is a matter of balance... May be also self confidence?

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  10. I use a closet organization app which costs less than $5 I think. It's quite convenient because pictures if the items I wear are categorized and can be filed by function and date.

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    1. Marie, I'm a "list" girl and I never thought about an app. That's brilliant with the photos. I do take cell phone pics of fave outfits for trips, orphan items for when shopping. And I admire how some bloggers use Polyvore that way as well.

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    2. Marie, you're all about the apps :) What one do you use for your closet, Stylebook?

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    3. Marie - that is a great idea as well! I am visual, so that may be helpful!

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  11. Hi Wendy, I am glad that yesterday was so nicely done and meaningful. It sounds like a very special place and the story that you recounted was beautiful.

    Good for you on hitting cancel! It's all a giant ploy to get us to spend our hard earned pennies!

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    1. Abby, have you tried formatting your list by season and making the current season the top/ page 1? I find that helps rather than endless categories.

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    2. That is a good idea, GF. I would say only maybe 20-30% is firmly seasonal, but even so that might help.

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    3. the seasonal issue is a real pain, Now you have me thinking what % of my wardrobe would be strictly seasonal, Abby!

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    4. Oh I am a funny duck that way you two. I have a section that is Basics (black pants, navy jacket, jeans, grey cashmere sweater, black pumps etc). But although I don't have a ton of clothes (except for jackets and tees/ shells) I tend to wear a certain colour set per season. Fall is the browns, golds, darker greens, khakis. Winter (longest-largest) is the greys, blacks and a bit of jewel tones. And Spring/Summer (I don't divide since it is too variable weather wise and we usually road trip/ travel) is the navy, white, bit of brighter green or red. I didn't plan it that way, just what I ended up with. Some items do migrate (esp. cotton jackets, shirts and tops) But it means I am only dealing with about 1/3 of my clothes at once (+ outerwear and a few occasion dresses). And they all get worn better, feel "newer" 4-6 months later.

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    5. GF - I WISH I had a plainer colour story. I think I would have less orphans if I would "stick to the plan"! I am trying though!!!

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    6. GF, I think you colour set system is quite nice. Some climates lend themselves less to that, but it's really perfect for T.O. At the end of the winter, you feel like you never want to see those clothes again, and same again at the end of summer.

      I have a few items that I intentionally don't make cross-seasonal, just because it keeps them feeling more special.

      I also noticed that I wear my trench non-stop in the spring, but in the fall, I wear a similar warmth black wool blazer. The trench feels funny in fall. They really both could go in both seasons, but in the spring I'm craving a light colour, and in the fall, a dark one!

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  12. That's wonderful your Dad was in a great nursing home. My Mom worked as a nurse in two Care Homes for years and years and sometimes the staff would be the only people who would be there when a person died, especially if it happened during the night.

    I am still reforming my shopping habits too, I have done the impulse purchase many times (ooh I need this!!! I saw it on so-and-so's blog and it looked fabulous on her!) only to cancel it 10 minutes later. Trying to be really selective with my shopping and what items I need now.

    When I buy an item, I have a criteria I go by... I imagine what colour combos would go with it and I have to think of at least 3 outfits I can put together with the item incorporated somehow, cost per wear ... also where (realistically) I will wear the item (work, church, weekends, concerts, etc). That has really helped me!

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    1. LR - it is so funny you should say that - I realized this morning that I have TONS of casual sandals. Of course, I worked all the time, so rarely got to wear them and the sandal season is so short. I am well set and the only thing I would benefit from would be comfortable sandals for walking! It is was kind of shocking

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    2. Oh and PS - yay for your mom - those are such special people!

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  13. Oh that was heartbeaking to read, in the days before my dad's death he was hallucinating so much from morphine that he thought I was a baby again and he kept telling mum to watch me in case I fell - Og God I was a mess and then he started riding with John Wayne - it doesn't get better than going out with The Duke.


    PS But I laughed at the lost two hours!

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    1. Oh I think I would like to go out with the Duke, too! Probably my last words will be: Another Champers, George!

      YOu laugh at those two hours, but think of the problems I could have solved! Plus, I really need to give myself a pedi!

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  14. Wendy,

    I agree with you a million percent about not needing to participating in sales just because it's there. I've stayed away from sales and focus my time and energies on reading books or playing with my boys. Like you, I don't need anything! I have more than enough to last many seasons. I feel that most of us buy to feel the excitement of having something to think about while the package is on its way. I also agree with you that shopping is recreational and at times mindless entertainment. I've also seen so many bloggers look so fantastic in their new outfits that I think I can replicate it. But I've come to realize that I need to stick with my style and just admire from afar. We all want up escape to our fantasy life but it doesn't mean we have to partake in the sales every time or buy that outfit that we saw on another blogger. What I need to always focus on is that I do have many things already AND be satisfied. It's hard but doable.

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    1. Wendy - excellent points! ANd really: when my fantasy life REALLY starts, George will be taking me to Paris and Milan to pick up things to wear at the villa and then I will be able to update the blog with some great pics!!!!

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  15. Doing laundry always gives me a reality check and a swift kick in the bum. As I am stuffing the washing machine, I can't believe I own all these tees- did a tee goblin sneak some in to get out of doing their own chores? I love to do new arrival wishlist shopping but not buying, I will wait till I become Mrs. Derek Jeter (he is a famous baseball player in the U.S.) to actually buy. Oh and I always ask myself if so and so item will make my closet look fat ;)
    luv ya WMM- regards QV

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    1. oh I love the "make my closet look fat" metaphor! That is so great! Mrs. Derek Jeter has a great ring to it (see my response to Wendy above re: George and I - we are on the same wavelength!) thanks for the lovely comment - love coming right back at ya!

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  16. That is a lovely and touching story about your Dad. I can easily say no to purchases, but I have to say, you picked some winners. Sometimes a new item- like the shoes or skirt, can inject new life into your wardrobe's mainstays. Those shoes are very pretty.

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    1. Knityarns - thanks so much! It was a lovely thing that they did for him, wasn't it? I am still thinking about all of the pieces, but thinking very, very hard! Tomorrow I am posting about my summer shoe "collection" and you may not say the same thing about these shoes then!!

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  17. I feel your pain. All the new Lilly Pulitzer summer stuff comes out on May 1st. It's going to be difficult not to put stuff in my online cart.

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    1. Oh YOu will have quite the time! ANd now the sentimentality of it all after her passing!

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  18. Oh my--I almost threw caution to the wind over the daisy lace mini. I managed to hold myself back but if it makes it to sale soon? DANGER WILL ROBINSON. Good for you for cancelling. Stick to your guns (the metaphorical ones, of course), your standards, and your budget.

    That sounds like such a lovely memorial to your dad. It must be such a comfort to know that he was surrounded by good people who cared not just for him, but about him.

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    1. Hi Danielle! I must confess i am still looking at that mini, which on my 5'2" frame, is not really a mini. I do need a white skirt, but am thinking!

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  19. Hi Wendy, I am terribly behind in commenting but I have been reading every post - finally have some free time to comment, and it seems we have been pondering the same question, impulse shopping! I have stopped looking at reviews on roll-out days, and as you know, I have also unsubscribed to all of the professional style blogs (e.g. Atlantic-Pacific, The Chloe Conspiracy, etc.). It has been a huge help - less mistakes, less buying frenzy. I have spent the past few months selling all the mistakes off, but I must say, it makes me angry at myself to see all the money wasted. Hopefully I will recoup a good portion of it. I must go look up this wardrobe app that was mentioned above!!

    (I did buy a few things with the JC promo but they were "classic" items that I have wanted for a while and never go on sale.)

    It sounds like the nursing home did a wonderful memorial service. What a lovely thing to do, to play his favourite music. Thanks for sharing the story with us.

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    1. Louise - I am like you - have unsubscribed to the professional posts, though I do go take a look now and then! I actually prefer the "real sized" blogs anyway!

      I have bought some JC things this spring as well, though they were all classic plain stuff - oh except for the spearmint sequin top from factory that I picked up for $25 and which I just got an love! But a fun thing like that for $25 hurts no one, expect maybe your pride if your husband makes fun of you!

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  20. WMM, I know your pain. I have been staying away from shopping websites and blogs and doing very well and not missing anything. Unfortunately, when we look we start wanting and get sucked into never ending hole of lust and greed. I did place and order and bought something in the store. I am happy with my purchases and I feel like it is OK to treat oneself form time to time but I am a bit afraid. 'From time to time' does not mean every week and I have been there before and it wasn't a happy place.

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    1. AJC - I agree - shopping begats shopping! When I see myself looking more I know i am in trouble and stop!

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Kindness is a virtue...