Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bed Bugs at Bloomingdales? Part Two

My fall wish list. New Hunter Rain Boots. A warm (but not too warm) fall coat. New Boots. Suede, Leather. Maybe a wedge heel. Maybe above the knee, despite the fact that some people think the OTK look is very Julia Roberts a la Pretty Woman, or in other words, "Slutty". Maybe I will get all of the above!!!

Why? Because of Friends and Family Sales. Lord and Taylor gave their friends 25%. Saks 20%. (not that much when you think of the price of the store items!)Overwhelmed by the opportunities, and challenged by a low credit limit, I was debating where I can seek my coveted items.

At the end of the day, one my colleagues asks what I have decided. Easy answer: the place with the “Secret Sale.”

“Bloomingdales! I am going to Bloomingdales!” I announce proudly with decisiveness.

Bob, another coworker, looks up, as he is putting on his coat and matter-of -factly says:

“They found a beg bug in Bloomingdales."

"There are bed bugs in Bloomingdales? Impossible!"I screech in horror

Not Bedbugs. A bed bug." He says.

“ONE, singular (AND if I may add, not so sensational) BED BUG?” I ask.

“That’s right. One single bedbug. It was in the news.”

I tell him that is BS and I don’t believe it. It is in a nice neighborhood!

He tells me to check out

Bed bugs have registries? Huh? Well, I guess, if I registered I Bloomingdales, so could a bed bug. I mean they do have a great home section. I research it and lo and behold there is an article, that states a beg bug was found and removed from Bloomingdales. One bed bug.

I will be damned if one bed bug prevents me from shopping in a high –end store. I mean does one fly keep you out of your favorite restaurant?

So I trek out of the office chilled to the bone in my spring coat to Bloomingdales. Vermin will not deter me from my mission. No way and no how!

So I saunter through the gold doors and bask in the bright lights of my favorite store. I caress the cashmere sweaters, linger longingly over the leggings and stroke a pair of suede boots like it is my childhood pet. I even drape my arm with a carload of items to try on. (So what if I don’t have a car).

So, I get to the dressing room and am frozen. I can’t go in. I have visions of nasty little bloodsucking critters devouring me. What if there was more than one? What if I get welt-like bites all over my body? What if I bring them home and have to throw out tens of thousands of dollars of mission furniture?

So I left Bloomie’s empty handed, vermin free, several hundred dollars short of my credit limit and without hooker boots.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Madonna at Macys and Bedbugs at Bloomingdales- How the Material Girl and a Well-meaning Coworker Stopped me from Shopping (even if it was for just one day).

Seasons change, and so do our wardrobes. I live in a typical New York City shoebox of an apartment where it is simply impossible to house out-of-town guests let alone more than one season of clothing at a time. So I rotate. In the spring, I gather all my down-filled coats, fleece lined boots and wool dresses to be placed in storage (otherwise known as my mother’s house). In the fall, the aforementioned items trade places with whisper-thin sweaters, flowy linen dresses and strappy sandals. Being a summer person, I try and hold on to wearing my warm-weather wardrobe for as long as possible. (Maybe that explains why I have this awful cold?)
As it was nearing the end of September, I knew the time where I couldn’t get away with wearing my flip-flops to work every day was soon approaching.  And I realized that I had not yet rotated my wardrobe. I had absolutely nothing to wear in my closet! Not if I wanted to stay warm…
Since I work on 34th street, the answer was clear. I could just pop into Macys to check out some boots, then swing by Lord and Taylor and maybe work my way up fifth to check out Cole Hahn and maybe sneak into to Saks. As I was approaching Macy’s, The Largest Department Store in the World, I noticed hoards of people.  Not the usual crowds but dozens and dozens of people, behind police barricades, all blocking the entrance to my store!
Having lived in NYC for nearly four decades, I don’t get excited by large public events. I get annoyed. It slows me down and forces me to weave through tourists and take unnecessary detours. “What is going on here?” I ask a bystander. “Is Justin Beiber making an appearance or something?”
The woman, clearly not from NY, as evidenced by the frumpy outfit and camera around her neck, replies in some odd accent “ Mah- done- ah”
Huh?  Mah-done- ahh? 
Yes, Mah –done-ahh!. The singer!”
“You mean Madonna?” I ask incredulously with my perfect NY accent. ( I pronounce it Mawdawn-a)
“ Yes, that’s what I bloody said-  now move, you are in my way!”
 Madonna and Lourdes at Macy's Material Girl Launch
That’s when I realized Madonna and her daughter Lourdes, where appearing at Macy’s to “walk the pink carpet” and launch their line of junior clothing, called, what else?  “Material Girl.”  That is also about the time, when I hung up my “Native New Yorker” sign and joined the herds of tourists and found myself elbow to elbow with some New Zealanders behind barricades.  You see, I love Madonna. Love her. I was the girl wearing the dozens of black rubber bracelets and fingerless lace gloves to high school.  I bought her first LP, with my babysitting money and her lyrics really captured the essence of my sophomore romances.  Or so I thought at the time.
I am embarrassed, or should I say proud to say, that for the first time in my adult-life I waited in a crowd for two hours to get a glimpse of Madonna and child.  So what if I was 50 feet away. I saw my idol, in the flesh. Well, actually in a silk-satin black dress, fishnets and adorable pumps. But still. I made friends with some New Zealanders, who apparently believed seeing Madonna on a city street was an everyday occurrence.   I even saw Taylor Mommsen, the “face” of the  Material Girl clothing line and  star of my favorite  TV show about entitled upper east side youth, “Gossip Girl".  So what if I am practically middle-aged... the fashions on the CW are amazing.

Two hours later, I was happy and excited, but tired and hungry. I had my thrill and wanted to go home. My voracious appetite to shop that day vanished. So what if I had to wear flip flops for another day! And that is how the Material Girl saved me some money.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Meeting bestselling author Sophie Kinsella

Confessions of a Shopaholic- Fact or Fiction?

I just got home from the West coast about 2Am last night. At 8:30 am, EST, I was in my corporate cubicle, plucking away at my keyboard like a little corporate hamster, still, at least mentally, on Pacific Time. But even though I  was beyond  exhaustion, I somehow managed to drag myself out after work to enjoy a glass of Sauvignon Blanc with a friend  and meet my favorite author Sophie Kinsella, writer of the famous chick-lit  Shopaholic series .
After four grueling years of Graduate school, I took a year off to recalibrate my life before I began to look for a job. When I began interviewing with prospective employers, they asked me how I had spent my time post-graduation.  I should have said that I trekked across Nepal or translated War and Peace into Urdu.  But I am a bad liar. So I was honest and admitted that I spent my summer traveling the North-eastern United States and reading “The Shopaholic Trilogy.” Needless to say, it took me a while before I landed a job.
Call it chick-lit, call it mind candy, but after four years of  reading  sociological theory, interning with the infirm and under-served, and talking  countless people off the ledge,  I  craved lightness and humor; something that would turn my charred brain into marshmallow fluff.
And along came Becky Bloomwood, the book’s modern- day Lucille Ball-like protagonist who finds herself in all sorts of preposterous predicaments, that makes the reader laugh out loud. Anyone who cannot say no to a darling dress, a stupendous sale or even a turn-of -the century tureen will love sharing Becky’s adventures of dodging her creditors and seeking a partner who will love her in spite of her credit score.
The fact that the fictional character’s antics ring a bell a bit too close to home, may be what endeared me to Becky in the first place.  Becky is a financial journalist, yet has a spending addiction.  I spent five years as an addiction counselor, yet cannot seem to stop spending myself.  I, like Becky, have gone to extremes to buy that perfect “necessary” item of clothing, whether it is borrowing money, rolling spare change or scotch-taping back together that credit card I put through the paper-shredder.  Dissimilarly, however, I did not marry one of the richest men in my city or find a more lucrative career as a TV talk-show host. Nor am I able to accept loans from my millionaire best-friend (mainly because I don’t have a millionaire best friend).  And when I close the book’s cover, my credit problems are not finished. I know fact from fiction. But life gets rough, life gets tough and we all need some escapism. Kinsella’s books provide just that. No wonder her latest addition to the series; Mini-Shopaholic is number one on the UK hardcover best seller list.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

To Shop or not to Shop?

So a few weeks ago I confide in a close friend about my problem. I learn that her partner eradicated  a massive amount of credit card debt in a relatively short amount of time. So I seek his help to find out about this magic bullet that will solve all my problems. His solution is simple and consists of two parts. First, you need a budget. Budget? "What's a budget?" I ask. Budget is an ugly word. It sounds like an icky bug. My budget is as follows: if you have money to buy something, buy it. If you don't, don't buy it. Or better yet, put it on plastic. If money comes out of the ATM you are good. If not, well, then you are screwed. "I'll think about it" I told him.
The budget idea was a walk in the park, compared to what comes next.  And what came next is precisely what galvanized me to write a silly blog in the first place. Part Two of the master plan?
"You can't buy anything new for a year or two."
Moi, not buy anything for a year? Or two? Surely , he was joking. I had to clarify.
"You mean I can't go shopping at Bloomingdales?"
"Nicole, you can't shop anywhere."
" What about Outlets? Like Woodberry Commons?"
" Nope".
 "What  about sample sale shopping sites- like Rue LaLa or Gilt.. or ...real sample sales?"
" No Way "
 "What about Target..or Kohls? "
The answer was like a death knell.  
" If you want to get out of debt you can't buy ANYTHING non-essential. " he instructed. 
If it worked for him ,maybe it would work for me.
 So hence I began the challenge where  a NYC girl -Carrie Bradshaw -wannabe  can't  always get what she wants, let  alone some of the stuff she needs. Then again , how does one define essential?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why write a blog?

I am not a blogger. I don't write blogs, I don't read blogs. I don't follow blogs.  So why did I decided to write a blog detailing my decsion to stop shopping?  Was it the stacks of shoe boxes piled 6 feet high like a cardboard  leaning tower of Pisa about to topple on my head? Or maybe it was clothes in my overstocked closet oozing out  into my living space like some 1950's cult horror film. The real resaon I  decided to write a blog is that in spite of having a closet of beautiful things and looking fabulous  a great deal of the time, I can't pay my  bills .And  likeso  many New Yorkers, residing in one of the world's most expensive cities , I live above my means. It never really bothered me, until my evil creditors due to some banking industry crisis, jacked up my 0% APR's to 15, 18, 21%. And suddenly,despite being fortunate to have maintained employment in a down economy, my bills became harder and harder to pay. Just pay your bills, you say? Well, not so simple. Because I LOVE to shop. I can't stop. It's a form a relaxation, entertainment, stress-reduction and socilaization.  Bloomingdales. Saks and Lord and Taylor  email me  everyday.  They send me free glossy magazines and coupons in the mail. And I think they may even be  following ME on twitter. This blog won't be gloom and doom. I think shopping addiction is a very common yet  minimized affliction. Why? Because unlike drugs, alcohol, gambling , or even sex (poor Tiger), shopping is socially acceptable. Friends admire our cars, jewelry and clothes. We  are supporting our failing economy. And we make the retailers happy.  There are very few supports for us finacially floundering fashionistas. So here I am. to share my laughs , tears and links to all that I want, but probably shouldn't have. I hope you follow along!