first look: 2016 nordstrom anniversary sale catalog is here!

Can you feel the magic? I’ve been patiently, oh-so-patiently waiting to share this with you, friends – it’s your VERY FIRST LOOK at the full 2016 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Catalog!!

2016 Nordstrom Anniversary Catalog sneak peek!

2016 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Catalog

Early Access starts July 14 (I’ve got all the deets and a handy countdown right here). In the meantime, I’ve been cozied up with the print edition since Friday, whittling down my picks so you’ll have an easy-shop list of the best Anniversary Sale must buys: statement pieces, denim, boots, beauty, lingerie – the whole nine!

First things first: raise your hand if you didn’t get to see the Designer Insert! So annoying, right? If you all want me to post pics, say the word…but honestly, you’re not missing much.

As always, I suspect the best pieces actually aren’t in the catalog at all. And as always, I’m a little wary of a few of the “statement” pieces that did make it into the catalog…because, of course, you’ll be seeing them everywhere come September. This year is more about apparel than any other category – casual, off-duty apparel, to be specific. So, if you’ve been itching to up your weekend game, now’s the time.

Here’s what’s turning me on so far:

  • Coats: I’m looking forward to seeing that Theory graphic tweed car coat (p. 3, Item 5159090) and the Charles Gray London edge-to-edge clutch coat (p. 8, Item 5150407) in person. As basics go, that Mackage wrap coat (p. 17, Item 5152243) is going to be a quick seller, and with good reason. Also, I’m thrilled to see Veronica Beard in the Sale this year! The Cutaway Jacket (p. 5, Item 5158429) has a removable grey fleece dickey, so it looks layered but isn’t at all bulky. The olive stripes make it a little less timeless/versatile than a classic navy…but then again, since you’d wear it with jeans 99% of the time, it might be kind of perfect.
  • Denim: Loads of denim, and the Frame Le High Straights (p. 5, Item 5163142) will probably sell out. I’ll likely skip those in favor of the Rag & Bone Dre boyfriend (p. 32, Item 5148202) with an awfully cute raw hem that should be in style a bit longer than the Frames. Or I’ll save $150 and get the Kut from the Kloth Reese straight leg (p. 43, Item 5146227), which is hilariously similar.
  • Shoes: The Vince Hallie boot (p. 10, Item 5150568) is the one you’ll be sick of seeing (yet will totally regret not buying), so nab it quick – I’m betting it will be one of the first things to sell out. And the Rag & Bone Margots are back in two new colors (p. 10, Items 78616 & 5147783), so prepare to fight for those too. You’re going to want the Paul Green Jules bootie (p. 34, Item 5142812) or the Aquatalia Farin (p. 44, Item 5146973). And for kicking around, the Dolce Vita Sierra (p. 35, Item 5155154) is quite cute and nicely distressed. I’ve got my eye on a pair of Nike Air Max in solid black (p. 31, Item 1041562) and some very promising embossed-leather Vans (p. 31, Item 5040474). Also, Adidas Superstars (p. 31, Item 841205) never go on sale, so if that’s your bag, order early. Oh, and the Hunter wellies (p. 38, Item 5160770) are maybe the cutest version they’ve ever had in the Sale.
  • Accessories: Dismal selection in the catalog, if you ask me. Blink and you’d miss it, but the Rag & Bone Aston mini crossbody (p. 11, Item 5146139 – preview it here in black) has serious potential. And I’ve got my eye on the Nadri pendant necklace (p. 21, Item 5114864) and the Kendra Scott tassel necklace (p. 41, Item 5167922), but as always, need to see in person. Oh, and that Halogen cashmere wrap (p. 45, Item 5115992) is so very Olivia Pope, I have to at least try it out.
  • Staples you’d easily overlook: The Rag & Bone Polly pants (p. 11, Item 5155136) look pretty promising (ah, alliteration) as one of those “I can’t wear leggings to work” standbys. There are some nice Vince wide leg trousers (p. 12, Item 5149622), but honestly, I’m pretty in love with the ones I just bought at Next (bought in both colors, thankyouverymuch), and they were only $46! There’s also a great layering tank from Eileen Fisher (p. 14, Item 5158736) and a pair of leggings (p. 14, Item 5158694) I’ll be investigating further. Also looking into that Caroline Issa cashmere v-neck (p. 40, Item 5111204) – last year’s was way too boxy, but I’m hoping they learned their lesson.
  • Beauty: This year’s Jo Malone set (p. 59, Item 5149354) is outstanding, and will sell fast. There’s also a Diptyque candle set (p. 59, Item 5149353) you could easily give every woman on your holiday list, if you’re a planner. A killer Bobbi Brown palette (p. 60, Item 5155395), as always. And a T3 blowdryer for $139 (p. 63, Item 5150049), which is good news.

What to skip? The Tory Burch leather goods look like the quality is really lacking, even in the online pics. Really, all of the bags are looking unimpressive if you ask me. Also, I’d avoid the slew of awkwardly-cropped trousers. You’re going to want that Bernardo bouclé coat (p. 16, Item 513376) to be cuter than it is, but I have a feeling it’s more orange than red IRL. And most of the work clothes are so boring, they just make me sad.

What about you, friends? What’s topping your must-have list so far?

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when does the 2016 nordstrom anniversary sale start?

nordstrom-anniversary-sale-2016

What’s new, pussycat? I know, I know…I’ve been gone a while. Not because I don’t love you all dearly! You know I do. But things are changing in my world, and that means things are changing here too. (But if you miss me, or you want to see how the house turned out, I’m still bein’ all social and stuff. Especially on Instagram…)

But! I’m popping my head up briefly because I’ve been getting more and more emails and tweets and carrier pigeons from some of you dear readers recently, and I’d never ever let those go by without a response.

“When does the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale start?,” you want to know.

And since I have a bit of a reputation around this subject (…ahem…), I decided to come out of hiding to give you the lowdown:

July 13, 2016: Level 4 (i.e., VVIP) Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Presale starts (in-store only).

July 14, 2016: Early Access (for all Nordstrom cardholders) starts online at 12:01 AM Pacific Time.

July 22 – August 7, 2016: 2016 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale opens for everyone!

Yes, I realize this makes me the sartorial equivalent of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Groundhog, only popping my head out to provide a snippet of information you may or may not have needed before you arrange your summer vacation plans. Because…priorities.

And though I can’t promise the full-court press of yesteryear, I do solemnly swear to be your one-stop source for the very earliest sneak peek at the 2016 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale goods, just like always. I mean, I couldn’t possibly let you down. So, definitely stay tuned. And if there’s anything you’re specifically looking for this year, leave a comment or drop me a line (here or here) and I’ll make sure to keep an eye out just for you.

For now, I’d say it’s time to start the countdown!

 

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a quiet holiday

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|  Photo by Joseph O. Holmes, c/o 20×200  |

“It came without ribbons.
It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags.”

Moving into a new house two weeks before Christmas…hoo boy, what was I thinking?

I haven’t baked a single cookie, haven’t mailed a holiday card. My Christmas tree is safely ensconced in the mountain of boxes in my garage, where I suspect it will remain until next December.

By now, my kitchen should be bustling, filled with homemade caramels and kitschy tins of Chex Mix. Instead, the fact that I can see my countertops feels like the greatest Christmas miracle of all.

The Hubs and I decided to skip gifts this year. The two of us are spent, in every possible sense of the word. I can’t even find the energy to choose towel bars, let alone pick out a gift that shows him how much I appreciate the unfathomable amounts of time, energy and patience he’s put into making this house perfect. (Lesson One: no house is perfect, not ever.)

In fact, come to think of it, I haven’t bought a gift. Period. Not for anyone. It’s almost unthinkable.

And yet… Somehow, even without ribbons and tags, Christmas creeps in. In between the mountains of stresses and boxes and drama, it shows up in the most surprising ways.

It’s different without presents, without a tree, without my grandmother’s Nutcracker on the mantle. It’s quieter. More subtle and soft – peripheral, almost. But it’s there. And every so often, I catch a glimpse.

A dear friend drove an hour out of her way to bring me a miniature tree her adorable daughters helped her decorate for me. And as the Hubs and I wandered Union Square one evening last weekend, I watched a half dozen strangers drop their shopping bags on the sidewalk to rush to the rescue of a car that broke down in the middle of the busiest street in downtown San Francisco. For anyone who’s ever lived in a big city, if that isn’t a Christmas miracle, I don’t know what is.

And speaking of Christmas miracles… Slowly but surely, just as all of you promised me it would, this house is becoming home. The pile of boxes is shrinking, and the pile of checkmarks on my to-do list is growing. Last night, I finally cooked dinner in our new kitchen (oh, do I love it!), and when I was done, I realized the smell of fresh paint had given way to the smell of fresh-baked cornbread.

I miss the usual holiday fanfare, I can’t deny it. But this quieter Christmas has its charms. Curling up on the sofa to watch a movie in between loads of laundry. Getting a quick fix of carols on the car radio between errands. Anxiously awaiting the fireplace installation, in the hopes that St. Nick will see a gas log flickering in our hearth.

However your holiday comes to you this year, my friends – whether it’s filled with sugarplum fairies and tinsel or whether Christmas morning brings nothing more than a quiet cup of tea with someone you love – I wish you joy. So very, very much joy, and a new year filled with possibility. Over these last ten years, you all have brought me more joy and more possibility than you’ll ever know, just by being your amazing selves. I’m profoundly grateful, today and every day, for the love and support you’re never shy about sharing with me.

Happy holidays, my friends – whatever you celebrate. May they be merry and bright, and filled with love.

xox,
B

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4 design books worth your dime

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I’ve been waiting for this bad boy to come out for SIX months! It’s finally here, and it totally lives up to the hype. So many design books make me crazy – they’re impossibly perfect and offer no useful advice. If you’re curious, I made a list of the only 4 I’ve read that have actually been helpful during this reno. Great aspirational photos, ideas that can actually be pared down and recreated, plus oodles of real-world advice (snaps to Remodelista & Emily Henderson in particular for making this process slightly less terrifying).

You should probably just buy them all for yourself. Right now. In fact, here are some links:

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giving thanks, and why i’m skipping black friday

fall leaves shoppingsmycardio|  via Instagram  |

Am I the only one who’s already stressed about the holidays, and they haven’t even technically started yet?

Didn’t think so.

Seriously. I’ve been getting Black Friday emails in my inbox since last week. And most of the sales have already started! It’s getting so out of control, I found myself siding with those hippie-crunchies over at REI for possibly the first time ever.

I need a breather, friends. And I’m guessing you do too. This has been a rough month for me. Health drama, house drama, family drama…I’m in one of those life phases when you’re convinced the universe has it in for you. And the truth is, I’m getting a little too good at wallowing in my own crap for my own good.

So this year, I’m taking Black Friday off. Ditto for Small Business Saturday (which you should absolutely support, btw), Cyber Monday, and whatever other panic-inducing schemes retailers have concocted to make you feel like you’re going to miss out on something unmissable if you don’t give them all your money rightthissecond.

I mean, I can’t lie: if you do shop, I’d be super grateful if you’d use a few of my affiliate links at some point, since it turns out running a website is sort of expensive. (I’ll list a few below that I already know will have knock-your-socks-off deals happening, or just click any of the pretty pictures on your right.)

But you know what else would be okay? Not doing any of that.

Here’s my big idea: Let’s make this weekend our breather. Instead of a frenzy of parking lots and coupon codes and early bird specials, go see a stupid movie (or a great one). Take your dogs for a hike. Buy yourself a book you’ve been dying to read, open the good wine, and don’t talk to a single soul for an entire hour.

This Thanksgiving, I’m going to try try try to find the gratitude. It’s going to be uphill, for sure. But I’m going to do my darnedest to remember what my grandfather would be saying to me right now, which would be some variation of reminding me to look on the bright side, and to remember that there’s actually very little in this crazy world over which I have any control at all. Which is both horrifying and strangely comforting.

I’m grateful for friends who haven’t given up on me yet, despite the fact that I’m not the most fun person to hang out with these days. I’m grateful for yoga pants and sneakers having been deemed “athleisure” by the fashion set (thanks, Eva!), because it means that my sore stomach and joints get some relief without my having to feel like a total schlub. And I’m grateful for fall‘s crisp air and red leaves, which clear my mind and lift my spirits every time.

And, as I am every other day of the year, I’m grateful for you. Thanks for all you do to lift my spirits every day, friends. I wouldn’t be the same without you.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone!

xox,
B

PS: Behold, the links you could click if you just can’t resist a sale and want to support SMC:

  • Amazon (got a sneak peek at their sales, and they’re great this year)
  • Shopbop (spend some, save some)
  • Nordstrom (always a mystery, but always worth a look)
  • Jonathan Adler (20% off sitewide)
  • Cusp (40%+ off)
  • Saks (I’m betting on a sitewide discount)
  • Tory Burch (spend some, save some)
  • James Perse (if you’re buying for everyone else, might as well treat yo’self)
  • Net-A-Porter (a mighty, mighty good sale going on.)

Thanks, friends. I owe you one!

 

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postcard

|  via Instagram  |
This is not my beautiful house, but that IS my beautiful custom table, which my amazeballs hubs designed for me when I had a panic attack about the dimensions of our new dining room and how badly our now-former interior designer botched the plans. Renovations are hard, yo.
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drop the act!

One of the things I have truly loved about writing this blog is the friends I’ve made along the way. Real live, in-person friends? Absolutely. But I also have a stalwart crew of amazing women who have become dear friends and people I truly admire…whom I’ve never clapped eyes on.

Beth Thomas Cohen is one of my dearest “blog friends”. She ran a fantastic PR firm for years with her bestie, and was one of the people who believed in SMC and what I was trying to do almost from Day One. Plus, she’s hilarious, brilliant and doesn’t suffer fools. How could I not love her?

So, when Beth told me she’d written a book, I was thrilled for her (and, okay, mildly jealous. The book’s about being more honest, after all.). When she told me the title, I laughed out loud and said, “Hey, how about you write something for my readers?” She immediately agreed, and we decided the thing to talk about would be how much time we all spend pretending to be a different version of ourselves on social media…which is, as you might recall, a topic I have some feelings about.

Beth’s fantastic new book, Drop the Act, It’s Exhausting!, is out this week, and it’s jam-packed with all of the sassy, savvy, real-life advice you need to keep yourself on the track to sanity. Reading it is exactly how I imagine a dinner date with Beth would be. And by the time I’d turned the last page, I was ready to hop on a plane to do just that.

Below is the piece Beth wrote for us. Read it, love it, buy the book.

drop-the-act

The Act: I’m Throwing a Social Masquerade Party!

Why To Drop It: Because you don’t need to be at any party where you hide your true self behind a mask

I find it fascinating that the world we live in is filled with amazingly different types of personalities and people…and we waste the diversity by not getting along. Whether it’s politics, race, religion, socio-economic differences, you name it, we keep overlooking that we all have a giant thing in common: the need to be accepted.

I see this need for acceptance play out every day on social media. I mean, can you get more literal than using “likes” and “followers” as a gauge of your value? I’m no different. I too want to be liked and “followed” on social media. I can go through my Instagram feed, find a person from Qatar and see that his group of friends are having a better time than my group of friends here in NYC, and immediately feel jealousy creep in. His picture of his friends at a bar has 837 likes? Mine only has 43. What’s wrong with me?! But something dawned on me one recent morning at the beach:

Maybe those guys in Qatar were full of shit.

A few college-age girls strutted out from their car toward the shore with their obnoxious “selfie stick” in hand, took a few shots in front of the waves and another few by the boardwalk, got back into their car and drove away. I’m presuming they posted their five-minute photo shoot as an actual experience that others, like me, will actually be jealous of.

Drop the act! How is that considered “connection”? Last month I turned 40, smack in the middle of the teeter totter of life. And suddenly, instead of throwing up pointless posts, I found myself stopping and remembering the point of social media: to mix with others, not masquerade.

We have a duty to everyone to make sure that the intention behind showing our fun, our successes and acquisitions is not to make others feel small. We need to be sharing important messages mixed in with the fun. We need to use social media as a catalyst to spark important conversations, share charitable ideas, and build self-esteem. If we used social media as a platform for more important messages, life might be a little bit sweeter. Everyone might just feel better about themselves, without needing outside approval.

In my book, I talk about the masks we wear all day, every day. And social media? It’s one hell of a convincing mask. So, what if we stopped using social media as a masquerade? Try it. Not only will you discover who your “friends” really are and what you actually “like”, you’ll learn a whole lot more about yourself in the process.

Drop the Act, It’s Exhausting: Free Yourself from Your So- Called Put-together Life, by Beth Thomas Cohen, is available this very moment on Amazon and at all kinds of awesome indy bookstores, which you should absolutely support whenever possible.

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