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it’s here! 2016 nordstrom anniversary sale is open for all!


For those of you who’ve been (not so) patiently sitting on your hands, listening to all of us yammering on about the things that are sold out and the packages that are arriving, it’s here! Early Access is finally over, and the 2016 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is officially ON, which means you can shop whether you have that pesky Nordstrom card or not.

And about all of that sold-out business….fret not, my friends! First of all, Nordstrom holds back quite a bit of merchandise from the Early Access nuts (*cough*) for this very day – because, let’s face it, if you only got to shop the deserted racks I saw at the store yesterday, there’d be some kind of uprising. Second of all, things get returned, items get replenished by vendors…so if something you love is sold out, just keep checking the site. I can all but guarantee it’ll reappear. Heck, I’m personally returning enough things to restock the entire website. (No, seriously – somehow I ended up with FOUR pair of those Aquatalia boots.)

Before you go getting overwhelmed (there’s a lot to sort through), all of my picks are right here and I’m updating my Shop SMC page with bonus picks every day! But for now, let me just say that the $50 Halogen cardigan is pretty dang great, as are the Rag & Bone Dre jeans on sale. And I’m watching my UPS tracking pretty closely on this Lafayette 148 jacket, because casual layers are so dang hard to get right, and are something my closet desperately needs these days. I’ll report back.

Now, let’s get that cardio!

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Editor’s Picks: 2016 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

It’s here, friends! Early Access for the 2016 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is officially live!

[Oh hey: Even if you aren’t a Nordstrom cardholder yet, you CAN shop Early Access today. Just sign up for the Nordstrom debit card: it’s free, takes 5 minutes and your purchases come right out of your checking account. I know, I know…hoops to jump through. What can I say? Life’s full of hard things.]

Now that that’s handled, let’s get right to my picks for this year! The images are all clickable – technology, yo! – but be sure to read the text too…there was SO MUCH good stuff this year that I couldn’t include pics of everything I loved without crashing your computers. Here we go!

I’m always a little wary of “showstopper” pieces in the Sale, because those are the pieces that you’ll wear to work, only to find your assistant bought the exact same thing. But, I’m craving a statement coat something fierce this year, and those plaids are calling my name. If you’re in the market for a cardi coat, I’d opt for the Eileen Fisher windowpane over the Vince striped version you’ll be tempted to get. It’s more versatile, a bit lighter weight, and much less likely to be ubiquitous come September. Now, that Vince shearling coat, on the other hand? That’s a showstopper worth investing in.

Basics, on the other hand, I’ll buy by the dozen. This year, the Sale’s chock full of staples you’ll live in this fall. There’s so much great denim, I can’t even stand it, plus a few great, easy black skirts – a classic knee-length A-line that’s a steal, and a fantastic ponte Eileen Fisher pencil option. I didn’t love the Vince wide-leg trousers, but I do quite like the DVF version. And that Equipment turtleneck might be called a “minidress”, but we all know it’s a tunic (also known as a perfect excuse to wear leggings to work). Great layering tees, and that little Halogen cardigan? It might not look exciting, but it’s 100% merino wool and $50, so the only debate is how many different colors you can get away with owning. The Pleione “vegan silk” top I recommend every year has been ruined by the addition of a jersey back, so skip it and get the sleeveless Halogen version instead. Last but not least, that Eileen Fisher midi sheath dress is a wardrobe workhorse waiting to happen.

Last year, all I wanted was a decent pair of boots from the Sale, and I was bitterly disappointed. This year, they’re making up for it, big time. I know you guys always get excited about the offerings from Frye, so that Melissa tall boot is going to make you very happy.  The Vince Hallie is a winner, and I’m also digging those tasseled Rag & Bone Margots and the Dolce Vita Sierra (a great budget option). Since I’m going to London later this year, the Aquatalia Farin‘s low, walkable heel and waterproofness is a no-brainer. I’m so not a heels girl, but if I were, the Joie Pippi is awfully fun, yet still versatile. For those of you who are always asking me what boots to wear with tights & skirts, the answer is the Via Spiga Silvie. And I know you’ve been looking for a decent pair of streamlined black sneakers, and the Nike Air Max and those awesome textured Vans are the answer.

Beauty is a very personal business, of course. If there’s a brand you love, you should buy whatever special set they’ve cooked up for the Sale because it’s usually amazing. I’m partial to that Bobbi Brown set, which is a helluva deal and packed with things you’ll actually use. Ditto for the Charlotte Tilbury set, a new-ish line I’ve been dying to test out. The Jo Malone and Diptyque sets would make perfect holiday gifts if you’re inclined to be that organized. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen a T3 hairdryer on sale, so jump on that bad boy if yours is ready for retirement.

One of my favorite things about the Sale is the excuse to stock up on essentials. New leggings and new bras – I get pretty excited about anything from Natori or Chantelle in the Sale. Probably new undies and socks too, while we’re at it. Hanky Pankys as always, of course, but I was very happy to see these micromodal briefs and my all-time fave Smartwool no-show socks in the Sale this year – I’ll be buying stock. (And PS, you should be replacing, not adding to, the older ones in the pile.) I’ve historically been a fan of the Zella leggings (loving this year’s new straight-leg style), but last year’s were icky inferior, so I’m recommending with reservations…and will probably buy these from Brooks as a backup.

Accessories are a little weak this year, but there are a few necklaces you’ll get quite a bit of mileage out of, particularly that Argento Vivo circle collar necklace I know you love but are scared to buy. Do it! Pieces like that are the little things that make an outfit. The handbags this year aren’t bowling me over, but that leopard number from Vince Camuto is pretty darn fun, and the price is fantastic. I’m also crushing pretty hard on this Max Mara scarf, which is neutral enough to go with everything, yet somehow not at all boring.

Now comes the part I love best: what did you buy? Tell me in the comments – you guys always find a few great things I missed, so dish!


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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 and the Charles Gray London edge-to-edge clutch coat in person. And all three of the Mackage coats are going to be quick sellers, and with good reason – they’re incredible. Also, I’m thrilled to see Veronica Beard in the Sale this year! The Cutaway Jacket 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 will probably sell out. I’ll likely skip those in favor of the Rag & Bone Dre boyfriend, 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, which is hilariously similar.
  • Shoes: The Vince Hallie boot 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, so prepare to fight for those too. You’re going to want the Paul Green Jules boot or the Aquatalia Farin. And for bargain buys, the Dolce Vita Sierra and Franco Sarto Garfield are both much cuter than their price tag suggests (which means you can buy both!). I’ve got my eye on a pair of Nike Air Max in solid black and some very promising embossed-leather Vans. Also, finding Adidas Superstars on sale is a rare thing, so if that’s your bag, order early. Oh, and the Hunter wellies 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 (also in white & grey) has serious potential. And I’ve got my eye on the Nadri Liberty necklace and the Gorjana tassel necklace, but as always, need to see in person.
  • 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 a great layering shell from Theory, and I’m hoping the Caroline Issa cashmere is a win – last year’s was way too boxy, so I’m hoping they learned their lesson.
  • Beauty: This year’s Jo Malone set is outstanding, and will sell fast. There’s also a Diptyque candle set you could easily give every woman on your holiday list, if you’re a planner. A killer Bobbi Brown palette, as always. And a T3 blowdryer, 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. 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?


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 season


|  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.


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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!


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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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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