Tag Archives: le train bleu

cheap thrills: fall coat bargains

My weakness for a good coat is a poorly-kept secret in these parts – you’ve all seen me covet one pricey version after another over the years. While I often advocate investment-quality outerwear, I’m a big believer in finding room in your closet for a few great bargain finds too.

In general, my advice is to scrimp on trendier styles, and save your splurge for something classic – a camel overcoat or a black trench, for example. But none of us can survive an entire season without a little variety – after all, for at least 5 months of the year, all anyone sees of me is a coat, a pair of jeans, and my shoes. So that coat has to count! And that means having options. I wish I could splurge on each and every one, but until that lottery win happens, here are a few of my favorite bargain finds for the season.

1. Talbots has some gorgeous fall coats this season, and they’re all on sale right now (up to 50% off full price styles through the end of today, in fact!). I fell hard for this blue tweed overcoat when I first spotted it – the cut and that rich fabric make this look infinitely more luxe than it’s $220 pricetag.

2. Le Train Bleu is one of my favorite under-the-radar spots for trendy pieces at bargain prices. Owner Bria has a knack for tracking down pieces that look and feel one-of-a-kind, at prices that never fail to shock me. This bold plaid double-breasted style is one of my favorites of the season, and it’s only $113!

3. I almost can’t believe this chic leopard print coat is only $55, but it’s true. The darker animal print is infinitely more wearable than some of its flashier counterparts, and the cut makes this perfect for day or evening (I’m a big believer in pairing dressy coats with casual ensembles).

4. Red is such a great color for cold weather – all that black and grey can be depressing, but it’s impossible not to be happy when you’re wearing red. The tailoring of this classic military-style wool topper is what makes it stand out from the crowd. No one would ever believe you spent under $100 for this beauty.

5. In general, I’m skeptical of J.Crew’s “online factory outlet”. The prices never seem that outstanding, and I hate stores that have pieces that are especially made for their outlet. But my personal griping aside, this hip little peacoat offers an awful lot of style for $146 (with code MUSTHAVE) – I love the faux fur collar, and the army green hue is a perfect weekend neutral. {Update: Looks like MUSTHAVE isn’t valid today, but in my experience, if you call and ask, J.Crew will extend it for you as a courtesy.}

Any bargain fall coats on your radar? Share them in the comments – I love a good cheap thrill!

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friday finds

I am so positively ready for this weekend, friends…it’s been one of those weeks.  And my mom’s coming to town tomorrow, so I’m especially looking forward to one of those fun weekends of shopping, eating out, and being just a little bit spoiled that we all look forward to when our parents come to town.  So, forgive me if this week’s list is a bit more succinct…I still have to clean the guest room.

Since we had such a serious beauty splurge this week, I thought I’d make it up to you with a steal.  These new spring treats from Sonia Kashuk for Target are just as sweet as can be.  I particularly love the Gold Mine brush set ($25) – the wooden handles give the brushes a luxe feel, and the holder could easily double as a minaudiere for outdoor summer parties.  And the Spring Awakenings makeup palette ($20) is packed with useful colors, and so complete, it could be the only thing you pack in your overnight bag.  Plus, it has that same adorable woven wicker on the outside.

I literally just received an email from Le Train Bleu, a favorite shop of mine, letting me know about a new arrival, and it’s too good not to share.  Every single thing I buy there garners oodles of compliments (in fact, my mom once stole a Le Train Bleu cardigan right off my back!), and I never see it being worn by someone else.  These enamel lockets are brand new in the shop, and I’m completely smitten.  If only I could figure out how to choose between coral and cobalt.

To say that I don’t need more plates in my life would be an understatement…in fact, I think I’d have to start storing them in the fireplace (hey, that’s an idea…).  But the new spring dishware at West Elm is so beautiful, I’m having a very hard time resisting.  They’re also on sale.  Quel torture!

That’s it, friends.  Have a wonderful weekend, whatever you’re doing. I hope there’s sun in your Sunday this week…my mom will never forgive me if Portland doesn’t see a bit of spring sunshine while she’s in town!

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friday finds

happy friday, dear readers!  i hope you enjoy this week’s collection…i may not be able to stop myself from buying nearly all of this week’s finds, but fortunately, i think i’m priced out of at least one.

i got an email that my lovely le train bleu is celebrating its ninth birthday this month (by offering 30% off sitewide! code is “number9”), and couldn’t resist a stroll through their virtual racks.  it could be these amazing photos, but i’m going absolutely crazy for this bande a part coat, and have been trying to convince myself that adding just one more to my closet can’t possibly hurt.  it’s not a lie if you believe it.

loving this mod reinterpretation of a classic strand of pearls from etten eller. you could pair this with the preppiest of looks to give it just a touch of downtown edge, without letting go of your uptown roots.

i noticed this ruffle cardigan in the gap recently, and did a double-take because it seemed so out of place.  it reminds me so much of a piece by clu or 3.1 philip lim or alexandar wang, but there it was, right in the middle of the gap and selling for $79.50.  they’re calling it a cardi, but it’s really more of a jacket to my eye.  what an amazing transition piece for spring…jeans and tees now, obviously, but how sweet layered over a floral dress in the summer, as a fashion-forward alternative to the biker jacket everyone else will be wearing.  that hazy purple is still around in stores…but i’d move fast.

and last but not least, did you hear that john robshaw had designed some pieces for lucky brand jeans?  as usual, his block print fabrics are utterly dreamy to look at, and i confess that i’ve always wanted to swathe my entire body in one of his quilts.  these new styles will be considerably more chic than wearing a quilt, and unbelievably perfect for summer.  my favorite is this tunic dress – i’m dying to be a tunic girl like tory burch.  i’d never wear it solo, as i am not 17 or a runway model.  but i do love it styled with denim shorts or a slim pant.

have a great weekend, everyone…and happy valentine’s day!  i hope you have the good sense to buy yourself some chocolate and flowers in celebration…that’s what it’s all about, after all.

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how i spent my christmas vacation

am i the only one that remembers writing those “how i spent my vacation” essays in grade school?  i thought not.

welcome back, all!  i hope you had a fabulous holiday…i know i did.  i thought i’d share a few little highlights with you from my week(s) away.

i had a wonderful christmas, full of cozy time with my hubs and the rest of my family, and packed with treats and goodies i didn’t even know i couldn’t live without.  my sweet hubs hooked me up with a gargantuan tub of my favorite cadbury heroes (a british mix of bite-sized cadbury delights), and also made me – from scratch, dear readers – chocolate and graham-covered marshmallows.  i have asked him never to make them again, as they disappeared at a frightening rate.  fortunately, i think he knows i didn’t mean a word of it.

(image borrowed from life’s ambrosia, as i sadly forgot to take a photo. but you get the idea.)

i also got a fancy new camera memory card that automatically transfers photos from my camera to flickr, without my having to do a thing.  it’s like magic. what this means for you is that i might actually be posting photos i didn’t borrow elsewhere!  like, say, a photo of the beautiful new earrings i got for christmas:

i also got a second pair of what may have been my favorite purchase all year:  my rachel comey mars boots.  i bought them first in stamped nougat (the very last pair in the universe, i think), and was wearing them so faithfully, i decided i had to nab a second pair in black before they were gone.  it was a major feat of shopping to find them (curse these giant feet of mine!), but thanks to mick margo (and my sweet mom), they’re all mine!

next, we headed to northern california for a few days of rest and relaxation with my family.  but i did manage to make the world’s quickest detour into san francisco…had to make a little stop at my beloved barneys, have lunch at the neiman marcus rotunda, and nab some macarons at miette.  missions accomplished…

…and then some!  i managed to track down a scarf i’ve been wanting for months…and on sale, no less!  it’s like barneys knew i was coming.

those little greyhounds in their cute coats…how could i resist?!

while i was in cali, i also got to debut my new elm cardigan from le train bleu. it was love at first sight with this one – that fair isle/native american pattern is so striking, and the striped lapel just makes me swoon!  apparently i wasn’t alone…my stylish mom literally stole it off my back, and i was forced to order a replacement.  thankfully, the brilliant bria at le train bleu managed to get a few more in stock. i’m counting the minutes until my replacement arrives!

now i’m home, and ever so slowly getting back into the swing of things….though i admit, i’m moving like molasses.  it’s just too cold here in portland to focus on anything, really.  except maybe a piping hot cappuccino.

what about you, dear readers?  how were your holidays?  i’d love to hear all about them!

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friday finds: cozying up to fall

now that we’re officially into that crisp fall weather (my absolute favorite time of year), i thought i’d dedicate this week’s friday finds to all things cozy and warm.  sounds just right at that time of year when you suddenly want suede elbow patches on all of your sweaters, and nothing sounds better than a fireplace and a glass of wine.  so grab your mug of hot cider (or your box of franzia), and read on.

shopbop did a fabulous lookbook of their best outerwear this week, and i swooned many times.  but the piece that really caught my eye was this short-sleeved faux fur by wink ($288).  i know, the fur trend is a little scary.  but this might be the perfect starter faux if you ask me – i love how casually it’s styled, and i think a real person could actually pull this look off.  plus, when the trend dies, this one would still work wonders with a cocktail frock.

since i basically only wear socks with boots, i tend to veer toward a little fun in my knit footwear.  these sweet socks from lisa b. ($19+) are pricey enough you wouldn’t want to lose their mate, but think of the warm fuzzy feeling when you put these on in the morning.  it’d be almost as good as coffee.

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this red plaid blouse has that back-to-school, fall days quality i’m looking for this time of year.  i just adore the peter pan collar and that contrasting placket…so sweet!  i’d love to see it layered with a great tweed jacket or a grey cardi, and maybe a fun pleated skirt. or dark skinny jeans.

and, speaking of plaid, i have been head over heels for this see by chloe plaid coat since i first laid eyes on it.  in fact, it’s sitting in my dining room this very moment.  alas, it’s going back…this style would work best on a girl with a slightly smaller chest.  but it’s unbelievably pretty in person, and unbelievably cheap at the outnet right now.  let me know if you need a size 8.

this really has nothing to do with fall…i can’t think of a single tie-in.  but this giles and brother chevron necklace is absolutely gorgeous, even if it is $345, and i’ve had it planned for ‘friday finds’ since i spotted it earlier this week.  so there it is.

have a great weekend, everyone!

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friday finds: the july 4th sale edition

i can’t even begin to get into all of the sale wonderfulness going on across the web this weekend – it is, after all, the holiday weekend during which we celebrate our forefathers’ dedication to bargain shoe shopping for all.


anyway.  first up, sigerson morrison (and it’s baby sister, belle) are now down to 50% off online.  this translates to $200-300 shoes from sigerson, and a big pile of under-$100 options from belle.  too good to pass up?  unquestionably.  now if only they’d mark down my booties already!  (a little tip: their sale page is quite temperamental, but if you plug in your preferred size, it seems to calm down dramatically.)  the styles below are all from belle, and all under $125:

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and the next most exciting sale on my list is allsaints, who i’ve raved about before.  those sale-shopping geniuses over at racked pointed out that their styles are now up to 50% off online, *and* you get free shipping in the US – a very exciting thing indeed, since they’re based in the UK.  in particular, the luna dress and, though it’s a little out of character, the devanna skirt, are both high on my list, as is the suesha cardigan, though i’m more than a little scared i couldn’t actually figure out how to wear it.

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other sales and steals of note include:

  • le train bleu:  25% off sitewide this weekend with code onefourth
  • basic boutique:  40% off sitewide (excluding final sale items) through monday with code CELEBRATE40
  • blue bee:  a big ol’ sale section up to 70% off for the next few days, priced as marked.
  • shopbop:  a whole new batch of markdowns hit the site in celebration of the 4th, and there are some goodies to be had!

if other deals cross my path, i’ll most likely be too lazy to update this page.  so, i’ll throw them up on my twitter feed – in case you needed more incentive to follow me.

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a banner week, and it’s only wednesday

it’s getting to be a pretty epic week here in stumptown…all of my favorite things in life are magically converging, to the point that i finally had to share.

first, i finally (FINALLY!) have internet and cable again, after a considerably long time in the dark after our move.  i’ve never really considered myself to be a person that thrives on the .www or on television…but it turns out, i was wrong.  in fact, we even got hbo…and as i was scrolling through my newfound options, my head nearly exploded.  the technology, she is good.

earlier this week, i got to check out sex and the city 2 with my friend, the fabulously talented westmama.  while we were both sorely disappointed in the fashion, the interior design was pretty much awesome.  and really, let’s face it, even a so-so two hours with carrie and the gang still makes for an excellent afternoon.

if you’re feeling extra loyal to the fab foursome, i have to admit that there are some fun merchandising options floating around.  how cute are those little foldable after-party flats?  and i have to admit, i’m sort of tempted to nab that stiletto pendant by dogeared…since i adore the heel but hate the discomfort, maybe this is a good way to declare my loyalty without sacrificing my toes.

then, yesterday, i visited the one-week-only pop-up shop for le train bleu, one of my favorite online window-shopping haunts.  let’s just say the “window” part of that sentence went, well, out the window when i stopped by.  an hour later, i emerged bleary-eyed but sated, with an unbelievably flattering new dress, and some fabulous new jewelry that i may not be cool enough to wear, but i plan to try anyway.

if you’re in portland or nearby, the shop’s open through sunday…there are loads of one-of-a-kinds and severely discounted goodies that are not to be missed.  and if you’re not local, well, you should still buy the dress online (looks like code hellooooosummer is still working for 40% off as of now).  it’s not much to look at on a mannequin, but on a person?  very, very good…and a total steal.  in fact, it’s only slightly less wonderful than this one i mentioned a few weeks back.  sadly, trying that one on was one of those times i wished for a slightly smaller chest. if you’re more proportionately endowed than i am, i can not overstate how awesome the eskell dress was when i tried it on.

and if all that wasn’t enough, now i’m headed out to hear my all-time most idolized person (we’re talking “what one person would you invite to your fantasy tea party” idolizing here), dr. maya angelou, speak tonight.  yeah, i really should have led with that one, as it’s definitely topping my list at present.

yep, good times in the land of eternal rain…seriously, isn’t it summer yet?

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random friday finds

i’m resurrecting this end-of-the-week mishmash of my latest favorite things…but i think we need a better title, don’t you?  suggestions?

to start, i can’t forget to tell all of you that bloomingdales is having its annual friends & family sale through sunday 3/28.  you can nab 20% off just about everything with code BFF.  there are just too many finds to post, but trust me…it’s worth a look!

british chef jamie oliver makes my favorites list this week not just because i have a huge tv crush on him (and i do).  it’s partially because of his new cookbook, jamie’s food revolution, which is full of some great recipes that are easy and fast, including loads of excellent curry recipes, which are hard to come by.  but also, my tv crush is coming back to tv!  he has a new show coming on that starts tonight on abc, and i can’t wait!

speaking of crushes, i have an official crush on this dress by eskell (courtesy of the always-enticing le train bleu):

normally, i am thoroughly unenthused by warm-weather attire.  but this dress is utter perfection. for those of you dying to try the bold layering/color contrasting trends that are so hot this spring, this dress is a foolproof way to go about it.  it would so easily go from office to weekend with just a change of shoes, and it has the most flattering cut i could imagine!

i’m almost embarrassed to show you this scarf by yigal azrouel, because it is so hideously expensive ($380.  i know, i know.):

but then, it’s soooo beautiful, how could i not share?  oh scarf, the lovely things i could do with you…all my jeans and tees would suddenly be chic and perfect. (and by the way, yes, the expression on that model’s face does make you think that maybe you accidentally slept with her boyfriend.)

as penance for making you lust after a $400 scarf, i’m going to show you my favorite bag for the summer (ahem…well, so far, at least), which happens to be an utter steal.

i love everything about this bag from mothology – the rough cotton/hemp cloth, the nautical french stripe, the leather handle…it’s total warm-weather perfection, and it’s only $82.  it reminds me of something elegant ladies would carry to the seashore.

have a fabulous weekend, all!

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