Lululemon Warehouse Sale

I just got back from the Lululemon Warehouse Sale in Chicago and I’M ALIVE! I have to say, it went better than I expected. I went with my friend Rachel – here’s our haul:

Some details for all of you going this weekend:

Outfit
First things first – you need the perfect sample sale outfit. I wore leggings, old sneakers that are easy to slip on and off, a cami and a long cardigan with zipped pockets for my phone, id and money. It made things super easy to try on.

Line
We got to the sale a little after 1pm and waited somewhere around 1-1.5 hours in line. It really wasn’t that bad after all the hype I’d heard – it felt like the line moved quickly. However, it seems people who got to the sale between 9am-11am got hit with the hardest lines and waited closer to 3 hours (yikes).

The line is a one in, one out situation, so once you’re inside the sale it never feels overcrowded. No need to throw ‘bows or anything. Although I did stalk a worker who was wheeling out a brand new rack of clothes in my size. A pack of us immediately swarmed her – so yeah, that got a little weird.

When we were leaving the sale around 4pm, there was barely a line – seriously, like a 10 minute wait. Very surprising, but going later in the day could be an interesting strategy to try.

Pants
All long pants are $55 and cropped pants are $45. Everything is organized by size, so it makes it easy. If you’re looking for Groove pants (like I was) they have tons of cropped styles but long Groove pants in black were harder to come by (I refuse to get grey as anything other than black emphasizes areas that do not need to be emphasized). I did find a pair in my size though with my hawk eyes. They have tons of Astro pants and other styles. No Wunder Unders, though.

I haven’t previously owned Lululemon pants because I couldn’t bring myself to shell out the cash for them. I was having a conversation with Rachel about what size I should get because I felt I could go either way, and multiple women in the dressing room overheard us (you get friendly pretty fast in this kind of situation). If you’re in between sizes, they said to always size down in Lululemon pants. If they’re even slightly too big, you’ll be pulling them up during your workout. Ugh.

Tops
Lots of cute tops. They get a little “samey” after awhile (they basically had 15 styles or so in different colors, so you see the same ones over and over) but I liked the selection, so I’m not complaining. All tops are $36.

Accessories
Rachel picked up a yoga towel ($9), a cute bag for her mom ($49) and a hooded scarf that I might be regretting not purchasing right now ($9). I didn’t see any headbands left, but those were supposedly $4. Sports bras are $22 and they have tons. They also have water bottles, socks and probably some other things, but I wasn’t that interested in the accessories, to be honest.

Scuba Sweatshirts
These are right up in front and $70. I wasn’t interested and didn’t even really look at these, but Rachel found a cute grey one with sparkles – very her.

Men’s
If you’re a guy, I wouldn’t bother with this sale. Granted, I didn’t really look, but it was definitely weak.

Tutus
Apparently Lululemon sells tutus in their stores, which must not have done well (um, for the obvious reason?) because they were giving them away for free in line. While standing in line, if a worker asks if you want to participate in a competition, say yes. You’ll get a free tutu for doing whatever it is. Rachel and I did a plank competition. It nearly killed me (while seemingly not phasing the crazy lady next to us who wanted to keep going) but hey, we got free tutus! It retails for $98 (that sh*t cray) and they were also selling them for $29 at the sale if you really want one.

And no, of course I have no idea what I’m going to do with this tutu now.

Dressing Room
It’s community. Same as any other sample sale. There were a decent amount of mirrors, but as usual there should have been twice as many. There is no limit to the amount you can bring in, so I say load up your arms so you only have to go in once. Note: You have to take the hangers off all of your items before you go in, which is annoying.

Pricing

So that’s it! I’m assuming Saturday and Sunday will be more crowded, but I think it’s worth it – within reason. Don’t go crazy, because even though prices were about 50% off, it all still adds up. Fast. I definitely held back and ended up with two pairs of pants and two tops, and I’m a happy lil clam right now.

Uh, I guess this means I have to work out now.

 

 

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Fashionable Cupcakes

Last night, some of my friends and I went to a Cupcakes and Cocktails class at Give Me Some Sugar in Chicago. It was so much fun and a great way to let some creativity out – I highly recommend. Our cupcakes were so stylish, they transcend mere food and have made their way into cupcake fashion.

Chef Alekka taught us to steady our wrists.

Practicing our technique.

The best part was learning how to make a rose. It looked impossible, but it magically came together.

Todd and I immediately ate three cupcakes when I got home. Now I have four left to stare at.

I must have been channeling Kristen Wiig because I even wore a similar striped shirt!

In honor of my sister’s birthday today, Lauren, I am giving you my most fashionable cupcake.

Happy birthday, Lauren!

Lara Miller Blogger Party

This week has already been full of firsts for me. Not only did I join the Chicago Blogger Network, I attended my first blogger event. CBN was hosting a blogger party with Lara Miller, who is one of the few major fashion designers based in Chicago – her studio is right in Wrigleyville! She works out of her old apartment space, which she converted into a studio. She has racks upon racks of her clothing in the building’s massive basement, so it has this industrial-chic vibe to it. I absolutely love that she stuck to her roots and has a working studio in Chicago.

This is the first event for bloggers I’ve ever attended and I’m so glad I did. I heard about it at the last minute, so I signed up without having time to think about how I’m terrified to show up to anything that can be construed as “social” without the protection of a pack. Of course, it was fine and everyone was so nice!

For the event, we style looks from her new Spring 2012 collection along with any pieces from her past collections that we wanted. It was so much fun – we basically all just played dress up, had our hair and makeup done, and then a photographer snapped some shots!

Here’s me browsing. The new collection is really bright and colorful, while her past collections are filled with very wearable neutrals. The Lara Miller line is available at Macy’s on State St., Pivot Boutique, p.45 and a few others in Chicago.

We had our hair and makeup done for the photos, and Lara is going to use some of them for her lookbook – here’s me getting a big pouf!

I’m wearing what I believe is the Callie cardigan from Lara’s Spring 2012 collection here. It can be worn like, 18 different ways, I kid you not. I can’t stop thinking about this piece and how much I loved it. I believe it’s made out of bamboo, which is so incredibly soft. Lara, you should really consider developing a home line with blankets and throws made out of this stuff! The necklace is also a Lara Miller creation, which can be worn as a shown, as a bracelet, in your hair or as a belt. I’m also wearing Lara Miller black shorts, opaque black tights and black ankle boots. I thought it was a cute look to transition into spring!

Lara and I (and my hair, which needs it’s own photo credit!)

I have to mention another thing I know from meeting Lara previously, which is that all of her pieces are eco-friendly. Lara is really leading the charge in eco-fashion and I really respect that. The way most clothing is manufactured is harmful to the earth and the fashion industry as a whole is incredibly wasteful. I bet you would have realized that on your own if you thought about it, but it’s people like Lara who get us thinking.

Here’s a quote from my past interview with Lara that I’ll leave you with:

“I really think there is something to be said about investing in pieces you feel really strongly about versus buying 20 throwaway garments from Target—and then literally throwing them away into a landfill.”

It’s so true, and I’m constantly struggling to find the balance between spending money on pieces that last and my constant need for new, new, new, which can only be satisfied by the cheap stuff. It’s a huge basis for this blog!

What do you guys think?

DIY Neon Jewelry

Neon makes me happy. It’s just so fun and cheerful and brings back good nostalgia. I love how this trend (which was big on the Spring 2012 runways) is finding its way into fashion, home decor, beauty, everywhere. Just a small pop looks great, especially when combined with neutrals.

1. Sorakeem 2. A Pair & A Spare 3. Apartment Therapy

So in an attempt to lift the winter blues by burning my retinas with color, I attempted a little DIY project inspired by A Pair & A Spare. I’ve had these white earrings for more than a few years and I’ve only found the right occasion to wear them a handful of times. They’re just so white.

I also had this necklace that was screaming for color:

To start, I bought some spray paint while I was out in the burbs. Tip: Don’t buy spray paint at craft stores. They sell the same stuff for half the price at Menards and Home Depot, plus they have a way bigger selection.

Another tip: You really need to spray outdoors unless you want to feel like you’re dying a slow death.This is definitely a better summer project unless like me, you like sticking one arm outside to spray and then closing the door really fast.

For the earrings, I decided to spray the top half gold and the bottom half hot pink. I used painters tape to cover the bottom portion of the earrings as well as the hook part that goes in the ear. The gold paint went on perfectly in one coat. After it dried, I sprayed the bottom half in hot pink, which took a couple of layers.

For the necklace, I wanted to just do the bottom portion in neon yellow. Since these links were black, I had to start with primer, followed by multiple layers of yellow. Many, many layers of yellow. This project really tested my patience and I landed up working on it on and off all week.

The painters tape wasn’t very useful and I had to carefully go back and touch up the ends. I used this stuff called “Goof Off” which is like Goo Gone but way stronger because it also removes paint. Have it handy if you attempt a project like this. Or better yet, just spray the entire necklace and you won’t have to worry about it.

The final result:

 

I loved this project because I took something I probably wasn’t going to wear again and turned it into something I’m excited to put on.

Who wants to go cosmic bowling?

Our Wedding on SMP

When I was wedding planning, StyleMePretty.com was my crack. I went to this website obsessively. So you can imagine that I’m pretty psyched that SMP featured our wedding under “Illinois Weddings” this week!

See the feature here.

They even sent a badge in case I have a blog, which now I do, so yay! Badge it up:

This comes at a good time because I can finally stand to relive the wedding again. That sounds horrible, as if I hated my wedding, and it’s exactly the opposite. My wedding was the best day of my life and every cliche that goes with it. It’s just that after the wedding, after I excitedly watched our wedding video over and over and looked through our pictures a million times, I got burnt out. I had spent so much energy on all of this and truthfully, I just really didn’t feel like looking at myself anymore. Does every past bride go through this?

Anyway, I’m over it. Look at me! Since this is a style blog, I’ll take a minute to talk about the fashion.

The dress. The top was lace and transitioned into a tulle-type fabric.People have strong opinions about lace — I love it.  I twirled, a lot.

One alteration we made to the dress was the flower belt. My favorite part of the dress, courtesy of my mother.

The girls looking good in J.Crew. My sister and I picked out multiple styles in the same fabric and color. The best part was that the dresses were on sale because the color was being phased out (to be replaced by basically the exact same color with a different name. J.Crew is sneaky like that). This caused some stress because there were limited sizes available, but it was worth it for the price. In the end it worked out and Andrea, my consultant, was awesome and made sure everything came together. Great customer service.

The boys, so dapper. We had them wear black suits, which they already owned. If you’re looking for a suit tailor, I got another Gus for ya. Todd took his suit to Gus’ Tailor Shop — not the shoe guy, he’s yet another talented Gus. My solution to everything now is “take it to Gus!”

Star Wars cufflinks for the boys, from Crimson King on Etsy.

I don’t really know all that much about men’s fashion (snooze) but I do have something to say about ties. We bought grey ties for the boys that were 3 inches wide because Glenn O’Brien of GQ says that’s the perfect tie width. “As a partisan not of fashion but of style, I firmly believe that approximately three inches is the perfect tie and single-breasted-lapel width—permanently,” he says.

Speaking of ties, width-debate aside, my dad wins the most stylish award for his sushi tie.

I love this purse (from Nordstrom) and want to attempt to dye it a different color (unless someone wants to borrow it first.) The potential for this to go very wrong is very high, so that adventure will probably be a future blog post.

Bridesmaid jewelry was purchased from the strip of jewelry stores on Clark in Uptown. A woman at one of my dress fittings told my mom and I about these shops, which are jam-packed jewelry stores filled with cheap knock-offs you have to pay in cash for. Basically, my idea of a great Saturday. I went with my sister, not sure if we’d find anything worthwhile, and we immediately spotted these awesome bauble-y necklaces and bracelets.

Girls wore nude heels, which looked great. As fashion expert Carson Kressley says, “They lengthen the leg and make everyone look tall and glamorous.” Sparkly leather J.Crew flip flops were given to the girls to change into once they were tired of the heels.

I wore flats (from Top Shop). Best wedding decision I made.

Not fashion-related, but my sister did an awesome job on our invitations, save the dates and other paper materials. Lauren did the design and my mom painstakingly put them together by hand because she is the best mom ever.

My dad made our cake toppers to look like our entire bridal party for our cake buffet!

I’m going to end this by listing all of my vendors, because I really, really loved them all. Now, when people ask for recommendations I can just direct them here!:

Photography: Angela Renee Photography (Angela is amazing, I’m SO grateful we found her when we did because she is blowing up now).
Venue: Salvage One (coolest event space ever).
Officiant: Rev. Tom Perrucci (perfect if you want a personal ceremony – he’s funny, too)
Print Design: Lauren Okura, Graphic Designer (The Best)
Floral Design: Gratitude-Heart-Garden
DJ: Ralph Darden, a.k.a. Major Taylor of Style Matters (If you want a dance party, you want Ralph).
Hair & Makeup: Krystyn Johnson and Samara Toby from Bridal Beauty Chicago (The very first vendor I booked, loooove them).
Caterer: Maison Cuisine (Danielle from Maison is a great person and honestly the only reason we could afford to have this wedding).
Cakes: Sweet Mandy B’s (So yummy. They do “real” wedding cakes, too).
Cake toppers: My awesome dad
Dress: Pronovias via Dimitras (Make your appointment with Marcia, you’ll love her).
Belt, card box, candles, basically everything: My amazing mom
Earrings: Nadri via Nordstrom
Hair Comb:ChantalEveleen
Cufflinks: Crimsonking
Shoes: Top Shop
Bridesmaid Dresses: J.Crew
Striped Orange and Gray Straws: HeyYoYo
Flower Hairpins in Bridesmaids’ Hair: ProjectU
Videographer: JR Bangit (my sister’s friend – I’m not sure he wants to film any more weddings, but I’m so glad he did ours and Todd and I will honestly cherish it forever.)

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqAC2nOwFWM

Since this is the end of the road for my wedding, I’ll take this opportunity to say this again: Todd and I are extremely grateful to both of our amazing families and blessed to have such great friends!