How I Stopped Shopping

I used to have a problem with purses.

I still absolutely love them and imagine that I always will, but at my worst, I was acquiring a new purse every month, feeling overwhelmed and guilty, and when I wasn’t spending every minute checking the delivery status of my online order, I was researching my next purchase. Suffice it to say, it was a giant waste of time, energy and money and I’m going to share with you what helped me break that cycle. Maybe this information will help you and although this information is specific to purses, I’m hoping that it can apply to other types of over-consumption of material goods.

1. Identify the why behind the action

This was the most challenging but most crucial step to overcoming my shopping addiction and it is vital that you take the time necessary to uncover and understand your own why. I knew that every addiction had a psychological compulsion to it and if I wanted any chance of changing my behavior, I had to figure out why I felt compelled to continually be in the cycle of obsessing and acquiring purses.

For about a week I didn’t focus on changing my behavior, but instead simply checked in with my emotions before I was engaging in the behavior I wanted to remove and wrote it down in a journal with the date and time.

I found that for the overwhelming majority of the time my primary emotion prior to engaging in the cycle was boredom. And evidently I was bored a lot of the time and purse shopping was my automatic reaction to snapping me out of that uncomfortable state.

2. Make it hard

After I understood that this was an easy distraction that I was getting sucked into, I made it not so easy by blocking all of the sites that I was stalking on my phone and laptop, unsubscribing from marketing emails, unsubscribing and unfollowing people on social media who promoted the type of lifestyle I was trying to eschew, and removing apps such as eBay from my phone. This forced me to get up and find something else to do when boredom hit.

3. Yield temptation

Everyone has certain things they like and that’s what makes us different and interesting. I love purses and I’ve come to accept that. I wasn’t attempting to completely remove them from my life and come out of this a one bag lady. I simply needed to find a more satisfying and sane way to engage with them.

There’s a quote by Oscar Wilde from “The Picture of Dorian Grey” that applies directly to this step, “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself.”


If you’re familiar with my blog, you’ll know that I am all about allowing oneself the pleasure of what delights you and curating a life of elegance and style. Resisting and denying are very uncomfortable and exhausting states of mind that can only lead to  buckling under the burden and ultimately engaging with what you’ve attempted to resist in a way that is unpleasant and vulgar.

This is why I’ve allowed myself any bag purchase (in cash!) once a year. For me it was important that I give myself full reign to consider any bag I wanted because once I started putting limitations, I could start to feel the temptation beginning to pull me into make a decision that I may later regret. I can’t tell you how many times I would fall in lust with a bag because it was “exclusive” according to someone, purchase it and then turn around and sell it in the space of a couple of months. Giving myself the time to consider my purchase and make the right decision for me and not what is trendy was going to allow me to enjoy my purchase with only joy and excitement.

It’s so freeing to be able to see a beautiful bag and not feel that twinge of temptation gnawing at me. I can feel that admiration and love and then simply let it go either because I know I can eventually have it if I really want it (once a year!) or because I know that just because it’s beautiful doesn’t mean it’s for me. Now, when I purchase a handbag the experience is completely rewarding and fulfilling in a way that hundreds of my previous purses never could be. I hope that if you are struggling with a similar issue that some of these tips will help you see yourself out of that.

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Minimalist Maintenance: Jewelry

The second part of this series is dedicated to cleaning out my jewelry and keeping only those pieces that I love to wear. I was determined to give away anything that I didn’t wear or had lukewarm feeling about, so I actually ended up donating about 80% of my necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Now my pieces are displayed in a pleasing manner that lets me truly enjoy and appreciate their beauty.

Take a look at the before and after:

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Not very appealing, is it?

Previously, I kept the bulk of my jewelry in this box. Everything from bracelets, anklets, necklaces, watches and earrings were tangled together which made it a headache to try and find what I wanted to wear. About 90% of everything here ended up being donated.

 

I found a lot of pieces that I hadn’t worn in about two or more years, so those definitely ended up going. The rest of them were no longer my style but were in perfect condition so I knew that someone else would get use out of them.

Now all of my jewelry is in my closet and put on display as if they are in a store. It’s so easy for me to see everything all at once and choosing my pieces for the day are so much more enjoyable!

 

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All of my jewelry in one spot and one glance!

 

This might have been the one of the more gratifying reorganizations that I completed. I just love how everything is easy to access, beautifully placed and of course, including the Hermes orange boxes and bags are a fun way to make use of them. One of these days I would like to upgrade the metal shelves to white wooden ones, but for the most part, I’m happy with my work. Now, getting ready in the morning is like going on a trip to the jewelry store and the best part is everything is already mine!

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Hermès Ulysse Notebook PM & MM Size Comparison

Today I thought I would offer a size comparison of the Hermès Ulysse notebooks in the PM & MM sizes. This notebook is nowhere near as popular as the Filofax, Traveler’s Notebook or Moleskine so it was difficult for my to get a sense of the sizes while I was searching through pictures online. The Ulysse notebook does not follow the usual “personal” or “A5″ standards of most agendas which makes it even more difficult to convert sizes as you’re thinking about what may or may not fit inside of it.

Below are pictures of the notebooks side by side to each other and other more commonly known notebooks. I also made a video of the notebooks, click the link in the post to view it. I’ll finish with some quick thoughts about the notebooks themselves.

MM size: 9.1″ tall x 7.5″ wide, retail $765.00

PM size: 6.3″ tall x 5.3” wide, retail $555.00

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MM size is in Étoupe and PM size is in Bleu Électrique

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Midori Traveler’s Notebook comparison

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Standard composition notebook comparison

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The MM size is almost exactly the same size as a standard composition notebook. The composition notebook is around 1/2 inch taller, but the width is the same.

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Standard “Moleskine” style notebook comparison

The sizes are not easy to pin down, but those pictures should give you a better idea. I also made a youtube video of the sizes if you’d like to see them in action:

Hermes Ulysse Notebook Size Comparison & Review

Overall, the notebooks have yummy leather and wonderful colors. However, there are two aspects that you should be aware of:

  1. Flexibility of the leather
  2. Refills prices

If you’ve used any other agenda like a Filofax, Traveler’s Notebook, Leuchtturm or Moleskine, you will know that you can use the agenda itself to write against since the leather or the cover will offer support. The Ulysse notebooks do not share this in common. This was something that I did not even think to consider until I had already purchased it and realized just how floppy the leather was. In the video I give you a good idea of what I’m talking about. This is not a problem if you are at a desk or another hard surface to prop up the notebook.

Secondly, the refills are very high-quality but also high priced. Here are some prices from the website:

MM plain notebook refill, $65.00

PM lined notebook refill, $75.00

PM Annual agenda refill, $90.00

If you use these agendas as much as I do, this will start to add up. A lot of Ulysse notebook users refill using an alternative that will fit in the same plastic strip. In the video and at the moment for my MM size I am using the Minimalist JournalBook but as I explain the video, the width is not exactly ideal. After I’m finished with the current refill I plan to use the TOPS Sophisticated Business Notebooks since the width is just a bit shorter than the other one. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find an alternative refill for the PM size, so I’ve been purchasing the Hermes ones from the website.

I hope that this helped if you are considering purchasing these notebooks. There are a couple of drawbacks, but overall the leather quality is unparalleled and the colors are stunning so I would recommend purchasing these if you can overlook the refill price.

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Book Review: Deluxe, How Luxury Lost Its Luster

I’m sorry to say that after reading this eye-opening book that I won’t be able to look at the luxury and fashion industry the same ever again.

Ever since I’ve been taken with purses, I’ve had a suspicion that certain high-end brands with their liberal annual price increases and tasteless limited edition releases were not necessarily in the business of luxury, but rather in the business of making a profit. I know that I am not alone in this perspective; a brief conversation about the topic with any aficionado will bring a similar line of thought.

These suspicions were what drew to me reading this book and with facts, figures, and interviews with owners and designers themselves, Dana Thomas has proven those suspicions to be true.

In an informative and engaging manner, Thomas takes us from Hong Kong to France to South America, into replica sweatshops in Guangzhou to Miuccia Prada’s concrete office in Milan to the vibrant Daslu, a rare and true luxury shopping experience in Brazil. She brings us into the intimate details of the series ruthless and shrewd power moves taken by Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH, that changed the direction of luxury forever and through this, narrates the demise of the made-to-order, old world luxury companies and the rise of the democratization of luxury.

But all is not lost even in today’s money-driven and fast fashion environment. Thomas shows how luxury still persists in a few brands such as Hermes, Chanel and Louboutin. Most of the book was horrifyingly candid for such a lover of designer goods like me, but I did enjoy the latter parts of the book that allow these wonderful brands to shine and stand against the dizzying avarice of others.

Christian Louboutin explains that “luxury is the possibility to stay close to your customers…about subtlety and details. It’s about service…Luxury is not consumerism. It is educating the eyes to see that special quality.”

Cristiane Saddi, a marketing director in Sao Paolo says that clients who frequent Daslu, a luxury fashion emporium, “don’t need the logo entry-level handbag or to wear labels or logos. We buy from luxury brands, but not ordinary products. You can see what is mass and what is special. Luxury is not how much you can buy. Luxury is the knowledge of how to do it right, how to take the time to understand and choose well. Luxury is buying the right thing.”

I recommend this book to anyone who is ready to truly grasp what luxury means and stop being fooled into throwing money away on mass glamour. It’s not about how much money you have or how much or what you buy. One can be more luxurious than the richest socialite in all the world by understanding quality, selecting timeless pieces, and above all an unpretentious naturalness in one’s surroundings.

I’ll leave you with this quote by Karl Lagerfeld that sums it up quite candidly,

Luxury is the ease of a t-shirt in a very expensive dress. If you don’t have it, you are not a person used to luxury. You are just a rich person who can buy stuff.

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How to Live Luxuriously (Millions Not Required)

I love luxury! There are few experiences I love more than walking by all of the boutiques downtown and staying in beautiful hotels with amazing hotel staff. I can’t start my day without my ritual of choosing which handbag to accompany me for the day.

Some people may call me vain, shallow or materialistic or whatever word they have for people that are like me, but I really couldn’t care less. I actually used to feel the same way. I used to have certain opinions about “those people”. It wasn’t because I thought they were bad people, it all came from unsolved issues that I had inside of me. The truth was that I was jealous because they had something I wanted that I believed that I couldn’t have.

I believe it’s important for people to learn how to find and bring luxury into their lives. I believe that once you learn to tap into your desires, learn to turn your work into play and live your passions out, the money will simply follow.

But before any of this can happen, you must first learn to think like a luxurious person which has little to do with what your situation is with the bank. I’m want to share with you how to claim your luxurious life because I know deep down that you want to enjoy the finer things in life — and there is nothing wrong with that! So here are three ground rules before you can obtain the luxurious lifestyle you desire:

1. Appreciate the luxuries you have now

Be thankful for what you have. If you are reading these words that means you have a computer or a phone — which is a luxury many people cannot afford. There is luxury all around you: nature, a significant other, your health and a strong and capable mind that can make life what you want it to be. Wake up and notice it.

2. Believe that luxury is attainable

While it’s probably tempting to wait to live a luxurious lifestyle until you become a millionaire, that’s probably not going to happen tomorrow and waiting is a waste of time, so what is there to do?

You need to redefine luxury to make it attainable right now. If your only definition of luxury is a Bentley and a Birkin — you’re living a lie and setting yourself up for a long time of waiting and disappointment.

Instead, broaden your idea luxury to include quality experiences, relationships, and things. Your life becomes what you tolerate, so once you decide that you deserve more for yourself you will seek out what elevates you and delete what brings you down.

3. Luxury is quality — not the quantity on the price tag

Every Friday night I look forward to watching a movie with my husband all cuddled up on the sofa, every morning I can’t wait to enjoy my cup of coffee in the brisk, cold air. These are luxuries. In fact, these are luxuries that you can’t buy. Money can’t buy a loving relationship or the ability to find and appreciate the beauty and love in your life.

Now that we’ve established those rules of luxury, here are a few things I did to attract more luxury in my life:

  • Dropped complaining whiners like a hot potato. People who always talk about how broke they are a complete luxury deterrent.
  • Found and hung out with people I want to be like. Learn from those who are living the way you want to be and learn to think like them.
  • Discovered what’s important to me. I drove a junk car to put my money into what I really loved — traveling with my family. I did not mind driving that car around but I still cherish those times I spent with my family.
  • Removed and continue to remove low-quality experiences, things, and people from my life. I don’t spend money on crap that I won’t appreciate for long and I don’t tolerate people that bring needless drama into their lives and mine.
  • Dressed and carried myself like a woman of luxury. Everyday that I left my home I felt great about myself and was open to receiving more luxury in my life.
  • Pushed out limiting thoughts about myself. Whenever some thought bubbled up about how I didn’t deserve some thing or that I would never get to where I wanted, I pushed it away. It’s useless nonsense that doesn’t help me or define my future.
  • Slowed down and enjoyed my life instead of rushing through things on a to-do list like a mindless, lifeless drone.
  • Believed I deserved a luxurious life. I stopped feeling guilty for loving the things I did. You are not doing anyone any favors by denying yourself. Some of the most loving, happy and generous people I know live well.
  • Became a valuable person. Instead of being someone who took more than they gave, I found ways to become a valuable contributor to my work and my family. Once you make a habit of paying it forward, you’ll find that your life opens up to more satisfying experiences and people.

As you can see, luxury is yours to define and yours to claim! Think about how you can live a luxurious life and leave a comment below.

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3 Purse Styles That Every Girl Should Own

Today I am talking about perhaps what is my favorite topic: purses. I love every type of purse and some people may consider me to be a “bag snob”. For some people its cars, shoes, or electronics — everyone has their  kryptonite. After years of buying, selling, and admiring purses I’ve amassed quite a bit of knowledge about them and I’ve distilled down all of the different types into what I think are 3 of the most essential ones that a girl should own for most occasions.

 

Cross-body

The Louis Vuitton Saumur is a great high-end option

A cross-body purse is essential for traveling, errands, and other casual events that require your hands to be free and your belongings to be secure. Depending on your taste you can go high-end (Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Givenchy have some great ones) or affordable (Coach, Dooney & Bourke, Fossil are a great value buy) but they should all be made of a relatively durable leather or canvas so that it can see all of the wear and tear of frequent use and still come out shining. One of my favorite cross-body bags is my Louis Vuitton Saumur 30 because of the durable canvas and classic design. The more I use the bag the better it looks because of the golden patina that appears on the vachetta leather.

Dooney & Bourke make great quality handbags for an amazing price

 

Structured Satchel

 

 

The Gramercy satchel by Coach is professional and stylish

Second on my list is a structured satchel because every girl needs a bag they can use for their professional life or for a semi-formal event like a garden party or any event that starts before 6 p.m. The satchel should be a neutral color like a white, beige, taupe, gray, brown, navy blue or black so that it can be worn with  many different outfits, but don’t be afraid to have a little fun with it. The Gramercy satchel pictured above is on trend with its gold studs that adorn the face of the bag but they are very muted so as not to seem unprofessional or casual. This style of purse is probably the second most popular type after the tote so every designer will have their take on the satchel. For high-end options, my favorites are the Louis Vuitton Capucines or Hermès Birkin.

The subtle logo and clean lines on this Louis Vuitton Capucines is what makes it a classy and sophisticated selection

 

 

Tote

This Goyard St. Louis fits everything you need without overly flashy logos

I saved the best for last! The tote is great because the best ones can fit your whole life inside of it, still be comfortable enough to carry around everywhere, and look great. They can be used for work but I would caution against carrying them to events that you want to look very professional because they can seem casual to some. This is bag that can be carried around in your usual daily life and should be in a color that is neutral since it will be used most of the time. Every brand makes tote bags and some of my favorites are the Goyard St. Louis, Louis Vuitton Neverfull, Hermès Garden Party, Longchamp Pilage, Vanessa Bruno Cabas, and Celine Phantom Cabas. There is something so chic and effortless about the tote bag — no wonder everyone carries them!

 

What do you think are essential styles for a girl to own?

 

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