Your Closet Called…it asked for Fall!

Your Closet Called…it asked for Fall!

Tomorrow is one of my favorite days because it is the annual Girls Shopping Day in Kennett Square, PA.  You can get everything you need for fall, literally from head to toe at Ashely Austin, Chantilly Blue, Houpette and No.109.

Oh and want some help from a personal shopper and stylist? Come find me! I’ll be starting my day at Chantilly Blue and I will up and down the block until the early afternoon. I’m back to mom duty in the evening but if you can stop in for a cocktail they are open till 8pm!

Can’t make it in? Live far away? Call or text me, or any of the stores. We can send you pics and hold aside for you or even mail for you if you are not local. There are too many great things to miss this!

Chantilly Blue…

So I stopped in here yesterday and started screaming. I think this is Lisa’s best fall picks yet! Lots of color! And pieces to give you that polished casual that you can wear every single day.Rocco is Lisa’s rescued love bug and he is adorable. After falling in love with him Lisa wanted to give back to other rescue pups and shelters. Below is a list of some items they need. Oh and for every item you bring in? 20% off an item in the store! Premium denim, made in the USA, fitted on you by the denim whisperer herself and her amazing staff – on sale!!!

Gift card from Wawa, Walmart, Target, or PetSmart. Also, New or gently used dog harnesses (no collars, please ), dog leash, new dog toys, Dog bowls, dog crates, dog beds. Must be either new or in excellent shape. ATTT does the unbelievable by rescuing and rehabilitating dogs who have nothing good to associate with humans. Vet bills are staggering. They astonish. Beginning Thursday, any one item donated get you 20% off any full priced item. Bring one, bring ten, no limit to the donation and the savings.

 

This suede finish dress below? I’m in love.

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Ashley Austin….

Booties and Bags and Baubles!! So. Much. Good. Stuff. If you buy just one type of shoe for fall make sure you have an ankle boot to wear with cuffed denim or with a dress or skirt. It is the essential fall transition shoe! And if you buy suede don’t forget to spray and protect your shoes from the elements so you can keep them looking brand new. Need advice on fit and what flatters? These lovely girls at Ashley Austin know their stock. Let them help you find your perfect pair!

 

 

Houpette…

I am kind of obsessed with the Kevyn Aucoin lipsticks…they are amazing! Not sure of the color? No worries – they have experts on hand to make sure you get the color that works for you.

 

And No. 109….

Leather (faux) leggings? They are for every age and every body – they add an insta cool factor to a fun top or a cozy oversize winter sweater. Definitely my top pick! Craving some fun color or prints? Heather always  makes sure there are plenty of bright options, no matter what season it is!

 

 

*Insider Tip – Just Jenny From The Block

If J.Lo should ever find herself in Kennett Square she would be thrilled that she wouldn’t have to wear out her stilletos looking to check off everything on her list. From lockets to lattes, you can find everything you need up and down the same 2 blocks. So park your car and do some shopping. Then drop your bags back at your car and grab some caffeine. Then do some more shopping. Okay now that you have tried on all the clothes you can eat!

These places are small business owned, unique and amazing. Make sure to check them out. In case you can’t tell I really love our small town, and the best part is the amazing people in it. 🙂

Philter 

After you get over obsessing how perfect the wall color and the wall art is, make sure to enjoy what a truly amazing fresh brew really tastes like.Prepare to be spoiled.

 

Green Eyed Lady

You know how it would be so cool to raid the jewelry stash of you eccentric and well traveled Great Aunt Linda? Or craving something unique that no one else will have? All of my favorite cuff bracelets are from here. Their laid back vibe makes it the perfect place to peruse. Looking for something very specific? Ask Colleen and she will let you know if they have it or can find it for you.

Photo of Green Eyed Lady - West Chester, PA, United States

 

Talulah’s Table

You have probably heard of this place…and yes, it’s as good as everyone says. Try their grab and go takeout or sit with a scone and people watch outside. It’s so peaceful you may not want to leave.

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Shop Mamie

A new additon to Kennett Square just in the last couple of months, this sweet boutique with a Delaware flagship store is located just around the corner from Talulahs. This is the perfect place for both mothers and daughters to find something fun for fall. Also check out their collection of Scout accessories and some super adorable toddler size clothes to match mom…think matching faux fur vests…Christmas pic card…DONE.

 

Thank you so much for reading! Make sure to keep our money in our community…shop small and shop local!

Suzie

 

 

 

 

 

Let It Go

Let It Go

Like so many other women I know I have trouble sleeping through the night. Three o’clock in the  morning seems to be that witching hour that I struggle to stay asleep. Sometimes it’s because my to-do list decides to start adding more to the list, other times it’s hormonal and I find myself drenched in sweat and contemplating sticking my head into the freezer. Two nights ago it was the latter so I got up and roamed the house looking for a cooler place to sleep. I went it to my son’s room because I knew he had the fan blasting on him. I figure I gave birth to my kids so I can call eminent domain on anything they own. I would have crawled into his bed but there was no room. Although he has a generous queen size bed it was jammed with stuff as it always is. It’s been like this since he was in his crib. Even at 1 year old he would point to objects in his room and insist on sleeping with them, and not just the usual suspects like stuffed animals. Books, toys, shoes, nothing was off limits. And as soon as he had what he figured was the right amount of “stuff” he would then go easily off to sleep. I never fought him on this because sleep is sleep and we all need it.

Yesterday I decided that I could not remember the last time I had washed the kid’s sheets. Yes, that’s gross. I am claiming the laziness known as summer as my defense. In order to get to the sheets on my son’s bed I had to dig through mounds of stuff. This included but was not limited to: 3 sports themed pillow pets, an assortment of stuffed objects won at a claw machine, at least a dozen other stuffed animals, 2 keychains, 1 hockey puck, 1 street hockey ball and 3 books. The crazier part of this is that he completely panicked when I made his bed and only put back about 2 stuffed animals. He went through and put the exact same things back on the bed with him, explaining to me what each and every one meant to him and why he wanted them so close when he slept. Crazier still is that I understood. He had true sentimental value to all the stuff that I just saw as inanimate objects. He knew how he got each and every item, he had named each and every stuffed animal, and he had a sort of order to what I saw as a bunch of things thrown on the corner of his bed. I let go of the fact that his bed always looked messy and accepted that it made him happy.

Letting go of things sometimes has to happen to whether we want it to or not. This has been at the forefront of my mind this week with my kids getting ready to go back to school on Monday. My kids are going into the fourth and sixth grades and if I could freeze time I would. In fact I may even reverse it just a year or so to keep them both together at elementary school. Other friends of mine have children starting Kindergarten, for some families this is the first time that their child will be out of the house for a huge part of the day, every day of the week. They have to let go of time they get to spend with them and accept that their kids are starting to grow up and carry backpacks with homework.

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I like to stay organized, particularly in my closet. If you can believe it I really don’t have that many clothes. Except for a few vintage items I am not even emotionally attached to my clothes, so it’s easy for me to keep up with editing and purging. My downfall? Shopping bags. Yep, totally weird I know. Not all bags make the cut. The prettier the better. Thick corded and colored handles? Love. Thick, sturdy bottoms that reek of an expensive purchase? I swoon. Stores like Lulu Lemon and Athleta with their eco-conscious reusable bags? Super hard to get rid off because they feel like real bags!  I find myself having as much appreciation for the shopping bag as the purchased items inside of it. This is silly. I tell myself I will use these bags again, after all it is the socially responsible thing to do. I fold and stack them nice and neatly inside our front coat closet, ready to use. When I do use a bag I even find myself not just picking one out for it’s capacity but also for it’s style. In my mind each bag tells the recipient something about me because of where the bag is from. A Lulu lemon bag says I can afford overpriced and expensive workout clothes and I have the body of a Pilates instructor.  A Lilly Pulitzer bag brightly covered with one of their signature prints? This says I am preppy and cute. A bag from anyone of the cool local boutiques in our town? Of course this must mean that I am hip and local. This is utterly ridiculous and I know it. These are bags I use to drop off a leftover dish from a party or send with my kids into school to carry a project. I don’t think anyone ever notices what kind of bag something is in nor are they making any assumptions about me and my family.

With school starting on Monday my head is a mess. I am already stressing over where they will store their book bags and where they will do their homework. These stupid shopping bags are actually in my way, and in reality I end up using them about 3 times a year. After all, I own about 3,000 of those reusable grocery bags that live in the dark corners of my trunk. Even there I never can remember to bring them into the store with me so I can actually use them. So I let go of all the beautifully constructed and printed shopping bags and in their place I gained an empty space. But that empty space gave my coat closet room, and that space and room gave my mind such peace, as weird as that my sound. Maybe I’ll use that space for book bags, or maybe I’ll keep it empty. I may have had to let things go but in turn I received so much more. And yes, don’t worry I did put the bags in recycling.

In my job I see clients struggling to let go all the time. A new client will sometimes ask me with fear in their eyes and a quiver to their voice if I am going to make them get rid of everything. I always tell them that I’ll never make them part with anything they aren’t ready to let go of. Forced interventions only work temporarily anyway, and that’s because they only deal with the physical aspect of our clothes, when in truth there is a huge mental aspect to our wardrobes. There are pieces in our wardrobe that hold specific memories, sometimes even scents. I remember how hard it was after my grandmother died to part with one of her sweaters because it still smelled like her perfume. Maybe it’s a dress you wore on your first date with your now husband, or a jacket from your high school sports team. I get it and I promise to never pry these things out of your hands. We are all allowed to keep a handful of items that make us feel something. The key is deciphering between the item and a memory. A bridesmaid dress you hated but wore for a friend you love? It can go. Letting go of the dress doesn’t mean you don’t love your friend. It means you don’t love the dress, and that’s okay because the fond memories from a great weekend will stay stored in your head and in your heart.

When you are ready to truly get rid of things you will know. The results will change your life, truly. Having less clothes to choose from actually leads to more outfits.Trust me on this. Keeping only what you love and makes you feel good is the real way to show others who you are. So much better than sending that message out in the form of a single shopping bag. In reality we are all somewhat of a mix. My Lilly shirt may be paired with cool local jeans and shoes, topped off with an overpriced athletic jacket from Lulu Lemon. But that’s okay, because that’s all me.

*Insider Tip – The 1 in 1 out rule.

Want to maintain a clean and organized closet? Try my 1 in 1 out rule. Or if you are already feeling too crammed make this a 1 in 2 out rule.Whenever you buy something new make sure to get rid of something else. Keeping a clean closet takes discipline. Too much input and not enough output can quickly add up and feel overwhelming, landing you right back to and overstuffed closet with nothing to wear. And this doesn’t mean if you buy another pair of jeans that you have to get rid of a pair of jeans, but make sure you get rid of something. Maybe it’s a pair of shoes that were always just a bit too tight or a sweater that is itchy. Just keep the flow and you’ll be good to go!

Thanks for reading and and extra special Good Luck to all my friends who are teachers. I don’t know how you do what you do but I am so grateful. Without all of you I would be homeschooling and that would be hell for both of us since I have the patience of a gnat. Oh and I stink at Science.

Suzie

The Way To A Woman’s Heart Is Through Her Closet

The Way To A Woman’s Heart Is Through Her Closet

I am sure you have heard that saying about how the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? Thank goodness that is not how it works in our relationship or I would have been dumped the minute I asked my husband how to boil water. What about the way to a woman’s heart? Is it flowers? Is it candy? How about diamonds? I think every woman has their own idea of the ultimate romantic display but for me it is a thoughtfully designed closet. I’m with Carrie, offer up a walk-in closet and I’m all yours.

Pearls and Peacocks: happy 15th bday sex and the city!!!!!! here are 10 reasons why I love you
via Pinterest

And it’s not just about size (I’m talking about closets people! Get your mind out of the gutter!), it’s about design. It has to be equal parts aesthetic and ergonomically correct. Basically I need it to look pretty and be functional. You can have the world’s largest closet but if it doesn’t make sense to you and how you get dressed it’s useless. Likewise it can be as orderly as boot camp cadet’s locker but that doesn’t mean it’s pretty.

Enter my hubby. If I didn’t love him so much I would find him incredibly annoying because he is one of those people who can pretty much do anything, and do it really well. If he doesn’t know how to do something he will learn and inevitably be successful.  I am so not one of those people. But lucky for me house projects are his form of unwinding, he actually needs to create and build things or he gets very restless. When we moved into our new (old) home one of the concerns from all of those who care about me was regarding closet space. I was not concerned because my prayers had been answered. This house comes with an honest to goodness (I swear you can check the description on the original blue prints) dressing room that is attached to the master bedroom. Neither rooms are terribly large but basically our bed is in one room and the other room is for our clothes…and shoes…and accessories!!!! Heaven on Earth!

I was more than happy to give up the charming (that means small) closets in the dressing room to my husband if I could have the rest of the room, sounds fair right? He very sweetly agreed and even offered to make the space as functional and beautiful as possible. I already had several metal garment racks on wheels that made for great hanging storage but the shoes were becoming an issue. We needed to go vertical before someone broke their ankle tripping over a stiletto. Chris’s solution involved some old planks of wood he found in the attic of the detached garage. To keep the room from becoming too girly he paired the wood with galvanized pipe for a rustic and industrial feel. The result was sturdy and chic. It’s true love!

 

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via suziegaffney.com
Shoe rack
via suziegaffney.com
via suziegaffney.com

 

We are still working on the rest of the room but we it is coming together really well. I have places for some of my favorite personal mementos and artwork, and the place feels feminine without alienating my husband all together. And for functionality I still have my large dresser from our previous home to house t-shirts, pajamas and of course belts!

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*Insider Tip – Don’t wait for perfection.

Most people will wait to do a project until they know they can do it perfectly can completely. This usually makes sense when you consider both money and time. But when it comes to your closet there are ways to get around any type of permanent solutions. Metal garment racks are perfect for this because they can come on wheels so you can move them when needed and can be taken apart or collapsed for easy storage. At under a $100 a rack they are the perfect way to try out a closet system and get a feel for how much clothing you really have and how you would like it displayed. In order for me to fit the shoe rack along the back wall I had to edit out some of my clothes so that I could get the room down to 2 clothing racks. I admit I totally freaked when he had to attached the shelf to the plaster walls and screamed “Honey what about resale???” He looked at me like I was nuts and told me we are never ever moving again and we will both be buried in the back yard. I guess that is the good thing about finding your forever home. But I am still on the fence about putting up a permanent wall solution for the clothing racks so these metal ones on wheels are a perfect solution.  I haven’t even been able to commit to placing the chair in the same place. In the meantime I am putting together a job offer proposal to my husband to bring him on as construction consultant for all my clients who have unique closet storage challenges. I’m just not sure it is going to be enough to lure him away from his day job. But maybe if I learn to cook him a really good meal….

May Mashup

A FEW FAVORITES…

This month has been really busy for me with clients. Some old and some new. We have been busy styling, cleaning, sorting, and packing!  I am looking forward to sharing some of these projects with all of you soon. May  always feels crazy.   I am trying to get everything I can done at home and work,  before I turn into a full-time concierge to my children and their summer plans.  In the meantime here are a few of my favorite things for May…

This Shoe.

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image via suziegaffney.com

This shoe is business up front and party at the back, a mullet shoe.  If I could marry a shoe then we’d be on our honeymoon right now. I splurged on these from Ashley Austin. They go with everything. Seriously, everything. Did I mention there is glitter?

This Book.

Buy Now
image via http://www.bobbie.com

Last year I had the amazing opportunity to attend a presentation by Bobbie Thomas, a fashion and style expert. Even better I got to meet her afterwards and she is a total girls’ girl.  Super nice, funny, and willing to share all her tips and tricks. She has put all her know-how into a guide aimed at helping you find and express the best version of you. I ordered the book last week and absolutely love it. You can read more about Bobbie on her website, www.bobbie.com, and on my post from last year, A Happy Closet.

This Bathing Suit.

image via http://www.hm.com

I know, I hate swim suit shopping too. But I stumbled upon this amazing bikini top at the H&M store. It is fabulous for mulitiple reasons. The tops can be purchased separately from the bottoms, just in case you weren’t created from a perfectly symmetrical mold.  The top uses bra sizing, from 32A from 36D, much more accurate that the xs – xl system. There is underwire support and padding, for those of us who may or may not resemble a tribal woman in a National Geographic photo shoot. The very best part? The top is $14.95. Hallelujah.

This Ice Cream.

Blueberry Vanilla Graham Greek Frozen Yogurt
image via http://www.benjerry.com

Ben and Jerry’s blueberry yogurt graham cracker ice cream.  I’m totally addicted. I keep eating this at an alarming rate. I will have to post the above pic of the bikini on my freezer to keep my cravings at bay. But you have to try it!

*Insider Tip – 

If your May is feeling crazy too, make sure to take some time for yourself. Treat yourself to something that makes you feel better about how you look. Maybe a new nail polish color? A new white pair of jeans? Maybe a fabulous summer sandal! It’s a great way to get in the mood for summer. It sounds indulgent but when you feel good about how you look it transforms your whole mood.

What are your favorites for the month of May? Anything on your mush-have list? Share with me your own insider tips for May! I’d love to hear it!

Au Revoir

One of the best things about my job is spending time with my clients. Yes, I realize how fake that sounds, but it is true. One of the worst parts? If I meet the goals of the client, eventually they won’t need me anymore.

Whether it is a closet clean out, or a styling session, I like to spew out a whole bunch of “Insider Tips” while we work. With a recent client the goal was to update her look, so that she could feel more put together, both at work and when she was on mom time. One of the biggest ways to feel put together quickly is accessories. This client had an amazing array of jewelry and belts, but they were all tucked away in her drawers inside of the boxes she brought them home in.  I adore the cute little boxes that jewelry comes in when we first buy it. But trust me on this. Throw it away. You will never again need that box, unless you are planning on regifting an item, (I’m not judging).   I suggested she would be more apt to wear her accessories if she could see them. Her closet space had beautiful built-ins, but it left little room for displaying the bulk of her jewelry collection.  I felt like a proud momma when I went back for our second session.

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While we were editing her clothes, we got rid of some sweaters she was not wearing anymore, freeing up some prime real estate in the form of an empty dresser drawer. What was once hidden away in boxes was now on full display at the simple pull of a drawer. We were able to free up some hooks right inside her closet when we got rid of some unused bags. The client made this into the perfect spot for her everyday go-to belts and necklaces, and/or current favorites.

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We had also discussed a designated hanger bin. It sounds silly, but having a spot for your empty hangers is key to staying organized. Plus when they are in a bin you can easily carry them into your laundry room or coat closets. This way you will have them at the ready when you need to convert your clothes from the dry cleaner’s hangers onto your own. Because I know you are NOT keeping them in the bags and on those wire hangers right?? Read my previous post here for why this is so terrible. This client had a mix of hangers.  It including, baby hangers. That’s right.  This was a first for me. Her children were no longer babies, far from it, but she had held onto all those hangers. I should tell you that she is really tiny, so this wasn’t a real problem for her clothes, but it was an assault on the eyes.  We actually had a good laugh about it because it was one of those things she hardly noticed, she had just been using them forever. We gave the baby hangers a new home in a big black trash bag that went to good use at a donation center, where they can be used for children’s clothes, again.

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By the end of our second session, we had bags of clothes going to donations and 2 big bins going to consignment. I’m pushing the client to put the money she makes from consignment towards new hangers 😉

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My client said she has been wearing things that she has had in her closet for years, accessorizing them to make them modern and fit her lifestyle. She said she feels great and is getting compliments. It is bittersweet, because I know she doesn’t need me right now.

It was this same client who suggested I place some testimonials on my website. I was only too quick to take her up on her offer…

“In short, Suzie was amazing! She is a girls’ girl and has your best fashionista at heart, regardless of your age.  She came into my home and graciously helped me part with years of clothes that I couldn’t bring myself to let go of.  At the same time, Suzie, with her amazing style and eye for color combinations, retrofitted my wardrobe using my existing classic pieces and tailoring them to meet today’s style trends.  She gave me back my old wardrobe with a new and exciting flair. It was a wonderful experience that I recommend to everyone who has a closet full of clothes and cannot seem to find a thing to wear!  Since she “Suzied” me and my closet, it takes me so much less time to pull together outfits and feel great about what I am wearing everyday.”

Laura (Hockessin, DE)

It is a very good thing no one is writing testimonials about my cooking or it would be something like this…

“Suzie thinks that fro-yo and wine is a delicious dinner. She can even ruin a frozen pizza by forgetting to take the cardboard off of the bottom. She has also tried the crock pot and failed, forgetting to take that weird piece of plastic paper out from underneath the roast when she dumped it into the crock pot. A blind monkey could do better in the kitchen. Her family may starve if someone doesn’t help her soon.”

Suzie’s family (Kennett Square, PA)

*Insider Tip – Shop at Sears

Laura had set out the very next day after our initial consultation on her quest for the organizer trays I had told her about. Her first stop didn’t have the bins. Determined to complete her mission she sent me a text.  I sent her right over to our local Sears Harware store. The best place to buy these is from a hardware store that also sells tool chests, as these are the organizers that are made  to go inside those chests. They also sell the nubby rubber no-slip padding that you can place in the drawer underneath the bins. It also works if you just want to lay the jewelry out inside a drawer but don’t want it to slip and slide around.  Yes, of course you can find other organizational bins at Target or wherever, I just prefer the size and scale, not to mention the price, of these basic black organizers. You can read more about my love for hardware store finds here.

*Insider Tip – Let your bags go naked

If you bought an expensive hand bag chances are it came with a dust cover. I think the dust covers are great for off-season storage or for traveling,  but I find that most people don’t use their bags if they are hidden underneath their covers. My suggestion is to take clean plastic bags from a recent grocery or shopping trip, put them inside the dust bag, and put the dust bag inside the hand bag. This will help your handbag to retain its shape and stand up straight. You don’t really need to worry about dust because chances are you will be using the bag more now because you can see it.  Due to limited space, and my husband’s inability to cave to my desire to turn our guest bedroom into my own dream closet,  I like to keep only what I am using right now in the closet in my bedroom. The rest of the pieces are fighting for room with these imaginary guests that never actually stay in that room. So big bags go up high, clutches below, and oversize droopy bags I hang.

Someday, that guest bedroom will be mine…someday.  I’m wondering if we can fit a staircase in there.

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image via Pinterest