So we bought a house…

My home was running like a well oiled machine. If I were to get up in the middle of the night I could find most anything I need in complete darkness. Whether it is children’s cough syrup, or the exact location of my softest T-shirt, everything is in its place. I know what time the daylight will creep into my children’s rooms waking them from their sweet slumber. I know around 5:30 AM our dogs will come to my side of the bed, sniffing, whining and eventually barking to wake me out of my sleep. When I go downstairs I can let them out to our generously sized fenced in backyard, where they will do their usual routine of walking the perimeter that they know so well.  Our children have a bus stop that’s at the end of our driveway in a quiet little cul-de-sac. When they come home from school they are free to run across the street and safely play, running in and out of neighbors yards and into their homes.  I know that I can borrow milk, wine and firewood from our generous neighbors, during sunshine or a snowstorm.  I have a fun, responsible babysitter who can walk home after we return from a night out. It’s quiet and peaceful here. After 10 years of  home projects and organizing our life is up and running smoothly, and we are about to throw a hand grenade and blow it all up.

 

504 FALCON DR, KENNETT SQUARE, PA, 19348 - MLS# 6519388 - Estately
The calm before the storm…

You see we are moving, not across the country, not to a different state, we are moving just up the road. We are throwing our lives into a complete upheaval to move 3 miles away from our current home. Why? True love. Not with another person, but with a house. Specifically a stone home, built in 1938, full charm that stole our hearts.   Only instead of it being a one night stand or a brief affair we decided to leave our current home, with no advance notice, just a for sale sign hastily thrown up on the front lawn. Essentially, we may be having  a midlife crisis. The good news is we’re having it as a family, as a unit, going about this insanity together. The bad news is I may be a sadistic weirdo who likes throwing monkey wrenches.

It was only two short months ago when we were swept off our feet.  Truth be told we would look off and on, very casually, for about the past 10 years, dragging our friend and ultra patient realtor out and about to indulge in what seemed like just a fantasy. Something always drew us to the spirit and character of older homes. We also found out, when we took a closer look, we were completely freaked out by basements with dirt floors, repairs that were beyond any amount of sanity, and strange old rooms that our children were too scared to go into. But this house? It was different. As soon as I walked in the front door I turned around and said to my husband “shit.”  I said shit because I knew that this was it, this is going to be the one. And if we were going to do this  whole “old house” thing, this was the house. We had to make the leap.

Oh, but Darling, what if you FLY! .... Hand Typed Quote On Vinatge Typewriter

As I write this I am drinking  pink champagne out of a beer pint glass, an unusual combination for sure.  The champagne glasses have been packed away with the china, we are in full-blown “clear out the fridge” mode, and I just cannot pour out champagne. Truth is the drink is helping to calm my nerves, because Lord knows I am terrified. I know real terror is things like a pit full of snakes, a deadly disease and of course, clowns, especially at night.  This a “fear of change” type of terror. What if we are making a mistake? What if the charm wears off and turns us weary? Will all this coziness suffocate us as a family? This house is only a few hundred square feet smaller but the storage options are way different and room sizes way smaller. What if we, and all of our stuff, just don’t fit?

Do it anyway.

I may sound overly dramatic, but like any normal mother I’m always convinced I am on the cusp of ruining my children’s lives. I’m yanking them out of their perfectly happy little lives at their perfectly happy little schools, just because mommy and daddy decided they wanted a different house.  They will have to switch schools, make new friends and wake up in a home that will feel strange to them for a while.  Our kids don’t understand why we have to move, and its not something that I can easily explain to them. Honestly, I don’t know that I can put it into words.  I know there are people who move every day into places all over the world, but usually it’s for a job or family reasons. It feels weird to be moving, just to move. I just know that something hit us hard when we walked in the house, and I felt like we had to make this decision. It just goes to show you love will make you do crazy things.

'A Crazy Little Thing Called Love' Print

On (financial) paper these two homes are a fairly even swap, although no one can ever say that moving is inexpensive. If you want to give yourself an ulcer go get a quote from your local moving company. And packing up your home is far from fun, in fact it could quite be the seventh circle of hell. We are lucky the process went quickly, but listing, selling and moving in 3 months feels like you have the flu and are forced to ride Disney’s Space Mountain while downing redbull.  But I would have been in the loony bin if it took much longer. No one tells you that you will end up living out of your car due to showings,  I’m talking laundry basket and all. Your spouse will hate you because you won’t let them use the bathroom after you have cleaned it. You will be broke from eating out all of the time in an effort to not dirty the kitchen. Oh and don’t forget  your lovely children and adorable pets, pawing and slobbering at windows (the dogs), hiding “Don’t buy this house!” notes “somewhere” before showings.  You will jot down  notes reminding yourself to buy stock in Febreeze, Windex ,and Pledge, because you are convinced you are keeping them in business. You will be convinced that you and your family are filthy, as you do a deep clean like never before and find things you wish you didn’t find. You work really hard to eliminate clutter and stage everything in your house to make it appeal to someone else. Even though it is still your home you suddenly feel homeless, and you look and smell like it.

Truth

If the stars align correctly, and a buyer wants your house, the next steps are not as simple as just signing some papers. It’s a whole series of back-and-forth and back-and-forth and back-and-forth type of conversations, regarding both money and time, that feel very tense.There is a brief moment of bliss, after you accept the offer, because that’s when you decide to send your vacuum on vacay, because you both need a break from each other. You eat popcorn on the couch in the family room, you let the laundry pile up and leave dishes in the sink.  The dogs track in wet paws and mud and the kids toys lay everywhere.  This will go on until you look around and realize you are now living in what looks like the aftermath of a frat house party.  Then you start yelling at everyone that the house is filthy and uh-oh,  you remember you need to pack all this crap up…

Family room Before –

504 FALCON DR, KENNETT SQUARE, PA, 19348 - MLS# 6519388 - Estately

And currently…

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So are we crazy, sadistic weirdos who like living in a maze of boxes? I feel like we have lost touch with family and friends, as our whole lives this past month have been consumed by “The Move.” Like some looming deadline, it feel like an apocalypse of sorts. The monkey wrench has for sure been thrown, as nothing has run smoothly for the past couple of weeks.  Our poor dogs need Xanax as they cry with anxiety and follow me from room to room, convinced every time I take a box outside I’m never coming back to get them. I have brain fog that is bordering on dementia.  I’ve had to unpack boxes at 2 am, looking for children’s Tylenol that I accidentally packed up.  I’ve run to the storage facility we rented in search of  my son’s (also accidentally) packed hockey stick. Yes, of course it was in the very back of all this stuff. For those of you that have to move frequently for work? Mad props and respect because I don’t know how you do it. I tried to pack it all up into neat and orderly (and labeled!) boxes but as we hit the home stretch I am basically just tossing crap into boxes based on what will fit where. That should be real fun when it’s time to unpack.

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Are we running away from something? Maybe… but maybe we are running toward something, at least I hope. Racing toward simplicity,  wrapped up in the form of a new challenge, a new adventure. It’s feels like I am reading one of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books that I loved as a kid, and I am choosing to turn the page to the obviously less popular scenario. Our home we are selling has the traditional open floor layout, with high ceilings and generous rooms. Most people love the flow of an open floor plan  but I never felt fully comfortable in it.  When we cooked in the kitchen the scent would linger into our bedrooms… and stay there. If one TV was on in the house you could hear it in almost every other room.  My brain is terrible at multitasking, and I think physically I also need things around me to be compartmentalized. I need noises to be more contained, and rooms with doors to help me feel comfortable and cozy. Please don’t take this to mean I am ungrateful for what we have. We worked so very hard for our home, and on all of the projects in our home, but somehow there was always something that was just missing.

If we wait until we're ready, we'll be waiting for the rest of our lives.

I do know we need to shed some of our stuff, actually a lot of our stuff, because truth be told it is making me tired. There is too much of it. We are fortunate but foolish, having way too many things that we have never used and probably never will. Packing is not generally considered a fun activity but there is a part of me that is kind of enjoying it. Purging and sorting is a huge part of my job, I help others to let go of what is not needed in order to curate a closet filled only with items that make them feel good. I feel we have a chance to do this during this move and I’m really looking forward to shedding all the extra stuff.

good advice

I’m purposely writing this story without an end or conclusion, because I know it is going to be an open story line. There will be good times and bad times, but I feel confident that home is wherever we are together as a family. The home is in great condition and you can tell the current owners have given it so much love.  We move at the end of this week and I am feeling both excited and anxious for our new start. My mom gave me (as she always does) great advice and warned me that I will probably not like it at first. She knows I like things organized and running smoothly so she asked that I be patient in taking my time to get settled. She reminded me to expect the crazy and the chaos and not to be surprised by it or fight it away. I am hoping to hit the reset button on a lot of things, one of the biggest one is being more present in the moment. Life is going by too fast and I really don’t want to miss any of it. Oh and if you have any words of wisdom regarding moving please share! Or other war stories so I feel less crazy! Thanks for reading! Suzie

Ferris Buellers Day Off Quote Poster | Community Post: 17 Gifts For The Film Buffs On Your List

*Insider Tip – Edit, edit, edit, organize. 

I love helping my clients to get rid of the extra “stuff.” For some that means getting rid of clothes they don’t or won’t wear. I often ask my clients to evaluate each item in their wardrobe as if they were shopping in a store. Would they buy that same item today, right now, full price? If there is too much hesitation it usually gets tossed. For other clients it’s about getting all the other “stuff” out of their closets. If you have the room, I strongly suggest taking out anything that is not related directly to your wardrobe out of your closet. So often our shelves become cluttered with books, boxes of old photos and miscellaneous knick knacks that have no where else to do. I encourage my clients to get those items out in order to make better use of their space for organizing their clothes. Don’t worry about sorting through all of it, because that is what often prevents us from dealing with it. Just put those old sentimental items in one general bin and store it away into the basement, the attic, or anywhere but the valuable real estate of  your closet. When we can simplify and spread out it makes getting dressed in the morning so much more enjoyable. Take the time to give yourself the gift of a clean and organized closet, I promise you it will pay you back every single day.

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Closer editing and organization by suzie gaffney wardrobe consulting

Behind the Scenes: Buying in New York City with Chantilly Blue

Ever wonder how your favorite pair of denim got into your favorite denim store?    A couple of weeks ago I got to tag along,  with Lisa Baldwin, owner of Chantilly Blue  in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, as she traveled to New York City to the ENK trade show known as Coterie.  And yes, it was as incredible as you think it would be.

 

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Pictured above is the ginormous Javits Center in New York City, basically a convention center on steroids. Every year, twice a year, clothing companies purchase floor space to exhibit their collection to buyers from stores all over the world. It is fashion porn as far as people watching is concerned. Some look like fashion victims, while others will have you wide-eyed as they walk by in a trail of fabulous.  It’s loud, it’s crowded, it’s amazing. Here’s what I learned….

It’s cool to wear sneakers.

From 18 year olds to 80 year olds, sneakers were the fashion footwear of choice, for men and for women. The new trend, dubbed “athleisure wear”, incorporates a street style spin on gym wear basics. The most significant staple of this trend is the idea that sneakers, yes I’m talking Vans and Nikes, can make any outfit, and I mean even a dress and fur coat, turn instantly downtown cool. This trend is still up for debate in my mind, but I love the idea of form matching up for function, especially since the  Javit’s center is literally hundreds of thousands of square feet. Still, there was  no shortage of sky-high stilettos.  Women tentatively teetering with every step,  like watching a giraffe try to tip toe its way through the plains.

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Some brands think they are cooler than others.

Here, you pay for space.  The bigger your exhibit space the more exclusive you can make it. You can decorate it any way you want, essentially creating a mini showroom for your company’s clothing collection.  Some booths have walls with someone standing guard with a clip board at the entrance.

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The clip board holders act  as “bouncers” of sorts outside of their booth, they ask  questions like…

“What store are you with?

Have you seen our fall line?

It’s fabulous. You’re fabulous. Do you want to sit?

Whose your rep?

Do you have an appointment?

I’m not sure I can sell to you. What’s your zip?

Do you want some sushi?”

Yes, that last one threw me off too…but AG brand denim had a mini Nobu sushi restaurant inside its ultra cool booth. There were only four tables, and you may feel like you are sitting on someones lap, but where else are they offering you sushi and sake at 10am?

 

It takes a lot of coffee and a lot of chocolate.

Most booths do not have an in-house designer sushi restaurant, but candy and coffee are everywhere. Of course there is a Starbucks at the Javits center, with a line about a mile long. But you’re gonna need the extra stimulation to keep you focused. Some brands have literally hundreds of items packed into one collection. And then comes the weird part. Even though it is February,  the store owners and buyers are there to order their store inventory for FALL, not this Spring but FALL 2015. And since Lisa didn’t bring her magic crystal ball, at least not that I saw, this is where the hard part comes in.

 

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Your head will explode from making so many decisions.

A rep will show Lisa all of their offerings,  with different available delivery dates. Most stores start to take delivery of Fall merchandise in late August. Yes, it’s backwards, but the industry has been running this way forever. It has to do with the lead time needed to design an item, order fabric from a factory, produce samples, take orders and then go to the factory production. Consider shipping times with all of this and you quickly realize how fashion is not an on-demand fast food industry, but rather a hedge your bets kind of gamble. Lisa needs to consider what her customers will want to buy for Fall. She won’t know the weather,(again, a crystal ball would help), so she has to  rely on research and experience to choose what styles, colors and sizes to order.   Luckily she is very good at what she does and she knows her clients very well. I am just glad it was not me that has to put my money up front and make guesses as to what will and won’t sell.

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Bring a buddy.

It was a special treat for me to come along for the day, Lisa usually tries to go with her partner in crime, otherwise known as Clay, her hubby. He helps Lisa to navigate the floor map, try on clothes (just kidding!) and keep her caffeinated. Plus you need someone to point out all the fascinatingly good and bad outfits you will see all day long. And yes, these two really are that cute!

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There is something for everyone.

Thinking you want to stock your store with white fur?

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Or how about a sequin and embroidered bomber jacket? in green?

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Want to buy from the same company that makes dresses for Princess Kate?

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Or how about a brand called Moose Knuckles? Lisa passed on this one…I wonder why…

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I truly would live in these sequined caftans…I just need the yacht in St. Tropez to live on.

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And the Chaser brand t-shirts? I will take one of each…thanks. Chantilly Blue just started carrying Chaser and I cannot get enough.

 

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The main reason Lisa is the owner of Chantilly Blue? Denim, denim and more denim. This is not an easy pick. There are hundreds of brands, cuts and styles. Lisa narrows it down by committing to denim brands that are only made in the U.S.A. From there she touches every fabric, looks at every cut, and examines every color. She knows what works and she makes sure she doesn’t settle for less.

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A huge thank you to Lisa (and Clay!) for letting me tag along for the day. The whole show is a 3 day event but I am not sure I could do it for 3 days. There is french techno music and lots of Zoolander “blue steel” expressions. The city itself is beautiful and bustling. I love to see the sights in New York, fashion and style are everywhere, on every building and every corner. Although as we drove away,  back toward our quaint rolling hills of Chester County, the soothing sounds of silence took over. When it is all said and done, I love being able to come back home to enjoy our sleepy and  oh so special little town.   

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*Insider Tip – Plan Ahead

The fashion industry does not listen to the weather, so to get your best selection for spring and summer try your best to shop early. If you wait to buy shorts till August, chances are the stores will already being stocking up on winter sweaters. It doesn’t really make sense but it is a constantly moving machine that needs to cycle through the seasons. Not sure what you need for spring and summer? Don’t wait till the temperature hits 70. Schedule an appointment with me now to get a head start. We can clear out what’s not working, figure out why, and put together a conscious shopping list. Curating a closet you love isn’t easy. It takes time and patience to shop for your specific needs as opposed to adding in odds and ends. But if you take the time now it will be well worth it. Have a favorite go-to store like Chantilly Blue? Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Tell Lisa what you are looking for. She is super organized and she can always let you know if it is something that is coming in on a future delivery. She listens to her customers and takes account of their needs. This is why shopping small and shopping local is truly THE BEST!

In today’s culture we are so bombarded with new products, pretty pictures of these products and...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Sale

Summer Sale

There are sooo many good sales out there right now. It is THE perfect time to get a jump-start on your fall wardrobe, even though it is STILL July.  Getting organized NOW will save you TIME AND MONEY later. A pre-fall wardrobe consult will get your summer stuff in order to put away and get you on track for an organized autumn.

Need more motivation???

I am offering a sale! If you schedule a session with me before the end of July for the month of August or September you will get $50 off a 3 hour session, so for $150 (normally $200) I can:

Take your closet from this…

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to this…

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or your child’s closet from this:

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to this…

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Not sure if you need the full 3 hours? My hourly rate is $15 off! $60 instead of $75!

In 1 hour I can…

organize your jewelry and accessories…

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help you move into a new space…

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convert all your hangers…

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organize your drawers…

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pack for a trip!

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Every consult I do is unique and personal. There is no “one size fits all” type of service. YOU are unique. YOUR life is unique, so YOUR needs will be customized to you.  Every service starts with a phone call so I can make sure you get exactly what you need.

Don’t forget I can help you find money in your closet! I work with many local consignment shops and I will do the work for you. I will go through and tell you what you can get money for and what you can donate. And I take it all with me when I leave so you can clear the clutter.

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My clients have ranged from 8 years old to 80, and include women and men. You cannot believe how many men really appreciate having a clean and organized closet space. It makes a great birthday or anniversary gift.

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Personal shopping and styling services are also available in a package or by the hour. Sometimes it just takes a fresh set of eyes to shop your own closet and put together your existing pieces in a whole new way, without ever having to purchase anything new. If you do need to add to your wardrobe I work to shop within your budget to find what you need.

I found this Kate Spade bag for a client at a designer consignment shop for a steal! It was brand new and still had the original price tag.

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I can also help with finding the right details to make your closet perfect for YOU.

This ottoman is the perfect piece for inside a closet. It doubles as a seat and a step stool, and adds some fashion to your decor.

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Anxious about going through all your STUFF? I can bring coffee, wine, or snacks. Whatever  you need to relax and make it fun! I absolutely love my job and can’t wait to help you get excited about your wardrobe too! Email me today at suzannegaffney@msn.com or call my cell at 610.517.2983 to set up your appointment!

real style is being yourself

Spring Things

Spring is a time of renewal…especially for your wardrobe!

There is no better time than RIGHT NOW to replenish and refresh. Trust me, if you wait until summer, you won’t be able to find what you are looking for. And if you live locally? You won’t want to miss the Spring Shopping event at Ashley Austin and Chantilly Blue.

Two stores, one night, and multiple fabulous sales and specials. I stopped in today for a quick preview and here are the items on my wish list!

This outfit from Chantilly Blue. White eyelet is always fresh for spring and summer. I love it back to a perfectly faded blue jean.

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Pair it with these shoes from Ashley Austin for a daytime look…

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Then take it into a casual date night outfit with these heels!

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There is chevron on the heels!! Stop! Every girl loves chevron. Just pick up one of these fun cocktail rings to transition your look and you are all set! They are conveniently right by the sales counter so you can grab one while they are ringing up shoes 🙂

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The next outfit I am crushing on  starts with this dress.

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What is not to love? Black and white is always so chic!

And  I am dreaming of it with these amazing wedges…

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Don’t forget to add the perfect bag!

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I am drooling. It is gold. And sparkling. And BIG.

Need help on putting the complete outfit together? From head to toe I can help you get the look you want for Spring! Come see me at Chantilly Blue and Ashley Austin. I will be happy to help!

*Insider Tip –

Lisa at Chantilly Blue gave me the heads up that there will be denim on sale, some bootcuts will be 25% off!!

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And don’t forget she has Smashbox makeup and a makeup artist on hand for you to get glowing.

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*Insider Tip –

Mother’s Day, graduations, they are all coming up quickly! With special sale promotions this is the perfect time to grab a gift. Or one for you and one for them…

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And my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE MUST HAVE SANDAL

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These go with everything and anything. They are super comfy. And they are priced very reasonable. So you can buy two 🙂 Again, I’ll let you decide if you want to share.

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image via Pinterest

I also want to send some extra special thoughts and prayers for all those affected by yet another horrible tragedy.Everyday is a gift…enjoy the present.”

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Superbowl Showdown

Superbowl Showdown

Yesterday morning our son asked if we could get a “Game Day Bucket.”

“A what?” I asked, with a great deal of trepidation.

Apparently it is Kentucky Fried Chicken’s idea of dinner.

Eww.

Not my idea of dinner.

“I don’t think we should eat anything out of bucket,” I said.

Our daughter said “If you eat from a bucket you will probably throw up in a bucket.”

Double Eww…

Last night we watched the Superbowl. Thankfully no one ate anything out of a bucket. I’m not too good with football and I’m not partial to either team. Besides the good commercials, I needed a little motivation to watch till the end. I decided on a color war of sorts.

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or…

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Both bottles were ready to go. If the 49’s won it was the butter London polish in Jaffa. Since the Ravens took the title I’m going with HRH.  It was a win-win situation for me!

Have you tried the new  shellac manicure? They rock. They seriously take a beating and keep going strong about 2 weeks. The downside?  The process of removing the shellac is not super fun. It falls under the Don’t Try This At Home category. First they use an emery board to the top coat of your nail to rough it up. Then they put remover on little cotton balls around each finger, which they wrap up with Reynolds wrap like mini sausages.  You have to sit and wait for about 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes they use a stick to scrape and peel the polish off of your nails.

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image via Pinterest

 The last time I got the polished removed I wasn’t near my usual place in town. I stopped into a place in a shopping center where I was running some errands. My nail technician was named Henry, but I don’t think that was his real name as we could only communicate through hand gestures. When Henry wrapped me up to sit for my removal process we were left to stare at each other in awkward silence. Then Henry got a big smile on his face and jumped up from the table.  He went around behind me and gave me a very aggressive back massage. Now I’m not gonna lie, it did feel kind of relaxing, but also extremely weird. Do I close my eyes, moan, say “That feels so good?” I felt rude not saying anything, but I felt equally uncomfortable commenting. Things got even more weird when he started a vigorous scalp massage.  Whoah there Henry! Did I mention Henry was much, much, much older? I felt like I was getting felt up by a friend’s grandfather…who just happens to be from another country.  I think we were both thankful when it was all over. 

*Insider Tip – It is very important to give your nails a break between every couple of shellac applications. As I mentioned the removal process is a little rough. The girls where I usually go (Polished Salon in Kennett Square)  are so sweet and very helpful. They saw me getting addicted to the low maintence quality of the shellac but warned me to give my nails a break after 2-3 applications.  When it comes to regular polish I love the polishes from butter London because they are “3-free.”  Their products are formulated without the use of the harmful ingredients like Formaldehyde, Toluene, DBP or Parabens. I especially love to use them on my daughter since more than likely her hands end up in or around her mouth.

*Insider Tip – Live local to the area? Don’t forget that Chantilly Blue in Kennett Square carries the butter London line!

*Insider Tip – Want to know what these two pictures could possibly have in common?

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To find out click on over to  THE THREAD AFFECT  , where I was lucky enough to write a guest blog post, Pantone’s Pick.  The Thread Affect is one of my daily blog reads. Megan posts about everything from food to fashion, all while she is traveling to different parts of the world. She is currently in Thailand and her photos are amazing. Thanks again to Megan for having me!

If you clicked over from the The Thread Affect thank you so much for visiting my site, I hope you come back again!

Thanks for reading!

suzie gaffney