[Trigger Warning & TL;DR: A long time brewing, my writing is rawer and edgier than in any other post, and I do broach topics like PTSD, assault, stalking, anxiety, depression, weight gain, and body image. Despite the negative sentiment in my warning, the post is optimistic, focusing on finding hope and purpose after adversity. I suffered silently, afraid to be open here, but I know others have gone through the same struggles. If my story encourages you to seek help or share yours, then we can heal together.]
This product review has been a loooooooooooooooong time coming. First, I’ve mentioned before how hard reviews are when you are not feeling the most body positive about yourself because, hey, there you are in all your unphotoshopped glory for everyone, but especially yourself, to see. Motivation to be in front of a camera dissipates rapidly, but the world doth not stop for a forty pound weight gain. Consequently, I shot this video and planned to review it a few weeks ago, but in the chaos of the move, Thanksgiving, gift guides, bronchitis, and now Christmas, I have had “Chi Chi Review” on my project list for some time with no forward progression. Friday, in between helping last minute shoppers, I squeezed together enough time to jot down the written portion as well as to organize the copious number of products I plan to review in the coming weeks. Basically, I told myself, and pardon my language, “Girl get your shit together.” And I am, and I will, and you lovely readers get a review in the process.
It’s no secret. Holiday gift guides are not my favorite posts to write. I find myself counting down the minutes until I am finished mostly because the writing feels like a tedious not-so-subtle marketing ploy. This year I put aside my personal feelings to write a couple posts for our shop because we often struggle to attract holiday shoppers in the era of online meccas and big box discounts. Of course, our small business isn’t unique in feeling forgotten, so today, I want to close the series with a final buying guide spreading the love to other retailers, manufactures, and designers with totally cool gifts for everyone on your nice (or naughty) list.
When I was crafting our $100 or less gift guides this season, I wanted to include a category specifically for our younger customers who are often dragged here by a family member to be fitted. Shopping for bras and underwear is certainly not everyone’s favorite activity no matter the age, and I know I personally hated it for many years because of the bad interactions I had as a teenager. However, if fitters and family work together to not only provide multiple foundation options but also to allow young clients autonomy to make their own choices, then the entire shopping experience becomes easier and more enjoyable for them. As a result, I wanted to assemble a mix of bras, underwear, and accessories which work for anyone, regardless of age. In fact, I own several of these at 30 (nearly 31), and some of these gifts are popular with customers in their 60s and 70s too. So remember, “it’s hard, you will find to be narrow of mind if you’re young at heart.”
No matter if it is a dreamy cashmere sweater, sassy sequin dress, or killer suede heels, the holiday season is awash in rich reds, dark greens, ethereal whites, glittery metals, and sparkly accents. Why not play along with your lingerie wardrobe? For today’s $100 or less gift guide, we’re taking our cue from holiday traditionalists with a mix of seasonal colors, luxurious textures, and ornate details!
My Facebook status stream is pleasantly awash today in a flurry of hashtag ridden posts reminding friends to #shopsmall for #smallbusinesssaturday often accompanied by images with inspirational quotes about how patronizing small businesses supports a family, pays for dance lessons, funnels money into the community, and improves the economy. Small businesses are often passion driven and innovative, started by people who want to make a change in the world around them, but success is hardly guaranteed. Failure rates are high, and customers often assume the owner is rolling in the cash or “getting rich” from sales. Small businesses can lend you financial stability, but they can also place you on the verge of financial ruin, to say nothing of the tremendous strain they place on personal relationships. What you perceive as a successful business owner could be one on the verge of bankruptcy and divorce. We’re all faking it until we make it, but the problem is some of never will make it. It’s a hard path to walk, and small business Saturday at least tries to reward those who choose it.
During the holidays, my family loved to blend practical gifts along with fun ones to ensure my brother and I had what we needed but also something special we wanted. In fact, clothes and video games are still totally acceptable gifts for me even at thirty, and some of my favorite presents were practical with long term value, like a converter which allowed me to broadcast my mp3 player through the radio of my car (this was before cars got all fancy). Today’s buying guide is perfect for the person needing or wanting affordable basics or utility pieces to wear and enjoy all winter!
Hello Everyone! In the past, I have reviewed Glamory hosiery and been smitten with their impressive collection of beautiful but functional hold-up stockings. In fact, the Vitals collection became one of my favorite hosiery products because they are specifically designed to improve circulation. Anyone who spends all day on their feet knows good circulation in the legs is imperative to staying active and healthy, and on the days I wore the vitals, I felt better at the end of the day than any other stocking I have tried. Most traditional stockings which offer this technology also exploit a control top (bleh!), so to have a lovely pair of hold-ups which make me feel as comfortable as I do fashionable is a blessing! Recently, Tim and I were chatting on the phone about Glamory and what else the brand has to offer customers and retailers alike, and I realized it would be wonderful to do a formal spotlight both on him as the US distributor and on the line itself. Reviews are great, but I always love to hear more about what a brand hopes to achieve and how they see themselves growing with future collections. So, let’s chat stockings with Tim today while you enjoy your morning coffee!
We all know how much I love Bolero dresses. My closet is practically a Bolero sample rack at this point, and I freakin’ love it. However, Bolero also makes amazing separates, including faux-wrap tops, tunics, and pants. Today, I’m spreading the love around by showcasing several different Bolero styles including a faux-wrap top, a tunic, a classic blouse, a casual dress, and a pair of wide-leg pants. Yes, we’re having a five-in-one Bolero special up on the blog today!
As my teeming inbox continues to remind me, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and general holiday chaos are right around the corner! This year, we’ve brought in some very special products to make shopping for loved ones (or for creating your own wishlist!) easy and affordable. As many of you know, I have an aversion to “Buy this!” posts because I feel uncomfortable using the blog for such blatant marketing and promotion—an ironic turn of events given my original intentions when I created it five years ago. However, as the blog grew and flourished, the purpose transitioned into towing the line between professional and personal, and I prefer eschewing gimmicky posts in favor of interesting content. That said, I also feel that our store, like many local businesses, is often forgotten during the hustle and bustle of the holiday gift giving season when we have so much to offer. More people buy online to avoid crowds or head straight for one-stop shops, but small businesses often possess unique, one-of-a-kind items and the money spent with them funnels back into the local community and charities. Not to mention, since I rarely post any new products here, some customers may not realize how many wonderful potential gifts we have in the shop right now . . . oh, and did I mention prices range from $15 to $100? All budgets welcome here!