My Golden Rule for Shopping

I like to think that in general, I’m a rule follower. Always wear a shirt and shoes inside of Target…check! Never have nine items in the eight items or less line at Wegmans…check! Always use your signal when changing lanes or making a turn…half a check! But when it comes to shopping, I rarely follow the rules. Don’t wear white after Labor Day…I do! Never pay full prices…eh! Always go to the clearance rack first…nope! But, there is one golden rule when it comes to shopping  that I adopted several years ago that I still practice to this day. In fact, I practiced it this past weekend when I purchased a few (okay, more than a few) pieces for my spring wardrobe at one of my favorite stores, J.Crew Factory.

My rule? Okay, drumroll please…whenever I buy a few new pieces for my wardrobe, I always remove the same amount (or more) of old clothes from my closet and donate them to a local non-profit organization. For example, if I buy 10 new wardrobe pieces, I make sure to remove 10 or more wardrobe pieces that were already in my closet before I went shopping.

To be perfectly honest, I started doing this recycle and replinish process because I found that whenever I brought clothes, I never had empty hangers for my new friends (yes, my clothes are my friends). So, in order to make room for the new, I had to get rid of some of the old. Doing a small purge is really helpful in making room for new clothes, but think about how your new clothes will become new clothes for someone else. It’s the circle of life!

So, how do I decide which items to remove from my closet? Simple. I ask myself one question…”did you wear this item in the last 12 to 18 months?” If the answer is no, then I remove the article of clothing and drop it in the donation pile. If you have more questions about how to painlessly purge your closet, check out my blog post Urge to Purge: Tough Love Tips to Condensing Your Closet.

There you have it. The first, last and only rule I follow when it comes to shopping.

I’d love to hear your golden rule to shopping/fashion. Comment on this post and share your rule!

shannon b.

P.S. I thought you might like to see the new bag of clothes I purchased this weekend and the bag of clothes I plan to donate to Martha’s Table, a local non-profit in Washington, DC.


My new friends


My old friends


Where Do I Start?

I recently provided “gentle” counseling to a friend who spent half of the money her husband gave her to shop for herself, on her daughter. If she’s reading this post, I’m sure she’ll laugh at my “gentle” description of our group text conversation.

Although I’m not a mom, one thing I know about the hardest working women on earth is that they never hesitate to put their children first. Especially when it comes to making sure that their little humans have the best of everything. While I appreciate the sacrificial love of a mother, because I am definitely a beneficiary, I think moms, and women in general, should put themselves first more often.

Back to my friend and the “nurturing” advice I provided…I asked her why she didn’t spend ALL of the money her husband gifted her on herself. Her answer was simple…”I didn’t know where to start.” I actually hear that a lot. Shopping can definitely be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know what you need or what you should buy first. Here’s my answer…there’s no wrong place to start! Shopping is a journey, not a destination. It’s something that you will do on and off for the rest of your life. So, you have plenty of chances to start in different places.

If you rolled your eyes when I said there is no wrong place to start and are mumbling under your breath that I’m still not helping you, then hold on my friend. I’ve listed a few starting points for you below (in no particular order). You’re welcome…wink, wink!

  1. Bra department – I cannot stress how much a new bra can improve your look. I’m so passionate about it that I posted a blog about bras a few weeks ago. Check it out here.
  2. Jewelry department – When’s the last time you bought yourself a nice new pair of earrings or a new bracelet? They’re the perfect complement to everything in your closet. Jewelry is a girls best friend, so they say.
  3. Denim department – Out of  routine and convenience, a lot of us wear denim on the weekends. Why not invest in a new pair of black jeans or a chambray top? The number of times worn versus the money spent ratio will make the purchase worth it.
  4. Top department – Basic tees serve as the foundation for many looks. Why not throw away those dingy, discolored ones and stock your shelves with a few new tees in different colors? Check out the variety of options here.
  5. Dress department – Believe it or not, wedding season is upon us. Why not get ahead of the game and pick out a new dress in advance. P.S. Unless instructed by the bride, try picking a dress that’s not black and for obvious reasons, stay away from white!
  6. Shoe department – Spring wear is already taking over floor space in a lot of retailers, which means winter boots are being marked down significantly. Try to snag a deal before they’re all gone.
  7. Sunglasses department – Last but not least (and how fitting because it’s my lucky number) sunnies (my absolute faves) are a great investment too. Instead of taking the safe route and buying a black or tortoise shell pair, try a bright color like persimmon.

Whew! Okay, that was a lot. But hopefully now you have some ideas of where to start the next time you have a few hours to kill and some extra dollars to spend. As a reminder, these suggestions are in no particular order. Take your pointer finger, close your eyes and just point to one. That’s your starting point!

You’ve been challenged. Now go!

shannon b.

P.S. I’d love to see what you buy, so please share. In the words of my Parks and Recreation faves, Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle…TREAT YO SELF!!





My New “IT” Bag!

So, ever since I joined the corporate world almost ten years ago, I have been on an exhausting (insert exaggeration) mission to find the perfect…drum roll please…laptop bag! I know that sounds pretty lame and boring. You probably thought I was going to say the perfect Chanel bag. Don’t fret! A beautiful, vintage handbag from the House of Chanel is definitely on my list, but for once in my life I’ve been pining after something a bit more practical.

You’re probably wondering why it’s taken so long for me to find a simple laptop bag. Anyone can walk down the back aisle of the nearest Office Depot or Staples and find a bag suitable enough to chuck a laptop into. If it isn’t blatantly obvious, I’m rather picky when it comes to fashion, even for something as mundane as a laptop bag. I didn’t want the traditional bulky, black bag with vinyl material and a trolley strap.

Well, I’m happy to report that after tirelessly (more exaggeration) searching for almost a decade, I am FINALLY the super proud owner of the perfect laptop bag! Take a look.


Isn’t she stunning?!? It’s the Sydney Work Bag made by Fossil. I’m so in love with the rich camel color. I’m also over-the-moon because it’s not the traditional stiff and boxy laptop bag. There is a lot of storage space, extra pockets and zipped enclosures to hide supplies like a portable mouse, charger cord, pens, business cards, etc. It’s absolutely perfect! I received this bag as a Christmas gift (thanks to my hubby) and even though I was on vacation during the holidays, every day I would look at the bag in my closet and slightly (I mean, minuscule) wish that I was scheduled to work just so I could introduce my new bag to my old laptop.

Christmas was several weeks ago and I’m still really infatuated with this bag. If only I could find a way to wear it on the weekends without looking like I’m heading to the office. Please send me your tips!

Now that I’ve FINALLY checked laptop bag off my list, I’m setting my sights on Coco Chanel! I’m setting up my GoFundMe site as I type this (I kid).

Have a great week!

shannon b.

P.S. Check out this super cute Day Designer daily planner I just started using. I love it almost as much as my new bag.

P.S.S. I feel like this post reveals my inner-nerd and over-zealousness for all things office supplies. Please don’t judge me!