Hi Fashionista Ellie!
So, I'm going to be frank- shopping is FUN and when it's within your means, can be refreshing and bring life to your soul (I love that your Mimi brought this up in her last blog because her and I have a great time together at the mall... and we are teaching you the ropes so you can always join us)! Remember, I'm not encouraging you to spend money you don't have (because that would be the opposite of filling your energy, that would be incredibly stressful and deplete it!) and giving is always better than getting but there is nothing like an afternoon with girlfriends to head to the mall, have a wonderful lunch, and spend some time in the stores. The best is when you find the perfect pair of jeans or a dress (because you will see that when you are on a mission to find these two things, there are none to be had so buy them when you spot them!).
Now, my favorite store (also the favorites of your Mimi, Aunt Joanne, Cousin Donna, and Aunt Ally) is Nordstrom- remember that name. They have the most perfect service (an incredible return policy and personal shoppers to help you on your quest) and the most amazing shoes of any other store. Now they can be pricey so hit the sale racks first. And sometimes, paying a little extra for quality is worth it! Black leather flats do last longer if they are made well. And pay more for classic pieces because they won't go out of style.
When you shop, you should find someone to join you. But here's the bottom line, not everyone is a perfect shopping partner. You need to find someone who has similar taste so you can hit the same stores. And you need to find someone who browses in a similar fashion to you. Otherwise, you may get frustrated and come home empty handed. All of this advice pretty much came from Joanne...
Now in one week, we are having a girls' weekend with two amazing women- your Great-Gigi and your Great-Aunt Joanne. Joanne is my aunt too but we aren't they far apart in age and she's always been more like a sister to me. She is a generous, smart (really intelligent), funny, and truly beautiful woman who has been a mentor, friend, and mom to me throughout the years. She has more energy than anyone I know. She is up at the crack of dawn and she's an avid exerciser. She also can claim many titles as she does all of these activities in her free time- chef, party planner, decorator (she has the most amazing house, all that she designed herself including the coolest wall art in her dining room...), entrepreneur, teacher, world traveler, volunteer, and the list could go on and on. She gives back every chance she can and she's an active member of her church. I told you she is an extraordinary person. I will also be forever grateful to her as not only as she been there through everything in my life and given me every opportunity imaginable (including college); she also started my passion for reading. She is the one who introduced me to The Color Purple when I was an adolescent. Joanne is a strong, willful woman and she got me started reading about characters that have that same trait. Joanne is a mover and a shaker (don't think for one second that with her small stature, she's weak. She's one of the most determined people I know). She makes changes, she's not one to sit idly by and wait.
As for your Gigi, my Gram is the warmest and sweetest lady you will know. She always puts her family first. She will be the first one to send you a birthday card and will always make sure you have a full stomach (even if you only want to eat brownies and ice cream!). You can call her at anytime, day or night and she will make time for you. And you will love her one-liners; she can really make you life with her dry humor. She has been through so much and will share her history over tea if you ask her to (my favorite stories are about her Grandmother, who sounded like one tough cookie but she took Gigi in as a girl and helped raise her, and also about her really funny and very protective older brother). I am sooooo excited to have them stay with us for a girls' weekend!
And the best part is- they are the GREATEST shopping partners. Gigi will take you in the stroller and show you off to people in the mall while Joanne and I try on and shop for clothes. My favorite part of shopping with Joanne is she still experiments with fashion- she will try on the most ridiculous shoes just to see how they look and she LOVES make-up. She has been known to walk out of the make-up department with two different colored eyelids because she is trying on all the new spring line colors of Bare Minerals! I have the greatest time with her and laugh so much! But seriously, have your Aunt Joanne teach you about make-up. Because of her experiments, she knows everything and she applies eye shadow for real for her date nights like no one else I know (although it helps that she has pretty eyes to begin with).
Get ready Ellie, this is going to be a fun weekend with the girls coming up! We will have lots of tea, yummy food (your Aunt Joanne is the best cook and it's all healthy!!!), many laughs, and long-awaited conversations. The only thing missing is the other women in our family but we will make up that time at all the upcoming weddings!
Love you Ellie and I hope you are a great shopper (and if not, we will teach you to be!),
And now from your Mimi…
Ohhhhhhhhhhh.... and speaking of feat, let us switch over to the other type.... feet. Ellie, "feet" means "shoes" and that would be one of my favorite departments to browse through. Shoe Shopping is the best! I will admit to a slight addiction in this category. Even Poppy will tell you that my closet is filled with too many shoes, most of which I don't wear (that is because I can't for they hurt my feet, but for some reason I can't part with them either!). A shoe department for me is like a candy shop for a child! I love all the styles they showcase!...There are the very high high-heels (you will come to know these quite well by the time you hit your teens Ellie, which is a safer age to attempt walking in them rather than at my age.) If I actually tried to walk across a room in stiletto's, I would probably break an ankle or two! Another gorgeous shoe on the racks are the very, very narrow pointy ones. Oh Ellie, they are the coolest but honestly for me, I might as well stick my foot into an electric pencil sharpener as I would receive the same results.... Pain! Oh and then there are the big chunky clunky ones that scream "Grandma no-no's"! But no matter Ellie, I have loved shoes from the time I was a little girl, so I guess it is safe to say that, that part of me isn't going to change in this lifetime of mine! Now for you the trick is going to be how to "keep" fashionable shoes and socks on your pretty little feet?! They too seem to quickly disappear like a Houdini trick with you sighing a sweet "Uh-oh" meaning "Where oh where could they have gone!" But I already see what a fun little shopper you are going to be Ellie! And I believe your mommy will allow you to find your own "style" as you grow! You know, when I was about 10 years old my mother, your great-great grand-mom Jones allowed me to find my own "style." And boy did I ever! I found a dress Ellie that screamed "Buy me, I am the perfect dress for you!" And so I did. Now the first time I slipped that dress over my head and walked out in public, I thought I was "the cats meow!"... (but looking back I now understand why my mother bit her lip!) This dress was every bit a true fashion nightmare, but not to me! No, no! This dress was awesome! From the neckline to the hemline, its pleated stripes were a conglomeration of every color in the rainbow and then some! And it hung on me like a tower-bell, so that when I spun around and around, the dress ballooned and twirled making me look like a psychedelic pinwheel in perpetual motion! I actually thought the stares I received from onlookers at the time were of envy..... never thinking it was probably that of horror! But with the years I have fine tuned it some.... well actually not all that much Ellie, but I have toned down wearing all fashion highlights at one time! So I guess the lesson to be learned here is not to be intimidated of the fashion world but rather to embrace and enjoy it! Shopping should be fun Ellie and it should lighten your spirit! But like your mommy said... stay within your means and always remember that giving to others is actually more fun than receiving from others!.... (most of the time!)
I can't wait to shop with you for tea party dresses and all the accessories (from shoes, to hats, to gloves, to jewelry, to pocketbooks,) anything that will compliment and complete the outfits! No matter how old you are and how outrageous your fashion sense... I know your mommy will allow you to create an original "Ellie" style!! (And hopefully it doesn't give your Aunt Ally too big of a heart-attack!) Oh what fun we are going to have!
Ooooooooh, and we can't forget about our Recipe's! Kim, are you still planning to add your Twice Baked Potato recipe? I will enter a main entree and maybe a side dish too! Just thinking about which yummy choice to make is making my mouth water!