Sarah Ott/nolaParent.com Shopping Exclusive

nolaParent.com SHOPPING EXCLUSIVE (sponsored).  
New Orleans designer Sarah Ott has a new store at 7808 Maple Street, where you can pick up t-shirts (adults and kids), jewelry, scarves, hats, purses , pillows and other New Orleans-inspired clothing and accessories.
 
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Stop by Thursday, September 24 through Saturday, October 3 and let her know you are a nolaParent to receive 25% off your purchase AND a string bracelet!  (In-store only, one per customer).
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How to consign at the Children’s Clothing Exchange

Childrens Clothing Exchange Collage

This week is the first regular selling week of the Children’s Clothing Exchange – the enormous consignment sale that takes place in a hidden away, old community center (Valencia Club, 1900 Valence Street) in Uptown New Orleans two times a year (Fall and Spring).  For a decade I have heard about it but have never participated in it.  It is steeped in shopping and selling stories.  Some people talk about the riches they made by simply cleaning out closets and playrooms and dropping off their gently used and worn items for others to buy. And others speak of the piles of smocked onesies, blazers, ski outfits, toys, bikes, and other equipment they find for mere pennies.

Two weeks ago I cleaned out our play room and took my toys and other treasures for consignment and below are my notes.  Keep these in mind if you want to consign at the next Children’s Clothing Exchange – and please share your tips and experiences as you shop this week!

Consign early and often. I dropped off Thursday at 930am and Saturday at 3pm and I was able to find parking and a work space to tag my items but I have heard that weekend days and the weekday night time slots are a zoo.

Don’t take your kids with you (but they are welcome). The first time I dropped off I was solo. The second time I was with my kids. It was helpful to have them there to help me carry stuff in but they were not helpful when they realized what was going on and asked to walk back out with two items I was planning to sell.

Ladies in Charge

Come prepared. I bought giant ziplock bags so I could group large items with their accessories. I wrote down very simple content pages – ie Fisher Price Imaginext Batman Cave with cars, accessories, figures – and put them in the bags then zipped them and taped them shut. (The ladies running the show suggested this so that kids can’t get in and play with and/or lose pieces before they are out the door).  I did a little price searching on ebay and came with my own pen and tape even though there are some supplies on site. I used everything and it made it all a whole lot easier.

Use it as reason to clean up and clean out. There are a few options open to you when you consign – donate, pick-up at end, mark for half price days, etc. A friend of mine uses the white tags and doesn’t allow half price selling on her items so that at the end she can pick up her items, see what sold, and then use that info for the next sale. I used the yellow tags so that everything I took in would either be sold or donated at the end. My advice is to use this as an opportunity to clean out and maybe make a little shoe money.

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Don’t get overwhelmed. Easy for me to say. I looked at what I had to go through and nearly gave up before I even started. But the truth is that it is pretty manageable and goes quickly once you take the first step. I put everything that needed to go by the front door. My husband loaded it in my car. I easily found a parking place one block away. The first drop off took about 90 minutes but included an entire car full of toys, bikes, etc. The second drop took about 15 minutes because I had one load and knew what I was doing.

Shop Early and Often. The shopping part of the sale officially begins this week – and the half-price sale starts Saturday, September 26 – but what I didn’t realize is that you can unofficially start shopping for toys, equipment and I think some clothes like boys blazers during the drop-off segment.

Was it worth it?  I dropped off merchandise tagged at about $450 so I could make about $225 (they take half), but overall I can’t help but think that it was worth the effort.  After all, despite what I make (which I will report at the end of the month), I have a cleaned out playroom that can now be used as a study and hang out space for my older kids.  I would think it you were a mom with young kids it would definitely be worth your while to check out the sale this week!

I hosted a Stella & Dot Trunk Show and I liked it.

I am not an accessorizor. I wear earrings and mascara and marvel at those who know how to wear scarves. To spice things up, I’ll add a bracelet or a watch. Maybe a ring. The earrings I do have come from Jen, my sister-in-law and bonafide accessorizor extraordinaire. Were it not for her, I’d just be wearing mascara.

As of late, I am trying to do a better job at pulling myself together. Now that the girls are a little more manageable in age, there is a tad more real estate in my brain to address the critical issue of looking like I have it together.

I decided to host a trunk show with local mommy and Stella & Dot stylist, Cherie Franz. It was so much fun. I tend to shy away from hosting trunk shows because I’m always afraid no one will come but every one of my girlfriends stopped by and to my surprise, they all did some shopping. As a hostess, I earned over $300 in credit.

Here are some of the pieces that garnered attention. Everything was beautiful, stylish and well made. Now I see what all the hoopla is about and I’m actually considering hosting another trunk show in the fall. Wanna come?

Just for fun, here are some of the pieces that garnered the most attention.

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1. Palm Springs Scarf – This scarf is so soft and light and can turn any blah outfit into something chic. I absolutely love it. And guess what? Here’s a super fun how-to video on all the different ways you can tie a scarf. When I saw this, I decided that I loved the women behind Stella & Dot.

2. How Does She Do It – Red Ikat – Now that I’m three kids in, I no longer use a traditional diaper bag. This fabulous bag has a wipe-clean interior and a place for my iPhone and water bottle. Between mommy camp and ladies lunches, this bag works. So chic. p.s. “Ikat” is an Indonesian tie-dying technique.

3. Chelsea Tech Wallet – At this point, my husband is embarrassed for me because I carry around a shoulder strap version of a fanny pack when I’m on the go. It’s time for a freshy. This wallet is so cute and has an interior pocket that my iPhone can slip right into. I love the Navy Stripe for summer but I think I like the Black Snake for evening. So well made.

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4. Olivia Bib Necklace – Pretty much everyone went ga-ga over this statement piece. It went beautifully with my black boatneck blouse and mandarin Lucky Brand emmie ballet flats. But Katie wowed the group when she paired it with her adorable navy and white boatneck sailor stripe. She treated herself. We were all very happy for her.

5. Together Forever Necklace – This necklace actually wasn’t at the trunk show but I fell in love with it as I was perusing the awesome Stella & Dot catalogue. It’s interesting and sweet and hangs well. A perfect piece for a crisp, white button down.

6. Calypso Coin Necklace – Jen fell in love with this piece. It looked amazing against her deep purple wrap around work dress. It was whimsical and weighty all at the same time. You could pair this with a maxi dress or an office button down. Definitely one of my faves.

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7. Signature Clover Chandelier Earrings – It’s pretty amazing what a pair of chandelier earrings can do to your outfit. Chandelier earrings are my go-to accessory to pair with skinny jeans or date night ensemble. These were my first pair of silver chandeliers. Aren’t they beautiful? 

8. Bardot Spiral Bangle in Silver –  I think I tried this piece on about 20 times. I. LOVE. THIS. It is so beautiful and feminine and screams confidence. This can take you from day to night.

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9. Stackable Gem Ring – I tried these on a hundred times. Dainty and fabulous all at the same time.

10. Escapade Earrings –  Every girl should have a pair of gold chandeliers. These are classic.

11. Luna Wrap Bracelet – It’s all about mixed metals these days. This is another piece I couldn’t put down. It draped beautifully around the wrist and you can even wear it as a necklace. So chic. I love all the layering variations.

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12. Garden Party Chandelier Earrings – These statement earrings are gorgeous. Eye-candy. You need nothing else. Perfect for any New Orleans soiree.

13. Chantilly Lace Cuff – So pretty.

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14. Ainsley Bracelet – If you have nothing else for a Mardi Gras ball or New Year’s Eve, have this. Gorge.

15. Light Bracelet – I think every lady at the trunk show purchased one of these, if not multiple ones. My girlfriend Marcie purchased a couple for her baby shower hostess gifts. They’re light, delicate and feminine. Everyone loved them. Perfect for small wrists because you can pull the ends to adjust the size.

Stella & Dot has arrived. Go Behind the Design with CEO and Founder, Jessica Herrin.

You know you deserve a little bling. Visit www.stelladot.com/bellecherie to shop online and select Ashley Bond as your hostess. They are having a June special: Spend $50 in June, get $25 credit in July!

Happy Shopping!

 

 

Abeille Nola for the hipster mom with the hipster kid

For those of you on Twitter, every once in a while you come across a Twitter “friend” you fall in love with and begin to stalk. This happened to me with @AbeilleNOLA. (Abeille, pronounced ahh-bay, means “bee” en français.)

Some people are just Twitterverse cool.

Queen Bee Meg O’Reilly is the lady behind the handle and owner of the hippest women’s clothing boutique on Oak Street. If you’re looking for a great summer maxi, this would be the place to get one. It’s also pure heaven for the accessory addict. This is a go-to boutique if you’re looking to spice up your mom-style. Everything is totally wearable and fun.

When Meg tweeted me an invitation to come check out her new hipster kids clothing lines, I got all giddy. I jumped at the chance to a) meet her in person and b) help her get the word out to parents that Abeille NOLA now carries kids clothes.

Our plan was to meet at the boutique for an afternoon playdate and let our kids play fashion dress-up. Local stylist/fashionista/photographer, Kate Grace Bauer, agreed to shoot the playdate.

Sounds fun, right? Wrong.

The minute the camera came out, my kid ran into the dressing room and refused to return. Awesome.

The other kids did agree to be photographed, so while I sat in the back begging and pleading for Anson to “please help mommy with her work because mommy does so much for you,” the fashion dress-up party went on without us.

Kate managed to snap one picture of all three girls in this adorable Joah Love ruffled tank dress. There was definitely something about this dress. They all wanted to wear it.

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Made in the USA, Joah Love designs hipster kid clothes that are fun and refreshingly appropriate. This slightly edgy line doesn’t sacrifice fashion for comfort. The fabrics are super soft. It was hard to get the girls out of this dress.

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These Yosi Samra sparkly fold-up ballet flats were a hit, of course. What little girl doesn’t like sparkly ballet shoes? They come in lady sizes, too. And Chucks are an essential item in any hipster kid’s closet.

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It’s important to accessorize.

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Junk Food Clothing Co. is the original vintage t-shirt company known for its buttery soft fabrics and rock-n-roll flare. The star patterned cropped leggings above are from Joah Love and made with ultra fine cotton. They feel like t-shirt pants. I love this for Jazz Fest or on the hot playground–very breathable.

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 Young love.

Despite our afternoon attack of the stubborns, we had a great time and Kate took some awesome photos. I loved hanging out with Meg on Oak Street where all the hipster parents hang out with their hipster kids. I can see why she’s the Queen Bee of Oak Street.

Follow @AbeilleNOLA. She does a great job utilizing Instagram as an effective platform for showcasing her clothes and accessories and her personality really shines. Same with Facebook and Twitter.

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p.s. Abeille NOLA carries sizes 2t-8 for girls and boys in Joah Love and Junk Food Clothing Co. and up to size 13 in the Yosi Samra flats.

p.p.s. nolaParent was not paid for this post. 

elf on the shelf sprinkles christmas magic over bah-humbug mom

The Elf on the Shelf sprinkled some Christmas magic over this bah-humbug mom. Growing up, Christmas was always my favorite holiday – the smell of things baking or roasting, the family, the friends, the crisp holiday air, Christmas Eve mass. Baby Jesus, of course. I loved it all.

Over time, I became a tad conflicted about Christmas due to the immense commercialization and consumerism now tied to the holidays. I am convinced that holiday music starts playing all day, every day weeks before Thanksgiving due to the handy work of retail lobbyists.

The other night, a girlfriend of mine was freaking out because she couldn’t find her Elf on the Shelf. Her ten year old daughters would be home any moment and she insisted on starting the Elf on the Shelf tradition that night.

I had heard about the Elf on the Shelf and I rejected the Elf on the Shelf–just another clever Hallmark strategy to squeeze money out of gullible parents, keep the kids focused on presents and line someone’s pockets.

But as I listened to my friend go on and on about the joy she and her daughters shared because of their Elf on the Shelf family tradition, my cold, cold heart started to melt.

She told me how much fun she had every night thinking of new places to hide the Elf and the morning excitement that came once her daughters rolled out of bed. It’s the first thing they look for, she said with a wink.

Visions of Elf started to dance in my head. I thought of all the fun my husband and I might have together in the evenings thinking of new, unexpected places to put the Elf. I thought of the smiles and giggles, joy and delight leaping from my own daughters as they searched for him, found him and whispered to him all they want for Christmas.

The Elf on the Shelf is magical…if you want it to be.

And the spirit of Christmas can remain in tact…if you want it to. And I do. And you will, too, after you watch this sweet background story about how the Elf came to be.

I’ve heard that Target, Little Miss Muffin and Hallmark carry the Elf (call first) or you can just order it directly from www.elfontheshelf.com. You will pay the same either way ($29.95) because of free shipping this weekend.

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas.

P.S. An Elf’s Story airs on CBS December 14, 8:30-9pm CST.

Now that you’re a parent, do you look at the holidays differently?

BUY great stuff, SAVE 20%, SERVE our community

Attention shoppers: The Junior League of New Orleans’ annual Buy, Save and Serve shopping card event will be held November 2-11. The $35 card saves you 20% off purchases at over 150 stores and supports the League’s 17 community projects, many of which you know well.

Oh, and there’s an App for that. So if you’re toodling around the Riverbend, French Quarter, Uptown, Downtown, Lakeside, Lakeview, Metairie, Baton Rouge or online, you can quickly check your iPhone or iPad to see if you can save 20% on your purchases. Download the Buy, Save and Serve App here.

You can also check out all of the participating stores on the Junior League of New Orleans website. All your favorites are listed: shoes, clothes, jewelry, interiors, toys, photography, skin care, dental care, gifts, invitations, health centers, fro-yo, spas, books, dry cleaning. Everything!

Why pay more, when you can pay less?

The Junior League of New Orleans’ Buy, Save, and Serve Shopping Card event will be held November 2-11, 2012. Purchase your savings card today so you can:

BUY great gifts or splurges for yourself,

SAVE 20% at participating businesses; and

SERVE your Greater New Orleans community!

Online consignment shopping for nolaParents

Tip submitted by: J. Bertucci

Category: Shop

Title: The Wiggle Room NOLA ~ an online consignment shop for NOLA moms!

URLwww.facebook.com/TheWiggleRoomNOLA

My tip is rad and/or relevant to parents because…

it’s an awesome new business that I, a nolaParent, started for other nolaParents.

My name is J. Bertucci, mommy of two wonderful little boys ages nine and four months. I have a nine to five job but  I am an entrepreneur at heart.

A few weeks ago, I decided to open an online consignment shop focused on buying and selling baby and children’s clothing. I have always enjoyed shopping at thrift stores for children’s clothing because I love finding great deals on great clothes. Lets face it, kids grow quickly. Why spend a fortune on clothes they may only wear a few times when you can purchase gently used items for a fraction of the cost? My thoughts exactly.

The Wiggle Room is an online retail space, where photos of gently used items are posted to Facebook. Customers can purchase items using a contact form found in the about section of our page.

The Wiggle Room represents the local market, where nolaParents purchase items from other nolaParents. I believe in supporting our local economy and helping New Orleans prosper. We live in an an amazing city with amazing people.

If you have items you would like to sell in The Wiggle Room or are looking for a great find, let us help!

Got a parent tip? Submit it here.

Shades of grey

When I was in high-school, I gave myself manicures at least twice a week. I’d hang out in my room for hours listening to mixed tapes of Pearl Jam and Counting Crows, while giving myself a manicure deluxe. There were times when my polish corresponded with my purse. In retrospect, this is gross and so very 90’s, but it worked for me then.

Since having kids, my hands have become tools – soaking, cleaning, wiping, washing, scraping, poking, picking. Kids destroy so many dreams of which beautiful manicures are not exempt.

The other day I took inventory of my person:

Yoga pants, no yoga? Check.

Nursing bra, no nursing? Check.

Running shoes, no running? Check.

White V-neck cotton tee from Target (stained)? Check.

Forgotten hands and ragged cuticles? Check.

(Not really going to address the shaving part here but be on the lookout for a future post from my sister-in-law titled: Ode to the Motherload: Bring Sexy Back, Step One: Shave!)

I’m starting with my hands. I admire a good manicure, short nails preferred if babies are involved. Ever have poop caught under a fingernail? It’s terrifying.

When I see other mothers out and about also subscribed to the glamorous look referenced above, in my mind, if she has pretty manicured hands and nails, she must have some semblance of her shit together. I admire that, too. Underneath that mom uniform is a girl who cares about herself and still likes to feel pretty when things are 75% of the time ugly. Mom the girl, mom the woman, mom who was, is playing peek-a-boo with the world through her hands. She must have it together or at the very least, she hasn’t disappeared.

Today I traveled back in time, took the V-dub to the Wal-greens and picked up all the essentials, including the most fabulous new nail color on the planet: Revlon’s Colorstay Longwear Nail Enamel in Stormy Night (come back to me when the angels stop singing).

Now, I know what you O.P.I. Cajun Shrimp-Wearing Tiger Fans are saying:

Hale no! Southern ladies don’t wear shades of grey!

Oh, but they should! This is the most perfect Fall color. Consider it a dark grey with hints of muted, vintage purple undertones. Throw in a little mustard pencil skirt or blouse and you’re ready for some football. Seriously, it goes with everything.

What do you do to remind yourself of yourself?

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