December 31, 2011

Favorite buys of 2011

Because my blog began as a way to document, interrogate, and contemplate my own consumption, it is only fitting that each year I reflect on the things I purchased. Here's the list from 2010. These are the ones from 2011 that stand out.

Vintage Chanel flap- This bag was found on an otherwise unassuming table in an otherwise unassuming Mon Valley resale shop. The price I paid for what ended up being an authentic bag was low enough that I still barely believe it. And at least for now I am going to keep it!

See by ChloƩ patchwork print dress- I coveted this dress desperately. And I thought it had sold out everywhere. The ebay gods smiled on me and one appeared in my size. It is narcissistic for me to admit, but part of why I love this dress is because it yields the most compliments!

Sheet music- Last October, I didn't share too much about how I spent my anniversary with Chris. I believe strongly that weddings are about community but anniversaries feel a bit more insular. Still, one of the things I shopped for in 2011 with the most enthusiasm and excitement was my first wedding anniversary gift to Chris. On October 9, 2011 we shared a wonderful afternoon visiting the Allegheny Observatory, where we picnicked and exchanged modest paper-themed gifts (in keeping with tradition). It was one of the sites where we took wedding photos so it felt fitting to go back on such a beautiful and auspicious day in 2011. For months I searched and searched hoping to find vintage sheet music from the Otis Redding song that marked our first dance ("These Arms of Mine"). I failed to do so in a format apart from that found within contemporary book collections. It would have been unsuitable for framing and it didn't have the history that I desired. As an alternate, I tracked down the sheet music for the last song we danced to at our reception: "Dedicated to the One I Love." Chris was so moved by the gift that we both got teary in the moment! He bought for me a beautiful reprint of a vintage travel poster advertising Brazil (where we honeymooned in 2010). We both did well with the $10 budget and "paper" themed genre constraints!


Missoni for Target Throw Blanket- More than anything else in the Target collection, I coveted those stupid throw blankets. The ones that retailed for $40 but sold for $200+ on ebay! It felt like Christmas when I woke up one morning to find they had been restocked. Although my parents technically gifted this to me for the holidays, I did make the purchase on their behalf, so I am counting it. They are so plush and soft! I love the textures and colors. And how the blankets don't really show dog fur the way fleece throws typically do.

Bracelets!- Although I try to minimize the impact of sale goggles and stay true to my own aesthetics, I also embraced enthusiastically 2011's "more is more" philosophy when it came to bangle jewelry. I amassed many pieces as gifts (such as those shown above) but I also purchased a few myself, including a favorite from Kenneth Jay Lane that features enameled tiger heads, interlocking.

My car- As much as I loved my Ford and as dedicated as I felt to the Focus model, my negotiation skills were not sharp enough to yield the right price on a replacement vehicle. Part of my handicap was that there were no 2011 Focus models left and I wasn't interested in any of the cars already on the Ford lots I visited. The Civic I purchased from Dean Honda was the last 2011 in the area. And armed with my mother's support (and fierce negotiating tactics) she and I managed to maneuver our way into a price I could swallow. Despite the shortage and demand for this particular vehicle, in 2011 I made my first new car purchase. It makes my commute far less stressful than it felt last year, when I was fearing constantly the impending death of my rapidly aging vehicle.

HP Touchpad- When the Touchpad went on firesale back in August, I had already felt twinges of a tablet itch. Unwilling to spend the cash on an ipad (since I had no pressing need for a tablet) I pounced on this bargain. Sure Touchpads aren't as fancy or coveted as the ipad, and the HP app catalog leaves a lot to be desired, but the potential to dual port Android with Web OS made this one of the best deals around. On the flights I've taken since acquiring it, I've become hooked. They're great for travel, games, movies, and casual web surfing.

The ones that *almost* got away- I did a good bit of ebay stalking this year and my labor yielded a number of "dresses that got away." Specifically, a few many-seasons-old MBMJ dresses, the Kate Spade Violetta shirtdress, a Nanette Lepore cocktail dress, and probably others that I am forgetting. All for fractions of what they would have cost if I hadn't waited so long!

And lastly, Travel- In January Chris and I went to New York to see Andy and Robina (and so many other buddies!). In February we headed to the Bay Area to visit Chris's family. While there we got to meet Tien and Anjali and catch up with Fred and Sara, two Pittsburgh ex-pats. We also headed north a bit to see Napa for the first time. In March, I went to Chicago for a conference but also caught up with my friend Zack. In June I went to New Orleans with a close gal pal. In July Chris and I drove to Maine with Speck in tow. In August, my family treated all of us to a beautiful vacation at the Delaware shore. In November I went back to New Orleans for a conference. And in December, I went to St. Lucia. Typing it all up is an embarrassment of riches. I feel so fortunate to have traveled as frequently as I did in 2011. I doubt 2012 will be as productive in this regard. So I value especially the opportunities I had to see far away friends and family, make memories with loved ones, and experience both new and old (but beloved) places.

I am so grateful for 2011 as it was on the whole, a wonderful and exciting time in my life. I will look back fondly as I look forward with enthusiasm and hope for a even more exceptional 2012. I hope 2012 promises you great buys, delicious foods, fantastic and lasting memories, and a lot of luck for all of those that you love! Please be safe and enjoy this NYE!


Terri said...

You've had a very good year!  So much travel...and the responsibility of a new car.  Best wishes for 2012.

FabulousFloridaMommy said...

Happy New Year, Jess! :)

fshnonmymind said...

Please keep that Chanel!! It was just a rare find!! :)

I went out in the Missoni for Targ madness the day it came out and found one throw left in some random spot. It is definitely one of my favorite items out of the collection. I love the colors of yours!!

carol_prettythings said...

Happy new year, Jess!


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