Girls Write Out
Wednesday, August 13, 2008

This just in: There's a handbag gene!

Okay, this is based on my own research, but I took Elle school shopping at Nordstrom Rack yesterday. Piles and piles of jeans, and she pulls out the pair of $60 Sevens. I'm looking at the handbags, because that's what I do at the Rack, and Elle comes over, puts her cheek on a handbag and says, "Mom feel. Like buttah!

But here. Here is the conclusive evidence that the scientific community looks for: Some of us just appreciate quality and my daughter wears her Italian roots well. (She's 8 FYI) We're in the shoe section. I'm looking on one side, just to see what's there and she keeps going, "Mom, look at these!" Tons and tons of shoes, not very many labels, and my daughter pulls out: Prada, Jimmy Choo and Cole Haans. See, it's not about style, it's about the quality. She sees it, too! It's like we have our very special shopping vision, and it's totally genetic and it must be molded, shaped and given a very good work ethic. I've already taught her investing, and why a stock is a good/bad buy.

I listen to a radio pastor everyday and he says, "Don't be shopping at Nordstrom when it's your Wal Mart season." And that got me to thinking, it's always been my Nordstrom season. I worked, so like Jean Luc Picard, I could "Make it so". I set small goals and work to achieve them. My first job was working at Round Table (under the round table, incidentally, I was 13). My next job was a step up to legal employment at Togo's. My next goal was to find a job that I could leave without smelling like an onion.

So I began doing customer service at a now-defunct check printing company. Defunct because they wouldn't hire English speakers in the plant, and one time an old woman wrote, "Deceased" next to her husband's name, and the plant printed his name with "Deceased" next to it. Um, maybe it's just me, but you might want to pay for an English speaker for typesetting work. Anyway, I took those disgruntled calls and that woman was TICKED! I should have gotten a car for that call! I used the money to put gas in my friend's convertible, a 1965 Ford Mustang, so we could cruise the "El" on Friday nights.

The point is, you make choices in life. I've made a choice to have four kids -- so the car thing is so over. There are only so many options for us, and none of them are cool. I wear a white T-shirt and a pair of jeans every single day so fashion is pretty much gone too. Why bother to think, just get out the stand-bys? But that doesn't mean I'm going to wear "mom" jeans and a geek T sporting some Silicon Valley Nasdaq decliner. Heck no, it's Joe's Jeans and Rebecca Beeson for me. Here's what happen, though and why I eventually have to find new clothes. Companies get bigger, their quality slides so they can keep up with demand, and I won't wear their clothes anymore. Lilly Pulitzer anyone?

My small goal setting now comes in the form of how much can I afford the contractor this month? And what new crappy project do I have to learn how to do myself? But you know what? This is who I am. God made me very aware from a young age. He did this by allowing all the other girls to have jeans and me to wear homemade polyester mini-skirts. Okay, I love you Grandma, but those skirts wounded me. LOL But I can see, Elle needs to learn how to work, and she can get started right now because someone has to do the dishes, am I right?

So here's a list of my current faves, add yours:
Bottega Veneta (see above purse & shoes, note the quality -- no, I cannot afford them or justify them really.)
Joe's Jeans (so soft, and long enough for my legs with a booty fit for those of us with ahem, booty.)
Christian Dior Airflash (Spray-on Foundation -- LOVE it, two seconds and you're out the door!)
Jane Iredale Amazing Base -- been using it for years, still fabulous!
Los Gatos Coffee
Michelle K shoes (bought by Skechers and now, unwearable!)
And my list wouldn't be complete without my true loves:
Clorox Bleach (for all your cleaning needs)
Mr. Clean Magic Sponges (One can never have enough. My mom's friend said it looked like our house had never been lived in. Mr. Clean baby!)
Wal Mart. What can I say? It's my season and no one has better prices on Mr. Clean sponges!
posted at 1:03 AM  
  Comments (18)
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At 7:22 AM, Blogger Krista Phillips said...


I think it is genes. I have probably the opposite gene. I bought a pair of tennis shoes at Payless of all places last week and was grumpy that they cost $25.00.

My daughter has the same cheap gene. I try to teach her the value of money and when she wants something I haven't budgeted for her, I tell her no, we don't have the $$ for it.

Unfortunately, she now thinks we are dirt poor instead of just frugal. We had a party at our house last year and we had just bought a sandbox for my youngest, but hadn't had time to go get the sand. My father in law asked why we didn't have sand, and in front of EVERYONE said, "Mommy and Daddy don't have enough money to buy sand." What is great, is that she was totally ok with it. I of course was red-faced, and tried to explain, but my father in law went out later that day and bought us sand.

He also slipped my husband a couple hundred before he left. I'm sure everyone thinks we are destitute now!

When we bought school supplies last weekend (at Walmart) we had the cart full and she looked at it with her mouth open in awe, and said, "Mommy, this is going to cost alot of money!"

I love my daughter!

At 9:20 AM, Blogger Kay Day said...

I've always been in Walmart season and that's my choice. I could have worked all these years -- I have a nursing degree -- but I chose to be home.

But I do have the gene, even though is skipped several generations in my family. Mom often jokes that I'm someone else's kid. She also says I have "Champagne taste on a beer budget."

Once I walked into a carpet store, glanced around and said, "I like that one." The salesperson said, it was the most expensive one they carried. I wasn't buying, I was about 16, but still.

When looking at wedding dresses with my friend who was getting married, I quickly chose my favorite -- yes, the most expensive in the store.

I choose not to spend a lot of money on clothes, but I can use my good eye to choose clothes that look a lot better than they actually are.

At 9:35 AM, Blogger Suzanne said...

I don't want to be in the Wal-Mart season (do you see what people wear when they shop there? Pajamas should NOT be worn in public!) but I am. I'd much rather be in the Target season. Love Target. If Target sold groceries my life would be complete.

At 9:42 AM, Blogger Gracie said...

I love Clorox! I also tend to love certain powdered bathroom cleaners. There's something about scrubbing the sinks until they sparkle that tickles me. Yeah, weird, I know.

Since I'm a budgeter, I waltz in WalMart season most of the year. However, I do have a taste for quality things, and if I find something that's well-made and affordable, I'm buying it!

The only exception is shoes. Please don't throw your Donald Pliners at me, Kristin. It's only because I can't stand to pay more than twenty dollars for shoes of any kind. Though once I spent a little more for a pair of wedges that felt soooo good...

At 9:58 AM, Blogger Kay Day said...

Yeah, Target. I don't actually shop at Walmart unless I have no choice and I almost always have a choice! I'd even go to Kmart before Walmart, if we had one around here. But I love Target.

At 10:18 AM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

I KNEW there was a reason I had this handbag fetish! It's in my genes.

At 12:26 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

We will go to Wal Mart for school supplies, and I love Wal Mart. I'm just not buying my shoes there. All I'm saying.

Krista, my husband shares your cheap gene. LOL And yes, powdered cleaners. Ah, love the ones you can buy at cost Plus.

But for shoes and purses, I'd rather wait until I can afford the "right" ones. I just watched "Flipping Out" and opened my shades and said, "It's a great day at Kristin Billerbeck's house." I guess I have my own version of OCD. It involves quality. I guess I can't imagine Jeff Lewis at KMart either. LOL

At 3:40 PM, Blogger Pam S. said...

I love school supplies such as:

Snowman whiteboard markers
Elmer's school glue
Energizer batteries
Toshiba flashdrive

These are a few of my favorite things.... (Humming tune from Sound of Music).

At 4:39 PM, Blogger Rachel Holliday said...

Loved the shoes in the picture, so I searched for them online...found them for a bargain $768. :)
Wal-Mart? of my least favorite places in the world.
I love Super Target though. I can buy groceries and cute bedding all in one place. My only problem is how to get out of there without spending $200.

At 6:10 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

School supplies are a good one!! I love Wal Mart, but I have to be in the mood for noise. One time, my son ran out of the house in his diaper and my neighbor said, "Kristin, you going to Wal Mart?" I didn't know what she meant and she goes, "You got your baby in the uniform." LOL

At 10:55 PM, Blogger Rachel Hauck said...

Great post. I too have the hand bag jean. Yeah, and I'm afflicted with shoe-itis.

However, I never, ever have a Wal-Mart season. I shop for clothes at Dillards and Anne Taylor Loft during the sale season.

I buy all my groceries and supplies at Publix. My books at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Family stores, etc.

I can't find any reason to buy Wal-Mart. I gave up on their clothes a long time ago. :)

Keep training Elle!

At 7:08 AM, Blogger Lisa Jordan said...

I love a bargain and clearance sale. A lot of my clothes are purchased at a Macy-style store, but significantly marked down. Because of how I grew up, I can't justify $60 on jeans.

I adore handbags and would love to spend a lot of money on a butter-soft bag, but my budget doesn't allow it. So in the mean time, I make do, but...sigh.

I'm a huge scrapbooker and stamper and former Creative Memories consultant. I'll pay more for CM products because I know they're quality products. I'm preserving memories here, so I want the best I can afford.

At 10:14 AM, Blogger Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

Yep. That seals it. Kristin, you're in a whole other league from me. I couldn't tell the difference between Prada and Penni loafers if my life depended on it. LOL! All right, so I could differentiate between those.

But when it comes to fashion, I'm so NOT there. I wear what's comfortable, what's affordable, and what hides my flaws as much as possible. You mention the Wal-Mart season? I'm there, baby! I can't justify paying top dollar for something that'll get the same amount of use as an item that costs 1/10 of the price.

Yeah, it must be in the genes, and mine were washed out years ago. :)

At 10:47 AM, Blogger Julie Carobini said...

I'm perpetually in a Tar-shay season, but thankfully, hubby likes to shop for me at fancy places. That's how I get the good stuff, otherwise, it would be discount all the way for me.

Must have: vanilla ice blend from The Coffee Bean, every Sunday afternoon with hubby

At 1:41 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

I heard Ann Taylor Loft was going out of business, Rachel! I pray that's not true. I love that place. It's like Garanimals for adults. YOu figure out what pant style looks best on you, and then you buy it in the colors you want. LOL Love that!

The funny part is, I am the worst dresser most of the time. I know how to dress, I just don't take much time. I'm glad I don't work in the real world. My mind is too cluttered with other things these days.

Julie, I bought a coffee cup from "Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf" when I was down there. I had planned to give it away with the Trophy Wives book since she drinks there all the time, but my son was enjoying his orange juice out of it before I got to it. LOL

At 1:20 PM, Blogger Julie Carobini said...

Kristin--Your son has good taste! Haha

At 10:07 AM, OpenID Jeff said...

Hi there, I recently had an entry and pictures stolen from my blog by a person called Cleo on I decided to do some checking up to see if she had stolen from other people, and it turns out she has. In fact, it looks like almost every entry she posts in her journal is stolen, including yours.

Your site:
Her site:

I recommend that you contact Multiply ( and report her in violation of their terms-of-service ( so that this doesn't happen to more honest writers.

At 12:50 PM, Blogger ed said...



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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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