5 Things that are TOTALLY worth the splurge:
1. Lululemon bags. I have ALWAYS used lulu bags as my work bags. Every few years I start to feel like I want a change and think, I want something more professional or sophisticated to carry for work. You know, something that says, "I'm successful, look at my bag", (read the Louis Vuitton Neverfull or my splurge purchase last year for what I thought would be my new work bag, the Longchamp Pénélope...which I LOVE with all my heart and get endless compliments on, but do not use for work at all). I inevitably always go back to Lulu. They are so incredibly practical, versatile, functional, well-made and the list goes on. If you're like me and want to be sure you have absolutely EVERYTHING you could ever possibly need while out for work, you need a lululemon tote in your life. Pockets upon pockets, straps, zippers, easy to clean. Here is the one I just bought after having this one for the last 4+ years. I also really like the All Day Tote, available now.
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2. Good Bras. No more buying lingerie at Target, ladies. Get with the program and buy a bra that fits PROPERLY (and then buy 4 more). Ill-fitting bras can not only be unflattering, but can actually damage breast tissue over time. I recommend Rigby & Peller inside the 900 N. Michigan Shops or the Nordstrom Bra Fitting Specialists in their lingerie department. Yes, these bras are pricier, but they are well worth the investment. I really like The Classy Woman's blog post about the importance of a well-fitting bra...sums up everything you need to know!
3. Exercise. This can be a tricky one, b/c there are so many options for exercise (gyms, HIIT classes, pilates, boutique studios, etc), especially in Chicago, that prices should be competitive and within a reasonably affordable range. However, not all places offer discounted packages (the more you buy the more you save), participate in Classpass or even compete, in general, with other workout pricing options on the market (I'm looking at you, Soulcycle and Barry's). That being said, whatever makes you WANT to exercise, whatever MOTIVATES you and makes your workout more enjoyable, is worth. every. penny. No one can fault a studio for being more expensive when their classes are constantly packed. There is obviously something they are doing right to be able to get people in the door and pay those prices, regardless of the fact that they are more expensive than 80% of those around them. I try not to stress too much over the amount of money I spend on my workouts, because #1, there are obviously worse things I could spend my money on and #2, if it gets me up, out the door, and healthier then who really cares?? I think of it as investing money in myself, and the cost of that is priceless, is it not? ***side note--I go Barry's and Soul Cycle every now and then because I really enjoy them, so I'm not a hater, even though I reference them above. I'm mean, let's call a spade a spade.***
4. A warm coat. This is obviously specific to living in a place that actually gets cold and windy, and if you happen to, you should know that this is a key purchase. If you don't already know this, then hopefully this post helps you out, because it is a game changer to own a high-quality, warm-ass, mother-effing jacket. I jumped on what I thought was just a fashion trend about 3 years ago and bought a Canada Goose jacket for over $700 at the time (now they are in the $900's, which actually physically hurts my fingers to type b/c it is so outrageous). However, I quickly learned why these jackets were popping up everywhere around me. I can't tell you how many people have stopped me while wearing mine and asked about it and why everyone in Chicago seems to have one. And every time I answer, I feel like I should be getting paid royalties by Canada Goose, because I'd bet a benjamin that at least half of those people turn around and buy one. I can go out in a tank top and still sweat my ass off if it's above 30 degrees when I'm wearing my coat. It is for real, for real, really, really warm and worth the cost. Plus, I'll probably have it forever because the quality is next to no other. Check out the pic below for the style I have (Shelburne). The Kensington is another popular style that has more of a slim fit. More info on their website here.
5. Food. Give me all the food. If I'm at the grocery store, I want quality ingredients. Organic for things that matter (see the dirty dozen list here and the clean 15 here), animal products that are humanely raised and sold, grass-fed/pasture-raised when relevant and just HIGH QUALITY stuff, in general. I don't ALWAYS stick to these specifications when buying my food, but I try to most of the time. And I typically won't buy a lower-quality option just b/c it's cheaper.
If I'm eating out, i want it to be an enjoyable dining experience with good atmosphere, quality ingredients, impeccable service, the whole shebang...good wine list doesn't hurt either. Without doing a full review, I will tell you that I went to Maple & Ash this past week and was really impressed. Up until now, Bavette's has been my steakhouse of choice in Chicago, with RPM Steak being a close second. I definitely found a strong contender in Maple & Ash, not to mention a ton of character, a super sexy ambience and just the oomph you're looking for when wanting something extra special for your night out. Highly recommend! ***side note: We rode the elevator down with Howie Long, which was a fun perk. I think he was with other football players, but I wouldn't know their names. Point being, highfalutin' people hang out here, which is kinda neato and makes me feel highfalutin', too.***
Honorable mentions from some of my "co-contributers" (mostly women and all friends):
- High quality, comfy mattress
- Perfect fitting pair of jeans (in my experience, go designer. Nordies or Bloomies have a great selection).
- Hair (cut/color). Please don't use a Groupon to dye your hair a brand new color. Word of mouth and reviews only for these types of thing, girls!
- Good quality, high-powered hair dryer
- Winter boots
- Sexy pair of pumps (every girl should have at least one pair of ridiculously-priced, non-versatile shoes).
- Right hand bling (engaged girls aren't the only women who deserve diamonds).
- Good leather jacket. This is a piece that should be timeless, high quality and last you forever.
- Nice hotels...really just travel, in general. I am not a fan of budget travel. If we're going to do it, let's DO it.
- Fabulous handbag(s)...kind of fits into #1, although less specific than my lululemon recommendation.
- Fresh flowers...such a nice thing to have in your home. Worth the extra money.
- Cleaning lady/man/person. Dont even get me started.
- Perfume/Cologne. I am such a smell person. I want someone to smell good. Subtle, but noticeable. Like a light breeze, if you will.
- Fake lashes. "I woke up like this...literally." Time-saver and looks fabulous on everyone.
- Chic pair of sunglasses (skip this suggestion if you are one of those people that always lose yours, obviously...you know who you are).
- Nice watch (had to put something on here for men, but obvi applies to women, too)!
- TV with all the latest bells and whistles and surround-sound system (okay, this one really is for the dudes).