*All photos taken with my favorite iphone photo app: TiltShift Generator
*All photos taken with my favorite iphone photo app: TiltShift Generator
I lived in Asheville for two years before I found out about the J.Crew Warehouse sales. I can't really come to terms with this fact. It boggles my mind to consider all the clothes I've missed out on.
I probably shouldn't be blogging about it, either. The reason I, the self-proclaimed "queen of the sales", didn't find out about it for two years is because the tight-lipped ladies of Western North Carolina knew they had a good thing going. Spreading the word would only water down the deals and increase the competition. Sort of a quasi-fight club kind of thing.
I shouldn't be blogging about this. But I can't help it. For several reasons:
If you google info about the sale, you're lucky to find a few bread crumbs here and there, and it takes some serious digging to get the hard details. So here we go, I'm about to tell-all.
There's a J.Crew distribution center in Arden, North Carolina. About 5-10 miles out of Asheville. Here's the address:
1 Clifford Way
Arden, NC 28704
They have a clearance center store with regular hours:
Monday - Sat 10-8pm
It's pretty great. Not a huge selection, but about 50% off retail. Quite a few formal dress and shoes when I was there, but the stock probably changes often.
This is not what I'm talking about, though. The Warehouse Sale is when they pull out the big guns. Once a month they have a huge, crazy discounts, digging-through-boxes-on-the-floor kind of sale. And it is glorious. You have to call them for the dates and times. Here's the number:
It was surprisingly hard to find that number. Use it well.
I've been to three sales now, so I consider myself somewhat of an expert - or at least seasoned. Here's how it goes down.
Once you are inside the main waiting area...
But there are some things you should know:
So, you've got your garbage bag, price list ready, and your about to be released into the jungle. Here's what you can expect:
Rows upon rows of folding tables and boxes of loosely organized clothes, shoes, accessories and more. There are a few racks with hanging formal dresses, but most everything is in boxes. People are buzzing about, trying on clothes over their running pants, sitting on the floor sorting through piles, and frantically digging in boxes. It's OK to be in shock for a minute after you walk in, I usually am. Once you come-to and are ready to dive in, here are a few more tips:
When it's time to check out, you will get in line to have your items sorted by a friendly employee. They will mark every piece on your price sheet and then your bag is sealed up and you take the price sheet to a cashier to pay. They take cash and credit cards. These lines can get long if there is a bottleneck of people checking out. Plan to spend several hours at the sale, including the wait time in line. I saw many a poor gal wait for 2 hours in line to get in, only to leave just inches from the door because the had an appointment, or work, etc.
I wish I had documented all the clothes I bought so far! The best part is going online when you get home and looking up the retail value of what you purchased. My sister found a cardigan for $20 that was selling for over $200 on ebay. Over the course of the three sales I've visited, I probably spent about $275 all together but I have an entire new wardrobe, no joke: 8-10 pair of pants, several skirts, 6-8 cardigans some of them cashmere, about 4 tops, a few socks, pajamas, several bathing suits, and a faux sherpa hoodie. Plus more that I can't even remember. If you shop retail J.Crew, you know that $275 will get you about 2 pair of jeans and tank top, if you're lucky.
Really, the warehouse sales are that good. You should check them out. (But don't tell anyone I sent you.)
The next sale is February 26th and you better believe I'll be there with bells on. I plan to document the sale a little more in-depth this time, and I'l be sure to post the before and after on the blog. Fashion show? Yes, I think so.
That's really all I have planned so far. I like to leave plenty of room for impromptu ideas. Oh— like...
OK, that's good for now. Don't want to get ahead of myself. Baby steps. Actually the first thing we'll be dong this year is moving. Goodbye treehouse, we will miss you, (Mike most of all.)
This home has been a joy to live in these two years— it housed our business for the better half of that time, too. I can't believe we lived and worked in the same space for so long, especially when I see how gigantic the shop is now. But, the new BIP headquarters is downtown, about a 20 minute drive from the tree house. Not terrible, but not terribly convenient either.
I wasn't expecting to find the perfect house to rent downtown so quickly, but after only a few weeks trolling Craigslist, there it was! A darling, old home with a large fenced yard in a fantastic neighborhood, (and the best part) a mere 8 minute WALK to the shop. I had to jump on it, even though moving in January right after the holidays seemed daunting at first. But I think we'll survive.
All I have for now is this terrible Google Map photo, but trust me - it's adorbs. (Found better pics!)
And the landlords are about the sweetest people I've ever met. So many good vibes with this place, and there's an empty lot next door we have big plans for...more on that soon.
I'm very excited to get back into a house that has some real, old-school "charm." I get to make curtains, decorate a new space, and meet new neighbors. It really feels like we're starting over for 2011. I hope to share a lot of the process here, but I don't make any guarantees when it come to blogging. So, we'll see.
I made a slide show of sappy, spring photos because I have a new macro lens. (No, I don't really know how to use I, but I'm still gonna gloat.)
What? Bears don't hang out in your front yard at 5pm on Mondays?
One of the cubs was quite the climber.
Look at him go! Be careful up there, little bear. (And bring me down some honey!)
Sadly, Max and I were not at home for the bear parade, but luckily Mike and Ben were there to witness, photograph, and gawk at the little, furry family. Krissy had a broad-daylight bear sighting while she was visiting over the summer, too. We're used to them prowling around the garbage cans at night, but seeing them in the daytime is pretty crazy. What a strange place we live.
I've taken to walking up and down our street these last few weeks. Mainly because it's so dreamy, but also because the steep inclines make even an average pace feel like a major workout. (A few more months of this and I will be sporting buns-o-steel.) There's a little, brown rabbit that follows me most times, nibbling on weeds and letting me get surprisingly close to him. Every single time we leave the house, Mike or myself (or both) will stare, slack-jawed, at the mossy mountains and exclaim, "Wow. Do we really live here?"
(yes, that's the best post title I could come up with.)
Last Saturday we visited the Earth Day festival in downtown Asheville. Amidst the music food, and vendors I happened upon these amazing, portable hammocks made by a local company; Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO.) I have been seriously wanting a hammock lately now that the weather is warming up, but our property doesn't really have an ideal spot for a standing hammock, or a perfect place for the traditional kind in-between two trees. I loved the idea of having a portable hammock that could easily be taken down during bad weather, or brought along to the beach or a camping trip, or even moved around the yard to follow the sun. I decided to try one of ENO's Double Nest Hammocks (for an early Mother's Day gift,) and I am so, very pleased with my purchase!
We also got the Slap Strap accessory kit that makes it crazy-simple to use the hammock practically anywhere you want. We hung it in the trees by our house, and on the porch, too. It's a lot roomier than it appears, and will fit two adults comfortably....and boy, is it comfortable. Much more so than traditional rope hammocks. I've already fallen asleep in it twice! And even though we aren't hard-core campers and hikers, I love that the whole thing rolls up into a little bag about the size of a hoagie sandwich, so we can take it anywhere we please.
I went with the obnoxiously bright pink+orange, but they have plenty of other colors to choose from, too! I also can't help but feel a little smug supporting such a cool, local business run by two brothers. Gotta love that. I highly reccomend this hammock, and not just for outdoorsy types, either. Hammocks are also synonymous with lazy folks (like me) and are just as enjoyable for an afternoon of dozing with a good book, as well as resting after a treacherous mountain hike. Since they have such broad appeal, I think they'd make excellent gifts...Mother's Day or otherwise!
...and if Max would get his little hiney out of it for two seconds, I might be able to have a turn once in a while.
Could we have picked a better or more magical day, weather-wise, to visit a local maple syrup farm?