Chanel

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A Musing on Setting Foot into a Chanel Store.

Recently I had a friend bless me with a bag of amazing goodies. She knew my week had been stressful, so she surprised me by stopping by my office, handing me a Chanel shopping bag, and telling me to enjoy what was inside. When I got back upstairs and had a moment to myself, I got to delight in many French treats and also marvel over my very own, very first Chanel lipstick. Little did my friend know that I had been admiring all things Coco for years (ever since I’d seen Coco Before Chanel) and have been saving for a Chanel bag of my very own for awhile.

Yesterday, something came over me where I felt that I had to visit the Chanel store here in Boston and see ‘my’ bag. I’ve always felt uncomfortable walking into luxury-brand stores, even in such touristy places as Newbury Street here in Boston, or 5th Avenue in NYC. I felt like I didn’t belong – my clothes weren’t right, my hair wasn’t adequately highlighted and styled, my nails weren’t manicured, I wasn’t wearing couture or high-end brands, and so of course the sales clerks would immediately be able to tell that there was no way I could afford any of their merchandise.

Back to yesterday. I had just visited the French Culture Center and was just around the corner from the Chanel Boutique. I reeeeeeeeally wanted to go (and I almost chickened out) but I started walking over. I was feeling pretty good about my outfit, my makeup was ok, I’d splurged on a manicure a couple of days before. As the doorman held the door for me and I walked in, I felt immediately out of place, but I held my ground. I made my way to the beauty counter and a cheerful woman asked if I needed help. Caught off guard, I said yes and she immediately set me up at the counter and asked me the most surprising question – ‘would you like some water? still or sparkling?’ I frowned internally – she didn’t even know if I was going to buy something and she was offering me Perrier? Would they still charge me for the water if I didn’t buy anything? (I can hear all you luxury brand aficionados are snickering.) I hid my concern and she brought out the bottle and its own branded Chanel napkin (not gonna lie, I was tempted to take it home as a memento of this occasion). She proceeded to let me sample 5 or 6 different lipstick shades and blush, all while giving me beauty tips and tricks. I felt so special and important! I ended up getting a lipstick and a blush, and couldn’t believe that my purchase came with my receipt in an embossed little folder, my blush in a velvety slipcase, and a cute little Chanel shopping bag. Emboldened with my purchase (using my shopping bag as my ticket to say ‘I deserve to be here’), I approached a saleswoman and asked to see ‘my’ bag.

They didn’t have it in the store, but she started bringing out similar bags. And that’s when I saw it. THE bag. This was it. Whatever I’d had in mind before was now replaced with this gorgeous, luxurious, French masterpiece. The Chanel Calfskin New Medium Boy Bag Flap in Silver. I held it in my hands. I tried it on. I admired in the mirror. And now I have $5,200 (plus tax) to save.

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Enter Qapital. I’ve been using it since early June to save for MY bag by setting up rules to save $ by either rounding my purchases to the nearest dollar and putting that amount in the account, or by linking it to fitness goals (a certain number of steps will deposit a larger amount in the account). I’ve only saved a few hundred since June, but this has been a painless way to save and requires absolutely no brain power on my part. Will it take me a while to save for my bag? Yep. Will it all be worth it when I can pay cash for something I’ve thought about and saved for months (or even years)? You betcha.

This has turned into a rather long post that can result in many closing thoughts to tie it all together. I think what I’ll end with, though, is with the excitement and anticipation of one day being able to own and use such a quality piece of craftsmanship. Anyone else on this journey?

Paris, je t’aime

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An Exposition on Why How Much I Love Paris.

I don’t know why, I don’t know how, but I do know that for as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with French culture. I loved the sounds of the language, the look of the pictures of food I saw in the copy of “Culinaria: European Specialties” my parents gifted me for my 10th birthday (it has survived the decades and a multi-state move to now sit on my bookshelf – I still pull it out and pour over it!), and the allure of the art, history, and culture. I can’t say what it is about France, and Paris in particular, that captures the hearts and minds of so many.

As I grew older, my passion only grew. In my high school, where many spoke Spanish, I insisted on taking French all 4 years. It was never a question of ‘if,’ just of when I would ever get to visit Paris for myself and after adding French as a minor to my undergraduate business degree, I got to study abroad in 2009 and finally get to experience the country I’d loved from afar for myself. It was magical (you can travel back in time to college Em’s adventures here).

I’ve been back to France a few times and continue to love it (and would move there in a heartbeat if I could!). I incorporate as much of it into my life as I can – from decor, to books (currently: this and that), to my cooking (coq au vin mmmmm), to my music, to the blogs I read, to the memberships I have, and the restaurants I frequent.

To this day I can’t tell you why I have this passion except to say that it must be something God has placed on my heart. Can I hear an ‘Amen’?!