Your Holiday Gift Guide: Unique Picks & Small Business Gems

Hopefully you’re safe and healthy and if you’re lucky enough to be in a position to shop, I would be shocked if you haven’t been hearing about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale for the last few weeks. I’ve never done a full style post before, so here goes nothing!

Seriously? Shopping?

Registering to vote in my new state, supporting the USPS, and continuing to push for arrests of the men who murdered Breonna Taylor is still on my agenda, don’t worry! Shopping has always been cathartic to me. It’s not just finding a way to the coolest trend—for me, it’s planning for the future. When I shop, I’m not thinking about the past, I’m looking forward and building a framework for how I want to move through the next days/weeks/months of my life.

What’s more, is that I’ve found that when I discover a piece of clothing that really speaks to me, it can be a game-changer. For a long time, I struggled a lot with finding pieces that fit short, not-quite-but-a-little-bit-curvy gals that don’t have DDs, and as you can imagine, my Instagram ads don’t exactly hit the mark, ha!

…And now you want to try to find your size online!?

In the last few years, brands have made adjustments to recognize that “Short” or “Petite” don’t always mean “skinny/stick figure/braless or flat-chested”, and styles have expanded so that we aren’t limited only to what the stores at the mall can give us access to. (Although brands like Abercrombie have a nice line of Curvy Jeans that I’ve been really into!) In fact, I truly believe the internet has forced brands across the spectrum into the spotlight and allowed for everyday fashion to become something to be appreciated even by pedestrian shoppers such as myself. 

Plus, in the age of COVID, the return policies and processes these days are so smooth, that I feel pretty comfortable taking a gamble on a new size or brand.

It’s like therapy.

This is all to say that I find real joy in buying clothes. It’s an opportunity for me to be creative daily. Where I’m conflicted about ethical sourcing, manufacturing practices, and closet space, I’m also coming to terms with the fact that this is a large part of my personality, and in times of pandemic and social paradigm shifts/great awakenings, my clothing on “the chair” is a pile of solace.

Enter: The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

What is a “Nordstrom”, even?

It’s a last name that loosely translates to “north river” in Swedish according to the inter-webs.

I haven’t been a “Nordy’s gal” for that long. My friend Natalie has great taste and turned me onto it a few years ago. She loves it so much that I think would move in a la Eloise if she could, and thanks to her (and every Instagram style blogger ever), it was only a matter of time before I found my way to this chic behemoth.

Why is everyone freaking out?

It’s not last season’s junk. I didn’t realize that the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale wasn’t just a bunch of old inventory on clearance. It’s actually new or rarely discounted items on sale. And you can imagine how finding the newest model of something you’ve been coveting at 40% off could be something to get giddy over—which explains why it’s such a hit!

It’s affordable. There’s also a wide range of price points at Nordstrom. Their algorithm for recommending similar items is wonderful. It makes suggestions all the way from top designer brands down to their store-brand. Don’t let the directionality (“down to”) fool ya—you don’t sacrifice quality when you choose a brand like BP. BP is one of Nordstrom’s in-house brands. It’s great for staples and trying trends without going completely overboard on cost. Stylistically, I’d compare it to the style section of Target, but with better endurance.

Money, Honey. All your IG bloggers are geeking out because the commissions are great when you swipe up. If you’re going to buy something anyway, why not do it and help ya girl get paid? Here’s an interesting interview if you’re curious about some of the nitty-gritty from Buzzfeed.

Nice sales pitch.

I know right? But 2 things: 

  1. I don’t have a swipe up because I don’t meet the follower threshold (10k LOL). But if I did, you know I’d only be sharing things with you that I actually love and recommend. Most of the bloggers I follow are legit and care but not everyone is this authentic, so be careful!
  1. I’m not a style blogger because I’m BORING and refuse to pay full price. When I get something I like, I wear it to death for like 3 months. Then I meander across websites for weeks until I find something new to obsessively wear for the next 3 months!

The Method//My Madness

Contrary to what my husband thinks, I don’t bring home huge hauls of clothes every week. Here’s the method to my madness when it comes to shopping:

  1. Learning about the brand. I’m always keeping a pulse on my favorite brands to learn how their inventory moves and what their sale cycles are like. Some brands never go on sale. Or specific products sell too quickly to wait for them to get marked down. So when you find something you love, it can be worth paying full price for it. But you have to learn the rhythm or you’ll miss out! (This is especially helpful during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale because you can really maximize on opportunities to indulge!)

  2. Don’t wait until you need something. The best shopping I ever do is when I’m NOT trying to find something. Like when I just need to pop in and grab a gift. Or when I’m buying something online and adding one more item gets you free shipping! #oneformeoneforyou.

    I think there’s some sort of law of attraction for finding what you’re looking for exactly the moment you remove the pressure of immediate desire/necessity. This is also probably a metaphor for life. Being open to opportunities and possibilities is what can make shopping more fun than the big seasonal transitions that are expensive.

    For example, I buy a lot of my winter staples off-season. They’re always expensive during the heart of the coldest months. BUT a great sweater is still a great sweater if you find it in the spring!

  3. Fill your cart. I ALWAYS have a wishlist or cart full online somewhere. Probably at NastyGal, Abercrombie, Anthropologie (RIP), Crate & Barrel, and of course, Nordstrom’s. It drives my husband to distraction because he thinks that I’m constantly shopping but this actually serves a few purposes:

    • Curbs impulse. If I’m having a day where nothing fits, I’m only filling my cart with kaftans. And I of course don’t need 8 kaftans. So if I fill my cart, and then walk away, it gives me time to think about which one(s) I really love. I always believe that if you can’t get something off your mind then you should put it in your cart.


      But shopper’s regret is real, and sometimes a good piece will stick with you. If I walk away from something and keep thinking about it a day or two later, then for me, it’s more than impulse. But taking the time to pause can really help gain some perspective and check your impulses!

    • Discounts. Duh. I hate paying full price for clothes because margins and markups are absolutely asinine in the fashion industry. Considering the scale of big brands, I have no problem waiting for something I like (not love because sometimes you don’t want to let something slip away—RIP cognac suede boots from 2019) to go on sale.

      It’s a gamble because the item could sell out and depending on the time of the season. It also may not come back ever, but that’s a risk I’m usually willing to take!

So, what’s in your Nordstrom Anniversary Sale cart?

Aw. I thought you’d never ask! 

I love a good trend as much as the next gal—currently trying out puffy sleeves (my opinion is pretty much the same as Katie Sturino’s), and I’ve dabbled in tie-dye. But most importantly, it has to be easy. Remember ya’ll, I’m lazy! If it’s not versatile and comfortable, I’m not wearing it, no matter how good the brand or price! 

Edit: My cart had a lot more items in it but they all sold out so forgive me for only sharing a few! I didn’t plan on writing this post so I’m late to the link-party!

I never say no to a cozy sweater.
Puff sleeves are growing on me. Even if the trend goes away, a cozy crewneck is always a reliable buy!
Something about these are tempting and aside from my concerns of squeaking when I walk, I think they could be very stylish.
I love an androgynous loafer with thoughtful details
Love the nod to Chanel’s classic flat mixed with the comfort of a tenni!
SOLD OUT – I’m not usually a Coach gal but this design is too darling.
A colorful accessory like this can really elevate a simple outfit. Not that I have anywhere to go, but a fun staple can be an asset!
I’ve been ON my beauty game, and I think I’ve graduated to this tool. We’ll see if the inventory lasts!
Are they even called pajamas or can we just go with “Home office chic” now?
This is a cult-favorite brand that I’ve yet to try, and I’m looking forward to finding my favorite Diptyque scent!

Public shopping doesn’t open up until the 19th (I’m a newbie to the Nordy Club so that’s when I get to shop, too!), so who knows what will end up in my hands at the end of the day, but at least it brought a little bit of joy to me over these last few weeks, and that’s something to embrace–even in small, digital doses. I gave a little life update a few weeks ago and I’m starting to find my rhythm again, so that’s progress! I hope you’re all able to find something to bring a little bit of joy and normalcy to your lives right now. Happy hunting the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, friends!