Prep Craze: Time to talk about watches

Like my punny title for this timely post!? ūüôā Ok, all jokes aside, a nice watch can really add to your outfit, wrist party, and your life. I wear a watch everyday to work because I like being able to tell the time quickly. I feel like its more professional to look at your watch instead of always grabbing your phone. It’s been especially important while my school has been under construction for the past three years. Correct time on the clocks hasn’t been¬†priority at all times.

Watches can get expensive. I remember a few years back being on vacation and a couple honeymooning at the resort told me they were buying matching Breightling watches….I remember smiling in the sunshine saying¬†how nice that was. Then I looked at those same watches out of curiosity at the boutique in the resort and they were selling for thousands of dollars depending on which one you picked! They might have bought watches for the same amount of money they spent on the honeymoon….

Your girl doesn’t have the money for all of that, but I have collected some watches over the years that are nicely priced, and I have my eye on some others.

First up,¬†Daniel Wellington. This brand has a couple different face styles and sizes for women. This is a very common preppy watch. I see them all over instagram and other bloggers. I have very small wrists, so I purchased the 26 mm face. That face has little crystals as the 12 hour marks. My watch is older, the¬†Classy St. Andrews¬†found here on the Bloomingdale’s website. The watch most like it on the current DW page is the¬†Classy St. Mawes. Sometimes there are great deals on these watches through Amazon, I think I got mine for ~$80. Definitely worth checking out.

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Next,¬†Michael Kors. I have the two tone chronograph watch with rhinestones around the face. I got it at the Michael Kors outlet down in Florida when I was visiting my parents, so I got a great deal. I paid $110 for mine. It’s an awesome watch, like a tank, but pretty….a pretty tank.

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My other two watches are from Macy’s and they are both from Tommy Hilfiger. They are old and not on the current site, but here’s a pic of them. I have a black leather band with a gold rectangle face thats very small and feminine, and a bigger white and silver chronograph with a white silicone band that I wear mostly in the summer. I don’t wear the black one as much because I just don’t wear that much black. It’s also reversible to white, but if you reversed to white the keeper is still black? Definitely a design flaw. I just keep it black.

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When it comes to watches, I try to go very classic….a lot of graphics on a watch face seem more trendy to me…something I might not want to wear in 20 years? Kate Spade for example has some lovely classic watches, and then others with sayings on them that might not be relevant to me someday. Oh and Kate Spade watches are expensive, so if you get one, I imagine you would want it to last a while in your rotation.

I have a brown leather band, a black leather band, a metallic two tone, and a white watch….so I am really covered for just about any outfit. I like the navy and white band for the DW watches, but I can live without it and spend less on a navy and white bracelet from say,¬†Kiel James Patrick. Then I am making my outfit/wrist party a little more interesting while saving money.

Here are some watches that I am looking to check out from Timex because they have some classy bands at a very nice price. The Timex Weekender has a very classic look to the face, in both gold and silver tones.

Here’s one with a fabulous tweed band¬†Weekender Tweed¬†for $42

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And another with a plaid band Weekender Plaid for $42 as well.

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And another thats similar to the navy and white DW watch Weekender Varsity Row for $36.

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Now, ¬†the face is big, 38 mm…..so that might be too big for some ladies. Honestly, just poking around the women’s section of the Timex website, there are quite a few nice watches for $60 and under. The Easton Avenue collection has some very nice watches that are $44-52. Might be an option for anyone looking for a nice classy watch for a good price. Here’s my favorite¬†Easton Avenue¬†with a black leather band, and a mother of pearl dial face, so pretty for $44. It has a more mature look to it IMO, but would be nice for work for sure.

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Anyway, outlet shopping is definitely the way to get a Michael Kors watch, and Amazon is a great way to get an affordable Daniel Wellington. I hope mine last for many years to come. Don’t be too good to hit up department stores for good watches. I love my two Tommy watches. There were some awesome Sperry watches in the past too. ¬†Get a few nice basic watches. You can always dress up that wrist with bracelets or cuffs. Watches are a part of our professional dress. If you have the dollars to buy some extra fun watches with graphics or sayings, or you have a more casual work environment, then do it up, but remember, they all tell time, which is their primary function. We like having multiple watches to match our outfits, but¬†when it comes down to it, we only need one.

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Prep Craze: Dubarry Galway boots & alternatives

Ok, so I am just starting to see these make an appearance in the blogger/instagram world. In the world of riding, there are riding boots or paddock boots for riding, and then there are rubber wellies, and finally there are basically leather wellies. People call them country boots sometimes? Some people do actually ride in them, but they usually don’t hold up to that because the leather is softer & easier to damage than riding boot leather.

Dubarry carries the most expensive and most enviable options. I have a few friends from the barn that have the Dubarry Galway because they literally wear them every day in the mud, mucking stalls, walking miles in the ring teaching riding lessons, they pretty much live in them. For that kind of wear, the price tag of $489, I can see. Where I live the best place to get these is Dubarry Galway Boot, but they sell them through Tuckernuck & Dubarry too. I would just choose to support a tack shop if I was going to get them. Here they are, one of my friends has them in black too, really nice.

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Here are the Dubarry Longford Boots, slightly higher price point at $529.

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Dubarry’s are popular among some of the bloggers. Sarah Vickers of Classy Girls Wear Pearls and Rachel Timmerman of Something Delightful have featured them. Alright so now that we have addressed some boots that are a few car payments, let me tell you about some alternatives!

Here are the Dublin River Boots at $189. A lot of women at the barn have these, they are really nice and come in black too.

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Dublin also makes the Dublin Ria Boot for $169.99.

There are also boots from Middleburg, the¬†Middleburg H2O Country Boot¬†for $159.99 but honestly the reviews for Middleburg boots aren’t great, so I can tell you they exist, but I wouldn’t recommend them.

Finally, the boots that I own!! Save the best for last right? I love the dubes, but I knew I couldn’t spend that kind of money on boots, and I wanted something different than the Dublin boots. I found Toggi! Toggi is popular in the UK I believe, but really isn’t seen around here much.

Here are the Toggi Canyon Long Leather Boots for $150. I got the brown ones, and I love them. I wear mine around the barn, when I groom for people at shows, and walking the cross country course with friends before it starts.

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The Canyon Boots in action!

I like these ones too, the Toggi Berkeley Country Boot . They are little more expensive though at $199.00. They look pretty similar to the Dubes huh!?

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Toggi Berkeley Country Boots

I love my Toggi boots, and I do get a sense of satisfaction that they were within my budget, they are great quality, and they are pretty much unknown around here. The Dublin boots are awesome too. If you want to splurge and get the Dubarrys, go for it, they are beautiful, BUT know that they aren’t the only option for a nice waterproof leather country boot. Tack shops like Smartpak & Dover have awesome stuff, and Country and Stable has great stuff too that sometimes hasn’t become popular yet in the US.

Dubarrys are awesome, but they aren’t everything, don’t let someone who got their pair for free tell you different ūüėČ

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Prep Craze: LLBean Boots & Alternatives!

So today was just meant for me to write this post. I wore my Bean boots for the first time this year today thanks to this rain in MA and Bean boots made the news this morning. That’s right folks, there is already a shortage of Bean boots even before the Christmas rush and here in New England, that makes the news!!

Here are my boots. I have the 10″ Maine Hunting Shoes boots because I liked the all brown leather look AND the sole of the hunting shoe is a little more flexible than the traditional Bean boot.

This pic is from this past winter, oh hey Mizpah!
This pic is from this past winter, oh hey Mizpah!

So feel free to check out the LLBean Boots, there are quite a few options and prices from $89 to over $200 depending on the style you pick. If you can ever get to New England, the outlet store in Freeport ME has a few racks of discounted returned Bean boots. Good deals there!

The popularity of the Bean boot which I remember just calling duck boots growing up, has brought about some awesome alternatives. The¬†Sperry Duck Boots¬†look beautiful, lots of colors and fabric combinations. Prices range from $120-150 for the taller boots, $100 for the slip ons, comparable to the Bean boots. They don’t have the same story of being handmade in Maine of course, but Sperry is a great company too! Lots of retailers are carrying these too from Zappos, J Crew, Country Club Prep to department stores. My next pair of duck boots will be the slip on shoes like these from Sperry:

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Ok, here are some other alternatives you all might not know about!

Steve Madden Tillis Leather-Accented Duck Boot at Lord & Taylor for $79, also available at Zappos & Belk.

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Harlequin Duck Boots from GH Bass for $128, and they do a 20% off coupon for signing up for their emails (I believe these are gone now, here is a link to their selection of duck boots)

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Another great boot that is a slightly different style for $150 is the Sorel 1964 Premium LTR Boot. These look very sturdy and warm, probably more than just a rain boot.

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If you are just looking for rubber duck boots, then think about some of these alternatives for not only their price, but to be unique with different colors/fabrics AND because of availability. If they have to be from LLBean, I get it, but you may have to wait.  They are an amazing company that really guarantees their products. I mean, the first 90 pairs of boots Leon Leonwood Bean sold in 1912 were defective and he refunded all of them, fixed the problem, and carried on. That kind of customer service is what the company is built on.

Maybe at least buy them when they are giving away the $10 gift cards? I think the Bean boots might be coming back out tomorrow with this rain, I hope you all have nicer weather where you are!

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Prep Craze: Jack Rogers/Palm Beach Sandals/Alternatives

Today I splurged on a pair of Palm Beach Sandals for my wedding day. I bought the monogrammed Aubrey in white on white with my new monogram in platinum stitching. PBSandals is in the midst of their $25 off sale til the 12th though, so I think I made a good choice getting them now ūüôā

What are Jack Rogers and Palm Beach Sandals you ask? Well, a long time ago, a very influential woman we all call Jackie O went to the island of Capri and bought herself some sandals. She liked them so much she came back to the US and brought them to her personal cobbler in Palm Beach, FL. I believe his name was Stephen Bonanno. Some people that really grew up wearing them called them Bonannos. From here the Palm Beach Sandal was born. I read somewhere that Jackie O and her friend Lilly Pulitzer only bought their sandals directly from the factory in Palm Beach.

PBSandals are the original, made in the US, made only of leather with a nice thick footbed. They come with either a small stacked heel OR a wedge. Jack Rogers makes a very similar version, some synthetic materials, made in China, and the footbed is thinner. They are of comparable price ($110-$150ish), BUT Jack Rogers are sold in Nordstroms, CountryClubPrep.com, Zappos.com, and they have branched out into other footwear styles as well. Jack Rogers is extremely popular among bloggers like KellyintheCity, Carly’s TheCollegePrep, and the crew from KJP (Kiel James Patrick). Vineyard Vines and Sail to Sable models also appear to be wearing them. The hashtags, #lovemyjacks (22k posts) and #jackrogers (51k posts) far outnumber #palmbeachsandals (2.5k posts) or #pbsandals (100 posts). Why? They are similar in price but Palm Beach Sandals are much nicer in my opinion.

There are alternatives to these- so many actually! Palm Beach certainly doesn’t have a monopoly on leather whipstitching.

Here is one for $39.99 from Nautica that can be found at Famous Footwear Nautica La Plata Sandals

Here are some for $89.95 from Soft Surroundings Palm Beach Sandals

A good one if you like tan for $17.99 from LuLus Tan Whipstitch Sandals

Nice ones from Nieman Marcus on sale $39.50 Gabriel Whipstitch

These ones from Target are sold out, good deal though Merona Enid Whipstitch

Bottom line, if you see your favorite preppy instagrammers wearing Jack Rogers and you want to join in on the fun, know that there are options. Another world all together is Etsy. People hand paint these sandals in all prints, Lilly prints are very popular on them. Those are usually in the $50 range. Read reviews, some people with wider feet have struggled with this style of sandal. Some people don’t like the piece of leather with the three holes on the heel that the some of the Rogers and PB sandals have. It’s the end of summer so a lot of sandals are on sale, buy them now for your spring/summer occasions to get the savings!

Below is my little collection from over the years! I threw my Lilly McKims in because those are nice too for $88. I splurged for my wedding shoes, but trust, in the future I will checking out some of those more affordable options, got to save those pennies!

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Clockwise: Jack Rogers Georgica Jellies, Jack Rogers Hamptons in silver, Lilly Pulitzer McKims, Palm Beach Sandals in navy with white, Palm Beach Sandals in platinum with gold

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LDW2015’s a wrap!

I have returned from beautiful Winslow Park in Freeport ME! The car is unpacked, I am on my third load of laundry, washing the campfire smoke and saltwater out of everything from this weekend. We had the best weather this year, I don’t want the summer to end!

We did a sport shooting LLBean discovery course on Sunday. I have the bruise to prove that I did use a 20 gauge shotgun for the first time! There’s really nothing they can tell you to prepare for what it feels like to actively try to hold on to something that punches you in the should when you go to use it. I wouldn’t say I am ready to buy my own, but killing that clay pigeon was more fun than I thought it would be! ūüôā

When we got out of the course we did check out some of the outlets, and I am proud to report that my only purchases were some amazing Ben and Jerry’s ice cream & $15 bright yellow LLBean shorts for hiking. My favorite things about this weekend were of course priceless. Waking up to the most amazing view of Casco Bay, cycling the crazy hills of Freeport with my fianc√©, and kayaking in Casco Bay with friends were worth more than any deals I could have found in the outlets.

I hope you all enjoyed your Labor Day weekends with your friends and families!

View from my campsite @ Winslow Park
View from my campsite @ Winslow Park
Sun setting over Casco Bay
Sun setting over Casco Bay

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Heading to Freeport ME, home of LLBean!

For the second year in a row, we¬†are camping in Winslow Park in Freeport, ME, right on Casco Bay for Labor Day weekend. It’s an amazing spot- waking up to see the ocean is a gift that I got more often ūüôā Freeport is the home of really great shopping, which will be packed for Labor Day sales and back to school shoppers.

Last year we did a stand up paddle boarding discovery course through LLBean. The courses are very affordable, around $25, and they provide everything you need. This year we are doing sport clay shooting!

I am writing this post to remind myself as well as anyone else out there, just because its on sale and has your favorite brand on the tag doesn’t mean you need it. It will be tough, there’s a J Crew, Patagonia, Vineyard Vines, and of course LLBean in Freeport. We usually hit up the shopping on the same day we do the course at LLBean. A trip to the Ben and Jerry’s there is usually part of the deal too! ūüėČ

Only buy things you NEED and will love and will not go out of style next year, try to get it on sale, and hopefully we won’t feel that buyer’s remorse looking at our bank accounts on Tuesday. Many times, I walk up to the register, and then decide to put a couple things back, and its usually for the best! I am also looking forward to biking, sitting around the fire, catching up with friends, maybe doing some swimming….and those things fit very comfortably in my budget, more than that mint VV shep shirt I have been eyeing!

What’s everyone else up to? Happy Labor Day weekend!!

c/o Mon

In the beginning…

I am a New England girl that has a taste for the finer things that has grown frustrated with¬†the price of marked up “preppy” wares and SOME of the blogs that promote those “preppy” wares. I grew up in a suburb in Massachusetts, am from a middle class family. I never wanted for anything but I went to public school, no old family money, and I probably won’t be able to afford a horse until retirement…and while I like classic, timeless apparel, beaches, horseback riding, and a good glass of chards, bills and savings goals should come first. I did crew in hs and college, but have no vintage rowing blazer. I am more J. Crew Factory than J. Crew, and I sell my Lilly dresses on Ebay. I do ride horses, but have paid for every lesson and ride with my own money while living on my own. I love to hike, but own very little Patagonia/The North Face…..because its expensive and I get the same stuff at EMS or LLBean. I spent years now going along with what my favorite instagrammers told me. That dress really is everything! Well…no it isn’t. It’s just one thing that you probably didn’t even pay for ūüėČ I’m here with you on the quest to have it all, finding the balance between wearing rags to save for that Newport house and buying the entire Vineyard Vines catalog to have collectors come after your credit card debt.