The Value of Tenacity

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I dedicate this story to Working Boy, who loves his Value Tales. I hope he enjoys this reworking of the modern classic, The Value of Tenacity.

This is the story of Shopping Girl, who, thanks to her tenacity and enthusiasm, became one of the best shoppers of our time. The story that follows is based on events on one day of her life.

Once upon a time, not so very long ago (yesterday, in fact), a 35 year old girl leaned on a Caesarstone kitchen bench top and looked out at the cold wintry Sydney morning. Her name was Shopping Girl. “I’m glad we live in this house,” she said to herself, smiling. It was warm and cozy, with the heating on, and Shopping Girl liked it. But it was cold sitting on the floorboards, when she played with Baby N, and Shopping Girl realised she needed a rug.

Shopping Girl knew exactly the sort of rug she wanted, and she set about looking for it. What hard work it had been for Shopping Girl, trying to find the exact rug she wanted.

Finally Shopping Girl was ready to give up. Her fingers were sore from swiping and tapping, and Baby N needed a nappy change. But then she thought of Working Boy, and what he would say. “Shopping Girl”, he would say, “no one ever gets ahead who quits when the going gets tough”. Nodding at his words, Shopping Girl thought “I’ll just check the Pottery Barn website”.

And there it was. The perfect rug. On sale. Shopping Girl could not believe her eyes. She went to click “Add to cart”, but it would not work, and then she saw those fateful words “product no longer available”.

Shopping Girl hunted around a little
more, but no rug measured up to the Pottery Barn one. Shopping Girl was bereft. And forlorn.

Suddenly Shopping Girl heard a little voice. “Don’t give up Shopping Girl. You can get that rug if you work hard enough”.
“What?” said Shopping Girl, startled.
“I said that you can do it,” the voice went on. “All you need is tenacity”.
Shopping Girl raised her head to find out who was talking. Who do you think it was?
That’s right. It was the iPad on the floor next to her. Shopping Girl couldn’t believe her eyes or ears. Her iPad seemed to be talking to her.
“Tenacity means sticking with it, refusing to give up no matter what”, iPad explained, giving Shopping Girl a little time to recover from her surprise.

Of course, Shopping Girl knew that iPads don’t really talk (it’s not like they have Siri). She knew it was really her inner shopper she was listening to. It didn’t matter. She liked what she heard.

She picked up the phone and called the Pottery Barn store, inquiring as to whether they had the rug in store.
A charming fellow called David answered the phone. He checked the stock, and replied “All sold out, I’m afraid”. Did she take no for an answer? No she did not. “Yes,” said Shopping Girl, “I thought so. I just thought perhaps you might have one left on display or something”.
“Actually…” replied David, “we have a return right here!”
“Is there anything wrong with it?”. David answered that he would find out and call her back.

An hour later Shopping Girl’s phone rang and David happily reported that the rug was in perfect condition, it just had not suited the space of the previous purchasers.
“Could you give me the dimensions?”, asked Shopping Girl. And David did. And it was perfect.
“Where is the rug made?” asked shopping girl. “Working Boy won’t buy rugs from Iran”.
David, the model of excellent customer service, said he would find out and call her back.

But Shopping Girl could not wait for the call. Baby N was awake and soon the boys would need fetching from school. Shopping Girl needed a few things from Coles anyway so off to Bondi Junction she went. “That’s the spirit, Shopping Girl,” her iPad seemed to say.

Shopping Girl arrived in Pottery Barn to discover the rug was made in India. Clearly it was fate. Working Boy’s father was also from India.
Shopping Girl asked to see the rug. It was a little shaggier than she anticipated. She didn’t think Working Boy would like a shaggy rug. “You mustn’t think that way, Shopping Girl,” iPad scolded. “You can get this rug if you have tenacity.”

Shopping Girl spoke to Working Boy and explained all the benefits of a shaggy rug. She talked to him in terms he would not understand, like the need for different textures and styles from a design perspective. Shopping Girl persevered and talked harder and harder – and she got the rug. Working Boy agreed it was the right rug for the house. And if they didn’t like
it once it was in the house, they could always return it anyway.

We all have a lesson to learn from Shopping Girl; that with complete dedication to our shopping we can acquire great things.

You won’t all be shopping superstars like Shopping Girl. But if you do your best, and keep at it no matter how much you’d like give up, then one day, you too will discover the rewards of tenacity. Just like our friend, Shopping Girl.

XOXO Shopping Girl

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Home dressing

Today was a big day in the shopping life of Shopping Girl and Working Boy. Our biggest purchase to date, not withstanding the house, arrived. Sofas, chairs, coffee table, ottomans. Until December we had never bought a sofa. When I moved to Sydney, I somehow inherited my friend Vivi’s parents’ old sofas. Once these were trashed by my toddler children we were gifted Working Boy’s parents’ old lounge suite, which had survived in their home as the formal furniture for some 30 years. This lasted under 2 years in our house and then we got their other old sofas, which had mysteriously been left in the house they bought in 1984. Thank G-d we bought a house because these were literally falling apart at the seams when we moved. Along with the totally trashed Freedom dining table (all the veneer scratched off) and the buffet whose glass doors had one by one fallen off and whose jagged glass hinges we covered with a table cloth when guests came over.

Over my badly dressed body were we going to take this shoddy collection into our beautiful new home.

We left all our furniture on the curb of Warners Ave. Yes, yes we organized a collection. No illegal dumping for us. A street first, I think.

Over the summer, we visited all the usual furniture haunts, developing our combined sofa taste. But nothing stood out. And then we arrived at Natuzzi. I am not being paid or swayed to say this: honestly the perfect combination of quality, design, luxurious fabrics and, considering all aforementioned points, a reasonable price point. We bought everything we needed there. I’ve always been under the impression from an interior design perspective that buying almost all your furniture from one store is categorically THE WRONG THING TO DO.

As of 1pm today, it is all sitting in my house now, looking beautiful and smelling so little like small children and SO much like new. Between different styles and materials, I really don’t think it looks like a Natuzzi showroom threw up in our living areas. And quite franky even if it did, having spent hours in the stunning showroom, I really would not mind.

Now comes the fun. All the finishing touches to make it less “showroom” and more “our home”. Someone said to me the other day that if you know how to dress you know how to decorate a house.
Given I have been dressing myself since I was 18 months (true story, ask my mother), but I have never needed to decorate a house until now, I am taking this as gospel (although I don’t follow the gospels so for the sake of accuracy let’s say I’m taking this as Torah) and am shopping for furniture and decor accordingly.

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I wear my Sass And Bide jacket…..my house will wear these pendant lights I bought for the dining room.

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If I wear black leather (ASOS Pocket midi skirt)….then so will my chair (from Freedom, actually).

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I LOVE my Forever New faux fur gilet to bits in winter, so obviously my chair needed a West Elm faux fur of its own.

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My obsession with grey felt wool fabric runs from Viktoria and Woods top through to brand new Natuzzi living room sofa.

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Spot the difference. One is my Body dress, one is the fabric of our Natuzzi Lui arm chairs. Love silver foil.

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I wear my gold Peter Alexander uggs more than I wear pretty much everything in my wardrobe. I’m thinking I need a gold Max Sparrow coffee table too then….

XOXO Shopping Girl

Buying nothing at all

It’s amazing what you can buy these days. Yesterday I bought an absence of a birthday party. Who knew such a thing existed? Not me. But it does and this is what it looks like:

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Master T turned 6 on April 29. Being born the day after Passover, his (English) birthday generally falls during “the Omer” a 7 week period in the Jewish Calender where we refrain from live entertainment (music), movies and major celebrations. There’s a lot of grey in defining what is and isn’t okay, and what some people consider fine others do not, so I find it safer to abstain from parties altogether during this time.

Except that by the time the Omer is over, Master T’s birthday is well and truly over and my celebratory mood is over too.

This year, as the weeks ticked on,
Master T’s enthusiasm grew as I started haemorrhaging motivation. Suddenly it was yesterday and I realised that Master T’s birthday was the first day of term two, and the last day was fast approaching.

Master T is not a particularly social being. Parties are not his thing.

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(T enjoying a birthday party)

But presents most definitely are his thing, and I know that was his main motivation in having a party.

So I did something I NEVER thought I would do when I was a smug parent of 3 small children (as opposed to a parent, whose smug smile was wiped clean off her face a few years ago already, of 4 children ranging from baby to pre-teen. So different. Soooooo different). I told Master T that if he preferred he could choose a big present instead of a party. Yes. I shopped my way out of entertaining twenty five 6 year olds for two hours. The Lego was on special at Myer. It was $99.95. I can’t do a party for less than that. I know some people can. I just can’t. When I do a party I go all out and I just cannot bring myself to strive for party mediocrity. This is both time intensive, and not that cheap. And then there’s the 25 smaller presents that I no longer have to contend with.

But I know I’m not convincing you, I’m convincing me. I feel horribly guilty that I convinced him not to have a party. Even though he grinned at me as we walked out of Myer clutching his giant box and said “Mummy this is definitely better than having a party!”. It still feels like the wrong thing to do from many perspectives. 2014 will probably go down in Joshua Family folklore as the year Mummy offered Master T a severance package instead of a party.

Oh well. There’s no such thing as guilt-free shopping.

XOXO Shopping Girl

OT

Occupational therapy.

When one of my kids was in preschool it became clear that his pencil grip was *less* than ideal. So we did what all eastern suburbs parents do in times of CRISIS – we called in the OT. A term of sessions later, his pencil grip rivalled the OT’s, and all was good in the world again.
Here at Shopping Girl, we recognise that sometimes we could all do with a little OT….and so I present to you:

ONLINE TIP (OT) ONE

Online Shopping is, quite frankly, the best. The shops never shut. You get the joy of a parcel delivered a few days later. And no baby/toddler/child wrangling involved at all.

When the new season’s clothes come out there’s always something (or a few somethings) I want. But at new season prices, this is not always possible. So I try on in the shop (or not), I sign up to the shop’s email, and I wait. And pray that my size does not sell out in the meantime. Signing up for emails is crucial to be first in on any flash (25% off EVERYTHING!!) or end of season sales. Following on Facebook is good too, but it’s easier to miss the announcements in the volume of the feed. I keep a private Pinterest board of the items I want to track. Oh yes, I really do.

This past season there were Ginger & Smart skirt and booties that I fell in love with. Prohibitively expensive. One morning a few weeks ago I was checking my email, and BAM!, there it was. Ginger and Smart sale. A few swipes and taps later, my order was placed. Win!

However, it’s important to be proactive. I had been waiting and waiting for Zimmerman to go on sale (gorgeous dress!), but no sale was coming. The other day I thought to myself “SURELY they must be on sale by now!”, went on-line and indeed they were. I don’t know if their emails were put in my junk box (noooooo!!) but I wasn’t getting them. So in short, what I’m trying to say, is keep checking your favourite online stores, unless you can CLEARLY see that you are getting their emails.

So, you can have your Ginger & Smart and wear it too. But not your Zimmerman dress – MOS-G bought me that for my birthday. And remember, if you miss the end of season sale, there’s always the Warehouse sale a few months later.

XOXO Shopping Girl

What did the postman bring today?

Working Boy would like to see some regular segments on this page, so without further delay, I present to you:

“What did the postman bring today?”

Today the postman brought two things:
1. Fingerless typing buddy mittens by Cashmerism from http://www.hardtofind.com.au
Gloves and babies are like milk and meat. They just don’t mix (does anyone else have that CD?). It is near impossible to keep your digits warm and your baby happy. Motherhood in general is just not compatible with glove wearing. These gloves are a happy medium between keeping my extremities warm and keeping my much in demand fine motor skills available. They have the almost-as-important benefit that YOU CAN STILL USE YOUR iPHONE. Fingertips are the best. Ignore the fact that mine are in desperate need of a manicure and focus on how snuggly yet useful they are looking. At $59.95 they are my winter essential, and even more of a bargain for me, because my mother (henceforth to be know as MOS-G) sent them to me.

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2. In September, Working Boy and I will celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary. We still have the same bed linen I chose when I was 22 and doing the registry. To say my taste has changed is an understatement. To say I am SICK TO DEATH of our bed linen is also. Our old linen does not match the new house. Our old linen does not match me.
I had been eyeing this Calvin Klein linen for at least 18 months. In that time not once did it go on sale.

Last Thursday night I went to the supermarket at 8.50pm to buy Working Boy some food to take to a conference in Brisbane that he was leaving for first thing Friday morning. I walked past @davidjones on my way and saw that lo and behold their stocktake sale had started without me. 8.53pm I went in and THERE IT WAS at 50% off. Except it wasn’t because they didn’t have the size I needed. A visit to the counter, city store on the line and they could post it to me at a cost of $9.95. Everyone seemed very concerned that I knew that the shipping would be $9.95. I explained that it was cheaper than PARKING in the city. They were still concerned. They don’t know my baby. I would have paid $20 in shipping to NOT take him shopping in the city.

And so here it is – my beautiful Calvin Klein Regent Damask bedding. You are finally mine. .

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