Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Small Town Living & Online Shopping

I absolutely love living in a small town. The sense of community is extremely refreshing, the residents are very friendly, and even though we seem to be busier now than we were when we lived in a larger city in Florida, it is a 'higher quality' of busy. We have a lot more local community events to attend, the boys are involved in numerous activities, and there are many more exciting and beautiful places to visit. Overall though, the pace of life in general is much slower and simplified...
something we thoroughly enjoy, and have transitioned to very well.

One of the things that was a tad unexpected, but really should not have been surprising, is the lack of merchandise available locally. It was my honest intention to not do much online shopping for myself or my family when we moved here, yet we have continued to do so out of necessity more than anything. Granted, there is a Walmart Superstore, Murdoch's Ranch & Home Supply, and Walgreen's (which only just recently opened), as well as a handful of local shoppes, but the merchandise disappears off the shelves very quickly, and takes what seems like an eternity to get restocked. There was actually a time several years ago when the locals had to travel to one of the larger cities an hour or more away to shop for clothing, shoes, home furnishings, etc. However, the internet has changed all of that, and many now do the majority of their shopping online. UPS has several different drivers that deliver to our small town, and one of the trucks that comes from Kalispell always pulls an additional trailer behind it in order to transport all the boxes coming in to, and going out of our small town. Online shopping is really common place here and just about everyone I know shops online frequently. Of course, my family is no exception, especially since we have been used to the convenience of having goods delivered to our door for many, many years now.

Now I'm sure many of you know, I have been blogging about shopping related subjects - sales, new arrivals, personal picks, etc. - for many years now. Shopping has always been one of my favorite activities, even from the time I was a little girl and would spend the day shopping with my mom.
In fact, I even love to just simply window shop when my budget doesn't allow for purchases. I have always had a 'knack' for finding bargains, and love the thrill of the hunt! Not only that, but I love to share my finds with friends, and also help them score great deals and bargains, too. That's one of the reasons that I became a personal shopper, and why I do blog about the different sales, share my favorite items, and share them with all of my online pals! Plus I'm sure that in this day and age of technology, that many of you do the majority of your shopping online, and are looking for great deals just like I am. :)

One of the things fashion-wise that I have found after living in Montana for awhile now, is that the ladies here quite like shopping, clothes, boots, and tend to be very stylish. Of course, just like anywhere else, there are women who prefer not to shop much, or just like to wear basic style clothing, but a whole heck of a lot of them really like their bling, jeans, chic jackets, beautiful sweaters, bold jewelry, boots, and more. I would say that in my experience I find the women here are much more stylish than the ones in Florida were. The majority of them have a great sense of personal style, and I really enjoy seeing what they wear to church, the store, community events, etc.

Now as far as shopping in general goes, I do not find myself doing as much of it as I used to (especially in the stores), but I do still enjoy a day out shopping to one of the larger cities every now and then, plus I really like to do lots of online window shopping. As a matter of fact, here are some of my favorite places to shop online...

1. Amazon - I've had a Prime Membership for many years now, and highly recommend it! I love the free 2 day shipping, not to mention the access to free movies, music, books, and more. Amazon is the place that I would say I do 85% of my online shopping. In fact, during a conversation with the FedEx man a few months ago, he told my husband that anymore he feels as if he doesn't even work for FedEx, but for Amazon instead, due to the fact that the majority of his local deliveries are purchases made there. Seriously...everyone in our area shops at Amazon on a very frequent basis.

2. Madewell - As I've mentioned many times before...I absolutely love Madewell. The casual-vibe of their clothing works well with my lifestyle, the styling on the website stays more to the understated side, the prices are often more affordable than a lot of the retailers offering similar styles, and I love that they always offer Free Shipping on ALL orders, too.
The quality has been good on all the items I have ordered, and the pieces are all holding up very well so far. I've shared pics of me wearing a couple of the jackets, shirts, scarves, and a dress on my Instagram. I have to say, that if you haven't ever ordered from Madewell, you should definitely consider giving them a try. :)

3. Sundance - What can I say? I absolutely love the clothes, boots, jewelry, accessories, home furnishings...pretty much everything they offer. I have made numerous purchases from their website over the past year, and do plan to share some thoughts and reviews in a future post, so stay tuned for that one! In the meantime though, I will be sharing my personal picks on their new arrivals later this week. :)

4. Anthropologie - Love, love, love! The boho feel that many of the items have really appeals to my personal style, and I am always, ALWAYS able to find a lot of different pieces to love and long for. Right now they are offering an extra 30% off sale items, so it's a great time to shop if there is something you've had your eye on.

5. Nordstrom - Absolutely love shopping shipping and free returns all the time, 100% satisfaction guarantee, price matching and adjustments, alterations, and much more.
What's not to love?

6. GAP - I have not done as much shopping here for myself lately, but my eldest son quite likes the fit of their shirts and pants, especially since they come in tall lengths, which he needs since he is currently 6'3". I really like that they are now offering free return shipping, especially since the nearest GAP is over an hour away.

7. Murdoch's Ranch & Home Supply - Love this store! Tons of boots, hats, bags, supercute tops & sweaters, not to mention just about every style of blue jeans you can imagine. Add to that the men's department, kids', tools, home & garden, pet supplies, toys, and is really a fun place to shop! We do have one here locally, but the majority of the time they do not have my hubby's size in stock, so I order online with free shipping. Fortunately they do allow in-store returns for online purchases, so if something doesn't work out, I just take it back to the store.

8. Walmart - Ok, so I absolutely love the buy online pick-up in store feature that they offer, especially since it's really our only 'large' store in town. There have been many times we have needed something for the car, a birthday name it, and I'm able to purchase it online, and have my son pick it up in the afternoon on his way home from the private Christian school he attends. Not to mention that our store frequently runs out of merchandise, so I can order items online, and then have them shipped for free to our local Walmart for pick-up. Believe it or not, I have actually had to have eyeliner shipped in, as my favorite always disappears off the shelf as quickly as it comes in.

9. QVC - Yes I know that some of their merchandise can end up being overpriced, but a lot of the time they offer really, really great bargains, and I absolutely love their easy-pay option...sort of like a modern day lay-away plan, except that you get to use the item while you're paying for it over the course of a couple months or so. They seem to be offering very adorable clothing and shoe options more frequently, and have really stepped up their game on the fashion front over the past couple of years.

10. Lands' End - Really like that I can shop for my entire family there, and that the merchandise quality is always 100% guaranteed. They have really stepped up their game style-wise over the past several years, and I have found many things to love and purchase. Give them a try if you haven't already...don't like it, just send it back with no questions asked. You can also return in-store for free.

11. Eddie Bauer - I've shopped with them several times since moving out here, and have been very pleased with the quality of everything I received. Love that they guarantee their merchandise 100%, so returns are never a hassle. They are offering 30% off storewide right now, so if you're looking to stock up on winter apparel it's a great time to do so!

There are a handful of other stores that I shop online at on a less frequent basis, but those will have to wait for another day to blog about (perhaps). I do, however, have a couple of new (to me) retailers that I'm interested in giving a try, and plan to share a post about them, as well as my picks, and hope to find out if any of you lovelies have given them a try already, and can share your thoughts on fit, quality, etc...stay tuned for that!

So that's it for now...please do feel free to share your favorite retailers for online shopping, as well as your thoughts about the ones on my list. Have a lovely and absolutely blessed day! :)


  1. wonderful post. I, too, do most shopping online with an occasional trip to St. Louis to do larger city shopping! I love the ease and convenience of shopping online. I can't wait to see your Sundance pics - I am so intrigued with their catalog - love their whole look. Am curious about quality of items. So happy to see you posting more!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth! It feels good to be back after the much needed hiatus. I've got lots to share, so the posts should keep coming at a regular pace now...hope you'll continue to come visit me! :)

  2. And yes - I'm a HUGE Amazon prime shopper - SO convenient. I also like Lands' End for some of their men's items and home items. I am really enjoying the new, more fashionable look of their couple of recent catalogs and am intrigued with several of their women's items as well.

    1. Amazon is pretty much THE best, aren't they? It's almost like instant gratification as far as online shopping goes. I've heard that they are actually delivering in a couple of hours in some of the major cities nationwide...can you imagine? I doubt that will ever happen where I live, but it is awesome for the people who do live in those cities!

  3. Melissa, great post. Even though I moved from the foothills and so close to great local shopping and many malls, online shopping has it's appeal. I have found some have great shipping practices and frequent them more. I am so lucky, I have actual stores for many of retailers you mention close by and love to window shop. My new love is Eileen Fisher, I always thought they were long, flowing, oversized clothes and many of them still are. But I tried on some items from their petite line and found my perfect size. They offer free ship to store and since they have one in Denver, I can order items not available in store and pickup. Amazon Prime I agree is amazing, great deals, wonderful, quick shipping, prime videos and the list goes on. I purchased a TV from them, delivered in 2 days and a great deal. I think I need to check out Lands End.

    1. Oh and no pressure but I used to love your What I Wore posts. I bought so many jackets from Madewell based on those posts and love and wear hem to death.

    2. Thanks JRS! I have numerous Eileen Fisher pieces and love them! The black booties I wear are a pair from EF, and they are so extremely of the best investment purchases I have made over the past several years! I also have a couple of her jackets, pants, camis, tunics, a dress, a shrug, and a turtleneck, too. I've found the quality to be excellent on all of the items, and will not hesitate to buy more pieces in the future...on sale, of course, since they can be rather spendy.

      I will try to start posting outfit pics again. It can often be more difficult this time of year due to lighting issues, but I will certainly try. :)

  4. I agree about Eileen Fisher! Love her clothing, the fabrics are luxurious and high quality. Yes, they are spendy, but I have pieces from her from several years ago that still look new, stylish, and are in my constant rotation. I love that her recent designs seem a bit more "fashionable" and not so loose and flowy - I think the key is simply finding the right fit for how you want a piece to look. I order most EF online, as the nearest store is 2 hours away. When I do make it to the store, I love the age variances of the associates and love to see how each put their own look into the EF pieces they are wearing.

    1. Nordstrom always has excellent markdowns on EF, too. I have gotten a lot of my pieces from there on deep discount. Completely agree with you about the items holding up over the years in constant rotation, too. Also love all of her longer length and tunic options...perfect for those weeks when I want more coverage on my lower half. :)

    2. I seem to get postcards and emails from Eileen Fisher for $$'s off all the time and that makes some of the items more affordable. Plus on their website they have some featured values and items from prior years which which are wonderful. E-Bay too has been great once you know your size. I agree Melissa, I just started shopping more at Nordstrom and great deals can be found there on her items. Plus my 2 favorite SAs from J Crew were let go after they discontinued their Personal Stylist positions and both work at Nordstrom now.

    3. JRS - how lucky to have your favorite SAs at Nordstrom now! It really is such a wonderful place to shop, and I would think that having them to look out for you makes it even better! We have a Nordstrom about 3.5 hours away in Spokane, so not too far to drive for a day of shopping. I know some women who actually go over and stay the night in a hotel so they can get in a full day or more of shopping there. It's the closest city with a lot of prominent retailers. :)