Retail Therapy: Karma Boutique, Shangri-La Boutique

Who needs a psychologist when you have retail therapy?  I don't need happy pills when I have a job and the ability to shop.

Between dealing with the loss of Alan, stress at work, planning a birthday party for Sami and other various stressors, I've been in need of some shopping for  while now.

Thursday was a pretty stressful day, I work from 7 am - 3 pm, and I stayed a few minutes late to explain something to a co-worker. So I was still talking to my co worker when Sami was getting off the bus. Nate didn't feel up to taking her to dance class, so I had about 10 minutes to change clothes, track Sami's dance stuff down, get her changed for tap, pull her hair up (Which is a task in itself) and toss her bag and snack together before it was time to head out the door. Needless to say, we were running a bit late as her dance studio is a good 25-30 minutes away.  We made it just in time to get her tap shoes on and her stuff put away.

I slipped next door to my favorite coffeehouse, The Daily Grind which is blessedly next door (I think it's actually connected) to the dance studio.. For some reason, despite the fact there was no one in front of me, it took 15 minutes to get a caramel frappe. The barista was obviously new as I've never seen her before which is impressive as I'm in there once or twice a week, also she was dressed a bit more provocatively than I've seen at that place on a Thursday afternoon. (Low rise, tight ripped jeans. Mid drift exposed, tight top that showed her entire side and enough cleavage to make Elvira blush. (Then again she also rivaled Elvira on the eyeliner as well.) Rapid City, is a pretty conservative town, so seeing someone dressed like that at an establishment in the early afternoon is a bit shocking considering they serve the entire downtown area. After standing there waiting for what seemed like forever, I was able to dash back to class to see Sami's last few minutes of class. I was gone longer than I thought and missed out on her trying on her new costume for her upcoming performance. (Thank you Miss Elvira Barista)

Class finished up, and I decided to see if Nate wanted to join us for an early dinner at Dakota Soda Company. Which is a little 50's style diner/ice cream parlor downtown across from Sami's dance studio.

Since he had a good half hour to kill, Sami and I decided to walk around for a bit. Downtown Rapid is full of little boutiques, specialty stores and antique stores. We wandered around until Sami pointed out Shangri-La: A Hidden Boutique so we decided to go in and look around.

Have I mentioned how Sami has an amazing eye for fashion? I've never been in this place as their window displays can be a bit blah.  But inside was a huge improvement. Lots and lots of "Free People", "J Brand" "L Space" and "BB Dakota" to name a few. I also noticed on their Facebook page they carry La Mer watches. Which I might have to dig for next time.

I found several things I liked, but decided to settle on two things.

First, to satisfy this season's mint craze, I picked this:

"Addicted to Love" in Mint by Sis Sis 
$36 (I think)

It's obviously low cut so I need to find a short cami to go underneath it. But I love the material and the color and it will go perfectly with jeans. It's a bit darker in person. But will go better with my pale haven't seen the light of day in a year skin tone.  It's shorter than I usually wear, but I think it would be good if Nate and I ever have a date before he leaves. 

(Don't you love my wrinkled unmade bed?)

I am attempting to expand my normal attire beyond the usual top and jeans, jeans are a staple during the long winters here. So I want to get as much as I can out of the short spring and summer seasons by wearing more dresses and skirts. We'll see how that works for me.  But I won't fail from lack of trying. 

I bought this dress as well:

Jack by BB Dakota
Lund Watercolor 
XS $58

It's sleeveless, with a hidden zipper in bad and what felt like stays in the side. Giving it a much more structured look which I really like. It hits a little above my knee. (The model is apparently 6 feet tall) and actually fits in the waist better than most. I imagine it could come in a inch or so in the waist and the chest. But I think I can make it work. One of the downfalls of having a small chest. 

I'm not sure what shoes to put with it. I have some neutral wedges and heels that would work, but I might pick up these: 

(Sold out in my size online, but I can hope they have them in store)

(Again, hopefully they have them in my size at Target as its sold out online)

Charlotte Russe

Shangri-La definitely has an awesome selection of items. It was clean and well organized for a boutique and it wasn't cluttered and crowded with a miss mosh of different random things, sizes were easy to find and prices were well marked and easy to understand. Racks were not packed or too high to reach, and there was definitely a very human touch to it all. They definitely have something for just about all fashionable women. As I saw many petite friendly items as well as larger sizes. They didn't stick to one theme either. While I found a gorgeous, flowing Free People  maxi dress, I also found a sexy, leather tightly fitted bodice and full thigh length dress. They have a lot of neon items to fulfill anyone's interest in the neon craze, they also had more boho and tribal looks as well.  Packaging has always been important to me, and while I understand it is pretty frivolous, I love when a store goes above and beyond tossing your items in a plastic bag. My items were neatly folded and wrapped in tissue and put in a carrier with little ribbons attached. A ten-second step to make things seem a bit more personal gains big points for me. 

 I do hope the customer service is better next time. I was pretty much ignored from the time I walked in until I checked out. Which isn't surprising as I've noticed when I walk in to smaller clothing stores with Sami, shop assistants tend to ignore me more. However, once she saw I was buying things her attitude definitely changed. Before, she stood around at the cash register or was talking to someone, but as soon as I stepped up to checkout her attitude was much more helpful. I know children can be quite the turn off for stores, because a lot of them are messy and parents don't always control them. But Sami is an awesome shopper. She was quiet and well behaved, sat quietly in a chair while I looked at a few items and when she walked around, was usually within 2-3 feet of me and touched things carefully to show me things she liked. She was polite and respectful to the shop assistant. I'd love for the store to be a bit more friendly to shoppers with well behaved children. It can make the difference between a return customer or not. One of the reasons I rather shop local is because usually the service is much more personal and the employes much more happy. 

But I'll definitely be back to give them another shot. Hopefully it was just an off day. 

It had started to cloud over and get cooler, so Sami and I walked around the block and stepped into Karma Boutique, which I first heard about from my friend, Jenn. It has a more bohemian quality to it than Shangri-La. And carries brands like Moon Collection, MM Couture, Lucky Brand, Fossil, Free People, Joes Jeans and Chinese Laundry. 

Sami also prefers this store as the shop assistants are friendly and welcoming to her as well and the decor is a bit more warm and inviting. The store is set up in a more flowing manner and makes use of unique storage and display. It makes it seem a bit more like a home than a store. 

The shop assistant was assisting another woman with a dress, but she made sure to step away briefly to greet us and to ask if I needed any help within 2 minutes of me walking in the door. She was pleasant, smiling and you could tell that she truly enjoyed her job. 

I picked up three dresses to try on, and before I had even picked up the 2nd dress, she had a fitting room started for me with my name and made sure it was one big enough for me and Sami to fit in. 

By this time, Nate had joined us and he and Sami relaxed on a chaise lounge while I tried on the first dress. I loved the color, which was  very dark navy blue with ruffles down the front, but unfortunately, I didn't fill out the top so it was a no go. 

I decided on these:

Red Trapeze Dress

It's much prettier in person. I can't find a stock photo of it, so I'm assuming its from a previous season. Sami recommended a thin gold headband with tiny leaves and a thin gold belt to pull it in a bit. I was a bit concerned since my hair is a very similar shade. But I think it will work out. 

MM Couture 

I'm still not sure about this one. Mostly because after the weight I lost when Alan died, the smallest size hangs a bit too loosely on me. But I think I can make it work and it is good for social events. Accessories I'm a bit lost on. I can wear the black pearls Nate got me if I really need to. So we shall see. 

I have a feeling I'm going to need a few more retail therapy sessions to get me through all of this though...

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