Even though we are almost at the end of January, I'm sure I can still wish you glad tidings as it's the first time I've spoken to you this year, right? Plus, I never wished you a happy holidays. December flashed by due to organising presents, seeing family and friends and packing for our travels. Anyhoo, I hope you are having a spectacularly amazing new year.
Mine started off in an awesome never to be forgotten way by saying goodbye to 2016 in Las Vegas and then Hawaii - on the island of O'ahu. Then seeing 2017 whilst watching fireworks over Waikiki bay from our balcony. A photo showing the display can be found on my Instagram page - @TheCraftyScribe
We then stayed in Hawaii a further week, before stopping off in Las Vegas of a couple of days to break up the journey back to the UK. It was our second time on O'ahu, and our 4th time in 'Vegas, but hadn't been for just over 10 years, so it was great to experience them both again, to see changes and reconnect with old favourites, too.
However, since my return I've been battling jet lag, sinusitis and bronchitis (ah, the fun of air travel and the British weather!), plus playing catch up, and a sudden significant bereavement in my hubby's family, which has been devastating. He's lost his grandfather, there's lots of fantastic memories and love, but it's going to be difficult to realise that he is no longer with us. I've posting a photograph, along with a few words on my Instagram. So I hope you understand and can forgive the lack of posts.
Why the Unexpected Crafting? I hear you ask!
Last November, my hubby bought me a new-to-me CHANEL medium agenda cover from Fashionphile, which I then bought the insert for from the Chanel Boutique in Bond St, London. This worked absolutely brilliantly as my week to view planner for the whole 2016.
So here's where it gets crazy! I didn't buy my agenda refill for 2017 from Bond Street again, which with hindsight I really should have. Instead, I decided that I wanted to buy my insert from one of the many Chanel boutiques that I knew I'd be passing on my travels. In my mind, I pictured that it would make purchasing my new weekly planner even more 'special' and different from last year. As I said, I bought that from the Bond Street Boutique, on Christmas Eve 2015, as we spent the day getting a few little fun treats for each other, buying a tree decoration from Fortnum and Mason, strolling through Covent Garden (plus my first visit and buying stationery goodies from Kikki.K) and stopping over and waking up Christmas morning at the Waldorf Hotel. Buying my Chanel 2016 planner insert became part of this fabulous memory, and it was the first events I added onto its pages. I expected to create new and wonderful memories when buying my 2017 insert.
I think you are probably guessing that that it didn't happen this way. Well, you're right! I really didn't expect it to go the way it did.
We arrived in Las Vegas on 26 December, and on 27th, we took a stroll into The Bellagio. We'd been having a fabulous time, and we were in a great mood as we took in the sights and atmosphere. The Christmas baubles and decorations were beautiful, scarlet and gold gleaming everywhere. We trod the deep piled carpets leading us through the designer mall past Louis Vuitton, Dior and Gucci, but my radar was focused on Chanel. The Double C was insight!
I entered with a skip in my step. Okay, I admit I probably didn't look quite my best. I'd only got off a 13 hour air journey less than 24 hours previous and hadn't caught up on sleep and time zones, plus I was wearing minimal makeup as I was attempting to counteract the flight dehydration with good levels of serum and moisturiser (Chanel's in fact! La Lift, with an additional layer of Bobbie Brown's serum underneath, which I've recently fallen in love with.) Along with holiday clothes, which seemed to be jet lagged from the flight as well, and no amount of ironing made them less depressed from being packed! At least, I should have got brownie points for the Chanel ballerina flats, right?
Anyway, I wore a big red lipstick grin (I said minimal makeup, but not none! There's always got to be mascara, concealer and lipstick.) My hubby and I approached the glass top counter, and noticed this really snooty bird-like woman give me that look up and down we've all experienced from a certain type of person. Her lips pursed even tighter into a beak and she slightly tapped at her plumage, a messy black bun right on top, which made me think she was carrying her nest on her head! I pushed on with a happy "Good Morning, I wonder whether you can help me." She pursed her beak even further with a quick bob of the thin neck, which meant to be a yes, but shrieked of, I'd rather be serving someone I consider to be more worthy of my time.
I bought my agenda out of my bag, as I asked if they had the new year inserts. The Birdy Sales Assistant draw herself up to her full height and patted the side of her nest-bun again, whilst drumming pointed fingernails on the polished glass divide, as she told me that they hadn't received any new inserts that year, and as far she knew they were discontinuing them! Ending with a sneared sorry. She then turned around and walked away, without asking me if I needed any further assistance, or without saying a goodbye or at least waiting of me to leave. How rude!
Now, I'm a proper grown up, over the age of 30 and everything! I've told you I didn't look quite as pulled together as I normally try to look, but I wasn't scruffy by any means. Even though she probably made many assumptions, there are no excuses for service like that. I've bought a number of items in designer stores and I have never been treated in that way. Even if they had had the inserts in, even for an item which is very much on the lower end of their price points, I would have asked to be assisted by another SA. It doesn't matter what you look like, all enquires deserve a decent level of respect and service. All I can say is tut-tut, Bellagio Chanel Bird-Nest Lady, you know who you are!
The next day, we popped into the Wynn to checking out their designer row. Through technicolor floral decored corridors, and once again past Louis Vuitton, Dior, Gucci and into the slick chic Chanel. No skip in my step today, just a determined, but trepidatious tread to be met with... What a totally different attitude! This SA was amazing. So kind, polite, great eye contact and interested in her customer. She said she was very sorry, but she thought that they didn't have it in stock, but she went off and checked, offering a seat while we waited. She returned to say, she'd called the other possibilities (boutiques and department store concessions) and no one was holding stock. Although they didn't think it was discontinued, so bird lady was wrong about that. Unfortunately, the same outcome, but at least, I left the boutique feeling like a valued customer.
I had one point of hope left. We were flying to O'ahu the following day and I knew that there was a Chanel boutique only a 5 minute walk from our hotel in Waikiki. I'd try there.
Oh, Hawaii! Aloha! Meaning love, affection, the positive in us all, the warmth in their greeting. They do not disappoint in their friendship and kindness. That's definitely what I experienced at Chanel. Here they had previously had a small amount of stock, but all were sold. He checked their other boutique at Ala Moana mall, only with the same story.
Isn't it interesting that one bad egg (or bird lady) in this case could have tainted my whole view of American Chanel boutique service, but because I carried on and took a deep breath to stride up to the next counter I found that it was only her. She was one of the arrogant people that you can come across in all walks of life. Or maybe, she was having a bad day? I think I'll send some positive thoughts and aloha out to her, just in case.
Now, I'm not one to give up, so I emailed the Chanel US head office to see if one of the other stores could send the insert to the Wynn Hotel boutique, for my return to Las Vegas the following week. Unfortunately, the only store left with stock in America was the other side of the country at Bal Harbour, Florida on the east coast, and they were unable (and I think understandably, unwilling) to send it cross-country.
So there I was out of luck and really out of time, as we were coming into 2017 and I didn't have my week to view diary. Don't worry about me (not that being without a planner is particularly that devastating, only frustrating. I'm sure other Planner Addicts understand), as last July, by some tremendous luck, I was able to buy my unicorn of unicorn's... a brand new hardly - ever touched - still with the blue plastic protecting the gold cc logo and cardboard in the pockets/sleeves Chanel LARGE agenda cover (approx a bit bigger than A5) from Vestiaire. Here it is with the medium cover:
I can hear choirs of angels! As I thought I'd be putting in my happy little week to view into the medium. I wanted to use a day to view planner in here, so I could use it as part daily to do, a bit bullet journal, a little Dear Diary and a general catch all, which is how I like to work. Now, Chanel only do week to views, and, as you know, I've used the smaller daily Smythson for many years gone by. This year, I'm so happy I've been able to upgrade a size, and for my birthday in November, my hubby bought me the Smythson Cosmic Travel diary - day per page. It doesn't fit in the Chanel clip inside, as you'll notice in the photo, but it slips very happily into the back cover. It's perfect. I'll do a full review soon.
But What about the Unexpected Crafting, you Spoke about in the Title and What Seems Like Hours Ago? I hear you scream!
Ah, that! So we're back to the medium agenda. I really need a week to view, and I thought about just bunging in any old thing, that didn't seem right. I wanted to treat my Chanel cover with respect.
Btw, I emailed Chanel UK and they said I needed to contact each Chanel store or concession individually. Which I didn't feel was particularly helpful, especially as I explained my situation and where I was. So I emailed Bond Street, who were a little more assisting. They were out of stock and didn't know if they were getting any more in. They tried another store for me, with the same result. All very doubtful. To be honest, I've sort of lost hope entirely with all these Chanel shenanigans! Who knew getting something as simple as a planner insert would be so difficult?! I can't believe that I've become so disappointed about a planner insert, and disheartened about Chanel! (Me? Say, think, breathe anything negative about Chanel?! I was that person who cried with overwhelming happiness when she bought her Chanel double flap bag, who was still crying in the restaurant afterwards and began crying again as she unboxed it later, and got her hubby to video the unboxing and this was before YouTube and the twinkle of an idea of unboxings even existed!!!)
It was at this point, I knew that I couldn't do anything more with Chanel directly. So now, it was all about alternatives. Like I said, I wanted something decent.
I thought about creating my own insert with high quality paper, but that seemed like too much work. (Ha! After all the effort I'd tried to get the proper insert, and the crafting that was to come...)
I knew that the Smythson Memoranda diary fits perfectly into the cover (hanging off the proper hooks without falling out and everything!) However, I was already using a Smythson in my large cover and wanted something different in this one. (Picky, I know. 🙄 This would have been easier and cheaper than what I went for.)
Then EUREKA! I knew what I wanted! I checked the measurements in the website, measured the inside of the medium cover. It seemed to work out to what I wanted. It would give me the same horizontal weekly layout I became used to in the Chanel insert.
By this time, we were back in Las Vegas, it was our last day, flying home to the UK the next morning. We were staying at Caesar's Palace, I knew that there was a store in the Forum Shops and I'd be able to drop by on my way to dinner. (To be honest, there was one of these stores in every shopping mall along The Strip, you couldn't throw a Casino Chip without hitting one.)***
My fingers, toes and eyes were all crossed as we entered Louis Vuitton and asked for their horizontal layout agenda refill. Big smile from the SA. Yes, of course. No problem. No hassle. No stress. No need to go for counselling or mindfulness lessons afterwards. I was able to walk in, ask for, buy, and walk out with an agenda refill. All wrapped up in chic packaging, box and bag. Do you hear that, CHANEL? Do you?
Off we went for our last evening in Las Vegas, and a fantastic meal at Rao's. Highly recommend food, service and atmosphere, if you're ever out that way.
But what about the crafti... Yes, yes! I'm getting to it!
Once back to the room, I took a quick Instagram pic, as you do! Before packing it away for the flight.
Once home, jet lagged, sinsuses bunged, I took it out of its box to admire the lovely little planner I had in my hands. And admire it, I did! I grabbed my Chanel cover took out last year's agenda and let Louis meet Coco... and Louis was too big!!!
How could this be? I measured it correctly, I was sure. Then I realised that the measurements on the LV website are the size of the pages, without the binding! And these coils were big. I could have left it here and just let the planner hang out the 1 cm or so, but I couldn't. It's not the way I'm made. Plus after all this faffing about, I was determined to get this wee bugger to fit.
Please come back on Tuesday to discover how I went about my journey of unexpected crafting (along with step by step photos) and see if I was successful or whether the whole thing ended up in the bin!
P.S. *** I've checked... there are SEVEN Louis Vuitton stores on The Las Vegas Strip!!! That's got to be a record, hasn't it?
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