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Bargain-Induced Bliss

I love it when the Law of Attraction works in obvious and efficient ways! The other day, I was changing the sheets on the bed in our Master Bedroom, silently lamenting how shabby this one favorite fitted sheet was looking after multiple washings. As I examined the stretched out elastic and the dime-sized rust spot from one disastrous washing, I wished for a new king-sized fitted sheet. But not just any sheet. You see I have "un goût de luxe" (luxury-level taste) when it comes to bedding. Since sleep is so important to me, I insist on a plush bed with incredibly soft cotton sheets and down-filled duvets. I won't buy anything less than high-quality 400-count or better sheets, and they're expensive. Still, I wished for a new white fitted sheet to come to me easily without taxing my budget, and then just let the thought go.

The next day - I’m not kidding you -- the very next day, I had to go to HomeGoods (one of my favorite stores) for an entirely different reason. While there, I thought I'd take a quick peek at the sheets. Usually I don't have much luck there in finding bedding that fits my requirements, but I thought I'd check anyway. (Rule One of Good Bargain Shopping: Check Discount Stores Frequently and Thoroughly).

At first glance, there didn't seem to be anything good, but I dug around a bit. (Rule Two of Good Bargain Shopping: Be Extra-Thorough. Go Through Every Item in a Bin, Every Hanger on a Rack). And there it was - a white, king-sized 400-thread count Lilly Pultizer fitted sheet that felt like heaven. It was the only Lilly Pulitzer sheet in the entire bedding department. A fitted sheet by this esteemed brand name retails for $124.99. HomeGoods had it priced at $9.99. Talk about the thrill of the hunt! I'll delight in using this soft, beautiful sheet (that feels like buttah!), not only because it is an amazing product, but also because it found its way effortlessly to me, at a price I could afford.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Lilly Pulitzer, let me share her story:
She was born to a socialite family in 1931; Lilly Lee was her nickname among her friends. She attended the Chapin School in New York City, along with Jacqueline Bouvier (Kennedy). In 1949, she graduated from Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut. For one semester she attended Finch, a sort of finishing school-inspired college (the kind of place where women go to get a 'Mrs.').

In 1950, she eloped with Peter Pulitzer, grandson of publisher Joseph Pulitzer (think Pulitzer Prize). Together, they settled in Palm Beach, Florida, where they enjoyed a bohemian lifestyle - at least by the standards of the uber-wealthy, ultra-conservative Palm Beach crowd. Lilly and Peter did such shocking things as "entertaining in the kitchen" (gasp!) and "walking barefoot down Worth Avenue" (the horror!). They made Palm Beach their year round home, and raised their children there. Peter owned several Florida citrus groves, which inspired Lilly to open a juice stand on Via Mizner, just off Worth Avenue in Palm Beach. It cracks me up that a woman of her pedigree was essentially operating a lemonade stand in Palm Beach!

In the course of working at the juice stand, Lilly found that squeezing juice from oranges and grapefruits made a mess of her clothes. Seeking to camouflage the juice stains, she asked her dressmaker to design a sleeveless shift dress made of bright, colorful printed cotton. Lilly loved the dress that was produced for her, and it would later become her "Classic Shift Dress." Juice stand customers loved her dress too. In no time, Lilly was selling more dresses than juice, so she decided to get out of the juice business and start a business selling what had become known as her "Lillys." Jackie Kennedy, then the First Lady, (and Lilly's friend and former classmate, remember), was one of the first celebrities to sport Lilly's shift dress. Jackie was featured in Life Magazine wearing one. As a result, the dresses became an overnight fashion sensation. These days customers of all ages sport Lilly dresses.

Throughout the '60s, '70s, and '80s, Lilly's bright, colorful, well-made clothes were very popular and continued to be must-have items for "preppy" women. Today the company, which has 70 signature stores (including one in Wilmington, NC) produces lots of product lines: clothing, bedding, shoes, jewelry, and accessories. You can also find Lilly Pulitzer products in major department stores such as Bloomingdale's, Lord and Taylor, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus. And, if you're really, really lucky, the Universe will send you a Lilly Pulitzer bargain for $9.99 at a discount store.

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