Nordstrom - Service with a Style. BFF (Beauty Fit Friends) Event

Some weeks ago, I received a call from a friend of mine who had recently been hired at the new Nordstrom in Vancouver.  She had phoned to invite me to their upcoming BFF - Beauty, Fit, Friends event which was happening before the actual store opening which takes place September 18th, 2015.  I'm sure something was burning on the stove but after the first mention of"...there will be makeup counters and you can get your makeup done....treats....Charlotte Tilbury....", etc. I was all ears.  To hell with dinner, that stuff was for mere mortals.  Scrambling to find paper and a pen, I took down the 1-800 number to call to reserve my place and that of my plus one (yet to be determined). 

Nordstrom.  For the past while, we've been watching the reclamation of the old Eaton's/Sears building in downtown Vancouver.  True to the architectural sketches, it has turned into this latest (and possibly greatest?) incarnation of shopping mecca....breathe it in and say it softly with me....Nooorrrrrdstrommmm......ommmmmmm.  There, don't you feel better?  Tensions melting?

Every time I visit the U.S. there is some sort of shopping agenda and one of the places I love to go to is Nordstrom.  Not just because of the brands which are not yet available in Canada, but because of the great service.  There is always something interesting happening in the store and the sales assistants are fantastic about informing shoppers about freebies, new products, sales, samples etc.  An SKII devotee, I recently visited the Bellevue Nordstom in Washington as it is one of the nearest locations in which to purchase this hard to find product.  After my purchase, I was taken around the rest of the cosmetic section for samples of whatever I wanted....lovely service.  I felt pampered.  And of course we went to the in-store grill for lunch after.  They even had a bar...in the SHOE department!  The promise of our very own Nordstrom here in Vancouver was eagerly anticipated by this shopper, to say the least.

The BFF event was happening on September 11 and 12th with different events throughout the day.  Space was limited as you can guess, so I booked mine for the Friday and made an appointment for a complimentary bra fitting (giggles and titters) as well as a makeup application.  The only spot left was at the Shu Uemura counter which I happily accepted, having used their hair care products over the last few years.  I love a good road test of beauty products and September is the perfect time to change up your makeup routine and to introduce something new like a rich lipstick or a BB cream to transition between the seasons.  I had a wish list of cosmetic wants and needs on my radar.

The day arrived - I opted to go sans makeup except for a rich NARS lip crayon in a neon pink.  Friend in tow we arrived at Nordstrom.  However there was still construction going on outside the store and since they were not officially opened, it took a few wrong doors to find our way in.  We were greeted with warm smiles and directed to the registration desks to sign in.  All the staff were dressed in the same bright pink tee shirts which made them easy to spot.  Polished, professional and smiling, they herded us in - presenting us with our first swag bag of goodies and directing us to the numerous tables bedecked with sweets and varieties of bottled water. 

The store is lovely even though many sections were still being stocked and not yet open for business. Drooling, we could look but not yet touch (I'm talking about YOU, Valentino rockstud shoes!).  Quickly spotting my friend who had invited me, she pressed a free sample of perfume into our hands and gave us a rundown of the cosmetic area as well as what to expect in the fragrance section.

I expected more of a crush of bodies vying for spots of service but all in all, we moved freely about the store with staff eager to assist us with directions etc., even if we slowed down for a second.  Have I mentioned the sweets yet?

Ok - the tables of food were so beautiful I was hesitant to touch anything so my plus one had my share.  They had these tiny Alice in Wonderland cupcakes which were one bite (no makeup/lipstick was harmed in this production) and the icing was covered in SEED PEARLS.  So the pearls weren't real but they looked real.  And they tasted like fairy air.

  Bite size bits of cupcake heaven, obviously shown about 100 times the actual size.    Illustration by Heather Phillips

Bite size bits of cupcake heaven, obviously shown about 100 times the actual size.

Illustration by Heather Phillips

Racing upstairs, and receiving yet another swag bag which was even bigger than the first one, I went for my bra fitting which was scheduled for 1pm.  The lingerie department was open for business and the selections were distracting to say the least.  I really need a pair of socks I saw which would be perfect in a pair of pumps in that Paris chic/Japanese street style kind of way.  I think they were patterned in tiny mushrooms.  I really, really need them.  Also, the dinosaur patterned pajama sweat pant things which I would also wear with heels.

I can't remember the last time (ever?) that I had a bra fitting or that I felt so awkward.  A lovely woman named Stacey banished any awkwardness and helped me select a few styles based on my bleating preferences and her expert eye.  I loved all the bras she brought in and actually learned how to put one on properly with such terms as "lean into it"..."reach in and scoop the tissue toward the centre"...  Yes, there is a right way to do this.  Up until my fitting I was making do with bralettes and undershirts.  Who knew I actually have a defined bust?  Again, thank you Stacey!  Yes, I bought two bras.  Here is one of them:

  A featherweight, spider web of a black lacy bra by Chantelle.  Oh, those French!    Illustration by Heather Phillips

A featherweight, spider web of a black lacy bra by Chantelle.  Oh, those French!

Illustration by Heather Phillips

Racing back down to cosmetics I arrived at the Shu Uemura counter in time to have a very knowledgeable makeup artist named Hong assist me with my makeup session.  I loved her eye makeup and general "look" so since I hardly ever wear shadow, I opted for "an eye" over my usual lip feature.  Spoiler alert:  This eye shadow felt and looked like compressed butterfly wings.  Gorgeous.

The thing with getting your make up done is that it's a great way to step out of your element and routine.  I don't like a lot of product on my face, opting for cover up and letting my skin show.  However, a good primer and BB cream can work wonders and given the formulations these days, they are practically weightless and so sheer, YOU still show through.  I made note of all the products she used, especially the handy cover up in the handy shape of a fat double sided pencil crayon.  Final result?  Beautiful and polished (and still ME).

Guess what else they had at Nordstom?  Drybar stations!!  My plus one and I each grabbed a chair and perused the menu - cheekily named after famous bar drinks.  I chose the Manhatten which was a straight ironed look, perfect for my current hair cut.  The final result?  Pin straight, defined ends and loads of shine.  Also, in the light of the fabulous Nordstrom bathrooms and combined with my fresh makeup, I literally looked ten years younger.

Cramming a few more of those delicious cupcakes down our gullets as well as scrumptious offerings on crackers, we did another sweep of the cosmetics floor.  My favourite thing about the layout of this section is that there are different stations, sort of like end caps of products which are trending right now.  For example, this season it's all about the burgandy lip.  Think '90's grunge plums and blacks but reborn into something more modern with different brands offering different looks such as matte, sheer, or gloss versions.  So if you have even a vague idea about getting something new, these stations can point you in the right direction.  There is a station for face masks as well as one for mascara.  Handy and helpful to say the least.  Remember the key words "burgandy lips" and "sheet masks".  You're welcome.

On our way out of Nordstrom I drifted over to the Tom Ford counter and I picked out my next purchase.  A beautiful classic fuschia lipstick, aptly named "Ravenous".  Thank you Nordstom, for leaving us wanting more.  Welcome to the neighbourhood.

  Christmas arrived early this year - Yes, Virginia.  There is a Nordstrom in Vancouver!  SWAG bag full of gifts and samples galore from the BFF event, September 11, 2015 .   Illustration by Heather Phillips

Christmas arrived early this year - Yes, Virginia.  There is a Nordstrom in Vancouver!  SWAG bag full of gifts and samples galore from the BFF event, September 11, 2015.

Illustration by Heather Phillips