Abigail, Abu Dhabi, UAE
$1,795 Chloé bag
Here in Abu Dhabi, it’s almost an expectation that you have a designer bag—in fact, restaurants have “bag stools,” little chairs just for handbags so you never have to put your baby on the floor. For me though, this bag wasn’t a show piece, it was an investment in a decade’s worth of quality and beauty that I would use every single day. That’s why I researched the heck out of my purchase to find the perfect blend of functionality—a long strap for when your hands are full of grocery bags, pebbled leather which doesn’t scuff like calfskin, etc.
I use it every single day and it makes me happy looking at it. Plus, like those trashy magazine photos of celebrities buying a latte at Starbucks, even when I'm just wearing jeans and a T-shirt I always feel chic with this on my arm.
But I also wanted my bag to be subtle, so I’d feel comfortable with it in any circumstance. When I’m out at a fancy place, some people might give me a silent nod of approval, but in more quotidien environments, people just see a nice bag that could be $200, not nearly $2,000. A bit of a secret language, in a sense!
Katie, Philadelphia, PA
$1,700 custom-built window
We were renovating our attic this summer to create a bedroom for our 13-year-old son. The bills were adding up, of course! But we needed to choose a new window for this wall. The company we were working with offered lots of different styles, with the option of customizing. So I sketched a dozen possible designs, and when I came up with this one I thought, “This is it.”
I couldn’t believe that it cost an extra $900 just to do this classic diamond pattern. But now, here it is, and look how pretty it is with the sunlight creating a shadow. The window makes the room. And I’m convinced this one window may have upped the resale value of the entire house.
Sandy, Washington, DC
$450 Kate Spade dress
Losing weight and getting fit has been a long journey for me. Obviously different people have different motivations to get them to the gym at 5:30 every morning, but to make it more fun I started to treat myself when I’d hit a goal. One reward was this Kate Spade dress. I got the dress one size too small, with the goal of losing enough weight to fit into it. I hung it by the foot of my bed and looked at it every day, and tried it on periodically.
The trick worked – too well in fact! I reached the dress size during the winter, and by the time it was warm enough to wear the dress, it was too big. But I’ve kept up my system and it’s helped me to lose TK pounds so far. Next: I’ve got a gorgeous, brand new, $1,500, size 6 Chris Benz gown hanging in my room, and my goal is to get into it by next summer.
Amy, Washington, DC
Although I've never considered myself hippie-dippie, one-with-my-body kind of person, I always hoped I could pull off natural childbirth—mostly because I'm more afraid of drugs than I am of pain. Hiring a doula for the birth of both our kids ($800 each time) was easily some of the best money I’ve ever spent.
Jeanine from By Your Side Birth Services met with us multiple times in the months leading up to my due date, and we talked about what our ideal birth would be, down to the last detail. Our daughter was indeed born naturally, as was our son three years later, and we'll always be grateful to Jeanine for helping us welcome them into the world. Here she is holding our son.