Since I live within just 45 minutes from Plano, TX I drove in and met up with my fellow ambassadors. Together we walked up to the headquarters welcomed by a giant banner that hangs over their entrance. A philosophy that I would later learn speaks true to their brand and is reflective of their roots. First on the agenda was coffee, some breakfast and a small tour of their small in-house museum. At the museum I learned that Mr. JC Penney himself, James Cash Penney, opened his first store in Kemmerer, Wyoming which was called “Golden Rule Store.” The museum was full of pictures and artifacts of JCPenney through the years.
My favorite part was the display that showed the evolution of JCPenney’s logo. It’s a simple way to tell the story of JCPenney’s history. Next it was time to learn all things JCPenney and meet their heads of department and learn not only about JCPenney as a company but also about all the upcoming trends for this year.
One of the best parts about events like this is walking into the room to find massive swag bags waiting for you. I mean who doesn’t love swag!? I wanted to pull everything out, see what I got and “play” with it, but it was time to immerse ourselves in JCPenney.
First, we met Sean Ryan, Social and Mobile Director and one of our hosts for the weekend. Sean is the leader of the social strategy ninjas at JCPenney. He shared with us creative ways to engage with an audience over social media, like the mitten tweets during the super bowl or how to get a song stuck in everyone’s head and sell “Go USA” mittens.
Then we met the very stylish Adam Moon, Women’s Fashion Director, who you will see in my video. Adam gave us a look into all the trends to expect in Women’s Fall 2014 fashion. One of the first things he said was that the 80’s and 90’s are making a comeback. My knee jerk reaction was “WHY???!!!!” with a side of “been there done that.” But, as we moved through the trends I realized that it was the 80’s and 90’s edited. For example the soft pant, which I thought to be reminiscent of the hammer pant. Remember those? But, Adam did his job and sold me on them and I even bought 2 pairs before the weekend was over. Also, I would like to announce that the midi skirt is making a comeback! I could not be more excited about this. I use to wear midi skirts all the time and I welcome this comeback with open arms.
Then we learned something about JCPenney from Nick Stenson, Salon Sr. Director, that everyone needs to know. Many JCPenney locations have full service salons that welcome the whole family. It’s literally a one stop shop from head to toe. If you ever need to shop for the whole family, get a few things for the house and could really use some quality down time at the salon, you can do it all at JCPenney. If you are wondering if your JCPenney has a salon you can find it using the store locator on JCPenney.com.
Victor Brockwell, Men’s Trend Director and Sage Onderdonk, Men’s Sr. Styling Director has some fabulous news about Men’s Fall 2014 trends, the skinny jeans are making an exit and manly man fashion is returning. My favorite trend, and easiest to get OB in, is the mountaineering inspired style, think Paul Bunyan with swagger. I am hoping that this will also translate into a less stressful shopping experience when shopping for jeans for my man’s baseball player legs.
To change things up a bit we went and visited Mya Walters, Publicity Director, and her team to check out the sample room. From this room hundreds of samples from every department are cataloged, sent out and monitored. What most caught my eye was their new Latin product line. They have everything you need with IMUSA, from calderos, to tostoneras and arrozceras. They got it all now at JCPenney!
Finally, Shannon Mason, Divisional Trend Director, guided us through the 2014 home trends. Home design holds a special place in my heart. If there is one thing I love to shop for, besides food, it’s for the home. The upcoming trends at JCPenney have something for everyone. Everything from inspired Mediterranean getaways to luxurious art deco. My personal favorite was what is coming in the JCP Home Studio Collection, which combines modern style with natural elements and subtle primitive details.
It was time to take a little break before dinner and for me to finally check into my swanky room at NYLO. I loved that this hotel was very chic with a loft style touch. Not to mention the giant and crazy comfortable bed right as I walked into the room.
I finally had time to dig through my goodie bags. I fell in love with the Olsenboye backpack, it’s so soft I didn’t know whether to wear it or cuddle with it. And, the dainty pink Lulu by Lulu Guiness clutch was too cute! Then there is the Smashbox Full Exposure eye shadow palette with Full Exposure Mascara sample (love the colors), a brush and the mascara! In fact, I later bought myself a full size of the mascara. Finally, hair products galore! The best of which was the discovery of Big Sexy Hair Powder Play, a volumizing and texturizing powder that is the perfect product to add volume to any hair type, even fine limp hair like mine.
Time for dinner! We headed over to Seasons 52 for dinner. The restaurant is dedicated to cooking with only seasonal ingredients and all their items are less than 500 calories. Not that I was counting them because I ate everything! First, we ordered a spread of flatbreads. The one on the right (the burly one) was the feature with lobster and Meyer lemon. It was amazing!
Then, staying true to my love for pig and fascination with polenta, I got the Wood-Roasted Pork Tenderloin & Portobello with soft herb polenta, broccolini, caramelized cipollini and roasted onion jus. I refrained from licking my plate only because I needed to keep it professional. Finally they brought out a tower of desserts made up of dessert shot glasses. I could kick myself for not getting a picture, but I will tell you I had 3 of those shot glasses and I would have had a fourth, but again I was trying to keep it professional.
The next day it was time to visit the store at Stonebriar Mall. We got a tour of the store from Richard Ledbetter, VP of Visual Merchandising. One thing that was featured in the store was People StyleWatch Must Haves. JCPenney has partnered with the editors of People StyleWatch magazine to put together some must haves that you can find right in JCPenney stores. My favorite was the Bisou Bisou jumper in the middle.
Also, can I tell you about the Call It Spring line?! For the girls who love bags and shoes this is a line you should give a long look. I loved everything about this line especially some ridiculously cute oxfords!
Finally after a tour of the store we were asked to do a $100 shopping challenge. I knew the night before that this challenge was coming and being the savvy time saving shopper that I am I jumped on to JCPenny.com to do some browsing. Also, a great feature on JCPenney.com is the “in stock” feature. This way you can see if what you want is in stock and save yourself time and frustration. The day of the challenge I had my shopping all planned out. I knew what I wanted and where I needed to go.
My challenge was to find an outfit that is comfortable enough to move about in the kitchen but still professional for when I have to put my best face forward – a need that I have whenever I am doing demos or a cooking class. So, with a $100 gift card in hand and a JCPenney coupon I dove into my challenge. For $104 (after coupon) I got the following: i jeans by Buffalo Soft Pants // Bisou Bisou Soft Pant // i jeans by Buffalo Striped Tank // i jeans by Buffalo 3/4 Sleeve Sweater // i jean by Buffalo Motorcycle Jacket Every thing I need to go from back of the house to front of the house and keep myself looking good! What I learned most about my time at JCPenney is that they truly have something that fits everyone. If you’re the single girl wanting to go out on the town, the mom scrambling to get everyone where they need to be, or the career woman wanting to look professional and stylish, you can find it all at JCPenney and at a great price to boot!
To get some of these items and many more, take some time and browse JCPenney.com and sign up for coupons. Also, don’t forget to enter to win a $100 JCPenney Gift Card and have a little shopping spree of your own! To enter to win, leave a comment below letting me know what fashion must-have you’re most excited to shop for. Sweepstakes Rules: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
- Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
- Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
- Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
- For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 7/2 -7/30/2014. Be sure to visit the JCPenney brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!