Monday, May 2, 2016

Rolex Shopping: the good, the bad + the ugly (and my haul!)

As anyone who's been following along for even the briefest span of time might come to expect - I took approximately zillions of pictures while at Rolex this weekend. God. So many pictures. Way too many, probably. But this is a judgement free zone, right?

Anyway, taking all the many many pictures also serves a useful function: I get to get all up and personal with some very beautiful things, but then walk away after snapping the photo feeling like I got what I wanted. Well. Maybe only sorta haha. But that's the story I'm telling myself so let's just run with it.

Especially when it comes to gorgeous Devoucoux saddles with blue fittings. Lindsey, had there been one with pink I certainly would have snagged one (the whole thing, not just the picture!), but alas. None were to be seen.

It honestly kinda amazed me how much tack was just kinda strewn about in buckets and baskets and the like. I don't mind sifting and sorting at the local consignment shop - but it somewhat loses its charm in the midst of swarming crowds and tight spaces. 

A popular attraction in many booths were the cross country and open front boot displays. These two examples above (eQuick and Majyk Equipe) were also prime examples of the latest trendy color: orange. Tho the MEs also came in a variety of others, including blue and red, I believe. 

Plus there were ample examples of their highly anticipated leather open fronts. All very pretty boots!!! As pretty as the MEs were, I walked away empty handed. The last generation of xc boots in size M were still too big for Princess Isabel, so we kept the search alive elsewhere (more details below). 

Here's a closer look at their two closure options: buckles or studs. 

Professionals Choice bell boots are always fun for me - probably mostly bc I'm like a child and am attracted by simple shiny things haha. GLITTER ALL THE THINGS!!!!

As has been an evolving trend of late, helmets are really starting to push some boundaries. Some of it I like (a couple of those Samshields on the left are quite attractive IMO), some of it I definitely DO NOT like. Like, erm, that brown One K in the center. Tho, maybe even perversely, in the right circumstances I could see myself wearing it. Weird, right? 

Personally I'm always a sucker for the random bits of strap goods, like these shots of various Nunn Finer pieces. In particular - I liked that rope running martingale attachment on the right. They had an elastic version too. Idk why it stood out to me so much, but I seriously considered it. Except the thing was actually oddly heavy compared to my leather version. I love the running bc it's totally neutral unless the horse flips her face all around... but so much weight would counter act that, right?

Lots and lots of girth options everywhere too - and almost all of them were of the anatomical variety. Which makes me sad in a strange way. Isabel is so narrow through her chest and girth groove that most of these shaped girths end up rubbing at her elbows - doing the exact thing to her that they're advertised as protecting the horse against. So. Ugh. No fancy pretty leather girths for us just yet!

Tall boots aren't anywhere even close to the top of my current shopping list (my black show-worthy Da Vinci tall boots are in excellent shape, as are my brown schooling Mondonis). Doesn't stop me from drooling a little bit tho! I honestly kinda dig these Ariats too, with the blue detailing and sporty foot. 

I also spent a while ogling the navy polos at Asmar Equestrian. So many pretty things! 

The "Clever with Leather" booth also had some really nice pieces - all of these padded two tone leather straps from bracelets to dog collars to belts to halters - you name it. Every color imaginable. And so soft and buttery to the touch! One of my party got a lovely black belt with white padding for her daughter - and for a song too!

Didn't actually spend much time in this booth - just thought the little vignette was cute, and apt given the weather lol.

Apparel seemed to rule the roost for much of the vendors. Especially Noble Outfitters, who had a HUGE section with ridiculous deals (no pics bc it was a zoo). But also some brands I've seen more online than in person - like Ghodho and Mango Bay - pictured above respectively.

And of course the Mango Bay booth was organized exactly like I've seen in other bloggers' pictures: in a very pretty color-coordinated spectrum. And I mayyyyyy or may not have added one to my collection haha.

Same can be said for the Kastel booth. So many pretty colors!! After reading so many reviews on sun shirts in general, and especially the few bloggers who have done rundown comparisons of how the different sunshirt brands stack up against each other, I was pretty excited to take a closer look at these shirts. 

Stock ties felt under-represented among the sponsors (esp the bigger tents that appeared to be 'one stop shops.' These from Style Stock were the only ties I saw (tho admittedly I could have missed some others). They are certainly lovely tho! Much nicer than my cheapie from Riding Warehouse, that's for sure haha (which I still love it).

Another under-represented product was uncovered in the C4 booth: these colorful two-tone pinny holders. I had never really thought about it before (just picked up the basic black plastic deal from SmartPak) but it really does seem like there could be a ripe market for custom pinny holders. And who does't love C4's color selections?

Anyway, moving right along. Am I the only one that can ooh and ahh over walls of spurs for a strangely long period of time?Yes? Ok fine lol. I dunno why, I just kinda like spurs.

Oooh, and colorful stirrups, which were on full display during the show jumping rounds too (as well as some other brands, undoubtedly). These Freejumps were surprisingly nice to hold in hand - much sturdier than I would have anticipated. A nice material and weight, and the foot bed spikes are NO JOKE lol. I can definitely see the attraction here. Just not sure I'd ever cough up that kinda dough for 'em. 

But hey. If we're gonna go the high roller route, might as well take a looksie at some of the trailers available for purchase on the grounds!!! I was particularly fond of those Euro vans in the background....

Alas, I'm not actually a high roller (try as I might!). So I mostly just enjoy the finest of the finer things from afar. Except for this totally random yet totally gorgeous gardenia - so fragrant!! And photographed just in case you needed a break from all shopping swag (since I'm not quite done).

Another first for me - seeing Higher Standards leather soap and conditioner displayed in a retail setting. This stuff already has a bit of a cult following, and for very good reason. And it was cool to get to sniff all the various scent - my favorites might be the lavender vanilla and the rosemary.

I also loved looking at the somewhat impractical items for sale. Like. Um, this ADORABLE citrus jump. We miiiiiight be brainstorming on ways to build this at home haha. 

Or this funky Equi Cool Down material. This stuff was wild - I don't even really know how to describe it. It's this weird gel-like material that, when wet, gets COLD. Really really cooling, just add water. They had it cut into all kinds of products too - the blanket and hock wraps above, but also people products too - like neck towels and head bands. Really neat stuff. 

But anyway. It was a LOT of shopping to be had, so my own personal haul might feel fairly tame in comparison. And that's ok haha - that was maybe even the point (and I may have purposefully only brought a small carry on to ensure that I didn't go too crazy buying new things).

So what did I get? A couple Kastel sunshirts (plus free hat with purchase), a full set of Le Mieux cross country boots in size S (fingers crossed they fit the mare!), and new bright blue Mango Bay belt, brown SSG gloves, and a blue Horze shaped saddle pad. Actually I was a little surprised at the limited selection of these shaped pads - the only ones I saw that didn't also have a built-in half pad were white. So I'll probably have to take that search online. We'll see. For now, I have the one. 

Phew, so that's my rundown of shopping at Rolex. It was really fun! Crowds weren't too terrible at all. And while the selection was definitely depleted by Sunday, it was by no means a graveyard. Probably I'll be all set for a little while tho haha.

Be sure to let me know if you want to hear more about any of the products I picked up for myself. And what are your favorite things to look at and play around with while shopping? Did I catch all of your top picks above? What did I miss??

64 comments:

  1. Sounds epic & you deff came away with some awesome swag. ☺☺☺☺

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  2. LOVE those gloves, and love the colored pinny holders--I didn't even know those were a thing! As much fun as watching Rolex is, these shopping write ups are usually my favorite post-show blogger posts ever.

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    1. i didn't know colored pinny holders were a thing either til i saw them! and now i definitely need one haha

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    2. I've almost ordered one a few times, but they're so expensive!

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    3. yea i was a little taken aback at the price... it can only be a matter of time before someone else figures out how to make them at a more affordable price point tho!

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    4. I've seen some on ebay UK for cheaper... agreed that someone here will figure it out sooner or later.

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  3. I've never heard of those XC boots. Sorry I missed you this weekend!

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    1. i've seen some of the company's products before - namely their saddle pads etc - and have been impressed. the boots look and feel nice too - i'm eager to try them on the horse!

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  4. I love the Kastel shirts!!! I was expecting to be drooling more but other than the ME boots (which I have concerns about them being too big) I was good. Guess my collection is catching up with my wants.

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    1. haha yea i feel similar. i like ooh-ing and ahh-ing over all the things, but didn't really feel compelled to take as much home as i might have expected lol.

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  5. Very cool stuff! That equi-cool-down material is SO interesting, I am curious to touch it in person! Also interested in a review on those boots - while I'm super happy with my Woof boots, I'm kind of always on the hunt for good boots to fit petite legs!

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    1. it's so weird to the touch - almost like some sort of amphibious creature lol. and rest assured - i will hopefully have more to say about the xc boots sooner rather than later!

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  6. So much cool stuff!!! It's a good thing I didn't go this year, your pics reminded of all the things I could use new versions of or I'd like to try... which version of SSG gloves are those? I just got new ones from them last week.

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    1. the SSG gloves aren't particularly new - i tried them on in a tack shop a while back (maybe over a year ago) and was pretty much in love but couldn't justify the cost. so this time around, when i found myself looking to upgrade my gloves and spotted them literally from across the sponsor village floor - i knew i had to have them lol. i'll write more details about them later probably

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  7. You have pictures of several things I own (as in 9) lol. Excellent taste. ;) That Devoucoux though... if I had seen that thing in person, I would have bought it. Credit card debt, be damned.

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    1. definitely a lot of the things i saw and liked were things i saw first in blogland and wanted to check out in person. it's kinda nice having resources like you to share all the up and coming products lol

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  8. Wheeeeee! Thank you for sharing all the pictures, someday I will be there watching and shopping! Can't wait to hear more about the boots, I've never heard of that brand. Also, can't wait to see Isabel in that beautiful pad, what a great color!

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    1. you definitely have to go sometime - it was a total blast and i'd absolutely go again (next year hopefully!!).

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  9. The shopping at Rolex is just amazing, I got so much awesome stuff when I was there in 2013. Thanks for sharing, the shopping posts are my favorite!

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    1. it was definitely a very fun part of the experience. everyone always says they love the shopping so much but i honestly wasn't sure what to expect. it was great tho :)

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  10. One thing that I really liked about this year (I didn't actually go, I am living vicariously through Instagram pics and posts like this) is that there seemed to be a lot more small shops like Mango Bay and Higher Standards there. When I went two years ago it was mostly big name stores and brands. I agree with you, I didn't really love trying to dig through bargain bins when 30 other people are also trying to dig through the same bargain bins in already crowded stalls and tents. Those SSG gloves look awesome!

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    1. i was pleased with the high representation of smaller privately owned companies too. the bigger tents were very cool and all - and i certainly did my fair share of shopping at them - but i liked the variety of vendors a LOT. there was something for everyone.

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  11. Those boots look really cool and I love the saddle pad. But the belt -- that if freaking awesome! I totally love that pattern. You did good with your haul!

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    1. thanks! i'm pretty excited about that blue. my other three Mango Bay belts are more on a neutral or pale color spectrum - which i also love - but i'm eager to shake it up a little bit more haha

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  12. I have been eyeing that navy Kastel shirt FOREVER. Drool. And that teal pad is gonna look awesome on Izzy!!!

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    1. i'm pretty pleased with the kastel so far - esp given i wore it for stadium in direct sunlight for a couple hours (we conveniently moved under the arena ceiling right before the rain hit) and was surprisingly comfortable!

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  13. Oh man I REALLY want to shop at Rolex even though I'm pretty hard pressed to let go of my dollar bills ya'll. I definitely agree some of that stuff is just ridiculous piled on ridiculous and I probably would just one eyebrow raise and walk by it. I too also don't satisfy the primitive gathering need in myself by sorting through bins of stuff, i would have probably just not felt like it was worth my troubles.

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    1. i admittedly hunted and gathered to my little heart's delight in one noble outfitters booth (they had STUPID deals on some nice tech long sleeves, quarter zips, and zip hoodies - like $7-$13 deals) but then dropped it all back into the bin when i saw the check out line lol

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  14. You got some awesome stuff! Love the color of the shaped pad :)

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    1. thanks!!! i'm so disappointed i wasn't able to meet up with you at all!! stupid cell towers and bad signal pretty much rendered my phone useless all weekend :(

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  15. this is far and away my favorite rolex post ive seen. omgz, the shoppings. ALL THE SHOPPINGS.

    how do you like the le mieux boots? le mieux was so popular when i was in london its big across the pond i think.

    how did yu find the weight of the free jumps? id say my #1 riding fear is getting dragged bvy a caught stirrup and i love the flexible open top on these. however im a big traditionalist and prefer the plain metal fillis irons bc of the weight and lack of give.

    ahhh so jealous you could go. maybe next year!

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    1. So far I really like the Lemieux boots - they sit really nicely on the horse and didn't budge AT ALL during our one ride in them so far. Stay tuned for a full recap later but for now I'm thinking they are the right boots for us.

      Regarding the stirrups - I actually really liked how the free jump stirrups felt in hand. They were heavier than my compositis but lighter than fillis irons. They just seemed super well constructed. Now I just need $600 haha

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  16. You realllly need to tell me how those brown gloves hold up - I've been eyeing them up for my Driving show ensemble!

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    1. I used to have them and killed them within a couple months. :/ Granted, my rubber reins tend to kill everything but Roeckls.

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    2. i'm pretty excited about these gloves - i just love the way they fit and feel. and to your point, Amanda - concerns for their longevity were why i didn't pick them up the first time i saw them ages ago. but i figure, if i'm still thinking about them all this time later it's probably worth a shot. and lately i have actually only been wearing gloves consistently for shows, not so much schooling. so perhaps they'll be perfectly suitable for that limited use? we'll see...

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  17. Reasons you can tell I'm not an eventer and don't have a horse right now: I'm mainly really jealous you got a Kastel baseball cap.

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    1. haha i mean, i was pretty excited about that hat too - and especially grateful with how useful it was for stadium when we were out in the bleachers under direct sun

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  18. I would not have been able to resist the saddle...

    The M.E. and Kastel walls made me so happy. I've just gotten on the Kastel bandwagon and you're going to be super happy with those!

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    1. so far i'm quite pleased! we shall see how the kastel shirts hold up to muggy baltimore summers!

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  19. Ok, I would kill for a citrus jump DIY. I NEED (read: want) more jump fillers and would be willing to build my own.

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    1. i mean, i'm right there with ya haha. if we end up building something like it i'll definitely document for blog purposes :)

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  20. That saddle pad is gorgeous!

    So glad you had a blast!

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    1. thanks! we definitely had fun - and i have probably another post's worth of photos to share too haha

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  21. Would love to hear how the boots fit your girl. I'm needing to get some white ones for Violet, and she is also of the short legged variety.

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    1. the height of the MEs was actually just fine for Isabel - and i believe they come in a nice sharp white now. our problem with those boots was that they were too large in circumference and one boot in particular always turned while we were riding. so i'm hoping the lemieux boots have a narrower fit. this might not be a problem for horses with more bone in their legs

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  22. You were very successful in your purchases, I would say! But the real question is, did you steal me something purple?

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    1. le sigh, i was sadly not successful in all of my endeavors... but yay for not getting arrested? maybe?!?

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  23. Excellent haul. I ended up just trying on/ checking out a lot of stuff and will buy it later as not a lot of stuff was actually on sale. Like the Kastel shirts were regular price + a free hat, but I don't like hats, so I'll just get some more next time RW has a sale.

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    1. yep that's mighty responsible of you haha. i'm pretty sure if i waited to order some of this stuff until "later" i would probably never actually order it... i can be slightly trigger-shy on that count, but this was my big chance ;)

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  24. I want everything you bought. Just put it in a box and mail it to me, k?

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    1. lolz suuuuuuuuuure lemme get right on that ;)

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  25. Of the several sun shirts I have tried, Kastel is by far my favorite! Exciting to hear you're joining the fan club. Haha.

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    1. I'm excited too - so far I'm quite happy with them too!

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  26. You have excellent taste in gloves. I also do, as I have the same gloves!

    Rolex looks amazing! I love the photos. I do like that lace pattern on the 1k... I kind of want it. Except I already have a 1k and they don't fit my head well.

    That saddle is so cool!! I could never be so bold to use it though... I could see you using it though ;)

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    1. Ha I would TOTALLY use that saddle lol. Bummer that one k helmets don't fit you - they have been my all time fave since I first tried one on

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  27. Great new toys!nlove the color of your new saddle pad and loooove the gloves! I've tried them on at the tack store before and almost bought them but didn't need gloves at the time- hope they hold up well bc they look so lovely

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    1. I will be sure to write up about the gloves bc I've been in love with them for a long time too and am so happy to finally have them :)

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  28. I walked away with zilch compared to last years haul. Literally, i bought nothing. I loved touching everything though and also swooned over the rope martingale. It seemed there were no OMG I MUST HAVE deals this year so I walked out with nothing. I wanted open fronts and thought I could get some under $100, wrong. Nothing else I really needed and I was disappointed with the lack of sales. So greedy haha. Sorry i missed you!

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    1. Man open front boots have gotten insane price-wise... So annoying!! Good for you for not blowing all the cash tho haha. But I agree - there wasn't really much that I *had* to have and most of what I picked up was stuff I already wanted

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  29. Now I'm kinda glad I Couldn't go, not having money and not being able to get anything from shopping would have been sad. Lovely haul! Gotta save up for next year

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    1. Haha yea I think it's one of those things where if you have lots of money there won't be much to tempt you. But if you have no money you will want ALL THE THINGS lol

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  30. Wow! That's some good shopping. I love those gloves. A word of warning though, be careful with opening the velcro. The leather on the pair I had tore right around the velcro when I took them off one day. It was after a few months of hard wear though. I'd still buy another pair.

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  31. Rolex is SO dangerous for shopping. SO DANGEROUS

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