BigMac’s journey with Goldenhar Syndrome

It has taken me quite a while to build the courage to write this post.  A lot of it has to deal with me accepting that my daughter has what they call, Goldenhar Syndrome.

I had a very uneventful and uncomplicated pregnancy.  My pregnancy was great.  I worked all the way up until I went into labor.  My labor and delivery was quick.  And before we knew it, Mackenzie Mai Nguyen was born on April 3, 2018 at 3:20AM weighing 6 lbs. 2 oz. and measuring 19 and 3/4 inches long.

Mackenzie AKA BigMac decided she wanted to come out in a way that no one will forget, especially me.  She came out squeezing the umbilical cord that was wrapped around her neck 3 times – a triple nuchal.  Dramatic, I know.  After the cord was clamped and cut, she was handed to me.  That’s when I knew we were in for a journey.

BigMac was missing her left ear and her lip was pulled towards her left side making her lips a little wider than normal.  I can’t even begin to explain what was going through my head or how I was feeling.  I was a ball of emotions.  I mean, I had an uneventful and uncomplicated pregnancy.  So, what went wrong?

I’m so thankful for my doctor and nurse who took care of us during my delivery.  They knew exactly what to do and say to keep me from breaking down during what was suppose to be one of the most happiest moments in my life.  Again, uneventful and uncomplicated pregnancy.  So, what happened?

That morning, the pediatrician made a visit and reviewed her charts.  She informed us that BigMac was doing well and nothing required immediate attention.  Her plan was to put in referrals to be seen by specialists.

Now, how do we tell our family and friends?  What do we say when they ask, “how’s mom and baby doing?”  Because, honestly, I didn’t even know myself.  All I asked was,”Why?”

We were discharged from the hospital after 2 days and BigMac had her weight check with her pediatrician the following day.  On our first night at home, I noticed her breathing sounded irregular.  It seemed like she was gasping and struggling to nurse or breathe.  I expressed my concerns with the pediatrician and she placed a pulse ox on her toe.  Her O2 sats were in the 80’s% (normal range is greater than 92%).  She decided it was best for us to get BigMac transported to the hospital.  She arranged for transportation and had BigMac directly admitted into Cook Children’s NICU, where we stayed for the next 3 weeks….

Let me start by telling you how AMAZING the doctors and nurses were at Cook Children’s in Fort Worth, Texas. The room were full of nurses and doctors.  Questions were being asked.  Orders were being made.  And all I remember were the smiles and calmness that eased my mind and heart.

BigMac had an IV started on her forehead after a couple of unsuccessful attempts at her hand.  =(  She had many, many different procedures and tests done during our stay starting with multiple ultrasounds and x-rays of her head, spine, chest, and kidneys – which all came back normal.  Thank goodness! My heart just lightened up a bit.

A bronchoscopy was done and confirmed she has mild laryngomalacia AKA a floppy larynx, creating partial blockage of her airway and noisy breathing.  Laryngomalacia plus her widened mouth caused her to have feeding difficulties and led her to getting a nasogastric (NG) tube placed.

Other procedures include ECHO of her heart – normal, swallow study – no aspiration, and sleep study – mild to moderate sleep apnea.

Now that all of her tests are done, our next battle is getting her to feed.  After a couple of weeks of trying to take the bottle with little success, we decided to move forward with having a G-Button placed.  G-Button will allow her to get fed through a feeding tube directly into her stomach.  It’s a surgical procedure that requires her to be put to sleep and intubated.

The intubation was tough – it gave her anesthesiologist a sweat!  But in the end, everything went well!  A few days later, we were discharged home!!!  We will be able to continue to practice bottle feeding in the comfort of our home! Our NEW home [we’ll talk about this more in a later post].

In the upcoming months, we have many scheduled appointments with different specialists.  There are still many hurdles in this journey, but we have faith that all will be well.  We believe that God gave us Mackenzie for a reason.  And we don’t doubt His plans.  We have trust in Him.

I absolutely can’t thank the staff at Cook Children’s enough for all of their hard work in caring for our baby girl, while still making sure our stay each night was as comfortable and pleasant as possible.

I will continue to update as we find out new information and/or plans for our baby girl.  Subscribe with your email –> [on the right side bar] to follow along with Mackenzie’s journey!

Feel free to leave comments, emails, and words of encouragement!  They are always appreciated!



Simple ways to relax after a long day

This past week has been a long one.  After one of the long nights (I work graveyard shift) I had this week, I wiped off my makeup, changed into my most comfortable clothes, and vegged in front of the TV watching Friends.  Sometimes I’ll add a glass of wine with it 🙂 .  Nowadays, this is what helps me relax the best without many interruptions.  Mainly because it allows my daughter to constantly have sight of me while she’s playing, or else she would go looking and screaming for me =/ .

One day after I dropped Sadie off at daycare, I went to Target and stumbled on these cheap facial masks and decided to give it a try.  The prices range from $2.99 to $3.99 and currently, if you buy 3, you get 1 FREE! It was my first time using it and I absolutely love it!  It was so simple to apply.  Giving myself a quick facial after a long day really helps me relax!  But, I don’t do it very often because my daughter isn’t too fond of it.  LOL.  Sadie says, “mama, come back!” as she points and slowly walks away from me.  Hopefully, she’ll get use to it soon because I bought a few different kinds, and I can’t wait to try them all!

What I would do for a long, hot bath or shower!  The last time I was able to take a hot bath was before I had Sadie.  Oh, how I miss it.  Now, the moment I turn on the shower, I’ll immediately hear, “Mama, where are you?! Mama, where are you?” over and over again.  LOL.  Who else can relate to this?  I remember this use to be my go-to way to relax after a long day!  I would spend a crazy amount of time standing in the shower and letting the hot water just run all over me.  It really does help me clear my mind.

Taking a walk is something we do to relax as a family.  Most days after dinner, we would take a nice stroll around our neighborhood.  It’s a great way to help us digest our food, catch up on our day, and allow Sadie  to burn out her energy before bedtime.

Other ways that can help you relax are reading a book and/or doing yoga.  When I read a book, I usually get hooked on it from beginning to end and I don’t know if Sadie will allow me to do that… LOL.  But, I absolutely love reading!  Doing yoga is something I definitely want to try soon!  I’ve heard great things about it such as, it helps you relax, strengthens and tones up your body, improves your energy, and so on.  When I finally get started on it, I’ll let you all know how it goes 😉 .

What do ya’ll do to relax?


20 Fun Facts About Me

Wow, where did the week go?  Last week, Sadie spent the week with her grandparents in Texas.  She had a blast hanging out with all her aunts and uncles, but we sure did miss her spunkiness here at home with us!  On today’s post, I decided to do something a little different and fun.  I’m sharing some fun facts about myself, and if you have time, I would love to know a little about you 🙂

What is your middle name?:  Thoa Kim
What was your favorite subject at school?:  Math
What is your favorite drink?:  Coffee and Green Tea Lattes 🙂  Caffeine, Caffeine, Caffeine!
What is the last thing you bought?:  Tops, Jeans, Boots from the NORDSTROM anniversary sale
Favorite book of all time?:  Thoughtless by S. C.  Stephens
Favorite Color?:  Lavender, Pink, Blush
Do you have any kids?:  Yes, 1 daughter
Favorite Perfume?:  Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb
Favorite Holiday?:  Christmas
Are you married?:  Yes
Have you ever been out of the country, if so how many times?:  Yes, just once to Vietnam
Do you speak any other language?:  Vietnamese, not the greatest, but I can still understand pretty well
How many siblings do you have?: 4 (3 brothers and 1 sister)
What is your favorite shop?:  Nordstrom, ASOS, Riffraff
Favorite Movie?:  Crazy, Stupid, Love
Favorite TV show?:  Friends – I watch it every night before bed
PC or Mac?:  Mac
What phone do you have?:  White Iphone 6 Plus
How tall are you?:  5’3 and 3/4 🙂
Can you cook?:  Still learning… =/

Now, copy and paste this into the comments section and tell me about YOU 🙂

Off the Shoulder Top | Similar White Denim Shorts | Jute Metallic Sandals

How adorable is this top!  If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m completely obsessed with all things off the shoulder.  It’s a great piece to transition into the Fall.  I paired this cute top with white denim shorts, but it would also look great with jeans.  This top is an absolute must-have!

Check out more adorable items from A Little Peace of Joy and get 15% OFF with code LISA15, plus FREE shipping on orders of $75 or more!

When “I” became “Us”

Happy 10 years “dating” and 4 years marriage anniversary to us!  OMG!  We look like babies here.  So much has changed in the last 10 years.  We’ve graduated college, started our careers, lived in a couple of states, got married, gained a beautiful daughter, and purchased our first home.  Wow,  words cannot begin to describe how blessed I am to be able to go on this journey with this hardworking and loving fella.  Sadie and I love you to the moon and back!

This year, we wanted to include Sadie in our anniversary shenanigans, and having a picnic was a wonderful way to do it!  It was great to be able to spend quality time alone as a family, especially with our conflicting work schedules.  For our picnic, I packed us some sandwiches, pasta salad, and fruits.  Wine for us and water with strawberries for Sadie 🙂 .  We had such a blast playing and laughing at her silliness.  This day was definitely one for the books!

Here are 15 fun ideas if you’re wanting to plan something special for your loved one:

  • Picnic
  • Biking/hiking
  • Go dancing – I’m still working on getting Tony to go salsa dancing with me :/
  • Take a cooking/pottery/painting class
  • Wine tasting
  • Brunch/lunch date – brunch is my favorite meal of the day 🙂
  • Relive your first date
  • Plan a staycation
  • Attend an outdoor concert
  • Take a road trip or mini getaway
  • See a comedy/improv show
  • Get a couple’s massage
  • Go bowling – we loved doing this when we were in college.
  • Spend the night by the fireplace watching a movie/Netflix night
  • Head to a drive-in


Seattle Getaway

I’m so excited that I was finally able to visit Seattle.  My uncle, who I haven’t seen in over 12 years, was getting married!  I knew we would be spending most of the weekend with family and catching up on old times, so we decided to extend our trip an extra few days to explore The Emerald City =) .  I’ve always wanted to visit Seattle, and thanks to authors like S.C. Stephens and E.L. James, I couldn’t be any more excited about this getaway  😉 .  There is a short collaborated video of our adventure at the end of this post.

So, when we arrived at the airport, we checked in both of our suitcases.  Traveling with a toddler means the less you lug around, the better.  Being Sadie’s first time flying as a toddler, we didn’t know what to expect or how she would react to being on a plane for a period of time.  We made sure we packed plenty of snacks and filled our iPad with a bunch of her favorite shows.  These volume-limited headphones for children was a must!  Sadie was able to watch and play on her iPad without disturbing others around us on the plane.  It’s cute and foldable for easy packing =) .

How cute is this floral midi dress that I wore to my uncle’s wedding?  The weather in Seattle was astounding, and this dress was a perfect fit for it!  Then pair it with these heels – a match made in heaven =) .  Did I forget to mention, the sandals are ON SALE?!

After all of the wonderful wedding festivities, we were finally able to visit some of the touristy hotspots.  We purchased the City Pass, which allowed us to visit 5 of Seattle’s best attractions at a discounted price.  You’re given a ticket booklet that’s valid for 9 days starting the first day of use.  This way you can take your time and spread out your attractions.

Places to go:

  • Pike Place Market – an absolute must if you’re in Seattle!  It’s a perfect place to grab fresh produce and seafood.  Not to mention fresh flowers, too!

  • Gum Wall – It’s located in Post Alley under Pike Place Market.  I find this wall very interesting, yet pretty darn gross.  I’m sure all of the dentists out there are cringing at the image =) .

  • Space Needle – a beautiful structure with such a gorgeous view of the The Emerald City.  You have to reserve a time slot, and we chose to go at 8PM.  We hung around long enough to watch the sunset from the very top.  It’s pretty amazing and a must do at least once when visiting Seattle.

  • Seattle Aquarium – great place to check out with younger children.  Sadie had a blast watching the otters and seals.  Adults were disappointed that there were no sharks =( .

  • MoPop museum – Museum of Pop Culture was a pretty neat place.  We really enjoyed the SciFi, Star Trek, and Horror section.  They also have a sound lab where all of us could go in and play/rehearse as loud as we want!  In our case, we made as much noise as possible =) .

  • Chihuly Garden and Glass – such an amazing exhibit from beginning to end.  The shapes and vibrant colors of the glass artwork was breathtaking.  Pictures just don’t do it justice.  Glimpses of the exhibit will be in the video below =) .

  • Bruce Lee and Brandon Lee grave site – a must stop if you’re a Bruce Lee fan.  My brothers grew up watching his movies and would repeat his martial art moves at home =) .  We decided to make a quick stop to pay respect to their childhood hero.

  • Alki Beach – a perfect place to end my trip.  Just sitting back and relaxing on the beach while admiring the beautiful sunset and the city.

Of course, we fed our hungry tummies during the trip.

for Foodies and Coffee Addicts:

  • Anchorhead Coffee – we actually came here twice, maybe three times during our trip =) .  It’s located in downtown near our hotel and serves the most delicious cold brew.  They have plenty of cute seating from office-style chairs to teal leather couches.  Oh! And they serve beer and wine in the evenings!

  • the original Starbucks – It’s located near Pike Place Market, so swing by just to say you’ve seen it.  The line is ridiculously long, so we didn’t pick up any coffee here.  But no worries, there’s a Starbucks practically around every corner.
  • Le Panier – the almond croissants (amandines) tasted heavenly.  The line was long, but it moved pretty fast.  Trust me, it was totally worth the wait.  It’s also near Pike Place Market, so do not pass this place up if you’re in the area.
  • Ivars Bar and Grill – a good place to stop for creamy clam chowder and fish and chips.  They also have a good variety of other good deep fried seafood options.  Ivars is located on the Seattle waterfront and has a walk up window for you to order.  It has covered outdoor seating, so when you’re done dining, you can feed the seagulls your leftovers.  Nope, not this girl though <–  Those who know me, know that I have a huge fear of birds!  I just can’t.  Nope.
  • Din Tai Fung – they have a couple of locations here in Washington, as well as California.  I’ve been to the location in California and loved it.  Tried it here in Seattle and love it just as much!  Absolutely great place to get soup dumplings.
  • Biscuit Bitch – small place with no indoor seating.  There were a couple of tables and chairs outside that we had to scope out.  The wait and ordering process was a little confusing, but it was TOTALLY WORTH IT.  Their biscuit and gravy was filling and comforting.  I ordered the Smokin’ Hot B**** ,and it was so flavorful and delicious.  It included biscuit and gravy, smothered in cheese, and topped with hot links and jalapeños.  YUM!

[Trench Coat] [Tory Burch Flats] [Off the Shoulder Top]


  • Groves of the Patriarchs
  • Reflections Lake
  • Tolmie Peak
  • Silver Falls

Hiking was on our to-do list while we were here, but we just couldn’t find time to squeeze it in.  It’ll definitely be a priority for our next visit.  And there WILL be a next time.  See you later, Seattle.

Red, White, and Blue

Take me back to Seattle, please!  The weather there this past weekend was absolutely sunny and beautiful!  I can’t wait to tell ya’ll all about it on next week’s post.

So, what does everyone have planned for the 4th of July?  If you’re in NWA and looking for a place to watch fireworks, here is a list of dates, times, and locations for ya’ll.  Some locations will have music, food, and family events prior to the show,  so be sure to check it out.  It’ll be so much fun!

Northwest Arkansas Fireworks Show

Friday, June 30th
Elkins:  at Bunch Park around 9pm
Springdale:  Arvest Ballpark after the Naturals game

Saturday, July 1st
Prairie Grove:  Prairie Grove Aquatic Park at 7pm

Sunday, July 2nd
Rogers:  Prairie Creek Marina at 9:30pm
Rogers:  Cross Church Pinnacle Hills Campus with live music, outdoor baptism, and  fireworks starting at 5pm

Monday, July 3rd
Bella Vista:  Park below Loch Lomond dam on Glasgow road – parking spots available at 5pm
Springdale:  Arvest Ballpark after the Naturals game – game scheduled to start at 6:35pm

Tuesday, July 4th
Bentonville:  Orchards Park around 9:30pm – music and concessions start at 7pm
Centerton:  First Baptist Church at dark –
Farmington:  Farmington High School football stadium at dark
Fort Smith:  Riverfront Park at 7pm – includes live music and concessions
Gentry:  Gentry City Park at 7:30pm with live music and family events and will end with fireworks
Rogers:  Walmart AMP at 9:15pm
Siloam Springs:  Siloam Springs Municipal Airport around 9:15pm – music, concessions, and parachutist will begin at 6pm
Springdale:  Arvest Ballpark after the Naturals game – game scheduled at 6:35pm
Van Buren:  Field of Dreams ballpark at dusk – gate and concessions will open at 7pm


How cute is this outfit for Independence Day?  And the red earrings?!  Oh my goodness!  This OTS dress is flowy and light and perfect to pig-out in. =) .  Here, I dressed it down with some Tory Burch sandals, but you can also dress it up with a cute pair of heels for a night out in town.  The red tassel earrings add a bright and festive detail to this look.  And they’re less than $25.  What a steal!









Are you still looking for a cute outfit for the 4th?  Here are a few of my favorite items, especially the one-piece bathing suit =)

I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful July 4th!  Be sure to check back next week to hear all about my trip to Seattle!

Travel Essentials

Oh my goodness, ya’ll!  We’re heading to Seattle tomorrow and I cannot be more excited about it!  I’ve rounded up a few items that I’ll be bringing with me on my flight!  On my way to the airport, you’ll find me in this adorable and comfortable blush top, a pair of sunnies, and a good book in my hand =) .  Colleen Hoover is my go-to for when I’m in the mood for a good romance novel.  I own quite a few of her books and I absolutely love every single one of them!

In my tote, you’ll find this adorable polaroid camera.  Call me old school, but I still love hard copies of books and photos.  This camera is so fun and I love having it handy for quick photo ops.  It also comes in many adorable colors!  Also, don’t forget to get extra film, you’ll need it =) .

Mascara and lipstick (or chapstick) is a must in this girl’s bag =) . This is my first tube of Better Than Sex mascara by Too Faced and let me tell you, I. AM. IN. LOVE. =) .  It adds so much volume and length to my much needed lashes and it doesn’t clump!

I have always been hesitant to spend more than drugstore price on lipsticks, but one day I felt a little rebellious and splurged a little on this lipstick.  Ya’ll, I can’t believe I’ve gone this long without this in my life!  This Yves Saint Laurent lipstick has a creamy texture when applying and leaves a satin finish, so no need for gloss!

Now, I’m all set to go.  Kind of.  It’s been a while since we’ve flown with Sadie.  She’s now a toddler and more aware of her surroundings.  We’re bringing her Ipad with her favorite shows and her kiddie headphones, but does anyone have any additional tips for a smooth flight?  Eeekkk, I’m so nervous!

I’ve been so in love with blush this summer!  This blush crochet top, ya’ll!  No words.  I love, love, love it.

Join me on my touristy/foodie adventure here:

Gap Inc.

So, how is it that my little girl is 2 already?  She had a blast at her birthday party surrounded by family and of course, Minnie Mouse. =)  Look at this cake!  Our friend Brooke from Alexander Baking Co. did an amazing job on this cake!  And it tastes absolutely delicious!  Check out her Instagram for other scrumptious goodies!

I bought Sadie’s darling outfit from Etsy.  WhimzicalExpressions was great to work with.  I, being a procrastinator, waited last minute to start looking for Sadie’s birthday outfit.  WhimzicalExpressions was able to personalize her outfit and have it arrive just in time – 7 days!

It was such a great experience to be able to attend the #mombutsomuchmore fashion show featuring the inspirational and influential moms of Northwest Arkansas.  Better yet, 100% of the proceeds go to the NWA Women’s Shelter!  These moms and kids were strutting the runway in the most adorable Gap Inc. attire.  I’ve linked a few outfits from the show below.

A couple of local moms shared their story and how the Women’s Shelter has helped them get back on their feet.  The Women’s Shelter provides many resources from 24-hour crisis phone line to  food and clothing to court advocacy.  So, if you have the opportunity, I encourage you to donate to your local Women’s Shelter or charity of your choice.  A little goes a long way. =)

Here are a few items from the show:


How cute are these other items from Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy!  I’ll take one of each, please. =)




















Father’s Day Gift Guide

Happy Thursday, everyone!  I hope everyone had a wonderful week!  I’ve had a pretty busy week between working and planning for my daughter’s 2nd birthday.  I just can’t believe she’s turning 2 already.  Time, can you please slow down?

Speaking of time, Father’s Day is right around the corner!  I don’t know about ya’ll, but I’ve always had a hard time finding the right gift for my husband and father.  This year I’ve asked my husband, Tony, to give us a list of his top items he would love to have this year.  Hopefully, this list will help some of you out there too.  Below are direct links to each item!

  1. Sony XB40 Portable Wireless Speaker with Bluetooth, Black (2017 model)
  2. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34 Running Shoe
  3. Ralph Lauren Custom Fit T-Shirts
  4. Apple watch
  5. Klikel 8-piece Ingrid Whiskey Drinkware Barware Drink Set 
  6. YETI Rambler 30 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tumbler with Lid
  7. Sandisk Pixtor 64GB
  8. Maui Jim “Waterways”
  9. Maui Jim – Ho’okipa Universal Fit

Amazon is always a great stop for last minute shoppers who have Amazon Prime.  Free 2-day shipping or free same-day delivery in eligible areas!



Here’s my #lookoftheday.  How cute is this dress from Zara!  The puff sleeves add a fun detail to a plain black dress.  I wore it down for a casual day, but it can be dressed up for a fun night out in town!  Best part is, it’s only $22.90!  I’ve also linked a few other cute black dresses below.  My Tory Burch fold-over is sold out, so I’ve linked a couple of similar ones below.  

Puff Sleeve Dress – Zara


Here are the sales going on this week.
Shopbop – Designer Boutique sale!
NordstromTopman Sale for the loving men in your lives.
J. Crew – Extra 30% OFF sale styles.  Code: MOREPLEASE.  Valid 06/06 – 06/09
Banana Republic – 40% OFF using code: BRYOURS.  Valid until 06/08 at 11:59pm ET
Gap – 40% OFF plus FREE shipping using code: WARMER. Valid 06/06 – 06/08 at 11:59pm ET
Neiman Marcus – Up to 40% OFF designer sale
Loft – Extra 40% OFF sale styles
BCBGeneration: Time for “Sunset Vibes”! Enjoy 40% Off Regular Clothing, Shoes & Accessories. Valid 6/8-6/14.
BCBG Maxazria: Extra 30% Off Entire Factory Store + 50% Off Select Reg. Weekend Flash 6/8 – 6/11

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!  Look at how beautiful Dallas is at night!  We spent some time in the beautiful, historic Bishop Arts District.  It has so many boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants to choose from!  The decision was tough, but we ended up having brunch at Oddfellows, and it was absolutely delicious!

The Biergarten at the Omni Dallas hotel was a great place to have a drink and relax after being touristy all day.  It was very spacious and inviting.  This German bar has a great selection of beers that rotate through daily.  I mean, need I say more? =)

If you’re craving something sweet, milkncream is the place to go.  Ice cream inside of a donut.  What?!?!  It’s absolutely worth the calories!

Of course I had to stop into Nordstrom to check out their sale IN PERSON!  Their sale goes on until 06/04, and there are still so many good buys.  I was able to grab this Baublebar Ring which is sold out online for less than $20!  And look at these cute Baublebar earrings!  Regularly priced at $34 but now $20.40 and still available online if you can’t get to the store.

I also got these 2 cute pairs of Sam Edelman sandals on SALE for this summer!  For the pair on the right, instead of Brown Saddle leather, I got it in Jute Metallic Leather.  I can guarantee you these will be on repeat all summer long =)

This Lush dress that I’m wearing is currently not on sale but is ONLY $45!  It’s super cute and flirty with its off the shoulder sleeves and tassel detail.  It also has pockets!  It’s still in stock in all sizes, so make sure you grab one before it sells out!

Exploring the city is so much more fun with this girl, my little sister.  I can’t wait for our next adventure together in… SEATTLE at the end of the month!  So, follow me on Instagram.

Here are a few sales going on this week:

Ann Taylor: $50 off Full-Price Dresses and Shoes. Code: RSVP. Offer valid 6/1/2017 @ 12AM – 6/5/2017 @ 3AM
BCBG Maxazria:Additional 30% Off All Markdowns
Saks Fifth Avenue: Take up to 40% off select designers, now through 6/15

Don’t forget to take advantage of the Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale before it ends on 06/04.  They still have so many great items!