Friday, August 28, 2009

Hello, Gorgeous!: You Siren.

Some people are not so good with the makeup application. Marilyn Manson, for example, doesn't appear to know what he's doing. Neither did Tammy Faye Bakker, and speaking of, there was a spider in the condo the other day with legs EXACTLY like her eyelashes. (It was also the fastest spider I've ever seen, so maybe it had abnormally developed leg muscles.) Anyway, the fear of looking like either of those people usually prevents me from trying anything new on my face. Usually.

Maybe it's leftover brain clog from when I played basketball, but I still use the phrase "go big or go home." I don't change up my cosmetic routine that often, but when I do, I want it to count:

That's red lipstick. Retro Red, actually, from New York Color. I think I bought this around the time of my last birthday, but I forgot I had it until a few weeks ago. When I first wore it in December, I was really pale and looked kind of like a vampire, but now that it's summer and I have a healthy glow, I look like a mortal when I put it on. Which is a plus.

Another plus is the price. Get ready... it's a dollar! I've been happier with this lipstick than others that are much more expensive. It's smooth without being too shiny, and it stays on my lips (as opposed to my teeth, which are not red).

The third and final plus is that N.Y.C. is sold all over the damn place, so you shouldn't have any problems unleashing your inner bombshell. Go forth and enjoy.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

On the Cheap: Blogger Fail

Readers, I made an oopsie.

I had a post all worked out where I'd talk about how ruffly shirts are the bee's knees right now, and how these are on clearance at Overstock (a site I normally skip, but I'll have to stop that), and then I'd muse about how lovely any of them would look under a nice cardigan.

But in the time it took me to slap the pictures together in Paint, two of them sold out. Fail.

If you move sharpish, you can still get the orange one here.

Miscellaneous: Close Call

Our house is messy. Well, I suppose it's not really a house so much as a condo, but whatever. It ain't clean, is my point. Today I snapped and spent the morning tidying up. At one point, I had to decide if I was going to stop working and take the train into the city, or if I wanted to keep playing Susie Homemaker for an additional hour and a half and just drive. It's a lot cheaper to take the train, but I was in stride (plus it was raining again and I didn't really want to walk in it), so I chose to eat my parking costs and drive.

It turned out to be a better decision than I realized, because cops opened fire in an intersection I walk through everyday when I take the train. From what I've heard and read since, a panhandler was trying to steal somebody's purse and pulled out a knife. The cops tried to subdue him with pepper spray, but it only made the panhandler stab one of the officers. You can guess how the rest went.

So, I'm rattled. Even though this is the city, shootings don't typically happen in this neighborhood (the Loop), and they certainly don't happen on State Street (which is one of two shopping districts you might have heard of; the other is Michigan Avenue, about a mile north).

I don't really know what to say now, except for the cliched "This feels like something out of a movie," so I'll take that as my cue to find you some deals.

Everybody stay safe.

(Photo: Chicago Tribune)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Go Retro: Double Trouble

This sweater is so cute that it made me yell "SHUT UP!" to the room at large again. Sadly, nobody was in here to answer my cry, but I work with a bunch of men and they probably wouldn't have appreciated it, anyway:

. Too bad it's cashmere and $200, because this is the only retro item I've posted that I actually have occasion to wear. It'd be work appropriate with dark jeans, black pants, any of my pencil skirts...

Bummed as I am, I can't hold a grudge against a store with a sweet name like Fast Eddie's Retro Rags, especially when that sweater is at the pricey end of their spectrum. In the spirit of affordability, you could buy a rhinestone cardigan for $55.

I approve.

Monday, August 24, 2009

On the Cheap: Bookshelf

I'm feeling very ho-hum today, which doesn't make sense. The sun is shining, I'm eating Doritos, and my bangs look good--three things that greatly contribute to my happiness--but I'm just... blaaaaaaah. Maybe it's because I thought today was Tuesday until about 3 o'clock, when I was reminded by an eagle-eyed co-worker that it's actually Monday.

Anyway, my husband and I have been furniture shopping lately and we're stopping at Target after work to look at a bookshelf:

The Avington furniture line is on sale this week, and my shelf is $99, marked down from $129. If you're of the "IKEA has the cheapest furniture ever" club, suck on THIS:

The Markor bookcase is $169 (or $129 for an uber narrow version). If my wallet hadn't already spoken, I think I would've gone with the Target shelf anyway, because none of my IKEA bookshelves have ever moved well. The last one fell apart on my foot, actually, so I'm not in a hurry to go down that road again. Word on the street (sometimes called customer reviews) is that the Target shelf is sturdy, so hopefully my little piggies are safe this time.

Miscellaneous: Housekeeping

It has occurred to me that I don't have any tags on my posts. I categorize them, sure, but if anybody tried to search for a subject, they'd be up the metaphorical creek. So I'm fixing the problem!

Hopefully I'll also have time to bring you some pretties. Thanks in advance for your patience, grasshoppers.

Friday, August 21, 2009

On the Cheap: One more sale

Sometimes when I mean to window shop, I just shop. Other times, I think I'm gonna buy half the store and then I leave in a funk because everything was ugly. Today was option three: I found something I liked, but didn't have time to wait in line because I had to walk the rest of the way to work.

I wish I DID have time, because it was cute. I also wish I had a time machine, so I could go back to Wednesday and add Charlotte Russe to my good sale list. They were having a jewelry sale: earrings, bracelets and rings were all 2 for $8, so I spent most of my 15 minutes in there looking at the jewelry wall (which was backlit and made my eyes water, wah!). Also happening, though I'm not sure for how long, is a lottery-inspired scratch-off game where you get either 25% or 50% off your entire order.

And we would be remiss to forget their summer blowout, which includes this little number for $5:

Oh yeah, here's what I wanted to buy:

Cute, but not cute enough to be late for work. Methinks I'll have to make a return trip on the way home.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

On the Cheap: Seasons Change

Stores are getting their fall merchandise and we all know what that means: Clearance! Unfortunately, there aren't enough hours in the day to check out everything (pesky things like jobs and spouses get in the way), so I've done some research and found the best places to hit. Hopefully we can look like this happy person when we're finished:

1. Macy's. Not only are they having their semi-annual home sale this week, but they're liquidating all of their summer garb. I was at one of their 14 million stores this weekend and it's worth a trip. If you are, for some reason, not near one, had a fit of organization and sorted their clearance items by price, including the magical $19.99 and under.

2. Fair Indigo. If you prefer to shop fair trade (which, let's be honest, is unlikely if you read this blog, but JUST IN CASE), then you'll be thrilled to know FI is having another bestseller sale. Items are 50%-70% off.

3. DSW. I was here the other day, too, and I got a pair of boots for $27 from their "last chance" area. The selection varies by store since it's all department store leftovers, but they offer a set collection online. I'm not sure how they manage it, but the sale includes a mixture of summer AND winter footwear, so go on and take a gander.

4. Bed Bath and Beyond. If you need ANYTHING for your house, this is the place to go. Summer stuff is obviously marked down, but so are a lot of other, seasonally-neutral things, like bedding, rugs, and Wii Guitar Hero. As with DSW, the clearance items will vary by store, so for a more complete look check out the web.

Any other suggestions? Leave 'em in the comments. Happy browsing!

Monday, August 17, 2009

On the Cheap: Wild Thing

I'm of the belief that animal print never goes out of style. It's always around, but whether or not it's "hip" that year determines how easy it is to find. Leopard is apparently the animal of choice for '09, because in the last couple of weeks I've seen a dress, about five pairs of shoes, a necklace, and several dozen cardigans. Sadly, I haven't seen any leopard pants yet: My sister and I had matching pairs when we were in junior high (because we were COOL), and I'd like to revisit them.

If you're not that wild, this might be more your thing:

I picked this up on my way to work, actually. Forever 21 can go a little overboard on the trends, but this one works. And it's only $2.80, so even if you only wear it for a few months, it's not the end of the world. (By comparison, out growing my leopard pants WAS the end of the world, and I mourn them to this day.)

Get the headband and other, more adventurous items here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Go Retro: Don Draper!

I'm not sure how I missed this, but it's back-to-school time. Today was the first day I'd gone to a store other than the grocery or furniture variety since the honeymoon and boy was there a lot to see! The store I chose to pop my post-Hawaii shopping cherry was Nordstrom Rack. They had a lot of Jackie O. coats and fall dresses that were pretty cute, but they were still a little out of my price range. (I shudder to think how expensive everything would've been had I gone into "real" Nordstrom.)

Since the faux retro stuff is too much, I found a dress that's actually from the 50s:

They call it a Mad Men dress, which is fun. I've never seen the show, but the guy who plays Don Draper was on TV a couple of times this week (with Conan and Regis) and he is FOXY. I don't know how he stayed under my radar for so long! If you aren't sure who I'm talking about, here's some eye candy. (SO PRETTY.)

Ahem. The dress is from FabGabs on Etsy and it can be yours for $65.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Make the Investment: Back in Black

Sometimes, it's okay to pay full price. When buying the good sourdough, for example, or refusing to settle for the most basic cable package out of fear it won't include the Discovery Channel, and the Food Network, AND Bravo. (And maybe VH1, because I'm a sucker for watching Brett Michaels find "love.")

It's also fine to occasionally pay full price for clothes, if the item in question will be a wardrobe staple.

It's hard to go wrong with a good pair of black pants. They're like jeans; versatile, plus they come in every cut and style, so everyone can find a pair. These are the ones I've been wearing for almost a decade: the Editor Premiere Stretch from Express. This particular pair is $59.50, though the Editor umbrella covers prices from $49.50 to $88. Even at full price, they're not expensive, but if you still CANNOT fathom shopping when there isn't a sale, know they get marked down a few times a year, usually buy one get one half off. In fact, that's happening now! How perfect.

Like their denim counterparts, the Editor dress pants come in three lengths, 30", 33" and the blessed 35". (NOTE: if you put them in the dryer they WILL shrink, so learn from my mistake.) If you avoid zapping them into floods, they'll last you a long time. Like, years, providing you're not in the middle of a growth spurt.

They're worth the investment. I wouldn't wear bad pants for 10 years. Trust me.

Monday, August 10, 2009

On the Cheap: Suit Up!

Why, in the name of all things holy, is it so HOT? I know it's August in Chicago, but Mother Nature needs to get a grip on herself. Or maybe the Weather Channel needs to find more adept meterologists, because they were WAY off today: it was supposed to be 79 and rainy, but it's actually 87 with cloudless sky and no breeze. Bet you can't guess which one I'm prepared for.

Anyway, if you're like me and you feel like you're wearing too many clothes, comfort yourself with a bathing suit sale:

Victoria's Secret has started putting theirs on clearance. That one is $4.99 a piece. Be aware, there appears to be two tiers to the sale: the stuff that's actually on clearance, and stuff that's simply reduced 15 or 20%. This stuff will be easiest on the wallet.

Happy browsing! Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go figure out a way to climb into the fridge.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hello, Gorgeous!: So, you're sunburned...

Sunburn happens to the best of us. Sometimes, if you're my hubby, it happens to you on the second day of your honeymoon.

When we got to Hawaii, we were told that the sun is REALLY INTENSE there, so we'd better put on that sunblock! I had gone tanning a few times to avoid looking pasty in my dress, so I had a base color, but Hubby had the delicate glow that comes from working in an office. Even with SPF 30, he was lookin' pretty crispy two hours later.

Sadly, the Walgreens in Honolulu was really far away and we didn't rent a car, so he had to go without his precious after-sun nectar:

We bought him another kind of aloe, but it just wasn't the same. No other after-sun lotion comes close to the generic Walgreens product with tea tree oil. It's a huge 16 oz. bottle for only $6.29, so nothing compares to the price, either.

And if you don't live near a Walgreens, don't fret! You can buy it online, though you should probably have it on hand before you get fried. So maybe buy it now.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

On the Cheap: Sexy Secretary

It's nice that retro and/or classic styles are the thing right now. I was worried for a while that the 80s were going to make a full comeback, therefore triggering the four horsemen to make their locusty way over here, but luckily for humanity, better looking styles took over:

Ah, yes. The pencil skirt! Diane von Furstenberg normally makes patterned things, but she's apparently decided to branch out. The damage is typical for her, though, at $218.

Here's a reasonably-priced example:

Gosh, look at that. IDENTICAL! High waisted? Check. Black? Check. Twenty-five inches long? Check. I'm sure Ms. von Furstenberg makes a lovely skirt, but as long as Victoria's Secret sells the same thing for $58, I'll be shopping with them.

(Express also makes a slightly-less-identical version for $59.50, if you want a little more detail.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Go Retro: The brooch is back.

I don't want to brag, but I'm really proud of myself for this one:

No, not my boob (even if it did look nice that day). I'm talking about the brooch. I was poking through a jewelry bin at an antique mall, and there it was, in a little plastic bag with a $2 price tag. Even for vintage jewelry that's dirt cheap, so I figured it was missing some stones, or somebody died wearing it or something. But it was perfectly fine! The silver was kind of tarnished and it wasn't made by a famous designer, but those are real crystals. It was so sparkly that the darker metal didn't matter, anyway.

Most people only look at the "fancy" stuff in the cases, but don't forget to check out the rest. Since the brooch, I've found two pairs of sparkly $8 earrings just shoved into boxes, the poor little guys. So help them out.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ma, Look What I Got: Put a ring on it!

Here's what I'd like to know. What happens if you're eating an oyster and you find a pearl? I hear plenty of stories about severed fingers in taco meat or whatever, but what about finding something good?

I didn't find a pearl at a restaurant (and I won't, because I think oysters look like giant boogers and one is never getting anywhere near my face) but we did make a purchase:

I wasn't going to get a ring (since, you know, I just got one during my wedding), but there you are. The ring itself is is of little consequence here, since the way I got it was so cool. The Pearl Factory is a normal-looking jewelry kiosk, with bright lights and a friendly salesperson. And big bowls of oysters! That's right, I picked my own pearl. Well, I picked an oyster. Then the guy opened it, dug out the pearl, and set the jewelry right in front of me. Insta-ring!

You can buy pre-set items either at a store or online, but it's better to go the pick-an-oyster route. An oyster is $14.99 and settings start at either $9.99 online or $20 in-store. The most expensive setting is $800-something. By comparison, they sell some pre-made things that cost a few grand. If you're feeling especially thrifty, you could always wait for one to show up in your food, but I'd rather shell out the $15 and save myself the slime.

Miscellaneous: I'm Baaaack!

Aloha! Despite some wicked jet lag, it's back to work, back to the blog, and back to normal for this girl. While I track down some deals, here's a pretty:

That's Hanauma Bay. The dark blobs in the water are coral, and they're unpleasant to bang your leg on as you snorkle past.

More bargains are on the way! Sit tight.