Thursday, March 25, 2010

On the Cheap: Beach Baby

Paying a lot for a swimsuit makes me stabby. I kind of don't understand why they're so expensive. You're almost naked when you have one on, so shouldn't they be LESS money than regular clothing? Plus they're really easy to shrink, so maybe SOME of us have to buy a new one every year, and that's a drain on the ol' bank account.

I'm going on several trips this summer, including one with Hubsey's family. I know I need a new bathing suit (not because I shrank anything, but because I bought a rather skimpy honeymoon suit last summer and it's... well, skimpy. Perfect for Hawaii, weird for a cruise.). This one spoke to me from the latest Victoria's Secret catalogue:

Retro without being costumey, plus it apparently has some sort of stomach-flattening device in there, so I won't have to worry about hiding the food baby I get after a big meal. I would've purchased it already, but it's $134! Eff that.

I almost don't want to post this next one because it's not my taste to EVER wear a skirt when I'm doing beachy things, but this is inexplicably cute:

It's also only $49.99, so that's an easier pill to swallow.

Finally, this last one is at least cheaper than the original offender, but still more than I'd PREFER to pay.

Loving the dots. All of the reviews talk about how incredibly flattering it is, so I'm all for that. It's $89.99, which is okaaaaaaay, but I still want a better deal. I suppose I'll have to keep an eye on it and maybe it'll go on sale.

So, do you also get stabby at the thought of paying triple digits for something that'll just get all dirty from the sand, anyway? And how do you feel about the retro trend this year? I like it a lot more than seeing half of somebody's cheeks, that's for sure.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Web Gem: Dr. Sheldon Cooper

Does anybody watch The Big Bang Theory? If you do, you have impeccable taste. If you don't watch, give it a shot. It's about a group of four nerdy guys living in California, who, for example, expanded Rock Paper Scissors to be Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock.

The dorkiest of the bunch (or most awesome, however you want to look at it) is Sheldon. He's a doctor of theoretical physics with a restraining order from Leonard Nemoy, and 99.9% of the time he wears superhero t-shirts.


I would totally wear that. I think it's aimed more at dudes, but there's a website where you can buy Sheldon's shirts for yourself. It's called... wait for it...!

I didn't go through and check ALL of them, because there are 9 zillion, but the ones I looked at were either $18 or $19. Maybe add it to your bookmarks so you have something handy for your boy's next birthday.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

On the Cheap: Prom

As I type, there are dress-buying festivities happening in malls all over the country. Everywhere, teenage girls will be alternately squealing with delight and wailing in despair in dressing rooms as they search for THE DRESS. No, no, they're not getting married. They're going to prom.

Ah, yes. That one night where lots of girls at my high school tanned themselves orange and shelled out five hundred dollars for hideous getups they would never wear again.

I will acknowledge that prom is a big deal in the sense that it's the first formal event for a lot of people. But that doesn't mean you should throw your money away (or wear something tragic). I went to prom three times in high school, and all three times I paid less than $100 for my (adorable) dresses. Some proof that it can still be done in 2010:

Kids These Days seem to want a shorter prom dress (as opposed to us old farts who graduated in 2004 and wore floor length). From David's Bridal, it's $79.

Now that I've posted these two next to each other I realize how similar they are. Oh well. Still cute! From Nordstrom, a mere $68.

Just ignore those gloves. The dress itself is quite fabulous, and of the three, the one I'd wear. From, it's $98.

What did you wear to prom? Did you have a budget, or did you go willy-nilly with that credit card?

Monday, March 8, 2010

On the Cheap: Oscar Inspiration

When I was a kid and I watched the Oscars, I'd sit there with a sketch pad and draw what I thought people should have worn instead. Or if somebody looked great, I'd draw a more wearable version of whatever they had on. Actually, "kid" isn't really the right word, because this particular phase of my life lasted from ages 12 to 18, but whatever. (This was also the phase of my life where I was CONVINCED that I could be a fashion designer and a movie star at the same time, and we can all see how that turned out. Hellooo, day job!)

Anyway, I watched the Oscars last night. I won't go into any of the awards (except to say that James Cameron can SUCK IT) because most people probably care less than I do. So let's look at the clothes.

Sandy B., you are a vision. Ryan Seacrest or somebody complained about her dressing LIKE an Oscar, but I think that's what I would do. Nothing like some last-minute power of suggestion, just in case the accountants don't guard the winner envelopes that closely.

Check that out. Beautiful. I'm not always a fan of how she dresses, but this was perfect. Amazing dress, understated hairstyle, a touch of color with the red lipstick, small accessories. Ten out of ten.

As much as I'd love to own this dress, I don't think that will happen anytime soon (unless Sandy is feeling charitable, in which case I'll take the thing off her hands). Instead, here are some more affordable nuggets of inspiration:

Those glorious '80s shoes are $16.99, the lace necklace is $29, the clutch is currently dirt cheap ($2.24) on Ebay, and the 1950s wiggle dress rings in at $75. Click the links to see more detailed pictures.

Did you dig Sandra's look? Who was your favorite (or least favorite) from last night?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wedding$: With This Ring...

When I was in high school, the movie Sweet Home Alabama was released. I don't remember if I saw it in theaters or on TV, but I know I've witnessed the badness. One scene in particular, even to my young, undeveloped brain, was ridiculous. Reese Witherspoon and McStupidNickname from Grey's Anatomy went to Tiffany's, where he proposed, and Reese was told she could pick out whatever she wanted for her engagement ring.

Even as a high schooler I was like, "Bitch, please! If I'm supposed to believe THAT scene, then Hogwarts is real!"

I can tell you that I most certainly did NOT have free reign over the jewelry store when Hubsey and I went ring shopping. And I know we weren't alone. So today I found some noteworthy e-rings for $1,000 or less (just in case you're in the market for one--or like to look at sparkles).

Starting top left: the creatively-named Ottoman Harem Collection diamond ring is $880 and quite the eye-catcher when you see it on a hand. Next is an estate solitaire, featuring a .36 carat European cut diamond for $425 (which is WAY cheaper than buying a new diamond that size). Bottom right is perfect for the eco-conscious bride: a 3mm moissanite stone set in recycled silver for $280 (larger stones set in gold are available for $648 and $898). Finally, we have a 1.58 carat blue sapphire surrounded by pave diamonds for an even $1,000.

Did you (or somebody you know) get an awesome deal on your e-ring? And would you ever do a non-diamond center stone? What about wearing a vintage piece that somebody else wore first? To the comments!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

On the Cheap: Down the Rabbit Hole

My office is dangerously close to the giant Macy's (formerly Marshall Field's) on State Street here in Chicago. If you've never been, it's a glorious place. Including the basements, it's 16 floors of clothing and food that will make even the surliest of fiends crack a smile.

Incidentally, I came out of there grinning like a fool today because of a new clothing line inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Not because I'm so stoked for the movie, but because the stuff was PRETTY:

Now, it's been a while since I've watched/read Alice, so I could be forgetting somebody, but the character this seems to be inspired by is the Queen of Hearts. Which I dig. It's from the Sue Wong for Walt Disney Signature collection, available at these fine stores. SADLY, it's $388, so I have no chance of owning it.

I also think it's a bummer that there's not a blue dress in the collection. Quick, think about Alice in Wonderland right now! What do you see? A little girl in a blue dress. I'm not sure why the designer wasn't inspired by the title character, but whatever. I found some other ones instead.

The one on the left is really affordable, at $65 (and one-of-a-kind to boot!). The other is vintage and correspondingly priced at (ugh) $250, but that's at least less than $388.

So what do you think of the collection? Does it seem very "Alice" without a blue dress? Have you ever gotten any other "inspired by" clothing?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Miscellaneous: Have you lost your MIND?

I drive past a group of townhomes everyday on my way to the train station. They're REALLY nice. So nice, in fact, that I didn't even realize they were townhomes at first, and thought they were just obnoxiously huge mansions. (Tangent: there's one house in my suburb that was built to look like a castle, turrets and courtyard and all. I'll take a picture for you.)

Anyhoodle, I decided to look up these fancy-pants townhomes this morning over breakfast, just to see what the story is.

You understand my confusion, right? It's kind of how I imagine Donald Trump interprets the word "cottage." Here's a look from the foyer into the living room:

Totally unlike every other townhome I've ever seen in my entire life, though I do think the chandelier is a nice touch. And then there's this baby tucked away in the basement:

Now for the particulars. (You may want to hold onto your brain--mine tried to explode.) The basic edition of this layout sells for $629,500, but, if you want "upgrades," it'll cost you $810,570. Remember, this is a TOWNHOME. It's attached to OTHER HOUSES. And it's not in L.A. or something where houses are unbelieveably expensive; it's in the freaking western suburbs of Chicago. And it's a townhome!

Yes, it's beautiful, and yes, it's almost 4,000 square feet with 3 bedrooms, 3½ baths and that excellent bar in the basement, but it's still attached to least one neighbor. And I couldn't find anything about HOA fees on the website, so I'm sure those are outrageously high, too.

So here's my question: why, WHY, if you can afford to spend that much on a dwelling in the suburbs, would you not buy a REAL HOUSE? Do people enjoy shelling out monthly fees for maintaining the grounds? Is it fun to hear the neighbor's TV through the wall when you're trying to read? I... don't understand. Please tell me. And please tell me I'm not insane for thinking these are overpriced for attached living.

Monday, March 1, 2010

On the Cheap: Cleaning House

I'm having post-Olympic depression, you guys. What am I supposed to do in the evenings now? Be PRODUCTIVE? Ha! My husband said, "I guess it's back to Netflix," and that's fine, but I won't be back in my living room for several more hours.

That leaves window shopping for the time being. JC Penny obliged my whims today, as they appear to have 99% of their items on sale.

Yeah, yeah, I know it's another pencil skirt, BUT the color blocks make it much more interesting than something tweed or basic black. It's also $29.99, marked down from $44.

Freaking adorable sequins. $17.99 marked down from $26.

There doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to what's on sale, so even if you're in the market for snakeskin heels, JCP has a deal for you. These are $39.99 reduced from $60.

Is anybody else in a funk because the Olympics are over? More importantly, have you come across any other sweeping markdowns this week? Lemme know.