Thursday, July 29, 2010

On the Cheap: Fall Footwear

It's the end of July, which means all of the new fall clothes are in stores. Well, I have to assume that they are since I'm not allowed to shop yet. I did hear from a friend today that there's already Christmas stuff out at Hobby Lobby, so I think it's safe to say clothes are shoes are following the same trend.

I did half-cheat on the Challenge and I snuck a peek at the Payless website. Just to see.

If you look inside the shoe, you'll see they're apparently carrying a new brand called Dexter. Even though these are lovely purple suede wedges, the name "Dexter" still makes me think of bloody scalpels. (Anybody else?) On the bright side, they're $26.

These are a little more extreme than what I normally like, but I'm picturing them with some nice black tights and a dress. Platform faux suede sandals, $24.99.

Finally, you can't go wrong with a metallic shoe. Well, providing you're not the Tin Man. Then a metallic shoe might be overkill. These also have a low kitten heel for those days when the ground is wet and you don't want to risk breaking a leg. Bronze cutout pumps, $22.99.

Are you ready to look at fall wares? I'm not so into it yet. Maybe when it's not 85 degrees everyday...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Miscellaneous: One Year Later

I can't believe I got married a year ago.

It seriously feels like I fell through a wormhole or something. That did NOT seem like 365 days. (Hubsey and I took the same train this morning and he goes, "Just think, a year ago today we were leaving for Hawaii... and now we're going to work.") I know I never did a big post about the wedding, but that’s because this isn’t a wedding blog. HOWEVER, my anniversary was yesterday and I’m excited, so I’m gonna post it anyway. But I will keep it relatively on topic and share some of the deals we got.

Our ceremony took place in the chapel at our alma mater. Since we were alums, the school knocked $200 off the price. Plus, the place didn’t need much by way of decoration (as you can see), which saved us not only money but sanity. There were six flower arrangements by the windows, and two on the altar. All of them were re-used at the reception.

Hubsey designed the invitations and programs. He was cute and thought that we needed 150 invitations to invite 174 people. Nope. We only needed, like, 90, so even though he ordered A LOT we still only paid $230 for the invites, reception cards, response cards, thank you notes, and all of the envelopes. The separately ordered program booklets (above) were another $100-something. (And that basket was free, in case you were curious.)

There I am, putting on the brooch I got for $2 at an antique mall. I borrowed my mom’s earrings and my aunt’s bracelet. The combs in my hair (which you can’t really see here) were like, $25. So I spent $27 on my wedding jewelry.

And for those wondering about THE DRESS, it wasn’t exactly a good deal. We got a discount because I bought the floor sample, but then alterations were several hundred bucks, so when it was all said and done it was about $1,500. Which certainly wasn’t outlandish--the national average is somewhere around $1,100--but I wouldn’t call it a bargain either.

The reception was in a ballroom, and there ended up being this weird stretch of one wall where nothing was going on, so we decided to do a photo table. Our moms handled that one and just brought pictures from home. It was, to my knowledge, free.

The favors were one of the best deals we got. We randomly found the cookie cutters on sale at Sur La Table for 59 cents each, so we bought 150 of them on the spot. Then Hubsey’s mom and her friends baked the cookies themselves and assembled the packages.

There were a few more smart purchases we made, like getting the guest book from Tuesday Morning for $3, getting the vintage brooches for my bridesmaids at 50% off, and making our own hardcover wedding albums on iPhoto.

So that’s our wedding in a financial nutshell! I mean, I could go on and ON, but, again, not a wedding blog. I will say this, though: there's no right or wrong way to do your wedding. Whether you have a budget of $5,000 or $50,000, you should still be smart about how you spend. If you can get the same thing for less money, I say do it. Why pay more than you have to?

Did you get some amazing deals for your wedding? Or do you have any in the works? I love a good bargain story. To the comments!

(All pictures were taken by the very talented Peter Hoffman.)

Friday, July 23, 2010

30 for 30: My 30 Items and Day #9

If you have a young child who has trouble identifying the color grey, look no further! Simply use the following photos to illustrate the point for your little angel. He'll figure it out in no time! This program also works for the similar shades of blue and black, and can be yours for the low, low price of acknowledging that Paige is stuck in a rut!

Remember, folks, 19 of my 30 items are the aforementioned colors. Let's have a look.

Seven shirts.

Five tank tops.

Four bottoms.

Four skirts.

Three dresses.

Two cardigans. (Only two! Gaah!)

Five pairs of shoes.

And a partridge in a pear tree.

As for what I'm wearing this balmy Friday, Day #9:

Dress: Target
Cardigan: Target
Belt: Wet Seal
Necklace: H&M
Shoes: DSW

Who else is stuck in a color rut? Is your shade at least more interesting than GREY? I don't even know how I did this to myself...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Wedding$: Dressed to Impress

A friend of mine is getting married in October and we've been doing a lot of planning/shopping the last couple of weeks. She's gotten some spectacular deals, most of which I'll tell you about later, but I can't keep quiet about THE DRESS.

She originally bought a vintage dress on Ebay, and she waited, waited, waited for delivery, but it never showed up. After a bunch of back and forth with the flaky seller, she decided to get her money back and start over 3 months before the big day. For those who have never tried to buy a traditional wedding dress before, 3 months ain't much time. You're pretty much left with floor samples and/or off-the-rack, because even David's Bridal can take up to 12 weeks to make your dress.

So we go to a local bridal shop and BOOM! she finds a discontinued style on the clearance rack that fits her perfectly for $240. Naturally, she snapped it right up.

And since that amazing deal is off the market, here are two more, in case you're looking:

Both are from Nordstrom. The strapless is $188, and the short one is $118.

Did you get an awesome deal on your wedding dress? Were you one of the few who bought off-the-rack? (I bought the floor sample at a discount, but it was still kind of a lot. Sigh.)

And before I go, the next 30 for 30 getup. Day #6 goes out to Mother Nature and the 100-degree heat index she handed down on Sunday. I'd also like to give a shout-out to all the people in my life who don't think khaki and grey go together (they SO do).

T-shirt: Forever 21
Shorts: Gap Outlet
Shoes: Target
Bracelet: Macy's

Saturday, July 17, 2010

30 for 30: Days 4 and 5

Let's get right to the point. Day #4:

Tank top: Forever 21
Scarf: don't remember... maybe Target?
Jeans: Forever 21
Shoes: Target

And Day #5. Excuse the crazed look I have going here. It was REALLY, hellishly hot yesterday.

Shirt: Express
Skirt: Macy's
Shoes: DSW (they're the red ones from last month)

So now we're all caught up! I'm not wearing 30 for 30 clothes today because Hubsey and I are doing lots of "fun" housework-y things, like putting a new faucet in the kitchen and a new fan in the bathroom. A trip to the storage unit might be in our future, too. Yay...

Any fun weekend plans?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Go Retro(-ish): Do a Betty Draper

My mom sends me a lot of stuff. It comes in various forms: emails, bundles of old People magazines, and greeting cards containing coupons and inner monologues all about how she tried some new salsa at Sam's Club that was really spicy. (See, isn't she cool?)

The most recent item, in an email, was this:

Janie Bryant, the genius costume designer for Mad Men, is launching a clothing line for QVC. Ordinarily I don't like much on QVC that isn't Diamonique, but this looks pretty damn cute. Especially that purse. Rawr.

So, thanks, Mom! I'll keep an eyeball out for this stuff.

And here's the wrinkly, post-train ride 30 for 30 day #3:

Tank top: Forever 21
Skirt: H&M
Shoes: Target
Earrings: I made them (actually, they're these)

So are you diggin' the Mad Men getups? It's kind of hard to tell with only 2 items, but I think it's gonna be good.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

30 for 30: Day #2

I'm lucky in that there's no real dress code where I work. Most of the time I wear jeans, but it's not out of place to show up like this, either:

Shirt: Target
Skirt: Express
Shoes: Nine West Outlet
Necklace: I made it

Here's something funny: all 30 of my items are on the guest bed right now, and having them in a blob like that is a great way to see if you're stuck in a rut. NINETEEN of my items are blue, black, or grey. It was 20, but I switched out a blue tank top for a green one late Sunday night.

I seriously never realized that my wardrobe palate was so... blah. Thank god for yellow shoes.

Monday, July 12, 2010

30 for 30: Day #1

Monday, Monday! I've been up since the crack of dawn and am kind of feeling like my brain was taken out of my head, so what better day to start the 30 for 30 challenge?

I heard about 30 for 30 from Kendi Everyday, a delightful fashion journal that you should check out the next time you're bored at work taking a break from being so productive.

The rules? You pick 30 items, including shoes, and mix-and-match them to make 30 outfits. And it's just for normal street clothes, so don't worry about pajamas, workout gear, uniforms, etc. Here's the real clincher for me: if you buy something new during the challenge, you can't wear it until your 30 days are up. So I'm also giving up shopping (which is probably a good thing). If you want to join the fun but you don't have a blog, you can always check out the Flickr group.

So here we go. Outfit #1.

This is the only "big" shot that wasn't blurry, which doesn't make sense because I wasn't even paying attention. Zombie-brain makes it hard to use a camera, I guess. And since I kept chopping off my feet, here are my shoes:

This was the best I could do to show you the front (I think Hubsey will be taking the pictures from now on):

Shirt: Victoria's Secret
Shorts: Gap Outlet
Sandals: Target
Necklaces: I made them

Anybody else doing 30 for 30? How's it going? What number are you on?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Shop Update: Guess What?

Remember when I was applying for that juried craft show and I wasn't sure what pictures to include with my application? And I was all worried and stuff?

They accepted me.

(And now I'm applying for 3 more shows. Whee!)

Everybody have an awesome weekend.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Miscellaneous: Yes, I'm dorky.

I had a conversation with a co-worker the other day about super powers.

ME: I think my power would be teleportation.

CO-WORKER: That's stupid. I'd rather fly.

ME: That still takes time, though. If you can teleport, you're there instantly.

CO-WORKER: Yeah, but what if you fly at the speed of light?

ME: Then you might as well be teleporting.


ME: Burn.

Then we talked about our favorite superheroes and he said something about how awesome Superman is, so clearly he was having some sort of fit (because Superman is the lamest of the lame--he's an alien! And he's not anything special on his home planet! Gaah!).

Anyway. Iron Man is much more interesting.

I don't have a decal on the back of my Macbook, but this one is getting some serious consideration. There's been a sudden influx of cool computer decals lately, like this creep-tastic one of the Joker. Although, something like that would be more enjoyable if my computer ever left the house...

[As a (pretty random) sidenote, I'm thinking I might try the 30 for 30 challenge. Meaning I have to choose 30 items--pants, skirts, shirts, shoes, everything--and mix and match them for 30 days. I've been mentally going through my closet and I think I can do it with only 3 pairs of shoes. Is anybody else doing this? What are your thoughts?]

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Miscellaneous: Happy 4th

Happy 4th of July!

If you live in a state where fireworks are legal (or easily obtained, like Illinois), don't blow any fingers off today. And don't let the bottle rocket shoot sideways into the house next door, because maybe we saw that happen last year, and while it was kind of cool, it was also difficult for 10 people to run inside at the same time and act innocent.

So, use your head.

I'm back with more bargains on Tuesday.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Web Gem: Dictionary Design

One thing I really dig about Etsy is the variety of stuff on there. Just when you think you've seen everything, another gem pops up:

That, my friends, is artwork printed onto a vintage dictionary page. And if skeleton keys aren't your thing, you have 87 other objects to choose from; including flowers, animals, ships, furniture, even a skull.

The part that made me really giddy was the price. Each print is $8 (or $10 if you want color). And no, they're not a dinky 3x5 inches or something. They're all 8x10. The last time I got an 8x10 picture for that cheap was when I stuck some of my scrapbook paper in a frame and called it a day.

What's the best thing you've found on Etsy lately?