Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Holi-daze: Frighteningly Frugal!

I don't buy costumes at the store. They take all the fun out of everything AND, once H-ween is over, what the heck are you supposed to do with them? It's not like you're going to dress as the Queen of Hearts when you go to work.

That's precisely why I'm a fan of the DIY/use-your-own-clothing costume phenomenon. If I made it myself, then it was probably way cheap and therefore okay if I donate it immediately. And if I use my own clothes, or buy something that I know I'll wear again, it makes even more sense.

So today I was perusing Target.com while I ate pizza for breakfast, and I came across this Olive Oyl costume:

It's only $25.50, which isn't bad for an adult costume, but I feel like you could find actual clothing to wear instead of the paper-thin polyester that might fall apart by the end of the night. Let's start with a shirt:

No, it doesn't look exactly like the costume, but remember, we're going for things you'd wear again. So it's okay if it deviates a little if it means you'll get more use out of it. This particular top will only set you back $3.80. And that's regular price! (Yes, it's from Forever 21. How did you guess?!)

Now for the skirt we can do a couple of things. Some gals like to be scantily clad on Halloween, so if that's you, Forever 21 also has a skirt that would work for Sexy Olive:

(Please don't wear it with those ugly shoes. Barf.) The damage? $9.50.

And for those who want to be a little more covered up:

From Overstock, this one is a tad pricier at $17.99 but I think it's a little more wearable (and generally more flattering) than a micro mini.

So if you go for the hot-to-trot look, you're spending $13.30, and if you're going for a more traditional Olive, you're looking at $21.79. Either way, it's less than $25.50 for clothing you'll wear again. (Note: the Target costume does include a wig, but you could just put your hair in a low bun and probably be a lot more comfortable.)

Have you picked your costume yet? Are you shopping your closet or doing the pre-packaged thing? Are you kicking yourself like I am because Olive Oyl would be SO EASY and you're stuck sewing layers of ruffles? Do tell.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

On the Cheap: Gleek Out

Guess. What's. BACK.

I've been getting the Glee versions of various songs stuck in my head all day (currently: "Tell Me Somethin' Good," as sung by Mr. Schuester). It's clearly my brain's way of preparing me for the shower of awesomeness that will rain down tonight.

I've also felt the urge to look at music-related items.

Six feet of old hymnal garland is only $2.50, the harmonica necklace is a very reasonable $16, and the Wizard of Oz print is $25.

I'm thinking of getting the garland for our Christmas tree. But REALLY, I'm thinking about Glee. Who else? Are you excited? Are you hoping we find out that Rachel's dads are Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick? (I am.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ma Look What I Got: Boot-y Licious

Check out the studly piece(s) of work that came home with me on Saturday.

They retail for $200. You may recall that DSW and Filene's Basement both had them for $150 (which was better, but still not A Good Deal). Silly me, I should've just gone to Nordstrom Rack in the first place:


That's more like it! Hubsey and his eagle eyes spotted them while I was trying on something else. And then he bought them for me because I spent about six hours over four days patching that damn hole in the ceiling and he thought I deserved a present. So apparently the next time I want shoes, I should just contort my back into an unnatural position for a while. Noted.

What deals have you scored lately?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Holi-Daze: Halloweenie

One of the things I dislike about having our house on the market (aside from keeping it spotless at all times) is that I have to hide my weirdness. I don't decorate a lot for the changing seasons, but I do bust out a few things for H-ween and X-mas. Or I would, if I felt like it would be acceptable to have an awesome, yet admitedly creepy, black flower arrangement hangin' out while we're trying to be as neutral as possible.

Luckily, another blogger was reading my mind yesterday, because The Nester had a great post about decorating for fall. (All of the pictures are from her own house, by the way. Which makes me want to re-do everything. Again.)

So now, on a break from my grueling day job eating ramen, I'm on the hunt for my own "appropriate" home accessories.

And thank god for Etsy. Everywhere else I looked--including my beloved Target--had really... Halloween-y stuff. Too in-my-face. Well, not REALLY, but I have to think of the masses this year. Preferably without compromising my own taste, either.

From left to right, the Eek! salad plate is $10, the trick-or-treat garland is $24 (and would look super cool over one of our windows, since we don't have a fireplace), and the pumpkin chalkboard is $33.

All lovely items, and all considerably less freaky than my flower arrangement. I'm especially into that plate, so it might be finding a new home in my china cabinet...

Do you have any tasteful H-ween decorating tips?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Shop Update: Productive Paige

It's day #2 of fixing the hole in the bathroom ceiling (thanks to the inept condo developer and an ancient fan that had to be RIPPED OUT). I've been alternating the home repair steps with work on the shop, and I actually got a lot of stuff made.

First of all, the Winter Wonderland earrings are BACK. It's funny, even though these are one of my best-selling items, I still don't have a pair for myself.

I showed Hubsey all the stuff I made while he was cooking the pork chops last night, and these mesmerized him. My little magpie.

I love me some versatility! This necklace can be dressy or casual, depending on how you style the rest of your outfit.

There are a few more things listed that I didn't feature here, and more are on the way. I've been tossing around the idea of including a few small decor items, too, just to see what the market does.

But now, I think it's time to go sand the ceiling. If you have an Etsy shop, link me in the comments. I have a feeling I'll need some pretty things to look at when I'm done being a handywoman...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Make the Investment?: Beautiful Boots!


Nope, that's not just word vomit. That's what I plan to buy next.

I have a few pairs already, including snow and rain varieties, but the ONE KIND I've been pining for is the evasive riding boot. I've been looking for years. I had a black pair that was close, but they had a tiny bit of a wedge and were a cheap-o material, so they only lasted a winter-and-a-half. Unacceptable! When I buy a boot, I buy for the long haul.

Thankfully, Hubsey knows this. He sees how I wear the same three pairs of shoes all winter. So when I asked him if $150 was too much to pay for a pair of riding boots at Filene's Basement that actually fit my scrawny chicken ankles, he said it was fine.

But NOW, after I've been given the go-ahead by the breadwinner in our little family, I'm getting cold feet. (Which is why I need boots! HA!) But really. I don't make a lot of money at The Day Job, so $150 is seeming steep all of a sudden.

Here are the boots:

(The foot-wrinkle is not so pronounced in person, so let's ignore it here.) I REALLY like them. They're comfy, they're easy to put on, and they come in 3 colors, so if I get a wild hair and decide to buy a pair of brown shoes, I have that option. But remember, $150.

In case I wuss out, I found some other candidates at DSW. They are $139.95, $109.95, and $99.95, respectively. (And they all come in black.)

Sigh. I just don't know. Would you spring for the perfect pair? Or is the price always the final word for you? Do you have any riding boots that you recommend, that could potentially save me from making a decision?

Please advise.

Monday, September 13, 2010

On the Cheap: Fun for Fall and Fall for Fun

OF COURSE, once I get on board with fall it gets all hot again. But whatever. Let's just pretend it's not happening and imagine that some chili is cooking in the crock pot.

As soon as the weather changed when I was a kid, my teachers would bust out sweaters with leaves embroidered on them, my mom would trot around in her candy corn cardigan, and I would get forced into a sweatshirt with a jack o'lantern painted on it. Does this still happen? I mean, I certianly don't wear that sweatshirt anymore, and I'm pretty sure Mom tossed all of her food-related clothing, but I feel like the trend of wearing the seasons is still associated with little kids. Or maybe it was just the 90s.

Either way, I found some more sophisticated ideas for showing your cold weather glee.

Starting top left, the red acorn necklace is $30, the gold branch and bird is $23, the woodsy couple is (gulp) $50, and the embroidered acorn is $20. All are from Etsy.

Do you wear seasonal jewelry? Or clothing? Am I crazy to not want a candy corn cardian of my own? Comments!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Go Retro: Fall Fab

It's so weird that as soon as Labor Day is over, the weather cools off. It was in the mid-70s all week, and it's supposed to be something like 72 tomorrow for the first Bears game (which is merciful, because we don't need heat stroke making things even worse).

But let's not go there. Let's go HERE:

Some people might look at this and think "Al Borland," but I look at it and think "Why don't I ever wear brown? I should start." It's appropriately-priced ($78) for its age (1950s) and condition (v. v. good). Maybe it's time to branch out...

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Review: WHBM Sheath Dress

Greetings loved ones, let's take a journey.

It's not often that I get to quote Snoop on the ol' blog (or anywhere, for that matter) so I'd better use it while I can. Let's go on a journey to White House Black Market for my very first item review.

I'm kind of shocked at myself for not thinking to do this sooner. While I try on A LOT of stuff, very little of it makes it home, so I'm gonna give you the low down on the goods that didn't make the cut. But before anybody gets up in arms, I'm not going to spend the post bashing the company for not tailoring everything to my gangly frame. Instead, I'll explain why it didn't work for me, but why it might for you.

I've mentioned that a friend of mine is getting married in October. She's asked me to be part of the ceremony, and told me get a black dress. No problem. I love black. Hellooo, White House Black Market.

And that's what I tried on. Yes, yes, it's a sheath. I know. I have like, 90 of them. But at least I know what works for me.

Well, I know what works in theory. I stepped into the dress and I immediately knew something was just... off. Even after I zipped, things were still a little weird. It fit the top half of my body, but the front was baggy. Not the entire front, mind you, just the pelvis. (I have this problem at Gap, too. I can't wear ANY of their pants because they just billow around my crotch-y region. I don't get it.)

Then I turned around and came face-to-butt with underwear lines--which isn't what normally happens when the front of the dress is too big. For one horrible second I thought I had grabbed a maternity dress (gaah!), but then I looked at the construction. The skirt curved in and flared out at the bottom, like a wiggle dress.

Ah. My butt was on the curve, instead of in the designated ass area. I was too tall for it.

I'm somewhere between 5'9" and 5'9½", depending on how slouchy I am that day. This dress is not for tall girls, unfortunately. But if you're an average height, or even slightly above, you can pull it off. It runs true-to-size, and the parts that fit me were very comfortable. Plus, you can wear it with a normal bra.

So that one didn't make it to Closet Ronchetti. Have you run into this problem before? Perhaps the opposite (although, you lucky short people have the petite section)? Do you have a go-to style that skips most of these issues? To the comments!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

On the Cheap: Labor Day Sales

It's a weekend that includes a holiday, which means the retail world wants you to BUY THINGS. I might be wrong, but Labor Day hasn't always been such a big shopping event, right? I feel like it's gotten trendy over the last five years. Of course, part of that could be the economy.

Whatever the reason, lots of places are having sales. Here's a list (with links!) broken down by category.

Banana Republic (and the rest of the Gap family)
JC Penny
Forever 21

Pottery Barn
Ethan Allen
World Market
Crate and Barrel Outlet

A lot of local and regional places are having sales, too, but I figure most of you won't care what's on sale in Chicago. Hubsey and I might investigate a new bedroom set (he wants a headboard like I want to attend Hogwarts), but otherwise we aren't looking for much. If you snag yourself a bargain this weekend, be sure to share it in the comments!

Friday, September 3, 2010

30 for 30: Power It Home.

"Power it home" is something Hubsey says to people when it doesn't look like they're going to finish their plate of grub. We yell it to the TV when Man v. Food is on. "POWER IT HOME, ADAM. Drink that last gallon of milkshake!"

I need to power home 30 for 30. These pictures were taken almost 2 weeks ago, and they've just been sitting around, collecting metaphorical dust. I was thinking I would do 2 more posts, but since this isn't a blog about what I wear everyday (and I'm secretly glad it's not because now I don't have to style myself for a photo shoot every morning), one will get the job done.

Day #26:

T-shirt: Target
Dress: Target
Sandals: Target (noticing a pattern?)
Necklace: Forever 21 (aw, shoot)

Day #27: It was only a matter of time. Ladies and gentlemen, Johnny Cash.

T-shirt: Target
Skirt: H&M
Shoes: DSW
Cameo brooch: I made it.
Day #28:

Shirt: Victoria's Secret
Jeans: Forever 21
Flops: Target
Earrings: Target

Day #29: This is how I look when I pose to highlight one piece of jewelry.

Shirt: Express
Jeans: F21
Sandals: Target
Ring: Macy's
Earrings: gift from Mom like, 5 years ago

Day #30: The End.

Shirt: Express
Skirt: Express
Shoes: DSW
Earrings: I made them.

So that's it. The sprint to the finish line of the 30 for 30 Challenge. I'll do it again sometime next year (though I doubt I'll blog it), and there are three reasons why you should join me. One, it REALLY cut down on laundry. Two, you'll discover potentially lame patterns about how you dress (like my apparent aversion to color), and then they can be fixed. Three, you'll learn to get by on less. I went through my closet FOUR times during the challenge. Not all of them were giant overhauls, but all of them ended with me making a donation to GoodWill. I just realized that I don't need all the crap.

Now, let me find you some more bargains.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Holi-Daze: Costume Preview

Okay, it's the first day of September. I feel like I can talk about Halloween now.

Hubsey and I have dressed up as a unit every year, except for the very first year we were dating. We costumed individually (as Cruella DeVille and Kevin Federline) but since then we've been a team. And this year I'm extra excited. So excited that maybe I've started working on our costumes already, even though it's summer and I'm about to move.

SO. Who are we going to be?

Ron and Hermione at the Yule Ball! YESSSSS. Hubsey was surprisingly on board with it, but maybe he's just learned that you can't really fight me when it comes to Halloween. Just let me do my thing.

The Ron costume will be super easy. Hubsey has an older black suit that doesn't really fit him anymore (and Ron's dress robes were very tragic, as you can see, so it's perfect) that I plan to embellish with some old doilies and fabric scraps. Boom. Easy.

Hermione, however, is another story. You know me and my disdain for pre-packaged costumes: they take all the fun out of everything. So buying that dress is out. PLUS--make way for the nerd train--in the book Hermione wears blue to the Yule Ball. Not pink. Hermione would never wear pink. Or if she did, it wouldn't be something you might also see on Paris Hilton.

So. I'm going to wear blue. I went to GoodWill a couple of weeks ago on a whim and found an old bridesmaid dress for $7.99. It was clearly made for somebody about 5" shorter than me, so I'll be forced to wear flats, and it will need a little tailoring around my linebacker shoulders, but otherwise it's great.

I also picked up some ribbon for a sash, and I might investigate making some sort of shrug with butterfly sleeves, just so it KIND OF looks like what they used in the movie. Because whether I like it or not, that damn pink dress is what people are going to expect.

Have you given your costume any thought? Am I crazy to wear blue instead of pink? Aren't Ron's robes the saddest things you've ever seen? To the comments!