Thursday, December 30, 2010

On the Cheap: Sparkle & Shine

After having people over the last couple of years, Hubsey and I are hitting the town for New Year's Eve.  I still haven't pieced together my outfit (which I should probably to today, since I bet I'll have to wash something), but I DO know it will involve some kind of sparkle action.


Hi-ho, Silverrrr!  I'm about to embarrass myself again, but Forever 21 has started making some cute shoes.  (I don't care if they're for high schoolers!  I like them, dammit!)  And they're a wallet-friendly $19.80.


Maybe I'll track down something cute for my hair.  These vintage rhinestone bobby pins are a good jumping-off point.  $15.75.


And what's New Year's without a blingy cocktail ring?  $20.

What are your plans this year?  Do you intend to wear any glitter?  Should I roll the dice and wear a dress, even though the low is 25 for tomorrow night?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On the Cheap: Kindling

Welp, so much for my plan to get back in the swing of things!  I intended to come back on the map yesterday, but I was still incapacitated from a nasty stomach bug I picked up sometime on Christmas.  Three hours after we got home I was introducing my face to the toilet bowl.  Awesome!  But Hubsey was a good nurse--with the hair-holding, water-fetching, and soup-making--so that made it much easier.

And now I'm back!  Back and lookin' for a good deal on one of THESE:


Well, I already have a Kindle.  But now I need a cover, because my poor baby is running around naked and we can't have that.


I like this one because I wouldn't have to hold the Kindle while I'm trying to eat.  And since I eat about 50% of the time I'm reading, this is great. It's also made from eco-leather, which I had never heard of until right now, but I guess it skips the typical dyeing and tanning process so there are fewer chemicals on it.  So that's good.  It's also among the cheaper covers at $29.99.


If I'm gonna get a "real" color, I'm getting purple.  This one will also make it feel more like I'm reading a book, which I do kind of miss already.  $34.99.


There's always the sleeve option, as well.  I'm not particularly concerned about protecting my Kindle since it lives in my purse or on the coffee table, so a big leather cover might be overkill.  Plus, a sleeve is the most affordable contender. $14.99.

I'll let you know what I decide.  Heck, maybe I'll make one!  I did get a new sewing machine for Christmas...

What sort of Kindle/e-reader cover do you have?  Do you roll the dice and leave yours naked?  Are you blastpheming me for abandoning paper? (I do feel a little traitorous, but the Kindle is SO TINY.  Like a kitten.  Don't hate a kitten.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What I Wore: Dec. 21st

Today was my last day of work before Christmas.  Nothin' like a five-day weekend to get me in the holiday spirit!  Ho! Ho! Ho!

(I do apologize for the crappy nature of the pictures.  We're in the middle of a snowstorm so I had to make do with lamps for photoshoot lighting.)

Whoopsie! My purse is facing the wrong way!

Cardigan: Nordstrom Rack
T-shirt: Forever 21
Jeans: Forever 21
Boots: Nordstrom Rack
Necklace: I made it
Purse: Dooney, from the Hubs

All better.

So although I'm dressed like Johnny Cash again, I'm full of Christmas cheer.  This will be my last post before the holiday (unless we get snowed in--and will therefore get tired of Netflix eventually, forcing me back into Blogland), so if you're celebrating, have a great time and I'll catch you again on the 27th.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Gift Guide: Crap! I need another present!

It happens to the best of us.  You get invited to a party last-minute, or you hear that Cousin Barney WILL be at Christmas this year and not backpacking through Argentina.  Suddenly, you need another gift!  No matter how organized you are or how early you start shopping (August!), the sneaky final present can still catch you off guard.

Here are some ideas to save you from potential awkwardness.


Can I just mention how great it is that grocery stores sell flowers?  If you're going to a party, you could bring some for the hostess.  This particular (large) bouquet is $16.99 from Whole Foods.  If there's not one of those by you, Trader Joe's has festive bouquets starting at about $8.99.  Also, Home Depot isn't a grocery store, but they sell poinsettias in several colors for $6.99.


Glass mugs are neutral enough to work for just about anybody.  Pair a couple with a package of a favorite drink and you're all set.  16 oz. mugs from Crate & Barrel, $3.95 each.


Everybody loves candy, and Harry & David has a "stocking" that you can fill with 5 items of your choosing. (No Moose Munch, unfortunately.)  $20.


And last but not least, it's hard to go wrong with an ornament.  Because if somebody is celebrating Christmas, I bet they have a Christmas tree.  This one is Crate & Barrel's updated version of mistletoe, $7.95.

What do you do for a last-minute gift?  Have you ever NOT had one when you really needed it?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holi-Daze: A Charlie Brown Christmas... Tree

Everybody's seen Charlie Brown's forlorn Christmas tree.  In fact, you can buy one for yourself if you feel so inclined.  We here at Casa Ronchetti don't need to worry about getting one, though, because our tree is already pretty sad.  Let's take a gander:


Gaps galore!  It also leans from the center... yay.  It'll be replaced next year.

But on the bright side, I'm really digging the rest of our Christmas decor!



I got the sparkly berry tree at Target last year at the end of December.  It was around $7.  (AND none of that glitter ever falls off!  It's a holiday miracle!)



The we have more sparkles on the red candles.  They, along with the green plate, are from the Crate & Barrel outlet--interestingly, purchased a couple of summers ago.  The pine cones were $2.50 at Target this year; I'm pretty sure they're still in the dollar spot if you want some for yourself.


And this is the gourd that will never go bad.  I bought it in October for $.69 at Trader Joe's, and it still shows no signs of age.  So even though it doesn't go with any of the other decs, I'm keeping it out as an experiment. (When will it shrivel?!)  I stuck more of the Target pine cones over there, and got another mini tree--though a very different one--from the Container Store for $2.99.

How much do you decorate for the holidays?  What's your favorite item?  Does your tree threaten to tip itself over, too?  Let's chat.

Monday, December 13, 2010

On the Cheap: I hate being cold.

It's very fitting that I've had "Baby It's Cold Outside" (the Glee version!) in my head for a few days. Hubsey and I woke up this morning and it was a crisp 62 degrees in our igloo house!  It was pretty cool in there last night thanks to a sub-zero windchill, so we turned the heat up to 75 before we hit the hay.  I'm REALLY glad we did, otherwise it would've been even worse...

So let's look at some things that will keep a person warm.


A coat is always a good place to start.  (Yesterday I was hawking my wares at the Bucktown Holiday Art Show and it was pretty cold in there, too.  Some of the other vendors actually left their coats on.)  Macy's is having an outerwear sale, and this military-inspired number is $82.99, down from $149.


Another score is this scarf (available in MANY other patterns and colors) for $14.99, down from $34.


And finally, boots.  Yes, these are rain boots, but they come with a fleece-y insert to keep your little feet warm.  Plus, I like shoes that allow me to wear three pairs of socks.  They're a steal at $19.99, down from $34.

Is your house like a meat locker, too?  How do you stay warm in the winter?  I'm gonna light some candles (no fireplace--wah!) and bake something so the oven can at least heat up the kitchen...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

On the Cheap: I almost don't want to share this...

I subscribe to a zillion things through my various email accounts, and if I'm being honest, I delete most of them without looking.  However, I'm REALLY glad I took the time to peruse World Market's email this morning:


Starting today, that adorable leather bench is $100 off.  And I can tell ya from experience that $199 for leather that cute is nothing to sneeze at.  Plus, there's also THIS:


A second leather steal!  I'm a little more smitten with the bench, but this ottoman would be so useful.  Mainly because whatever I store in there wouldn't have to be arranged nicely and I could just throw it in higgledy-piggledy.

I REALLY want them.  Mainly the bench.  Or the ottoman.  I have a spot for both!

What gift(s) are you pining for?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Go Retro: Winter Wonderland

People say you're not supposed to wear light colors in the winter.


Those people can suck it.  This would be beautiful at a holiday party--or even on New Year's Eve with some sparkly shoes.

And speaking of dressier occasions, are you getting fancy this year?  My work party is during the day (from like, 2 to 5 or something) so I can't bust out the sparkles without looking insane.  Hubsey and I are tossing around fancier ideas for New Year's, but all of those are EXPENSIVE.  Sigh.  Maybe we'll just host a party with a dress code...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Gift Guide: Horcrux Edition

There's a fair chance that at least one person in your life is a Harry Potter fan, and unless they're dropping the big bucks for stuff from the Noble Collection, all HP merch is pretty much the same.  A t-shirt with Harry's/Ron's/Voldemort's face on it.  A backpack with the Hogwarts crest.  A Slytherin keychain.  It's all fine, there's nothing inherently WRONG with any of it, but it's been done.  A zillion times.  So let's do something a little special for the final send-off (since there's only half a movie left, you know).

May I present, The Gift Guide... Horcrux Edition.

What the heck is a horcrux?  It's a piece of Voldemort's soul that's hidden inside an object!  You see, Voldie went on an immortality kick when he was young and split his soul into seven pieces, essentially giving himself seven lives because each piece would have to be destroyed if you wanted to kill him.  (SPOILER! Can ya guess what Harry is doing in the last movie?)


First, a hand-stitched leather notebook to represent Tom Riddle's diary.  If you wanted to be hardcore, you could stab yours with a basilisk fang, too, but I think I'd just write in it.  $17.99.


I'm pretty sure Marvolo Gaunt's ring was supposed to be on the ugly side, but I'd be remiss if I did that to you.  A modern version with obsidian and 14K gold is more of an investment piece at $188, but maybe you're looking to spoil that special witch in your life.


Then there's Salazar Slytherin's locket.  For the sake of versatility, this one doesn't feature a large S--or the pesky bit of You-Know-Who.  It's also a great deal, because it comes with an 18" chain for only $13.


Helga Hufflepuff's useless decorative cup always reminded me of a sugar bowl.  This one, for $12.95, is large enough to double as a vase.


Since wearing a crown in your everyday life might get you some weird looks, a subdued version of Rowena Ravenclaw's diadem might be better.  Beaded applique headband, $21.99.

I can't recommend that you get an ACTUAL snake to represent Nagini, Voldemort's beloved pet.  Let's try something symbolic instead, like this:


A faux snakeskin purse.  And a sassy one, to boot!  $49.

For those keeping track, we're up to six horcruxes.  The seventh piece is in Voldemort's body (to keep it alive!), and it's a little difficult to find a wearable version of the most evil wizard in history without going back to the boring, predictable merch we want to avoid.  Same with the eighth--spoiler!--horcrux... the one inside Harry!  (GASP!  If there's one inside Harry, how can he destroy them all?)

So there you have it.  Are you a superfan, too?  Perhaps you know somebody who is?  What's the most creative/unusual merchandise you've seen for a book or movie?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gift Guide: Girly Girl

Two of my BFFs are girly-girls.  Myself--not so much.  It's rare that I struggle with what to get another female, but it's hard for me to look at something frilly and wonder if I don't like it because my style leans toward the masculine, or if I don't like it because it's actually ugly.

So I tried very hard with this one to find items that are neutral enough to ensure gift-giver confidence, but still pretty enough to satisfy even the girliest of girls.


Let's start with a stocking--or gift basket--stuffer.  Soap!  Wonderful, moisturizing oatmeal soap, $5.  (And look at how cute the packaging is.)


More of a splurge, the outside is a subdued black and grey damask, which makes it versatile, but the inside is lined with light pink silk.  I love it when purses have a fun interior color.  It's kind of like wearing sassy underwear; you know it's there, but most people won't.  Handmade clutch, $55.


Everybody needs pearls.  And this lariat is conveniently pictured with a lacy top! Thank you for going with the theme of my post, Etsy seller!  But seriously, this is very pretty, and it's currently on sale for $19.20.

How are you doing on your shopping?  24 days until Christmas!  NO PRESSURE.