1. Monday, February 13, 2012

    Bargain: Neon is Back!

    Sweater: Story below! | Long Sleeve T: Banana Republic, $6 | Scarf: Gift | Jeans: Levis via Macy’s, $20 | Boots: Steve Madden via Amazon, $33 | Purse: Cynthia Rowley via Marshall’s, $49

    Neon is back and I’m totally embracing it! I wore this sweater over the weekend and laughed about how it came to live in my closet the entire time I was wearing it…..

    A few weeks ago I was at my in-law’s hanging out in the kitchen with my sis in law and niece. My mother in law emerged from a room holding this sweater. This is the conversation we had:

    Mother in Law: Do either of you want this sweater? I don’t think I’ll wear it.

    Sis in Law (with strawberry blond hair): I don’t think it will really work for me.

    …Everyone looks at me. I’m still shocked by how bright the sweater is. So, I turn to my adorable one year old nice and ask:

    Me: What do you think? Will this color look good on me?

    Adorable Niece: Yeah! (then she giggles. Adorable niece thought it was pretty funny).

    And, that’s how I walked away with this sweater.  Oh, did I mention that adorable niece has 4 favorites words? They are: yeah, doggie, baby, and bye bye. I figured I had a one in four shot. The sweater was either going to get rejected by a bye bye, go to me with a yeah, or the baby nephew or doggie would score a neon sweater. I bet the doggie is jealous.

    Oh, here’s a second purse from my collection. I found this in the clearance section of Marshall’s a few weeks ago for $49! Who can say no to Cynthia Rowley for $49??

  2. Thursday, February 2, 2012

    Bargain: Pumpkin Purse

    Blouse: H & M, $10 | Pants: Banana Republic, $17 | Belt: Gift | Flats: Ann Taylor Loft, $10 | Purse: Etienne Aigner via Filene’s Basement, $30

    The power went out at work today and never came back. I had a few morning meetings in dark conference rooms lit by our laptops (I’m not kidding). When laptop batteries started dying we really found ourselves in the dark and unable to do anything. So, we were sent home to work remotely — hooray! Before jumping into my pj’s and setting up office on my couch, I snapped a few pictures because I was excited to be home during daylight. Except, daylight was not exactly bright and cheery today.

    This was my first experience taking pictures outdoors in the cold. I have a whole new admiration for fashion bloggers who brave the elements for photos. It was a balmy 42 degrees today and I was freeeezing!! How do you ladies do this??

    Anyway, I rarely feature my purses on this blog. I have a slight obsession with purses. And yes, all my purses were bargains like this orange leather Etienne Aigner hobo style ….just $30 (original retail was about $190)! I LOVE this bag. The leather is gorgeous and it also has a cross body strap, which comes in really handy.

    Just wait, there are more purses coming! Does anyone have a favorite purse brand?

  3. Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    Bargain: Wide Leg Pant Transformation

    Cardigan: Ann Taylor Loft, Gift | T-Shirt: Banana Republic, $4 | Pants: J.Crew, $20 | Necklace, Gift | Shoes: Etienne Aigner via Macy’s, $20

    This outfit is actually from a few weeks ago and I never got around to creating a post. Cardigans over a cute t-shirt is a look I’ve always loved and gravitate towards. I like to think I was way ahead of times in high school when I rocked the now trendy boyfriend sweater cardigans with white v-neck T’s (and red Dr. Martens). Cardigans just call out to me and I can’t say no to them.

    What do I love about this outfit?

    • $4 Banana republic shirt? Yes please! About a month ago I wandered into Banana and these were $8 with an extra 50% off! I bought 3. They’re a perfect soft stretchy material that can be dressed up or down.
    • These classic chinos from J.Crew are about 7 years old and were originally a wide leg. I altered them down to a fitted straight leg, shaving off about 6” in fabric. I’ve been wearing them tons ever since and love them cuffed with heels!
  4. Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    Bargain: A Little Leopard Print Goes a Long Way

    Sweater: Ann Taylor, $17 | Leopard Shirt: Old Navy, $8 | Skirt: Banana Republic, $11 | Shoes: Etienne Aigner via Macy’s, $20

    Yes, a little leopard print goes a long way! I’ve been searching for the perfect pair of leopard shoes for years, and have yet to find them. Problem is they can’t be ANY leopard shoes. I have an image of a pair of leopard wedges in my head that I can’t seem to find anywhere. During a bargain shopping spree last fall I decided to add this leopard print shirt to my closet as my first leopard print piece. I love this shirt, but please let me know if anyone finds my leopard wedges out there!

    What do I love about this outfit?

    1. The leopard print shirt perks up what would be a pretty boring outfit.
    2. This is a great example of mixing some quality pieces (sweater and skirt) with a lower quality/trendy piece (leopard shirt). I’ll be happy to have this leopard shirt for a year, and won’t feel bad when I grow tired of it and throw it in the “donate” pile or if it falls apart. My sweater and skirt are great quality pieces that I know I’ll have a while —— and can pair with any new trendy piece down the road!
  5. Monday, January 9, 2012

    Bargain: Neon Tights!

    Dress: Banana Republic, $15 | Long Sleeve T: Banana Republic , $6 | Tights: Target, $3 | Boots: Payless, $20 | Necklace: Selfmade

    These tights have been begging me to wear them for months. Why did I wait to long to show them off?  Because I had to work up the courage to wear something so bright to work! The gray and black color palette helped me justify the neon glow, as did having to leave my warm cozy bed this morning. I figured neon tights meant I HAD to have a good Monday.

    Did I have a good Monday? Mostly yes mixed with a little no due to an irritating experience. Yes because I received lots of compliments on my tights. I hope I started a trend and to see more neon tights in the office! No, because I found a great top at Ann Taylor marked down from $78 to $19.99. Plus, EVERYTHING in the store was an extra 40% off. I was so excited until the guy at the check out told me the extra 40% off excluded final sale items. He must be new, because he’s wrong. I know so because I always buy is final sale and final sale is usually included in these promotions (the website even says so). Oh well, maybe I’ll go back tomorrow.

    Tip: Looking for a new way to style sleeveless winter weight dresses? Skip the outer cardigan and wear a long sleeve T under the dress instead. This will show off the dress and any details a cardigan might hide, like the pretty ribbon detail at the waist of this dress!

  6. Thursday, January 5, 2012

    Bargain: Not Great Photos, but Great Outfit

    Long Sleeve T: Banana Republic, $6 | Wrap Sweater: Macy’s, $11 | Belt: Marshall’s, $5 | Skirt: Express, $15 | Shoes: Calvin Klein via Macy’s, $20

    Sometimes this outfit photo taking thing just doesn’t work out, and today was one of those days! Can you tell? It’s amazing how many shots I may have to take to get a decent one. Today was exceptionally difficult from the lighting, to shoes being in the way everywhere, to my awkward hand in the third photo, and to be being really hungry and thinking about my home-made pizza in the oven. In this last photo I’m looking around to clear more shoes out of the shot! Someone must have thrown shoes all around our place while we were at work.

    Good photos or not, I’m really loving this outfit. Why?

    • I love the angles the sweater creates at the bottom when wrapped.
    • These argyle-ish patterned tights.
    • Typically, I pair pencil skirts with a top, tucked in. Wearing a long top over a pencil skirt is new for me. For some reason, it made me feel extra dressed up and elegant today!

    A few days ago someone asked if I live near an outlet mall. I actually don’t have any outlets right nearby. I just love really scouring clearance racks and have developed the habit of never paying full price for clothing!

  7. Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    Bargain: $13 Dress & Worth the Hour of Altering

    Dress: Banana Republic, $13 | Cardigan: Ann Taylor Loft, $10 | Necklace: Gift | Shoes: Steve Madden via Filene’s Basement, $15

    I did it, after being on vacation for over a week, I got myself dressed and out the door on time! Difficult to believe, but I even found myself sitting at my desk about 10 minutes early.

    I planned on saving this dress I altered for the Spring, but knew it would be a pick me up for returning to work today. I’m happy with how I styled the dress for Winter wear. The matching black belt and cardigan and gray tights and boots balance the dress well. Originally, I had on a pair of bright pink tights. The bright color competed with the dress pattern too much, so I ditched the pink tights for this gray pair.

    Tip: To make a beautiful piece (like this dress) stand out, accessorize so the piece remains the main focal point. Trust me, if I had kept the pink tights on the pattern and colors of the dress would be lost and wouldn’t look as special.

    I made something delicious for dinner tonight, check back tomorrow for the recipe!

  8. Thursday, December 29, 2011

    How To: Take in a Dress

    I admit, while doing some last minute Christmas shopping I bought a few gifts for myself. My holiday shopping may have turned into a “one for you and one for me” situation. There were so many great sales, how could I say no?

    I scooped up a dress at Banana Republic for an amazing price. Originally $188, marked down to $21.97 and an extra 40% off…..for a final price of $13! So exciting, except my size was no where to be found. So, the sale MADE me buy a dress that’s a size too big.

    I promised myself I would fix it up this week instead of throwing it in my alter pile. And, I did.

    Below is a before picture. The top fits perfectly, but the waist down is about a size too big. There’s little waist definition, and the skirt has just a little to much fabric creating a billowy look.

    I’m not an expert at this, but here’s how I took in the dress:

    1) I inspected the seams and decided which ones would have the most impact. I decided to take in:

    The two vertical back seams on either side of the zipper (how cute is the exposed zipper?). This will help create definition in the waistline. And……

    Both side seams, starting at the waist all the way down to the hem. Taking in the side seams will also help create waistline definition and a sleeker fit in the skirt.

    2) I turned the dress inside out to start pinning the seams and encountered the dress lining. Eeeeeeek!! A lining means you have to take in the dress and the lining, right?

    My secret is that I never take in the lining, especially when just altering down a size or two. It really doesn’t make a difference.

    So, at the bottom of the dress I clipped the thread on each side of the hem attaching the lining and the dress.

    And pulled the lining to the top, exposing the seams. The picture below shows one of the side seams.

    3) I started with the side seams and let out the hem just enough to expose the seam running to the bottom.

    Here’s the end of the seam. This step is important to maintain a clean hemline.

    4) At the bottom and top of the seam there’s probably a part where the seam is sewn down.

    Clip this, it will make pinning and sewing much easier.

    5) Pin along the original seam, taking in as much as needed.

    6) Sew along the line you pinned. This may seam (haha, get it?) intense, but it’s really not. All I’m doing is following the line of the original seam.

    When finished sewing the side seams, stitch the open hem by hand.

    7) Do the same pinning and sewing process for the two back seams. As you can see below, the back seams are at a diagonal. When you get to the end, it’s important to sew right off the fabric. Then, tie a knot leaving a little room to breath so the fabric doesn’t pucker.

    And, finished! The changes aren’t dramatic, but what I’ve created is a fitted waistline that shows definition. Also, the skirt is much sleeker and doesn’t have all the extra fabric.

    This really only took about an hour total. I’d say about 30 minutes pinning and trying on and then another 30 minutes sewing. Totally worth my hour to save $175!

    Sorry for the headless pictures. It’s vacation week for me and makeup and hair styling has become almost non-existent :)

  9. Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    Bargain: Yellow Walls

    Cardigan: Filene’s Basement, $7 | Shirt: Banana Republic, $8 | Skirt: Banana Republic, $12 | Belt: Came with a dress | Shoes: Seychelles via DSW, $30

    The yellow walls in my living room often drive me a little crazy. Today, I have to admit, they’re sort of working with this outfit! Just to clarify, we didn’t paint the walls this splotchy color, they came with the apartment we rent :)

    The past few days have felt spring like and I decided to dress to match the temperature. Sometimes layering summer and spring pieces in the fall and winter works without looking too odd!

    I have Friday off this week! As much as the closing of Filene’s Basement saddens me, I plan to stop by a few to see if there are any bahgains worth picking up. I said I was done clothes shopping until after the holidays, but it doesn’t count if something is 75% off, right?

    PS: I discovered something new today, Everybody Everywear Challenges. Seems pretty cool and I’m going to try and participate in more, like the current colored tight challenge where I posted my alien gray legs!

  10. Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Bargain: $8 Plum Dress & a Revelation

    Dress: Gap, $8 | Shirt: Banana Republic, $6 | Necklace: Gift | Belt: Came with another dress | Shoes: Ann Taylor Loft, $10

    Yesterday I was determined to wear a dress without a cardigan. I feel I’m becoming too dependent on cardigans and we need to take a break. So, this is the brilliant idea I had, wear a long sleeve shirt UNDER my dress. I realize this might not seem so brilliant to most, but it was quite the revelation to me and I think I like the way it’s working.

    I found this dress on a clearance rack at Gap for just $8 about 4 months ago!! This is the first wearing and I’m glad I saved it because it was fun feeling like I had something brand new to wear.

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A collection of everything Courtney...from my clearance rack style, to creative projects, to things I just like.


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