Monday, December 20, 2010

Keep warm in the arctic or just by the fire

Nordic sweaters are of course a holiday staple. Though Christmas is a few days away that doesn't mean you have to pack this classic away with your decorations. Nordic patterns are making a big come back this winter, and I just love them. I was recently reading a copy of Reader's Digest (I have said it before and I will say it again, I am an old lady). There was a story on the Sami people and I was enchanted by their lifestyle and way of dress. I like the idea of mixing different Nordic patterns with capes and mittens. Here are a few ideas to keep cozy in this winter. I will be off dreaming of herding reindeer...

Vintage Nordic Print Scarf from SimpleThrift on Etsy - $22

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Holiday gifts for that special boy...

The holidays are here which means time to find a gift to wow that guy that makes you all warm and fuzzy. Girls are usually easy to shop for, you know what you like but guys can be a little more tricky. So I came up with a list of different types of nice and affordable (or free!) presents for your guy. Anything but the dreaded gift card, please reserve that for little brothers and uncles...

First let me say I love combo gifts, a few thoughtful gifts together make a big impact. So maybe your guy knows and loves all the coolest things culturally and likes to stay up to date on the newest movies and music. He probably likes 60's bands or maybe he is a new wave boy. Either way a nice mix tape of music you like (that he would also enjoy) is a great personal gift. Put in some songs that you both like to listen to together and also some obscure music you have found. Ask around to other friends with similar taste if you are completely at a loss. If he is an indie boy impress him even more by putting it on a cassette. The cassette also has great high school nostalgia to it. Decorate the cassette or cd with paints and markers and watch him get all blushy. This is a great thing to give if you are very low on funds and still want something he will treasure. It seems like a cliche present but really, guys love mix tapes. Add a book about music or movies that he likes and you have a great little present from a girl on a budget.

What about your guy that loves playing Stratego and Atari with his friends? It may seem impossible to shop for your cute nerdy beau. Not so! I recently gave a hot nerdy boy I am involved with a gift he went crazy for, a Talking Japanese Watch from Fred Flare. Unfortunately it doesn't look like these are for sale anymore. I bought the watch as a gift for myself when I turned 21 but I never ended up using it. He has been studying Japanese, so this was a great gift for him. I also gave him a sweater I thrifted a few years back, he has a thing for interesting sweaters. These are two gifts I found in my things that reminded me of him. I really think one of the best ways to shop for people is to look out for things that make you think of the person. Little trinkets and gadgets can be heart felt and really impress.

Going back to clothing, guys have been known to say they hate it when girls buy them clothes. Yes, girlfriends and wives have have been criminal buying terrible attire for their men at times but with a little work you can find something he will love. The sweater thing was easy, the guy is known for his sweater collection. Most men have a few staples they wear every day though. Is he a jeans and t-shirt boy? American Apparel tees come in all sorts of fun colors, just don't buy him a screaming color if he usually sticks to muted army greens and browns. An other idea is to get him a shirt of a band he likes, but find something fun and different. I once dated a guy that loved The Ramones but he also had a soft spot for old rap. I found him an awesome Dee Dee King t-shirt on Ebay that was right up his alley.Getting him clothing that has a fun twist on something he already wears is usually a great idea.

A nice top off to any holiday gift is some tasty treats. I like to make cupcake cones. Buy your boyfriend's favorite cake mix, follow the instructions on the box but fill the mix into ice cream cones. Follow the rest of the directions and let cool. Decorate the cones with fun colored icing and sprinkles, and you are done. If you want to get ultra fancy, tie ribbon around the cones. This dessert always impresses and it is super cute. If he doesn't like cake or if he has dietary restrictions think of dessert or treat he likes and make that.

Like everyone always says these days, people have missed the true meaning of the holidays. I have always felt that creative and heart felt gifts are the best things to give or receive. You really know someone cares if they put a lot of thought and love into your gift. Of course everyone would love that new video game or perfume. It isn't something to get terribly stressed about though, if someone really cares about you they will like your creative and insightful gift more than any stupid price tag.

let's be friends! talking watch at Fred Flare - $18

I'm Not Joey Ramone T-Shirt at Worn Free - $39.95

PS: Don't forget tasteful wrapping paper and bows. Try using a fun paper you know he will love or stick with a brown paper and twine for something a little different.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Shopholic no more! (I think)

I would be lying if I said I was always a budget shopper. Yes, I was as a teen and now but there was a year or two that I wasn't, at all. I was 19 and discovered a magical thing called a "store credit card". This wondrous piece of plastic made it possible to buy the clothes I wanted without all that money. It started with a trip to the Gap Outlet. I had a budget of $40, and had all sorts of great slightly defective garb in my bag. I went up to the register to pay and was greeted by a sales associate that told me the magic of the Gap Card. 20% off my first purchase, awesome! What? 20% off the first Tuesday of every month? Special sales for Gap Card holders? That sounded like a miracle. Let me say first that I worked at the Gap for a year when I lived in New York and sold many of these cards to my customers, but for some reason the way the sales girl explained the card to me just did something to my brain. I wont blame her though, if there is something called karma this was probably it.

On the ride back home with my long time boyfriend I felt guilt. I knew I had the money for the clothes, but now I had $40 that I wasn't going to have before. We ended up going to the local liquor store and buying mass amounts of Vodka Red Bulls. It was a great night, I had a new white Banana Republic dress and a cute Old Navy Nordic baby doll top with a matching scarf. I was in a guilt filled heaven of clothing and booze.

At the time I worked at Victoria's Secret, my next day working I did an other stupid thing, I signed up for the card at my own job. I was like a drug dealer using my own product. I didn't even like Victoria's Secret. So on it came, new floral slip I could wear as a dress? It's mine now! New perfumes, they were all mine. It became such an addiction, anything that slightly caught my eye I needed. Even worse my credit limit got bigger and bigger. At the same time my minimum payment also got higher, which of course was the most I would ever pay.

After about six months of shopping with my stores, Victoria's Secret, Banana Republic, Old Navy and The Gap I needed more. I decided it was time to apply for a Macy's Card. I got approved and on came the expensive Chinese Laundry over the knee boots I could never afford normally, Daisy by Marc Jacobs, Benetint, and tons of BCBG clothing. I maxed out that card after only 2 months. It gets worse though.

Around this time my boyfriend lost his job, and I was now only working part time. I signed up for a "real" credit card. My Visa with the starry night illustration became my constant companion. I put everything on credit, I had to. Target shopping sprees, dinner, everything. It got to the point where I had to stop, all my cards were maxed out and I didn't have the money to keep doing this. I would like to say I have all my debt in order, but I don't and it is no fault but my own. I do not go crazy shopping anymore though. I will usually only buy things under $20 these days, and very rarely. I have more clothes than anyone could ever want or need and they have become a burden. I now try to stick with pieces that pop. I did buy a lot of staples in my crazy shopping days, so I don't need any of those. I feel guilt buying any clothing these days, seriously I don't need them. Never sign up for a credit card unless you plan on paying off everything you buy right away. It is so easy but I was young and had stars in my eyes.

I hope no one judges me on this article, because you have no idea how hard it is to share this with the world. My mantra now is, do shop but do so lightly and within your budget.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Perfect Floral Dress Under $25

I love floral dresses, that is one thing that has been concrete about me throughout my years. I once cried all the way to church as a little girl when I spilt a little water on my new Sunday best floral dress. Floral dresses are almost always in style, just a different print or cut. So today I am going to give you a few options on floral dresses, which will be easy considering it is fall now and a lot of summer dresses are on clearance. Add a trench, leather jacket or blazer and you now have the perfect fall outfit. Add sweater tights, scarf and cardigan for the colder days. Our budget is $25 or under. Here we go!

Forever 21 Floral Bodycon Dress - $14.80
Very Clarissa Explains It All!

American Rag Sleeveless Crochet Lace Floral Bubble Dress - $20.99
Who doesn't love a bubble hem? I am a fan for sure, and this dress is cute as a button.

As U Wish Strapless Challis Dress - $23.90
Is this possible? The perfect sweetheart dress in a cute floral print. Nordstrom Rack would be an other place to check out for that perfect floral dress (this dress is in low stock).

Forever 21 Floral Shift Dress - $22.80
I am in love with this one, some of my favorite colors.

Alloy Gia Floral Dress - $19.99
This dress reminds me of Zooey Deschanel, it is fun and looks rather vintage. I think this dress is begging to be paired with a skinny high waisted belt. I love this one.

Merona Flounce Front Dress in Poppy Print - $24.99
Right at the top of budget we have this flirty poppy print dress from Target. A red floral is kind of different and I would love this with a bright 50's cardigan and maybe muted tights.

Hope you like these dresses, I would wear all of them.


Hello there! I love fashion and shopping, but like a lot of girls in their 20's I am pretty low on money. I have always been pretty good at dressing to the nines on close to nothing so I decided to start this blog to share my tips and finds with my other like minded fashion lovers. Here are some questions and answers...

Why did you start this blog?

I have been involved in the online fashion community for several years and notice a lot of people spend a lot of money to get looks they could pay much less for. There is nothing wrong with designer clothes, but I have my fair share of vintage designer clothing from sifting through consignment and thrift stores. Whenever I first started posting looks online people would comment about how they were surprised I got something from such and such store. I never have let my lack of money stop me from dressing the way I would like. I grew up in a home with very little money but I loved the fashion in my favorite magazines. I ended up growing up to become a bargain hunter and I want to share my finds and ideas.

Where are some places you shop?

I was lucky in my teen years to get an allowence of $20 sometimes twice a month and other times my mom would give me $5. I had a high school boyfriend that I would drag with me to target, savers, the 99 cent store, $5 styles stores, Mervins and Ross. I am not sure why he put up with these crazy shopping trips that went on for hours on end. Anyway, I would look over everything in the stores I went to trying to find something that screamed my name. These days I shop mostly thrift but I am always on the lookout for a great deal at stores like Urban Outfitters, Target, Anthropologie, anywhere that puts on a decent sale. An other great way to dress nicely for less is working part time at a store you like, a lot of stores I have worked at gave anywhere from 30%-50% off to their staff.

How much does the outfit you are wearing cost?

I am wearing a vintage mod trench that I bought from a thrift store that cost me only $3. A vintage sweater that once belonged to a male friend. A pair of high waisted jean shorts, I bought a pair of mom jeans for a dollar that I cut and cuffed. One pair of black tights I got for free from my old job at American Apparel given to me from the mannequin drawer. Finally a pair of oxfords from target on sale for $5. Grand total: $9. I will not turn down free clothing and accessories, most of the time I can work them into an outfit.

Can I send a question about how to find a certain trend or style for less?

Of course, I love hunting down affordable takes on trends. Just send an email to with a photo of what you are looking for and how much you would like to spend and I will try my best to find something for you.

If you have any other questions for me, just let me know!