Frugal Friday - April 29th Edition


Happy Friday! It’s the weekend again! What will you do to celebrate? If it includes shopping, here are a few options to help you decide where to spend:

Fashion

Get your choice of savings at New York & Co now through Monday, May 2nd: Get $40 off your purchase of $100 or more with code 3793 OR get $45 off your purchase of $100 or more when you use your NY&C Rewards Credit Card and use code 3794. Shop in-stores or online.

GAP is showing the ladies a little love with tops From $10 and shorts from $15 both online and in stores, now through 5/3.

The Outnet is getting into the spirit of the Royal Wedding with their “Best of British” sale. Get an extra 40% off British designers like Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney. Shop London cool now through Monday 5/2 at 12 noon.

Cusp by Neiman Marcus is offering 20% off regular priced shoes and handbags, now through May 2nd. And since they always offer free online shipping with any order, this is a deal within a deal.

Hop online now to benefit from Bluefly’s 60% off dress sale—today (Friday) only.

Family

Shop for mom at New York & Co with the buy one, get one 50% off sale, now through Monday May 2nd—and have it ship in time for Mother’s Day. Online only. *Exclusions apply: be sure to read the fine print.

Happy Shopping!
xo

Local Event: LA Made Trunk Show at Wee Chic

Starting today, Wee Chic, a Baby Boutique is hosting an LA Made Trunk Show featuring the 2011 spring collection in children's clothing sizes from 3-6 months up to 14. Visit the store today to take in the exclusive event, and shop the line which will also be exclusive to Wee Chic in Baltimore.

Wee Chic, a Baby Boutique, is located in Greenspring Station in Lutherville, MD. Boutique owner, Bridget Quinn-Stickline, uses her extensive retail and fashion merchandising experience to hand pick unique items that can’t be found anywhere else in Baltimore. Other collections carried in the store include Ella Moss, Tooby Doo and Splendid. For more information, visit www.weechic.com.

Wee Chic: 10751 Falls Road, Lutherville, MD 21093-4540

Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels

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This past Sunday, one of the besties (Mrs. G) and I took advantage of the absolutely gorgeous NYC weather and made a day of browsing the Van Cleef & Arpels exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum; and engaging in a bit of frolicking in Central Park.

Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels features 350 pieces from the illustrious Van Cleef & Arpels collection, organized into six themes: Innovation, Tranformations, Nature as Inspiration, Exoticism, Fashion, and Personalities. Some of the prominent pieces featured accompanying sketches from the firm’s design archives, which was a nice supplement and a cool look behind-the-scenes.


As consummate girly girls, Mrs. G and I oohed, ahhed, and drooled over the swoon-worthy jewelry, with its colorful stones placed in sometimes delicate, sometimes mildly gaudy and sometimes completely over the top settings. My favorite piece was this beautiful butterfly brooch.




Though smaller than expected, we still enjoyed the exhibit. To see more gorgeous pictures or for additional info on attending, visit the museum website.


Happy Easter and Have a Great Weekend!

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Hope everyone has a wonderful, safe holiday with their little bunnies, egg-seekers and candy devourers. I finished up two adorable easter baskets on Tuesday evening for mine. I am now scurrying to finish prepping for a long weekend, thus no Frugal Friday post this week, but I'll be back in action on Tuesday.

Even if you don't celebrate Easter, have a fantastic weekend!

Your New Closet Staple: The “Regular” Black Dress (RBD)

There is one particular “must have” item for a woman’s closet that seems to always hog the spotlight: the little black dress (or the LBD.) It’s the all-encompassing, “event-ready-in-an-instant” wardrobe piece that will allow you to be cocktail, party or even wedding ready at a moment’s notice; and for this, we love our LBDs.

But what about all those other days where you find yourself wondering what the heck to wear?! Whether it’s raining, you’re having a “fat day” (oh..You don’t have those?), or you are just too exhausted to even consider putting together anything that matches--there is an alternate option to picking up whatever is still on the floor from last week (I’ve heard that people do this. I’m not one of them. No, really, I’m not—total OCD).

I present to you, the regular black dress (or the RBD). This is the dress in your closet that is “regular” in the sense that it is not a special occasion frock, but it is still just as versatile. It is the one that has a classic shape; can be dressed up with heels or down with flats; works with any color sweater, shoe or accessory; but most of all, fits you beautifully.

Some suggestions, if I may?


Calvin Klein sweater dress

The weather is finally starting to warm so this is your last chance to get in your black sweater dress. Calvin Klein’s sleeveless version allows for coolness in warmer air. Wear with pumps and bare legs to be true to the season.




Express ruffled dress

This ruffled halter dress from Express will make for the perfect Friday afternoon transition piece from the office to happy hour. Wear your cute cardi or blazer to work then remove it to reveal fun, chunky gold jewelry, as pictured.



Tahari ASL sheath dress

The sheath dress is a classic, but this one by Tahari ASL gets a twist in a cotton pique material with a split neck and faux belt accent at the waist. Slide into colorful gladiator sandals and add a bright bag for a more casual look.



NY & Co shirt dress

A shirt dress is a great way to achieve a collar for work without wearing a blazer. Wear it with pumps to the office, or strappy sandals for a night out.

How do you wear your RBD?

Cool Kid Reads


The Kid has 3 new books on his reading list. I chose them for him, each for a different reason:

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor is a culturally significant novel about a young girl grappling with issues of race and family pride.

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane is an American literary classic that he will likely have to read in school at some point, so it will be great for him to be challenged, and to have an understanding of it early.

Stardust is a science fiction novel by Neil Gaiman. Science/fantasy fiction is the kid's favorite genre so I thought it only fair to get something for him that he would have chosen for himself. He so enjoyed Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, that he finished it in about one week.

Moms chime in: What are your cool kids reading currently?

Frugal Friday - April 15th Edition


Happy Friday! Shed your work clothes, slip on your comfortable shoes, and take advantage of these wallet-friendly opportunities. Feel free to peruse and decide what may work for your weekend errands, entertainment or shopping trip:

Beauty

Fill your online cart with $25 worth of merchandise at E.L.F Cosmetics and choose any 10 $1 Essentials items for free with code ESSENTIALS. Promotion ends on Monday 4/18.

Fashion

HauteLook is offering an “end of tax season” treat of free shipping on every order over $50, now through Sunday at midnight. Need an invite? Look no further.

Warm up with an extra 15% off all outwear at Bluefly.com. Friday only.

Stock up on sweaters, boots and loungewear for next winter at 60 – 80% off by shopping the clearance sale at BoutiqueToYou.com.

Family

There is a smorgasbord of goodness from Barnes & Noble this week. Get coupons for 30% off featured reading, 25% off Leap Frog educational toys, and 30% off the B&N Easter collection; you can also save $1 on the cover price of Everyday with Rachel Ray Magazine. All expire on Monday 4/18, and most require an in-store visit.

Local

This weekend is half price weekend at Kids' Clothing exchange. Get all your merchandise for 50% off the original price when you shop the last weekend of the sale this Saturday and Sunday.

Happy Shopping!
xo

Web Boutiques to Love

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Shop these sites for interesting, unique, stylish pieces to fill your closet. They’re some of my favorites from around the web, found through various mediums including blogs and social media. Last week, I expressed a desire for, and laid out a plan to obtain more mature, classic items for my closet (you can read that post here). I plan to frequent the following for purchases and styling ideas:

Shop Karla’s Closet

The shoppable "closet" of fashion blogger Karla, of Karla’s Closet, this site features a wealth of interesting pieces that you could see Karla wearing herself, yet envision intertwined with your own style. Pay attention to the pattern in which she re-fills the closet—items sell quickly.

Rice and Beans Vintage

Rice and Beans Vintage features “affordable luxury” in the form of pre-owned vintage and designer clothing, shoes and accessories. There seems to be endless inventory, and viewing the “Gone But Not Forgotten” section is an exercise in longing while staring wistfully at items that you love, but that other people scored. Consider it a little encouragement to bid early and buy often. And there’s a CHANEL SECTION. I should’ve just written that first, right?

Erstwhilestyle

I found this lovely lady’s Etsy shop while socializing with her via twitter. She has beautiful decade specific pieces. I’ve been eyeing a bright blue 70s tent dress for much longer than I’d care to admit. Obsessed much? Perhaps.

Decades of Baltimore

I actually wrote a piece for Examiner.com about this shop (which you can read here), but the great thing for Baltimore area residents like myself is that they also have two local store locations where you can cavort with some of the items in person.

Silly Rabbit Vintage

Though they sell men’s clothing too, it was the overarching ladylike theme of the dresses, and women's accessories that drew me in, whilst searching for 50s/60s inspired dress for a Mad Men themed party.

Where do you *point, click, purchase* when you’re online? What are some of your favorite boutiques and vintage shops from around the web?

Trend Alert: 70s Style

One glance at the trends for spring/summer 2011 will make it apparent that the 70s are back in style for the warm seasons. The three most standout indicators are bold colors, flared jeans, and wedges—each gets a modern twist while giving a playful nod to feel of that decade.

Bold Color

Asos borrows from a 70s color palette with a playful shorts and jacket combo and their asymmetrical “Bardot” cocktail dress—both in bold shades from the orange family.

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Paired with nude or neutral accessories, retro becomes your new classic look.


Flared Jeans

Celebs like Katie Holmes, Nicky Hilton, Anne Hathaway, Kourtney Kardashian and Heidi Klum have been spotted strutting around town with a little extra flare. To get this style, try the 7 For All Mankind Ginger Pant in Light Weight Mercer; it has the appearance of a trouser pant, and the dark wash makes it an easy pairing with any item already in your closet, no matter the color.


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Or if this pair is a little rich for your taste, opt for this Old Navy flared trouser jean instead.

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Either way be sure to choose a more fitted top—or even add a blazer—to maintain your shape and achieve an ultra polished final look.

Wedges

As the weather heats up, your feet will get a break from the skinny heel of your stilettos when you glean your height from a high high wedge instead. Many of the 70s-inspired styles feature dark neutral leather and a wooden wedge, but you'll still be on-trend when you opt for more modern versions. Twist front detail and an ankle strap make the ‘Wendy’ from TopShop an ideal pick.


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Akin to a pump with its soft pink suede upper and peep-toe, then finished with a bejeweled ankle strap, this Guess by Marciano wedge invites you to indulge your inner princess.

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Made in both a black and a neutral leather, and featuring a simple silver buckle, this BCBGeneration wedge will be a closet staple this season--though the braided straps provide the perfect amount of detail to make them feel like a special occasion shoe.


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Are you a fan of the new feel of the 70s? How will you rock it? Dish Dolls!


Frugal Friday - April 8th Edition


Happy Friday! We’re welcoming in another wonderful weekend; let us be sure to take advantage of it by treating ourselves to great discounts! Take a moment to peruse and decide what may work for your weekend errands, entertainment or shopping trip:

Beauty

Check out the weekly specials at Sephora.com. You can get a free Clinique poor refining serum sample with purchase, own the Sephora collection 3-tiered compact for just $15, shop fragrance deals or get in on the big beauty sale.

Fashion

Score 25% off your entire purchase at Kate Spade--in stores, at outlets and online--when you participate in their friends and family sale, happening now through 11:59pm PST on Saturday April 9th. Use code FFSPR11 to save.

Enter the code VINSHIP at the Diane von Furstenberg site for complimentary shipping on all Diane Vintage accessories.

Show your closet a little label love this weekend when you shop with an extra 30% off at The Outnet. Get Alexander Wang, Marni, Chloe and more—for less!

Shop the Vera Wang Collection on Gilt.com now through Sunday 4/10 at midnight. These feminine, semi-formal to formal pieces will be perfect for work, or for your next event. Need an invite? I’ve got you covered.

Family

The Picture People are offering a $16 Baltimore area Groupon for $144 worth of portrait sheets (8 color sheets). Sign up to participate in this deal, or to see if it is being offered in your area. There are 2 days left to buy.

Health

Pay just $18 for 20 group exercise classes at Brick Bodies ($200 value) when you sign up for this Baltimore area Groupon. Register with the site to purchase, or to see if it’s being offered in your area. There are 2 days left to buy.

Happy Shopping!
xo

Evolving Style: Learning to Carefully Curate My Closet


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I’ve reached a point in my womanhood, where I want to feel like a woman. What I mean is that I have a strong urge to shy away from cutesy and trendy (girl), and to move further in the direction of classic and timeless (woman). I want my closet, lingerie drawer and jewelry box to be a very carefully curated (buzzword alert) collection of thoughtfully chosen pieces that will last for a lifetime.

Currently, my jewelry box runneth over, so to speak, due to my mother’s affinity for passing her pieces down to me as gifts; they are happily accepted as additions to the baubles I’ve already “borrowed” and failed to return. I’m obsessed with my mom’s jewelry box. (I even wrote a post about it which you can read here.)

In my closet reside a mix of boutique finds, retail trends, things that are of fair quality that I’ve owned for a long time, higher end scores, and a growing number of items lovingly consigned by their previous owners; they have found their way into my waiting hands via my favorite consignment shop (which my good friend AB, who contributes to this lovely little blog, has banned me from ever mentioning by name online).

It is to the boutique buys, consignment items and high end scores that I’m finding myself most endeared; and I’d like to see my closet reach a pinnacle where these items are in the majority. I’m a fan of high/low dressing so I can’t see completely refraining from grabbing the occasional cute sweater dress at Tar-jay; but ideally my eye will be inclined to spot pieces off the beaten retail path.

Some of the types of places from which I plan to start scoring more often include:

1. Flash shopping sites – Sites like Gilt Group, HauteLook, Ideeli, i-Ella and Rue La La feature affordable reductions in price on the designer labels I love. I’m going to make it a point to participate in their sales more often. Sites like The Outnet and Bluefly are similar to this category—their discounts are just as appealing, but they are more accessible and do not require invites, only registration with the site.

2. Etsy/Online vintage shops – Despite having thousands of users, I find that Etsy is an underused resource among the people in my social circle. Yet, there are innumerable adorable shops, many of which feature vintage fashions in great condition. Etsy is social, so sellers are rated and reviewed by other users, which helps you in determining with whom to do virtual business. Privately owned online vintage boutiques are great too and there are tons of reputable ones available to peruse. The best way to find them is through social media (I’ve found two through twitter), fashion sites/blogs, and recommendations from people you know IRL. Though sizes and measurements are listed, be cautioned that most vintage items run small. I think women just used to be tinier. And thus, to my number three…

3. Local vintage and consignment stores - There are two really great things about brick-and-mortar vintage and consignment stores: (1) you have the opportunity for fitting and to perhaps discover you can wiggle into things you might not expect to fit otherwise, and (2) you have the opportunity to be educated by the shop owners who are usually more than happy to share their knowledge and expertise. I am admittedly not well versed in “vintage”, though I pick up tidbits here and there to bolster my knowledge. In the meantime, I rely on the kindness of others to guide me.

4. Boutiques – Finding a boutique owner whose creative vision you relate to is almost like having a personal shopper, since upon entrance, you are immediately overwhelmed with the sensation that much of the merchandise was chosen especially for you. All your fears of running into Miley Cyrus on the red carpet wearing your dress (a la Samantha in SATC 2) are virtually groundless as owners generally choose very few of any given item; or they may be exclusive (or nearly exclusive) retail points for the labels and designers with whom they place their buys. Boutiques are precious little jewels to be stumbled upon by accident one day while strolling in your favorite neighborhood, or to be introduced to by a friend of a friend who’s a friend of the owner.

This is, of course, a plan to be carefully executed over time in order to gain the perfect mix of soignée styles. Next week, I’ll share some of my favorite online sources for interesting, standout pieces so that you too can point, click, drool purchase.


The Hilfigers: By the Pool

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I am a big fan of "The Hilfigers" campaign for Tommy Hilfiger. There's something very inspiring about a group this large, all impeccably dressed in classic American style, yet each with a look interpreted in a unique way. You can almost "read" the personality of each character, and pinpoint to whom you most relate.

Even if "prep" isn't your sartorial language, seeing how easily a single style can be interpreted should be inspiration for you to find ways to put your own spin on your personal pieces, tweaking them to pull together a style that's very apparently your own. A well-placed scarf, a headband, a blazer, a pocket square, a hat, a pair of sunglasses: any of these items can be the thing that brings separates together into a cohesive look.

Frugal Friday - April 1st Edition


The weekend is here, and with it comes awesome sales and deals! Take a moment to peruse and decide what may work for your weekend errands, entertainment or shopping trip:

Beauty

MAC Cosmetics - Free standard shipping all weekend. Use code: CONCEAL.

Get 30% off your purchase at Tarte Cosmetics when you use code APRILFOOL. Valid on 4/1 only.

Fashion

Get an additional 25% off “weekend getaway chic” at the Outnet. Account required.

Take 10% off your purchase at Urban Outfitters in honor of April Fool’s Day. Use code APRILFOOLS at checkout. Today 4/1 only.

Free shipping, today (4/1) only at Rugby (by Ralph Lauren) online.

Family

The Baltimore Farmer’s Market & Bazaar opens this Sunday for the 2011 season. Get fresh, locally grown foods, as well as unique, hand-crafted items.

Happy Shopping!
xo
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