Sunday, August 31, 2014

Glam It Up for the Weekend!

With Monday being the Labor Day holiday tomorrow, today is my "second Saturday."  In order to celebrate, I thought I would glam it up a little bit and share my Outfit of the Day (OOTD) and Makeup of the Day (MOTD) with you!  Hope you like it!

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My outfit today was 90% thrift store & clearance items, and the rest was gifted:

Purple Striped T-Shirt/Size & Brand Unknown-No Tag (Goodwill $3.49)
Uproar Cropped Denim Jacket/Size XXL (Goodwill $3.99)
Lane Bryant Lightly Flared Jeans/Size 18 (Goodwill/Mother bought for me-FREE)
Lane Bryant Black Booties w/Gold Studded Heels/Size 10 ($19.99 clearance last winter)

Chunky Black/Silver Chain Necklace (Goodwill $3.99)
Silver Knotted Ring (Gift from Fiance/Price & Brand Unknown-FREE)
Lia Sophia Chain Bracelet Cuff (FREE Gift for hosting a Lia Sophia party)

TOTAL PRICE OF OUTFIT OF THE DAY: $31.46 (before tax)
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This cropped denim jacket is one of my favorite pieces currently in my closet.  It's fun and a little edgy with the zippers and black stitching details.  I wear this jacket all the time for casual Fridays at the office.  The jeans are to die for!  I love super long jeans for my short stature.  If I wear heels with them and let the hem brush the ground, it helps me feel taller!  I will need to wear a little higher heel next time to get these off the ground more, though.  I also like pairing chunky jewelry with edgy pieces.  I think they mesh well and show off a little of my personality at the same time.  A pop of bright color, like purple, is a fun way to jazz up a mostly denim outfit.  I also like to make sure I never pair two denim pieces that are the same wash color.  It ends up looking to matchy-matchy, so I try to mix it up whenever possible.

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I had to have a little fun with the hubby's guitar since he had it out for his own photo shoot today.  I can't play it, but it sure is fun to accessorize with!

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My makeup of the day consisted of a full face of products by Maybelline, Hard Candy, CoverGirl, NYX, E.L.F. and Wet 'N Wild.  I chose to go with browns and a little glitter shadow, black eyeshadow for eyeliner and two lipstick shades with a gloss over top.  NYX eyeshadows blend super easy for me, so I usually only stick with them for my eyes.  They are a brand you can get at your local drugstore or Target (and budget friendly, too!).  I used E.L.F.'s brow duo to fill in and shape my brows.  I don't like super strong, defined arch brows for me, so I keep it soft and with my natural brow shape.  I also chose to define my nose and cheekbones with an NYC bronzer compact to give my pale complexion color and a more sculpted face.  The hardest part for me is always the lips.  I can never get a shape I like without looking too caked on.  I still need more practice and better products in order to get the right shape and fullness without the products bleeding into my liplines.  I'll keep you posted as I find new products I like.  I used a Fergie Wet 'N Wild lipstick, NYX Black Rose lipstick and NYX pink gloss to get the color. 

I hope you enjoyed my first OOTD/MOTD post!  I enjoyed doing it, so I will most likely be posting many more that will include more thrift store finds.

Much Love,

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Thrift Store Haul!

I have some goodies to share with you from my thrift store adventures yesterday!  I was invited by a friend of mine to go out to the Salvation Army to look for work clothes.  Of course I said yes.  We spent quite some time picking through their stock and came across some great items and at bargain prices.  Purple tags were automatically $0.69 cents, so I kept an eye out for those when shopping as well.

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I didn't come across too many things that worked out for me, but I still did well on bargains.  I found a bunch of beautiful tops, but they either didn't fit or I didn't like the style on me.  Here's what I found at the Salvation Army:

Item: Kenneth Cole-Reaction men's button up
Price: $0.69 cents

I try to find button up shirts for my fiance when I go out on 69 cent day at S.A.  This Kenneth Cole one is in great shape and a pattern that I really liked.  He wears button ups for work, so I always keep these in the back of my mind when I go thrift store shopping.  He is building up quite the collection from my thrift store trips.

Item: Merona (Target brand) women's long-sleeve t-shirt
Price: $0.69 cents

The second item I found was this basic grey, long-sleeve t-shirt.  These are super soft and a comfortable option for casual weekend days.  I would pair it with a colorful camisole underneath, a tied scarf, jeans and boots.  For fall, you could add a jean jacket or a green, military style blazer for an edgy feel.

I know these items don't seem like much, but I feel if I can find these basics in good shape for 69 cents, they are definitely worth it.  It's a way to keep rotating your basic pieces cheaper.  69 cents is still better than a cheap Walmart item that's $3.00!

Item: The Travel Selection brand red basic shell tank
Price: $2.99

I've been trying to keep an eye out for these shells to put underneath my suit jackets for work.  It's your typical sleeveless tank top, but I liked it because of the beautiful deep red color and had a flower pattern on it.  It's nothing exciting, but it will look nice and professional underneath a suit jacket.  Since this one wasn't a purple tag item, it had to pay full-price for it, but still at $2.99 it's a great deal.

Grand Total at Salvation Army: $5.18

After all was said and done, I wound up spending $5.18 total for 3 shirts and 2 decorative pillows for our living room.  While the trip was not a huge haul, I wound up finding some good items at great prices.

I still had time before stores closed Saturday night, so I decided to make a trip over to my favorite Goodwill store in town, and man am I glad I did!  I found several items that I absolutely love.  The Goodwill sale was 1/2 price blue tag items.  Sadly, only one item was a blue tag, but I still got great deals on things I know I'll wear all the time, and one not-so-great item I should have noticed before I purchased it.

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Item: Star Vixen leopard print top
Price: $3.49

I am super excited about this leopard print top.  It's a short-sleeved polyester top with large flutter sleeves.  I would wear this to go out on the weekend in.  I'd put a black tank underneath, toss on some colorful jewelry, trouser jeans and heels and head out on the town.


Item: East 5th tank top
Price: $1.75 (1/2 price blue tag item)

I was really happy to find this polyester embellished tank, and it was even better when I noticed the blue tag.  However, what I didn't do was pay attention to the details of the shirt.  I even tried this one on and still didn't notice there were a whole string of brown beads missing from the neckline.  I was so focused on the fact that it was 1/2 price that I didn't make sure to check the top over for blemishes.  I may be able to string new beads, but chances are I'll end up donating this one back to Goodwill before getting around to doing it.

I was really disappointed when I pulled this one out of the bag today to take pictures of.  If I would have noticed the missing beads, I never would have bought it.  And I think it's plenty noticeable, so I'll wind up never wearing it.  I should always use my own advice and check for rips, tears, missing pieces, etc before buying anything.  At least I'm only out $1.75!

Item: Tommy Hilfiger navy blue, asymmetrical cardigan
Price: $3.49

I am a magnet for cardigans.  They are easy to wear, comfortable options for work if dressed up appropriately.  This one is a soft knit material, and it has a rolled and buttoned 3/4 sleeve.  There's nothing quite like finding name-brand, quality items for killer deals!

Cardigans are so easy to pair with other separates for work and weekend looks.  I will wear this piece with black or neutral tops, long necklaces and a belt for work, and for weekends, I would pair it with a brighter tank top underneath, chunky necklace (or scarf) and no belt for a breezy, comfy outfit.  A belt can give a shapeless piece the right structured, polished look you need for a day at the office.

Item: Simply Vera by Vera Wang straight-leg denim capris
Price: $5.99

These jean capris happened to be in the denim racks with my size, but they are way too small for me.  I picked these up because my mom LOVES Vera Wang pants.  I'm pretty sure 99% of the denim she wears is by Vera Wang.  I have to admit, if her jeans came in my size, I'd probably be hooked, too.  Wang uses classic shapes and adds a touch of style to her pieces with buttons, studs and splashes of color.

This pair are in like-new shape and have the whisker detail at the hips and a cute, slit hem at the bottom.  The back pockets also have a small flower detail on them.  These were the most expensive item I bought, but at $5.99 and in such great shape, I couldn't pass them up.  Simply Vera is sold at Kohl's and usually run $44.00 and up.

Item: Purple striped 3/4-sleeve t-shirt
Price: $3.49

This shirt was my favorite piece of the day.  I am thrilled with this pattern and color!  There is no tag, so I don't know the brand, but it is the comfy knit material and super lightweight.  It's perfect for fall layering.  I wore this today with a blank tank underneath and a black button up long-sleeved shirt with buckle details over top of it.  I buttoned one button just under my bust at the waist to give a little shape.  The button up is a tailored, short hemline, so the striped detail of this top peaked out from underneath the bottom as well.

I would wear this fun print with and for almost anything.  I love this top!  :)
Item: Villager by Liz Clairborne grey blazer
Price: $3.99

I always take my time and dig through the racks of blazers at Goodwill because while they organize most styles by size (jeans, slacks, etc.), they don't do that with blazers.  You have to go piece-by-piece and check every size tag.  But I always do because I always wind up finding great items like this grey blazer for work.  It is a polyester/rayon blend material, but it has a tweed-like feel and look to it, without having the weight of tweed.  I also like that it has the black stitching detail around the lapels and bottom hemline.  I think this blazer looks chic and polished; I can pair it with a pencil skirt, a colorful top underneath and heels for a perfect office look.

Item: Valerie Stevens-Woman (plus-size line) pinstriped suit jacket
Price: $3.99

Did I mention I LOVE the blazer section at Goodwill?!  Holy cow this jacket is beautiful!  I'm a sucker for pinstriped detail.  It has red and light blue pinstriping and fits like a dream.  The two-button suit jackets work better for my body type because they button slightly lower, allowing me to button them both without any tugging on the sides due to a larger bust.  I am able to get the shape I want without feeling like a stuffed sausage.  The other great thing about this jacket is that it has pockets.  Pockets are a nice surprise because most of my suits have faux pocket detailing.  It looks great, but utterly useless.  I work for the government, and we often have to carry our badges to get through security in the building, so I always like having pockets to slip my badge in since I don't like clipping it on the outside of my clothing.  I am thrilled to have found this gem among those racks!

Grand Total at Goodwill: $28.00

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When all was said and done for the day, I spent a whopping $33.18 total for this haul.  That my friends, is why I love thrift store shopping.

Much love,

Friday, August 22, 2014

Always Have a Game Plan

I think it's important to always have a game plan when you go shopping.  But more importantly, have a game plan when you're going thrift store shopping.  If you don't, you're almost always destined to leave disappointed or empty-handed.  I try to map out my trips before I ever set foot in a Goodwill because if I don't, I'll find myself getting scattered and never really digging for the gold in those racks upon racks of clothing.

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Without further ado, here are my tips on having a Thrift Store Game Plan -

1. Prioritize your needs and/or wants.
Are there holes in your wardrobe (or shirts even) that need filling first?  I often find two types of items that I have to keep rotating in and out because of wear and tear, weight fluctuation and the changing seasons - Suit Jackets/Blazers and Dress Slacks.  If I am needing new suit jackets, I make sure I hit up that section first.  Basically, make sure your budget is well spent before pilfering through all of those impulse buys waiting to snag at your purse strings.

2. Be willing to try things on.
I never knew how much of a problem this was for a lot of people until a friend of mine once said "I hate trying clothes on in the store.  I just hold it up, and if it looks like it'll fit, I buy it."  I couldn't hardly get over that!  Maybe it's because my mom always made me try things on before she bought them, but I ALWAYS try EVERYTHING on in the store first.  Why spend the time and money buying something that you may not end up liking or may not even fit in the first place?  Sure, in regular retail stores you can return the unwanted item and get your money back.  But most thrift stores have a "no return" policy.  You're SOL at that point. Also, it's good to try things on in the store because that is often when you notice any blemishes in the item - tears, holes, snags, discoloration, etc.  Good bargain or not, try that sucker on first!

3. Be patient.
Great things come to those who wait.  Trust me, those great deals are there just waiting to be snatched up.  You just have to be willing to dig.  Allot enough time in your day to spend time going item-by-item, rack-by-rack; that's how you find the good stuff.  And if you're short on time, keep an eye out for the sale items; if you're at Goodwill and the 1/2 off price tag color is Blue that day, make sure you stick to the blue tags.  Swiftly slide items on the rack, always keeping a keen eye out for a blue tag.  You may be able to get lucky and score a good deal on something you love.  Salvation Army is great for that since they do a $0.69 cent-sale every weekend based on random color price tags.

4. Avoid the "Boutique" section, if possible.
Some thrift stores, like Goodwill, have a section that they use to jack up the price on brand name and trendy items.  Since Salvation Army doesn't separate their items by general price ranges and individually price-mark their items, the higher priced items will be blended in with the cheaper pieces, so you have to be careful there.  I have a rule at S.A. - any item priced above $6.00 is considered a "boutique" item and off limits.  I'm there to score a great deal, not a good deal.  I'm not saying I avoid the higher priced items all of the time, but 4 out of 5 trips I won't even touch them.  If I have the extra cash in my shopping budget, then I splurge if I happen to find a piece I just HAVE to have.  Or if I'm looking for a specific style or color for a special occasion; I'll splurge then too, because it's still a cheaper option than buying at the mall.

5. Stay within your budget.
That brings me to my next game plan tip - SET A BUDGET AND DON'T GO OVER IT.  I will admit, sometimes, I can be the first one to break this rule, and I wind up regretting it later.  Granted, you're getting some great deals that you wouldn't find elsewhere, but you're still spending more than what you plan on.  It's easy to do when everything is super cheap, ironically enough.  You throw anything and everything in your cart and wind up spending $100+ at the checkout.  Set a "top dollar amount" and leave it at that.  Remember, you're thrift store shopping because it's CHEAP and good for your budget.  Keep a mental tally of the items that go in your buggy.  When you reach your limit amount, go try things on in the fitting room and weed out what ends up not working for you and keep moving, doing the same process until you reach a point where you top out at your top dollar or are happy with your finds and ready to checkout.

6. Take a friend and share the wealth of goodies!
Thrift store shopping is almost always more fun when you go with a friend.  You help each other find the great prices and get to give opinions on what you try on.  If I don't take a friend, I often end up chatting with the people next to me in the fitting rooms and share opinions that way.  I like to know another person's take on the clothes I pick out.  It can put things into perspective a little more.  I don't mean simple things like "Love that top!" but rather things like "Wow...that color works great for your skin." or "That dress would look awesome with a jean jacket."  I like getting comments like the latter two because it helps me keep a mental note for future shopping trips.  Someone says green is my color?  I'm going to watch out for that color next time and see how it works out for me.  Someone shows me how to pair separates?  Hell yes!  It's always more fun to have friends with you when shopping.  Recently, I tagged along with my 19-year-old cousin to help pick out some business/professional clothes for her upcoming school year where she will be required to student teach.  We were able to scour through several racks and stores and get some great professional looking pieces at dirt cheap prices she could afford.

I really think this is the most important tip I can offer.  Thrift store shopping should be an adventure worth taking.  I look forward to every thrift store trip I take.  It's my relaxation and my gift to myself for working hard everyday.  I set aside whole days devoted to thrift store shopping most of the time.  I get excited when I come across a brand I love at a great price.  When I find going out blouses and jackets that I feel represent my personality and style, I start to get giddy.  My fiance often winds up standing at the fitting rooms waiting on me because I've spent the last two hours trying stuff on.  I can't help it; it's an adrenaline rush when I find so many treasures in one or two stores at killer prices.  Who wouldn't be excited when they score $70, name brand dress pants at the staggering price of $0.69 cents!

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I hope these tips have been helpful.  Keep an eye out for a thrift store haul post within the next day or so.  I'm heading out with a friend to help search for work attire, and I've got 50 bucks to spend on those great deals!  :)

Much love,

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Twist & Shout: Scarves with Attitude

Scarves are a fun way to add a little spunk to your daily wardrobe.  They can be dressed up or down, going from special occasion to casual summer concert in seconds.  I like wearing scarves in simple knots for daily professional ensembles and in funky wraps and drapes for casual nights out.  My favorite scarves are probably the long, wide ones with fun patterns.  A larger scarf allows for more complex knots and looks instead of just your run-of-the-mill little patterned square.

My favorite scarf right now is the Alexander McQueen Chiffon Skull Scarf.  McQueen has a variety of designs, colors and sizes in this line.  Sadly, they retail at $200+, which means unless I win the lottery, I won't be buying one.  So I settled for a similar skull scarf from Ross Dress for Less that I bought for $8.99 that I love as well.  I buy the majority of my scarves from thrift stores.  You can often find vintage, interesting patterns and all different sizes for a great price.  

Scarves are easy to please in my opinion, because there's a style or design for everyone.  Loud patterns, soft patterns, fringed edges, quilting, long, wide, short, square - they come in almost any style you can think of.  If you want something that's office appropriate, perhaps choose a soft pinstripe pattern in neutral colors.  If you're looking for an edgy, going out look, lean towards a large, colorful pattern instead.  Personally, my favorite is something with fringe like this one pictured below.  It's a large houndstooth pattern that gets larger the further out to the fringed edges.  You can tie it in a normal wrap, but I think this triangle shape looks great here styled with a basic top and edgy, black jacket.  Her makeup and hair are icing on the cake for the edgy feel.  

To master the different options when styling your outfit with a scarf, I recommend scouring YouTube and Pinterest for ideas.  I found the tutorial below on Pinterest for the Allure knot.  This is probably my favorite knot because it adds volume and texture to an otherwise basic look.  I use this knot a lot for the office.

Here are a few more tutorials and photo inspiration I found on Pinterest for helping you choose the styles you like best.  With Fall on our doorstep, I will be pulling my scarves out much more often!

Feel free to follow me on Pinterest:

Grace Kelly

Audrey Hepburn