Month: November 2013

Holiday Dreaming

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As my holiday wish list seems to get bigger and bigger, my already tight budget seems to feel increasingly smaller.

So, this post is a reflection of those covetable items that will likely not make it into my December budget breakdown. In case you needed a warning, this is not my typical budget-friendly post! I’ll be dreaming about these items until they are delivered by Santa (not holding my breath), received as Christmas gifts (yeah, right), or until a Christmas miracle marks them down to within my budget (doubtful). There may be a couple of items within my reach once my budget challenge is over…in January 2014! I’m just a little excited about that.

At the top of my wishlist: the feather skirt! Depending on where you work and how your company celebrates, this would be the perfect statement for the office holiday party. At least, it would be MY perfect statement. It’s fun, it’s flirty, it’s sexy, it’s unique! Paired with a simple top (I’m thinking basic sweater or even a button down) plus a statement necklace–you are sure to “wow” the crowd (if you care about “wow”-ing anyone).

Sabine Feather Skirt – Piperlime // Ombre Feathered Fringe Skirt – Ann Taylor // Milly Feather-Skirt Strapless Dress

The party animal inside of me (that only gets released on rare occasions) opts for something a little more daring. I have my eye on (and my eyes are the only thing that will probably ever get close to these items) a little leather and sparkle!

Lena Leather Dress – Marc by Marc Jacobs // Bowery Asymmetrical Leather Skirt – Rachel Zoe // Sequin Mosaic Mini – Pim + Larkin

I’m also dreaming about fancy feet (and knees and thighs)! I’m talking about uber haute over the knee boots. I love the Michael Kors ones featured below because the heel doesn’t look too “Pretty Woman” if you catch my drift. But, for the SALE price of $900 that just ain’t happening. I have seen plenty of people on Instagram sporting reasonably priced OTKs from Forever 21.  I have been debating blowing half of my budget on some affordable (i.e. cheapy) OTKs, but can’t bring myself to take the plunge. I am typically a boot snob who opts for leather only, but I would be willing to compromise for OTKs because they are more of a trend piece for me.

Jayla High Heel OTK – Michael Kors // Forever 21 boot sold out on Black Friday similar here // South Bay OTK – Chinese Laundry

And I can’t forget the bling. I admit, my jewelry options are limited compared to real fashionistas out there. But I’m slowly building up my stash…and being very selective as I do so. My purchases HAVE to be on super sale! Costume jewelry can still cost a pretty penny and the price tags are tough for me to swallow. $100 for a fake necklace?! I don’t care how worthy your “statement” is…it’s not going to make a statement with my bank account. But, here in in la la land, I can dream.

Rhinestone Mesh Necklace – Sabine // Regalia Statement Necklace – Banana Republic // Zora Crystal Necklace – Stella and Dot

If any of these items happen to make their way in my closet, I’ll be sure to let you know which Christmas miracle I experienced! Have a happy holiday!!

By Budding Fashionista

Is It 2014 Yet???

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Seriously. I couldn’t have picked a harder time to do this budget thing. What was I thinking? November=Black Friday!

Once again, by mid-month, my $100 budget had run dry.  So, needless to say, that means I will not be partaking in the hustle and bustle of Black Friday shopping–which, in reality, seems to be starting on Thanksgiving Day in many stores. While we’re on the subject… I used to WISH stores/the mall were open on Thanksgiving after all of the family fun and face stuffing had wound down. But now, as a mom with a family of my own, I am so perturbed at the fact many stores are opening on the actual holiday. The retail race is out of control! Let families relax, spend time together. Or just let your employee enjoy a holiday off to do nothing! For the companies that only operate holiday hours on volunteer staff, I guess I’m okay with that. But otherwise, the only way to stop it is to NOT SHOP on the holiday. That’s my stance.

Now…let me step off my soapbox and get back to budget talk. I really had to put some of my wants aside this time. Most of it went toward clothes for the children. Most of it. Not all.

After a recent doctor visit, I realized my 7 year old is trapped in a 10 year old’s body. So, needless to say, all of his pants from the spring looked like cropped pants (which I’m actually a fan of on adult men). We had a wedding to go to, so there was no procrastinating on making a purchase for him.

At The Children’s Place, we bought khaki pants and some boat shoes that I hoped would be dressy enough for the wedding. I sign up for their emails (like I encourage all of you good, budget conscious shoppers to do) and saved 20% or 25% on my purchase. I couldn’t remember. I also had to make another trip to get jeans. They ended up being only $10 with a coupon. So I ended up getting the pants, shoes and jeans for $35! Not bad!!

The Children’s Place chino//The Children’s Place boat shoe//The Children’s Place boot fit jeans

I also got tights for my daughter at The Children’s Place for $5 since winter feels like it’s already upon us on some days. Do I really need to post a picture? Thank you.

I got some other cute goodies for my daughter at Old Navy. I could not pass up this tres chic sweatshirt dress. And I got her a little silver, peplum striped top. There went $15 ($10/dress, $5/shirt).

I was on the go and in desperate need of black leggings/pants, so I made a quick pit stop to Toys ‘R Us. I got lucky and found some on promotion for $5. And they had cute little bow details on the leg opening! I only found a picture of denim leggings in this style, so just pretend they’re black. 

Old navy sweatshirt dress-sold out//Old Navy Silver striped Peplum Top//Babies ‘R Us leggings – only in black

Then, I could focus on myself. I got an email (yes, email!) from J.Crew saying they had 30% off markdowns. I figured I’d check it out. When I got to the store, markdowns were actually 40% off, so I got a cute tassel necklace for about $23.

J. Crew tassel necklace

And, Marshalls just opened up in the area, so I HAD to be there for the grand opening. I tried out the track pant/harem pant trend…really, I’m not sure how to categorize these things. But the pants were $25. To see how I styled them with my leather top, check me out on Instagram. My older sister questioned this purchase because it was a quarter of my budget. I have an extremely difficult time finding pants long enough. Sometimes tall lengths are not even long enough. So, for these pants to have fit me, that played a huge role in my purchase. Usually trendy pants are made for the average height woman. And, these pants had the original tag on with a retail price of $128! So, it was a no brainer for me!

So, if you do the math, it doesn’t take a genius to see I went a little over budget.

I could have gone so much more over budget. The new Isabel Marant collection for H&M came out. I could’ve done a lot more damage at the Marshall’s grand opening. Also, Piperlime was having 30% off their markdowns! And of course, there’s always Black Friday damage. I have practiced self-control beyond my known capabilities this month.

On the bright side…my Banana Republic bill was only $17.58. I am in sticker shock in the best way possible. It’s usually 15x that much. So, maybe this budget thing isn’t so bad after all.

But rest assured, when January 2014 rolls around, I will be hard-pressed to practice this budget restraint. Expect big sales at the end of the month (it’s the end of the fiscal year!). I may have to reinstate the budget challenge in February!

The Copycat Fashionista Strikes Again!

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As I mentioned in my original copycat post last week, I love getting inspiration from other stylish ladies. It doesn’t hurt to get a little inspiration from others. Heck, inspiration, schminspiration…I’m trying to flat-out steal some of these women’s looks! But, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?

So, after going a week wearing “outfits inspired by others,” I would hope the following women would be flattered. I hope they don’t have a “B*** stole my look” attitude about my knock-off outfits.

Here are two simple points I keep in mind when I choose my targets:

  • Is the outfit comprised of relatively basic items (I’m not realistically going to re-create some flouncy feathery skirt ensemble when the statement item does not exist in my closet–although you can use basic alternatives, but what’s the fun in that?!)?
  • Don’t try to recreate to the “T.” The original looks are basic inspirations. They can be adjusted to work within one’s wardrobe.

I did not want to have to go shopping. Everything used in my re-creations was already in my (or as you’ll learn, my husband’s) closet.

Here are my inspirations and interpretations for the week:

Day 1: I went straight to My Pinterest Closet for this look. The original source is no longer tied to the picture, so I’m not quite sure who to give credit to. I had pinned this a while back and thought it was smartly put together. The original is actually worn with a navy blazer and red shoes. Because I don’t have either of those items (note to self: get navy blazer and red shoes when budget allows), I went with a black blazer and black boots (to acclimate to dropping temps). I added an on-trend tassel necklace recently purchased on clearance at J.Crew. What do you think? Instagram likes: 51+

Day 2: This is also from My Pinterest Closet. It’s actually inspired by an actress I’m not a huge fan of, but I’ve always loved this red carpet outfit of hers. I’m talking about Kristen Stewart! Sorry, I hope I’m not alienating all you Twi-hards out there! I didn’t have a boyfriend fit white button down, so I used the next best thing–my husband’s white button down! I just rolled up the sleeves and tied it at the waist. Voila! I love how my $20 Steve Madden shoes that I purchased in my October budget month match so closely with Ms. Stewart’s! I tried to match the jewelry comparably–the tassel necklace makes another appearance! Instagram Likes: 33+

Day 3: Yes, I tried to knock off a pregnant woman’s look. I would happily wear any of Karla Reed‘s outfits even when she’s 9 months pregnant. I mean, really? Who really looks this good so late in a pregnancy?! Well, thanks for putting us to shame, Karla. Anyway, back to the outfit! She is a master at layering. I don’t own any camo or military green separates but my military/safari inspired dress from Banana Republic (a few years old) filled in as a nice substitute. Karla layered her look with a denim shirt on top of her outfit, then with a black blazer on top of that. I opted to wear the denim under my dress. I rather like the outcome! Instagram likes: 43+

Day 4: Honestly at this stage of the week, I was tired of trying to find looks to copy. I was ready to just wear what I felt like putting together. But, I stuck it out and found this ensemble on Instagram. It belongs to Carolin of Follow the Pink Fox. I don’t own a khaki blazer with black lapels, so I improvised. I wore a black button down under the blazer, with the collar over the lapels. My only black/white striped sweater has polka dots on top, but hey…it works and. Instead of neutral pumps (which I do own) I just decided to do a neutral bootie instead to make it more fall appropriate. Instagram likes: 37+

Day 5: I saw Katy (Instagram user @WearWhatWhere) sporting the same yellow Banana Republic sweater I already own. I loved how she layered a flannel shirt underneath. I don’t own flannel, so I just wore the only plaid shirt I have underneath. Worked out just fine, if you ask me! I think it’s a look fitting of a Banana Republic “icon.” Instagram likes: 41+

Bonus Look: I couldn’t finish the week without giving props to Brenna from Chic Street Style. I absolutely LOVE this look she put together. I don’t have leather shorts, so I stuck with my dressy black ones. I don’t own a Burberry scarf or coordinating purse. I do, however, own a yellow Burberry plaid inspired scarf and yellow 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target cross body satchel. So, I switched the red for the yellow! I’m still learning how to style a scarf, so you’ll have to give me a pass on the styling of that for now!

There you have it!! A week of “what I wore” and “ootds.” All inspired by someone else.

What I learned from my little challenge, is this: Even though I may not be a fashionista and I may not come up with the most fashion forward looks all the time, I’m perfectly happy with my own personal style and love being able to play dress up when I want. And I love playing copycat when I want!

Which look did you like best??

The Friday Giveaway Finale!

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Two handbags down…one to go!

Today is the last chance to participate in a giveaway and earn an amazinjeccicant from The Grey Button! And, let me tell you, we saved the best for last!!

EVERY participant has a chance at 30% off today! 30% off any of these fabulous handbags!

Here are the details for today’s Virtual Purse Party (As my son would say, it’s easy peasy lemon squeezy):

  • Participants can enter via Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
  • We’re looking for pictures of your favorite handbag! I know women love showing off their special babies, right?
  • Use the hashtag #greybuttongiveaway.
  • Participants will earn a 15% discount on anything from The Grey Button.
  • To earn 30% off, all you have to do is tag two friends to play along and use #greybuttongiveaway!
  • One Grand Prize winner will be drawn at random for a free bag!  You’ll join the ranks of Paula (@findingmystyle via Instagram) and Jamie (@jamienatalie via Instagram)!
  • Today’s contest ends at midnight CST.

Good Luck and Happy Shopping!

Update: Our final winner has been chosen!! The winner is Instagram user @jeccica1130!! Congratulations and thanks to everyone who participated!!


The Giveaway Keeps Giving

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It’s contest time again!! If you RSVP’d to this week’s Virtual Purse Party, you were given an exclusive discount to shop at The Grey Button. One lucky winner even earned a free bag!

Don’t be too sad if you weren’t that lucky winner. The giveaway continues today! Get ready to play along if something like this interests you:

Here are details for today’s Scavenger Hunt:

  • Participants can enter via Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
  • We’re looking for pictures of anything gray.
  • You can also take a picture of a row of buttons.
  • Use the hashtag #greybuttongiveaway.
  • Participants will earn a 15% discount on anything from The Grey Button.
  • If you tag two friends to participate and they also use the #greybuttongiveaway hashtag, you’ll also get a free scarf with purchase! Perfect for these chilly temperatures!
  • One Grand Prize winner will be drawn at random for a free gift!
  • Today’s contest ends at midnight CST.

Good Luck and Happy Shopping!!

We have a winner!! Please join the Budding Fashionista and The Grey Button in congratulating Jamie (@jamienatalie) for her winning entry for a free bag!! Here is her entry via Instagram:


You’re Invited to a Virtual Purse Party!

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Your reward for following the Budding Fashionista is here! As if simply reading my blog hasn’t been rewarding enough, right?! wink, wink!

For three days, starting today, you have a chance to earn an exclusive discount from The Grey Button! And…drum roll, please…one lucky winner will actually get a freebie each day there’s a contest!

I’ve told you about how I fell in love with this bag, right?

Corners-leather-The Grey Button
Corners-leather-The Grey Button

Well, there’s so much more to love at The Grey Button!

There are other bags, including a smaller handbag and super cute clutches! Other products available include logo apparel and scarves.

I got to see them firsthand recently when The Grey Button designer/creator Nadia Beck was gracious enough to send me a sampling of a few of her goodies! Now, you have a chance to fall in love with them, too!

And, as any budget conscious shopper will appreciate, you can get a great discount at the same time. It’s a win-win situation!

Here are details on the Budding Fashionista’s first contest/giveaway with The Grey Button:

We’re calling it a Virtual Purse Party!

  • Participants can enter via Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
  • Participants are asked to show off what they carry in their handbags–you can show off as much, or as little as you want.
  • Participants earn a 15% discount on any purchase from The Grey Button.
  • If your purse contains a pre-determined “mystery item” you will earn a 30% discount!
  • Use the hashtag #greybuttongiveaway with your picture, post or tweet.
  • Participants will be given a discount code that will expire two weeks from issue date.
  • One winner will be drawn at random to receive a free gift from The Grey Button (no purchase necessary).
  • Winner will be announced on an update of this blog post!
  • Today’s contest ends at midnight CST.

Good luck and Happy Shopping!

We have a winner! Thanks to Paula (@findingmystyle) for sending in this picture of goodies in her handbag via Instagram! Not only does she win a free bag, she also gets 30% off any other purchase because she had a “mystery item!” The mystery item was something gray!! Do you see the gray cap on her lotion??


Stay tuned…the chances to win and save aren’t over! I’ll announce the next contest on Wednesday, November 13th!


The Copycat Fashionista

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If you’ve checked out my Instagram or follow me, you may know I’m quite keen on copying looks I love. See exhibits A (courtesy Chic Street Style and Organize.Shop.Style), B (courtesy My Pinterest Closet) and C (Chic Street Style again).

As you see, I tend to gravitate toward one of my favorite bloggers, Brenna from Chic Street Style. She has a great eye for putting things together in a practical way, but usually with a unique, yet approachable twist. Not to mention, many of her looks are made up of affordable pieces for the average woman.

So, I decided to make a week out of copycat looks. It’s so much easier for me to see someone else’s outfit and say, “Hey! That looks really cute!” and try to re-create it…than to try and come up with an original look all my own.

Although I do get inspired to try new things and stumble across some successes. Exhibit D.


My look has earned 52 likes and counting–that’s a lot for me, but not so much for many of the people I follow. I see people layering chambray tops all the time, so I decided to layer my chambray dress! A perfect look for fall!

One thing that is consistent in many of my copycat looks: layering. When I worked at Banana Republic and we had to dress “icons” (I guess BR is too sophisticated to call them “mannequins”), visual managers were always advised to “elevate” the look. Layer! Pop the collar! Accessorize! And all of the advice is so true! The ensemble just looks more polished, complete and “confident” (as confident as an inanimate object can be).

So, in the next few days I will be scouring the likes of Instagram and Pinterest, searching for my next targets. I will be a serial copycat fashionista.

At the end of the week next week, I’ll compile pics of all my copycat looks for you. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll surely get a sneak peek.

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