Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Look For Less

I absolutely love the idea of wearing a look from the runway or on a celebrity, and paying way less for it.  In my opinion, fashion is fashion and unless you're on the red carpet, no one is asking who designed your clothes.  I mean, honestly...  If you're reading my blog right now (Everyday Fashion on a Budget), you probably aren't buying many high end pieces, but love the look of designer.

I paw through my favorite fashion magazines every month (anyone else bummed Lucky is no longer?), and rip the pages out of the looks that I want to recreate.  I tape the pages in my closet and if I can't put the look together with pieces that I already own, I know stores like Forever21 and H&M are going to have something similar at a fraction of the price.

The look that Jamie Chung is wearing in the page above should be every petite girl's uniform.  A fit and flare skirt above the knee, a fitted top under a layered piece like a cropped moto jacket or blazer.  InStyle Magazine found this look for $289... I bet I could do it for less than $100.  Challenge me?  I'd love to take that challenge!  I'm the Queen of finding pieces for way less than you'd expect.

If you're looking to update your wardrobe for Fall, I'd love to take you shopping.  First, start with looks that you like (rip pages out of a magazine, use Pinterest, etc.).  Then, take pictures (camera phone works great) of your basic pieces you want to keep in your wardrobe, or invite me over to help evaluate what you currently have in your closet.  Lastly, meet me at the Mall and I'll help you fill in the gaps and create the looks you love, for less.

Personal shopping is a premium service that some can't afford.  It's really an investment in your life, and at $30/hr. you'll walk away saying to yourself, "I can't believe I didn't do this sooner".  I'll even do the service for free if you're willing to model a couple looks we shopped for and be featured on my blog.  Shoot me an e-mail if you're interested in updating your wardrobe for less!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Never Give Up

I'm sure you've heard it a million times.  Never give up.  My father actually told me growing up that it was our family motto.  It was instilled in me as a little girl and now as a grown woman, I remember those three little words every time I'm ready to throw in the towel. 

I mean, I am human.  I try.  I get knocked down.  I want to give up, because once something doesn't work, it's so much easier to just say you can't do it.  Blogging sure has had it's ups and downs, and it's hard not to take things personal when your numbers aren't up.  When I can tell my blog is getting stagnant, I try to get creative and shake things up.

One way I can afford to constantly feature new clothing and accessories is through giveaways.  Online boutiques will offer a piece to giveaway for free if you share their posts or products.  I'm constantly applying for giveaways.  And up until a couple weeks ago, I never won.  Never.  I mean, who the heck is winning?  I was starting to think it was all a hoax.

One day last week, I get an e-mail notifying me that my "Look of the Month" was selected by OTSM Magazine in the UK, and I won a gorgeous red and gold beaded necklace!  Finally.  It felt amazing to see all my time and energy that I put into giveaways, finally succeed.  I didn't give up and it actually has fueled my fire to enter more giveaways. 

Never give up.  Follow your dreams.  My dreams of working in the fashion industry have come true, and not without hard work and determination.  I'm sure I'll continue to get knocked down and discouraged, but I will never give up!

Wedge Sandals: Target
Crocheted Dress: Toko (on Exchange Street in Portland, ME)
Necklace: OTSM Magazine, UK

Monday, August 24, 2015


I've spent most of my life wishing that my breasts were bigger.  I was blessed with the average 34B and on my six foot frame, they appear quite small.  Of course after talking with all my friends who have had breast augmentations, I realize that larger breasts aren't always an advantage.  Most of them complain that tops don't usually fit right and going out without a supportive bra is impossible.

Fashion trends are really favoring smaller breasts these days.  Finally!  I've accepted my little boobies and realize the advantages of having them.  Like wearing bralettes.  For decades, it was against all fashion rules to let your bra show.  Undergarments were just that and if your bra strap was showing, all your friends would come and tuck it back under your top. 

A bralette is a bra that is pretty enough to show off under your clothes.  The advantage is you can finally wear all those tops you always say, "but I can't wear a bra with it".  Well, now you can.  Let those lacy, stringy, brightly colored bra straps show!  It's all the rage.  Although there is a disadvantage to bralettes... they have very little support.

Accept and embrace the body you have and don't judge those who want to change it.  If it gives you confidence, then rock it out.  At 33 years old, I have finally embraced my small breasts and am fully taking advantage of the bralette look while it's still okay to show your straps.  The bralette pictured above is from Free People.  I got one that looks just like it from Forever 21Victorias Secret also has a great selection of lace bralettes.  Find your right style and let your bra show!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Denim is everything right now.  It's actually been pretty hot for decades.  Denim is classic.  We can all thank Levi Strauss, the originator of denim jeans.  They were first worn as durable work pants for gold miners in the 1860's.  More for function than fashion.  Flash forward a hundred years later, a more fitted style with flared bottoms emerged on the scene... and the rest is denim history.

Now, denim is a material used more for fashion than function.  Dresses, pants, skirts, bags, jackets, shirts.  It's everywhere and a guaranteed fashion staple that will be here longer than you and I probably will.  Of course, just because a top and bottom are both denim, doesn't mean that they go together.  Denim on denim can be tricky.

General fashion rules still are in place.  If you're going to wear denim top to bottom, the wash needs to be similar.  For example, acid wash and dark denim clash.  Black denim and light blue denim clash.  A slight fade in wash contrast is okay, but try to keep your denim on denim in the same color group.  Proportions are important too.  In the picture above, my chambray button down is loose fitted, so I paired it with some tight cut off denim shorts.  If one of your pieces are more fitted, allow the other piece to be a bit more flowy.

Another denim trend that is right now is distressed denim.  You should read my blog about Distressed Boyfriends from last year.  It's pretty funny.  Raw edges on your skinnies, fringe on your jacket, destroyed knee holes in your boyfriends.  It's all in.  Although denim will never go out of style, the distressed denim trend will, so don't go cutting off and putting holes in everything.  Just your more trendy pieces.

For those of you who actually stuck around to read my blog in it's entirety, I want to first thank you and second, I want to congratulate you.  You are about the find out one of my biggest denim secrets.   All my skinny style jeans are The Rockstar Jeans from Old Navy.  I usually pay about $20 a pair and they're as comfortable as my jammie pants.  They're true to size, so if you order them online, order your regular size and have confidence that they'll stretch to fit a size up or down.  Although I DO ALWAYS suggest trying things on.  Because I do find some washes have more stretch than others.
Buy denim.  Wear denim.  It will be one of the staples that will stay in your closet for years to come.  Try the denim on denim look for Fall.  Try the distressed trend.  And for Heavens sake, get yourself at least a couple pair of Rockstar Jeans from Old Navy.  You can thank me later.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Cross Body Bag

Ever since I had a kid, I'm all about being hands free, so I can always be ready to wrangle him at any time.  You never know when your little one might dart out in the street, or try to pet a dog without permission or step too close to an edge, etc.  The possibilities are endless.  And I've seen them all.  The best way to keep him safe is having my hands free to grab him at any moment.  Some kids are climbers, some are thinkers, mines a runner.  He's either sleeping or he's running... fast. 
Whenever I'm in a situation where I need to keep my hands free, I have two options to carry my things.  A backpack, which although is ultimate because of it's large compartments and comfort, is not always the most stylish option.  I mean, I can't wear a backpack with a silk floral dress and platform shoes.  The second option is a cross body bag.  The long strap allows me to carry all the things I need and still have my hands free.
Cross body bags have really made a comeback in the past couple years.  The styles can range quite considerably, but my favorite is something with a soft long strap that I can wear all day and access my things easily.  Also, because it's bouncing around on your body, I highly suggest getting a cross body bag that closes completely.  That way when you are running to catch a cab or your kid, your things aren't flying out.
I got my small white cross body bag at TJ Maxx, but my absolute favorite is one from Michael Kors.  It's heavy enough that I know it's there, light enough that I can wear it around my shoulder all day and it has a full zipper closure, which keeps my things inside.  If you like to be hands free, consider a more stylish option to carry your things, with a  cross body bag. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Oppression of a One Piece

I know.  It sounds a bit dramatic.  You're probably asking, how is one oppressed by a one piece bathing suit?  Well, I'll tell you.  The oppression is real, people!  The last thing I want to do is squeeze my 6 foot tall body into anything.  Especially something that is traditionally unflattering, like a one piece bathing suit.  I think the last time I was in one, I was 14 years old (aka. before boobies and booty).

My son is now six years old and is in school full time.  Not only is he in school, but he goes to a Catholic Private School that has a fairly conservative clientele.  I really thought I could fake it.  Wearing my most modest outfits to pick him up on the playground and at school functions.  Well, this year my son went to a ridiculous amount of classmate birthday parties and three of them happened to be swimming parties. 

The first one, I didn't even bring a bathing suit.  I stood on the side of the pool and helplessly yelled at my son for going past the shallow end.  The second one, I packed my most conservative bikini (because I only owned two pieces), but couldn't bare to wear it out front of all the dads.  I can just see it now... "can you believe what Mikey's mom was wearing in the pool out from of our husbands?"  I don't need any of that.  So, I again helplessly tried to wrangle my son from the deep end to the shallow end.  The third pool party, I looked in awe at one mom brave enough to get in and keep the kids where they should be. 

I realized at that moment that the only thing holding me back from getting into the water and being the awesome mom was my bathing suit selection.  Here's where the oppression begins.  I try on at least ten different one pieces.  Ranging from a sporty Speedo to a tankini.  Hated it.  Hated how it felt.  Hated how it looked.  Then, just as I was about to give up, an order from Beautiful Halo came in and this incredibly fun and sporty one piece looked like it might actually fit.  I put it on and, crap... it fit.

I write this blog to hold myself accountable.  Next pool party, I'm in the water.  No more standing on the sidelines yelling at my kid.  I'm getting in and going to help wrangle those kids with the other brave moms.  Know this though, the oppression of a one piece, I'm feeling it.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

4 Weddings, 3 Dresses, 20% OFF!

If your end of Summer and Fall are anything like mine, you have lots of weddings lined up.  Four to be exact.  Hotels are in place, babysitters lined up, now it's time to select my attire.  My FAVORITE part!  The good news is, one of the weddings, I don't know anyone (my husband's client), so I can wear a dress that I have already rocked.  The even better news is that I get to go shopping for three new dresses!

Now, my budget doesn't quite allow to buy three special occasion dresses at full price, but I have the perfect solution.  Boutique of Molly has an amazing selection of gorgeous dresses all at 20% OFF!  Wanna shop all of Boutique of Molly for 20% OFF?  E-Mail me to get a coupon code at checkout.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Spontaneous Attire

I try so hard to be one of those girls that goes with the flow.  No one wants a high maintenance girl around to complain about everything.  I actually think I got a little high maintenance for a while without even realizing it.  But it wasn't the people around me that were suffering... it was me! 

Confused?  Let me explain.  Say, my husband calls and says, "let's go to the beach".  In my head, I think we're going to the beach.  So I put on  no makeup, my hair in a bun, a bikini and a beach cover-up.  Then, my husband picks me up and changes his mind.  He wants to go have lunch at a restaurant.  What?  But I'm not dressed appropriately for a restaurant.  I was dressed so exclusively for the beach that I didn't consider alternative options.

The only one that suffered through that lunch was me.  I felt awkward and ridiculous and felt the need to explain to people that we were going to the beach, but Joe changed his mind.  What I really should have done was known that my husband is very spontaneous and indecisive and that I should be dressed and ready for anything.  ANYTHING.

I've learned from those uncomfortable situations and know that being fashionably ready for anything is essential.  The picture above captures an evening where I didn't know we were going to go on a sunset boat ride, but my attire was ready for anything.  I call it spontaneous attire.  Practical shoes, messy bun, clothes that won't fly up in the wind.  Be a girl that goes with the flow and ready for anything.  Life is way more fun when you are!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Is Romper Season Over?

Heck no!  Romper season has been extended to "romper year"!  I usually mark the end of a season with the weather.  If the evenings are getting cold and the days aren't warm enough to wear sleeveless tops, then it's time for Fall... but the good news is it's still summer and I'm still rocking all my favorite rompers.

Although many of my rompers can be transitioned to Fall with a leather jacket and booties, this particular one from is exclusive for summer and vacations.  The chiffon material and light floral print makes it something I will pack away for vacation this winter (when you fly from Maine to Miami in January, your desperate for light colors and materials).

I'm going to make a romper/jumpsuit prediction and say that they're here to stay, at least for another year.  Some fads come and go so quickly, that it's hard to want to buy super trendy pieces, knowing that they may be out of style in a couple months.  I always suggest spending more on your basics (jeans, t-shirts, trousers, etc.) and getting your more trendy pieces cheap.  That way, if the fit isn't great or the trend comes and goes, you're not heartbroken that your money went down the tube.  I like to get fun pieces that I know I won't wear for a long time at Forever21 and H&M.

If you haven't yet invested in a cute summer romper, consider a jumpsuit.  It will offer a little more coverage for transitioning into Fall and it's one of the hottest trends going strong.  Read my blog post about wearing jumpsuits from February.  Also, check out my friend Zephi's adorable boho print jumpsuit from Target (below).  She didn't break the bank on this trendy piece, and it will transition great into Fall with some boots and a jacket.

Keep wearing those rompers.  Romper season has been extended to a romper year!

Monday, August 3, 2015


The more I learn about fashion, the more I realize the importance of fit.  No matter how much you love something, if it doesn't fit well, your outfit will reflect it.  Certain styles fit better on certain body types and there's no tailoring that can fix it.  Being almost six feet tall, I know a lot about wanting something to look good, but it just doesn't fit. 

Take this dress pictured above, for example.  I got it from Express for an event and when I put it on, the first thing my husband said was, "that dress doesn't look good on you".  He wasn't being a jerk, he just meant it didn't fit well.  I rarely say this, but he was actually right.  It didn't.  I bought it off the rack and it wasn't flattering on my body at all.  A month later my girlfriend, Zephi comes over and I'm like, "try this on".  SHUT UP.  Just stop right there and look at how amazing this dress looks on her!  It fits her perfectly.

Needless to say, the dress is hers and I'm happy it went to a body that fit it well (although if you got a bod like Zephi's, pretty much everything looks amazing).  It was a good reminder that trying things on before you buy them is essential.  Things look completely different on a rack, as they do on a mannequin, as they do on your body.

Here are a few simple guidelines to finding the right fit for your body:
-Always highlight your best asset.  If you're heavier on the bottom, wear flared skirts, wide leg pants and pair your volumed bottom with a more fitted top to accentuate your waist.  Same if you're top heavy.  Wear more flowey tops with slim pants or fitted skirts, to highlight your legs.
-When shopping for pants, make sure the waist and seat of the pants fit.  Length can always be tailored. 
-If you're short, don't be afraid of heels!  They're your best friend in making your legs look longer and helping longer pieces fit better.  If you're tall like Zephi and I, check out for longer lengths in pants and tops.

Fit is so important in making any outfit look better.  A well fitted pair of pants will make you feel like you can take on anything.  A perfectly fitted dress will turn heads.  Try things on and if they don't fit in the dressing room, nothing is going to change when you get home.  Buy things that fit and you'll look like a fashion pro.