Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Look for Less: Scarf Print Dresses


D&G $738 @ StyleBop.com
D&G $910 @ FashionProfile.com


Now for the Steals:

Axparis $44
TopShop $100

Oasis $72 (this is my favorite -reminds me of Versace)

Asos $53
Dorothy Perkins $39

*Styling Tip: Since the scarf print dresses are bold on complex patterns keep accessories and shoes (i.e., plain black, nude, etc.) minimal and simple. 

Monday Funday: Sonoma Picnic

Yesterday my friend Susan and I organized a mini day trip to Sonoma with a group of friends. We planned this day with the citygirlchic moto (aka within a tight budget) so we decided instead of going out to lunch in Sonoma we would start our trip with a picnic at one of the wineries. There are many wineries in Sonoma with beautiful grounds that not only allow you to bring your own food but also provide free wine tastings. Jacuzzi vineyards and Cline Cellars are two wineries that provide free tastings, have wonderful spots to picnic, and also have very affordable wines to purchase (many bottles are between $10-$20). We had lunch at Cline because they have a nice pond and lovely grounds that are ideal for picnicking. We first had our free wine tasting and then chose a bottle of Late Harvest Mourvedre ($17 with discount) to compliment our lunch.


Part of our picnic: bread, cheese, slices of meat, crackers, popcorn, etc.
I brought a cucumber tomato salad, fresh raspberries + cut pineapple, and a gluten free pasta salad.

Elizabeth, Susan, me

Protecting ourselves from wrinkles
We then drove to Gundlach Bundschu winery for our 2:30 p.m. wine tour. Gundluch Bundschu is one of the oldest wineries in Sonoma (established in 1858). Since Susan is a wine club member the tour and wine tasting was only $15 each. The guided tour began in the vineyards and ended in the wine cave.



Outfit Details (I haven't done one of these in awhile):
Dress- SUPER OLD from Urban Outfitters $20, Old Navy denim shirt $20, hat from Forever 21 $8, Marc Jacobs eyeglasses purchased from Off Sak's 5th outlet for $40, & Louis Vutton azur tote.


We ended the wine tour in this amazing cave filled with wine barrels.  What a wonderful (but budget friendly) Monday Funday!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Deal of the Day: The $3.60 Dress

Although I do love online shopping, often times the best deals are at the actually store. For example, the Gap is having a sale online and in stores. Online the sale is "Up to 50% off Selected Styles" while at the store anything already on sale (with the exception of Baby Gap) is an additional 40% off.

                                        
These beaded sandals are $39.95 online BUT I saw them at the store for $19.99 with an additional 40% off = $12.
I tried this romper at the store (NO I didn't buy it- even though my friend thought I should). Online it is it priced on sale at $44.99 but in the store it is an additional 40% off =$26.40.



My friend Esther bought these neon yellow jeans for $20. Although the jeans are a bit too trendy for me, they looked really good on her. She didn't end up buying the shirt because it wasn't on sale. She told me "I'll just wait until it goes on sale -everything eventually goes on sale here".
I stumbled upon this tweed dress on the clearance rack at the Gap and couldn't believe it was under $4. I wasn't my size but I thought it would definitely fit my friend Susan who is skinny and tall (yes, we all hate her).  The dress fit her really well and looked really good on her. Susan and I are always treating each other to coffees or drinks from time to time so this time I got her a dress instead. She could wear the dress casually with her TOMS (pictured) or dress it up with a statement necklace and heels. I also told her she could wear it with a skinny neon belt if she wanted a trendier look.  Hey, my budget conscious ways should benefit my friends too right?


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Up to 60% off Stila Cosmetics

Thanks to Granola2Glam.com for sharing this tip. Right now StilaCosmetics.com is having a huge makeup sale on featured items. Stock is limited so check it out now.

Some things we like:

Lip Liner Set
$72.00 $12.97

Long Wear Lip Set
$80.00 $14.97

hydrating primer - SFP 20
$34.00 $15.00
Empowered in Pink Palette
$14.00 $7.00

Monday, June 18, 2012

Comfortable Shoes Shopping

A quick trip to pick up a carpet cleaner at Bed Bath and Beyond turned out to be a pricey detour. There I was determined to get some carpet cleaner when I found myself parked literally five feet away from Nordstrom Rack. Nordstrom Rack is a hit or miss place. Sometimes it looks like a hurricane came through and swept up the great finds and other days you can really find some great designer deals. I'm currently on vacation so I told myself well it wouldn't hurt just to browse. I made it through the clothing department without anything really catching my eye so I headed upstairs to the shoe department because I needed (well wanted) some comfortable shoes for my summer excursions.  Finding comfortable and flattering shoes are difficult for me because I have flat feet. If the sole isn't padded enough I feel like I'm walking barefoot and it can really ruin my mood. Below are some of the comfy shoes that somehow ended up in my cart (hmmm my split shopaholic personality must have put them there). I didn't take them all but I did buy a few (too many). 

TOMS vs. Steven Madden
 My heart skipped a beat when I saw these TOMS wedges for $26. These are currently $75 on the Nordstrom website right now. They were way more comfortable then these Steven Madden canvas flats.

Both these wedges were comfortable but the Munro heels on the right feel like you are walking on pillows -I'm not kidding. I have never heard of Munro but they are known to be comfortable walking shoes.  Their design was also just a bit more expensive looking than the Franco Sarto pair. Their original price is $130.


I really wished the Via Spiga patent nude loafers worked out. They would have gone with so many outfits but unfortunately they were just a bit too tight around my heel. The Calvin Klein pair were UBER comfortable. They almost felt like sneakers. I need these shoes for work -I do work with energetic young kids after all.


I can't seem to drop the animal print obsession. Both of these shoes were cute and comfortable BUT the Cole Haan pair is and looked more expensive. The Cole Haan pair also features the concealed Nike Air technology and is an awesome deal considering they are originally $180. These shoes would be perfect for work and an easy pair to slip on while I run errands.

Aerosoles are insanely comfortable shoes. Many of my work shoes are Aerosoles. Their downfall is they don't always have the most fashionable designs. I do like this pair and the carmel brown color is pretty versatile. 


These are other shoes that were really comfortable BUT they weren't so stylish so I didn't even consider purchasing them.


These are the pairs I bought...I know a bit excessive to come home with 5 PAIRS of shoes! This is why I shouldn't leave my house. On the I-need-to-rationalize-my-purchases side all these pairs combined are cheaper than one pair of Tory Burch croc print loafers. O.k. time to hide my shoes before my husband comes home...


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Look for Less: Swimming Pool Prints

These prints are made for summer. How can you look at any of these items and not instantly feel a bit more refreshed and relaxed.  I am eyeing the Kate Spade pool clutch below. It would be the perfect accessory for any summer party especially an afternoon pool party :-)
AKris Punto Pool Dress $1460

Anthropologie Swimming Pool Dress $228

Kate Spade Pool Clutch $278

Thursday, June 14, 2012

DIY: Spicy Kale Chips

Kale Chips are a hot trend in healthy snack food but they are also pricey. At Wholefoods I saw them advertised for $4.49 for a tiny bag and thought to myself I could make them for cheaper. Making tasty homemade kale chips was seriously a science experiment for me. I tried making them in the oven but they didn't stay crispy for long. So I began experimenting with different recipes using my food dehydrator. The low heat on the dehydrator is actually better than using an oven because it protects nutrients lost in the baking process. I also found the kale chips were wayyy crisper using the dehydrator. The dehydrator was also super easy because you turn on the machine, set a timer, and in three hours TADA!

Kale Chips at the Wholefoods


1.) You can use any type of Kale. A huge bunch will sell for $2-$3 at the grocery store. 
2.) Cut and wash the kale thoroughly ( I use a salad spinner)
3.) Remove as much stalk as possible (this will help it dehydrate faster)


4.) Take about 1/3 cup of flax seeds and grind them. I found that using a coffee grinder works really well.

Flax seeds contain high levels of dietary fiber as well as micronutrients, and omega-3 fatty acids. Adding flax seeds has more health benefits than coating your kale in cheese.





5.) Add the ground up flax seeds, some olive oil, a few drops of chili oil, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper.

6.) Mix it together with your hands and try to coat all the pieces of kale evenly.
7.) Lay them out on the dehydrator trays.
8.) Dehydrate for 2.5-3 hours at 135 degrees.


The kale will be ready when they are crispy like potato chips.



Enjoy them right away or...

 eat them later and share with friends. Just make sure they are stored in air-tight containers. They should last for months. 

Fitness Check-In: Week 1


Taken on the Mark Davis Trail near Stinson Beach. Can you see the Golden Gate Bridge?
My first week on my new health and exercise plan wasn't perfect but it was pretty good. During my first week I exercised for 4 days. I did three Insanity DVDs and last Sunday I went on a grueling 4 hour hike with a bunch of friends near Stinson Beach. I also made a conscious effort not to stuff my face with sugar during this week. One of the things I'm realizing that I'm addicted to are carbs! Today I went to lunch with my co-workers and it took all my will power not to have the cappelli but order a spinach salad instead.  Tomorrow is the first day of my two month vacation so I will definitely have more time to be active and make healthy choices. AND yes I do realize how lucky I am I have the next two months to sleep in, re-energize, re-organize, and catch up with friends and family. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday DIY: Succulent Terrarium

Succulent terrariums are a popular trend in home decor. My friend Kelly actually inspired me to create my own succulent terrarium when she showed me a picture of one she created for under $20. I created the one below today for about $35, which is significantly cheaper than what succulent arrangements are selling for at the store. Total DIY time for the terrarium was about 30 minutes. 


What you will need:
1.) 11.6 inch Globe Glass Vase $14.99 @ Target
2.) Cactus Palm Citrus Soil (this is a fast-draining soil that retains little moisture) $3.50 at Home Depot.
3.) A selection of succulents -between $1.98-$3.50 also purchased at Home Depot.
4.) The mini bag of rocks were free (thanks Monika)
Here's my selection. Choose different sizes and different colors. The smaller succulents were $1.98 while the two larger ones were about $3.50.


1.) Add about 3 inches of soil.
2.) Rearrange the succulents. I placed one of the larger ones in the middle as a focal point.


3.) Carefully add the mini rocks.
4.) Add a little bit of water to set the soil (I added about 1/3 cup) around the terrarium.
Great as a center piece. 



Caring for your succulent terrarium:
1.) Give the terrarium direct sunlight for at least 5-6 hours daily.
2.) Give the terrarium light watering every two weeks.




Sunday, June 10, 2012

Make Your Own $1 Snacks

My friends planned an early morning hike tomorrow from Matt David Trailhead to Stinson Beach. They recommended that we all bring some snacks in case we need some energy during the hike. Instead of bringing granola bars or another processed treat I decided to rummage through my refrigerator and make some healthy snacks using my food dehydrator.  The dehydrator cost me $60, but I feel that since I purchased it two months ago it has already paid for itself. As my husband knows I'm kinda obsessed with my food dehydrator. It's the easiest and cheapest way to make your own treats without the added sugar. Dehydrated fruits and vegetables also maintains more of the nutritional value of foods over their cooked counterparts, and it's also eco-friendly since there is no extra packaging. 

If you are going to dehydrated fruits and vegetables you definitely need a mandolin. I purchased mine at Ross for $10.

Slice the apples on the thinnest setting. Sprinkle some cinnamon for some added flavor. Dehydrate for about 10-12 hours at 135 degrees. 

I also made some squash chips. I used a large white zucchini, sliced it really thin, and added a bit of olive oil, chili oil, fresh oregano, sea salt, and pepper. Dehydrate for about 8-10 hours at 135 degrees until they are crunchy.

Zucchini chips are a great alternative to potato chips. 

                              

Put the snacks into ziplock bags in order to perserve them. I also dehydrated some kiwi. Dehydrated kiwi kind of taste like tart candy. Total cost of snacks: apples (free- courtesy of my friend Uma), white zucchini - .50 cents, 2 kiwis .50 cents =$1 for everything. 
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