Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Life Style: 5 Dollar Dates

My friend, Abby, had a really great idea for a post. She lives in LA where there are lots of fun places to spend money, but when she goes out with a good friend they each take only five dollars with them and are limited to spending that amount for the whole day. She has a great time with her friends (usually she will go out for yogurt or ice cream), and it's proof that you don't have to spend much to have a good time. You could even go clothes shopping with five dollars; I can't tell you how many great purchases I've made from clearance racks with less than that.

I loved this idea because the focus is not on shopping or buying expensive food, it's about having a good time with a friend. It's amazing the things you can find for good prices if you limit yourself to spending a small amount of money. Another great thing about only taking five dollars with you (I dare you to try five dollars for two people), is that your social time becomes an adventure. You are less willing to part with the money because you are motivated to find the best deal possible (when it's gone, it's gone!), and you have a greater sense of satisfaction from your purchase because you know you spent your money wisely. It can even inspire you to try new things. Also, you might find that a smaller size of something you would normally buy satisfies you. Last night I discovered that the child's hot chocolate from Starbucks is the perfect size for me; I get that delicious hot chocolate and whipped cream taste, but not too much so that I feel tired or bored of the drink. Did I mention it's cheaper?!


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Black Blazer

 This is the blazer I mentioned in a previous post. I tweaked it to make it fun to wear. I rolled up the sleeves and added a feather brooch for a little pizzazz. The great thing about owning a black or grey blazer is that you can wear it with almost anything because it is a classic. This, of course, goes for men as well.

The jacket and white shirt bring the dusty pink pants down to earth. For the shoe interview, my friend Jessica wore a black jacket, a black tank top, and red pants for a fun color blocking example (see here). You have to be careful about the color you choose for your shirt. Since your pants are a bright color, choose a neutral color for the shirt if you want to be sure to get it right (white works every time!). I love wearing a black blazer with colorful pants for a modern twist.

I found my pants and feather brooch on sale at my favorite place in Old Town Salinas, Bliss Boutique (Bliss Facebook page). If you like their page on Facebook you can be updated about their sales and new items.

My shoes are silver. Did you know that metallic is now considered a neutral? This means you don't have to wait until it's dark to pull out a gold purse or a silver pair of shoes.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Little Treasures

If you've owned a piece for a long time, it doesn't necessarily mean you should get rid of it (unless it is really old, ugly, and falling apart). If you're tired of something, put it in a seasonal box underneath your bed for a while, and then pull it out later and surprise yourself. Sometimes when fashion changes you can look at your old pieces in a new light. You might have to tweak something a little to make it work for you. Last week I found a black blazer in my closet I had never really worn before because it felt stuffy. I snipped the shoulder pads off, rolled up the sleeves, and placed a feather brooch on the front to customize it; now I wear it all the time.

Today I wore the vintage style purse shown in the picture above. A few years ago embroidered and beaded vintage purses were "all the rage." At the time, Target came out with a line of vintage style purses and I found this one for about ten dollars online. I've had it for about five or six years now. It's tiny and beautiful, and I love how inexpensive it was for something so unique. I didn't get rid of it when I got bored with it, I just put it away for a couple of years and pulled it out later when I needed some "new" accessories.

Go find some of your old treasures and enjoy them!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Interview with a Shoe-Lover


Happy Father's Day! This blog makes me think about my Dad because he makes time to go shoe shopping with me every once in a while, isn't that sweet? It takes a real man to go shopping with his daughter, especially if it happens to be an indecisive, thoughtful shopper like me. ( "Dad, do you like the green shoes or the brown ones better? The brown would be more practical, but the green ones are just so cute!")

I sometimes have strong opinions when it comes to shoes, but I have only just started to appreciate what they can do for a woman's wardrobe. Since I cannot claim to be the "shoe-master," I decided to pull in an expert. I asked my lovely friend, Jessica, if we could go out to Starbucks and have a fun shoe interview because she is passionate about high-heels and owns a very large collection of beautiful shoes. We had a fabulous time together, and after our Starbucks date I took a couple pictures of her two favorite pairs of shoes. I learned a lot from her answers, and I hope you enjoy~

When shopping for shoes, what is the best advice you can give?

Rule #1: Don't skimp on quality! 
Everyone says beauty is pain, but when it comes to shoes the pain does not outweigh the gain. For special occasions I understand we all can't afford $100+ shoes every time, but buying heels that you could wear more than 5 times is worth a little investment. Bad shoes can cause major feet issues when you are older. 
I have found many of my shoes on sale at Macy's or at Marshalls that are nice brands like BCBG and Steve Madden, and I didn't have to pay full price. 

Are there certain styles of shoes that every woman should have in her wardrobe?     

Rule #2: Own the 3 essentials
We are all told to have the perfect pair of jeans, the little black dress, and a blouse that can take us from the office to a lunch date to a night on the town, but what about the shoes, ladies?! There are 3 shoes every woman should have (the nicer the quality the better). First is the perfect pair of wedges. Wedges are like jeans: you can wear them to too many occasions to list. But since this is the shoe you would wear for hours you should invest in comfort! My second essential pair is what I call my "sexy" shoes. Every woman needs a pair of crazy high heels (mine are typically 4-5 inches with a fun print) for a fun night out. This kind of shoe with the little black dress gives a powerful statement to a simple outfit. Now for number three: a classy strappy black heel (no more than 3 inches); the go-to shoe for any outfit in need of class. 

Of all the shoes you own, which is your most treasured pair?                              

My most treasured pair is a multicolored beaded pair from BCBG. I have worn them with so many outfits for over 3 years now and I still get compliments! They have wooden heels so they are perfect for a fun daytime outfit, or can even be worn for a casual night out. [I have a picture of this pair at the bottom]

Why are shoes your favorite accessory?

Hmm how to explain my addiction... 
When those perfect jeans don't fit, my shoes always do! Plus what other accessory can lengthen my legs and give me a cuter butt instantly?! 

I'm interested in wearing "crazy" high-heeled shoes, how can I tone down my outfit to look appropriate?

As I mentioned earlier, an essential shoe for every girl's closest is the sexy pair of pumps that gives the wow statement to an outfit. Now with that said, I give you my rule #4: 1 part sexy, 3 parts conservative. I never wear my crazy shoes with a sexy outfit. To stay classy, only pick one area to highlight, ladies. Even with a fabulous pair of sexy shoes, an outfit can go quickly from classy to trashy if you show off too much to the world. In the picture of me at the top you can see I wore a black sequin top under a conservative black blazer, paired with a pair of skinny red slacks. This color-blocking technique helps to balance out the very high, brightly patterned heels so I don't look desperate. 

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Rule #5: have fun and wear shoes that are you! 
Wear what makes you comfortable, but don't be too afraid to have fun with them.

Thank you, Jessica!
Happy Father's Day everyone,


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How to Look Put-Together

Maybe you already have a closet full of dependable basic items and you still feel frumpy when you throw on outfits in the morning. What are some easy ways to make your style interesting?

1. Replace Your Sneakers with Cute Shoes:
Okay, some sneakers can be cute, but seriously, hiking boots? Exercise shoes? UGGS?! If you don't believe me, picture yourself in your favorite pair of dark-blue jeans and a white t-shirt. First, imagine yourself wearing exercise shoes with this ensemble. Then, picture yourself wearing black, high-heeled shoes. Now do you understand? I'm not saying you have to buy crazy, uncomfortable shoes, but please, don't disrespect yourself with poor shoe choices. Good shoes are an investment. You can find well-made flats, low heels, boots, and slip-ons that are both cute and comfortable. Put those hiking boots back on the shelf, unless you promise yourself you will only use them for outdoor excursions.

2. Replace Your Hoodies with Cardigans
First of all, I love hoodies. There is something very comforting about finding the perfect hoodie and every girl should have one to relax in on the weekends. However, did you notice the word I chose to describe hoodies? Comforting. Hoodies are comfort clothes and you will look more put-together if you stay away from wearing them too often. The exception to this is when you find an unusual hoodie that looks more dressed up, or if you wear a hoodie as a second layer underneath a nice jacket. Other than this, stick to cardigans for everyday wear. They are just as comfortable and come in many styles and colors.

3. Wear Your Accessories
Many women have accessories they never remember to wear. If you have time, organize your jewelry, scarves, handbags, belts and hats. Give away the accessories you don't like, and experiment with the ones you have left. Accessories have the power to take an outfit from "boring" to "exceptional." If you pair cheap accessories with good quality basics and a designer handbag, no one will know you only spent $1 on that bracelet. Unless you blog about it, of course.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Carmel Sunday Outfit #5

Don't be afraid to wear bright, warm colors. You can always tone down the brightness with darker pieces if you feel like a neon road sign.

I may have mentioned my love for poofy little skirts. They are so feminine and pretty! Full skirts do wonders for those of us out there who want to pretend we have hips, because they balance out a lack of curves. They also look amazing on curvy women as well, so you can't go wrong.

I like to check Aeropostale's clearance rack every once in a while for my cute little summer skirts. I found this one there for $13, and the polka-dot skirt I wore in a previous blog was on sale for $10. The weather is finally starting to warm up so I have been wearing them frequently and have been loving every moment.


Friday, June 8, 2012

2 Years

At the end of this month Thomas and I will be celebrating our second year of being a couple. I am extremely blessed to have been dating this amazing young man; he is so patient, sweet, and admirable. Just in time for our anniversary, Julie Pieracci took some beautiful pictures of us! If you are interested in hiring her for a photo-shoot, here is her website:

For our first outfits, we went for a casual-country look (I even sat on top of a horse!), and then we dressed up in black and white for the second half of the shoot. I found my black and white dress on sale at a secondhand store for $5! I love this dress because I can throw it into a suitcase for a summer getaway and pull it out wrinkle-free. It's a very comfortable, versatile dress that can be dressed up or down. I'm also wearing the red lipstick I bought for $2 (after using a great coupon), and a pair of black heels from Payless Shoes I found years ago (they have seen the floors of many high school dances). Black heels are a good investment for any wardrobe.

Below I posted some of my favorites of the pictures that Julie took: 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Less is More: Part 3

Basics are the canvas on which style is created

The pencil skirt, the black work pants, the white button-up blouse, the blazer, the leather jacket, the pea coat, the trench coat, the sheath dress, the cardigan, the dark-blue boot-cut jeans, the little black dress: items you can wear over and over again in many different ways. Do you need all of these? No, only choose basics that fit your lifestyle and your body-type. Your wardrobe basics are exactly what you decide they should be; if you are a dress person, buy dresses that you can dress up or down. If you prefer pants, maybe it's time to fill a gap in your style with a pair of elegant dress pants. Your basics do not need to be expensive, but make sure they are well-made and fit you perfectly because this is how you will save money over time.

I created this picture in one of my art classes to demonstrate how basics can save you money because they can be dressed up or down for many occasions. I had a lot of fun designing the outfits, and I hope you enjoy~


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday Outfit #4

I was in the mood to wear polka-dots last weekend, so my Dad was very sweet and took pictures of this outfit for me. He usually makes me laugh too much, but thankfully we got some fun snapshots! I'm also very proud to have created a decent London bun for the first time.

If you are going to wear something very feminine, you might want to pair it with something masculine for an interesting contrast. For example, my ridiculous, ruffly polka-dotted skirt with black boots and a denim jacket. I'm not always in the mood to do this, but if I want to add a little attitude to a dress or skirt I usually reach for my comfortable black boots and black tights.

This outfit works because my tights and boots are the same color. This makes my legs look longer, and provides a clean-looking foundation for the rest of my outfit to rest on. If my stockings were a different color it's possible the outfit would look a little messy. You don't always have to follow this rule, but it's a safe way to go if you want a fail-proof outfit.

The teal scarf adds a fun dash of color, draws attention to my face, and takes the outfit from good to great.                                                                        

Have a fabulous day!