Sunday, July 28, 2013

Raise the Curtain

I really like the look of a dress that opens either in the back, a bit on the side or a tiny amount in the front. It reveals a little something but is still eye-catching and comfortable to wear. When I saw this great Scenic View dress from Madewell, I knew I had to have it...or something like it, at least. I loved the draped effect in the back and thought it was perfect for a day to night look but the issue was the PRICE! It got me searching around and low-and-behold, I found this great and much cheaper option from Mod Cloth. Although it's made from lighter material, it looks fantastic on and is a steal for almost $100 less than the inspiration dress. Happy wearing and saving, of course!

The Inspiration                       Look for less

Inspiration Look -  Scenic View Dress
Look for Less - Scallop Dress

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Furniture Facelift

My husband and I bought a house over a year ago now but we are still working on's been a never ending process. The house itself is old with exposed beams, hardwood floors throughout, decorative molding and brick walls so it feels important to be true to the character in the design of each room. Because of that, I have been tirelessly searching for the right pieces and re-purposing furniture that we previously had using one simple item....paint! Sometimes all it takes is a quick paint job instead of buying brand new items so this is my VERY simple way to give your old furniture an easy facelift without spending very much!

1. Giddeon Gripper White Primer
2. BEHR Premium Plus White Latex Paint
3. Angled Brush Set from Home Depot
4. Canvas Drop Cloth from Tarps Plus
5. Scotch Safe-Release Painting Tape

Total Investment = $90.31 vs $239.97

Getting Started
First, you want to identify a good spot to paint and this could be a basement, garage or deck but wherever you choose, make sure you don't mind getting it dirty. I used our basement, which is a "project area" and filled with paint spots already so it was perfect for this task. Once you've got your spot, cover the ground with a blanket or tarp and then carefully line the item you are working on with painters tape to avoid paint getting onto any surfaces. Next, add your primer but don't glob it on, this should be a very light first coat to make the painting process easier

If no protective tape is necessary, simply get priming!

When your primer is on, then open and use your white latex paint to carefully brush on your first coat. Once complete, let it dry for a day and then repeat the process, adding another one or two coats (depending on the item you are painting). Don't worry about making this look perfect, that's what the final coat is for and you will be able to touch up any problem spots during that time. When applying that last coat, make sure each surface has been painted thoroughly so no dark color still shows through and then walla, let it try and you are finished! Check out my brand new (feeling) white nightstands and mirror below.

Ikea Mongstad Mirror in Black

Ikea Hemnes
Nightstand in black

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Feeling Blue

The Inspiration    Look for less

Inspiration Look -  Pleated Maxi Skirt from ICEBERG
Look for Less - Pleated Maxi Skirt from Sabine

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Perfect Leather Bag

I've been admiring Clare Vivier bags for awhile now but just can't bring myself to spend the money that comes along with owning one. The brown leather is perfectly aged looking with its simple style, great quality and every kind of size one might need. To appease my need for one, I purchased the transport tote from Madewell after using about three different discount codes and waiting six months before pulling the trigger. The bag is similar to her tote below but only sets you back $168 as opposed to $409 and I pair it with most things I wear. Hopefully these less expensive options offer some inspiration because the timelessness of a great brown leather bag means it goes with anything and it's a must-have staple in any closet.

The Inspiration

1. La Tropezienne Tote               2. Oversized Clutch                   3. Messenger Bag


1. Mini Leather Tote from Zara
2. Oversized Fold Clutch from on Etsy 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Stack Em' Up

Two things I love in this world are anything gold and stacking. Thankfully, both the "inspiration" and "look for less" images have plenty of it! I think nothing dresses up an outfit quite like good wrist accessories and the more the merrier. I love pairing gold bracelets and watches with a small pop of color like pink or mint depending on what I'm wearing but I always shy away from being too matchy. I adore combining new with old and soft with edgy so I take a piece that I bought at a flea market, pair it with another that was recently purchased new, add a nautical bangle and then just for fun, I put on a bracelet I've been too afraid to wear. It makes for the perfect looking wrist and covers all of the bracelet bases!

The Inspiration

The Look for Less

1. Knotted Bangle Set from CWonder- $48 for 3
2. Gold Single Spike Bracelet from Ooh La Luxe - $7.90
3. Sekonda Gold Watch from Asos - $37.33
4. Monogram Bracelet from Etsy Shop - $59
5. Zigzag Bangle Set and Pop of Pink Bracelet from Forever21 - $8.80 for 3 and $12.80

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ring Bling

It might just be me but aren't these amazingly simple gold rings the best? They have been popping up everywhere and I am obsessed with pairing them together with just about every outfit since they look great with everything. The inspiration are the Maison Martin Margiela rings that will set you back $495 for 4 but I've tracked down some great alternatives for MUCH less. Enjoy!

  The Inspiration

                                                          Rings by Maison Martin Margiela in Gold or Silver

  The Look for Less

1. Adjustable Rings by Asos - $13.58 for 3
2. Stackable Rings from Forkwhisperer Etsy Shop - $69 for 7
3. Alligator Stackable Rings from Cocoonjewels Etsy Shop - $10 each
4. Couples Repeat Ring Set from LuLu's - $12 for 2

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Closet Evolution

For the first post, I thought it was only appropriate to show just how much my closet has actually evolved over the last few years. When looking for fabulous steals, the most important thing is having a place to store them so it all starts with the closet! I don't always succeed in this department because my eyes are normally bigger than the space I have. I started out cramming my lovely belongings (that had taken so much time to acquire) into just about every nook and cranny in each apartment I lived. The first was in Charlotte, North Carolina in an old, tons-of-character and lot's of charm apartment (below).

dining room for days

This apartment was great for someone like myself because there were many small closets, tons of shelves and tiny spaces for me to take over when storing my clothes including keeping my jeans with the sheets and shoes with the vacuum. You get the point...

On a whim, we up-and-moved to Baltimore in 2010, which is where I grew up and where my family still lives. My husband and I said goodbye to our apartment, packed a U-Haul and headed North. It felt like a real homecoming and we immediately picked Fells Point to live for the cobblestone streets, old brick buildings, lovely city charm and close proximity to just about everything. Below is the first row home we lived in. It had two floors, one bedroom and one very small (second) room. I've included a picture because saying this house was "small" really just doesn't do the size justice.

Chapel Street, the Notting Hill House

With no tiny spaces meant for shoes and little storage room, we turned the second bedroom into a working closet using an Ikea-built system. My husband spent countless hours erecting this great area and I LOVED it.

the fashionista herself getting comfortable in my clothes

When we decided that Baltimore was where we wanted to be long-term, we made the exciting decision to buy a house in the same neighborhood where we were already living. The row home needed a lot of work but the minute we saw it, we knew it was our house. It had such great character and fabulous bones with exposed brick, huge wood beams, molding throughout, a roof deck and multiple working fireplaces. It was right around the corner from the Notting Hill House, MUCH larger and had so much more potential (below).

South Washington Street

A new house meant a new closet but my approach was to get back to the basics. I am now only using one (primary) closet and really liking it. I cleaned out anything I hadn't worn in over a year, which was no small feat but the payoff is that everything I now need is in one place so I don't have to scramble to get dressed on the third floor, pick out shoes on the first floor and then race to the second for a necklace. The only issue is that this new closet is ugly, really very ugly. Although I was reluctant, I've included a picture of it (below). Keep in mind that while it looks like this currently:

My ultimate goal is to have it to look like this:

More to come on the beautiful mirrored french doors I have in mind as I find a thrifty way to locate them, negotiate my purchase price and get everything installed!