Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Spring Fling

This past weekend, we were couped up inside the house due to more snow and more below zero temps. I was so stir crazy that I decided to play "dress up" with some bright colors. This is unusual for me because any outfit I post on here is truly what I wear into the real world every day. But, what's a girl to do when she can't leave the house? Daydream about what she would wear! Also, I had wanted to share this find much, much sooner as it was from mid-December. When I find good deals I like to share them fairly quick so that others can take advantage. I am sad to say this one has sold out on Amazon. But, I am getting a little off track here. Let's get back to the beginning of the story.
 Do we have any The Carrie Diaries fans out there? As a die hard Sex And The City watcher, of course I had to see what the "prequel" series was about - a young Carrie Bradshaw in high school. Now I am not a fan of teenage girl drama, but this is not the type of drama of today's world. This was the 80's! This I could relate to. The music? Awesome! And the clothes, oh the clothes! I mean, the statement necklaces alone are worth watching for! Even though it's set in the 80's, the majority of the clothes are current (you know how every trend seems to come around) and I spot lots of Anthropologie pieces.
During one episode, one dress in particular really caught my eye. From afar, it looks to be like a marbleized print (see reference below) but when you get up close, it is really shoes! This type of quirky print is so me. And what is Carrie Bradshaw known for? Shoes of course! I thought it was cool they had this reference there in her younger years. So I took to the internet to do some searching. There are a lot of sites dedicated to giving information on television or movie wardrobes. This site led me to the exact dress on Amazon. And, since I now knew the designer (Eva Franco), I could search her site, eBay, etc.... to compare prices. Amazon was the best price, and since I don't usually order from them I was able to find a new customer coupon code to get this dress under $100. Free shipping was a plus too!
I kept thinking to myself that this dress looks like something Anthropologie would carry.
Then, a few weeks later, they did. The Well-Heeled Dress showed up in the new arrivals (retails for $348)! I didn't know which I was more giddy about : 1. the fact that I had a premonition of something Anthro would carry OR 2. the price I paid (which I still thought was high at the time).
See, I really should just become a buyer for Anthropologie. Hee, hee!

There are so many colors in this dress, that your accessory options are going to be limitless. I apologize for the poor quality of these photos, but I wanted to use the sun yellow wall in our bedroom and I had to crop out the dust bunnies, dirty laundry, etc.... While I do like the green shrug, my painted rhinestone necklace, and tri-colored t-straps above, something was a little off. Maybe too summery on top with the "heavy" look of the black tights. So I switched a few things out below......

All black makes it more sophisticated. I noticed in one of the reviews posted on Anthro that another gal found the Amazon one as well. Yay for her! Ahhhh, comforting to know there are others like me out there! I know I've preached this before, but if it's not an in-house Anthro designer you can always search for a better price on the same item. A good example is this post. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

That Damn Lace Hem

I am confessing that I have a slight obsession lately with lace trimmed tops. It all started last Fall when I fell in love with the Lace Skirt Sweatshirt from Anthropologie (worn here) and then getting a similar sweater at Macy's (worn here). In my true "research" form, while nosing around about the Lace Skirt Sweatshirt I had seen someone post that American Eagle was carrying the "exact same sweater" for less. Of course I was intrigued. However, I could not find the sucker! I kept checking their website and I visited 2 of their stores around that same time. Sure, there were sweaters there trimmed with ruffles and lace, but not like the Anthro one. I thought this person must be mistaken. I guess it should also be noted that I wouldn't consider this trim "lace" but an eyelet cotton.
 While in Chicago this past weekend, I happen to spot a girl wearing the sweater below (the American Eagle one - came in pink and grey). I complimented her on it and asked where she got it just to confirm. Yep, American Eagle. How odd that I never saw it. It is sold out online (and probably in stores too) but let's do a comparison of the price points, shall we?
Anthropologie was $78.00, then on sale for $49.95
American Eagle was $59.95, then on sale for $29.95
If you missed out on either, I am seeing Anthro's Spring arrivals trickle in with that same eyelet trim. For instance, the East Falls Pullover (but why the increase to $88 Anthro? Is it the stripes?) and the Synoptic Layered Tunic. Furthermore, I did a quick search to try to find that eyelet trim for you DIY'ers out there. I didn't come up with anything but I am sure it can be found and there are plenty of other cute options out there too. And obviously other retailers, like the Macy's and AE references here, carrying a slew of basic tops dressed up with pretty trims.
I know I always say this, but I need to learn how to sew! I could see a trim like this going on the bottom of a skirt or dress that might be too short. So many options!
Anyway, let's get back to the outfit I wore today. Moth's Village Pass sweater was from 2006, and one of my recent eBay scores. You know, those secret listings that no one else discovers that I often talk about? Because believe me, this vintage piece goes for a pretty penny! I just couldn't resist the flowers, lace and style. I had a brown belt on but then decided to go the more comfortable route. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have always worn tunics and empire waisted tops and dresses. Although, I am sure if often fuels rumors of a bun in the oven! Oh well, let them talk!
Moth Village Pass Sweater - vintage Anthro via eBay
A.N.A. Jeggings & Brown Boots - JC Penney
Apt 9 Brown Boot Socks - Kohl's
Butterfly Necklace - Forever 21
Vintage Watch - Grandpa's

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Brighton Your Day

Not only did the satin floral print on these pants brighten my day, but so did the price tag. While in Chicago this past weekend, I was scanning the sale racks at Anthropologie. These are Elevenses Floral Brighton Wide Legs, and they were normally $138 down to $19.99!

When it comes to Anthropologie, I keep a running "Wish List" on their website to keep track of everything I like. It is a good way to watch for things to get marked down to either purchase or get a price adjustment (within 14 days). So those are usually the only pieces I am focused on. However, when I do get into a store something might catch my eye that didn't make the cut from just seeing it on the website. These pants were the case and I couldn't pass them up for the price. And sometimes I have found, that the random purchases like these I end up liking or getting more wear out of than something that I have been wanting for months while waiting for sale.

With all the different shades of blue in these, I want to pair them with a chambray top. But today I went with a more no brainer choice of a black turtleneck. I was wearing my bubble necklace that day in the dressing room and was pleased to see it would pick up one of the blues in the print. Boots are Sam & Libby Kaye from Target (mine are the all black color).

Brighton is the style name of these pants that Anthro seems to carry all of the time - just in different colors and prints. I had never tried them before, so I am now glad to know the fit and size for possible future purchases.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

More Detective Work

I must say, I owe a lot of my bargain hunting ways to what I learned from my Mom. She recently called me with a new case to research! She had found a really cute faux fur jacket at Marshalls. She told me the brand name and style. Off to work I went. I found it at Nordstroms - the Damselle Hooded Faux Fur Jacket. It came in a few colors/patterns. As you can see, originally $228 and now half off. What did she find it for? On clearance for $48 at Marshalls - that's about 80% off! It is so soft, and I just love the rose pattern in the fur.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Forensic Fashion

I'm back with some Internet searching tips (a.k.a. letting you in to just how weird persistent I am)! Today it's all about this sweater jacket I wore a little more than a year ago for a photo shoot I had done (to promote my jewelry and blog).
I recently shared some eBay searching tips, but that was an example of when I knew what I was searching for. Here is an example of a time when I didn't have specifics to a piece I was looking for. I had seen this on a model in an advertising booklet for a touristy town. There were no credits on the photo. I was drawn to it's peacock teal color, and the mix of materials (velvet, boucle, faux fur, faux leather). So when I hit up eBay, you can probably guess what I started searching under.
Terms like "velvet sweater jacket" or "faux fur sweater". Of course, you could also start narrowing the results down with eBay's own categories (color, size, etc...). As you work, you will start to get a feel for altering your key words. And, once you find what you are looking for, you will most likely be able to find the brand name and/or style so that you can look at all your options. For instance, this is by Boston Proper so once I knew that, I searched all of Boston Proper's sweaters/jackets so that I could ensure finding the best deal (since this was sold out on their website). Oh, and don't forget to search the "Completed Items" so you can see how much the item is selling for and you might find some unsold listings where you can contact the seller to see if they will relist it.
Besides eBay, I now also search sites like Pinterest, and Polyvore, where you will most likely be taken to the link of the site where the product picture was taken from. There is another site, which I have not used yet, called The Hunt where you can post a picture of what you are looking for and people can respond with the info. I am not going to lie - searching for unique items and deals takes some time and you learn a lot as you go. But, I feel like it is a hobby for me - like the thrill of the hunt is as exciting as the item itself!
How about you? Do you use any of these sites? What are your best tips for locating what you want to buy?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Discounted Ruffles

A story..... oh, there's always a good story when shopping for deals. Before I get into it, let's review Anthropologie's 20 year archival collection they released this summer. See my post here about it, and how happy I was that I already owned many of the originals from my eBay hunting. The only new piece I bought from the collection was the Peacock Cardi (which you can read about here). As much as I adored some of the other pieces, I let them go and didn't really hunt them down when they finally hit sale.
A few days before the New Year, my hubby wanted to take a road trip to purchase a new rally car (a.k.a. an AWD Subaru) as he had just sold his. The plan was to stay overnight in Sandusky, OH at an indoor water park. As we started our trip over there, trailer and all, he found out the car he wanted had sold. We went on with our reservations as we knew we couldn't cancel. That evening at the resort, he tracked down another car he was interested in, a couple of hours away. Knowing the plan to go there the next day, I decided to see if there was anything to occupy Richard and I. Luckily, I found a shopping center halfway between the hotel and car destination. Jon dropped us off at Crocker Park and went on his way. Since I hadn't planned on shopping for our trip, I didn't have a stroller for Richard and the entire mall was outdoors. A bit of a challenge, but I figured if he got too impatient there was a Barnes & Noble where we could park ourselves while we waited for Daddy.
As long as Mama got into Anthropologie, she would be happy. After all, they were still having their after Christmas sale and my wonderful boys had a gift card in my stocking. I scanned the sale racks which were ho-hum. I picked a few things to try on and then looked around some more. All the while distracted by the fact that Richard was enthralled with some jingle bell garland that I really didn't feel like paying $20 for if he broke it. I decided to go through the racks one more time, and I am so glad I did. For hiding in the depths was a lone gem - the Archival Ruffle Skirt! And in my size! So this was the piece I walked away this that day - that wonderfully sporadic, unplanned day. Finding such a rare item, 5 months later, was very lucky indeed.
The skirt was originally $188. Markdowns were $99.95, then $49.95. With the extra 25% off sale, this baby came in at $37.46! This skirt is a hard one to pull off, because of it's volume. Especially on someone like me who has big hips. I like to search other blogs and pinterest for ideas on how other people style the same pieces I have, but I haven't seen this skirt at all. I stuck with my rule of full bottom = fitted top. Oh, and don't worry about my bare arms with snow on the ground..... it was in the 40's today. That's like tropical here. (hee, hee)
Vanessa Virginia Archival Ruffle Skirt : Anthropologie
Apt 9 Black Sweater : Kohl's
Yoki Boots : Zulily
Wood Bead Necklace : Local Charitable Union Gift Shop


My hubby is in China right now for work. Whenever he is gone, I get a burst of domestic energy and I sometimes tackle projects that I might not normally do. I am pretty sure it is to keep myself busy so that I don't think about him being gone and so the time goes fast.
 It's been 11 years since I've been to China myself, and when we moved into our house shortly after one of the rooms was wallpapered and painted to suit an Asian theme. I had collected quite a few treasures in my 2 trips, and we were also heavy Pier 1 shoppers when we were first married. This is our guest bedroom, and it is the only room in the house were the walls have not been refreshed in the 11 years we have been here.
Fast forward to now, as we are trying to sell our home. Some of the feedback we've gotten is the bedrooms are too small. The size is not something we can do anything about, but we could change the staging. Here is a pic of the room before. As you can see, as soon as you walk into the room the bed is there.
When my sister-in-law was visiting last weekend, she suggested moving the bed to the opposite wall. I am really pleased with how it turned out.

Now when you walk into the room, you see a ton of the beautiful wood floor. It feels a lot more open. I had the thought to get a rug (I would angle it, as if inviting you into the room and put it only halfway under the bed) but then I thought why cover up that floor? Maybe if I find a really awesome deal as I don't want to spend a lot.

The nice thing about this busy wallpaper, is you can't see nail holes! The way the room was before, these pictures were paired up and hung on different walls. I wanted to do something a little more unpredictable. I've done other collage walls in the house, and I jumped at the chance to do one that spanned 2 walls with a corner. Since the bed doesn't have a headboard, I like the way this art collection pulls they eye into the room.
Who knows if it will make a difference or not, but it was fun to play around with since I love decorating my home!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Balmy Waddling

When you consider 35 degrees and raining to be balmy, you know you live in Michigan! Really though, after the below zero temps we'd been having, temps in the 30's do feel downright balmy. I guess our bodies and blood are conditioned to this. And when all that show melts into a huge mess, you do feel like you are "waddling" through it like a duck! If you'd like to read the story behind my duck affection, see post here.

So I guess I just love all kinds of birds. Peacocks are my first love, but I do enjoy owl and duck prints too. The ducks on this sweater have all kinds of textures - embroidery, crochet, beads, etc..... There's even one hiding around the back. I am wearing one of my recent "deal" necklaces in this link (link updated now that I have found the peacock necklace on Macy's website).

Monogram "Pond Parade Pullover" : Anthropologie
Lenora Dame Nostalgic Floral Strand : TJ Maxx
A.N.A. Jeggings & Boots : JC Penney
Apt 9 Brown Boot Socks : Kohl's

Friday, January 10, 2014

Mileage and My Rules

After yesterday's post, I wanted to show how I wore the butterfly top in the summer. This is a pic of me a couple of summers ago - oh how I wish I were there right now! I wanted to explain how to get the most "mileage" out of your closet. Maybe I am not telling you anything you didn't already know, so bear with me.

Thinking about wearing a butterfly print in the middle of Winter may not make sense to most people. But since this top has dark grey tones to it, I think you can pull it off when using it as a layering piece like I did. Of course, this would not work with a bright tropical print, but take a look through your clothes and see what kinds of sleeveless or short sleeve tops you can use all year long just by adding a sweater of jacket over them. Same goes for sleeveless or strapless dresses. Pop a cardigan over it, put on some tights, and you can wear year round! There are some even more daring as to wear tights under their shorts. That is not me, but then again I don't wear/like shorts anyway..... or maybe I just haven't found the right pair.

Besides these ideas, here is a proportion rule I use. I don't follow many fashion rules, but you'll notice that both times I wore this billowy trapeze top, I wore skinny jeans on the bottom. So the rule goes:

Over sized top = fitted bottom

and vice versa

Over sized bottom (like the wide leg pants I love so much) = fitted top

Another trick I like for shapeless tops or dresses is adding a belt =  instant silhouette

Thoughts? What are some of your favorite fashion formulas that you follow, or work for your body type?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Polar Vortex

I have been wanting to blog so badly - I have lots of new deals and stories to share - but it has been a bit abnormal around here. We are experiencing a bad winter here in Michigan - you may have heard the phrases "polar vortex" and "arctic blast".

I guess I should back up..... I enjoyed having almost 2 full weeks off for the holidays. So when Monday rolled around, I was ready to get back into the world! I love being a homebody, but when Mother Nature tells me I cannot leave my house I get a little stir crazy. I decided to freeze my butt off for a few minutes today for the sake of the blog as I feel I get my best pictures outside or with natural light.

I know I have shared my deals when it comes to sales/coupons/etc..... But I thought I'd share a few tips here on how I find awesome deals on eBay. The piece I am talking about in this post is the top I have under the sweater. It is a thin, sleeveless butterfly print top from Anthropologie (of course). I wasn't always an Anthropologie shopper. Sure, I'd always loved their things but until I learned how to shop their sales, there were a lot of things outside of my grasp. I remember seeing this in their catalog, but the $78 price tag was a no go. One of the best ways to get older pieces is eBay. It can take some time and patience, but it does pay off.

This top is by Edme & Esyllte and called "Wing Theory Shell". The first thing I would search by is "Anthropologie Wing Theory". Searching by the actual name is going to give you the most accurate results. However, also the most expensive results. You see, those who know their stuff will know what to charge for it. It might be retail, a little less than retail but more than sale, or if it is really rare over retail. Not only might it be someone selling off some of their pieces, but we all know that there are people who make their living by buying up items (not just Anthro) on sale and then charging a bit more for them to make a profit. But, it is a good reference when you start your search. After that, I would search by the following variations:

Edme & Esyllte
Anthropologie Butterfly
Anthropologie Wing

Get the picture? Just start breaking up the words and searching different combos. What you are looking for is that person who doesn't know the history of the piece and is just listing it with the label name or what is on it. This is where you are going to get your deal - and hope that no other Anthro-addict finds it if it is not a buy it now! I won the auction on this little number for $10.49!

And the title the seller actually put it under was:

ANTHROPOLOGIE EDME & ESYLLTE Whimsical Butterfly Boho Tank Top Shirt Gray

Notice, the official Anthropologie name is not in the title. So there you go, now you know one of my secrets. You won't outbid me now, right?

Other outfit details:

Dolce Cabo Cardigan: Zulily (It's asymetrical-ness reminded me of something Anthro would carry)
A.N.A. Black Jeggings: JC Penney
Bear Traps Boots : Macy's