A Wear Fit & Flare Lace Dress

I feel like I keep discovering more and more shops. ASOS is an awesome shop with cute clothes. It started in the UK in 2000 with only recently (as in 2010) opening up to shoppers in the US. I had heard about ASOS before today, but only today did I actually go to the website to check it out.

ASOS Rib Fold Over Collar

Little Mistress Floral Applique Prom Dress

There are a lot of cute styles available at ASOS, and right now they are providing a 30% off coupon on the website. I would definitely recommend checking it out for holiday dresses, warm coats, and... more!

Christmas Decorations & the Holiday Weekend

After spending a delightful Thanksgiving with our families enjoying Justin's most delicious Ultimate Coconut Cake, and a crazy-busy Black Friday at the malls shopping deals and discounts to obtain the perfect gifts for the ones we love, Justin and I spent our Sunday buying and decorating our very first Christmas tree. (We were suppose to put it up on Saturday, but my car requested service first.)

We went early Saturday to pick out a Christmas tree at Costco. (Seven to eight foot trees were being sold there for a price of $30, which I could not argue with.)

Then Justin completely surprised me by picking out some turquoise ornaments for us to decorate our tree with. While I was worried about our Christmas tree being too "girly", Justin informed me that Christmas trees, in essence, are girly and he might as well decorate the tree with my favorite color just to make me happy. I was perfectly content to go along with it. Unfortunately, Justin and I are crazy picky and we could not find a tree topper. Instead, being resourceful, I decided to put a polar bear on top of the tree that I got from my parents' house. It is now our favorite part of the tree!

Next on the list of Christmas decorations, Justin and I will be making a Christmas wreath and a tree skirt.

So what did you do during the holiday weekend? Do you agree with Justin that Christmas trees are girly? What do you top your tree with?

Black Friday Shopping

One of my favorite things to do every year after Thanksgiving is to go shopping on "Black Friday". I love people watching. Then there is also the excitement of seeing Christmas decorations up in the malls and hearing Christmas music for what is hopefully the first time in the year. While Christmas decorations are going up earlier and earlier every year and shops are playing Christmas music sooner and sooner after Halloween, I still love keeping up the tradition begun with my grandmother and mother years and years and years ago when I was very young. Unfortunately for Justin, neither my mother nor my grandmother truly enjoy going out in the crowds anymore, so Justin gets the joy of coming with me. He doesn't mind so long as I don't spend all of our money. :) Unfortunately, over the years, we have also discovered that often the deals advertised in conjunction with black Friday aren't always as good as what you may find during the year or after the Christmas rush is over in January.

Obviously there are a number of places you can go and ways to save even more money on the biggest spending day of the year. Starting, of course, with coupons from newspapers and paying attention to deals in the stores. You can also get help finding deals from websites such as SlickDeals. Something very new to me this year is using smartphone apps like RetailMeNot, DealsPL, Pocketly, Shopkick, Pic2Shop, and Redlaser to name a few. Some apps provide useful coupons while you are in stores while others look up your item using a SKU number and tell you if other stores, online or not, have the item for cheaper, assuming the SKU number matches the SKU  number available online for other stores.

So what do you love most about Black Friday? Do you go for traditions sake or to find a specific gift for a good price for that someone special?

Wishing All A Happy Thanksgiving!

Over the past year, my life has changed in so many ways... for the better. I am so thankful for all of the wonderful people in my life who have blessed it in so many ways.

I sincerely hope that each of my readers has a particularly good Thursday whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving!

Shoes... Shoes... Shoes...

When I was getting married, I had the hardest time finding shoes. Today, through pinterest, I stumbled across ParisXOX on etsy.

Watermelon Pink Shoes with Rhinestone Embellishments.

Before finding out about ParisXOX, I thought the only place to get shoes dyed in a specific color was through Payless Shoes. I was pretty excited when I discovered an etsy company that not only dyes shoes in a wide variety of colors but also has a huge selection of shoes from which to choose as well as shoe ornaments through which to make any shoes you choose even more gorgeous.

Orange Shoes with Feathers and a Crystal and Pearl Embellishment

I am also loving that this company provides color swatches, and they will send you a pair of un-dyed shoes to try on and make sure you get your correct size. Perhaps the best thing about this company is that a huge amount of money from your purchase gets donated to the animal shelter! Not only do you get gorgeous shoes in the correct size and color for your wedding (or other event), but you get to make an animal's life better as well!

Victorian Jade Green Shoes with Rhinestone Embellishments

Starting today, ParisXOX is having an inventory sale for Black Friday, so go check them out and score yourself a pair of cute, colorful shoes for a discounted price! :)

Christmas Crafts

Apparently, this week's posts are all about saving money!

This week Justin and I have been discussing how best we can save money and yet still decorate for Christmas. Let me share some of our ideas:

1. Instead of buying a Christmas tree, we are going to borrow a fake tree. As exciting as a real tree? No. Can we focus on giving instead? Yes.
2. As I shared in the last post, we have been shopping for Christmas gifts since August looking for the best deals. We have used coupons, gift cards, and money I have made through doing online surveys to save money. :)
3. As one of our Christmas gifts, a family I babysit for has offered to pay for a mailbox decoration for Justin and I. I am so excited about this gift in particular since the money used to purchase the mailbox decoration is also a donation to children's healthcare. I couldn't have asked for a more thoughtful, better gift from this family! :)
4. Justin and I are planning on making all of our Christmas ornaments using things around the house. (Don't tell him I told you.) We got a lot of ideas from Pinterest.
5. I am super excited about making this wreath for our front door. It looks nice yet cheap and easy enough to do.
6. I bought my Christmas party dress a month ago which leaves more money for whatever else is necessary (gifts, food, etc...) this month and next.

The only thing Justin and I are not skimping on this year are our Christmas cards. I took an awesome picture a couple of years back that we will be printing on some high quality cardstock from a professional photo studio. We are also planning on jazzing up our card sending by using Christmas stamps. :)

Ok... that and some Christmas pictures taken with Justin's immediate family that we hope to include in our Christmas card. :)

How are you saving money this Christmas?


So... when you get married and:

a) one of you doesn't work
b) both of you have mediocre/bad paying jobs
c) you have a lot of debt (i.e. student loans) that needs to get paid off

you make sacrifices in spending. Hopefully you didn't splurge too much when you got married and/or if you did it was for reasons you both wanted. The same goes for after marriage. You pick and choose what you want the most.

Neither Justin nor I came from extremely wealthy families. When we moved into a rental house, we were under the impression that we would only have my bedroom furniture and the furniture he had from his apartment. (We have only taken/used his furniture thus far.) Our families (well, his) don't really have a lot of furniture to help us fill our house with. I am not willing to take things I don't like or have an idea of what to do with since we have hardly any storage space.

But I guess the biggest sacrifice, and the reason for this post, has been the gas bill. Over the summer I was finding new and exciting ways to decrease the electricity by decreasing our use of the air conditioner. The same has gone thus far with the heater. I think we have our thermostat set at 55 or 60. With this house getting cold so easily and the heat rising, I can't really find a great reason for not saving the money. If I can withstand the cold with blankets and sweaters, it makes me feel like my money can go towards better things. (Unfortunately, my husband cannot withstand the cold, so we do turn the heater on when he is home.)

Other things we have done include:

1. Severely limiting our use of garbage... recycling as much as we can. (Recycling is free.)
2. Thinking twice before grocery shopping. If we know we are going to have a busy week and not be able to eat at home, we only shop for the meals we know we will eat at home.
3. I complete surveys online to make a little bit of extra money during the week for things like general household expenses, gifts, and treats. :)
4. Staying at home when my husband is at work. If I'm honest with myself, I would probably go shopping... not only spending money I don't have, but using gas as well. Is it worth it? Really?
5. Using pinterest to find ways to decorate on the cheap. (Also using wedding supplies.) We also like finding new and exciting ways to make gifts or... waiting to buy things until they are on sale. I began Christmas shopping back in August. :)

Clearly, there are a million ways to cut back on spending until you get your debts paid down, you move up in your job, or you both get jobs... You don't even have to sacrifice the occasional splurge. Truthfully, you just have to decide where it is you want your money to go.

Do you have any other ideas for cutting back on spending that you can share with me?

The Designer Jeans Search

Jeans shopping

Instead of celebrating Halloween on Wednesday like any normal person, Justin and I decided to go out and do something different. I had never been to Phipps Plaza, the mall known for having the most expensive stores in the city of Atlanta. It is the mall of Giorgio Armani, Versace, Valentino, and home of the only Tiffany & Co. in the state of Georgia. It is also a very quiet and empty mall on Halloween.

Since we were in such a fancy mall, I convinced Justin to let me try on designer jeans. I've been looking for a fabulous pair of jeans since... forever. I may have had one awesome pair in high school, but unfortunately (or rather, fortunately) I lost too much weight and essentially they lost their awesomeness. (Also, I may have torn them when Justin threw me over a fence that one time and sprained my ankle. Entirely different story though.)

Previously this month I had tried on AG jeans (at Anthropologie) and Hudson jeans (at Dillard's). The AG jeans looked cute, but I wasn't IN LOVE. They reminded me of... jeans. The Hudson jeans I wanted so desperately to love because they fit so well around my thighs and followed my legs fairly well, but I just could not deal with the triangular pocket.

I guess I should mention my stature. I am short at 5'2" and I'm not the skinniest of people (although you are welcome to tell me that I am). I am curvy in that my hips and waist have approximately a 10-inch difference. (I could be a little off since I haven't measured in awhile.) I generally wear a size 0 or 2 in American sizes... 25/26 in European sizing depending on the brand. I typically have been wearing Aeropostale jeans for the last few months, but in the past, I have tried Express, many of the Macy's brands, Kohl's, JC Penney's, American Eagle, jeans sold at Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, Wet Seal, and... I think that's all.

Over the years what I have been looking for in jeans has drastically changed. The biggest issue I've had is that I buy jeans and when I bring them home, they don't fit the way they did in the store. The extra stretchiness tends to make my legs, thighs, and butt look bigger than I'd like. They also typically don't add any length... which is very important to a short person. I don't always want to wear heels just to make me look taller.

When Justin and I walked into Nordstrom last night, my only goal was to try on the Paige jeans that I had read so much about online. Every review I read made them sound like the most amazing jeans ever. Plus, every person I had ever seen them on looked... great. Now maybe my problem is that I needed to get more in shape, but my feelings are that wearing a size 0 or 2 in jeans shouldn't make me look too big, to begin with.

So I picked up a pair of Paige jeans (skinny and flared, sizes 25 and 26) as well as a pair of Hudson jeans without the triangle pocket when a customer associate saw me and decided to "help". I tried on these first few pairs only seeking the opinion of my husband. All of the jeans fit, but none spoke to me. (For your reference, the size 25 fit best in those brands as well as AG.) When I came out of the dressing room, the sales associate suggested that maybe I should try two other brands she had on the floor (J Brand and Rag & Bone). I went to try on the J Brand straight leg jeans, but the size 25 did not fit. I had to upsize to a 26 before they fit but did not look amazing. (Should have taken pics.) Then I tried on Rag & Bone in Kensington skinny jeans as well as a dark wash in the skinny jeans. I was informed I may have to upsize in Rag & Bone since they tend to run a bit small.

I knew I would have to upsize when I began to put the Rag & Bone jeans on. They were fitting snuggly around my ankle, so I was certain there was no way in heck they'd fit around my hips. You have no idea how shocked and surprised I was that the size 25 fit! The jeans hugged my legs in all of the right places, in essence making my legs look skinny... in all of the right places. Yay!  The Kensington wash also helped by making my legs look longer than they actually are. As the sales associate said, I would be able to dress up these jeans with heels or just wear them with flats for normal day-to-day wear. She said exactly what I was thinking, that if you are going to spend a bunch on jeans you want them to be a staple in your closet.

Justin and I decided that I needed to research the brand a bit before making such a large purchase. Unfortunately, in my research, I have yet to see a true blogger review of these jeans. Apparently, tons of celebrities wear these jeans, LeAnn Rimes and Khloe Kardashian to name a few. I'm just looking for a review that a blogger has done so that I can see how these jeans wear over time. With so much stretch in the hip area, I fear the jeans will stretch out and cause the same problems my other jeans have after buying. I don't feel terrible when $20 jeans stretch, wear out and sag over time, but I would be devastated to spend $200 on a pair of jeans that don't last.

So what are your thoughts on designer jeans? Could you bare the thought of spending $200 on a pair of jeans? And if you have, was it worth it?