Thursday, January 17, 2008

Grey Banana Republic Merino Shift Dress

Where: Consignment boutique
Cost: $17

I found this dress this fall in my favorite consignment store and was so excited. I immediately pictured it with tall boots and a long pendant necklace. I loved it. Then I brought it home and found out my fiance despises it. He says it looks like a sack.

That definitely diminishes my enjoyment of the dress but I wear it on occasion because I still think it is great and get many compliments every time I wear it (from the ladies who think it is cute).

Monday, January 14, 2008

Worth it or not? Part 1

I have been meaning to write this post for a few weeks now. I received two kits from Sephora for Christmas (thanks DML!):

The Smashbox Try Me Kit

And the Stila Perfect Face Kit: I like getting kits like this as gifts because I can see what products are like without committing to buying them. And, as is often the case, some of the items are worth it and some are most definitely not.

So, let's start out with the Smashbox kit. I mostly wanted this because I have heard great things about the Photo Finish Primer ($36-$42). I must say that I was impressed. It only takes a small amount (one pump) and I feel like my skin looks better at the end of the day when I include this in my routine. Plus it feels silky smooth and luxurious on my face. However, I dont wear foundation on a daily basis so am not sure if I will purchase this again. I would definitely say that it is worth it for someone who does wear foundation daily.

Also included in the kit is the Photo Op Under Eye Brightener ($18). This one is definitely worth it to me. I have thin, pale skin to begin with and that is magnified in the under eye area. I tend to have a little bit of a bluish tint and this does the trick to neutralize it. I do not have serious dark circle issues so I am not sure how well this would work for someone with that concern. Also, I found this on ebay (surprise!) for cheaper and am planning on purchasing the full size that way.

The kit also includes small samples of Brow Tech in blonde, brunette, and taupe ($24!). Honestly, these are generic colors that you can find at any drugstore. I have full brows that do not need filling in but I do not see why someone cannot get the same effect from a much cheaper drugstore version. Not worth it.

I was similarly perplexed by the Brow Tech Wax included ($20!?). Sure it did its job by grooming my brows, but certainly there is a cheaper way to achieve this (vaseline? clear mascara anyone?) Not worth it.

I also wanted to mention that I still have a few great secondhand finds up my sleeve to post from my lucky days earlier in the fall. I went these last few weekends and found not a thing. But that is how it goes!

I will trying to post 3X a week (or possibly more) but I haven't quite found my rhythm as a new blogger. Thanks to all of you who leave comments! They are very much appreciated.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

J Crew Oxford

Where: Ebay
Cost: $25

Ok. Ignore the fact that the shirt is wrinkled. Also, ignore my hairstyle. I took this picture after I got home from work and I was wearing a jacket on top of it. As I've mentioned before, I have a soft spot for J crew. I saw this shirt on the website a few years ago while I was still on a college budget (i.e. I could not afford to pay 70 bucks for a single shirt). I lusted after it for a long time until a light-bulb went off in my head. Ebay!

I found this shirt new with tags on ebay at a much more college friendly price just a few months after it had been taken off the J crew website. I wore it alot more often while I was still in school and in a very casual way (with faded jeans, cute sneakers, and a hoodie). I have worn it to work a few times but I always have to be careful not to look too old when I dress it up.

I urge you to check ebay first if you know your size in a particular brand! It has served me well many times...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Go Hokies

What: Orange and Maroon Wool Scarf from American Eagle
Where: Plato's Closet
Cost: $3

I wasn't going to post this find (because it's not my most stylish item) but I am filled with Hokie Pride for my Alma Mater as we prepare to play Kansas in the Orange Bowl tonight.

Hank decided to jump up and start kneading it to show his support for the Hokies.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

How to be lucky when shopping secondhand

I have been frequenting secondhand shops since high school but this year I got really serious about finding quality items and I have been very lucky with many of my finds. True, alot of secondhand shopping is about sheer luck, finding that one special item before anyone else does. But there are also several factors that contribute to finding quality items secondhand.

Here are some things that have contributed to a fulfilling secondhand experience for me this past year:

1.) I moved to a college town in the deep south. I think there is some truth to the "Southern Belle" stereotype, especially among college aged women in the SEC. I don't know why exactly but the ladies dress well down here and they donate their clothes often. I have had better luck finding quality items down here than my previous homes in the mountains of Virginia and in my hometown an hour south of D.C .

2.) I learned to walk out with nothing. Sometimes you are lucky, and sometimes there is nothing but crap. When I was really working on my wardrobe I would venture into secondhand stores every weekend. It was during football season when my fiance was occupied so I would have hours to dedicate to shopping. This is not an art for the patient person. You have to be prepared for disappointment.

3.) I learned to have my clothes tailored. Another thing about the South: there are tailors and seamstresses everywhere. I can think of three all within a few miles of my home. Two are within walking distance. It is easier to find things secondhand if you are willing to tweak them a little bit. Don't expect perfect fitting garments and you will be able to work with more.

4.) I learned to have an open mind. I have a favorite consignment boutique in a neighboring town where it is easier to find quality clothing. But I also visit the local Goodwill and Mission Thrift Store where it is a little harder to find something special. I will sometimes even go into the dreaded, overpriced, abercrombie t- shirt filled Plato's Closet because really, you never know what you will find. It is necessary to keep the "you never know what you will find" mentality because it is true. I have found banana republic sweaters at Goodwill and my black leather knee high boots are from the unlikely Mission Thrift Store.

5.) I learned to enjoy the experience. I sometimes get depressed in shopping malls. I haven't figured out why but I think it is from all the people looking to simply spend money to fill some void in their lives. When I go into local consignment boutiques and thrift stores, I feel more connected to the community and I never get that empty feeling I do when I go shopping at the mall. This helps me get through not being able to find anything I need or want. The experience of looking at all the junk that once had meaning in people's lives is fun in itself! Secondhand shopping is not just shopping to find a specific thing, it is a form of entertainment.

Happy 2008 to all of you!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A New Year's Resolution

This always seems to happen to me every few months. I get the urge to do a complete overhaul in my wardrobe. I look at the majority of my closet now and see nothing but drabness and I hate everything.

Why oh why did I buy so much brown clothing this fall? A turtleneck, dress, sweater, and blouse? What was I thinking?

I know exactly what I was thinking: because of my paleness I thought brown could be a nice neutral and a softer alternative to black.... thats what all the beauty books say and it got embedded in my brain and I bought brown without thinking about whether I actually liked the color. But I have finally realized that brown does absolutely nothing for me. My new year's resolution is to buy no more brown.

I will seek out jewel tones. Emerald green, royal blue, deep purple.... but no more brown.

Some reminders for myself, who cannot seem to resist brown:


I think I can do this.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I went out shopping tonight to get some last minute Christmas gifts. I was only supposed to be gone for a short while because I only needed two items. I headed out to my local Ross and walked into the store with my mind set on what I was going to purchase. Then I caught my reflection in one of the mirrors... My outfit was stretched out and wrinkled from being worn all day, I had some small pizza stains on my pants, my black sweater was covered in lint/cat hair/ my hair, my skin was pale with all my makeup having worn off, my eyes were red, and my hair was frizzy/straight/limp/no style as usual.

Suddenly I had the urge to find a dress. Something sophisticated, stylish, flattering (like seriously, I thought I was going to find this at Ross?). I proceeded to search the racks for my magic dress. I didnt find it but I picked up seven dresses anyways and I headed to the dressing room. I then proceeded to stand in the fitting room for twenty minutes analyzing every dress, glancing at my flaws, cursing my paleness and red eyes. Nothing made me feel good.

I left Ross and headed down the sidewalk to TJ Maxx. I was determined to find something to buy that would make me feel like the person I wanted to be. You know- someone that didnt look so tired, so disheveled and boring. I glanced at the dresses at TJ Maxx and remembered my experience at Ross. I headed to the shoe section. Shoes! Shoes would solve my problems by adding some much needed pizazz. I spent 30 minutes looking at shoes and trying them on. Nothing made me feel like a new person.

And then I realized what I had been doing for the last hour. Nothing I would buy tonight would change the reality of who I am. I am not a fashionista. My eyes are red. My hair is limp and frizzy. My skin is beyond pale. Nothing I can buy will make me feel better about myself.

Sure I would get a temporary high from buying some pretty shoes. But then the guilt would come. Did I need those shoes? And I would look at myself in the mirror wearing my pretty shoes and see that I still looked the same from the feet up.

I quickly purchased the gifts I originally set out to buy and headed home with no magic dress or shoes in hand.

I feel a little sad now, but triumphant that I succeeded in overcoming the desire to use shopping as a temporary fix. So many women practice "retail therapy" without even knowing it. Remember to ask "why" before you buy (eh, I didnt really mean for that to rhyme...)