Thursday, January 29, 2009


Of all the accessories that crowd my dresser and closet, the one I wear the most and the one that can pack the most punch is my haircut. And since yesterday was HAIR CUT DAY! Yay! I posted some picture of my new 'do.

Now, I talk a lot about getting a good deal and never paying too much for anything and always looking for a bargain, yada, yada ... BUT, there is one thing that I am willing to pay for (still within my means, of course), and that's a great hair cut. I've had some bad stylist karma in the last few years: I found a place a really liked, but the cuts kept getting more and more expensive and I just couldn't afford it, which totally sucked the fun out of Hair Cut Day. Then, I found a girl who I LOVED and even drove 1.5 hours every time I needed a cut (she was near my parents house), because she was so cheap. But then she decided to stop doing hair altogether. Boo. So, after going for MONTHS and MONTHS without a haircut, I finally couldn't take it anymore and risked finding a new stylist.

It's soooo hard to find somebody who just really "gets" your hair and your style. Ironically, one of my neighbors is a stylist at a salon that is literally 30 seconds from my house. Though I was aware of the potentially very awkward neighbor situation if I didn't like her cuts, I decided to take the risk. And it was worth it, because she's awesome! Reasonably priced and has yet to falter on my baby fine hair. Yesterday, she flat-ironed my hair first and did the entire cut dry. That way, I didn't lose any length and the layers are perfect placed.

I've finally learned to stick up for myself in the chair. If the price isn't worth the cut, you've just GOT to move on until you find the right stylist. There's no place for emotion when you're under the scissors. After years of perms, highlights, and bad coloring, I'm finally realizing the full potential of my natural hair. Yay for HAIR CUT DAY!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


GRRR ... it erfin' snowed again... so I had to keep it pretty tame today. It's that roadie-ragamuffin look. I've recently decided that I want to start collecting rock t-shirts. Originals or repros, I'm not picky. You can view my entire collection ... in the picture above. That's right folks, this is the extent of my rock t-shirt collection ... for now, but I'm working on it. It's a Led Zepplin 1971 Tour shirt I picked up in the men's dept. of Target for $13 after being inspired by the Rock 'n' Roll chapter in the "Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style." If you haven't read it, it's a really, really cool book. It may actually be the only book I've read cover to cover in the last 3 or so years (I'm a bit more of a mag girl).

The cardigan adds a little sunshine (BonTon, sale $20) worn with my favorite black skinnies. I pulled out my comfy mocs (Minnetonka, $37), which because of the erfin' snow, I have to wear all Mister Rodgers style (i.e. change into them when I get to work, whilst singing "Won't you be my neighbor?"). Okay, I don't take it QUITE that far, but it's definitely a 2 pairs of shoes kind of day.

However... It's also HAIR CUT DAY! Yay! Hopefully Sarah over at J. Stephens Salon will fix me up right. Can't wait!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Never has there been a skirt that hugs my curves SO perfectly right off the rack. It's a one in a million shot, but I love it when it happens! And it's lined, so it's comfortable (and possible) to wear over tights.

I just entered this outfit in the Lucky Style Spotter Under $100 contest, because surprise, surprise, it cost under $100. I picked up the jacket in the juniors dept. (gasp!) at Kohl's for $20 (half off the original price) and the T-shirt is once again...American Apparel ($22). The "Messiah of all skirts" is a high-waisted little number from JCPenney and was bought on sale for $24. The boots you've seen (Target $28) and the belt was free from mom's closet (I love that place).

I only wish the office was as good looking as the wardrobe...

Monday, January 26, 2009


My husband ever so affectionately refers to this as the "prison dress." Well, guilty as charged, but I can't help it. I'm a sucker for a black and white stripe. There's something so punky-French about it. I eyed this dress at JCPenney when it first came out, but at $78, it was a little out of my price range, especially for a t-shirt dress. A few months later, I came across it again, but THIS time, this time was different. This time it was on clearance for $25! And to be honest, I think I used a coupon and didn't even pay that much for it. It's great in the summer with flats or sandals, and becomes a comfy winter option with tights and boots (Target, $17.50). The scarf is a little touch of color from my mom's closet.
Go ahead and turn me in, because this outfit is definitely a steal! (I'm also a sucker for the stupid pun...guilty as charged.)

Friday, January 23, 2009


Ah, argyle. Something about it is just so nerdy, I love it. It's the perfect choice for a day like today when I'm feeling a little giddy and nerdy myself. Not only is it Friday, but it was 52 DEGREES today! Tomorrow will literally be half that, so I've got to revel in it while I can. I even got my husband to indulge my nerdery by taking this awesome photo (along with about 20 others).

There's something about the t-shirt (none other than American Apparel) and the boyfriend cardi (BonTon, sale $24) with knit pants (NY & Co. sale $30ish) and the hat (Gap, sale $9.50) that makes me feel like a back-up dancer grabbing a cup o' joe between gigs. I don't know what it is. The casual, thrown together feel? The body conscious shape? The hair shoved under the hat in a nonchalant, under-cover kind of way? The heeled cowboy boots a la Britney circa 2003? Who knows, but I like it.

Because the argyle isn't quite enough quirk for today, I wore one of my FAVORITE necklaces. I found it at Charlotte Russe for only $4. It reminds me of one of my Great Aunts who made 98 look like the new 65. She had the most eclectic collection of owls. And this was years ago. Apparently, she was way ahead of her time. If she only knew how hip she'd be today. ( She also had a beaded curtain on the doorway of her kitchen, which has nothing to do with anything except that I think it's pretty hip, too.)

There's nothing like a funny-feeling-Friday to kick off a great weekend. Enjoy it!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I spent all day yesterday in non-matching icky sick pajamas, so today it was imperative that I feel cute yet comfy. That way I can still feel sick, but not look it. Luckily, things are heating up a little (37 degrees, woohoo!), so bitter cold was not the number one factor in wardrobe selection.

The long-sleeve tissue-thin tee is from Target ($12) and the blue button-down is Bitten by SJP ($10). The skirt is a favorite. It's really comfortable and something different; bought on sale (of course) at JCPenney ($24). This is a perfect example of something that looked kind of frumpy on the hanger, but had tons of potential with just a little help. Minus 10" of length later, voila! I love the paper bag waist! And pockets!

Hue tights, Candies fringed boots from Kohl's ($27), and this super-cool necklace from Target ($12.50) were the finishing touches. Now, back to icky sick pajamas...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Because I am SO excited about watching history unfold, I've decided to sport my American pride today. At the last minute, I decided that I just HAD to have an Obama shirt to mark the occasion, which means that I had to make it on my own. Thank goodness for a home computer and printer and $2 tees at Michaels.

Its paired with my Target jeans, Payless heeled oxfords and one of the coolest blazers I own. I found this at The LOFT for $30, which was less than half of its original price. It has amazing detail from the lapels to the buttons and it fits like a glove! Definitely a very cool piece and very well made. I just LOVE it! Even the weather can't drag me down today!

Monday, January 19, 2009


Ah, Saturday night... I realize I'm a little late on this, but it's Monday, which is a VERY long day of work for me. Today's outfit was cute (outfit #4 that is - it was one of those mornings), but Saturday night's was way more fun!

I was really excited to wear this skirt. It's a silver/black brocade Express skirt that I got at Goodwill on half price day for $2 (hemmed a couple of inches to add a little tart),
paired with my favorite tee in the whole world (I have it in 3 colors) from American Apparel ($22 - one of the few things I will gladly pay full price for). The silver pumps were on clearance last week at Payless for $10. I was so excited to wear them and managed to traipse all over town despite the rapidly accumulating snow. Sometimes, practicality just has to come second. Because of the snow, I added 2 pairs of tights (for warmth and extra opaque-ness) and an H&M boyfriend cardigan. For that extra edgy, dive bar look, I topped it off with a big, black cocktail ring and my beloved (even though it's kind of creepy) pistol necklace. Vodka tonic, please!

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Obviously, I spend a lot of time in my wardrobe, and just like an office, if it's not clean and organized, I feel completely overwhelmed, unable to concentrate and totally unproductive. Here's some of my favorite tips for keepin' it clean.

There's two identical closets in our bedroom, which is awesome, because I don't have to share. Now, I will be the first to admit that these closet doors are HIDEOUS. When my husband and I first moved in, my initial intention was to rip off the ugly doors and replace them with flowing curtains. Once we realized what a job that would (since the doors run floor to ceiling), we let them be. Now, I'm really glad that we did. Because they are bi-fold doors, when they are opened, the mirrors face each other and so you can see both a front and back reflection. It's fantastic! Just like my own little dressing room. The down side? Because they are bi-fold doors, when opened, they cover about one foot on each side of the closet's opening. But, until I get that AWESOME walk in closet of my dreams (*someday*), I'll just have to learn to take the bad with the good.

The inside of my closet is an ever-evolving project. It gets better and better every time I reorganize (it's a quarter-annual thing, at least). I've found that kitchen accessories are AWESOME when re-purposed for closet organization. My closet is rather small (about 23" deep x less than 60" wide), so a place for everything and everything in it's place is crucial for my sanity.
The small shelving unit on the wall is great for fragile accessories that are hard to store, like vintage clutches with easily damaged finishes. It is nothing more than a pantry shelf from Lowe's.

The hanging organizer on the front of the cupboard is actually a holder for pot lids from IKEA. I bought this for the kitchen, but when I couldn't find a place to put it, I found that it made a great storage unit for small clutches. You'll notice, too, that I have a stainless steel garden pot, which houses some of my belts.
I have three rules for shoe storage: 1) I must be able to SEE the shoes (i.e. not in boxes). 2) They cannot get squished, dirty or damaged in any way (i.e. not in a shoe basket). 3) I have to be able to reach them. I used to keep them in the original boxes stacked on the top shelf in my closet, but at 5'3", every time I wanted a pair, I had to pull from the bottom and risk a shoebox avalanche. And a step stool on carpet at 7:30 in the morning just seems a little too risky. Not to mention, since I couldn't see what was in the boxes, I often times forgot about rarely worn shoes.
The most recent investment in my closet is about 4 dozen stream-lined, velvet-flocked hangers. I'm sure you've seen the commercials about how much space you can save with them, yada yada yada... But let me tell you, if you don't have these hangers, you have no idea what you're missing! They are AMAZING! Not only do all of your clothes stay firmly on the hanger, they slide so easily and honestly take up about one third of the space of my former plastic hangers. TOTALLY worth the investment. If you're look for a bargain (as I always am) check out TJ Maxx and Ross. That's where I got all of mine and for a fraction of the price of other stores.

Just a couple rules of thumb, NEVER hang up your sweaters or knits. The weight of the clothes + gravity = lumpy, bumpy shoulders and sad, stretched out necklines. Fold them neatly and store them either on shelves or in drawers. It's also really helpful to store out-of-season clothing, shoes and accessories in another closet or in containers under the bed. Otherwise, they just get in the way (and make you sad when it's 15 degrees out).

I try to keep the top of my dresser equally as organized. This is a bit harder though, given that it is the hub of my morning activity. Some items that help? I just got this earring holder for Christmas and I LOVE it. Like the shoe situation, if I can't see what I have, I often times forget about old treasures. This is a great way of showcasing all (or most) of my options. I've also picked up a couple catch-all containers. These little wooden dishes were very inexpensive in the kitchen department of Wegmans. The blue glass hand is something that I love and have had since I was in high school. It's perfect for rings and special, delicate necklaces. As you can see, my longer and larger necklaces conveniently hang over the mirror. One of my best finds was the bracelet holder. I started wearing bracelets a couple of years ago and very quickly acquired quite a collection. They are not easy to store! I found this piece at IKEA. It's a home-dec-statue-knick-knacky thingy. Art, I guess. It works like a charm!

Hope you've enjoyed learning about my pride and joy and even picked up a helpful idea or two. If anyone else has any nifty closet tips, please share! Like I said, it's an ever-evolving project.

Friday, January 16, 2009


In honor of the brisk temperatures rolling through Happy Valley (morning commute: 2 degrees), I'm going a little cold-weather themed today. I'm feeling a little Western ski bunny, like I should be snuggled up on a big cozy couch next to a roaring fire, sipping hot chocolate in a ski lodge somewhere in Utah. While I would much rather be in that Utah ski resort, it was just work as usual today. A nice soft sweater (Target $15), thick ponte knit skinny pants (NY & Co., $30ish), and my trusty Target boots that I loved when I saw them for regular price and wanted to marry when I nabbed them for half off!

The jewelry is the really special part of today. I made the earrings with turquoise and amber chips picked up a few years ago at a local bead store. The ring is one of my FAVORITE pieces! My mom made it as a college graduation present. We got the turquoise from a store in Albuquerque, NM during a cross-country road trip. It's truly one of a kind.

Hopefully, things will warm up soon. Looking forward to some fun this weekend. Happy (FRIGID) Friday!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Sometimes it's the small things that make it worth getting up on a cold, wintery day. Because there's about 8" of snow on the ground, boots are a good idea. And pants that fit inside said boots are an even better idea.

After searching high and low for a cute flannel shirt, I finally found this one on the clearance rack in the boys department at Target ($5). The jeans are also a Target clearance find ($25). And I love these boots (as does my dog Iggy) from Kohl's on sale for $27.

The little touches are what I love most about today. My new peace pendant (Target $10), RESPECT message bracelet (Macy's $5, BONUS: proceeds went towards the prevention of domestic violence) and last but not least, my most recent Target score, the over-sized clutch ($8.50). It's even big enough for my day planner!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Throughout the 12 or so years of my Girl Scouting career, I learned many important life lessons: how to pitch a tent in the dark, how to build a raft, what to do when a bear is in your tent, how to start a fire, and the list goes on and on. The most crucial of these life lessons and the one I come back to day after day is USE YOUR RESOURCES WISELY.

I love the small town I now call home. It's bigger than the small town I grew up in. It's the home of one of the country's greatest college football programs. There's an art scene, a bar scene, and a great nature scene. One thing it lacks, though, is a great shopping scene. It's gotten better in the last few years, since stores like The LOFT and Kohl's have opened their doors, but even the big stores are on a smaller scale. Just think, the nearest H&M is three hours away! But, I have found that with a little creativity and lots of patience, I have the opportunity to put together really unique outfits for a fraction of the price.

With so few options, you can really get to know your local retailers. I can tell when they will be getting new stock and when their current stock will be marked down. Because I'm shopping in less obvious places for trends (like JCP, Target, and Bon-Ton), the crowds are smaller and there's less demand, so I never feel the pressure to buy something immediately and 99.9% of the time, I can simply wait until it goes on sale. I'm also close enough to everything, that I can swing through most any store on any given Wednesday when new sales start.

Keeping a current shopping list and having specific ideas of shapes and colors that I want to add to my wardrobe really helps. This way, I can have a much more selective eye and can even think outside the box for items that can be styled in a different way. One of my favorite places to find some really fun pieces is JCP. They have a really versatile professional section that often times hits the perfect note between super-trendy and grown-up wearable. And for the quality, you can't beat the price, especially the sale price!

When your resources are limited, lots of research and an open mind are crucial. And once I've managed to pull together that perfect outfit and still have some cash left over for a night on the town, I couldn't imagine it any other way!


Regardless of the fact that the temp maxed out at about 18 degrees today and it's snowing again, I'm feeling pretty smitten about my wardrobe choice. It's a new combination, using a couple pieces that haven't seen the light of day for quite some time. And most importantly, I'm super comfy.

The herringbone bucket-fedora hybrid hat is one of my favorites this season, especially because I got it for $9.50 when I used my rewards coupon at Gap. The long sleeve tee is also a Gap sale purchase ($8, I think) and the jersey wrap dress was rescued from a BMoss clearance rack a couple of years ago for $7. Hue tights (they're the softest and coziest - the only ones I'll wear) and Target boots (I may have actually paid the full price of $28 on these). And, of course, my trusty silver hoops (Macy's sale)!

Like yesterday, there's a little CB of SATC going into this one
(Season 4 this time).

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


It's only January and I'm already ready for spring. And around here, that won't come until about April, if we're lucky, but most likely May. The car thermometer read 25 this morning on my way to work and the forecast is calling for a high of 12 later this week. High. Of. 12.

Today, I put together this cute little number. Top and bottoms are Gap - on crazy sale, of course (I RARELY pay full price at Gap). And last season's heeled oxfords from Payless - surprisingly comfortable. I have mixed feelings about this outfit, but it's Tuesday, feeling like Monday, it's cold and I'm still figuring out the best way to use my camera, which is more the purpose of this picture. I had super cute pictures that I took before work, but when I went to edit them, realized that I had the Manual Focus set and so they were only super cute when viewed at a 1" x 2" size.

I do love military shapes with feminine details and cute heels. It's very Carrie Bradshaw, circa season 3 of SATC (another HUGE inspiration of mine). I'm more irritated by the fact that these pants stretch out like crazy and are now about 2 sizes bigger than they were when I left my house this morning. Grrr... I think I will go home and retire them to the summer play clothes drawer.

I think I may actually prefer the bundled up look today. Like I's Tuesday. Feels like Monday. And did I mention it's cold?

Monday, January 12, 2009


Do you know that feeling when you're hungry, but you don't know what you want to eat and nothing really sounds good? I hate that feeling. It's like I'm just craving input, something new. I get this way about my wardrobe quite frequently, which is why I need constant inspiration. It's all about adding new spices and different flavoring to make old favorites taste new and exciting.

Being a highly visual and tactile person, magazines are my go-to place for inspiration. I'm not terribly selective, either. There's great ideas in everything from high fashion mags to home dec books to weekly sales flyers. Whether it be a color combination, specific outfit, architectural element or just a feeling: when I'm inspired, I feel totally alive and ready to create.

So, to savor the feeling, I save the pictures. I spend several months letting my magazine subscriptions pile up, then I enjoy one of my favorite past times: sitting on the couch, watching reruns of What Not Wear, CSI: Any City but Miami, Beverly Hills 90210 (only the original), or any other brain candy that's on, while flipping through my back stock of magazines, tearing out anything and everything that sparks my imagination.

Once I have sifted through each page and the remains are safely in the recycling bin, I go back through my pile of "rough cuts" and neatly trim out the individual items that interest me most. The final step is separating them into categories. Right now, my break-downs include: House/Home, Health/Beauty, Rock and Roll/Kick-Ass Vintage Looks, Classic Vintage/California Bohemian Looks, and lastly, the I-Can-Make-That-for-Cheaper pile. Then I catalog each category in a scrapbook for future inspiration. It's great food for thought on those hungry days when nothing else looks good!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Welcome to my very first blog! I'm so excited to finally get my ideas down on "paper." But bear with me - the writing may be a little rough 'til I get going.
After 28 years (and counting) of fine-tuning this small-town girl's style, I think it's time to share the wealth. Wealth of knowledge, that is. As a self-proclaimed fashionista, I love clothes and I love shopping. BUT, only if I can afford it and only if I can wear it in my regular, small town life. So, you won't find the greatest designer labels or the gotta-have-it, bank-breaking latest craze on the this style blog. What you will find is all of my greatest finds and most helpful style and shopping tips. On a tight budget, my dollars have to stretch pretty far. And working in a small sign business with two 50-year-old men? Let's just say practicality must play it's part. I hope this blog gives you great insight on style within means. After all, we can't all be divas in the big city with the fashion world (and flush bank account) at our fingertips. Instead, we choose to walk the Blue Collar Catwalk.