Saturday, June 29, 2013

Cotton Wood

Today I am reviewing a recent impulse purchase Body Treats Cotton Wood Body Splash from h&m. I am always looking for a new scent and often I find that perfumes are very expensive and over time their scents fade or change. I recently found a scent called Dyptique that was unisex and $88 that I had a mild obsession with, but I cannot justify buying scented alcohol for that much money. So, I prefer body splash. It's a little bit more affordable, hopefully lasts, and allows me to get sick of whatever I bought without feeling too guilty.

I was initially attracted by the packaging and name of this scent. Cotton wood made me think it would be a little more musky and less floral, which it is. This scent smells high end and unique despite the low price tag. It is light, sensual, and appealing. It feels like summer nights.

Body treats just sounds kind of gross. I would have chosen a name something like Serendipity, Occassion, or Recontrer. Body treats sounds like I'm slathered in sugar. I find that lots of perfume, particularly cheap perfume smells like an 8th grade girl at her first dance.  The other issue with lesser quality perfumes or body splashes is that they come in seriously unattractive packaging. I know this shouldn't matter, but it does. Sometimes the experience of a particular fragrance is not just the scent itself, but how you feel putting it on. The packaging plays a role in that. This product in particular lends itself greatly to your dresser or sink top. It has mint green packaging with a white label and grey lettering. It looks and smells like quite a bit more than $5.95. They also offer a body scrub in the same scent. 

Thanks for reading. Style me cheap...

Friday, June 28, 2013

Little things add up

There will always be a girlfriend who will ask if you want to go for the over-ritualized trip to Starbucks for coffee. Or, if they are of the hipster variety of friend they will ask you to go Intelligentsia or some other unknown coffee house that specializes in fair trade coffee, beards, and overpriced drinks. These coffee houses have that atmosphere that gives you that feeling to ask, "Did you just move in?". I have a weakness for Starbucks lattes as I'm sure many caffeine fueled women such as myself have adapted. Often, the stifling price of $5.45 for my grande caramel soy makes me wonder why there isn't any Kahlua in it. However, if you do in fact have to go someplace as glamorous as Starbucks I recently discovered a wonderful way to ditch the way too expensive drink.

Iced coffee.

 I know, some of us still long for the summer-time iced latte beverage and iced coffee does not fit the bill. That is what I thought too. I walked in on a sweltering day in June for a welcomed coffee treat. The decorative chalkboard read, "try caramel iced coffee today". Well, I did. Caramel iced coffee with soy; and it tasted exactly like my latte. Its price was $2.45. No more lattes, ever.

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For all those beauty addicts

Some of us have a freak addiction to spa services. I am not one of those people. I do not get my nails, hair, skin, whatever they do at those places done regularly. So naturally, when I am going I am astounded by the prices that people will pay to have hair ripped out, skin picked at, and muscles rubbed down by strangers. But, to each his own.

I have found a few better ways to seek out some of these services, since I refuse to pay what seems to be a usual going rate when I'm am no one's regular. Unfortunately, a lot of these are only available in major cities.

Salon Apprentice
From the east to west coast, this website provides free and discounted salon services to you provided you are willing to take the risk to allow a student or junior stylist to provide those services. Often, they are under supervision. It may take them a bit longer to get the job done, but it will save you some money. Free haircuts or highlights. not bad.

This website is one of the better I've seen, and gets rave reviews from some of my friends. Want a Brazilian wax for $25 or teeth whitening for $60 and have reviews of the service from hundreds of users before you go? This is where to find it. Lifebooker has services in many major cities nationwide.

Other places also offer deals for Spa and Salon Services, but I have not found them to be as great as the aforementioned two.

Living Social

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The Bigger Importance of Thrifting

I have an affinity for thrift stores. Most people think the idea of buying used pants from a warehouse full of mostly unattractive clothing that smells like mothballs is pretty much disgusting in every way possible. There isn't any cute wallpaper, sometimes no changing rooms, and on occasion certain clothes have stains that are indecipherable. But, there are a lot of upsides if you take the time to scan all the racks. Thrift stores are generally made up of donated merchandise, and often proceeds are donated towards a good cause or charity. Now, people have their own political beliefs and opinions regarding a lot of these organizations, namely Goodwill and Salvation Army but any way you slice it, they probably are running programs designed to help those in need, which is more than you can say about the Gap. So your shopping can indirectly help someone else rather than a corporation. That's pretty cool.

You also are more likely to find inexpensive, unique items that are of higher quality than you could get at some more "bargain" oriented stores. If you spend enough time in thrift stores you begin to learn what brands are indeed quality items. JcrewBanana Republic, among other brands are seen pretty consistently in thrift stores. These clothes are also pretty ancient and still in fantastic condition. Often, you can find silk blouses, leather jackets, etc. for a fraction of what you could get them for new. If you look in some nicer neighborhoods, thrift stores will have more higher end merchandise, which means greater steals for you!

Be Green. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Just because somebody grew out of that sweater doesn't mean that it isn't still usable and wouldn't fit you. Clothes do not need to end up in landfills, nor do we need to expend more energy to create something new when it already exists. I can't wait until designers start adopting up cycled fashions, reusing old clothing fabrics and reshaping them into new pieces. Also, trends recycle. Meaning that those high wasted shorts and basket weave sandals you are looking for might just turn up where you weren't expecting them.

photo credit: <a href="">Anikaviro</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Simple chic

And begin the awkward selfies here. 

Today's outfit is trying to emphasize bringing in trends in small and inexpensive ways. For example, I am a sucker for this mint color that everybody keeps wearing everywhere. In this outfit I paired a red vintage necklace that I paid $1 for at a local garage sale with a top that was $4.00 on sale from Forever 21. Regularly it's $5.80. Click the link to see other available colors. For those of you fabric snobs, it's 95% cotton, 5% spandex. The earrings are a mint jade color in a pearl shape. They were bought at a flea market for $1.    The pants were purchased from Salvation Army in the Lincoln Park neighborhood in Chicago for $5.00. They were originally from The Limited. The turtle shell fake bans were $1 from Dollar Tree. The shoes were approximately $15 from a boutique in Madison, WI on sale. Clearly these were for my college graduation and are too tall to be worn anywhere unless I am being carried. Because the clothes and accessories are so basic, they are easy to incorporate into other outfits as this mint color trend eventually will melt away.

Total outfit price including shoes and accessories under $30.

Dress to Impress

I am not a fashion icon, fashionista, credit card maxer, or up on trends. I was a little late on the uptake of style, queen of hand me downs. I still am. I hate high heels. I wear the same shoes almost every day. My nails are generally polished with a side of chips. But there is something about getting a little dressed up that makes me feel great. Seeing as I just received my Masters in Social Work and am receiving my income from sporadic babysitting and selling used books on, I do not have the money to be a big shopper. I have found, that your style is a representation of who you are and who you want to be.  The minute I slip into pajamas for the whole day is a day I spend loathing myself for my un-employment and boredom. I put on some big girl pants do my hair and makeup and I am ready to take on the day and know that good things will be headed in my direction. In this blog I plan to share the tricks that I have uncovered to keep you feeling your best. Even as a fervent supporter of social workers, I think that this hobby/habit is cheaper than therapy. me cheap.

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