Tom Ford Cat Eyes for Less

Friday, July 19, 2013

Months and months ago, I began lusting after Tom Ford's ridiculously exaggerated cat eye frames. They are totally overpriced for my budget and completely over the top. In other words...they screamed my name and I decided they needed to be mine. I bookmarked them on my computer. I would read blogger reviews and dream that I'd wake up and there would miraculously be $360 extra in my checking account for them. Just when I would think my obsession for these frames had died down, somebody I follow would post a blog about their Tom Ford frames and reignite the insanity.
So, why didn't I just buy them? At the heart of my budget is the fact that I am a realist. There would never be an extra $360 in my bank account, and if a miracle like that did occur, I am too disciplined and would wisely pay bills and not blow the money on glasses (especially given the fact that I have three other perfectly good sets of eyes on my nightstand-and two older sets in my car). Early in my discovery of the enigma that is Derek Cardigan (seriously, DC, can we be best friends?), I found his 7006 frames for a cool $88. They are, without a doubt, the best Tom Ford ripoffs. The lenses aren't as big, but they are obviously an exaggerated cat eye. I hemmed and hawed. And bought two other Derek Cardigan glasses in the meantime. Finally, I caved and bought them during one of's sales. Why not?

Do you like how I tried to emulate the model's creepy dead eyes?

I still love the Tom Ford version (really, really love them, in fact). More than my love for Tom is the fact that I didn't break the bank on these AND they are everything I was hoping they'd be - fun, quirky and different! I ordered the brown/tortoise option, and instantly regretted not ordering the black pair. I was especially pleased to find the 7006 frames I received looked very black when looking directly at me, but from the side are obviously the brown/tortoise pair. The best of both worlds. They were meant to be mine!

Fun on a Budget

Sunday, July 14, 2013

It's summer, and even though Philadelphia has dealt with either excessive heat and/or rain thus far, there has been plenty to do for free in the city. Fireworks and The Roots annual star-studded Wawa Fourth concert (because I can never remember the actual name of the show) immediately jump to my mind as events all Philadelphians enjoy. Here's what I've enjoyed this summer at no cost to me (and some tips on how you can get in on free stuff):

Free Concerts!
Between The Piazza at Schmidt's and Morgan's Pier, you can catch a more than decent free show most weeks! 

Movies in the Park!
This summer, Philadelphia is hosting the Awesome Fest, an all out celebration of 80's music and film, at locals parks and venues. Seriously, a Flock of Seagulls is playing tonight - what could be better? Oh, maybe Goonies in a local park on a nice night? 

See an Advanced Screening of a New Film!
I had always wanted to do this, and a few months ago, when I signed up for Klout (which measures your social media presence), I was told screenings were often given as a "perk." When your Klout score goes up, you are rewarded with a Klout Perk. This week, I saw an advance screening of The Conjuring for free. Cool experience (when they say cell phones off, they mean it) and I didn't have to do anything to get the tickets. 

Go to a Killer Pool Party at a Swanky Club!
Do you Yelp? If not, you may want to consider joining the online review site, because they really know how to treat their community. Several times a year, Yelp gets their "Yelpers" together and rewards them with free food and drinks from some of the most loved restaurants in the area (plus, there is live entertainment). This summer, Yelp Philly outdid themselves with a Summer Soirée at North Shore, a private swim club in the heart of Northern Liberties. The food was great, the crowd was great and it was all free! 

Get Krimpets thrown at Your Face!
When I moved to my neighborhood, I was told about a crazy Bastille Day festival held in front of the neighborhood's well known landmark, Eastern State Penitentiary. Not having attended the celebration before, I had no idea what to expect. The crowd was huge, the Bearded Lady Cabaret put on a fun performance, and I don't think anybody would argue that having the city's beloved Tastykake Krimpet catapulted at them is a bad thing. Another great fun and free day in this city.

Have you found any inexpensive or free things to do in your city? Have any advice? Share away!

The $5 J. Crew Pencil Skirt

Monday, July 8, 2013

If you read my pages looking for tips, you likely questioned that whole shopping via social media business I mentioned. After all, who goes on Instagram or Facebook to buy and/or sell things? Turns out, a lot of people! My first Instagram purchase was a vintage leather pencil skirt from a girl I follow on Instagram ($20). She could have kept the money and never sent the skirt, but indeed, it came in the mail (from Oklahoma), and when I wore it, I posted a picture, which she blessed with a double tap and a compliment. Since then, I've successfully bought and sold (quite a bit, actually) through social media. Just the other day, I was super excited to be the first commenter on a post for a mustard yellow pencil skirt from J. Crew (for only $5). The seller is expecting her first child and is apparently quite confident that her waist will never again see a size 2-4, because she is selling all of her clothes. I met her in a Panera Bread to exchange cash for skirt and was thrilled to get home and find that it's such a good fit. Here's how I wore it: 

Skirt: J. Crew (2011), via Facebook via Panera Bread, $5
Shirt: Old Navy, $14.97 (sale, fall 2012)
Shoes: Loft, $22 (sale, winter 2012)
Necklace: Forever 21, $4 (years ago, can't believe it hasn't fallen apart)
Earrings and bracelets: fake pearls, Wal-Mart, $5

Cooking 101

Sunday, July 7, 2013

For those who know me well, you know that my life is completely ridiculous. Things that don't happen to anybody else happen to me. I'm that person to everybody I know. Today, I reached a new level of insanity. I had offered to prepare brunch for a guest. I already had pancake mix, eggs, milk and bananas. I headed to Trader Joe's (a 1.2 mile walk in the blazing Philly heat, making that 2.4 miles round trip, which meant this was my workout for the day) for chocolate chips, juice and bacon. Mission accomplished. Items purchased. Brunch was on its way. Or at least it should have been. About two blocks away from Trader Joe's, I remembered that when I moved, I didn't bring all of my kitchen supplies. This meant no spatula, which meant flipping pancakes, scrambling eggs and making my bacon banana dish was going to be next to impossible. So, I headed back to Trader Joe's. No spatula. Next up, I trekked to Whole Foods. They had a Good Grips spatula for $16.99. That's like not having a spatula at all to me (it is criminal to charge $17 for a spatula, whether or not it proclaims to have any type of grip, let alone one that is best described as good). Defeated, I went through the short list of options in my hood. Ace Hardware? Maybe. The super expensive specialty grocer? Not open on Sundays. I decided to go with my standby. CVS. I can find pretty much everything at CVS, but apparently, I can now add spatulas to the list of goods they do not sell (they do, however, sell ice cream scoopers and pizza slicers). I wandered around the store wondering what I was going to do. My guest was arriving in under an hour, I had to shower and make brunch and I didn't have the proper tools to make the latter part of that short list happen. Then, I saw it. A two-pack of fly swatters for $1.69! Could it work? Why wouldn't it? I snatched them up, paid and walked home as quickly as possible. After a slight melting fiasco with the yellow swatter, I succeeded in making chocolate chip pancakes, scrambled eggs and an awesome bacon and banana scramble with the red swatter. Now, I am thrifty and resourceful, but this was totally ludicrous, even for me. Fortunately, all worked out for the best, but first up on my shopping list is most definitely a new spatula! In a pinch, though, please know that a clean and new fly swatter (when exposed to minimal heat) will work as a spatula! You're welcome.

Dress Like FLOTUS for Less

Monday, July 1, 2013

Most people agree that Michelle Obama has impeccable style. Not only is she flawlessly put together and appropriately dressed for every event, but she often sports emerging designers who then become household names (Jason Wu, for example). Prior to Michelle (excluding Jackie AND no offense to other First Ladies), First Lady Fashion, or FLF, was yawn-worthy. Pant suits (who cares if it is Armani if it looks like Alfred Dunner), boring and ill-fitting shift dresses and helmet head were synonymous with FLF prior to MO. Yikes! Thankfully, our eyes have been saved. Well, in 2009, Michelle Obama wore a gorgeous striped shirtdress by Sophie Theallet to an event. That particular dress retailed for close to $2,000 (she found it online, because she is just like us y'all). A fan of shirtdresses, I've been lusting for it since. The Limited (following the lead of Target, who have had two hugely successful collaborations with Wu), wisely launched their own collab with Theallet. At the heart of the spring 2013 collection? Four striped shirt dresses inspired by the very dress FLOTUS rocked in 2009. Although a fraction of the original $1,925 price, the dress still fell outside of my clothing budget at $118. Since March, I've been waiting for price reductions. In May, I scored the lavender version online for $18 ($100 off) and was pretty proud of myself, even though I really wanted the navy version of the dress.
I had a Sophie Theallet shirtdress. Life was good. Then yesterday, while running errands, I found myself at the mall. While repeating "I will not shop...I will not shop..." over and over in my head, I found myself wandering into The Limited when I saw the 40% off sale signs. By some small miracle, there was one navy blue striped shirtdress, and it was in my size! Even better? It was reduced to $19.99 and was an additional 40% off the lowest price. The girl at the register reminded me that it was a final sale item and couldn't be returned. Who would return this?! I couldn't be happier with my purchase!