Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fall Fashion...for less!

I'm not sure how many of you out there use Pinterest or Polyvore, but there has been a ton of cute fall outfits on those sites lately. I've been getting inspiration from many of these outfits, but when I look at a lot of the prices for these items, I'm shocked. A lot of these pieces are coming from J Crew and although I LOVE the style of J Crew items, I'm too cheap to actually spend that much money on a couple pieces of clothing.

Now there are a few exceptions to what I will spend good money on. Coats are one item and good boots are another. I feel like both of those will last me a long time and multiple seasons. I don't mind spending a little bit more on jeans either. However, I end up buying most of my jeans at American Eagle because they fit my body well and have the short length for jeans, which are perfect for me. If you catch American Eagle at the right time you can get good deals on their jeans. I bought two pairs of jeans from American Eagle the other day for $60, which included shipping.

For some shirts and accessories I've been seeing in these fall clothing sets,  I've been searching around the Internet for other, less pricey options.
Take for example, the red Boyfriend cardigan from American Eagle, it's not that pricey at $25, but they no longer have the red color in stock. If you're truly set on red, or just want more color options, check out the Target option for $22.  Also, the white pocket tee from TopShop will run you $36. Kind of pricey for just a t-shirt. So grab a white pocket-tee from Old Navy for $8.50.

I love this outfit, but if you went for the versions in this collection, it would be costly. Almost everything, minus the jeans comes from J Crew. The long-sleeved crew neck alone is $145. Yes, it is cashmere, but that doesn't really matter to me. So, grab the cotton version from Old Navy for $10 and search for a white puffer vest on Ebay. I promise that you can find one for cheaper than the $118 version from J Crew.

What I have found in most of my searches is that you can find the essentials, the tanks, long-sleeve shirts, v neck tops and pocket tees at Old Navy and Target for much cheaper.  Scarves are also much cheaper at Target or Old Navy then buying the original. Although I love Burberry prints, I'm not spending $335 on a scarf.

I've also been using Ebay to find similiar sweaters, cardigans and shoes to what is listed in the collection. Sometimes they are similiar to the item and made by the same company, but maybe a few seasons old. Automatically that's cheaper. H&M, Express, New York and Company and Gap all have some great basics like cardigans and sweaters that are similiar to what I've found in the original version and you can find them on Ebay for much cheaper. J Crew items are a bit cheaper on Ebay, but in most cases, still more than I am willing to pay for a single item.

Check out these wedges I found in one collection:

Michael Antonio sandals

Michael Antonio sandals (see more espadrilles wedges)

Cute aren't they? They're also $60 which is more than I'm willing to pay for a pair of wedges that is pretty color specific.

Enter this pair I found on Ebay for $9.99

Just as cute in my opinion and very similar.

Last, but not least before you shop anywhere online, sign up for Ebates. Basically anytime you shop, you go through the Ebates page to the website you are wanting to buy from. You shop, check out and you will get a percentage of money back from Ebates. It's that easy and it's worth it!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Paris Pics!

I know it's been a few days since I posted about getting back from Paris and several times I thought about blogging, but I've been lazy so I didn't. This heat we're experiencing right now in Italy makes me want to do absolutely nothing. I'm lucky to clean and get my Crossfit workout done.

So without further ado, some of the Paris pics that I've actually edited. I still have about 1300 pictures to sort through and possibly edit.

Sacre Coeur church in Monmarte. Gorgeous church, but shady people on the way to seeing it. It also looked very pretty near sunset, but unfortunately I didn't find it safe to go up around that time and take pictures. Perhaps next time when Sean is with me.

A cute little shop that sold pastries in Monmarte.

Cute little cafe in Monmarte. I loved all the cafes like this, I wish we had more of these in the States.

This was in the cemetery in Monmarte. I thought the crow/raven/whatever it is was too perfect with the cross not to take a picture of.

Again, this was inside the Monmarte cemetery. I loved this door. So much character, don't you think?

One of my first views of the Arc de Triomphe. Oddly, seeing it made my misty-eyed and I have no idea why. Even the Eiffel Tower didn't have that effect on me.

Visiting Laduree (home of the famous macarons) was on my list of must-dos and I did it the second day. I was NOT disappointed by the taste of these. Perfection. Seriously.  From L to R I had: 2 salted caramel, Rose, Pistachio, Coconut, Raspberry, Orange Blossom and Chocolate. Salted caramel was my favorite, followed closely by Rose.

I had a few brief moments of blue skies when I was in Paris and on one such day I booked it to the Tuileries Gardens to get pictures of some of the activity within it. There were several rides and a mini-carnival set up on one side of it and they made for some great picture taking material.

The Eiffel Tower in all its glory. I didn't get very many pics of it during the day, I took tons of it at night. It was so beautiful when it sparkled on the hour, but it didn't really translate to pictures as well.

The wait to climb up Notre Dame was over an hour, but because I really, really wanted a bird's eye view of Paris and a shot of the famous gargoyles, I went ahead and waited. After seeing this shot, I was glad that I did.

The last few times I've been on vacation, one of my main objectives is getting night shots of some of the famous landmarks.  This trip I wanted to get Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. I'm happy to say that I succeeded in that quest.  Notre Dame is just gorgeous at night and I walked around the whole thing just trying to capture it from every angle.

Well, that was a preview of some of the many pics I took while in Paris. Look for at least one or two more posts with more pictures! And...for a bit of shameless self-promotion, a lot of pictures you see in this post will be appearing soon in my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Today I'm Guest Blogging

Hey guys! Today you can catch me over at Angela's blog, Tomorrow Is Another Day. I'm guest blogging for her while she's gone on vacation and my blog today centers around a few easy tips on travel photography.

Check out the blog here!

P.S. Look for Paris pics in the next couple of days!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Thoughts on Paris

Well, I'm back from Paris and I had a wonderful time! Here are some thoughts and stories from my trip.

1. Traveling solo has its advantages. However, I did not enjoy having to eat dinner by myself and there was an incident one day when I wished I wasn't by myself.

2. As mentioned above, the incident happened in Monmarte, near the Sacre Coeur church. If you are alone and a woman, be aware if you go there during the day and I would NOT go there at night if you are traveling alone. There was a large group of African men trying to sell bracelets to tourists, one tried to put one on me and I told him no. He proceeded to grab me roughly by my arm and I told him not to touch me, he then grabbed my arm again and I pushed his hand off of me. He proceeded to shout all sorts of insults at me. Definitely the worst part of my trip.

3. I've never been hit on so much in my life. Living in Italy, although Italian men have a reputation, I am very, very rarely hit on here. In Paris it literally happened every day, all throughout the day. Some guys were skeezy, some had crazy approaches and some of the old men just made me laugh. One older gentlemen who was probably in his 70's and missing teeth lamented the fact he met me on my last day there. Which really made me laugh, as if he had a chance if he'd met me several days before?

4. In the same vein as the above paragraph, I had a weird Paris movie-esque moment my last day there. I had been taking pictures at Luxembourg Gardens and was walking towards the Metro. A guy around my age ran up behind me and proceeded to tell me he'd seen me taking pictures while walking towards a meeting and wouldn't have forgiven himself if he didn't chase me down and introduce himself. I, of course, told him I was married, but we chatted for a bit and turns out he's "supposedly" a physicist, who happens to be young and cute. If I'd known better I would have gotten his email so I could have hooked up some of you single gals out there.

5. Disneyland Paris was a great break from all the sightseeing and museums in Paris. I thoroughly enjoyed my day there. An extra bonus? There was hardly a wait time for most of the rides. Nothing like the wait times I've seen during the summer at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

6. I much preferred the Orsay Museum to the Louvre. Even though I went to the Louvre on the day it stayed open late and it wasn't as crowded, they still had run out of audioguides, which in a musueum the size of the Louvre is really essential. I was NOT a happy camper.

7. The macarons at Laduree were to die for. Seriously...they were amazing. I had a box of 8 in all different flavors. Salted caramel was by far my favorite, but they all tasted so good. I ate all 8 of them in one day....don't judge me.

I'll have more thoughts and pictures soon, but I have 1500 pics to go through, so it's going to take me awhile!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ooh La La!

Today I embark on my trip to Paris where I'll be until Monday afternoon. I wish I could say I was such a great blogger that I scheduled posts for you all to read while I was gone, but I didn't. So instead my blog will sit idle until I return.

However if you want, just picture me going here:

Seeing these:

And eating these:

Although I'm super-excited about this trip, I'm not excited about the weather forecast which keeps changing from sunny to 3 days of rain. I'm really, really hoping it doesn't rain for the entire time I'm in Paris. My main objective (besides seeing the city, of course) is to take lots and lots of pictures. So...I don't want to have to lug my camera around in the rain and worry about my equipment getting wet. And who wants to be in Paris sporting the drowned rat look anyway?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Crossfit Update

So, I've been doing Crossfit for almost two months now and I thought I'd give my readers a little update on how it's going.

Honestly, I can really tell that my strength and conditioning have improved. My times for some repeat workouts have improved, often by several minutes. I can lift heavier than I could when I first started.  I can even deadlift 155 lbs and that was several weeks ago, so I'm eager to see if I can deadlift even more now.

 I see some changes in my body as well.  I've had several people tell me it looks like I've lost some weight, but the scale doesn't reflect that. Which is fine, because if I look more toned, I'm ok with that. Some shorts that I bought right before I started Crossfit that were a bit tight fit considerably better and looking at pictures I can see more definition in my arms and legs.

I really am enjoying the people that have been in this class with me. We've gotten a bit smaller than the first day we started, but it's a really fun group and we have a lot of fun.

Here is an "action" shot from today. I'm doing wall balls here, which I really hate, by the way.

 It's a bit hard to see in this picture, unless you click on it so it's bigger, but I told my instructor I wanted to be tagged in the picture because I wanted to brag about my guns on Facebook.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Favorite Things

From time to time I like to do a little list of things that are currently on my favorites list.

So here's the latest edition!

First up is Gina over at Skinny Taste's Pink Lemonade Confetti Cupcakes.  I haven't made these yet, but they're on my list to bake this week. I love anything lemonade and these look awesome. Plus they're Weight Watchers friendly. What's not to like?

Next up? Victoria Secret bikinis. I've found so many that I want, but my poor little pocketbook can't afford them all. Some are already on sale, but I'm hoping they'll be marked down even further so I can stock up for next year.

I wish I could say I looked that great in a bikini, but alas...I do not.

I've been enjoying watching my fave baseball player get traded to the Phillies. Nothing against the Astros, but I feel like Hunter Pence can go farther with the Phillies. I do enjoy watching him play, so tasty!

I saw this on Pinterest this week and thought it was hilarious, so I had to share with those that haven't seen it on my Pinterest.

If you haven't already found this website, then go there now! Especially if you're interested at all in home-decorating or fixing your house up. It's AWESOME! It's called Young House Love and it's seriously one of my favorite websites at the moment.