Wednesday, August 31, 2011

And the Winner Is...

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway!  For those who are regular readers, I appreciate your loyalty & support - and to my new followers, I hope you enjoy what you see & stick around a while.  Okay, I won't keep you in suspense any longer...

Kimi is our winner!!

I'm so excited because she is a friend of mine here in NY, a faithful reader of PPF and one of the sweetest people I know!  Congrats, girl - send me a message & we'll coordinate a time to get you all your goodies!


DIY Madewell-Inspired Necklace

The inspiration for this idea came from a necklace I found at Madewell.  I loved the tribal look of it and, in studying it more closely, I realized it would be simple to create my own version.  Here is their "earth and fire" necklace, which is on sale now here for $19.99 (down from $45):

Here are the materials you'll need: 

* Gold metallic spray paint
* 80 metal washers
* Simple chain necklace
* 5 Black Beads (metal or wood)
To recreate
Step 1: Spray paint the washers gold on both sides (make sure you spray at an angle so you get the edges too) - let dry.
Step 2: Thread one bead onto your necklace, then a group of 20 washers, then another bead, etc...mimicking the pattern above. 
Step 3: Wear it!!


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Dressed-Up Ponytail

Sometimes I get tired of throwing my hair up in a ponytail.  Although I try to alternate between different styles (like the ones shown here and here), there are occasions when it needs a little more oomph.  These examples from recent runway shows prove that ponytails can be made more interesting with the help of a few strategically placed accessories...

Sleek leather band

You can make your own faux leather wrap by purchasing some by the yard at your local craft store or take the easy route and buy one here.  Wrap it tightly around the base (secure with an elastic first) & you're done!

Shiny gold ring

You can use any ring you have in your jewelry box, but having tried this myself, I find the stretchy rings to be easiest (especially if you have thicker hair).  Just make sure you first secure the ponytail with an elastic before sliding the ring on.

Hair wrapped

Leave a strand of hair loose at the base of your ponytail.  Then, wind it around the elastic & wrap a few more times further down the tail.  Secure with pins on the underneath side of the pony so they can't be seen.


Monday, August 29, 2011

The Great Indoors

I have been on a mission to find a great leather piece for fall - not a jacket; but rather shorts, pants or a skirt (or all of the above).  But, being on a budget means that the faux options are more accessible for me.  The key to purchasing faux (this goes for leather, suede & fur) is finding something that closely resembles the look & feel of the real thing.  I loved the cut and color of this skirt & I've already found it to be incredibly versatile.  It's easy to pair with a simple white blouse, as I did here...but I can also throw on a lightweight knit sweater with tights & booties when the fall chill hits the air.

{Due to weather constraints aka extreme winds thanks to Hurricane Irene, these pictures were taken inside, in the sun room of our new house ~ we'll be moving in just a few weeks!}

What I'm wearing:
Gap blouse, Forever 21 skirt, Aldo heels,  J. Crew earrings, Banana Republic & Target bracelets, Urban Expressions clutch


Friday, August 26, 2011

Trend Watch: Pendants

70's styles made a big comeback on fall runways this year - flowy maxi dresses and flared-leg trousers & jeans dominated the catwalk.  This vibe even carried over into accessories, in the form of long pendant necklaces.  I personally love them because they are easy to layer, they work with many different necklines and can have a slimming effect.  Take a peek at some examples:

Budget-friendly options for every price range:


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fall Fabulous GIVEAWAY

I decided it was time to have another help you prepare for the coming season!  This is the perfect "get ready for fall" package - 5 beautiful nail polishes that will go with everything, a sparkling necklace to layer over cashmere sweaters or button-down blouses AND $50.00 to spend at one of my favorite stores!!  Take a look:

  • Essie Nail Polish: Carry On & Case Study
  • L'Oreal Nail Polish: Devotion, Mystery & Valiant
  • $50 gift card to Anthropologie
  • J. Crew statement necklace ($98 value)


    * You must be a follower of Penny Pincher Fashion either on Google Friend Connect, BlogLovin or Facebook (check the right-hand sidebar for these options) AND leave a comment below letting me know you are.
    * Follow PPFGirl on Twitter (here) and leave a comment below telling me that you are a follower (1 additional entry).
    * Tweet this giveaway and leave a comment below with the URL to your tweet (1 additional entry).
You have 7 days to enter - The giveaway will close on August 31st at 12am EST and I will announce the winner the following day!  If you win, you will be notified via email (in addition to me posting it here), so please make sure I have a valid address for you. 

Good luck!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Copper Penny

I try to challenge myself when it comes to my makeup...and by challenge, I mean to attempt new looks.  Otherwise, I find myself in the same old beauty rut and it can get boring.  Copper eyeshadow was all over the runways this fall and is a look that consistently resurfaces each year - probably because it is flattering, brings out eyes (regardless of their color) and looks good on every skin tone.  Take a peek at these examples that show two different ways of wearing this look:

I love the ethereal-ness of the style on the right (without mascara), whereas Diane Kruger's is more evening appropriate.  Either way you choose, this metallic hue will warm up your skin & make your eyes pop. 
 How to recreate:

1) Sweep a copper shimmering eyeshadow all over lids, blending up.  You can go all the way up to the brow (as demonstrated on the model above) or stop just above the crease.
2) Add a thin swipe of the same shadow across your bottom lash lines.
3) If you're going for a more dramatic look, you can add some chocolate brown eyeliner & two coats of black mascara.
4) The eyes are the focus here, so keep blush to a minimum & stick with a natural glossy lip.

Products to try:


Monday, August 22, 2011

Against the Boards

This is by far the simplest (and maybe most comfortable) outfit I've featured here.  I love how this shirt has a "borrowed from the boys" look due to its oversized shape...yet when you pair it with a slim-cut pant & sparkly necklace, it creates a nice juxtaposition of masculine/feminine.  I'm also a big fan of this color combination - you may recognize them both from Pantone's fall palette here (bamboo & coffee liqueur).

{Side note: we were lighting challenged because of the non-stop thunderstorms that were present all weekend.  Thankfully, we caught a break in the clouds & were able to run out and take pictures before the rain started again.  However, these photos are a little gray due to the overcast skies.}

My reaction to a rumble of thunder overhead

What I'm wearing:
Forever21 blouse (here) & necklace (here), LOFT pants, BCBG booties


Friday, August 19, 2011

Steals Under $30

Now that August is more than half over, I'm looking for transitional pieces that are suitable for the shifting temperatures headed our way.  These items fit the bill and all cost less than $30:


Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Eye Opener

I was skeptical about trying this look at first because I thought it would seem like I had "forgotten" to do my bottom lashes.  But, after trying it once and seeing myself in photos, I realized how much it opened up my eyes and made them appear larger.  Also, lower-lid makeup can sometimes emphasize under-eye lines & dark circles (something I don't need any help with).  By keeping the focus on top lids and lashes, your eyes stand out & you look more awake.  Take a peek at these celebrity examples:

How to recreate:

1) Start by sweeping a neutral shade of shadow across your entire lid & curling your eyelashes.
2) Using a black liquid liner pen, make small dashes or dots in between your lashes.  Then go back and "connect the dots" into a solid line.  Remember, it's easier to add more than it is to take start small and you can make the line thicker later on, if need be.
3) Use a moistened pointy Q-tip to clean up any mistakes & ensure the line is symmetrical.  You can also add a little flick up at the edges for a mini "cat-eye" effect.
4) Apply two coats of black mascara to your top lashes ONLY & keep everything else simple - a slight flush in the cheeks & a neutral lip.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Investment Pieces ~ How to Buy

While the main focus of this blog is finding fashion that's affordable, I also firmly believe there are pieces that you want to spend more on to ensure the quality is high and it will last you for years.  With fall swiftly approaching, this is the perfect time to discuss how to purchase investment pieces while still remaining frugal.  Here are some examples of how I've done this:

Classic Boyfriend Watch
I knew I wanted a gold watch and, for me, it had to be Michael Kors.  So, I did my online research to identify the model/style that fit my taste and then the search began.  I finally found what I was looking for on eBay...brand new with the box, documentation & warranty.  Thankfully, I won and was able to buy it for 70% off of retail!

Leather Riding Boots 
At the beginning of fall two years ago, I had to replace my favorite brown leather boots.  I had found the perfect pair at TJ Maxx...but, they didn't have my size.  Instead of giving up, I wrote down the model number and color & started searching the web.  It took a few weeks, but I finally found an online shoe store who carried them at a discounted price plus the shipping was free!

Tips to remember:
* Patience & persistence are KEY!  Don't be so anxious to purchase something that you settle for paying full price and don't give up if you are unable to find it right away.
* Shop at the end of a season when stores are willing to offer heavy discounts to clear their inventory.  Be sure to ask them to call around to other stores if they don't have your size in stock at the nearest location.
* Don't underestimate the power of eBay!  You may find something that was used once for a photo shoot and is being sold for much less than retail.  There are also companies who receive extra stock from stores like Macy's, Banana Republic, BCBG & Victoria's Secret and sell them for much less (as mentioned here).  Write down the model number & style of what you're looking for & start searching!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Perfectly Polished

Yet another reason to look forward to fall (as if you needed one) is the vast array of beautifully rich nail colors.  Don't get me wrong, I love coral & bright pink as much as the next girl, but after 5 months of these cheery hues, I am welcoming the change.  Here are some of my favorites polishes for the season (some are new releases & some are just old favorites):

1) Estee Lauder Metallic Sage ($19.00) - Sparkly Army Green
2) Deborah Lippmann Single Ladies ($16.00) - Deep Vampy Red
3) OPI A-Taupe the Space Needle ($6.80) - Dark Olive Taupe
4) Sally Hansen Fairy Teal ($7.99) - Vibrant True Teal
5) NARS Bad Influence ($17.00) - Smoky Camel Taupe 
6) Essie Carry On ($8.00) - Dark Mulberry Merlot
7) Butter London West End Wonderland ($14.00) - Gold Micro-Glitter


Monday, August 15, 2011

Skirting Around

I have owned this skirt for years.  It's one of those pieces that goes with just about everything, is flattering & a perfect way to stay cool while still looking pulled-together & feminine.  I love how the fullness is balanced by the high, fitted waistline ~ and the pockets only increase the comfortability. 

{These photos were shot at a historical building in the town where we live.  It was actually the first high school in the village & was built in 1911.}

What I'm wearing:
Dorothy Perkins top, Zara skirt, Merona belt, BCBG sandals, Vintage necklace, Bracelets: Banana Republic & Forever 21


Friday, August 12, 2011

Adopting Fall Trends

When new fashion trends emerge, I typically choose one or two that I'm interested in trying.  Of course, they have to work for my body type & suit my own personal taste.  Some things I absolutely love (flared leg jeans) and others I can do without (feather hair extensions).  So now that we are looking towards fall, I've identified the items I want to incorporate into my wardrobe.  And I've chosen my favorite style-crush to serve as an example (does she ever get it wrong?):

Bow-Front Blouse

This comes as no surprise since I've previously professed my love for these (and already purchased a couple).  I love the way Olivia Palermo styled hers with wide-leg trousers and simple accessories.  And although this may be viewed as a more sophisticated look, you could easily wear it untucked with skinny jeans, boots & a cropped jacket for a fresh, modern approach. 

Lace-Up Booties

The ultimate in versatility - they work just as well to balance out a sweet dress as they do with a casual denim/slouchy sweater combination.  They're comfortable & more supportive than a basic pump, making them a perfect choice for the cold weather that's coming.  Choose some in a soft neutral color that will be easy to pair with pieces you already own.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

DIY Bracelet Party ~ Woven Chain Bracelet

We were given this amazing inspiration from the lovely ladies over at Honestly...WTF (instructions here).  And there were several of us bloggers who were interested in trying it, so we decided to all do our own versions and have a link-up party.  This way you can view everyone's creations in one spot & get inspired to create your own!  Here are my partners in crime (click on the pictures below to go to their sites & see the finished products):

Special thanks to my friend, Christina, who helped me with this little project.  She has made many friendship bracelets in her day & was much more comfortable working with the embroidery thread than I was.  And she helped hold the bracelet in place while I wove the thread through the links.  If you don't have someone to assist you, I recommend taping or weighting it down while you work.  Also, one of the threads I bought was "metallic" and proved incredibly difficult to work with, as it kept coming unravelled (save yourself the headache & stick to the solid colors).  Here's a picture of the bracelet I made:


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Color Spectrum

At the beginning of every new season, Pantone announces their picks for "of-the-moment" colors.  This fall, the hues were a range of calm, muted tones to rich bold shades.  I have been on a personal mission to add more color to my wardrobe, especially during the cooler months when I tend to favor black & grey.  Here are some affordable options (for every color on their list) to inspire you to do the same:

H&M Pants - $14.95


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mixed Signals

For this edition of Everybody Everywear, we were asked to mix prints.  I was thrilled about the idea...that is, until I looked in my closet.  While I do have an abundance of stripes, I realized that patterned pieces were few and far between.  This is just one of the many reasons why I'm glad I take part in these challenges - because it forces me to look at my wardrobe in a different way and helps me identify where there may be voids to fill.  Admittedly, this outfit is one of the "safest" ways to mix prints, but it's a step in the right direction.

As you will notice in these pictures, my hair style changed as the photo shoot continued - thanks to a hefty gust of wind & lack of bobby pins, my "undone bun" became a ponytail. (just keeping it real...)

What I'm wearing:
H&M top, Kohl's jacket, Old Navy jeans, New York & Company scarf, MRKT wedges, Michael Kors watch, Target belt & bag, Dockers aviators, Bracelets: Forever 21, Fossil, Vintage (Nails: OPI A-Taupe the Space Needle)

Make sure you go check out the other great outfit posts here:

Everybody, Everywear | Pattern Mixing


Monday, August 8, 2011

Chicago Shopping

As most of you already know, my husband & I recently spent some time vacationing in Chicago.  The first day we were there, he had board meetings to attend, so I decided to go shopping downtown.  I only had $200 to spend and I wanted to make my dollars stretch, so I hit the sale racks at my favorite stores.  I also tried to focus on pieces that would work heading into the fall. 

I am still on the fence about the floral dress - even though it was a great deal, I am uncertain how often I would wear it is more of a warm-weather item.  I wasn't as successful as I had hoped to be on my outing, which is why not all of my money was spent...but I did find some items I loved & I enjoyed exploring the beautiful city.  Here is what I bought:

Forever 21 Jacket - $32.80
Zara Knit Sweater - $19.99 (marked down from $40)
 Gap Long & Lean 1969 jeans - $8.99 (marked down from $69.95)
Forever 21 necklace - $10.80
Nordstrom Rack dress - $59.97 (marked down from $148)


Saturday, August 6, 2011

New Beginnings

It is a truly amazing experience to begin a new venture with fear & trepidation and then to watch it grow furiously before your very eyes into something greater than you ever imagined.  This little blog has blossomed beyond what I could have dreamed and the loyalty of my readers has been humbling & overwhelming all at the same time.  I am so blessed by each one of you...and it's because of you that I am now able to make this site into a real business.

There are some changes you will notice as I transition, including a few new design elements and the biggest switch being a new URL -  All those visiting the old URL will be automatically re-routed to the new site, but you may want to update your bookmarks & if you follow via FeedBurner or Google Friend Connect.  My Twitter name will stay as @PPFGirl and my Facebook fan page (you may have noticed) has already changed to the new name.  Everything else (the content of my posts, the frugal focus & the occasional giveaways) will remain the same.  I will also begin accepting sponsors - email me if you are interested (see link under tabs on the left sidebar)!

Thank you for following me on this journey and for coming to visit every day ~ I am thrilled & honored by your support and I truly value your comments & feedback!


Friday, August 5, 2011

The Amped Up Pony

After what seemed like the longest, hottest & driest summer, we are finally starting to get our fair share of rain here in NY.  Having naturally curly hair, the humidity presents a significant challenge for me.  So when we're expecting a day full of wet weather, a ponytail is my hairstyle of choice.  This is my new favorite way to wear mine because it is a little edgier & slightly more glamorous.  Some examples:

How to try it:
1) Tease your hair back at the crown (even if you have bangs, this will work).  Smooth out the top over the teased portion.

2) Pull all your hair back into a high ponytail.  You want it to be slicked fairly tight on the sides, but keep the volume at the top.

3) Secure with a clear elastic or one that is the same color as your hair.  You may need to tug on the top to pull it out more so you get the right amount of height.

4) Spray with a firm hold hairspray. (I also like to grab a small section of hair from the ponytail, wrap it around the base and secure with a bobby pin for a more polished look).


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Small & Structured

Normally, big slouchy bags or oversized clutches are my preference for everyday.  But, after seeing the small ladylike bags that designers debuted for Fall 2011, I am suddenly craving a change.  Take a look at some examples from the runway:

I like that this style is just big enough to hold all your essentials, but it has a vintage-inspired structured shape that won't weigh you down.  Here are my penny-pincher picks: