Friday, September 30, 2011

Find A Cure

My grandmother had breast cancer - and though she survived, the possibility of it being hereditary was always in the back of my mind as I got older.  2 years ago, I discovered my first lump.  I tried not to panic as I made the doctors appointment, but fear can be an all-consuming feeling.  Thankfully, the mammogram showed that it was benign...still they continued to watch it closely for another full year to ensure it stayed that way. 

A few months ago, I went to what I thought would be my last appointment.  To my surprise, they located another lump that now must be monitored frequently.  As I walked out of that office and saw the dozens of women sitting in the waiting room, I couldn't help but feel fortunate & sad at the same time.  Every day there are hundreds, probably even thousands, who have the opposite outcome.  And the mammograms & ultrasounds I must schedule every 6 months simply pale in comparison to the treatments that countless others have to endure.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  I am sharing my story to reinforce the importance of early detection.  As this month continues, I will be collaborating with some companies to host giveaways & feature products that are tied to this cause.  I hope you will join with me in support of organizations working to put an end to this devastating disease.  For those women who are fighting this battle & for those who have lost...let's never stop trying to find a cure. 


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Boot Season

After receiving several questions from readers about where to find affordable boots & booties for fall, I decided to put together a list of budget-friendly picks.  Although I'm always drawn to a higher heel, I tried to include flat & mid-heel pairs so there's something for everyone.  The styles below are great options and all are less than $50...but you can also check out listings on eBay (where I found mine worn here).

Charlotte Russe Fold-over Boots - $50.00 ($15 off if you buy online)
H&M Boots - $39.95


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Milk & Honey Shoes $100 Giveaway

This is the second in my series of giveaways from the Lucky FABB Conference gift bag...and perfect for all you shoe-lovers out there!  You can win $100 gift card to Milk & Honey Shoes - choose to shop from their collection of gorgeous shoes OR create your own, selecting the type of heel, height, fabric, platform + more! 

* 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 5 days to enter - The giveaway will close on October 3rd at 12am EST and I will announce the winner the following day.  Good luck!


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Country Girl

I have been loving all the faux fur pieces I've seen in stores lately and I was really planning on purchasing a jacket of some sort.  But, after trying several on, I realized that when you have broad shoulders, this is not the most flattering style (I looked like a linebacker).  So, I decided on a vest instead.  I love that this one has an open front and a cropped shape...the longer ones I found seemed to add too much bulk for me. 

I think it is such a fun piece, even though my husband laughed at me when I put this on & my daughter declared it my "DoodleBop" vest (you other moms will get this reference).  Still, I love layering different textures in this way - see how I paired silk, faux fur, denim & leather?  I'm already picturing the other items I can wear this a cream-colored turtleneck & the skirt worn here.

What I'm wearing:
Forever 21 vest (here), Sunday in Brooklyn top, Style & Co. jeans, Colin Stuart boots, Forever 21 necklace (here), Kenneth Cole ring, Bracelets: Banana Republic & Forever 21 (here), Dockers Aviators (here), Nails: Essie Over the Edge (here) 


Monday, September 26, 2011

FABB Gift Bag Winner

And the winner of the fabulous gift bag items from the Lucky FABB Conference is...

Congratulations to Sarah (!!  

Shoot me an email with your address & I will get it packaged up and sent out to you this week - I hope you enjoy all your goodies! 

For those who didn't win, check back on Wednesday for another great giveaway (hint: if you're a shoe collector, you'll like this one)!


Closet Makeover

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that we have been in the process of moving.  We finally found long-term renters for our home in North Carolina, so we are settling into a house in the country on 5 acres.  It is in a beautiful spot, but the house is older...which means smaller bedrooms and little or no closet space to speak of.  My husband, being the amazing man that he is, suggested that we turn one of the extra bedrooms into a "wardrobe room" (yes, it really was his idea).

He said that I could choose the color and design it how I wanted, but it had to be done in an affordable way.  "Affordable" for us right now means estate sale shopping, Goodwill hunting & searching through Craig's List (using mostly money I've made selling items on eBay).  I knew right away that I wanted it to be serene & glamorous with some vintage touches - think "old Hollywood".  Here is a sneak peek at what I've come up with so far:

* Real Simple Slimline Hangers – These magically create more space in your closet because of their slim design…plus the flocking material ensures your silky pieces don’t slip into a crumpled heap on the floor.
* Benjamin Moore Bird's Egg – I chose this paint color for its calming effect and the way it will pop against the white shelves I'm adding.
* ELLE Mercury Pillar Candleholders - These will be sitting pretty atop my antique curved dresser (which I scored at Goodwill for less than $20)!
* Leather storage bench – This was a piece we previously had at the foot of our bed in the master, but our room in this house is too small for it.  It’s not exactly what I wanted for seating, but you have to use what you’ve got!
* Crystal Chandelier – I found this on Craig’s List and talked the seller down to $25 for it.  Though similar in design, this isn’t a photo of mine, because I still have to clean it thoroughly before it’s ready to be hung.
* DKNY Sequin Throw Pillow – Unfortunately, this does not fit within my budget, but I love I am hoping for a sale and/or killer coupon so I can buy it at a lower price.
* Breakfast at Tiffany’s 8x10 Photo - I bought this on eBay for $5, had a taupe silk mat made at Hobby Lobby & am now on the hunt for a frame to put it in.

Stay tuned for more before & after photos as my husband builds the closet and I put the finishing touches on my new space!


Friday, September 23, 2011

Mirror, Mirror

This post is dedicated to a friend of mine (you know who you are): I hope someday you are able to forever silence the voice in your head that tells you you're not good enough...
"Mirror, mirror on the wall, have I got it?
'Cause mirror you've always told me who I am.
I'm finding it's not easy to be perfect.

So won't define me,
Sorry you don't own me.

Who are you to tell me
That I'm less than what I should be?
Who are you?"

As women, we all have insecurities.  We all have had those days where we look at the reflection staring back at us and begin to pick apart the image we see.  We think, "I would be so much happier with myself if only this wasn't here.  If I could lose 2 more inches or have this part be perkier or smaller or _______ (fill in the blank)."  Even worse, we play the comparison game with other women.  Maybe it's a friend or an acquaintance or a complete stranger.  But it's a game that you eventually lose - because there will ALWAYS be someone taller, thinner, prettier...with a bigger closet & nicer shoes.

It truly breaks my heart when I see other ladies struggling in this endless cycle...because I have been in that place and I know the misery it brings.  Having overcome a decade-long battle with an eating disorder, I speak from experience when I say there is no greater feeling than that of freedom.  The moment when you finally accept that person in the mirror just as she is - and you continue to CHOOSE to accept her day after day.  If my self-worth was based on how I looked (as it used to be), I would easily be discouraged by a bad-hair day or sudden breakout...or a girl wearing the same dress as me, but 2 sizes smaller.  And as much as I love beauty & fashion, it is NOT what defines me, nor does it bring me lasting joy.

If I could impart one piece of advice, it would be this:  We are all different.  You cannot change your genetics...the shape of your face, the color of your eyes or the size of your feet.  What you have is uniquely you.  Find the beauty in yourself and do not let your looks define you.  They are but one piece of who you are and much less important or impactful than your heart & soul.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Runway Inspiration ~ Gucci Fall 2011

While everyone else has been posting about the recent Spring fashion shows, I have been looking back to the fall runways for inspiration.  Because as much as I enjoy getting glimpses of what is to come, it's nice to find ideas that work for right now.  The makeup at Gucci's fall show was a favorite of mine because it was so sophisticated and simple.  And it couldn't be more perfect for this time of year...

If you're used to wearing a bright red shade, change it up with this deeper burgundy hue for a classic but fresh look.  Be sure to follow my steps (outlined here) for prepping your lips.  I've found the easiest & most precise way to apply is with a lip brush - start in the center of your lips & work your way out until full coverage is achieved.  I also like to blot once for a more natural look.  If you're not comfortable with a matte finish or need extra moisturizing, you can add a clear gloss on top (just in the center of your lips).

The other key here is balance.  This is a deep, rich you want to scale everything else back.  The eye makeup is simple: there may be a slight taupe shadow across lids or in the creases here, but no eyeliner - just several coats of black mascara.  Define your brows, do a quick & light sweep of blush or bronzer (if you're fair like me) and that's it! 

Products to try:


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

FABB Gift Bag Giveaway

Since the Lucky Magazine crew (& their sponsors) were so generous with our amazing gift bags from the FABB conference, I thought it would be greedy to keep all those goodies to myself.  So, I am sharing the haul with my readers in the form of 3 giveaways...this being the first - you can enter to win everything you see here:

* Charm & Chain $50 gift card (with purchase of $175 or more)
* got2b Rockin' It Dry Shampoo (4.3 oz)
* Kusmi Sweet Love Black Tea (20 bags)
* Bare Minerals Naturally Luminous Renew & Reveal Facial Cleanser (2.5 oz)
* PuraVida bracelet
* Goody Spin Pin (2-Dark Hair)
* Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Cleansing Foam (5 fl. oz)
* PACT Premium Organic Cotton Bikini Underwear (size small) + a coupon for a second pair free
* Pacifica Island Vanilla Perfume Roll-On
* Philip Simon compact mirror & zip travel-case
* Kora bracelet with drawstring bag
* Wet 'N Wild 8 shade eye palette (Petal Pusher)
* DVF coupon for $50 off a purchase of $250 or more + 3 DVF travel tags
* Marvis travel-size toothpaste (classic strong mint)
* Modella polka-dot travel cosmetic case
* $50 gift certifate for Dauphines of New York
* Avon ANEW Genics Treatment Cream (1.0 oz)
* Smashbox Eyeshadow Trio (Champagne, Flamingo, Java)
* Korres Pomegranate Lip Butter (.21 oz)
* Timberland 100% natural lip balm
* Ahava Deadsea Water Mineral Body Lotion (1.3 fl. oz)
* Dr. Lewinn by Kinerase Wrinkle Repair Daily Cream SPF30 (1.7 oz)
* Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint SPF20 Oil Free (0.17 fl. oz)
* myfaceworks Collagen Boosting Facial Mask (one-time use)

If you're new to giveaways on my blog, here's how it works...


* 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 5 days to enter - The giveaway will close on September 26th at 12am EST and I will announce the winner the following day.  Good luck!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Birds of a Feather

One of the things I love about blogging & reading other fashion blogs is the courage it's given me to try new things with my wardrobe.  I find myself taking more chances & experimenting with trends that I never would have before.  This feather-embellished blouse is a perfect example - something about the color & the detail made me want to give it a chance, even if the feathers are a little outside the realm of what I'd normally wear.   

What I'm wearing:
Madison Marcus blouse (purchased on clearance at Last Call by Neiman Marcus), Gap trousers (here), Aldo heels (last seen here), Forever 21 necklace (here), Vintage bag, Forever 21 & Banana Republic bracelets, Nails: Essie Carry On (here)

* I am guest posting today for Jamie at Work Your Closet - pop on over to her site and see how I recreated one of my favorite Olivia Palermo looks!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Steals Under $30

What better way to kick off a new week than with another edition of affordable finds - at these prices, you can buy one of each!

H&M Pants - $24.95


Friday, September 16, 2011

I ♥ NY

This will be my last NYC post & next week I'll get back to business as usual.  Though I already gave you the full download on what took place during my day at the Lucky FABB conference, there were other parties & events that I attended in NYC, including Fashion Night Out.  My friend Christina & I were meeting up with another girlfriend of mine from high school, who lives in the East Village.  Our plan was to hit Bergdorf Goodman's first and then head over to Macaron Cafe for macarons & champagne...and finish off the night with the dance party at Lanvin.

Some of the scheduled events at Bergdorfs were running a bit behind schedule and we waited in a very long line to spin the BG Wheel of Fashion for a free goody bag.  So, by the time we finished our feast of macarons (which were delicious) and arrived at Lanvin, the dance party was over.  We were a bit disappointed, but had already made so many memories + our feet were KILLING us!  At that point, it was 11pm and we still hadn't eaten we walked to The Brooklyn Diner for appetizers & called it a night.  Our evening in pictures:

Badgley Mischka showing off their dressed-up dogs for the Puppy Fashion Show

Gorgeous gowns at Bergdorfs

Taking a break & resting my feet (I'm wearing French Connection top, Calvin Klein skinnies, BCBG heels & bracelets, J. Crew earrings, Olivia + Joy clutch)

Meeting the always hilarious Robert Verdi, who was MC for the BG Wheel of Fashion (I may have slipped my card in his pocket)

The perfect way to end an evening: rose champagne & macarons courtesy of Macaron Cafe


Thursday, September 15, 2011

FABB Conference ~ Part 2

I promise this is my final post about the conference!  I wanted to share the last pictures from my personal photo album & some other stand-out moments that were highlights from the day:

I loved that Khloe, Kim & Kourtney were so real during their session and teased each other like sisters do in real life.  They talked about how they started the first DASH store by maxing out Kourtney's credit card (to the tune of $50k) and didn't make any profit on their business for the first 3 years.

The ever-talented Man Repeller in the flesh - I hate to admit it, but I was too scared to go up to her and say hi (still kicking myself for this)

The stunning Ellie Goulding performing an acoustic set for FABB attendees during the cocktail hour (if it's at all possible, she was even better live).

Surreal moment when I introduced myself to her (look, she's holding my business card!) - we talked about the music industry & she encouraged me to pursue my love for singing

All smiles with Tiffany & the beautiful Leslie Blodgett of Bare Escentuals, who we chatted with about makeup & nail polish


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

All About DVF

As most of you know by now, the biggest speaker booked for the FABB Conference was the amazing Diane Von Furstenberg.  She was the first to when we walked into the room, she was already seated on stage.  Everyone was awe-struck simply by her presence, but when she began to talk, you could have heard a pin drop.  Hearing her share her story was truly incredible and the nuggets of wisdom she imparted to us, I will never forget. 

Showing off her outfit

Isn't she just gorgeous?

Holding her Harper Connect Handbag

I was furiously scribbling notes the whole time she spoke - some quotes that stuck with me (and impressed me) from her talk were:
  • All women should have children & all women should have an identity outside of their children/family.
  • You have to learn how to breathe & have buffers between you & the world.  Never get so busy that you lose yourself.
  • As nice as it is to receive good feedback, it doesn't help you get better.  You learn the most from criticism.
After she was done speaking & answering questions, we (the 3 musketeers) literally jumped over chairs and pushed our way to the front of the room to get a chance to meet her.  Just as it was my turn to introduce myself, her assistant told her it was time to leave.  Thankfully, she saw the disappointed look on my face and grabbed my hand to pull me on stage with her.  I was almost too shocked to speak, but I managed to mutter how grateful I was to meet her & what an inspiration she is.  I'm so thankful that Tiffany was ready with camera in hand & quickly snapped this picture of us, before Diane was ushered away by her staff.  It was a moment I will never forget.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Seeing Red

This month's Everybody Everywear challenge is focused around colored pants.  I purchased this cropped red pair on clearance at the end of summer because I loved the deep tomato hue and slim fit.  While I wasn't sure about this trend to begin with, I now am a big fan because it is a different way to inject color into your wardrobe.  (And it was only fitting I wear them with my Missoni-inspired print top since today is the debut of their line for Target.)

What I'm wearing:
The Limited pants, Forever 21 top, H&M blazer, SE Boutique heels, Michael Kors sunglasses, Free People necklace, Banana Republic ring, Bracelets: Forever 21, Target, Banana Republic


Monday, September 12, 2011

FABB Conference ~ Part 1

I had the MOST amazing & unforgettable time in NYC.  There is so much to share, so I'll be breaking it down into several posts throughout this week.  This will serve as part 1, where I'll share with you an overview of the conference.

My morning began by meeting up with the beautiful Tiffany - we found each other on Twitter and were both FABB we decided to meet up for coffee before the conference & help calm each other's nerves.  After trying (& failing) to hail a cab in the pouring rain/wind, we finally gave up & walked half the way to the conference center in our 5-inch heels.  So by the time we arrived, my hair had literally doubled in size (thanks to my natural curl) and was frizzy all over.  Not the best first impression...

After we signed in & were walking through the massive crowds of gorgeous bloggers, we bumped into Gina (also a newbie) and invited her to hang with us - we instantly bonded & her quick wit had us laughing all day.  So the 3 musketeers were born and I really don't know if I would have survived or enjoyed the day as much without these lovely ladies!

I'll get to the conference speakers & content later, but I want to tell you first what an amazing job Lucky Magazine did putting this event together.  It was well-organized, professional & they truly spoiled us!  Editor-in-Chief Brandon Holley (who looked stunning in her Roland Mouret sheath dress) was poised and surprisingly personable, willing to chat with any blogger who walked up to her.  Some pictures from the day:

Posing at the step & repeat (I'm wearing H&M blouse, BCBG skirt, Nina peep-toes)

Essie suite, where they had mini-cupcakes to match their Fall Color Collection

Laundry suite, where we got to choose our favorite dress from their Fall Collection, create a name for it & they will send us our pick

J Brand suite, where we got to pick the jeans we liked best, try them on & order our favorite for free

Tiffany posing with the high-waisted flares we both chose (isn't she adorable?)

White House Black Market suite, where we got to style a model using pieces from their Fall Collection (I chose a mix of stripes & animal print with this bordeaux blazer)

Timberland suite, where we got to create a cold-weather look using their boots & accessories, which will be donated to a woman in need this winter

More details to come Wednesday-Friday, including the moment I met DVF!


Friday, September 9, 2011

Personal Skin Care

Many of you have asked about my skin-care regimen, so I decided to do a post to hopefully answer your questions...

I was very blessed to have fairly good skin from the start.  In high school, other than the occasional monthly pimple, my skin was really clear.  But, I had several bad burns growing up, before I learned the hazards of being unprotected in the sun.  And, I hate to admit it, but I did use tanning beds for a few years (wince)!  However, I still remained very lucky in the skin department...UNTIL a year after my son was born.  All of a sudden, I started having breakouts all the time and no matter what I tried, my skin looked awful!  I decided I couldn't live with it anymore and made my first ever appointment with a dermatologist. 

I should mention here that I had been using a high-end 5-step process skin care line (which shall remain nameless).  The dermatologist told me to stop using the expensive brand and go buy bar soap and a moisturizing lotion at Walgreens.  I thought she was joking.  Surely, this couldn't be the solution to my adult acne crisis!  But, I did what she said.  Using two drugstore brands for cleansing & moisturizing, plus 1 prescription cream, my skin was clear in less than 2 weeks! 

The moral of the story here is that as we age, skin not only changes in texture & appearance, but also in what it requires to look healthy.  The products you have been using for years may not cut it anymore.  Also, just because a product is expensive and does wonders for your best friend, doesn't mean it will work for your particular skin type.  Finally, if you've recently had a baby, it is not uncommon for hormones to get a little out of whack, causing changes in your skin.  I highly recommend seeing a doctor and/or dermatologist who can help you determine the root of the problem. 

Though it may go without saying, in addition to these products below, I notice a marked improvement in my skin when I'm drinking a good amount of water each day & taking Omega 3-6-9.    

1) Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar - $1.79
2) CeraVe Moisturizing Skin Lotion - $13.99
3) Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunblock (mentioned here) - $9.99
3) RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Eye Cream (mentioned here) - $19.99


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Transition Time

Although it is September now, the cold weather hasn't completely arrived yet (for most of us).  So, why pack away all of your summer clothes?  Here are some ideas for how to transition into fall mixing old pieces with new fall favorites.  I tried to put together 3 different looks - classic, bohemian & there's something for everyone, no matter what your personal style:

1) Midi & Maxi Skirts
You've been wearing them all summer with tees & tanks; now pair them with a lightweight knit & lace-up booties for a cozy fall look. (Tip: make sure you tuck in the sweater or wear a cropped version & belt the skirt so your shape isn't completely lost).

2) White Denim
This classic summer staple will look just as crisp with layered pieces on top & rich cognac boots to ground the stark white...proving once & for all that you can wear it after Labor Day!

3) Dressy Shorts
Make your shorts wearable this time of year by adding your favorite color tights and a chunky cable-knit sweater for a warm & stylish solution.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lucky Girl

I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to attend Lucky Magazine's Fashion & Beauty Bloggers conference in NYC today.  The meeting is just for the day & on the eve of New York Fashion Week - which means the city is already buzzing with excitement.  I am so anxious to get to meet some of my favorite fashion bloggers face-to-face, take part in the discussions & learn from their distinguished panel (here)...including the amazing Diane von Furstenberg (see more details here and here).

I will be thoroughly documenting my trip and sharing every moment with you here on PPF.  Thankfully, I've convinced my friend Christina to come with me for moral support - she also happens to be a great photographer, so she'll be helping me take pictures as we go through this incredible adventure.  I will do my best to check messages, comments & tweets when I can.  Make sure you come back here next week for the full download, behind-the-scenes scoop, plus my personal photo album!