Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Steals Under $30

If you haven't already spent your savings shopping Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales, take a peek at this cozy layered fall look using pieces that are all less than $30!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Empty Streets

There was a day when I never would have worn this top & skirt together (and according to my husband, I shouldn't now either).  But, from time to time it is good to take risks and try something slightly outside our fashion comfort zone.  Sometimes the results might just pleasantly surprise you.

What I'm wearing:
LOFT top, Banana Republic skirt, Anne Klein NY tights (here), LC Lauren Conrad pumps (on sale here), J. Crew necklace (via eBay), Nails: Dior Vernis Purple Mix


Monday, November 28, 2011

Cyber Monday Sales

As promised, here are the online retailers offering special deals for today only:

Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic & Athleta: 30% off using code HUGECYBER + free shipping on orders of $50 or more
Piperlime: 20% off using code HUGECYBER + free shipping
Kohl's: Extra 20% off on everything + free shipping using code CYBER20
Express: 30% off everything + free shipping
J. Crew Factory: Extra 25% off everything + free shipping using code SURPRISE
Dorothy Perkins: Extra 20% off everything using code DPHOLIDAY + free shipping
DSW: $15 off $75, $30 off $149 or $50 off $199 using code CYBER + free shipping on orders of $35 or more using code SHIPR
Ann Taylor: 50% off everything + free shipping using code MONDAY
LOFT: 50% off everything + free shipping using code SHOP50
The Limited: 50% off original prices + free shipping using code CYBER
ASOS: 20% off everything using code HAPPYBLACKFRIDAY
Ulta: $10 off $60 using code 11410, $20 off $100 using code 18468 + free shipping on orders of $25 or more using code HOLIDAYSHP25
Macy's: Extra 25-40% off clearance (select items only, see site for details) + free shipping on orders of $75 or more
White House Black Market: 30% off your entire purchase + free shipping using code 10823
New York & Company: 50% off everything (excludes clearance) + free shipping using code 2129
J. Crew: 25% off every order + free shipping using code SURPRISE
Madewell: Extra 30% off sale styles + free shipping using code ENJOY
TopShop: Free shipping on all orders
Forever 21: Up to 80% off select items + free shipping using code CYBERMO
Lord & Taylor: Extra 25% (with limited exclusions) using code CYBER + free shipping on orders of $99 or more
American Eagle Outfitters: Extra 25% off everything + free shipping using code 49827101
JCPenney: Over 40,000 items marked down + free shipping on orders of $25 or more using code SHIP25
Last Call by Neiman Marcus: Extra 30% off entire purchase (excludes spot-on savings clearance) + free shipping on orders of $75 or more using code 75NOVLC
Accessorize: 40% off everything
Miss Selfridge: 20% off full-price items using code MISSBF + free shipping on orders of $100 or more (ends at 6pm EST)


Ask PPF: Daily Routine

I am enjoying all the questions you're sending in - please keep them coming & I promise to answer EACH one!  I received this one from a fellow stay-at-home mom and, while I realize that some of you work full-time and don't have families yet...I still thought it would be helpful to share how I handle the daily routine with my kids.

Waking up early
I know my husband will laugh when he reads this because I have been hitting the snooze button far too much lately.  But, I really believe the key to a non-stressful morning is setting the alarm to wake up earlier than my kids.  This gives me time to start my coffee, make my daughter's lunch, have my quiet time & get myself ready before I need to make their breakfast.  On days I don't do this, I am rushed & stressed and feel like I'm off to a bad start.

Doing hair & makeup
When I am just running errands, I try to keep it simple and quick (makeup: foundation & powder, blush, lipgloss & curl my lashes; hair: brush & leave down or put up in a ponytail/bun).  But, if I'm heading to the gym or on nights when I have Zumba, I skip the makeup altogether - because what is the point of putting it on, only to sweat it off?  When we have a playdate or a meeting at the school, I will get completely ready with eye makeup & I'll curl my hair.

Painting nails
I don't even attempt to paint my nails when my kids are around because they will inevitably get ruined before they have time to dry.  So, I usually do them when my son is napping or I'll wait until after dinner when my husband is home & can keep them entertained.  I always have my nails painted, so this is an every 4-5 day activity for me.

Choosing an outfit
Another secret to a smooth morning routine is choosing clothes the night before (I do this with my kids' outfits too) - this way I don't have to spend time putting something together in the morning.  I try to pick looks based on what I have planned for that day & what the weather will be.  If I'm running errands, I go with ballet flats or riding boots - but there are times when we're going to the mall & I'll think, "I just really want to wear my heels" and I always get blisters regret it.  I usually wear jeans & trousers during the week in the fall/winter, but I prefer dresses & skirts in the spring/summer.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Basic Brights

I had to hurry up & shoot this outfit before it gets too cold here in NY...because the snow is coming soon!  I love the idea of wearing brights during a season when neutral & dark tones typically dominate.  And thanks to the open knit of this sweater, it will be perfect layered over a tee with white jeans come spring and with a tank & shorts this summer. 

What I'm wearing:
H&M sweater, Old Navy shirt, Gap trousers (on sale here), ELLE pumps (on sale here), Ann Taylor necklace (Spring 2012 collection found via eBay), Lucien Piccard watch, Lips: Maybelline Fifth Ave Fuschia


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Express Giveaway WINNER

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway & a special thank you to Express for these beautiful accessories!  Our winner is...


Congratulations!  I will be emailing you shortly to get your address information so I can send you your prizes!!

If you didn't win, you can still buy these items at Express & while you're there, be sure to check out their holiday gift guide (here).  They are having some great sales, so now is the time to shop!



When I began this blog just 9 short months ago, I never could have imagined what it would become.  I simply wanted to help other women and to find a creative outlet for myself.  Little did I know that PPF would grow into the site that it is today, that I would make lifelong friends because of it and that blogging would be such a rewarding experience. 

I am so thankful for my followers - that you take time out of your day to come here & read what I have to say, that you share your feedback & comments with me and that you have helped shape the content for my site.  This blog will always be about you & for you and I promise to do my best to provide the information that you are looking for - because you are truly the reason why PPF exists.  I could not have gotten where I am today without your loyalty & support...and I'm so grateful for every single one of you!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Black Friday Sales

The biggest shopping day of the year is almost upon us!  For those of you who like to plan a strategy for your day, I've compiled a list of sales for the major clothing & accessories retailers that I frequent & feature here on PPF.  I know not everyone likes to brave the massive crowds, so I will be publishing a separate list for online sales & deals on Cyber Monday!

Old Navy: Opening at midnight - entire store on sale, including 50% off all outwear (see full 6-page ad here for more details).
Gap: Opening at midnight - Every item in the store is either 20%, 40% or 60% off.  Shop before noon & get select womens jeans & sweaters for $19!
Express: Everything 40% off until noon; everything 30% off after noon (in stores & online).
Banana Republic: Opening at midnight - 40% off your entire purchase (until 1pm).  After 1pm, get 25% off your purchase.
Brooks Brothers: Almost everything in the store is half off!
H&M: Opening at 5am - the first 100 customers in line will receive a scratch-off good for up to $300 + markdowns including dresses, pants, sweaters & outerwear (see full details here).
Macy's: Opening at midnight - shop before 1pm for early morning specials including cashmere sweaters for $39.  Check your local paper for additional savings coupons (see full details here).
JCPenney: Opening at 4am - shop before 1pm for early morning specials, including boots starting at $19.99 (see full details here).
Kohl's: Opening at midnight - get $15 for every $50 you spend, early bird specials 12am-3pm PLUS get an extra 15% off 11/22-11/27 using code GOBBLE15 at checkout (see full details here).
Ulta: Look for buy 2 get 2 free doorbusters + 50% off items like styling tools and more.  Spend $50 and get a free ice bucket.
Lord & Taylor: Opening at 5am - at least 50% off already reduced wool coats, cashmere & leather gloves (see full details & print an extra 20% off savings pass here).
Sephora: Opening at midnight - 10 for $10 deals, including Stila Glitz & Glam Palette & Buxom Welcome To the Party (see full details here).
American Eagle Outfitters: 40% off everything Friday & Saturday.
Eddie Bauer: 40% off the entire store until noon + receive $50 EBBucks with any purchase.
New York & Company: 50% off everything now through Sunday.
Anthropologie: Until 11am, take 50% off all sale items in stores (and online 6am-11am local time)
The Limited: 50% off original ticket prices online 6am Thursday thru Friday & in stores starting Friday morning - excludes markdowns (use code GOBBLE at checkout & get free shipping too!)
Ann Taylor: 40% off everything in stores & online - use code THANKS
LOFT: 40% off everything in stores & online - use code SHOP40 (check here for store opening times)
J. Crew: 25% off your purchase + free shipping on orders of $150 or more - use code YOURGIFT (now thru 11/27)


Army Green

It's been a while since the last Bloggers Do It Better, so I was anxious for a new challenge!  And when she announced that it was Military Chic, I couldn't have been more excited.  I have an abundance of army green in my wardrobe (like this jacketthis top & this skirt)...which made it difficult to choose.  But, I finally decided on a layered fall look with knee-high boots & aviators, which echo the military vibe of this jacket.

What I'm wearing:
Forever 21 blouse (last seen here), Old Navy sweater (on sale here)
& coat (on sale here), Style & Co. jeans, Colin Stuart boots, Zara clutch (here), Michael Kors watch, Target & Forever 21 bracelets, Dockers Aviators, Nails: L'Oreal Owl's Night (here)


Monday, November 21, 2011

Beauty Discoveries

Every so often, I find new products that really wow me and I must share with my readers (you can see my previous posts of this type here, here & here).  These are a few of my current favorites that are definitely worth trying (plus, they are all affordable drugstore finds).

1) Neutrogena Moisture Wrap Body Lotion - $8.79
The weather is just starting to shift to that dry, biting cold of winter and along with it, I've noticed my skin suddenly needs extra moisturizing.  This intensive lotion works in two ways - first, it provides instant relief for dry skin & then works to regenerate lost moisture.

2) Olay Smooth Finish Facial Hair Removal Duo - $22.94
By far, the least glamorous thing we have to deal with as women (unless you were genetically blessed or have splurged for laser hair removal).  This ingenious product not only removes unwanted hair, but contains a protective balm you apply first to keep skin from getting irritated.

3) Boots Botanics Conditioning Clay Mask - $7.19
I'm always nervous about trying new products on my face because my skin is so sensitive.  But, this mineral clay mask helps pull impurities out of the skin without drying - plus it is hydrating & absorbs oil...great for combination & acne-prone skin, too. (Hint: make sure you shake well before using)

4) L'Oreal EverPure Moisture Restorative Masque - $7.19
Sulfate-free & especially great for color-treated hair, this deep conditioning mask restores moisture to your strands for noticeably softer, shinier hair after just one use - the rosemary mint scent is an added bonus!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Express Giveaway ~ CLOSED

When I attended the Lucky Magazine FABB Conference in NYC, one of the suites was hosted by Express.  It was so fun because they had a real catwalk set up for you to strut your stuff on - then they recorded your runway stroll & emailed it to you and your friends!  They also had fabulous accessories from their Holiday 2011 line that you could choose from.  I just received mine in the mail & am so excited to give these away to one lucky reader.  Take a look:

This metallic mesh wristlet is the perfect holiday party accessory and is just the right size for all your essentials.  The chain strap keeps your hands free - added bonus: it actually looks like a bracelet!

This gorgeous open-knit infinity scarf is super soft and is made glamorous by the hint of metallic thread and subtle sequins sprinkled throughout.  Plus the neutral color makes it easy to pair with anything this winter!
  • Be a follower of PPF on Google, Google +, BlogLovin, RSS, Facebook or Twitter
  • Like Express on Facebook (here)
  • Leave a comment below (make sure I have your email address so I can contact you if you win)
You have 6 days to enter - The giveaway will close on November 23rd at 12am EST and I will announce the winner the following day!

*If you love these items & just can't wait to see if you won, you can buy the scarf here & the wristlet here.

Disclosure: I received these items compliments of Express, but was not required to blog about or giveaway the accessories.  I was not compensated for this post and all opinions expressed are my own.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

In My Bag

Several of my blogging friends have been doing these posts and I think it's such a fun idea.  You can really tell alot about someone by what they carry around with them.  So, I decided to share with you what's in my handbag:

1) Liz Claiborne wallet - classic black patent croc with a cute plaid interior
2) Kleenex Travel Pack - a MUST when you have kids
3) Minimergency Kit (part of my Lucky FABB gift bag - contains bandaids, clear nail polish, hairspray, sewing kit, stain remover + more...I haven't had to use it yet, but you never know!  Buy one here)
4) Leather business card holder w/ PPF cards inside - just in case
5) John Frieda Full Repair Touch-Up Flyaway Tamer (here) - a lifesaver for fixing hair on the go
6) Mini Measuring Tape - for when I'm shoe shopping...the heel must measure over 4" for me to buy it. 
7) Cosmetics Case - holds my lipstick/gloss, compact, concealer, blush & mascara for touch-ups
8) Phone - yes I am old school and do not have an iPhone or BlackBerry (sponsor...anyone?)
9) eos Cucumber Hand Lotion (here) - great travel size & a light, clean scent
10) Keys - also has my YMCA membership card, which I use all the time
11) Extra Dessert Delights Key Lime Pie Gum - tastes like the real thing, but is sugarfree!
12) Matchbox Cars - my son always has a car (or two) in his hands & then he gets tired of carrying them & they end up in my purse. 
13) Antibacterial Moist Towelettes - to wipe down the cart at the grocery store & for my hands after pumping gas.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sparkly Surprise

Remember last week when I made my birthday wish list (here)?  Well, apparently my husband does read my blog because he surprised me with this sequin top over the weekend (along with a few other fun gifts).  I love that it fits like a tee and is stretchy enough to push up the sleeves, making it incredibly versatile.  A few other combinations I'm thinking of: a cargo vest layered over with jeans & booties OR a chambray shirt underneath with slim trousers & bright pumps.

Balancing on a curb in 4" heels is not the best idea (he snapped this right before I fell off)

What I'm wearing:
J. Crew top (here), Old Navy skirt (here), Merona tights, Nina booties, J. Crew necklace (here), Target & Banana Republic bracelets


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Modern Metallics

There's no better way to add a luxe shine to your look than with metallic-glazed accessories.  Whether your style is classic or edgy, there's something here for everyone ~ and at $50 or less, these options are all easy on the wallet:


Monday, November 14, 2011

Beauty Tips

Because I firmly believe that as women we should help each other out & share our beauty secrets, I want to talk about how to avoid common beauty mistakes + a few key techniques that make a big difference.  I've already done several posts about my own personal makeup preferences, but I thought these might be helpful hints & reminders for us all:

Good lighting
I've never done my makeup in the bathroom of any of the 5 houses we've lived in.  Natural light is 100 times better than even the brightest light fixture, especially bathrooms...which are usually a small enclosed space.  Buy yourself a pedestal mirror and set up camp in front of a window facing outdoors.  You will apply less & look more natural!

A smooth base
Another mom approached me when picking up my son from school the other day to ask me what makeup I used.  When I told her, she was shocked because it was the same brand as hers.  The difference we discovered?  I use this primer beforehand, which instantly creates a smoother base, making for a more even application & longer-lasting results.

Lighten up
Every woman I know uses under-eye concealer to help cover up those dreaded dark circles that come with age, heredity and/or lack of sleep.  But, far too many of us forget to lighten a very important spot on the inner corner of the eye (towards the bridge of the nose).  This dark pocket can make you look even more tired, so remember to hit it with your concealer and maybe even a little highlighter too!

Conceal properly
Unfortunately, we all experience the occasional unexpected breakout.  When this happens, don't be tempted to pile on the makeup (which actually draws more attention to your problem area).  I like to use a lip brush so I can dab my foundation & concealer just where it's needed - use small slight strokes (like you're working on a detailed painting) just until it's covered & then gently blot with powder to set.
Create definition
Even if you weren't blessed with high pronounced cheekbones, you can still create the illusion that you were.  Once you start using this technique, you will never go back...I promise!  It makes such a huge difference and gives your skin a dewy glow (application discussed in detail here).  On those days when you're short on time, don't skip this step - it only takes seconds & is so worth it!
Protect & prolong
I don't know how I ever lived without this magical product!  Also known as "clear lipliner", it is like a waxy substance that you put on before your lipstick or gloss to keep it from bleeding, feathering & fading.  It works like a charm & lasts forever.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Gray Skies

In an effort to expand my fall wardrobe as much as possible (without spending more money), I've started to experiment with layering sweaters & blazers over my short-sleeved or sleeveless blouses.  This particular combination is decidedly feminine & fun ~ plus, it works for day or night.

What I'm wearing:
H&M sweater, ASOS blouse, Calvin Klein skinnies (via Marshall's), LC Lauren Conrad pumps (here), Target earrings, Banana Republic bracelet (via eBay), Nails: Sonia Kashuk Taunting Teal


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Steals Under $30

This is my first edition of SUT for November - and after looking back at my October posts, I realized I had been putting together more casual looks.  So, I decided to dress things up a bit this time...

H&M Sweater - $9.95


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ask PPF: eBay Shopping

Last week I published a post encouraging you to send me your questions.  Since the response was so great, I will be creating a new series to answer your inquiries.  I promise I will get to all of them, so please keep asking away!
There were a surprising number of questions about shopping on eBay.  I have talked previously about my love for this site (here) because of the incredible savings, but I know it can feel overwhelming for a first-timer.  And since I'm a Power Seller & purchase almost as frequently as I sell, I am going to do my best to cover the basics.  I apologize for the length of this post, but I wanted to include as much as possible.  If you have additional questions, please let me know!

1) Create an account
This may go without saying, but it's the easiest way to start get started.  Once your account is set up, you can save items to a "watch list" that you may want to bid on & they also have a "wish list" that you can share with family & friends as a great way to provide birthday or Christmas gift ideas.

2) Know what you're looking for
Because the listings are in the millions, it helps to have a specific item in mind.  It can be broad like "navy blazer" or specific like " J. Crew wool pants".  Once you type in the description, you can narrow it down by size, fabric, color, condition (used or new), price, etc.  I prefer to use the classic search because you can narrow it down even further.

3) Stick with US sellers & check their feedback score
Over the years, eBay has gotten better about protecting buyers from scams, but it is so important to check a seller's feedback score.  Once someone purchases from them, they leave a review of their shipping timeliness, product quality, etc.  If someone has negative feedback, I would steer clear.  Also, if you are going to buy from an overseas seller, make sure to pay the extra to insure your item & ask for a tracking number.

4) Save your searches
Another benefit to setting up an account is being able to save your item searches.  This is particularly helpful if you're looking for something very specific.  You simply do your search as normal & click on the button at the top that says "Save this search".  It will then take you to a screen where you can sign up to have eBay check new listings for you and email you (you decide how frequently) when items show up that meet your criteria.  This is a big time saver so you aren't having to scroll through hundreds of listings each day.

5) Browse frequently
I've discovered this mantra is true for all bargain shopping.  The more you check the clearance racks at a store, the more likely you are to snag something up before someone else sees it & the better your chances of finding your size, too ~ and eBay is no different.

6) Read descriptions & ask questions
Though an item may be listed as a size 4 and even if that is what you normally wear, it's worth it to be sure.  Especially because some sellers don't allow returns & you don't want to be stuck with something you can't wear.  Don't be afraid to contact the seller & ask for exact measurements (I do this ALL the time).  Also, read descriptions carefully & don't rely on pictures for information.  A sequin top may be great-looking in a photo, but could be missing several sequins that the camera didn't pick up.  Sellers are required to list this information, so take the time to read the fine print!

7) Wait to bid
The best way to win on eBay (when it comes down to a bidding war) is to wait until the very last minute.  I usually will start watching an auction with 3 minutes to spare, but I wait until there are 10 seconds left before I bid.  It's not a guarantee, but alot of times that last-second bidder is the winner.

8) Set a limit
While there are "buy it now" items, most auctions are done using a bidding system.  This is what allows you to get things for much less than you would in a store - because sellers start the listing at a low price, hoping it will get bid up high.  The problem with bidding (for some people) is that it's similar to gambling & they get caught up in wanting to win.  But don't get sucked in - the whole idea is to SAVE money.  If you're watching a certain item, set a limit for what you are willing to pay for it and if the bidding gets above your threshold, just let it go and walk away.

9) Use PayPal
This is the safest & easiest way to buy & sell items on eBay.  And less-established sellers won't allow any other form of payment.  Plus many online stores and retailers are using it now too.  You set it up using your bank account, but the seller never sees your personal information.  And if you run out of money in your account, you can use a credit card as a form of backup payment.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sequins at Sunset

Remember a few weeks ago when I talked about not having success finding any sequin pieces (except for my Macy's scarf worn here)?  Well, I refused to give up hope & continued my search on eBay...which, as it turns out, was worth the effort.  I finally found (and won) this vintage skirt - the perfect shape, length & easy to pair with anything from a chambray shirt to a chunky knit.  But, the best part by far was the fact that it only cost me a mere $20.   

 What I'm wearing:
Forever 21 blouse, Target necklace, Vintage skirt, H&M belt, Vince Camuto heels (here), Lips: L'Oreal Le Gloss Mystic Mauve, Nails: Revlon Vixen


Monday, November 7, 2011

Go Graphic

At the risk of contradicting myself (having just recently posted about adding color to your wardrobe here), I have to admit that I do love the boldness of a black-and-white mix.  Sometimes the absence of color is just as strong of a statement and it's timelessly chic.  A bright lipstick makes the perfect companion for these graphic (& affordable!) pieces:

H&M Blazer - $59.95


Friday, November 4, 2011

Birthday Wishes

I have a birthday coming up soon and even if I didn't get a single present, I would still feel like the luckiest girl in the world.  My kids are happy & healthy, my husband has a job that he loves and we live in a home surrounded by the beauty of God's creation - how could I not feel blessed?  That being said, I have made a little "wish list"...just in case someone feels the urge to spoil me.  These would simply be the icing on my cake:


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Meaningful Jewelry

Though I love collecting costume jewelry and have found very affordable pieces that I wear all the time, there are some that have been given to me throughout the years that have special meaning.  I may not put them on frequently, but they are precious because of the memories they hold...

Vintage bracelet & earring set from my grandmother's jewelry collection - she gave these to me at my bridal shower and I wore them when I sang at her funeral.

Sterling silver bracelet with reproduced photos of my daughter when she was 1 year old - my husband gave this to me on my 2nd Mother's Day (you can buy them here).

Pearl necklace - given to me by my Dad & worn on my wedding day.

Green amethyst ring - given to me by my husband on Valentine's Day 2010 (after a particularly tough year when he was traveling non-stop)

What are some of your treasured pieces of jewelry?