Labor Day Lord & Taylor Sale

Alice and I spent a lovely afternoon hitting the sale racks.  We are seasoned bargain hunters and we both lucked out with some fabulous deals from Lord & Taylor today.  Lord & Taylor is always a go-to store for me, the sale rack is really reliable for work, casual, and evening fashion.  Alice and I were both on the hunt for pieces that will transition between fall and winter and will take us from our desks to dinner.

Get ready to rifle!

Get ready to rifle!

The first top I came across was a Vince Camuto top.  This top is a little brighter than my usual choice for a blouse but the floral did not overwhelm me.  This will add a splash of color to my collection of black slacks.      

Vince Camuto Broken Photo Floral Top

Vince Camuto Broken Photo Floral Top

If you have not noticed yet, you will, black and white dominate my wardrobe.  I promise I try to incorporate color and I try to buy different pieces that are not carbon copies of what is already hanging in my closet but I could not walk away from this find.  Alice suggested I pair this DKNY black and white tunic with a pair of black tights and pumps once the weather cools down.  The shoulder cutouts hit in the just the right spot so no unsightly bra strap sticking out.  Mine is missing the black belt but I have a jeweled BCBG  belt that cinch the waist in perfectly!

DKNY

DKNY Patterned Shirt Dress

Again, not straying too far from my color pallet here, but this is a very versatile basic I could not walk away from.  Unfortunately I did not see this exact Nic + Zoe top online but there is a great selection in store and online. I can dress this up or down.  I can wear it during this hot September days and pair a blazer and riding boots with it in a few weeks.

Nic + Zoe beige top (front)

Nic + Zoe beige top (front)

Nic + Zoe beige top (back)

Nic + Zoe beige top (back)

Check out Alice’s gorgeous finds:

Black and White Crop Top

Black and White Crop Top

Floral top with ruffle neck line

Floral top with ruffle neck line

Cream color, lace pencil skirt

Lace pencil skirt

Enjoy your long weekend (I will be back to the grind on Monday commiserating with anyone else who is working through the holiday!)

Talk soon,

Joy

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

This is a Public Service Announcement: I do have a bottom half!

My search for a full-length mirror came to an end last night at one of my favorite places: HomeGoods. It should be a crime for this store to be within minutes from my house.

Homegoods & I have a standing weekly appointment. NBD.

Homegoods & I have a standing weekly appointment. NBD.

In an effort to not bankrupt myself, I avoided the furniture, art, and lamps and went straight to the mirrors to do some digging.

Too many choices!

Mirrors galore!

It didn’t take long to find a 6′ solid wood framed mirror that was under $100 (my budget). A helpful HomeGoods employee went to grab a flat-bed while I was left to wander through the throw pillows on my way to check-out. Some things I wanted to buy instantly saw:

Taking pillow talk to a whole new level!

My kind of pillow talk.

Gear helped me bring the mirror up to our room and I found it a home with some minor adjustments.

Fits right in.

Snug as a bug.

If you look closely you can see our older cat, Mulder, silently judging me as I tilted and  re-tilted the mirror on that one wall for a solid 10 minutes.

Full legs in leggings!

Full legs in leggings.

I can kiss the salmon colored walls of my office bathroom goodbye and give you guys the full effect from here on out!

-Alice

Standing the Test of Time

Would it surprise you guys to know that Joy and I both serve on a Board of Directors?  As someone who still thinks she graduated from college less than four years ago (in actuality I am three years shy of my 10 year college reunion…yikes!), it still surprises me to say that I am a Board member.

This Summer marks our first full year serving on our alma mater’s Alumni Association Board. It has been an incredible experience both professionally and personally. Joy will be talking more about our involvement as young alumna and I will be sharing more about my love of philanthropy in a bit so, for now, I am focused on the task at hand: finding a professional & comfortable outfit for our 8 hour retreat this Friday.

This retreat takes up an entire day for a good reason: so we can expand our impact and determine how we can best serve the University and its students in the year ahead.

In the past year we have successfully increased alumni engagement at events, awarded two separate scholarships for student leaders, and created an Emergency Grant Fund for our students who are in desperate need of life essentials.

I am looking forward to what we come up with at this retreat and it is a relief to not be a “newcomer” this time around. Regardless of your rank, however, the day’s attire is more formal than your everyday 9-5 outfit.

It doesn’t help that I am itching for some new pieces to add to my wardrobe and with Fall approaching I am eager to switch out my seasons. With nothing striking me at home, and not wanting to spend more than $10 for a new piece, I thrifted my way to victory.

I went straight to the dress section at Saver’s and found a black sleeveless sheath dress by Style & Co. for $9.99. It fit perfectly over my hour-glass shape and has a silk liner that will prevent any wrinkles from forming over the 8 hour day (of mostly sitting):

Comfort & style all in one!

Comfort & style all in one!

What I love about the LBD is that you can do so much with your accessories and it transitions seamlessly from day to evening. This dress will be an incredible classic piece for all seasons. A trip to the dry cleaner is all she needs.

Since I had time to spare during my lunch hour excursion I decided to peruse the shoe section and came across these beauties, which I snagged for $5.99:

Colore me greige.

The side sweeping accents are everything!

me too side

Color me impressed.

The greige tone makes them perfect for any color palette and they are hardly worn. They are from a company called …me Too shoes and if you haven’t heard of them they are definitely worth a look HERE!

Luckily, I had $6 cash in my wallet that I put towards the shoes so if we want to get technical I did meet my goal of only spending $10 via debit card. Worst case scenario: a work dress and shoes for $16 is not a bad haul.

For accessories I decided to play off the transition into Fall and went with these at home pieces:

Slate grey, forest green, and turquoise jewels.

Slate grey, forest green, and turquoise jewels.

My NOLA rose plated ring (pictured left) is a staple. The tourmaline solitaire (pictured right) was a splurge while on vacation in Antigua with Gear years ago!

My NOLA rose plated ring (pictured left) is a staple. The tourmaline solitaire (pictured right) was a splurge while on vacation in Antigua with Gear years ago!

Now that I have my outfit picked out and ready to go I can dedicate my morning routine on hair and makeup. With a higher neckline I like to do a low chignon of sorts that will (most importantly) stay in place throughout the day and open up the top half of my frame.

Paired with a simple eye and bold lip its the perfect blend of professional makeup that isn’t a total bore. I will have more on that process come Friday morning!

-Alice

Hold on to your Butts… It’s Wedding Season!

Being a late twenty-something comes with many life changes, including (but not limited to) the nuptials of friends and family. There has been a definite ebb and flow to the engagements, weddings (and babies) and I LOVE love so always look forward to celebrating these big milestones.

The joke is on me however, as Gear and I have 5 weddings this season on the docket: July, August, September, October, and November. Exhausted just reading that, right?

The first were our good friends, Jackie and Jess, whose love for each other and Independence Day runs so deep that they hosted their mid-day celebration in Boston, MA on July 4th. I decided to whip out my extensions for the occasion and though they are dark auburn in color I have managed, over the years, to incorporate them into my own hair for an ombre affect:

Never underestimate the power of great hair extensions!

Never underestimate the power of great hair extensions 🙂

With my outfit I decided to take advantage of the holiday and went with my spin on red, white, and blue:

Patriotic & ready to party!

Patriotic & ready to party!

This  cerulean blue dress was a $20 Marshall’s find that I accessorized with a cream colored patent leather belt from Saver’s ($2) and a chunky coral and pink necklace ( $0 – a gift from my niece for my birthday)!

Wedding 2/5 was this past weekend in Jackson, NH. Our friends, Allison and Nick, chose the scenic White Mountains for their evening festivities. I take all factors (time of day, location, theme, etc.) into account when choosing my wedding attire and knew exactly which dress I would be wearing:

I find lace so luxurious!

I find lace so luxurious!

This Adrianna Papell navy blue & rose lace dress was a Lord & Taylor purchase (courtesy of Gear) for a swanky dinner he treated us to in celebration of a work promotion (his). I am obsessed with this dress and was excited to pull it out for this wedding. Also, not having to hunt for a dress or make a purchase is a HUGE plus!

This dress also eliminates the need for a necklace as the neckline is adorned with black and rose colored jewels:

The dress has a rose silk underlay with an intricate navy lace overlay.

The dress has a rose silk underlay with an intricate navy lace overlay.

With three bold colors already incorporated into the dress itself, I kept my earrings and rings simple in color:

Crystal beauties!

Crystal beauties!

Ring bling.

Ring bling.

The earrings were a $4 consignment shop purchase and my rings were my rose colored index finger ring from NOLA and an emerald cut crystal ring that was my grandmothers.

I also went with my trusty Franco Sarto heels that played off the black jewels in the neckline:

Franco Sarto wins again!

Franco Sarto wins again!

Here is the overall look:

The look.

The look.

The lighting wasn’t working in my favor so I snapped a few more in my favorite spot (the bathroom) at the venue:

Let's talk lace!

Let’s talk lace!

I had debated throwing in my extensions but opted to go au natural:

Short hair, don't care :)

Short hair, don’t care 🙂

I am sure glad I did as the humidity got the best of my curls shortly into the reception!

With two weddings down and three to go to I am already scouring my closet for outfit #3. It’s a mid-September ceremony in a rustic barn… I am thinking warm tones and a structured fit.

Keep a look out for more wedding buzz and good luck to those of you who are in the same boat. And remember, it could be worse…

You could be a bridesmaid…

-Alice

My Search for $5 Khakis

Working for a University comes with the understanding that some events require the “staff” uniform: an athletic polo with the school logo (provided by FSU) and some sort of consistent bottom. Usually khakis.

How I have been able to avoid the dreaded khaki for almost a year is beyond me but my luck has finally run out. Our staff is hosting an event tomorrow and the word from the top was “be sure to wear your polo and khakis. Oh, and no shorts”.

Not owning any semblance of the beige cotton-poly blend, I immediately went to my saving grace, Saver’s.

Hello, gorgeous!

Hello, gorgeous!

Saver’s is a second-hand store that I consider a step above Salvation Army and United Way, but not as exclusive as clothing consignment shops. The store is set up similarly to a TJ Maxx or Marshall’s where the clothing lines the floor by category (pants, tank tops, long sleeve knits, short sleeve blouses, etc.) and you will always need to rifle through each piece to find what you are looking for.

savers inside 1

So. Much. Clothing.

savers inside 2

Housewares and Furnishings are tucked away but very popular.

Being inside is like playing black jack at a casino. Hours pass by without you noticing and your findings are definitely hit or miss. On a leisurely day I can spend an entire afternoon browsing the housewares, furniture, clothing, and accessories, but when I am on a mission for one item I make sure to stay on track.

I bee-lined it to the Capri section hoping to spend no more than $5 and within a few minutes had found 5 pairs of khakis to try on. Prices ranged from $4.99 to $12.99 and included the following brands: Charter Club, Ralph Lauren, Ann Taylor, Rafaella, and New York & Company.

Fifty shades of beige…

I whipped each pair on and quickly determined if they would work or not. Some were immediately discarded because they didn’t fit well and others came down to the fabric. I wanted something light weight and breathable for the event which would be outdoors in the 85 + degree heat.

Ultimately I chose the Rafaella Capri for its light but structured fabric and high waist which I adore:

The winner!

The winner!

In case anyone needs to know why my love for Saver’s runs so deep here is one (of many) reasons: the bargains!

khakis price

Poppin’ tags.

This Rafaella Capri retails for $24.99 (new) and cost me $4.99. I always do a full sweep to make sure there aren’t any holes, marks, undone stitching or discoloration. This pair is blemish free and in great condition.

It’s been washed, dried, and is ready to wear tomorrow in all its khaki glory!

– Alice

Something Borrowed, Something New

Some of my favorite places to shop are thrift stores. I love to hunt for clothing and have no issues wearing a gently worn article that can be made brand new via washer and dryer. I also love that I am able to curb my shopping habit while on a budget!

I tend to buy pieces that I am “feeling” regardless of season and  won’t feel bad about recycling within six months to a year. My system has been that whenever I buy a piece, I make sure that I am donating one from my closet. It keeps my wardrobe fresh and ensures that Gear still has some semblance of closet space in our bedroom.

To complement these finds that may not be the best brand/quality,  I have bought (over time) a few staple pieces that act as long-term investments in my wardrobe. Some items include: a classic black pencil skirt, three long sleeve blouses (for the Fall/Spring), two blouse tanks for the Summer, and two day-to-night dresses.

All of these items were purchased at either Marshall’s or TJ Maxx where I am drawn to designers whose pieces are both durable and great fits. I marry these pieces with my thrift store finds and get creative with my pairings.

Today’s something borrowed, something new consists of a black faux leather pencil skirt with zipper accents from The Limited (my “borrowed”) that I matched with a white Darjoni two tier high neck tank blouse (my “new”). The skirt was a $5 purchase during a thrift trip at Saver’s and the tank was $30 at Marshalls.

Paired with a slim silver belt and chunky silver/lavender necklace  I am work ready for less than $50!

Also, I have just been told I need to wear khakis for a work event this weekend… looks like I will be making a Saver’s trip this evening 🙂

– Alice

Consign Your Life Away: The Verdict

Otherwise titled: Furniture Consignment is Cut Throat

OK, guys. The deed is done.  My dining room set is waiting for a new owner and my garage can accommodate an actual vehicle!

Getting to that point, however, was quite an adventure and I walked away with some great tips.

As I mentioned before I had made a 10:00 am appointment to bring the dining set to the store on Saturday knowing that I had to make two trips with my CR-V.

Gear helped me load up the table, legs (separated), and leaves first. The most difficult part was the actual table – she was very heavy and I was in full type-A mode out of fear that we would somehow cause an irreversible scratch or nick that would deem her non consign-able. Luckily we got her in the car without any additional damage (the set is over 20 years old so she has some existing blemishes that in my opinion give her … character? We’ll go with that).

Gear had to head off and brew some beer (more on that later) so I knew the initial unloading and entire 2nd trip would be done solo. The store was only 10 minutes from our house so I got there a few minutes and met the owner, Annette.

The best way I can describe Annette: she ‘s a no-nonsense business woman who has vigorously grabbed life by the horns and doesn’t put up with any bull crap. Right away she instructed me to go back to my car and bring in my pieces. I must have given her a doe eyed stare because she instantly understood that I had no one to help me lift the table. After a solid lecture about the inconvenience of not coming prepared she came outside to be my counterpart. Another thing I learned about Annette – she was STRONG. I don’t think I actually did anything other than appear to be lifting my end of the table but she didn’t say a word.

With the top safely in the store, Annette went right to business drilling her staff as to what pieces needed to move to accommodate my consignment.  Moments later, I was shown my spot and it was the pent house of placement! It was cradled right by the entry way to the store and would be the first piece customers would see as they walked in. It also had incredible natural light and was clutter free. Cha-Ching!

I went to work re-assembling the set and yelled to Annette that I’d be back with the chairs. She was somewhere in her store and I had already eaten up an hour of my day so moved past formal conversing.

11:00 am:  I drove home, loaded up the four side chairs and discovered that I could not physically fit my two head chairs in my car. I also immediately realized that I could have fit chairs on top of my table on the first transport had I really thought it out.

Trip two was a little quicker and much sweatier. Thankfully I had been fully prepared for the 87 degree day and had dressed in shorts, a tank top, sneakers and had my hair in a bun. I unloaded the chairs, set them up around the table (with Annette’s help) and told her I would be RIGHT back with the last two. “20 minutes tops” were my exact words. This was now 11:30 am.

I drove back home, loaded up the last pieces, peed, and double checked that I hadn’t forgotten anything. I have this weird habit of timing myself randomly and was pumped that I had made it back to Annette in my promised 20 minutes. I took my time unloading the chairs and before bringing them inside decided to wipe down the cushions to get rid of an overwhelming amount cat hair – these were the chairs Mulder and Scully loved to lounge on.

I brought in the first chair and my face dropped. Where was my table and what the hell was this leather bar and stool set doing in its place?? I left the chair where it was and sought out Annette who, without even looking up from her paperwork, told me that someone had brought in the bar and she thought it would sell faster than my table. My baby had been pushed aside.

I wish I could have gone all Patrick Swayze on her and declared “Nobody puts baby in a corner” but “So…where is the dining set? I have the extra chairs” was all I could muster. Maybe if I had been wearing his iconic black leather jacket I could have pulled it off…

She pointed to a dim-lit corner where a separate room was now housing my set. Talk about cut throat. Annette finally looked up and gave me a shrug as if to say “It’s not personal, its business” before helping me bring over the remaining chairs and discuss pricing.

She asked where it came from, what brand, how much it was, were the chairs purchased separately or together, and how much was I hoping to get. Luckily I had come prepared: I inherited it from my parents, the brand was Thomasville, it was purchased together, they paid just over $2,000, and I was hoping to sell it for $600. I was relieved that Annette had no problems with any of my information and we quickly agreed on a price that would be split evenly once it sold.

After I was added into the database and signed my contract, Annette explained that the piece would be for sale at our agreed price for 60 days before being marked down. After another 60 days she and I would talk about next steps. I praised Annette for her philosophy of not asking the consigner to take back their furniture if it didn’t sell. This had been my biggest fear while researching shops and I was happy to have found one that didn’t adhere to that option.

When all was said and done the set was for sale, Annette had moved on to another client, and I had no time for ugly crying. I had been too busy working out the logistics in Annette’s office before walked back to my car to head home. It was now 12:40 pm.

I am sure you may have been able to figure out what tips I walked away with but here they are. Nothing earth shattering but lessons well learned:


Tip 1: Bring a Buddy. I wish I had enlisted Gear’s help for the entire exchange because I ended up needing the owners help in moving my furniture and was sternly lectured (it sounded rehearsed so I am sure she has done this before).

Tip 2: Transportation is Key. If you are able to rent a truck or borrow a pick-up from a friend/family that will make furniture consignment ten times smoother. My car is a good size and can hold a decent amount, but it made for many back and forth’s to the house to get everything I needed from point A to point B.

Tip 3: Map out your Move. This goes in tandem with Tip #2. If I had taken a minute to see what I could have stored on top of my table I would have been done in two trips versus the three it took.

Tip 4: Details, Details, Details. Arrive at your appointment fully prepared. The more information you can give will likely result in a higher selling price because the store won’t have to guess at what its worth. Inherited the piece? Ask the past owner for the details. Bought it at a flea market? Google will be your best friend! Speaking of flea market…

Tip 5: Consigning is NOT a Flea Market. This may be more applicable to you as a buyer, but what I learned from most of my consigning experiences, and from Annette that day, is that shop owners don’t appreciate haggling. They are very knowledgeable about the brands they sell and so the price you see on the tag in the store is there for a reason. There are certainly mark downs depending on how long a piece has been in the store, but don’t expect to come in and want an immediate price reduction because of a scratch, it’s age, etc.

Tip 6: Do your Homework. I had been in touch with Annette prior to making my appointment to consign and was able to get information that may have been deal breakers for me as a consigner. Also, looking at reviews of your potential partners is  a great way to weed out stores that may not be the right fit for your item(s).

Tip 7: Set Realistic Time Expectations. This was my first furniture consignment  and I wish I had mentally prepped for my entire morning to be taken up. I had made other plans that day that got pushed around because I hadn’t finished up with Annette as early as I had anticipated.


Do you have any tips/tricks to consigning that you want to share? I would love to hear them!

In the meantime, I have my fingers crossed that the she sells within the month so I can do something REALLY exciting with my share: pay down my credit card. Not the most glamorous use of extra income but definitely necessary.

Adulthood amiright?!

– Alice

Consign Your Life Away

Some of my fondest childhood memories involve the “fancy” holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Not because of food (which was always incredible) or the association of time off from school. In my eight year old mind, these holidays were fancy because of our dining room.

362 days out of the year, this room was purely for show and added no real value to the house or its inhabitants, except for maybe the cats who liked to sprawl out on the buffet from time to time. But on those fancy holidays, the room was dusted, polished, and set with the finest china my parents had. The table itself is impressive – pure mahogany with a shiny veneer that looked like glass and cushioned chairs with curved high backs and arms which made us feel like we were sitting on thrones!

It really is a beautiful dining set:

If you can imagine, this is the smallest the table gets - we have 2 more leafs stored away which brings the table to over 8 feet long with seating for 10-12!

If you can imagine, this is the smallest the table gets – we have 2 more leafs stored away which brings the table to over 8 feet long with seating for 10-12!

The side chairs (pictured left) and the head chairs (pictured right). Cushions reupholstered by yours truly.

As I got older, I would envision owning a similar piece in my own home and was shocked when my parents told me that I could take the table when I moved to Medford to live with my then-boyfriend, Gear. His apartment had a separate dining room with high ceilings and I was thrilled to live out my vision without putting in the $$$ to fund my own set. Gear and I lived in Medford, with that set, for two years.

During that time we got engaged, married, and bought a house of our own. Unfortunately, our new abode didn’t come with a dedicated dining room but we brought the set anyways because I couldn’t think about parting with it. What if our NEXT house had a dining room?? This is when Gear told me to calm down and not get ahead of myself – which has saved me from many disastrous life choices. We settled on using it in our current home as the kitchen table, which has worked for us as we don’t use it unless we entertain (sporadically).

I am not sure when I decided I was “over” the set, but it happened. I have been slowly figuring out what my home aesthetic is and, unlike the Medford apartment, am trying to be more strategic about what pieces we choose for our open concept kitchen/living room main floor. Anyone walking into our home can see that the dining set just doesn’t fit: in color, design, and size.  It was time to move on.

Coincidentally, my friend Rach had been on the market to sell a dining set of her own – a clean lined shaker style table with four chairs and a bench. I texted her to see what she wanted for it and was bracing myself for the over $300 response. She was asking $100… What was wrong with it? With her?!

Nothing and Nothing. This was a set she inherited from a previous renter who had used the table for 2 months, decided to move, and couldn’t be bothered to bring it along. Rach had her own set and wanted to clear up some space so was pricing to sell.

Before I (or Gear) knew it, I had texted her back saying the table was sold and when could I pick it up. A few weeks later, the set (which I got for $80 through Rach’s friends & family discount) has now claimed its spot in our kitchen and fits in much better with the feel of our home. When we first set up the table, Gear and I were amazed at how much space we had been robbed of with my old set, and proceeded to spin around with our arms out like two deranged people. Gear and I, we always know how to have a good time!

Now, our home is quite comfortable but we do lack storage and immediately had to figure out what to do with my set. Trashing/dumping it was not an option and I didn’t want to go through Craig’s list. I’ve seen the movie. My best bet was to consign.

Consigning, according to Wikipedia, is the act of giving over to another person or agent’s charge, custody or care any material or goods, but retaining legal ownership until the material or goods are sold. Basically, someone else sells your stuff and you split the reward. I LOVE consigning and have had great experiences with local shops that take clothing, so figured consigning furniture might not be too different.

I put out some feelers with my local consignment shops and quickly received a notification that one owner thought the table was beautiful and that it would sell quickly. After email exchanges to find a time, it has been confirmed that tomorrow is the big hand off. I will truck my set to her business and re-assemble the table so she can give it a full inspection. An agreed upon price will be chosen, and I will sign away a piece of my childhood.

I am anxious and curious about how tomorrow will play out, and maybe you are too so I will be sure to follow-up with the good, bad, and ugly.*

– Alice

*Ugly crying when I see this set for one last time