Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tiered RacerBack Maxi Dress @ Express

I really like this dress and I really like grey.

It looks effortless and simple, but you can dress it up with heels or wear some flat sandals.

It retails for $69.90, but there's always coupons available. I believe there is one for $15 off every $30 you spend right now.

Do you have a LBD?

Most of us have a little black dress that is our 'go to' dress for almost any occasion.

It fits us like a glove, it feels great and you look amazing in it.

This one is at White House Black Market for $168. It is really flattering and pretty and the reviews are great.

I don't need a new LBD, but I wish I did!

My Lessons in Practicality

I think some people were born practical. For instance, my mother. She only knows how to be practical and anything else doesn't make sense. If she can re-use it, she will; if she can re-sell it, she will; if she can give it away, she will. She is as generous as she is practical, but not cheap.

I do remember that it bothered me when I was a child since none of my friends mother's were quite like mine.

As I've learned more about her childhood, I have come to understand her ways a little bit more, not to say that I don't get annoyed here and there.

I'm wondering if my mother's super practical ways made me unpractical?

Many of you who know me, know that I am not generally practical; which is not to be confused with being frivolous; that I am not.

I have had my fair share of indulgences that weren't necessary, but when are indulges necessary??

So is there a correlation between practicality and happiness?

I suppose if you are simplifying your life and not wasting energy on negative things or wasting time by going to places you don't need to, then you have more time for yourself and others, which in turn makes you happy.

So here's my list of the changes & realizations I've made thus far-

1. I bring my own bags to the grocery store. It reduces plastic clutter and makes me feel like I am helping the environment just a little bit.

2. I spend a lot more time with my dog. He brightens the gloomiest days somehow.

3. I don't go to the movies. It's highway robbery! Well not really, but have you seen the outrageous prices..and don't even talk to me about 3D! A family of 5 can spend around $100 bucks for movies and snacks. But if that's something you really enjoy, then okay. If not, it's cheaper to buy the movie, get it on demand, at a Red Box or Netflix.

4. I have cut out processed foods in my diet by 70%. I don't know how I got to that percentage, it just sounds right. Most of the foods I buy are refrigerated and only last a few days. My pantry is the most boring and sad pantry in the world, I swear. There's protein powder (5 different kinds), almond butter, peanut butter, marinara sauce, hot sauce, unsweetened cocoa powder, chai powder and Vitamin C packets. Once in a while you can find some oatmeal and nutella! I know, I'm a wild one.

5. I started shopping in my own closet since 25% of the time I wear the same things week to week. Luckily my style is simple and classic so everything I've purchased the last several years is still in stores. I went to the mall today and looked inside a few stores I use to frequent and only found one item I liked. It's a long cotton skirt for a hundred bucks, but looked like it should have been $30 at the most so I didn't get it. I am fine if I go shopping maybe once every couple months. Okay if we're being honest, I shouldn't be shopping for at least five years. I did a lot of damage living in LA.

6. I don't go to Starbucks. That's sort of a half truth, but I brew my own coffee every night and put in the fridge before bed and then add ice for iced coffee during Summer and Spring. In the Winter and Fall I make my own in the morning as well. Starbuck's is great when I travel, when friends want to go, when I am super lazy, and when I am out of ground coffee. And recently when our super fancy Starbuck's Brewer just decided to stop working, Starbuck's it was for over a week. ThoughI am having fun making my own and buying all sorts of flavors and brands.

7. I've cut out eating at restaurants by 75%. It is better for my waistline and better for my wallet. On average we were eating out 4-5 times a week. I do miss it sometimes since it's nice to just pick something of a menu with whatever suits your mood, but cooking at home is saving even more money since you don't have to drive either!

8. I don't go the store for one or two items. I start making a list for whatever store I need things in and then go when my list is long enough or have really run out of things. We also go to Costco every 3 months and stick to our list almost always...except for the wine last time..and the golf balls.

9. I buy all of my books on sale on Amazon.com and never pay for shipping. I also just buy magazines when I travel. If I buy them just to have them around the house, I will maybe look at 10 pages and never pick it up again.

10. I don't buy things for the house that absolutely cannot be used. It is very easy to buy things to fill a large house since you can't really see the clutter. I use to buy candles like they were going out of stock and appliances that I actually thought I would use. Now I just buy a couple of candles at a time instead of keeping stock as if I were running a mini-shop. And as for appliances, who actually uses their waffle-maker, bread-maker, and panini-maker? They all sound really fun and worth the cost if you actually use it.

11. I turn off the AC downstairs when I go upstairs to sleep since it has its own control and vice versa when I am downstairs.

12. I don't buy more than one really nice handbag a year. I won't say how much I use to buy, but there is no reason to have more than 4-5 at a time. It is just not necessary since as soon as you get a new one you are highly unlikely to go back to an older one. You need a clutch for evenings, a cross-body for either travel or errands, a tote, a hobo and some kind of satchel. Most of my bags are similar in style and size so they are extremely versatile for any kind of occasion. Though I still LOVE to look.

13. I will exchange a beauty item at Sephora or Nordstrom if I didn't like it or find that I'm not using it as much as I thought. That's money just sitting there that can be applied toward a product I need and like!

14. I always ask for a discount for almost anything. If it's my birthday month, holidays, something that was hanging in the sale section that wasn't, if it's damaged in any way. And 90% of the time I get the discount. (Many items are marked up by 300% so it doesn't hurt to ask).

15. I will buy two of the same item if I know I absolutely love it. It will save me time in the long run so I don't have to go out looking again if I lose it or it wears out.

16. I am not really into any technology so I never spend money on it. If I get them as gifts I will re-gift them. My smartphone is plenty of technology for me.

17. I buy shoes that I can wear with multiple things, not just one or two outfits.

18. I split meals since I rarely eat leftovers. Portion sizes are the size of my head these days, so a couple of appetizers is usually a better size and less money. Or one meal if you are going to The Cheesecake Factory or Claim Jumper.

19. Since I like to shop for fresh fish, I will get the one that is on sale. And it's the same for Boars Head meats at the deli. They usually have some kind of turkey on sale.

20. I alternate between high-end shampoo and low-end shampoo.

And some pricey things that I just cannot give up?

Face Cleansers & Exfoliators
Eye Cream
Face Cream
Body Lotion
Lip Gloss
Protein Powder
Organic Almond Butter
Chia Seeds

Hope this list helps some of you in some way. If not, then you learned a lot about me!