Dressing the Part

I AM actually making an effort to get over my gratuitous March spending, but April is turning out to have a lot of stumbling blocks. Something about springtime makes me want to have dinner and drinks out every night! Ugh.

While I’ve managed to keep it mostly in check, my biggest challenge is coming up in 2 weeks. I’ve been invited to be a guest at the White House Correspondents dinner. Woo hoo! I was actually lucky enough to go last year, and it was a blast. The best people watching ever – there were movie stars literally everywhere. It was totally cool and very intimidating.

To give you a sense, here’s my favorite picture from last year. It’s just me, my table mate (who was very nice), and our good buddy Reese Witherspoon. NBD. Reese was super pregnant in this picture BTW, and you can’t even tell. Totally sickening.

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Anyway, I can’t just show up to this thing in some old frock when there are people running around looking as awesome as (pregnant) Reese. But, then again, I don’t really need to be spending a zillion dollars on a new ensemble either. Hence the dilemma.

Last year, I bought a new dress, earrings, and lipstick (Note: Due to my new years resolutions, I haven’t bought a new lipstick since January. It’s KILLING me.). I also had my hair done (we all know that Reese didn’t do that herself!), and hopped an Uber to and from the event. Obviously, I ran up quite a tally.

This year, I’m attempting to do it for a fraction of the price. My goal is to get it all – new dress, hair, everything – for $150 or less. For dress, I’m looking at Rent the Runway, eBay, and other consignment stores (Current and Ella-Rue are my favorites), but haven’t found anything yet. The hair is also a challenge. Despite all of my googling, yelping, and other general research, I cannot seem to find an updo in DC for less than $80 plus tip. $80 to stick my hair in a bun. No thank you.

Obviously, I have my work cut out for me in the next two weeks. I’m not afraid to do things by myself – I just don’t want to look like I did it myself. Make sense?

What do you think – can I do it? If you have any suggestions to help my cause, please send them my way! I can use all the help I can get.

P.S. If I had unlimited funding (Read: $1,990), I would wear this. Sooo awesome.

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Weekend J. Crew-sing in Virginia

It’s a big weekend for the preppy population of the mid-Atlantic region. It’s the semi-annual J. Crew Warehouse clearance sale in Lynchburg!

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You might think I’m crazy to drive 3.5 hours from D.C. to attend this fine event, but I assure you I’m not. This kind of sale is my JAM. We’re talking boxes of clothes and accessories to rummage through and shoes, lots and lots of shoes. The last time my friend Liz went she left with 6 new pairs of shoes for $30 a piece. I can’t wait to see what J. Crew treasures I’m going to come home with.

Wish me luck! I will report out on my finds next week. Anyone else going to be there with me?

Ooooh Ebay, You Are So Dangerous

I feel I need to come clean. I had a HUGE oops on Ebay this weekend. A friend turned me onto a sale happening featuring her favorite jewelry line, so I toodled on over to check it out. And that’s when I saw these.

I have recently been obsessed with Buddhas, so I just had to have them. My sincere thanks go to Discountess-enthusiast Heather for really making me think about whether I wanted them. She did a credible job trying to get me to think twice, but in reality the horse was out of the barn at that point. I was 2 hours away from the finish line and ensconced in a bidding war with someone who I was positive didn’t deserve them as much as I did. And so, I swooped in at the last moment with the final bid, and BAM, they were mine.

I was elated! But even better, I was able to stick within my budget for them (though it’s a big part of my monthly shopping budget..eeek!). Yes, they are unnecessary, but they are so, so awesome. Also, through somewhat careful planning, I was able to pay for them via PayPal (since this is no credit card month, that was a must).

So the good news is that my new years resolutions are still in tact, and my new earrings are on the way to me from London. Will let you know how awesome they are in person when they arrive!

Resisting Neiman Marcus For Target

Today is a very big day! The much-hyped Neiman Marcus for Target collection is FINALLY out and available online. In my former life, this would have been a morning where I got up, made a cup of coffee, and got to work spending several hundred dollars to purchase a ton of stuff I don’t really need. But now, since I’ve turned over a new leaf and all, I followed the morning routine until the spending part.

I did look at the collection, and it is pretty cool. Some of the stuff is weird. For example, why would anyone want to spend $500 on an Alice and Olivia bike? It’s foofy looking (that is a technical term), and it probably doesn’t go very fast. It’s items like the bike that indicate that Target (whom I love/deeply adore) is looking for suckers with this sale. For. Sure. Still, there are some items that I had to resist purchasing. These are they:

For the home

Altuzarra Old-Fashioned Glasses
We used to have Old-Fashioneds every Thanksgiving at my Aunt and Uncle’s house. They hosted a separate thanksgiving dinner, so we’d have ours and they’d have theirs and we’d meet after for a late afternoon Old-Fashioned session. I have very fond memories of those parties, and these brought them back.

https://i1.wp.com/img2.targetimg2.com/wcsstore/TargetSAS//img/p/14/18/14182089_120919103000.jpg

Altuzarra Gold Tray

If anyone has seen my house, they will know that I’m a big fan of black. Not that my whole house is shrouded in it, but I do have a lot of bold black and white patterns with gold, red, and yellow accents. Clearly, this would fit in.

https://i0.wp.com/img2.targetimg2.com/wcsstore/TargetSAS//img/p/14/18/14189816_120919103000.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the Bod

Lela Rose Top
So cute. Perfect to wear to my aforementioned annual Christmas fete.

https://i2.wp.com/img3.targetimg3.com/wcsstore/TargetSAS//img/p/14/20/14206601_120919103000.jpg

Prabal Gurung Cape

It is cold in wintertime, after all.

https://i2.wp.com/img3.targetimg3.com/wcsstore/TargetSAS//img/p/14/21/14210333_120919103000.jpg

Robert Rodriguez Top
I love the idea of this one, but I’m pretty sure it would make me look fat. Money saved!

https://i2.wp.com/img2.targetimg2.com/wcsstore/TargetSAS//img/p/14/21/14210957_121014043000.jpg

Misc.

Marc Jacobs Gold Pouch
I always find little bags like this useful. It would be perfect as a little clutch or to use for makeup inside a larger tote.

https://i1.wp.com/img1.targetimg1.com/wcsstore/TargetSAS//img/p/14/21/14210325_120921183000.jpg

So now the big question – did I make a mistake? Should I go back in and snap one of these puppies up before it’s too late? Please advise.

The Discountess Does Baubles and Brunch

This weekend, I agreed to host a Stella and Dot party for a good friend who is a S&D sales rep. This is my first party as the Discountess, so it’s quite the budgetary challenge. I thought hosting a brunch would allow me to put on a lovely party for my 20 attendees without blowing my budget entirely. Here’s my thinking:

1. Brunches are kid-friendly. Many of my friends have small children, so brunch fits more easily into the nap schedule. Most of the kiddies are portable too, so I invited them to come along. After all, in order to have a party you need to have guests!

2. Less Expensive Food. I want to have plenty of food for my friends, and luckily, brunch food is a bit cheaper than a regular cocktail party menu. I can have an egg dish, fruit salad, some hor d’oeuvres, and viola! Brunch is served.

3. Curbed Cocktail Consumption. Buying enough wine and champagne for a cocktail party is pretty pricey, but I’m guessing brunch shouldn’t be too bad. I’m definitely planning to serve fun, brunch-y cocktails – champagne and Mimosas (coffee and tea will be served as well for those who are off the sauce). I’m assuming that people will have errands to run, naps to get to etc on Sunday afternoon, so I won’t need to stock the bar as much for this party as I would for a cocktail party.  We’ll see if they drink me out of house and home.

In addition to proving that this Discountess can host a good party on a dime, the other MAJOR benefit of hosting an S&D party is that the hostess gets awarded a certain amount of S&D credit based on how much people buy. I’m hoping I can get enough credit to offset the cost of a few Christmas presents, and maybe a present or two for myself.

For anyone who wants to do some early Christmas shopping, here is a link to the online store for the party.

And in case you need recommendations, I’m currently coveting the following:

Discount Dressing for Success – Bridesmaid Style

My dearest friend from high school is getting married next spring, and I’m so excited to be a part of her day! She picked out a lovely color from the JCrew chiffon collection for the bridesmaids – dusty shale. We each get to pick our own dress, which is nice because I get to find a cut that is flattering for my figure. Of course, the style I want is FULL price at $250 – sort of steep for the Discountess.

Thank GOD for Ebay! I went on last night only to find my dress in my size on sale for $149.99. I immediately snapped it up. Some are worried about shopping on EBay, but after I checking out the seller, I felt good about the purchase. They had some pretty solid marks in their favor. Namely, these:

1. The seller was based in southwest Virginia. JCrew’s warehouses are based in SW VA, and if you ever get down there, they have a RIDICULOUS J Crew outlet in Lynchburg. I have been several times, and it’s awesome. This isn’t the outlet that you find in a Mills Mall, but a store that actually has current clothing from the catalog that has been overstocked in their warehouse. I’m pretty sure that’s where this person got the dress.

2. The dress was listed New With Tags (NWT). Never worn, not smelly. YES!

3. The seller was listed as top-rated. After selling 4317 items on EBay (most of them from JCrew), I figured they were good for the sale.

The dress is expected to arrive this week, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

Budget Fail – Part Deux

So my week of budget failure continues. I went to TJ Maxx today to purchase my Halloween costume, and managed to spend $67.80. Of COURSE, I picked up 2 unnecessary items including an adorable pair of sunglasses that were $7.99 (Naturalizer – who knew?!) and some lavender linen spray. Still, I shouldn’t have spent that much and to make matters worse – they double charged me for one of the items. Ugh! I didn’t notice until I got home, and there is very little hope that they will believe me when I try to reverse the charge. Grrr.

The good news is that I didn’t buy this.

In my former life, this Tory Burch coat would have been marched to the cash register as soon as I saw it. But now that I am the Discountess, I know better.

NOTE: This is still a pretty good deal for any interested Washingtonians out there, and it’s $449. Now, I realize that you can buy 6 coats for that price at LL Bean, but this is a good price for Tory.

Last one to get to the  TJ Maxx at Metro Center, is a rotten egg! Oh and there are other good Tory deals there too – definitely worth checking out!

Leather Love

I have been obsessing over leather recently. OBSESSING. But my shopping moratorium has limited my ability to buy anything, let alone leather.

I saw this Iris and Ink shirt a few weeks ago on Refinery 29. Gorgeous, and not too expensive at $230.  So, I decided to save for it.

As luck would have it it’s been pretty mild in D.C. for the last few weeks, so I haven’t needed AC or heat. Boom. Pepco money has been redirected to the shopping budget, and it just increased by 50%! Hallelujah!

BUT, my plans were foiled. The stupid top wasn’t available when I went to purchase it. GRR! I wasn’t going to let that deter me though. I’ve already planned out several new outfits with my new leather top. The horse is officially out of the barn, and I’m making this happen.

Next stop was ShopStyle.com, where I looked up other leather tops. Whaddaya know? There are TONS. I ended up buying this one from Lord & Taylor, and I’m in love.

It was originally $174, but reduced to $129.99. And a quick search of RetailMeNot.com revealed a coupon for 25% off any purchase from L&T, bringing my total to $97.49. BARGAIN.

In case you are interested, here are some other good (read SALE) options out there:

Faux Leather T – BCBG:

Brown Leather – SEE by Chloe:

Laser Cut Coral – Warehouse:

Emails like this will be the death of my budget…

Seriously, I can’t take it. The evil marketing gods know how to push every one of my buttons. What – a sale? With lots of shoes? That may not be available at this bargain basement rate EVER again? I. MUST. SHOP.

Keep in mind that I have more than 70 pairs of shoes (my mother totally judged me when she heard that), and there is very little likelihood that I could get something at this sale that I absolutely needed. That is my brain talking, of course, but my credit card and my heart are singing a different tune. I managed to resist the sale so far, but I know I will eventually succumb to one of these because I get a about a million a day. I’m a real sucker for an extra 30% off final sale at J. Crew. It’s only a matter of time.

My October shopping budget is $200. Zero dollars spent so far. We’ll see how long I make it. It’s only the 6th after all…