Chicago Ain't Cheap

While recording our expenditures from Chicago we noticed that the sales tax is 10.25% - Wowza!

Waiting for Fall Weather

If it would stop being 70 degrees and sunny here, I could wear my new wool military inspired jacket.

Chicago Part II - Black is the New Black



While strolling along Michigan Avenue - feeling all cosmopolitan and all, Natalie made us take a little diversion to walk through Barney's New York. Natalie worships Barney's because everything in there is wonderful and beautiful and stylish and fanciful and is its own form of art.

We had no intention of buying anything (well, Natalie probably did, she also takes a weird pride in having a Barney's charge card), but then we saw this little number and we HAD to have it - Lipstick Queen's Black Tie Optional lip gloss! (See "Shine On" post for more on this wonderful brand of lip gloss).

Black Tie Optional can be worn alone, or over pretty much any color to add a little something something to it. It reminds us of Clinique's Black Honey lip gloss, which we absolutely worshipped back in the day, but sadly, was discontinued a few years ago. (P.S. Black Honey still comes in an Almost Lipstick, but not a gloss.)

So we were feeling all ahead of everyone, but on the way home Janaan was reading Allure and came across an article about the "Blackout" trend. According to Allure:
-
The Blackout trend is becoming more ubiquitous. Yves Saint Laurent and Kat Von D are launching lip glosses in the shade; Philosophy Black Licorice shower and bath gel smells like Good & Plenty (and looks like motor oil); and both Archipelago Botanicals Black Forest candle and Bulgari's new scent, Jasmin Noir, come in jars and bottles that would be right at home on any goth's dressing table. Experts say the shift to the dark side can be traced to culture - pop and otherwise. "Films like The Dark Knight and Iron Man feature superheroes with both good and flawed sides", says Erin Laubenheimer of the Color Association of the United States, a forecasting firm. "These sorts of products are another way to find beauty in the dark as well as in the light."

We really don't have deep thoughts on this trend other than to say that Barney's only had 3 boxes of Black Tie Optional gloss left and we snapped them up. We've been wearing it for days and, well, good or evil, it's just fantastic.

Hurry on Down to Dollartree for Your Man

I was in Dollartree at lunchtime today and ran into a hot deal. AND, get this, the hot deal is for the GUY in your life (I know, shock and awe. Deals for men are so hard to find...). I guess this deal only applies if the guy in your life is like my guy, the MWM.

You know, come to think of it, he's more than just an MWM to me. So he's no longer the MWM, he's now Stetson - a cowboy with individuality that can't be tamed or fenced in, with a style that telegraphs who he is without saying a word, and confidence that comes from knowing there's nothing he can't handle. It's a state of mind. Yep. That's my man.

Anyhoo, the point is, Stetson likes boots, specifically cowboy boots. Because of this, he likes his socks TALL, you know, "sittin' tall in the saddle" tall. Last week he had a minor breakdown because all of his Christmas socks had holes in them. So he just ran out the door to JC Penney and promptly boughta dozen socks for $150. Now, a Cheaping Girl has a little more patience than that (I like to delude myself that I do anyway). I would have waited until a sale and then added a coupon, etc.

He should have been more patient. Today I saw these babies at Dollartree. He could have had 150 pairs of socks for the price of a dozen! Lucky for him he has me looking out for him and now he has 10 bonus pairs and I'm sure that more will appear in his Christmas stocking...


Gold Toe Auro Socks at Dollartree - $1.00

Chicago - Part I

This weekend we spent three jam packed days in the Windy City. And it lived up to it's name.

This is a special post for a certain Chicago businesswoman who showed us a great time while we were in town. You asked where we got our purple patent leather bags. Here’s your answer:

Sometimes when we all travel together, it starts to look a bit silly. That is because not only do we all have matching suitcases (the result of an amazing Ogio employees only sale) but we all carry the same carry on bag too – The Palazzo Tote from Crate and Barrel. We love these patent leather totes for several reasons. The first is that they don’t get dirty even after being schleped through airport after airport. All they really need is a quick cleaning with a damp cloth if you happen to spill something on them. Like say, the mustard dripping from your delicious Chicago Dog.

Another reason we love them is their size. They are the perfect fit for magazines, laptops, water bottles, pashmina, and bags of Garrett’s Popcorn. These little babies are so useful; we’ve even taken them hiking before. We have them in both the black/cream combination, as well as the deep purple color.
They are currently on sale for $24.95 and if you happen to be in Chicago, there’s a Crate and Barrel right on Michigan Avenue.

Best.Taco.Ever.


I traveled to my company headquarters in Redwood Shores, California this week. All day yesterday and all day today was spent inside of a conference room eating sad, catered food. Here, I wrote a Haiku about it:
Corporate America
Soulless food for lunch.
People will eat anything.
You can taste despair.
Thank god my friend Piero had invited me out to lunch on Wednesday. I was told 'we're going to get THE BEST Mexican food...and it's inside a grocery store'. I was totally intrigued and I was NOT disappointed. On Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008, I had the BEST.TACO.EVER. at the Chavez Supermarket in Redwood City. It consisted of a fresh, homemade corn tortilla, the yummiest yummiest yummiest carne asada beef, two kinds of salsa and some beans. OMG. The thought of that taco has carried me through the last two days of dry breakfast pastries and chicken salad sandwiches.
Turns out, there are several Chavez Markets throughout the Bay Area. If you live there or are visiting, I highly recommend stopping in for lunch.

DSW Rewards


I'm not a big fan of DSW Shoe Warehouse. But I'm such a big fan of shoes, that when they opened their first store here in Utah I joined their DSW Rewards program just for the thrill of it, since it's free to join. DSW sends their rewards customers coupons quite frequently (and I'm not a good customer so it's obviously not always based on sales).
They send out $5 coupons frequently, as well as a larger coupon for your birthday. A new location recently opened and they sent out $15 dollars off coupons. I read the fine print and learned that they will let you use three - yes three coupons at once! Whee heee - that meant that I had $35 off of my purchase. Well I marched right down to the new store and bought these fine boots for $20 after my coupons! I've had $20 off before but never this much. I guess what I'm saying is......Hey gals - join their rewards club - it's darn well worth it!

Our Fall Favorites

- Limited Edition Pumpkin Schmear at Einstein Bagels

- Pashmina scarves



- Cocoa Latte Hot Chocolate Maker


- Premiere of 30 Rock on Oct. 30th




- Fresh squeezed apple juice from generous neighbors (Thanks Thom!)

An American Girl

Growing up I loved the American Girl stories. I read all the adventures of the original American Girls: Felicity, Kirsten, Samantha and Molly. And, one Christmas each of my friends and I all got a different doll to call our own. Kirsten was my doll of choice and she is now safely stowed away for a future time.

This weekend I was playing with my niece and she got an American Girl catalog in the mail. It brought back so many fun memories. But while flipping through, I noticed in the catalog that it said after more than 20 years, the American Girl Samantha will soon say farewell.

They are not going to sell her anymore! Immediately I wanted to get her out of sentiment for my childhood. But the question I must ask is, is it silly to buy a $90 doll when the economy stinks and you currently have no daughters to pass them down to? And, if I buy her, am I starting down a dangerous path to doll collecting. Will Marie Osmond dolls be next?! I don't know what to do, but I have been thinking about it for three days now which is usually a sign for me that I won't be able to rest till I've made the purchase...

The Lucky Shopping Handbook

For today only, Lucky Magazine has a 30 page shopping handbook with over 250 tips and photos, you can download for free on Amazon. (Although, I guess you could say it's cost a little to print.) The PDF can be downloaded from the subscription ordering page.


We love the The Lucky Shopping Manual, but hey, why not save some money? In these tight financial times it's a good idea to make smart choices. Wow, I can't believe I just wrote that - my husband would be so proud.

53 Ways To Give Your Looks A Lift

I feel like I look kind of BLAH today. This article gives me hope. Alrighty. I'm off to switch my part from the left to the right, for a refreshing change of pace.

Designer Warehouse Blowout Sale!

One of the cool things about moving is that you accidentally get other people's mail. Sometimes it's really scandalous like WAY WAY past due bills, which is fun (I'm such a snarky cow sometimes!). One time I even received a paycheck (don't worry, I totally forwarded it...).

This postcard that I received this week was cool too. If you're in Salt Lake and in the market for furniture this might be a great find! Definitely worth a pop-in.

Friday October 17th
Noon - 6:00 PM

Saturday October 18th
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

825 N. 300 W.
SLC, UT
Parking Lot
Weather Permitting
  • Sofas
  • Coffee/End Tables
  • Dining Tables
  • Dressers/Armoires
  • Beds
  • Scratch and Dents
  • Chairs
  • Rugs
  • Lighting
  • Fabrics
  • Model Home Furnishings
  • Container Furniture
  • Artwork
  • Accessories

Good Cookin'

Last night I made these delicious, easy to make, cheese muffins. They went perfectly with our pot roast with chili sauce.

Image via The Pioneer Woman

P.S. Ashley, Thanks so much for providing the delicious sauce. Ed loved it so much, he demands we get the recipe. Care to share?

Officially Boot Weather

On Saturday morning, as the huge flakes began to fall, I realized that it's time to put away my sandals and pull out my boots. I dread the closet switchover. It's so time consuming...

I already have a pretty good collection, but here are the boots that I'd like to add:

Zoe Patent Button Boot - These would be my cheaper version that I might toss at the end of the year (depending on their wear & tear.)

Lionheart Boots - Natalie has a pair of Frye's just like this and they look so cute with a levi skirt. Plus these are on sale.

Hadley Boots - These Frye boots in Slate Gray are calling my name.

A Must Read

This is a wonderful book about Greg Mortenson, Central Asia Institute co-founder. This is a man who has successfully established over 78 schools in rural Afghanistan and Pakistan.

What he has done is quite amazing.
I think everyone should read this for its inspirational value.

Norma Kamali at The Walmarts!

OK, you know this TOTALLY sexy outfit that Rihanna is wearing in the Umbrella (ella ella) video? Well, after much research I figured out that it was a bathing suit by Norma Kamali. Sadly, it costs $295 and I just can't bring myself to spend that much on a bathing suit...although looking at this photo I am SERIOUSLY reconsidering that decision...hmmm...but I digress...


We were at Walmart on Monday picking up some odds and ends for my travels this week and were VERY excited to see that they are carrying an entire line by Norma Kamali.

We were in kind of a hurry and didn't have a shopping cart and my hands were full of toiletries so I was only able to pick up these lovelies:

Jersey Tank Dress - $15! This is such a great piece for work. Dress it up, dress it down, SO easy to travel with - lightweight and it won't wrinke!



Batwing Cardigan (shown in Milk) - $15! I am a sucker for a cute sweatshirt. Who isn't?

Check out the full line-up! At these prices, I just might be able to justify that bathing suit now...

For the Love of Scarves

I love scarves. Since the first pashmina appeared in all my vapid fashion magazines in the 90's I have been collecting all kinds of scarves. I even was lucky enough to have a genuine pashmina that cost hundreds at one time, but tragically I left it on a plane one day. I have not forgiven myself for that idiotic lapse and as punishment I don't buy the super expensive scarves because I can't be trusted. I love to use them as a splash of color and they provide a finished look to casual or dressy clothing.

Scarves are a trendy accessories for the fall too. The NY Times recently posted an article on scarves that said, "They have been resurrected not as throat warmers but as something that can be added to a dressed-down look like a V-neck T-shirt and jeans to give it a dressed-up flash. 'Without a doubt, it’s one of the biggest accessories this season, if not the biggest,' said Dan Peres, the editor of Details. 'You see it everywhere from the haughtiest fashion lines to the street. You don’t get a spectrum like that too often.' "

I always keep an eye out for deals on scarves. The best place to find them is on Canal Street in NYC, but how often can you get there? In town, they are often on clearance. A couple of weeks ago we found these very beautiful gradiated color scarves at K-Mart for only $2.00 (online they are listed as $2.99.)

Of course we bought one in every color.

Overstock.com has a great variety of scarves to choose from. It's a great place to start your collection.




Coat Obsession

While we're on the subject of my obsessions, I also love love love coats, even if I don't wear them enough.


Because I'm an empty nester now, there are lots more empty closets at my house to fill with coats. If they are not too heavy - I don't take them off and wear them like a jacket all day.

Forever 21 - 37.80

Forever 21 - 44.80

Target - 129.99 - Color is called "Roman Seaport" - Cool name! Cute fur collar!

Target Party Coat (reversible) - 89.99 - Reversible!

Walmart To the Max Trench - 49.99 - This is from Walmart's new To the Max Line. It's a little higher priced than George, but seems to have some more fashionable details. The shape of these sleeves makes this coat appealing to me.

Walmart George Trench - 28.00 - Great price!

I Love This Candle

This candle is one of my favorites. I just wish I could find it for a better deal. $24.00 seems a bit steep for such a small candle.

Ask The Cheaping Girls: Plato's Closet




Today's question comes from one of our readers:

"I have been a regular reader of your blog since the last month and I must say its really fun to read all your good deal finds and your tips. I was wondering what Plato's closet was all about since I am new to that concept. How do you know how much to sell your stuff for and what kind of stuff do they buy ??? If you have any tips then please pass them on. I would love to hear about it."



Mom and Janaan have been hot on Plato's Closet for a while. I was actually pretty late to the game. It all started with these 2007 Prada Vernice Sfumata Mary Janes (OH HELLO LOVER!!):

These were ALL OVER the September 2007 issue of Vogue and I was instantly smitten. And by smitten I mean I HAD to have them. I tore out the pictures and spent the month of September searching. I went to every department store, I laughed, I cried, I begged, I bargained, I batted my eyes and they were NOWHERE to be found. Sniff! Sniff!

Then in October, I went to San Francisco for work. My friend Estelle and I went shopping and decided to check out the new Barney's New York (it had opened in late September). Oh, did I mention that I wasn't supposed to be spending any money on this trip?

So, I walk into the GORGEOUS GORGEOUS (GORGEOUS!!) Barney's and that feeling of Barney's awe and delight just washed over me (have I mentioned that Barney's is my favorite department store?). I turned to Estelle and said 'I'm looking for these Prada shoes. I'm NOT supposed to be spending any money. BUT, if they have them here and if they have my size, I'm going to get them, because it's meant to be.' OH YEAH, I was feeling BOLD, mostly because I didn't think that they would be there.

But they had them! And they had them in my size! And when I put them on and I felt like Carrie Bradshaw and, well, I bought them. I absolutely LOVE these shoes and wear them frequently. BUT at the time I was in a total shame spiral for buying them.

When I was putting them away in my closet I noticed the three giant IKEA bags (yeah, the blue ones) full of clothes that I didn't want anymore. And that put me into an even deeper shame spiral of spending. And then I remembered Mom and Janaan talking about Plato's closet and I thought, what the heck? And yada yada yada, 2 hours later I had $250 and the peace of mind that I really got those shoes for 50% off! That's how it works, right?

So here's the scoop on Plato's Closet. They are a used clothing and accessories store that targets the teenage market. They buy jewelry, shoes, bags, and clothes and specifically look for brand names and styles that appeal to the teen set when they buy used clothes from you (i.e. Abercrombie and Fitch, Forever 21, Seven Jeans, etc.). You go in, drop off your pile of used clothes/accessories, they pick through the pile and decide what they're going to buy, make you an offer, and if you take it, they give you cold hard cash. P.S. You can't leave the store during this whole process.

I've added some handy links below for your reference - where to find Plato's, what they're looking for, how it works, etc. From our own experience we've found the following:

  • Go to sell your stuff in the middle of the day on a weekday if at all possible. If not, be prepared to wait for quite a while in the sellers queue.
  • They are random about what they buy. They won't buy stuff we think is cute and they will buy stuff we think is not so cute. It's a crap shoot every time.
  • While there is a little room for interpretation by their employees, they have some corporate mandated rules about what they can/cannot buy. One time I was selling clothes and they had a mandate not to buy any bubble skirts. And I totally had two totally cute bubble skirts in my pile.
  • They seem to be buying up all of our jewelry and accessories. So needless to say we've all cleaned out our jewelry boxes. Same 'teen' rule applies here in terms of brands and styles.
  • Remember that teens are their market. Most of the time when my stuff is rejected it's because it looks too 'mature'. Sniff. Sniff.
  • While you wait for them to pick through your stuff and decide what they're buying, check out the designer jean racks. They usually have great stuff at low low prices.

Happy Selling...and Buying!

XOXO,

Natalie

PLATO'S CLOSET: HOW IT WORKS

MOST WANTED BRANDS LIST

PLATO'S CLOSET LOCATIONS

ABOUT PLATO'S CLOSET

Jacket Obsession

Yeah I have my obsessions. BUT, I'm trying to get more control (quality and quantity control).

The past few winters I have loved wearing jackets almost every day. I find most days I don't even need a heavy coat over them and I live in a fairly cold climate in Utah. Although, I don't actually spend a lot of time outdoors, mainly just rushing from one heated place (i.e. my car) to the next (i.e. the mall.)

I found a few cute ones for this season to share with you for great prices.

I love the collar details on this one from Target and it comes in one of my favorite colors - Mustard Yellow - 3/4 Sleeve Wool - 39.99. I like 3/4 length sleeves in the winter because you get the warmth and you can still show off all your cute bracelets. It's a shame to have them hidden with long sleeves.

Target Boucle Houndstooth Jacket - 29.99

Target Double Breasted Jacket - 29.99

This one would be great for the holidays - Target Bubble Sleeve Jacket - $16.99

Target French Terry Bubble Jacket this comes in green too!- I like the length on this type of jacket, it's a nice change from the short ones - 39.99

I like this one from the George line at Walmart - 29.82. It's quite traditional, but you could modernize it with the right accessories. I wear most of these with jeans anyway.

This denim jacket from Forever 21 - 29.95 is something a little different for denim. Forever 21 is the "king" of jacket suppliers. Their website does not do justice to what is in their stores. They run small though - so we broader gals have to be careful there. H & M might be the "queen" of jackets and coats - but you never know. Sometimes they don't have a good selection and their website is not reflective of what is there. Just take your chances when can get to the store.

This is my latest purchase from the Vera Wang line at Kohl's - 61.60 on sale. Now that's a little pricey for me, but this has a very cute fit and the color is so unusual kinda browny maroon and I have some great shoes that will match - wahoo!

Rachel Zoe's Catchphrases


The Rachel Zoe Project on Bravo is a guilty pleasure of ours. She has wicked style and she loves fashion more than anyone we've ever seen or known. Plus, those cocktail rings are FAB-U-LOUS!! We think her catchphrases are pretty funny....we love a catchphrase and really would not have personalities without TV.....

Rachel Zoe's catchphrases -- We rate the sayings popping up on the stylist's Bravo show

The stylist star of Bravo's The Rachel Zoe Project (Tuesdays at 10 p.m.) is a catchphrase machine. But which of her sayings will take hold as quickly as her fashion trends?

''I die.''
Translation
''I cannot go on living without this gown/bangle/patchwork fur poncho.''
Catchy?
Yes, and so true. Who says fashion isn't a matter of life and death? A-

''You look bananas.''
Translation
''Even a monkey could see how hot that is.''
Catchy?
This goofy gush would've been perfect — if ''Hollaback Girl'' Gwen Stefani hadn't claimed it first. F

''Hero dress.''
Translation
''This is the one that will save the day.''
Catchy?
Cute, but everyday use (''That egg salad is totally my hero sandwich'') is tricky. C+

''Witch vibe.''
Translation
''I have a good feeling about this.''
Catchy?
We're definitely getting a witch vibe off this one. Oh, look! We're already using it! B+

''You are shutting it down.''
Translation
''The intensity of your fabulousness is causing my nervous system to fail.''
Catchy
Honestly? This one is just plain bananas. We die. A+

Steve and Barry's 100 Stores Closing Sale

I popped into my local Steve and Barry's today to see what was happening. At first the signs scared me "Everything $4.95 and up, 100 Store Closing Sale, Making Room for New Inventory". I stood there for a moment trying to take it all in, then I finally figured out that our store IS NOT closing, but IS part of the sale of the 100 stores that ARE closing. Whatever.

Here is the scoop:
  • Loads of T-shirts for $4.95 and up.
  • The infant line is all $4.95.
  • They have winter coats in for $19.95. Amazing.
  • Loads of other stuff for higher than $4.95 (some cute sweaters) but still under $20.

I bought this fur coat for my grand daughter for Christmas (this picture does not do it justice - it's very soft fur with a ribbon bow belt). So darling and at $10.95 it was practically free! BONUS: It's also machine washable.