Ask the Cheaping Girls - Office Edition

Hello Everyone!

We have a quite a backlog of "Ask The Cheaping Girls" questions. My goal is have all of these answered in the next week.

WE LOVE YOUR QUESTIONS!! Keep them coming and we'll keep our 2009 resolution to get them answered in a more timely fashion.

This question comes from Ashley, who needs to vamp up her office. Since her original office is now the nursery, they have moved the office into their master bedroom.

"I like the space, but I cannot figure out how to decorate it on a very low budget. Any ideas to give this little office nook a lift?"
I work remotely from a home office. I live in an open loft so my office is right in the middle of my house where everyone can see it.

A critical item for me is my filing cabinet, where I not only have files, but I hide business books, reams of paper and other random items.
A second critical item is cute storage containers. I like the Kassett series from IKEA for long term storage - samples of work and important documents that I need to keep around for a while.

You can also find fabulous little boxes for odds and ends at TJ Maxx and Ross. I hide all of my pens, post-it notes, paper clips, cables, etc. in these three boxes that are made from recycled magazines.
I would recommend the Linen Bulletin Board from Pottery Barn. It’s a tad expensive at $129 but we’ve never seen anything like it anywhere else. And don't be afraid to put an over sized item in a small space. Mom and Janaan both have one of these (Mom gave me one for my birthday but I had to return it because my walls are all concrete and brick. Sniff...Sniff...) and it’s large enough so that you can display a calendar, greeting cards and all of those little reminders in a lovely way.
Just because it’s an office doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and inexpensive little touches. If you must have a stack of folders or papers on your desk (which I often do), it helps that everything is in a cute file folder. Then it just becomes another decoration in the room rather than a pile of paper. I found these file folders at Ross.

Other cute office supplies:
Letterpress Calendar
Trendy Staples - Seriously
Fight the Cubicle Blues

As much as possible – avoid cords. I have a wireless keyboard and a wireless mouse for my iMac and it helps reduce the amount of clutter on my desk not to have a bunch of cords around. I also suggest buying a surge protector power strip with a cover on it. These are pricey, but are well worth the cost when lightning strikes near your house (yes, this has happened to me). I like the Belkin Small Conceal Surge Protector.

A lot of non-office furniture can be useful for the office. In Mom's office/craft room she used metal kitchen racks for storage (we bought these at Costco). All of the baskets and boxes on the racks are from Ross and TJ Maxx:

I am a big fan of exposed objects (my kitchen cabinets have glass fronts). Mom and Janaan both have this ribbon rack (again, I have one of these in storage due to my concrete wall situation). These are available on custom order from Rod Works.

Rod Works also makes a wrapping paper rack similar to the ribbon rack, but we have all bought this outdoor Huson Plant Pot from IKEA and put our wrap in there.

Earlier this week, our friend Kim suggested that we check out Ali Edwards new nursery on her blog. Her nursery is really lovely, but her office is fabulous as well:

She has a great mix of found items and a mix of styles - new, vintage, creative, random, fun, eclectic. There are great ideas in both the nursery and the office.

So to make a long story short (too late...):

- Don't be afraid to put something large in this space - a bulletin board, mirror, or photograph/collection of photographs

- Hide tiny/unattractive objects in cute storage containers

- Hide cords and cables and electronics whenever possible

- Use the objects in your office as part of the decoration - paper, wrapping, ribbons, folders, etc.


The Cheaping Girls

Eyebrow Threading

I first discovered eyebrow threading at the lovely lovely Zen Nail Salon and Spa in Frisco, Texas.

"Threading is an ancient method of hair removal which originated in India. It is also popular in Persian Culture. Threading the entire face is widely spread amongst Iranians. Practitioners use a pure, thin, twisted cotton thread which is rolled over untidy hairlines, moustaches and so on, plucking the hair at the follicle level. Unlike tweezing where a single hair is pulled out each time, threading can remove an entire row of hair, resulting in a straighter line. As the top layers of skin are not peeled or traumatized, threading is an alternative for those with sensitive skin or who use Retin-A, Accutane, and similar products." --Source:

I can definitely vouch for it being an alternative for those with sensitive skin. My skin always peels off when I get my eyebrows waxed and I have to be very very careful about what type of wax is used. The other thing that I love about threading is that unlike waxing, it removes the teeniest tiniest of hairs and leaves an incredibly clean line.

The number one question I get when I tell people that I like threading is: "Is it is more painful than waxing?" I would say it's about the same level of pain. I really don't think eyebrow waxing is THAT painful, so if you think waxing is painful then threading might not be the answer for you.

The biggest problem is finding someone who has expertise with this technique. If you live in the Salt Lake Valley, check out Salon Zazou, 1826 South 900 East, Salt Lake City. 801-466-2202

Fancy Knee Socks with Boots

This Fall/Winter, our look has been all about tall boots over skinny jeans and leggings. But to give this tried and true look a little lift, we have been wearing knee socks that poke out of the top of the boots. But not just any knee socks, we prefer the fancy kinds with a little lace or a bow.

It just makes the look a bit more fun.
These used to be hard to find but are becoming more and more abundant. The following are great options:
Betsey Johnson Love Lace Knee Sock from Urban Outfitters - $15.00

Lace trim knee socks Forever 21 - $7.80

Satin Bow Socks from Forever 21 - $5.80

Ruffle knee socks from Forever 21 - $5.80

Buttoned Knee High Sock from Top Shop - $14.00

Etsy Alchemy

Janaan has been all over the Etsy scene for a while. For those of you that might not be familiar with Etsy, it's an online marketplace where people can sell their handmade and vintage goods.

Recently I discovered Etsy's Alchemy feature. I can't tell you why, because it's a surprise for one of The Cheaping Girls. But here is the overview:
Alchemy is a space on Etsy where buyers can post requests for custom items. Sellers then bid on the opportunity to make the item and win the sale. It's your opportunity to collaborate with a crafter or artisan to get exactly what you're seeking. Buyers can even make private requests to a specific seller within a shop.
So, if you are looking to have a custom, handmade gift made or if you have artistic/crafty skills (which I obviously don't), check out Etsy.
While I can't give specifics I can say that I had an idea in my head, I had no idea how to do it myself or how to go about finding someone to do it. I stumbled upon this feature of Etsy, posted my request and within 24 hours had chosen someone to work with and now it is in progress! I'll follow-up with everyone when it is done!

As Soon As These Go On Sale..

They will be mine...

I Can't Live Without...

...Rimmel Vinyl Lip Brilliant High Shine, Long Lasting Lip Gloss 115

a.k.a. Snog
As I was going about my day I noticed that I have five, yes five, tubes of this lip gloss in active rotation. One in my travel make-up bag. One in my regular make-up bag. One in my laptop bag. One in my handbag. And a new one on reserve, just in case I run out on a major holiday or in a foreign land or something. I love this gloss (which Mom actually discovered). It's not too sticky. It lasts as long as a gloss can be expected to last. It is a nice tiny boost of color without being TOO much of a boost. It works great on top of or mixed with other colors. And it's only $3.99 and you can pick it up at Wal-Mart.
Here is a picture of me after I put it on:

J/K everybody. J/K. The gorgeous Kate Moss is the face of Rimmel. But putting on this gloss DOES make me look at myself in the mirror and shrug my shoulders and think 'Huh. Yep. I look better with a little bit of color on my lips.'

Just Found a Deal at Ross!

Steve Madden T-Strap Shoes-$19.99 (in black only at my local Ross)

(These are available in Red and Grey and Black on - (but online they are a whopping $89.00. Quite a savings at the local Ross!)

Neutral Nursery

I've been thinking a lot (and I mean A LOT) about the nursery for this new little baby. Although, it's going to end up being very colorful and eclectic, I love the simple palette in this English nursery. It's so soothing and clean.

The lovely Estelle did a great job. Although she knew they were having a boy, she wanted a nursery that was unisex, so she went for a calming, classic linen color (Farrow & Ball - Slipper Satin #2004). She doesn’t believe in having cartoon characters or other baby-like things on the walls, which I completely agree with. Currently the walls are still a bit bare but she has some black and white photos of her babe to hang.

I love the natural colors and interesting textures of her Moses Basket.

For her toy basket she used this one from Zara Home, which unfortunately we don’t have here in the states, but this is a good alternative from Wal Mart .

Hungry? How about Popcorn?

After the holidays I felt the need to cut back a little on the fatty foods. And I am crazy about popcorn, so I went back to my old tried and true snack - 94% fat free microwave popcorn. I have learned to love it, although I liberally use "I Can't Believe it's not Butter" spray on it. Some who know me will say I only have a "little popcorn with my spray butter."

Yes, yes, I'm aware it's not calorie free when you spritz on so much butter, but it's a great way to curb hunger that's actually good for you, not like that movie theater popcorn. One large, butter-soaked, movie theater popcorn contains more than 1,500 calories and over 115 grams of fat. Even if you skip the butter, that tub'll cost you around 1,150 calories and 75 grams of fat.

Weight Watchers Magazine in their January/February Issue had a Pop Quiz:

"Question: What are three fiber-rich foods? Answer: oatmeal, beans, and ....POPCORN? It's true: The movie-theater classic is a whole grain; in fact, there's as much fiber in 2C of popcorn as there is in a slice of whole wheat bread. Plus, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that popcorn eaters had a 22 percent higher daily fiber intake that those who scorned corn."

"Tip: For pure popcorn flavor - minus the chemicals - bring back the air popper."

Presto Hot Air Popper at Walmart only $19.88!

Single Serving

Can't control yourself around the corn? Just pop up a single-serving size bag and go to town! (Not literally. You can stay home and eat it.) Jolly Time, Orville Redenbacher's and Pop Secret all make AWESOME 94% fat-free microwave popcorn in single-serving size bags that rack up only 90 - 110 calories and hardly any fat. The best of the bunch (in our opinion) is Jolly Time Healthy Pop in Kettle Corn flavor. We can't get enough of it...

One-Of-A-Kind Kernels...

Our pick for the most unique and delicious popcorn is... Jolly Time's Healthy Pop Caramel Apple Pop Corn (no, that's not a typo, Jolly Time spells popcorn that way). It combines the sticky sweetness of caramel with apple-y goodness to make completely guilt-free, low-fat popcorn -- all for just 110 calories and 2 grams of fat per serving. Woohoo!

Big Happenings at the "Walmarts"

I popped-in to the Walmarts today for some much needed but random stuff. When I came in the door the feeling in the air was strange. Quiet. And then there was yelling from a man who did not sound totally right. I thought "Maybe someone is having a seizure or attack of some kind..."  As I passed the check stands I could see a man face down on the floor with a security guard standing over him.

I've had some self defense training and my gut told me "Just back out the door and drive away." But my shopping gene told me "You need hangers and mascara." Shopping won.

By the time I checked out there were seven cop cars and many law enforcement types taking care of the situation. Attempted robbery at the pharmacy. Of course the root of all crime. Drugs.

I felt happy to live in a country or at least an area that responds to quickly to crime. I felt bad about not doing what I should have because this guy could have had friends in the store with weapons or whatever.

But hey I found this great To the Max - Women's 3/4 Sleeve Double Breasted Trench coat for $9.00.

Slumdog Millionaire

Has everyone seen Slumdog Millionaire? If you haven't, you should. It is a really beautiful movie about the life of an impoverished Indian teenager. It really brings awareness of how life is in other areas.

Along with all the great, poignant moments, there was a great fashion moment. At the end of the movie, the lovely Freida Pinto is wearing skinny jeans, a basic white top and this fabulous bright yellow scarf. According to the costume designer, Suttirat Anne Larlarb, it is a custom one of a kind scarf, so there is no luck for me in getting the same one. However, I am now on the hunt for something similar. It has to have unique details, lightweight fabric and be a bit over sized so that I can throw it over my head if need be.

Damages Season 2 on FX

We love the show Damages on FX. If you did not watch season one - do so - right away. It's one of the best shows on TV. Season two premiered this month and we must say - WOW.
Not only is the story just as compelling as last year, the fashion style of the show had definitely been ratcheted up a notch or two. The main characters of Glenn Close and Rose Bryne are dressed beautifully with hair, makeup and accessories that are just perfect.
And guest star Marcia Gay Harden has never been so beautiful.

Anthropologie Sale Hazard

Yesterday, both Mom and daughter picked up this lovely cardigan from the sale rack at Anthropologie The hazard of shopping together is that we constantly have to call before group activities to verify we won't be wearing the same thing. Trust us, it's happened. A LOT.