Monday, September 30, 2013

September Spending Recap

Last Spring, I received this ring from Gioielli by Nikki Baker after LuckyFABB. My goal had been to wear it with a dress that I hoped to wear to a wedding this coming weekend.  However, after abandoning Pilates all summer, I am still a good month or even two away from looking the way I want in the dress so I won't be wearing it soon. However, at the beginning of the month, Gioielli by Nikki Baker was on The Today Show promoting their new pendant. Their Today Show special was a huge discount on their Color Pop Necklace which normally costs $155. For $46.50, you could choose from one of seven colors and I choose the turquoise pendant and ordered it right away.

I also went to Sephora to buy make-up and while I normally don't include cosmetics in my budget,  I spent more than I usually do this month and it cut into my clothes budget, so I added my foundation and new lipstick this month. Both are by Hourglass and I am really happy with the Color IQ app at Sephora. They took three photos of my skin and gave me a number of foundations and specific colors that would look good on me. Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation by Hourglass was my favorite once I tried a couple. I also picked up the Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick while I was there. All Hourglass Cosmetics are all-natural vegan products and I am very happy with these!  The foundation was $55 and the Lipstick was $28.

Not pictured: Pink Rose Sweater from Marshall's = $17

Total = $146.50
Once I realized that I was not going to be able to wear the dress I wanted, I decided on a black dress I already owned and asked my husband if he would gift me some jewelry that I need to spruce it up.  We went to Saks Off 5th because they always have some of the nicer costume jewelry, but instead we found this Badgley Mischka dress on the clearance rack! It was marked down to $299 from $475 and all clearance was 40% off the lowest price. My husband said that if I could find a way to wear it with jewelry I already owned, he would buy me the dress. If not, then we could go ahead and find some jewelry for the black dress I already owned. Of course, I picked the dress! And my sister-in-law gifted me these cobalt Rockstar Jeans earlier in the month. So neither of these were added to my budget even though you will see them on the blog very soon!

I am linking up with Fran and the Budgeting Bloggers after being absent all summer. I hope they take me back! I also did a recap of my summer spending if you are interested and that can be found here.
How did you do this month?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

If You Only Have One Weekend in Ft. Worth

I received great feedback on a possible series of "If you only have a short while in a certain city." Since Mr. Fantastic and I usually only have a weekend here or there, I thought it would be good to start with "If you only have one weekend in..." and I will kick it off with Ft. Worth since we just wrapped our weekend there.  Here goes:

We like the Sheraton Ft. Worth Hotel & Spa. However, more than the Sheraton, we like a great rate. In the past we've used different hotel bidding sites, but after numerous issues, we now stick to Priceline.  A reader also recommended, the Lockhart Gables Bed & Breakfast in Ft. Worth.

Links Platter with Frozen Margarita from Railhead Smokehouse
All visits to Ft. Worth should require a BBQ stop and we really enjoyed Railhead Smokehouse. Most BBQ places we frequent don't serve alcohol and it was nice to enjoy a beer, or a margarita in my case! Friends also recommended Off the Bone BBQ, which also has a location in Dallas that we LOVE!

For Mexican Food, we love Joe T. Garcias. They have amazing food, including their staple fajitas and my favorite, their tamale dinner. But make sure you carry cash, because they don't take credit cards and the ATM charges a $6 transaction fee.

A steakhouse visit is another must and while Reata Restaurant is often lauded as one of the best steakhouses in Ft. Worth, our friends recommend Cattlemen's Steakhouse  in the Stockyards for a better value.

Finally, if you are only in town for the weekend, you must try breakfast at Cowtown Diner before you leave. They are quite proud of their signature dish, Texas Chili Benedict.

Ft. Worth Water Gardens

We had exactly one weekend and we packed in a country music concert at the Longhorn Saloon as well as visits to the Historic Ft. Worth Stockyards and the Ft. Worth Water Gardens. With the exception of the concert at the Longhorn Saloon, both the Stockyards and the Ft. Worth Water Gardens are free of any cost except for souvenirs or food and drinks.  And there are plenty of watering holes throughout the Stockyards. We liked Whiskey Girl Saloon.

We started at Sundance Square before friends called us back out to the Stockyards for the Jackson Taylor Band performance. Initially, we thought the performance was at Billy Bob's Texas, but fortunately, we've been before and didn't miss out. Everyone should check it out at least once!

Other options include the Ft. Worth Zoo and The Ft. Worth Botanic Garden. Art lovers will enjoy The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame as well as the Kimbell Art Museum.

Did I miss any of your favorites? Let me know!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Around the Water Gardens: Goodbye Cowtown

Sunday morning, we were blissfully able to sleep in. After a shower and a cup of coffee, we walked across the street to the Ft. Worth Water Gardens.  We had never been before and heading there early on Sunday morning was perfect as there were not very many people and we were able to really spend some time sitting there doing nothing without much interruption. Ok, I should be honest and admit that we probably made out a little, but in our defense, we didn't have the kids!!!
Top: Old Navy; Shorts: MICHAEL Michael Kors (same print in a skirt!)
Sunglasses: Balenciaga; Earrings: c/o Tacori (exact); Necklace: Swarovski Angelic Pendant
I love these earrings.  I received them from Tacori a few weeks after LuckyFABB this Spring and they got alot of use over the summer, but since that was during my hiatus, I hadn't really had a chance to blog them.  I initially thought they were a bit large, but very quickly discovered that they are the perfect counterpoint to my everyday silver hoops. Smaller studs would get lost in my big, Texas hair! I also love, love these gemstone earrings (hint for my husband!) and this would be a terrific everyday bracelet. I love link bracelets, and that one has a beautiful design.
Bracelet: Tiffany & Co.; Hammered Bangles: Blue Nile
Sandals: Cole Haan Hasley
I posted a photo of my husband and me at the Water Gardens on Facebook and several people thought my "cow-print" shorts were cute, but I've never seen a cow with a giraffe print coat so I will just say "Close enough." I still love these shorts and they are also in heavy rotation in my closet, especially in the very warm and humid summer months.
Active Pool
Aerating Pool
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Taking the Bull by the Horns

We arrived in Ft. Worth on Saturday afternoon.  After a snafu with our hotel reservation via Hotwire, we grabbed some BBQ plates and drinks at Railhead Smokehouse while we turned to Priceline and scored a last minute room at the Sheraton Ft. Worth Hotel & Spa and the room was gorgeous! After we quickly unpacked, we made our way down to the historic Ft. Worth Stockyards. We walked along the Texas Trail of Fame and looked up people we didn't know, but gave up when we realized how ignorant about Texas history we are.
Top: Victoria's Secret; Denim: c/o Miss Me Jeans (exact)
City Lights Earrings: c/o Tacori (exact); Necklace: Swarovski Angelic Pendant
Bangle: So Good Jewelry; Bracelets: eBay and Lauren Ralph Lauren via eBay
Boots: Frye Jane Stitch 14L(exact on sale); Bag: Chloe
We've visited the Ft. Worth Zoo before and I've visited the Kimbell Art Museum, but it was nice to just be a tourist for the afternoon and wander around the stockyards with beers in hand.  I even shelled out $5 to sit on a real bull and get a photo. Look at those horns! I loved it and we really did feel like we were on vacation, especially when we were laughing and laughing over nothing and everything.  We ended the afternoon at Whiskey Girl Saloon with what else? Whiskey drinks, whiskey and Coke for my husband and whiskey sour for me. We then headed back to the hotel to dress for dinner in Sundance Square, but ended up back in the Stockyards with friends instead. See post about our evening here.
We really enjoyed our weekend and are thinking of making it a more regular thing to get away in our own backyard.  If we do, would you be interested in reading a wrap-up? Something like if you only have one day or if you only have two days, stay here, eat here, and do this? Let me know.

Where do you go to get away in your area?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Partying with a Honky Tonk Hero

Yesterday, my husband woke me with breakfast in bed (mostly it was coffee and leftover cake, but that was my breakfast and it was in bed!) and an invitation to pack an overnight bag.  Earlier last week, while we synced up our calendars we realized that we have something to do EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK. from now until after New Years'. Whether it is for the kids' school or scout activities, family obligations or charity functions, there is something happening every single weekend until next year. So we took advantage of the last weekend without the kids and obligations and ran across the Trinity to Ft. Worth.
Dress: Presley Skye (This one is very similar and on sale) and I forgot the belt. :(
Earrings: c/o BaubleBar Vault (2012); Monogram Necklace: c/o Jane Basch & LuckyFABB
Bracelets: Fossil Glitz Lock & Monet (old)
Purse: Louis Vuitton (very old, maybe 2000 or so?); Shawl: Bijoux Terner (exact on sale $5)
Boots: Frye 14L Jane Stitch (exact on sale)
We spent the day in the Ft. Worth Stockyards and I posted this instagram photo to my personal Facebook page.  We didn't realize, but we have friends in the Ft. Worth area and one of them was celebrating her birthday at the Longhorn Saloon during a performance by the Jackson Taylor Band.  We had planned to spend the evening in Sundance Square and grab dinner, so I was not dressed for a saloon country concert. Nevertheless, it was so much fun to grab drinks with friends and experience our first performance by honky tonk hero, Jackson Taylor. My husband I were marveling that this grown man throws temper tantrums just like our teenager.  He was upset about the sound and we got a great glimpse of how our teenager will be in the future if we don't teach him to control his rage issues now.
Celebrating with the Birthday Girl (she's the one in the white hat)
Jackson Taylor at Longhorn Saloon
Sorry for the wrinkled dress and weird lighting in the photos, we white balanced inside the bar and then didn't remember when we got outside. I am so in awe of everyone's great photography when people adjust their lighting everytime they change locations. And I definitely need to remember to take my photos BEFORE we continue our planned activities.

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Non-Baby Bump

We moved into our house at the beginning of August after being homeless for the previous two months. During that time, everything was turned upside down and neither my husband nor I ever expected that it would take us as long as it did to find a house.  We had committed to attend a charity event back in May and forgot until the week of the event.  The Palette to Palate fundraiser was held at the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas and featured numerous restaurants and vineyards who donated their talent and goodies to feed us as we browsed the art that was available for auction and sale.
Dress: Suzi Chin for Maggy Boutique
Earrings: Teocalli; Necklace: Michael Kors via eBay
Minaudiere: DIY via this tutorial; Bangles: BlueNile
Shoes: Brian Atwood Fineday (2012)
During this fateful summer, everything fell by the wayside including pilates and healthy meals, as we managed with limited clothing and most importantly, a lack of space.  I probably gained about 8 pounds in two months and it was a struggle to find anything that fit the day of the event. This was the 7th dress I tried on and although I wasn't thrilled about the way it looked, I was relieved that it fit and away we went. When we arrived, we were greeted by friends and we tried to quickly make our way to our table.  Before we could sit, a woman that I've known for YEARS stopped me to exclaim, "Oh my God! Your bump is so adorable!" I was dumbfounded and if it had been ANYONE else, I would probably have had a smart response. Instead, because I know that this is one of the kindest women I know, I smiled and said, "Thank you!" just as my husband whirled me around to prevent a scene.  I was back in my pilates classes the following Monday!
What would you respond in that situation?

Monday, September 16, 2013

3.1 Phillip Lim for Target

I have to confess that I forgot about the release of the 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target collaboration yesterday.  I set my alarm on Saturday so that I wouldn't forget and then when the alarm rang, I couldn't remember why and I was upset because it was a Sunday. So instead of heading to Target like a good style blogger, I snuggled closer to my sleeping husband for another two hours of sleep.  When I woke up, I ran errands and spent most of the day shopping for suits for the kids who will be ushers in a family wedding next month.  And I still didn't remember. Not until last night when I was catching up on some blogs and Fran and Cid both mentioned it, that I finally remembered.
Fortunately, nothing was sold out, except the handbags at the store I visited in Dallas after Pilates this morning.   While I was really excited about the leather jacket and it was one of my favorite pieces, I cannot bring myself to spend $250 on a leather jacket at Target. I don't care what the label is, I can't. I tried on both the dress and the trench coat above at my local Target and I really wanted to love the dress because I thought it was a beautiful color and I wanted to wear it to the rehearsal dinner for the family wedding. I had already imagined that someone would say, "I love your dress!" and I would casually reply, "Thanks! I got it at Target." But, I just couldn't bring myself to spend $75 on a dress that was clearly made of polyester.  I wandered around the store for a good 30 minutes trying to talk myself into it, but the truth is that some of the other collaborations have spoiled me.  This dress by The Webster for The Shops at Target cost $40 and it feels amazing and I get so, so many compliments on it. I love watching people's jaws drop when they ask where I bought it and I say, "I picked it up at Target last year."  This dress by 3.1 Phillip Lim just doesn't have that oomph. The fabric felt and looked cheap and at the end of the day I knew that it would hurt to add $75 to my budget this month for a dress I didn't love.  The coat was also disappointing because in the photos, it looks like the blue fabric is the lining of the coat, but it is not.  The coat is unlined and is simply khaki on the outside and blue on the inside.  This was the item I would have bought, but I would have needed at least $40 in alterations if not more because I would have needed to take in the sleeves and take up the hem a couple of inches.  I also tried the grey terry sweatpants, but being a short, hippy girl with a stomach pouf did me no favors and I just looked awful. In the end, I passed on all the clothes and was left only hoping for store returns on the purses as was the case with the Neiman Marcus collaboration because I've heard ridiculously great reviews of the handbags which were sold out at my store.
What did I bring home? A shirt for our 16-year-old.  I loved the henley style and I think it will be perfect for those California evenings in Napa Valley next month when the temperatures drop enough to give a chill, but not enough to warrant a full coat.  He loved it and I had no problem paying $23 for 95% cotton and 5% spandex. I actually liked the men's selection and if my husband wasn't 6'5" I might have picked him up a couple of pieces, too. Those all looked and felt much better and the pricing was surprisingly spot on.

Did you get to check out the 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target Collection? What did you buy? What did you like? What did you not like?

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Wino in White

I was invited to a wine tasting at a local wine store called Total Wine by a friend of mine this week. My husband and I love this store because they carry a fabulous selection of wines of all varietals and from all regions.  When we are hosting parties at our house, it is not uncommon for us to end up with a shopping cart full of wine and beer!
Top: Banana Republic Factory (similar); Denim: JBrand Skinny Jeans
Earrings: Old Navy (old); Necklace: very old (similar)
Bracelet: old gift from Mr. F; Purse: Vintage (similar)
Shoes: Manolo Blahnik Tiras (current option)
While I was excited about finally getting dressed to go out with friends, it didn't dawn on me until I was in the car that I was wearing white to a Napa Valley wine tasting.  That just goes to show that I am really out of it because if anyone is going to have red wine spilled on them, it will be me!  Fortunately that didn't happen and we ended up having a great time.  In the meantime, there I was: The wino in white. :)

Have a fantastic weekend!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Getting Back Into It

Hello friends! I know I left early this summer with no explanation.  We closed on our house and moved into a hotel (Mr. Fantastic, the boys and me into ONE ROOM) for what was supposed to be a few days and turned into three weeks while we lost house after house that we even thought of bidding on.  We finally realized we could not stay in a hotel room without losing our minds and we leased a corporate apartment, but did not get any of our belongings out of storage while we continued our search and tried to continue our "normal" activities.
AROUND THE HOUSE: Shorts and Flip Flops: Old Navy
We finally found our new home and moved at the beginning of August. I thought for sure I would be back in a matter of days. However, while we LOVE the house, it was disappointing and heartbreaking to discover that all the great "upgrades" were done by the lowest bidder using the cheapest possible materials.  We ended up having to paint almost every surface of the house to begin with and my husband spent countless evenings reworking the tile after full days in the office. Not to mention that we got a huge sticker shock when our first water bill arrived and the my small decorating budget for our new living room went to pay for the astronomical water bill that comes with owning a pool. :(
FOOTBALL FRIDAYS: Joe's Jeans; Converse Sneakers; Rebecca Minkoff crossbody
Fortunately, we can finally come up for air and while the house will definitely be a work in progress, that I hope to share with you here, I hope to be able to get back to my regular routine.
HAPPY HOURS: Finn & Clover Maxi; Old Navy Sandals; Jane Basch Necklace
I've missed all of you and I really appreciate everyone who reached out to me via email or social media.  As I told some friends, this summer ended with me wearing a variation of the same three outfits over and over and I had nothing new to add to the internet.  I hope that changes soon! For now, you can expect a summer spending recap because while I didn't spend much, I continued to document my spending and will update June-August and September as the month closes.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR CONTINUING TO READ. It really means so much to me.