#Partygirl Problems: Finding the perfect outfit for a Christmas Party

This time next week I will be home in PA, and in all honesty, it could not come sooner. I can’t wait to see my friends, family and my dog, Marshall 🙂 As you probably know, Christmas break is filled with reunions and get-togethers with friends you probably haven’t seen since August. I already have a party, bar crawl, and family get-togethers planned and my vacation hasn’t even started yet.  Dressing for holiday festivities can be stressful and expensive. You want to look your best but you don’t want to dole out a ton of dough while doing so. I don’t know about you but I’m super excited for this break not only because I’ll get to see everyone I love, but I can finally ditch the leggings and baggy sweatshirt getup #blamefinals.

If Olivia Newton-John can't get away with the leggings and sweatshirt combo, no one can

If you’ve raided your closet (you should at least go through it 2-3 times) and don’t have a single thing to wear to that high-school reunion or family gathering, fear not. Here are a few outfits for every holiday party, brunch, church service and dinner party imaginable. **Everything is under $50!**

Brunch with the Besties

Brunch

New Year’s Eve

$42.99 Mod Cloth Midnight Sun Dress

Ugly Sweater Party

I absolutely GUARANTEE you will take first place in the ugly sweater competition with this baby

The Bars

Night out

Christmas Mass

$39.99 from Lands End Canvas...I have this dress and it is so comfortable!

Christmas Dinner with the Fam

$35 Dorothy Perkins Red Cross Panel Dress...Dress this up with a great shrug, statement jewelry or a great pair of heels!

Christmas Morning

Seriously, who ACTUALLY gets dressed up to unwrap presents? Not I. Not I.

Also, my apologies about the layout. I’m trying out Polyvore so I’m still trying to work out the layout kinks. If you haven’t checked out the site do so, or not, because it is so addicting!

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Work It: A College Girl’s Guide to the Work Wardrobe

I know I mentioned  this a few posts back, but it is ABSOLUTELY necessary to have a work wardrobe in college. Interviews, career fairs, networking lunches and internships opportunities have an uncanny way of appearing seemingly out of the blue so it is best to be prepared for any situation. So what exactly is a work wardrobe?

Let's hope Samantha is bidding on a new work outfit...

Well, this is where is gets tough. Over the past few years, I’ve had internships that have required me to wear everything from workout gear and sneakers, to trendy-casual, to semi-formal business attire and everything in between. However, during my experiences, I’ve learned that there are a few essential items that every working gal needs in her closet. I’m not going to lie, good-quality business attire can be astoundingly expensive, and that is bad news bears for someone on a budget. Luckily, here are a few, affordable staples that will make you look like a million bucks without actually spending that much.

1. The Suit

AGB Jacket Two Button $39.98 and skirt $29.98

I actually own this blazer in black. Macy’s AGB line is perfect for a college budget. Affordable, well-made, and figure-flattering (sizes range from 4-16 US) AGB’s suits should be in every gal’s closet. Each separate is an exact color match, and they also make work pants as well. Also, from my experience, the jacket is seemingly wrinkle-proof!

2. Black or Nude Heels

Target's Mossimo Black Pump $29.99

It also comes in nude

When shopping for a work heel, make sure you feel absolutely comfortable in them in the store. I know heels and comfort go together as well as Kim Kardashian and marriages (sorry I had to), but there is nothing worse than spending eight hours in uncomfortable footwear. Can’t wear heels? Don’t worry! There are a ton of affordable, fashionable flats out there that look just as professional. Also, make sure your new kicks aren’t too high, 3 in at most.

3. Work blouse

A shell like this one from Banana Republic is a great top to layer under a blazer

Button-ups and I do not get along. In fact, we hate each other. The puckering, the ill-fitting waist, the collars that simply won’t stay creased, I’m officially over the button-up. Which is fine because there are so many cute blouse options available. Ann Taylor LOFT and Banana Republic are two great stores that have super-cute shells and blouses to go under blazers and cardigans. Although BR and AT are a bit pricier than what your budget allows, they often have great sale items and last year after Christmas Ann Taylor LOFT offered a 50% your entire purchase no exclusions! Just make sure when shopping for a shell, that it is not see-through and is appropriate for the office. Another tip: sign up for email lists to receive exclusive offers and sale notifications, just be warned they send a TON of emails.

4. The Cardigan

Who says cardigans are just for librarians?

Offices are freezing year round. So you better stock up on a few cute cardigans to keep you warm. Add a little personality to your outfit by going with an embellished or embroidered cardi or pair it with a bold colored shell or statement necklace. This cardigan from Target is not only cute but super affordable at $24.99.

5. Structured Bag

My dream bag from Etsy. Okay so its $199.00...how many days until Christmas?

I currently work at a radio station which requires me to go out and collect sound with a recorder and mic. I also need a notepad to jot notes and often receive a ton of press releases during the day, so I need a purse that is not only cute, but functional with pockets galore and enough space to hold everything I need.  Etsy is a great resource for unique, affordable, well-made bags. And another plus? You are supporting small business entrepreneurs in the process!

Have any other wardrobe staple suggestions? Share them below!

Beauty and the Budget

Frenchie may have blown it in beauty school, but there are many talented students too

Beauty may be pain but it shouldn’t be costly. Many nice salons can charge $70+ for haircuts, not including color, $90 for facials and $30 for a simple manicure. So what is a college girl to do?

Well thankfully my equally frugal cousin Danielle gave me a great tip: beauty schools. Beauty schools around the country offer discounted rates on everything from manicures to highlights to facials in order for their students to practice on live models. And let me clarify, Frenchie is not going to be doing your hair. Many schools only allow their most experienced students on the floor. Additionally, their teachers are on the floor for any questions and corrections, and review their work upon completion.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Ever walk into a hair or nail salon and expect the Health Department to burst through the door any second? When you seek out cheap cuts and mani/pedis you run the risk of finding a place that may compromise your health.  I don’t know about you but I’m not willing to run the risk of getting staph and having to pay for a hospital visit because of a botched pedicure. Talk about unforeseen costs. In beauty schools, they take cleanliness very seriously.

If you are nervous about going to beauty schools for a big change like a new hair color or drastic cut, go in for a trim or a few highlights. If you don’t like the cut or color it will not be as noticeable, and oftentimes the instructor will be more than willing to fix it for you.  Or, if you’re like me and simply cannot bear the thought of cheating on your stylist, come in for a cheap manicure, makeup application or a massage.

In October I’ll be checking out the Aveda Institute in Manhattan.  I’m setting aside a bit of my budget for their thirty-minute twenty dollar facial . Keep a look out for my review in the next few weeks.

Tips:
-Do some research before you chose your beauty school. Yelp and other review websites often review beauty schools as well.  Be warned, you may get an array of different reviews because remember, the stylists are students and some are more talented than others.
-When booking an appointment, ask about the school’s policy. If you are unhappy with the results can you get a refund or will someone fix it? Do you take credit card or just cash? How long have the stylists been in school? Would you recommend anyone?
-Give yourself more time than usual for a service. The stylists are still students and may need advice from the instructor.
-If you get there and do not feel comfortable with the stylist, tell someone. Try to get another stylist if available. If changes can not be made consider leaving. It is better to spend more money and time on a great stylist and haircut than waste money on a haircut/color that you’ll have to get fixed anyway.
-Many times the instructor will ask you about your experience. Make sure to be honest. If you loved it be sure to point out why your stylist was so great. If you hated it, tell them in a calm way. Even if your stylist is within earshot, it is better for them to hear constructive criticism and learn from it now, than develop bad habits that will be hard to break in the future.
-If you love your stylists’ work, get her number! Many students and recent grads work out of their home for some extra cash. Their prices are regularly far cheaper than a salon so it’s a win-win for both of you!

Have you ever been to a beauty school for a service? Let me know!

Thrifty Thursdays

I loves clothes and shopping. Know who doesn’t? My bank account.You may have limited means in the financial department, but there’s no excuse to let your wardrobe reflect that. It just means you have to get creative and wander off the beaten trail.  Each Thursday I’ll feature a few great little numbers from some unlikely sources with every piece under $50 (and much, much less). This week’s finds are from the Haus of Kmart. Oh and they’re all less than $20 a pop.

shirt dress on sale $18.74

rt. 66 heart ring: $2.99

tunic top: $18.74

jaclyn smith bracelet: $15.00

Do you have any unexpected fashion sources? I’d love to know about them!