Taste{Full}: November 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Cyber Monday!

  *Most courtesy of The Budget Babe.

    Sunday, November 29, 2009

    Custom Baby Creations

    As we eagerly await the arrival of Tiffany's little one, I started thinking back to the absolutely adorable custom baby gift she gave me back at MY baby shower in July.  You might have noticed from the pictures this adorable creation...

    She unfortunately covered up her name on the front, but how cute is this little custom onesie?  Tiffany purchased it for me from Kimbows, Etc., the creative collection of Kim Winsell Mullins.  Kim offers a complete range of personalized baby and child items that make adorable shower and birthday gifts for everyone in your life!  She currently takes orders through her Facebook page, where you can also click on Photos to see all of her masterpieces.  At only $16 for the little girl onesie, it's a steal for a custom piece that you will want to save forever. For exact prices of any item you see, either message Kim or comment on her wall with the piece you are interested in ordering!  She is very responsive and will get back to you promptly. Here are a few other items from her website that we love:

    However, our current fave is of course this one, just waiting to be worn by Tiffany's little girl!

    Wednesday, November 25, 2009

    Twilight Saga: New Moon → A Delightful Escape

    So I'm no movie critic, but I wanted to post a quick note regarding my due date and how I distracted myself from it. My due date was yesterday, 11/24/09. Apparently my baby isn't a conformist and will come when she's good and ready. I suppose she is quite comfortable in mommy's womb. I always wondered why women even expect to go early or on their due date. Enter real life. Why?! Seriously? Because you feel like you've been pregnant forever. Because you love your baby so much and can't imagine loving her any more, but you haven't even met her. Because while watching your stomach roll and contort is quite fascinating, you have a sneaky suspicion that watching the real thing will be SO much better. Because you pee every 30 to 45 minutes. I'm getting carried away. The point is I am super anxious to meet her and needed something to distract me. That's where Twilight comes in.

    Like others I was skeptical of the books and thought it was just some weird teen thing (I'm aware that makes me sound ancient). Then my best friend sent me the first novel for my birthday. I read it voraciously and immediately read the next three. I loved it! It was so sweet and reminded me of first love. I also loved the original and creative context. Now, a year later it seems anything but original with all the vampire related movies, shows, and books out there--all of which, quite frankly creep me out. But I'm still a die hard fan of the original Stephanie Meyers series.

    The first movie honestly left something to be desired (though there are many who disagree with me). It seemed weird, and creepy, and surprisingly low budget. SNL's hilarious Twilight parody, Firefly, could be the original Twilight movie with all its awkward creepiness. Of course I still watched it twice, so I'm not judging! The second movie is anything but disappointing. While New Moon was my least favorite of all the books (seriously how long can you mope and pine?!), the adaptation to film was perfect. The action, the special effects, and the acting was all better and more polished than in the first movie. At 9 1/2 months pregnant I couldn't even leave the theater to use the restroom (my poor bladder). It was totally riveting, kept my attention, and seriously, I know the brooding and sensitive 109 year old, Edward is supposed to the heartthrob, but have you seen Jacob? I asked my husband to get me a Team Jacob T-shirt but I'm not sure how comfortable he was with that.

    Other random observations: as expected, everyone is way prettier in this movie, especially Bella. Not sure if that's a good or a bad thing but as someone who loves hair, makeup, and styling, I appreciated it. Also, I loved the small role Dakota Fanning--who adds depth to anything she touches, played. Another thing- get ready for lots of bare chested young men. No more comment there. Lastly you can anticipate lots of near kisses. Depending on whose "team" you're on, you may or may not want these kisses to happen so I won't tell you if that desire will be satiated (or not). OK, so I'm rambling; I told you I'm no movie critic. All in all, I say see it! Read it! Enjoy the escape from whatever real life drama is plaguing you-- be it work, relationships, or waiting anxiously to meet your brand new bundle of joy. I guarantee you'll think of nothing but love, romance, Bella, Edward, Jacob, Victoria, and the Volturi for at least 2 delightful hours.

    Monday, November 23, 2009

    Taste{full} Tips: Give Back → Operation Christmas Child

    Operation Christmas Child is an incredibly practical outreach that allows local churches to bless kids in war torn communities. The mission of Operation Christmas Child is "to demonstrate God's love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ."

    It's one thing to SAY "God loves you" to a kid; it's a different story entirely to show them God's love through toys and basic necessities that we may take for granted. While a $150 iPod might be only one of many Christmas gifts to the average kid you may know, these kids often have nothing. To fill a shoebox with toys and necessities can make a world of difference this Christmas.

    One thing I often cringe at is commercials that are intended to guilt us into giving. We don't have to feel guilty for being blessed with spiritual or material wealth. However I believe we do have a responsibility to share that blessing with others. The great part is giving FEELS GOOD! There are some schools of thought that it's 'bad' to give to feel good (I hope that sentence makes sense!). But I don't agree. I think it's okay, actually more than okay, I think it's right to feel good about making a kid smile, helping the helpless, or defending the defenseless. We do what makes us feel good. And I just had an absolute blast buying random girly presents for a total stranger. I imagined her eyes lighting up as she put on her sparkly barrettes. I imagined her sharing a game of travel checkers with her best friend. It felt really good! And I can't wait to do it again next year.

    So go grab a shoebox and fill it with goodies! I spent less than $30 on tons of fun stuff I would have loved getting when I was a little girl. $30 isn't going to break me, but it is going to make a kid's day. It's really easy and although the collection week ended today (I'm a terrible procrastinator!), you can mail your shoe box year round to a central location. Check out this link for more details such as what to include in a box, how to donate cash rather than sending a box, and where to mail your box. See the video below to see the look on the kids' faces when they open their shoe boxes and the impact its made to the community. Now that is priceless.

    It's Almost Here... THE Biggest Shopping Day of the Year!

    Our countdown has begun!  We're only FOUR days away from Black Friday.... basically the craziest shopping day of the year.  For years I personally blew the day off as a nuisance... all those extra shoppers, crazy early bird deals, packed parking lots.  No thank you!  However, last year I really got into the spirit, and my sister and I hit the stores running at about 5 AM.  To my surprise, I had a blast and actually did score some great deals!  So this year I'm even more excited and aiming to be as organized as possible, to maximize my time AND cash.  I plan to be all done by noon... and most likely exhausted as well.  Here are three things I'll be sure to have with me:

    First of all, Starbucks.  I probably don't have to explain that one.  Second, my Shopping List on my phone. (And no, mine won't be for cheesecake as shown above.)  Whether you have a Droid like me, or the iPhone, or any other kind of phone, I guarantee you there's a free shopping app out there for you to download and use to organize your list.  Can't find one?  Try good old pen & paper.  Being organized and knowing exactly what you're after will help you avoid buyer's remorse later on over that impulse early-bird purchase.  Third, CASH.  That way I can budget for exactly what I'm going after.  (Ok, and maybe allow a little for some unexpected bargains.)  But having actual bills in my hand to spend will allow me to stay within my means and not go overboard in the excitement of the day!

    Want to get a plan of attack for Friday morning?  Take a sneak peek at a TON of leaked Black Friday ads on www.blackfriday.info.  This site can be very useful in determining where the best deals are, what times the stores open, and how you should plan out your route for the morning.

    Look for some highlights later this week of some of the fabulous finds available on Friday!

    Saturday, November 21, 2009

    Deal Alert!

    American Apparel
    30 percent off of all hosiery and socks online or
    buy two and get one of equal or lesser price for free when you shop in store.
    Now through November 25th. Coupon Code SOCKDEAL

    Ann Taylor or LOFT store
    30% off your entire purchase plus free shipping if you spend  $100 or more
    Now through November 22, 2009
    In store with coupon or coupon code FRIENDS09

    Banana Republic
    30% off all outerwear; free shipping over $50
    Now through November 22nd

    Private Sale up to 40% off
    One week only (Began November 19th)

    Now through Sunday, November 22nd.
    $25 off of $75 or $10 off of $30
    Coupon code 4380 (or print coupon for in store savings)

    25% off of regularly priced merchandise
    Now through November 22nd
    Coupon code GIFT123

    25% off of sale merchandise
    Now through November 24th
    Coupon code GAPSALE25

    20% off all outerwear in select H&M markets!
    Now through 29th
    *Offer and valid dates may vary by market. Please check with your local H&M

    Save 20% off sitewide
    Now through November 21st. Coupon code SHOPEARLY

    New York & Company
    Now through Sunday, November 22nd.
    30% off with coupon in stores and online (coupon code1745)

    Old Navy
    15% off $75 or 25% off $100
    Now through November 24th
    Coupon code ONSAVE15

    20% off ($100 minimum)online only
    Now through November 24th
    Coupon Code ONSAVE20

    New Markdowns up to 70%

    Victoria’s Secret
    Free lacie cupcake panty with a $30 purchase
    In store only now through November 24th while supplies last

    Friday, November 20, 2009

    Taste{full} Tips: What To Wear To A Holiday Party - The Red Sweater!

    Liquid leggings are fabulous on celebrities and some of my tall model-esque friends (read: Tiff), but since they'll not be gracing THIS body anytime soon, I'm going to cling passionately to my red Christmas sweater!  This year I'll bust out of my classic v-neck rut and try one of these fancy red confections, sure to reflect both the cheer of the season AND my good taste!

    Of course Anthropologie will always have plenty of options to tempt me....

    (Left to Right)  $98.00, $118.00, $98.00
    However, my budget's currently not very Anthropologie-friendly, so here are some steals $40 and under!

    (Left to right)  New York & Co. Ruffled Sweater, $39.50 (BOGO 1/2 off!*), Mossimo Black Ultrasoft Boyfriend Cardigan, $22.99, Forever 21 Cable Trim Sweater, $32.00
    And what goes better with a fabulous red sweater than a fabulous red lip?  Two flatters-any-skin-tone steals are N.Y.C. New York Color Ultra Lush Lip Wear in Red Flame at only $2 at your local Target, and Avon Perfect Wear Plump & Stay Lipcolor in Forever Wine, only $9 at Avon.com!  (Currently the lipcolor is buy one get one for $2.99 on select products!)

    *Every sweater and select tops & bottoms at New York & Co. are Buy One Get One 1/2 off... combine that with their current promo of at least $25 off of a $75 purchase (promo code 1650), and you could get 2 holiday outfits (2 cardis + 2 tanks) for only about $50!

    Thursday, November 19, 2009

    Taste{full} Tips: What to Wear to a Holiday Party

    From now until Christmas the Taste{full} ladies will be posting various "What to Wear to a Holiday Party" options in every budget. It can be torture deciding what to wear to a holiday party, but have no fear; we're here to help. ☺

    For the first installment, I found a perfect alternative to the generic 'shiny shirt with black pants' combo. This GUESS "Phoebe" Vest is the ideal piece to make your holiday party ensemble pop. The longer length is flattering on most everyone while the metallic snakeskin design makes it a little dressier than your typical fare. You can wear this adorable vest with skinny dark denim jeans, tuxedo pants, or if you're really daring, liquid leggings (I'm still not over that trend...). Seriously whatever you pair it with, you can't go wrong. Totally cute and much more original than a red sweater. ;)

    Wednesday, November 18, 2009

    Deal Alert- Last Day!

    "Join the in crowd. Today is the last day to save 20 percent off of online orders of $150 and up at J. Crew when you enter the code INSIDER at checkout. With plenty of chic sequins, ravishing ruffles, and smart silk in store, you won't want to miss out."

    (Courtesy of Popsugar Daily)

    Stella For Trendy Tots

    How many of us would just LOVE to buy some designer Stella McCartney pieces?  Well, since that isn't probably happening anytime soon for most of us, here's a close second... her super cute and trendy new line for GapKids!  Definitely still on the pricey side, but like most Gap items you just KNOW they'll end up on clearance eventually!  If you have a trendy tike of your own, keep your eye on this stylish line.  And, if you're on the smaller side, check out the girls fashions in XL... you just might be able to squeeze into this stylish designer line for a fraction of the cost of an original Stella design!  Here's some of my favorites that I'm praying are still around for the after-Christmas sales:

    And, while you unfortunately CAN'T use it for any of the Stella McCartney line, for a limited time you can take 25% off your total purchase of any regular priced items at Gap.com using the coupon code GIFT123!

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Give Thanks in Style...

    I'm a big fan of copying. Perhaps I shouldn't admit it but I actually find satisfaction in finding cool ideas online and then emulating them...especially when I can add my own creative twist and create the same look for much less cash! So be inspired by these creative Thanksgiving Tablescapes.

    The HWTM blog brings this colorful creation from the Real Simple site. What a festive centerpiece!

    Better Homes and Gardens has many great ideas, including this DIY option. This would be fairly easy to re-create using real or faux leaves, ribbon, and mini pumpkins and gourds.

    BridalBlooms4u has many Thanksgiving and Christmas tablescapes to admire. This simple design has lasting impact!

    Check out Martha Stewart's site for 49 amazing Thanksgiving Tablescape and Decor ideas, including this one. The great thing about her site is the step by step instructions on recreating her masterpieces.

    Pottery Barn is always a great resource for holiday decor. These leaf plates make the entire ensemble pop and can be used throughout the fall. I love the added detail of the leaf or acorn place cards.

    Another Martha Stewart creation; this one a bit more modern.

    I think this may just be my favorite creation of all...brought to you from another design favorite, Country Living. Their slideshow includes 30 other amazing ideas.

    Regardless of what your Thanksgiving Table looks like, may you have a blessed Thanksgiving filled with family, friends, and lots to be thankful for!
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