Finding Luxe for Less

These days, it's all about how fast you can get something delivered or how easily something works or how inexpensively you can find something fabulous. I blame the glorification of busyness but that's a topic for an entirely separate blog post. And while I do my best to say no to things that will crowd my calendar, my closet or my life, I too confess to being too busy sometimes and find myself wanting to run away to an island. Or win the lottery so I never have to work for a paycheck...either one. Getting organized and simplifying life has been a top priority for me this year, as we are "paper pregnant." For those of you who've never heard that term, it means we're adopting and have finished all our paperwork. Yes, we still have education, interviews, a profile book and a home study to get through, and even after that could be waiting many months,  but I'm doing everything I can right now to get my house in order so I'm as prepared as one can be pre-baby (all you moms out there may go ahead and laugh at that statement, I know, "you're never ready..." but I'm talking organizing and finding things for less). So I've signed up for a couple things lately that I hope will make life simple. One is Stitch Fix. I know, you might be shocked at that statement. Why would a stylist need a stylist? (If you've never heard of StitchFix, it's a company that sends you 5 articles of clothing within a specified price range for $20/shipment. You can schedule as often or infrequently as you like and if you purchase items sent to you, the $20 fee is applied to those items.) Well, several reasons. Quite frankly, I'm curious! Everyone loves to receive gifts and I've heard such good things about them, not to mention I've seen some of my friend's picks and they are CAAUUUUTE. Another reason is while I love to style clients and friends in bright, fun colors I tend to stay in my neutral zone and sometimes need a push toward more color. Lastly, I'll admit - I'm scoping them out. I'd LOVE to work for a company like them and was curious to see how they operated, what kinds of labels they'd send and how the stylists interacted with me. I've only received one box so far but I can tell you I'm impressed. Both by what they sent and the level of customer service I've received. My box even included a note from my stylist congratulating me on our adoption! If you are interested in doing this, feel free to use my referral code.

Another is Blue Apron....we've just received our first order and haven't made anything yet but my SIL has been raving about it and we cooked one of her meals while babysitting our nephew. It was AMAZING - all fresh ingredients and very flavorful. And for $60/week for three fab meals, I say, "sign me up!" I'll share my free week code as soon as I get it! A friend of mine is doing EMeals...for $60 a year they send weekly recipes plus a shopping list based on categories you choose like Paleo, Low Carb, Low Calorie, Budget-Friendly, etc. Today I learned about an app called SuperDuper that gives inexpensive matches to designer nailpolishes like Chanel, Tom Ford and Yves Saint Laurent.

A cleaning company is also something I've been thinking about; I've been fanatical lately about cleaning (pretty sure they call that nesting!). I know I won't have the time or energy to really deep clean like I can now once baby arrives, so this would be great to outsource, maybe just once a month. If you know of any good local cleaning companies, please let me know!

So, back to luxe for less, sorry I are a few picks for you that are FABULOUS dupes of the real deal. Because sometimes saving money trumps having that label, am I right?!?!

  1. The Chloe Marcie - every top blogger and instablogger around has this fabulous handbag. And it's no wonder, the stitching detail is gorgeous, the shape is perfect and the tassels make me want to pack a bag and drive to Coachella. But, like I raved about in this post, Sole Society's Dayton studded whipstitched satchel is a very similar style for $64.95.

Chloe Marcie satchel

Chloe marciehtw_angelica_black_white_stripe_dayton_camel_ss259s_pink_multi_blank_nyc_evil_ways_jacket_meant_to_be_jeans_-2_a_6

 Sole Society Dayton Satchel

2. Kate Spade Meow sweatshirt - no longer available in the store, I did manage to find it here. I really don't know why I didn't buy a cute dupe I saw for $17 at H&M but recently found this cute one here on GroopDealz for $16.99. And between Etsy & make your own tee-shirt companies like Café Press, there's really no limit to what you can find or create on your own.

cats meow

Kate Spade Cat's Meow sweatshirt (XXS only)


GroopDealz Meow sweatshirt

3. Fringe necklaces - I've been seeing these beauties pop up all over my Instagram feed, but there is one local designer who does them very well. AND gives back to a great cause because of her story. So if I buy one, I'll be getting one from her. She handcrafts every piece, uses real leather and gorgeous accents on each unique piece. She is featured in several boutiques around the Charlotte area, you can check her site for locations. Below is a pic of "The Madison" of my faves. However, this IS a post about luxe for less, so I did find two similar styles at Forever 21 here and here, and while I'm VERY CERTAIN it won't be anywhere near the caliber of craft of the previous design, it does cost less and works if you just want to try out this trend to see if you like it.

ellison james

4. Aquazzurra lace-up shoes - These shoes have been all the rage since last fall (or was it the previous fall? I can't even remember...) when they were introduced. At any rate, they continue to be popular for spring. I've even seen a hot pink version! However at a steep $695, the Aquazzurra's are a tad too pricy for this girl, so I bought Shopbop's $65 version. Although I've seen them for as low as $25  here and here -  it just depends if you want suede, leather or neither.

aquazurra lace up flatsAquazzurra Lace up flats

Kady Ballet flats

Target Kady Ballet flats


lulus snakeskin flats

Zara Lace up flats


5. The Chloe Faye - a gorgeous crossbody with the stylish circular ring, every "it" girl at NYFW had one. At well over $2,500 I think I'll try the Forever 21 version, at an affordable $24.50.

Chloe Faye

Chloe Faye crossbody

shein bag

Shein chain-ring embellished satchel bag

I'd love to hear from you! What's  your favorite subscription, service or organizational trick that has saved you time or money. Share away in the comments section! Also, let me know if there's a topic you are curious about for an upcoming Friday Five.





Friday Five - Winter Neutral Must Haves

Hey Fashionistas! Winter has FINALLY arrived, even down here in the South, so I've picked out my favorite cold-weather items below. You can't go wrong with winter neutrals; it makes mixing and matching (and getting dressed in the morning!) super-simple. My favorite go-tos are a comfy sweater layered with a plaid shirt, paired with my leopard coat and a fun hat or gloves. This also makes your accessories be the stand out pieces. I'd love to hear what your favorites are in the comments below!Friday Five - Neutal Winter Must Haves


Pink sweater

Relaxfeel grey sweater

Black blouse

Long shirt

Long coat

Free Press 3D Butter Slipper

FRR brown glove

Topshop black glove

Rella red hat

Fleece glove

Red hat

2015 Fall Forecast

Fall 2015 "Must Haves"2015 Fall Forecast

Each Season, new fashions come out. Some are completely new (recycled from the 70s) silhouettes (hello, wide-leg jeans!) and others are just iterations of perennial favorites (black flats with some embellishment). This is sort of a mash-up list of a "Must Have" and what's trending this fall. I'm absolutely LOVING the lace-up flat trend, started by Aquazurra and now being offered at affordable prices for us working stiffs. Another great Fall trend is shirt dresses. They look great with a cardigan, flowy sweater, cargo vest, blazer or denim jacket layered over them. Wear them with heels to the office or ankle booties for weekend errands. And then there is the trenchcoat...behold, the beautiful, hand-crafted, century-old British piece of perfection of the classic Burberry. Remind me to tell you my Burberry story another day. Still too fresh...makes me sad (Cliff Notes: saw one on MEGAsale at the #NSale and passed it by, must've not been fully caffeinated or something). But alas, many good quality copycats are available at normal-people prices. Next, I chose suede over-the-knee boots. Simply because they are fabulous. You could throw on leggings, a long sweater or tunic, and those babies - BAM! Fabulosity achieved. Then there's always date night. Or impress your ex night. Or GNO...these babies go anywhere (except in the rain, do NOT wear suede in the rain, my friends).


2015 Fall Forecast by jengrano featuring black shoes

River Island shirt dress

Plaid poncho

Plaid poncho $63 -

Kate Spade trench coat

Burberry trench coat

Kate Spade outerwear

H&M blue jeans $63 -

Rag & bone black jeans $335 -

Chloé suede boots $1,320 -

Topshop black shoes

Aquazzura flat shoes $690 -


Happy National Watermelon Day! On this very momentous day, I chose to honor one of my favorite summer indulgences with some of my top watermelon fashion picks . Enjoy! #NationalWatermelonDay


Summer top

Black shirt

Maurices shorts

Freya tankini swimsuit top $30 -

Freya swimwear $18 -

Summer shoes

Kate spade handbag

ASOS watch $31 -

Tech accessory

Pottery barn beach towel

Casa Marias red coaster

Watermelon Mojitos