All That Glitters Is Gold

And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.

I feel kind of vain using so many photos, serious! But my photographer Laura Seeds did such an amazing job and I couldn’t decide which ones out of these were my favorite so I had to post up at least six of the best.

You know it used to be so hard for me to be in photos. I used to be so camera shy and self conscious. I was always worried about people seeing my European nose or my gummy smile or my double chin. But you know you can’t be scared of everything your whole life. This blog has really made me come out of my shell. Taking so many photos for my lookbook, I feel more confident, I feel happier than I have in so many years, ecstatic even!! I am also starting to get over the huge body issues I’ve had all my life (you would not believe how many times I’ve stayed cooped inside because of my “fat days”) and I can actually begin to classify myself as maybe a little bit sexy.. I hope.

Okay let’s not waver on that!

Here’s the rundown of this Egyptian-inspired outfit:

Bronze Winged NecklaceEbay, $3

Gold-Paneled Bodycon DressASOS, $18 (I had a 15% off coupon code and I also used the aforementioned currency trick)

Black Patent Belt – Target, free with a children’s dress my mother bought for herself. Yes, you heard me.

Gold Cuff – Equip, $5

Pantyhose – Woolworths, $2 (Ah bargain bin, how I love you so!)

Glitter Blocked Ankle Boots – Ice, $15 (+ DIYed to death)

Le grande total: $43!!

And I’m ready to hit the uns uns uns (clubs) with my buds, stepping out of the house while feeling fabulously parsimonious! :D Huzzah!

Free Shipping at Dotti

As above! I adore it when online retailers offer free shipping. To me, this is one of the cornerstones of frugal online shopping–buying only from places which offer free shipping so you’re not just adding additional costs onto the price of your clothes. When you’re as parsimonious as I am, you like to keep your orders small and cheap, so ordering, let’s say a $20 dress with $10 shipping is just paying 50% more for your order! (Which is absolutely ridiculous for me) Free shipping is a perfect accompaniment to good service and I will only ever order from online stores which have both of those.

Another thing you want to look at is whether online retailers will allow you to return the item for free. Posting the item back to the retailer is not a free returns option. A single dress will cost you $10 in postage fees to return, so you’ve instantly lost $10 off the original purchase price! The Iconic is amazing in this regard. Print out a form, stick it on the original packaging, and it goes back to The Iconic and you get your refund, no strings attached. Stores that offer returns to physical stores (there are many of these, but an example would be Dotti and Coles’ Mix Apparel) are also invaluable, and you’ll want to check on the website if they offer this or otherwise be damned sure that you’re going to love what you buy.

As you probably know, ASOS has a pretty good system going too. Whenever I order something from them that doesn’t turn out quite right, I don’t just quietly take it like a sissy and post it off for a refund and lose out on that postage cost! I always have a reason for returning it and I always complain. It’s your God-given right to complain if something you’ve received isn’t right. It seems petty, but usually there’s a pretty good reason that I’m returning something because of how long I spend umming and ahhing over whether I should buy it or not.

In the last two cases that I’ve sent something back, they have delivered me items that were completely different colours than I expected (we’re talking the difference between orange on screen and firetruck red in real life, and golden yellow on screen and taxi orange in real life), so I kicked up a fuss and lamented about it to their sales team, and they offered me a refund on shipping costs as well as the item refund, and in the last case, they also offered me a 15% off coupon for my next purchase (including sale items!). I deserved a full refund for those things because it was their fault, not mine.

With that last note, I want to show you guys what I bought from Dotti!

At the original price of $60, it was a bit of a stretch for me (okay, you caught me, it was a huge stretch for me), but at $20, it’s not bad at all! I picked up the last one in the size 8, too ;)

So I’m curious, frugalistas, have you guys had any troubles with ordering from online stores who don’t follow the above guidelines (not necessarily Dotti)?

Casual Sparkle

I started uni again last Monday. I am so sick of uni already but it mostly has to do with my uninspiring classes with their boring lecturers who drone on and on or otherwise can barely speak any English. I can’t wait to start on my Master’s of Marketing next year instead!

I’m having a lot of fun with the peplum trend. Because of my narrow waist and broad hips and shoulders, I feel that peplums flatter every part of me while working to hide the not-so-good parts. The good news is that whether you’re pear shaped, apple shaped or hourglass shaped like me, you can still rock the peplum. For those who have curves, it will enhance them, and it will create curves for those who have none.

Did you recognize the boots?? I wanted to show off a casual way of wearing these glitter blocked boots, and paired with these sunglasses, they make me feel like a rock star! I went into Ice on Tuesday and they complimented me on my boots before I told them that it was one of theirs! The regional manager was super impressed, photos were taken and names exchanged–I’m kind of hoping my little bit of self-promotion will help me get a job there. Wishful thinking of course.

Here’s the rundown of today’s outfit:

Prada knockoff SunglasseseBay, $2.50 (Sadly they don’t suit me very well so I’m going to give them away to a friend)

Heart Choker – Colette, $3

White Peplum Top – Ice, $15

Cat Mask Ring – Colette, $2

Black Skinny Belt – Jay Jays, 80c

Jeans – Target, $15

Boots – Ice, $15 (plus my DIY tutorial)

Total: $53.30!

As the weather starts to warm, this is the perfect back-to-school outfit that I can wear again and again until Spring.. and the boots are pretty comfortable too, despite the heel!

How are you wearing the peplum trend this Spring and Summer? Shirt, skirt, dress or all of the above?

DIY Neon Satchel

Welcome to How-Tuesdays! Hur hur. Today we’ve taken our inspiration from the Cambridge Satchel Company’s neon line that everybody worth knowing is toting around. Neon is pretty hot right now, and while it’s difficult for me to envisage myself wearing a top or a pair of pants in this uber-saturated tone, I thought there was no harm in experimenting with a few neon accessories to brighten up my look!

In addition to neon, the chevron pattern is also getting hit pretty hard on the runway right now, so what else could I do but combine these two trends into the one DIY? This project is definitely not for beginners and you need a steady hand for this one! (And good tape, dammit)

Step One: Get your bag prepped and cleaned in anticipation for this project. Get rid of all the smudges with a little nail polish remover, but don’t rub the black edges too hard or they will come off–it’s only rubber! I bought mine from eBay for $8 but then they decided to raise the price so you’ll have to pay a little more, but it’s so worth it!

Step Two: Take a photo and fiddle around with it in Photoshop to get the pattern you want. This might not end up as your final design, but it’s good to have an idea in your head about how you want things to look on the final product.

Step Three: Get your tape (make sure it’s good tape, I keep repeating the same mistakes by using this crappy painter’s tape and then the edges lift and I create a mess that takes a while to fix) and stick it on the areas you don’t want to paint. Push it firmly down!

Step Four: Get something hard, thick and flat to lay underneath the flap of the bag so you have something solid to work under. I stuffed this bag full of scarves to make it more solid and used my framed photo of Bruce Willis to support the flap.

Step Five: Get your nail polish and give it a good shake. For this project, I bought a NYC/Ulta3 “Citrus” colour for $2. It’s available at Terry White Pharmacies, generally, and as cheap as chips.

Step Six: Paint the relevant areas. For an even coverage, you’re gonna want two coats. Make sure that the nail polish is completely and utterly dry before taking off the tape or you’re gonna end up with the edges of the painted pattern lifting up and drying like that (like what happened to me!).

When you’re taking the tape off, peel it off in a parallel motion to the direction of the paint. So for example, if your pattern is a vertical line, peel the tape vertically down/up. Nail polish is a bit tricky to work with because it tends to fall off in large chunks, so this will prevent chipping from your pattern. If your pattern has leaked under the tape, get some nail polish remover and wipe from outwards in to the colour. You might end up getting rid of more than you want to, but you can repaint that by hand immediately. If you smudge yellow onto the rest of your bag at this stage, it’s going to take an hour with a Q-tip soaked in nail polish remover before you can get the yellow staining off the parts that are meant to be white. You know, I’m guessing, because I wasn’t silly enough to do this myself. I swear.

Step Seven: If you wanna go this route, you can outline your pattern with a sharpie. Be very extremely careful about this because as I discovered only a billion times while painting this bag, it smudges with the smallest bit of pressure, so keep your hand off the bag while you’re on this step. You can clean it up with nail polish remover if you screw up, but at this stage, it’s going to take a lot more to fix the mistake, so.. try not to!

Step Eight: The sharpie will smudge for an infinity amount of time after you’ve put it down, so after you’ve waited a day or so for the sharpie to dry as much as it possibly can (wishful thinking right there), you’ll need to go over it with clear nail polish. Do this with one stroke per line and clean the brush every time you go down because it’s going to get dirty quick and prone to smudging the rest of your artwork! After you’re done with the lines, you can go over the citrus-coloured areas to smooth out the paint a bit. Clear nail polish is a good way to smooth over the texture of the paint.

Step Nine: And we’re done!

Don’t be fooled by this tutorial, it’s not for the faint-hearted. You’re gonna make a lot of mistakes with it and screw up a million times, but it’s gonna look pretty awesome in the end and you’ll barely be able to see those mistakes unless you’re looking at the bag right in front of your nose. Pair this bag with a few neon-coloured statement pieces and you’ll be styling.

I hope you all had fun with today’s tutorial and that it inspired you to make your own one-of-a-kind neon satchel!

Carbon Copies IV

Whilst engaging in my weekly romp around the shopping centre with my buddy Michael, we spotted something fun in the Dotti window. Or at least I did, anyways. A remake of the Zara embroidered blouse! Except, you know, more expensive. Since counterfeits should always be more expensive. Wait, did I get that right?

I only saw it for what it was because I have had the above blouse on my eBay wishlist for months now, so I was very surprised to see it in stores!

This is how the food chain goes, apparently:

Zara: $30 > Dotti: $50 (??) > eBay: $10

This isn’t the first, or the last time, Dotti has mimicked other popular designs. Don’t get me wrong, God Bless Dotti and all that—I adore them, but come off those silly, silly prices.

If you recognize these blogger-favourite pair of (budget friendly!) floral pants from H&M, you’re not doing too badly in the blogging world at all. Dotti has helpfully come out with their own version as well.

Oh, how coincidentally similar! Except—

Dotti: $60 | H&M: $15

Please explain.

You can get these pants for a reasonable amount, though, from a new favorite shopping ground of mine, Aliexpress! The site is PayPal-less which is a bit of a pain in the butt, but the savings are so worth it.

Get them here for $22!