Tag Archives: budget-friendly

Off the registry.

23 Jul

I’m that guest. I rarely purchase shower or wedding gifts off of the couples’/parents’ registry. I always like to find something more unique and personal. This is especially true when I know the person/couple well.

Baby and wedding season are in full swing. I have several friends that have recently had babies or are expecting. Not to mention a few upcoming weddings and showers. So not only am I on the hunt for unique gifts but I’m also trying to find some cost-effective options as well.

Since I go off the registry, I feel added pressure to make the gifts really special (to justify my defiance). When it comes to babies, you just can’t go wrong the personalized/keepsake items. When I had Myles I had all sorts of grandiose plans about how I would memorialize and commemorate his birth and subsequent milestones. Not surprisingly, none of it got done. So now I like to give something to new parents that has the key birth stats.

Recently, I’ve come across some great finds on Etsy. The customization options are endless and I think this is the type of gift “that keeps on giving.” These prints can be used for years. In fact, I ordered some for Myles as well!

I love just about everything at Etsy Shop, Mateo & Tobias.

But I settled on these two adorable prints.

Personalized Alphabet ABC Wall Art via Mateo & Tobias

Each print is $16 (frame not included). I will explore custom framing options but worse case I should be able to find something at Michael’s or even Ikea.

Opaque Name Modern Birth Announcement via Mateo & Tobias

Another cute birth announcement type gift is this pillow. These run about $50 each. Not terribly expensive but I have no less than 5 shower/baby gifts to buy and I just don’t have $250+ to spend.

The colors are so vibrant and the backside can be made with a fun print like, Chevron!

Birth Announcement Pillow from ThreelilStitches

I’m also loving these customizable onsies. I think all moms are obsessed with clothing that has their baby’s name on it (or is that just me). These simple white onsies have a great pop of color and would be perfect for pictures! And how cute would it be framed?

Personalized Onesie via SundayRookery

For bridal showers I really like to get something personal for the bride. This is my new favorite and as I bride-to-be I certainly wouldn’t mind getting one of these for myself!

available at Nordstrom and katespade.com for $78

Not only do I stray from the registry but I’m notoriously bad at getting wedding presents prior to the wedding, although etiquette says you have up to 6 months after the wedding to send the gift. But after the wedding the registry is usually  slim pickings so I’m forced to go rogue. I have a few tried and true items from Crate & Barrel but new to my arsenal are these Mr. & Mrs. pillows.

$49 from Pillows4Fun on Etsy

There is nothing like having your first child or getting married to bring out your most sentimental side. My hope is that these gifts add something to those sentiments.

Save or Splurge: kids’ table & chairs

15 Jul

The time has come to reclaim our family room and create a designated space for Myles to play and keep all of his toys. Part of my vision for his “play corner” is a table/chair set where he can eat, color, play, etc. While it needs to be toddler friendly, I want it to function well in the space and not scream “kiddie table.”

I regularly peruse the Buy Modern Baby blog for inspiration. She posted some very cute options but at this time I’m looking for pieces that are a little more budget friendly. But I absolutely love these oversized number tables. They would be a cute addition to any playroom. These Tambino tables retail for $185. The oversize number 2 is my favorite!

via Tambino.com


I found these adorable table & chairs at the Land of Nod. The table is $149 and the chairs are $69 each. I love the bright, fun colors of the chairs paired with a white table. Great contrast!

White Here, White There, Anywhere Table @ Land of Nod


White Parker Play Chair @ Land of Nod


I found a nearly identical set at IKEA. The SUNDVIK table and chairs are $39.99 and $19,99, respectively. Unfortunately, this set does not have has many bright color options. It comes in white, espresso and grey/brown. However, any toddler chair could be paired with this table to add color and I’m sure the chairs could even be painted.

SUNDVIK children’s table

SUNDVIK children’s chair

Watch for the play corner reveal to see if I decided to save or splurge!

Wedding Details: budget friendly favors

4 Jul

6:45 a.m. I waited in this insanely long line. 5 hours and 2 stores later, I had the goods. My goal is to create a “shoe valet” with creatively displayed flip-flops available for guests. A friend did this at her wedding and I thought it was such a thoughtful and fun touch!

via Love Is All You Need

Score! 35 pairs of flip-flops

line in front of Old Navy at 6:45am!

I battled the crowds at the Old Navy One Day Wonder $1 Flip Flop sale. It was madness. I had no idea so many people got so hype about flip-flops. There was a limit of 5 per customer so I had to get creative. I dispatched my mom and aunt to Old Navy stores in their city and I headed out on my own at 6:30am. I recruited a group of 14 year olds that were only getting a couple of pairs each to help me max out the limit. I got all that could from the first store, picked up my family and headed to store number 2.

But for needing 50 pairs, I never would have endured these shenanigans for the 5 pair limit, I’d rather just pay full price and avoid waiting in line for over an hour.

Up next I need to add a decorative label and figure out how to display them. More importantly, I have to figure out the best way to transport them all the way to Mexico.

After all this drama I better see a packed dance floor full of flop-flop clad guests! This is any easy to do and affordable favor that I hope my guests will use again.

Your Monthly Gift

19 Jun

Not that one. This is something you can actually look forward to! I’m talking about Birch Box. In some ways I’m a beauty product junky, I really like to buy new things. But I’m also a brand loyalist, so I don’t necessarily try the new things I purchase. So I would end up buying new products (not using them) and still buying the products I love, not exactly cost effective. Enter Birch Box – I get 5 new trial-size products each month without too much of an investment. I can try something new without having to sacrifice buying what I love.

Here’s how it works:

  • you pay $10 per month
  • around the 12th of each month you receive a box with 5 sample size products (sometimes you get deluxe size or even full size nail polishes)
  • when signing up you complete a profile and get products based on your preferences
  • you can (but you certainly don’t have to) buy the full size products. Plus, with each full size purchase you earn points (points = cash towards products)
My review:
  • I genuinely look forward to receiving my box each month
  • I’d rather spend $10/month on this instead of Netflix. $10 per month can definitely add up but for me it’s still a negligible amount that I can justify with 2 fewer trips to Starbucks
  • You get some hits and misses with the products. Some of the items are random and personally, I don’t like it when they include food items like a Kind Bar or vitamin C drink mix. Overall, there are way more hits. Some of my favorites have included the Zoya and Essie nail polishes, BeneTint by Benefit, Sugar lip balms and Philosophy face products
  • Sometimes the boxes are themed or feature a certain designer. May featured a Gossip Girl inspired box and a few months ago the box was Cynthia Rowland’s favorite things.
  • I’ve been subscribing for about a year and will continue. It’s a fun treat just for me!

May Birch Box – Gossip Girl inspired

June Birch Box – travel theme

This was a rare morning that I got to sleep in until 8am and enjoy watching a little bit of the Today Show! Such a treat! During the Today’s Beauty segment they featured Birch Box so I thought why not throw in my two cents as well.

Do you have a monthly splurge?

Save v. Splurge: toddler (water-friendly) shoes

18 Jun

We could build a castle with all the sand Myles tracks home everyday. I’m amazed that there is any left at the playground. Moreover, even on the warmest, driest days, he manages to find some water and create a sticky/muddy/sandy paste. This mess is always caked on his shoes. So for the summer, I set out on finding something that was more protective and easier to run in than flip-flops but that I could still rinse off daily. And they absolutely could not be Crocs (despite my aversion to Crocs, the entire family actually has a pair but I still hate them).

I obsessively get Myles’ feet measured because I once went about 10 weeks in between and his foot grew 2 sizes. I he never once complained about his two-sizes-too-small shoes and I still feel guilty about it. Anyway, during our May trip to Brooks Shoes for Kids I saw these Native Jefferson shoes but was very hesitant to spend $35.99 on plastic shoes. However, they do come in some fun and bright colors!

A couple of weeks later I was in the Gap and saw these perforated slip-ons on sale for $12! I got them in red (see Happy Birthday Myles photo). He is obsessed with his “wawer (water) shoes” and wears them all the time. They usually retail for $19.95 so you’re still saving over the Jefferson shoes (and Crocs) and getting the same functionality. Plus, in my opinion, these are stylish, fun and look adorable with shorts!


It’s worth mentioning that the Native Jefferson shoes can be found cheaper, depending on the retailer. They’re currently on sale at Zappos.com for $26.99.

Once again, the budget buy wins out!

Save or Splurge: boat shoes

10 Jun

I love fashion but at my core, I’m really a jeans and t-shirt kinda girl. More often than not, my weekend style consists of skinny jeans and a tee. But I love to style up my basic look with fun accessories and shoes! Chasing a 22 month old means my shoes need to be practical but also cute!

Boat shoes have become super popular (at least here in So Cal) and I’ve had my eye on a pair by Sperry in a pretty rose gold hue. I’ve been hesitant to pull the trigger because although they’re cute, to me they epitomize “mom shoes” (which would only enhance the cheesiness of my “mom backpack” full of animal crackers, juice boxes, first aid kit, etc.But this is the reality of having a toddler =). But the shoes are also $90. With our wedding quickly approaching, I have to be more money conscientious than ever.

Enter this alternative…

Image The Merona Makaila Women Casual Flat for $24.99 at Target

This is a nice, affordable alternative to the Sperry Women’s Authentic Original Metallic Boat Shoe


The budget-friendly Target version was a great find! They are comfortable and go with just about everything. Plus, you can’t beat the price! I’m pleased with the decision here to SAVE!