Fashion Mama Aquarius

Fashion and Lifestyle Blog

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

No Spend Challenge: April Update



Sorry Friends, I know that this update comes a bit late as we are already into May but I guess I have been avoiding sitting down to write about April. The truth is that every month I feel like I am doing worse and worse at not spending money, that is to say I think I am failing the challenge.

I went into this knowing that the spring/summer season would be a tough one for me, what with all the beautiful new sun dresses, sandals, hats, shorts, you name it, but I have definitely been more tempted than I thought I would be. The trouble seems to be that I have a hard time distinguishing between wants and needs (although deep down I know which is which) I don't like to live without things and although I think that I have done well with not over-buying in areas like cosmetics, skincare and clothing for myself, I am always on the hunt for the next item to buy.

I was recently at the outlets looking for some shoes for my daughter who is going to be starting school in September and I decided that I would buy myself some sun dresses from Old Navy (because they were nice, because they were 30% off, because I wanted something new to wear, because it was Mother's day and I deserve it dammit.) So I picked out two that I liked and bought them without even trying them on (this tells me that it was a purchase out of desperation for something new not necessarily for these particular dresses) and even though I spent less than $75 for them I felt an immense amount of guilt at spending that money. This is the worst part for me is that I want nothing more than to be a consumer and consume to my heart's content but the second the purchase is made I start to worry about having enough money for other things that will come up in the month and I feel guilty for having "given in" to my cravings.

Another thing that is throwing me off on my goal is that I recently started my own home daycare business rather than returning to my job so that I can be home with my own kids and also earn a second income for our family, this requires me to spend more money each week on groceries, craft supplies and items for the business. (These things I will be able to write off when I do my taxes next year but I have to spend all the money upfront in the meantime.

This past month we had a lucky and interesting thing happen to us, we managed to completely pay off all of our outstanding consumer debts, this means that the only debt we currently owe is the mortgage on our house. This is an amazing feeling and it definitely lifts a huge burden off of our shoulders and frees up more cash each month for all the other bills and expenses we have but it also means that we also want to buy everything under the sun and I worry that it will lead to more debt. I know that we need to be vigilant, to seize this opportunity to put more money into savings, investments and retirement. That we need to save up for big ticket items that we want such as a new bed, a water filtration system, and new car tires. That we can't be seduced by the credit that we have and spend it because it's there or because we get points for using it.

For the month of May, I am going to try to go back to the distractions I was using in the beginning of this challenge, focusing on cleaning my house, selling the stuff I already own but don't use, spending time and money on experiences with my family rather than more stuff, and focusing on my health.

Thanks for reading and also thank you for understanding that I have been so extremely busy with my new occupation that I have not had much time or inspiration for my blog but I am hoping that as I become accustomed to the new pace and routines that I will find a balance that includes more regular blogging because I really do love it!
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Monday, April 25, 2016

How To Style: Pastels

How To Style: Pastels

360 Sweater short sleeve shirt
275 CAD - question-air.com

RED Valentino skirt
430 CAD - harrods.com

J Crew pointed toe flat
460 CAD - lanecrawford.com

Prada leather tote
2,660 CAD - bergdorfgoodman.com

19Fifth rose ring
440 CAD - intermixonline.com

Sydney Evan gold stud earrings
475 CAD - sydneyevan.com

Kate spade watch
265 CAD - bloomingdales.com

Kenneth Jay Lane choker necklace
165 CAD - harveynichols.com

Oliver Peoples sunglasses
620 CAD - forwardbyelysewalker.com

LifeProof tech accessory
130 CAD - selfridges.com

RHYTHM brown hat
48 CAD - lulus.com

Pom pom key chain
11 CAD - windsorstore.com

Urban Decay cheek bronzer
37 CAD - selfridges.com

Lipstick
7.60 CAD - nyxcosmetics.com

Eyeshadow
kikocosmetics.com

Essie nail polish
17 CAD - thehut.com

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Friday, April 8, 2016

How to Style Your Playsuit

How to Style Your Playsuit

Zimmermann romper jumpsuit
260 CAD - stylebop.com

Aldo boots
78 CAD - aldoshoes.com

Leather backpack
53 CAD - yoins.com

Wood earrings
235 CAD - moreislove.com

Majique bangle bracelet
37 CAD - rosmari-jewellery.co.uk

Topshop ring
14 CAD - topshop.com

Eric Javits fishing hat
255 CAD - nordstrom.com

Westward Leaning mirror sunglasses
355 CAD - net-a-porter.com

Cheek bronzer
65 CAD - toofaced.com

Mac cosmetic
22 CAD - belk.com

COOLA Suncare sun care
47 CAD - swimspot.com

Josie Maran sun care
42 CAD - sephora.com

Jin Soon nail polish
23 CAD - barneys.com

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Festival Fashion: Are You Ready?



Whether you like Rock or Rap, Jazz or Blues, Electronica or Pop - there's something all we music-lovers have in common; we all love a good outdoor music festival once the weather turns warm. But there's another reason to attend the likes of Coachella (Indio, CA), Lollapalooza (Chicago, IL), Osheaga (Montreal, QC) or BluesFest (Ottawa, ON); the Festival Fashion of course!

How you dress for these festivals is not only fun but also very important. If you want to be spotted as an experienced Festival Fashionista, you'll want  to rock a trend or two but also express your own unique sense of style in order to stand out from the crowd of well-dressed music-lovers.

Bottoms: The first staple (IMHO) will be shorts. I say shorts rather than a dress or skirt because shorts are more versatile for an event that you will be at all day/night (possibly drinking) and sitting on the ground in a skirt or falling over in a dress is not always a good look. Shorts can come in many forms; high waisted, cropped, skort, palazzo, shortalls or bermuda, the possibilities are endless. Choose one that is comfortable and flatters your body type.

Tops: For tops, I recommend layering based on the temperatures for that day; if it's going to be hot as balls, you'll want to rock a bandeau, thin tank and maybe a light cropped tee or flowy blouse (for fabrics think cotton, nylon, chiffon - breathability is key). If you live in a city where the weather can be cool at night, make sure to bring a top layer that is packable, but will keep you warm after dark (I love my packable rain coat by Lululemon, a denim jacket or thin knit sweater or cardigan would also do the trick).

Playsuits: This is a nice alternative to a dress and it means you'll be comfortable all day long. One thing to consider though is that you will likely have to take the whole thing down when you need to pee (this can happen often if you're having some happy drinks all day).

Shoes: Footwear is probably the most important consideration when putting together your festival wardrobe, you will likely be doing a lot of standing and walking so you will want to choose something that you will be able to wear comfortably all day and night. Also, you may want to skip the heel for this one since most festivals take place in some sort of field which means your heels will be sinking into the ground the whole time (you don't have time for that!) If you still want some height opt for a "flatform" or wedge sandal instead. Another consideration is to wear boots or trainers because toes can get trampled so it's a nice option, especially if you forgot to get a pedicure!

My pick for comfortable, stylish festival footwear this year would be the Native shoe brand (think if your Toms and your Crocs had a baby, that's a Native shoe) they are made with dual density EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate), they are PETA -approved vegan, they fit true-to-size (I would say this is more-or-less accurate although I ordered two different models in the same size and one pair fit better than the other), most of their shoes are unisex, they are super lightweight, are odor resistant (a big plus for me, TMI ALERT my feet tend to sweat when I don't wear socks and thus I end up with smelly shoes, gross), they are hand-washable and shock absorbent. Check out the Venice, Verona, and Howard designs, they are my favs!

Hats: This is an accessory that has really gained in popularity over the years and I think it's definitely a necessity for an outdoor festival because it protects your head from the sun (many hats are available with UV protection) and if it rains your hair and face will be partially protected (if rain is forecasted you may want to pack a small umbrella). There are so many flattering hat styles; fedora, floppy, bowler, cowboy/girl, Panama, visor, baseball cap etc. pick one and pack it!

Sunnies: This is another essential item for a day out in the sun; eyewear is dual purpose - stylish and protective (I even get mine in my prescription so I can see without contacts). The styles of sunglasses are endless so choose something that will flatter your face shape and your outfit too. You may want to get one really expensive, classic pair in a neutral color that will go with every look you wear or if you like to play around with different styles you can opt for the less expensive and buy more pairs.


Sunscreen: 
This is SUPER important, I'll admit that I have definitely been guilty of sun damage in the past (because I am too lazy to faux tan and I always think nothing beats the real thing) but I am starting to notice some fine lines and that slapped some sense right into me! Find a formula that is easy to apply, non-greasy and sweat-proof; I found a few new ones I want to try Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion with SPF 50 and this Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer with SPF 47.

Makeup: I'm sure this is a no-brainer but you'll want to make your makeup last. Go for waterproof and sweatproof so you look hot until the final set. Using a makeup primer is a good way to ensure your makeup will stay put, try to use a foundation and concealer that are long-wearing (10-12 hours plus). If you are contouring, opt for a cream product versus a powder as it will last longer on the skin. Don't forget to use a setting powder for your concealer, this helps it to stay put and avoids any creasing! Use an eyelid primer (such as MAC paint pots or Urban Decay) this will help your eyeshadow to last longer and will keep it from getting oily if you sweat. For brows, I would use pencil or pomade instead of powder in case of rain (you don't want your brows bleeding down your face). To add some glitz to your look you can use a glitter glue and loose glitter on top of your eyelid, another must is to highlight those cheekbones and you can even add some little gem stones or flash tattoos to your face if you like to stand out.

Hair: I would opt to keep hair simple, wearing it down with some beachy waves is the epitome of festival style IMO but having it tied up in a bun or ponytail is probably going to be more comfortable if it's scorching hot outside so do what feels best for you. Check out these tutorials by Alexandra Garza and Helen Torsgarden.

There are heaps of outfit inspiration to be found on Pinterest so if you are stumped for ideas on what to wear this year check out Pinterest, You Tube, Polyvore and Instagram. I will be posting outfit sets from my POlyvore account in the next few weeks and plan to have a few outfit photos of my own going up soon (it's currently still snowy in Ottawa so I think I may wait until winter decides to eff off...)

Until next time!


Erin


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Thursday, March 31, 2016

How To Style Wide Leg Trousers

How To Style Wide Leg Trousers


Needle Thread pink shirt
205 CAD - liberty.co.uk


Piazza Sempione wide-leg pants
355 CAD - stylebop.com


Rebecca Minkoff heeled sandals
355 CAD - nordstrom.com


Kate Spade crossbody handbag
320 CAD - nordstrom.com


Chan Luu bracelet
saksfifthavenue.com


CZ by Kenneth Jay Lane clip earrings
390 CAD - lanecrawford.com


Oliver Peoples sunglasses
635 CAD - forwardbyelysewalker.com


Floppy hat
130 CAD - simons.ca


Bobbi brown cosmetic
60 CAD - belk.com


Bobbi brown cosmetic
44 CAD - mecca.com.au


Bobbi brown cosmetic
23 CAD - mobile.harrods.com

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Shop Smart: Tips To Keep You Out Of Debt

Here's The Dilema


Well, I've said it before, and I'll say it again; I love to shop. Many of us do but I'm starting to learn that just because you CAN shop, doesn't mean you SHOULD shop, and that just because you HAVE a credit card, doesn't mean you MUST use it EVERY TIME you see something you want. (I know, that's a lot of CAPS but I really wanted to get my point across!)

I think the main problem we all face (shopaholics) is that we want to be happy and we associate happiness with having new things, when we see the things that other people have, well dammit, we want to have them too (typical coveting mindset). As much as I love social media platforms, they are evil for anyone trying to stop spending money (trust me, I know. Check out my "No-Spend Challenge" article.) particularly Instagram and YouTube because the fashion and beauty bloggers (love you girls!) have the amazing ability to make you want all the products that they buy and are reviewing. This is not a bad thing because they help us get more information before we make the commitment to purchase, however, those of us with impulse spending problems usually just want to hop online and buy it all (thanks a lot Amazon!).

So What's A Girl/Guy To Do?


I am certainly not suggesting that everyone should stop spending money on the things they want, cut up their credit cards and sell all their earthly possessions, no no that would be waaaay too extreme. I am only here to give some tips on how to get the things you want without the woes of credit card debt.

1. Shop like a Parisian: I have read several articles that mention some of the savviest shoppers hail from the city of love. They tend to stay away from the trendy, cheap fast-fashion and instead opt to save up (yes, just like our ancestors used to do before Visa, Mastercard and AMEX were a staple in our wallets) for high quality pieces (think: Balmain leather jacket, Chanel handbag, Louboutin Heels) that will be worn again and again and will stand the test of time in terms of their quality (see my post on "luxury fashion"). This may be difficult for those of us in North America because we like quantity over quality oftentimes and we usually prefer instant gratification its delayed counterpart.

2. Create A Pinterest Board: Each new season (or semi-annually) make a board dedicated to the looks that you want to adopt and the make a list of the items you already have and those that you need to purchase. Decide which items should be inexpensive (trendy items such as accessories should be from this category as they will only be "in" for a few seasons and then it will be something else so don't waste a lot of money here). The "classic: pieces like denim, jackets, t-shirts, sweaters and footwear (unless it's a "shoe-trend") should be of higher quality so you can get lot's of wear out of them, they won't fall apart on you, you will be comfortable in them and they are usually under warranty against defects.

3. Borrow From Peter To Pay Paul: I think that's how the saying goes, but in this case I mean sell some of the stuff you already own but don't wear in order to pay for new things that you will wear. There's no sense in hanging on to old clothing, shoes and accessories that just aren't your style anymore, so why not post them on a site like Kijiji, Craig's List, Ebay or Varage Sale and get at least some of your money back and you don't have to feel so guilty about your new purchases.

4. Buy Used: Some people may now be shuddering at the thought of buying something used but hear me out first! There are many ways to save a bit of cash on the things you buy and one of them is buying used. There are so many websites out now that are dedicated to selling gently used, high quality items such as handbags, shoes, jackets, sunglasses, you name it really. (Obviously I wouldn't recommend buying undergarments secondhand but you get the idea) These items are by no means "cheap" however they are the "top shelf" brands you crave, at a reduced price. The only caveat to this being that the items may be from "last season" but if you are ok with being slightly "behind the times", you can have a really nice wardrobe for a fraction of the cost of new.

If you simply cannot fathom the thought of buying your wardrobe used or not having the latest new arrivals on Net-A-Porter, then maybe consider buying other necessary items used such as furniture, home decor items, appliances and vehicles; this will leave you more money for that expensive, current wardrobe you crave!

5. Plan Ahead And Treat Yourself: Have you ever noticed that a lot of fashion articles and brand websites tout each new arrival as a "Must-Have Item"? Most of us (the ones with self-control issues) almost always believe this and buy into the hype (I'm a victim) but is it really a must-have? No, of course it's not, but even the mere suggestion that it is, is sometimes enough to send us into a buying frenzy,. So try as best you can to abstain from these impulse buys and instead plan your next fashion moves carefully, you'll be glad that you did! I do think that it is important to treat yourself to the things that you really, truly desire, and if you've been good and saved up for that Chanel bag, treasure it and give yourself a big pat on the back, you've definitely earned it!

To Sum It Up


Spending habits are tough to change, hell I've been trying to save and control my spending since I was about 18 and now at 32 I finally feel like I'm starting to get a hold on it. (at least I tell myself that I am). If there's one take away I want people to get from this article it is this; no amount of stuff will make you happy (at least not for long) but that doesn't mean you don't still need some stuff. On the other hand, no amount of stuff is worth being in debt for and sooner or later, you will need to start saving for your golden years so why not start sooner rather than later and make them a little bit more sunny? (think California, Florida, Arizona, or maybe if I'm lucky Whitehaven Beach, Australia!)

Sincerely

Erin
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