Sorority Recruitment Style Reenactment

I’m channeling back to the sorority days at USC with this ensemble. Back in college, I basically lived in everything pink and green and given that recruitment is getting started on campuses across the country, it only seems fitting.

These adorable Lilly shorts were purchased on clearance and Belk for just $42. Labor Day is always a great opportunity to score summer styles at steep discounted rates, so start stashing that spending money aside now.

The top was a Charming Charlie Spring item that I was able to pick up in July for just $10. Both the necklace and bag were also #CCstyle finds. The bag is the perfect size to carry around your life and never seems to get dirty despite the white color.

I decided to play down the style with a pair of white Keds, but the outfit could be a tad more formal with a nice pair of sandals or white wedges.

Major retailers are in the midst of summer markdowns but if you’re patient, they’ll only get better in the coming weeks. A bunch of states also offered Tax Free shopping this past weekend, but there are still a few coming down the pipeline like Connecticut and Maryland. Maybe it’s worth making the trip;)shortsPicshorts

My Best Friend’s Indian Wedding

Ten years ago I moved in with a complete stranger – one with a name I wasn’t even certain how to pronounce.  We knew nothing about each other and only talked once before setting out with our families to find a place to live.  We settled in a borderline ghetto apartment off the campus of the University of South Carolina – right up the street from a homeless center (whose residents we would one day meet at our door).  If our surroundings weren’t going to take us out, our lack-of-homemaking skills were certainly enough to leave our families fearing for our survival.  But somehow, like all college students, we learned to live.

The moments after our parents pulled away, the very first few we had alone, set the stage for what turned out to be an unbreakable bond.  We had a super small box TV with limited reception.  The only thing on was a Richard Simmons exercise video.  So we did what any strangers would do – we looked at each other, got up, and starting sweating with the oldies.  From there the rest was history.  Barkha became the little sister I never had, though all too often, she was so much wiser than I.

We used to talk about the weddings we would one day have.  As a first generation here is the states, her plan was to return to her parents’ homeland of India when that day came.  But, time changes everything.  A few years back, she met an amazing Indian man with a huge personality and name that could not be more fitting for a person who always seems to have a smile on his face – Sunny.

Instead of making the trip to India for their nuptials, Barkha and Sunny brought their traditions, celebrations and family to Florence, South Carolina, for an unbelievable three-day, 5-outfit changes, event.

The first night is the henna tattoo night, or Mendi.  On this night we learned never again to ask an Indian, “Is this spicy?”  Their anwser will likley be no but if you’re brave enough to try, make sure you’ve got a bottle of water (or five) on hand.

Outfit Details: This maxi was a Black Friday deal from Instagram – just $10!

The next morning was the Manglik Prasango – it’s essentially a pre-wedding ceremony filled with prayers and activities that purify and cleanse the bride and groom (their events are held separately).  A turmeric power mixture was spread on Barkha’s face and arms via family members.  The yellow dress she’s wearing has to be discarded afterwards; she can never wear it again, even as beautiful as it is!

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Outfit Details: Adrianna Papell dress retailed at $189 and found at Belk after-season clearance for $35. Jewelery set just $6 from Burlington. 

Later that evening was Garba Raas.  For hours upon hours, guests dance in a circular formation to a series of synchronized steps.  I was able to wear a traditional Indian outfit that night but as if my blonde hair didn’t say “I’m not Indian enough,” the fact that I took out a row of chairs because I was not used to the shawl definitely made it clear!

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Outfit details: Big Buddha Bag (retails for $79) found at Hamrick’s for only $30.

The big day came on Saturday and if you think a Catholic wedding is long, it has nothing on an Indian wedding.  The ceremony started at 10:30 a.m. with Sunny making his way to the Civic center with a majestic white horse among family and friends singing and dancing; the whole shebang ended around 2:00.

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Outfit Details: This amazing three-piece set was handmade in India and given to us as a gift from the bride. 

By the time evening rolled around, it was time to party – and man can those Indians party!

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Outfit details: No special deal on this Cachet dress but sometimes you’ve just got to splurge. The Jessica Simpson Beryl Glitter Platform sandals were on clearance at Dillards for $35, but you can find them still at Lord & Taylor for $53. The rose gold earrings also came from a clearance rack at Dillards, just $7. 

From start to finish, this was one of the coolest experiences of my life but the best part was seeing two incredible, genuine, driven, insert any other positive attributes you can think of here, begin the next chapter of their lives together.

Another Notch on my Belk: Killer Deals on Jessica Simpson, Tahari, Cynthia Rowley and more

Over the past few months I’ve significantly cut back on shopping because I’m in the process of finding a home (stillll waiting for the right one to come along).  While I slip every now and then, I’ve been able to avoid any major splurges.  Until I entered the doors of Belk; I’ve got a serious love-hate relationship with that place.  Even though I spent a little more than I planned, I walked out with almost $700 is savings, so that’s a win-win in my book!

Here are some of the amazing deals I scored, all for under $200!

This Tahari dress, originally $138, picked up for $27.60 (after getting an additional 20% off for opening a credit card which is also probably something I should not do while home searching!). Paired it with an adorable statement necklace from Wal-mart for just $5.

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Found this Jessica Simpson dress, originally $128, for $25.60.  Paired it with a birthday gift jewelry set from my parents and a pair of shoes I haven’t wore in years but had to because the color matched so perfectly.

hotpink1hotpink2This lace CeCe by Cynthia Steffe dress, which I saw at Nordstrom earlier in the season, was the best deal by far.  Retailed at $148, I brought this gem home for just $14.80.

lace1lace2With football season right around the corner, it’s time to start stocking up on tailgating dress.  Garnet and black hues dominate my wardrobe during the fall.  Got this Kensie dress, retailed at $99, for just $9.59.  Here it is at Nordstrom “on sale” for $39.

gamecockI’ve been looking for a kimono that was flattering to my body type for a while and found the perfect one in this Jessica Simpson style.  At an MSRP rate of $69, I found this one for only $13.60 and matched it with a pair of Cynthia Rowley shorts for $11.60 (originally $59).  I found the Michael Kors bag a few months ago at Ross for just $89 and this outfit is the perfect reason to finally break it in.

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Saving the best for last, I am absolutely obsessed with this Jessica Simpson maxi.  Originally priced at $148, I purchased the dress for just $29.60.  The picture does not do it justice.

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The sales clerk told me another major markdown is expected at the end of this month so while I’m be doing my best to keep my distance, I’d highly recommend stopping by if you have a Belk in your area!

Red, white and ooh lala

One of the genes I inherited from my mom is a love of Navy blue.  No matter how hard she tries to add new colors to her wardrobe, anytime you open up her closet you’re still bound to drown in a sea of Navy.  Luckily, the family default color comes in handy two weekends a year – Memorial Day and Fourth of July.

Naturally, everything I’ve packed for the long weekend boasts a blend of three colors: red, white & blue.

workTaking a professional approach to Patriotism for the last day of work, I chose a classic Anne Klein dress that I purchased at Ross two years ago.  While I’m embarrassed to admit it probably bears resemblance to something in my mom’s closet, it is SO comfortable.  I can’t remember the exact price but know it was under $20.

prepThe focus of Friday’s outfit is a sweet red dress I found on the clearance rack at Charming Charlie.  Originally $30, it was marked down to $14.99 and then slashed in half – $7.50 for a dress that mimics expensive southern brand Mud Pie (who did actually make the big hat – gotta splurge every now and then).  The Navy shoes, retailed at $40, were only $19.99 at Ross.

redwhiteblueFourth of July means it’s time to go all out in our country’s colors.  This comfy Enfocus Studio dress was found at Ross for $9.99.  It’s not an expensive brand to begin with, but still, at that price, you can’t go wrong with something you’ll only wear once a year.

causalIt’s rare to catch me in something other than a dress during the summer months. For this weekend’s anomaly, I paired crown & ivy (Belk’s signature brand) shorts with a simple tank, a Charming Charlie fedora and Sperry Top-siders I found at Ross for under $40.  For a day on the go, something to carry items is a must.  I’ll admit I was hesitant to give into the backpack style because I hated them as a kid but man do I love this thing.  Retailed at $120, I picked up the bag at Ross for just $19.99.