Thursday, August 30, 2012

Free fun: Birmingham Barons baseball games

Photo: Mark Almond/The Birmingham News

I must confess that I haven't been to a Barons baseball game in a really long time. But I'm pretty sure that will change once they move the stadium downtown next to Railroad Park next season.

In the meantime, they are providing FREE general admission at their last two games this season on Sunday Sept. 2nd at 4:00 p.m. & Monday Sept. 3rd at 12:30 p.m. I think that's a pretty great way to celebrate the season and 25 years in the stadium. Oh and Labor Day weekend!

Go Barons!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grooveshark picks for August

Artist: Shovels & Rope
(Cary Ann Hearst & Michael Trent)
Why I love it:  It sounds like if First Aid Kit were 
to date Justin Townes Earle and they had a bad relationship so they wrote a few melancholy songs 
and sometimes the Civil Wars would stop by to hang out. Yeah, that's why I love it. 
For fans of: First Aid Kit, Justin Townes Earle, 
Civil Wars
Bonus: They also have a new album out called 

Artist: Milo Greene
Album: Milo Greene
Why I love it:  It's folky and dreamy all at the
same time. 
For fans of: The Head and the Heart,
Civil Twilight

Why I love it:  It's old school country type of
music and a sing along knee slappin good time.
For fans of: Shovels & Rope, Sunday Valley

Album: Dirty Radio
Why I love it:  Her voice is so cool, unique and quirky in an upbeat soulful kind of way. Plus it's impossible to listen to this album without shaking your shoulders and your head. Don't believe me? Just try it.  
For fans of:  April Smith & the Great Picture Show, Imelda May

Album: Home Again
Why I love it:  It's soulful, yet peaceful, smooth
and easy on the ears. 
For fans of: Otis Redding, Amos Lee,
James Taylor, Van Morrison

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Product pick: Lacura deodorant

Yes I know. There is nothing fashionable or sexy about deodorant. But hey, it's a part of every day life right? Ummmm, yeah, hoping you guys all said "right" on that one.

Anyhow, I have typically struggled with finding a deodorant in the past that I really like. But I tried this one that I found at ALDI about two years ago and I haven't looked back ever since. I like the smell, the price and how well it works.

I won't lie to you and tell you that even though it's a white solid, it goes on clear. I mean, nothing is that magical. At least I haven't found one of those deodorants yet, even though they all claim to produce such effects. But if you're looking for something cheap that still gets the job done, then this is a product for you.

Monday, August 27, 2012

One dress, three ways

I think I need to call this the "family fun" dress. Why you may ask? Because a) I found it at Ross Dress for Less while I was shopping with my mom and sister-in-law about a month ago. And b) because I let my brother do this photoshoot this past weekend while I was back in my hometown for my niece's first birthday party.

Anyhow, I was pretty stoked to come across this dress at Ross. So stoked that I made myself put back another dress I was already holding and planning to purchase (I had given myself a strict 'one-item-only' purchase code of conduct before walking into the store...and I actually stuck to it - hurrah!).

I fell in love with the dress first and foremost because of the striped print and colors. Even though this is a sleeveless summer dress, it will most certainly get taken into fall and winter with the right jackets to be layered on top (so basically, get ready to see future photoshoots with this dress).

I also knew it would be super versatile within each season, which is why I had to go ahead and do a "one dress, three ways" post now.  Oh and I love the dress for the price too, of course. I mean, $14.99 what's not to love about that?

And since we're going with that whole "3" thing in this post, here are three things I learned from this photoshoot:

1. This dress isn't quite as flattering on me as I previously thought, but I still don't care. I love it anyway.
2. I put my right arm up behind my head a lot in my photoshoots.
3. My brother has turned into quite the professional photographer! I hope we can get together for more shoots soon.

Here's each cheapskate outfit breakdown:

Look 1
1. Striped dress, Ross Dress for Less ($14.99)
2. Platform wedges, Charlotte Russe ($32.50)
3. Black crossbody bag, thrifted ($3.00)
4. Sunglasses, Rugged Wearhouse ($2.99)
5. Earrings, Trade Day ($.50)
6. Bangles, gifted (thanks Mom!)
7. Cocktail ring, Charlotte Russe ($3.99)

Total: Under $75

Look 2
1. Striped dress, Ross Dress for Less ($14.99)
2. Straight shooter tee, giveaway (free)
3. Hat, Rugged Wearhouse ($3.99) 
4. Canvas bag, giveaway (free) 
5. Black oxfords, TJ Maxx ($12.99)
6. Sunglasses, gifted (thanks Joy!)
7. Vintage cocktail ring, gifted (thanks Cathy!)
8. Cocktail ring, ATL market ($2.00)
9. Earrings, gifted (thanks Peach!)

Total: Under $50.00

Look 3
1. Striped dress, Ross Dress for Less ($14.99)
2. Tan wedges, Charlotte Russe ($12.50) *buy one, get one half off deal
3. Sunglasses, Venice Beach ($7.00)
4. Oversized clutch, Altar'd State ($5.00)
5. Bracelet, gifted from Africa (thanks Amy!)
6. Cocktail ring, ATL market ($3.00)

Total: Under $50.00

By the way, if you love this dress, here is a similar one I found at Target for $19.99.

photos: Josh Lewis (my brother!)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Plated: That's a hoot baby girl!

Yall.  It is my niece's one year old birthday party this weekend. Bananas! Where does the time go?

Anyhow, I was ecstatic when my sister-in-law asked me to do the invitations for the party. And it only helped matters that she had chosen an adorable owl-themed party. Owls seem to still be the trendiest of all birds these days. So I was able to find some really cute inspiration pieces.

The colors are all based around the owl decorations my sister-in-law had chosen, so I just searched for baby girl furniture with those colors and I found the cutest stuff to help me choose my color palette and pattern.

Oh and yeah, feel free to go ahead and ooh and ahh over how adorable my niece Callie is. Yeah, she's pretty darn beautiful. I'm currently fixed on calling her baby girl ever since I found out that my friend Ashley was called that by her grandmother. I have a feeling I will change it to CJ (her initials) when she gets a bit older, but for now (and ok, maybe always) she's baby girl.

Hope your weekend is filled with love, family and fun...just like mine!

Pin It!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pretty pastels

Hooray! Cast is gone. Photoshoot posts are back. Get excited yall!

Even though it's been a couple of months, clearly I'm still not over the pastel trend. But I don't have to be, do I?

I got these fabulous Different Stokes Shorts from Sugarlips right about the time I fell at the climbing gym and broke my arm. Yep, pretty traumatic, considering I wouldn't even let myself wear them until they had been photographed (Why you ask? Because I am beyond clumsy. Who knows what I could've spilled on them). Thankgoodness I live in the south where it stays warm enough for shorts until at least October! 

Oh but don't worry I also can't wait to pair these hotties with a patterned top and some tights/boots for the fall/winter months. I mean, these shorts are so cute and comfy that I have to wear them year round. 

Do you want a random sidenote/fun fact? Ok, we all know that is a rhetorical question and you're going to get one regardles, sorry. Basically I just need yall to know that the first day back on the "job" got attacked, yes attacked, by mosquitos during this shoot. 

I'm talking like at least 20 bites resulting in major welts and itching so severe and intense it felt like poison was coursing through my veins. My photographer ended up shoving Benedryl down my throat the second we got back to her house. I think this is what we in 'the biz' call "blogger problems"?

Ok enough chit chat. Down to business...

Here's the cheapskate outfit breakdown:

1. Shorts, c/o Sugarlips ($29.00) 
2. Pastel top, thrifted ($2.99) 
3. Cream blazer, Banana Republic (?? - old) 
4. Tan wedges, Charlotte Russe ($12.50) *buy one, get one half off deal  
5. Wooden bangles, ATL market ($1.00 each)
6. BCBGirls bag, Zoe's ($30.00)
7. Sunglasses, gifted (thanks Joy!)

Total: Under $100

Pin It!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Buy this, not that: Knock off bag

I can't believe it but yep, I am really doing this. I am fully publicly endorsing buying a total knock off bag. It feels a little wrong, yet to my everyone's bank account it should feel so right.....right? Don't judge me?

So here's the deal. My friend Cassidy was at dinner one night a month or so ago with a fabulous bag that I thought was a real Tory Burch. Ok, who am I kidding, I thought it was Michael Kors, but still I knew it was designer, though clearly I didn't know which one. You knew it was a designer bag just by looking at it. Or did you?

I didn't even bring it up, still not sure how the convo started (we're never sure how any convo starts though) but somehow Cassidy started talking about how it was a fake. She had stumbled upon a fake purse website gold mine and now I can share it with you guys.

The way she tells it, it went a little something like this. She found this site, started clicking around, put a few things in her cart for fun and also so she could see the cost of shipping. So she filled out some info, clicked on "check out" in order to see shipping and it said "thanks for your purchase." She sort of panicked, but then got an e-mail confirmation from the company asking for payment, so she figured, well let's just ride this one out and see what happens, hopefully no one hacks into my checking account.

Thankfully the story has a happy ending and Cassidy had two lovely bags shipped to her from China a few weeks later with nothing extra taken out of her account. Though she did say the package looked a little sketch by the time it arrived to her here in the states.

So if you're willing to give it a whirl, I'd say even though the photos may not look like much on the site, I've seen one in person and it looks pretty good to me. Fingers crossed your story ends as happily as my friend's!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Guide to Birmingham Dining, vol. 2

In honor of Birmingham Restaurant Week (8/17 - 8/26), I thought this would be an ideal time to follow up on my last Guide to Birmingham Dining. I personally love restaurant week. It's a pretty awesome way to price consciously try out many of the restaurants you wouldn't ordinarily hit up on a regular basis (unless you are ballin out, in which case, we all know I am not). Each of the restaurants have a specially prepared menu they feature for restaurant week and most (especially dinner) are three courses. If you visit their website, you can choose from a $5-$15 lunch or a $10-$30 dinner.

So I figured I'd pick some of my favorite places in town who are participating this week that I haven't featured before. Ready? Here we go!

{one} 26
Cuisine: Eclectic fusion-type dishes
Address: 1210 20th Street South
What to expect: To feel far away from Birmingham when you sit in the pretty swanky and intimate interior of 26.
Pricing: $20±

{two} Slice 
Cuisine: Unique pizzas
Address: 2921 Highland Avenue 
What to expect: An upscale, yet also causal pizza cafe. It's kind of like a sports bar meets a somewhat fancy restaurant...if that makes sense. 
Pricing: $10-$20±
My favorite regular menu item: This little piggy

{three} Ocean 
Cuisine: Fresh Seafood
Address: 1210 20th Street South  
What to expect: The most incredible seafood dishes...ever.
Pricing: $30±
My favorite regular menu item: The pan seared scallops

Cuisine: Southern with a twist
Address: 2921 Highland Avenue
What to expect: To rub elbows with a large percentage of the most influential people in Bham while eating delicious dishes created by award-winning chef Frank Stitt.  
Pricing: $30± 

{five} La Paz
Cuisine: Mexican
Address: 99 Euclid Avenue
What to expect: A busy, bustling and child-friendly restaurant in the heart of Birmingham's coziest neighborhood. 
Pricing: $10-$20±
My favorite regular menu item: Baja fish tacos
Link to their restaurant week menu

Cuisine: Southern with a twist
Address: 3811 Clairmont Avenue 
What to expect: A charming restaurant serving a menu created with only the most local and freshest ingredients possible.  
Pricing: $20-30± 
My favorite regular menu item: Shrimp and grits

Bon appetit! And enjoy restaurant week!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday deal

Who doesn't love a good deal right? Well the folks over at Vedette are giving you a pretty amazing one.  They are offering my readers FREE shapewear. Yes, FREE. All you have to do is pick one, send them an email and pay $9.99 to cover shipping.

Pretty amazing, right? Yeah, I thought so, too.

The photo above features the items that you can choose from this week. And more good news is that the catalog will change in the future. So be sure to check back to see what other items you can get for only $9.99.

Here are a few things they suggest:

1. The catalog is open only to the blog readers of Fashionplate Cheapskate
2. You may only choose items from the photo above. You may research more detail about the items on their website
3. Send orders to with a subject code Ved9cat or give them a call at 1.866.956.7466
4. Provide them with your chosen size for the shapewear you like (be sure to ALWAYS pick a size up)
5. There is no return and exchange for the pieces inside the catalog so be sure to ALWAYS get the right size
6. Vedette does ship internationally
7. Hurry, offer ends Monday August 20th!

Happy Friday yall!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What to wear: Back to school

August. Such a cruel month. It's always blazing hot and it means the return of school.

While I have been out of school for longer than I care to admit think about, I haven't forgotten about all the
other folks out there returning back to the books this time of year. So I figured even though sometimes it's
not so much fun to go back to school (and sometimes it is!) then at least one fun thing is thinking about what
you're gonna wear—especially that first day.

So I took some of my favorite looks from some of my favorite bloggers that I think are perfectly appropriate
for back to school, whether you're a teacher or a high school or college student. And yeah, I'm looking at you
southern coeds—stop wearing the ugg boots and nike tempo shorts! You look ridiculous, even if you are comfy.
You don't have to dress up, but how about you at least try not to look like every other girl on campus, deal?

Photo/outfit credits:
1. April from Delicately Fierce
2. Kendi from Kendi Everyday
3. Marcella from Fashion Distraction
4. Elizabeth from Delightfully Tacky
5. Stefanie from Steffy's Pros and Cons
6. Tonya from The Mop Top
7. Tara from Mix and Match Fashion
8. Jennifer from Seeking Style
9. Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The dish on running

After almost seven weeks post my injury, I finally laced up my running shoes after work yesterday. It felt good. Kinda like I was reconnecting with an old friend. And then I went and literally reconnected with an old friend.

It ended up that Joy and I talked so much we didn't even bother starting our run, but we walked the entire five miles instead...followed by a lengthy dinner too, of course. By the time I got home four hours later, I left my workout clothes on and didn't even want to take my running shoes off. This is not normal for me. Usually I kick those suckers off the second I walk into my bedroom. But clearly I missed these guys. And I realized that just by wearing them, they made me feel productive.

I haven't always been a runner. Something clicked after I graduated high school and one day I just got up early and went for a run around the pond across the street. I've pretty much just kept up it with ever since. I'm not gonna lie, sometimes running and I "break up." Sometimes it's because I just need a break. And other times it's because of some lame injury. But I always come back to it. And until the recent broken arm injury, my relationship with running had been pretty solid!

A lot of people don't understand this relationship. It requires you to be disciplined and leave late night fun times with friends in order to meet your early bedtime so you can get up at the crack of dawn just so you can drip with sweat in the disgustingly hot summer. Or in the winter you have to leave a nice warm bed while it's still dark outside and put on insane amounts of layers just to endure the freezing cold temps.

I'm not good at math, but even I know that when you think about it like that, it doesn't all add up right.

But what does add up are the miles that I have logged with friends. And the conversations and stories we have shared. We are bonded. My running girls know entirely too much about me and vice versa. There's definitely been some group therapy sessions on those short and long runs. Just two weeks into my injury and not spending time running with those girls and I can tell you that I felt different. And in a bad way. My mood was altered. There's certainly something to be said for a runner's high and the ability to simultaneously verbally vomit everything that's been going on in your life lately. It's a pretty killer combo.

There's also something to be said of a friendship that you know you can count on. You say, "I'll meet you at 5:15 at the Trak Shak." And you know they are going to be there. Sure, we all bail from time to time, but when I think of the past five or so years I've had with my running partners, I'd say we've had a pretty positive percentage of no bails!

The more I run with my girls, the harder I find it to make myself go on solo runs, but those are pretty important, too. I remember coming back from Africa a year ago and being like, "ok, I'm doing this." I needed that alone running time to process everything I saw and experienced over there. Plus, it had been more than two weeks since I had ran, so I was jonesin for a run. I have never felt more "free" in my life than I did on that first mile. It was the highest of runners highs. And then the next four miles were brutal, but ya know, I managed to make it through!

I felt almost the same way this morning when I met up with the neighborhood crew for my first run in about two months. Once I hit the pavement, it was on. I broke ahead of the girls a little bit, but stayed close enough to hear their stories. Then I dragged towards the end of the run, but it was a good kind of drag. I mean, I hadn't ran in almost two months and I just finished three miles. Not too shabby. I definitely suprised myself with that.

I have to say, it feels good to be back. It took me a few days after being cleared from the doctor to make myself get out there and get started again. But now that I have, I know that first run just kickstarted the addiction and I'll be setting my alarm clock for ridiculous times again—five days a week.

But sleep is just a tiny sacrifice for everything I get in return from running. I guess the easiest way to say it is what my friend Casey says on her blog: "I like to run. It makes me happy."

Monday, August 13, 2012

Splurge on: Home accessories

Last Saturday in a partial desperate attempt to procrastinate on another project and a partial guilty feeling of 'your place could really use a little bit of help to fill in the empty spaces, Christen' — I all of a sudden found myself looking online at home decor.

My spare room has been empty for way too long (hence the bed from IKEA). I've never been 100% happy with the comforter I chose for my own room...and lately I've thought the rug in my living room could use replacing. I've just always wanted a ladder bookshelf, even though I really don't know what I'd put on it. And the other spare room has a futon, but needs some fun pillows to live it up a bit. So yeah, I've got a lot of work to do and sadly, a lot of money to spend! But you know me, I'm gonna find the most affordable way to do it...stay tuned!

1. IKEA Hemnes bed, $199.99
2. Target Manhattan Ladder Bookcase, $119.99
3. Couristan Five Season South Padre Chocolate/Cream Rug, $179.99
4. Urban Outfitters Floral Medallion Duvet Cover, $89.00
5. World Market Warm Piazza Lumbar Pillow, $29.99