Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I've changed my name to The Savvy Supermom


It is after much thought that I have changed my name to The Savvy Supermom. Why you ask? Well, after a couple months now of talking to friends and acquaintances about my blog and having to repeat "Savvy Suburban Supermom" several times, I realized that although the alliteration is clever, it's just too many words! So I shortened it, and well the truth is that The Savvy Supermom isn't just found in Suburbia, she's EVERYWHERE.

I hope you'll keep up with me as I make the transition. I've already transferred all my posts to the The Savvy Supermom and from now on I will be posting there. Savvy Suburban Supermom will still stay up with it's archives but when I eventually make the transition to the domain name ( make sure you add "THE" in front of the name, you know, like The Pioneer Woman (whom I adore). For now, please go ahead and check out my new home and bookmark the new site, or if want to be emailed for updates at the new site just go ahead and click here.

Stay Savvy Y'all!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Savvy Outfit of the Day $52 - Fossil Patent Purse & Michael Kors Cool

I've find that in the in-between weather pairing a bright light weight blouse with jeans or even khaki's kicks things up a notch. It's just as easy to throw on as a sweatshirt and jeans, just better looking.

This Sunday we were running terribly late for church so I threw on jeans instead of looking for a skirt or a pair of slacks. It's not that our church is formal, tons of people wear jeans, but I don't always get a chance to be out and about so many people during the week so I sometimes like kicking up a notch on Sunday because...well...because I can!

The Breakdown.
DKNY jeans (FREE Plato's Closet exchange/ARP $50), Michael Kors suede & bronze leather belt ($2 thrift store/ARP $50), Apt. 9 shirt ($5 thrift store/ARP $40), gold Nine West leather kitten heels ($5 Kohl's/ARP $60), Fossil patent leather purse ($40 eBay/ARP $180).

Grand Total: $52
Approximate Retail Price: $380
Savvy Savings: $328

Anyway, I ran out of the house in this and my husband commented several times that day that he liked this outfit on me so I took note, and when I went on my buying spree on Sunday afternoon I bought two shirts along the same vein. All the shirts are machine washable and because they are either crinkly or a poly-blend I don't have to iron them! Woo-hoo!

Stay Savvy Y'all!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Savvy Outfit of the Day - $60 Lucky Brand & Browns

What a weekend! I think we spent the whole of it outside in front of our house. Whether it was tending to the lawn and garden or just sitting on the grass with several of our other neighbors just talking and watching the kids play, it was truly lovely. Of course I did get a chance to visit Goodwill for a couple hours on Sunday (seriously, I love wandering around and I always try on the clothes so it was a good two hours). Make sure you check out that post, I detail how I got about $800 worth of clothing for just $37.

This savvy little outfit was actually from Friday, but I was having way too much fun outside this weekend to come in and post (sorry Y'all!). Although it was sunny outside, it was a little chilly with the wind, not that I'm complaining, it's better than the snow up north.

The Breakdown.
Sunny Leigh cotton jacket ($12 Macy's/ARP $70 ), Maurice skirt ($4 thrift store new with tags/ARP $24), Franco Sarto suede boots (birthday gift/ARP $150), Lucky Brand red suede & patent purse ($44 Belk's/ARP $190).

Grand Total: $60
Approximate Retail Price: $434
Savvy Savings: $374

Savvy Shopping - $37 buys $785 worth of clothing!

This weekend I took a break and ran out to the local thrift store for a couple hours. I say "a couple hours" because I was there for about 2 hours. I like perusing all the sections, chatting with the employees, and I always try on clothes. I would venture to say I tried on at least 30 pieces of clothing, of which I ended up with 10 items (technically 11 since 1 of the pieces was a twin set).

Besides 1/2 off several of the items because they were one of the colors of the day, a fellow customer offered me the use of her discount card which gave me an additional 20% off my entire purchase bringing my total to $36.57. Mathematically speaking that means each piece averaged about $3.30.

The Breakdown.
Gap sweater set - $3/ARP $60
Tracy Reese dress - $8/ARP $250
Ann Taylor black & white striped shirt $2.15/ARP $60
Apt. 9 stripped shirt - $4.29/ARP $40
Levi's long denim skirt (new with tags still on it) - $4/ARP $40
Diesel plum colored jacket - $4/ARP $200
SLB turquoise green blue shirt - $4.29/ARP $30
Lena Gabriel New York long black skirt - $4/ARP $75
Totes leopard umbrella (new with tags) - $2/ARP $10
Blue satin Chinese shirt - $4.29/ARP $20

Grand Total: $37
Approximate Retail Price: $785
Savvy Savings: $748

What I love is that the cardigan from the twin set matches two of the shirts I bought perfectly, as well as the dress, which is why I bought it. I am NOT the kind of woman that wears strapless dress. As a D-cup girl, I just don't feel comfortable doing that, however, with a cardigan and in this color, it just looked beautiful when I tried it on. In other words, I would have missed a great outfit if I had just passed up the dress just because it was strapless. Besides, when I looked up Tracy Reese, her dresses run from $200-$400. You can get them on eBay for $100 and up, but for the most part, a comparable dress today would cost about $300. EEK!

The Diesel jacket is just cool. I would have never paid $200 for a plum colored jacket but for $4 I found something that is a little trendy and different from what everyone else is wearing. Like the Diesel jacket, the long denim Levi's skirt and even the bright colored shirts are not necessarily "classics", but at prices like these just wearing them a handful of times more than pays for it, after which time I can either a) go to Plato's Closet for an exchange when it's more fashion forward b) sell it on eBay (like the Tracy Reese dress or Diesel jacket) or c) donate it and get a tax write-off. In each case I end up either making money or breaking even.

I can't wait to wear the bright blue Chinese satin shirt with a black pencil skirt for a party or even a date night. It's definitely not a "practical" piece, but it's a fun one for sure. The little Totes umbrella was on my "be on the lookout list" because I wanted a new one to put in the car glove compartment for those sudden Spring showers since the kids broke all the other ones because I wasn't willing to pay $10 for one.

All-in-all it was a very successful shopping day. I figure with the clothes I bought I can make at least 20 new outfits with what I already have in my closet, which means I'll be going through my closet today and tomorrow so I can take some to Plato's Closet and donate some to the AMVETS which has a truck coming by our neighborhood tomorrow. I'll let you know how the Plato's Closet trip goes!

Till then Stay Savvy!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Savvy Outfit of the Day - $20 Angela Adams

I wore this cute Angela Adams tote yesterday. I found it at the thrift store and was drawn to the pattern and colors. Angela Adams' work is viewed as part of the urban design movement. She started with textiles, rugs, tiles, more home design items, but she dabbles in clothes and bags as well.

In my opinion she gives a bit of a modern edge to retro designs and colors. So while this outfit may not be "urban" (I mean, c'mon, there's a rosette on the sweater) I'd like to think the addition of the purse keeps this outfit from looking boring in its basic-ness. In truth the bag is more pink than true red, but I think the nuances of color work well rather than a perfect matchy-matchy look, and well, it holds a lot. Great for a mom on the go. I would have used this for a diaper bag if had been around when the Superstars were in diapers!

The Breakdown.
Kenneth Cole faux wrap sweater ($6 thrift store/ARP $150 ), white tank top ($3 For Love 21/ARP $3), DKNY jeans (FREE Plato's Closet because of trade-ins/ARP $50), Franco Sarto brown leather heels ($5 thrift store/ARP $90), Angela Adams tote ($6 thrift store/ARP $85).

Grand Total: $20
Approximate Retail Price: $378
Savvy Savings: $358

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Savvy Outfit of the Day - $23 Easy, Breezy J.Crew

Talk about incredible weather! It's a balmy, breezy 72 degrees outside. The Superstars spent a good portion of the day outside today. With my in-laws here I figured we could skip a day of school this week and enjoy the weather, because it still may end up snowing here before Spring hits. That's just Music City for ya'.

The Breakdown.
Merona white cotton cardigan ($5 Target/ARP $23 ), white lace tank ($4 Rave/ARP $4), Spiegel denim skirt ($4 thrift store/ARP $29), tan leather J.Crew heels ($4 thrift store/ARP $150), Angela Adams purse ($6 thrift store/ARP $85).

Grand Total: $23
Approximate Retail Price: $291
Savvy Savings: $268

Like any Supermom, sometimes the easiest thing to wear is the thing you didn't put away last time,and well, like my jeans, denim skirts don't always end up in the laundry hamper after wearing it once. After all, I may have only done a quick trip to the grocery store after a day of PJs in the house, and then really, do you HAVE to wash the entire outfit just because you wore it?

This skirt was folded nicely at the end of my bed on our bench (the reason why I didn't hang it up escapes me right now, but I'm sure it was, uh, a good one) I grabbed it for today even though I had just worn it Sunday. But you good folks won't hold that against me, will you?

Stay Savvy Y'all!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Savvy Outfit of the Day - $27 St. Patrick's Day Green

Funny enough, after my warning about St. Patrick's day it took me a bit to find an outfit. I should have saved last week's outfit for today! However, it was a good opportunity to mix-and-match, an essential savvy skill needed to make the most of your clothing!

The Breakdown.
Liz Claiborne skirt ($4 thrift store/ARP $60 ), Rave lace tank ($4 Rave/ARP $4), Baccini denim jacket ($9 TJ Maxx/ARP $40), diba cuffed "suede" boots ($10 thrift store/ARP $150), Ripani leather purse (FREE Plato's Closet trade-in/ARP $400)

Grand Total: $27
Approximate Retail Price: $654
Savvy Savings: $627

St. Patrick's Day Fun Facts - Who is Maewyn Succat?

Because we homeschool we studied up a little on St. Patrick to find out what we were celebrating. Thanks to Wikipedia and the world wide web here are a few little facts we dug up that you can use to WOW your friends.

1. Maewyn Succat is the "real" name of the Saint we call Patrick today. He took the name Patricius (latin for well-born) upon becoming a Priest. He died on March 17, 460 AD.

2. Patrick wasn't actually Irish. He was born in Scotland. In his youth he was taken to Ireland by raiders and it is said he prayed every day during his captivity. He escaped back to Scotland only to hear the voice of the Irish say "Come back and walk among us" in his dreams which he did.

3. Blue, not green, was the original favored color of Ireland; the Coat of arms of Ireland, the Irish Presidential Standard, the Ancient Colours of Ireland as well as the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom representing Northern Ireland all prominently feature blue.
The change to green most occurred around the 1750's where wearing a shamrock represented nationalism or Roman Catholic faith.

4. The actual phrase "wearing of the Green" most likely comes from a Irish street ballad dating to 1798 (anonymously penned) about the Irish Rebellion of 1798. Green was the color of the Society of the United Irishmen. Wearing a shamrock in the hat was a sign of rebellion.

5. St. Patrick used a shamrock to explain the concept of the Trinity (3 persons in 1) to the people of Ireland.

To end today's little lesson, here's an Irish Prayer in honor of St. Patrick:

May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

Here's hoping the answer is "yes".

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Savvy Outfit of the Day - $40 Lucky Me - Lucky Brand

Lucky me, it's getting warmer again so I'm making the transition with skirts and long-sleeve shirts. I've worn this cotton sweater before in a more winter outfit and I'm happy to say that it works as a transitional piece.

The Breakdown.
Merona argyle sweater ($6 thrift store/ARP $25), Spiegel denim skirt ($4 thrift store/ARP $29), white tank top (Rave $3/ARP $3), Lucky Brand Vintage Inspired purse ($24 thrift store/ARP $200), Cherokee leather slides ($3 thrift store/ARP $20)

Grand Total: $40
Approximate Retail Price: $277
Savvy Savings: $237

This week in Music City we are looking at hitting the 70's again so I'll be breaking out more skirts. I can't wait!

Just a reminder, this week is St. Patrick's Day so think GREEN if you have kids (or adult friends that act like kids) 'cause you know they'll use any excuse to pinch an adult and I, for one, am not about to give them one!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Savvy Outfit of the Day $38 - Ripani Purse & Diesel Boots

Cold weather is here in Music City.....brrrr! I know y'all up North have it so much colder than we do here, but it was 80 degrees on Monday and by the end of the week it was in the 30's! It's suppose to warm up in the next few days so till then we're layering around here.

The Breakdown.
Old Navy cords ($4 thrift store/ARP $30), Vibe suede jacket ($13 eBay/ARP $50), blue Mossimo cotton sweater ($5 Target/ARP $17), white tank top ($3 For Love 21/ARP $3), Ripani leather purse (FREE - trade in from Plato's Closet/ARP $400), Diesel boots ($5 thrift store/ARP $200), suede cap ($8 Plato's Closet/ARP $10).

Grand Total: $38
Approximate Retail Price: $710
Savvy Savings: $672

I had never heard of Ripani handbags before finding it at Plato's Closet, but it is gorgeous. The leather is soft and supple, and I'm guessing by the size and quality that it probably retailed for more than $400. That said it was only $30 at Plato's Closet and I had a 20% off coupon which would have put it at $26, which I would have paid out of pocket had the clothes I brought in for "trade" not given me $45 in spending money that day. I put the rest of the money in the bank to save for another day of savvy spending.

Washington Post - Probable Carcinogens Found in Baby Toiletries

Today in the Washington Post an article went to print talking about the trace amounts of two chemicals that are believed to cause cancer found in some baby shampoos and lotions (Johnson & Johnson and Baby Magic are two brands cited). Not one to overreact, I wonder about the media's tendency to put focus on something that is really quite minor even as I am kind of glad to see that we don't have to worry about even trace elements when using the 365 line of toiletries for our family. That said, I (and dare I say millions of moms) have used their products in the past and I'm thinking that the genetic lineage of cancer in my family will probably have more affect in my children's lives than using Johnson & Johnson's baby shampoo ever will.

Probable Carcinogens Found in Baby Toiletries

By Lyndsey Layton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 13, 2009; Page A04

More than half the baby shampoo, lotion and other infant care products analyzed by a health advocacy group were found to contain trace amounts of two chemicals that are believed to cause cancer, the organization said yesterday.

Some of the biggest names on the market, including Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo and Baby Magic lotion, tested positive for 1,4-dioxane or formaldehyde, or both, the nonprofit Campaign for Safe Cosmetics reported.

The chemicals, which the Environmental Protection Agency has characterized as probable carcinogens, are not intentionally added to the products and are not listed among ingredients on labels. Instead, they appear to be byproducts of the manufacturing process. Formaldehyde is created when other chemicals in the product break down over time, while 1,4-dioxane is formed when foaming agents are combined with ethylene oxide or similar petrochemicals.

The organization tested 48 baby bath products such as bubble bath and shampoo. Of those, 32 contained trace amounts of 1,4-dioxane and 23 contained small amounts of formaldehyde. Seventeen tested positive for both chemicals.

"Our intention is not to alarm parents, but to inform parents that products that claim to be gentle and pure are contaminated with carcinogens, which is completely unnecessary," said Stacy Malkan, a spokeswoman for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which is calling for the government to more strictly regulate personal care products such as shampoo, lotion and makeup.

Companies that manufacture and sell the products tested by the group stressed that they comply with government standards.

"The FDA and other government agencies around the world consider these trace levels safe, and all our products meet or exceed the regulatory requirements in every country where they are sold," Johnson & Johnson said in a statement. "We are disappointed that the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has inaccurately characterized the safety of our products, misrepresented the overwhelming consensus of scientists and government agencies that review the safety of ingredients, and unnecessarily alarmed parents."

The European Union has banned 1,4-dioxane as an ingredient in personal care products, but the Food and Drug Administration has not established a safe limit for the chemical in shampoo, lotion and other toiletries. It maintains that the trace amounts found in those products are not harmful.

A 1982 study by the FDA showed that 1,4-dioxane can penetrate human skin when used in lotion.

Health advocates argue, however, that federal regulators have not considered the cumulative effect of chemicals in personal care products.

"The levels we've found are relatively low, and the industry often says there's just a little bit of carcinogen in my product," Malkan said. "The problem is, we're finding a little bit of carcinogen in many products. Many of these products are used every day, so we've got repeated and frequent exposure to these low levels of chemicals. They're not the safest and purest products, and parents ought to know that."

In addition, government studies have not examined the effect of chemical exposure on the particular vulnerabilities of infants and children, whose bodies are still developing, the advocates said.

Several Democratic lawmakers said the report is evidence that the nation's chemical regulation system needs to be changed.

"The fact that we are bathing our kids in products contaminated with carcinogens shows how woefully out of date our cosmetics laws are and how urgently they need to be updated," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.). "The science has moved forward; now the FDA needs to catch up and be given the authority to protect the health of Americans."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) called the findings "horrifying" and said she intends to introduce legislation that would require stronger oversight of the cosmetics industry.

The report can be found at

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Whole Food Value Meals - A Healthy Meal for $15

Truthfully, the more I cook the less inclined I am to want to go out to dinner. Like my taste in clothing, I like expensive food. Give me a choice of where to eat and it's going to be sushi or somewhere that has fresh fish or great steak. I cook pretty well so most middle of the road places just don't seem to be worth the price they are asking when I know I can make something so much better at home. It's not even worth NOT cleaning dishes, which of course leaves me in a bind. What if I don't want to cook?

We do like places like Baja Fresh or El Pollo Loco (sigh, wish we had one here in Music City) and even pizza at a local pizzeria every once in a while, but what I have found works great is Whole Foods dinners. For just $15 you get a large entree, side item and dinner salad for a family of 4. They change up the choices regularly so it's a GREAT way to have a healthy meal that just requires heating up. I even keep the containers they come in and re-use them when making dinners for friends having babies or are sick.

Last night I watched a commercial touting a bucket of chicken feeding a family of 5 for just $3 a person - while its a better deal (marginally) financially, I'll let y'all guess which is healthier. I've got nothing against a bucket meal if it's done every once in a great while, but if it's a weekly thing, why not try a Whole Food Value meal one of those weeks. It's a simple switch that your body will thank you for in the long run.

Savvy Outfit of the Day - $27 Gruffalo Green & Bronze

Yesterday was a breezy 80 degrees here in Music City. The Superstars and I had a wonderful day out and about our fair city. It started with a field-trip to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) to watch The Gruffalo a cute play adapted from a picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

We walked around the Tennessee State Museum for an hour after the performance since the museum is free and in the same building beneath the theater. By then it was lunch so we headed to one of my old single-day's haunt, SATCO (San Antonio Taco Company) and ate out on the deck after which we walked around the grounds of the church where my husband and I were married. From a 3500 year old mummy to chips & queso, all in all we had a fun-filled day full of new experiences as well as a reminder of why I love homeschooling so much.

This beautiful green outfit fit the day to a T and I was thankful to squeeze it in before the cold front moves in to give us 40 degrees and rain today.

The Breakdown.
Green cotton Mossimo Sweater ($5 Target/ARP $18), white tank ($3 For Love 21/ARP $3), green leaves Liz Clairborne skirt new with tags ($4 thrift store/ARP $60), Enzo Angiolini bronze leather shoes ($5 thrift store/ARP $80), bronze leather Banana Republic hobo ($10 eBay/ARP $150).

Grand Total: $27
Approximate Retail Price: $311
Savvy Savings: $284

Once this cold front moves on you'll be seeing me in more skirts as the weather warms up. I was never really one for skirts growing up a tomboy and all, but the hot humid summers here in Music City have convinced me that skirts are very practical and cool, not to mention SO much more flattering on me than shorts and most capris.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Savvy Outfit of the Day - $67 Sunny Days & Sigrid Olsen

There's a saying here in Music City that goes something like this, "Welcome to Nashville! If you don't like the weather, wait a minute." It's our way of saying that the weather here can be kind of crazy.

For example, last weekend we had several inches of snow which had all the kids out in layers of clothing on inner tubes & sleds. This weekend it was in the mid-70's. Of course the change in weather is wreaking havoc on everyone's sinuses but I can't say any of us would trade the warm weather for it.

This was a transitional outfit that helped weather the change from freezing to warm a couple days ago. It was what I wore to feel a little less "poufy" and bloated; a lovely combination of that-time-of-month and sinus-blech.

The Breakdown.
Merona cotton knit shirt ($6 thrift store/ARP $25), Sunny Leigh skirt ($4 thrift store/ARP $70), Mossimo sweater/shrug ($7 Target/ARP $35), Franco Sarto suede boots (birthday gift!/ARP $150), Sigrid Olsen purse ($50 eBay/ARP $190).

Grand Total: $67
Approximate Retail Price: $470
Savvy Savings: $403

I bought this Sigrid Olsen purse on eBay after a girlfriend of mine found one at the thrift store. Of course she got a much better deal on it than I did (I think she paid $14) but what drew me to her purse was the gorgeous leather and the fun bright satin interior that Olsen used on her line of handbags.
Unfortunately Liz Claiborne discontinued the Sigrid Olsen brand and closed all the stores in mid-2008.

The good news is you can still you can find lots of her purses on eBay. As an interesting aside, Liz Claiborne also holds the Kate Spade, Lucky Brand and Juicy Couture brands.

Stay Savvy Y'all!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Food, Glorious Food: Raising Kids Who Try Anything!

I realize that as a mother of a 6 and 4 year old, I'm still very new to this parenting journey. I'm beginning to think that we will only truly know what good parents we were when the kids are 30. Till then I waiver between wondering what power we really have to help the Superstars become upstanding human beings and what things really have nothing to do with our "failures" in parenting, but are battles they will fight in some form or fashion for the rest of their lives by virtue of their personality. One of the battles that I hope we help them win is the one of good healthful eating habits.

I talked with my Mom the other night about the phenomenon of kids eating habits. My kids pretty much eat whatever we eat. They love raw veggies including broccoli, bell peppers and cauliflower, all types of fruits, baked fish, clams, beef, chicken, pretty much anything we put before them. They eat Indian food, sushi (they love smoked eel), Italian, German, Korean, Thai, and will try most things at least once - the catch being, if Mom and Dad eat it too.

And it's with that I had an "AHA" moment, because if we've heard it once, we've heard it a thousand times, "It's not what you say but what you do." When I searched on line about how to fixing food for kids I see tons of lists suggesting WHAT to feed them, HOW TO disguise good foods in "fun" foods and WHAT a balanced diet looks like. What I rarely see is the kids' point of view - and I don't mean "How does your kid FEEL about what they are eating?" but "What do your kids see YOU do?"

Do you fix your kids macaroni and cheese for dinner and eat something totally different with your spouse? Do you ask them to eat their veggies because "it's good for you" then push your own vegetables to the side? Guess what? They totally notice (yeah, that's a throw back to my So. Cal. upbringing...totally, Dude!).

Kids seek the approval of their parents. Goodness, at 40 I still want to know that my Mom & Dad think I'm smart, a good parent and a self-assured woman! How much more do our children look to us to help us make sense of this crazy world we live in?

What you as a parent think about food, defined by what you fix for your meals and theirs, how you serve it (on the fly or sit down meals), and the choices you make when you eat out, are viewed by your children as "the food laws" or "that's just what we do when it comes to food in our lives."

The other day when Daddy was out of town we ate sushi. I watched Superstar #1 close her eyes and relish the taste of the sushi she ate with a sigh. What 6 year old does that? Uh, mine, because I realized that I often do the same thing when I eat something I love. She was just mimicking me. Now just because my daughter enjoys sushi does not make me a better mom by ANY stretch of the imagination, it just shows the power we have as parents to help mold our children's view of food.

And for that I have MY parents to thank. My Dad, a Japanese-American soldier, met my Mom in a disco in a small fishing village in northern Germany back in the sixties and was the first to introduce her to Habachi-grilled steak and prime rib. My Dad, in turn, ate my Oma's (grandmother's) traditional German food with gusto and asked for seconds. A few short years later my Mom & Dad moved back to my Dad's hometown, the colorful and diverse melting pot of Honolulu, Hawaii.

My Mom dove into the various ethnic cuisines with relish learning how to prepare Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Korean and Hawaiian dishes from the numerous family potlucks that define much of Island life. If the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, my Mom came, saw and conquered so proficiently that she earned "props" from my Dad's side of the family as well. Food has always been an adventure, a way to get to know people and cultures better, and I hope we are teaching the Superstars the same.

If you're not there and don't want to be, well, then there's not a whole lot I can say to convince you that eating healthy, even small choices to be healthier (choosing the apple dippers without the caramel versus fries with the McDonald's kid meals) and helping your kids make those decisions has a long term positive outcome on the longevity of your child's life (and yours!). Your children are less likely to deal with excessive weight or tiredness. They will be healthier, and you're less likely to deal with drama of sugar highs and crashes.

If you want to be there, but it's overwhelming, don't worry! It's not an overnight thing, but each little decision you make and talk to them about "No, Mommy/Daddy doesn't like spinach, but hey, Popeye did and it seemed to help him. Let's just try this together because it's good for us" is a step in the right direction. Because, let's face it, nothing is more endearing to a child when a parent shows that LIFE IS A JOURNEY and it's not about being right all the time, or doing the right thing all the time, but being willing to learn and grow.

The key is to find what works for YOU, your family and your shopping habits. Everyone has parameters within which they work. Maybe your child has food allergies, maybe your child hates everything but bread, maybe you don't have time to start something new because you're so overwhelmed with what you already have - just start where you are with baby steps.

In the coming weeks I hope to spend more time on savvy food savings and healthy (yummy!) eating not just for your Superstars but for you too!
I'll be interviewing a sweet woman named Vui whom I met on one my trips to Whole Foods. Vui use to own a restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia and I can't wait to share some of her ideas and tips to cook and eat healthy with lots of flavor and fun.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Savvy Outfit of the Day - $21 Business Sassy

Who knew that one day I would actually be excited about having to go to a meeting? I still remember the days when a meeting meant that I would be dragged away from the office to learn about the new work I would have to do while the other work was piling up on my desk waiting for me to get back!

A meeting was my opportunity to pull together a really professional (yet sassy) outfit and I loved it! It's always nice to be in a setting where your opinion is appreciated and considered with the utmost seriousness. As much as the Superstars love me, they aren't always as appreciative of my opinion on matters like, oh, the importance of a clean house and why math and reading really are important. Thankfully the meeting had nothing to do with any of that!

The Breakdown.
New York & Company argyle sweater ($6 thrift store/ARP $30), Nine West kitten heel leather boots ($8 thrift store/ARP $150), awesome Zara Basic pencil skirt ($4 thrift store/ARP $50), white tank top ($3 For Love 21/ARP $3), Coach Patent Leather Tote (FREE! A birthday gift from a dear friend).

Grand Total: $21
Approximate Retail Price:
Savvy Savings: $212

A search on the Zara name for the purpose of getting an approximate retail price yielded this nugget of information. It's a Spanish brand that started in 1975. According to Wikipedia: "
It is claimed that Zara needs just two weeks to develop a new product and get it to stores, compared with a six-month industry average, and launches around 10,000 new designs each year. Zara has resisted the industry-wide trend towards transferring fast fashion production to low-cost countries. Perhaps its most unusual strategy was its policy of zero advertising; the company preferred to invest a percentage of revenues in opening new stores instead. Zara was described by Louis Vuitton fashion director Daniel Piette as "possibly the most innovative and devastating retailer in the world."

All I know is that I really like the skirt and it fits well.

So, yeah, I clean up pretty well, and the meeting went great. With the economy where it is, I'll take any little side project that allows me to put a little money away and get out of the house to look sassy!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Rejoice Ye' Costume Jewelry Lovers Who Have Nickel Allergies

I'm not sure where along the way I discovered I had nickel allergies. I think I had my ears pierced when I was around 7-8 years old. I had gold studs put in and never had a problem. Birthdays and graduation brought more little silver or gold studs and everything was good.

When I struck out into the world on my own I soon realized that I couldn't wear costume jewelry. Well, I could, but it would be a matter of minutes before my ears started itching. If I continued I would end up with big, swollen puffy ears that would ooze all kinds of nasty stuff. Surgical steel was less irritating, but if I wore them longer than a day, the reaction was about the same. So what's a poor starving college student suppose to do???

Unfortunately I didn't really figure that out until a couple years ago.

When it comes to post earrings I wish I could say I found something incredibly easy, but I haven't. I've tried to coat the offending post with clear nail polish, which seemed only to lessen the eventual irritation but it really was a short term solution and didn't seem to be worth the hassle. Now I tend to stick with silver and gold for my posts because the truth is I can buy most basic "costume" sterling silver post earrings for less than $5 on eBay.

But when it comes to dangling earrings I have found something that works wonders. Jo-ann's carries this wonderful "Elegance" line, which comes in .925 Silver and 14K Gold. Now when I find a costume earring at a savvy price that I like I simply replace the french wire hook with a silver or gold hook and I'm good! For the most part I use the little watch-repair kit that I mentioned in an earlier post, but any small pair of pliers will work as well. It's a great fix at only $3.99 a package, and if you use Jo-ann's weekly 40% off coupon it's only $2.39 for enough hooks to fix 3-4 pairs of earrings.

Not only have I used these hooks to change costume jewelry posts out, but I've changed out vintage lever back earrings (one pair was given to me by my Tante years ago) too. I have also used them to "make" earrings out of other jewelry. For instance, an old 3 pearl necklace I bought on eBay, which just never quite looked right and was so inexpensive that it wasn't worth the hassle of sending it back to the seller was turned into a pair of earrings that I now wear quite often.

You can also buy the back posts of earrings in both silver and gold, which I have found helps mitigate the irritation if you choose to use clear nail polish on stud earrings.

As it stands now, Superstar #1 only shows signs of nickel allergies, which we discovered when she was just 6 months old. While changing her onesie one morning I noticed several little upraised red circles on her belly. My first thought (daughter of a German nurse) was ringworm, and I was a little concerned and confused on how my breast-fed, almost always at home with me, daughter could have ringworm.

It took me a few minutes before I realized that the bumps were an allergic reaction to the little silver snaps on the onesie that went up the front and middle! Needless to say I passed along all the silver snap items on to friends and really haven't noticed any reactions in Superstar #2 although given that nickel allergies run in the family on both sides, we'll probably stick to silver, gold or platinum for the girls if they ever get their ears pierced. Bummer, huh? I bet their future husband's will be thrilled to know they can only wear precious metals.

Really, when it comes to earrings I tend to stick with buying things that are either 925 silver or 14 K gold. A couple months back I bought a pair of Etienne Aigner earrings at Belk's for $6 that were elongated costume hoops, but with 14K gold posts so that I had the best of both worlds.

There are so many more jewelry options nowadays for those of us with nickel allergies, whether it's changing out the french wire or buying online at places like eBay. So remember, Shop Savvy Y'all!

Monday, March 2, 2009

There's No Place Like Home...

Let me introduce you to Dorothy. Isn't she beautiful?

My friend and neighbor, Tisra, and her family have been in the adoption process for a girl from Taiwan for over 2 years now when out-of-the-blue there was India. With the paperwork in the final phase and the date for picking her up being scheduled, Tisra and her family have devised a great way to raise the last of the money they need to pay for the adoption and bring her home.

If you have a minute check out their website here and for just a $10 donation, you will get a "ticket" that will be entered into a drawing for a whole slew of amazing prizes that have been donated to the Fadely's for the purpose of helping them Bring Dorothy Home Quickly. From a Wii Family pack to a professional camera and blog site set up as well as beautiful handmade items from friends at Etsy, there are wonderful prize packages to be won.

If you don't have the funds to contribute, then blog about it, put a blog button on your site and email your friends and you will be entered (up to a total of 3 entries) into their "Spread the Word" contest which features a GORGEOUS Coach leather Ergo purse and more as a prize.

Please take a moment, read their story and help them out if you can. Dorothy was just left at an orphanage, one of thousands of precious children without parents to love them. Please help Tisra and her family bring Dorothy home quickly!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Savvy Outfit of the Day - $54/$108 Presto Chango!

Today's outfit of the day is a two-fer. It wasn't cold in the beginning of the day so I went out in just the pants and the sweater and felt just fine, but once the sun went down and I had to run out and to run out for a few things I had to make a change.

In my vanity I didn't want to put a dark purse against a dark jacket where the lack of contrast could end up making me look like a bigger lump so I quickly changed out the shoes and the purse and ran out.

The Breakdown #1.
Gap khakis ($5 thrift store/ARP $40), Mossimo pink polka dot sweater ($6 thrift store/ARP $25), off-white tank ($3 For Love 21/ARP $3), Coach Chelsea pebble-grained satchel ($90 eBay/ARP $360), bronze leather Anne Klein shoes ($4 thrift store/ARP $80).

Grand Total: $108
Approximate Retail Price: $508
Savvy Savings #1: $400

The Breakdown #2.
Gap khakis ($5 thrift store/ARP $40), Mossimo pink polka dot sweater ($6 thrift store/ARP $25), off-white tank ($3 For Love 21/ARP $3), Coach Wool Shoes ($20 thrift store, new/ARP $150), Gray Banana Republic Wool Coat ($14 eBay/ARP $200), Gap ivory leather purse ($6 thrift store/ARP $60).

Grand Total: $54
Approximate Retail Price: $478
Savvy Savings #2 : $424

Really, the only thing that changed between these two outfits are the accessories, but either way you look at it, savvy savings netted us about $400 in our pockets. And well, even if you would have never paid full price for any of these items, it's nice to know that you can spend $108/$54 to look $508/$478 good!

Shop Savvy Y'all!