October 2015 | Andie Ibanez
So if you’ve read our About us you know that we LOVE a good deal. We also love fashion. One of our favorite brands is J. Crew (obvs) but sometimes – most of the times – when you or your spouse is in school you can’t really afford it. Aaaand we kinda fall into that category – Duke ain’t cheap!! Anyway, one of our friends told us about a killer sale J. Crew has every so often. Its something that is kind of a secret I guess because its hard to find out info on the internet. She slipped us a piece of paper with a phone number on it and told us to call every so often. The people on the other end of the phone don’t even have that much info to give. They usually know dates about a week in advance it seems like.

We found they were having the sale on the weekend of June 12th.  We had no idea what to expect. This was our experience….

 - 1 week before the sale: Found out about it
 - 1 Day before the sale: Went to J. Crew at the mall to confirm our sizes (their sizes run big).

We also called one more time to confirm the sale was still happening. Since the sale was in Virginia and we’re driving up from NC, we wanted to triple check. We were told people had already started lining up! So we pretty much grabbed a tent, blankets and junk food and jumped in the car. When we got there, we saw 40 or so chairs lined up but not a soul in site except for one lady. WTH right?!? It turns out people set up their chairs as place holders and sleep in their cars or at a hotel. So here we are, 3 girls, a baby, and a tent.

The next morning people started arriving. The doors opened at 10am so we had a little time to wait. 

Skip to the good part…

Best steals include: 
Swimwear $5 | Tops $10 | Skirts $15 | Pants $15 | Dresses $20 | All accessories $1-$15 | Shoes $15+ 

Here are my personal spoils:

I didn't even get the most stuff! My only regret is not getting more swimsuits. When you a J. Crew swimsuit is $5 you get more than two! Sheesh!

They have the sale in Asheville, NC and Lynchburg, VA. We'll keep you posted as to when the next one will be held, but until then here are 10 tips and tricks to make the most of your experience. 

1. Wear leggings and a tight shirt. No changing rooms = try on clothes on top of your clothes.
 2. They give you a huge (very thin) trash bag. These bags rip sooo easy so be careful when/if dragging your bag. They get heavy really fast! Don’t be shy about asking for another one.
 3. Grab anything that’s cute and looks like it may fit. You can always sort later.
 4. There are no mirrors so bring your girlfriends or someone who will be honest!
 5. There are boxes under the table – Totally fair game.
 6. Be kind but don’t let anyone walk over you.
 7. Have someone in your group wait in line as it will get really long REALLY fast.
 8. Ask to clarify prices. There is a lot of grey area and if you ask, its likely you'll get a cheaper price
 9. When you get to the check out table don't be afraid to bargain! Seriously! Don't be too pushy but explain why it should be a different price. Example: There was an adorable passport cover that I loved. They said it would be $8 but I explained I thought it was $3 because it should fall under "small accessories." So yeah, I got it for $3! 
 10. Set a budget (but treat yo' self) and have fun!!

Overall our shopping trip was a huge success! Who doesn't love J. Crew at AMAZING prices??!! Plus not much can beat a mini road trip with your BFFs!

Xoxo, Andrea

Are ya'll ready for the cheapest and easiest 2ft by 3ft photo display?! Well I'm here to give you all the details on how you can do it at home for CHEAP!!! I originally got the idea from this blog, but I changed up a few things because I didn't want to deal with Mod Podge. 

What you need: 

Flat Corner Braces (You can find these SUPER cheap online!)
Wood Panels (Two at 34", Two at 19")
Moving Tape (or another type, but this worked aaamazingly for me)
Engineering Print from Staples (3ft x 2ft is LESS than $4)

You will DEFINITELY want them to pre-cut your would. They are happy to do this for you at Home Depot and all you need to do is grab your wood panel(s) and ask an associate for the help. As stated above, you'll have two @ 34" and two at 19". I've totally done my fair share of bringing the wood home and then trying to cut it myself... DON'T!! They'll do it for you!!! 

First thing you are going to do is place the 34" long ways and place the 19" piece inside the corner. Then you'll grab your flat corner brackets. You'll go ahead and screw these panels into place, connecting them all into a beautiful rectangle! 

The brackets are rather easy to screw into place. You'll want it strong and sturdy, but you certainly don't need to to be perfect!! Once this is done, you're ready to grab your engineering print from Staples.

You'll take your print and place it face-down, on the table underneath your frame. Make sure you have an even amount of space on the outside of the frame on all sides.

Once this is done, you'll simply grab the print and fold it over onto the panel. Then tape it into place with your moving tape. I usually do about 5 inches at a time, except on the corners.

The corners are just like wrapping a present. Fold the side in, then take the tip of the corner and tape it into place on the board.

A simple fold is just enough to keep it tightly in place!

Once you've taped all sides and corners into place, you're DONE!

Seriously, such an easy and cheap DIY! If you're interested in having it done in color, its a little more expensive, but I'm sure it would look amazing!  Can't wait for you to pick out your favorite photo to have in your home!!

Xoxo, Marie
Hi Loves!

I don't know if I mentioned this already (Ok - I totally did)
but Halloween is my second favorite holiday (after Christmas obvs.)
I've always loved the concept of dressing up and eating candy as a kid. Every year, my mom would make awesome costumes for us. I don't think I ever had a store bought costume until I was in college. That year I really wanted a cute little sailor outfit. Sure, it was in the "sexy" section of the store. Don't judge me, it was college. Besides that one year in college, all my other costumes have been DIY. Now I know we're only a week away from Halloween but its not too late to put together a costume! I believe there is no right or wrong way to create a Halloween look! Wait. Ok I take that back. There are two wrong ways:
1. Not dressing up (Don't be Jim from the office)
2. Anything offensive (think: cultural appropriation)

Other than that, be as creative as you want! Make your whole costume, or just part of it. Or if you want to buy the whole thing, thats great too!

Here is some Halloween Inspiration from yours truly. These are some of our costumes over the past 4 years we've been married. Oh and if you're still looking to decorate check out my October DIY faves, here! Aaaand if you're looking for fun fall activities, check out my Fall Fun Guide.

 1. Two Voldemort's in love
This was such an easy and last minute costume that got lots of laughs and won a few prizes. Daniel's mom made him that cloak in High School and my mom made the one I'm wearing. You can totally just buy cloaks too! They are pretty affordable! We printed off Voldermort's face and glued it to a paper plate and turned it into a mask. We found awesome twigs for wands and boom! 
We love the HP movies!!

2. Max and a Wild thing
This was such a fun DIY costume. That mask took the longest time to make, but it was worth it. This was a straight up costume contest winner! I'm sure there are tutorials out there but one of my favorite parts of putting together a costume is just figuring it out!
We love this movie!

3. Fantastic Mr. and Mrs. Fox
Another fun mask to make! Both of these costumes probably cost $7 to make - Total! 
We also love this movie! I see a trend...

4. Reno 911-esque Cops
We're probably the last people on earth that would be "sexy cops" BUT Daniel had the best mustache in the whole world and we needed to take advantage of it!! I bought us cheap white polos and sewed a bunch of badges and other cop stuff on. We both wore the shortest shorts we could find and threw on some aviators. Done!

5. Scarecrows 

Another super easy one! We wanted something minimalistic for this party so we took our most "fall looking" clothes and turned ourselves into scarecrows - faces and all. This costume cost $1 to make. 
Bonus group shot!

Bonus: Bilbo Baggins

My company does fun dress up days for random things like when the Hobbit movies came to theaters. I found these clothes laying around my parents house and I used my Voldemort mask skills to make this paper mask. I used double stick tape and left over fur to make my feet hobbit-like!

When Milo joined our family we knew we had to include him in on the fun. We found him the cutest little shark costume and made shark costumes for ourselves. We simply took grey sweat pants and a matching hoodie and glued eyes and teeth to the hood. Super easy to make and extremely comfortable! 

Derek Zoolander and Mugatu
 This was somewhat of a last minute costume. I used white electric tape to make Daniel's costume and fabric scraps to make mine. Daniel had the perfect Zoolander face and I had way too much fun playing a villain for the night.

50s chick
We just went to a murder mystery party my brother-in-law and sister-in-law hosted and we all got to dress up 50s style. The hairstyle really made the look. Chances are you already have stuff for this costume laying around. Just put the pieces together and give yourself a nice 50s hairdo!

So there are some of our favorites over the past few years.
We usually have between 2 and 3 costumes every year - I told you we're obsessed with Halloween!

If you're still struggling, Buzzfeed did a good job of putting together a few lists of fun ideas!

Click here for 51 Cheap and Easy Last-Minute Halloween Costumes
Click here for 31 Insanely Clever Last-Minute Halloween Costumes
Click here for Impossibly Cute DIY BFF Halloween Costumes
Click here for 31 Halloween Costumes that Require Absolutely No Skill

Have fun creating/finishing/enjoying your costume!

Xoxo, Andrea

Hey Babes!

I know I've been MIA for the past few weeks. I've been traveling a lot for business and pleasure. As fun as it has been, its also great to come home to family and friends. Aaand obviously I'm going to share all my travel secrets with you! 
I wrote a post a while back called Traveling on a Budget (you can check it out here). It was a pretty popular post so I know lots of our readers have a serious case of wanderlust! I decided to take a deeper dive into the "getting there" part. A part that can often be the most expensive!

Below are 5 sites I recommend using to book travel. I've also included a bonus NYC guide. So yeah, if you love to travel and want to save money while you're at it, then this post is for you!  

My Fave Travel Booking Deal Sites

Frontier: SLC to RDU $200 roundtrip. Boom. To put this deal in perspective, last christmas we ended going to Europe instead of home to Utah because it was cheaper.... They also have lightening deals on lots of other flights. We're talking $25-$50 each way. Crazy, right?! Now the catch is they are going to make you pay for a carry on. Lame, I know. You just need to be a light packer and fit everything in a small backpack (personal item) or pay the $25 carry on fee. Even with the fee its still a crazy deal! Check it out here.

Google Flights: I've mentioned Google Flights before! If you're not using them to find and book your next adventure then you should get on it. Easy to use interface! Check it out here.

ITA Matrix:  Powered by Google, ITA Matrix is a more robust version of Google Flights and helps you find the best deals with more search options. Check it out here.

SkippLagged: Two words, hidden cities. Buying more tickets is sometimes WAY cheaper. Learn how you can save here.

GoToBus: Bus, hotels and vacation plans. GoToBus is such an affordable option if you don't mind being a little adventurous. For example, they service the China Town buses that go up and down the East Coast. We took a Bus from Durham to NYC for $30! It was an over night bus so we were able to maximize our time in the city. Book your next trip here.

Here are some New York City tips that are huge money savers!

Getting There
Definitely try one of the above mentioned sites. We used GoToBus and for to NYC for $30! The tolls alone would be way more than that (if we were driving our own car).

AirBnB: Hotels and even motels are so expensive in NYC. We got an entire apartment with a private rooftop balcony for super cheap. AirBnB is pretty awesome. Super easy and reliable. Use my link to get $20 off your first trip. 

CouchSurfing: I've mentioned this before, and I know its not for everyone. But if you're feeling adventurous, you can stay somewhere for free! Check it out here.

Public Transportation:. I was surprised on how easy it was to find my way around Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs. Google Maps does a great job at showing you the fastest trains and connections in real time. If you haven't downloaded Google Maps on your phone yet, get it here.
If you're going to be there for a few days I would recommend getting a 7-day unlimited pass for $30. We got our money's worth on day 2. You can get more info here 

What To Do
Here are a few fun and free ideas!

Big Apple Greeter: I have heard so many great things about the Big Apple Greeter Program! Its a free welcome visitor-service from a real New Yorker! Check out all the details here.

Broadway: Rush tickets, Lottery and Standing Room Only (SRO) are 3 ways to get cheap tickets. Most shows have some sort of system in place. You can get all the info here and a complete schedule of the discounted tickets here.

Studio Audience:
Good Morning America - No tickets required to be part of the morning fun. If you get there early, they will also have people go inside and join their studio audience, but you'll have lots of fun on the outside as well. 

NBC Studios - You can check this site for info on how to get into what show. The day shows tape in the morning and the late night shows tape in the afternoon. You can request tickets ahead of time as they always sell out way before (they're free). But there is always the standby line! Check out more info here. When in doubt just go into the NBC Experience store and ask if they have standby tickets for any show. Being part of a studio audience is really so much fun!

Upright Citizens Brigade: Some of the funniest people have come from UCB. Show are cheap and often free! Check out the details here.

Bronx Zoo: Free on Wednesdays

Brooklyn Botanic Garden: - Free on Tuesdays!

9/11 Memorial & Museum: Free on Tuesday afternoons!

New York Aquarium: Free on Friday afternoons!  

Museums: Check out this site for a list of all the free museums in NYC. I was surprised by how many there were!

If you have an upcoming trip to NYC, check out some of the fun above:) If you want to get out there and travel, then give some of my favorite sites a chance. 

As always, if you need help planning your next trip or have any other questions, please shoot them my way!

Xoxo, Andrea
I've never been the biggest fan of dry shampoo... I struggle with the texture most brands have and hate the white residue that it leaves in your hair. *shout out to all you brunettes since I know it's WAY worse for you*

A few weeks ago, one of my friends was telling me about a dry shampoo that was super inexpensive and worked like a charm. It's called Batiste and it's a tinted dry shampoo. This instantly seemed perfect because not all hair is the same and we all need a different type of dry shampoo. 

Let's chat about how her hair looked before and after... She showed us her hair when it was ready for a dry shampoo treatment and then went to it with batiste. I was floored. It seriously looked like she just walked out of the salon. Like I said, FLOORED!! 

They have 3 different tints of their dry shampoo. They have Light & Blonde, Medium & Brunette and Dark & Deep Brown. Batiste usually runs about $9 on Amazon.com with free shipping!! Here is a link for the Light & Blonde on Amazon! Oh, and did I mention it's the number one dry shampoo in the UK?? YEP! Can't wait for you to try it and fall in love with it as well!!


Ever seen canvas cut-outs?? They are absolutely beautiful and such a unique decor item in any home! Believe it or not, doing a canvas cut-out is EASY. You don't really have to have much artistic talent, besides the ability to trace (which even my 3rd graders could handle back in my school-teaching days).  Well, I undertook this little DIY throughout the last few months and I finally had time to finish up and tell you all about it!!

First things first, you'll need your supplies... For mine, I used 6 pieces of canvas (6 in. x 6 in.), an Exacto Knife, print outs of some Geometric Patterns, and Gold Spray Paint. THAT'S IT!! For the pieces of canvas, I used a Joann's Fabric 40% off coupon which made it less than $10 for all of them! I also had a friend with me and she used a coupon for my exacto knife too... Cha-Ching!!

Once you have all of your supplies, you'll start by choosing a geometric print (or any print, I looked up geometric prints on pinterest and searched google for designs I loved) and tape this to the back. If you were super artistic you could create your own, but I knew mine would look way better if I left it to the geometric prints! After I chose a few prints I loved, I started by grabbing one and taping it to the backside of the canvas. As you can see, my print wasn't quite long enough horizontally so I just etched the rest with a pencil on where I wanted my lines to go.

Once you've done this, you're ready to grab your exacto and go to town! (Make sure you have hard plastic or something like that under your canvas since your cutting all the way through) You're simply tracing pieces out of the canvas. 

Once you trace a piece out, you can flip it over and try to pop it out. Sometimes it pops out perfectly, and other times you'll need to do a little work from the other side as well. Either way, it is simple and you can totally handle it!!

Once you have completed the entire pattern you can flip it over and see what you've done!! You can definitely leave your canvas white, but we currently have white walls where I wanted to put these in our home so I decided I was going to spray paint these beauties into a different color. I ended up choosing gold (worked great with other decor and I already had the spaypaint on hand).

Does anyone else get TOTALLY freaked out when spray painting an item they just finished?? I get so nervous that the material won't take the paint well or that I'll do a horrendous job and regret my chose to change colors. Well, I was thrilled with the way these came out! Here's a picture of the gold spray paint I use. It's amazing!! 

The canvas material took the paint like a champ and I'm astonished that these turned out as well as they did!!

Basically what i'm trying to say is, if you need a DIY project or an inexpensive new piece of decor in your home, you've gotta try a canvas cut-out!! Good luck babes!!

Xoxo, Marie

The leaves have started to fall here in North Carolina and I am always amazed by their beauty. As I watched the leaves blow across the street today, I thought about how this is absolutely one of my favorite times of the year. I stumbled across some "leaf art" recently and had to share all of the adorable ideas I found with you!! How much better could a day be than collecting leaves with your little one and creating a little piece of art with the leaves you found?! Here are a few of my favorite ideas I was able to find recently!! 

Could this little owl be any cuter?! The original idea came from here and I can honestly say it is my absolute fave! 

This little hedgehog really got me thinking! I feel like this is certainly one of the easiest leaf art activities out there and I love how a child at ANY age could do this and make an adorable little hedgehog out of it. Totally fail-proof! I found this original idea here.

I honestly don't even know what these little creatures are, but are they cute or what!? Goes to show you can literally make a cute little animal/insect/bird out of any leaf!! I originally found this piece of fall art here.

Last but not least, these little pups. or are they mice...? Who knows, either way they are so freaking cute. We have these leaves all over our front lawn and I absolutely love it!! I found this specific example from this site.

Are you inspired?! I sure was!! Can't wait to make a piece of fall art this season with my little Belle!!

Xoxo, Marie
Last Thursday, my little babe turned one year old!! I was thrilled with the opportunity to throw a little birthday party for her and we felt so lucky to have so many of our friends here in North Carolina join us!! Here is a peak at what it looked like!! 

The backdrop was super cheap and one of my favorite things! I was able to purchase (rectangle) table cloths from Dollar Tree and Party City and create the fringe strips. 

I saw these little dessert shish kabobs at a recent event and thought they were brilliant!! A quick way to have tons of different treats for your guests in a clever way. On our kabob's, we had strawberries, marshmallows, brownies, rice crispies, coconut marshmallows, and eclairs!

Although you can't see these straws the best, I grabbed pink straws from target and used gold washi tape to spice them up a little at the top. 

I made the cake topper with a few extra straws, some string, and the washi tape I used with the straws. Certainly not the most fancy cake, but a fun little cake topper!

I made these little tassels with tissue paper, string and a glue-gun. These things are incredibly CHEAP!! They take an extremely small amount of tissue paper and I think they are super fun!! I followed this tutorial here.

Here's a peak at Annabelle's corner. We made a little smash cake for her and grabbed a few tassels I had left over in hopes of tying the room together.

Little Belle ended up snapping herself with her party hat (a seasoned mother would have known that was going to happen haha). So in this photo, she was confused and bawling as Isaiah and I brought her the cake.

The tears cleared up quite quickly once she realized how much she loved her cake...

Overall it was an absolute blast. I'm beyond grateful for this little family of mine.

Xoxo, Marie 

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