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cheap tricks: holiday edition

December 3rd, 2012   |   LifeStyle


Lately I’ve had some good luck in the shopping department. Here are a few of my current faves that look luxe without costing a pretty penny.

While J.Crew’s sequin pumps and flats have me swooning, I scored these lookalikes at Target for $24.99.

In the winter my lips get extra chapped (not a great look when you are drinking red wine at holiday parties…) so I went to Ulta and asked for the best chap stick they had.

The lady I spoke to recommended using the apricot body scrub I had in my shower for exfoliation followed by using the EOS lip balm all.the.time. So far I’m a week in and no longer have cracked, dry lips.


I also picked up the portable lotion while I was there and I’m loving the scent.

I first spotted these little beauties on Oh Joy and made them mine last night. They are the perfect little $17 update for my pajama wardrobe (that is a thing, right?).

With the puppy chewing everything he can get his teeth on when he’s not crate training or in his new gated area (thanks for the x pen tips, ladies!), we decided to nix a Christmas tree this year.

Instead, Mr. Lively agreed to let me purchase a few other holiday accessories that would work for years to come. By putting these two branch candle holders layered into one another on the table, it looks like a Michael Aram Olive Branch candle holder (which costs $239!) for about $30.

And last but not least, a recent DIY art piece for my design client’s home. The Kate Spade fan inside me is giddy. It was as simple as attaching gold corrugated letter stickers to a white canvas. I had planned to paint the quote on and found these adorable letters instead.

So glad I spotted them at Michaels Crafts (they are made by Momenta but I cannot find them online).


Hooray for cheap (holiday) tricks!

* I wasn’t gifted any of these items, they are just a few recent finds. 

cheap tricks for puppies

November 13th, 2012   |   Life


Yes, yes, I have been talking a lot about Franklin and raising a puppy over the last week. It’s honestly because he’s been a huge new part of my life which is currently taking up a lot of my time, attention, and intentions as we get to know each other and establish a routine.

But I promise that he’s not going to be running the show here on the blog. I plan to continue to share a mix of life, home, and business intentions going forward.

However, today I’d like to share a few inexpensive cheap tricks I’ve discovered for Franklin. Some are purely practical and others are a mix of form and function. And all the tricks are under $12.

When Franklin is getting riled up and being really mouthy, this ducky on a string has been a life hand-saver. Instead of getting bit repeatedly while trying to play with a toy in my hand, the string allows me to keep my skin several feet away from his sharp puppy teeth.

Though we don’t let him play with the duck unattended due to the string, we have found him to be one of Franklin’s favorite “big boy” toys.

When it came to food bowls, I spotted these adorable little white ramekins at Target for just $1.99 each! They are far and away cuter and cheaper than the options I found at our local PetSmart.

For keeping the floors clean, Mr. Lively picked out this sea-foam tray at Ikea for just $11.99. It’s metal with a great coating that makes it waterproof and puppy-proof. Nothing he can do to this tray seems to alter it one bit.

In fact, we’ve found that Franklin also uses the tray as a napping station too.

After one week of clicker training Franklin has now learned “sit,” “lay down,” “shake,” “leave it,” “kisses,” “drop it,” and “high five.”

We’ve also been able to work on his impulse control immensely with these simple $1.49 clickers found at the checkout at PetSmart. There are actually four of these clickers all around the house paired with little snack bowls (filled with his actual food) for when he’s looking for attention and wants to do some “tricks.”

I’ve found some great clicker training tutorials here that have helped me get new ideas for commands and training.

Like most puppies, Franklin loves to chew. He’s fond of chewing baskets, rugs, pillows… whatever he can get his teeth on. We first purchased Bitter Cherry from a local supply store but we found out that Franklin actually likes the flavor.

After later reading about Tabasco, but not wanting to cover our furniture in orange sauce, we opted for white vinegar with chopped jalapenos. We’ve dabbed this on the baskets he adores and already we’ve seen him turn his nose at the scent and walk away. Victory!

Though it might not work for upholstered pieces, it’s great for cables and hard surfaces. Freezing his toys has also helped calm his little teeth and make his toys almost more appealing than the rug.


So there you have it!  A few of the simple, cheap ways I’ve found to keep our house in order and help our puppy grow into a little gentleman.

entry way details and cheap tricks

October 30th, 2012   |   DecorStyle


Our entry way is coming along. There is still one important change that needs to take place… but until then I’d like to share how I’m currently using the area and a few cheap tricks I’ve come up with that look cute and keep things organized.

You’ll notice that we scored a beautiful 1880’s marble topped chest from Chic Antique. It adds a sense of history to the otherwise new and modern space. Mr. Lively was the one that gravitated towards it first due to the rough, worn paint and I was sold on the white marble top.

The drawers contain receipts, to-do lists, small tools, and puppy stuff.

On the top of the table we have two DIY bulletin boards, a tray for my keys, candle jars for pens and mailing supplies, a metal tray for Mr. Lively’s things, and a little bowl with coins and two clickers for the puppy (we get him on Saturday!).

To the side of the entry table we have a ceramic umbrella stand I received as a gift a few years ago (from Z Gallerie) filled with scarves and my rain boots.

One cheap trick I love is my key chain holder. I used the leather tassel from my K.Slademade clutch as a key chain.

The cool part about the key chain design is that it’s super simple to open and close. Which means the car keys Mr. Lively and I share are easy to add or remove from my key ring whenever needed.

Of course any keyring with a simple closure like this would do the trick.

My other favorite little cheap trick in the entry is my mail station.

In the black candle jar we have stashed a few key essentials for outgoing mail.

Stamps, ink, and a custom rubber return address stamp I made via Photoshop and Rubberstamps.net with our new address (I obscured it for privacy). The total came to just $15.90 with shipping for the rubber stamp. And it would have been even cheaper if I went for a smaller size stamp. I chose the 3.5″ x 1.5″ format for $11.95.

All in all, it’s a cute and simple way for us to send mail out without having to write our address or use return address stickers.

I can’t wait to reveal the entry when it’s in it’s final state. But until then I hope you like the progress so far!


cheap tricks

September 17th, 2012   |   LifeStyle


Lately I’ve found some inexpensive ways to add a little oomph to my life. Nothing earth-shattering, just stuff that makes makes me smile.

Exhibit A: Candy Corn Oreos

Yes, that’s right. I know these are far from healthy, but when Mr. Lively and I spotted them at Target last night, we had to try.

As an avid candy corn candy pumpkin eater, I heartily approve. Somehow they managed to perfectly manipulate the (artificial) flavors in this treat.


Exhibit B: Lunchskins

Since we are a no zip-lock household, these new Lunchskins are a great way for me to pack Mr. Lively’s breakfasts and lunches. Plus, they are dishwasher safe (!) and have Velcro.

Mr. Lively and I joke that he can tell the quality of his lunches by the quantity of re-used hummus containers he has to take to work. It’s not rare for him to have 5-7 containers each day. So these new baggies save a lot of space in his messenger bag. Plus, I enjoy the cheerful designs.


Exhibit C: Bath and Body Works Candle – Leaves

When it comes to candles I do love me some pretty (and expensive) scents. And though I will splurge here and there on fancy candles, I also like to light them everyday – which can get expensive.

The most economical candle I’ve found with the best fall scent (by far) is Bath and Body Works’ scent, Leaves. It is delicious and not sugary or too sweet. The label also peels off easily so it instantly looks more expensive. And if I light one wick at a time each night, two candles will last me a whole season. Considering that B&BW frequently has two for $20 deals, I patiently wait until they go on sale and grab them for just $10 each.


Any other cheap tricks out there I should know about?

cheap trick: ikea dresser

October 15th, 2012   |   DecorLifeStyle

There is definitely progress happening on the home front. I’ve honored my birthday by treating myself to some home design time. Here is one of the recent updates which makes me so, so happy.

Mr. Lively’s bachelor dresser (hailing from the land of Swedish meatballs) is looking a bit spiffier in his new digs.

Here he was in his natural state.

A bit blah for my taste. So we upped the ante with new knobs (first spotted in Kim’s studio).

I mean, common. For those who love gold, like me, this guy is looking like a million bucks without the price tag.

Sure we coulda gone with a whole new dresser but this one was perfectly fine and had great oversize drawers and an exaggerated height which this tiny bedroom desperately needed. So for just 60 bucks we had a five minute makeover worth every penny.

He had good bones before, now he has good jewelry.

more please!

September 27th, 2012   |   Life

As I prepare to move to the new apartment this weekend and close Jess LC in November, a sense of change is definitely in the air.

The person I am now is not the same person that moved into this building three years ago. I’m older, wiser, and have a better hair cut.

Oh, and I’m also married, going to be a (puppy) mom, and will be designing a new home.

With all of this in mind, I’d love to hear what topics you’d like to see more of here on the blog!

These are a few of the topics I’m thinking about exploring in more depth. I’d love to know which ones you are most excited about or want to see more of.

  • Thinking with intention
  • Marriage / relationship
  • Decorating the home
  • Puppy photos
  • Style
  • Cheap tricks
  • Overcoming fears or difficult things
  • ______________________

Please comment with your favorite(s) and of course, feel free to fill in the blank with your own suggestion!

I really appreciate your help, as I really want this blog to be as helpful as possible.

A few people have mentioned over email or Twitter that they spotted my recent feature in the May issue of Woman’s Day Magazine.

And thanks to Michelle, I now have a copy  of it myself!

On page 66 you’ll see this mug staring back at you. Don’t worry, I had hair and makeup for this shoot. So that ain’t the way my hair looks when I wake up.

What can I say? Just keepin’ it real.

Anyways, I’m honored to be asked by WD to share how I organize and decorate with my accessories. It was quite a fun day of shooting and it was fun to share my easy (and cheap) decorating tricks.

Luckily, the feature is also on Woman’s Day online as well. So feel free to hop over and see my tips for storing and showing off accessories.

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