A Few Spring Things

29 Apr

Hello and Happy Spring (even though I live in a Tropical climate where our only seasons are rainy and dry). Here are a few things I have been and continue to enjoy as we mark time until glorious summer!

MAKEUP

Pretty Birdie by Pretty Vulgar

Pretty birdie palette

This brand launched on Sephora.com sometime last year. I remember it initially got a bit of buzz then everyone , myself included seemed to forget about them. Fast forward to March this year when I saw this brand in store.

I was immediately drawn to this palette with its mixture of bold mattes(Nevermore and Snitch) and muted jewel tone shimmers(Wing it, Brilliant and Jealous). The formula is smooth and easy to blend and allows for many different spring appropriate looks!

Life`s a Festival by Too Faced

Life’s a festival palette

Are you sick and tired of unicorns and mermaids yet? I`m not! But I understand why some people might be. If you fall into that group I implore you to look past the ~ unicorn-ISM ~ and the somewhat silly packaging because this palette is solid.

It`s definitely meant for creating more fun, festival inspired looks with a few brightly coloured matte shades(Dessert Vibes and Young and Free), a lot of beautiful shimmers and some popping duo-chromes (Artist pass and Mystic Rain). If you can still get your (unicorn) hoofs on this one, definitely give it a try!

EATS

Starbucks Instant Refresher and Bobo`s bar

Starbucks Refresher

I am an obligate coffee drinker. I say obligate because I need the caffeine to get me going in the morning but I wouldn’t consider myself a coffee lover by any means. However, I`m always looking for something different and I recently found this. This is a hibiscus and berry flavoured drink with just a touch of caffeine. Enough to get your mornings going with a fruity/floral refreshing taste.

Bobo Bar

I discovered Bobo bars a few months ago in my quest to find breakfast on the go that didn`t contain gluten (I have some gluten intolerance) This company began as a mother daughter home baking endeavor and their bars come in a multitude of flavours from peanut butter to orange cranberry. They taste great warmed up for a few seconds in the microwave and go along great with tea, coffee (or starbucks hibiscus berry refresher)

BODY

Lip Mask

Lip mask by Lifestyle Products

They are making masks for everything these days: face, eyes, hands and lips! And to be honest, they don’t make a real difference one way or another , but they can give some temporary relief and improvements and they’re fun !

This brand is called Lifestyle products and they have a few different ?flavours ?scents such as shea butter and coconut. Your lips feel hydrated and soft after use.

Body Spray

BBW Rose Quartz body mist

Bath and Body Works is always out there looking for new ways to separate me from my hard earned money. One of their latest (successful) attempts is their new New Age , mineral inspired line. This is quite interesting as most minerals (rocks) don’t actually have any associated odours.The three scents are Rose Quartz, Aquamarine and Moonstone and they are available in shower gels, lotions and body mists. They all have more mild, clean scents with rose quartz having a soft rose water type of scent.

HOME

Candle

BBW Avocado Coconut 3 wick Candle

I love me some candles especially BBW candles. This particular style they have brought out features a more squat but wider shaped candle (stated to be the same amount as the regular shaped ones) and many of the scents are more natural inspired. This one, combines avocado and coconut, a rather unlikely pairing which gives a creamy, rich smell.

Thanks for letting me share some of the things I currently like and have an awesome day!

Cheap Trend: Tassels and Pom Poms

8 May

Tassels hand pom Poms have long adorned clothing and accessories.  From the ends of strings on a peasant blouse to decorating the perimeter of bohemian style cushions. For the past three springs and summers  tassels and pom poms have been out  in full force, dotting otherwise mundane items with dots and splashes of colour and texture. I actually thought this trend was winding down but look and behold it continues to be ever present from runway to the racks of fast fashion stores.

Tassels bangles by Aqua Lilith  $41 US, Pom Poms and Tassels hat by Eric Javitz $250 US, Pom Pom sandals by Elina Linardaki $225 US.

This trend is easy to wear. You can make any look fun and bright with tassels and pom poms, going from zero to vacation mode in seconds. You can shell out some serious coin for a designer item or pick up something more affordable from off price retailers or fast fashion boutiques. OR, you could DIY!

That’s exactly what I did. I decorated a pair of espadrilles, a cross body bag and made a necklace.

Necklace

WHAT YOU NEED 

Length of leather, rope or chain.

Embroidery thread or floss.

Jump rings

WHAT TO DO 

1. Take a length of the thread and wrap it around three fingers multiple times. The more you wrap, the thicker the tassel will be. Alternately, you can use a square of card board, the with determining the length of the tassel.

2. Cut a short piece of the embroidery thread and tie it approximately 1/4 way down the tassel. Make a few wraps then tie off.

3.Thread a piece of the embroidery thread through the top loop and tie off. Add a jump rings and knot.

4.Cut off all the loose ends, then trim the bottom loop to create the fringe.

5.I repeated this twice using different colours and creating varying length fringes. I also combed through the thread with a fine toothed comb to make it fluffy.

6. Slide onto faux leather and tie ends together .

Shoes

WHAT YOU NEED 

Shoes- I used a pair of espadrilles with laces. You can use gladiator sandals or any other shoes with laces.

Pom Poms-These can also be easily DIY’d using yarn but they are very cheap and accessible from craft and stationary stores.

Eye pins- These are the small metal pins with loops at the top. They can either be bought from jewelry supply stores or you can make one yourself with jewelry wire and a round nosed pliers.

WHAT TO DO 

1.Push the eye pin through the Centre of the pom poms.

2. Cut the excess length off the eye pin and using pliers make a loop at the other end. Note, it must be large enough to slide over the laces.

3. Slide the completed pom poms onto the laces at varying points.

An alternate way is using jewelry bales and gluing the pom poms on then sliding those on to the laces.

Bag Charm

WHAT YOU NEED 

Bag- any style you wish, I chose a black square crossbows.

Tassels- you can make them the same way demonstrated above or use inexpensive  ready made ones from a craft stores,  like I am. 

Pom Poms

Thread- I used embroidery thread since it was at hand. You can use rope or ribbon if you like.

WHAT TO DO 

1. Make a loop and knot it.

2. Add an eye pin to the pom poms.

3. Slide onto thread and knot after each addition.

4. Add a jump ring to the top loop then add a keyring to the jump ring.

 

Bonus

I made this little cutie as a bonus. I’ve been seeing pom poms bag charms with eyes all over. This is great for a kid’s bag or for an adult with quirky taste.

I used a larger pom poms, added an eye pin and a jump ring at the top, then a keyring to that and glued on the googly eyes.

Whether you chose to DIY or buy, you’re sure to feel festive and trendy wearing tassels and pom poms.

Beginners Baking Kit 

30 Apr

For all you new bakers out there who aren’t sure where to begin, this is a guide to get you going. This “kit” is geared towards someone who doesn’t bake regularly or who is just getting into baking.

Bowls

You will of course need bowls. Multiple ones of varying sizes. You will need at least one large bowl to hold your batter, a couple of small ones to hold small portions of ingredients and a couple medium sized ones.

Measuring spoons and cups

These are a must. They are useful for measuring liquids and powders and fortunately are very easy to come by. Most supermarkets, hardware stores even craft stores sell them and they can be extremely affordable.

Scale

A digital scale is a personal must have recommendation. I did not own one of these when I first got into baking, I actually ended up buying it at the suggestion of my nutritionist but it came in handy for so much more than measuring servings of almonds. Scales can give exact weights which is necessary for successful baking. Make sure your scale can convert between units (oz/kg).

Mixers

Hand Mixer

This is where you can end up spending some big bucks, but you don’t have to. For someone who is now beginning or maybe doesn’t plan to do a lot of Baking I recommend a hand mixer over a stand mixer.  Stand mixers are fabulous but they are a big commitment. They typically cost at least a couple hundred dollars, they require care and maintenance and they take up lots of space. So start small. Hand mixers are typically affordable,  portable and easy to store and they get most baking projects done with ease.

Whisk

A whisk is a must and you probably already own one. If you can’t afford a hand mixer a whisk will work nut obviously requires more effort. Moreover, whisks are useful for more specific techniques where you may not need ingredients beat together. Whisks are affordable and easily found in supermarkets and hardware stores.

Utensils

There are numerous baking utensils you can find yourself buying. But for the basics you really only need three things. A spatula, a spoon and a palette knife or offset spatula.
Spatula

A spatula is useful for scraping down batter, getting batter out of bowls and for folding ingredients.

Spoon

The need for a spoon is self-explanatory and most people have spoons laying around.

Off set spatula 

This nifty little tool comes in handy for decorating. If you are Icing a cake it helps to smooth the icing over the top and around the sides.

Baking ware

One cannot bake without baking ware. Lol. The type of Bakeware you chose to buy depends on what you plan to bake. For example,  if you plan to make bread and loaves you need a loaf pan and if you are a muffin lover you’ll need a pan for that too. I have a few basic suggestions.

Circular tin

For your basic cake making you cannot go wrong with a circular tin. My one pro tip is get a spring form tin, one you can release and remove the bottom out of for easier removal.

Square pan

This is useful for baking brownies, blondies and other bar type baked goods.

Cupcake tin 

Cupcakes and muffins are also pretty basic baking territory and for that,  you’ll need a cupcake tin.

Baking sheet

This is great for baking cookies and other flat baked goods.

These are the basics for getting started in baking. Let me know if you have any other basic baking essentials that I left off and have an awesome day.

Save

NAME CHANGE

1 May

Hello

 

POORPARTYGIRL is changing to BROKEPARTYGIRL! This blog was started with me wanting to showcase lifestyle on a budget, how to get your biggest bang for your buck and make the best purchase not necessarily the cheapest purchase. It’s about faking it until you make it and doing the best with whatever you have. What it isn’t about is being inconsiderate to people who actually live below the poverty line. I have NEVER intended the name poorpartygirl to be offensive to anyone and to be honest no one has ever taken issue with the name. However, as much as I love the name and I feel attached to it, I feel it is more appropriate to use the term broke rather than poor. Hence the name change.

Thanks for reading and understanding and have an awesome day.

VALENTINO VS RED VALENTINO- Diffusion Lines and Massification…Is it Worth It?

8 Apr

Valentino blouse

Valentino blouse $3690

We have all heard of the fashion house Valentino. Founded by Valentino Garavani in 1960, this brand has become a household name even among those who do not love luxury. You just know the brand… the beautiful dresses, the bags and the shoes! The freaking rock studs!

You may or may NOT have heard of RED Valentino. If you have, you may have found yourself a bit confused. Is it a different brand? A different Valentino? Is it a special heart disease awareness collection? (that was what I first thought when I learnt of it)

It is none of those things. It is a sister line to Valentino. That means it is made by the same company that makes your rock stud pumps, flats and sliders. However, you won’t find the exact designs that you do from House of Valentino and you won’t pay as much for the items. This is called a diffusion line or brand and it achieves a process called Massification.

Let’s get some definitions out of the way:

Diffusion Line: A diffusion line is a secondary line of merchandise created by a high-end fashion house or designer that retails at a lower price. These ranges are separate from a fashion house’s “signature line” that typically retails at much higher prices.”

Massification: Massification is a strategy that some luxury companies use to attain growth in the sales of product. Some luxury brands have taken and used the concept of massification to allow their brands to grow to accommodate a broader market. As a method of implementing massification, companies have created diffusion lines.

Valentino is hardly the only fashion house to do this. Other examples include but are not limited to:

Armani Exchange by Armani

DKNY by Donna Karan

Hugo by Boss

Marc by Marc Jacobs

Simply Vera by Vera Wang

Victoria by Victoria Beckham

So what does this all mean?

What it means for the fashion houses is a way to increase profits. Remember, fashion houses are businesses and the goal of all businesses is to make profits. By creating a line that is more affordable and present in many department stores and outlet malls it becomes far more accessible to the masses. People who may never have heard of a particular designer because they do not follow luxury fashion may suddenly own multiple pieces due to the exposure.

This method also allows the fashion house to maintain its exclusivity surrounding its principle line. That means they keep their high-end clients and gain more mid-level clientele.

What diffusion lines and massification mean for the consumer is a chance to experience a fashion house at a lower cost. It can be a way for someone to dip their toes in before diving head first into a luxury brand. It is a way for people who enjoy good quality and design but not very high prices to get what they are looking for.

What this means for products and the industry is controversial. There are some people who are staunchly opposed to “the masses” being included in luxury fashion as it takes away some of the ever-important exclusivity that the high prices confer. Some fear that when a fashion house begins to dabble in lower quality items, that it may transcend all their lines thus bringing down the overall quality of that fashion house. Others believe it is potentially detrimental to many of these fashion houses as there are so many mid-level designer brands competing with the same (or better) quality and similar (or lower) prices.

Now diffusion lines are a specific thing. High end brands making a more affordable line. However, there are other methods of massification in existence some of which people believe to be better options.

Outlet Lines: I have a previous post discussing outlets, however some companies, often contemporary brands which already charge mid-level prices create even more affordable and slightly lower quality items to be sold in outlets.

Collaboration Lines: This is when a fashion house or designer produces a collection of number of collections to be sold in more affordable stores such as Target or Walmart. Again, these items tend to be less elaborate with their designs and lower quality.

Brand Extension: A high end fashion house will create a new product, a cheaper one under the same name. For example, a fashion house that only sold haute couture clothing may start an accessories line or a perfume line. This allows more people to become familiar with and purchase from the brand.

So, is it worth it to shop a diffusion line?

Let’s go through some points

A diffusion line is a sister line to a higher end one often more affordable but lower in quality.

Being lower in quality does not equate to poor quality.

Many diffusion lines though less expensive are still high priced.

There are many competing brands with similar or better quality items for similar or lower prices to diffusion lines.

There are other methods companies can use to achieve massification or to reach more average consumers.

Here are my thoughts. Do not simply buy an item because of the name. This is easier said than done. When deciding to make a purchase of any cost but particularly more expensive ones, consider the quality of the item, the design and the cost. Let those factors rather than the brand determine whether you should make the purchase.

Thank you for reading and have an awesome day!

RED Valentino shirt

RED Valentino blouse $478

Easter Tea Cake

31 Mar

Hello and Happy Easter to all who celebrate! Today I’m asssembelling a cake that I think is perfect for Easter. It’s a Victoria sponge with the traditional strawberry jam and iced and decorated to add a little Easter flare.

Victoria sponge is a well known English teatime staple. It comprises of two layers of sponge cake sandwiching strawberry jam and often times, whipped cream. It can be served in typical cake slices or in rectangular finger sandwich style slices.

For this cake, I used the jam but not the whipped cream and topped it with icing rather than the usual dusting with icing sugar.

WHAT YOU NEED

1) Sponge cake– I used a Waitrose package mix but use whatever recipe or package you prefer.

2) Strawberry jam– Or any other flavour jam you want.

3) Icing– This is plain old icing sugar and water mixed to a fairly thick consistency. I chose to dye mine the faintest pink.

4) Toppings/ Decorations– I used fresh strawberries (sliced) to go with the strawberry jam and Cadbury’s mini candy coated chocolate eggs.

Sponge cake, strawberry jam and pale pink icing.

Fresh strawberries and candy coated chocolate eggs

WHAT TO DO

1) Slice the cake crossways in half to create two layers.

2) Spread a generous layer of jam over the surface of the bottom layer– The cake will absorb some of the jam so use enough to take that into account but not so much that it leaks out the side of the cake.

3) Place the top layer over the jam and place in fridge for at least 15 minutes to let it “set”

4) Spread icing over top of cake allowing it to naturally run over edges.

5) Place iced cake in the refrigerator and let the icing fully set.

6) Once icing has set proceed to adding decorations– I used a very thin layer of icing to stick on the eggs.

And there you have it! A delicious Victoria sponge with a little twist. This is perfect for Easter Tea, (or brunch or lunch for that matter). Also, with a different topping it’s great as a birthday cake or a cake for any other occasion.

Have an awesome day and an awesome Easter!

5 Key Accessory Pieces

11 Mar

This post outlines some key accessory items I think every woman should have. This is not an exhaustive list and it is totally expected to have multiples of some of these items but having at least one of each will help keep your wardrobe afloat.

Sunglasses– Of course you need a pair. Sunglasses walk the line between function and fashion. They shield your eyes from uncomfortable sunlight and protect them from UV damage. Choose a pair of sunglasses that suit your face, goes with most of your wardrobe and that fits in with your budget.

A tip for prolonging the life of your sunglasses is to keep them in their case once you aren’t wearing them. Don’t drag them onto your head, don’t hang them onto the neck of your shirt and don’t just cram them into your bag.

Clutch– A small compact bag to stash your essentials in for a night out. Select a clutch that can hold your phone and keys along with some lipgloss. The colour and style are totally subjective but of course, neutral colours will get the most use.

Whatever style you chose depends on you but I have two recommendations when looking for a clutch apart from ensuring it can fit enough stuff. The first is find one that has a few card slots or at least a small pocket for a card slot. That way you don’t have to worry about a purse/wallet. The second is try and find a clutch with a strap, preferably a detachable one so you get more versatility in terms of wear.

Scarf– Yes, a scarf! I’m not talking a long woolen winter neck warmer, although that’s key in some people’s wardrobes as well. I’m talking a classy, printed silk square. A scarf can add that splash, that personal touch to your overall look. You can wrap it around your head or make it into a headband, you can tie it around your neck or (my fave) tie it around a bag handle elevating it.

A tip for buying a multi-use scarf is to get a wider longer one, that way it can comfortably be used lots of ways.

Hat– A hat is definitely key. For sun protection while on vacation or to add some flare when you’re feeling groovy. My personal favorite is the wide-brimmed felt hat but hats literally come in all shapes and sizes and can reflect who you are.

When storing your hats, place some crumpled paper or plastic bags in the head portion to help it keep its shape. Unless you have a hat form. Or a hat box. Those work too.

Belt– And bringing up the rear is a belt. Belts also sit on the line of function and fashion. They help keep your pants and skirts in place but they can add so much to an outfit. You can add a skinny belt to a work outfit to look more put together or wear a thick waist cinching belt with a loose-fitting dress or top to make things more interesting.

If you find you wear mostly gold jewelry, you should get a belt either with a gold, brass or copper buckle and if you wear more silver, chose belts with silver and pewter buckles.

What accessories do you consider essential to your wardrobe? Let me know and have an awesome day!

“Inspired By” Fashion… Is it Fair?

18 Feb

Teddy Blake Caty

” Caty” bag by Teddy Blake New York

 

This is a discussion about items that have been clearly inspired by another item. In other words, a knock-off or a dupe.

The terminology itself can be rather problematic as it can mean one thing to me and something entirely different to you.

Another problem, the bigger one is how ethical is “inspired by” fashion.

So let me begin the discussion by defining these terms as I understand them.

Inspired By- This is an item: a bag, a dress, a pair of shoes which in its design and production has gathered elements from pre-existing items. This is a broad definition. One may say, everything is inspired by something but for these purposes we mean a bag that looks a lot like another bag which likely is far more expensive.

Knock-Off/Replica- This is when something looks almost exactly like something else and seems to be manufactured that way to make that item appear as if it were the original item it is copied from.

So, those are my interpretations. A better way to discuss this concept however is by examples.

Example 1 “Inspired By” A few years ago, three to be precise I recall looking at some vacation photos of a friend of mine. I immediately noticed her shoes because I had seen a similar pair in PayLess Shoe Source (an affordable brand) the weekend before. Two things stuck out to me: 1) The shoes didn’t really look like the Payless shoes, they only resembled them and 2) This friend wouldn’t be caught dead, alive or in spirit form in a pair of Payless shoes. About two weeks later while browsing a magazine I saw the shoes my friend had been wearing. They were from a high end brand and definitely not from Payless. I liked these shoes but there was no way I would or could pay a high end price for “vacation shoes”.

On retrospect, the shoes in PayLess didn’t look a whole lot like these higher end shoes but rather shared a few basic design elements. In fact, it is likely that the shoes in PayLess were inspired by multiple higher end shoes with a similar design. I consider these shoes to be “Inspired By”

 

Example 2 “Knock-Offs” There is a company which seems to be gaining popularity even among hardcore luxury lovers. This company makes some beautiful, high quality bags. The catch is that these bags very strongly resemble a well-known luxury brand bag. The brand may or may not rhyme with Lermes. These bags resemble this brand so much, that to see a picture of them online, one may assume it is the MUCH higher end bag. Many bloggers and vloggers review these bags (that have been gifted to them) and attest to the impressive quality. These bags, though nowhere in the price range of the ones they so highly resemble are still fairly expensive. I consider these bags to be “Knock-Offs”

So now comes the real question: “Is this fair?”

Designs whether in fashion, architecture or technology come from skilled, hard-working persons who often have gone through years of studying, observing and working their way to success. When someone designs something, it is her or his intellectual property.

When someone else comes along and reproduces these designs for profit, they are essentially stealing said intellectual property. This, in my opinion is wrong.

What muddles or confounds this scenario is when it isn’t obvious that the design is completely ripped off. This maybe because the person or company doesn’t want to be known as a rip off so they change certain elements OR it could be a case of being inspired by a style and making that your own.

Another factor which must be considered is the cost. Most knock-offs are far more affordable than the originals. They tend to be made by relatively unknown or up and coming brands or they are mass produced by budget friendly fast fashion chains. This means that materials will tend to be lower in quality and these companies will not have a name behind them to charge excessive amounts of money. This alone, makes these types of products far more appealing to many. Most of us are on budgets and tight ones at that, and it makes far more sense to buy something that looks like what you want for a literal fraction of the cost.

So, is it fair?

Let’s consider a few points:

Most knock-offs are made from lower cost/quality materials.

Most knock-offs or dupes are far lower priced.

Many higher end products though typically made from better quality products and use artisanal techniques are still vastly overpriced.

Some high-end brands also mass produce their items, including those sold in boutiques.

Some companies who sell dupes or “inspired by” items use very good quality materials and they are handmade.

Making a product that heavily resembles another one can be considered theft of intellectual property.

Some companies make their own designs even though they may be inspired by another pre-existing design.

Some higher end companies also get “inspired by” other designs whether another high-end fashion house or a lesser known brand.

Someone who buys a “rip-off” may be completely unaware that there is an original more expensive version in existence.

So, will you partake in purchasing dupes or knock offs or “inspired by” items? My suggestion is to view each product individually.

For me I appreciate when a brand has given their own input into a design so that even if the item, a bag for example has a similar silhouette to another one, if it has its own touches, like a different flap, unique colours and hardware it becomes something entirely different and sometimes even more beautiful than the “original”. I am comfortable purchasing these types of products. I am firmly against purchasing items that obviously rip off the design of another.

Thank you for reading and have an awesome day.

Hermes Birkin

“Birkin” bag by Hermes

Galentines Day Bash!

4 Feb

It is often said that art imitates life. Sometimes however, the reverse is true. Galentine’s Day was first born on an episode of sitcom “Parks and Recreation” in 2010. Since then Galentine’s Day has become increasingly well known and celebrated with 2017 bringing it a trending spot on Twitter.

This holiday is celebrated on February 13th (the day before Valentine’s day) and it is seen as a day for gals to celebrate and uplift each other in a social scene where girl on girl hate is so prevalent.

This is right up my alley. An excuse to celebrate anything but especially something as positive as friendships between women.

I came up with a few very Pinterest inspired ideas to throw a Galentine’s bash for you and your gals.

Pizza Heart Bites

This is so darn cute. Heart shaped pizza bites are tasty and great party food to pick up and nibble on.

WHAT YOU NEED

Pizza crust -I used ready made flatbread crust

Cheese

Tomato sauce

Other toppings- I used mushrooms and Italian herbs

Heart shaped cookie cutter

WHAT TO DO

1) Cut out heart shapes from crust.

2) Top crusts

3) Bake until cheese is melted and you’re done!

Pink Love Donuts

WHAT YOU NEED

1) Donuts

2) Icing– I dyed it three shades of pink

3) Toppings– sprinkles

WHAT TO DO

1) Dip each donut into the corresponding glaze

2) Top with sprinkles, nuts etc and set into fridge to harden.

Sorbet Fizz Cocktail

For the cocktail portion of the evening, we combine a refreshing dessert with some fizzy wine.

WHAT YOU NEED

Sorbet– I chose black cherry to stick with the pink theme

Sparkling wine– Prosecco, Brut, sparkling rose etc.

WHAT TO DO

1) Place a scoop of sorbet in glass.

2) Pour sparkling wine over it and serve!

Guest gifts

I feel as if no celebration is quite complete without a little something for your guests to leave with. I also like giving gifts that are useful. I am also mildly obsessed with succulents…

Succulents are affordable, beautiful and hard to kill. To seal the deal I stuck a little label with a love note on the pot.

I hope this post can give you some inspiration for your own Galentine’s party or Valentine’s party or whatever party you have!

Have an awesome Galentine’s Day!

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