A touch of elegance—at a very good price!

Staying within a budget often presents unexpected challenges. While it’s true we all like to save money whenever possible, it is also true that we want whatever we buy to look good. Even if we pay very little, we do not want whatever we buy to look cheap or tacky.

I find that this challenge arises when it comes time to buy inexpensive-to-moderately priced shoes, handbags and costume jewelry. Since the outfits these accessories will coordinate with are also bought on sale, at jobbers, church sales or close-outs my rule is not to spend more on the accessories than I spent on any of the clothing.

This is why I usually bypass gimmicky jewelry, bags and belts and prefer to use the good gold and silver jewelry I have instead. Sometimes, though, a real bargain is to be had and when it is I’m sure to consider the purchase.

Faux pearl necklace by Kong Li Fashion.

Pearls are always a good choice because they go with everything and are suitable for even the office. The thing to watch out for is the way the pearls look in daylight. There should be a soft sheen about them and not a glare or dullness. When I saw these pearls on sale at a local 99 cents store I did not hesitate to buy them. Shown here is the cream colored pearl necklace by Kong Li Fashion.

Pink tinted pearls by Kong Li Fashion with my recently completed Dirndl Dress.

There are also pearls with a slight pinkish tint by the same company which I used to accessorize a 1950s inspired dress I recently made.

Necklace with buish-white pearls by Apple Fashion Accessory.

Apple Fashion Accessories makes a bluish-white pearl necklace also available at the same store.

Clasp closing at the back of the pearl necklace.

Each necklace costs $1.49 and has a clasp closing at the back. At that price I decided to splurge and bought all three. They already have a place amongst my current wardrobe and will definitely work well with whatever type of dress or blouse I make in the future.

The pearl necklaces shown here are available at Chen’s Discount Store, 55th Street and New Utrecht Avenue, Boro Park, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Note: I am not affiliated with any store or manufacturer.


Aromatherapy…on a budget, Part 2

I love to have a trace of fragrance fill the air whenever I open the dresser drawers to select stockings, pullovers or pajamas.

Strongly scented potpourris make me sneeze or worse, compete with any perfume or eau de toilette I use after I am dressed. Instead, I use bath soaps that have a light and feminine floral fragrance as a substitute for lingerie or dresser drawer potpourri.

At the supermarket there are still many old fashioned soaps available that our mothers and grandmothers (maybe even great-grandmothers, too) used in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and beyond. Brands such as Camay, Cashmere Bouquet, and Lavendar by Yardley London can be used for the nostalgia factor.

I’ve recently found some soaps that are lower priced than what is available in the supermarkets. They do a good job of providing a pleasant fragrance to the dresser drawers, as well as the storage boxes where out of season clothing is stored in.

Lux soaps made in Egypt. Fragrances are “Aromatic Radiance” (purple) and “Rose Velvet” (pink).

Some of the richest fragrances are among brand name soaps made in Egypt or the Middle East. I got two bars of Lux soap which I’m tucking in amongst my summer dresses and tops that I’m now putting away for the winter.

The description on the box of “Aromatic Radiance” radiance soap states that it contains “scented oil and Lotus flower essence”. The fragrance is very mild and pleasant. “Rose Velvet” contains “rose extract and almond oil”. The rose fragrance is very light. Both soaps are slightly slippery so I wrapped them in some tissue paper before tucking them into my clothes in the storage boxes.

Last year I used Yardley’s Lavendar soap amongst my summer nightgowns and t-shirts. When I took them out this past June for wearing they had a slightly pleasant scent of the lavender still about them.

Using a scented soap instead of a potpourri is also more economical. The Lux soaps I’m using cost $1.00 for 2 bars.

I bought the Lux soaps shown above at: Chen’s Discount Store, New Utrecht Avenue and 55th Street, Boro Park, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Note: I am not affiliated with any store or manufacturer.

Aromatherapy for those on a budget, Part 1

Everyone I know has different ways of alleviating stress. Some like to indulge in a day at a spa. Others make every payday a time to go out for dinner or a martini after work. Others like to rent a movie and get lost in the story.

I’ve found aromatherapy to have some very positive effects when I am stressed. I’ve remembered how a trip to the Chanel counter at any department store can bring back memories of my paternal Grandmother and her sister whenever I catch a whiff of Chanel no. 5. Along with those memories the feeling of being loved and cared for always returned to me.

Recently, I’ve gone on long walks early in the morning to be an even better altnernative to sniffing fragrances in a department store. A long walk not only alleviates stress but causes me to feel lighter and more fluid the more I am out and about. The benefit is that in early morning and late evening there are a wide variety of fragrances and aromas that can act as a natural form of aromatherapy. Whenever I smell roses heavy with dewdrops or rain drops, I recall my maternal Grandmother’s garden full of roses, marigolds and basil. The scent of fresh tomatoes travelling through an open kitchen window reminds me of Sundays when my maternal Grandmother made sauce for the family dinner.

Memories and scents can therefore act as a way for us to relax naturally. My goal in the next few postings is to show ways in which those on a limited budget can also benefit from aromatherapy whether it is provided by Mother Nature or obtained at a very reasonable cost.

Vanilla candle by Old Williamsburgh Candle and Life Style sandalwood incense purchased at D&D Variety.

Even though I work from home, I still get stressed some days by a variety of things going on around me. I’ve started burning a vanilla candle and some sandalwood incense after I end my work session for the day. As I clean-up my ktchen before dinner, the fragrance permeates the entire apartment and I feel as if a calm and peaceful time is underway. I find the layering of these two scents very soothing.

Packaging for the Old Williamsburgh Candle.

The candle cost only $1.49 and the bonus is that these candles are made right here in Brooklyn! I’m all for shopping local and even more so for supporting local businesses.

Life Style incense and burner.

The Life Style incense comes with its own burner. The label says, “Life Style…Return from work. Let’s stay in the atmosphere of sandalwood to eliminate the tiredness.” Although there is no country of origin on the labeling, the quality of the incense reminds me of the more expensive brands I used to buy from China and Japan. The sandalwood fragrance is very rich.

The candle was $1.49 and the incense cost $2.00 Considering how relaxed I feel when these fragrances work their magic on my senses, I think I got a very, very good buy.

Plus, I’m relaxed and alert. A Dirty Martini in a Manhattan or Downtown Brooklyn hipster bar could cost me upwards of $8-9 each.

I bought the candle and incense at D&D Variety Store, 11th Avenue near 64th Street in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn.


Please note: I am not affiliated with any manufacturer or store.