Taking a Break…

Road heading to the horizon at Steens Mountain, OregonHi friends,

If you guys hadn’t noticed already…I’ve stopped posting temporarily. Things got very busy with my day job, and I’ve entered a period of re-evaluating what value this blog can provide to everyone.

A great number of my original reasons for beginning this blog 8.5 years ago have now changed, and I’ve begun a transition to a new phase of my life. What this means is I am still trying to determine the best content that I can provide, and what would be the best format. How to best serve all of you.

I just needed a bit of a break to figure out what’s on the road ahead for all of us.

Thanks for your understanding as we enter into the next phase. 🙂

xo

Carly

Photo taken of the open road in the Frenchglen/Steens Mountain area, Oregon.

DIY Home: Pretty Patterned Bathroom Cabinet Makeover

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Along with the DIY $5 Bathroom Drawer Makeover I did last year, I decided to also give the insides of my bathroom cabinets a facelift with some shelf liner paper and washi tape.

It’s super-easy to do the same – and it provides amazing results. Here’s how to give yourself a little pop of happiness each time you open the medicine cabinet:

DIY Pretty Patterned Bathroom Cabinet Makeover with Shelf Liner Paper

You Need:

sticky-back shelf liner paper (or removable wallpaper!)…I believe my shelf liner paper was actually from a recent trip to HomeGoods  /  washi tape  /  sharp Xacto knife or box cutter  /  scissors  /  measuring tape

How To:

  diy-bathroom-cabinet-makeover-before

  1. My bathroom cabinet was a mess – overflowing with expired meds, unused items, and general junk. (If yours is only half as bad I’ll feel slightly better. I mean, who keeps a bottle of silly putty slime from their son’s 7th birthday party in their medicine cabinet??! (My son is now 10 and a half.) But I digress.) The first step in a makeover is to remove!

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Remove everything and go through it mercilessly.

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2. Wipe down the inside of the cabinet and remove the shelves (if you can). Apply a pretty washi tape to the edges of the shelves, cutting the ends flush with the ends of the shelves.

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3. Measure the inside of the cabinet and cut a piece of shelf paper that matches in size. Remove the backing to the paper and, starting at the top inside of the cabinet, start applying the paper, smoothing down as you go.

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4. My cabinet had screws in the center of the back, so I used a box cutter to carefully cut out a round hole for each screw as I encountered it. I then carefully smoothed the shelf paper around it to remove bubbles and lumps.

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5. Once the paper was flush with the back of the cabinet and secure, I replaced the shelves.

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And the pared-down pile of junk I still wanted to keep in there!

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It looks a lot better, no? All in all – it took my about 15 minutes – and it makes me grin every day when I open it and see how pretty it is on the inside. I chose not to do the sides of the cabinet or the inside of the door just yet…because I think I want to do something different with the back of the door!

Here’s one more time, before…

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and after! A huge improvement, and I’m totally happy with it.

Tell me: Have you gone crazy and papered the inside of your cabinets yet?

xo

Carly

Inspiration: It’s Not Who You Are That Holds You Back Gold Typography

It's not who you are that holds you back gold typography quote by Chic StealsThis week’s typography quote couldn’t be truer – that often, it’s your own pigenholing of yourself that keeps you from change.

It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you are not.

-Denis Waitley

Said by Psychology of Winning author and motivational speaker Denis Waitley.

Who do you think you are not? And what can you do to think that you ARE?

Have a wonderful start to the week!
xo
Carly

Best Brands to Buy from Shopbop When You’re on a Budget

Best Budget Brands to buy from Shopbop

FTC Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. My full Disclosure Policy is here.

So, cards on the table, I participate in the Shopbop widget program for bloggers, which means I host a Shopbop widget in my sidebar, and occasionally promote their sales as per our agreement.

Plus I shop there. At first I didn’t want to, because they were the reason Girlshop went out of business in the early 2000’s (show of hands who remembers Girlshop?? OMG I miss it so much!)…but Shopbop is an awesome, comprehensive destination for brand-name merchandise, with free shipping (2-day shipping if you’re an Amazon Prime member) to boot.

But since they sell brands, a lot of their merchandise is pricey. They sell Badgley Mischka and Zac Posen, for goodness’ sakes. Totally beyond the price range of the budget-conscious fashionista.

So I wanted to put together a list of the brands I actually DO buy on Shopbop (and don’t just drool about). There are some great, affordable finds on there…if you’re willing to look, and during a sale you can snag them up for some great prices. This blog is all about chic steals, after all! Here are some of my favorite affordable brands:

(And, I also included some brands from Shopbop that I have bought which do not fall into the affordable category IMHO, designated with an asterisk* after their names.)

1 – dRa (clothing)

A line where the styles are unique and unusual – though prices are beginning to climb.

Salonika Top

2 – Gorjana (jewelry)

Beautiful, delicate, cool jewelry, most for less than $65. I love the unique designs and how pretty they are. I also have a handbag by Gorjana that I used daily for a year and half…that held up great and I would get compliments on. Love it!

Confetti Earring Stud Set

3 – endless rose (clothing)

A line that often features embellished pieces and beautiful detailing for an affordable price.

Pom Dress

4 – Shashi (jewelry)

I’m on a fine, delicate kick when it comes to jewelry. My Solitaire Ring, Bar Earrings, and Solitaire necklace are all from Shashi.

Solitaire Necklace

5 – Free People

Though yes, you can get Free People from their eponymous stores, if you buy through Shopbop you get free shipping AND take advantage of lucrative sales. I picked up a pretty strappy bra for $26 and a draped ombre sweater for $35 that I just wear to death.

Hoffman Draped Tee

6 – Blank Denim (skinny jeans)*

Never thought I’d pay $88 for a pair of jeans, but these are worth all that and more. I used to just buy jeans from Forever 21 and Old Navy. $29.99-$36.99. Thought I was getting a deal. My butt looked fat in them. The jeans wore out quickly. After 1 wash they were horribly stretched. If I didn’t wash them they started to smell…funky…fast. While I was wearing them by the end of the day they would literally have stretched out and be sagging around my rear. Every single pair I eventually gave away to Goodwilll…because they weren’t worth it. I probably spent $200 buying those junky jeans over the years. NO MORE. Since I began buying Blank denim (i own the Skinny jeans in Rub a Dub Dub, gray, and the destroyed boyfriend jeans), I have not bought any other denim. I don’t need to! They are beautifully soft and velvety, keep their shape no matter how long or how many days I wear them, wash and dry perfectly…flatter my curves, cover my ankles (I’m prudish like that)…and are an all-out AMAZING value for the money. Many reviewers say they are like the higher prices 7 for All Mankind luxury denim but for a mall price point, and I completely agree.

Skinny Jean

7 – JOA (clothing)

My favoritest neoprene sweatshirt is by JOA, as well as my summery striped skirt and crop top combo. Very affordable and fashionable, though skirt length and design I’ve found hit and miss. Items aren’t lined and fabrics are sometimes low-quality, but the cuts are unique and fun. Strangely, I’ve spotted JOA in Target lately, so it looks like they’re expanding their reach.

Flounce Crop Top

8 – Kate Spade New York (jewelry and homewares)

Since the Kate Spade brand has expanded to include lifestyle items, I’ve found that the homewares category (like notebooks! pens! candles!) is surprisingly affordable and utterly chic. Some jewelry is, too, around the $35 price point  – and every time I wear my Kate Spade earrings I receive a compliment. Seriously – EVERY.TIME.

Stack Attack Stackable Ring Set

9 – Alexander Wang T (Long-Sleeved Pocket Shirts)

Draped, loose, and chic, this is another “I can’t believe I paid this much for this but I wear it so much it kinda doesn’t matter” item. I do the half-tuck thing into the above skinny jeans for the weekend days, tuck into a high-waisted skirt at the office. They span the line of casual and dressy effortlessly.

Classic Long Sleeve Pocket Tee

10 – rag & bone/JEAN (long-sleeved shirts)

Never thought I would pay $65 for a long-sleeved shirt (on sale)…but that was probably the best $65 I spent. Amazingly soft, with a high crew-neck (so appropriate for the office too)…a little sheer if you wear a contrasting bra underneath but opaque if you choose flesh-colored,,,hugs in all the right places and skims elsewhere…long enough to cover muffin tops and hip bulges, doesn’t cling like Three Dots tees (don’t even get me started on the inappropriate Spandex content in those)…sleeves super long so they bunch at the wrists so my wrists don’t look absurdly mantis-like sticking out of the sleeves…I can’t stop singing this shirt’s praises. I wish I’d bought 6 of them, I love them so much. I wish they’d make them again. I wish they’d go on sale before other people snap them up. I wish for so much.

Camden Long Sleeve Tee

11 – Rebecca Minkoff (jewelry)

Though the clothing can get pricey, I have snagged an absolutely beautiful jacket (ombre, power shoulders, cropped, 80’s-style, Hawaiian-print…say that 10 times fast!) ofr around $100. But it’s the jewelry I wanted to mention here: gorgeous pieces with a bit of an edge. I actually own a surprising number of pieces because it’s THAT GOOD.

Raw Crystal Pave Studs

12 – Steven by Steve Madden (shoes)

Steven offers some great styles for $130 or less. (Especially if you can grab then on sale – then you can score something pretty for around $60!) They resemble the higher-end line and still last like a boss. A GIRLBOSS.

Genna Flats

Are there any (somewhat) pricey brands that are your closet staples? Do tell – I’d love to discover more!

xo
Carly

Makeover Your Guy’s Shirt 5 Cute Different Ways for Yourself

So ladies…right now button-down shirts in blousy, dressy shapes are all the rage. I’m loving it because that means my Men’s Shirts DIY’s are once again totally topical! (The posts may be a little older and photos not great, but you can still follow along!)

Here’s how to get your craft on with 5 different projects to makeover a man’s shirt into a super-cute DIY piece for yourself:

DIY Cute Summer Shirt Dress (from a Man’s Shirt)

shirtdress2

DIY Babydoll Dress (from 2 Men’s Shirts)

DIY: 2 Men's Shirts to Cute Babydoll Dress

DIY Convertible Skirt (from 3 Men’s Shirts)

outfit2

DIY Jumpsuit Romper (from a Man’s Shirt)

Romper Jumpsuit from a Man's Shirt

DIY Bustier Dress (from a Man’s Shirt)

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Happy DIY’ing!
xo
Carly

 

DIY: Strappy Back Bra

FTC Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. My full Disclosure Policy is here.

diy-strappy-back-bra-intro-photo-chic-steals

And dare I add…sexy to the title?

I’m sure you’ve noticed that a recent trend for the past couple of years has been lingerie (and swimwear!) getting more complex and strappy. Lots of extra ties, crossing strings, layered straps…I just love it! Bra straps peeking out from under a shirt are no longer risque; they’re trendy and cute. Welcome to the era of underthings that are meant to be shown…and this DIY takes any old bra you might have and upgrades it into the strappy bra trend. Get ready for some major sexiness with this project.

Many brands come already with tons of great strappiness. (Victoria’s Secret, Only Hearts, Free People, and One Teaspoon are particular faves.)

diy-strappy-back-bra-inspiration-chic-stealsI really liked this particular Victoria’s Secret bra (no longer available…but this is very similar) …but didn’t want to buy a whole new bra.

So what are you to do if you want a little sultriness but the lingerie you have needs a little upgrade? Add MORE straps of course! Here’s how:

You Need:diy-strappy-back-bra-materials-chic-steals

bra rings and sliders set  /  extra pair of bra straps (salvaged from a convertible or strapless bra, or bought as a separate item)  /  bra you don’t mind attaching the straps to permanently  /  matching thread  /  hand-sewing needle  /  pins  /  scissors

How To:

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1. For the particular style I’m making, you have to cut off the ends of the bra straps. This bra had convertible straps, so I unhooked them and cut off the ends.

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2. Thread both loose ends through a double-sided slider.

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3. Now to create the upside-down V’s that will anchor each strap to the bra band. Take your two extra straps and cut off the ends. Thread a bra O-ring onto each. Pin down one cut end to the underside of the bra band, near the hook closure. (Note where the end is in relation to where the old straps connected.)

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4. Pin the other end of the strap to the bra band, closer to the cups, to make an upside-down V on each side of the bra hook closure.

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5. Thread the loose ends of the original bra straps through each O-ring. Fold the end of the original straps under and pin around that O-ring to secure.

6. Try on the bra to make sure all the straps lie correctly, and adjust the pinning if necessary. DO NOT CUT ANY STRAPS SHORTER until you’re ABSOLUTELY sure everything fits!

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7. Once you’re sure you like the fit, now’s the time to sew. Trim the bra’s original straps shorter if necessary, and hand-sew each end onto the O-rings where you’d pinned.

diy-strappy-back-bra-step-7-chic-steals8. Stitch down the ends of the upside-down V straps to the bands (after trimming the excess). I made 2 lines of horizontal back-stitching for extra security.

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9. Now everything’s secured and your bra is strappy (-er). I wanted to add yet another layer of strappy goodness…so I hooked the convertible straps I got from the kit I’d purchased to each original strap-anchor on the bra band.

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10. Then, since my bra had a double strap attached to each cup, I snipped the end so I could separate them and work with the outer straps only. These I attached to the cut straps from Step 9.

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If you don’t have a double strap, use the extra strap material to connect the O-rings to the tops of the cups with some stitching.

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And that’s it!

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It sounds terribly confusing, but it looks incredibly awesome once done (and peeking out from flimsy tops and low-back dresses ;-).

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Happy DIY’ing! (and happy strappiness 😉

xo
Carly

Giveaway – Craft Box Overflowing with DIY Goodies

chic-steals-april-2016-email-newsletter-giveaway-win-this

Hi friends – and Happy Tuesday!

I’ve gotten behind in the past couple weeks due to a lot of travel I’ve been doing for work, but I’ve put together some fantastic items for my April Email Newsletter Giveaway!

Have you signed up to receive my email newsletters yet?

Well if by some small chance you haven’t, it’s high time you did! I’m giving away a craft box overflowing with supplies to 2 different subscribers on my email newsletter list! (And you gotta be on the list to enter to win.)

From my huge crafting stash: items I’ve bought myself and supplies I’ve been gifted to create tutorials for, these boxes are stuffed with crafty goodness. Most items are brand-new and never-used, some have been used a little in tutorials I’ve featured, but all are still usable and ready for you to get making! Here’s what’s in each:

Blues Craft Box

chic-steals-april-2016-email-newsletter-giveaway-blues-craft-box  Fabrics

  • silver-grey poly satin lining
  • cactus-print quilting cotton
  • navy poly chiffon
  • turquoise poly chiffon
  • navy satin lining
  • crushed blue poly shantung (I think)
  • blue denim and crochet cotton
  • printed colorful poly chiffon
  • black stretch lace scraps

Paints

  • Deco Art Ink Effects paint (2)
  • Martha Stewart Crafts paint (1)
  • Terra Cotta Outdoor Paint (1)
  • Tulip Soft Fabric Paint (5)
  • Scribbles Dimensional Paint (1)
  • Tulip Black Light Paint Pack

Jewelry Supplies

  • silver aluminum curb chain
  • black glass bugle beads
  • glass flower beads

Other

  • Tulip Glitters (5)

Reds Craft Box

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Fabrics

  • peach poly crepe
  • peach satin voile
  • pink and black Gothic Lolita print heavy-weight cotton
  • red velvet
  • yellow quilting cotton
  • leopard-print velvet
  • white gauze
  • beige twill scraps
  • striped stretch cotton jersey
  • cactus-print black quilting cotton

Paints

  • Deco Art Ink Effects paint (2)
  • Martha Stewart Crafts paint (4)
  • Tulip Soft Fabric Paint (2)
  • Tulip Slick Paint (1)
  • Orange fabric paint pen
  • Tulip Glow Paint Pack

Jewelry Supplies

  • silver aluminum curb chain
  • red heart crystal beads
  • wooden pendant
  • bee pollen in resin pendant on gold unfinished chain

Other

  • Tulip Glitters (5)
  • DIY geometric stamp

How to enter? Sign up for the Chic Steals weekly newsletter below. On Thursday, May 19 at 7 AM P.D.T. you’ll receive an email where you can choose the Craft Box you want. I’ll then choose a winner randomly from the entries! (I’ll ship your box anywhere in the world too; the only restriction is you must be 18 years or over to enter.)

Sign up here now. You’ll get weekly digests of Chic Steals posts, exclusive content and giveaways, and there’s a lot more on the way for you guys.

There will be another giveaway to enter at the end of this month (time is flying by fast!), so see you again then!

chic-steals-april-2016-email-newsletter-giveaway-choose-your-box

xo
Carly

2 email subscribers will win 1 of the craft boxes pictured. The subscribers will be chosen randomly based on their selection of box they want to win in an upcoming email. ARV of the box contents range from $50-75. Entering your email in the Subscribe box subscribes you to a weekly digest of posts from Chic Steals, as well as occasional emails announcing products or services that may be of interest. I do not use email for anything else. My full Disclosure Policy is here.