Friday, December 13, 2013

How to Make Your Own Deco Mesh Door Garland (and Wreath) on the Cheap | DIY

I decided I wanted a deco mesh wreath for my front door this year, but the ones I wanted were all in the $100-300 range. Clearly, it was time to craft. Here's how to did it:

1. Measure your door. 

Mine was liiiike...17 feet all the way around? I don't remember.

2. Gather supplies.

Here's what you'll need:
-Deco mesh (PRO TIP: Get this at Costco. I didn't look online, but this was by far the best deal of the in-person shopping I did. Better than Michael's and yes, better than Wal-Mart. If you must get it from Wal-Mart, check the floral section before the Christmas section. It is cheaper there. At Costco I paid $6.50 or so for a pack of 2 giant rolls.)
-A plain garland (I originally tried to use wire but had zero success with this. For my second attempt I bought the cheapest white garland I could find from Wal-Mart. It was $5 for 40 feet.)
-String lights  (I used two strings of 50 for over the door and one string of 50 to wrap up my light post.)
-Pipe cleaners to match your color scheme. After creating a door garland, a light post garland, and three wreaths, I had used 3 packs of these. They can be found in shiny red in the Christmas section of the dollar store.
-Wire cutters or strong scissors to cut the pipe cleaners
-Decorative stuff. I used large box of shatter resistant ornaments from Costco ($25), a couple medium containers of large shatter resistant ornaments from Wal-Mart, and a huge shatter resistant ornament ball also from Wal-Mart. The big glitter bows, the red and white ribbon, the glitter tulle, and the chevron burlap were all from Wal-Mart as well. Be sure to check the floral section for selection not found in the Christmas section. 
-Something to hang your garland with. I tried the removable Command hooks outside on our siding but they didn't work. We ended up having to nail them into the siding, which I was wholly opposed to, but my husband seemed to think this was okay. Wal-Mart sells something for about $30 specifically for hanging a door garland, but I haven't tried it.

3. Lay out your garland.

Since my garland was 40 feet and I only needed about half that, I doubled it over to make it stronger and cut off the excess. Jackson Lloyd helped.

4. Use small sections of pipe cleaners to attach the lights to the garland.

This actually was kind of a process. I might have called the whole thing off like a big quitter, but luckily I have a handy-dandy husband to listen to me bitch and then help me out. We did this by finding the center of the garland, attaching the center of the lights, and working from there. He was also kind enough to wrap up the connect-y parts so I didn't have a gap in the lights where the strands connected. Make sure you test the lights.

5. Use sections of pipe cleaner to attach the deco mesh to the garland/lights.

The mesh I used was wide so I folded it in half length-wise while attaching it. You can use your own discretion here, but every six inches or so, bunch of the mesh and secure it. 

Get your cat to help.

6. If you're adding ribbon, do that now.

The chevron burlap I used was wider than I wanted, so, with a little help, I folded it in half and stapled it before attaching it. This way, both sides would be decorative. I used pipe cleaners to attach it at every gather in the deco mesh.

7. Plan out how the garland will hang and start decorating!

I wanted the sparkly bows to be in the corners and the big ornaments to be in the center so I had to measure and plan out where that would be. If your garland is going to be the same throughout, you can just start decorating.


8. What are you waiting forrrrr? Hang it up!

That looks goooood boo.

Hey, you wanna matching wreath?

O'course ya do.

The wreath works almost entirely the same way as the garland. The only difference is that you'll want a more substantial garland for the base. I purchased this and was able to use for two wreaths:

This garland was $8 but was on sale for half off and I had a coupon for another 25% off. I added big bunches of deco mesh to the center of mine, but below you'll see two other options: one with small bunches of deco mesh around the center and another where the whole garland is covered. 

 This is an example of covering the whole thing with the mesh that my friend Jessi made:

This is an example of smaller bunches around the center that my friend Clare created:

And this is my finished wreath to match the garland, before I added lights:

And if you get really carried away...


Here's the Finished Product

We bought our home last year just before Christmas, but we didn't have time/money/motivation to put lights up. I was so excited to put lights up this year for the first time.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Best Leggings and Some Fall/Winter Outfit Inspiration for Curvy Girls on a Budget

Hi, I'm too lazy for real pants. If you're here--you are too. It's cool, sister. Leggings are easy and they go with everything and you can go to pole and floor/chair classes and then run five miles everyday or sit on your couch eating your feelings for a month and either way they'll probably still fit. #leggingsarethebeesknees

The problem with leggings? Get the wrong pair...and the answer is everything. And what's if you're curvy? What if "curvy" is just the cute word you're using and what you really mean is "chunkarific?" Igotchu. Here, my friends, is the legging run-down.

Added bonus: cute fall and winter outfits for the curvy babe on a budget, complete with links where applicable.

For reference: I am 5'3" I have a comparatively small 32" waist and big ol' 46" hips.

Lyssé: Shaping Leggings Review

I ordered these last year and loved them but by the end of the season they had several holes in them so I decided this season I would shop around to see if there was anything better. To be fair, I wore these to death. But I still felt like they should have lasted longer. I ordered them again this season and hopefully, since I also have an arsenal of other leggings to alternate them with, they'll last longer this time. 

Price: $58 full price. I got them for 30% off from Bare Necessities and paid around $40. If you look around you should be able to find a coupon code for at least 20% off from Bare Necessities pretty much all the time. Pro tip: If you've shopped there before and don't have a coupon code, try using a cookie-free browser like Chrome's Incognito mode to return. Often they will offer discounts on the home page to new customers. 

Fit: Last year I originally ordered these in an XL and found they were too baggy in the knees and ankles. I exchanged them for a Large and ordered a Large this year as well. These have tummy control which makes them a little difficult to get on with my big hips, but they lay nicely when on and hug everything without squeezing. 

Material: Is nice, but I'd prefer them to be a bit thicker and less shiny. If you look at the picture of them on the model on the Bare Necessities site, you'll notice the shininess on the model's legs. They aren't too terribly see-through, but don't bend over in them without your tush covered. The fabric eventually dulls with repetitive washing.

I also ordered two other pairs of Lyssé leggings. The tight ankle fit grommet leggings are no longer available, but don't worry, you didn't want them. The material was more exercise gear than day wear, but I probably wouldn't work out in them either. I kept them as a back-up pair because I was too lazy to return them, but I wouldn't recommend them. The other pair I ordered were the Floral Print Shaping leggings. I returned them immediately because they had very thin fabric, were extremely see-through, and did little to no shaping.  

What else I'm wearing: Headband from past season Free People | Aqua button-up from past season Target (this one's pretty similar--maybe even the same one) | Faux leather bomber jacket from Target (again, this was past season, but this one from Target is nearly identical) | Jessica Simpson Elmont boot in the extended calf (Click here to read my review on the JS Elmont boot.)

Marika Yoga Pants Review

I purchased these from TJMaxx (or Marshall's? I never know...) for cheap because they reminded me of the Lyssé leggings.

Price: I probably paid less than $20 for these at TJMaxx but finding them there now is a real crap shoot. They are $55 from Marika's website.

Fit: I got these in a Large. They aren't bad but they tend to stretch out after I've had them on for a while and they don't do a lot to shape or contour my legs or my butt. I bought them because of the tummy support panel that appeared to be similar to Lysse's, but I assure you they have nowhere near the same quality of tummy firming.

Material: Cotton-y and kinda cheap. I don't mind since I paid so little for them but I'd be pissed if I paid the retail price of $55. They are pretty see-through and have faded in the wash.

Yes, that's my underwear. No, I'm not bending over.

What else I'm wearing: Hat from Forever 21 (this season, but it appears to be sold out online...this one is similar) | Rustic Fringe cardigan from Forever 21 | Belt from Target (Pretty close.)  | Boots are Fitzwell Sante Fe Extra Wide Calf Boot (Click here for more info and to read my review on these.)

Assets Red Hot Label by Spanx Shaping Leggings Review

They claim to be leggings. But they're lying.

Price: $38 full price from Bare Necessities. I got them for 30% off. 

Fit: Amazing! These feel like heaven and make my legs and butt look awesome. The waist band is super wide and effortlessly stretchy so it doesn't dig in anywhere. I ordered them in an XL. 

Material: These are called "leggings" but they aren't really. Not if you wear leggings as pants anyway. These would be best suited under a pair of shorts for fall/winter wear. They are VERY see-through and kind of appear to have a built in panty. You can see it online if you look closely but I didn't notice it before ordering them. You could get away with these as pants if you wore a long top but you'd really be playing a risky game. If these were truly opaque like some of the other options, these would have been my favorites. They are so soft to the touch. 

What else I'm wearing: Hat from Forever 21 (this season, but it appears to be sold out online...
this one is similar) | Feather earrings are Rae Beth DesignsCropped jacket was thrifted | Shirt was from a boutique in Philadelphia | Boots are past season Target (VERY past season--I bought these in probably 2006 and they still look great)

Elle Leggings from Kohl's Review

A surprising good buy from Kohl's. 

Price: I purchased these on clearance for probably $10-15 from Kohl's a while back. The identical pair aren't available online but here's a similar pair from Kohl's for $22. 

Fit: Not bad. The waist band could be higher, the legs could be tighter (particularly around the ankles), but considering I didn't think I'd find decent leggings on clearance at Kohl's I was pleasantly surprised. They aren't particularly stretchy, so I can see why they came in numbered sizes instead of S/M/L. I got a 12.  

Material: NOT see-through...not even when I bend over. There's also a double hem down the side which is a nice touch and is similar to the White House Black Market pair below that retail for much more. They aren't particularly luxurious feeling, but did I mention they aren't at all see-through?

What else I'm wearing: Amazing leather biker jacket from an Estate Sale! | Aztec vest from Forever 21, current season but sold out (Pretty close.) | Bow tank top from TJMaxx | Over-the-knee boots are past season Bakers

VSX by Victoria's Secret Sport Leggings Review

This line doesn't actually exist anymore, as far as I can tell. But all of the Victoria's Secret sport pants are awesome. (I have three pairs of the flared leg yoga pants in the same material and wear them constantly.) I know, I know, these are exercise pants. But they don't have that exercise-y shine to them and they feel and look awesome. They have a reflector on the back which is unfortunate for everyday wear but my tall winter boots cover that up.

Price: Apparently these have been discontinued, but the VS Knockout pant looks to be nearly the same thing and is currently available for $64.50. 

Fit: I wish the waist was higher, but otherwise I love these. I got a Large.

Material: Because these have exercise pant material, they don't fade in the wash. I bought mine at least three years ago and they still look the same as they did on Day One. They aren't the ultra shiny and slippery exercise material, so if you cover up the reflector on the back of them they just look like high quality everyday leggings. They are see-through if you really bend over--but why are you doing that in public? 

What else I'm wearing: Sunglasses from Target (Pretty close.) | Greatest silk blazer ever with potted plants was thrifted | White button-up by Converse from Target (No longer available but try this instead.) | Jessica Simpson Elmont boot in the extended calf (
Click here to read my review on the JS Elmont boot.)

White House | Black Market Instant Slimming Legging Review

These are probably the winners.

Price: $60 full price from White House | Black Market. I Googled at the time and was able to find a discount code for 25% off. I don't know if such a thing is still available, but it never hurts to try. 

Fit: Kind of big actually. The waist fits great on me but the legs in general are a bit bigger than I'd like. I thought about sizing down in them but surely I'm not a medium in these? The fabric is high quality, however, so I don't notice them getting much baggier throughout the day. 

Material: Not see-through unless you really try to make them so. They feel high quality and don't come off stretchy or shiny looking. They have a double side seam with an extra slimming panel (which you can see in the picture below, just barely) but I'm not sure that it's really doing anything. Overall these are probably my favorites--I just wish the legs were slightly tighter. 

What else I'm wearing: Forever 21 Day Trip Tribal Print Cardigan, no longer available online | Floral/stripe tank top from TJMaxx | Jessica Simpson Elmont boot in the extended calf (Click here to read my review on the JS Elmont boot.) 

Spanx Ready-to-Wow Jersey Knit Shaping Leggings Review

Price: These were a wallet-busting $92 from Bare Necessities. I had a discount code for 30% off so they were a bit less painful, but they were still pretty pricey. 

Fit: I just wish these and the White House Black Market pair could get together and have legging babies. I got these in a Large and they fit my legs great and make my butt look legit. BUT they are very tight on my waist and the chunky waist band really digs in. I considered returning them for a larger size....but then...I just didn't. 

Material: Definitely good thick-ish material. BUT they are very stretchy-shiny. And they are totally see through on my bum. That could be because they're a bit small on me, but they're so see-through that I think a larger size would do the same thing. I can't say these are worth their full price at over $90. 

What else I'm wearing: Pleather jacket by Elle from Kohl's, past season | flocked filigree skull tank from Hot Topic | Geo scarf from Forever 21Jessica Simpson Elmont boot in the extended calf Click here to read my review on the JS Elmont boot.)

Spanx Ready-to-Wow Denim Shaping Leggings in Dark Indigo Review

Price: A cringe-worthy $98 from Bare Necessities. Of course, I had a discount code as per usual. 

Fit: I got these in an XL. They're baggier than I would like on the knees and the ankles. Aren't doing any favors for my glorious butt. Good through the thighs. Okay on the waist. BUT the big glaring issue with these is that they came with a small side zipper that, because of the thick stretchy material, was damn near impossible to zip up. I managed to get them on by pulling the zipper up before putting them on but later that day I had to pee and forgot what an a-hole that zipper was, unzipped them, and then broke the zipper zipping them back up...the first time I wore them. I don't hate these, so I'm thinking about sewing them up myself without the zipper, as I've been unsuccessful in trying to repair the zipper. Or I might just return them. 

Material: Is good. These are jeggings, so they are not at all see-through. I dislike the red details on the pockets.

What else I'm wearing: Hat from Forever 21 (this season, but it appears to be sold out online...this one is similar) | Blurred lines sweater from Forever 21
Jessica Simpson Elmont boot in the extended calf (Click here to read my review on the JS Elmont boot.)

What's your favorite legging? Share it below!