The Top Six Sturdy Carry On Suitcases Under $100

Carry On Suitcase

Carry On’s

Since I plan on being a serious traveler this year, I decided to start acting like it. I did not have a carry on size suitcase. In fact I have only ever checked a bag when flying. However, I started thinking about it and how much money I end up wasting doing that.

The Math

Say you plan to travel four times in a year, and you check a bag each trip, both ways. That bag will cost you at least $25 (each way), usually more. That’s $200 a year you didn’t need to spend. So get yourself a carry on sized suitcase, and save some money for more travel!

My Carry On Picks

So I started doing some research on some cheap (but still cute and functional) carry on suitcases and here are my picks. They are all hardshell, four wheel suitcases. I definitely feel like cloth, two wheelers are a thing of the past. Once you get one of these, you will wonder why all suitcases didn’t have four wheels before! Airports are a breeze with the smooth ride on these wheels.

carry on
carry on

Samsonite // Aimee Kestenberg // Rockland Melbourne // Traveler’s Club // Utopia Home // Traveler’s Club

*Note that prices may change, and vary based on color

 

My Carry On Suitcase

So which one did I pick? The gold of course! I love gold, and this one was too perfect. It looks so nice in person. When I saw it go on sale on Amazon, I took it as a sign and bought it. I was hesitant at first, since the color looked odd in the photos, but the reviews were great so I went for it. Check it out for yourself!

carry on suitcase

Bottom Line

Don’t spend your money when you don’t have to. Pick one of these affordable, yet sturdy carry on’s and never check a bag again! Now that I have a carry on, I will be testing out the best ways to fit the most in it – so stick around for that post coming soon!

Which carry on is your favorite? Have another pick I didn’t mention? Leave it in the comments below!

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How to Find Stylish & Affordable Furniture for Any Budget

Affordable Furniture

Ever since getting my first apartment by myself, home decor has been my thing. One place I love is West Elm. But West Elm is like my dream home at nightmare prices. I love it so much but it can get pretty pricey, and it was definitely out of my recent-college-graduate budget.

Finding affordable furniture can be tough. So I started saving inspiration from places like West Elm and other mid century modern styles but buying from stores with more affordable furniture.

So far I have been so happy with the way my apartment is coming together. I love the way everything looks, and get compliments all the time. Here are the tips I have to getting affordable furniture that fits your style.

Know Exactly What You Want

Going in with a vague idea (or worse, no idea at all) of what you want will set you up for failure. Instead, look for inspiration ahead of time. This will help you to see things that you want, and you are less likely to get overwhelmed when shopping.

Where to Find Inspiration

I tend to find my inspiration from two places: Pinterest and Instagram. You can follow individuals or companies (or both). Both places you can save images you like so that you may refer back to them frequently. I tend to favor Pinterest since you can create separate boards and search more easily. However, Instagram’s new save feature has made it a lot easier to save and store images.

Research Stores in Your Price Range

Next, you are going to have to do a bit of research to see what stores are within your style and price range. Here, I encourage you to keep an open mind. Some places you might not consider “glamorous”, but they have nice pieces.

Stores with Stylish & Affordable Furniture

This is where I get the majority of my affordable furniture. Another place to try? Those discount furniture stores that you have probably seen all over town, but would never want to go in. I get it. That was me. They just didn’t seem my style. But when my grandma dragged me into one, I was surprised. They actually had some great stuff, and for good prices. When trying to find affordable furniture on tight budget, remember that it might take time and research but it will be worth the money you save.

Building Over Time

Of course, another trick to finding affordable furniture is building over time. If you want a nice, cohesive home it is not going to happen overnight. Do not settle because you think you need something right now. Take your time in finding and purchasing pieces. If you can justify a more expensive piece, then save up and buy it! In my first apartment I had a completely empty living room for two weeks. My tv sat on two cardboard boxes for five months. Then one day I found a tv stand that I loved and it happened to be on sale. The wait was completely worth it, and I am glad I didn’t buy something because I felt I had to.

The Bottom Line

Do your research, figure out your style, find places within your price range, and slowly build the pieces in your home or apartment. Do not feel pressured to buy something just because you think you must have that particular piece of furniture right now. Finding affordable furniture you love takes time, so don’t rush. You will prevent buyer’s remorse and be happier with what you have.

What is one piece of affordable furniture you are eyeing right now? I’d love to see what you guys have found on your hunt!

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Save Money Traveling – One Tip to Help Save Time and Money on Your Next Trip

Save Money Traveling

One thing that I have learned over time that enables me to save money traveling is to have snacks and meals on hand.

Don’t get me wrong, I love food. And going to new restaurants is one of my favorite parts of traveling. But when you are on a trip for a few days, it can get old quickly – and expensive. To save money traveling, I use this trick. As an added bonus, you will save tons of time with this tip so you have more time to explore the city.

Where to Go

One of the first things I like to do when I land is go to my hotel, relax, then head to the nearest grocery store, or convenience store. If you want to save even more time, you can plan ahead and see what is around your hotel and have it mapped out. The best way to find a grocery store near your hotel (especially if you are planning ahead) is to go to Yelp. Here you can type in the hotel’s address, and search “grocery store” and it will pull up the ones closest to your hotel. Then I go in and buy my food.

What to Get

I usually get a little of each of these three categories: breakfast, lunch, and snacks.

Breakfast:

For breakfast I like things like yogurt (if you have a mini fridge) and oatmeal. Oatmeal is the one thing you can make it almost any hotel room. Since you can make it in either the microwave, or if you don’t have one in your room you can use the coffee pot! To make it even easier, you can buy the single serve bowls so you do not have to find a bowl to cook it in. Or if you want to buy packets you can use whatever coffee mugs or cups the hotel provides.

Snacks

For snacks I like things like bananas, granola bars, and almonds. Something easy to grab and go. You want at least a couple of snacks that you can throw in your bag, especially when you have a full day of activities planned and don’t want to be burdened with being hungry and grumpy.

Lunch

Lunch can be tough, depending on your hotel situation. If you have a refrigerator, I like to go for the pre-made salads and sandwiches. One of my favorite places to go for this kind of stuff is Trader Joe’s. They have so many pre-made options (that are healthy, too!) This is the perfect break from all of the fatty foods you have probably been eating all trip long. Just about every grocery store and convenience store has something of this sort. You can even buy what you need to make your own sandwiches.

Other Notes

Water

Of course, I like to get some waters, too. Good drinking water can be hard to find in a hotel, so save your money and just buy a small pack at the grocery store. Otherwise you might end up spending a fortune throughout the trip in convenience stores, vending machines, or the hotel’s store. All options that are way more expensive than if you would have just bought a pack in the first place.

Silverware

Also, if you plan to eat something that requires silverware make sure you plan for that too. Some pre-made salads might come with it. Other things won’t. You can either buy a small pack at the store, or get them from your hotel. If your hotel has a free breakfast in the morning you can get them from there. Or if you just call down to the front desk and ask, they will most likely oblige.

Saving Even More Time and Money

If you have the room for it, you can even bring food from home. If you have room in your suitcase throw some snacks in there. Of course this option limits you to only non perishable foods, but you can still bring quite a bit, and save yourself some time when you get there.

Save Money Traveling

So there you have it, my super simple tip to help you save money traveling. I cannot express enough how much this has improved my experience while traveling. Don’t let your hunger and time crunch ruin your trip. Eat in for at least one meal a day, with snacks, and go out and eat whatever you want for the rest of your meals! You will appreciate the food more if you don’t eat out every meal, plus this will save you a lot of time and money.

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How to Paint Your Nails – The Perfect DIY Manicure

Perfect DIY Manicure

Having beautiful nails is something that I always wanted. I grew up around my grandma who got her nails done every week or two – they were never not perfectly painted. However, when I grew up I realized that the salon was not where I wanted to spend my money. So I started to paint my own nails every week, and do a lot of research on the best techniques and brands. Here is the diy manicure I have perfected after many years.

DIY Manicure Tools

Every artist must have the right tools. Here is what I use. If you want the true salon experience you can get some lotions and what not, but these are the basics to get the perfect diy manicure:

  • Cuticle pusher
  • Nail file
  • Polish Remover
  • Cotton Pads
  • Base Coat
  • Top Coat
  • Polish

Steps:

1. The first step to getting a perfect diy manicure is to use nail polish remover to remove any old polish, oil, and dirt. Even if your fingernails don’t have polish on them, use the polish remover. Excess oils can be on your nails, which makes the polish hard to stick and not go on as smooth.

2. Take your cuticle tool and push back your cuticles

3. Next apply your base coat, give plenty of time to dry

4. Then you are going to apply your nail polish in the following way:

Use your non dominant hand to paint first. It will be easier to use this hand when it does not have polish on it yet.
Start wi
th a small dot in the lower center of your nail, about a millimeter away from your nail bed. Push down toward the nail bed, then gently swipe up to the tip of your nail. Then pick up and cover the sides of the nail, softly gliding from the bottom to the top. The trick with this is to do this with a light hand.

5. Next, paint both hands and give ample time to dry. Do a second coat the same way you did the first.

For even more of a visual for this technique, you can watch this video by cutepolish on Youtube

Apply your top coat, and you are done with your perfect DIY manicure!

Painting your nails takes a lot of practice before it starts to look professional. Play with the amount of pressure you use with the polish until you figure it out. It takes some trial and error, so don’t get frustrated.

My recommendations:

The perfect diy manicure heavily depends on the products used. Some polishes just will not go on as smooth. Here are the products that have passed the test with flying colors.

OPI polishes

I have tried a lot of different nail polishes, and OPI really does seem to be the best. It glides on so smooth and doesn’t bubble up. It tends to wear pretty long as well. They also have super cute collections and collaborations.

Save Money

If you don’t want to spend $8 on a single bottle of polish (I hear you on that) then try to get the mini packs or get the polish from Marshall’s/TJ Maxx. For every collection, OPI picks four colors for a mini set. These will cost about $12 each (but they can be found at Marshalls and TJ Maxx for less, too). The great thing about these are that they are enough polish and you get more colors for your money. I mean think about it, have you ever finished a full size? If you are wanting some new polishes go to any Marshall’s and TJ Maxx and stock up. I see new colors every time I go. This past trip I found a full size bottle from the Breakfast at Tiffany’s collection, which is a very recent collection! Plus they had sets for two different collections.

American Classics Gelous Advanced Nail Gel Coat

Just like polishes, I have tried lots of different top coats over the years. This one is the best. It makes lackluster polishes shine and last days! I love the way my nails look after a coat of this stuff. Salon quality for sure. I get this from Amazon.

Sally Hansen Diamond Shine

This base coat is pretty cheap and gets the job done. You can get it from just about any drugstore or Amazon

Trim Totally Together Kit

This kit has everything you need, and I love the cuticle tool – I use this every week.

 

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The Simple Tip You Can Use to Spend Less Money Each Month

Spend Less

How to Spend Less

It is always a goal of mine to spend less. But when it comes to overspending, I am horrible. I am not a big item spender, but instead I buy tons of little things so that all my expenses creep on me slowly and it’s a big problem before I even realize it. Yikes. However, I have developed a system to cut my costs and so far I actually have money left over in my bank account at the end of the month to move over to savings. So what is this magic tip to spend less? Make a wish list.

Make the List

Instead of impulse shopping, make a list of all the things you have been thinking about buying and the prices and wait a couple of days. If you are a frequent Amazon shopper you can create a digital wish list of things you find. Not only will this conveniently save all the links in one place, but Amazon will tell you when the price goes down. So add something, wait a little bit, see if you still want it, and the price might even be lower than it initially was and you will spend less than you would have had you bought it impulsively. Score!

Wait, Then Re-evaluate

After waiting a while you might find that you didn’t even really want it that bad, and you don’t even buy it. This prevents buyers remorse big time. What about the things that you still get excited about just seeing them on your list? Buy them! First, go through the list and pick the top items that will still fit in your budget. If there is something at the bottom of your list that you didn’t have money for that month, move it to the next. If you really want it you will be able to wait.

The Bottom Line: You Will be More Satisfied and Have Less Stuff

If you do buy an item you will value it more. You waited, decided you really wanted it, and now you can enjoy it. Ta da! You spend less while being happier with your purchase. Plus you will have less clutter in your life. This is something I have been working on seriously. I buy things because I want them in that moment, but later I forget about it and it just takes up space in my already tight apartment. Save your money for things you really want and you will be happier. It is that simple.

 

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How to Plan Your Dream Closet with Pinterest

Dream Closet with Pinterest

Why Pinterest Will Help Your Dream Closet

The most helpful tool I have found in planning my dream closet has been my Pinterest page. I have always loved Pinterest, it is one of the best catch all kind of websites to not only save links you want to keep, but to also explore.

Make a Dream Closet Inspiration Board

One of the most effective ways to use Pinterest is to start a board and start pinning outfits or pieces you find that you love. Start by searching some styles you know you like. For me it is things like halter necklines, wrap tops, ankle boots, etc. Once you have a few different styles in there that you like, you can click on the pins that you have already pinned and see the suggested and related pins. This is an easy way to find even more ideas that might be your style in your dream closet. If you want to see an example you can go to my Pinterest page here

After you’ve pinned a few dozen ideas, you should be able to scroll through your Pinterest board and identify patterns. As you can tell by my example above, I am really into white peplum tops and skinny jeans. Whether it be colors, styles, or fabrics. You might even be able to see some that don’t match and question yourself to see whether that is part of your style. Don’t be afraid to delete things! I had a running Pinterest board for outfits that I had been pinning to for years. I went through and refined my style even more by deleting things that just didn’t make sense for my new style. As you start to look around and shop your style will get more and more defined.

Create a Personal Lookbook

Another way I use my Pinterest is a way to store my own personal lookbook. This may sound fancy, but I promise it is really simple. I am not some fashion blogger that has someone take pictures of my outfits with some beautiful backdrop behind me. What I am talking about are mirror selfies. Anytime I get dressed up I snap two pictures in the mirror – one front view and one of the side. From there I use a picture editing app (I use Layout from Instagram) to put the two pictures together. Then I add them to my Outfit Gallery Pinterest board. I’ve made this a secret board, meaning that only I can see the photos. If you want to make it public, go for it! But for me, a secret Pinterest board was the best choice. I didn’t really like the idea of having strangers see my mirror selfies.

Why I Love This Idea

This idea has helped me so much. I have a growing collection of pre-picked, go-to outfits. I use Pinterest because it is a tool I can access from anywhere, and I can delete the photos afterwards so that they are not taking up space on my phone. Going through the board and seeing outfit combinations I forgot about is a lot of fun. It is also a great way to be able to show your friends the outfit you might be thinking about wearing for a certain event. Sometimes I even take pictures of outfits before I wear them. I might get home after doing some shopping, try on the clothes, and have a little photoshoot and upload a handful of pictures at one time.

Pinterest is my most helpful tool when it comes to shopping for clothes and picking out outfits, and those are my two best tips for how to use it.

Hope this has helped, and if you have any tips or posts about how you use Pinterest I would love to hear about them. 

Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list to the right of this post and I will send you a free printable that will walk you how to refine your style, get rid of what you no longer need, find clothes you love, and to maintain that amazing closet!

 

 

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How Having a Curated Closet Will Save You Time and Money

curated closet

Last post I touched on The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees and why I started being more selective with my clothing, but I wanted to go into more detail about the amazing benefits of having a curated closet. Having a curated closet and being intentional about your choices will save you time and money, as well as make you happier in the morning.

Benefits to a Curated Closet

  1. Spend less money on clothes you don’t really want
  2. Have less clutter in your closet
  3. Pick out an outfit in less time
  4. Feel happy when you get dressed in the morning

Why I Love Getting Dressed in the Morning

I just want to reiterate that last point – I love picking out what I am going to wear now. I have always loved clothes and my personal style, but I had my ruts. And I would buy things that I only kind of liked, and they would sit in my closet with tags on them until I finally gave them up. With this method, I only have clothes that I adore, so I am satisfied with any outfit I put together.

How It has Saved My Butt a Few Too Many Times

The time factor is a huge plus, too. There are often times when a friend will text me saying something like: “let’s get breakfast, I’ll pick you up in 10 minutes” and I am still in bed. Yikes! This actually happened to me this weekend. One of my friends said she was impressed with how fast I got ready! The funny part was it was so simple. Because I love all of my clothes and they are so versatile that virtually everything goes together. So yes, you can get ready quickly without looking like a slob when you have the right wardrobe.

Now What?

Now, I have a working wardrobe, with tons of versatile pieces I know I love. So what do I mean by this? Only buy the things you love. No more buying things that you are iffy about but the price is “too good to pass up” or things that you think you might be able to make work. Having a curated closet is the simple solution to your wardrobe woes.

Want a printable guide to help you through this process step by step for yourself? Subscribe to my email list to the right of this post and I will send you a free printable that will walk you through refining your style, get rid of what you no longer need, find clothes you love, and to maintain that amazing closet!

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Closet Overhaul

One of the biggest inspirations in simplifying my life has been my closet. I was buying clothes all the time it seemed like, yet felt like I had nothing to wear.

My biggest “aha” moment was when I saw Shelby at luckydayblog.com mention a book she was reading that had been helping her redefine her personal style. The book is called The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees. I fell in love with the idea and went out and got the book right away.

This book is a great resource if you really have no idea where to begin. However, if you are pretty into personal style and have a good starting place, I think you can skip it. Here are the most important parts:

  1. Figure out your style and what you like and don’t like
  2. Only buy things that fit this style – no more impulse shopping
  3. Make sure you are in LOVE with everything in your closet

Honestly, I think those are the key points. The book goes into more detail about how to get rid of clothes, how to find your style, and some examples of what your style might look like.

Want a printable guide to help you through this process for yourself? Subscribe to my email list to the right and I will send you a free printable that will walk you through refining your style, get rid of what you no longer need, find clothes you love, and to maintain that amazing closet!

I’ll be covering how to define your style using Pinterest in my next post so keep an eye out for that!

 

 

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