Fitness Apparel – Save or Splurge?


Hello all! Summer has been flying by, and I have been SO busy with friends, family, and doing my best to keep in shape. Every year I try to do a few 5k’s and the occasional 10k or Half Marathon. During my recent closet clean-out I noticed I was in desperate need of new exercise duds. I have two schools of thought on this. One, I am fine with the cheaper stuff for gym time and shorter runs. Two, for heavier training and longer runs I invest in higher quality training gear. I thought I would list some stores and online sites where I deal-hunt for you readers.

A) I need clothes that I don’t care about for the gym…
Thrift: Goodwill, Salvation Army
These are my go-to places for super cheap workout t-shirts. My local Salvation Army in particular has rack upon rack of t-shirts to choose from. I don’t find exercise bottoms at either, unless I happen to have realllly good luck.

B) I need a specific workout item without running up my charge cards.
Bargain Shop Chain Stores: Target, Old NavyKohls
These are the three I buy from most often. I have found that Old Navy carries bottoms that have the thickness I desire (no see through). Kohls has their own brands as well as name brands that are often on sale (and even better coupon deals if you have their store credit card). Target is good for just about any basic workout item. A couple staples I like to buy there are plain v-neck fast wicking cotton C9 tees, and sports bras (for non-running workouts).

C) I need something to hold up through long workouts…and I want to look good.
Specialty stores for running/workout clothing: Road Runner Sports, Fleet Feet (Chicago area)
Fleet Feet has locations around the Chicago area, and I believe Road Runner Sports is a larger chain. I chose these places over other chains like Dicks Sporting Goods or Sports Authority because I KNOW they will have what need when I go. These are the places to go when cost is not a concern. I usually head there for specific high quality brands as well.

D) I’m just kinda browsing to see what deals are out there…
Online shopping: Running WarehouseThe Clymb
Running Warehouse, as the name implies, is geared towards runners but I think anyone can find a good deal on shoes or clothing here. Obviously the best deals are on liquidation items that have limited quantities and sizing. RW offers quite a bit on their site, and if you already know your sizing it can save you a drive to the store. Their shipping policies are also quite reasonable. The Clymb offers steep discounts on exercise/lifestyle clothing, accessories, outdoor gear and a myriad of other stuff. Downside: It is one of those deals where you have to sign up and receive rotating sales notifications via email.

What places do you shop for workout gear? What items do you splurge on, and where do you save?

Bargain Bags


TJ Maxx/Homegoods moved to a location closer to my apartment, and I have frequently popped in the new store bargain hunting. While not everything is what I would call “dirt cheap”, they definitely offer good quality items for more affordable discounts. The key is not to pin all your hopes on finding one exact item. I shop here when I have an idea of what I need and can be flexible about what I find. This week I was especially in need of a new travel case for cosmetics and/or toiletries. I needed something that would easily hold anything I need for mornings at the gym, but that I could also hang in hotel bathrooms. Online browsing showed me an item like what I want would cost about $30. Before committing to anything I headed off to TJ Maxx/Homegoods in search of a better deal. Voila! A hanging travel bag, in a cool neutral print and purple interior. Originally $30, selling at TJ Maxx for $14.99. Looking forward to getting lots of use out of this!

Travel Cosmetic Case

Favorite Drugstore Eyeliner – Budget Basics


I have a difficult time finding budget eyeliners that go on soft, but have staying power. Liners that stay put are often too hard and pull on my lids, others are so soft they end up creasing all over my lid. After reading many a blog, I decided to try Rimmel’s ScandalEyes pencils. These are hands-down a drugstore holy grail for me. I know the packaging says “waterproof”, which I don’t truly believe, BUT they do stay put while applying softly. This is one of few budget products I am willing to buy in every shade. Pictured below are the three I have. The taupe shade looks lovely with a basic brown shadow and navy/dark blue mascara. (try “Sable” from ULTA’s eyeshadow brand singles)(Almay – “Sapphire” is $4.99 at Target).

Rimmel ScandalEyes

Let’s talk makeup brushes.

Guide to makeup brushes.

Whether you already have a collection of makeup brushes, or may just be getting into makeup tools I think it is helpful to keep a few things in mind. First, be realistic. How often do you plan on using makeup brushes? In my experience purchasing a whole set can be a waste of your dollars if you really only use a couple of the brushes included. I prefer to buy my brushes on an as needed basis.

Second, will you take good care of them? The better you take care of your tools the longer they will last. Expensive “investment” brushes/tools should last you a lifetime if well cared for. Even cheap brands can last many years with regular cleanings and proper storage.

Third, how portable does your makeup routine need to be? This might seem like an odd question. If you travel a lot, or tote your makeup kit back and forth to a gym etc., are you comfortable carrying expensive brushes with you? Cheaper brushes are great for putting together an on-the-go kit. Also, if you happen to misplace a brush you won’t be out a wallet-weepingly expensive tool.

The graphic below lists some of my favorite brush brands on a scale by cost. I would highly recommend Sigma Beauty if you really feel the need to purchase a full set of brushes. I use e.l.f. brand brushes in my gym bag and travel kits. Eco Tools makes a pencil brush that has an eye pencil sharpener on the opposite end, and I love their domed bronzer brush (which I use for a variety of reasons other than bronzer).

Scale of brushes

Payless Haul – Memorial Day Sale



Let’s be real, Payless almost always has some sort of sale going on. I don’t shop there as much as I used to during college and my early 20s, but I still think it is a great place to find wallet friendly accessories. I will spare you dear readers an entire post on the difficulties I go through finding shoes that fit. So I was thrilled to find a pair of basic white sandals for uner $20! With budget products a good rule of thumb is usually to keep things simple. These simple white sandals will be wearable with a lot of items in my closet. The cheery tote is one of several styles Payless has right now. Accessories are buy one, get one free! So try a bold necklace, and donate some of those old items you’re not using. Many of my more eye-catching accessories were budget finds (Kohls, Target, Payless, Forever21). I sort through mine once a year, donating anything I get bored with. Lastly, sunglasses were 2 for $15 at Payless. If yours get tossed around and/or lost like mine you can’t beat less than $10 per pair.

“Trudy” Comfort Plus sandals – $17 (sale, org $29.99)
Small faux rhinestone earrings – $9.99
Pink necklace – org $7 (free with sale)
Yellow striped cloth tote – $11.99 (sale, org $19.99)

NYX “Natural” Palette


Quick Friday post on the NYX Natural eye shadow palette. Three big reasons I love this palette are a) several what I would call essential shades, b) travel friendly and c) costs less than $10…waaay less than Urban Decay’s Naked Basics. Set down your pitchforks and torches, I have nothing against U.D.. I do find the Basics palette lacking, with too many similar light hues. Personally I think one would be better off purchasing shadows that suit individual skin tones and eye colors, then putting them into your own small Z-palette. Also there are seriously loads of shadow palettes  with a better range of colors. The NYX Natural palette is one I picked up last weekend. Pigmentation is what I’d expect for a bargain brand, and I like that only one of the shades is super sparkly. A basic color range that works together well day or night. Slim packaging and at less than $10 if I lose or break it while traveling it won’t be a big deal.

UPDATE: After using this palette for awhile I haven’t been super impressed by the color/pigment payoff. Since it was so cheap, I am neither surprised or upset by this. There are much better products from the NYX cosmetics line.

NYX Natural Palette