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Experts are saying 2011 is finally the year America will experience an economic revival and once again have a healthy, robust economy.  Until then, it’s a budget-savvy babe’s duty to see where her hard-earned green is going. Plus, this is the time of year when retailer’s slash prices the most, which means everyone from Gucci to Gap is offering goods at low, low prices. Here are some of my “cents-ible” picks [wink] that will save you some serious dough.

1. Calvin Klein Funnel Collar Double Breasted Coat [$380 $189.99]

2. New Balance for Nine West Cyber [$89 $62.30]

3. Banana Republic Beardsley Ring [$49.50 $24.99]

4. Gucci Driving Gloves [$370 $247]

5. Bird by Juicy Couture High Waisted Shorts [$258 $77.40]

6. Halston Clutch [$245 $121.90]

7. J.Crew Metallic Suede MacAlister Boots [$145 $79.99]

8. Ann Taylor Silk Scoop Neck Dress [$215 $89.88]

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As much as I love living in the heart of a bustling metropolis like Chicago, the winter certainly takes it’s toll. Like most of my urban compadres, I walk or take public trans pretty much everywhere – to the gym, the grocery store, bars, restaurants, you name it. This lifestyle, although frugal and incidentally eco-friendly, is an absolute pain in the kaboose come wintertime.

A born-and-bred Midwesterner, I’ve long since learned to embrace the subzero temperatures and face the frost head on. Here are some of my favorite picks for the winter goddess in all of us.

1. Anthropologie Cassonade Coat [$198]

2. Fred Flare Puffy Convertible Jacket [$86]

3. Patagonia Mabel Hat [$39]

4. Coach Rabbit Mittens [$298]

5. Betsey Johnson Snow Angel Earrings [$31]

6. Topshop Knitted Zigzag Sequin Jumper in Cream [$110]

7. Burberry Earmuffs [$175]

8. AG Stevie Cords [$158]

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This season *glamorous glitter + shimmering sequins* have been popping up everywhere! From the runway of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show to nail polish to cocktail dresses, glitz is here for the holidays. It’s a festive, fun, and whimsical way to add flair to your wardrobe this season, and I for one am a big big fan.

1. Forever 21 Silver nail polish [$2.50 - a steal!]

2. Charlotte Russe Matte Sequin Mini [$32.50]

3. J.Crew Gem-laden Clutch [$98]

4. Literature Noir Sequin Romper [$286]

5. Akira 1/2 Sleeve Sequin Dress [$109.90]

6. Sperry Topsider Bahama Holiday [$75.50]

7. Topshop Gunmetal Sequin Shorts [$90]

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[the photograph online {left} versus how they look in person {right}]

I’ve been keeping tabs these sky high black booties by Steve Madden from Piperlime for the past month or so and my patience has paid off because they just went on sale, heck yes. They look trés vampy in the pic but I swear they’re more sophisticated vixen than sultry streetwalker. The sole isn’t quite so shiny as it is in the photograph and the material contrasts against the suede nicely. I’m so excited to wear them this weekend, I have a couple ideas brewing… booties are so versatile, they’re my favorite trend goin right now.

Just a few ideas:

1. Urban Outfitters Silence & Noise Boyfriend Blazer $78

2. Forever 21 Fab Racerback Tank $3.50

3. J.Crew Sequin Mesh Ball Skirt $128

4. J.Crew Couplet Shimmer Dress $198

5. Forever 21 Silk Bow Dress $26.90

6. Trina Turk Marl Cardigan $138.99

7. James Jeans Twiggy Five Pocket Legging $89.99

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[urban outfitters pendleton plaid weekender bag, $198]

Pretty luggage makes traveling so much more fun, don’t you think? With the holidays just around the corner, people are traveling now more than any other time of the year to reunite with loved ones. This season make a statement with your suitcase and sport one with an eye-catching print and luxe details. In the spirit of stylish jetsetting, here are a few pieces of luggage that I’d happily cart on any plane, train, or automobile.

[diane von furstenberg city bag, orig. $200, now $79.970]

[fred perry weekend bag, $94]

[cole haan wythe aviator duffel, $476]


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My love affair with bags began in grade school. Case in point, my favorite part of back-to-school shopping wasn’t the new pencils or even new shoes [although that was a close second], no, it was the part where I picked out a new backpack. My parents couldn’t understand why I was so fixated by backpacks. In their eyes it was just a sack you store your books in, but to me it was oh-so much more. I campaigned for a fugly black leather backpack one year, a hunter green L.L. Bean another, an embroidered Notre Dame one, and when North Face first came out with pink backpacks you bet I was all over it… *sigh* I could go on. This isn’t normal, right? I’m certain experts would classify this as early-onset purse addiction.

My parents supported my obsession reluctantly but willingly. They saw my love for school accessories and assumed it translated into a love for schoolwork… and there was definitely some truth in that. In eighth grade my mom finally put her foot down and said, no more, and I begrudgingly obliged… but like an unstoppable rebel force [thank you meet the parents] my childhood addiction found it’s grownup counterpart: the purse.

From clutches to cross-bodies to carryalls, the right bag can transform an outfit from casually cool to seriously chic. The only problem? Choosing which essentials make the cut from purse to purse. Here are the eight staples that I toss in my tote each time I switch it up.

1. this ralph lauren ralph girl rollerball [$18] is the only perfume I wear. it’s perfect for a quick swipe when you’re running out the door and the delicious fragrance is subtle yet feminine.

2. rosebud salve [$8] this little compact is worth it’s weight in gold. you can use it for everything, from dry skin to blisters, and i’ve had the same tub for three years! bonus, this everyday balm has a light rose scent.

3. mary kay timewise age-fighting eye cream [$26] i love how silky smooth this light cream goes on. it’s barely-there texture is surprisingly moisturizing. your eyes will thank you after a long night on the town.

4. tide to go [$13.50 for a pack of 6] portable stain remover, enough said.

5. neutrogena hand cream [$4.50] i slather this on my hands as often as i remember, not only because it feels like a mini massage, but it’s über-important to take care of your hands. did you know the skin on your hands ages quicker than on your face -and- hands are exposed to the elements more than any other part of your body? keep those babies moisturized.

6. ipod nano [5th generation, $120] always and forever an apple girl, i love how sleek this little gadget looks and feels. it’s about the size of two credit cards stuck together, holds all my music, and has a radio. love.

7. band-aid friction block [$7.50] enter the lifesaver in a stick: it prevents blisters and enables allover happiness. i no longer need to tote around band-aids when my poor heels fall victim to my sky-high stilettos.

8. mor body souffle in sorbet [$24] this australian based cosmetics company makes perfectly luxurious body lotion with a soft coconut scent.

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This weekend I got to spend some much-needed quality time with my sister who surprised me with a birthday visit. We had a lovely ladies weekend from start to finish: we got mani/pedis, we ate delicious meals, we sipped some wine, and, of course, we shopped ’til we dropped.

One of my favorite finds was this Itsy Bitsy Bag for just $18 from Francesca’s Collections on Halsted. I love the snazzy gold chain-link strap and the go anywhere, ready for anything crossbody style. Although teeny, it’s just big enough to hold the essentials. The funny thing is, I must have been subconsciously looking for a similar version of this $228 wonder I’d been fawning over from Marc by Marc Jacobs. Can you point out the pricier find?

Aside from the gold chain, you’d have to do a double take to tell these two apart. They even share the trademark Marc by Marc Jacobs turnlock, and yet the one on the left was a staggering $210 cheaper [almost enough for this pretty retro KitchenAid Mixer in a mod shade like pistachio].

I also snagged these little gold bow earrings for a mere $12 [also at Francesca's Collections] that suspiciously mirror these pricier Marc by Marc Jacobs studs [$38]:

[the look...

... for less]

Without meaning to, I landed two charming copycats for a fraction of the price.

PS: I also picked up this pretty bauble from Mint Julep on Armitage [bad news: that location is closing, good news: everything is 20% off, plus their Southport store is alive and well]

Have a lucky day everyone!

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