NYFW on a Budget: 5 Essential Tips

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Fashion Week is one of those events you should do at least once in your life. It's a whole adventure in and of itself: the clothes, the people, and that moment the lights go down and the music goes on... It's complete chaos at times, but there's nothing like it. 

But let's be real, attending Fashion Week, it ain't cheap.

My first fashion week I went way over my budget and I was staying with family. The most pitiful part of this is that I never had time to go shopping! I quickly found out that to do Fashion Week, you have to be smart about it. You're going to need a plan. For Fall/Winter shows, I usually suggest you start thinking at least a month in advance: Who are you are staying with. Where you are staying. What you're budget is, include food, drinks and transportation. (Don't forget shopping) Obviously we're a little closer to the two week mark at this point but now we know for Spring and Summer show planning, right?

A place to sleep (& change), for the whopping few hours of sleep you're going to get. 

This is probably going to be your biggest and most underused expense if you don't have the luxury of surfing a friend or family member's couch for the week, but don't fret. Sharing a room with your blogger pals certainly helps bring the inflated Fashion Week rates down. But, it doesn't hurt to reach out to hotels and their pr firms for a discounted press rate. Map out where you're going to be spending the most time and put together a combined media kit and pitch it with what you're offering in return and send that baby out. Be warned this is not something you want to do 1-2 weeks in advance because chances are they will be sold out already. At least 1-2 months ahead of time is key. Don't fret if you get a handful of no's because someone will eventually say yes. Be diligent and do your research.

Getting from Here To There.

I'd love to say that Fashion Week events all reside in just one place, but in reality, you're going to find yourself jumping from here or there or anywhere on a given day. It's like a damn Dr. Seuss book if you ask me. Whether you're at the Lincoln Center, the Hub or downtown at Milk or Artbeam, chances are you're going to need some sort of transportation.

Skip the cabs, and opt for public transit. I knooooow: As if! Right? But, a weekly unlimited metrocard will run you $30 and will get you to where you're going. If New Yorkers use it everyday, you can too. Not savvy with maneuvering the NYC subway? Open your google maps, or download moovit or nycmate and they'll help you every step of the way. They can be lifesavers. If you absolutely have to take a car, sign yourself up for uber or lyft. You get $20 off your first ride and if you refer your friends (because chances are you're not taking this trip alone) you get a $20 credit for each person referred. So if you're going to take a car, make it count.

I'm going to let you in on my favorite fashion week travel secret because dropping $15+ each way to commute from Lincoln Center to Milk is where things start to add up- especially when everyone is heading to the same place. Surge pricing? No thanks. The M11 bus is where it's at. It stops off to the right of the steps (near backstage entrance) of LC and takes you all the way down to Artbeam, Milk Studios, and through the Meatpacking District. It's usually a 15-20 minute ride so it's about 5-10 slower than taking a cab, but it gives you a chance to upload your runway snaps to Instagram or tweet out the celebrity you just shared a sidewalk with. Plus, it's included with your unlimited metrocard, boom! Sadly this option might become completely irrelevant come September but for now I'll savor it while Fashion Week looks for a new home.  

That grumbling in your stomach.

Yep, it happens things are moving so quickly that you forgot to eat, again. And this time you're not going to make the rookie mistake of eating a $5 {seemingly} two day old croissant from the cafe at the Lincoln Center. You wised up and brought a granola bar or trail mix to keep you energized. You can shop your neighborhood near the hotel or bring from home, but always come prepared because you don't want to pass out on the steps. That's not the street style picture you want you want to be remembered for. Plus, champagne and an empty stomach never mix. Worst.Hangover.Ever.

Speaking of, Drinks are usually never few and far between at presentations and events, so in most cases you don't have to add them to your budgeting. Because what is fashion without booze? Kidding.

Obviously staying fully caffeinated is a must because that few hours of sleep I mentioned earlier? It's real. Brew at your hotel or grab a latte before you enter the tents. They often have bottled drinks and snacks from sponsors but those, one: are never guaranteed IF they're available, or two: you're going to enjoy eating whatever that was. Also drink water, a lot of it.

When snacks are just not cutting do a quick yelp search for eats in the area. You might have to walk slightly out of fashion week's eye-view for budget savvy meals, but there is a good chance you will welcome the space by the time you come up for air. Trust me on this one.

Reach out, far and wide. 

Don't hesitate to reach out to your pr friends and ask them if they're doing anything special for Fashion Week. Chances are they are and now you're invited to go. Connect with bloggers you know and see if they need someone to cover shows or events for them. Don't forget to be polite. Contrary to what some people think, you're far better off being nice.

The inevitable shopping, if you have time.

If you do end up catching a break from the crazy and want to treat yourself to a little retail therapy, be sure you love it before leaving. Because chances are that once you get on that plane, it's yours. Buyer's remorse be damned...

All seriousness aside, don't forget to have fun!

Just a Sweater and Jeans

Sometimes you just need to throw your comfy oversized sweater over your favorite jeans and pull on a good pair of over the knee boots for an afternoon of {pre-blizzard} shopping. 

sweater c.wonder, jeans levi's, boots fergalicious via dsw, bag baginc.

Real Techniques Bold Metals

Last week I got to pop into the launch of the Real Techniques Bold Metals Brushes to catch a peak of the new super soft, metallic handled brushes that hit stores earlier this month. Offered in array or shapes and hues, gold, rose gold and silver, these beauties pack all the pow as other the Real Techniques brushes, and then some. 

Now, they're a little bit pricier than the other RT brushes, with a price point starting at $15.99 and ending at around $26 per brush. But the super soft bristles paired with the lightweight, gorgeous brass handles more than make up for the extra couple of bucks spent. They even have unique geometric handles that keep them from rolling off surfaces which is kind of genius if you ask me...

 Let's be real, they're almost too pretty to use, almost. 
You can grab them exclusively at Ulta

How I Wore It: DSW Ankle Booties

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by DSW via Mode Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of DSW.
Last week I talked about and showed off the riding boots I added to my closet courtesy of DSW’s winter event, so this week we’ll be talking about my other necessary find, these booties. Originally I wanted the grey pair but they didn’t have my size so I decided it was ok to add yet another black pair of shoes to my closet. Real talk, you can never have enough pairs of black shoes, trust me on this one. Anyhow, the heel doesn’t pack the usual height I tend to grab but I was looking for a lower, more (practical &) comfortable heel for days where I’m doing a lot of walking. These do the trick and look equally as awesome with tights, as without. I guess I’ll just have to wait out the without for a couple more months...

Until then I’m pairing them with my argyle tights, layered sweater and a pop of color.
DSW is the destination for savvy Shoe Lovers everywhere. Customers experience a breathtaking assortment of designer brands at irresistible prices everyday.

LuLu*s The Great Galentine's Giveaway: Win Free Dresses for a Year!!

Forget the flowers, treat yourself to fab frocks for Valentine's day! Lulu*s giving away an entire year of free dresses to one lucky gal (and her best pal) for all of 2015!!

All you have to do is subscribe to their email newsletter by entering your email address after following the link below! You'll get a coupon code for immediate shopping upon entry and kept up to date on all the latest looks and chic styles! Want an additional entry (and a better chance to win)? Refer a friend! 

I teamed up with my best Galentine, Gita to show off our favorite Lulu*s dresses in honor of the Great Galentine's Giveaway! We all know I'm not one to ever pass on tulle, so this Ballet Liason dress in navy was the perfect addition to my Valentine's wardrobe with the addition of a moto jacket and colorful bag. As far as Gita's concerned, I'm thinking I'm going to have to raid her closet for that coat, it's the perfect addition to her Lulu*s striped dress.

Colored Tights

You might have caught on by now that once winter hits I'm not one for a lot of color, I tend to keep in neutral and find myself wearing the same bags over and over again. I'm fine with it, but let's be real it doesn't hurt to mix things up every now and then, right? Insert, wine tights and it's a whole new look. 

Sweater Parker, Jacket H&M, Skirt TJMAXX, Tights Sculptz, Boots Debshops

Floral Maxi & {Faux} Fur Vest

This winter I've found myself living in the same pieces from week to week, I think the discovery of fleece lined tights has made it extremely difficult to push the 'trusty' skater skirts to the back of the drawer. And while I love skipping pants whenever possible I think it's time to give my mini skirts a break and reach for something a little longer until it's time to bare my legs again in Spring. So, out comes the maxi top with a little (faux) fur...

Dress Lulus.com, Vest Debshops, Bag Vintage, Boots Diba

In Review: Infinite Lash Enhance Serum

Like my hair, my eyelashes are super fine but don't necessarily lack in the volume department. On the one hand it's great, it gives the illusion of thickness and volume. But on the other hand there not quite bold enough to stand on their own and picking a mascara is kind of a pain because my lashes love to clump together. So, if I don't use the right formula and wand it's kind of a mess (silicone wands are my favorite, my lashes just fan out). Luckily, I've found a handful that do the job, but let's be real mascara is not the healthiest thing for your lashes, especially if you're wearing it daily, which I do. So, I started looking for something else give my lashes the boost they need without having to commit to expensive prescription formulas. 
Enter, Infinite Lash Eyelash Enhance Serum ($75), from the creators of a recent favorite at Brock Beauty, Hairfinity. Now, since I was quickly sold on that beauty find last month, I was immediately on board with Infinite Lash. I'm not going to lie, it's a little tedious to start and I'm very commitment phobic of new beauty routines. You have to apply it to your lash line twice a day for at least 6 weeks and then nightly there after. Honestly, It wasn't too bad, once in the morning before the makeup routine and once after I washed everything off, I just made it part of my routine. I didn't even know it was there after a quick swipe. The glycerin & Hyaluronic Acid based formula is full of natural botanicals, vitamins and proteins to help condition and strengthen, and even lacks my beauty nemesis, parabens (I'm allergic). Plus, each tube has about a 3 month supply...

Now, it's not one of those overnight see the results kind of deals, it takes time. I've been using it for about a month now and really have only noticed that they've gotten a little stronger (I rarely see stray hairs at makeup removal time) and they're starting to look a little longer. Would I say they look healthier? Yeah. Is there a huge difference? No, but it's enough of a start to get me hopeful. Will I be purchasing again? Yeah, $75 might be a splurge but considering other formulas are much, much more and don't have the natural ingredients I'd be more likely to invest in this. So, if you're looking to kick up your game in the lash department I'd recommend trying these first.
Have you tried Infinite Lash Eyelash Serum

How I Wore It: Riding Boots from DSW

One of my favorite parts about this time of year, aside from the fresh snow, is the shopping. As soon as January hits each year I start pursuing the racks for amazing finds to add to my closet for the seasons ahead. Naturally, shoes are always at the top of the list when ‘sale season’ starts. When it comes to buying boots, this time of year is always the prime time to grab those over the knee boots you’ve been eyeing since October or a new pair of booties to replace the ones you ruined when you got caught in the rain last week. I personally have been wanting to add a pair of riding boots to the mix, so when I saw these online at DSW’s boot event I helped myself to them and a new pair of booties. How could I not? The right find, for the right price.

Naturally, my first pairing with my newly acquired riding boots would have to be my favorite chunky knit sweater but with a slight twist, the addition of a pair of shorts. Let’s be real the shorts aren’t a huge addition but the boots give it a whole new look, and I have a feeling they’ll be getting a lot more wear through the rest of the season.

Sweater OASAP, Shorts Boohoo, Tights Debshops, Boots c/o DSW

DSW is the destination for savvy Shoe Lovers everywhere. Customers experience a breathtaking assortment of designer brands at irresistible prices everyday.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by DSW via Mode Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of DSW.

Spot The Steal: Isabel Marant Andrew Boot

Hold the phone, Steve Madden has a very, very close dupe to Isabel Marant's Andrew Bootie. It's almost so good that it's hard to tell which is the real and which is the deal. Truth talk, I almost prefer the $75 pair. And now that sale items at Steve Madden are an additional 50-60% off with "SAVE" I have a feeling I'll be checking out in no time. Who's with me?
isabel marant dupe, isabel marant andrew bootie look for less, look for less, cone heel bootie, black boots, cool boots, isabel marant andrew
Steve Madden Powerwlk, $75 (Extra 50% Off Sale Items with "SAVE")
Isabel Marant Andrew Boot, $995

- More Cone Heeled Black Booties -

New Orleans: What To Do and See

Great! You finally booked that trip to New Orleans and your next step is to begin planning that itinerary of yours. Sure, you've already decided that you want an endless supply of Beignets and that you plan to hit every spot on the Bourbon, but after that you don't quite know what to do or what to see. Lucky for you, I have you covered. If there's something that my (completely jam packed) four days in New Orleans taught me last month it's where to go and what to see. After all, we had the added bonus of having natives as our guides, giving us the chance to sample everything that New Orleans had to offer, and there really is something for everyone.

So, grab a beignet and your cafĂ© au lait, and let's plan that trip of yours. 
Start your morning off at Jackson Square (Cafe Du Monde is right across the street) and make your way through the French Market and down Royal Street while taking in the sites and doing some shopping. Next, do yourself a favor and sign up for Freewheeling Bike Tours to burn off some of those calories while taking a trip through the Crescent City on custom made beach cruisers. Get the run down on New Orleans history and best kept secrets from guide, Teddy. Don't forget to ask him where to get the best beignets in town...
Or, Hop on the Streetcar and head on down to the Garden District for a guided cemetery tour at LaFayette Cemetery. The filming hotspot frequents shoots for The Originals (my guilty pleasure), and was featured in cult classic, Interview with the Vampire. Follow up with some shopping at Magazine Street and stop into Sucré for macarons and chocolate. Wind down and brush up on your history at the WWII Museum's new Road To Berlin exhibit or the stop by Contemporary Art Center for the Prospect 3 installation before heading back to your hotel to rest up for the night ahead.
As the sun goes down set your sites on what the talent in this town has to offer. Everyone has to experience Grammy Award winning brass band, Rebirth at least once (we saw them at The Maple Leaf). They're loud but worth the ringing in your ears into the next morning. If you're looking to go for a more romantic setting snag yourself a candlelit table at Irving Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse and sip Sazerac's (until your little heart is content) while listening to the best of Bourbon Street perform. I dare you to try not to dance. (Remember my Insta-video?) Not entirely into Jazz? Frenchman's street has something for absolutely everyone, you can check out their full lineup here.  Now, if you're feeling a little musical yourself head on down to the Bywater for karaoke night at Kajun's. Yes, Karaoke. It's not your average karaoke night, this is the real deal guys, so sign up to belt your favorite song and watch the magic happen.

Interested in something a little more on a paranormal side? Find yourself a hair raising, guided ghost tour throughout the French Quarter. You'll likely be spooked by the idea of ending the night and going back to your room, alone.

As for the food and drinks, you're going to have to wait until next month for my po-boy hotspots, amazing craft drinks and where to get the best alligator in town!
For more tips head over to the New Orleans CVB!

Image Credit Megan Zietz & Richard Melick 

To book your trip to New Orleans, visit VisitNewOrleans.com.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of New Orleans Convention and Visitor's Bureau. The opinions and text are all mine.

Cropped Tops in the Winter

Now that I can't exactly wear cropped tops in my preferred method I've had to resort to new(ish) ways of pairing them with my winter wear. Obviously taking a slight note from Clueless with the crop over button down styling and topping with just the right amount of tweed (and an enormous possibly unnecessary pop of neon, as if).

Button Down Chicwish, Striped Top H&M, Skirt TJMAXX, Shoes Lord and Taylor, Tights Debshops, Jacket Old Navy, Bag Lulus.com