Christi – Frugal Novice


Plus Size? Rock Any Style

Today we’re bringing you another partnered guest post – this time all about fashion!

In a world where being slender can be considered ideal, and sporting a plus-size body can be frowned upon, it can be challenging to feel like you find a place to fit in. The fashion industry has also created stereotypes, giving preferential treatment to slim people over others. Irrespective of these experiences, don’t let your size stop you from looking fabulous anytime and on any day. How can you dress to kill with the right women’s plus size clothing? This guide provides the answer you seek. So, kindly read on.

Have Measurements Handy

Whether you are shopping from an online clothing store or a brick-and-mortar boutique, your measurements determine the type of clothes you should purchase. Understand that these stores (especially online versions) provide their own unique sizing charts and measurement guidelines which may be different from what you are used to. You should compare the size of your chosen outfit with your measurements, focusing on areas like your hips, waist, and bust. Using these figures, you can easily find clothes that complement your shape.

Making a Fashion Statement with Your Dress

You don’t have to stick to the same attire you wear every day. Some days are perfect for you to  have fun and create an extra “wow” effect. Try a dress with bold colors or interesting prints.

Of course, black dresses are classics. Nevertheless, rock something out of the blues, one that makes you comfortable. Experiment with a few pieces that take you out of your comfort zone. While rocking your buttoned-up shirt or wrap dress (extra-cute in denim), ensure that whatever you wear enhances your body shape and size. Be proud of the beautiful woman you are You can also have fun mixing things up. You can try layering pieces to create a refreshing new look.

Above all, love yourself and your body. By doing so, you will rock your clothes confidently. Finally, find your best match when selecting plus size clothing for women and understand that there is no one-size-fits-all rule. What works for someone else may not work for you, and vice-versa.

Spice Up Your Wardrobe with Key Fashion Statement Outfits

Being plus size, you may assume that your clothing options are limited. However, this notion is far from the truth. There is so much you can do with fashion. It really boils down to selecting the right type of pieces. The first piece of clothing you want to consider is your denim. Jeans are must-haves for every woman. They provide versatility, comfort,
and style. Whether you intend to go on a dinner date or a work-related outing, your pair of jeans has you covered. Find a pair that complements your physique – it could be anything from light-colored wide-leg jeans to dark wash skinny. Grace your skinny jeans with a tunic top and the compliments will pour in. You can rock this outfit comfortably and in style. This is a great option because it also makes it possible to highlight specific features you love and downplay others you don’t. Go for tunic
tops with prints or colors that complement your skin tone. 

Other days, try rocking a crisp fitted button-up shirt or blouse to spice up your fashion lifestyle. Button-up shirts look great alongside a variety of other pieces – skirts, slacks, and jeans all work great with them. Layer your outfits with a tailored blazer to really take it up a notch.

Choosing the Right Shoes for Your Sport

We’re excited to have a partnered guest post today! My daughter plays soccer, and we know that finding the right shoes is an important part of getting ready to play any sport.

Walk into any store where there are shoes for sale, and without a doubt, you will notice that the choice and selection is rather dazzling! No matter the size of your feet, what your budget is, or what activities you prefer to partake in, it is almost a foregone fact that you will be able to find something suitable for you quite easily.

But let’s talk about the actual issue at hand – what makes suitable, suitable? It’s easy to find a pair of shoes that look good, but what about the other factors, like construction of the shoe, its intended purpose, its price and the material it’s made from? Suddenly, just walking into one of the Nike shoes sales and picking up a pair doesn’t seem so easy anymore!

Making the right choice in an ocean of options

You’ve established that you need a new pair of shoes, but where the heck do you start? Do you make your initial decision based on your choice of activity, or do you start with your budget and work it back from there. It often comes down to a combination of several factors. What you like to do, such as running, walking, hiking and even dancing, will be the starting point, as you will need to narrow it down to a suitable pair for your sport. From there, you can start looking for prices and appearance factors that appeal to you. If you skip the first step, it is like saying you want to make a cake, but skipping the step where you buy the flour! Skimping on the basework can lead to regrets later on, so ensure that you do your homework before buying!

Start here

Nothing beats the disappointment of having a new pair of shoes fall apart after only a few weeks’ worth of use. Contrary to general belief, the main reason for this happening is not about the shoes being poorly made, or that inferior materials were used in producing them. In fact, the greatest reason for shoes coming apart, is the incorrect application of the shoes – in other words, using them in ways that are not included in their original design purpose.

I cannot reiterate enough that shoes should never be bought based on appearance alone! It is well worth analysing your lifestyle, your likes and dislikes, and making the selection of your new shoes based on that.

At the end of the day

You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it, so why skip the process with shoes? Even if you find the most perfect-looking pair of shoes, you are setting yourself up for major disappointment, and even injury, if you do not do your due diligence before spending your money. Far from being the fault of the shoes, injuries and alignment problems stemming from a new pair of shoes, can more often than not be traced to operator error – buying shoes that are not suitable for how they are used!

Give Global Gifts (AND Do Some Good!) with NOVICA This Holiday Season {+ a GIVEAWAY!}

Note: I received a gift card to facilitate this review, and one to give away (yay!). All opinions are honest and are my own.

Have you started shopping for the holidays yet? I’m trying to get a little bit of a head start in the coming weeks so that I’m not trying to squeeze it all in mid-December. A stress-free Christmas sounds like the perfect way to end 2020, doesn’t it?

Be sure and read all the way to the end of my post, where I’ll be telling you how you can win a $50 gift card to get a head start on your shopping!

Some people on my list are hard to shop for – I think we all have people like that on our lists, don’t we? For those people I like to hunt down items I know they’ll really love – unique things they couldn’t easily find themselves in local stores.

NOVICA is a company that makes it easy to find special things from all around the world. They connect you with artisans who make beautiful pieces – AND you are able to have a positive impact on their lives with your purchases. I first worked with NOVICA nine years ago, and I still adore the leather bracelet and bag I got back then.

This year NOVICA has all sorts of amazing gift options for people on your list. They even have a wide variety of face masks (who knew at the start of 2020 that these would become a hot accessory item?) – these are just two of the many choices they offer:

I decided I wanted to check out their jewelry, because I’ve actually been on the hunt for a new pair of stud earrings. I have three piercings in each earlobe, and I like to wear studs for my day-to-day look. I have been wanting some modern earrings, and I really had a hard time choosing between all the options on NOVICA’s site. I finally settled on these round sterling stud earrings, and I can’t wait to wear them.

They’re perfect. Simple and modern, something I can wear every day that will go with anything.

Beyond them being just what I was looking for, though, I love that I know these were crafted by a great artisan in Thailand, Wadarat Supasirisuk. I’m not one to go out globe-trotting at this stage in my life, so I’m really happy to be able to include these from around the globe into my jewelry.

I also found two beautiful bracelets from an artist in India, Neetu Barathi. I can see me wearing these daily – they’re dainty and feminine, and I love the smoky tone of the beads on each one. The first is a smoky quartz link bracelet, and the second is a labradorite and silver pendant bracelet.

NOVICA has much more than jewelry, though – they have sculptures, furniture, and all sorts of home decor, plus clothing, paintings, and even clean skin care products. Find special gifts this holiday season for anyone on your list – items from all around the globe that you can purchase from your living room.

Now, on to another thing I’m super excited about! I get to give away a $50 gift card to one of you so you can have your own fun shopping spree on NOVICA! I’m keeping it SUPER easy to enter – find details below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Free Colorful Educational School Poster Printables!

My daughter, like many other kids, will be starting the school year at home doing virtual school. Since she is in elementary school, I wanted to set up a space that felt fun and creative for her without spending a ton, since we don’t know how long we’ll use the room for school. I created some fun free math printable posters that I’ll share below, and I wanted to show you a few other things we got to really make the space vibrant!

I bought a few things on Amazon, like this colorful wall calendar set she’s in LOVE with (they have a TON of other calendar options too for any color scheme you can think of):

and a rainbow-colored drawer cart to organize papers and supplies (we found ours cheaper at Michael’s, FYI, but if you’re wanting to order online here’s one on Amazon):

I found SUPER cute border at Target in the Bullseye’s Playground area (the aisles right up front) for just $1/package, but there are lots of affordable & cute bulletin board border options on Amazon for that, too. I used white paper stapled to the wall to create our “bulletin boards” and then placed the border over it (which was nice, too, to hide my totally uneven cuts on the edges of the paper, ha!).

I knew I wanted some educational graphics, but I didn’t have a ton of wall space, and I couldn’t find ones that were the rainbow color scheme we had going, so I decided to make my own! These are sized to be printed on a normal desktop printer so you can print these from home. Just click here to download the free PDF!

Edited to add: After getting some feedback from moms who’ve gotten the first 4 posters I’ve decided to make some more, and will add them below!

1-100 poster: A simple, colorful poster that shows the numbers from 1-100, grouped by 10’s. Download the PDF here.

Alphabet poster: Download the PDF here.

Parts of Speech poster: Download the PDF here.

Time poster: Download the PDF here.

Space/Solar System poster: Download the PDF here.

Vehicle Feature Series: Dodge Ram 1500

This is a sponsored post partnered with Barkau Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Freeport. All opinions are honest and are my own.

In the last of my vehicle feature series, I’m focusing on the 2020 Dodge Ram 1500. I was never much of a truck person until my husband and I started doing more and more woodworking projects. The appeal of being able to haul large loads became apparent to me, and now that my husband has a small truck I have gained an appreciation for trucks even more.

The 2020 Ram 1500 Crew Cab model with optional front crash prevention and available Adaptive LED headlights built after May 2019 has been named a 2019 Top Safety Pick,  and focuses on providing a smarter way to tow. All 2020 Ram 1500 models now have the following features available: Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Path and Trailer Detection, which scans the blind spot zones beside and behind the vehicle to help ensure trailer safety; amazingly enough this detection system automatically senses and accounts for the length of the trailer.

One concern many people might have when it comes to trucks is worrying about having comfort, and having enough space to fit passengers. The Ram 1500 has rear legroom of 45.1 inches, available reclining rear seat, available rear seat fold-down center console, and available under-seat storage. You can seat 5 people comfortably and still have room for gear that those people might bring with them. Getting in and out of the truck is easy, too, with power side running boards.

The tailgate on the Ram 1500 has a 60/40 split, and offers more ways to access the bed while still being able to handle demanding loads. The split, swing-away doors accommodate easy loading, making it easier to step up, load bulky items, unload and wash out the bed. There’s great storage on the exterior, too, with the RamBox Cargo Management System. 

Vehicle Feature Series: Dodge Durango

This is a sponsored post partnered with Kahlo Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. All opinions are honest and are my own.

In my latest post on vehicle features, I’m focusing on the Dodge Durango. I mentioned in my first post my love of SUVs, and I enjoyed learning about all this model has to offer, particularly when it comes to safety.

The Durango has all sorts of tech-advanced features like keyless enter ‘n go and UConnect technology that includes Remote Vehicle Start, Roadside Assistance, Android Auto Integration, Apple CarPlay Support, and navigation system. You can even add in a dual-screen Blu-Ray entertainment system.

The Durango has a strong and secure steel cage that helps keep you safe and secure in case of an accident. It has a blind spot monitoring system, and has Electronic Stability Control with Electronic Roll Mitigation that helps you maintain directional control on low-traction surfaces and helps prevent rollover. The Durango uses throttle control and limited braking when detecting slower traffic ahead to adjust cruising speed and keep a safe distance.

The brakes on the Durango are high-tech and intuitive, too, including: 

  • RAIN BRAKE SUPPORT When the windshield wipers are activated, light pressure is applied to the calipers to remove water from the pads.
  • BRAKE ASSIST Available Brake Assist can boost the braking power when it detects the rate and amount of brake application for emergencies.
  • READY-ALERT BRAKING Suddenly releasing the accelerator pedal will activate Ready Alert Braking, which prepares the brakes for a panic stop.
  • ELECTRONIC BRAKE FORCE DISTRIBUTION Regardless of any vehicle-load conditions, Electronic Brake Force Distribution regulates braking pressure from front to rear to enhance stopping distances.

Vehicle Feature Series: Chrysler Pacifica

This is a sponsored post partnered with Falls Motor City. All opinions are honest and are my own.

In case you missed my last post, I’m taking the time this month to share features of several 2020 vehicles, in hopes that this will help you narrow down your search if you’re trading in your old car like so many tend to do at the start of a new year.

This time I’m focusing on the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica. As a mom, I’m a big fan of minivans. The fuel economy, the safety, and the cargo space are all big bonuses, and the Pacifica definitely has all of these – and it also offers America’s first-ever hybrid minivan. The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid gets up to 82 MPG rating, and seamlessly switches from electric to gas.

The Pacifica is an extremely versatile minivan, with up to 243 possible seating configurations, and available stow ‘n go storage to haul all sorts of accessories that kids inevitably bring along with them. You can even opt for the stow ‘n vac onboard vacuum cleaner to make cleaning a breeze. 

The Pacifica also offers parking assist options, including: available 360° surround view camera, available ParkSense front and standard rear park assist, available parallel and perpendicular park assist, and rear cross path detection. All of these make for a safe and more convenient parking experience (and if you’ve got loud kiddos in the car with you, you know how hard it can be to focus while trying to park!).

Speaking of safety, The Chrysler Pacifica was named an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2019 when equipped with optional front crash prevention and specific headlamps, and the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica achieved a 5-Star Overall Safety Rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As a parent, safety is my top consideration when choosing a vehicle for our family, so these details alone make the Pacifica a great choice. 

Vehicle Feature Series: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

This is a sponsored post partnered with Century Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Mt. Airy. All opinions are honest and are my own.

The start of a new year is often the time that many people are thinking about refreshing things in their lives – cleaning out their homes, purchasing new appliances, and trading in their old vehicles for something new. With vehicles in particular there are so many options to choose from that I thought I’d take the next few days to feature several options. 

The first vehicle on my list is the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. I’ve always had a predisposition towards SUVs, and have always thought a Jeep would be a blast to own and drive. I’ve heard many people say that once you’ve owned a Jeep you can’t go back to any other vehicle, because you just love them so much. These aren’t a typical vehicle one thinks of when purchasing for a young family, but these can be a great choice for adventurous families with slightly older children. 

The Wrangler Unlimited has different options for roof designs. There’s the “Freedom Top” hardtop with removable panels above the driver and front passenger. There are also two different grades of soft tops available, and what’s called a Sky One-Touch roof, which is like a hardtop except for the flat portion directly over your head that folds backwards at the press of a button. This lets you get close to the openness of a soft top with its roof removed, butis simpler than having to remove the soft top. 

And of course one thing that’s incredibly unique about the Wrangler Unlimited is the ability to remove the doors, really integrating yourself with nature. The off-road capability of this vehicle is what it’s really known for, and having the doors off while off-roading seems like an awfully fun adventure. 

Wranglers in the past were more utilitarian, with metal finishes on the interior, but many have mentioned the style and comfort offered now for the interior – carpet, and a soft-touch dash – and the infotainment options.

The Wrangler Unlimited has over 70 cubic feet of cargo space behind the front seats and over 31 cubic feet behind the rear 60/40 folding seats with an extra cargo bed under the hatch. Parents, take note: the Wrangler Unlimited comes standard with a completely washable interior featuring drain plugs and durable waterproof coating to handle even the messiest disasters little passengers might leave behind. 

Car Accident Checklist

This is a sponsored post partnered with Falls Motor City. All opinions are honest and are my own.

With winter weather, drivers must be especially diligent on the road. Even when you’re being as careful as you can, though, it’s still good to be prepared and know what to do in case you’re in the unfortunate situation of a car accident. It’s easy to be caught up in the shock and emotions of the moment and forget important things, so it’s a great idea to have a checklist handy. This is especially a good idea for new drivers who might be especially nervous! These are all just tips and are not intended to be medical or legal advice.

My parents once had someone back into them at a stoplight. The man who hit them apologized and they exchanged information. A few days later my mom happened to go into the insurance office to check on something and the man who had hit them was there trying to claim my parents had randomly backed into them at a red light. Thankfully they had the phone number of a witness who was able to confirm what had really happened! So tip 4 & 5 are especially good to consider!

  1. Stay at the scene. Make sure, though, that you’re not in a dangerous spot while you wait for authorities to arrive.
  2. Call aforementioned authorities. You always want the police to come and check out the situation so they can see if a ticket is needed for either party – and this can be important for insurance claims.
  3. Get the other driver’s insurance information, and give them yours.
  4. See if there are any witnesses to the accident, and get their names and phone numbers.
  5. Take photos of the positions of the vehicles and any damage (only if you can do so safely).
  6. Do not talk about who is responsible for the accident. Let authorities determine this.

Fun Road Trip Activities

This is a sponsored post partnered with Easterns Automotive Group. All opinions are honest and are my own.

If you’ll be doing some holiday travel in the coming weeks, you’ll definitely love this post! I’m sharing some tips for creative activities to keep your kids entertained in the car without having to resort to electronics the whole time.

1) “Car” Games. We call games without boards or pieces that we play in the car “car games.” Our kids love to play I Spy – just make sure they choose items in the car instead of things outside that you’ll be driving past! They also like to play Would You Rather? which is a really fun game for the whole family to play along with. Another game our family plays a lot is “My father owns a grocery store.” One person begins, saying, “My father owns a grocery store. In his store, he sells something that starts with the letter A.” The others then try to guess the item. The person with the winning guess then gets to think of an item for the letter B. It’s easy and a fun way to pass time!

2) Read books aloud or listen to audio books. Our family read the book Wonder together, and we’ve also been reading through the first three Harry Potter books. It is a lot of fun reading all together. Find a book that fits the age ranges of your kiddos, and if your children are old enough to want to read aloud let them take turns too. Wonder is a great book to start with!

If you can’t all agree on a book to read together, offer your kids the option of downloading audio books. This way they can each listen to what they want (thanks to headphones)!

3) Family trivia! Pick a version of Trivial Pursuit your family would love (we have the Harry Potter version, for instance, and I’ve seen Disney versions too) and bring it with you. Set a timer and see how many questions your family can answer within a certain time frame. This lets you all work together, and even the driver can get involved! You can set a goal and have a prize if your family achieves it (like going through a drive-thru for ice cream, for instance).

4) Get artistic. I always bring paper, colored pencils and washable markers on road trip (pro tip – don’t bring crayons during hot weather trips, or you’ll risk a big mess with melted wax!). Assign your kids drawing challenges, like: draw an item for every letter of the alphabet; draw what you’re most looking forward to on the trip (or your favorite activity you did, if you’re on your way home). You could also add in extra challenges like drawing with their opposite hand or drawing with their eyes closed. If you’re going to visit family, have your kids draw art to give the family you’re visiting!

5) Activity binders. I like to make one for each of my children, and I personalize the content for their interests. I include blank sheets of printer paper, puzzles, coloring sheets, blank comic book pages, and more. My daughter loves stickers, so I also include a pouch that can hook onto the rings of the binder and fill it with stickers. These binders are a great way to keep loose paper from cluttering up the car, and they allow my kids to have different types of activities all in one place. No need for separate books that just fill up the car!

Make sure you’re all set for your family’s next road trip with the perfect vehicle – check out Thompson Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Baltimore‘s site for more!

Winterize Your Vehicle

This is a sponsored post partnered with East Hills Jeep. All opinions are honest and are my own.

Winter is upon us, and even if you park in a garage, your car will eventually be affected by the elements when you’re out and about. It’s important in winter, above all the other seasons, to make sure your car is prepared.

1. Lubricate Window Tracks. This is one that seems like something small, but can really end up saving money in repairs! In the winter, freezing water can get down into the tracks of your vehicle’s windows, which can create drag when you try to open the window. That extra tension as you’re working the windows can damage cables, costing you a pretty penny.

2. Use a synthetic sealant or a wax to help protect your car’s finish. If you’re driving in an area that salts to de-ice the roads then your car is being exposed to even more potential damage, so using a sealant right before winter hits is a great way to provide a barrier against the elements for the winter months. It’ll give your car a nice shine, too.

3. Check your tires’ tread. It’s always important to make sure your tires have sufficient tread, but is especially important in the winter due to freezing rain, slush and snow. You want to make sure you have plenty of traction before you get out on potentially slick roads!

4. Switch out your windshield wiper blades. You might think all blades are created equally, but you’d be wrong! Regular wiper blades can get overloaded with snow, which greatly reduces their efficacy. The blades might create big streaks, or might not be able to get good contact on the whole surface, meaning some of the windshield doesn’t get cleared off.. Winter wiper blades are wrapped in rubber boot that prevents ice and snow from sticking.

New Year, New (to You) Vehicle!

This is a sponsored post partnered with Butler Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. All opinions are honest and are my own.

The new year is just a few weeks away, and that means it’s a time of newness in many ways – new resolutions, and new starts… and it’s also a great time to get a new vehicle, because of all the sales that take place around the holidays.

In our house we’ve purchased both new and used vehicles, and I especially like getting used vehicles, because you can get a great deal. Obviously you can get great deals on new vehicles, too, but if you’re wanting, say, a car loaded with all sorts of extras (like a navigation system, leather seats, etc.), going with a used vehicle will let you get more for your money.

When you buy a used vehicle, you can typically also get better insurance rates, which is another way in which buying used can help you stretch your dollar. You’ll also find that there’s often a broader selection of types of vehicles when you’re buying used.

Of course, if you’re buying a used vehicle, there are things to consider that you wouldn’t have to think about with a new vehicle. Look at the condition of the vehicle (make sure you get a certified used vehicle and learn the history before buying) and mileage to make sure the value for what you’re spending is on point. Make sure that whether you’re buying new or used you do your research and make a good choice!