Save Money, Style

My top picks: Beautiful dresses for less than $100!

shop winter holiday

Are you looking at your credit card bill and in disbelief over how much you spent over the holidays? It’s crazy how costs for gifts, parties, cooking, and traveling add up so quickly. Now that it’s a new year, many of us have goals to save money or to be more frugal with our spending, including me!

While the holidays might be over, there are always upcoming occasions that need the perfect outfit. However, you don’t have to spend a fortune to look amazing and unique!

I’ve done the hard work for you and curated some picks for fancy, beautiful dresses – all under $100!

I do prefer sleeves on my dresses, but there’s a mix of dresses with sleeves, sleeveless, and dresses of varying length. I have my eye on the green dress and the black dress with the cap sleeves in the middle…honestly, I want all these dresses!

What’s your favorite dress find?

*This post contains affiliate links

Le Havre France Park
Review, Sightseeing, Travel

Discovering Le Havre, France

When I went on my Grand European Cruise, I knew we would be stopping in some places that I wouldn’t have chosen to visit if I was planning a trip on my own, but only because I didn’t know they existed!

This ended up being a great aspect to joining a cruise since we got a chance to visit non-touristy cities in Europe and see how people live in their everyday lives (and they DO eat beautifully decorated pastries even if there aren’t many tourists to attract)! Plus, I discovered that I absolutely love one of the cities we visited, Óbidos, Portugal!

However, today is all about Le Havre, France.

Le Havre France Park

While we didn’t have to go through customs when arriving in France from Spain, we did have to exit this area once the ship docked.

I’m glad we did, otherwise I wouldn’t have seen this sign, which shows that Le Havre is a World Heritage Site. Very impressive!

Le Havre Customs

One of the first places I saw was this charming square with a museum and lovely cone-shaped trees. Not a bad start first impression of Le Havre!

Le Havre France

Since this is France, I should have expected to see many patisseries and shops selling macarons and exquisite pastries!

Le Havre France Patisserie

Le Havre France Patisserie

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Save Money, Style

Shopping deals inspired by Paris: c’est la vie

Even though I’m not currently traveling, I still love to be reminded of Paris! That’s why I love finding treasures that either remind me of Paris or are Paris-related.

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I’m going to make this a weekly post where I scour the internet for some French-inspired deals and steals that I know you’ll love!

Today, it’s all about items that declare c’est la vie!

Of course we have to have the requisite items that state c’est la vie, like my favorite comfy shirts that have the saying emblazoned on them, but I also included delicate jewelry and feminine trainers in my current favorite color, rose gold.

Happy shopping!

*This post contains affiliate links

Boston Isabella Gardner Museum Courtyard at Night
Culture, Italy in Boston, Review, Sightseeing, Travel, Venice in Boston

Finding Venice in Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum at night

I recently wrote about the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum during the daytime, but for me, it’s even more beautiful and magical at night!

Boston Isabella Gardner Museum Courtyard at Night

I went on a Thursday evening, as it’s open until 9:00 pm on this day, and I initially didn’t think I would like the courtyard at night.

Since the entire top of the courtyard is covered in glass, during the day everything is bright and sunny, and it feels like you’re outdoors.

However, even with dim lights in the evening, somehow the courtyard was illuminated just perfectly.

Boston Isabella Gardner Museum Courtyard at Night

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Boston Isabella Gardner Museum Courtyard
Culture, Italy in Boston, Review, Sightseeing, Travel, Venice in Boston

Finding Venice in Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Where’s the best place in Boston to visit when you need a quick escape to Venice? Why the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum of course!

You get to roam around a a building inspired by the grand palazzos in Venice and also view its beautiful interior courtyard. 

She personally collected and sourced her art collection and architecture (for example, the columns, windows, doorways) from her many travels to Italy and around the world.

The museum also followed Isabella Stewart Gardner’s request and kept all the art, furniture, decorations, and set-up exactly as she intended.

As a result, not only do you get to “travel” to another country, you also get to do a bit of time-traveling!

Boston Isabella Gardner Museum Courtyard

Continue reading “Finding Venice in Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum”

Keukenhof Gardens Netherlands Holland
Review, Sightseeing, Travel

Keukenhof: The best place to see tulips in Holland

While it’s still the beginning of winter here in the Northeast, it’s never to early to think about spring and the abundance of flowers it brings!

Keukenhof Gardens Netherlands Holland

If you’re like me, you wish you can surround yourself with flowers every day. Well, there’s a glorious place where you can literally do this! Today let’s visit one of the most beautiful gardens in the world and THE best place to see tulips in Holland – Keukenhof!

Keukenhof Gardens Netherlands Holland

Only open for 8 weeks a year, Keukenhof is located in Lisse, Netherlands. It has more than seven million tulips, plus many other types of flowers, in its almost 80 acres of space.

Currently, ticket prices are €18,00 (equivalent to $21.95) if you buy them in person, and  there’s a €1.00 discount if you buy them online.

Keukenhof Gardens Netherlands Holland

As you can see, it’s a very popular place to visit. I recommend buying tickets ahead of time so you don’t waste valuable time queuing for tickets when you could be inside enjoying the gardens.

Let’s go inside!

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Restaurants, Review, Travel

The best afternoon tea in London: The Lanesborough

Over the course of the five years I lived in England, I went to many afternoon teas. Some were basic, serving just tea and scones, and some were truly an experience. One of those was at The Lanesborough in London.

Their website describes their afternoon tea as:

Served daily in either the majestic surroundings of Céleste or the elegant Withdrawing Room, afternoon tea at The Lanesborough is an occasion to be treasured.

Enjoy freshly baked scones, velvety clotted cream, home-made fruit preserves and intricately prepared pastries – all hand-crafted by our masterful pastry chefs.

After reading that, who wouldn’t want to have a posh and proper Continue reading “The best afternoon tea in London: The Lanesborough”

France in Boston, Paris in Boston, Sightseeing, Travel

Finding Boston’s Parc Monceau: Ramler Park

Paris is known for its beautiful, lush, sweeping parks, and they’re one of the many reasons I really miss Paris. While they all have the requisite benches, ponds, lakes, fountains, and lots of flowers and greenery, each park has something unique about it.

Once I moved back to Boston, I made sure to spend any free time just wandering around, much like I would do in Paris. As a result, I’ve found so many beautiful and serene spots that I never noticed before – and I lived here for 6 years!

On on particular trip, I discovered Ramler Park. This park is really well-hidden and probably only known by its residents.

What caught my attention were flashes of the most vibrant cobalt blue. Once I stepped inside and saw this charming park, I knew I found my Boston-version of Parc Monceau.

Wandering definitely pays off!

Boston Ramler Park fountain

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France in Boston, Provence in Boston, Restaurants, Review, Travel

Finding Provence in Boston: Miel Restaurant

Looking to escape this extreme winter weather and head somewhere known for its warmth? Specifically Provence and the Côte d’Azur in the south of France?

If you’re like me and can’t afford to take time off right now to jet off to Provence, you’re in luck! There’s a perfect place in Boston that captures the feeling of being the south of France and will make you feel like you booked a one-way ticket to Provence.

The Miel Brasserie Provençale is located at the luxurious InterContinental Hotel in Boston – but of course, did we expect anything less?

Boston Miel Restaurant Provence

While the lobby is very fancy, we’re not quite in Provence yet. This of this as our journey to Provence. It sure beats getting to the airport, waiting through baggage check, and flying over 6 hours in a cramped seat!

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We’re almost there!

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Since this is a hotel, we pass by another restaurant. It looks pretty good, so maybe we’ll stop by on another visit. There’s plenty of seating, which is nice if there’s a long wait at these restaurants.

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Create, Save Money

Homemade marbled jewelry plates

It currently feels like -22 degrees (F) outside, so what better way to spend the day than to make some crafts that are not only beautiful, but useful!

Homemade Marbled Jewelry Dish
All homemade by me!

I just love art, and one of my hobbies is finding new ways to express my creative side. Among my favorite recent classes are learning how to oil paint, play the piano and violin, and cook French food.

However, it shouldn’t cost a lot of money to be creative, which is why I think this project is perfect.

Last summer, my sister and I were brainstorming potential bridal shower gifts, but in the end, we decided we wanted to make the gifts ourselves. This would be so much more meaningful than just buying gifts online.

On one fortuitous Google search, I found instructions for making marbled jewelry dishes. They looked so pretty, and each one would look completely different from one another.

I won’t include any instructions here describing how to make these marbled jewelry dishes since the website linked above already has an excellent tutorial and video, but I will provide some helpful tips at the end of this post that I learned after making these plates.

It took some trial and error to get the plates to look right, but in the end, they turned out beautifully!

Practice makes perfect, and this photo showing our process for creating the initial plate shows just how far we still had to go!

Homemade Marbled Jewelry Dish process

What’s wrong in the picture above? Well, the marbling effect wasn’t quite right, and we rolled out the clay too thin.

When baking the dishes, try to find a glass dish wide enough that the clay can sink into a bit:

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