Penelope Anne Photography

Every time I tell people I ordered my wedding dress from a website in China for $200 they either a) laugh out loud (usually followed by typical! of course you did!) or  b) look at me horrified. But I'm here to tell you: I ordered my wedding dress for $200 from China and I survived. Not only did I survive, but I loved my dress:

Penelope Anne Photography

I LOVED the detail at the bottom of the dress. I also loved my shoes (Nine West Flax for $13 on ebay, baby). 

Penelope Anne Photography
It also passed my wiggle dance test:

Penelope Anne Photography

So, here's the story:

1. We made a wedding priorities list: our non-negotiables if you will. The things we were willing to spend money on, and if something wasn't on that list then we said we are going to let it go. These are our non-negotiables:
  • All family and friends (i.e. bigger guest list)
  • Best party ever (aka music, lights, fun touches, open bar)
  • Enough food
  • Venue our out of town guests could easily access AND our in-town guests could easily get to and from (i.e. metro accessible, uber-able, hotels within walking distance - let's not talk about small town guests who have never parallel parked attempting to drive in DC)
Notice what's not on that list? Wedding dress. Because guess how many weddings I've been to where I'm like "Man that was so great and full of love and represented them and a great party because the bride had a pretty dress". Never. Guess how many wedding dresses I remember from the last 15 weddings I've been to? 3.  

2. Obsessively researched: Yall I COMBED THROUGH EVERY LAST BOARD on Weddingwire and weddingbee. I actually feel like I know some of the reviewers personally at this point (hey! I loved your dress - I saw you over on the weddingwire message boards too! Did you get the whole ring riszing situation worked out?). There were pretty mixed reviews on the boards which made me uneasy. But then I found and seeing actual women in the actual dresses made me feel great about the process. After (literally) weeks of research (I could write a book) here's what I learned:
  • I found the most positive reviews for
  • This dress was not going to be high quality material (totally fine. I'm wearing it once)
  • Exact colors look a little different on our American computer monitors - I ordered white even though I thought I wanted champagne (too risky)
  • Some details may look different on the actual dress (mine were mostly small details, things that looked a lot higher quality online and not so high quality in person)
3. Tried on dresses at a store (in America): I loaded up my bridal posse and hit 2 stores to actually try on the dresses. This was fun (hi champagne!) and it also confirmed the type of dress I wanted.

4.  Order THE dress: I ordered this one.

5. Panic: The online reviews said people got the dresses a week later and it's been 2 weeks and omg what if my dress doesn't come and I just gave my credit card info to Chinese sweatshop scam artists?

6. Facetimed a BFF: who made me laugh at how ridiculous the situation is and reminded me that there isn't much money to steal from my little bank account anyway. Have at it, suckas! (thanks Maggie!)

7. Rejoice when the tiny package arrives (so tiny!)

8. Found a GOOD tailor: I gave myself an inch or 2 of wiggle room in my dress (also read horrifying reviews about the dresses being smaller than the measurements, paying hundreds to get it let out, etc). I used Chris at Studio ProjectIssue8 and could not be happier. She took in the dress, altered the neckline, added a built-in bra, added cloth covered buttons (someone in China liked these tiny blingy buttons. Not my style). We ran into an issue with the lace which added a LOT of labor on her part (and my final check), but there is nothing a good tailor can't make look like it's not made in China.

9. TRASH THE THING! I had zero problem doing this:


  • You have to actually be chill about your wedding dress if you're ordering it from China, and have medium expectations. The negative reviews I read online complained about how low-quality the fabric was, the feel of the lace, and some even said they were mad because the dress isn't actually made by a legit wedding dress designer. I'm confused about what made them think they were getting a Pnina Say Yes to The Dress Designer brand for $150?
  • Do your research! Some of the stores out there are not legit in any way. If you can't find reviews online (outside of their own website's reviews page), just say no.
  • Be selective about who you tell about this. Everyone and their moms believes they have a PhD in weddings and knows what is best for you and your wedding and your dress. But they're not writing the check, nor are the wearing the dress. If I wasn't 100% confident about this, I would have easily been swayed to drop an extra 2Gs on a dress.
  • You HAVE to have a good tailor, and you HAVE to be willing to drop some money on alterations. 
  • My wedding turned me into a psychotic serial killeresque asshole in the final few weeks. I started having crazy thoughts like "everyone's going to be able to tell I ordered my dress from China! Oh no!" (looking back I see that it's because everything was spinning out of control and I was trying to grasp onto something I could control - like buying a new dress or something crazy). Have people around you who remind you what you cared about in the first place. And also people who cut you off from Pinterest wedding dress boards when you are second and third guessing yourself (thanks, Charisse!).
  • I loved my dress (obvi) after the tailor fixed it. You can see the dress in action in our wedding video here.

Check out our full honeymoon + trash the dress video below:

SO - would you ever order a bargain wedding dress? Do you know anyone who has?

True Life: I Ordered my wedding dress from (GASP) CHINA for $200

Friday, May 29, 2015

Welcome to another installment of Lindsay Stalking Things She Loves on Pinterest That No Longer Exist or Are Way Out of Her Price Range so She Found it For Cheap Somewhere Else. This session I'm focused on summer work clothes. First off, my office is pretty casual in the summer. Second off, WHY does it cost so much to buy LESS cloth? Like why are summer clothes expensive at all?? Thirdly, I can only wear clothes that don't show sweat. When I step into my office after my 2 block walk from the metro, the casual observer would think I just ran 26.2 miles based on the ocean of sweat pouring from my body.

#1: Nautical Midi original here

My finds:

$20 @ Charlotte Russe

$20 @ Bluefly

Look #2: Original here

Belt here

Look # 3: Original here

Belts: here and here

Look #4: Original here

Where do you buy summer work clothes??

Summer Work clothes on a budget (that also don't show sweat)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Another start of the week, another weekend filled with too much fun and/or relaxation to prep my meals. This means another meal plan of meals that will require 20ish minutes of prep per day made with only ingredients found at Trader Joe's because that is around the corner from my work and I can go there on my lunch break to pick up groceries.

Sidenote: am I the only one who finds it 100000 x more difficult to stay healthy in the spring/summer? The nice weather makes it very hard for me to do anything besides sitting outside sipping a summer cocktail (exercise and meal prep fall to the 49th priority on my warm weather priority list). Actually, I know the answer to that question and the answer is I AM CORRECT. I know this from my extremely scientific and valid study of grocery store crowds. Winter = packed on Sunday afternoons, spring/summer = lines winding through every aisle on Monday after work. Now that I think about it, the Trader Joe's checkout guy last week definitely validated my findings. He also said he wanted to start a blog about the weirdest combinations of things he sees people buy at Trader Joe's. Yes PLEASE.

Anyway- here's my slacker meal plan for the week:

Now let's talk about that time I didn't do any meal prepping so threw together item of food living in my fridge (would we call this salad?) and it turned out to be so fabulous that I ate it every single day and will continue to eat again this week. Here's a little collage and here are some of the recipes:

I made a big batch of this paleo friendly garlic dijon dressing and topped each salad with it. I could probably just drink that for lunch every day and be happy.

Salad #1

  • Handful spinach, chopped
  • Handful kale, chopped
  • 1/2 zucchini, chopped
  • handful blueberries, chopped
  • 1/8 white onion, diced
  • Handful fresh green beans, chopped
  • 1 slice Trader Joe's deli turkey

Salad #2

  • Handful spinach, chopped
  • Handful grapes, halved
  • 1 cup cooked squoodles (left over from dinner last week. Used the wrong setting on the spiralizer and they turned out beautiful!)
  • 2 slices red onion, diced
  • 1/4 avocado, cubed
  • 1 slice Trader Joe's deli turkey
Salad #3
  • Handful spinach/kale mix, chopped
  • Leftover paleo "fried" chicken (recipe for this coming soon I promise)
  • Handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 slice of bacon, ripped up (bitted? what do you even call that?)
  • 1/4 avocado, cubed

Salad #4

  • Handful chopped spinach/kale mix
  • Handful strawberries, halved
  • Handful blueberries
  • 2 slices red onion, diced
  • 1/4 avocado, cubed
  • Handful green beans, chopped
  • 1 slice Trader Joe's deli turkey

What is your favorite salad to eat? 

OH and how could I almost forget? A very happy anniversary to Kimye, and a huge thanks to mom of the year Kris for posting this video which makes me feel a LOT better about my awkward first dance.

That time I ate salad every day for 2 weeks + slacker paleo meal plan

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

While planning our wedding it seemed like every.last.thing was an additional exorbitant (unexpected) cost. About a month before the wedding I started panicking re: what to wear to my own rehearsal dinner. It seemed all white dresses were made for either a) picnics or b) nightclubs, and nothing in between.

Enter: Asos. I've talked about Asos before, but this was how I lost my Asos virginity (note: Asos is not paying me to write about this. I wish they would just pay me in clothes but I haven't worked that out yet): my friend Charisse said "I get the idea you're going for. Check Asos". I checked Asos, ordered 6 dresses (free shipping both ways!), the dresses arrived in 2 days, I tried on 6 and fell in love with 2 so picked the less expensive one, stuffed the other dresses in the envelope that came with the package, slapped the label on (which was included, I didn't have to print it!), and dropped it in a mailbox. This was one of the least stressful parts of wedding planning (once I listened to Charisse and did the Asos thing. before Asos I was frantically searching Shopstyle and every single online retailer for something in between picnic and nightclub). Now I'm a full fledged Asos loyal.

Here are the dresses I tried on:

1. |  2. |   3.  |  4.  |  5.  |  6.  

Asos also has petite and plus lines that are WONDERFUL.

I ended up with option #5 which set me back a cool $23. Amazing. I absolutely love this dress and I really wish I could find more reasons to wear it. Here are some pics from our rehearsal dinner thanks to the amazing Penelope Anne Photography (she travels! And since we didn't have her do an engagement shoot they shot our rehearsal dinner instead and I LOVE our rehearsal dinner pix).

PS: Shoes are Steve Madden Proto in Blush Leather - usually $99 but I snagged a $35 pair from Marshal's. BOOM.

PSS. I love the fact that these are the only pix I can find that I'm in that don't feature either my ugly cry face or Harrison's ugly cry face.

PPSS: I had an idea of going for a white jumpsuit and the results Polyvore found me in my price range are too good not to share:

Peek a boo!

While I do appreciate that these mesh cutouts let a lot of air in.. I just ...

A touch of pink perhaps?

Rehearsal Dinner Dresses under $30

Friday, May 22, 2015

Well it's almost summer and trillion % humidity has made its way to DC! Does anyone else out there have a hard time adjusting to the heat/extreme sweat? I try to stay hyrdated but maaann. Extreme heat = time for new workout clothes (darn I guess I'll just do some shopping!)

So, first a confession. Harrison DJs for Lululemon and gets paid in Lulu merchandise. I have gotten pretty accustomed to the nicest workout clothes that just do everything exactly right (really the designers at Lulu think of everything). So I've been working out in these $100+ exercise clothes that I've never paid for. But the DJ shifts aren't rolling in like they used to so now I'm back to the basics: shopping clearance and outlets and Kohl's. Here's what I have my eye on:

$7.99 Xersion Loose Mesh Racerback Tank Top @ J.C. Penney's  (hello bright and yes please to mesh inserts that let the breeze in)

$8.49 C9 Champion Sports Bra @ Target (I own two of these and they are so raggedy because I always wear them and never get around to replacing them).

$11.99 Tek gear ® banded bottom racerback workout tank @ Kohl's (do not underestimate the power of the breeze coming in that hole in the back)

$14.99 Under Armour Rally Shorts from (I have these shorts now and they are so perfect - they don't ride up, they fit my butt, and there is tons of mobility. Just one problem: I'm pretty sure my cheeks hang out the bottom. I'm trying this pair next because they're longer)

$12 Skinny Fly Away Tamer Headband @ Lululemon (velvet lining keeps it in place, sweat wicking fabric keeps sweat out of your eyes, and the headband makes sure I don't have a zillion tiny flyaways matted to my face in sweat).

A lot of people recommended Fabletics to me and here is how I felt about my experience: $25 off my first outfit made for a great price. Otherwise I'm not so impressed with the prices. My outfit was leggings and a tank. I love the tank, not so wild about the leggings. The leggings fit awkwardly and the fabric was HOT aka not breathable, and the size that fit my booty does NOT fit my waist - as soon as I drop into down dog everyone gets a full moon. Not cute. Anyone else have similar or different experiences? Kelly has a really thorough review of her experience and she liked her leggings a lot more than I liked mine.

What are your favorite summer workout accessories/clothes? Where do you find reasonably priced quality workout clothes?

PS: Check me out on Body Design Personal Training's blog! They have lots of healthy recipes and workouts. Gooditmes!

Wednesday Workout: Workout Clothes for the Heat + A Confession

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

After a monthish of being MIA I'm baaaack! Let's catch up- here are 10 things I've been up to in the last few weeks:

1. Went to Atlanta for my college roommate's wedding (3 of us lived together 3 years of college and all got married within a year of each other) wearing a $10 thrift store dress (!).

2. Watched Love & Basketball for the first time (yes - somehow I was a teenager in the 90's and never saw this).

3. Turned 29 (and am fine with it!)

4. Bathed two dogs who HATE water.

5. Ate so much Mexican food that I got tired of Mexican food for the first time in my life.

6. Broke a glass in my sink, sending 1000000000 tiny shards of glass down the disposal. Texted my brother who fixes everything, found out you can VACUUM TINY GLASS PIECES OUT OF YOUR SINK as long as it's not too wet down there.

7. Went to Atlantic City for a friend's bachelorette party where I sipped delicious pina coladas on the beach and had my first experience with male strip clubs.

8. Got a salad craving for the first time in years, ate salad every day following for 2 weeks (recipes coming).

9. Enjoyed the shit out of married life. Life without the stress of planning a wedding, and not having to make 100000 world-ending decisions is amazing.

10. Went to a fun gala with some nice arm candy (also in a thrift store dress).

And now for the last Mexican-ish dish I ate before declaring I am done with Mexican food. It's a one skillet chorizo dish:

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Servings: 8


  • 1 package of chorizo (~17 oz) ($5.00)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced ($2.00)
  • 1 onion, diced ($.90)
  • 3 stalked celery, diced ($.70)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach ($2.00)
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced ($1.00)
  • For serving: fresh cilantro and diced avocado
Using a sharp knife, slice the chorizo long ways and peel the skin off each link. Put the sausage into a large frying pan and heat over medium-high heat, breaking up the sausage into crumbles as it heats.

After 5 minutes, add the sweet potato and stir together, heating for another 5-7 minutes. Now add the onion and celery. Continue to stir and heat another 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, stir and heat until the onions are translucent and the meat is cooked through.

Serve with cilantro and avocado.

What's your favorite skillet meal? What kind of food do you burn out on? 

Paleo Chorizo Sweet Potato Skillet + Catch Up

Monday, May 18, 2015

Due to a hectic past couple of weeks I've been MIA around the blogosphere. Thanks for sticking around, checking in, and for the emails and Instagram comments checking in on me! In the midst of wedding season, work projects wrapping up, traveling and all that I have completely lost track of this blog. I hope to be back next week because I have been cooking up some delicious spring paleo meals, discovering new youtube fitness channels, finding some awesome spring/summer fashion deals, and getting wedding pictures and videos back that I can't wait to share!

Thanks everyone for the support and love - can't wait to hit the 700+ unread blog posts on Bloglovin (eeeek) and get back into a routine!

See yall next week!!

State of the Blog

Tuesday, May 12, 2015