Friday, July 26, 2013

Inspired by the Duchess of Cambridge

via What Kate Wore

With this week's arrival of the royal baby, I was inspired to recreate one of my favorite Kate Middleton looks: her going away ensemble from the day after their wedding.

Earrings, Blazer, Belt, Wedges, Dress
One thing I love about the Duchess is that she's just as comfortable (and gorgeous) wearing clothes accessible to "the people" as she is wearing designer labels. It's all about finding the brands and styles that look good on your body, not about the names or numbers on the labels.
Have a fantastic weekend!
see more Friday's Fancies at {long distance loving}

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Negotiating Cable and Internet Savings: My Experience

Last year, I shared some tips on how to negotiate lower prices for cable and Internet. At the time, we had just upgraded to cable, which meant we got the new customer rate and didn't need to negotiate anything. Fast forward a year and our promotional period was up. So it was time to call up Cable and Internet Company X to see if these negotiation tips really worked.

Right off the bat, I ignored my own advice of going through the voice prompts for cancelling service. When you go through that voice prompt, you typically get connected to an operator that is a retention specialist. They will often be able to offer more promotional prices in an effort to retain you as a customer. The big companies know that in most cases, making a better deal for you is more cost effective than trying to find a new customer to make up for losing you as a customer.

Instead, I called customer service since I had some additional questions and wanted to upgrade to HD (though I didn't tell them that initially). As expected, I spoke with a normal customer service rep, not a retention specialist. At first, I didn't have it in me to say we would cancel service for a lower price. I said that the current pricing wasn't in our budget because we had a baby on the way and needed to put those extra dollars towards diapers. The rep offered some lackluster promotions for current customers, so I asked if I could get new customer pricing since I was a loyal customer of several years.

She wouldn't budge, so I pulled out the new customer promotional prices at Competitor Y. I was firm on wanting to stick to our budget, so I told her it would be much easier to save money by switching to Competitor Y. At this point, she transferred me to another rep; what I'm assuming was a retention specialist.

Magically, the second rep was able to offer much better pricing. It wasn't quite as low as the new customer pricing, but we were able to upgrade our Internet speed and add HD for $40 less than what we were currently paying. Yes, I was lax in watching the monthly bills and had let the previous promotional pricing end. That's what happens when you're pregnant and tired.

Fortunately, we're locked into our new, lower price for the next twelve months. And you better believe I have a reminder on the calendar to call back when the year is almost up. Because if I don't, our monthly bill will spike by $50. And nobody wants to waste their money on the same service that the next guy is getting for $50 less.

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

NecklaceEarringsClutch, SandalsMaxi Dress

Hi there! How has your week been? It's brutally hot in Chicago (like so many other places), so most of my time has been spent in the air conditioning. That would be standard during a typical work week, but I'm having a little cabin fever since I'm on maternity leave.

Fortunately, we have plans to get out of the house by volunteering (and attending) SummerFest at our church this weekend. A few local bands played last night with the final act playing the likes of Santana and bluesy George Thorogood and Stevie Ray Vaughn. The next few nights should be fun with some great 80's cover bands.

As for my Friday's Fancies outfit, I kept things realistic this time around. All of the pieces are on sale and less than $50 a piece! Not bad for an easy summer outfit.

Have a great weekend!

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Personalized Touch

I don't know if I'll share all of Monica's birth story on the blog (spoiler alert: I wound up having a C section), but I do have a funny little story to share about my labor.

In 2010, I ran the Chicago Marathon. My parents, sister, and John cheered for me throughout the whole race while wearing matching shirts made by my family's company, CCAP Enterprises, that said, "GO CATHY GO!"

John still has his shirts and occasionally wears them around the house. As my due date approached, I joked that it would be funny if he and/or my family wore the "GO CATHY GO!" shirts to the hospital to help cheer me through labor.

During the week following my due date, I went in for a nonstress test to make sure Monica was still healthy. Her heart rate was great, but the amniotic fluid level was low. So they admitted me and made plans to induce labor. John was at work, so I called to tell him to get his butt to the hospital. When he walked into my hospital room (after a quick stop at home), what was he wearing? A"GO CATHY GO!" shirt!

This isn't the first time CCAP was involved in one of our significant life events. We ordered personalized cocktail napkins for our wedding reception and monogrammed CoasterStone wedding favors from CCAP:

In addition to this small sampling, CCAP can provide you with all forms of custom-decorated apparel and a wide selection of promotional products and logo merchandise. They've worked on small individual projects, as well as large corporate orders. First hand, I can tell you that CCAP's service and turnaround times are top notch and their prices are competitive. They'll help you find the highest quality item for your price point or find a specific item at a great price.
As a sponsor of Fiscally Chic, CCAP is offering a 10% discount on your first order. Think of the savings for your wedding, small business, or bachelorette party you're planning. Just mention Fiscally Chic when you contact Paul.

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Thanks for Tanks

Kate Spade studs, IKABAGS striped bag, DV by Dolce Vita Archer sandals,
Hudson + Ruthie flower bud tank, Kate Spade Saturday splatter paint skirt

Hi, friends! Just wanted to pop in with a quick post during nap time. What's new with you? All is well in baby-land.

As for getting-dressed-in-the-morning-land....that's another subject. Earlier this week, Meagan of Mo Pie, Please touched on her go-to summer outfit of shorts and a T-shirt thanks to her, as she puts it, "weird post-partum body." Being one month post-partum myself, I couldn't agree more. Sure, I was wearing non-maternity shorts and a tank top while reading her post, but they fit a little funny.

So thank goodness for a little Friday's Fancies goodness to let me dream up an outfit that I might not otherwise fit into at the current moment!

Have a great weekend!

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Lemon-Sage Marinated Chicken

In typical new mom fashion, I can't believe that Monica is already one month old! Seriously. The time is flying by.
While our "new" normal includes diapers (so many diapers), nursing, and trying to sleep, we're trying to keep up with some of our "old" normal. And that includes cooking healthy dinners with enough for planned-overs. Fortunately, the abundant summer produce makes doing this a little easier. It also helps that John is a great cook and can help put dinner on the table.

One such tag-teamed dinner of late was this lemon-sage marinated chicken. I started to marinate the chicken during nap time and John took care of cooking the chicken once he got home from work.

The chicken tasted like summer with the lemon juice and zest. And you can get away with using smooth mustard, but the mustard seeds in whole grain mustard add a nice little pop when you bite into them.

We kept the rest of the meal light and fresh by having some French bread and caprese salad on the side. You could also pair the chicken with a green salad or couscous.

Do you have a favorite quick and healthy weeknight dinner?

Lemon-Sage Marinated Chicken
Adapted from Weber's Charcoal Grilling: The Art of Cooking with Live Fire by Jamie Purviance

1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard (or smooth mustard with mustard seeds added separately)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh cracked pepper

4 chicken breasts
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Fresh lemon slices
Fresh sage leaves

In a large, resealable plastic bag or airtight container combine the marinade ingredients.

Place the chicken in the bag or airtight container. Press the air out and seal tightly.

Turn the bag/container to mix the ingredients and distribute the marinade.

Refrigerate 8 to 12 hours, turning occasionally.

Season the chicken with the salt.

Grill and garnish with lemon slices and fresh sage.
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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Red, White, and Blueberries

Cisco Brewers Whale Tale Pale Ale, Berry Crostini from Damn Delicious,
Berry Sangria from Kitchen Confidante, Shiner Ruby Redbird bottle cap (personal photo),
Blueberry BBQ Sauce from The Diva Dish, Flowers from Design*Sponge
Happy Independence Day! We don't have much planned for today besides catching up on sleep and (possibly) straightening up the house. The neighbors have been setting off fireworks the past few nights, so I'd imagine we'll also enjoy a beer while watching fireworks from our patio.

Enjoy the holiday!
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