Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lace and Mint + Giveaway Announcement!

Feminine and Chic

My dream wardrobe consists of the above inspiration. Read on to see the reasons behind each of my picks! {Click on any of the icons to shop these items.}
  1. Lace and Rose Dress: I'm a sucker for a feminine dress. Put some lace on it, and I'm sold! The combination of this scalloped lace and the dusty pink is perfection.
  2. Miu Miu Sparkle Heels: I don't have the funds to buy Miu Miu shoes on a regular basis, but can't get enough of this ladylike style with the t-strap, glitter back, and the gorgeous nude hue. 
  3. Coach Mint Handbag: I have a slight unhealthy obsession with mint green. And not to mention that the structured style of this Coach purse is a classic. I think this will be on my wishlist for an upcoming anniversary (shh ...)!
  4. Rose Gold Pave Bangle: Rose gold and crystals. It's pretty obvious why I love this bracelet. 
  5.  Black Belt: When giving style advice, you'll often here me say, "Just belt it!" My love for high waisted skirts and flowy dresses is perfectly paired with a waist cinching belt. I often opt for a black faux snakeskin one with a gold buckle, similar to the one pictured above.
  6. Polka Dots and Tea Pots: Obviously not a style staple, but I'm inspired by the concept behind afternoon tea and the gorgeous patterns on vintage tea pots and cups. I started my collection a year ago and can't wait to find the perfect space to display them in!
  7. Florals and Parasols: My favorite part about God's creation is flowers. I love their vibrancy, uniqueness, and fragrance. My dad is a flower guru and I am so thankful for a childhood filled with adventures in the flower cooler and fresh bouquets on the kitchen table. The combination of this flower parasol inspires my whimsical side, where everything is graceful, sparkly, and light. 
What are some pieces that represent your style personality?


Brittany Gehre

Congratulation Brittany! Please message me on Facebook or shoot me an email with your address, your 31 Bits necklace and eye shadow palette from Radiant Cosmetics will be on its way to you shortly! Thank you to everyone who entered. Stay tuned for more giveaways in the future! 


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

If Money Could Talk

Let's get real. If my money could talk, it would probably be saying, "Stop spending me on that unnecessary pair of heels and just deposit me into your savings!" Oh, those dreaded "s" words. Spending and saving. One thing I do too much of, the other not enough. 

{Dumb Kid Designs | Etsy | $6.00 | Pink & Tan Chevron Wallet}
Sparkles and Prays was created to be a faith and style blog. In good faith I'll share my flaws along with my successes, and in true style I hope to only showcase the most affordable fashion (with the occasional splurge). I believe life is worth living, if buying that gold pair of sparkly heels will bring you joy every time you wear them, go for it--so long as purchasing them isn't at the cost of other priorities in your life.

I struggle with finding that balance. Between paying off my school debt and a shopping spree, I'm guilty of  choosing the latter. As a young adult, new to paying bills, loans, and the career world, I find it hard to keep track of my money (which results in frivolous overspending). I've attempted several ways, and none of them seem to fit. This year I've decided to pull ideas from various financial plans to create a customized plan for my bank account and personal spending habits. I hope you can take away at least one tip that works for you!

1. Record EVERY dollar spent. I recently downloaded the app called, "Budget" (creative name, huh?). It's an electronic version of the envelope system where you "add" the amount of money you want to spend in each category (groceries, shopping, gifts, etc.) and throughout the month you input your transactions and the app takes care of deducting your purchases from your initial balance. Sadly, using Budget has proven to me that I overspend in about every category. Read on to see the tips I'm going to apply to my budget next month.

2. Set aside savings along with other monthly expenses. I realized that I was only adding money into my savings after I calculated my shopping budget, like shopping was a category I just have to put aside money for ... not. Here are the categories that should be a priority for me:
  • Savings, Groceries, Gas, Gifts, Eating Out, Living Expenses, Student Loans, Tithing, and Personal Care.
Gifts and eating out may seem frivolous, but these are categories that allow me to appreciate and spend time with loved ones, which is well worth the money. Groceries, savings, gas, and personal care are budgets I'm still adjusting to find the right amount I need on a monthly basis. 

3. Balance the use of cash, credit, and debit for purchases.
  • Cash: I typically only have cash if I babysit during the week. Thus, I've gotten into the bad habit of swiping my credit or debit card with every transaction, which ultimately leads to overspending. This February I'm making an effort to withdrawal just $60 every week and avoid using my debit or credit cards for daily purchases (minus groceries, read on for my plan). This will mean gas, eating out, and personal care items.
  • CreditI'm a newbie at building credit, but I do know it's important to use your card wisely--in the hopes that you're able to  pay off the balance every month. This February I'll only use my credit card for groceries and my rent payment. The larger the purchase, the more reward points I receive at the end of the month. And absolutely no clothes shopping purchases will be charged to my credit card. I also hope to pay off my credit card the same day I use it, meaning that I will not have to worry about spending a future paycheck to pay off last month's credit spending. (I'm going to catch up to this goal by using February's savings portion to completely pay off my balance, a month before it is due. Next month I will resume regular savings.)
  • Debit: So, what's left for my debit card to do? I'll use my debit card for the transactions that don't happen as often, like buying a gift for someone. I'll also use it to pay my monthly student loan payment and will refer to these straightforward methods to reduce my loan debt in the most efficient way. 
This balance between cards and cash is my own personal preference, but I hope it'll help you evaluate your use of your own paper and plastic. 

4. Create a Budget Binder. I love what technology offers in the field of personal organization, but sometimes, good ol' paper and pen are the most satisfying means of budget control. I'll continue to use my Budget app for everyday expenses, but will record the app's summary into a budget binder at the end of every month. Knowing me, writing it down will help create a visual of what I can afford to cutback on. 
  • Here is a free printable budget worksheet that I found from the fabulous blog, Creative Kristi. It's colorful and fun, which will motivate me to actually record my monthly spending summary!
  • I'm going to add clear sheet protectors to my binder to hold monthly bills, receipts, and my check book. 
  • Decorate! Create a collage on the front of your binder that will encourage saving and inspire you to budget well.
Here are two of my favorite websites, tailored for women who are looking to be financially wise. 

I know this plan won't work for everyone. More simply, I needed a place  to document my personal goals and to be held accountable. Thanks for reading, Happy Saving!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Daily Dainty: Crossbody Purses

The Daily Dainty: Crossbody Purses

Selling items on Poshmark has made me more aware of what the average, everyday woman is searching for. One of the hottest items at the moment is the crossbody bag. I've had several people request them, and every time I do post one, it sells in 24 hours. With that being said, I introduce four chic, yet inexpensive, bags from JCPenney (I unexpectedly love their clothing lines!), two of which are from the Nicole by Nicole Miller line. (Each of these bags come in various colors.) 

Leave a comment below and let me know if you decide to purchase one. And include a sentence about other items you're on the hunt for. I'd be happy to help you search! I'm currently living vicariously through readers since I'm trying to refrain from spending any more this month!

This post is inspired by my sissy's gorgeous Marc Jacobs purse, the classic Natasha Q style ($368). This dainty daily can be purchased at Nordstrom or on Piperlime.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Valentine | "A Person One Loves"

This post is for those who are single, dating, or who could care less about February's "sweetheart" holiday. I've never been the biggest fan of Valentine's day--it always seems forced and predictable. Last year, Ronnie and I went to dinner at our favorite sushi restaurant ... that was a mistake. The restaurant squeezed in about 5 extra tables and I felt like I was sharing an intimate dinner with the couple next to us. Never again.

 So, I suggest three different ways to spend your holiday, or three different ways to spend any given day of the week, actually. Enjoy!

SPLURGE: In Pasadena there is an incredible movie theater lounge called iPic Theaters. What's so incredible about iPic? It's a bar, restaurant, and upscale movie theater all in one--complete with recliners, complimentary popcorn, and personal waiters throughout the movie. Each theater seats about 14 people, and the recliners are situated in groups of two. It's an ideal place for a movie with a best friend or your significant other. Without a membership, the cost for tickets for two is around $58 (worth it!), and you can order food and drinks right from your seats--with the click of a button--for an additional cost.

{Our first time at iPic theaters! (Formally Gold Class Cinemas.) Sorry for the blurriness!}

 SAVE: I've always wanted to host a ladies' clothing swap party. For the sake of cheesiness I'd title it "Sharing the Sparkle." You know you love it. Have each guest bring at least 10 items that are in mint condition. My party would include the following:
  • DIY Brown Bags with the name of each guest to hold all their swapped goodies.
  • Pinterest appetizers galore, and a sparkle champagne flute for each guest.
  • Organized stations for accessories, shoes, pants, skirts, etc. marked with clear signs.
  • Designated "changing rooms." Could be a spare bedroom or hanging sheets in the corner.
Relax: One of my absolute favorite things to do is spend a night in, watching a movie, reading some magazines, and pampering myself. I know so many ladies who don't do this as often as we should. So forget the crowds and the love letters and spend some time nourishing your soul with the things that bring you joy.

{Breakfast at Tiffany's | Essie "French Affair" Nails | Magazines and Coffee}

So spend time with a loved one, a friend, a sibling, or even spend it by yourself! Just remember to enjoy the day and forget the things society expects you to do during this holiday of hearts. 


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Weekend in Review: Exploring Los Angeles

Skirt (H&M; selling on Poshmark) | Boots (Vintage eBay Purchase) | Shirt (Old; JCpenney)

I've lived in Southern California for four years now, and each time I travel into the city I find more and more things to love. This weekend an old friend came to visit and we were prepared to explore the great food, shopping, and sites that Los Angeles and West LA had to offer. (I live 30 minutes outside LA in little ol' San Gabriel Valley.) Thankful for an extra day off from work, to honor Dr. King, Vivian and I were able to enjoy some quality girl time together. We had a jam packed itinerary and were able to accomplish most of what we had planned. See some snapshots of our weekend below! 

Top Left: Mouth-watering macaroons (strawberry passion & vanilla bean) from Sweetsalt Food Shop in Toluca Lake, just outside Universal Studios. This is my new favorite spot for a sweet bite and unique sandwiches, like their honey and lavender duck on a french baguette.

Top Right: Salad art (pictured: curry chicken salad) from Marmalade Cafe at LA's Original Farmer's Market in the Grove. Their service and food was great along with the restaurant's rustic Parisian decor. A great spot to relax and eat if you find yourself needing a break between the fabulous shopping at the Grove.

Bottom Left: The beautiful lamp posts of the Urban Light Installation outside of LACMA. It's an LA must-see, including a popular engagement photo and couple's spot. (Anyone ever see the adorable scene in No Strings Attached?) Vivian and I modeled for each other and had a blast, see Viv's model moment below! 

Bottom Right: The prettiest tea canisters there ever was, spotted at the Farmer's Market in the Grove. I found the tea brand online, here. I'm tempted to buy one simply for the packaging.

{Work it, Viv.}

Above: My mouthwatering Croque Monsieur at the Alcove Bakery in Los Feliz, right by Griffith Park. I recommend this place on a weekday for brunch, they serve breakfast all day and have the coziest outdoor patio seating. However, it's a super popular spot, so be prepared for a bit of a crowd. (Can you tell we LOVE food?)

Vivian got to walk around Rodeo Drive for the first time! Only window shopping for now....
Beautiful, Chanel on Rodeo ... sigh....

Viv also got us tickets (free online) to a taping of the Chelsea Lately show at Universal Studios. We aren't her biggest fans, but were excited to watch the process, which was incredibly efficient! We waited to be seated for about an hour and the actual recording of the show lasted only 40 minutes! We weren't allowed to use phones or cameras in the studio, but I rebelled and took a quick shot of the set's logo. 

This is a fun picture to cap off this weekend in review post. I purchased this dress for $5.00 at a Goodwill. Can you tell from the picture that I'm having a "red carpet" moment, a girl can dream. One day, I'll find an occasion to bust out this glamorous little number!

I am so thankful for a fun-filled weekend with a dear friend. Now, back to the grind!


Friday, January 18, 2013

Short & Simple

Happy Friday, friends! 


Style Inspiration | Spring 2013

J Crew Picks 2013 Spring
{All images courtesy of View full look book here}
1. Mixing Patterns. Two of my favorites: polka dots and floral prints. I haven't quite gotten the hang of this trend yet, but I'm looking forward to trying it out! I may consider these polka dot tights, which are a subtle way to incorporate more than one pattern into your look.

2. Stripes and MintStripes will always be a style staple, but I'm so glad to see mint green hues back again this spring. Seriously, those heels are incredible! Shop my mint picks here and here.

3. High Waisted Skirts. I was thrilled to see feminine high waisted skirts in the J. Crew collection. I'm a sucker for them and believe they will never go out of style. My favorite place to shop for high waisted skirts are thrift stores--I always find well-made vintage skirts at an amazing price. I'm loving this skirt on

4. Brocade Fabric. I've been loving brocade for the past year, though I'm normally not a huge fan of metallic,  I think the mix of a feminine pattern and contemporary shimmer gets me every time. Shop my current brocade pick here.

*PS Did you know J. Crew has an online factory store? Amazeballs!

Have you ever experienced finding that perfect dress or pair of heels that seem to have your name and personal style written all over it? THAT was exactly what happened when I found these J. Crew heels on Poshmark. The seller said she "had a friend in the company" and snagged this pair before their spring debut later this year (I'm assuming the company had a sample sale). I purchased them for a 1/4 of what their retail price will be. Eyelet leather, the signature "iced lilac" shade, and a chunky heel--J. Crew can do no wrong.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Steal That Style: Miss Pippa

Pippa Style

My sister and I are obsessed with the ever-so-classy sister style duo, Duchess Kate and Pippa Middleton. Though I'm actually the youngest, I've been deemed the "Kate" and my sister, the "Pippa," because we feel each of them reflect our personal style. However, the new author--who stole the show at the royal wedding in her very own ivory gown and seems to be on the "hunt" for a quality man--has a way with building a simple, feminine, and on-trend look all within the same outfit. The Steal that Style feature above has items only found on The promo code "yesplz" is good for 10 percent off a purchase of $65 or more, including free shipping. Simply put, this look encompasses incredible basics, at an incredible price, all of which are must haves for any closet. 

*Don't forget to enter this month's "giving back" giveaway. 
Details here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Giving Back" Giveaway

31 Bits and Radiant Cosmetics

You have a chance to win two great items from my favorite sustainable and empowering fashion/cosmetics brands. Enter to win by "LIKING" the Sparkles and Prays facebook page and by leaving a comment below! The winner of the giveaway will be chosen at random and announced on January 31!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sparkling Steals: Forever 21 Sale

Yes, my New Year's resolution was to limit my clothes budget. BUT ... (of course) working on another blog post led me to Forever 21's website. Their current promotion (Ending January 21) is an additional 50 percent off their sale merchandise. I went in thinking I wouldn't find anything, but my heart for sequins and peachy pinks got the best of me. I got all these things (plus a black sweater, not pictured) for $55--I could have spent more with how many great items they had on sale! I can't wait to wear the pink and gold heeled booties that were only $7.49!

Use the promo code EXTRA50 at the checkout to get your discount.
Happy Shopping!

P. S. I fully intend to be held accountable for my spending. 2013 will be a year of frugal shopping and immense saving! (Fellow shopaholics, got any tips for me? Do tell! But seriously, #fashionaddict.)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Statement Necklaces

{Large Necklaces: Forever 21 | Silver Heart and Jade Silver Necklace: Brighton | Earring Studs: H&M | Art Deco Earrings: Charlotte Russe}
My favorite jewelry items of the moment are bright and bold, statement necklaces. I was given several as gifts for my birthday/Christmas and realized just how well they complete an outfit. All you need is a basic tee to make these necklaces pop with life. Forever 21 has an incredible and affordable collection of necklaces just like the ones pictured above. Do you also pair your gorgeous statement pieces with simplistic items like a t-shirt?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Weekend in Review

My first pair of designer shoes: Badgley Mischka 'Gayla' pumps. I found these lovelies on Poshmark for half the price. Needless to say, they were made for me. Shoe heaven!
Photo fun. One day I will have a wall dedicated to all my favorite shoes ....
I purchased this skirt at Goodwill for $3.49. I bought it because of the look and the label. I'm not 100 percent sure if it's authentic, but it's a beautiful vintage piece. Until someone can tell me otherwise, I'm just going to rock it like Mr. Armani handcrafted it himself.
I did more New Year's cleaning this weekend and made space in my closet by selling items on Poshmark. I've been able to let go of items I wouldn't simply give away. Poshmark allows me to clear my closet clutter since I know I'll get a portion of my money back knowing the piece will go to a new and loving home.
New Brunch Spot: Blu Jam Cafe in Melrose. We didn't know it was such a popular breakfast spot until we saw the line of people waiting out the door. Their all-day breakfast is to die for, I ate the Roma Via Paris plate with farm fresh eggs and vegetables and the most deliciously seasoned potatoes. We'll definitely be going back.
When my roomie, Kathryn, told me she had to make a trip to Beverly Hills this weekend, I naturally thought of the new Georgetown Cupcake store (featured on the show DC Cupcakes). This original East Coast cupcakery definitely gives Sprinkles a run for its money. My favorite part was how well decorated and spacious the store was; monochromatic with luscious pink flowers and sparkles!
Georgetown Cupcake's floral arrangements. Pink Alstroemeria and Roses.
Top Right: Red Velvet with love; Bottom Left: Mint Cookies and Cream; Bottom Right: Chocolate Ganache. Click here for their full menu.
And I had to add a picture of these gorgeous turquoise earrings I purchased online from They sent me a 15 percent off birthday coupon in the mail and since I've been eyeing this gorgeous pair for a while, it was meant to be!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Making Good Habits, Breaking the Bad

(Title, no relation to the awesome TV series)
My New Year's Resolutions? Well, here they are ...

1. Cook a homemade meal once a week.
I bake occassionally, though it's harder for me to cook a good and well-rounded meal. I hope to try out one of these recipes a month and cook at least one homemade meal a week, in hopes of living a healthier lifestyle that allows me to enjoy food and take my time preparing it.

Pinned Image
{Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich}
2. Remove my mascara every night before bed.
I never go to bed without washing my face, but I do have a nasty habit of leaving my mascara on for multiple days at a time. I tell myself this routine saves me time in the morning, but really, my lashes end up looking like a clumpy mess. I also hope to use my SmartLash serum every night (it worked wonders when I used it a few years back), and use these tips for no clump, healthy-looking lashes.

Pinned Image
{Mascara, via}
3. Be wise with my money.
My friends and family know me as an online shopaholic. It's to the point where Ronnie will hand me his laptop when he's watching sports, just because he knows I'd rather unwind from the day by shopping online. Most importantly, building my savings fund and tithing to God is better than the item I'll tire of in a few months. I've downloaded this handy app to track my spending and reduce my tendency to impulse buy while I'm surfing the web late into the night.
Pinned Image
{Via Jonathan Adler}

4. Rest: with tea, candles, cozy pajamas, and get lost in a book.
I have a really hard time doing one thing at a time. I'm a notorious busy-body, needing to multitask at every second of the day. Something I tell myself all the time is to "stop and rest." This past summer was the first time I really got to slow down and do things I love. I believe it is so important to follow God's lead and take a Sabbath every week, not only to myself, but to enjoy time spent with Him.

{Anthropologie Tea Cup, via}
5. Join a homegroup at church.
I've finally started attending a church regularly and think my days of church-hopping have seen their last. I'm excited to get plugged into a homegroup next month with a group of young women like myself. I've found myself craving purposeful friendships and I'm ready to see what God has in store for me and new relationships.