Posts in the 'Christen' Category

Get Inspired: Host a Lovely Brunch to Ask Your Bridal Brigade

Ally, one of my favorite local DFW photographers and one half of the extraordinary team at The Purple Pebble — you may remember them from brides in glasses fame — recently got engaged (yayyyy!!!) and threw a lovely luncheon to ask her ladies to stand by her side on her wedding day. Of course, throwing a luncheon in and of itself can be a little spendy, and when you add special flare to it because it’s not just any luncheon, the costs can add up quickly. While she still shelled out a pretty penny for the party, Ally managed to be pretty resourceful with a lot of the details and definitely put the BAB credo to work: Creativity is our currency!

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Budget Bridesmaid Brunch

The girls I chose as bridesmaids are what I call my “lifers.” Those friends who you can be your true self with, who have proven that no matter what, they’ll be there for you. In my case, these girls are family, high school friends, college friends and girls I met in adulthood. Each one of these girls has been there for me and each one of their friendships means the world to me. When I thought about asking people to be a bridesmaid in my wedding, I knew I wanted to ask in a special way. What a better way than a nice, little brunch celebration? When I asked each girl if she was available for a Sunday brunch on a certain date, they all said yes! Five of the girls in the wedding live where I do. 

Bridal Luncheon Personalized Cards

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As I got to planning, I thought of what kind of costs would be associated with this. After looking over everything I wanted to do, and the fact that I had 9 bridesmaids and 2 house party members, I knew I needed to save where I could. First step, host the brunch at my apartment.
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For the tablescape:
My mother grew up in the Midwest and has inherited lovely china from her grandmother and mother. I asked to borrow a set. White china with a gold rim was what I went with since my wedding accent color is gold. I also was able to borrow gold silverware. Crystal is timeless and elegant and I thought it would be a nice mix with the china. I was able to borrow crystal water glasses as well as a beautiful round, crystal vase that I put white hydrangeas in. I already had the clear glass tea light holders.
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I enlisted the help of Facebook friends for a table runner and had a work colleague let me borrow a gorgeous rose colored sequin runner. I also used Facebook to find another unique piece for the table: I wanted antlers, however, most of the places around town that sell antlers sold them for $25+ a piece. I didn’t want to pay that much for a single antler that I was going to spray paint. I had luck when my fiancé’s mother replied to my post saying that she had a set of antlers in her garage that I could have. Absolutely perfect! I spray painted them gold.
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For food and drink: 
I wanted to keep the food low cost and light. I purchased fruit and donut holes to make kabobs, went to a local shop to get kolaches and baked Pilsbury cinnamon roles.

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For the mimosa bar, I purchased orange juice with a coupon at a local grocery store chain. As the day of the brunch grew closer, I had multiple girls contact me asking if they could bring anything for brunch. Three girls each brought a bottle of champagne so that was covered!
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Accents:
I purchased adorable black and white striped paper straws from the $1 section at Target. And I was able to find 2 boxes of Libby champagne glasses on sale at Walmart. Two days before the brunch, my mother received a large, beautiful floral arrangement for her birthday. I was able to borrow that for extra decoration. I had a super cute card from my future sister-in-law that said, “You’re Engaged!” and I decided to use that as a cute little accent piece!
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Favors: 
Here is where I wanted to really personalize things for my girls! A wedding planner friend of mine created personalized cards for them. They cost $7 a piece. I went into Michael’s craft store for something a month before I put on the brunch and saw that there were colorful block letters in one of the bins in the $1 section. I was able to find a letter for each girl and each letter cost me $1.50.
Bridesmaid Luncheon Personal Letters
And my favorite part for my crew … a custom cookie! I had a local bakery make me diamond engagement ring cookies for $3.75 apiece. I had to buy a minimum of a dozen so I spent $45 on a dozen cookies. It was 100% worth it … the cookies were decorated with silver metallic paint and large sugar crystals were used as the diamond! They were also very good! For the favors, I spent $12.25 for each lady.
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Photography
Being a photographer, I was able to photograph all this goodness at no cost!
All in all, I spent $200 on food, favors and accents such as flowers, straws and champagne glasses. Everything else, I was able to borrow. And it certainly helped that my girls brought champagne! For those who do not live in the same city as me, I shipped them a card, letter and cookie from the Post Office so each package was anywhere from $5-$7 to ship.
The girls were all so surprised at the brunch when I asked them all to be bridesmaids! They had no idea it was coming.
I was able to pull off a great, affordable brunch with lovely ladies!

How did you ask your crew to stand by your side, BABs?

2014 Gift Guide: For the Love of Design

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There’s nothing quite like a well-designed product — either aesthetically or for usefulness … but it’s really great it it’s both. Whether it’s sleek and simple, fun and quirky or just one of those “D’oh! Of course! It makes total sense!” (See: this cutting board, which I didn’t include because I’ve obsessed enough over it.) And of course, once I got to looking, it was like a rabbit hole of awesome. So, I present the latest installment of The Broke-Ass Bride’s 2014 Gift Guides, chock-a-block full of radly (I have a friend who is going to HATE me for that) designed goods. There’s quite literally something for everyone on this list, and it’s all under $75.

The Broke-Ass Bride's 2014 Gift Guide For the Love of Design

Top Row, from left: It’s decor and greenery! Boskke Sky Planter, $19.99 || If they get revved up by good design, let them doodle their own, no matter where or when. Moleskine Gift Box Travel Set, $47 || A magnetized bottle opener is a beer-drinker’s best bottle-cap collecting friend, and this one is gorgeous. Areaware Magnetized Bottle Opener, $14.00

Second Row, from left: It’s old-school, yet modernly irreverent and your best homie will surely appreciate every ounce of it … especially if you make the cross-stitch your own damn self. B*tch Please Cross-Stitch Kit, $20 || These little carafes with wood toppers are so cute but so sleek and would be perfect for whatever schamazing sauces you put on your foodstuffs. Zest-Dressed Cruet Set, $29.99 || I love this water filter set to the end of the Earth — it’s pretty, dishwasher-safe and BPA-free. Soma Sustainable Water Filter, $60
Third Row, from left: It’s an old-school gramophone, updated to look awesome for the audiophile in your life. Premium DIY Gramophone Kit, $55.99 || Sure, you could probs use a tennis ball or your wonderful significant other, but this thing is like MADE for your feet to help soothe stress and banish pain. Foot Rubz, $5.99 || You or a person (kid or not) you know can totally create alter egos out of little peg people, and you know it’s going to be rad. DIY Peg Doll Craft Kit, $28

Fourth Row, from left: Let your whiskey get a slight chill and a little water without tasting like the dregs of melted-ice booze. Corkcicle Whiskey Wedge, $14.95 || As a cat owner, wall-mounted vases are a mother effin’ brilliant idea. Trees Company Vase Set, $19.99 || A triple-sided jewelry stand that also evokes trees just looks schamazing, amirite? Driving You Wilderness Jewelry Stand, $24.99

Bottom Row, from left: GUYS. THIS. Because seriously, how fucking cute? Pawcet, $24.99 || Forget cootie catchers, teensy-tinesy folds or paper airplanes. Origami Sticky Notes, $4.35 for a pack of 100 || Um, how about a fish tank that also happens to grow plants and essentially sustain itself? The fish poo feeds the plants, the plants clean the water … and you just have to remember to feed the fish. Aquafarm: Aquaponics Fish Garden, $59.99

Ten for the Weekend: Weeping Angels, Useful Giraffes, Flirty Aprons and Crafty Goods

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Man oh man, this December has been messing with me. For the last week, I’ve been thinking it’s a week closer to Christmas than it really is, and that struck total fear into this girl’s hear. But, lo and behold, it’s exactly what day it’s supposed to be. Funny how that works. And since it’s Friday, and Friday afternoon at that, it’s obviously time for Ten for the Weekend. This week, get your mitts on some geekery, some fun home things, darling dresses, flirty aprons and a few different crafty items.

1. Lord & Taylor is having one of their schamazing Friends and Family sales, with an extra 25% off almost everything until 12/17 with code FRIENDS.

2. If you’ve been paying attention to our Gift Guides, you’ve noticed that a ton of the goods are coming from ThinkGeek — and it’s a good time to get on gettin’ on it because ThinkGeek is having a 25% off site-wide sale + free shipping on orders of $40+ with code USALERT until 12/15.

Weeping Angel Nightlight

Because, clearly the Whovian in your life needs this Weeping Angel nightlight.

3. Get yo craft on and save some skrilla with 30% off your entire regular price purchase at Michael’s (online only) with code JINGLEBELLS.

4. Turn those wedding photos or engagement pics into wall art with 15% off at Magic Murals with code HOLIDAY15 until 12/30.

5. For TODAY (12/12) only, Fab.com is knocking 30% off home decor (discount applied only when you use this link).

Fab.com Giraffe Container

Clearly, your animal-loving friend is going to adore this giraffe container.

6. If you’re already starting to look at Save the Dates for your wedding, Wedding Paper Divas is knocking 20% off those bad boys until 12/16 with code 20DECDATE.

7. Ain’t that sweet! My M&Ms is taking 40% off all 5 lb. personalized bulk bags of the chocolate candies with code DECBULK40 through 12/14.

8. Need a cute holiday frock for a party? ModCloth is taking 30% off regular-priced dresses through 12/13 with code DRESSUP.

9. Another one for the crafty among us: Craftsy is having a “Stuff Your Stocking” sale on yarn, sewing and quilting products until midnight tonight.

10. I love when Flirty Aprons has a sale, because I freaking love their aprons. And right now, they’re on sale for 60% off when you use code HOLIDAY60 — but it ends tomorrow!

Flirty Aprons Kenzie

Flirty Aprons got a few new styles in and I’m dying over this Kenzie look.

Happy Shopping, BABs!

Five for Friday: Rad Ways to Display or Gift Your Instagram Glory

Affiliate Disclosure Statement

Admittedly, I’m kind of an Instagram junkie. I have like, 5 different camera apps that add some bell or whistle to the incredible multitude of photos I take of my cats. It’s kind of an issue. But Instagram is also there to catch some of my favorite moments with friends and in life and sometimes I want to take them from my wedding- and cat-filled feed and display them in my casa or give a particularly good homie selfie to one of my friends. Plus, gift ideas, y’all. For holidays or your bridal brigade, this is a perfectly personalized present for your pals.

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Make an Insta collage, like what Real Bride Meg cobbled together for her sisters. If you’re a DIY-er, this might be a great way to go, and she even gave us instructions!

Sticky9 Magnetic Wall Art

Sticky9 will make little magnets out of your photos, and they’re pretty rad. The company sent me some a while back, and I love having my favorite Instagram shots up on my fridge. But this? This is a magnetic frame so you can display and rearrange your fave IGs whenevs. It’s a little spendy at around $60, but the fact that you can change out the pics at any time makes it worth it.

nail art

I’m so not one for fake nails — I’m really tough on my digits, but let’s be real: If I could get this photo of my kitten on all ten of my fingers, I’d be all about it. And, guys, Zazzle can make it happen. Instagram nail art totally ups the manicure game. You know you’ve got that one friend who is all about her nails, and this $18.95 set is likely something she won’t get from anyone else.

CanvasPop Instagram Wall Art

Sometimes, there are a couple of schamazing Insta pics that are too good to be relegated to the Interwebz and really deserve a place of honor up on a wall. CanvasPop can make that happen, turning those Insta-snaps into pretty canvas art pieces. They’re running a special right now, too — a standard 12″x12″ canvas, which normally runs for $79.95 is now $39.95.

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How about a temporary tattoo? Because, yes, plz. You can upload your Instagram photo and then hand it out to peeps to plaster on their bods. I really love this idea for a wedding … I love it hard. Prices for custom temporary tattoos at TattooSales.com start at about $50 for 100.

What cool ways have you seen Instagram photos used, BABs?

Not to Bag on the $3,700 Cat Purse But …

You guys. There’s a $3,700 cat bag.

No, really. It’s a thing. Because Bergdorf Goodman made it a thing, and Yahoo Style brought it to my attention.

Now, normally I totally dig Yahoo Style, because it’s well, awesome. I’ve seen some great ideas on there (seriously, the hair tie-through-jeans-buttonhole idea has saved me after a taco too many), but this animal accessory? It’s a bit much. I mean, you know I love cats (I made mine a wedding website, remember?) but um, you could have a cat-themed wedding for that kind of skrilla.

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Getaway purrfection, amirite?

Yes, of course I understand it’s Prada. I mean, Prada, y’all. But if Taylor Swift can eschew a kitten-shaped bag in favor of carrying around her actual kitten (named Olivia Benson, no less, because #duh) then there’s got to be some sanity behind being legitimately scared of dropping a lot of money on something frivolous.

Taylor Swift Carrying Kitten

And there’s the kicker, isn’t it? I’m not saying your wedding is frivolous, but there are certainly a holy butt-ton of aspects surrounding your wedding that can be considered such. I mean, yes, designer dresses are schamazing — but there are also wonderful, stunning options that are similar and less spendy (see: Can’t Afford It? Get Over It!). And what about your ladies? They really don’t need to be dropping mega dimes when there are options to rent their bridesmaid dresses.

We talk a lot about saving money here, and sure, a lot of it is out of necessity, but there are a lot of you — at least 40%, according to our last reader survey — who are throwing broke-ass weddings because you want to. You don’t see the value in spending a huge, ton of money on your wedding. Just like you probably don’t see much value in buying a $3,700 cat purse. For many of you, spending money on things like flowers or expensive uplighting or fancy linens is a waste. And let’s not even discuss the literalness behind the bouquet toss for those flower-eschewing brides.

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A cat toss is probably a very bad, and potentially incredibly painful idea. But this picture is amazing. Via

The phrase “Creativity is our currency” is our tagline for a reason: So that you can use that big, beautiful brain of yours to make the wedding that you want happen without you having to go completely broke. Because it’s possible to have a beautiful, magical wedding on a broke-ass budget. And we’re going to help you do it.

PS: If we’re going to spend money on something cat related, I’d totally take the Catbird kitty ring in Yahoo Style’s Cat Lady Gift Guide.

Thank you Yahoo! for sponsoring this post. While this was a sponsored opportunity from Yahoo!, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Boob Love: The Gown Tour Rolls On + Awesome News

The Broke-Ass Bride is proud to partner with Brides Against Breast Cancer, turning gently used designer gowns into a beacon of hope in the worldwide fight against breast cancer. Since we began working with BABC, we’ve had about a dozen brides write in to let us know that it is how they found their dress on a budget that worked for them! If you’d like to donate your gown, here’s how. If you’re in need of a gown, Brides Against Breast Cancer runs a nationwide tour of gowns (head here to see what you can expect at these shindigs), and you should most definitely check it out when it rolls into your town! See tour stops and dates below.

In the coming year, Brides Against Breast Cancer will be slashing the prices of their gowns — all frocks will be under $1,800 with the average price point nestling in at a very Broke-Ass Bride-friendly $600. And for those of you in the North Texas area, come by the Dallas show on January 4 where Christen will giving away a signed copy of our book, “The Broke-Ass Bride’s Wedding Guide,” and trying her best to answer any wedding planning questions you might have! She’s also totally into high-fives.

Brides Against Breast Cancer

 

 

Nashville, TN January 2 & 3, 2015 Sheraton Music City
Philadelphia, PA Area January 2 & 3, 2015 Clarion Hotel Conference Center
Omaha, NE January 3 & 4, 2015 DoubleTree by Hilton Omaha Downtown
Aliquippa, PA January 3 & 4, 2015 The Fez
Pasadena, CA January 3 & 4, 2015 Brookside Golf Club
Dallas, TX January 4, 2015 Le Meridien Dallas, The Stoneleigh
Portland, OR January 9 – 11, 2015 DoubleTree by Hilton Portland
Indianapolis, IN January 9 – 10, 2015 Sheraton Indianapolis Hotel at Keystone Crossing
Roanoke, VA January 9 &10, 2015 Sheraton Roanoke Hotel & Conference Center
Safety Harbor, FL January 09 – 10, 2015 Safety Harbor Resort and Spa
Cleveland, OH January 10 & 11, 2015 Hyatt Regency Cleveland at the Arcade
Bellevue, WA January 11, 2015 The Westin Bellevue
Maryland Hts, MO – St. Louis Area January 17 – 18, 2015 Hollywood Casino
Cambridge, MA January 17 – 18, 2015 Le Meridien Cambridge/MIT
Alexandria, VA January 17, 18 2015 Belle Haven Country Club
Orlando, FL January, 17 2015 Hyatt Regency Orlando
West Palm Beach, FL January 18 2015 West Palm Beach Marriott
Grand Rapids, MI January 18, 2015 JW Marriott Grand Rapids
Houston, TX January 23 & 24, 2015 Houston Marriott North
Napa, CA January 24 – 25, 2015 Silverado Resort and Spa
Louisville, KY January 24 & 25, 2015 Ramada Plaza Convention Center
Jacksonville, FL January 24 & 25, 2015 The Museum
Portland, ME January 25, 2015 The Westin Portland Harborview Hotel
New York, NY January 25, 2015 Zanger Hall
Riverhead, NY – Long Island January 30 – 31, 2015 Atlantis Banquets & Events
Tulsa, OK January 30 – 31, 2015 Holiday Inn Tulsa City Center
Baldwinsville, NY – Syracuse Area January 30 – 31, 2015 The Red Mill Inn
Milwaukee, WI January 31 – February 1 2015 Hyatt Regency Milwaukee
Sarasota, FL January 31, 2015 The Devyn

2014 Gift Guide: The Professional Geek

Affiliate Disclosure Statement

We all have that one friend — or in my case, all my friends — who have legit grown-up jobs, but never really shed their love for geekery. My own crew is packed with an archaeologist, a scientist, a creative designer, an engineer, a Realtor, an insurance agent … it goes on. And every damn one of them lets their geek flag fly on the regs, but sometimes it’s hard to pull off in a professional setting. The gift guide for The Professional Geek is packed with subtle little statements that will allow them to be their oh, so adult selves with a little twist of fun, and everything is under $100.

The Broke-Ass Bride's 2014 Gift Guide The Professional Geek

Top Row, from left: Executive Building Brick Set, $24.99 from ThinkGeek || Genius Periodic Table of Elements Keyring, $12.50 from Amazon || Robot II 1979 print, starting at $80 from Fab

Middle Row, from left: Han Solo in Carbonite Business Card Case, $19.99 from ThinkGeek || Building Blocks of Light, $54.99 $37.99 at ModCloth || Game of Thrones Letter Openers, $24.99 at ThinkGeek

Bottom Row, from left: Binary Code Digital Display Watch, $7.20 at Amazon || Aluminum Parking Sign, $15.99 from Amazon || Bronze Spock Business Card Holder, $34.99 at ThinkGeek

Miss any of our gift guides? Catch up here:

For the Special Unicorn

For the Workaholic

The Quirky Gift Guide for the Kitchenista

Ten for the Weekend: Sweet Deals On Lots of Goods

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Damn. It’s hard to find a good sale after being pummeled with them all during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But, of course, I couldn’t leave y’all without a killer Ten for the Weekend, now could I? No. Because that would be not awesome. Below we’ve got M&M’s you can put your face on, hot styles for the fella in your life and more sparkly discounts!

1. Whether your family sets out M&Ms for the holidays or you and your honey are considering a candy buffet, this deal is sweet: $20 off My M&M’s order of $50 or more when you use code MYMMSCASH20 until 12/7.
My M&Ms Personalized Candies
Oh, honey, you’re just so sweet! *CHOMP*
2. Banana Republic has always made some of my favorite winter clothes, but they tend to be a little pricey. But now, you can get 40% off your full-price purchase with code BRXODAYS until 12/7. Restrictions apply.

3. Hunting for your wedding stationery? Take 30% off site wide at Wedding Paper Divas with code CYBER30 until 12/9

4. Help the dude in your life look a little more dapper this season with 30% off sale items at Bonobos with code FROSTY until 12/7.

Bonobos Foundation Cotton Suit Jacket

What’s up, $100 suit jacket?

5. If you’ve been wanting to get a big print of your engagement or wedding photos, now’s the time. Get 25% Off All Orders at Art.com this month with code CHEER25.

6. Functional design powerhouse Quirky has some of their best-selling designs on sale for between $1 and $10 for a limited time. 

7. If you’re going to need extra bakeware for the holidays, head on over to Sur la Table and save 40% off select bakeware until 12/7.

8. Whether its for a holiday party or a wedding shower, get personalized gifts at 25% off from Beau-Coup until 12/6 with code FORYOU.

9. A sale a day, everyday: ModCloth is taking 25% off in their Category of the Day sale! Use the day of the week as the code for items in the specified category until 12/7.

10. If you liked that unicorn rug from this week’s gift guide, then go get it from ThinkGeek, where you can save up to 60% on tons of cool shit, like unicorn slippers, soap and rugs. #duh

Magical Unicorn Rug from ThinkGeek

Srsly. SRSLY.

Happy Shopping!

 

Five for Friday: Fancy Bling is Within Reach with DiamondStuds4Less

Affiliate Disclosure Statement

While I totally don’t believe that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, I do believe a girl should own a little ice. But man, it can be spendy! Unless you know where to look, and for us at Broke-Ass HQ, we turn to our main man at DiamondStuds4Less. By cutting out the (multitudes) of middle men, DiamondStuds4Less makes high-quality, legit diamonds available for substantially less than you’ll find elsewhere. The packaging may not be as fancy as those other pretty stores, but the product is as good, if not better, and your wallet will be happier in the long run. Pretty bling is an investment, and can become a family treasure. Even so, you (or the person you’re trying to drop major hints to) don’t need to blow your roll on it. Here are my five favorite affordable pieces from DiamondStuds4Less, plus a really great deal for BAB readers!

1.0 Cttw AAA Midnight Black Diamond Studs in 14K White Gold

I’ve been crushing hard over black diamonds for the last year or so. I think they’re rich and beautiful, and a total departure from the norm, aesthetically, while still having the classy air of diamonds.
.5 carat each, excellent cut black diamond studs set in 14k white gold, $229

1:4 Cttw Regal Princess Cluster Diamond Studs in 14K White Gold

Clusters tend to up the sparkle ante without being as pricey as one single, schamazing diamond.
1/8 carat (each) princess cluster diamond studs set in 14k white gold, $499 

1:3 Carat Diamond Stud Earrings in 14k white gold Excellent Cut, H Color SI Clarity, leverback dangle setting

 

Like classic studs, leverbacks that hang slightly below the lobe are a classic and work with literally anything. ANYTHING.
1/6 carat (each) excellent cut in 14k white gold, $369
1:3 CTW Fiery Margarita Diamond Stud Earrings with Two .12 Carat Royal Blue VS Clarity Center Diamonds and H Near Colorless and I1 Clarity Halo Diamonds
Add a little something blue to your bling, yo. Blue diamonds, set among a million tiny diamonds, are a gorgeous twist on the classic.
1/6 carat (each) fiery margarita diamond stud earrings in 14k white gold, $399
1:4 Cttw Classic Alsace' Loop Diamond Earrings in 14K White Gold - 25mm x 13mm I have a pair super similar to these and they’re my go-to. I love the clasp because it means I’ll never lose them, and after 10 years of sporting them, I still get compliments.
1/8 carat each Alsace loop diamond earrings in 14k white gold, $599

And , as promised, a super special deal just for you guys because every gal deserves some bling within reach:

1:2 Cttw Diamond Stud Earrings in 14k white gold Excellent Cut, I-J Color I2-3 Clarity, 4 prong basket setting

These 1/4 carat each pair of earrings normally retails at $489, but is on sale for $229. But, since you’re BABs, DiamondStuds4Less is knocking an extra $40 off, making these classics $189 with free shipping. Use code GETMETHESE at checkout … or drop hints for your honey and tell them about the stellar deal that’s good until 12/9.