Fashion Advice from Tina Fey


Unfortunately, no I did not get to meet Tina Fey in person to solicit advice from her, but I have almost finished her book Bossypants. I’m listening to it on audiobook in my car rather than listenig to whatever is on the radio and current celebrity gossip.

I’ve had some good laughs and some serious thoughts as a result of her life stories. One piece of advice really stood out to me.

She was talking about fashion and creating that sense of style that everyone envies, she also revealed she shops almost exclusively at Express–a store known for their simple pieces and great fits. (AKA my favorite store to buy jeans and dress pants.)

Here’s the direct quote from the book Bossypants by Tina Fey:

“A wise friend once told me, ‘Don’t wear what fashion designers tell you to wear. Wear what they wear.’ His point being that most designers, no matter what they throw onto the runway, favor simple, flattering pieces for themselves. Anyone who has never met me can tell you that fashion has always been very very very very very very very important to me. For example, I once told my cousin that my dream would be ‘if the whole store Express was my closet!’ How prescient, because now, of course, I wear nothing but Express. It can’t be said enough. Don’t concern yourself with fashion; stick to simple pieces that flatter your body type.”

Short and sweet—wear what the designers wear. Often they wear timeless black outfits with simple but flattering shapes. Think about the judges of Project Runway:

MM 2012 project runway

Almost always Nina Garcia (fashion editor for ELLE) and Michael Kors (fashion designer) are wearing simple black and white pieces. Zac Posen (fashion designer) has since replaced Michael and is a little more wild— but still a suit wearing man he often incorporates interesting color pops or differing textures. Tim Gunn the mentor of the group is known for his pinstripe suits. Since Heidi Klum has a goregous body she is often wearing something slightly more racy or edgy but it often comes back to simple roots. The most racy of the group is almost always the guest judge wearing something that reinforces their personal brand and signature style.

If you’re looking for a classic style that will never go wrong and you can add more quirky pieces to I also reccommend reading Nina Garcia’s Book “The One Hundred“.

I bought this book used on Amazon for just a few dollars and it is invaluable fashion advice.


The book is filled with goregous fashion watercolor images by Reuben Toledo and explains the 100 classic fashion pieces you could/should work towards adding to your wardrobe. Many of these pieces are so basic that you can easily find them at Gap, H&M, Forever 21 and more—you don’t need to blow your budget at Neiman Marcus.

To buy Tina Fey’s autobiography “Bossypants”, click here:

To buy Nina Garcia’s “The One Hundred”, click here:

Or better yet, look for them at your local library and save a few bucks!

10 Tips When Shopping for College Textbooks

Shopping for college textbooks has been interesting every semester and after 10 semesters as a college student here’s my advice:

When buying textbooks first consider if this book might be something you intend to keep long term (books for your major are often helpful to keep vs. books for random required courses). Think about the condition of the book and look into options like paperback vs. hardback. Check your ISBN and make sure you’re getting the right one. Life can be made way harder if you’re using the wrong edition of a book (chapters are often all switched around and there may be things missing from your older edition).

1. Always buy Used (Almost Always):

Buying used often significantly drops the price of the book but usually doesn’t significantly drop the quality of the book itself. Books listed as “Like New” or “Very Good” Condition are my personal picks and I’ve never received a disappointment yet. If there is a CD or some kind of release code with the book that your teacher says is required you will need to buy new.

2. Avoid buying at the campus bookstore, but use their online comparison tool:

Most colleges are going to have some kind of textbook comparison tool or at least give you the price of the book in the bookstore, many of the textbook stores surrounding campus will do so as well. Periodically you will have to buy a book from your campus bookstore (often required writing courses will have books with worksheets and prompts developed by the writing center at your school) so you won’t be able to find these online.

3. Try the library:

Often your campus library, public library (or another campus that does inter-library loans) will be able to let you check out your textbook. Usually as long as  you remember to continually renew the book you can use it all semester–the one downfall to this is you cannot write/highlight directly in the book so get used to using post its for side notes and noting important sentences.

4. (Similarly) Renting books is often a good way to go:

This is especially true if your textbook is on the expensive end of the spectrum and you have absolutely no intention of keeping it. Paying $40 with no buyback money is often a better deal than paying $100 and having a chance at buyback.

Several services offer book rentals and some of my favorites are, and There are lots of others I can’t remember the names to currently and there is a possibility that your school offers a rental program as well.

5. No matter what the school tells you, you are not getting a good deal from them on your book buyback:

The one positive note about school sponsored book buybacks it that often they pay cash on the spot for your textbooks but can pay as little as 1/15th of what you paid. If you’re interested in getting more money for your book rather than fast money try selling it back on Amazon. What’s really nice these days is you can look up your textbook on Amazon and if they are buying it you can confirm your ISBN and ship it free to them (they send you a mailing label) and once they receive it you get paid! (Downfall: the money is not cash nor can it be cashed, it’s Amazon funds which is good towards just about every purchase on Amazon except for Amazon gift cards.)

6. Amazon is Amazing:

As if you didn’t already know this, but Amazon sells through themselves as well as through individual vendors who they have approved. Don’t forget to check out that you have the correct ISBN number, the book’s condition and the percentage rating of your seller before purchasing. Also like I said above, they buy your books back (I’ve actually made money on this once!) and the money you earn can be used towards buying next semester’s books (or anything else you might want) on Amazon.

7. Buy Books soon after you’ve received the list rather than moments before the semester starts:

Periodically a teacher will be a complete butt-wipe and switch all of the books you needed for their class but it doesn’t happen often so it’s better to buy in advance rather than worry if your books aren’t going to arrive in time for your first open-book quiz.

8. eBooks can sometimes be a great option:

eBooks are fabulous if you are someone who loves to carry around your tablet or laptop. They make it really easy to highlight passages and often have special features to help you study or look up vocabulary words.

If your laptop is kind of heavy (or you only have a desktop) and you don’t own a tablet—I don’t recommend this since often your professor will want you to bring your book in to class. Also if you get easily distracted and end up on Facebook or Pinterest…DON’T GET AN EBOOK! You’ll inevitably do it in class and get kicked out of class or miss something important. Also some teachers who have open-book exams don’t permit electronic devices so that’s another thing to consider.

9. Take care of your books after you’ve purchased them:

Don’t leave your books lying around, someone can easily steal them and sell them back to the bookstore for quick cash. Feel free to write/highlight in your books if your purchase of the book allows it (remember, no writing in library books and only in rentals if your agreement says so). If you don’t this can severely damage your likelihood of selling them back and people will judge you for your book looking sloppy (lots of bent pages, warped by spilled Gatorade etc.)

10. Actually read your textbooks:

Whoever is paying for your education whether that’s you, a family member or someone else  benefits the most when you really take school seriously and do your assignments. Often you may be assigned what seems to be an ungodly amount of reading but push through it—take notes and breaks to actually comprehend what you’ve read rather than  reading without absorbing anything. Better yet, read the next section before class so you know which parts didn’t make sense to you and you can ask the teacher for clarification on those areas.

More tips on study habits and effective reading to come, but to my current college students —did I miss anything about good advice when shopping for textbooks?

Brides Against Breast Cancer

Brides Against Breast Cancer is something I’m very interested in as my mother died of colorectal cancer and my Grandma had a double mastectomy to beat breast cancer. Basically I’m quite at risk for cancer since my Mom and Grandma are on opposite sides of the Family Tree.—Just another reason to support cancer research and take steps towards healthier living.

Anyways, I heard about this company, Brides Against Breast Cancer which sells used and new bridal gowns. Many of the gowns have been worn but many are new donated from designers and/or are sample gowns. Brides can donate their used gowns to this organization for taxable purposes as well as out of the goodness of their hearts. The organization does (essentially) trunk shows across the country to sell the gowns at discounted prices (mostly $400-$800 with some as high as $4000).This is a significant discount as many bridal salons offer prices $1000-1500 being closer to average with higher costs from there. Personally I’m very into the idea of a tea-length gown as I’m only 5’0″ tall and REALLY REALLY want to have a garden wedding. My dream dress? Alencon (French) lace along the top of the bodice and some kind of straps/ cap sleeves to help hold it up.


Upon reading more about Brides Against Breast Cancer I came across a few things I’m glad to have learned:

1. Typically they charge you to get in the door- It seemed it was average to charge $20.00 per person to enter the event.

2. (Sort of obvious) It’s best to go early on the first day of the few days they are in town- Having more options will always be in your favor, especially when you’re not a common size and finding a dress is going to be enough of a hassle.

3. The V.I.P. event is and isn’t worth it- The V.I.P. event starts 2 hours before the formal event BUT you only have the second hour to get a head start on dress shopping. The first hour is cocktails and listening to all of the vendors  present (wedding services eg. salons, dj’s who want you to buy their stuff) then after that you can get a move on shopping in the racks.

4. Wear the underwear you intend to wear on your wedding—unless its revealing-  After doing my research it seems that the dressing rooms at these events are made from pipe and drape event curtains (i.e. not suitable for a real dressing room) since you have all sorts of complications in getting a dress on to begin with, make sure you’re wearing spanx on top and bottom to make things fit nicely as well as keeping yourself covered when changing (especially since it might be easier to have your helpers change you in the dressing open space rather than waiting in line for one of the few private rooms).

5. (Again, sort of obvious) Bring a small entourage- When I say small I mean like 2 or 3 people to help you get the dresses on and off and carry things around for you. You won’t have any bridal consultants to help you carry the gowns around or lace you up and get you in and out over and over again so bring your trusty helpers.

Side note to this memo: Everything I read said they have a policy where only 3 gowns at a time can be taken into the dressing room so if you like more maybe have a friend hold onto them and switch things out?

Another side note: Everything I read also said that there is always a seamstress there who can help by giving you some idea of the necessary alterations to make that dress fit you—which is nice if you find out one can be hemmed and another would have to be entirely reconstructed; alterations need to be taken into consideration of the dress budget.