Mardi Gras Ballin on a Budget

Now that Mardi Gras season is in full swing, Mardi Gras balls seem to be a weekly occurrence.

Lafayette's Krewe of Rio kicked the festivities off this past weekend with their ball. I'm not a regular ball-goer, but I know it's a lot of fun to find the perfect formal gown for the occasion.


However, finding a gown can be sometimes difficult or expensive...and it doesn't have to be!

Shopping sustainably can help save you money and save a dress from being worn once and stashed in the back of your closet for years. Here are some options if you're shopping for a Mardi Gras ball, or any upcoming formal, including prom! These also work for finding accessories and shoes to complete your outfit.



Rent the Runway

Rent the Runway is my go-to source when I have an out-of-the-ordinary occasion coming up. When my husband and I attended a ball three years ago, I found this gold sequin Badgley Mischka gown with a rental cost a fraction of the retail price. This dress was higher than my usual rental budget, but I'm also not usually renting formal gowns.

When I rented this dress, Rent the Runway's customer service was extremely helpful in sending me a third size when the original two sizes didn't work out for me. It wasn't the most eco-friendly option to have a dress overnighted, but it was better than losing out altogether and being without a dress days before the ball.

It's best to shop Rent the Runway early, now that it's one of the most popular shopping spots for Mardi Gras, but even closer to the event date, you can find a dress that works for your budget.


Local consignment shops

The Clothing Loft in Lafayette has a formal gown section, and although I've never shopped it, I've found some great cocktail and party dresses there. I feel like this is a fun hidden gem in Lafayette, and it may still have a great selection of dresses and accessories. With many designer names, the price tag can be a little higher, but you're still getting a great deal on a secondhand dress.

Clothes Mentor is another secondhand shop that has a selection of formal gowns at great prices.

Goodwill

While each Goodwill retail store carries slightly different items based on their donations, at least some stores in the region carry formal gowns. If you're interested in thrifting at Goodwill, give the store a call first to confirm they have gowns available. This is a great budget-friendly option.

Friend/relative closets

One of my friends attended the Krewe of Rio ball this past weekend, and last week, shared that she hadn't found a dress yet. She ended up finding a fabulous and classic dress in one of the best places - her sister's closet. Borrowing from a relative or friend's closet is awesome because it's almost always free, and you can return the dress so it doesn't sit in your closet.

I've borrowed cocktail dresses from friends for weddings before and it's one of my favorite eco-friendly options.

If you do borrow from a friend or relative, be courteous and have the dress cleaned before returning it. Check out this blog post I did on GreenEarth Cleaning and find an affiliated dry cleaner near you!

Facebook

Facebook Marketplace and your friend feed can both be great resources to find a secondhand gown. Every year, I see a lot of friends posting that they're in search of a gown in a particular size, and their friends will come through with store recommendations or offers from their own closets. The Marketplace has plenty of dresses for sale, and the bonus is that you can pick it up locally.

Reuse bridesmaid gowns

Bridesmaid gowns are notorious for only being worn once, but they can make great options for formal events. Break out that dress from a wedding you were in a few years back and accessorize it to work for Mardi Gras.

The Lafayette Mom even has a post today from a local mom about how she's reworn a convertible bridesmaid dress for numerous Mardi Gras balls over the past few years. A great eco-friendly and thrifty way to go.


If you've got dresses in the back of your closet that you no longer wear, help complete the loop and donate or sell them so others can wear them!
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2020 Resolutions

I'm seriously looking forward to this new year.

2019 threw me for more of a loop than I expected, and I'm hoping that I can let go a little and move forward feeling stronger than before.


These are some of the things I would like to pursue more...not necessarily accomplish them, but at least try!

Simplifying

At home

I know I say it every year, but I'm in the mood to declutter our house in a big way. We do a great job of finding items to get rid of, but get hung up on moving them out of the house and to the proper donation centers. This year, my goal will be for us to declutter our guest bedroom once and for all. The next step would be to maintain it, and not keep bringing items in.

Email inbox

Every so often, I look at my inbox, see all of the marketing emails that have collected, and then delete them without even opening them. Now is a great time to simply unsubscribe from the email lists that I don't feel compelled to read anymore and declutter my email.

Get my organizational system together

One of my big struggles in 2019 was staying organized and on top of my things. Mom Brain is completely real, and it's way too easy to feel too spread thin all the time. I've been slowly figuring out ways to keep myself organized, from using Trello for batching my work tasks, to continuing using Todoist for personal and blog tasks.

I'm getting better at setting deadlines or notification times on my tasks or notes-to-myself so that I'll be reminded when I need to do something. And I'm working on scheduling everything on my calendars so that I have a complete view of what my schedule looks like. I'm staying almost completely paperless as well, so that everything is on my phone and/or synced to my computer.

One thing I started a couple months back that is starting to work and become a habit is building out our weekly menu before my weekly grocery trip. If I at least have an idea of what to fix each week, I'm not stuck every Sunday to figure out meals and make my grocery list. It's especially helpful now that Ari eats regular food, so I can stay organized and also know what to pack for daycare.

Wellness

Prioritizing workouts on calendar

I feel like a broken record on this one, but last year was awful in terms of getting back to my exercising. Beyond almost-regular walks during the day, I feel like I only went to about 10 yoga classes. I'm not motivated to exercise at home, since there are a thousand other things I could be doing there. It kind of goes hand-in-hand with my organizational goal, but I plan to book my workout times on my calendar so that I won't let the time slip away and forget to go to the gym.

Meditate regularly

I'm a fan of meditating and have found it effective with Headspace. In my final trimester, I think I hit a 61 day meditation streak...and in 2019 I don't think my streak ever went past two days. Getting back into a meditation rhythm, even if it's a short two-minute breathing exercise, will help me tremendously.

Blogging

Write more and expand my topics

Now that I've been blogging for nearly eight years, I've been feeling the writer's block hard, especially since having a baby. I'm working on ideas for new content and finding new things to write about that still fit within my eco-friendly niche.

Is there something you want to learn more about or want me to write about? Let me know!

Explore different creative outlets

I'd love to expand my blog posts a little beyond writing and photos, and I'm excited to play around with more graphics, photography and maybe music playlists...things that will help make the site more interactive for you!

Hobbies

Lettering/calligraphy

I'm not sure why, but I've been feeling drawn to learning lettering and calligraphy. Maybe it's because I'm currently awful at it and would enjoy the creative outlet. I'm accepting any recommendations on books or apps that help teach you!

Activities with Ariana

I can't wait to bring Ariana to get a library card and start checking out books that she can interact with (under supervision, because she's kind of a Destructo).

We would also love to go camping together, even though that might be better when she's a little older.

Especially after the time changes in March, we'll incorporate family bike rides into our free time more often.



Maybe this is a lofty list to start with, and I don't expect to accomplish everything by December, but I'm at least hoping this will help me stay inspired. Here's to a fresh start to the 20s!
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