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Beauty and Fashion

40 Prom Dresses under $200 that Look Expensive Enough for the Oscars!

40 Prom Dresses Under $200 Oscars

This is a sponsored post written by me about JenJenHouse.  All opinions are 100% mine.

Alright moms of teens, it’s prom season again and that means it’s time to start prom dress shopping.  It doesn’t have to be hard to find classy and glamorous prom dresses that are modest enough for your teen and still affordable on your budget.  I picked out 40 prom dresses under $200 that are so glamorous that they look expensive enough to have been worn by celebrities at the Oscars!

Making the prices of prom dresses work can be tricky, especially if you have more than one teenager in the house.  Plus, you have to keep in mind that the dress you buy can’t just be any prom dress, it has to be the dress – the one your daughter falls in love with.

I didn’t pick out prom dresses that are skimpy, too low-cut, or too revealing.  I wanted to find the most elegant prom dresses that really embodied the classy a-list celebrity Oscars look.

Custom Fit Prom Dresses Under $200

These dresses all came from a special occasion dress site called JenJenHouse, which I love because of the prices, the variety, and the custom fitting.

For hard-to-fit girls, you moms will love that JenJenHouse offers standard sizes or custom size dresses.  You can check the box for “custom size”and they will make the chosen dress specifically to fit your daughter’s measurements!  This is such a relief for many moms, especially if your daughter is very tall or short for her age or substantially more busty or less busty than most girls her age. 

Fitting a teen body to a beautiful dress doesn’t have to be a hassle or something that’s going to make your daughter feel bad about her body. 

I can speak from experience that trying on prom dresses off the rack can be really sad and depressing for girls who don’t have the “average” size and shape body.  I was always too short and too flat chested for any beautiful special occasion dress I picked – they just did not fit my body type.  I had to pick from what would fit, not pick what I liked.

Choosing the custom fit option only makes the price go up by about $20, which is much less than you would pay a tailor to make alterations to an off-the-rack prom dress.  Amazing!

You can see all the prom dresses from JenJenHouse here: or browse through my 40 favorites below. 

40 Prom Dresses under $200 that Look Expensive Enough for the Oscars

All of these amazing a-list prom dresses can be bought at JenJenHouse.  Look through the site with your daughter and let her pick out anything she wants for prom, knowing it will fit her perfectly and fit your budget too!

Their prices are always reasonable but the under $200 prices are sale prices now for prom season.  DON’T wait until the last minute to choose your daughter’s dress and order it.  Do it NOW while the price is RIGHT!

A-Line/Princess Halter Watteau Train Tulle Charmeuse Evening Dress With Ruffle Beading – all colors

Coral halter prom dress

A-Line/Princess Sweetheart Sweep Train Charmeuse Prom Dress With Ruffle Beading Sequins – all colors

Hot pink prom dress

A-Line/Princess Halter Sweep Train Charmeuse Prom Dress With Ruffle Beading – all colors

Purple princess prom dress

Mermaid Sweetheart Floor-Length Taffeta Prom Dress With Ruffle Beading – all colors

Mermaid prom dress

Mermaid Cowl Neck Sweep Train Charmeuse Prom Dress With Lace Beading – all colors

Cowl neck prom dress

Sheath Sweetheart Floor-Length Taffeta Tulle Prom Dress With Ruffle Beading Sequins – all colors

Grey prom dress

A-Line/Princess V-neck Floor-Length Chiffon Prom Dress With Ruffle Beading Sequins – all colors

Blue prom dress

A-Line/Princess Scoop Neck Sweep Train Chiffon Lace Evening Dress With Ruffle Beading Sequins – all colors

Ivory scoop neck prom dress

A-Line/Princess Sweetheart Ankle-Length Chiffon Prom Dress With Ruffle Beading – all colors

Fuschia prom dress

A-Line/Princess V-neck Floor-Length Chiffon Evening Dress With Ruffle Lace Beading – all colors

Red prom dress

Empire Scoop Neck Watteau Train Charmeuse Prom Dress With Ruffle Beading – comes in all colors

Silver empire prom dress

A-Line/Princess V-neck Floor-Length Chiffon Prom Dress With Ruffle Beading Sequins – all colors


A-Line/Princess Sweetheart Floor-Length Chiffon Prom Dress With Ruffle Beading – all colors


40 Prom Dresses

Which is your favorite prom dress?  Are you shopping for prom right now?  Let us know in the comments!

Disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post and contains Danelle’s honest opinions.

11 Beach Ready Spring Purses – Palm Trees, Nautical Stripes & More

With the changing of the season, it’s time to switch out your dark winter purse or handbag for a bright, colorful tote for spring.  Even if it’s not warm enough where you live yet for beach weather (I live on the California coast, so I’m a little anxious!), you can still get your wardrobe ready with the perfect beachy bag or purse right now.

I love purse shopping as much as the next mom, and even if a new purse isn’t in the budget right now, it’s still fun to look!

Plus, use our last day of April promo code to save a little!  Click here to use the eBags April Spring Cleaning! 20% + Free Shipping over $49! promo code.  If I get my hands on a code for May, I’ll link it here ASAP!

{Beach Time} 11 Perfect Purses for Spring

This white sequin palm tree tote is subtly sparkly with a bold handle.  It’s perfect for a day at the beach or just a shopping day around town! Juicy Couture Sequin Palm Tote Natural – Juicy Couture Designer Handbags, $98

Juicy Couture Sequin Palm Tote Natural - Juicy Couture Designer Handbags

A palm tree clutch may be too small for every day use, but imagine carrying this one with you to a date night at the movies with some strappy sandals!   Juicy Couture Palm Tree Print Clutch Palm Tree Print – Juicy Couture Designer Handbags, $78

Juicy Couture Palm Tree Print Clutch Palm Tree Print - Juicy Couture Designer Handbags

I love palm tree prints!  This fun green and white purse can be your go-to bag all summer long.   Sun ‘N’ Sand Palm Island Green – Sun ‘N’ Sand Fabric Handbags, $17.60

Sun 'N' Sand Palm Island Green - Sun 'N' Sand Fabric Handbags


Imagine throwing this antique rose bag over your shoulder with a sweet printed summer dress for a Sunday brunch with friends.   Tignanello Class Act Hobo Antique Rose – Tignanello Leather Handbags, $135.20

Tignanello Class Act Hobo Antique Rose - Tignanello Leather Handbags

This nautical red and white striped tote can double for all the patriotic holidays of summer.  MICHAEL Michael Kors Jet Set Travel Stripe Med Tote Red/White – MICHAEL Michael Kors Designer Handbags, $328

MICHAEL Michael Kors Jet Set Travel Stripe Med Tote Red/White - MICHAEL Michael Kors Designer Handbags

This purse just says to me “summer farmer’s market”!  Sun ‘N’ Sand Hibiscus Red – Sun ‘N’ Sand Fabric Handbags, $45

Sun 'N' Sand Hibiscus Red - Sun 'N' Sand Fabric Handbags

Another clutch, but this time a rich blue waves print.   Juicy Couture Wave Print Clutch Wave Print – Juicy Couture Designer Handbags, $78

Juicy Couture Wave Print Clutch Wave Print - Juicy Couture Designer Handbags

Here is your must-have evening clutch, a gorgeous pale pink Rebecca Minkoff.  Rebecca Minkoff Vincent Minaudiere Petal Pink – Rebecca Minkoff Designer Handbags, $295

Rebecca Minkoff Vincent Minaudiere Petal Pink - Rebecca Minkoff Designer Handbags


Pink flamingos are perfect for spring in this bright beach tote!  Sun ‘N’ Sand Island Flamingo Yellow – Sun ‘N’ Sand Boutique Designer, $39

Sun 'N' Sand Island Flamingo Yellow - Sun 'N' Sand Boutique Designer

Buxton Gabriella Drawstring Orange (OR) – Buxton Leather Handbags $144

Buxton Gabriella Drawstring Orange (OR) - Buxton Leather Handbags


Anuschka Classic Flap Over Accordion Karmic Koi – Anuschka Leather Handbags, $253

Anuschka Classic Flap Over Accordion Karmic Koi - Anuschka Leather Handbags

I hope you liked looking at my spring purse finds!  Let us know how many times a year you switch your purse in the comments below.

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links and readers may assume that receives compensation when my referral links are used.

How to Do a DIY Hair Blowout

Hair Blowout Salon att bradleypjohnsonAfter getting a hair blowout (the hair salon term for having your hair dried and styled), women leave the salon with silky, shiny hair that looks beautiful for days. Many women think it is impossible to create such beautiful hair on their own.

However, by following our do it yourself (DIY) hair blowout tutorial below, you can replicate that just-stepped-out-of-the-salon look without the help of a professional hair stylist.

We’ll teach you how to do a DIY hair blowout with our easy to follow step-by-step instructions.

DIY Hair Blowout: Start with a Good Wash

Begin by washing your hair with a good shampoo that is specific to your hair type.

  • For thinner, flatter hair, wash with a good volume boosting shampoo.
  • Dry hair needs a good moisturizing shampoo and damaged hair with frayed ends should be washed with a strengthening and repair complex.

The next step in your DIY hair blowout is to follow the shampoo step with a good conditioner.  Make sure it fits your individual needs. For dry hair, use a deep conditioner but one that is not too heavy. Fine hair should have conditioner applied only to the strands and down to the tips, avoiding the roots.

DIY Hair Blowout: Dry and Prep

After cleansing and conditioning, you will want to towel dry your hair by blotting up excess moisture. Refrain from rubbing with the towel, as this will promote tangling and can possibly damage hair.

When hair is towel-dried, apply a good styling product to add body, tame flyaways and reduce frizziness before your DIY hair blowout.  Be sure to coat all of your hair, concentrate on ends and avoid getting on scalp.

  • Curly hair will benefit from a straightening balm or shine serum.
  • For thinning hair that does not have a lot of body, apply a thickening spray or some volumizing mousse, but avoid gels that will tend to weight hair down.

DIY Hair Blowout: Section and Blowout

Before you blow dry you will need to separate hair into sections and secure pieces with hair clips or bobby pins. Leave out the first chunk that you will be drying.

1.  Glide your fingers through the section of hair beginning at the roots and continuing through to the ends. Hold the ends and pull hair taut, out and away from your head.

This is to allow the blow drier to reach the area at the scalp that the hair brush can not get to. Point dryer at crown and blow hair at crown, continuing down to ends.

2.  After the roots of your hair are dry, you will need to use a round-barreled brush to continue. While aiming dryer at hair, aim the nozzle facing down onto the hair and pull brush through your hair.

3.  The most damaged part of the hair shaft is the tip, so the ends will dry fastest. Begin the blowout process with the ends to ensure they are styled before they dry too much on their own. While pulling the brush through your hair, hold the dryer 2 inches away and follow the brush through the hair.

4.  After hair is dry, switch dryer setting to cool, pull hair taut and shoot it with a blast of cold air. This will lock in the style and maintain straightness.

5.  Repeat steps above for each individual section of hair.

When finished, apply a nice finishing serum to lock in moisture and prevent flyaways. If your hair is fine or oily, apply serum only to very ends of hair.

A good DIY hair blowout can last for several days. If your hair starts to become greasy at the roots, dab on some baby powder to soak up the excess oils and add volume.  Good luck with your first DIY hair blowout!  Enjoy learning this frugal skill so you can save money from not going to the hair salon!

Photo credit (top) bradleypjohnson.

8 Quick Rules to Grow Up Your Wardrobe


“Help!  I Have No Style…”

It can be hard to transition from high school student to college student to young newlywed to career woman to mommy on the go.  Many women’s closets are still harboring pieces of clothing from each time period, including many too-young pieces that don’t fit properly anymore, are out of style, or are just plain too young.  If your closet looks like a mishmash of a tween/teen closet, a college grunge collection and a mom trying to figure out what her style is, this guide is for you!

When you look good, you feel good.  The manner in which you package yourself often times dictates if you will be taken seriously and treated accordingly.  We want to feel modern, in control, and productive when transitioning from carpool to work to errands to dinner preparation.  Trying to dress in too-young clothes can age a woman and leave the impression of an older person trying (unsuccessfully) to look young.  Shapeless, oversized or overly-casual clothes (pajamas and workout clothes) will make you look like a harried, tired, overwhelmed woman who just can’t keep up with life.  If you need to break out of the “tired mom” rut, read Don’t Look Like a Tired Mom: 13 Quick Mini Makeovers.

Creating a new identity with a new clothing style is possible, even with little time for shopping and a small budget.  Clothes that look great can cost the same or less than clothes that look inappropriate or unflattering.  We all know that the right clothes can make or break the woman in terms of how she is seen by others, and in turn how she is seen by herself.  With this in mind, choose to make time for yourself and make your style makeover a priority.  Transform your wardrobe into a powerful tool that works FOR you, not against you!  You’ll look good, you’ll feel good, and your clothes will let the world know to take you seriously.  Use these 8 quick rules to start growing up your wardrobe and finding your own personal style right now:

8 Quick Rules to Grow Up Your Wardrobe

1.  Cut out the cartoons.  Throw out all clothing with pictures of cartoon characters, even if it was purchased as a souvenir.  (If you have a hard time parting with clothes, especially souvenirs, read Declutter Your Closet: Why is it So Hard to Let Go of Clothes?)  Nothing says junior high like a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt.  Keep your favorite characters in your kids’ rooms, NOT on your clothes.

2.  Stick with solid colored socks.  Socks with crazy heart prints, ducky designs and fuzzy pom poms may look cute on a 6 year old, but are not appropriate on an adult woman who wants to be taken seriously!  Stick with solid basic colors such as black, white, grey, beige, and chocolate brown that match with a variety of outfits.

3.  Trade in hoodies (hooded sweatshirts) for jackets.  Whether you’re hooked on childish hoodies or big baggy sweatshirts, there are plenty of other ways to stay warm and layer your clothing.  Jackets are easy to throw on over a top with pants or jeans and instantly add a put-together look.

Just Say NO to childish hoodies and shapeless sweatshirts:

Just say YES to fitted jackets, blazers and coats:


4.  Say goodbye to sweat pants, track pants and workout pants.  Put the sweat pants in a box in the garage – reserved only for wearing while CLEANING out the GARAGE!  Sweats are sloppy and unflattering on every figure, and workout pants should only be worn – you guessed it – while working out.  Opt for a stretchy wash-and-wear pair of khakis or straight-legged dark wash jeans for a sophisticated, modern look.  Remember that regular pants take the same 2 minutes to put on that sweats do, but look worlds better!

5.  Donate all your tee-shirts and shapeless tops (hint: they look like rectangles with arms when placed flat on the bed).  Shapeless, boxy shirts not only add the illusion of carrying extra pounds, but also look very young since many are designed for the yet-shapeless tween/teen body.

6.  Choose fitted shirts that add shape to your body.  Tops don’t have to be clingy to fit right – choose a top with structure to accentuate your figure while camouflaging any extra weight around the midsection that you don’t want seen.  As seen in the photos below, choose styles that emphasize a small bust with shirring, create the visual of a small waist with horizontal seaming, have banded necklines on sophisticated tanks, and create a feminine look with draped necklines.

Don’t pick this young boxy style:


Choose tops similar to these flattering styles:


7.  Stop wearing dirty sneakers.  Old dirty sneakers make you look like you’ve been trampled by life (and perhaps a herd of buffalo) and can ruin even the most fashionable outfit.  Opt for dark colors to camouflage dirt and keep shoes looking new longer.  Not everyone has the ability (or desire) to wear high heels every day.  The good news is that there are many alternatives to heels that will project you as a modern woman, such as non-athletic sneakers.  Try the new cool styles of non-athletic footwear, such as these:


Non-athletic sneakers come in all different colors and are meant for running errands in, not for running a marathon!  These shoes are a great alternative to dirty sneakers in your new fashionable wardrobe for a hip mommy-on-the-go.

8.  Jeans with holes are for teens.  Distressed does not mean the same thing as ripped!  Holey jeans contribute to a very young and overly-casual look.  Jeans can look worn, weathered, and distressed straight off the rack without having holes in them.  Opt for dark colored jeans that are still in one piece when you purchase them, and leave the holey jeans for the teens.

Choosing the right clothes that project you as a capable superwoman is easy when you grow up your wardrobe.  Use the 8 quick rules above to start making over your closet and developing your new style today!

Next, read Don’t Look Like a Tired Mom: 13 Quick Mini Makeovers and 7 Thrifty Tips to Update Your Wardrobe for Spring. 

We originally published “8 Quick Rules to Grow Up Your Wardrobe” on Home Ever After on September 10, 2008.

Real Life Fashion Don’ts–The Bra Confusion Edition

One of the saddest (and coincidentally most fun) parts of my job is seeking out the real life fashion don’ts and catching them on camera.  The summer time tends to bring out some of the worst fashion don’t offenders, due to the hot weather and prevalence of tank tops and other spaghetti-strapped clothing.

These are all real candid fashion don’t scenarios I captured in real life.  Thankfully my phone has a quick camera on it, although sometimes the pictures turn out blurry when I’ve only got time for one shot.

Real Life Fashion Don’ts – The Bra Confusion Edition

Criss-Cross Nonsense.  This fashion don’t was captured at the grocery store.  This woman’s use of her bra and shirt straps (pictured below) just plain confused me.  Somehow, she felt the need to fill the entire open back with a bra.  She must have thought a criss-cross backed bra would be best since she had tied her shirt’s straps in a knot in the middle to form an x. 


The Racerback No-No.  Pictured below is a woman who is clearly confused about which shape of top to use the racerback bra with.  To clarify: the racerback bra goes with the racerback shirt.  The same shape of the garment ensures that your underwear stays private!  Instead, this poor lady has displayed almost the entire back of her bra for the whole deli to see.  (Blurry picture from the camera phone – so sorry.)


Cut-Out Confusion.  Below, this fashion don’t was captured in San Diego on a woman who looked more “Jersey Shore” than Californian.  It was such a shame about her choice of undergarments; the bra doesn’t fit the dress on the top or across the back.  The whole back of the bra exactly lined up with the cut-out in her dress.  Which means – you guessed it – she showed the whole city her bra every time her hair moved, which was every time she took a step.


Don’t let these fashion don’ts happen to you!  Always match the shape of your bra to the shape of your clothing.  Ladies, I beg of you, if you only leave the Real Life Fashion Don’ts with once takeaway, it’s this: always look in the mirror before you leave the house!

Real Life Fashion Don’ts – The Bra Confusion Edition is linked to Wordless Wednesday at and 5 Minutes 4 Mom.