Fruits of a Shopping Ban

Before I went on my US trip, I made a resolution to start a shopping ban to first save some money.  Those 3 months were a dark, dark time in my life, but I grew up on Destiny’s Child*, so I made it through.

Today, I would like to share a couple of tips on how to survive a shopping ban, told in the story of 5 pairs of shoes — why, yes, I did acquire 5 pairs of shoes on my shopping ban, all without breaking the rules!  Here’s how.

1.  Have your birthday in the middle of the shopping ban

Obviously not everyone can rearrange the year so that their birthday falls within the shopping ban period, but Muhammad and mountain and all that (read: move the shopping ban!).

A couple of dear friends gifted me these lovely jelly flats from Kate Spade:


(Plus 10 points if you can convince an unbiased third party that a gift for yourself is appropriate.  I recommend working on some type of sob story.)

2.  Use up your credit card reward points 

I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.  It got me these red suede peep toes — I’m just waiting for warmer weather to roll around again so I can wear them!

Oh, and I also got these cute Mimco bootie sandles.

3. Know your shopping history

Did you buy something before the shopping ban started, that now needs to be returned?  Well, that’s the very definition of a “shopping credit” that can be used without breaching the shopping ban! 😉

4.  Know the rules (i.e. necessities)

Everyone laughs at me when I tell them this, but it’s actually really important: the purpose of a shopping ban is usually to save money (mine was to save for my holiday).  But you can’t stop spending money completely — there are still necessities that are outside of the shopping ban, and rightly so.  This includes food, toiletries and, in this case, comfy flats suitable for long days of walking on my holiday**.

(I also got a travel bag.  It’s very important to keep your belongings secure when traveling — both Lonely Planet and the Australian Government say so, it must be true.)

Of course, this type of reasoning is not for the faint-hearted and can lead you down a very slippery slope, so I would suggest…

5. Appoint an adjudicator 

Choose someone you can trust.  Do not ask a fellow shopping ban-ner, as they are likely under extreme stress and might not be in their right frame of mind.  Try out all the crazy arguments with varying degrees of logic that you can think of, to see what sticks, e.g. my most compelling was:

If I am saving money so I can spend more in the US, then surely it wouldn’t be breaching the shopping ban if there is a limited period online sale with free shipping to Australia.  If I wait until I go to the US and buy it in person, it might not be on sale anymore and I’ll have to pay additional sales tax anyway, and maybe even more baggage fees??  In fact, it will cost me money if I don’t buy it now….

I rest my case.

Shopping ban?  Easy.

* I’m a Survivor! I’m not goin’ give up, I’m not goin’ stop… I’m goin’ work harder!

** Status of “necessity” determined at point of purchase.


Tutorial: Gradient Manicure

Well, it’s not a Ryan Gosling hot man-icure, but since today was such a nice, grey, rainy day, I decided to have another go at the gradient manicure!

The How-To

What you’ll need:

  • 3 nail polish colors – I used Body Language, Merino Cool, and Angora Cardi by Essie
  • Base coat and top coat – my faves are CND Stickey and Seche Vite
  • Nail polish remover
  • Make-up wedge sponges
  • A bowl of water
  • A piece of paper
  • A small flat paint brush (for clean up, but cotton buds will also work)
  • Scotch tape


  1. After brushing on base coat, line the sides of your nails with scotch tape.  This will make the clean up job after much less painful.
  2. Dip your sponge into the bowl of water and pat the surface of the sponge to get rid of any excess water.  This will prevent the sponge from soaking up too much nail polish and help transfer the color onto your nail.
  3. Using the 3 selected colors, paint 3 stripes onto the wedge sponge, with the color you want on the end of your nail at the edge of your sponge.  Use a lot of polish, otherwise the first coat on your nails will look very sheer.
  4. Lightly bounce the sponge a few times onto a piece of paper, making sure to wiggle the sponge a little to blend the colors.
  5. Bounce the sponge a few times onto the surface of your nail.  If the 3 stripes of color are still very separated, shift the sponge up and down your nail as you bounce the sponge to further blend the colors.
  6. If you use enough nail polish on the wedge sponge, you should be able to do 2-3 nails without reapplying polish on the sponge.  Make sure that the sponge doesn’t dry out too much, otherwise bits of the sponge will be left on your nail!
  7. Remove the scotch tape. Remove any nail polish left on your skin with a paintbrush dipped in nail polish remover.  I find this more precise than using a cotton tip.
  8. Apply top coat to seal it off, and then you’re done!

As a final tip, I would definitely choose the colors carefully — my first attempt was green/grey and looked horribly ghoulish!