Thu 16th, May, 2013

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Morning Beach Cottage ladies of the web, a new little series starts today, Favourite Beach Cottage Things…a gathering of things I love in this old cottage on the beaches…

This little idea started because I have a small secret, it’s hardly mind-blowing and it certainly isn’t about world peace but I think a few of you may feel the same.


You see, for a while now I haven’t been buying magazines, well except for one that I do still enjoy, but I have to admit that these days rather than snuggling up with a magazine and a nice cup of tea, the magazine bit has been replaced with the internet, especially blogs and particularly Pinterest.

I just feel that Pinterest and blogs speak to me more, I want to see what real women with a real budget and a real life get up to, what they spend their money on, what they cook, their favourite products, how they spend their leisure time and how they decorate their home.


And so the other day I was in the doctor’s waiting room and I picked up a copy of what used to be one of the magazines, when I first came to Australia, I subscribed to and about jumped through hoops to get to the post box when it arrived.

A few pages in there was an article on the coastal look, it was a modern coastal look with lots of lovely colours and although not my style there were a few things that caught my eye, and, even though it was an old copy of the magazine I thought I would see where some of the things had come from.  So I looked for the page that says something like ‘get the look’ or ‘how to achieve this style’ and started to look for the product I had spied, which happened to be a cushion.


As I read down the products I got more and more disillusioned – the cushions were $120 each (there were 4 of them on the sofa) the throw was $400 and it went on.  I totted up the total cost for just, what I would call, the accessories, you know the soft furnishings, the things you add to a room, not the bones of the room like a sofa or anything substantial, to nearly two and a half thousand dollars.  For one room.  Without sofas, furniture or a coffee table.


I thought nothing more of it and that night after feeding this brood that live in this cottage, sweeping floors, cleaning windows, washing clothes, making beds, disinfecting toilets and scrubbing front steps until my hands were raw I hopped in the bath with my phone to check out my favourite blogs.

One of which featured a party where the blogger had decorated for this party with mostly things that she had made from the house, the colour scheme was right up my alley, ahem, you know what colour it was then, supplies from the dollar store, things gathered from outside and a few things from Tarjay.  Total cost was under $50 including the party bags.   I loved that post and everything about it.

As I wallowed in bubbles it made me think about that ‘get the look’ thing earlier in the day that had made me feel ridiculous and the different feeling it gave me reading the blog to the one I got with the magazine.  Wow this decorating on this blog was amazing AND achievable.  Woohoo!


And so I decided that I would start my own ‘get the look’ thingy on here because I am feeling that there may be other women out there up to their ears in bubbles perusing blogs who love house things and love to look at things for their home but have a real life too.   With kids and a mortgage and school fees and do not have shed loads of dollars to spend on a cushion.

The other thing I thought is I will be spending my money on this…you know?  Things I am happy to part with my very hard and very long time coming cash with.  In fact, in this one woman show I’ll be doing it all, styling, photography and copy – just call me a multi-tasking blogger, k?

But this isn’t a collated gathering of items of a particular theme, though clearly there will be white and the odd stripe and nautical stuff involved…but more things I have recently bought for this old cottage for beach cottage coastal vintage style and haven’t had to rob a bank for.

So let’s get
this partay started, right.

Here are a few things I have loved (and bought) lately…hello magic wardrobe.


and this has to be my favourite though I must say it wasn’t super-cheap, when I spied it I did have to think about whether or not it was going in, I think forty bucks for a bath mat is a lot, but, after examining it, I didn’t think I could easily replicate this myself (there are a lot of ruffly bits sewn onto here) and secondly I, bottom line, love love loved it…


sweet as the sea blue dish $15  Eb & Ive

woosh you stole my heart gingham placemats $10 IKEA

OMG-I-love-you bath mat $40 West Elm

nautical me up baby fishing float $15  Freedom

let’s do this breakfast thing white bowls  IKEA


I hope you like my Favourite Things this lovely Sydney morning!

Tell me, do you still buy magazines or are you a blog and Pinterest girl too??




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72 Responses to “favourite Beach Cottage THINGS COASTAL NAUTICAL STYLE”

  1. Belinda @ MyOodle says:

    Love, love, love this idea. I’ve always wondered who could afford to do decorating the way it’s shown in magazines. We’re a two income couple and I know expensive options aren’t on our list. Loving practical awesome looking ideas, keep them coming. THANKS!

    • sarah says:

      Yes I hear you – we are far from rolling around in money but I also like to think that my interest in homey things is my hobby and so do like to spend money on stuff when I can afford it but who really buys these $400 throws??? x

  2. krissie says:

    love this post Sarah, as for years I was feeling the very same… after reading the magazines and loving certain looks, I would buy things that I thought reproduced the look at cheaper shops and never felt happy with it, yet could never afford the stuff they show in the mags! So, at last I feel we have given ourselves permission to decorate with things we can afford, and still enjoy the final result. Thats why I too love the blogs and pintrest and enjoy seeing pics that REAL people post in and not stylised versions that the magazines promote!
    There is one aus mag that says at the end of a segment – get this look…. they then itemise each item required to get the specific look, and just as you said, each itme is usually way way out of most average peoples budgets! so – I stopped buying the mag and saved myself not only some money but some dissatisfaction and shoppers frustration too!

    • sarah says:

      yes it is the frustration that finally stopped me buying them, and certain books too that have hit the stands recently in home decorating – one in particular recently where I have met the author a few times and thought that person is sooooo far away from my life as a mum etc with a budget, having a family home that people are comfortable in and not worrying if stuff isn’t ‘fashionable’ ….I won’t buy the book because I know it is not real – I have however seen it all over the shops and brands are marketing it a lot – just shows how out of touch they are I sometimes think!

  3. Love the look. I still buy the occasional magazine and cringe at the $$ it would cost if I were to buy the goods they list. However, I am good at finding the look for less or making it myself. There is no way I would ever spend crazy amounts on the likes of cushions, as they only get strewn over the lounge floor by my kids anyway!
    I do love pintrest for ideas!

    • sarah says:

      Yeah I feel the same about the cringing at the amounts of $$$ too – oh and my cushions end up all over the floor also x

  4. Fantastic idea!! I do still buy the odd mag, usually an impulse purchase in the groc trolley, but then it often lays on the coffee table while I scroll through blogs etc on the iPad. I agree with you, so much better and inspiring to see REAL people and homes. And always extra fab to see where they found their goodies!! Please keep sharing!!…xx (Hey there Barls xx)

    • sarah says:

      Yep I have done that too, so many magazines I have bought and then not read – that is when I thought I would stop buying them x

  5. I love that bathmat! It would look amazing as a cushion! xx

    • sarah says:

      yep I do, I will let you have a try of it if you like :-) we could timeshare it ;-)


  6. Patricia says:

    Sarah, I have not bought a magazine for at least a year-not that long, but long enough to know that all the inspiration I need is in the blogs I subscribe to as well as PINTEREST and HOMETALK. I admire so many of the creative people out there and what they don’t think of for aesthetics. I tend to not subscribe to the higher end blogs and am just so content to see how other women carve out a lovely looking home and yard for very little money and a whole lot of ingenuity and elbow grease. Of course, I would never turn down a tour of POTTERY BARN…

    • sarah says:

      no nor would I lol!

      I am the same, getting so many ideas from other bloggers and Pinterest…and it’s all so achievable which I love x

  7. Tricia Rose says:

    I wonder who does buy those things, and why? I love seeing the ideas, and every once in a while there is something so elemental or so creative I can imagine buying it, but most of the time I think about a fool and her money!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hi Sarah! To answer your question, I’ve turned my attention to the blogs and Pinterest for ideas and inspiration. I really like some of the arrangements that I see in Pottery Barn and am trying to duplicate the “look” without spending an enormous amount of money by shopping the house and ordering from websites that I know can contribute to the look without breaking the bank.

  9. Megan S says:

    Don’t buy magazines any more either and get my home decorater fix by way of blogs – and yours is the best in content and layout :)
    Love the “Get This Look” idea – thanks for doing it (especially for us who live in Sydney and can access all the stores you mention).

    • sarah says:

      thanks Megan, I was hesitant to start this because I get a lot of emails from people who can’t get access to places

  10. Aisling says:

    We have a local mag that has an open home day each year. I love going and having a nosy around but these are the people that buy those throws… I love the inspiration though.
    However, i went to one day a couple of years ago and about 4 houses had these fabulous glass sculpture/vase things that were obviously by the same artist. So i googled to see if i could find one although i thought it might be a few hundred or maybe even a bit more…. They were $35,000 and up! And just sitting on their sideboards!
    I still like to buy english country living magazine. It has a great vibe.

    • sarah says:

      yeah I like that mag too, it has some really good country articles…

      $35,000 wow that is the cost of a car (and a quite nice one lol! )


  11. merilyn says:

    you are always so entertaining! I love your attitude and your sense of humour … love the photo of barls on the couch with the feature being the “new bath mat” which I thought was a cushion …. just gorgeous!
    pinterest and tumblr and a few other blogs but yours is up my alley for an all round “bang for your buck!”
    good basic down to earth and full of variety and yes real girl approach to decorating, fashion and that basic need to look after the wellbeing of the family. you seem to do it perfectly … good on you sarah!
    I’ve said before, better than a magazine … yes and cheaper too! did I just say that?
    must be the wine I just had … that’s ok lol m:)

    • sarah says:

      haha reading blogs with a glass of wine – can’t beat that nowadays, so up my alley

      Barls wouldn’t move so I just took the pics anyway!

      • merilyn says:

        would love to see the new hair do as I was a hairdresser in a former life lol m :)x

  12. Mumofsix says:

    I stopped buying mags this year. I just wasnt reading them. I used to know the date certain mags were coming out and rush out and buy them! So funny to think that now. Blogs, IG and to a lesser extent for me, Pinterest have completely taken over. Much better value! X Sarah thanks for yours and hello barls x

    • sarah says:

      yeah I think so too – I can’t believe I used to also pay the prices for mags from England when we first moved here! crazy, now I read blogs for free x

  13. Pam says:

    Love the new format .sits nicely balanced on my page. Still love country style mag. Everyone gone to work, a coffee the mag and the DOONA pulled up . Pure bliss!!! And pinterest of course. Pam x

  14. Rachel says:

    I get a (birthday pressie) subscription to Mollie Makes – a craft mag published here in England, and am currently doing the offer of 3 for £5 for Simply Crochet. I enjoy these two but admit that often I have already seen the crafting trends and patterns on blogs first. The mags are good for dates for events and exhibitions though.
    I can’t get to grips with pinterest. I pin stuff I see sometimes but haven’t used it to search for inspiration. I probably need to explore what it can do….

    • sarah says:

      I bought a few Mollie Makes (we get them in my local newsagent) and I quite liked it but had seen a lot of the ideas on craft blogs already but it is quite a nice new player in the magazine world, I hope it’s successful for them x

      once you get into Pinterest you won’t look back, I was the same but I am right into it now x

  15. Claire says:

    Since I got my mini iPad last year I have hardly put it down! I read all my favourite blogs on it (including yours!) and just try and get me away from Pinterest!! I feel much more connected and part of a community when reading blogs rather than magazines, which can be rather unrealistic I think – it’s hard to get enthusiastic about things that are way out of your budget!

    I still read one magazine but I dumped the printed version back in January for an iPad subscription, which saves me money and is much more portable. It’s also easier to ‘clip out’ handy recipes etc. and save them digitally.

    Funnily enough, this weekend we’ve got UK House Beautiful coming to our place to take photos of our living room makeover, which we did with a mixture of IKEA-hacking, replica ‘expensive’ furnishings/lights and our own blood, sweat and tears decorating – all our own ideas from things we’d seen online – I wonder what they’re going to make of it all!

    Looking forward to reading more of this new real girl series! x

    • sarah says:

      oh it will be an eye opener for you for sure if you’ve never had a magazine there before? I won’t say anything!!!

      I hear you on the iPad mini, I just got mine a week ago and absolutely loving it more than I thought possible xx

  16. Pam says:

    Meant to ask how he fringe went ?????

  17. Julie Johnson says:

    Once in a while, I’ll buy a magazine with an article I’m interested in or something on the cover catches my eye, but like you, I prefer Pinterest. It covers all the bases and is for people in the real world. Besides that it doesn’t take up room and except for my internet service, is free. Love this idea you have to foof about with mostly what’s on hand or inexpensive. I’ll be checking everyday for ideas.

    • sarah says:

      thanks Julie, I feel the same about Pinterest, I am loving it over there, especially while looking for a new kitchen, it has given me sooooooo many wonderful ideas and all of them I can actually afford to buy! even better, I have been going from Pinterest to blogs and seeing real girl kitchens with a lot of the time the girl in question actually installing it all too….soooooo inspiring x

  18. I read blogs all the time and every now and then I buy a magazine, but I’m disappointed most of the time.

    • sarah says:

      same here! I have been disappointed nearly every time lately – I don’t know what’s changed, less good meaty stuff and more ads x

  19. Jos says:

    I am a blog gal – have been disillusioned with the mags I’ve flicked through for ages now – so haven’t bothered buying any. I used to write those kind of articles for a bunch of mags – and gave it away as thought some/many of the stylists’ choices were rubbish – $400 a throw – what the?!!!!! Couldn’t bear writing the copy that went with those twitty pics!!! Am a huge fan of sourcing items from that Swedish boutique we all love and have a few scores from that German mecca too (Aldi). Amazes me what they get in some weeks – love the fact it can be Xmas twice a week there!!!! And making things yourself – especially sourcing things from nature – am always fiddling about with twigs and the like!!!!

    • sarah says:

      oh I love the German Store too hahahaha!

      oh the copy with those magazine articles, I thought it was just me that thought that about the… xx

  20. Diana says:

    I REALLY love your blog Sarah! The idea is great! I, however, still love having a magazine and being able to hold in my hand and pour over the pages and back and forth.. I guess because I sit ata computer for work all day, it is realaxing for me to NOT be on a computer device 24/7. However, I am totally into Pinterest and can get lost in there for very long periods of time!!!.. I have a few blogs that are my favs (yours being one of them), but I find that there are so mahy of those, just like magazines, I tend to get magazine/blog stress… trying to keep up with it all… but I need the down-to-earth advice and being able actually see what others do in their homes cause I did NOT get the decorating gene!! I am the kind that once I put somehting on the wall, it stays there…. pretty much for .. ever…LOL.. well, gone on too long, but keep up the good work and I can’t wait for more “Looks for Less” posts!!! From the USA Midwest!! Diana

    • sarah says:

      thanks very much Diana

      I know what you mean about keeping up with them all but what has happened to me is that I have just naturally culled now down to the few that I love and I just like to keep up with them…almost like they have become old friends, which is ridiculous really because I haven’t met (and sometimes not even seen a pic) of any of them!

  21. Candy says:

    I LOVE your idea. I still have a prescription to ONE magazine that I’ve been receiving for over 20 years but, as you say, when I look at the ‘where to buy or how to achieve this look,’ I am so disappointed for two reasons: I can’t afford the stuff or I just refuse to pay that much OR, when going to said website, the item is never there! I would much rather read your blog and see what the ‘real girl’ can actually purchase without breaking the bank, where to get it and, actually find it there! Thanks Sarah :-)

    • sarah says:

      ahhhhhh yes I meant to include that too, happened to me so many times, the item is gone because the issue was written waaaaaay ahead of time – that’s the other thing with blogs so real-time and topical

  22. Candy says:

    Meant SUBSCRIPTION, not prescription…got meds on the mind…lol

  23. Kim says:

    Blogs and Pinterest here too. Magazines are just too full of ads, and overpriced out of reach products, as you said. Love your items, keep them coming :)

    • sarah says:

      yes Kim, there are a lot of ads, though I guess that’s business – but when you think you have actually paid for the item too it’s actually quite bad, $8 for a publication that is full of adverts for things I can’t afford…

      blogs are free! a reason why I don’t mind sponsored posts once a week on my fave blogs b/c I appreciate the work goes in for me to sail in for free and hear their lovely (and real) voices on the world xx

  24. I have a Pinterest account, but haven’t really done much with it. I do still subscribe to a couple of magazines (County Living and Coastal Living), but I don’t buy nearly as many magazines as I used to – I’d rather see what others are doing with real budgets, as you’ve indicated.

    I’m looking forward to seeing more in this series, Sarah!

    • sarah says:

      yes very true lovely Darcy. I hardly ever buy them any longer, blogs are much more my cup of tea ;-)

      hope you are well x

  25. Neen says:

    WOW now you have got me thinking about my addiction to magazines. Every month I buy two religiously, actually some months I get a bit ‘twitchy’ if they’re not in supermarket on time, hmmmm…….I love the act of turning pages, there’s something about it that soothes my mind.
    Buuuuuuut all of my home styling ideas have come from blogs ……..go figure…..this needs some deep thought. Leave it with me…………in the meantime bring on your idea it is perfect for this little central vic reader ;) Neen

    • sarah says:

      thanks Neen, yep it’s been a slow thing for me – as the months moved on I realised that more and more magazines were leaving me with not the right feelings, wheras blogs made me happy! xx

  26. Julie says:

    Love blogs and Pinterest too Sarah but find myself getting lost in them too frequently and 4 hours later realising I have nothing organised for dinner. It is my secret addiction! I have become very adept at throwing dinner together at the last minute and your recipes are often my go to. That said I am always looking for new blogs to bookmark – would you care to share your favourites?

    • sarah says:

      thanks Julie, I hope you don’t mind but I like to keep them private! sounds a bit odd I know :-)

      yes I hear you with the losing 4 hours thing, I have a bit of a time set for it in the evenings otherwise nothing is done and dinner is beans on toast :-) x

  27. MDN says:

    Blogs for me! A couple of years back, w/ job eliminated, looked at ways to cut costs: the four to six different mags I previously purchased on impulse at grocery store – when calculated – came to $240 – around $400+/year! Also, with vision problems, I found blogs so much easier to peruse (enlarge). Plus, magazines had gotten to about 30-40% content being loads of annoying ads! (In US, drug co. ads are allowed…and then, those mini-vans they want woment to think they want.) So, I’;ve been “off” of magazines for 4+ years now, except when visiting my doc’s office. Another advantage is adding to my efforts to be “green”! Your blog, of course, is the best out there! Appreciate your idea of sharing how you get your look… Even if we don’t have the same stores, it provides a framework for us to use!

    OK – Seems you might not be too excited about your new “do”, but won’t you show us a pic of both the cut and new color?

    PS – Glad Barls didn’t move…it’s always fun seeing the cutie on your site, too!

  28. merilyn says:

    just in case you don’t re read replys … I think i’m speaking for the majority here, … we would love to see the new hairdo! … i would anyway! I was a hairdresser! lol m:)

  29. Love that blue bowl, it is the star of each picture. I was thinking it was a sign of old age that I don’t buy magazines any more! I no longer keep up with the latest music but instead listen to talk radio. When I was a kid, I would never have imagined that I wouldn’t know what was number one in the charts, it was inconceivable! I was allowed a magazine each week from a young age (Twinkle, Bunty, Jackie etc) so again, to stop reading and needing them now seems extreme. I’ve stopped buying magazines because of the cost (usually £4-5) and because they bore me. Who are these ‘celebrities’, these children with fake tans? (another sign of old age?!?) I don’t have the patience to read/look at them anymore. Blogs, however, keep me informed, inspired, entertained and keen for the next installment, which often comes the next day rather than next month. It’s blogs all the way!

  30. Nancy says:

    I have no need of other mags or very few other blogs…I read you…we are somewhat on the same page…thanks.

  31. Tamara says:

    I seem to remember this is what you used to do Sarah! You always used to list where the items came from underneath your pics which was and still is a GREAT idea.
    Yes, so agree with you and everyone about magazines – I used to devour them but hardly ever bother now and mostly for three reasons
    1) They are expensive
    2) I find them too limiting
    3) They don’t last long enough!
    We are now so used to all the amazing info we can get on the internet at the click of a mouse for our chosen tastes, budgets etc why would we even need to buy a magazine?

  32. Kim H says:

    Love your idea and I love that bath mat!! I still buy Country Style and Real Living mag but I have to say I’m hardly reading them anymore. It’s like they are an addiction that I must continue with but the pretty much sit near my lounge looking pretty all month with hardly a page turned. It’s not because they are not lovely, they are, but I’m with you. I love the realness of blogs and the connection I feel with bloggy people. I spend way too much time reading blogs that I run out of time to read my magazines. Happy weekend to you x

  33. Anna says:

    Rock on Sarah. You echoed my thoughts on design, blogs, pinterest, and magazines perfectly. This is why I LOVE your blog.

  34. Catherine says:

    Stellar posting, Sarah! Spot on, as usual. I’m a blog and Pinterest kind of girl and I especially love your blog. Keep the good things coming!

  35. Lisa Mckenzie says:

    No I don’t buy magazines anymore but my Mum gives me magazines that come from my Aunty through her rich Daughter in law ,good ones like real living which have some beautiful pics of houses and fashion and a bit of cooking in them ,they may be months old when I get them but who cares! I prefer the net and blogs and Pinterest and Instagram for my favourite things .My house does not really have a style it is big with a lot of slate floors and wood furniture and owls and cushions and bowls and things I have made or collected over the years and I think filling a house with things you love is what makes a house a home ,not the pricetags on some of those expensive things.
    My dream one day is to buy a beach house with my sister and make it all white and beautiful,it is only a dream at the moment and we often joke about meeting each other at the “beach house” when life gets hectic and I hope one day we get to have one.I love how you style your house Sarah it is so pretty.

  36. alison says:

    I still subscribe to a few house/decor/lifestyle type magazines magazines. I know they’re fantasy and I love the escapism. I would like to browse Pinterest etc more but I have to use a computer so much for work and it just sucks the life force out of me. My magazines are a tonic for my soul.


  37. Suzanne says:

    My only mag subscription now is Gardening Australia! Much more affordable ideas, and if I prune my roses correctly and propogate new plants, I can have gorgeous flowers in my home, and what better decoration than that!
    I love your idea of featuring more affordable ideas. I’ve already made a few purchases from the, ahem, Swedish boutique based on seeing them in your blog!

    • sarah says:

      thanks Suzanne, I have never bought Gardening Australia, as I am typing this I am wondering quite why not! I mean hello it would help me a lot I think with my English gardening skills! do you recommend it??? xx

  38. Kristina says:

    I agree with you about the magazines.
    The most of them displays very expensive item and I sure would love to see more cheap things displayed. But I love tpo challenge myself. I have made it to a sgame to find similar things but mutch cheaper. And. I become happy every time I succeed…..:-D

  39. Tiffany Hernandez says:

    The only magazines I still buy generally feature Flea market style. So while I can’t run out and buy the items from a store I can get ideas of items to look for while junking. However with a job, home and small child, I don’t get out junking as much as I would like. Blogs such as yours and pinterest provide much needed eye candy. Thanks for sharing your beautiful home and ideas.

    • sarah says:

      yes I like to read ones about secondhand things too to get ideas.

      thanks for the blog love x

  40. Naomi says:

    Great post Sarah. I read blogs and pinterest daily but only allow one magazine per month dependant on the content. I now save the money from the mags to buy my thrifty finds, it’s more satisfying and I’ve never been able to afford the magazine buys, even Real Living finds can be a bit pricey sometimes. I still enjoy sitting down in a sunny spot with a cuppa and a magazine but I feel ripped off if they disappoint. Pinterest and my fav blogs never disappoint, especially yours since our style is quite similar. I just don’t have my styling down to an art yet but I will one day. I love my blogs, LOVE.

    • sarah says:

      yes I feel the same way Naomi – I bought a food magazine yesterday and sat down to read and was very disappointed, I counted nearly two thirds of the pages were adverts or editorials – not impressed!

  41. Narelle says:

    Sarah I totally agree with you on this one. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve nearly fallen off my (Swedish boutique) sofa when I read how much a cushion/throw/quilt is …. And don’t even start me on some of these renovating shows who are supposedly trying to stick to a tight budget and have to win rooms each week to boost their budget, but somehow justify throwing away $200+ on a cushion.

    I still get a few magazines because I’m a tactile person and like to flick for inspiration, but I’m becoming disillusioned too. I find it disappointing that the owners of homes featured are quite often in high flying careers or it’s their (flash) “weekender” etc – it’s just a wee bit unrealistic for thrifty me.

    I am a teensy bit obsessed with Pinterest and I am forever re-pinning your pins! Hopefully one day I will get out of this city apartment and have a little beach cottage of my own. Keep these posts coming!

  42. I’m totally a pinterest and blog girl. I still get the wonderful Donna Hay on my ipad but that’s about it. My tipping point was reading a ‘Real Mom’s’ magazine and seeing a woman in the playground with her scrubbed kiddo in a $500.00 skirt! What the heck!?