On a cold winter’s night

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‘Tis the season to throw on lots of comfy layers! I went relatively unflattering for this outfit with the large and rather shapeless cardigan, but that’s what I’m all about at this time of year (and most other times of year, let’s be real). Layer a simple striped tee under the cardigan, add a pair of stretchy jeans and colored loafers, and I’m set to be a couch potato for the whole holiday season. This outfit will be on definite repeat for the next few weeks! Can you believe Christmas is in only eight days?! I still need to finish my shopping…oops. :)

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ModCloth cardigan (similar from Gap) / Gap tee (old; similar & on sale!) / Madewell jeans / Nordstrom loafers (thrifted; last seen here) / Kate Spade necklace via Nordstrom

Mild winter

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I’ve said in previous posts that we’ve been having an above-normally warm December thus far, and it’s mainly because there is no snow on the ground. When we have snow on the ground, the ground albedo is very high (albedo is the percentage of solar radiation that reflects off the surface), thus there is little melting because the solar radiation that does reach the ground is then reflected by the snow. Because the snow isn’t able to melt, the air near the snow stays cold. This creates a temperature inversion, which is when the air temperature is warmer aloft (normally it cools with increasing altitude). Inversions are quite stable and stick around until a relatively large storm system blows through and mixes it up. We get terrible inversions in the winter because we’re often dominated by a ridge, or area of relatively high pressure, resulting in few storm systems that “blow out” the inversions. Inversions are associated with really bad air quality because the pollutants aren’t able to “mix out” due to the stable layer.

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Courtesy of Environment Canada

Anyway. I basically just told you all of that so you know why my outfits aren’t that wintery yet! We usually have some snow on the ground to give us an inversion and the cold temperatures associated with it, but we haven’t had a big storm yet. I’m perfectly happy wearing some of the fall outfits I hadn’t gotten to! I’ve been obsessed with this outfit since I thought of it a few months ago. Ivory, olive green, and cognac are a winning color combination! :) And I’ve been wearing this sweater pretty much nonstop the past few weeks.

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Madewell sweater (similar) and boots / J.Crew pants (on sale!) / Banana Republic Factory earrings (last seen here)

Caturday: Sybil’s 3rd birthday!

It just so happens that all three of my cats’ birthdays fell on a Saturday this year! Might as well do a Caturday post on each of their birthdays, right?! :) Sybil is the last of the three to celebrate her birthday every year, and this is only the second birthday we’ve had with her because we adopted her September 2013.

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Sybil lived in the shelter/rescue system for a little over the year before I saw her one afternoon in Petco (I pretty much never go into Petco anymore because I would adopt all the cats). I broke down when I got home because I felt terrible for her; how awful that she’s had to live a year of her life in a cage! After talking about it and sleeping on it, Chris and I drove back to Petco the next day to adopt her…only, she wasn’t there–one of the store employees had just taken her home for a couple of days so she could get out of the cage. Luckily, he brought her back as soon as we called so we got to take her home that night. I felt bad that he had just taken her home and also bought toys and treat for her! (He gave us the toys and treats he had purchased–so nice!)

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Sybil spent almost a couple of weeks after we adopted her in the spare/office room so the cats could get used to each other. I’m not sure how well it worked because they still only tolerate each other and sometimes get into little tiffs every once in a while. It made me feel better to do a “proper” introduction, though, since there were now three female cats in the house–all of which had big, dominant personalities. Sybil is quite feisty, probably because she is a calico!

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We named her after the late Lady Sybil Branson (Crawley) of Downton Abbey. (The name ended up fitting her because she often lays withs her paws crossed like a lady!) I have many nicknames for her, though, of course… We call her “Derp” or “Derpy” a lot because she likes to run sideways, do Parkour on the furniture, and flip her head around. We’ve lately started calling her “Syblur” because of the photo I took of her running towards a mouse toy where she’s just a giant blur (below). She also sometimes lays on the floor or on her scratcher (her favorite lounging spot) and looks like a loaf of bread, so I like to call her “Sybil Loaf” or just “Loaf”.

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Even though we’ve only had her for a little over a year, Sybil is our most famous kitty. She was recently featured on ModCloth’s Instagram. I also entered a photo of her (the second one from the top of this post) in a calendar contest hosted by a humane society, and although she wasn’t a monthly model winner, they shared it as a cover photo! Everyone thought she was so pretty. We have to agree, of course! Here’s to many more years with our baby girl, Sybil! <3

The Nutcracker

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Last weekend, Chris and I dressed up for an evening at the Olive Garden (salad, breadsticks, and their roscato wine makes a perfect dinner…plus dessert, of course!) followed by a performance of The Nutcracker, one of my very favorite ballets. My mom started taking me to The Nutcracker only recently, and I haven’t been able to go every year. I’m hoping that I can make it an annual tradition since it really puts me in the Christmas mood. :) The music is iconic, and of course, the dancing is so beautiful. I even picked up a new nutcracker this year to add to my collection.

When I put together this outfit for the ballet, I actually didn’t have this location in mind for photos, but it ended up being perfect because I matched the tree! The outfit revolved around my gorgeous new statement earrings from Moorea Seal. I originally had an all-black outfit in mind, but I didn’t like how everything looked together so I swapped my black sweater for this burgundy one. I felt very festive in this look, which makes it a win in my book!

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J.Crew Factory sweater / ModCloth skirt (old; similar; last seen here) and wedges / L’eggs tights (exact) / Moorea Seal earrings (on sale!)

Linking up with Jenna‘s Thursday Favorites

Ivory // grey

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It has been unseasonably warm here lately, so I’m not quite sure whether to categorize these most recent outfits as part of fall or winter. The meteorologist in me is saying that it should be winter, as December 1st marks the start of meteorological winter, but astronomy/the tilt of Earth says it’s still fall. And the weather most definitely says it’s still fall. It feels like October! It’s not helping me get in the Christmas mood, to be honest.

I wore this outfit at the end of last week. I put on a coat, but after being outside for all of ten seconds, I realized that a coat was totally unnecessary. This sweater is actually quite warm for how thin it is, likely because it’s a wool/cashmere blend. This was another outfit I’ve had saved for a few months. I was excited to break out my grey booties because it’s been a while since I’ve featured them on here! I kept the outfit playful with my polka dot jeans and pretty earrings that remind me of snowflakes.

P.S. This is my 200th post! Crazy! :) Thanks for sticking with me all this time!

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Joie sweater via TJ Maxx / Forever 21 jeans (old; last seen here) and earrings (similar) / ModCloth boots (old; similar; last seen here) / Zoya nail polish

How You Get the Girl: My December wishlist

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J.Crew Thin Shaped Hoop Earrings (available here) / Helmut Lang ‘Villous’ Zip Up Sweatshirt in black (available at Nordstrom) / Dior Nail Glow (available at Sephora) / Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances in paperback (available at Amazon) / Charlotte Olympia ‘Kitty’ Flat in navy (available at Nordstrom) / Idaho Home T in grey (available here) / Panasonic RPHJE120S In-Ear Headphones in silver (available at Amazon) / Whimbrel Cape by Saturday/Sunday (available at Anthropologie) / Madewell Blanket Scarf (available here) / Anthropologie Helene Tortie Sunglasses (available here)

I thought it would be fun to name a gift guide using the title of one of my favorite songs from Taylor Swift’s 1989, How You Get the Girl. Since I don’t have the time nor fashion sense to pick out items good for other people, I decided to turn it into a gift guide…for myself (a.k.a. just a wishlist, as we all know). I haven’t made a wishlist in a long time, mostly because I tend to either buy what I want after a month or so of deliberation, or I want to keep what I want a secret in hopes that no one else discovers it and buys it up before I can (an irrational yet real fear).

These are some of the items I’ve had on my wishlist for quite some time. I included some non-fashion items because why not?! I’m in love with John Green’s books and it’s the only book I don’t own/haven’t read (I’m working on Paper Towns right now!). Also, I go through headphones way too often, so I tend to stick with the cheap pairs. These have amazing reviews for the price so maybe they’ll last longer than other cheap pairs I’ve purchased! Of course, most of the items are fashion-related. I included some “if my family happens to win the lottery” items just for fun. ;)

Here are some tips/tricks for shopping at these retailers (just in case my family happens to be reading):

  • J.Crew and Madewell always have some sort of sale, so don’t pay full price. If they don’t for some reason, wait a few days and check back. Most of the big promos start on Thursday or Friday and last through the weekend. I would advise against purchasing items that are final sale because if the fit is off or quality is poor you can’t return them. Both retailers also offer a 15% off student discount in store that you can stack with promos unless they are global promos.
  • Nordstrom and Anthropologie both have great return policies. Nordstrom does not charge for shipping, though Anthropologie does unless they happen to have a free shipping promo. They are rare so you have to keep your eyes peeled on the site. Sometimes Anthro has a percentage-off sale on all items but that may not happen again before Christmas.
  • If in doubt, gift cards are the best way to go. They are not as impersonal as they may seem, I promise! Gift cards tell the recipient that they can treat themselves with whatever they may please and get exactly what they’ve been wishing for. I always get excited when I’m out shopping and I remember I have gift cards to spend!
  • If your favorite airline lets you earn points/miles from shopping, don’t forget to shop through them! I keep forgetting to shop through Southwest Airlines’ Rapid Rewards shopping, which is quite frustrating because I’d have 1000+ more points if only I had remembered!

Happy shopping! ;)

Outfit Re-creation: Zipped

It’s been a hot minute since my last outfit re-creation! Today, I’m wearing one of my favorite looks by one of my favorite bloggers, Chelsea of Zipped. I’m pretty much obsessed with her neutral, sporty, feminine-meets-masculine looks. I didn’t find her blog until earlier this year, and this is an outfit she wore last November. I actually found it on Pinterest! (You may remember it from my latest Outfit Obsessions post!) I immediately knew I had to recreate it for myself. I loved the layering of the chambray with the long grey cardigan and olive green jacket. So good.

(Click on the photo below to go directly to the post. I hope you also check out her other posts while you’re there!)

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Here’s my version!

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I wish my cardigan was just a couple of inches shorter, but all in all, I’m such a fan of this outfit. I wore it for the first time at the end of October and knew it would be one to repeat. Chelsea is actually who inspired me to purchase the J.Crew Pixie pants. She’s had hers for a couple of years now at least, and I love all the looks she creates with them; they’re a perfect base to pretty much any outfit. If I could wear them every day, I totally would. They’re seriously amazing pants!

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Madewell jacket (last seen here) / ModCloth cardigan (similar from Gap) / Old Navy shirt (old; similar from J.Crew Factory) / J.Crew pants / Sam Edelman boots (exact)

Linking up with Jenna‘s Thursday Favorites

November remix chain recap

Happy December! As I did for my April remix chain, I thought I’d recap my November remix chain and add in a little more analysis. If you’re not sure what exactly I did, I basically remixed 15  tops and 15 bottoms, alternating between top and bottom. The bottoms I wore on day 1 were also worn on day 30 to complete the chain. The weather for the month was relatively consistent for it being fall, with not many drastic changes in temperature or precipitation. The biggest change was travelling to California over Thanksgiving break and having to dress for 70-80+ degree temperatures instead of 40-50 degree temperatures!

Anyway, here are all 30 of my looks in order from November 1st to November 30th:

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First thoughts: I very much preferred wearing pants over wearing skirts/dresses (with tights). Out of 15 bottoms, three of them were skirts and two of them were dresses. That means two-thirds of my bottoms were jeans or pants. When it’s cold out, I gravitate towards pants since they tend to be warmer and less fussier than tights (though I do love a good pair of fleece-lined tights). I also stuck to a relatively cohesive color palette. My base neutrals were black, grey, ivory/white, and denim blue. My secondary colors consisted of navy, burgundy, and red, and my accent colors were forest green, mustard yellow, and camel. All of my color combinations felt true to the season, even when I was in the California warmth.

My favorite outfits were day 3, day 5, day 6, day 7, day 16, day 18, day 19, day 24, day 27, and day 28. These looks had some of my favorite color combinations, and the fit of the pieces were exactly how I liked. I remember feeling extra confident on these days. I realize that I picked every day that I wore a cropped sweater. I really like the looks I put together with them! Also, I find it kind of funny that I liked three days in a row: days 5-7. I had a pretty good streak going, haha.

My least favorite outfits were day 4, day 9, day 20, and day 23. For the most part, I’m really happy with the outfits I put together! There were only a few that I likely wouldn’t repeat. Not surprisingly, the monochrome grey outfit made the list. I think I would have liked it more if the sweatshirt was more fitted. I just kind of look like I’m wearing PJs and I didn’t feel put together that day. The two looks featuring longer sweaters over skirts also didn’t feel like me, and I wasn’t as confident wearing those. I don’t mind tying a shirt over a dress, but the look with the flannel over the dress doesn’t feel cohesive to me. Perhaps it was my bare legs and combat boot combination?

In addition to my obvious repeats, I also repeated quite a few other items, like my shoes. I’m the type of person that loves to get a ton of wears out of my pieces because I don’t have the disposable income to spend to wear things only once (I mean, who really does, unless you’re making millions?). Not to mention, I love the pieces I do buy, and I want to wear them a lot! Here’s a breakdown of the extra pieces I wore at least twice during the month and how many times they were worn:

  • Black ankle boots: 6 (days 2, 5, 11, 14, 21, and 25)
  • Black loafers: 4 (days 1, 7, 26, and 30)
  • Cognac combat boots: 4 (days 3, 9, 15, 24)
  • Black gem earrings: 4 (days 7, 13, 25, and 27)
  • Brown tall boots: 3 (days 12, 16, and 18)
  • Cognac ankle boots: 2 (days 10 and 17)
  • Red loafers: 2 (days 4 and 19)
  • Navy sandals: 2 (days 27 and 28)
  • White collared blouse: 2 (days 8 and 18)
  • Chambray shirt: 2 (days 6 and 17)
  • Trench coat: 2 (days 1 and 22)
  • Sideways ‘K’ necklace: 2 (days 4 and 24)
  • Chevron necklace: 2 (days 6 and 11)

Not too shabby, eh? I should note that I did wear a coat or jacket on the days one wasn’t photographed; I usually just wear them for practicality and not necessarily because they go with my outfit (’cause sometimes they don’t!). I also realized that I only photographed a bag once during the month. I don’t use bags during the week (unless we go grocery shopping), but I never really planned outfits included bags since my bags are pretty neutral.

I also want to mention the items that were worn during this remix chain that were also worn during my April remix chain. The tops I repeated were the burgundy cardigan and the asymmetrical grey cardigan (though the grey cardigan was not one of the 15 tops I remixed twice this time). The bottoms I repeated were the high-rise jeans, dark wash skinny jeans, legging jeans, boyfriend jeans, forest green pants, camel pants, and black skirt. Obviously jeans are the easiest thing for me to wear, so they were bound to be worn again this past month!

Overall, I’d say that my November remix chain was pretty successful–more successful than my April remix chain as far as outfits that I like and the fit of my pieces. I stick to simple silhouettes and a narrower color palette when making outfits with restrictions, which is not a surprise. I’ll be using the information from this recap to further streamline my wardrobe and make smart purchasing decisions in the future. :)

Falling with style

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Even though my outfit for Thanksgiving was not very weather appropriate, I did bring a dress to wear on Friday and Saturday! We spent most of the day Friday on the beach, soaking up the vitamin D before heading back north for the rest of winter. The sweater proved to be a perfect addition in the evening. Once the sun went behind the horizon (at about 4:45 pm), the temperature dropped quite suddenly; it actually felt like fall!

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J.Crew sweater / American Eagle Outfitters dress (old; similar) / Salt Water sandals (exact) / Banana Republic Factory earrings (last seen here)

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Yesterday, we celebrated my grandpa’s 80th birthday with a big family party at my grandparents’ house! My grandma really went all out; we had an open bar, taco bar, dance floor, and live band. We had so much fun eating, drinking, dancing, singing, and hanging out with family members–some we haven’t seen in years and others we’ve never met (at least for my brother, cousins, and me).

I remixed my striped dress by layering this fun, asymmetrical cardigan over it. It was a cool night, so the cardigan was necessary and definitely appreciated! I brought a pretty necklace to wear in lieu of earrings (I like to give my ears a break after wearing the heavy ones from Friday). My mom did my eye makeup for me. :)

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Bobeau cardigan via Nordstrom / American Eagle Outfitters dress (old; similar) / Madewell sandals / Moorea Seal necklace (last seen here)

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Finally–the last day of my remix chain! Today is also my last day in southern California; I’m not so excited to go back to the cold. (When I think about flying, I’m reminded of the quote that Woody says in Toy Story: “That wasn’t flying! That was falling…with style.” Hence the title of the post. Also it’s fall, and I blog about my personal style, so I thought it was fitting in those ways, too. Haha.)

Do you recognize the jeans? I wore them on day 1 of my remix chain! I love the kind of “infinite loop” I created with my outfits. This outfit is perfect for travelling: slip-on shoes, comfy layers, long pants, and no belts or jewelry. Now I just hope I don’t have any problems leaving on maybe not the busiest travel day of the year, but one of the busiest!

P.S. Big thank you to my mom, who took my photos the past few days! :)

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Bobeau cardigan via Nordstrom / J.Crew Factory top / American Eagle Outfitters jeans / Vince Camuto loafers via Nordstrom (similar; last seen here)

November budget

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J.Crew Factory Scarf (seen here): $22 (originally $48.50)

November Total = $22

$365 ($500 quarterly budget – $135 overspent) – $150 (September) – $127 (October) – $22 (November) = $66

I know, I can hardly believe it, either! Not only did I only purchase one item this month, I stayed completely under budget for the quarter–even after starting off with a reduced budget. I’ll be starting next quarter’s budget with an extra $66! *pats self on back*

I suppose I do need to mention that I do have a LOFT order at home/en route to me at the moment. The first package of two arrived the day I flew to California, and the second will arrive sometime next week. I placed a big order during the 60% off flash sale they had last week. I’ll note any new additions from that order in next month’s budget. The items I’m most looking forward to are this plaid dress (though I’m worried about the sizing) and this quilted dress (not quite sure if the waist will be too high, but I’ve had a grey dress on my list for a while, so I thought I’d give it a try).

While I didn’t go out on Black Friday this year, I’m considering placing an order for a new pair of Madewell jeans. I realized that jeans are a staple in my wardrobe and I could really use more than the couple of pairs I wear regularly. Plus, the current 25% off promo is the best I’ve seen for the full-price denim. I can’t decide on a color, though… I originally tried the Atlantic wash in store, but is the Davis wash more versatile? What do you think?

Regarding next month, I have quite a few things on my list but I’ll likely be asking for many of them for Christmas this year. I really shouldn’t be buying a whole lot for myself so hopefully I can stick with the orders I’ve already made and be good for the rest of the month like I was this month. :)

How did you do with your budget this month? Snag any great Black Friday deals?

Oh my goodness! I almost forgot to mention that I received an item in exchange for a review. (Bad me for forgetting!) From My Monogram Necklace, I received a monogrammed necklace and wrote a review in this post. (You can also see me wearing it here. I picked an item I knew I would wear a lot!) I want to always mention when I receive items for free from brands. This was the first time that’s happened so please forgive me for forgetting to mention it until after I already hit “Publish”!

Linking up with Franish & my fellow budgeting bloggers