May budget

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  1. Uniqlo Dress (seen here): $30 (paid with PayPal)
  2. Milly for DesigNation Tee: $27 (originally $40; paid with Poshmark funds)
  3. New Balance Sneakers (via Nordstrom): $80 (used gift cards)
  4. Amour Vert Skirt (via Piperlime; sold out): $27 (originally $99; $18 paid with PayPal)
  5. J.Crew Tee: $31.50 (originally $39.50)

May Total = $40.50

$413 ($500 quarterly budget – $87 overspent) – $152.50 (March) – $342 (April) – $40.50 (May) = -$122

So much for only buying things with gift cards, right? In my defense, I was already planning on buying the dress, skirt, and J.Crew tee, and I let myself keep one item from the Milly for DesigNation collection. The collection was inspired by Capri, Italy–how could I not keep something inspired by a place I visited?! ;) Anyway, I was lucky to sell some things on Ebay and Poshmark (find me here!) which brought the total for this month down a bit. I did overspend by quite a bit though so next quarter will start with $378 instead of $500.

I ordered the seersucker dress from Uniqlo when they offered a weekend of free shipping. It arrived the day before my college convocation, so I decided to wear it! I had been watching the skirt at Piperlime for months, waiting for the “site closing” sales that were inevitable. Once the extra 50% off sale started, I was ready to pounce…only to see that my size sold out! Somehow it came back in stock, though, so I got lucky there. I absolutely adore it and am glad I was able to get it. I think it’s the perfect “multi-seasonal” piece. Obtaining the J.Crew tee follows a similar story: it has been in and out of stock for weeks. I had my size, one size up, and one size down all in my wish list. I checked on a day of a promo, and my size was in stock! I checked out as fast as possible, but the tee shipped after the other items in my order and I was worried it was oversold. A few days went by and I finally received the shipping confirmation–VICTORY! I’m so, so obsessed with this tee.

I placed four Milly for DesigNation orders from Kohl’s…yup, four. I placed the first three because I kept finding things I wanted to try, haha. I should have spent time to go through the whole site before rushing to place an order after hitting the free shipping threshold. After I realized the prices went down even more, I placed a fourth order with everything that was still in stock that I liked, and I used the Kohl’s Cash I had obtained from the previous three orders. Well, I wasn’t totally in love with anything except the red striped tee and the blue tile print. I would have kept the blue tile crop top had it been available in a size smaller or the skirt if it was a bit shorter. I also liked the black shorts, but I couldn’t get over how poofy they were; I tried the red striped shirt dress, but I decided that I would get the most wear out of the striped tee. I did order both the blue and the red striped tees as seen here, but I felt like the red was the most versatile.

For Christmas, I received a couple of Nordstrom gift cards from my boyfriend and his family. He intended for me to use them on my Helmut Lang sweatshirt since he knew I wanted it so bad, but I ended up purchasing that from a different site since it was 50% off and I had other Christmas money. I almost bought a pair of white denim as explained in this post but instead decided to go with a less expensive pair. Then, I thought about what I should bring with me to NYC next week (my mom is treating me to a celebratory end-of-Master’s-degree trip!) and realized that I didn’t have a good pair of walking shoes. After browsing Nordstrom’s site for what felt like forever, I decided that I liked these New Balance sneakers the best. Of course, reviews suggesting sizing up a half size and that size was sold out…so I had to wait a while and pounce when I saw them in stock, but it was worth the wait! I’m stoked to have a pair of fashionable sneakers to wear while frolicking around NYC. :)

I’m happy to say that I’m feeling more content with my spring/summer wardrobe now! I can think of three or four items I’d still like to add, but I’m waiting until prices are more reasonable. Of course, I’m sure I’ll be adding to that list soon enough because personal style is ever evolving. Plus, I’m hoping to do some shopping while in NYC! Can’t wait! If you have any store recommendations, please let me know!

Linking up with Franish & my fellow budgeting bloggers

The tale of the uneven pant legs

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So, there’s something you should know about my legs. I’m fairly certain they are uneven. The reason I think they’re uneven is because every pair of jeans or pants I own come down lower on my left leg than on my right leg, and it drives me absolutely crazy. Most times, it’s not that noticeable in my outfit photos (it feels worse in person than it looks, though I’m always the first one to point it out), but this time…it was on a whole new level. I checked the cuffs so many times to make sure the number of cuffs and the size of the cuffs were the same. I even folded the left one up just a tiny bit more to fake the length difference. I mean, perhaps I bought a defective pair and the left leg really is that much longer this time, because it’s bad. I tried to pick photos that didn’t show the length difference as much, ha.

Also, I bent my right leg one too many times and left a lovely crease in a lovely area. Linen, you win.

P.S. I wore this outfit yesterday, then ended up not going anywhere except outside to take these photos. In case I did happen to go somewhere, I would have most definitely picked these sandals to finish the look. ;)

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Madewell sweater (similar from J.Crew Factory; last seen here) / LOFT pants / Target sandals / Kate Spade necklace via Nordstrom

My Spring/Summer ’15 Signature Look

As I like to do near the start of spring/summer and again at the start of fall/winter, I’m sharing what I believe to be my signature look(s) for the season. I like to do this to as a way to concisely keep track of the progression of my personal style. It’s usually pretty spot-on for what I wear in general during those seasons even if that doesn’t seem represented on the blog (I tend to photograph the more “out of the box” outfits even though they are still true to my personal style). This season’s signature look post is coming a bit later than usual because I almost forgot to do it (oops!), and the weather has not been cooperating at all for the past two weeks.

Because it hasn’t been terribly warm here yet, I decided to show one cooler weather outfit and one warmer weather outfit, though it was very difficult to narrow down what I wanted to show! I decided to show a skirt outfit instead of shorts because I’ve been really into skirts lately and I see that continuing into summer. However, I will be wearing plenty of shorts and dresses, too. :) As far as the makeup routine goes, I’ve started using brow gel to keep my eyebrows in check since they get kind of out of control even with trimming and tweezing. I’ve only tried the Sonia Kashuk brand brow gel from Target but I’m looking to try something else if anyone has any suggestions.

Click here if you’re interested in seeing my signature looks from last spring/summer!

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Look 1: Loose tee + skinny jeans + sandals
Look 2: Collared blouse + mini skirt + flats

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ModCloth tee (old; similar from J.Crew) / Madewell jeans / Ananias sandals via Etsy (custom) / Kate Spade earrings via Nordstrom Rack

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LOFT shirt (similar) and skirt (on sale in limited sizes) / J.Crew flats (new version)

Easy weekend on repeat

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The nearly constant rain has really put a damper on my efforts to look cute these past couple of weeks. This past Sunday, we finally got a break in the rain and this was the best I could come up with: another extremely easy, barely blogworthy look. I decided to layer a bit and add a hint of stripes under this sweater since it’s somewhat sheer, plus it’s fun to see the stripes peek out on the sides. Since the stripes are navy, I wore my navy sandals…even though my pants are black. I’m not at all against wearing black and navy in the same outfit, as you are probably aware if you’ve been reading for a while. :)

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Joie sweater via TJ Maxx / J.Crew Factory tank top / J.Crew pants / Salt Water sandals (exact) / Kate Spade necklace via Nordstrom

Girly neutrals

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I did not realize that I was wearing all J.Crew until I was typing out the outfit details, ha! It’s funny when that happens, isn’t it? It makes sense that the items from one brand would go together well. I find that happening a lot when I wear Madewell, too.

I’ve wanted to wear this sweater and these flats together for well over a year. I actually did wear them last June and we got outfit photos, but the lighting was so terrible that I never posted them. It was then that I realized shooting in direct sunlight is a baaad idea. Anyway, the grey in the sweater matches the flats perfectly, so it was clearly meant to be. You may have noticed that I’m wearing yet another pair of the J.Crew ‘Cece’ ballet flats. I own five pairs because they are just that wonderful (and I’ve featured all five pairs in outfit posts this spring!). All of mine are the discontinued “Made in Italy” version. I haven’t tried the newer version because I’ve heard bad things about them. I’m already dreading the day that mine wear out. :(

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J.Crew Factory sweater (old; last seen here), skirt (similar), and necklace / J.Crew flats (old; new version) / LOFT sunglasses

ISO: White skinny jeans

For the past few years, I’ve wanted to add a pair of white jeans or pants to my wardrobe. I didn’t start seriously looking until the past year or so, and I could not find what I was looking for. It didn’t help that I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted–stark white? Ivory? Chinos? Jeans? The first pair I tried was a pair of white chinos from J.Crew. They were way too sheer, so gone they went, and I started summer last year without a pair of white pants and figured I’d have to wait until this year to continue the search.

I received a couple of Nordstrom gift cards for Christmas, so I decided to start my search for white jeans there. I also decided try on a pair of Madewell jeans since I love my other pairs, and out of desperation, I also tried LOFT’s jeans when they did their 50% off sale with free shipping. In all, I tried on over six pairs of jeans and–luckily–found one that worked the best for me!

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1. Articles of Society ‘Sarah’ Skinny Jeans {white; size 26} These were the first pair I tried on this year. I first saw them worn by Jean and was interested in them mostly because of the price ($54 retail). I tried on both the size 25 and size 26 in store (Nordstrom), but both made my legs feel like sausages. I think a 27 would have been too large in the waist. While the length was ideal, I didn’t like how there weren’t any front pockets and the fabric seemed pretty sheer. I just wasn’t thrilled by them.

2. Madewell High Riser Skinny Skinny Jeans {pure white; size 25} I was in store to try on other things and decided to grab these just for the heck of it because I love my other pairs so much. These fit well and were SO comfortable, but I did not like how see-through they were, and I wish the ankles were just a bit tighter.

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3. AG ‘The Prima’ Mid Rise Cigarette Jeans {white; size 25} I visited Nordstrom a second time to try on a bunch of designer denim because it was marked down. I made a list of brands/styles to try, and my store did not have the pair I wanted available to try in any wash (‘The Legging’ Skinny Ankle Jeans). I tried this other pair on for size only; I knew I wanted a skinny jean with a tight ankle. These jeans were longer than I wanted. The size fit okay everywhere but was big around the waist and I couldn’t go down a size because of the leg fit. I also tried on the super skinny jeans in another wash and those were also too big in the waist (gapping in the back).

4. Paige Denim ‘Skyline’ Ankle Peg Skinny Jeans {optic white; size 26} I was most excited by these jeans after I had made my list of designer denim to try. Unfortunately, the inseam was too long even though it didn’t seem like it would be (28″ according to Nordstrom and I have around a 29″ inseam). They were also too see-through, not tight enough at the ankle, and slightly big in the waist.

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5. Current/Elliott ‘The Stiletto’ Jeans {sugar; size 26} These were the front-runner until I found the pair pictured next to them. The fit the best out of all of them (no gapping at the waist), though I was unsure about the crotch area and I didn’t like how bulgy the pockets were. The length was perfect and they were skinny enough at the ankle. I actually first purchased these in a size 25 but decided to go up to a 26 for comfort before ultimately deciding to go with a different pair of jeans.

6. LOFT Modern Skinny Jeans {white; size 24 petite} A few weeks ago, LOFT held their annual 50%-off sale and free shipping promo (as mentioned above). I was browsing, as one does, and I saw these jeans. I decided to try them in two sizes just because I had nothing to lose and didn’t have to pay shipping. I’m normally a size 25/0 at LOFT, but the size 25 felt too big on my legs. I hated how they wrinkled everywhere. I was hesitant to hold onto the size 24 just because I felt like I was an imposter, haha. There was no way I’d be a size 24. Well, I was surprised by how well they fit everywhere except around my hips. (I feel like every pair of jeans I own whisker, and I blame it on the fact that I would prefer to have that problem than a huge waist; I know you can get jeans tailored but I’m not keen on spending more than I have to at this point in my life). They were super comfortable and somewhat see-through, but not as bad as some of the other pairs I had tried. They are bit tight around the waist, but they are stretchy so I hope they aren’t tight forever. I just hope other people aren’t looking at my jeans and noticing that the waist is a bit too small! At $37, I was excited to finally find a pair that worked for me and that didn’t break the bank. You can see them in action in this post if you haven’t yet.

In addition to the four pairs of white jeans I tried at Nordstrom, I also tried another brand in a different style and wash (with no success, obviously): Citizens of Humanity. This brand gapped terribly in the waist. All-in-all, it was a somewhat exhausting last couple of months. I was close to giving up for the year as I had done last year, but I stuck it out and found a great pair of white skinny jeans! :) It feels good to check long-standing wardrobe wants off the list.

Easy weekend

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I don’t have much to say about this outfit. I wore it this past weekend; I wanted to be comfortable and still feel put-together. I was inspired by this outfit, and even though I would love to have blush pink flats (and an excuse to buy a blush pink bucket bag), my beige flats worked just as well. I absolutely adore this sweatshirt I purchased a couple of months ago from Everlane. I don’t wear it a lot as part of an outfit; I tend to wear it in the evenings for lounging around the house. It is perfect for that but also nice enough to wear out of the house!

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Everlane sweatshirt (my referral link; I will love you forever if you use it!) / LOFT jeans and sunglasses / J.Crew flats (old; new version) / Clare Vivier for & Other Stories bag (similar from Talbots; last seen here)

Master of Science

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I graduated last week! I can’t even believe that I’m officially done with my Master’s degree. If you’ve been reading for a while, you may remember that I defended my thesis last October. I was planning on graduating in the fall, but I didn’t get my thesis edits done in time (the thesis office gave me a week to complete them when I had a million other things to do, but it ended up working out just fine). My final thesis edits were complete as of the beginning of last week, and my journal article (!) was accepted at the end of April. I get to check that research off and really dive into PhD research now, woohoo!

My parents were in town for the event, and I enjoyed spending time with everyone. :) The graduation was a new experience for me. Because my school is so big (over 8,000 people graduated!), they break it into two events: commencement and convocation. Commencement is the school-wide general event where you listen to speakers, and the honorary doctorates and other awards are given out. They acknowledge everyone by degree and college, but no one walks. Convocation is broken down into individual colleges and consists of some short speeches and the main event–the actual conferring of degrees. Commencement and convocation were on two different days, so I wore two different outfits. I decided to go with my navy sheath dress for commencement and added simple accessories. For convocation, I wore my new seersucker dress from Uniqlo. It showed up in the mail the day before, and because I had nothing else picked out, I went with it! I added a cardigan for extra warmth, and I’m glad I did because some storms rolled through and really cooled the air (if you couldn’t tell by my arm hair standing on end, haha). I wore my Cole Haan pumps both days, and I have to say…they are AMAZING! My feet were sore from standing for what felt like forever, but I had no blisters whatsoever–even after being in them for hours! I also decided to decorate my cap, because why not?! It’s too fun, plus it made it easier for friends and family to spot me in the crowd of black gowns and caps. ;)

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ModCloth cardigan (old; similar or similar) / Uniqlo dress / Cole Haan pumps via Nordstrom Rack (old; similar with a pointed toe or similar with a higher heel) / Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick in soft raspberry

Commencement photo credit: my mom

Outfit Obsessions, vol. 5

Here are a few late spring/early summer outfits I’m completely obsessing over lately! :) If you’re new around here (hello & welcome!), every three months–at the end of every season–I like to share some of my recent favorite outfits to provide myself with some much-needed inspiration. The best part about these particular outfits is that I can recreate most of them with existing pieces in my closet (I don’t have the pieces for Blair’s outfit, but it’s so fun and inspiring!). Because I went so over budget last month, I’ve really been focused on putting together new and creative outfits with what’s already in my closet (though I’ll be honest, I haven’t completely stopped shopping this month). Right now, I’m into light layers and showing a little leg. I hope these looks inspire you as well!

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Source: Crystalin Marie

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Source: Daily Mail

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Source: Kendi Everyday

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Source: Atlantic-Pacific

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Source: Death by Elocution (Tumblr)

May showers

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After the few days of warm, nearly-summer-like weather, the rain has made an appearance. It actually has been storming (woo!), which is way more exciting than just rain, as you can imagine. We had a pretty good lightning show last night! It’s nothing like those crazy storms the Midwesterners get with nonstop lightning, but it was decent for Utah standards.

I have a little secret when it comes to this outfit. I wore it yesterday…and on Tuesday. Yup. It was originally supposed to rain yesterday, and then it looked like it was going to rain more on Tuesday, so I wore this on Tuesday. It didn’t rain all day until later Tuesday night, and I was so mad! I feel so dumb walking around in rain boots when it clearly isn’t going to rain. The storm ended up coming through yesterday, so I decided to wear this outfit again so we could get proper outfit photos (you know, when the ground is wet/it obviously had been raining). I just can’t do rainy day outfit photos when the sun is shining and the ground is dry, haha! ;) Plus, I was so comfortable wearing my box tee and jeans that it was nice to wear twice.

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Paul & Joe Sister top via Anthropologie (last seen here) / Madewell jeans / Hunter boots (last seen here) / J.Crew earrings / ModCloth umbrella