2013 reflection

Tomorrow is the start of 2014. 2013 has gone by SO fast! I just can’t believe how fast years actually go. Every year surprises me, and I know it shouldn’t given that I’ve lived through a couple of decades. Maybe that’s exactly why they surprise me.

I made many new memories in 2013! I’m grateful for everything I was able to accomplish and all the places I went.

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  • I survived my second semester of graduate school.
  • I passed my qualifying exam in May! That meant I could continue in my graduate program.
  • I went to New Hampshire three more times, and Chris visited me three times. We went to Maine and Idaho!
  • Chris graduated and later moved west to start graduate school. Melody moved with him.
  • We got to see many of our favorite artists in concert: Imagine Dragons, Taylor Swift, Sara Bareilles, OneRepublic, and Matt Nathanson. We also met OneRepublic!
  • I went to Hawaii with my family to celebrate my dad’s 50th birthday!
  • Chris and I adopted Sybil, completing our fur baby family!
  • I started blogging! I absolutely love it even though it has caused my interest in fashion (and shopping) to exponentially increase.
  • I survived my third semester of graduate school (I took no actual classes, so that was nice!).
  • Chris and I celebrated a year of being together!

Here’s what my December looked like if you follow me on Instagram!

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  • I flew to an academic conference to present my research and flew over some pretty geology.
  • At the conference, I got to use my new Ollie and Nic satchel! Plus, I painted my nails a shiny, deep blue for the season.
  • Chris and I went to see The Nutcracker, one of my favorite ballets!
  • Chris gifted me with this pretty framed picture of Rosie for Christmas, among other things!

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  • Chris and I put up a real Christmas tree and filled it with gifts for our friends and families!
  • I drove back to my home state with the girls for the holidays!
  • I’ve been having a really relaxing holiday break, which I really needed.
  • I’ve been catching up with old friends while being home!

Here’s hoping that 2014 will be another wonderful year! Thank you all for reading my blog!

NYE party picks

It’s almost 2014! I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love sequins and jewels for New Year’s Eve celebrations! I don’t have a fancy party to go to this year (as usual), but I still love perusing websites looking for the perfect party pieces. I am totally in love with Anthropologie right now. They have some really great pieces on sale, which is perfect for me because I can’t afford their products at full price! They’re also currently doing an extra 25% off all sale items with the code 25BELOW. I stopped in on the 26th and couldn’t resist picking up a couple of things!

Here’s a little list I put together of sale pieces from Anthro that I would pick myself for New Year’s Eve parties! (Click on the picture to go to the item.) Hope you all have a fantastic NYE!

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14 pieces – 14 days: Week 1

Here’s what I wore for my first week of wearing 14 pieces for 14 days. It wasn’t too difficult to think of outfits this week, but I imagine this next week will be a little more difficult. As I predicted, I got some goodies this week that I’d like to wear, but I’m going to hold off until the end of this experiment! Yay, self control.

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It snowed the first night I was in town, so I decided to wear my snow boots instead of my tall boots like I had originally planned with this outfit.

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Red, black, and white as snow

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas! It makes me sad that it’s over so fast. I still want to listen to Christmas music and stare at the Christmas tree. At least we’re not too quick to take down the decorations and lights, though I’m sure my dad will want to get rid of the tree this weekend.

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I only have a week and a half before I head back home and get ready for school. This past semester, I didn’t take any lecture classes; I only had thesis research hours. It was so nice working during the day and then coming home to do whatever I wanted in the evening. (Sometimes I intended to read papers or log in from home, but did that ever happen? Not so much.) Next semester, though, I’m registered for one lecture class, and I’m actually excited about it even though it’s not at all related to what I’m researching. It’s a class I’ve been wanting to take, so hopefully it goes well! I need to buy a textbook for it–something I haven’t had to do for a year!

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Above: Christmas tree at my mom’s house; Christmas tree at my dad’s house.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about my new year’s resolutions, especially those pertaining to my personal style evolution. It’s really hard for me to make new year’s resolutions. I always am a little bit too ambitious when it comes to resolutions, so they are rarely completed to the extent that I initially intend. I’m going to try and be realistic this year and actually accomplish what I set out to do!

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Top: H&M | Corduroy pants: Gap | Vest: Gap Factory | Necklace: unknown brand via Hautelook | Booties: Wanted via Delia’s

14 pieces – 14 days

Christmas is in TWO days! I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones! I am back in my hometown for a couple of weeks to spend time with family and friends. I brought along the girls, much to my dad’s dismay, and Chris tagged along as well due to flight mishaps. (He’s now back in his hometown with his family.) I ate nothing but cookies all day until dinner yesterday. Tis the season!

When I come home, I tend to pack WAY too much in terms of clothing. I’m a much better packer when I fly and I’m forced to check a bag if I have too much. Driving means that I can bring maybe one or two extra pieces of clothing or an extra pair of shoes and my full-sized shower products. This time, I limited myself to two suitcases–the smaller one with my clothes and the larger one for my shoes, coats/scarves, Chris’s extra clothes, cat stuff, and other miscellaneous items I end up needing. I was determined to pack only 14 major clothing pieces to bring with me for 14 days at home. I follow a minimalist style blog called Into Mind in an effort to figure out what I really want out of my wardrobe and what pieces add value to it (or don’t add value to it). Now that I’m completely obsessing over my style, I don’t just want to buy every single piece of clothing that screams “BUY ME!!” I want to take the time putting together a wardrobe I’m REALLY excited about. It’s a work in progress!

Into Mind often writes about creating 20 outfits from 20 pieces and shows how it can be done. I took the same approach with my two week trip. I picked 14 pieces (following the 50/30/20 ratio of tops/bottoms/shoes) for 14 outfits. Accessories (jewelry, tights, etc.) and neutral undershirts didn’t count towards my total. Here’s what I picked!

7 tops

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Clockwise: 1) J.Crew Factory scoopneck tee, 2) J.Crew Factory striped sweater, 3) J.Crew Factory merino sweater, 4) American Eagle scoopneck cardigan (old)

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Clockwise: 1) ModCloth Your Fireside of the Story Cardigan in Navy, 2) Old Navy cable knit sweater, 3) J.Crew open cardigan

4 bottoms

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L-R: 1) Forever 21 polka dot skinny jeans, 2) American Eagle dark wash skinny jeans

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L-R: 1) American Eagle dress, 2) J.Crew Factory skirt

3 pairs of shoes

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Clockwise: 1) Delia’s tall boots (old), 2) Collection by Carrini combat boots, 3) Wanted booties

My color palette is a little all over the place, though I tend to be drawn to ivory, grey, and black. I added navy, burgundy, pink, and the bright yellow as my fun “accent” colors, though I think burgundy is becoming more of a staple color in my wardrobe. I just love it for this time of year. For accessories, I brought tights (in black, charcoal, and beige just in case), necklaces (white and pink roses and jeweled), and earrings (simple studs to jeweled beauties)! I also want to note that I did pack my snow boots, but I’m not planning outfits around them and only wearing them if absolutely necessary!

Of course, this is going to be challenging to stick to because I asked for clothes for Christmas. If I get anything, I know I will want to wear it immediately! I’m going to do my best to stick to my main 14 pieces and add in extras only if they’re not major to the outfit. I’m going to do a recap of what I wore at the end of each week, so stay tuned!

Pattern wonderland

A couple of weeks ago, I mixed plaid and stripes to do some shopping at the outlet mall. At first, I was really excited about it, but looking back at the pictures, it didn’t really work as well as I thought it did. I almost wasn’t going to write about this outfit because I really don’t like it anymore. Life doesn’t always go as perfectly as we hope, and I’m only human, so I’m using this outfit as a learning opportunity!

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At first, I thought the problem was the fact that the plaid pattern got distorted when I tied the shirt, but after thinking about it more, there is no black in the shirt to tie the patterns together. The colors don’t mix well! I have light brown and a pinky/red plaid with a black and white striped dress. Dur. I first posted a post on pattern mixing last month, and I think that one was successful because the navy in the top and skirt tied it together.

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We ended up stopping by Pier 1 Imports after the outlet mall. I was hoping to find the penguin with his foot smooshed in a cupcake, and I did! He was a lot bigger than I thought he was, and was also sort of expensive, so I settled for his cousin in ornament form instead. Chris also picked one out. Pier 1 has so many adorable ornaments. It was hard to walk away with only one each!

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Dress: Delia’s | Shirt: Old Navy | Necklace: ILY Couture | Leggings: Forever 21 | Socks: SmartWool via Nordstrom Rack | Boots: Collection by Carrini via Hautelook

Glittery Christmas light bulbs

I am in a full-on Christmas mood lately! We took our tree down yesterday because we’re spending our Christmases elsewhere, and it made me sooo sad. I feel a little bit better, though, because it has been snowing almost all day today and now the tree is outside covered in snow! I like to think of the snowfall as being a proper burial for our tree.

In honor of the season, I made these lovely glittery Christmas light bulbs! I originally found an image of these bulbs on Pinterest, but it wasn’t connected to any sort of blog post or article about how to make them. I’m not terribly crafty, but these seemed easy enough to do without directions! My dad has been switching out his big outdoor Christmas lights for LED lights, so I got ALL of the old bulbs he would have thrown away. I got nearly 90 bulbs! I’m really excited I could give a new life to the bulbs that used to light up my childhood house.

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I went to my local Michael’s to grab glitter (in seven different colors!), matte Mod Podge, and a couple of foam paint brushes.

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I put each tube of glitter in its own plastic cup. (We only had six so I used a bowl for the seventh color.) Then, I got straight to painting on the Mod Podge and dipping/twirling each bulb in a glitter cup!

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Look at how pretty they are! It was totally worth being covered in glitter. And having to clean up glitter. Lots of glitter.

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I also bought glass vases at Michael’s and used them as my glittery bulb displays! I would leave them in a nice bowl but I know the cats would play with them. These bulbs were SO easy to make and I just think they are so gorgeous. I especially like them because you could mix and match colors for different winter themes since they aren’t overly Christmas-y. I’m planning on keeping them displayed through January and February!

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Need any last minute gifts?

This is a very late Small Business Saturday type of post. I promised my boyfriend that I would write a SBS post on his Etsy shop, and I totally spaced it! So, do you or any of your friends/family need any ideas for last minute gifts? You should definitely check out from Geek to Chic, an Etsy shop featuring hand-knit and hand-crocheted warm goodies made by my adorable boyfriend, Chris! He loves making things with geeky themes and absolutely takes requests (though they won’t be done before Christmas at this point). Everything available on his Etsy right now, which is mostly things that aren’t that geeky, is done and ready to be shipped!

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Chris loves League of Legends, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and Avatar, among many others! In the picture above, he’s wearing his Teemo beanie (it has since been sold, but if you’re a League of Legends fan, feel free to request one!). My colleague requested a beanie with a subtle Dalek pattern on it. Below is a picture of the beanie he took while working on it.

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He has made me two (admittedly non-geeky) scarves for me. I love my light blue knit infinity scarf! The only picture I have of it is this one from when I visited Boston with him a little over a year ago.

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The second scarf he made me is this really nice colorblock scarf based off of one I saw on ModCloth and wanted. The reviews on that one were pretty poor, so I’m happy I have one that is well made! It curls in on itself, but he knows why it did that. If you wanted one like it, he’d make it so yours won’t do that! It’s really warm and the colors are fun for the fall. You could pick any color combo you want!

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The beanies Chris is modeling in his Etsy shop pictures fit a bigger adult head the best. The ones I’m modeling would fit a more average-sized adult/teen head. He also makes hats sized to babies and kids!

I hope your Christmas shopping is going well! If you’re not done yet, check out from Geek to Chic and support a (very) small business. 🙂

Sweater cardigan weather

Cold temperatures call for sweaters. And lots of them. I am seriously obsessed with knit sweaters right now. This day is the first day of many more to come this winter that I am wearing this giant knit cardigan (I first featured it in a post last month). It’s so snuggly and keeps me fairly warm when outside with just a long-sleeved t-shirt underneath. I love, love, love it!

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I was messing with the settings on my camera before snapping these, and I found a cool snow setting! That’s why the colors look a little bright. We turned it off before we took any photos with snow, so I’ll have to try using it again in the future!

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I have almost all of my Christmas shopping completely done! I just need to figure out a gift for one more person, and I’m still waiting for another to arrive in the mail. I’m going to spend this evening wrapping up the gifts I have so far! I can’t believe Christmas is in only 11 days. It feels so soon! I definitely need to get listening to Christmas music. I’ve been listening a lot to Taylor Swift’s most recent album, Red, because it received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year! It came out October 2012 and I still can’t get enough of it.

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My hair likes to part in really strange ways sometimes. It normally falls right down the middle, but this time, it parted to one side for a bit and then a chunk parted to the other side and it looks very random. My boyfriend doesn’t notice things like this when we take photos so I don’t know until I look through them, which can sometimes be hours later! Oh well. Silly hair.

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Cozy Companion Cardigan, Heartwarming Up Scarf in Burgundy: ModCloth | Long-sleeved t-shirt: Old Navy | Skinny jeans: American Eagle Outfitters | Socks: SmartWool via Nordstrom Rack | Boots: Collection by Carrini via Hautelook

Another round of stylish surprises

ModCloth had another Stylish Surprise event in November! I posted about the one they had back in October here. I couldn’t believe that they had enough items to offer a second one only a month later. They even had all of the clothing sizes, shoe sizes, plus accessories and apartment items (though the apartment items were gone in about 10 minutes). The element of surprise always gets me, so this last time, I ordered three apparel items and one pair of shoes. Here’s what I got!

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The cats, as usual, were quite interested in the new box.

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I got three dresses as my apparel items! I’ve always gotten dresses in these events. This one is called the Float Performance Dress, and it originally retailed for $137.99! It’s a gorgeous dress with a floral print and crisscross-back straps. I have no idea when I will wear such a dress, but it’s my favorite item this round!

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This next dress is called the Chevron a Whim Dress. The top of the dress doesn’t really match the bottom all that much. I think the chevron pattern is super cute, but I’m not totally fond of the strapless top. It was originally $74.99.

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My third dress is the Inclined to Impress Dress. I was most excited about this dress at first, but it doesn’t fit my proportions well. It was definitely designed for a taller person in mind. It sort of reminds me of a dress flight attendants would wear. The diagonal buttons are a neat feature, and it’s made of 97% organic cotton! This one was originally $142.99. I can’t believe how expensive all these dresses were!

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The pair of shoes I got were these leather sandals, which ModCloth called the Solo Traveler Sandal. They seem a bit big but are actually really comfortable. I couldn’t believe it when I saw that these were originally $158.99.

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Not too shabby this time around! Everything I got totals up to an original retail value of just under $515, which blows my mind! I wish I loved all of the items as much as I do the first dress. I didn’t get any real duds this time around, so I’ll probably keep participating and crossing my fingers! If you’re interested in the Stylish Surprise promotion, make an account on ModCloth’s website and sign up for email notifications! They also send notifications of events through their app, or you can “like” them on Facebook or follow on Twitter and get updates that way!