Budgeting

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Lately, all I’ve wanted to do is shop til I drop, but that’s not entirely feasible on a graduate student salary. To help me keep my resolution of budgeting better, I’ve decided to join a group called the Budgeting Bloggers, which is hosted by Franziska of Franish. Every month, we update with what we purchased that month and the price of each item as a way to keep us on track.

I’ve thought about what I want my budget to be (and what it should be considering other life goals I have), and I’ve decided to start with a quarterly budget. We’ll see how that goes. I predict that I’ll have to alter it to a monthly budget, because it’s just too hard for me to do a no-buy if I end up spending it all before the quarter is over, especially considering the fact that I shop sales.

I’m starting with a quarterly budget of $500 per season. My seasons correspond with the meteorological seasons, so my quarterly budget will start tomorrow (March) and go through May. I do sell quite a bit on eBay, and right now I’m not counting that money as part of my budget. It’s a fun extra!

So. That said, I’m hoping this will help me to not impulse buy so much and really consider what I need to add to my wardrobe. I keep a list of pieces I want to add and mull over it. If I think about a certain piece constantly, I know I should seriously consider adding it.

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At the end of January, I mentioned that Chris and I were doing a no-buy through February. Well, I wasn’t successful (and neither was he–a 50% off sale got us). I’m ashamed. (Sybil expresses my feelings perfectly.) I bought six things; however, two things were purchased with PayPal funds (and were on sale). Two other things were purchased at 50% off, and the last two items I have not yet received but are from Hautelook. I also grabbed a new makeup product (Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey, which I wore in the last two posts), but I’m not counting makeup in my budget for now because I don’t buy it very often. If I get really into it like I am with clothes, then I’ll work it into my budget. If I end up keeping the items I bought, the money I spent this month is being taken out of the March-April-May budget, and I’ll report them in my March budget post.

Wish me luck! xo

Linking up with Franish

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Chasing the sun

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We’ve been having April-like temperatures for the past couple of weeks. I’m not going to lie, it’s the best thing that could have happened to February. I’m so glad to be spending this winter to the west of the Rockies. (I do hope those of you getting pounded with cold and snow see some relief, soon, though! I can imagine how sucky it must be.) Chris and I wandered to a park we hadn’t been to yet, and it was absolutely gorgeous out. I wore a coat but ended up not needing it at all. Ahhh, fresh air in the arm hair.

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I feel like I look a bit Medusa-esque with this hair, especially with it all poofed up from the wind! (Is poofed a word?) Chris got some pretty entertaining shots of my crazy hair. He doesn’t have long hair, so he misses out on the fun that is hair in the face. Which, most of the time, isn’t all that fun.

I’m absolutely in love with these corduroy pants. They were sort of an impulse buy, but they were such a fabulous purchase. I’ve worn them SO much already. They’re so comfortable and I love the slightly higher rise. The dark green color also goes with a lot in my closet, surprisingly. I especially love this grey top with my green pants. (I don’t love how my cuff is folded over in these photos and I never noticed until we got home! Urgh.) They were basically made for each other. I hope both last me a long while!

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Top: J.Crew Factory | Pants: J.Crew (on sale!) | Coat: H&M | Booties: Wanted via Delia’s (exact) | Necklace: Moorea Seal (on sale!) | Lips: Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey

Currently playing: Chasing the Sun by Sara Bareilles

Rainy day cozy

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Confession: I didn’t wear this outfit today. I didn’t even wear it last week…or the week before. I have outfit posts planned through next week already. On one hand, it’s nice being ahead of the game, but at the rate that I’m wearing “good” outfits, I’m going to be posting winter weather outfits at the end of March! (Who knows, maybe it’ll snow at the end of March; it did last year!) I go through spurts of loving my outfits, so I apologize for the fact that I’m posting outfits I wore weeks ago. I did, in fact, wear them, and I won’t ever post something I haven’t worn the whole day (or most of the day; let’s be real–sweatpants rock).

Last month, all I could think of were spring outfits, and I could NOT wait for warmer weather. Recently, though, I’ve thought of a lot of winter weather outfits! I wish the burst of inspiration came last month, ha! I suppose I won’t mind if the winter wants to stick around just a little bit longer… 🙂

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This outfit is perfectly cozy. I wore this on a typical weekend day running errands. This sweater is wonderful, and I could live it in all winter if it was socially acceptable to wear the same thing for four months straight. My boots are a Christmas gift from my parents. I love yellow rain boots! I must admit, though, now I am wishing for the green boots. It’s not weird to have multiple pairs of rain boots, right…?

I have been so busy lately in grad school world. I’ve been writing a journal article that I should be submitting sometime within the next week or so (yikes!), so that’s exciting! I can’t wait until it’s done and sent. Hopefully my advisor won’t rip up my writing too much. I don’t feel qualified at all to have a first author paper! As long as I keep practicing and editing, I should eventually get the hang of it. Hopefully.

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Sweater: J.Crew Factory (last worn here) | Skinny jeans: Gap (last worn here) | Boots: Hunter (exact) | Coat: Ross (gifted) | Lips: Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey

Caturday: Melody’s second walk

Admittedly, her second walk happened last month, but I was debating between a few different topics for today’s Caturday post and realized I don’t have any photos for my other ideas. I remembered to bring my phone for her walk this time!

Melody and Sybil are the most eager to leave the apartment when the door is constantly being opened and closed like it is when we’re doing laundry. (Sybil even took her chances and bolted one day when Chris was leaving. Naughty kitty!) Thus, most of the walks occur on these afternoons in between laundry loads.

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Melody seemed really interested in going outside, so Chris hooked her up to her harness, and at that moment she froze and did not want to go outside any longer. I know that you’re not supposed to pick your cat up while you’re trying to get him/her to walk on a leash, but I didn’t want to keep the door open and I knew that she would be interested once she was beyond the door, so I plopped her outside and she sat uncomfortably on the ground for a minute until she realized that she was free to wander around.

Chris purchased Mel’s harness before her cross-country move last summer. I suggested the Kitty Holster cat harness, as I got one for Rosie (and it’s Jackson Galaxy-approved), but he ended up going with a PetSafe Come With Me Kitty harness with a bungee leash. I wasn’t sure how secure it would be, but it has been working well for her. The only problem is that it’s a little bit tight on her (he got the small size). I can fit a finger between her harness and body, but she’d probably be more comfortable in a medium, and we’ll have to size up if she gains any weight.

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We didn’t go very far on the walk. We didn’t even go beyond our floor. She enjoyed looking down the stairwell, but she was startled when the elevator opened and ran for the apartment. It’s always fun running after an already scared cat! I was hoping to get her to go down the stairs, but that didn’t happen; we’ll try again next time she wants to go out.

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While she sat in front of the neighbor’s door, contemplating whether she was done with her walk or not, I could hear the neighbor that startled her coming out of the elevator getting ready to take his dog for a walk. Melody perked up when she heard them and wandered closer to their door. She ended up meeting the dog, and she was so good! She puffed up and tried to look as tall as possible, of course, but she didn’t back down and didn’t growl or hiss. The dog was excited to see her and wanted to get close. He ended up calming down enough that they got pretty close to each other with their noses. After that excitement, she decided she was done with her walk. I guess, for Melody, it was enough for one afternoon!

February freeze

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My face, especially my nose and ears, looks painfully cold. Remember how I said I turn into Rudolph the moment a chill hits my face? Yep. Here I am in full red-nose force. It was snowing lightly during this photo session. I wore this outfit before the spring-like Pineapple Expresses rolled on through, bringing us warm rain and some convection! (A Pineapple Express refers to an atmospheric river–a string-bean-looking region of increased integrated water vapor (amount of water if all of the vapor in a column of atmosphere was condensed out)–that originates from around Hawaii.)

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This look was inspired by a pin I saw on Pinterest. I ended up repinning it and not following it back to its source until recently. My pin takes me to some other random Pinterest-like website, and from there I traced it back to Classic With a Twist, a personal style blog, and this post in particular. I saw this “fancy sweatshirt” layered over the chambray shirt and immediately decided that I would recreate it since I have the same sweatshirt! I kept it super simple and only added my faux pearl earrings for accessories. I’m also wearing my new Madewell skinny jeans (I didn’t buy them this month–my no-buy is still going!). I scored them on sale and am in LOVE. I wore them three times before washing them and they never, ever bagged out on me. I highly recommend them!

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Sweatshirt: J.Crew | Shirt: Old Navy (on sale!) | Skinny jeans: Madewell | Boots: Sorel via Nordstrom Rack | Earrings: Forever 21

Seeing spring with ModCloth

This past week, I’ve had a taste of spring-like weather, and I can’t wait for more! I’ve been thinking a bit about what pieces I want to add to freshen up my spring/summer wardrobe, and I am absolutely enthralled by some of the new arrivals popping up on ModCloth. Here are a few of my favorite spring pieces!

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Daydreaming at Daybreak Dress — This is a beautiful white lace dress. I adore fit-and-flare silhouettes and would love to add this to my everyday dress collection. It’s selling out fast, but my fingers are crossed for a restock!

Siren Call Sandal in Cocoa — How cute are these Seychelles sandals?! The cutouts and small wedge add a nice touch to these neutral beauties. They’re on the expensive end, but if they’re ever on sale (wishful thinking, since they’re selling out already!), I’d snatch them up!

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Majorette Meet-up Top — I don’t have enough interesting spring/summer tops. I find myself looking in my closet only to have “nothing to wear” a lot in the warmer months because of this! I love the pattern on this top; it’s a chevron without being the overdone chevron pattern all over Pinterest.

Rays on a Cloudy Day Scarf in Peach — Lighter scarves are the ideal winter-to-spring transition piece. I only have a small window to wear them since spring is generally short-lived where I live! I like that this scarf is a mix of stripes and solid. Plus, the color is perfect for spring.

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Serious Sparkle Sandal — I LOVE this dark blue sandal with the jewels on the straps. Blue is one of my favorite colors, especially for spring/summer! These are currently out of stock but they look to be restocked soon.

Can’t Wait to Sea You Earrings — These starfish earrings add the perfect nautical touch! I can’t get enough. Plus, they’d go with so many outfits!

Valen-twee

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Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! I hope you had/are having a lovely day and (hopefully) eating lots of chocolate. I wish I had a bag of chocolate to indulge in myself. I’m hoping to grab a bag or two (or three, or four…) at the store tomorrow, but they sure seem to go fast! Chris and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day in terms of gifts (except I think Chris broke that rule), but we are going to a movie and getting a massage this weekend. I also want to go ice skating! The Winter Olympics always put me in an ice skating mood.

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When I put together this outfit, I basically tried to go as twee as possible. In terms of style, twee means super cutesy and young with really sweet and feminine details. I sometimes gravitate towards twee looks (ModCloth’s style is quite twee, for instance), but I’m trying to be more “grown up” with my style so twee isn’t really something I connect with completely now. This look, however, screams twee, and I know I look a little ridiculous (and five years younger), but for this cutesy holiday, I don’t care! Not to mention, I am in love with Peter Pan collars right now. Prepare yourselves.

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Collared sweater: J.Crew Factory | Sweater: Old Navy | Skirt, earrings: Forever 21 | Tights: Anthropologie | Expert Spokesperson Bootie: ModCloth

Burning red

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If you know me, it’s no secret that I am a huge Swiftie (read: mega fan of Taylor Swift). I own all four of her albums plus the Speak Now World Tour DVD + CD and Beautiful Eyes EP. (Album five is due out later this year. Can’t. Wait.) I’ve never met her, but I feel like if we had grown up together or if I was a celebrity myself, we’d be best friends. She is always real and true to herself, and I love that about her. Also, she does not date that many people. (She hasn’t been with someone in over a year.) It’s a common misconception that every breakup or love song is about a different guy. They’re not.

Anyway, I digress. One of the reasons why I love her so much is her sense of style. She wears very simple yet put together day-to-day outfits and accessorizes very little. I feel like SO many fashion bloggers pile on the necklaces and bracelets and that is just not me. I don’t wear rings or bracelets very often, but I sometimes pick a necklace or earrings (or both). I’m channeling my inner Taylor Swift with this outfit because I didn’t accessorize at all (besides sunglasses, but those don’t count).

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Most of the time when I don’t add a necklace or earrings, my outfit feels really incomplete. When I wear just a sweater and pants or jeans, it doesn’t feel like enough (this finishing piece/accessory is often called a “third piece”, as I’ve read). I think by adding the heels instead of my usual boots, it turned this outfit up a notch and made it feel more complete. I also loved my red coat and decided that it was a perfect pop of color against the gray/black. (I guess in a way, my coat is my “third piece”, though I didn’t wear it once I was inside!)

P.S. My lips look extremely dolled up in these photos. They were actually extremely chapped. Winter does wonders for my skin…

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Coat: Delia’s | Sweater, pants: J.Crew Factory | Just the Pair Wedge, Shade-y Lady Sunglasses: ModCloth

Title lyrics (a.k.a. even though it’s a common phrase, I sing this song every time I read those two words together): Red by Taylor Swift

Sybil on Things, part 2

It’s been a few months since the first installment of Sybil on Things. Well, as you can guess, Sybil has been on more things since then. She seems to love Chris’s shoes and my suitcases the best. There is never a dull moment with this cat. 🙂 Hope you enjoy part 2 of Sybil on Things, and don’t forget to visit part 1 for more Sybil silliness!

(Apologies for the few low quality photos!)

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This next photo was snapped the night before we left for the holidays. Here’s Sybil in Rosie’s carrier!

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Snow bunny

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Here’s proof that I am not trying to be a hero. I do wear coats! I just usually don’t photograph them. If it’s really cold out, I wear my trusty down coat by The North Face. (They’re pretty much a staple in every Intermountain Westerner’s wardrobe.) Usually, I pick a coat out of practicality (hence my decision to wear my down coat most winter days), but sometimes I like to wear my pea coats and consider them a part of my outfit. My photo shoots lately have been quick and not lacking in cold, red skin. (When is spring again?!)

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This look isn’t particularly revolutionary. I really just wanted to wear my sweater jacket again, and polka dots are basically a staple pattern in my wardrobe (along with stripes…drool). This day’s weather was kind of strange. We started with rain (I think), and then it snowed, and then it rained again. Ever since this storm, a new storm has been coming through every couple of days, keeping our air clean and our temperatures not so low! Yay!

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Sweater jacket: Banana Republic | Top: J.Crew Factory | Polka dot skinny jeans: Gap | Boots: Sorel via Nordstrom Rack | Belt: American Eagle Outfitters | Coat: Ross (gifted)