March budget

Today marks the end of March and the end of my first month participating in Budgeting Bloggers hosted by Franish. I both love and hate keeping track of my purchases. This month has been especially bad for me, but I realized it’s because my spring wardrobe is majorly lacking. I have a really good winter wardrobe, and plenty of goodies in my summer wardrobe, but I don’t have a lot of transitional pieces. That’s basically all of what I bought this past month. The total looks terrible, but I’m confident that I can get through April and May without going over my total budget. I guess we’ll see! (Maybe summer will come early and help me out a bit.)

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  1. J.Crew Factory Skirt: $16 (after store credit from a return; originally $59.50)
  2. J.Crew Factory Shirt: $32 (originally $59.50)

February Total = $48

(Note: All prices include applicable taxes.)

These are the items I picked up in February. I was on a no-buy (“No Fashion February”), but that ended the weekend of J.Crew Factory’s 50% off everything sale. Thus, these items are part of my March-April-May budget. I’ve had a black mini skirt on my list for a while, so naturally, I picked this one up (after trying it on, of course)!

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  1. Madewell Boots: $143 (originally $228)
  2. J.Crew Sweater: $25 (originally $79.50)
  3. Anthropologie Dress: $75 (originally $138)
  4. H&M Top: $19 (mine has red stripes; seen here)
  5. Sole Society Flats (via Hautelook): $48 (originally $60)
  6. Gap Outlet Jeans (in store): $28 (originally $60)
  7. Forever 21 Belt (in store): $3
  8. Gap Sweater (in store): $19 (originally $50)
  9. Francesca’s Top (in store): $21 (originally $35)

March Total = $381 // February + March = $429 // $500 – $429 = $71 left for April and May

My biggest purchase this month were my beautiful Madewell boots, which I drooled over in this post (back when they were sold out in my size). They restocked my size, went on sale and with an additional percentage off, they were finally at a price I was comfortable with, so I snatched them up! I originally purchased them with PayPal funds, but they were backordered, so I did a “store search” and ended up getting them from a store in New York. Unfortunately, store searches require a card, so my budget took a huge hit from them. They were worth it though. I absolutely love them!

My other purchases were of good basics: tops, light sweaters, and boyfriend jeans. I’ve been looking for a red striped tee for well over a year (yeah, they were that hard to find). The Anthropologie dress was almost an impulse buy. I had tried it on in store and loved it, so when it went on sale, I got it! It’s the perfect little navy dress. I haven’t worn it yet, so I’m going to see if it gets a second cut and take advantage of Anthro’s generous return policy.

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  1. ModCloth Top: $34 (originally $38)
  2. ModCloth Sandals: $31.50 (originally $35)
  3. Madewell Skirt: $33 (originally $68)
  4. Madewell Jeans: $49 (originally $98.50)

PayPal purchases don’t count towards my budget because it’s money I earned from selling my older clothes and things on Ebay. This month, I picked up a couple of goodies from ModCloth and Madewell. I currently don’t have the sandals as my pair was defective, but hopefully I’ll get my new pair later this week. If the new pair is defective again, I’ll return them. I have a two-strike policy. (Ain’t nobody got time for that!) I’ve been wearing my one pair of Madewell jeans so much that I decided to pick up another pair since they were on sale. I’m officially a Madewell denim addict. Is there a group for Madewell denim addicts?

I’m hoping my 30-day remix challenge, which starts tomorrow, will keep me inspired and not wanting new things. Or, maybe it’ll backfire on me and I’ll get fed up with my wardrobe. (Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen.) I hope you follow along and maybe even join the fun! Be sure to check out the other budgeting bloggers linked up with Franish!

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30-day remix chain: April 2014

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I’m doing a remix challenge next month, but it’s not the typical 30×30 challenge where you pick only 30 clothing items and remix them over 30 days. For this challenge, I’m actually not picking out any specific pieces! Instead, I’ll be wearing whatever I feel like for 30 consecutive days–only I have to wear one of the items from the previous day and remix it on the new day. The outfits will link together like a chain!

I’ve been really excited about starting this challenge until recently. April is in FOUR days already?! I’ve got a few outfit ideas in my head, but I’m not planning anything…and I don’t know if that’s a bad idea. Figuring out what to wear on April 1st is stressing me out way more than it should. I really need to calm down and just go with the flow.

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I think the hardest part of this challenge will be dealing with the weather. In spring, we can go from 70 degrees and sunny one day to 45 degrees and rain/snow showers the next day (yay for cold fronts). I’ll have to be hyper aware of the forecast and pick items that can go from warm to cool weather with ease!

I won’t be posting every day, but I’m planning on posting every other day unless I decide to break it up with some different content. Chris is already dreading having to take photos every day so I told him I won’t need nearly as many photos if I won’t be doing a full post on each one. It’s all about compromise, right? 😉

Please feel free to join me if you want to do the challenge (and let me know if you do)! I just ask that you link back to my post(s), and I’ll link to yours so our readers can check out every participant’s remix chain!

P.S. This is completely off topic, but one of my favorite country folk bands, Nickel Creek, is releasing a new album on Tuesday after an eight year hiatus! NPR is streaming their new album, A Dotted Line, on First Listen now until Monday or Tuesday. (Note: The link won’t work on Firefox for some reason.) Check them out if you are looking for new music! I’m in love with the album already, and I cannot wait to see them in concert soon. 🙂

ModCloth’s Stylish Surprise: March 2014

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Many of you have heard of ModCloth, I’m sure! If not, it’s a vintage- and retro-inspired online retailer and one of my favorite places to pick up unique clothing items. At the end of summer and again at the end of winter, they host their “Stylish Surprise” promotion. You pay a set price, pick your size (if applicable), and they’ll send you something random! They have apparel, shoes, accessories, and apartment items available. Apparel and shoes are $10 per item (down from $15 in previous promotions; I hope this is a permanent change!), and accessories and apartment items are $5 each. The catch is that you don’t get to tell them what you want or your style. They basically have stacks of older items not really organized in any way that get shipped out, and they’re final sale. I think it’s brilliant for cleaning out their warehouse, because they still make a little bit on the items even though they’re old and no longer on the website (in most cases), and the element of surprise really excites people (including me!).

There are actually still some Stylish Surprises apparel items left in size small, which is surprising! Normally they sell out very quickly. They must’ve had a lot this time around. If you’re interested in placing an order and never have before, you can use this link to get $15 off your order of $50+ (and I get $15 also!). If you’re interested in reading about/seeing what I got in past Stylish Surprise promotions, you can read about my November haul here and my October haul here!

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As usual, Melody inspected my box to make sure everything was a-ok! The girls love it when I open a new box on the floor.

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This time around, I bought four apparel items and one pair of shoes. I wanted free shipping (min. $50 purchase), so purchasing five things at $10 each seemed the most logical way to do that. (The apartment items were already sold out and I didn’t want any accessories this time.) Here’s what I got!

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My first thought when I saw the sequins and fabric: I got a prom dress. After seeing the length, it seems more like a homecoming dress to me, but it’s still a party dress nonetheless. Sadly, at this point in my life I don’t really have a use for a dress like this, so this one won’t be staying around. This is the Sterling Showers Dress, and it originally retailed for $94.99.

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I saw this dress and immediately recognized it. It’s not often that I recognize my Stylish Surprise items, but I guess I’ve been on ModCloth enough the past few months to finally recognize one! (Normally I’ve never seen it or heard of it until I have it, haha.) I was most excited for this dress, but it’s too tight in the waist for me and does not have stretch. I am so bummed out. This is the Cheery Cordials Dress and was originally $99.99.

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I love navy, so I was looking forward to this dress, until I held it up. I’ve never really been a fan of wrap-style dresses on me, and this one was a tad large in the bust and too long to look good on me. Sigh. This is the Demure All I Want Dress in Navy and was originally $104.99.

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My last apparel item is yet another dress! This is my fifth time participating in the Stylish Surprise promo and all of my apparel items have been dresses. Can’t say I’m complaining, though! I was indifferent with this dress. Chris really liked this one when I tried it on, but I decided that I wouldn’t buy it if I had seen it on the website, so this is also a no. This is the Graphite for Your Right Dress, and it originally retailed for $74.99.

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My one shoe Stylish Surprise turned out to be these pink and floral oxfords with some crochet detail over the floral pattern. They’re not really my style, unfortunately. These are the A Study in Scenery Flat and were originally $34.99. The interesting thing about these shoes, if you go to the item page, is that the price shown is the original price with no reductions. That means these shoes sold out before they had a chance to go on sale! That surprised me, but hopefully it means it won’t be too hard to find a new home for them.

All in all, it was a disappointing haul for me. Nothing was really my style, and the one item I was really excited about doesn’t even fit! Everything came to a total of about $410, which is not bad at all! I spent only 12% of their total original retail prices. I’ll probably still participate in future promos because it’s so fun to see what I get. I was really holding out for a nice coat or boots this time since we are coming right off of winter (and I’m tempted to order more to see if I can get a coat because by some miracle they haven’t sold out yet)!

I hope you enjoyed this post! Be sure to check out my previous Stylish Surprise posts if you want more! 🙂 xo

Red prep

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I feel like I look like a horseback rider in this outfit, and I sort of love it! I started horseback riding my sophomore year of high school (way too late to do anything cool as a junior rider like go to Maclay finals or show in Florida…ignoring the fact that I never had the funds to do the big shows in the first place). I ended up riding and showing locally for a few years until I got too bogged down with schoolwork to ride at the level I wanted to ride. I plateaued, in a way, and stopped moving up in jump height because I didn’t have the time to ride more than once a week and really build my strength and confidence. One of my main goals in life, once I have a real career, is to own my own horse and start riding again. I miss it so much!

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Do any of you guys remember my terrible pants story? The pants I’m wearing here replaced those baggy, holey pants. (Plus, they were cheaper, and they’ve not had any problems in the more than two times I’ve worn them! Win-win.) I’m hoping to not have to endure that ever again!

There’s a weird blurry spot that I thought was a sun spot showing up in nearly every photo of this shoot. It’s right over my head in the horizontal photos so it’s hard to miss (see photo below; I picked mostly vertical photos for this post). I’m not sure if that actually was a sun spot or a smudge on my lens. I think I can see the same spot in other photos when the camera was turned 90 degrees, but it’s hard to say. I don’t know how something would have gotten on my lens, but I’ve been known to be clumsy…

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Sweater: Gap (last worn here) | Shirt: Old Navy (on sale!) | Pants: J.Crew Factory (other colors available & on sale!) | Boots: Cole Haan via Nordstrom (exact and on sale!) | Earrings (old): Forever 21 | Sunglasses: ModCloth

My A/W ’13 favorites

I thought it would be fun to reflect on my favorite outfits from the past autumn and winter seasons. Surprisingly, as I was looking through them, I realized that I wouldn’t wear some of the outfits again. Some of them were just downright embarrassing! That’s sort of the point of this blog, though. I’m on a quest to determine my style and figure out what works and what doesn’t. Let’s take a look at some of my favorites. 🙂 What are your favorites? As always, thank you all for reading!

ImageHappy Halloween! | Black and brown

ImageLady lumberjack | Red, black, and white as snow

ImageShades of blue | Burning red

ImagePresentable | Sparkle and stripes

Train depot

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I’ve been curious about boyfriend jeans for a while now, but I’ve never tried any on! That is, until two weekends ago. I found these jeans at the Gap Outlet and fell in love. They are so comfortable! Gap calls them boyfriend jeans, but they definitely aren’t the typical you-may-or-may-not-be-wearing-your-boyfriend’s-actual-jeans type of boyfriend jeans. I’d consider these to be slim cut. I like that because I’m still head over heels for skinny jeans, and I like a slim silhouette on me. I’m not ready to plunge head first into the wider, looser boyfriend jeans quite yet! I guess you could call these “gateway jeans”?

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Oh hey! I forgot to show off the leopard print on the lining of my coat in the last post. Isn’t it fun?! I like minimal amounts of leopard print. I have a pair of leopard print heels (thanks to my mom’s closet) and that’s it. I’ve been on the hunt for leopard print ballet flats or loafers but haven’t found any I love yet. While I was home, I went through some of my old stuff and found a piece of paper with a wishlist on it, and guess what was on it! Leopard flats. To be honest, I haven’t been looking that hard the past few years, but I hope to find some this year. I’ll probably have to hold off until fall items are rolling out at this point!

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Coat: Black Rivet via Wilsons Leather (last worn here) | Top: H&M | Jeans: Gap Outlet | Boots: Madewell | Earrings: American Eagle Outfitters (gifted) | Sunglasses: ModCloth

Duck ponds

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I hope you all had a wonderful St. Paddy’s Day! I remembered over the weekend to dress in green on Monday, but I completely spaced out when I was actually getting ready, so the only green on me was in the mint earrings I wore. I don’t actually have a ton of green clothing, and most of what I have is best suited for warmer weather. A cold front came through yesterday and brought with it a LOT of wind, so wearing a dress was definitely not my plan.

We are in prospective student season! All the people that applied for grad school over the fall and winter are receiving their acceptance/rejection letters now. It’s fun to be a grad student right now because we get to entertain the prospective students when they come visit! In my department, students (affectionately referred to as “prospies”–unsure of origin) don’t visit until they are accepted, so we basically have to convince them to come here. It’s fun to hang out with them and we also get free lunch out of the deal. Grad students are ALL about the free food.

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Anyway, outfit time! I absolutely love this scarf. I picked it up while I was in Italy studying abroad. I should have grabbed more! It’s one of only a couple of souvenirs I have from the trip. It’s super lightweight and perfect for spring. I always want to wear scarves in the summer, but in 80+ degree temperatures, I want NOTHING touching my neck. Unfortunately, that means this pretty thing only gets a few weeks to shine. For this outfit, I decided to keep it super simple so the scarf can stand out.

I love this coat with the scarf, but it almost looks like it’s too big for me. I do have broad shoulders and long arms, but the sleeves go past my wrists. Ah well. It would be nice to have those longer sleeves for when it’s chilly and gloves are required.

Oh, and some words on the title: I went home for a couple of days last week to visit friends and family because we were on spring break and I needed a break! These ponds are normally filled with ducks, and there were some there (just not behind me), but apparently they’re in the process of draining this pond to modify it a bit. It’s a really nice place to sit and relax when the sun is out!

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Coat: Black Rivet via Wilsons Leather | T-shirt: Everlane | Jeans: Madewell (similar) | Flats: J.Crew | Scarf: a market in Florence, Italy

Combat the cold

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In true spring fashion, a cold front barreled on through just after it hit 65 degrees, making it feel once again like January. It even snowed. Yep. Told ya! Luckily the sun came out and melted it by the time we left school. I wasn’t totally bummed about the cold, though, since it meant I could finally wear this outfit. It’s one I thought of back in January and never got to! I thought my red flannel and green pants would look too Christmas-y, so I layered a navy sweater over it. I love how the flannel ties together the navy and the green.

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Two hours after I published my last post and wrote about how I had forgotten what I wanted to write about, I remembered what it was I wanted to write about. Funny how that works! I definitely need to keep more notes for future posts. I never really had a plan for this one, though. I always want to talk about the weather, mostly because I’m studying it, but I realized that everyone talks about the weather. Every single outfit post I read on other blogs talks a bit about the weather! Of course, it’s because the weather controls what we wear on any given day. I’ll try to think of more interesting things to say in future posts, but I can’t promise that I’ll avoid the weather. Not much else is going on besides school. We are finishing up our spring break, and I only took a couple of days off of research. Back to the grind on Monday!

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Sweater: Old Navy (on sale!) | Flannel shirt: L.L. Bean (last worn here) | Pants: J.Crew (on sale; last worn here) | Boots: Collection by Carrini via Hautelook

Brights

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When temperatures reach the mid-60s, it’s time for bright colors and NO tights! You guys, I was so incredibly happy to see the forecast calling for 65 degrees. I stood in my closet for way too long trying to pick a skirt or dress to wear to celebrate the momentous occasion. I settled with this bright skirt I got at Francesca’s last year and decided to wear this brightly colored sweater to keep myself warm (and guess what–no coat needed!). 65 degrees is nice, but with a bit of a wind, it’s not quite warm enough for lighter shirts!

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So, usually I think of what I want to write about in my posts ahead of time, but I don’t ever make a note of it. For this post and the last one, I’ve completely forgotten what it is I intended to write about. I think that means I should start making notes, or else I’m going to have a lot of posts with little writing! Sometimes it’s nice to just post the outfit and let it be, but sometimes I like to throw in a bit about my life, too. I guess now I’m writing about forgetting about what I wanted to write about.

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Sweater: J.Crew Factory (last worn here) | Skirt: Francesca’s | Flats: J.Crew | Earrings: American Eagle Outfitters (gifted) | Sunglasses: ModCloth | Lips: Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey

Plaid + stripes

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There is nothing cozier than a soft plaid flannel shirt. This one from LL Bean is my favorite! It was actually kind of warm this day, but I didn’t want to wear a jacket or coat, so I opted for layers to keep me comfortable! I also didn’t wear socks with my shoes…just because. Such is life when transitioning from winter to spring. 😉

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Flannel shirt: L.L. Bean (last worn here) | Striped top: H&M | Jeans: ModCloth | Shoes: ModCloth (similar; last worn here) | Sunglasses: ModCloth