May budget

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  1. Madewell Sweater: $48 (originally $89.50)
  2. Madewell Sweater: $36 (originally $89.50)
  3. Madewell Sweater: $36 (originally $69.50)
  4. J.Crew Blazer: $75 (originally $198)
  5. J.Crew Factory Dress: $36 (originally $89.50)
  6. J.Crew Factory Top (in store): $5 (originally $29.50)
  7. J.Crew Factory Top: $11 (originally $49.50)
  8. H&M Top: $11
  9. Anthropologie Top: $32 (originally $60)
  10. Salt Water Sandals: $25 (originally $36-$40 depending on retailer)

May Total (excluding PayPal) = $119 // $500 – $354 (Feb + Mar) – $27 (Apr) – $119 (May) = $0

I made many returns since my April budget was posted. I ended up returning all three J.Crew Factory tops, the American Eagle sandals, and I returned the Vince Camuto flats (from Nordstrom Rack) and purchased them from Nordstrom in a different size (and they were less expensive!). Because of all of the returns, I had a $119 budget for this month, plus I had almost $200 in PayPal. It’s really confusing when returns are involved, so from here on out I will try my best to only post the items that I know I’m keeping. (I know I’m keeping all of the items this month!)

I didn’t realize how many tops and sweaters I got this month until I put this collage together. I know it’s May, but Madewell had a killer sale-on-sale at the beginning of the month and I’ve had the sweaters on my list for a while. I’m kind of sad that it’s way too warm to wear them now! The other tops I got will work awesomely for the summer. I’ve already featured three of them in posts! The two JCF tank tops I grabbed in store; they were on major sale and the prices were unbeatable. The top/blouse portion of my spring/summer wardrobe is severely lacking so that’ll be my main focus going into June.

The J.Crew classic schoolboy blazer went on sale at the beginning of the month, and I grabbed it before it went final sale because I wasn’t sure how it would fit. I ended up really liking how it fit me, so it’s a keeper! I’m really excited about finally having a blazer that fits me well. I’m hoping to try and wear it casually this fall/winter, but it’s definitely nice to have for more formal academic-related events.

I also made a purchase during the Nordstrom half-yearly sale, but I haven’t received one of the items yet and will note those items in June if I keep them. 🙂

Linking up with Franish & the other budgeting bloggers

All tulle well

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This is one of my favorite outfits to date. I’m obsessing over black and navy together. I used to be really wary about pairing them, which is odd because horseback riders wear navy show jackets and black tall boots. For me, I think it was wearing black adjacent to navy that made me wary. This color combination is just so chic, though, and now I can’t get enough of it. I wore this over the weekend when the weather decided to stop raining on my parade. I’ve been at a loss with how to style my tulle skirt for everyday, so I was really excited when I saw this crop top and thought to pair it with this skirt! I’ve been avoiding the crop top trend until now; I just learned that I can wear them and not show inches of my torso. (For anyone interested in buying this top, I sized up one; my normal size was skin tight and showed way more than I was comfortable with!) While I probably won’t be wearing this one to school, it’ll be fun to wear on the weekends with my high-waisted shorts and other skirts!

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Top: H&M | Skirt: ModCloth (last seen here) | Wedges: ModCloth | Earrings (old): Forever 21 | Lips: Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey

Navy on Memorial Day

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Happy Memorial Day, everyone! I hope you all had a relaxing long weekend. Thank you to all of those who have served or are currently serving. Today, I remember the selflessness of my grandfather and great-grandfathers who fought for our country. I am truly grateful for the sacrifices our armed forces make.

I’ve always had a special place in my heart for navy blue. It goes with everything but isn’t as harsh as black. I have so much of it in my closet! It has become a serious obsession. I put this outfit together last Friday; the sandals are a recent purchase, and I could not wait to wear them!

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Top: J.Crew Factory | Cardigan: J.Crew Factory | Skirt: J.Crew Factory (last seen here) | Sandals: Salt Water (exact; also available here)

Cropped

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You guys, I am not ready for summer. I’ve been planning all of my good outfits on days that are supposed to be cooler than 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It actually hit the mid 80s when I wore this outfit two days ago. Luckily, I live in a place with dry heat, so it never feels overwhelming, and I spend most of my day in air conditioning indoors so I was comfortable. I spent at least 20 minutes Wednesday night trying this top on with various skirts and pants. I originally wanted to wear my green corduroys, but I decided that the corduroys need to be put away until the fall. The only other pant option that worked (worked meaning that I wasn’t flashing my midsection all day) were these jeans. I have loose tank tops on my shopping list to wear underneath the top to add some extra length so I can wear it with other pants and shorts. I really like how loose this top fits. It’s boxy, but I don’t mind because it’s so comfortable!

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Top: Anthropologie (on sale!) | Jeans: ModCloth (last seen here) | Sandals (very, very old): Target | Earrings: J.Crew Factory

Italia Nostalgia

Three years ago today, I was on my way to Italy to study abroad! I can’t believe how long ago that was. I studied for a few weeks and stayed an extra week to travel. I miss Italy so much, and I can’t wait to go back! I thought it would be fun to relive the memories because I have some serious wanderlust. This is the first post of a four-part series featuring the places I visited while I was in Italy. I can’t wait to share my photos with you! I’ll be posting every other Thursday, and each post will be relatively photo heavy because it’s too hard to narrow down the [nearly 3,000] photos I took to just a few.

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In all, I visited 15 places while I was in Italy, but I decided to dedicate the first post to my study abroad city, Viterbo. It’s a small city about two hours north of Rome by train. Not very many people here spoke English, and I really enjoyed practicing my Italian with the locals! I studied Beginning Italian at Universita degli Studi della Tuscia (Tuscia University) with most of my study abroad classmates. Because it was only a five week session, we went to class nearly every day for a couple of hours. It was essentially a semester long class packed into only a few weeks!

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Tuscia University, Viterbo

The city center is surrounded by the original Medieval walls, and living within the walls felt SO cool! I lived in a dorm while I was there; it ended up being a good choice because the apartments had bug problems. There weren’t that many other Italian students there at the time because it was summer, but I’d see them often in the cafeteria, which was located on the first floor (floor 0 if you take the elevator!). The university was on the other side of the city walls, but the walk was nice–albeit a bit scary; their sidewalks are not as generous as ours in the US! I ate a cornetto con cioccolato (croissant filled with chocolate) every day from Caffe San Sisto. My other favorite places to eat were Pizzeria DJ (the sweetest man who doesn’t speak a lick of English owns the place) and La Spaghetteria (which I believe has the most varieties of spaghetti at over 300–the menu is huge!).

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While I spent most of my weekends visiting other places, I loved wandering around Viterbo during the weekdays. The streets there are so narrow and the buildings flow from one to the next. Flowers filled windowsills and lined stairs. There’s a fountain in nearly every open area. The people were so nice to us Americans (even though we stood out like a sore thumb; I still remember them saying “Americana! Americana!”). There were two big events in Viterbo that I couldn’t miss–Ludika 1243, a Medieval festival, and La Notte Bianca (the white night), a night where the entire city stayed up all night dancing, eating, singing, and hanging out. There was even a group of ladies doing zumba. One of the songs they worked out to was “On the Floor” by J.Lo!

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If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ve probably seen photos of my cat, Rosie. She was named after Saint Rose of Viterbo, the patron saint of Viterbo. Every time I think of my kitty, I think of Viterbo, and it makes me so happy. 🙂 I hope you enjoyed the photos! I’ll be posting about my travels in the other Italia Nostalgia posts, so stay tuned!

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Stripes + zig-zags

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I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this outfit. I was really excited for it, but I didn’t feel nearly the same excitement when I was going through the photos. Maybe the top is just too long? Should I have buttoned my cardigan? (Why do I overthink everything?) I am obsessed with red, white, and navy together. It’s one of my favorite color combos, and with Memorial Day next week, the timing of this outfit is almost perfect. Hopefully by then I’ll be completely over this cold. I’m at the stuffy-and-runny-nose-at-the-same-time part of the cold, which is my least favorite part of colds. We are planning on going hiking this weekend, and I’m hoping to not have to stop every 10 feet to blow my nose. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

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Top: J.Crew Factory (last seen here) | Cardigan: Madewell (last seen here) | Pants: Gap (last seen here) | Flats: ModCloth | Earrings: ModCloth | Sunglasses: ModCloth

Washington Square

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Today was a beautiful day to get out and enjoy the city. I was especially thankful that I felt well enough to leave my house today, because yesterday, I barely left the couch. Colds are just so fun, eh?! Mine took over my head and chest, making it double the fun. I hate being cooped up inside when it’s so nice outside!

I originally had a different outfit in mind for today, but I was totally not feeling it when I put it on. After spending far too much time trying on different outfits, I had less than 20 minutes to get myself ready in order to catch the bus, so I threw this on. (Chris tried helping me decide, but he kept throwing in color and I really wanted to stick with black today. He didn’t want me to look so goth, haha! Boys…) I was actually a little warm standing in the sun, but I think it was because of my shirt! It was then I realized that I am not at all ready for the summer heat. I prefer wearing long sleeves!

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Did anyone else catch the Preakness Stakes?! Holy cow! I am so excited for the Belmont Stakes! To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of horse racing because of what it does physically to the horses, but the thought of having the first Triple Crown winner in a few years short of 40 years is so exciting. California Chrome is a machine.

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Top: J.Crew (last seen here) | Skirt: J.Crew Factory | Flats: Vince Camuto via Nordstrom* (similar) | Tote: ModCloth | Sunglasses: ModCloth

* In my April budget post, I mentioned that I purchased these flats from Nordstrom Rack. I ended up getting a different size from Nordstrom in the end (and this will be mentioned in my May budget post).

50s vibe

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I didn’t realize how 50s-inspired this outfit was until I was staring at myself in the mirror, trying to figure out what shoes I liked best. I was originally going to wear my d’Orsay flats, but the pointed toe seemed really out of place, so I ended up with sandals. Isn’t my top cute? (It’s actually a dress! 😉 Haha.) I do realize how terrible my hair looks. A whole day of sitting at my computer clearly was too much for my hair to handle.

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Tonight, my classmates and I got together for the last time. Two of them are moving within the next week or so. It’s so weird that two of the nine of us who started only two years ago are leaving! We got each other through the core classes and the qualifying exam. We spent so much time working on homework and studying (and chatting–we got off topic really easily!). It’s going to be so weird to go to departmental gatherings and not see everyone, but it is pretty cool to think about how we’re all eventually going to be off living our dreams (hopefully). The time we spent together was just a little blip, but it was a significant blip. Sometimes a stressful blip, but mostly a happy blip.

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Dress (worn as top): ModCloth | Skirt (old): ModCloth (last seen here) | Sandals: American Eagle Outfitters (similar) | Earrings: Forever 21 | Sunglasses: ModCloth

My sweet echappe

It’s really important for me to stay at least somewhat active. I’m definitely not one to go to the gym on a regular basis or go on a run, though sometimes I wish I was as badass as runners are! (Chris and I tried running once. We ran around our block a few times and were DYING at the end. We couldn’t even finish running–we had to walk.)

When I was younger, I was involved in soccer, track, basketball, and volleyball. In high school, I started horseback riding, and kept with that for a few years before taking a break because that is NOT an inexpensive sport! I can’t wait until I’m settled into a career and can afford to ride again. Otherwise, I take stairs as much as comfortably possible, and I have a couple of Jillian Michaels workout DVDs when I’m feeling especially motivated…which isn’t often, to be honest.

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When my mom asked me two years ago if I wanted to start doing ballet with her, I thought it was a fabulous idea! The very next day, we went to the dance store to buy our outfits (priorities!). We first signed up for an adult class through the local dance company, but that class ended up being way too hard core for us. It was SO not for beginners! We barely even knew the positions and we were trying to do jumps. Yeah…it didn’t go well.

We found a different (actual beginner) adult class and really enjoyed doing ballet together. I feel a little ridiculous doing ballet because I am so not flexible, but it’s a seriously great workout! We could only take one class together before I moved for graduate school sadly. I really wanted to keep it up after I moved, but the only ballet class I knew of in my new location was at my university–as part of the ballet department. Nope! I might have taken it if it wasn’t multiple days a week at 7:30 in the morning with potential ballet majors.

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I was so happy when I found adult ballet offered as part of the community education program! A one-night-a-week commitment isn’t as daunting as a morning-every-day commitment, plus it was community education–no pressure to actually be good at ballet. I’ve been doing it for over a year now, and I couldn’t recommend it enough. It’s so fun (and often challenging–my instructor is not afraid to push us a lot, which I appreciate!). Plus, it’s inexpensive!

I’m not going to be a professional ballerina anytime soon, and if I didn’t have to do another developpe for the rest of my life I’d be totally okay with that, but I’m really glad I have ballet as a hobby to keep me from feeling like a lard. My goal this summer is to stretch a LOT and try to gain some flexibility before classes start up again in the fall!

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(Echappe (aye-sha-pay) literally means to escape, and developpe (dayv-law-pay) literally means to develop.)

Outfit Obsessions, vol. 1

I am relatively active on Pinterest, always searching for outfit inspirations and, let’s be honest, new recipes to try, places to go, inspiring quotes, beauty tips–the list goes on. (Does anyone else plan to spend only a few minutes browsing and end up spending an hour?! I swear Pinterest has its own time vortex.)

Here are a few spring/summer looks that I am currently obsessing over. I wish I had every single piece in my closet right now to recreate them! I’m clearly in need of burgundy pants, a trench coat, and (more) stripes. (Click on each photo to go to the source.)

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Source: Kendi Everyday

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Source: Crystalin Marie

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Source: Jones New York

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Source: Trini

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Source: Bitten and Bound

(Side note: This is post 100!)