June budget

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  1. Ellen Tracy Coat (via Nordstrom): $90 (originally $168)
  2. Bobeau Cardigan (via Nordstrom): $43 (originally $58)
  3. J.Crew Pants: $21 (originally $89.50)
  4. J.Crew Shirt: $13 (originally $32.50)
  5. Keds Sneakers: $0 (contest prize; originally $50)
  6. Loft Shirt: $29 (originally $54.50)
  7. Loft Shirt (not available online; check stores): $21 (originally $39.50)
  8. Gap Shorts: $32 (originally $50)

June Total = $249

$500 (quarterly budget) – $249 = $251 left for July and August

I branched out a bit from my regular retailers this month! I took advantage of Nordstrom’s Half-Yearly Sale at the beginning of the month and grabbed the trench coat I’ve had my eyes on and an awesome drape-y cardigan for the fall/winter. (Nordstrom’s amazing customer service gave me a price adjustment on the coat after I saw that the price had dropped even more.) I also stopped in at Loft last week during their 50% off everything sale and fell in love with a couple of shirts perfect for this season!

I picked up a couple of things I’ve had on my wishlist for a while from J.Crew, one of my go-to retailers. I found the pants in store for 50% off the sale price, and I used my student discount to get them down to $21 with tax! I’ve been wanting a pair of pants this color for the fall. As I mentioned in a previous post, the Gap shorts were an emergency purchase; before my trip to North Carolina, I realized that the white shorts I had were way too see-through, so I went to the mall in search of a new pair and found these. I love them!

A couple of months ago, I was a runner up in a contest hosted by Teen Vogue and Keds, and I won a free pair of shoes from Keds! I received them this month and can’t wait to wear them.

I spent more this month than I was hoping to, so it’s going to be tough the next two months. I have some pending orders that will really affect my budget if I end up keeping everything from them, but hopefully I won’t love everything (haha). I also hope to get back into selling things on ebay–gotta keep going with the closet overhaul!

Linking up with Franish & my fellow budgeting bloggers

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U-S-A!

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Who else has been watching the World Cup? I’ve had it on all week at work (shhh)! I love the World Cup and the Olympics; it’s just such an exciting time! I played soccer when I was younger so it’s fun for me to watch (minus all of the flopping–I yell at them to get up every time they flop! Haha). I wore this yesterday for the USA vs. Germany game. I had a meeting during the first half, but I managed to catch most of the second half. The Germany goal was a bummer, but it ended up working out! (Thanks Portugal!) I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for a loss, haha. I’m pretty stoked that USA made it to the round of 16! With the 4th of July in only a week (whaaat!), I figured now would also be a perfect time to share a red, white, and blue look, though you’ll usually find me wearing navy instead of cobalt. 😉

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Top: H&M (similar from J.Crew Factory) | Shorts: J.Crew Factory (different colors available) | Belt: American Eagle Outfitters | Sandals (old): Target | Earrings (old): ModCloth | Sunglasses: ModCloth

Outfit Re-creation: Sequins & Stripes

I’m back with a long overdue outfit re-creation! Today’s look was inspired by Liz of Sequins & Stripes. Liz is based in Chicago, and her feminine, city chic style gives me almost constant inspiration. While I can’t afford her favorite brands on my grad student salary, I love that she often wears classic pieces that you can find even if you’re on a budget.

I’ve had this particular outfit saved since she shared it in March! I generally won’t do an outfit re-creation if I don’t already have all of the pieces, but an exception is made if the pieces missing are things I’m planning on purchasing anyway. I didn’t immediately have all of the pieces to complete the look, which is why it took me so long to recreate it. In fact, I still don’t have a denim jacket. I’ve been searching for one for a few months now without any luck. Now that we’re almost in the heat of summer, chambray is the next best option. And if you’ve been reading for a while, you’d know that I love my chambray!

(Click on the photo below to go directly to the post; while you’re there, I hope you check out her other posts, too!)

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What I love most about this outfit is the adorable striped dress. I can’t get enough of stripes; my love for them runs deeper than my love for chambray. I saw Liz’s dress and was immediately reminded of a dress I hadn’t pulled out in quite some time but still adore (because it’s striped, of course). I love being inspired to wear my older pieces. (I especially love it when my older pieces are still in style! Also, how many times can I say “love” in a single paragraph? Lol.)

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My choice of shoes was another slight modification in my re-creation. Her pointy heels elongate her legs, and while I have heels that do the same, I decided to give my d’Orsay flats a spin instead because I liked the look of the pointed toe. Plus, I don’t wear heels regularly in my everyday life, so these were a much more practical option!

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Dress (old): ModCloth | Shirt: Old Navy (on sale!) | Flats: Sole Society via Hautelook (similar from BC Footwear) | Earrings (old): Forever 21 | Tote: ModCloth | Sunglasses: ModCloth

We’re wrapped in light and life and love

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This is definitely not a typical summer outfit for me, but last week, a potent cold front came through and brought temperatures down to the 50s and 60s. When I wore this outfit, the high reached the upper 70s, but it definitely felt cool (and nice!) since we had been reaching the upper 80s/low 90s. The building I work in is undergoing A/C maintenance, so it’s extra cold inside right now (yeah–broken A/C means it’s colder than usual; it’s a long story). A light cardigan and boyfriend jeans were perfect for this day. Wedges are not what I usually wear to school, but I’m trying to get more comfortable in higher heels. I don’t walk around that much during the day so it wasn’t a problem (until Chris wanted to run to catch the bus; no way was I doing that–and we ended up missing it). In our rush to try and catch the bus, we forget to get close-up photos of my pretty earrings, so you’ll have to check out the link!

In other news, Ed Sheeran’s sophomore album, X (pronounced Multiply), was released today! I haven’t listened to the entire album yet, but there are a bunch of full-length songs he uploaded on YouTube. I highly recommend checking them out. He is so talented!

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Top: J.Crew Factory (on sale!) | Cardigan: Madewell (on sale; last seen here) | Jeans: Gap Factory (similar from Gap) | Wedges (old): Target | Earrings: ModCloth | Sunglasses: ModCloth

Title lyrics: Afire Love by Ed Sheeran

Caturday: Life lately

Life with my three cats has been crazy as usual. They still only tolerate each other, though I have seen Melody and Sybil bump noses a few times. (Next step, cuddling?? Maybe? Please?!) Other than that, they still have their own personal bubbles and have no problems throwing paws when the others get too close. All three of them have gotten scratched right across the nose!

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Melody is usually the naughtiest one; she is SO sweet, but she’s the one that scratches on pretty much anything and jumps on the counter and knocks things off. I have double-sided tape on all of the fabric furniture and the stairs to keep her from scratching on them. (She is such a brat; there’s a scratcher right below the stairs that I know she uses so I don’t know why the stairs entice her!)

Lately, though, all of the cats have been pretty naughty. I’ve caught Rosie and Sybil on the counter multiple times (I kicked Rosie off the counter three times last night!). I made the mistake of turning on the bathroom faucet for Rosie once and now she’s always on the counter when I get ready, waiting for me to turn on the faucet. I think that might be part of the reason why she gets on the kitchen counter, but Sybil? I have no idea what’s getting into them! It was a full moon last week so maybe that’s where all the crazy stems from, haha.

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Living with three cats means there’s cat hair everywhere. And I mean everywhere. It’s on every single thing and floating in the air at all times. I don’t even want to say how much cat hair I think I’ve swallowed. We are always dehairing our clothes and the couch and chairs. We try to keep up with brushing them, but they aren’t a huge fan of the Furminator. (I won’t use any other brush on them because it does such a good job. I highly recommend them, but don’t pay retail; I got mine on ebay for less than half of what they retail for!)

Chris and I got a new vacuum today, and let me tell you: That thing sucks! It sucks up SO. MUCH. HAIR. I knew our other vacuum didn’t do that great of a job, but oh my gosh… What showed up in the canister disgusted me. It feels nice knowing that our house is so much cleaner now, though. If only the cats would let me vacuum them! 😉

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(I laughed so hard when I saw Melody and Rosie sitting on the window seat; they looked like owls!)

All of these photos are from Instagram! Feel free to follow me if you want to see more cat photos! 🙂

Italia Nostalgia, part 3

Another two weeks have gone by, so it’s time for the third installment of Italia Nostalgia! For those of you who haven’t read part one or part two yet, I studied abroad in Italy three summers ago. I started this mini series to share photos from my trip! Check out the other two posts to see my other photos if you haven’t already, and stay tuned for the fourth and final part to be posted two weeks from today.

Today’s post is all about the places I visited in the region of Campania in southern Italy. I visited new places pretty much every weekend, and this trip I took during my second weekend there. It was a long weekend because June 2nd is a national holiday (Republic Day), so I had lots of time to explore!

Sorrento

Sorrento is south of Naples and is the gateway to all of the surrounding areas I visited. I didn’t wander around Sorrento very much, but I can tell you that there are lemon and orange trees everywhere (have you ever had limoncello? It tastes like liquid Lemonhead candy) and it has beautiful ocean views. In Sorrento, I had this pizza thing filled with Nutella and topped with sugar. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much sugar in my life!

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Pompeii

I was so excited to visit the ruins of Pompeii! I think volcanoes are so cool, and it’s amazing to see what an ancient city looked like and to learn about its destruction. It’s actually quite large. I didn’t get to walk through all of it after spending many (hot) hours there. There are a lot of details that are still intact and I think it’s incredible! (The plaster cast below still has its teeth. Pretty cool, huh?!)

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Ercolano

The ancient city of Herculaneum was also destroyed by pyroclastic flows from Mount Vesuvius. I really liked all of the ancient art still intact on the walls. It’s hard to believe this place was once buried in 60 feet of mud!

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Isola di Capri

The island of Capri (pronounced KAH-pree, not kuh-PREE) is located a short boat ride from Sorrento. It’s home to two towns, Capri and Anacapri, as well as the Blue Grotto. I tried to visit the Blue Grotto, but I got there when a million other people were there, so the wait would have been two hours (on a rocking boat, no less). To top it off, the tide was coming in. At high tide, the little boats can’t get under the rocks to go inside. I watched these people flatten themselves in order to get below the rocks! I have no idea how they got out… Anyway, I ended up spending most of my time in Capri after riding a bus through the narrowest streets ever in Anacapri. (I seriously thought the bus was going to go over the edge of the road and down the hillside when we passed other cars!)

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Starr Light

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This is the beautiful house we stayed in while on the Outer Banks. I love how beach houses have names; isn’t it adorable?! There were some pretty funny ones around our neighborhood. I also love the beach house style–colorful exteriors with white trim. (I have to admit, though, I’m not a fan of the beach house interior. Most houses have just one too many seashell-related items, haha.)

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We had such a wonderful vacation, and I was so glad to meet so many wonderful people in Chris’s family! (Most people there were his first cousins once removed, and he hasn’t seen them very much.) We spent a lot of time on the beach, either soaking up the sun or frolicking at sunset, searching for the perfect seashells. We loved lounging in the hot tub, riding bikes around the neighborhood, and eating the most delicious ice cream! We took a trip with his grandparents to the Wright Brothers National Memorial. (I have one of those national park passport books, but I had forgotten it, so I stamped a piece of paper to tape inside my book!) On our last day, we went on a wild house tour and got completely soaked since it was raining and we were sitting in an open air truck, booking it down the beach (yep–they drive on the beach in the wildlife preserve because they don’t have paved roads!). All in all, despite the extremely muggy conditions at times, I would go back! Now it’s back to school until our next adventure. 🙂

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Sweater: Madewell | Shorts: J.Crew Factory | Sandals: Salt Water (exact; also available here) | Earrings: ModCloth | Sunglasses: ModCloth

* So, I did actually have my toes painted before we left. I did it myself in an effort to save money, but the paint started peeling off of nearly every single toe, so I spent an evening taking it off. Whatever base coat I used did not adhere very well at all, so that was a huge fail!

By the seashore

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While on the Outer Banks, we stayed in a beautiful house only steps from the beach. The view was incredible from nearly every room in the house, and the panoramic views from the decks and boardwalk were breathtaking! The kitchen and dining room overlooked the beach, so we had the perfect backdrop for every meal. It really doesn’t get any better than that.

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I couldn’t go on a beach vacation without bringing along my (only) maxi dress. I wore it on a particularly warm and humid day, and as you might be able to tell from the photos, a storm rolled in after the photos were taken! This is the first and only maxi dress I’ve found that is the perfect length for me. I don’t like them to be any longer or shorter than this. I feel comfortable wearing either flats or heels/wedges with this dress, which I love. My shell necklace was made by Chris’s grandpa one afternoon. The beaches here have an abundance of pretty shells, and he picked some up to make necklaces for all of the ladies on the trip. Isn’t it beautiful?!

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Dress: ModCloth (exact in black) | Necklace: handmade gift from Chris’s grandpa | Sandals: American Eagle Outfitters (similar) | Hat: ModCloth

Currituck Beach Lighthouse

This past week, I was on vacation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina! It was my first time in the south (I’ve been to south Florida but I don’t think that counts). Chris’s grandparents invited us because they had extra beds in their room. His grandma’s side of the family rented a big beach house right on the ocean. Despite some problems with the house (our toilet didn’t work very well) and the extremely high humidity, we had so much fun!

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We visited the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla, NC, the first full day we were there. (Corolla is pronounced ker-RAW-luh, not ker-ROW-luh.) The lighthouse is closer to Currituck Sound than the Atlantic Ocean. We were planning on climbing to the top, but we didn’t have enough cash with us when we went. After wandering around the lighthouse and the little lighthouse shop, we walked over to the sound to watch people fishing and take in the beauty!

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I wore one of my favorite spring/summer looks: a sweater and shorts! It’s way too warm back home to wear this, so I was excited for the mild beach weather. The humidity made it feel much warmer than it actually was, so I was uncomfortable at times, but luckily the sea breeze provided some relief. I actually had a white shorts emergency right before we left on our trip. The white chino shorts I had purchased from J.Crew Factory were terribly sheer, so we ran to the mall to find a new pair. I love my new shorts! I’ve officially switched over to the summer outfit category now that I’ve gone on my first summer vacation. Bring on the heat!

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Sweater: Madewell | Shorts: Gap | Sandals: ModCloth | Sunglasses: ModCloth

Chris // Shirt: J.Crew Factory | Shorts: J.Crew Factory | Shoes: Sperry Top-Sider via Nordstrom Rack | Hat: Morris Farm Market in Barco, NC | Sunglasses: Zeal Optics

Blogworthy

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What makes an outfit “blogworthy”? Does it have to be trendy? Fashion-forward? Does it just have to fit well? I have days where I put on an outfit and I immediately know it’s one I want to share. Other days, I might have on an outfit that makes me feel equally as good, but I feel like it’s not special enough to share. This outfit was one that I was on the fence about; what makes it special enough to blog about? It’s really just a normal outfit you’d find me in this season. But really, who cares? Do people actually care that much if your outfit is revolutionary or not? Some of my favorite bloggers wear exactly the outfits I would wear myself. No, they’re not revolutionary; they’re just regular people wearing regular things. I love sharing what I wear as a graduate student, and I love documenting my outfits and seeing the progression of my style. As one of my dear readers, I’m glad you’ve joined me on this adventure, and I hope I can inspire you most of the time! 🙂

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Dress: American Eagle Outfitters | Cardigan: ModCloth | Sandals: Salt Water (exact; also available here) | Necklace: J.Crew Factory | Tote: ModCloth | Sunglasses: ModCloth