April budget

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  1. Madewell Jeans (seen here): $79 (originally $128)
  2. Madewell Dress (seen here): $57 (originally $98)
  3. LOFT Skirt: $19 (originally $69.50)
  4. LOFT Top: $11 (originally $39.50)
  5. LOFT Sunglasses (seen here): $13 (originally $24.50)
  6. LOFT Jeans: $37 (originally $69.50)
  7. Lilly Pulitzer for Target Shorts: $23 (originally $24)
  8. Lilly Pulitzer for Target Top (seen here): $30 (originally $32)
  9. Old Navy Dress: $16 (originally $35; paid with PayPal)
  10. Fashion Union Dress (via ASOS): $45 (originally $50)
  11. Target Sandals (seen here): $28
  12. Earthies Sandals (courtesy of Earth Brands; seen here)

April Total = $342

$413 ($500 quarterly budget – $87 overspent) – $152.50 (March) – $342 (April) = -$81.50

Saying that I went a little overboard this month is an understatement. I actually have a lot listed on eBay right now but it’s not moving very quickly, which is a bummer. As always. I know that’s a really lame excuse but, to be completely honest, these were all really good buys and I don’t regret any of them. I just wish I was able to contain myself a little more since I know I have a hard time banning myself from shopping for a month. And I was doing SO WELL the past few months! I have a couple of last minute orders that should be arriving within the next week (and will be counted in next month’s budget post if I keep anything), but otherwise I’m hoping to stick to only buying items with gift cards I’ve had saved since Christmas. The only reason why I haven’t spent them yet is because I keep forgetting that I have them, lol. Anyway, I hope I can make thoughtful purchases with the gift cards and truly limit my spending in May. I’m going to NYC in June and I’m planning on shopping there!

So as far as what I got this month… LOFT had a huge flash sale at the end of March and I placed a huge order because of that. I ended up only keeping two things from it because I ordered a bunch of things in two sizes and, you know, budgetary reasons. I fell in love with the windowpane skirt that everyone has; I realized why everyone loves it so much! I also picked up a nice flow-y top for the spring and summer. When LOFT had their 50% off sale plus free shipping, I placed two orders: one for the white jeans (in two sizes) and one for the sunglasses. I ended up keeping the jeans in the smaller of the two sizes after much debate because they feel really stretchy so hopefully I don’t look like a stuffed sausage to other people, lol. White jeans have been on my wish list for a LONG time so I’m very excited to finally have a pair that work for me. I originally was considering two other pairs as seen here, but in the end I like the LOFT pair the best. I decided on the sunglasses since I left my ModCloth pair at my parents’ home and was nervous about only having one pair of sunglasses.

I stopped in Madewell one weekend when both the jeans and dress were on promo. The additional 30% off sale applied to them, and they let me stack my student discount on top of that (though I heard J.Crew might not be doing that anymore? I hope that’s not the case). The jeans topped my spring/summer wishlist and I’m so happy to have been able to pick them up before spring ends!

As briefly mentioned in this post, I shopped the Lilly for Target madness in stores and got my hands on the crochet tank top and pompom shorts in the “upstream” print. I’m not a typical Lilly girl, but I love the versatility of the top and the cute, unexpected print on the shorts. I also liked the shorts because they are navy and white–two colors I own already and wear a lot, so they fit into my wardrobe seamlessly!

I picked up a couple more dresses to round out my collection a bit: a basic navy sheath dress from Old Navy, which I wore just last week since it’s perfect for dressier events, and a fun striped crop dress from ASOS. After cleaning out my closet over the past few months, I realized that my dresses took the biggest hit and I was ready for new ones to love. I love how the striped dress gives the illusion of a matching crop top and skirt (I LOVE matching sets but have such a hard time finding sets I love at a reasonable price point).

Finally, I added two new pairs of sandals this month. After seeing the Target sandals everywhere and being sad about the fact that my store didn’t have any, Fran was so kind to go to her store and buy them for me. Of course, my store received them just before my pair arrived in the mail, haha. I guess we are just behind everyone else a bit. I had jeweled sandals on my wishlist, too, and while I had my eye on a different pair, the Target sandals were a great compromise at a much nicer price point. Additionally, in the spirit of transparency, I was lucky to receive a pair of shoes courtesy of Earth Brands. I picked out neutral wedged sandals because I wanted a pair that would get lots of wear this spring and summer!

There aren’t very many things left on my wish list, thank goodness! I’d really like a pair of black shorts, a pair of navy shorts (likely buying J.Crew’s chino shorts), a seersucker dress, a floral skirt, dark wash denim shorts (from Madewell, of course), and some items from Uniqlo’s Airism line. I always have my eyes peeled for the perfect grey dress, striped tees, and other fun tops, though! I don’t know why, but I have a harder time feeling content with my spring/summer wardrobe. I hope I can figure that out more this year (I think I said this last year, too, haha…I REALLY hope it happens this year, though!).

 Linking up with Franish & my fellow budgeting bloggers

Girly girl

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Two outfits ago, I loosely interpreted the look of an angsty teenager in my black clothing and dirty Converse. Two days after I wore that outfit, I wore this ensemble and felt like the ultimate girly girl in my statement earrings, crocheted top, bright skirt, and jeweled sandals. While I never considered myself much of a “Lilly girl”, this top was my #1 pick from the Lilly for Target collaboration, and I absolutely adore it!

I was one of the crazy ones who stayed up a bit on the night before the Lilly for Target launch to watch the madness ensue online, and I also convinced Chris to tag along with me to Target before the store opened the next morning (he has a Red Card…how could I not try?!). We ended up being a little less than 10 minutes early and were ~10th-15th in line. By some miracle I was able to snag this top (as well as a pair of shorts and the pineapple serving dish) without issue. Chris was a great wingman and knew exactly what I was going for before we stepped foot inside. (The dish wasn’t exactly on the list I shared with him, but I had eyed it on the website earlier and once I was in store, I had to have it!) I’m glad the trip was worth it because I don’t wake up early for just anything, haha. 😉 I feel very lucky to have been able to snag what I wanted (minus being able to try on one of the shift dresses) considering the horror stories I heard in other parts of the country.

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Lilly Pulitzer for Target top (sold out online but check stores for returns; don’t buy on eBay for inflated prices; similar by Alythea) / Madewell skirt (old; similar from ASOS; last seen here) / Target sandals / LOFT earrings (last seen here)

Cobalt // turquoise

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Something about cobalt and turquoise together makes my heart happy. So, you can imagine how ecstatic I was when I thought of this outfit in all of its cobalt and turquoise goodness. AND, because it was so nice out, I decided to pair the colors with my white shorts instead of white jeans (I do have a pair of white jeans–finally!). I’m so excited that spring is finally here, though I’m already dreading the unbearably hot summer days. I hope spring hangs around for another month or so!

P.S. I’m visiting a friend this weekend and (probably) won’t be on as much. The next post will go live on Monday, and in the meantime, feel free to follow me on Instagram!

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J.Crew Factory sweater (old; similar from J.Crew; last seen here) and necklace (old) / Gap shorts (similar) / J.Crew flats (old; new version; last seen here) / LOFT sunglasses

Shadows are walking on the wall

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Sometimes, I know exactly what I want to title my outfit posts. I’ll think of an outfit combination and then just know what short phrase sums it up perfectly. Other times, I think of an outfit, note it, wear it many days or weeks later, edit the photos, sit down and write the post, and yet… I can’t think of a single phrase to sum it up. Did I do anything of note when I wore it? No. Did I wear something new and exciting? No. Can I think of anything witty? No. So, here we are… I’m pretty much done with this paragraph and guess what? Still title-less.

I ended up going with song lyrics. Does this make me an angsty teenager? I sort of feel like I personify an angsty teenager in my beat up old Converse which really are my step mom’s but I stole them out of her closet years ago. I’ve held onto them even though I haven’t worn them in a couple of years. I should probably try to clean them, haha… They’re looking a bit yellow. I actually like the high-top Chuck Taylor style more than the low-top; I had a pair of low-tops and they cut into the back of my heel so bad. High-tops it is for me! What style of Converse is your favorite?

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J.Crew tee (old; similar; last seen here) and pants / Old Navy shirt (old; similar from J.Crew Factory) / Converse sneakers (old) / Kate Spade necklace via Nordstrom / Clare Vivier for & Other Stories bag (similar from Talbots; last seen here) / LOFT sunglasses

Title lyrics: St. Walker by Young the Giant

Lingering thoughts after TxSC

A month ago today, I was on my way to attend the Texas Style Council CAMP–a small, life-changing blogging and small business conference focused on creating a meaningful online presence. (Check out my recap if you’re interested in reading the breakdown of my experience.) Since that weekend, I’ve been reflecting on what I learned about myself and the blogging community. I wanted to share some of my lingering thoughts instead of keeping them bottled inside. I hope you’re prepared for a bit of a brain dump… 🙂

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I’m not as outgoing as I thought I was. When I first got to TxSC, I found myself not really talking to anyone unless someone approached me first. During the mixer the first night, I was so overwhelmed at the number of new faces that I made a beeline for the drinks and ended up meeting a few people that way. I did introduce myself to Tieka of Selective Potential because I’ve been following her blog since before I started mine and I caught her when she wasn’t talking to anyone. During the “khaki cool” jamboree, I talked to Caroline of Unfancy when she was alone by the fire (it was rare to see her alone!). I rarely approached someone if they were in conversation with someone else because I did not want to come across as rude. However, I noticed plenty of other people joining in conversations and it never seemed rude…maybe it was because they knew each other? I’m not sure, but I was hyperaware of how I may come across to people. I felt like such an awkward turtle. I hung out mostly with my cabin mates because, as you might expect, we got to know each other the best since we were together every night, sharing sink space and chatting until our eyelids grew heavy. Also, I was not brave enough to just give people my business card after meeting them. I wish I had been, especially because now I have over 100 business cards and no one to give them to.

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It was harder to talk about blogging than I thought it would be. As a grad student, I meet with people in my field fairly often and am always discussing “business matters” (i.e. current and future research projects). When I’m with family, everyone asks about school and what I’m doing. I’m used to answering questions about my research even though I dislike them because I can’t explain what I do very well. I was nervous that people at TxSC would ask about my research, but not one person did (woo!). Instead, we talked about what we had in common, of course–our online presence, which generally meant blogging. It was exciting to be at a conference and talk about something other than science! With that came a whole new set of challenges, though. Blogging is not something I bring up to people in my everyday life unless it’s my boyfriend and I’m bouncing ideas off of him or someone asks me about it. I feel like it’s still this thing that no one really takes seriously even though it’s such a fun hobby (or even a business) for so many people, me included. Even though I was with all these women who also blogged about their personal style, I still found it hard to talk about it. It sounded silly to me when I mentioned that I blog my style and my cats. No one ever laughed, and I never felt judged (even when I was wearing thrown-together outfits to combat the cold and a ginormous poncho to avoid the rain), but talking about blogging is still new to me. I can say this, though… Because of TxSC, I’m more proud of my blog now than I was just a month ago.

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The blogging world needs more friends, mentors, friendtors, and champions. Blogging does not need to be a rat race of who can make it to the top fastest and stay at the top longest. We do not need to feed into the idea that the bigger the following, the better. We do not need to get sucked into having the latest trends and wearing only new pieces in every outfit post. What we do need is more people–fellow bloggers–willing to be friends, mentors, friendtors (friends and mentors), and champions (those who have your back always). We need more people leaving thoughtful comments and fewer people commenting just for the sake of leaving a link back to their blog. We need passionate bloggers who are willing to share their stories. We need more people lifting others up than tearing others down. I want to make connections with bloggers who are on the same level as me–newcomers with meaningful content even if their numbers aren’t at the top. I love so much the bloggers I chat with regularly online, and meeting bloggers in real life at TxSC was huge for me. I appreciate the “bigger” bloggers who are still interested in connecting with others. We are all just people trying to get through life and blogging about it on the way, right? Let’s continue to cultivate a positive environment for each other and for whoever decides to join the blogging world in the future. 🙂

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Photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

Sunburst & stripes

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Oh hey, friends! Happy Saturday! 🙂 I wore this outfit at the beginning of the week before the snowstorm hit mid-week. You would have no idea that there was about four or so inches of snow on the ground just a couple of days ago. It was crazy! We had a really strong frontal passage on Tuesday which caused really strong winds from the south. Since it was warmer to the south of us, the wind brought the warmth to us and we hit a high of 76 degrees. In a span of 20 minutes, the temperature dropped from 75 to 55 degrees and the winds shifted to the northwest, signifying the frontal passage. Two hours later, it was full-on snowing and it basically didn’t stop for 24 hours. The airport received more snow in 24 hours than it did in January, February, and March combined. Everyone in my department was freaking out, as atmospheric scientists do. 😉 We love exciting weather! (Though I could have lived without the snow in the valley.)

Well, I was going to write something more substantial than “here’s my outfit and we had this kind of weather” but the day kind of got away from me, even though I woke up before the sun! (I’m waking up before the sun again tomorrow because Lilly for Target is here! I have never considered myself to be a Lilly girl, mostly because I cannot afford her garments, but I’m really excited to give her style a spin thanks to her Target collection. I hope I can get my hands on something!)

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Madewell cardigan (old; similar) and dress / J.Crew flats (old; new version; last seen here) / LOFT earrings and sunglasses

Lemon stripes

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Okay, I swear the stripes on this sweater are not nearly as bright in real life as they turned out in these photos. They look really bright, don’t they?! Haha. I’m kind of a lot in love with how this sweater looks with the necklace. The yellows don’t perfectly match, but they go; I tend to find myself matching when I’m not quite sure what to wear or if I’m wearing something new, but I’m trying to break out of that habit. Not sure how long it will last but at least I have this outfit to show that I tried?

I bought these light wash jeans at the beginning of the month and just adore them. They are the perfect light wash for spring/summer. I haven’t had light wash jeans in what feels like years…I mean, I literally cannot think of the last pair I owned, so it was probably before high school. (Denim was not allowed according to my high school dress code so that may be why I can’t remember.) Light washes also felt really dated to me, but I’ve changed my ways and now can’t get enough. Also, I’m not sure how I feel about wearing near-skin-colored shoes with long pants. I still think it looks a bit weird; if I glance at the photos too quickly, I look barefoot. These were my best shoe option, though, so…oh well.

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J.Crew Factory sweater (old; last seen here) / Madewell jeans / J.Crew flats (old; new version) / Clare Vivier for & Other Stories bag (similar from Talbots; last seen here) / BaubleBar necklace (old; last seen here) / Anthropologie sunglasses

Elevated weekend wear

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I chose to describe this outfit as elevated for two reasons: 1) because it’s a bit dressier than typical weekend outfits and 2) because I’m wearing wedged sandals. (Get it? Ha!)

A few weeks ago, Earth Brands contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in styling a pair of shoes from their S/S ’15 collection in an outfit post. After browsing the catalog, I found a few styles I thought meshed well with my personal style, and I couldn’t wait to say yes! (I mean, how could I say no to a free pair of shoes?!) The brand seemed familiar to me even though I had never owned a pair of shoes by them before, and it’s because both my mom and my step mom own pairs and love them. You know what, though? They’ve really been knocking their recent seasonal collections out of the park, and I find their styles to be fashion-forward for ladies of any age. The best part is that they are comfortable–like, truly.

My favorite collection of shoes is the Earthies collection. First introduced in 2011, Earthies focuses on fashion and comfort and features an “exclusive contoured comfort footbed” which repositions the body to a more natural position over the feet. I took my Morolo sandals out for a long walk on the first wear–to and from the grocery store almost a mile round trip–and can definitely vouch for the comfort, even with the moderate heel! I decided on the “biscuit” colorway knowing that it would make the perfect neutral for any spring/summer outfit, though the Morolo is also available in black, bright red, and denim blue. (The red and blue colorways seem to be sold out from the main website but can be found at Nordstrom.) I found the style to be true to size with a zipper down the back and some elastic in the sides to make it easy to get the sandals on and off. I have average-to-wide feet and did not feel any discomfort width-wise.

Suffice to say, you will be seeing more of these beauties this spring and summer! 🙂

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Madewell dress / Earthies sandals c/o / Coach bag (vintage; new version) / J.Crew earrings / Anthropologie sunglasses

Juxtaposition

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There’s something I love about the juxtaposition of the geometrically-shaped choker and the soft ruffles in the peplum. It’s sweet and a little bit sassy, which is basically me in a nutshell.

This past week, my car decided it didn’t want to work after just taking it to the shop to get a part fixed. Isn’t it fun when that happens?! It is an old car, but I’m holding onto it for dear life because I don’t have a car payment and I’m not even sure that Chris and I could afford one at this point. Luckily, the fix wasn’t too expensive and could have been much worse than it was. My fingers are crossed that it’s good now. I want it to get to at least 200k miles before crapping out for good, haha. We are planning a road trip this summer but depending on how it performs for the next few months, we may have to rent a car for that… Eeep!

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Elegantees top (on sale!) / Gap Factory jeans (similar from Gap) / ModCloth wedges (similar) / J.Crew choker (on sale; last seen here)

ModCloth’s Stylish Surprise: Spring 2015

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At the end of March, ModCloth offered the Stylish Surprise promotion as it does at the end of every summer (end of September/beginning of October usually) and winter (middle-end of March). For $20 for dresses, $15 for other apparel items, $10 for shoes, or $5 for accessories, jewelry, or apartment items, you get something random picked from the warehouse from leftover stock that wasn’t sold by the end of the season (in your chosen size, of course). Usually these are items that go on final sale and maybe don’t sell by a certain time or returns that were processed and not put back online for some reason or another. They aren’t items that you can currently find on ModCloth, so you usually have to go hunting on Google Images to find the items on the website and see their original retail value and any reviews.

I didn’t participate in the Stylish Surprise last fall, which I’m glad about because from what I read, it was handled terribly and lots of people got multiples or oversell notices. However, I was optimistic that this time they would have figured everything out, so I decided to participate again. I was originally going to buy only dresses and apartment items, but they increased the price of dresses to $20 each (when the original retail value did not increase and still started at $30), and I don’t think it’s worth paying that much for something I may not like and may not be able to resell. I opted instead for a pair of shoes and two apartment items and added a skirt to my order I’ve had my eye on for a while. I ordered before they announced the sale on social media and sent the push notification on the app, so the apartment items were still in stock and I didn’t have problems with checkout. Thank goodness! The best part was that I got a shipping notification only hours after I placed the order. That’s definitely the quickest shipping I’ve ever experienced with ModCloth!

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So, here’s what I got: a pair of slippers and two window drapes. Chris was very excited when he opened the box and saw the blue because it looked like the blue color of the TARDIS from Doctor Who, but it ended up being not that exciting. Haha.

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There are the Where the Slumber Party At Slippers, which originally retailed for $40. I personally do not like the style with the soles being wider than the rest of the shoe, but that ended up being the least of my worries. They are a half size to a full size too small! I could barely get my foot in. I checked reviews and sure enough, they all said they ran small. I wish there was some way ModCloth could mark the Stylish Surprise box with the size it actually fits like so we aren’t disappointed when something ends up running small or large. I wasn’t planning on keeping them anyway after seeing the style, but I definitely can’t even wear them. This was a bummer; since it was the March promotion and likely full of winter items, I had hoped for a nice pair of boots. Heels would have been cool, too. Oh well!

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I received two of the Film Leader of the Pack Curtain, which originally retailed for $35 each. I was bummed to have received two of the same apartment item, though I suppose it makes sense to have two drapes? The problem is that they are way too big for my windows and one would easily cover a whole window…plus they’re too long. The apartment item surprise is always more of a crapshoot when it comes to getting something good because they have such a wide variety: everything from magnets to kitchen utensils to bedding and other knick-knacks. I got lucky the first time I ordered an apartment item and was hoping to get lucky again, but at least I didn’t get something really weird!

All in all, this was a disappointing round. I still might partake in the Stylish Surprise promotion because I cannot seem to resist the surprise aspect of it, but I don’t plan on buying apparel items if they are going to be more than $10 each. It’s just not worth it to me. I hope ModCloth reconsiders and drops the price for the next round (and subsequent rounds). Interested in seeing what I got in previous rounds? Check ’em out here! 🙂