Saturday, February 28, 2015

Budget Rewind: February 2014

It's time for another budget rewind. This time, I'm looking back at purchases from February 2014


Good:
  • The Limited skirt: $30 - It was definitely my favorite skirt in 2014, but somewhat neglected at the moment. As soon as I get navy shoes that will change.
  • Old Navy sweater (black): $11 - I really should put this in the 'excellent' category. It's my go-to top for weekends. I can't tell you how many times I've simply paired it with a tee underneath, my white jeans, and a long necklace.

Medium:
  • Old Navy sweater (grey): $9 - A great way to try the embellished sweater trend without breaking the bank. It's lost its magic somewhere along the way though, so I'll have to try to fix that this March.
  • The Limited scarf: $17 - While this scarf has been featured 6 times in the past 12 months, I really thought I would be wearing this scarf more. I'm not as gaga over it as I was when I bought it, but that might have more to do with its length than anything else.

Honorable mentions:
  • Old Navy striped hoodie: $16 - I returned this one because I didn't love how it fit me, I couldn't see myself wearing it all the time, and I ultimately didn't need to spend $16 on lounge-wear when I already have tubs of lounge-wear. 
  • Old Navy sweater (navy):  $12 - This is one piece I actually regret returning. In an effort to get my monthly spending total down, I decided to return it to get my $12 back. I'm pretty sure I would have gotten my money's worth by now had I decided to keep it.

It's a good budget rewind when I have no regrets. The only thing I regret here is not keeping the navy sweater. I will make an effort to wear all of these items this March!

Friday, February 27, 2015

February Budget




1. J. Crew striped sweater: thrifted, $12.50
2. Target scarf: originally $15, on clearance $4.50
3. Loft sweater: originally $60, on clearance $10
4. Payless flat: originally $30, on sale $16
5. Gap ankle pant: originally $75, on clearance $10
6. Target handbag: originally $30, on clearance $15 [EDIT: RETURNED]
7. (not pictured) burgundy infinity scarf : $4

= $57 - $10 clothes sold = $47


I'm mostly satisfied with these purchases. The only thing keeping me from saying it was a great month are the infinity scarf and the handbag. I'm still on the fence about the handbag. It's small, and the fact that all I can fit cram in it are my phone, keys, and some cash makes me think I'll probably end up returning it this weekend. The (not pictured) scarf  was an impulse purchase. I never buy anything from mall stands; this scarf was a first. I guess there's a good reason for that - after a few wears it's already started to tatter. 

As for the pants, the shoes, the sweaters, and the scarf? I highly anticipate getting even more wear from them once spring rolls around. 

For the first time in a long time, I don't have anything to report in the "bought but returned" category. I've been really busy with school, so my online shopping was limited to one Target haul

I also don't have any pressing needs, although I'm checking LOFT's website on a daily basis to see if any of the Lou & Grey pieces I have my eye on have gone on sale. I also finally found a pair of black booties that seem to be what I'm looking for, but it also seems too late in the season to buy a pair, especially when they're not at a clearanced price. Hopefully this contentment will last me through March, though I'm guessing it will only last through spring break. Here's to hoping that I've worked hard enough to deserve a treat or two by then!


[Linking up with Fran for Budgeting Bloggers]

Thursday, February 26, 2015

showing my stripes

A few weeks ago I taught my students that our actions should reflect our values, and our values should be reflected in our actions. In other words, if we value honesty, we shouldn't tell lies. If we do lie, our behavior indicates that we don't truly value honesty. Since then, I've started thinking deeply about whether my actions reflect my values. 

This past weekend, I went with a friend to take some things to the local consignment shop. I'm on a (slow) mission to reduce the amount I have in my closet. We didn't have much luck at that shop, so my friend suggested we go to Plato's Closet. I reluctantly agreed. I've had terrible luck with them in the past, but I was willing to do just about anything at that point to keep me from my research. 

The experience I had at Plato's this past weekend was like none I've ever had before. The store must have had a makeover because the carpet looked brand new, the racks weren't crammed, and it even smelled normal in there. Most of the clothes seemed to be in great condition, including one striped sweater. It wasn't just any striped sweater, though. It was one that I had actually wanted years ago, but couldn't afford, so settled for a similar one instead. Even though at the time I knew it was too short and too boxy, I still took it home with me in hopes that I could make it work.

Long story short, I tried on the sweater at Plato's, loved it, and bought it. For the first time in years, I hand-washed something, too! That's how you know that I really wanted to wear it. I wore it a few days later when we had an abnormally warm day. That day I couldn't help but think about what that sweater represented.

I value conservation. I recycle. I even take pop bottles out of garbage cans and put them in the recycling bin. I reuse. Instead of putting my sandwiches in zip-loc bags, I put them in tupperware. I have canvas bags when I go grocery shopping. I reduce, but not nearly as much as I reuse and recycle. I reduce by bringing a travel coffee mug to Starbucks instead of getting one of their coffee cups (which gets you a 10 cent discount if you didn't know!). But I still buy new clothes every month.

So do my actions reflect my values? Maybe, but I know I could do better. Perhaps more thrifting and less mall shopping would be the solution? What do you think about buying new vs. buying used? Do your actions reflect your values?



Sweater: thrifted J. Crew | similar
Necklace: Forever 21 (old)
Belt: Old Navy | exact
Jeans: The Limited | similar
Flats: Old Navy | option



Also, Larissa recently wrote a thoughtful post on consumerism. You should give it a read.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pinspired: mustard cardigan + black skirt

There are a lot of things I want to say, so I'll do it in the most efficient way possible: bullet points!

  • This outfit was Pinspired by this pin {via Sydney} and Danielle
  • I have a love/hate relationship with this skirt. In theory it should be perfect, but I can't help but feel like a school girl almost every time I put it on.
  • I've worn this skirt with this top before. I hated that outfit. I feel like I've corrected my errors, and now am wondering what other outfit fails I can fix.
  • I also wore this top last week. Do you ever re-discover an item and then want to wear it again shortly after? It happens to me. Maybe because when I do laundry, the recently cleaned clothes are in plain sight and call to me? Does that sound reasonable?
  • Audrey's PMT Style Challenge this week was to belt something. I belted my skirt.
  • I like belting because it gives me shape by defining my waistline (the smallest part on my body). I also like belting to add interest to an outfit. 
  • I originally bought the cardigan because I wanted a mustard cardigan. I'm not sure this color cardigan works for my skin tone. Thoughts?



Necklace: gift c/o Mom-in-law | option
 Cardigan: The Limited | similar
Striped Top: The Limited | option
Belt: came with Target skirt
Skirt: The Limited | similar
Wedges: via Target (old)



[linking up with Liz , Laura, and Lindsey]

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

love for Lou & Grey

Dear Lou & Grey line at LOFT,

You may be my favorite line of all time. You ARE my favorite line right now. This is the one time I've ever been thankful that LOFT rarely ever offers free shipping. Otherwise, most of you would be in my closet right now. While I can't have (read: afford) you right now, I will watch you from my computer screen and wait faithfully for the next flash sale (which will hopefully coincide with the next free shipping offer). 

Yours truly,
Kate

*  *  *

I've narrowed down my wish list to the following nine items. Which ones are you favorites? Which ones will you be sending me? ;-)

1  //  2  //  3
4  //  5  //  6
7  //  8  //  9

Monday, February 23, 2015

ilene

Lately I've been left to my own devices to get pictures of my outfits. Thanks to the trunk of my car, my tripod, and the timer on my camera, I've been able to manage (more or less). My husband was actually available to take my pictures on Friday. I guess I was so excited that I forgot how to pose normally and my husband had to tell me repeatedly to stop leaning. Spoiler alert. I didn't listen to him. So please ignore the way I lean and instead enjoy the way this sweater pops.




Vest: J. Crew Factory | options below
Sweater: via Target | option, option
Turtleneck: Old Navy  | exact
Pants: The Limited | exact
Boots: via Payless


more vest options:

Friday, February 20, 2015

No Longer Neglected: striped sweater

I set out this week on a mission to wear some cardigans that I haven't worn in over 6 months. I managed to do that three times (1, 2, 3) before I felt the need to switch things up. I instead opted for my striped sweater, which was last worn 9 months ago.

While it's been refreshing to rediscover some neglected pieces, I realized that I didn't have that many neglected things in my closet. Okay, sure, excluding cardigans, summer wear, and those pieces that need to get donated but I just can't bring myself to donate... but still. I'm letting myself take pride in making my closet work for me... and letting myself have some treats here and there ;-)



Sweater: Old Navy
Chambray: Old Navy
Necklace: via Groopdealz
Skirt (gift): The Limited
Flats: via Target

Thursday, February 19, 2015

No Longer Neglected: short-sleeve cardigan

That's right, another neglected cardigan. Getting bored yet? I promise I won't wear cardigans all week next week. I just can't resist forcing myself to wear neglected pieces. And apparently I can't resist turning Audrey's Style Challenges into week-long ordeals. 

Today I'm giving love to this short-sleeve cardigan that was gifted to me by my sister-in-law. I think my favorite way I've styled it was belted over a sweater, but I wanted to try something different this time, so I paired it with a scarf. Technically, this striped top is also no longer neglected: I haven't worn it in almost a year. I forgot that I even had it, as I could have sworn I gave it to a consignment shop this summer. Whoops.




Black Scarf: Forever 21 | similar
Cardigan (gift): The Limited | option - $70 off!
Striped Top: The Limited | option
Jeans: The Limited | option
Boots: via Payless | option

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

No Longer Neglected: colorblock cardigan

For some reason I have a lot of cardigans and yet don't wear them very often. This week's PMT Style Challenge has inspired me to make them work. Yesterday I un-neglected my blue boyfriend cardigan after not wearing it for 8 months. Today, I've un-neglected my colorblock cardigan after not wearing it for 15 months, thanks to this pin (via Whitney who used to blog at Along the Lines of Style). I feel like celebration is in order.

Three cheers for challenges to get us to wear our neglected clothes! Three cheers for Pinterest and blogger friends to inspire us! Three cheers for awesome clearance rack finds (like my new scarf)! And three cheers for a little bit of snow!



Scarf: via Target | exact
Cardigan: The Limited | option
Lace Tee: The Limited | option
Pants: The Limited | similar
Wedges: via Payless | option


[linking up with Shanna, Liz, Tara, and Lindsey]

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

No Longer Neglected: blue cardigan

It's been a while since the last episode of "No Longer Neglected", so I got quite excited when I learned that the theme of this week's style challenge at Putting Me Together was "wear something you haven't worn in 6+ months". I knew I had plenty of options from which to choose. Cardigans are one of my most neglected items. I don't know why. They just are. And this blue boyfriend cardigan has been neglected for over 8 months.

Long story short, I grabbed this cardigan and threw on my scarf. I rarely ever button up my cardigans all the way, but I thought I'd give it a shot this time. Maybe tomorrow I'll wear another neglected cardigan and leave it unbuttoned! Wild, I know. Stay tuned. 




Plaid Scarf: via Target | exact
Cardigan (c/o mom): J. Crew Factory | same style
Skinny Jeans: The Limited | option
Boots (gift): Madden Girl | option

Monday, February 16, 2015

online shopping

I don't know why I do it. I just can't help it. You know what I'm talking about. One minute, you're online window shopping, and the next minute you're looking for $40+ more worth of stuff just to qualify for free shipping. I do this time and time again, and more often than not, end up returning most - if not all - of that stuff. 

Case and point: my last haul.






  • heels
    • pros: cute, great color
    • cons: too tight, too tall, realistically would only wear them for teaching
    • verdict: return. I don't need another pair of shoes that I only wear teaching.
  • watch:
    • pros: classy-ish, I could use a new watch
    • cons: too big, and had a cheaper feel to it than anticipated
    • verdict: return. I love the idea of it more than the watch itself. Plus it was just too big for my ridiculously tiny wrists. 
  • handbag:
    • pros: cute, affordable, easy to match with most spring/summer outfits
    • cons: small. very small. as in I can fit my keys, my phone, and my magic wallet. and that's it.
    • verdict: undecided. it's small, but it can fit what I need to put into it. 
  • sneakers:
    • pros: great color
    • cons: flimsy, too big
    • verdict: return. I'm an 8.5, and this shoe only comes in full sizes. I ordered the 9s, and they were way too big. If the shoes didn't feel like they were going to fall apart after one hundred steps, I'd try the 8s. (I bought them with the hopes that I could wear them during summer vacation when I plan to do a lot of walking.)


So... while the moral of the story should be to avoid online shopping altogether, it's just too fun not to :) Have you done any online shopping lately? What have you bought? 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

PMT Style Challenge: reddish-purple

I'm linking up with Audrey for this week's style challenge at Putting Me Together: wear red, pink, or purple. It's like I've been saying to my students all week: easy breezy, lemon squeezy! This outfit came together without much thought, and I love it how it turned out. Unfortunately my camera battery died after the first few pictures, none of which did justice to this outfit.





Blazer: Gap [options below]
Tee: J. Crew Factory | cute option
Necklace: via Target | option
Jeans: LOFT | exact
Flats: via Payless | exact


shop Valentine's Day blazers:
[also linking up with Alice and Elle]

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

gravy

Last week I went to Gap to return a shirt because it was too short (further confirmation that I'm a Tall). While I was there, I couldn't help but scope out the clearance racks -- especially since the store was running a 'take an additional 50% off' promotion. Long story short, I found these pants. For $10. 

While these pants might be better for spring, I couldn't wait that long to wear them. I tried to make them work the best way I knew how. What do you think about this outfit? Would you wear light grey pants in February? Would you wear cognac with light grey? 



Sweater: J. Crew Factory | exact
Shirt (c/o Mom): J. Crew Factory | similar
Bracelet: J. Crew Factory | exact
Necklace: Forever 21 | option, option
Ankle Pants: Gap | exact
Wedges: via Payless | option


[linking up with Liz]

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Make it Work: Red Blouse

Recently I reflected on my purchases from January 2013. My red blouse came in as a medium purchase - not a great purchase, but not a terrible one either. I was really excited about the purchase at the time, and envisioned myself wearing it all the time. Or at least more than five times over the course of two years. So I've made a plan to make it work, wear it a bunch, and hopefully this time next year be able to bump it from a 'medium' purchase to a good/great one.

I'll admit that I over-think things when it comes to styling this top. I went simple this time. Any ideas for how I should style this blouse next?




Blouse: J. Crew | option
Necklace: Groopdealz | almost exact
Pants: The Limited | exact
Flats: Christian Siriano via Payless | option

Monday, February 9, 2015

same idea, different day

Somehow I got the idea to pair my oversized plaid scarf (now back in stock!) with my striped popover. The problem was that I couldn't leave the house in just those two items, and I couldn't decide what pants to wear. Eventually I decided on my grey zip jeans, threw on my booties, and called it an outfit. 

It wasn't until later that day that I got the strange feeling I had already worn this outfit before. And then I realized I had worn the same pants and booties with a different shirt and oversized scarf (here). So do we say that I copied myself? That I'm being resourceful in creating a different look with the same template? Or that I'm just overthinking things?




Popover (c/o Mom): J. Crew Factory | similar
Scarf: via Target | exact!
Pants: Old Navy | exact
Booties: via Kohl's | similar

Thursday, February 5, 2015

I'm a Tall

I learned something important recently. I'm a Tall. At 5'7", I used to think that that Tall sizing was reserved for... well... giants. And yet, when I would buy regular sized tops or dresses at Old Navy, I'd be left saying to myself, "I really wish this were a tad longer." You would think that would be a clear sign that I needed a Tall, but sometimes the lights just aren't on upstairs.

Have you made any new-found discoveries lately regarding your fit and what works best for your body?



DressOld Navy*
Shirt: The Limited | very similar
Belt (gift): The Limited | option
Tights: via Target
Wedges: via Target (old)

*availability changes frequently, so keep checking if your size is out of stock

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

smooth criminal

I forgot to put together a budget post for December, but I can tell you what was on it. This sweatshirt (worn here) and these sneakers. I really enjoy having these sneakers for temperatures like these. I'm not one who likes to wear boots all winter long, so these are a perfect alternative.

Also, this is the first time I've worn my turtleneck on the blog, but the umpteenth time I've worn it since I bought it. (Don't worry, there was a wash in there somewhere.) I only wish other colors were still available in my size! It's lightweight but soft and perfect for layering.

Are there any pieces you've added to your closet lately that you're really loving?



TurtleneckOld Navy
Vest: Old Navy | similar
Jeans: Charlotte Russe - old
Sneakersvia Target

[and if you're wondering about the title, my husband looked over my shoulder as I was cropping my photos and said, "it looks like you're a criminal" to which I replied, "um, yeah, a smooth criminal"]

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

teacher immediacy

Once upon a time I read an article that claimed that a teacher's outfit will affect the perceived distance between a teacher and her students. The article suggested that instructors should dress professionally during the first few weeks of the semester, and then start to dress more casually. When I first read that, I thought, "Great. As if picking an outfit weren't hard enough already, now I have to also think about how my attire affects immediacy." 

I thought the article made some interesting points. As an instructor, I want to appear competent and organized (which occurs through formal dress), but I also want to appear open and friendly (which occurs through informal dress). So how do you strike a balance between formal and informal? How do you appear knowledgeable and approachable at the same time? Do people in other professions have the same concerns? These are the questions that keep me up at night. I eventually fell asleep, woke up, and put this outfit together.



Shirt (c/o Mom): Eddie Bauer | similar
Blazer: Forever 21 | similar
Belt: The Limited | option
Skirt: Old Navy | same style
Wedges: via Target


[linking up with Laura and Lindsey]

Monday, February 2, 2015

Budget Rewind: January 2013

Andi had this great idea to reflect on purchases of 2014, and so I did the same. I am trying to be more conscientious and intentional about what I bring into my closet. I bought 45 items during 2014 - which might be the fewest I've bought in years. I've been making an effort to wear these items and not let them go neglected. But there's a different story for 2013. And that's why also I'm reflecting on the purchases of 2013.



Good: 
  • Groopdealz mint necklace: $9 - Anything that I get below $1 cost-per-wear is a win, and this one is currently down to 75 cents.
  • Target teal wedges: $9 - I think I bought these because they were different, and because they were less than $10. I had them for three months before I ever wore them, but since, I've blogged them 9 times, so I've gotten my money's worth. I still like them and have no intention of getting rid of them. Hooray! 
  • The Limited red coat: (not pictured) $10 - A (mild) winter coat for $10. That's what I call an amazing purchase. That $10 also got me a pair of brown tights - which I'd put in an in between good and bad purchase (i.e., medium) as it's nice to have them, even if I rarely wear them.


Medium (in between good and bad): 
  • J. Crew red blouse: $25 -  I can't remember if it was the color or the amazing deal that drew me in (original price was $100+).While I really do love this silk shirt, I hate that it's dry-clean only. I didn't realize that when I bought it, and so I wear it less than I should. (Cost-per-wear is currently at $5). I've read on the internet that you can hand wash dry-clean only by using cold water and a bit of shampoo? Can anyone confirm or deny this?
  • J. Crew purple boyfriend cardigan: $15 - I can't decide whether this was a good purchase or bad. It's good because it's purple and long but bad because I don't wear it that often. Also, I ruined it by putting it in the dryer, but I've heard cold water and conditioner can restore it back to its original size. Cost-per-wear is at $2.
  • Old Navy pink blouse: $7.50 - This top is probably one size too big for me, but it was on the clearance rack and there were no other sizes left. Plus, my husband said I could get it, and I will never waste one of those rare times when he approves a purchase. While I don't love it on its own, it's a great layering piece. I'm going to wear this three more times so that I get the cost-per-wear down to $1.


Bad: 
  • Groopdealz gold link necklace: $8 - I bought it thinking I'd wear it a lot. 5 times isn't bad, but it isn't great, especially since this is the course of two years we're talking about. I could easily have lived without this purchase.
  • The Limited black trim blouse: $18 - Worn twice. Enough said. But really, it's sheerness makes me less inclined to wear it, and I have no idea how to wear it in a different way than I already have. While I liked the way I wore it one, I realistically shouldn't have bought it in the first place since it didn't pass the "come up with three different ways to wear it" test. I'm not ready to get rid of it, and in fact, it's on my "make it work for 2015" list.
  • Target chevron skirt: $20 - Total impulse purchase after seeing it on another blog (maybe Lilly's?). I like it when I wear it, but rarely find myself reaching for it. It's a statement piece, and the older I get, the less I reach for statement pieces. Plus, the wind blows it up every time I wear it. I think the only reason I haven't gotten rid of it is out of greed. I want more than $2 for it. 


Ugly: 
  • Old Navy polka dot jeans: $8.50 - These just weren't me. I was excited about the price, and bought them at a time when polka dot jeans were the thing to have. But I never felt comfortable wearing them, and eventually came to my senses and took them to a consignment shop. 


So of 9 items: 3 good, 4 medium, 3 bad, 1 ugly. 

I'm not sure what to make of this other than nearly half of January 2013's purchases I could have done without. This Budget Rewind does help me gain some perspective on what I'm willing to part with when push comes to shove, or when I can deal with getting a couple bucks for a $20 purchase.
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