Saturday, May 31, 2014

May Budget

After an awesome month of not spending any money (!!), that all went down the drain this month. In my defense, it was one of the most mentally exhausting and emotionally grueling semesters I maybe have ever had. So, I treated myself... a few times.

1. Gap fitted boyfriend gingham shirt (in mint): originally $50, on clearance for $15
2. BC Footwear: Writings on the Wall flats (in taupe): $30
3. Merona women's crepe shift dress (in sour cream print): originally $25, with coupon and gift card: $15
4. Gianni Bini zoey moto jacket: originally $135, on clearance for $48
5. H&M patterned scarf: $13

= $121 $106


Even though I ended up spending $0 in April, and I made $48.89 selling clothes, it's still a lot to spend in one month.

I'm really happy with the gingham shirt and scarf, but the flats were honestly downright unnecessary. Unfortunately I decided to wear them before I did my closet inventory. But the way my mind works, if I wear them a bunch, I'll feel like it was a justified purchase. Now to just do that. 

The moto jacket was a splurge, but it was also my treat for making it through the spring semester. I've been so bored with the typical mall stores lately, so my friend and I decided to walk through Dillard's (even though everything in it is way past our price point). The moto jacket caught my eye, (as did the 65% off sign on the rack) and so I tried it on. It slipped on so smoothly! I put it on hold for the day, and at the end of the mall trip, decided I couldn't go home without it. I actually tried on a similar jacket from LOFT a few months ago at the same price, but it fit terribly, had no structure, and looked like it was already starting to fall apart. Long story short: I'm not sorry I bought the jacket. 

I was really tempted to buy these shorts and this skirt from Old Navy, but again, after doing my closet inventory, I couldn't justify it. I may or may have not accidentally bought this sweater and this tee from J. Crew Factory during their Memorial Day weekend sale. I didn't include it in this month's budget since I haven't yet received them, and they're probably going back. If on the off chance I decide to keep anything from the order, I'll include it in my June budget.

[Linking up with Fran for Budgeting Bloggers

Friday, May 30, 2014

Pinspired: chevron + open stitch

I've been working on purging my closet, and I'm sure you want to know how it's going, so I'll tell you. Some of it is easy. Tube tops from 2008? Bye-bye. Some of it is really hard, though. Take for example this chevron skirt I got from Target. If memory serves correctly, I ran out and bought it immediately after seeing it on another blog. I thought it would be so versatile and would be the skirt I'd reach for all summer long.

Fast forward a year later, and of the five times I've worn it, I can't say that any of those outfits were winners. I have this feeling I should get rid of the skirt since I don't love it, but I don't hate it, it fits, and I know I can come up with some other way to wear it. Doesn't that give me more reason to keep it than to get rid of it?

ALSO: If you haven't already, it's time to enter the $250 LOFT giftcard giveaway! Today is the last day to enter!

Today's outfit was inspired by this pin {via Sidewalk Ready}. 
I was originally planning on wearing it with my lace tee, but I opted for a more relaxed approach.

Top: Worthington via JCPenney | option, option
Necklace: Forever 21 | option, option
Skirt & Belt: via Target | pencil option, mini option
Sandals: via Target | this year's version

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pinspired: open knit top

It's not often that I get stumped on how to style a particular item. There are probably two exceptions in my closet, and this open stitch knit top is one of them. I've done the obvious by pairing it with cropped jeans (here) and also worn it over a maxi dress (here)... and that's it. I'm always looking for new ways to wear it, so when I saw this outfit on Gap's website, I decided to give it a shot. I passed on the button up shirt since it was 80 degrees outside.

I'm not sure my recreation worked. (The cami is so distracting, for starters, but maybe a tank with wider straps would have resolved that issue?) How would you style this top?

Open Knit Top: (gifted) The Limited
Skirt: Old Navy | same style

Don't forget to enter the $250 LOFT giftcard giveaway!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

go bright (or go neutral?)

I thought it would be fun to pull out one of the subtle colors in these shorts and pair it with a coordinating cardigan. I also wanted to prove wrong the sales associate who told me (last year when I got them) that these shorts wouldn't work with more than a cream top. What do you think? Are these shorts meant to be paired only with neutral tops, or does the colorful combination work?

Either way, I maintain that these shorts were $10 well spent. Gotta love LOFT's clearance rack. Speaking of LOFT... have you entered the giveaway? You could win a $250 giftcard! (And then you could buy these shorts or these shorts, which are both as awesome as mine are.)

 Occasion: Taco Tuesday!
Cardigan: The Limited | similar
Tee: SO via Kohl's | $6 option
Floral Shorts: LOFT | option
Sandals: Mix No. 6 via DSW

Monday, May 26, 2014

Want a $250 LOFT giftcard?

Now that I have your attention... enter to win!

Marissa of The Modern Austen is celebrating her two year blogiversary (big congrats to her!), and what better way to celebrate than with an amazing giveaway?! I mean, seriously, who doesn't love free money? And, you can meet a bunch of cool bloggers in the mean time! 

If I were to win, I'd get these shorts (in cable grey), this top (in pink powder), this dress, this skirt, these pants, these wedges, and this tank... just for starters. (Can you tell I'm quite fond of LOFT's summer collection?) What are you loving at LOFT lately?

Here are the details:
  • Giveaway will run thru May 30, at midnight
  • Only open to continental U.S. residents
  • Winner will be chosen randomly and emailed by Marissa on Saturday, 5/31. If the individual does not reply with their contact information by June 6, she will randomly generate a new winner.
  • Winner's entry will be verified for authenticity.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Closet Inventory

AJ has done one. Kimmie has done one. Brynn has done one. And now it's my turn.

I knew I had a lot of non fitted t-shirts (the kind you get at events for free), but I thought the rest of my closet was relatively stable. And then I counted. And counted. And kept on counting. I stopped counting when I got to the accessories. Those are not included in this list, nor are workout clothes, camis, PJs, hoodies, $3 Old Navy flip flops, or non-fitted t-shirts. 

- Sleeveless/tank tops: 28
- Short sleeve tops: 24
- Short sleeve tees: 38
- 3/4 or long sleeve: 12
- Button ups: 40
- Cardigans: 38
- Sweaters: 29

- Denim jeans (blue/black): 7
- Colored/pattern jeans/pants: 13
- Work pants: 13
- Shorts: 12
- Skirts: 38

- Strapless: 7
- Sleeveless: 19
- Short sleeve: 5
- 3/4 or long sleeve: 2

- Vests: 5
- Blazers: 12
- Light Jackets: 5
- Winter Coats: 3

- Flats: 15
- Wedges/Heels: 13
- Flat Sandals: 6
- Sneakers: 5
- Boots: 6


The total number is where I thought it would be when I started counting, but the individual counts are so much higher than I anticipated. 38 cardigans? I know I went through a cardigan phase, but dang. 38 skirts? How is that even possible when I only wear a handful of them throughout the year? (Answer: because I have skirts from a time when I was 10 lbs. lighter, and skirts from when I was 10 lbs. heavier. I can't manage to get rid of them, and based on how much my weight fluctuates, I'm not sure I should.)

The total number is nonetheless overwhelming, especially considering accessories and lounge-wear were not included in the list. The thing is, though, I can guarantee you that 10% of this list consists of things I didn't even know I had or things I haven't worn in years.

Case in point: shoes. I was surprised that I still had some of them. (The ones I wear most often are in my bedroom closet, but there are a handful of pairs in the hallway closet that I haven't worn in at least three years.) I have a hard time knowing what to do with things I don't wear anymore. I know the options: sell, donate, trash. But that doesn't tell me what I should do. (Any advice for how to make these decisions would be greatly appreciated!)

For example, should I keep all my solid color button-ups? When I started teaching, I bought way too many "work clothes": pencil skirts, solid color button-ups, and pants. It wasn't until after I had taught for a few semesters that I realized I didn't need to make myself look a decade older than I actually am. But should I hold on to them because they're perfectly fine solid color button-ups? And should I keep the skirts that don't fit me now, but did last year?

It's really hard to make an accurate assessment about my closet. Regardless, though, I have made it my goal to purge my closet of 95 items by the start of Fall term. Do you think I can do it? Do you think my goal is too extreme?

Have you done a closet inventory? How many items do you have? I dare you to share!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


I wore this outfit to the grocery store recently, in an attempt to wear something other than running shorts and a t-shirt to the store. My husband asked me why I was wearing longsleeves in May, to which I responded, "I'm trying out a new outfit." He looked me up and down. "You're too matchy-matchy. Black and white in your shoes and your sweater? You look ridiculous, and should probably change." Ha... ha. He's so funny.

I haven't worn these shoes in a blog post, let alone in a long time. I've had them for a decade, but can't even remember where I bought them. When I used to work at summer camp, everyone had them. They were the shoe to have. Apparently now they are the shoe to have (in white) in the blogosphere. Do you have Chuck Taylors? How do you wear them?

Sweater: Old Navy | option
Shorts: LOFT | option

[Linking up for WIWW]

Monday, May 19, 2014

blue tee + floral skirt

I store my winter clothes in a bin during the summer, and store my summer clothes in that bin during the winter. I have such a terrible memory, that it's almost like Christmas when I open up the bin. I forgot that I had this skirt, but was really excited to wear it again (especially because I only paid $5 for it!).

Pairing this skirt with a top that is the same color as any of the flowers is an obvious choice, but sometimes, I think obvious is the right choice. Do you prefer unexpected pairings, or do you go for the obvious?

Tee: The Limited | similar
Necklace: groopdealz | same
Skirt: LOFT | option
Sandals: Mix No. 6 via DSW

[Linking up with Molly, for Trend Spin, and for Style Sessions]

Thursday, May 15, 2014

coral and olive with a twist

Sometimes I'll wear two different colors next to one another, unsure as to whether they actually go together (e.g., plum and teal). Other times, I'm convinced that two colors were meant to be worn together (e.g., red and blue). Coral and olive were made for one another.

I like the way this outfit turned out, and not just for the coral and olive. I also like that I found a way to debut my new flats! I was on the fence about them, until I had a change in perspective. Not every pair of shoes has to be one that you can wear every day, or walk six miles in at a time. I've slowly begun to think that shoes don't need to be seen as a matter of practicality, but rather as a piece of interest. Do you only purchase shoes to fulfill a particular function, or do you see them as accessories? 

Vest: Old Navy | similar
Scarf: The Limited | option
Sweater: The Limited | option
Jeans: The Limited | similar
Flats: BC via Nordstrom Rack | same

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

white jeans for spring

Do you believe in the expression, "Be careful what you wish for because you might actually get it."? I wasn't sure that I did, but I wished for spring weather, and the forecast calls for 60s all week! Either it's a crazy coincidence, or I've got some tricks up my sleeves. (Most likely not the latter-- all that I've got up the sleeves of my sweater are wrinkly chambray sleeves. They seriously looked like an accordion coming out of the dryer.)

I'd like to be able to try wearing these pants with every color of the rainbow, but with summer weather just around the corner (read: next week), I'm guessing that's not going to happen. Do you have white jeans? What's your favorite color to wear with them?

Sweater: The Limited | similar
Chambray: Old Navy | similar
Belt: Old Navy | exact
Pants: Apt. 9 via Kohl's | similar
Flats: Christian Siriano via Payless | option

Monday, May 12, 2014

Pinspired: pink + blue

Today's outfit was inspired by this pin {via}. I loved the way the blue and white of her top looked with her pants. I don't have a top like hers, but I did just get a blue and white scarf this weekend. A perfect substitute if you ask me! 

Speaking of substitutes, I proctored an exam early this morning and got done in time to actually go out to get breakfast (hence the food baby). Even though I am generally unwilling to spend money on a hot breakfast, I would eat it everyday if it were free, or if I actually had the time and energy to make it myself. What's your breakfast of choice?

Scarf: H&M
Tee: The Limited
Pants: LOFT | option
Flats: Dana Buchman x Kohl's | option

[Linking up with Molly]

Saturday, May 10, 2014

shopping recap

I went shopping with a friend yesterday to celebrate the semester coming to an end. Before we got to the mall, I decided that I was going to let myself buy something, regardless of how much it cost, regardless of whether I needed that thing or not. It's been a draining semester, and it was time to reward myself for making it to the end.

The first thing that caught my attention were these heels, but at $99, I put them on the back burner. I ended up forgetting all about them until I started writing this post. At The Limited, I tried on these shorts (in navy), but they felt like bike shorts. Pass. I also passed on a top like this one (but it was so loud in person), and this dress (it was too big on top).

I popped my head into Forever 21 after realizing I still had store credit. I must say I'm impressed with their Love 21 line. I was really tempted by this maxi dress, until I saw its back straps. Anything that requires a fancy bra is an automatic pass for me.

I thought it would be another bust of a trip, but then we went to H&M, and I found this scarf. I'm actually really excited about. I've been looking for a blue and white patterned scarf for some time, and I'm happy that I was able to get one for under $15.

A few pairs of shoes caught my eye at Nordstrom Rack (including these from Zigi Soho (in neutral and in black). I passed on them because my feet felt too narrow for them (even after being on my feet all day). I did, however, buy these flats (in taupe stripe). I'm not sure whether I'm going to keep them because I haven't come up with that many ways to style them. If you have any ideas/comments about them, please share!

I went to Old Navy with the intention of buying a pair of these shorts, but I couldn't find any in my size! I'm considering ordering them online, but I'd need another $30 worth of stuff in order to qualify for free shipping (I refuse to pay for shipping). I love my striped skirt so much I have considered ordering another, but do I really need two black and white striped skirts?

To make a long story short: it was great to get away from school and work for a day. I went home with a scarf and a pair of flats. And I did it all while wearing this outfit:

Sweater: Old Navy
Necklace: Forever 21
Flats: via Target

Thursday, May 8, 2014

floral dress + geranium cardigan

It's not often that my female colleague and I get together during the semester. Our schedules rarely line up, and we're generally just all so busy. But we made it happen. I chose to wear my floral dress from The Limited. I splurged on it when I bought it in 2011, but it has been a go-to for so many occasions. 

I've realized in preparations for my closet purge that I would much rather have a closet full of go-to pieces that I wear over and over again rather than a hodgepodge of odds and ends. What do you find yourself reaching for when you get together with friends or co-workers?

Dress: The Limited
Cardigan: The Limited
Belt: came with Target skirt
Sandals: Mix No. 6 via DSW

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

floral dress + lilac cardigan

I mentioned on Monday some things I'm looking forward to this summer. I forgot to add one major thing to that list: not having to worry about my outfits. I intended on wearing my black ponte dress today, but I put it on this morning and had a quick "nope. that's definitely not going to work." moment. You know what I'm referring to, right? I scrambled, put on this dress, grabbed a cardigan and a necklace, and called it for what it was.

Dress: Gap | option, option
Cardigan: The Limited | similar
Necklace: groopdealz | same
Flats: J.Lo via Kohl's | option

Monday, May 5, 2014

Pinspired: camel + stripes

I've had this pin {via A Longenecker Short Story} for a long time, and finally decided today was the day to recreate (copy) the look. I'm happy enough with how it turned out, although it ended up being too warm for a day like today. We've skipped spring and officially entered summer, at least by weather. By the academic calendar, it's still spring, and I still have so much grading left to do. 

I'm looking forward to summer break more than ever before. I'm also looking forward to starting my closet inventory and closet purge (which I'll be documenting/blogging along the way), as well as getting some Dairy Queen in my system. What are you looking forward to these days/this summer?

Sweater: Old Navy | option
Necklace: Forever 21 | option
Skirt: The Limited | option
Wedges: Dexter via Payless | option

[Linking up with Molly and Jen]

Friday, May 2, 2014

new gingham shirt!

I said yesterday that I was eager to wear the new gingham shirt I just picked up from Gap. It's the first time in a long time I have bought something and worn it the very next day. Part of the reason I wait to wear something after I buy it is to make sure I really want it, and that it wasn't an impulse purchase. I knew this wasn't the case, since a pastel gingham shirt was on my wishlist. The other reason I wait to wear something is to make sure I can't get a better deal. I knew I wouldn't find this top for less than $15, and I don't hate that I spent that much on it. It really goes with so many different things in my closet; I know it's a purchase I won't regret. [I'm honestly tempted to go back and get another one!]

[Sorry for the hit and miss photo quality these days. Also, I am wearing a navy skirt, navy tights, and black shoes (gasp!). I broke my own rule of not wearing navy and black together just because I was unhappy with the way any other shoe looked on my foot this morning. I was hoping I could get away with the navy and black pairing.]

Cardigan: (c/o Mom) J. Crew Factory | similar
Gingham shirt: Gap
Navy Skirt: The Limited
Belt: The Limited | option
Wedges: (old) via Target

Thursday, May 1, 2014

peach gelato + deep burgundy

I don't really have anything to say about this outfit. Well, except that it's boring. But it's comfortable, and it gets the job done. My husband had some things to attend to in the big city, and I found myself with over an hour to kill. I could have read while I waited for him (which I probably should have done), but instead, I chose to do some window shopping. 

I went to Madewell, Anthropologie, and J. Crew, but everything was so... blah (read: overpriced and uninteresting). But then even the great sales (an additional 60% off clearance items at LOFT, additional 40% off clearance items at Banana Republic) had me walking away empty handed. Admittedly, I was tempted by these elephant shorts and this elephant scarf, but I didn't want to blow through my budget in the first day of the month.

With ten minutes to spare, I popped into Gap, hoping to find this v-neck tee (it's on my wishlist) and/or these pointy flats. The flats felt flimsy and weird on my feet, so I passed. The tee wasn't on sale, but this gingham shirt was (also on my wishlist). It came home with me, and for the first time in a long time, I'm eager to wear something I just bought. 

Top: Old Navy | in yellow, option
Cardigan: (c/o Mom) LOFT | option
Jeans: The Limited | similar
Flats: via Target
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