Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July Budget

I spent less time researching this month, and more time online shopping. Whoops. Blame it on the birthday cash. And all those amazing sales.

1. J. Crew Factory pleated ponte dress: originally $90, on sale $40
2. J. Crew Factory lightweight long printed scarf: originally $40, on sale $10 [EDIT: RETURNED]
3. J. Crew Factory ribbed cotton tank: originally $17, on sale $5
4. Gap painterly floral scarf: [seen here] originally $30, on sale $9
5. J. Crew Factory jeweled brooch bracelet: originally $40, on sale $9
6. J. Crew Factory thorn and crystal necklace: originally $37, on sale $10

= $83 $73 (or $0 out of pocket c/o birthday money)

I checked off one item from my wishlist with the purchase of the blue dress. I'm so excited about it. Even though I don't need more accessories, I do enjoy a new piece or two every now and then. 

There are currently a few pairs of jeans in the mail, including this pair and this pair. I tried them on in store last fall and loved them, but ended up returning them because the regulars were too long, and the shorts were too short, and I was too lazy and cheap to have them hemmed. I'm rethinking that decision now. But I'm also wondering if I should wait until fall rolls around when there will be a great selection of jeans-- especially because it seems that bootcut jeans are making their way back into the limelight! 

There were some misses this month, too. The hunt for the perfect gray tee continues. This one was too tight (even when I sized up). I adore(d) this tee, but the "hand wash only" turned me off. I guess I should read the fine print before putting my order in and getting my hopes up. I also loved the way this top looked on me, but didn't see myself wearing it that much in the future.

I'm really considering spending some more of my birthday money on a pair of Birkenstocks. During my sophomore year of undergrad, I spent birthday money on a pair of Birkenstock clogs. I wore them nearly every day, until spring rolled around and I swapped them for my Adidas slides. The new found interest in Birks comes because of recent foot/arch issues... probably from wearing flat Target sandals with no arch support all summer long. I just can't decide between these or these. I have a soft spot for the latter pair because my Mom has been wearing them as house shoes since I can remember, but the former pair seems like it would actually go with my typical summer outfits. Thoughts?

[Linking up with Fran for Budgeting Bloggers]

Monday, July 28, 2014

that scarf. this dress.

Do you ever get the "I have to have that"s when you go shopping? I find myself getting that feeling much less frequently than when I first started blogging, but it happened on a recent trip to Gap. The moment I spotted the painterly floral scarf (no longer available online), I knew it was going home with me. The shades of blues and purple coordinate so nicely with many things that are already in my closet (and some new additions, including this dress). 

Thanks to those of you who offered your opinion regarding this dress. I've decided to keep it (obviously). I originally thought I wanted a cobalt sheath dress, but I realized I never wear my sheath dresses for any occasion other than work. When I only teach three days a week, that doesn't amount to much opportunity for wear. This dress has already been out to lunch, to church, and downtown. Plus, I can still wear it if I gain or lose five pounds! What's most important to you when it comes to dresses?

Dress: J. Crew Factory [exact]
Scarf: Gap [option, option]
Bracelet: The Limited [option]
Sandals: via Target [exact]

[Linking up with MollyGina, and Inge & Claire]

Friday, July 25, 2014

if at first...

...you don't succeed, try, try again. I've mentioned in the past that I've had troubles styling my orange open knit top. I wasn't satisfied with the way I wore it last, so I thought I'd give it another shot. I like the way it looks with navy, so with Shorts Week (hosted by Andi and Ginny) coming to a close, I took my own advice, and I tried again. I'm much happier with the result this time. Although, that may have more to do with the fact that I can fit into these shorts again (hooray!) than it does with the outfit itself. I hope you have a great weekend!

which do you like more? blue tank tucked in (above) or peeking out (below)?

Top: (gifted) The Limited [option - lots of colors!]
Tank: J. Crew Factory [exact]
Shorts: (c/o Mom) The Limited [option, option]
Sandals: Mix No. 6 via DSW

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

beat the heat

How to beat the heat and dress in 100+ degree weather:

Step 1: Select a top. The shorter the sleeves, the better. I'd personally recommend letting your arms go commando and opting for a tank top. It's comfortable, it allows for ventilation, and no pit stains! (But seriously. Sweating is inevitable. Keep this in mind when selecting all the pieces in your outfit.)

Step 2: Throw on shorts or a skirt. The looser and lighter, the better. I've become a huge fan of linen and light cotton shorts over the past few summers. My linen shorts from LOFT are so light and comfortable, I sometimes forget they are there. A skirt would work, too, although absolutely no pencil skirts. Pencil skirts in 100+ degree weather results in instantaneous thigh sweating, and ain't no one got time for that!

Step 3: Open-toe footwear. Let those piggies breathe! I'd personally steer away from anything that comes close to resembling Jellies. I can see them melting into your skin. And, it's not 1996.

Tank: J. Crew Factory [exact
Shorts: LOFT [save, spend, splurge]
Sandals: Merona via Target [exact]

[Linking up with Andi and Ginny for Shorts Week]

Monday, July 21, 2014

military vest: completer piece

I won't go so far to say that the military vest is a must-have item for every woman's wardrobe, but I do love my Old Navy military vest (now $19 + 20% off with code FASHION). I put on my black shorts and a white tee to meet up with a friend, but I felt like the two were so boring together. I thought wearing my BC striped flats would add some interest, but I was still unsatisfied. It was too hot for a scarf or cardigan, so for a moment I thought I was out of luck. Then I remembered my military vest. I put it on, and then the outfit was complete. I guess that's why they call it a completer piece. What's your favorite completer piece?

Fedora: Target [save | spend | splurge]
Flutter Sleeve Tee: The Limited [similar]
Military Vest: Old Navy [this year's version]
5" Shorts: Old Navy [this year's version]
Flats: BC Footwear via Nordstrom Rack [exact]

[Linking up with Andi and Ginny for Shorts Week]

Friday, July 18, 2014

coral + floral

I wore this outfit recently when I visited with family, and again on a mini shopping excursion. It didn't cross my mind to pair the blue and white floral scarf with the coral tee until they managed to find themselves next to one another in my suitcase. I liked the combination so much, I wore it to make some returns and get away from the burden of research (by shopping!). Details of the trip below.

Scarf: H&M [option]
Tee: Gap [similar]
Earrings: The Limited [exact]
Belt: Old Navy [exact]
Pants: Apt. 9 via Kohl's [similar]
Sandals: via Target [exact]

As I said I would, I returned the swing tunic, but stayed to peruse J. Crew Factory's additional 60% off clearance items. I was tempted by so many things. I tried on this polka dot skirt, but it felt too juvenile on me. I couldn't see myself wearing it but a couple times a summer. I tried on this shirt (in french blue), but it didn't fit well. I also thought it was too similar to my new popover, even if it was only $12. The v-neck tees were the most tempting at $4 a pop, but the v was just too deep for me. I wouldn't likely wear it outside the house, and I don't need any more tees to wear around the house. I left empty handed.

After seeing these scallop shorts online, I really wanted to try them on in person. They didn't look cute on me. They reminded me of a pair of black pajama pants I once had that I cut up for a pirate-themed party. Immediate pass. I also tried on some jeans; I'm on a mission this fall to find one outstanding pair of jeans. The main criteria is that they can't be skinny, and need to be a medium to medium-dark wash. The real straight jeans looked awkward on my calves, and the perfect boot were too light (no dark washes in my size). I passed on both; the $12 price tag didn't sway me in the slightest. I did find an adorable scarf on clearance that I couldn't pass up, however. (I can't find it online, but I'm sure you'll see it on the blog soon).

With a birthday coupon in hand, I felt confident that I would find something at The Limited. And I did find a sleeveless top (which I can't find online) and a pair of jeans. I liked the jeans much more than the ones I tried on at Gap, but they weren't perfect. I think I'll have to give the Matchstick jeans from JCF another try.

It's been two weeks since my birthday, and I've barely picked into my birthday present funds. Do you have an easy time spending birthday money? Or do you prefer to save it?

[Linking up with Lauren]

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

fresh as fresh can be

It's been a while since my husband and I have had a chance to sit down and enjoy a nice meal together. (He's been so busy lately with work.) We made a semi-impromptu date night out of Taco Tuesday by dressing up for the occasion. It was my entirely idea, as I've been wanting to have a reason to put on a skirt. 

With the recent cool front, I opted for my new summer sweater (now on sale!) and the Joe Fresh skirt my mom sent to me last month. I'm not entirely sure if these two pieces "go together", but I honestly didn't care. I was just so happy to have a reason to put on some make-up, enjoy the cooler weather, and spend some quality time with my husband. Is it just me, or does having a reason to get dressed up make you feel good?

Sweater: J. Crew Factory [exact]
Necklace: The Limited [option]
Skirt (c/o Mom): Joe Fresh via JCPenney [option]
Sandals: Merona via Target [exact]

[Linking up with The Pleated Poppy, Mix & Match Fashion, and Because Shanna Said So]

Monday, July 14, 2014

prepped out

This popover and these shorts were purchased at the same time. I even tried them on together in the fitting room, but hadn't thought about wearing them together because it felt like something was missing. Once I realized that I needed a belt, I was excited to wear the three together. I just had to wait for the weather to cool down first. (90 degrees is not my idea of popover weather.)

Go figure that after taking these pictures, I untucked the shirt and liked how it looked just the same. Maybe it was the lighting in the fitting room that made me not love the two together at first. Speaking of lighting, I don't know what it's doing to my shirt in these photos. I'll try to get better photos next time!  

Both the popover and shorts are still available online, and the shorts also come in guava if yellow isn't your thing. Use code SHOPSHOP to get an extra 30% off AND free shipping!

Popover (c/o Mom): J. Crew Factory | exact
Shorts (c/o Mom): J. Crew Factory | exact
Bracelet: Kohl's, Ring: Charlotte Russe
Belt: Old Navy | exact
Sandals: via Payless | almost exact

[Linking up with Molly and Lauren]

Friday, July 11, 2014

old and new favorites

I'm not sure exactly when my mom bought this lavender long-sleeve tee for me, but I do remember wearing it to an amusement park with the rest of my 8th grade class. It's been a favorite piece throughout the years because it's comfortable, it's purple, and it's a great quality. (Could you imagine anything you bought recently holding up 15 years??)

These shorts, on the other hand, are one of the newest additions to my closet (purchased a few weeks ago also by my mom). I've been wearing them just about every time I've left the house lately. They are so perfect. 

So I say when you have two favorite pieces, wear them together! I wore this outfit the other day to the bank, and the teller complimented my shoes. I wore this outfit yesterday to the zoo, and I got to meet a bear cub! By which I mean that I got to watch it play in its pen, but it came up to me for a brief moment, sniffed my finger, and then scampered off to climb the fence. Best day ever. 

Longsleeve Tee: (c/o Mom) Gap | similar (lavender blue)
Shorts: (c/o Mom) J. Crew Factory | exact
Flats: BC Footwear via Nordstrom Rack | exact

ignore my chubby cheeks. focus on the bear cub.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

miss and hit: a JCF mini shopping haul

There's a J. Crew Factory within reasonable driving distance of where I live. This essentially means that I won't go out of my way to go to the store to shop, but I will go there to make returns (of items that I purchased online). Every now and then, I like to buy things online that lie outside of my comfort zone, with high hopes that they will work out. 

I initially just wanted this tank, and bought the rest to qualify for free shipping. Ridiculous, I know. Especially because I only ordered it in one size, and it ended up being way too small. 

First, the swing tunic

Honestly, I love the color, but hate the fit. I was also unpleasantly surprised by the ribbed sleeves. This one is going back. Easy decision. 

The difficult decision lies in whether to keep the pleated ponte dress

My reaction the moment I put it on? Love, love, love it! I've had a blue dress on my wish list for over a year now. Sounds like an easy decision, right? Something is holding me back, but I can't put my finger on what it is. Maybe it's because I saw myself buying a blue sheath dress? But now I'm starting to think this style works better for my body. Ho hum. Decisions, decisions.

Have you been shopping lately? Have you had any hits or misses?

Monday, July 7, 2014

purple + stripes

This past weekend, a friend needed a ride to the airport, so my husband and I decided to drop him off and then make a date out of it. The entire date felt like we stepped back in time, doing the same things we did before we were married: a Star Wars run (and nabbing a 3' Darth Vader on super sale), sitting down for some Mexican food, and watching the World Cup, all in this outfit. I spent much of the summer of 2011 in this skirt and fitted t-shirts like the one I'm wearing below. It was such a pleasant date. We rounded out the weekend by watching Novak Djokovic win Wimbledon (he's my favorite!), and playing some pick-up soccer. It was a great extended weekend. Did you do anything fun or special this weekend? 

Top: The Limited | $7 option, $9 option
Skirt: The Limited | options below
Sandals: Mix No. 6 via DSW

more striped skirt options: (love the middle two in the bottom row!)

[Linking up with Molly]

Friday, July 4, 2014

subtle patriotism

Happy Independence Day! If you just realized you don't have an outfit for today, never fear! I've put together three different looks. They might not be the typical 4th of July outfit, but they celebrate the day in style! 

Outfit 1: A blue and white striped top with a red scarf fulfills the Americana color quota, and keeps you cool as the day carries on. I could definitely see myself wearing this outfit to go out and watch the fireworks.

Scarf: souvenir from Spain (option)
Old Navy Striped Top (option, option)
Apt. 9 via Kohl's Shorts (option)

Outfit 2: A slightly more dressier option, for those who may not have the luxury of spending the day next to the grill or out on the beach.

J. Crew Factory Striped Oxford Popover
Tommy Hilfiger Skirt (similar, similar)
Gap Ballet Flats (save, splurge)

Outfit 3: My husband said to me that nothing about my outfit looked 4th of July-y. I replied, "Au contraire, my friend, my necklace is the firework necklace."

Crystal Cluster Firework Necklace (same style)
Old Navy Twill 5" Shorts (similar)

What are you wearing today? Are you decked out in red, white, and blue, or do you prefer the more subtle approach?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

some new additions

I just got back from visiting with family for a week. The highlight of the trip was getting to spend time with my baby niece-- she is so precious, and I can't wait to see her again! I also enjoyed being able to spend some time with my mom at a nearby outlet mall. I wasn't tempted by anything I had seen in the first few stores we went into, but it was fine since I got a pretzel earlier. As we were entering J. Crew Factory, my mom said to me that she really wanted to buy me something other than a baked good. Well, why didn't you say so sooner?

I walked through the store with an open mind and open eyes for anything that drew my attention. I promised myself I would only go home with something if I really loved it and if I could see myself wearing it in the next few days.

I almost went home with this dress, but I just couldn't see it getting much wear in the fall or winter. I also tried on this skirt, but it was too short. These shorts were too tight in the thighs, and this tee plunged too low. I was hoping to try on this peplum top, this baseball sweater, and this scallop dress, but none of these items were available in my size in the store.

While it may seem like I didn't have a lot of luck on this shopping adventure, I consider it a big win. As I mentioned on Friday, I went home with a great popover and pair of shorts (for less than $25!). I was hoping to wear the two together to Taco Tuesday, but the high temperature pushed me to wear this tank instead. After seeing these pictures, I wish I would have opted for the popover-- it would have done a much better job of hiding my food baby!

Tank: The Limited | savespend, splurge
Shorts: J. Crew Factory (c/o Mom) | exact
Sandals: Merona via Target | exact
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