Wednesday, December 23, 2015

hi-side split sweater x 2

Recently I mentioned that I placed an order with LOFT to take advantage of the great deal on these racerback tanks before they went out of stock. I also ordered a few different sweaters, including a turtleneck tunic, a funnel neck sweater, and the hi-side split sweater. The sweaters all had such a similar feel that it seemed unreasonable to keep all of them. The hi-side sweater was half the price of the others, and my favorite of the bunch, so it made the decision to return the others that much easier.

But what made the hi-side split sweater my favorite? It's cozy, comfortable, and just the right shade of pink. I had actually considered buying a similar version from Forever 21, but every one in store had snags in it, which made me less than eager to drop $25 on it. The hand-wash only instructions sent me looking elsewhere. While this new sweater is not my most versatile piece, I have been able to wear it in a few different ways, two of which I'm showing you today. I would have had a third look by now if I could just settle on a scarf. (Hopefully Santa is bringing me some more winter-y scarves!) Ultimately, I highly recommend the hi-side split sweater for those of you who want a sweater you can live in until spring rolls around.

Outfit #1 (left): 
Hi-Side Split Sweater: LOFT (exact)  //  Necklace: via Groopdealz (same style)  //  
Lace Cami: The Limited (exact)  //  Pants: The Limited (exact)  //  Flats: via Target (similar)

Outfit #2 (right):
Hi-Side Split Sweater: LOFT (exact)  //  Necklace: Le Tote (exact)  //  
Vest: J. Crew Factory (exact)  //  Pants: The Limited (exact)  //  Flats: via Target (exact)

Monday, December 21, 2015

field jacket: five months later

"Field jackets are perfect for triple digit heat," said no one ever. I bought my field jacket during the dog days of summer, but I had good reason: the price tag. I knew it would be months until I got to wear it, but I also knew it would eventually prove to be a great purchase. Fast forward five months later, and it turns out that I was right. Hooray! 

While my jacket gets minimal coverage on the blog since I typically just show what I wear indoors, I felt like I should take the time to show one way I wear it and share some of its virtues. (1) It's ideal for the 50-ish degree weather we've been having since October. (2) The color allows it to go with anything. (3) It has enough pockets to allow me to stash my phone, wallet, and keys on days when I forget or don't feel like carrying around a purse. Hooray for a good purchase! (Maybe one of my best of 2015?)

Jacket: J. Crew Factory | almost exact
Scarf: Forever 21 | similar
Sweater: Old Navy | option
Pants: The Limited | exact
Flats: via Target | similar

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Yesterday I said that I had three philosophies when it comes to getting dressed. This outfit was inspired by a mix of wearing something (cobalt scarf) because it's neglected and wearing something (navy vest) because I wanted to. The popover? That's just because I felt like there wasn't enough blue in the outfit.  

Shirt: (c/o Mom) J. Crew Factory | option
Scarf: J. Crew Factory | option
Vest: J. Crew Factory | exact
Jeans: The Limited | option
Flats: via Target | exact

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


I think I have three main philosophies when it comes to getting dressed: (1) wear what I want to wear, (2) wear something I have purchased recently, and/or (3) wear something I haven't worn in a long time. Today's outfit was brought to you by the number three, and a hint of one. I have a horrible track record when it comes to wearing this blouse, but I haven't been ready to let go of it quite yet. I also have managed to go from predominantly wearing colorful button up shirts and pencil skirts for teaching to neutral flowy tops and stretchy pants. While I really have enjoyed wearing more casual attire for teaching, I really do like dressing up. Which do you prefer for work attire: pencil skirts and button ups or stretchy pants and flowy tops?

Top: The Limited | similar
Belt: (gift) The Limited | similar
Skirt: (gift) The Limited | savespend
Tights: Merona via Target | exact   
Flats: Mossimo via Target | similar

Monday, December 14, 2015

pink gingham + distressed jeans

A month ago I walked into J. Crew Factory in hopes of walking out with this elephant print skirt. Instead, I walked out empty-handed-ish. (I went home, ordered the distressed jeans I tried on in store that were cheaper online, and got the jeans shortly thereafter.) Less than two months later, they're my favorite casual pants.

While my jeans are getting plenty of wear (especially off the blog), my gingham shirt is another story. I feel so underwhelmed when I just throw it on with a pair of jeans. Do you feel the same way about button ups with jeans? How do you give the combination a little something extra?

Shirt: J. Crew | save, spend
Cardigan: (c/o Mom) LOFT | similar style
Jeans: J. Crew Factory | exact
Flats: via Target | exact

Friday, December 11, 2015

Five x Friday [vol. 8]

1. By this time next week, I will have seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I can't remember the last time I was this excited about anything.
2. I am looking forward to getting the rest of my LOFT order, though. I couldn't hold out on waiting for these tanks any longer, so I ordered some sweaters and other tops to qualify for free shipping. This sweater (in shimmer rose) arrived on its own yesterday, and it's super cozy. If the rest of the order turns out this well, I'm in trouble.
3. This shouldn't have made me laugh, but it did.
4. This tunic was my favorite piece from my last tote (see the other pieces here). I loved everything about it, except the way it sat on my shoulders. I'm considering requesting it again when the next semester starts back up. If I get it again, I'll probably wear it the same way.
5. Since this is my last Le Tote outfit of 2015, it's my last chance to remind you that Le Tote is raising its prices starting next month. It's also your last chance to get your first month of Le Tote for only $25!

Tunic: Le Tote | exact
Scarf: Forever 21 | similar
Watch: c/o JORD | exact
Leggings: via Kohl's | exact
Flats: via Target | exact

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Le Tote #6

I've been trying to be smarter about what I've been requesting from Le Tote. This time, I chose pieces that could be worn together. Case in point: a hooded cocoon cardigan, striped dolman tee, and owl pendant necklace. As I had anticipated, I got too hot in the cardigan while teaching, but still felt cool in the dolman tee. I'll show you my favorite piece from the tote tomorrow, and then it will be a while until you see another Le Tote look. I'm going on hold over winter break so I can decide whether I want to continue, and for how much longer. (I suspect I will continue since I'm already missing it.)

Tee: Le Tote | exact
Cardigan: Le Tote | exact
Necklace: Le Tote | exact
Pants: Apt. 9 via Kohl's | option
Flats: Old Navy | option

Monday, December 7, 2015

something old, something new, something thrifted, something zoo

Something old? My necklace. I bought it circa 2007 from Forever 21. I lost it the last time we moved, but found it again in the most recent move. I also lost a handbag and a scarf during the most recent move, so I'm half expecting to find them the next time we move.

Something new? My tank. I bought it in September, returned it, and then bought it again for half the price. (I would buy the tank in both white and black right now if I didn't have to pay for shipping. Currently, they're less than $10, just in case you're interested.)

Something thrifted? My shoes. I bought them recently on thredUP because of the free shipping offer (valid until December 14th) and because my current pair of purple flats are starting to look pretty rough. I had never looked at shoes on thredUP's website because, well, I know what my shoes look like when I'm ready to get rid of them, and I imagined the shoes on thredUP would look pretty rough, too. But, since they weren't final sale, I decided to order them. When they arrived, there weren't any signs of wear and the shoes were in excellent condition. I'm pretty sure they were brand new and had never been worn before. I'm a happy camper. And you can be, too - you can get $20 off your order! (Full disclosure: if you sign up through my referral link, I'll get $20 credit.)

Something zoo? I asked for your opinion on potential t-shirt designs. If you haven't already given your input, I ask that you please take a minute or two to check out the post and share your thoughts! I really appreciate it! 

Blazer: Shade Clothing | similar
Grey Tank: LOFT | exact
Necklace: Forever 21 | similar
Watch: gift c/o MomInLaw
Pants: The Limited | exact
Flats: Cole Haan via thredUP | option

[linking up with Lindsey and Laura]

Friday, December 4, 2015

Reader Response Requested: The Zoo!

I've been asked to gather some input about potential apparel for the gift shop of a zoo. I have included some specific questions that I would like your feedback on. Thank you for your time!  

1. Do you like the designs? If so, which is your favorite? Least favorite?
2. If you don't like the designs, what would you change?
3. What colors would you like to see the t-shirts in? For yourself? For your significant other? For your kids?
4. How much would you pay for the t-shirts -- knowing that they are printed locally and are going to be sold in a gift shop?
5. What other apparel would you like to see the design(s) on?

Any additional feedback?

[click on any of the pictures below to see them in further detail]

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Le Tote #5

I received this tunic in my first tote, but it didn't fit, so I asked Le Tote to send me the next size up. I wore it to class last Tuesday (for work) and out running errands on Wednesday (for play). I didn't manage to take pictures outside because it was dark by the time I was done for the day on Tuesday. And then it rained all day Wednesday. And all day Thursday. And Friday. And most of Saturday. So hooray for indoor photos!

Sizing up made the tunic so much better. I almost considered thinking about possibly buying it, but it was dry clean only and it wrinkled easily but was hard to de-wrinkle. So I just wore it a bunch last week. My favorite part about the tunic was that it could be dressed up for class by tucking it in (as seen above) but that it could also work for more casual outfits. It goes past the bum, so it can easily be tossed on with leggings (as seen below).

In my third tote, I received a cape. I requested it because I had never worn a cape before. Although I reported that it would be the last time I would probably ever wear a cape. I mostly felt awkward in it. But after seeing this colorful patchwork cape, I thought I'd give it another shot. I loved the colors of this second cape, but felt far more awkward in it. Outside, the wind kept blowing it up and I had a hard time holding it down. Inside the grocery store, I felt like I was taking up so much space. My husband teased me for wearing a blanket to the store, and although I set him straight ("It's not a blanket, it's a cape") I couldn't help but feel like I really was wearing a blanket. I'm not sure I would have felt any differently had I actually thrown a blanket over my shoulders.

Ultimately I'm enjoying Le Tote more, now that I put slightly more thought into what I'm requesting and erring on the side of caution and sizing up. I'm also trying to wear the items I love a few times before sending the tote back. I really hope that you'll consider giving Le Tote a shot! If you use my referral link, you can get your first month for $25 (50% off!) and I can put $15 towards my next tote. I also can't help but think a month of Le Tote would make an awesome gift this time of year :)

Tunic: Le Tote | exact
Watch: gift c/o Mom-in-law
Ankle Pants: LOFT | exact
Flats: via Target | similar

 Cape: Le Tote | exact
Tunic: Le Tote | exact
Leggings: c/o Mom | exact
Moccasins: c/o Mom | exact

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Budget Rewind: November 2013

  • Old Navy chambray: $10 (option) - Even though I haven't worn this one as much as my first chambray shirt, its cost-per-wear is close to $1 if not less. (I remember taking it on a couple of vacations, but don't remember how much I actually wore it on those trips.)
  • Exact Stretch Pants: $43 (exact) - After outgrowing (read: gaining enough wait to no longer fit in) my first pair of Exact Stretch pants, a new pair were in order. The only reason these aren't an excellent purchase is because they aren't exactly straight; they flare out at the very bottom.

  • J. Crew Factory pants: $34 (option) - This purchase was inspired by seeing these pants on Bri. Even though I really liked the print, I could never style them in a satisfying way. In retrospect, I was probably trying too hard instead of just keeping it simple. But at this point, they aren't fitting me, so... we're going to wait and hopefully lose weight and give them another shot.

  • Forever 21 lace dress: $15 (option) - I had wanted a white lace dress for some time, and so when I finally saw one, I decided it was the one. After a couple wears, I realized it was too short, and I didn't like the way it poofed. Silver lining? I learned my lesson and haven't bought a dress from Forever 21 since then.
  • J. Crew Factory scarf: $10 (option) - Once upon a time, I felt like I deserved a reward after a submitting a draft of a paper, and felt like a $10 scarf was the way to do it. I don't like the way this one sits, and I just don't ever have the desire to wear it. If you have any styling ideas, let me know!
  • Gap flats: $13 (option) - I really wanted a pair of red flats, but not in your face red. I spotted these in the clearance section and figured they were the perfect solution. But it turned out they weren't. They're half a size too big and the bow tie won't stay tied so I have to retie them throughout the day when I wear them. Plus they started to peel around the toe the first time I wore them.
  • Old Navy striped top: $13 (option) - I don't remember why I bought this top. I do remember seeing it on Danielle and deciding I had to have it, too. But the sheerness and pastel color makes it difficult to wear in the winter, and the long sleeves make it undesirable to wear in the summer. I have barely worn it in the two years I've owned it. If that's not a bad purchase, I don't know what is.

All in all, this may be one of the worst shopping months I have ever had, which is interesting because November 2014 was such a great shopping month. At least it's safe to say that I have learned a lot in two years. The more budget rewinds I put together, the more I see satisfaction in staples and quality basics. I also have developed a better sense of whether an impulse purchase is going to be something I regret down the road.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Budget Rewind: November 2014

  • Lou & Grey tunic sweater: $30 (similar) - Such a great purchase. While it only appears on the blog here and there, it's perfect for those days when I'm not teaching, but still out and about. Plus it's long enough to cover my bum, so I can wear it with leggings. I felt like I spent too much on it when I first bought it, but it's purchases like these that should remind me that it's okay to spend.
  • Simply Vera leggings: c/o Mom (exact) - Even if these weren't a gift, they would still have been a great purchase. I highly recommend them if you're in need of a pair
  • SO moccasins: c/o Mom (exact) - I think these are technically slippers, but I wear them out and about, too. I almost bought another pair on Black Friday just to have an extra for when these get worn out. 
  • SO tunic sweater: c/o Mom (similar) - I went through a tunic sweater phase (I ended up getting this same style in white in December) but they're honestly my favorite thing to wear in the winter months. I was hoping they'd have this style again on Black Friday, but no luck.
  • Gap Outlet coat: $65 (similar) - I used to have a problem where all my winter coats were fancy except for my fleece. I needed something heavier than a fleece but more casual, and this was the perfect solution. I had a hard time coming to terms with spending so much, but it gets plenty of wear and is functional. Keep that in mind, future Kate.
  • LOFT jeans: $40 (non-distressed version) - I originally bought these in the Modern cut and felt like something was off. So I tried them in the curvy line and life would never be the same. The straight leg is kind of weird, so I end up rolling them up every time I wear them. Again, another purchase I splurged on but that has paid off.
  • Target scarf: $15 (exact) - The only reason this is a good purchase as opposed to a medium is because of its functionality. I don't actually like feeling consumed by my scarves. I know, I'm weird.
  • Orchid sweatshirt: $9 (option) - I loved this sweatshirt... at the beginning. I only wanted to wear it with black pants, and so I got bored with it really quickly. I was able to sell it to a local consignment shop, so I ended up with minimal loss. Moral of the story? I'm a sucker for baseball style tops, and need to practice great restraint to not buy every one I see.

Overall, I spent more than I would have liked, but considering that I walked away with almost all good purchases, I'm okay with it. I'm starting to think that I should focus less on the final total and more with the individual items, how much I love, and how much wear they will get. Future Kate, it's okay to spend if it's on something you're going to wear a lot. You won't regret it. I promise.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

November Budget

What I bought...
  1. grey tankorig. $25, on clearance $8 I actually had purchased this tank in September, but returned because I didn't feel it was worth $15. But fast forward to a few weeks ago when I was in store and it was $8. That's something I feel comfortable spending on a tank.
  2. graphic tank: orig. $13, on clearance $1.30 - An impulse purchase, yes, but it was less than $2 and I've worn it three times, so I'm satisfied. It's going to make for a great top to lounge around in this summer.
  3. short sleeve cardi: $15 on ThredUp - Of all the stuff I bought this month, this is probably the lesser. But it will get its time come spring. [EDIT: RETURNED]
  4. distressed black jeans: orig. $88, on promotion $42 - These are my favorite purchase of the month. I've been needing and wanting a new pair of casual pants, and these fit the bill perfectly. They're comfortable, they fit, and they go with just about everything. I've learned that I'm going to have to spend more on pants, but it ends up being worth it.
  5. purple flats: $36 on ThredUp - My current purple flats are starting to look rough. I look forward to the upgrade, and have learned that it's okay to spend more than $20 on shoes.
  6. cognac flats: orig. $17, on promotion $8.50 - I bought these a couple of months ago, but forgot to mention them on previous reports. I wanted a pair of cognac flats, and since I like my black ones from Target, I figured the cognac ones would be a good choice. They rub on the back of my heels more than my black ones, so I guess I should get some heel grips.
What I returned...
  • These distressed jeans. I've been trying to find a pair of replacement skinny jeans. After buying and loving the black distressed pair (seen above), I figured I should give JCF's other jeans a shot. These fit well, but weren't as dark in color as pictured online, and the patch was too big. Pass.
  • This elephant skirt. I had actually wanted the original retail version when I first saw it, but wasn't willing to spend anywhere close to $100 for a non-staple skirt. When JCF came out with a similar version, I bought it as soon as it went on promotion. Bottom line: it didn't fit well, and I would realistically only wear it on teaching days, and that would maybe be twice a month. That sentence alone made it clear that it wasn't a keeper.
  • This black puff vest. As mentioned in a recent budget rewind, I don't love my black quilted vest. I would be happy to replace it, but once I ordered this one from JCF and it arrived, I realized I really didn't need a new black vest. Maybe next year.
  • This mock turtleneck. I added it to my order with the grid print skirt (see below) to qualify for free shipping. It was fine, but nothing special. I think that's a good enough reason to return it.

What I'm still mulling over...
  • This grid print skirt. A-line skirts work better for my body, and I wear them far more frequently than my pencil skirts. However, I also find myself wearing pants more frequently than skirts lately... so... that leaves me undecided.
  • This grey cardigan. I bought it in September during a store-wide sale. Then I returned it because it was just too much to spend on a basic cardigan. A few weeks ago I was in store and it was on super sale. I'm still not sure about it.
  • This sweater in taupe. I have been wanting to add another tunic sweater to my collection, and this one is different than the ones I already have - both in style and in color. I got a good deal on it when I bought it on Black Friday, but now I'm wondering whether I should hold out for an even better deal, or whether I should get it in violet instead.

Most of the shopping I did on Black Friday was for Christmas gifts for family (except the aforementioned sweater). I did end up ordering this flannel shirt (in white and blue) and this over-sized cardigan, but it will be a few days before they arrive. How did you do this month? Did you do a lot of shopping on Black Friday?

[linking up with Franish for Budgeting Bloggers]

Monday, November 23, 2015

olive shirt // striped skirt

I originally planned to wear this outfit (sans tights) when fall weather first rolled around. While I never got around to wearing the outfit, neither the shirt nor the skirt managed to make their way back into my closet. Fast forward to this past Thursday when I really wanted to wear my elephant sweatshirt, but couldn't settle on what bottoms to wear with them. I eventually gave up and moved on to this window pane skirt, but couldn't settle on what top to wear with it. I eventually gave up on that one, too, and was about ready to throw a tantrum. But then lo and behold, there were my olive shirt and striped skirt... and you know how the rest of this story goes. I put them on, went to teach, came home, and watched Jurassic World. I'd give it two thumbs up, but I just can't buy into the idea that any woman would spend that entire time running around in heels.

Top: Old Navy | option 
Necklace: gift c/o MIL | option
Belt: The Limited | option
Skirt: Old Navy | option
Tights: via Target | exact
Flats: via Target | exact

Friday, November 20, 2015

Five x Friday [vol. 7]

1. Are forced rhymes a pet peeve? It might be one of mine. Can someone tell Shawn Mendes that 'kisses' and 'stitches' don't rhyme?
2. Two weeks ago, I ordered this elephant print skirt. It doesn't fit well, it's too short, and I probably wouldn't wear it more than twice a month. Verdict? Return (woefully). 
3. This black window pane skirt, on the other hand, did fit well. I didn't wear it today because I couldn't settle on a way to style it. Am I overthinking it? How would you style the skirt? 
4. These animations (cartoons?) made me laugh out loud, at least four times.  
5. When I first received my fourth kit from Le Tote, I was underwhelmed by everything except this scarf. I loved it. Luckily it was really hard for me to come up with ways to wear it, so it helped me love it less. (That, and the price tag.) [Later on, I warmed up to a few pieces.]

Scarf: Le Tote | exact
Sweater: J. Crew Factory | option
Chambray: J. Crew Factory | exact
Jacket: J. Crew Factory | exact
Jeans: J. Crew Factory | exact
Flats: J. Lo via Kohl's | option

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Le Tote #4

Last Friday, I alluded to my feelings about my most recent tote from Le Tote. (I believe "dud" was the exact term I used.) Well... I changed my mind. I ended up falling in hard like with this top. Had it fit perfectly, I would have looooved the top. If the cardigan weren't so short in the back (hitting awkwardly in the middle my back), I would have given it two thumbs up as well.

I felt great in this outfit, although I ended up taking the cardigan off ten minutes into class because the room I teach in gets so warm and does not allow for air flow. While I loved the color of the cardigan, the length was reason enough not to keep it. The top was harder to send back, but not as hard as it would have been to spend $48 on it. At this point, the cost of the items themselves is one of the biggest drawbacks of the Le Tote experience. But at the end of the day, I still get to pick the clothes and wear them as much as I want, so I call it a win overall :)

Don't forget - you can still get half off your first month of Le Tote! (Full disclosure: Using my link will take $15 off my next month.)

Top: Le Tote
Cardigan: Le Tote
Necklace: Forever 21
Watch: c/o JORD | exact
Ankle Pants: LOFT | similar
Flats: via Target | similar

wordless wednesday


Scarf: The Limited | option
Utility Blouse: LOFT | exact
Wood Watch: c/o JORD | exact
Ankle Pants: Old Navy | exact
Flats: J. Crew Factory | same style

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

not your boo

I love the days after any holiday at Target, because I can count on deep discounts. Most Halloween merchandise was 90% off the day after, including this fun muscle tank. How could I resist buying it when it was only $1.29? Answer: I couldn't. And I'm okay with that, because the cost-per-wear is currently under $1. 

Graphic Tank: via Target | exact
Cardigan: Old Navy (old) | option
Jeans: J. Crew Factory | exact
Flats: via Target | exact

Bloopers, anyone? With the new year just around the corner, I figure it's going to be time soon to do another blooper round-up (see the first set here). Stay tuned so you don't miss out on precious gems like this one :)

Monday, November 16, 2015

see my vests

The weather is perfect for sweaters, vests, and scarves these days. I've been wearing vests on the weekends, taking pictures of the outfits, and then forgetting about those pictures. Today I'm sharing three of those vests: herringbone, navy, and black. I didn't realize that my Lou & Grey sweater tunic was getting so much wear lately (it's what these three outfits all have in common), but I'm not surprised -- it's a fantastic piece. I've included some similar options at the bottom of this post as I highly recommend have a tunic sweater like this for the fall and winter seasons!

Vest: J. Crew Factory | exact
Jeans: The Limited | similar
Sneakers: via Target | similar

Pairing my herringbone vest with my quilted sneakers never crossed my mind until I saw Bri do it. You can bet that I'll be pairing the two again in the near future, but with a black sweater instead of grey. I wore this outfit to the mall to do some returns. (I ended up giving in to this cardigan and this tank - both items I bought (and returned) in September. Two weeks ago they were on super sale and I couldn't resist. I'm still undecided about the cardigan. On one hand, how much grey does a person need in their closet? On the other hand, grey is such an easy color to incorporate into outfits. Thoughts?)

Scarf(c/o Mom) Gap | similar
Vest: J. Crew Factory | exact
Jeans: LOFT | similar
Flats: via Target | exact

This vest was $40 in May (60% off original price). I knew at the time that it would be months before I could wear it, but I was fine with that. In the past month, I've worn this vest to the zoo, on errands, and on this particular occasion: to make returns. (I didn't buy anything that day in store, but ended up ordering this skirt and these jeans online for a better price. The skirt is obviously super cute, but realistically unpractical. The jeans? They'll get their own post this week.)

Scarf: via Target | exact
Vest: Old Navy | this year's version
Jeans: J. Crew Factory | exact
Flats: via Target | exact

I don't love the fit of this vest, and have been strongly considering buying this one as a replacement. I told myself that before I bought a new one, I should at least try to wear mine a few more times. I've also been considering replacing my blanket scarf, but figured that I should wear it a few more times before I do.

How many vests do you have? What are your favorite ways to wear them?

similar tunic sweater options:
(top row under $50, bottom row under $75)

[linking up with Laura, Lindsey, Bri, and Whitney]
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