Saturday, January 31, 2015

Budget Rewind: January 2014

Andi had this great idea to reflect on past purchases, and I found her breakdown to be helpful and informative. I'm following suit and will be reflecting on last year's purchases all year long, month by month.

I'll be starting with January 2014. You can see the original budget post here.


  • Target blazer: $18 - A good purchase, for sure. While I could wear it more, it's one of my most frequently worn blazers, and I love it every time I wear it.

Honorable mention:
  • The Limited striped top: $17 - I ended up returning the top shortly after putting the budget together. I just didn't love it. Hooray for recognizing this and not keeping it just because it was cute.

That was easy, and very satisfying. Of the two things I bought, I returned one right away and have been happy with the other. I really should remind myself when I'm shopping that the way I feel about this blazer is the way I should feel about all of my purchases, every month.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

January Budget

1. Old Navy dress: originally $35, on clearance $10.50
2. Old Navy turtleneck: originally $16.50, on clearance $5
3. Target flats: originally $20, on clearance $5
4. J. Crew Factory sweater: originally $50, on clearance $14
5. J. Crew Factory bracelet: originally $30, on clearance $5.50

= $40

Not bad, especially considering two of these items (#1 & #4 were on my wishlist). I patiently waited for the grey dress to go on clearance, but by the time it did, it was too close to Christmas and I felt guilty buying anything for myself. It wasn't until I saw it on Heidi that I decided to stalk it again. It took a few days, but I managed to nab one in my size. The turtleneck seemed like a great layering piece, and helped me qualify for free shipping. I had almost bought the flats when they were $12. I realized I only have one pair of pointed toe flats in my closet (and those are leopard print), so these additionally serve as a variety piece. A navy sweater has been on my list for over a year now, so when J. Crew Factory had a flash sale on their clearance, I nabbed it without thinking twice. The bracelet was another impulse jewelry buy. I've really got to get that under control this year. But it's so cute! 

While I'm happy with these purchases, it doesn't really stop there. I'm currently mulling over two pairs of flats from Payless (these and these). Together, both pairs cost me $30 which I can handle. I like the grey ones, but I'm on the fence about the blue ones. Are they too juvenille? Too loud? Could you see me wearing them?

As for what didn't work... This cardigan from Forever 21 that was too small. As was this sweater. I'm half tempted to order it again in the next size up, but I'll have to wait until the next round of free shipping. I asked you what you thought about this poncho, but I decided against it. While I could make it work, $20 is a lot to pay to make something work. And why would I keep something I'm on the fence about? I doubt I'll regret the decision, and suspect I'll be able to find another white poncho down the line if I change my mind. I had also ordered this shirt from JCF (to qualify for free shipping) but didn't love the pre-wrinkled pre-crinkled-ness to it. It was a great deal, but I just didn't love it.

How did you do this month? After putting this post together, I realized I missed posting December's budget and doing a 2014 budget rewind. I'll try to get that together soon, so stay tuned!

[linking up with Fran for Budgeting Bloggers]

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pinspired: pink sweater + grey pants

I was so excited when Audrey announced that she would be hosting Style Challenges on her blog. I missed the first two link ups, but am ready to participate this week with a Pinspired look! This is the pin I copied, via The Classy Cubicle.

3 things to note:

  1. My mom bought this sweater* for me over the holiday break, and I feel so great when I wear it. I feel bold and confident and peppy all wrapped up in one. [We're talking potential "best of 2015" material here.]
  2. My mother-in-law got this necklace for me. My love for it grew so much when I learned that its the "Kate".
  3. These flats are new. I spotted them at Target last week for $14 but even with a 20% off cartwheel coupon wasn't ready to spend that much. I regretted that decision that same night, but couldn't make it back to Target for a few days. By the time I made it back, the flats were on clearance for $6. And I had a 40% off cartwheel coupon. Less than $5 for a pair of flats? Yes.

Sweater (c/o Mom): J. Crew Factory | exact
Necklace (c/o Mom-in-law) | option, want
Pants: Apt. 9 via Kohl's | option
Flats: via Target | option

shop the look:

Monday, January 26, 2015

reader response requested: poncho or ponch-no?

In order to qualify for free shipping for a Forever 21 order, I added this poncho to my cart. I liked the idea of adding something new to my closet, unlike anything I already own. When it arrived, I really liked it. But then I tried to figure out whether I really liked it because of its novelty or because it was something I really wanted. So, I took some photos in hopes that it would settle the matter. It didn't. So now I'm turning to you!


A few things to note:
- The last picture captures the color of the poncho most accurately. (You can see the true color here.)
- It only comes in one size, so there's no option of sizing up or down.
- It can easily be layered. I was wearing a long sleeve tee when I first tried it on.

What do you think? Yay or nay? 

Friday, January 23, 2015

worn on tv

I didn't start watching Parks and Rec until it was on the air for a few years and the hype had fizzled. After a few episodes, I found myself keeping an eye out for what April would wear in the show. I could identify with her style, and was amused by how many of her clothes were from J. Crew - (have you ever noticed how many female characters on TV wear J. Crew? if you haven't, check this out). And then one day I saw this:

season 6, episode 2

"What an amazing sweatshirt," I thought to myself. I looked it up on on WornOnTV and discovered it was from J. Crew. And available for $65. Long story short, it's not in my budget to spend $65 on a sweatshirt. By the time it went on sale, its $39 price tag was still too much for me. So I woefully passed. 

Fast forward to a year later, when J. Crew Factory puts out a dupe, puts it on sale, and bam. It was mine. I threw on some jeans, a shirt, and the sweatshirt, and called it a day. Only I forgot to change my shoes before I left for campus. I'm only slightly embarrassed to say that this isn't the first time this has happened.

Sweatshirt: J. Crew Factory | exact
Shirt: Old Navy | option
Jeans: LOFT | exact
Moccasins (c/o Mom): via Kohl's | exact

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

first day back

I probably put more thought into what I wear on the first day of classes than any other day of the semester. After countless outfit changes, I finally settled on my grey piped blazer, a white tee, and black pants. I'm not thrilled with how these photos turned out, but I really like the tee and blazer combo. Have you worn a tee with a blazer? How did it turn out? 

Also, I just realized this is my first official outfit post of the new year. And that I wore this blazer for my first day back last year

Blazer: via Target | similar
Tee: via Kohl's | similar
Necklace: The Limited
Pants: The Limited | option
Heels: via Target | option

[linking up with Alice]

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

wishlists: 2014 v. 2015

In the past few years, I've put together wishlists of items I'd like to add to my closet. You might think that 2015's list might look like that which still remains on my 2014 wishlist with the addition of some trendy items or some replacement items. Well, it's not that easy. 

I had 35 items on my 2014 wishlist and purchased 12 of those items (including a military jacket with a hood, which had been on my 2013 wishlist as well!). 10 of those items I no longer care to add to my closet (e.g., I really don't need anymore blazers, so I nixed tweed blazer from the list). But with the addition of two more wants (a white button up blouse and an everyday handbag), that leaves the following 15, i.e., my 2015 wishlist. 15 for '15!  (Now let's see if I can keep my purchases limited to what's on this list...)


  • Navy crewneck sweater (like this)
  • Black longsleeve top with white stripes (like this)
  • White/cream silk/flowy button up blouse (like this)


  • Big chunky sweater cardigan (like this)

  • Dark print a-line skirt (able to be worn in winter)
  • Burgundy pencil skirt (like this)
  • Olive full-length straight-leg pants



  • Maroon infinity scarf (like this)
  • everyday handbag (not in cognac or black) (like this)


  • Black booties - low heel (like these)
  • Black heels, 2-3" heel
  • Black suede wedges (like these)
  • Purple/fuchsia heels
  • Cognac riding boots (like these)

Do you make wishlists? What's on your wishlist?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

best purchases of 2014

Now that you've seen my favorite outfits of 2014 (here and here), it's time to share my favorite purchases of 2014. Including gifts, I added 45 items to my closet this past year. Of those, 5 really stand out as the best purchases. This is mostly determined by a cost-per-wear ratio with consideration of feeling when I wear that purchase.

black sweater {via Old Navy}
The best $11 I may have spent all year. Had I known that I'd end up wearing this sweater half as much as I do, I would have bought one in every color. Or at least kept the one I bought (but then returned) in navy. Darn me and my stinginess. 

a-line skirt {via The Limited}
In 2014, I learned that a-line skirts suit me better than pencil skirts (unless they're ponte). This one is now one of my favorite skirts for work.

 tunic sweater {via LOFT}
This was a case of love at first sight. I didn't buy it right away, but my patience paid off with a 50% sale. I really can't say enough great things about this tunic sweater.

safari earring set {via Forever 21}
Long story short: The best $3 I spent in 2014. Although I've managed to go without getting a detailed shot of these on, I wear them whenever I don't know what else to wear.

Birkenstocks {via DSW}
When I wasn't wearing fancy sandals in the summer, these Birkenstocks were my go-to. Whether it was to take the dogs out, or a trip to the grocery store, or spending a day at the zoo, these were perfect. These are definitely my best purchase of the 2014.

What were your best purchases of 2014?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Target, lately

The other day my husband and I went to scope out the clearanced holiday items at Target. At 90% off, it was hard to resist buying everything. (But we managed.) I went to the women's section hoping to find such great deals, and although I walked home empty-handed (with the exception of a pair of holiday socks for 50 cents), I found enough winners to write about them.
First, in the clearance section...
  • Tailored Blazer: I have been eyeing this blazer in camel for months. I was *this* close to buying it when I discovered that it was less than $20. (I bought a similar blazer in piped grey last year and it proved to be a great purchase.) What stopped me? I already have a tan-ish blazer.
  • Tunic Sweater: I've been spending most of my holiday break in tunic sweaters (this one, this one, and this one primarily), and now that I've turned to the longer lengths, I can't see myself going short again. It was $14... and sold out in my size. Sad face.
  • Pullover Sweater: Is there such a thing as too many stripes? I didn't think so. Again, sold out in my size, but $10! 
  • Waterfall Cardigan: When I saw this cardigan on Danielle, I nearly turned around and bought it for myself. I've been waffling about this one ever since, and will buy it if and when it is $10.
  • Bow Handbag: Quite possibly the most adorable little bag ever. If the smaller size isn't your cup of tea, it also comes in a larger handbag and a tote.
  • Leather Gloves: My fliptop gloves just aren't cutting it in the recent single-digit temps. I need something warmer just as much as I need the to move from the 30% off rack to the 50% off rack.
  • Moto Jacket: Don't you hate it when you find a perfect jacket at the perfect price, but the size isn't right? This jacket is fortunately one of the few items that is just as cheap online as it is in store.
  • Satchel Handbag: I must have stood in front of this bag for at least five minutes debating which one to take home with me. It comes in nearly every color of the rainbow!

Then, the new arrivals...
  • Boatneck Tee: The classic top has returned. (And is currently on promotion for $8.)
  • Chunky Cardigan: A long length cardigan? hashtag FTW. (for the winter)
  • Infinity Scarf: Can you say officially on my wishlist? This scarf provides the perfect pop of color on these awfully dreary winter days. It would look great paired with just about any solid colored top. 
  • Button Down Shirt: Black gingham is such a classic and would look great layered under a black sweater, a colorful cardigan, or even this vest (so cute!). 
  • The Timeless Collection: (not pictured) This is the best line of handbags I've ever seen at Target, and I wouldn't be surprised if they never made it to the clearance section. The hobo bag in taupe is at the top of my list. It seems like something that could work nearly year-round, and for the remainder of the year there are oodles of bright colors.
  • Drawstring Dress: (not pictured) So comfortable. Seriously. Go to Target. Try it on. And don't blame me when you go home with it.

What's catching your eye at Target lately? Have you found any great deals recently? 

This is not a sponsored post. I just really like shopping posts and hope this will inspire you to share some of your finds!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

favorites of 2014: part 2

On Monday, I showed off my favorite warm-weather looks of 2014. This time, I'm sharing my favorite cold-weather looks of 2014. It looks like winter is here to stay... until March 19th. (wahn wahn)

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

It's hard to pick a favorite, but it might be #5. I love the way the coral and olive come together with the scarf. I clearly do enjoy my pops of color in the dead of winter. What are your favorite kinds of outfits to wear in colder weather? 

Monday, January 5, 2015

favorites of 2014: part 1

Last year, I put together a collage of my favorite looks of 2013. Here are some of my favorite spring/summer looks of 2014. After putting this collage together, I can't wait for spring! 

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

If I had to pick one favorite, I couldn't. But if I could pick two, I'd pick #3 and #5. I can't put my finger on why any of these were my favorite warm-weather looks, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that these outfits all include some of my favorite pieces. They're all also relatively simple, and more in line with my personal style. Next time I'll show you my favorite fall/winter outfits of 2014.

Friday, January 2, 2015

an update

I'm sure you've all been wondering where I've been these past few weeks. Well, I got the flu in the middle of December. That lasted longer than I would have liked, and hit me harder than anticipated. Then I got healthy enough to grade my students' essays and exams and calculate their final grades. That took a lot out of me and I managed to get sick again. Or maybe I wasn't actually through with the flu. Either way, before I knew it, it was time to pack up and head out to spend the holiday with family. I managed to pick up another cold on the way home. A cancelled flight and waiting in an airport for ten hours for a red-eye will do that to a person me.

TL;DR: My extended break from blogging has been due to sickness.

I'm still sick, but doing everything to recover quickly. I have plans for 2015. Just you wait and see.
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