Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April Budget

1. Old Navy denim shorts: originally $25, on promotion $17 [EDIT: RETURNED]
2. LOFT striped tank: originally $45, on promotion $22
3. LOFT elephant shorts: originally $50, on promotion $30
4. Forever 21 sleeveless blazer: originally $23 - online coupon code = $21
5. Target sandals: originally $23, on promotion $17.50 (part of BOGOHO) [EDIT: RETURNED]
6. Target espadrilles: originally $25, on promotion $19 (part of BOGOHO)
7. Kate Spade handbag: (future) gift for passing comprehensive exams

= $92

Apart from the gladiator sandals, I'm loving everything I bought this month. (I'm still undecided about the sandals. I blame it on the lack of sandal weather.) Yeah, I spent way too much, but I've been doing well this year so far (less than $50 each month) so a splurge month was in the cards.

I haven't changed my mind about the purchases I made in a recent LOFT haul. I tried to order the mesh shell in a smaller size, but four days after I received my order confirmation, I was informed that the item was sold out. So frustrating. Now I'm trying to decide whether to keep the one I have or send it back. I'm probably going to send it back since I just don't love it the way I love the striped tank from the same order. (I wore it twice last week.)

I'm also not sure whether to keep the LOFT elephant scarf. It smells so terrible. And I probably don't need it. Plus if I'm keeping the shorts, do I really need the same print in a different item? (No, and that's why I didn't even order the tee or cardigan -- although if the cardigan weren't sheer, I'd be tempted.) 

On a whim, I ordered these floral sneakers from J. Crew Factory. Terribly uncomfortable and stiff. I honestly couldn't see myself wearing them that often. When I saw these flats online, I thought they were a better alternative. The verdict is still out (in the mail) for whether they're keepers or not.

I also put an order in with Old Navy, but it was a flop. These jacquard Pixie pants didn't fit. This seersucker shirt was... meh. I accidentally ordered this top in a Tall, and it was just too Tall. I'm holding out for another free shipping day, because we know that I don't need to be tempted by another $35 worth of stuff just to get free shipping.

I can't say there's anything that I have my eye on next month, although I have considered getting my sleeveless blazer in black. Also, it will be a different story if this scarf goes on super sale or if this bucket bag goes on super-dee-duper sale.

How did you do this month? What did you buy? 

[linking up with Fran for Budgeting Bloggers]

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

last week today

You may or may have not noticed that I was absent from the blogosphere last week. I am in the midst of preparing for my comprehensive exams, and nearly every waking moment last week was spent working on my prospectus. This is the last checkpoint before the dissertation defense. That also means that I am *this* much closer to debuting my new Kate Spade bag. Is it bad that I'm more excited for my bag than I am to being one step closer to finishing grad school? 

Anyway, I did get dressed this past week, and managed to take pictures of two of those outfits (one teaching outfit, one office hours outfit). Small victories!

Outfit #1 (left)
Scarf: Gap (option) // Sweater: J. Crew Factory (similar) // 
Pants: The Limited (similar) // Flats: via Target (similar)

Outfit #2 (right)
Blazer: via Target (similaroption) // Top: Ann Taylor Outlet (c/o Mom) (similar) // 
Necklace: Forever 21 (option) // Jeans: LOFT (option) // Flats: Old Navy (option)

Friday, April 17, 2015

10 things v.2

1.  There is only one male Northern White Rhino left on earth. 
2. Poachers kill 96 elephants every day - that's one every 15 seconds. Recently an elephant killed one of these "professional game hunters".
3. The second teaser trailer for Star Wars: Episode 7 was released yesterday. I'm actually looking forward to the movie.
4. Just when I wanted LOFT to have another sale so I could try this mesh shell in a smaller size, they go and do just that (40% off w/code SHAREIT). Now should I also get this elephant tee? Or should I get the shorts instead? Or the scarf?
5. I hope to get some sleep this weekend. I'll be sure to do it in a bed rather sitting upright. Take note, monkeys.
6. I'm not a vegetarian, but I tried Chipotle's sofritas for the first time this week. I like it a lot. And after one too many negative experiences with under-cooked chicken and chewy steak, I may be a sofritan. Sofritite? Sofritanese?
7. I have two soccer games this weekend. (Chipotle is food of choice after soccer.) Hopefully they won't get rained out.
8. Speaking of shoes, I bought these sandals (in cognac) along with these espadrilles (as seen here) when Target had a BOGOHO promotion. While I've committed to the espadrilles, I'm still on the fence about the sandals. Thoughts?
9. If you missed out on Target's espadrilles, J. Crew Factory just came out with a very similar version of their own.
10. J. Crew Factory also just came out with a green version of my blue ponte dress. So tempting. Almost as tempting to pair that dress with a white sleeveless vest. Luckily for me, I already have one :)

Necklace: Forever 21 | option
Sweater: LOFT | last worn
Skirt: Old Navy | save, spend, splurge
Flats: Steve Madden | exact

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Make it Work: black trim blouse

After putting together January 2013's Budget Rewind, I realized I had done a terrible job of wearing my black trim blouse. (Two wears in two years? Oy.) I was trying to come up with a way to wear it recently, when I remembered some advice I've shared in the past: pair a neglected item with something you love and/or something new. (Good advice, wouldn't you say?)

I also wanted to challenge myself to wear my new vest/sleeveless blazer with something other than a sleeveless top. Mission accomplished! Is it bad that I'm contemplating getting this vest in black, too? Talk me out of it? Or convince me that it is the perfect piece for summer?

[top ten remix items: sleeveless vest and leopard flats]

Vest/Sleeveless Blazer: Forever 21 | exact
Black Trim Blouse: The Limited | option
Watch & Belt: gifts c/o mom-in-law
Skinny Jeans: The Limited | option
Flats: Christian Siriano via Payless | option

[linking up with Alice]

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

stripes and fireworks

We're halfway through April, which means we're also halfway through the Top Ten Remix challenge. I've managed to keep up with the challenge, especially if you count honorable mentions. I haven't worn all ten items yet because the weather is much cooler this month than I anticipated. Oh well. My split-back top is making its second appearance today though, just in time for Sarah's link up.

Don't be surprised if I wear this outfit again but replace the striped blazer for a black one. Or replace the firework necklace with a longer necklace. Don't you love when minor modifications can result in countless more outfit possibilities? 

Blazer: Shade Clothing | save, spend
Necklace: ShyBoutique | same style
Top: Old Navy | exact - save 30% w/code TAXDAY
Ankle Pants: The Limited | option
Flats: via Target | almost exact

[also linking up with The Pleated Poppy and White Coat Wardrobe]

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

review: LOFT tres jolie tee, tweed stripe sweatshirt, et. al

While I can easily resist LOFT flash sales, I can't resist free shipping. Originally my plan was just to order this graphic tee, but then... well... LOFT happened.

I was most excited about this graphic tee, and it turned out to be my least favorite item in this haul. Cons: The fit in the shoulders, the placement of the 's' (too off center and too close to my armpit), and the pulling between the words and the neckline. Pros: um... the length? I ordered this tee in a small, but I don't think that a medium would have fixed the problems. Ultimately, this tee did not live up to its message: it was not trรจs jolie. Bummer, because I had such great plans for it. (But realistically it's not like I need another graphic tee. Unless it's this one?)

I remember seeing this sweatshirt on another blogger and thinking that it would be a great addition to my closet. Nope. Just no. It is overly cropped (at least for my 5'7" self). Husband liked it until I raised my arms and the whole thing went up and revealed my belly. Sure, I could constantly pull it down and readjust it so that it would sit even with the bottom of my tank top, but not for the price I paid. Easy decision: return.

While I adore the Lou & Grey line, I somehow managed to only order one piece this time around: this striped sweatshirt. I loved it at first, but within a few minutes of moving around, the sleeves quickly wrinkled. Raising my arms revealed my tank top, which was a major drawback for me. Why can't clothes just stay in place when I move around? Whenever I try a top on, I pretend to write on a chalkboard to determine whether it would be classroom appropriate. I'm on the fence about this one. Are the drawbacks offset by the cuteness factor of the sweatshirt? Do I need another sweatshirt? What if it doesn't look like a sweatshirt? These are the questions that keep me up at night.

I saw a blue sleeveless top at Target, fell in love, and then had my heart broken because it was too too short. So when I saw this top, I thought it could serve as a replacement, and do much more. It's got this cute "mesh" detailing along the side in navy and the entire back is white. The top is popover style (doesn't button all the way down). I ordered a small, but I think I could have gotten away with an extra small. I felt like it was too frumpy (especially when tucked in), but my husband disagreed. I haven't yet decided whether to keep this one, exchange it for a smaller size [which would be a hassle as it is an online exclusive], or return it all together. 

And finally, the world's most perfect striped tank. Obviously meant to be paired with my new espadrilles and/or olive pants. Unless I get buyer's remorse in the next 45 days, this one is a keeper. I ordered a small, and probably could have gotten away with an extra small, but since I plan to wear it casually, I am fine with the looser fit. I love the length and that it is a silkier material. I rarely ever wear tops without a tank or cami underneath, but would probably forego it in this case (although I would wear a nude bra instead of black).

What do you think about these pieces? Did you take advantage of LOFT's recent sale? Or any other sales? I also have an order from Old Navy and J. Crew Factory on the way, so I'll try to get another review together in the next week. I'm intrigued to find out whether these sneakers and these pants work out, so stay tuned! I really do enjoy review posts, so feel free to include a link to your review post in your comment!

Items Reviewed:

Monday, April 13, 2015

lace baseball tee + military vest

When I first saw this lace baseball tee, I thought "that is so me!" it should come as no surprise that it is one of the items on my Top Ten Remix. It is somewhat surprising is that I don't wear it more often. 

Speaking of surprises, the Kate Spade Cove Street Goldie came back to me. Last month, I found it in TJ Maxx, but wasn't sure about it, so I passed, only to regret that decision hours later. It was gone the next day. I came *this* close to paying double online, but I figured what's meant to be will always find a way. Long story short, when I saw it in store again, I bought it without hesitation, and now I just have to wait to take my comprehensive exams and it will officially be mine. (I'm treating it as my reward for passing comps, and won't use it until I do... which will hopefully be at the end of this semester.)

What kinds of things have surprised you lately?

Top: The Limited | option
Vest: Old Navy | option
Necklace (souvenir) | option
Pants: The Limited | exact
Flats: J. Lo via Kohl's | option

[linking up with Laura]

Thursday, April 9, 2015

another top ten honorable mention

I had a really hard time deciding on my ten for The Top Ten Remix. I must have made at least five collages before finally settling. One of the items that didn't make the cut was my arrow sweatshirt (as seen on Monday). My grey smoking flats also did not make the cut. I felt like an item I have only worn once can't really be a quintessential example of my style or myself.

But then there's that part of me that is full of glee every time I look down and see them on my feet. While they obviously work with black pants and jeans, I can't figure out how to wear them for warmer weather. Any suggestions?? 

Scarf: Gap | option, option
Top: J. Crew Factory | similar
Pants: The Limited | exact
Flats: Christian Siriano via Payless | option

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

new additions

A few weeks ago I was in Old Navy returning an oversized cardigan and a scarf I didn't need. I was in one of those rare moods where I was willing to try on pants, and tried on some Pixie pants. While I'm in between sizes in the regular line, the chinos were pretty much perfect. Olive pants have been on my wishlist for years, so I'm happy to have finally found some that actually work.

I took a bunch of tops into the dressing room with me (as mentioned in a previous post) and this one was my favorite. (I love the back of it, which, of course, I didn't get a photo of today.) The pink (not available online) spoke more to me to begin with, but the following weekend I came back for the same one in black. 

It's not often that I buy pieces on a whim, but these are two pieces I truly see myself getting a good amount of wear from. (Honestly, this will probably be my go-to outfit on any non-teaching 60-70 degree day.)

[top ten item: split back top]

Top: Old Navy | exact
Necklace: (souvenir) | option
Pants: Old Navy | exact
Sandals: via Target | this year's version

[linking up with Alice]

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Make it Work: parrot top

If this outfit looks familiar, that's because it is. I have a love/hate relationship with my parrot top. I love the colors and the print, but I hate how difficult it can be to style. I looked through my archives to remind myself of other ways I've worn the top. Pants and shorts are out of the question for a teaching outfit on an 80 degree day. I've worn it once with a skirt and loved how that turned out. So, I used that outfit as inspiration for today's outfit. 

Fashion tip of the day: Use yourself as inspiration. Do you love how you wore an item in the past? Figure out what it was that you loved about that outfit and do it again.

The last time I wore this top, I paired it with a navy-ish skirt and an oatmeal cardigan. I really liked the way the top looked with navy and oatmeal. Surely the same color combination would make for an equally great outfit? (Meh - I like the original version more.) I kept the accessories the same mostly because I didn't have time to experiment with other accessories, and I needed to incorporate one of my top ten items into this outfit. (Today's top ten item: teal wedges.)

On a side note, how do you tuck in a flowy shirt and not look ridiculous? Leaving this top untucked was not an option, but tucked in looked weird. Is it the cut of the skirt, the shirt itself, or is it just me?

Cardigan: The Limited | option
Necklace: Forever 21 | option
Top: LOFT | option, option
Skirt: The Limited | option
Wedges: via Target | option

[linking up with Laura]

Monday, April 6, 2015

challenge fail

I know I said last week that I was excited to participate in two challenges at the same time, but that excitement faded over the weekend. The best explanation is that I came up with a bunch of outfit ideas that didn't include items from my top ten, and I didn't want to wait for days they aligned with the prompts to wear them. 

So on a day when I needed to run some errands, I said "sorry challenges, I do what I want", and what I wanted to do was wear my beloved triangles/arrows sweatshirt and new espadrilles. I'd be lying if I didn't say that I also wore this outfit on Friday and the previous Saturday. And I'm pretty much living in this sweatshirt when I'm at home. This is one of those items that somehow doesn't make it to the blog much but gets a lot of wear off the blog. (Does that ever happen for you?)

Maybe I should have just included this sweatshirt in my top ten. I had it in there until I looked at the weather, saw a slew of 80 degree days, and figured I wouldn't get to wear it. I guess I was wrong.

Sweatshirt: J. Crew Factory | option - only $4!
Exact Stretch Pants: The Limited | exact
Espadrilles*: via Target | exact

A note about the espadrilles: I originally bought 1/2 size smaller than usual. Then I exchanged for 1/2 size bigger than usual. There was minimal difference between the two, but I'm glad I sized up so that I won't have to worry if my feet swell. Also, I've worn them a handful of times yet - no sign of falling apart yet as other reviewers have claimed happened with theirs. However, I did get a small blister on my big toe the first time I wore them. I did a lot of walking that day. Ultimately, I chose a $20 pair from Target rather than investing in a pair because I didn't see these as a shoe I needed (or even wanted) to last me through the years. As long as I get my money's worth, I'll be happy. By the looks of it, I will do both things before the end of the summer.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

my top ten remix items

When Sarah announced The Top Ten Remix, I got excited, but couldn't figure out what items are "the epitome of my style". I couldn't come up with ten items that make me say "oh that is so me". I have very few items in my closet that would make me cry if I spilled red wine on them. Really there's only one item that comes to mind: my bear dress. Obviously made the list. Then I added nine other items that I bought without hesitation.

I'll explain throughout the month why these items made it to the list, but you can probably see a few themes in this group. Simple. A touch of interest. Comfortable. Relatively neutral. Symmetrical patterns. And of course some bears. 

[Linking up with Sarah]

Saturday, April 4, 2015

denim jacket + black dress

The Create28 prompt for Friday was "spring jackets". I intended to have this post go live on Friday, but forgot to schedule it, and was away from the computer all day. (No fancy phone here.) Luckily enough, today's prompt is "denim" so this post will work just fine :)

My denim jacket is the closest that I get to a spring jacket. I wear it most during the spring, and anything heavier would be too much. In the past few years, we haven't had a spring here that has lasted more than a few weeks anyway, so there's little point in having a spring jacket. But, on a day like when I wore this one (Thursday), I just wanted a comfortable dress and something to throw on top. This denim jacket was that something. Do you have spring jackets? Which one is your favorite?

For the Top Ten Remix Challenge, I decided that my "Kate" necklace was definitely one of the top ten items that best represents me. I mean, what represents a person better than a necklace of the same name?  (I'll try to get together a list of my ten items for tomorrow.)

Denim Jacket: via Target | option
Necklace: gift c/o MIL | option
Dress: Old Navy | similar
Flats: Gap | option, option

Thursday, April 2, 2015

sleeveless blazer debut

For yesterday's post, I decided that the Create28 prompt "pop of pink" meant "one pink item" (i.e., a pink skirt). For today's post, I decided that "pop of pink" means "a tiny bit of pink" (i.e., a covered up pink top). Today's post also marks the debut of my sleeveless blazer a.k.a. longline vest

I've had my eye on sleeveless blazers for a while now. They didn't make any sense to me when I first saw them in the dead of winter, but now that spring is here (and summer is just around the corner), they make sense. In a blazer, I would have melted (it was 80 degrees!). Without this vest, I would have just been wearing a tank (albeit a fun one with a slit back) and jeans. But add a vest, and bam, I'm fancy. 

What do you think of vests / sleeveless blazers like these? Would you wear one? How would you style it?

Sleeveless blazer: Forever 21 | exact
Pink top: Old Navy | same in black
Leopard belt: via Target | almost exact
Jeans: The Limited | ankle, cropped
Flats: J. Lo via Kohl's | option

Oh, and just for fun, this is what the other sleeveless blazer that I ordered looked like:

Way too costume-y (curtain-y?). And wrinkly. But if that's your thing, you can buy it here

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

three four one

1. When Whitney announced that she and Carrie would be hosting Create28: Lovely Spring Looks, I decided I would hop on board. It's been a while since I've done a month long challenge, so we'll see how this goes. The prompt for today was "pop of pink". It's hard to know when a pop is no longer a pop, but I decided that it would mean one pink item.

2. When Sarah announced that she would be hosting the Top Ten Remix Challenge, I wanted to jump on board. But then I realized I had already jumped on board for Create28. Can I be on two boards at once? Only time will tell. But for today, yes. [One of my ten is my grey piped blazer. Other nine TBA.]

3. This outfit was inspired by this pin {via Fizz and Frosting}. While I appreciate her additional touches, I felt like keeping it simple and forgoing a belt and necklace. In hindsight, I should have worn earrings. 

Blazer: via Target | similar, option
Top: The Limited | option
Skirt: The Limited | similar
Heels: via Payless | exact

[linking up with Lindsey, Shanna, and Liz]
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