Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Budget Rewind: September 2013

  • cargo/military/utility vest: $24 - This is one of those pieces I bought because it was trendy, but I've managed to make work. At least twelve times on the blog, plus the times I wore it traveling/on vacation. 
  • bear dress: $50 - When I first saw this, it was $100. I came *this* close to buying it, because, let's be real, if this doesn't scream me, what does? Luck was on my side when it went on sale, my in-laws came to visit and took us to the big city, and there was an Anthropologie with my size in stock. This is definitely one of my favorite pieces in my closet. I just wish I had more ways to style it.
  • lariat/tassel necklace: $8 - I bought this as a cheaper alternative to some popular necklace that a bunch of other bloggers had. I'm not sure why I don't wear it more.

Mostly good purchases?! This mus be some sort of record for me! In my budget rewind for September 2014, I told future Kate to stop buying items just because they were trendy. But now I have to give past Kate a pat on the back, and tell future Kate to take some cues from her. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Budget Rewind: September 2014

  • black scarf: $5 - I'm not sure the thought of owning a black scarf ever crossed my mind until I needed something cheap to qualify for free shipping. It has ended up working out, but realistically, it only took a few wears to justify the purchase. 

  • lace front top: $19 - In theory, this top is perfect for me. Sporty baseball tee meets feminine lace and pink? The only reason it's not a good purchase is because I don't love it as much as I thought I would when I ordered it online. The sleeves aren't pink but rather some tan/flesh color. The only reason I've managed to wear it as much as I have is probably because I've forced myself to.
  • two-tone heels: $5 (after discounts and store credit) - worn three times, which isn't great, but isn't terrible. I still like them, but I've been wearing heels far less frequently when I teach. 

  • joggers: $23 - A seam has split down the side of these, and so they're out of commission right now. But even if I got them sewn up, they're still too tight when I sit down. I love how joggers look on everyone else, but I feel like I can't pull them off.

A typical budget rewind for me: mostly medium purchases, but some good and some bad. Thinking back on it now, I realize my bad purchases tend to be one of the following: (1) impulse purchases, (2) "I'm allowed to buy whatever I want without remorse" purchases, and (3) trendy/fad purchases. Joggers fall in this third category. Future Kate, listen up: stop buying items that are cool in the moment but will be silly in the future. Stop impulse purchasing. Your impulse purchases only work out 5% of the time, and that's not good enough.

Monday, September 28, 2015

September Budget

1. silky tee: $24 (orig. $40)
2. pendant necklace: $7 (orig. $40)
3. white tank: $4 (orig. $13)
4. striped tee: $16 (orig. $27)

= $51

I forgot to include the white tank in my August Budget, so I'm adding it here. I've been waiting for the striped tee to go on clearance, but I finally caved in during a recent promotion. The same goes with the necklace, although I was just waiting for free shipping. The silky tee was the only unplanned purchase... kind of. I had been having difficulties getting dressed in the morning, so I wanted to buy something that I knew I would wear right away and that would avoid the rigmarole. The mauve tee was the perfect solution.

I bought a few other things this month, but I haven't decided yet as to whether I will keep them or not - either because they haven't arrived yet due to shipping issues, or because they are fall items and it has been way too hot to wear them. I'm waiting for it to get cool enough to want to wear navy and/or black ankle pants (both which I need to replace current ones that don't fit) and a grey tank and cardigan. I'm waiting for similar items from Old Navy (full length Pixie pants (in black) and ankle length Pixies (in navy) and a couple tank tops (coral and grey)) - hopefully they'll arrive soon so I can make some decisions.

Pants are the only thing that I'll continue to shop for next month. I'd like a replacement pair of skinny jeans (eyeing these or these) and maybe another pair of "everyday pants" (no idea what those might even look like yet). How did you do this month? What are you shopping for this fall?

[Linking up with Fran for Budgeting Bloggers]

Friday, September 25, 2015

grey and black, again

Once upon a time, I wore my sleeveless grey dress layered over a pink button up. I really liked that outfit, and anticipate that it will end up on my favorite cold weather looks of 2015. So when I woke up to another 80+ degree day and needed to come up with an outfit for teaching, I thought about that outfit, and I made it work for warm weather.

I want to thank those of you who have been continuously offering support during my time of grief. I don't want to make my blog about it, but I also don't want to ignore what was attached to these outfits. To me, this isn't just a grey dress layered over a black shirt. This is the outfit I wore when I felt compelled to take Jade's prescription kidney food back to the vet (no sense in keeping it, but no sense in throwing away unopened cans). I thought it wouldn't be a big deal, but I ended up breaking down before I could get a sentence out to the receptionist.

To leave things on a lighter note, what's the difference between bird flu and swine flu?

If you have bird flu, you need tweetment. If you have swine flu, you need oink-ment.

Dress: Old Navy | option
Shirt: The Limited | option
Flats: via Target | option

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

grieving in grey

I'm really behind on posting outfits. This is the first outfit I wore after our cat, Jade, died. The first week without her proved to be difficult in so many ways. I don't really want to dwell on all of the details, but rather talk about one unexpected difficulty: getting dressed. When it came time to put on my teacher clothes for the first time after Jade died, I broke down. I can't tell you how many times I would find her in/on/under my clothes in the past. But she wasn't there. And she never would be again.

I must have changed my outfit ten different times that morning, each time, throwing a fit. It felt wrong to try to look put together, as if I was trying to pretend her death never happened. It felt wrong to wear color, as if I were trying to present myself as happy, when I was far from it. I finally made it out the door in neutrals, but only because I couldn't call in sick.

Sorry for the somberness of this post; I'm still grieving. [Right before this photo was taken, my husband asked if I wanted to go out for steak and potatoes. I love love love steak and potatoes.]

Cardigan: The Limited (c/o sister-in-law) | option
Top: The Limited | option
Pants: J. Crew | exact
Flats: via Payless | save, splurge

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

feeling, not fit

It has been over a year since I last wore this dress. That might not seem like a long time, especially since I have a habit of doing that. (Just yesterday I featured a knit cardigan I hadn't worn in over a year.) But when you really love something, going without it for a year is a long time. Long story short, I didn't feel great about the way I looked in it the last time I wore it, and with steady weight gain, I didn't even consider wearing it again until I had lost weight.

Then one day I woke up and really wanted to wear this dress, and so I did. I didn't care about whether it fit me or not; all I cared about was how I felt in it. And I felt great. Isn't that what really matters?

Necklace: ShyBoutique
Dress: The Limited
Flats: via Target

[linking up with Laura]

Monday, September 21, 2015


I've been spending some time lately trying to organize my clothes and fit everything in one closet. I'm almost there, but I'm having a tough time letting go of certain pieces. Like anything that my mom ever bought me. Or anything that I could see my cousin wearing. And certain pieces that I have no logical reason for keeping, like this cardigan. On one hand, it gets worn about once a year. On the other hand, it does get worn every year. 

And then there are those pieces that get worn once a week. Like this tank. I bought it last month, but forgot to put it in my August budget. I don't know how I've gone so long without loose non-fitted tanks like this one. I'm undecided as to whether I'd recommend it. It's so easy to throw on, but I hate how it washes. I don't put it in the dryer because I don't want it to shrink, but when it comes out of the washer (and when it finally air dries), it's as stiff as cardboard. That's rayon for you. (Or is only this way for me?)

Tank: Old Navy | exact
Cardigan: The Limited | option
Necklace: Forever 21 | option
Pants: Old Navy | exact
Flats: J. Lo via Kohl's | option

Friday, September 18, 2015

TTT: plaid (nine ways)

I'll be honest, I don't go mad for plaid. Especially when it's still 90 degrees out. I have one plaid shirt and two plaid scarves... and I'm not sure they're even plaid. It's possible that they're tartan... but it's possible that I don't really know the difference care. All I care about is linking up with Bri for another round of Third Thursday Threads: Plaid. So since it's currently too hot for scarves and button up shirts, I present you with a remix instead!

I remember feeling at my best wearing #5. I also remember spending an embarrassing amount of this past winter break in #7. Which look is your favorite? How do you style your plaid pieces?

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

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

old reliable

What do you call it when the same dress gets worn at the beginning of every school year? I'd say reliable. That, or predictable. Either way, I'm back in the swing of teaching again (and I have two sections of blessings compared to what I had this summer). In the past I've worn this [navy] dress on its own (here) or belted with a cardigan (here). It was too hot for a cardigan this time, and I wanted to try to mix things up a bit. My first idea was to go for my yellow floral flats (which are still available online!). But alone the outfit seemed incomplete. Enter yellow belt. End adventure of getting dressed. 

Do you have a dress you call "old reliable"? What makes it reliable for you?

Dress: The Limited | option
Belt: The Limited | option
Flats: J. Crew Factory | exact

Monday, September 14, 2015

a new chapter

[This is the post I had written and planned to post last Monday, but when our cat, Jade, passed the day before, I decided against posting it. I am posting the original content to remember the joy that all of us felt when we moved into our new place.]

My husband and I moved. It didn't take much time or deliberation to see that it was the right choice for us. We're still in the process of unpacking, but despite the boxes and bags and stacks of books that are taking over the foyer, quality of life has already drastically improved. I've been overwhelmed with simple pleasures that I've been missing out on for years. Like bathroom sinks that are designed sloping inwards, so that when water splashes, it goes into the sink rather than all over the counter. And a (private) space to grill. And natural lighting. I could go on and on about how much better life is with natural lighting. Oddly enough, my blog pictures are not better off with natural lighting. My camera doesn't know what to do, so bear with me for now.

What are the little things in your home that bring you joy?

Necklace: J. Crew Factory
Long sleeve tee: via Kohl's
Skirt: J. Crew Factory
Flats: via Target

[linking up with Laura]

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

currently: coping with loss

My return to blogging was going to be marked by an outfit post, with content centered around moving to a new place. I was going to highlight all the great things about our new place, but all of those things now have a dark cloud hanging over them, now that our cat is no longer with us. So instead, this post is about Jade.

My husband got Jade as a kitten, years before he and I had ever met. The two of them were best friends. Then I came along, and while Jade accepted my presence, we never had the kind of relationship she and my husband did. Shortly after, we got a dog, and then another. Although Jade and the dogs never became best friends, she at least tolerated them. And despite being the smallest, she had a large presence. Even though she spent most of her days in laundry baskets or in some other "Jade spot", she always came out in the evenings to be with us -- even if it was just sitting on the edge of the couch, she was always there.

Fast forward to this past July, to a time when she wasn't coming out of hiding at dinner time, and when she was out, she barely touched her food. This was very unusual, and very scary for us, so we took her to the vet. We found out that she had really high kidney values, which essentially means that she was undergoing kidney failure. And she wasn't even nine years old yet. The vet set us up with fluids to administer at home, a special kidney diet, and appetite stimulants. For a few weeks, this seemed to do the trick. Jade was eating again (though in hindsight not nearly as much as she should have been) and she seemed to be back to her usual activities (sleeping all day, hanging out in the corner of the room at night). Her appetite was hit or miss on a daily basis: some days she would eat her kidney food, other days she wouldn't touch it.

At the end of August, we moved into a bigger place. Jade seemed to have gotten a second wind. She was exploring, spending so much time staring out the windows, and just hanging out on the kitchen floor - even with the dogs around. I can't recall much of what happened between then and this past Saturday, when she spent most of the day sleeping, but would occasionally come out of hiding to vomit. I had hoped it was only a 24 hour bug and that she would be better in the morning. But Sunday morning she was unlike anything I had ever seen before. It's hard to write about; it's so emotionally taxing. In short, she was dying. In truth, Jade had been dying for the past few weeks. 

I miss Jade like crazy. And I'm so angry that the vet didn't make it clear that Jade was terminal. Have you ever lost a pet? Did you feel that you had actually lost a member of your family? Since moving away from immediate family, I had looked at myself, my husband, our two dogs, and our cat as our own unit. It has been the five of us on our own for four years. And now it's just the four of us. And it has been unimaginably painful.

RIP Jade

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