Saturday, October 31, 2015

Budget Rewind: October 2013

  • tall boots (almost identical): $56 - When I keep track of my purchases, I also make a note if I'm planning to return them. For some reason, these boots had that note. I think it may be because I had originally paid more than $60 for them but then managed to get them for less down the road. Either way, these are my favorite boots. Good job, past Kate.
  • brownnavy, and grey tights (same style): $15 - I can't remember how or why this happened, but The Limited was running some great promotion that put me in a position to get three pairs of tights for $15 total. 7 wears for the navy tights + 4 wears for the brown tights + 0 for the grey = almost win? 
  • target necklace (option): $11 - Medium purchase considering I bought it because I saw it on other bloggers (or a similar version). I don't love it, but I make it work.
  • black vest (this year's version): $24 - It's super light, so it's super non-functional, but it's a good completer piece. I also should have sized up. The zippers stick, too. I remember ordering one in pink, too. I couldn't get the zippers to work on that one at all, so I returned it. I've been considering buying this one as a replacement. I know it would get a lot of wear, but I'm waiting for it to go on super sale.
  • tall booties/short boots (this year's versiontall version) $?? - I know these were on clearance, and I know that I was with a friend when I found them and I said "Aren't they fabulous? They're just so different." Lesson learned: different isn't always a good thing. Especially if different means an awkward-height boot for a big-calved lady. 

I'm not sure what to say for this rewind. Some good, some medium, and some (one) bad. I guess there are two lessons... don't buy something just because it's "different" (tall booties), and if there are problems with an item before you even wear it, return it (black vest). Especially if it's an item you can easily find elsewhere. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Budget Rewind: October 2014

Here's what I said about these purchases in 2014:

The grey tee was on my wishlist, as was the floral skirt, so hooray for that. The hat was an impulse purchase, but I've already worn it twice, so it's not the worst purchase I've ever made. The slip on sneakers were also somewhat impulsive, but they are the perfect weekend shoe. (I haven't documented those outfits but you're not missing much. It's just bootcut jeans, a "stylish" hoodie or sweatshirt, and the sneakers.)

  • grey tee (almost identical): $6.50 - A grey tee was on my wishlist, and while it doesn't show up on the blog frequently, I've already worn it enough times to justify the cost. 

  • baseball cap (almost identical): $5 - I'm really just not a hat person. But, it's good to know that if/when I want/need a hat, I have one. 

  • floral skirt (save, splurge): $13.50 - While a floral skirt was on my wishlist, I should have been more specific and more discerning. This skirt is too short and feels too juvenile. I'll probably wear it one more time before taking it off to consignment. 
  • leopard sneakers (save, splurge): $19 - I have a hard time believing that I really thought these were "the perfect weekend shoe". I know I said that a year ago, but did I really mean it? Because I would not call them perfect. Even though I've managed to wear them a bunch (especially off the blog), I'm more inclined to think that I was wearing them to justify them. 

All in all, when I look at the collage, I don't get excited for any of the pieces. In the past year, I've started scrutinizing my Target purchases more than any of my other purchases. Recently I was thinking about my favorite purchases from my favorite stores, and I realized that none of my favorites come from Target. Since coming to this realization, I resisted buying a bunch of things that I'm now happy I didn't buy.

Moral of the story? Building a closet full of pieces that bring joy does not come in the form of impulse purchases. Neither do trendy pieces (but I already covered that in the September '14 budget rewind).

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

October Budget

1. purpleheart watch: c/o JORD
2. blush sleeveless blazer: $43
3. black ankle pants: $42
4. navy ankle pants: $22
5. coral tank: $6
6. purple zip up: $3 (used $5 gift card)
7. elephant sweatshirt: $21
le tote membership w/insurance: $29

= $166

Pants that fit were at the top of my shopping list this month. While I'm not excited about the cash dropped for the black ankle pants, I know that they will get a lot of wear. The navy ankle pants aren't the best ever, but I have already worn them twice in the two weeks I've had them, so at this rate, I'll be satisfied with the purchase by the end of the calendar year.

The coral tank came in the same order as the navy pants. I was making a habit of wearing tanks with cardigans, and wanted another one to add to the mix. (Apparently I've also made a habit of not taking photos of these outfits.) I randomly found the zip up hoodie on the clearance rack for $8. It may never make its way to the blog because it's lounge wear, but I wanted to include it in the report since it's non-essential. I have already worn it (at least) 8 times, so I'm pleased.

The elephant sweatshirt and the blush sleeveless blazer were both items I bookmarked and kept a close eye on, waiting for them to go on sale. Go figure that they finally did around the same time. I couldn't decide on just one, so I chose both. They're different enough that I felt I didn't have to choose just one.

I've written about my experiences with Le Tote (here and here). I would love for someone to sign up with my referral code (and save $25 off their first month) so I can get $15 off my next month, but even if that happens, I might continue with Le Tote. Even though I spent a lot this month, my shopping pretty much came to a quick halt after I signed up with Le Tote. I think I'd be satisfied spending my clothing budget on Le Tote in lieu of spending it on new goods.

I have a few things still in the mail, including this military jacket and this layered sweater. I bought the jacket in store, but then it was cheaper online a few days later, so I'm waiting for it to arrive before I make my final decision. (The more time that goes by, the less I'm feeling it. But it might just be that I'm getting cranky waiting for it.)

I ordered these plaid flats from Target, but I'm on the fence. They're cute, but do I really need another pair of flats? Do I really want another pair of flats? 

How did you do this month? What kind of goodies did you bring home?

[I'm aware that I'm missing some things in this budget report. I did a terrible job of keeping track of what I bought this month and how much I spent. I'll take the time to figure that for the next budget report and/or I'll be sure to update this one.]

[Linking up with Franish for Budgeting Bloggers]

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Le Tote #2

After some awesome luck with my first tote, I was really excited for my second tote. While this tote also had a few items I loved, it also had more duds.

The Ava Noelle Mesh Sweater (seen above) was my favorite from this tote, but the Noir Luxe Sophia Topaz Earrings (seen below) came close behind. I wore the sweater Friday night to a department event, Monday afternoon for a lunch date, and Tuesday for teaching. I mentioned on Friday that I was especially excited about one piece. It was this sweater. I had almost thought about possibly buying it... but the $58 price tag made that decision an easy one: heck no. I may, however, ask them to send it to me again in the spring (it would look great with white pants, or olive pants for a wild card pairing).

I also really liked the Camilla Stone Drop Necklace (seen below)- the pendants holding the stones are able to slide up the necklace; I originally had them spaced out more, but they slid down as the day went on and I forgot to fix them for pictures. The earrings were also really neat; I have always wanted to try cuff style earrings. That's one thing I really like about Le Tote: you can try out new trends without having to commit to them. (I also like that I got to try Le Tote at a discounted rate; you can save $25 on your first month of totes if you sign up through my referral link.)

 Outfit #1 (left): 
Earrings: Le Tote (exact)  //  Sweater: Le Tote (exact)  //  
Jeans: LOFT (option)  //  Flats: via Target (exact)

Outfit #2 (right):
Necklace: Le Tote (exact)  //  Sweater: Le Tote (exact)  //  
Pants: LOFT (exact)  //  Flats: via Target (similar)

I don't have any other outfit pictures to show you from this tote... but I do have comments about the other items...

I asked for the black dress in lieu of a jacket because we were having 70+ degree weather and I thought it would be easy enough to wear. It was way too short and somewhat chinsy. While waiting for the tote, summer weather left, and was quickly replaced with fall weather. I couldn't even get the tunic dress over/past my shoulders. I triple-checked to make sure that they didn't send me a triple extra small. They didn't. I thought about requesting it again in a (much) larger size, but that would probably be a waste. The maxi dress was something I intended to pair with a denim jacket, but it just looked weird on me. It was too big in the chest, and a little big in the waist. I think I'm done requesting dresses from Le Tote. They're either ridiculously short, or the sizing is wayyy off. 

Even though I'm not 100% satisfied with Le Tote at this time, I'm going to wait to reach a final verdict until after my next tote. So, Le Tote, if you're reading this, please deliver the goods. Knock it out of the park. 

Monday, October 26, 2015


I woke up Thursday morning and had one of those "I don't know what to wear" mornings. After staring at my closet for far too long, I stopped, and asked myself, "Kate, what do you want to wear?" The answer to that question came immediately; "I want to wear my new double-breasted long vest." And so I did. I also really just wanted to wear stretchy pants and a graphic tee. And that's how this outfit came to be. When getting dressed, do you ever ask yourself what you want to wear? Do you find it helpful?

Sleeveless Blazer: Banana Republic | exact
Tee: J. Crew Factory | option, option, option*
*40% off w/code EXTRA40
Necklace: J. Crew Factory | option
Pants: The Limited | exact
Flats: via Target | exact

Friday, October 23, 2015

Five x Friday [vol. 4]

1. Did you see the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens? I told myself I wasn't going to watch it because I think spoilers ruin the entire movie, but I caved in and watched it. It's phenomenal (and doesn't ruin the movie).
2. I got a new tote yesterday (see my first one here). Le Tote is doing a wonderful job of sending me things I really want to keep. Look forward to seeing what that mystery thing is next week!
3. Now if only Le Tote and LOFT could team up so I could rent this dress. It's so perfect. (And would look so great with my new jacket.)
4. Is crushed velvet actually a thing again?! Cue flashbacks to my gymnastics days and my coordinating crushed velvet leotards and scrunchies.
5. And now, this (spoiler: bear!).

Shirt: J. Crew Factory (c/o Mom) | option, option
Sleeveless Blazer: Forever 21 | option
Ankle Pants: Old Navy | exact
Flats: via Target | exact

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

JORD [purpleheart]

Quick! Excluding family, friends, or pets, what are three things you love? The first three that come to mind for me are bears, pizza, and purple. Based on that, it should come as no surprise that when JORD offered me the chance to review one of their watches, I chose the Cora in Purpleheart. Not to be obvious, but I heart it. And not just because it's purple. 

First, I love that I was able to have it sized to my "teeny tiny wrists" (as the woman working the wristband table at our local Comic Con described them). This one does not slide down my arm to my elbow but rather stays on my wrist, without hanging over the sides #simplepleasures. To say it's a gorgeous watch is an understatement. The mother of pearl pairs so nicely with the purpleheart, and the Swarovski crystal markers aren't a bad touch either ;-)

Aesthetics aside, as someone who cares about conservation, I did give pause to the concept of a wood watch. Their website actually provides information about the sustainability of each watch. I learned that some of the wood they use is reclaimed, and while some is harvested, it is done with minimal environmental impact. Ultimately, JORD is a younger company but is striving for 100% sustainability. Kudos to the company, and kudos to the specialist I worked with - she was so patient and understanding; I couldn't have asked for a better experience.

There are a lot of reasons to be excited about this watch. Above all, I love that it perfectly reflects me and my personality. I'm so happy to have been given the opportunity to review this watch. I highly recommend JORD Wood Watches (for both women and men!), and I look forward to seeing my new watch work seamlessly with my style.

Scarf: via Target | option
Top: The Limited | exact
Watch: JORD | exact
Pants: Old Navy | exact
Flats: via Target | exact

Ladies Wood Watch

Monday, October 19, 2015

Le Tote #1

Recently I caved in and decided to give Le Tote a shot. I mean, there's only so many times that you can say no to $25 off your first month.

Earrings: Le Tote | exact
Cardigan: Le Tote | exact
Tank: SO via Kohl's | option
Skirt: Old Navy | option
Flats: via Target | exact

In case you're unfamiliar with Le Tote, it's - as Andi puts it - basically Netflix for clothes. In every tote, you get 5 pieces (3 articles of clothing + 2 accessories). If you love something, you keep it and it's yours (but you'll be charged for the item(s) you keep). Otherwise, you send the tote back when you're ready - whether it's the next day or the next week. In my first tote, I got:

The first thing you're probably wondering is, "I thought you said 5 items. I count six." You would be correct. Prior to sending the goods, Le Tote let me look over what they were going to send me. I don't remember what the original set looked like, but I do remember making changes. I liked being able to have final say in what came in my tote, although the selections were more limited than I expected. Shortly after, I got a notification telling me that one of the products I requested wasn't available, and that they would send me an extra piece to make up for it. Awesome sauce.

Today you're seeing not only my favorites from the tote, but also the only things that I actually wore. I didn't bother taking a picture of the maxi skirt. It was way too short and way too tight. The dress felt too short in the front and slightly too big in the bust. The tunic was so close to being great, but was too tight in the shoulders. If I could, I'd request it again, only in a larger size. The necklace was something I had "added to my closet" (which essentially means "I like it, sent it to me"), but I liked it far less in person. 

I was far more impressed with the dark forest green cardigan (Octavia Avalon Drape Cardigan) than I expected when I first opened the tote. I think it has more to do with the color than the cardigan itself. I also loved the leaf earrings (Summer & Sage LTD Leaf Drop Earrings) far more than I expected. I'm *this* close to buying them, but... well... unless I make a bunch of returns from recent shopping trips, I won't be able to buy the earrings for some time.

At least I can get them in another tote down the line. And so can you... 

All in all, so far I'm somewhat satisfied, although that is lessening each additional day I wait for my next tote to arrive. Hopefully this next one will be so great that it will make up for the wait.

*This post is not sponsored by Le Tote. I just like hearing about others' experiences with subscription services, so I figured someone else might enjoy hearing about mine! 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Five x Friday [vol. 3]

1. I've complained about this blue ponte dress in the past. I finally came up with the solution: it needs to belted! (I did that and now I love the dress again.)
2. Speaking of dresses, after wearing my bear dress recently, Whitney brought my attention to this bear top. After searching ModCloth's website, I came across the best flats ever. Normally I'd be asking for advice choosing between grizzlies or pandas, but I can't possibly afford either at the moment (wahn wahn).
3. Speaking of bears... 
4. And since I like to share humorous things, here's another. Am I terrible for laughing at it?
5. Terrible or not, I'm weak adventurous. I signed up for Le Tote. (Look forward to reading about (and seeing the goods!) it in my next post. In the mean time, you can save $25 on your first month by signing up through my referral link!)

Dress: J. Crew Factory | similar
Necklace: J. Crew Factory | option
Belt: The Limited | option, option
Flats: J. Lo via Kohl's | similar

Thursday, October 15, 2015

two dollar cardigan

What's the least you've ever spent on an article of clothing? For me, I'm pretty sure it's $2 on this cardigan (although had a certain pair of shorts fit, it would have been 96 cents last fall at Old Navy). I actually got the cardigan in August. I took some clothes to Plato's Closet in hopes of making some cash, and while I was waiting for them to look through my stuff (and eventually reject it all, per usual), I stumbled upon a striped cardigan. And I loved it. I made my way toward the fitting room, only to be distracted by a flannel/buffalo check shirt. Long story short, Plato's was having a sale, and I ended up with the cardigan and the shirt for a whopping $6. [Bonus points for getting a wishlist item!]

I really should go back to Plato's again, but I'm wayyyy over my monthly budget (and we're only halfway through the month), so that will have to wait. You'll also have to wait until the next time I wear the tank to get the story on that. (Spoiler alert: qualifier piece for free shipping.)

Tank: Old Navy | exact
Cardigan: Forever 21 (thrifted) | spendsplurge
Necklace: Forever 21 | similar
Ankle Pants: LOFT | exact
Flats: via Target | option

[linking up with Bri and Alice]

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

pink gingham + field jacket

Fun fact #47382: It's incredibly convenient to have ready-to-go outfits. 

Yesterday my husband and I decided we were going to meet up for lunch. Since I was home trying to get a bunch of grading done, I needed to spend minimal time putting together an outfit. What's easier than re-wearing an outfit I had worn the week prior for additional office hours? (Insert witty response here.) But seriously, future Kate, pink gingham and field jacket is the way to go. And while we're giving life lessons, procrastinating (especially when it comes to grading) is not the way to go.

What outfit (or outfit formula) do you have on repeat for fall?

Shirt: J. Crew | same style
Jacket: J. Crew Factory | exact
Jeans: The Limited | option
Flats: via Payless | option

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

striped tee + navy tweed

Did you all have a good Indigenous Peoples' Day? Or are we still supposed to refer to it as Columbus Day? Call it what you will, I had a fantastic day. I went to the big city with a friend I haven't seen much lately due to our busy schedules. We went shopping, and I may or may have not spent more than I should have. Whoops. But can you blame me? How fabulous is this jacket? I'm telling myself I can't wear any of the new stuff until I get a good chunk of work done, so hopefully I'll be reporting soon all the things I have gotten accomplished. Have you had a lot on your plate? Have you been motivating yourself or rewarding yourself?

Tee: LOFT | exact
Necklace: J. Crew Factory | exact
Pants: LOFT | similar
Wedges: via Target | similar

Monday, October 12, 2015

loft utility blouse

I've had a white flowy button up blouse on my wishlist officially since January. I say officially because it has really been since March '14 when I bought one but mistakenly returned it. I found this new blouse back in August, but it has been too hot to wear it. Now that fall weather is finally here, I can wear it without sweating up a storm! 

I chose to keep it casual this time around since I only had office hours for the day. I imagine pairing it with pencil skirts and slacks, and obviously layering it under sweaters and cardigans as we move into winter. If you have any interest in a non-structured button up, I strongly recommend LOFT's utility blouse. Do prefer structured and stiff button ups, or more flowy options like this one?

Top: LOFT | exact
Pants: Old Navy | exact
Flats: via Payless | save, splurge*
*considering as a replacement

Friday, October 9, 2015

Five x Friday [vol. 2]

1. The Detroit Zoo has stopped selling bottled water. (So cool!!) They're the first zoo to do so.
2. Life with dogs, from morning to night {via}.
3. Fall weather hasn't officially hit yet, and it's probably a good thing. Otherwise I'd be able to justify buying this blanket scarf.
4. I've had my eye on this blush vest since it first came out. Now it's finally on sale, but still more than I'd like to pay. Should I splurge or should I take my chances playing the waiting game? 
5. One week ago, I bemoaned missing out on this elephant sweatshirt. Persistence paid off. After checking the site over and over again, it came back in stock. It should be here tomorrow!!

Scarf: via Target | option
Top: The Limited | last worn
Ankle Pants: Gap | full length
Flats: J. Crew Factory | same style

Thursday, October 8, 2015

how to get away...

...with wearing a tee to work

Step 1: go for it! Pick a tee, any tee. It might be harder to get away with wearing a graphic tee to work, but I'll tackle that in a future post. I highly recommend J. Crew Factory's drop shoulder tee.
Step 2: work bottom. Balance the casualness of the tee with a more professional piece, like slacks or a pencil skirt. I chose my new tech stretch ankle pants.*
Step 3: cohesivize. co-hee-sih-vize: to make cohesive. I don't believe two different styles will balance each other out alone; something needs to bring it all together. That something could be another layer and/or an accessory.**

*In my September Budget, I mentioned that I'd be deciding between these ankle pants and a pair from Old Navy. I decided on these, and will provide a review soon explaining why.
**If you work in a more professional setting, you may want to opt for heels or neutral flats. Since I feel more comfortable teaching in flats and have been over-wearing my black flats, I opted for purple flats.

Do you ever wear tees to work? Do you have any additional tips or recommendations for wearing a tee to work?

Scarf: J. Crew Factory | option
Tee: J. Crew Factory | exact
Ankle Pants: LOFT | exact
Flats: Old Navy | option

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

best in show

It's not often that I put together an outfit that I love, and that I know will be one of my favorites of the year (favorites of 2013, 2014 part 1, 2014 part 2). But I did just that when I paired my new silky mauve tee with my striped skirt. I'm not sure what it is about this outfit that makes it so great... it could be that I'm wearing my favorite colors (purple, black, and white)... or it could be that I've found a way to get away with wearing really comfy clothes to work (relaxed fit tee meets stretchy ponte skirt)... or it could just be that I felt like a million bucks in it.

Top: LOFT | exact
Necklace: J. Crew Factory | exact
Skirt: Old Navy | similar
Flats: via Target | exact

[linking up with Laura]

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

lady bear

Did you know that 'lady bear' is an expression? (It refers to a female officer of the law.) I did not know that until today. I also did not know that 'loaded for bear' is an expression, either. (It's a synonym for 'angry'.) Nor did I know 'hot enough to burn a polar bear's butt' is an expression (although I correctly figured it was equivalent to 'very hot'). I guess you learn something new everyday. Or in this case, three new things. 

One thing I do know is that the term 'lady bear' sounds like a much better alternative to 'bear lady'. In the same way that cat ladies get a negative vibe, I'm sure bear ladies would, too. 'Lady bear', however, just sounds sophisticated and classy.

Dress: Anthropologie
Cardigan: The Limited
Necklace: Forever 21
Flats: Steve Madden via DSW

Monday, October 5, 2015

grey tee, FTB

Grey is quickly making its way to becoming my favorite neutral. So it should come as no surprise that this grey tee is one of my favorites... except that it has only made its way to the blog one time. I suppose that means that it's one of those pieces that are great for just throwing on, but not necessarily great for the blog. But today, it's great for the blog. 

You know what else is great for the blog? Terrible jokes. I was going to share one about pizza, but it was too cheesy. 

Scarf: The Limited | option
Tee: Gap | favorite, modern
Jeans: Apt. 9 via Kohl's | option
Flats: J. Crew Factory | exact

Friday, October 2, 2015

Five x Friday [vol. 1]

2. This made me happy. I want it. Nay, I need it.
3. I'm suuuuuper bummed that I missed out on this sweatshirt. Keep your fingers crossed that it comes back in stock. Or that it shows up on eBay at a reasonable price (hahahaha).
4. Have you seen/heard about CoverGirl x Star Wars makeup? I'm intrigued, but have yet to spot the line in stores. 
5. I wore this outfit the day I bought my new mauve tee and striped tee. Since I didn't end up taking outfit pictures that day, I wore the outfit again to office hours a few days later. And then I wore the scarf again a few days after that. 

Scarf: J. Crew Factory | option
Top: Old Navy | option - under $15!
Jeans: LOFT | option
Flats: via Target | exact
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