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]

Friday, November 13, 2015

Five x Friday [vol. 6]

1. As a kid, I hated getting socks as a present. Socks aren't presents! Now? I'd be happy to get socks like these. They would go perfectly with this shirt. Polar Bears?! C'mon!
2. Do you have a favorite team mascot? I think Benny the Bull is in the running for the best one. (Watch this montage. There's a good chance you'll at least be mildly entertained.)
3. I must have jinxed myself with my one month review of Le Tote. I held my breath for another great tote, but the one I just received is a dud. Except for the $50 scarf. That, I love. 
4. I won't buy the scarf as I'm really trying not to buy things for myself now that we've entered the holiday season. It's taking a lot of  self-control to resist... especially when there are pieces like this skirt (in emerald) and this coat just calling my name.
5. Earlier this week, Marco Rubio stated, "Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers." *coughFEWERcough* Having spent the last few years working towards a doctorate in philosophy, I can't help but have a negative response to this remark. But instead of going on a rant, I leave you with the philosoraptor. Have a great weekend!

Dress: J. Crew Factory | savespendsplurge
Shirt: Banana Republic (gift) | option
Necklace: via Target | option
Belt: came with a Target skirt
Wedges: via Payless | option

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


I asked my husband what I should title this post. He said, "Madeline". I looked at him with a puzzled expression on my face. He proceeded to do a Google image search, pointed to this picture, and then came back to my post and said, "See?" (No.) "Blue and yellow, just like Madeline." Oh, husband... Your color blindness never ceases to humor me.

I told him that I was wearing black and pink (though I'm not sure it meant much to him). At first I thought the two colors together made for too stark of a contrast, but I think the floral print brought it all together. What do you think? Any ideas for how I should style this vest next time? 

Sleeveless Blazer: Banana Republic | exact
Long sleeve tee: via Kohl's | almost exact 
Necklace: J. Crew Factory | exact
Skirt: via Target | save, splurge
Flats: via Target | option

[linking up with Laura and Lindsey]

Monday, November 9, 2015

Le Tote: One Month Review

As of yesterday, I have been a member of Le Tote for one month. I have decided to continue my membership for another month, but I'm not sure what will happen after the new year. Hopefully these next few totes will be so awesome that it will make it impossible to quit.

What is Le Tote? How does it work?
Le Tote is a fashion rental service. After you sign up, you give Le Tote a sense of your style, and then they'll send you a tote with three pieces of clothing and two pieces of jewelry. You can wear the items as much as you want, and when you're ready, you send everything pack in a pre-paid envelope. If you decide you want to keep any of the items, you just hold on to them, and Le Tote will charge you for the pieces you keep. A few days later, you'll get your next tote.

The pieces are not necessarily brand new, but all of the pieces I have received have been in great condition (with the exception of one cardigan that had obvious pilling). Le Tote will clean all of the pieces, so you don't have to worry about that. However, you do have to take care of your clothes. If there are stains or damages, they will charge you for the piece(s). If you're worried about this, they offer insurance for $5/month.

Currently Le Tote is $49/month, but soon they will be raising their prices. If you become a member before the change happens, you should be able to continue to pay at the lower rate. Remember that you can get $25 off your first month by using my referral link (and I get $15 off my rental fee next month).

What I think of Le Tote (so far)... 
I've been looking for a way to minimize the amount of items I add to my closet each month while still being able to enjoy the fun of fashion, and I think Le Tote is the solution. I got $25 off my first month by using another blogger's referral link. I got insurance for my first month because I'd rather be safe than sorry. For me, I'm happier spending $30 on high-quality rental pieces than spending that much (or more) on pieces that I don't really need.

Overall, I have been pleased with a lot of little things about Le Tote. I like that they get new things on a regular basis. I like how fast the entire process is. For example, recently (Thu. Oct. 22) I received my second tote. I wore the items I wanted to quickly enough to send the tote back the following Wednesday (Oct. 28). The next day (Oct. 29) I customized my next tote, and I got that tote on Monday (Nov. 2). Per my request, Le Tote texts me when my totes are ready. As soon as I get chance, I jump on their website and customize my tote. What this means is that they show me what they're going to send me, and I decide whether I want to swap out any of those pieces for others. I have made changes to every tote they have put together for me. I have considered letting one go without making changes, but I really like the control. Plus, it's nice to ensure I don't get a jacket when it's 80 degrees outside.

Sizing inconsistency has been the biggest issue. I've learned that most of their dresses are too short for me, so I won't be asking for them until tights season rolls around. I didn't realize that Le Tote has measurements for each piece until after I received my second tote. Even so, I'm still having issues with fit across the shoulders, which isn't a measurement that is provided.

What I think of the totes I've received so far... 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Five x Friday [vol. 5]

1. I wore this outfit on a coffee run with a friend. It was the first time I had ever worn a cape. And it will probably be the last. But I got to try something new! (This was another one of the goodies from my third tote from Le Tote.)
2. You, too, can try something new (including the Octavia Zig-Zag Border Cape) at a discounted rate for a limited time.
3. My "awww how cute" moment of the week.
4. My literal laugh out loud moment(s) of the week.
5. My weakness of will moment of the week.

Cape: Le Tote | exact
Earrings: Le Tote | exact
Tee: The Limited | option
Wood Watch: JORD | exact
Jeans: The Limited | option
Flats: via Target | exact

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Le Tote #3 [and some news]

Third time IS a charm. While I was generally satisfied with my first and second totes, I'm loving this most recent one. Today I'm only sharing two of the items I received in my tote, so you'll have to stay tuned for the next few days to see the rest!

In the mean time, I urge you to consider giving Le Tote a shot. If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them! They informed me that soon they'll be raising their prices, but for a limited time, new members can be grandfathered in to the current prices. So get your first month of Le Tote for only $24 when you use my referral code while you still can! In return, I get $15 credit which essentially means you're sending happiness my way :)

Obviously I love the color of the Yoke Top ("vapor gray" a.k.a. greyish purple). But the top is also really comfortable and can be worn with leggings, skinnies, or even tucked into a skirt. I won't be keeping it is because it's too low cut (hence the scarf), a little too long in the front, and a little too tight across the back. Nonetheless, I love being able to try it out pieces like this. 

Scarf: Gap | option, option
Earrings: Le Tote | exact
Blouse: Le Tote | exact
Pants: Apt. 9 via Kohl's
Flats: Old Navy | option

Want the fun of Le Tote for yourself?
Remember to use my referral link to make sure you get $25 off!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Pinspired: minus the hat

It's been a while since I've done a Pinspired look, so I figured it was about time to do one. I pinned this image from Old Navy's website sometime last year. I think it's a great fall look, but only works if the weather is just right. And on this day, it was just right. I opted for a black skirt instead of layering the tops over a black dress, but I think it could have worked just as well with a black dress underneath. Do you use Pinterest for outfit inspiration? If you have a Pinterest account, let me know in the comments so I can check it out! 

[You can see more of my Pinterest-inspired looks here.]

Sweater: LOFT | option, option
Chambray: J. Crew Factory | exact
Necklace: The Limited | option, option
Skirt: The Limited | option, option
Flats: Christian Siriano via Payless | option

[linking up with Laura, Ada, Anne, and Lindsey]

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

unusually unusual

I did three things out of the ordinary on this particular day:

1) I didn't wear flats. If you haven't been paying attention to my footwear, I don't blame you. But I have. And I know that I've only worn heels once this semester (first day of school, no corresponding post). The last time I did before that was the beginning of May (here).

2) I laughed so hard I cried -- in the middle of teaching. It wouldn't be worth it to try to repeat what happened; you had to be there. (Have you ever tried to re-tell a funny moment and it then became the most lifeless story ever? No? Just me. Okay then.)

3) I wore a predominantly black outfit. I don't know the last time I wore black on top and bottom (excluding dresses). It wasn't intentional at all, this outfit just came together last minute (which is more in line with the usual).

Tee: LOFT | exact
Jacket: The Limited | exact
Pants: The Limited | option
Heels: via Target | exact

Monday, November 2, 2015

ellie and ollie

It's my favorite time of year. Is it the weather? Meh, only in that it's not 80 degrees anymore. Is it the pumpkin flavored everything? No. I mean, I do love pumpkin pie and Starbucks' cream cheese pumpkin muffins, but it's not the food that does it for me. It's actually the sports. As I'm putting this post together, the Bulls/Magic game is on one screen, the Packers/Broncos game on another, and the Royals/Mets game is on during commercials. (The Impact/Crew game was on for a while, too.) I don't particularly love any of these teams, but I do like watching sports, and I especially like having options.

Even though I like having options, sometimes I don't need it. Despite having a tub full of sweatshirts and hoodies, I've been wearing this one on repeat. Can you blame me? It's perfect.

Sweatshirt: J. Crew Factory | option, option
Cora in Purpleheart Watch: JORD | exact
Ankle Pants: Old Navy | exact
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