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Budgeting Bloggers: September

It's time for my monthly shopping and spending summary again!  I did quite a bit of shopping this month, but with some well-timed deals and promo codes and the use of gift cards, my spending wasn't as huge as it could have been.

On Labor Day, Goodwill was having a 50% sale, and I scored some great tops, cardigans, and a blazer for $2-$3 apiece.

Please ignore my dogs' feet in these photos.  They were sleeping on the bed and I didn't want to bother them! :)

Cream sparkly tank, The Limited: $2 (seen here)
Brown embroidered tank, Calvin Klein: $2
Coral tee, LOFT: $3
Cream/yellow/pink button up, Old Navy: $3 (seen here)
Brown/coral floral sheer top, LOFT: $3 (seen here, not pictured above)
Green long-sleeved top, I.N.C.: $3
Navy/white striped top, Juicy Couture: $3
Red cardigan, Target: $2
Black cardigan, Target: $2
Camel blazer, womyn: $3

Old Navy
Camel and nude tanks: $5 apiece (camel tank seen here)
Dark gray tank: $5
Mint sleeveless blouse: $12
Blue patterned crop pants: $2

Olive skinny jeans: $20 with gift card (seen here)
Black ponte pants: $20 with gift card (seen here)

Gold boat shoes, Anne Klein: $12 (seen here)
Black/white oxfords, me too: $12

Mustard cardigan, Kohls: Gift from Mom
Orange/white scarf: Hand-me-down from Mom
Orange/black scarf: Gift from Mom
Green/black plaid scarf: Hand-me-down from Mom
Blue/white patterned scarf: Hand-me-down from Mom
Peacock lacy scarf: Hand-me-down from Mom
Cobalt scarf: Gift from Mom
Black/white plaid scarf: Hand-me-down from Mom
Camel scarf: Gift from Mom (seen here and here)
Black scarf: Gift from Mom
Dansko clogs: Won giveaway from Franish - thanks, Fran!!

My grand total this month is $129.  It's quite a bit of money spent, but I got some awesome basics and accessories, as well as some awesome pieces at Goodwill!  My hope is to not shop much in October at all, other than perhaps using some gift cards that I have sitting around.  I also am going to try to thrift as much as I can in the future to both save money and to be more ethical in my shopping.  In school, we've been learning more about fair vs. unethical manufacturing practices, and I don't like knowing that my shopping habits are likely harmful to individuals (and children) across the country.  I'm not ready (or financially able) to completely shop local, so increasing my secondhand shopping is one way that I want to respond to the things I've been learning about.  I'm really feeling quite good about what I have in my closet and don't need anything these days.  I'd love a really good fitting pair of jeggings (ew, that word...) to tuck into boots without getting the baggy knee thing, but other than that and a coral scarf, I'm really not in need of or looking for anything new.  I'd love to spend more time in my closet getting lots of use out of the things that I do have.

I'm linking up with Franish and the other budgeting bloggers this month - be sure to see how everyone else fared this month!


Pinned It and Did It!

Shirt: Old Navy Blazer: Gap Skirt: LOFT Shoes: Payless Necklace: Maurices

It's amazing what a little bit of planning can do - I was organized enough to plan this outfit (based on this pin), take my photos, and write this blog post before the actual linkup!  I consider that to be quite the accomplishment, especially with my hectic schedule these days!

Image from here
I just love this photo - the elements are all so great together: the chambray shirt, navy blazer, white pants, and statement necklace come together to create a lovely ensemble!  I decided to recreate this with my (wrinkled) white skirt, since I don't have any white pants.  Additionally, I opted against pearls and decided my white statement necklace would be a nice accent piece.  I think it translates pretty well!

Don't forget to visit Heather's blog to see the other people linking up for Pinned It and Did It!


Brown & Coral

Top: LOFT, thrifted Cardigan: TJ Maxx Pants: NY&C Flats: Payless Necklace: From Mom

I found this sheer top at Goodwill when I was thrifting on Labor Day.  I was instantly drawn to the pretty print and colors, and I'm really been liking the look of sheer tops lately.  I'm so happy it fit, because I know it will get a lot of wear at work and my internship sites.  I wore this outfit to work earlier this week, and found it to be incredibly comfortable and perfect.  Originally, I didn't have the cardigan on, but added it since it has been chilly in the mornings, and my office is quite cold as well.  I love these ponte pants, too.  They're thick and soft, and I really like the chocolate brown color.  Previously, I've always worn them with boots, but I love how they look with these flats, too.


Closet Tour!

Over Labor Day weekend, I was in need of a homework break.  I decided it was time to rearrange our closets.  Previously, Kevin and I shared the closet in our bedroom, and I had a few "out of season" items in our spare room closet next door.  We had a small dresser in the closet that contained my underwear, socks, pajamas, workout clothes, etc., and a huge dresser in our room that had all of Kevin's clothing (aside from his hanging items like button ups, blazers, suits, and dress pants).  I asked Kevin if he wouldn't mind if we separated closets to keep things neat and organized (I am a super organized and anal person, and Kevin is not...he hangs things really sloppily and it makes me anxious to see my things hanging and folded nice next to his mishmash of unorganized clothes...hence the separation.).  He agreed, and my project began.

The first thing I did was pull this dresser into the closet.  It previously belonged to my grandparents, and I painted it black and added some silver hardware to update the look.  The dresser holds all of my underwear, socks, bras, camisoles, workout and lounge clothes.  I use old shoeboxes inside the drawers to separate different items (one box for all my knee-high socks, another for all my workout socks, for example).  In the old closet, I had all my purses and bags shoved into a huge cardboard box (gross).  Instead, I arranged them in a laundry basket, and put the bigger totes and overnight bags next to the handbags.  To the left of the dresser, I have tucked my suitcases into the corner.  I also separated all my scarves and belts from the rest of my clothing (on either side of the dresser).  The old shoe boxes and the tan square container on the very top shelf (in between the humidifier box and the box of shopping bags, hahaha) hold my leggings, swimsuits, and tights.

The left image shows how I organize my belts and scarves.  My belts are draped on tie hangers so I can easily see them and hang them up.  My scarves are all arranged on shower rings that are attached to child-sized hangers.  I loop them through the shower rings so they can all be seen.  Since taking these pictures, I have actually arranged my scarves in ROYGBIV order, which makes it much easier to find the ones I'm looking for (I have 26 scarves, and I don't want any of them to get forgotten!).

The middle photo shows most of my jewelry.  My mom gave me this jewelry organizer, and while it's not the most beautiful (I want to spray paint it black!), it works SO well in organizing all my necklaces and dangly earrings.  I sort of have them organized by color - the necklaces on the left are all colorful, the ones in the middle are mostly solid metal (plain gold or silver), and the ones on the right are also neutrals, but range from black to white with browns in the mix as well.  My earrings are also organized by color and material - the left section is generally black and gold, the middle section is silver, and the right section is all the earrings with color.  I have a separate container for all my studs as well.

The right photo just shows another view of how I organized all my handbags and overnight bags in the laundry basket.

The photo on the left shows all my clothing.  Rather than having my stuff separated by season and stored in another closet, I have everything I own right here.  It's all organized very meticulously from left to right: tanks and sleeveless blouses, short-sleeved shirts, long-sleeved shirts, vests, cardigans, blazers, skirts, pants, dresses.  Within each category, the items are organized by ROYGBIV as well.  This way, I can find exactly what I'm looking for, and it makes putting laundry away easy as well, since everything has a home!

The right images show what's on the shelves above the hanging rod.  The top right photo has all my sweaters.  I keep them folded so they don't get misshapen on a hanger.  They are currently organized by weight/warmth, with the thicker and bulkier sweaters on the left and the lighter-weight sweaters on the right.  The bottom right photo shows all my non-hanging pants.  Jeans and pants are on the left and in the middle, and all my shorts are on the right.

All of my shoes are in our hall closet on a shoe rack, but they're not organized very nicely and our hall closet is gross, so I'm sparing you those details.  Also, I have a hook on the wall next to the closet which is where I hang my outfit for the next day each night.  When I am about to shower, I just grab the hanger and go!  It saves so much time in the mornings!

There you have it - the closet tour of a very average fancy hangers, no pretty bowls for my rings, shoe boxes for organization, and, as usual, no fancy photography.  It isn't glamorous, but it works perfectly for me, and having my closet all organized makes getting dressed and planning outfits so much easier and fun!



Sweater: Old Navy Pants: Target Boots: Guess Scarf: Target

I enjoy having a closet that is full of neutral pieces.  I have a lot of black, white, gray, camel, and navy in my own closet, and I love that so many of these colors mix and match so well.  I find it actually gives me more flexibility with the pieces that I have, instead of a closet full of color.  I do, however, tend to buy colorful accessories, like scarves, necklaces, and shoes, so that I can add some color or pattern to an otherwise neutral outfit for some visual interest.  This outfit is made of browns and blacks, but I used this navy, cream, maroon, and mustard scarf to add an extra something to keep the outfit from reading too plain or boring.


A Simple Fall Outfit

Chambray shirt: NY&C, thrifted Pants: Target Scarf: JCP, gift from my mom Shoes: b.o.c.

Happy Friday!  I'm really looking forward to this weekend.  I'm going to hang out with my best friend, have dinner at my cousins' house, and make some music at my parents' church on Sunday.  It's going to be a great weekend!!

I wore this outfit to work and class earlier this week, and I liked how simple it was.  I couldn't have been more cozy with the scarf and comfortable pants, which made it the perfect outfit for a day full of learning, reading, and writing.  I'm thrilled with the cooler weather we've been having, and I am feeling so inspired by my closet these days.  Maybe it's because of my new hair, and maybe it's because of the weather, but I'm loving getting dressed and finally getting to layer a little bit more these days!


Pinned It and Did It!

Tee: Target Jacket: Levi's Skirt: Target Flats: Target, thrifted new Necklace: Forever 21

Inspiration photo

I'm posting another outfit for Heather's Pinned It and Did It link up!  I recently took some time to go through my Pinterest boards and choose which outfits I want to recreate for the link up.  I created a Word document with the pin's URL and which items from my closet could create a similar look.  It was quite fun to be inspired by all of the outfits I had pinned and to put my own spin on them!  I'll for sure be sharing some more of these inspired outfits outside of the Pinned It and Did It link up as well.

It also is Third Thursdays Threads on Bri's blog, and today's prompt is to dress up a tee.  I think there's something so fresh about a plain white tee, and I like to have plenty variations of the plain white tee in my closet.  This one is just a solid white v-neck, which makes it pretty versatile.  I love wearing a white tee with a skirt and cardigan or jacket like I did here.  It's simple, but it just works for me!

Today's outfit comes from this pin.  I love the color combination of navy, white, and green, which is why I originally pinned this outfit.  It was perfect for a sunny, warm day at my internship site.  I could have added a touch of leopard like the pin does by adding my leopard belt, or exchanging the green necklace for my leopard scarf, but I wanted to focus on the pops of green this time instead.  What do you think of my inspiration of this outfit?


Outfit Repeat...(sort of)

Tank: Old Navy Blazer: Target Pants: JCPenney Flats: Payless Scarf: Hand-me-down from my mom Earrings: Hand-me-down from my mom 

So, I've basically worn this outfit already before here, but I'm wearing some different pieces (flats, shirt, pants), and I really LOVE how all the pieces look together, so I decided to post this one again.  I also posted a few detail shots of my new hair and the print on my scarf.  Isn't this scarf just gorgeous?!  My mom gave it to me in the spring because she just didn't wear it often (this is how I get a huge chunk of my accessories, by the way...thanks Mom!), and I'm so happy I have it.  It's cozy and beautiful, and I love the golds and blues in the pattern.


The Plunge

Shirt: Old Navy, thrifted Vest: Old Navy Pants: NY&C Boots: Target Scarf: Kohl's

You guys, after years of talking about getting my hair cut super short, I finally did it on Friday evening. I brought in a picture of Pink (because I love her, her spunkiness, her edge, and her hair) and chatted with my hair stylist about whether or not it would work for my hair type.  I have been blessed with really versatile and cooperative hair, and my stylist said it would be perfect in a messy pixie cut like this.  So...she started cutting.  Halfway through, she asked me, "Are you freaking out yet??" and I responded, "No!  I'm just excited to see it when it's all done!"  After the cut was done, she showed me how to style it in different ways - for an edgier look, for a more conservative look, etc. - and showed me a 360 degree view of the new 'do.  I was so excited to have finally taken the plunge into short hair, something I've wanted to do for years.

My family gushed about it when I showed it to them.  Kevin gasped and said it was the best he's ever seen me.  I really loved it, but the more I looked at it, the more I got nervous for what everyone else was going to say about it.  I've gotten negative feedback in the past about my hair.  It's been super long and super short, and with every step of the way, there are people with strong opinions telling me what they like and what they don't like about my hair.  I wish I wasn't the kind of person who cared about what other people think of me, but I do, in some ways.  I don't want people making any kinds of assumptions about my based on how I dress or how I look - I'd rather let my actions speak louder about me, honestly.  However, I know that in this society that values a woman's appearance more than anything else about her, this just isn't going to be the case.

As I sat with Kevin on Friday night, I started to cry a little bit.  My whole family was so supportive and excited about my new hair (and I still loved it), but all I could think about was going to school and work in the upcoming week and worrying about the kinds of feedback I would get.  I shared this with Kevin, and essentially, he reminded me that the only thing that mattered was that I loved it.  Those who made negative comments were just revealing their own insecurities and assumptions about what it means to be a woman with short hair (and in my opinion, it just means I want to have short hair...).  Kevin said that the most important thing is that I rock my new hair with that is what I have done.  And since that little moment of insecurity, I have completely loved it.

I have some more reflections about my new hairstyle, but I want to really articulate myself this post is quite long enough.  I am looking forward to continuing to play with this new hair and, as Kevin said, confidently owning my new look!!


"You're looking fashionable today."

Button-up: Old Navy Skirt: Target Sandals: Madden Girl Necklace: Target

Often, when I walk out our bedroom wearing a particularly nice outfit, Kevin will say, "You're looking fashionable today!"  Verbatim.  Every time.  When I walked out of our room this day, however, Kevin gushed a little more and couldn't stop talking about how darn cute I was.  I giggled a little bit but had to agree with him.  I think I looked pretty adorable in this outfit, if I do say so myself!!  I just loved the simplicity, but the special touches with my fun floral, ruffled sandals and beaded necklace made it feel very "me."

Do any of your partners comment on your outfits?  I find it endearing :)


Trendy Bangs

Dress: Target, thrifted new Belt: Super old, don't remember... Sandals: Target

It looks like the temperatures here in Minnesota are finally starting to fall - hooray!  I wore this outfit on one of the last (I hope) hot days of summer, and it was perfect for the day.  This dress is breezy and soft.  I really like the colors and the print of the fabric, and it has pockets!  Every item of clothing is better with pockets, amiright?

I also French braided my bangs back, since they're driving me absolutely nuts (I need a haircut so bad - I am getting one tomorrow, so stay tuned for an update...I might be going even shorter!).  I remember when I was a freshman in college, I used to French braid my bangs back all the time, before it became "a thing."  People thought it was really weird, but I needed to keep them out of my face and I had short hair at the time, so that's what worked.  Fast forward a few years, and it was all the rage.  Trends are funny.


Cool & Casual

Sweatshirt: Old Navy Shorts: Old Navy Scarf: JCPenney Shoes: Converse

I wore this outfit on Sunday, when I was just starting to feel the beginnings of my cold coming on.  It was a homework day, so I wanted to be comfortable for a long day of reading, writing, and creating genograms.  Originally, I didn't have the scarf on, but the outfit felt way too plain.  None of my necklaces were standing out to me, but my scarves were poking out of the corner of my closet, and I decided that it was cool enough in the air conditioned apartment to wear a scarf.  I love the buttery yellow color of this scarf, and its soft texture is cozy and comfortable.  I'm pleased with how this outfit turned out - it was perfect for the day!

Thank you for all your sweet comments and well wishes for my stupid cold!  Monday and Tuesday were pretty rough, but aside from my disgusting, hacking cough, I'm feeling alright today!  I was able to get through my unread blogs on Monday, but I'm still behind on replying to comments.  That's the goal for today, in between work and class.  Thanks for being understanding with me needing to get caught up!! 



Tank: Old Navy Jacket: Levi's Pants: JCPenney Flats: Payless Necklace: From my mom

This weekend was like a breath of fresh air!  I hung out with my parents and some friends of ours on Friday night and we played tons of fun games.  On Saturday, Kevin and I took the pups to his parents' house and we spent the day there, chatting, playing games, and taking the dogs to the dog park.  Yesterday, both Kevin and I worked on homework...and I came down with a nasty cold.  GROSS.

I wore this outfit to work and class one day last week, and found it to be the perfect outfit for my cold office and classroom.  Graduate assistants are supposed to look professional and put together when we're in the office, and this worked well.  As you can see, I'm still in love with coral, but I toned everything else down with neutrals.  The outfit was simple, but it felt very "me" and I was comfortable for a long day on campus.

Thank you for all your feedback about my post ideas!  I'll try to put a few posts together soon and I'll let you all know when they're ready to go!  I'm excited to share with you what's in my bag and my closet!


Coral and Floral, Take Two

Top: The Limited, thrifted Cardigan: TJ Maxx Shorts: LOFT Shoes: Anne Klein, TJ Maxx Necklace: From my mom

Oof, you guys...I'm still trying to figure out how to manage everything with my new schedule...working, interning, class, homework, lots of driving, making time for my family, PLUS writing blog posts and checking out all of your blogs?  It's been hard to keep up!  To those of you who are also bloggers, I promise I haven't forgotten about you all, I just haven't had a free minute to sit down and really read through your blogs and comment.  So, again, I have well over 200 unread posts for this week sitting in my Feedly.  And again, I'm hoping to get a handful of posts read each evening as my "decompress" time after homework and such.

I'm also tossing around a couple of ideas for posts that I wanted to get some feedback on.  I just completely cleaned out and rearranged my closet.  Would you be interested in seeing a "closet tour" post?  What about a closet inventory post (or page, like Whitney has done)?  I've also thought about doing a "what's in my bag" post for what I take to school and work each day (I don't know why, but I love those posts when other people do them!).  I've tossed around the idea of doing some kind of "vlog" too...when I hear bloggers' voices, it makes me think of them as more "real" or something...does that make sense?  Any feedback you have on any of these ideas would be appreciated!

As for this outfit, I really am trying to wear my shorts as much as I can before it gets too cold to wear them again.  I've really been sticking with the whites, creams, pinks, and corals when wearing these shorts, but every outfit has been a little different.  I went to Goodwill on Labor Day (50% off everything!) and got several great tops, like this one!  It has a really subtle sparkly pattern to it that I like a lot.  (Side note: I need to get better at taking detail shots so you can see things like this!)  I accented the outfit with gold earrings, a gold necklace, and these gold boat shoes.  I really liked how it turned out!


Pinned It and Did It

Top: Old Navy Cardigan: Target Pants: JCPenney Flats: Payless Necklace: From my mom

You guys!  I finally got my butt in line and am able to participate in Heather's Pinned It and Did It link up!  It's amazing what a little pre-planning can do :)

I am not always the best at looking back at my Pinterest boards to actually make my pins come to life, and I had forgotten about some of the gems I have pinned previously.  When I saw this pin (from the blog heart of a blonde), I knew I had to recreate it for this challenge.

I got these pants last month while shopping for work appropriate pants with my mom.  I mentioned yesterday that I prefer wearing neutrals, but this hasn't always been the case.  When I was growing up, I was absolutely obsessed with bright colors, particularly pink and lime green (the walls in my bedroom were lime green for a few years...).  These pants are mostly black and white, but they have a little splash of lime and I totally love them.  They're a perfect blend of "old me" and "new me."  I thought my neon green top would look nice with the pants as well, and I actually really like how the look came out.  It's definitely my own take on the outfit from heart of a blonde, and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out!

Oh, I also tried to take a detail shot so you could see the print on the pants better.  It was really awkward trying to take this shot, haha...oh well.  I have tried before to take a similar shot but including my top half and I cannot get it to look right.  Anyone have any tips?


An Outfit Fit for a Librarian

Tank: Maurices Skirt: Old Navy Cardigan: Target Flats: Payless

I've been wearing a fair amount of color lately, but my comfort zone is really in neutral and darker colors.  Sometimes, I just need a day in which I'm wearing the neutrals I love so much.  I really, really loved how this outfit came together.  It's quite simple, but the embroidery on the tank is so gorgeous and I wanted to let it speak for itself.  When I walked into my office wearing this outfit, the administrative assistant in our office said, "You look like a school librarian!!"  I chuckled to myself.  Essentially, I'm just wearing a pencil skirt, blouse, and that the stereotypical librarian outfit?  Is it because I'm wearing my glasses too?  I don't know...I thought it was funny, though!


One Piece Many Ways

Audrey is hosting another round of One Piece Many Ways!  I'm all about mixing and matching the items in my closet, so this link up is right up my alley.  I decided to showcase my polka dot jeans that I've been loving so much this summer!  They're still fairly new, so I only have a handful of ways to wear them, but I'm confident that they'll be worn well and lovingly all fall and winter as well.

Top: Gap Pants: Gap Sandals: Target Necklace: Forever 21 Headband: Old Navy

I absolutely loved this outfit.  It was comfortable all day, and I loved the subtle "dots on dots" action between the swiss dot texture of the blouse and the polka dot print on the jeans.  I decided to accent the outfit with a little bit of green with my necklace and headband as well.  It was perfect for a day of studying and hanging out with Kevin and the pups.

Here are the other ways I have worn these polka dot jeans, with links to the original posts:
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 (this outfit is unblogged)

Be sure to stop by Audrey's blog to check out the other people who have linked up!  Also, if you're curious to see how I styled my favorite floral skirt for the last One Piece Many Ways link up, you can see the post here.


Shorts to Work??

Blouse: JCPenney Shorts: Tommy Hilfiger Flats: Payless

Happy Labor Day!  For those of you who have the day off, I hope you're all enjoying your "last day of summer!"  I'm spending the day getting ahead on homework and hanging out with Kevin and our dogs.  It's finally nice outside so we're planning on playing tennis or taking the pups to the dog park or something.

I wore this outfit last week when I was interning at the high school.  I was helping out at 9th grade orientation, and knew I would be running all around the building (with no AC!).  I had worn a dress or skirt every day for a week and needed a break from the Spanx (yep, I wear Spanx under every dress or skirt...damn chub rub...).  These shorts were long enough to be appropriate and I just love the bright coral color!  I felt a little strange wearing shorts to work, but there were plenty of teachers there that day who had on much shorter shorts than that helped a little bit.  Next time I wear this blouse, I need to take a detail shot.  There is this amazing, gorgeous ruffly floral detail on the left shoulder, and you totally cannot see it at all with the way the lighting is in this shot!  It's so big and pretty that I don't usually wear a necklace with this top - it's a statement in and of itself!

Would you ever wear shorts to work?