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8.31.2013

Budgeting Bloggers: August

I've tried to forget about what a crappy month July was for budgeting, and vowed to not shop during the month of August at all.  I made it halfway through the month until Target had their extra 20% clearance items, and some things I had been watching in the store for ages became incredibly inexpensive.  I broke the shopping ban that once, but am proud to say that I didn't spend any more money afterwards.  I did, however, get some new things in my closet as a result of some blog giveaways, a research study I participated in, and the generosity of my mom.

Here's a breakdown of what I got:


Target
Linen-blend skirts in navy blue, pink, and green print: $4 apiece, $12 total - I love skirts with elastic waistbands because they are so dang comfortable!  I was almost willing to pay full-price for these ($23 apiece), but ultimately, am SO happy I waited! (worn here, here, and here)
Mint peplum sweater: $8 - I have finally decided to try out both mint and peplum.  After being unable to find the right style peplum or the right mint piece, when this sweater came along and fit both criteria perfectly, I decided to purchase it.  I love it so much and think it will transition nicely into the fall and winter. (worn here)

JCPenney
Green printed sheer shirt: gift from Mom - My mom and I were browsing at JCPenney earlier this month, and we both spotted this top on the wall.  I tried it on and immediately loved it - the color is great and the little pattern is interesting.  I really like these sheer shirts - they are breathable in the heat but the longer sleeves keep me warm in my cold classrooms.
Black, white, and green printed crop pants: gift from Mom - Originally, my mom and I were out shopping because I needed some new pants that were work- and internship-appropriate.  I love my Gap printed crops and wanted to find another pair.  This pair was on the clearance rack and they fit me really nicely!  I think they'll look great with black, white, or even my neon green tank.
Black skinny jeans: gift from Mom - My beloved black skinny jeans are starting to fade, stretch out, and look worn.  I wanted to try a new brand to see if I could find anything I love even more than my NY&C pair, so I thought I'd give this pair a try.  I have had this brand's skinny jeans in the past and really like them.  I haven't yet worn these (TOO HOT), but I know I will get tons of wear out of them once it cools down a little bit.

Maurices
Black and white embroidered tank: $22, free with store credit - I really like the floral pattern on this tank, and thought the black and white looked really striking together.  I've worn this tank so far with a pencil skirt and cardigan, but I think it will look great with a blazer as well, or even just "as is."
Black and mint lace tank: $22, free with store credit - You all know how I feel about lace (I love it), and when I was browsing on maurices.com, this tank just popped out at me!  I love that it has a soft minty lining to add a little pop of color with the lace.  I haven't worn this top yet, but I am excited to dig it out.  Like the above tank, I think it will look great with a cardigan, blazer, or on its own.
Pink bubble necklace: $18, free with store credit - I've been admiring the bubble necklaces from afar for a while now, but I'm admittedly a cheap person and don't like to spend a lot of money on trendy necklaces.  Since I had store credit, I decided to try it out!  I love the style and the color is perfect, and the necklace adds a nice detail to my outfits. (worn here)
White statement necklace (same style but different color): $16, free with store credit - As I mentioned with the pink bubble necklace, I really don't like spending lots of money on jewelry.  I have been thinking about getting a white necklace for a while now, but was not able to find something that I really liked.  When I saw this one, I knew it would be a great neutral statement necklace to add to my collection! (worn here)

oNecklace
Name necklace: I won the oNecklace giveaway on Rachel's blog and ordered this necklace.  I received it last week and have worn it a couple of times already, although it hasn't been featured on the blog yet. When I was growing up, I could never find anything with my name on it, so whenever I do have something that is personalized, I get really excited.  I can't wait to snap some good pictures of the necklace and share them with you!

So, all in all, I only spent $20 out of pocket this month.  I consider that a huge win and a huge improvement from my crappy July!

I have several gift cards and rewards to use up pretty soon, so I am looking forward to doing some more mindful shopping soon.  I have a few things that I'm looking for this fall, including some new cardigans, a camel blazer, and some more button ups/popover blouses, so I'm hoping to find some great new pieces!

I'm linking up with Franish and the other budgeting bloggers - stop by and see how everyone else did this month!

8.30.2013

Plain to Polished...Take Two!

Dress: Target, thrifted new Sandals: Target 

Belt: Old Navy Shoes: Target, thrifted new Necklace: From my mom 

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on my blog called "Plain to Polished."  I loved writing that post and putting it together, so I thought I'd do another one!

I knew I wanted to wear this simple black dress today, since it is appropriate both for my office and the outside temperature, but wearing it plain with some black sandals looked quite boring.  I love a neutral and simple look, but I like to spice it up with some texture, color, or a little something to make it memorable.  I decided to accent the outfit with some bright green in my belt and shoes.  Up top, I added a chunky black necklace for some shine.


What do you guys think?  Do you prefer the plain or polished outfit?

8.29.2013

A Blazer in the Heat


Tank: Target, thrifted new Skirt: Target Blazer: Calvin Klein, thrifted Flats: Payless

Oh goodness - I have been so busy this week getting into a new routine that I haven't been the most consistent blogger.  I've got about 250 unread blog posts from this week sitting in my reader as well, and I promise I'll chip away at them over the next few days.  I've missed interacting with you all!!

I wore this outfit on Tuesday, on my first day of my elementary school counseling internship.  The school has no air conditioning, so it was toasty.  Luckily, this blazer is knit and quite breathable, and the outfit still looked alright even without the blazer, so I felt as comfortable as I could in near 100 degree temperatures!  I don't know about you all, but I'm more than ready for the temperature to drop.  I'm running out of things to wear that are appropriate for school and work...and I'm tired of having to shave my legs every day!

Please bear with me as I adjust to my new, crazy schedule - I promise I'm still around, just not as active as I have been previously.  I've still been photographing my outfits every day, so I'll be putting posts up when I need a study break.  I think my blog is going to keep me sane throughout this whole school year, so thank you in advance for being a part of my support network!!

8.27.2013

Navy Lace for a Hot Day

Dress: Target Sandals: Target Necklace: Forever 21

Here it is: my first day of school/internship outfit!  I got this dress from Target for a STEAL.  It was an online return, and I got it for just $5.  I love that it's a jersey material, which keeps it soft, breezy, and comfortable.  The lace detailing at the top adds a great texture that I really like (obviously...since I love lace so much...).  It's been unbearably hot lately, so an easy dress like this is the way to go.

I had a great weekend, too.  I went to the Minnesota State Fair with my parents on Saturday and got to see Lennon and Maisy perform.  They were so dang cute (and Maisy is tiny), and as expected, sounded fantastic.  Heidi, from Literate & Stylish, was at the fair as well and saw me from a distance, but I'm so bummed I didn't see her!  We'll just have to try and meet up another time, right Heidi?!

8.23.2013

Bubble Necklace and a Half-Tuck

Tank: Target Shorts: LOFT Sandals: Target Necklace: Maurices

Yesterday I mentioned that I had gotten a couple of necklaces with a store credit to Maurices...here is the other one I bought!  I finally got myself a bubble necklace.  I've always liked the look they bring to an outfit, but I have a hard time spending lots of money on accessories.  I also never could decide what color would work best in my closet.  When I saw that Maurices had these necklaces in a few colors, I decided to just go for it - and I've been looking for a blush pink necklace for a while.  I am pleased with my choice.  I think this necklace is pretty, and I love the color.  I also tried doing the half-tuck today.  I'm not sure I like it, but at least I gave it a shot!  [And yes, I'm wearing these shorts again, but I want to get the most out of them before summer ends!]

I have a busy weekend planned.  Tomorrow, I am going to the Minnesota State Fair with my parents - yay!!  It is supposed to be super hot, so I'm planning to wear a breezy sundress and sandals.  I can't wait for all the people watching and food on a stick!  On Sunday, my family is singing all together at my brother's church where he is a youth director.  I'm looking forward to making music with my brother, parents, and uncle!  It should be a great weekend - classes start Monday, and I'm very excited to get back into the swing of things.

Happy Friday!

8.22.2013

Playing with Textures

Shirt: Gap Skirt: Target Flats: Payless Necklace: Maurices 


I participated in a research study a couple of weeks ago and was paid with an American Express gift card and a store credit to Maurices.  I was able to purchase two necklaces and two tops from Maurices with my store credit, and today I decided to bust out the first necklace.  This is probably the showiest necklace I have, but I really like it.  The white makes it pretty versatile, and I really actually like how it looks layered on top of this blouse.  I like the mix of textures in the outfit as well.  The angular print on my skirt is softened by the swiss dot texture on the shirt, and I think it works well.  If nothing else, it adds a little interest to the outfit!

This morning, we welcomed all of the new first-year graduate students to our program, and I was so excited to help out.  I remember being in their shoes last year and not really knowing what to expect.  I was nervous for graduate school but so eager to get started.  I can't believe I'm about to begin my last year of my Master's program!  Classes start on Monday!

8.21.2013

Body Language

Tank: Old Navy Skirt: Target Sandals: Old Navy

This skirt is one of the new ones I talked about on Monday...the skirt that broke the ban :)  I love the elastic waistband, the length, the deep navy blue color, and the lightweight material.  It's perfect for keeping me cool on a hot day like today.  I'm not usually a sleeveless kind of lady (I've been told my whole life that bigger girls can't wear sleeveless things), but it's hot, so I'm going to wear a tank top!  I'm slowly building up my confidence to be able to wear things like this without thinking that people are judging me.  It's hard, though!

I was reading this post on Prior Fat Girl recently, and it completely struck a chord within me.  Elle, the author of the post, writes about the idea that our bodies say something about who we are.  Her body is not in the shape that she would like it to be at this point.  Consequently, her body is not saying to others what she'd like it to say about herself.

Now, I know that there are far more indicators of health than just weight and appearance.  I do, however, know that my fairly sedentary lifestyle and love of all things sweet and carby are reflected in my body's outward appearance.  I'm squishy and soft and not very strong, and if people assume that I'm weak and unhealthy based on just looking at me, they're probably right.

I've been working out much more lately than usual.  I'm not pushing myself super hard yet (darn knee injury), but at least I'm being active.  I've been sticking with my C25K program and doing some brisk walks uphill (on the treadmill), as well as trying out some Jillian Michaels DVDs and some basic strength training.  I have an accountability buddy who I text whenever I work out for motivation and support.  I'm currently reading In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan, to try to think about food in a new way and adjust my diet accordingly.

I'm doing all of these things because I want to be healthier.  My dad's stroke scared me.  The amount of diabetes (both Type I and Type II) in my family scares me.  My crappy body image and history of disordered eating scares me.  With a more active lifestyle and healthier, simpler diet, I am hoping to change my body so that it shows everyone (including myself) that I care about myself, that I enjoy life and activity, and that I fill my body with nutritious foods.

8.20.2013

Cobalt (again...)

Tank: Old Navy Skirt: LOFT Sandals: From my mom Necklace: Target

Thank you all for your sweet comments on yesterday's post and well wishes for my first day of work!  I think this new job is going to a lot of fun.  I was able to found out more about what research projects I'll be helping with and discuss my work style with my professor.  I'm eager to dive into the research and get writing!

After a pretty mild and cool summer so far, it's getting hot again here in the Midwest!  Today's high is supposed to be 93, so I wanted to make sure I was comfortable for the heat.  I absolutely love these sleeveless blouses from Old Navy, and I like that I can wear it on its own.  I usually pair cobalt with black, but today I decided to wear my new white skirt with it to lighten the look and make it more summery.  I love how fresh and clean this outfit looks, and I know I'll feel comfortable and breezy in the afternoon heat!

8.19.2013

I Feel Pretty + Reflections on Spending

Top: Target Skirt: Old Navy Flats: Payless Necklace: From my mom

Do you ever have days where you just feel pretty?  Today is one of those days.  I just feel beautiful in this outfit!  This is my first peplum top, and I absolutely love it.  It's a sweater material, but it's nice and breathable.  I love that the peplum isn't too poofy or clingy.  And the color is great!  I've been wanting a mint top for a while, but haven't been able to find anything I like that is also affordable.

Although I vowed off shopping this month, I couldn't resist the extra 20% clearance items at Target this weekend and got this sweater and three skirts for about $20.  But now, I'm done with shopping until September!  I'm proud of myself for resisting the extra 40% off clearance items online at Gap this weekend...I browsed and filled my cart with tons of awesome things, but closed out of the window before I entered in my credit card number.  A few months ago, I would have bought all the things without question.  I'm just trying to make sure my closet is filled with things that I love and that fit me.  Since I love clothing and style so much and pretty much only spend my "fun" money on clothes, it can be hard to tell myself "no," but I'm getting so much better at it as time has gone on.  Plus, I'm out of hangers in my closet and I refuse to buy more!  I'll just have to be happy with what I have or start to really nitpick in my closet and get rid of things I don't like, don't fit, won't wear, etc.

Today is also my first day of my new job!  I'm really eager to get started and learn what I'll be researching this year with my professor!  Wish me luck ;)

8.16.2013

An Outfit Fit for Errands

Tank, cardigan, shorts: Old Navy Sandals: Target

It's my last Friday of freedom!  I begin my new job on Monday.  I'll be working with a faculty member in my department, helping her with research.  I also begin my high school counseling internship next week as well.  As much as I have loved having lots of free time this past month, I'm really looking forward to my new adventures and having some kind of routine again.  I can't wait to start dressing less casually, as well!

I'm running lots of errands today and getting things taken care of before I head back to work and school.  This outfit is perfect for running around.  I'll be comfortable in multiple temperatures (hot outdoors, AC indoors), and since I need to go get blood drawn today, I'll be able to slip my arm out of the cardigan no problem.

This weekend, Kevin and I are going to do a whole lot of relaxing together.  With me being in and out so much taking care of my dad after his stroke and my grandpa after his eye surgery, and Kevin starting back at work again, we haven't had lots of time with each other lately.  We are going to see Kickass 2 tomorrow (I CAN'T WAIT!!), and a friend of ours is coming to visit on Sunday.  He's moving to Rhode Island for work, and wants to see us before he moves.  He also just got a brand new suuuper fluffy puppy, so we are so excited to meet it!  That's about all we have planned - sounds like a perfect weekend to me!

8.15.2013

My First Printed Pants...

Tank: Old Navy Pants: Gap Jacket: Levi's Shoes: Payless Necklace: From my mom

Today, I'm linking up with Bri for Third Thursday Threads, the theme of which this month is geometric prints.  I bought these pants on super clearance at Gap at the end of July, and I really like them.  The print is nice and small, so it's not so "in your face," and I like that they are neutral so that I can wear them with many different things.  This is my first pair of printed pants, so like yesterday, I feel a little out of my comfort zone.  As I do with most things that are new and different, I kept this outfit fairly simple to ease my way into the trend.  I like how these pants feel and I can't wait to wear them to my work and internships starting next week!

8.14.2013

Pattern Mixing??

Shirt: Old Navy Skirt: Target Sandals: Target

I'm trying out pattern mixing today.  In the past, the only pattern mixing I've done before has been with a scarf, so I feel a little like a fish out of water.  However, part of the whole blogging experience is to try some new things.  I kind of like how this outfit came together.  The floral pattern on my top is spaced out and a little bolder, and my skirt has very thin white and navy stripes.  This makes the mixing less "in your face" and extreme.

I went on my first outdoors run in a long, long time this morning, and it felt great.  I'm using the Couch 2 5K app, which is a great way to re-introduce me to running.  I'm only on the second week (I've started and restarted it so many times!) right now, but I am liking the interval training rather than making myself run for 30 minutes straight and being all disappointed if when I can't make it that far.  I'm really easily discouraged and incredibly hard on myself, so slowly easing my way back into running is the best way for me to get back in shape...and learn to love exercise again.

8.13.2013

Grandparents

Shirt: Old Navy, thrifted Jeans: Gap Sandals: Target Necklace: Borrowed from my mom

It's another day of hanging out with my grandpa and taking care of him after his cataract surgery.  He has been completely blind in one eye for several years now, so this surgery was both necessary but also a little scary.  There was a chance he would go blind in his good eye, and thankfully, he came through the surgery with restored vision!  Last night, I spent some time at his house, made dinner for us, and helped him keep track of all the drops he needs to put in his eye.  This morning, I took him to his follow-up doctor appointment with my mom and we went out for lunch together.  It is so exciting that he is able to see out of his "good eye" again, and I'm really glad I was available to spend some extra time with him.

I feel really lucky to still have living grandparents.  My grandpa is still incredibly sharp and "with it," and he's so funny.  You know how some people get really cranky and ornery as they age?  My grandpa is 100% the opposite.  He has gotten so much more carefree, goofy, and sensitive, and it's the best.  He is one of the most delightful people to spend time with!  These last couple of days with him have been wonderful.

8.12.2013

Casual Monday!

Dress: Target, thrifted new Leggings: Target Sandals: Target Belt: Target (Yep, I love Target...)

Like many people, I'm trying to make the most of the remaining days of summer before heading back to school and starting my job and internships.  It's being reflected not only in how I'm scheduling my days, but also in my outfits.  I love this cute floral dress and how summery it is, but it's a little short on its own.  I paired it with my navy leggings, and since it's a little toasty, I cuffed the leggings up to make them a little more casual and weather appropriate.  Also, the dress has an elastic waist.  However, when I put it on this morning, the elastic snapped and needs to be repaired.  Thank goodness I brought this belt along to my parents' house - it cinches in my waist and hides the snapped elastic.  I'll have to see if my mom can help me sew it back together later this evening!

We took our family pictures yesterday - I've looked at a handful of them and they turned out so cute.  I am looking forward to sharing a few of them on the blog!  I hope you all had a great weekend, and here's to a wonderful week!

8.09.2013

Floral Shorts...Again!

Blouse: Gap Shorts: LOFT Shoes: Target, thrifted new Necklace (which you can't really see - oops): Eclectic Wendy Designs

Yes, I do realize that I wore these shorts last Friday, but I don't really care.  They're so cute and comfortable, and I wanted to wear them again before it gets too cold to wear them!  I was really on the fence about keeping this blouse.  It is boxy and a little see-through, but I love the style and the Swiss dots, so I decided to keep it.  A nude bra or nude/white camisole underneath it help it from being too see-through.  Since I wore a neutral colored top, I decided to wear my fun orange flats for a little extra something.

Tomorrow, we're going to hang out and play games with some friends.  We're doing family pictures on Sunday with my mom's side of the family (we do this every year and give the pictures to my grandparents for Christmas).  I'll be sure to snap a picture of my outfit for you all!  I'll be staying up at my parents' house again for a few days.  My grandpa is having an eye surgery and needs help, since he won't be able to be alone for 3 days.  Since I'm still off work and school, I am happy to go hang out with my lovely grandpa!!

Have a great weekend!

8.08.2013

Plain to Polished

Top: Target, thrifted new Jeans: Gap Flats: Target, thrifted new

Top: Target, thrifted new Jeans: Gap Blazer: Calvin Klein, thrifted Flats: Payless

I had another case of "I don't know what to wear!!" this morning.  I have this blue blouse in two other colors, and had them all in my "to donate" pile.  When organizing the pile recently, I decided that I wasn't quite ready to let these pretty blouses go.  They're really awkward and weirdly shaped on their own, but look great under another layer.  I first paired the blue blouse with my new polka dot jeans (love them!) and added a plain brown flat.  When I looked in the mirror, I thought, "Eh, it's fine, but not great..."  Rather than scrapping the entire outfit, I decided to change it up a little bit to make it work.  I added my super comfortable knit gray blazer and swapped the brown flats for my trusty nude flats.  I love the new look so much more than the first look.  I'm comfortable but look put together and ready to take on the day!

What do you think of my "plain to polished" looks??

8.07.2013

Ohhh Maxi Skirts...

Tee: Old Navy Skirt: Old Navy Scarf: Target Sandals: Target

I've had this outfit on my "to wear" list for a long, long time, but I finally decided to just go for it instead of saving it for something special.  I love maxi skirts, but find them so hard to style.  I've been trying to pin more outfits, but I feel like maxi skirts look so different on my body type than in the pins I've found, so it just doesn't look quite right.  I wish with this outfit that I had put on a belt to give me more of a waistline, but a) I forgot and b) I don't like the way belts look on me, for the most part.  Oh  well!  I do really like this outfit, though, and would like to keep experimenting with maxi skirts.  What do you think about maxi skirts - yay or nay?

8.06.2013

B-O-R-I-N-G

Tee: Target Pants: NY&C Flats: Payless

This is quite possibly one of the most boring outfits I've worn on the blog, but I'm blogging it anyways. It was one of those mornings where I just could not decide what to wear.  Nothing looked appealing, or it wasn't appropriate for today's weather or my plans for the day.  I wanted to wear my skinny jeans again, but since I wore them yesterday, I thought I'd give them a break.  I wanted a no-fuss outfit so I paired my black skinnies with a simple tee.  Not wanting to bother with a necklace or scarf, I picked out my biggest earrings (which you can't really see in the picture - they just look like weird flippy-out pieces of my hair - oops) and leopard flats for a little something extra.  Not the best, but I'm comfortable, and that's what I was going for today.

I'm so excited to start work and school again so that I can wear all my favorite clothes again without feeling like I'm "wasting" the outfits on an average day with no plans.  Is that weird?  Whatever.  Plus, with the school year comes slightly cooler temperatures, which means layers and boots and tights and sweaters and scarves and all my favorite things.  Yay!

8.05.2013

Modern Family in Real Life


 Shirt: Old Navy Cardigan: Target Jeans: Old Navy Flats: Payless Necklace: Target Headband: Old Navy


Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a fantastic weekend.  I know ours was great.  Kevin and I pretty much relaxed all weekend long and hung out with our pups.  I got to read a lot, and we watched a lot of old Modern Family episodes.  I love that show.  Kevin and I have a few characters on the show who we're a lot alike.  I'm pretty much a mix of Cameron and Mitchell (but was a lot like Alex when I was younger), and Kevin is like a liberal Jay with the dorkiness of Phil mixed in.  There will be moments in the show when one of the characters does something and we both look at each other and say, "That's so you!" or "That could be me!!"  Do you have any characters on TV shows that you're a lot alike?


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8.02.2013

Coral and Floral


Tank: Old Navy Shorts: LOFT Cardigan: Target Wedges: TOMS

Yesterday, Kevin and I went to go see Les Miserables up in Minneapolis with his parents.  It was amazing!  I am such a musical lover, but Les Mis is one that I was really slow to warm up to.  This was my third time seeing a stage performance of the show (and I've also seen the movie a couple of times), and I love it more every time I see it.  The music is just gorgeous, and I'm a huge fan of Eponine.  If I could play any role in the show, it would be her.  It's a pretty depressing story, though, so I needed to have a little sunshine in my life today.  Hence this bright, summery outfit!

I was so excited to break out some of my new purchases from July!  These shorts are so comfortable and I love all the colors.  Since I'm on a coral kick lately (seriously, why am I so drawn to this color?!  I'm usually filling my closet with dark, cool colors and neutrals...), I thought my new coral tank would look nice with the shorts.  I decided to keep these wedges - they are getting looser in the toes as I wear them, and they are so dang cute and otherwise quite comfortable.  Kevin absolutely loves them, too.  Anything that shows of my legs are his favorite, haha.

I hope you all have a great Friday!  Any big weekend plans??  We're laying pretty low this weekend, which will be great.  We finally got library cards (you can see how excited I am about that here), and I've been diving into The Handmaid's Tale.  I'll likely finish that this weekend and then I'm open to more suggestions.  If you have any book suggestions, I'm open to anything!!