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Budgeting Bloggers: February

You guys.  I did it.  I went a month without shopping!!

I'm pretty excited that I made it, and it makes me feel proud of myself for sticking with it.  I've never been great with self-control, especially when it comes to something that I really shopping.  I'm not really sure what was different about this month that allowed me to actually stick to no shopping.  I think part of it is that I've been so busy this month with school, that I honestly don't have time to go shopping at all. [That's one perk of grad school, right?!]  I think another part of it is that I really sat down and looked at my closet.  When I see all that I have, it makes me feel a little ridiculous in wanting more, because I have plenty as it is now.

Kimmie recently wrote a post about her closet inventory, and I'm hoping to put together a similar post for myself in March.  I love the idea of keeping track of how many items I have and seeing how it shifts over time.  I think checking in every couple of months will keep me accountable and aware of what I have, what gets worn, what doesn't, etc.

I also have been doing some work on my blog lately, and I've finally taken the time to update my closet wish list page [check the menu bar at the top!].  I'm going to try and shop based off of my closet wish list for the most part, to keep myself limited in what I'm buying.  I am looking for very specific pieces, and I'm determined to not settle for any piece - I want to purchase exactly what I'm looking for!

So, there you have it - my spending for February and my plans for the future!

I'm linking up with Fran for Budgeting Bloggers!

Oh, and because I don't feel like posting this without any pictures, here's an oldie of me with my crying Kim Kardashian iPhone case. [Good lord, I'm such a dork.]


Wicked + Giveaway Winner!

Blouse: Old Navy
Cardigan: Target
Jeans: JCPenney
Boots: From my mom
Necklace: Gift from my brother's girlfriend 

Because I love neutrals so much, I've been intentionally wearing this blouse with brighter colors to not get stuck in a trap of only wearing with other neutrals, you know?  I've worn it one other time (off the blog) with my mint cardigan, and today I decided to be bold and wear it with lime green.  I love black and lime green together (maybe it's because I love Wicked so much??), so wearing this outfit felt great!  It's gotten obnoxiously cold in Minnesota again, so a little bit of bright green was needed to get through the day, haha.  What do you think?

PS.  Congratulations to Andi, who is the winner of the Blue Nile branch necklace giveaway!


No Longer Neglected: Brown Embellished Tank

Shirt: Calvin Klein, thrifted
Blazer / Jeans: Old Navy
Flats: Payless

I'm featuring another neglected piece in today's outfit: this brown embellished tank.  I bought it back in September, and wore it once in November, but that's it! And looking back, I'm kind of ashamed at how similar these two outfits are.  I think this is what's particularly challenging about this top.  I feel like I can only wear it with black, which leaves my black blazer and black cardigan...  Am I crazy, or can I wear this top with other colors too?  I'm wondering if it might look alright with my maroon ankle pants?


Trendy Tuesday!

Tank: Old Navy Pants: Kohls Blazer: Calvin Klein, thrifted Boots: Target Scarf: Gift 

Here's a close-up of the print of my scarf, and these pretty earrings my sweet friend Heidi gave me!

I'm so excited to finally be prepared enough to participate in this week's Trendy Tuesday over on Danielle's blog!  Today's trend is boots...something that I've well-acquainted with, since I spend most every day in boots from November-March (and sometimes longer...).  I've been trying to get by wearing flats lately, but with our fresh 10 inches of snow from last Thursday-Friday, I'm back in my boots.  Luckily, I love my black boots with a fiery passion, so I'll be able to manage the next few weeks  in my boots.

This outfit is super simple - mostly black and gray, but the scarf adds some color with the hot pink and orange.  My best friend in my grad school program gave this scarf to me for my birthday, and I am smitten with it!  It's super soft and I love the colors and print.  I think it will be an excellent year-round scarf!


No Longer Neglected: Purple Blouse + Floral Cardigan

Blouse: Target, thrifted new
Cardigan / Flats: Target
Jeans: Old Navy

Hello!  I'm back after my little blogging break - it was just what I needed to get some projects done for school, take some outfit photos, and get all squared away for this week.  With everything that I've got going on these days, it's important to take some time away for self-care, and that's exactly what I did!

For most of February, Kate has been doing a No Longer Neglected challenge, in which she gives some love to pieces in her closet that don't get worn as much as other pieces.  She did the challenge last March as well, and I participated in a few days then.  All month, I've wanted to jump in, but I haven't been able to get coordinated enough to plan the outfits, take the photos, write the posts, etc.  So...even though February is almost over, I'm still going to participate a little bit!

Today's neglected pieces are my purple blouse and floral cardigan.  I used to wear this cardigan all the time, but I haven't picked it out to style for quite a while (I wore it on the blog a year ago tomorrow, and that's it!).  This purple blouse used to be a favorite as well - I love the color and the style of it, but it's kind of big and blousey and awkward to wear.  I only wear it with a cardigan or blazer over it because of the way it fits.  I really probably should get rid of it because it is so awkward, but I love the color and the ruffles, so it still hangs out in my closet...

Oh!  Also, remember that the Blue Nile giveaway ends tomorrow!  If you haven't yet entered, you still have a little time - I can't wait to choose the winner!


See You Next Week!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

I've been so swamped the past couple of weeks, and since I'm often gone at work and school from before the sun rises until after it sets, I haven't been able to take outfit photos.  I'm going to take just a few days off from blogging so I can get rejuvenated, take some outfit photos, and get all set for next week.  I didn't want to leave you all hanging - thank you for being patient with me!

Have a great weekend :)


Sweaters, Scarves, and Boots

Sweater / Scarf: Target Pants: Kohls Boots: Bare Traps

Sweater: Old Navy Pants: Kohls Scarf: From my mom Boots: Target

Here are two more outfits that I wore back in December before I began the 30x30 challenge.  Apparently, I really like the sweater/skinny pants/boots/scarf look!  What can I say - these outfits were cozy and comfortable, and perfect for weekends!

Also, I spent some time this past weekend putting together a blog calendar for myself.  Since this semester is going to be a bit of a killer for me, I really want to make sure I'm organized enough to maintain somewhat of a regular blogging schedule.  I have a few ideas that I want to try out on the blog, so stay tuned!

PS. Don't forget to enter the Blue Nile giveaway!!


Dresses + A Blue Nile Giveaway!!

Dress / Vest: Old Navy Leggings / Boots: Target Necklace: c/o Blue Nile

Happy Tuesday!  I realized that I have been sorely neglecting my dresses this winter.  While I wore dresses (especially sweater dresses) all winter last year, I haven't been giving my dresses the love that they deserve.  I'm going to really try to pull my dresses out more often, starting with today!  I've had this navy and white striped dress for a little over a year now, and I haven't been super creative in styling it so far (I wore it once, here, on the blog).  Today, I decided to pair it with my cargo vest and short brown boots to give it more of a casual look.

I'm also featuring this pretty necklace that Blue Nile generously gifted to me.  They provided me with two necklaces - one for me, and one for me to give away to one of you fantastic ladies!  When I first saw this necklace going around in the blogging world, I thought it was so cute, and definitely a piece of jewelry I would love wearing.  It's delicate and small, but really unique as well.  Blue Nile was so fantastic to work with as well.  Although we had a little miscommunication with shipping addresses and the necklaces arrived about a month late, the company's representatives were so friendly and personal.  I would order from Blue Nile again in a heartbeat!  I am so excited to give one of these necklaces away to one of you!  The giveaway will be open for a week, so enter soon!

Note: While I was provided this necklace by Blue Nile, all of my opinions are true and my own!!


An Outfit, An Award, and Ten Facts

Shirt / Jeans / Scarf: Old Navy Cardigan: Target Boots: Bare Traps Socks: Kohls

Jess nominated me for the Golden Blog Award!  Thanks, Jess!  I thought I'd take the opportunity (since I don't have a lot to say about this outfit today other than I love it) to give you some more random facts about myself (a couple of other posts with random Brynn facts can be found here, here, and here).

Here are the rules for the award:
- Use the award logo in the post, or create your own.
- Link to whoever nominated you.
- Write 10 facts about yourself.
- Nominate other bloggers for the award.
- Tell the bloggers so they know they have been nominated!

Without further ado...10 random facts about me!

1. I used to be a huge fan of American Idol and religiously watched it from season 2-9 (and pieces of seasons 10-11).  My love of the show definitely fizzled as time went on, but now with the new judges, I'm watching it again this season.  I have a massive crush on Harry Connick Jr.  No shame.

2. I have really vivid dreams, and they're often scary and realistic.  A few weeks ago, I had a dream that I was on vacation at a beach, and a plane crashed literally on top of me and we all died.  [I die in my dreams way too often...that's probably not a good sign...]

3. I have a great memory for a lot of things (people, faces, names, birthdays, phone numbers, etc.), but I am especially proud of the fact that I can see a movie once or twice and remember a ton of lines.  I've seen the movies My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Sixteen Candles, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, and The Incredibles so many times that I can recite almost the entire script.

4. I have one tattoo already, but I have plans to get (at least) 3 more.  I used to hate tattoos, but I think they can be great ways to express yourself in a number of different ways.

5. I have a lot of thoughts and opinions about the education system in our country.  I am an advocate for year-round school, I believe we should not be so focused on test scores, and I also don't like the idea of tenure.  I won't get into my explanations for why I believe all these things, but if you want to know more, just ask :)

6. I accept the fact that the television show Glee has gone downhill, but I was such an avid fan for its first three seasons that I can't NOT watch now.  I also have to admit that Cory Monteith's death affected me way more than it should have, given that I didn't personally know him. [Same with Philip Seymour Hoffman's death.  Addiction is scary, sad, and I wish there was more support for people who are struggling with addiction in our society.]

7. When I die, I want to donate my body to science.  I'll clearly have no need for it, and if it can help with training future doctors, I'd be happy to help out...even when I'm dead.  

8. I have had the same favorite band since I was 6 years old: Barenaked Ladies, or BNL, as true fans refer to them.  My parents started listening to them back in the early 1990s and since my brother and I listened to our parents' music, we learned all the words to their first few albums.  I went to my first BNL concert when I was in first grade.  We sat in the front row and my brother and I knew all the words - the band was so impressed, ha!  Since then, I've seen BNL in concert close to 10 times, and even went on a cruise that they hosted.

9. My favorite celebrity is Ellen Degeneres.  I pretty much love everything about her, and I desperately want to be an audience member on her show! 

10. I am making a list of things I want to start doing when I am done with graduate school and have a little bit more time.  Some of the things on my list: learn how to play roller derby, get really good at yoga (and try out hot yoga), re-learn how to play guitar, foster more dogs, and plan a surprise weekend trip for Kevin and myself.

There you have my 10 facts!  I always feel awkward nominating people for things like this, but if you have 10 random facts you want to share either in the comments or in a blog post of your own, I'd love to read them!!


Valentine's Week: Red Dress

Dress: Old Navy Jacket: Levi's Boots: Guess Scarf: Kohl's Tights: Target

I wanted to "debut" this maroon dress during this Valentine's week, but since the dress only has 3/4-length sleeves, I knew I'd be chilly without another layer.  I've had this ridiculous idea in my head forever that I can't wear a denim jacket in the winter.  After seeing my homegirl Danielle wear a denim jacket recently, I realized quickly how ridiculous I was being...and decided to try it out myself.  I am so happy with how this turned out, and this outfit is one of my favorites!  [Plus, I really like this picture of myself.  Can I say that?  Is that vain?  I don't know.]

Today is your last to link up with us - I can't wait to see what you're wearing this Valentine's Day!


Valentine's Week: Pinned It and Did It & Red Scarf

Dress / Leggings: Old Navy Cardigan / Boots: Target Scarf: JCPenney

Inspired by Fran

I knew that I wanted to wear my red scarf during Valentine's Week, and when I remembered that it was Pinned It and Did It, I immediately thought to this recent outfit of Fran's.  I have the exact same striped dress and am always trying to think of new ways to style it.  To be honest, much of my inspiration when wearing it has come directly from Fran, just like today!  I love how the black and white stripes look with the camel cardigan, and the red/maroon scarf just pops!  Since I don't have a maroon infinity scarf, I took my red pashmina and tied the ends together for a makeshift infinity scarf.  I'm pretty happy with how the outfit turned out!

I have really been enjoying seeing all your outfits this week, and I hope you continue to link up with us today and tomorrow!  [I'm also linking up with Heather today for Pinned It and Did It!]


Valentine's Week: Pink & White Cardigan

Shirt / Jeans: Old Navy Cardigan: Talbots, thrifted Shoes: Kohls Necklace: Maurices

Like yesterday, I decided to bust out another item in my closet that doesn't get enough love for Valentine's Week.  I have worn this cardigan twice before, but have never put pictures of it up on the blog yet.  I love the color, and the floral print is quite pretty, but I'm sometimes stumped about how to style it.  Any suggestions?


Valentine's Week: Red Flats

 Shirt / Cardigan / Jeans: Old Navy Flats: Target Necklace: Eclectic Wendy

It's Valentine's Week: Day Two!  Today's outfit features these red flats that I have had for ages but have only worn once.  I figure that this week is the perfect time to break them out again (even though it's super cold outside...)!  I've also had this polka dot long-sleeved tee for quite awhile, and I just took the tags off today.  Now I'm wondering why it took so long to break it out - it is SO soft, and ridiculously cute!  I like how it looks with the tan boyfriend cardigan, but I also think it will look great with a blazer, a vest, or just on its own as well.


Valentine's Week: Polka Dot Oxford

 Shirt / Jeans: Old Navy Belt / Shoes: Target Necklace: oNecklace

A little glimpse of my necklace - just like Carrie's...

So...Valentine's Day is this Friday, and along with a group of other fantastic bloggers, I'll be wearing pink or red every day this week!  When I started thinking about what I wanted to wear during the week, this red and maroon polka dot oxford was the first thing that popped into my mind.  I'm not a huge fan of wearing bright, true reds (I prefer deeper reds and maroons), so this reddish oxford is the perfect way to get more of the hue in my closet.  I was originally going to throw a cardigan on over the shirt, but decided to keep it simple with the maroon belt, silver necklace, and silver earrings.  It's not the most exciting outfit in the world, but this top is cute enough on its own that it doesn't need to be overly accessorized or styled.

Feel free to link up with us this week as well!!  We'd love to have you join us!!


Warm Winter Day

Shirt / Cardigan: Target Jeans: Gap Shoes: Kohls Necklace: Forever 21

I wore this outfit on a random warm day we had in December before I started the 30x30 challenge.  I was so excited that temperatures were in the 30s that I had to wear my polka dot ankle jeans and flats!  I think that the top half of this outfit would look nice with plain skinny jeans, but I thought the polka dots kicked it up a notch.  I'm eager for another warm day like this...


How I Plan for a 30x30 Remix

At the end of my 30x30 remix challenge, Danielle commented that she was interested in seeing how I go about planning for the challenge.  I've blogged about my outfit tracking spreadsheets before, but I really liked Danielle's suggestion of walking you all through how I go about planning for the 30x30 challenge.

The Pieces

My first step in the process is to choose my 30 items.  I begin by opening a new sheet on my clothing spreadsheet, titling it "30x30 items."  Then, I make columns for each of the clothing categories.  Note: I like to include shoes in my remix, because I feel like it is more of a challenge when you have to limit footwear as well.

I have a few ways of choosing items: pieces that I know will be versatile (like my skinny jeans and boots), pieces of interest (like my purple vest and polka dot chambray dress), and pieces that I want to force myself to remix (like both of my striped long-sleeved tees).  I also like to make sure that I have pieces that will work for my work and internship dress codes, but ones that I would be happy wearing on the weekends as well.  Weather is another thing to consider - since it is so cold in January in Minnesota, I knew I wanted to have pieces that I could layer for extra warmth.  Finally (and obviously...), I want to include pieces that I know can be mixed and matched easily without looking like I'm trying too hard to make them work together.

Once I've selected all my pieces, I start to plan potential outfits.

The Outfits

Now that I have all my 30 pieces, I open up another sheet in my clothing spreadsheet and title it "30x30 ideas."  I start with my tops (and then move to dresses) and try to create either A) as many outfits as I can with that piece, or B) at least 3 outfits with that piece.

When I first started this spreadsheet, I went with option A, but it quickly got overwhelming - at one point, I had about 75-80 unique outfits with just these pieces!  I pared down the outfits that I knew I probably would not want to wear and whittled down my list to about 45 outfits.  Since I plan my outfits around my tops and my dresses, I make sure that my layering pieces, bottoms, and shoes are all getting included in the outfits I'm planning.

You'll see in the above screenshot that some of the outfits are highlighted in yellow - those are the outfits that I actually wore during the challenge.

The Master Spreadsheet

The first "sheet" in my clothing spreadsheet, as you can see at the bottom of the below screenshot, is called "Outfits."  This is the spreadsheet that I've been adding to for over a year now - if you look at the righthand side of the screenshot, you can see that I've been tracking for over 600 days now!

When I planned my 30x30 outfits for the week (I usually plan on Sundays), I went to my "30x30 ideas" spreadsheet and then copied & pasted the outfits from that sheet to the "Outfits" sheet below.  This is when I would go into the "30x30 ideas" spreadsheet and highlight the "used" outfits in yellow.

Also, you'll see that the date in the left-hand column is highlighted in blue.  I highlighted the dates of the challenge so that I could easily find my 30x30 challenges in the master spreadsheet if I wanted to go back and look at it.  When I'm not doing the challenge, I just leave the date unfilled.

Keeping Track

To keep track of my items and how often they had been worn, I color coded them in the "30x30 items" sheet.  This is what the spreadsheet looks like at the end of the challenge, with every item coded for how many times they had been worn.  Each color corresponds with a number.  For instance, blue items were worn twice, green items were worn three times, pink items were worn seven times, etc.

I updated the colors on this spreadsheet as I went along on the challenge, so I would know which pieces I needed to wear again (I always want to wear each piece at least twice) and which pieces needed to take a break.

So...there you have it!  A super long, ridiculously nerdy and anal-retentive organization system for how I survive the 30x30 remix challenge!  Please let me know if you have any questions - I have been using this system for coming up on two years now, and it has been really helpful.  [Also, I hope none of you are scared away by how crazy this is...]


Rock Star

Shirt: Old Navy Skirt / Tights: Target Boots: Bare Traps Necklace: Forever 21

I had a few outfits lined up from before the 30x30 I did this past month, and I'm excited to share them with you now...a month late, ha!  I love this outfit.  It feels so "me," and has all my favorite outfit elements all wrapped up into one: a full skirt (with pockets!!), a button up shirt, cozy tights, boots, and a fun necklace.  The pieces are all so clean and crisp, and I think they all fit me super well and are flattering to boot.  There's something so weirdly empowering about wearing an outfit that you just feel like a rock star in, amiright?


Bracelet Convert

Shirt / Cardigan: Old Navy Pants: Kohls Boots: Guess Bracelet: c/o Anjolee

I was sent a beautiful bangle bracelet from Anjolee, a jewelry company that specializes in customized diamond pieces.  The company prides itself on its customizability, high quality jewels, and excellent prices.  When you order a piece, they custom build it for you - the company does not have any inventory because everything is custom made!  I have to say that I am thrilled with this piece.  I have not worn bracelets in years because I usually find them to be too cumbersome and bulky, but this bracelet was light and dainty enough for me to wear it all day.  I'm glad I selected this particular piece because it goes with so much of my other jewelry (I don't love mixing metals) and it's versatile enough that I can wear it with almost any outfit!  I really like the extra sparkle it gives to this otherwise plain outfit.  I hope you're ready to see a lot more of this bracelet, because I love it!


30x30: Favorites & Flops

I've had a few days to recover and reflect after completing my second 30x30 remix challenge, and I thought I'd share a little recap with you all about how it went for me.

The Favorites

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 

  • 1 // I had my first try at intentionally wearing navy and black together in this first outfit.  The black necklace and polka dot tights kept it interesting.
  • 2 // The gray skirt posed to be an unexpectedly challenging piece to style during the challenge, but I loved the simplicity of this outfit and the pop of purple from the tights.
  • 3 // This outfit may be one of my all-time favorites in the history of ever.  I felt so comfortable and beautiful in it, and the silhouette is perfect on my body!
  • 4 // I kind of threw this black, gray, and mustard outfit together, but the gray studded belt around my waist sealed the deal in making this outfit one of my favorites of the challenge.
  • 5 // Originally hesitant about all the layers in this outfit, I am really glad I included it.  It became another unexpected favorite of the challenge, and it's a look I'll likely try again!

The Flops
1 // 2 // 3

  • 1 // As I mentioned above, this gray skirt was difficult for me to style during the challenge.  I tried wearing it with other neutrals and just didn't love how it looks without a little color.  Plus, I feel the sweater is a bit too slouchy in the arms to look good with this outfit.  It looks all-around frumpy and I wasn't a fan.
  • 2 // This outfit is ridiculously plain, lacking color, and looks unflattering.  A bright scarf or necklace and a quick untuck of the shirt would have done wonders for the outfit.
  • 3 // Like the first outfit, I felt the neutrals in this outfit looked too disjointed.  While I love the overall silhouette, I feel like the brown tights look yucky with the outfit.  I think it would have looked so much cuter if I had worn nude pantyhose (or gone barelegged) instead!
All in all, I am pleased with how my second 30x30 experience went.  I picked some great pieces that were basic and very remixable.  If I do this again, I will want to choose a few more colorful and/or patterned pieces instead of playing it a little safe again (like I did during my first 30x30 remix).  Luckily, I was able to rely on my accessories to add more color and interest to my outfits, but I'd like to be just a tad bolder next time.  I did really enjoy doing this challenge during the cooler weather, because I am a huge fan of layering and was able to layer to my heart's content all month.

Stay tuned later this week to see how I plan for, organize, and keep track of my items for the 30x30 challenge.  It will be full of screenshots of my nerdy spreadsheets and evidence of my anal retentive tendencies.  Hooray!