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Budgeting Bloggers | August

Whoa, we're already to the end of another month!  And you know what that means...time for another installment of Budgeting Bloggers!

This month, I did a little thrifting and I did a little shopping at Target for some basics (and one bonus piece...).

  • Sleeveless chambray dress: Ralph Lauren, $5
  • Long-sleeved chambray dress: Old Navy, $5
  • Pink lace romper (pictured above): New York & Company, $14 (New with tags, originally $70!)
Total spent in August: $78

I purchased the long-sleeved tees because I needed something basic to wear to work and on the weekends, that I could dress up or down with scarves or necklaces, skirts or jeans, etc.  I took a risk by getting a color I don't typically reach for (a rusty orange), but I just couldn't help but love the color, and I really do think I'll be wearing it a lot this fall and winter.  The moto vest is something I've been drooling over at Target for months (seriously, I touched it every time I went to Target...), and I've already worn it twice in the two weeks I've had it.

The Goodwill items were definitely not planned, but I'm so excited about all of them.  I went to Goodwill to help Kevin pick up some shirts for his new job, and while I was waiting for him to try everything on, I saw these items hanging on the dress rack and knew I had to try them on.  The chambray dresses (totally necessary to have two chambray dresses, right??) are very different from each other, but they're both super comfortable.  In fact, I wore one for our family photos last weekend :)  As for the romper, I totally expected it to look horrible on me, like all the other rompers I've tried out.  However, I actually loved the way this romper looks on me.  It's such a fun, vibrant color, and I love that it's lace!  It's so much fun!  One of my coworkers is having a wedding reception this weekend (she got married in May in Arizona, so is having a reception for all her family and friends this weekend), and I'm thinking about wearing my romper to the wedding reception with some black wedges.  We'll see ;)

I'm linking up with Fran and the other budgeting bloggers.


REMIX | Coral Dress

This coral t-shirt dress is one of the most comfortable things in my closet.  I just love how soft it is, and it seems to be endlessly versatile.  This summer, it's been on repeat (along with its gray and black companions...which you will be seeing more of in the next couple of weeks...).  I also love this dress because it's one I can easily wear to work (I go back to work today!!).  Here are two ways I've worn this dress this summer:
Dress: Old Navy | Scarf: Gift | Shoes: TOMS

I've been really into wearing lightweight scarves this summer, as they keep me a little warmer in the cold air conditioning, but they're not too heavy for being outdoors either.  This scarf doesn't actually have coral in it, but the black, gray, orange, and pink all complement the coral nicely.  For a little added dressiness, I wore my TOMS ballet flats, although I could have worn any pair of casual black sandals, too.

Dress: Old Navy | Vest: Maurices, thrifted | Sandals: Target | Necklace: Gift

What I love about coral is that it goes with basically every neutral tone...and since most of my closet is made up of neutrals, I feel like I can wear this dress with most everything else in my closet.  Take this denim vest, for example.  It's definitely a piece that can change up the look of an outfit, especially with the crocheted back (see below!).  While I've mostly worn this dress with black accessories in the past, I wanted to switch it up and go with gold and bronze tones this time around.  My gold necklace and headband along with the bronze sandals bring a different vibe to the dress and I love how it looks.

How else might you style a coral dress?


Weekend Recap and a Purple Tank

Tank: Gap, thrifted | Jeans: Kohls | Sandals: Target | Necklace: Eclectic Wendy Designs

It feels weird to be blogging this outfit right now as it's currently 57 degrees and cloudy...I'm currently wearing these same jeans but also with a college sweatshirt and my slippers.  I'm so not complaining, though - the chilly weather we have had in Minnesota the past two days has been delightful!  I am loving wearing my cardigans and long-sleeved shirts! :)

We had a super busy weekend.  On Friday evening, we took our annual family pictures with my mom's side of the family.  It's a fun tradition that has been going on for many years - and it's so cool to look back at all of our previous pictures and see how the families have grown.  This year, we added two new members: my cousin's son, Nolan, and my brother's new fiance, Rachel.  It's so exciting to have a growing, happy family!!  I'll probably share some of our photos on the blog in the next week or two.

On Saturday, Kevin and I spent most of the day doing projects in and around the house.  I finally painted our kitchen...something that we've put off for over two months now.  It feels so great to get the painter's tape off the walls and say goodbye to the horrid mint green kitchen!!  We also did a lot of work in our backyard.  The previous homeowners did almost no landscaping and/or yard maintenance, so we've had a ton of work to do to make it look more presentable.  We have plans to put in some vegetable gardens next spring/summer, so we're trying to clean things up to get ready for that project.  We still need to hang up our artwork (and order a couple of photo canvases to hang in our living room and dining room), but we're getting closer and closer to being done!  I cannot wait to finish it all and share our home with y'all!

On Sunday, we ventured to the Mall of America to find some work pants for Kevin's new job (he's working with an organization that helps low-income students get into and succeed in college!  This also means he's working days again, so we actually get to see each other now!!!).  We struck out, but we were able to enjoy some lunch at the mall anyway.  In the evening, we went to my parents' house for dinner and games with them and my brother and his fiance.  It has been so wonderful to live close to our families again - we can all hang out so much more, now!  We enjoyed great food and laughed a ton, and talked about wedding plans as well.  Such an exciting time in our family! :)

Anyway...about the outfit.  Really, there isn't a ton to say, other than I've really been enjoying wearing tank tops (now that I don't care about showing my arms) with jeans this summer.  I loved wearing outfits like this when I was nannying, because they were comfortable to move around in and play with the girls (we had lots of dance parties and musical singalongs this summer), but I also felt put together.  I especially love this tank top because the studs/sparkles add a built-in detail.

What did you do this weekend?  Tell me all about it :)


The Right to Bare Arms

Dress: Old Navy | Sandals: Target | Scarf: Gift

Well, looky here!  It's our deck!  I was able to finagle some kind of tripod so I could take outfit photos outside this past weekend, and I'd say it turned out alright!  I'm hoping I'll be able to take photos a bit more regularly now that I've figured out a way to take them outside, at least until it gets cold outside (I feel like I say this all the time...we'll see what actually happens...).

I've worn this exact outfit a couple of times this summer, because I like it so much.  I've mentioned before that I'm finally starting to get more comfortable with repeating outfits that I like and feel good in, and I've been doing it a lot more often this summer than I have in the past.  I'm also proud of myself for not being afraid of wearing sleeveless things anymore.  I used to think that bigger girls had to wear sleeves to cover their arms, but as I've grown older, I've realized I don't really care about the rules of what I "can" and "can't" wear.  I've been baring my arms all summer and it feels great to be confident enough to do just that.  After years of feeling like I need to cover up my body, limit what I wear, and feel shame about my size, I love that I'm slowly starting to embrace what makes me feel confident and pretty instead of hiding behind my clothes.  And that means that I'm going to bare my arms and legs.  I'm going to wear a two-piece swimsuit.  I'm going to wear leggings as pants.  I'm going to wear what I like.  And that's okay.


Catching Up

 Top: Target, thrifted | Pants: Kohls | Sandals: Target

One of my best friends from childhood, Emily (who writes a fantastically funny baking blog called Moist Bundt), moved to Los Angeles two years ago to pursue her dream of becoming a writer.  She's so talented as a writer of plays and TV scripts, as well as a performer and improviser.  She's still established in Minneapolis as well, and returns to the area every year for the Fringe Festival (a fun performing arts festival in the Twin Cities).  This year, Emily wrote a play (called The Mrs., a dark comedy about a polygamist family and what occurs after the husband mysteriously disappears) and performed in an ensemble show (called Couple Fight, where several couples comically recreated real fights they've had), and I was thrilled to be able to see both of her shows.  Both were hilarious and smartly written, and had both Kevin and I howling with laughter!

Selfishly, I love when Emily comes home, because we make it a point to get together and catch up.  No matter how much time passes between our face-to-face visits, we always pick up right where we left off.  I wore this outfit when we grabbed lunch at one of my favorite Twin Cities pizza places, Punch Pizza.  It was so much fun to talk about our lives - to hear about her professional endeavors and the crazy situations she encounters in her life in LA, and to share with her about things that are going on in my life as well.  Plus, pizza.

I'm so happy that I picked up this blouse.  I haven't had much pattern (other than stripes) in my closet for quite awhile, and I like that this abstract pattern has visual interest and multiple neutral colors.  Given that the vast majority of my closet is neutrals ranging from whites/creams to grays to light browns to blacks, I'm confident that this blouse will get worn tons all year round.  I'm really excited to wear it with some ankle pants, flats, and a cardigan when I go back to work!  For now, though, I love wearing it relaxed with some rolled up ponte pants and my bronze fake Birks.  Casual and comfortable!



 Top: Old Navy | Skirt: Bettie Page | Sandals: Target
(nice butt, Rooney)

Oh my goodness, everyone.  I took outfit photos for the first time since the beginning of May the other day (MAY!!!!).  I'm trying to figure out the best way to take my pictures in our new house . I'd love to take them out on the deck, but I don't currently have a way to do it (I have a new phone and my old iPhone tripod doesn't work with my new phone), and I haven't had Kevin around to take pictures for me (dumb opposite schedules!).  So for now, you get some really good living room photos.  Whatever, at least I took the pictures, right?!

I wore this outfit a couple of weeks ago when my BFF came to play games with Kevin and me.  There's this really cool game center not too far from where we live - they design and manufacture games but they also have a game center where people can play any kind of game...card games, board games, nerd games, etc.  They also have food and adult beverages there, which always makes for a fun night, right?  We stayed at the game center for several hours playing this fantastic bluffing game called Coup.

Okay, but back to this outfit.  I hadn't worn this particular chambray shirt (it's one of four in my closet...and no, I don't think that's too excessive, hahaha) in forever, because the pocket flaps were always crinkled and flipped up, which is not cute.  And since I don't iron (ain't nobody got time for that), I just never wore the top, even though I absolutely love everything else about it.  A month or so ago, I brought it to my parents' house and had my mom stitch the pockets shut.  It was the best move ever, and I'm not exaggerating when I say I've worn it at least once a week since it has returned to my closet.  As for the skirt, I was debating whether I would keep it or not since I'm not a huge skirt wearer anymore.  However, I decided to give it a try with this decision ever.  I really love how the two look together - it's a put together outfit, but it also was comfortable.  I could easily wear this to work as well.


Currently | August

Haha, oops.  I'm an idiot and realized I forgot to hit "publish" on this post on Wednesday.  #bloggerfail.

Creating | Being back in the Twin Cities where most of our family and friends reside has been so fantastic.  Lately, I've been creating plans with many of said family and friends to hang out, reconnect, catch up, etc.  As one who has struggled with friendships for most of my life (and hasn't had many friends since leaving college...why is it so hard to make friends post-college?!), it feels really wonderful to reconnect with some very important people in my life.

Wishlisting | Honestly, I've been doing very little online window shopping lately.  I think I'm kind of "over" most of my previous go-to clothing stores (like Old Navy...aside from their workout gear and basic tanks, I'm pretty much uninterested in anything they're selling right now).  Instead of browsing online clothing stores, however, I've been wishlisting different food storage containers to pack lunches in when I head back to work (two more weeks of summer left!  AH!).  I really love the LunchBots line, and I think I want to get this container (pictured below).
Hoping | I'm hoping to get in some good niece snuggles in the next two weeks.  I know it will be harder to spend time with Elouise once the school year starts up again, and since my brother-in-law went back to work this week, I'm sure my sister-in-law would appreciate another set of hands to help out before I head back to school ;)  [Also, can you handle this adorable picture my brother-in-law snapped of Ella and me two weeks ago??}
Eating | I cannot get enough fresh fruit these days!  Whenever I go to the grocery store, I spend most of my time weaving in and out of the produce line and filling my cart with raspberries, blackberries, peaches, bananas, grapes, watermelon, apples, etc.  I just loooove fruit!

Watching | Kevin and I finally finished Orange is the New Black a couple of weeks ago, and we've been on a real Cutthroat Kitchen binge lately.  Alton Brown, the host of the show, is so evil and funny, and we love all of the sabotages.  As someone who isn't very adventurous or skilled in the kitchen, watching this show has made me eager to try some things out, though!

I'm linking up with Anne and Jenna for the monthly Currently link up :)


Monthly Goals | August

Recap | July Goals
1. Get 10,000 steps every day and drink 100 oz of water every day | Fail.  Fail, fail, fail.  I'm really disappointed in myself.  There's some kind of mental block I'm dealing with that is preventing me from getting into an exercise routine and/or being healthy in general.  I did much better at drinking water than I did at getting 10,000 steps in, but I'm trying hard to figure out why I cannot make choices for my health.  It's frustrating and discouraging.

2. Try a new recipe every week | Hahaha, guess how many times I cooked this month?  ZERO.  I mean, I made spaghetti once (with sauce from a jar - we go all out), and I made black bean tacos a couple of times, but these are regular staples for us.  We did absolutely no experimenting in the kitchen.  I did buy the ingredients to make a broccoli + cheese + rice casserole, but then Kevin ate the cheese and we forgot about the yeah.  I had kind of good intentions and zero follow through.

3. Play music | YES!  Finally, a goal I accomplished!  My dad told me about this fantastic app (Scribd), where you can have access to all kinds of audiobooks, ebooks, etc.  My favorite feature, however, is that you can get the musical score for all kinds of Broadway musicals!  My all-time favorite show is Spring Awakening (I previously sang for you one of my favorite songs from the show here), and I've been having a blast teaching myself the piano parts for some of my other favorite Spring Awakening shows.  I even recorded myself playing/singing one (Mama Who Bore Me).  Take a listen if you feel so inclined (keep in mind I've never played/sang at the same time before, and I have a crappy electronic keyboard, haha).
(Try this link if the embedded video doesn't work)

4. Organize the basement | Wooo!  Kevin mostly tackled this goal, but I'm super happy that we don't trip on broken down cardboard boxes at the bottom of the stairs now.  We also have a big open space that we set our workout equipment up in, and we set up some shelves to hold all of our extra towels, sheets, blankets, etc. near the washer and dryer.  We still would like to set up a few more sets of shelves and empy the rest of the boxes and bins downstairs, but we've made excellent headway.

5. Recreate a date with Kevin | Hooray!  Another goal done!  One of the first things Kevin and I did the summer our relationship began was get bubble tea at the Tea Garden.  It's one of the fondest memories I have of the summer we really got to know each other (2008 - how has it been seven years already?!).  We went back to the Tea Garden a couple of weeks ago and while Kevin was adventurous and tried a new flavor, I had the exact same thing I had seven summers ago: pineapple + pina colada tea with strawberry + mango + passion fruit jellies.  Deeelicious.

August Goals
1. Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night | I'm a total grandma/toddler, in that I require at least 8-9 hours of sleep to feel great.  I don't drink caffeinated beverages, so I really rely on getting adequate sleep to feel my best.  However, this summer, I've gotten 8+ hours of sleep only a handful of times.  According to my Fitbit (and considering how I feel), I've been averaging 5 hours of sleep a night.  NOT COOL.  I feel like a zombie (this could explain some of the weight gain and general lethargy I've been experiencing).  I'm going to make it a point to shoot for 7+ hours of sleep each night.  Once I head back to work (August 24!!), I'm going to need to wake up at 5:00 am, which means I'll need to be in bed at 9:00 on school nights.  Time to get into my new routine!

2. Blog at least twice each week | I'm getting my blogging groove back, y'all.  I have taken outfit photos twice in the past week, and I have plans to take a bunch more over the course of the next week.  I'm eager to show you what I've been wearing this summer (here's where tracking my daily outfits is a real benefit!).  I need to start slowly, considering the sheer lack of blogging that's been going on all summer, but I feel like at least two posts a week is realistic!

3. Read 1,000 pages in August | I have been a reading machine this summer!  So far in 2015, I've read 20 books, with 10 of them having been read in the last 2 months.  It's been such a blast to get back to my bookworm roots.  (Side note: would you be interested in a post with some of the books I've read lately?  I always love hearing book recommendations from others myself!)

4. Finish painting the kitchen | We ran out of paint while painting our kitchen when we moved in nearly two months ago.  It took me about 6 weeks to actually buy another can of paint...but not, I think it's high time we actually finish painting the kitchen.  Then we'll be all done with painting for now, we can finish hanging our artwork up, and I'll feel much more settled/happy :)

5. Set a date for an open house | Once the new house is all settled, Kevin and I are planning to host a little open house for our families and close friends to come check out the new digs.  It will feel so great to be able to share our home with those we love the most!

What are your goals for August?