Thursday, April 28, 2016

April Budget


April Budget: $359.26
Second quarter budget: $600 - $359.26 + $100 in side work = $340.74 remaining

I'd find my April budget total shocking, but I knew I was going to be spendy this month. I mentioned a few weeks back that the majority of my summer clothes no longer fit. Originally I planned to space my purchases out a bit more, but since it's already warm in Florida, I just went for it. Though I did luck out by scoring some amazing deals, so the damage could have been a lot worse! Pretty clothes at a good price always makes me happy.

Sperry canvas sneakers (see how I wore them here)
Confession: I bought these shoes for a style challenge. But, I ended up loving them. I really like that they are tennis shoes without looking athletic and are super comfortable with a great cushy insole. They run true to size, and I got them in my typical size 9.

Loft kimono cardigan (see how I wore it here)
Soft, chunky and a bit different silhouette, this cardigan was a fun purchase at a ridiculously cheap price. Things to note: it's cotton but heavier than you'd expect and runs really large. Mine is a medium and since it's stretched out a bit - probably because I've been wearing it non-stop - I almost could have gone with a small.

J. Crew polka dot midi skirt (see how I wore it here)
Polka dots, elastic waistband and pockets - what's not to love? This skirt is lightweight, comfortable and perfect for summer work days. After reading reviews, I sized down one size and got it in a 14.

J. Crew micro pleated midi skirt (see how I wore it here)
This skirt is one of my favorite purchases this month. It's gorgeous in real-life, a lovely shade of pinkish orchid and is a nice, heavy-weight that keeps the pleats from flaring out too much (an issue for us curvy-hipped ladies). I got this in a size 16 and find it runs true to size.

J. Crew Factory pleated midi skirt (see how I wore it here)
I know, I know, yet another midi skirt this month. What can I say, I'm addicted. :) Especially when it comes in a pretty teal color and a good price. There's definitely a bit of a quality difference in the factory version vs. the J. Crew pleated midi, but still a nice skirt. Also a size 16.

J. Crew Factory octopus tee (see how I wore it here)
I played around with this shirt while making last month's summer outfit "survival guide" and ended up liking it so much at I thew it in with my midi skirt order. Besides, a girl living on the Florida coast needs a nautical octopus tee, right? Never mind the fact that I've never actually seen one in the wild while living here...Anyway, I got it in an XL and think it runs a little large. It's super soft in real-life and the gold stripes are a nice, bright metallic.

J. Crew Factory cardigan (see how I wore it here)
Another summer outfit "survival guide" item that I decided that I needed in my closet. I like the Clare cardigans because they are soft, light-weight and the 3/4 sleeves are a nice option for the over air-conditioned summer months. It's an XL and just a touch small in the chest, but just right in the sleeves.

J. Crew Factory demi-wedge sandal (see how I wore them here)
I really like how these sandals give the look and feel of heels without the discomfort of wearing an actual heel. Pros: there was no break-in period, they're comfortable to stand and walk around in all day, and the knot at the top is super cute. Cons: they run a little long and narrow. For reference, these are size 9.

J. Crew Factory chambray blazer (see how I wore it here)
I've mentioned before I hate buying replacement pieces, so when my Loft chambray blazer from last year became too big, I decided to try the J. Crew Factory version instead. It sits right below the hip, and fits well in the arms and waist. It does have a bit of padding in the shoulders and I wish it was just a touch more tailored, but that's something I could get fixed if I decide it bothers me enough. I got this jacket in a size 16.

AEO Denim X crops (see how I wore them here)
I like the idea of colored denim, but wasn't comfortable with going with a bight hue, so a soft pink seemed like a nice option. For me they ran small in the leg, so I sized up to an 18. The waist is now a bit big, but easily solved with a belt. If you have skinny legs, I'd stick to your normal size.


Tax Return Goodies (not included in budget):

Come tax refund time, I like to buy a few (or one really expensive) item I normally wouldn't purchase for myself. Last year, I got my Clare V. leopard print clutch and this year, thanks for some really get sales was able to pick up several goodies. I started out wanting to try the Kendra Scott Color Bar, so I picked out the crystal clear stones for the daisy station ring and tessa studs. I signed up for emails from KateSpade.com and got 15% off my purchase, and since I had the discount going for me, also picked up the devlayn necklace that's been on my wish list for forever.

I fell in love with these polka dot d'orsay flats after seeing a very similar pair on McKenna Bleu. Not willing to spend $90 + shipping on them, I ended up finding an almost identical pair from Lord and Taylor for $10 cheaper plus an additional 25% off. Word of warning though, there's a bit of a break-in period with these shoes. The first day I got blisters on both of my big-toes and both heels. Armed with a ton of band aids, I wore them again yesterday and I can tell the leather's softening up a bit, but I'll probably have to wear them a few more times before they're truly comfortable.

I've been on the lookout for a new leather bag for awhile, but wasn't ready to commit to anything. Last weekend I found this Cedar Hayden in grace blue on clearance at Kate Spade with an additional 25% off. This bag is normally out of my price range - even as a refund splurge - but on clearance with an additional sale was right at my comfort-spending level. Let me tell you, it's even better in real-life than online. I love everything about it - the gorgeous color, the structure - even the removable, adjustable strap perfect to wear as a crossbody or on the shoulder. If the pink pleated midi skirt was a my favorite purchase from my monthly budget, this bag is by far my favorite tax refund splurge. Worth every discounted penny.

//  Sharing with Franish and the budgeting bloggers.  //

Had a Bad Day

Yesterday was rotten. It started out with less than two hours of sleep, rolled into a morning meeting that went so badly that I'm still reeling from it, to an overload of work that kept me locked at my desk all day slapping project after project together as quickly as possible. I left work with a backache, headache and dark mood. One of those days. The kind where all you want to do is crawl into bed and throw the covers over your head and give up. An I can't Wednesday.

That evening my kiddo and I went for a neighborhood stroll and tried to remember some of the good points in the day. There's a had to be something, right? The weather was lovely, little bit was in an especially sweet mood handing out kisses and snuggles, husband and I had a nice lunch together, I snagged a pack of pretty yellow envelopes for less than $3, and my new Kate Spade bag came in. Most of it little, silly things, but good things none-the-less. So maybe part of the day was rotten, but not all of it. Sometimes in the thick of things, it's hard to find perspective and I have to remind myself to take a deep breath, say a prayer and move on. Remember the good stuff and toss the rest of it away.

Shirt: Target (similar)
Skirt. J. Crew Factory (exact)
Sweater: J. Crew Factory (similar pinkexact in other colors)
Sandals: Target (similar)
Bag: Kate Spade (exact)
Necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)
Earrings: Reeds (exact, inexpensive alternative)
Watch: Fossil (exact)
Bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties (exact) J. Crew Factory (exact)


Speaking of good things, how awesome is this bag? Last weekend Kate Spade had an additional 25% off sale, so I spent part of my tax return money on it. It's the Cedar Street Hayden in grace blue - and I'm in love. I've been on the lookout for a new bag and this one is everything I was looking for - a lighter color, structured, decent size and leather. There's even an adjustable long strap so it can be worn as a crossbody or over the shoulder. Upon excitedly pulling it out of the packing box, I realized it's basically my blog in a bag - a gorgeous light teal color with an an inside lining of white on white polka dots. Teal and Polka Dots. I'd like to say I planned it that way, but it was just serendipitous.

Random side story, I had plans to wear a tan sweater with this outfit, but when I asked the husband if I looked alright, he complained that it was a little drab and suggested the pink. I've been accused more than once of asking for - but for never following - his advice, so even though I wasn't sold on it I wore this pink cardigan. I'm still not sure I love it, but what do you think? Too much color, just right? Heaven forbid he be right and me wrong. :) But seriously, I can take it - maybe it works and I'm just over thinking it.


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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I Feel Pretty


Many times I post an outfit on here that I'm not crazy about, but it's what I wore in real-life, so I go ahead and put it out there. Not this outfit. I LOVE this outfit. I'm pretty sure it's my favorite thing I've worn this year, if not ever on the blog. I just felt so pretty and feminine in it and I think it translated pretty well into photos. Besides, how can you not feel happy in a swirly, twirly pink skirt? It also doesn't hurt when you're having a good makeup day and your hair decides to behave. :)

Speaking of hair, I just went to a new place to get my highlights/lowlights done and I'm feeling so much happier with my return to ash-tones. Highlights tend to pull gold/brassy on me and I hate it, so I'm thrilled I found someone who knows how to work with my mess of hair.

Top: Loft (similar)
Skirt: J. Crew (exact in limited sizes, similar in peach)
Shoes: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)
Earrings: Kendra Scott (exact, with other stones)
Watch: Fossil (exact)
Bracelets: Kendra Scott (cute alternative) J. Crew Factory (exact)
Ring: Kendra Scott (exact)


J. Crew's customer service is amazing. I originally ordered this skirt while J. Crew was having a 30% off sale, but upon arrival it had a snag in the waistband. I emailed customer service and included pictures of the damaged spot and they offered me a discount if I wanted to keep the skirt or I could reorder the skirt and send the damaged one back. I held on to it for about a week debating to keep or return, but when I went to try the skirt on again I noticed there was a dark pen mark - almost like someone had drawn on it with black ink in between the pleats on the front. I called customer service and they issued me an immediate refund, did a price match, and since my size and color was low in stock, two-day shipped the replacement. A refund before they even received the product back - pretty awesome. Literally the day the skirt arrived, it went on clearance with an additional 40% off sale. I emailed customer service, they did a price adjustment, and I ended up getting a $120 skirt for $47. Such a great deal, seriously J. Crew's customer service is the best.

Unlike Loft. Their online customer service is terrible - but that's a story for another day...


//  Sharing on The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore.  //

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Design Your Own with the Kendra Scott Color Bar


Please note: This is not a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 
I enjoyed my experience with Kendra Scott Color Bar and wanted share.

Let me start by saying this isn't a sponsored post. Each year, when my tax return money arrives, I like to splash out on a few things (or one really expensive thing) that I wouldn't normally buy for myself. As part of this year's tax refund haul, I decided to tryout the Kendra Scott Color Bar.

I LOVE the idea of building your own jewelry! It seems like this site is often touted for bridesmaid jewelry and the like, but it's also great if you want to create something a little bit more custom as a gift or for yourself.

The website is extremely intuitive. You really, probably don't need me to walk though it, but I always like seeing other people's process, so I thought someone else might enjoy a quick run down.

First decision...earrings, necklace, ring or bracelet? Hmmm...

I've been wanting to add a smaller pair of earrings  to my jewelry collection, so that seemed like the logical place to start. As you can see, there's a TON of options to choose from. After looking at all the possibilities, I decided on the Tessa studs - since having a kiddo, I've been more into posts than dangle earrings, 'cause dang it hurts when they tug on them. You can buy the Tessa studs without going through the Color Bar, but not all of the colors options are available.

Next step is to pick your metal. I went with gold since it's what I have the most of in my jewelry box and I reasoned it would match more things. But the rose gold is soooo pretty.

Love all the fun options! My favorites are the chalcendony and the iridescent druzy, but I opted for the clear crystals, because once again I wanted to pick something that would go with the rest of my jewelry. As an FYI, if you love the druzy as much as I do, it's $15 cheaper not to buy the druzy studs through Color Bar, but through main website.

Plain and simple. That's me. :)

Add that baby to you chart and done. Ridiculously easy. I do highly recommend signing up for emails before you purchase since you'll be sent a coupon for 15% off your first order.

I snagged the lovely Tessa studs in clear crystal and also got the a matching Daisy station ring. I just LOVE how you can see the intricate metalwork through the crystal in the ring. So pretty and sparkly! I ordered my ring in a size 8 (they have sizes 6, 7 and 8) so I could wear it on my middle, right finger, but I think it runs really large. More like a 9 than an 8. I can wear this ring on my first finger, which I can't do with any of my other size 8 rings. 

Worth noting, all Color Bar pieces are final sale. I did some google searches of the pieces I was interested in with my stone selection before buying. 

My pieces shipped the day after I ordered them and arrived two days later. They came packed in their signature bag, as well as a care card. 

Overall, I'm extremely pleased with my new lovelies and the buying process. Bonus points for super fast shipping! For Mother's Day, Kendra Scott is offering free ground shipping through May 8. I know this mom would just about love anything Kendra Scott has to offer. Hubby if you're reading this - iridescent druzy everything please!




This is not a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Thoughts and Whatnots 4.24.16


I ♥ cardigans:  one  |  two  |  three

Blog Love:

On Teal and Polka Dots:

Favorite Sales:

Personal:
  • What I'm reading: I downloaded the YA novel Cinder by Melissa Meyer on a whim and it was an interesting, futuristic twist on the Cinderella story. Full of teenage angst of course, but still pretty entertaining if you're looking for some escapism. There's several books in the series, incorporating the stories of Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White and Rapunzel.
  • What I'm watching: I watched the Family Stone for the first time this weekend. I know it's a Christmas movie, but for whatever reason, it sounded good, and it was. :)
  • What I'm crushing on: I've become fascinated with Stella and Dot after seeing Brianna unveil some of her new goodies on Snapchat. I love how the items all work together, like this black and white striped clutch that becomes part of a tote and has an optional link chain strap that can also be worn as a necklace. So cool! Also loving their cute black and thin cream stripe makeup pouf (which would go perfect with my Lulu's weekender - just saying :)).
  • What I'm looking forward to: Not having a sick toddler. While on the mend, poor kiddo came home from daycare Wednesday with pink eye followed by a stomach virus that lasted from Wednesday until Saturday, with the crowning moment being when she woke up covered in head-to-toe diarrhea Friday morning. That's when it gets real, ya'll. Can't say washing poo off the walls (or out of hair) was ever on my bucket list, but at least she's cute. I think we'll still keep her. :)
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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Chambray Blazer, Three Ways



I have a bit of a love affair with blazers - they can dress up jeans, add a bit of refinement to a pair of plain pants and make a skirt look a bit more interesting. Unfortunately in Florida, blazers are rather impractical most of the year. So I was super excited when I snagged my first chambray blazer from Loft last spring. The thin, lightweight material meant I could wear it throughout the spring and possibly into early summer. (Let's face it, in the thick of summer I'd probably run around naked if I could get away with it, it's that hot.)

So when Brianna announced blazers as this month's Third Thursday Threads theme, I knew exactly what I want to wear - my chambray blazer. I excitedly threw it on, only to discover it's now way too big. A good problem for sure, but annoying when you have your outfit all planned out. And then you have to buy a replacement. I hate buying replacement stuff. I'll buy new, fun things all day long, but I HATE re-buying something I already own! Loft has bought back their chambray blazer this season, but I opted to go with the J. Crew Factory version instead. (Mainly because the JCF blazer is lined and Loft's isn't. I also preferred that the factory version has two buttons vs. Loft's one.) Plus, then it's not like I'm buying the exact thing all over again, right? And if I can find a good alternations person, I might get the sides of the Loft one slimmed since I like its longer length.

I wore these three different looks to work over the past three weeks: chambray blazer with pencil pants, pink jeans, and a pencil skirt, and I'm already looking forward to finding new ways to style it. Suggestions welcome and encouraged. :)

Blazer with Pencil Pants


Since my work environment is very business casual, I really liked how the blazer dressed up this look, but the chambray kept it from being too stuffy and over the top. In retrospect, these pants are a bit too big and look a little sloppy. Another one of those things I need to replace, but have been resisting.

Blazer: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Shirt: Loft Outfit (cute patterned alternative)
Pants: The Limited (very similar)
Shoes: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Necklace: Something Blue (similar)
Watch: Target (exact)
Bracelet: Bourbon and Boweties (nearly exact)
Earrings: Reeds (exact, inexpensive alternative


Blazer with Colored Denim

My take on the Canadian Tuxedo...light pink denim and chambray blazer. :) I love jeans and blazers, but pairing two shades of blue denim is a bit out of my comfort zone, so the pink was a great way to work around that. I might just have to try this look again with a pair of black jeans this fall! Plus, grateful I work at a place where I can wear pink jeans on a random Thursday.

Blazer: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Shirt: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Jeans: American Eagle (exact)
Shoes: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)
Earrings: Kendra Scott (exact in other stones)
Watch: Fossil (exact)
Bracelet: Bourbon and Boweties (exact)
 
Blazer with a Pencil Skirt

Probably the most dressed up of the three looks, I really like the chambray with a pencil skirt pairing. I went a bit monochromatic with this look, but I have a garnet pencil skirt that I can't wait to try styling this blazer with and a patterned skirt might be fun too!

Blazer: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Shirt: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Skirt: Loft (similar)
Shoes: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)
Watch: Fossil (exact)
Earrings: Reeds (exact, inexpensive alternative)

Out of all three looks, the one with the pink denim ended up being my favorite with the gingham and pencil skirt a close runner up. Definitely looking forward to finding new ways to style this blazer - and possibly revising some of the looks below - before it gets too hot to wear it! Be prepared to see it on major repeat in the days to come.
Three more ways:
one  |  two  |  three

//  Sharing on Work Clothes, I Suppose for Third Thursday Threads.  //

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

One Polka Dot Maxi, Two Looks

I've recently become addicted to Groopdealz as a way to snag boutique pieces at discount prices. A few weeks ago, Tara Lynn's Boutique offered their chiffon maxi skirts on Groopdealz for $35 - they're normally $100! Intrigued by the fact that this skirt is ordered by length and not waistband size (it stretches from 25" to 42"), my friend Casey and I thought it would be fun to see how it looked on two different body-types.

First up is Casey's take on the skirt and a short Q&A.

Polka Dots with Chambray - styled by Casey




Thoughts on this skirt and inspiration for this outfit? ? I really did love this skirt! I was hesitant at first because it isn’t something that I would normally wear. But, turns out it’s my new favorite. I love how flowy it is. I felt very feminine with it on.  

Where do you find your outfit inspirationMy Nunnie Belle (my grandmother) she has always been very stylish. I love pieces that are preppy and casual. I almost always have pearls on, even with a T-shirt.

What's your current favorite fashion trend? ? I really would like to bring back the short overalls. I know that sounds crazy, but, I really do want a pair. And I love a pretty dress paired with cute wedges - it’s my go to for work, parties, or other functions. 

And your least favorite? The 90’s choker necklace and the two-piece matching sets.

Where is your favorite place to shop for clothing? I love local boutiques. I have always been a fan of shopping small and supporting local business owners.

Tell us something unique/random about yourself. I'm an identical twin! 

Have you ever considered starting a blog? Yes, I’d love to have one! I am just so nervous about starting one up! I am so stressed about what I would even name it.

What's your favorite social media outlet? Instagram, because it's visual. The picture tells the story. 

Many thanks to Casey for graciously agreeing to work with me on this post! You can check out more of her style on Instagram @cjlathem28

Shirt: Target (similar)
Skirt: Tara Lynn's Boutique via Groopdealz (exact)
Sandals: American Eagle (exact)
Necklaces: Lg Style (similar monogram) and Boutique by the Bay (similar turquoise pendant)
Earrings: The Hub 30A (similar)
Watch: Michael Kors (exact)
Bracelets: Deep Southern Boutique (exact)


And here's my take on the skirt, and a similar Q&A:

Polka Dots with a Sweater- styled by Erin



Thoughts on this skirt and inspiration for this outfitSupposedly this skirt stretches to 42", but holy cow it's a tight fit! After trying it on, I knew I wanted to wear a top with some forgiveness to cover up the belly bulge thanks to that super tight waistband. My first thought was to go with a chambray shirt - great minds think alike - but eventually decided go with a light pink sweater and aqua accessories for a springy look. 

Where do you find your outfit inspiration? I do a lot of Pinterest searches, especially when I have a particular item I want to find new ways to style. Some of my favorite bloggers for inspiration are Franish, Sarah's Real Life and The Northeast Girl. I appreciate that their looks are not too trendy, stylish and obtainable. 

What's your current favorite fashion trend? I'm in love with midi skirts right now. They're so feminine and pretty, and the hemline is so flattering!

And your least favorite? Hmmm...that's a tough one. Rompers maybe? While cute on others, it's trend that definitely doesn't work for me. And what's up with the socks with sandals thing? No, just no.

Where is your favorite place to shop for clothing? Ha, it probably comes as no surprise that Loft and J. Crew Factory are two of my favs. 

Tell us something unique/random about yourself. I'm shorter than both my parents. My dad's is over 6 ft. tall, my mom is 5'7" and I'm a whooping 5'5". What happened there? I should be at least 5'9" and leggy, right? If you want to know more random tidbits, check out my "10 Things You Don't Know About Me" post

What's your favorite thing about blogging? Connecting with people! It's been wonderful getting to know other bloggers and I really appreciate everyone who takes the time to read and comment on this space. You guys are seriously the best!

What's your favorite social media outlet? Instagram, though we have a bit of a love/hate relationship. I love coming up with creative ways to show snippets of everyday life, but at the same time, it's hard to come up with something fresh and not just post outfit selfies - though there's plenty of those too!


Sweater: J. Crew (exact in other colors)
Skirt: Tara Lynn's Boutique via Groopdealz (exact)
Sandals: Target (similar)
Earrings: Kendra Scott (exact)
Bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties (very similar) and (exact pearl)



//  Sharing on the Pleated Poppy for What I Wore.  //

This is not a sponsored posted for Groopdealz or Tara Lynn's Boutique. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

This One's for the Ladies

I adore this skirt. Seriously, what's not to love? Polka dots, pockets, a flowy drape and comfortable elastic waistband...perfection. But you know who doesn't love this outfit? Boys apparently.

I put this outfit together and asked the husband if I looked okay. His response, "Eh, not one of my favorites." Most times, when asked the dreaded "How do I look question," I get the standard "Looks great, let's go." So, knowing my husband, that meant he really, really didn't like it.

What?! Couldn't he see the perfection of this outfit? The skirt! The polka dots! The pockets! Clearly, he was crazy. So I wore it anyway, and got comments all day long from my female friends about how much they loved it. Which made me wonder, is this one of those outfits girls love, but boys hate? So I asked some of my guys friends, and my theory was pretty much confirmed.

Girls thought it was cute, boys thought it was frumpy. So ladies, this outfit is for you...and who cares about what boys like anyway? Everyone knows we dress for each other, not guys. :)


Cardigan: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Shirt: Target (similar)
Skirt: J. Crew (exact - on sale!)
Sandals: Target (similar)
Necklace: Loft (similar)
Watch: Fossil (exact)
Bracelets: J. Crew Factory (exact link) and Bourbon and Boweties (exact pearl)
Earrings: Reeds (exact, inexpensive similar)

I snagged this skirt from J. Crew on major sale, which seriously only adds to its awesomeness. Marked down from $110 to $79.99 plus 40% off sale...I got it for just shy of $50, almost 60% off retail. I love a good deal, which is part of my shopping downfall...there's just so many good sales on all the cute clothes. :) It's still available in most sizes and is currently 30% off, which is a still a pretty great deal! After reading the reviews, I sized down from my usual 16 to a 14. It's lightweight and comfortable and doesn't wrinkle. Okay, okay, I'm done talking up this skirt now.

And I will prove the husband wrong on this one...I bet with a pair of heels and a different top, I could make it into a guy-approved look. In the words of the great Barney Stinson, challenge accepted. 



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