Valentine’s Gift Guide for Her



We’re just a couple of weeks away from the most wonderful day of the year (pfft…). I’m really not one to celebrate Valentine’s Day with over-the-top declarations of love. I’m perfectly content with small gestures like our annual heart-shaped pizza dinner, a special beer we’ve been saving, and an intense Mario Kart match. Even if you’re like me and crave a low-key day on Feb. 14, it’s still a lovely excuse to buy a little something for the person you love most: yourself. ;-) No significant other required!

  • Rebecca Minkoff has darling heart-shaped pieces available for the holiday. In addition to a quilted crossbody bag (in pink and black), there are conversation heart coin purses.
  • Pucker up! Kelly Wearstler’s lip pieces make me unbelievably giddy. The small and medium catch-all dishes are a luxurious splurge. You could also give yourself a little smooch with this small kiss sculpture, a keychain, or this darling pair of stud earrings.
  • The eyes have it with this flirty boudoir pillow.
  • Take a relaxing soak in the tub with Jo Malone’s red roses bath oil.
  • Tory Burch always nails it with her Valentine gifts. The subtle embossed hearts on this card case make it my favorite of the bunch. (You could also reward yourself for sticking to your fitness resolutions with a Valentine Fitbit band.)
  • Jennifer Zeuner’s dainty jewelry is just so pretty. Even if you’re not a fan of heart-shaped jewelry, there are plenty of other petite designs to choose from.
  • Expecting a flirty phone call? Dress up your iPhone with a romantic case.
  • View the day through rose-colored glasses.
  • Let’s just pretend the arrows on Scalamandre’s classic motif are from Cupid’s bow. This quirky vase is a sophisticated way to display your Valentine bouquet. Would you rather spend the day with a stiff drink? Zebras also adorn this set of double old-fashioned glasses.

Budget Update

Monday, January 26, 2015 9 Permalink 0


A new year calls for a fresh budget and a new Pinterest board to record my 2015 wardrobe additions. If you don’t already have a board dedicated to new purchases (or even planned purchases), I’d recommend it. It’s interesting to see the direction your wardrobe is taking with a quick glance. Evidently, I’m all about stripes (no surprise there) punctuated with rich color.


Each month, I’ve earmarked $250 to spend on clothing and accessories. I consider blog revenue and eBay sales to be “fun money” and will add a portion of that additional income to my monthly budget (if it doesn’t end up in my travel fund first). I’ll record any budget increases or expenditures here each month. Anything that has been ordered and has not yet arrived will appear on the next budget update. I’m also allowing any extra money to rollover into the next month.

  • $250 starting budget
  • + $0 rollover from last month
  • + $300 added to the budget this month
  • - $404 spent this month
  • = $146 remaining


  • J.Crew Factory Striped Popover – $27: I tried this on in-store right before Christmas and immediately fell in love with it (so soft!). I bought it in one size larger than usual so it can double as a beach cover up. Until then, I’ve been wearing it to work with a pair of my favorite pants and classic ballet flats.
  • J.Crew Silk Tie Scarf – $10: This was an impulsive purchase when I stopped at the store to do a post-holiday return. It was 50% off the sale price and I figured $10 for 100% silk was totally worth it.
  • Line & Dot Pink Dress – $33: I’m so freaking excited about this purchase. It was part of Shopbop’s final sale section, but I took a gamble and ordered it anyway. It’s girly and fun to twirl in. We’re looking at Puerto Rican vacations right now and this dress will be the first thing in my suitcase.
  • J.Crew Striped Blouse – $40: This is a lot cuter in person than it looks online. I purchased it to wear to work in the summer, but it’s also cute with the shorts I purchased this month. I’d like to bring it to the tailor to have the shoulders narrowed. Right now, they’re a little too wide for my frame.
  • ASOS Striped Dress – $15: I’ve already waxed poetic about this dress here.
  • Tory Burch Tote – $133: This is definitely this season’s hero piece. I have a friend from college who now works for Tory Burch. Around the holidays, she gave me a coupon for 30% off a purchase. I also received a $200 Visa gift card as a holiday gift from work. It was pretty much the perfect storm to splurge on a bag I wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. Not only is it gorgeous, it’s ultra practical. I’ll be able to use it as a work tote and on vacations. There’s more than enough room for my camera and endless souvenirs collected throughout the day.
  • J.Crew Shorts – $48: I adore the print on these shorts and couldn’t pass them up. It’s hard to tell in the stock photo, but there’s a very small pleat in the front, which I’m not a huge fan of. You can’t tell it’s there with the loose shirts I’m planning to wear with them. Just keep it in mind if you like to tuck anything in and your stomach isn’t totally flat.
  • Old Navy Striped Top – $14 (not pictured): I can’t find this online, but it’s totally worth stopping at the store to purchase. It’s a thicker knit that seems like it will hold up well. I had to try on a few different ones in my size to find the best fit.
  • Old Navy Floral Scarf – $14 (not pictured): I bought this in the white and black colorway that isn’t online. It reminded me of an old DVF print.
  • Loft Windowpane Skirt – $70 (not pictured): I know it’s foolish to buy a full-priced item at Loft. However, I couldn’t find it online and it was something I knew I’d regret if I passed it up. It reminds me of a skirt from Tory Burch’s pre-fall collection.


Once we get a vacation on the calendar, I’d like to use a portion of my tax return to buy a few new pieces to pack. (I always wanted to be that girl who has a new vacation wardrobe!) While I won’t be able to completely outfit myself on whatever amount I set aside, I’m hoping to add a pair of espadrilles, a few silky camis, this skirt (definitely a splurge, so it might not happen), and a couple of casual dresses. I’ve also ordered the Loeffler Randall “Starla” sandals in gold. You may remember the style from a couple of years ago. I’m beyond excited to see that they re-released the pair. I used a 30% Piperlime coupon and $100 in Gap, Inc. rewards that I had saved up to bring the price down to $23 (squee!). The sandals are backordered until April. Hopefully they’ll still arrive, given that Piperlime is closing at the end of the quarter.


Of course, with every successful shopping month, there are some misses:

  • J.Crew Retro Floral Popover: I bought this to wear with the shorts, sort of like a practical romper. The polyester blouse was so staticky that it was miserable to try on and the shoulders run incredibly narrow. I also tried it in a size up, but it still didn’t feel comfortable.
  • DVF Striped Julian Dress: I’ve already mentioned this one quite a bit. It really is darling and fit well. I just felt lukewarm about it. I think the sassy snake print version in silk jersey might be more up my alley.
  • Lucy Paris Splatter Skirt: This reminded me of the Tibi skirt I couldn’t afford. The satin was soft and it was well made, but I didn’t expect the elastic at the back. I hated that. It also hit just below my knees, which is ultra unflattering on me. I didn’t love it enough for alterations.
  • Cameo Night Tale Dress: So cute, right? In the previous Cameo dress I tried on, I wore a medium. So, I ordered both a medium and large in this one to be on the safe side. Neither fit. There was no way the zipper was even close to going up in the large. This may have been the catalyst for my “get fit” kick.


Fran does a great job of linking to budget bloggers each month and I strongly encourage you to take part. I hope you’ll also share links to your wardrobe recaps here. I’m always curious to learn how others curate their closets!

Bauble of the Week



Julie Vos is having her semi-annual sample sale right now! If you’ve been waiting to order something, you’re in luck. All sale items are now an additional 25% off with code EXTRA25. It’s a great opportunity to stock up on accessories for any warm-weather vacations you have planned. (The Phoenix Pendant would look stunning with breezy summer dresses … nudge, nudge.)


Weekend Guide

Saturday, January 24, 2015 2 Permalink 0


Are green juice devotees really just flaunting their wealth?

Make your favorite fragrance last longer.

I’ve been considering bangs ever since I looked through my parents’ old photo albums. I love how bangs looked on pint-sized me. I’d definitely go for the fringe style. Should I do it?

Love is in the air and at your favorite retailer. I picked up these darling boxer shorts and I’m fond of this quirky Kate Spade clutch.

I can’t wait for season two of Serial. In the meantime, I’m still caught up in conspiracy theories for the Adnan case.

Fashion might have popularized vaccinations in the late 1700s.

// additional images via 1, 2, 3 //

Does Your Wardrobe Spark Joy?


I’m due for another closet cleanout soon. It’s a daunting annual task and a humbling come-to-Jesus moment when I try on almost every item and ask myself three questions:

  1. Does it fit?
  2. Is it flattering?
  3. Is it right for my lifestyle?

I recently discovered that I was missing one crucial question: Does it spark joy?

Last week, I came across an article that described the organization secret of Marie Kondo, the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She suggests cleansing your home–in this case, wardrobe–by asking one simple question: Does it spark joy? If it doesn’t, simply thank the item for the role it has played in your life and move on.

Yes, it does seem pretty hokey at first blush. However, the more I thought about it over the past week, the more I found myself using it as a litmus test for purchases. And you know what? It has been freeing. Take the striped DVF dress, for instance. It had all the hallmarks of something I’d love. It’s striped. It’s by my favorite designer. It’s a dress. It’s well made. It fit well. However, something about it didn’t spark joy for me. I tried on another dress I ordered from Shopbop (which is sadly sold out, but you can find the maxi dress version here) and I was over the moon. I was giddy and I couldn’t wait to show Dave.

It sparked joy.

What I love most about this process is that it doesn’t suggest giving items the heave-ho if they haven’t been worn in a year (the usual closet cleaning mantra). If an item resonates with you, you’ll wear it again eventually. Maybe last year wasn’t the right time. Maybe the year prior wasn’t even the right time. Maybe this year will be.

It’s really about getting rid of the items that feel like an emotional burden, allowing your closet to be a joyful space. It brings emotion back to clothing. I don’t want to “curate” a closet (and God forbid I ever have a capsule wardrobe). I want my purchases to be joyful. If that means a hot pink dress one month and a boyish button down the next, so be it.