Weekend Guide

Saturday, March 28, 2015 1 Permalink 0

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ADORN
A little inspiration to dress up your basics with the sparkliest jewels you own.

LEARN
We all know that men’s and women’s shirts button up on opposite sides, but why is that still the case?

PREPARE
The Lilly Pulitzer for Target look book is finally out. Out of curiosity, I totaled the price of everything I’d love to own. It came to $500. Needless to say, I’ll be paring down to the must-haves: a pineapple serving dish, teak beach chairs, throw pillows, and pom pom trim shorts.

BAKE
My parents are coming to our place for Easter this year. The main dish and the sides will be easy to whip up, so I’m concentrating on the dessert. I’m not exactly sure what I’ll make yet, but this sounds divine.

VISIT
Here are seven places to see tulips, my favorite flower, in bloom this spring. (We’ve actually looked at visiting Holland, Mich. for the annual tulip festival.)

CONSIDER
Fran Lebowitz is one sassy broad, but I find much of her style commentary to be spot on. I completely agree that we should all invest in well made items and take care of them properly. And, for the love of God, no one should wear sweatpants in public. It’s basically waving the sartorial white flag.

FITNESS UPDATE
I’m down another pound for seven total! Heck yeah! I tried on a pair of compression capris at Old Navy yesterday, since everyone seems to love them. Uh, the white and blue pair were definitely sheer. I’m assuming a black pair wouldn’t be as scandalous!

IN OTHER NEWS
I just added a new feature to my side bar highlighting a weekly find for $50 or less. This week’s item is a lobster print silk canvas handbag for $50. It’s available in red and navy.


// additional images via 1, 2 //

Budget Update

Friday, March 27, 2015 13 Permalink 0

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Judging by my purchases, it looks like I eschewed Wisconsin’s grey days and tried to buy my way to a summery state of mind. Our upcoming Florida trip was certainly a catalyst, but it goes beyond that. This is the first round of spring/summer clothes in a long time that really feels like “me.” As bloggers, we spend so much time evaluating our wardrobes, obsessing over new purchases, and online shopping (even if it’s just browsing for a blog post) that you’d think it would be easy to pinpoint our personal styles. I think it actually makes it more difficult. There’s so much noise to sift through to find the style that really speak to us. I don’t think I’m quite ready to define my style, but I’m getting there and this month is a good first step.

For the record, my income does not support the type of spending I did this month. I had a healthy rollover from last month and additional money to add, which technically kept me under my budget limit. I still spent a ridiculous amount.

See all of the year’s wardrobe additions here.

THE BUDGET

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
  • + $256 rollover from last month
  • + $360 added to the budget this month
  • - $646 spent this month
  • = $220 remaining

PURCHASED

  • J.Crew “Tilly” sweater in heather aqua ($18): I stopped at J.Crew on a whim early in the month when they had an extra 40% off sale. The slightly cropped length of this sweater pairs perfectly with my beloved a-line skirts. It’s a good work basic. (I had a $20 gift card to use after J.Crew screwed up a return back in January.)
  • J.Crew tassel earrings ($26): I spotted these out of the corner of my eye when I was leaving J.Crew and I’m so glad I did! They have a nice heft to them without becoming too heavy to wear all day.
  • Tory Burch “Kerrington” mini tote ($196): I purchased this on a whim from the Shopbop sale to get to the threshold for 20% off. Admittedly, I was unsure if I’d like having a vinyl tote rather than leather, but it grew on me quickly. It’ll be nice to have a bag this summer that I won’t worry about taking outdoors or getting wet. There’s an interior middle zip pocket that allows ample room for my camera and other valuables. The only drawback, as an online reviewer points out, is that the handles don’t lay flat against the bag when using the cross-body strap. It’s a little awkward, but I don’t plan to use the cross-body strap too often unless I need to maneuver the farmers’ market hands-free.
  • Lilly Pulitzer “Brynn” fit-and-flare dress ($198): My most recent Lilly Pulitzer dress was a size 8 (and it still fits). Figuring this dress was a similar cut, I ordered an 8 and a 10 to be on the safe side. I had to exchange both for a 12. This did a number on my self esteem, but this dress is worth it. The color is fantastic. The quality is outstanding. Really, I can’t say enough good things about it. There are even cups sewn into the bodice so you don’t need to wear a bra! (I’m bringing it to my tailor today to have the straps taken up, which I have to do with most dresses.)
  • Lilly Pulitzer “Maisy” slip dress ($208): If two Lilly dresses in month seems a bit ridiculous, that’s because it is. I had this one on my wish list for a few weeks and kept going back and forth on it. I liked the print online and I can’t resist swingy dresses. However, loose shapes aren’t the most flattering on me and the price was too steep for something that I might not feel fabulous in. And then Lilly Pulitzer sweetened the deal with gifts last weekend. Fine, Lilly, take all my money. It’s flirty, it’s sexy, and it’s going to be perfect for Florida.
  • Lilly Pulitzer “Lillian” scarf ($0): I almost didn’t add this to the month’s wardrobe update because it was one of the free gifts, but it’s so good! This thing is huge at 48 inches by 80 inches. It’s also incredibly soft and drapes well without being bulky. I rarely wear scarves, so I’m probably going to keep it in my carry-on bag to use as an in-flight blanket.
  • Not Counted: Tory Burch monkey hoop earrings ($250): As many of you know, I treat to something special every year with my tax return. I’ve pined for these earrings ever since I saw them in the runway photos and I’m thrilled they’re finally in my jewelry box, even if they are a little too heavy to wear all day. I think they’re overpriced at $250 and would urge you to wait for a sale if you have your eye on them.
  • Not Counted/Not Pictured: Victoria’s Secret “Fabulous” bra: I’ve been trying–and failing–to find a good bra ever since Victoria’s Secret discounted the Biofit collection years ago. And then the Fabulous collection was launched (you’ll see it featured in your mailers this month). It’s everything I could have asked for: it’s lightweight, plenty of lift, straps that don’t slip, and a comfortable band. I wear a 36A, so I’m not sure if larger ladies will appreciate the style’s “extreme lift.” I’ll be stockpiling it over the year.

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GIFTED
As always, I want to be transparent about what I’ve received from companies for review or as part of a collaboration. I’m very selective about the pieces I accept and will only work with companies I feel good about recommending.

UP NEXT

I would still like to snag this lime green skirt if it goes on sale before our Florida trip. I also need to find a pair of dressy flat shoes to wear with my dress to Dave’s sister’s wedding. Heels are great and all, but I feel more like myself in a pair of flats. And they’re easier to dance in! There’s also a strong chance I’ll buy a pair of Stubbs & Wootton loafers in Palm Beach. It would blow my budget for April and May, but it would be worth every penny. This necklace would also be fun to wear this summer.

DIDN’T WORK OUT

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

  • J.Crew Factory printed stretch shorts: In theory, these should fit the same as the stretch shorts I bought last year from J.Crew Factory that still fit. They don’t. They’re super small in my regular size. I didn’t like them enough to order them in a size up.
  • J.Crew laser-cut pleated skirt: J.Crew rarely does cute a-line or pleated skirts, so I couldn’t wait to try this one on. I liked everything about it, except the lining. The lining is cut similar to that of a pencil skirt. I had to size up to find a somewhat comfortable size in the lining, but then the waist was a few inches too large.
  • Madewell “Abroad” fit and flare dress: There are two pleats right above the tush. It’s barely noticeable in the stock image and probably isn’t a big deal if you have a straight figure. However, if you’re like me and have ample curves back there, don’t get it. It’s incredibly unflattering.
  • Ann Taylor leopard print jacket: I ordered this to qualify for free shipping. I felt like a grandmother in it and not an impossibly chic one.
  • Ann Taylor textured dot romper: Looks cute, right? It runs about a size small, which would be fine if it weren’t for the awful swishy sound of cheap polyester. Just don’t. (Or do on major sale.)
  • Express “Barcelona” striped cami: Everyone loves these things (case in point) and I finally caved and bought a couple for myself. I’m definitely between sizes and it took a ridiculous amount of time to find one that fit correctly. They sat in the closet all month with the bag and the tags still affixed. Normally I can’t wait to tear the tags off to make new items officially mine. I just didn’t have “the feeling” with them. I’m returning them this afternoon.
  • Alexa Chung x AG Jeans “Honey” off-the-shoulder dress: If you follow on Instagram or read the bottom of this post, you know how much I love, love, love this dress. It’s just way too big in the medium. I ordered it in a small and it’s on its way, but I’m still keeping an eye out for an XS.

HOW ARE YOU DOING?

Fran does a great job of linking to budget bloggers each month and I hope you take part. I’m always curious to learn how others curate their closets!

The Coveted

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This week, I’m smitten with:

  • Round retro sunglasses. This pair is a splurge and comes in seven colors. Love the look, but don’t want to spend that much? This pair is just $26 and comes in nine colors, including a rainbow pastel version.
  • An eyelet romper.
  • White minimalist nail polish. Clinique polishes are my favorite. I have the color “Hi Sweetie,” which has full coverage with one coat. It dries fairly quickly and lasts for days. A second coat looks nicer, but sometimes I just don’t have the time for it!
  • Embellished espadrille sandals. This pair reminds me of something Miu Miu would make, but they’re a heck of a lot more reasonable at $117.
  • This sleek leather tote for just $148. It’s hard to find a budget-friendly real leather tote that looks as sophisticated as this one. It’s made of saffiano leather, which I love because it’s durable and easy to wipe down if it gets wet. The tote comes in black, beige, and pink.
  • An oversize flower cocktail ring. It’s huge and I adore everything about it, especially the caged freshwater pearl center.
  • This darling crop top to wear with the season’s high-waisted skirts.

Gerard Yosca’s Flowerball Collection

Wednesday, March 25, 2015 11 , Permalink 0

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Alright, ladies, tax day is three weeks away! Some of you have mentioned that a #TaxReturnSplurge isn’t in the cards this year and, for that, my condolences. (Really, though, kudos. It’s not like any of us should give the government a tax-free loan.) However, if you’re like me and adjust your exemptions to guarantee an annual windfall, it’s time to daydream about a pretty new piece of jewelry to add to your collection (after you’ve taken care of bills and transferred some of that money to your savings account–let’s not be irresponsible).

One of the season’s standout jewelry collections is the latest from Gerard Yosca: Flowerball. The Flowerball collection pays homage to the ’70s in a way that doesn’t feel outdated. By reimagining the decade’s iconic daisy motif, Gerard offers a fresh, playful take on spring’s most prolific trend. You can get a full dose of flower power with a garland of daisies or take a more subtle approach with a pair of button earrings. (Sneak peeks at the earrings here and here.) If the literal take on a daisy isn’t your thing, the petal pieces will be. They’re almost a petal-meets-foliage-meets-feather hybrid that is all too perfect for summer. I’ve been wearing this necklace nonstop, which has a bit of a tropical vibe. I’m also loving this layering piece and these earrings (they have the most delightful movement).

Most of the collection comes in under $200, making a #TaxReturnSplurge on something this beautiful even more reasonable. Personally, I’ve never regretted choosing a piece of jewelry for my annual indulgence. Thoughtfully designed costume jewelry–especially handmade–is so much better than a piece from a mall brand. I’m a costume jewelry snob and I promise you’ll notice the difference in quality and artistry immediately. Find a piece that truly speaks to you and you’ll wear it year after year.

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Earrings: c/o Gerard Yosca
Necklace: c/o Gerard Yosca
Dress: Alexa Chung x AG Jeans*

*This dress runs absurdly large. If you’re following on Instagram, you know how bummed I was to return the medium I purchased. I found a small at Bloomingdale’s yesterday morning, so hopefully it’s a better fit. I’m still keeping an eye out for an XS. Please let me know if you spot one. I’m obsessed with this dress and I don’t want it to be another sartorial white whale! (It’s pretty much sold out everywhere, but if you’re also keeping an eye out for returns, here are the links I check each morning: 1, 2, 3, 4.)

Style File // Franziska Hasselhof

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 9 Permalink 1

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The “Behind the Baubles” posts have always been my favorite to work on. It’s a lighthearted way to learn more about a designer’s personality. But why stop with jewelry designers? There are plenty of other designers and bloggers I’d love to learn more about. And, with that, a new series called “Style File” was born. I’m grateful that Fran was willing to be my first guinea pig for the project! If you’re not already following her blog, Franish, she’s a down-to-earth med student who blogs about finding her style on a budget. My favorite posts are her hilariously honest clothing reviews (with photos!).


// additional images via 1, 2, 3, 4 //