Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Budget

My favorite thing about September, other than Pumpkin Spice Lattes and somewhat cooler weather? It's my birthday month! Since I blew my budget last month, I tried to stay more on track, but a birthday splurge or two definitely made it in this month.

  1. Anne Emma Jewelry Necklaces (one // two // three): $29.60 + 5% off = $28.10  
  2. Baublebar Crystal Mason Ring: $28 + 15% off = $23.80
  3. Target Pencil Skirt: $24.99
  4. Old Navy Graphic Tee: Originally $14.99, on sale for $9.99 + 20% off = $7.99
  5. RDV by Dolce Vita Oaklee Pumps: $80 + 30% off =$56
  6. Loft Vine Lace Tee: $39.50 + 50% off = $19.75 
  7. Pim + Larkin Gold Metallic Tee: $29
September Budget: $191.53 - $70 items sold = $121.53

I'm linking up with Franish for Budgeting Bloggers today. 

Well, I went over budget again this month. I'm finding staying on a $100 a month budget a real struggle! Thank goodness I sold some clothing on ebay, because if I hadn't, I seriously would have gone wayyyy over! But look at all the pretties, and it was my birthday, so that makes it okay, right? 

Are you familiar with Anne Emma Jewelry on Etsy? This is my second time ordering from her, and I've been very pleased both times! Her jewelry is a steal at only $9.80 for most pieces and look more like they cost a lot more than what I paid for them.

Okay, I promise, I'm not obsessed with Fran from Franish, but I saw this ring on her and was all like: must. buy. now. I rushed to the website, at which point the ring was sold out, waiting patiently on the waiting list and then, finally, it came back in stock and I bought it immediately! I love how it's unique and dainty. A lovely statement piece. 

I've been eyeing this skirt from Boden for ages. But at $110.40, I couldn't justify the price tag. I think this skirt from Target has the same feel as the Boden skirt and is only 1/4 of the price! It's a thick brocade-type material and has a nice structure, which is a must for me.

I got this tee mainly because I thought it would look cute paired with the new skirt from Target, heels and cardi. Outfit post to come as soon as it cools off enough to wear sweaters! I think it'll make a great layering piece this fall.

I mentioned at my last budget post that my feet grew a whole half size after having Aubrey in May. I feel every lady needs a pair of red heels, and I like how the suede is a little more subdued than patent leather. 

I'm always on the lookout for clothing in my university/employer's colors: garnet and gold. Fall always seems to be when retailers bring out all the plum/garnet/wine colored clothes, and to find something that is office appropriate and not a school tee is even better. This shirt from the Loft is G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S. A plug for Loft's awesome customer service: I patiently waited for this shirt to go on sale, however by it went 50% off, it was out of stock in my size both online and in the store. I was soooo disappointed. I went in the store just to look around and to see the shirt in person. The salesperson told me that they could search other stores to see if they had my size, which they did in Roswell, GA, and have it shipped directly to me. I got free shipping, they honored the sale, and I got my shirt. Win, win, win! 

I was done buying for the month. Finito. Stick a fork in me. Done. But then I saw this post from Lisa at Respect the Shoes. I needed a gold metallic stripe shirt in my life. I. NEEDED. IT. Okay, did I really need it? Probably not, but I'm still glad I went over budget and snagged it. 

Birthday present goodies:
Madewell The Archive Boots (last year's version on ebay!)
Old Navy Leopard Print Sueded Pumps (worn here)
Target Gray T-shirt dress (worn here // similar  // original available in stores)

I got some really lovely birthday presents this year. I've been wanting a pair of knee-high leather boots for awhile now, but no way was I paying $318 (for extended calf) for a pair of boots. The exact boots are available on ebay for a fraction of the cost, and my sweet husband got me these boots at half the price of the retail version! 

My mom got me these super cute leopard print heels from Old Navy and gray T-shirt dress from Target. I know that I'm going to get a lot of wear out of these heels. I feel like leopard print shoes are the new natural, they go with everything, right? 

Well, that's it for the month. I got so many great things for my closet and feel like I'm getting to a place where there's nothing I really need clothing-wise. Is that even possible, though, really? :) I also anticipate that the next couple of months are going to lean for spending as we get closer to Christmas. 

How did you do budgeting this month? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Neverending Summer

 Top: Loft (similar)
Cami: Target (similar / original available in stores)
Shorts: J. Crew Factory (latest version / similar)
Sandals: Carlos by Carlos Santana (exact)
Necklace: Forever 21 (save / splurge)
Watch: Fossil (exact)
Rings: Chloe + Isabel (exact)

In other places, the weather is finally cooling off and all I have to say about that is: JEALOUS! In Florida it's miserably muggy (feels like 100°)and it seems like fall is never going to arrive. I know it will, just not until November.

I haven't been liking my outfits lately. Probably because I feel like I'm one of the people that looks better with layers and structure like cardigans and blazers, but it's just too hot to mess with all that right now. 

So, for today, it's all about the shorts. Whether I like it or not. :) 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wish List Wednesday: School Spirit Editon

Now that I'm back to work full-time and football season is in full-swing, I feel like my closet seriously needs some garnet and gold. Have I ever mentioned how much I love my job? Because I seriously do. I get to design, write, photograph, work with students and help plan events. I'm a jack-of-all trades and it keeps life from getting boring. PLUS working at a branch-campus of a major university has fulfilled my desire to stay in college forever. :) So Wishlist Wednesday is dedicated to my employer and alma mater...bring on the garnet and gold!

Links to shop:
Gold-stripe Shirt: Piperlime
Cords: LOFT
Chevron NecklacePinkTwig via Etsy
Scarf: Gameday Sass
Arrow Bracelet: froshjewels via Etsy

This wool skirt is seriously pretty. However, being as I live in Florida, it'll be forever until it's cool enough to wear this lovely. But, still, gorgeous! I might have to keep an eye on it and see if it goes further on sale. At $54.50 it's a little more than I want to pay for a skirt that I can only wear for a few months out of the year... PLUS I have a similar skirt from Loft, but in a lighter, stretch fabric. 

This top seriously may have to be mine. How fun are these metallic gold stripes? Plus it can be worn with things non-school related. I see it paired with a garnet skirt for work, black pencil pants, or jeans on the weekend. It's $29, which isn't too bad, though maybe a bit more than I should pay for a tee, but come on, gold, metallic stripes...love! 

These cords are not coming though as gorgeous as they are in the store. They are a perfect, deep shade of wine. Like the wool skirt, they would be perfect for fall. I'm new to the skinny pant trend. Worn as is, I don't think they look that flattering on me...but paired with knee-high boots or rolled into crops...that look I can go with. They're $59.50, but Loft has good sales, so if you're interested, wait until they have a 50% off sale!

The gold pumps are pure fun, and maybe slightly hello, 1980s. But they would be a bit of whimsy for work or date night. They're only $36.70, which isn't bad for a pair of heels. 

I have a serious crush on this necklace. I like how it's understated and a nod to having school spirit without being in your face. Only $20 from Etsy. 

I LOVE scarfs, especially infinity scarves, they're so easy to layer on and go. I also like how this scarf is a light-weight weave and costs only $16! The downfall? The houndstooth print, which is an Alabama trademark. I can still pull it off, right? 

Last, but not least, this cute arrow bracelet from froshjewels. I would be cute layered with a gold watch or worn by itself. Plus, it's only $10! 

What's on your wish list this month? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

DIY: State ♥ T-Shirt

With the start of the fall semester, I've been wanting to rock some school spirit. What better way to show your hometown love or school spirit with a DIY T-shirt? This shirt was super quick, easy and cheap to make! Three of my favorite things. :)

What You'll Need:

T-Shirt (I used a men's Arizona tee from JCPenny / $5.99)
Fabric Paint (Tulip Metallics Dimensional Fabric Paint / $1.79)
State Template (I found mine online at Digital Vector Maps / FREE)
8.5x11 card stock
Painters Tape
Small paintbrush
Cardboard (I used the lid and side of a Pamper's Diaper box)
Measuring tape (optional)

Step 1
Locate your state's map online. I found mine at Digital Vector Maps for free, but you could easily do a google image search and find your state that way. Since my map was a vector image, I opened it using Illustrator and printed it on an 8.5x11 piece of card stock. If you don't have a graphic program, don't fret. You can print the image directly from online or open a program like Word or Paint and scale. Just make sure it fits on an 8.5x11 piece of paper. 

Step 2
With your scissors, cut out the state to make a template/stencil. Be careful to leave the inside part of the template in one piece, you're going to use it in the next step.  

Step 3
I quickly threw my shirt and eyeballed where I wanted my state to be. I used painter's tape to hold in place. You could probably use your template for this, but for me it was just easier to see exactly how the state would look instead of dealing with the bulkier template. 

Step 4
Place cardboard inside T-shirt (you don't want the paint to bleed through!) Take the template and align with state image on your T-shirt. Tack down with painter's tape at the corners. At this point I took my measuring tape just to make sure that I had my template centered. Or you could just eyeball it. 

Step 5
Locate your hometown or college location on your map. I found an image of a heart to use a template, but you could easily freehand it. With the Sharpie, trace around the heart. 

Step 6
With the Fabric paint, trace around the inside of the template and around the outside of the heart. This will create a nice clean line around the state and hopefully avoid having the paint bleed through the edges of the template. 

Step 7
With a small paintbrush, fill and spread paint across the entire template. I painted two coats.

Step 8
Remove template and look for any spots that need touching up. 

Note: Allow four hours for paint to dry and 72 hours before washing. 

That's it, you're ready to rock your new tee!

I love how easy this was to do. It maybe took me an hour, and that includes taking pictures. And have I mentioned cheap? It cost me about $7 for the whole project. 

I'm already envisioning other tees I could do. 
Maybe one for my birth place: Louisville, KY. How cute would a royal blue tee with a sparkly silver state of Kentucky be? Or with my hometown Chattanooga, Tenn.? Or maybe taking this template and making Florida State pillows for the office? The possibilities are endless!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Win Some, Lose Some

Dress: Target (similar)
Flats: Madewell (similar)
Necklace: Loft (exact)
Happy Friday! Today was all about comfort with a simple, gray t-shirt dress and leopard print flats. I really loved this outfit when I put it on this morning, and I was sooo comfortable all day, but now that I see it in pictures, bleh. I think the dress still has potential, maybe it needs something to give it structure? It's just too hot right now to mess with cardigans or blazers and I feel like belts often look silly on me. My natural waist is high, and belts tend to ride up right under the tatas, not a great look.

Oh, well. At least my shoes and necklace were cute. Win some, lose some.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Steal and Copy the Look

Top: Target (exact)
Skirt: Target 
Necklace: Anne Emma Jewelry (exact)
Heels: Old Navy (exact)
Ring: Chloe and Isabel (exact)
Watch: Fossil (exact)
Bracelet: J. Crew Factory (exact)

My color choices for today were inspired by Ashley at Cream to My Coffee. She paired gray jeans with this great mustard top, which one day I'm probably going to have to duplicate exactly it's so awesome, but for today, I decided to wear my mustard pencil skirt and gray checked blouse as a nod to her outfit's awesomeness. 

Mustard is a color I've shied away from in the past, though I've found myself buying pieces here and there throughout the past year...a blouse here, a sweater there, the skirt that's pictured. That's one of the great things about blogging and flowing all these fashion-forward ladies - you are introduced to clothes and ideas that are so cute, but may not be something you'll see on the street at home. So everyone at home thinks I just know how to put everything together, but the real secret is to steal and copy all the looks!

Another trend bandwagon I've joined: leopard. I used to think that animal print was tacky, but boy was a wrong! How cute are these heels? They add such a nice pop of interest that couldn't be achieved with plain, gray heels. Plus they are super comfy and only $25 in store ($29 online) at Old Navy!

Now time to feel the baby one last time before I had off to work. Daycare starts Monday, so these are my last days of alternative work schedule and full-time with my sweet baby girl. I'm going to miss seeing her sweet face all day!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Shirt: Loft (exact)
Skirt: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Sandals: Union Bay via T.J. Maxx (exact)
Ring: Baublebar (exact)
Necklace: Baublebar (exact)

Today the high is only 88, but with humidity it feels at least 10 degrees warmer. Yuck! Baby and I needed to run some errands today, so it's all lightweight, simple clothes for us! 

I love this navy skirt from J. Crew Factory. It's a linen blend, which makes it light and airy. Sometimes a skirt is cooler than wearing shorts, ya know? At least then there's no dreaded ride up. *shudder*

I feel like this outfit is one that looks better in person than on camera, but maybe I'm fooling myself? One good thing about blogging outfits is that you get a better sense of how things truly look. And sometimes, ya'll, it ain't pretty. 

What is pretty? This tee from The Loft. I love how the pattern dresses up what would otherwise be a boring, white tee. A simple chain necklace, my new favorite ring from Baublebar and some blingy heels, and I'm ready to roll! 

Now, if it was only so easy to get the baby up, feed, changed and out the door. :)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Not a Maternity Dress

Dress: Gap [similar]
Necklace: Charming Charlie [exact]
Earrings: J. Crew Factory [exact]
Ring: JewelMint [exact]
Shoes: Reef [cute alternative with bling!]
Nails: DIY Chevron [link to tutorial]

This is a few days after the fact, but on Wednesday Aubrey and I had a lunch date with Grammy. In honor of the occasion, I decided to actually fix my hair and put on a dress, for I'm pretty much sure was the first time since I've been on maternity leave (other than when I went to a friend's wedding in Atlanta in July). 

I have a confession, this dress is actually a maternity dress. I bought it at least six months ago, and at that time it was already too tight for my bump. I had every intention of returning it, forgot all about it, then rediscovered it when I did a huge closet purge earlier this month. I decided to try it on one last time before donating it, and decided that while it made a horrible maternity dress, it's a super cute regular dress! And besides, who's going to know it's my dirty little secret, other than anyone who happens to stumble upon and read this post? 

Recent mommas, how many of you have still rocked the maternity frocks months after your little one was born? Let me know in the comments below. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Back to Work: A Soft Launch

Blazer: New York and Company
Top: Target [exact]
Pants: The Limited [exact]
Shoes: Madewell [can be found on ebay]
Watch: Fossil [exact]
Bracelet: J. Crew Factory [exact]
Necklace: J. Crew Factory [exact]
Ring: Baublebar [exact]

Today I had to go back to work for the first time since having the small one. I've been very blessed, I was able to take three months of maternity leave, and I'm now doing a combination telecommuting/going into the office for two days a week schedule during September. Our pay periods are weird, we go from Friday to Friday instead of Monday to Monday, so originally I was going to go in tomorrow, but ended up coming a day earlier since it's back to grind stone with a huge project due to the printer by the end of September. It's going to a whirlwind month! 

The university I work at's school colors are garnet and gold. I thought it would be fun to show a little school spirit for my first day back at work (as well as the first week of fall semester classes) with garnet pants and gold accents. I finished my master's not that long ago and it still feels odd not to be going to school and working!

Can we talk about how in love I am with this ring from Baublebar? When I saw it on Franish back in June, I knew this little pretty had to be mine. Unfortunately, it was out of stock. Thankfully, it came back in stock earlier this month, and I promptly ordered it! It came in the mail Wednesday, too late for my August budget, so it'll be included in the September budget. I'll just consider it a little early happy birthday to me goody!

Nails: Essie in Fiji | OPI in Dazzled by Gold

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August Budget

1. Charming Charlie Long Necklace: $15
2. Charming Charlie Necklace Set: $15
3. The Limited Pencil Pants: Originally $79.95 + 50% off = $40
4. J. Crew Factory Pencil Skirt: Originally $75, on sale for $41.25
5. Nina Shoes Heels: Originally $64.99 + 20% off =$51.99

August Budget= $163.24 $121.99

I'm linking up with Franish for Budgeting Bloggers today. 

I've been bad this month. Very, very bad. I'm trying to stay within a $50 a paycheck, $100 a month budget. I completely blew my budget, and while I feel guilty for that, I have to confess I don't feel that guilty as I probably should since I'm really happy with my purchases. 

It started out innocent, a few inexpensive necklaces at Charming Charlie. I bought the necklace set to complete an outfit for a wedding in Atlanta. I refashioned a summer shift dress from J. Crew Factory (blog post to come) and wanted a little sparkle to tie together a cerulean blue and navy dress with a light plum sweater. Did I need it? No, but I love the sparkly pop it added to my outfit and I know I'll get additional wear out of it. I hate buying something I know I'm only going to wear one time!

The long necklace from Charming Charlie was an impulse buy that I got while looking for something to wear with the dress for the wedding. I loved the extra long length and how it's dressy without being too dressy. I love my bling, but sometimes it's nice to go a little more classic and simple. Plus, I think that this necklace looks more expensive than it really is, which is always a nice bonus. I've already gotten a lot of wear of out it, and look forward to showing it off on the blog in the future. 

Last season, I wore the heck out of my black Limited crop pants. The fit was great and it took the guess work out of are my pants too long, too short with heels, etc.? Since the university I work for school colors are garnet and gold, I'm always on the look out for something that has a little school spirit, while still being work wear appropriate. These pants definitely fit the bill. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm going to wear them tomorrow for my first day back to work after maternity leave.  

Last season I had a stretch pencil skirt in kelly green from Target that I love, love, loved. Sadly, I wore it so much that it piled and needed to be retired. I saw this skirt at J. Crew Factory and though it would be great upgrade replacement. I love the color of the skirt, but I'm not sure about the material, it's a thick cotton that hangs stiff and doesn't have as much drape/stretch as I thought it would, so I'm going to contemplate it, and may return it. *UPDATE: After trying the skirt on a few more times, I decided that I wasn't in love with it, and returned it. 

After I had my daughter my feet grew a whole half size! I thought that whole foot growing thing was a myth, but it's no joke. Now at least a good 50% off my shoes no longer fit, which really sucks. I loved how these shoes have a cute retro look and a slightly thicker heel, which should make them comfier for all day walking and wear. I have a lot of purple in my closet, so they should coordinate with a lot of outfits, or provide a nice contrasting pop of color...maybe this my new green skirt? 

So, not the greatest start to budgeting. Hopefully, next month things will go smoother. However, September is my birthday month, so there may have to be a birthday splurge (or two) mixed in there!

How did you do with your budget? Feel free to comment below. 

*Please forgive any typos, I wrote this frantically while the baby was napping. :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

DIY: Chevron Nails

I've been into painting my nails lately. I like how a little polish adds an extra layer of pretty to any outfit. Even if I'm just at home, with a bare face and sweats and taking care of the baby, pretty nails help to give my attitude a little lift. 

I found a tutorial on how to create the latest chevron look on The Sassy Life. I made a few modifications, and for a first attempt, I think it worked out okay, but I made need a little more practice in order to perfect the look. 

Here's what you'll need:
  • Nail Polish (I used Essie in Fiji and NYC Nails in French White Tip)
  • Scotch Tape (I used the kind with green plaid)
  • Pinking Shears (these need to be nice and sharp. If I redo this look, I'll need to invest in better shears)
  • Acetone
  • Nail Clipper
  • Q-tip

Step 1: Paint all your nails in your desired base color and complete with a top coat. 

Step 2: Paint two strips of scotch tape with white nail polish. Once the polish has dried, cut the tape with the pinking shears. Make sure that the zigs and zags match up. 

Step 3: Stick the painted tape strips directly to the nail. Make sure to match up the valleys and peaks to create the chevron look. 

Step 4: Once you've finished placing the painted tape strips, you'll want to trim the excess with nail clippers. Get as close to the nail bed as possible. I peeled up the tape a little bit and trimmed. 

Step 5: Time to clean up! Using a Q-tip and acetone, clean up any remaining polish and tape. The acetone helps to dissolve the tape. Throw a top coat on to seal, and you're all done!

Monday, August 25, 2014

From Lounge to Work Wear

In preparation for going back to work, I've been playing with dressing up some of my more causal looks. Today I took a cream sweater, and by switching to pencil pants, heels and tons of bling, created a more work appropriate look.

I'll be telecommuting for the next month, so it'll be more of a gradual transition with only Thursday and Fridays in the office and the rest of the week at home. I'm so grateful to have a job that has been willing to work with me while waiting for Little Bit's daycare to become available.

I'm torn about going back to work. There's things I'm really looking forward to - adult conversation, designing, a reason to dress up and wear all the pretty pencil skirts, jewels and lipstick. But am also absolutely dreading putting my sweet baby in daycare and being away from her all day. :(

But for now, a last few days to rock leggings and slouchy shirts.

Sweater: Old Navy [exact]
Tee: Target [exact]
Leggings: Gap

 Sweater: Old Navy [exact]
Pants: The Limited [similar]
Shoes: Nine West via T.J. Maxx [similar]
Pearl Ring: DIY [tutorial by Franish
Ring: JewelMint [exact]
Pearl Bracelet: Target [similar]
Cuff Bracelet: J. Crew Factory [exact]
Link Bracelet: J. Crew Factory [exact]
Earrings: J. Crew Factory [exact]
Necklace: J. Crew Factory [exact]
Chain: Baublebar [exact]

Mommy's bracelets are Little Bit's new favorite toys. :)