Monday, February 29, 2016

February Budget

February Budget: $248.81
Quarter budget $600 - $232.44 in January - $248.81 in February = $118.75 left for March

I made the mistake of not keeping track of my spending this month, thinking it wasn't that bad, but when I tallied it all up, I definitely spent more than I had intended. However, I'm really happy with my purchases this month, and thankfully had some gift cards to offset the cost. So, without further ado, here's a quick breakdown of what I got this month:

Loft vintage broken-in tee (see how I wore it here)
Loft really does make a nice, figure-flattering tee. I got this in an XL and find it runs true to size. It's soft, and I like that it looks nice paired with a cardigan now and will look good with a pair of shorts this summer.

Loft abstract infinity scarf (see how I wore it here)
This was definitely an impulse purchase. I popped into Loft while running baby-free errands and this scarf matched my outfit so well, I just had to have it. I love the polka dot and stripe print and the thicker knit will be nice this fall. It's already spring in Florida, so sadly this scarf is going to be sitting in the closet collecting dust for awhile, but it was fun to wear the few cool days we had this month.

J. Crew Factory chambray 
I've been wanting a replacement for my Loft chambray that just doesn't fit quite right. I like the slightly darker wash of this this shirt and that it buttons without gapping. The fabric's a little stiff, but I'm hoping it will soften with a few washes. For reference, I got this in an XL.

J. Crew Factory emery flats (see how I wore them here)
I love these shoes! They're a great neutral and the bow adds a little something special. I've worn them a ton since getting them, though they haven't made it on the blog yet, but I'm sure you'll be seeing them a lot in the future! I got these in a 9 and they run a little big, so I put heel pads to tighten them up a bit.

J. Crew Factory amelia flats (see how I wore them here)
J. Crew Factory has been killing it in the shoe department lately! These mint suede flats are so fun and I love that they add a little something different to my wardrobe. I got these in an 8.5 and am still in the process of stretching them out. I'm hoping the hairdryer trick will work on the toe box area, does anyone else have a problem with pointed-toe flats pinching your toes? The 9s were HUGE, so I'm really hoping I can make the 8.5s work.

Baublebar north star brooches (see how I wore them here)
After watching Age of Adaline and seeing how prettily Lisa's styles her brooches, I decided to order this set to add to my collection. They're really pretty in real-life and have a nice weight to them and a ton of sparkle.

Ann Taylor blanket scarf (see how I wore it here and styled it here)
I got this scarf after seeing how Fran used it to tie an oversized scarf. It more than lives up to her review, it's a lovely scarf, ties up nicely, is super soft and isn't too bulky. It was PERFECT in Nashville and I'm kind of sad I'm not going to get to wear it again until fall/winter. If it's still cold where you're at, I highly recommend it!

Ann Taylor silky striped blouse
Since I've lost a little weight, I've needed a few shirt replacements, so I ordered this shirt to try along with the blanket scarf. I got it in a L and found it to be true to size. It's slightly sheer, so a tank is a must, but I think it'll work well this spring/summer with a pencil skirt or dress pants for work and will cute on the weekends with jeans or shorts.

Banana Republic sloan dot pants (see how I wore them here)
I've been on a quest for decent work pants and ordered these while they were on sale for $35. Overall, I'm really pleased with them. They're a nice, thick weave and the polka dot print is fun. For reference, I got these in a 16R and found them to be a little long, but the material is thick enough to do an inverted cuff, though I suppose one of these days I could get them hemmed.

Boden cotton darby scarf (see a preview of it here)
I love scarves, but it doesn't stay cool enough in Florida to wear them for long. I really like that this scarf is a thin knit and will hopefully transition well into the spring. Any excuse to wear my beloved scarves!

Loft Outlet mint popover (see a preview of it here)
I love the pretty mint color of this shirt, it's nice and lightweight and super comfortable on. I got it in a L.

Loft Outlet garnet floral pencil skirt (see how I wore it here)
$10 for a cute skirt seemed like too good of a deal to pass up, so I snagged it. I got it in a 16 and it fits true to size.

What I got as a gift:

I was fortunate to get a few lovely items this month. My husband got me the prettiest aqua blazer from Banana Republic Oulet while we were window shopping after a pre-Valentine's Day lunch, as well as surprised me with lovely freshwater pearl studs. PinkBlush reached out to me and let me chose an item to review, and I love the floral kimono I got from them. You can see how I wore it with jeans and booties here. The pearl and aqua wire bracelets were a gift to myself, so I decided not to include them in my regular budget.

    That's my haul for February! I'm sharing with Franish and the Budgetting Bloggers. Be sure to check out all their finds!

    Sunday, February 28, 2016

    Thoughts and Whatnots 2.28.16

    Hint of mint:  one  |  two  |  three

    Blog Love:

    On Teal and Polka Dots:

    Favorite Sales:

    • What I'm reading: I just finished reading Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner, which was okay. Interesting premise, but I thought the ending was kind of abrupt. Still a decent read. I just downloaded The Lake House by Kate Morton to read next, thanks Anne for the recommendation!
    • What I'm watching: I watched a few episodes of Fuller House on Netflix yesterday. Hello, cheesy nostalgia goodness! But I'll let you know what I'm REALLY, REALLY looking forward to - The Gilmore Girls revival! I CAN'T WAIT!
    • What I'm crushing on: Did you know that you can customize your jewelry with the Kendra Scott Color Bar? LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the daisy ring in white druzy. Also, the Owen cocktail ring is on major sale + an additional 15% off with code LEAPSALE. I love both the turquoise and brown pearl! Now who wants to buy me one? :)
    • Coming up on the blog: Tomorrow I'm linking up my February budget with Franish and the other Budgeting Bloggers and Wednesday is March Currently!

    Friday, February 26, 2016


    It's Friday and I couldn't be more excited, well, maybe I could if I had today off, but either way still stroked about it. For whatever reason this has been a particularly long week, probably because last week I went to Nashville for a few days then took the rest of the week off to lay our floors. So my normal routine got all messed up.

    The floors are mostly done, though we still need to install the quarter round. Below is a sneak peek of them...I'm so happy with how they turned out! The living room and hallway are done, but we still plan to do the two bedrooms - and I'm trying to convince the husband to spring for more wood to do the third bedroom (aka the junk room) - though the mere idea of cleaning and hauling everything out makes me want to cry. We have seven years of stuff crammed into our little house - don't let the photo below deceive you, we just hadn't put everything back yet, and the floors are normally carpeted with a layer of toys!

    A photo posted by Erin Chaffin (@erinochaffin) on

    Not planned, but my shoes and accessories match my living room walls! I mean, I totally meant to do that...but seriously, how fun are these aqua flats from J. Crew Factory? I love how wearing little pops of color can make an otherwise plain outfit more interesting. Also, it was really, really windy when I took these photos, so forgive the crazy hair and closed eyes. :)

    Sweater: J. Crew Factory (exact)
    Pants: The Limited (exact)
    Shoes: J. Crew Factory (exact)
    Bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties (exact pearl, similar green
    Watch: Fossil (exact)
    Necklace: Baublebar (similar)
    Earrings: Reeds (exact, inexpensive alternative
    Ring: Charming Charlie (cute alternative)

    Shop the Look:

    //  Sharing on A Pocketful of Polka Dots for Fabulous Friday!  //

    Wednesday, February 24, 2016

    Spring in Florida + $50 Giveaway to PinkBlush!

    Spring has definitely hit north Florida. With temps in the 60s and mid-70s, it's time to break out the transitional pieces, like this lovely kimono from PinkBlush! I love that I can wear it now with booties and a pair of jeans, and it will look equally cute with shorts or belted over a maxi dress this summer.

    This kimono is even prettier in real-life, and is made from a super soft cotton/ploy blend. The lace detailing adds a little something special, and it's easy and comfortable to wear. Perfect for Florida spring/summer. I got this in a XL/1X and find it runs a little large.

    For those of you who are unfamiliar, PinkBlush is an online boutique that offers cute and affordable clothes and accessories including plus-size, maternity and adorable items for baby. I love that their clothing is modest, but still super fashionable. In additional to my new kimono, I'm majorly crushing on this navy floral wrap dress, polka dot tunic and crochet yoke top. I definitely recommend you check them out, plus PinkBlush is offering 15% off your first order.

    I'm so excited to give away a $50 gift card to their PinkBlush! Enter the giveaway through the giveaway tool below.

    Kimono: c/o PinkBlush (exact)
    Tee: Target (exact)
    Jeans: American Eagle (similar)
    Clutch: J. Crew Factory (exact)
    Booties: Vince Camuto (exact)
    Necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)
    Bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties (exact pearl, similar green)
    Earrings: Reeds (exact, inexpensive alternative)
    Watch: Fossil (exact)
    Ring: Charming Charlie (cute alternative)

    Shop the Look:
    Please note, that while a received a complimentary piece of clothing from PinkBlush, my reviews and opinions are all my own.

    // Sharing on What I Wore. //

    Tuesday, February 23, 2016

    Clothing Reviews: Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Boden, and a Mini Pant Review

    With all the cute spring clothing coming out and great after-winter sales, I recently put in some orders to Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Boden, J. Crew and Express. Below are a few things I tried on this month:

    First up is this scalloped pink silk blouse from Banana Republic. I ordered this in an XL, and as you can see, I'm swimming in's HUGE! I loved the idea of this shirt, but for it being 100% silk, it didn't feel all that soft, the arms were ridiculously long and the whole shirt was too big. I could have tried sizing down, but I just didn't like it enough in real-life to mess with it, which is a shame, because it looks so cute on the model.

    Verdict: RETURN

    Next up is this pullover from Target, that should have been cute, but just isn't. While it is super soft, the extra bulk around the middle is making me look super pregnant and I'm not a fan of the extreme high-low hem. I tried this on in an XXL, and could have easily gone down a size in the chest/waist, but it might have been too tight in the arms.

    Verdict: RETURN

    I loved the idea of this fan-patterned shirt from Boden. I tried it on in a 14 and found it to be true to size. It has a silky feel and a nice drape, and while it's a cute top, it just didn't wow me, so I ended up sending it back.

    Verdict: RETURN

    I do, however, love this blue cotton scarf from Boden. It's nice and lightweight, which is perfect for Florida spring, and I love the little bobble trim. I probably don't NEED another scarf, but I decided to keep it to have non-winter scarf in the clothing rotation.

    Verdict: KEEP

    I was so excited to try the J. Crew No. 2 pencil skirt in double-serge wool, but I HATED it in real-life. I tried on a 16, and while it is well-made and fits well in the waist, it's HUGE in the hips and a little bit too long. Plus the color is NOT mustard as it looks online, more like a puke green. I couldn't rip this off first enough and return it. Yuck. I know a lot of people love this skirt, and if I had loved the color more it might have been worth altering, but overall it was really easy to say no to.

    Verdict: RETURN

    Next up is this lovely bathrobe from Ann Taylor. Ha, I mean wrap dress. This is a L and it's weirdly too small and too large at the same time. Another one that looks cute on the model, but awful in real-life.

    Verdict: RETURN

    Finally, a winner! I really like this silky stripe blouse in real-life. This is a L and I love the split-neck and subtle pink and white stripes. I think it'll look cute tucked into a pencil skirt or layered over dress pants or dressed down with jeans.

    Verdict: KEEP

    However, this dotted silk blouse from Ann Taylor is not a winner. It's an XL, and it's way too big, but I think a large would have had gaps at the buttons. Up close the dots are pink and gray, though online they look to be gray and black. Something to note if you're interested in this shirt.

    Verdict: RETURN

    Mini Pant Review

    I've been on the hunt for a decent pair of dress pants since losing a little weight, and so I put in some orders to The Limited, Express and Banana Republic.

    First up, is the The Limited exact stretch skinny pant in grey. Hello mom pants. I thought this were going to fit like my beloved black exact stretch pencil pants, but I was so, so wrong. There's nothing skinny about these pants and they look completely different than they do online. These are 16, and I could have easily gone down a size, but I'm pretty sure they'd still be way to big in the leg opening.

    Verdict: RETURN

    I've been a long-time fan of Express' Editor pants, so I was excited to try a their ankle version. Man, and I thought the Limited pants looks like mom pants, but these are so much worse! Another order in a 16, I could have easily gone down a size, they were so big, but once again a smaller size wouldn't have fixed the big leg opening and they look NOTHING like the do online. Maybe it's me and my weird body-type? But these skinny pants look the exact opposite of skinny.

    Verdict: RETURN

    And yet another pair of awful mom pants. These are the Express Columnist ankle pant, and in 16 are once again way too big and look nothing like what's pictured online. What's killing me in all three of these pants is that they fit in the waist but are freaking huge in the legs and hips. I think I'm getting a complex here...

    Verdict: RETURN

    Last up are the Banana Republic Sloan-Fit ankle pant. Better, much, much better. I like the thick weave of the material, the slim fit, and the small leg opening.They're a little long, but you can see in the far right photo, with a little inward roll, they're the perfect length. These are a 16 and fit true to size. I was originally a little worried about the polka dots being too bold, but they're definitely growing on me. :)

    Verdict: KEEP

    Whew, so that's the past month of shopping for me. Mostly returns, with a few keepers mixed it!

    Monday, February 22, 2016

    I Can't Monday

    After going to Nashville, getting a cold, putting in new floors and now fighting bronchitis, I'm just not feeling this Monday. To top it off I didn't have any "wow" pictures, so you get these not so great photos I've been sitting on for awhile. The outfit is nice enough, but just so blah. Though I guess it works for today 'cause I've got a serious case of the Mondays. It's a blah day for sure.

    Sweater: Gap (similar)
    Shirt: Loft (similar)
    Vest: J. Crew Factory
    Leggings: Loft (exact)
    Boots: Arturo Chiang (cute alternative)
    Necklace: J. Crew Factory (exact)
    Earrings: J. Crew Factory (exact)
    Watch: Geneva (exact, splurge)
    Ring: Pandora (exact)

    I'll work on making Tuesday a little more dynamic and colorful. :) Today, the best I can do it blah.

    Sunday, February 21, 2016

    Thoughts and Whatnots 2.21.16

    Gray flannel blazer:  one  |  two  |  three
    Blog Love:

    On Teal and Polka Dots:
    • On the blog: Wearing polka dot pants for Make it Work Monday.
    • On Instagram: The Opryland Hotel has the pretties details. Definitely want to plan a trip back to Nashville!
    • On Twitter: Our new floors!!!! Only have our two bedrooms left to do (a project for another weekend...) I'm contemplating buying a some more boards so we can do the third bedroom/junk room/catch-all. That way everything but the bathrooms and kitchen will be the same. Bye-bye carpet! I won't miss you one bit.

    Favorite Sales:

    • What I'm reading: I just picked up Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner. I've only managed to read one chapter, but so far, so good...
    • What I'm watching: Right now the Color Crew on Netflix. Hey, sometimes you do what you go to do to entertain the kiddo while doing laundry, or writing a quick blog post!
    • What I'm crushing on: Our living rooms floors are *almost* done! All that's left is to install some quarter round and finish the thresholds in the hallway. I LOVE, LOVE how they turned out! However, now I realize how crummy the linoleum floors look, so that and painting the hallway might be the next two projects. I'm completely obsessed with the idea of using this pretty gray and white patterned title in our entryway and bathrooms. It looks so 20s old-Florida and I think it would add such a fun pop of unexpected detail to our home. Just look at how pretty it is in this bathroom! The husband's not convinced, but I got him to agree to at least see how I looked laid out in the entryway. :)
    • What I'm looking forward to: Not being sick. Ugh, I got a cold in Nashville that turned into bronchitis and I'm still battling with it a week later.
    • Coming up on the blog: As soon as Fran announces the linkup date, my budget post is going up at some point this week. I haven't been very good about keeping track this month, so I have a feeling I'm going to have some 'plaining to do...

    Thursday, February 18, 2016

    Third Thursday Threads: Blushing Beauty

    I've been majorly into blush lately. So much so, that it was the inspiration for my Nashville conference packing list.  So I was thrilled when Brianna from Work Clothes, I Suppose announced "Blushing Beauty" as the theme for Third Thursday Threads. My original plan for today's post was to show the outfits from my trip, but it rained and I got a cold the second day of the trip, so I didn't take all great outfit photos I had planned. Thankfully I had this outfit from a few weeks back to show you. I did take a few mirror selfies from the trip, so they're at the end of the post. I apologize for the lack of quality!

    Top: Loft (cute alternative)
    Cardigan: Old Navy (similar)
    Pants: The Limited (exact)
    Shoes: J. Crew Factory (exact)
    Necklace: Gift (save, splurge)
    Clutch: J. Crew Factory (exact)
    Watch: Fossil (exact)
    Bracelet: Kendra Scott (similar)

    Nashville Work Conference Outfits Realized:
    Day 1
    Outfit 1: car ride attire  |  Outfit 2: vendor meet & greet event  |  Outfit 3: bundling up for the shuttle ride to the conference

    Day 2 & 3
    Outfit 4: conference sessions day 2  |  Outfit 5: event at the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum  |  Outfit 6: conference sessions day 3

     Day 3 & 4
    Outfit 7: conference sessions day 3  |  Outfit 8: dinner with coworkers  |  Outfit 9: coat with tote

    I definitely deviated from my original packing list, mostly with my outfit for the first day of travel - sadly the gray, lace sweater did not work out for me, so I switched to a gray stripe cardigan and black and whites stripe top that still fit with the original theme. I also ditched my original outfit for the Musicians Hall of Fame...when your husband buys you the most gorgeous aqua blazer for Valentine's Day, you rework everything so you can wear it. :) Since I got a cold as soon as we got to the conference, I toned down a lot of the looks and went for straight comfort - no more heels, easy layers and jeans as much as I could get away with it. In retrospect, I might have over-packed a little bit, I ended up with a shirt I never had a chance to wear. Things to remember for next time. :)

    // Sharing on A Pocketful of Polka Dots for Fabulous Friday! //

    Tuesday, February 16, 2016

    Nothing But Blue Skies Do I See

    I wore this outfit on a day that promised rain, but then we didn't get a single drop. I know a lot of people wear their wellies in dry weather, but I always feel a bit silly in them if it isn't raining. For those of you who have rain boots, do you wear them on a bright, sunny day? Am I being ridiculous?

    On the plus side, it makes taking pictures a heck of a lot easier. I should have packed these babies for Nashville because it rained the entire time I was here! It was still a good conference, but I definitely want to go back and really explore the city. The parts I did see were fantastic, the Opryland Hotel is so beautiful and going to the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum after hours was a lot of fun. The live music, vintage radio collection, hors d'oeuvres and drinking a concoction called a Tennessee Mule were just some of the highlights.

    Sorry this is a short post. I'm typing this in my hotel room while hacking my head off from a cold, so I'm going to load up on the NyQuil and head off to la-la land!

    Tank: Gap (similar)
    Jeans: American Eagle (similar)
    Wellies: Hunter (exact)
    Earrings: Kate Spade (exact)
    Watch: Target (save, splurge)
    Bracelet: Moorea Seal (similar)

    // Sharing on What I Wore  //

    Monday, February 15, 2016

    Make it Work Monday: Polka Dot Pants

    I have this weird hang up that pants can't be too boldly colored or a crazy print because it might call attention to my larger thighs. Which I realize is a complete and utter nonsense, because I'll wear a bright color, pattern or heck both in a pencil skirt. Contradiction or not, I feel like I'm stepping, way, way out of my comfort zone with with these polka dot pants.

    I've been on the quest to find work pants that fit after losing a little weight, and found these polka dot Banana Republic Sloan pants on major sale. The pattern looked pretty subtle online, and for $35 on sale, I was willing to give them a shot as opposed to paying $88 for one of the solid colors.

    I love the feel of them, they're a thick material with plenty of stretch, but don't stretch out too much during the day. They originally came to the ankle, but the material is thick enough that I could do an inward cuff and make them crop pants, and they stayed that way Crazy.

    Since I loved the feel and the cut, I decided to give these pants a trial run in the real-world, but was immediately faced with the dilemma of what in the heck do you wear with black polka dot pencil pants?!? Thanks to Pinterest, I found plenty of inspiration. Seriously what did we do before Pinterest?

    onetwo  |  three  |  four  
    five  |  six  |  seven  |  eight

    My favorite looks where the two with blazers (five and seven) and I especially loved the bright yellow. Man, now I wish I had a piped yellow blazer. Anyway... since I don't own a yellow blazer, I decided to wear my gray flannel blazer and bright pink sweater for a pop of color.

    I got a lot of real-life compliments and these pants where seriously comfy all day long, but is it weird that I'm still unsure of the polka dots? Not that they aren't cute, but I'm not convinced I'm the type of person that can wear such a thing as dotted pants. See, told you, I am ridiculous. Maybe the solution is to wear them over and over until they feel like the new normal? :)

    Pants: Banana Republic (exact in limited sizes, gray with black dots)
    Blazer: Loft (nearly identical, lightweight wool option)
    Sweater: J. Crew (exact in other colors)
    Shoes: Old Navy (similar)
    Clutch: Clare V. (exact
    Necklace: Kendra Scott (exact)
    Earrings: J. Crew Factory (exact)

    Quick question: Make it Work Monday used to be a linkup, but I stopped hosting since, at the time, it didn't seem like something people were interested in participating in. So my question is, if I revived the linkup, would you want to join in? I love seeing what other people are doing and it would be fun to see how other peoples' outfits are Pinspired.

    Make it Work Mondays are on the third Thursday of the month and the rules are simple - linkup an outfit that was inspired by Pinterest, blogger or other muse. So, please vote yay or nay below! And don't worry, if no one wants to participate, I'm still happy doing my thing here on the blog, Make it Work Mondays aren't going away anytime soon!

    // Sharing on In Residence's Pin to Present.  //