Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Goals Review




This is the outfit I wore to John's office Christmas party a few weeks ago.  It's the same dress I wore back in 2011, but I don't think anyone noticed.  I felt festive enough while still having decently comfortable shoes, and a cardigan to keep warm.  Two years ago, I was freezing, and my feet were in severe pain by the end of the night.  See, I'm learning as I go!

Anyway, as we close out the year, I need to do my final goal review.  I had 6 goals for 2013.  I did monthly check-ins, except for November.  It probably would have matched October pretty closely. 

The short story for December is that I worked out A LOT.  Like 6 times a week for the first 3 weeks.  I even went to a Zumba class in Indiana!  I didn't sew anything, or cook consistently, or do any projects around the house.  I stuck to my budget, and I read several books.  So 50/50 for the month.  And I kind of feel like exercise is my top priority, so I feel good about that!

Here's my annual summary:
  • Do a Project - mostly sewing.   50% success rate, with a generous definition of "projects."  I did a couple re-fashions, but I didn't do any serious sewing projects.  I'd really like to start sewing more, but it's just hard to find the time.  Maybe in 2014.
  • Work out 3x a week - on Jan 1, I decided I would set up a reward system for this.  Then I didn't actually do the rewards system at all.  I think I was about 75% successful with this one.  In the beginning of the year, I just couldn't stay healthy, so I would be good for 2-3 weeks and then off for 1-2 weeks.  I'm getting better at making myself go to the gym, and tracking with My Fitness Pal is helping, too.  
  • Tackle a Project around the house - well, I never made my list of things to do, but I think I did a decent job of getting stuff done.  We painted the guest bathroom, and half of the basement.  I also did some serious de-cluttering in our various closets, and took several bags to Goodwill or consignment.  I should really make that list so I know what I should be doing!  
  • Cook a "real" meal at least 3 days each week - this is my worst category.  I'm just inconsistent, and I haven't figured out a good system to be more consistent.  
  • Stick to a clothing budget - WIN!  I was almost $100 under budget for the year.  YAY!
  • Read 50 books in the year - WIN!  This is my second year reading 50 books, and I cut it close again.  
So, I did pretty well on 3 categories, passable on 2, and failed on one.  Overall, I am confident that making goals and having monthly check-ins has helped me to better than I would have otherwise.  I need to think about my 2014 goals, but I'll be sure to keep myself accountable again!

Dress: Ann Taylor
Cardigan: Old Navy
Necklace: InPink
Tights: Target
Shoes: J.Crew Factory

Monday, December 30, 2013

December Shopping

December clothing


December was kind of an awkward shopping month.  I didn't really "go shopping" for myself, but I did pick up a few things when I was Christmas shopping for others.  Then I met my sister for lunch on the day after Christmas, and found some great items at Gap for an additional 50% off!

I'm including both things I bought and things I received as presents.  Most of my Christmas presents were clothes, because that's what I asked for! So here's the breakdown:

Christmas Presents:
*Gap boyfriend cardigan - Black
Gap Black/White striped tank
Gap boyfriend cardigan - Pink
*Gap workout pants
Target Red polka dot scarf
Old Navy Polar bear sweatshirt

Purchased by me:
Gap:
*Black skinny jeans (similar): $30 (originally $60)
Black and White Tank tops: $6/each  (originally $20/each)
Pajama pants: $10 (originally $30)
*Workout pants: $11 (originally $60)
*Workout capris: $11 (originally $50)
Cream sweater (similar): $8 (originally $50)
Navy top: $4 (originally $25)
Coral top: $4 (originally $25)

Target:
Black tights: $4 (originally $5)
Navy tights: $6 (originally $8)

TJ Maxx:
Fleece-lined legging tights: $7 (originally $18)
Thick footless tights: $5 (originally $18)
Calvin Klein gloves: $12 (originally $30)

Total spent:  $124 (originally $419)

My purchases were definitely more practical this month.  I think I'm about set on tights for the winter, as long as none of them get snagged.  I'm also pretty excited about finding Gap workout pants for $13.  Shorts just aren't practical when it is 7 degrees outside.    

Since it is the end of the year, I am happy to share that I am $92 under budget for 2013!  I really need a new pair of tennis shoes for the gym, so I'm going to set that money aside for those.

I'm keeping the same budget rules in 2014.  I might do a shopping ban at some point, but for now, I'm going to stick with what works!

How'd you do in December?  Check out the other Budgeting Bloggers!

Back to normal (almost)



Hey there!  I guess I kind of disappeared last week.  John and I went to Indianapolis for Christmas, and I decided to neglect the cyber-world and spend as much time as possible with my family.  We got back late Friday, and then had a pretty busy weekend (but more about that later).  I'll be sorting through photos and doing a Christmas recap post in the next few days. And then I'll probably try to put together some 2013-in-review (at least a final goals post - I kind of skipped that in November - OOPS!)

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas!

Dress & Belt: Gap
Cardigan: J.Crew Factory
Tights: Old Navy
Boots: Steve Madden

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pinned It & Did It - Copying Kendi




I've had this outfit pinned for a long time.  I mean, Kendi's original post was from 2.5 years ago.  This either means that I am way behind the fashion curve, or this is a timeless combination.  I'll choose to believe the latter.  Although, a pretty good argument could be made that Nebraska is about 6-12 months behind on trends. I've just recently started seeing regular people in bubble necklaces. And I thought I was a late adopter of that trend a year ago!

Necklace: InPink
Top & Belt: Gap
Dress & Tights: Target
Boots: Steve Madden



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Navy Tights




The last time I wore this dress, I said it was probably going away for the winter.  And then you guys were all like "Navy tights!" and I was like "OF COURSE!"  I didn't have any navy tights, but I promptly bought some, and now this is a year-round dress.  Brilliant.

Navy tights are a little weird for me.  They definitely remind me of my uniform-wearing school years. We had to wear quite unattractive skirts, that were also not great in the winter.  And we could only wear navy tights, so I had several pairs. I only wore tights on the coldest days, because I hated them.  Ten years later, I wear tights at least 50% of the time over the winter.  Funny how things change!

Also, ONE WEEK UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!!

Cardigan: J.Crew Factory
Dress: Banana Republic
Belt: Gap
Tights: Old Navy
Boots: Steve Madden

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Literary Junkies!




I just realized it has been over a year since the Literary Junkies book club started. Time flies when you're nerding out about books, I guess.  We just finished chatting about Safe Haven.  Here are this month's questions:

1. If you could write a book, what would it be about?

Ummm, I don't think I could stay focused enough to write a novel.  I'd probably write a memoir-type book of short stories about things I've experienced.  And I don't know who would read it.  Probably my parents.   

2. If you had to read one book or trilogy for the rest of your life, what would it be?


I reject this question. I don't like to re-read books, so I have no idea. 

3. Who is your current favorite book character and why?


The first character that popped into my mind is Pat from Silver Linings Playbook.  I just loved his way of describing things.  Even though he was a little (lot) crazy, he was still sweet.   

4. Is there a book you read every year during the holiday season? If so, what is it and why?

No, I don't really re-read books.  

5. Do you have any books on your Christmas list? Name a few.


No, I'm a library girl.  I don't like to own too many books. I'm out of shelf space and they are a pain to move! 


6. What is a book you read and loved that you didn’t expect to?


How about 7?  The Harry Potter series.  I resisted reading them, because I thought they sounded stupid.  I finally gave in this summer and really liked them. 


So, have you read any good books lately?  I have about 50 pages left in Me Before You, and I'm getting nervous that it will make me cry!  

Cardigan: Limited
Tee & Shoes: Gap
Long Necklace: F21
Short necklace: gift
Jeans: Old Navy

Monday, December 16, 2013

Weekend Fun






So, Monday!  It was a pretty busy weekend (well, with a certain amount of laziness on Saturday!).  Here's the short version:
  • Friday afternoon, I left work a little early and went to the outlet mall to do a little Christmas shopping.  I now have only 2 people left to shop for, and I know generally what I should buy them, so I'm feeling pretty good. 
  • Friday evening, John's office had their annual Christmas party.  We had a great time and stayed out entirely too late.
  • Saturday, I may have slept until noon.  It's hard to say.  Then I did pretty much nothing all day, except read.  I guess I did a little bit of laundry and cleaned the kitchen.  
  • Saturday evening, we went to see the new Hobbit movie.   I liked it more than the first one.  It does deviate from the book quite a bit, but I thought the book was kind of boring, so I'm not going to complain too much.  Plus it's been about 5 years since I read the book, so I don't remember the details. 
  • Sunday was church, lunch, gym, church, and then we went over to our friends' apartment.  They recently moved to a cool apartment downtown and I hadn't been there yet.  It was fun to see their place and get to hang out!
Anyway, it's going to be another busy week, and then next week is Christmas!  So excited!!!  I need to get serious about wrapping all these presents that are stacking up. 

Oh, and these pictures are from a few weeks ago - now our backyard is covered in snow.  

Dress: Gap
Cardigan: Urban Outfitters
Belt: Limited
Tights: Old Navy
Boots: Steve Madden

Friday, December 13, 2013

Mrs. Candy





On Wednesday evening, on of my 5th grade girls decided that she would call me "Mrs. Candy" instead of "Andi."  I've never given her candy, so I think she's just excited about rhyming stuff.  Kids are so weird.

Another random/funny story from Wednesday.  One of the girls is pretty tall, and she was talking about how people think she's in high school instead of 6th grade.  I told her I could relate, because I was a really tall kid, too.  I explained that I was pretty much my current height by 6th grade.  Another girl was like "WHOA, YOU WERE A GIANT 6th GRADER!" and then the first girl said "Don't make her feel bad about it!" 

Don't worry - I'm over any insecurities I had about being a giant kid. 

Cardigan: Old Navy
Chambray: J.Crew Factory
Jeans: Limited
Shoes: Gap

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Popular Pinterest Inspiration




I think every single blogger has worn some version of this outfit.  I actually wore this for what should have been day 16 of TOPIO (passing on the belt from day 15), but then I realized I had already passed along everything else in this outfit, so I changed my plan.

After wearing this, I bought a more "camel" colored cardigan, and some new cognac boots, so I'll probably be wearing a different version of this outfit before too long.

Linking up with Heather today for Pinned it& Did it!

Scarf: H&M
Dress: Ann Taylor
Cardigan: Limited
Belt: Old Navy
Boots: Steve Madden

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Shopping


 


I wore this outfit on Saturday for about 2 hours, so I went ahead and wore it again yesterday.  It was one of those zero degree mornings and I was just not inspired to figure out anything else.

After work, I met up with a friend to do some Christmas shopping.  The good news is that I'm done shopping for 10 of the 15 people I need to get presents.  The bad news is that the tricky people are left, so I need to figure out what to get them!  There's only 2 weeks until Christmas, so I better get my act together.

Have you finished (or started) your Christmas shopping?

Sweater: Old Navy
Shirt: Gap
Jeans: Limited
Boots: Steve Madden

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Winter is Here




Are you ready for more weather talk?  Because Nebraska got seriously cold last week.  When I wake up in the morning, I usually check the weather so I know how to dress accordingly.  When it says ZERO, I just want to give up and crawl back into bed.

On Saturday, I went on a returning spree at the outlet mall.  I didn't even buy anything new to replace the returns.  The parking lot was crazy, the lines were long, and I really wonder why anyone thinks it is a good idea to have an outdoor mall in Nebraska!  Put a roof on it!  Or better yet, one of those retractable roofs that they have on football stadiums.  That'd be pretty cool! 


Necklace: InPink
Sweater: Gap
Dress, Belt,Tights: Old Navy
Boots: Steve Madden

Monday, December 9, 2013

Clueless




Honestly, I felt a little bit like a 2013 Cher Horowitz in this outfit, but in a good way (except she probably wouldn't shop at Old Navy).  I also just realized that movie came out 18 years ago, and now I feel very old.
Also, I didn't purposely disappear last week.  I just didn't do my normal weekend blog prep over the Thanksgiving weekend, and then I was busy most evenings last week.  I started to feel bad about it, but then I realized that I am my own boss when it comes to blogging, so I probably won't fire myself for taking a few days off.  Probably.

Sweater & Tights: Old Navy
Skirt & Tee: Loft
Boots: Wanted

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Book Review - Safe Haven



Until last week, I had never read any Nicholas Sparks books, or even seen any of the movies based on the books.  When I saw that Safe Haven was the book club selection for December, I wasn't sure I wanted to read it.  BUT I have heard so many people talk about how wonderful his books are, and I'm less anti-romance than I used to be, so I decided to give it a try.  I read it over Thanksgiving weekend and while I didn't love it - I did like it more than I thought I would.  My thoughts below (spoilers in white font, if you want to read them).

My preconceived notions about Sparks led me to believe that a man and a woman would fall in love, and then something terrible would happen, most likely one of them dying.  I was only sort of right.

I was skeptical when I started the book, and had to roll my eyes many many times as I read.  Just the way he describes things is so cheesy at times.  I did get interested in what was going to happen, and especially worried about the children.  I did not know that he does surprise twists at the end, so that kind of threw me.

My biggest complaints:
  1. The evil husband was a little bit much.  Maybe I'm naive, but I find it hard to believe that someone as completely insane as him (and a total alcoholic) could hold down a job.  (or that he wouldn't have crashed his car in his epic intoxication at the end of the book)
  2. The surprise ending - I'm sorry, WHAT?  That came out of nowhere!  If you think your boyfriend's dead wife lives in the house next to you, it might be wise to seek some kind of professional help.   
Overall, I gave it 2 stars out of 5.  It was okay.  A quick/easy book that I could read while sort of watching football and the dog show on Thanksgiving afternoon.  I probably won't rush out to read any other Nicholas Sparks books.

Have you read Safe Haven, or anything else by Sparks?  What did you think? 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Take One Recap

1/2/3/4/5
6/7/8/9/10
11/12/13/14/15
16/17/18/19/20

Doing the Take One, Pass It On challenge was really fun for me (shout out to Sarah for coming up with the idea!).  I apparently like having some guidance in what I should wear each day.  Other than day one, I really like all of these outfits, and didn't feel like I was limited by the challenge at all.  It helped me be more creative, which is a good thing!

Anyway, I thought it'd be interesting to see what types of items were passed along.  No big surprise here - the cardigans win with 4 passes.  Coming in second with 3 each are jeans, tops, and jackets(including my blazer).  I was surprised that I only passed on one skirt.  And the others were pretty much accessories (shoes, scarf, necklace, belt).   I feel good that I only did 5 accessory passes.  Those seem easier than main clothing items, so I'm glad I didn't take the easy route too often! 

Here's to December, when I have to dress myself without any rules other than weather-requirements. 

November Shopping



November - Outlets


November's shopping story is a two-parter.  Part one involves a trip to the outlet mall that just opened near me.  I decided to let myself go overboard because I had $200 of birthday money that I added in to my clothing budget.  Normally, I still follow my cheap shopping rules with gift cards or gift money, but I decided that the whole point of gifts is that they are for things I wouldn't normally get to buy, so here's the breakdown of my birthday/outlet shopping: 

Kate Spade bow earrings: $14 (originally $48)
F21 Love bracelet: $2 - mine is a script font, but isn't online
*F21 Gold chain necklace: $11 (worn here)

*Gap midrise Skinny Jeans (similar option): $30  (originally $60) (worn here)

*J.Crew Factory Camel Cardigan (similar option): $24  (originally $80) (worn here)
*J.Crew Factory Polka dot popover: $31 (originally $65) (worn here)
J.Crew Factory printed button-up shirt: $16 (originally $65)
*J.Crew Factory Sylvia wedges black: $59 (originally $120) - I had to re-order a different size, so these may go back if they don't fit


OUTLET TOTAL: $187 (originally $649)

So, I guess I still followed my cheap shopping, because I paid about 30% of original prices, but I just got more things than I normally would have.  Happy Birthday to me!  


November - black friday

Part two is Black Friday.  I wasn't going to go shopping, but then I just popped out for a little bit yesterday evening.  There were a couple things at Old Navy that I wanted to check out, and I wanted to stop in DSW to see if they had a sale on the brown version of my black boots.  Well, Old Navy had some really good deals on some things I'd been wanting.  And then DSW didn't have a deal, but I went ahead and got the boots, because I love the black ones, and I really need a replacement pair of cognac boots for this winter, and I've tried on a lot of other options that are NOT comfortable.  Here's the breakdown: 

*Old Navy red cardigan:  $10 (originally $25)
*Old Navy cobalt skirt:  $10 (originally $20)
Old Navy cobalt pumps:  $12 (originally $30)
*Old Navy gray/silver flats:  $12 (originally $27)
Old Navy tights (3 pair - brown, gray, tan): $4 each (originally $10 each)

*Steve Madden Kambyy Boots: $95 (originally $115)

BLACK FRIDAY TOTAL:  $151 (originally $247)


November TOTAL:  $338 (originally $896)
Birthday Money: $200
Earned Selling Consignment: $41.12
Total out of clothing budget: $96.88

While I did spend a lot more than I'm used to spending, once I add in my birthday money and consignment earnings, I was actually just under budget for the month. And I'm still significantly under budget for the year. 

Another interesting/funny thing to note is that this is the 3rd month in a row where I've gotten 4 new pairs of shoes.  I hadn't bought new shoes in awhile, so I think it was time to upgrade some of my basics, and get some more modern "fun" options.  I think I've gotten rid of more than I've bought, so I still have space on the shoe shelf.  And I probably shouldn't buy shoes for awhile!  Plus, I need to make a Christmas list and then not buy anything until after gifts are exchanged! 

How'd you do this month?  Did you get caught up in the Black Friday sales?  Go link up with Fran and the other Budgeting Bloggers

* - items from my wardrobe wishlist






Friday, November 29, 2013

Turkey Hangover



 


Well, I don't know about you, but I ate entirely too much turkey yesterday.  Seriously though, I hope you all had a great day celebrating Thanksgiving.  We had a fabulous meal, and then a lazy afternoon watching football (well, I may have been reading a book), and then played games in the evening.  My ridiculous winning streak at Settlers of Catan continues, much to the dismay of my competitors!

I'm still not sure if I'm going to venture out to do any shopping today.  I'm tempted to swing by the mall next to my house, but I know it will be packed.  Maybe later in the day?  Or maybe not.  There are just a few things I have my eye on and would like to check out.

It's also the last day of the Take One, Pass It On challenge.  I'll do a little recap of the month for tomorrow.  Oh, and it's almost December, so I probably need to write up a budget post and a goals review.  Time is flying!

Blazer & Jeans: Gap
Top: J.Crew Factory
Shoes: Old Navy

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving



Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone is having a wonderful day celebrating with family and friends.  I'll keep it short and sweet today, and then I'll be back tomorrow with the last day of Take One, Pass It On.  


Cardigan: J.Crew Factory
Scarf: H&M
Tee: Old Navy
Jeans: Gap
Boots: Steve Madden