Saturday, March 30, 2013

March Budget Recap

Remember how I was going to avoid shopping in March to save up for my trip to Phoenix?  Yeah, me neither.  In my defense:
  • J.Crew Factory is sneaky with their promo code emails, and I really needed some new denim shorts for this summer 
  • Gap got me with Friends and Family days
  • Grocery shopping at Target is dangerous  
March Purchases

Technically, a few of these items were purchased at the end of February (after I wrote that budget recap), but I didn't feel like updating that post, so I'm just going to detail it here.  I panicked a couple days before vacation and bought a few more summery pieces for the trip.

February Additions (this takes February from $18 to $46):
March Purchases
  • J.Crew Denim Shorts: $31 (originally $58.50)
  • J.Crew Corsage Tee: $9 (originally 39.50)
  • Gap Cardigan (similar): $16 (originally $45)
  • Xhileration Ruffle Dress (different colors):  $7.50 (originally $25)
  • Merona Floral Tank:  $10 (originally $15)
  • Prabal Gurung Sandals: $15 (originally $30) - still deciding whether or not to keep these!  What do you all think? (UPDATE: I returned these)
  • Merona Cardigan:  $11.50 (originally $23)

March total: $100 (originally $236)  
(Updated Total: $85 (originally $206)

So I basically hit my exact monthly budget in January and March, and only spent about half in February.  This means I have about $50 extra rolling into April.  I also cashed out at the consignment shop recently, which gets added into the clothing fund.

Did you stick to your clothing budget in March?  Link up and check out the other Budgeting Bloggers!

Outfit details:
Sweater: Target
Chambray: J.Crew Factory
Necklace: Bass Outlet
Jeans: Old Navy
Shoes: BCBGeneration

Friday, March 29, 2013

5 Days, 5 Ways - Casual Friday

Sometimes, there are too many good linky parties going on!  Like this week, I was so caught up in the 5 Days, 5 Ways adventure that I almost missed out on Bloggers Do It Better Black and White Stripes!  No worries, I can make it work with my frequently worn black and white Gap t-shirt!

One of the reasons I wear it so much is that I think it works just as well with cut off jean shorts as it does with a pencil skirt. Above, I show 3 dressier ways I have worn this shirt.

Now on to the 5 Days, 5 Ways theme of the day, which is Casual Friday.  My office has a very casual dress code every day, and I'm usually on the dressier side of things, but I probably wear a more "Casual Friday" type outfit once a week.  This shirt is frequently featured.    

Here are 2 casual summer looks (remember summer?):

This shirt is also a perfect piece for layering during the colder months.  On my least-inspired days, I can grab jeans and stripes, and then add a scarf or cardigan or both and I have a quick and easy solution! 

In conclusion, I think every woman should have a basic black and white striped shirt.  And probably a sweater, and a sweater dress, too.  I might have a slight stripes addiction. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

5 Days, 5 Ways - Dresses

Most of the dresses that I wear on a regular basis have already been the subject of a remix collage, so it took some digging to find another one that I've worn enough times.  I landed on this faux wrap dress from Target.  I think I bought it in 2007, because it was on sale.  Then I hardly ever wore it, because I thought it looked weird with a cami underneath, and it wasn't decent alone.  Once I got a little more creative, I realized I could layer a button-down under the shirt, and I really like it that way! I also noticed that I usually wear it with crazy tights.

5 ways:  
 Shirt: Gap
Dress: Target
Belt: Limited
Necklace: Dillard's
Boots: BareTraps via DSW

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

5 Days, 5 Ways - Bubble Necklace

You can't tell, but it was snowing and about 17 degrees and very windy as I was taking these pictures.  I had my tripod nestled in the garage so it wouldn't get wet or blown over, and I didn't have the patience to make sure my pictures were framed properly, so I'm kind of far away! 

Day 3 of the 5 Days, 5 Ways challenge is all about accessories.  It was tough to pick just one item to feature, but the bubble necklace was the obvious choice.  It's such a statement, and becomes the focal point of the outfit.  When I first saw these appear on fashion blogs, I thought they were cute, but I wasn't about to pay the $100+ for the J.Crew version.  Around Christmas, I noticed the cheaper option at Charming Charlie, and was happy to snag one!  I'd like another color, but I just can't decide what would be best (pink or black are in the lead right now).  Anyway, this is a great necklace and adds interest to any outfit! 

Today, I'm showing 6 ways! 

Outfit Details:
Dress (as a skirt): Target
Sweater: Old Navy
Necklace: Charming Charlie
Belt: Urban Outfitters
Boots: Rampage

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

5 Days, 5 Ways - Red Pants

When I think about pants, I don't usually include jeans, so I very rarely wear "pants."  For the purposes of the 5 days, 5 ways project, my jeans get to be pants.  Otherwise, I would have to skip this day.  I got these a few days after Christmas, and I have worn them quite a bit.  I am looking forward to some warmer weather looks, once spring arrives:

Here are my 5 ways:


And now for a nostalgic story about red jeans from 10+ years ago:  
Many years ago, I bought a pair of red jeans at Abercrombie & Fitch.  I think I was a junior in high school, and we were doing a college visit at KU.  After lunch, we got to wander around Lawrence for a bit, and I was very excited about my red jeans.  I think my friends thought I was weird, because colorful pants weren't really common at that point.  I loved those jeans, but then a wardrobe catastrophe struck.  Someone in my house was going to run a load of whites, and added bleach to the washer, but then promptly forgot about it.  Then I decided to run a load of all my dark clothes, not knowing about the bleach.  Needless to say, most of my clothes were ruined, including the jeans.  About a year later, I was visiting my sister in Illinois and I found the exact same red jeans at the Abercrombie Outlet.  Score!  Unfortunately, they didn't fit quite the same as the originals, but I still liked them.  I should really dig through my old photos and find evidence of these jeans.  Maybe I will have to bring back "Throwback Thursday" one of these days. 

Outfit Details:
Sweater: Limited
Tank: Gap
Jeans: Old Navy

Shoes: Born

Monday, March 25, 2013

5 Days, 5 Ways - Leopard Top


This weekend, I did some closet cleaning, which resulted in a trip to the consignment shop.  I also found some old favorites in the back of my closet that have been neglected.  So, I am late to the "no longer neglected" party, but I'm jumping in here in the last week.  This leopard tank top is the only clothing item I have sewn from scratch.  I wore it a few times last winter/spring, and then apparently forgot about it.  Time to bring it back!  The above outfit was perfect for an impromptu dinner date on Saturday evening.

This is also Day 1 of the 5 Days, 5 Ways link up challenge with Whitney and Fran.  These are 2 of my favorite bloggers, so I'm excited to play along, and see what everyone else puts together.

Here are 4 ways I have previously worn this shirt, along with today's look (get it, 5 ways!).

Goal for sometime this summer: wear this top without a cardigan!  It can stand on its own, I just tend to wear it on cooler days, like a Saturday in late March, when it is snowing.  All of my summery tops are now at the front of my closet, so I hope the weather cooperates soon and I can stop wearing giant sweaters one of these days!

Outfit details
Cardigan: Gap
Shirt: handmade
Jeans: Old Navy
Boots: Target

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Preserve the Rhyme

Attempt #2 on the awkward dress involves layering it under another dress.  I am a fan, but I had to add green tights, because I felt a little too dark.  You will notice it snowed again, so I'm still wearing boots, unfortunately. 

I have a complaint to lodge with Contemporary Christian artists, and I don't think there's a formal complaint lodging process, so I'll just blog about it.  See, I like old hymns, and I generally like it when someone records a more modern version, as long as they don't change it up too much (or add a terrible praise chorus in the middle for no reason).  On the radio today, I heard one of my favorite hymns, but the artist had updated all the thee/thou/thy language to be you/your.  Okay, I understand the reasoning behind this, because nobody says "thou" anymore - BUT this song rhymes, and when you change "thee" to "you", it doesn't rhyme anymore.  It just sounds weird, and I'm pretty sure anyone who is listening can figure out what "thou" means.  

Polka Dot Dress: Old Navy
Wrap Dress: Target
Belt: Limited
Tights: American Apparel
Boots: BareTraps

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook: Movie vs. Book

On the way home from vacation, I finished my last book on the first flight.  I went into the airport bookstore and picked The Silver Linings Playbook, because I thought the movie looked interesting, and I like to read a book before seeing the movie.

Verdict: I really liked this book.  The movie was a huge disappointment.

I hate to be one of those people who is all "The book was WAY BETTER than the movie!" but in this case, it has to be said.  I understand that certain changes have to be made in the interest of time.  Another big issue is that the book is written in the first person, from the main character's point of view, so if he is thinking something, the author can just write it out.  In the movie, unless there is a voice-over, there are certain things that are difficult to communicate.   A few big complaints (and these contain spoilers, so stop reading if you plan on reading the book or seeing the movie):
  • Both main characters are way more awkward and crazy in the book.  Movie Pat is very self-aware, while Book Pat is pretty delusional.  In the book, Pat and Tiffany barely talk at all, and it is very awkward.  In the movie, they have these big discussions.  Their whole relationship is completely different.  
  • In the book, Pat is in the "bad place" for 4ish years, and only thinks it was a few months.  That's a big deal when he gets out, that everyone is trying to avoid talking about what year it is, etc.  He also doesn't tell us what happened with his wife, and why he had to go to the bad place.  We don't learn that until the very end, and he seems to be in denial, or not remember it until the very end.  In the movie, he's only in the mental institution for 8 months, and is totally aware of what happened and why he was there, and just lays it out very factually to his therapist.  (which leads me back to my first point, that he's way too self-aware in the movie)
  • The Dad character is COMPLETELY different in the movie.  Again, a huge part of the book is Pat's strained relationship with his parents, and their marriage issues.  Book Dad is a closed off jerk who won't hardly speak to Pat, and the only way they start to connect is through football.  Movie Dad is basically a helicopter parent and wants to talk all the time, and randomly has a gambling problem.  It really changed the dynamic of the story.
  • The age difference between Jennifer Lawrence (22) and Bradley Cooper (38) was also a little creepy in the movie.  Book Tiffany is supposed to be a couple years older than Pat.  In the movie, their ages are never discussed, but she is obviously way younger than him.  It doesn't help that I think of her as Katniss (16).  I think she's a great actress, but I would have preferred someone more age-appropriate!
I could go on, but I'm sure no one wants to read 10 more reasons!  One thing I was happy they kept in the movie was his rant about Ernest Hemingway's lack of silver linings or happy endings.  That was one of my favorite parts of the book, so I'm glad it was in the movie. 

Have you read this book or seen the movie?  What did you think of it?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Five Things

I've seen this "5 things" chain floating around, and at first I was like "Phew, I hope I don't get tagged!" because of fact #1, but then I started to feel left out, so I was pretty excited when Kate tagged me.  Without any further ado, here's my 5 facts:  
  1. I totally choke whenever there is any pressure.  I mean, I think I am a fairly interesting person, but whenever I'm in a group and we are supposed to share a "fun fact", I completely panic, and end up saying something like "I'm really bad at coming up with fun facts, but I am fun, I promise!" and then everyone thinks I'm kind of strange.  The same panic applies to any competition.  I'm not a great bowler, but I can usually get about 100 if I am not paying attention to the score.  However, if someone points out to me that I have 98, and my previous turn was a spare, so I really only need to get 1 pin in the 10th frame, I will almost always roll 2 gutter-balls.  This is super frustrating!
  2. I have broken my front right tooth so many times that I have lost count.  The first time was when I was 7, and I did a flip on a bike rack that was much shorter than I thought, and I smashed my face on the concrete.  The next time I was 9 (and super graceful), and a mean boy tripped me when I was running.  I pretty much skidded face first across the sidewalk.  Over the next 5 or so years, I broke it several other times, on a random candy cane, or biting too hard on a fork.  I stopped counting around the 10th time.  I am very thankful that my dentist was able to fix it and you can't tell unless you get very close (and unless you are my husband, you shouldn't be that close).   
  3. I collect elephants as travel souvenirs.  My dad traveled a fair amount when I was a kid, and brought back souvenirs for us kids.  When I was pretty young, I ended up with a set of elephants from Zaire (which no longer exists), and a set of elephants from India.  In 2002, I bought some from a flea market in Istanbul.  In 2003, one of my friends got me one from her trip to Guatemala.  In 2005, I bought one in Rome.  In 2006, I hit the jackpot in Kenya and got the little ivory elephant, plus elephant bookends!  My recent travels have been trickier, because there aren't as many elephant figurines in the tourist shops around the Caribbean, but I found one in Puerto Rico, and another one in Honduras.    
  4. I'm sort of tall.  I have been 5'9'' since I was about 13 years old.  This was not great in those awkward middle school years when I towered over all my friends (and all the boys).  For some reason, I have embraced the tall, and always wore high heels anyway.  I don't feel super tall anymore, probably because I have quite a few tall friends and co-workers.  People still give me a hard time when I am wearing heels, like "aren't you tall enough?" and I sort of wonder if they go around teasing short people who wear flats.  I think probably not.
  5. I have a complicated relationship with Nebraska Cornhusker football.  I was born in Nebraska, but then moved to Kansas when I was a baby.  For some reason, I decided as a very young child that I would be a huge Husker fan.  It probably helped that they were awesome in the mid-90s, too.  I continued my superfandom throughout middle and high school, and decided I was going to the University of Nebraska.  I remember my dad saying something like "You can't pick a college just because you like their football team!" and I was kind of like "well, yeah, I can..."  Once I got to Nebraska, my love of the Huskers started to fade.  It probably didn't help that they were awful when I had my student season tickets.  (Bill Callahan, anyone?)  Anyway, I don't really pay attention to the Husker games at all anymore, and have found that game days are the best time to go grocery shopping, because there are no lines!         
I am too lazy to figure out who has already done this, so I'm tagging anyone who is reading this!  What are 5 random facts about you?

Tee and Cardigan: Gap
Skirt: Target
Boots: Wanted

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Third Thursday Winterization

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This month's Third Thursday Threads theme is Winterizing a Summer Item!  

I'm a big fan of making summer items work all through the year.  One of the easiest ways to do this is take a summery dress and add a sweater, tights, and boots.  Boom!  When I bought this dress, I had vacation and summer in mind, but then I noticed that it would match perfectly with my fuchsia tights and orange cardigan.  I sort of expected to get some looks from my co-workers, since this is a pretty loud outfit, but I didn't notice anyone staring awkwardly.  One person did tell me I was very bright.  I just said thanks!

How do you wear summery items when it's cold outside?  Any brilliant tips to share? 

Dress: Kohl's
Cardigan: J.Crew factory
Tights & Belt: Old Navy
Boots: Target

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Chantilly Lace!?

When I heard the trend of the month was lace, I thought I would have to go shopping, because I couldn't think of anything lace in my wardrobe.  I had big plans to search Forever 21, because I have seen some cute lace tops on their website.  Then I remembered I had a giftcard to Loft, so I stopped by after work on Friday and completely struck out.  Francesca's was right next to Loft, so I popped in there real quick, and also didn't buy anything.  BUT they had a whole section of the store with coral and mint on display, and I remembered that I do, in fact, have a coral lace top, and I should probably wear it with my mint jeans.  Problem solved!

This also marks my first time taking pictures in public with my tripod and timer.  I've convinced John to play photographer a few times when we were out at dinner or something, but this was a whole different ball game!  I went straight to the gym after work, and didn't want to take photos in my office, so I threw my tripod in the car and set it up in the gym parking lot.  I did get some awkward stares from people, but no one stopped and asked me what I was doing, at least!

Top: Von Maur
Jeans & Coat: Gap
Cardigan: Urban Outfitters
Shoes: BCBGeneration

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Literary Junkies Link-Up

It is Literary Junkies Link-Up time again!  YAY for book nerds!
What are you currently reading? Tell us about it.
Currently reading Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.  She is an Omaha native, and it is interesting to read a story set in my city.  I went to a book signing a couple weeks ago, and Rainbow Rowell was great, so I liked the book before I even started reading, just because I liked her so much!  I'm not very far into the book yet, but it is about 2 teenagers in Omaha in the mid-80s.  I think they are going to fall in love. Plus the main character, Eleanor, has hair like mine, but bright red.  I'm pretty much imagining an awkward teenager version of Merida.
What book do you recommend the most to people?
It really depends on the person, and what I have been reading lately.    A few books that come to mind are The Pillars of the Earth, East of Eden, A Tale of Two Cities.  I just read The Fault in Our Stars, and have been telling everyone to read it.   
What are the top 3 books on your "to-read" list?
  • The Shepherd of the Hills by Harold Bell Wright
  • A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
  • Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

What do you "do" while reading? (i.e. listen to music, eat) Any weird reading habits?
I really don't do anything else while I am reading.  I'm usually just curled up on the couch or in my bed.  Sometimes John is watching TV, and if it is a boring enough show, I can read, but usually any other noise is too distracting to me.  I almost always read when I am flying somewhere, but I can't read in a car.    
Blazer, Sweater, Shirt: Gap
Necklace: Bass Outlet
Jeans: Old Navy
Boots: Wanted

Monday, March 18, 2013

Big Hair, Chambray, and Fake Spring

A few weeks ago, I switched to sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, and I have noticed that my hair seems less frizzy.  Then last week, I tried the new Pantene "No Crunch Curls Whip", after using only this mousse for about 10 years.  I liked how it made my curls softer, and I don't even mind how much fluffier/larger my hair is, but the tangles are out of control.  I had some giant knots in my hair that did not want to untangle.  I'm not sure if I can put up with that.  I did get a few compliments from strangers on this big hair day.

I also have to share a recent conversation with my husband, about the ever-popular chambray shirt:
  • J:  You are wearing a jean shirt, aren't those out of style?
  • A:  Yeah, but this is a "Chambray" shirt, totally different.
  • J:  So, fashion bloggers were embarrassed that they liked Jean shirts again, so they are just calling it    something different?
  • A:  Ummmm.... yeah, I guess so.    
Friday was also a gloriously warm day, and I was very excited to let my knees out to play.  Fake spring has come and gone, and we are supposed to get more snow this week.  Come on, real spring!  You can show up any time!

And finally, since everyone is talking about the coming death of Google Reader (and probably GFC), don't forget to follow me on BlogLovin!  

Jean shirt: J.Crew factory
Cardigan & Skirt: Gap
Boots: Rampage

Saturday, March 16, 2013

En La Playa

Our last stop was in Cozumel, Mexico.  We went to a local beach and had another lovely day soaking in the sunshine and playing in the ocean and forgetting to take very many pictures.  

That evening was another formal night, so we got all fancy for dinner.  I bought this dress specifically for the cruise and I really love it.  I think it will be a frequently worn item in the next few months.

That's the last of the vacation recap posts!  I have been back at work this week, and wishing I was at the beach.  Good thing I have a weekend trip to Phoenix planned in a few weeks!  And Nebraska should be done with snow any day now, right?  One can only hope!   

Dress: Limited
Shoes: Gap
Pearls: China