Monday, July 28, 2014

july budget

1. Target dress [seen here]: $20
2. Hudson jeans via Nordstrom Rack [seen here]: originally $180, on sale for $35
3. Project Social tee: $35
4. J.Crew dress [seen here]: originally $158, on sale for $55
5. J.Crew pants: originally $98, on sale for $35
6. Banana Republic Factory sweater [seen here]: $25
7. Uniqlo Jeans [seen here]: $40

Total July spent: $245

Quarterly Budget: $110 in May + $120 in June + 245 in July = $475

So I knew that July would be a bigger shopping month for me because of the trips to Seattle and NYC. Both of those trips were more about seeing friends and going exploring, and less about shopping, so I only purchased a few things in each place. While almost fall under my "rules", I felt like I tried to at least step a little out of my normal items. The striped pants (which are still on sale + 40% off) are a fun addition to my normal school pants collection, while the Hudson jeans (which I still can't believe I got for one sixth of the original price) are so comfortable that they'll be perfect for long weekends at the library.

I did order these shoes at the end of last month, but have decided I'm going to return them. While they are cute and very inexpensive, I don't have a need for another pair of sandals right before school starts. I also didn't really like the black part of the sandal as it looked a little too plasticy.

As for as c/o items this month, BaubleBar sent me these beautiful pieces of jewelry. I've been a long-time fan of the brand, and all of my pieces from them have held up very well! My favorite is this necklace, which I've worn at least five times since I received it a few weeks ago. It's something I would never have thought of purchasing, but it's my go-to item right now.

one | two | three [seen here] | four
So what are my plans for next quarter? Well, I have to wait until we get our student loan checks, so for the first three-ish weeks shopping is a little on hold. I did order this vest as it is backordered for another three weeks, so it won't ship/charge until after we get money. Once that comes in, I'm hoping to add a few of the items mentioned here so round out my closet....although this dress just came out, and I'm trying to figure out if there's a way I can make it work for school - thoughts?

Did you stick to your July budget? I would love to hear more about it - please add your link below, and be sure to link back to this post so your readers can read and discover other budgeting bloggers!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

medical school dress code: year two

shoes | dress | skirt
pants | skirt | cardigan 
With the end of my first year of quarterly budgeting, and with school starting in a little over a week, I've been thinking a bit about my closet and budget situation.

I think that the quarterly budget is working really really well for me. I still try to spread it out equally each month, but it's also nice for times like this summer when I did less shopping two of the months so I had more to spend in a month I knew I would be shopping more (more on that on Monday when my budget post goes up). Having the money in a separate savings account means I'm not spending money I don't have, and not touching money set aside for other, more important things (like books and bills). It also allows me to look a little bit more at the big picture. I needed a nice winter coat last year, so I planned around that the month before. I know the quarterly budget doesn't work for everyone, but I think it would work well for anyone who lives on student loans like I do, as we get all of the money up front.

As far as my school wardrobe, I think I'm at a pretty good place with what I own and wear consistently. Big staples for me included these pants from The Limited (I own them in two colors), these wedges from J.Crew Factory (also owned in two colors, and currently on sale if you are interested), and simple v-neck dresses like this one from Madewell. I try to mix it up with different scarves and necklaces, two items I should probably never purchase again (but I can't help it because I just love them so much).

Looking ahead, there are a few items I feel I have been missing out on:

  • My black revas have finally died on me after two years of consecutive wear (the elastic is completely worn out), so I am considering replacing them. They are quite pricey though, so I'm hoping to either find a pair on eBay, or possibly ask for them as a birthday present (although noise canceling headphones may be more practical!). I know they aren't everyone's cup of tea, but I love how they add just a little bit of interest, and once they are broken in they are so comfortable.
  • I also am considering these bow flats after keeping an eye on them for the past two years. Since I love my wedges so much, I figured a flat pair would also be practical to own. The nude works well on my skin tone, and the quality is hard to beat at that price point. 
  • While I love my ankle-ish dress pants I own now, I would really like to have a black pair of slim, full length ankle pants. I love how a similar pair looks on Yasi, and since I'm already such a fangirl of the pants from The Limited, I fully intend on trying on this pair
  • My skirt collection is a fun little collection of bright colors and patterns (which is unlike the rest of my closet, which is strange). I really need just a nice black, well fitting pencil skirt. I've also been looking for a maroon pencil skirt for the better part of the last year and no luck yet. I'm hoping that the fall roll-out will include some!
  • I tried on a red sheath dress last fall, and while I didn't purchase that one because it was too short on me, I have been searching for a similar one since then. I have a similar dress in black that I wear constantly (a lot on test days so I never photograph it), and it's so nice to just throw on with a belt and flats and be out the door. This one is similar and inexpensive, but not exactly what I want either, so another thing I hope someone makes this fall. 
  • My black cardigan from Old Navy has needed a replacement for over half a year, but I kind of always forget about it when I'm shopping. I have the tan version of this cardigan and love it, so the black version may have to come my way the next time they have a big sale. It's a boring thing to buy, but also something that will be worn all.the.time.
So that's the plan. I'm on a little bit of a shopping freeze currently until we get our loan money in three weeks, so I may only try some things on while I still have time, but no purchases until the money comes in. I have a bit of mixed feelings about starting school again (all this free time is so nice!), but I am excited to get back into actually getting dressed every day. Jean shorts and v-neck tees are only fun to wear for so long!

If you are new to my medical school dress code, here's a post about what is required of me, and here you can see everything I've worn to school so far. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

staple on sale: j.crew herringbone vest

For the last two years, the herringbone vest has been one of the most popular items out there - it always sells out almost immediately! I missed out last year, and instead found a much puffier version from Gap. While that vest is great for keeping all bundled up, it isn't something I can wear casually, it's more true outerwear. Luckily for both you and me, J.Crew Factory brought it back this year. With the current 30% off sale going on, it can be yours for less than $80. While pricey for a vest, it is cute enough to be on trend without being too trendy that you won't wear it next year.

If you aren't convinced yet, look at all of the adorable ways it can be worn here. I see a lot of chambray in my future ;)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

sweet sweet summertime

DSC01482After a whirlwind summer of traveling all over the country, I'm excited to spend the last two weeks at home before school starts again. I have a few projects I want to finish around the house (I started making this pinboard today for our kitchen), bike rides to go on (after receiving a bike as a surprise present!), and hopefully finishing Breaking Bad (only two seasons to go). After a day of sleeping in, going for a swim, and making a delicious dinner, we capped off the night with a Starbucks date. The cooler temperatures meant I got to wear both jeans AND a long-sleeved while I'm not excited for school to start, I am excited for FALL.

Please don't hate me for bringing up fall in the middle of July ;)

Top: ASOS [exact on sale w/ popback sizes!]
Jeans: Uniqlo [exact]
Necklace: c/o BaubleBar [exact]
Shoes: thrifted Tory Burch [current version]
Bag: Madewell [save - read Audrey's review here | exact]
Watch: Michael Kors [save | exact]
P.S. It seems that J.Crew is becoming the new Gap with their constant sales...and I'm not complaining. With their 40% off sale items, I picked up these adorable pants after seeing them on Kendi. I can't wait to wear them with all the red and cognac accessories ;)

Monday, July 21, 2014

too many damn rules

I spent this past weekend in NYC with my good college friend Ben. We had a great time catching up on our lives (both of ours have changed considerably in the past year since we saw each other), walking all over Brooklyn, and doing just the tiniest bit of shopping. We stopped at Steven Alan, which has all of these beautiful pieces of clothing - the kind that you would wear for the next ten years and really treasure and love. As I was looking through them, I was explaining to Ben how I really liked each piece but I just couldn't wear any of them and I don't even bother trying because "I know what works on my body and it's just easier to stick to those rules".

Oh boy. The rules. It's not until you try to explain to someone what exactly these rules entail that you realize that maybe, just maybe, you are slightly insane. What exactly are my rules? Let's just work top to bottom:

  • No hats. I have chubby cheeks and hats always emphasize that.
  • V-necks only (mostly). I'm fairly busty, so adding a bit of skin (but not too much!!! more rules) supposedly elongates my frame without it just being all 'woah, boobs' even if they are completely covered up. I also have broad shoulders, so boat necks make them look even broader, and I don't think I've touched anything high crew necked in years. 
  • Nothing strapless. I'm certain strapless bras are the devil. I just won't even put up with them, so I just don't buy anything strapless. Problem solved, rule created.
  • No cap sleeves. I dislike my upper arms, and cap sleeves cut you off right at the thickest part of your arm. Why emphasize those bingo arms when a full short sleeve is so much more flattering?
  • Also nothing sleeveless. It's hard to find dresses with sleeves so I will buy those sleeveless dresses (if I really like them like this one I found last week that has an all over "neutral" pattern) knowing that the majority of the time I'll wear a blazer or cardigan over it. I would love to own this beautifully designed colorful dress, but I know I wouldn't want to cover it up with another boring cardigan so I just don't bother. There are only 3 sleeveless tops in my closet, and I always wear them layered. There's a reason summer is my least favorite season.
  • Nothing too drapey/swingey/loose. I suppose I'm hour-glass shaped, so anything that doesn't come in at my waist makes me look a good 30 pounds heavier. You know all those cool people who wear loose slightly slouchy tops and skinny jeans and look amazing and casual yet still polished and put together? That won't be me. I'll be there in my heavy duty bra and tank top to suck it all in and tight but not too tight shirt to make sure you didn't think I was actually a walking square. I don't just throw on a shirt and walk out the door. There's a process involved in harnessing it all. 
  • Longer tops only please. I'm 5'9'' and pretty equal parts legs and torso, so most tops are too short on me (the saving grace being pencil skirts and tucking everything in!)
  • No midriff. Not now, not ever.
  • Aways belted. Either at my waist if I'm wearing a dress so that I don't look like a giant rectangle, or on my pants so I can shame-tuck the hell out of my shirts (to emphasis earlier said waist). Oh yeah, and the leather needs to match my shoes...because I have issues apparently.
  • Dark on bottom: Dark denim, dark skirts, dark shorts. I occasionally break that rule with white denim, but I generally try to keep emphasis off of my hips. That weird area that sticks out the furthest needs to be as camouflaged as much as possibly please. 
  • Nothing too short. I'm a lady now (you get that title when you turn 26) and so therefore we don't do 2 inch inseam anything. Okay, really it's just that my thighs rub and therefore I need the fabric to prevent that. I would love to wear a cute romper, but it would look ridiculous on me. 
  • No skirts that don't hit right above the knee. That's probably a pretty common rule, but with midi skirts/dresses being popular, I have to remind myself that they hit at the widest part of my muscular calves, which is "unflattering". Hate that word yet? Me too. 
  • #hussyankles: If you've been reading this blog for 6+ months, you will have noticed that my ankles are almost always showing, even in the winter. I just like ankle pants! I think they are the most flattering on my legs, and I don't like my shoes to touch my pants. I don't even have a valid reason for that weird rule.
  • Feeling overdressed. I have this fear of feeling overdressed. It's hard to articulate really what I mean, but a lot of it is situational. I live in a small city where I spend the majority of my time in study clothes or in business casual clothing while at school. Nothing calls for anything too fancy or layered or stacked - it's about being practical and appropriate. So then sometimes when I could be a bit more "pulled together" I feel that I'm faking it. And so then I just default to plain. Why stand out when you can blend in?
  • Being too trendy. This may be a result of having a blog and reading a lot of blogs. I see the trends come and go, and generally don't really participate. Sneaker wedges, high-low hemlines, overalls - nope, no thank you, not since I was 4. Not practical for my life, and not something that I would feel comfortable in. I of course love some of them - statement necklaces always work, and I'm so tempted to get these Birks (because they just look so damn comfortable, and I'm German so it's allowed), but in general I don't want you to look at a picture of me in a year and be able to pinpoint what month it was taken in based on what is trendy that moment. 

Are you exhausted? Because I am.

On the one hand, it's very helpful to know what looks good on my body and what doesn't. I don't waste time trying on crop tops because I will never ever spend my money on one. Shopping time and shipping costs are kept to a minimum because I only try on things that fit within these rules. I only buy something if I know it looks good on me, is something I can wear multiple ways, and fits my general aesthetic and closet. I buy for my current lifestyle but also try to keep in mind that starting next year I'll be working with patients on a daily basis. I have a closet of clothes that I actually wear, time and time again, and that generally can be mix and matched.

But on the other hand, I'm certain I just wrote a pretty good case for body dysmorphia.

Showing ankles is the most flattering? Mmmmmmkay.

Knowing what works and what doesn't is good, but it's so constricting. I just feel that all of these "flattering" items I own and continue to buy also make it all a bit boring. There's no excitement, no new things I'm trying and making work for me and my shape. Having rigid rules limits me from trying so many fun things happening in fashion. While I do think that sometimes being my size and shape limits me in the sense that I can't just make every item work on me, I really need to just take a step back and just...have fun with it. It's not going to kill me if I own one cute graphic tee - I'm sure I'll wear it enough to make it worth the purchase, and if it adds a bit of something special to my closet, even just for a year, why the hell not? I will be the first person to endorse making responsible shopping decisions, but something has got to give.

I tried to step outside my rules a tiny bit when I purchased this tee this weekend - it still follows some of the "rules" (v-neck, longer short sleeves) but is different from what I own - it's looser, more casual...even the tiniest bit slouchy. Maybe that's how you start to break out - breaking one rule at a time. No need to jump in head-first, just get a toe wet.

Please tell me I'm not alone here. Do you have any rules you are refusing to break? How do you stay true to yourself but still branch out? Have you previously said you wouldn't ever wear something but now it's a staple in your closet?

Friday, July 18, 2014

staple on sale: nordstrom anniversary edition

I grew up in a state that doesn't have a Nordstrom, so the concept of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale was completely foreign to me until last summer when Bri explained the magic behind this time of the year - getting the upcoming season's newest pieces for end of the season prices. You know I'm all about getting a great deal on closet staple pieces, so there's no better time than now to buy a few key pieces for the fall (even though it's probably still 90+ degrees where you are!).

Below are a few of my favorite, budget friendly (most under $100...even though I wish I could justify this beauty) items that would get wear for many seasons to come. Three work/school appropriate tops in neutral colors that would go with everything, and a comfy cardigan for the weekends (or long study nights!). A few pairs of designer jeans for almost half of the price (I bought a pair of the Hudson skinny jeans last week and am in love - they are incredibly soft!). And while winter snow storms are (hopefully) another 4 months away, these beautiful coats make me want to bundle up early (especially that Olivia Pope look-alike!).

I'm in NYC for the weekend so I'm hoping to stop by at Nordstrom to try on a few things in person. I definitely see this cute top (worn tucked into skirts or casually with jeans) and this cognac bag (something I've looked for for months now) coming back with me on the train. I hope I can find this menswear-inspired jacket too (I hope the arms are long enough, it's something I always struggle with).
one | two | three | four

one | two | three | four
 one | two | three | four | five

one | two | three | four (love love love) | five
(P.S. Big thanks to Sarah Christine for helping me figure out links for this post!)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

best internet friends

Lindsay, Bri, and Katrina
Last year when I went to Seattle, one of my most favorite memories was going to dinner with some of the bloggers I admire most. Bri, Lindsay, Katrina, and Kimmie were all so welcoming and fun and energetic - I was so bummed that they all got to live together in Seattle while I was moving even further away! Bri made sure to organize another get together this year, this time with the very patient men in our lives in attendance as well. The boys spent time bonding over making fun of blogging and taking pictures of us, while the girls discussed blogging, shoes, careers, and med school. These girls all lead such interesting lives, and it was just so inspiring to hear about their jobs and lives. I am even more jealous now that they all get to hang out and do blogger events and go eat pie whenever their hearts' desire. It's that much more of a push to move here in three years ;)

So what does one wear when meeting up with a bunch of girls who blog about clothes? I received this stunner of a necklace a few weeks ago for the upcoming BaubleBar x Nordstrom collaboration, so I decided that there was no better time to debut it than a dinner with girls who really appreciate jewelry! When you first look at it, you may wonder how exactly to wear this giant necklace...and I'm here to tell you to wear it with everything - as a finishing piece for a striped dress, stacked with another jeweled necklace, or as the center piece with a simple jeans and blazer outfit. I love that blogging not only brings amazing women into my life, but it also sometimes makes me step outside of my comfort zone to discover pieces that will become staples in my closet. If this necklace is slightly too large for you, this smaller (slightly more discrete version) would be a good way to obtain a similar look!

my outfit:
Dress: Target [similar]
Necklace: c/o BaubleBar [exact]
Shoes: Banana Republic [exact]
Belt: Gap [exact on sale - finally a gold-clasped one!]

Lindsay's outfit here, Bri's here (2 people stopped her on the streets that day to ask her about her outfit), and Katrina's here. Thank you again for a wonderful evening ladies (and thank you to Lindsay for bringing along a real camera and letting us steal her photos!)