Wednesday, January 28, 2015

january budget

Banana Republic skirt: originally $100 + 40% off + $40 reward = $18
ASOS ring: $11
Loft Blouse: originally $60, on sale + 70% off = $16
Banana Republic Wool coat: originally $250, on sale + 40% off = $120
Not pictures: this necklace I purchased from Katrina = $20

January Budget: $185

Quarterly budget: $500 + $180 (sold on eBay) - $266 in November - $108 in December - $185 in January = $121 left over

Another quarterly budget done! In these three months, I've purchased 1 dress, 1 skirt, 4 tops, 1 pair of boots, 3 accessories, and 1 coat. I really like that I have a bit more flexibility with the budget month to month, so that if I come across a beautiful coat for more than 50% off, I can buy it because I didn't spend as much in a previous month.

So what did I get this month? Well, I've decided to keep the midi skirt - it's just too much fun, and as you can see, I got a really great deal by hoarding reward points. The blouse (which is still available and on sale) was something I had been eyeing for a while, and eventually purchased during a crazy 70% off sale. I think it'll be a great blouse for when clinical rotations start because it adds interest underneath the white coat without being inappropriate or in the way. The ring is something I added to an order to get free shipping, and as it turns out, I hated the sweater I actually ordered but loved the ring.

I've had some people ask about how I incorporate work out clothes into my budget, and the short answer is that I don't. I consider work out clothes under the same category as underwear and so on. I very rarely buy work out clothes (most of mine are free shirts from college haha), so I choose not to include them here because they aren't a part of my normal wardrobe. I did buy new tennis shoes (in bright pink!) and a pair of lululemon crops. I considered it a reward to myself for sticking to this new healthier lifestyle - I'm going to the gym about three times a week now, so a little extra motivation via cute clothes is nice. Now, if I decide to start hoarding work out clothes, I'll have to reconsider my budget approach, but for now this works for me.


For those of you who are new to my budget posts, I wanted to explain why I include my c/o items here. While I never set out to be a "budget" blogger, I do share where my money goes every month. I want to be completely transparent about what is going into my closet every month, so I tell you what I received for free from companies I work with. I was very lucky to receive a couple of beautiful pieces this month. I used some of my Shopbop credits to buy a BB Dakota cardigan, and Leah Lerner sent me this amazing leather tote.

So that was January. Looking ahead, I'm starting a new quarterly budget, which is always a nice fresh start. I don't have many plans yet. The only thing I'd really like to find is a pair of cognac wedges or heels. I wear cognac leather so often that it would be nice to give my ballet flats a rest. I'm thinking something along the lines of this style - fancy enough to dress up, but not uncomfortable.

I'd love to hear how your budgeting went this month! Add your link below, and as always, please link back to this post so your readers can discover other budgeting bloggers!



Monday, January 26, 2015

wearing a dress as a skirt

how to wear a dress as a skirt

One of the easiest ways to look dressed up is just wear a dress - you look nice with minimal effort! Part of the reason they are so easy to wear though is because they aren't very versatile - you can throw a cardigan or something over it, but it's pretty much a stand alone piece. I've been meaning to try the "dress as a skirt' thing for a while, and I'm so glad I did because it really felt like having a new piece in my closet, although it wasn't! So now that I've done the dress as a skirt, and a shirt as a scarf, what do I try to re-wear in a new way?

winter look
J.Crew Ikat Dress
Dress: J.Crew [similar below]
Sweater: J.Crew Factory [similar]
Tights: Target [exact - slimming but not constricting!]
Scarf: H&M [similar]
Boots: Vince Camuto [exact]
Watch: c/o Daniel Wellington [exact]
DSC07272

DSC07293 3 ways to wear a patterned dress
and a few similar options below (I love the first one!)


Sunday, January 25, 2015

top three [01.25.2015]

one | two | three

medicine
  • Alien hand syndrome is caused by a neurological problem that makes a person's hand to move without them realizing it. It is sometimes caused by a stroke or when the two hemispheres of the brain are separated (like to treat epilepsy). Here's a video about it (although this one is a bit cheesy).
  • How fashion made vaccinations oh so posh (found via Jessica's weekend guide, one of my favorite weekend reads!)
  • Graft versus host disease happens when a person gets a bone marrow transplant - basically, the donor's immune system (which is normally IN the bone marrow) takes over the recipient patient's non-existent immune system, and then starts attacking the recipient's body. It sounds absolutely horrific. 

spotted

  • If you've been looking for a Transport Tote dupe, this reversible one just came out. I waaaaaaaant the black/red version so bad. SO BAD.
  • Knowing I'm moving into a new place in 4 months has me all itchy to get house things. I'm 100% positive a gold foil pillow will be incorporated somehow. Does this (red) couch say "almost 30 and therefore an adult with real furniture" or "forever student with too much badger pride"? ;)
  • I wish this pretty pleated dress came in a different color so I could wear it to the wedding I'm going to in May (2 days after we take the boards. Open bar, ohhhhhh yeah).

on the internet

notable sales

on franish
  • on instagram: I finally replaced my old beat up tennis shoes with a bright pink pair. The old pair had gone through 2 seasons of marching band, half marathon training, and several years of gym wear. It was time!
  • on the blog: why you won't be seeing a capsule wardrobe in these parts
  • on twitter: procrastination selfies

personal
  • Tomorrow marks the end of heme-onc, and the start of endocrine. I actually really enjoyed this system! Blood and the immune system is something that always seems a bit abstract to me, and this really cleared a lot of confusion up. Endocrine should be a bit difficult, but I feel it's another system that is going to tie a lot of previous information together. 
  • My girlfriend Caitlin and I now have set times for going to the gym, and we've really been sticking to it! I went to the gym 4 of the last 8 days - we aren't going hardcore or anything, but 30 minutes of cardio + some weights gets us moving, lets us have some non-quiet non-study time together, and I kind of missed that sore feeling.
  • A happy belated birthday to my baby sister, Karoline! I remember the day you were born - it's crazy you are in college now! 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

reviews: banana republic midi skirt, target 3/4 sleeve dress, and more

I live in a smaller city that doesn't have many stores, so I do a lot of my shopping online. Here are some of the hits and misses from the last three weeks:
Target - 3/4 Sleeve V-Neck Dress - Xhilaration®
I talked about trying this dress from Target because I wanted to branch out a little bit from my very neutrals-leaning closet. I loved the idea of this pretty pink floral pattern on a black background - it keeps it from being too girly but still fairly versatile since you can wear it during several seasons (think cognac leathers in the spring, or black tights and leathers in the winter). I also liked the idea of the long sleeves, and the faux-wrap style. Unfortunately, it was just too short and baggy on me. I ordered it in a large, and to make it fit properly I would need a medium. It's already way too short though, so sizing down isn't an option. I also ordered the black/white pattern in case it was a great fitting dress, but obviously both went back and I didn't even bother trying it on. If you are shorter than I am, this may work for you but I suggest sizing down.
Open Layering Cardigan Sweater - Merona, Long Sleeve Open Cardigan - Mossimo Supply Co.
Since I was putting a Target order in anyway, I figured I would try out a couple of longer cardigans. I love these kinds of cardigans for studying because it's so easy to just throw them over my favorite tees and skinny jeans and look pulled together but still super comfortable. I didn't really like either of these. The one on the left is too flimsy and just felt cheap (and kind of unflattering on me), while the one on the right is too bulky, too short, and again not very flattering. No harm done, since Target is one of the few large stores we have here, so I was able to return all 4 items in store.
BB Dakota Davy Marled Cardigan
On the other hand, this cardigan I picked up from Shopbop is perfect. I'm completely obsessed - I've been wearing it nonstop (as seen here and here on instagram). It's so so soft, I think it's super flattering, and it's so warm. I've only worn it casually, but I'm going to try it with a button up soon. Can't recommend it enough. It's currently on sale at Shopbop, but there are only a few sizes left (they keep popping in and out) so if you are interested, I would order soon. Don't forget that if you have Amazon Prime, you also get free 2 day shipping. *

STRIPE OVERSIZED SHIRT, Ann Taylor STRIPE OVERSIZED SHIRT
Ann Taylor had a pretty great sale on top of sale going the other week (today's sale includes 60% off sale dresses and skirts, if you are interested), so I ordered this top along with a pair of pants that ended up being way way to big on me. I initially ordered this shirt because I thought it would be a great way to play with proportions a bit - I figured it could be cute with black pants and boots....but that is really the only way I can really think of wearing it. I just think it would look a bit strange with normal black dress pants, and it's too long to tuck in. The material is also a bit too stiff I think, so it's not really a shirt I would wear with skinny jeans on the weekend. So, nice shirt, but just not something I would wear a lot. If it is something that would work for you though, it's currently on sale for $60 + 40% off (no code needed).

Madewell back-zip pullover sweater
I've had my eye on this back zip-up sweater for months, so when it finally went on sale I ordered it in the cream (because the maroon was sold out - that's what I get for waiting!). I really liked the concept of the sweater - you can wear it completely normal, unzip it half way, or all the way, however you want it to fit. I really loved the off-white/cream color this came in, and while it's really soft, it's another item I found too short on me. If the whole thing was like 2 inches longer all the way around, it would have been perfect! It is currently on sale (in black or teal), so if you're shorter than I am, it would be worth giving it a shot!
Banana Republic Black Midi Skirt

Now this last one is one I need your opinion on. I ordered this midi skirt this weekend when BR was running a 40% off sale (they still are actually!). I've wanted to make a midi skirt work on me for over a year now - I just think they are just so pretty and fun (and clearly versatile, if you read Sarah's post!). I really like that this one isn't too puffy, has a really nice thick fabric, and will probably hold up very well. What I'm debating on is if I really like it on me. My "problem" is that I have a relatively small waist, but then really high hip bones with some extra padding , so I basically have like a hip/fat shelf (no laughing!). So all A-line things kind of stick out further than they should? Does that make sense? Maybe I'm just being hypercritical of myself (very likely!). I'd love to hear your opinion on the skirt though - think it works? Send it back? Any opinions are appreciated :)

* Please note that I receive a monthly stipend from Shopbop, but all my opinions are my own. I really love this cardigan, and would very willingly spend my own money to buy it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

why I won't do a capsule collection

keep it neutral with a pop of color In the past year or so, a huge trend in blogging has been doing a capsule collection. For those of you who don't know what that means, you basically take a certain number of clothes (that you either already own or buy), and you wear that, and only that, for a certain amount of time. It's meant to teach you to buy less, live with less, and be more creative with what you already own. Awesome goals and in theory, totally makes sense.

I've had several people ask and email about why I haven't done a capsule collection, and my answer is...I don't want to? 

The long answer is this: I'm already limited in what I can wear every day. What I can wear now in school under a dress code, and starting in June when I'm on rotations, is restricted to business casual. I already don't wear a section of my closet, clothes I purchased and loved, because they aren't professional. That means when I do finally get to wear them, like when I go out with my friends or on a date with my boyfriend, I'm super excited to wear my lower cut tops, skinny jeans, or dresses I can't wear to school. So for me to restrict myself even more doesn't really make sense or really serve a purpose.

I think that's also why you don't see a lot of women who have clothing restrictions at work do capsule collections on blogs. It's already hard enough to be creative while being restrictive to work pants and pencil skirts, so cutting out a large part of the clothes you are already limited to... it's like triple as restrictive. It just isn't as easy (or frankly, interesting) as if you could just wear your jeans and sweaters and t-shirts and mix and match to make them work. Not to say it can't be done! Adina does it for her job, and MK does capsule/suitcase collections for business casual all the time. 

The thing is though, that the fundamental reason for a capsule collection is something that is really appealing. I'm clearly not a minimalist, and the urge to shop is something I have to fight with every day. But since I started blogging, I've been really working on defining my style, only buying things I love, buying less, and re-wearing what I own. It's fun to see the difference 2 years makes - look at this past month's budget compared to 2 years ago. The pieces I bought are cohesive, they make sense for my closet, and they are things I'll wear for years because they are timeless. Sure, it's not a 30x30 that makes me re-evaluate everything in 30 days, or a 37 piece capsule collection that I go on a shopping spree for beforehand, but it's like a real life learning experience about knowing yourself. Could I buy less? Absolutely. But I do think I'm a smarter shopper and lover of clothes than I was 2 years ago. Not as quick of a fix, but it worked for me. 

In addition, I'm already wearing certain things over and over and over again. I wear the same black pants, maroon scarf, tan cardigan, striped shirt, black boots ALL THE TIME. To the point where I look at recent posts and say "shit, I've posted that same maroon scarf 4 out of 6 times...yikes". So I'm already rewearing a lot of things I own, but because I love them, not because I don't have a choice otherwise. 

So in closing, I will not being doing a capsule collection now, or probably any time in the future (but never say never!). What I am doing is trying to build a working wardrobe, both by buying new versatile pieces, and by sorting through the things I already own. That is actually a huge thing for me right now because I'm moving at the end of May, and moving in with my boyfriend. I only want to bring things into our home that I love and need, and that's my own personal idea of minimalism / capsules / and loving what you already own.

how to wear a blanket scarf
Dress: Target [very similar]
Coat: Banana Republic [similar]
Scarf: Target [exact in stores | similar online]
Tights: Target [exact]*
Boots: Vince Camuto [exact]
Watch: c/o Shopbop [similar styles]
Purse: Kate Spade [similar]

* I suggest sizing down - these are in small! But so so warm :)
DSC07069
DSC07025

Monday, January 19, 2015

is it okay to wear black and brown together?

mixing black and brown leathers I used to be fiercely against wearing black and brown together, especially when it came to leathers. I think I read that rule somewhere in a fashion magazine when I was in my early teens, and I took it as the gospel. You know, along with other silly rules like no white after labor day and vertical stripes are the most flattering stripes.

Clearly, I no longer abide by the black and brown rule when it comes to clothing, but I still get a little weird about it when it comes to leather. I don't think I could ever wear a brown belt with black shoes!  Or maybe even a black watch band with tan shoes. Is that silly? 

Who knows, here I am, breaking all my own rules with a cognac tote and black boots. It doesn't feel as wrong, for some reason!
Loft STRIPED LAYERING TEE
DSC06886
(horizonal, for shame!) striped tee: Loft [exact on sale]
Cardigan: J.Crew Factory [same style]
Pants: Gap [similar]
Scarf: H&M [similar]
Boots: Vince Camuto [exact]
Tote: Madewell [save | exact]
Watch: c/o Daniel Wellington [exact]
Daniel Wellington Classic Sheffield
Madewell Transport Tote

besides these deep philosophical style conversations, here are a few current MLK Day sales: 



Sunday, January 18, 2015

top three [1.18.2015]

one of my favorite closet items: one | two | three

medicine
  • It's never lupus! When people first starting noticing what we now know as lupus, they though it was caused by the bite of a wolf because the rash that is characteristic apparently looks like a bite mark (lupus is wolf in latin). I personally feel you would remember getting bit by a wolf...
  • Chimney sweeps in the 18th century used to work naked so they wouldn't get their clothes dirty. Many young chimney sweeps ended up developing squamous cell carcinoma of the scrotal skin from the soot that would lodge in the scrotum - this was one of the first cases documented of an occupational carcinogen. 
  • There are several viruses (like rubella and cytomegalovirus)  that can cause babies to come out looking like blueberry muffins - so much so that they are know as blueberry muffin babies. 
  • (P.S. Remember how last Sunday I talked about the guy who invented cleanliness standards? On Monday, NPR ran a whole story on him! Definitely worth a quick 7 minute listen. Thank you Mia for letting me know on facebook!)

spotted

on the internet
  • I'm so happy Alissa is back to blogging - we could all learn a few things from her.
  • Would you travel for 2 weeks with only a backpack? I'm tempted to find out the next time I go on a trip! Now to find some of those packing cubes...
  • So proud of Miss Grace for launching her new site, The Stripe. Can't wait to see all the great things you have planned, Grace! 

notable sales

on franish

personal
  • I've been playing the comparison game a lot lately - that person did better on that test than I did even though I studied more, that person seems to have everything going right in their personal life, look how cute that persons baby is, look at that person's new house even though they are only 22 - and reading Laura's recent post really has made me try to put a halt to it (even though her life is definitely one I compare myself to!).  I can only do the best I can do. So if I didn't do that well on a test, maybe this is a chance to try something new when it comes to studying because what I thought was working isn't anymore. Sure, people my age are on to their second child and brand new home, but I chose medicine and chose this life, and so for me, those things are going to have to wait a bit longer. I really need to work on that in all aspects of my life, from school to my personal life to blogging. 
  • Yesterday we spent 7 hours learning how to do "sensitive patient exams" aka the female pelvic exam and male genitalia exam. While getting up at 6:30 on Saturday morning to learn how to touch naked people isn't at the top of my list of favorite things, it was a really great experience! It also made me realize that in just a few short months, I'll be in a real hospital/clinic working with patients. That's crazy. 
  • With everything going on between school and board studying, I rarely see my girlfriends anymore except when we are sitting next to each other for hours at the library. Thursday night after our first heme-onc exam, we all went out for dinner and a drink and it was exactly what we all needed. I don't know what I'm going to do without them starting in June :(