Friday, October 31, 2014

budget shopping with nokia

DSC04813 If you follow along on Instagram and Twitter, you've probably seen a few posts that have including using a Nokia Lumia phone. Nokia reached out a few weeks ago asking if I'd like to test out one of their phones, and see how it helps a blogger shop on a budget. In my phone-owning life time, I've gone from using a brick Nokia to having a RAZR (and yes, I thought I was super cool) to a Blackberry to an Android to now using an iPhone, so it was fun to see how much Nokias have changed since my first phone. Unfortunately this one doesn't have Snake on it (still probably the best phone game of all time), but it's been so much fun to play around with it. The tile formatting is super fun (and really customizable which is awesome!), and I really like how big and light weight it is. CR has referred to it as my "business phone" for the past few weeks since I do a lot of blogging background work on it, from taking pictures to answering emails to using certain apps to order clothes. 

As a part of the partnership, I was given a $200 giftcard to create a look on a budget, something you guys know I'm all about. I set off a few days ago to explore the new H&M and Forever 21 our mall recently opened. I haven't been in an H&M in a really long time, but I was pleasantly surprised - you can find some really great pieces there! Although I tried on a ton of different sweaters, I ended up walking away with this grey coat. I don't really have a heavier fall coat that isn't a winter coat (you know, for those 30-45 degree days we have for the next month until it freezes over for the following 5 months), so I was really excited to find it. It's thick while not being puffy, the sleeves are long enough on me, and the color is a great neutral that goes with everything. I also picked up a set of rings for under $6 - because while I love my real metal jewelry, sometimes it's fun just to play with a few different styles! 

I then stopped at Forever 21, which I've really distanced myself from in recent years just because the clothes never look good on me (although I'm so jealous of everyone who can wear their clothes beautifully because you can get some really great stuff there!). What I do love about them is their accessories though, so I ended up buying a really pretty cream and black stripped scarf. While I was there, I noticed that they have a verrrry similar plaid scarf to the Zara scarf from last year if you missed out on that and the Target version (and it's the cheapest option of all three! Is it bad that I want that one too?). 

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Tee: Loft c/o Nokia [exact]
Coat: H&M c/o Nokia [exact]
Rings: H&M c/o Nokia [similar]
Pants: Gap 
Shoes: Tory Burch [exact]
Scarf: H&M
Earrings: eBay [exact]
Watch: Michael Kors [exact]
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Disclosure: Nokia lent me a Nokia Lumia to test out, and gave me a $200 gift card to create a budget-friendly look. I was not paid for my opinions because they are not for sale :) 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

trench[coat] fever

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Like every good blogger, fall is my favorite season. The leaves are pretty, the drinks are spicy, and scarves are always appropriate. The best part is that I can finally wear my coats, but still get away with bare legs. I bought my trench coat last year for my birthday, and it's something I will continue to be excited to wear, even for just a few weeks this fall before the forever winter (or so it seems sometimes!) sets in.

Mine was a once in a life time kind of a deal (Nordstrom only had this style left in my size, so it was reduced by 50%!), but below are six every day kind of deal coats that are similar in style but much more affordable in price (all are under $100 - my favorite is the first one!)

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Tee: Loft c/o Nokia [exact]
Skirt: J.Crew [exact on sale - use code STYLETREAT]
Scarf: gift from my friend Alexa
Shoes: J.Crew Factory [exact on sale]
Watch: Michael Kors c/o Shopbop [similar]
Trench: Burberry [similar]
Bag: Coach [similar styles]
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

october budget

J.Crew Pencil Skirt: on sale for $66 [it's still on sale!]
J.Crew Blouse: on sale for $28 [also still on sale]
Tory Burch Reva Flats: birthday present to myself :)

October total: $110
Quarter budget: $155 in August + $189 in September + $110 in October = $454

With a busy past few months of school, I felt like I wasn't as meticulous about keeping up with my exact budget. I usually know at the top of my head how much I am working with, but that wasn't the case, at least not during our cardiology block! All month I thought I was wayyyyy over budget, when it turns out that I'm actually under, leaving me almost $50 under my quarterly budget. A big part of that of course has to do with buying myself a pair of shoes that aren't a part of my budget (I put $20 away every month and buy myself something for my birthday each year). I did decide that I am going to return the grey pants from the Limited - I love the look of the shape of them, but I think I can find a pair where the wrinkling/pulling isn't as apparent. I did order this pair from Express to try on as well, but the fabric was a bit too shiny for my taste, so they are going back too,

That leaves me with three items I'm really excited about. I finally have a black pencil skirt - it fits me well in the thighs but is about 2 inches too big in the waist, so I'm going to take it to a tailor (except mine just moved away so now I have to find a new one. booooo) so I have that perfect black skirt. The crinkle boy shirt was a lucky find on a sales rack while we were in Pittsburgh, and combined with an in-store student discount, it made it even cheaper. And of course, that Target scarf may as well be permanently stapled to my neck because I wear it that often. 

Looking ahead, I would really like to find a pair of grey pants, so I may just periodically order a few different ones when good sales come up. Speaking of good sales, like I mentioned yesterday, I did put in a small order which includes this moto jacket through LOFT during a flash sale, but since they haven't arrived yet (and I therefore haven't decided if I'm keeping them), they will be included in next month's post. I also have a fun few posts coming up that will include adding a pair of Paige denim to my closet, although I haven't decided if I'm going to go for the traditional dark wash, or something a bit more fun like these green skinnies.


I feel very grateful for the few amazing pieces that came my way this month. I received these SOREL boots (see the full post here), this beautiful necklace that goes along with a great cause, a rose-gold MK watch from Shopbop, and the perfect date night top from Kris and Kate.

So that rounds up another quarter of budgeting for me. I'd love to hear about how you did with sticking to your budget! Add your link below, and as always, please make sure you link back to this post so your readers can read and discover other budget posts!

Monday, October 27, 2014

steel city

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I'm thankful that our schedule now is a little more relaxed than it was a few weeks ago, because it gives us all a chance to leave.

It's not that I dislike where I currently live, I just know there's places that are more fun to visit...which is why all of us jump at any chance to get out of here, even for just a day or so. A few weeks ago we were down in Pittsburg, while this past weekend we drove up north to visit CR's family and college friends. It's nice to be in a place where they actually mix drinks in front of you, have new places to visit and see, and maybe even have a few original restaurants ;)
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Jacket: bought in Germany [inexpensive similar]
Sweater: Everlane
Tee: JcPenneys 
Jeans: Madewell [exact]
Scarf: Target [exact]
Purse: Coach via Etsy [current style]
Shoes: Sperry [exact]
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via instagram
P.S. LOFT is having a 60% off sale until 10 AM today (use code FLASH). I picked up this beautiful moto sweater recommended by Jean, as well as this waterfall sweater (in grey!)

Friday, October 24, 2014

bop it

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twist it.

return it.

During Shopbop's Friends and Family sale last week, I used store credit to purchase a rose gold Michael Kors watch, and a soft cream sweater from Madewell. Thanks to their 2-day Amazon Prime shipping, they showed up super quick! I've been wearing the watch non-stop - I love that it's so different from the rest of my watch collection with it's coloring and rectangular face. Unfortunately, the sweater just isn't working on me. It's a slightly boxy fit, and even though it's a longer fit as well, it just leaves me looking overly...fluffy. Without any arm, waist, or shoulder definition, I just kind of look larger than I am. Fortunately Shopbop also offers free returns (within 15 days), so it isn't going to cost anything to send it back. Unfortunately, now their sale is over! dang it.

So now what? Well like I mentioned in my initial post about my partnership with Shopbop, I really want to use this opportunity to add just a few amazing, but also long-lasting, pieces to my closet. A few things that I would LOVE to own include a Vince sweater (that cream shawl cardigan or brick texture cardigan are beautiful!) but I just don't think I can pull the trigger on them, I'm just not at the point in my life where I feel comfortable wearing something so...nice? expensive? I'm not sure, but I know I would never truly enjoy it just because I would worry about spilling something on it or snagging the fabric. Something from Velvet or Three Dots is still pricey, but more on the realistic side of owning for me - I think that contrast open cardigan is just so pretty, and probably super comfortable to wear (and easy to dress up or down!).

If not a sweater, I'm still eyeing the jeans department. I wear jeans almost every day after getting home from school, so adding a soft and stretchy pair to the rotation would be great. I really love the look of the 7 For All Mankind jeans - they don't get too weird with styles, and the colors look really rich and dark.

I still have a few weeks to decide what I'd like to add to my closet, so for now I'm going to just continue to enjoy the watch - she's just so fun! Did you end up ordering anything during the sale, and thereby scoring something great for an even better price?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

on dress codes

grey slacks + mustard I recently was asked by an online medical magazine on my thoughts on having a dress code in school, and it made me really think about the fact that I'm required to be professionally dressed to sit in lecture with zero patient contact. On the one hand, sometimes I hate it - mostly on test days, or days where I'm only in the school building for 50 minutes. It's annoying to have to change out of yoga pants to go take an exam, or to change just to sit in one lecture for the day.

On the other hand, I think having a dress code has been a great learning experience for myself, and many of my classmates. Before I started school, I didn't really have much "professional" clothing. I had "nice" clothing, but nothing that would be considered appropriate to wear to a hospital. The nice thing about these two years of pre-clinical schooling is that it gives you time to build up that wardrobe. I still currently get away with less professional clothing because it "follows the rules" but I won't be able to wear some of the outfits I do now starting next June.

I've been very aware of that fact, so I've been trying to keep my monthly purchases more on the conservative side. I ordered this pencil skirt a few days ago during a 30% off sale (in black) so I'm patiently waiting for it to arrive - I don't know how I've managed to go over a year without actually owning a black pencil skirt! My friend Serine also wore the cutest outfit the other week with grey slacks, and it made me keenly aware that not only do I only own one pair of truly hospital appropriate pants (I'm told ankle pants are still a bit iffy), but that I don't even have any grey bottoms. I went on a bit of a internet hunt for grey slacks, and there are surprisingly few options out there. I couldn't find any I liked from Ann Taylor, Banana, J.Crew, or Loft. I did end up ordering this pair from The Limited (along with two other pairs that didn't work out at all) but I'm still on the fence about them. I really like the color, but I feel the fabric is a bit too thin so it looks wrinkly (even though I ironed them) and shows any signs of pulling (which I feel comes with any pair of pants, but is more apparent with this fabric). I was told by a Limited employee that you can return pants to them even if you removed the tags and washed them, so I think I'm going to give them another shot (and maybe it's just these pictures, because I didn't feel like this when I just wore them) and if I'm still on the fence, I'll continue the search.
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mustard and gray
Sweater: Banana Republic Outlet
Pants: The Limited [exact]
Scarf: gift from my girl Lizzi :)
Belt: Gap [very similar]
Shoes: J.Crew Factory [exact]
Watch: Michael Kors [target save || exact]
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Monday, October 20, 2014

on trend: target boots

Nothing says fall like a great pair of boots, and Target has really stepped in up this season. Here are some of my top picks for riding boots, wedges, and rain boots:
one || two || three || four
I think riding boots are the best thing about fall (besides cider, apple picking, and warm scarves) Some, including this pair, are genuine leather (and also look exactly like a looottttt more expensive pair). My personal favorite is this pair, with the pretty quilting in the back - the calf circumference is 15 inches, so I'm so tempted to order them to try out.
five || six || seven || eight
I've been on the fence on trying booties for years, but I really feel I just need to go for it and buy a pair. I think the first pair are super cute, and would look great with jeans, while the last pair would be perfect with tights and a skirt during lighter snow days. If you're a bit edgier, this pair looks so much more expensive than they are!

nine || ten || eleven || twelve
I love my rainboots for both the rainy weather, and the snowy weather when it isn't too cold yet. Target currently has so many cute boots! The first pair have a fun quilted pattern, while the second pair come in a bunch of cute colors (go for the red! See them on Katie here) and look just like Hunters. If you have slightly wider calves, the third pair would be perfect for you. If you're looking for boots for the deep winter, these look very similar to duck boots - the lining looks so comfy and warm.

Thank you to ShopStyle for sponsoring this post. You guys know how much I love Target, so as always, all opinions are my own.