Tuesday, December 31, 2013

december budget

J.Crew Crinkle Boy Shirt: originally $90, on sale for $50
Loft Brush Stroke Dress: originally $90, on sale for $45
Loft Tailor Striped Blouse (seen here): originally $55, on sale for $30
Banana Republic Bella Dream Tee: originally $40, on sale for $25

December Budget: $150

Quarterly Budget: $590 - $195 in November - $150 in December = $245 for January

With the end of school looming over most of December (the entire subjects of medical microbiology and immunology had to be learned in three short weeks!), and being at home or at the library in comfy clothes most of the time, buying new clothes wasn't something I was really thinking about. One look at this month's purchases shoes that I have a bit of a black and white problem! I picked up the two Loft pieces on Cyber Monday and am so happy with both of them. I haven't had a chance to wear the dress yet but I can see it being a great piece in both winter and then transitioning into spring. I really wish they made the striped shirt in more colors as I like it and wear it that often. The Banana Republic tee was something I saw when I went to return a sweater I had ordered online. It's incredibly soft, long enough on my arms and torso, and has a low enough neckline to be flattering (I find boat necks aren't really that great on chesty girls, and most striped shirts seem to be boat necks!). I hope it goes on sale soon so I can pick it up in blue as well!

The J.Crew gingham shirt is something I've been thinking about for a long time. I was at the mall in Madison last week, and really liked this shirt. Buffalo plaid/red check has been all over the place, and with a 30% off promotion going on in stores, I was like "hell, let's just do it" but as soon as I walked out of the store, I felt uneasy about my purchase. My feelings were justified when I got home and didn't really know exactly how I wanted to wear it. The colors are red and dark blue, which in my crazy head makes it not really something I want to pair with black bottoms (the majority of what I wear to school). In addition, I've been trying to narrow down my style and how I want to dress, and red and blue buffalo plaid is just not something that will be that versatile in my closet. If I'm going to spend that much money on a shirt, it was going to be on something I really would wear a lot. It was definitely one of those purchases that wasn't well thought out, so I'm glad I was in a position where I could still return it. The next day, I received a promotional email announcing 40% off final sale items online. I found the black gingham shirt on the regular page, but marked down $10 off the original price. I've wanted a black gingham shirt for years, but never found one I liked - this one was it. Same cut as the buffalo plaid, but in a pattern that is more versatile for my closet. Even though it said that the 40% off was only for final sale items, I tried it on the recently marked down shirt, and it worked! So now the black gingham is on its way to me, and the buffalo plaid is on the way back to the store. It was all definitely a learning experience about not making impulse purchases and what I want to have end up in my closet.

As I look back on my purchases over the last year, I'm happy about where I am at when it comes to the clothes in my closet, what I'd still like to own, and my feelings when it comes to shopping. Buying something new is fun, and getting it for less than what the store would like you to pay for it is exciting, but I find that I don't have that need for new things all the time. Part of it is that I just don't have the time - school is very consuming, and the few hours I get to not be in school are spent doing fun things with my friends, not wandering around the mall by myself looking for something to buy. The other part is that I like all of the clothes in my closet now, and I don't have those "I have nothing to wear!" moments as often anymore. Sometimes I feel guilty because I've been spending "more" on individual pieces, but I would rather buy one shirt that will be worn many times, instead of 3 that I'll wear twice each. As the new year starts, I want to continue this method of buying and rounding out my closet, and maybe cut down on the budget a little bit to tuck some money away for summer activities.

This month, I also received a few pieces from sponsors. I've wanted a monogram necklace for so long, and was lucky enough to receive one from oNecklace. Back in September, I won a contest from OnlineShoes.com, and received a $500 gift certificate. I've been trying several different boots, but none have worked out so far. I did order these black flats, and have been wearing them nonstop since they arrived. They're the perfect simple black flat!

Did you stick to your budget this month? Was Santa extra nice this holiday season? I'd love for you to link up with other budgeting bloggers below! Please make sure you link back to this post so that your readers can discover other budget-conscious bloggers!

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013: a review

I'm kind of a nostalgic sap, so looking back at this past year puts my heart all over the place.

2013 was quite the year - probably the biggest I've had in a long time. I was accepted to medical school, quit my job, enjoyed funemployement, moved hundreds of miles away, started medical school, ended a half a decade relationship, and finished my first semester of school. I found a great great great group of friends who have been a blessing - I don't think I would be anywhere as happy as I am if it weren't for them. I love my living situation, and having such an amazing roommate. My dogs are happier, my calendar is busier, and my heart is fuller.

In a blogging year, I've finished a whole year of budgeting. I worked on defining my wardrobe. I took one, and then passed it on! I showed how to wear five things five ways for five days. My budget changed to reflect living off student loans while still needing to be dress code appropriate. I hit over one million pageviews since starting this thing. Blogging friends became real life friends. I had to learn to adjust my time towards blogging as school picked up - I'm still working on that :/

Overall, a wonderful year! Here's a little look back over the year, with similar topics to last year's review. Thank you for everything! I'm so glad that we "met" over the internet (and in some cases, in real life!) and how supportive you've all been. Here's to 2014!

Favorite Outfits:
one | two | three | four five
2013 was a year of figuring out what I like and don't like. I gravitate towards layers, heaps of scarves, and more basic colors. I generally stick to two similar silhouettes - slimmer pants with layers on top, or skirts with shirts tucked in. My accessories tend to be matchy matchy but I like that, and it's easy! I like simple patterns - stripes will always be number one, followed closely by polka dots.

Least Favorite Outfits:

Along with figuring out what you like comes with the price of figuring out what you don't. I tried to take a few "risks" for my closet, but it turns out that I should stick with the color palettes and proportions I know and like. Neon and 80's geometric prints are great for some, but not for me. Now I know!

Favorite Purchases:
I've really tried to curb my spending from where I was a few years ago, and really am proud of how far I've come when it comes to making purchases for my life and bank account. Having a budget, and sticking to it, means I buy less, but what I buy I really do like. I try to think more about what I need for my current life, and what I still want around in five years. These ponte pants are a staple for me - I wear mine so so much that I will be buying a second pair during the next great sale. My birthday present to myself, a classic Burberry trench coat (at 50% off retail price), will be one of those lifetime pieces, truly. The tax refund purchase, a pair of Hunter boots that fit just right, was one of the more practical purchases of the year - I wear them every single day!

Biggest Regret Purchases:

This goes right along with my least favorite outfits. The Madewell sweater was something that I was initially excited about, but once I wore it the one way I thought about, I just didn't know what to do with it anymore. The pastels and pattern are just not "me", which is why I sold the sweater during the big closet clean out. The neon shirt, while inexpensive, was a purchase inspired more by other bloggers than what I wanted for myself. Makes for a good lounging tee though!

Most Pageviews:

Same as last year, a post about how to layer more efficiently took number one, mostly thanks to Pinterest. A few reviews, including these unflattering pants and my favorite t-shirt, made it to the top by google searches. I posted about wanting a herringbone vest, and due to the overwhelming popularity of that item, it also made it to the top thanks to Google.

Favorite Discussions:

Investment Pieces - made up words to convince ourselves to spend more on certain items?
What's "Blog Worthy" - are we trapping ourselves in by only showing the best of the best?
Who knows about your blog? - what happens when your classmates/co-workers find out?
The Business of Blogging - where does the money come from, and where does it go?
The Perfection Pressure - do you feel the pressure from blogging to always be "picture perfect"?

Thank you again for all of your support! Hope you all have a safe (and awesome!) New Years :)

Monday, December 23, 2013

easy "curly" hair for the straight-haired girl + pantene giveayway

So if you, like me, have fairly straight and lifeless hair, but would like to maybe have a bit more volume, here are a few quick and easy ways to get there. I use this method during the school year a lot since I can just quickly shower at 2 AM and have my hair almost ready to go in the morning with minimal effort, but for the holidays I would add a bit more volume and maybe some sparkle!

Step 1: Shower and wash your hair at night. Before your hair air dries, use some mousse (I used Pantene's Triple Action Mousse) and serum (Pantene's Smooth with Argan Oil Shine Serium) for shine and hold. Then french braid your hair, and sleep!

Step 2: In the morning, use the time you would have usually spent washing and blow drying your hair to sleep a bit longer...or to give yourself a manicure, as I should have. Take the braid out and loosely comb out your hair with your fingers. No brushes allowed!

Step 3: Clip up half of your hair, and curl the bottom half. I use a wand-less iron, and just grab at random pieces. The whole point of the french braid was to provide some texture, so if you miss a piece here or there, it won't be as noticeable as if you started with straight hair.

Step 4: Then curl the top half - I usually hold on to the curl for a few seconds to let it cool down.

Step 5: Make sure all your "hard work" doesn't go to waste - I used Pantene's Extra Strong Hold Hairspray. Wait a few seconds, then comb your fingers through your hair to loosen up the curls.

Step 6: Tease to Jesus. Just kidding - don't go overboard, but do tease a little more than you think you need to since some of it will fall with time.

Step 7: Pin! Or don't. I like my hair pinned back most days so I just take a little poof and use my favorite bobby pins to make it stay back. 

Step 8: Spray some more! I used Pantene's Keratin Repair KeraGloss Oil Mist to add a little shine and a lot of good smell (seriously, it smells so good) to finish it off. 

And that's it. Easy, festive if needed, and just an easy hairstyle for every day if you want it to be. Pantene has been so generous and is offering to give away the same products I received including:
  • Pantene Advanced+ Keratin Repair KeraGloss Oil Mist
  • Pantene Smooth with Argan Oil Shine Serum
  • Pantene Daily Moisture Renewal Silky Moisture Whip
  • Pantene Stylers Extra Strong Shaping Hairspray
  • Pantene Root Lifter Spray Gel
  • Pantene Volume Triple Action Volume Mousse 
  • Pantene Pro-V Heat Shield Shampoo
  • Pantene Pro-V Heat Shield Conditioner
Just enter the Rafflecopter below - the winner will be chosen on Thursday and contacted by email. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

home for the holidays

I'm finally home! The semester wrapped up on Thursday, and I spent Friday getting some of my life in order (okay, mostly just cleaning and Christmas shopping), and then headed back to Wisconsin on Saturday. I have heaps of thoughts on going through and finishing my first semester of medical school, but that's for a future post!

For now, I'm just glad to be home, have someone else make my meals, celebrate Christmas with my family, and then fly down to Alabama for a few days on the beach. I'm already missing my friends back at school terribly but I'm trying to appreciate the short amount of time my family and I have together.
Speaking of holidays, when I was asked by Pantene to talk about holiday hair, I was unsure what exactly to show you guys. My hair is pretty lifeless on it's own, and I tend to just go with straight hair pinned half back most days. I've been using Pantene products for years and years, so I was excited to test drive a few more of their new products. Since I received a whole box full of Pantene products (including their Triple Action Volume Mousse, Extra Strong Shaping Hairspray, and their KeraGloss Repair Mist, which I'm really excited about), I decided that I'd show you how I make my straight hair have a little life twisted into it. It's super simple, takes only a few key products, and will hopefully save you time in the morning!

Today is all about just spending time playing in the snow with my puppies, but tomorrow I'll have a little post about what products I used and how you can win a box for yourself!
Vest: Gap [LOVE this plaid version]
Cardigan: J.Crew, thrifted
Scarf: H&M
Pants: Gap [exact]
Boots: Hunter [exact]

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

mismatched metals

This shirt is the shirt I bought during Loft's 50% off Cyber Monday sale last week. Although it is all tucked in weird and the sleeves are at different lengths in this picture, I really really like it. It's loose enough to be comfortable while fitted enough to not lose shape under. It is slightly sheer, but not enough that you can really see through it. I wish they made it in different colors as it's something that I would definitely buy in multiple colors, something I tend not to do. 

In other news, my flats have had just about enough. They are slowly dying on me, which is somewhat disappointing but also expected as I do wear them every.single.day. They aren't so bad when I wear them with non-black bottoms, but they look awfully beat up in these pictures. I finally broke down and ordered these flats. I wanted something that was about as plain as you could get because having accents on shoes makes it difficult for me to mix metals sometimes. I get all weird about mixing metals and leathers...except in this outfit where I apparently threw all caution to the wind and mixed all the things. 

In other other news, my first semester of medical school will officially be over in 9 days. Until then I have 2 giant micro/immunology exams, another large written final, and two practicals. Please send positive thoughts, five hour energies, and the will to live my way.

Blouse: Loft [exact]
Skirt: thrifted
Belt: The Limited [similar]
Watch: c/o Daniel Wellington [exact]
Bracelet: c/o Apple of My Eye [exact]
Ring: Gorjana Griffin [exact]

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

monogram it all

A few months ago, I was looking through Instagram and commented on Steph's picture complimenting her scarf. When she contacted me a few weeks later asking me what my favorite color was, I didn't really make any sort of connection...until she sent me this beautiful scarf in the mail. It was such a great surprise during a stressful time, and such a sweet thing of her to do. I wear this scarf almost every single day now. It's probably best I haven't been taking as many pictures lately as you guys would be like SHOW US A NEW SCARF, WE'RE BORED. But I really do love it that much, and am so grateful that I have such a great group of blogging friends :)

Scarf: gift from Steph
Chambray: Old Navy [current version]
Sweater: Gap 
Pants: Gap [exact]
Shoes: Old Navy [similar]
Necklace: c/o oNecklace [exact]

On a side note, I received this monogram necklace from oNecklace and am so excited about it. The necklace was made and delivered quickly, and is made of a delicate sterling silver. If you are interested, you can receive 10% off your next order with the code GIFT. It would make for an awesome Christmas present for that monogram-obsessed sister/mother/friend!

Monday, December 2, 2013

cyber monday: buy all the things!

Cyber Monday is happening alllllllllll over the internet right now. You know me and sales! I rarely, if ever, buy anything without using some kind of coupon code first. While there are so many different sales going on, here are a few of the ones I have my eye on.

I have admired this simple jewelry for so long - I think I initially found it on Pinterest and have always kept an eye on it. I think the "meh" ring would be the perfect pick me-up for exam days (just to truly describe how I feel about 8 AM Monday exams).

I tend to do a lot of window shopping at Loft, but don't tend to buy that much because we don't have one here, so I don't like to pay for shipping. With the current 50% off sale going on, I'm a bit more open to paying for shipping. I think this striped shirt would be perfect for both casual settings and school. I've been continuously looking for easy dresses to wear, and this black and white dress would be great with both red and cognac accessories. If I didn't already have an overabundance of dark drapey cardigans, I think this one would be a great neutral to add. It just looks so warm!

BaubleBar is a one-stop shop for all current jewelry trends for affordable prices. I was lucky enough to receive this chevron ring from them, and wear it constantly. The Love necklace would be a great present for a sister or friend (or self!), while the pink link necklace would be really fun to wear during the dreary winter months.

a few other notable sales happening:

Banana Republic: 40% off with code CYBER

I caved and ended up ordering this ring for myself (and possibly additional for the girls in my family), and this shirt and this dress. Hopefully you find a great deal either to treat yourself or to get some early Christmas shopping in!

Friday, November 29, 2013

november budget

J.Crew Factory Funnel Coat: originally $228, on sale + 30% off = $130  [reviewed here]

Gap Fair Isle Open Front Cardigan: originally $80, current 50% off promotion = $40

Gap Cozy V-Neck Sweater: originally $50, current 50% off promotion = $25

November Budget:  $195

Quarterly Budget: $590 ($90 left from last quarter) - 195 = $395 for the rest of the quarter

So I did not have much motivation for shopping this month. November was my first month of not being in lecture halls as often, so I wasn't wearing a lot of my dress code clothes, and instead spent a lot of time in jeans and sweaters. The few things I did buy I'm really excited about. I've been very happy with my new winter coat. My aunt suggested a little button trick for the sash which I think I may try out to keep it attached to the coat. While it doesn't have the signature thinsulate that the retail J.Crew coats have, it has kept me warm in the freezing weather so far.

The coat was the only thing I had purchased this month until I came home for two days for Thanksgiving. I met up with my friend Lizzi to do a little bit of Black Friday shopping. I first stopped at H&M with the sole purpose of finding a dress. I really loved Bri's recent dress that she found once upon a time at H&M, and after realizing recently that I wear my black long-sleeved black dress at least once a week, I was hoping to find something similar. Amount the items I tried on, I really wanted to like this jacket and this dress, but ended up not buying either. While I really liked the pattern and general style of the jacket-cardigan hybrid, it was too boxy on my frame. It also didn't have a closure in the front, which is something I would have preferred. The dress would have been great for school, but the construction was just so shoddy that I had to take it off immediately. The seams did not line up, and it awkwardly bunched around the bust and hips even when standing straight.
Next at Gap, where they are having 50% off in store (and online with code BLKFRIDAY) I basically just grabbed anything that caught my eye. I really really liked this cardigan - it was hanging all by itself, and in my size, so ya know, "fashion fate" (not really). I think it'll be a studying cardigan for the most part, but I'll definitely wear it to school dressed up with a button up and black trousers. I've been looking for a tan v-neck sweater for a while, so finding this one, and at a reasonable price, was nice. I see this being layered plenty this coming winter. I liked the striped shirt, but it would have only been a lounging shirt. I need another striped shirt like I need a hole in the head, so for even $15 I passed.
I also tried on this dress, which they had in red and magenta in stores. At first I thought it was very promising - not too tight in the arms, somewhat fitted, and I figured red would be a fun way to add a bit more color to my generally dark dress collection. It wasn't until adding a belt, which is how I would wear it normally, that I realized how short it was on me. I was hoping they sold it online in talls, but they don't...of course. So the hunt for a simple sleeved dress continues.
And that was the end of my Black Friday adventures. I wish I had found this scarf in stores as it just looks so dang cozy, but maybe if I happen to put in an order in the next couple of days, I'll add it in to test out. Some of the sales I've been interested in, and will continue to watch until Monday:

J.Crew: 30% off with code HOLIDAY (through December 1st)
J.Crew Factory: 50% off with code HOLIDAY50 (through December 3rd)
Loft: 40% off with code ENJOY (through December 1st)
Ann Taylor: 40% off with code GET40 
Banana Republic: 40% off with code BRGIVING (through December 1st)
Old Navy: up to 40% off

and in case your budget isn't blown already, please feel free to join in with other budgeting bloggers - and I may allow you to submit even if you didn't stick to it ;)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Review: J.Crew Factory Funnel Coat vs Target Shawl Collar Coat

Once I found out that I was going to have to move several states away to go to school, I slowly started the sorting process of all the things I had accumulated over the past 7 years of living in Madison. I knew that I would only be taking my car, and shipping a few things, so everything that wasn't being used or hadn't been worn/touched/looked at in years had to go. Among other things, I had accumulated quite the collection of winter coats that I didn't even really like that much. I decided to sell or donate all of them except my large North Face and thicker coat I bought in Germany. Now that winter time has officially started (it's currently snowing outside...booooo), it was time that I found a coat for school. 

I wanted a coat that wasn't a peacoat, wasn't black, and preferably something that tied at the waist. I really wanted something like this coat (but much more in my price range) mostly because I fell in love with Olivia Pope's version on Scandal. Seeing that I don't have that amount of money laying around, I started looking for similar versions at a lower price. I ordered this coat from Zara, but the shawl portion was so overwhelming that I didn't even bother taking pictures. Next, a few people had mentioned this coat from Target, so during a recent sale on it, I ordered it in two sizes to try out. The coat I'm wearing here is in size large in taupe:

Things I really:
  • The price! For $50, I felt this was a pretty solid coat. Granted, my winter experience this year will be getting into my car that is parked in the garage, driving two minutes to school, and then walking the 50 feet into the building. I don't need a super heavy duty coat, so this fully-lined wool coat would do the trick. 
  • The shawl neck line. It's just enough to be different, but not overwhelming . You can also button it to be a bit lower, or move it up around your neck if you are cold. 
  • The belt is attached on either side, and doesn't go all the way around. This lets you cinch it in at the waist, but also allows you to leave it open, or tie in the back. 
  • The color. It's very neutral, but I felt it would look great on a large range of skin tones.
  • The sleeves are long enough. I tend to have problems with sleeve length, and tend to order most things in "talls" if possible, but these were a good length on me.
  • It closes easily with snaps instead of a zipper or buttons.
Things I didn't like:
  • One of the biggest things is the pockets. They are far too far forward, and I feel lopsided. My hands were constantly touching because they are so close together in there.
  • Too much fabric on the sides. I felt it fans out a bit too much because everything is bunched together.
In a recent post talking about coats (again!), Caitlin mentioned that J.Crew Factory was currently having a sale on coats, so I finally ordered this coat that I had been eyeing up. I wasn't so sure how I would feel about it as I was afraid it might be too straight on me, but with a factory store somewhat close to me, I figured I might as well try it out.

Things I liked:
  • The color. I've always had black or grey coats, so something in a pretty camel is new and fun. I like that it's different enough (for me) without being unprofessional or something I can't wear with a bunch of different things.
  • The wool/nylon/cashmere of the outside is so soft - two of my guy classmates reached out to touch it because it looked so soft. 
  • The high funnel neckline means it can be worn without a scarf and still be warm, or with a scarf for extra warmth. Getting to wear scarves is one of my favorite parts of winter dressing (actually, it's probably the only good thing about winter) so I wanted something I could easily wear scarves with.
  • The pockets are more on the side than in the front. 
  • I feel the shape and length is more flattering than the Target coat.
Things I didn't like:
  • The belt is not attached to the coat. The only way it stays in place is through two little strings on the side. I'm considering sewing the belt on so that it doesn't just limply hang on the side when I'm putting it on, or if I don't have enough time to tie it correctly.
  • It has buttons instead of snaps or a zipper, which means it takes more time and effort (and finger flexibility!) to close.

In the end, I've decided to keep the J.Crew Factory coat. I think it looks better on, and the strange pockets on the Target coat really turned me off, as much as I liked everything else about it. I'm even a little bit excited for it to be really winter so I can wear it more often. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

a uniform of sorts


Oh hey! In case you forgot what I look like, this is it. I know I've been a little MIA lately, but I really appreciate all of those who reached out recently, and especially for all of your kindness in my last post. I'm really doing really well, just trying to figure out this new school life (I am rarely in lecture now a days, just a lot of reading and studying on my own) and enjoying being around my classmates. I just wanted to say thank you for all of your support, sweet messages, and tweets. You guys are all awesome :)

But enough of the sap. This is what I wore today, and this whole type of outfit is quickly becoming a uniform of sorts - pencil/ankle pants, a few simple layers, and flats. I like being able to wear heels if I want to, but most days I just don't want to. My Revas have been my go-to for about a year and a half - I wear them almost daily. I'm thinking of getting the gold-plated version as I have that weird thing about metals mixing, plus it would be nice to give these a rest once in a while. We'll see, depending on how the rest of the budget goes. After my post talking about winter coats, I ordered both this coat and this coat, and both arrived yesterday. I'm torn which one I like more! Of course, it never happened unless documented on here, so I'll be sure to do a little comparison in the next few days as they both have their pros and cons.

Shirt: J.Crew [exact]
Chambray: Old Navy [current version]
Pants: The Limited [exact]
Shoes: Tory Burch [exact]
Nails: Essie After School Boy Blazer [exact - seen here]

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

BIF exchange: scarves

I am positive that my absolute favorite thing about blogging is getting to "hang out" and chat with you ladies every day. Even better than that though is actually getting to meet some of you in real life, so to say that the friendship I have with Bri is a blessing is such an understatement. This is our second BIF (best internet friend) exchange (our first was this) and we exchanged scarves because hi, who doesn't love a fun new scarf to wear during the fall? Bri obviously pays attention, and sent me this pretty red number. She got one of my favorites, a leopard scarf, in return. I love that it's like we are just borrowing something real quick from each other, even though we live on opposite sides of the country (for now wink wink).

Tee: JC Penneys [exact]
Skirt: Thrifted
Scarf: BIF exchange with Bri
Belt: The Limited 
Shoes: Old Navy [super want these]
Bracelet: c/o Color by Amber [exact]

P.S. I guest posted for Anne last week while she was on blog maternity leave. Please make sure you check out my post on remixing AND go oogle her adorable son

Friday, November 15, 2013

ask me anything: life

I really thought it was so interesting to see what you guys wanted to know about my fairly boring and mundane life (no seriously. no life that involves sitting in one chair for 16 hours a day learning about enzymes is exciting) but you guys had some really interesting questions! This installment of Ask Me Anything is more about general life questions. The last one was about medical school, and the next one will be more fashion-related questions.

I also have three siblings but none of us have left the state! So my question to you: How do you manage keeping up with what is going on in their lives? Text? Email? Or perhaps even old school paper and pen?! The options seem endless nowadays but many seem less personal than others. I can´t imagine life without my crazy siblings ;)

My siblings and I are a crazy bunch. We are all three years apart and are all over the map right now. My sister is in Germany doing medical school there, my brother is in his sophomore year at college about 3 hours away from our hometown, and my youngest sister is finishing her senior year of high school and applying for college. Since we're no where near each other, we really do use social media/technology a lot to stay updated on each others lives - through facebook, tweeting, whats app, and especially Skype with Viktoria (the one in Germany). It's nice because we all have a lot going on, but can stay caught up in each others lives via the internet. Thanks Al Gore! ;)

Monday, November 11, 2013

lists on lists

A list!

1. I need a new black cardigan. This one from Old Navy was originally like...$15, and while it's held up fine over the last two years, it is starting to pill and fall apart. I don't really like the way it sits anyway, so I think it's time to maybe buy up just a little bit. Anyone have a go-to for cardigans? I don't really like the J.Crew versions (they look too short and I want a v-neck) but this one from Banana Republic is actually really cute and has just enough going on to not be boring, but would be really versatile.  

2. I still need to find a winter jacket. I kinda donated most of my old coats before I moved, so all I really have is my trench coat or my giant North Face. I need something as an in between that I can use for most normal school days. I ordered this one from Zara but it's just a little bit too much. This one from Target looks like a toned down version for a third of the price so I may order a few just to test out.

3. Only two days of biochem left! Want to know what cramming 800 pages of biochem into your head in two weeks feels like? Awful. It feels like awful.

4. Shout-out to Percy's sister! Her brother, a kid in my class, came up to me the other day after school to tell me that his sister reads my blog. Did I want to die a little bit inside? Yes. But it was also very sweet :)

5. The Jeweler's Wife sent me these beautiful Swarovski earrings to test out. Aren't they beautiful? They are currently running a giveaway over on Jess's blog so make sure you enter!

Shirt: Francesca's
Cardigan: Old Navy
Pants: The Limited [exact]
Earrings: Swarovski c/o The Jeweler's Wife [exact]
Shoes: Tory Burch [exact]

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

mmhmm biochem.

Shirt: JC Penneys [exact]
Pants: The Limited [exact]
Scarf: Forever 21 [similar]
Shoes: Tory Burch [exact]
Watch: Fossil [similar]

Now that anatomy is over, I don't spend nearly as much time in lecture as I used to. Most days I'm in school for an hour or two, but the rest of the time I'm at home studying in jeans (YESSS) so I haven't really been putting as much effort into getting ready for school so I only stay in dress code clothing for that hour. So ah....here's what I wore for a more school heavy day. It's not my most favorite outfit of all time, but it's one of the few days in the past week I've had time (or lets be honest, ambition) to actually take a picture. We're currently in the middle of our biochemistry class - all biochem, all the time. There are parts I really like about it (it's crazy what all goes on in our body in every cell all the time - I'm constantly thinking of this video) but sometimes I just don't care what enzymes do what, ya know?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

october budget

1. J.Crew Blouse [seen here]: originally $110, on sale for $50
2. The Limited Pants [seen here]: originally $70, with code for $40
3. Madewell sweater: originally $80, on sale for $30
4. J.Crew Tee: originally $62.50, with student discount for $53
5. Forever 21 sweater: $22
6. Forever 21 sweater: $18
7. Gap Herringbone Vest [seen here]: originally $88, with codes for $50
8. Gap Loafers [seen here]: originally $40, with code for $22

+ $25 in altering slimming the knees of this pair of pants and letting down the hem on these

= $310 - $150 clothing sold - $75 gift card = $85

$500 quarterly budget - $120 in August - $200 in September - $135 in October = $95 left over

So this wraps up my first quarterly budget! I think it worked out pretty well, even though I had a little bit to add back into the budget with the sale of my J.Crew vest and a pair of jeans I wasn't wearing, and then a visa gift card I had. In the last three months I have purchased:

5 pairs of pants
5 sweaters
5 tops
3 pairs of shoes
1 necklace + 1 vest

Which isn't terrible I don't think, considering I wear many of these pieces (like the pants and shoes) several times a week. I'm so excited for the vest to FINALLY arrive. I had ordered it when it was first available, but my order was cancelled a week later because they were out of stock...except when I went on the website and they still had most sizes available. I ordered three again, and decided to stick with the Tall Large version as it left a bit more room for layering up. I think my other favorite purchase was the rhinestone top from J.Crew as I want to reach for it just about every other day.

This month for sponsorship, I received this beautiful watch from Daniel Wellington, and this pair of earrings and ring from BaubleBar.

So now we basically start a new quarter for November, December, and January. I need a coat for school as I finally threw away the ratty one I wore the last two years. I'm not sure exactly what I want - I'd love something very Olivia Pope- like, like this beautiful coat, but I'm not sure how really practical that would be. I'd also really like a dark flannel shirt, such as this one or possibly this red version, because ya know, winter!

So that's that! How'd the month of October work out for you? Link up below - please make sure you link back to this post so your readers can find other budgeting bloggers!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

ask me anything: medical school

I loved loved loved reading all of your questions from the Ask Me Anything post. It turns out that all of the questions kind of fell into several topics - medical school, blogging, fashion/shopping, and general life questions. I'll answer the questions for each topic in different posts over the next few weeks because not everyone wants to hear about my study habits or where I buy pants or how I taught my dogs to be so awesome ( just kidding. no one asked that question. rude!). First up is everything related to medical school, medicine, and studying. If there is anything you maybe didn't get answered, feel free to ask in the comments section!

my friend Serine and I during the casting clinic last week
How stressful is medical school and do you feel like you still have a life outside of going to class and studying?

Friday, October 25, 2013

to the mall we will go

tweed skirt, cobalt sweater, tan accessories
Shirt: H&M
Sweater: J.Crew Factory [exact]
Skirt: Anthro via eBay [similar]
Necklace: c/o Tryst Jewellery [exact]
Shoes: Banana Republic c/o Chippmunk [exact]
Belt: H&M

Life after anatomy has definitely been different, at least the last few days. My learning pathway means from here on out, I spend less time in lecture and more time learning on my own. This is awesome for several reasons. One, I can't learn from people talking at me, so lecture was mostly useless for me. Second of all, I get to wear whatever I want on the days I'm not in school! Yesterday was the first day really all week where I had to dress up to go to school. I initially was going to try to wear this outfit with my boots, but I don't think I can pull that look off.

After the studying was done for the day yesterday, my friends and I drove to the bigger mall a hundred miles away. We mostly just wanted to get out of town for a little bit, and really, I'll just take any excuse to go shopping. We stopped at Banana Republic first as they were (and still are!) having a 40% off store event. I tried on this sweater, and while I liked it, I wanted to see what else I could find in the mall before I bought it. The material is thin without being transparent, and because it is a wool/nylon/spandex mix, has a bit of stretch and "sucking in" to it. I'm wearing my usual size here. I've come to realize that v-neck sweaters are my favorite kind of sweaters, but I own very few of them. This emerald color would be a fun one to add so I will definitely keep an eye on it though in hopes that it eventually ends up in the sale section. I did find this cute dress in the sales section, and while it was really flattering on, I could really only think of about 2 ways to wear it, so I left it behind (it's cheaper in stores than online if you are interested - it's a really soft and stretchy, but still sturdy, dress).
banana republic extra fine wool vee
On a mission to find the nearest pretzel stand, we discovered a Madewell store which I'm not sure was there when we were at this mall over Labor Day. Either way, I love Madewell but I stick to the sale section there. I found this sweater in a really pretty maroon, only one left, my size, on the sales rack. It's funny since just yesterday morning I was thinking about how versatile a sweater like that would be, and here it was waiting for me. With the 30% off sale prices, plus an additional 15% off for being a student, it came to just over $30. I've been carrying around a visa gift card for months now, so it technically didn't take anything out of my budget.

Our last stop was J.Crew. I originally just wanted to try on this peplum top and that scarf sweater that is sold out online. I found a whole stack of them, just waiting to be purchased by me. But then I tried it on:
j. crew scarf sweater
I mean, it's fine. But it's not $100 LOVE. I'm glad I at least tried it on just so I could stop thinking about it. After a couple more thanks but no thanks items (namely this sweater and this dress - both horrible on me), I fell.in.love with this tee. I initially saw it on a mannequin and made four trips around the store before I found it hiding between some coats. Is it outrageously priced for a tee? Yep. But it is thick and beautifully embroidered and long enough on me, so I just bought it. At least with my student discount, and the rest of the gift card, it only cost me $10 out of pocket. I'm so excited about it. The picture doesn't really do it justice.

j.crew embroidered front tee
So that was our little half day trip out of town! This weekend I'm having a little girls weekend with my friend Caitlin as all of our other girlfriends are with their boyfriends or at home. MANICURES, PEDICURES, BRUNCH, HAPPY HOUR. I can hardly wait :)

P.S. I'm closing the Ask Me Anything survey at noon on Sunday. I've received some pretty awesome questions so far, but please feel free to ask anything you've been wondering about.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

ask me anything!

This week has been kind of weird for getting dressed because half the time I have been at home napping with my puppies, and the other half I'm only in school for an hour so I haven't felt the need to put too much thought into what I'm wearing. I've been receiving more emails lately asking questions, so I thought maybe others had questions too but just didn't want to email me or whatever (but you totally should if you want to! I love emails). If there's something you've always wanted to know - how I manage to have the cutest dogs in the world, how hard is medical school really, how many licks does it really take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? - just ask below in form (or comments if you prefer). I won't be able to see who asks the questions, and I'll do a little Q&A next week!

P.S. Don't even think about it, Eric/Travis/Neel/Chris!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

slimming the knees of dress pants & anatomy adventures

Navy Ankle Pants + Neutrals

Today is our last day of anatomy and I'm torn about how I feel about that.

I'm actually pretty sad- it's crazy how far we've all come in the last twelve weeks. I was one of the unfortunate ones in the class who didn't take anatomy before, so learning everything in such a small amount of time was really, really intense. I would be lying if I said I didn't sit in front of my atlas crying a few times, but the closer I became with my lab group, and the more I figured out how to actually study, the better it got. 

To be able to cut into a human body and learn how everything works is definitely an experience few people get to have, so I'm thankful I got to be one of them. I think we all felt some kind of weird connection with our cadaver. It was disheartening to see how much our bodies go through as we age, but also inspiring that this person decided that they wanted to let us learn from them, even in death. I'm glad that our school structured it that we did anatomy first - it made this whole medical school/becoming doctors real. Now that we're basically done with anatomy (our cumulative exam is this afternoon - keep all of your digits crossed for me because I'm tested out), I'm sad that from here on out it's just books and flash cards. 


In other (not so morbid) news, I finally got my pants back from the tailor. When I initially compared these from The Limited against these from Banana Republic, my biggest issue was that the knees were just too baggy. This is a problem I have with all pants, so I finally just took them in to my tailor to see what she thought. She said it was a relatively easy fix, and pinned them on one knee to see the difference, as you can see below:
slimming the knees on pants

In the end, I'm pleased with the subtle improvement. They aren't perfect, there is still some bunching and pulling, but I think that is expected for all pants that are actually worn all day. Part of the problem is definitely the strange shape of my legs, but I do think that this slimming helped the weird bunchiness that was going on. It cost me $10 to have this done as they are unlined pants. I think the difference is worth that, so I may take my maroon pair in to have the same thing done the next time I need to take something in.

Shirt: J.Crew [exact on sale]
Sweater: J.Crew thrifted 
Pants: The Limited [exact]
Shoes: J.Crew Factory [exact on sale]
Watch: Fossil [similar]

Whoa, I feel that's a lot of J.Crew. Might have to add another piece to the collection this week though - I'm heading to Pittsburgh tomorrow for a bit of shopping (and buying groceries at Trader Joes apparently because my California friend is a crazy person and refuses to leave his apartment once it starts to snow so he needs to stock up on food), and I really want to try on this long sleeved peplum top while we're at a bigger mall that has a J.Crew. Has anyone tried it on yet? I wish that this sweater was still available because it's adorable - maybe I'll get lucky and fine a lone one in store? 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

#hairspiration with vidal sassoon pro series

As a bunch of stressed out first year medical students, my friends and I don't get a lot of girly time to ourselves. We have to throw some professional outfits together in the morning, sit in lecture and anatomy lab all day, and then study into late in the night, so there isn't much time left for us to do fun things like watch our favorite TV show when it actually airs, or try out new hairstyles.

When Vidal Sassoon Pro Series offered to "host" a party just like that, we made sure to block of the night after our anatomy exam to do just that - watch our favorite TV shows (The Mindy Project and New Girl), talk hair and fashion trends, and try out different hair styles on each other. I love this kind of stuff - I've always been cutting/ coloring/ doing my friends' and siblings' hair, so I was super excited to get my hands on the gorgeous hair of my friends.
We were provided with a Target gift card to stock up on both hair supplies and treats. I bought one of every product, which worked out perfectly since each of the girls ended up taking home their favorite product. I was honestly surprised how affordable the products were - all were under $4! 

We started off the night with Kira, who has these amazing curls. My hair is pretty straight and boring, but Kira's hair just is so dang beautiful so I'm always jealous. We decided to go in the opposite direction though, just because we wanted to see what she looked like with straight hair!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

one of the guys

It's like Bri always thinks of me when she is picking her Third Thursday Thread link-up. Menswear? Done and done. I try not to play up the girls too much anyway, so I love wearing pieces traditionally made for men to counteract them. This blazer was one of the first I ever purchased over two years ago, but it's one of my favorites. You can't see them, but there are elbow patches involved. It always reminds me of a German professor I had in college who used to wear one just like this.

Speaking of pieces that'll last you through the years, I'm so excited to show off my newest watch. Daniel Wellington has been a company I've been in love with for a long time - I wear their Classic watch at least once a week, so I was thrilled when they offered to send me a new design. I chose one with a lighter brown strap from the new line, which have a smaller face, and tiny Swarovski crystals on the time points. While I generally don't like bling on watches, these are so subtle but it adds just enough. If you are in the market for a timeless watch that'll go with everything, I highly recommend checking out Daniel Wellingon. Now through November 10th, you can get 15% off your purchase using the code Franish. If you want something on the girly side, the Classy line is the way to go. Want something a bit larger and masculine? Try the Classic line. And if you want something a bit sportier, try out the Classic with the natostrap. Don't forget to follow along on instagram and facebook where they post daily picks of their favorite follower pictures!
Watch: c/o Daniel Wellington [exact]
Blazer: H&M [adorable similar]
Chambray: J.Crew Factory [exact]
Pants: Gap [exact]
Boots: Frye [exact]

P.S. I'm guest posting for Shanna today while she's on the most amazing vacation. Read up on my budget, how I make my money stretch, and what I've learned along the way!