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'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?