Friday, March 28, 2014

march budget

1. J.Crew Blazer: originally $198, on sale for $105 [currently on sale for $178 + 30% off]
2. J.Crew Factory Cardigan: originally $79.50, on sale for $30
3. J.Crew Factory Blouse: originally $75, on sale for $20
4. Old Navy Hoodie: originally $30, on sale + reward: $15
5. J.Crew Sweater: originally $79.50, on sale + giftcard won from Coast with Me: $0
6. The Limited Dot Skirt: originally $60, on sale for $30
7. The Limited Blouse (not pictured, seen here): originally $50, on sale for $25

March Budget: $225

Quarterly budget: $57 in February + 225 in March = $218 left for April

Like I mentioned last week, March was all about trying out new things - new brands, new styles, and new colors. At first glance, my purchases are not (at all) out of the box or different from what I have purchased in the past, but I did branch our a little from my usual go-tos. A cardigan in a color I don't own anything in, a cute sweatshirt for studying and lounging, a pencil skirt in a bright color and pattern. It breathed a bit of life back into my closet without it compromising my own style and preferences.

It was also a month of purchasing and returning. I had a large Zara order that ended up being completely returned. I purchased my go-to school pants in black, and although I got them for great deal, I've decided that I want a pair of black skinny ankle pants that actually go down to my ankle, so they will be returned for now (unless they come out with them in talls, and then I'll be all over that). I saw this super cute top on Hello, Gorgeous, and thought it would be great both for under blazers at school, and for going out (during our abundant free time). Unfortunately, tops with no stretch pull across my chest and unflatteringly flattened everything, so I had to return it. And most disappointingly, this dress didn't work for me. You can see why here:

It's meh on its own - I may have ordered it a size too large as there was a ton of extra fabric around my waist. Belted, and standing a certain way, it was pretty dang cute. But in all honesty, the fabric is pretty stiff, and the dress is way way waaaaaaay too short on me. Since the fabric is stiff (it kind of feels like canvas), the whole dress rides up all the way when you lift your arm or bend over. So the "dalmatian" dress isn't going to happen for me. If they had only made it out of a softer fabric, and added 2 more inches to the hem!

Looking into April, I just ordered these shoes from Madewell (but didn't include them in this month's budget since they haven't arrived). Madewell is currently having a 30% off sale items (use code BYEMARCH), and I've had my eye on these shoes for a year (wow...what a difference 12 months makes!) so I finally decided to go for it. We'll see if they work out! Other than that, I also currently have a dress and a pair of pants at the tailor, so I have around $100 left to maybe buy a few spring pieces. Maybe even buy something outside of the white/grey/black/blue color palette I seem to buy everything in!

Did you stick to your budget this month? I'd love for you to link up with your purchases and goals - we had the most link-ups ever last month, so make sure you guys are checking out these other bloggers. They're such an inspiration!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

a day in the life of a first year medical student


6:47 : grumble that it's been the shortest five hours of sleep. Jump into the shower, do my make up (this comes in handy every single day for those under eye circles), and dry my hair.


7:31 : time to figure out what to wear. I know that I need to wear my newly acquired cardigan for the Fran versus Fur post, so I decide to really go out of the neutrals comfort zone, and wear it with my new periwinkle skirt. A steamer is a busy gal's best friend - not quite as effective as an iron, but it does the trick for removing the majority of wrinkles (I use this one, and quite like the fact that it isn't too bulky or ugly)

7:50 : picture time! The stars have aligned, and the weather, sunlight, and willingness to put together an outfit all mean I should take a picture. When I was working, I used to take pictures in several different locations on my 20 minute drive to work. Now, school is 3 minutes away with no secluded roads along the I've kinda defaulted to just doing it right outside my house in front of a brick wall. It's pretty boring, but unfortunately not something I really see changing too much until school is done for the year in May. I take the pictures myself, using a gorilla pod to hold my camera, and a remote. I take about 20 pictures, with about 3 of them turning out where my hair or cardigan isn't flying all over from the wind. 

8:07 : I'm a pretty big creature of habit, so I have scrambled eggs with a piece of toast every morning. I'm out of just about everything, so I have to steal a piece of my roommate's bread. I quickly edit down the pictures I just took, and throw together a blog post about how a dog is more stylish than I am

8: 42 : puppy prep time. My dogs hang out in the house while my roommate and I are in school. I play a pandora station for them as they are pretty yappy dogs, and bark at every noise outside, so I try to add background noise so they don't bark as much. I like to come home to Disney music (who doesn't, right?!), so they've been getting a lot of that. They each get a bone or kong with a bit of peanut butter to keep them entertained, at least for a few minutes.

9:00 : My school is somewhat unique in that they offer several different learning pathways. I'm in a directed study pathway, which means I usually don't spend a lot of time in lecture, but rather learn from books and objectives we are assigned. We are currently taking neuroanatomy though, which requires us to spend more time in lecture. Today we only have one lecture - it's the last one before our exam next Monday. Some days we have up to 8 hours of lecture, sometimes we don't have any. 

10:00 : neuro lab. Our first 2 labs were wet labs - we actually handled and picked through brain slices. Now we're at the part were we're mostly learning what different parts of the brain do, so it's atlas work. I move down to the cafeteria with three of my friends so we can drink coffee and get out of a room full of on-edge medical students. 

11:40 : surprise! Even though our section had a quiz during the last quiz, we get another one this time. None of us have any idea what the picture is, or what we are supposed to identify, but make some educated guesses and have it eventually work out in our favor. 

11:55 : lunch time. I would usually bring leftovers or a sandwich + salad, but...nothing in the fridge. I buy a chicken sandwich and tater tots from the cafeteria, and spend the next hour partially studying neurophysiology and partially playing around on the internet. 

1:00 : neurophysiology review. Our learning pathway learns the physiology on our own instead of being lectured at, so we have two hours with the professor where she touches on the important aspects of the material, and discusses things we may have not picked up on our own. It was a pretty helpful meeting, and left me motivated to get through the rest of the material as quickly as possible.


2:55 : home again, and time to hang out with the dogs. We go outside, Baer looks for his new friend, the opossum who lives under the trailer across the way, and Hans wonders how much longer we have to spend outside. My most worn pair of shoes, my rain boots, come in handy, as it's muddy and gross outside. 


3:10 : time to put study clothes on. I'm working on a post about "cute" study clothes, so I snap a quick picture. Hans wants to be a part, so we take a few pictures together. He's look fierce with his new teal bowtie and wants all of the ladies to see how good he looks.

3:15 : time to waste time! I lay in bed with my dogs, write some e-mails, catch up on celebrity gossip, and play tug-o-war with Baer. 

4:00: nap time. I don't know how it happened! One minute I'm awake, the next I'm not...

5:03: no longer napping :( I get up, make a box of mac + cheese, eat half, pack the other half for later. I really need to get groceries. 

5:22 : I pack my bag for the library. Tonight will be all about getting through more physiology, and through at least one cranial nerve lecture. First Aid, every med school student's BFF, comes along.

5:55 : arrive at the library. I don't like our own school library, so we often (read: almost every night) hole away to the local undergrad's library. sommmeone doesn't seem to be pleased to know that we have to be here for the next six hours.

6:15 : actually start studying physiology. 

8:55 : got through as much physiology as I had planned on.

9:05: time to start those damn cranial nerves. ughhhhhhhh

11: 45 : can't do it anymore - I just keep reading the same line over and over again. Time to pack up, and leave. Conveniently, it's snowed three inches since I arrived, and I wore flats. wonderful!

12: 44: bed time! 6:45 is going to get here quick.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

fran versus fur: piper's lavender cardigan

The Limited Dot Pencil Skirt
Like I mentioned before, my friend Caitlin and I are pretty much the same shape and size, so we've been doing a couple of clothing swaps. We both went through our closets recently, and took out all of the clothes we wanted to sell/donate, but let the other dig through the clothes first. She rescued a few button ups and a skirt, and I rescued this cardigan.
Over Christmas break, Caitlin adopted an adorable puppy named Piper, and we've just had so much fun having a puppy around (along with my two dogs and Caitlin's roommate's dog Bri). As we were playing dress up in each other's clothes, we decided Piper needed to get a new outfit too, so I loaned her my newly acquired cardigan and a pair of pearls, and Fran versus Fur was invented.

So who wore it better? And if you say me, I know you're a true friend but also a liar ;)

The Limited Dot Pencil Skirt
Skirt: The Limited [exact]
Blouse: J.Crew [retail on sale | factory version]
Cardigan: rescued from Caitlin (originally Gap)
Shoes: J.Crew Factory [exact]
Nails: Essie Spagetti Strap 
Watch: Fossil [exact]

(P.S. between our 2 houses, we have 6 animals....including a horse. this is going to be fun.)

Linking up with Mix & Match Fashion

Saturday, March 22, 2014

getting out of the clothing rut

For the last few months, I've been pretty bored with shopping and getting dressed as a whole. Winter was really starting to wear me down, school was giving me enough anxiety as it is, and the thought of having to figure out a new way to wear something I've worn a hundred times already was just not appealing. I didn't spend a lot of money last month because I just didn't go shopping, and wasn't interested in it. I was a little bored with the stores I shop at a lot, and felt like I was being overly picky about the items I wanted.

Something has changed a bit here in March. The weather is slowly starting to be a bit nicer (although we all know we are going to have at least one more large snow storm!), school has a bit more structure to it (a day in the life post coming soon), and the new clothing selections + sales have left me a bit more motivated to not only find a few new cute pieces to buy, but also to find new ways to mix and match the pieces I already own and love. 

I started the month with a huge Zara order. I saw Dotty's post about this blazer she got last month (see it on her here), and because I always think she just looks so cool and put together, I felt that I may as well give it a try. And then give this blazer a try...and this shirt...and this top...and a bunch of other pieces. I ended up putting in a $400 order! I knew since they offer free returns, I really could just order anything that looked interesting and be able to return it without any consequences. I was trying to step a little outside of my narrow picky boundaries, and although I ended up returning everything, it was a fun experience to try out styles that I wouldn't usually.

j.crew schoolboy blazer black

Around that same time, Caroline told me that the J.Crew schoolboy blazer, which I own and loooooooove in navy, was on major sale in black. As Kimmie pointed out, I do already own a dark blazer, so maybe owning a very similar one in a slightly different color doesn't make much sense. I would usually agree, as Kimmie and I have pretty similar views on our own closets and purchases, but I knew that this would be a purchase I would wear for years and years to come, both in my professional and personal life. I can dress it up with black pants to make a suit, with colored pants or skirt for school, or with jeans on the weekend. I really appreciate that the J.Crew blazers come in tall sizes, as they are a bit broader in the shoulder and have longer sleeves, which makes all the difference for me. I ended up getting it for just $100, which is almost 50% off the asking retail price. While very similar to something I already own, I know that this is one purchase that will still be in my closet in 10+ years from now. So while I may not have stepped outside my boundaries, and it may well be a pretty "boring" purchase, it's one that I was still really excited about.

le tote

I've wanted to try a "box" service for a while now, and while I was waiting to test out StitchFix, le tote reached out to see if I wanted to try their service. The jist is that for $50 a month, you can get unlimited amount of "totes" of their clothes. You get~ 5 pieces per tote from items that you said you like, and then you get to keep them as long as you want. So you can get a tote, decide you like none of it, and have a new tote on your front step with 5 new pieces in around 4 days (they offer free 2 day return shipping and free 2 day shipping back to you). If you decide you love something, you can wear it for a bit and then return the tote, or you can buy any of the pieces for a discounted rate. In my first tote, I received a dress (that unfortunately is a bit tight on me), 2 tops, a necklace, and a ring. I think I'm going to wear both the tops for a test run, and possibly end up buying the necklace. I will be test driving this service for the next 6 months, and will be sure to do a more thorough review once I have a few more months experience. I'm excited to try out types of clothing from brand I wouldn't usually, as I think it'll introduce me to shapes and styles I wouldn't usually try off the rack. If you are interested, you can sign up here through my referral link (I would earn a $25 credit) or here without it!

I was tempted by a bit of late night shopping last night, and ordered a few pieces from J.Crew Factory to try on. I was initially tempted to order anything because of this dress. I like that it has sleeves that appear to be real t-shirt sleeves (instead of the stupid cap sleeves), the pattern is adorable, and I like that it could be a simple "throw on and go" kind of dress, but can also be worn with a variety of my cardigans and blazers. Gigi highly recommended it in her review here, so with a 30% sale going on (still is for all new arrivals!), I decided I wanted to at least try it on. I also added this top to my order as I've been searching for a white simple blouse for a while - I think it's going to be very versatile for school clothes on it's own and under other pieces. Although there were not specific codes mentioned on the website, I checked out the retail me not coupons just to see if any of them would work. There was a 25% off $125+ orders, so I added this cardigan that I had been eyeing up to my cart to see if it would work, and it did! It ended up making the cardigan "free", so I was really excited that it worked!

the limited dot pencil skirt

While I tried to stay away from mall shopping for a while, The Limited was having a sale today (until 2PM if you want to put in a quick order!) where everything full priced was 50% off, and all sale items were 40% off. My girlfriend Caitlin, who has a very similar build to my own (perfect for when we want to borrow each others clothes!), has wanted to try my favorite pants for a while, so we went on an early morning shopping trip. She ended up loving the pants, and bought them in both black and tan. I also ended up purchasing them in black. I grab for my black pencil pants all the time, so having a second pair to switch it up with will be great (especially when I don't have enough time to do laundry.....shh, don't tell anyone). I also fell in love with this skirt - I really believe that The Limited's strength is in their pants and skirts, and this skirt proves that. It's thick enough so no lumps show through, its long enough to be professional, and comes in a fun yet still appropriate pattern. I can't wait for all of the snow to be officially gone so I can wear it.

So in the end, I didn't stray too far away from what I know I love and will wear, but I do feel a bit more excited about everything. A few pieces that will be long-time staples, with a few more fun pieces mixed in to keep it exciting. I'm really glad that I have a seasonal budget because it means that some months I go with buying very little, but then can splurge a bit more during the times I find items I really want. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

mix and match

As I was getting dressed this morning, I felt like everything I was putting on was something I had already worn together. Looking back, this outfit really is just a combination of this one and this one. I suppose that makes this somewhat of a boring outfit to post, but at the same time, it's also about rewearing the clothes I own, even if just in slightly different ways. 

Shirt: Liz Claiborne [similar]
Pants: The Limited [exact]
Scarf: Forever 21 [save | splurge]
Shoes: Target [exact]
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
Perfect timing for Bri's remix challenge though...although I didn't really change it up tooooo much. Maybe it's time to change up how I wear this shirt...and where I stand to take pictures :/

Sunday, March 16, 2014

tax refund purchase

Once I started working full time after I graduated from college, my dad always told me to pay in the most I could for taxes. That always meant smaller paychecks, but also a bigger tax refund every year. Since then, I've used a portion of that tax refund to buy one item I wouldn't usually buy from my regular budget. In 2012 I purchased this purse, and in 2013 I purchased these boots [seen here].

I didn't think I was going to get a very large refund this year because I only worked for half of 2013, and because of money made through blogging (you can read a bit more about that here), but because I'm a full time student living on student loans, I ended up actually get quite a bit back instead of having to pay into the system (as I had previously anticipated). So while the majority of that money is getting tucked away in case my student loans don't cover me until August, I again would like to make a special little tax refund purchase.

A DvF wrap dress has been on the top of my wish list for years now - I always had the high hopes that I would find one thrifting (and yes, I checked out every wrap dress in every thrift store I entered), but no such luck. While one of her signature patterns would be beautiful to have, I think I would get the most wear out of a simple black version. Because the price point is just a bit above the amount I plan on spending, I may spend some time looking on eBay as there are often NWT dresses listed. 

A second option would be a new watch. I have a large gold watch from Target [seen here] that I wear quite a bit, so I know that it is something that I would actually wear, but I would love to upgrade to a nicer version. This MK watch is large but without the all of the bling and details that many of his other watches have (like this...underestated version). 

The last contender is a fun new pair of shoes that I could still wear frequently to school. These are patent, have a cute bow, and would be appropriate to wear while I'm still in school. I'm hesitant to purchase such expensive shoes just because I want this purchase to be something I have for a very long time, but these are so cute I may just have to spring for them.

Do you ever set a little bit aside from your tax refund to treat yourself? I'd love to hear what you've purchased in the past!

Friday, March 14, 2014

no more.

Blazer: H&M [fun ~similar version]
Pants: The Limited [exact]
Shoes: Lucky [exact]

Guys, this snow thing needs to stop. Earlier this week we had a little break from winter when it was light out past 7 PM, the temperatures were in the comfortable 50's, and all of the ground was visible. Everyone thought spring was here (haha suckers).

Then Wednesday happened, and we got dumped on again by about 2 feet of snow. 

Not cool. Winter can be over any day now.

...and so can neuro anatomy (even though we just started it Monday). 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

ask me anything: fashion

This is the last installment of Ask Me Anything and it's all about shopping, style, and fashion. You can read the parts about questions about my life here, and medical school here.

Trend (blogging or fashion) that you just want to go away?

I really find the whole dressing for the blog thing over the top. I love seeing what people wear in their real lives, so when I know that people don't actually dress in real life the way they do on the blog, I lose interest right away. Also pictures with coats over shoulders instead of having their arms in the sleeves. Why?

And neon :/

If you layer an outfit with a coat (like the latest & greatest military coat trend) - would you wear it at work as well or do you take it off and just wear the shirt underneath? 

I think you'd just the coat as a normal coat....just a really cute one! And then you take it off when you get to work. 

How do you dress so well? You always look so put together. I love your layered looks and you don't ever look frumpy. You appear to be a real human being (in that you have hips and other curves and aren't a size 2 model) and I think you look fabulous. What are your best tips and tricks for dressing a "real" body and where do you find your style inspiration?