Saturday, August 30, 2014

review: the body shop wild argan collection

DSC02192 I started swimming about a month and a half ago. My knees are a bit shot from 5 years of marching band (can you spot me?) and many hundreds of miles of running, so I thought that swimming would be a fun and less painful way to get exercise in. I love that I can just get in the pool and spend 45 minutes by myself - no electronics, no one talking to me, no information to try to memorize. My girlfriend Caitlin and I plan out our work-outs each week so we are held accountable for going, and I think it's made quite the difference for both of us, physically and mentally.

The downside to all that time in the pool though is the effect that the chlorine has on my skin. I already have dry skin, so the additional wear on it wasn't helping. Therefore I was really excited when I was offered the chance to try out The Body Shop's new Argan Bodycare collection. I received all ten pieces of the collection, and they've been a life saver over the past few weeks. I've been using the body butter pictured above (with my ever so stylish googles) after every swim, and my legs and arms haven't once had that itchy dry skin feeling once. I've also been spraying the Radiant Oil in my hair right before putting my swim cap on, and I really think it's helped prevent that horrible green swim hair. My favorite item though is the bubble bath - my boyfriend has a real stand alone bathtub in his apartment so it's been a little luxury to have at my disposal :) The smell of the collection is very light - I tend to buy only lightly scented products because I don't want to overwhelm anyone, and this definitely falls into a lighter scented category. 

Overall, I'm very happy with this body care collection, and it's definitely something I would spend my own money on because it has been so good on my skin. The Body Shop and Shop at Home are offering a special free shipping coupon if you are interested in trying out these little miracle workers for yourself!
the body shop argan oil
Disclosure: I received the full Body Shop Wild Argan Collection, but was not paid for this post. I just really liked it!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

august budget

The Limited Pants: originally $70 + 50% off = $35 + $10 altering fee = $45
Banana Republic Blazer: originally $140 + 30% off = $100
Old Navy Tee: on sale for $10

August Budget: $155

Budget left for the quarter: $345

I felt that I spent so much money this month, but looking back, all of it was on things I didn't have money for at the end of the last student loan disbursement period - like dentistry insurance (finally!), new non-shredded dog toys, review books, and a new pair of glasses (that show up tomorrow!). While none are essential, I'm happy our school provides us with the option of that insurance this year, and I'm sure my dogs are excited to have new things to pull apart.

The three items of clothing I did purchase and keep are definitely on a sliding scale of 'essentials' and price points. I mentioned a while ago I wanted to try a graphic tee just for fun, and I think this one will look great peaking out from under blazers and cardigans (it's currently going for $10 and has a bunch of other cute prints). The blazer is definitely not an essential, nor was it inexpensive, but I've been wishing for cooler days so I can finally wear it. Like I mentioned in my mini-review, it comes in three sizes which I was really happy about it since blazers tend to be too tight around my shoulders and the tall size gives me a bit more room. The one review so far is for the petites size if you want to know about the other end of the spectrum. And finally, the pants from The Limited were found during a store-wide 50% off sale, and with a bit of tailoring at the knees (more about that next week), they come in as both a staple and not tooooo expensive.

As for the things I didn't keep, I tried on this shirt dress from Target after ordering it online. I ordered it in a medium, and a large (mostly because I wanted to get free shipping). Below is the large. The medium fit me better in my arms and from the waist down, but was way too tight in the bust and just left it gaping open. I was hopeful it would be cute but like with most Target clothes on me, it just didn't work. The pockets are right on the widest part of my hips, and even belting it didn't help. I also thought the arm...roll up holders (what in the world are those actually called?) were way too low on the arm - usually they are about four inches closer to the elbow but these left the arm length at a strange point on my lower arm. All around a loss, but I suppose it didn't hurt to at least try it.

So for next month, things get a little weird with budget stuff. It's my birthday at the end of the month, and all year I save towards buying myself a little something. I put $20 of every blogging paycheck into a savings account, so I have $240 I can spend. Last year I used that money plus the money I earned from selling a Burberry jacket I found at Goodwill towards a Burberry trench coat. I'm still not really sure what I'm going to do with this year's money. I was thinking shoes though. I feel I could get a lot of use out of a bootie (I never thought I'd say that) but I think it would be great for wearing with skirts and dresses over the winter. I don't know though if I want to spend the whole sum of money on something I don't know about yet, so I was thinking maybe getting this slightly less expensive pair (or something very similar to that style) and then looking for some TB Revas on eBay for the rest of the money. Thoughts or recommendations on booties out there? I'm completely new to that world of shoes.

When I ordered the BR blazer I also purchased this white oxford because I realized I don't have a cotton white button-up, and while I don't believe that it's one of those things that "every woman in the whole world needs in her closet" kind of things, I think it would work well in mine. At the time I ordered it in a tall large, but I think it may be too wide on me. I'm going up to Buffalo this weekend so I'm hoping to try on the regular large to see if that works better. I would also like to try on this J.Crew pleated top - I think the green jewel tone is so beautiful and a great way to add a little color to my wardrobe. Other than that, I hope to buy a pair of black boots sometime in the next few months because the grey boots I've had for the last four years finally wore through to the bottom but for a $60 Steve Madden pair of boots they did pretty well! It just leaves that hole in my closet, and if we have another winter like we did last year, I'll be in boots a ton.

Anyway, how did budgeting go for you this month? I'd love to hear about it in the comments or by linking up below - please make sure you link back to your readers can read everyone else's posts!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

it's a jungle out there

J.Crew Diamond Ikat Dress
I first saw this dress in the J.Crew catalog in February, and I remember just falling in love with it. Black, white, patterns, and in a flattering cut? Sign me up...once it goes on sale.

While I fully believe in spending a little more for something you know you'll love and wear, I also find it really hard to pay full price for things, especially for most mall clothes that will have a sale within a week. I kept my eye on it on and off for months, but still couldn't justify $100+ on such a unique dress, no matter how much I would wear it. But when I found it in stores this summer for $50 with the 50% off sales + student discount, I was so happy I had waited. Playing the gambling game doesn't always pay off...but sometimes it does :)
Cardigan: J.Crew Factory 
Belt: Everlane [exact]
Watch: Michael Kors [save for under $50 | exact]
Purse: Kate Spade [save | splurge]
Shoes: Lucky [exact]
Nails: Butter [exact]

Sunday, August 24, 2014

I do it for the LOLs: outtakes volume 1

For the first two years of blogging I took all my own pictures. I started it all by just snapping a picture of my outfit with my computer (oh god, the shame tuck!), then using my camera (still in the bathroom), then moving to the patio, and eventually I started standing in the middle of streets like the true fashion blogger I am. When I moved last year, I no longer had time to drive somewhere to take a picture, so you guys got stuck looking at an ugly grey brick wall for most of the last year. I missed having a bit more fun with backgrounds, but I only live three minutes away from school with no cute stops on the way, so grey wall it was.

I got offered to do a post with Boden in April, and I felt like I needed to step it up just a little bit, so I asked my boyfriend if he would mind snapping a few pictures (in front of a different brick wall haha). We actually had a lot of fun doing it, and he's offered ever since to take my pictures. I love that it takes less time and the pictures turn out better, and he loves me so he puts up with it ;) But really, I'm so thankful that he's supportive of this hobby - he's always throwing out ideas for different posts (it was his idea to do the day in the life post) and is very patient when I ask him to retake the same picture three times. My favorite part of the whole experience is the outtakes though - I get such a kick out of them! Some are true outtakes, some I'm just hamming it up, and most are me just falling over...

So for your viewing pleasure....the outtakes, volume 1:
originally seen here

Friday, August 22, 2014

the lizzi chronicles: purging, donating, and boyfriends

Back when I was preparing to move last year, I kind of did all of the purging in stages without really documenting any of it. At the time, I hadn't moved more than three miles in any direction in seven years, so it took a while to go through everything I had accumulated in that time. One of my favorite ladies, Lizzi, is currently in the processing of moving in with her boyfriend, and in the process is using this move as a time to not only clean out her closet, but many of the different items in her possession. She's been doing a ton of research on how to best donate certain items, and we both thought that it would make for a great couple of posts. I hope you guys enjoy her intro post - be on the look out for progress pictures in the next few weeks!

*clears throat* Is this thing on? Is this where one blogs?

Ah, yes! Hello! This is Lizzi, Fran's favorite outlet shopping and concert companion! I am here because I approached Fran a few weeks ago about doing a few posts on "getting rid of stuff".

NO! Don't leave yet! I know that doesn't really have a lot of zing as it stands, but let me explain myself. And for what it's worth, I swear that Fran responded to my email with "I LOVE THIS IDEA!!!!" and "I'M SO EXCITED!!"

Thursday, August 21, 2014

the triad

The Limited Ankle Pants + J.Crew polka dots I mentioned last month that there aren't many things I really felt like I "needed" to add to my closet (because lets me honest, I have more than enough clothes!). I tried to think about what I felt like I was missing, and what pieces would get the most wear, and I knew that full length slim ankle dress pants were something that I would wear a ton, both this year in school and the next few years on rotations.

I didn't plan on finding a pair so soon though! 

My girlfriends and I stopped at our small local mall the day before school started because we were still freeeeeeeeeeeee...and because The Limited was having a 50% off everything sale. I found these pants tucked in the corner in the way back of the store, but was pretty excited about them since they were exactly what I was looking for. They come in tall lengths which means they actually go all the way down my leg, and the stretchy material makes them comfortable while still looking professional enough for school. I should be all set on school pants now!

On a side note, I found this red dress from Target online which could fulfill the red dress part of my wish list. I ordered it in a few sizes just to try on, although I'm afraid that it's going to be too short (it looks slightly short on the model). I'll be sure to post more about it next week for my budget recap (probably on Wednesday!).
J.Crew Factory Polka Dot Popover
Shirt: J.Crew Factory [exact on sale]
Pants: The Limited [exact]**
Necklace: c/o BaubleBar [exact - how amazing is the green version?!]
Lips: Revlon [exact]
Shoes: J.Crew Factory [exact on sale]
BaubleBar Crystal Triad Collar Necklace
** I bought these in the tall length, and had the knees taken in by my tailor (similar to what I did to these pants described here) - I intend to write a more detailed post on alterations in the next few weeks!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

shake it off: outfit inspiration

shake it off outfit, taylor swift shake it off, black outfit shake it off, outfit in shake it off, taylor swift shoes
top | pants | shoes | lipstick

My roommate and I like to have dance breaks during studying - one of us will need a few minutes of dancing around like crazies, so we turn up our "song", and basically jump all over the house. There's not real dancing involved - just dancing, shaking, and scaring dogs. Basically, everything that Taylor Swift is advocating for in her latest video Shake It Off (which we've already decided is this semester's "song")

While I haven't always been the biggest T. Swift fan, she has won me over the last year or so with her cute clothes - I definitely never look this cute leaving the gym! And so while I love the music in her latest video, her all black outfit has made debate cutting off my hair, buying bright red lipstick (in heatwave), and only wearing black from here on out. My favorite part may be her shoes though - while I think hers are from Zara, these Lucky ones are almost exactly the same.

Which dancing Taylor is your favorite?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

hello, sparkle! (+ hello cheeseburger giveaway)

J.Crew Seersucker Campbell capri I've seen my girl Alissa wear a ton of adorable jewelry in recent months, and so when I found out she was working with the company where she gets all of it, Hello Cheeseburger, and wanted to share the sparkly with me, I jumped at the chance. I decided to go with the cuff you see below because I really don't own anything like it but yet I feel it's so "me" - sparkly and shiny but relatively understated. I can't wait to wear it to both school and social events. 

If you want to get your hands on your own piece of sparkle, Hello Cheeseburger is giving away one item of your choice! Rafflecopter below - US Residents only please. 

On another note, today is the day of our first real exam of second year - upper GI. Wish me luck!
Bracelet: c/o Hello Cheeseburger
Tee: Everlane [exact]
Cardigan: Target, thrifted
Pants: J.Crew [exact on sale - size up!]
Shoes: Banana Republic [exact]
Necklace: J.Crew Factory [exact]
Bag: Madewell [save | exact]

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 15, 2014

how do you pick out an outfit?

Boden Wow Pencil Skirt As a person who generally likes to have a plan for everything, I surprisingly rarely plan outfits ahead of time. A few of you have asked me how I put outfits together, if I plan them the night before, and how I get ready in the morning. I wish I had the forethought to really plan that in advance, but to be honest, I rarely think about what I'm going to wear the next day. 

My getting dressed process this morning revolved around how my day was going to play out. We had to be in school for most of the day, so I wanted something I would be comfortable in for seven hours, so nothing too tight or constricting. I've also been making an effort these last few weeks to try to wear more of the items in my closet instead of reaching for the same ten items I usually want to wear (black pants, simple blouse). I've only had the chance to wear this skirt once since I received it, so I pulled it out, and then I basically hold it up to my shirts and see what I think looks good together. It takes a bit of the guess work out of what works together and what doesn't without having to try a bunch of stuff on (and then having to hang it all back up once you decide...or ya know, throwing them on a chair to put away later like I do). I've been really loving this necklace I got a few months ago (it's sold out online but may still be found in stores, although this one is almost identical and still available), and I love how it compliments the greens of the skirt. I choose the black wedges over the nude wedges because I felt it book-ended it all better, having dark on top and bottom.

So that's my getting ready process most mornings! I pick an item, try to figure out what goes with it, and then choose one "special" item, like a necklace or scarf. Definitely not rocket science but it works for me. What's your getting dress routine? Do you lay it out the day before, or like the little bit of anxiety in the morning figuring it all out? ;)

Tee: JcPenney [very similar]
Skirt: c/o Boden [exact on sale]
Necklace: Forever 21 [very similar]
Shoes: J.Crew Factory [exact on sale]
Watch: Michael Kors [cute save | exact]
Ring: BaubleBar [exact]
Nails: OPI [exact]

Thursday, August 14, 2014

two million - ask me anything!

via instagram

I'm coming up on 2 million pageviews, and to celebrate this little milestone, I thought another round of "ask me anything" would be fun. For those of you who have been around for a while, you'll remember that I did this about a year ago. You can read those posts here: on life, on medicine, and on fashion. If you have any questions for me (about medical school, blogging, fashion, whatever!), you can leave one in the comments or in the little box below anonymously. I may even answer a few things in video format if I ever figure out how to do that...

 Thank you so much for all of your support and love here on this hobby of mine - you're all wonderful :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

the simplest

DSC01718 There aren't a ton of ways to mix up a wrap dress, and instead of trying to be super clever about it (like wearing a shirt as a scarf on top of it - no seriously, I've done that...), I just went with what felt right - simple jewelry, comfortable wedges, and shapewear that evens it all out ;)

Dress: DvF via eBay [save | exact]
Shoes: J.Crew Factory [exact on sale]
Bag: Kate Spade [save | similar splurge]
Nails: OPI [exact]

Monday, August 11, 2014

da ba dee

Over the past year or so, I've really found myself drawn to more neutral colors when it comes to buying clothes. I just looked at what I've purchased over the past six months, and the only other colors besides whites/blacks/greys that I have really purchased are muted blues and reds. All of this of course leads to a cohesive wardrobe, can also get slightly boring. 

So I mixed it up by wearing the brightest thing I own - this dress I purchased 1.5 years ago. At the time I thought I would wear it all the time once I was allowed to wear dresses again (I used to work in a lab where I was required to wear pants) but once that time came...I never reached for it. I want to make it a point of wearing more of the somewhat neglected items in my closet that I haven't felt a need to get rid of yet, so here I the brightest dress ever. I couldn't help but wear it with neutrals but maybe next time I'll go real crazy and wear it with pink...or muted blue. I hope to incorporate a bit more color into my wardrobe, but in my own way (no neon ever. I just can't). I've had my eye out for a pale pink dress like this one for a while now - I think that because it's a softer color that I'll be able to mix it in well with the clothes I already own, and it could stand on it's own too with just a few simple accessories. 

Dress: Gap [similar below]
Cardigan: J.Crew Factory [exact]
Belt: Gap [exact]
Shoes: Banana Republic [exact]
Bag: Kate Spade [save | spend | splurge]


On a different note, I've been living pretty frugally for the past couple of weeks because all of my money is basically gone. We receive our student loan money twice a year - once in August and once in January. I think for the first year of living on loans I did pretty good, but it's cutting it close right here in the last week before we get our next check. The worst part is that right now I have total grabby hands - I WANT EVERYTHING (while talking about how I should wear more of the clothes I don't usually wear. I know). I try to delete the shopping emails as soon as they show up on my phone, but sometimes they somehow just open. I found this colorblocked blazer from Banana Republic online over the weekend and I can't stop thinking about it. I have wanted a somewhat more "unique" blazer (since all of mine except one are solid) and this has everything I want - greys, blacks, whites, AND TALL SIZES. 

Next Monday's check can't come soon enough...because along with that blazer, these glasses are coming my way too. And so is this j.crew rip off tee (j'adore or you me oui?).

Told you. Grabby hands. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

staples on sale: ann taylor friends and family

bag | dress | shoes skirt
Ann Taylor is a brand that I wish I had access to where I lived - I always love their professional and timeless pieces, but with their high shipping minimum for free shipping, I never pull the trigger. They are currently running their friends and family sale though, with 40% off everything. If only my money was in (only another week and a half...)! Here are a few items that I would love to own, and may still keep an eye out for during future sales...

Tote: Technically, the last thing I need right now is another tote bag (my Madewell bag is plenty loved, and the Kate Spade one I use for school is holding up nicely), but Jean has been raving about this bag for months, and every time I see it I want it a little bit more. I love that it's a bag that looks like it will really hold it's structure (great for lugging my laptop every where) while being sleek and polished. If you're looking for a school or work bag, put this baby on the top of the list (but don't send me pictures because I'll be insanely jealous).

Polka Dot Dress: I actually have a dress very similar to this that I recently altered to the proper hem length. I can't wait to wear it with both my beloved red and cognac accessories. If you're interested and on the taller side, consider going with the tall sizes as this is reviewed as being slightly short for work environments.

Quilted Leather Shoes: The cap-toe makes it fashionable, the leather makes it comfortable, and the block heel makes it easy to walk in. An all around great everyday shoe.

Tweed Skirt: A dark tweed skirt is on the top of my fall wish list - it's dark and neutral enough to be professional (and flattering!), but the texture adds a bit of extra interest. I think it's similar to my tweed dress, which I grab for all the time, so having a separate would get a ton of mileage - I really hope this is still around in a few weeks! I see it paired easily with a nice silk blouse and a pretty jeweled necklace in the fall, and then with black tights and a cowled scarf once the snow hits.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


DSC01609After a summer of lazy dressing (I was in my jean shorts and these tees 90% of the time), I'm a little excited to get to wear some of the clothes I haven't touched in months. It's still way too warm to layer or wear blazers (although I'm so tempted because I looooove them), but a light button-up is just fine for the almost 80 degrees we have currently. That's not to say that I don't rip all these clothes off the second I walk into my house and change into leggings and a tee (because I do), but for now, mornings are a bit more fun than they have been!

Every morning I get dressed though, I always feel like my shoes and belt have to match. I feel that it just pulls an outfit together so so easily without any effort, but I'm always scared that it gets really boring and repetitive. Am I over-thinking this, or does it not matter? Do you have a "get ready quick" tip to share with the rest of us? 
Blouse: J.Crew [cute similar]
Pants: The Limited [same style]
Necklace: c/o BaubleBar [exact]
Shoes: Old Navy [similar below]
Watch: Fossil [similar]

BaubleBar just started a Global Road Trip - all you have to do to participate is snap a picture of your BaubleBar jewelry, tag it with #BaubleBar and #Nordstrom on Instagram, say what state you are in, and you're entered to win a ton of prizes. On the website all of the pictures are organized by state so you can even find other fashionable ladies from your part of the country. I wore my shiny new necklace to participate - you can find my entry here!

Monday, August 4, 2014

the beginning of the end

DSC01574 Today is my last first day of classroom school....EVER. It was surprising to me how fast first year ended, so my plan for this school year is to treasure the last year of "free time" - this will be the last time when I have control over most hours of my day. After that, good bye self-made schedule! 

We are starting school with GI, which was my favorite section in anatomy last year so I'm excited to learn about it more in depth. I'm still continuing with my bone research, and I may also work as an anatomy TA, so this is going to be a busy fall semester!  

Skirt: Anthro via eBay [similar below]
Necklace: Forever 21 [exact]
Belt: Gap [exact]
Watch: Michael Kors [exact]
Shoes: Banana Republic [save | exact]
Purse: Kate Spade [similar]
Nails: Essie [exact]
all my favorite ladies :)

P.S. I was recently interviewed by Abby - check it out here!