01 October 2014

one in, one out: september 2014

for each clothing, shoe, and accessory purchase i make this year, i am donating/selling/recycling a comparable item in an effort to better manage my closet.  check out my "one in, one out" tag for more of these monthly posts!
so, this month of shopping was definitely a wake up call for me. sure, i spent over $100 on a new winter coat (a necessity where i live, so my mindset is "what are you going to do about it") but aside from that, i still spent so much money on so many online purchases. i do feel fortunate that an item was cancelled from all but one of the online purchases i made this month due to being unavailable, so i guess that helped my cause some.  and i have zero regrets about any of the blouses that i bought, which i definitely feel i needed in my wardrobe.  the one clothing item i either have to suck it up and wear with confidence or try to sell on ebay are the printed skimmer pants from j crew factory.  they fit wonderfully (so i will be keeping an eye on the 'skimmer' pants in the future), but i am not sold on the print.  they were a final sale/non-returnable item, so i figure i owe it to myself to wear them at least once before i decide.  anyway, here's my shameful collage of spending:

{what came in}

item purchased $ paid original $
j crew factory draped novelty top - polka dot (gw) 5.24
j crew geometric eyelet top (thredup/9.99) ppal 110
j crew orange lace 3/4 top (thredup/6.84) ppal
j crew factory lace panel tee - black 15.95 85
j crew factory floral eyelet top - melon 12.45 75
j crew factory printed cutaway top 12.45 74.50
patagonia r3 fleece hoodie - aloe green 138.73 199
j crew factory skimmer pants - green fuchsia 25.89 74.50
j crew factory ruffle collar tee - black hearts 23.79 69.50
c9 workout capris 16.61 34.99
c9 baseball hat 7.11 14.99
target $1 spot socks - teal triangles 0.67 1
target $1 spot socks - gray/white stripes 0.67 1
minnesota twins stocking cap 0 0
minnesota twins zubaz pants 0 0
ann taylor cotton sateen straight leg pants 14.95 89
old navy plaid flannel shirt - white/red plaid 13.70 24.94
old navy quilted zip-front vest - canvas 21.20 34.94
c9 workout capris 11.86 24.99
merona ponte fit & flare dress

10.39 27.99


{what went out}

no picture this month... sorry... i just get too anxious to get everything i am getting rid of in a donation box/bag so i did not keep everything separated out to take a picture, but i am staying faithful to getting rid of a comparable item for every one that i buy!

so, i do most of my grocery shopping at aldi and they always have pretty useful home items in addition to the regular groceries, but they are only available until they're sold out.  last week, i noticed they had boxes of 20 velvet slimline hangers (like huggable hangers) for $5.99.  20 hangers for $5.99!  i immediately bought 3 boxes, then went to two different aldis the following day to buy... well... i don't tell you how many more boxes of 20 hangers i bought.  but anyway, i took everything i own off the mismatched hangers i'd been using and transitioned to these slim velvet hangers (amazing) and in doing so, culled out quite a few additional things to get rid of this month.  it's also kind of amazing how much space these types of hangers do make.  i am really starting to love how  my closet looks and how it is organized, and i think when you reach that point you're more likely to "see" or appreciate the outfits it contains, don't you agree?

{looking ahead}

based on my assessment of my spending this month, i've decided to go a month without shopping in october.  since i started tracking my purchases in 2011, not a month has gone by that i haven't purchased something.  that just seems kind of crazy to me.  plus, i either delete or italicize the items that i have gotten rid of or re-donated over the years, and seeing all those blank spots on my spreadsheet was another good visual reminder that hey, maybe you aren't making the best purchases if you just end up getting rid of something a year or two later.

thanks for visiting!

30 September 2014

most complimented.

merona ponte fit & flare dress
dexter claire flats
ourworldboutique necklace

if i were to give out awards to the items in my closet, this dress may receive "most complimented" - and the funny thing is, today is my first time wearing it because i just bought it yesterday thanks to the 25% off women's clothing cartwheel that popped up this week.  now, don't misunderstand me... i'm definitely not saying that i was complimented, it was all the dress.  i love the thick ponte knit, the 3/4 sleeves, and the pockets (that i didn't even know existed until i put it on this morning).  is this not the perfect dress?!  i'm looking forward to going through all of my solid colored button-downs to layer underneath it matched with a coordinating necklace (you know me).

get the look:  exact dress {i have my eye on the solid green one too} / similar flats / exact necklace {get 25% off with code "heyoctober"}

29 September 2014


j crew factory eyelet top
gap true straight piped pants
restricted slice it wedges
simonson's jewelry necklace {local vendor}

this is a look i wore last week that i didn't get around to blogging but i loved it so much that i just had to take a moment to feature it.  the melony-coral top seemed to go so nicely with the mint shoes and necklace.  i loved the color combination and how cheery i felt all day.  i wear bright colors year-round, but these shoes will likely need to hibernate during the winter, so i wanted to make sure to get another wear in before i'm relegated to wearing tights for the next 6-8 months.  i know, i can't believe i'm saying that either but tights weather is definitely coming!

get the look: similar blouse / similar pants / similar necklace / exact wedges

26 September 2014


j crew factory ruffle collar blouse
old navy sweetheart skinny jeans
merona bella flats  ·   groopdealz necklace

happy friday!  if there were ever a day to wear a blouse with funny looks hearts on it, it should be a friday!  because who doesn't heart fridays?  haha, ba-da-bum! i'll be here all next week!

(ps: how do you keep your black jeans from fading?!)

just a reminder you can still enter the giveaway for $30 to use at create by the yard, a fun online fabric store that supplied the fabric i used to make my handmade coasters in monday's post!

get the look:  exact blouse / exact jeans / exact flats / similar necklace

25 September 2014

throwback thursday.

old navy chambray {thrifted}
handmade {by me} skirt
american eagle 'justify' heels

this week the receptionist at the nursing home where i work said she never sees me wear the same thing twice. if i scroll through my archives from 2012, 2013, or 2014 {ugh, way behind on updating that one} it may seem that way but i definitely re-wear certain items a lot.  i haven't worn this skirt in over a year though so i thought it made sense for a sunny 70* day and to join the throwback fashion thursday link up at happiness at mid-life.  this is the first skirt i ever made and i still seem to get quite a few compliments on it, so hopefully it'll continue to have a place in my closet for some time to come. you can check out other ways i've worn it here.

get the look: similar chambray / similar skirt / similar heels / similar belt / similar necklace

20 things!

i had to jump on the bandwagon and do one of these video posts of "20 things that you may not know about me" after my pal kate at a journey in style tagged me.  i'm always looking for opportunities to have blog posts basically written for me and to share more of myself with you all, so i figured why not do so in embarrassing video form.  you'll have to forgive me if i don't list out the questions and the time stamp for each one but watching this video once was enough to suffer through myself and i didn't want to watch it again to write down the times, so now i'm going to make you suffer through it as well, heh heh heh... enjoy!! 

(here is the link if the embed doesn't work... again!)

a couple things... 
> when my eyes keep going to the left i'm looking at the time wondering how the heck i am talking so long!! 
> i'd love to see caroline at tasteful style & alice at happiness at mid-life answer these questions, either in written or video form!

24 September 2014

book review: fangirl

fangirl by rainbow rowell 

this really felt like a book that was written for me, but i guess i have to bare a bit of my background so that makes sense.  first of all, the main characters - cath and wren - are twins. i'm a twin. the twins are going off to college and wren wanted to separate herself from cath and choose a different roommate. i went to a different college than my twin sister for the same reason.  cath is into writing fan fiction  based on the simon snow series (think harry potter). i used to write fanfic based on my favorite band, hanson. cath has a terrible roommate.  i had a terrible freshman year roommate.

sometimes when you are faced with something that draws so many parallels to your life, or a past life, it may not be something you want to delve back into depending on the emotions you have from that time. but for me, this book evoked all the right emotions. i loved cath's character and her love for writing and getting lost in a world where she knows the characters so intimately and wants their stories to continue. i truly empathized with the struggle she felt identifying who she was in college, preferring to stay in her room rather than risk going to the dining hall by herself because she wasn't sure how it "worked" (oh my gosh, i had the same issues...), where she has "online friends" who she feels more connected to than anyone in her "real life" (again, another parallel to my own life). where she struggles to become her own person at such a pivotal time in life without her built in best friend, her twin, next to her the entire way.  this book is truly about that journey for cath.

rainbow rowell had quickly become one of my favorite authors for her ability to build relatable and sweet stories around realistic characters and environments. the dialogue between the characters is always spot on, leaving you with the exact feeling you know she intended for them--and you--to feel.  i also love that she always leaves you wanting just an inch more but she purposely leaves that room in the dialogue so you can infer what happens next or how the characters are feeling that she has developed so well.

need i say more?  do yourself a favor and read this book!

23 September 2014

punk floral.

j crew factory printed cutaway blouse  ·  merona linen skirt {thrifted}
old navy perfect cardigan  ·  mossimo ona flats

i was able to take advantage of a gilt offer for 30% off at j crew factory recently which is a nice discount to have there even though it seems like they've been offering it more and more lately.  i had a couple things in my cart i kept going back to, and the during one browsing i saw this blouse!  i couldn't believe it!  sure, this print is everywhere but it was one i was always drawn to and i was so excited to add it to my wardrobe.  it was only offered in petite at the time but i've found one size up in petite is consistent with what my regular size would be. however, when i added the link at the bottom of this post, it was available in regular sizes xs & s, so it may still be available in random sizes if you are interested.   

all in all, i'm really happy with then purchases i made from j crew factory with that gilt offer.  i also ordered the lace panel tee in black & i found this blouse in coral - another moment of disbelief!  i guess it pays to browse and browse because you never know when items will be added to the sale section.  i've really become more lenient with the amount of money i spend on certain clothing items.  i'd rather spend $25 for a blouse that i know will have a place in my closet for a long time like these ones vs spending $3-5 on multiple tops at the goodwill that i just end up thrifting back in six months or a year.

get the look: exact blouse {same print in pants & skirt} / similar skirt / similar cardigan / similar flats - same brand / similar stripes

linking up with andi & inge for skirts week!

22 September 2014

tutorial: handmade fabric coasters with create by the yard!

when my good friend marissa from the modern austen (if you don't already follow her blog, you may remember her from the pantone color challenges we co-host a couple times a year) approached me and asked if i would be interested in collaborating on a sewing project with her and kristin from create by the yard, my almost immediate answer was YES.  i used to sew handmade skirts a lot until i gradually lost sight of the hobby because i had no space to spread out my patterns or a private place to sew where i wouldn't be a nuisance. when i moved recently, i was eager to carve out a corner of the lower level of my townhouse for a crafting corner and marissa's offer couldn't have come at a better time to get back into sewing.

kristin from create by the yard offers a large selection of high quality fabrics that can't be found in large retailers.  i also love that she offers organic and "recycled" fabrics.  kristin's site is so fun for anyone to browse who loves sewing or crafting but doesn't want to leave the comfort of their home.

marissa and kristin challenged myself and a few other bloggers to create something with a yard of kristin's fabric.  you may not think that much can be made with such a small amount of fabric, but we hope to prove you wrong. :)  throughout this week, we'll each be sharing our project and i'm up first.  be sure to check out lizzie tomorrow, marissa on wednesday, anjelica on thursday, and sara on friday.  and did i mention there's a giveaway?  scroll down to the bottom of the post for that!

today i am so, so excited to bring you a tutorial of how to make your own reversible fabric coasters. i can think of unlimited uses for coasters!  i use them on my desk at work, in my bedroom on my dresser and my nightstand, in my living room on the coffee table and side tables, on the deck on my patio table, even in the bathroom when i'm doing my make-up in the morning and need my coffee nearby but don't want any accidental spillage to stain the counter-top.

coasters also make awesome gifts and can be appreciated by just about anyone as long as you have an idea of their taste so you choose fabric they'll like... you can give a set to a coworker for his/her home or to use on their desk at the office, to a friend as housewarming gift, to a new grad to take to college... really anyone!  since they're flat and lightweight, they're also easy to send in the mail as a birthday or "thinking of you" gift.  and the great thing is, they require so little fabric!  sift through the remnant bin at your local fabric store or your own fabric stash or order some fabric from kristin and join me in making some fabric coasters!

01 > get your dvd player going with your favorite movie or live concert footage of choice.  i'm watching hanson perform their first album, middle of nowhere, acoustic.  fun fact, i was in the audience for this performance!  no, i'm not that terrified looking girl in the bottom left-hand corner.  :)

02 > gather your supplies:
  • cutting mat
  • ruler
  • rotary cutter
  • scissors
  • pins
  • two pieces of fabric, each 1/4 yard or 1/2 yard, depending on how many coasters you want to make.  i received 1/2 yard each of the moda autumn woods/fall berries in gray & tan from kristin's shop.  i could have cut about 24 coaster sides out of each 1/2 yard of fabric, so i bet 1/4 yard would be enough if you want to make half that many coasters!
  • fusible interfacing (i used pellon interfacing from joann's that was $2.49 a yard, look for the craft interfacing with the yellow label on the bolt - it's cheaper to buy it off the bolt rather than in a package in the notions area, especially if it's on sale or you can find a coupon)
  • iron, sewing machine

03 > cut your fabric into equal sized squares.  you should first make sure your fabric is even on all sides or use a straight edge ruler and the selvage (that's what i did) to create perfect squares.  i used the width of my ruler (5 inches) to cut my squares to make it easy on myself and it ended up being just the right size for a coaster.

04 > cut an equal number of squares out of each fabric for however many coasters you wish to make!  one will be the front and one will be the back.  all of my squares are 5" x 5".

05 > cut your interfacing the same way you cut your fabric squares, but only cut half as many.

06 > check the instructions that came with your interfacing to iron the appropriate side (in my case it was the shiny side) to the wrong side (the back side) of your fabric.

07 > again, iron the interfacing to the wrong side of one of your squares of fabric (fabric A).

08 > take fabric B and place it right sides together with fabric A that you ironed the interfacing to.

09 > optional step:  place a few pins along the perimeter of your coaster to keep it together while you sew.  i found this step wasn't really necessary since it is such a small project and it's easy to keep it held together as you sew.

10 > start about 3/4 of the way down one edge of your coaster and sew along the edges of your coaster.  when you make it all the way around, leave about a 2" opening in the center of one of the sides.  don't forget to back-stitch!  i like to make sewing easy on myself and choose one of the numbered markers on my machine (it reads 1, 2, 3 from left to right and i lined the edge of my fabric up along the number 1) or a part of the foot to guide my sewing.

11 > cut your corners!

 12 > turn your coaster right-side out.  you'll really have to work it through the small opening!

13 > use a small pair of scissors (or a chopstick or pencil) and poke the corners out to a nice point.

14 > here is what your coaster looks like after you pushed out the corners.  

 15 > iron your coaster

16 > now you will top-stitch along your coaster.  doing this will sew the opening that was left in step 14 closed.  pick a point on your foot to use as a guide and try to sew as close as you can to the edge of the coaster.

 17 > the finished product!


i have one of these coasters on my dresser where i put my cup of coffee in the morning when i'm doing my hair and picking out my jewelry...

... and i have one on the top of one of my bookshelves where my computer is since i always seem to have some sort of drink next to me.  but funny story:  it's never diet coke!  i bought a case of diet coke for some company who came over as i knew it was their preferred beverage, but they ended up bringing their own and i was left with a whole case of diet coke!  i decided i should drink it so it doesn't go to waste and it just happened to be what i was drinking as i was doing this project.  does anyone want some free diet coke??

so there it is, my fabric coasters!  i do want to reference this tutorial that helped me make sure i had all the steps down to plan my own.  i hope you enjoyed this little project and may consider tackling it yourself.  i'd love to hear what you think in the comments!

thanks again marissa & kristin for the opportunity to create something so fun!  and because kristin also wants to see you craft something fun, she is offering 30% off at her shop, create by the yard, with the code bloghop0914 or you can try your luck at winning a $30 gift certificate through the rafflecopter below!  giveaway runs from 9/22-9/29 at midnight and kristin generously ships worldwide.  good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway