Monday, September 1, 2014

my hair curling routine

Photo on 2014-08-31 at 10.16 I've had a couple requests to share how I curl my hair, so I made a little video about how I try to do it most days. I use the following products, but am definitely open to suggestions (especially ones that help the curls stay!) :

Suave Dry Shampoo
Tresamme Hairspray

(P.S. I'm wearing a Project Social T + a Kendra Scott necklace c/o Popsugar)

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

Saturday, August 23, 2014

staples on sale: banana republic (+ colorblock soft blazer review)

dress | sweater | skirt | dress
Banana Republic is currently having a 40% off your entire purchase sale (online only, through 8/24), so it's a perfect time to pick up a few fall pieces before all the good stuff is gone! As always, why pay more for something you can get for less?

Tweed Sheath Dress: I have a very similar version from Madewell that I wear quiet frequently (see how I've worn it a few times on the blog here, but I really wear it a ton in real life). The pattern on these dresses is muted enough to be worn over and over again, but the tweed gives it that little something special. The necklace and shape of the dress are super flattering, and will work great now with heels (like those amazing ones the model is wearing) and later in the fall/winter with boots or booties (which I may actually try this year - I fell in love with this pair that I may ask for for my birthday).

Long Pullover: I find that many sweaters are way too short on me, especially after one unfortunately too hot cycle in the dryer. This one is made to be longer, therefore the fear of shrinkage is much smaller. I love how it's paired with grey + white here.

(Faux) Leather Skirt[no longer included in sale]: I was asked in my AMA post (which will stay up just a few more days if you have anything you want to ask!) how I pick out skirts that work on me, and after thinking about it, I realize that to keep everything in check hips-wise, I usually go for skirts with a bit more structure and pattern. This leather skirt is chic enough to be worn to work/school with a nice blouse, or for more casual events with a looser tee. There's also a mini version if you are looking for something a little shorter!

Ponte Fit + Flare Dress: Ponte fabric is the gift that keeps on giving - it's heavy enough to give your clothing structure, but it's flexible and soft enough that you feel like you aren't restricted. This fit and flare dress, with full short sleeves (yesssssss!) and flattering waist-line would be another one of those dresses that works well now, and later.

Banana Republic Colorblock soft blazer
I talked about this blazer a few weeks ago after seeing it on a flyer, and I couldn't wait to order it to try on for myself. Luckily by the time we got our money, they had restocked the talls so I ordered both the regular version (on the left) and the tall version (on the right). I am SO happy that they made this in talls, because I think it makes all the difference on me. The shoulders are slightly wider, which means that it doesn't give me that "fat guy in a little coat" look that often happens with regular sized blazers. It's also about an inch longer, which means the waist is hitting me at my actual waist, and the longer length is more flattering and elongating. The blazer definitely lives up to its "soft" name - the outside cotton makes it so comfortable, while still holding it's shape well. The only thing I don't like about it is that I find that the hook is too low on me (you can see it slightly on the picture on the right at the level of the pockets), but that's a really easy snip-and-sew fix I can do myself. Overall, while the blazer costs slightly more than I usually pay for things, I know that the fit and comfort level means I'll wear it all the time in the fall and winter. If you're interested, it comes in petite, regular, and tall sizing!

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!!"