Wednesday, August 29, 2012

U-Rah-Rah

This weekend is the first Badger game of the season and I'm so excited. I was in the UW Marching band for 5 years (before you laugh, go watch this - can you spot me? I have blond hair!) and this weekend is also Alumni Band so we all get to relive "the glory days". All my friends are coming into town so I'm really happy to see everyone - I miss them so much :(

Enough sob stories, here's the manicure, all ready for a weekend of celebrating my alma mater.

White: Julep Eileen  (this month's Julep box)
Red: Sally Hansen Cherry Red
Glitter: Essie Set in Stone - looks green because of my yard :(




Speaking of Julep, congrats to Ashley M for winning a Julep Maven Intro Box by liking Franishh on facebook. Be on the look out for an email from me! If you didn't win, remember you can sign up for a box for just a penny using the code MAVENINTRO. Sign up here - and let me know if you end up signing up so I can thank you properly!

Linking up with the Nail Files and Mani Monday.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Understated Statement

This month's Marionberry Style Trend is statement necklaces. I, like just about every blogger out there, has a knock off J. Crew bubble necklace that was a gift from my sister (she bought it at H&M Germany). I decided not to wear it this time because 1. how original and 2. sometimes a little understated statement necklaces are more appropriate for wearing under a lab jacket.











Plus now I get to look like I'm celebrating the 4th of July.





















Cardigan: Old Navy {similar in black}
Necklace: Ann Taylor Outlet  {similar, similar}
Blouse: H&M  {exact}
Jeans: Gap Outlet
Shoes: Rocket Dog
Watch: Fossil
Bracelet: J. Crew























Linking up with Real Girl Glam and wiww.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Let's Not Get Carried Away

I leave the house by 7:10 every morning (okkk, most mornings) and even though it's still August, it's been getting chillier. Chilly enough to need a jacket? Maybe, maybe not. But I can't help but reach for them, even if it's just for the walk to my car.


Jumping the gun on fall? Perhaps.













Jacket: Banana Republic  {save, spend, splurge}
Shirt: Forever 21  {similar}
Belt: Madewell  {similar}
Jeans: Urban Outfitters
Shoes: Simply Vera Vera Wang
1 day left to enter to win an intro box to Julep Maven. I just received the "your box has shipped" email - I'm so excited for this month's colors!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

August Budget


1. Forever 21 Jeweled Collar Necklace: $8  {seen here}
2. Old Navy Twill Cargo Vest: $29.94 + 25% off = $22.50  {seen here, here}
3. Thrifted J. Crew Cardigan: $5  {seen here}
4. Essie Ballet Slipper: $8  {seen here}
5. Thrifted Ralph Lauren Button-up: $8  {seen here}
6. Aldo Siewert Flats: $70 + on sale = $33  {seen here, here and here}
7. H&M Striped Boat Neck: $18  {seen on instagram}
8. H&M Blouse: $29.95  {seen here}

August Budget: $132.45

I did pretty good this month! I wanted to spend a bit less this month so I can buy a few more pieces in September, including that classic navy blazer. I've been busy spending money on med school applications, so with less money and less time comes a better kept budget. How did you guys do this month? Did August sales get you, or did you impose a no shopping ban to save up for the fall?

P.S. Please let me know if you link up - this is my first time using this link-up and it's been giving me some trouble, so your link up may not show up right away. Thanks for understanding!





1. Franishh: August Budget

2. Back to School-Oh, She Dabbles

3. Kim @ Life. Love. Law.

4. valeri @ subURBAN living

5. Budgeting Bloggers ~ August

6. Laura @ Twelve by Six

7. Blue Paper Lanterns

8. heidi @ literate & stylish

9. August Monthly Spending

10. Here&Now

You are next... Click here to enter
This list will close in 4 days, 2 hrs, 34 min (9/30/2012 11:59 PM North America - Central Standard Time)

Mission: Classic Wool Navy Blazer, Part 1

Since I started keeping a clothing budget, and seeing where my money is going each month, I've realized that I make a lot of quick decisions when buying clothing. I want a closet with pieces that work with each other, that can be worn in a variety of ways, and that I will have for years to come. To do this, I need to buy less "fast fashion"and more closet staples. First on my list of staples is a classic wool navy blazer. I wanted to do my research on these investment pieces, and not just buy the first one I found that kind of matched what I wanted. I searched online and narrowed my choices down to three that I could try on in the store to review.

Gap Ponte Academy Blazer : $88

The first blazer I tried on was the Ponte Academy Blazer at Gap. I tried on the size 10 (on the left, in fuchsia since they didn't have a 10 in navy in the store) and a size 12 (on the right). This blazer is fully lined and made of 77% polyester, 15% rayon and 8% spandex. The blazer is light weight and has a smoother finish.

Pros:

  • Machine Washable
  • Comes in Petite, Regular, Tall
  • Comes in 5 colors
  • Price point: $88 is very reasonable for a blazer
  • I like the double pockets on the left

Cons:

  • Too light weight for what I'm looking for. Since the fabric is polyester and not wool, it feels more like a business suit blazer.
  • While I like the white ribbon piping on the fuchsia blazer, I don't want the black ribbon trim on the navy blazer
  • I feel I'm in between sizes. The 10 is a bit tight in the shoulder, but the 12 is much too boxy
  • The regular is too short on me. 
  • Buttons are light weight and feel cheap

Verdict: 

I like the fuchsia blazer for what it is - a cute shrunken bright blazer. While the price is great compared to the next two blazers, it isn't exactly what I want. If I ever find the pink blazer on sale I may purchase it but I am passing on the navy version.

Banana Republic Navy Double Breasted Blazer : $130


The second blazer is from Banana Republic. Again the size 10 is on the left, size 12 on the right. This blazer is also fully lined, and is made of 67% cotton and 33% rayon. This blazer was a lot thicker and more structured than the blazer at Gap and although it is made of cotton, it feels like wool.

Pros:

  • I really like the thickness of this blazer. It seems like a firmer fabric than the Gap blazer which means it would keep its shape better.
  • The buttons are solid.
  • I like where the blazer hits my hips and the arm length is long enough (in the size 10 - the 12's sleeves are too long)

Cons: 

  • It is dry clean only
  • It does not come in petite/regular/tall sizing
  • While the double breasted buttons look great with a nautical outfit, I feel it limits the outfits you can wear with this blazer
  • There is only 1 closure which means it isn't as practical for the cooler temperatures.
  • Again I'm in between sizes. The 10 fits me well in the arms but pulls a bit in the chest area. The 12 is too large in the arms but fits my waist better.
Verdict: 

While again it would be a fun piece to own for certain outfits, it doesn't fit the classic navy requirement and because it doesn't come in tall sizing, I can't try in between sizes. 


J. Crew Schoolboy Blazer : $198

If you follow me on instagram, you may have seen a picture of this blazer with me expressing my disappointed. I initially tried this blazer on in a size 12, and left feeling, well, disappointed. J. Crew is outside my normal budget so since it is expensive, I expected the quality to match the price. Initially I was disappointed in this blazer but have since changed my opinion.

Again, the size 10 is on the left, 12 on the right. This blazer like the other two is fully lined. Neither the website nor the catalog describe the material in percentages but will tell you that it is "wool with a hint of stretch".

Pros:

  • The size 10 fits me well. I didn't feel that the shoulders were too tight, and there wasn't any strain in the chest or waist. 
  • This blazer can be ordered in a petite/regular/tall
  • It has an interior pocket, which the other 2 blazers did not.
  • The fabric is thick but soft.

Cons: 

  • I tried the size 12 on Friday night, and left upset about the fit. The shoulders felt narrow, it made my arms look bulky and it didn't fit my waist at all. I had given up on this blazer until I decided that proper photograph documentation was needed so when I went back on Saturday to take pictures, I realized that the blazer looks terrible in a size 12 because that's not my size.
  • Dry Clean only.
  • The arms are just a bit too short on me. 
  • Price: $200 is a lot of money for one piece of clothing.
  • The buttons are very cheap. For a blazer that costs this much, I expect the buttons to be solid. If I do decide to buy this blazer I would replace the buttons. It isn't a huge problem, and it allows me to customize the blazer a bit, but it is unfortunate that J. Crew didn't decide to use nicer buttons.


Verdict: 

After realizing that the sizing was off, not the blazer itself, I really do like this blazer. It is thick, lined, and is that classic wool blazer I am looking for. Because the sleeves are a bit short, and I would like the blazer to be just a bit longer, I am going to order this blazer in a size 10 Tall and then compare the tall sizing to the regular sizing. $200 is a lot of money for one piece of clothing, but I hope that by doing more research and being patient about the process that I will find a piece of clothing that I will wear for many years to come.

To be continued....


Part 2 here!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

School Picture


My father keeps a picture of each of his 4 children in his wallet. Each of them are from different times in our lives. One would think that he would use a recent picture, or my high school senior picture that good money paid for, or at least something semi flattering....but no, he keeps my 5th grade school picture in his old leather wallet. The only reason I even know this is because it is probably the worst school picture I have ever taken. Braces, frizzy hair, that blue Wal-Mart jumper I saved my baby sitting money for, and the head tilt. My head is at a 45 degree tilt and it's just so awkward.

Kind of like my head in this picture. I guess that awkward part just stayed with me. That, and the crooked teeth.
Shirt: H&M  {similar, similar}
Jeans: Express  {exact}
Belt: Forever 21
Shoes: Rocket Dog
Bracelets: Forever 21

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

2for1

Today I was at the shipping dock, which is in a different part of the building than I work in. A man I occasionally work with was also there and asked if where I work is cold enough to warrant a scarf. It's a silly question to have to ask someone in August, but the room I sit in IS really cold. Hence the scarf. It looks a bit silly coming out of a lab coat though...


Cardigan: thrifted J. Crew
Tee: Target
Scarf: H&M
Jeans: Joe's Jeans
Purse: Coach - graduation present
Shoes: Simply Vera Vera Wang
Watch: Boccia
I went in the opposite direction as last week and went dark. Remember that there are 6 days left to win an intro box from Julep Maven. You can enter here!

Blue: Essie Midnight Cami
Gold: Julep Oscar, c/o



P.S. I'm guest posting for Jen at Librarian for Life Style while she is on vacation!

Linking up with Mani Monday and the Nail Files.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bear Pup, Superstar


First of all, thank you for your kind comments yesterday while I was "having a moment". I think you are all great :)

Now back to our regular scheduled program - mainly, my dogs being so needy for internet attention that they feel they need to be in every outfit picture. Hansi last week, Baer this week. Maybe next week I'll bring in my fish from work (his name is Fynn Alpha the Beta Fish) and we'll pose together too.

I'm ready for my close up!
Bitch please, I'm fabulous.

Shirt: Old Navy {exact - seen in blue here}
Scarf: Present from my friend Alexa (coming home next week! hi5)
Jeans: Gap Outlet  {similar}
Shoes: Aldo {exactsimilarsimilar}
Bracelets: Forever 21  {similar}


Linking up with wiww

Monday, August 20, 2012

IRL

Documenting what I wear daily on this blog has been a really valuable experience so far. I'm building a workable wardrobe, I'm learning what works and what doesn't, and I've become more aware of the money I spend.

The problem with taking pictures of yourself and putting it on the internet is that I feel it has to be special/pinterest worthy/worth remembering. I would love to accessorize more, wear cuter shoes, spend more time on my hair, wear skirts. But the reality is that this is what I wear in real life. I like simple and clean, I have to wear pants, I can't wear rings that can't be worn with gloves, and after almost 25 years, I still don't know how to do my hair. I can't pretend to be something on this blog that I'm not in real life. This may not be the most special outfit ever posted on the internet, but it is what I actually wore to work today.

Shirt: Thrifted Ralph Lauren  {similar}
Jeans: Joe's Jeans  {similar}
Belt: Gap {save, spend, splurge}
Shoes: Rocket Dog (that need to be replaced...)
Necklace: 18th Birthday Present
Bracelet: J. Crew  {similar}

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fall Wish List

I know that it's such a cliche to be excited for fall...but I'm so excited!   We have finally turned off the AC (no more $200+ bills for us!), college football starts in 2 weeks, and my birthday is a month away. In an effort (ha) to stick to my budget, I've listed some of the items I want to invest in in the next couple of months. Fall is all about layering so I'm trying to buy pieces that allow for that. What part of fall clothing is your favorite?

Joe's Jeans Honey Bootcut
Flannel Scarf (a future DIY)
Frye Melissa Boots
Dorothy Perkins Open Stitch Sweater
Anne Klein Gold Watch
Urban Outfitters Flannel Shirt
Tiffany's Bead Earrings (Birthday Wish)
J. Crew Blazer (Birthday Present to myself)


And speaking of fall, and that back to school time, don't forget that you can win some awesome back to school devices by entering AT&T's Back To School Sweepstakes here. Good luck!












*Disclosure: I  was contacted by M80 to help get their word out about their Back To School Promotion. I receive a free product by participating but I do not receive anything for your entry. I'm crossing my fingers for you :)

Half Marathoners


We survived! I still can't believe we ran all of that, but I'm so proud that we did. I can't really walk today but am already excited to get back into running more now that I know I can do 13 miles. I'm not sure if a full  marathon is in my future but never say never!


My mom and sister Viktoria came to support us. Can you tell we are related?















Just after finishing...
and Chris finishing about 20 minutes before me ;)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Copy Cat

Today's weather was perfect. Now if only I got to experience it at all during the day at work - there aren't any windows in the room I sit in so I just like to pretend the weather is terrible outside so I don't have to feel bad about not enjoying it.

Luckily for me I get 2+ undisturbed hours "with nature" tomorrow as it's the day of my half marathon! It turns out that Chris doesn't have to be at the hospital this weekend so he is doing it with me. Wish us luck!









Sweater: Old Navy  {exact, splurge}
Jeans: Urban Outfitters  {exact}
Belt: The Limited
Shoes: Rocket Dog  {exact, spend, splurge}
Bracelets: Forever 21

Since buying this vest I've been playing around wearing it with different pieces in my closet. I ended up not wearing it today but will re-wear this outfit for a cooler day. Not wearing it though means that I basically copied Sarah from Small Town Catwalk exactly - I just think it means we have great taste ;)
 Hansi wanted in on the pictures...






















Have a great weekend! If you never hear from me again, take that as a lesson to never sign up for a half marathon.










P.S. I have removed Disqus for my comment section. That means that all of my comments have been deleted :(  I think going back to the Blogger comment section is better for my blog as a whole so I appreciate your support in this tiny transition.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Twinkle Toes

After weeks of bright nails, I was ready for something soft. I went to Walgreens looking to buy Essie's Marshmallow but walked out with Ballet Slippers instead. I needed 4 layers to get it how I wanted but it's the perfect off white so it was worth it.
Base: Essie Ballet Slippers
Tips: Essie No Place Like Chrome
Ring: Karen Walker








12 days left to enter the Julep Maven Giveaway!

Linking up with the Nail Files and Mani Monday

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Navy Blazer...ish

No, your eyes are not deceiving you - this is not a navy blazer. But last night in Forever 21 it looked like one! I've been searching for a navy blazer for a long time...and it looks like the hunt will continue because as fun as a purple blazer is, it isn't what I want to spend my limited budget on. So far this month I've spent $90 of my budget, so I'm thinking about cutting it off there and putting the rest of the money towards next month to use it to buy myself a great navy blazer as a birthday present. So far I'm considering this Topshop blazer, this Banana Republic one, and of course this J.Crew one. Any suggestions where else I can look?
Blazer: Forever 21  {exact}
Scarf: Forever 21 {save, spend, splurge}
Top: H&M
Jeans: Gap  {exact}
Shoes: Aldo  {exact, similar, similar}
Watch: Fossil  {similar}
Bracelet: J. Crew  {similar}
















A few weeks ago I had my first Save/Spend/Splurge post about pink saddle bags. Kara who blogs at My Life in the Curvy Lane mentioned that she had a very similar bag that just neeeeeded to be taken off of her hands. I was kind enough to help her out with that ;)  Make sure you stop by My Life in the Curvy Lane! She has some great pieces in her giant closet, and I wish I lived closer to her so she could make me her amazing Strawberry Stuffed French Toast.










We're going to be good friends, you and I.








Linking up with Everybody Everywear, WIWW...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Invested?

You can only wear so many button ups and blazers before you get bored. I don't think I've owned a vest in about 10 years, but seeing how cute it looks on everyone (like here, here and here) I wanted in on the cargo vest. I happened upon this Old Navy version while I was there returning a top, and picked it up.

On the one hand, I can think about 10 outfits on the top of my head about how I would wear this vest. On the other hand, am I falling into a trend trap, and will regret this decision in 6 months?















On a different note, I am in LOVE with this shoes. I've been stalking them for about 2 months now, but (of course) wasn't willing to pay full price. I was watching the price on Zappos, but they never went lower than $55. I checked on the Aldo website, and they were $33 on there! While I'm disappointed I couldn't get them through Zappos and use a giftcard I have, I'm happy getting these shoes for 50% off retail.

Vest: Old Navy  {exact}
Shirt: Forever 21  {save, spend, splurge}
Jeans: Gap Outlet
Shoes: Aldo  {exact}
Belt: H&M
Watch: Fossil {savespendsplurge}
Bracelet: Tiffanys & Co {exact}