Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December Purchases



I spent more than I would have anticipated this month, but I ended up picking up some basics that will last me through the year.  My best shopping trip was yesterday at the Loft, where I picked up three pairs of much needed dress pants for work (navy, black, and grey), a cardigan, and a pretty printed top for less than the cost of one pair of pants (less than $57!).  I also managed to get the black Malcet boots from Nine West for half price during a pre-black Friday sale.  I've been eyeballing them since October and was in need of a dressy black boot, so I'm glad I was able to get them for a more reasonable price.  They didn't come in until December, so I included them with this month's purchases.  The jeweled shoulder sweater and bracelet were Christmas presents to myself picked up on Christmas Eve.  Again, the overall total is more than I'm used to spending, but I managed to get some key pieces out of the way, so I don't anticipate spending as much in the coming months.  I've also been purging my wardrobe for the last two months, so I have a ton to sell and donate.  For the coming year my plan is to use the money I make from sales specifically to fund future purchases.  I'm also working on a list of pieces to add or upgrade in my wardrobe to better guide my spending.      

After savings on savings on savings, here we go:

Blanket Coat in Wine Country (Old Navy) - $21.79
Canvas Military Style Anorak (Old Navy) - $33
Malcet Boot in Black (Nine West) - $94.50
'Kilty' Suede Moccasin (Minnetonka) - $39.99

Mosaic Print Ruffle Front Shell (Loft) - $16
Cream Pointelle Detail 3/4 Sleeve Cardigan (Loft) - $7.88
Jeweled Shoulder Sweater (J.Crew) - $70.00
Crosby Stretch Slim Pant (New York and Company) - $23.48
Loft Pants: Marissa Bootcut and Straight Legs - $16, $12.88, $12.88

Bracelet (J.Crew) - $10.49
Patent Narrow Buckle Belt (J.Crew) - $6.99

Total: $365.88 - $85 Christmas cash = $280.88

Linking up with Fran for Budgeting Bloggers.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

New Desk!

Among all the great gifts I received this Christmas, this lovely new desk is one of my favorites.  I've been eyeing this desk for a few months, and I'm glad to finally have it.  For the last year and a half I've been using a small, convertible wooden table from a thrift store (it's circular, but the sides can be flapped down into a small rectangular table).  The only problem is that it's slightly taller than what is comfortable to use with my chair height, and no matter how many times I tighten the fasteners they manage to loosen resulting in a creaky and slightly wobbly desk.  With my new desk, I'm hopeful to have a more stable working space for my desktop as well as something a bit more fitting with the style of my room.  Now I just have to drag it up the stairs and tackle the task of putting it together.  Then I can have some fun and incorporate some of this desk inspiration into my work space.  This desk has no space for storage, but I like the clean and open look of it.  I'm looking forward to finding ways around it and using my bookcase and available under bed storage to make it work.

Any suggestions for good products or websites for desk, home office, or bookcase organization?   

Sunday, December 22, 2013

DIY: Dots and Brooches

I like to save broken jewelry and brooches, charms, and ribbon from gift sets and packaging because you never know when it will come in handy.  A few nights ago, I whipped up this Anthro inspired diy last minute for my Secret Santa gift at work.  I started with the plain and sturdy box from the store, and I used a hot glue gun to attach this broken horse pin I found at a flea market.  I drew the polka dots with silver and gold metallic markers from the dollar store.  It's super easy and simple, but I think it added something special to the overall presentation.  And who doesn't like metallic polka dots?  

Anyone else see potential in broken things?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Shop Good, Do Good

It can be so easy to become consumed with material goods, especially during the holidays.  This year while you're finishing up your holiday shopping and adding things to your wishlists, consider checking out one of these organizations with online shops.  They not only give you what you pay for but they also give something back to someone else.
1) Every week Sevenly partners with a charity, donating $7 of your purchase to the cause.  Oh yeah, free shipping is not bad either.

2) Water is the last thing on my mind when I consider gift giving for family friends, but its a basic need that far too many go without everyday.  Charity: water is working to end this problem, with 100% of their public donations and products supporting clean water projects.  This tee is a small price to pay for clean water.

3) Knowing that this bag provides 100 meals, makes me want to find a way to fit it into my budget. FEED uses a portion of their sales to support programs and organizations working to end hunger and malnutrition across the world.

4) And by this point, we all know that if you buy a pair of TOMS, someone in need gets a free pair.  When you buy their eyewear, the company also provides prescription eyeglasses and medical treatment to people who need it in countries all over the world.  I admit, just having shoes is something I've taken for granted, but it's a big deal when you don't have them.  It can make all the difference in a person's life, giving them access to education and improving their health.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday, December 2, 2013

November Recap + December Preview

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and enjoyed the holiday weekend!  While a busy schedule (work, volunteering, etc.) and poor planning kept me from making use of my recipe stockpile, I did manage to use the Cranberry Relish recipe.  It was easy and delicious.  Originally I wanted to cook the entire dinner solo, but I underestimated how much work it is, especially when it's your first time.  Needless to say, I ended up getting some help from the ladies in my family.  From their assistance, I ended up getting two delicious recipes which I'll be sharing.  This includes my sister's delicious baked apple and sweet potato dish!

This month was also my first time participating in the Budgeting Bloggers linkup from one of my favorite bloggers, Fran.  You can check out my November "budget" as well as more fashion and style related posts in the outfits section of this blog. 

So, what's to come?  Now that I've finished most of my holiday shopping, I'll be sharing some gifts guides as well as holiday inspiration, reviews, recipes, DIYs, etc.  I hope everyone is getting into the holiday spirit and that the last month of the year is your greatest!  

As always I'd love to hear from you :-)

Photo credit: JRY


November Purchases

Here's my first time participating in Fran's Budgeting Bloggers linkup, and I have to say that I currently don't have a clothing budget.  I typically shop sales and try to get as many discounts and use as many rewards as possible.  I don't shop consistently; it's more in spurts here and there based off of things I "need" and deals I find.  While everything I purchased this month was reduced, looking at the total it certainly doesn't feel that way.  I usually do much better with the sales and my thrift finds.  I'm not sure whether or not I'll set an actual budget, but I think this will be a great way for me to keep track of my purchases and to encourage me to spend less collectively.  Since the holiday sales can be so good, I may start fresh with a budget next year.  I also have some major selling to do.  I'm hoping to get much of my November and December purchases covered with that, so I can start my year off fresh.  

I must say my J.Crew Colorblock Field Jacket is my favorite purchase of the bunch.  It was the only personal purchase I made over the Thanksgiving/Black Friday/whatever they're calling it now Saturday, so I feel pretty good about it.  Originally $198, tag reduced to $99, and I ended up with it for $70.  It also has a nice corduroy collar, which will be nice for wearing it without the hood.  The fabric is a little stiff, but maybe it will keep the wind out?  Either way, the fit is flattering, I like the colors, and the details.  It will probably be one of my new favorite jackets, perfect with a sweater underneath for chilly days. 

Gap Black Pants (old, final sale) - $15.97

Gap Polka Dot Blouse - $21.99

J.Crew Medium Leopard Pouch - $17.99
Silver Bracelet - $22

Total: $262.64

BCBG Chevron Skirt (Thrifted)


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thanksgiving: Pumpkins and other decor

What do you do with all your leftover pumpkins?  You make some of these babies. 
Even if you've already painted or decorated them, all it takes is an extra coat of gold paint adding instant elegance to your table display. 

Table gorgeousness (apumpkinandaprincess.com) 

Gilded Harvest Place Cards (cupcakesandcashmere.com)

Here are some felt leaves I found at the dollar store.  I gifted them to my beau's mom and she incorporated them in a simple yet festive display on her dining room table.  You can just as easily use branches and leaves that you find outside for your display.  Get creative and make it work with what you already have.        

What special touches do you add to make your table festive? 

Cranberry Sauce

This past Sunday I picked up a bag of fresh cranberries from Target for $1.99, which seemed like a good price to me even though it was my first time buying them.  This got me thinking about what to do with them.  Since this is my first year as the primary cook and I have a lot to make in a short period of time, I don't want to attempt anything too ambitious.  I'll also be working and busy with some other things all the way up to Thanksgiving Eve, so I'm choosing to keep it simple with the recipes.  Here's what I'll be using:  

Cranberry Relish (simplyrecipes.com
Cranberry Apple Sauce (marthastewart.com)

Relish Shopping List
Fresh cranberries
2 Tart Apples
Large Seedless Orange 
Granulated Sugar

Apple Sauce Shopping List
Fresh cranberries
3 lbs of apples (Gala, Golden Delicious, McIntosh)
Cinnamon Stick 

*You should be able to make both with one bag of cranberries.

Have you ever made fresh cranberry sauce, or do you stick to the canned sauce?

Image Source: Simply Recipes

Friday, November 22, 2013

Giving is Receiving

A friend posted this on Facebook, and I couldn't go without sharing it.  I once heard Cornel West say, "What is justice but love in public," and to me this video embodies just that.  I hope to one day love this much.  I hope to give this much in my lifetime.  This video is the perfect example of how we shouldn't underestimate the potential of even the smallest actions.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thanksgiving Inspiration

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
 1 Thessolonians 5:18

About a month ago, I volunteered to cook the big dinner for my family--this was before my days were consumed with work, but a sucker for a challenge, I'm sticking to the plan.  I'll be employing a combination of making and freezing things in advance as well as some early prepping to get the job done.  That being said, I have barely a week to get ready.  For the next week or so I'll be sharing recipes, decor inspiration, and other little touches to make the day extra special.     

Main Dishes + Sides + Desserts + Decor

What are your Thanksgiving plans?  Any special traditions?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Tips to Start Your Day Off Right

The ultimate way to start everyday:

After that, do these as well: 

Rules for Great Mornings by Robin Sharma
(from the newsletter, "Rules for Great Mornings.")

"--Plan the first 60 minutes of your day the night before so you set yourself up for success in advance. 

--Eat breakfast within an hour of getting up.

--Use the first 20 minutes of your day to exercise so you jump start your brain's chemistry.

--While you're exercising, listen to something inspirational and of value (the influences that you expose your mind to at the beginning of your day set the mental tone for the rest of the day).

--Hydrate. You've been sleeping all night. Drink lots of water to get yourself fired up.

--Review your Big 5. This takes just a few minutes, but list your five main goals for the year on a mirror with a dry erase marker. Look at it every morning to renew your focus.

--Do your affirmations. Perhaps in the shower, recite words like "excellence" and "focus" and "mastery". Also repeat one line statements to prepare yourself for a world-class day ahead.

--Get into nature. As much as possible, get out into nature every morning. The fresh air as well as the environment has a superb effect on your creativity, productivity and sense of happiness.

--No news. Start your day in what I call "a tight bubble of total focus". Avoid the news, complainers and toxic situations. The first 3 hours of your day have the least distractions...and are GOLDEN. You know that the way you begin your day drives how you live it. So start it strong."

How do you get yourself off to a great start in the morning?  
How do you start your week on the right note?


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Desk Inspiration

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sleep On It.

Going to do some editing in the room soon, and a new comforter may be on the way.  I tend to stick to the same color palette, but I may add a little color for the fall/winter.  Right now it's light green walls, all white furniture and linens, and gray accents.  I'm also in need of a new storage ottoman as my current one is on its last limb.  Pretty soon I will fall right through.  Contenders:








And this dream piece.  This color is gorgeous, but it wouldn't work with my walls and furniture.  Another time...


Which is your favorite?  Suggestions for other places to look are welcome, especially for stylish storage ottomans!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Fall Reading List


The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential...in Business and in Life by Leo Babauta (here)
In the past, I've felt like I've had to get everything done to feel like I've had a good day, that the more I got done meant I was being more productive.  Experience has already taught me that this is not the case.  It's interesting how much focusing on less, focusing first on the essential allows you to attack tasks with greater focus, with greater power and get greater results.  I started reading this a few days ago, and I'm really interested in seeing how this book will continue to challenge my thinking and help me get the results I want.

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl (here)
I started reading this late at night during a bought of insomnia, but I haven't touched it in a while.  It'll be next on my reading list after "The Power of Less."  From what I remember, it was very good.  Frankl has a way of showing you how most of the things that worry or upset us in life are insignificant but not in a way that makes you feel lousy.  He tells his true story in a way that helps you look at the bright side of things and realize that happiness and fulfillment in life depends on our outlook and mindset not on our circumstances.

Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande (here)
I found out about this book from the beau, and I downloaded my own copy shortly after.  I've only read the afterword of the book where Gawande leaves his "Suggestions for Becoming a Positive Deviant."  Based off of that I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the book, and seeing what else I can learn from all of his experience and perspective on work and life.

The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You by Jessica Alba (here)
I downloaded and read this book over the summer, and I use it as a reference book.  It has all kinds of tips for this like organizing, cleaning, cooking, beauty and style.  It's the kind of book that you can refer back to for ideas and inspiration seasonally, as you change the space you're living in or the foods your eating.  There's also some awesome guides, for instance a chart that tells you how to cook different grains, many of which I've never heard of before but want to try.  It also shares some info and practical tips on how to navigate in a world where all kinds of harmful substances and chemicals are found in everyday products and food.  Think of it as ways to simplify life and embrace elements of natural and organic living in a way that's accessible.

Si-cology 1: Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty's Favorite Uncle by Si Robertson (here)
Guilty pleasure.  On the list simply because I can't get enough of Uncle Si.  If you're not familiar, Google this man.  His wisdom will give you laughs for days.

Any of these on your list?  Already read any of these?  I'd love to hear what you think :-)
Blogger Template Created by pipdig