Friday, February 28, 2014

February 2014 Budget

Originally $109.09 (total $1800,$600.01 for November and the rest divided monthly)
Changed to $0 out of pocket for this month (I'm on a shopping ban).
No more than 45 items total for the year. Items must correlate with my shopping strategy.

Spent this month: $80 out of pocket, $46.71 on gift cards and $112 out of return/eBay earnings.
Totals: $80 out of pocket, $46.71 on gift cards, $112 on returns and eBay earnings.
$1720 left for the year out of pocket.
3 new items entered my closet this year so far total, including gifts. I can buy up to 42 more items this year.

Last month I made $64.71 all told on ebay. I spent $54.99 of it, then this month was hit with $12.58 in fees. I made only $32.21 this month, so I have $29.35 net earnings so far (not spent yet).

What came in:

Nothing! I was on a 30-day no spend and stuck to it! Not getting instant gratification was hard at first, but I learned that I was shopping out of frustration and negative feelings. I focused on doing other things, but really struggled along the way.

While I did not break my shopping ban, I did spend $80 on alterations to the following items I already possessed:

I got the straps shorted on the tops and dress, the sleeves shortened on the blazer, and the hems repaired on the pants. One pair of pants was a tush seam repair, which immediately stretched again after wearing it once leaving me frustrated! I've also realized I need to hem the dress about an inch or two for it to be more flattering to my figure.

What I got rid of:

I gave this necklace (bought in 2010) to a friend:

I put several items again into the sell pile! But only sold the following this month:
A cardigan, blazer, necklace, and 2 tops.

I also threw away an awful pair of socks and downgraded a camisole to lounge-wear.

Day 17

Dress- NY&Company, January 2013
Necklace- NY&Company, January 2013
Cardigan- NY&Company October 2012
Tights- Express, November 2013
Pumps- Fergalicious, January 2014
Bracelet (not pictured)- NY&Company circa June 2013

Inspiration: Something inspired by your Style Icon/s. I don't have a style icon, strangely. So I chose my favorite dress and decided to explain why it is my 'style'. It's my favorite color (my main accent color), and the structure and fit of the dress is the best I've found. I love the zipper detail at the waist, how it highlights my figure, and how it's still classic and feminine but modern. The wrinkle at the waist and bust in the second picture is from not standing straight/bending lol.

I'm actually only two days (one day by tomorrow when this is published) from completing my challenge. I only used the inspiration for the days I went to work (I was home with a sick baby one day and didn't use inspiration on weekends). I"m just going to keep on with the inspiration when the challenge ends, until I reach all 30!

Thursday, February 27, 2014


I've been focusing on doing more of these things the last 30 days (I was not allowed to shop). Here's what I've been working on:

Read More: Finding time to read isn't easy with a busy 15 month old. But I did! I read 2 books and enjoyed them. And found some great bloggers who write inspiring articles about minimalism and wardrobe capsules.

Write More: I've had a fantasy-type fiction novel in process for a long time. And I've found some hours to get back into it. I love it and look forward to reading it when finished! Weird, yes, but who cares! Maybe even one day I could publish it and share it with others just out of enjoyment.

Spend more time reading to my little girl: I'm not doing it as often as I wish but have spent a lot more time reading to her. She LOVES books and I'm so happy to encourage her in the hope she'll love to read like I did.

Declutter: I've been slowly working on decluttering my home, not just my closet. It's an ongoing process and I have to concentrate on every little step forward or get frustrated. Similar to beating this shopping addiction in a way. I have a LOT to go, it's a little overwhelming and the funny thing is that my husband and I own 1/2 or even a 1/4 of what my family and friends own- I have no idea how people manage it all!

Scrapbook more: This has not been accomplished. I'm too busy working on decluttering to make more mess right now! I'm going to focus on making an area for myself before I start back in. I will have a free room soon (in April, when my husband's cousin moves out) that I plan on making an office/playroom. And a great coworker would love to come over and scrap with me, so I have some great motivation to get it done!

Color and paint with my daughter: I did color once with her this month, it's another thing I'd like to do more and haven't.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Day 15 and 16

Day 15 inspiration: A block of color, no patterns or prints.

I wore this dress with this color-blocked cardigan, black heels and black tights. I didn't get a picture because I was running late.

Top: Kohls, April 2011
Pants: Express, March 2013
Cardigan: NY&Company, October 2012
Cami: Express circa 2011 (can't see)
Necklace & Earrings: Maurices circa 2009

Shoes: Ann Taylor, February 2010

Day 16 inspiration: A print with two colors. Here you go!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Day 14

Top- WHBM via Ebay, January 2013
Cardigan- NY&Company, January 2013
Pants- Express, November 2012
Necklace & Earrings- NY&Company, January 2013
Shoes- Fergalicious heels, January 2014 swapped for Flats I keep in my desk (JCPenny circa 2012)

Inspiration: An item of clothing you haven't worn in 12 months. That would be both the top and the pants.

This top is hard for me to pair with things I own. It's very vivid and I love the print, but it's blousy and a little too long, and it dips a little too low. I had the straps taken up which helps but it's still fidgety. The pants ended up too short for the heels so I wore the spare pair of flats I keep at my desk. They're a good length for my green wedge sandals for summer and the fabric is lightweight so I am keeping the pants.

Past Style

I was inspired by Megan's post reviewing her favorite outfits of the past and decided to review my old blog and post some of my own! The photos range from 2009 to 2013, mostly in order. I also included a rare picture of my face, just because, even though I do NOT want to be recognized I think the risk is small.
In these next pictures I was in very early pregnancy:

Post pregnancy (7 weeks and on)

Lastly, my favorite so far this year!

My style has changed a bit, but I think you can see a consistent theme and color scheme in my favorites! I saw in reviewing my posts, I had a LOT of 'bad' outfits, and I feel that in the beginning it was much rarer that I hit the mark. The great part is that as I go on I get better and my style has gotten more consistent. And I still have plenty of room to grow!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Internal Confusion

I wrote a little about this in response to Debbie's blog post, but I thought I'd address this in more detail. Debbie wrote about how she's been struggling with breaking her shopping habit. I also have been having a lot of ups and downs.

I'm on a 30 day challenge to not shop, which is up on March 2nd. I feel like I've made a lot of progress over the last several months, and even in the last few weeks, but not enough. I'm still struggling immensely with the compulsion to buy versus what I want for myself for the long run.

I purged almost all the items I wasn't wearing and didn't fit well. I reduced my numbers to an impressively (in my eyes) small amount (now even smaller), and have not missed a single item (excepting things I loved but outgrew). I've been keeping track of what I wear and am ever-increasingly aware that my needs are much smaller than anything I previously imagined. I've only purchased 2 items (was given a third) so far this year and I don't regret them in the least. I have stuck to my no shopping challenge so far (and only have a week left!). I've worked to identify what I should buy (if anything) so that what I buy is utilized well and fills 'holes' in my closet to bring variety and not split wears from other similar items. I've learned that I shop (online) when bored or stressed and that I browse constantly without meaning to.

I keep trying to remind myself of my goals:

The only big problem? I feel like there is a piece of me warring against myself. I WANT to achieve my goals. I WANT to minimize. But then, I WANT that pretty skirt and top and that leather jacket, and 10 other things too. They fit my criteria in all the ways and would be great to have and would be well used (in my head at least). Not being able to buy anything until next Sunday seems so arbitrary, and I'm losing sight of the reason I did a 30-day shopping ban.

Seeing how little I have compared to all the unused excess has had a lot of positives. I know what I have, what to target buying, I can see my items easier, and have an easier time getting dressed in the morning. I don't feel guilty looking at what I have anymore. But it has had a dark side- I feel the need for more options, even though I have just as few or even more than before. Having only 11 work appropriate tops and 3 skirts is scary for me. The funny thing- I have still not worn one of the skirts yet this year and another only once so far.

Why do I feel the need to buy anything? Why do I want to disregard my budget and the shopping ban, why do I want to fill this 'need' right this minute and not wait? I've been barely holding on at times. Why do I need new items all the time when I have things still not fully utilized? I keep trying to figure out ways to circumvent my rules, how to get what I want and all at once. I have March 2nd's purchases already planned (coupons and rewards I have happen to expire). But I want everything on my wish list RIGHT NOW and it would take several month's budget to do it. And to top it off, every new thing I bring in will reduce the wears of some of the things I have currently, which seems counter-intuitive.

Having permission to buy things makes it harder, sometimes I wonder if it would be easier just swearing off shopping completely. Like an alcoholic stopping drinking completely rather than still drinking socially once a month. But again, I do have areas of my closet I want to work on and I don't have a closet as workable as I want it to be. There are a few things I really want to upgrade. 

The thought of not shopping at all hurts to think about. I think that means I have a problem, an imbalance of some kind. And I don't know how to stop wanting more. The only thing I can do is take one step at a time. Maybe one day, I'll have this beat.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Day 11-13

Day 11 and 12 I was too busy to get pictures (which sucks, I loved my outfits) and yesterday was spent at home with a sick baby.

Day 11 inspiration: Something that scares you, just a little bit. I wore my blue zippered dress, even though the day started at -7 degrees F!

Day 12 inspiration: Shoes never worn with this ensemble before. I have such few shoe choices I couldn't switch it up and be weather appropriate, so I switched up the topper and jewelry I wore with a particular blouse and trouser. I haven't worn the jewelry or cardigan in almost a year or more! Very sad I didn't get a picture of it.

Top: JCPenny circa July 2013
Skirt: White House Black Market, November 2013
Cardigan: NY&Company, October 2012
Necklace & Earrings (not pictured) NY&Company, January 2013
Bracelet- NY&Company circa 2012
Shoes: Fergalicious, January 2014
Tights: JCPenny, January 2014 (hosiery is never part of the budget FYI, they're like toothpaste to me)

Day 13 inspiration: I swapped this with day 15. Color on the bottom half.

Today's outfit feels ME! I really liked it and much feel less intimidated by this very form fitting skirt. It's 1000x better with a blousy top. Last time I wore a fitted top and felt a little too 'exposed' for work, even though I was covered from wrist to ankle and more covered than today.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Day 10- Happy Valentines Day

Heart Necklace- 12th Birthday gift
Long Necklace- Aeropostale, circa 2006
Earrings (can't see)- Christmas gift 2011
Black Bracelet- Kohls circa August 2012
Rhinestone Bracelet- JCPenny circa January 2012
Belt- Express November 2013
Top- White House Black Market, November 2013
Cami- Express circa 2011
Jeans- Danesi(?) circa October 2013
Boots- Kenneth Cole Reaction, January 2011

Inspiration- Two more pieces of accessories than you usually wear. I usually wear a necklace and earrings, and have made an effort to also add a bracelet. Today I have TWO necklaces, TWO bracelets, earrings, and on top of that acrystal stretch belt! All jazzed up for Valentines Day and my dinner date. Hard to capture a mostly black outfit on the phone, sorry for the very low quality pictures!

I hope you all had a lovely Valentines Day! :)

Day 9

Top- JCPenny circa June 2013
Jacket- Express, November 2013
Trousers- Express, November 2013
Pumps- Ann Taylor, February 2010
Necklace- Birthday Gift 2010 
Earrings- H&M circa 2009
Bracelet- NY&Company circa 2012

Inspiration: Something shiny, sheer or silky. I have all three in this outfit- shine in the pants and pumps, and the top is sheer with a chiffon under-layer. I switched the days again, because I felt that the actual Day 9 was best for Day 10 and vice-versa.

I've worn this exact outfit (but different jewelry) a few times. I love it and am sure I will wear it exactly as is again. It was inspired by a re-run episode of What Not to Wear, where the contributor was shown in one of the final three outfits in a trouser, leather jacket, and top. I really like the look.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Day 8

Top- White House Black Market, November 2013
Camisole- Express, circa 2011
Cardigan- Maurices, October 2013
Pants- Express, April 2013
Shoes- Fergalicious, January 2014
Necklace- NY&Company, January 2013
Earrings (can't see): Maurices circa
Bracelet- JCPenny circa 2011

Inspiration: Something daring or exciting. I can't see what isn't daring or exciting about cobalt blue pants, especially with a leopard print cardigan!

I liked my outfit, but I feel like it photographed poorly! I haven't worn these pants in quite a long time, I guess I felt like saving them for spring. It's a good thing the challenge made me think of wearing them!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Day 7

Top- White House Black Market via eBay, December 2012
Blazer- Express, November 2013
Trousers- Express, November 2012
Shoes- Fergalicious, January 2014
Bracelet- NY&Co, circa Summer 2012
Earrings (can't see)- don't remember, circa 2006

Inspiration- Black (or dark neutral) with something other than white. I decided the point of this was to do something other than the 'normal' and since I rarely wear black with white that I would do so today.  I only ever wore it with grey, and while I like it with grey I wanted to highlight the black as well and added the black blazer. Every item I am wearing just came back from the tailor and has not been worn in quite awhile (excepting the blazer, I wore it in December but rolled the sleeves because they were too long).

I realized recently that one of my issues with shopping is that I 'rewarded' myself with purchases. I've been working on my impulse to reward myself and what I use as the reward. I've been trying to simplify my crazy life and focus more on spending time with my daughter and husband. I read to her and she loves it, and I've spent more time reading for myself than I have since she was a newborn. I'm also spending much less time surfing the web looking for new things to buy (but still catch myself absent-mindedly opening those sites). I'm enjoying the change and hope to make more changes in the future.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Day 6

Dress- White House Black Market November 2013
Cardigan- White House Black Market October 2013
Shoes- Fergalicious January 2013
Earrings (can't see) 1st Anniversary 2007 gift
Bracelet- Kohls circa July 2013

Inspiration- A dress or skirt, styled. This dress is pretty fabulous by itself but I don't really like it with a cardigan or my necklaces (short) because of the high neckline.

This dress was altered to fit (straps shortened) but to my dismay it sticks to my tights a bit! It's not as flattering in the length, so I may get it hemmed. I do feel like it looks better in person than in pictures!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Day 5

White Sweater- NY&Company October 2012
White Camisole- Express circa 2012
Denim Trousers- The Limited- Thrifted May 2011 
Black Booties- Kohls? January 2012
Necklace- White House Black Market November 2012
Earrings- Maurices circa 2010
Bracelet- NY&Company, circa Spring 2012

Inspiration- An accessory you have not worn in 6 months. That would be all three accessories I have on today! The original inspiration was different, but I switched it out because I am not wearing a dress on casual Friday (the only day I can wear denim)!

I got a lot of compliments on this outfit today, though it's by far the simplest I have worn in a long time! I like that it does showcase this necklace, which is a favorite of mine.