Thursday, August 28, 2014

August 2014 Budget

$2300/year, can add in gift cards and eBay sales.
No more than 45 items this year and must fit in with my shopping questions.

Spent this month: $588.39, $15.54 in eBay sales.
Totals: $1888.59 out of pocket, $246.71 on gift cards, $319.88 on returns and eBay earnings.
$411.41 left for the year out of pocket.

40 new items entered my closet this year so far total. I can buy or receive up to 5 more items this year.

What Came In:  12 items

Isola Suri Red Pumps $49.99
I've thought about purchasing these since I bought them in taupe back in May. These fit great and are the perfect pop of color I've been wanting! 9.5/10
Nine West Green heels, $39.99
These are great heels- fit well and the color works very well with my wardrobe. 9/10
WHBM Scroll Print Top, $45.60
This top's print has black, white, and burgundy. I love the colors and the top fits very nicely (I have this top in black from last season). Perfect to wear belted and fitted jeans out, or under a blazer or cardigan to work. 9/10
WHBM Flounce Back Pencil Skirt, $56.89
This skirt is the most amazing skirt I have ever found/put on/owned. Period. It fits me high-waisted RIGHT exactly where my waist is smallest, and it's super sexy but professional to boot. 10+/10
WHBM Leopard Print Blouse, $70.38
This blouse is pretty awesome. It looks great with slim jeans un-tucked, and I LOVE it tucked into the skirt above. 9/10
WHBM Geometric Cardigan, eBay, $40 (including shipping costs)
This is a cardigan I missed out on when I did a shopping ban last winter. I really liked it and searched for it for a long time, finally discovering the right size on eBay and pouncing upon it after watching it for several weeks. 9.5/10
WHBM White Cardigan, eBay, $36
This cardigan is much nicer in person than in this picture, I cannot say enough how happy I am I purchased it. 9.5/10
Ankle boots, DSW $62.35
I bought these boots when shopping at the mall with my friends (only a 1x-2x a year event). I'm worried I made an impulse purchase here, as they don't have a lot of ways to style them- but I really like them and the way they look, so time may tell. In real life they appear shorter than in this picture. 9/10
NY&Company Trench, $62.35
This coat is the only other thing I purchased at the mall. It's darker and more teal in person (just perfect). It's replacing my coral trench and it fits really beautifully. 9.5/10
White House Black Market Burgundy Top, $42.78
I ordered this top (and returned) in Black and Ivory before getting this color. The fit is great, but the other colors were wanting. This top should get quite a bit of wear and I really enjoy it. The fabric has a slight sheen to it and I really like how it looks on. 9.5/10
White House Black Market Black Cardigan via eBay, $26.35
I have been looking for this cardigan for a long time. I missed out on it back when, and finally was able to scoop it up. I have a sparkly black cardigan, but really have felt the need many times for a more simple one. I rated it slightly lower than usual because the buttons need to be fixed (stray threads). 8.5/10
WHBM Burgundy Jacket, $71.25
This jacket is pretty spectacular, so much so that I have been eyeing the black (which I do not plan on purchasing at this time). I really love how it looks from the back- it has a great little peplum-ish ruffle and is very flirty and feminine.

I went overboard this month, no surprise after my few last posts I'm sure. However, I am really getting to a good place in my wardrobe now. I'm happier than I've ever been, and can say with confidence that I only have a few more things this year I want to get and I project getting MUCH less next year! I overspent by quite a bit- total of $603.93. I still have 2 back-ordered items set to arrive sometime next month, a top and a cardigan totaling $122.52. If I keep them, that leaves me with only $288.89 left in the budget to spend for the rest of the year and 3 items left in the item limit. I honestly feel a little relieved at reaching the end of this. I won't be able to shop- maybe this is what I need to recharge and change my habits.

Next year the budget will be at the same level but my item limit will be cut in half again- so $2300 on only 10 clothing items and 10 accessories/shoes. It's inspiring to me- I'll have to be very selective and careful, especially about identifying what needs replacing, but I still can buy 1-2 items a month or 5 items each season, and can spend a pretty penny on them if I want to. It's quite exciting- I'll work harder to trim down my wardrobe and reach my limits to minimalism in my wardrobe. As of today (last item arrived last night) I have 81 pieces of clothing and 71 accessories and shoes, to a total of 152. I am sure I can continue to trim the numbers down- my goal is a true project 333 wardrobe, or less than 132 items total. I'm not too far from that goal, which is really exciting.

Purged: 32 Items

I apologize for not posting the purge posts as I had planned. I've purged a lot of items and don't have time to go back and list from the last time, but here's what I purged this month and what I sold:

PJs/Outdoor clothing:
2 pairs of too-tight but like new PJ shorts, 1 pair of PJ pants with holes (trashed), 1 pair of too-tight denim shorts, 1 aqua net sweater.


Silver round cutout earrings: I never wear because they remind me of Christmas! I won't keep anything that isn't versatile anymore, so goodbye!
Grey Flower Pendant Necklace and matching colored earrings: I bought these on my trip in Germany, and while I loved them then I never wear either now. Just a bit too juvenile I think.
Orange chandelier earrings: These were a gift and I never wore them.
Aqua Cut-out earrings: These used to be my favorite earrings. They're again a bit too young now.
Blue waterfall necklace: Heavy, clunky, and super noisy- while pretty I never wanted to wear it for these reasons.
Long silver necklace: Another from the 'too young' category, I bought this in Aeropostale YEARS ago.
Twisted Hoop earrings: A gift I never wear.
Paisley scarf: Pretty but I finally admitted scarves are not my thing, unless literally for warmth. I prefer neckalces.
Teal floral scarf: Ditto to the above.
Aqua drop earrings: I have better similar alternatives to this- too much duplication.
Tiny mint earrings: Another gift I don't wear.
Chain link earrings: Yet again ditto to the above.
Burgundy tiny earrings: Can we see a pattern? Ditto to the above.


A pair of too-worn leopard flats and too-worn gray winter snow boots were both purged.


WHBM Color-block Sheath Dress: This dress never fit correctly and was never worn. I even had it altered, but finally have admitted it was too tight at the hips to ever wear.
Reiss Dusk Blue Sheath Dress: This is truly sad. I was finally ready to wear it and washed it on delicate, dried for a short time on delicate. Well, the damn dress shrunk a whole size- but the lining didn't. Completely ruined. I only wore this twice, $97 wasted!!!!!!!
Velvet Leggings: 'Downgraded' these to wear around the house. I only had one outfit I could wear these with, and really I don't think I would wear it again. But they're warm, comfy, and look good on- so around the house I'll be stylin' I suppose :)
Gray Jeggings: These were always too tight and I finally admitted it.
Color-block cardigan: This was replaced with the printed cardigan above. It was low quality and had imperfections in the fabric that always bothered me.
Geo print ruffle blouse: This top was always too short for me, and too baggy at the bust. I tried to make it work a few times but sadly it wasn't meant to be
Black bow sweater: This top was great when I first bought it after having the baby, but it is now fully a size or two too big for me and is not flattering anymore.
Blue V-neck sweater: I don't know why I ever bought this sweater. It was always too long and the sleeves were too long. It was not flattering at all. I wore it only a handful of times!
Dusk Open Cardigan: This was a gift to me from my SIL. I loved it when I first got it (again, just post-baby) and it looked great when I belted it. Now it's too big and overwhelming, even when I belt it. Time to let it go.
Gray Short Trousers: Again, pants I wore just after having the baby. My feet couldn't tolerate heels for about a year and these were necessary. Not anymore! They never get worn anymore even though they still fit (apparently my back end isn't much smaller almost 2 years post-baby).
Tan Short Trousers: Same as above, except these also shrunk and fit too tightly now.

Sold: 1 Items

A plaid shirt that is juvenile and not my style. I was trying different things, and only bought this because the husband liked it on me. I wore it once for a Halloween costume (cowgirl). What a waste of $- I paid probably $34 for it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


I've been reflecting on my spending habits and wardrobe acquisitions over the last year. I think I've been a bit out of control and not as intentional as I could have. Don't get me wrong, I made a lot of great purchases and bought many things I don't regret in the slightest. But, I feel I could have done much better. You see, I purchased a lot of things this year, and many of those things were impulse decisions. If one was good, three was better right? Perfect example was the three rhinestone necklaces I purchased. They were cheap, and if I bought more than one I got a better deal still on the price and on shipping. Well, the honest truth is that only one would have sufficed. And the list goes on and on! I think most of the items I bought were good purchases, but I didn't NEED them all. You see, I wasn't intentional about my purchases.

I want to be more intentional going forward, and I want to seriously slow down my purchases. I also want to edit out all the things that don't make me happy, regardless of the amount of guilt associated with them (especially things I bought this year). At the moment, I own 80 pieces of clothing. Ideally I'd like to be at or below this number- below would absolutely be a bonus. I have some great pieces and want to really get my enjoyment out of them. Continually adding items isn't going to help my situation in the slightest. And adding items in mass quantity means that I cannot think about a lovely $150 silk blouse or a $200 cashmere sweater (in my dreams!)- because I spend that on several items rather than just one. My new mission is the 'one and done'. Next year I want to concentrate on 10 clothing items for the year, a la 5 piece wardrobe. If I take my budget and divide it out by 10, that's $230 an item I have to spend. I could buy ANYTHING! I could have an expensive 'something new' almost every month! It's weird to even contemplate. I have to admit that I need to upgrade my jewelry options, but that's relatively inexpensive and I don't need much so another 10 items would be just right.

I do have some fear that reducing my item limit from 45 to 20 is daunting. But I want the focus on quality, timelessness, and serious STYLE. Not the never-ending 'lets try', 'this is pretty, I need it', and 'more is better'. I don't want a never-ending parade of items entering and leaving my wardrobe. I don't want to overspend my budget (something I've done year after year, excepting hopefully this year). And I want to be more in line with what my soul is craving- minimalism, not consumerism-guilty purge-consumerism-wash and repeat. It's hard to let go of consumerism and the fear of missing out. But let's face it- I cannot really complain about having missed out of much in life, and I need to stop feeding that particular nasty monster.

I also want to focus about being intentional in the rest of my life. Improving the quality of my life in all aspects. I've been seriously inspired by Lessons from Madam Chic by Jennifer L. Scott. More to come on that front in the future. I can't continually obsess over my wardrobe- it's time I put time into other things.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


I'm going to spend more time focusing on doing other things than shopping or browsing online. I'm trying to introduce new habits in my life that are beneficial for myself that do not focus on spending money!

I've already started with adding two new endeavors to my daily routine. One is dry skin brushing ($5 brush, holla), the other is a short exercise routine at home. I'll do these for at least 30 days and then re-evaluate. I'm carefully considering re-vamping my diet (as in, what I eat, not a strict diet) and trying to eliminate the more unhealthy, processed foods and focus more on eating more natural foods. The other thing I am focusing on is to be more effective with my time when I get home. Exercise, cooking dinner, cleaning up, giving my daughter a bath, and spending time with my husband and daughter all are things I need and want to do when I get home. I have about 4 hours total from getting home to bed time. But often, I get distracted doing other things (including browsing online!), excusing myself with 'I need a break', then rushing to do the bare minimum. I don't get the quality time with my family that I crave- let alone doing all the other things I want or need to do.

The hyper-focus of my clothing has made me ignore pretty much all other aspects of my health and life up until now, and it's time to make some positive steps to make me feel better (more than just how my outfit looks each morning!). The goal is not a lot of weight loss (gah, then I couldn't fit in my clothes!) but to feel better physically and emotionally... and perhaps not to get so out of breath each morning when I climb the stairs at work.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Putting on the Brakes

This month, I didn't just dip a toe- I threw myself into the consumerist pool. I'm ashamed of myself and know I have got to put a stop to it.

I do NOT need every single item on my wishlist ticked off. I do NOT need to waste all this time and energy pursuing purchasing everything my heart desires. I should take things slowly and spend more time concentrating on my interest in minimalism and downsizing, rather than on purchasing more things. I should enjoy what I have, and get rid of what I don't enjoy. I purchased a lot of things this month already and it's time to call a time out. I won't buy anything more for the rest of the month and will work on following my values more closely going forward.

I'm recommitting to what my gut keeps telling me I need to do- focusing on my family and minimizing the clutter in my home and head.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Wardrobe Planning (Part I: Clothing)


96- This is a capped total (If I were to reach this number, it would be a 1-in, 1-out rule).

Items in green are additions, items in red are possible purges, items in black are things I already own. Strikeouts are replacements. There is no real timeline for me to purchase/replace/purge these things, this was just for planning purposes, assuming I could buy everything I want or need and don't purge anything I have not already identified to purge. I've incorporated pretty much ALL of my needs and wants, and my real goal is to be minimalist and to keep the number as small as possible- but the exercise was helpful to set my priorities for shopping purposes and to help avoid mistakes.

I did a lot of calculations to see what I thought was ideal for my wardrobe from a wears per year standpoint, and picked numbers from there. Each category is broken down to show how I got my numbers- and as you can see, I have exceeded the ideal number to achieve my wears-per-year goal  in Work Pants and in Dresses, but I am well below currently (or meet the number in the plan) in many other categories. A typical week for me is 4 days in professional clothing and 3 days a week in casual clothing. I tend to do 'dressy casual' and mix a lot of my professional clothing with my more casual clothing. 

I'll do an accessory/shoe post soon.

Blazers and Jackets- 6 + 2 = 8 
(2 days a week x 52 weeks / 12 wears each a year = 9 Jackets)

Black Blazer
Dark Grey Blazer
Green Blazer
White Blazer
Colored Blazer (pink, burgundy, blue?) 
Burgundy faux-leather Jacket 
Teal  faux-leather Jacket
Black leather Jacket

Work Dresses- 8
(1 day a week x 52 weeks / 9 wears a year = 6)

Black sheath dress (all seasons)
Cobalt sheath dress (all seasons)
White and silver tweed sheath dress (all seasons)
Red & white color-blocked sheath (unsure if I should purge, spring/summer only)
Dusky blue sheath (too tight right now, unsure if I should purge, only works in fall/winter right now)
Cobalt jersey dress (also works casually or for travel)
Polka dot halter dress (also an occasion dress, daytime wedding or occasion, spring/summer only)
Coral print sundress (also an occasion dress, daytime wedding or occasion, spring/summer only)

Special Occasion Dresses- 5
(Determined by type of occasion, below. All my needs are met already.)

Red lace sheath dress (holiday or very dressy special event)

Sequin minidress (NYE and/or party dress)
Emerald tiered dress (evening wedding or occasion)
Black tiered dress (work appropriate parties or dressy occasion)
Coral ikat print dress (daytime wedding or occasion, spring/summer only, have other options above)

Skirts- 4 + 2 = 6
(1 time a week x 52 / 9 wears a year = 6)

Teal pencil skirt

Black & white pencil skirt
Blue floral A-line skirt
Leopard A-line skirt
Black skirt
Light-colored skirt

Work Pants- 11 + 1 =12
(2 times a week x 52 / 10 wears a year =10)

Dark Grey pinstripe (high-heel length)
Herringbone wool (high-heel length)
Black slim fit (high heel-length)
Mid Grey pinstripe wide-legs (high-heel length)
Light Grey wide-leg (high-heel length)
Bright blue slim fit (mid-heel length)
Black shiny wide-leg (mid-heel length)
Chocolate brown wide-leg (mid-heel length) (unsure if I should purge)
Grey/tan slim fit (mid-heel length)
Black slim fit (flats length) (unsure if I should purge)
Cobalt blue ankle pants (any length)
Burgundy pants

Casual Pants- 6 +2 = 8
(3 times a week x 52 / 20 wears a year =8)

Black velvet leggings Black skinnies
Grey jeggings Replace with similar but better fit
Dark grey bootcut jeans (unsure if I should purge)
Dark denim skinnies
Mid blue skinnies
Denim trousers
Colored skinnies

Tops- 13 + 6 = 19
(5.5 wears a week x 52 weeks /15 wears a year = 19)

Cream ruffle blouse

White ruffled tiered tank Fitted white blouse
Geo print tie neck blouse
Polka dot tie neck blouse
Black ruffled blouse
Black slim tiered tank
Coral print blouse
Cobalt flutter sleeve blouse
Cobalt printed ruffle tank
Blue & white striped top
White peasant blouse
Green print peplum top
Black flutter sleeve tunic top
Fitted burgundy blouse
Printed fitted blouse
Coral/pink top
Printed blouse
Green top
Teal top

Sweaters- 4 + 3 = 7
(1.5 times a week x 52 / 10 wears a year =8)

Black surplice sweater
Red surplice sweater
White boat-neck sweater
Purple cowl neck tunic (unsure if I should purge)
Polka dot sweater
Pink sweater
Blue or green sweater

Camis and Tanks- 6 
(No calculations, just determined by layering needs)

White lace cami Replace
Black lace cami Replace
Purple lace cami
Purple straight lace cami Black tank
Teal lace cami
White tank

Cardigans- 12 + 1 = 13
(5 times a week x 52 / 15 wears a year =17)

Blue cardigan Replace
Teal cardigan
Fuchsia cardigan
Aqua print cardigan
Burgundy cardigan
Red cardigan Replace
Black sparkle cardigan Replace
Leopard print cardigan
Purple cardigan
Black and white color-block Replace
Cobalt print cardigan
Grey print cardigan
White cardigan

Coats- 3 + 1 = 4
(No calculations, just determined by needs)

Teal winter coat (may purge and replace if still doesn't fit this year)
Dark grey winter coat
Coral lightweight trench Replace
New winter coat