Monday, March 30, 2015

March 2015 Budget Post

The Rules: 

Out-of-door Clothing (as seen in original post here)
  • I can spend $1500.00 maximum out of pocket.
  • I can purchase 20 items maximum.
  • Re-sale adds money to the budget but not to the item limit.
  • Gifts do not 'count' in the item limit or budget.
  • At-home or underwear does not 'count'.
At-Home Clothing (see in this post here)
  • I can spend $700.00 maximum out of pocket.
  • I can purchase 20 items maximum.
  • Re-sale adds money to the budget but not to the item limit.
  • Gifts do not 'count' in the item limit or budget.
  • Underwear does not 'count' (listed as Other).
This Month:

Out-of-door Clothing:
  • I spent $414.96 this month on  items. I sold items for $138.53 which was added back to the budget. Net spend of $276.43.
  • So far this year, I have spent $694.23 and purchased 10 items. I sold items for $138.53 which was added back to the budget. Net spend of $555.70.
  • I have $944.30 left to spend this year on 10 items. This is about $94.43 each.
  • I received a $50 gift card for Christmas which is still unspent.
At-home Clothing:
  • I have spent $85.26 this month on 4 items.
  • So far this year, I have spent $85.26 and purchased 4 items.
  • I have $614.74 left to spend this year on 16 items. This is about $38.42 each.
Other (under-clothing):
  • I have spent $74.73 this month on 2 items.
  • So far this year, I have spent $74.73 and purchased 2 items.
  • I have no limits on these items (budget or quantity).
Comments:

I did well the first half of this month, but then I went on a shopping spree, binge-style. You see, my favorite store had a mega-sale which I was able to combine with a coupon I had 'earned'. I also recently realized (see this post) that I desperately needed to replace some of my at-home clothing. I went hog-wild at the sale, rationalizing that I can return anything I don't really like and wanting to 'try' all too many things. I also had to meet a particular minimum to use the coupon, so I added in things when needed to be able to use the coupon that I liked enough to 'try'. I certainly can call what I ordered in total this month a fail! At first this month, I only ordered one jacket (the leather jacket). Later, I ordered EIGHT additional orders across a couple of days. Sale items were rolling in, and items that were not available/sold out suddenly popped back as available again. I suppose the temptation was all too much, and I went on a major binge. 

All I can say is that I remedied the situation as best I could (see below on returns, etc) but I found some items impossible to return. I'm still going to stick to my guns and hold to my commitment on the budgets and item limits, irregardless of the fact that I bought too-many items this month! I also have one item that has not been sent yet (or deducted from my account!), as it's on backorder which will be in the next month's budget, just for accountability's sake.

Out-of-door Clothing Purchases: 5, $414.96
WHBM Toffee Open Leather Jacket $220.58 with tax
This jacket had been catching my eye for some time, but at $450 it was much too pricey- almost 1/3 the budget! It hit sale and there was a coupon that could be combined with the sale, so I went for it. I knew the color and style would be unique in my wardrobe, so I was excited to try it. I was happily not disappointed. 10/10

WHBM Printed Embellished Top $61.59
I fell in love with this top. I tried it on in-store when I was out shopping in the mall (they didn't have my size) and was immediately convinced that I needed it in my wardrobe. I LOVE it. 10/10

Turquoise Handbag, $32.39 with tax.
This purse is really nice. It's just the right size and I love the color. It's replacing my colorblock purse, which has been beaten up and the pockets have torn. 10/10

WHBM Black Dress $39.02
I've contemplated this dress many, many times. It's gorgeous, a perfect fit, and lightweight enough for summer. I decided that for the fit and price, I couldn't go wrong- plus, I do have an occasion in mind for it and it's tastefully sexy. 10/10.

WHBM Quilted Knit Black Jacket $61.38

I've wanted this jacket since it sold out in the fall. I bought it and wore it immediately. It's a lot like my other black jacket, but it's a stretchy knit and works better casually while looking smart at the office. The other one is a flared peplum with 3/4 sleeves. This one has got a great texture and sheen. I wear my other black jacket 2x+ a week so it'll be nice to give it a bit of a break. Though I do wonder if I was wrong to break the 'one and done' rule! 10/10

At-home Purchases: 4, $85.26

WHBM Sweater $22.98
This topper is very pretty! While it's a little bit overwhelming on 5'4" me fashionably speaking- I LOVE it! It's warm and pretty and is a fantastic cover-up. 11/10

WHBM Black Top $23.02
This top is a comfortabe stretchy knit. I usually would not wear a revealing top out of the home, as it does dip a bit low. At home though I think it'll be just the right thing to keep me feeling good about myself and not feeling frumpy, and I don't have to worry if it's a tad too low for work since it won't go to work! It also has a nice double-layered fabric (or lining) in front. 9/10

WHBM Red Top $23.66
This top is just like the one in black, and I wanted more color. 9/10

WHBM Black Tunic Top $15.60
With this top, I found my at-home 'formula'! I discovered while long-over-lean looks best on me with heels, I adore it for at-home wear. I'm just sad all the other colors sold out!!! 11/10! *Update- there were some popbacks in grey and crimson, which I jumped on but will be part of April's budget as I just ordered them!

Other Purchases: 2

Two Victorias Secret Bras- $74.73
These were sorely needed purchases. They come out of a separate budget, but I promised to share all purchases so my shopping was portrayed accurately. My last two bras were purchased two+ years ago, just after pregnancy and used while I breast-fed. They were horribly stretched out and chafed. I was sized (surprisingly, I'm between a 32DDD  and a 34DD) and purchased two that will be much more comfortable than the two I've been suffering with. I expect a few more 'other' purchases next month in terms of nude stockings and a workout bra, but otherwise won't need anything probably until winter again.

Gifts:

None

Returns:
WHBM Black Top $30.69
I though this top might work for home, but I found it to not be flattering at all. Sent back!

WHBM Black Pants $38.15
I had hoped these pants would work for home, but they were awful- tight fitted denim-like slacks rather than the legging I hoped for. Returned.

WHBM Knit Pants $23.02
These pants turned out to be really nice but too corporate to pass at home. Sadly returned as I don't need more work pants.

WHBM Jean Blazer $99.75
I saw Bridgette Raes feature this blazer and thought I'd give it a try as I need more items that straddle the casual/business line. In person, it was plain muted dark denim rather than 'nice' denim. The picture made me think it had a sheen, and it didn't. The blazer itself fit large and was too corporate-like despite the fabric. Returned.

WHBM Tights $5.32
These were ordered only to increase the total to be able to use a coupon. Return!

WHBM Red Dress $53.40
This dress was on my wishlist for months now. It was reduced by a huge amount now, so I ordered it. It turns out the flare hit exactly the wrong place on me, making me look all hips. Too bad!!

WHBM Suit Jacket $69.04
The fit of this jacket was a disaster on me, mo more needs to be said!

WHBM Striped Top $31.18
This top was sadly about 2 sizes too big! I wasn't enamored with the delicate lace for home either. 

WHBM Red Pants $23.41
These pants were wannabe-slacks and were not right for at-home wear. 

WHBM Striped Sweater $30.69
Sadly, this sweater was not as nice in-person. The grey stripes were metallic and it wasn't a perfect fit on me.

WHBM Black Jeans $31.58
I've been really wanting a different pair of jeans (rather than standard blue). I tried these but I didn't like them, I was hoping for a solid black color rather than what it is. The color is difficult to describe but it's not what I wanted.

WHBM White Skinny Jeans $38.35

These were almost a win. The issue was that they kept bunching at the knees and were a bit roomy in the wrong places!

Purges:

Out-of-door Clothing:

WHBM Printed Tiered Top
Much as I loved the print and color of this top, the fit has always been fussy. I avoid it because of this. I wore it again in early March when I needed something dressy, and I couldn't wait to take it off. It's sad this didn't work out- and even worse, I have another in black that has the same issue that was purchased long before this one. I could have avoided this failure! I know now that to add an additional top in a style I already own, it needs to be an 'all star'. I liked how the black one looked on me more, but I need to wear it again to see if I want to keep it.

Colorblock Purse
This purse has been through the ringer. It's time to let it go! The pockets are torn inside and it's mostly unusable at this point. It photographs much nicer than it looks in real life.

Sold- $138.53


WHBM Printed Ruffle Top- $19.00 + $0.70 shipping kickback

WHBM Blue Printed Ruffle Top- $19.50 + $0.70 shipping kickback

WHBM Printed Skirt- $29 + $0.70 shipping kickback

WHBM Printed Embellished Cardigan- $26.33 + $0.70 shipping kickback

WHBM Printed Tiered Top- $19.50 + $0.70 shipping kickback

WHBM Printed Tie-neck Top- $21.00 + $0.70 shipping kickback

Purges that came back: 

NYandCo Sparkle Cardigan
I purged this cardigan, but ended up bringing it back! I needed a black cardigan rather than a dressy jacket. It's on my list to purchase this year, but in the meantime this'll have to do! *update- now that I have the knit black jacket that is a tad more casual, this might go back into the purged bag again. We'll see next month.

Shopping List

So, how'd I do on my shopping list? I created this list in December 2014, when I was planning my budget and it is subject to change!

Spring/Summer Items- 5
  • Flat pair of sandals
  • Replacement tan flats- updated to open jacket- the flats will last 1 more season- purchased
  • Blouse in a vibrant print
  • White blouse- purchased
  • New Gray or colored jeans - purchased dark denim jeans
Fall/Winter Items- 4
  • Replacement winter coat
  • Replacement winter boots- black
  • Replacement sweater
  • Ankle Boots
  • Replacement Black Cardigan
All Season Items- 12
  • Replacement purse - purchased
  • New pair of mid-height black heels - updated to little black dress - purchased
  • Necklace -updated or scarf
  • Earrings -updated or bracelet
  • Bracelet- updated to white blazer
  • Scarf in multiple colors - purchased
  • 2- updated to 1 top that works professionally and casually- updated to a jacket that works casually - purchased
  • New Jacket or Blazer- changed to Professional Dress - purchased
  • Wrap style or flowy dress - purchased

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Quick Update II

I just wanted to write a quick note on how my words for 2015 are changing things for me in one way.

I chose focus and growth as my words for 2015.

I'm excited and happy about the prospects for my book. You see, it's always been a 'one day' type-thing. i started it long ago (it began in a dream, in all honesty- I wrote it down and knew I had to turn it into a book). I decided to get rid of the distractions that I could that are not adding value to my life, and am reclaiming some of that time to dedicate to write my book. It's a fantasy/science fiction book for a young adult audience, and it's going well! I finished the first chapter (~3500 words gah) and am well into the second, with great firm ideas for the third chapter and a prelouge. I have the general plot developed, but the sub-plots and characters/entwinment and personal development are currently in the development phase. I hope to have a good draft of the entire book within six months- a tall order! This is a really exciting and fullfilling experience- and while I do hope to publish, the creative process itself is exhillarating. I like to think it's much better than my blogging- which is typically 'on-the-fly-no-review-quick-hit-the-publish-button' style writing.

Currently, I am setting aside time during my lunch hour with a goal of writing at least 3x a week. I don't have a computer at home right now (need to get one asap) so it's not quite enough time (especially considering my 6-month goal) but it's a start.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The neglected side of my wardrobe

Since I began this blog, I've focused purely on the clothing that is seen once I leave home. I've never really spent any time on the clothing I change into once I'm home. I've never really accounted for the coming and going of lounge clothing, and never posted purchases (which were very seldom). I've given this a lot of thought after reading this guest post from Terra and this post on Debbie Roe's blog about the clothing we wear at home.

No More Hiding!

I've come to the conclusion that I was too ashamed to mention my lounge wear/pajamas on the blog. Some of it is in good shape, but a lot of it is not. These are things I bought (or downgraded from regular clothing) for pure function- never caring what I looked like or if they flattered me, but only if they served their purpose and did not chafe or feel restricting. Reading those posts I linked above had me looking at myself and my at-home clothing with fresh eyes- and how embarrassing it feels! I would be (and have been) mortified if someone other than immediate family caught me in my pjs/lounge, which are what I change into the moment I get home no matter what I have on.
 
I think it's time that at-home me better matches my out-of-the-house me. I want to feel better about myself at home, and I want to set a good example for my little daughter. I also wouldn't mind being more attractive to the husband

The Plan

I'm planning on revitalizing my wardrobe, but on a budget. I'm thinking another 5-piece wardrobe challenge is in store for this capsule (20 items max) to keep the sheer amount of purchases down, and I've decided to set a budget of  $700 for those items. I don't want to go overboard, but it's in desperate need of a revamp. I also commit to doing an inventory and posting it. Once I've replaced/purged some of the more embarrassing things, I'll participate in the LIWI challenge (with photos of each item as planned for my out-of-doors capsule) so I can get this in shape! The only items that will 'not count' here will be underwear (except that I will post all new purchases).

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

My Wishlist

I wanted to share my wishlist again to show my thought process through this 5-piece wardrobe.

I've purchased 6 things so far this year, which means I only have 14 total items left I can purchase. I'll need at least a winter coat, winter boots, flat sandals, ankle boots, and a sweater bringing me down to 9 items.

This was on my wishlist but has been ordered (bringing me down to 8 items!):
Printed top- $78

I'm quickly running out of items I can purchase, which was to be expected really. I'm trying very hard to be careful, only get things that sing to me, and be mindful that any future LOVE items will be off the table if I get something now. 

Current Wishlist

My current wishlist is 7 items. These items are being considered but I am not 'sure' of them:
White blazer- $150
I've always wanted a white blazer and this one may be 'the one'!
Denim Blazer- $130
This would be great for all kinds of venues.


Red dress- $69.99
Still thinking about this- and it's on sale now!

Black earrings- $30
Lovely earrings to replace the ones I lost.

Scarf- $48
Beautiful scarf in several colors- would go with a lot of things and would bring some color to my mostly blue, black, and white wardrobe.


Top- $98
I still like the look of this.

Black jeans- $39.99
Great price, and I'm hoping to find jeans in another color other than blue. To be honest with my self, I really want red or grey too (can NOT find this year!).

Monday, March 16, 2015

Temptation Follow Up

Hello! Just a quick note on how I did at the mall (see my last post- I went to the 6th largest mall in the US on Saturday with friends).

I got this purse (a need!) for $32.39 after tax. Gorgeous turquoise blue.

I got these two VS bras for $74.73-  another real need!

And thats it!! Shopping trip was successful. I did try on a top I've been eyeing and found it's the best.top.ever. They didn't have it in the right size (ran large) so I ordered it this morning. Here's the stock picture:


Monday, March 9, 2015

Heading to Temptation

I made plans with some ex-coworkers of mine to go to the 6th largest mall in the United States this weekend. Now, for someone who considers herself a 'recovering shopaholic', this could easily be a disaster waiting to happen.

How do I plan to not go overboard?

I'm looking at going to this massive shopping mall as an opportunity to enjoy time with my friends, but also to try on things rather than ordering and returning. The most important thing will be to pay attention to my NEEDS rather than wants, so I plan on entering the shops with a well-thought out list, first and foremost. That list is as follows:
  • A replacement purse
  • A pair of flat sandals for pairing with jeans
  • A replacement pair of tan or light-colored flats
  • Light grey, colored, black, and/or white jeans (replace old ones) if they fit perfectly
  • An amazing top or two
  • 2 new bras (the two old ones no longer fit comfortably)*
  • A swimsuit*
  • Luxurious sleepwear* 
  • Room for a surprise 'love' item
It's important to note that in no way do I intend to purchase all of these items. These are things I can keep my eyes open for throughout the year and may buy them if I find them, and items with a * next to them don't count in my item limit (though I do have to account for them in the budget posts). I also want to note that I have a $50 gift card to Banana Republic / Old Navy from Christmas, and any item(s) I purchase come under gifts rather than the item limit (unless I pay even a penny of my own money). I'm keeping my options open but I likely will use it for my daughter rather than for myself, or I may use it towards an expensive item that still counts in the item limit as I'll still pay out of pocket. Only time will tell!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Changes

I wanted to apologize for not blogging much lately. I've been very busy at work and have been following my heart on what I need to be doing right now. Well, things are changing for me again!

Work

I've accepted a surprise offer I had from another company and will be starting in two weeks. It's a smaller company and I won't interface with clients as much, so it's even more obvious to me that any wardrobe purchases I make need to be versatile (casual and professional) and more importantly that I do not really need any more clothing. It's a big change for me again, but I am excited.

Minimalism

I've decided to stop tracking my wears in regards to my clothing and accessories. I've done so for more than a year, and I have learned a great deal. Now, my wardrobe is a very manageable size and I know exactly what is pulling its weight and what is not. I don't feel the need to spend that time anymore!

I'm also putting the break on obsessing on my wardrobe. I'd like to occasionally use an outfit journal to gain insight, and review my wardrobe seasonally or as I feel the need, but otherwise I want to dedicate my time to an old passion I've reclaimed. I am writing a novel (fantasy) and stopped back when my daughter was born. I'd like to finish it and maybe even seek publishing it. It's time to follow my heart!

I'll still blog here, as I still have things to share and still plan to talk about minimalism, wardrobe management, and living frugally. I just want to take some of the focus off my wardrobe and live up to minimalism in regards to minimizing what has no or little value to me, in order to dedicate that space and time for that which DOES hold personal value.

Monday, March 2, 2015

February 2015 Budget Post

The Rules (as seen in original post here)
  • I can spend $1500.00 maximum out of pocket.
  • I can purchase 20 items maximum.
  • Re-sale adds money to the budget but not to the item limit.
  • Gifts do not 'count' in the item limit or budget.
This Month
  • I spent $258.55 this month on 4 items.
  • So far this year, I have spent $279.24 and purchased 5 items.
  • I have $1230.76 left to spend this year on 15 items. This is about $81.38 each.
  • I received a $50 gift card for Christmas which is still unspent.
Comments

This month, I ordered 5 items and kept 4. So far, I've purchased 1/4 of my 20 items but am only 1/6 of the way through the year, so I need to slow down a bit. I got some great items and they all should work through spring and summer. 

Purchases-
WHBM Striped Dress- $26.25
This dress was originally $140- I was lucky to catch it with a coupon and I also got a price reduction as I ordered the day before it was marked down to sale! It'll be great for hotter weather, particularly for casual but I believe it also will work well for work too provided I wear something over it. The top is a bit loose and may need minor tailoring. 9.5/10.
WHBM Surplice Blouse- $62.71 
This top was originally $88, and while the price is still a bit high I feel it's worth every penny. I've already worn it and LOVE it. It will absolutely be a staple of mine, and it is super versatile. It likely will replace my old white peasant shirt. 11+/10
WHBM Colorblock Sheath Dress- $114.01
I let fear of missing out affect my decision to purchase this dress at over $100, as it's selling out. It's originally $160 and fits perfectly. The color-blocking hits in just the right places, and it looks pretty amazing on. I'm starting a new job soon and this will be worn on my first day. 10/10
WHBM Dark Wash Skinny Jean- $55.58
These jeans were originally $78- and they're already sold out. They are the best fitting jeans I own now! They may end up replacing two pairs, we'll see how I feel next month when I review my wardrobe. I've worn these several times already. 10+/10.

Gifts

None

Returns-
I ordered this top in black and in white. The white is stunning but the black wasn't as special, so sending back. Could reconsider at a major cut in price, but not at $63.

Purges- 1


Green Blazer-
As much as I love the color, I have to admit it has limited use in my wardrobe. It only goes with my black and white tops! I can only think of 1 way to wear it, because it doesn't go well with dresses or skirts, and when I am being honest with myself I know I'll never wear it with jeans either. I hope the next owner loves it much more!

Shopping List

So, how'd I do on my shopping list? I created this list in December 2014, when I was planning my budget and it is subject to change!

Spring/Summer Items- 5
  • Flat pair of sandals
  • Replacement tan flats
  • Blouse in a vibrant print
  • White blouse- purchased
  • New Gray or colored jeans - purchased dark denim jeans
Fall/Winter Items- 4
  • Replacement winter coat
  • Replacement winter boots- black
  • Replacement sweater
  • Ankle Boots
  • Replacement Black Cardigan
All Season Items- 12
  • Replacement purse
  • New pair of mid-height black heels 
  • Necklace
  • Earrings
  • Bracelet
  • Scarf in multiple colors - purchased
  • 2 tops that work professionally and casually
  • New Jacket or Blazer- changed to Professional Dress - Purchased
  • Wrap style or flowy dress - Purchased