July Budget

So remember how I was all “Less Clothes!” and “French Wardrobe Challenge“? Well, I feel a little sneaky: I knew that during July, I was going to visit my parents – and mom always treats me to a shopping spree.

Not only is my mom super nice that way, but we tend to shop better together: When we know that the other person has a lot to try on, we tend to just grab a bunch of stuff, which sometimes turns out great! (Or, at the very least, is somewhat hilarious – like the white pleated lace dress I tried on that made me look 5 years old!) Ironically, we have the opposite body types even through we’re about the same numerical size: stuff that is great on me looks weird on her and vice versa. It’s fun, then, to try on each others reject pile!

Top Row:

  • NY&Co Top - I love the windowpane print of this top. It’s no longer online, but I bet there are still plenty in stores. I’m excited because it’s a stretch material, rather than a cotton, which I find more comfortable to wear.
  • NY&Co Teal Cardigan ($25) – such a pretty color! And mine matches the windowpane tee’s color perfectly – a kind of trendy version of a twinset.
  • NY&Co Sweater ($23) – I love been living in this since I bought it. Love love love.

Middle Row:

  • Old Navy Tee ($17) – This top reminds me of about 75% of my pinterest account: gray and slouchy.
  • Essie Bikini So Teeny ($6) - I adore the color and it’s been on my toes non-stop, but damnit if it doesn’t need a full three coats… [Purchased with my money]
  • Green Sleeveless Top (from NY&Co; Pictured from Kohls $17) – I now have similar tops in red, blue, black, and green. Like I have mentioned before: great for summer and great for layering!

Bottom Row:

  • Old Navy Crop Sweatpants ($22) – love these: They make me feel like a tiger. Plus, after wearing them and sitting cross-legged on the couch, the knees are not saggy!

Clothes I purchased:

  • Max Studio Dolman top from TJMaxx ($20) – I love the mix of teal and blue. I’m a little less in love with the dolman sleeves: it makes wearing cardigans or jackets a little tricky as there is more fabric in the arm area. Still, I love this top for summer, with white shorts, or for early fall, with skinny jeans.
  • Gray / Blue Maxi Skirt from TJMaxx ($20) – I still might return this. I love the mix of gray and blue – and it fits me very nicely. My problem is that I can’t really see myself wearing it with any shoes except sandals, so it would only be useful during summer. I know this can’t possibly be the truth – any suggestions? If I’m still not sure in a week, I’m going to return it…

Total: $48 (1 top, 1 bottom, 1 nail polish)
Total Gifted: 4 tops, 1 cardigan, 1 bottom

Looking Ahead
My quarterly budget flips over and covers August, September, and October. I will also be back in professional clothes 3-4 days each week, so my wardrobe needs will change because of both work and weather. I’m going to do some planning next month to fill in my wardrobe gaps (mostly shoes…)

How did your spending go this month?

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#BYDHTTMWFI – June and July

book round-up

After moving (and unpacking to SNL 2004-2009 – thanks Hulu+!) I ended up not reading too much in June. I got back on the horse in July with some of my ebook holds finally coming in from the library. Plus, with some air travel, I finally had some time in which about all I could do was sit and read (heaven!).

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (Discovery of Witches #2) (584 pages) ★★★★★
I finally managed to get my hands on a library copy of this book! Of the many trilogies that I have read, the second one often falls flat – it has to draw out the plot and leave all the true surprises for book 3. Shadow of Night avoids all of these pitfalls as it is set in the 16th century, such a momentary diversion from the initial narrative that the book almost stands of its own.

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness (Discovery of Witches #3) (561 pages) ★★★★★
The third book in the trilogy returns to the present and answers all the issues. I felt like the last few chapters were a little rushed, given the narrative time allotted to lesser episodes, but the ending was satisfactory and I loved it.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (318 pages★★
Although I found this book to be well-written and sweet, it was somewhat predictable. Sorry…

Island 731 by Jeremy Robinson (343 pages★★★
Hailed as the next Jurassic Park, this book scared the crap out of me. We had just moved into a new, very rural, house, and now I was reading a book about an Island on which people kept showing up dead and mutilated! If you like that kind of suspense, it’s a good book (I was transfixed until I finished it), but I don’t think it’s really as good as Jurassic Park

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige (464 pages★★★★
Argh, another trilogy (?) which I started before all the books are out! Needless to say, I loved it. I’m a big Wicked fan, so convincing me that Oz was messed up and it was Dorothy’s fault somehow was a pretty simple sell. The only reason not to read this immediately is because you are waiting for the release of the other books. 

No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige (196 pages★★★★
Thank goodness for the new trend of 0.5 books. This is a prequel to Dorothy Must Die from Dorothy’s point of view. And despite my skeptisism, there are a few events that both explain why she is the way she is and make me sympathetic to her. Can.not.wait.for.next.book!

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (352 pages) ★★★
Cute, weird, not too long, on waiting list for the next book. I could see this series turning out amazingly or not so much, so I guess I’ll wait to read book #2.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (349 pages) 
Why do I read these books? As you might guess, this book is creepy and dark, but once you start, you have to discover the truth about the night that the main character’s family was murdered. If you loved Gone Girl, you will most likely like this one – it’s a similar tone.

Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich (368 pages
Click lit with no character development. I read it all, but it was somewhat predictable.

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman (298 pages)  
I really enjoyed this book and it’s made me want to watch the tv series (even if the series sounds like the plot goes in a completely different direction). 

Progress on Challenge: (New points are bolded)

  • Any book (5 points): A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  • Book written before I was born (10 points)
  • Book that I didn’t finish the first time (10 points)
  • Children’s book (10 points): The One by Kiera Cass
  • A book from The New York Times’ Best Sellers List (15 points): Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • Non-European Historical Fiction (15 points)
  • A book that another blogger reads (15 points): Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, read by Megan @ Megan’s Hobby Corner
  • A book with “child(ren)” in the title (20 points): Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • A book that will be a film in 2014 (20 points): The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • A book written by a blogger (25 points): When Audrey Met Alice by Rebecca Behrens
  • A biography or memoir (25 points): Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman
  • A pair of books with antonyms in the titles (30 points): Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige & The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

Previous Points: 60 (May)
June + July Points: 105
Current Total: 165

Non-categorized Books:

  • Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown
  • The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy
  • All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry
  • Shopaholic and Baby by Sophie Kinsella
  • Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
  • Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
  • Island 731 by Jeremy Robinson
  • Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich

What should I read next? What do you recommend?

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Keeping that Loving Feeling when the Fun is Over

Coming back from vacation has left me tired – both physically thanks to a 11pm landing time that meant driving home until 2:30am and mentally. I’m feeling under-motivated and I’ve been a little witchy and quick to snap at people. I don’t think it’s because I am particularly exhausted or physically stressed, but rather because it feels like my summer fun is over.

But there are still 6 more weeks of summer – and I certainly shouldn’t feel that fun can only be had in the months of June, July, and August, although it’s easy to think that when I am on an academic calendar!

So today, for my own edification, I am brainstorming ideas to help me feel like my vacation is still continuing. And I have come up with a mix of silly, mundane, and helpful ideas, but every little bit helps?

1. Less Computer Time: I know I’ve been neglecting the blog and my email a little more than I can get away with, but I really loved being away from the computer. While on holiday, I did use my computer for probably an hour each day and checked my phone regularly. To be sure, it was not enough to keep up with everything, but the world did not fall apart. I would like to limit my blog & social media time to a tight 2 hours each day (ha! good luck to me!). I might start using one of those time management systems to keep myself on track….

2. More Doing Things: Whether it was window shopping or visiting the local (free) art museum, a week of doing things was so much fun – even make-your-own-pizza family dinner! It’s so easy to get caught up with deadlines and pressing work and I end up not doing the things. In these last few weeks before the school year starts again, I’d like to really do something every week!

3. More Makeup-Free Days: It’s pretty self-explanatory! There were even a few days in which I just pulled all my hair back with an old headband – and I’ve seen the pictures! I look happy and tan and pretty much how I always look!

4. More Limoncello: Maybe even with little umbrellas in it. It won’t always be tropical temps outside, but it can be sunny in my glass :)

5. More Reading: Goes hand in hand with less computer time. I’m the kind of person who gets really worked up about books and I love it.

6. Be Outside More and 7. Move More: Swimming in the pool all day, playing volleyball, and playing marco polo was heaven. Luckily (?) I was greeted upon my return with hours on hours of yard work. Four hours of weeding later…  Yard work is definitely a way to fill these requirements and I would also like to attempt to start jogging again (I tried in March and it didn’t stick, but maybe now with better weather?)

8. Connect with my Family and Friends More: Best part of the holiday? Spending time with my family. My mom and I always cry at the airport when I fly home. So I’d like to stay better in touch with email, text, and phone calls. Yes, these things might involve more screen time, but I think they are worth it! But it can also be simple things that don’t require a lot of effort: while picking out new glasses yesterday, I texted pics of my favorites (and some obvious fashion don’ts!) to my mom, who loved my choice!

What do you do to make your day have that fun of a vacation?

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Pinspired Sunglasses

Classic: You might be classic if you are currently wearing stripes and drinking starbucks. Bad news: you’re a basic b*tch. Good news: these sunglasses will still be in style next summer and beyond!

Sporty: You might be sporty if you know exactly how many days until the NFL’s opening day and are already collecting nail polish for a team-themed manicure. You also know which sunglasses Jose Altuve wears, but these aviator-styled pair are a much more affordable choice!

Trendy: You might be trendy if you live in rompers or kimonos and have neon nail polish on right now. Plus you know that $12 for sunglasses is a great deal, even if you only get 6 more weeks of summer out of them!

I’m on the hunt for a new pair! Which would you choose?

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Linking up with:
Treat Yo’ Self with Treasure Tromp
Spotlight of the Week with Stylin in St Louis and Living in Color Style