Friday, August 29, 2014

the damage: August 2014!

At the end of each month this year I am planning to pause to take a look at my spending as it's related to my closet. I call these posts "the damage." Each month my target budget is $300 and only 5 pieces of clothing or shoes. For 2014 I chose 5 items because I am working on making my closet a more curated place and also to try to put an end to the constant closet clean outs where loads of clothes get sent to charity - but I have failed pretty miserably at the 5 things goal. It was a lofty goal I experimented with this year and I guess you win some you lose some, but this was in the "lose" category for sure.  Oh well, just keeping it real here for you gals!

For some this budget may sound like a lot and for others it may not... for me personally this is my monthly goal. It works for my budget and lifestyle and doesn't break the bank. Shopping budgets are a personal thing, but I share mine here to show how I stretch my budget and work to create a well curated and fully stocked closet.

It's hard to believe we are wrapping up August! I am headed out this weekend so I thought I would check in with my August clothing budget before the weekend fun begins.

J.Crew Factory, Quilted Vest, $98 with $5 off was $93
J.Crew Factory, Warm Spun Elbow Patch Sweater, $78 with promotions was $62.40
J.Crew, Cocoon Coat, $365 with 25% was $273.75
Old Navy, Mid Rise Rockstar Jeans, $36.50 with promotions and coupon was $12.03
Banana Republic, High Low Cardigan, $89.50 with 50% off was $44.75
Banana Republic, Zip Back Cream Sweater, $69.50 with 40% off was $41.70
Banana Republic, Faux Leather Sloan Dress, $150 with 50% off was $75

Total Spent: $509.63 (saved: $376.87)

Thoughts on the budget: I splurged on the Cocoon coat and I'm still undecided about it. It is a GORGEOUS coat, just stunning. But that price isn't messing around.  I'm glad I got it on sale but it really busted the budget and is hands down the most expensive piece of clothing I have ever bought (handbags not included).  The J.Crew Factory pieces have me a little bummed out as I bought them in store hardly on sale - I didn't do my online research before shopping and I really should have because I definitely didn't get the best price for them.  That can be the problem with shopping on vacation sometimes - I wasn't really thinking and I don't have a store near me for a price adjustment or returns.  Oh well, live and learn.

Thoughts on the pieces: My fall shopping is off to a solid start! I'm starting to really get excited for fall (even though it's brutal to say good bye to such a fun summer) and shopping for fall clothes always helps.  I went for a lot of neutrals, which is definitely my style lately - but also the predominant style this season it seems too.  These pieces will be great staples for my fall wardrobe.  The dress is for a fun upcoming event - I can't remember the last time I bought a cocktail dress so I am super excited about that.

Did you blog about your clothing budget this month? Leave a link so I can check it out!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

currently obsessed: Beautycounter!

Have you heard of Beautycounter?  When a friend recently posted on Instagram about a beauty retailer that publishes a "never" list, I was super intrigued.  Beautycounter is a new-ish beauty brand that takes safety and authenticity in product development to a new level.  Their "never" list lays out all the products that they promise to never put in their products.  It's a startling fact that the United States has not passed a federal law pertaining to ingredients in personal care products since 1938.  The EU (European Union) has a strict code banning more than 1300 additives and ingredients to personal care products but the US only bans 11.  That's kinda scary.  Because if you have read the back of your makeup bottles lately it's practically in a different language.  So who is looking out for the consumer?

Enter Beautycounter - they have committed to not using over 1500 ingredients that they don't feel are safe in beauty products all while offering the consumer a great finished product.  One that is safe and beautiful on the inside and out.  We worry so much about what is in our food, but we often overlook the products and chemicals we are putting right on our skin!

With recent mentions in magazines like Allure, Vogue, Elle and Lucky word is spreading fast about this revolutionary brand. Even J.Crew is carrying a few of their items these days. This is a brand to watch for sure and one that I am seriously falling in love with.  Here are a few of their products that I can't wait to get my hands on… (they even have kids products!).

Have you heard of this amazing company before?  They also have a great blog that talks about product safety, how to use their products and more… it's such a great resource.

(please note: this is not a sponsored post, I am just super excited about this brand… so excited that I signed up on my own to become a consultant to spread the word!)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

fall must haves 2014: track pants!

If you are just tuning in I have taken a few days over the last couple of weeks to cover my favorite fall trends right here on the blog. I try to comb my favorite stores for the easiest and most practical of the "trends" and break it all down right here for you.  So far we have covered:

Today's must have is super trendy and while I like the idea of it… I'm still on the fence about the trend in general.  Today we are talking "track pants" - not your average run of the mill pants you wear to the gym, no these are the fancy-pants kind that are made of sumptuous fabrics and nice slim cuts.  They can be dressed up and down and you can find them at all price points this fall.  Here are my top picks and few tips on how to style them. 

Will you be jumping on the track pant trend this fall?  Check out this inspiration below and then let me know what you think of this trend.

above: one, two, three, four, five, six

above: pants, top, jacket, flats, bag

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

my everyday style: last call for summer!

Can you feel that in the air… the end of summer? This is the time of year I start doing a snatch and grab on all my favorite summer pieces and wear them as much as possible.  I can feel summer slipping away and I hate to see it go without a fight.  You know?

I hardly wore my white jeans all summer - such a shame - so I decided it was time to remedy that stat.  This black tank from Madewell has seriously been my summer mvp, I haven't worn it here on the blog much but my husband and girlfriends are probably sick of this top as it's been my going out to eat/girls night out/wear it on vacation/if I see you at the store/it's my birthday/date night tank top - all summer.

Not only is it light as a breeze, but I'm also a little obsessed with tuxedo-inspired tops, which by the way seem to be in style this fall as well! (hello, I'll take this one and this one!)  What items are you trying to wear as much as possible before summer is over?

(photos by Jennifer Ketchum)

Top, Madewell (or similar, super cute and on sale!)
Jeans, Gap (or similar)
Bag, J.Crew (similar or similar)
Necklace, Sole Society
Sandals, J.Crew (similar)

Monday, August 25, 2014

fall must haves 2014: the hottest handbags!

There is nothing like the thrill of a new handbag in the fall!  When it comes to handbags I really like to go for quality over quantity and invest in a new handbag a couple times a year.  Fall is a great time to switch up your handbag and invest in a new one.  This season beautiful neutrals are where it's at for handbags which makes investing in one so easy because these beauties won't be going out of style any time soon.

Here I chose a few of my favorites and then styled them up for you for inspiration… just add crunchy leaves and a pumpkin spice latte and you are set for fall!

above: one, two, three, four, five, six

Friday, August 22, 2014

fall must-haves 2014: cozy sweaters!

Between boots, jeans and sweaters it is impossible to decide which is my favorite item to purchase each fall - it's a three way tie… and since we've already talked about fall trends for jeans this year (here and here) I am excited to dig into sweaters next.

What is more fun that cozying up in a brand new sweater in the fall? Not much in my book.  This season I am drawn to creamy whites, cozy grays and classic carmel hues.  They go perfect with boots and flats and are easy to throw on for cool and crisp fall days.

Here are my top picks and some suggestions on how to style them as well… happy sweater shopping!

above: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven

Thursday, August 21, 2014

fall must haves 2014: high-rise jeans!

Every fall I take some time to outline some of the trends I am most looking forward to wearing this season… new styles and trends are everywhere from the runways, to the magazines, to your favorite stores these days. But with this series here on the blog I really try to break it down into truly wearable trends, those that you will feel comfortable and confident in.  And also trends that hopefully will stand the test of time - or at least more than one season.  I really want to seek out the pieces that you will love wearing (and wearing, and wearing).

So when you first read "high-rise jeans" you were all probably like "what is she thinking!?!?".  But bear with me here!  I promise these babies are worth trying.  High- or even mid-rise jeans are making a comeback and they really are worth checking out.  The number one reason? Usually our waist is the smallest part of our torso… and along the past few years the waist has been completely forgotten amidst low rise jeans.  What a shame! It's time to bring the waist back.  And the best news about high- and mid-rise jeans is that they virtually BANISH the muffin top and can really suck in the lower belly portion of our body that after having kids can be a really trouble area.  Low-rise jeans can just let all that junk hang out sometimes… so why not switch up?  Don't just take my word for it… head on out to the fitting rooms and give them a try this fall!

Here are my top picks for the high-rise jean this fall…
above: one, two, three, four, five, six

So what do you think… will you maybe give this trend a try? 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

fall must haves 2014: loafers!

Loafer style shoes are so classic for fall and this season there are some great loafer-inspired styles that I am really loving.  While it will be sad to see sandals go along with the excuse that a pedicure is absolutely necessary this time of year - these cute shoes make me okay with putting my toes under wrap until spring.

Loafers are this season's must-have flat shoe. I love how they can be dressed up or down… you can wear them weekends and to the office and just about everywhere in between.

above: one, two, three, four, five, six

Loafers can add a great sophisticated vibe to a simple sweater and jeans combo… or are fun to pair with a dress and leather jacket for a weekend look.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

my everyday style: scalloped shorts three ways!

These scalloped shorts were love at first sight and love at first wear.  The sweet little scallop at the bottom hem makes for a fun addition to any outfit.   I know that this time of year the blog is a little schizophrenic… one day I'm talking about fall sweaters and the next I am wearing shorts.  So bear with me here, because while I am shopping for fall now (my absolute favorite!) there is still plenty of time to don our favorite summer pieces.  The warm weather even in Michigan is sticking around for a while.

Here I styled these shorts into three fun looks… one a little more dressed up and perfect for a date night, one a perfect weekend layered look and one a perfect everyday look with a chambray top.

(photos by Jennifer Ketchum)

top look:
Peplum Top, J.Crew Factory (similar or similar)
Necklace, J.Crew (similar or similar)
Sandals, J.Crew (similar or similar less expensive)

middle look:
Denim Jacket, American Eagle - ℅ (old, but similar)
"hello" tee, J.Crew (similar, similar or similar SUPER cute)
Sneakers, Superga

bottom look:
Chambray Top, J.Crew
Sandals, Loeffler Randal via - ℅

Scalloped Shorts, Gap (similar or similar)

Monday, August 18, 2014

fall must haves 2014: grey-black jeans!

Fall is knocking on our doors and while it's sad to see the lazy days of summer go… fall clothes always seem to make up for it.  For the next few weeks I'll review what's on my "must-haves" list for fall and showcase my top picks for those trends and offer a few tips on how to style them as well.  

Today I am featuring grey/black jeans… and this is one trend that I am super excited about this fall. I am a tried and true blue jean lover, but this season I am excited to try out hues in greys and blacks and in between.  These styles seem to be popping up at a lot of retailers lately and I love the laid-back rocker chic vibe these jeans exude.   And while jeans are always "in" every fall - it's fun to have a new style to add to my wardrobe.

What are you thinking of the grey/black jeans trend… you in? 
above: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight

Grey jeans mix and match with the other neutrals in your closet to make sophisticated looks for everyday wear. I love the idea of pairing grey or black jeans with camel, leopard, burgundy and gold accents for fall.
(above: jeans, sweater, shoes, bag, rings)

 Stay tuned for more must-haves over the coming days! 

Friday, August 15, 2014

cheap thrills for fall with Forever 21!

Who doesn't love a rock bottom bargain from time to time? I always like to look in at Forever 21 a couple times a year to see what fun pieces they are offering for the season.  While I try to keep my wardrobe minimalist and high quality there is always room for a fun find at a really great price.

Checking out F21's site most recently I was pleasantly surprised to see some really classic pieces in great silhouettes for fall.  Any of these pieces I would be thrilled to add to my closet and all of them would be really versatile for fall.  Don't you think?

1. nude flats 2. dolman sweater (I can never have enough of these) 3. navy blazer (love the cut on this) 4. open front duster jacket (LOVE!) 5. baseball tee 6. striped scarf 7. chevron necklace (obsessed) 8. midi ring set (new fascination of mine) 9. black d'orsay flats 10. tote

And the best thing… shopping online allows you to skip that terribly loud music in store (am I alone?!? I can hardly think straight with music at that volume! Or am I showing my age!?!?).

Thursday, August 14, 2014

my everyday style: washed out!

One sure thing (out of the million things) I will miss about summer? White.  Sure there are "winter whites" and I have been known to indulge in them… but white is the ultimate neutral all summer and I rely on it heavily for my everyday outfits.

I love that I can pair all these "washed out" colors together and make an outfit out them.  No browns, blacks or burgundy's are necessary.

(photos by Jennifer Ketchum)
Shorts, Old Navy - ℅ old (similar)
Chambray Top, J.Crew Factory
Sweater, J.Crew (similar)
Sandals, Loeffler Randal via - ℅ (in gold, silver, or two-tone)
Watch, Daniel Wellington - ℅