Sunday, October 26, 2014

September Purchases Roundup

I've been sort of casually keeping track of my clothing/shoes/accessories purchases for the last few months and I've come to the conclusion that I need to do a no-spend November or something.  I've spent way too much lately!  But I'm also not surprised because fall is my favorite season and my favorite time to buy... sweaters, scarves, and boots: Oh my!  But seeing it all added up is not so fun.  I'm going to make a conscious effort to spend less in November and only purchase things I really need to replace or know I will wear a lot.  Especially because as I look at my closet, I realize I have so many clothes that I just don't wear but I wear the same loved pieces over and over.  I know with me this is a constant battle, wanting to have it all but only wearing the pieces that really fit well and I really like.  Maybe I just need to be more picky when I shop.  Anyway, that's too much philosophical thinking for one post so now let's get to the fun stuff and I will reflect on my shopping habits in private later. ;)

First, I picked up a wardrobe workhorse in my life, a plain gray cardigan.  While that's sort of a boring piece, I always end up wearing my neutral cardigans a ton when the weather turns chilly and last year I ended up buying one from H&M because it was inexpensive but it turned out to be really big and baggy on me and I never wear it because it fits so poorly.  This time I spent a little more to get this one from Kohl's in a petite size and I'm much happier about the better fit and higher quality.  I know this basic piece will get a ton of wear when the weather here gets chillier.

Next, I picked up a couple of fall scarves from Target when they were having a buy one, get one 50% off sale.  First, is this burgundy infinity scarf.

And next is this floral scarf that has just about every fall color in it you could imagine: navy, burgundy, olive, pumpkin, and even a bit of yellow, pink, and white.  I love that it could go with so many other colors and it's an easy way to jazz up a basic outfit.  I couldn't find the link to this scarf on any more.  Last week it was in the clearance section of the website but still full price at my local Target store.

Next, I picked up a pair of fleece lined leggings which are really warm and cozy.  These will be great for wearing under dresses and skirts in the winter.  I looked for a pair of these late last winter but by then, they were hard to find in my size.  This year I snatched them up before they were all gone.  I found these at Vanity Fair Outlet.

Next, a pair of new black flats from G.H. Bass Outlet were in order.  Almost all of my work shoes need replaced because I wear them all the time but I'm really picky about my shoes for work.  They have to have good insoles for hours and hours of being on my feet.  I prefer ballet flats because they tend to fit my wide feet well.  So I finally was able to replace my black pair with these cute ones.  I like that they have a pleather cap toe and back detail.  The center section is faux suede and the braided detail adds a cute touch too.

And last, I've already shown these items on the blog from my Labor Day haul but I wanted to put everything from September's purchases in one place so here they are again, along with where I bought them and some sort of opinions on these purchases after owning them for a month or so now.

Gray iPad bag from Eddie Bauer Outlet: I still love this bag.  I've used it every day since I bought it and am so glad I did.

Cognac purse from Ross: Again, I love this bag and have also used it every day.  It's a great size and color for what I need and I'm really happy with it.

Navy blue cocoon sweater from Loft: This is such a perfect sweater for Florida.  I've already worn it twice and I'll probably be wearing it again this week.  I love these cocoon style sweaters but they usually are so big on me they look silly.  Since this one is petite size, it fits me really well and I like that it's easy to layer.  Maybe this time I'll wear it with a scarf and boots.

Last is this scarf I ordered from Amazon.  I think with my Bing rewards points, I only ended up paying around $1.99 for this scarf out of pocket but it's so big and so warm that I've only been able to wear it for like two hours one morning.  If I lived somewhere cooler, this would be great, but for now, this scarf will probably only be seeing a few months of the year here in Florida.  Although I plan on wearing it like every day when I go back to Pittsburgh for Christmas.

I plan on doing another of these Purchase Roundup posts next week, when October officially ends but I think for November I need to seriously try to curb my spending... and maybe clean out my closet too.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Dress Form

I am totally in love with this dress.  I kind of want to wear it every day.  I've already worn it before here.  There are just so many different ways to style this super basic black dress.  For Thursday (the day these photos were taken), I wore it with opaque black tights, my new cognac boots, and a burgundy infinity scarf.  In these photos, the tights look less opaque than in person, but I think maybe that's because of the flash on my camera.  Anyway, I digress.

This dress is awesome because it has sleeves and can be worn alone or can easily be layered with a jacket, a blazer, a scarf, necklace, boots, flats... you get the point.  But there's one small problem.  It needs some serious alterations.  At first glance, it may look fine, but let's get really detailed by taking a closer look at my "double teapot" photo.

The arrows on the top show where the shoulders hit on me.  Because I'm only 4'11" tall, I struggle to find clothes that are not petite size that fit me, especially in the shoulders.  Apparently I have really narrow shoulders and even sometimes I have trouble finding petite shirts where that area fits correctly.  However, that's a pretty basic and easy alteration that I know how to do.  Next, the two lower arrows are pointing out the fact that the sides of this dress also need taken in a bit.  That's a super easy alteration.  The big problem is that these alterations are a lot harder to figure out how to do perfectly without a dress form.  But adjustable dress forms are quite expensive and still hard to get the perfect size to fit one's unique shape.  When I saw that for around $10, I could make my own, uniquely me dress form (DIY tutorial here), I was all about it.  So this weekend, hubby will be wrapping me up like a paper mâché piñata and making me a personalized dress form.  I already have a few projects lined up, including the chevron version of this dress.

Funny story about that chevron dress... last weekend, I decided to make the shoulder and waist alterations to it.  I removed both sleeves then took in the waist... and then I couldn't figure out how to get the sleeves lined up correctly again!  After quite a bit of fiddling, I finally figured it out but then I wasn't sure where exactly they should be put back on because every time I tried the dress on with the sleeves pinned in place, I just got stabbed a million times with pins (I seriously have scratch marks from them on my shoulders) but couldn't line them up.  Hence the need for the dress form... I can't wear that dress again until I get it sewn back together!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Inspired by Your Favorite Color

Today was an easy nail challenge for me.  The prompt was inspired by your favorite color, which for me just meant I used one of my untried pink polishes.  I knew I also wanted to use this untried silver glitter that I picked up a few days ago.  Combining the two seemed like an easy pick.

The pinky mauve creme shade is two coats of Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear I'm Crabby (Limited Edition Summer 2014 shade) and the silver glitter accent nail is Revlon Diamond Texture.  If you like glitter polishes, run, don't walk to your nearest store and buy this.  It's sort of a texture glitter polish but holy cow, it was opaque in two coats, which is what you see here.  Above on the left is without topcoat and right is with topcoat.  The other day my texture polish with no topcoat chipped in like an hour so topcoat for me!

I was actually planning on stamping over the pink nails with silver polish but I was in a hurry (hence the lack of clean up) and then I decided it looked better simple.

I absolutely love both of these polishes.  This shade of pink is just so flattering on my skin tone.  It's soft and feminine and delightful.  Then the glitter.... loooooooooove!  Again, super opaque.  Could almost be a one coater but I prefer thin coats of glitter so they dry.  Sparkley and I love that there are multiple sizes of silver glitter.  Just to smooth that glitter, I added one coat of Seche Vite to it but the pink nails all got NYC Grand Central Station.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Mani Inspired by You

This nail challenge is a mani inspired by you.  I thought about what that meant and decided it should just be a mani made up of lots of things I love.  Pink, glitter, and school related definitely describe things I love!

Pink is my current favorite color and I'm loving glitter polish right now so I went with an obvious choice: pink glitter!  After applying a glue base coat for easy removal of all this glitter, I dabbed on three coats of Milani Disco Lights.  This is a sparkley dusty pink glitter.  After that, I topped it with a healthy dose of Seche Vite to smooth over that gritty texture.

I stamped over it with Wet N Wild Wild Shine Black Creme so that the contrast would be enough for the stamping to show up.

Next, I had to decide what image to stamp.  Since I love school and always have loved school (one of the reasons that I became a teacher), I figured I'd use the academic image from Bundle Monster plate BMH23.

Definitely me!  I just wish I could get glitter to last longer.  It seems to barely make it to the 24 hour mark for me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rough Week

This has been a rough week for me.  I was having some issues with my insulin pump and even had to go home from work early yesterday to handle it, but I was able to get it all fixed and straightened out finally, after three days of stress and crazy blood sugars.  Since Sunday night I've tossed and turned every night and woken up multiple times feeling terrible and checking my blood sugar.  Now that everything is running smoothly again, I'm looking forward to going to bed early tonight and getting a good night's sleep at last.

So let's avoid talking about those raccoon circles under my eyes and focus on things that are making me happy right now instead.

Thing #1, scarves: I seriously love scarves so much and I found several (far too many) that I really liked this weekend so I'm looking forward to debuting them on the blog.  Today I'm sporting this super fun red and black plaid infinity scarf that I got at Walmart.  They were $4.97 but it was a two pack that also came with a black infinity scarf.  I also really can't wait to wear this with a black dress and I'm thinking maybe red tights would be fun!

Thing #2, opaque tights: I'm so glad it's finally temperate enough here in Florida to wear opaque tights again.  Granted, it's not cool or anything but it's finally not sweltering and I love the way tights can change the look of an outfit.  I think this one is way more fun with the black tights and specifically I've really been enjoying wearing colored tights lately.  After all the drama at work yesterday, I didn't get to take a picture but I wore deep purple tights with a black skirt and pink and purple top.  My students commented on how fun the colored tights I wear are, which I found funny because besides those purple ones, I've only worn black, gray, and maroon (burgundy?  I'm awful at colors.)  this year.  I did pick up a pinkish-purpley pair last week at Target that I plan on wearing next week.  Do you have any fun colors of tights that you would recommend?  Or a store besides Target that sells fun colors of opaque tights?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Same Dress, Different Color

When I bought my lucky dress this weekend, it was buy one dress, get the second for $5 so this is the same dress in a different color, black.  I really love these dresses because they have sleeves!  Why do all dress makers seem to think we want to wear something over our dresses?  No thanks!  The less I have to think about my outfit, the better.  But don't get me wrong, these dresses aren't perfect.  The shoulders are way too wide for me so I'm going to have to alter them this weekend.  It's just annoying having your sleeves flap around like bat wings all day and then it makes the dress ride up weirdly in other places.  Also, they are too low cut for work, which is why I am wearing a scarf in both outfits.  Honestly, I don't mind the low cut.  It's not scandalously low so I could wear it without a scarf on the weekend.  For work, I wear scarves a lot anyway.  They are a fun and easy accessory that always looks good.

On a sleepy day like today was, this scarf and dress felt almost as cozy as pajamas.  The elastic waist of the dress and a snuggly blanket-like scarf were a winning combo after working twelve hours yesterday, ten hours today, and knowing I have to work twelve hours tomorrow too.  Waaah!  But on the plus side, I only have to work half a day or so Friday so I just have to survive a little longer.  I wish I had another dress like this to wear tomorrow.  Would it be wrong of me to buy this same dress in five patterns/colors so I have one to wear every day?  If comfy, easy outfits are wrong, then I don't want to be right.  And also maybe a different fun color of tights for every day... ;)

Monday, October 6, 2014

My New Lucky Dress

I just bought this dress yesterday and wore it for the first time today and I've decided it's now my lucky dress.  I was offered a pretty exciting job opportunity today!  I can't really give any details at this time because there are a lot of unknowns and in the end nothing might change for me anyway.  Right now I have more research to do before I can make a decision.  However, it's exciting to think that I am being headhunted for a job I didn't even apply for.  All I can say is my skills with technology in the classroom have attracted some interest and this is a job field I've been thinking about for some time now.  We'll see how it all plays out but I think if nothing else, it will give me some exciting new experiences.  Nothing like a little mystery, right?  It's all thanks to the lucky dress.  ;)

dress: Rue21
charcoal heather opaque tights: Walmart
black scarf: Walmart
black braided flats: G.H . Bass Outlet

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Inspired by Your Childhood

Another fun nail challenge, inspired by your childhood.  This one was a bit difficult for me, just trying to think of what I could do within my ability.  One of my strongest memories of items that represented my childhood (along with lots of books my mother used to read to me) was this bear, Pammy the Panda Bear.  The story goes that my father bought the stuffed bear for me when I was born, since my first name is Pamela.  I'm pretty sure my mother still has that bear and my grandmother crocheted a blanket for me with the panda on it, which I still have to this day.  So after I had selected my idea, I had to figure out how to execute it with my limited nail art abilities.

After applying my Orly Bonder base coat, I painted my ring finger with Sinful Colors Tokyo Pearl.  I'm really growing fond of this shade as a white.  It's easy to apply with just two or three coats and rather than a flat, boring white, this is a pretty frosty white.  On the rest of my nails, I used two super easy coats of Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Presto Pink.

I decided that the closest I could get to a panda in a pink shirt was to use Presto Pink to stamp on this little bear from Bundle Monster Plate BM312.  After the pink dried, I used this black nail pen to sort of dot and fill in the arms, legs, and ears of the stamp.  I also dotted over the eyes to give it the panda touch.  I'm pretty happy with how it turned out!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Does Dress Code Matter?

Today at work we had a faculty meeting and it came to light at our meeting that our boss is actually not allowed to tell us how to dress.  Who knew?!  Apparently there is no official dress code for teachers where I work.  According to my boss, we are allowed to wear jeans every day if we want and she is not allowed to tell us what to wear or what not to wear.  Of course, there was lots of talk afterwards.  Some teachers said they will be wearing jeans, T-shirts and sneakers for the rest of their career.  To be honest, I don't think it will change anything for me.  I enjoy my collared shirts, skirts, dresses, and slacks.  I'm sure I'll occasionally wear jeans on a half day or every now and then (still on Fridays) but overall, I don't think this will change how I dress at work.  Now that doesn't mean I wear super dressy clothes on the weekend.  When I'm on my own time, I love my jeans, hoodies and comfy clothes as much as the next person.

A coworker and I were talking after the meeting and we both sort of agreed that dressing professionally makes us feel more professional and therefore act more professional, which is something that is important to both of us.  It just got me to wondering, does dress code matter to you?