Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Year-Long Clothing Budget: December Update and Final Tallies

It's year-long budget recap time again! As a quick refresher, this year I outlined my clothing budget to add closet basics to my wardrobe each month, putting together a list of items I need to help fill in the holes in my closet and assigning each item to a particular month of the year. I've capped each month's budget at $200 total. Here's what my calendar looks like:

Year-long Closet Budget

For December, I was scheduled to buy skinny jeans and black booties, but what with the holidays, my upcoming surgery, and our pending move to Portland, it didn't seem like a good use of my resources to spend money on clothes right now. Those items went on my Christmas wishlist instead, so maybe I'll still get them!

Here are a few things I learned from my little year-long clothing budget challenge:

  1. I allotted myself $1800 for the 9 months of the project and only spent $678 for all of the above items! I was able to take advantage of sales most months and also started consigning clothing and shopping at thrift stores/consignment shops more. It felt good to be recycling items that others have donated, plus it kept more money in my pocket for fun expensive things like hip surgery and moving to a new state
  2. It was great for me to have more of a focus when shopping. I noticed that not only did I not spend as much as I had allotted for this project, but I also was more conscious about purchases outside of the budget project. 
  3. This project coincided midway through with my adoption of a capsule wardrobe lifestyle. The two things worked well together--weeding out unwanted items from my closet to build my capsules allowed me to figure out where the holes in my closet were, many of which were filled by the budget project. 
  4. Because the year-long list was comprised only of closet basics that I was previously missing, I've gotten a ton of use out of each item I bought.
  5. That being said, I did have a few mishaps, like a couple of tops and a pair of booties, that were not up to snuff despite all my shopping research--so it's not a foolproof plan ;)
  6. Overall, this budget project helped me to create a much more usable closet while keeping spending and shopping urges under control. 

Did anyone else try this budget project with me? What were your experiences?

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Weekend Travel Capsule Wardrobe

The weekend has come early for me! Just a few hours between me and a plane ride to Portland to do some house-hunting with my boyfriend. We have a couple of apartment tours set up but are hoping to magically find a dog-friendly rental home near a park while we're there. My boyfriend also has a job interview set up--so exciting!

Because I'm vehemently opposed to checking luggage, I always plot out my travel wardrobe in advance so I can limit my packing list to the fewest items possible. Here's what I'm packing this time:

Travel Capsule

As you can see, I plan to re-wear items throughout the trip, so I'm packing only items that mix well together. Not only does this cut down on packing, it reduces the chance that I'll forget something at the hotel ;)

Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Nursery Designs

Is it just me, or is errrrrrbody having babies lately?! My brother's wife, my roommate, my boyfriend's business partner...they're everywhere!

Fortunately I love me some babies, and I also love nurseries. So I've whipped up three nursery designs for my dream world, where I can afford to buy my brother a thousand-dollar crib...ahem.

Baby nursery patterns

I recently stumbled across an Etsy shop with the cutest fabrics, and I'm obsessed with this floral fabric. I pulled a couple prints for a baby boy nursery too:

Baby Boy Nursery

And for those parents who don't want to know the baby's sex before birth, here's a cute gender-neutral nursery. My favorites are the metallic silver elephant wallpaper, the jungle animal prints, and the handmade elephant toy.

Gender Neutral Safari Nursery

Which is your favorite?

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

December 2014 capsule wardrobe

Because I'll be moving to a totally new climate in January, I've decided to split my winter capsule into December-only and then January/February. This is also a good plan for me because my December has some crazy stuff going on that will affect my wardrobe selection.

In December, I will be:
  • visiting Portland again to go apartment-hunting (coldish, wet climate)
  • visiting Minnesota to attend my cousin's wedding (freezing climate, fancy outfit)
  • finishing up the last days at my current job (cold, desert climate, business casual apparel)
  • having hip surgery on the other hip (cold/desert climate but mostly getting cozy inside other than going to the gym for physical therapy)
Phew! Lots to pack into one capsule, but fortunately it's only designed for 31 days worth of outfits :)

To create this capsule, I followed the same process as my last capsule: 
  1. Create a Pinterest board of outfits I want to be able to create during the month
  2. List out all the items that make up those outfits (example: jean jacket, stripe shirt, infinity scarf, black pants, booties)
  3. Create a master list with no repeated items: this is now the list I use to pull items from my closet 
  4. Since my master list doesn't total 37 items, I add items I already own that will work well with everything else on the list
  5. As needed: go shopping for any items on my list that I don't already own!

December 2014 capsule wardrobe

My list: 
  1. solid-colored sweater
  2. drapey printed cardigan
  3. chambray top
  4. chunky long cardigan
  5. cropped solid-color sweater
  6. black tank
  7. striped tank top
  8. grey tank
  9. graphic tee
  10. silk short sleeve
  11. silky long sleeve
  12. black thermal long sleeve
  13. stripe tunic
  14. white moto jacket
  15. black blazer
  1. black pants
  2. black flowy skirt
  3. jeans
  4. black leggings
  5. grey leggings
  6. grey pencil skirt
  7. striped skirt
  8. solid-color dress
  9. glitzy dress for wedding
  10. little black dress 
  11. maxi dress
  1. white chucks
  2. black boots
  3. black flats
  4. black heels
Since it's only a month-long capsule, I actually limited myself to 30 items, which also helped me avoid having a big shopping list.

Here are a few of the outfits I'm planning to wear from this capsule. The first ten are outfits for my last couple of weeks at work, where the dress code is business casual:

December Capsule Work Outfits

These next ten are for when I'm laid up recovering from hip surgery (or, you know, most evenings/weekends even when I'm not--I dress pretty casual and love my leggings!)

Leisure outfits

I really want that "Beyonce wasn't built in a day" shirt....Have a great day, everyone!

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Weekly Wishlist: Winter Zen

It's been a bit grey and gloomy here lately, which makes me want to snuggle up in a warm blanket on a comfy easy chair, candle burning nearby. As winter sets in, I always find myself gravitating towards neutrals in simple shapes and interesting textures. Today's Weekly Wishlist was created with those yearnings in mind:

Weekly Wishlist: Winter Zen

If I were to design a room around this wishlist, it might look a little something like this:

Winter Zen Living Room

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Year-Long Clothing Budget Update: November Purchases

It's year-long budget recap time again! As a quick refresher, this year I outlined my clothing budget to add closet basics to my wardrobe each month, putting together a list of items I need to help fill in the holes in my closet and assigning each item to a particular month of the year. I've capped each month's budget at $200 total. Here's what my calendar looks like:

Year-long Closet Budget

And here are my additions from November:

November purchases

This month I was slated to purchase a black leather jacket, but my beloved black leather boots and a cheap polyester work shirt both died this month, so replacing them trumped purchasing a leather jacket. I've been clearing out my closets in anticipation of my move and have been able to sell some items as a consignment shop, so I was actually able to replace my boots and shirt using credit from the consignment shop!

Also, as I explained here, I had bought some cute booties that ended up breaking, so I returned them for store credit at Aldo. I used my credit to stock up on cozy items and a comfortable pair of flats, plus I scooped up some great leggings to get me through my next surgery recovery :)

Here's the pricing breakdown:

Equipment 100% silk Brett shirt:
Price: $208 retail, $10 at Uptown Cheapskate (consignment store), free to me on credit
Notes: I would never, ever, ever buy this shirt for retail price...but I have to admit, it's pretty luxurious. 100% silk feels so great on the skin and has great flow on the body! I think I'll get a lot of use out of this top. Downside: it's dry clean-only, although I've found some online tutorials for hand washing.

Born Black Leather Boots 
Retail: $200, $30 at Uptown Cheapskate, free to me on credit
Notes: I don't own the exact pair shown here, but mine are pretty close to this. Again, I wouldn't pay full price for these boots but I would definitely pay the $120 price at The boots I have are such soft leather and very comfortable, which I have found to be true for pretty much every pair of shoes I've tried on from this brand.

November Budget Breakdown:
$40 (in credit for items I sold) for $408 worth of items (98% savings!!!)
Over/under for November budget: -$160
Over/under for year since March: -$1102
Total spent since March: $678

Additional November purchases: 

Bench Baddah leggings: 
Price: $69 retail, $40
Notes: I picked these up from on sale because I will basically be living in leggings for about a month after my next hip surgery (I'm not going to be returning to work after surgery and my next job doesn't start until mid-January, so I have about a month of leisure/recovery ahead of me :). Pros: they're super comfortable (no muffin top thanks to the higher waistband!), flattering, and opaque.
Cons: the fabric isn't suited for hot yoga, although I think it would be fine for non-heated athletic activities.

Aldo Memoli loafers:
Price: $60 (bought with credit)
Notes: Ever since I had my first hip surgery, high heels and I have not been on the best of terms so I've been hunting down cute, comfortable, work-appropriate flats. I had some credit I needed to spend that day, a sort of use-it-or-lose-it scenario (side note--does anyone else have a horrible experience every time they shop at Aldo? They're seriously the worst! I've experienced rude salespeople, strange return policies, not being able to use gift cards online, etc. I still have a $60 gift card from the return of my booties that I need to spend, and I'm just dreading going back! Ugh. #firstworldproblems).
Pros: They have an elastic back, which I typically find very comfortable, and come in three cute colors: plain black, leopard, and this black and white pattern that's bold enough to be interesting but neutral enough to mix well in my closet.
Cons: I wore them today and they actually did rub a bit painfully on my heels, but hopefully they break in nicely.

Aldo stocking hat:
Price: $12 retail, on sale for $8 (bought with credit from my broken booties)
Notes: This hat is surprisingly warm and flattering; no complaints here!

Aldo 3-pack of socks:
Price: $10, on sale for $5 (bought with redit)
Notes: To be honest, I wouldn't have bought these (or the pair of black tights I also got, not pictured), except for the fact that due to some weird exchange/credit glitch at Aldo I ended up with an extra $25 in credit that had to be used that day. But they're nice enough and you know I'm not going to turn down a little extra leopard print in my life ;)

How are you all prepping for the winter?

Other posts in this series:
Year-Long Clothing Budget Update: October Purchases
Year-Long Clothing Budget Update: August and September Purchases
Year-Long Clothing Budget Update: July Purchases
Year-Long Clothing Budget Update: June Purchases
Year-long Clothing Budget Update: May Purchases and a Weekly Wishlist!
Year-long Clothing Budget Update: April Purchases
Year-long Clothing Budget Update: March Purchases
Building a Wardrobe: Conclusions and My New Budget Plan 

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Dog Days: Designing for your Pup!

I spent today tromping through snowy mountains, so I think it's safe to say that the 'dog days' of summer are firmly behind us. With my upcoming move, I've been thinking of another type of dog days: the time I spend every day at home with my favorite non-human being, my dog Charli. She's a black lab mutt who we rescued at 9 weeks, and she's awesome.

Even though she's a really good dog (we never had problems with her chewing, stealing food, getting into the garbage, etc), concessions must still be made in our home decor in order to keep things looking nice while being dog-friendly. For example, having a black dog means that the white striped rug in our living room has seen better days what with her shedding.

That's why I was so excited to find some beautiful cow hide rugs on RugsUsa. Most people have probably seen full cow hides used in decor, but these rugs take that idea to the next level, using intricate cuts and dyed hides to make beautiful patterned rugs that just so happen to be basically indestructible and stain-proof (making them also ideal for those of you with kids!)

So I thought I'd put together a few room designs centering around these beautiful rugs, along with a few pet-friendly design tips.

Dog Days

(As always, clicking on the image will take you to a page with product links)

Designing for your dog: Pet-friendly decor tips:

Neutral Glam: 1) pick pieces that wipe down easily and can hide dog fur. The bench shown here would likely need to be recovered in a different fabric, for example. Faux leather and faux ostrich vinyl can look chic while still taking a beating. 2) Don't buy white or velvet pillow covers: they are dog fur magnets!

Beach Chic: 3) If you have a black dog, your sofa doesn't need to be black, but skewing toward a darker color is advised. 4) Find a way to corral dog toys, like this pretty basket.

Preppy Kid: 5) If you prefer a white color palette, use it in accent furniture, not as a fabric. This side table and coffee table are hard-wearing and easily cleaned.

Global Bazaar: 6) If you really want a white couch, get a slipcovered version! Bleach works miracles. 

Other tips:
7) We keep dog treats in various rooms of the house in decorative containers. Nobody has to know that bones and chew toys are hidden inside that pretty wood inlay box!
8) Dog food can likewise be stored in attractive bins. I've seen people adapt dressers to have one large drawer for dog food. Others have used trunks or storage ottomans. 
9) Have a dedicated spot for your dog's leash, balls, frisbees, etc. Having dog-related messes all over looks cluttered and makes it harder to take your dog on a walk!
10) Put jingle bells on a pretty tassel on your door knobs. When our dog needs to go out, instead of barking incessantly or scratching at the door, she just nudges the bells with her nose. 

What are your favorite ways of designing around your pet?