November 25, 2012

November Budget Recap

I'm linking up with Franish for Budgeting Bloggers! This is my 3rd month following a budget.

This has been a very lucky month for me. I won two blog giveaways, a Facebook gift card giveaway, and I was contacted by eShakti to review and keep a gorgeous dress, so I've had my fashion and beauty fix while not spending nearly as much money as I usually do.
I want to first give a shout out to two of my favorite blogs to read, where I happened to win the two give aways! First, I won an entire skin care set from Scientific Skincare from Veronika's Blushing! I've been using the set daily since I received it and I can say that my skin feels noticeably smoother, softer, and less dry than normal.
Second, I won two items of clothing and/or accessories from Florence Adams from Marion Berry Style! I am moving on December 1st and after I cleaned out my closet, I realized I don't wear my college "going out tops" to go out anymore - I generally wear the same blouses to work that I wear out at night. So, I picked up two gorgeous blouses from Florence Adams to add some dual-purpose tops to my closet.
I also just started entering Facebook giveaways. At first I was not too keen on "liking" things on Facebook because it adds clutter and I tend to keep my interests and other random things hidden. However, I just gave in and started liking my favorite blogs, companies, and stores a few months ago and it paid off. I won a $50 DSW gift card during their event to thank their customers for helping them reach 1,000,000 followers on Facebook. I went into the store knowing I wanted a pair of mid-low brown heels to wear to work, because again, after cleaning out my closet I realized I had a ton of nude pumps and one pair of brown pointed kitten heels that looked a little dated, but no truly brown classic pumps to wear to work. Given the vast selection at DSW, I was surprised that I didn't find anything I liked in the regularly priced section, but once I got to the clearance section I found a pair of pumps that "spoke to me!" -- a pair of Vince Camuto tortoise shell patent pumps with a lower manageable heel. With the gift card, I only ended up paying ~$10 for the shoes.
My last purchase of the month was this final sale purple cuff bracelet from Ann Taylor for $9.88. I was drawn to the color and the fact that it has a hinge, which means it has a tighter fit around the wrist and won't slip off my hand as I wear it. I love hinge style bracelets as an alternative to bangles.
Total out of pocket $ spent on clothes/accessories/beauty products this month = ~$20! I need more months like this one!

November 24, 2012

sparkle sparkle

This outfit is comprised of some of my favorite and tried and true pieces that I own. I've had this sequin tank from Forever 21 since approximately 2008. It has held up surprisingly well despite me machine washing it and it being of questionable quality. I never get tired of wearing it because it's the perfect attention-grabbing piece. I've had these booties since 2009 and with a little tweak (the addition of a heel insert to raise my heel half an inch up so my ankles don't chafe) they are one of the most comfortable pair of heels I own. Lastly is this Tibi jacket which is only 1 year old, but is definitely in the top 5 of my favorite pieces of clothing. It might be too much sparkle for some, but I love this outfit for a night out with friends - in fact, I'm wearing it to a friend's birthday tonight!
Blazer: Tibi (similar)
Shirt: Forever 21 (1, 2, 3)
Skirt: Forever 21 (similar)
Tights: unknown
Booties: Madden Girl (almost exact)
Bag: Longchamp
Real Girl Style Link Up

November 22, 2012

thanksgiving

I want to start off by saying sorry I'm not sorry that I'm wearing the same sweater as yesterday lol! I already packed 90% of my clothes and I only brought this one sweater home to CT with me for Thanksgiving. The end result of this outfit reminded me of a horseback rider or something, but I was pretty pleased with it. For one, I'm loving my new regular size J. Crew Hacking jacket. I realized with my most recent J. Crew order that I do not fit into the petite jackets. The petite jackets were laughably small on me. This is a good thing, because I've always loved J. Crew clothes, but in the past they were too big for me. This year, I'm thankful that I actually got to go home for Thanksgiving - I spent the last 3 years STUDYING on Thanksgiving if you can believe it! It was great to see my family and eat amazing food all day. 
Blazer: J. Crew (similar)
Sweater: J. Crew (similar)
Blouse: Ann Taylor
Jeans: Forever 21 (similar)
Boots: Chinese Laundry (similar)
Bag: Longchamp
Necklaces: Barneys & Forever 21

November 21, 2012

a jean alternative

A commenter (and recent blog addiction - Sam Ipsa Loquitur) recently pointed out, and I totally agree, that olive green can really go with any color. I think I was being too closed minded before and was having trouble coming up with ways to wear these pants and colors to match. However, as I was getting ready to go to the mall, I thought to myself "I really don't want to wear jeans. Jeans are so easy." A quick look around my now-limited closet (I packed most of my clothes already for my impending move) and I immediately was drawn to these pants. With some casual loafers and a sweater, these pants easily took the place of jeans but just look more put together or like I'm trying harder (which I totally was). I think I'm going to try this more often - I could totally do a similar thing and make my Ann Taylor pink pants into casual wear! How do you get out of a "jean rut"? What do you use as a substitute for jeans?
Sweater: J.Crew Factory (similar)
Necklace: Forever 21  (similar)
Bracelets: Etsy & gift

November 20, 2012

Mint Jeans & Leather Jackets

I've whined before about having good outfits go to waste because they weren't able to be photographed for the blog. Well, this past weekend I had some free time and I decided to re-create one of my favorite outfits that I've worn that has never been photographed. I've worn this outfit out in Miami 3 times so far - once without the jacket, and once with each of the jackets to dinner. I'm leaning toward the tan jacket as my favorite combination, but which is your favorite?
Jacket: Forever 21 (basically the same)
Shirt: Forever 21
Jeans: ASOS
Boots: Zara (similar but $$$)
Necklace: Forever 21
Bracelets: Etsy & gift
Jacket: ASOS
Bag: Longchamp

November 19, 2012

burgundy, tan, gold

My sassy look was unintentional. But I guess I do look like I mean business or something, which is at least what I was going for with the outfit. I went to Palm Beach today to basically escort a client to turn himself in after he agreed to accept a plea with some prison time. Nothin' special, just a mini road trip first thing Monday morning. Random fact - I actually got Wednesday from a breeder in Palm Beach, and that was the last time I've been there. I don't have anything super interesting to say about this outfit except that I like it. I hope you like it too.
Blazer: Forever 21
Blouse: Ann Taylor
Skirt: Forever 21 (similar)
Shoes: Ann Taylor (similar)
Necklace: Forever 21 (similar)
Bracelets: Etsy & gift
Bag: TheIT (similar)
Real Girl Style Link Up

November 18, 2012

borderline

This outfit was borderline uncomfortable and the skirt was borderline too short. I really love this skirt - the orange and blue color combination always seems unexpected to me, and I love the ikat-like pattern. What I don't love is that it is probably a size too small and I've only had the opportunity to wear it one other time, as this was purchased right near the end of my super skinny phase and right before I gained some weight. I actually wore this to Plato's Closet today to try to sell some clothes, and I should have tried to sell this skirt because it just doesn't fit anymore. Oh well - it will sit in my closet for a while longer until the next time I venture to Plato's/Goodwill!
(Wednesday's head has a habit of getting into my shot)
Jacket: Kenneth Cole (similar)
Tee: Pac Sun
Skirt: ASOS (similar color scheme)
Shoes: Target (similar)
Belt: Forever 21
Necklace: Kendra Scott (love this one)
Bracelet: Forever 21
Bag: Longchamp

November 17, 2012

Primavera Beaded Dress: eShakti Review

I was contacted by eShakti to review one of their products and of course I said yes! EShakti has so many beautiful clothes to choose from, I am sure if you head over to their website you will find something you love! Here is a little bit about the company:
"eShakti is a fresh concept in custom clothing.  We believe that all women have the right to wear affordable fashion.  What began as a small website offering basic cottons and modestly embellished pieces has grown  into an international company offering  fashionable custom clothing.  eShakti offers both design and fit customization for women size 0 through 36.  This is the heart of our business. Our custom capabilities allow customers to easily tailor any item to their specific requirements ensuring a flattering fit.  Built-in customization tools guide women through our simple 3-step design and fit page where they can increase the size of a bust, shorten the length of a skirt and modify sleeves or a neckline!  We believe that custom clothing does not have to be expensive.  By keeping up with technology as it is advancing, we are able to provide customization at a modest cost and offer it to all women.  We do not stock any sizes.  Since each style--whether standard sized, custom styled or custom sized--is cut to order, we do not have to warehouse our merchandise.   Therefore, every style requires a height measurement--whether customizing or not.  This ensures  a "truer" fit.   We ship directly to our customers in about 2 weeks from the date of order."
I had such a hard time choosing one item to review, but I ended up going with the Primavera Beaded Dress in size 0.
Outfit detals:
Dress
: c/o eShakti Primavera Beaded Dress
Shoes: Corso Como
Necklace: Barneys (similar)
Bracelet: gift
According to the website size chart, the size 0 has a 32 inch bust, 25 inch waist, and 35 inch hip. I did a quick measure before placing my order and these happened to be my exact measurements, so I ordered the size 0 instead of the custom sizing option. Although there was also a spot to input my height (5'3"), the dress in person came out to be an inch or two too long. However, eShakti clearly wrote on their website that the dress is meant for women 5'4" to 5'7", so this was likely an oversight on my part. Furthermore, the hips of the dress were about 1/2 inch wide on each side. 
I think the longer length is fine for this style of dress. It almost gives it a retro vibe, and the length makes it office appropriate. I am also OK with the fact that the dress is slightly large in the hips because I purposefully chose this dress because of its potential to be a great "work to dinner" dress. If the dress were any tighter, it might not be work appropriate. I can see myself wearing this with a blazer to the office, and then ditching the blazer for dinner to show off the intricate and beautiful beading on the shoulder.
The dress does not have a separate lining, but the lining is sewn into the fabric which gives it a nice weight. The fabric itself is a crepe material which thankfully does not hold on to wrinkles too badly. I ironed the entire dress before I shot these pictures and all of the creases in the skirt part came out with ease. I did have an issue ironing the draping on the chest, however, and I think you can see that there are still some wrinkles present. I think if I got this dress dry cleaned a professional would be able to get the wrinkles out better than me. The beading detail and all seams appear secure and I wouldn't be afraid that the dress itself or any of the details would fall apart. 
Overall, I would order from eShakti again and would consider ordering using the custom sizing option - it is only an extra $7.50 for a custom size! If you went to a tailor and asked for the same alterations it would be much more expensive! I'm planning on wearing this dress either to my family's Christmas party, or to my office Christmas luncheon - but I can't wait to wear it more dressed down, too. If you are interested in this dress, head over to eShakti ASAP because their inventory seems to change over quickly and it may not be available for much longer! 



November 15, 2012

olive & purple

Last time I wore these pants, I asked for recommendations on what other colors to pair with them, because an olive type green can be a little tricky to deal with. One commenter suggested a deep purple, and as soon as she suggested that, I had the perfect top in mind. I usually reserve this top for "going out" because it is low cut and sheer, but I made it acceptable for work today by adding a tee underneath. I also picked up these patent tortoiseshell pumps from DSW this past weekend. I won a gift card from Facebook for $50 and decided to spend it on mid-low heel brown shoes for work. These are definitely not a plain brown shoe, but I feel great about the purchase. After a full day of wear I had no discomfort in my right foot and only slight chaffing on my left, so I think they are a winner. If you are interested check the clearance section of your local DSW - They had a pair in each size from 6-8! Any other ideas about how to wear olive green? I'd love to hear them!
(sorry for the dust!)
Blazer: Ann Taylor (similar)
Blouse: Forever 21 (love this one)
Belt: Forever 21 (similar)
Shoes: Vince Camuto (similar)
Necklace: Unknown, probably F21 (similar concept)
Bracelet: Gift from Mom

November 10, 2012

saturday brunch

I wore this to brunch today at Dolores but you can call me Lolita - I've raved about this restaurant before for dinner, but I've never been there for brunch before and wasn't sure what to expect. A lot of times I expect bad service because brunch in Miami can be crowded and quite insane. However, there weren't that many people at the brunch today so I guess I was just expecting normal service? We ended up with probably one of the worst waitresses ever. She did come over to apologize to our table and she said it was her first time serving, but I'm not sure if she was telling the truth. I will say that despite the terrible service, I really really enjoyed my food. Whenever I go to brunch I 99% of the time order eggs benedict as my weekend treat to myself, and this time I ordered eggs benedict with short rib replacing the canadian bacon. It was awesome. I'll def be back for the food (and the reasonably priced mimosas and bloody marys) but I'll be sure to expect the worst in terms of service beforehand.
As far as the outfit itself goes, I was going for a slightly 70's look, but with the pants it almost came out a little costume-y, so I ditched them for some skinnies right before I went out the door. When I showed up at the restaurant, my guy friend told me I looked like Molly Ringwald from the 80's lol. I will take that as a compliment because 16 Candles and Breakfast Club are two of my favorite movies. 
Blouse: Gap (similar)
Vest: Forever 21 (similar)
Jeans: Yanuk
Shoes: Forever 21
Belt: Forever 21
Necklace: Unknown (similar but $$$)
Bracelet: Forever 21 (similar)

November 9, 2012

colorful friday

After wearing a lot of black and grey this week, I decided to try to have fun getting dressed this morning. I think most people would enjoy wearing jeans on Fridays, but with my generally casual wardrobe, I sometimes make "casual Friday" into "wear a skirt Friday" lol. I'm doing some subtle pattern mixing with the pinstripe blazer and animal print skirt, and I opted for a statement necklace in a turquoise color to almost match the intensity of the pool blue blouse I'm wearing below it. This might be my new favorite thing to do with necklaces - try to match them to my blouses. In non-outfit-related news, I was informed that my firm will be going forward with 2 murder trials in the next few months and I am SO EXCITED! I love this stuff, in case that wasn't obvious by the capital letters. I spent the day pouring over hundreds of pages of text messages. I feel kind of like I'm intruding when I read all the intimate details of people's lives, but it is so captivating! And plus, somebody's gotta do it.
Blazer: Theory (similar in navy)
Blouse: Ann Taylor (similar)
Shoes: Ann Taylor
Necklace: Amrita Singh (love this one by Kendra Scott)
Bracelet: Ann Taylor
Belt: Ann Taylor (similar)

November 5, 2012

black and grey business formal

I thought I was meeting with a client today, so I opted for something other than jeans. But, when I called to confirm the appointment this morning, it turns out the client thought the meeting was tomorrow. Good thing these pants are super comfortable, because I just hate having to wear business attire when it isn't needed! Admittedly, this outfit would have been a perfect canvas to throw in some colors, but when deciding what jewelry to wear today, I decided I wanted to let these somewhat statement earrings speak for themselves. Maybe next time I'll wear some colors.. maybe.
(My dad actually was calling me as I took this picture - I was deciding whether to answer the phone or not haha)

I picked up these earrings from F21 this weekend. They have some great vintage-y/art deco-y style jewelry these days which I love. What I don't love is how the cheap metals irritate my ears. But! Fun fact that I learned from my allergy doctor after my recent hives experience - you can paint a few coats of clear nail polish over the studs of your earrings to prevent irritation! I'm going to have to find time to try this sometime soon, because I often forego wearing earrings because of the discomfort/irritation which usually lasts for days after I wear earrings that aren't gold or sterling silver. (My earring holes are currently bright red, and will probably scab overnight. Too much information? Sorry.)
Blazer: Loft (one of the best bargains ever: $4.88!) (similar)
Blouse: BCBG (cap sleeves altered into a sleeveless top) (similar)
Pants: Kohls circa 2006 (similar)
Shoes: Ann Taylor
Bag: Longchamp
Earrings: Forever 21

November 3, 2012

blue & yellow

I was a bit late jumping on the colored pant bandwagon, but once I did, I went a bit overboard. I currently have 7 pairs and I'm still looking for a red pair to add to the bunch. Because I first purchased all these pants this spring/summer, I'm finding that a lot of the colors are difficult to transition into fall outfits. However, I'm really liking simply adding boots over the pants to bring them into fall. Adding a tall boot does a good job of covering up half my leg and hiding/toning down some of the bright summer colors. These particular boots were purchased this summer during a DSW sale for only $30 and I've been dying to wear them for months. With the current onset of "fall weather" (aka, 60-75 degree days) I was excited to finally wear these boots to dinner tonight with my BF and some of our friends at Villagio - one of my favorite Italian restaurants down here. How do you transition your summer wardrobe to fall?
Cardigan: Ann Taylor (similar)
Blouse: Ann Taylor (now on final sale)
Boots: Chinese Laundry (they fold up and can be worn OTK too!)
Necklace: Forever 21 (love this tortoise chain one)
Bag: Longchamp