Wednesday, July 31, 2013

2013 Year Budget: July

For 2013 I am budgeting my clothing allowance based on the entire year. Sound crazy? Read more about it {here}
1. Chicnova denim vest ($30, purchased using gift card) = $0 paid*) 

2. & 3. J.Crew Factory citron pencil skirt (retail price $75, final sale price = $17.49), 
J.Crew Factory red orange blazer (retail price $138, final sale price = $32.49)

4. Yuni Kelley pave link bracelet ($50 – 20% Here&Now reader discount = $40)

Total retail value of purchases = $293
Amount spent = $89.98**

So how is my year budget of $3,000 panning out?
- January  $149.94
- February $241.71
- March $245.50
- April $187.37
- May $222.71
- June $405.46
- July $89.98
Remaining = $1,452.67
(leaving ~$300/month for the remaining 5 months)

Purchased & Returned:
Lulu’s white dress ($46). Returned because I wasn't sure the cut-outs were for me & the waist band didn't fit snug, despite the chest being a little tight. (as seen on Instagram)

* I have a serious question to ask you. I want to be a budgeting blogger, a real girl, with a real budget, but from time to time companies/brands/small boutiques offer me the opportunity to pick out clothing for free. How would you like to see these "c/o" items covered? Included in my budget? Ignored? Featured in a separate post? Let's chat.

** These prices are for real. If you aren't taking advantage of the J.Crew Factory 40% off sales you are missing out on a gold mine! (J.Crew Factory sales might be the new Old Navy perma-sale!)

Looking for more budgeting bloggers?
Come join me over on Franish's shopaholics anonymous confession booth link-up!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Trend Spin: Animal Print

{ What I Wore: sunglasses c/o Fanta-eyes // J.Crew Factory tank // American Eagle belt* // Target leopard jeans (similar) // Yuni Kelley link bracelet // Nine West pumps }
* gifted in Southern Blog Society swag bag
Remember these pants??
Pretty sure I got them for $11 at Target last year... & surprisingly for pants this loud, I have gotten tons of use out of them. But I'm happy that for something this "trendy" I didn't have to break the bank.
I am thrilled to be participating in the Trend Spin link up with the ever so lovely Walking in Memphis in High Heels & The Fashion Canvas. This week's trend? One of my all time favorites... you guessed it, Animal Print!

I think animal print can actually be quite timeless (a la my flats in yesterday's post) or it can go bold - ahem... today's pants!? So tell me, how do you spin the trend? Classic, edgy, feminine, or eclectic?
Read more to see all the fabulous link-up entries!

Monday, July 29, 2013

grad school chic

{ What I Wore: denim vest c/o Chicnova // Old Navy vintage tee // Nisolo tote // ModCloth mint jeans // Madewell leopard skimmers }
When I debuted one of my "work outfits" last week, you said you would be interested in seeing more. Well, your wish is my command. As a graduate student, jeans & a T-shirt is the standard wardrobe. But I think that with a few special touches, grubby jeans & a tee can be transformed into something actually cute. Maybe this will become a regular "grad school chic" series!
Instead of a baggy tee, substitute a fitted, soft-as-butter vintage tee.
Swap out boring jeans, for a fun colored variety.
Add some personality with patterned flats.
Layer a basic tee with an easy to move in vest to add interesting details (perfect for under the lab coat too).
What tweaks do you make to your everyday basics?

P.S. enter to win a J.Crew gift card from me over on Jessica Who?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Shopping: Skin Care

I can't lie, I am that girl that goes to bed with make-up still on (gross, I know Mom!). But I am trying to change my dirty ways & having easy to use & effective products has made all the difference in my routine. So now before I go to bed I use these 5 treatments so I can rest easy knowing my pores can breath!
{1.} Neutrogena oil-free eye makeup remover - gets all my mascara all off, no heavy rubbing needed!
{2.} Benefit Foamingly Clean face wash - the best I have used yet! Love the smell & I feel so fresh afterwards!
{3.} Dr. Jart Pore Penetrator - a recent addition to my nightly line-up. So far so good! I am definitely starting to tell a difference with those ugly black heads on my nose.
{4.} Bobbi Brown hydrating face tonic - LOVE Bobbi Brown & this is a tried a true beauty closet staple. A tonic that leaves my skin tingly clean but also hydrates, unlike the cheap-o Witch Hazel I used before.
{5.} Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Supplement - liquid gold. 3 drops morning & night has been soooo good to my skin. Evened out my skin tone, reduced my need to pile on the concealer! Worth every penny.

Now I am looking for a light-weight, won't break the bank skin cream to prevent wrinkles. I know I'm only in my mid-20s, but I want to start treating this skin right, since I plan on living in it for the 80 years. What are you recommendations? Any go-to products in your nightly routine?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

weekend reading: 7.27.13

1 // 2 // 3 
this weekend why don't you :: hit up a new flea market or thrift store?

{what you might have missed on Here&Now}
{1.} Wedding season guest attire tips. 

{2.} The darling Miranda from Shop & Twirl interviewed me here. 

{3.} Did you win the $50 J.Crew gift card from Tea & Sequins?

{4.} 4 ways to wear a Panama Hat

{5.} Enter to win 2 Kindles or $200 cash from Datevitation! 

{posts I'm loving around the internets}
{1.} A fun round up of bloggers wearing Summer dresses, you might see a familiar face! 

{2.} Is financial planing easy for you? Well if you answered HECK no like me, read this

{3.} A new blogging tool I am dying to try. 

{4.} Head on over to Jessica Who? & you might spot a fun giveaway from moi!

{5.} Have you heard of Walking In Memphis's Trend Spin link-up? Next week I am co-hosting the animal print trend! Pull out your leopard spots, zebra stripes & flamingo print & come hang out with us next Tuesday!

Friday, July 26, 2013

checked out

Happy Friday! I am already coasting on into the weekend - looking forward to canoe trips, grilling out & rides on the Pedal Tavern!
I am not here today, but come over and visit me & hear my tips for wedding guest dressing

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

color pop

Here & Now: color pop #flavorfy #luckystyle
{ outfit 1: J.Crew polka dot Blythe blouse (similar) // Celebrity Pink white denim* // American Eagle neon belt* // Julianne Hough collection flats c/o Sole Society /// outfit 2: J.Crew Factory blazer // Sole Society heels (love these) }
*gifted in the SBS Brunch swag bag
Here & Now: color pop #flavorfy #luckystyle
I love starting with a neutral base & adding pops of color.
Here & Now: color pop #flavorfy #luckystyle
My two favorite ways to colorfy my outfits: 
a little bit with a belt
or a lotta bit with a blazer
Here & Now: color pop #flavorfy #luckystyle
What is your favorite way to add color?
Here & Now: color pop #flavorfy #luckystyle
If you are looking to add colorful flavor to your drinks this Summer, Dasani has just the thing!
I am in the participating in Lucky Style's Dasani Drops outfit challenge!
Please vote for me here :) 
(I'm a little late with my submission, so every vote helps me catch up!)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

my favorite Summer accessory

Good Afternoon! I am holding down the fort over on Because Shanna Said So while my girl is on vacation. 
Come visit me & hear me over-share about my love for Panama hats.... it's a guaranteed good time!
P.S. I am linking up with Marionberry Style for her Trend of the Month Challenge. This month's trend is hats! Find more hat inspiration here!

trends that make you go hmm... crop tops

The Summer trend that is buzzing all around the internets... the crop top!
As a child growing up in the 90s, this is the second time I have seen this style take its 15 minutes in the spotlight... (#ifeelold)

Do you embrace the crop?

I think I might take the mini crop plunge a la Blair, Nicole & Kendi!
Paired with high-waisted pants & midi skirts I think this trend can be down right chic!

But I am totally applauding the bare midriff boldness of the ladies on the bottom row as well!
top: 1 // 2 // 3
bottom: 4 // 5 // 6

If you are ready to bare the belly, shop my favorite selection of slightly shrunken tops:

top: 1 // 2 // 3
middle: 4 // 5 //
bottom: 7 // 8 // 9
Does this trend make you scratch your head in wonder or hop on the bandwagon?
What is your favorite way to rock the crop top?

Monday, July 22, 2013

working 9 to 6

Here's the deal, I'm a full time graduate student. I work 9-6 (on a good day), on weekdays & weekends. Despite the long hours & the fact that I never really stop thinking about my experiments when I get home, the most incompatible part of my work habits & online hobby is the dress code. Because I work in a research lab I have to abide by the strict dress code, I have to cover my legs, wear closed-toe flats, avoid loose layers that could catch fire/drag through chemicals & generally dress conservatively.
{ What I Wore: tank c/o Skip N' Whistle // J.Crew skinny cargo jeans // Converse sneakers // Anthropologie sunglasses }
Most of the outfits that I show you are the ones that I wear after 6, on the weekends & while traveling. I'm not trying to hide anything from you, but these are just the outfits I get to flex my fashion muscles more in, where I get to practice more stylistic freedom, and really explore my own aesthetic.
I honestly want to try to incorporate more of my work appropriate attire here on the blog. I know I have an unconventional work environment, but I hope that you ladies like this new type of outfit posts.

I must say, buttery soft tanks like this adorable anchor print skip n' whistle number make my pre-coffee weekday dressing so much easier!

What dress code hoops do you have to jump through for your chosen profession?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Shopping: Birthday Wish List

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10
Somebody's birthday is less than one month away... that somebody is about to pass into the quarter century plus club. Do any perks come with 26?
I am looking forward to a new year & these are the 10 items topping my wish list right now.
Let me know if you need my mailing address ;)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

weekend reading: 7.20.13

Sorry this weekend reading post is a little more than slightly tardy today!
I was busy making a batch of beer & crossing things off my Summer bucket list!
top // left // right
this weekend, why don't you :: rock some fierce accessories?

{1.} my love for hats knows no ends, read my hat love letter here.

{2.} a lovely concept of a curated closet.

{3.} how do you manage stress? the comments on this post are like a mini stress-therapy sesh!

{4.} an ode to denim jackets for summer... you might see a familiar face ;)

{5.} a purse that charges your phone? shut. the. front. door.

Don't forget to enter to win a $50 J.Crew gift card from the lovely July blogger in the spotlight, Tea & Sequins.
Now go out & enjoy this beautiful Summer weekend!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Spotlight: Tea & Sequins

Today I'm so excited to introduce you to a lovely lady that I have had the great pleasure of meeting through blogging. Kaitlin blogs over at Tea & Sequins, dreams of all things British & loves to share how she has learned to stylishly dress for her shape.
Outfits featured in this spotlight:
Patterned blazer + snazzy flats // maxi dress + jean jacket // floral jeans 3 ways // styling a white tank // not shown, but this is one of my recent favorites - love those bright colors!

Kaitlin also recently realized a style dream of hers - making that classic pair of Tory Burch boots her own! 
I can't wait to see how she styles up those pretties this Fall! 

Not that you need any more reasons to head on over and say hello to Kaitlin, 
but this pretty lady is giving away a $50 J.Crew gift card to one of YOU!
How's that for a TGIF gift!?!?
(open to residents of any country that J.Crew ships... go here to check)

**Comments are turned off today so you can head on over to Tea & Sequins & say hello!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

the year of little

Ty & I are big snackers. We have a morning snack, an afternoon snack, a bite to eat after work & maybe another bit before bed. If it were up to me, I would graze all day.
I love taking these moments to catch up with each other about our days, play a game, or love on some pugs.
Taking these little moments & making them something special is a favorite of mine.
Breaking out my grandmother's china.
Pouring an extra healthy serving of wine.
Putting our phones away to play a game of cribbage (a beloved game of Ty's family that I happy to say I am finally mastering!)
Having fresh flowers in the house & yummy veggies at the ready for impromptu snacking opportunities are ways that I turn the regular into something special.
Just this week I was feeling extra domestic & made my first (of hopefully many to come) loaves of homemade bread (as documented on Instagram).
This warm loaf of doughy goodness provided us the chance to nom on one of our favorite snacks:
dipping yummy bread into olive oil + balsamic vinegar... if we are feeling extra snazzy, fresh basil & ground pepper sprinkled in is always welcome!
When Olivari (the company behind this yummy olive oil pictured) launched their “One Year of Little” campaign, recognizing & celebrating the “little things” in life that bring us joy, I knew this was right up my alley.
I make time for the little things by stopping & living IN the moment. It is important for me to celebrate the little things, because let's be honest, I am truly blessed & should always remember that. Instead of wishing for more, I take a second to jot down my gratitude in my journal. Break out the fine china & enjoy a quiet moment with my man. Wake up 5 minutes early just to soak up extra pug love.

Olivari Olive Oil is celebrating "One Year of Little". Visit their Facebook page to learn why the little things are everything.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Olivari . The opinions and text are all mine.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

take your best shot

{ What I Wore: J.Crew baseball tee (similar 1 & 2) // Madewell lace shorts // Gianni Bini red sandals (love these) // Anthropologie sunglasses }
Oh the wonderful world of blogging.
Lordy how I had zero clue what I was getting into when I started on this journey almost 2 years ago now.
I have loved learning new things pretty much every day, meeting such wonderful & inspiring ladies, learning about new brands, interacting with you guys through comments & giveaways & developing in my personal style since I hit publish on my first post back in October 2011.
But seriously, one of my favorite things to come from blogging is my new-found interest in photography.
I am by NO means a photographer. However, the challenge of taking my own outfit photographs has been the school of hard knocks & I am constantly trying to hone my skills & get to the next level.
I shudder when I look back at where I first started with a point & shoot camera, but at the same time smile at the growth & a new hobby that I think will bring me joy for years to come.
Right now my Canon Rebel T2i with the 50 mm lens serves me well, but I love browsing photography shops dreaming of new camera gadgets to add to my clutch.

And I actually just inherited a vintage Minolta SRT 101 camera (as seen in these photos) - I can't wait to get this bad boy cleaned up & start taking pug pictures with this new toy.
What's been your favorite blogging outcome?
Any new photography hobbyists out there?

I am so happy that I got these lace shorts on super sale a few Summers back.
If you are looking for your perfect pair of lace shorts, these are my current favorites:
(size up for a more polished look)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

time to run

I have a love for lists. I make lists of my lists.
So you know I have another Summer bucket list ready for you!
I am still working on my 30 before 30 list & have a few things from last Summer's list to cross off (hello crawfish broil!), but I am excited to put these new adventures on my to-do list ASAP!
{ via
- watch the sunrise

- go camping

- take a mini motorcycle day-trip, using only the backroads

- buy more fresh flowers

- scour the Flea Market for wedding treasures

- brew my own beer (with the help of le fiancé)

- find a new swimming hole

- prepare a new recipe from only Farmer's Market goodies
{ via }
Not to freak you out, but only 10 weekends left in Summer!
So what's on your Summer Bucket list!?

Oh & here's your a theme song to inspire new adventures!

Monday, July 15, 2013

weather girl

{ What I Wore: J.Crew** Panama hat, baseball sweater, skirt (obsessed with this one), belt // wedges c/o SoleSociety // C.Wonder bracelet* // Target sunglasses }
* gifted in the Southern Blog Society brunch swag bag
** so didn't plan to be such a J.Crew FanGirl in this outfit!
Although you wouldn't know it now, July started out feeling more like Spring than Summer...
chilly nights, rainy days & no humidity to speak of.
I found myself reaching over & over again for my light linen sweaters to pair with jeans, skirts, and thicker shorts.
I don't know if Nashville will let me pull out layers again, but these light Summer sweaters will definitely be coming with me to Oregon next month!
Do you get to rock Summer sweaters were you live?

If you are in the market, these are my favorite picks:

Saturday, July 13, 2013

weekend reading: 7.13.13

1 // 2 // 3 

this weekend why don't you :: wear a one-piece swimsuit as a top?
(because seriously, how fierce are those ladies!?)

{1.} I love seeing Nashville from other people's eyes.

{2.} Turn unworn jeans into jorts & show off those stems this Summer.

{3.} Write better blog posts... faster!

{4.} I am mastering this this weekend.

{5.} Are you guilty of this?

{6.} Enter to win a $50 gift card from Sugar Love Boutique (and get 30% off with code "HEREANDNOW".

Who knew this was the season for sales!?
Check out these great deals:
Save 10% on Choies with code "HEREANDNOW10(ends July 31th, no minimum purchase) 
Get 25% off your Fanta-eyes purchases, code "SHOPNEW"
10% off any PapaEast orders, code "PAPA10"
Get $10 off any Datevitation coupon book order with code "HEREANDNOW10"

Annnnd... Datevitation is giving you the chance to win a pair of Kindles or $200 cash-money!
(enjoy finding some new blogs & you just might win!)