Treasure Box(es)

j crew dress/necklace via ebay/anthro tights & whispered trail boots
During the last weekend of October, my friend and I ventured out to Lynchburg in high anticipation of attending one of J Crew’s warehouse sales. I had been to a few before (the luck of living in college towns) but this was her first time. I told her there would be madness, boxes upon boxes of messy and overturned clothes, but great deals. I hadn’t ventured far from what I had told her because friends, this sale was great. No, I take it back, it was wonderful and we spent about 4 hours basking in treasure hunting. The prices were as follows: $20 dresses ($50 for wedding dresses), $10 tops (including blouses!!), $10 bottoms (skirts, shorts, pants, jeans), $15 sweaters ($20 for cashmere), and $20 flats, $10 wellies, $30 shoes/sandals, $50 boots. It was like the J Crew gods (with a Jenna Lyons cameo) had smiled down upon me with open arms. The story wrapped up with the two us dragging heavy duty bags towards the car, ashamed of all the money spent and clothes amassed, yet we couldn’t stop gushing on the excitement that’s envoked over good unbelievable deals.
The lovely Alexis posted here that the next sale is scheduled in Arden, NC. If you’re nearby, I higly recommend!

Unfolding

Oh hi, HEY there!

Over the last few weeks I stopped blogging because I needed a break to reflect on things. Some time away from recording my outfits and making myself produce posts that I wasn’t sure really needed to be written. If there’s one thing long-time readers may know about me is that I think. a lot. Some would argue more than necessary, but it’s always made sense for me to find meaning in what I do (and don’t do).

I started my blog towards the end of 2009 as a way to explore this new concept of documenting personal style of my (almost) daily outfits. I really didn’t think anyone would come across it and really, the blog was more about me and less about gaining followers. Slowly over time, I began to pick up readers and then started forming “blogging relationships” through comments and emails. I even had great luck in being able to meet some of these bloggers and find out in person how amazing they really are. As time progressed so did the popularity of blogging. Professional photography and C/O outfits started becoming more of the trend, and there was a small part of me that was curious about what that might be like: having a fancy photographer husband/lover/friend capture my daily style rather than my iphone and its multiple filters, scouting various locations for the photoshoots instead of standing in front of my closet facing the mirror, receiving clothes at no cost rather than frowning at the total displayed on my cc bill. It wasn’t that any of these things were my long-term goal, but I didn’t know if there was a place for my blog or if there existed real longevity in my posts.

So I decided to take a break and see what it would be like to no longer feel responsible for blogging, no longer attempt to produce thought-inducing posts or snap pictures of myself in the mornings before heading off to work. With the extra time on my hands I explored other interests and hobbies, but I also didn’t stray too far and became acquainted with new blogs that didn’t just focus on personal style but encompassed cooking, design, parenting and lifestyle. And as I kept clicking through various posts I discovered that many others have experienced the same blogging blues. The more I read the more I realized the following: blogging has to be enjoyable! It’s such a simple concept but with time, most things can become a routine. I find bloggers who are a true inspiration when it comes to the degree of creativity they apply to their content, whether it’s coming up with an outfit or decorating a room. There are those who have amazing talent and showcase their work because it provides them satisfaction, exposure, and an ability to subsidize their craft. For me, I just want this little space of mine to stay pure and for enjoyment. I love fashion and sharing myself, so this platform has been an outlet of sorts. It was never about gaining popularity or turning blogging into my main squeeze.

So I return because I realized that the blogs I favor the most are the ones that genuinely celebrate who they are. Give me an affordable and attainable outfit any day over couture – that’s what magazines and fashion shows are for. I enjoy a creative and relatable style. Something that reflects the individual wearing it and the lifestyle they lead.

So glossy images and fantabulous locations aside, here I am in all my glory, making an entrance in chambray 🙂                                                                                                                         

 

     jcrew chambray shirt/anthro mirabell skirt & berry bush tights/target booties

New introductions

jcrew sleeveless popover blouse
target skirt & wedges

Early tomorrow morning I head out for a long flight cross country to see a dear dear bestie of mine who I’ve known since middle school. A few months ago she became a new mother to a beautiful blue-eyed baby boy who is making me surprisingly nervous about meeting him for the first time. Thinking back to our childhood we always seemed so young and eager, ready for the world to expand our minds and fill us up with plenty of adventures. With passing time we have both settled down, honed in on our future goals, united ourselves with strong and supportive men, and now, we have motherhood to add to the list of experiences. At least for one of us 🙂 It’s a beautiful thing to see life bring forth unsurmountable joys like this little sugarball that I’ll be seeing very soon. I like where life is headed.

Hard to miss

j crew tee
gap cropped pants
seychelles sandals

Sometimes as I get dressed in the morning I think about what I’d like my outfit to say about me. Today I obviously wanted to be noticed because I paired bright red with stripes and neon pink. I think that those around me have taken note that I don’t shy away from color and will not give in to the blanket of grays, brown, and black that outfit the rest. The problem with such standout pieces however, is that they’re harder to forget than say, that black, button-down cardigan. I realized this as an office mate approached me the other week, stating that she didn’t think she’d seen me wear the same thing twice :O


Staying true to my plans, this past weekend we ventured out to a nearby orchard and went apple picking for the very first time. The view was beautiful and we walked away with a heavy bag of apples, accompanied by savory cider and delicious donuts. I have a feeling those apples will play in heavy rotation at our upcoming meals, or maybe more like desserts.
(sugar-induced silliness)

The shopper in me

H&M peplum top
AE skinnies
J Crew bracelet
Merona wedges

While cruising around the interwebz a few days ago, I came across one of those superficial articles that I would typically and instinctively ignore. However, I stuck around and got to reading  because it covered a somewhat sensitive, if not appropriate for this blog, topic: shopping. More specifically, signs of a shopaholic. GULP.

Although I really do try to be mindful of my spending habits that relate specifically to shopping, I am aware that I shop more than your average gal and as a result, own a lot of clothes. It’s normally okay as long as I don’t get into financial trouble because of it or become succumbed to always owning something new and shiny, but it’s also important to measure my shopping pulse if you will, and ensure it’s within normal range.

The article I read (found here) listed seven signs to look out for in determining if one has troubles with shopping. I thought that in order for your to get to know me better as well accept the opportunity of being honest with myself, I’ll list each sign below and respond with my own shopping and spending habits.

1. You have many unopened or tagged items in your closet 
The way I operate is that once an item is purchased, it will sit in this little pretty Shabby Chic basket for further review. I’ll try it on with current items in my closet to ensure that a) it will be an asset to what I already own and b) I have items that can be paired with it. I pay close attention to the returns/exchanges policies and make sure I keep my receipt and tags on until I’m absolutely certain it’s meant to stay. If not, back it goes and no harm done.
*this doesn’t mean that I’ve never succumbed to unnecessary purchases, justsayin.

2.You often purchase things you don’t need or didn’t plan to buy Ummm, all the time! This is actually the only way I really shop and have never been one to go shopping with a list in hand. I never NEED anything, I can realistically create multitudes of outfits with what I already own. I have a little bit of everything from closet staples to daring prints, stripes to polka dots, jeans to cashmere, so I’m pretty much set. But, I still buy something new every once in a while to update the collection. Sometimes I get tired of wearing a certain top for years and sometimes I’ve been known to grow and go up a size in my jeans. Thinking about this has made me realize that the majority of folks do plan, and it definitely would be helpful for me to think ahead more frequently before making purchases.

3. An argument or frustration sparks an urge to shop
Listen, after a bad day I’m most likely to veer towards chocolate than store hopping, though neither in excess is good for the waistline or budget. For me, shopping is typically associated with pleasure and excitement, so chances are if I’m grumpy I’ll be feeling bad all over. Any attempts at trying on something aesthetically pleasing will be shut down by negative thoughts of body image, sadness, and wishing I hadn’t had so much of that chocolate earlier 🙂

4. You experience a rush of excitement when you buy
Although I’ve mentioned feelings of excitement upon landing a sought after item or getting lucky with Anthro’s charge send system (definitely have let out a yelp or two upon hanging up the phone afterwards) I don’t depend on those feelings if you catch my drift. I can get excited over completing a long run, or getting to skype with one of my besties and her new cutsie baby, or having a delicious meal, or chocolate, or……. you see what I mean. Shopping is not there to substitute anything for me, nor does it fill a void. It does envoke a surge of pleasure, exciting my love and appreciation for the sartorial. 

5. Purchases are followed by feelings of remorse
Have I bought something I didn’t need? Absolutely. Have I looked at said item and wondered what prompted me to bring it home? More than once. Am I still influenced by sale goggles? I’m afraid I’ve reached for those suckers on more than one occassion. Yes, the answer to this is a realistic yes. It happens every once in a while that I’m drawn to a particular style either due to what I see in magazines or what someone else wore and looked amazing in. I then wear said item once and wonder “what was I thinking?” Feelings of remorse abound because I could have used those funds on something more “me” or heck, not spent any money at all and put it directly into savings or towards a trip. There are moments when I open my closet doors and say to myself, outloud: “I seriously do not need anything else, I should be content with what I own already”.

6. You try to conceal your shopping habits
There used to be a time in our relationship when Dr. Love thought I was shopping online too much for my own good. Packages were coming through at a steady rate and I pretty much assumed the UPS guy anticipated a trip down our road. Even though I did not keep everything I ordered and made quite a few returns, it wasn’t a healthy habit. Entering stores with returns in hand are not really my cup of tea and in general it was a waste of time both shopping and returning all those items. These days, I’m more open about what I’m buying and will actually keep the hubs close to me at stores because knowing his low-tolerance level for the sport will get me out at a much speedier pace.


7. You feel anxious on the days you don’t shop
In thinking about the multiple attempts of going a whole month without shopping and always falling short on day 15 or 20, I realize that it’s something worth paying attention to. Rather than provoking anxiety, not shopping is unfamiliar to me. Without realizing I end up buying something because I like it and it’s within an affordable range. But I don’t think too much about it (see #2) until I get home and decide that I either don’t need it or it’s a fun addition to my closet. Shopping, dare I say it, is kind of like a hobby (that was hard to write!) and not doing it for an extended period of time can feel unnatural. Decreasing the amount of time spend shopping is something I continue to work on and dedicate that time instead to being inspired on refining my own personal style.

Though a lengthy post, spending this time reflecting upon my shopping habits served to be a therapeutic process in recognizing that I’m not where I’d like to be. Still a work in progress I have to be more conscientious of where my money is going and if I’m creatively tapping out due to the steady growth of my clothing collection. The article provided helpful tips such as avoiding trigges,doing away with temptation, only using cash, and most importantly, being honest enough to ask for help. They are all realistic efforts at helping me stay in line with my goals of being a smarter, more careful shopper. So now I turn to you dear friends: what do you think of your own shopping habits and have you got any additional tips on how to curb the shopping bulge and stay balanced (checkbook included)?