Category Archives: monthly budget

Monthly budget adventures (August 2017)

It’s time to see what my monthly clothing budget adventures were for this month!


When we went on a recent shopping trip to Kohl’s to replace a few of his items, I also was able to replace a couple of items of my own this month, including a new tan-and-black purse to replace my old Christian Siriano for Payless tote bag, seen here. And it came with a fun ladybug tag — I have a thing for ladybugs! 😀 I also was able to replace my older pair of navy opaque tights.

Librarian for Life + Style | New tote bag

Librarian for Life + Style | New navy tights

  • Rosetti tote bag with ladybug charm via Kohl’s {really similar tote by same brand}:  paid $42 (original price $100, 40% off sale + additional 30% off)
  • Navy tights, Simply Vera Very Wang for Kohl’s {exact}:  paid $11 (original price $16, 30% off coupon)

Shopping local

We went shopping at local stores on my birthday, where I picked up a lovely pair of painted resin earrings. They reminded me of the “Put a bird on it!” saying from Portlandia. 🙂

Librarian for Life + Style | Bird earrings by Fernworks

Also on my birthday, I picked up a black sun hat at a local resale boutique, Megs & Mo.

Librarian for Life + Style | Thrifted black sunhat

And on Sam’s birthday, we enjoyed a local street fair, where I spied this colorful cotton tunic. It will go very nice with leggings and skinny jeans, I think!

Librarian for Life + Style | New cotton tunic

  • Bird resin earrings, Fernworks via local boutique {exact earrings still available!}:  paid $72
  • Black sun hat, Betmar via local resale hsop {exact hat}:  paid $11.25 (original price $35, on sale for $15, 25% off sale)
  • Cotton tunic, local fair:  paid $28

Budget recap:

Total spent for this month: $164
Total savings for this month:  $87

Total spent for this year:  $818
Total savings for this year:  $564

Please note that I get commission for clicks made through affiliate links in this post. This goes toward covering my website and file storage fees, so thank you for helping support this blog!

Chance find

While we were out and about a couple of weekends ago, Sam discovered this lilac beaded necklace in a tree. (Yes, in a tree.) So he took it down, and I added a new necklace to my collection by chance!

Librarian for Life + Style | Lilac bead necklace


I also went through my closet recently, in order to identify some items to replace, as well as a few pieces that no longer fit. That included, as seen below:

Librarian for Life + Style | Clothing donations, August 2017

Librarian for Life + Style | Clothing donations, August 2017

Librarian for Life + Style | Clothing donations, August 2017


As I highlighted earlier this week, a friend gifted me this gorgeous pair of cognac-colored Lucchese cowboy boots!

Librarian for Life + Style | New cowboy boots

Librarian for Life + Style | New cowboy boots, Lucchese logo closeup

What have you added to your closet lately? Please leave a comment and share!


Monthly budget adventures (July 2017)

It’s time to see what my monthly clothing budget adventures were for this month! It was another varied month.

More Sally Hansen nail polishes

I was so impressed with the quality and longevity of the Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear polish that I bought last month that I bought two more polishes from that same line this month, a bright teal color and a fun disco ball pink color.

Librarian for Life + Style | Closeup of new Sally Hansen nail polishes

Librarian for Life + Style | Closeup of new Sally Hansen nail polishes

  • Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear in “Jazzy Jade“:  paid $2.49
  • Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear in “Rockstar Pink“:  paid $2.49

And if you’ve perused my Instagram feed lately, you know that I’ve already painted my nails with the “Rockstar Pink” color!

Librarian for Life + Style | Sally Hansen Rockstar Pink manicure

Casual shorts replacements

Mid-month, I realized that I had a $25 gift card from Macy’s left over from this winter… and just in time to replace some casual shorts in my wardrobe! I got three colors of the same style, a cuffed Bermuda shorts style, because they were all majorly on sale. I got pairs in red, tan, and soft grey. And I’ve worn them all multiple times since purchasing them!

Librarian for Life + Style | New cotton shorts from Macy's

  • Cuffed bermuda shorts in red, beige, and grey, Style & Co. via Macy’s:  paid $18.50 total (original price $46.50, each pair was on sale for $14.50, used $25 gift card)

Tacoma Pride

During the Tacoma Pride festival, I bought a commemorative tee with a clever design that combines the iconic Tacoma dome, an umbrella, and rain in the colors of the Pride flag.

Librarian for Life + Style | Tacoma pride tee

  • Tacoma Pride commemorative tee:  paid $30

Budget recap:

Total spent for this month: $53.50
Total savings for this month:  $96

Total spent for this year:  $654.15
Total savings for this year:  $475.13


More early birthday gifts this month!

My good friend Stephanie gifted me a lovely pair of beaded earrings, double-sided fabric headbands, and a Pride & Prejudice-themed scarf from Out of Print! She knows my tastes so well. ❤

Librarian for Life + Style | Pride & Prejudice scarf, early birthday gift

Librarian for Life + Style | Floral headbands, early birthday gift

Librarian for Life + Style | Beaded earrings, early birthday gift

Linking up with Fran’s Budgeting Bloggers.

Monthly budget adventures (June 2017)

It’s time to see what my monthly clothing budget adventures were for this month! It is a motley crew this month, as you will see… with both highs and lows. First up, the highs!

The pretty:

I’ve been having my eye for awhile on Poshmark for this shirtdress from the 2013 Phillip Lim Target collection. When its price recently dropped at one seller’s page, I jumped on it. Thank goodness for Poshmark!

I still love this print so much, as I still frequently wear the peplum vest with this same print from Lim’s Target collection, as seen here. The print is both subtle and striking at the same time. “Second-look pretty” is how I describe it, as it takes a second, closer look to see all the details in the print.

Librarian for Life + Style | Phillip Lim Target dress, via Poshmark

  • Phillip Lim for Target floral shirtdress via Poshmark:  paid $19.80 (original Poshmark sale price, $22; original Target price, $39.99)

The practical:

I need to restock on foot inserts and sock liners, and I recently came across this company, Sheec, so I decided to give them a shot. (Also didn’t hurt that they were having a sitewide markdown at the time — perfect timing!)

Librarian for Life + Style | Sheec foot pads and inserts

If the sock liners on the right above look a little worn along the heel, it’s because I had already worn them with my patent leather brogues. I’ve also already worn the little foot pads on the left, which just slip on over your toes. That way, you can wear this one pair of foot pads with any shoes, rather than having to buy separate stick-on foot pads for multiple pairs of shoes. So clever!

The pair of liners in the middle, with the toe coverings and the clear straps, are meant to wear with slingback shoes. I have found this particular style of sock liner extremely useful, and I now need to restock after years of wearing out my old pairs of this same style of foot liner.

The powerful:

The afternoon after I watched the new Wonder Woman movie — which I loooooooved! — I bought this tee at our favorite local comic book store. It was, after all, Wonder Woman Day, and everything Wonder Woman was 20% off. (I also have a couple of outfits already in the hopper with this tee… I’ve been wearing it a LOT!)

Librarian for Life + Style | New Wonder Woman tee

  • Wonder woman shirt, DC Comics:  paid $16 (original price $20, 20% off sale)

The local:

I don’t need any more jewelry, but I just couldn’t resist these large — and light! — earrings made out of coconut shells. I came across them at a local neighborhood fair, and I’m always up for supporting local businesses and artists. The earrings were part of a set, so I got the entire set — and I even got a card with care instructions 🙂

Librarian for Life + Style | New coconut shell necklace and earrings

The librarian:

I could NOT resist getting another card catalog tee when I saw that this design was still available online in my size. You’ve seen me wear a light blue version of this tee several times, most recently here. What’s odd is that the tee was listed as black online, as seen here (there are a few sizes left!) but I ended up with a dark grey heather tee. I don’t really mind, as it’s the design I love, but it was surprising.

Librarian for Life + Style | New library card catalog tee

  • Library card catalog tee via TopatoCo (there are a few sizes left!):  paid $21

The bright:

I went into detail in yesterday’s post about a recent pedicure featuring this new yellow shade of nail polish I recently picked up at Walgreens. I also couldn’t resist adding a nail art pen, just to try it out.

Librarian for Life + Style | Sally Hansen nail products, June 2017

Budget recap:

Total spent for this month: $109.68
Total savings for this month:  $49.39

Total spent for this year:  $654.15
Total savings for this year:  $475.13

Still spending more than I want to… I will rein it in next month, for sure!

What didn’t work out:

And now for the lows…

I chose a plaid shirt from the same Poshmark seller that I got my Target shirtdress from, in order to benefit from a bundle discount and savings on shipping. I’m usually a medium in tops. Alas, this cute buffalo plaid shirt did NOT fit. As in, I couldn’t even get it up my upper arms. I didn’t realize that Abercrombie & Fitch sizes ran so small. NOW I KNOW. Boo. 😦 But I will donate this, so someone else can enjoy it.

Librarian for Life + Style | Plaid shirt via Poshmark

I mentioned earlier in the month in my post about my new eShakti skirt that my first attempt failed at choosing a new, complimentary item from eShakti. Here are the details:

I initially chose a lovely black and white “mixed media” dress, with pops of pink in its “Eye of London” ferris wheel print. Sam and I dubbed it my “Audrey Hepburn dress.” The point of choosing a complimentary item from eShakti is to try out its custom-sizing options, so I sent in a bevy of extra measurements they’ve added to their sizing options, plus I tweaked the design of the top half of the dress to be a regular scoop neck instead of the wide ballet neck on the original design.

Librarian for Life + Style | Eshakti dress fit collage

The dress alllllllmost fit. In a first for me, the waistline of this eShakti dress was TOO SHORT. (When I’ve had other custom-sizing issues with eShakti dresses, as seen here, here, herehere, and here, it’s been because the waist has been too long. And if this dress had been too long in the waist, I could have easily fixed that myself considering the design of this particular dress. Oh, the irony.) Alas, it was over an inch too short in the waistline, which made this dress look and feel like a baby-doll dress. And that is NOT the style of the dress, as you can see in the model photo above. I did not feel good in the dress I received; rather, I felt awkward. Whenever I raised my arms to do anything, the waistline practically rose to my armpits. Just… no.

And that brings me to the communications fail. I immediately sent back the dress, with the enclosed returns label, and I also immediately emailed my eShakti contact with a heads-up plus pics of the measurements I had sent in versus measurements of the dress I received (hence, the pic above of me and my measuring tape). It took more than 2 weeks and multiple follow-up emails from me to even get a response. And that initial, delayed response read basically like a form email with instructions on how to send back the dress. Which I had already done. And explained about. In multiple emails. Over multiple weeks. 😦 I had been hoping to get the dress I had originally requested remade according to the actual measurements I had sent in, but that wasn’t an option. I did get to choose another item — and I ended up with a lovely skirt, which fit, thank goodness — but I was extremely disappointed in what felt like a lack of care shown with both the original dress and with the follow-up communications. And that’s honestly why I chose a flared skirt as the runner-up option, because I figured there was a lesser chance of messing up my measurements with a simpler design. (I was right.)

I have had a lot of success and joy in choosing and wearing eShakti items, and I’ve written about them a LOT on my blog over the years. I’ve also linked to many eShakti items a lot over the years, and I don’t get any affiliate income from those links. I have received multiple complimentary items from eShakti, and I have purchased many more items myself. I was a regular and loyal customer, and I was open about that on this blog. I still have, and wear, and will continue to wear, every one of my items from eShakti, which speaks to the overall quality of its clothing. And I still believe they’re a great combination of price and quality, with wonderful designs and beautiful prints.

But I now have to admit, after multiple disappointments with multiple items (which I have documented in detail over the years on this blog), I find that I no longer trust eShakti’s custom-sizing for myself. I sincerely hope that eShakti works for others who are reading this, but I have to admit to myself that eShakti no longer works for me. And I feel quite sad about that, actually, but I have to be honest with myself — and with you, readers.

Giveaways and gifts:

Which brings me to… a close-up of the complimentary skirt I DID end up getting from eShakti this month.

Librarian for Life + Style | New eShakti skirt

Librarian for Life + Style | New eShakti skirt + brown cardigan

And to end on a happier note, I recently won a $25 JustFashionNow giveaway through the A Cup of Tea With Kelsey blog. Thanks, Kelsey, for hosting the giveaway!

Because I’ve been wary lately of sizing and online clothing sites (see above), I chose a clothing item that didn’t require any measurements at all! I chose a cheery-looking blanket scarf. One side has a deep blue background with red and white geometric shapes; the other side has a lighter blue background. As it tends to get chilly here at night in the PNW, even in the summer, I think this will be a versatile piece in multiple seasons! And y’all know how I love me some red, white, and blue! 😀

Librarian for Life + Style | New blanket scarf, c/o Just Fashion Now giveaway

And last but not least, a good friend gifted me this super-cute striped Fossil tote bag that she had picked up awhile ago on clearance at DSW. She had actually gotten herself TWO Fossil tote bags but ended up only using one of them. This is a great tote bag, the perfect size for a work bag — and a great tote bag for the rainy PNW! The fabric is waxed, and it has a top zipper, so it’s super durable and practical. Also, stripes in jewel tones? IT’S SO ME. ♥

Librarian for Life + Style | Fossil tote bag closeup

Linking up with Fran’s Budgeting Bloggers.

Monthly budget adventures (May 2017)

It’s time to see what my monthly clothing budget adventures were for this month! I kept it pretty low-key this past month, with only one purchase.

Wallet replacement

I have been needing to replace my cat wallet, seen here, and I couldn’t find my old Nine West wallet that I used to use. So one day, we happened to be shopping near a Ross outlet store, so we went in just to see… and I came out with this black-and-white patterned wallet.

And getting this wallet at a discount was… wait for it… easy on the wallet! 😉

Librarian for Life + Style | New wallet, May 2017

  • Wallet, Tommy Hilfiger via Ross:  paid $14.99 (originally $39)

And below are three Tommy Hilfiger wallets that are very similar in design to the one I picked up:

Librarian for Life + Style | Tommy Hilfiger wallets collage

left option  //  middle option  //  right option

Budget recap

Total spent for this month: $14.99
Total savings for this month:  $24.01

Total spent for this year:  $544.47
Total savings for this year:  $425.74

Giveaways and gifts

Sam won a gorgeous handbag (!) at the MOE Gallery fashion show that I modeled for recently. Of course then it became MY gift! 😀 This is such a well-made bag, with the thicker fabric panels, sturdy handles, interior lining, and metal studs on the bottom. Since the sides are wool, I will probably wait until fall to really use it — sweet anticipation!

Librarian for Life + Style | MOE Gallery handbag collage

My friend and fellow librarian Stephanie recently stayed over for a girls’ weekend, and gifted me a pair of handcrafted vintage earrings. They are Native American, combining turquoise, wood, and silver. Beautiful! The square button shape makes me think of mid-century design. She thought I would like them because I have other turquoise and silver jewelry, as seen here, plus she knows that I often wear my wood JORD watch, as seen here. She knows me so well! 😀

Librarain for Life + Style | Vintage button earrings

Speaking of earrings and gifts… My mother-in-law recently went on a Caribbean cruise vacation and picked up this pair of beaded earrings for me. So sweet! I love the inky, speckled midnight color of the beads.

Librarian for Life + Style | New beaded earrings, May 2017

Linking up with Fran’s Budgeting Bloggers.

Monthly budget adventures (April 2017)

It’s time to see what my monthly clothing budget adventures were for this month! This month was a mix, and here’s a sneak peek at a few of my purchases:

Librarian for Life + Style | What I got (April 2017) collage

white lace dress {sold out but very similar dress here}  //  grey leopard print infinity scarf {sold out but similar scarf here}  //  exact geometric-print canvas flats  //  exact espadrille flats

Local deals

Sam and I recently enjoyed a local “Wine Walk” around the Hilltop neighborhood in Tacoma, where we sampled different wines at different local businesses. It was a great way to get to know the neighborhood!

I picked up two items from two different shops, including this pair of earrings from a local artist line, “Ajmer by Jodi.” These earrings are made from a natural shell called shiva shell, or “Pacific Cat’s Eye.”

Librarian for Life + Style | Shiva shell earrings

  • Shiva shell earrings, Ajmer by Jodi:  paid $20 (original price $28, 30% off)

I also couldn’t resist this velvet (or velveteen?) fedora at a local men’s store known as “Mr. Mac’s” (I’ve also heard it referred to as “Mac Daddy’s”), which has hats, socks, suits, and shoes in every color of the rainbow. This store is old-school and AMAZING.

Librarian for Life + Style | Hat shopping, April 2017

You’ll be seeing me wear this snazzy fedora soon!

Poshmark shopping experience

I have discovered Poshmark. Or how I stated it on my Facebook page in early April:  “OMG, I have discovered and fallen into Poshmark, and I may never come back up.”

I have been looking for ages for a white lace or eyelet dress — I’ve even created a “White Lace Dress Ideas” board on my Pinterest — but I was finding it hard to find one that was (a) long enough, (b) had sleeves, but (c) didn’t have bell sleeves. (Too trendy for me.) Then I saw this one on Poshmark. Check, check, check. 🙂 This dress — one of last year’s styles from Joe Fresh — was also featured on two of my favorite bloggers, Corilynn and Merrick’s Art, so that helped to see the dress in action.

I added the leopard print infinity scarf to save money on bundling, plus to add more animal print accessories to my wardrobe. Animal print accessories are really versatile!

I will definitely keep browsing Poshmark — particularly for brands that are sold out online — and the search filters are great, as are the professional communications from Poshmark. It did take longer than I expected for this particular seller to actually send the items, but they arrived in good condition and as advertised.

Librarian for Life + Style | New lace dress Poshmark purchase, April 2017

Librarian for Life + Style | New animal print Poshmark purchase, April 2017


  • Lace dress, Joe Fresh {sold out but very similar dress here}:  paid $34 (original price $49, on sale for $40, 15% off with seller bundle)
  • Leopard print infinity scarf, Express {sold out but exact scarf available here}:  paid $12.75 (original price $21, on sale for $15, 15% off with seller bundle)

Canvas flats at Target

I wasn’t planning on buying more canvas flats and sneakers… but dang that Target for having really cute options! This shoe style has become one of my favorites to wear throughout spring, summer, and early fall — they’re so comfortable, and a really easy and casual way to add pattern and texture to an outfit.

I have already worn the canvas sneakers with the geometric design, so you’ll be seeing those soon. And those DV espadrille flats? Amazingly cushy! (I’m saving those for actual summer, when it finally stops raining for a bit.)

Sizing notes:  I had to size down a half-size on the canvas sneakers, but I had to size up a half-size on the espadrille flats.

Librarian for Life + Style | New shoes from Target, April 2017


Budget recap

Total spent for this month: $128.50
Total savings for this month:  $51.49

Total spent for this year:  $529.48
Total savings for this year:  $401.73

What I didn’t buy:  Victoria Beckham collection at Target

I also tried on what few pieces of the Victoria Beckham boutique collection were left at our local Target. There wasn’t much left, and what I did try on… I can’t say I was that impressed. I think Victoria Beckham is legit talented as a designer and has earned her high fashion design cred. But her collection at Target was disappointing to me, especially with its odd sizing (the tops ran big while the bottoms ran small, and all the dresses were TOO short!). Just not for me.

Librarian for Life + Style | Trying on Victoria Beckham for Target collection

Giveaways and gifts

I was the lucky winner of a recent giveaway on the Doused in Pink blog! The prize was my choice of a pair of foldable flats by Fit in Clouds. Their flats fold up in a little bag, which you can put in a purse and take with you, switching out from heels to flats.

I chose the bronze pair, because they were so different and fun. I’m inbetween shoe sizes, and these flats only come in whole sizes. I sized up, just in case, but I could have sized down and been just fine. I think these will also be a super cute option to wear when you’re hosting a party or dinner at home with friends — something sparkly but also comfy.

Librarian for Life + Style | Fit in Clouds foldable flats

Librarian for Life + Style | Fit in Clouds foldable flats collage

My husband picked up this embroidered ribbon this past month in Portland — and I’ve already worn it as a belt, as seen in this post. I plan to use the ribbon to make a regular belt plus a headband… projects for the summer!

Librarian for Life + Style | Red floral ribbon closeup

Last but not least, my mom surprised me this past month by sending me a care package — which included a Pride & Prejudice-themed tote bag and clutch from the Out of Print Clothing site! So sweet! I have the P&P-themed tee, which is more of a true purple color. The color of the two bags is more of a midnight blue.

You can browse all of the Out of Print P&P collection here.

Librarian for Life + Style | Pride and Prejudice tote bag and pouch from Out of Print clothing

I’ve admittedly been spending more than I’m comfortable with these last few months, so I definitely need to slow it down. I don’t feel as bad about this past month because most of it went to either local businesses or toward local sellers via Poshmark.

(And I still have my eye on one particular item on Poshmark… so you’ll probably see that next month!)

Linking up with Fran’s Budgeting Bloggers.