Category Archives: monthly budget

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.

Monthly budget adventures (March 2017)

It’s time to see what my monthly clothing budget adventures were for this month! This month was mostly about replacing items, and here’s a sneak peek at what I got this month:

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

Links to exact items:  striped fit-and-flare dress //  black gingham button-front shirt  //  raspberry gingham burton-front shirt  //  black tote bag  //  metallic pewter flats  //  black sneakers  //  brown sneakers  //  tan sneakers

Replacing shoes

I have been working on identifying well-worn items in my closet that need replacing. That has included almost all of my Skechers sneakers, which lasted me for over a decade. Time to stock back up! We happened to find all three colors I needed — brown, black, and tan — in stock in my size at a local Famous Footwear store.

Librarian for Life + Style | New Skechers sneakers

  • Tan sneakers, Skechers via Famous Footwear:  paid $54.99 (original price $64.99)
  • Brown sneakers, Skechers via Famous Footwear:  paid $40 (original price $64.99)
  • Black sneakers, Skechers via Famous Footwear:  paid $54.99 (original price $64.99)

I also have noted that my beloved grey metallic flats have cracked in the back and sunken down, and they’re not as comfortable to wear anymore for long stretches of time. Bummer. These beauties lasted me over six years! I happened to find these metallic pewter flats on the sale rack at the same Famous Footwear we were scouting out Skechers. Score!

Librarian for Life + Style | New metallic pewter flats

Replacing my black tote bag

My trusty black-and-grey tote bag, which I’ve used at least weekly for 5+ years now, is also starting to crack around the handles. Y’all have seen this bag many, many times (here and here, for example), so I’ve been scouting out a possible replacement for over a month. My requirements for a replacement included:

  • a tote bag shape — my preferred kind of work bag
  • handles big enough to fit over my shoulders
  • a zipper along the top so as to prevent rain from getting in — a PNW reality

Then I spied this tote bag at Target, and bingo! I love the structured shape, classic design, and what looks to be sturdy handles. 🙂

Librarian for Life + Style | New Target tote bag

Librarian for Life + Style | New Target tote bag

Lands’ End gift card

I also have had a few Lands’ End gift cards, so I have been browsing the Lands’ End site for a couple of months now. When this past weekend saw a 30% off sale PLUS major savings on the gingham button-front shirts I’ve been wanting to stock up on, I finally placed an order. I paid less than $2 for the following 3 items!

And yes, that’s another striped dress in my favorite fit-and-flare shape. This marks the THIRD fit-and-flare dress I’ve picked up from Lands’ End. They’re SO comfortable and flattering, and they are great to pack when traveling. See here and here for the other two Lands’ End fit-and-flare dresses I’ve bought.

Librarian for Life + Style | Lands' End purchases, March 2017

Budget recap

Total spent for this month: $206.21
Total savings for this month:  $285.74

Total spent for this year:  $400.98
Total savings for this year:  $350.24

I’ve definitely spent a chunk of change this month, with most of that spent on my sneakers! I’m okay with that, considering that my previous Skechers sneakers lasted me over a decade. I saved the most at Lands’ End, paying less than $2 for items originally priced at over $195.

Linking up with Fran’s Budgeting Bloggers.

Monthly budget adventures (February 2017)

I did not shop much this month, except to purchase a few t-shirts over the Presidents’ Day weekend. It’s been a busy month at work, and we’ve had a lot to do at home during the weekends.

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

Striped tees

I took advantage of the Presidents’ Day sale at J.Crew Factory, when everything on the site was 50% off. So I stocked up on two more of my favorite striped tees, as I already have a few pairs, and I get a lot of wear out of them.

Librarian for Life + Style | Striped tees from J.Crew Factory

Message tees

I also purchased two message tees this month, a navy “Nevertheless She Persisted” tee which provided proceeds to ACLU, and a dark pink “Obstinate, Headstrong Girl!” Jane Austen-themed tee. (In Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Lady Catherine de Bourgh seeks to impugn Lizzy Bennet’s character by calling her an “obstinate, headstrong girl.” The attempt, uh, doesn’t work.)

I purchased both tees through the website, totaling less than $50.

Interesting how the colors navy and berry were also a theme in what I bought this month!

Librarian for Life + Style | Message tees bought in February 2017

Budget recap

Total spent for this month: $97.50
Total savings for this month:  $49.50

Total spent for this year:  $194.77
Total savings for this year:  $64.50

Earrings, earrings

For full disclosure, below is info about two sets of earrings I recently received as gifts.

First, my husband gifted me this pair of silver hammered earrings for our 20th anniversary. He actually bought them at the same time as the silver circle earrings he gifted me for Christmas — he just saved this pair of earrings for our anniversary! I’ve already worn these earrings, although they haven’t yet made it to the blog.

Librarian for Life + Style | Silver earrings gift from my husband

I also received a pair of pearl earrings c/o Pearl & Clasp late last month, which I reviewed in this post. I also wore the earrings in this outfit post.

Librarian for Life + Style | Closeup of Pearl & Clasp earrings

I have a few Lands’ End gift cards saved up, so we’ll see if I feel up to shopping this next month… stay tuned!

Linking up with Fran’s Budgeting Bloggers.