Category Archives: monthly budget

Monthly budget adventures (October 2017)

I spent ZERO dollars this month — I was wayyyyyyy too busy to do any shopping! (Seriously, this month, I attended two conferences, gave three presentations, and finished revising an article for publication, in addition to all my daily work stuff and teaching a two-credit course and grading papers. And my husband also had hand surgery this month — he’s recovering just fine, by the way — so I have had a busy time when I got home from work, too!)

Empty shopping cart illustration

Budget recap:

Total spent for this month: $0
Total savings for this month:  $0

Total spent for this year:  $820
Total savings for this year:  $591

Complimentary items:

But this post is not quite done, as I did receive three complimentary items from the Tobi online retail site in exchange for me selecting, styling, and reviewing the clothing items. You can read my style posts and reviews here:

I chose three items, as seen in the pics below:

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi blanket scarf

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi navy sweater

Librarian for Life + Style | Closeup of asymmetrical hem of Tobi navy sweater

Librarian for Life + Style | Tobi grey sweater cardigan

Librarian for Life + Style | Closeup of Tobi grey sweater cardigan


Not sure if I will find any time (or energy) for shopping next month, either… I will keep y’all posted!

Did you get any new clothing items this month? Please do a comment and/or link and share.

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Monthly budget adventures (September 2017) + recent Target shopping experience

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

Spoiler:  I only spent $2 this month!

New jeans

I earned a $25 Target gift card this month via online surveys, and I thought it good timing to try out the new clothing line, “A New Day,” at Target. (By the way, this post is NOT sponsored by Target — I thought it would be useful to share my recent shopping experiences at Target.) If you haven’t heard yet, Target is phasing out a lot of their well-known brands, including Mossimo and Merona (noooooooooo!) and bringing in new lines, including “A New Day” for women and “Goodfellow & Co” for men.

The one item I picked up at Target? A pair of Mossimo skinny jeans. Yep, the new item I ended up getting from Target is from one of the lines they are phasing out. Get ’em while you can! 😉

Librarian for Life + Style | New dusty rose skinny jeans at Target

The color for these “curvy” skinny jeans is labeled as “Pink,” but they’re really more of a dusty rose. It’s a trendy color — and not a color that’s represented much in my closet. It’s not a color that is particularly flattering for me, but having this color on the bottom isn’t as bad as having the color near my face. But I think this color will play nice with a lot of other items in my wardrobe, so the “dusty rose” kind of ends up an interesting variation on a neutral color. And hey, I finally match the background color of my style blog!

I did like the fit of these skinny jeans, as I definitely have a curvy bottom half, and the placement of the back pockets looks flattering. And they feel sooooooo soft. I’m not sure how long they will last — but my regular pair of skinny  jeans from Target has lasted 5+ years of weekly wear! — but for $2, I was willing to take a chance on a trendier clothing item.

Librarian for Life + Style | Trying on dusty rose skinny jeans at Target

Details:

Fitting room snapshots at my local Target

Here are the rest of the items I tried on from my recent shopping excursion to my local Target. Long story short:  I was NOT impressed with the overall fit of the new “A New Day” clothing items, and I did not buy anything from the new line. The sizing inconsistencies confounded and exasperated me. I am not a fan of this new line, and the following pics will show you why.

And fair warning, I’m about to get VERY CAPSY. 😀

Librarian for Life + Style | Trying on items from the new "A New Day" line at Target

I first tried on this white-and-black striped boatneck top in size large. I like the envelope shoulder detailing, and of course, stripes are classic. But this size large was SUPER unflattering on me — basically clinging instead of skimming and making all my curves look like lumps. PASS. I will continue to get my striped tees from J.Crew or J.Crew Factory — and I wore one of my J.Crew Factory tees above — this is the exact tee from J.Crew Factory — when I tried on the dusty rose skinny jeans!

Librarian for Life + Style | Trying on items from the new "A New Day" line at Target

Next was a trendy ruffle-sleeved sweater — which was SO RIDICULOUS on me that I burst out laughing in the changing room. I had chosen it because I wanted to try something new and outside my comfort zone. But it turned out to be too tight (even though I got a large), and wayyyyyy too fussy for me. (Note:  I cannot find this anywhere on the Target site. I think it’s from the “A New Day” line, but it might also be from the “Who What Wear” line. It’s similar to this ruffled cardigan from the “A New Day” line.)

Librarian for Life + Style | Trying on items from the new "A New Day" line at Target

I LOVED LOVED LOVED the pattern and colors of this shirtdress, which has an elastic waist. I grabbed this in size medium, and while the waist fit, I was drowning in fabric on both the top and bottom. Who is this dress made for?!!!! I could fit an extra set of boobs in the top part, and it still would be too large. And it’s so odd to have such a full skirt and no pockets. The other items in size large had been too small, as seen above, and now this size medium was way too large. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND.

So although I loved the print — and I love shirtdresses in general — this shirtdress failure really disappointed me.

Correction: I thought this shirtdress was from the “A New Day” line, but it’s actually from the “Who What Wear” line; these two clothing lines were right next to each other in my local Target store, so I can understand the mix-up. Either way, the sizing is insane.

Librarian for Life + Style | Trying on items from the new "A New Day" line at Target

I picked this black floral dress for its lovely autumnal floral print. I grabbed a size large for this dress, and my hips were stretching the bottom half to within a quarter-inch of its life — but the top was swimming on me. So again, who is this dress made for?! Women with fuller hips need not apply. DISAPPOINTING.

Librarian for Life + Style | Trying on items from the new "A New Day" line at Target

I picked up this grey shirtdress because, on the hanger, it looked like an interesting variation on a basic piece, like a longer top to wear over leggings. It had interesting details like the fabric covering both the buttons and the tie belt. The top looked fuller, so I picked up a medium to try on.

I think you can tell from the picture below that the fit is — again! — RIDICULOUS. The bottom is NOT designed for curvier hips, and those buttons are just about to pop off from the strain. Meanwhile, the top is huge, with billowing sleeves. So sizing up to fit the bottom would have meant an even larger top half. SIZING FAIL.

Librarian for Life + Style | Trying on items from the new "A New Day" line at Target

The last item of clothing I tried on wasn’t from the “A New Day” line — because by that point, I was *done* with the weird sizing — but rather from the “Xhilaration” line. It’s a wrap blouse in a navy floral print and three-quarter sleeves. I liked the shoulder detail with the light shirring — it kind of had a slight 1940s retro feel to the design. But alas, the top was too short and threw off my proportions.

Librarian for Life + Style | Trying on items at Target

I think it’s also telling that the two items I liked the most — the top above and the dusty rose curvy skinny jeans that I did end up buying — were NOT from this new “A New Day” clothing line. I will admit that the new clothing line looks like it has a nice range of accessories and handbags, but those are also items that don’t have major sizing issues to take into consideration!

Final takeaway from the new Target line:

When I got home from my recent shopping experience at Target, here’s how I summed it up for my husband:

If I didn’t have such a positive body image, then it would have been really easy to blame myself and my body as the problem rather than the clothing line and its sizing issues.

And I DID have to remind myself while I was in the dressing room that it wasn’t ME, that it was the clothes and the way they were designed. But even knowing that it wasn’t my body’s fault that things didn’t fit — and saying this out loud to reinforce the message to myself — did not lessen my personal frustration and exasperation at the confusing and inconsistent sizing.

Perhaps others have found gems in Target’s new “A New Day” clothing line, and if so, I am happy for you! But it is obvious to me that I am not the target (har har) customer — nor the target body shape — at Target, at least not for the “A New Day” line. I will not be wasting my time with “A New Day” anymore.

Oh, and if you have enjoyed the Mossimo and/or Merona clothing items at Target, stock up while you still can, before they are completely phased out!

Budget recap:

Total spent for this month: $2
Total savings for this month:  $27

Total spent for this year:  $820
Total savings for this year:  $591


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!


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

Monthly budget adventures (August 2017)

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

Replacements

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

Donations

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

Gifts

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

Gifts

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.