Fall 30×30: Outfit #2

I have to admit, it’s nice being up early this week without studying my brains out for a midterm like I spent all of last week for my Early Rising challenge.

Without further ado, here is outfit #2 (rhyme not intended) of my Fall 30×30 challenge. Anyone else want to jump on board and do the challenge with me?! πŸ˜€ It’s not too late!

IMG_2163dYellow boyfriend cardigan: Target | Chambray button-down: Forever 21 | Navy skirt: Target | Brown lace-up boots: Target

IMG_2168c IMG_2177c IMG_2185cHave a wonderful day my lovelies πŸ™‚

XO Ali

Fall 30×30 Challenge

Happy Monday morning, everyone πŸ™‚

This weekend we were blessed with some amazing weather considering its November. This has allowed me to get out and shoot some outfits to kick off my first ever Fall 30×30 challenge! I have to admin, I’m not a huge fan of capsule wardrobes where all your pieces can be mixed and matched with everything else in your closet, as I just like to have variation and a few interesting pieces on hand to spruce things up! However, I’ve seen these seasonal challenges floating around the blogger community for some time, and thought it was time to see what I’m capable of producing.

The challenge: 30 pieces for 30 looks. The goal is to pick out exactly 30 pieces from your wardrobe (I am defining wardrobe as: tops, bottoms, shoes, and dresses; excluding accessories like purses and jewelry, as that is what I will be using to differentiate my looks) to wear for 30 looks. I decided not to do 30 days, because my work wear has to be more modest than short skirts and more formal than chambray.

I am hoping to get some more good weather on the weekends because that is my only opportunity to shoot in the daylight. With Daylight Savings Time over, it is now dark by the time I get home from work.

First look:

IMG_2098cSouthwestern-print sweater: Forever 21 | Burgundy matelot shorts: Forever 21 | Black fringe booties: Target | Hat: gojane.com

IMG_2148cIMG_2115cIMG_2130cIMG_2154cWhat do you guys think? Do you like capsule wardrobes? Let me know in the comments below and hit the “Follow Me” button if you want to see more looks πŸ™‚

XO Ali

October Clothing Purchases

Happy Monday! I’ve narrowed down a starting clothing budget, and that is to spend no more than $750 quarterly. I like the idea of doing a quarterly budget to give me a little flex room for months where I find … Continue reading

Columbus Day

Good morning everyone!

Today in the United States, it is “Columbus Day.” The day is meant to celebrate the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas back on October 12, 1492 (it’s always celebrated on a Monday). The “celebration” has become very controversial in recent years, but regardless, the national holiday means banks, governments, and other public institutions are closed, not to mention there are sales galore!

Case in point: Forever 21

image1I resisted their big sale. I resisted the sale again when they offered 40% off already marked-down sales prices. But when they offered 50% off sales prices for Columbus Day plus free shipping (no minimum $50 purchase this time), I could no longer resist. I do have to disclose that all items are final sale, which narrowly breaks one of my online shopping rules (do not order final sales items if you are unsure of the fit). However, the only item I am unsure of size-wise is the swimsuit.

The swimsuit has been on my radar since summertime, but I just added it to my “wishlist” and moved on. Now, at $4 a piece, I decided to take a chance. Plus, I am going to a beach-resort in Cancun in December for a week-long holiday with my boyfriend! I can’t wait πŸ™‚ We went two years ago and haven’t been on a real vacay in over a year.

Their clothes run ridiculously small. I ordered a large in both the top and bottom, because I can assume that their sizing is off. Their “Love 21” items run a half size larger than their regular items, so the bomber jacket and cowl neck sweater should fit fine in a medium (my true size). I rid my cart of additional items, such as shorts, that I wasn’t sure how they would fit.

$41.46? Not bad.

Use code: TAKE50 at the checkout to receive 50% off sales items.

Do you look for good deals on holidays? Where are you spending your money today?!

XO Ali

Note: I am not paid to endorse Forever 21, nor is that my goal. This is just a sales code passed from one fashion addict to another πŸ™‚

My Year Without Clothes Shopping Part 4: Shopping Again

You may or may not be wondering why I have not yet updated what I have purchased so far!! The answer to that is…well…I’m still purchasing, and still returning. Haha

The day my challenge was over (Saturday, September 6th), my best and I made a day of shopping! We went to H&M, Charlotte Russe, Forever 21, 2 different Victoria’s Secrets, American Eagle, and a few other places as well. I was so good…all in all buying about $120 worth of stuff at H&M and a $30 purse at Charlotte Russe (I felt very aged at that store…they have changed their branding so much that it seems to appeal to more early teen girls). I know that is still a lot of money, but it is nothing to what I thought I might spend!

I had been extremely picky in my selections, not letting myself spend, for example, $20 on a tank top or $30 on a pair of shorts, especially with fall coming up. I looked for unique items missing in my wardrobe, instead of getting duplicates that would just get lost.

I wish I could say I was still that good today. This past week has proven a lot of temptation and little resistance in my attitude. I spent hours at Target dropping a ton more money, though mostly on items that I am missing. However, I have also bought a pair of shoes on Amazon, a couple items on Modcloth, a medium order on Forever 21, and another large order from Target… 😦 I am currently wading through this massive sea of guilt and deciding which items I will be taking back. I guess this part is to be continued…

For now, I will show off some items I DID keep and have been LOVING! Items marked with an asterisk* are new:

IMG_9422*Pink top: H&M | *Black/gold leaf necklace: H&M | Black pants: H&M | Black heels: Targets

IMG_9479*Magenta cardigan: Target | *Gray/yellow/pink dress: Target | *Blush-pink rhinestone flats: Target

IMG_9493*Blue floral blouse: Target | *White skinnies: Target | Braided sandals: Aeropostale

IMG_9520*Gray/pink/black floral dress: Target | Black cardigan: Forever 21 | Black heels: Target

My Rules For Shopping Moving Forward:

1. Limit online shopping, especially when unsure of size and/or final sale items.
2. Just because it’s a sale, doesn’t mean you have to have it. If you wouldn’t pay full price for the item, there’s a chance you might just be buying it because it’s on sale, not because you love it.
3. Don’t be fooled into spending a minimum amount to get a “free” item. Victoria’s Secret is notorious for their “free” bags and towels…with a $75 purchase!
4. Establish a monthly budget and stick to it. As simple as it sounds, this is the hardest and is still in the works.
5. Before buying an item, ask these key questions:
-Is this item unique or do I already have something similar?
-Will I get a lot of wear out of it?
-Will I still love this item a year from now?
-If I wait, can I get a better deal on this item (if so, make note of the size and price)?
-Can you afford it?

Well, that concludes this little summarized series on things I have learned over the course of the last year not shopping. Hopefully I can truly apply these lessons and strengthen my control over my shopping addiction πŸ™‚ If you have read all of these parts, thank you for your diligence and support. If not, thanks for stopping by and if you like my blog, please press the “follow” button!

XO Ali

My Year Without Clothes Shopping Part 3: Revelations

If you are new to my blog, you’ve probably already figured out that I’m just coming off of a year of no-new-clothes shopping!

My Year Without Clothes Shopping Part 1: Raw Data

My Year Without Clothes Shopping Part 2: Opinions & Honesty

Having a year off has really forced me to understand my wardrobe. Not only what I have, but what I need, don’t need, and what still has it’s tags attached…

Quality vs. Quantity

Oh the age-old debate. Would you rather have ten $10 cheap items or one $100 quality item? Though the quality choice is ideal, it’s just not that easy. With stores like Forever 21 and Topshop offering insane deals on every day items and clearance, who wouldn’t want a bunch of fun, patterned, textured pieces in a variety of shapes and colors???

It’s not easy, is it? I will say that I get a bad taste in my mouth now when I think about buying anything from Forever 21. I have thrown away/donated so many items during the year that were mostly fine when I bought them, but that changed sizes, warped, tore, stretched, pulled, or just fell apart at the drop of a hat. One tank top, for instance, had seams that were three inches off on each side (one going down the front of the body, one going down the back)…something I didn’t notice when I picked it up off the table for $2.80, not even trying it on because I knew my size.

I’m not trying to give Forever 21 a bad name. Not all of their clothes are this way, in fact, some of my favorite items are from this brand! However, it make you wonder how they can afford to sell them at such great prices. Where do they compensate for that? Is it a sweat shop in rural China? Is it the low-wages they offer employees? Is it the lack of quality assurance?

On the flip side, paying $100 for something doesn’t ensure it is of the highest quality either. The fact of the matter is you have to set rules for yourself, whether written or mental. Inspect the article of clothing before you fish out $20 for it (just this past Saturday, my friend noticed a huge snag on the back of a dress she was trying on. She was able to replace it right then and there and let the store know so that they could [hopefully] take it off the rack). Decide of what value that particular item is worth to you. Do you wear it one season a year? Is it practical? What is your experience with the brand? Is it too similar to something you already have?

Defining Your Style

I didn’t really set out on this challenge to define a style for myself, but I’ve definitely noticed patterns in what appealed to me when I was only able to buy a handful of things during the year.

I have just recently discovered into-mind.com, a website that is dedicated to helping others define their own personal style and create the perfect wardrobe. The creator has a variety of helpful articles from assessing the quality of garments to diagnosing your wardrobe to developing your own signature look. Lists and guides are perfect for neurotic folks like me πŸ™‚ I am really excited about this discovery. I wish I would have found it sooner so I could have applied many of the principles to my no-new-clothes challenge, but I will definitely be leaning on this website for support in the next few months.

Limit Online Shopping

In this day and age, it is so easy to buy something online, especially with credit cards and exclusive online deals. I remember learning in a psychology class (and reading about it here and there) that the brain actually registers pain with handing over cash for items. This same type of pain is less severe when using credit, because you are not registering it the same type of way as you do with cash. This makes using credit cards super easy, not to mention convenient.

I can attest that the majority of clothes that I sold that still had tags on them, were from online deals (especially when Forever 21 has their 50% off clearance sales) which were final sale. Unless you are buying from a brand that runs true to your size (and how often does that happen anymore? When I’m at H&M, my size runs from a 4 to a 12…that’s a big variety), limit your online purchases. Be especially weary of the fine print.

Tips for Others

  1. Just because it’s a really good deal doesn’t mean you have to have it. I know this “but what if they run out and I missed out” feeling all too well. You’ll live, trust me. If not, you can probably find it on eBay someday, ha.
  2. Try to avoid “final sale” items. What if after the first you wear it, you notice a terrible flaw. Only stores with great customer service will be willing to remedy the issue.
  3. Think before you buy. Do you have something that is similar? Do you need to get rid of other items in your closet before you buy more?
  4. Know your spending habits. Mint.com is a great and safe tool for tracking all financial aspects. You can import your bank accounts, credit cards, and loans so you can track everything in one place. I’ve used it for over 3 years now and it is simply wonderful. It’s endorsed by several well-known companies like MSNBC, the New York Times, Wallstreet Journal, etc. I’ve never run into any privacy issues, and you can’t actually manage your money through it–only view it and track it.
  5. Try to use cash if you can. This is one of the biggest keys to budgeting (and the one I need to work on most). This will limit you to spending what you actually have, and not getting yourself into debt.

One more section to go! Look for Part 4 which includes new purchases post-challenge, as well as rules I have set for myself moving forward.

XO Ali

100th Post: My Favorite Looks

I can’t believe this is my 100th post! I was looking back through all my posts since the beginning, and I definitely picked up the pace in 2014. I will work my hardest on providing more interesting and insightful posts for your viewing. Thank you so much for following along ❀

It’s awards season, and it’s time for the selection of my favorite looks I’ve posted for the past year! I thought it’d be fun to list a variety of outfits throughout the no-new-clothes challenge, especially for new readers πŸ™‚ There were some hits and some serious misses, but I’ve pulled together a few of my favorite outfits (and linked them up to their original posts).

Best in Show

IMG_6467Original Post Here

Yellow lace dress: Target | Green cardi w/ black trim: H&M | Black fringe booties: Target | Chain necklace: Forever 21

I absolutely love this outfit. I started really experimenting with colors here. I would usually pick one focal piece and find accessories or neutral tones to compliment it, but this outfit just came together and is hands down my favorite outfit I’ve recorded over the year. My eclectic college fashion is shining through in this dress + boots combo.

Best Use of a Bow Tie (Tied…No Pun Intended)

20140210-211946.jpgOriginal Post Here

Cream-colored sweater: Forever 21 | Burgundy bow-tie shirt: Forever 21 | Gray skinnies: Delia’s | Burgundy suede wedges: Forever 21

IMG_8642Original Post Here

Pink cardigan: Maurice’s | White bow-tie shirt: Forever 21 | Gray jeggings: Reitman’s | Black flats: Target

Β Best Accessorized Outfit: Leopard + Red

20140203-223125.jpgOriginal Post Here

Leopard-print sweater: Forever 21 | Lips: Revlon Lip Butter in Candy Apple | Gold nail: Ruby Wing Color Changing Polish

20140203-223202.jpgBracelet: Ann Taylor

Best Costume/Dress-Up: Park Bom

IMG_5195Original Post Here

Black faux leather jacket: Target | Cherry blossom dress: Forever 21 | Gold wedge sneakers: Amazon | Wig: eBay | Circle lenses: Pinky Paradise

20131105-185555.jpgMy favorite part about this outfit is a tie between the dress (I’m obsessed with cherry blossoms) or the circle lenses (hello, big eyes!).

Best Surprise Combo: Yellow + Gray

IMG_5085Original Post Here

Gray cardigan: Target | Yellow blouse w/ eyelet collar: Forever 21 | Black skirt: Forever 21 | Black heels: Target

This particular outfit was very influenced by Louis Vuitton (see post). I have since sold the blouse because it was 3 sizes too big, and this is the only way I could disguise it (not versatile enough).

Best Rediscovered Item: Floral Studded Blouse

outfitOriginal Post Here

Floral/stud blouse: Forever 21 | Salmon-colored honeycomb sweater: I | Black skinnies: H&M | Burgundy suede wedges: Forever 21

Best New Item: Black Sheep Sweater

IMG_6554Original Post Here

Black Sheep Sweater: Forever 21 | Black skinnies: H&M | Black heels: Target | Pearl Headband: Forever 21

I have an upcoming post on any new items I acquired during my no-new-clothes challenge (sounds counter-intuitive) using funds I made selling clothes, and this piece tops the list out as my favorite.

Best Baby/Bridal Shower Outfit

IMG_6484Original Post Here

Royal blue/mint peplum dress: Forever 21 | Mint belt: Forever 21 | Mint watch: Charlotte Russe | Mint shoes: Macy’s (Nine West)

Best in Sports Luxe

20140202-212905.jpgOriginal Post Here

Neon yellow jacket: Brooks | Track pants: Adidas | Polka dot shoes: Keds

Okay, this is probably more sports than luxe, but it was the only picture I managed to capture of any kind of workout gear, and it really has become a comfortable staple. My favorite place to wear it? The airport on my way home (I like to dress up for the airport on my way to places, ha).

Best Feminine Look: This Dress

IMG_7620Original Post Here

Greige cardi: Forever 21 | Salmon-colored dress: H&M | Braided sandals: Aeropostale

Between the chiffon outer layer, the ruffles, and the pretty spring-color, this dress always makes me feel so feminine and pretty. It’s perfect to wear to work with a cardigan, or to wear out shopping on a hot summer day.

Best Modern-Day Professional Look

IMG_6650 Original Post Here

Green cardi w/ black trim: H&M | Purple cutout tank: Forever 21 | Black pencil skirt: Charlotte Russe | Black heels: Target

This look, complete with a relaxed sock bun, is one of my favorite modern-day professional looks. The contrast between the bright green and the purple is blended together with matching earrings from Old Navy. The black trim on the cardigan pulls in the skirt and your basic set of black work pumps.

There are many other looks I liked and wanted to post, but I narrowed it down to these few.

What do you think of my selection? Do you agree/disagree? I’d love to have some feedback as well as some inspiration for what you would like to see in the future!


Weekend Rewind + Beauty Giveaway Coming Tonight

Stay tuned for my very first worldwide BEAUTY GIVEAWAY opening tonight! Follow me now so you won’t miss it!

Good morning everyone! Labor Day Weekend is right around the corner!

To be honest, I’m a little surprised I even survived this past weekend. Friday was quite literally the worst night of my life. My dog was attacked by another dog in my neighborhood.

Yoshi (20 lbs) was meeting a husky (50-60 lbs), and I don’t know if the husky got spooked or what, but as soon as Yoshi was within reach, he chomped down on Yoshi’s snout, lifted him off the ground and started shaking him. I was screaming and picked Yoshi up while the other guy was using both hands to pry open his dog’s mouth. After what felt like eternity (probably 5-7 seconds), the husky released Yoshi’s snout and I made off like a bat out of Hell. I hugged him so tightly the whole walk (run) back to my apartment and immediately inspected him when I crossed the threshold. Nothing. No blood, no marks, his eyes were fine, nothing. In addition, he was acting fine. At this point, I became the definition of hysterical. I don’t think I’ve ever cried that hard. My baby was somehow okay πŸ˜₯

IMG_9121He probably became the definition of spoiled at this point, because I was ready to give him whatever he wanted! I know it’s not the owners fault and I would never report it unless I knew the dog had this kind of repetitive behavior. But man, it was terrifying to go through. Luckily, he has acted like nothing ever happened.

The rest of my weekend was less eventful, but still tiring. I slept like a rock on Friday night (go figure), and then Ryan and I went for a swim at the Rec Center to prep for our triathlon this weekend. Did I mention this is the first time I’ve been in a pool since before I got LASIK back in December? Good thing my swim portion of my tri is only 250 yards and waist-deep! Haha

Sunday we biked 8.5 miles and only ran 2 because the heat and sun was making us both sick. The rest of the day was spent playing with Yoyo, updating my closet app, and binge-watching TV.

What a rollercoaster of physical and mental fatigue it was. But you know what? Everything is alright, today is a new day, this week is a new week! πŸ˜€

Today’s OOTD:

IMG_9182Cream-colored cardigan: Forever 21 | Pink/purple floral top: Old Navy | Eggplant-colored skinnies: H&M | Beige flats: Old Navy | Water-pail floral necklace: Forever 21

IMG_9176 laqa_liplube_menatour_900x900I also am wearing LAQA & Co. Sheer Lip Lube in “Menatour” which I received in my Birchbox a couple months back πŸ™‚ It’s a little more purple than it photographs. The texture is buttery smooth, without any runniness. It also has a faint mint smell on application.

Also, stay TUNED for details on my very first beauty GIVEAWAY. I promise, you will not want to miss it!

What are you looking forward to the most this week? XO