Conversation #120: It't the most BUSY time of the year...

If you have read my blog for a really LONG time (like way back on my other blog) then you know I love Fall and Winter - the holiday season just can't do anything but make me happy!  I get to see family and friends and watch cheesy Christmas movies while drinking cider and hot chocolate.  What could be better? 

(It also mean no yard work for a few months, minus the leaves that I should probably rake, but we'll just pray for a good strong breeze to blow those on their way).

Anyway, I have been busily preparing my application to take the P.E. (Professional Engineer) exam, and it is all due on December 16th so we are getting close!  I don't have much left to finish, but it has definitely been a time suck for a while.  I also took some time off to enjoy family and friends over the holidays, and it was one of the best trips back home we have had.  It was just fun and good times all around.  I miss everyone already.

So due to the fact that I'm not sleeping as much as I should, my outfits have been a little underwhelming lately, but I'll share a few anyway. 

Outfit Breakdown:
Shirt - Lands' End Canvas, $12
Cardigan - Gap, $19
Pants - NY&Co., $13
Heeled oxfords - Alfani via ebay, $17
Belt - Coldwater Creek, $10

 Outfit breakdown:
Blouse - Lands' End, $10
Purple (hard to see) Pants - H&M, $13
Grey Leather Boots - Target, $50
Turquoise Necklace - gift

Outfit breakdown
Sweater dress - Old Navy, $8
Black Leather Boots - Target, gift
Necklace - NY & Co, $4
I feel I should also make a note that I don't love these boots with the sweater dress, but I was too lazy to put on tights (and it was that lovely time of month) so this is what I ended up with because I work for the government and no one I work with cares about my clothes.  I think this dress would be cute with tights and my black booties.  Anyway, I get dressed mostly for me because the hubby rarely sees me dressed for work either.  It is kind of sad, but let's be honest, I'm not going to clean and do housework in my nice clothes at home after work.  Oh well.

Oh, and I am going to sadly admit that I way fell off the retail detox train.  It is sad and I'm ashamed.  I really just gave up when my sis came to town, but I have at least only been purchasing things I wrote on my list as wants (versus just buying random stuff) and staying in a stricter budget.  I know if I see something I love for a good price and don't purchase it, I'll never find something quite as good again and then it will be gone.  It is so silly and stupid, so I am going to continue to work on it.  I decided that this would be a really great new year's resolution.  I think I should try to do it when I have a chance of being successful, meaning it is the national shopping season full of amazing deals.  Obviously I can't quit cold turkey!

How was everyone's Thanksgiving?


Conversation #119: A series of rants - you have been warned!

I'm sorry, but I have to get it all out.  This last week was one for the record books for me, folks.  (oh speaking of a pet peeve/rant, one of my coworkers loves to use the word "folks" but he pronounces the "L" in it too.  Think of the word "bulk" but add "fo" instead of "bu").  Anyway, let the venting commence.

First off, this is a prayer request and just was a source of sadness for me: one of my good friends was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I thought it was so ironic that they got the diagnosis during Breast Cancer Awareness month, but it freaks me out.  First of all, she is almost exactly a year older than me, and I'm only 26.  She also just celebrated her only daughter's first birthday in August and they were hoping to start trying for more babies soon.  Due to the type of cancer and treatment, she may not be able to have any more biological children or even try to get pregnant (they think she may have gotten the cancer from the natural hormones while pregnant).  Anyway, she is the most positive, joy-filled, faithful people I know, and I know her and the hubby are already placing her in God's care and they just pray that God is glorified and known through all of this.  All I can say is WOW.  They are such a joy in my life and I am just praying that God's plan be full healing and that His power his seen by all.  This is still a bit of rant though, because I still just can't believe it is true.  I'm not mad at God at all, just confused and sad.  He allows me to be those things.

Okay, now onto the petty and annoying because really the above puts everything into perspective.  It is that time of the month, and that just induces emotions that make me frustrated.  Then on top of that, I can't get certain people in my work life to do their jobs, and it is reflecting poorly on me and holding up my work.  The most frustrating part about it - they are my bosses!  They live in a world of procrastination (well, mostly one) and we have had a contract since January that needs to be signed and sent back - it is so maddening.

All of my sports teams lost last weekend, boo :(  I hope today proves better for my alma mater and all of my other favorite teams. 

My husband and I had a poopy week of disconnecting.  I heard something he said wrong (although I still think he feels this way) and it just made for a tension filled week.  I hate when we aren't on the same page - it is just so unsettling.  Long story short, my husband isn't a huge fan of my glasses, but that is all that is comfortable to me so now I feel stuck.  It isn't a big deal, but it felt like it to me.  Oh well, we'll deal with it.

Lastly, Google all decided to go and change everything up with its programs, and so far I'm not a fan.  I feel like the contrast and readability of gmail and Google reader commands is hard to see (for example, if you want to "star" something, it is hard to see and find), and it just keeps sort of messing up and freezing!

Okay, that is all. My rant is over.  I think I typed so hard and fast that my wrist hurts now too.  Really, nothing matters in this post other than that I ask for prayers for my amazing friend.  I know I will get so many more blessings from God through her during this period of life than I will be able to give her, but I just hope I can be a good support for her, at least a little. 

I pray that you and all your loved ones are well and healthy today, and that you share with them how much you love them.


Conversation #118: Suede Nails

I'm not sure why, but the other day I decided I really wanted some dark green nail polish.  So I bought the only dark green shade at the grocery store I could find (the makeup selection is usually pretty good, and I'm too lazy to make an extra trip somewhere else for nail polish).  Anyway it is Revlon Matte Suede finish in Emerald City, and I sort of love it.  I had no idea what "matte suede" meant, but without a clear polish on it, it does definitely have a matte finish that I guess is sort of suedesque (I like making up words).  It dries much faster than any other polish I have used, but I can't decide if I want to put a clear coat on top to see what it looks like or not.  It might be too glittery then, but maybe I'll try it in a few days and let you know how I like it.  Until then, I'll try out the matte look.  It is a nice darker green and sort of a fun alternative to a really dark, almost black nail (which I still like too!)


Conversation #117: Shopping Tips

The lovely Stori from It's a Wannderful Life (over in Russia right now!) asked me to share some tips I have for getting good deals while clothes shopping.  Sadly, I probably spend way too much time looking for good deals, but since I don't have kids yet I figure I have the time.  Hopefully my wardrobe will be fairly well stocked and fool proof when I start having children and become busier with family and work.  That way I'll be able to love my clothes and feel comfortable getting dressed, but I won't have to think about it!

1.  Online shopping - This is my number one tip.  I do probably 90% of my shopping online.  I have usually found better prices online and I usually only shop at online places when they offer free shipping (which is fairly often at some retailers).  This is the biggest way I find good deals.  I will scour online sales and I also tend to make sure a retailer either allows in store returns or free shipping on return items.  The Gap is one store that I usually find has better in store prices during sales, but sometimes the sizes in the store are very limited.  J.Crew doesn't offer free shipping on any order much anymore, but when they do I stock up. 

2. Google coupon codes - This is tied closely with online shopping.  I get a lot of sale emails daily from my favorite stores, but I also always google "STORE NAME promo code" to see what is out there.  This is very helpful!

3. ebay and Thrifting - I don't do near as much thrifting as a lot of bloggers out there, but I will ocassionally find a hidden treasure at a thrift store.  My favorite source for gently used items is ebay.  I have bought and sold quite a bit on ebay, and I love it.

4. Sale sites  - I am a member of Rue La La, Gilt, and I get Shop it to Me emails as well.  I wouldn't say this is my main source of good deals, but I have scored some really deals this way as well.

5. Shop an unexpected source - one of my favorite online places to find a good deal is Coldwater Creek.  I know most women under the age of 50 wouldn't even consider this store, but they actually have some really cute pieces.  Some items are more matronly or older, but I have gotten a number of pieces there that I love.  They have a great online outlet and when you can find a 30% off code with free shipping, you can really score at this store.  I'll have to share some of the items I have found there that I love (besides jewelry I frequently wear in outfit posts). 

6. Patience - This is the last tip I can think of, but it really is true.  I usually make a list of new arrivals I like and then I wait out stores for sales, and I have started learning when the best ones come.  Unless it is something I REALLY REALLY REALLY want and it looks like it will sellout before it hits sale, I NEVER buy anything full price.  I have learned that there is just no reason to.  If I can wait just a few short weeks, I can buy the item I want and maybe something else too!  I just can't make myself spend more on something if I know I can get it cheaper elsewhere.

For example, Lands' End Canvas (one of my favorite retailers) will generally have their seasonal sale for two or three weeks, and then after that they will add an extra 20% or 30% off the sale price. That is when I buyg (like the purchases that derailed the detox).  They also frequently have free shipping (and you can always return for free to a Sears store!)

I also check back frequently to online sites to see if a favorite item pops back into stock.

Okay, this is all I can think of for now, but if I remember any other tips I will be sure to share them with you all!  Happy wallet friendly shopping :)


Conversation #116: Retail Detox, an inventory

Okay, I have lost count of what week I'm supposed to be on, and since I failed a bit I should really probably start fresh.  Baby steps - that is what I'm working with here.  I got my fail packages in the mail this weekend, and unfortunately I love it all.  Right now they are sitting in a pile.  I'm trying to really decide if any of it really fulfills a need and then go from there.  Of course, I want to say it all does, but I know if I let it sit for a bit I'll realize if any of it was worth breaking the detox.  In the meantime, to help me get back on track I'm going to start sharing my closet inventory with y'all using the Real Simple list I posted a link to a couple of posts ago.

Here is a cut of the first part of the list: pants.

Okay, so this list is again the "essentials" - a wardrobe foundation and so I know there will be some additions of fun, trendy items.  However, I also started realizing when I went through this that I might have a few of each foundation so that might be a bit excessive. 

Dark Bootcut jeans - I have 3 pairs of really dark bootcut jeans, I have two pair of dark skinny jeans, two pair of medium wash skinny ankle jeans, three pair of medium was bootcut jeans (one a high waisted pair) and two pair of dark trouser jeans.  I'm no longer a student and I very rarely get to wear jeans to work (maybe 15-20 Fridays a year, max) so I have quite a few for only being able to wear them on weekends and maybe the evenings if I have somewhere to go.  I LOVE jeans.  I have gotten rid of a few pair that were too big lately, but I'm always wanting to add to my collection.  I think it is because I was the youngest of three girls growing up, and I got hand-me downs a lot.  I was also tall for my age, and so my jeans were never cool and always too short.  Therefore, I pretty much buy any pair of jeans I love that are $20 or less.  I think I have two pairs of jeans that were over $20: one for $24 (Lands' End Canvas) and another pair of 7 for all Mankind jeans I bought on ebay for $45 - I was trying to fit in at my very fashionable college but I do love the jeans).  Other than that, all jeans were $20 or less.

Menswear inspired trousers - now this section is a bit more under control.  I would only consider maybe three pairs of my dress pants "trousers."  I have one black pair, one dark brown pair, and one grey pair.  I think I am pretty good at hitting the basics on this one.  However,  I have too many of some of the other categories.

Black flared pants - I'm not sure that "flared" is what I have because I'm not as much a flared pant person.  I do have a couple of pairs of wide leg black pants and maybe one pair that is bootcut.  I think they fill this essential just fine though.

Casual Chinos - so I have a lot of pants that probably fit closest to this category (some are slightly dressier).  I have two navy pairs of chinos, multiple pairs of khakis, and one pair of casual black chinos.  I work in an environment that is business casual so a lot of  my pants fall into that category.

Slim ankle length pants - this is probably my most favorite pant silhouette.  I have two pairs of black, one khaki colored pair, one navy pair, one dark purple pair, and I'm working on making a couple of flared pair into skinny pants.  I also have a couple of pair of jeans that fit into this category.

I think it is evident that I have more than enough pairs of pants.  This list also didn't include the four pairs of corduroy pants I also have for the cooler months (three skinny pair one bootcut).  Due to my plethora of pants, I have not been buying any of these lately.  I haven't even bought new jeans in a while either - at least I'm holding back in some areas!

Don't forget to check out Misty's weekly post here and all the other great ladies participating!