Tuesday, March 3, 2015

How To: Update Your Closet (On A Budget)

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Can you feel it? That little hint of something in the air? A new season is right around the corner (really! The first day of spring is just 17 days away!), and naturally my brain has turned to warm weather style. Forget sweaters, forget heavy socks... I'm ready to kiss all of that goodbye in favor of easy, breezy dresses, light jackets, light tees and jeans. There's a reason we all seem to wax poetic when a new season arrives, it gives us something to look forward to, a light at the end of the tunnel for those of us stuck in the dregs of winter. Plus, doesn't there just come a time when you just can't even bear to put on yet another sweater? That's how I feel at least...

I've mentioned before how I'm carefully updating my closet this year. Methodically, slowly acquiring just a few key pieces to make things feel fresh, and today I'm sharing my tips for switching seasons on a budget. Because as much as my virtual carts are filled to the brim, it's mostly my own closet I'll be shopping.

Know What You Have: Personally, I deal with very, very little closet space, so things tend to get stuffed to the back of my closet and shoved into drawers just to make it all fit. I also pack away any clothes that are season-specific, so yeah, it can be easy to forget what I have, which makes it easy to think I have nothing to wear. Every few weeks I'll go through and straighten up, which is a great time to take stock and get thinking for the transitional time ahead. Pull out any pieces you know you're not going to wear for the remainder of the current season and box them up -- voila! Instant space.

Shop Your Closet: "Shopping your closet" sounds like an obvious concept (like, it's basically just wearing clothes... that you own), but it can be so easy to fall into a rut and wear the same variation day after day (I am incredibly guilty of this).While you're reorganizing, take some time to pull out the pieces you love that haven't been worn in awhile. Now is a great time to rethink them and plan for the week ahead. Hang a few favorites where they'll be visible, and make sure they get put back in rotation.

Gather Inspiration & Make a List: As you think to to the season ahead and re-org the current season hanging in your closet, be sure to gather inspiration as it comes to you. This could be a season-specific pin board or good old-fashioned magazine tears, however you decide to do it, keeping your inspiration on hand not only helps pull together a vision for the season ahead, but is also there whenever you need a little last minute AM inspiration.

Shop smart: Once you've decided what you want to add to your wardrobe, it's time to decide where you're going to get it. I always turn to thrift stores first, but I focus on a few key categories: Accessories, coats & jackets, and stand-out pieces. I usually ignore the jeans (they never fit how I want them to), and occasionally scan through the tee shirts, dresses, and skirts. See my thrift tips here for more thrift store inspiration. Resale shops like Buffalo Exchange and Avalon Exchange are another favorite of mine for current shoe styles and secondhand designer pieces (last week I saw an Isabel Marant top at Buffalo for $20... and I scooped up these moccasins for $40). I also bring any old pieces I no longer want and sell to those stores, either walking away with some cash or store credit to put towards future closet must-haves.

After exhausting my second-hand options, I keep my eyes peeled for sales from my favorite online  retailers (I almost never shop in person) to grab the pieces I would rather find new. Right now Shop Bop is having a pretty incredible sale, valid from today, March 3rd through Saturday March 7, 2015, at 11:59 PM (PT):

The Big Event
15% off orders of $250+
20% off orders of $500+
25% off orders of $1000+
Use Code BIGEVENT15 at Checkout
(includes sale section & full-price -- full details here)

Now, before you balk at a sale threshold (I don't have $500 to drop either), here's where shopping smart comes in: Pair up! I work in an office full of women. Women who love clothes just as much as I do, and are just as sale-savvy. If there's a piece you've been eyeing, ask friends and family and see if anyone else wants in. I can almost guarantee someone will, especially with a new season on the horizon. You get what you want (and only what you want) and your friends do too and you same some major cash -- genius. Here's what I'm eyeing for the new season:
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A few other sale sections I always keep an eye on: ModCloth, Urban Outfitters, J.Crew and Nasty Gal. And don't forget the discount days at Salvation Army, ha! (but seriously)

Think beyond the seasons: As much as I look forward to a mini refresh when a new season is approaching, in reality I try to think of how versatile the pieces I'm considering purchasing will be. Can I see myself wearing something beyond the current season? Will a new piece work with at least three different outfit variations? Could this dress pair with tights/boots/sandals? The longer I can envision myself wearing something, the more value it has. Strive for quality and long-time-wear, and your closet will be that much more versatile.
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(a few of my favorite shoes, all of which are over 5 years old)

+ How do you update on a budget? 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Over the Weekend: Hushed Sway

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Well it feels like it's been about a decade since I wrote any sort of over the weekend/life recap. In reality, probably December. The start of this year has been a quiet one, spending most of January getting life in order, most of February seeking health. I ended 2014 feeling haggard. I wasn't getting enough sleep, I had all but abandoned the gym, and my eating habits were showing all over my face and felt in my joints. So I've been spending the past couple of months resetting myself, getting back to health... sleeping so much more... not drinking (it's kind of incredible how awful alcohol makes me feel), finding the foods that make me feel the best, and reacquainting myself with the gym. My schedule used to be more flexible, so I've had to learn all over again how to fit these things in my life, and yeah, finding balance again after losing it is proving to be a difficult journey.

So I am welcoming March with open arms. I'm ready for this new month and (hopefully) a gateway into spring, Chris and I have been doing a lot of exploring outside of the city over the past couple of months. Focusing on all things free as he looks for a job, which pretty much translates to all things outside. And I'm totally OK with that. Chris starts his new gig on Tuesday, which means these impromptu road trips and weekend journeys will be fewer, or at least far more precious. Last weekend we headed up to one of my favorite PA state parks, Hickory Run, to use the gorgeous snowshoes my mom gave us for Christmas. It was what we both needed. An escape from the city for the day. Every few weeks, there comes a time when the city streets begin to close in around me. Suddenly, the beautiful brick row homes that line the streets feel more like barriers than my neighbor's lovely houses, like walls closing in. The icy, un-shoveled sidewalks a hindrance; the defensive attitudes of city-dwellers (city drivers) a splash of ice water on even the most positive mood. I found myself slipping into this funk last weekend, the drive to the grocery store and then home to my apartment after work had been a battle, and even though it was Friday night, the thought of going back out again felt like more than I could handle. When this feeling arises in my soul, the kind of feeling that's tough to describe but when attempted falls somewhere between trapped and cabin-feverish, I know it's time to get out. Growing up in the woods was an experience that I never expected to affect me so strongly. But now, on days when city living just gets to be too much, I long for the hushed sway of pine trees and infinite silence that only comes with deep, dark woods.

To stand beneath the forest canopy, basking in the joy of pure stillness, of nature just doing its thing.
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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Here & There 2.28

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Happy last day of the worst month! I am more than ready to kick February to the curb and welcome March with open arms. How are you celebrating? We're meeting up with some friends this evening for tacos and drinks, and tomorrow Chris gets the info for his new job. So exciting. I'm hoping to finally finish In Cold Blood, too, I feel like I've been reading it forever, but I'm so glad I worked through it.

How gorgeous is this vintage '70s embroidered vest?

The secret to a strong immune system

Cute sets

A cute remix from Bex

This would make a gorgeous casual wedding dress (also love this tee)

I've always loved crows... this story makes me love them more

I think I need these jeans for SXSW

Gorgeous (+ cozy) undrthings

Opting out of motherhood. This could have been written about me

Save 30% off your purchase from Gap - love this jacket and this chill sweater dress

Style hack: how to remove armpit stains from clothes

A gorgeous makeup pallette for spring

Chocolate pound cake with maple bourbon frosting? Yes. I will absolutely be making this cake for Chris's birthday

Save 30% off sweaters at Urban Outfitters! Love this one and this one

Keiko's room is so pretty

Has anyone read this book? It looks interesting

This made me tear up - finding love after a heart transplant. pretty amazing

This looks so cozy!

Hair envy. Forever & always.

Well, this is cute

Monday, February 23, 2015

Aubergine Dream

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On a freezing cold Saturday, snow unexpectedly falling from the sky, get dressed up, even if it's just for the grocery store, even if it's just for 20 minutes - long enough to discover the car is dead and you need to walk the 1/2 mile to go buy a new battery and lug it home. In that case, go back inside and throw on some snow boots, a sweater, and a big jacket and admit defeat. You win this one, winter.

Get the look: Free People jacket - similar // Vintage estate collar // old BDG jeans - similar // Vintage/thrifted bag - similar vintage // Vintage boots - similar

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Here & There 2.21

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Happy Saturday! How's your weekend turning out so far? Today has been a day of happy accidents for Chris and I. We originally planned to go snowshoeing up in the Poconos but were turned off by the below freezing temperature and weather advisory, good thing though, because our car wouldn't start. Once we finally got it up and running, the snow had started to fall in Philadelphia, and now we're warm and cozy inside while an altogether unexpected snowstorm falls outside. We'll try for snowshoeing tomorrow - maybe we won't even need to go that far to find enough now!

How stunning is this vintage angel-wing caftan?

Spend 24 hours in Paris with Angela

A good one for a snowy Saturday: 5 things to do with a whole chicken from Bex

If you click on any link, let it be this one: Sleater-Kinney + Bob's Burgers A New Wave. Oh, my heart...

Speaking of third-wave feminists I love, this book is absolutely on my must-read-now list

Is it strange to wish I was here right now?

The prettiest phone case

Cute socks to keep you warm (and some cute shoes to go with 'em)

Perfect, perfect jeans

Who ate these as a kid? Always the best no-bakes

You can buy a town in Connecticut (basically Stars Hollow) for less than a Brooklyn apartment (all you need now is a Luke)

Save 30% off everything at Gap - digging these jeans and this pretty sleep top

Oliver Sacks on learning he has terminal cancer. this was a great read.

This dress would be so cute for spring - those little daisy straps!

Mmm... this gluten-free chocolate cake looks incredible!

How to clean your house in 15 minutes

Gorgeous pieces for spring from J.O.A. - love that little jacquard dress!

Have you tried this? I've heard it's amazing for your skin

The perfect coat for March - such a great color!

Yoga is for everyone

This might be the perfect sweatshirt

Mad Men in the '70s looks amazing - Meghan's outfit!

Have you checked out my spring essentials?

This Westminster Dog Show quiz is brilliant

I hate February

This would make a gorgeous wedding dress

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Spring Dreaming

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Philly finally has some snow on the ground, and I'm dreaming of sunny days and spring weather. Bare legs, the feeling of jeans and sneakers and a tee and that's it, throwing on a dress and a jacket and being ready in 10 minutes. I don't plan on adding much to my closet for the next season, but the pieces I am planning for are simple, go-with-everything clothes that can easily transition into summer (remember summer?) and later, to fall (let's just forget about fall for right now)... here's what's on my must list:

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1. Free People dress
2. Alexa Chung x AG overalls
3. Mink Pink dress
4. Maison Scotch sweatshirt
5. Wildfox sunnies
6. Street Level bag
7. Vanessa Mooney necklace
8. Jeffrey Campbell lace-up heels
9. Converse sneakers
10. Madewell jeans

Since we moved to Philadelphia, I've been working on streamlining my closet as much as possible. Bags and bags have been brought to Buffalo Exchange and Goodwill, and I've held off on making many purchases for the past few months so that when I do, it's something that will seamlessly fit in with what I already have. Lately I've been seriously digging on ShopBop, I love how the selection is curated and seeing brands mixed and matched gives me a better idea of how each piece will fit the puzzle of my style (plus, free shipping and returns isn't too bad, either). On my list for the next season? Perfectly distressed jeans (to wear with oversized tees and everything else), fitted (but not skinny) overalls (wear 'em now with a dainty top and faux-fur coat), a couple cute dresses (perfect with a leather jacket or shredded denim), and versatile accessories, all in simple hues and classic shapes. Mix and match, toss in some vintage, wear it now, wear it later. however you damn well please. Happy (almost) spring, friends.

What's on your list?

Monday, February 16, 2015

City Stripes

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At the risk of suffering the groans and eyerolls of the entire Northeast... finally, some snow! HA. I'm sure I'd be singing a different tune if I still lived in Beverly (that's just outside of Boston for anyone who hasn't been reading me for very long), but man, we've really been getting the short end of the stick in terms of winters this year. All the freezing cold temperatures with none of the beautiful snow.

Cold weather and anything other than leggings and sweatshirts has been... a struggle lately, and I've officially started counting down the days in anticipation of warmer weather. But, for this freezing cold Valentines Saturday, we bundled up and strolled downtown and through Rittenhouse for some hot coffee and people watching (we even saw a marriage proposal!). It's crazy to think that just a few months ago we lived in this part of town, there are aspects of it that I miss -- the old buildings are gorgeous -- but definitely ones that I don't -- parking. I've been keeping things easy this season, living in jeans and simple colors and patterns. I just haven't been in the mood to deal with tights much this year. I received this top from Choies recently and I can tell it's going to be a staple through the end of winter and into spring. I love the slightly boxy fit and drop sleeves, especially with black jeans and a camo jacket. And a pink lip... because for Valentine's Day you need at least a little hot pink in there.