Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December Budget

And I'm back with the last budget post of 2014! I'll talk next week about my thoughts about the budget overall for the year and plans for 2015, so for now I'll just talk about how I did in December. I was actually kind of surprised that I didn't spend more, because I feel like all I ever do in December is shop. I guess I did more shopping for other people than me, which is really the way it should be. I also found some pretty amazing sales which helped me stay way under budget.

This month I was looking for a more casual dress to wear for all of my holiday parties, as well as something to wear to a wedding I'm going to in January, and also a white top to wear when I go to work events (I have to wear a white top and black bottoms along with a branded red track jacket - super cute, I know). I also was looking for new jeans, I bought this pair and loved them - so comfy - but ultimately decided to return them because they're just a tinge too short on me even in tall. I really wish the whole "ankle length" trend would end, on my silly long legs they end up looking more like capris.

So anyway, here's how I did for December:

Ann Taylor Faux Leather Pocket Dress - originally $139, on sale $36
The Limited Zip Back Skater Dress - originally $69.95, on sale $19.99
Ann Taylor Layered Crepe Tank - Black - originally $54, on sale $15
Ann Taylor Layered Crepe Tank - White - originally $54, on sale $15
The Limited Texture Front Sweater - originally $59.95, on sale $23.95
JCrew Factory Pencil Skirt - originally $89.50, on sale $35.80

Total Spent: $145.74
Total Saved: $320.66

I didn't spend that much this month, but now thanks to some Christmas cash burning a hole in my pocket I may go a little crazy in January. I fully believe in actually spending any money I get for  Christmas or my birthday on presents for me, so anything that I gift to myself I'll share the price but not count it toward my monthly total.

How did you do in December?

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Review: evian Facial Spray

Now that winter really is here, the air has gotten so dry, and so has my skin. I've been taking down bottles of lotion and chapstick like it's my job. I was really excited to try out evian Facial Spray, a mineral water spray, because of its promise to deliver some extra moisture to my face, as well helping skin feel softer and healthier. The spray can be used either after washing your face, or throughout the day over makeup. Or, if your father is willing, you can just spray it on his face whenever you want (we had a fun Christmas morning).

After washing and drying my face, I sprayed the facial spray all over my face until it was dripping wet again. Then I let the spray absorb a little before drying my face again. Afterwards I applied moisturizer as usual. When using the spray like this after cleansing, I couldn't notice that it did anything. The spray doesn't have a scent, and really just felt like I was putting straight water on my face. I do use a pretty heavy moisturizer cream though (what can I say, I'm addicted to moisturizer!) which may have made it hard to tell.

For the other option, I've tried lightly misting the spray over my face throughout the day to add an extra burst of moisture. I actually liked using the facial spray in this way, it's very refreshing. The evian Facial Spray also comes in a travel size, which I can see being really nice for taking on a long plane ride.

Overall, I don't think I'd buy the large regular size as it's really too big to carry around with me, but I definitely see using the travel size, either while traveling or just on the go.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Friday, December 26, 2014

Best of 2014

Oh hello, just stopping in to share a few of my favorite looks from 2014! It's funny how style changes, in 2013 I barely wore any button downs, blazers, or graphic tees, and here they are in almost every look. Of course some things do stick around, like boots and statement necklaces. What were some of your favorites of 2014?


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Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Vacation

I feel like I've been go-go-go lately without any chance to breathe or relax, even on the weekends. My Pinterest boards have been seriously neglected, as well as a few more important aspects of my life. That being said, I'm going to be taking a little Christmas vacation from KDTI through the new year. That's not saying I won't be posting at all (because it really is hard to stay away), but I definitely won't be posting every day. I hope you have a fabulous couple of weeks and I'll see you all in 2015!

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dressed Up Sweater

Sweater - Old Navy / Jeans - Gap / Necklace - BaubleBar / Loafers (similar) - Madewell

Sometimes all I want to do is cozy up in a big sweater, but I don't necessarily want to look sloppy when I do. A sparkly necklace and some fun loafers elevate this look and make it more than a basic sweater and jeans.

I cannot believe we're in the final countdown to Christmas already. I think I have all of my gifts under the tree (a missing one usually sneaks up on me every year) and my holiday outfits planned. Tonight is Jeff's dad's Christmas party, and on Saturday a friend is hosting her annual Christmas/wine tasting party, and then next week we're doing a little bit of traveling to see Jeff's family and then bouncing back and forth between his family and mine for the rest of the week. Are you ready for Christmas?

Linking up with #howifall and Friday Fab Favorites.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Top 5 Hair Products

With my hair, my goal is usually one of two things - to either add more moisture or more volume. It's naturally straight, but since I dye it it's usually a little dry. According to my hair dresser, I also have "a lot of thin hair," so if I don't apply the right products it can fall flat. My hair is also so straight that I need a little help in the curling department. Here are five of my favorite hair products:

Ojon Volume Advance Thickening Spray - This thickening spray was one of the first things I ever got in my Birchbox. This product does just what the name suggests, and makes my hair look a whole lot thicker. I spray a few pumps in my hair while it's still wet and comb it through to distribute it evenly and then blow dry normally.

Garnier Fructis Hydra Recharge - I actually got a free sample of this moisturizing treatment in the mail and have been buying it in bulk from Amazon ever since (I can never find it in stores). It's somehow a super moisturizing treatment that leaves my hair feeling light and silky rather than weighed down. You can use it in place of a regular conditioner, but I usually add it after rinsing out my usual conditioner for extra silk and shine.

Aussie Moist 3 Minute Miracle - 3 minute miracle indeed. I can usually find this in drugstores for under three dollars and it works better than most of the high end deep conditioners I've tried. Not to mention that it smells great too!

Kenra Thermal Styling Spray - I tried this the first time because a travel size came attached to my giant bottle of Kenra Volume 25 and it is freaking amazing. Before I started using this product I could never get my curls to last longer than an hour or two, even if I wrapped them up and let them sit to fully cool. I don't know how this stuff works, but seriously, whoever created it is a miracle worker.

Kerastase Elixir Ultime - My hair stylist originally recommended this to me, and she pointed out that it's pretty expensive but would last me a long time. She was so right, I've used my bottle almost daily for the past two years and it's only halfway gone! The elixir is a hair oil that can be used on wet or dry hair. I usually run one pump of oil from the point where I can gather my hair into a ponytail through to my ends. I also occasionally put a little on my ends to add some shine to my second-day hair.

What are some of your favorite products?

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Winter Wear

Coat (similar) - Marc New York / Tee (similar) - JCrew Factory / Jeans - Loft / Booties (similar) - Kelly & Katie / Necklace - BaubleBar / Bag (similar) - Coach Factory

Chicago got really cold, really early this year, and I went straight into puffer coat mode. I love my puffer because it is so.warm, but it isn't exactly the cutest thing to wear every day. It finally warmed up a little and I've been excited to get some use out of my other coats, including this fun leather detailed one I picked up at Nordstrom Rack over the summer. I love it because no matter what I'm wearing underneath (like jeans and a graphic tee), it always makes me feel pulled together.

Linking up with Style Sessions and Trend Spin Linkup.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

This Weekend...

This weekend I...

...Went to Zoo Lights with Jeff and my family! I hadn't been in a couple of years, and it was really fun to see all of the animals sleeping, and, you know, all of the lights.
...Went to my company's Christmas party at Mercadito, which included a build your own guacamole bar and lots of tequilla drinks. We left just as people started climbing/dancing on the furniture, so I'm interested to hear stories of what else went down at work today.
...Strategically hit the outlet mall as soon as it opened on Sunday morning to return a few things and pick up some presents (ahem, and a present or two for me) and going early was an excellent idea. When I got there, I could breeze through all of the stores, and by the time I left there were literally lines outside of the stores of people waiting to get in.
...Went to our friend white elephant party, which Jeff and I walked away from with some foam swords that have already broken due to overenthusiastic use.
...This was technically last week, but I was in Minneapolis Wednesday night through Friday morning, and got to check out a few cool spots including Butcher and the Boar (holy porkchops!) and Porter & Frye.

I hope you had a good one!

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Friday, December 12, 2014

The Christmases of Bloggy Past

Have you gotten into the Christmas spirit this year? Christmas is only two weeks away and I feel like I'm so behind - I haven't done any baking and not a single present is wrapped under the tree. To get inspired and a little more into the spirit, I thought I'd share a couple of Christmas projects from past years.

(these are currently up on my tree!)

And, for funsies, the Christmas Tree Hats I crocheted

I hope you have a great weekend! As this post goes live I should be flying home from Minneapolis and then getting ready to hit a couple of Christmas parties tonight. Do you have any festive plans?

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Jeweled & Coated

Shirt and Sweater (similar) - Loft / Jeans (similar) - American Eagle / Flats (similar) - Target 

Hellooooo from chilly Minneapolis! These pictures may have been taken on my usual rooftop balcony but today I'm actually traveling for work. I can't imagine being one of those people who jets off all the time, but I like the occasional business trip for a little change of pace and because they're usually great bonding experiences with co-workers. Another great bonding experience? Company parties, and we're having ours tomorrow. I'm interested to see how it goes, I've heard tales of previous parties ending with the guys shirtless and wrestling on the floor. Totally normal.

And now for a complete one eighty topic wise - this shirt! Since before I even purchased this jeweled collar shirt, I wanted to pair it with a little faux leather. I think the little bit of shine from the pants and collar play off of each other really well, while the sweater tones it down for everyday style. I have a really casual workplace, so I can get away with things like coated denim in the office as long as they're toned down with more classic pieces.

Linking up with Style Me Wednesday#HowIFallWhat I Wore to Work and Friday Fab Favorites.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Favorite Reads of 2014

Are you into reading? I've always been pretty voracious, aside from a small break in college when I was reading too much for class, and tend to go through about a book a week. Jeff always makes fun of me because he says I'm a bit pretentious when it comes to my book choices because they tend to be pretty serious, but I do have a soft spot for books about summer vacations or summer camp. Here are some of my favorite reads of 2014:

Were you a fan of choose your own adventure books growing up? Life After Life looks at one girl's life growing up in the English countryside in the early 20th century and how small changes - the language she chooses to study in school, or turning left versus right during the walk home - can have huge consequences. Life After Life was a trickier read because each time the story regenerates, the reader is left to figure out where it has picked back up in her life and what is different from the last version of the story, but I found it incredibly interesting.
In The Gravity of Birds, a famous artist reveals a secret painting from the beginning of his career, which leads to a cross-country search for the two sisters featured in the painting and unravels the mystery of his relationship with both of them. I loved it for the discussion of art and the intricacies of the characters' relationships, and it didn't hurt that a portion of the story took place at a summer house.
A number of people recommended The Girl You Left Behind, so I picked it up without even reading a description. It was nothing what I expected, and so, so good. The main character is a woman in occupied France during the first World War who would do anything, including befriending the German soldiers, to keep her family safe and reunite with her husband.
I started reading Jhumpa Lahiri's books in college when one was assigned for class, and they are all tragically beautiful. The Lowland centers around two brothers growing up in India in the '60s and how they respond to political changes within the country.
I initially was turned off by the title of Paris Was the Place because it sounded like it should be a romance novel, but while there's a little romance it's so much more than that. Paris Was the Place is about a young college professor who moves to Paris in the 1980's to be near her brother and find herself, and gets drawn into her volunteer work with immigrants seeking asylum in France. 
Everyone's been talking about The Goldfinch all year, and there are lots of differing opinions. It's at once a tragedy and a mystery spanning several decades centering around a boy trying to find family and a home as well as one famous piece of stolen artwork. What I loved most about The Goldfinch though is the beautiful prose and full of wonderfully complicated characters.
I told you I liked books about summer vacation, right? Well We Were Liars is that and so much more. About a famous, wealthy family that summers on a private island each year, We Were Liars is a suspenseful and haunting story of a young damaged girl trying to remember her past. Be warned though, I really enjoyed the story but this is actually young adult so it's a very easy read.

I love getting book recommendations, so tell me, what were some of your favorite books of this year?

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