Friday, August 29, 2014

August Budget

I don't know if you guys noticed, but it's the end of August.  This month has seriously flown by.  With the end of the month comes another budget post!  This month I filled a couple of holes in my wardrobe, as well as picked up a couple of trendier pieces.  The blazer was an absolute steal (I may have stalked it online every day until my size was available), and I'm excited to have it since the black one I've been wearing a lot recently is way too big.  With the addition of another pencil skirt I'm feeling like the job interview section of my closet has been filled.  As far as the trendy pieces, well, I just couldn't say no.  Here's the damage for August:

And now for my biggest purchase this month: a new coat!  I was browsing at Nordstrom Rack for some new gym shoes, and came across this beauty:

With the color, the cut, and the leather detailing, it's seriously the coat of my dreams.  I've been missing a longer dressy wool coat in my wardrobe for a while (making it confusing every time I dress up in cold weather) and so am super excited that I found this baby at such a good price.  I usually allow myself one new coat and one new pair of boots each fall/winter, so after the boots I picked up last month, it looks like I'm done with my big ticket items for the year.

Old Navy Graphic Tee: originally $14.94, on sale $10, used credits $0
Ann Taylor Pencil Skirt: originally $89, on sale $53.40
Baublebar Necklace: originally $46, on sale $20
JCrew Boyfriend Blazer: originally $198, on sale $58.80
Apt 9 Sweatshirt: originally $40.00, on sale $17.99
Marc New York Coat (similar): originally $350, on sale $138.99

Total Spent: $289.18
Total Saved: $448.76

And so I just squeaked in under budget again!  Since I don't have any more holes to fill in my closet, I'm not really sure what I'll be shopping for in September, besides lots and lots of fall clothes.

How did you do on your budget for August?

Linking up with Budgeting Bloggers.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Floral + Vest

Dress - LC Lauren Conrad (similar) / Vest - Old Navy / Sandals - Target (similar) / Necklace - Stella & Dot / Bracelet - Michael Kors

After showing my utility vest a lot of love this spring (see here and here), I kind of forgot about it.  Whoops, sorry old pal!  While I loved it over my sweaters and with denim, I realized recently that it's the perfect topper for a summer dress.  It can add a nice layering effect without being too hot.

I wore this earlier this week for our couple's league fantasy football draft.  That's right, I'm doing fantasy football again, and I'm still not quite sure how football works.  Last year I learned what a safety is, so maybe this year I'll pick up another new term.  The real goal though is to beat Jeff in our couple matchup again, which I somehow did last year despite being in Morocco and not having any idea how to set my lineup.  Sorry babes! 

Linking up with Tuesday PrettiesFriday Fab FavoritesSummer Style and Little Friday.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

7 Stuffed Cookie Recipes

Cupcakes and brownies have been doing it for years, but cookies are just hopping on to the newest dessert trend: stuffing. People are putting candy, peanut butter, caramel, marshmallows, and anything else they can think of into cookies these days. Flipping through my Pinterest lately has literally been leaving me drooling. Here are some of the stuffed cookie recipes I can't wait to try:

I've put cookies into brownies before, so why wouldn't you want a brownie inside of a cookie?

Like a giant, amazing peanut butter cup.

A chocolate chip cookie is sounding so much better than a graham right now.

Seriously, nutella inside a cookie? I may need some alone time with these guys.

The only problem with these guys? You can't eat the Oreo frosting first! I think I'd get over it somehow.

Why put a Hershey's Kiss on top of your peanut butter cookie when you can put a Reese's inside one?

o. m. f. g.

Have you hopped on the stuffed cookie train?  Have any amazing recipes to share?

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tribal Maxi

Dress - F21 (similar) / Necklace - Amrita Singh / Sandals - Target (similar)

I wore this dress a lot last summer (see here), and then basically it existed.  For some reason, I've really been neglecting my dress collection this summer.  Sorry dresses!  I swear I still love you, I've just been, you know, hanging out with a lot of shorts and skirts lately.  Then, we finally got some summer weather over the weekend, and a dress seemed like the only reasonable option.  Some people around here seem to be anti-heat, but I'm down with a couple days here in the 90's. Bring it on, Chicago!

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Monday, August 25, 2014

This Weekend...

This weekend I...

...Went to a Cubs game with some of my ladies.  We had amazing/slightly terrifying seats (for foul ball reasons) and wound up on tv a couple of times.  Okay, so this was actually on Thursday, but when your whole life is a weekend, it's kinda hard to differentiate.
...And then I had to escape a bachelor party that was spending the weekend at our place, so I went up to my parent's house for the weekend.  I ate a lot of tacos, tried yoga for the first time (there were chairs and blankets involved, what?), found some prints at the thrift store for the gallery wall I'm planning in our stairwell, saw "What If" (yes, it's a different movie than "If I Stay") and ate almost an entire tub of popcorn by myself, and binge watched old episodes of The O.C. and Bridesmaids with my sister.
...Oh, and of course, listened to the new Taylor Swift song about 8,432 times.  Totally.  Obsessed.

I hope you had a good one!

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Colorful Bags

I was looking through my closet the other day and realized my handbag collection has gotten a little, well, boring.  There are a few fun colored or patterned clutches & crossbodies, but the bags I use day to day are all black or gray or brown.  I think I've been so concerned with finding everyday bags that will match everything that I somehow went too neutral.  What I want now is a bag that will make a statement.  For fall, more muted colors like burgundy, forest green, and mustard are on trend, but hot pink and purple are colors that you can wear no matter the season.

Clockwise from top: Pink / Green / Blue / Red / Purple / Green / Blue / Yellow

Is your bag collection neutral, or do you prefer a little color?

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Daily Uniform

Tee (old, similar) and Blazer - JCrew / Shorts (similar) - Gap / Sandals (old) - Hive & Honey / Necklace (similar) - Baublebar / Watch - Kate Spade 

Whenever I'm not sure what to wear as of late, I've been sticking with a simple uniform: tee, blazer, and denim.  It's an easy combination that can be worn in a lot of ways that always looks cute and pulled together.  You can see it here with my floral blazer, here with boyfriend jeans, here with stripes and a statement necklace, and here with some casual sneakers.

I used to hate blazers, but that was really because I didn't have one that fit and didn't know how to style them.  I always thought they made my look too "corporate" rather than casual, but I was wrong.  When you roll or scrunch the sleeves and pair with more casual items like boyfriend jeans, tees, sneakers, or sandals, they can feel very casual while still pulling together an outfit.

Do you have a daily uniform that works for your style?

Linking up with Mix it MondayMonday BloomFriday Fab FavoritesWIWTSummer Style and Little Friday.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Review: Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Dry Shampoo

I'm still on a journey to find the perfect dry shampoo.  While I like the other brands I use, I'm always looking for one that has less white residue and a better smell.  I'd heard good things about Not Your Mother's, so I thought I'd give it a try.

This one isn't really my favorite.  It has a lot less white residue than other dry shampoos, so if I miss a spot while I'm rubbing it in it doesn't look like I'm graying, and the smell is different than others I've tried (although it still can't be called "good").  But the real problem is, it doesn't seem to work very well.  I've tried spraying this into my hair like I usually do before bed, and still wake up with some greasies.  Even when I add more product in the morning, my hair still doesn't look clean or volumized.  Sorry Clean Freak, but you are not for me!

Do you have a favorite dry shampoo?  If so let me know, I'd love to try it!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Red on Red

Dress - c/o eShakti / Necklace - JCrew Factory / Bag - Darby Smart / Heels - Shoe Mint

I've heard great things about eShakti, and was really excited when they reached out to to me to pick something out.  eShakti is an online retailer full of super adorable retro-y designs that can be custom made based on your measurements.  I have a really hard time finding clothing that fits me off the rack, especially dresses, so being able to have something custom made was amazing.  And not only did I get to enter in my measurements, I also was given the option to customize the length, the neckline, and the sleeve style to my preferences.  I chose to change the hemline of this to just above the knee, but could have also gone shorter or longer.

With the addition of this little number I picked up back in June, I now have two little red dresses in my closet.  Red is one of those colors that I used to shy away from, but now I'm really loving how bold it is.  I can definitely see adding some more of it to my closet.

Linking up with Trend Spin LinkupStyle Sessions and Tuesday Pretties.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

This Weekend...

This weekend I...

...Went to Bottles & Bottega for the first time for a little wine and painting with some of my lady friends.  We determined that painting is definitely easier when there's wine involved ;)
...Grabbed dinner at Ruxbin with Jeff and after getting my own set of oysters (because, if we shared, "we would totally ruin the progression of flavors."  Ruxbin may be a tad pretentious) determined I actually like them now!  #grownup
...Ordered from Ameritalia again.  It's only been open two weeks and I think we've been there four times already.  We maaaaay have a new favorite spot ;)
...Checked out a hotel downtown where we might do our room block & getting ready suite for the wedding.  Normally I would have just checked it out online, but after counting how many people would have to be in the suite while we're getting ready, I had to make sure it would be big enough.  While I was there I got to check out the gorgeous outdoor space on the river that will be an outdoor bar by the time of our wedding.  Can someone say afterparty?
...Met up with some friends for a quick drink at Bureau Bar, which I previously didn't know existed.  Yay for a new cute bar in our neighborhood!
...Since Jeff decided he's a futball fan now, watched an awful lot of soccer with him.  The whole time all I could think of was this video with Jason Sudeikis.

I hope you had a good one!

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Easy Summer Veggie Pasta

Easy Summer Vegetable Pasta

Between my carbohydrate obsession, frequent overpurchasing of produce during the summer months, and a desire to make all of my meals quick and easy while the weather is hot, this easy summer vegetable pasta recipe is my new best friend.  What's nice about it is that you can customize it based on what veggies are your favorite or what's hanging out in your fridge.  Oh, and that there's wine involved, which means you can enjoy a healthy glass of chef's juice while you're putting it together.  Sounds like the perfect summer meal to me!

Easy Summer Vegetable Pasta

Summer Veggie Pasta
Serves 4

You'll Need:
12 oz uncooked pasta
1/2 red onion, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 colored bell pepper (red, orange, or yellow), sliced in small chunks
1 yellow squash, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
Grated parmesan

Boil a large pot of salted water.  Add pasta and cook as directed.  Reserve 1/2 cup of starchy water before draining.

In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add bell pepper, squash, and zucchini and cook for 2-3 minutes, until vegetables start to soften but are not cooked through.

Add wine to the pan, scraping up the bits from the bottom, and cook until the wine reduces by at least half.

Remove the pan from the heat.  Add your cooked pasta to the pan, as well as some of the starchy cooking water.  Toss everything well to combine.   Stir in the fresh basil.  Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.  Top with some parmesan cheese and you're good to go!

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Holy Chic!

Tee - Old Navy / Jacket - Target (old, last seen here) / Jeans - Gap / Shoes - Madewell / Bag - F21 (old) / Necklace - c/o / Bracelet - Michael Kors

I saw these graphic tees at Old Navy (that are totally JCrew copycats) and I just couldn't resist.  Even though I maaaaay already own an almost identical one from JCrew Factory.  I actually sized up for this tee (something I NEVER do, usually I'm sizing down to get the fit I want) because I wanted it to be a little loose instead of tight like most Old Navy tees tend to be.  I usually don't find myself getting that into trends, but I am all about graphic tees these days.  I'm hoping it's a trend that really sticks around.  Here I paired my graphic tee with boyfriend jeans and flats, but I definitely want to dress it up with a pencil or a-line skirt and some heels too.

Oh, and can we talk about these flats?  They are so adorable that I want to wear them all the time, and then I walk one block in them and basically want to cut off my feet they hurt so much.  I often find myself ignoring foot pain when trying on shoes because "it's not that bad," or "my feet will get used to them."  It's definitely a bad plan, because I now own so many shoes that I never wear, or can only wear if we aren't planning on walking anywhere (which basically never happens in Chicago).  Struggles of a style blogger/shoeaholic/Chicagoan.

Linking up with Mix it MondayFriday Fab FavoritesSummer Style and Little Friday.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Other White Dresses You May Need For Your Wedding

Now that I have my wedding dress picked out, I'm starting to think about the other white dresses I may need for my wedding - dresses for the shower, the bachelorette party, and the rehearsal dinner.  No, you don't have to wear white to these events (and a lot of brides don't), but I love white dresses and am definitely excited to wear white as much as possible while we're engaged.

You may be thinking to yourself, "But Kristina, your wedding is still 10 months away!  Do you really need to start thinking about these outfits already?"  No, I don't technically, but in the interest in saving my sanity as we get closer to the big day, as well as the fact that summery dresses are on sale now and Nordstrom has an amazing return policy, it doesn't hurt to start looking now.

1 / 2 / 3

For the shower I'm looking for something pretty, girly, and sweet.  Fit and flares that are a little more covered up feel appropriate to me.  I won't say no to a little pattern or accent color either!

1 / 2 / 3

For the bachelorette party, I'm really looking to go all out.  Sequins, embellishment, feathers - they're all okay by me!  I'm also looking for a shorter and more body-con style.  At almost $600, the first dress is definitely out of my price range, but a girl can dream, right?

1 / 2 / 3

A lot of people don't seem to think about the rehearsal dinner that much, but I'm actually super excited for it (and not just because Beyonce and JayZ ate at the restaurant where we're having the dinner last month).  It's the more laid-back event of our wedding weekend where I'll actually get a chance to visit with all of our family who are coming into town.  For the rehearsal dinner, I'm looking for something that's classy and elegant, with either a sheath or small fit and flare silhouette.  

Would you wear white for all of these events?  Which look is your favorite?

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fall Style Now

Shirt - JCrew Factory / Shorts - Gap (old) / Boots - Sam Edelman / Belt - Old Navy / Necklaces - JCrew Factory and gifted / Watch - Kate Spade

Whenever I get new clothes, I get super excited and want to wear them right away, even if they aren't quite weather or season appropriate.  Such was the case with this plaid button down and the booties I picked up during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  I figured I would have to wait to wear them, but this button down is surprisingly light, and with some (super short) shorts these boots feel seasonally appropriate.  While I'm loving that they work for summertime, I'm also excited to layer this shirt under a sweater come fall, and rocking these boots with some skinny or boyfriend jeans or even with tights and a skirt.

Do you wear your new clothes right away?  Or are you sitting on your fall purchases, waiting for cooler weather?

Linking up with Monday BloomBeautiful YouStyle Sessions and Stylish Tuesday.

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