wishlist, november 2017

Hello again, blog friends! It’s been awhile since my last post–I found that I needed a bit of time away from the camera after the Common Threads Challenge came to a close. I’m back to taking outfit photos though, so stay tuned for those in the coming week, but today I wanted to share my annual birthday/Christmas wishlist. This year is a “milestone birthday” for me, so I feel like I should be asking for something “big,” but I can’t say that I really have my heart set on anything in particular. That being said, there a few moderately priced items that have struck my fancy lately…

little black dress Truthfully, I already own two black dresses (here and here), but both are sleeveless. I would love to have one with sleeves so that it would be better suited to the cooler months. I had bookmarked this one, but it appears to be sold out for good. I also like this one with a covered button detail on the shoulder, but the reviews are only mediocre. This fit and flare style would be flattering, but it’s not all that interesting. I’d love to find one in time for the holiday season!

black and tan watch In case you haven’t noticed, I wear black and tan together…a lot. I also tend to wear a watch on a daily basis, which presents the dilemma: which color watch to wear? I know; it’s such a stressful decision. I’ve been thinking it might be nice to have a watch with both black and tan together, particularly one with a trendy black dial. This unisex one is appealing, and I’ve also considered making my own on the Wristology website. If I wanted to go the price route, I love this Daniel Wellington beauty.

camel coat The camel coat currently in my closet is from Gap, circa 2004, and I stole it from my sister’s closet about 10 years ago. It has served me well over the past several years, but it’s starting to show its age. So, I’ve admitted it’s time for a replacement, and I really like this J.Crew Factory option. My mom has it in the green color (and she looks beautiful in it!), so I’m familiar with the quality and cut. It’s expensive at full price, but of course JCF has crazy good sales, particularly at this time of year!

What are you asking Santa for this year?

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common threads challenge: final recap

As you may have seen earlier this week, the Common Threads Challenge has come to a close, and I wanted to reflect on the experience while it’s still fresh in my mind. Plus, I just love a good excuse to make collages…so it’s recap time!

the olive tee

This tee was more challenging to style than anticipated; as it turns out, olive pants are way easier to wear than an olive top! I’m proud of myself that I did at least try to branch out from my usual olive/black/leopard rut (well, except for that first look…).

Favorite look: #2

the burgundy skirt

This skirt was definitely the most challenging item of the five. People say burgundy is a neutral, but for me, I’d say it’s somewhere in between a neutral and an accent color. Accordingly, I paired it mostly with other neutrals. Maybe someday I’ll get brave and try wearing it with a soft pink or mustard…but I’m not there yet!

Favorite look: #3

the chambray shirt

I don’t see chambray shirts quite as often on other blogs or in stores, so maybe they’re not really “cool” anymore…but I consider mine a classic and will probably continue to wear it for quite some time. To keep it from becoming to boring, I tried to figure out some new ways to layer the shirt for cooler weather. I need to remember to do that more often.

Favorite look: #3

the black knit blazer

This is a relatively new item in my closet, so I was excited to get creative with styling it for this challenge. These four looks are all pretty different, so I’d say that it was a wise purchase in terms of versatility. I’d like to try pairing it with a few more dresses in my closet in the future.

Favorite look: #4

the cognac booties

These booties have been a favorite for several years now, and I’m pretty sure they will continue to be for years to come. They’re so comfy and coordinate with most outfits. Love them!

Favorite look: #3

You can find full outfit details in previous Common Threads Challenge posts:


Although this challenge happened to coincide with some stressful events in my life, I had so much fun participating! It really helped to have at least one piece of my outfit picked out already every morning. That’s the continuing theme I’m finding in these style challenges–they save me time. I also genuinely enjoyed getting creative with a small number of pieces in my closet, while still having access to the rest of my wardrobe. I’m not sure I could ever limit myself to a capsule wardrobe, so this challenge was a happy medium between having too many options and having too few. Finally, I also had fun discovering new blogs through my fellow hostesses and all of you who linked up with us. I would definitely participate in another Common Threads Challenge in the future.

Speaking of the future, I’d like to keep the momentum going and try another sort of challenge for the winter, perhaps in January or February. Any suggestions? I’m interested in a 10 X 10 (10 pieces for 10 days) or something similar.

Thanks for following along!

common threads challenge: week 4

We’ve made it to the end of the Common Threads Challenge! This last week wasn’t much of a struggle actually, mostly because colder weather finally arrived–that opened up all sorts of layering options!

Monday: chambray shirt

I had an important presentation to give on this day, so I wanted to wear a dress, but I also wanted to wear my chambray shirt…so I wore both! I think this ended up being a nice balance between being “put together” but still casual. I need to remember to layer with dresses more often.

chambray shirt: J.Crew, exact // striped dress: J.Crew Factory, similar // cognac leather strap watch: Wristology, exact // cognac wedges: Jessica Simpson, exact

Tuesday: black knit blazer

Red is an accent color I typically wear quite often, but I’ve been neglecting it for this whole challenge. So, I decided to bust out my bright red pants for a change of pace. I love the vibrant color of these pants (I think Loft called them “fireball red”), but it means I need to keep the rest of the outfit pretty neutral.

black knit blazer: Caslon, similar // white lace top: J.Crew Factory, similar // red pants: Loft, similar // black wedges: Jessica Simpson, exact // gray tortoise sunglasses: Warby Parker Banks, similar

Wednesday: cognac booties

I find myself pinning a lot of looks that involve pink, ivory, and olive, so I decided to put that color palette into action. I’m pretty psyched that it’s finally blanket scarf season 😉

ivory open cardigan: Merona, similar // ivory tee: Banana Republic Factory, exact // olive pants: Banana Republic, similar // pink blanket scarf: Ann Taylor, similar // cognac booties: Jessica Simpson, almost exact

Thursday: olive tee

I wasn’t totally pleased with my olive tee outfit last week, so I decided to try again with slightly different pieces. This time, I subbed the skinny jeans for white jeans and traded the cardigan for my field jacket. I like this look much better!

olive tee: Banana Republic Factory, exact // purple field jacket: J.Crew Factory, similar // white skinny jeans: Loft, similar // taupe booties: Dolce Vita, exact

Friday: burgundy skirt

Camel is one of my favorite colors to wear this time of year, particularly because it pairs well with so many other fall colors, including burgundy. And it delights me to no end that my sweater matches my leopard flats so perfectly.

camel sweater: J.Crew, similar // burgundy skirt: Loft, similar // leopard flats: Dr. Scholl’s, exact // gold tassel necklace: Forever 21, similar

Monday: burgundy skirt

Another Monday, another “professional occasion”–this time, a conference on metabolism and cancer. I wanted to try a new color combination involving burgundy, so tried out gray.

gray sweater: J.Crew, similar // polka dot shirt: J.Crew Factory, similar // burgundy skirt: Loft, similar // black wedges: Jessica Simpson, exact // black dial watch: Wristology, exact

Tuesday: chambray shirt

Seeing as it was Halloween and all, I decided that I needed some orange in my outfit. I’ve had this pin sitting on my “what to wear” board forever, and this seemed like a good occasion to try it out.

chambray shirt: J.Crew, exact // orange cardigan: J.Crew, similar // black pants: Banana Republic Factory, exact // pearl stud earrings: gift, similar


I had a lot of fun choosing this week’s outfits–so that’s definitely a win! I plan on posting a final re-cap with all 22 of my CTC outfits and a few reflections on the experience.

If you’ve been participating in the Common Threads Challenge, please link up with the button below–we’d love to see your outfits!

october 2017 budget

I’ll be honest, friends, and admit that this month was a little rough for me. With the completion of my PhD becoming more of a reality (hopefully) and Caleb getting surgery this month, I’ve been feeling stressed both at work and at home. It’s times like these that I need this little space to escape to and write about something that brings me joy…so what better time to update you on my shopping adventures this month?!

Once again, there were a lot of purchases and returns in October…check out the details below!

the keepers

burgundy pants {Loft}  $35 ($69.50 + 50% off promotion) I can’t resist a well-fitting work pant, particularly in a pretty color! The Common Threads Challenge has definitely renewed my love of the color burgundy (due to the fact that I’ve been remixing my burgundy skirt). In terms of fit, these are a tiny bit long, and a little big in the waist. I tried the petite size as well, but those were too short. Fortunately, my mom offered to hem the pants for me, so I’ll just have a little extra room for the occasional mid-day food baby 🙂

chambray dress {Old Navy} $28 ($34.99 on sale for $28) I’ve gone through several chambray shirtdresses over the years, mostly because I keep settling for versions that are almost right. I get annoyed by chest pockets with buttons, and I need my dresses to be an appropriate length for work. Oh, and I don’t want the wash to be too light or too dark. Is that too much to ask?! I think I found a winner with this one though. I tried in both the regular and tall lengths, and I ended up keeping the tall version–and I’m only 5’6″! I feel like Old Navy has been making its dresses shorter and shorter lately…See how I wore it here.

red + blue plaid shirt {J.Crew Factory} $20 ($59.50 on clearance for $19.99) I love plaid shirts, particularly around this time of year (see here and here!), but I really don’t love flannel. It’s just so impractical for our climate, so I seize the opportunity when JCF and other stores offer lightweight, woven plaid button-ups. A red and blue plaid shirt seems like a classic wardrobe item, so I bought this one when it hit the clearance rack. It was final sale, and I took the gamble that the extra-small would fit–and it does! The “boy fit” must translate to a bit more room in the shoulders and bust.

taupe booties {Dolce Vita via eBay} $10 (retailed for $140) I’ve never really been happy with my old taupe booties. The inset in the front made them more flattering, but it made them harder to wear with pants. So, I sent them off to ThredUp in hopes of finding a more versatile pair. I found these cute mule-booties on eBay for a steal (new in box), and they are perfect! The heel is just high enough, and the toe is in between pointed and rounded. See how I wore them here and here.

skinny jeans {Wit & Wisdom via Nordstrom} $68 (full price) For some reason, I’ve just been kind of hating all of my jeans this fall. The material is too scratchy, or the length isn’t quite right…I just need to invest in a few pairs that fit me well. I technically bought the black version of these exact jeans during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale but then returned them. So, I was familiar with the fit and decided it was worth it to pay full price for what I wanted. I think this medium wash will be plenty versatile, but I’m also contemplating getting a dark wash pair or maybe the gray.

dark wash denim jacket {Lee via Amazon} $41 (retails for $58) Yes, I did just buy a denim jacket last month…but this one is in a different wash. For someone who wears denim jackets as often as I do, I feel somewhat justified in having more than one. I was a little concerned about sizing based on the reviews, but I ordered my normal size, and it seems to fit fine; there’s maybe a little extra room for layering should I be so inclined.

the returns

There’s a lot to get through here! First, I ordered this shirt from J.Crew Factory in addition to the one above, in case it was too small. I wasn’t as wild about this particular type of red and blue plaid. It was slightly longer than your average button-up shirt though, so it might be worth a try if that’s something you’re looking for. I also ordered this top in ivory, but it was slightly sheer, and a bit too boxy. As I mentioned above, I tried the burgundy pants from Loft in both regular and petite sizes, and the petites were a definite no–return! I also ordered these sneakers, but they felt just a bit too plastic-y and the fit was odd on my (very flat) feet. Finally, I thought this dress would be so cute with a quilted vest and booties, so I threw it into an order I was placing for Caleb at Old Navy. When it arrived, it was much too short for my taste, and I really don’t feel like exchanging it for the tall size…so I’m letting it go for now.

the extras

I sold some clothing this month, so I used those funds to buy a few second-hand things, including a pair of black mule booties and a forest green quilted vest.

October total: $202

2017 total: $1540

Remaining budget: $460

I’m pretty excited about all my purchases this month–that’s a good sign, I think! I’m sure everything will get a lot of use in the fall and winter months.

My birthday is in December, so I will be making a wishlist soon. A few general ideas include an open-front camel cardigan (these are surprisingly difficult to find!), a watch with both brown and black (like this), and a little black dress with sleeves.

What did you buy in October?