Friday, August 31, 2012

August budget recap

  1. White peplum top (The Limited) - On clearance for $19.99 + tax = $22 (Now only $12!)
  2. Light blue cardigan (Talbots) - Originally $62, clearance - reward card signup bonus + tax = $15
  3. Gladiator sandals (Talbots) - Originally $139, clearance - reward card signup bonus + tax = $25 (gift from mom)
  4. Grey v-neck tee (Target) - Originally $8, on sale for $5 - $2 coupon + tax = $3 (purchased with gift card)
  5. (unpictured) Undergarments (Target) - $17
August total: $54

I went to the mall a few times this month and so I spent more than I intended to. A peplum top, brown sandals and a grey tee were on my list of things I was looking for, so the only unexpected purchase was a cardigan. I couldn't resist the pretty color (it's listed as mineral blue, but it's more of a mint color) and the clearance price tag, plus I wear cardigans ALL THE TIME, so it was a worthwhile purchase.

I would have spent more if my mom had not generously offered to pay for my new sandals. I guess complaining about my budget sometimes does have some benefits, aside from annoying everybody around me.

By the way, there's nothing I hate more than needing to buy stuff like a nursing bra with my budget because it's just not very fun. And I really need some new socks to wear with my boots because all mine have massive holes in them, so I'm putting aside a few bucks next month for new socks. Yay.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I'm on Instagram!

I finally signed up for an Instagram account a few weeks ago so you can follow me there (bluepaperlanterns).

I know, I know. I'm way late to the game, even though I've been using Instagram for almost 2 years now... but on a private account. I've been taking a daily photo everyday of P (and starting in May, a daily photo of the two kids together) since 2010, and made a Blurb Instagram book, which I LOVE. But anyway, to my new account, I promise to not bombard you with a million pictures of my kids, as tempting as that sounds. Probably just random things here and there, with a kid picture thrown in every once in awhile. So follow me maybe?

PS. Leave your Instagram username in the comments so I can follow you too! :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Top: Forever 21 (hand-me-down)
Belt: thrifted
Skirt: c/o Oasap
Sandals: Talbots Jillie

Thank you all for your suggestions last week on which pair of sandals to keep. I spent waaaay too much time debating over them, and even brought both pairs over to my mom's house and asked her for her opinion. I was complaining about how I only had enough of my budget left to be able to keep one pair, and you know what? My mom is awesome, and she offered to pay for the pair that I kept (the Jillie, since I didn't want to deal with Janey's buckle). Sweet!

And this skirt? I originally ordered the "azure" color, which is a really pretty minty blue. I was super excited and had already started planning outfits around it, but then I got an email saying that they were out of stock and I could either pick another color or change my order. I was really bummed, but I ended up picking this pinkish khaki color, and while it's really pretty, I still want the azure. Okay, I just checked the website and it's back in stock now. Hmm....

Monday, August 20, 2012


Top: Target
Skirt: BR Factory
Shoes: Target

I've been wearing super simple unaccessorized outfits lately. OH WAIT. I have a super cute accessory wearing a magenta dress. Pretty much my favorite accessory ever.

But honestly, the whole "arm parties"/"arm swag"/"arm candy" or whatever the cool kids are calling it these days, the giant necklaces and multiple rings, it really doesn't suit me. Some girls make it look so effortless, and while it looks great on them, I just feel like a huge poser when I awkwardly try. I guess my true style is pretty simple and plain, but I like it that way. Plus it's way cheaper not having to constantly buy new jewelry :)

I bought this shirt when I was pregnant and it fit all the way through the end which was nice given it wasn't a maternity shirt. I've surprised myself that I still wear it, because everyone knows that when you buy clothes that you can supposedly wear during pregnancy AND post-partum, you never do because you're just soooo sick of your maternity wardrobe after popping out the baby (it can't just be me).

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Janey vs. Jillie

I was looking through my shoes the other day and realized that I did not have a single pair of brown sandals. I had a pair last summer but they were getting super old and frayed so I donated them. I have a pair of brown wedges, but I just wanted a flatter everyday pair. When Jean over at Extra Petite mentioned that Talbots was having an amazing shoe blowout, I decided to take a look.

Okay, so Talbots is one of my mom's favorite stores, and in my mind, a store full of "mom clothes," but you know what? I'm a mom of two. Maybe it's time to start dressing like one, and stop shopping at stores geared towards teenagers. At this point in my life, I really do need more quality and classic clothes instead of trendy and cheap things that only last me a season or two.

Anyway, I was browsing the Talbots website and two pairs stood out: the Janey leather ankle-wrap demi-wedge and the Jillie leather gladiator demi-wedge.

The Janey vs. the Jillie
I liked both pairs but was having a hard time deciding between the two, so I made a trip to the mall last night to try them on (the website lets you can locate items in store and put them on hold!). And because I'm indecisive, I couldn't decide between the two so I brought them home to think about.

They were originally $129 and $139 but were marked down to $25.59 and $27.59, respectively. Great prices on both, but I can only keep one pair due to my limited funds.

Both pairs are comfortable and made with real leather, but the Janey is a little more annoying to put on and take off because of the strap versus Jillie's back zipper.

Which pair do you think I should keep? Or do they both look too much like old lady shoes? HALP!

If you're looking for shoes right now, Talbots has a bunch of styles at up to 80% off. If you're able to locate them in your local store, I would suggest signing up for their free rewards card which saves you 10% off your first purchase, bringing the prices down even more :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

First day back

Top: Old Navy
Belt: Target
Skirt: Karen Kane
Shoes: Target

Yesterday was my first day back at work after my maternity leave, and it almost felt like the first day of school. I had no idea what to wear and I had a hard time making sure to pack everything I needed (I forgot snacks). I prepared myself for awkward conversations and some catching up. Then it turned out... unexciting.

Everything was as I expected. I got back in the hang of things after a slow start (funny how easily you can forget things), and started on a new project that I hope will be challenging. I really missed my kids after spending every day of the last three months together. My baby girl refused to drink from a bottle and went hungry the entire day.

The only unexpected thing was getting a parking ticket. What a nice welcome back.

Friday, August 10, 2012

June and July budget update

  1. The Limited striped skirt - Originally $60, clearance for $20, used $10 coupon + tax = $12
  2. Target dress - Originally $30, clearance for $9 + tax = $10 (bought with Christmas gift card)
  3. Old Navy sleeveless top - Originally $20, clearance, then used Gap credit card rewards card = $4
  4. Old Navy utility pocket jersey shirt: Originally $30, clearance, then used Gap credit card rewards card = $3
  5. Sam Edelman Sophie wedges - Originally $120, used $100 gift card + tax = $31
  6. Webster for Target cardigan - Originally $33, clearance for $10 + tax = $11 (bought with Christmas gift card)
  7. Target ikat printed tank - Originally $18, clearance for $5, used $3 off coupon + tax = $2
  8. (unpictured) Target brown leather belt - Originally $22, clearance for $11, used remainder of gift card + tax = $8

Total spent on clothes in June and July: $60

Budget remaining for the rest of the year: $135

We're almost halfway into August, but I thought I'd share what I bought in June and July. I didn't shop too much, but those darn trips to Target to buy diapers have resulted in a few impulse buys (most of which I used up a $100 gift card from Christmas. Yes, I'm proud it lasted me that long.)

After these purchases, I'm down to $135 for the rest of the year, but don't fret! I have about $50 coming back via Ebates, mostly from my Frye boots. Since Fryes are usually excluded from coupon codes and sales, I took advantage of the 13% Ebates cash back on awhile back.

Also, we just celebrated our 5 year anniversary and I requested a gift card to one of my favorite stores, but my husband is waiting until I go back to work to buy it because finances are tight while I'm on maternity leave. How did we celebrate our anniversary? We both completely forgot about it, and he worked an overnight overtime shift. As much as I hate when he works those shifts, he asked me the other day if he could work another one this weekend, and then added, "You can have $50 to add to your clothing budget!" Though $50 is probably not enough to compensate for having to put both kids to sleep on my own, I'll take it.

So while my remaining budget isn't too much right now, I have high hopes that it'll last me through the end of the year! :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Top: Charlotte Russe
Belt: c/o Oasap
Skirt: The Limited
Necklace: Kenneth Cole
Sandals: Old Navy

Awhile ago it seemed that every single blogger I was following owned a black and white striped pencil skirt, and I was thoroughly convinced that it was a must-have item for my closet. I searched high and low for the perfect skirt (not too tight or short, reasonably priced, chunky stripes), and finally I found this lone skirt on the sale rack at The Limited in my size. I quickly snatched it up, but then it sat unworn in my closet because I had no idea what to pair with it (story of my life).

Okay, so a striped skirt really is not a closet staple for me, and I found out the hard way. Now I have to reevaluate the items on my "NEED TO BUY" list to see if I really need them, or if I want them just to have them. Right now my list includes a mustard yellow skirt, brown sandals, a white button-up, and a new grey t-shirt, because after looking at these pictures, the one above isn't too flattering.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Review: ghd styling products

I'm pretty low maintenance when it comes to hair products. I buy whatever is on sale or the cheapest and just hope for the best. Yet I always wonder why my hair doesn't look as amazing as what the shampoo manufacturer is advertising. Sure, my hair is clean and soft, but it's also kind of limp and blah.

Then, DUH! I realized that I needed styling products to create volume and texture. That may sound obvious to you, but I seriously did not realize this until very recently. So needless to say, I was thrilled at the opportunity to try out ghd's Total Volume Foam and one of their hair brushes.

The ghd Total Volume Foam creates fullness and lasting volume in all hair types, and you just pump out a few pumps into damp hair and blow dry (it contains the ghd Heat Protection System, so you're all good). It promises to add all-over body to your hair and create root-lift, and add fullness to finer hair types. So how did it do? Well, I only tried it out a few times (blow-drying my hair is a luxury I do not often get to enjoy) and each time, it did create a little bit of volume, gave my hair more texture, and smelled nice, but the volume was not that much more noticeable. Maybe it's because my hair is so long that it was weighed down? Regardless, I liked the product and will continue to use it because it gives me a good base for when I want to curl my hair.

I also tried out their Ceramic vented radial brush in a size 3. From someone who has only used cheap hairbrushes, WOW. A good quality brush really makes a huge difference! It didn't snag my hair and was great for smoothing out my hair when I was blow drying it... except I still need to work on my brush-and-blow-dry-at-the-same-time technique.

If you're shopping for new hair brushes or styling products, I would highly encourage you to check out ghd!

Disclaimer: I was sent the products free of charge in exchange for a review. All opinions are honest and 100% mine.