French Wardrobe Challenge update

I'm now two months into the French Wardrobe Challenge, and I must admit, I'm not doing too well. 

The concept of investing in basics seemed like a green light to go and buy three pairs of black shoes. Only I didn't stop there, I also found some cute sandals on clearance at TJMaxx and bought those, debating as to whether they should count because they are sandals and therefore a summer shoe? 

Also under the possible heading of summer, navy eyelet shorts from J.Crew factory, which I waited patiently for to go on clearance, and a scalloped crop top from Topshop. The crop top was not worth the $20 spent, however visions of it with a white pencil skirt next summer clouded my judgement, and I also think the return label got thrown away.  

As for the other, definitively fall clothing purchases, black coated skinny jeans fall squarely under the category of a basic, but the skyline dress and the geometric print sweater probably do not. 

However, I suppose that doesn't much matter, since in two months I've managed to spend 80% of the $500 budget I allotted myself for six months. Furthermore, I placed a Piperlime/Old Navy order yesterday, which if I decide to keep, will account for the remainder. 

Perhaps this budget was unreasonable, but it shouldn't have been. I'm not in a position to be spending a lot on clothes right now, and I am also immensely fortunate to get to work with brands who gift me products I genuinely love, and a big part of me feels like it should be enough. 

If nothing else, this has made it quite evident that my shopping habit has gotten a bit out of hand, and it would probably be for the best if I didn't shop for the next four months. While I'm not sure if I can manage that, I really need to work harder at managing my purchases. 

Judge me if you will, here is the price breakdown. It's including any taxes paid or shipping charges, but excluding gift cards.

Easy Spirit black ballet flats - $32
Elie Tahari for Kohl's skyline dress - $44
Topshop scalloped crop top - $20
J.Crew Factory navy eyelet shorts - $26
Joe's Jeans black coated skinny jeans - $70 $6.63 (GC used)
Elie Tahari animal print sandals $41.47
L. Mae plaid crop top - $32.40 $7 (GC used + shipping costs)
Charles by Charles David heels - $48.88
C.Wonder evil eye bracelet - $20
J.Crew Factory Sweater - $22
Forever 21 rings - $7 $0 (GC used)
Avon gold pendant necklace - $7
Nine West black suede booties - $63.76

Total: 395.50

Remaining budget: $104.50

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Lumo jewelry $100 gift card giveaway!

If you have not yet heard of Lumo, and you are as in love with delicate, elegant jewelry pieces as I am, then you should be prepared to get excited. If you have heard of Lumo, then you are probably already really excited, and can feel free to skip right to the end and enter the giveaway.

Handcrafted and designed in California, Lumo's offerings include page after page of gorgeous stacking rings with semi-precious stones, just look at the splash on their homepage and be careful not to drool on your keyboard. If rings aren't your thing, not to worry, dozens of necklaces, earrings and bracelets are available.

If I hadn't been so smitten with the gold rings I chose, I might have gone for this quartz necklace and one of their initial bracelets, but you should really browse around for yourself and decide, since Lumo is offering one lucky reader $100 to spend at their site!

As for today's outfit, I really love the simplicity of it, and it shows off my handy-work - both the trench and the jeans were altered by me. The hem of the jeans was deliberately left unfinished. I feel like there is a lot of uncertainty with denim lengths these days; if I change my mind and want them shorter, I just have to cut.

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The Rundown
White Silk Shirt J.Crew similar
Jeans Max Studio via TJMaxx similar
Trench Coat London Fog thrifted similar
Toe Cap Pumps Me Too via TJMaxx similar
Leopard Clutch Gap similar
Gold Twisted Bracelet The Cavernous Jewerly Box similar
Evil Eye Bracelet C.Wonder
Gold Framed Monogram Ring c/o Onecklace
Thin Gold Ring Etsy via Sweet Olive Jewelry
Gold Herkimer Diamond Ring c/o Lumo
Gold Open Ring c/o Lumo
Sunglasses "Meteor" Ray-Ban c/o TJMaxx
Nail Color "Wallis" Butter London

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to Lumo for sponsoring this post and giveaway.


Nearly casual

Even on days that require jeans, a sweatshirt and a messy bun, I still feel like I need to throw on a pair of heels to pull it all together. And this pair of heels is one I've been wanting for quite some time. I first saw them on Aylson in the rose gold back in the spring, and thus the obsession began.

I could only find them in the black/pewter mix at DSW and even then, they were $80. Not going to work for me. So I waited all summer for them to finally get clearanced, but it was only a 30% markdown. When a $10 reward came my way, I was ready to make a purchase, only I couldn't find them.

DSW's website claimed they were in the store, so I searched every single clearance rack until I finally found them in a box labeled with the incorrect size, and took them home for just under $49.

The thought of tagging this post with #BloggerProblems crossed my mind, but somehow I feel like #LydiaProblems would be more appropriate.

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The Rundown
Creme de la Creme Sweatshirt Tobi
Distressed Jeans Old Navy similar
Heels "Reverse" Charles by Charles David via DSW
Willis Bag Vintage Coach thrifted
Gold Bracelets The Cavernous Jewelry Box
Spike Bracelet "Baby B" c/o Marrin Costello
Snake Ring Brilliant Imports
Thin Gold Rings Etsy via Sweet Olive Jewelry
Sunglasses "Meteor" Ray-Ban c/o TJMaxx
Nail Color "Deep Blue Red" Mode

In it for the headwear

One of the upsides of fall is getting to wear my wool hats. From fedoras, to floppy brim, to the baseball cap, I have quite the collection.

During the summer months, my panama hat is my go-to for any situation. Dressy, casual, it magically goes with everything. For the fall and winter, I'm still searching for my 'magic' hat. I was hoping this black fedora would be it, but the jury is still out.

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The Rundown
Navy Blouse Thrifted similar
Grey Jeans c/o Max Jeans
Black Loafer Pumps Ferragamo via Roundabout similar
Willis Bag Vintage Coach thrifted
Wool Fedora H&M similar
Necklace c/o A Jewelry Crush
Gold Ivy Bracelet c/o Kendra Scott
Thin Gold Ring Etsy via Sweet Olive Jewelry
Sunglasses "Meteor" Ray-Ban c/o TJMaxx
Nail Color "Steel Grey" Rimmel London

A change in color

While many of the trees in my area are reluctant to transition, slowly but surely the yellows, oranges, and reds emerge. I've noticed a change in my color pallet as well, reaching now for greys and blacks over the more brilliant shades. At least I've taken one cue from the autumnal color shift and brought out the red Coach bag.

I'm trying not to fall into the habit of always reaching for darker neutrals come fall, but if my recent purchases are any indication, I'm clearly not doing well. I think ultimately, there is no point in trying to force something, I want to wear what makes me feel the most comfortable and happy on any given day. Somedays that might be chiffon pleats, others a cozy grey sweatshirt.

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The Rundown
Sweatshirt Dress Gap similar
Black Cardigan Gap similar
Black Loafer Pumps Ferragamo via Roundabout similar
Red Willis Bag Vintage Coach via ebay
Leopard Belt c/o TJMaxx similar
Evil Eye Necklace c/o Belcho
Chain Link Bracelet Thrifted similar
Gold Framed Monogram Ring c/o Onecklace
Thin Gold Ring Etsy via Sweet Olive Jewelry
Sunglasses "Cat Eye Combination" Cole Haan via TJMaxx
Nail Color "Deep Blue Red" Mode



I'm just going to say it, I love these pants. I feel so devious, dressing up what are essentially sweatpants with heels and a blazer and not feeling like I am committing a fashion faux pas.

I love my black pair of knit pants from East & Lo so much, that when they offered to send me over their new fall style, I simply could not resist. If you are feeling even the slightest bit tempted, East & Lo's price points are hard to resist as well! This pair of joggers is only $34, and they have lots of other affordable and cozy fall knits, in fact, nothing on the site is over $100. Plus you can shop worry free as they offer free returns (always very important in my book).

I only have one, tiny compliant with the pants - the image on the site shows them with black cuffs, which the pair I received do not feature. However I might just be too comfortable to mind.

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The Rundown
Kiss Tee J.Crew similar
Black Blazer Kohl's similar
Knit Joggers c/o East & Lo
Pumps "Gennie" Coach thrifted similar
Red Willis Bag Vintage Coach via ebay
Gold Twisted Bracelet The Cavernous Jewerly Box similar
Mini Punk Princess Bracelet CC Skye c/o Linger Rose
Spike Bracelet "Baby B" c/o Marrin Costello
Thin Gold Ring Etsy via Sweet Olive Jewelry
Pearl and Rhinestone Ring Forever 21
Sunglasses "Cat Eye Combination" Cole Haan via TJMaxx
Nail Color "Deep Blue Red" Mode

Thank you to East & Lo for providing me with these joggers. My views and opinions as always, are completely my own.

The softer side

The moment the temperatures drop, there is no wardrobe piece more important than outerwear. I consider my plethora of outerwear options the only silver lining to every season that isn't summer.

Because I'm going to be spending so much time in my coats and jackets, I feel they are pieces worth investing in. I'm particularly fond of the versatility of the leather jacket, it adds polish to denim, structure to boxy pieces, and a bit of informality to this chiffon skirt.

While there are plenty of faux leather jackets out there you can pick up for a song, I'm not convinced they can rival the genuine article. This leather jacket is another piece from Wallis's exclusive W collection, and I can't get over how soft it is. Not to mention how well it's cut - I know I pushed up the sleeves so you could see my bracelets, but had I not, you'd know they are the perfect length - always a challenge for a petite!

Everyone has their own ideas of what to invest in; for me it's a leather piece I know will last; as long as it's on sale!

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The Rundown
Black Tee Gap similar
Pleated Skirt Thrifted similar
Brown Leather Biker Jacket c/o Wallis
Leopard Pumps "Okala" Sam Edelman similar $
Red Willis Bag Vintage Coach via ebay
Gold Twisted Bracelet The Cavernous Jewerly Box similar
Chain Link Bracelet Thrifted similar
Gold Bracelets The Cavernous Jewelry Box
Thin Gold Ring Etsy via Sweet Olive Jewelry
Filigree Midi Ring Forever 21 similar
Pearl and Rhinestone Ring Forever 21
Sunglasses "Cat Eye Combination" Cole Haan via TJMaxx
Nail Color "Deep Blue Red" Mode

Thank you to Wallis for providing me with this jacket. My views and opinions as always, are completely my own. 


Dress for less - the thrifted work wardrobe

Over the summer I had the unique experience of having a film crew take over my home for three days to create an episode of the TLC show Extreme Cheapskates.

I never sought out to be a television star. While I'm perfectly happy going out into public with my camera for outfit photos and posting them here on the world wide web, the thought of being filmed for cable television was terrifying. The casting director reached out to me to be on the show because of the blog, and I wasn't sure my cheap ways were extreme enough, but the producers seemed to think so; who was I to disagree?

Fortunately every crew member I got to work with was wonderful, patient, and happy to share more than a few laughs with me. Filming a tv show is hard work, and I have a lot more admiration for those who find themselves in front of a camera every day.

While I can't giveaway any of the episode, and of course I have no idea what made the final cut, the premise of my segment is that I want to put together a fall look book featuring only thrifted items, and wouldn't you know it, I managed to drag Meg and my sister into the action.

I hope you will all watch my cable television debut tonight on TLC's Extreme Cheapskates at 9PM ET/PT!

Here is the post I put together for the episode, with my fabulous fall look book:

I am an avid thrift shopper, I truly believe shopping secondhand is the best way to curate an amazing wardrobe of high-end pieces for pennies on what the exorbitant retail prices are.

Many people who aren't familiar with the ways of thrift shopping become easily discouraged after one trip that does not yield a good piece, or overwhelmed by the volume and at times, disorganization of secondhand stores. When you shop secondhand, you do end up saving money, but spending time.

I decided that I would give myself an ultimate thrift challenge - in one day, thrift pieces and put together six, chic, professional looks, all for under $10 each (excluding accessories).

How did I get all these clothes for so little? The Goodwill Outlet Store. Bin upon bin of clothes and bags, all sold by the pound. Lots of refuse, but plenty of gems. Beaded tops, cashmere sweaters, leather bags. On trend items like jumpsuits and kimonos are mixed in with classic pencil skirts and blazers to create the looks you will find below.

I hope you enjoy them, and yes, (nearly) everything here is thrifted!

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The Rundown
Beaded Wool Shell Banana Republic via Goodwill Outlet
Black Blazer Vintage via Goodwill Outlet
Leopard Pencil Skirt  Vintage via Goodwill Outlet
Black Pumps Ferragamo via Roundabout
Bling Earrings c/o JoJo Loves You
Alphabet Necklace c/o Gorjana
Bracelet The Cavernous Jewerly Box
Thin Gold Ring Etsy via SweetOliveJewerly