May Budget

Sometimes I read Refinery 29's Money Diaries. I thought I'd try out that format for my budget post this month.

May 1st: A pair of earrings from AU Rate arrive in the mail! I'm doing a sponsored post with them and the earrings are quite lovely. You'd think I'd be satiated for the moment, but instead I finally decide to pull the trigger on a pair of custom earrings from Etsy. I thought I'd get an Amex Credit, but I realize too late that seller only does Paypal, so I have to spend the full amount.
Total: $99

May 2nd: It's crazy hot today. I have a blogger event this evening at 7:30 p.m. and didn't bring lunch to work. Because I'm dying of hunger and know dinner is a long way off, I place an order with Uber Eats. I don't like spending money on lunch, but my wrap is delicious and I avoid the low blood sugar slump that usually ensues when I skip lunch. I decide the event is a good opportunity for the inaugural wear of the little black dress I got at TJMaxx a couple months ago. As it's a blogger dinner, I only have to put in for part of the tip.
Total: $20

May 3rd: I'm running low on my beloved Tazo chai tea concentrate, so I start to put together a Target order. I do not buy the cute scalloped leggings I want, but do throw in a new dry shampoo I want to try.
Total: $48

May 4th: My Gap credit card rewards came in and are immediately burning a hole in my pocket. I place an order for a pair of striped culottes, taking a chance on the small petite and a black jumpsuit in a size small.
Total: $35

May 5th: Today I have another blogger event. I forgot to check the Facebook messages before I left so I had no idea the time was moved an hour later. As it was an hour drive for me and I don't know the area, I end up sitting in my car passing the time on my phone. Instagram ads alert me to the fact that the gingham maxi dress I'd wanted to order from Old Navy yesterday is now back in stock in my size. I place an order for it and a gingham skirt too - just to try.
Total: $46

May 6th: I go to Madison with my mom for outfit photos. We get coffee at Willoughbys, and I'm sad they don't have my beloved ginger cookies. She treats today.

May 10th: I go to Starbucks for their half price happy hour drinks.
Total: $3

May 11th: I meet Courtney at Lyman Orchards to take photos in the apple orchards. I can't believe I've never been to Lyman Orchards before and can't get over how huge it is! We shoot for nearly two hours and I'm famished when we are through. We decide to grab dinner based on what Yelp recommends and head to Tap and Vine in Wallingford. I take a chance on pork carnitas tacos and I'm not disappointed!
Total: $20

May 12th: I go to Westport for a wax, then stop for breakfast. I also want to go to Ann Taylor, but I'm shocked when I find out its shuttered since I was there just over a month ago! I head to Banana Republic, and want to buy a black straw hat, but it's not on sale, so I hold off. I go to J.Crew to see if the silk bodysuit I want is on sale and it's not either. I stop at Starbucks, then head home.
Total: $120

May 13th:  It's Mother's Day, I buy my mom some plants and give her a gift card for the spa. Despite my instagram story poll that did not rate in favor of the red dress from Nordstrom, I decide that maybe I just need to exchange it for a smaller size, so I do.
Total: $145

May 14th: I think my power strip is dead, so I order a new one. Turns out it's my flat iron that is on the fritz, so now I need to plan on buying a new one. I have another blogger dinner at Tisane Euro Asian Cafe in Hartford. I spend too long trying to decide what to wear and am running late. When I arrive there is nowhere to park and I immediately move into stressed mode. Cars honk and me and part of me wants to turn around and go home. Eventually I decide to park at the bank across the street. The event turns out to be so good. We have nearly the whole patio to ourselves, and the food just keeps coming! Everything is good, I meet some new bloggers, and I'm glad I persevered through the annoying parking situation.

May 17th: I've been obsessing over getting a coin pendant necklace. I place an order for a couple from One seems promising, the other is mainly to get free shipping.
Total: $100

May 18th: The straw hat at Banana Republic is on sale. I cave and place an order.
Total: $28

May 19th: I go to the spa for a facial and pedicure. It's gross and raining out. When I get home, I change into comfy clothes and spend the rest of the day watching the royal wedding.
Total: $160

May 20th: I'm meeting a friend for coffee and need to stop at Old Navy to return the gingham skirt and exchange the dress for a larger size. I locate the dress and realize the check out line is super long. I think if I browse for a bit it might dissipate. It does not. I find a jumpsuit. There is a coupon for $20 off a $50 purchase, so I rationalize that the jumpsuit will be free. When I finally get through the line, I'm told the coupon can't be used because the jumpsuit is a clearance item. I get it anyway. I quickly pop into Bed Bath and Beyond to grab some essentials.
Total: $24 (because the skirt I returned was $17)

May 24th: My hat arrives smushed into a small box. I'm annoyed the brim is misshapen. I try to fix it by piling heavy books on it overnight. The conditions improve slightly, but I still want to exchange it. I find out my favorite Banana Republic in Fairfield as also shuttered!

May 25th: My TJMaxx order arrived and I don't love either of the necklaces. I impulsively decide to just get the Julie Vos coin necklace I really want, but considered too expensive. Since I was there, I also got a pair of sale earrings because they reminded me of a Chanel pair. I signed up for the email list to get free shipping on the order.
Total: $200

May 29th: I think I've made it through the rest of the Memorial Day Weekend sales without making a purchase, but while I have idle time I work I find myself on J.Crew's website. Turns out the sale is still going strong and with free shipping. I get the silk bodysuit.
Total: $70

Julie Vos Coin Pendant Necklace, $165
Julie Vos Versailles Statement Earrings, $38
Old Navy Floral Jumpsuit, $20
Old Navy Gingham Maxi Dress, $28 
Gap Striped Wide Leg Pants, $20
Topshop Knotted Midi Dress, $47
J.Crew Silk Bodysuit, $70 (This later went on further sale, so I returned it and repurchased for $40.) Etsy Earrings, $100

Rosy Days

Was that really a three day weekend? Because you could have fooled me. I think I need another three days, or possibly more. My sister heads back to California today, time again moved too quickly.

This weekend I barely took any photos, which seems strange when I reflect on the last decade of documenting my outfits and every other aspect of my life. With my photo memory, I can quickly flip back to last Memorial Day Weekend, or the year before that, or before that, and call up where I was, what I ate, what I wore, if the sun was out, or if we were hunkered indoors avoiding the rain. To not record the weekend means that in the years to come, there will be a gap. Surely next year I'll recall that my sister was home and it was raining, but what about the following? People argue that we should focus on being in the present rather than photographing the present, but the photographs remain and serve as a constant link to our pasts. 

A quick flip through my phone or hard drive reveals a myriad of important dates, unimportant dates, and endless cups of coffee. All the times of my life, good or bad, made better by the rosy haze the passage of time imparts on our memories.

Just consider these photos; the trees were out, bursting bright with pink, now those blooms are long gone. I don't recall which day of the week this was, even though it wasn't that long ago, but the meta data in the photo does, and I'll always know which day the trees peaked in 2018 for years to come. I'll remember that I dug up those old enamel earrings I hadn't worn in ages, and I'll remember that it was my mom behind the camera when I catch her reflection in my sunglasses.

You could be in the moment and not take photos, but I'd recommend taking at least a few, consider it like leaving a note to your future self so that the rosy memories are always there.

 denim jacket, cherry blossom print blouse, white jeans, blue loafers-9.jpg denim jacket, cherry blossom print blouse, white jeans, blue loafers-5.jpg denim jacket, cherry blossom print blouse, white jeans, blue loafers-3.jpg cherry blossoms-1.jpg denim jacket, cherry blossom print blouse, white jeans, blue loafers-14.jpg denim jacket, cherry blossom print blouse, white jeans, blue loafers-17.jpg denim jacket, cherry blossom print blouse, white jeans, blue loafers-12.jpg denim jacket, cherry blossom print blouse, white jeans, blue loafers-2.jpg
The Rundown
Cherry Blossom Print Top Banana Republic similar
Denim Jacket Gap similar
White Jeans Old Navy
Blue Loafers Crown Vintage
Round Rattan Bag Etsy
Blue Enamel Flower Earrings Vintage similar
Crystal Bar Ring Upper Metal Class
 Thin Gold Ring Etsy via Ellyn Blue Jewelry
Sunglasses "Meteor" Ray-Ban c/o TJMaxx
Nail Color "Fishnet Stockings" Essie


Peaks of the Week

Photo by Courtney of Live Lovely Photography

I can't believe it's nearly the end of May, and Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer. My sister is home for a few days, and it's so good to have her around. She of course is still asking me to move to California with her.

I think I'd better get to writing up my summer bucket list - these weeks have flown by this year and summers always seem to go even faster. What is at the top of your list for this summer?

I hope if you celebrate, you are enjoying the long weekend, and here is what I'm loving this week:

❀ Hit the snooze button this weekend, you'll live longer.

❀ Going to a picnic this weekend? Bring this pasta salad and you'll be a star.

❀ The windows are finally open, and more and more bugs are turning up in the house. I woke up to a tiny spider in my bed - eek! Here are eight plants to keep spiders out of your home, but also consider they might actually be doing some good there too.

❀ How succulents went from frowned upon to beloved.

❀ One more super cute dress at TJMaxx (because I can't help myself).

❀ When we just go too far to seem perfect.

❀ Who gets the credit for inventing avocado toast?

❀ So many good memorial day weekend sales!
    40% off at Ann Taylor - I love this off the shoulder top.
    50% off at J.Crew Factory - still searching for that perfect gingham dress?
    40% off at Banana Republic - I've got my eye on this black straw fedora.
    Stop by Julie Vos for the Memorial Day sale section - discount is graduated.

❀ This would be such a cute Memorial Day outfit.

❀ I really want to go on this vespa tour through Italy, anyone want to come with me?

25 Summer Dresses Under $25

Now that it's finally starting to move into dress weather, I find myself guilty of shopping one of my favorite places for affordable dresses, TJMaxx. It's usually the first section I head to when I visit, and this time of year it's pretty well stocked. At my last visit I took home this little black dress with very fun sleeves, along with another gingham dress in a fit and flare style. There are few places you can get such a huge selection of great dresses under $25, and while I couldn't share my favorites from my local store, I spent far too much time perusing their website and found so many dresses for a steal. Increase your budget a little and treat yourself to designers like Joie, Free People, Theory, and French Connection.

Which are your favorites?

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The Rundown
Balloon Sleeve Dress Thyme & Honey via TJMaxx similar
Nude Pumps "Natalie" Naturalizer
Straw Clutch Rodo Italy via Goodwill similar
Hammered Gold Pendant Mark similar
Fatima Bracelet c/o Gorjana similar
Thin Gold Ring Etsy via Ellyn Blue Jewelry

Linking up with Classy Yet Trendy's Trendy Wednesday

Form Over Function

Oh these sleeves. I got this top well over a year ago, and aside from styling it for outfit photos, I never really wore it. The sleeves are just massive, begging to dip into food, get wet in sinks, and gather up dirt. Fear of the sleeves getting stained or otherwise just making a mess kept this top relegated to the closet. I considered perhaps I should just get rid of it, if I was too afraid to wear it. Then suddenly things made sense, if I'd be willing to let it go, then shouldn't I also be willing to risk it getting dirty? What is the shelf life on an off the shoulder, bell sleeved, pearl embellished top anyway? It was so fun to wear, and once I stopped considering it as precious, I just let myself enjoy wearing it.

 off the shoulder pearl embellished blouse, gold bon bon earrings13.jpg off the shoulder pearl embelleshed blouse, distressed denim, bamboo purse-6.jpg off the shoulder pearl embellished blouse, distressed denim, bamboo purse-10.jpg off the shoulder pearl embelleshed blouse, distressed denim, bamboo purse-3.jpg off the shoulder pearl embellished blouse, distressed denim, bamboo purse-1.jpg off the shoulder pearl embellished blouse, distressed denim, bamboo purse-11.jpg off the shoulder pearl embellished blouse, distressed denim, bamboo purse-9.jpg off the shoulder pearl embelleshed blouse, distressed denim, bamboo purse-8.jpg
The Rundown
Off The Shoulder Bell Sleeve Blouse c/o Irisie
High Rise Button Fly Jeans Gap
Huarache Mules "Camila" Rebecca Minkoff
Vintage Japanese Bamboo Bag via eBay similar vintage 
Gold Bon Bon Earrings The Dressing Room Boutique
Sunglasses "Meteor" Ray-Ban c/o TJMaxx
Nail Color "Fishnet Stockings" Essie


Peaks of the Week

Sometimes I just have to face the facts, and buy more hangers. I hate buying more hangers because I see it as a sign of defeat, that I have failed to enforce the one-in one-out rule. However, the twice daily migration of a pile of clothes from bed to chair and back again caused me to reach my breaking point. The Rachel Comey sweater I bought last month was another story. Knits need to be stored in drawers, not on hangers. My hand was forced to do a mini sweater purge or suffer the sweater languishing on the back of my chair for the next five months. At last I can breath easy, the clothing purgatory eliminated. For now.

I should be thankful a clothing pile was the biggest stressor in my life this week - a huge storm hit the state on Tuesday night and many of my fellow Connecticutians have been without power since, not to mention all the destruction of the downed trees. I saw so many crazy instastories!

Anyway, here is what I loved this week:

❀ Our affinity for the 50-mm lens.

❀ I legit failed a research paper in high school because I refused to put two spaces after a period, and I stand by that decision.

❀ Every self help book I've ever read boiled down into one article.

❀ Loving this adorable scallop hem jacket.

❀ Last semester a course was offered at Yale on how to be happier, which got such a huge attendance they had to move it to Woolsey Hall. Here's how it changed the students. (Also the course is being offered for free online for anyone to take!)

❀ Women are saying LuLaRoe is a pyramid scheme.

❀ Alissa's post about adopting her dog - awwwww!

With this logic, I signed up for Movie Pass.

Rosé All Day sangria - yes please!

❀ I love the Moroccan inspired bedding from Target's Opal House line.

❀ Lauren took photos under the same magnolia tree as I did!


It is not happenstance that I come across so many flowering trees this time of year. Over my years of blogging I've spent time each spring keeping a watchful eye of the blooms, hopefully adding a new location to my mental list of places to visit. Timing is important too, and I'll find myself taking the long way home from work most days to check on the progress of the trees.

This beautiful magnolia can be found in the center of Madison, CT, and I've only managed to catch it in bloom once before.

 pink ruffled sleeve blouse, satin pants, suede ring bag-7.jpg pink ruffled sleeve blouse, satin pants, suede ring bag-11.jpg Magnoila-2.jpg pink ruffled sleeve blouse, satin pants, suede ring bag-4.jpg pink ruffled sleeve blouse, satin pants, suede ring bag-9.jpg pink ruffled sleeve blouse, satin pants, suede ring bag-12.jpg pink ruffled sleeve blouse, satin pants, suede ring bag-6.jpg
The Rundown
Ruffle Sleeve Blouse Ann Taylor similar
Satin Pants Ann Taylor similar
Nude Pumps "Natalie" Naturalizer
Suede Accordion Bag Banana Republic similar
Castillo Gold Dipped Lace Earrings c/o Uncommon Goods
Bracelet The Cavernous Jewelry Box similar
Thin Gold Ring Etsy via Ellyn Blue Jewelry
Chevron Ring Etsy via Silver Canyon Jewelry
Nail Color "Fishnet Stockings" Essie


Linking up with Classy Yet Trendy's Trendy Wednesday

Floaty Floral

I hope all the mommas had a good Mother's Day yesterday! My mom and I kept it pretty low-key this year, since I was her only child to spend it with her, we actually cooked something for the blog! Not sure when I'm going to get the post up, but I'm working on it. Other than that, we went to pick out some flowers for the garden, and watched a movie. The weather took a nosedive over the weekend and was unrelentingly cold and grey. Thankfully on Friday after work (while it was still warm and sunny out), I met up with Courtney at Lyman Orchards and we took outfit photos among the rows of blooming apple tress. I'm not sure when I will get them up on the blog, as I'm happy to say I've got a backlog of photos for the first time since probably last summer. That is always a good place to be, hopefully I can keep it up!

This is an outfit that I wore to work with a cardigan on. I was going to photograph the cardigan too, but it turned out to be such a gorgeous afternoon, I was happier leaving it in the car.

 Floral tank, green linen joggers, blue loafers, round straw bag-7.jpg Floral tank, green linen joggers, blue loafers, round straw bag-15.jpg Floral tank, green linen joggers, blue loafers, round straw bag-6.jpg Floral tank, green linen joggers, blue loafers, round straw bag-17.jpg Floral tank, green linen joggers, blue loafers, round straw bag-16.jpg Floral tank, green linen joggers, blue loafers, round straw bag-14.jpg Floral tank, green linen joggers, blue loafers, round straw bag-13.jpg Floral tank, green linen joggers, blue loafers, round straw bag-10.jpg Floral tank, green linen joggers, blue loafers, round straw bag-3.jpg
The Rundown
Floral Cami Eight Sixty via Poshmark
Linen Pants Lou & Grey similar
Katrine Mule Crown Vintage via DSW
Round Rattan Bag Etsy
Necklaces Luna Norte via TJMaxx
Fatima Bracelet c/o Gorjana similar
 Hammered Gold Ring Thrifted
Thin Gold Ring Etsy via Ellyn Blue Jewelry
Sunglasses "Caravan" Ray-Ban