Fashion Friday: Budget Buys

Instead of focusing my FF post this week on an outfit I wore, I wanted to talk about shopping on a budget. Because let’s be real…A) I’m a girl who LOVES to shop (I’m even down for just window shopping) and B) I definitely don’t have the money to blow $100 on an outfit.

So how do I keep my closet updated while keeping my wallet happy?

Shop sales. Get to know when your favorite stores have sales. Some do these weekly, others have big semi-annual events where you can score everything in the store for a fraction of the price. Sign up for emails (yes, they can be annoying, but they’re really informative) so you know when the best days to shop are. And consider shopping online sometimes. I personally prefer buying all my stuff in person when I can, but sometimes stores offer online exclusive items or special sales.

I bought these over Memorial Day weekend, when I knew big sales were going on.

I bought these over Memorial Day weekend, when I knew big sales were going on.

Stick with the clearance section. I don’t know the last time I bought something full price. I live for the clearance section! It’s tempting to want to buy the latest and greatest new items, but it makes a lot more financial sense to hold off and wait for them to go on clearance. This sometimes means shopping out of season. For example, I just scored a striped cardigan from the Gap for $15 (originally priced at $50). Can I wear it now? Probably not with the 90+ degree weather we’ve been having (it’ll be good for my air-conditioned office though). But I’ll be happy to have it come fall, when sweaters are full price again.

Double up on dealsAmerican Eagle is a store that offers this perk a lot. They’ll often have 50-70% off already clearance-priced items. That’s how I got a jumpsuit for $13 and a dress for $12! Go shopping when stores are marking down their clearance section and you’ll make out big.

I love this jumpsuit even more, knowing I bought it for a fraction of the original price.

I love this jumpsuit even more, knowing I bought it for a fraction of the original price.

Don’t just buy something because it’s cheap. Forever 21 is a great store for deals, don’t get me wrong. But it can also be tempting to buy something just because it’s a steal. Who wouldn’t want a jacket for just $20 or a dress for under $10? You still need to think about if the item is something you truly need for your closet, or if it’s just an impulse buy. Make sure you have something in mind to wear it with, and that you don’t already own something very similar.

Consider the rest of your closet. Like I just mentioned, think through your purchase. I always do this when I’m about to buy something. I take a mental tour through my closet and think about what I already own to pair with the new item. It’s okay to sometimes plan on buying something else to wear with said item, but you shouldn’t justify it every time. It’s a good idea to have at least one or two pieces you know you can already wear with it, so it won’t sit in your closet for months.

Some fun new finds that I know I can wear now AND later.

Some fun new finds that I know I can wear now AND later.

What are your smart shopping tips? 

Currently: January

I’m writing this post from my tablet since my laptop decided to freak out on me and not turn on. All I gotta say is, thank God this didn’t happen last year when I had to write papers and I’m also glad I got a bluetooth keyboard for Christmas. It makes post-writing on a tablet a little easier!

Current Book: Ha, me read books? When I’m not in school anymore? I’ve been taking a much-needed hiatus from all books since finals week but maybe in a few months I’ll relearn how to read for pleasure!

Current Music: I’m back on the alt music train after Christmas. I’m really loving Tennis Court by Lorde. Yes, I know everyone’s still gaga over Royals, but lets be honest, that song came out on Alt Nation last summer and was only recently picked up by the masses. I prefer some of her lesser known songs.

Current Guilty Pleasure: So Delicious brand no sugar added chocolate coconut-milk ice cream. I know, I know, who says sugar free ice cream is a ”guilty pleasure”? Honestly, it’s not really other than the fact that it costs $6/pint at Whole Foods and is sweetened with erythritol (which is better than most fake sweeteeners). Really though, it tastes like the fudgsicles from my childhood and who wouldn’t want that?

Current Nail Color: Actually not the color I’m wearing now (that would be Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Pacific blue) but before this, they were an OPI red covered with Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear gold glitter.

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Perfect for Christmas!

Current Drink: Waterrrrr. How boring can I get?

Current Food: Homemade PB&J and protein raisinet (raisins+chocolate protein powder+cocoa powder) balls, grain free vegan pizza, romain lettuce+dates, raw jalapeno sunflower seeds from bulk bins at Whole Foods, eggplant, peanut butter+melted coconut oil.

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This is way better than delivery!

Current TV Show: The Newsroom, as usual. My dad and I only have one more episode of the 1st season left on Netflix 😦 Then we have to wait awhile til season 2 comes out on DVD.

Current Celebrity Crush: Mila Kunis. She looked stunning at the Golden Globes (when does she not?) and she’s always an amazing actress, whether in funny movies like Ted or more serious ones like Black Swan. Plus I love her voice–it makes me feel less self-conscious for havng a low(er) voice.

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So gorg!

Current Wishlist: More blazers (I have a newfound obsession with work-appropriate AND cute clothes), more money left on my iTunes giftcard so I can buy more songs I’ve been wanting for awhile, for it to be spring already (I’m already sick of winter and we haven’t even gotten it that bad yet), for my doctor’s appointment next month to be helpful (there is probably some serious underlying issue that will explain my skin problems/digestive woes/lack of period for almost 9 months).

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I have an addiction...to clothes shopping!

Current Triumphs: Keeping up with applying to jobs (more on that below), trying to reconnect with my sister (we got in a huge fight last week and I’ve been trying to show her how much I care
about her, even if she doesn’t have time for me right now), working on feeling confident in myself in various ways.

Current Bane of Existence: Not hearing back yet from ANY of the jobs I’ve applied to. I know it’s only been a few weeks or even days for some of them (the first application was sent out on December 28) but I dunno, I was expecting to at least hear something, at least confirmation that the stations I applied to received my resume/cover letter. My dad said it may take a few MONTHS to even hear anything, which is discouraging. I’m going to keep plugging away though and applying to at least 3 TV stations each week. I’m just so impatient–I want a job NOW!

Current Outfit: This was actually from when I went shopping in Denver with my mom this past weekend. The sweater is new, from Christmas, and I love the slightly cropped length and lace detail. The jeggings are my new favorite, black, from American Eagle and scored for only $13!

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Monochromatic but still cute.

What are some of your currentlies?

Forever 21

Finally 21. I usually don’t feel different on my birthday, but this year I did. I feel more mature, more independent. Not just because I can legally drink but also because I’m just a few months away from graduating college. It almost feels like yesterday that I started college as a scared little freshman, and now I’m about to embark on my adult life. Weird.

21 was a birthday I’ve only really looked forward to in the past year or so. Before that, I vowed I would never drink–because the few sips I sampled of my parents’ drinks tasted gross to me. That’s not to say that now I’m 21 I’m going to become a crazy partier. I have no desire to get drunk or drink cheap alcohol. I would much rather sip a glass of white wine while watching a movie at home, or enjoy a fun cocktail at a fancy restaurant.

I did drink on my 21st, but my birthday was more than just about the alcohol. This birthday marked the last time (most likely) I’ll be living at home to celebrate. It’s bittersweet looking back on the past 21 birthdays (obviously the first few I don’t remember)–going to waterparks on my birthday, spending it by the pool in the mountains, watching the Summer Olympics, always going out to eat with my family/friends. I’m going to miss this part of my life.

As I said, my 21st was a lot more than being able to drink in a restaurant–which I definitely did, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I started the day as usual–waking up, checking my phone, enjoying some sweet potato-Sunwarrior-banana softserve with homemade magic shell (hey, had to make it special for my birthday!) and getting ready. I did wake up still sick, with a still-sore throat and irritated eyes, but I’m sick of letting little things ruin my day, so I’m really glad I didn’t let lingering sick feelings make my birthday less than special. And what made it that much more special was the decorations I found once I got downstairs. My parents have always been great about making our birthdays feel fun, no matter what we end up doing, and I’m really grateful for that!

bday decos

Starbucks and shopping were on the agenda…with none other than my sister! Even though we’re really different, we have a lot of things in common–namely our love for the ‘bucks, shopping for clothes (especially at Forever 21), Whole Foods salad bar and alt rock music. All of which we enjoyed together on my birthday 😀 I’m seriously gonna miss that girl when I graduate and I still can’t believe she’s just a year away from college herself! Anyways, we had the best time drinking iced coffees, yelling at stupid drivers, finding the perfect things to buym laughing at the dumbest things and marveling at the giant Whole Foods we ate lunch at.

Breakfast at home. Lunch at Whole Foods. Birthday dessert made by me.

Breakfast at home. Lunch at Whole Foods. Birthday dessert made by me.

The rest of the afternoon was spent making my own birthday dessert. I’d never done that before, but I really wanted to make something that my family and I could all enjoy together. I went with this raw coffee cheesecake and it.was.delicious. My dad even said it was one of the best desserts I’ve ever made, and he’s a total dessert freak! It’s definitely a great dessert to make for raw vegans and non-raw vegans alike, especially if you love coffee. Aaaaaaaand…I got to enjoy a piece for two nights afterwards, so a total winner!

Dinner was what I was looking forward to all day though (other than shopping obviously!) I’d been wanting to go to a tapas place in town since I’d heard they had lot of vegan options, and the fact that they’re 100% gluten free was icing on the cake. I wasn’t sure if my family’d like it, especially my sister who’s pretty picky and likes typical teen food, but they loved it just as much as I did!

Tapas are basically small dishes generally in a Mediterranean or Spanish style that are meant to be shared with others. I’d never had tapas before but since I love eating little bits of a lot of different things (and Mediterranean food!) I knew I’d like it. My family got some dishes with meat or cheese, but I was still able to try a lot of the things we got, like warm olives (love olives!), fresh garlic bread (the best garlic bread I’ve ever had, and GF too!), patatas bravas, artichoke and onion salad and a gazpacho ‘shooter’. Everything was so fresh and tasty–definitely my kinda place. And their sangria was amazing as well. We got two carafes–one was the sangria del dia, which was pineapple orange with white wine and my personal favorite, and the other was a traditional blood orange sangria with white wine. I got carded (of course) but I loved the experience of being able to enjoy a quality drink in a nice atmosphere. And sangria is now my favorite drink!

Gazpacho and sangria del dia.

Gazpacho and sangria del dia.

But the best surprise of the night was when our waiter found out it was my birthday and he let me pick out a dessert for free. I had already made a dessert for us at home, but the chocolate tasting plate sounded too good to pass up, so I ended up sharing that with everyone. It was basically 8 small squares of dark chocolate ranging from 65-85% cacao and it was paired with some blueberries and Marcona almonds. It was some good chocolate, and it went really well with the berries and almonds. So glad I went for the dessert instead of opting out just because I had dessert already planned!

My two loves are evident in my presents: clothes and food.

My two loves are evident in my presents: clothes and food.

Back at home, I opened presents and then we had my birthday cake cheesecake. A few of my presents were total surprises, like the denim shirtdress and Zoku pop maker, but everything I got was something I’ve been wanting for awhile. You know you’re a foodie when you get excited for a popsicle maker and vegetable peelers 😉 And the raw ‘cookbook’ has some really delicious looking recipes so hopefully I can share some with you guys soon! The purse and clothes will also get a lot  of use–this girl can never have too many purses or outfits!

My birthday was one of the best birthdays I’ve had, and it wasn’t just because I got presents I loved or because I could finally order a drink in a restaurant. It was more about the memories I made with my family and the happiness I got from being able to enjoy one last birthday with them.

What made your last birthday special? What’s your ultimate birthday dessert? 

WIAW: Food Fails & Fashion Talk

I like trying out new recipes, and just new things in general, but unfortunately, they don’t always work out in my favor. I bookmark recipes with high hopes that they’ll be amazing and sometimes they’re not but that’s okay! That’s why I like to throw some new things into the mix but keep some old favorites so I’m never totally disappointed.

Breakfast: cacao banana softserve with Sunwarrior, cacao and lucuma powders, topped with buckwheat rawnola and raw pumpkin seeds.

Breakfast: cacao banana softserve with Sunwarrior, cacao and lucuma powders, topped with buckwheat rawnola and raw pumpkin seeds.

This isn’t really a fail, but more like a weird thing I’ve been doing lately. I used to be able to blend my banana softserve with just bananas, and it would turn out smooth and creamy every time. Now that I’ve been doing add-ins everyday, I’ve needed to add in a splash of coconut milk to get things moving. Not necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes the softserve turns out more like a thick soup than ice cream. Trial and error!

Lunch: raw taco salad. Base of romaine, dressed with lime juice and cracked pepper, topped with homemade guac, homemade sprouted and dehydrated corn chips. Side of canary melon and water.

Lunch: raw taco salad. Base of romaine, dressed with lime juice and cracked pepper, topped with homemade guac, homemade sprouted and dehydrated corn chips. Side of canary melon and water.

I’ve been trying to perfect the homemade salad dressing. I love cashew based dressings, but they are sometimes chunkier than I’d like them to be. I just can’t get the smooth consistency down, even though I soak the raw cashews beforehand. At least they taste good, right?

Raw snackplate: homemade buckwheat rawnola in coconut milk, half a chocolate coconut Kit's Organic bar, frozen watermelon. carrot, flax crackers, Thai coconut curry cashews.

Raw snackplate: homemade buckwheat rawnola in coconut milk, half a chocolate coconut Kit’s Organic bar, frozen watermelon. carrot, flax crackers, Thai coconut curry cashews.

Snack plates are never a fail! You just can’t go wrong combining different tastes, textures and macros all in one plate. Like I’ve said before, I’m indecisive when it comes to snacks, and I like having a little bit of everything.

Dinner:: raw teriyaki portobello burger (marinated in coconut aminos+liquid smoke and prepped in dehydrator for 30 minutes) on romaine 'bun' topped with homemade cashew pumpkin seed 'pesto' and fresh pineapple.

Dinner:: raw teriyaki portobello burger (marinated in coconut aminos+liquid smoke and prepped in dehydrator for 30 minutes) on romaine ‘bun’ topped with homemade cashew pumpkin seed ‘pesto’ and fresh pineapple.

I had high hopes for my first raw veggie burger, but sadly it wasn’t that great. I think I just don’t like the consistency of portobello mushrooms if they aren’t cooked well enough or at least drained of their excess water. I found a few recipes for raw portobello burgers but they all called for the portobello to be in the dehydrator for at least an hour. I was running short on time and wanted to eat NOW so I set it in there for only half and hour and it wasn’t so tasty. The toppings definitely made up for it though! I’ll definitely try it again when I have more time to let it sit in the dehydrator.

Dessert: chocolate Sunwarrior protein 'pudding' topped with cacao+coconut oil 'magic shell', raspberries and coconut flakes.

Dessert: chocolate Sunwarrior protein ‘pudding’ topped with cacao+coconut oil ‘magic shell’, raspberries and coconut flakes.

The only fail about this was that I ran out of Sunwarrior a week or so ago and had to wait for my order to come in from Amazon before I could start whipping up raw protein-packed desserts. I used to like the Garden of Life RAW protein powders but they’re really chalky and only taste ok in some things, like banana softserve. Lesson learned: Sunwarrior is the best raw protein powder I’ve found so far!

The BEST raw chocolate I've found!

The BEST raw chocolate I’ve found!

I raved about this bar on Instagram the other day. Such a delicious raw treat, but at $5 per bar (and these bars are about half the size of a normal chocolate bar), it’s a once-a-week purchase that I make last for a whole week. I could easily demolish the whole small bar in one day, but that would be a total wallet fail. Maybe I’ll try to make a version of it at home with the lucuma powder I have, coconut oil, cacao and dates. I gotta say though, as much as I like making things from scratch, some things are better storebought. Like this chocolate. And the Living Intentions raw flavored nut mixes I love.

OOTD June 25: black studded tank (Forever 21), light pink high-waisted shorts (Abercrombie & Fitch), unpictured pink heart pendant and white rose ring (F21), white watch (American Eagle), black sparkly flats (Target).

OOTD June 25: black studded tank (Forever 21), light pink high-waisted shorts (Abercrombie & Fitch), unpictured pink heart pendant and white rose ring (F21), white watch (American Eagle), black sparkly flats (Target).

I feel like my style is really evolving lately, and I like it. Both the tank and shorts are recent purchases (bought within the last 3 months) and prior to this year, I would have never bought either. The tank is the first black thing I’ve ever owned as casual wear and though I’m still not a huge fan of black, I think it works well in small doses and paired with pink or white/black patterned things. The shorts are high-waisted, which I never thought I could pull off–they generally work well on curvier girls and I am…not curvy. They may not be as fitted as they’re supposed to be but I really like them and I think they look great with tucked in shirts or cropped tops.

As I’m getting closer to college graduation, I’m reevaluating my closet. As much as I still like most of it (and the rest I gave away to charity–one good thing that came out of the fires was that I was able to donate some of my summer clothes to fire victims!), some of it screams high school, or at least college. I may or may not donate those things, but I know that they’ll probably be more casual and weekend wear for me. I would like to focus on building a more adult casual wardrobe, but especially focus on finding career wear. I have a few things that I got last year when I started with the campus TV station that are definitely work-appropriate, but I need a LOT more (or maybe just want a lot more…). Before this year, I didn’t have a need for a ton of dressy clothes, and while I never wore the typical college kid yoga pants and sweatshirts, my school clothes are a bit too trendy for the workplace. On-air dress code is generally business casual to business (blazers with pencil skirts, solid sheath dresses, etc.) and I’ve never really had a need for those clothes before, so it’ll definitely be a learning experience for me. Luckily, I don’t mind dressing up as long as I can make my outfits fun with a pop of color and such, so I’m excited for what’s ahead fashion-wise.

Do you ever have food or recipe ‘fails’? If you have a job, what’s your dress code?