Thursday, February 28, 2013

The End of the Road

It's over.  I'm going to do a full recap later, but first... 

Shopping List
Blazers (Grey & Black)
Sheath Dresses
Versatile Crepe Blouses 
Quality Pencil Skirts
Chunky Necklaces
Cece Flats (Neutral/Metallic)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mid-Month Check In

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I know we're over halfway through the month.

Finding time to blog is hard, y'all!  Between 50 hour work weeks and midterms, I haven't been able to find a spare moment to post.

I can't believe I'm already halfway through Frugal Fabruary!  I'm happy to report that it's going fairly well.  

I haven't purchased a single item of clothing, though there have been a number of close calls.  I've refrained from buying housewares, too, though I've developed a strange obsession with plants. I've acquired four new flora friends over the past week.  They have names, too: Prudence, Protege, Polka, and Pink Lady.  

Mr. Bert told me that I need to add plants to my Frugal Fabruary banned items list and I obliged.  I may have been substituting plants for clothing, but can you blame me?

Now that I've hit Day 19 of Frugal Fabruary, I'm in a bit of an outfit rut.  I feel sloppy as hell.  Nothing helps you realize how much you hate your wardrobe quite like the inability to buy new clothes.  I shouldn't complain.  My closet is a little too well-stocked...

Sure, I share a closet with my husband, but I also have a coat closet just for my dresses, blazers, and jackets.  Why?  I don't wear half of this stuff!  

It doesn't help that I've gained five pounds over the past three months.  I'm avoiding my pants drawer at all costs.  I always fall squarely between a size two and a size four, and I'm definitely leaning toward the four these days.  This isn't two say that the fours actually fit.  Of course not.  They are still baggy around the waistline and awkwardly 

Slowly but surely, I'm adding pieces to my donation pile.  Once March hits, I'll have to take a trip to Freestyle Clothing Exchange and have a consignment shopping spree.  I'm in dire need of well-fitting clothing.  I suppose I could just go on some sort of crash diet, but an updated wardrobe seems like a much more appealing option.

Or I could just lose the extra five pounds and buy a new set of pencil skirts and blazers in poppy colors.   A win-win.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tempting eBay Listings

The withdrawals are really starting to ramp up.

I went as far as to put an eBay Buy It Now listing in my cart yesterday.  Then, I screamed, "NOOOOO!" and clicked out of the window.  My co-worker, Emily, texted me and asked me where the banging on our shared wall was coming from.

My mother could sense my distress from 40 miles away.  She FaceTimed me and immediately exclaimed, "Don't do it!"

Let's go take a journey through the items I am doing everything in my power not to bid on...

I may or may not already own this dress in a different pattern.  However, I'd like to defend my desire for this dress by insisting that I could totally rock this color.  A redhead in teal?  Gorgeous, my friends. 

The J. Crew Schoolboy Blazer is the most comfortable and flattering blazer in the world.  I'm convinced that I need it in every color and material.  Velvet, tweed, wool, cotton in all the colors of the rainbow.  Don't argue with me.

Remember when I mentioned that I hate shoes?  Shoe shopping really, really stresses me out.  This shoe, however, is the most comfortable shoe ever made.  It's chic, yet heavenly, and comes in solid and pattern styles in suede and Italian leather.  They're divine and I really could wear them every single day.  Sadly, they retail for the obscene price of $138.  $138...for flats!  

Look at this model!  Look at her!  She is so chic and effortless in her fancy skirt and her casual tee with her wavy hair.  She is everything I want to be.  If her life were for sale on eBay, I'd probably buy it.  Instead, only the skirt is available, and I can't even buy that because I'm a masochist.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Immoderate March & Absurd April

Unexpected expense alert!

When I talked about my exemption expenses in the initial Frugral Fabruary post, I missed one.  A big one.

Before moving to the Sacramento area in mid-2011, my husband and I lived in Oregon for seven years.  Four of those years were spent in a beautiful and remote town called Ashland, which sits just over the California/Oregon border.  These days, we spend every Easter in Ashland with family and friends. 

Did I mention there's a Shakespeare Festival in Ashland?  There's a Shakespeare Festival in Ashland.  Did I mention that hotel prices skyrocket during play season, which stretches from February to October?  Yep, that's a thing.  Not only did we book a 4-night stay in the dreamy Palm Motel (which is just steps away from the world's tastiest brunch), but we also bought tickets for King Lear at $59 a pop.  Not so frugal, but necessary.  There were only a handful of seats and hotel rooms left. 

Hey, you!  Stop judging me!

Living in Oregon may have played a key role in nurturing my online shopping addiction.  When I lived in Ashland, the nearest Anthropologie was a solid 300 miles away and I only had about $150 of expendable monthly income, so I had to make due with my eBay and thrift store finds. My Southern Oregon style looked something like this:

Loose, relaxed, fairly unstructured, and somewhat poorly-fitted, but perfect fit for the slow, dreamy Southern Oregon lifestyle.  I would've looked ridiculous in a pencil skirt and a tailored blazer in Ashland.

Ruh roh.  My entire wardrobe consists of pencil skirts and blazers.  What if I don't have anything to wear on my mini-vaycay?  

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Day 2: Target Temptations

Guys, I almost messed up.  And by almost messed up, I mean I almost bought a $5.00 thong at Target this afternoon.

I should start by mentioning that Target is my in-person shopping kryptonite.  I can breeze through the Arden Fair Mall or the Roseville Galleria without spending a dollar, but I find Target's low-priced wardrobe staples and accessories irresistible.  My primary Target temptations are as follows:

Mossimo® Ankle Stretch Pant

I am obsessed with these pants and so are my co-workers.  I own them in three colors, two of which I should never wear because they completely clash with my skin tone, but that didn't prevent me from buying them.  In the past, I've purchased similar pants from J. Crew, The Limited, and The Gap, but these are by far the most flattering and the cheapest.

Womens Mossimo® Pearce Patent Flexible Sole Pumps

I actually hate buying shoes.  I have a tarsal coalition in both feet (and a double coalition in my left foot) so my feet are rarely comfortable.  These shoes are knock offs of a significantly more expensive shoe by Nine West, but I can attest that they're essentially identical.  Are they comfortable?  Not really.  But they look stellar with any ensemble.

Chunky Costume Jewelry

I'm all about costume accessories: cheap necklaces, fake hipster glasses, strands of imitation pearls bought from foreign eBay stores.  The only "real" accessories I own are my wedding and engagement rings, and since I'm likely to lose one or both of them at some point in time, I have a plan in place to replace them with lab grown diamonds.  Anyway, I enjoy stalking the jewelry clearance section at Target and buying anything gaudy that doesn't exceed my $7 spending limit. 

Skinny Belts

Um, why are belts so expensive?  Seriously.  I think a fair price for a skinny belt is probably around the $8 to $9 mark.  Target's skinny belts tend to hover around the $12 price point, which doesn't thrill me, but it's better than the identical $39 belts at J. Crew.

Anyway, I got a little off topic.  I was talking about my Day 2 Frugal Fabruary struggles.  Yes, my friends, I almost caved on Day 2 of the endeavor because I'd convinced myself that a thong wasn't an item of clothing.  I don't know where I came up with that justification, but I had a nude thong in my cart for a minute and a half before I threw it at a clothing display in the children's section.

So if you see something that looks like this hanging on top of a cute little boy's polo shirt in Target on Broadway in Sacramento...

...know that was definitely my doing.  Forgive me.  

Thursday, January 31, 2013

One Day More

The Awk's feelings about Enjolras' voice are...awk.

Don't judge.  I loved Les Miserables before you did. #hipsterawk

Frugal Fabruary starts at 12:00 am.  I'm starting to get a tad bit antsy, but I'm just going to pretend that I'm a well-adapted, non-Ebay addicted human being and hope that no one notices the fact that I have beads of sweat forming on my brow due to purchasing deprivation.  

In other news, I just moved into my new (and very first) office at work.  And, of course, I'm so tempted to forget Frugal Fabruary altogether and go on an office decorating shopping spree.  Trying my best to practice patience.  Let's see what I can do without spending money.

I just need to take a page from the ladies of RuPaul's Drag Race.  Did you see Lineysha Sparx's trashsterpiece this week?

To die for!  If she can create a ballgown out of discarded wallpaper, I should be able to put together a handful of presentable outfits by using my bottomless collection of cardigans.  Right?

Think like a drag queen.  Think like a drag queen.  Think like a drag queen.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Slow Taper

Yay!  Awkward and unnecessary brush effects!

So, when they prescribe me prednisone, they tell me two things: my already round face will start resemble a moon and I must taper off the steroids slowly and carefully.  

Online shopping and steroids are sort of the same, right?  Both involve euphoria, mania, and ill-fitting clothing.  Totally the same. 

I'm slowly weaning myself off my beloved eBay in preparation for Frugal Fabruary, and my tapering plan consists of a three-step plan.  First, I frantically bid on every J. Crew item I could find while screaming, "I'm just not ready!  I can't get through February without a chambray button-down!  And patterns!  I need more patterns!"

Then, on January 21st, I decided enough was enough.  No more bidding on clothing.  Only cheap scarves and necklaces from China.  A lady isn't presentable without a striped infinity scarf.

As of today, I'm not to bid on any more items.  I can ride out the wave of my remaining auctions, but that's it.  This is the end.  For real real, not for play play.

Was that actually three steps or was it just a hot mess of thoughts?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Frugal Fabruary

The Premise

I intend to hard reset my spending/shopping habits and creativity by forcing myself to do more with less in the month of February.

Also, I intend to use awkward and unnecessary alliteration when referring to this endeavor, because that's how I do, yo.

The Rules

1.  From February 1st to February 28th, I shall not purchase a single item of clothing*, accessory, new home decor item, or makeup product.  I shall make do with my well-stocked closet and depend heavily on the miracle product known as coconut oil.

2.  When possible, I should attempt at finding new ways to wear my most neglected items of clothing. Successful ensembles shall be posted on my blog.  Should the use of the item result in really awkward and unflattering ensembles, said items of clothing will be delivered to Goodwill and/or Freestyle Clothing Exchange on Saturday, February 23rd, 2013.

4.  The purchase of one used/thrifted furniture home decor item under $40 is allowed, but only if I intend to refurbish it within the month of February.

5.  During this period of time, I am allowed to buy a purchase a single, medium-sized caffeinated refreshment of my choice go out to lunch with my fab lady co-workers once per week.

The Participants (will be edited as participants join)
  • Me
  • Mi madre
  • The seest
  • Several co-workers (their participation is 100% involuntary)
  • YOU!  Leave a comment and come along for the ride!
The Fine Print
*Two teeny-tiny (yet hella expensive) exceptions.  I kinda need to buy my bridesmaid's dress for The Seest's wedding within the next month and my bottom retainer broke and I need to replace it unless I want to develop a seriously messed up grill.   I promise not to derive pleasure either of these purchases.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Problem

So here's the deal.

I developed my unhealthy obsession with Ebay at the tender and impressionable age of 12.  If I remember correctly, my first purchase was something decidedly adolescent, like an imitation driver's license of a Backstreet Boy.  My initial dabble with internet auctions pre-dated the blessed service known as PayPal, so I believe I sent a check through the mail and received my purchase two weeks later.

Fast forward to the present.  Since October 2007, I have purchased approximately 250 items through Ebay.  Mostly clothes, but there's a home decor item or two thrown in there, as well.  While I typically average about one purchase a week, there are days (like today) when I fall prey to an all out online shopping binge.  And I'd be lying if I claimed that Ebay was my only vice.  I'm also quite fond of Amazon and the incredibly dangerous J. Crew final sale page.

It adds up fairly quickly.  And while I love the rush of finding a package on my doorstep, I'd also like to save some money for 2014 European Tour and/or a down payment on a house.  While I'm in a comfortable and secure financial state, I could benefit from putting aside a little more money each month. 

The problem isn't just centered around my spending, either.  In my lean undergrad days, I genuinely enjoyed the creative challenge of putting together an outfit using the meager selections from my budget-conscious wardrobe.  Though I still had a bit of an Ebay addiction, my spending threshold was much lower and I typically adopted a "buy whatever Anthropologie item you can find for less than 10 dollars" approach.  My outfits were typically a hodgepodge of vintage consignment store finds, hand-me-downs from my mother, and pre-owned Ebay wins.

Over the past couple of months, I've realized how much I've missed the challenge of doing more with less.  There are two many blouses still boasting tags in my closet, yet I'm always seeking my next bidding "fix."  

It's time to hit the reset button.  In the coming days, I'll be compiling a set of guidelines for a creative and financial detox.  I'd love some company in my endeavors, so feel free to leave a comment if you're interested in joining me.

(Full disclosure - I definitely splurged on a Blogger theme on Etsy.  See?  I have a problem!)