Hi there! I’m Kara.
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Ok, here’s an update to keep me honest: I’ve bought some stuff in my “no-buy” months of January and February. I bought these pants and this shirt from J. Crew, which were included in this post, so they don’t count. (The pants are great, but I already knew that. I liked the shirt but I think I need a petite to accommodate my T-Rex arms.)
I returned a shirt that I purchased at Madewell before my public declaration…and I miiiiight have bought two other things: a black and white striped sweater and a black dress which is no longer online. I’m confident in both these purchases so get off my back about them, OK? The sweater has been worn a lot already and the dress will work in any season – plus, I was lacking a flattering-but-not-too-fancy LBD.
And then I went to Target. Things fell off the rails a little bit.
I bought a faux- fur vest (no longer online) because it was marked down to $25 and I don’t have a fur vest. I’m going back and forth on whether to return it or not, but I do like it and it was only $25…I dunno. I also bought a chambray because Target’s chambray is surprisingly good and sells out fast and my beloved J.Crew chambray popover has a ketchup stain on it because I’m a garbageperson who is incapable of having nice things.
Anyway, this kind of seems like a fail BUT 1) there have been a ton of sales lately in which I have refrained from buying and 2) I think these items will fill holes in my wardrobe.
Also: Hi. My name is Kara and I’m a shopaholic.
Here are some things I really want to buy at J. Crew. Use code “saleonsale” for an additional 40% off. Buy them so I don’t:
I wrote about my 2016 resolutions in this post. I’m starting strong on some of them – for instance, we already have a real bed and a couch upgrade on order – 2016 HOME GAME STRONG – and I haven’t eaten anything weird from the break room so far this year. But…fitness. That whole “get on a regular plan” thing isn’t very regular.
And there’s still a LOT of “out with the old” that needs to happen.
I’ve decided that I can knock out two birds with one stone: I’m going to re-evaluate my workout clothes which will obviously motivate me to work out constantly and eat like Tom and Gisele. (OK, maybe not all of that because their lives sound kind of terrible.) But for real, some of my running shorts date back to high school track. And do I need 10 pairs of black yoga pants? No, especially since 8 of them suck.
Plus, Athleisure is a thing. Just take a look at the Webster Groves Starbucks, where all the hot moms strut around in their Lululemon. Even Yolanda Foster (Foster?) is wearing lulu to
gather lemons get her implants removed. It’s here and it’s real, people.
And since I have more opinions on athletic wear than I previously thought, I’m gonna split this up into a bottoms/tops/shoes/jackets and accessories posts. So, uh, get excited?
One: These are the shorts that I have. From high school. To be fair, they have lasted 10 years (plus one year of intense use when I ran track in college) and still look great. They are really the only running shorts you will have to buy…although I probably need to buy some in a, uh, more “mature” size.
Two: These are Nordstrom’s Zella brand Live-In Leggings. They are great. On the Athleisure scale of my life, they skew much more leisure.
Three: I like a run skirt and I’m not ashamed. I think this is the one I have from Athleta. Lululemon’s are cute but are also completely inappropriate for a mom of two to wear. (Also, you should obviously be a rational human and buy the skirt in black, not this weird orange color.)
Four: I am pretty “meh” on Old Navy’s workout apparel except when it’s under $10. But these leggings are legitimately good – comfortable and almost as nice as the Lululemon stuff for a tiny fraction of the price. Also, the Old Navy workout socks are pretty good and I used to professionally sell socks…kind of.
It’s probably time to update the list of B’s favorite things. She is 2.5 now and it seems like her personality gets a little bigger with every passing day. Her favorite things change from day to day – and sometimes minute to minute.
She also has grasped the concept of “favorite” and she keeps us updated.
B’s current favorite things:
Her sister: She’s obsessed with E. It is so cute and something for which I am very grateful, but I would also love if B could learn to hug E without strangling her. Or at least learn how to strangle less.
These weird egg videos on Youtube: Here’s how I realized I’m an Old. B is finding things on YouTube without me and I’ve experienced my first kid-related social media panic AND SHE ONLY RECENTLY LEARNED HOW TO PEE ON THE POTTY. Parenting is an adventure, y’all. And she will never get her own iPad.
Matching games: We got a bunch of matching games/two-piece puzzles for Christmas. I think B likes playing it with us more than the actual game itself. It’s sweet.
Her own Christmas tree: I bought a little tree at an estate sale for $6 (the same estate sale where somebody in my life put brass crabs and old books on layaway). Anyway, B loved this tree and it helped her kind of understand/get into Christmas and she still talks about it even though it’s put away in the attic.
A buckeye: This is random. B’s grandfather (“Pawpaw”) found her a buckeye and she talked about it incessantly. Then our not-so-bright dog decided to try to eat the buckeye and it broke into 20 pieces and B cried big elephant tears. Sweet pawpaw went out and found something like 10 buckeyes to replace the one she lost. And now I have to figure out what to do with a bunch ‘o buckeyes in my house. (Please note that I didn’t even know what a buckeye was before this whole scenario.)
Scissors: B watched me wrap a million presents recently and was VERY interested in what I was doing. Cutting is her current favorite arts-and-crafts activity, and she’s good at it – plus, we’re still holding strong at two pigtails.
Sesame Street Books: B’s Aunt Jen handed down her vintage Sesame Street treasury and they are the current bedtime book pick even though she’s really not that into Sesame Street. I don’t mind Sesame Street now (SO MUCH BETTER THAN DANIEL TIGER) but the characters were so much more interesting in the 80s! I blame Elmo. This article documents the rise of Elmo and it’s actually a really interesting read.
I’m not great at New Year’s resolutions. I’m also not great at moderation and self-control. But that’s no reason not to try, right? Here are some things I hope to achieve – or at least improve – in 2016.
- Digital detox: Delete that stupid Facebook app. And the Feedly one. Look at my girls more than my phone. (SIDENOTE: Actually, maybe this can be a goal for when I’m finished pumping/nursing…)
- Be a grownup: I’m proud of our house. I think it’s pretty cute. Our bedroom, though, is terrible. Finally choose/purchase real bedroom furniture. Replace that ugly couch downstairs.
- Stop yelling: My girls don’t even respond to yelling. B could give a crap when I yell. So stop. Figure out something more effective. Master the scary mom whisper.
- Work out: Develop a plan I can stick to. Stick to it.
- Streamline: I’ve mentioned this before, but the goal is to get my closet down to only pieces I absolutely love. Right now it’s filled with 1,000 items that I don’t hate.
- Hustle: I’m getting closer to the lifestyle I want. Getting there hasn’t been hard once I put an iota of effort into it. Aim higher in 2016.
- Diet Coke – Either figure out a way to keep it from killing me or train myself to like coffee.
- Keep blogging: I know, I’ve fallen off a bit. Gonna try to do better in 2016.
- Stop eating weird food in the break room at work. You don’t know where that’s been. Gross.
We are shipping the girls off to their grandparents tonight and will be ringing in the new year with friends. I hope to be home at 12:01 a.m. to finally get a decent night of sleep. Additional goal – make E sleep through the night again.
You guys, these after-Christmas steals might be the death of me. This whole “no impulse shopping” is hard. I have stuck to it so far and only bought things on my list: the oxford and black pants from this post (for 40% off sale!) and, uh, maybe a Marc Jacobs bag from ThredUp. (Full disclosure: I won $150 to ThredUp so it literally cost me $8. I don’t think that counts. And what a steal! #justification)
But just because I’m not out there buying doesn’t mean that you can’t be – so buy these things so I don’t. Madewell is probably my very favorite store and they’re running a killer sale – 40% off already-discounted sale styles with code YOUWIN. These are my favorite items and all of ’em had a decent size run (so they’re not only available in a size 14 or xxxs) as of posting.
Two: Easy, wear-anywhere sweater in tons of good colors.
Four: Love this ring
Five: Feels like PJs, looks acceptable for the world.
Six: Another cool ring.
Seven: Love this jacquard dress ($60) but you might get more wear out of the top and skirt – I think separates are a little more modern and, as separates, you can wear them…separately. (Groundbreaking revelation.)
Eight: Love this flat. Only like $40 in black. Might order.
Nine: This boot is great. I feel like tall boots are a little dated right now, but this has the perfect amount of ’70s feel to look like it might be vintage.
Here are a couple things on the “I know I need” list for 2016.
These Madewell Mira Midi pumps are perfect: Modern design with a manageable heel height. I’ve always had great luck with Madewell shoes – they are, uh, made well.
Would it be weird if I bought them as a flat, too?
Black skinny pants:
I’ve long been a fan of the J.Crew Minnie pants – the maternity version was my holy grail of maternity pants. I need a new pair in black because last time I cheaped out and bought the Old Navy version and it is NOT AS GOOD. They are literally falling apart.
Yes, J.Crew’s quality has kind of been going down the crapper but these pants are still good enough as long as you don’t buy them full price.
If anyone has a better suggestion, I’d be open to deviating from the Minnie…
All my tights are very opaque and I think they are starting to look too Zooey Deschanel circa 2012. I can’t bring myself to go fully sheer, but I think these opaque sheer tights would be the best of both worlds and make me look more cool-girl and less adorkable.
Crisp White Oxford:
Oxfords are hard – the perfect one can make an outfit look very polished, but when they are wrong they are so wrong. I need a white one that’s not too casual and not too fancy. I have this one in white which is as close to the perfect white button down I’ve found but doesn’t achieve that “crisp” factor and I have this Brooks Brothers one but it’s more “going to court than I need. I think maybe this J. Crew one would work? I like the idea of 3/4 sleeves since I always push my sleeves up anyway.
I want you to know that I’m already having a hard time with this experiment and have three shirts in my Nordstrom bag that I want but don’t need. After-Christmas sales might kill me.
Wish me luck.
I have a very conflicted relationship with material things. I love a deal and the rush I get when I get something for a good price. I obviously love to shop…uh, and I started a blog about it.
But lately, I’ve been feeling like all the stuff is just too much. And that feeling is compounded with/caused by the fact that I’m doing some freelance consulting with a boutique that is more “small batch” than “fast fashion.” I’m writing copy about the benefits of a capsule wardrobe and the importance of buying high quality pieces but I’m coming home to a packed closet full of so-so items.
It’s probably time to practice what I preach.
Over the holidays, I’m going to try to finally get through “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” One of the book’s main takeaways is to say goodbye to things that don’t “spark joy.” My closet is stuffed with things that don’t bring me joy – things that aren’t flattering on my body, things I bought because they were “a deal” or things that looked good two babies ago but not so much anymore.
In 2016, I’m going to try to shop more consciously – both for myself and the girls. I’m not going to impulse buy. I’m going to say no to crappy quality (Lookin’ at you, Old Navy pants) and hello to investment pieces. I’m going to stop buying one-off pieces that don’t work with anything else in my closet.
I don’t need to spend more money, I just need to spend my money better.
By the end of the year, I’m going to go through my closet and identify a few key pieces that I need. I will buy nothing besides those pieces in January and February.
Follow along and I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m already nervous.
I’ve bought a few furniture pieces (including this coffee table, which is still for sale) at Urban Outfitters and have had good luck so far. It’s often a little smaller scale (I think the technical term is “apartment sized”) but that’s OK. I’m not looking for heirloom pieces here – just something fun until I change my mind in a couple years. I recently checked back in and they have some really good stuff right now that can be easily mixed into lots of different styles. Plus, it’s all super affordable. Behold:
One: Put a bird foot on it. These weird little bird feet are doing it for me. I don’t know why. But to validate my love, I did some research and this table is a knockoff of a super-expensive antique piece. I love it. And it’s only like $69.
Two: I would snap this up at a consignment store in like .5 seconds. Buying it from Urban Outfitters is a little less cool in the “not vintage” sort of way but WAY cooler in the “doesn’t have bedbugs” sort of way. I’m old and value lack of bedbugs over vintage street cred.
Three: Urban and Anthropologie are owned by the same parent company, and I kind of feel like they meant to put this headboard on the Anthro site, where the price tag would literally contain another zero at the end.
Four: You can’t go wrong with an angular brass coffee table unless it’s 1983.
Six: I’m into greenery right now, but sometimes your greenery needs a little boost. Put your baby plants on these cute plant stands until they become toddler plants and can stand on their own.
Hey guys, the “best tunic ever” worn by every blogger known to man is on super sale at Nordstrom right now and there are still tons of sizes and colors left – and we’re talking the good colors (black, white, olive, etc.) and not weird neons or prints. It’s only $25 so order yourself one…or, um, two, like I did.
See it here:
If you’re like me and refuse to subscribe to Amazon Prime, you’re probably closing in on the last few days of online shopping without paying like $300 for overnight shipping. So here’s a smattering of gifts for everyone left on your list.
Two: This little brass “hello” would be adorable on your front door. Or on my front door.
Three: It’s a scientific fact that everyone likes succulents. You barely have to water them! They are hip! People like plants! Buy ’em in bulk and find some cute little pots and pass them out to your coworkers. Or scatter them around your house.
Four: Give this to your free-spirit, crafty friend. Or yourself.
Five: I just bought something like this for B for Christmas. Trying to jumpstart her career as professional instagrammer.
Eight: I bought this for B mostly because I think they are cute and am prepared to fake-eat them.
Nine: These are good for any of your female friends. Or for me if I’m your female friend.
Ten: We had this calendar a couple years ago and it 1) is freakin’ huge and 2) looks badass.