Friday, February 27, 2015

the damage: february 2015!

For the past few years I have paused at the end of each month to review my clothing purchases for the previous month. I call these posts the damage.  I have given myself the monthly budget of $300 and while for some this may seem like a lot or others it may not seem like much at all, I have found it is the perfect amount for me personally.  I share these purchases here on the blog to show you how I use my budget to create a well curated and classic closet while stretching the budget the best I can.

For 2015 I really want my purchases to be a good balance of investments and budget buys.  Let's admit it, the thrill of finding a good deal is always, well - just that… a thrill.  But if my closet is only full of
"thrills" I have a feeling I won't be happy in the end.  Investing in the big stuff is harder to do - I'll admit it, it's hard to see that big chunk of money come out of your bank account.  But those are often the most rewarding purchases in the long run.

This month I think I did okay on balancing the investments with the "fun" pieces.  There are still quite a few big ticket items on my wish list for spring, so my challenge for next month will be to balance those a little better.  Until then, let's take a look at what I bought this month.

Gap, Fluid Tee, $34.95 with discounts was $12.20 - on sale now!
J.Crew, Suckered Dot Peasant Top, $78 with discounts was $29.99 - on sale now!
J.Crew, Vivez le Reve Tee, $39.50 with discounts was $11.99 
Gap, Striped Bell Sleeve Tee, $34.95 with discounts was $17.79
Forever 21, Double Strap Sandals, $12.90
Piperlime, Sam Edelman Flats, $120 with discounts $90 
Sole Society, Pointed Pumps, $69.95
Piperlime, Rebecca Minkoff Mini MAC, $195 with discounts $146.25
J.Crew, Shoulder Tie Maxi Dress, $118 with discounts, $53.99 - on sale now!
Gap, Striped Dress, $59.95 with discounts $21.36
Forever 21, Asymetrical Zip Sweater, $29.80

Total Spent: $496.22

Thoughts on the budget: One thing I have noticed about my budget over the years is that there are quite a few months that I go over (and end up feeling guilty) but in the end I always average out to the desired $300 over the year.  So it's not worth worrying over.  Last month I was under, this month over and the cycle continues.  Somehow I know subconsciously when I can spend and when I can't and do a pretty good job sticking to that inner compass.  For this month I will say that I got quite a bit of clothes for the $500 I spent.  I would call it a job well done, but I am going to try and reign it in for next month.  Stay tuned I suppose!

Thoughts on the pieces: I mostly focused on spring pieces. Even the winter sales of coats and sweaters couldn't really tempt me, I am so over winter!  Plus with some warm weather travel this past month and and next month it was fun to focus on spring clothes this month. Overall I think I did a good job of including a few wish list/investment pieces in with the fun and simple tops.

*one note about final prices from Gap purchases (a lot of you have asked about these low, low prices in the past): I use a Banana Republic card to shop at Gap/Piperlime/Banana Republic/Old Navy. I use this card for myself, my kids and my husband uses it for his clothes as well. We pay off the balance each month and benefit from the rewards the card offers.  That is how I get some really great prices on purchases from those stores - those are often not the sticker price.  But when you use rewards they take a little of the reward off each individual item.  SO that is how I get those super low prices.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

my everyday style: my signature style!

I've gone through many style phases in my life… and even a handful on this blog.  Sometimes all in one week.  Some days I tend towards preppy, other days more trendy or minimal and some days even a little tomboy-ish.  The fun of clothing is that you can change up your style from day to day.  But under the trends and the hype there is usually a vein of style that never changes throughout the years.  I think this is your true signature style.  The one that your friends say "looks like you" or a look that catches your eye time after time.  For me, that signature style can be summed up in one piece of clothing.  A blazer.

My signature style is definitely anything with a blazer.  I love that you can pair simple tees, sweaters or blouses with a classic blazer and the look is instantly pulled together.  Over the years I have paired blazers with dresses, jeans, leggings, trousers and even shorts.  They pair well with boots, pumps, flats and even sneakers. They are truly the one piece that I always feel the most "me" in.

(photos by Tracy Carmody)

Today I am teaming up with Garnet Hill to share my signature style and you get to join in on the fun as well!  Hop on over to Instagram or Twitter and share your signature style with Garnet Hill using #GHSignatureStyle to be entered to win Garnet Hill's Signature Towels monogrammed just for you!  How fun is that?

Blazer, Forever 21 - ℅ (similar or similar - both under $40!!!)
Tee, Gap - LOVE this top! I'm obsessed!
Jeans, Gap (similar or similar)
Boots, Coach (similar or similar)
House of Harlow Bracelet and Gorjana Necklace all via Rocksbox - use code: jillggxoxo for one free month subscription to Rocksbox! You will love this service… I adore it!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

pinterest perusing...

My love for Pinterest is un-ending. How did we plan parties, dinner or outfits before Pinterest came along?  The inspiration never ends. And while some feel that we are living in a Pinterest-crazed world these days that focuses on perfection over reality - I find my life a better one for all the inspiration I find there.  Sure I will never have that perfect Pinterest kitchen (or at least not in the foreseeable future…) but I can deal with that if it helps make getting dressed each morning a little easier.

Perusing Pinterest has really helped me hone in on my personal style over the years.  Which has in turn helped me be a better shopper and (hopefully) a better blogger.  Here are a few of my most recent Pinterest obsessions… (or just follow me on Pinterest to see them all real-time!)

above: how fun is this juxtapositional look… ripped skinnies and flats (similar)?

above: still loving the New Balance trend. (similar or similar)

above: is it jean jacket season yet? I'm excited to lean on this wardrobe staple again this fall. (similar or similar)

above: white jeans + birks… a fabulous spring combo.

above: flowy tops for spring are A+ in my book. This one is my favorite.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

my everyday style: throw on a vest!

Like clockwork every year, the end of February arrives and I want to ditch my whole winter wardrobe. Throw it to the curb, sell it all, just get it out of here - I am so sick of it!  Every morning I look into my closet and it seems like there is only two sweaters and one pair of jeans for me.  My style world seems small and repetitive.  After wearing and re-wearing the same stuff all winter I'm just plain sick of it.

It always seems like a monumental task to find yet one more variation on the jeans, sweater, boots combo each morning.  I will say that adding a vest can really help… they are quite warm (almost surprisingly warm!) and they can really change up a simple look to keep your wardrobe looking fresh.   Plus, the work really well under your winter coat… so the look is quite practical as well.

(photos by Tracy Carmody)

Jeans, Gap
Sweater, Banana Republic (similar)
Boots, Coach (similar on sale! or similar or similar less expensive)
Vest, Old Navy (similar or similar - love this one!)
Bag, Madewell

Monday, February 23, 2015

how to style your hair with loose beachy waves!

I've been getting lots of inquiries lately into how I style my loose 'beachy' waves… so I thought I would do a quick video tutorial showing you how I do my loose waves.   I am definitely no hair expert, but maybe my amateur skills will be an inspiration to you….

Here are the products I used in this video:
L'Oreal Boost It Volume Mousse
Kerastase Elixir Ultime
Aveda Air Control
Conair Curling Iron
I hope you enjoyed the video! Let me know if you have any questions at all… I am happy to answer them!

Friday, February 20, 2015

elements of style v.15!

I'm back with another fun Elements of Style for you today… simply put I have a little formula for quickly pulling together amazing outfits in a snap and I call these posts 'elements of style'.  I like to choose something casual, something neutral and then a few dressy pieces to amp the look up!  It's really so simple and makes getting dressed ultra easy.

Each individual will translate "casual", "neutral" and "dressy" different depending on your personal style and what event or environment you are dressing for.

Today I really wanted to bring you a fun little pre-spring look, because seriously friends… how sick of winter are we!?!? It's terrible!  I am SO over winter and winter clothes and cold and snow.  But I wanted to challenge myself (and you!) to finish the winter strong! We can do it!

Here is an awesome weather-appropriate look that still packs plenty of style AND warmth.  The best of both worlds!  I've had my eyes on these boots… they are on sale and I could really use a new pair of boots seeing as my pairs get way overused.   I've been absolutely living in my J.Crew Pixie pants lately - they have definitely been one of my best investment pieces in my closet. They are surprisingly warm (though some days nothing seems warm enough) and they work great with oversized sweaters and extra layers on top.  I paired those casual and neutral pieces with a gorgeous blouse and earrings that will make you feel beautiful and feminine even though you are all bundled up!

(get the look: leggings, sweater, blouse, boots, earrings, bag)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

my everyday style: Red Carpet ready with Crest 3D White Supreme Flexfit!

I will likely never walk an official Red Carpet in my life… nor do I have the desire too (um, triping hazard anyone!?!?).  But let's face it, we all have little Red Carpet moments in our everyday life! Debuting a new haircut, making that SUPER important presentation at work, meeting friends for cocktails at THE place in town - you know what I'm getting at ladies! Those moments when you really want to look and feel your best and maybe the pressure is on just a touch.

My favorite personal Red Carpet moment is heading out on a date with my husband.  My kids always ohh and ahh that I put a little more lipstick on than usual and even though I've been married for almost 13 years I still flutter a bit when my husband compliments my hair or outfit.    The perfect addition to any Red Carpet look - big or small - is the perfect smile.  Crest 3D White Supreme Flexfit Whitestrips are the latest and greatest in at-home teeth whitening and are so simple to use.

Prepping for drinks with the gals, a night on the town or getting ready to wow your boss in the boardroom? Just slip on a few white strips one time a day for an hour and voila! Perfectly white teeth for way less than you would pay at the dentist's office.

(photos by Tracy Carmody)

For more amazing Red Carpet inspiration… tune in to E! Live from the Red Carpet Oscar's Special THIS weekend, February 22, sponsored by Crest!  And be sure follow @3DWhite to follow the #strikeasmile conversation on Twitter!

Top, BCBG (similar or similar)
Jeans, Banana Republic - on sale!
Shoes, Sole Society
Bracelet, Towne & Reese ℅ (old but similar)
iPhone case - Kate Spade
Blush - Beautycounter
Lipstick - Beautycounter

This post was sponsored by Crest 3D White Supreme Flexfit Whitestrips.  All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

just the classics/February

This year I am committed to keeping my closet simple and classic… but I want to make sure it feels fresh too.  Each month I'm going to highlight a few of my favorite classic AND fresh styles that I am loving and that I think you will love too!  To review… here are my style resolutions for 2015.

After being in Florida last week I am SO OVER winter. All I can think about is warm weather and warm weather clothes… even in the midst of arctic temperatures!  February is a great time of year to start stocking up on the spring pieces you crave.  Updates on the classics like a fresh pair of jeans, an adorable striped tee and some new sneakers are a great way to take your mind off winter and prep your closet for spring and summer - or perhaps a trip to a nice warm climate if it's still cold where you are.  

fossil watch - I love the pop of navy on this classic style, navy is one of my favorite colors for transitioning from winter to spring, so this watch is perfect! (psssst… it's on sale too!)

heart key chain - Time for an update to your keychain? This heart key chain is so adorable and classic.

pink scarf - before we know it we can start swapping our heavy scarves for a few light weight ones. When that happens I want to have this pink scarf on hand - so gorgeous!

striped tee - I can never own enough striped tops and this short sleeve version is the perfect relaxed look for spring.

skinny jeans - Gap has released a brand new line of denim that is supposed to be revolutionary for fit, stretch and recovery… we chatted about it on FB the other day if you missed it! These reworked classics will soon be finding a place in my closet!

leather backpack - the standby backpack is making a comeback in gorgeous leather styles and I have to say I think it might be worth investing in one again. I mean, how gorgeous is this bag?

vans sneakers - I'm on a pretty serious sneaker kick (pardon the pun) right now.  Vans have been around for ages and after just having bought a few pairs for my kids, I think I need a pair too!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

4 ways to simplify your life this spring with HP!

You know I am all about simplicity and classic and effortless style these days! Today I have teamed up with HP to highlight four ways to simplify your life this spring.  I've got four SUPER simple outfits alongside my new technology obsession: the insanely versatile and simple HP x360.  Together they will make your life super simple this spring.

The HP x360 has four cool modes of operation for however you prefer your technology: laptop, tablet, tent and stand.  To highlight the versatility of the HP x360 I've come up with four cool ways to style this dress for whatever your spring style needs are: girls night out, a day in the office, mom-duties and for the weekend.

In the classic laptop mode with the HP x360 I can get down to business in my home office, easily responding to emails, writing blog posts and checking stats on how the blog is performing.  Pairing this simple striped dress with a bold red blazer and flats is the perfect business casual look for spring.

The tent mode of the HP x360 is awesome for planning my next date night or girls night out… I love researching reviews and menus for my favorite restaurants in Grand Rapids before I hit the town.  Here I paired this striped dress with a classic leather jacket and bold necklace. This is the perfect casual night out look!

The stand mode of the HP x360 is one of my favorites and is ideal for menu planning, meal preparation and organizing my to-do lists for a busy day of mom duties.  The HP x360 has an awesome app for meal planning that features tons of great recipes and even a shopping list creation feature that is super handy! For a day of errands a scarf, denim jacket and sneaks are the perfect way to style this dress.

When it's time to kick back at the end of the day or on the weekends, the tablet mode of the HP x360 is perfect for kicking back and relaxing with your favorite movie, scanning Pinterest or just catching up on your favorite blogs.  Forget the accessories, jackets and shoes… this dress stands alone for lounging around the house on any given day.

(photos by Jennifer Ketchum)

HP is teaming up with Megan Trainor to cover her "That Bass Tour" to create the first ever fan created documentary of her tour using social media.  To find out more about the HP x360 and to see behind the scenes peeks at Megan's tour… click here!

This post was sponsored by HP in connection with Collectively. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

Monday, February 16, 2015

my everyday style: instagram edition!

I've been *trying* to be better about documenting my day-to-day looks on Instagram (user: JillGG - join me there!) on a regular basis in addition to my outfits here on the blog.  I know a lot of my instagram followers love the looks and it's very interesting for myself to look back and see what I wore and how I wore it.  I definitely start seeing the trends in my clothing wears.  Spoiler alert: there are a few pairs of jeans, boots and sweaters that tend to be worn more than others. ;)

Here is a little snapshot of a few outfits from instagram lately… I hope to keep posting more looks there regularly, so join me there!

Friday, February 13, 2015

my everyday style: quick and easy Valentine's outfits!

Last week my photographer was at my house (my house! that's a first!) to shoot some really fun photos for a cool post I have coming at you NEXT week and I thought 'hey, let's throw together a super quick and easy Valentine's post!'.  It literally two minutes to pull together some really simple Valentine's day outfits and plans for whatever your Valentine's day brings to you.

If you are headed out on the town for Valentine's weekend just simply pull out your favorite little black dressheels and a cozy scarf out of your closet and bam! You are set to go!  I wore this (almost) exact outfit to a wedding last weekend and I thought it would be perfect for a night out on the town with your husband, boyfriend or even some gal pals!  This faux fur scarf adds a cozy and romantic feel to the look, but a pink or red scarf would be just as fun - check out your closet and see what you have on hand!

OR if you are looking to stay in for the night, I quick popped up some popcorn, grabbed a bottle of wine and scrounged my pantry for some sweets and voila! It's movie night in… I even had some super old DVDs on hand like Breakfast at Tiffany's, Love Actually and Pride and Prejudice that would have been perfect for watching with my husband or some girlfriends.  For a night in a cozy embellished sweatshirt and my favorite distressed jeans are the perfect look for lounging and gabbing the night away!

So here is a little look into my home… and some fun inspiration for the big day tomorrow!  Happy Valentine's Day lovers!

(photos by Jennifer Ketchum)

Outfit Details:
Black Dress, Banana Republic - on sale! (this dress is AMAZING, I highly recommend it!)
Faux Fur Scarf, Asos (similar or similar)
Clutch, J.Crew Factory (similar or similar)
Bracelet, Banana Republic (similar or similar)
Heels, Sole Society
Sweatshirt, LOFT - on sale!
Jeans, Gap (similar or similar)
Flats, Sam Edelman

Home Details:
Grey Chair, Overstock
Fur Pillow, Target (similar)
Fur Foot Stool, Target
Barcart, Target
Sofa, IKEA
Striped Throw Blanket, IKEA(similar)
Sheepskin Rug, Home Goods (similar)
Black Trunk, Vintage (similar)
Serving Tray, Target (similar)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

pretty in pink! (swak!)

I hope you are prepared for the sweetness of this weekend… and of this post!  It's so sticky sweet I can taste it…  pink is THE color for this spring. And since spring is on it's way and Valentine's is this weekend I thought I would round up my favorite pink pieces that I am all lovey dovey for.

From pink shoes, to bags, to iPhone covers, to pretty pale pink nails and lips, adorable pink pjs or these pink sunnies I have been lusting after forever… there is a little pink something for everyone in this bunch!

I hope everyone has a fabulous Valentines weekend! Love on those people that are special to you… and spoil yourself a little too!