Friday, August 1, 2014

the damage: July!

At the end of each month this year I am planning to pause to take a look at my spending as it's related to my closet. I call these posts "the damage." Each month my target budget is $300 and only 5 pieces of clothing or shoes. I chose 5 items because I am working on making my closet a more curated place and also to try to put an end to the constant closet clean outs where loads of clothes get sent to charity. Not that there is anything wrong with giving clothes to charity, it's just that I hope to make my clothes last longer in general. For some this budget may sound like a lot and for others it may not... for me personally this is my monthly goal. It works for my budget and lifestyle and doesn't break the bank. Shopping budgets are a personal thing, but I share mine here to show how I stretch my budget and work to create a well curated and fully stocked closet.

I have to say that I have pretty miserably failed the "5 pieces" challenge for 2014.  I made the challenge on a whim and to say that I have had a hard time sticking to it is an understatement.  Not sure how I feel about that (okay with it or disappointed in myself) but it is what it is I suppose.  July is always a big shopping month for me with my birthday and with summer sales when summer is hardly over and this year was no exception. Let's take a look at the pieces…

J.Crew, "masterpiece tee", $49.50 on sale $19.99 (sold out, but similar)
J.Crew, Bateau Striped Shirt,  $45 on sale $20.99
Gap, Scalloped Shorts, $39.95 on sale $29.97
J.Crew, White Embroidered Tunic, $98 on sale $ 41.99
J.Crew, Striped Maxi Dress, $110 on sale $53.99
Kendra Scott, Elle Earring, $52
Sam Edelman, Pacific Ankle Boots, $159.95 on sale $99.90
J.Crew, Cleo Loafer, $145 on sale $53.99
Gap, Boyfriend Gingham Top, $49.95 on sale $29.97

Total Spent: $402.79 (saved $346.56)

Birthday Gifts (not counted in the budget…)
*Warby Parker, "Banks" Sunglasses, $95
*J.Crew, Horn Hobo Bag, $268.00

Thoughts on the budget:  For all the pieces I got I think $400 is fair… I actually saved almost 50% across the board. Not bad!  The birthday gifts were from my husband and not included in the budget. But I included them here because otherwise I know you gals will notice these new pieces in outfits and wonder… you gals are on top of it!

Thoughts on the pieces: The sale items from J.Crew were especially good deals… and were on pieces that I had already had my eye on, so getting them on sale is a total bonus.  It's definitely fun to add some new summer pieces mid season to keep things fresh and these pieces have already gotten a lot of wear.  The boots and Kendra Scott earrings were little birthday gifts to myself - boots were too good to pass up with the Nordstrom Sale and I can't wait to wear them this fall.  Then a few random Gap pieces are thrown in there as well - they are pieces I found while shopping for my kids.  The Gap's late summer line was actually quite impressive (they've been a little ho-hum lately) and I love these two pieces… one fun pair of shorts and a gingham top that will be sure to get tons of wear.  Over all a great month for shopping!  Look for all of these pieces in outfit photos soon!

Do you track your shopping budget too? If so, leave a little link in the comments… I would love to see what you snagged this month!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

my everyday style: a maxi dress and an amazing Loren Hope giveaway!

Whoa do I have a treat for you today ladies!!!  Today I have teamed up with Rocks Box to feature their amazing service and to giveaway a super gorgeous Loren Hope necklace that you are bound to fall in love with! (read on for the giveaway!)

Rocks Box is a flat rate monthly subscription service that offers designer jewelry to wear until your hearts content and then return for fresh designed jewelry when you are ready for a change.  Or if you fall in love with a specific piece you can actually buy it for a discount. (it's kind of like Netflix DVD service but for jewelry… ah-mazing!)

I was sent this gorgeous Gorjana necklace (a definite favorite!) and this awesome House of Harlow bracelet (love everything from that brand!) along with a gorgeous pair of earrings (that can be seen here). I absolutely loved wearing these pieces… then I sent them back and can't wait to see what I get in my next box!

(photos by Jennifer Ketchum)

Denim Jacket, American Eagle - ℅ old (similar)
Sandals, Sole Society
Necklace, Gorjana on loan via Rocks Box
Bracelet, House of Harlow on loan via Rocks Box
Sunglasses, Ray Ban

Rocks Box is generously giving away this gorgeous Loren Hope necklace to one lucky good life reader!

To enter to win please use the Rafflecopter entry below… ONLY Rafflecopter entries will count! Good luck! I will be extremely jealous/happy for whoever wins this beauty!  And use the code: goodlife for $10 off your first box at Rocks Box!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

what to pack: family vacation!

In all honesty, this is the time of year that I start getting excited for fall a little… new clothes, school starts, football… you know what I mean.  But the fact is that there is still PLENTY of summer left to live.  And in my opinion, August can be one of the best months to plan family vacations.  It's time to make sure we wring every last bit of fun out of the summer.  Wouldn't you agree?

Whether it's is a road trip to a few towns over, to visit friends and family or a full blown family vacation to locations far and wide - packing is a snap with these family vacation packing tips.  I like to go for a neutral palette or to choose two or three colors to base the packing list from.  This makes mixing and matching these versatile pieces a snap - that way you don't have to carry your entire closet across the country.  I try to pack as lightly as possible and so I try to get creative with how I pair pieces throughout the vacation.  Having simple pieces makes this process a whole lot easier.

Here I suggest some grey, black and denim pieces as the foundation of the outfits.  Then I add in a little camo (how amazing is this jacket?) and a fun pattern (in the scarf) and a little color (in the striped top) to keep the looks interesting.  I like to have a few dresses on hand that can be dressed up or down - or even thrown over a swimsuit.  In addition I always find a jacket and jeans to be perfect for cool evenings or mornings and sneakers and a large tote necessary for daytime activities. Minimal jewelry like a necklace and a bracelet are great to dress up any look as needed and can be packed easier than a ton of extra baubles.

Are you headed out on vacation soon? What additional packing questions do you have? 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

my everyday style: a little gingham!

There are certain prints that I am glad never go out of style. Gingham is one of them.  This shirt is perfect for spring, summer, fall and winter.  And as we talked about last week - versatile pieces like this top are my jam.

Which speaking of fall… eek! Can you believe how quickly it is sneaking up on us? I swear this last month of summer all I want to do is lay in the sun all day.  I can hardly bear the thought of cooler temps and the pools closing for the year.  But I will say I am a tiny bit excited for fall fashion.  It's a delicate balancing act I suppose.  Who's with me?

(photos by Jennifer Ketchum)

Top, Old Navy - ℅ old (similar or similar)
Denim Shorts, Gap - on sale! (similar)
Purse, Madewell
Earrings, J.Crew Factory

Monday, July 28, 2014

my everyday style: peplum!

Are you a fan of peplum? I finally took the plunge and bought a peplum top recently and I have to say that I really love this style… I've worn this top a ton of times and I love the silhouette. It's the best of both worlds with it's half fitted and half flowy feel.  

With a pair of white jeans this look was perfect for a recent girls night out.  On another note… today is my birthday! Follow my celebrations on Instagram (user: JillGG) as I'll likely be celebrating a little throughout the day!

(photos by Jennifer Ketchum)

Peplum Top, J.Crew Factory - on sale! (or similar)
Jeans, Gap (or similar)
Shoes, Loeffler Randall via Zappos ℅ - on sale (or in gold on sale, in black/brown on sale and in silver on sale)
Bag, Madewell
Necklace, Dear Prudence (local boutique)

Friday, July 25, 2014

how to style graphic tees!

Graphic tees are a super fun trend that is sticking around - at least for a little bit.  While I don't usually advocate too much for trends, there are a few reasons why I love graphic tees… but the biggest reason is because they are so easy to style.  You can dress them up and dress them down and even layer them up for cooler seasons.  For this reason… they are great to buy and wear now during the summer and keep around for fall and winter by pairing with jackets or cardigans and scarves even.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to style graphic tees and my top picks for tees to snag to wear now and later!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

my everyday style: striped dress combo!

Who me in stripes? I know… monumental. This is the thing. I just wear the stuff I like, not the clothes that I think people will ohh and ahh over.  I don't pull a lot of punches with clothes. I just like what is comfortable and what is easy to wear.  That is not going to make me the most popular blogger but I hope it makes me a relatable one.

I seriously try to keep these outfit photos super real.  As a blogger I have found that it can be easy to try and over do it with the photos or to make my outfits into something ultra styled and nothing like what I would wear in real life.  Or to buy a bunch of new clothes to keep the photos fresh.  But that's just not me. This dress is over a year old - I've worn it here and here - and this vest is from last fall.  But the reason I show outfits here on the blog is to show you that a dress from two springs ago and a fall vest can be remixed into a great new summer look.

(photos by Jennifer Ketchum)

Striped Dress, J.Crew (similar, similar or similar)
Vest, Old Navy ℅ - last year (similar)
Clutch, Deux Lux - my favorite handbag this summer! (similar less expensive, similar, or similar with a chain)
Shoes, Loeffler Randall via Zappos ℅ - on sale (or in gold on sale, in black/brown on sale and in silver on sale)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (aka. Christmas in July!)

It's the most wonderful (shopping) season of them all… the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is upon us.  And if any one knows how to have a sale… It's Nordie's.  They take the hottest pieces from the best designers for the upcoming season (yes, you read that right the UPCOMING season) and seriously slash prices on covet worthy pieces left and right.

The newest Kate Spade and Marc Jacobs bags!?!? On sale.  The boots you crave for fall?!?! On sale. Your most favorite designer jeans?!?! Yep, on sale too.  You get the picture.  It's the one sale not to miss all year.  In my opinion it's the best time to buy investment pieces like bags, jewelry, shoes and jeans.  But other awesome items like beauty sets and accessories and outerwear are all on sale too.

Bottom line: don't miss this sale!  Here are a few of the pieces I have my eye on… I think you will like them too.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

my everyday style: summer blouse!

My wardrobe absolutely depends on items that can be worn for multiple seasons.  This top is the perfect example.  I wore this top this winter as a layering piece (seen here and here) and through out the spring with blazers for a few events as well.  Here I paired this airy silk top with denim shorts for a surprisingly summer appropriate look as well.

Versatile pieces like this help keep my closet minimalist and help justify investment pieces because they can be worn so many times.   When worn with these distressed denim shorts it still has a laid back vibe - one that fits my lifestyle best.

(photos by Jennifer Ketchum)

Blouse, J.Crew Factory - on sale!
Shorts, Gap (similar or similar)
Wedges, Sole Society (similar or similar on sale!)
Clutch, Deux Lux (similar or similar)
Necklace, Baublebar
Sunglasses, Ray Ban

Monday, July 21, 2014

personal style: find yours (featuring Robin Long and what to wear to BlogHer)!

Last month I re-launched my wardrobe consultation services in conjunction with a new series here on the blog all about finding your personal style. This month I am featuring one of my awesome clients to maybe give you some inspiration and also to show you how the process works!

Robin Long runs the Pilates lifestyle blog The Balanced Life.  I am a HUGE fan of her work (and her workouts!) and when she came to me for style inspiration I was thrilled to work with her.  Robin is heading to BlogHer this weekend and she asked what likely a lot of other bloggers ask when they get set to go to conferences.  The dreaded "what to wear to BlogHer!?!?" problem!  She wanted looks that reflected her blogger/mother/Pilates instructor/business woman lifestyle and that can be difficult especially when your work uniform is fitness clothes and you have to make the jump to "regular" clothes.

For Robin I worked to choose pieces that fit her stated boho/preppy style with the requirement of comfortable shoes and then split those outfits into day looks and then night looks.  When packing for blogging conferences you want clear outfits laid out for each day and night (usually conference events call for an outfit change) and have those outfits semi set in stone because you will be so busy learning, meeting and networking the last thing you want to think about is clothes.  It's important not to go overboard or over think dressing for a conference.  Wear clothes that feel good to you and are a good reflection of you and you will look great!  (Please note I usually do not put wardrobe consults on the blog, but Robin agreed to it - thanks Robin!)

Here are her "day" looks:

And here are her "night" looks:

Have a great BlogHer trip Robin!!! Be sure to check out her blog The Balanced Life - her workouts are awesome and her blog is so down to Earth and real.  You feel like you are chatting or working out with a girlfriend!

Friday, July 18, 2014

my everyday style: une belle vie!

I don't usually hop onto trends too easily… but I admit, I am in deep with the graphic tee trend.  Every time one of these babies goes on sale at J.Crew I just can't resist buying them.  The day that these guys go "out of style" will be a sad one… but I will say that I get so much wear out of them this is one 'trend' that is also quite practical.  

Here I did a sporty/dressed up look for the "une belle vie" tee.  This is a great look for a busy mom… comfortable enough for running errands or outings with the kids but it doesn't feel sloppy or too casual at the same time.  And I don't know if we have talked about these jeans yet, but people: Madewell jeans. For serious, my new favorite!  These babies wash well and wear well and I've been wearing them non stop this summer, the cropped length is perfect for wearing with sandals and letting some ankle show!

(photos by Jennifer Ketchum)

Outfit details:
"une belle vie" top, J.Crew - on sale! (only $20!!!!)
Sneakers, Superga
Necklace, Baublebar
Clutch, Deux Lux (similar)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

current obsession: mark & graham

Have you checked out the preppy monogrammed goodness that is Mark & Graham? I randomly got a catalog in the mail from the recently and every page I was ohing and ahhing! They feature ultra simple accessories (with a few striped tops and dresses thrown in) that can all be monogrammed.  So they make for timeless and classic gifts for yourself or loved ones.  I imagine that if you invested in some of these gorgeous pieces you would own them forever.  Here are a few of my favorite picks!