Fashion

Brights and Basics

Now that the weather is heating up I can finally ditch my all black everythang attitude towards dress, and spice up my wardrobe with some bright colors for spring! This week I dined at Gracias Madre, a fairly new Vegan Mexican restaurant in West Hollywood, so it was the perfect opportunity to wear some fun, spicy pieces.

One of my most recent finds was my new Marc Jacobs quilted wallet. Finally, I have outgrown my college credit card holder as a wallet and upgraded to my more adult version. I bought it on Gilt for $269, on sale from its in-store price at $575!

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I also recently took a trip to Nordstrom Rack where I scored some great deals on Paige Jeans, the jeans I am wearing here were on sale for $79.

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Paired with a basic tee from Brandy Melville for $15 my look was complete and I was ready to eat!

 

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The pop of color comes in from my Halogen jacket I got on sale for half off last summer during Nordstrom’s Half Yearly Sale for Women (roughly $30).

 

The whole look comes together for about $135 plus the wallet totaling $404. Very reasonable for some big names in fashion. Lets just hope this summer-like weather stays around!

 

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Finance

The Money Challenge: Week 4 Recap

Finally, this month is over!

And I can’t exactly say I met my goal of only spending $150 per week, although I was fairly close each week. I have to say this experience has taught me that in order to really only spend $150 or less there is no way for me to have a social life, because everything my friends invite me to involves spending money on eating or drinking in some form.

Here are my stats for the week:

Kayak rental: $12

Coral Tree Cafe: $11.85

M Cafe Dinner Sunday: $13.03

Whole Foods Groceries: $37.52

Daily Grill Dinner and Happy Hour: $42.33

Lunch at Good Stuff Wednesday: $16.70

CVS: $14.70

Whole Foods: $10.89

Lunch Friday at Cafe Marmalade: $24.03

Total: $183.05

 

For the full month of February I was able to limit my spending on variable expenses to $843.40, which is almost $500 less than what I usually spend in a normal month. I have to say, even though I did not make my goal, my bank account is sure happy and full. Now, with that extra $500 I saved, I guess its time to make some investments to grow that cash!

 

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Fashion

When it Rains in Southern California

They say it never rains in Southern California, but after months of drought, the skies have finally opened up and my wardrobe could not be more ecstatic!

 

I have been waiting almost an entire year to break out my favorite trench coat that I got from Nordstrom Last Chance (the one-store for the most heavily discounted Nordstrom store items). The find is a Patterson J. Kincaid coat I bought for $12.99, and is the perfect rainy day accessory.

 

rainy day look cc: Stephanie Fennell

rainy day look cc: Stephanie Fennell

 

My other favorite item in this look is the Dolce Vita booties I recently purchased from Nordstrom Rack on sale for $46.90 they go perfectly with jeans or to liven up any look.

 

DV shoes w/ striped sweater from Mango

DV shoes w/ striped sweater from Mango

Dolce Vita shoes @ Nordstrom Rack clearance $46.90

Dolce Vita shoes @ Nordstrom Rack clearance $46.90

 

This look is very easy and affordable, and perfect for a gloomy day. Paired with my Prada sunnies that I got on Amazon.com for half off (the best place to buy sunglasses), the outfit is complete.

 

Now if only I could stay dry in this “Titan” of a storm!

 

$avvy Shopping!

 

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The Money Challenge: Week 3 Recap

As the light at the end of the tunnel begins to be visible in my quest to spend $150 or less per week, I can finally say I am getting VERY close to remaining within budget. I had no idea starting out that this would be so difficult to stay within (while keeping a social life). As I have stated before, my typical week of expenses is usually around $300 so cutting that in half has proven to be quite difficult. Our refrigerator was finally delivered yesterday, so this week I will be able to eat at home rather than spending much more than I would like on meals out.

While I did not quite make the budget this past week, (thanks to a lovely Saturday all you can eat/drink brunch with 30 of my closest friends) I remained very close to the set budget. Here is my recap of my week of money spent:

Whole Foods Juice Sunday: $7

The Bungalow SM drinks: $22

Lunch at 9021Pho Sunday: $16.68

Whole Foods grocery’s: $14.61

Lunch at CPK Monday: $19.09

Wahoo’s dinner Monday: $8.98

Whole Foods Tuesday: $11.70

Which Wich Friday Lunch: $7.63

Gas: $59.78

Brunch Zengo Saturday: $44.32

Weekly total: $211.79 

If getting gas were not an expense I would have been soooooo close to staying within my budget!

This is the last week of my challenge, so far it has been quite an interesting month for me. I have always budgeted my money wisely, and track all of my spending on a spreadsheet (that’s where I came up with my average weekly spending of $300), but trying to live off of $600 in variable costs for the month has proven to be quite a feat for me.

Check back at the end of the week to see if I made my weekly goal, and for a recap of the month overall.

 

$avvy Shopping!

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The Money Challenge: Week 2 Recap

Close, but no cigar.

Week 2 proved to be just as difficult as week 1 in spending $150 or less. First off, my week started with a very expensive Sunday where I somehow managed to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner out at restaurants with my roommate. By Monday, I had already spent half of my weekly allotment.

Monday through Friday were alright, luckily breakfast and snacks are available at my office so I capitalized on that while keeping my lunches as cheap as possible.

Friday night was where the tough part began. I only had $10 left to spend for the week which ended Saturday at midnight and had plans to go out with my friends, which always proves to be a costly expense. Somehow I managed to skate by without going over budget, but of course with no food in the house on Saturday I ended up going out to both lunch and dinner tipping me over the $150 threshold.

So here is how my week broke down:

Saturday food and drinks with friends: $44

Lunch Sunday at Wahoo’s: $12.24

Coffee Sunday: $1.95

Sushi Dinner Sunday: $19.53

Pizza: $8.06

Movie: $10.25

Whole Foods groceries: $16.53

Cafe Rio Lunch Monday: $6.10

Whole Foods: $19.69

Water Bottle: $2.05

Food from Ralph’s: $10.61

Lunch at Cabo Cantina Saturday: $26.29

Dinner at True Food Saturday: $22.17

Weekly total: $199.47

All in all, I was much closer to staying within budget this week. Unfortunately as my roommate and I are still living without a refrigerator it has been necessary to pickup food much more than I had anticipated. Ready for week 3 of the challenge!

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The Money Challenge: Week 1 Continued

Well that was rather ambitious of me.

Deciding to do a money challenge half way through the week when I knew I had already made dinner plans with friends and was moving was probably not the best time to be challenging myself to only spending $150 per week. But I gave it my best try last week and was able to stay as close as possible to my $150 limit. By the end of the week I was scouring whatever I had left in my cupboards to make dinner with, (split pea soup for me!) and was trying to eat as many snacks at work as I could just to stay within budget.  I moved over the weekend into a new apartment without a refrigerator, so by Friday my choices were to either eat out or starve since cooking was out of the question for the time being. Overall this first week proved to be a bit difficult due to a lack of pre-planning on my part, but I still have the rest of the month to redeem myself to try and stay within my total monthly budget of $600.

Anyways, here are the final results of my first week from Saturday Feb 1 to Saturday Feb 8:

Previous money spent in the week: $89.41

Dinner Wednesday with friends: $26.89

Movie Wednesday: $15

Dinner Thursday: $10.72

Lunch Friday: $20.10

Gas: $55.38

Lunch Saturday: $11.85

Dinner Saturday: $8.98

CVS Shampoo and Conditioner: $10.76

Total From Feb 5 to Feb 8th: $159.68

Total for the full week: $249.09

So, I didn’t quite make the goal I was planning for the week, but given that I was moving and had previous plans for activities that required spending money, I have to say I did fairly well for myself. Typically on average in my weekly spending runs about $300-$350, so ending my week almost $100 under my average was pretty good!

This week I am much more prepared to achieve my spending goal, also I won’t have to get gas this week since I have a full tank so I know I can make it work. Hopefully I won’t be digging through dumpsters by the end of the week in order to eat!

 

$avvy Shopping!

 

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The Money Challenge: Week 1

If January is a time to make resolutions, then February is a time to put them to the test. This month I am challenging myself to a spending diet. After spending more than I would have liked to this holiday season, as well as moving into a new apartment, my savings account does not like me very much. With the fresh start of a new month, and all of my credit cards and living expenses paid off, I felt it was the perfect time to challenge myself.

I enjoy going on monthly spending diets every so often to see how little I really need to get by. Now of course I am still one to enjoy the finer things in life, so I am by no means planning to live like I did in college eating oatmeal and refried beans out of a can for every meal. Instead, I am allowing myself to spend $150 per week on things including food, gas, entertainment, clothing etc. 

Since February is a short month, the challenge will take place over 4 weeks in total from Saturday, February 1st, to Saturday, March 1st. I will not be including my fixed costs of rent and utilities, but everything else will be included in the challenge. Now in my previous post, I said that my variable costs per month on average were around $1400 for the month, this month by only spending $150 per week I am cutting that down to $600 for the month. This is by far the biggest challenge that I have set for myself.

I have found in the past, that going on spending diets can actually be a lot of fun, comparable to playing a real life board game (but maybe that’s just me and my idea of fun).  

Here is what my spending is looking like so far:

Lunch Sunday: RnR Restaurant in Scottsdale $31.13

Lunch Monday: Which Wich $7.63

Groceries: Whole Foods $25.31

Starbucks Coffee: $2.65

Dinner Tuesday at the Misfit in Santa Monica: $16.69

Car Wash: $6

February 1-5 total spent: $89.41

Money left for the week: $60.59

 

Check back on Sunday to see if I made it through week 1 of the challenge under budget!

 

$avvy Shopping!

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