Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Haircut and a Camera

I gave someone a haircut this week.  Actually, I gave something a haircut this week.

These were cool back during the "gladiator sandal" trend.  I bought them for $5 at a store in Japan, so don't judge me too much.  Unfortunately, I only wore them once (with a costume).  I'm sure you can imagine why...

They were taking up valuable real estate in my closet, so they either had to go or change.  Since I'm doing Mission: $100 Closet, I can't really afford to buy new sandals.  So, I decided to give them a haircut and see how they look.

Guess what?  I like them!  Best part:  they were my EASIEST refashion ever.  They took me about 5 seconds to cut.  I even wore them to work the morning that I did it.  Yeah, I did this one morning while looking for a pair of flats to wear with this outfit. 
Orange Shirt (Banana Republic Outlet), Navy & White Skirt (thrifted in Japan), Jewelry (Francesca's)
Also, my title mentions a camera.  WHY?  If you can't tell, my picture quality is terrible.  Sure, it could be the rushed morning self-photography, BUT it's an old point-and-shoot camera.  I'm super excited that Moneyman (aka the frugal husband) and I spent this weekend shopping for a DSLR.  We've narrowed it down to 2-3 favorites, so we want to read a few more reviews and shop around for the best price.  Anytime we spend more than a couple hundred bucks, we spend A LOT of time researching it.  Hopefully, my next posts will be shot with a much nicer camera!

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Thrifting in Japan

You may have noticed by now that most of my thrifted clothing is labeled "thrifted in Japan."  I label it that way because the brand on the label is usually not available in the U.S. (or legible by me).  I just moved to the U.S. from Japan, and while I was there I thrifted ALL THE TIME.  Why?  Generally, Japanese clothing is made in 3 sizes.  All of which seemed to fit me pretty well.  Imagine walking into a thrift store where all of the clothing fits you.  IT. WAS. HEAVEN.  Moreover, I wear a shoe size 5.5-6.  Most of the shoes in the Japanese thrift stores were also my size.  I. WENT. WILD. 
Anyways, this shirt was one of the last items I thrifted in Japan before moving back to the States.  It's also one of my favorite items.  I love how lady-like and sweet it is.  KAWAII!
Lace Shirt (thrifted in Japan), Jeans (Old Navy), Shoes (Nine & Company), Purse (thrifted and painted, see here)

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bouclé Blazer

I haven't updated for a couple days, but I have a GREAT reason.  You see, I'm normally a middle and high school teacher.  I'm certified to also teach elementary ESL and Spanish.  Welp, I'm teaaching at an elementary school now in SoCal, and it is HARD.  These kids have way more energy than middle/high schoolers, and I'm trying to figure out how to harness it for the classroom.  Those elementary teachers are special people, I tell ya!  SPECIAL PEOPLE!  Meanwhile, these kids are probably the cutest kids I've ever taught.  The things they say... I could start a blog just based on their daily quotes.  Cuteness overload.

Blazer (Zara), Jeans (Old Navy), Shoes (Nine&Company)

I bought this blazer from Zara during one of their bi-annual sales or "rebajas".  It's perfect for dressing up a pair of jeans.  It's also a great outfit for running around the school, giving hugs to the littles, and running errands after work (without looking like a themed-vest teacher).
Teacher themed-vest found here.
Today I'm linked up a The Pleated Poppy.Pin It

Friday, September 21, 2012

Indigo and Mustard

This morning I wanted to wear this skirt, but I didn't know what to wear it with.  I settled on this, but I'm still deciding if I like the combination or not.
Mustard Cardigan, Blue Skirt, Gold Shoes (Thrifted in Japan), Cream Tank (Buona Giornata), Belt (Burberry)

*What do you think of this color combination?  Would you wear it?

Today I'm linked up at Musings of a Housewife.Pin It

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Orange like a Pumpkin ;)

I wore this to work today... except not exactly like this.  I hate armpits in the classroom.  It's bright, but the jacket that I wear it with tones it down.
Dress (Amy Byer), Jacket (Rope Picnic), Jewelry (F21), Shoes (Nine & Company)

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fringe: A Love Story

You might already know that Zara is my favorite store.  My husband tries to stay clear of cities with a Zara for this reason.  When I lived in Japan, there were 2 Zaras near my house... SCORE!  Now, there is 1 Zara about 1 hour away.  Let me demonstrate why Zara rocks....
2012 Spring/ Summer FRINGE Collection
Now, let's backtrack to the summer of 2010.  I bought a skirt at Goodwill in the States for $1.50 (no pictures, sorry!).  The skirt was about 4 sizes too big and hung to my ankles.  I took it in, but it still looked awkward.  I hemmed it to my knees, but it still looked a little "grandma-ish".  I never wore it.  Finally, I decided to make it a "going out" skirt and hemmed it a lot shorter.  I did the outside first, and then I was inspired by Zara (above) and decided to fringe the liner and keep it long.  Bonus: It's pretty hard (for me) to hem liners, so it's also a short-cut.
Tank (Loft), Skirt (Target via Goodwill), Gold Purse and Shoes (Target), Bracelet (Banana Republic Outlet), Necklace (Ann Taylor)

I love this lace-like necklace!  If I could wear it with everything, I would!

I love it so much that I'm looking for more old skirts to fringe.  Is that weird? 
P.S. Can you fringe a winter coat? No?  Darn.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

How to Make a Dress More Versatile

Many stylists say that separates are better than dresses.  Separates can be pieced together in several combinations to create more outfits, while dresses make 1 outfit...usually. 

I love dresses.  If you travel a lot, you probably appreciate dresses too.  One dress packs much smaller than two separates.  Dresses get a bad rap for versatility, but I'm here to say that they ARE versatile.  They can be worn in lots of different ways.  Proof:

I bought this dress long ago at H&M, but it just was't working for me.  In fact, it was tossed in a basket after my Cleaning Out the Closet post.
Too Tight, Too Short, Too Young
I rolled the dress up into a top and PRESTO!  A cute tank that pairs well with my silk dress skirt.  If the skirt was flowy and loose, I could have just tucked the whole dress into it. 

"Top" (H&M), Silk Skirt (thrifted in Korea), Jewelry (Banana Republic Outlet), Purse (here), Shoes (Nine&Co)

I liked this necklace so much, I thought you needed a close-up. :)
The dress can also be worn as a skirt...just top it with a t-shirt and VOILA!  I probably wouldn't wear this exact pairing ever (the dress is SO short), but on backpacking trips I have gotten pretty desperate!  Let's pretend my hair in this picture is just me pretending to be on a backpacking trip. ;)
Note: When I mention backpacking trips, I don't mean hiking mountains and camping (although I'd probably wear a skirt or dress for that too). ;)  Moneyman and I love traveling around the globe.  Being young, we take advantage of youth hostels, and we only carry our small backpacks... no matter how long the trip will be.  Versatility is KEY!
T-Shirt (Zara), Sandals (Candie's)
Since this dress is a little too short for me, I decided to pull it down so the neckline was around my waist to make it longer. MORE VERSATILITY!!!
*So, does anyone else wear their dresses in lots of different ways or am I just weird?
Maybe don't answer that... ;)
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Summer Wardrobe

 This combination is pretty much my summer wardrobe: printed shorts, simple top, sandals.  It's easy, effortless, and comfortable.  It's still summer where I live, so I don't mind stretching these pieces until the very last 70 degree day!

Navy Cardigan, Cream Tank, Cream Belt (Buona Giornata- Japanese Brand), Coral Print Shorts (New York & Company), Sandals (Candies via Kohls)

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Walk on the Beach

On week nights after work, my husband and I have a tradition of walking along the beach near our home.  It's a great time to connect, talk about our day, and enjoy our beautiful surroundings.  We just moved here from Japan.  We used to walk around the city that we lived in, look in stores, and karaoke.  It's fun to make new traditions every time we move! :)

Dress (T.J.Maxx- $5), Shoes (Kohl's)
I love these sandals.  I actually bought a few pairs of this sandal, because I wore the first pair so much.  It's a light pinkish tan color that matches almost every outfit.  Now that I'm working on Mission: $100 Closet, neutral pieces like this are life-savers.   

This is my town!
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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Red and White

My husband and I dedicate our Sundays to church and errands.  This weekend I wore red and white for my errands.  Normally, I would prefer this outfit with some nude heels (umm...I prefer everything with nude heels), but practicality won over so I opted for flats.

Red & White Top (Promod), Jeans (Abercrombie), Necklace and Flats (J.Crew), Gold Bracelets (Dollar Store), Purse (Mango)

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Diminishing Budget, Math, & a Makeover

According to Mission: $100 Closet, I have $100 to spend until August 27th, 2013.  Last Friday, that number decreased to $92.02.  That's right... if you're proficient at math, you know that I spent a whole $7.98.  I'm not good at math, so I was sad when my frugal and math-proficient husband pointed out that I'm only 3% done with my mission, and I've spent almost 8% of my budget.  Hmm... Ariel. No. Like. Math. 

Despite this discovery, I am still thrilled about my accidental purchases.  You see, I was leaving the doctor's office and passed by a Goodwill.  My sister-in-law had just texted me a couple AWESOME lamps that she found at her Goodwill, and I thought how cool it would be if this Goodwill had a similarly amazing find.  It didn't.  I consoled myself by looking through the clothing... I'm glad I did. 

My Goodwill Outfit
OKAY, I didn't buy this ENTIRE outfit from Goodwill for $7.98...just 2 things.  This silky black top and THIS purse:

The leather purse was a little vintage, but it was clean inside and in great take it home, I did!  Before I wore it though, I gave it a little update.

First, I taped it off and sanded it a little with fine grit sand paper.

Second, I wiped it down with a wet cloth and then a dry cloth.

Third, I made a mixture of half-water and half-paint (acrylic).  I painted 3 thin layers on the leather with this mixture.  The water is supposed to help the leather absorb the paint without cracking over time.
Finally, after it dried, I painted 2 thin, even coats of plain acrylic paint.  Notice that I didn't paint the back portion of the purse that would rub against my clothing.  I was afraid the constant rubbing might wear the paint off the purse (and onto my clothing).  In the picture below, you can see the brush strokes.  I promise in person it is brush stroke free. 
The Final Product: $2.99 total
Here's the outfit altogether:

Shirt and Purse (Goodwill $7.98), Necklace and Bracelet (gifts from my grandmother), Jeans (Abercrombie: from high school when A&F was Da', Shoes (Nine&Co)

Linked up at Sew Chatty and Sumo's Sweet Stuff.
*Have you found any amazing deals lately or updated a vintage piece?

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Friday, September 7, 2012

Mint, Coral, and Khaki

Mint and coral were a popular combo this past Spring. 

Found here.

For work today, I decided to backtrack to Spring and pull out my coral and mint clothing. 

Mint necklace (gift from my grandmother), Coral shirt (Banana Republic Outlet), Skirt (Zara Basics), Mint Belt (thrifted in Japan), Shoes (Style&Co), Mint Bag (emilie m. from T.J. Maxx)


Excuse my wrinkles!  This was post-work and post-work commute.  I've never had to commute more than 10 minutes to work before, so this whole hour drive thing is making me rethink outfit choices (like wrinkly khaki, pressed blouses, and heels).  I was smart enough to bring a pair of driving shoes, so I wouldn't have to drive in heels.  I wish I had brought an entire driving outfit, because the minute I got out of my car I was a wrinkly mess! 

*Any fellow commuters out there?  How do YOU handle that long drive?! Pin It

From the Classroom to Dinner Out

This outfit took me from the classroom to a celebratory dinner with my husband.  It's a secret what we're celebrating, but I was able to toast it with wine... so you can cross one thing off the list. ;)  Of course, I didn't wear the low cut tank top in the classroom.  I wore a long sleeve black top, since classrooms are ALWAYS cold...and arm pits in the classroom are inappropiate (and gross).  It's much more appropriate to show arm pits at a nice dinner! :)
Tank top (Zara), Skirt (Bought at an Out of Business Sale for $4 when I was a Sophomore in college... it's been altered a few times!), Shoes (Zara), Gold Cuff Bracelet (Banana Republic Outlet), Purple and Green Silk Clutch (a stall in Thailand)
 By the way, did you notice anything different about my hair?  If I had taken this picture in the morning, you would be like "WHOA! You are having a great hair day!"  After a few hours in a classroom, my good hair changes a little.  I decided to try out the "Coconut Oil in the Hair" craze, and I have to tell my curly-headed sistas: DO IT!  YOU WON'T BE SORRY!  Well, actually, do it if you have *dry, *coarse, *frizzy, *thick, and *unmanageable hair.  If your curls are soft and thinner, it might make your hair a little oily.  Meanwhile, my super dry hair sucked the oil up and felt better than ever! 

So here ya go (in case you forgot already):

On a side note, I also tried the whole "Coconut Oil as a Deodorant" craze.  What?  You don't read Pinterest?  It's a real craze, I think.  Warning: That experiment was a FAILURE.  I might just be a sweaty beast though... :(

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cleanin' out my closet 2: Leftovers

Update: See some of these pieces updated here.

Since starting Mission $100 Closet, I've already upcycled a few pieces of clothing in my closet.  In my first post about cleaning out my closet, I mentioned that I pulled out several items that I might upcycle or just reimagine somehow to stretch their use.  How?  I don't know.  I took somewhat organized pictures of these items. Why? I also don't know.  Maybe someone will look at this post and be all like: HEY! I have a great idea of how to change that 4-sizes-too-big-for-you-skirt into something amazing!

Here's what I'm working with:
Skirts and Pants


Blouses (I've actually worn the striped one in this post... I realized just tying the bottom made a huge difference.)

Old "going out" shirts from college

Old "going out" dresses from college

Button-down tops

More blouses

Most of these items are too large for me now.  I started lifting weights in December and lost a lot of body fat.  Meanwhile, other items just aren't my style anymore.  With a little creativity (and a lot of pinteresting), I just might be able to upcycle all of these items. 
*Have you done anything "pinteresting" lately?  Any upcycling or just cleaning out your closet? OR do you have any ideas on how I can reimagine some of these articles of clothing?!?!
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