Sunday, October 2, 2011

Don't buy stuff you cannot afford

I've been reading a lot of blogs recently regarding a certain scam brought upon the anthro blogging community.  Along with the posts about the scams, many people are posting information on finances and spending habits, noting what they do to stay afloat while still spending their hard earned money at Anthropologie.  I felt compelled to respond as I was a little shocked with what I was reading.  While I respect all those that posted honestly about how they spend, I was surprised that a simple lesson hasn't been learned.  I wanted to provide you all with a story.  This is my true story of how I learned that you simply shouldn't buy stuff you cannot afford.

Many many years ago, I was a poor college student.  Like many college students, there was a lot of stuff I wanted, but didn't have the money to buy it.  I wasn't working and I lived in a dorm.  My parents gave me a little money each month so I could go out to eat every once in a while off campus, but this would never be enough to buy that adorable black blouse from the gap or the skinny jeans from Urban.  I thought about this stuff constantly, trying to figure how I could spend my monthly stipend and still eat.  Little did I know, help was on the way!

One day, I was walking back to my dorm room after class when I was approached by a random student, who asked me if I wanted a glass of lemonade.  Now, I know what you're thinking....lemonade?  I went to school in Texas.  As many of you know, Texas is very very hot.  Lemonade is the perfect thirst quincer for any student walking around campus in 100+ heat.  I happily accepted the lemonade offer, not realizing what I was in for. 

I followed the student to a table that was set up right outside my dorm.  On the table were dozens of neat little freebies:  university t-shirts, frizbees, name any piece of free crap, they had it and I wanted it.  The student told me I could have one of each and I only had to apply for a student credit card.  Up until now, I didn't have a credit card so I thought, maybe it's about time I get one...for emergencies only.  I spent the next 30 minutes, filling out the application and talking about the terms of the card, none of which actually made sense to me at the time.  When I finished, he handed me all of my goodies and I went back to my dorm.  That was that.

Seven days later, a letter arrived to my dorm.  It was hard to tell where the letter came from, as it had very little information on the outside of the envelope.  It wasn't until I felt the little piece of plastic that I realized it was my new credit card.  Without hesitation, I opened it up and there it was, looking back at me with a gold gleam.  I immediately activated the card and put it away in my wallet.   There is sat, in my wallet for weeks without getting used.  I told myself that I wouldn't use it unless it was an emergency.  Well, that emergency would soon come.

It was a few days after my birthday and my parents had sent me a little extra money so I could go shopping to buy something special.  I went with a friend to a local mall to find that 'special' outfit.  Within 10 minutes, I had already spent the money my parents gave me and we had barely started our shopping venture.  I went to a few other stores, holding back the temptation to try on clothes that I knew I wouldn't buy while my friend made many more purchases.  As we left the last store, I froze.  Just a few feet away, I saw the perfect pair of jeans.  I went over and looked at them; I knew I had to try them on.  I didn't even look at the price, just grabbed my size and headed towards the dressing room.  When I walked out to show my friend, her immediate response was 'you have to get those jeans.  They look amazing.'  I smiled with afirmation and walked back to my dressing room. At that point I noticed the price.  Ouch...$159 bucks!  I stood in the room for a while, debating my options.  I could take back the stuff I bought earlier and get these instead, but then I realized the new blouse I bought would look amazing with these jeans.  I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  It was with little hesitation that I took the jeans up to the cashier and pulled out my shiny new credit card to pay for the purchase.  I felt a little guilty putting the jeans on credit, but it also felt good.  I felt on top of the world knowing I had this money at my disposal.  From that point on, my spending would get a little more out of control and spiral down hill.

I credit (no pun intended) this moment as the moment when I let my finances get out of control.  Not only did I buy those jeans, but there were many other purchases and many other cards to follow. 

After several years of making 'minimum' payments, I realized I had to get my shit together.  I knew I had to make the sacrifice and stop buying stuff.  It was hard at first, especially when you have friends that loved shopping.  I didn't know what their financial situation was.  For all I know, they could have been worse off than me, but I did know one thing, the minimum payments did not make a dent in that debt.  

Several years ago, I was watching Saturday Night Live and I came across a skit with Steve Martin.  The skit was a parody on spending and 'buying stuff you cannot afford.'  I couldn't help but laugh and find this skit enlightening.  It's such a simple concept:  If you don't have the money, DO NOT BUY IT.  I've taken those words to heart and worked hard to ensure that I never end up in that scary world of credit card debt and mimimum payments.  If you've never seen this skit, I've posted a link to the video on below:

I posted this story because I wanted you to know we're all human.  We all have our vices and it's fair to say, things can sometimes get out of control. While we all want beautiful clothes, at what price? The stress of having to pay off credit debt at 13% - 23% interest? Keep in mind that if your interest is higher than the amount going into your savings each month, you're not really saving. You are actually giving creditors more of your hard earned money. While I'm no financial expert whatsoever, I do want to encourage you all to spend and save wisely. I have definitely learned this lesson and feel less guilty with my frequent Anthro shopping sprees :).


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blog neglect....

I made a promise to myself I would keep up with my blogging.  That was in February of this year.  It's now September 2011 and I have very little to show for my blog.  I failed in my pursuit to share my thoughts (oh so many thoughts) to those few that would listen. For that, I apologize. I also intend to redeem myself by picking up where I left off and providing you all with a few updates.

Update Number 1:  I no longer have a boyfriend.  I have a fiance :D.
Update Number 2:  I was asked to stand up in my brother's wedding October of this year. 
Update Number 3:  My wardrobe has oh so many new anthro pieces to share :)

Apart from that, it's usual: work and shop.  The fiance fits in there somewhere ;).

Saturday, February 26, 2011

New Shoes: Boot Fail

Earlier this week, I posted the new pair of peep toes pumps I ordered from  I was extremely satisfied with that purchased and I knew I made a smart buy.  In that same order, I also purchased some boots I really liked and were marked down really low ($249 -> $85).  Too good to be true?  Maybe, but I trusted to live up to my expectations.  I'm going to New York next weekend and I wanted something I could walk in and wear with everything.  The boots I ordered, Geox's Donna Alanis Boot in taupe, were supposed to be those boots, but things didn't work out as planned.

The boots arrived on Wednesday and I was overwhelmed with excitement!  I couldn't wait to get home and try these on. 

My excitement for these boots was short lived when I tried the boots on.  I started with the left boot.  It was a snug fit, but I got my foot in there and zipped it up the calf.  I took a walk around the room and started to feel the pain of my heal rubbing up against the inside of the boot.  Granted, I wasn't wearing socks, but I knew immediately these would not be fun to walk in, at work or around a city. 

Now, don't get me wrong, I still liked the style of the boot and wanted to try on the right boot to decide if they looked good.  If so, I would size up.  Let's see how well the right boot fit:

Size:  Tighter than the left
Zipper:  Could not get it all the way up my calf; calf too fat or boot too narrow
Look:  Not what I was expecting :(

Well there you have it folks.  The right fit was even more disappointing than the left and the look just wasn't what I wanted.  Sadly, these will be returned with no exchange.  As for the kicker, doesn't pay for returns if sizes are too small/big.  I'm only out $4.95, but the lesson has been learned.  I will not be buying boots from in the future.  I wouldn't say I'm deterred from buying online, but I'll stick to shoe specialty sites for boots, like Zappos and Endless, where they offer free shipping and free returns. 

I'm still looking for the perfect boots so if you have any ideas for a riding style, neutral color boot, please do share.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Anthro Gleek

I don't know if I have a good eye or what, but Glee could have compiled their own Anthro catalogue with their wardrobe this week.  I spotted 5 Anthro pieces during this week's new episode (Blame it on the Alcohol)! It's kind of like a game.  How many items will I spot this week?  Well, give myself 2 pats on the back for 5 items!  AND, All these items were on my Anthro wish list.  Is big brother watching? Nah ;).

I know my last Glee post focused on Quinn's style, but I completely forgot about another character on the show I've seen in Anthro before.  Emma, who's not on every episode, is also styled in various Anthropologie items.  In fact, everything she wore this week was from Anthropologie.  I don't know who's responsible for this, but I would love to have their job!

And now, here's what you missed on Glee:

Quinn spotted wearing the Study Of Shapes Dress, paired with a jean jacket (this was the best photo I could take :(.  Sorry FBFs).
Quinn in the Contemporarian Dress with a cropped black jacket. Not bad for a 'hangover.'
Emma in the Pom Flower Shift with a mustard sweater. I'll take it!

Emma in Precious Particulars Blouse.

Emma wearing the Take Action Dress. This is the best picture I could find, but you get the idea.
And that's what you missed on Glee!  Now, if only someone could give those Glee girls something to eat.  They are looking way to frail these days.

Which one is your favorite? And most importantly, which one should I buy next :)?  Suggestions welcome and I will post.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Shoes from Pink Studio!

Don't you just love that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you arrive to your home/apartment to see a package waiting for you?  It's the perfect end to a long day at work, especially when you're not expecting it.   I ordered a new pair of shoes over the weekend and they arrived today!  Thank you Amazon for the early arrival, but you know this means I'll expect everything to arrive in two business days.

The shoes I purchased were Pink Studio's Wanda Peep-Toe Pump in camel and I have to say, I am already in love with them.  They fit perfectly (TTS), I love the color and they arrived just in time for spring.  The best part:  only $26 on!!  I took a few photos immediately after ripping open the box.  Enjoy the eye candy.

A true work of art :).
Just a heads up, Amazon is out of the 8.5 size.  I think I took the last one!  There are still plenty of other sizes in the camel.  They also have these in red and black.

Not sure what to wear these with first.  Any suggestions?  What would you pair these with :)?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Definite Case of the Mondays

How would one define having a 'case of the Mondays?'  I mean, it seems pretty straight forward:  symptoms of a useless or horrible Monday morning after returning from the weekend, as defined by Urban Dictionary.  However, are some of these 'symptoms' over exaggerated and could easily happen any day of the week, essentially giving you a case of the 'Tuesdays' or case of the 'Thursdays??'  Nope!  Today was definitely a case of the Mondays that could only occur on a Monday.

I took a minute when I got home from work to write down how I contracted the Mondays.  Here's what I think may have been the direct cause or causes:
1) I had a 20 minute fight with my closet
2) I had ADD most of today due to lack of coffee
3) I burned popcorn at work and stunk up the new office
Now let's break down these 3 key factors that contributed to my shitty day.

Fight with closet:
I usually wake up around 5:15 or 5:30 (yes, AM), depending on the day of the week.  Today I thought I could get away with waking up at 6:00, since I figured traffic would be lighter thanks to the holiday [President's Day]. That did not work out as planned.  I failed to factor in the extra 20 minutes I would spend staring at my closet, trying to figure out what to wear.

Now, this didn't have to be that hard.  I usually pair a dress with matching tights, slap on a cardi and I'm out the door.  Unfortunately, I decided to wash all my tights yesterday and didn't hang them up to dry until just before bed.  Without a clean and dry pair of tights, I knew a dress was out of the question. It was officially going to be a pants day, something I was not prepared for.  It took me 20 minutes and 8 changes, but I finally put an outfit together.

For today's outfit, I started with my Anthropologie Snow Stroll Pants in brown (still available and on sale for $69.95).

I added the Mirror Mirror Tank in brown by Little Yellow Button (I also own the white):

And the Whipped Woolens Cardigan in brown by Birds on a Wire:

I rounded this outfit off with a pair of brown heels from Aldo.  All very cute pieces and I even received two compliments today at work, but those 20 extra minutes delayed my morning departure and added traffic, that I would have avoided, to my commute.

Score - Case of the Mondays: 1, Mon: 0.

ADD and no Coffee:
Over the weekend, my company moved offices.  After being in the previous location for 10 years, everyone, new and old, was uber excited for the move and ready for the upgrade from our previous location.  I was also excited, but when I walked into our new building this morning, I knew instantly I was way unprepared for today.

First, it didn't help that I forgot what floor we were on so I had to follow someone I barely knew, but recognized, to get to the right floor.   Apparently, the recognition was not mutual.  I was asked by my colleague 'what floor?'  My immediate response: 'same' with a slight fake laugh.  What I wanted to say: 'Bitch, I work with you and I've seen you in the old building. We bowled together at the Christmas party!'  I didn't have the energy for small talk and instead, I kept to myself during the ride up.  

When I walked into our new suite, I felt like I was attending the first day of school.   I didn't know where to go or where to sit.  When I asked our office assistant where my cube was, she asked me for my number.  'Number?  What number? My phone number?'  It took me a good 2 minutes to figure out what she was asking me for.  It was the number I was given last week to use on all my packing labels, the 14 I created.  Doh! 

I unloaded my bags at my cube and headed straight for the break room for some coffee.  As soon as I stepped in the break room, one key and important item was missing: the coffee pot.  Did I miss something?  I don't recall seeing a memo indicating our coffee options were changing.  Sadly, it was definitely gone and I was desperate.  I could only see the Flavia instant coffee machine.  I tried to drink the Flavia coffee when I first started, but it wasn't my personal favorite and to be honest, it tastes like shit.  Desperate for caffeine, I made a cup anyway.  After 2 sips, I threw it away and suffered the rest of my day without coffee.

Score - Case of the Mondays: 2, Mon: 0.

Don't cry over Burnt Popcorn
I think at this point, it's clear my Monday was not going so well.  To make things worse, I burned my afternoon snack.  Blame it on the microwave, or the popcorn, it doesn't matter.  Nobody likes the smell of burnt popcorn and the scent spread very quickly throughout the office.  Not only was I royally embarrassed, but the smell followed me home on my hands and scarf.  I wasn't afraid to own up to it.  It was an honest mistake, but it quickly rid the office of it's 'new office smell' and I don't think that made many people happy.

Score - Case of the Mondays: 3, Mon: 0.

Here's hoping for a better day tomorrow.   PS - HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lazy Sunday and New Photos

Well, it's Sunday.  Is it just me or does anyone else hate Sundays?  I've been out of school for a few years now, but I still get that 'first day of school' jitters.  From the moment I wake up, I know it's the end of the weekend and I can't help but be extra lazy.  Not this weekend!  Although the temperatures were still a bit on the chilly side, I took advantage of the sun yesterday and took some photos.  As for today [Sunday], I spent most of the afternoon using my photo shop skills and adding a few touches to the photos taken by my boyfriend.   Productive weekend?  I think so.  And of course, here you go!  I hope you enjoy.

Dress: Anthropologie, Maeve De Chelly
Sweater: Anthropologie, Karen Nicol
Tights: Hue, Brown
Shoes: Urban Outfitters, Deena & Ozzy
Coat: Anthropologie, Deep Woods Toggle
Hat: Gap, circa 2005

Sneak Preview of me in the Fluttering Obi Dress (more pictures to come):

Dress: Anthropologie, Fluttering Obi Dress
Belt: Anthropologie

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Findings

Earlier this week, I posted some pictures of me in the Dagmar shirtdress from Anthropologie. I don't own many red items of clothing, but I love the look of this dress. It's just the right amount of red and not to overbearing.   If you're thinking to yourself 'can I still get my hands on this dress?' forget about it! This dress is long gone from Anthropologie.  However,  before you go on an eBay hunting spree, there may be hope!

While browsing the Urban Outfitters website, I came across the Cooperative Linen Day Dress ($59) which is a very similar pattern to the Dagmar dress.

This dress may not be the same style as the Dagmar Shirt Dress, but it's absolutely adorable! You could easily transition this dress between seasons, not to mention it's only $59!  Buyers so far have given the dress 4.7 out of 5 stars too! Go get yours and buy one for me too ;). If I make it to UO, I'll post pics.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Quick Follow Up Regarding those Fake Orla Kiely Bags

A Warning to all about Fake Orla Kiely Bags
I used to not worry about Orla fakes until this past year. I was in Dallas with my sister shopping at a store called Charming Charlies. Low and behold, while browsing through in the handbags, I spotted the fake. My biggest regret: not taking a picture to warn other Orla fans! Thankfully, they made it easy to spot fakes by not using a signature bag style used by Orla. Here's the pattern that was ripped off:

The Multi Stem Tote (not the actual bag ripped off):

I did dig up a picture of the bag in question on the blog 'Kevin and Amanda.' It's a little hard to tell, but true Orla fans will be able to confirm it's a fake.

If anyone else has spotted a fake, please share.

Review of my Latest Orla Kiely Bag: Big Summer Flower Handbag

If there's one thing I love more than Anthropologie, it's Orla Kiely. I've spent the last 4 years building my Orla collection, which I will share with you one of these days in a special post. My latest Orla purchase was a Christmas present to myself this past year, but I almost didn't buy this bag and here's why.

I was browsing online, looking for deals on current Orla bags that were slowly going on sale. After jumping from site to site, I came across a pattern and bag style I had never seen before and wasn't posted on Orla's website. My first thought was 'surely, this must be a fake!' However, I really liked the pattern so I had to find out the truth about this bag.

Using the power of the Internet and my superior searching skills, I found the same bag on another website. The website noted that the bags were Spring/Summer 2011 and were shipped early from Orla Kiely. Due to excitement of this fun and new Orla pattern, the website could not wait and posted the bags early. I hesitated for a moment. A few months earlier, I had seen an Orla fake while shopping in Dallas with my sister. I didn't want to make a mistake and spend big bucks on something that may or may not be authentic. I browsed around the website a little further and saw other Orla bags that I knew were not fakes. I felt pretty comfortable at that point and moved forward with the purchase.

The bag I purchased: Big Summer Flower Handbag by Orla Kiely ETC

I love almost everything about this bag, but was a little disappointed to see that one key item was missing. I'm used to seeing a lining inside with Orla's signature multi-stem patten. This bag did not have any lining. I suppose no one will look inside my bag and say 'where's the lining?,' but I was expecting the bag to have one since all my other Orla bags do. Also, if you want to wear the bag over the shoulder, you will have to tuck the zipper down into the bag for a comfortable fit, as seen on the image above. Otherwise, it may be a tight fit and will easily fall off the shoulder. Other than those two items, still a great accessory for the Spring 2011.

Here's my review:

Style: Not your typical Orla style, but unique and will have other asking 'where did you get that fabulous bag?!' Inside pocket and two outside pockets (I do not recommend putting much in those outside pockets as it may stretch them out)
Pattern: Fun, different from the typical Orla patterns, but still has signature multi-stem pattern mixed with brilliant color from the flowers
Size: Medium; I can fit an 8 1/2 by 11 notebook inside.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 (-1 for no lining)

Additional Pictures provided below for your viewing pleasure.

Straps up:

Straps down:

Close up on the pattern:

Close up on the strap:

Just lying around:

The inside with no lining:

Zipped up and ready to wear!

If you love this bag, it's now available on the Orla Kiely website for $155. There are also other new and great styles available in this pattern. I'm sure you'll find one that will suit you best.