Archive | Budgets / Goals RSS feed for this section

A New Month, A New Goal

3 Sep

My mini-shopping ban is technically over but I’m extending it for the entire month of September.

I have to gradually build up my discipline when it comes to shopping and learn to say no. It’s so easy to keep purchasing new items, but it’s much better to remix items and get the most wear out of them. When I walk around the store, I’m learning to turn things down because it looks like some version of an item I already own.

However, I will allow myself one clothing item and one accessory this month to soften the blow. A blouse from fredflare and a pendant watch necklace from Free People because they are season-less and classic.

Fall is quickly on its way (though it doesn’t feel like it) and I’m sure I have clothes for this season. One month of no-shopping can’t hurt and it’ll allow me to exercise better self-control when it comes to clothes.

Wish me luck! =)


Closing the Door to Banana Republic

23 Jul

When I got my Banana Republic credit card four years ago, I was super excited to enter the working world and pick up a new wardrobe to match. I almost made to Luxe status but I kept returning things that prevented me from upgrading to that level. After a while, I got settled with my clothing choices and slowly tapered off my purchases.

Since I haven’t been using the BR card regularly, the credit line has been gradually reduced and since my last purchase was in February, clearly BR and I have parted ways.

Like a ex that you still Facebook-stalk, I would window shop at the B&M store, check the new arrivals online, and put items in my shopping cart only to close the browser before proceeding to the checkout. Banana Republic…you were good to me, but it’s time to tie up the loose ends. I won’t be going to the B&M store or the website anymore, though I will still keep in touch with your cousins…GAP and Piperlime occasionally.

Yesterday, I officially closed my Banana Republic card.

I know, Banana Republic is a petite lifeline since they’re one of the few retailers that sell petite-specific work apparel. But my style is no longer in line with what BR is selling and I don’t really need basic wardrobe staples anymore.

It’s time to cut my losses and let go.

Goodbye Banana Republic.

Spring Cleaning Part Two

21 Jul

Click here for Part One.

It’s taken me a while to write this post because it’s hard to photograph your closet without it looking messy. Does anyone else have this problem?

Anyways, here’s the second half of my closet. There are definitely more clothes in this half and I’m missing less than 10 items that are either at the tailor or in the laundry.

It’s grouped by sleeve length, top length, sweaters, dresses, and work pants. I don’t color coordinate because I don’t have that many colors for each of the categories.

Below the rack are storage boxes for tees, camis, tanks, leggings, hosiery, undergarments, socks, etc.

To the far right corner are my shoes. At last count, I have 25 pairs of shoes and I’m trying to shave it down to 20, but that hasn’t been going very well as I can’t bear to part with my shoes.

I have 90 hangers on the rack currently (10 empty) and I won’t buy any more hangers. What’s hanging should be half to a third of my clothes because I want to have less than 365 clothing items. My closet already seems bloated, so adding more to it would be excessive.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll notice that you’ve seen the majority of these clothes in my outfit posts. I have few if any wardrobe orphans and I do try to mix and match everything so I can really maximize my clothes.

I’m slowly learning to live with less and I’ll be limiting new additions.

The only major clothing items missing are my seven pairs of blue jeans. Since it’s summer, I challenged myself to avoid wearing blue jeans for the entire three months (June-August) and instead wear more skirts, shorts, and dresses. When it’s cooler, I have four pairs of causal pants to wear, not including leggings. It’s my second year doing this challenge and it worked out well last time. So I hope this year will be the same.

Aside from jeans, I don’t have a hidden wardrobe or anything in storage. This is what I work with everyday and this is what I see everyday, although it might not be this neat.

For now, I have a good solid base and anything new either replaces an item or contribute something different. I’m scouting for unique signature pieces like high-waisted/wide leg herringbone/tweed trousers, patterned or architectural clothing, and fun accessories.

I used to think that I wanted a walk-in closet so I can fill it with all my things, but now that I have a lot of storage space in my apartment, I use less than half of it. If you can see from the full view of my closet, there’s space behind my rack of clothes which lies another hanging rack, which technically doubles my closet space, but it’s staying empty. I’d much rather keep everything on a smaller scale so I don’t have to “discover” new clothes that I forgot about with tags still attached to them.

Just Another Haircut

7 Jul

For a while now, I’ve been talking about cutting my hair to look like Carey Mulligan’s and I went for it this weekend.

My stylist was pretty excited and he thought that I would look fabulous. The other people in the salon looked at me like I lost my mind. I guess, to them, it was like I was giving up my femininity with short hair.

But I’d like to think that it adds to it. I look really different, but it’s kind of nice.

I don’t have to blow dry my hair, I can just add a bit of wax for texture, and the messier I style it, the better it looks!

My friends say that this cut shows my face more and my delicate features are better defined. When I had long hair, it hid my features so you couldn’t really tell what I look like.

Another plus is that I actually have volume in my hair now. I had the worst time making my hair fluffy and voluminous because the weight of my hair always pulls it down after a couple of hours and it just sticks to my scalp by the end of the day.

So far, I’m  having fun with my new haircut and it’s kind of exciting since I’ve NEVER had my hair this short before.

Photo credit goes to my friend S. for taking these snapshots.

Foodie-Ville: June Budget

2 Jul

This month, I paid more attention to how much I was spending on groceries.  In May, I spent a total of $391.01, with $130.61 on groceries and $260.40 on eating out.

This month, I did better on the grocery budget. I made a wheat brioche that tasted pretty good.

I bought cheese and two bottles of wine and was only about $5 over budget. Though, my sister left me with a bag of food from her apartment so that cushioned me for a few days.

June Total: $330.69

  • Groceries:$104.84
  • Eating Out: $225.85

Overall, I am $80.69 over budget, but it was due to two unexpected dinners.

First of all, one of my best friends broke up with her longtime boyfriend and I had dinner with her to make sure she was alright. So that was a an extra kick in the bucket, but it was necessary.

Second, I had an impromptu invite to my friend’s going away party since he’s heading off to law school. We went to a place he always wanted to go, Fogo de Chao, all-you-can-eat Brazilian BBQ. It cost me $73 just for myself, but perhaps the highlight of the evening was having Barry Bonds sitting next to us.

Here’s my friend’s surreptitious shot:

The food and service was amazing, but I wouldn’t really return again since it’s so expensive.

Next month should be better and I’ll need to scale back on the eating out once again. Another friend is leaving for medical school soon, so there will be another going away party…I hope it’s not another $70+ meal.

Foodie-Ville: Budgeting Update

17 Jun

It feels like summer…sort of. And it makes me hunger for cold dishes like somen, potato salad, and spring rolls.

Lately, I’ve been watching too many episodes of “The Naked Chef” a.k.a. Jamie Oliver. He has such simple recipes but he always tells you why certain ingredients are used to get the most out of it. It makes me want to be better at cooking and to better understand flavor combinations and profiles.

I cook quite regularly but it’s difficult to come up with creative dishes when you’re making it for yourself. And to minimize food expenses, I try to stock up on ingredients instead of products. I’d rather buy fresh tomatoes instead of purchasing tomato sauce. To me, it’s cheaper, healthier, and tastier. Plus, when I have fresh tomatoes, there’s more flexibility than a can of sauce.

Though I do have a food budget, I haven’t been keeping track regularly and it shows. I finally sat down and worked out the numbers for the past three months and they haven’t been pretty. My food budget is divided into two sections: groceries and eating out. Ideally, I would want to spend $100 on groceries and $150 on eating out.

How did I fare?

Continue reading

Remembering Our Natural Resources

1 Jun

When was the last time you drank from a public water fountain?

The last time I remember was probably before college, though I may have used one in a museum at one point or another. For some reason, I don’t think I would actually drink from the fountain pictured above.

Memorial Day has passed and I hope everyone had a relaxing holiday. When I’m reminded of all those people who gave their lives to protect our freedoms, I also think about how rich we are in natural resources. We seldom worry about the bare necessities like food, water, and shelter because it’s so available in America. But in other parts of the world, those fundamental items are lacking.

It is this perspective that has pulled me away from posting lately. Fashion and shopping seem trivial in light of this recent revelation.

I take a lot of things for granted, especially water since it’s included in my rent. California has been in a drought since 2007 and though we’re probably nearing the end of the drought period, I am still reminded that we shouldn’t waste anything.

Given the seemingly endless availability of water, I think some don’t believe that we have mandatory water rationing in effect. And to think, I’ve overheard diners complain that restaurants are providing water only upon request.

A while back I went to the Annenberg Space for Photography for the National Geographic exhibit called Water: Our Thirsty World. I ended up going back twice because it had such a profound impact on me. Can you imagine waking up at 4 AM to take a multi-mile long trek to bring a 5 gallon jug of water weighing 40 lbs back to your home?

I can barely carry my bi-weekly bags of groceries up the flight of stairs without thinking of pressing the elevator button much less a 40 lb jug of water! Living in a major metropolitan city has its perks and I best not forget how to appreciate them. l want to be better about watching my water consumption.

In my New Year’s Resolution, I wanted to diminish waste and be more environmentally savvy. Water conservation fits right into those goals. One step that I have avoided is bottled water since I think of it as excess, which is partly validated by this video about bottled water consumption.

It has been a while since I’ve put up challenges for myself so I’ll start again with June. Though I don’t buy bottled water, I do use water filters, which might as well be the same thing. I think the tap water tastes better after it’s been filtered but it might all be in my head. So for the month of June, it’s “Drink the Tap” month.