February 2017 favorites

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Because I didn’t buy a lot of stuff this month, my budget post is a bit lacking in content. To counter the shortness of that post, I thought I’d make a second post about some of my favorite things this month in TV, music and skincare.

feb-2017-faves

TV: Legion (FX)

I haven’t watched a TV show from week to week since undergrad but I’m now currently into three shows where I have to wait one week between episodes. As a seasoned (pun!) TV binger, the waiting is a bit annoying, but worth it so far.

Of the three shows, my favorite has to be Legion. At the time I’m writing this most, there are only three episodes so far but I’m so enamored by the show: the way it’s filmed, the color/art scheme, the way the story unfolds… everything. It’s not quite like anything I’ve ever watched before and I’m excited to see the season play out. So far, I haven’t been disappointed by an episode yet and I’m hoping it’ll stay that way. Dan Stevens is unrecognizable (Cousin Matthew who?) as the main character and is killing it as a supposed schizophrenic, powerful mutant. If you love stories with unreliable narrators which keep you guessing what’s truth and what’s fake, then you’ll really enjoy this show.

The plot is a bit hazy and can be a bit confusing but I think the show is focusing on fleshing out the characters and acquainting us with how the story will be told before diving into the nooks and crannies of the overall plot. So far, we know there are bad guys and good guys but we’re not entirely sure if that’s true at all. I love the uncertainty of everything we’re being shown.

While Legion is technically part of the Marvel family, if you watch the show without knowing that, you won’t be able to tell. Legion’s first episode is now near the top of my short “best pilots” list, joining the ranks of Breaking Bad and Lost. Only time will tell if the show is able to keep it up with the great episodes to secure a spot on my favorite shows of all time list.

Music: Cody by Joyce Manor (Spotify, Bandcamp)

As everyone around me knows, I’ve been on a major music mode recently. I go through phases where I want to listen to as much music as possible interspersed by phases where I can go a month or more without listening to any new music. This month has been one of those manic phases and I’ve become obsessed with the band Joyce Manor in particular.

I’ve listened to some songs on previous albums here and there, but their music never really clicked with me. The band is pretty popular within the music sphere my music tastes lie in, so I decided to give their new album, “Cody,” a try and holy bejeezus, I finally get the hype. Maybe I wasn’t in the “right” mindset when I listened to their older stuff because I’ve gone back and now really enjoy the older albums too. It’s a funny thing… this has happened to me in the past where I go months or years not really liking a band or artist and after giving something a(nother) listen at another point in time, I suddenly fall in love. Does anyone else experience this at all?

Out of all the Joyce Manor albums, I do like Cody the most; it’s my “gateway” album. I would say they band is pretty pop-punk but lean more towards the punk side of things. Cody is also their most polished and produced sounding album which I think helps highlight the pop aspects of the songs, adding to the catchiness while still getting a bit of an angry and forlorn undertone at the same time. My current favorite songs off the album are Make Me Dumb (unpopular opinion but there’s something about the different sound of this song that makes it my favorite), Angel in the Snow, Fake I.D. and This Song Is A Mess But So Am I, but honestly, they’re all good.

You can find me on Spotify here (username: shortofinfinity). I only have one public playlist at the moment but plan to add more.

Skincare: The Ordinary | Deciem

I recently discovered that ASOS (free shipping over $40!) carries some of the products by the skincare brand The Ordinary which is under the Deciem umbrella. I’ve been itching to try some of the stuff due to the simplicity of the products as well as the price point. My skin has never been good but has been more frustrating to deal with over the last few months due to the dry Michigan weather then the shock of humid Taiwan weather compounded by four long flights within a two week period. I ordered three items to try: the hyaluronic acid + B5 serum (ASOS), the niacinamide + zinc serum (ASOS) and the vitamin C suspension with HA spheres (ASOS). All the products and usage explanations are explained in detail on The Ordinary site.

I’ve been using the hyaluronic and niacinamide serums for about 2 weeks now and I’m really enjoying both. My skin seems to be doing better than before which is saying a lot because no matter what I tried, I couldn’t really make a dent in changing the texture of my skin. But now, things look a bit smoother and plumper and I feel like I have a bit of a natural glow compared to the rough dullness I previously had. In addition to hormonal acne, I struggle to keep my oily skin hydrated without compounding the oil production problem. With the very cold winters, my skin always feels tight and very oily at the same time. I also have a few hyperpigmented marks on my cheeks from breakouts that fade really slowly.

Both serums are the texture of gloopy water and sink into the skin quite quickly. I use the hyaluronic serum on mornings or nights when my skin is feeling really dry or after I do a peel or clay mask. I save the niacinamide serum for when my face is feeling a little spottier or unhappy, usually nights. I haven’t exclusively used either product for two weeks to see which one is better for my skin but I think my system of switching things up is working for me at the moment. The hyperpigmentation on my cheeks is still there but it does look like they’re slowly smoothing out which is a lot faster than normal. I’ve only tried the vitamin C suspension once which isn’t enough for me to form an opinion. I do think it’s different from anything I’ve ever tried- the thin lotion has a slight grainy texture. Due to the high amount of vitamin C, The Ordinary says you can cut the suspension with a moisturizer which sounds better to me than just applying the suspension all over my face because it’s not exactly a moisturizer on it’s own and it feels a bit strong on its own. I don’t have sensitive skin so it causes tingling on my skin rather than the burning others have experienced (see Gothamista’s reviews linked below).

Lastly, due to the cheap (relative to similar products by other brands like Glossier) prices, you can try a bunch of different products without completely breaking the bank. I’m really impressed by this brand and know I will definitely be repurchasing the serums because my skin hasn’t felt this hydrated (and not papery) in forever. I am also interested in trying some other items in their line. For more in depth reviews, I think Gothamista’s YouTube reviews (part one, part two) were very informative.

Hope that was somewhat interesting! I enjoy sharing the things I love with other people and don’t want to talk the ears off the people around me so this is a nice alternative 🙂

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February 2017 clothing budget

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I managed to continue to keep my clothing spending below $100 which is a huge achievement for me. Here’s what I got this month:feb 2017.png

1. Independent Trading Co. Unisex Zip Hooded Sweatshirt in black via Amazon – $19.50 (originally $31.50, also here)
2. Baggu Duck Bag in black via Poshmark – $18.49 ($30 at Baggu, $26 at Nordstrom for old patterns)

Budget: $100
Spent: $37.99

As a graduate student, I own about four to five hoodies and all but one of them are from Independent Trading Co. I first discovered this brand when I bought a Jack’s Mannequin hoodie at a concert back in high school. I loved how soft the fleece-y inside was and upon a quick Google search, found the manufacturer produced hoodies and sweatshirts in a ton of colors and thicknesses. I pretty much live in hoodies all year around; they’re my outer layer in spring/fall and fit under down coats in winter.

Independent Trading Co. are my favorite hoodie brand, and I have been buying from them for about ten years now and the quality has been consistently good for over a decade. I’m actually on my third black hoodie of this style which means each one has an average lifespan of ~3 years which isn’t bad at all considering they get worn at least a few times a week. My 3-year-old hoodie still looks black and not gray. The area that wears down the fastest for me is the cloth where the zipper is attached. I’ve gotten holes in this area on two hoodies but the holes are usually accompanied by thin patches all over. I get a small in the unisex style for an oversized comfy fit. I’ll probably be buying my hoodies from them until they no longer sell them.

It was also time to replace another staple in my wardrobe. I absolutely love my Baggu Duck bag. It’s the perfect everyday school bag for me. It holds an astounding amount of stuff (think Hermione’s magic bottomless bag), is the perfect length and the adjustable long strap is great for shorties like me. There’s a small pocket where I usually keep a pen, chapstick, a flashdrive, keys and hand sanitizer. I have a desktop computer in lab so I don’t have to bring my laptop to campus. My laptop would fit snugly in the bag but is awkward to carry. On days I have to bring my computer, I use a backpack.

I’ve had my maroon Baggu Duck bag for about 3 years now and the durable canvas is beginning to show signs of wear and tear at the bottom corners. The tiny holes don’t affect the bag’s utility at all but I’ve been thinking about replacing it for a few months now. Baggu comes out with different colors every season so I’m bummed the maroon color is no longer available but thought black will go with everything. The Duck bags used to be $26 but recently went up to $30. I was able to find a brand new one on Poshmark for cheaper but if my quick search didn’t yield any results, I would’ve just bought it at full price considering the resulting cost per wear.

That’s all I bought in terms of clothing (and accessories) this month! Both items were replacements.

I feel like I’m on a roll and am going to try and keep it up with this $100 clothing budget for next month. I’ve ordered some stuff to try (they haven’t arrived yet so keep an eye for next month’s post about what items I keep). I’ve been mostly on a makeup and skincare kick and have found some new favorite things I might make a post about in the future.

As always, linking up with other budgeting bloggers over at Franish!

January 2017 clothing budget

This post contains affiliate links.

Like last month, I tried to keep my budget below $100 to try and recover from Christmas present shopping, and I was quite successful if I say so myself.

Here’s what I got this month:
january-20171. Madewell Bedtime Pajama Shorts in Llama-Rama – $14.00 (originally $29.50)
2. Gap Cozy modal stripe mockneck top in black stripe- $8.98 (originally $29.95)
3. Gap Wide-leg crop brushed pants in true black – $13.19 (originally $59.95)
4. Gap Softspun fleece mockneck sweater – $14.39 (originally $49.95, sold out, similar: H&M, H&M, Madewell)
5. HUF Fuck It Black Leather Half Zip Wallet – $19.99 (via Zumiez, originally $29.95)

Budget: $100
Spent: $70.55

It may seem weird that I’m buying sleeping shorts in the dead of Michigan winter, but my apartment building is controlled by a central thermostat and is set by the landlord. My top-floor apartment happens to get sweltering hot during the winter unless I open the windows. I’ve been sleeping in shorts to avoid getting sweaty at night and needed a second pair. I saw these red llama-print shorts online during a promo. The fabric is thinner than I expected but great for not over heating and didn’t shrink when washed. I probably could’ve sized down to an XS in these due to the elastic waist but the roominess is nice.

I went a little overboard at Gap during a 40% off promo because I’ve been bored with most of my clothing but ended up returning most of my order. I ended up only keeping the items marked as final sale and therefore were non-returnable. I probably would’ve returned the mockneck top if I could’ve but it’s a nice soft slinky material so I’ll be using it for layering under sweaters because I hate wearing scarves. My neck is also quite short so mocknecks are a great way for me to get on board with the mockneck/turtleneck trend and still look like I have a neck.

Speaking of trends, I’ve also been wanting a pair of culotte-cut pants. Since it’s winter, most of the pants on sale are of thicker material which I don’t think would look flattering on my thicker thighs. But this pair are made of decently thick cotton but not as structured as others I’ve seen. With the good reviews, I decided to take a risk and get these for my trip to Taiwan which took place at the end of January. These were perfect for tropical winter weather: airy enough to combat the humidity but enough coverage to combat the “cold” (in the 60s but windy). I got the regular length, which reached above my ankle, rather than the petite length to avoid looking shorter than I already am. The fabric is also just swoosh-y enough to avoid looking too stiff and awkwardly wide.

My favorite item of my Gap order was this marled mockneck sweater. It’s fleecy and super cozy. It doesn’t have much stretch so it’s hard to push up the sleeves (which I always do even though it stretches things out) to avoid my sleeves from touching dirty surfaces when I’m doing lab work. I got lots of compliments when I wore it out which is always a good sign. Only thing that I’m worried about is how this item will wash. The exact item is sold out but I’ve linked similar items above.

Lastly, I returned the APC wallet I got last month after seeing it in person. The leather creased badly at the edge when the wallet is opened and the zipper stuck horribly at the corners. It looked quite beautiful but it just wasn’t up to the standard I was expecting. Also, knowing my clumsy tendencies, the smooth leather was likely going to be scratched within a week. After I returned the APC wallet, I did a spontaneous quick Google search for this HUF wallet I’ve been wanting since seeing it on a blog somewhere two years ago (which has been sold out since two years ago). Imagine my surprise when I actually saw it for sale and on sale! I bought it within five minutes. I know the embossed expletive won’t be to everyone’s tastes but it’s perfect to me. The lettering is small enough so that I’ll likely be the only one who knows it’s there and it serves as a perfect reminder that I shouldn’t take things too seriously or personally. The pebbled leather is also less likely to noticeably scratch. The zipper doesn’t stick and overall, the wallet is pretty much the same design as the old Skagen wallet I use now. I used my old wallet while in Taiwan but will be switching to this one once I get back to Michigan.

I was in Taiwan over Chinese New Year and despite getting quite a few red envelopes, I’ll be saving those funds or have them go towards rent instead. For next month, I’d like to keep my budget within $100 again. I just have too much stuff and will also continue purging stuff from my closet which I usually list on Poshmark.

I did buy a bunch of skincare and makeup whilst in Taiwan and will try to make a post about those items once I have a chance to try some of the things.

Hope everyone had a nice first month of this year despite all the insanity.

As always, check in with other bloggers who budget over at Franish!