December 2016 clothing budget

This post contains affiliate and referral links.

It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these, but I have been trying to stick to a monthly clothing budget for the last year. I’ve been fairly successful staying within budget month to month and since I’ve been keeping track of purchases on my phone via Google Sheets, I thought this is a simple enough post to write up.

In anticipation of buying presents for people, I decided to decrease my personal clothing budget down to $100 or less this month. Which would have happened if not for the A.P.C. sale that’s currently happening.

december-2016

1. H&M knit hat – $4.99 (originally $9.99)
2. H&M sweatshirt – $9.99
3. A.P.C. Gregoire wallet – $117.50 (originally $235, sold out at A.P.C. but also on sale here)
4. Uniqlo Heattech v-neck top – $9.90 (originally/now $14.99)
5. Uniqlo Heattech crewneck top – $9.90 (originally/now $14.99)
6. Everlane cotton u-neck  – $14 (originally $20, used credit)
7. Everlane medium stripe crew  – $14 (originally $18, used credit)

Budget: $100
Spent: $152.28

A friend and I spontaneously decided to go to the mall and shop the After-Christmas sales. I ended up picking up the two H&M items above. I’ve wanted a soft knit beanie for a while especially during the recent blasting cold winds and this one is super soft and I don’t find it itchy at all. I’ve also wanted a simple black sweatshirt for a while and this one was a great light-medium weight and soft and the right price. I’ve tried staying away from fast-fashion brands but I’ve come to the terms that it’s not easy to pass up the prices when living on a graduate student stipend. I picked up a few other items but due to long fitting room lines, didn’t try them on but am planning to return those things after trying them on at home.

I’ve been using a Skagen half-zip leather wallet for the better part of a year and it’s getting a bit beat up. The Comme des Garçons Zip-Around Wallet is the wallet of my dreams but they’re never on sale and I can’t bring myself to spring $285 for a wallet. I thought about the Everlane Square Zip Wallet but couldn’t find any reviews online about the quality and decided to pass on it for the moment. I was casually browsing the A.P.C. sale online (as one does) and saw the Gregoire style wallet in black leather in the men’s sale section. I hemmed and hawed before finally pulling the trigger. I decided it would be my Christmas present to myself for the year. I’m hoping the A.P.C. brand name proceeds itself and the wallet will hold up for a while.

It got really cold really quickly about a month ago and I wasn’t prepared. I only have one Uniqlo Heattech shirt and wanted to get a few more as undershirts for sweaters so picked up two of them during a promotion.

Lastly, thank you to anyone who has made an Everlane purchase with my referral link. I was able to pick up two t-shirts using credit during their expanded Choose What You Pay range. I’m a fan of their crewneck shirts even though they’re a little long on me and have wanted to try one of the striped ones (love the red!). I’ve also been wanting to add more gray basics to my closet and picked up the grey/white microstripe in my favorite Everlane t-shirt style: the u-neck (reviewed here).

Going to try and keep my clothing budget under $100 for January since I don’t feel like I have any major gaps in my closet at the moment and need to recover from buying presents for friends and family 🙂

Linking up with Franish and other budgeting bloggers here.

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Review: Maison Miru Tiny Crystal Stud Earrings

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. The earrings were paid for with my own money. I just wanted to share my thoughts on this product since I couldn’t find many reviews before I ordered mine.

Maison Miru is a jewelry brand that has recently come to my attention when I saw their ad on Instagram that said they were giving away pairs of their Tiny Crystal Studs ($29) to celebrate the launch of their “Ear Bar” (a section of their earrings that are mostly stud earrings).

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My pair of Maison Miru Tiny Crystal Stud Earrings

You have to pay the price of shipping ($6.99) for the free pair of Tiny Crystal Studs but I thought that $6.99 was a reasonable price to get to try out the brand as well as the earrings. I’ve amassed quite a large collection of stud earrings (my favorite type) but actually didn’t have any simple crystal/jewel earrings on the more “professional” side. The first time I tried to place an order, they were sold out of the studs but they have since restocked (link at the bottom of this post).

After placing the order, my earrings were shipped that same day. I told one of my friends who also loves stud earrings about this deal, and she also placed an order. Her earrings also shipped the same day and actually arrived the next day (the brand is based in NY and my friend is in CA) which is pretty amazing. My earrings took a bit longer to arrive to MI but we had been having weather delays due to snow that week. Still, they arrived just 1-2 days later than expected which isn’t a big deal.

First impressions of the earrings out of the packaging were noticing how small and dainty they were despite the size being listed in the description (3mm) and seeing the pictures of someone modeling the earrings. If you have multiple piercings, I’d say these would look best in a second or third piercing if the main earring is larger than these studs. But I think they look simple and pretty if they’re the only earrings you’re wearing. I have a second lobe piercing on my right ear with a small black stud, and the Maison Miru studs are about the same size, so I feel like I can get away with wearing them together since the black stud doesn’t overwhelm the Maison Miru ones.

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These studs are made of “14k gold plated brass with high quality CZ crystal.” I haven’t had any metal allergic reactions to any earrings before, so I can’t really speak about the metal quality for someone who is more sensitive.

After wearing these earrings several times, some of my main issues with the earrings are that the butterfly backing is a little difficult to get onto the stem (it’s super tight) so it’s hard to put on and to take off. In addition, the stem of the earring bends fairly easily which adds to the difficulty of putting them on and taking them off (see photos; you’ll notice the stems aren’t necessary straight). I’ll keep an eye on how these earrings hold up over time but after wearing them a handful of times, I’ve had to bend back the post multiple times and am worried it might eventually snap. This will only be a problem for someone like me who like sleeping in earrings with a butterfly backing.

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Comparison: The Madewell Staccato Stud Earrings are my everyday earrings. They’re also described as 3mm but look larger than the Maison Miru Tiny Crystal Stud. Notice the bend in the earring stem of the Maison Miru stud.

Overall, I do think that for $6.99, these earrings are worth it despite my concerns. However, I haven’t had them long enough to say whether I think they’re worth the full price of $29/pair. I do like the convenience of how Maison Miru sells their earrings as pairs or as single studs (in case you have an odd number of piercings like me or if you lose just one earring).

If you’re interested in trying out a pair of the Tiny Crystal Studs for the price of shipping, the link can be found here.

Starting anew

Hello world. I’ve decided to try and start blogging again. Previously, I could be found at misCELLany which was a blog shared between me and my friend Tammy as a fun project while we studied at different schools across the country. However, neither of us are particularly good bloggers and our postings petered off.

On a bit of a whim, I’ve decided to try and resurrect blogging activities (now on a separate space) where I have a completely blank slate. I am currently a graduate student pursuing a PhD in the biomedical sciences field, and I’ve been having a difficult time recently on multiple levels. As a kid, I always had various creative outlets (art, playing musical instruments, etc.) and since undergrad, I’ve lost most of those hobbies that I didn’t realize helped ground me in a positive headspace. I’m hoping by blogging, I can bring back a little bit of a creative outlet back into my life.

This blog will mostly be a collection of my thoughts and random science ramblings mixed in with posts relating to my mild shopping addiction.

Case in point: At the moment, I’m currently listening to The Misfits’s Static Age album while waiting for part of my experiment to finish spinning down instead of reading something for class. Good to know I have my priorities in the right place.

Top Three #3

Time for another top three!

1. Brand New [music]

I finally got to see my favorite band live for the first time. Truly a surreal experience. Throughout the whole concert, I was oddly calm but it keeps hitting me in waves that I got to experience them live. Judging from Youtube videos, they can be hit or miss depending on whether they’re feeling it, but they were fantastic last night. I wish I could say the say about the crowd. The crowd/atmosphere was a bit disappointing (venue was on a college campus so a lot of undergrads/younguns) but I think I managed to stand in a pretty good spot/enough of hardcore fans around me to get me excited too. At concerts/large gatherings, I’m that fan in the crowd with his/her arms crossed because I honestly don’t know how else to behave/express myself but other fans’ energies get me to loosen up a bit.

But holy crap. Such a fantastic night. Major thanks to my two friends I convinced to go with me (story of my life haha). I have yet to find my music soulmate-friend.

2. Speakers [things]

When I initially moved to Michigan, I ran out of room for my nice (aka heavy) three piece speaker set and only had room for my $10 pair that my dad bought for me at Fry’s like five years ago. I’ve been using the $10 pair for most of my first year but last time I was home (May), I was determined to fit my nice speakers into my luggage. Once back at school, I immediately pulled them out and oh man, music/TV/movies have not sounded better since. (And seeing how the $10 pair are still in perfect working condition, I brought them into lab since I don’t mind them getting all grody with science).

3. Kayaking [life]

I’ve caught the kayaking bug. Being on the water seems like a big part of summer life here in Michigan, whether it’s tubing, kayaking, canoeing, etc. A few weekends ago, I went kayaking for the first time in years with a group of friends who were similarly unexperienced. And I went canoeing the following week with a friend who just moved to the area.

The first and last time I went kayaking was probably in middle school and it was kayaking in the Baylands (so like… no current). I was in the back seat of like a three person kayak where the front two people were two dudes. So you have this petite Asian girl, kayaking for the first time, trying to steer a whole kayak through narrow passages where the dudes barely paddled because they thought it’d be funny. I ended up ramming us into a bank by accident and then they realized I physically was not able to move the thing by myself and started helping. But I really love being on the water.

Anyway, today, I went kayaking for the first time since then and it was amazing. I went with three others and was in a kayak with one of the ones who had never kayaked before. One of the best days I’ve had in so long. It’s so much fun and it doesn’t feel like exercise but man, got an arm work out in since my friend was paddling for the first time.

panoramic creeper shot of my friend 🙂

It’s definitely a wet and messy experience but it’s totally worth it. Would highly recommend and my graduate program has a kayaking/tubing/canoeing trip planned for later this month. Got to get my tan on before the sun disappears.

Bespoke Post reviews: Roam and Vibes

All boxes reviewed were bought with my own money. However, this post contain a coupon and referral link at the end.

Hi everyone! I just want to do a review about the two Bespoke Post boxes I got these past two months. If you’ve never heard of Bespoke Post before, it’s sort of like Birchbox Man where the box is more lifestyle geared. Bespoke Post offers themed boxes and releases new boxes every month and you’re able to get past month’s boxes as long as they’re still in stock. While Bespoke Post is aimed towards men, I find it the boxes/items to be gender neutral and always well curated (sleek and minimal are the words that come to mind). This review is mostly for the Vibes box, but I’ll talk a little bit about the Roam one too.

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Top Three #2

This post contains affiliate links.

Time for another top three!

1. Wildlife by La Dispute [music]

I’ve mentioned this band so many times on this blog but these guys are just so amazing. I’ve been listening exclusively to their earlier two full lengths and they get better each time.

2. Textured Cross-Back Pullover from Banana Republic [fashion/shopping]

This sweater was on sale last week and with an extra 50% off (ended up being $25!), I couldn’t help but pick it up. I usually don’t understand/like many trends but this crossback design caught my eye and I feel like I can still wear it after it’s no longer trendy (I see similar designs everywhere so I’m assuming it’s a trend…). I love the color (I got the light blue one), the feel of the fabric (weighted and textured but cool), the different ways (sleeveless or long sleeve collared button up underneath, tank underneath, paired with a jacket/scarf) I can wear it, the way it looks on me and how I don’t have anything like it. So much win.

3. Peaches/nectarines [food]

Summer is possibly my least favorite month of the year (yeah, I know). I hate the heat/sun, sweating, the clothing and especially here in Michigan, the humidity. However, the one saving grace of summer are the fruit. I love peaches and nectarines. I buy maybe 5-10 a week to keep up with my cravings. I’ve only been able to find good yellow peaches and nectarines so far but I’m hoping the white ones (I could probably only eat white peaches and nectarines for the rest of my life) will be available soon! So so yummy. Thank you nature!

Those are my (maybe trivial) top three things at the moment. I’m going to try and write up Everlane reviews later today (I think I have like 5+ items). But I did a huge Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic haul that I just took all the pics for… So there’s that coming up. 😁

-amy

Top Three #1

In an effort to try and blog more regularly, I’m going to attempt to post my top three things that I’ve been digging over the week (or two weeks). So without further ado:

1. Gilmore Girls / Gossip Girl [TV]

I finished yet another Gilmore Girls rewatch (I’ve lost count) this week (aka today) and was about to rewatch the series yet again when I decided I wanted to watch something new (to me) and ended up watching Gossip Girl. Back when it first came out, I watched a few episodes here and there during the earlier seasons but by the time season 3 premiered, I had no idea what was going on. Since it’s the show that all my friends were obsessed with and watched during high school and college, I decided to give it a go. Better late than never, right? But man, the music and fashion is so nostalgic. But I’m totally addicted… I forgot that there was a time where Blair and Chuck weren’t together.

2. Baking [life]

Recently, I find myself baking something pretty much every week. It’s mostly because I love eating baked goods and I live in a part of town where there’s no where close by that sells baked goods. But within the past two weeks, I’ve made lemon blueberry bread, banana bread, shortbread cookies and a no-bake Oreo cheesecake. I’ve pretty much perfected my banana bread and shortbread cookies recipes at this point. The lemon blueberry bread was just okay. I think I’ll try just a plain blueberry bread/muffin next. But holy cow, the no-bake Oreo cheesecake was amazing.

 

yum yum in my tum

 
3. Taylor Swift’s 1989 [music]

I haven’t really listened to Taylor Swift since high school when I had to write a review of various albums for my school’s newspaper, but after hearing a lot of her recent singles, I decided to give her latest album a go. I’m not in love with many of the songs on the album (I think most are just average), but I’m in love with Blank Space and Style. Like I have not been able to stop listening to these two songs for the past two weeks (and I’ve just been letting the album play on). So catchy and the whole album reminds me of 90s pop.

That’s it for this week. Hope everyone had a lovely Independence (or Canada) Day!

-amy