August 1st, 2014

exploring san francisco // the sunset neighborhood.


July 31st, 2014

outfit no. 90

Well, summer school is officially over in my world and a few precious weeks of vacation stretch languorously in front of me. I do still have a curriculum to plan and classes that have not yet been assigned, but, without explicitly outlining the details of my next several weekends, I will simply state that my free days will be filled with visits from both family and friends. I am very excited because my family has never visited me outside of Texas and I am still experiencing debilitating and unanticipated waves of occasional homesickness.

Overall, this summer has been a strange one. We started out in May, roadtripping through a snowstorm, and wound up in San Francisco where summer means sweaters and fog. I’ve gone to the beach, with a blanket and pants, and utterly lost the suntan I gained on our cruise. My uniform these days is more long-sleeved than cropped. This is the outfit I wore on our brewery adventure and simply forgot to post it. Also, this outfit is a repeat offender (with different shoes) and I still love it to pieces. Wear what works, and then wear it again (and again).

Shirt: J. Crew // Pants & Shoes: UO (old)

July 30th, 2014

frugal & fabulous // franziska from franish.

It’s been a while since I posted a Frugal & Fabulous interview. Between moving to San Francisco and starting my new job, I’ve let a few blog things fall by the wayside.  However, I am still focused on thrifty fashion and being creative with less trend-shopping. This interview is with Franziska from Franish, one of my all-time favorite style bloggers. I’ve been following her Budgeting Blogger series for quite a while now and I like that she posts accessible style for grad-students and ladies with jobs.

DSC01356How many pieces of clothing do you own?
Not including work out or sleeping clothes, I own roughly 175 pieces of clothing.

In what ways do you maintain a frugal lifestyle? Do you ever thrift or make your own clothes?
As a medical student living off of student loans, I set a portion of my loan money aside each semester as my clothing budget. My school has a fairly strict dress code, which means I can’t wear a certain percentage of my closet on a daily basis. I try really hard to stick to my budget each quarter, so that once the money is gone, I can’t buy anything. I used to do a lot more thrift shopping when I wasn’t in school, and I highly recommend it for anyone who has the time! There are so many gems to be found in thrift stores.

What is your personal style philosophy?
You have to do you. As a “style blogger”, it could be really easy for me to get sucked into thinking I need to follow every trend, but I strive to stay true to myself and life style. I love matching accessories, and others may think that’s overkill. I like stripes and polka dots, and others mind find that childish, but I love them and so I wear them a ton. Wear what makes you happy and comfortable!

What is one piece that you feel you could build an entire wardrobe around?
A really great blazer, because you can dress it up for work with a matching pant and sleek blouse, or with a sexy pair of jeans and heels for a night out, or you can dress it down with distressed jeans and flats. It always looks pulled together while being super comfortable. And they don’t have to be a super expensive purchase – there are tons in thrift stores just waiting to be dry cleaned and worn (I’ve found several J.Crew schoolboy blazers at my local Goodwill!)

How often do you purchase new pieces for your wardrobe?
It honestly depends on my school schedule. If I have a bit more time to browse the internet and looking for deals, I probably make an online purchase once a week (I refuse to pay for shipping costs though!). Sometimes I’ll go close to a month and not buy anything, and then I’ll be out of town for a day and stop at a mall and use my whole “monthly” budget.

 What do you do to keep your closet interesting without constantly adding more items?
As I put my laundry away (…every couple of weeks), I go through and look at my clothes and try to pick out a few things I haven’t worn in a while and think of how I can wear it. No matter how much purging of my closet I do, I always have a few things I just don’t wear as often, so I make an effort to pull them out and give them another shot. Also, cheap accessories add a touch of fun and a new look without costing a lot. I love the scarves from Forever 21, and accessories from online resellers like 9th and Elm, or Groopdealz offer inexpensive jewelry that can add a bit of excitement to any outfit!

DSC01235Don’t forget to check out Franish & follow her on Twitter + Instagram.

July 28th, 2014

outfit no. 89 // my birthday suit.

I was actually sort of dreading my 28th birthday. I’m not sure why, it wasn’t for any real, specific reason — more of an intangible sense, a feeling of something distinctly anxious that I couldn’t quite pinpoint. Then, perhaps in one of the universe’s classically paradoxical twists of fate, I found myself entering my 28th year with a sense of security and contentment in both my professional and personal life. Things that I had questioned previously just seemed to fall into place, all in the span of a day.

This is what I wore for my birthday trip to Japantown with Jared; we ate ramen, played arcade games, drank iced Thai tea, and it was all wonderful. I thrifted this black & white shift dress for $6 during my first or second week here in San Francisco. I’ve been unintentionally saving it for some sort of special occasion because this was my first time to wear it. Normally, I shy away from shift dresses and tend to opt for a more fitted frock, but I couldn’t resist this one. I really like pairing my monochromatic outfits with a red lipstain and/or statement jewelry. I actually bought that bracelet with a gift card I received for my last birthday — it’s all come full circle!

Dress: thrifted in SF // Tights: Target // Shoes: Ross // Bracelet: Sam Moon

July 25th, 2014

my take on being a minimalist.

When I first started reading about minimalism, I began with some rather extreme resources — blogs that were basically minimalist porn instead of something I could realistically aspire to. But, I was unemployed and had nothing better to do with my time, so down the minimalist rabbit hole I went. Initially, I thought that minimalism meant you had to throw out everything and become a “digital nomad” with a backpack, 100 things to your name, and (of course) a perfectly styled instagram, when really that’s not true at all.

Eventually, I picked and chose the pieces of minimalism that resonated with me and, in stark contrast to the constant consumerism I was caught up in a few years ago, I am far more intentional about my choices now. I have rules. When I buy a new piece of clothing, I get rid of another, I thrift most of my clothing, I try to spend money only on consumable items (makeup, hair products, food) that don’t create excess waste or clutter, and the money I have left over I spend on experiences (eating out, travel), I don’t purchase many new books and instead utilize the library or my Kindle — the best clutter-free device of all time.

I don’t think I can advocate for everyone to move cross-country with no furniture, but that’s what we did. After several moves, I’ve gained a fairly clear insight into which of my physical belongings I consider necessary and important. Although we did have to buy some items upon our arrival in San Francisco, we were selective. I got a couch off Craigslist ($80 used, versus $248 new at Ikea) and the other odds and ends either directly from Ikea or secondhand. Ultimately, I like having less furniture for several reasons — it’s faster to clean the apartment, the three of us (2 people + 1 dog) fit easily in our little box with space to spare, and aesthetically I find it pleasing.

To me, minimalism is about downsizing the physical clutter in your life in order to downsize the mental clutter. I don’t have to think about cleaning the apartment because it’s not really a chore — there is nothing to dust or search under. Also, if I am not spending my money on things I think we just “have to have”, I can save for future investments (whatever those may be), pay off my student loans or use it for adventuring. There shouldn’t be any specific or universal rules for minimalism. Make it your own brand. If you have 30 things or 300 things, it’s all about being conscious of your buying and spending habits, simplifying and enjoying the things you look at on a daily basis.

Minimalism is still somewhat aspirational to me, and I hesitate to call myself a minimalist — I own six pairs of pants after all, le gasp! But my word for 2014 is simplify, and I think I’ve been at least somewhat successful in taking purposeful, conscious strides toward becoming more of a minimalist.

“In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

July 24th, 2014

our minimalist living area.

I don’t really know what to call this area because it’s our office / dining room / living room. I think it’s accurate to say that we do the most of our living in here though. This room makes me so incredibly thankful that we managed to get a 1-bedroom apartment rather than a studio. Although I think we could have made a studio apartment work, it’s nice to be able to close the doors and get a bit of privacy or separation when one of us needs quiet.
The dining set is actually made up of mismatched, and intentionally small, Ikea patio furniture — we eat breakfast there every morning before work and I also do a lot of my graduate school studying while sitting in those turquoise chairs. I find that attempting to “hit the books” in our bed or on the sofa just causes me to nap or watch Kitchen Nightmares instead of actually, you know, working. The sofa was an $80 Craigslist find. The end tables are from Ikea and serve dual purposes as sometimes dinner table and occasional office desk, they are perhaps least often actually end tables. Our entertainment center is a piece of wood that I stapled a leftover bedroom curtain to in an attempt to hide Jared’s video games and the multiple cords necessary to operate our Korean TV (yes, we brought a small TV back from Korea) and Playstation. With just a few additions, we managed to make a strange space very livable and suited to our particular needs.

If you missed our minimalist bedroom, click here.

July 23rd, 2014

outfit no. 88

It was uncharacteristically warm today and I donned a short-sleeve (!!!) dress for a brisk walk to the library. Have I mentioned how much I love living a block from the library? Because I do. I got my San Francisco public library card within the first five days of being in the city and I’ve already used it enough to deem the moderate amount of effort necessary to procure it worthwhile. Currently, I am working through several of Richard Brautigan’s stories. I discovered his writing a couple of summers ago and now I tend to read at least one of his novels when the weather gets warm.

The dress I’m wearing is from ModCloth, but I snagged it via a Swapdom swap instead, which fit my (nonexistent) budget much better. The purse is from Little Odd Forest, a Singapore-based indie lifestyle label that focuses on whimsy as their aesthetic. The owner was nice enough to send me one of her “Fern Dreams” sling bags to style, and I must say, it is very sturdy, moreso than I anticipated; plus the stormy grey and blue with mustard bird embroidery makes me think of San Francisco. It’s the perfect everyday bag. I know I usually only post one outfit photo, but since I switched up my purse game (which is a rare occurrence) I thought — what the hell, let’s get crazy and post two.

Dress & Tights: ModCloth (swapped) // Hat & Shoes: Korea // Purse: c/o Little Odd Forest (exact)

July 22nd, 2014

exploring san francisco // bbq, voodoo brew & ocean beach.

The best thing about San Francisco is the friendly population. We’ve gotten the opportunity to hang out with a lot of like-minded and fun people. These same locals are also fabulous resources for pointing us in the direction of  the city’s hidden gems. This past weekend we were invited to come along with one of Jared’s co-workers on a Saturday in the city adventure. First, we had lunch at Tommy’s Joynt — a cafeteria style BBQ restaurant with a pretty solid cocktail selection. I had a turkey enchilada and Jared opted for a turkey sloppy joe. Amazing home-style comfort food, the likes of which I have not experienced in some time. I’d like to go back and try the buffalo chili.
We continued over to Triple VooDoo Brewery. We all tried a few of the samples and I settled on a small 8oz. of the honey brew. Honestly, I didn’t really care for any of the beers I tried, but I am not a connoisseur (or even a fan) by any means. I did like the industrial decor, fancy glasses, location in the Dogpatch neighborhood and the fact that the brewery was dog friendly, several pups hung out with us, providing complimentary puppy kisses while we lounged in well-worn leather chairs. I took some photos of the graffitied cranes nearby, but there are a ton of old warehouses I’d love to come back and photograph. It’s such a cool area; Jared described it as similar to Gotham, and I can’t disagree. It was oddly desolate and primarily composed of iron and glass. Slowly, I am becoming more familiar with San Francisco’s notorious microhoods. We ended the day with a trip to Ocean Beach and a shot of Fernet — because that’s a thing here, apparently.

July 21st, 2014

outfit no. 87

Jared is playing country music and I can hear the dulcet tones of steel guitar drifting from underneath the door. Country music and Tex-Mex food are the two things I miss most about Texas (aside from our families, obviously). When I came back from Korea it was the first bite of carnitas and George Strait on my truck’s radio that brought me back to reality. I dream in perfectly picturesque images of cerulean swimming holes, Crystal Beach camping trips and post-weekend suntans. And, while I’m loving the foggy, cool San Francisco summer, there’s a part of me that longs for the obscenely hot, always humid Texas weather. I miss the muddy, Gulf Coast waters and outdoor grilling and Shiner beer. Summer is always my favorite season, it also makes me the most homesick.

I already posted this outfit on Instagram, but it made me happy — so here it is again. I think I may need to buy a couple more pairs of ModCloth tights this year because I’ve almost worn out my three favorite pairs (mustard, maroon and grey). I bought the leopard skirt last summer and I have worn it a lot over the course of this past year — remixed here & here. Apparently, I like pairing it with boots.

Shirt: Ross // Skirt: Target // Sweater: American Eagle (thrifted) // Tights: ModCloth // Boots: Old Navy

July 18th, 2014

pressing restart: an accidental tech purge.

I’ve found that life is primarily composed of minute tragedies and our response to them is what shapes our perception of the happier moments.

I have a USB drive that I’ve held onto since college. It’s 4 gigs, from back when that was a large and impressive number for a USB drive. We’ve been through a lot together and that drive has maintained an ongoing collection of the flotsam from my professional life (the recent and  important bits backed up on an additional external hardrive, for the most part). This past Monday, through a series of unfortunate technological events, that USB drive was “shot” (as it was described to me) and I lost every single thing on it.

I expected to cry, to lament my documents upon documents stored within it’s deceptively small metallic fold. I lost the bad poetry I wrote after a college breakup, my sophomore year. I lost the first lesson plan I made six years ago. I know I probably lost some screenshots of playing Final Fantasy online.

Instead, I felt numb. Nothing. I thought, perhaps my emotions are shot too.

They aren’t.

I think in some ways, I was simply ready to let that stuff go. What’s the point of hanging onto things that don’t matter in any significant way anymore. I will never need that shitty lesson plan again, why didn’t I delete it long ago? The universe had simply done what I was too scared to do — press restart.

Professionally, I am carving a road not taken for myself. At some point in my life I took a pretty huge detour from any moderate plans I may have had six years ago. I’ve started over more times than I care to count — in a myriad of different ways. I am a cat. I have nine lives, this is only my second or third. And yet, I was still clinging relentlessly and uselessly to a few remnants of that old existence.

No longer.