Fall Wish List

School starts in just under a week, and I. AM. PUMPED.  I’m serious!  I am very excited to meet my new students, and I am in pretty in love with my new school so far.  I kind of think my new vice principal wants to be best friends for life (in a completely platonic way).

Going back to school wouldn’t be complete without a little perusing of the fall fashions, and there are a few pieces I would love to get my hands on:

1.  Thick black leggings/jeggings

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My post on not understanding leggings as pants is one of my post popular posts (you all need to lay off looking for photos of people’s bums through see-through leggings…), but this is different.  I have a problem with thin leggings as pants.  Thick ones, as long as you can rock them with confidence, are fine with me.  Really.  I want a pair that I am not afraid to show my bum in, so they have to be thick material.  Anyone have any good places to look?

2.  Black riding boots

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I am in shoe love with riding boots.  My brown ones were definitely worn a LOT last year, and I would love to expand my boot collection with a pair of black or gray boots.

3.  Fall dresses

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Pinterest does two things to me:  makes me hungry and makes me wish I could shop without money being an issue.  I see all of these beautiful fall dresses that inspire me, and I want them all!  Just look at how scrumptious these dresses are.  Don’t you want them, too?  No?  Well, you could always buy them for me then.  Just a thought.

4.  Chambray shirt

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This trend totally got me today.  During my district new teacher orientation, one of the special education directors was wearing a gorgeous tailored chambray shirt.  I was sold.  Please find me one, oh fashion gods.  For next to nothing, if you could.

If only we didn’t need to budget so much and save money… Maybe I’ll find some this weekend when B and I hit the thrift stores in the Boston area this weekend!

What are you loving this fall?

How Do You Shoe?

It is a rare day for me when I can walk into a Goodwill and find shoes that both A) fit me and my size 10 feet and B) are stylish.  Heck, it’s a rare day for me to walk into most stores and find shoes that fit those criteria.  It’s like all the people who share my foot size keep their shoes until they are worn to pieces.  Honestly, I don’t blame them.  Good looking size 10 shoes are hard to come by at a good price.  I wear mine until I just cannot wear them anymore.

But that rare day occurred!  It did!  It really did!  I was stopping by Goodwill to drop off my second load of stuff in our “we’re moving so we need to go through everything to purge when we don’t need” apartment cleaning.  Of course, I had to go in to see if they had a whiteboard for a craft project I am making for B, which of course led me to the shoe department.

Holy mecca of shoes day.  I think I tried on around 8 pairs of shoes, all of which could have been contenders (except for the first pair of Bass shoes I tried on… someone put a pair of 8.5s in the 9.5 section), but money and space are both issues.  I ended up picking two pairs that will look great as my new “school” shoes.  It wouldn’t be a new school year without having something I could point to and say, “These are my new shoes for school!”  You know what I am talking about.

So what are my new school shoes?  Check them out.

These are my soft, purpley-brown Bass shoes.  Bass, like the company that asks you to pay $90 a pair.  Many of their women’s shoe choices are at least $99 each.  My price?  $4.99… that’s it.  And check out the soles.  They are barely worn!

The second pair was a double score.  If you have heard anything about the upcoming fall footwear trends, you may have heard that loafers are making a casual comeback.  To get into the spirit with a cheap pair, I snatched up these AK Anne Klein babies.  They had a gray tag on them, so even though they were marked at a mere $2.99 originally, I scooped them up for $1.50!  Not bad for costing around $79 at a retail store.Look at that little tassel!  So cute!

The shoes I left behind would have been nice, especially those tall black boots made for the snow, but to be fair, we’re moving.  I need to be realistic (and remember that my shoe bin has zero room as it is!).

Have you found any shoes lately?

Pre-Birthday Date Goodwilling

My husband is ridiculously adorable.  For the past two years, he has taken it upon himself to plan a special date day for me right before my birthday (April 28, for those of you who are counting).  My birthday is two days after my younger sister’s, so we have to share our birthdays typically.  My actual birthday is either a weekday, so no real time to go out and celebrate, or taken over with family plans because of the double birthday.  I certainly don’t mind celebrating double birthdays with my family, but it’s so nice to have a great day out with B.

This year, B surprised me with a day out in Portland.  We started off by going to the Goodwill Buy the Pound location, which really says something about how much B loves me.  He detests thrifting because it takes so much time and it’s not organized.  But for me, he made an exception.

For some reason, the bins seemed to be filled with only children’s clothing.  Good for people with kids, but people, I’m only turning 26.  Is this some sort of cosmic sign from our mothers?  Erin, see?  Look at all of the little clothing at Goodwill.  You know you want to create a person to go into them!  Um, not now, universal messages.  I’ve got some clothing to dig through.  This is what I found after some major digging:

Dexter bronze ballet flats: Retail: $22.99

Brand new with tags still on them!  Who says you can’t find new stuff at Goodwill?

Nine West cross-body white leather with gold chain purse: Retail : $69

Nine West chestnut brown satchel: Retail: $89

Nine West chocolate brown tote bag: Retail: $109

Nine West purple purse: Retail:  $69

Estee Lauder camel colored large tote:  Retail: ~$30

Belts! (Two colorful random ones and a Banana Republic leather red one):  Retail: ~$15 + $50 + ~$15 = ~$80

Bonjour colorblocking in that last one!  Love it!

Scarves! Dark purple pashmina, brown printed pashmina, mint green linen infinity scarf, Apt. 9 box blocked scarf:  Retail: ~$15 + ~$15 + ~$15 + ~$20 = ~$65

Mint green!  I found something in that color!  Weeeeee!  The last scarf is super soft and for B.  He’s a very dapper gentleman.

Express navy blue cable knit V-neck sweater:  Retail: $59

I know it seems kind of silly to be getting sweaters right now, but the three that I got were too good to pass up.  You never know, I could still face sweater weather here in Maine before summer actually begins.

Soffe baby blue sports skirt: Retail: $8.99

No brand magenta summer cover-up dress: Retail: ~$20

The tags were all cut out, but with a belt, this dress will be great for summer.  Without a belt, it kind of does a tent number off from my chest.  I’m wondering if I should make the neckline into a V neck.

GAP cream crew neck sweater: Retail: $59

Express red silk mix V-neck sweater: Retail: $59

All told, I think we made out brilliantly.  B also picked up a copy of the Bible to do some reading as he prepares for graduate work.  I suppose some spiritual work may come out of it, too.  So what was the damage?  Well, check this out:

What I would have paid shopping retail:  ~$749.98      What we paid at Goodwill:  $15

DIFFERENCE:  ~$734.98

Beck also got me this awesome blue NAS clutch/purse for Easter.

NAS cobalt blue clutch (style number 370GY):  Paid: $2.49 / Retail: ~$30

PEOPLE!  Why isn’t everyone thrift shopping?  I get to be a name brand snot AND not pay much at all.  You can be really picky about clothing and purse conditions and still get great stuff.

After our Goodwill run, B whisked me away to the Portland Art Museum.  They currently have some great exhibits, my favorite being one where a woman went into the homes of every person she’s friends with on Facebook to photograph them in real life.  The concept between real friends and online friends and how they seem to have replaced each other is fascinating (that may be my psychology minor talking).  The photos were intense.  And, like every single time I go into an art museum, I got yelled at.  What did I do wrong this time?  I wasn’t carrying my purse far enough forward on my body.  Yep.  I get yelled at for dumb stuff in art museums.  Some gelato after totally made up for it.

We also decided that we had enough time to run by the Maine Mall (yes, that really is its name.  Maine doesn’t have a ton of malls.  Live with it.) and I browsed Forever 21 because I had a gift card from a birthday probably three years ago.  I was determined not to spend more than what the card had on it ($10), so I got these two pieces:

Price: $6.80

Price: $1.50

Seriously, who can resist a little neon yellow locket?  I thought it was too cute to pass up – especially after the bracelets ended up being far too big for my gumby hands.

Overall verdict?  Birthday date 2012 was a complete success!  B can plan dates with the best of them.  I plan on going to Goodwill on my birthday this week because I get 25% off on the actual day of my birthday, and I know what I’ll be looking for:  jewelry.  I am on an accessories kick right now.

Have you gone thrifting lately?  What did you find?  If you don’t thrift, what are you waiting for?!  Go, go, go!

Off From Lent!

When Easter rolled around, I was SO READY to be done with Lent.  I had given up shopping for clothing, and after watching so many haul videos on YouTube (why do I watch those?!  They are so addicting!), I was ready to see what I could find with some of the current trends.

I went to Goodwill with a gift card I had, and I ended up making out pretty well!  And, because I wanted to try it again (and look dorky), I decided to give the whole YouTube haul video a try again.  Egads.  Good luck watching it!

What have you purchased lately?

The Search Is On!

With Easter finally hopping in tomorrow, Lent is coming to a close.  Thank goodness!  I gave up thrift shopping for Lent because it was something that I loved to do, and to me, I find it important to give up something you really like or love in order to show your sacrifice.  For me, that was thrifting.  But now that it’s over, I feel like I have put thrifting back into perspective.  I can’t afford to shop all the time, and when I do shop, I need to keep it within certain restrictions.

That being said, I do have some trends and pieces that I want to try and find in my next Goodwill excursions.

1.  Mint and coral

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Mint and coral colors are very very in right now, and I would love to jump onto the bandwagon.  I could very easily turn these colors into work appropriate pieces, summer pieces, and generally great-for-any-time pieces.  Sounds like a win!

2.  Handbags

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I have such a craving for different handbags.  I am the type of person who gets stuck in a rut with handbags because I almost never change the one I have every day.  Shame on me…  I really need to get better about that.  I am on the hunt for handbags with color, structure, and just all around appeal.

3.  Dresses

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I want some spring and summer dresses because, well, I want the warm weather we got a little taste of back.  Now, please!  I love the feminine touches dresses bring to a season, and I want some that aren’t incredibly dressy.  I mean, I’m not going to cocktail parties all summer, and even if I was, a girl needs some variety, am I right?

4.  Jewelry

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Like handbags, I am craving some bracelets and necklaces.  I want different pieces that bring a little bit more intrigue to an outfit.  I tend to get compliments on my jewelry the most at work, and I can tell you that most of my collection is super cheap costume jewelry.  Why not see what else I can add to it?

5.  Sunglasses

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It’s getting brighter.  A girl needs glasses.  Enough said.

6.  Sandals

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This, of course, means I need to give myself a pedicure, STAT.  But who doesn’t want to have colorful feet that are cool and comfy?

I guess the longer I stay away from shopping, the more time I have for window shopping.  That may not have been a good thing… Time to go clean out my closet!

What are you on the hunt for lately?

Good-Ness

When I was little, I can remember wanting the writing portion of our day to last forever.  My third grade teacher threatened the class that if someone spoke during silent writing time, we would have to write longer.  I used to wish someone would talk through the whole time so I could have that much longer to craft my stories.  They probably weren’t any good, but I loved that writing time.

That’s probably why I like blogging so much.  It’s my chance to write about something I love (fashion, home decor, Goodwill hauls, etc.) and I get the chance to be the writer I want to be.  Thanks, blog creators!  My third-grade self rejoices in your creation (and maybe some of my readers like it, too… maybe).

So why all of this romancing over the art of writing?  Well, it’s because I have been honored through my writing.  I have been posting my blog posts on Twitter to expand my readership (hey, a girl can dream), and it turns out that someone did read it.  That someone turned out to be the communications manager for Goodwill Northern New England.  Goodwill.  The place I love shopping at.  Great!  I have some official readership!  Hooray!

Wait!  It gets better!  It turns out that Michelle, the lovely communications manager, liked the post I wrote on visiting the Buy the Pound Goodwill warehouse and emailed me about writing for the Goodwill blog!  I am now going to be writing pieces here and there, probably once a month, on how to redecorate, find great clothing, anything using Goodwill items.  I am so excited!  I will be posting little sneak peeks here on this blog so you can pop over and see what I’m writing for Goodwill, if you like.

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What are you proud of lately?

Location, Location, Location: Buy The Pound Goodwill Warehouse and Haul

Things you get to buy by the pound:  fruit, veggies, candy, meat… clothing?  Clothing!  This past weekend, B and I took a trip to have a new adventure:  to find out what the deal was at the new Buy The Pound Goodwill warehouse in Gorham, Maine.  I have been reading news bulletins from Goodwill about it for the past month and a half as they geared up to open the facility, and I have been so excited to check out how it works.  Plus, you know it’s going to be an adventure.  When B found out there was a bunch of books up for the snatching, he was in, too.  Cue a Saturday day trip!

We arrived at the center around 2 PM and didn’t drag ourselves myself out of there until around 5 PM.  I had no idea we had been in there for so long!  In those hours, though, I came to the realization that someone who is new to the thrifting game should go in with some tips… some major tips, if they want to find the goods and survive.

Tip #1:  Be patient.  This is such a big one.  The clothes (men’s, women’s, and children’s), the bed linens, random scraps of fabric, everything cloth related is thrown into big bins with no system of organization.  You have to dig, people!  You can’t just stay on the surface and expect to find the great clothes.  Most of the time, the clothing that’s on the top has been picked over by everyone else who has come through, and if it hasn’t been snatched up yet, there may in fact be something wrong with it.  Maybe not, but it makes you wonder why no one else wanted to pick it up.  The shoes also aren’t tied together, which can equal lots of time trying to find the matching shoe.  I decided to give up on that when I couldn’t find a match to the coral pump I had in my hand.  Be patient, dig through the bins, and know that your effort will probably be rewarded!

The bins!  So much clothing!

Tip #2:  If you like it even a little, grab it (politely, of course!).  If you like it, put it in your cart (see tip #3).  Things go so quickly and can get piled under clothing so fast that you can totally lose all of the clothing you thought you liked.  If you like it, put it aside for yourself to try on later.

Tip #3:  Get a cart.  In the typical Goodwill or Salvation Army stores, I try not to get a cart.  It encourages me to pick up more than I want to.  At the Buy the Pound store, however, a cart is a must.  They weigh your purchases in a cart, so you have to have one at the end anyway.  A cart is also great because you can throw anything you like into it and try it all on at the end.  It was also super helpful to get a second cart when trying on your finds because then you can put everything you liked into the new cart, throw what you didn’t into the bins, and keep what you still have to try on separate from everything else.  B was the genius who thought of that one!

Tip #4:  Be polite to the other Buy the Pound shoppers.  Now, this should be a life rule anyway, but the other shoppers can be a real asset when it comes to shopping a store where clothing is all mish-mashed in bins.  I was asked if I wanted to “rotate” or “switch” so many times while checking bins.  If you are working on digging beside someone else, instead of butting into their space when you’re done, you can ask if they want to switch places with you.  You get a new location without being awkward about moving into it.  The other shoppers can also tell you what looks good on you (they did) and you can return the favor (I did).  You help them, they help you.  Everyone wins!

Tip #5:  Bring a cross-body purse and don’t wear your coat in.  These two pieces will keep your hands free, which is important since you’ll be digging through bins with both hands.  You want to make the search as easy on yourself as possible.  When you go to try on clothing, not having a coat will be helpful so you don’t have to lug around other clothing.  Plus, you may get a little warm when you’re digging if you have a jacket on.

Tip #6:  Bring a friend.  The one real downside to the Buy the Pound warehouse is that there aren’t currently any mirrors or dressing rooms for people to try on clothing.  The sales person did tell me that they were going to hang some mirrors, which is super helpful, but it’s also great to bring a friend.  While the clothing is super cheap, you want to know that you’re bringing home clothing that looks good on you.  B was such a help on this, and he is getting really good at communicating what he likes and what he doesn’t like.  Make sure your friend is honest!

Need a friend?  This guy would like to be yours!

Tip #7:  Make sure you give yourself a couple of hours.  I honestly lost all track of time when we were there.  You get so into the digging that you never think to look at a clock.  Leave yourself more time than you would typically give yourself at a standard thrift store.  It’s not organized, so make sure you leave some room in your schedule.

Tip #8:  Bring hand sanitizer or wet wipes for after.  Yes, this sounds a little gross, but think about it.  These clothes may or may not be washed before they make it to the warehouse.  (Don’t freak out, you can wash it when you get home!)  Since you’ll be digging through huge bins, your hands may get a little dirty.  Have some way of washing them back in your car, and you are good to go!

With those tips, you could find some excellent pieces!  I definitely saw a bunch of true vintage pieces, and I even picked up a couple.  This is what I found and snatched up:

Free People Blue Button-Up Mini Skirt:  Retail: $78.00Vintage Lora Lenox Black Structured Medi Dress:  Retail: ~$50Just look at the adorable ruffle detail on the hip!True Meaning Tan Tweed Jacket: Retail: ~$90(No Brand or Tag!) 1980s Purple Dolman Dress: Retail: ~$40New York and Company Black and White Stripped Hoodie Pullover: Retail: $34.95Kilburne and Finch Brown Geometric Tie: Retail: ~$15.00Cream Crocheted Sweater: Retail: ~$20Judy Bond Jewel Tone Green Blouse: Retail: ~$25Savannah Petites Navy Blue Blazer: Retail: ~$30 (Forgot to take a picture!  Oops!)

Nan Hadden Studio Plum Cropped Cardigan: Retail: ~$30Alfred Dunner Petite Sweater: $37.00Like the cream colored sweater, this sweater also has a great knit pattern to it.Banana Republic Black Tie Sweater: Retail: ~$50Mossimo Pink Sweater: Retail: $17.99Gap Orange V-Neck Sweater: Retail: $26.95L.E.I. Silver Pants: Retail: $21.88Colorifics Purple Clutch: Retail: $33.95 (before having it dyed!)Nine West Yellow Leather Purse: Retail: $79.00 (See above)

Gray and White Tote: Retail: ~$15.00 (See above)

Assorted belts: Retail: ~$15.00 each – Retail: $60 TOTALBooks! Frankenstein: Paid: $0.25 / Retail: $6.99, The Canterbury Tales: Paid: $0.25 / Retail: $8.95, The Body of Christopher Creed: Paid: $0.25 / Retail: $6.95, Antigone: Paid: $0.25 / Retail: $6.99, and The Norton Introduction to Literature Anthology: Paid: $0.50 / Retail: $70.99 – Retail: $100.87 TOTALSo what did we pay for all of this?  Drum roll, please!

TOTAL:  $15.45!  That’s it!  Just $15.45!  The clothing, belts, and purses weighed 10.5 pounds, so we got it for $1.29/pound.  While this location doesn’t take the Goodwill discount card, you can’t beat this type of deal.  Let’s compare, shall we?

Goodwill Total:  $15.45                                         Retail Total:  $855.59

SAVINGS:  $840.14

I think this new Goodwill location is a winner!  Have you visited a new Goodwill location lately?

What’s Up Wife? Wednesdays: Getting to Know You

Some of you who read this blog may have followed me over from my other blogs (Here Comes the Blog {our wedding blog} and Living in Holy Blogimony {my newlywed blog}), but that may not be many of you.  And like I tell my kiddos in the classroom, you are much more likely to like an author if you get to know him/her and his/her work.  Sooo… why not start some posts so you get to know me?  Thanks to Recipe for a Beautiful Life, I found these great prompts for a “Listable Life” from Moments that Define Life.  I know I missed the first few weeks, but you’ll forgive me, right?

10 Things I Would Rather Do Besides Chores (Besides Hang Out with B, My Family, and My Friends)

1. Thrift shop –Well, yeah, you should have seen this one coming.  I love love love thrift shopping, even if I am only stuck with two stores in my area.  I love the hunt.  It’s such a thrill when I find something that looks almost brand new in a name brand label that fits well.  I also love finding pieces that are unique but wearable, pieces that will make me stand out in a good way when I walk around at school or when we go out.  Isn’t feeling special the point of putting together outfits?

2. Read – I am a total bookworm, which is great because I can get away with reading a lot with my job.  I go through books like water, and B and I are serious when we say that our future house has to have a library.  We don’t have anymore room in our apartment for more bookcases!  Reading has always been my escape from life.  I teach a class specifically on Literacy for high school freshmen, and part of our curriculum is reading silently for 30 minutes.  When I don’t have a stack of papers to correct for other classes, I get to enjoy 30 minutes of personal reading.  Score!  My favorite genres are mystery, young adult, and realistic fiction.  I got a ton of books from B for Christmas, and I am working my way through those.  Right now I’m on The Help, which will be followed by The Geeks will Inherit the Earth, Ship Breaker, and Ash

3. Watch YouTube videos – This has been a development over the past year, and I have quite a few people I love watching on YouTube.  I’m a big fan of putting on YouTube videos as I paint my nails, do the dishes, cook, etc.  Sometimes I just play them to listen, not even watch.  Some of my favorite YouTubers are Aleexandraaxo, PhillyDiva19145 (great haul videos!), MsPinkFabulous (she does some amazing thrifting), j1mmyb0bba (great for style tips and great accent!), and Panacea81 (Lauren does fantastic makeup tutorials, and she is hilarious!).

4. Workout – Sometimes it takes a lot of motivation, but I really do like working out.  Feeling good about myself, the endorphins, and just getting a good sweat going make my day.  I tend to do at least three days of elliptical/Stairmaster workouts at school each week and the rest are either “Ripped in 30,” “30 Day Shred,” or “Six Week Six Pack.”  Every once in a while I’ll let myself wimp out and do a Windsor Pilates DVD.  Oh, and I run races in the summer.5. Hike – B and I love hiking in the summer.  We will take off on weekends (or days when B is off) and go hike some of the local mountains around us.  If we move away from Maine, I hope there are still mountains and trails around us that we can enjoy. 6. Play with my cats – True story: My students think I have 19 cats that I come home and snuggle with all in a XXXXL t-shirt.  Apparently we all like to watch “16 and Pregnant” together.  How cozy!  While I don’t have 19 cats, I do love the two I have.  Unfortunately, they live with my parents and I miss them like crazy.  My cat’s name is Italics, and my sister’s cat’s name is Abercrombie.  She really wanted me to name my cat Fitch, but I thought I would say it wrong too many time for the cat’s self esteem.  Plus, their names fit.  I’m a writer and she’s a shopper.  Both of them were adopted from a local animal shelter as kittens.  I didn’t pick Italics; he picked me.  He fell asleep in my arms when I held him in the shelter, and it was love from then on.  Italics likes to harass B for my attention.  Abbers loves to be pampered and loves loves loves to be brushed.  You would never guess he was a feral kitty.  I love my cats!7. Plan vacations – Planning our engagement trip (which was the only spring break we ended up taking) to Williamsburg, Virginia, was my first taste of planning vacations, and I loved it.  Planning our honeymoon to Italy and Ireland was a bit more stressful since I didn’t know that it’s not called “roundtrip” in Europe.  Huh.  Okay.  Right now, I am lusting over our future trip to Paris, the possibility of traveling around the U.S., and visiting Bestie Al again on the west coast.  So much fun!8. Photography – With my photography business, it should be pretty clear that photography is a passion of mine.  I could wander around and take pictures all day and be one happy camper.  It is so much fun to look at the world through the lens of a camera.  9. Craft – I have been known to craft for days upon days when I get going on a project.  I craft when I’m happy, I craft when I am excited, I craft when I am inspired, and I craft when I’m sad.  When I lost one of my students, I crafted for the rest of the weekend.  It’s cathartic.  It’s inspiring.  It’s creative.  Projects keep coming in, and I keep coming up with new ideas.10. Ski – My parents taught me to ski when I was five.  I was blessed enough to grow up in an area with a small-ish ski mountain that was relatively affordable (at the time).  Not only has it taught me how to be active in the winter, but it gave me a hobby to keep me busy and happy during the colder months.  I tried teaching one of my friends last month, and it only reminded me how lucky I was to grow up being able to practice when my muscles and brain could get it a lot faster.  I cannot wait to go again in March!

I really like being able to describe myself in a list form, so look for more of these lists on Wednesdays!  Link up to share more about you!

Inspiration: Hanging with the Crew

Saturday had been planned as a “let’s chill out and sleep in,” but then B got called in to work for a coworker with… questionable… reasons for being out.  So that left me alone for a chunk of the morning and afternoon, which was quickly (and insanely!) filled up with errand running – you know, groceries, buying dating-anniversary presents (eep!), and getting props for the drama club production (oh god, how do we only have a month left?!).  People were crazy because of the Super Bowl and the full moon.  Holy cats on a hot tin roof were people crazy.  I was spent after that.

But then I went to the mailbox.  Inside was today’s episode of inspiration:  the new J. Crew catalog!

Their new spring catalog is heading to a mailbox near you, and I have to say, despite the outrageous prices that go along with the majority of the clothing, the looks they come up with are pretty fantastic.  I love using these as inspiration for putting my own outfits together from my closet or when doing some thrift shopping.  Let’s explore some of the inspiring outfits I have enjoyed from their new lookbook, shall we?

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It takes some power (courage? confidence?) to wear stripes with animal print, and I think I’ll have to work my way up to this.  That being said, I looooove the look of this outfit.  So pretty and so on trend with the striped top and the pops of animal print.  I love me some animal print!

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I have never had a problem layering similar shades, and J. Crew is now encouraging more people to do the same.  The key is not to use the same shade for everything.  If you pick a basic color like blue, play with the different shades to pull together the outfit.  I love the dark blouse and the light shorts.  It’s a little unexpected when most shorts are darker than tops.

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Denim shirts were all the rage in past seasons, and now it has branched out to structured denim dresses.  This dress looks adorable on the model, but with that neckline, my chest would look like it went down to my bellybutton.  But you rock it, model!  You go, Glenn Coco!  I have seen a lot of denim dresses at Goodwill, so maybe there is one out there I could find with a neckline that would be more flattering.

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Goodness, do I love the colored denim trend.  These light pink skinnies are adorable, and it looks so smart paired with the stripes and the light blazer.  I could totally get away with wearing this type of outfit on a casual Friday, though I am not sure what my kids would say about me rocking some light pink jeans…  Time to get some confidence, I guess!

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The tip that went along with this look encouraged consumers to tie their shirts instead of tucking them in.  Cool idea, but it gives me flashbacks to the 1990s when we all thought it was super cool to tie our t-shirts at the bottom or take the bottom and flip it through the neck hole to make a t-shirt bra thing.  Tell me I’m not the only one who did that…  The look above, though, is a lot classier and I love the color pairing.  And those pink loafers?  Sign me up!

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The final pieces I was moved by were the floral prints.  Each print seems to come in different clothing options.  The print above is featured in the dress, the top, and a pair of skinny pants.  I’m not a huge fan of the skinny pants (flower placement would always be a worry for me), but the dress and top are gorgeous.  The colors are bold but very coordinated.  I really like the peplum ruffle on the top, too.  You could wear the dress to a dressy event (it would be excellent for a wedding) or dress it down for a more casual date night out or summer event.  The top?  Oh heck, you could wear that at any point.  Shopping, work, walking the catwalk, anything.

I will definitely be using the J. Crew catalog as a guide for looks I like as I shop around for spring and summer.  What do you think?  What looks are you totally onboard with for summer?