It's that time again! With another month wrapping up, it's time to link up with Fran and the budgeting bloggers. Here's what I picked up in November:

Old Navy Rockstar Skinny Jeans - $20.96 (40% off)

Not Pictured:
Luxe Apothetique Plaid Shirtdress (seen here) - $69
Luxe Apothetique Faux Leather Skirt (very similar) - $79
Vintage Floral Scarf via Prototype Vintage (seen here) - $12

Total: $337.62

Not too bad for one of the biggest shopping months of the year! I think I actually went shopping twice in person and three times online. The first was actually an online order from Old Navy at the end of October that I'm including in this list because it didn't mail until November. From that order I ended up keeping the plaid shirt and Rockstar jeans. The long cardigan is one that I picked up in store after buying a similar one at Forever 21 (which I returned, see below).

Before my work conference at the beginning of the month, I wanted to pick up a few nicer pieces to wear. I got the plaid dress from this post and a faux leather skirt that I'm sharing tomorrow both at Luxe Apothetique. I also stopped into Forever 21 that day to look for a black crop top to wear with the leather skirt, and happened to fall in love with the floral mini-pleat skirt I took into the dressing room to try it on with too!

As I mentioned on Friday, I was super excited to purchase the Make It Happen pullover from Anthro during their Black Friday sale. The AG jeans and Calvin Klein bra were both purchased with my Shopbop credit this month during the Buy More, Save More sale (which is still going on until 11:59 PT!). I usually wouldn't include bras in my monthly budget recap, but since I used my Shopbop credit on it, I wanted to be transparent with you about that purchase.

And now for some things that didn't work out...

what i returned in november Things I returned in November:

Like I mentioned, the Forever 21 longline cardigan went back. It just fit super awkwardly in the shoulders, and then when I found the Old Navy one and loved it so much more, I decided to make a return to Forever 21. I also returned a backpack that I got to use during Fun Fun Fun Fest, but didn't end up liking very much. Now I have a decent-sized store credit to spend there next month!

The midi skirt being returned was actually my fault. I had it on my wishlist a few weeks ago and tried it on in stores because it was hanging on a sale rack. Well, it wasn't actually on sale, so I left it. Then it did go on sale online and I bought it, but I forgot that I tried on the 10 in stores instead of the 8 and bought the wrong size. Anyway, I think after returning it I'm just going to move on because I've since purchased the other skirts in this post that I like a lot too.

Probably my saddest return is the fit & flare dress from Old Navy. I never could find this in stores, but I bought it online and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, the dress doesn't have an actual waistline, and instead has the seamless princess "waistline" which hit me totally in the wrong place. I was hoping this dress would be a good replacement for my favorite, yet no longer fitting, LBD that I usually layer blouses under in colder weather (seen here and here for example). I'm on the lookout for a sleeveless fit & flare dress with a higher neckline, because those are some of my favorite outfits to wear!

So there's November. After I finished writing this post, I realized that I got my direct deposit early and put in a couple online orders, which I'll write about in my December budget post. I ordered this turtleneck, this replacement gingham shirt, and this sweater all from J.Crew Factory. I would have ordered these flats in grey, too, but since they're backordered and apparently the money wouldn't be taken until they shipped, I didn't want to risk over-drafting during the holidays! Can't wait to buy them though.

Again, I'm linking up with the budgeting bloggers, so be sure to check out what everyone else bought this month too! Oh, and if you're not already, follow me on Bloglovin' to see the latest from writes like a girl!

what i bought in november

photo from my Instagram

Today I'm sitting on the couch eating leftover peanut butter chews, watching Gremlins for the first time, and putting up our Christmas tree, but I wanted to share a few links just for the sake of consistency!

♥ I don't typically do a bunch of Black Friday shopping, but I got an email last night saying Anthro was doing 25% off the whole store, so I finally snatched up the sweater I've been wanting for weeks. Since it was such a great sale (and I have this weird thing where I hate just buying one item online), I also got this unbearably cute planter and this yummy-smelling honeysuckle lotion. After I hit the final button on my order, I discovered the *most* gorgeous shower curtain that I'll spend the rest of the day deciding whether or not to buy.

♥ Jenny received an unexpected guest this morning, and I'm so jealous.

♥ Do you think I could convince Dago to do this for our holiday cards?

♥ Are you planning on doing some Small Business Saturday shopping? My favorite local shoe brand SUAVS is offering 20% off with code SMALLBUSINESS20. If you've been thinking about getting in on the slip-ons trend, these breathable, flexible shoes should be your first step.

♥ Love these tips from Liz about loving your body during the holidays.

♥ Hey bloggers: hoping to get more organized in the new year? Non-bloggers: looking for a great gift for your favorite blogging babe? Everyone should check out this 2016 blog planner by The Cutie Life! It has everything you could possibly need, from pages for goals and post ideas to a place to track your stats and keep up with scheduling content throughout the year.

♥ While I don't plan on doing anymore Black Friday shopping today, I get paid on Monday and will definitely be taking advantage of some Cyber Monday sales! Here are a few pieces I'm hoping to pick up for a great price: this cutely-stitched sweater, this cozy tweed midi skirt, these ├╝ber-popular leggings, this gingham flare dress, this faux fur scarf, and this hi-low sweater.

What's on your plate this weekend? (Too soon for a food joke?)

link love

This is going to be my year. I am going to own a gosh darn turtleneck and I'm going to look gosh darn cute in it. I have big dreams of cozy turtleneck sweaters paired with skinny jeans and tall boots, boyfriend denim and flats, and tucked into midi skirts with heeled booties. It seems everyone else is feeling turtlenecks this year too, because there are some seriously cute options available. Here are a few I'm personally loving:

on my list turtlenecks
one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight

Don't you just feel all warm and snuggly looking at these? So, to start, I realize the first top isn't actually a sweater. I just really want this J.Crew long-sleeved turtleneck shirt, so I included it. It would be so perfect tucked into a skirt or layered under a dress!

Aside from the striped shirt, I'm apparently all about over-sized grey turtleneck sweaters. The J.Crew Factory one is classic and perfectly cable knit without being bulky. The tasseled Anthropologie sweater is just too cute not to include. It's obviously really different, but I think that might make it my favorite! The Madewell t-neck looks impossibly soft and really versatile, while the extremely over-sized and hi-low look of the Express sweater is the very definition of cozy.

Other colors I'm eyeing? Winter white, baby pink, and dark olive, of course!

Are you into turtlenecks? What's on your list this week?

on my lists | turtlenecks

bb dakota dress fringe boots4 bb dakota dress fringe boots2 bb dakota dress fringe boots3 bb dakota dress fringe boots1 bb dakota dress fringe boots5 bb dakota dress fringe boots6 bb dakota dress fringe boots9 bb dakota dress fringe boots8
dress: BB Dakota c/o Shopbop (similar) // boots: Madden Girl (similar options) // scarf: Prototype Vintage

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

A few weeks ago April had me over to put together a few outfits for Pieceology Vintage's Fall/Winter 2015 lookbook. She and I wear the same shoe size and she wanted me to try one of the outfits with a pair of her black booties. Her pair had a tall stacked heels and a little bit of fringe on the side. If you had told me a year ago that I would fall head-over-heels for a pair of fringe boots and then go buy my own pair because I had to have them immediately, I would have told you that you had mistaken me for a much cooler and funkier blogger. And yet, here we are.

When these booties arrived in the mail, I put them on and asked Dago if he liked my fringe booties. He looked at the boots, and then at me, and said "Oui oui!" He was positive I'd asked if he liked my French boots.

I've been wearing them non-stop, so expect to see them a lot around here in the next few weeks (like, really, a lot). I actually had them rush delivered so I could wear them with this dress to the opening party of the work conference I went to a couple of weeks back. Then, after picking up this scarf from Prototype's booth at Fun Fun Fun Fest, I wore this outfit to The Megaphone Show as the featured storyteller! Me and my French boots? We've got a good thing going on.

Speaking of good things going on, Shopbop has the coolest sale going on right now! I'm planning on buying a pair of Citizens of Humanity jeans or one of these clutches and some pretty gold Gorjana jewelry. Here's some more info about shopping the sale!

shopbop buy more save more

This sale is an awesome time for your family and friends to pull together and put in a big order with a big discount! Need a few ideas? A blanket scarf for mom, a sparkly wallet for your bestie, and some pretty earrings for you. Get that holiday shopping in!

oui oui

Over the weekend I celebrated my half birthday! By celebrated, I mean that we didn't move from the couch for the entire day, watched all of Jessica Jones on Netflix, and then ended the night with fried rice from my favorite pan-Asian restaurant. The best part of my half birthday, however, is always checking in on my birthday bucket list to see how many things I can cross off the list! Without further adieu, my 26 before 26 check in:

26 before 26 check in

01. Road trip to Marfa | Completed 9/17-9/20. Read about my trip here.
02: Go to Pedernales State Falls Park | Completed 6/13.
06: Secure a blog sponsor | Completed 7/30. Working with Shopbop has been really wonderful so far and I've loved learning more about the brand.
07: Participate in a link up every month | Successfully in progress! Since May, I have linked up with Fran's budgeting bloggers every single month. Looking forward to putting my November post together soon!
09: Journal every day for one month | Completed! Technically I have a few more days left on this goal, but so far I've journaled every night of November and I don't intend on skipping any days through the rest of the month.
11: Buy a dryer | DONE!!!! Completed July 18.
13: Keep a few plants alive in our apartment | Done! Our snake plant is still alive and thriving, and we've got a cacti here and there too!
15: Go to the flea market | Done! I went to Round Top (a city-wide flea market in the Hill Country) in early October and picked up this pretty! Would love to do another flea market adventure before my next birthday!
17: Attend a crafting workshop | Done! I've actually done quite a bit of crafting this year and I'm excited to do even more at The Paper + Craft Pantry!
21: Bake lemon bars | Done! (And delicious!)
Total: 10 out of 26

Things I expect to complete by May 21, 2016
03: Visit malls in 3 different cities | I have been to 0 malls in other cities since May. I guess I have a little road tripping to do!
05: Host a blogger event | Huh. I forgot I made this goal. I have an event that I'm planning, but it's not blogger-specific, so I guess I need to work on something!
10: Go one whole month without shopping | So, I attempted to not shop in July and failed. After giving it a lot of thought, I've decided to try again in April. I will pick up all the spring clothes I need in March and then save money in April to do birthday shopping in May!
12: Revamp our guest bathroom | Not done due yet due to finances, but I plan on knocking this out in the new year. Fun plans for this room!
14: Go to the farmer's market | Due to weather and poor planning, I didn't make it out in October like I planned, but I don't think I'll have any problem accomplishing this before May.
16: Go to the dentist | Ughhhhh forever dreading the dentist. Any tips or Austin recommendations?
18: Get a massage | Fail. I just don't even know how to go about getting a massage. Again, any tips or recommendations?
22: Watch 5 Audrey Hepburn movies | I watched one! Give me your favorite Audrey recs and I'll try to do this over Christmas!
23: Pose for a confidence shoot | I did a mini topless shoot with Chelsea in Marfa (you can see the super safe for work Instagram pic here), but I don't think this quite counts. Maybe I'll do a fun birthday shoot next year!
24: Speak to students about blogging & dream jobs | Not done. I need to get back in touch with my alma mater for the spring semester.
25: Contribute to HelloGiggles | Not yet, but I think about it all the time! I don't have any experience pitching publications, so I think that's what's holding me back. I think I'm going to start a brainstorm note in my phone for this to keep all my HG ideas in one place.
26: Give gifts for no reason | I always seem to have big plans for this, and then something goes wrong (it sells out, I have an unexpected expense, they buy it for themselves first). I'm going going to accomplish this, though!

Things I hope I'm able to do, but don't feel as confident about
04: Travel to an out-of-state blog friend | Not yet. I have some flying to do if I can afford it! I need to really sit down and plan this out ASAP if it's going to happen.
08: Send a letter every month | Total fail. I have sent exactly 0 letters since May. However, Mia introduced me to this awesome program that allows me to collect your address if you want some snail mail from me! I may not be able to do 12 out of 12, but I could do 6/12 if I really try!
19: Try acupuncture | Another fail. Since physical therapy and a new bra seem to have eliminated my dizziness, I'm not sure I actually need acupuncture anymore? Anybody know if you have to have a specific ailment in order to get it?
20: Complete Duolingo's Spanish course | Hardest fail. I don't even have the app on my phone right now. I guess I should download

Not bad for six months! Having done these birthday bucket lists for a few years, I know that there are usually 3-4 goals I make that don't happen, usually because my interests or needs change over the course of a year. That said, I'm just under halfway through and I've got plans to accomplish a good chunk of these! Realistically, I think I can complete 12 or 13 more of these. I just really need to focus up for the next few months and really save my pennies. Ultimately, I think I could accomplish everything if money were no object, so a big part of accomplishing goals, both for the sake of my bucket list and just in life, has to do with planning ahead, saving and being intentional about spending.

Have you ever done a birthday bucket list? If you're working through one right now, how close are you to finishing?

Also, if you're interested, check out my 25 before 25 journey, as well as my 24 before 24 journey.

26 before 26 | checking in


We made it to Friday! This might have been the most stressful week of my whole darn year. I usually have my blog posts written before the week starts (except this link love, of course!), but I've fallen behind and had to stay up writing posts every night this week. It wouldn't have been such an issue except that I was out (doing really awesome things!) every night this week as well. Between two different nights podcasting, coworking, and the ATX Blogger Mixer, I was a busy bee and I need a nap. Hopefully Dago will let me take breaks this weekend while we binge watch Jessica Jones on Netflix, because otherwise I'm going to sleep through the whole thing!

In other news, here are some lovely links from around the web:

♥ Going to be in Austin this weekend? Chelsea is leading a small business workshop on social media, branding, and photography! (You can register here.) If you haven't been to The Paper + Craft Pantry yet, this would be an excellent opportunity to check it out!

♥ Speaking of Chelsea, she shared a sneak peek of Pieceology Vintage's new line. Check it out to get excited for the shop's launch and see a familiar face!

♥ In other news, this adorable video brought me to tears.

♥ Kimi shared two outfits highlighting her fall/winter signature look. I really love the way she set up this post because I, too, tend to have a couple of different "looks" that I gravitate towards throughout the season, each falling on different sides of my style spectrum.

♥ Are you a survivor of Dad Jokes? Then you'll appreciate (and groan) at this.

♥ Moving across the country wasn't a big enough change for Toyosi; she had to go and change her blog too! This outfit gives me all the heart eyes (okay, two), and makes me miss her a ton. Are you coming home for the holidays, T? Let's get some bubble tea.

♥ My sweet friend Becky shared her son's birth story this week and, surprise, it's just as magical as she is.

♥ I love getting to know bloggers a little better through questionnaires! Go learn all about Katie and expect my answers later next week.

♥ I've had a tough time finding sweaters that I like on my body recently (why does everything make me look like a linebacker?), so that's what's on my wishlist this weekend. Hoping to try this tasseled turtleneck, this blush sweater, this polka dot number, this embellished sweater, and this lattice knit sweater.

What are you up to this weekend?

link love

what im for 1118
I don't usually post on Thursdays, but I had a really good reason this week. My friend Brittany of Invasion of Personal Space started a linkup called What I'm For to spread a little positivity into the world. It's been a really stressful month and there's been a lot of hurt in the world, so it's nice to stop for a second and think about what I'm for.

Nightly Journaling - I'm going to write more about this in my December goals post in a couple of weeks, but the journaling every day for the month of November goal has been fantastic! Having those few moments before I sleep to reflect and write about my day has given me the most amazing sleep. If you're interested in trying it out (and, you know, sleeping super well), try Grid Diary

Supporting Small Businesses - I don't know how I got so lucky, but I am just surrounded by badass women with cool businesses. Last week, I got to go to the shop opening of The Paper & Craft Pantry. The week before that, I got to be in April's lookbook for her new vintage line Pieceology Vintage. Interlaced Goods just added new plaids to her selection of blanket scarves and I'm having so much trouble deciding which one I need! I've gotten to enjoy the awesomeness of Oh Happy Day Photobooth, and y'all know what a fabulous business woman and photographer Chelsea is. Plus, if you haven't checked out Rogue T&K yet, where have you been? Watching all of these businesses grow and thrive is incredibly inspiring, and I love that everyone is so supportive of one another too! 

TV Time - If I'm being totally honest, the best part of my week is catching up on TV with Dago. Over the weekend we tend to binge watch a series (last weekend was Master of None and this weekend will be Jessica Jones!), and every week night we have a handful of shows we keep up with: How to Get Away with Murder, Empire, Blackish, Scream Queens, The Walking Dead, Agents of SHIELD, Brooklyn 99, and The Muppets. We may just be watching TV, but it's our time that's uninterrupted and I love that.

So, what are you for? Share in the comments and, if you decide to blog it before 11/22, be sure to link up over on Invasion of Personal Space!

what i'm for

navy windowpane dress1 navy windowpane dress2 navy windowpane dress3 navy windowpane dress10 navy windowpane dress5 navy windowpane dress6 navy windowpane dress7 navy windowpane dress8 dress: Luxe Apothetique // shoes: Old Navy (sold out, but here's the splurge version) // necklace: c/o Rogue T&K

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

Meet my Thanksgiving shirtdress. Cute, right? I picked up this dress from Luxe Apothetique for my work conference a couple of weeks back and decided right there in the dressing room that I would wear it to Thanksgiving too. I'm big on buying dresses for multiple occasions. If you've been around here for a bit, then you know that every year I buy myself a Valentine's dress and then I wear them to all the weddings I attend that year. I'm a busy gal, and I need my clothes to keep up!

Being the busy girl I am, I like having grab-and-go jewelry pieces that make a statement without a lot of work. I got lucky that this Rogue T&K necklace matched my dress so well, but I shouldn't be surprised because it's the perfect neutral. The makers behind Rogue T&K (one of whom being my blogger bestie Katrina) mix natural and man-made materials to create one-of-a-kind pieces. The wooden beads on this necklace are hand-cut and hand-dyed with natural dyes. If you look closely, you can tell that the spacer beads are also laser cut (lasers!), so you know these gals put a lot of time and care into every detail of every item they sell.

For the rest of November, you can pick up one of these pretties or anything else in the shop with the code NICOLE10 for 10% off your order!

P.S. These similar shirtdresses are super cute and have lots of turkey-eating room!
What are you wearing to Thanksgiving this year?

my thanksgiving shirtdress

Let me start by saying that I have already purchased two pairs of boots this season, when I usually limit myself to one pair a year. That said, after my shoe purge this weekend, I noted how terrible out-of-shape my brown riding boots are. I may not buy a pair right now, but I think that depending on how cold this winter ends up being, I might start saving for a more quality pair.

My current pair of brown riding boots are from Delia*s. They haven't gotten a lot of blog love (see them here in an awkward outfit post from 2013), but I do tend to wear them on really cold days when ankle booties won't cut it and when I'm sick of my over the knee boots. However, after seeing Fran wishlist a few splurge-worthy pairs of riding boots, I started thinking it might be time to up my game and invest in something a little nicer and a little less....Delia*s.

Here are a few pairs I've got my eye on:

brown riding bootsone // two // three // four // five // six

It should be no surprise to see the Sam Edelman Penny boots on this list considering how hard I've fallen in love with my Petty pair. Classic, feminine, and high-quality, that Penny boot! However, I think if I were to purchase a pair right this moment, it would be the Ralph Lauren pair. I love the gold hardware and the boot shaft looks like it would fit my leg really well (while the Penny might be too wide).

Even though I'd love to replace my current pair with a true brown boot, the cognac color of the Enzo Angiolini pair is giving me heart eyes. It looks less orange than the over-the-knee boots I own, which would make them a good pair to fill a middle role should the OTK boots go out of commission.

What do you look for in a pair of boots? How often do you buy a new pair? And what's on your list this week?

on my list | brown riding boots

fall closet purge 2015

One of my October goals was to clean out fall and winter clothes that don't fit anymore, so I thought I'd share a little about how that went! It actually ended up being a two part process over the course of a few weeks. On a dreary weekend in October, I pulled all of my fall and winter clothes from our guest closet and laid them on our bed. One by one, I tried everything on. No, this wasn't fun, but a little girl power/self-care playlist made it infinitely more bearable!

Once I had a pile of things that didn't fit from last year, I started looking at my closet to see what I didn't really wear during the spring and summer or that I've already grown out of in recent months. This resulted in setting aside a few more items, some of which to be replaced (these high-waisted black jeans replaced my old ones!) and some to just say goodbye to (I'll always think of you fondly polka dot skirt). I have three bags full of clothes: one to donate, one to take to Uptown Cheapskate (a resale shop), and one with items to list on Poshmark (more on this next month)!

I was really happy to find how few pieces I had regretted buying, both over spring/summer 2015 and fall/winter 2015. If you were following my blog this time last year, then you know that I pretty much lived in an unintentional capsule wardrobe during the fall/winter months. Thankfully most of these items still fit, but I was definitely hard on them because I wore them so often. I have a couple of blouses that need mending and a good steam, but overall I'm excited to be able to wear them again this year! I may not participate in much "ethical" shopping at this point in my life, but I do believe that I've grown to shop more thoughtfully and intentionally, resulting in fewer true impulse buys and only rare occurrences of buyer's regret.

One thing you may not know about me is that I am no good, very bad at hanging my clothes up and keeping them off the floor. I'm notorious for having one large pile on the floor of my favorite clothes, which I pull from every day when I get dressed. So after putting my winter clothes back in my closet, it looked pretty sad...because everything else I owned was still on the floor! This is where part two comes in. Especially after living out of a suitcase for 4 days in Dallas for a work trip, followed by going to a music festival the next weekend, my side of the room was a disaster zone. I finally had a chance to clean things up and it was a much needed opportunity for a little re-organization in my closet.

I have always hung my clothes in the exact same order in my closet: tank tops, tees, blouses and button downs, sweaters and cardigans, dresses, and finally skirts. Each section is organized by sleeve length and color. However, as I began hanging up all the clothes from my floor, I had an idea to shake things up. I tend to feel that when I look in my closet, I have nothing to wear (don't we all?), but I realized that of course I feel like I have nothing to wear in the colder months if the first thing I see when I look in my closet is tank tops!

This inspired two changes: 1. I typically don't move spring/summer clothes out of my closet because they don't take up as much real estate as sweaters, and because Texas winters can be fickle and it's not unusual to have an 80 degree day in the middle of January. Regardless, I decided to move all of my spring/summer clothes except for a couple of tank tops and a couple of sleeveless dresses to our guest closet. 2. I moved all of my skirts to the front of my closet. Tank tops aren't particularly inspiring, and neither are plain tees, but I have a beautiful collection of skirts that I love to wear. Having them at the front of my closet, I think, will help me think more creatively with my outfits and wear more of my favorite pieces during the week, instead of forgetting about them in the back of my closet. Now all my tops are hugged by skirts on one side and dresses on the other. It's an exciting change and definitely prettier when I open my closet! Here's to hoping this helps me keep all my clothes hung up, too!

The last thing I did was a big shoe purge, because I haven't done one...ever? Or not since leaving my parents' house for college, anyway. I'm weirdly sentimental about my shoes (spoiler alert: I now have a box just for sentimental shoes that I don't wear that I can't bear to get rid of. It includes things like my prom heels, the cowboy boots I broke while rallying during the Wendy Davis filibuster, etc.). 

I keep my shoes in three Ikea bins at the end of our bed; one for flats and sneakers, one for boots, and one for heels. The heels bin literally never gets touched, and in fact my clogs usually end up in with the boots or flats because I feel bad relegating them to the heels bin. In the shoe purge, I got rid of all the pairs of heels I thrifted when I thought I might have a job that required me to wear them. I also set aside a few pairs of boots that I don't wear and flats that have been too well-loved over the years. Inspired by my moving summer clothes to another closet, the heels bin now holds my sandals, giving the flats bin a lot more room (I really love flats, y'all).

Because I love when other bloggers do this, here's the official count from my closet (excluding spring/summer clothes):

11 Skirts
5 Tanks (like I said, those warm winter days aren't uncommon in Austin, so I saved a few)
11 Casual Tees
3 Blouses
6 Button Downs
11 Sweaters (definitely a couple here that need replacing, but will wear until replaced)
5 Cardigans
8 Dresses
2 Pairs of Jeans
2 Vests
3 Jackets
5 Pairs of Flats
6 Pairs of Boots
4 Pairs of Heels
Total: 181 items

I don't really know if that's a lot or a little, but it's nice to know that everything in my closet fits and I like it! At this point I'm mostly interested in replacing items that are pilling or are too worn, and adding one or two blouses (love this one), a pair of jeans (what's your favorite brand? Two people have recommended I try these!), and a couple of purses (I have my eye on this).

I'm always curious, how do you organize your closet? By item or style or color? Do you split closets or space by season? When's the last time you did a closet purge or tried a new arrangement?

the great closet purge of fall 2015

linklove1113 Friday is extra welcome this week because it means it's almost the weekend -- something I haven't quite gotten in a couple of weeks! Halloween weekend I had to go to a work conference out of town on Sunday, and last weekend I spent long days at Fun Fun Fun Fest, so this weekend I am very excited to sit on my couch with Dago and Tess and watch Master of None! But, before we get into that, we have to these links!

♥ Hey Austinites! Tomorrow night I'll be telling stories for the talented crew of comedians at The New Movement Theater to make into improv! Come out to The Megaphone Show and watch the fun at 10:30 PM. The show will cost ya $5 and it's BYOB.

♥ Have you checked out Rogue T&K yet? This amazing jewelry line mixes natural and man-made elements to create something truly one-of-a-kind. For the rest of November, use the code NICOLE10 to receive 10% off your order! I'm already looking forward to styling this pretty for Thanksgiving dinner!

♥ Y'all know I'm a big fan of Old Navy (see here), so of course I love Katie's round up of new arrivals!

♥ Katie also alerted me to the new #Misadventure short from Kate Spade. This is my favorite yet!

♥ My bestie asked me to be her maid of honor and, while I know a thing or two about weddings, I know nothing about being a bridesmaid! Thank goodness Alice shared a few tips this week to help me make my girl's day extra special.

♥ This video is an instant mood booster. (Sound necessary!)

♥ Am I the only one who is so into the rise of pins and brooches recently? There are so many badass people making so many badass things! Love these picks from Hilary.

♥ This week Austin babe Natalie aka Kitty posed in this amazing photo shoot and shared some truth bombs about body image and #sizecelebration.

♥ I'm always excited to hear other people talking about their blogging journey, especially when it technically started in middle school (I wrote consistently on both Livejournal and Xanga into high school!). This week Chrystina shared a little about her earliest blogging days and proved that she is, in fact, the coolest. 

♥ The perfect November playlist to get you through to the weekend.

♥ And finally a little wishlist for the weekend: this tweed midi skirt, these collared dresses, this pretty polka dot blouse, these legging jeans, this meowvelous purse, and these kitschy sweaters.

Happy almost weekend!

link love

Over the summer, I was lusting hard for printed midi skirts. I filled that wish with my floral Anthro skirt, which I wore a ton for the last several months. However, with cooler weather moving in, I'd love to add a different kind of printed midi skirt to my closet: plaid! Paired with sweaters and booties in a whole range of colors, I think a plaid midi skirt is going to my one of my favorite pieces to style this season!

on my list plaid midi skirts
one // two // three // four // five // six // seven

I have been stalking the navy and red Brooks Brother's skirt for months now. Like, since August. It has finally gone on sale, but not quite enough for my preference, and I'm really not sure how versatile it would be (except that goodness it's beautiful and even if I wore it the same way every single time I would still love and cherish it, you know?).

But then, I stopped into Banana Republic the other day and tried on the maroon and black skirt and it fit like a dream. I would have bought it right there, but it was still full price even though I found it on the sale rack. Womp womp, hate when that happens. Keeping an eye on this one too now!

However, I'm really digging the dark emerald shade of this ASOS skirt and the olive J.O.A. skirt, both of which are so wintry they actually make me wish it were colder outside. Express' take on black and white windowpane is probably the only skirt I could wear all year, which makes it a great option in general, but may not be quite what I'm looking for. I also love me some buffalo plaid, but the shape of this Topshop skirt wouldn't be as flattering as the Dor L'Dor one in its muted fall tones.

Are you looking to pick up a plaid skirt this season? Maybe something to wear for the holidays! What's on your list this week?

on my list | plaid midi skirts

striped shirt denim vest1 striped shirt denim vest2 striped shirt denim vest4 striped shirt denim vest5 striped shirt denim vest6 striped shirt denim vest8 striped shirt denim vest9 striped shirt denim vest10 striped shirt denim vest11
vest: thrifted Forever 21 (similar) // tee: Gap // jeans: Banana Republic // hat: Francesca's (similar) // boots: Sam Edelman c/o Shopbop // purse: vintage Coach via Prototype Vintage // short necklace: gift // longer necklace: Old Navy (very similar)

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

The Monday after a long and rainy weekend is always the hardest to wake up for, am I right? After a crazy three days at Fun Fun Fun Fest getting muddy and dancing my butt off, I desperately need another weekend! Thankfully, I at least didn't have to spend a lot of energy getting dressed today. I've worn this easy cool girl outfit a bunch since the temperatures started dropping in Austin, and it's easily one of my favorites I've ever featured on the blog.

A good outfit doesn't have to be Earth-shatteringly inventive. I feel super confident in this look and I've gotten compliments every time I've worn it. Essentially, this is just a striped tee and black jeans. It's the add-ons that make it something special! My denim vest has been in constant rotation and it's the fastest way for my to feel put together and a little edgy this season. My new Sam Edelman boots are so comfy and the pretty cognac shade just screams fall. Put a felt hat on my head, and I'm suddenly suddenly a girl wearing an outfit you can't wait to recreate, instead of just one in a tee shirt and jeans.

It's all about those fall staples! Having a few special or seasonal pieces you can add to a simple outfit elevates the look without sacrificing comfort. What fall staples have you picked up this season that take your outfits from basic to favorite?

a few fall staples


Friday is most welcome this week! Not only am I glad to be back in Austin after spending several days in Dallas for a work conference, but I've got big plans this weekend: I'm headed to Fun Fun Fun Fest for the first time! Non-Austinites are most probably familiar with ACL Fest and SXSW, but FFFFest is the festival actual Austinites still go to. Dago has been every year and most of my friends have gone since college, so I'm excited to finally check it out myself. I'm most excited to see Tig Notaro, CHVRCHES, Rae Sremmurd, American Football, and more, while hanging out with Dago, April, and anyone else I happen to run into during the rainy three-day-weekend I have ahead!

I'll be heading out to the fest soon, but first let's get into a little link love.

♥ Oh hey, guess who was included by Austin Woman Magazine as one of the four lifestyle bloggers you should follow! Be sure to check out my tip entertaining tip for the holidays...let's just say you probably haven't heard this one before!

♥ Have you heard of Rogue T&K yet? My fav gal Katrina and a couple of her equally creative, cool friends recently started a jewelry line with pretty things like hand-dyed wooden beads, tassel necklaces, and mixed metal earrings. For the month of November, you can (and should!) use code NICOLE10 to receive 10% off your order. It's not too early to start buying gifts for your favorite girls!

♥ If you're still working on building your fall/winter wardrobe, you definitely need to check out these seasonal buying tips.

♥ An outfit it's not cold enough to wear yet that I'm bookmarking for later.

♥ These are great tips for looking pulled together when you're running late!

♥ I've never been into puffer vests, but this is a vest I can get behind.

♥ Loved Hilary's review of Inside Out, a new body positive book I'm definitely checking out soon!

♥ A few sweaters I'm hoping to try out: this side-zip turtleneck, these marled sweaters, this cool tassel sweater, these longline cardigans, and this classic striped sweater.

What's on deck for you this weekend?

link love

I've surprised myself this year with how much I've worn my denim vest. I find myself reaching for it at least two or three times a week these days! I used to be a frequent denim jacket-wearer, but it wasn't until I realized I was wearing my vest a lot did I realize it's because my denim jacket doesn't fit. Boo, right? This jacket and I have been through so much! Once I even left it accidentally at a cafe, forgot where I left it for three months, bought a replacement jacket, remembered where I left it, went back for it AND IT WAS STILL THERE. Yeah. Me and this jacket are close. But now we're too close, so I need a new one.

When I wear a denim jacket, I'm going for more of a Brooklyn hipster look than a young Carrie Underwood singing at the rodeo look, if you know what I mean. The most important part of a great denim jacket is the fit, but since I can't just try all of these on virtually (come on, Internet! figure that one out!), I'm focusing first on the wash. Do I want something light, dark, or classic blue jean? Also, do I want something fitted or boxy, cropped or waist-length?

Here are a few I'm deciding between:

on my list denim jackets
one // two // three // four // five // six // seven // eight

From these product images alone, I think I like the vintage look of the Topshop jacket and the Free People jacket the best. My current/old denim jacket is shaped a lot like the Gap one, so maybe I want something different this time? Or, don't fix what's not broken and go for the same style again?

I'm kind of a brat when it comes to only wearing gold and never wearing silver, so I love the buttons on the J.Crew jacket and the Madewell jacket, though I could live with the more bronze shade of the Lucky Brand jacket too I think!

What do you think? Does one stick out to you as being a better fit in my closet than the others? Do you own a denim jacket?

on my list | denim jackets

smock dress felt hat11 smock dress felt hat10 smock dress felt hat3 smock dress felt hat1 smock dress felt hat5 smock dress felt hat4 smock dress felt hat2 smock dress felt hat7
dress: Old Navy // hat: Francesca's (similar) // boots: Sam Edelman c/o Shopbop (shop more boots!) // purse: vintage Coach via Prototype Vintage // short necklace: gift // long necklace: The Land of Salt // ring: c/o Limbo Jewelry

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

You just can't walk into a store without being inundated with '70s-inspired fashion this season. While I tend to gravitate more towards '60s styles, I can't deny that even I'm getting into the swing of the Seventies. Speaking of swing, how great is this printed swing dress from Old Navy? It's orange -- my power color -- and I'm obsessed with the long sleeve action going on. 

I'm the proud owner of three different swing style dresses from Old Navy and I love each one as much as the last. I've got a short-torso and my tummy is my "problem area" so this silhouette really suits my body as much as my taste.

Let's talk about hats for a sec. I always said I didn't have the head for a hat, and then I bought one this summer and another for fall. I love wearing them and feel like they really make an outfit something special, but I gotta ask: do you wear them inside? As in, do you wear them to work? Or to a restaurant and then take it off out of politeness while you're eating? I've worn my hats out shopping and that seems to work fine for me (as in, I don't feel like everyone is staring at me for wearing a hat), but could I rock a hat to a party? Or to a coffee date? I feel like we need a flow chart for this or something.

Shop more long-sleeved printed '70s-inspired dresses under $100

so seventies

small goals november

Happy November! Just a little 2015 left before we make New Year's resolutions and start a new year. I've been thinking about goals a lot lately and I'm so glad I decided to make these small goal posts a linkup because I'm feeling extra inspired in my goal-making. Be sure to link up below if you're sharing your goals for November!

Before we get into this month's goals, let's take a look at how I did in October:

1. find a signature scent for the cooler months | done! I went to Anthropologie and fell in love with the Rose Alba scent by Happ & Stahns. It comes in the prettiest "tear catcher" bottle and smells like warm roses.
2. organize my desk space at home | done! I took a trip to Ikea and bought three pink filing boxes along with this cute printed set of smaller boxes, and then I organized all the things! Now everything has a place and I have a clean desk!
3. finish a goddamn book | I don't wanna talk about it. Actually, you know what, I think it's the deadline that makes me not want to read. I could be reading each night, but I look at the book and it feels like a chore. I read a lot at the beginning of the month, and then I wasn't feeling it -- reading, not the book itself -- in the second half. I'll finish when I finish.
4. clean out fall and winter clothes that don't fit anymore and make a wishlist | done! This is harder and harder to do every year. Anything I'm excited about wearing again inevitably doesn't fit anymore. I have a handful of pretty skirts that don't fit, dresses that don't zip, and blouses especially that have to be peeled off of me because apparently my arms gained weight this year. It makes me sad and frustrated. It makes me feel like I have to start over every season. I'm trying to be positive because I'm relatively healthy and don't need or even want to lose a ton of weight. It's hard not to feel mad at my body, but it's doing its job by growing and taking care of me. Also, I think I've kinda/hopefully plateaued and will stay around the same weight for a while now that my eating has been more regular for some time. Anyway, I have a little wishlist now of things to replace!
5. go to the farmer's market | Unfortunately, I didn't make it. I planned to go the weekend before last and then it rained the whole weekend. Womp womp. I'll get there this fall!

3/5 isn't awful, but I hope to do better in November! Here's what's on deck for this month:

1. journal every day for a month | This is one of my 26 before 26 goals I've been putting off. I realized I was avoiding it because I didn't want to physically write in a journal every night. Since I'm on my phone in bed before I fall asleep anyway, I found an app that I've been using for the last several days that I like called Grid Diary. It gives you short prompts to help you reflect on your day. You can fill out as many or as few as you want, and even write your own prompts. Looking forward to being a better journaler and hopefully de-stressing through reflection!
2. go for a run (or two!) | Maybe it's the cooler weather, but I've been craving going for a run lately. Weird, I know. I've been walking after work with Dago a couple of times a week, but I think a run will make me feel really renewed.
3. keep my fingernails painted for a month | I am a lifelong nail-biter who has never had an intention of quitting (much to my mother's disappointment). I painted my nails for a photo shoot in October and was surprised at how little I was tempted to bite my nails. On one hand, I don't want to work too hard at stopping because I figure if my worst vice is nail biting, I'm doing pretty good. I mean, it could be so much worse! But also if I could have nice nails without too much work, that would be cool too.
4. make a dessert or side dish for Thanksgiving | Last year I made cornbread and it was a great success! Any suggestions for this year?
5. don't overbook myself | Looking at my calendar for November, most of my weekends are already filled and I have several weekdays with extracurriculars planned for after work. Just looking at my full calendar makes my stomach tighten a little with anxiety, so I want to make sure I'm taking time for me and saying no when I need to.

What goals did you set for November? Link-up below and be sure to check out everyone else's links too!

P.S. What do y'all think of setting these small goals link ups on the first Monday of everything month? Does that work for everyone? Do we need a hashtag or something?

P.P.S. Don't forget to follow writes like a girl on Bloglovin' to stay up-to-date on my latest posts!

november | small goals

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