Hey hey, it's almost May! Which means it's time to link up with Fran and the budgeting bloggers. After last month's spend-fest, I didn't do a whole lot of shopping this month. I tried to focus on closet staples that I'll wear for at least the next six months, if not more (because Texas). Here's what's happily hanging in my closet from April:

What I bought:
what i bought april
Old Navy Swing Pintuck Top - $19.76 (40% off) [worn here]
Old Navy Trapeze Tank - $13.76 (40% off) [worn here]
Old Navy Distressed Jeans - $4.95 (unsure how much off?) [not pictured, worn here]
Target Long Sleeve Pattern Cardigan - $24.99
Target Panama Hat - $14.99 [not pictured, worn here]

Monthly Total: $181.43
Quarterly Budget Spent: $550.09
Quarterly Budget Remaining: -$50.09

Welp, I've officially overspent my budget for the quarter two months in. After the way March went, I definitely expected this to happen, and I'm actually surprised it's not worse than it is. On one hand, I did really try to limit my shopping after going overboard last month. I knew that I would be stocking up on a few pairs of shoes (see below) and was excited to find these gold Salt Water Sandals, especially for only forty bucks! These are becoming an every day shoe, which is definitely going to make the cost per wear exceptionally low. After buying a few skirts the last few months, I really needed a couple of plain blouses in order to be able to wear them. The cardigan was something I kept reaching for that didn't exist in my closet. For $25 at Target, I'd say I did pretty well on that one!

The item I'm most excited about is probably the chambray skirt, which I got to try on during the grand opening of ModCloth's IRL popup in Austin earlier this month. I tried on a ton of things (including a wedding dress, because why not?), but employed a little self-control and only left with the one thing. However, I hear they're re-stocking with new arrivals this coming week, and seeing as they're only here until the end of May, I'll definitely have to stop in again soon!

What I received:
what i bought april2
Sam Edelman Trina City Sandals$120 c/o Shopbop [worn here]

As a part of my sponsorship with Shopbop, I receive a monthly credit to spend. I had a little leftover from a previous month and waited until the friends and family sale (25% off) to be able to buy these two pairs of shoes at once. I had actually planned on saving for the Sam Edelman sandals this year anyway, and was super happy to find them on Shopbop. I cannot recommend these shoes highly enough. They're the perfect balance between dressy and casual, and the sole is padded (!!!) which makes it feel like you're walking on tiny little clouds.

I bought the Swedish Hasbeens in a 37 (I am a very true to size 7 in US sizing) and they fit like they were made for my feet. Unlike my Old Navy clogs, these are legit made of wood, which is surprisingly comfortable (unless you have to randomly walk a mile in them like I did last weekend...). Hasbeens are another shoe I have been wanting to save up for over the years, so I definitely recommend keeping an eye out for Shopbop sales (I always share about them here!) to help you invest in a pair of your own!

Even in spite of my budget being shot for May, I don't anticipate doing much shopping. The only thing I think I may buy next month is a pair of shorts, since summer sets in here pretty quickly and my pairs from last year don't fit very well anymore. I've got my eye on this pair and this pair. Also, May is my birthday month, and I've got these on my wishlist!

Be sure to check out what all the other budgeting bloggers bought this month!

what i bought in april

white pintuck blouse2 white pintuck blouse1 white pintuck blouse3 white pintuck blouse5 white pintuck blouse6
shirt: Old Navy // jeans: Old Navy (similar) // hat: Target // sandals: Salt Water Sandals

Does anyone else feel like Old Navy has taken over their closet? I have to actively try not to shop there these days. I'm a big believer that personal style is about combining different pieces -- high and low, vintage and brand spankin' new, etc. -- but it's so easy to wear all Old Navy, all the time (as evidenced here, here, and probably lots of other places). While I've been shopping more vintage lately in general, I couldn't resist shopping a recent 40% off sale at Old Navy. Of the pieces I brought home, this flowy pintuck top has already received a gold star for being highly flattering and making me feel like a million bucks. It has that breezy, gauzy look that all white shirts should have in the summertime, so I'm extra glad I didn't miss it while trying to resist the ole ON.

On the same shopping trip, I snagged these distressed jeans (my first pair! sorry mom!) for $5. They're high-waisted (I'm wearing them in my usual size 10) and have undone, slightly frayed hems, the latter of which also feels super summery. With a Panama hat and Salt Water Sandals, I'm basically beach-to-BBQ ready.

Speaking of the beach, I'm hoping to take a quick trip next month and I think it's time for a new swimsuit. This is way more than I would spend on a suit, but how gooooorgeous is it? Back to reality, how cute is this lace racerback top, this striped number, and this shoulder tie cutie?

pintucked and distressed

ann taylor lace skirt3 ann taylor lace skirt4 ann taylor lace skirt5 ann taylor lace skirt6 ann taylor lace skirt12 ann taylor lace skirt8 ann taylor lace skirt10 ann taylor lace skirt11
top: Old Navy // skirt: Ann Taylor // shoes: Sam Edelman c/o Shopbop // purse: Pieceology Vintage // necklace: Old Navy (similar) // earrings: c/o Limbo Jewelry

Would you believe me if I told you that I almost returned this skirt? I bought it the first weekend of March after seeing it in the shop window at Ann Taylor, and had to have it. When I found out they were having a 40% off sale, I didn't even flinch at the over-$100 price tag and very, very happily brought it home with me. This was only the beginning of a whole lot of shopping last month, and as my budgeting bloggers post date neared, I started to have buyer's remorse. Spending essentially half of my monthly budget on one skirt (that I definitely can't wear once a week, if even bi-weekly) is not exactly wise shopping. The cost per wear on this baby is going to be rather high, simply because of its attention-grabbing appearance. However, I decided to take it as a challenge. A challenge to wear more pretty things without having some fancy occasion to do so. And, of course, a challenge to style this skirt a ton of different ways!

I started with gold and black, because how chic is that? I was inspired by these Sam Edelman sandals, which go with everything in my closet. In fact, this outfit is a really good example of my staples and a statement soapbox. Not sure how to dress a loud article of clothing? Surround it with classic items in a single color so you're not competing. I'm also a big advocate for dressing consistently from top to bottom, as you can see in the gold necklace/black tank complementing the black and gold sandals. Everything here felt like it went together, which made me feel extra confident in this outfit. It's always nice to feel like people are staring at you like "damn, that's a good 'fit" instead of "ooh, what was she thinking?" or "ummm close, but no cigar."

Next, I'm thinking of trying some citrus shades with this skirt, like orange and coral. How would you style this skirt?

black and gold


I waited until the last minute to write this intro! Pretend I said some really nice things about this week and then enjoy these way awesome links below!

♥ I've had a major lady boss crush on Becky Simpson since I saw her speak at TxSC in 2013, and I am SO excited about her new shop! Get all of the flowchart goodness and gimme this pin.

♥ The cutest thing you've seen all week.

♥ I was a fan of Noël's on SNL, and even more so in Master of None, so I'm extra excited for her new projects and I loved her interview with LADYGUNN.

♥ It seems like every time I get into a rhythm with my eating, someone says something that triggers me to fall apart. I super appreciated these five ways to cope when other people feel the need to discuss my diet.

♥ Two of my favorites -- Alissa and Katie -- wore my same sassy red skirt this week and I'm loving all the outfit inspo.

♥ Speaking of outfit inspo, daaaaaamn Priya, at it again with the graphic tees!

♥ A great reading list for those of you with an empty nightstand.

♥ She doesn't do it as often as I'd like anymore, but when Kendi shares her feelings, I stop everything and read. Her recent post on the decision behind closing her store was a great look at how our goals can change as we get older, and how change really is one of the most beautiful parts of life.

♥ Gimme list: all the pretty new prints from BB Dakota (especially the summer rose pieces!), possibly the perfect white button down, this pop of color mini tote, this dreamy blush pleated skirt (50% off!), and these adooooorbs scalloped shorts.

What are you up to this weekend?

link love

rehearsal dinner dress rehearsal dinner outfit blue sundress with gold accessories leaf print sundress what to wear as a rehearsal dinner guest summer rehearsal dinner outfit cute summer rehearsal dinner outfit from francesca's
dress: francesca's (similar) // headband: francesca's (out of stock online, but still in stores! also similar) // shoes: Seychelles // bracelete: The Gypsy Fawn (gift from April) // purse: vintage

I survived wedding weekend, y'all! My two besties are now husband and wife, and they're off in Rome enjoying their honeymoon adventure. This was a whirlwind of a weekend that all began with the rehearsal dinner, which is where I wore this outfit!

I have to say, this made for a totally perfect summer rehearsal dinner outfit -- I know this because I got tons of compliments on it! I picked up the dress during my francesca's event (because I definitely could not help trying on all the things that night). I had purchased the gold leaf headband there a few weeks prior, and when I realized the dress was a leaf print (it is...right? like...ferns or something?), I just had to wear them together. Normally, I would have paired this dress with a more casual sandal, but I wanted to break in my bridesmaid shoes the night before, and I'm so glad I did! They actually didn't need any breaking in, but they were super comfy and I liked the all-gold accessories with this dress. If you're looking for a pair of comfy heels for graduation, a wedding, etc., I highly recommend these and Seychelles in general!

Besides the print, the shape of this dress is everything I want all my dresses to be. I'm very into the cutout effect of the sleeves and that sleeve/neckline shape in general right now. If you're someone who feels self-conscious about your arms, I definitely recommend trying out this cut! Something about the ~illusion~ makes me feel much better than a more regularly rounded sleeve and lower neckline.

I'm thinking of putting together a list of things I learned this weekend for being a great bridesmaid/maid of honor. Is that a thing y'all would be interested in? I thought since it was one of my monthly small goals, y'all might want to hear more about it! I also completed another monthly/26 before 26 goal this weekend that I *cannot* wait to tell y'all about. Seriously, life changing. Stay tuned!

never leaf me


It's finally time! In just a few hours, I'll be heading out for a manicure before the rehearsal dinner and then tomorrow we'll all celebrate my bestie's wedding! Being her maid-of-honor has been, truly, such an honor. I've loved supporting and standing up for her, and I can't wait to watch her say "I do" tomorrow! In the meantime, here are some fun links to get you through the rest of your Friday!

♥ Some new friends of mine (hi, y'all!) started a really cool wesbite that I'm so excited about. It's an Austin blog written by three Austin women who love local adventures both indoors and out as much as they love a boozy brunch. I think they've got something great on their hands and I definitely recommend bookmarking their blog if you're thinking about visiting or if you live here and you're looking for new ways to love the city! 

♥ I know that people have a lot of feelings about affiliate links, but here's a great display of how that money can help someone have their independence (and a super cute place too!).

♥ Speaking of getting a new place, I love these tips from Elsie about deciding on decor together.

♥ Grass is green, the sky is blue, and Kimi wore an outfit that I can't wait to copy. Some things never change.

♥ These beautiful illustrations show women when no one is watching.

♥ Hilary went to a tulip festival and now I want to go to one sooo badly!

♥ I met Jillian at Thrive and I'm so in love with her style. This '70s look is perfection and totally modern.

♥ Are you thinking of going granny for the spring? Valery shares her tips for dying grey hair and has me thinking about doing something a little funky with mine!

♥ Run, don't walk, to this tip for editing the whites in your Instagram photos!

What are you up to this weekend?

link love

madewell industry top casual madewell outfit madewell button back top madewell shirt madewell button back shirt5 madewell button back shirt3 madewell button back shirt7 redtop-24
shirt: Madewell // jeans: old Gap Factory // shoes: c/o francesca's // necklace: c/o francesca's

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

I'd be lying if I said I could stick to a single aesthetic for the rest of my life. However, I do spend the most of my time yearning to be a Madewell girl -- you know the one. Effortlessly wavy hair, just slightly boxy basics, beautifully-fit denim, interesting gold jewelry, and cool shoes. She shows up to gallery openings with a fresh face and striped sack dress, and is still the best dressed in the room.

Madwell girls are the ultimate minimalists, dropping dollars on just a handful of high-quality items to wear again and again. Truly classic and timeless. I like having a closet filled with a range of styles to mix and match with, so as much as I fantasize about being a Madewell girl, I've chosen to not spend a lot of money trying to get there.

All of my Madewell pieces have been thrifted, until now. When I saw this poppy red, button back, perfectly boxy Madewell Industry Top hanging on the rack at Nordstrom as I was passing through on the way to my car, I had to stop and try it on. And then drop $80 on the friggin shirt of my dreams. Power color? Check. Unbelievably flatting fit? Double check. Already wearing it at least once a week since bringing it home? Check-checkity-check.

I mentioned in my March budget post that I was considering picking up this shirt in another color, and I still haven't decided. I figure I'll probably end up at the mall at some point this month, and if I do, I'll definitely be trying this on in black and in white to see which I like better. $80 seems like a lot for one shirt, but I'm feeling especially confident about the cost-per-wear ratio!

Do you shop at Madewell often? Or is there another brand you find yourself fantasizing about when you look into your closet?

the madewell top of my dreams

white eyelet dress little white dress geometric long necklace perfect spring dress francescas eyelet dress bridal headband inspiration
dress: c/o francesca's // shoes: c/o francesca's // necklace: c/o francesca's // headband: francesca's

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

Look familiar? I couldn't help but give this outfit its own post, because, I mean, how cute, right? I've long been a fan of the little white dress. My beloved ASOS eyelet dress (seen here and here) shrunk (and, ahem, I grew out of it...), so I was especially excited about finding this gorgeous replacement at francesca's. The scalloped sleeves, the eyelet texture, the A-line silhouette, the perfect fit -- I love it all!

One of my favorite details? The teensy cutouts along the middle. If you look closely, you'll start to notice this ladder stitch on everything lately! The subtle little stitch makes for a unique touch and just screams spring.

Sometimes it feels good to go full-on girly. I would definitely describe my style as feminine, but I tend to balance it out with a different element. I think I was initially trying to do that when I put together this outfit by choosing the geometric necklace and huaraches, instead of something delicate and a pair of heels. However, after I found the headband during my event, I basically committed to the über-femme, nearly bridal vibe and didn't look back. At work, I've been obsessed with brides wearing headbands, and now I can't not feel a wee bit bridal when I wear it!

Speaking of obsessed, I received this lipstick from a friend (it's Mary Kay Really Red), and I can't stop, won't stop with the red lip. All the red lipsticks I've tried before were either too blue-based or too yellow-based, but this one, as its name suggests, is really red, and really perfect on me. If you've been looking for the right red for you, I highly recommend giving this one a try!

P.S. Since I think the ladder stitch is such a fun micro-trend, I found a few pieces around the web for you to shop!

little white dress


It's Friday after a busy week and I'm ready to eaaaase on into the weekend by catching up on some blogs and hopefully spending plenty of time in the sun. In the meantime, here are a few linked I've pocketed over the last couple of weeks. 

♥ One of my favorite online stores is closing up shop! If you've been eyeing something pretty from Ruche, it's, sadly, your last chance to shop.

♥ Speaking of online shops, ModCloth has officially begun their IRL tour, which launched in my fair city of Austin, TX! If you're local, be sure to come out tonight to the grand opening (one of my favorite ATX blogger gals Rachel is hosting!), and make a styling appointment for sometime over the next two months and get your shop on!

♥ Some really fantastic reminders + tips for Instagram from one of the best.

♥ Speaking of Instagram, Kimi shared her favorite iPhone apps and you need all of them ASAP.

♥ Another great excuse for a silk scarf from one of my favorites.

♥ These sandals are equal parts summertime chic and ready for adventure. Oh, and on sale!

♥ Have you considered signing up for Stitch Fix, but are still on the fence? Mia recently became a stylist for them, but also has a subscription and shared her latest fix unboxing on her blog!

♥ By now you've hopefully heard that you should avoid those über-cheap knockoff fashion companies out of China, but here's an interesting in-depth report behind the sketchy retailers.

♥ It's time you accept Melissa McCarthy as your queen.

♥ Some thoughts from a personal stylist on why we don't believe we deserve nice things.

♥ A wishlist for the weekend: a beautiful ottoman to accompany my new couch, some sweet stripes for spring and summer, the most fun clutch ever, your pick of cheeky sneaker prints, preppy-meets-boho oxfords, and simply fab hair accessories.

link love

navy stripes red scarf1 navy stripes red scarf4 navy stripes red scarf3 navy stripes red scarf6 navy stripes red scarf7 navy stripes red scarf2
scarf: thrifted (similar) // shirt: old Gap (similar) // short: vintage Levi's via Prototype Vintage (similar) // purse: vintage Coach via Prototype Vintage // shoes: c/o francesca's

I'm so excited to be a part of Kimi's two bloggers, one garment series! When we decided to feature our high-waisted shorts, I knew I wanted to come up with a specifically spring outfit. I have plenty of crop cops and gauzy white blouses I'm planning to share with these shorts this summer, but for this post, I wanted to show how you can rock shorts before the temps really warm up.

As I was putting this outfit together, I walked out into the living room to get my lipstick from my purse, and Dago says, "Oooooh look at my little French sailor girl!" I have to say, I love it when I nail an outfit so well that he can tell exactly what I was going for. I was inspired to try out this scarf-tying technique after seeing it on actual-French girl Daphne from Mode and the City. I couldn't think of a more appropriate place to shoot these photos than an ivy-covered wall. When I commit to a fashion fantasy, I go all the way.

Since this post is supposed to be about my shorts, here are a few other ways I've worn them on the blog: with red stripes, with white eyelet, with Converse and a pizza brooch. Also, this outfit is the official spring version of this outfit from fall 2014.

Do you have a pair of high-waisted shorts yet? I definitely predict that spring/summer 2016 is going to be the time to pick up a pair! Be sure to check out how Kimi styled her favorite pair for more inspiration!

for-nicole-2 for-nicole

P.S. You know what else looks so cute with high-waisted shorts? Swedish Hasbeens. Run, don't walk: Shopbop is running a 25% off sale with code INTHEFAM and the beloved Hasbeens are included. Go now! (I bought the black Suzanne Sandals, but they just stocked the white Snake Debutante Sandals, so I may need to place another order!)

french sailor girl

small goals april

Welcome, April! Did March seem like a long month to anyone else? Not in a bad way -- I was actually super productive in March (even if not my actual goals, which you'll see in a sec) -- I just feel like the past month was at least two months with how much happened! I think going out of town and being busy resulted in my not keeping up with a calendar like I usually do, so I sort of lost track of time. Buuuut, did I lose track of my monthly small goals? Well...

1. Buy a couch! | DONE!!!! I decided on this one (in Azure) and I LOVE IT! I am actually writing this post, comfortably, from my new sofa and I'm so very pleased. I can honestly already feel it doing wonders for my posture.
2. Get the blog back on track with an editorial calendar | Done! Sort of? Well, so, I made an editorial calendar, but then ended up having to go out of town for work, so I couldn't execute some of the things I planned and did other things instead. All of my posts were ready ahead of time, which is really what I was going for, even if I didn't physically write down post titles on a calendar. Calling this a success!
3. Practice saying "no" more | Done! I sort of forgot I made this goal, but I guess subconsciously I remembered because I was much more protective of my time this month, and it absolutely paid off. I have a much better grasp on my week and a lot more control over my happiness.
4. Have one computer-free night a week | Not done...totally forgot I made this goal.
5. Go on walks during my lunch break | Nope. Not even once. I did start walking again after work (and even ran once!), but my lunch breaks were still spent at my desk mostly.

It certainly would help me complete my goals if I could actually remember them! I'm thinking I need to post them somewhere I see daily (probably my desk at work and maybe a sticky note on my personal laptop too) to help me stay on track. That said, here's what I've got for April:

1. start taking multivitamins | At a recent therapy appointment, we were discussing the goal behind my meal planning, when I realized that I wasn't on the same page as my therapist. Long story short, to fill in some of the gaps that meal planning isn't covering, I'm going to try taking a multivitamin every day! Anyone have one they recommend?
2. create a Pinterest strategy that works | I've been working a lot through the tail end of March on figuring out Pinterest, and now I want to put some energy into creating a strategy that actually drives traffic my way. For those interested, I've been making my way through The Nectar Collective's Pinfinite Growth e-course and have been using (and loving) Board Booster. I highly recommend both!
3. be the best maid-of-honor I can be | My bestie is gettin' hitched later this month and I'm so excited to be her right-hand gal on her big day. I've never been a maid-of-honor, or even a bridesmaid, so I definitely want to hear your advice for helping her celebrate the best day of her life without any stress.
4. get a massage | It's time. Yes, it's on my 26 before 26 list and I need to do it anyway, but goodness my neck/shoulders have been in terrible shape lately and I've got to see if a massage can do anything to help. Someone recommended that I try a local massage school, so I think that's what I'm going to do!
5. complete as many remaining 26 before 26 goals as possible | Speaking of my 26 before 26 goals, I have just a little over a month-and-a-half before my deadline/birthday! I'm feeling confident that I can cross at least a few more items off the list before then! (Note: I'm currently at 13 and will be at 14 for sure by the end of the week!)

I can't wait to see what all of your are going to do in April! Join the linkup below and link back to this post so other people can discover all you awesome goal setters!

april | small goals

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