These monthly spending updates should really be called "what I bought in the days after the last update but before the next month actually started." Nine times out of ten, the majority of my items on these recaps were purchased in just a couple of days and always before the month in the title. For one, I think there tend to be some great sales at the end of the month (something to keep in mind, shoppers!). Secondly, I definitely wait to purchase things until after my budget has gone out so I don't accidentally have one billion things in each post.

One thing I did a little differently this month was plan my purchases out. During the spring, I already had my eye on a handful of items at J.Crew Factory. I waited through April, waited through May, and then over Memorial Day weekend I finally made my way to the outlet mall for a super sale shopping spree. I felt so confident walking around the store, picking up the pieces I already had my eye on, and passing up things that were cute, but not what I wanted or needed or, at the end of the day, planned for. Turns out, planned purchases equal closet longevity!

What I bought:

what i bought june

J.Crew Factory Striped Flounce Skirt - $30 (originally $75 - 50% off plus and extra 20% off) [worn here]
J.Crew Factory Eyelet Skirt - $34 (originally $85 - 50% off plus and extra 20% off) [worn here]
Anthropologie Neda Shorts - $74.80 (originally $88 - 15% birthday discount) [worn here]
Anthropologie Islander Top - $66.30 (originally $78 - 15% birthday discount) [worn here and here]
J.Crew Sundress in Happy Cat Print - $103 (originally $148 - 30% off)
Forever 21 Faux Leather Saddle Crossbody Bag - $15.90 (used gift card)

Monthly Total: $308.10
Quarterly Budget Spent: $308.10
Quarterly Budget Remaining: $191.90

You've already seen 4/6 pieces in outfits, so I won't spend too much time talking about them. I did make one major impulse purchase this month. On one hand, I'm kicking myself because there goes like half a month of spending. On the other hand, pretty dress! I've already worn it twice and felt fantastic both times. I definitely see this as a dress that's going to last me many summers to come!

Can you believe I didn't own a little cognac purse? For as often as I wear shoes that color? Somehow I just didn't! So on my lunch break, I headed to the mall with a store credit in hand and picked up this little beauty that I can't stop using (see basically all upcoming outfit posts). It's on the very small side (it's a tight fit with my phone, wallet, and keys), but it's perfect for an outing where I don't need all seven lip colors, lotion tube, and checkbook I usually carry.

What I received:

Soludos leather espadrille sandal

I've had my eye on these cognac leather espadrille sandals for a minute (Kimi's got a pair, so that may have something to do with it!). I have to say, the fit is very odd at first, but they actually broke in pretty quickly! Like the cognac purse (which they match perfectly), I've been wearing them every other day of the week and have been getting tons of compliments. If that's not a sign of a good find, I don't know what is!

So what's on deck for July? Shorts! The heat in Austin this summer is a muggy, humid mess -- my Houston friends know what I'm talking about! I've bought and returned three pairs of navy chino shorts in June, so hopefully I can find The Pair soon!

As always, I'm linking up with Fran and the other budgeting bloggers. Can't wait to see what everyone bought this month!

Side note: I had planned on doing a "best and worst buys" for my spring purchases, but I looked through and there are so, so many things I love, and nothing I haven't worn more than once. I have to say that's already a good sign!

what i bought in june

glasses wishlist
It's that time. Actually, it's nearly a year beyond that time, so it's extra that time. I am in serious need of a new pair of specs, y'all! I have loved and loved and loved my pair of Bonlook frames that I bought in October 2013. Unfortunately, they don't carry my Simply Fabulous frames anymore, so I've been on the lookout for a new pair I'll love just as much.

There are so many pairs to choose from! I wish all these sites had been out when I was a kid. The coolest pair I had growing up were Mary-Kate and Ashley, and while they were pretty fly, they don't hold a candle to these sweet specs.

While I definitely need a replacement for my everyday glasses, I'm interested in getting a second fancy, funky pair. I think you'll see the trend in what I'm looking for in each pretty quickly!

First up is my beloved Bonlook. I know I've only owned the one pair, but I feel very loyal to them as a brand. I met some of the people behind the Canadian brand at Texas Style Council 2013 and have been proud to tell people where my glasses are from ever since.

bonlook glassesone | two | three | four

Of these three brands, I think Bonlook fits my style -- and face shape -- the best. I have a tough time narrowing down my favorites because the shape of frames are exactly what I look for in glasses: taller than wide, rounded, feminine. I've personally always hated short, wide frames on my face, but these long, round pairs mimic my own face shape, and I find them super flattering!

The one downside is that Bonlook doesn't do an at-home try-on. For most people, this is a deal breaker. I'm certainly sure people have been asking them to do it for years. Instead, they do a virtual try-on that actually works really well. In giving their site access to your webcam, they place the glasses right where they go on your face in the video. You're able to move around and get a feel for how they'll fit, which I've found to be very accurate compared to similar features on other sites.

warby parker glassesone | two

Warby Parker is nearly synonymous with cool girl glasses, so of course I had to give them a try. I actually have an at-home try on box currently with five pairs (Percel, ColeyCollis, Haskell and Chelsea). I like two of them -- the two seen above -- pretty well. But neither are quite perfect.

I love the boldness of the Haskell, but the nose piece being almost flush with the top of the frames looks sort of masculine and harsh on me. Dago really likes them, but I think it might be because he really doesn't like the Chelsea. I do like the Chelsea a lot, so I'm putting a pin in them as my possible statement pair.

It's great that I was able to try them all on because the frames, in general, didn't fit the way I anticipated. Overall, I didn't find them to be all that flattering on me, especially compared to the Bonlook picks.
dharma co glassesone | two

Last up is a company I've followed for a while, but have never shopped: Dharma Eyewear Co. While I wasn't feeling the majority of the frames, I do like Karma quite a bit -- enough to like it in two colors! Dharma also does a free at-home try-on, so I may give them a try depending on how things go with Bonlook.

Have you shopped any of these brands, or do you have another favorite? Do any of these pairs seem to scream Nicole to you? I love opinions and glasses!

on my list | a new pair of glasses (or two!)

sneakers and stripes2 sneakers and stripes4 sneakers and stripes3 sneakers and stripes1 sneakers and stripes5 sneakers and stripes6 sneakers and stripes7 dress: Old Navy (last summer, similar options below!) // shoes: New Balance (on sale!) // purse: old Forever 21

As soon as I decided on a pair of New Balance sneakers, I knew I wanted to try them out with this dress. It is, after all, my favorite dress to wear with sneakers. Wanna know a secret? We shot these photos at the same place as last summer, too! A different angle due to some construction, but it was just as warm, and I felt just as cool.

I can't remember the last time I blogged an outfit this simple. Only three clothing credits? Is that even an outfit? Most definitely. I was actually really excited to dig up this darker red purse from my collection (which hasn't been used in an embarrassingly long time). I learned my lesson after the last time I wore these sneaks that the red-orange (rorange, according to Sarah) of my Ann Taylor purse clashes with the more burgundy shade of my New Balances. The little big of gold hardware on the purse makes this feel even more like a look instead of just some clothes I put together, doesn't it?

For easy shopping of this easy outfit, I've linked some similar dresses, sneakers, and purses below! Though, chances are, you already have at least one of these pieces in your closet!

stripes and sneakers

jcrew factory striped skirt3 jcrew factory striped skirt5 jcrew factory striped skirt6 jcrew factory striped skirt4 jcrew factory striped skirt1 jcrew factory striped skirt8 jcrew factory striped skirt9 jcrew factory striped skirt2
skirt: J.Crew Factory (wearing a size 8, which is usual for JCF for me, though I'm usually a 10 elsewhere) // top: Lush // purse: Ann Taylor // shoes: Kate Spade c/o Shopbop (more gold flats)

When Chelsea and I were shooting these photos, she asked if this was my Fourth of July outfit. No, nope. I just really like red, white, and blue together. What can I say, Katie's been rubbing off on me! I actually intended this to be a navy, white, and gold outfit, but my fav Ann Taylor purse looked too good to not bring it along.

This J.Crew Factory skirt was the result of a really fantastic shopping trip over Memorial Day weekend. I had a handful of things I'd been waiting to try on there since April, so I decided to use the extra sales as an excuse to head down to the outlet mall in San Marcos. Having waited two months to try stuff on, I felt a lot less likely to fall into my impulse shopping trap. I'll talk more about this in my June budget update at the end of month, but I knew exactly what I was shopping for and I left with items I'm obsessed with, instead of having fleeting excitement about. I also picked up this skirt on the same trip, which I shared yesterday!

I've already worn this exact outfit twice and I've worn the skirt three times since purchasing it. It looks so much more sophisticated that I usually think of JCF as being. The quality of this skirt is excellent (plus it's lined! and it has pockets!). I've wanted a striped skirt for a while, but have worried about styling it. Two things make this striped skirt easy for me to work with: the stripes are vertical, rather than horizontal, and the "white" stripes actually have thinner navy stripes in them. With horizontally-striped skirts, I always feel that I'm fidgeting with how my shirt aligns with the stripes. These vertical stripes are not only flattering, but they don't cause any awkward styling issues with blouses. As for the not-actually-white stripes, I've often felt that white and navy (or white and black) striped skirts appear so stark, more like a costume than a chic article of clothing. It's hard to see in photo, but the overall affect of the extra stripes looks better to my eyes!

Whether you're looking for a Fourth of July outfit idea or summer work wear inspiration, I seriously recommend this skirt. I can already tell I'll be wearing it once a week through October!

red white and j.crew

off the shoulder blouse eyelet skirt4 off the shoulder blouse eyelet skirt3 off the shoulder blouse eyelet skirt1 off the shoulder blouse eyelet skirt2 off the shoulder blouse eyelet skirt9 off the shoulder blouse eyelet skirt6
top: Anthropologie // skirt: J.Crew Factory // shoes: Old Navy (this season's version) // purse: Love Ding // ring: The Six of Cups

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

Happy it's-officially-actually-summer-now day! If you're like me, or you live in a state without seasons like Texas, then you've probably been calling the last three-ish weeks summer already. Any time I can walk out of my house without a cardigan more than three days in a row, it's summer. So that's, well, almost always. I'm not complaining; summer is my favorite!

That said, I do want to say a proper farewell to spring. This outfit feels like the epitome of a spring sendoff, doesn't it? There are summery elements, but overall the look has a certain sweetness that I associate with springtime: petal pink, breezy eyelet, and a straw bag that's just asking to be filled with flowers.

One way I know it's officially summertime? Freckled shoulders. I really thought I was going to resist the off-the-shoulder blouse thing, y'all. I was all like "oh look, another fad that's not for me," or "certainly that's a one-size-fits-none trend." Well, turns out this season's hottest style actually looks great on everybody. When I tried on this top -- which I picked out just to have something to try on with these shorts -- I was almost mad at how much I liked it. Dammit, fashion. You got me again.

Say hello to summer in these off-the-shoulder styles

spring sendoff


The Internet has been filled with so much sadness this week, so I hope these links can bring a little light into the end of your week/beginning of your weekend!

♥ I've been so excited all week to tell y'all about the coolest thing I've ever seen a style blogger do. Forget capsule wardrobes and 30x30 projects. Kimi is here with a freaking STYLE SUDOKU and it's amazing. I am so impressed with how all these outfits came out! I'm a big fan of Kimi's style in general, but these looks are some of my all-time favs.

♥ It's literally my job to look at beautiful photography all day long, but this body positive boudoir shoot (NSFW) is one of the most stunning sets of images I've seen.

♥ I've followed Aww, Sam on Instagram for a while now, so I loved this profile R29 did on her as one of Instagram's hardest working influencers.

♥ I'm a gal who hasn't traveled a lot, unfortunately. I have, however, visited Madison, WI, which I fell immediately and deeply in love with. Tomissa shared some sweet musings about her city and all those happy feels came rushing back into my heart.

♥ This ikat outfit Katie put together is weekend perfection.

♥ Like everyone else, I'm always looking for great Netflix recommendations. I'm excited to start working my way through this list of 25 Netflix Movies with Black Leads. I've seen a few of these (20 Feet from Stardom, both Barbershop movies), and I'm especially excited to hear that some others are available on Netflix (Fruitvale Station, Middle of Nowhere, Girlhood). Also, tangentially related, who's excited for OITNB this weekend!?

♥ A little wishlist: tassel earrings that dangle, bag charms that jangle, tinted moisturizer that hydrates, a shirtdress that captivates, a sandal that slides, and an espadrille that ties.

link love

mid-calf dressesI haven't had anything specific on my wishlist in a while, but I haven't been able to stop dreaming about these summery dresses. It's no secret that I love a midi length, but mid-calf is actually a hemline I've avoided thus far. I've always thought it would hit me in an awkward spot. However, suddenly, I'm obsessed with midi dresses that go the extra few inches past the knee. Who knows, maybe next I'll be buying up maxi dresses! (Lol, probs not. That one I know is not a good look on me.)

Anyway, here are some of the mid-calf dresses I've got my eye on.

Have you ever worn a mid-calf dress or skirt? What's on your wishlist lately?

on my list | mid-calf dresses

quirky skirt peter pan color blouse2 quirky skirt peter pan color blouse1 quirky skirt peter pan color blouse3 quirky skirt peter pan color blouse5 quirky skirt peter pan color blouse6 quirky skirt peter pan color blouse7 quirky skirt peter pan color blouse8 quirky skirt peter pan color blouse9 quirky skirt peter pan color blouse10 quirky skirt peter pan color blouse11
skirt: c/o ModCloth // shirt: thrifted (similar) // shoes: Old Navy (this season's version) // bag: Love Ding // rings: Moulton // brooch: vintage

It doesn't get much more twee than this: a Peter Pan collar, a vintage brooch, a lavender skirt printed with birds and flowers, a pair of clogs, and a straw handbag with DIY detailing. Twee isn't always my aesthetic -- usually I use it as an accent -- but for this outfit, I leaned all the way in. I initially thought to pair this skirt with my deep purple Madewell tank to try to de-twee it a little, but the skirt wants what it wants.

I love that this skirt is chock full of colors to choose from when picking an accent. It's got like seven shades of purple, fuchsia, light peach, darker coral, mustard, a really fab teal -- I have so many options for styling this again in a totally different way! I feel like this version is very true to ModCloth, so that was fun to put together as a nod to them.

I do have to apologize for the photo overload here; I was feeeeling myself with my new hair! I'm so glad I decided on some pretty platinum highlights. I only wish I'd done it sooner! I'm suddenly ready to make a bunch of hair changes. I'm thinking I may grow it out a little, and I also think next time I'll go all-over blonder, because it turns out I can't get enough. I've been rocking the same angled bob since fall of 2013. I (and my beloved stylist) would say it's about time for a change!


three ways to wear patterned shorts
photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

If you told me even two weeks ago that I would be wearing geometric-patterned shorts on my blog, I would have told me that you had me confused for another blogger. AdinaAliceValery, or Tieka, perhaps. Those gals rock geo prints all the time and knock it out of the park. Me? I'm happy in my stripes and gingham, and that's about as much geometry as you'll find in my closet. And yet, here we are!

I waited until the last minute to use my Anthropologie birthday treat discount, but I finally made it into the store and quickly filled my dressing room with every pretty dress under $200 I could grab. There were a few almost-fits, but I wasn't dying to leave the store in any of them. On a whim, I'd grabbed a few separates, just for the sake of trying them on. This pair of shorts hung just outside of the dressing room and I couldn't resist bringing them in with me, almost as a joke -- look how not me these are, you know? I saved them for last, but after I put them on, I couldn't take them off. I immediately started outfit planning, realizing that these supposedly not me shorts actually fit right into my closet.

It turns out that I can't stop, won't stop wearing these shorts. Today I'm sharing three of my favorite ways to style patterned shorts for this summer.

Off-The-Shoulder Blouse

printed shorts OTS blouse1 printed shorts OTS blouse2 printed shorts OTS blouse7 printed shorts OTS blouse8 printed shorts OTS blouse5
patterned shorts: Anthropologie (wearing a size 10) // off-the-shoulder top: Anthropologie // white purse: Nordstrom (gift from Chels!) // sandals: Salt Water Sandals // necklace: Old Navy (similar

An OTS blouse is pure femininity, which makes for a nice pairing with the geo-patterned shorts. I love how this top creates different shapes as it moves, making for a visually interesting look. I actually bought these two pieces together after trying them on in the Anthro dressing room and feeling more confident in myself than I had in a long time. Who knew changing up your style could do that?

Chambray Shirt

printed shorts chambray shirt2 printed shorts chambray shirt4 printed shorts chambray shirt1 printed shorts chambray shirt5 printed shorts chambray shirt6
patterned shorts: Anthropologie // chambray shirt: Old Navy // tote bag: Old Navy // Panama hat: Target // espadrille wedges: Nordstrom Rack (similar)

A chambray button down is the closet workhorse in a modern woman's wardrobe. For this summery outfit, I knotted the ends and rolled the sleeves, which feels equal parts beach coverup and brunch with the girls. If you're looking for something to wear to a cookout later this summer, I highly recommend a chambray shirt and patterned shorts combo. You'll look put together without excerting, like, any effort!

Crop Top

printed shorts crop top1 printed shorts crop top4 printed shorts crop top3 printed shorts crop top5 printed shorts crop top2
patterned shorts: Anthropologie // crop top: Forever 21 (similar) // purse: vintage Coach via Pieceology Vintage // shoes: Sam Edelman c/o Shopbop // necklace: c/o francesca's // bracelet: Alex and Ani

Last, but certainly not least, is the crop top. On paper, this outfit feels a little adventurous: a midriff baring top and attention-drawing shorts. I won't say it's not a tad risky compared to the classic chambray, but it's also incredibly sleek because of one little detail: keeping it neutral. In this case, I went with all black in both my top and my accessories, adding in pops of gold for a little glamour. Too many colors would have made this look loud, but the neutral styling comes off as cohesive and effortless. If your shorts aren't a neutral color, I would still recommend styling in tones of black, navy, cream, etc., depending on the colors you're working with.

What's your favorite way to style patterned shorts?

3 ways to wear patterned shorts this summer

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