This is the first budget post I've been really excited to write. After deciding to adjust my budget last month, I feel like I finally, actually budgeted this month. And you know what? I still bought a ton of stuff that I'm really excited about. I was more conscious of my spending, as well as my earning. I put a lot of thought into what I was buying in the now and how it would play into my closet (and my budget) in the months (and years!) to come. That said, here's what I bought!

What I Bought:

what i bought september

Old Navy Chambray Shirt
Old Navy Black Fit and Flare Skirt (worn here)
Old Navy Black and White Striped Breton Tee
Old Navy Burgundy Fit and Flare Skirt
Old Navy High-Rise Vintage Flare Jeans (worn here)
Old Navy Faux-Leather Booties
J.Crew Factory Pleated Shift Dress
Old Navy Utility Shirt
Madewell Emporia Plaid Tee via Poshmark
Old Navy Lace-Up Flats
J.Crew Factory Crystal Sunburst Earrings (worn here)
Old Navy Gold Faux-Leather Clutch (worn here)
Old Navy Chartreuse and White Striped Breton Tee (not pictured, worn here)
Forever 21 Mustard Peter Pan Collar Blouse via Poshmark (not pictured)
Sole Society Black Flats via Poshmark (not pictured)

Total Spent: $355.18
Total Earned on Poshmark: $151
Budget Spent: $204.18 (of $250)

So, first thing's first, I accidentally threw away all my receipts right before writing this post because I was cleaning for a house guest. I had written down all of my order totals, so I know how much I spent, but I don't have the dollar amount to share for each item like I usually do. Know that I got a bunch of stuff with discounts (hellooo, Labor Day!) and actually waited for a few full price things to go on sale before buying them. Yay me!

Second thing's second (is that part of the phrase? I always feel weird using it), this is the first month that I've sold clothes on Poshmark! And I sold a lot!! I sold 12 pieces in the month of September, after having complained in this month's goal post that I hadn't sold a single thing. I'll write more in next week's small goal post about how I made it happen, but it was really nice to have a little extra spending money going into a new season!

Using Poshmark is also helping me stick to a one in, one out type of method. It's not an exact science or anything, but it's nice to know that I can sell at a similar rate as I'm shopping, allowing me the space and funds to do so.

I hadn't actually put much thought into rollover between months because I didn't anticipate having any. However, I'm planning on buying a pair of clogs next month, most of which cost around/upwards of $100. Believe me, I'm scouring Posh, thredUP, etc. DAILY looking for a pair so I don't have to pay full price, but I think it's just one of those pieces I have to invest in. I'm looking at either this Moheda pair from Fine Life Co. (which is currently sold out, but supposedly coming back in stock soon) or this pair of Danskos that my friend, a barista on her feet all day, swears by. Neither shoe is known to go on sale, so the $46 rollover to next month will be a big help!

Overall, I'm really happy that I switched to a monthly budget so far! Every time I bought something, I wrote it down. I was thoughtful about what I could afford this month, and what I should wait until another month to buy. OMG and I made so many returns! Poshmark has forced me to figure out how mail works (finally!), so I returned several things this month that didn't work, that I previously would have begrudgingly held onto.

What I Received:

what i bought september2

As always, I want to be transparent and share what I received from brands who support this blog. I've got an exciting post coming up with ModCloth after sharing this mustard dress in my recent round up of their pre-fall arrivals. Stay tuned for that! I also have an ongoing partnership with Shopbop, and this month I used some of my credits to get this amazing vegan leather jacket that I've literally been dreaming about for two months. It's so soft, y'all. Plus, I was extra stoked to add an olive statement piece to my fall closet thanks to my results in a certain Internet quiz.

I'm linking up with Fran and the budgeting bloggers, per usual, so be sure to check them out!

what i bought in september

red blush stripes3 red blush stripes5 red blush stripes8 red blush stripes10 red blush stripes9 red blush stripes7 red blush stripes11 red blush stripes6 red blush stripes12 red blush stripes4
blazer: Forever 21 via Poshmark (similar) // shirt: Old Navy // skirt: Banana Republic via Poshmark (similar) // sandals: Sam Edelman c/o Shopbop // purse: Old Navy // earrings: J.Crew Factory

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

When I came up with the perfect pink and red outfit on the cusp of fall, I decided I couldn't sit on it until Valentine's Day and had to wear it immediately. It's no secret that Valentine's is my favorite holiday. Why should I have to wait until February to celebrate my love for all things red and pink and chocolate covered? Pink and red are, as I've learned from the Internet, an unpopular color combination. Why? I don't know. I've never been much for red on its own, but when you add a sweet shade of blush, fun fuchsia hue, or pop of bright pink, I'm suddenly all about it.

Now that I'm working from home, I have fewer opportunities to get dressed up cute during the week. This would make a perfect outfit for the office! I wore it to take Dago to physical therapy one afternoon recently, and I was certainly overdressed for the occasion. But I felt fly as heck. That's what it's all about! Wear what you want. Where you want. In the colors you want.

a valentine's outfit in september

overalls off the shoulder6 overalls off the shoulder8 overalls off the shoulder3 overalls off the shoulder2 overalls off the shoulder13 overalls off the shoulder10 overalls off the shoulder12 overalls off the shoulder9 overalls off the shoulder5 overalls off the shoulder11
overalls: H&M // off-the-shoulder top: Anthropologie // shoes: c/o Restricted Shoes // purse: BohoBlu

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

I may have given you a hint of fall yesterday, but there's still plenty of summer lovin' heat where I am. This also means I've got one or two more summer outfits to share before I start rocking some fall inspiration (despite it not actually showing up here until the end of October).

I came up with this outfit when I was thinking of post titles one night. I was just tickled by the thought of the outfit having both over-the-shoulder and off-the-shoulder elements. It's almost like a cold shoulder affect, except that it's obviously two separate pieces. In action, I thought the outfit might be a little fussy, but it was surprisingly easy the day I wore it on a bunch of errands. If your city is also still squeezing in the last bit of summer lately, give this look a try!

over the shoulder // off the shoulder

flare jeans black hat1 flare jeans black hat2 flare jeans black hat12 flare jeans black hat4 flare jeans black hat6 flare jeans black hat14 flare jeans black hat7 flare jeans black hat10 flare jeans black hat9
jeans: Old Navy // tank: Madewell // shoes: Old Navy // purse: Pieceology Vintage // hat: Brixton c/o Shopbop // necklace c/o francesca's (similar)

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

I explicitly remember telling my mom a couple of years ago that I would absolutely never, ever wear flare jeans again. High-water, light-wash memories of middle and high school have haunted me for years, reminding me of a much less stylish past. 

For at least three years now, I've seen magazines declare that flare jeans are making a comeback that will send our skinny jeans packing. Still, the majority of women I know and see are rocking fitted, tapered jeans, not even giving these magazine predictions a second thought. Sure, most companies that sell jeans carry a flare option, but only in a wash or two and in limited quantities. It was when I started seeing flare jeans pop up on my favorite bloggers and more varieties were available in my most-shopped stores that I decided to give them my attention.

I went with a high-rise pair from Old Navy, since their high-rise Rockstar jeans are in constant rotation in my closet. It turns out, I kind of love them. I was so worried about my embarrassing outfits of middle school past that I wasn't considering how hindsight and an actual sense of style would make flares a fun and fabulous addition to my wardrobe. I've got lots of styling ideas (next up: stripes! because, duh) and I'm incredibly comfortable wearing them, so expect to see them quite a bit this fall! I'm also considering buying a second pair, this time in a tall length, because the pair pictured aren't quite long enough for me to wear with heeled booties without triggering a vision of my too-short flares and platform sneakers circa 2002. *Shudder* That was a dark time -- am I alone in that?

Are you ready to let flares back into your life? My recommendations: keep the rise high, the hem long, and the wash dark!

never say never (to wearing flare jeans)


This week's link love comes with a heavy heart. And, truthfully, it's been a long time coming. Instead of my usual collection of links from bloggers I love, outfits I want to copy, and clothes on my wishlist, I'm going to share some highly recommended reading about the state of Black lives in this country. I'm also going to share some of my own thoughts, because even though I've shared them elsewhere (specifically on my podcast, if you're interested), I've got this platform and it's far past time I use it for something that takes up so much of my heart and consciousness.

Before we get into the links, I want to lay a few things out:

1. Black lives matter. It has to be said because too many people don't believe it, and because those lives are ending at an alarming rate.
2. Black people are protesting around the country because of the blatant disregard for their community's safety. Asking for safety and equality is not a threat of violence; it's a desperate plea to be heard, and our country needs to start listening.
3. When law enforcement refuses to protect someone who is aligned with Black Lives Matter or has spoken out against police brutality, whether it be a football player or a Beyoncé concert, those officers are not doing their job. Yes, law enforcement is a dangerous career, but it's one that is chosen. An officer can take their blue off whenever they choose; a Black person cannot change that they are Black.
4. We live in a country where everyone has the right to a fair trial. While the majority of the recent incidents of police brutality have occurred when no crime was being committed at all, it is unlawful for an officer to end someone's life over a suspected theft, failing to use a turn signal, etc. Among so many other things, our law enforcement is in dire need of a lesson on deescalation tactics.
5. Children should not have to grow up fearing what might happen to them if they're at a playground, in a convenience store, or simply living while Black. They should also not have to fear that they're going to lose a parent because they had car trouble or "looked like a bad dude" to someone who should not be given a gun for their job. But this is the current reality and we have got to do something about it.
6. Even more important than using my privilege as a white person to speak out against police brutality and violence against my Black brothers and sisters is to amplify their voices. Only they can share their experiences, their truths, their needs. It's my job to listen.

If you're ready to listen, here's some truth:

Here's how many Black people have been killed by police since Colin Kaepernick started protesting (as of 9/20)

25 reasonable, practical, achievable solutions for police brutality

Black health matters

"Terence Crutcher can't stand for the anthem, so neither can I"

Riots are the response of human beings drowning in systemic injustice

An extremely powerful story from a teacher at Terence Crutcher's daughter's school

The 5 things white people can do right now

How to support your Black loved ones after incidents of police violence

I have so many more things that I'm feeling that I can't yet even put into words, but I couldn't let that stop me anymore from saying anything at all. Hug your Black brothers and sisters and tell them that they are valuable. Have those uncomfortable conversations with your friends and family who "don't get it." Don't be silent, but more importantly, don't forget to listen.

link love

stripes and gold1 stripes and gold2 stripes and gold12 stripes and gold3 stripes and gold10 stripes and gold4 stripes and gold11 stripes and gold6 stripes and gold9 stripes and gold13
shirt: Old Navy // skirt: Old Navy // shoes: Kate Spade c/o Shopbop (love the new rose gold pair!) // purse: Old Navy // necklace: DIY

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

If you're wondering what outfits are contenders for my favorite of 2016, this may just be the front runner. I feel quintessentially myself in it. I know the stripes look like mustard in these photos, but they're actually chartreuse, which I've recently realized is my secret power color (see all the ways I've worn it on the blog here). It's definitely my favorite accent color; my chartreuse cardigan is easily the most-worn item on my blog. It also pairs exceedingly well with my other power color: coral. I loved throwing this DIY beaded necklace on for the smallest shot of coral to the outfit. It's not even a particularly colorful outfit, but I just felt really bright and fun while wearing it!

The real highlight of this outfit party are the pops of gold. These Kate Spade flats have been a closet staple this year, as gold flats have been since probably 10th grade when I realized they go with everything. However, I've struggled to find the perfect bag to match. Then, the other day I was waiting for my girlfriends by the fitting room and spotted this gold wristlet, which also fills my desperate need for an easy, versatile clutch. Good things come to those who forget what they're looking for!

P.S. If you've been looking for a little black skirt, I highly recommend this one from Old Navy! It's the perfect length and it's not that stretchy fabric that every skirt this length seems to be. It's lined and has an elastic waist in the back. And it comes in burgundy, which of course I also bought. I do suggest sizing down one! **ETA: IT'S CURRENTLY $9. GO GET BOTH.

power color and a pop of gold

blue green purple outfit3 blue green purple outfit5 blue green purple outfit6 blue green purple outfit11 blue green purple outfit8 blue green purple outfit2 blue green purple outfit12 blue green purple outfit1 blue green purple outfit10
shirt: thrifted Madewell (another scalloped lace top) // shorts: Old Navy // shoes: Old Navy // purse: Love Ding // necklace: similar // earrings: J.Crew Factory

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

The weather may not actually be cooling down any here in Austin, but I guess I was feeling inspired by the idea enough to try a whole outfit of cool colors! No matter the season, I tend to be attracted to warm colors, filling my closet with shades of coral, burgundy, mustard, and orange. It didn't occur to me until recently why I've had such a difficult time styling this top, but it's because everything in my closet is on the other side of the color spectrum!

I snagged this Madewell top at a thrift shop last summer and literally never wore it once. It was actually in a bag of things to list on Poshmark that I started compiling back in the spring. Then when summer rolled around, I found myself reaching for a short sleeved top that wasn't a T-shirt, and this one fit the bill! Though I was happy to be wearing it, I really struggled to style it; I basically wore it like a T-shirt with jeans and flats every time. I personally hate wearing clothes that don't feel like an outfit. I committed to finding a way to make this top work in my closet, or let it go for good.

There are some really great reasons to not have your clothes piled on the floor. First, you can actually use your floor for, you know, walking. Second, all your clothes aren't wrinkled. However, it's the floor where many of my best outfits come to be. I'd kicked off these lavender sandals near the blue and green lace top in my growing clothes pile, and suddenly I had visions of an adorable outfit I would have never noticed in my own closet! 

So, next time you need an excuse to not hang your clothes up after doing laundry, just show your mom/roommate/significant other this post. ;)

cool colors for a change

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