Friday, June 27, 2014

June Budget

This turned out to be a really good month for me. Not because I practiced any kind of real restraint, but more so because it was my 25th birthday (read about my party here). My family and friends know how much I love gift cards so I ended up with a lot of extra to spend on myself this month. That being said, I'm surprised I didn't do more damage. Normally, I tend to splurge on something like a a new handbag for my b-day but most of my purchases were actually pretty budget friendly.

Also, as usual I'm linking up with franish and the other budgeting bloggers. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Switching to Mac

My husband and I have a running joke with the punch line being "you struggle", meaning that things that should be relatively simple or effortless are often difficult for me. And my sensitive skin is no different. At the slightest sign of stress I break out in hives and I doubt that you know anyone who has been diagnosed with sun poisoning more than me. Seriously, all this melanin does absolutely nothing to protect me from the sun! 

When it comes to the make-up department, my sensitive skin really inhibits me. This is especially true with drug store brands as many of them have caused me severe breakouts. Even when I do find something that works for my sensitive skin, I often have trouble finding the right shade for my skin tone. As an African American I feel that many make-up companies don't carry a large variety of shades in darker ranges. Regardless, I was determined to find a foundation that would work well for me and in the past year I have tried everything from Bare Minerals to Lancome. The only thing that I really discovered during all of this is that I prefer liquid foundation to powder. Otherwise, I hadn't made any real progress. That's when I decided to head into a Mac Store. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Love of Lilly

You all know that I have been in summer mode for quite a while, but today is the first official day of summer, meaning that it's also National Wear Your Lilly Day. So today I'm taking advantage of that to share my love of all things Lilly. I realized that in the past couple of years, anytime I had a special occasion, Lilly Pulitzer was my outfit of choice. And because I couldn't just pick one outfit to showcase today, here are a few of my favorites. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Fresh Start

One of the advantages of having an exam every week is that after each test you have the chance to start anew. This past Tuesday I stayed up very late and got up fairly early on Wednesday morning to squeeze in some extra studying for my respiratory exam. And after our test, we had dental lab so to say that I was exhausted yesterday is an understatement. I literally came home from school and crashed, totally missing yesterday's Work-It-Out Wednesday post. And with that said, I think it's time for a change.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Burnisher's Ball

This weekend was the dental school prom. Well maybe that's not the best term, but it's the most convenient way to describe it; a dance party to celebrate the end of the year. More then anything, the Burnisher's Ball was a fundraiser. Sponsors and donations covered the cost of the actual ball, allowing 90+% of the ticket sales to go toward the patient fund. Our patient fund is a reserve used specifically to treat those that are most in need. We service a relatively rural population and it's not uncommon for people to walk into the clinics in dire need of emergency treatment with no way to afford it. That's where the patient fund comes in so it was great to be supporting this and even better to find out that the event raised thousands of dollars. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Whirlwind Weekend

This weekend has been extremely busy, but also very fun. I'll share more with you on Monday, but for now I wanted to post an OOTD showcasing some casual wear. I spent the morning cleaning my apartment and the afternoon running errands. Now, I'm off to school to study and practice crown preps in lab. Thankfully, on the weekends we can wear whatever we want as the only people really there are the students. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Hunt for the Perfect Summer Sandal

At the beginning of each season, I like to assess my wardrobe in order to make sure I'm building my closet and not buying more of the same. I realized fairly quickly that I needed to be in the market for a good sandal for this summer. Because I don't have free time to go shopping I ordered a range of sandals in different styles that I liked and was hoping would fit my criteria. 

Comfort: I literally have no arch so I'm really picky about shoes providing good support. 

Price Point: Sandals don't typically have a long life so I didn't want to spend too much. Because I was looking for something with a high comfort level though I was willing to spend up to $50 for the perfect sandal. 

Style & Versatility: Had to work with my current summer wardrobe.

A dash of something extra: While I was looking for something that would blend well, I also didn't want the shoes themselves to be boring. I wanted them to be able to accentuate an outfit one day while being the focal piece the next day. 

 I love the way these sandals look on me. The cognac color makes them very versatile. It also has an orange hue to it which works well with my skin tone. The swooping sandal bands and the pop of gold around the toe made them visually interesting. Not to mention that they were slide on sandals so no rubbing in the back. At $25 the price was definitely right, but these were a major let down in the comfort department. I had heard that Sam & Libby shoes really are meant for a narrow foot and oh boy is that true. The throng between my first and second toes was definitely uncomfortable. While I thought about keeping them since they more than met my expectations everywhere else, I got the feeling that even if broken in, the throng would always hurt. Plus the cushioning in the sole was pretty minimal for me. So unfortunately these had to go back.

Sam & Libby Karina Sandal 

Sam Edelman is quickly becoming one of my favorite brands as I am in love with these shoes that I own. So these automatically received bonus points. They also ended up being the most comfortable sandal thanks to all the padding in the sole, but that's where the good points ended. This shoe was just too much for me and it dominated my small frame. On sale they were still over budget at $56. These had to go back. 

I will end the suspense early and let you know that this pair of sandals was definitely not a winner. They got a decent amount of style points from me, but the quality was very poor. The ends of the straps were already pilling when they arrived. I didn't even want to try them on. And once I did try them, more flaws came to light. For instance, these shoes provide zero support, just a very thin strip separating your foot from the hard ground underneath. I have yet to find a pair of shoes from Target that I think are worth purchasing and these are no different.  Definitely not worth the $20 price tag.

Mossimo Lakita Sandal 

My favorite feature about this sandal is the contrast between neutrality and a wow factor. The tope color of the straps is beautiful and makes them very wearable, but they also have a little edginess thanks the the silver studs and turquoise beading. On the flip side, the turquoise does limit their versatility a little. After trying them on and based on my past experiences with Sam Edelman shoes, I'm confident that they will provide the support I need. Also, the strap in the back is more of an elastic material, which will prevent rubbing. The only real downside is the price...$70. Thankfully, I found them sale making them within the $50 price ranged. Added bonus, I used a gift card to scoop them up at no cost to me. Definitely winners!

The best thing about these sandals for me is the color. Officially, they are "tangerine", it's a pink-orange color. While I am a fan of the color, it definitely limits its versatility. I like the design pattern of the straps and they have both gold and silver studs on them, which gives you more jewelry options. I managed to pick these up on sale for only $19 and unlike the other pair of Sam & Libby shoes, these did not pinch my feet. However, there was little to no cushioning in the bottom of this shoe so unfortunately they also went back. 

Sam & Libby Hope Sandal 

This sandal from gap sold out almost immediately on the site, which really bummed me out. They were still available in other colors, but not the brown and gold. Then I found them in my size on clearance in store. They were marked down from $39.95 to $29.99, well within my price range. The cushioning in the shoe was more than sufficient, though only time will tell how comfy they actually are. These got major style points from me as the brown and gold straps made them stylish and versatile. These were easily a winner.

So in the end I walked away with two pairs of sandals for a $30. Mission accomplished. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Green Machine

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy today for "What I Wore Wednesday" but I will be back next week with the usual "Work-it-Out Wednesday". And I will apologize for my hair now, it was totally curled this morning and then the moment I stepped outside, the humidity just killed it. Thankfully, this little A-line beauty was unaffected and I still look somewhat pulled together. I just picked this dress up this past weekend and I couldn't wait to wear it as I have been obsessed with greens lately. I was never much of a fan in the past, but now my closet is full of various shades of green so I thought why not mix them together. I did this by pairing the dress with a mint and green necklace and the green Kate Spade earrings that I picked up on sale last month. I added in the bracelet and belt because what goes better with green than a few pops of gold? Then Voila! Simple...Easy OOTD

What I'm Wearing? 
Dress: Exact
Belt: Steve Madden 
Necklace: J Crew Factory 
Bracelet: Exact
Earrings: Kate Spade 
Shoes: Exact

Gotta love a dress with pockets

Monday, June 9, 2014

Never Too Old for a Tea Party: 25th Birthday

You know those old black and white movies, where the lady of the house is bustling about in pearls and heels, preparing for the evenings dinner guests. That's exactly what I wanted for my birthday...a vintage upscale atmosphere. I chose to do this by hosting my first dinner party. And since I have quite the little collection of antique tea cups, I decided on a tea party theme. 

Dessert Table 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Quarter of a Century

Today is my 25th birthday. I celebrated last night with a party. A post on that is coming soon, but for today I took some time for myself to reflect. I thought that I would share some of the accomplishments and experiences that I've had and am most proud of in my 25 years of life. So in no particular order...

Shirt: Olive & Oak//Skirt: Exact //Sandals: Calvin Klein//
Bracelet: Exact // Bangles: Kohl's// Sunnies: Steve Madden

1. Graduated from college with a BS in Biology
2. I was fortunate enough to meet and marry the perfect man
3. Went parasailing and ziplining on my honeymoon even though I'm afraid of heights and it was awesome.
4. Gained an appreciation for traveling and experiencing different cultures through visiting 5 different countries and 12 states. Definitely working on expanding this.
5. Got accepted to multiple dental schools
6. Started dental school and I'm still here
7. Found the best pup a girl could have
8. Learned to bake a pie from scratch
9. Fell in love with helping others and volunteered thousands of hours
10. Tossed a coin into the Trevi Fountain
11. Marveled at the Palace of Versailles
12. Took a gondola ride through Venice
13. Ate gelato at the Roman Colosseum
14. Smiled with Mona Lisa at the Louvre
Can you tell which of the countries that I've visited have been my favorite?
15. Learned to love amalgam restorations (metal fillings)
16. Finally learned to swim (the water makes me nervous)
17. Earned a scholarship award for my NIH sponsored genetics research
18. Served as a mentor and role model to those younger than me
19. I learned to openly give love and be loved
20. I love myself for who I am
21. Started this wonderful little blog
22. Gained an appreciation for all things vintage
23. Toured the White House and explored the nation's capitol
24. Planned my wedding

Friday, June 6, 2014

25 Days of Summer

Yes I am aware that there are more than 25 days during the summer, in fact there are exactly 93 days between the summer solstice and the autumn equinox this year. As this summer marks my 25th summer of life I wanted to attempt to spend 25 days doing 25 different activities. You see I haven't been on a summer vacation in years. Instead I've logged in some pretty crappy summers. While I watched my friends travel the world I took summer classes and did research while working to make myself a competitive dental school applicant. Last summer, I spent the entire thing wedding planning and as I am an overly detail oriented perfectionist who has trouble delegating, there were more days filled with stress than there were with fun. So even though this summer is going to be one of my most difficult semesters, I think that it is going to be essential to make time for myself.

Sorry, but I couldn't resist. I'm totally obsessed with Frozen right now. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City

I realize that many of my blog posts as of late have been a little down. These past few weeks have been such a struggle for me to keep up with and I was starting to feel that things would never slow down. My next school break isn't until July so I was feeling more than a little depressed. And then the clouds parted and the evil monkeys on my back flew away. Basically, two wonderful things happened at once. First I unexpectedly got out of class at 10am on Friday and two this weeks exam got cancelled!