Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Year of New Heights

Blogmas Day 31
Lately, I've been wondering how I would go about summing up 2015. I dubbed 2014 the year of travel fulfillment. Though, in hindsight, we have done even more this year. How do you measure such an incredible year? This is not to say that it was perfect. In fact, there were parts of this year filled with heartbreak too. Having to leave dental school {even if only temporarily} was devastating and life changing. Unexpected health problems, family loss, and realizing there were people in my life that I could no longer call friends. But with everything I've gone through this year, there has come insurmountable growth. And there are quite a few incredible events in 2015 that I will carry with me and remember for the rest of my life because 2015 has quite literally been the year of New Heights! 

As you might have guessed, the best moments of 2015 are all entwined in time with Husband. 
this was the best experience that everyone should add to their bucket list. If you are able to take on this adventure then you will never be afraid of heights again. I promise you!

I'm still a bit shocked about this one. We climbed straight up and 18 miles later we had climbed our mountain. this is not only a high note of 2015, but one of the best moments of my life, made even better because Husband and I did this together. 

Life changing views of Niagara Falls thanks to a
Can you see the rainbow?

Really and truly, 2015 was the year of crossing things off our bucket list! 

a birthday in Nantucket

This year was filled with so many moments. We celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary and spent Halloween in Salem. I had the pleasure of treating the best patient ever and spent time together with the 12 dates of Christmas. We explored in 3 states, a new country, and even an island. Plus, we continued to seek out the best of boston. I can't get over how incredible this year was! 
An important lesson I will take away from 2015 is to always be seeking out adventures. Everything that made our year amazing were opportunities that we created for ourselves. And many of these things were so unique and will never be experienced again. With pursuing our doctorate degrees, it can be incredibly easy to live a life full of monotony with the best years of our lives spent sitting in a library. This year of new heights in 2015 has encouraged me to always be challenging myself and seeking out the unfamiliar because life should be an adventure.    

Follow along for more from Making Restorations 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

the most wonderful time of the year

Blogmas Day 30 
Let's talk about this December shall we? What a month it was…
I love doing these monthly reviews, but in this case I'm not even sure where to begin. We filled this month up with the 12 dates of Christmas and spending Christmastime in the City...drinking hot cocoa, eating cookies, and blasting Christmas music. This is the way that December should be! 
and before it's over, I have to touch on my holiday favorites 
like our best Christmas Card yet
my parents even framed it…that's a sign of a good card  
another favorite was baking all the holiday treats
plus the unseasonably warm Boston weather = working off those holiday treats 
also does going iceskating count as a workout? 
I'm voting yes
another favorite…
having the best December weekend with Husband…I can't imagine one better than this baking even more treats because it's Christmas and there can never be too many cookies  or cupcakes, especially ones involving gingerbread
I still can't get over all these doors...
before we knew it, it was time to pack all the things 
wrap up the gifts before heading home for Christmas 
we decided to drive South instead of flying which turned out to be the best decision because all the flights were cancelled from the East Coast Fog 
Surprisingly, our long drive {10 hours} went by fast. There was cold rainy weather outside, but inside there was good conversation, seat warmers, and a cute little lap warmer too! 
we spent Christmas with my inlaws this year…so good getting to spend time with them, especially when it involves playing our favorite strategy board game 
plus having the best holiday drinks 
and let's not forget all of the amazing food because my MIL is the best cook 
oh and the presents 
 this really is the most wonderful time of the year
and I'm already missing every bit of it
Follow along with Blogmas to see more holiday fun everyday this month

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

What I Spent on Clothes in 2015

Blogmas Day 29
I'm a day late, but not a dollar short to link up with Budgeting Bloggers. This is the second year in a row that I've done a yearly clothing budget and let's just say that things went much better this time around. 
First, I am significantly under budget for the year…like by a lot 
Second, I love every single item that I picked up 
I want to focus on talking about WHERE the money I spent this year actually went. For me, the whole point of doing a yearly budget was to not only stay on track with spending, but to push myself to be more thoughtful with my purchases. Because let's be real, I could easily walk into a store like J Crew and happily walk out with one of everything. So today, I'm sharing how I spent my money this year by showing off my favorite OOTD's for 2015! 

Let's talk about clothes first shall we?
Here is what I bought in 2015!
5 blouses 
 {Total Hipsters}                                                {Guilty}  
2 button-downs
3 sweaters 
3 dresses
I prefer dresses to any other type of clothing so this one is no surprise, expect maybe the number is a little low 
{On Wednesdays, we wear Pink}                           {Balloons & Bows}
6 pants
Buying 6 pairs of pants however, well that is a surprise! I don't even like wearing jeans…yes I know that makes me a total weirdo. But with years having gone by of not purchasing any pants, there were slim pickings in my closet. This was a hole I had to fill, but I'm shocked by the types of pants I bought this year. While I did pick up a pair of blue jeans and a pair of leggings, I also purchased, not one but two pairs of leather pants. 
         {BowTie}                     {Fall at Fenway Park}              {Not so Perfect Plaid}
Leather pants {and skin tight ones at that} are completely out of my comfort zone! I'm the girl flouncing around in pink lace dresses. Somehow, I have fallen in love with these and I feel empowered to try more things that I normally wouldn't. Speaking of which, two other unexpected favorites were these white jeans and leather trimmed ankle pants. 
{White Jeans & Bean Boots}                       {Sloan Ankle Pants Review}
1 jumpsuit 
2 shorts

Next up is Accessories!
As far as I'm concerned, a few well placed accessories really make an outfit so these are worth spending on. I noticed that I bought a lot less jewelry compared to previous years, but the pieces I picked up are extremely versatile. And apparently, I turned into a total hat lady. I always owned a few hats for the winter, but I am now totally obsessed with sun hats, floppy hats, fedoras…you name it. 
{Apple Picking}                                     {Swamped!}
4 scarves 
1 necklace 
4 bracelets
3 hats
1 purse

Now onto the Big Budget Items. For me the items that always take up the most room in your budget are outerwear and shoes. I actually picked up a ton of shoes this year including: 
3 pairs of sandals 
2 pairs of leather boots 
1 adorable pair of striped bow heels 
2 pairs of flats including my favorite Sam Edelman Flats featured in 
3 jackets 

Now that I've shown you what I bought in 2015, let's talk about the bottom-line. I budgeted a total of $1500 to spend on clothing for the year which averages out to $125 per month. And I spent…drumroll please…a total of $1,213 which means that I ended up with a surplus of $287! Nearly $300 under budget for the year. I know, I can't believe it either. This means I spent only $100 a month.  
{Leather Boots, Navy, & Pearls}                        {LBD + Plaid

Part of me was tempted to run with the extra cash and buy myself something fancy. But then I stopped. The reason I budget my clothing purchases is to prevent myself from doing just this…making purchases just because I can. Buying things I don't need. This year of budgeting has really pushed me to analyze my purchases. And as you can see, I really didn't buy a lot of items. But the things I bought are versatile and I love them.
{Skinny Pineapple}                 {Twirl}

 Additionally, I noticed that I stayed away from those stores with low quality inexpensive pieces. This is essential because I always sell items that no longer work for my closet. Though I should note that I haven't sold anything I bought this year, I love them all too much. My point is that between the clothing items I sold and $$ earned here from affiliate links, I actually made more money from clothes than I spent on clothes this year! 
How did this happen you ask? 
{Metamorphosis}                         {S.N.O.B.}
Aside from nearly always buying items on sale and challenging myself with no-buy months, I don't spend any of the income I earn from clothes. In the past, I've noticed that many style bloggers tend to add $ into their existing budget. If $300 was budgeted and $200 was made selling clothes, then $500 gets spent. While that method makes complete sense to me, I didn't want to spend a penny more than what I initially budgeted. I was definitely tempted, but ultimately I chose not to add any clothing income into my budget throughout the year and the results were worth it. I'm not a big time style blogger and you won't find a single c/o in my clothing posts. I'm just a normal girl who occasionally blogs about her style. Thus, the fact that my out of pocket clothing expenses this year comes out to zero {with a few extra dollars going into my pocket…to the travel fund of course} is a big accomplishment for me. Be sure to check out all the other budgeting bloggers this month and see all my monthly clothing budgets for the year here
Happy Budgeting! 

Follow along for more from Making Restorations 

Monday, December 28, 2015

a few notes on Blogmas...

Blogmas Day 28
This is the second year in a row that I decided to participate in Blogmas…a holiday post every day of the month. Every year when December rolls around, I announce that I'm not going to do blogmas. And other bloggers out there might understand why…there is big time commitment involved. And as a lifestyle blogger, it's not uncommon for one of my posts to have a few dozen {edited} photos. After all, my main motivation for keeping up with this little space is to document our lives. This way...all of those iPhone photos actually go some place and have a story tied to them too, one that can't be forgotten because I've taken the time to write it down. I was hesitant about doing Blogmas again this year, worried about whether or not I could think of interesting ideas and write quality posts. But we have been so busy this month that there has been no lack of material. 
While my posts seem to be showing up a little later each day, the quality of each one is something I'm pleased with. I've loved doing this. It's created accountability and really pushed me to document all that we have been doing. With only a couple of days of Blogmas left, I'm not tired of blogging the way I expected I would be. Instead, I'm renewed in my passion for this and excited about what's to come of this little space. This has been a great time for reflecting, thanks for indulging me. Be on the lookout because I have a few more favorites coming before the month ends. 

Follow along with Blogmas to see more holiday fun everyday this month

Sunday, December 27, 2015

What we gave for Christmas!

Blogmas Day 27
With Christmas just past, there is no doubt in my mind that youtube and the blogsphere are being filled up with "what i got for Christmas". I'm kind of a bit obsessed with seeing these myself, but I'm much more interested in knowing what people gave their loved ones for the holidays. But these are a lot harder to find so I thought it would be fun to share the gifts we gave for Christmas. For simplicity sake, I'm only sharing what we gifted our family members. We definitely exchanged gifts with friends, neighbors, and colleagues. I even participated in a few secret santas. But we would literally be here all day if I showed you everything…so here is what we gave our family for Christmas! 
Throughout the year, Husband and I place a portion of $$ into a separate account each month. By the time December rolls around, we have a nice little nest egg ready to spend on Christmas. And the majority of that goes towards gifting. We tend to set a strict budget and use holiday sales to our advantage. We don't try to spend an equal amount on everyone, nor do we give everyone the same amount of gifts. We just look for the perfect gift for each individual person.

This year, we gave my father a Michael Kors watch. He has quite the collection of these and had actually been eyeing this one {unknown to us} so this went over really well. We gave my mother two bath bombs and the softest white bath robe {not pictured} to go along with it. 
Also, if you guys remember, we spent a ton of time at our favorite Boston chocolate shop this month. It's always great to buy local whenever we can and we got my mom a box of their gourmet chocolates. 

My MIL is always taking care of everyone and we really wanted to treat her to something extra special. We were thrilled to give her this handbag for Christmas! As for my FIL, he is probably the easiest to please. He's just so happy to see us. But we fell in love with this Patagonia pullover and knew it would be perfect for him. 

As for siblings, I have a few, but we only gift my baby sister…who really isn't a baby anymore. She's in high school and is learning how to drive, which is mind boggling to me because I remember helping to change her diapers. She was the easiest to shop for on our list because she prefers gift cards. But we wanted her to have something to open. She just committed to going on her first trip to Europe and we are so excited for her. Thus, we included this shiny gold passport holder with her gift.  
Husband only has one sibling…a brother. And guys can be the hardest to shop for. We normally give him an expansion pack to this favorite strategy board game that we are all so intense about playing. Seriously who plays board games until 1AM? We do! But alas, there wasn't a new release for the game {we already have them all} so we went with a few clothing items from everyone's favorite J Crew. 

{Nieces & Nephews}
Our nieces and nephews range in age from 2 years old to 15 years old! For the kiddos, we picked up the cutest robotic dog that I really wanted to play with. We also grabbed a pretend tool set, where the power tools actually move and make noise…which Husband R-E-A-L-L-Y wanted to play with. We are big kids! And finally, we grabbed a perplexus, which is essentially a puzzle challenge. 

For the our 15 year niece, we picked up a Forever 21 gift card and a few EOS lip balms. Good gifts for a teenage girl right?

{Other Family Members}
With my side of the family, we only gift immediate family {parents + sister} and our nieces/nephews on that side. This is mostly because my side is so large! But Husband's family is small comparatively and we make an effort to do something for everyone. For our aunt and uncle….we sent them homemade peppermint marshmallow creme sugar cookies in a festive holiday box. 
Husband's paternal grandpa is 97 years old. 
When you survive fighting in World War II and the Great Depression, I think practical gifts are preferred. I whipped up this gift basket with the story of a Christmas orange in mind. We filled a reusable basket with oranges and tangerines…plus a jar of blood orange marmalade. Everything was topped off with my homemade cranberry-orange muffins.  
Lastly, was Husband's cousin and his wife. Their son who we consider our nephew {but is technically our second cousin} was the recipient of the play drill set! But we decided his parents deserved a little something too and gifted them a box of gourmet chocolates from our favorite Boston shop. 
While receiving presents is the most wonderful thing, gifting others is even better. Everyone does gifts a little differently. Some families don't exchange gifts at all, while others go completely over the top! Some people guys gifts, while still yet others give homemade gifts. As you can see, we do a little of both. Christmas definitely isn't about the presents {neither giving or receiving} but it has become a fun part of the holiday tradition. We got so much joy from thinking up, picking out, and creating gifts we thought our loved ones would enjoy, that I couldn't help myself and I had to share. 

Follow along with Blogmas to see more holiday fun everyday this month

Linking up with BLovedBoston//