Friday, April 29, 2016

april clothing budget

This was a very good shopping month for me OR a bad one, depending on how you want to look at it. I spent quite a bit, but also found so many great things I wanted needed for this warmer weather. Most notably, the swimsuit search is over. I think my pick is a pretty sexy swimsuit for a one-piece and is more revealing than what I normally go for, but I figured why not. Plus, I picked up a second ultra conservative suit to help balance things out. Oh, and I may have grabbed my third embroidered front tee from J Crew, but they are just too perfect and I can't seem to resist them.

 My favorite purchase this month is definitely the Madewell Zip Transport Tote. I was looking for a carry-all bag for our summer travels and this fits the bill. And this version is much better than the original. After stalking this bag for months, I finally scooped it up during a major sale. See my full review here

Zip Transport Tote: original $188 + 25% + $25 credit = $116

Lattice SwimSuit: original $78 on sale for $57 + $10 promo = $47

Paisley SwimSuit: original $40 on sale $32

Embroidered Front Tee: original $60 on sale for $17

Tortoise Sunnies: original $30 on sale for $11

Linen Shift Dress: original $35 on sale for $25

Total: $248

April was quite an expensive month for me since I didn't buy this much during January, February, and March combined. Something about the warmer weather makes me willing to spend more. And while I didn't buy any adventure gear this month, we have a ton of hiking and camping trips coming up. Pretty sure, I will be investing in a pair of hiking boots next month, so May is going to be a high spend month too. This is always the point in the year where I start to question if I'm going to be able to stay within my yearly budget parameters. Guess we will see. 

Budget for the Year: $1750 
April Spending:$248
remaining for the year: $1299

And just to end things on a happy note, here are some favorite outfits featuring this month's buys. And yes there was snow and blooming flowers all in one month. That's just your typical New England Spring. 
                   {one}                                 {two}                            {three}

Be sure to check out all the other budgeting bloggers

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

you know you live in boston when...

Wanderlust Wednesday-Week 8
Lately, I've been thinking about how lucky Tom and I are to have this time right now. Our entire marriage has been long distance so this time together is precious. And I couldn't think of a better city to spend it in than Boston. This city is so unique with all it's history and while it's small, it is jam-packed with culture and so much to do. But there are some quirks about living here that you would never find anywhere else in the world. On that note…you know you live in boston when...

St. Patty’s Day is a MAJOR holiday

you know you live in boston when they are just called Boston cream pies

Every bar in the city has Sam Adams on Tap, but then again you’ve never checked the Cheers bar because that’s only for the tourists

You love to hate the-T {our public transit system} but couldn’t function without it. Plus you know all the alternate routes because the green line will inevitably breakdown again.

Your version of a light dusting of snow is anything less than 3 feet. Speaking of snow, winter is October-April…bring on the full length puffy coats and bean boots!

You spend the summers in the stands of Fenway Park {even if you don’t like baseball…that's me}

you know you live in boston when…you eat fresh seafood like other people eat chicken

You’re used to walking down cobblestone streets lined with gaslight lamps

You are completely unphased by having to navigate round-a-bouts, one-ways, and trolleys when you drive. Plus you can parallel park like a pro

There’s a different university on every block. That's the only way we have managed to jam 100 colleges in this small city.

you know you live in boston when walking past historal re-enactments is the norm. And you roll your eyes because they're blocking the way, BUT secretly you love it.

You refer to Cape Cod simply as the Cape…speaking of which, you readily spend your summers ferrying between Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and the Cape.

you know you live in boston when…there's not a Starbucks on every corner, but there is a Dunkin Donuts

You know how to skip the lines to get front row concert sees and you know all the free days at the major museum

you know you live in boston when…you've inadvertently memorize all the stops along the freedom trail because you walk by them all the time

Seriously, try doing this exercise with your city. It will highlight the best parts! I promise, you will appreciate it so much more. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Spring Shift

After seeing this dress on adorable Liz, I had to pick up this inexpensive linen shift. Depending on the accessories, this dress is perfect for just about everything…it's one of those comfy toss on dresses that you constantly reach for. Liz and I are shorties, so we both went with petite sizing. Other than that, our body types are completely different. It's always nice to see how the same piece works for different bodies, see how Liz wore it here
Between how much I love this linen dress and the fact that Old Navy is currently hosting a 30% sale, I will also be picking up this version of of dress in navy this weekend. Please tell me, I'm not the only person who buys variations of the exact same thing in multiple colors? 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

This weekend gave us a chance to cross another item off our Boston Bucket List. We spent Sunday at the most unique art museum...the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. It has a checkered past with being the victim of one of the biggest unsolved art heists in the world. And while this place has such an interesting history and some amazing pieces, at times it felt more like we were wandering through a secret garden than an art museum.
visit isabella stewart gardner museum
Normally art museums are cold and dark in order to better preserve the art. But this museum is so well done with managing to add in lots of natural light. There are two buildings connected by an open walk way. The newer modern building has a restaurant, a concert hall, and plenty of bright open areas. Meanwhile, the original building houses most of the art. It's centered around an open courtyard that can be accessed from every floor. So each gallery offers a different perspective of the courtyard. 
isabella steward gardner courtyard
Isabella modeled the courtyard after an Italian Palace, so those pink marble walls and romantic balconies are always surrounded by sprawling palms and sculptures. But the flowers are changed out multiple times a year. During our visit, the courtyard was filled with bright orange nasturtiums, flowering maples, and the cutest orange trees. Perfect for the start of spring + ideal for this girl who was just getting over a cold and in need of some good vitamin C. 
isabella stewart gardner orange trees
I assure you that there is actual art in this ART museum. Isabella was a very wealthy woman and she used her personal fortune to purchase and display art for the "education and enjoyment of the public forever". While the frames from the $500M art heist remain empty, there are still thousands of pieces of art including some favorites like Rembrandt and Degas.
isabella stewart gardner tickets
One thing I know for certain, we will definitely be back to visit this secret garden art museum again and again. 
linking up with weekending//travel tuesday//

Sunday, April 24, 2016

a little vitamin C

I've been so under the weather this past week and it's been depressing because it made me miss out on so many great things. We had to cancel a date that we had planned on Thursday. Plus, I didn't get to link up for Wanderlust Wednesday or Friday Five. Seriously, is there anything good about being sick?  But this weekend I've started feeling much better. While I should probably be taking it easy, I desperately wanted to get out of the house. Thankfully, we found this perfect hidden spot with orange trees growing right in the city and they are providing just the right dose of vitamin C. 
Can't wait to share more details tomorrow. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Review: Madewell Zip Transport Tote

Have you ever had the perfect bag? It's the one you reach for more than anything else you own. It doesn't matter if you've had it for 3 days or 3 years, the texture and color are just as vibrant as the day you brought it home. And you feel invincible with it. That's the Madewell Zip Transport Tote
review madewell zip transport tote
After years of constant use, my J Crew tote was beginning to show its wear and needed a replacement. The obvious choice was to purchase the Madewell Transport Tote because it's similar in style and design to my J Crew Downing Tote. It was kind of a no brainer really. But when I saw the Madewell Transport Tote in store, my heart sank. I had seen tons of photos of the original transport tote, but in person, I wasn't as impressed. It felt like I would always be comparing the two bags and feeling dissatisfied. I was on my way out of the store when I spotted the Madewell ZIP Transport Tote. Now, that's a handbag! 

How does it Compare? The Zip Transport vs. The Original Transport
I'm sure you're wondering how the zip version differs from the original transport tote. Well obviously, there's a zipper and the added privacy is a major perk. Also, the interior of the zip version is lined whereas the original has exposed leather. And while the Madewell website has the same color listings for both bags, I swear that the leather on the Zip Transport is richer and thicker in texture. In fact, that's what made me gravitate to the zip tote over the original.    
the madewell zip transport tote
There is also a $20 price difference with the zip version being a little more expensive. But then again, I scooped mine up during a major sale, so the price difference is relative. 

Best Features? 
The best part about this tote is definitely the quality of the leather. It's soft and natural texture is the kind of material that just gets better with age. And it's beyond durable. I've already spilled on it, but you can't even tell because it's Jasmine Proof. Love this bag! I'm also a fan of the fact that the bag is fully lined, with interior pockets on both sides for storage. 
madewell transport review
Another favorite feature is the straps. It has the traditional double straps {though shorter than the original}, but there's also a long adjustable strap, allowing the bag to be used as a crossbody. Being a shortie{5'2'}, I really appreciate having the ability to adjust things to suit my height. And as an added bonus…the shoulder band has a widened portion that gives extra comfort. They really thought of everything. 
review madewell transport blog

Where to Take It? 
This tote has quickly become my everyday bag. It's large enough to hold a laptop and tablet=perfect for school or work. And the hands-free crossbody strap is essential for running errands. But I'm most excited to use this for traveling. It will be the perfect carry-on tote and function well as a day bag for exploring new cities. Basically it will go everywhere. 
[OOTD details-Mama's got a brand new Bag

What's not to Love? 
In order to give a fully impartial review, I had every intention of being completely honest about the bag's flaws. But I'm having trouble finding any. In fact, I'm considering purchasing the bag in black as well. I will say that the leather on the handles isn't treated on both sides. This can be a little annoying with making sure you have the handles facing outwards, but then again the untreated leather on the inside helps the bag to stay in place on your shoulder. So is that a flaw or an ingenious method of making the bag more wearable? 
All in all, the genuine leather and gold hardware make this bag a classic beauty. Add in the perfect design, and the zip transport tote is definitely taking things up a notch.

linking up with thepleatedpoppy// 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Mama's Got a Brand New Bag

This weekend was glorious! The sun managed to come out and it was finally warm enough to wear a dress. But I'm not here to talk about the amazing dress. Because when it comes down to it, we all know that it's really about the bag! 
madewell zip transport tote review
I've been eyeing this bag for a while, but holding back. You see, neutrals and I haven't always gotten along well. And while investing in an everyday bag is one the best things anyone can do for their wardrobe, I tend to gravitate towards handbags that are flashy, trendy, and preferably pink. But there's something to be said about having a bag that literally goes with everything. 
madewell zip transport blog
best bag EVER aka the Madewell Zip Transport Tote//
Now that I've owned this beauty for a few weeks AND have realized how life-changing it is, I'll be sharing a full review tomorrow. So...
untill then! 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday Five

We're halfway through April, which is really good news for me because I'm so looking forward to May. More on that below. I'm trying not to get too ahead of myself though. Here's a few happy things from my week that are making me excited for the weekend. 
1. national park free week
Starting today, national park entry is completely free! It lasts from April 16th-24th. If you live close to a national park, then now's a great time to make weekend plans for a visit. We love the national park system and will be crossing a few off our wish list this summer. In the meantime, these photos are from our favorite hike during last summer's visit to Yosemite National Park…all 18 miles of it. 

2. is it true?
Boston is supposed to have a warm day this weekend, like 68 degrees warm. This is a nice change from last weeks snow and hail. I am beyond giddy about this weekend's possibilities. 

3. a creepy guy + a nice surprise 
I came home the other day to find a total creeper in our building. The building has two entry doors with the outer door being unlocked. It opens up into a mudroom (essential in Boston) while the inner door has to be opened with a key before you can access the individual condos. The mudroom has mailboxes and an area for packages or anything else too large to fit in the mailboxes. When we walked into the outer room, this guy had opened up the neighbor's newspaper and was totally reading another neighbor's magazine. We live in a small complex and knew he wasn't the owner of these items. Tom and I were debating on what to do, when we startled him. He started to hurriedly put everything back. And when he turned around, it was the mailman! Why he was nose deep in someone else's newspaper though, I don't know. Also, he wasn't the regular mailman. It was really suspicious, but then I realized that I had a package so I didn't even care. My package was from Liz over at J is for Joiner. She sent me the sweetest bundle of spring cheer, including this adorably vibrant scarf. Exactly my style. Thanks again Liz. 

4. travel planning
It's already April and we haven't gone on any trips yet. Everything we've planned has been cancelled because there was either too much snow or not enough snow. I'm going a little stir crazy with staying in the same place. But we have a big trip coming up next month and now it feels like we're scrambling to get everything done. I shared our poor adventurer's guide to travel planning earlier this week and I need to take my own advice with getting everything finalized. 

5. museum date nights
We finally went to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts for our first visit during Valentine's weekend. Since then, we've been going regularly. We realized that Wednesday nights there are free, which is perfect because this place is massive and you can't see everything in just one visit. It's so nice to simply walk through and take our time. We don't have to worry about rushing through because we can always come back next week. It's wonderful and has become my favorite for date nights.  


lining up with oh hey friday//

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

the poor adventurer's guide to travel planning

Wanderlust Wednesday-Week 7 
We are pretty much in full planning mode for this summer's plans and it's made me realize that I am 100% a budget traveler. This doesn't mean that I couch surf or only eat street food while traveling. It means that I plan ahead. Planning ahead allows me to avoid expensive tourist traps and book travel options when they are most affordable. When it comes to travel planning, I have a less is more policy with spending, which ultimately allows us to take multiple trips a year. With our travel budgets being so tight, there's no room for making costly errors and we've developed a system for planning our trips.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

things are looking a little bleak

Land's End Luxe Wool Scoopneck Coat
bleak-adj. cold and piercing; without hope or encouragement 
This is really how I'm feeling about this Spring season so far. We've had snow, then ice, then rain, then snow again. Add in a little hail and a lot more rain and you've got a true New England Spring. Every time we get a glimpse of warm weather, it's thwarted by an onslaught of more cold. So for now, I'm still dressing in layers. 
Polka Dot Cardigan

Land's End Luxe Wool Coat {similar on sale}|| Express Scarf||
J Crew Downing Tote||Clarks Boots||

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

how to [NOT] burst your travel budget

Wanderlust Wednesday-Week 6
We've all done it. You return home from vacation felling newly rejuvenated, but then the credit card statements start rolling in and you realize that your carefully pre-planned budget was blown out of the water. What went wrong? Where did you overspend? Because we usually have the big ticket items {flights, hotels, adventures} paid in full before we go, I found that I wasn't paying much attention to our day to day spending while on vacation. This was causing us to go over budget. Over the years, I've managed to pinpoint some problem areas and have found a few helpful tricks to keep things under control. Here are just a few... 

Monday, April 4, 2016

weekend snapshots [03.04.16]

Looking back, it's hard to believe that all these photos came from the same weekend. Early on, we were blessed with stunning 70 degree days, which quickly evolved into rain, then snow. Spring Anyone? Regardless, it was an amazingly relaxed weekend. Time was spent on morning runs along the Charles River and evening walks on the hiking trails. We squeezed in lots of work + brunch at our favorite spot. I can't pinpoint doing anything out of the ordinary this weekend, but that's what made it perfect.  
[OOTD details here]
I was being totally lazy this weekend, so hopefully you didn't mind all the iPhone photos. Looking forward to productive week.

linking up with blovedboston// 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

here we go again...

I knew it was going to flurry this weekend, but I certainly wasn't expecting to wake up in a winter wonderland. It is April after all. And just two days ago, we had perfect 70 degree weather. But now, everything is blanketed in snow. I was planning to start packing up my winter gear this weekend, but I think I better hold off. Here we go again with this crazy weather. 
Embroidered Tee {40% off with code ticktock}// White Denim //
Thankfully this morning involved a hot breakfast, thanks to brunch at our favorite spot. I'm spending the rest of the day, warming up with lots of hot coffee and {hopefully} getting work done. 
Happy Sunday 
linking up with thepleatedpoppy//