October Budget

I’m not happy with my spending this month. If my life were normal (meaning, I was making the same money as I used to), this month wouldn’t be bad at all. But as some of you know, things have taken a different course and I need to budget accordingly as a result.

Luckily, I am happy with what I did purchase!

October Budget

Plato’s Closet

Banana Republic Black Skirt $8.00
Merona Pink Dress $3.00
Speechless Colorblock Dress $7.00 (prettier)

LOFT Outlet

Black Maxi Skirt $19.99
Gray V-Neck Sweater $17.99 (similar)
Striped Boatneck Tee $11.99 (similar)
Curvy Skinny Jeans $34.99


Banana Republic Tee $3.39
Pittsburgh Pirate Vintage Tee $1.69
Ann Taylor Ruffle Sleeveless Blouse $3.39
Vera Wang Green Cardigan $3.39
LOFT Pleated Plaid Skirt $3.39
LOFT Baby Blue Cardigan $3.39

Total: $120.75

I think it’s impressive to view how little I actually paid for each individual item (and how many items I was able to acquire), but seeing it all added up reminds me that I still need to cut costs–The purpose of participating in Budgeting Bloggers with Fran!

Things I love about this month’s purchases: I was able to turn the Speechless Colorblock Dress into a really cute winter skirt, I love the Gray V-Neck Sweater from the LOFT outlet (and have a really cute outfit to show you soon), and some of the Goodwill items will be fun to mix in my wardrobe.

Things I’m disappointed in about this month’s purchases: Well, in addition to the amount I spent, I’m not happy with my LOFT Outlet jeans purchase–but not because I don’t like the brand. I bought them when I was at Westminster for Homecoming and I was desperate because my only packed pair of jeans was slowly developing a hole right in the crotch! I had to act fast and I bought these jeans because they fit great in the store. After a few hours, they were very stretched out. As I later learned, I should size down at LOFT because when I tried on the same pair in a smaller size, they were perfect. So I made a $35 mistake that I can’t return. :( I’m hoping maybe I can do some alterations on them. This also means I am most definitely going to be spending at least $35 next month on new jeans…

Check out how I did in previous months:

March // April // May // June // July // August // September

**Don’t forget to enter into the Purple Trail giveaway to win a $75 coupon code for all of your holiday cards!**

The Truth Is . . .

the truth is 4

The truth is . . .

  • I don’t have it all together. In fact, I have pretty much nothing together. It’s been easy to blog about outfits and Pantone challenges and cool campaigns, but behind it all there is a girl who’s hurting. Hurting badly.

The truth is . . .

  • I can’t blog about it. I know you’re thinking, “Wait, what? Why?”  If you’re in the teaching profession (or if you’re like me and you suddenly find yourself outside of it but with the possibly of diving back in… some day…), you can understand why I can’t share what really happened and why on a public forum like a blog. Even if it is MY blog and MY personal space. And not being able to talk about it when I’m bursting on the inside and because it’s defining this chapter of my life is killing me.

The truth is . . .

  • I want to talk to you. I want to talk to the person who is also struggling. I want to tell you that I’m right there with you and that we will get through it. We’re going to be okay. Message me and I’ll be there. 

The truth is . . .

  • I feel like this thing, this situation, this experience, this whatever-you-wanna-call-it is controlling my life in so many ways, even though it’s “over” and even though I try my hardest not to let it.  It makes me a bad friend because I worry about talking to people I haven’t caught up with in a while because then it means I’ll have to talk about it and then it will change everything, but if I don’t, I’d be lying and I can’t do that either. So I just end up . . . putting it off. Longer and longer. It makes me feel like I’ll never find my “calling,” because am I supposed to take this as a sign to try something else or turn around and march back in with my head held high? Is it bad that I am filled with a shaking anger that this is something I’ll have to tell my future husband about because it is THAT life-defining?!

The truth is . . .

  • I need to remind myself that I am a good person. That I did great things last year. That I do not have any real regrets. That I know I did everything to the best of my ability. That at least I can grab hold of my integrity and raise it high above my head in both hands.

The truth is . . .

  • I am more than my career, my part-time job, my blog, my friends, my family, my hobbies, my clothes, my bad days, my experiences. These things indeed make up bits and pieces of me and contribute to who I am, but I am not solely defined or controlled by one or even a few of them. You are not defined by it, either.

The truth is . . .

  • We’ve all got our own personal battles. And we need to figure out how these wars of ours will help someone else. Let’s be warriors so we don’t have to be worriers any longer.

Dressing Casually with a Navy Lace Pencil Skirt

Navy Lace Pencil Skirt Striped Tee Pink Cardigan 1

Navy Lace Pencil Skirt Striped Tee Pink Cardigan 2

Navy Lace Pencil Skirt Striped Tee Pink Cardigan 3

Tee: Target (similar)
Cardigan: Banana Republic (Consignment) (similar)
Skirt: J. Crew (Yardsale!! c/o Aunt Linda) (similar)
Flats: Payless
Belt: Forever 21
Bracelet: c/o Shannon

So before I talk about anything else, I have to mention the ridiculous steal this skirt was. A woman was selling this J. Crew lace pencil skirt for $10 at a yard sale, NEW WITH TAGS. Apparently, she just didn’t know what to wear with it. My aunt Linda spotted it and bought it from her for $5, but it ended up being too big for her, so she passed it along to me. Excitedly, I tried it on right away and it was a perfect fit. I was absolutely thrilled! It sat unworn in my closet all summer, but when I had an opportunity to wear it, I understood why the woman had trouble figuring out what to wear with it. Because I did not need to be super dressed up, I decided to take a risk and pair a simple striped tee and cardigan with it. I am really happy with how the look turned out and I can’t wait to style it differently throughout the fall and winter.

Don’t forget to enter in the Purple Trail giveaway and read all about how to throw an inexpensive book club gathering!

Linking up to: The Pleated Poppy’s WIWWStyle Elixir’s Style SessionsRolled up Pretty’s Whatever Whenever Wednesday,  Get Your Pretty OnTransatlantic’s WIWW

Calling All Literary Ladies – Inexpensive Book Meet Ups + GIVEAWAY

Today we have a great guest post and giveaway by Nancy, a party-planner, blogger, and mother who regularly contributes to Purple Trail! She has some great ideas for hosting an inexpensive book club. Obviously, this is right up my alley. Book club, anyone? 

Oh book club. There’s a little bit of a love hate relationship going on. The fine line of attending merely for the socializing and the actual discussion of the book (for those that read it) can be a frustrating one. For the purists, they just want to discuss the book, for the fair weather readers, they want more time to eat, drink and be merry. Ultimately, it’s about gathering with people who love everything about the good, bad and ugliness of literature. One thing is for sure, there is no need to make book club meet ups expensive! You can do it on the cheap and have a fantastic gathering to appease all types of book club members.
Invitations. Email is ok but a real invitation is better. This is a time when we get to gather and geek out over what we love so making it a little special is worth it. You can send print or online book club invitations for very little. These adorable book club invitations can be as inexpensive as $0.96 per card.

Book Club Invite
Scheduling. Don’t host one each month. None of us who have full-time jobs, kids, pets, families etc. have time to meet every month. Go for every six weeks, every other month or even quarterly. If you make it realistic for the group more people will likely carve out time to read the book.

Venue. There are great inexpensive options out there!

  • Library– You can reserve the community room at your local library. It’s free!
  • Home – It’s easy to rotate homes with group members. Also, making it a potluck takes the pressure off the host. Keep the menu super simple and plan meeting times in between meal times.
  • Coffee Shop– Choose your favorite coffee shop to meet up at. It’s free but the downside is it can be very loud and busy. Try to schedule and off-peak meet up time.
  • Wine Bar – For those of you who like to sip some vino while discussing literature, this is a great option. Depending on the size of the group you can all go in a bottle or two to make it more affordable.
  • Park– A free venue that only works if the weather cooperates. Many parks will let you reserve shelters to host your event.
  • Church– If your congregation will allow you to use a meeting room, this is a great place to gather with a cup of tea or coffee for some riveting discussion.

Other ways to save:

  • Pitch in 5 dollars each meeting to spend on food and drink.
  • Meet virtually with Skype – that way there’s no excuse for missing a meet up.

Whatever way you decided to host your book club it doesn’t have to be costly. Good friends, a comfy location and a discussion worthy book are all you need. Happy reading!

Thanks to Nancy, we are giving away a $75 Coupon Code to Purple Trail! This is the perfect time to host some inexpensive holiday parties or book meet ups! Enter to win using the Rafflecopter link below. You’ll have one week to get your entries in, so act fast :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Nancy Arnold is a Seattle area party planning blogger, lover of book club, happy mother, and regular contributor to PurpleTrail.com.