Budgeting Blogger: September Budget

Budgeting Bloggers, hosted by Fran, is a great way to hold myself accountable for my clothing purchases each month. It helps to track my spending habits, identify trends, and streamline my wardrobe with more intention. Check out what other bloggers purchased this month!


It feels like I just posted my last month’s budget! Oh wait. I did…Well if you can believe it, OCTOBER is here! That means it’s time for another budget recap. While I’m happy with my purchases this month, I think I need to pull back on the reigns a bit and be even stricter about what I’m bringing into it. I’m hoping to do another ThredUp clean-up bag so that should put a little more cash in my pocket. Maybe I should paste big pictures of my wish list and upcoming expenses (i.e. new laptop, new apartment, PittStop, Christmas gifts) right in front of my face so that I curb my spending even more. That’s actually not so bad of an idea…

This past month seemed to fly by, yet the first few purchases I made seem AGES ago. I really only made one shopping trip to LOFT; the rest–mostly from Kohl’s–were quick trips that evidently ended in me perusing the clearance jewelry section. Those yellow stickers really get you!

The Damage


Simply Vera Vera Wang Teal Bead and Fringe Y Necklace (similar)  – originally $44 – paid $8.80
Simply Vera Vera Wang Long Multistrand Pendant Necklace (similar) – originally $44 – paid $13.20
LC Lauren Conrad Marquise Drop Earrings – originally $14 – paid $7.84
LC Lauren Conrad Drop Earrings – originally $14 – paid $2.24
LC Lauren Conrad Infinity Slipknot Bracelet (similar) – originally $14 – paid $2.24

I also bought this necklace but plan on returning it because I don’t think I’ll wear it enough.

Do we sense a pattern here? These two brands really highlight my jewelry style. Sometimes I go for somewhat bold and colorful with Simply Vera while other times I really enjoy the simplicity and delicacy of LC Lauren Conrad.


Easy Tee in Deep Teal – originally $24.50 – paid $10.55
Mini Heart Softened Shirt – originally $59.50 – paid $31.42
Curvy Skinny Corduroy Pants in Deepest Cranberry – originally $59.50 – paid $31.42

Vera Bradley:

Flap Crossbody – originally $78 – paid $23.12

I had a little left on a gift card and a birthday coupon to spend so I spent way too long pacing around in Vera Bradley trying to decide what to buy. I’m not so much into carrying around quilted patterned purses (except for my weekender bag and large cosmetic bag in since-retired patterns) anymore, even though my entire sorority got me hooked (The co-founder of Vera Bradley, Patricia Polito Miller, is a KD!) in college. It took forever, but I finally settled on this brand new faux leather number. Then I spent another 10 minutes trying to decide between emerald and magenta. Though it is not a color I’d normally pick, I’m so glad I went with emerald! I guess it’s another nod to my KD roots.

Total Spent in September: $130.83

Overall, I felt I bought a lot of staples that will take me well into fall and even though I spent quite a bit, I feel like I got all of them for really good individual prices (except maybe the softened shirt, but I think that will be well worth-it). I also bought a few pairs of shoes (wedding and boots), but I don’t like to count those in these monthly budgets because they are more of a “must-buy” like undergarments (but in reality, it’s a lame justification to make me feel better about my budget).

What did you purchase this past month?

Sunday Best: v. 13: A Little Bit Late

Another Sunday has come…and gone…which means another Sunday Best! Sorry this one is a little bit late. I went to a wedding this past weekend and just couldn’t get this post together in time. My friend Gabby looked absolutely radiant and so happy to be marrying her best friend Matt and I am so honored that I was able to witness it. It was great seeing old college friends, too. What did you do this weekend? 

This week is WEDDING WEEK for my brother Justin and his fiance Kate! I can’t believe that they will be married this Saturday. I am so giddy with excitement knowing that my whole family will be in town to celebrate. Prayers that all goes smoothly and safely and that everyone just enjoys the moment.

On to Sunday Best. This was one of my transitional looks when temperatures first started to dip, but not far enough to be chilly. I love love love pattern mixing with stripes (if you haven’t gathered by now) and so this patterned scarf was a no-brainer for an otherwise basic outfit.

Gap Factory Ponte Skirt, Old Navy Denim Jacket, and Simply Vera Infinity Scarf

If you typically wear A-Line skirts, try a ponte knit for pencil skirts for a slim fit

Photo credit: Syntaxx Errorrr
Skirt: Gap Factory (similar, similar)
Tee: Old Navy
Denim Jacket: Old Navy
Scarf: Simply Vera via Kohl’s
Flats: Payless

Patterned Simply Vera Infinity Scarf from Kohl's adds interest to a basic outfit

Transition into fall with colorful scarves and denim jackets

If you’re not quite the pencil skirt type, I do recommend you try a smoothing ponte knit version. It tends to fit a little better for pear shapes! I’ve worn this skirt herehere, and here before and find it’s a go-to in my closet year-round.

Hey, by the way, have you had a chance to enter in the Create by the Yard giveaway? It’s only open until Monday at midnight, so get those last entries in! If you already follow me on Facebook, you have a free entry!

Rachel from Stickers with Mommy had the most clicked-on look from last week’s Sunday Best! I really love her fall-inspired look. Be sure to go send her some love:

stickers for mommy

And now it’s your turn! Let’s see YOUR Sunday Best:

The Modern Austen

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Sunday Best is a weekly link up where you can share your favorite look from the previous week or the week to come. Join me and my stylish friends, share your outfits, gain inspiration, and discover new blogs! To join, simply add your link at the bottom of this post, link back to The Modern Austen (or add a button), and visit the other participants! Link party opens on Sunday mornings around 8:00 AM EST–please, only one style/outfit-related post per week.

Linking up to: Funday Monday, Monday Bloom, Mix-It Mondays, Style to Inspire, Watch What I Am Wearing, Fashionably Employed

The Friday 5: v.31

The Friday 5 is a weekly feature highlighting interesting, controversial, heart-wrenching, inspirational, and/or creative content worth reading and sharing. I always find the best blog posts, articles, outfits, and inspiration from other bloggers, so I hope I can do the same for you. Here’s to hoping something will make a difference in your weekend!


On Your Reading List

  1. I haven’t gone down the iPhone6 path just yet (soon!), but I found Whitney’s Real Blogger Review of the iPhone6 to be really useful until I make it to the Apple store.
  2. Who wants to go on a creative weekend getaway with me?! Lord knows I need it.
  3. How to Apply Lipstick and Make it Last All Day
  4. I Currently Have 4 Jobs…Is This the New Normal? (I say yes–in a lot of cases.)
  5. I shared this on my Facebook this past week, but it’s too good not to share again. Can’t stop giggling. Are You in a Jane Austen Novel?

On Your To Do List

  1. Whip out the ol’ Singer and brush the cobwebs off your rusty sewing skills with this super cute foldover clutch tutorial.
  2. Hosting a bridal shower soon? Save the yawns and stop the groans with this party pleaser game.
  3. Add the perfect touch to any outfit with the perfect set of jewels.
  4. Read this.
  5. 10 Networking Tips for Recently Established Professionals

Happy weekend, everyone! I’m heading to a Haunted Ghost Tour of downtown Pittsburgh tonight (lawd help me) and then attending my dear friend Gabby’s wedding tomorrow. Can’t believe that this coming week is WEDDING WEEK for my brother Justin and his fiance Kate! So much to be thankful for. What are you up to? What’s on your reading lists this weekend? I’m hoping I can be productive, butttttttt…you know how that goes. Enjoy!

DIY: Easy Foldover Clutch Using Create by the Yard

Did you know? It’s National Sewing Month! It’s been far too long since I’ve tackled a creative project or DIY, so I can’t tell you how excited I am to have had an opportunity to hone my skills and try something completely new! There’s something really special about breaking old the ol’ Singer and, after a few dates with the seam ripper, emerging with a completed project that you feel super proud to have made. I missed that creative energy and knew I needed something to feel revived.

A few months ago, I started working with Kristin from Create by the Yard, a site that sells fabric…by the yard! I was completely blown away by her selection of fabrics. Normally, I feel frustrated by the limited selection of cute patterns when I shop locally,  even at huge craft stores like JoAnn Fabrics. I never find exactly what I’m looking for and end up settling for the next best thing. I had always been somewhat turned off by shopping online for fabric until I came across Create by the Yard. The site itself is fun and refreshing to look at, but the fabric is where it’s really at. You can select from quality and designer fabrics from manufacturers like Moda, Riley Blake, and Birch. The price points are all spot on and there’s almost always a promotion or coupon going on. Check out the coupon code AND giveaway at the bottom of the post!

I knew that working with Create by the Yard would be the perfect motivation (and excuse) to start sewing again. I recruited some of my other creative friends and we all selected some fabric from Create by the Yard with the challenge to sew something with a yard or less. I decided on two half-yard selections in my two most favorite patterns EVER and after much deliberation, I settled on sewing the Nora Clutch from The Glamorous Housewife. I am thrilled with how it turned out and am so glad I tried this tutorial.

DIY Easy Foldover Clutch Tutorial using less than a yard of fabric

You can find the original tutorial here, created by Heidi Staples from Fabric Mutt.

You’ll Need:

  • (2) 11 x 13″ pieces of fabric for the interior lining
  • (2) 9 x 11″ pieces of fabric for the top part of the exterior
  • (2) 4.5 x 11″ pieces of fabric for the bottom part of the exterior
  • (4) 11 x 13″ pieces of fusible interfacing (I used medium interfacing, but could have gone for stronger at least for the exterior)
  • (1) 12 inch zipper or longer
  • Coordinating thread
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Sewing machine
  • Cutting mat
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Grid Ruler
  • Clips or pins
  • Optional: Chop stick or turning tool

Note: All seam allowances should be 1/4 inch. Press all seams open as you work for a smooth finish.

Get Crafty with Fabric from Create by the Yard

I chose two gorgeous fabrics:

I love how they pair together! I decided that the stripes would continue as my interior lining. I thought a pop of pink would be perfect as the zipper.


  1. Cut out your pieces using a rotary cutter and cutting mat. Starting with the exterior, sew a 9 x 11″ exterior piece to a 4.5 x 11″ coordinating piece along the 11″ side right sides together, keeping in mind any directional patterns.  The smaller piece will be at the bottom, since the bag will be folded over. Repeat for the other side of the exterior. Optional: sew a top stitch right above this new seam for a new finish.Create a fun clutch with under a yard of fabric
  2. Iron on the interfacing to all four pieces–2 interior, 2 exterior. Using a cup or other round object, trace and cut out a rounded edge on the bottom two corners of each piece.
  3. Install your zipper by creating a zipper sandwich. Layer with an interior piece facing right side up, place the zipper with the right edge flush with the top edge of the interior piece, then place the exterior piece on top, right side down, matching up with the other edges. Clip together. Sew as close to the zipper teeth as you can, unzipping and unclipping as necessary. Open, fold over, and iron down. Sew a top stitch close to the zipper teeth to keep it nice and secure. Repeat this whole step with the other side of your zipper using the remaining interior and exterior pieces.Make sure you line up your zipper correctly before sewing
  4. The picture below shows the progress up to this point. DO NOT keep the right sides up as the picture displays. Turn so right sides are together and sew around the entire edge, keeping a 6 inch gap on the interior end of the bag. IMPORTANT: Before you start sewing, keep the zipper halfway unzipped to allow for turning. Sew using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, trim the excess (including the zipper), and turn. Using a turning tool, chopstick, or pen for the corners. After zipper is installed face right sides together and stitch leaving a gap for turning
  5. Fold in and sew the 6 inch gap in the interior closed, stitching as close to the edge as possible. Iron everything smooth and then push the interior inside. Fold down about 3.5 inches and press.  You’re all done!

Optional: Add a snap before you sew the perimeter of the bag so it can fold more securely.

All in all, I am SO excited about this clutch and am proud of myself for tackling it. It ended up being really easy (except when I accidentally measured a little too short with my interior pieces and when I sewed the zipper incorrectly at first–easy fixes!), started and finished it in an afternoon, and I would definitely make it again. I’d say this is an intermediate beginner pattern.

And now…to style and use!

Add a fun striped clutch to any outfit

Stripes and mini polka dots are perfect for pattern mixing

What would YOU create with a yard of fabric or less?

Create by the Yard is generously offering a 30% discount to all readers with the code: bloghop0914! Even if you’re not ready to create now, stock up on fabric for all of your holiday crafting and gifting now at a great price.

Be sure to stop by the rest of the blogs this week to see their tutorials!

Monday: Heidi from Literate & Stylish
Tuesday: Lizzie from October June
Wednesday: Marissa from The Modern Austen
Thursday: Angelica from Syntaxx Errorrr
Friday: Sara from Sincerely, Sara

Lastly, enter to win a $30 giftcard to Create by the Yard! It’s open to ALL because she will ship internationally! We’ll be announcing the winner on Tuesday, September 30th. Good luck :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer: I received fabric in exchange for a review, but I will certainly be purchasing from Create by the Yard and I wholeheartedly support this fantastic business! Thank you for supporting the businesses that make The Modern Austen possible.