a year of empties

a year of empties

Last April, I decided to document my year of empty beauty products after watching a video from one of my favorite YouTubers, Stephanie of Soothing Sista. Obviously, hers was in video form, but I was intrigued by the idea of tracking something like this over such a long period. I was curious about what I went through and what I liked, but it was through actually doing it that I realized that I didn’t have a totally clear idea of what I was doing when I set out.

For example: soap. In tracking one’s “beauty products”, do you count soap? I didn’t. I use bar soap that is shared with my partner and I just didn’t even think about it until halfway through the year of doing this. (Also, they don’t have packaging, so nothing was really… empty.) Or what about razor blades? I didn’t go through many of these, but I also definitely didn’t count them because I didn’t know if they… count.

I realized that the divisions between “beauty product” and “toiletry” are confusing. Eva Chen certainly isn’t (wasn’t?) uploading photos of her floss containers when she reviews products with her empties posts. So, what I realized is, my project lies somewhere between seeing which products I enjoy and seeing how much stuff I go through. Which, while that makes this whole thing incomplete on the latter point, feels pretty appropriate for where I and this blog currently stand.

So, yeah, anyway, here’s a list of a bunch of shit I used and either liked or didn’t like.

Aveeno Moisturizing Bar

Would I repurchase? Maybe. It was fine, but, as seen below, I’ve been using another cleanser since I had this and I like it better.

Bag of Ulta Cotton Balls

Would I repurchase? I have repurchased cotton balls since this, yes. I don’t use as many cotton balls as some people do, but I am interested in looking further into washable cotton pads. I’ve just been unsure since I don’t have my own washing machine. (P.S. Clearly, I forgot to take my own photos of these first two.)

Aussie Miraculously Smooth Conditioner

Would I repurchase? Maybe. I used Aussie brand shampoo and conditioner since high school and was unwavering on it. Last year — yes, it took this very curly-haired person until the age of 29 — to be sure to use sulfate-free shampoo and Aussie shampoo has sulfates, so I just stopped getting the conditioner along with it, too.

Aussie Mega Moist Shampoo

Would I repurchase? No. See above

OGX Coconut Curls Shampoo

Would I repurchase? Yes! And I have. This is currently “my shampoo”.

Crystal Essence Vanilla Jasmine Deodorant

Would I repurchase? Maybe not this scent. My natural deodorant journey is still very much a journey.

Crystal Essence Chamomile & Green Tea Deodorant

Would I repurchase? I did repurchase this, but I also have been trying Schmidt’s and can’t tell if it gave me a rash so… Yeah, I want to know the answer to whether I’ll end up repurchasing this again, too.

OGX Coconut Curls Conditioner 

Would I repurchase? Yes, and have.

Maybelline Great Lash Big Mascara in Blackest Black

Would I repurchase? Yes. And I have. Many times. I have used this since I started using mascara and only this year did I decide to try a fancier one — Lancôme Monsieur Big — and I really feel like it’s not the same. Not as in it’s bad, but as in the brush doesn’t feel the same in my hand and, apparently, I have a fully formed sense memory for Great Lash.

Burt’s Bees Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream

Would I repurchase? No. It made my face feel sweaty at times when it wasn’t sweaty, and the packaging was inconvenient as far as being able to get all of the cream out and being able to tell how much is left.

La Roche-Posay Toleraine Hydrating Gentle Cleanser

Would I repurchase? Yes, and have. It does what the name says and doesn’t make my skin red and irritated, which is something I’d had a problem with.

Maybelline The Blushed Nudes Palette

Would I repurchase? Yes, but don’t plan to right now. As you can see, there is still a lot left in this, which means it’s not “an empty”. But the thing is, I had this what felt like… too long to keep something that goes on a sensitive part of your body. While I think this is a really great palette, I decided to try this Rimmel one out in Blush, just because I’d never tried Rimmel stuff before and it had comparable colors. I like it, but I liked this Maybelline one better.

OGX Coconut Water Conditioner

Would I repurchase? No. It was like if the Coconut Curls one was trying less hard.

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion

Would I repurchase? Yes, this is great for my dry ass skin — unscented and soothing.

Pacifica Indian Coconut Nectar Body Cream

Would I repurchase? Well, I didn’t purchase this in the first place. Got it from the beauty closet at my old work and just used it for my dry hands at night. But no, I would not spend my money on this. It kind of smells like Play-Doh, and also I have recently started using the Lush Sleepy lotion on my hands at night and it’s actually helps me sleep.

Kat Von D Ink Liner

I took a photo of both of these together because they both needed to go, but the Revlon one was another beauty closet find and I never used it and it totally dried up, so no need to even talk about that. As for the Kat Von D liner…

Would I repurchase? No. But, I did happen to be given a free sample of it at Sephora recently and have been using it… I didn’t feel like I wanted to give money to this brand after the vaccine stuff, so this is definitely, like, a convenient situation Iv’e found myself in, and it is a very good liner, as everyone and their grandma knows. But, there are also lots of other very good liners, and I’ll be interested in looking into them once my sample runs out.

Garnier Whole Blends Smoothing Oil

Would I repurchase? Maybe. I did like this, but also there are soooo many products like this, so I’d probably just try out a different one. Need to do that soon. My hair is thirsty and doesn’t like what I’ve been using in the meantime.

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB

I never purposely made Maybelline my drugstore brand of choice, but clearly, it happened.

Would I repurchase? Probably not. I was really into this for a while and this was my second bottle, but I have other things I like now.

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OGX Coconut Miracle Oil Shampoo

Would I repurchase? Probably not, just because I like the Coconut Curls one better. And can I just say, OGX might have too many coconut shampoos/conditioners. I’ve listed three varieties here and I know for certain there is at least one more.

So I have to say, this is really less than I thought it was going to be. As I was taking these pictures throughout the year, I felt like there was so much, so I’m pretty relieved at that. It’s clear that I go through shampoo/conditioner more than the other stuff and that I basically never get to the end of makeup. I think there were a couple lipsticks I tossed, but they weren’t empty and, clearly, I didn’t have clear rules for this because I took a pic of the non-empty eyeshadow palette. I think I’ll try this whole thing again for this year, just to see if there are any changes or anything I’m more consistent with.

Also, I am interested in trying shampoo bars to save on plastic. Lush has a bunch of them, but they all have sulfates. But also, Lush really emphasizes that sulfates aren’t that bad in this case because you’re only using the foam on your hair and not directly putting the product? My issue with not wanting sulfates is because I have curly hair, which means they make it more frizzy and dry. Anyone ever use the Lush shampoo bars or anything else similar? 

a week-ish of outfits #2

a week-ish of outfits #2

But Lia, what if you never post a “week-ish of outfits” again? What if it’s weird to put “#2” because the first week of outfits didn’t have a number in the title? What if one day you gain the power of consistency and it actually is a week of outfits rather than sort of a week?

These are the types of things that go through my head simply from titling a blog post.(Deciding what tags to put is another story. What if one day you gain the power of consistency and you wish you’d categorized things better?!) But, really, I just have to push all that aside because otherwise I won’t write any posts. (See: the large gaps in posts that this blog already has and which I am trying to fight off with my new year’s resolution.)

Anyway, I took a week-ish worth of photos of what I wore around the first week of April, which makes them spring-ish outfits. I just wanted to share to slightly greater success than I did here. Movin’ on up! Just think, one day I’ll move all the shit that’s next to and in front of the mirror!

I’ll link the stuff that still exists.

#1: Madewell jacket, Old Navy shirt, Gap jeans, Forever 21 bag, ASOS boots (Am I doing this right?? I’m rusty.)

#2 Random-brand-on-Amazon-because-I-had-a-gift-card-several-years-ago trench coat, Old Navy jeans, Rebecca Minkoff bag, Dolce Vita (via Poshmark) boots

#3 Madewell jacket, Gap T-shirt, Gap jeans, thrifted belt, ASOS boots, Alexander Wang bag

(A note on the Madewell jacket: I LOVE IT. I had never shopped at Madewell before and this was a splurge for me, but I wear it all the time. It’s one of those things where you don’t realize right away how versatile it is. It’s sold out, but just did a quick search and there are a few on Poshmark.)

These two were the same day, which is one of the reasons this is “week-ish”.

#4 H&M shirt, Old Navy jacket, Gap jeans, Forever 21 bag, Vans

#5 H&M sweatshirt, Old Navy jeans, Old Navy jacket, Forever 21 bag, Steve Madden boots

Did I do it?

window shopping: baaaagggsss

window shopping: baaaagggsss

I keep looking at bags online. While doing lots of browsing could be seen as a mild addiction, I think it’s good (or at least better), if you scratch the shopping online itch without spending money or being wasteful. This is the case here, since I’ve been looking at Tradesy, The Real Real, eBay, and Poshmark, all of which require just checking a lot to see if things have been listed. Also, this way, if I do actually get anything it will be cheaper and secondhand.

Here’s what I’ve been looking at.

3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli

 

I’ve always liked the Pashli bags. I really like the red and gold mini one, but practically, I could use something larger since I don’t have any bigger bags, and I think the navy color is cool, too. (Also, check out this (sold out) leopard one.)

See By Chloé Quilted Lois

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The Outnet

This was for sale on The Outnet for a while, and I really regret not just going for it. Now, I just have to check my secondhand sites all the time…

Coach Carryall

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Tradesy

I actually did order one size of this bag from Tradesy, but returned it because it was smaller than I expected. Now, I’m on the fence about this style altogether and think I just needed a clearer view of what I was looking for as far as practicality in the first place. The whole reason I was drawn to this bag was because I thought it would make for a good larger size one.

Balenciaga City Bag

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The Real Real

I had a bootleg one of these when I was in college that I got at thrift store, and I always sort of wondered if somehow it was real and some random rich person just donated it without a second thought. I used it to carry around all my books and stuff and it fell apart, which I’m certain confirms that it, in fact, was bootleg. Given that this was around the time of peak Rachel Zoe, this was a very exciting time for me to find this bag. Anywayyyyy, I still really like these, but hadn’t thought much about them again until I saw this (comparatively) affordable one on The Real Real. Someone who is not me take the plunge! (P.S. Through writing this I found this extensive photo roundup of times Nicole Richie carried a Balenciaga bag and it is really a blast from the past.)

Have you used any of consignment sites to buy designer bags — or anything else for that matter? I’ve never used The Real Real, but I’ve bought stuff on Poshmark and a coat on Tradesy. Never anything where I had to worry about it being authentic.

spring/summer additions

spring/summer additions

It’s Sunday and the last day in March, and I finally lit a fire under my ass (or… sat on my couch with old Real Housewives of Beverly Hills episodes playing in the background) and decided to write a post. Hello!

Similar to what I wrote about back in the fall, I recently looked through all of my clothes and shoes again and got rid of things that I’m either not wearing — these were donated — or that were falling apart/undonate-able — these were taken to the H&M fabric recycling program. This was my second time taking things to be recycled there, and it’s very convenient because they take any type of clothing, no matter the condition. (Plus, you get a 15% off coupon.) The only thing is, they don’t accept shoes.

I’m still very happy with not just needlessly holding on to things. I also have been shopping less, but I have a few specific things in mind now that it’s getting warmer. (Sort of.)

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For some these, I’m being sure to check secondhand — Poshmark and thrifting — and for things like the plain white T-shirt, I have a Old Navy gift card that I’ve had for a while that I could use.

A lot of this is self-explanatory (a white button-up shirt? what is that?), but I thought I would include what I’m thinking for a couple things.

vans

My black and white checked Vans died (RIP), and to replace them I really like these light tan and white ones (the color is called”Frappe”). Unfortunately, they’re out of stock in every size except one. (If you’re an 11.5, act fast!) I’m hoping they come back in stock, but if not I’m considering them in “Desert Sage”.

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If I was to go ahead and order a blazer new, this one from ASOS would be it. I really like this burnt orange color, and can picture wearing it with blue denim sorts. For now, I have been checking out Poshmark for a similar one, but we shall see.

dress

I always think I want a white dress with some sort of eyelet situation and have never actually ended up with one. I’m definitely not set on this one from Gap, but this general idea, and I picture wearing it with black boots.

Also, not on the list, but I bought a very cheap New Look faux leather jacket back in the fall, and the other day I noticed a big chunk of it is already peeling off!! I had good luck before with a very cheap New Look faux leather jacket that took a few years until it starting peeling, so this was really disappointing. I’m always going to want to wear a jacket like this, so now I’m thinking about an actual leather one. I don’t know. This might just wait til next fall.

I also recycled a falling apart weekender bag that I’d gotten from H&M probably seven years ago (it was the same as this one) and got a ton of use out of, so I might replace that eventually. I think probably, though, my carry-on suitcase or Jansport backpack is good enough for any situation I’m in right now.

That’s all for now. I’m going to try to post again about this when/if I actually buy anything from the list.

a $300 sweater for $3.99

The other day I went to Goodwill to drop a few things off and took a quick browse around. I went in the sweater section because I am missing an oversized navy cardigan that I’ve had for YEARS and love and which was also thrifted. (Where is it!?!) And there on the sweater rack I spotted a very soft looking black turtleneck. Hm, it feels like cashmere. *Checks tag* It’s 100% cashmere. *Checks label* It’s Equipment. *Checks entirety of sweater* Hm, it has a small, easily sewable hole in the armpit… They do discounts on damaged items, don’t they.

I got a black Equipment turtleneck cashmere sweater for $3.99. As noted, it’s not in perfect condition, and I think it must be stretched out because it says it’s an XS and I am not an XS. (I would assume I would be a medium in something like this — maybe it’s supposed to run oversize? — but I also don’t buy new Equipment sweaters…)

On the subway ride home I googled “Equipment cashmere turtleneck”. This thing would have cost around $300 new😱 (Not sure if that link goes to the exact one, but it’s at least very similar.)

I love finding something good in the thrift store, and it had been a while since I had one a really surprising one like this. I used to do a lot more thrifting back in Richmond and when I first moved to New York, because I had my Etsy shop. I’ve never thought thrifting in New York was that great, but I’m re-opening my mind and this was a good sign. I’ve been trying to be sure to buy more things secondhand (I’m very into browsing Poshmark right now), and this was just the encouragement I need to keep going.

P.S. I don’t have a photo of it ready and I wrote this a while ago and put off publishing because of that. But I always put things off all the time about everything, so I decided to just post this.

i tried to do a week of outfits, and, um, yeah…

i tried to do a week of outfits, and, um, yeah…

Well, this is… something.

First, let me say that the point of doing this in the first place was two-fold: One, I like keeping track of things to look back on. Two, I like looking at outfits other people wear and have particularly enjoyed a “week of outfits” format, so thought I’d do it myself.

Okay, maybe it’s three-fold. I also have fond memories of years ago, like, pre-fashion blog dominance, there being a site that I believe was called My Style Diary that was just mirror photos people posted of what they were wearing, so other people could see and be inspired by them. It had a real nice community feel. Susie Bubble was on it. Anyway, I like the simplicity of the whole mirror picture thing, too, especially because I don’t really like having my picture taken.

ANYWAY. What I ended up with because I just like to jump right into things without being prepared is five pictures in front of a mirror that needs to be cleaned with a bunch of junk in the background and shitty lighting. Why am I still posting it? I think because it reminds me of My Style Diary and Look Book and blogging way back when, when you didn’t have to be good at it, because good, in the sense it is now, wasn’t so much a thing. (Btw, people still use Lookbook, apparently. Should I be getting back on Lookbook???) Plus, clearly I already went to SO MUCH EFFORT.

sunday — i got dog poop in my bag

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Wore this for an emergency vet trip. Not even gonna talk about what it is cause the lighting is so bad. Bye!

monday — lighting strikes

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Wore this to a movie screening. Took the pic once it was dark out. Look like I’m evil. The coat is from J. Crew Factory and the fake Chloé boots are from Topshop, and don’t need to mention anything else because you can’t really see it due to taking the pic when it was dark out.

tuesday — lighting strikes 2

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Am feeling increasingly like there’s no point in saying where any of this is from. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

wednesday — got dressed before it was dark out

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A small victory. Also, a good hair day.

thursday — a rare skirt

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Wore this to a holiday party. This pose says, “Damn, I forgot I was supposed to do this.” (By the way, because this might actually be helpful, I got this skirt at Bershka. It’s not available on the U.S. site anymore, but they do have the same on in snake print in stock. I found it to run very small, but maybe that’s normal for Bershka? It was the first time I’d shopped there.)

Maybe I’ll do better next time? Maybe there will be a next time? I’ve at least learned to clean the mirror and take the photos when it’s light out. (Also need to learn to do my laundry, organize my dresser, and not look like I’m ready to fight someone.)

2018

2018

When I think back over the past year, there are a couple major things I think of that I did: left my full-time job to go freelance, went to London, got a dog. Those are all huge and amazing, but it took looking through the photos I took on my phone to realize that a lot of other fun stuff happened too, along with some quick little moments of joy, which tend to make up a lot of the things I photograph.

I thought, then, that it could be cool to go through month by month of 2018 and pull out one photo for each that shows something that happened or something I enjoyed and don’t want to forget. Some months were unbalanced (a lot more happened in June than January), but I decided to still try out this method.

January

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Got this shelf that I thought was going to fit perfectly in the nook in my kitchen only to realize I hadn’t accounted for the floorboards. This ended with me lugging back bricks from Home Depot to support it. (See, told ya I didn’t have anything too exciting for January, but this shelf is still standing and full of things now, and does fit nearly perfectly in that space. The bricks are barely noticeable.)

February

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Turned 29 and got this breakfast while spending a nice morning alone (probably watching DVR’d reality TV): iced green tea and bagel with lox.

March

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Got this Alexander Wang Lia bag that I promise I really, really love the design of and had for a long time and the fact that it is named after me was only a little bit of a boost.

April

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Saw these pretty trees in Central Park.

May

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Covered Meghan and Harry’s wedding for work while having tea and mini scones.

June

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Went to Miami with Michael right after my last day at my job. The beach was really disappointing, because there was seaweed everywhere and it was sweltering (also because I get my expectations up too high for things…), but this nice setup happened at Freehand.

July

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Spent July 4 at Rockaway Beach.

August

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Visited my parents and got stoked about how many condiments were on the table at this diner.

September

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Went apple picking for my friend’s bday (and got hit in the back of the head with a swinging door and thought it was causing two different body issues for a couple weeks after — sorry, don’t have pics of that part!!!)

October

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Went to London for a couple days and got pretty touristy, but not touristy enough because there wasn’t even enough time! (That is a Buckingham Palace bag. It has a stuffed animal corgi in it.)

November

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Got Clyde!!! After years of talking about getting a dog we did it!!! Now I am constantly either saying things like “Hi Cutie! Hi Clydey Clue!” or “Oh my god are you kidding me what are you doing whyyyy????”

December

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Well, I celebrated Christmas in New York for the first time since moving here seven years ago and I could post a picture of that. But, since I’m limiting it to one, I would like to remember this tea Advent calendar that, honestly, was life changing. Opening a tiny door every morning and getting an immediately useful present out really does something for you.

Now, I need to start taking some 2019 pictures, because so far I have one of Clyde eating his bland diet I had to cook for him, one of his poop I had to take for the vet (see: bland diet), and a couple of beauty products I threw away. It’s only up from here!!!

 

 

 

RIP

RIP

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I just recently had to get rid of two of my favorite pairs of shoes, both of which were around four or five years old. (I think.)

My H&M leopard boots were, for me, the best example of leopard print really going with everything. I wore ’em with plain stuff. I wore ’em with stripes. Recently, I wore them with camo and was like, yes, this works, too. There were so many times I put these on and thought, “I really feel like myself right now,” which is the best feeling to have when you get dressed. So, what happened? They really stretched out — the elastic and the shoe material itself — to where they stopped being comfortable to walk around. I’ve been looking around on Poshmark a lot for new (well, used) leopard boots, but now I think my standards are too high because I loved these so much. (I also really like these ones, so I’ve been doing some eBaying/Tradesying/The Real Realing, as well.)

Second, we have my checkerboard Vans, which were my first pair of checkerboard Vans, but almost certainly not the last. These were a revelation in that, like the leopard boots, they also, surprisingly, went with anything. I wore them hard. Before they met their bitter end, they already had rips in them and the soles were worn down, but in that state they’d become my go-to dog walking/running to the deli shoes. But alas, I stepped in dog poop the other day that really embedded itself in there, and the effort that would have to have gone into un-pooping them wouldn’t be worth it for shoes that were already in the condition you can see above.

RIP, leopard boots and checkerboard Vans. You served me so, so well.

2019 goals

2019 goals

I have a few goals I’ve been thinking about for this year. They’re all pretty straightforward and none of them are things that I don’t already do, just things that I want to be better about doing and do more.

Blog More

This one is going great so far! Really, though, going along with this I want to be more confident about blogging. Obviously, with my goal being to blog more, this particular go round with a blog hasn’t been a big a part of my life so far, but I don’t really talk about it in “real life” because it feels… separate? I don’t know… I think it’ll all work itself out, but basically I just wanna do what I want on here, more often, and not worry too much about it.

Meditate More

I paid for the Headspace app several months ago and have not used it enough to justify that. But I do really like it, so I want to make it a more consistent part of my life.

Wear SPF Consistently

I’ve heard this is good for you, but, like, idk who knows?!?!

Also, seems related, I am doing a dry January, which I’m really excited about. It’s just to have a reset in my habits.

what i bought for fall

what i bought for fall

Going off of what I wrote last time, I wanted to talk about the things that I did purchase over the past couple of months. Going into this (and inspired by TThe Anna Edit videos on capsule wardrobing), I made a list of items that I was interested in, all of which I knew I would use regularly and would keep for a while. (But not in that “poofy free tutu skirt keep-for-a-while” way that I talked about in the other post.) Here’s what my list looked like:

fall list

As for where I wanted to get these, I knew that some of them I would probably end up getting new because of trendiness or specificity (checked blazer, “nice black blouse/top”) and some that I wanted to buy secondhand because of them being more generic (“sort of oversized navy sweatshirt”) or specific in another way (like the navy wool coat, the style of which I wanted I could find easier by doing it secondhand and a wool coat is cheaper used).

The items with the checks next to them are the ones I’ve purchased; the ones without, I’ve decided not to buy unless I can get them secondhand. There have also been a couple things I’ve gotten in recent months that are not listed: a pair of black Gap jeans that were on sale because I wear black jeans constantly and a pair of mine were falling apart, and also this Madewell camo jacket just because I LOVE it. I’m wearing it all the time and love that it’s cotton.)

Here are the things from the list I did get:

Checked Blazer — Gap

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If you’re interested in this, I found that it runs kind of big (and I have fairly broad shoulders). Worked out for me, though, because the only size they had left in store was one that I originally thought would definitely be too small for me.

Gray Sweater — Gap

gap sweaer

Navy Dotted Dress — Well, I got one at Uniqlo, which you’ll have to take my word for because it is no longer available and also I can’t find a photo of it anywhere online. Weird.

Pleather Jacket — New Look (from Rainbow. I don’t think the one below from ASOS is the exact one, but it’s very similar)

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I had one of these previously, wore it for a few years, and it disintegrated. (OK, disintegrated might be a little extreme, but it was doing that peel-y thing.)

Black Top — Zara

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Navy Coat — Tradesy

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Other than the coat (because it’s not quite cold enough yet), I’ve worn all of these already and can see how they’ll easily continue to come in handy. As for the other items on the list, I probably wouldn’t get a jean jacket at this point because it’s too cold, but that’ll be a good thing to thrift in the spring if I’m still interested. I was really into this leopard Topshop bag but was on the fence about buying it new, so that’s how that ended up on there. (Also, ughhh, I just found out through doing this that it’s on sale on the Nordstrom site…) I would still be interested in a leopard bag, as well as still interested in the sweatshirt, if I find it secondhand. Brown ankle boots are probably a no-go (these are the ones that inspired that list item), but I did just buy a used pair of red boots off Poshmark that didn’t arrive yet.

I’ve definitely had an easier time getting dressed recently — not just because of the new things, but because of there being less. It’s not even that I was wearing all of it (or that there was really that much) so it’s not like I had to actively decide not to wear so many things, but I think it’s just easier on the brain to not see many options. I don’t want this to come off like I’m going to stick to a certain schedule with buying any new stuff (I don’t have a schedule… at least not yet… for starters) or that I’m an expert on anything, including by not limited to being more green with shopping. I really just want to be doing more thrifting and being sure to fully think things out when I do buy new things. I want to share some pics of these items in action (prooobably with mirror pictures because I am me and not a fancy lady) and also some stuff about shopping secondhand online, so hopefully that’ll be coming up. (I say hopefully like it’s not totally in my control… I know how I can get with posting.)