Wednesday, October 31, 2018

October 2018 Budget

October turned out to be a very spendy month! I'm not going to make any excuses for myself this time. I honestly just had a serious case of grabby hands and made a couple big impulse purchases. I bought a pair of boots and not one but TWO purses. It turns out that browsing Nordstrom Rack is a very dangerous pastime. Overall, I'm really happy with all of my purchases. I thought long and hard about whether I would get enough use to justify keeping them all, and I concluded in the end that each piece would have a place in my wardrobe. Without further ado, let's talk about what I bought this month.
Madewell whisper cotton tank (white wash XS, similar) - Unlike my other purchases, this was actually a need instead of a want. I am constantly on the lookout for flowy tank tops that are made of cotton or linen. I wear them year round, frequently layered under a cardigan or jacket. Unfortunately, they never seem to last very long. Either they develop these annoying little holes in the front near the hem (does anyone know how to prevent this??), they get warped in the wash, or they get stained accidentally. I probably go through at least 5 tanks/tees a year. Anyway, I like the fit of this one (I went a size up from my usual XXS at Madewell for a more casual look), and I was pleasantly surprised that the white wasn't too sheer with a nude bra. Unfortunately, the material is rather thin, so I expect this tank to develop holes too. Originally $18.50. Paid $12.09.

Madewell mini transport crossbody (English saddle, also here) - This cognac leather bag has been on my wishlist for ages, but I could never pulled the trigger because I couldn't justifying paying full price for it (it's usually excluded from Madewell's sales). When I saw it on sale at Nordstrom Rack recently, I finally went for it! I really enjoy the simple silhouette of this bag, and the shade of cognac is perfect (not too brown and not too tan). It's also a good size and can fit all of my essentials, including my Kindle Paperwhite. If I had to nitpick, I think they could have done a better job with the shoulder strap. It's a little thin and is unfinished on one side. I do like that you can adjust the length. I put mine on the shortest setting. Also, the bag doesn't have much internal organization. It only has two slip pockets and no zip pocket. Overall, I'm willing to overlook the design flaws, because I just really like the way it looks, and I can imagine pairing it with lots of outfits. Originally $148. Paid $92.55.

Born Clements boots (brown full grain 6) - Maybe this is cliche, but I like matching leather, so of course I wanted to buy a pair of cognac boots to go with my new cognac purse. I was specifically looking for ankle boots, because I find them to be more versatile and more convenient than tall boots. Also, because I walk to school nowadays, I wanted a pair that was comfortable enough to commute in without looking like comfort shoes. I was pleasantly surprised to find these lace-up boots from Born that look pretty similar to these Frye boots. When I think of Born, I think practical but matronly, similar to Clarks or Birkenstock. I'm happy to report that these boots are actually surprisingly stylish. They have an almond toe, which I find very flattering, and the leather feels high quality. Also, they're extremely comfortable! The padding of the insole is great, and there's a zipper that allows side entry as well as laces that let you customize the fit. The laces are a bit long, but I actually laced them using a special method that shortens them. Also, the shade of cognac doesn't exactly match my bag (that's okay), and the smooth leather may be prone to scuffs and scratches, so I need to be mindful of polishing these boots regularly. Originally $165. Paid $111.07.

Loeffler Randall medium rider satchel (black, other sale colors and styles) - This is one of my other dream bags, and I highly highly recommend it! I've long admired the Loeffler Randall rider on other bloggers (see the larger version on Jean from Extra Petite). It's exactly the sort of bag I adore: structured silhouette, clean lines, sturdy leather, neutral color, and can be worn in a variety of ways. The most amazing thing about this bag is its incredibly thoughtful internal organization. It has two large main compartments (one has a slip pocket, and the other has a zip pocket and a slip pocket), a smaller outer compartment with a slip pocket, and a slip pocket on the back of the purse. That's a lot of pockets! It's so nice to have everything organized for a change, instead of needing to rifle through my purse every time I have to pull out my keys or my wallet! Also, there are a variety of ways to wear this bag. You can hold it by the top handle, shorten the strap to wear as a shoulder bag, or wear it as a crossbody with the strap long. Honestly, this is one of the best designed handbags I have ever seen. My one complaint is that it's a little heavy since the leather is so sturdy. Other than that, it's perfect! I got it in black, because I have a lot of black shoes, and I like that matchy-matchy look. Also I needed to replace my black Rebecca Minkoff bag, which has seen better days. Originally $475. Paid $258.93.

RETAIL: $806.50
TOTAL: $474.64 (58.8% of MSRP)

SUMMARY: During Q2, I spent $453.82. During Q3, I spent $549.52. After this month, I am officially over budget for the year. I'm going to try to keep my spending relatively low for the rest of 2018, but honestly I don't know how successful I'll be. As I mentioned in my fall/winter wardrobe wishlist, I actually do need to buy a couple more pairs of jeans to replace old worn out versions. Also I tend to go a little nuts in December when the winter clearance sales begin, so we'll see.


I bought a couple more skincare products this month. I've only been using them for a little bit, but I have mixed feelings about them both. Here are some of my preliminary thoughts.

DHC deep cleansing oil (4.1 fl oz) - I wanted to try double cleansing, which is an important step in Asian skincare routines, and this cleansing oil is one of the most popular products. It seems to work well enough and takes off makeup/sunscreen, but even a small bottle is pretty expensive, and I can't help but wonder if I could achieve similar results with a cheaper oil. If anyone has recommendations on what I should try after I finish this bottle, please let me know! Originally $21. Paid $21.00.

Klairs freshly juiced vitamin drop - Every skincare blogger seems to rave about the miracle benefits of vitamin C serum, so I wanted to try one out for myself. This version uses a weaker stabilized form of L-ascorbic acid that's more shelf-stable and also cheaper. I haven't used it long enough to see any noticeable effect, but I don't like how it's kind of oily feeling. Since this is my first vitamin C serum, I'm not sure if that's normal or not. Again, I'm curious to hear what other people think, and I welcome any suggestions. Originally $23.50. Paid $23.50.

So how did you do on your budget this month? What are your dream handbags? Do you double cleanse and/or use vitamin C serum?


  1. I like those Born Clements boots! I'm very fond of the lace-up biker boot look (or at least... I think that's what they're called? I feel like they fell out of style for a while in the last few years, so I haven't seen any new ones and how stores describe them for a while). I had a pair that was on its absolute last legs when I started my blog, and that I had to get rid of shortly after, and I've always missed them a lot.

    Not all vitamin C serums go on oily, I think. I don't remember the Paula's Choice one being oily, and the Timeless C E Ferulic one I used for a while also wasn't oily (it was a watery gel, sometimes a bit "goopy" feeling, with some parts of it a little thicker than others), though it's a very fussy product for other reasons (some risk of causing breakouts)

    1. Thanks! Yeah, I'm not sure what the style is called. Maybe somewhere between combat boots and biker boots? But this pair actually doesn't fit in either of those categories, because it looks pretty sleek and has an almond toe instead of the more common rounded toe. Either way I'm hoping to get lots of wear out of them over the next couple months!

      Good to know about other vitamin C serums. Since this is my first one, I just have nothing to compare it to. I think I'll switch to a different one after I use this up/it oxidizes. It seems pretty hard to find a good affordable one though. The ones people seem to really like are too rich for my blood!