Monday, July 18, 2011

Sale Haul: Attack of the Stress Shopping (Bar Exam Edition)

(Don't forget to sign up for the "Use it or Lose it" Challenge!  You can sign up at any time, but the 30 day clock will officially start tomorrow.)


Pre-Bar Exam Stress Shopping

(Can someone tell me why Polyvore automatically resizes/shrinks my sets so they aren't flush with the borders?)

Ugh.  This is just embarrassing.  I am not proud of myself.  In fact, feel free to link your significant others to this post so you look more frugal (and less wordy) by comparison.

Here's the thing.

The bar exam:  studying for it:  sucks.  Really, really sucks.  I can't even explain to you how much effort it takes to even START working through multiple choice questions and sample essays, let alone to stay focused on those things for very long when there's stuff to be bought online and that's so much more fun and I can just do THAT instead!!

It probably comes as no surprise that I have a tendency to stress shop (see here and here for just two examples).  In the last two weeks, I have developed this bad habit of procrastinating on my studying by online shopping.  And then I take breaks from studying by online shopping.  And then I reward myself for completed tasks by making a nice cup of peach tea.  And then online shopping while I drink it.

You get the drift.

So, no, this is not a great situation.  But, yes, I've got my eye on it.  It's temporary, and I am avoiding most "final sale" installations so I can stick with vendors who will let me send this stuff back once I more rationally reassess.

I've posted photos/reviews and a breakdown of the keeps, the returns, and the maybes, behind the cut.  As always, your input is valued!  Please inject some calm into my storm!


I.  First, Carol posted that Miss November Studio was offering 20% off her wares.

Apparently I never mentioned this on the blog, but I've been pining after MNS's Balancing Elephant necklace for MONTHS now, since first learning of her Etsy shop on IPoPT.  Not only is it sweet and whimsical, but it also makes me think a bit about the delicate balance between health, weight, happiness, and the "show" or public face we put on for others when it comes to these issues.

Yes, I got all that from an elephant on a ball.

It was just so priiiicey!  I pined away; I even went so far as to leave the product page on display on my computer for an entire weekend when my BF was in town, in the hopes that BF would get the hint and buy it for me for Valentines' or my birthday or our anniversary.  He didn't, but I couldn't resist this adorable and unique piece once Sandra of MNS took 20% off.  Not only that, but Sandra is using the proceeds to go back to college!  So my purchase was a social GOOD!  Kind of!  Mostly!

II.  Then I popped into an Anthro last Friday just to take a peek around.  You know, all innocent-like.

L'Adventure Shorts, $30 here

I'm a big fan of these shorts.  They are comfortable, basic, and the fabric is is extraordinarily light.  These will be excellent for the heat of summer, not only because the fabric breathes and is relatively thin, but also because the cut is loose enough that your skin can feel the airflow.  Amazingly, despite the lightness of the shorts, they don't appear to be see-through.

I took my normal size six, so I'd say they're true to size.  I wore them all day on Saturday and they didn't stretch out noticeably at the waist.

After seeing Stephanie over at Bar Chic get tons of mileage out of her white shorts during her 30 for 30 (see, e.g., here and here), I'm sold on the need for these during the next few months.

Counting Angles Dress, $90 here
This dress jumped out at me when it first came out thanks to its fun pattern and great color (you know I'm a total sucker for orange).  I found myself drawn to it during my Anthro trip on Friday and couldn't help but to try it on, even though for $90 (and with all sizes still in stock online) it may be worth waiting for a second cut.

Once I tried the dress on, I was instantly won over.  The sack shape is a nice change of pace from the other more fitted dresses in my wardrobe.  The fabric is remarkably breathable, which I wouldn't have believed without trying it on (it looks and feels sweater-like, but upon trying it on I realized it feels more like gauze on the body).  I think this will be great for year-round wear; in the summer as-is and in the fall/winter with tights and a blazer.

What really sold me on the dress, though, is that the included slip works as a dress on its own (see above). Two dresses for the price of half of one?  Yes, please!

III.  Next, BF went to AC for a poker tournament and I, ever the dutiful girlfriend, accompanied him, PURELY so he'd have company in the car....but then of course since I was already in Atlantic City I figured I'd check out the J.Crew Outlet...

J.Crew Factory Plaid Top, $26

I don't know the name of this top, but it's a great, light basic.  I'm wearing an XS here; the small was really big and shapeless, although I'm very concerned that the XS will shrink in the wash.  It JUST fits around the arms right now.

J.Crew Factory Print Carson Shorts, $20 (here)

Well, I'm a sucker for $20 shorts.  I'm wearing a size four here and it's a great fit.  Time will tell if I actually wear these.  They're super-comfortable and they remind me of these shorts that Kendi has been rocking lately, if only because they are also multi-colored and tailored.  And by that I mean, there's some solid styling inspiration out there for me, should I choose to use it.

In retrospect actually not a great purchase, but I can't go back to the store for several months, so I'll have to make 'em work.

J.Crew Factory Silk Printed Pocket Tank, $20 in store, $25 here

This top was exactly how I wished Anthropologie's Amplified Stripes Blouse had looked on me---sleek and fitted.  I'm wearing this in a two (the only remotely appropriate size left in the store).  The two fits, but a four would probably give me more wiggle room around the arms.  [true story:  while writing this, I peeked at the J.Crew Factory website, which was open at the time of writing, just to see what sizes were still available FOR YOU GUYS, and ended up this blouse in a different color in a size four.  Sigh.  I'm hopeless.]  I've already worn this top once (you'll see the outfit eventually), so the tags are off and all systems are go.

Unknown J.Crew Factory Top, $20

I know this looks really bulky and shapeless in the photos (it's a size small), but it's cute in real life as an oversized, airy, basic top.  There are pretty embroidery details on the arms and collar, too.

Unknown J.Crew Factory Tiara, $8

Off-white sequins!  The perfect combo of flashy and not-at-all-flashy!

J.Crew Factory Crystalized Elastic Bracelet in "Sea Mist," $19 in stores, $25 here

Lovely, and lays more or less close to my wrist so it's not bothersome to type with.

IV.  So, wha ha happend wuz, there was an Anthropologie Sale on Tuesday.

Take Two Tee, $20 here

I can tell that you're skeptical.  It's boxy, it billows out at the waist, and I didn't even bother to steam it.  It runs pretty big---I'm wearing a size small in the photo.  But TRUST ME, this shirt is fantastic!  I'm not sure it'll work untucked, but just check out how awesome this baby looks tucked in:

You may not be sold on it yet, but you will see an OOTD with it soon (with different bottoms) and if you are not won over I will buy you a cookie next time I see you.  You will either eat your words or you will eat a cookie.  It's a win-win.

Cricket Top, $20 here

I already bought this top a few months ago for $40, but decided I only wanted to pay $20 for it so I've been patiently waiting for it to get a second cut.  Finally, it got marked down to $20 last week and I took the plunge.  It's boxy and a bit shapeless, but great for a casual look.  I can't wait to experiment with the colors!  This is an XS in the picture.

Braided Finery Belt, $30 here

I can't resist a belt with hardware.  The size medium was a good fit; it works both low and high on my waist.

Triphasic Earrings, $20 here

I tossed these into my cart on a whim after reading Molly's recommendation here.  Frankly, I didn't think they'd be my style at all, but Molly obviously has great taste so I figured I'd give them a shot.  AND WOW.  They go with everything, they are statement-jewelry-sized without being statement-jewelry-difficult-to-match-with-others.  They're also light on the ears.  Thanks for the great suggestion, Molly!

V.  A few days later, I browsed Modcloth.

On a Wing and a Pair Flats in Brogue, $45 here

This is the first item I've purchased from Modcloth that I actually like.  I have terrible luck with them---I don't have a good sense for which items are quality and which items are cheap-looking.  My first Modcloth order was underwhelming to say the least.  But these flats jumped out at me and I couldn't resist.  I love leather shoes, and the only pair of oxfords I have (which get quite a bit of use, and would get more if they weren't cheap synthetic materials) are these $30 diddies from Target.  At $45, the price was reasonable.

These shoes fit TTS.  I'm usually a size 9 and I took a EUR 40 in these and they are comfortable.  They were tight for the first half hour or so of wearing them around the house, but then they stretched out and now I don't have any issues with them.  These are a contender for my Eurotrip shoes!

All my Friends are Dead, $10 here (Modcloth) or here (Urban)

This is the image that sold me on this book:

VI.  There was an Eva Franco Sample Sale at Rue La La

I arrived too late to an Eva Franco sale at Haute Look a few weeks ago and missed out on the Aniseed Skirt, which I've been stalking on eBay for a few months.  I didn't make the same mistake last week when Rue La La had their own Eva Franco sale, thanks entirely to Roxy's timely tweeting of the sale.  My items haven't arrived yet, but I bought one Anthro piece I'd totally coveted, but couldn't justify until it got down to a second cut-ish price of $80 (the En Plein Air, reviewed here) and then one Anthro piece I'd missed out on (the Mullany).  Conveniently, the En Plein Air was priced on Rue La La at only $80!

If the Mullany is not cut the same as the En Plein Air---the EPA runs small but the reviews suggest the Mullany runs TTS) it may be too big for me since the only size left when I arrived was an 8...but Rue La La has a good return policy so I'll be able to send it back.  [Edit:  I've gotten two requests from size 8 ladies for this dress, should it not fit me, so I'm gonna go ahead and say that this dress is spoken for in the event that it doesn't fit.]

VII.  I spotted another cute pair of Oxfords on Ideeli---and then found them for cheaper elsewhere.

Steve Madden Bespoke Leather Oxfords, $30 here, $60 here (extra 20% off, available in more colors)

Ideeli had a "shopping sprint" this weekend, and I noticed a cute pair of tan leather oxfords by Steve Madden that can replace my cheap target ones.  They were $30 at Ideeli with $10 shipping.  I did some hunting and found them on clearance at Steve Madden's website for $30, with 20% off and $7 shipping. Is that a win?  I think that's a win.


Into Obscurity Chemise, $40 here

Sigh.  I just don't know how Anthropologie continues to sucker me in with things that I'm like, "hey, I'll try this on just to see but I'm pretty sure it won't do it for me."  I bought this with the intention of wearing it as a dress if I belt it or add heels.  It might NEED heels, since this just sweeps the floor when I wear flats.  The neckline is somewhat low-cut, so it might need a tank underneath for daily wear.  Sizing-wise, my normal size small in dresses fit great here.  I often size up to mediums in chemises, but the small worked fine.  The fabric is light, soft, and very comfortable.

I ultimately decided to return this piece.  My biggest hesitation here is that I don't know if this would get much use around the house as a chemise, and I don't know whether it WOULD actually work for out-of-the-house wear since it may be about an inch too long.  It's just so pretty and comfortable that I temporarily overlooked the negatives.  But upon closer inspection, the fabric has that kind of gauzy, nappy look that you only associate with sleepwear.  In the end, it's just too much of a nightgown to wear outside, methinks.

Poetic License Backlash Booties, $75 at Endless (with $25-off promotion) here
(a.k.a., Anthropologie Aldourie Fling Booties), $98 at Anthropologie here

Another purchase inspired by Molly's post---this one mostly because I realized I could get $25 off these shoes as a result of a fall presale at  As absolutely adorable as they are (and they are), I think they're going back.  They're just not really my style, and I am having a hard time imagining what I'd wear them with.  I'd prefer a simpler pair of red pumps.

Regardless, they are comfortable and fit TTS, for what that's worth.

Pinched Tunic, $29 here

I mentioned that I was considering purchasing this top to wear as a nightie.  Well, I did.  Then I changed my mind.

Campfire Stories Shorts, $30 here

When I first tried these on I thought they were AWESOME!  Then, the more I walked around my apartment, the more I noticed I was sporting one of these:

So, yeah, I guess they're too small.  Or cut weird?

Anyway, they're sparkly and that's cute:

(In case you were wondering, I am holding the shorts in my hand in this picture.  I'm not wearing them.  Just to clarify.)

I'm wearing my normal size six.  I'd recommend either sizing up for just buying these in gray instead.  Not that I have done that.

Dotty Shorts, $40

One of these popular pairs of shorts randomly popped up in my size last week and I decided to go for it.  With free shipping and a good return policy, I figured the worst that would happen is that I'd return them.  I really, REALLY wanted to like these shorts.  The color is wonderful.  I love polka dots.  It's summer.  It seemed the stars were aligning.

Just one thing WASN'T aligning:

I took my normal size six, but it feels a bit big around the waist.  The breeziness of the silk fabric also means that these shorts lack any structure at all, which, IMO, makes them look a bit like the type of boxer shorts that a clown might wear.  At least that's what they feel like on me.  On the plus side, they look good if I cover up half of them:

...but is that really a way to live?

Honestly, I would love to keep these shorts but I just don't see how I can given the way they look on me.  I'd love to hear more positive words, but I suspect we must all agree on the fact that these need to go back.

Jumping Jacquard Runner, $7.95 here

Pretty, but it seems to clash with the stuff I usually keep on my table.  Back it goes.

West of the Mississippi Blouse, $20 here

Don't you hate it when you wait and wait for an online item to be discounted enough for it to be within your price range, and then it happens, and then you buy it excitedly, and then it's totally underwhelming?

Such was the case here.  It's been $50 on the Anthro website for the longest time, but I didn't want to spend more than $30 on it.  Sure enough, it got marked down to $20 last week and I pounced.  The online reviews suggested that the top is TTS, but I found it to be too tight in my normal size small.  Unfortunately it's now sold out, so I guess I'll have to wait a while longer before diving into the chambray trend.

Chartreuse Shoots Dress, $90 here

After seeing how lovely Laura looked in this dress here, and after noticing only a handful left in my normal size six, I went ahead and bought this dress to try it out.  I bought two sizes---an eight (on top) and a six (on the bottom).  I tried this dress on a few months ago and was underwhelmed, but I love the color and pattern (which is the same as the verdant slip dress), and SLEEVES, and thought it deserved another shot.

It remains underwhelming on my frame.  The six was the better fit overall, I think, but in both dresses something strange is happening in the bust area and there seems to be nothing I can do to fix the situation.  Tying the dress in back didn't help:

So, back they go.

Backyard Bocce Set, $15 here

I dunno.  This was stupid.  I already have a cheap plastic bocce set, and I certainly don't need a cheap wood and plastic bocce set.

Modcloth Fairytale Feast Lunch Bag, $19 here

Meh.  Just not really big enough:

Modcloth Charming Cavort Dress, $90 here

This dress reminded me of the Anthro Compeer Dress with its bright citrus color and eyeleted cotton, but it was sold out when I first noticed it on Modcloth.  I must have signed up for some kind of restock notification, because while browsing for my shoes a little message popped up indicating that this dress was in stock but THERE WAS ONLY ONE LEFT BETTER ACT FAST!  What a great sales tactic, because I totally fell for it and added it to my cart with minimum deliberation.

In fairness to me, I was already buying one item so it didn't cost me extra in shipping, and it isn't final sale so I knew I could return it (with free return shipping), so essentially I just wasted a little time trying it on.

I actually liked the dress quite a bit.  It's comfortable, it's a flattering shade of golden yellow, and it's a great length.  I'm not crazy about the pink underlayer, but what ultimately disqualified the dress is that the bodice is cut awkwardly low.  You'd need a tanktop underneath it, and who wants to deal with that in the summer?  Especially not when you're looking at a $90 dress.

Stop scrolling and render advice!

Kusari Necklace, $20 here

Now, for those of you keeping score in the home game, so far Molly is batting .500 in the Jewish Girl Ballpark.  The Triphasic Earrings?  LOVE.  The Aldourie Booties?  Adorable objectively, but just not for me.  So now it's time for a tie-breaker.  The Kusari Necklace (see Molly's same post here).  What say you?

On the one hand, check out this great detail:

On the other hand, check out this other Anthro necklace I own that's kinda similar:

Can I justify having both?

Alyogyne Blouse, $20 here

Another shirt where I patiently waited for a second price cut before buying.  It may be clear at this point that I like boxy, breezy tops that seem versatile and easy to wear.  This top fits two of those categories.  The first two, in case that wasn't clear.

I love the style and fit of this top, which I took in a size six because it was the smallest size left---I'd usually be a four, I suspect.  You can get a better sense for the draping here:

And check out this cute keyhole/knotted detail on the back:

My biggest hesistation is that I don't see too many pattern-mixing possibilities with this top, and a lot of my bottoms are patterned.  Do you think I can get enough use out of this to justify the $20 price tag?

Toucan Watering Can, $30 here

Yet again, I waited MONTHS for this adorable watering can to hit sale.  I almost bought it full price on three separate occasions as a housewarming gift for myself.  But I held out.  And I was rewarded with a sale.  And I bought it.  (Actually I bought two because I couldn't decide, but I'm returning the partridge.)  And it is SO friggin cute.  I mean, just look at how cute this guy is in action---

Doesn't he look like he's getting some nourishment from those plants, and not just giving the nourishment?  Like some horrifying hybrid of a toucan and a hummingbird?  Sure he does.  I love him.

The only thing?  As a watering can?  HE SUCKS.  Water drizzles in every which way from the nose of this can and soaks my windowsill and floor.

I hold out hope that perhaps I just don't know how to use a watering can.  I also suspect that maybe I would keep this anyway even if it sucked for houseplants, because:  1) it's awesomely unique; and 2) maybe one day I will have outdoor plants and won't need to worry about waterlogging the windowsill when I water them.

I think these two reasons may be overriding enough, but I've been wrong before.

...As always, I look forward to your feedback in the comments!

In addition to your thoughts on the clothes, let me know if this sale haul was too long for you.  I thought about breaking it up into two entries since there's just So. Much. Stuff to cover, but then decided to appease what seems like a never-ending appetite for vicarious consumption.  Was it too much?  Do you feel a bit overstuffed?  Is there a greasy stain on your collar that looks like it could have been either the meatballs or the cocktail sauce?  There there.  It'll be alright.  It'll be alright.

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