A Month Without

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Some of you know by some of my comments and posts (and from knowing me outside the blog) that I attempted to spend the month of March NOT spending. Aside from gas and basic groceries, the goal was to only purchase the essentials. This meant that when I ran out of concealer I had to make do, that when the majority of my wardrobe was boring or too big or worn out, I had to make do with the leftovers, that Starbucks and Target were not in my vocabulary.

It was harder than I thought it would be. To have this parallel with a weight loss AND a season change made it all the worse. My closet was full of misshapen heavy garments that I had tired of looking at, let alone put on my body. My shoes were all scuffed and worn down and smelling a bit funky. It was tough to Just Say No to shopping malls and online vendors.

There were a few times when I broke down. When I had to purchase a baby shower gift for a friend (a necessity to maintain the friendship, though I used wrapping paper and ribbon I had at home), it was a glorious sunny day. The sunglasses I bought last summer had gotten lost months ago, and was using an old scratched pair my sister loaned me on our cruise. They looked awful with my face shape and the scratched dark frames were not easy to see out of on a super brilliant day. Not a necessity, but I picked up a pair of rose-tinted metal aviators for $16.99 and dropped them on the conveyor belt along with the Baby Boppy, onesies and rattling socks. I got to the car and had to organize packages for drop-off at the post office, put the baby goods in the trunk and somehow during all this activity in the Target parking lot I lost the new sunglasses. Karma got me for breaking my No Shopping rule! Later that day I went to meet a friend at a central location to carpool to a Body Shop at Home event and I got there before she, so spent that time searching the car for the new sunglasses. I found them, and in the process locked my keys in my car.

I also broke down on one long day and treated myself to a Frappucinno from Starbucks, and the day I accidentally left my lunch in the fridge at home indulged in a Greek salad from the café down the street from work. But in general, no extras, no treats, no snacks, no nothing.

It was amazing how much additional money I ended up having (and this is after having one birthday and two shower gifts to purchase, having to pay my Mom back for baseball tickets she bought and a pre-scheduled hair cut and color that fell at the very beginning of the month). By making breakfast and lunch every day, I believe I lost a couple extra pounds. My husband and I tried to walk as often as possible, ditching the car for the paths in town to get to yoga class and for quick trips to the grocery. We also used my car more as that it has better gas mileage (I like him to drive so I can be DJ).

So now it’s April and I am free to shop again. I thought I would celebrate it with a day-long event at my favorite mall, but instead I took my husband and our good friend to a Mexican restaurant near our home for some yummy margaritas and fare on their terrace, People Watching and enjoying the spring weather. I placed an order for my contacts, and this morning indulged in an egg and cheddar sandwich on a bagel, but that’s about it. It’s amazing how a month of nothing makes me so picky.

I have a friend who works at one of my favorite clothing retailers (not hard to guess which one) and in March gave me a coupon for something like 25% off $125 or more. Well I can spend that on one pair of pants there, and figured I did need new pants to replace my oversized ones. I visited her, walked around, and only found two things that really impressed me and both were not available in my size. I left with nothing but a hug from her. I don’t believe I have ever visited that retailer before without purchasing something. Now that it’s April, I still have no burning desire to visit for clothing.

I also think a problem is that I am between sizes. I have been a 14 for about 3 years, and am now a 12 with the desire to be a 10 before fall. Since I am not at my “final” weight, I am very choosy with what I decide to purchase. I don’t want to invest in expensive things like suits and dresses, but I don’t want to buy crap that will fall apart and never be quite right on my frame. I also have found that with this small amount of weight loss, my shoes are all a bit stretched out. Today I am wearing my brown peep-toe pumps that I bought in the fall; at that time they gave me blisters from pinching my heels. Now I feel as though I am playing dress-up with a larger person’s footwear. Almost every pair of shoes I have are too wide, and I wonder if I lose another 25 if I will encounter the same thing. Too expensive to replace my entire shoe collection every size drop. So I wait it out.

However there are a few things that I WANT and NEED. I have work, which is Business Casual, friend events that are usually jeans or the equivalent, and come mid-June I am taking a road trip with friends to Manchester, Tennessee for a four-day music festival (Bonnaroo). There are certain things I need for that event to be comfortable (and cute!).

  1. Wellington Boots (They say that when it rains at Bonnaroo it is a crazy mud pit. Anyone know a company that sells these for large calves? I haven’t had luck yet!)
  2. Cropped cuffed jeans in a dark wash, preferably with the visible selvage on the cuff
  3. A new pair of comfy wedges. My teal suede ones are getting pretty dingy, and like my other dress shoes, are too big. I have seen the wedge tennies at Nordstrom, but don’t know if they are too funky/casual. Any suggestions for cute wedges that could work for the office, but mainly with jeans or a skirt for play?
  4. Some new scoop tees from American Apparel. Last season I bought a black, a brown and a dark red/cranberry and wore the HECK out of them. I had to donate the brown and black ones because they got so faded, and the cranberry one has gone from the regular fashion rotation to the pile of tees for yoga and gardening. For $16, I found them a good deal for a year of use. This year I think it will be forest, orange and maybe the fun royal blue… These colors will go with all the black and white printed skirts in my wardrobe, as well as with my neutral capris and cargo skirts.
  5. A cute dress. I love all the shirt dresses, but don’t think I have lost enough in the gut to carry off a belt, and those are the ones I love the most. I have lots of matte jersey and knit pieces, I would like something with a bit more structure… possibly a retro feel. I’ll know it’s the right one when I see it…
  6. Dark jeans with a nice crease down the front and a slightly vintage feel. I love this type of jean because it makes my legs look long and can dress up a boring white tee. I can’t seem to find any that I adore, but I am always on the lookout (oh and thanks to whomever suggested Paige Premium denim – nice quality, nice style but with my booty they just didn’t fit right… not enough contour for the bum and have to return them. But it’s the closest I have gotten to right in a while…)
  7. Some ribbed tanks AKA wife beaters. My white one from J. Crew looks as though it DOES belong on a wife beater now – it’s getting threadbare and is stained and uggy. My gray one from Old Navy has a log on the front and I wear it inside-out under sweaters for modesty. My brown one (also Old Navy) is a belly top on me and my aqua one is the only one left standing after a year of hard wear (good example of how quality is worth it – the J. crew one is 3 years old and the turquoise one is from Nordstrom. The Old Navy ones are not even a year old, and the white one from there is long ago discarded).
  8. A new fun lipgloss. I was a berry pink. Nothing candy, not hot pink, not mauve. Something springy without looking Barbie. I have hot pink, I have brownish rose. I want something in-between that is cheerful, yet work appropriate. Not a bunch of shimmer, but a lot of gloss and juiciness. Any suggestions?
  9. New mascara. I love the DiorShow, but I accidently got the DiorShow Unlimited and I hate the brush. It has another month of use, but after that will have to go with something else. Do keep in mind I have tried
    1. Cover Girl – Lash Exact
    2. Maybelline – Great Lash
    3. L’Oreal – Voluminous
    4. L’Oreal – Lash Architect
    5. Max Factor – 2000 Calorie
    6. Lancome – Defincils
    7. MAC – X
    8. Maybelline – Full and Soft
    9. DiorShow
    10. DiorShow Unlimited
    11. Maybelline – Lash Discovery
    12. Maybelline – XXL
    13. L’Oreal – Volume Shocking
    14. Revlon – Lash Fantasy
    15. Maybelline – Volum Express
    16. Almay – One Coat
    17. Maybelline – Illegal Lengths
    18. Lancome – Amplicils
    19. L’Oreal – Full Definition Voluminous
    20. MAC – Pro Lash
    21. Victoria’s Secret – Very Sexy Lashes
    22. Chanel – Instant Lash
    23. Trish McEvoy – Lash Curling
    24. Body Shop – Define and Lengthen
    25. Body Shop – Super Volume

And the only ones I think are worthy repeat purchases for my tastes is L’Oreal Voluminous, Lancome’s Defincils (for a day look) and DiorShow. I like it thick, but I don’t like it clumpy. I like a puffy brush, and I want super dramatic lashes.

  1. A new fragrance. Last spring and summer I wore Breathe Energy by Bath and Body Works. Last winter I wore Chanel Chance and this winter I have worn Burberry London. I still adore London, but would like a lighter fragrance for hot days.
  2. Some new products to give my wavy hair some great soft curl. FrizzEase’s Dream Curls isn’t bad, but I have heard great things about other brands and would love your reviews. My hair is fine, but I have a lot of it. It doesn’t get super frizzy and can be weighted down easily. If I scrunch and diffuse my hair dry, I look like Jon Bon Jovi circa 1987. If I let it air-dry I look like one of these alternative rockers with flat stringy wavy curls that part in the middle. I know how to make it the way I want it, and know a very light product will assist greatly. Any suggestions?

And that’s my major shopping right now. I would like some new springy pants for work, a fabu pair of peep-toes that will show off my pedicures, a new pair of silver earrings and maybe another pair of sunglasses, but I am not feeming for newness right now. Just the basics, and the RIGHT ones at that. My sister and I may have a mall and pedicure day on Saturday, if so you will be seeing some fresh new things in my photos quite soon!

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. I’m sooo jealous that you are going to Bonnaroo!

    Mascara–Kiss Meis the best I’ve ever used. It coats your lashes in individual tubes, doesn’t run ever and comes off when you wash your face–no mess!

    Jeans–David Kahn at Nordstrom, dark wash, long skinny leg and should work with your booty!

    Lip Gloss–Mary Kay makes one called ‘Pink Pout’ sounds like the berry color you are looking for.

    Have a fun summer!

  2. I get great recommendations at DeLush. I love Max Factor volume couture mascara – the brush is great. I have also liked Kiss Me Mascara from Sephora.

  3. I just saw in Bazaar that Marc Jacobs has a new perfume that is cucumber based. That might be a good summer choice. And Chanel just came out with something like 5 fragrances and I think they’re supposed to be lighter than others.

    I think you should make your own cropped jeans – like how you made your own distressed skirt. Buy some short straight leg jeans, cuff them and then distress the edges

  4. Can’t help with the clothing suggestions but I think I can help on the makeup/hair ones

    Lipgloss: I’m sure MAC and Stila have berry shades. You might also look at Laura Mercier’s Fiji Orchid Lip Glace and the Black Orchid Stickgloss. Becca cosmetics also has one named Grendadine.

    Mascara: I’m really loving CG’s Volume Exact, Maybelline’s Define a lash and *gasp* WetNWild’s Ultra Wink mascaras.

    Curly hair stuff: Get thee over to Curlmart.com!! I highly recommned B&A’s Mineral Gel and AG’s Re:Coil. I can also recommend Jonathan Product’s Curling Serum and Alterna’s Hemp Texturizing Glaze.

  5. Here are some things you might like:
    Dr. Scholl shoe inserts – either the full size or the size that fits under the ball of the foot – they are great at making a shoe fit that is a bit too big.
    Giani Bini “chili” peep toe shoes from Dillards. They are SO comfortable even with a 4″ heel and only $69. I have black and my daughter has black and red – we love them 🙂 FYI – we had to buy a half size smaller than we normally wear.
    Elizabeth Ardens lip protectant stick in Berry – very moisturizing, sheer, and not sticky at all.
    Good luck with your list!

  6. Wellies – check your local farm supply store.

    Hair — have you read the book Curly Girl? A website with the same name is also helpful. They might help you find your inner curl. I’m always on the lookout for a product too — recently had good luck with Paul Mitchell’s “The Cream.” It’s a leave in conditioner, which I was afraid of, but am curlier than normal when using it.

  7. Don’t bother with Wellies–just bring some rubber flip-flops and plan to hose off. It is HOT in May in Manchester (I live 35 miles away) and you’ll swelter in rubber boots. For Bonnaroo, pack shorts and t-shirts that you don’t mind throwing away after the event. It’s just that messy/gross.

  8. Congrats for the weight-loss and self-restraint. Two suggestions for perfumes: Elizabeth Arden Provocative and Green Tea. Both are not overhelming but nice and light. Great blogs 🙂

  9. I too, have some recomendations for you! But first, Congrats on the weight loss! 🙂

    JCrew has the best wife beaters that last forever.

    Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel is a delicious summer scent.

    Curl Creme by Bumble and Bumble is lightweight and give awesome curl without much effort.

    Philosophy Lip Shine is shiny without being sticky. And it comes in yummy flavors.

  10. Regarding mascara, Clinique makes a couple of good ones. I like their “lash doubling” and “high impact” mascara.

    Also, regarding product for curly hair, have you tried Redken’s Outshine Anti-Frizz Polishing Milk? I used to use it when I had curly hair and I LURVED it–not too much hold, no crunchiness, just enough to keep my curls defined and soft. Fabulous!

  11. I really don’t think they are worth being altered because they aren’t anything I positively adore. Well I do have some tweed trousers, but that’s about it. I would rather sell my good quality too-big stuff, and scour sales for new. Also if I get down to a 10 I have a whole attic of clothing waiting for me! 🙂

    Thanks all for the suggestions! I really appreciate it!

  12. Rather than get new clothes it really is worth it to take the clothes you still like but that are too big to be altered. That way they fit now and once you lose the weight you no longer have the old ones “just in case.” Good luck!

  13. I am also stuck in between sizes. I dont want to buy a whole lot of clothes right now because I hope that in a few months time they wouldnt fit. So I am making do with lots of tops that are too big and skirts that keep sliding down my hips! I spent way too much time pulling my clothes up these days! 🙂

    I had a few makeup suggestions. I love Stila’s lipgloss. I think they have several “berry” shades. For Mascara I have been a Lancome fan for years. I have heard good things about their fatale but have not tried it yet. Right now I am using Lash Stylist by Mabelline. It has one of those comb applicators instead of a brush. I always assumed i wouldnt like those, but it makes my lashes look so much longer and NO clumping!!
    For summer perfumes I love Marc Jacobs, and Victorias Secret Pink. I actually really like Juicy’s new perfume too.

  14. Maybe I can offer some suggestions:

    Wellingtons: J. Crew has some cute ones and I also bought a pair at Payless when I broke my toe & got them 2 sizes too big. The calf width on the Payless ones seemed to lean on the wide side.

    Jeans: I am roughly a size 10 and Banana Republic jeans & J. Crew Hipslung jeans seem to fit me the best (I have a little gut, flat butt and wide hips). I noticed they also carry the cropped jeans with the turn up cuff and visible selvage. I love them too!

    Tanks: Old Navy usually has a two-for-one on their ribbed tanks and I usually stock up. I try to keep a watch on when the J. Crew tanks go on sale because they have a really good selection of colors, as you probably already know.

    There are two fragrances that I think are perfect for Spring and Summer: One is called “Beach” by Bobbi Brown and the other is called “Clean” and is sold at Sephora. Both are quite nice, and not overpowering.

    Hope that helps!

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