August Clothing Budget and September Wishlist

This month I kicked off a personal shopping challenge to only shop secondhand for the next 6 months. I hope it will not only help me to get out of a style rut, but also help refresh my idea of what it means to blog about style.

Here is what I bought this month. You may recognize these items from the ThredUp haul I recently posted.

{August Purchases}

Print Blouse for Weekend or Work and Thoughts on Style Blogging

When I started blogging, I shared a lot more style posts than I do now. Of course, I had a lot more time back then, but lately I've been thinking about style blogging and why I haven't been feeling it as much. I still love exploring personal style and getting creative with the clothes in my closet, but recently I've noticed that I've been more hesitant to share an outfit post if I'm not wearing anything new.

Now listen, I use affiliate links myself and I know a lot of bloggers who make pretty good money linking to the clothes they're wearing. I see nothing wrong with this, and I find that a lot of these blogs are providing both inspiration and a kind of service--I like seeing a store's clothes on a real person before I decide to purchase them. However, at some point I felt I had to keep up with that, and if I couldn't, I shouldn't bother with style posts.

For me, sharing outfits each week featuring new clothing just isn't a reality. It's not in my budget, for one, and what's more it's not really my style. While I do enjoy shopping, I tend to wear the things I love over and over again and I don't really think about whether or not they're currently available to buy. (You know this about me--you've seen me wearing the same jacket, vest, and earrings for years!) I tend to be an under-buyer, so I typically add to my closet strategically and sometimes slowly.

Therefore, when I do share style posts, they will likely feature lots of items you've already seen. My goal is to remix them creatively and often include new (or new to me) items as well, but if you're looking for a blog to give you specific items to go buy now, you won't find that here. However, if what you do want is inspiration for how to style what you already have, or ideas for building your wardrobe thoughtfully and on a budget, I hope that I can provide some inspiration.

I'd love to hear from you regarding your thoughts on style blogging and why you read style blogs or style posts. What would you like to see here? 

Thanks for reading all that! I do have a couple of outfits to share today, featuring this pretty print blouse I got from a recent ThredUp order. I love how it can easily be dressed up or dressed down. I wore both of these looks this past Sunday: the dressier one to church and the casual one for a solo Target run (can you hear the hallelujahs?) while the kids were napping.

Jona Lee at 4 Years

Jona turned 4 last week, something he likes to frequently remind me. "I'm 4 now, so I don't need you to help me brush my teeth/get dressed/get water/etc." I love that he's so proud of what a big kid he's become, especially since it doesn't seem like much time has passed since he wanted my help doing everything.

Watching him grow up is always bittersweet, but I've been looking forward to this age. Honestly, because 4 means "no longer 3". This past year has been the most challenging in my life as a parent, but at the same time the best. I don't think I fully understood just how much change we'd be bringing into Jona's life (new sister, new school, no more in-home daycare, etc.) and how much, in turn, that change would really rock his little world. That, combined with all the typical challenges that come with the 3-year-old territory, made me question both my sanity and my parenting abilities on multiple occasions.

Thankfully things have been getting better and better, and I wanted to give a little update on all things Jona right now.

Violet Lennon at 10 Months

This past month has sped by, and it seems like Violet is changing so quickly! Here's an update on life at 10 months for Miss Violet.

$10 at Target: Journaling Goodies

Although I no longer teach, nor am I a student, back to school time still feels like a fresh start in the year. Jona goes to preschool year-round, but they still make a big deal out of the start of the school year; they host a back to school night and even have a school-supply list that they require. Shopping for his supplies made me want to do a little "school supply" shopping of my own.

I didn't need pencils and glue, however, so I decided to buy a few things for my bullet journal. I found some pretty washi tape and these Day Designer magnetic bookmarks (I'd link but I can't find them online). I hoped to find some fun stickers but my Target didn't have much to choose from, so I bought this pretty little notebook instead. I'm not yet sure what I'll fill it with, but I have a couple of ideas in mind.

Washi tape: $2.99 + bookmarks: $3.99 + notebook: $3.99 = $10.97 (a little over, but not bad)

 Have you found any good "back to school" buys lately?

Linking with $10 at Target

In My Library Tote: Preschool Books with a Bit of Everything

In Wednesday's round-up of my recent reads, I covered a little bit of everything. I do think that variety is the spice of (reading) life, so I try to choose a wide range of subjects when getting books for Jona as well.

Of course preschoolers don't have the same views on variety, so he often wants to read the same book over and over and over... (case in point: it's all superheroes, all the time right now). I at least try to have a mix of books available so that I can choose something different, even if I have to give the excuse that "mommy wants to know what this book is about". Here are a few we've been enjoying lately, covering a range of kid-approved topics.

{preschooler picks: a little bit of everything}

In My Library Tote: Books with a Little Bit of Everything in August

I always get a lot of books read in the summer, but this summer has been my best reading summer yet. I attribute this bookish success to two things: pump breaks and library due dates. I often work through these breaks, but when I'm home and the kids are sleeping I take advantage of the opportunity to sit down and read. 

With the library, I used to just check out one book (for me) at a time, and make sure I had something waiting for me when I got close to finishing. However, this summer, I put a lot of books on hold at once because they all had pretty long queues. As a result, I would have 2-3 books come in at the same time so if I wanted to read them all I had to get them all read in 3 weeks. Having that little challenge really motivated me to read as much as possible. 

The downside of all this reading is that I can't keep up on blogging my books--these I read in June and July. So if my memory of the details is hazy, forgive me. I will eventually figure out a good system for blogging my books!

{recent reads: a little bit of everything}

A Secondhand Shopping Challenge and ThredUp Haul

I mentioned in my last style post that I've been in a bit of a style rut, and that I'd been thinking about embarking on a challenge of some sort. Since I've also been wanting to shop more ethically, I decided that for the next 6 months, I'm going to challenge myself to only shop secondhand for clothing, shoes, and accessories.

I started my challenge at the beginning of the month, and since I had a little credit to ThredUp (plus a 20% off promotion going on), I decided to kick it off with a little secondhand haul. I love a good shopping review post, and even though you can't necessarily buy these exact items, I still thought it would be fun to share my ThredUp box with you. 

My Experience Using a Bullet Journal

Since discovering the Franklin Covey planning system as a college student, I've always been slightly obsessed with having a paper planner. Starting a new year with a fresh planner (or fresh refill pages, in the case of my beloved purple compact FC binder) is something that I still look forward to each year.

Over the past several years I've tried different kinds of planners (Plum Paper, Erin Condren Life Planner, Day Designer) but never felt like I had one that was perfect for me. Last year I started hearing a lot of buzz about bullet journals and wanted to give it a try.

Since January, I've been using a bullet journal and it's been working well for me. Inspired by Alexandra's reviews of the Erin Condren Life Planner, I thought I'd share my thoughts on bullet journaling. I'll share how I use my bullet journal: what I record, what tools I use, and what I like and dislike about it. This is far from a comprehensive guide, so if you'd like to know how to get started I recommend this post on the Lazy Genius Collective if you want to dive right in, or this post on Modern Mrs. Darcy if you just want to dip your toes.

Day in the Life of a Working Mom: Work from Home Day

The last time I shared a "day in the life" post was over a year ago (March of 2016), and my life has changed quite a bit since then. I now have two little ones to keep me busy, and I'm also working from home two days a week. I decided to do a photo an hour on a Thursday to share a look into my life on a day I work from home. On this day, Aaron was home in the afternoon, so the crazy was dialed back a notch. Starting this week it will be all mom all the time on Thursdays and Fridays until evening... oh boy.

{5:20am} I am up and reading my book (at the time it was The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand) while I pump. I am down to four pump sessions a day, starting when I get up, which is between 5 and 5:15am most days. While I don't necessarily enjoy pumping, I do like starting my day with some reading.

Goals for August and a July Goal Recap

Each month I share my goals as a way to motivate myself to get things done and stay accountable. Here's this month's recap and the next month's set of goals for my home, my blog, and my family and personal life. 

Currently: August

I'm thrilled to be joining one of my favorite bloggers and long-time blog buddies Anne to co-host this month's Currently Linkup. August is always a time of transition, at least at our house, with Aaron going back to work, Jona celebrating a birthday, and summer winding to a close. Here are a few things that I'm currently up to so far this month. I hope you'll join the linkup and share a little bit of your August as well.

{currently: August 2017}