Goals I like: Clothing budget

Tasha made this comment to me on Dec. 3 in a chat: “Seriously, good job on the clothes thing! I’m a little surprised you stuck to it, tbh 😀 I figured you’d throw your hands up in July and say fuck it.”

So did I friends, so did I.

I keep track of what I spend on clothes for tax reasons, so I know that I’ve spent about $1,500 each year on clothes in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Actually, I think I spent $900 in 2011. But still. BUT STILL. That’s so much money on clothes. And while I love lots of my clothes, I wasn’t really getting what I wanted out of my wardrobe.

Two poignant questions from Tasha on Dec. 3: “Do you think you’ve adjusted your mindset? Or are you dying for Jan. 1?”

I wasn’t dying for Jan. 1. This year of clothing budget has made me think smarter about what I’m buying. The goal was to encourage me to sew more clothes by making that aspect a limitless budget. And I did sew more. But the goal did more for changing how I thought about clothes buying that I used to. Instead of just buying clothing I liked because I liked it, I became choosier. How does this fit with what I own, I’d ask myself. Do I need it or do I just want it because I want to buy something? A lot of things I bought were because I was replacing something that had worn out, been damaged or didn’t fit. I went to four weddings this year and didn’t buy one new dress. I went to Puerto Rico on vacation in July and bought no new clothes for the trip.

I still have clothes in my closet(s) I’ve never worn. I still have clothes with the tags on. But none of those items are things I bought this year. This year, I bought things I love and wore multiple times.

I did also buy plenty of shoes, belts and purses this year, though. It’s hard to say whether I did that purely to buy SOMETHING since those things don’t count toward the clothing budget, or because I needed those items to round out the wardrobe I was finally making work. Probably a bit of both. For three of the weddings I went to this year, I wore belts I bought in June. I’ve worn my belts so many times, and every single one of them cost me less than $10. I bought a new pair of boots. I bought five new pairs of shoes (not too unusual). I bought five scarves (also not unusual). I bought five purses (also not terribly unusual, though you’d think I’d have enough by now). I noticed I bought fewer earrings this year, though.

So what does these mean for next year? Well, I’m pregnant. (Part of why the weight loss goal stopped being a thing after October.) I’m due in July, so that means half the year is taken by a growing body, and the other half by a deflating one. I think my newfound attitude will come in handy when weighing maternity clothes purchases, but I think setting a clothing budget would be too challenging. So I’m off budget until 2014!


2012 goals: Wrapping up the year

I’m going to do this post a little differently since it’s the last one for my 2012 goals. I set my goals here, and in the past 12 months, some of them have dropped off the list because of various factors. So, I’m going to wrap up the complete list here, and add notes/thoughts about my goals.

  1. Complete five (big) home projects. I did one of five. But I also did plenty of little home projects that didn’t count toward anything on my list.
  2. Compost. Big fat gold star.
  3. Garden. I didn’t get to a garden. I may never get to a garden. Who knows?
  4. Read 75 books. I read 37 of 75. I dropped my yearly goal from 100 to 75 because with the way my life had been in 2011, it seemed more realistic. But it was still overly ambitious. I’m going to have to rethink my approach for 2013.
  5. Lose 10 pounds. Goal weight was 135. I didn’t make it. There was a point in the year I was close to making it, but alas. Some of my progress was hampered by the effect of being in an accident in February. Some of my progress was hampered by getting pregnant in October. I felt happy with my weight a lot of the year, though, and from May on, I pretty regularly worked out. I trained for a 5K. I’m not a runner, so that was amazing for me.
  6. Crochet five projects. I crocheted zero projects. I found patterns and knew what I wanted to do, but I just never got there.
  7. Make two new recipes each month. I made 14 of 24 recipes. That’s not a lot of new recipes. This is one goal I really wish I would have done better at.
  8. Teach Josh to cook. He’s definitely better. And with a kid on the way, he’s really keen to do more of this instead of only being able to make freezer food. I think we’ll see an increase in 2013, but this won’t be on my goals list again.
  9. Stockpile food. I did quite a bit of this, but I would have liked to do more. Stockpiling definitely got us through a lot of points of the year more thriftily… we ate food I’d already made instead of ordering it. It’s also a precursor to making baby food, which I imagine I’ll start doing at the end of 2013 when our kid starts moving on to actual food.
  10. Use my pantry. I slimmed down the pantry, didn’t overbuy replacements and used up some of what I had. I don’t think this will be on the goals list again, but I learned a lot from having this reminder here.
  11. Organize my clothes. This is a constant nightmare. I am terrible at keeping my clothes in order. I hate washing laundry, I hate folding laundry, I hate hanging up laundry and I hate putting away laundry. This is more of a life goal than a yearly goal.
  12. Make clothes. Spent $520.92 of $500. I spent $40 in December at a sample sale I frequent. I bought three dresses and three tops. I was $3 underbudget when I went home for Christmas and realized I forgot to pack any shirts to wear under the sweaters I’d brought. I’m still going to call this goal a win. I purposely didn’t set a “I will make XX patterns” goal because I knew that would be too challenging. I made zero patterns, though I bought pattern paper to trace Burda magazine patterns. However, I altered SO many clothes and remade so many clothes that I can’t be mad at myself. I also freestyled some other clothing and have plans for other things. This is definitely a goal I’ll continue.
  13. Do one thing each month that will simplify my life. I pretty much did this every month because I was already doing these types of things for myself anyway. I just wasn’t acknowledging it, and having it to cross off my list made me happy.
  14. Limit social commitments to two each week. My goal was two social commitments a week. Very rarely did I go over that in 2012, and my life was much calmer and better because of it.
  15. Send birthday cards. I sucked at this one. I think I actually forgot about it.

I also had other things I wanted to work at in 2012: Get my hair cut regularly, fix my hair color, paint my nails (or at least take care of them!) like I still work at a nail magazine, finish decorating my house, organize things a bit better, shred paper I don’t need. I fixed my hair color. I’m still working on being responsible for the other things.

Main lesson of 2012? I totally expect too much of myself. In 2013, I’ll be cutting myself more slack.

November: Goals progress

Only one month left in this year!

Make clothes.
$456.92 / $500


I spent $58 in November on three dresses. I have $43.08 left for the remainder of the year. I think I’m going to make it!

Lose 10 pounds: I’m up a little to 147.2. I’m just rolling with this one. I think I’ve definitely been more solid about working out this year, so that’s a positive of this goal.

Read 75 books.



I read the majority of four books in November. (I read for an hour this morning and finished the fourth.) This is the fewest amount of books I’ve read in a year since probably ever. The first year I kept track was 2008, and I’m well below every year since then. However, I watched more TV this year than I have ever.

Make two new recipes each month: I made Golden Gravy from the Real Food Daily cookbook for Thanksgiving.

Stockpile food. (and Use my pantry.): I haven’t stocked anything, but I think I’m going to make a renewed effort at this next year.

Complete five (big) home projects.


Holding fast at 20%.

Garden: The only thing in my garden is a nice gray kitty who I’m trying to build up trust so I can adopt.

Crochet five projects: Still no crochet projects.

Do one thing each month that will simplify my life: I’m in the process of storing my “warm” clothes until it’s hot hot hot.

Social commitments: I think I had two social engagements in November. The whole month. I’m really making some effort to take care of myself.


October goals check-in

Wow, y’all. I am terrible at keeping up with this. Ok so.

  • Knit from my stash. I bought three skeins of sock yarn while I was in Colorado, and all of them are rainbow-colors. Yessss. rainbow socks.

I got two skeins of Mini Mochi in the creatively named Color 105:

Mini Mochi Color 105. Image courtesy Knit Witts.


And one skein of Viking of Norway Nordlys in Color 949:

Nordlys 949. Also the ONLY time I will put Papyrus on this site. Image courtesy Torgstenen.


Aaaaand I also got a skein at the local shop. But but but they’re sort of struggling! And I wanted to support their new colors and yarns!

Done Roving Yarns brand Frolicking Feet. Anenome Windflower colorway. Image courtesy Angelika’s Yarn Store.

And with that, I’m officially cut off from buying more yarn. Sads.

  • Knit a sweater. Noooot gonna happen. But that’s ok!
  • Crochet a bedspread. Same here.
  • Make 10 projects. Not so much with the follow through. We still stand at one finished project, with 87 projects in progress.

1/10 = 10%

16/25 = 64%. Progress! But can I finish nine more by the end of the year? Better find some short ones to read. At Home is so, so good: charming and witty and delightfully gossip-y. The Psychopath Test is none of those things, sadly.

  • Do one thing each month that will simplify my life. I got cloth napkins, and really like them! They’re super-cute. Chris loooves the pink!

    Napkins! Cloth napkins from whimsiedots on Etsy.


    I am totally exercising my Amazon Prime, too. I’m getting Kind bars delivered (they’re like Larabars, but actually tasty.), as well as deodorant, kitty litter and conditioner. I really like not having to remember this stuff or lug kitty litter around.

  • List my 3/3/3 daily. Mostly just been listing things I’m thankful for, but there ain’t nothing wrong with expressing gratitude.
  • Lose 40 lbs. Yeah, yeah. I’ve had two people ask me this week if I want to be accountabilibuddies for workouts. Seems like a sign? 🙂
  • Drink more water. I’ve been having more soda in the last week or so, and I’m not drinking as much water. I lost my Fitbit, and I blame that. Fitbit is awesome and sent me a (free!) replacement, so I expect this (and my steps!) to pick up.
  • Stop drinking soda. Mmm soda.
  • Connect with people more. I’ve been hanging out with Atlanta Emily and Janelle a good bit, and I have co-workers I actually like. So weird. I’ve also Skyped with Chicago Emily and Jessica (WHO MOVED TO FREAKING CHINA), and that’s nice.

Aaaaand I’ve actually been able to IM with a certain Stephanie more. Hooray! Stars everywhere!

October: Goals progress

October! This year is going so fast. On Oct. 13, Josh and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary — has it really been so long? It feels like we’ve been together forever and hardly any time, if that makes sense.

Make clothes.
$398.92 / $500


I spent $48 in October. The majority of that was on a new pair of jeans from Old Navy ($25). Then, I bought a few items at a friend’s garage sale ($3), including another pair of jeans I made skinny, two tunics and a sweater. I also bought four tank tops on clearance at Target ($20).

Lose 10 pounds: I’m hovering between 145 and 146 still. That means I still have 10 pounds to go. But I’m going to suspend this goal. I have clothes that fit, I’m content with myself, I’m healthy and work out regularly. That might just have to be enough for now.

Read 75 books.



No books in October. Reading is not my friend this year. I’m currently reading a book for book club for November… I chose it, so I really do have to read it.

Make two new recipes each month: Josh made this Vegan Lasagna Soup. It was SO delicious. I’m thinking about making a big batch to freeze so there’s always soup (and that it’s not store bought).

Stockpile food. (and Use my pantry.): I haven’t stockpiled anything lately. I did, however, stock up on more food because the grocery store by my house when out of business. I heard the property was bought, so I’m hoping it’s a Vons, my favorite West Coast grocery chain.

Complete five (big) home projects.


Holding fast at 20%.

Garden: It’s finally starting to cool down a bit, but not much. Josh wants to reseed the backyard and sod the front to make it look the best. Sigh. Our yard is a nightmare.

Crochet five projects: Still no crochet projects.

Do one thing each month that will simplify my life: I bought a clothesline that goes over the bathtub, like the ones in hotels for hanging your swimsuit. I thought it’s be easier to handwash items and hang them to dry.

Social commitments: Hanging fast at fewer than two a week!

Here’s a picture of Oscar Wilde’s sweet habitat in my house:

September: Goals progress

Oh, glorious September. I spent the beginning part of the month in Ohio with family and attending a friend’s wedding — and seeing a friend who came back from her Peace Corps stint in Africa married and pregnant. Although I didn’t make it to the Hancock County Fair, it was still mostly great times.

I also re-entered the working world in a different career path. My company laid me off and then promptly rehired me in another role. I’m not loving it, but it could get better. We’ll see.

Make clothes.
$350.92 / $500


I spent $62.50 in September. Two $10 dresses from Target, a pair of sweatpants, a pair of jeans and three skirts from Goodwill at home. Yup. The same Goodwill I visited ALL THE DAMN TIME in HS. These skirts are very “in” except for length. They’re probably from the 1960s and someone was cleaning out the closet of someone who died. Black, green, bright pink. I shortened the black one already and have worn it four times.

I busted a pair of the jeans I’d made skinny. I’m really angry.

Lose 10 13 pounds: I have no idea what I weigh, but it’s probably around the 145/146 range. I’m less jiggly, though, so I’ll take it. I worked out 25 of 30 days in September. I’m training for a 5k and I went from no running in August to running 2 miles most mornings in September. I ran 3.2 miles on a treadmill one day in Ohio, but running’s really hard on my body (mostly because I’m precariously aligned since the accident in February). The race is Oct. 21, and I’m just looking to finish and have fun. I want to build up more distance, so I’ll probably continue to run after the race is over.

Read 75 books.



Did I read any books in September? I don’t remember…. I’ll loop around on this one in October.

Make two new recipes each month: Nope.

Stockpile food. (and Use my pantry.): Nope

Complete five (big) home projects.


Holding fast at 20%.

Garden: It’s still hot in LA, so I don’t consider it fall yet.

Crochet five projects: Still no crochet projects.

Teach Josh to cook: Still suspended.

Do one thing each month that will simplify my life: Keep a plastic cup at work. It’s easy to fill, so it reminds me to drink more water in a way a waterbottle doesn’t.

Social commitments: I went over while in Ohio, but otherwise, good.

I caught Oscar Wilde, the domestic bunny that was loose in my neighborhood. It was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be. I set the trap, went to Walmart to see if I could buy a cage (nope) and the trap had sprung. He’s pretty sweet. Not at all bitey or aggressive or any of the things I feared. Just a pretty scared bunny that’s readjusting to the domestic life.

August: Goals progress

Yeah, I get that it’s almost mid-September. I’ve been in Ohio with the fam.

I’m re-ordering my goals because I don’t think of them in the order I’ve had them in before.

Make clothes.
$288.42 / $500


I spent $19.96 in August on two clearance items from Target. I couldn’t resist. One’s a hooded open cardigan made of tshirt material and the other’s a long black tunic.

However, I also tailored two pairs of jeans, made two button-down shirts into tanks and dyed a shirt (and one of the pairs of jeans). I’ve also worn one of the pair of jeans I made skinny SO MUCH. They’re my favorite. I also bought fabric for a couple of skirts, a dress and a slip.

Lose 10 13 pounds: In May, I weighed 148 (actually a bit more, and I rounded the fraction of a pound down. Cause I can). I ended May at 145.6. Goal weight is 135. As of the end of June, I was at 142.6. I went to Puerto Rico, and came back 144.6. I ended July at 143.8. In August, I started training for a 5K that I’m running in October. I’m currently at 145.8, but my body fat percentage is lower than it was. I don’t know exactly what I weighed at the end of August, so we’ll just have to move forward from here.

*edit: I forgot to add that I really shouldn’t be caring all that much. I brought back an old cheerleading uniform from Ohio to wear for Halloween. The last time I wore it, I was 15. I’m 30. It still fits.*

Read 75 books.



August was a good month of reading.

Make two new recipes each month: I made zucchini tots at my parent’s house using this recipe. I also made cheesy zucchini (instead of cheesy potatoes), subbing in cream of celery soup for cream of chicken soup. I mean, it’s not “new,” but it’s delicious. I actually like it better than cheesy potatoes. Just make sure you thoroughly squeeze the zucchini.

Stockpile food. (and Use my pantry.): I made a new batch of vegan burgers (with zucchini instead of carrots — it’s in season!), made pasta shells with ricotta cheese and another batch of bean and cheese burritos. All of these are in my freezer and ready for lunches.

Complete five (big) home projects.


Holding fast at 20%. Mhm.

Garden: It’s still hot in LA, so I don’t consider it fall yet.

Crochet five projects: Still no crochet projects. Meh.

Teach Josh to cook: Still suspended.

Do one thing each month that will simplify my life: I added a dish soap dispenser to the kitchen. I also bought a dress form to make sewing/fitting a bit easier.

Social commitments: Staying good with this goal for August! I went over while in Ohio, but that’s September’s updates and I’m going to give myself a pass anyway since it’s with people who live 2,000 miles away.

I also still haven’t caught Oscar Wilde, the domestic bunny that’s loose in my neighborhood, but we’ve got a great thing going and I’ll probably get him soon.

Nail polish earrings

Chris thinks my nail polish obsession is out of control. He might be right. I made these last weekend:

They’re earring fronts, made of glass cabochons painted with nail polish. This pic is cut off, but shows the colors more clearly:

I tried a lot of colors, and each one is my favorite:

Sephora by OPI Already Famous

Julep Daisy


Sephora by OPI matte top coat and Kleancolor Catch Me

NYX Super Funk and NYC Nail Glossies #239

Kleancolor Aurora and Precision McDreamy

Julep Oscar and Sinful Colors Snow Me White

Kleancolor Crack Black Crackle and Wet ‘n’ Wild On a Trip

Kleancolor Chunky Holo Black and Wet ‘n’ Wild On a Trip

Sephora Curacao

NYX Frizz Spots and Wet ‘n’ Wild Black

Zoya Caitlin

L.A. Colors Nuclear Energy

Revlon Blue Mosaic and Kleancolor Catch Me

Wet ‘n’ Wild Black

Revlon Facets of Fuchsia

How I made them: I used Rebecca Likes Nails’ tutorial via this post on Reddit. Rebecca gives lots of warnings and tips to avoid getting bubbles in the paint, but I like the effect.


  • Before you start, wipe your cabochons with acetone or nail polish remover to clean them.
  • I used tweezers to hold the cabochons while I painted them (thanks for the tip, Steph!). If you have hemostats, those might work better because they can be locked in place. I had to force the tweezers open a little with my finger, and that gets uncomfortable after a while.
  • Keep acetone and Q-Tips handy to clean off the tips of the tweezers when you switch to a new pair. You don’t want to get black paint on your white earrings, for example. I kept my acetone-dipped Q-Tips on a sheet of foil so that they wouldn’t leak through to the tabletop.
  • Another great tip from Steph that probably saved me a headache: Paint the layers in reverse order from when you do your nails.
    • For example, if you’re using glitter, paint that layer first, so that it’s topmost when you turn your cabochon right-side up. And if you’re using crackle polish, start with a layer of clear polish — that will activate your crackle. Then apply the crackle, followed by the base color.


Total cost: $10.38 for 25 pairs of earrings.

Next time: If I make these again, I’d try to find smaller cabochons because I feel like these are just a little too big. (It’s an “if” only because I’ve already made lots — who needs 50 pairs?). I would also look into a clear glue specifically for bonding glass to metal, like rearview mirror adhesive or Loctite Glass Glue. The superglue I used is probably good enough, but I think the pieces might separate if I drop them hard enough.

Here they are in action, with new and improved red hair: