Sarah's Real Life
03. 04. 2015

camel coat, red plaid scarf, leopard gloves, studded boots

camel coat, red plaid scarf, leopard gloves, studded boots

camel coat, red plaid scarf, leopard gloves, studded boots

camel coat, red plaid scarf, leopard gloves, studded boots

camel coat, red plaid scarf, leopard gloves, studded boots

camel coat, red plaid scarf, leopard gloves, studded boots

It’s March. Spring starts in March. I know it’s not spring yet, but just seeing March on the calendar makes me feel like it should be spring. YES, I see the snow. Shut up.

Even though I keep reminding myself it’s still winter in every possible way, there are certain things that no longer feel appropriate to wear. Like my red plaid scarf. I think it’s just so Christmassy. Red plaid scarves are for WINTER winter, not spring winter. Which is why I took my red plaid scarf for one last ride on February 28. It promptly snowed another 6 inches.

That’s how it goes. But hey, if you’re looking to spring-ify your wardrobe a little bit, you can hit up the current Shopbop sale*. Through March 8, you can get up to 25% off your purchase (including full-price and sale items) with the code BIGEVENT15. Try something pastel or maybe one of the cute (and affordable) skirts by J.O.A. You can wear them with your tights and boots for now. But no red plaid, of course. ;)

*Please note that Shopbop is a current sponsor of this blog.

03. 02. 2015

dark chambray for work, leather sleeve jacket, bauble bar X ring, rocksbox necklace, bucket bag

dark chambray for work, leather sleeve jacket, bauble bar X ring, rocksbox necklace, bucket bag

dark chambray for work, leather sleeve jacket, bauble bar X ring, rocksbox necklace, bucket bag

dark chambray for work, leather sleeve jacket, bauble bar X ring, rocksbox necklace, bucket bag

dark chambray for work, leather sleeve jacket, bauble bar X ring, rocksbox necklace, bucket bag

I know I needed another chambray shirt like I needed a hole in the head, but hear me out: this one from Loft is darker than the 3 I already have and it’s so soft that it really doesn’t look like denim at all. It just looks like a casual button-up shirt and therefore is totally appropriate for work, especially with a blazer. Because blazers solve all life’s problems. That movie “The Theory of Everything”? It was about blazers. And “The Imitation Game” was about this chambray pretending to be a real shirt. (Or is it a shirt pretending to be chambray? That’s a topic for the sequel.) So basically this outfit would have won an Oscar if it weren’t for effing Birdman.

Shirt // similar Blazer* // Pants // similar Boots (on sale) // Bag // Ring // Necklace via Rocksbox* (get 1 month free w/ the code sarahsreallifexoxo) // Lips “Romantic”

*Blazer purchased with gift card provided courtesy of H&M; necklace borrowed courtesy of Rocksbox.

02. 28. 2015

This post was sponsored by Meijer Beauty.

I am a pro at cleaning out my closet (as you know). I buy new clothes constantly (as you also know), so I make sure to get rid of old stuff I don’t wear anymore to make room for my lovely new things. But I really don’t buy that much makeup, so I don’t think about keeping it in check.

Last month, Meijer’s beauty department contacted me about participating in their Spring Clean Refresh campaign. Getting that offer was basically like when your parents offered to pay you allowance to do the chores you should have been doing anyway. But sometimes you need that extra push. So here we go.

This is my makeup bag:

cleaning out your makeup bag, cleaning makeup brushes, decluttering your bathroom counter

Not bad right? Oh wait, but I forgot my lipstick collection…

cleaning out your makeup bag, cleaning makeup brushes, decluttering your bathroom counter

So that’s everything. Well, I guess technically the cup with my makeup brushes and eyeliners counts too…

cleaning out your makeup bag, cleaning makeup brushes, decluttering your bathroom counter

Crap, I forgot about the wide assortment of moisturizers and wrinkle creams I’ve somehow collected even though I’m obviously not a day over 22…

cleaning out your makeup bag, cleaning makeup brushes, decluttering your bathroom counter

OK FINE, I HAVE A SECOND, LARGER MAKEUP BAG WITH “EXTRA” STUFF THAT MAYBE I’LL NEED ONE DAY AND I KEEP IT UNDER THE SINK.

THIS IS EVERYTHING, I SWEAR!

cleaning out your makeup bag, cleaning makeup brushes, decluttering your bathroom counter

OK, so this spring cleaning thing was even more necessary than I originally thought. There is no reason for one person (who is not a makeup artist or drag queen) to have this many beauty products. How the hell did I acquire all this?

Well, a lot of it is samples and stuff that comes in those free gifts with purchase. I always stash those things in the “extra” bag and I usually forget about them. I also have this weird habit where when I get new makeup to replace something I don’t like very much, I stash the reject makeup in the under-the-sink bag just in case I run out of the better option and need the backup. I don’t think I have ever actually retrieved the backup. There is no method to this madness.

Another bad habit? I could not tell you the last time I cleaned my makeup brushes. I did already have brush cleaner (to be used “once a week” – HA), so I put it to use. Here’s the before photo:

cleaning out your makeup bag, cleaning makeup brushes, decluttering your bathroom counter

Aaaaaaaaand there is no “after” photo because if you saw everything that came off these brushes, you might not want to be friends with me and my disgusting face anymore. The important thing is they’re clean now.

Now. Remember that scary photo overflowing with products? I went through evvvvverything. And I threw out anything that was old and crusty, not my color, bad quality, a duplicate of something else, or otherwise pointless to keep around taking up space. You wanna know how much stuff that was?

All of this:

cleaning out your makeup bag, cleaning makeup brushes, decluttering your bathroom counter

It felt quite freeing to clear out all these products. You should definitely try it. Since I was on a roll, I took it an extra step and used an all-purpose cleaner and paper towel to clean off everything I keep in my everyday makeup bag, PLUS the makeup bag itself! You know how the packaging tends to get all dusty and grimy? Mine is now pristine. Impressive, I know. But it will probably be 5 years before I do all this again so I had to make it count.

I know I’m not a beauty blogger, but for those who are curious, here are my everyday favorites in all their newly polished glory:

cleaning out your makeup bag, cleaning makeup brushes, decluttering your bathroom counter

(Clinique CC Cream makes me look airbrushed and is easy to slather on quickly // Clinique Redness Solutions makeup I actually use as under-eye and blemish concealer // BareMinerals Original Makeup makes me less shiny, which is my constant struggle // Nars blush in “Orgasm” is a cult classic for a good reason // Revlon ColorBurst Balm Stain in “Romantic” is apparently my favorite lipstick because I used my first one up and just bought a new one – It’s a subtle red, it goes on smooth, and it doesn’t rub off too easily // I use an assortment of eyeshadows, but several of my favorites are Sephora brand eyeshadow – The quality is decent, and they’re cheap enough that you can play around with different colors // Smashbox Limitless liquid eyeliner - I have bought this one again and again because I love it so much // MAC Opulash Mascara doesn’t try to claim any fancy tricks…It’s just good mascara that does flake off everywhere.

Thanks so much to Meijer for sponsoring this post and forcing me to clean up my admittedly disgusting act. Once you’ve cleaned out your old crap, you can freshen up your bathroom sink with some of the new things now available at Meijer. Now go forth and conquer that overflowing makeup bag!

02. 27. 2015

windowpane print skirt, black turtleneck, hot pink target bag, over the knee boots, rocksbox review, rocksbox coupon code

windowpane print skirt, black turtleneck, hot pink target bag, over the knee boots, rocksbox review, rocksbox coupon code

windowpane print skirt, black turtleneck, hot pink target bag, over the knee boots, rocksbox review, rocksbox coupon code

windowpane print skirt, black turtleneck, hot pink target bag, over the knee boots, rocksbox review, rocksbox coupon code

windowpane print skirt, black turtleneck, hot pink target bag, over the knee boots, rocksbox review, rocksbox coupon code

Congratulations on making it to Friday once again, folks! I knew you could do it.

To celebrate, I have a present for you. It’s a promo code that will get you a free month’s subscription to Rocksbox! In case you’re living under a rock (the same rock I was under until a couple weeks ago), Rocksbox is a subscription service that lets you borrow unlimited designer jewelry (in sets of 3). Wear it and send it back for more, or if you really like something, you can keep it and pay 20% off retail. It’s only $19 a month, or FREE (for your first month, anyway) if you use my promo code! You didn’t forget about the code, did you? Get your Ctrl+C fingers ready and copy this: sarahsreallifexoxo. If I were you, I’d make signing up for Rocksbox my #1 goal for this weekend. Because nothing screams “FUN” like creating yet another username and password.

Earrings via Rocksbox* (or buy here) // Bracelet via Rocksbox* (or buy similar here) // Skirt // similar Sweater (on sale) // Boots (or splurge on some fancy ones) // Bag (under $40!) // Lips “Vivacious”

*Bracelet and earrings borrowed courtesy of Rocksbox. Also, please note there are 2 links to Shopbop, which is a current sponsor of this blog.

02. 26. 2015

floral midi skirt, peter pan collar sweater, ankle strap low heels, bangs, jeweled clutch, audrey hepburn style

floral midi skirt, peter pan collar sweater, ankle strap low heels, bangs, jeweled clutch, audrey hepburn style

floral midi skirt, peter pan collar sweater, ankle strap low heels, bangs, jeweled clutch, audrey hepburn style

floral midi skirt, peter pan collar sweater, ankle strap low heels, bangs, jeweled clutch, audrey hepburn style

floral midi skirt, peter pan collar sweater, ankle strap low heels, bangs, jeweled clutch, audrey hepburn style

floral midi skirt, peter pan collar sweater, ankle strap low heels, bangs, jeweled clutch, audrey hepburn style

Last Saturday was my favorite day of the year between Christmas and whenever it gets warm again: adults-only night at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (a.k.a. “Adult Swim”). You can check out what I wore in 2014 and 2013 too if you want. On a night when grownups are encouraged to get in touch with their inner child (while drinking lots of adult beverages), I figured it was the perfect night to play dress-up. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to find out that dress-up was one of my favorite activities as a child. Unexpected, I know.

Conveniently, the online retailer Boohoo had recently asked me to get in on their #TBT campaign by putting together an outfit inspired by one of my favorite fashion icons. Can you tell who I picked?

If you just squealed “Audrey Hepburn!” out loud at your computer, then you are correct and possibly a little crazy. I know picking Audrey for style inspiration is kind of cliché, but Audrey herself will never be cliché, so I stand by my choice. I ordered this adorable voluminous midi skirt, along with a white blouse, but I ended up needing something warmer so I wore this Peter Pan collar sweater that was already in my closet. Still very Audrey I think. Then all I needed was a chic updo and low heels and I was ready to make a funny face and have breakfast at Tiffany’s while on a Roman holiday.

Skirt* (part of a top/skirt set) // similar Sweater (on sale) // similar Shoes // similar Bag // Bracelet* // similar Earrings // Lips “Please Me”

*Skirt provided courtesy of Boohoo USA; bracelet purchased with gift card provided courtesy of Shopbop.

02. 25. 2015
February Budget Breakdown

Look at all this good stuff I got this month! Even if you’ve been reading my blog every day of February (and of course you have, because you’re smart), you probably won’t recognize half of this. That’s because it’s been so effing cold this month that I either haven’t been able to wear my new stuff or just haven’t been able to take outfit photos. But stay tuned and you’ll see it all in action soon!

February will go down in history as the month of returns and price adjustments. Let me share a couple stories for those of you who want some real-life tips on getting the best deals:

The whole top row above is stuff I bought from Loft. I started off ordering 4 items during a flash sale. I knew I wanted the polka dot shirt, but I ordered a few extra things to try because you got free shipping with a certain minimum order. I loved the shirt and the red skirt, but I didn’t love the other 2 pieces. After I made my first order, I received a coupon for $25 off a $75 in-store purchase. I decided to return the 2 duds to a store and then look around for something to use my coupon on. I found the other 3 pieces you see in the top row up there, and there was an in-store promotion going on that I thought would give me an extra awesome bargain. But when I got up to the register, it turned out everything was full price. I was in a hurry to get somewhere and I couldn’t decide what to do, so I just went ahead and paid for it even though it made me feel guilty immediately. I really liked what I got, so I decided to just let it chill out in the bag for a while, and I waited for the next online flash sale. Then just last week, I was able to snag the pieces I wanted for a lot cheaper. Once I had ordered them, I returned the duplicates to the store. Boom!

The same day I made that last return, I stopped by Macy’s and found a really cute pleated floral midi skirt. I knew there was supposed to be a big sale coming up, and I asked the sales associate if this skirt was going to be part of the sale. She said no, so I went ahead and bought it. ALL LIES. The next day I was back at Macy’s to help Kristin do some shopping, and I noticed that the skirt was 20% off! Since I had used my Macy’s card, they were able to look up my purchase and refund me the price difference. Moral of the story: some sales people have no idea what the hell they’re talking about, but others are very helpful. It never hurts to ask.

OK, story time is over. Here’s everything else you might want to know about this month’s shopping haul:

My Budget

          = $818

What I Spent (pictured above, starting top left)

          =$523 (total retail: $861)

Almost $300 under my budget! I think I’m going to be good next month and not carry over all of my unspent money. #willpower

What I Received

I’ll be linking up with the Budgeting Bloggers on Franish, so be sure to check them out! And maybe join us next month :)

02. 24. 2015

j crew sweatshirt, blue beanie, navy blazer, wide leg jeans, casual friday outfit

j crew sweatshirt, blue beanie, navy blazer, wide leg jeans, casual friday outfit

j crew sweatshirt, blue beanie, navy blazer, wide leg jeans, casual friday outfit

j crew sweatshirt, blue beanie, navy blazer, wide leg jeans, casual friday outfit

j crew sweatshirt, blue beanie, navy blazer, wide leg jeans, casual friday outfit

I’ve been trying to focus this month’s shopping on office-appropriate basics, and I’ve mostly done an awesome job. And when you do an awesome job at something, you want to celebrate. What’s a good way to celebrate? Having a drink with friends. What do you say when you toast your drinking friends? “Cheers!” And that’s what it says on this adorable sweatshirt that I bought this month even though it’s not an office-appropriate basic. BUT! (she says triumphantly) my office declared a casual Friday last week so I hid my sweatshirt under a blazer with my nicest jeans and voila! A trendy sweatshirt becomes something I totally bought on purpose to wear to work. Good job, me. I should celebrate. See what I did there?

Sweatshirt (on sale) // similar Jacket // similar Necklace (on sale) // similar Jeans* // Bag // similar Beanie // similar Sunglasses

*Please note: Shopbop is a current sponsor of this blog.

02. 23. 2015

jeffrey campbell tassel loafers, yellow cashmere sweater, target plaid scarf

jeffrey campbell tassel loafers, yellow cashmere sweater, target plaid scarf

jeffrey campbell tassel loafers, yellow cashmere sweater, target plaid scarf

jeffrey campbell tassel loafers, yellow cashmere sweater, target plaid scarf

jeffrey campbell tassel loafers, yellow cashmere sweater, target plaid scarf

jeffrey campbell tassel loafers, yellow cashmere sweater, target plaid scarf

There was something about these loafers that I just loved, even though they’re kind of ridiculous and nerdy. But hey, so am I, so I guess it works. Plus, they were on clearance and I bought them with a gift card*; thus, no regrets. (Anyone who uses a semicolon and the word “thus” in the same sentence is nerdy enough to rock these loafers.)

Unfortunately, these exact shoes seem to be sold out everywhere online now, but fear not, because I found a ton of other tasseled loafer options with varying levels of nerdiness – just check on the widget below!

similar Sweater // Scarf // similar Pants // Bag // Ring // Bracelet // Lips “Romantic”

*Shoes purchased with gift card provided courtesy of Shopbop.

02. 22. 2015

buffalo plaid coat, red flippy skirt, over the knee suede boots

buffalo plaid coat, red flippy skirt, over the knee suede boots

buffalo plaid coat, red flippy skirt, over the knee suede boots

buffalo plaid coat, red flippy skirt, over the knee suede boots

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know I chopped a few inches off my hair last week. If you don’t follow me on Instragram, SURPRISE! I chopped a few inches off my hair last week. I also switched up my bangs, but I’ll save that reveal for tomorrow. I have to give you some reason to come back, and something as exciting as my bangs will surely have you chomping at the bit.

(Tangent: I’ve always wondered whether “champing” or “chomping” is the correct word in this saying, and I found this article that explains why both are correct. Interesting trivia if you’re a word/grammar nerd like me I!)

(Second tangent: Today is the last day to enter to win a $25 gift card to Mint Julep Boutique! So stop procrastinating.)

Coat (on sale) // Skirt // Shirt (only $12!)// similar Necklace (on sale) // Bag // Boots (on sale) // Lips “Romantic”

02. 20. 2015

There are quite a few outfits I’ve worn this month that I didn’t get to photograph. I have this funny quirk where I don’t like to die of frostbite. I noticed an interesting pattern though – the outfits I wore on the most brutally cold days all followed the same equation: dress + jacket + boots. It might seem strange to choose a dress over pants in sub-zero temps, but it’s all about my winter lynchpin: fleece tights. They’re basically the best thing ever, and they’re warmer than any pants I have. When I wear a dress and boots, I can wear fleece tights plus an extra layer of socks. Then I hide a long sleeve tee under my dress, and it all gets covered by the jacket. So basically I’m a mathematical genius and my dress + jacket + boots is going to change the world and they’ll make an Oscar-winning movie about my life (I will be played by January Jones because it’s a rule that you get to be hotter in your biopic).

Here are recreations of those 3 outfits taken safely from the warmth of my closet floor (magical tights and various accessories not pictured)…

winter outfit ideas, dress blazer boots, midwest style blog

similar Dress // similar Jacket* // similar Scarf // similar Boots // Bag

winter outfit ideas, dress blazer boots, midwest style blog

similar Dress // similar Jacket // similar Boots // Bag

winter outfit ideas, dress blazer boots, midwest style blog

similar Dress* // similar Jacket // similar Boots // Bag

See these pieces in action in (much) warmer weather. It’s the Real Life Remix:

equationcollage

*Jacket 1 and dress 3 purchased with gift card provided courtesy of H&M.