28 March 2018

Palm Leaves and Pink

Old Navy Sueded-Knit Moto Jacket for Women Anthropologie tie-waist top (similar here)AG The Legging Ankle Restricted Shoes Pia Slides Madewell tote, old (similar here)Karen Walker The Number One Sunglasses | Photography by: Hannah Jean

Okay, so I cannot get enough of this jacket and I am so sorry about that. You will be seeing it in so many more blog posts to come because not only is it under $50, it adds the perfect pop of spring color to any look and adds an extra layer of warmth. If you want to see a review on this jacket, check out this blog post I did last summer here. So yes, it is officially spring but still chilly, so I am wearing lots of layers but am bring in fun items like these shoes (last worn here), the jacket mentioned above or a bag like this. I am still warm but look like it could be 60 degrees out (it's not, really it's 40 on a good day). With this all being said, this is the perfect time to bring some of those clothing items you wore in winter into your spring look. 

Has anyone been shopping Ulta's 21 days of beauty? They have been selling some of my favorite beauty brands at half off so I knew now was the time to stock up. With the sale being halfway done, is there any products you recommend my giving a try? Let me know in the comments below!

26 March 2018

Pastel Pinks

H&M Jacket with Gathered Sleeves H&M Trumpet-sleeve Blouse | Baublebar necklace (similar here)Kate Spade mini Maise bag (similar here)AG The Legging Ankle Old Navy Striped Block-Heel Sandals for Women Karen Walker The Number One Sunglasses | Photography by: Hannah Jean

Sometimes it is good to take a break. A couple of weeks ago I went to Flordia for a week-long vacation and it couldn't have come at a better time. I was able to relax and spend some quality time with my bestie Kirsten and do some exploring. I honestly love traveling but I am the worst at documenting it. I really wish I was able to take cute pictures in the perfect Instagram worth location in an outfit that matched to a T. But that isn't me. When I go on vacation I am bearly on my phone, the only time is usually to use the GPS or to Google good places to eat at and I love that. I have mentioned this back in this post, but if I didn't have my blog I wouldn't have any social media except Snapchat because I need to send those cute pictures of my dog to someone. With all this being said, I have been a little MIA. It always happens, I go on vacation and it takes me like two weeks to get back into the groove of things. I am just happy that the weather is changing so I feel motivated to go out and do something active. 

So yes, with the weather changing I can finally break out some cute spring clothes. If you read my post about affordable fashion, you'd know I have started to shop at some places I haven't shopped at a ton in the past. With H&M that was a store, I hadn't shopped at since early high school because I felt like it didn't fit my style. I went in there to find some good deals and now every time I head to the mall I stop in. Not only is their clothing affordable, it is unique and stylish. On my most recent trip I picked up this blazer that I was iffy about since the color is so bright, but the fit is amazing and I also found this top with the cute ruffle sleeves! The combo of the two are great paired together but they can be styled different ways which I love. In that affordable fashion post, I really want to start wearing my clothes in different ways to create multiple looks so I don't have to spend so much on clothing. Right now I am putting a lot towards savings (more about that in this post) so I haven't bought anything new since vacation except this pair of shoes that will get here tomorrow. Fingers crossed they fit because with this cold spring weather I don't know what shoes to wear. 

So that was a little update for you all. I will be having content on the blog Monday, Wednesday and Friday so be sure to check back to see new outfits. Please let me know in the comments below or via email if there are any blog post ideas you would like me to share. 

14 March 2018

Spending Less: 4 Tips for Saving

This is a different post then the usual, but this is a topic that I have been reading and looking into a lot. Recently I have opened up a savings account to start saving for something big. After about two months of having this savings account I can honestly say I wish I had started one years ago. It has helped me save so much and I feel encouraged to add more money so I can reach my goals! Below is 4 tips for saving money, if you have any tips I have left off, write them in the comments below! 

Set A Goal
Having a goal when it comes to saving has been so helpful for me. When I decided I wanted to start saving I set a number that I wanted to reach and as soon as I hit that number I would open up a savings account and then proceed to set another number I wanted to reach and put more in that savings account. I recommend setting a number you know you can reach, so if $100 is a good place to start and then the next time try to save $200. 

The reason I wanted to start saving money is so I can have it to do the things I want to do in the future, like buy a new car, move into a house, travel or buy a new laptop. When I first set out to start saving money in the Summer I had a goal of buying a new car. I need X amount of money by X amount of time so I just set my eye on the prize and started to save. Saving is really hard especially for a long-term goal, so if you keep reminding yourself about that goal that can help. For example, is that $3 Starbucks trip worth you not having a new car in the future? That's what I always think about before I spend money. 

Know Your Expenses
Before you start saving it is a good idea to write out all your expenses. The way I first started to do this is with an app called Fudget. It is free and is really easy to use. There are two ways you can use this app to benefit yourself (second way is listed below), the first way to just start tracking everything. So if you go to Trader Joes and spend $45, go to that month, click the "add expense" button and write "Trader Joes"  (I like to write the date next to it) and how much you spent. It will total up at the bottom of the page how much you spent. By the end of the week, you can see how much you spent and where. This would be the time to evaluate what you need to cut out. For example, you might notice that your daily Starbucks trips add up to $60 a month or more if you like their Frappuccinos a month to your monthly expense. Now that you see how much you're spending at each place on each thing you can start to eliminate those things. So maybe only get Starbucks every other day or once a week as a special treat to save that extra cash to be put toward your savings account. 

Budgeting can really help you figure out your need verse wants. The second and probably most helpful way to use the app I talked about above; Fudget to actually use it as a budgeting system. This time you are going to figure out how much you can and are willing to spend a month. To do this click on "add income" at the bottom of the page and write how much you make a month, for example, if you make $1,000 a month add that to the income section and now you can add your expenses. Write the ones you know you will have to spend at the beginning of the month like rent, car payments, utilities, things that are the same amount each month, this would be the time to figure out how much a week/month you want to put into your savings and take that out. From there you can see how much you have left to spend each month. So by the end of that, you may have $200 to spend on groceries, clothing and whatever else. Just because you have the money doesn't mean you need to spend it, read below. 

Live Below Your Means
Just because you have the money doesn't mean you need to spend it. This is something I struggled with and I am sure a lot of other people do as well. Living below your means is never spending more then you make, but in this case, I am meaning spending below what you make. Because I have $100 I feel the need to go out and spend it because I have it. This was something that took me a long time to realize, but the fact that I could save that $100 instead of spending it on a new pair of shoes I don't need or eating out every night. If you are a shopper like me, I avoid going to the store, looking at online clothing stores and checking Instagram because doing those things triggers me to want to spend. Instagram for me is one of those places I find things I want to spend my money on and because I am in the moment and "have" (when I mean have, I have the money but really should be putting it towards saving, etc) the money, I go through with buying it. The other tip I have for this if you are an online shopper is to remove your card information for your favorite stores so it isn't that easy to buy things and you have time to think about if it is worth buying. For example, I shop at Nordstrom all the time and my information is saved on their site. It is so easy for me to hit checkout without even thinking about this. It is the simple things that can help you stop spending money and start saving it. 

07 March 2018

Affordable Fashion

Everybody's version of affordable fashion is different. Some people think affordable means around $20 for a shirt others would say $100 is affordable to them. The hot item right now on Instagram for Spring are these espadrilles. When I say they are a hot item, I mean, I have literally seen them everywhere on Instagram with people saying "hurry, they will sell out fast" in the middle of January (where I live it is around 10 degrees with snow on the ground). Most of those people trying to "sell" this shoes say they are a great deal, affordable, a little higher priced but worth it. To me, $255 is expensive for an espadrille that is 4.5inch tall that will probably only be worn a handful of times. Sure I think they are cute and sure I would love to own them but it isn't going to happen. The other thing that annoys me is, these people promoting these products, is they always say how much they will wear an item, but you never see they wear it after the first time, but that's a whole other blog post. I think a lot of people wouldn't spend that much either on a pair of trendy shoes.

Back in the day, I used to be a bargain hunter. I would never pay full price or even over $30 for anything. I remember back in 10th grade there was a pair of Steve Madden riding boots that I really wanted. That is when the riding boot trend (definitely a staple piece now) was a thing. I think they were around $100 but I can't really remember, all I know is that I really wanted them. I saved for weeks to buy those shoes. They were cognac leather, simple and stylish so I knew they would go with everything and a piece I would have for a long time. After buying those shoes I think I wore them just about every day in Fall and Winter for 4 years. They held up and that was the only pair of riding boots or tall boots I owned at that time. Fast forward to now, I still own those boots because I feel like we have been through so much together (insert crying laughing emoji here) I just never wear them. Instead, I own a countless amount of other shoes I wear during Fall and Winter. I guess what I am trying to say is spending $100 at the time was an investment for me and I definitely got my return. Lately, if I see a top for $75 that I like, I will spend my money on it. Now you're probably thinking, whats wrong with that? But the problem is that I have 20+ tops over $75 that I like but wear maybe once. I end up spending too much money on things that are just okay.

Personally, I am trying to spend less on clothes. When I scroll through Instagram and see a fashion bloggers carrying the cutest purse I am most likely going to find out where it is from because I need one too. I later find out that it would cost me $1,000+ to get my hands on one. To me, that disappointing because there is no way I am going to get one, but also I really wanted that exact item they were wearing. I feel like if I start showing how to style and wear more affordable fashion, that is not only going to help me save money but show that you don't have to spend a fortune on clothes to feel great about yourself. Now, I am all for investment pieces so not everything will be affordable for everyone, but I can tell you now, nothing will be over $200.

In the coming months, I really want to find the best items at the best prices. I want to shop at retailers like Old Navy, Target, Loft, and H&M for more affordable items. I want to help you and myself find those cute or trendy pieces you don't have to feel bad about buying that you can wear more than once. If you want those cute espadrilles I found a pair that won't break the bank. Check them out here. Also, check out this recent save vs splurge post!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Are you frugal when it comes to spending money on clothing or is your budget unlimited? Also, where are some affordable place you love to shop, let me know in the comments below or shoot me an email at TheBlackBarcode@gmail.com

05 March 2018

Coral and Stripes

Loft Striped Bell Cuff Top Baublebar tassel necklace (similar here)Hudson Barbara High Rise Ankle Rebecca Minkoff  espadrilles, old (similar here here) Karen Walker The Number One Sunglasses | Photography by: Hannah Jean

You'll never know how hard it was to get my hands on this top! A couple weeks back I wanted to buy the striped top I am wearing above and this one. So they were having a deal like spend $100 get $50 off. I added the two shirts and it came to $50ish but then there was a shipping charge of $9 if you don't spend more then $75. There wasn't anything else I wanted to buy so  I email customer service to see if there was a way to get free shipping since my local store didn't have the tops I wanted. To my surprise, they emailed me a gift card for the exact price of shipping so technical it would be free! So I place my order but less then 5 hours later the order is canceled. I go to the site to see if maybe the items are sold out, but they aren't. When I call customer service they say there was an error with their online website so the order was canceled. I asked them to replace it since the items were still in stock online, well it turns out that the other shirt I was order was sold out. So I have to beg for them to ship me the striped top above for the same $25 I was going to pay before the other shirt became sold out.  Long story long, I finally got my shirt (their shipping takes forever!) and love it! It is the perfect stripe navy top and is a comfortable and stretchy material. I ordered a small!

Over the weekend I was able to do someplace minute shopping before my trip on Wednesday! I spent way too much and bought too much so I have to narrow down what is going to work for this trip and return the rest. I bought some really cute shoes though that I cannot wait to share with you all! It's funny because I tell myself that that was the last time I am going shopping to buy things for this trip, but I guarantee tomorrow I will be at Target or somewhere looking for a last minute dress or accessory. Anyone else like that?

03 March 2018

Why I Won't Be On Vero

Yesterday well watching Instagram Stories I noticed a ton of people sharing a screenshot of their profile page saying to follow them on Vero and to swipe up. I was like "what is this Vero thing?". After looking into a bit more Vero is the newest and hottest social media app. Vero is promoting "True Social" a more authentic experience. The reason people were signing up so fast is that Vero offered their app free for life to the first million people to download the app and sign up. It is free to sign up, but there is a possibility they will charge a fee in the future like most social media apps will probably be doing eventually. Vero said that people will be charged a "small annual fee" for signing up. Having a fee be involved means the app will be free of advertisements and will focus on delivering the best social experience to the user since they are Vero's customer. They will have posts in chronological order which is what Instagram used to do. That means that people will see everything posted in the exact same order they were posted in. The other thing is you can post photos and only let certain people see it, so you could make a group for only your family to see and then share a photo that everyone who is following you can see. The categories for these are close friends, friend, acquaintance, and followers. The last feature that makes this app a little different is they will have categories like movies, tv, music, books, places, and photos to connect and share too.

The reason I won't be on Vero is that I am not going to be apart of another social media that is the same as Instagram. For my blog, Instagram is so important for promoting my content and connecting with readers. It takes a lot of time and patience. When Instagram changed and they started posting things out of order, it was very frustrating and still is. No one is seeing my posts and engaging like they used to. This is a whole other topic to talk about, but you get the idea. So yes, I am frustrated with Instagram but I need it for my blog. To be honest, if I didn't have a blog, I wouldn't be on social media at all. The other thing is without Net Neutrality rules internet providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon can control what you see and will probably make you pay an extra fee to use apps. If this becomes the case and there is no free control over the apps I love and use or if I have to pay a fee, that is the end of social media for me.

So who really knows, maybe this is the end of Instagram and everyone will use Vero from now on. But only time will tell. After spending so much time and energy on Instagram over the last 5 years, I cannot imagine doing the same on another website to try and build a following from the bottom up again. I know Instagram wasn't going to last forever and there would be other social media apps in the future, but the only way I am jumping on board with a new app is if it is completely different and new. Vero is basically Instagram. What would be really smart of Instagram to do right now is give the people what they want, aka, posting content in chronological order in real time again.

What are your thoughts on Vero? Will you be downloading it or sticking with Instagram?

UPDATE: So after checking the Vero website, they said: "due to extraordinary demand, Vero extends "free for life" offer" They are offering the app free to everyone signing up. They have yet to confirm a start date and pricing of Vero subscription yet.


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