I’m not particularly proud of this, but I have to admit, the hardest part about my newly reorganized money priorities has been not shopping.

Fall is my favorite season, and, as I’ve said before, a lot of this has to do with how much I love fall clothes.

Now, I’m not cracking (I swear), but for whatever reason, I decided it would be helpful for me to just put down everything I wish I could buy. Sort of like when you can’t sleep until you write out a list of everything you need to do. (I’m not the only one who does that, right?)

So, anyway. Consider this my sartorial catharsis.

Here are the 6 things I would buy if I was fall shopping but that I won’t buy because I’m being responsible. (Sigh.)

6 Things for Fall

1. Wool coats. 
Specifically these two from J.Crew. I’m dying for a camel-colored funnel neck coat and a ladylike mint wool number. Dying.

2. Wool dresses with sleeves. Why am I so obsessed with wool? Maybe it’s leftover post-traumatic stress from last winter, but whatever the reason, I can’t get enough. And I LOVE dresses with sleeves. These three from Boden are in particularly striking shades.

3. Distressed jeans. But not just any distressed jeans. Subtly distressed. So they can still be dressed up for the office or a night out with a pretty silk blouse and heels.

4. Blazers. I have been coveting a white/cream blazer for, I don’t know, three years, but never pulled the trigger for some reason. And lately I’ve become mildly obsessed with blush tweed jackets. I mean, how polished would I look ALL THE TIME?

5. Wear-all-the-time fall shoes. I really want to find a fall equivalent of the brown wedge sandals I wore all summer long, and a pair of low-heeled ankle strap black shoes and a suede stacked heel seem like the perfect solutions to me.

6. A bulky gold statement necklace. Again, the wearability of this piece is what appeals to me — it’s perfect for dressing up literally everything from a white button-down to a cotton T-shirt to, let’s say, a simple wool dress with sleeves.

It might sound weird, but I actually do feel better getting this all out there in the open. At least it’s out of my brain, ya know?

Join me in my dreaming — what are you shopping for this fall?

“Justine and I grew up down the street from one another in Johnston (where the grass is always greener) and we were in choir and show choir together at school. After attending Drake University, she went on to wow Martha Stewart (among tons of others) with her writing, editing and all-around-awesome life skills. She lives in NYC and is someone you want to have on your side in any battle against a messy apartment, poor grammar, lacking money management skills, and unruly hair. Seriously, though. She has truly funny posts about everyday life events that you never knew you cared about until she wrote about them! She highlights little nuances in funny and endearing ways that can only be rivaled by Tina Fey. Maybe it’s just me, but I could not stop thinking about Justine when I read Bossypants. And her hair is famous. Take note! “

^^^Literally the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me, said by one of the nicest, funniest people I know. (And who I am sad will no longer be blogging her life. Thank goodness we’re real-life friends, right?)

Ladies and gents, I need a favor.

Don’t worry — I’m not hitting you up for money or anything that requires actual effort on your part. (I wouldn’t do that to you on a Monday.)

What I need are your opinions. I know — I’m actually asking for you to judge me! Or more specifically, my glasses.

Bogey recently chewed up my glasses rendering them very difficult to wear without risk of impaling myself. I’ve also been wanting to try out Warby Parker, a service that sends you frames to try on before you buy, pretty much since it launched a couple of years ago. If that’s not the stars aligning, I don’t know what is.

The point is, my five try-on frames arrived today, and I need your help choosing which ones to buy. Let’s get right to the options, SHALL WE?

 

Chamberlain in Whiskey Tortoise

Chamberlain in Whiskey Tortoise

These are the biggest of the bunch, though as one of my coworkers said, they don’t seem too heavy. Definitely a front runner.

Duval in Whiskey Tortoise

Duval in Whiskey Tortoise

To me, these seem the “heaviest” on my face.

Haskell in Woodgrain Tortoise

Haskell in Woodgrain Tortoise

The only round pair in the bunch, requested mainly to add a little variety. I don’t think I’m feeling it, but what do you guys think?

Holt in Striped Sassafras

Holt in Striped Sassafras

These just seem really big on my face. Are they really big on my face?

Finch in Violet Magnolia

Finch in Violet Magnolia

These cat-eye lenses are the ones I’m leaning toward the most. BUT AM I MAKING A HORRIBLE MISTAKE?

You see why I need you guys. Please comment and let me know what I should do with my life glasses I should buy!

Recently, my pal Ashli invited me to attend a gym she does PR for called FOCUS Integrated Fitness. I’m always up for a new gym adventure (gymventure?), so I readily accepted.

It also didn’t hurt that she told me this gym had also trained Beyonce. If wanting to look #flawless is a crime, lock me up now.

The gist of the gym is that they offer personal training, but also a small class setting that feels like a personal training session because you get so much one-on-one attention. Here’s what I thought of the class.

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The Gym
Space: The gym is fairly small with two personal training rooms and a larger area for the classes walled in by glass. There are three bathrooms, two with showers, and a water fountain for filling bottles. (Hand towels are provided; water bottles are not.) The gym equipment varies from kettle bells to treadmills to a TRX that you cycle through in a 6-station circuit. There are iPads at each station with videos demonstrating the move (in case you forgot it).
Cleanliness: Everything seemed very clean, and this might be the best smelling gym I’ve ever been in. (Weird, but true.) I didn’t shower, but I would have felt totally comfortable using these bathrooms.
Attitude: I was able to meet with someone from the marketing department, a co-owner, and two of the trainers, and they were all as nice as can be. The trainers provide constant feedback about the moves and your form, so you really do feel like you’re getting personalized attention. Most of the other people in my class were regulars, and our trainer (Kate) made a point of memorizing my name so she could call out to me the same as she did to the other people.

This is Kate. She is adorable.

This is Kate. She is adorable.

The Workout
Difficulty (Out of 10, 1 being “could do it in my sleep” and 10 being “omg I can’t walk”): 7. The class starts off with a group warm-up for about ten minutes including push-ups, crunches, and squats. Then the trainer and their assistant walk you through the six stations, demonstrating each move and the alternate move you do between sets. For example, at one station you might do elevated push-ups alternating with V sits. You then go through the stations, performing each set and it’s alternate movement twice. After the circuits, you do a 40/20, where you perform one move for 40 seconds, another for 20 seconds, and then alternate while the trainer calls out new moves each time. Finally, there’s a cool down with stretches. The class felt challenging, but not as intense as I usually go for.
Experience: The class itself was good (the other members were very welcoming and the trainers were accomodating, but I did feel like I was missing some of the energy I usually find in group classes. It might have helped if the music was louder or something.
Afterburn: Even though it didn’t feel like I was working super hard during the class, I was pretty sore the next day from all the squats and pushups. (You do a lot more than it feels like.) So what do I know?

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Final grade: A-. In general, I’m not a huge fan of stations in a workout — I feel like it breaks up my flow. But I love a gym that feels upscale without being alienating, and that’s exactly the vibe FOCUS brings. I also think that because there is such a heavy focus (PUN!) on personalizing the workout, the trainers would be more than willing to adjust each movement to make it harder if I had asked for that.

Have any of you tried FOCUS? Or do you have strong feelings about stations vs. circuits?

I turned 27 last week.

I don’t celebrate birthdays, so there was predictably little fanfare around this one (plus, I had an ear infection, so I was a bit more preoccupied with taking antibiotics and drinking fluids than anything else that day).

Don’t worry, I’m not going to throw a list of 27 things you have to do by 27 (I could never top this one anyway). I’m also not going to bore you with my list of goals. (BECAUSE I DO THAT ALL THE TIME ALREADY.) The only reason why I even bring it up is because, to be totally honest, I have been super jazzed about 27 for a while now.

Is it just me, or is 27 really the first time people start to treat you like you’re legitimate? For most of my life, the majority of my friends have been older than me. I’ve always been pretty driven in my career, so I often find myself working with people older than I am as well. And the moment that I always dread (because it always comes up) is when someone asks me how old I am.

If you’re 26 or under, answering that question is usually met with the equivalent of this:

SUPER FUN. Not.

But whether it’s 27′s proximity to 30 or just that it takes four full syllables to say, I can’t help but notice that the response is much more similar to this:

Ok, maybe not QUITE like that…but there is definitely more respect there.

And when you’re like me and started acting (mostly) like a grown-up right around the age of 13, 27 is finally (FINALLY) the year when you start acting your age, amiright?

The point is, I feel like this is going to be my best year yet. Yes, I say that every year, but I feel especially good about 2014/2015.

What was the year you really started to feel like a grown-up?

{I want it all.}

{I want it all.}

As per my money simplification goals, I’ve been trying to not only be stricter about what I spend money on, but also more aware of the areas where I tend to overspend.

My Mint account has been really useful for identifying the areas of life where this happens. The biggest offender to my budget? Lack of planning.

How many times have I had to buy a $1.50 bottle of water for the gym because I forgot my refillable one at home? How many times have I had to buy a $12 lunch because I forgot to pack something the night before? How many times have I impulsed shopped to kill time, only to realize later that I only bought what I did because it was on sale or something?

The answer to all three of those questions is “way too many times.”

Joey and I have decided to be really strict about spending for the rest of the year, only really spending money on a pre-planned trip to California in November. The first thing I cut out of my spending plans? Shopping — especially of the impulse variety.

This is especially hard for me as fall (my FAVORITE season) approaches, and with it an onslaught of fall clothing (also my favorite). In order to keep myself in check, I made a list of the things I am allowed to buy for the remainder of 2014:

1. Two pairs of jeans — a lighter denim and a blue denim. I bought these yesterday — one pair was only $18! (Prior to this purchase, I had two pairs of jeans, and one had a broken zipper I still need to get fixed.)
2. A gray t-shirt. This was also bought yesterday (for $8!). I can’t tell you how many times I find an outfit on Pinterest and all I need to recreate it is a gray T-shirt. For whatever reason, I’ve never had one.
3. Underwear. TMI? Whatever. I needed two new bras (bought these for the price of one with a coupon) and regular underwear (yet to buy).
4. A black, semi-casual, sleeveless fit-and-flare dress that I can wear to work and basically anywhere else. It’s really only in the last year that I’ve acquired a few LBDs (a dressy strapless version, a dressy sleeveless version, and a long-sleeved cotton version), and this is the one staple I am still missing.
5. Nice pajamas. One of my coworkers told me I don’t actually need these, but I’ve decided I’ll feel better about myself if I’m not going to sleep in ratty gym clothes every night. I’m weird, but suffice to say this is important to me. And I’m planning to buy them at H&M or Gap anyway, so it’s not a huge expense.

That’s it. You might notice a lack of sweaters, boots, jackets, scarves, and all other fall paraphernalia that brings me joy. (I will allow that I will also probably buy a couple pairs of black tights, though.) It’s honestly a sacrifice for me, but the results (debts paid off and a more substantial savings account) will be worth it.

The biggest thing I’ve found to be helpful in sticking to this list is actually writing the list down and keeping it as a reminder. That way, even if I’m presented with the opportunity to shop, it’s much easier for me to resist because an item isn’t on my list. The more I prepare, the easier it is to keep focused on my goals.

Besides, it’s just one fall season, and if I’m totally honest, I already have an abundance of fall clothing that is still in style and perfectly fine. This should not be so hard!

Do you make shopping lists each season? What’s on your must-buy list this fall?