Archive | June, 2011

Weeks 19-20 Challenge

26 Jun

Building on my last challenge, my challenge over the next two weeks will be to find a belt to compliment the dress that just bought:

Dress Joe Fresh

I’m not normally a fan of belts since I’m short-waisted, and I’ve never found one that actually fits me properly, BUT I do think that this dress needs one otherwise it just looks too shapeless. I’m going to try to find something that matches my original inspiration outfit featured in a spread in Self Magazine:

Anne Menke, Self Magazine. Dress Peter Som $1,395, necklace Roxanne Assoulin for Lee Angel $275, belt Forever 21 $9, bag Jamin Puech $470, shoes J.Crew $148

Now I know that the belt in this picture is from Forever 21, and retails for a very affordable $9, but with a much healthier budget of $40, and no Forever 21 in my city (which I am also not too keen on shopping at anyways because of their current threats of legal action against one of my favourite blogs WTForever 21), I am going to try to find something of better quality made out of real leather (or at least something vintage or a belt that is very nicely constructed out of faux leather…if something looks just as good I would rather not buy a product made out of an animal!).

We’ll see what I end up finding, again I have NEVER had luck with belts so this should be a challenge! Wish me luck!

***A quick note: the Weeks 17-18 results post has been updated with pictures and a poll so if you get a chance please vote :o***

Weeks 17-18 Results

25 Jun

This is going to be a quick post tonight since I haven’t gotten a chance to take a picture of myself in my challenge outfit (busy day = hair and makeup that really aren’t picture-worthy, lol) but I do have pictures of what I bought and I will update this post to add the picture of myself and a poll (see updates below!).

If you recall, my challenge for Week 17, which subsequently became the Weeks 17-18 challenge (with a bigger $40 budget), was to find a white dress inspired by a spread in Self Magazine:

Anne Menke, Self Magazine. Dress Peter Som $1,395, necklace Roxanne Assoulin for Lee Angel $275, belt Forever 21 $9, bag Jamin Puech $470, shoes J.Crew $148

After searching high and low and finding nothing in my original $20 budget, and then nothing in my new $40 budget, I finally came across a tunic style dress/cover-up by Joe Fresh ( once again) at the grocery store!

Joe Fresh, $19

Joe Fresh, $19

It was an even greater find since it was selling for only $19 and after taxes it came in at the very affordable price of $21.47! With my new budget that leaves me with a whopping $18.53 for the SpendThrift Savings Bank!

Although it is more of a tunic than a true dress, is a little see-through (I may need a slip to put under it…wow, don’t I sound like a Grandma with that one!), and the shape is a little hard decipher without actually seeing it on an actual person, I really do think that it embodies the feeling of the Peter Som dress in the Self Magazine picture.

Dress Joe Fresh, shoes Chinese Laundry


Dress Joe Fresh

I’m actually quite surprised at how similar the structure is. Now all I need is a belt to complete the look…now if that isn’t a hint about my next challenge I don’t know what is 😮

Now keep in mind this isn't really a belt in this picture, it's actually the strap of my Mossimo bag, lol! It's more to show how this dress really needs a belt!


So what do you think?

Triumph or Tacky?

23 Jun

For the Weeks 15 and 16 challenge (if you recall this one stretched over two weeks since I was unsuccessful on my first attempt) I tried to find an athletic tank top with a built-in bra. Although I originally couldn’t find anything under $20, I ended up lucking out with one that I found at Foot Locker for $19.99!


 I think that the purchase of this garment (along with the awesome running skirt that I bought for the Week 13 challenge) is very timely since I finally bit the bullet and registered for my first half-marathon! Eek! It’s in September and I need all of the help I can get with training,  that includes having cute running outfits for motivation! On top of that I’m doing a crazy Spartan Race in a week and a half so it looks like I will be living in workout wear outside of working hours for the next umm, 3 months or so…


So back to the tank top! According to all of the online votes everyone thought that I did great! It really is a  cute tank and I do love the fact that it’s a nice blue colour as opposed to my mostly pink workout wear. So far I have worn it twice, once to Dragon boat practice and once tonight for a run. I was going to wear it to the gym earlier this week but my gym has that silly rule that you can’t wear tank tops in co-ed workout areas. Again, apparently shoulders are just far too titillating for the boys around here!

Ignore the wet spot from Dragon boat practice, lol!


I do find that the tank is very comfortable however, my only complaint is that the bra part of it seems to stretch once it’s been worn for a little while. By the end of my run it felt much looser so I’m not quite sure how long I will be able to wear it if I drop some weight during training (which I inevitably tend to do).

So for now I’ll leave this Triumph or Tacky post open. At the moment the tank top is a Triumph but I’ll let you know if it moves into the Tacky realm (running with no support up top would definitely qualify as tacky!).

Well, that’s it from me for now! Results post coming up Saturday 😮



A New Game Plan

20 Jun

You may have noticed that I was MIA this weekend since no results were posted for the Week 17 challenge and no new challenge appeared. I have to apologize for that, I was competing at a Dragon Boat festival all weekend and by the time I got home at night both days I was so pooped that I could barely spell my own name let alone string together a coherent sentence! However, I think that it was worth the sacrifice since our team did really well and we had so much fun!

The other reason why I didn’t end up posting this weekend (or pre-writing my posts so that I could just hit the publish button at least) is because I have been thinking a lot about this experiment in the context of my crazy new schedule and also in relation to the clothes that I have amassed over the past 16 weeks (well, 17 sort of).

First of all, over the past 16 weeks I have bought a lot of clothes! To date I have bought (in no particular order): 1 sweater, 2 skirts (one dressy, one for running), 3 dresses, 1 bag, 1 pair of shoes (that unfortunately got eaten by my dog), 2 vests, 1 hat, 1 ring, 1 necklace, 1 dress shirt, 3 pairs of pants (two pairs of dress pants, one pair of Capri pants), and 2 tank tops (one dressy, one for running). Phew!

Although I love having such a great clothing haul, my closet is getting a little full and that list above doesn’t even include the clothing that I purchased for my new job!

Second, the fact that I am now a working woman who is also a full-time student means that my free time is close to non-existent (at least when you throw in all of the other things that are important to me in life, this blog included). As I have mentioned in previous posts I’ve been having a hard time trying to actually find the time to shop on a weekly basis. I have also found that an activity that I normally find relaxing and fun has become slightly stressful. Since this blog is supposed to be fun I have decided once again to tweak the rules. All experiments evolve and change over time and this one is proving to be no different!

So what is my new game plan? Well, I am going to shift challenges from every week to every 2 weeks. So for example, the Week 17 challenge (which I unfortunately was not successful at since I couldn’t find a dress anywhere close to $20) will become the Weeks 17 and 18 challenge. I will still post my challenge on the Sunday at the start of every 2 week period and a results post on the Saturday at the end of the 2 weeks. My budget will increase from $20 to $40 (aka adding the normal $20 for each week together) BUT I will still try to find every article of clothing for the least amount of money possible.

What about the days in-between, you may be asking yourself? Does that mean that the frequency of posts will be less than before (is that even possible right now, lol)? To answer this question: no.

I will still be posting Triumph or Tacky posts but I will also try to add in more commentary/opinion posts and also some posts here and there about other articles of clothing that I love, see on the street, or interesting fashion-related news stories that I come across.

I think that overall this will make for a much more consistent blog with more meat to its content. I still want to abide by the original purpose of this experiment, to prove that anyone can still have fun with fashion, even on a tight budget, but I want to make sure that I keep the fun in it!

As always thanks for reading!



Max on the Go

16 Jun

As a little aside to my usual challenge and fashion talk I wanted to share a great blog with you! It’s a travel blog written by one of my best friends Maxine that details the awesome trips she’s taken (her most recent one was to Australia), the future trips that she will be taking (she leaves for Croatia in 3 weeks!), the future trips that she would like to take (Tibet is one of many), and trips that she has taken where she has done volunteer/aid work (like when she did humanitarian work in the Dominican Republic and Haiti).

Her blog is called Max on the Go and you can visit it by clicking on the picture below:

Another reason why I wanted to mention her blog (this isn’t only for altruistic purposes, lol) is because I have been writing some guest posts for her over the past month or so. My husband and I had the good fortune of being able to honeymoon in Peru so if you want to learn more about this amazing country, or are just interested in travel, check out the links to my posts below.

Happy reading!

M+R’s Adventure Trip to Peru – Part 1: Lima

M+R’s Adventure Trip to Peru – Part 2: Cuzco and the Sacred Valley

M+R’s Adventure Trip to Peru – Part 3: The Inca Trail and Machu Picchu

M+R’s Adventure Trip to Peru – Part 4: The Amazon

Week 17 Challenge

12 Jun

For this week’s challenge I am going to go back to inspiration pieces that I have come across in fashion magazines (definitely more high-fashion looks than running gear!).

I have a subscription to Self and they had an awesome spread called “White Hot” in their June 2011 issue (you can check out the slide show of the spread here). Now I absolutely love the look of white pants, blouses, and especially dresses for summer. I love them even more when they’re paired with brown!

So this week I am going to try to find a white dress that I will pair with brown accessories! Here are my inspirations from the Self Magazine spread:

Anne Menke, Self Magazine. Dress Tommy Hilfiger $398, shoes Repetto $315, sunglasses Yves St Laurent $275, bracelets Sequin $25 each, bag Salvatore Ferragamo $2,750

The look in this picture is my absolute favourite:

Anne Menke, Self Magazine. Dress Peter Som $1,395, necklace Roxanne Assoulin for Lee Angel $275, belt Forever 21 $9, bag Jamin Puech $470, shoes J.Crew $148

I think that finding something similar to the dresses above is going to be very challenging but I’m up for it! I really love these looks so fingers crossed I can find something.

Wish me luck!

Week 16 Results

11 Jun

After searching high and low for an athletic tank top, and after an unsuccessful first attempt in my Week 15 challenge, I am happy to say that I was finally successful! Fortuitous may be the better word though since my search was not without difficulty.

I though that after failing last week and increasing my budget from $20 to $40 that I would have a much easier time finding a tank top. Well, I was WRONG! Even with $40 everything that I came across was still too expensive! The big chain sporting good stores like SportChek and Sports Experts had tons of great tank tops with built-in bras by companies like Adidas, Nike, Puma, Roxy, and Under Armour, but they were all over $50! I have to say, my shopping was getting a little frustrating.

It wasn’t until my husband and I were randomly at the mall one night that I had some success. We just happened to notice a Foot Locker (I didn’t even know that Foot Locker still existed!) and on a rack at the front of the store was a really cute blue tank top:

Foot Locker, front

Foot Locker, back

I figured that it would be way over budget but amazingly when I looked at the tag it was only $19.99! We sort of did a double-take at first not quite believing the price. We then couldn’t help but laugh when the sales associate told us that the store didn’t have a change room so I couldn’t even try it on (the sales associate rolled his eyes and completely agreed with us when we mentioned what’s the point of selling clothing if customers can’t try anything on?). Thankfully they had a full money back guarantee (I’ve learned after the Sirens incident).

After taxes my purchase came to a total of $22.59 leaving me with a whopping $17.41 for the SpendThrift Savings Bank! Woo hoo!

I was even happier when I got home and tried it on and it fit very comfortably! So here it is on me at Dragonboat practice today…yes, I have added yet another activity into my schedule BUT the Dragonboat festival is next weekend so then it will be done, AND Dragonboating is absolutely without a doubt the best sport that I have ever tried 🙂 Pardon the big wet spot in the picture, we end up a little soggy by the time practice is over:

Please pardon the wet spot, crazy hair, and pants that look too short, lol! Tank top Foot Locker, pants Costco, sunglasses Fauxkleys from a kiosk at the mall

And here’s the back showing the crisscross detail:

I’m really happy with my purchase, time to hear what you think!

Triumph or Tacky?

9 Jun

This is yet again another catch-up Triumph or Tacky? post but this time it’s a double-header! I’m going to talk about the necklace that I bought for the Week 14 challenge and FINALLY get to the white shirt that I got for the Week 8 challenge (yeah I know, I should have done that one a long time ago!).

If you recall I bought a sliver multi-strand necklace with leucite beads from Jacob for my Week 14 challenge:

Necklace Jacob, shirt Costa Blanca

Overall I have to say that this challenge was a resounding success! Everyone who voted online thought that it was great and I got so many compliments at work! The thing that I love about this necklace is that it really is a great quality necklace (aka doesn’t look like junky costume jewellery) and seems to go with everything. I even wore it with the white dress shirt (see the last image below) and although it blended in with the white it added just a little bit of sparkle to an otherwise basic work outfit. I think that this one qualifies as a triumph!

Now to the white dress shirt that I bought at Costa Blanca for the Week 8 challenge (can you remember that far back?!):

Shirt Costa Blanca


This challenge, although successful, was somewhat less so than the necklace challenge. Not quite everyone thought that it was a great purchase. I think that overall it is a nice staple shirt. The fit is pretty good barring the fact that it’s slightly tight in the arms (but not tight enough to look bad in my opinion) but it isn’t exactly of supreme quality. I’ve only worn it once so I’ll let you know how it wears over time.

I did finally wear the shirt to work this week and no one mentioned anything about it, granted it is just a basic dress shirt though. Overall, I think that this challenge was also a triumph, just not an overwhelming one. I don’t think that it will make it into my top ten triumphs…

Necklace Jacob, shirt Costa Blanca


Well, that’s it for today. Results post coming up on Saturday!

Week 16 Challenge

5 Jun

As I mentioned in my “results” post yesterday, my Week 15 athletic tank top challenge was unsuccessful. I’m actually quite disappointed because I really did think that I would be able to find something within my budget.

Roxy, $59.99 SportChek

I did visit many athletic stores (SportChek, Sportmart, Sports Experts, Lululemon) and other stores (Sears, the Bay, Winners, I even looked at the Joe Fresh line at the grocery store) this week and although I did find a couple of affordable possibilities none of them fit properly or had the right look that I was going for.

I am going to be upfront and say that I didn’t visit Old Navy this time, I think that I have bought far too many articles of clothing from them for this experiment. Although I’ve found that their new active wear line is great, this is called the SpendThrift Experiment, not the Old Navy Experiment. However, if you are up for trying their active wear they do have some affordable tank top options with built-in bras like this one I found online for $22.50:

Old Navy

They only have them left in size M though (so in real life that would mean size L or XL, lol).

I found that most of the tank tops that I did try on were either loose in the chest and fit in the body or fit in the chest but were really tight in the body (maybe I need to do more ab exercises?!). Also, the styling of the tank tops was either boring or downright ugly (sea foam green is definitely not my colour!). Plus, the ones that I tried on at Winners were made of the cheapest material, you know the type where if it brushes against anything the threads pick out and fray? Combined with completely impractical spaghetti straps they just weren’t an option.

I found one Adidas tank on sale that was similar to this one but with pink stripes (I know, I wanted to avoid pink but it looked cute on the rack!):


But they only had an XS left, it was tight in the torso area and the material was shiny so I kind of looked like a lumpy stuffed sausage. Motivating? Perhaps. Cute? Umm, not so much. And who are we kidding, no one is going to wear something that they think they look awful in.

I’m predicting that with a healthier $40 budget that I can find something with a better fit and style. Hopefully this week I’m more successful than last week!

Wish me luck!

Week 15 “Results”

4 Jun

I’m going to start off this blog post by apologizing for being MIA this week. I really meant to write more posts, especially this week’s Triumph or Tacky? post and my catch-up posts, but life just got in the way. Ever since I started work I have been BUSY trying to balance a full-time job with full-time school, this blog, a husband, a dog, a house, and a social life, and I have to admit that at the moment my balancing act is pretty shaky. I’m slowly adjusting and it will get better though so please bear with me!

Just a warning, I’m probably going to ramble on about some other things in this post so if you’re only interested in my challenge results feel free to just read the next paragraph (don’t worry, I won’t be offended, I have a habit of going off-topic sometimes even when it still is slightly challenge/experiment related).

Unfortunately, I was not successful in finding an athletic tank top this week. It wasn’t for a lack of trying though! Even with my busy schedule I still managed to search many stores and even though I found some affordable tops, none of them fit right or comfortably (I’ll elaborate more on this in tomorrow’s post). I’m sure you would agree that although style is important for workout wear, comfort is paramount! So that means that I will continue my search next week with a healthier $40 budget.

Now back to my ramble, lol. This week involved a lot of attention on the home front, more specifically shopping for new windows (don’t worry, it’s even less fun than it sounds), and the whole experience has made the value of my blog challenges even more evident to me. Windows are freakin’ expensive! I mean I knew that going into appointments with window companies but still…yuck!

I guess it could be worse, my house could be leaning like this one I saw in Amsterdam! Its windows are still much nicer than the ones at my house though...


I think that I always had an idealistic view about what life would be like when I finally got a “real” job and was making “real” money. Well let’s just say that fantasy and reality are not the same thing! Am I making a lot more money than I was in grad school? Absolutely! Is it going out just as fast as it comes in? Yeah, it is…

At least  my earnings are going towards very important things such as paying down debts and much-needed home renovations (I don’t think that anyone considers new windows or a new furnace frivolous) but at the end of the day I’m not left with much more spending money than when I was only a student. That’s why this experiment is so important to me, it still allows me to indulge in my shopping habits while also being (at least somewhat) responsible and planning for the future.

That’s why when friends ask me if I’m going to give up blogging because I’m so busy I always reply with a resounding NO!

Is blogging time consuming? Of course! But I do see great value in it and the whole process involved in this experiment. And I’m not only talking about the fact that I’m amassing a great affordable wardrobe. I truly appreciate what blogging gives back to me in terms of being an amazing creative outlet and providing great interaction with readers (even if I don’t always find time to reply to comments I really do mean to! I appreciate the fact that anyone reads my blog!).

All of this to say that this blog isn’t going anywhere! I’m going to get back into my groove sooner than later so stay tuned and as always, thanks for reading 🙂