Clothing budget recap: May 2017

The month of May totally snuck up on me and seemed to have flown by just as quickly! This month was the first month I spent my full clothing budget ($200). It was really surprising because I didn’t expect to buy anything, but as luck would have it, I ended up splurging on some new pieces.

Having to attend a wedding earlier in May, I realized that my go-to shoes for weddings got trashed after the last wedding they were worn to. I had a great pair of wedges from Shoe Dazzle that attended all of last year’s weddings and barely survived the last one. Having to replace these wedges was a bit of a pain, but I found a great pair on sale at Nordstrom.

Here’s my clothing budget recap for May:

budgeting bloggers May 2017: clothing budget recap

Purchased new
1. ASOS embellished cold shoulder dress – $120 (exact)
This dress was too pretty to pass up on. I actually bought one of each of the ASOS embellished floral dresses (maxi, pencil, and cold shoulder versions) and ended up returning all except for the cold shoulder version. I had a really strong vision for the outfit I wanted to wear to our engagement photo shoot, but it went in an entirely different direction after I saw this line of dresses on ASOS. One thing to note if anyone’s going to pick one of these dresses up, the sizing is a big snug. I ended up having to size up because the underbust was really fitted.

2. 1.STATE Kayley sandal – $80 (exact on sale)
Thank you to everyone on Instagram who helped to pick these out! After realizing that my go-to shoes for weddings were kaput, I had to scramble to replace them– literally purchased this 1.STATE pair on my way to the airport! Since I didn’t have time to break them in before the wedding we attended, I asked the wonderful Nordstrom shoe staff to help find a pair that would be comfortable enough to stand in for 6+ hours. Although these are much more embellished than I usually like to go with shoes, they were super cute and surprisingly comfortable! This was the first time I didn’t take my shoes off after hours of being on the dance floor already ;)

Thrifted
Nada! Turns out when you’re in and out of the city every weekend for a month, there is no time to go thrifting. Aside from the dress and these new heels, I really didn’t have any closet holes to fill in the month of May.

Coming up in June, I’m hoping to amp up my Summer tops collection. I’ve always struggled with dressing for the Summer because of the fact that I love to wear layered outfits and the warmer weather doesn’t work quite well with that approach. As of right now, I have 3 t-shirts that I absolutely love and 2 crop tops, which was not exactly work appropriate.

Check out how I’ve fared in previous months of sticking to my clothing budget here!

Little white dress in wine country

With Seattle finally getting the memo that Summer is on the way, I’m excited to start figuring out how to rework my closet for the warmer days to come. Last weekend was spent in the northern countrysides of California, where we stared at rows on rows on rows of grapes, and I got to take my Summer wardrobe on a test drive.

It was a quick weekend trip to San Francisco, with the first day spent in the city (got to visit my usual favourites: Tartine, Boba Guys, and Bi-Rite Creamery) and then the next two days driving up north. Having never been to the Sonoma or Napa Valleys, it was really exciting to see a different side of California. Turns out that aside from being the home to many, many grapes, there are also a lot of mosquitoes up there!

Embroidered white linen and mixed material dress in Napa Valley
Embroidered white linen and mixed material dress in Napa Valley
outfit details:
embroidered mixed media dress: c/o J.Jill (exact)
peach sash borrowed from this dress
block heels/mules: c/o J.Jill (exact)
Cody the cute dog: The Sullivan Winery ;)

Embroidered white linen and mixed material dress in Napa Valley
white-dress-cute-dog

We could not have asked for better weather last weekend! The sun was out in full force, which was a much needed change from the consistently grey days we had experienced in Seattle before flying out.

Oyster picking at Hama Hama

First off, a HUGE thank you to everyone who took the time to read, comment, and/or email about last week’s post on buying Instagram followers. It has been such a treat to hear so many different perspectives on the issue, especially now knowing that a lot of people (both bloggers and readers) are seeing the effects of buying Instagram followers. Quite honestly, Instagram has become such an odd social media platform with the weighted algorithms, shadow banning, etc, that it was exciting to unplug from it between Tuesday’s post and this weekend.

A little mini road trip to Hood Canal was exactly what I needed. A bunch of friends and I headed to Hama Hama for our annual oyster picking trip. The forecast called for pouring rain all day, so I geared up with my new rain jacket and boots, only to be greeted by light mist and sunny breaks throughout the ~2 hours we spent picking oysters and digging for clams. Weather wise, this was a complete repeat of 2016’s Hama Hama adventure.

hama ham oysterama
hama hama oyster picking
outfit details:
Helly Hansen Kirkwall raincoat: c/o Helly Hansen (exact)
tie-front sweater: c/o J.Jill (old, also worn here)
denim: AG Jeans (exact)
baseball hat: H&M (old)
bean boots: thrifted for $15 (exact)
Especial primo backpack: Timbuk2 (exact)

washington oyster picking
oyster picking Washington

The biggest difference between this year and last year’s trip was the fact that we arrived a bit closer to the end of low tide times, so we had to pick quickly! Thanks to the crash course for shucking oysters last year, I had a blast shucking about two dozen of the 5 dozen that were picked by the group! (Only ended up eating 1 of those 24 that I shucked… turns out I’m still not a huge fan of raw oysters… some things never change!)

Also, my sweet fiance ended up finding a little baby crab while picking oysters! I have such a soft spot for baby crabs and can’t help but love to hold them (may have played with a bunch of them while crabbing last year). Don’t worry though… put this little guy right back into the water.

What a perfect way to unplug for the weekend!

Buying Instagram Followers: Is it really worth it?

Buying Instagram Followers: Is it really worth it?

I’m going to start this post out by saying that while I have never personally paid for followers, I can empathize for why people do it. In an ever-evolving industry where the sheer number of followers can make or break a sponsorship deal, I can see the appeal (and temptation) of buying followers. My goal of today’s post is to shed some light on the topic of buying Instagram followers and generate a discussion on whether or not it’s really worth doing. While I’m personally very strongly opinionated about the side that I sit on (don’t do it!) I’m curious to know how others feel about this topic.

Let’s dig into the good, the bad, and the really ugly of buying Instagram followers, shall we?

The good: Spoilers, there’s not much…

I’m probably stating the obvious here, but the only good I can see in buying Instagram followers is the bump in sheer numbers for a following. And, of course, the potential sponsorship deal(s) that come with a large following. While having a huge following count is impressive, more than just the number of followers are now being considered for sponsorship deals.

Brands who do their homework will know to look for other criteria like engagement, trajectory of growth, and dig into the percentage of real followers. Let’s explore how to dig into these other criteria, what they look like after buying Instagram followers, and the tools used to do this research.

The bad: It’s pretty obvious to spot if you’ve purchased followers

I want to introduce you to a tool called Socialblade. This site allows anyone (no account necessary) to dig into the analytics of any user on any social media platform (IG, YouTube, Twitter, etc). I’m specifically focusing on Instagram because that’s my personal favourite social media platform and the one that I have the most experience researching.

The examples that I’m going to show you in this post have been stripped of any identifying username info… know that this information is easily accessible to anyone (aka potential brand sponsors, other bloggers, your followers, etc)!

Case #1: How to tell if someone has purchased Instagram followers

buying-instagram-followers-example

In this specific example, it’s really obvious that followers were purchased. This particular user only had 700 followers on March 22, and by April 11 hovered just under 10,500 followers! That’s an increase of almost 10,000 followers in ~3 weeks! Not to mention, the numbers of followers “delivered” is extremely unnatural where it fluctuates from 600 to almost 1,500 per day. A true following of real users would be amassed in a steady growth, where the daily average count would be similarly reflected in the daily reported counts of new followers. In this specific case, we see that at the bottom of the report that the daily average value is +433, even though this particular user was barely scraping a +30 daily average prior to March 27. The numbers tell everything! No one’s being bamboozled into thinking this is natural growth here!

Case #2: What happens when you decide to stop buying Instagram followers?
This is another tell tale sign of whether or not someone is buying Instagram followers: the period of time right after all of the purchased followers has been delivered. This is what I call “the bleeding period” because it’s when they start to bleed followers.

Using the same user from Case #1, we can see that all of their purchased followers were delivered by April 11, and they began to bleed followers on April 12:

buying-instagram-followers-stop-buying

The “bleeding” is caused by a combination of the fact that no new followers are being delivered and the fact that Instagram discovers spam accounts. The spam accounts make up the majority – if not all – of the purchased followers. Since fake spam accounts are being banned and the user who purchased followers does not have the steady, natural momentum of gaining followers, the net following is negative. This is such a fascinating period of time to witness as a third party observer…
If you want to see what this use case looks like for a blogger with a much larger following, here you go!

From this use case, we learn that the only way to sustain the net positive growth after buying Instagram followers is to continue to buy followers. It’s a really ugly (and potentially expensive) cycle to fall into.

We’re now going to go into “The Really Ugly” part of buying Instagram followers.
(more…)

Clothing budget recap: April 2017

Oh boy… turns out April was the month for big spending! Between finally picking up the Stay Home Club shirts I’ve been eyeing for the last 3 years of my life, the blogger closet sale also did me in! Needless to say, I made it under budget just shy of $16… Let’s see what was in the haul, shall we?
clothing budget recap: April 2017

Purchased new:
1. Stay Home Club t-shirt – $25 (exact)
I have wanted this t-shirt for as long as I can remember. There are cats on it. Surrounding a lady. I finally caved…

2. Stay Home Club crewneck sweatshirt – $48 (exact)
As if the t-shirt version isn’t enough, I went ahead and splurged on the crewneck sweatshirt version of this print as well! On my first day of wearing this, my cat also decided to claw me and poked a hole in the sleeve! *cries* It’s ok. Still a cute sweater!

3. Striped tie-knot tee – $66 (exact)
After taking my beloved striped tie-knot tee in blue on vacation, I knew I needed another one of these. The fit is just so perfect! Thankfully, the Moorea Seal store stocked a white version of this top for 2017 and I managed to snag the last one in my size.

Thrifted:
1. J.Crew striped maxi tank dress – $5 (exact)
The jersey knit on this dress is unreal! If thrifting has taught me anything, it’s being able to feel the quality of materials before looking at brand tags. The fine knit jersey caught my attention on first touch and I knew I could not leave without the dress.

2. Zara high neck sweater – $10 (similar)
This was a great find at the Earth Day Blogger Closet Sale! Can you guess which blogger’s closet this was picked from? Rebecca of Blogger Not Billionaire had some of the best layering pieces and I could not leave without this sweater. I’ve already worn it twice and it’s barely been in my closet for a week!

3. Community ammonious sweater – $15 (exact)
This was another amazing find at the closet sale. This piece was from the founder of Fresh Tangerine, Kim’s, closet. With an almost fully monochrome rolling rack of pieces, it was hard to stop myself from buying everything from her closet!

4. L.L. Bean Bean Boots (8″) – $15 (exact)
My partner actually found these for me on our last date to the thrift store. He has the same pair which he thrifted a few years ago. While I already have a pair of the All Weather Bean Boots (worn in the apple picking post), the heavy liners are a little overkill for rainy days. Depending on how well these signature Bean Boots wear in, I may end up letting go of the All Weather pair. We’ll see!

Total for April: $184

While I still stayed under my monthly budget of $200, I spent a bit more than I thought I would. The Bean Boots were a bit of an impulse buy, but sometimes that’s the nature of thrifting! See how this month compared to past clothing budget recaps here!

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