14 Days of Denim-Target Style

This post is sponsored by Target

Target Denim Collage

I have always been a Target girl, and one of my favorite situations is when someone exclaims over an item I’m wearing and I get to say- it’s from Target! So when I got the opportunity to trial four pairs of jeans from Target before they became available in the stores, I couldn’t say no!
I was sent four pairs of jeans in four very different styles, all in the same size:

The assignment was to wear all four jeans over a period of two weeks, and document the outfits that I created using what I already had in my wardrobe. There was definitely a clear favorite and one that I liked the least, but I would and will wear all four denim items, and I’m planning on going back and picking up a few more in different shades … so let’s get to the details!

mid-rise jeggings collage

MID-RISE DISTRESSED JEGGINGS
I could have paired these with almost anything in my closet. They are the perfect wash-not too dark, not too light. They are obviously body-conscious, but very forgiving in the fit. I’m always self-conscious about my tummy, and these jeggings were tight enough in the torso to suck everything in without being uncomfortable. The length on these was also perfect for a variety of shoe options, from flat sandals to wedges to 4-inch heels. I’m sure once the temperatures drop below 90 degrees they’ll be great with my favorite over-the-knee boots, too!

Skinny Jeans

MID-RISE SKINNY JEANS
The style or fit of denim that I’m most drawn to are skinny jeans. I love a tighter fit on the bottom paired with a loose fitting top. I feel like it’s the most flattering for my body type and makes my legs look longer and leaner. This slightly darker wash is also more flattering and makes the denim look a bit more … put together. I prefer skinny jeans to jeggings because of the pockets in the front-where else am I supposed to put my hands? The fabric on these jeans was super soft- I could have slept in them. Even though they had a lot of give, they didn’t sag or get too baggy throughout wearing them. Similar to the jeggings, the fit of these jeans lent themselves to both super casual looks and more dressed up, night on the town sort of looks.

boyfriend jeans collage

BOYFRIEND JEANS
I never thought I’d like boyfriend jeans. I always thought that looser fitting jeans would be unflattering to my figure and make me look dumpy. Boy was I wrong! My favorite pair of boyfriend jeans is from Target, but I have to say they’re not this particular pair. The fit on these was a lot more loose than I would’ve liked, and I could have definitely worn a size down. I like distressed jeans, but I didn’t care for the red and black flannel patches on these. I felt like it really limited my options for what I could wear with the jeans, and I also think it’s a bit too “young” of a look for me, personally. I’m curious to see what other versions Target comes out with for the new denim line.

straight leg jeans

STRAIGHT LEG JEANS
Let me come right out and say it—these were my favorite of the four options. They were very figure flattering, comfortable, and extremely versatile. The only downside was that the length that was sent to me was too long (32” inseam), but all I did was roll up the hem and voila—perfection! The best feature was that it was still snug, but gave me a bit more room in the hips and thighs. This is probably the best fit for those of us girls with curves.

FINAL THOUGHTS
I’ve always been a big fan of Target denim, and this new launch does not disappoint. In fact, it far exceeded my expectations. The quality of the material is better, the jeans are softer, and the options have increased. There is a fit, wash, and inseam length for everyone. My favorite pair was the straight leg jeans, followed closely by the skinnies. Which one did you like the best?

Check out all the options at http://www.target.com/jeans, and if you come in the store to try on a pair starting July 26th, you’ll get $10 off!! Find your style at @TargetStyle!

Setting Up Your Expense Categories

budgets-expenses

Michael and I started a new series within the Michael & Marnie series that focuses on Budgeting.  If you missed the first video, take a look at it here.  This week, we decided to narrow in on what we feel is a key feature of a good budget-setting up our expense categories.  Grab a cup of coffee and a snack, because this is a LONG post!

To review, here’s what we’ve covered so far:

STEP ONE: ACCOUNT FOR ALL YOUR EXPENSES
When we say all, we mean all…from your daily Starbucks fix to the newspaper you pick up on Sundays, write it down.  Go over old credit card statements, bank account statements, and figure out exactly where every penny went for as far back as you can go, ideally a full calendar year, if not longer.  You’re going to use these numbers later to look for patterns and figure out how to plan what goes where in the budget.  Don’t worry about how much you’re actually spending, just focus on WHERE the money has gone.

STEP TWO: BREAK DOWN YOUR EXPENSES INTO CATEGORIES (THE 3 BUCKET SYSTEM)
This is the fun part-figuring out where everything fits into the big jigsaw puzzle called Your Budget.  Again, at this point we’re not going to get critical about the actual amounts.  We just need to figure out where to “file” each line item.  For us, we refer to the 3 buckets: MQA, Credit Card Purchases, and Cash Items.

BUCKET #1: “MQA”-otherwise known as Monthly, Quarterly, Annual Expenses
This is the biggest bucket, both in the sheer percentage of your allotted budget, and categories.  The expenses in this bucket are usually paid by check (either the actual paper kind or virtually by bank draft or electronic check).  It’s best to imagine this as an escrow account or holding account for bills or expenses that are not unexpected.  We know how much these amounts generally are and have already set aside the money to pay for them in this bucket.  Michael and I also have a “Bill Pay” account, or operating account, that we use to actually pay the bills.  We don’t keep money in this account, but transfer what we need out of the MQA account into this account to pay the bills.  To make it easier for you to picture, I’ve included a breakdown of the categories we have in our budget, as well as basic PDF spreadsheets for Monthly and Quarterly/Annual for you to reference.  When you view the PDF, the categories run across the top of the table, and the months run down the side.  Inside each box are two places to fill in numbers: “reserve” is for how much you’ve set aside for that month’s payment, and “paid” is what was actually paid.  That’s another great tool to see how accurate your budgeting turned out to be.  To download an editable version, click Monthly-Excel or Quarterly/Annual-Excel.

Monthly Categories:

  • Utility bills (water, gas, electric)
  • Health club or other club dues
  • Phone bill (can include mobile bill as well, ours are separate line items)
  • Cable/Internet
  • Car payment
  • Landscaper
  • Pool maintenance
  • Car Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Homeowners Insurance

Quarterly Categories:

  • Congregational dues (or tithing if you belong to a church)
  • Life insurance
  • Pest Control
  • Home Security/Alarm System
  • Recycling/Trash
  • Property Owners Association
  • Vision (Contact Lenses)
  • Home Maintenance (we set aside a certain amount that we expect to pay for routine stuff, like checking the AC units, plumbing, etc)
  • Federal Income Tax

Annual Categories:

  • Property Taxes
  • Homeowners Association

BUCKET #2: CREDIT CARD PURCHASES
As much as we like to pay for things by check or cash, sometimes it just isn’t feasible for us.  Using a credit card is sometimes a more secure option, and who doesn’t like the points?  So here are some categories that we file under this bucket for our budget:

  • Gas for the vehicles
  • Groceries
  • Prescriptions
  • School lunches
  • Haircuts

I should add that while we use a credit card to purchase the above mentioned things, the amount charged is immediately transferred from our bank account to the credit card company THE DAY WE MAKE THE PURCHASE.  We do not advocate carrying a balance on the card.  To ensure that money is set aside for this purpose, we have a second bank account (escrow account) for this bucket.

BUCKET #3: CASH ITEMS
Some people think it’s old-fashioned, but Michael and I still like to pay in actual paper money for certain things.  Generally, we use cash for the budget items that are the hardest for us to keep to a budget, like eating out and clothing. So we use an envelope system-at the beginning of each month, we fill up the “envelope” with the allotted amount (sometimes it’s a real envelope, other times it’s really just a savings account set up for that specific category), and once it’s empty, it doesn’t get filled up again until the beginning of the next month.  If you have a hard time sticking to a budget, I highly recommend this method!!  Here are the categories we include in this bucket:

  • Cleaning service
  • School supplies/extracurricular kids’ expenses (sports gear, tutoring, etc)
  • Entertainment (eating out, movies, family outings)
  • Car repairs (oil changes, routine items)
  • Dog expenses (vet, boarding, grooming, food)
  • Vacation (we set aside a certain amount each month in a virtual envelope to use toward a family vacation)

This is just how we set it up-if it makes more sense for you to move some of these categories into the MQA bucket, go for it.

So for those of you that are following along, here’s your homework assignment for next week: now that you have all your expenses, try to put each one into the above buckets.  Then you’ll be ready for the next step-how to figure out how much money to allot for each bucket/category!

Can’t wait to see you next Monday with the next installment of the Michael & Marnie Monday Budgeting Series!

MEGA Jewelry Haul

Screenshot 2015-07-16 18.19.52

 

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I LOVE me some reasonably priced accessories.  Over the last few months, I’ve acquired more than a few pieces, so I wanted to give you a looky-loo at them before they’re out of the stores.  My top places for getting jewelry are BaubleBar, Kendra Scott, and Nordstrom, and now Nordstrom carries over 100 pieces from BaubleBar, which means I get BaubleBar prices with Nordstrom’s return policy.  It’s a win-win!  In fact, I ordered a few Kendra Scott pieces from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, which is open to everyone starting on Friday, July 17th.  If you want to hear about each piece in detail, head over to my YouTube channel to watch the video.

For those of you who prefer the blog, here are my recent acquisitions.  Just hover your mouse over each picture to get brands, or click on the picture to shop and/or get detailed descriptions.