theadventuresofbeka

We're all different. Especially him. But there's something kind of fantastic about that, isn't there?

Wardrobe Nerd: March Review

Wear Data

  • Total Individual Items Worn: 55

March Most Worn

If you want to see an interactive version of this graph (which includes cost per wear and total wears for each item), you can click on the graph.

Wardrobe Changes

Items Removed (1)

  • Black Criss-Cross Tee: This shirt was a cheap Ross/Marshall’s find, and I wore it a lot because it’s neutral, comfortable and yet has some visual interest. When I tried to take a picture of it for my (failed) 10×10, I realized that it was sheer despite being black.

Items Added (3)

  • Slip ($32): I debated this a lot. I hate buying things that I need but know won’t get a lot of use. I currently only have one dress that requires a slip, but I cannot wear the dress without the slip. I have looked for a while and finally found one that was ethically made but on sale. I really couldn’t justify $60-100 on something I won’t wear often.
  • Bras ($63): I tried to look for more ethical brands, but I’m not at a point where I’m willing to mess with new sizing/fits for $70-100 each just to find out that they don’t work for my weird proportions.

Total Wardrobe Cost in March: $95

2019 Wardrobe Cost (so far): $295

April Purchase Plans: I had every intention of buying shoes this month but missed the order availability notification for my chosen company. I think they accept orders again in May. I’ve also been debating purchasing a rain coat and shoes because March in NC is wet, but I’m pretty sure the weather is going to change and I’m going to decide I don’t want to spend the money.

Lessons Learned

One of my favorite Instagram accounts hosted a Spring 10×10 where you choose ten items and wear them for ten days. I decided to participate because I’ve seen these challenges but never tried them. I have no problem with the idea of re-wearing items – I love when an outfit doesn’t get dirty and I can just wear it the next day. Unfortunately, I hate doing laundry. I gave up halfway through when my shirts needed washed, my husband was sick and I had too many papers to grade.

Although I did not enjoy the 10×10, I did like that my items were chosen at the beginning of the week and all I had to do was choose the specific combination each morning. I might try that on a more regular basis. I haven’t bothered experimenting with this recently because spring weather is insane and ranges from 30F – 75F.

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Wardrobe Nerd: February Review

Wear Data

  • Total Individual Items Worn: 53
  • February Most Worn: Black Everlane Jeans (15, CPW = $2.55), Brown Combat Boots (18, CPW = $2.86), Black Coat (20, CPW = $1.71)
  • 30 Wears: Black Coat (41)

NOTE: 30 Wears means I have worn this item at least 30 times since I started tracking in December of 2018. CPW is cost per wear.

My most worn items don’t seem to change much at least from what I have tracked this winter. I wasn’t sure about the cost of my black coat, but it was obviously worth it. I’ve owned and worn this coat since last February, so my CPW is probably below $1.

Wardrobe Changes

Items Removed (1)

  • Cream Silk Tank – I bought this tank at a thrift store over 3 years ago and have never worn it. It was part of my wedding dress fiasco, but I didn’t end up wearing it to my wedding. It’s in good condition, so I will donate it at the end of the season when I do a full winter purge of my wardrobe.

Repaired Items (1)

  • Black Leather Boots ($94) – I had my black leather boots re-soled with high-quality Vibram soles that have a minimal heel. This was a necessity because I had worn holes in the soles.

Items Added

  • Undergarments ($74, online) – I am a comfortable underwear snob.
  • Blue Button-up Tank ($32, online) – This was not a planned purchase, but I’ve been dying to try these shirts and the original price tag was $130.
  • Note: All items added this month were slow fashion.

Total Wardrobe Cost in February: $200

2019 Wardrobe Cost (so far): $200

March Purchase Plans: I still need more undergarments. I’m also planning on buying a pair of close-toed shoes that I know will get a lot of wear. I’ve been looking for leather dress shoes with no heel and a minimal sole. I FINALLY found them and will be ordering them the next time the company accepts orders. I may also re-sole my brown boots, or I may wait until next fall.

Lessons Learned

Apparently, I wear a “uniform” to work/church at least during colder months. I wear combat boots, skinny leg pants, a shirt, a scarf, a sweater and a coat. Overall, I’m happy with this formula, but I would like to figure out what style(s) of shirts I like best. I find shopping for shirts very stressful because I always end up with a few that don’t work out.

Wardrobe Nerd: January Review

Here is my wardrobe count data for January.

Wear Data

Total Individual Items Worn: 48

Note: I wore all but 4 of my long-sleeve and mid-sleeve shirts this month, but I didn’t wear a single dress. It’s too cold for this Florida girl to wear dresses right now.

201901-most-worn

As can be seen from the chart above, black is still my favorite wardrobe color. Those Everlane pants have seen a lot of wear already, and, when my other pants wear out, I will be buying more of these. They are more expensive than the fast-fashion pants I was previously buying, but they fit better and are a thicker material which will hopefully last longer (plus they are a more ethical brand).

Change Data

Items Permanently Removed (1)

  • Cream Long-Sleeve Shirt – is now sheer from being worn so frequently, was purchased in 2016 or earlier
  • I have a few more items that are on the potential “to go” list, but I’m giving them another month to see if I change my mind and reach for them.

Items Added (0)

February Purchase Plans: I still need undergarments and a slip. I also recently discovered that the soles of my black boots (in my Most Worn for this month and last month) are leaking and my brown pair are well on their way to a similar fate. I’m going to look into repairing the soles and/or purchasing an additional pair of winter shoes that are a little more dressy.

Lessons Learned

I have confirmed that I would not enjoy doing a Project 333 (33 items for 3 months) which I have considered in the past unless I get my laundry act together. I tend to wear almost all of my long/mid-sleeve shirts before doing laundry again, so I would struggle with fewer items in my wardrobe.

Wardrobe Counts (I am a nerd.)

Well, I haven’t blogged in a very long time, but I thought I would share a new project that I am working on.

I’ve been thinking recently: How do I make ethical shopping choices that accommodate my budget and allow me to feel good in my clothing at work?

I don’t have a complete answer just yet, but being the data-oriented individual that I am, I decided to break this down into questions that can be more easily answered and might help me come to a more complete answer:

  • What do I own?
  • How do I acquire my clothing (gift, free, or purchase; thrifting, fast fashion or slow fashion; online or in-stores)?
  • How long do I own an item before I get rid of it?
  • What do these items cost?
  • How often do I wear these items?

I decided that the best way to answer most of these questions was to track what is in my wardrobe, how much it costs and what items I wear on a daily basis. I then hope to analyze the data, maybe once a month, maybe once a quarter. We will see how much I follow through.

So, here’s my first month’s data. I started tracking on December 9th. This was a month of some classes, time off from work and a trip to Florida, so it was not a typical month.

Wear Data

Total Individual Items Worn: 41

201812-Most-Worn

As can be seen from the graph, areas of my closet where I own fewer items tend to receive more wears. In addition, areas of my closet that don’t require regular washing also receive more wears. It’s important to not that these areas overlap.  Also, wear counts confirm that my favorite clothing color is black.

Change Data

Items Permanently Removed (2)

  • Black Blazer Sweater – worn out, owned ~2 years
  • Blue UnderArmour Leggings – been too big for over 3 years, owned ~4 years

Items Added (8):

  • Thrifted ($12): Cream Turtleneck, Black Turtleneck, Brown Tunic Style Long-Sleeve Shirt
  • Gift: Black Sleeveless Full-Length Dress*
  • In-Store ($43): Black Blazer Sweater
  • Online ($138): Green Short-Sleeve Shirt*, Black Stretch Full-Length Work Pants*, Black Skinny Jeans*

*Slow fashion

Total Cost of Items Added: $193

As can be noted from the data above, I did a pretty good job of not buying a lot of fast fashion. Unfortunately (?), I found that tracking is how I justified most purchases this month.

January Purchase Plans: The only current needs in my closet are stuff I don’t track in my spreadsheet – undergarments and a slip (that new dress is a little see-through). I will not be purchasing anything else.

NOTE: I track shoes and clothing (shirts, bottoms, dresses, sweaters and coats). I do not track scarves (I don’t want to admit my problem here), jewelry (I am happy with what I have), and purses (I own the only three purses I need right now). I also do not track loungewear that is worn only in the house.

About Those Goals

A few weeks ago, I posted on Instagram about my pre-spring break goals.

Per usual, I have a lot on my plate this semester, and I thought that writing out some goals with  some accountability would help me out. For the sake of accountability (and honesty), I’m going to update you now seeing as my last official day of work before spring break was yesterday.

Also, let’s be really honest here, I have 15 presentations to grade before the weekend’s end, and I’m procrastinating.

  1. Actually do PT exercises. Yeah, no. This didn’t happen. I did them for about a week, and then things got even busier. I’ve actually decided for the sake of sanity to cancel my PT appointment next week and reschedule. I need a few weeks to recover from everything going on, and then I’ll go back when I actually have time to do my exercises. My PT is just strength progression at this point, so he’s not going to be able to do anything for me if I don’t do my exercises at home.
  2.  Start strength training I did this for a week. Then I got excited and did too much for my hip flexor, so I had to stop and wait for my hip flexor to recover. (It’s almost there).
  3. Yoga 1-2x/week I did this one!
  4. One new recipe per week I almost did this one too! I cooked at least two new recipes which I created myself. I might have cooked a third new one; I don’t really remember.
  5. Try a capsule wardrobe So, I did review my wardrobe and replace some items that desperately needed replaced. I also threw away a lot of unnecessary items (see below). I never actually got around to creating a capsule and sticking to it because I only did laundry once in the past three weeks and my potential capsule wardrobe was all dirty about a week and a half in (oops).
  6. Throw away 21 things I blew this one out of the park. I stopped counting around 40 or 50 items. Side note: I did buy a few things during this time, but I still threw out way more than I bought.
  7. Apply for a teacher development program I decided I wanted somewhat of a life this summer and decided to start a research project instead of a teacher program. I’m not sure if research is conducive to a life, but doing both is definitely not my preferred summer plan.

So there you have it: all the things I didn’t accomplish before spring break. Eventually, I’ll write a post about what I DID accomplish because that makes me look like less of a failure.

My Partner Thinks I’m Crazy (and vice versa)

Anyone who knows us knows that in many ways B and I are very different. I’ve always been friends with people who were different than me, but marriage highlights these differences in a way that friendships (without marriage) don’t. So, I figured I would highlight some of these differences for you. Perhaps you can relate.

B: needs time to relax before work – gets up two hours before he has to get ready to leave for work simply to have time to himself.

Beka: times out the morning as closely as possible to maximize sleep and minimize time awake before work.

B: doesn’t really worry about money and doesn’t usually know what is or isn’t in the bank account.

Beka: always worries about money, checks the account daily and creates spreadsheets to track and analyze spending.

B: loves chicken alfredo.

Beka: hates chicken alfredo.

B: avoids stress at all costs and only stresses over major events (i.e. 3-5 times a year).

Beka: stresses all the time over pretty much everything (i.e. at least once a day).

B: loves sitting down to relax.

Beka: loves being active and finds it relaxing.

B: likes to finish chores in a relaxed manner at the end of the weekend.

Beka: must finish all chores as soon as possible at the earliest time available.

B: likes most people and is disappointed when they fail him.

Beka: dislikes most people and is surprised when they come through.

 

 

I find that in many ways we balance each other out, but I still refuse to eat chicken alfredo and definitely do not get up at 4am.

2017 In Review

Married Conversation (New Year’s Day)

Me: Have you done any reflecting on this past year?

B: *gives me a confused look* No, why would I do that?

Me: Have you made any resolutions?

B: *scoffs* NO. I take every day as it comes.

I laughed – this is a great example of our personality differences – and proceeded to share with him some of my reflections and goals.

B and I started out 2017 hopeful. After moving to Raleigh, I had struggled with finding enough work  for us to pay our bills, and I was finally at a point where I had cobbled together four part time jobs, and we were making ends meet. Then, in the second week of 2017, B dislocated his knee, and our life quickly became very stressful.

I had to help B with almost all basic functions  – including going up and down the stairs, driving and showering. It was a tense few weeks as he regained the use of his leg, and I had multiple meltdowns due to stress.

I eventually reached my breaking point – I had worked almost a month straight without a day off, and I put in notice at one of my four jobs.

The rest of the year included a lot more change and stress – some good and some bad. We bought a second car. I was promoted to Studio Manager at the yoga studio I had been working at. We started regularly attending a church and began to build a community. B was in and out doctor’s offices with mysterious symptoms which eventually resolved themselves or were attributed to his prior health history. I was offered a dream job (FULL TIME) at Duke teaching ESL and no longer had to balance three part time jobs.

B’s mentor at work left, and he moved into a different, yet related line of work (at the same company). We found out that our foxhound not only had a heart murmur but also had significant ventricular enlargement putting him at high risk of a heart attack (he’s still around and relatively asymptomatic for now at least). B finished out his contract with the National Guard. I finally started addressing an old injury which had never healed properly thanks to more affordable insurance. We finished out the year with my family in town and a whole week of time off (which only happens once a year for us).

We are beginning this year with full-time work, two vehicles and one more potential change on the horizon. I’m blown away by God’s grace and provision in this past year. Although I am grateful for all of the changes that have come our way, there is a part of me that is hoping that this will be a year of settling and rooting. I hope to be able to grow within what has been given us and not experience so much upheaval (positive or negative).

When B heard this, he laughed and told me that I have no control over what happens to us.

He’s never one to shy away from the truth.

 

Another Horrible Date

B and I do not have a particularly romantic relationship. We don’t buy each other cards, we don’t go out on Valentine’s Day, there are no love letters, and I’ve only received flowers once. We are both completely fine with this type of relationship, so it works for us. Even when we were not married, “dates” were not something that we put a lot of effort into outside of the fact that they always involved travelling at least 400 miles because we never lived in the same city. Our last “date” or visit before we got married and moved in together (in the same city!) was our most memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Before our wedding, I was living in Atlanta finishing up my Master’s degree. B was living in Raleigh working full time. Our wedding was going to be in Florida where my family was and his family wanted to vacation. The plan was that when I graduated, I would bring the rest of my belongings up to Raleigh from Atlanta, spend a few days with B, drive down to Atlanta to pick up some wedding things, and finally drive down to Florida the day after to go to my bachelorette party and finalize wedding details. B and his family would then meet me in Florida for the wedding a week or so later.

Well, I presented my Master’s project, packed up the rest of my things, and stuffed them in my 16 year old sedan. As I got on the road, I started having issues with my car. Being the cautious driver that I am, I went to a mechanic on the outskirts of Atlanta – I had only driven about 20 miles at this point. The mechanic spent an hour or so poking around my car and basically determined that I was having an issue with a sensor and my car was safe to drive. So, I drove to Raleigh.

I spent about a week hanging out with B, unpacking my stuff, and organizing our apartment. B spent this week working on my vehicle with the input of his co-workers (all of whom are experienced mechanics). In the process, he burned the side of his face, which fortunately healed without a scar in time for our wedding. Other than the burn and the annoyance of fixing my ancient finicky vehicle which nobody ever has parts for, our time together was pretty uneventful.

Finally, I was ready to get back on the road. I was planning to drive to Atlanta, spend the night in my apartment there, and then make the rest of the trip to Florida the day after. After about three hours on the road, my car died. Completely.

It stopped working, I pulled over on the side of the road, and I couldn’t get it to start again. It smelled like burnt car. A helpful guy stopped and declared it dead for me (I already knew this). I called USAA to get the car towed to the closest mechanic shop. I freaked out.

It was about 7 pm at night. I was on the side of I-85 a few miles from Kings Mountain, NC. If you know anything about Kings Mountain – you probably don’t because there’s nothing there – it is a town with a small “mountain”, a McDonald’s, a Waffle House, three motels and one stoplight.

I called B. He, without even stopping to think, told me that he’d be there in three hours. He called his boss because he was working nights at that time and explained why he was leaving work. He also called the National Guard and asked if he could show up late for work the next day when he was scheduled to work for them. He drove home to get his military gear and drove to me.

In the meantime, I got picked up by a tow truck. I knew when I saw the “mechanic shop” that it was an oil change place and that we would have to move the car the next day, but I decided to not say anything at the time because USAA was only paying the guy to tow the car to the location we had determined on the phone. He was then kind enough to drop me off at McDonald’s.

I sat in McDonald’s with my suitcases surrounding me for almost three hours waiting for B to get there. I tried not to think about what was going to happen to my car. Eventually, the cashier started hovering and explained to me that they were closing at 11 pm. I told her that my ride should be there before then.

B pulled up around 10:40, right as I was wondering if I was going to have to sit in the parking lot waiting for him. We decided to find a place to stay. The only motel in the area that still had a non-smoking room available was the Motel 8. The next closest place to stay was Charlotte which was over an hour away.

The Motel 8 had already closed their lobby. You had to go in through a side door to a little room where you talked to the employee through a glass window. A drunk guy wandered in to buy candy from the machine while we were paying for our room.

We got the key to our non-smoking room and brought all of our belongings up. There was a cigarette butt burn on the side table. The  room smelled like smoke. The sheets were stained. We found a bug in the bed. We went to bed with our skin crawling.

We woke up the next morning and ate at Waffle House. We went to the oil and tire place and looked at the car. There was no starting it, and I was correct in my assessment that the guys there didn’t do that level of repairs. We called another tow truck and had it towed to the only mechanic shop in town. They looked at it and declared that it needed a new engine.

Now, my car was so old that you couldn’t buy a new engine because they didn’t make them anymore. We would have been paying for a junkyard engine for a 16 year old car plus all the labor required of putting in a new engine. There was a chance that the guys at the shop were lying  to us, but it definitely wouldn’t start and we were very far away from any of the other mechanics we would trust to look at it.

We called our parents for advice, and then we scrapped it. The mechanics were nice enough to give me some cash for it, I took the plate and the registration, and they said they would take it to the junkyard for us.

B and I then came up with a plan with the help of my parents. He delayed his National Guard service and drove me down to Atlanta. We spent the night there, and the next morning he dropped me off at the airport where I got on a plane with a ticket that my dad purchased for me through his rewards program.

B then drove back to Raleigh with the stuff that I had planned to bring to Florida to give to my parents, worked all weekend and then drove all the way down to Florida for our wedding with my stuff in tow.

I landed in Florida just in time for my bachelorette party without a car.

My Husband Forces Me to Buy Things

Part 3: The Bed

As I’ve written before, I am an irrational saver, and B is not. We have been married for a little over a year, and he has had to force me to make many purchases, big and small. I figured you might enjoy reading about these. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

B and I received a lot of free, secondhand furniture when we got married. This was a huge blessing because it allowed me to not spend money on new furniture.

The bed we received was B’s bed which he had slept on for at least ten years although I think the bed might have been slightly older than that.

It was not a comfortable bed. It was full-sized and had a giant crater in the middle, so we always ended up on top of each other (and not in the fun way). Even worse, it was extremely squishy. I have back pain that is exacerbated by sleeping on squishy beds.

Before we ever got married, we agreed that we would get a new bed once we both had regular work and the money for it.

This past spring, we had the jobs and the money, but I didn’t want to buy the bed just yet. B came home one day and told me that he had seen signs for a a mattress store’s closeout sale. I grumbled about how even sale beds are expensive. (I had seen the signs too, but I had ignored them).

He finally convinced me that going to look wouldn’t hurt our savings. I was grumpy the entire car ride over. He called me out on it and threatened to go to the store without me like he did for my car. I started in on a rant about how “sale” doesn’t always mean that you actually save money. He mostly ignored me and told me to calm down because we weren’t even in the store yet and hadn’t committed to anything.

We walked into the store and a saleslady approached us. She asked us what we were looking for. We explained that B loved to sleep on marshmallows, and I loved to sleep on the floor. She told us she had the perfect queen-sized bed for us which had one firm side and one soft side. As she showed it to us, I noticed it was priced at over $5,000, and before I could protest, she told me she’d give us the bed and boxspring for $600. We had managed to go in on the very last weekend that the store was open, and they were practically giving away the mattresses that were left. B and I laid on it for about three seconds before we agreed to buy it.

We took it home. B slept peacefully on his mush, while I did not sleep. I did some research on the mattress we had bought and found all the horrible complaints about it and all the criticisms of boxspring mattresses in general. I eventually fell asleep. The next morning, I called my mom and asked her to reassure me that it wasn’t a horrible decision to buy a bed. She did just that, and I slept much better the next night.

It’s not the best mattress in the world, but it is worlds better than the one we had before and it didn’t kill us to spend the money.

Besides, where else can you buy a new bed that is both firm and soft for only $600?

My Husband Forces Me to Buy Things

 

Part 2: The Car

As I’ve written before, I am an irrational saver, and B is not. We have been married for a little over a year, and he has had to force me to make many purchases, big and small. I figured you might enjoy reading about these. You can read Part 3 here and Part 1 here.

Last year, on my way to Florida for our wedding, my car exploded on the side of the road. B had to heroically rescue me, and we said goodbye to the car that my parents had bought me.

It was very poor timing, and B and I decided that we could live with just his truck until I was working full time.

Although this was our decision, B started looking at cars immediately. (He continued to look for almost 11 months). Last January, I got “full-time” work, which means I cobbled together four part time jobs, and I started driving over 500 miles a week.

I was filling up our truck twice a week, and I died a little inside every time I printed my gas receipt.

When I was looking over February’s expenses, I realized that we were spending so much money in gas that we would almost break even by taking on a car payment and increased car insurance. That night, I came home from work and before I could say anything to B, he said, “We need to buy a car.”

I said, “Ok.”

“Well, I’m glad you said yes because I was ready to fight with you about it.”

We sat down and figured out how much we wanted to spend. He asked me what I wanted. I told him I wanted something fuel efficient that would last and that I didn’t really care about anything else. I then left the rest to B.

He had the time of his life (he is a diesel mechanic and loves machines and vehicles). He scoured the internet for almost two weeks and sent me a constant stream of cars which all looked the same to me. I looked at most of them to be polite, but did not find the process nearly as thrilling as he did.

Then HE FOUND IT. The deal. The perfect car. He was so excited I was at work at the time and took one look at about ten of the twenty five photos he sent me, which looked almost exactly like all of the other photos he had sent me.

(I’m not car savvy, and pretty much all cars look like this clipart car to me).

Because of my crazy work schedule, he did everything. He called or texted me at each step to check in. He called the seller. He test drove the car. He set up the loan. He bought the car. We met up after I was done working, and I drove it home.

I had a panic attack that night and called my mom the next day to have her reassure me that we weren’t irresponsible with our money.

Yet again, he was right. I don’t love the car as much as I love my dog, but I do recognize that it was a well-timed purchase which was a great deal – he got the car for almost $2,000 less than its sale price because the dealer was trying to get rid of it and accidentally mislabeled it. When I calculated our expenses for April (when I had driven the car for a full month), I found that our net vehicle expenses had risen by less than $100/month and that doesn’t factor in all the money and time that we had previously lost because we were limited to only one vehicle.