THOUGHTS ON SUBSCRIPTION SHOPPING + AN HONEST REVIEW OF NUULY

If you have been following along, you already know that last January I made a major shift in how I viewed money and shopping. I overhauled my personal finances, completed a “no shopping” January (which led to 3 other “no shop” months throughout the year) and donated or sold probably a quarter of my wardrobe.

Now, when I add a new piece to my wardrobe it’s thought out and strategic. Can I wear it multiple ways? Does it reflect who I want to be? If I waited a couple of weeks would I still want it? If it was full-priced would I still want it? It’s been a strategy serving me well this past year and it truly helped to break that unnecessary urge to always have something “new”. Not to mention it’s far more sustainable as I wasn’t constantly picking up fast fashion that I probably wouldn’t wear for more than a season or two.

But what if you could have that something new feeling without financially committing? I’ve heard plenty of people (blogger’s especially who always want to have new things to wear) rave about shopping subscriptions like Rent the Runway and I have to admit – I was curious. So when Nuuly – from the geniuses behind Anthropologie/Urban Outfitters/Free People – reached out to offer me a free 3 month subscription, I knew I wanted to give it a try. After 3 free months I paid for one additional month so far just so I’d have a true customer experience.

The Pros: You get to pick 6 items of clothing each month for $89/month. They handle all of the dry cleaning, repairs etc. so what you get looks brand new. Overall, I thought the selection was great with brands you’d find at Nordstrom and Shopbop plus new arrivals from Anthro, Urban and FP. I gravitated towards more fashion/trend pieces – a fun coat, a statement dress – that I otherwise would have been tempted by on a trip to Anthropologie, but saved myself the $200 price tag and the need to make permanent room for it in my closet. And usually at the end of the month, I was fine returning the pieces.

The Cons: I’ve mentioned before but I’m a sentimental person, especially when it comes to my wardrobe. If I have a particularly great memory while wearing something – it’s very hard for me to let it go. Which means after I wore this perfect sequin dress to a holiday concert with Adam.. I couldn’t part with it. The upside is that you can buy items at a pretty good discount and don’t have to ship them back. However, if I hadn’t been trying this service – I likely would have not been tempted to get something new for the concert. So if you’re someone who is going to be easily tempted – this could actually end up make you buying more.

Overall? I like the concept. For something like a vacation or the holiday season, I think it’s a really great way – for a relatively low cost – to have a fun assortment of pretty new things to wear. Like this cute minty fresh jacket. Or if you’re in a transitional phase like a new mom or someone who is kind of figuring out there style – I think this is such a great way to get to try things on and see what you like before committing your closet to a direction or size.

But if I were to do it every single month, I kind of feel like it would eat away at the mindset I worked so hard to achieve – which is the feeling that what I have is enough and I don’t always need more, more, more… new, new, new. And, for someone who is set on building a closet full of things I love that carry memories I want to hold on to – the fleeting nature isn’t really in line with that. I’m going to hit pause on my subscription for next month, but may use it again in March when we’ve got a warm weather trip planned!

I’m curious if any of you have tried subscription shopping and what your thoughts have been? P.S. If you’re interested in trying Nuuly they gave me an offer code to share that gets you $20 off your first month. – this post wasn’t sponsored, but as mentioned my first 3 month trial was gifted.

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5 EASY AND AFFORDABLE RENTAL-FRIENDLY UPDATES

The Steele Maiden: Before and After - Apartment Entryway Makeover

This time of year always makes me want to switch up my home decor. Luckily, we’ve still got plenty of projects to work on here – but if you’re in the mood for something that freshens up your space, below are my favorite weekend projects that are big on impact but still simple, affordable and rental friendly!

CREATE AN ACCENT WALL:

Hands down my favorite way to make a big statement in a room without a huge commitment. My go-to has always been a rich, dark color – in my first NYC studio apartment I carved out a “bedroom” nook with a deep charcoal grey color behind my bed and it felt so cozy, but in this apartment I love our navy wall that leads into the entryway). And if your landlord approves it – I can’t recommend wallpaper enough. More expensive than a can of paint but SO much fun and personality can be added via print on a wall.

SWITCH YOUR HARDWARE:

I found the below nightstands at Home Goods – and while I loved that they were simple, narrow and included a drawer, the original black knobs made them look cheaper somehow. I found these agate and wood rectangle knobs at Anthropologie, swapped them out in 5 minutes and it elevated the whole look. Plus no one else will have the exact same nightstands now! An under $20 upgrade that makes me happy every time I see them.

The Steele Maiden: Fall Reading List

CHANGE YOUR LIGHT FIXTURES:

The only thing I truly disliked about our current apartment was the stock, rental light fixtures. If you’re a renter you know the kind. Those sort of gross flush mount ones that barely put off any light? Yeah.. get rid of those. I store mine high up in a closet so that when we move I can throw them back on and take my new lighting with me wherever we go next. While you’re at it? Add a ceiling medallion. I found this one for around $20 at Home Depot and it adds an instant bit of old world elegance to the place. Another 5 minute project that makes your place look really finished.

JUST ADD PLANTS:

To be honest, it’s really taken me a solid year in this new apartment to feel like I’m developing a green thumb. It takes daily maintenance. But the rewards of walking in to your home and seeing LIFE all around you is huge to me. Plants are proven to help filter the air in your home and definitively make people feel happier. Grab a new green friend this weekend, put it in a pretty pot and voila!

DIY A CUSTOM HEADBOARD:

I wanted the look of a custom headboard but didn’t want to commit to the price. So we found a cheap upholstered headboard online, covered it in batting from the craft fair and then wrapped it in a beautiful rich velvet fabric I had (and secured with a staple gun on the back). The entire project cost $100 but looks so much more expensive then that.

The Steele Maiden Book Club: Chapter Three

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FALL TREND: WESTERN-INSPIRED

The Steele Maiden: Western Inspired Fall Trend - Suede Skirt and White Booties

Yeehaw! In my efforts to bring you the best of Fall Fashion this entire week on the blog – I present to you the first of the most major trends of the season: All things Western-Inspired. Think: ‘Annie Oakley meets Carrie Bradshaw’.

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RED RUFFLE MAXI SKIRT AT THE HISTORIC SHERIDAN INN

The Steele Maiden: Historic Sheridan Inn Wyoming, Anthropologie Red Ruffle Maxi Skirt

Wyoming. Where do I begin?? I’ve got so many photos, stories and video (!!) coming for you next week – but I wanted to share this look as a bit of a sneak peek. Mainly because this red polka dot ruffle maxi skirt would be perfect for a Valentine’s Day outfit next week if you’re still in the market. And also because I’m bursting at the seams to share more about what was one of our most memorable trips ever.

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While we were in Sheridan, WY we stayed at the Historic Sheridan Inn and if you’re going to be in those parts – there’s no where else you should even think about staying. Home to Buffalo Bill and his famous western talent show, this place has seen Annie Oakley, Teddy Roosevelt and even Queen Elizabeth through it’s halls. I’ll share photos of the interiors, but for now – just take a look at this long sweeping front porch.

On this particular night, I changed into this fun red ruffle maxi skirt just in time for dinner at the Inn’s Open Range restaurant (easily one of our best meals of the whole trip) followed by live music and a dance in the ballroom (so fun!). I love the way this skirt has so much movement – and while it will be a no-brainer in warm weather, it faired pretty well with thick tights, over the knee boots and a chunky knit sweater. See you next week, cowboys, with lots of new posts.

Anthropologie Ruffle Maxi Skirt | Knit Sweater | Steve Madden OTK Boots | Fossil Handbag c/o

The Steele Maiden: Historic Sheridan Inn Wyoming, Anthropologie Red Ruffle Maxi Skirt The Steele Maiden: Historic Sheridan Inn Wyoming, Anthropologie Red Ruffle Maxi Skirt The Steele Maiden: Historic Sheridan Inn Wyoming, Anthropologie Red Ruffle Maxi Skirt The Steele Maiden: Historic Sheridan Inn Wyoming, Anthropologie Red Ruffle Maxi Skirt The Steele Maiden: Historic Sheridan Inn Wyoming, Anthropologie Red Ruffle Maxi Skirt The Steele Maiden: Historic Sheridan Inn Wyoming, Anthropologie Red Ruffle Maxi Skirt The Steele Maiden: Historic Sheridan Inn Wyoming, Anthropologie Red Ruffle Maxi Skirt

4 CASUAL HOLIDAY OUTFIT IDEAS

The Steele Maiden: Casual Holiday Outfit Ideas - denim, sweaters, blazers and vests

If it’s any indication what November was like at work for me – know that I shot all of these looks over the past month and am only now getting the chance to find time to post them (I’m ready for you Christmas break!). In any case, now that I’m ready I figured I’d compile them since they all have a bit of a common theme – festive yet comfortable. Below, a closer look at these casual holiday outfit ideas:

The Steele Maiden: Casual Holiday Outfit Ideas - red sweater and boyfriend jeans

I picked up this oversized¬†red sweater during Black Friday sales and honestly can’t stop wearing it. I’ve dressed it up with heels and a skirt for work, but I like it with boyfriend jeans, fancy flats and a fisherman’s cap too for holiday shopping or weekend errands this month.

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The Steele Maiden: Casual Holiday Outfit Ideas - red sweater and boyfriend jeans The Steele Maiden: Casual Holiday Outfit Ideas - red sweater and boyfriend jeans The Steele Maiden: Casual Holiday Outfit Ideas - overalls and metallic sweater

It’s been awhile since I last pulled out my overalls but I quickly remembered why they’re my favorites (spoiler: SO comfy). Dressed them up a bit with this metallic striped sweater and metallic kitten heels and this outfit made going to the grocery store for cookie baking supplies all the more merry.

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The Steele Maiden: Casual Holiday Outfit Ideas - overalls and metallic sweater The Steele Maiden: Casual Holiday Outfit Ideas - plaid puffer vest and sneakers

I’m calling this my tree-trimming outfit. I love a good puffer vest in the winter – and all the better if it’s in tartan plaid – and I’ve been wearing these sneakers non-stop lately. I spend a lot of time in heels, but sometimes you just can’t beat a pair of comfy kicks. The olive green feels a little Christmas-y too which I love.

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The Steele Maiden: Casual Holiday Outfit Ideas - plaid puffer vest and sneakers The Steele Maiden: Casual Holiday Outfit Ideas - plaid puffer vest and sneakers The Steele Maiden: Casual Holiday Outfit Ideas - velvet blazer and plaid heels

This one is a little bit unexpected, but no less festive in my opinion. I like mixing in colors like bright gold or deep navy blue to holiday style and this velvet blazer and plaid heels are just the ticket. Mixed with fun socks just because.. more is more this time of year, right?

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The Steele Maiden: Casual Holiday Outfit Ideas - velvet blazer and plaid heels

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