Sunday, July 12, 2015

An Alabama Adventure

My longtime readers know that that every time I travel (not SUPER often, but enough,) I like to write a post about my trip, even if it has nothing to do with personal style! So today, I'm here to tell you about my trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama over Independence Day weekend! Today I'm just sharing what we did on our trip, but look out for a packing post later on this week!

My brother is spending the summer at Kaleo, a leadership program through his campus ministry where he works 40 hours a week, and then does spiritual development and leadership training the rest of the time! I'm so proud of him for going, but I miss him a lot, so I was thrilled when I found out my parents were a planning a trip for us to visit him over the summer!

After we made the 14 hour (yikes) drive down to Alabama, we spent our first day at the beach! Then, we went over to my brother's apartment where he and his roommates cooked the best fajitas I've ever had. To end our day, we visited the Wharf, a really pretty waterside attraction with shops and a Ferris wheel and whatnot! I didn't make taking photos a priority on this trip, but here are a few photos I snapped throughout the day! 

Light show at the Wharf!

My family (minus my brother) on the beach!

Then, the next day, we went outlet shopping and then back to the beach for a cookout. Our hotel was literally blocks away from a Tanger Outlet, this legendary chain of outlet malls. This one happened to have my FAVORITE stores (Old Navy, LOFT, & J. Crew) and also a few others that I'd never shopped at but had been wanting to check out!

Now, I knew there would be outlet shopping involved, so I've been intentionally holding off on shopping this summer. So I went a *little* crazy, at least for me. I don't usually do shopping or "haul" posts because I think a personal style blog should be much more than regularly going out and buying a bunch of new things just to put them on the blog, which I see all too often. But I am so incredibly happy with what I found--I intentionally chose these pieces based on what I've had on my wishlist and what I know I can and will wear often with the pieces I already have in my closet! Plus, at outlet mall prices + Independence Day sales, I got these pieces for a steal and saved almost as much as I spent! Here's some photos and a price breakdown of what I found! 

At Old Navy, I picked up a few statement type pieces. I've been wanting to try "soft shorts" (that is, not chino or denim or anything stiff) for a while, and thought Old Navy was a safe, cheap place to give them a try! I also found a pair of Pixie pants in a polka dot print, and y'all know I just can't resist Pixie pants (especially at half-price!) So I picked up both of those to use as bottoms for work and then to wear into the fall, and I also found a striped scarf I'm super excited about!

Scarf—Originally $16.94, paid $6.97, saved $9.97

Pixie pants—Originally $34.94, paid $17.99, saved $16.95
Shorts—Originally $26.94, paid $10.00, saved $16.94
Total: $38.28

If you read fashion/style blogs, you know about the Portofino blouse from Express. They make them in a MILLION colors and, as I found out, there is a sleeveless version! I've wanted to try one forever because of how much I've heard bloggers rave about them, so I grabbed a polka-dot one!

Portofino shirt: Originally $44.95, paid $26.97, saved $17.98
Total: $29.53

J. Crew is one of those places with perfect cardigans, and I almost always end up picking one up when I go there. This time, it was a navy one. I'm shocked I didn't already have a navy cardigan, but at any rate, now I do! Because one of the big things on my wish list is tops (an area where my wardrobe is sorely lacking,) I also grabbed a striped shirt that is soooo comfy and versatile! It'll be perfect for wearing on its own in the summer and then layered in the fall/winter!

Cardigan: Originally $54.50, paid $21.80, saved $32.70

Shirt: Originally $64.50, paid $25.80, saved $38.70
Total: $54.00

And last but not least is Ann Taylor LOFT. LOFT is another one of those places that has AMAZING cardigans. I have several, and I got one in blush pink, a color I've been wanting in a cardigan for the longest time! I also found a really pretty wine colored tank, adding another top to my repertoire!

Tank: Originally $34.99, paid $26.24, saved $8.75

Cardigan: Originally $44.99, paid $26.99, saved $18
Total: $58.29

So all in all, I bought a lot more pieces than I would on a typical shopping trip, but I'm simply thrilled about what I found, and I truly think every piece is worth it! The lesson I learned is: There's nothing wrong with a bigger shopping trip every now and then, as long as I'm still thinking carefully about how each piece will fit into my closet! If I can get a drumroll, please--here are the totals of what I saved vs. what I spent! 

Total Saved: $159.99 
Total Spent: $180.10

So all in all, not too shabby, especially since two or three full-price items at most of these stores could put me over that $180 mark easily. 

As happy as I am with my outlet mall haul, the real treasure of this trip was the precious time spent with my family and getting to see my brother. Peace out, Alabama!

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