As I reflect on this past year, at first glance there doesn’t seem a lot to be thankful for. Two deaths. A marriage crisis. These were situations that questioned my faith and the meaning of life. What is the point of repeated sacrifice if only to be rewarded pain in return?
Isabel Marant has recently become one of my favorite designers (I know, I know, along with nearly every other fashion blogger out there). Parisian chic with LA’s flippant coolness – as my style evolves, I realize I gravitate for things that are feminine with an edge. This means lace, but with leather. Or velvet, with metal hardware. Mr. Wonderful has been asking me if I really need yet another clothing piece (or a pair of shoes) that have spikes all over them.
One of the beauties of living in California is that you can still be bare-legged the week before Thanksgiving! I finally pulled out this beautiful textured wrap skirt I recently bought at Topshop and decided to pair it with a top I wouldn’t normally choose.
When Mr. Wonderful and I first started dating, I found out his shopping routine consisted of going to Banana Republic twice a year. Being a practical computer engineer, he liked its safe, work-friendly style, which is the very reason I almost never found anything I really liked there. For the longest time all I owned from BR were a few basic sweaters and a handful of tees.
I’ve been sitting in front of my laptop the last two days, trying to think of what my next blog post will be. I wanted to keep it light, and talk about COBALT AND GOLD! And how metallics and jewel tones are in! And show you how I’ve been wearing the leather leggings and gold sweater I bought last year on repeat, even now (I do change the shirt I wear inside. I’m not gross, I promise).
One of the best things about Day 2 of Lucky Magazine’s FABB Conference was getting to hear Tamara Mellon (previous CCO and Co-Founder of Jimmy Choo) speak about her struggles starting a business, her values in running a company and what it takes to stand out. In case you’re wondering what she’s wearing in these photos, they are legging boots! Yes—leggings AND boots, in one. Great concept…but somehow I don’t think I’ll get them on. I already have enough trouble finding pants that fit my hip and thighs without a gaping waist, never mind having to find pants that are going to fit my feet, too!
A few days ago, I had the privilege of attending Lucky Magazine’s annual FABB conference in New York City. I had no idea what to expect, but a hundred photos later, let’s just say I’m really glad I went.
The biggest surprise? How nice everyone was, from the Lucky staff to the other bloggers I met. It certainly felt different than the environment I had been in nearly seven years ago when I worked in the fashion industry. I laugh now at the nervousness I felt in my previous post, but a happy surprise is always a welcome event.
There is so much I could share with you, but rather than retell a play-by-play, I thought I would share with you some highlights and my favorite moments, including Eva Mendes’ impromptu head scarf demonstration!
I know the word “down to earth” is entirely overused when describing celebrities, but quite honestly that phrase characterizes Eva Mendes very well. She was hilarious, enthusiastic and cared about what the audience had to say. The kind of person you’d want to be friends with. I sat 20ft away from the stage and the warmth of her personality was radiating through the room. And that belt? $3.99 from a thrift store. Yup.
Lovely in a different way, Kate Bosworth was quiet, serious and thoughtful. She was wearing an outfit from her latest collection with Topshop, and I’ll admit that immediately after the conference I went to the SoHo store to hunt for that silver skirt. Unfortunately, they were already out of my size.
A couple of months ago, Lucky Magazine contacted me to attend their invite-only FABB (fashion and beauty blog) conference in New York City. About 300 bloggers will be present, and the speakers include Eva Mendes and Kate Bosworth!
I’ll confess to you I’ve been more nervous than excited. Friends have been telling me to “just relax” and “be yourself” but when I think about the caliber of some of the people that will be present, the anxiety starts to kick in. Deep down, I don’t want to just “be myself” because that would mean being someone who people might not find pretty enough, trendy enough, or worthy to be known.
In recent years, I have developed a love for shopping in consignment stores. I used to avoid them because they reminded me of Goodwill and armpit sweat, and I didn’t want to have to boil my purchases before I could wear them again.
Before I knew I had a foot fracture and was sentenced to a foot brace last month, Mr. Wonderful and I attended the annual San Francisco Symphony Gala. Though I am not as big of a classical music fan as he is (I fall asleep despite my best intentions), I always enjoy an excuse to dress up.
I found this Marchesa dress for $80. It still had its $1595 price tag on it, but because there were some holes and rips on the bottom of the dress it was a heavily discounted salvage item at the store. The blessing of being a petite is that the dress was 6 inches too long for me anyway, which meant the holes and rips mattered little once it was altered. A little bit of effort can sometimes save nearly $1500!
As I shared with you last week, I have become the not-so-proud owner (and wearer) of a foot brace. As if the physical awkwardness isn’t enough, I have to endure the constant comments and jabbing jokes I get when I go to the mall, go to the supermarket, or go just about anywhere.
Silk Top: JCrew | Skirt: Forever 21 | Leather Jacket: from Jeremy’s | Sunglasses: Prada | Shoes: Michael Kors
Nope, it’s not a joke.
While I was in Europe, I unknowingly picked up a foot fracture as a souvenir. My right foot had started hurting towards the end of the trip, and I figured it was due to the 8-10 hours of walking Mr. Wonderful and I were doing nearly every day. I’ll be fine once I’m home and get some rest, I thought, thinking it was ironic that I needed rest from a vacation.
During a trip to the outlets last month, I scored this Tahari colored lace dress for 75% off. The colored lace trend exploded on the runways in the Spring, but since bold jewel tone colors are “in” for the Fall, I figured this dress would continue to work. Indeed, I think it comes quite close to Pantone’s “Vivacious” and “Acai” shades:
I went to bed last night at 11:15pm, but not before checking the status of the Philip Lim for Target collaboration on Target’s website.
It wasn’t live, so I went to bed.
At 7:30am, Mr. Wonderful got up to use the bathroom, which made me sleepily crack open one eye. Then I remembered about the collaboration, so I reached for my iPhone.
“Everything I wanted is already sold out!” I cried, sitting up in alarm.
“You. Are. Crazy.” Mr. Wonderful mumbled from across the hall.
Hurriedly throwing on my clothes from the day before, I headed towards my nearest Target, which is luckily only five minutes away from me. Too late:
At 8:01, the doors unlocked and the line RUSHED in. WHOOSH. No big deal, I thought to myself, taking my time and walking like a normal human being (ok, I’ll be honest. The only reason I didn’t “whoosh” like everyone else is because I recently hurt my foot).
By the time I made it to the appropriate section at 8:03, this was what I saw:
Happy Friday the 13th! I know most fashion bloggers have already transitioned into fall styles, but for me I’m still enjoying the last wave of Indian summer. Last week my neighborhood reached the mid 90’s—that’s the hottest it’s been in years!
This dress has been in my closet for several years now, and I originally purchased it as an 80% off final sale item on Gilt. One of the painful lessons I’ve learned over the years is to never buy a strapless dress (or really, anything) on final sale. Some women are well endowed, but I am not one of them. Sadly, this dress just wouldn’t stay up on me, but I’ve continued to love the design so it stayed in my closet as sad as a museum artifact.
Wearing my favorite maxi dress in Europe!
We had been in Copenhagen for a few days when I asked Mr. Wonderful if we could spend an afternoon shopping. I knew shopping wasn’t his favorite past time, but for me, buying a piece of clothing or accessory when I travel is like a useful souvenir. And sometimes I come home with a handful of “useful” souvenirs.
After we walked around for two hours I felt disheartened. My hands were empty (except for a half-eaten bag of gummi bears) and Mr. Wonderful’s patience was wearing thin. I had given myself a budget, and everything I liked was rather expensive and hard for me to justify.
The next best thing to going on vacation is looking back on vacation pictures. Wow we ate that? (pickled herring in five different ways–yes!) And did all that? (a few churches, some funky neighborhoods, two castles, two museums and shopping, too!) We looked like we had fun, I think to myself, as I am once again sipping my Americanized coffee drink at Starbucks. I look happy. Mr. Wonderful looks happy. WE look happy. Even my outfit is happy in its polka dots and perky leather bow.
“That’s all you’re bringing for a two-week cruise in Europe?” the cab driver asked in astonishment as he loaded my carry-on suitcase into the car. He was clearly impressed. I shrugged modestly (but was secretly flattered).
When Mr. Wonderful and I first started dating, he marveled at how much I could pack into a small suitcase. Then his marveling turned into the oh-so-logical conclusion that the only reason I can pack two weeks worth of outfits into a carry-on suitcase is because my clothes are smaller. That may be true, but over the years I have helped him reduce his packing load, and in this past trip his suitcase was even lighter than mine! (I blame it on my stack of fashion magazines.)
Here are my ten tips on how to pack for summer (warm weather) travel:
I am back from Europe! Mr. Wonderful and I had found a last-minute cruise deal to sail around Scandinavia for 9 days/nights for only $500 each. It was a Godsend, since this summer had been so tough for the both of us. We packed our bags, and had a chance to reset our lives. I can’t wait to share with you some of the photos Mr. Wonderful and I took while on vacation!
While I was away in Europe though, I missed the launch of the Issa and Banana Republic collaboration. I know, I know… why would I care about that while being in Europe? But since Princess Kate introduced the world to Issa in her royal blue dress, I have been stalking Ebay for Issa dresses, hoping there would be one I could afford ($1000 is just a leeetle too much).
I never did find one, so you can imagine my excitement when I found out Banana Republic would be collaborating with one of my newly favorite designers. As soon as we got off the boat and had Internet access again, I went to BR’s website and ordered every Issa dress that was still stocked in a 00P (up to 50% off with various BR promos). Mr. Wonderful did a little flip when he saw I had just made a $600 BR purchase, but then he remembered I return about 90% of what I buy, and calmed down. A little.
The package arrived this week, and though many of you may have checked out the collaboration already, I thought I would share with you some quick iPhone photos and my thoughts in two words:
Now why is this a big deal? Because for us flat-chested petite girls, almost everything at BR is too big. Even 00P is most times baggy and unflattering, with cuts and pleats in all the wrong places. As excited and hopeful as I was about the Issa collection, I also expected it to be more of the usual BR sizing. And happily, I was proven wrong. Here is what I ordered:
When I shop, I usually favor pieces that have versatility. I’ll ask myself questions such as:
Can this take me from day to night?
Can I wear this alone and with a jacket or cardigan?
Can I sit, stand and walk in this outfit?
This is such a dress.
When Ping from All About Fashion Stuff first posted about this dress, its wearability stood out to me. There was no way I could afford the original Stella McCartney number, but I was impressed by Ping’s talented re-creation. Though I rarely win anything (except for a $20 gift certificate to a Hello Kitty store when I was in junior high) I decided to enter Ping’s giveaway anyway.
I don’t know if this happens to you, but every time I go through a life transition I start thinking about a new haircut or hairstyle.
I know, it’s been awhile since you heard from me. I hope this post finds you well, or even better, flourishing.
My readers, I haven’t been writing because I haven’t had anything positive or useful or uplifting to offer to you. I’ve always challenged people to be upfront about their struggles, to be real, to be authentic, and yet I found it incredibly hard to do so with you this past month. I don’t know why. I guess I was afraid that if I kept going with one heavy post after another, I’d push you away.
So I kept silent. I don’t know if it was the right thing to do but it is what I did.
This Zara jersey blazer is one of my favorite things in my closet that hardly ever gets worn. It’s as comfortable as a cardigan, but I get a little scared wearing it. For one thing, it’s white, and I love food with tomato sauce. So wearing it out to dinner is a big risk. But blazers also aren’t really my personality. I always feel more polished wearing them, but as much as I enjoy playing that persona for a few hours, inside I feel like a fraud. It’s as if I imagine people are secretly pointing fingers at me, whispering, “She’s really a sweatshirt and jeans type gal.”
I am a little late on the Peter Pan collar trend, but when I saw this shirt hanging on the sales rack at JCrew, I couldn’t resist. Navy is usually a hard color for me to incorporate into outfits, but the pale pink collar on this top makes it easy to pair.
There was a time when I shied away from wearing anything that might potentially make people notice me. As a kid, I wasn’t allowed to choose what I wanted to wear, so my clothes were often times funny and strange. It wasn’t until high school that I owned my first pair of jeans. By the time I could make my own clothing purchases, I stuck with three colors: Black, white, and blue. In other words, the more I could blend in and disappear so my peers could leave me alone, the better.
For the past two years, I’ve been wearing leggings during the winter with nearly everything–dresses, skirts, tunics, and even under jeans as an extra layer of warmth when the temperature really drops. Not only are they comfortable and keep you from freezing, but they are just so multi-purpose. Last year Neiman Marcus had a $50 off anything promotion, so I excitedly upgraded my Target leggings to the $55 Splendid ones (which I then paid $5 for) and dragged Mr. Wonderful with me so he could buy me a second pair as well.
I was browsing the December issue of InStyle magazine this past weekend when I saw my photo on page 70! It was a wonderfully sweet surprise. I had submitted a photo to the editor awhile back but never received a confirmation that it was going to be published, so this was unexpected. I know this may not seem like a big deal to some of you, but to this girl, it means a lot. Even starting this website has been nerve wracking.