Thursday, August 30, 2012

currently eyeing (moto boot)

The leather. The gold hardware on the buckles and the heel. Tough yet refined.

And at $198, surprisingly reasonably priced.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

seeing red

seeing red

polyvore set here

one: NARS nail polish in Jungle Red 
two: OPI nail polish in Red Lights Ahead...Where?
three: J.Crew Tippi Sweater in Heather Burgundy
four: MAC lipstick in Russian Red
five: NARS lipstick in Autumn Leaves // six: Madewell Suede Sidewalk Skimmer
seven: Zara Basic pumps // eight: Topshop Alvin boots
nine: Dannijo cameo-crystal drop earrings // ten: J. Crew Biennial Satchel 
 eleven: Coach Legacy Crossbody // twelve: Current/Elliot Rider legging jean

I am loving the slew of red for fall. Whether siren red or deep burgundy, it's such a rich, versatile color that's a perfect match for fall's cooler temperatures. On nails, go with moody crimson (1) or watch-me red (2). For the perfect fall sweater, pick a saturated hue in a simple cut (3) and pair it with an equally saturated pair of jeans with a little equestrian twist (12). Lips can be coppery (5) or showstopper (6) red. Pick an attention grabbing bag, either large (10) or small (11). Zara makes a great red pump (7), but if boots are more your thing, Topshop has these buckled boots (8) in a deeper oxblood. Meanwhile, Madewell has some suede flats in a rich red (6). Lastly, I think the most glamorous way to wear red this fall is through a pair of statement earrings, perhaps like this Dannijo pair (9).

Are you seeing red and loving it?

Monday, August 27, 2012

currently eyeing (for the boyfriend)

My boyfriend recently asked me to update his style and with Labor Day sales coming up, it's a good time to start earmarking what could be some new additions to his wardrobe. He tried this loafer on in store, and in addition to possibly filling in a large hole in his shoe wardrobe, it looked really good on and he told me it felt really good on. The leather looks durable yet sleek, and the price is very reasonable. The only question is: black, brown, or both?

Friday, August 24, 2012

a little bit of me: lost and found

image from Pinterest

I graduated from college in June 2011, making me just over a year removed from undergraduate life. When I entered college in September 2007, I was optimistic and had everything figured out (so I thought): I knew I wanted to major in biology and go to medical school. By the time the fall quarter of my sophomore year rolled around, I was no longer sure. I remember standing in the middle of the quad on a bench underneath great big trees decked out with Christmas lights and feeling so lost and unhappy. I was realizing that while I loved all things biology and the challenge it presented, I didn't love the intense competition, the constant pressure, and the lonely environment of being a pre-med that such pressure and competition breed. 

I spent all of my high school years always aiming to be the best. It was important to me to be excellent - in class, in extracurricular activities, at my part-time job as a pharmacy technician. I see now looking back that I based my entire life within that academic and professional context. I don't know if I was particularly happy, but I can't say that I was unhappy, not like how I felt on that quad that December. My priorities were changing, and I didn't know how to deal with it. I had never questioned putting in endless hours or whether taking 8 AP classes my senior year was really the best way to close a period in my life, and I never had a reason to. And it was that drive and that singular focus that got me into my first six choices of colleges. To have to reevaluate all of that for me that winter was devastating. 

I wasn't the only one who couldn't deal with my world view changing. My parents, whom I've never been particularly close to, didn't understand it either. They questioned my priorities, my drive, and whether or not I was putting their hard-earned money to good use with all of my questions and doubts. This compounded the guilt I had already felt when my father took on a second job to send me to college in the first place.

After some incredibly draining times, I finally did make up my mind. I ended up with the biology degree but decided not to apply to medical school. I realized that I loved the subject, I loved helping others discover all the really cool things about it, and I loved the idea of starting a career based on that simple fact. I'm seriously thinking of becoming a teacher. I think my high school teachers who knew me then would be proud. 

People always say that college is the time to discover yourself, and it's true. I learned to breathe, to say "enough" and "no more", to be open to spontaneity, to enjoy life. I met James, my boyfriend, in college. He was with me that night on the quad, and when my life felt like it was falling apart, he just held me together enough to keep going. That night, he gave me a white gold ring with tiny sapphires as my Christmas present. It will be four years exactly a month from now, and our relationship has been one of life's biggest gifts to me. 

It's okay to change, to reassess and realign your life. It's okay to get lost. Sometimes losing your way is the only way to finding who you are now.


Miranda Kerr's spread in Harper's Bazaar is so far my favorite shoot from this year's September issues. Granted, I'm only halfway through Vogue (600+ pages takes awhile), but Terry Richardson's clean but sexy shoot is stunning. Those Givenchy boots are striking, but Miranda Kerr holds her own and then some. I've always found her to be surprisingly approachable, so fresh and simple and different from other models of her stature, more "beautiful" than "gorgeous". 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

currently eyeing (hunter green)

The bag above is perfect. The color is timeless yet not so basic. I love the envelope clutch look in the context of a large satchel, which is crucial for me since I'm not a small bag kind of girl in my day-to-day life. The gold hardware is chic yet discreet, and the strength of the design is center stage, not the brand, although I really appreciate Tory Burch's brand aesthetic.

I have never paid more than $198 + tax for a single purse, and I have only ever paid that once, on this bag on the occasion of landing my first real job after college. I am not one to just drop over one bill on any one thing, much less over six bills and on something that isn't necessary, no matter how many images of fabulous fashion I have pinned to my boards. 

But this, this might be it.  If I saved and scrimped and budgeted and eliminated all sorts of gratuitous "mini" purchases left and right, I could take the jump and purchase this bag. It's exactly what I'm looking for, both in form and functionality. I'll have this forever.

Worth it? I think so. 

closet: things forgotten (Zara glitter pumps)

I bought these navy pumps from the Zara on Newbury Street on my annual trip to Boston where the boyfriend is from 2 Thanksgivings ago. They were having a sale, so these babies came home with me for the sticker price of $39.99 flat, since Boston has no sales tax on clothes or shoes up to $125 (needless to say, going to Boston is dangerous for me). It was during the holidays, and I fooled myself into thinking that they would be perfect for New Year's Eve celebrations, completely forgetting that at 4", a) they would probably be completely impractical for the black ice-laden sidewalks of Chicago and b) even without ice, my comfort level and ability to walk in heels go down exponentially with anything above 3.5" if there's no platform or other saving grace. I didn't wear them to New Year's, I didn't wear them to Valentine's Day dinner, I didn't wear them to our anniversary dinner in September, the boyfriend's birthday dinner in October, my birthday in November, or any other festive occasion in the past two years. Not. once.

If this trend continues to endure through the end of this year, they will have to be donated or sold. Hopefully, these will show up as part of an outfit ASAP.

What are some forgotten things in your closet?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

recent buys

recent buys

clockwise from top left: Old Navy polka dot shirt, OPI got the blues for red,  
Sinful Colors snow me white,  New Balance w690 sneakers (multiple colors),  
Banana Republic pleated skirt, Pour La Victoire isadora wedges (in black & tan)

In an effort to keep track of how much I'm spending and on what, I'm going to start making detailed "recent buys" posts. "Currently eyeing" posts refer to things I have on my wish list/want list but haven't yet bought. They're a way to indulge without hurting my wallet. I want to be fashionable without breaking the bank too much, save for an investment piece here and there that I've saved up and budgeted for. Here's to keeping me honest.

OPI nail polish: $8.50 from Target, gift from KC

Sinful Colors nail polish: $1.99 from Target
New Balance sneakers in grey/blue (different color from above): $39.99 from TJ Maxx
Banana Republic skirt: $44.99 on sale + discount from BR online
Pour La Victoire tan wedges: $25 from MYHABIT  returned

Total: $111.97 $86.97+ tax

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

a little bit of me: sisters

My sister and I are over 6 years apart. When we were younger, we weren't the closest of friends. After all, when I was 12, she was 6; when I was 16 and driving, she was 10 and had just gotten over Barbies. We have two distinct personalities. Typical of the eldest (and specifically, Asian) child, I am much more reserved and quiet while my sister has always been gregarious and extroverted. When we were growing up and my parents would bring us to dinner parties hosted by innumerable Filipino friends/churches, I would always bring a book and promptly find a corner to read it in, while my sister would make friends in 5 minutes and end up singing a tune for everybody (she has a wonderful voice). 

Although we weren't always close, I tried very hard to make sure that I looked out for her and that she knew I was a shoulder she could lean on. I wanted to be an example for her, to show her what's what and to teach her about mistakes I've made so she can avoid those in the future. When I went away to college, we became closer. I think that's partly because we were finally at respective ages where we could somehow relate (my 18 to her 12), and partly because I wasn't home every day like I'd been previously and that separation brought us together. 

My sister got her first summer job this summer. I remember when I got my first summer job and how I quickly thought of all the ways I could spend my own money. The minute she started working, she told me, "Ate, as soon as I get a real job, I'm going to buy you so many things because you always got me so many things even when you didn't have that much money. Ate is the Tagalog word for "older sister".  What she said touched me, not so much because I was excited at the prospect of gifts but because it validated the fact that she knew I cared, even when we weren't as close as we are now. 

She visited me this weekend, and while we are at Target on a nail polish run, I saw the shoes above and fell in love. Target heels are hit or miss for me, but these were definitely a hit with the substantial but practical heel (3") and an animal print that looks more expensive that it is. I've been really considering and reconsidering all of my purchases, so after trying them on and exclaiming how cute they were, I placed them back on the shelf. Then KC offered to get them for me.  After making sure she could really afford to get them for me (once an older sister, always an older sister), I said yes.

So, these babies are now mine, and I love them even more because my little sister gifted them to me.
Thanks, Kace!

currently eyeing

I know the sheep are a little kitschy, but that's exactly why I love this sweater. We all had that dorky sweater as little kids. Why not be intentionally dorky now?

Monday, August 20, 2012

currently eyeing (luxe)

Mulberry animal print scarf

I'm a big fan of animal print. I'm an even bigger fan of animal print that looks refined and classic, not to mention in a great black/brown/white/cream/off-grey color palette that goes with everything.

At $260, tempting.

when the leaves start changing...

1. Gap black leather jacket (couldn't find this exact one, but similar) 2. Fitzwell brown leather riding boots 

Autumn is my favorite season. I love everything about it, but especially the smell of crisp, cool air, the explosion of color as the leaves change, apple picking and pumpkin pie, my birthday, our anniversary...and of course, great fashion. 

I'm really trying to buy investment pieces for the upcoming season: a leather jacket, well-made riding boots, a timeless over-sized watch, oh-so-versatile chambray. In addition, I'm looking forward to switching to a deeper, more sensual perfume for the cooler weather. I love Dolce&Gabbana the one, (and the rose version, too ), but I smelled Donna Karan's new perfume, Woman, and I was intrigued (and the bottle is like a mini sculpture). As for my nails, I love the darker moody colors - stormy greys, rich hunter greens, and vampy purples. Now I'm looking to add a saturated navy blue to my polish collection. It's classic yet edgy, and a surprisingly versatile and softer take on black. 

What's on your fall wish list?

Friday, August 17, 2012

currently eyeing

J. Crew Marquess fleur necklace

J. Crew's fall campaign is calling my name, and the piece above is part of the conspiracy.

My wallet is hiding because it knows me too well: a statement piece in a classic yet intensely modern color and cut is irresistible.

currently eyeing

Hiromichi Konno for Skagen watch

I'm a fan of Skagen watches. Like when it comes to furniture, I like my watches to be sleek, classic, with a little bit of a clean modern twist. I love the irreverent yellow second hand against the simple square face with rounded edges.

end of radio silence

Since I took 16 days to move and move-in, it's needless to say that our move was a little bit rougher than we anticipated.

The move went okay...the movers were an hour and 15 minutes late, but once they came, they had us moved out and moved in in less than 3 hours. Nothing was broken except for an unfortunate delicate IKEA table lamp that the boyfriend wasn't fond of anyway.

But then the unpacking was interminable...compounded by my chest infection (woke up having a hard time breathing to have the doctor tell me I was breathing at 60% capacity) and that our living room wall is a load-bearing one, delaying our plans to hang our art until we find proper screws and hooks.

But now, it's all done. I love my little "corner office" and my jury-rigged vanity (dresser + huge square mirror bought at Home Goods for $15). Every time I walk into our bedroom, I get a huge smile just seeing them.

Here are some snapshots of our new home:

A darling little candle holder found at TJ Maxx that's currently on our coffee table

Our living room

A little corner of my vanity. The owl and little jewelry box are from Anthro. The tray is from The Container Store.

I'm a little obsessed with fine-point pens.

My corner of our bedroom. Lamp, file organizer, shelving unit, chair, table, and art from IKEA.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

the best laid plans...

We're moving in two days and this is the current state of my apartment:

Did I mention that before my move at 9:00 am sharp on Friday morning, I have to deal with the mess above (and in other rooms not pictured) today and drive 50 miles to my parents' house to pick up my sister, drive another 40 miles to the airport to pick up my parents from the airport who are coming back from their trip to the Philippines at 9:40 pm tomorrow, aka less than 12 hours before my move? Then, I will sleep 5 hours before waking up at 5:30 to get on the road by 6:15 to beat Chicagoland traffic so that I can pick up a money order for my first month's rent and meet my movers before 9:00 am.

Needless to say, this blog, my diet, my sleep, and my overall sanity have fallen by the wayside.

Hope to return from the dark side fairly soon...