Thursday, January 31, 2013

bag love

bag love #1


Another new feature on Thursdays: bag love. I'm seriously loving the new Tartine Satchel from J. Crew, especially in the colorblock. It's roomy yet sleek, and comes with a detachable zipper pouch and a shoulder strap. I think it's trying to channel the same concept as Celine's trapeze bags but with less exaggerated "wings". Plus, for $325, it's a lot easier on the budget. 

Will you go budget friendly or bust?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

blue jeans baby

Taking a recent inventory of my closet, I realize I am sadly lacking in the jeans department. I only had a handful of jeans to start with, and all of them were either the wrong size, of very poor quality, generally ill-fitting, or all of the above, save for one white pair I found at H&M and one black pair I found at Banana Republic (and never found again). 

I've never had very good luck with jeans - I'm 4'11, curvy, with a short torso and even shorter, very athletic legs. I never really found a pair that accounted for all of that, so I think I just waved the white flag and moved on, until now. Nothing is quite as versatile or as cool as blue jeans, and I'd like to get a handful of really good pairs of various styles (straight, skinny, and bootcut. Flares are not my friend.). I currently have one pair of skinny jeans in my closet: Gap's 1969 legging jean in indigo rinse. I love that Gap offers it in the ankle length, which on me is that perfect "scrunched" length. I am flirting with the idea of just ordering 2 more of this style, but I thought I'd ask for a little back-up first.

Do you have any jeans you swear by that I should give a try? Please do let me know!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

shoe love

shoe love


Have I mentioned yet how much I love shoes? I am most definitely a shoe person. Pumps, sandals, flats, wedges, sneaks - I love them all. Of course, my budget doesn't have enough room for all the shoes I would like to buy, and truthfully, that's fine because where would I put all of them and more importantly, when/how often would I wear them? But just because I can't buy them doesn't mean I have to stop admiring them. So here's a new feature coming up every Tuesday: shoe love. It'll be a chance to indulge in a little shoe stalking (tell me I'm not the only one!) and share some shoes I'm loving.

I'm not usually one for white shoes for the obvious reason that they get dirty quite fast and that just doesn't work for my lifestyle. But, just like wearing a white coat in the winter, wearing white shoes might not be very practical but it usually looks pretty good. I love the simplicity of the design and the way the coolness of the white pairs off with the warmth of the tan insole and heel. The right amount of texture, a silver buckle, and the asymmetric, wrap around design make a sexy understatement, keeping the shoe from being boring.

Will you be buying white shoes? Your thoughts/comments are welcome!

Monday, January 28, 2013

spring wishlist

spring wishlist


 The weather in Chicago has been ridiculous lately. In the past week, we've had snow, freezing rain, and fluctuations of 20 degrees in temperature. Today is 45 and drizzling, tomorrow will be 62 and storming, and by Thursday will be at 19 and possible snowing. Needless to say, I have no idea how to dress appropriately much less presentably, and I am truly, truly earnestly waiting for spring to arrive. Which explains why I've been aimlessly perusing the web for anything spring related and why I now have a spring wishlist:

1. cognac colored tote + crossbody

5. warmer season, lighter scent

8. nude wedges you can dress up or down

11. delicate earrings, necklaces, and bracelets  

Friday, January 25, 2013

I love...

...chambray + leopard. It's the perfect mix of laid-back masculinity with sexy, strong femininity.

 ...bright workspaces with clean lines, great organization, and pops of color. I'd be so productive in that office.
...simple watches with no numeric markers. I have a soft spot for watches. They're a piece of jewelry that's so functional and so versatile - you can choose to make a statement and be discreet all through one piece and the color/material/size you chose. + bagoong. Growing up in the Philippines, this was my after-school-snack In addition to the fact that it totally satisfies my incessant salt cravings every time, it brings back good memories of my aunt bringing me to and from school. Isn't it funny how food is just about taste and nutrition as it is about the memories it evokes? and white photos/Paul Newman + Joanne Woodward. Two loves in one photo. There's something about black and white photos that evoke a certain sense of transparency in an image, as if choosing to forgo color equals choosing to forgo everything and anything besides what is truly essential. And Paul Newman is my absolute favorite classic actor. In addition to being a great actor, blue-eyed, and devastatingly good-looking, his devotion to his wife and family and to the various charities he helped establish make him even more awesome. 

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

ring, ring

Rings are a great accessory, whether it's a fantastic statement-making cocktail ring or a thin, delicate band, stacked or by itself.  I tend to favor the more delicate pieces for my day-to-day, but a bold ring is my go-to piece of jewelry for a night out. 

left to right: BR (old), BR (old), Forever21 (old)

pink: thrifted; blue: BR (old); white: Nordstrom Rack (old)

orange: from Pakistan, gifted; silver: Nordstrom Rack (old); turquoise: Forever21 (semi-recent)

my top two: my first Christmas present from my guy in 2008, my engagement ring

Do you favor statement cocktail rings or more delicate pieces?

Monday, January 21, 2013

begin again

I became a US citizen a couple of months shy of my 18th birthday after 12 years of living in the United States, first under a visa and then with a green card. Every time I take out my passport, I am reminded of what it means to be a citizen of this country, and how proud I am to call it home. 

However you voted in the past election, the inauguration should be a reminder of everything that is good about our nation and the highest ideals of democracy. That we, the people, through a democratic process, voted in the man who has, for the second time, taken the oath of office. 

The process is often messy, and not everyone is happy with all the results, but on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, let us remember a man who dreamed these things possible for everyone, long before they became reality. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

weekend plans

We're taking advantage of the long weekend to find and acquire much needed lighting for our bedroom. As winter continues, lighting is very much at a premium. Now that my guy works from home and works primarily from the office corner in our bedroom, great lighting is a professional as well as aesthetic need. I would love for our bedroom to look like the picture above (isn't it just so cool?), but little by little and first things first. We're looking for visually interesting lamps with sufficient height to flank our bed with clean, modern lines and unique details.

Here are some designs that caught our eye:

Thursday, January 17, 2013

way to go, Coach!

Is it just me, or has Coach upped its game lately? I've always been a fan of they're classic aesthetic highlighted by their supple yet durable leathers. I still have a classic, all-leather bag I received from my mother for my 20th birthday. It's Americana at its refined, minimalist best. But I was turned off for awhile when Coach began coming out with questionably bedazzled designs. The brand's clean lines had been replaced by a riot of chunky Cs and less-than-stellar textiles. I'm so glad to see it come back to its old glory with timeless designs in modern colors for a really nice blend of traditional meets modern. For the craftsmanship, design, and quality of materials, the prices are more accessible than similar brands who offer the same services but at considerably higher price points. 

I want the entire look above - the bag, the shoes, the short trench

Other designs that have caught my eye:

And for my guy:

Has Coach been catching your eye lately?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

take a seat

I've been itching to do some redecorating of our apartment. We moved in back in August, and now that we've gotten settled, I'm eyeing new pieces, big and small, to make our place more comfy and a true reflection of our style. My guy and I both like modern, clean lines, and I love anything lucite or grey. It's such a wonderful color - softer than black, less high-maintenance than white, yet crisp and cool. Good thing it pairs so well with all the colors I love - blues and whites. The sectional and armchair are currently out of my price range, but the lucite chair just might be coming home with me soon. It would go great with this console I've been eyeing, don't you think? 

Have you been redecorating? What color palette do you lean towards?

Monday, January 14, 2013

weekend snapshots

I spent my weekend watching lots of football and spending time with my guy. It's fun to go out, but sleeping in and having a little staycation this weekend was wonderful and long overdue. 

Some other shots from my weekend:

We did manage to go out for some groceries...and a quick stop to J. Crew to make a return, wherein I proceeded to walk out with these. I resisted the Everly pumps on sale as I have no need for heels, but after making sure these flats abided by these rules and my budget, I purchased them. These were on sale + an extra 40% off, plus I used my student ID, so these were under $45. J. Crew had plenty of snazzy shoes on sale, and while it was an extra 40% off all sale (all sales final) at my local store, the sale is an extra 30% off online through January 20th. 

 Our new calendar from Etsy. Every month is a beer + food pairing!

Our little bar. Slowly but surely we're filling it up. The highball glasses were a Christmas gift from our mutual college friend, Jesse, and I loved them so much that I found and bought the old-fashioned lowball glasses to match ($30 for a set of four at TJ Maxx!). I think they're pretty; my guy thinks they're manly. Win-win. :)

New decor for our black-and-white-with-a-touch-of-blue-and-silver apartment from T.J.Maxx and Anthropologie

How was your weekend?

Have a great Monday!

Friday, January 11, 2013

in the bag

clockwise from upper left corner: iPad, Midori elephant paperclips, Moleskin hardcover 12-month weekly planner, checkbook, Sonia Kashuk snakeskin makeup bag, Louis Vuitton Epi wallet, Ray Ban New Wayfarer sunglasses in tortoise, Power Mate Plus for J. Crew backup iPhone battery + USB (other colors), headphones, pencil case from China to hold my pens, Michael Kors cardholder to hold my rewards cards/coupons, Kate Spade cardholder for my less-used credit cards

Needless to say, I carry a good amount of stuff with me. These days, they're all in this bag. A Christmas present from! The color is so pretty (it makes me smile just looking at it), plus the size, lower-maintenance patent leather, crossbody strap, and front semi-hidden compartment for my phone and lip balm make it perfect for my on-to-go lifestyle. 

Coach Juliette in crimson patent leather (other colors; loving the green one)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

things I shouldn't buy

image via

In a renewed effort to spend money more wisely, I was determined to ruthlessly assess my closet and make a concise list of what I truly lack. In the process, it's become really clear to me what I shouldn't buy again in the near future (or ever):

1. boatnecks - no matter how elegant they look on a mannequin or in an ad, they've never done my upper half any favors

2. black bags - I truly believe that black is a wonderful, versatile color, but 4 bags (a satchel, a crossbody, a hobo/bucket bag, and a travel/work tote) are enough.

3. scarves - I think my boyfriend might call it quits if I buy one.more.scarf. (not really, but I think he's half serious)

4. nail polish - after taking inventory last night, I realized I had an embarrassing number in my collection, including shades that even I had to concede were ridiculously similar when my boyfriend pointed it out. I got rid of over 60% of what I had. I'll be sending my discarded pile of often new and unused bottles to my aunt in the Philippines who's a manicurist. I don't want to buy any new bottles any time soon, but I'm instituting the rule of keep one, get rid of one for the future.

5. red lipstick/any lipgloss - too many reds, not enough pinks or nudes. I'm trying to get this to be more about variety (and use!) than quantity. 

I think the biggest thing I've learned so far in purging is how I make decisions about what I buy. When I was younger, I tried to get the best "value" for my money since I was still in school and not really working. Back then, this meant quantity over quality. In the more recent past, I cared about quality more when I could start to afford it, but often let myself get swayed by how cute I found an item or how much of a good deal it was. As I look through the mini mountains of stuff I've bought and am now discarding because of redundancy or lack of usage, I'm reminded and determined to make my purchasing choices more carefully. What I will buy in the future will have to be all of the following:

a. of good quality - long term over short term

b. fits my style - it's fun to experiment and be trendy every now and then, but the things that fit your style are often the ones that you reach for over and over again. for me, I like classic, streamlined pieces with a unique detail.

c. fit my lifestyle - this is a big one. I have plenty of things I am now selling/donating/giving away that fit my style but don't fit my life and what I need from my clothing/shoes/accessories. Here's what my life is like: I work in a business casual office from 9-5 and tutor in the early evenings. I'm often running from one place to the other. I love fashion, but I'm also practical, so I often opt for stylish low-heel or flat options for shoes to wear to work. Knowing this, I realize that I need a medium to large bag with a strap, comfortable shoes, and a uniform of sorts of nice slacks/trousers/jeans, a simple tee/blouse, and an over layer of some kind - blazer/cardigan/sweater. This is my life 85% of the time, so accordingly, that is the reality I should shop for 85% of the time. That's not to say that I shouldn't buy a killer pair of heels or a snazzy dress, but that I should be honest and realistic about how they'll fit into my lifestyle and judge the value/cost equation accordingly. 

What are the things you shouldn't buy? Have you been purging lately? How do you make decisions about your purchases? Please share. I'd love to know!

Monday, January 7, 2013

salt and pepper

Today is a busy Monday morning, so just a quick hello to share just how adorable these salt and pepper shakers are. It was wonderful walking into my office this morning to find that they had arrived after being back-ordered since before Christmas.
Hope your Monday starts on an equally delightful note!

Friday, January 4, 2013

ready, set, go!

image via

2013 is now four days old, and I've finally come around to writing down the goals I have in mind. Some are serious, some are lighthearted, all are important enough that I'd like to see them checked off (or at least worked on) 361 days from now. 

1. Be more kind. To my fiance. To my family. To everybody

2. Live in the moment more. I'm an obsessive planner. 

3. Call my grandmother in the Philippines once a week, every Sunday. She's my hero.

4. Get rid of unnecessary debt. I'd like to whittle this down to just student loans, my car loan, and negligible credit card expenses.

5. See more of Chicago. I've lived in this city since I was 7, but there are still so many things I want to see.

6. Be more organized. I'm an all or nothing person when it comes to organization, so my home vacillates between pristine and a wreck. I'd like to find a nice, happy, lived-in middle.

7. Be more healthy. Eat better. Drink more water. Exercise at least 3 times a week. Become stronger. Less emphasis on weight, more emphasis on what I want my body to be able to do.

8. Blog more. Blog better. That new camera my parents gave me for Christmas is going to earn its cost. 

Here's to 2013 to you and yours. Let's make it a good one!