Friday, May 31, 2013

this weekend

this weekend


TGIF! I'm off to a second bridesmaid dress fitting after work today, then I'm driving to my parents' to help them prep for my sister's graduation party tomorrow. I'm making my world famous spaghetti... ;). The bachelorette party for my friend's wedding is also tomorrow evening. I foresee lots of...everything. We'll see how I'm feeling on Sunday. ;). 

Some things to check out this weekend:

My latest Zara obsession. Blue, red, or black?

Pssst!..if you're in need of a new swimsuit (like me), J.Crew has 30% off all swim, no code needed.

For anyone who's ever had a love/hate relationship with bras (aka, almost every woman, including this one). 

A retired pope's shoes. 

I saw these, and I was transported back to my scrunchy-wearing 90s childhood. 

Enjoy the weekend! 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

zip it up

zip pouch


Clutches/zip pouches were made for warm, carefree summer days. Why not pick a pretty one? Stripes and polka dots are classics, but I'm leaning towards the pineapple/cherry or spiky fauna print myself. 

Available at Madewell.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

currently loving: may

currently loving: may


I've always been a fan of other bloggers doing a regular roundup of their current favorites, and I'd like to start doing that regularly on this blog. As I try to be more selective of what I add to my closet, it's easy to focus on the bad purchases. While this isn't a bad thing in and of itself (I'm learning not to repeat said bad purchases), it gets to be a downer if you don't take into account the good purchases. 

So staring with the past month, these were my favorite good guys:

Dolce & Gabbana light blue. An oldie but a goodie. Now that the weather is warming up, I've returned to my perennial spring/summer favorite. I've worn this scent for years and years. I know it's fairly ubiquitous, but I've yet to find another scent that I like more.

Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfector in #06. The perfect, barely there nude lip balm/gloss hybrid. With just the slightest hint of shimmer, it makes my lips look just right. I don't know how it does it, but I'm sold.

Donna Karan Woman.  I received a deluxe sample of this perfume, and I was immediately intrigued. The scent is unabashedly womanly. Not delicate, not sweet, but sensual and female. I like to use just a little on my wrists and behind my ears. The past few days have been rainy and gloomy, and I've found that this scent stands up to it and gives me a little pick-me-up. 

NARS x Pierre Hardy in Rotonde. My new favorite blush. NARS is one of my favorite makeup brands, for a variety of reasons, one of which is the company's dedication to creating makeup shades for a very wide range of skin tones. This blush is easy to blend and easy to layer. When other blushes have either not shown up on my skin tone because of lack of pigmentation or have had the color but have been impossible to blend, this one is so easy to use and so beautiful. 

Old Navy boyfriend khakis. I bought these khakis in the coral red, promptly fell in love with the softness and fit, and proceeded to buy the army green, black, white, and kelly green pairs. 5 pairs later, I'm seriously tempted to get more colors...they're that good. Old Navy is often hit or miss when it comes to quality...these are a definite hit.

Zara white and nude sandals. I've worn these babies with everything - with jeans, with skirts, with a sundress to my sister's graduation. Perfect whether dressed up or dressed down. The thicker heel makes them comfy and suitable for all day wear - I wear them for 6 hours with no pain (and only a tolerable ache in my arches after 8+ hours). Worth the $49.90 + tax I paid for them.

Coach Penny and Longchamp Le Pliage Cabas. I've alternated between these two bags for the past month: the Penny for the weekend and the Longchamp for the workweek. The small size of the Penny forces me to just carry the basics - phone, keys, cash/cards, and lipgloss. On the weekend, what more do you really need? The Longchamp has been a workhorse. I owned the shopping long-handled version of Longchamp's famous totes in college and used it to death over the course of 3 years. Now that I don't have textbooks to carry, I prefer the more streamlined shape of the Cabas (short handles, open body with no zipper). This shape is discontinued (boo!), but they're on eBay fairly regularly. Just do a saved search and you'll be updated about the available options. Like other foldable Le Pliage bags, the Cabas lacks structure on the bottom, so I ordered a base shaper via eBay to help the bag keep its shape. 

What are you currently loving?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

recent purchases

recent purchases


My purchases during the long weekend. I was in need of a lightweight grey cardigan, so I'm glad I found this one at Old Navy. With a sale and a rewards card, it came to a wallet-friendly $2 plus tax. J. Crew Factory was having a 50% off everything sale so I walked away with this cardigan, this ikat shirt (sold out), and these flats in nude, to a total of $84.50 plus tax.  I founds these wedges at Target. I used a $5 off Merona shoes coupon to lower them down to $19.99, but still, I'm undecided about these and may return them. I made a quick stop in store at J.Crew and walked out with the black and white version of the Factory dress shown above and the double square tee (both sold out online, but try in store). I wore the dress to my sister's graduation. Both pieces together came to under $35 with the additional 30% off sale prices promo in store.  Lastly, these heels from Zara were a gift from James. I don't usually go for "busier" shoes, but I liked the interplay between the daintiness of the shoe overall with the texture of the studs. 

We had a lovely time by the lake, and I was so proud to see my sister graduate. I'll try to get some pics up soon. I hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Did you shop over the long weekend?

one || two || three (sold out) || four
five || six || seven || eight (sold out)

Friday, May 24, 2013

this weekend

Keeping this short and sweet. Wishing everyone a fantastic long weekend of good weather, good times, good shopping, and most importantly, remembrance of all who have fought and sacrificed so that we get to enjoy so much good in this country.

In memory of my grandfather, Petronilo Campanano, and his fellow World War II veterans.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

working for the (long) weekend

memorial day weekend


The long weekend is almost here, you guys! My sister's high school graduation is on Sunday, and right after, my family, James and I will be heading up to Lake Geneva for some R&R lakeside. New Glarus beer, here I come. 

I've learned over the years to pack minimally for a long weekend. I like to stick to tried-and-true basics - chinos and white jeans with easy tanks and a jean jacket. Sunglasses, a scarf, a pair of comfortable shoes, and a crossbody are all I need accessories-wise. 

What do you wear on a long-weekend getaway?

white tank || khaki green chinos || jean jacket || sunnies || scarf (sold out, try this)

crossbody || boat shoes || printed tank || white jeans

Wednesday, May 22, 2013




My best friend's wedding is right around the corner. While I have made arrangements for alterations for my bridesmaid's dress, bought a wedding present and a bridal  present, and finalized plans for the bachelorette party, I have yet to find a clutch for the big day. I'd like it to be versatile: perfect for this wedding but for other events in the future as well, to get the most bang for my buck. I'd also like it to be a style I like (the higher the chance I'll wear it again) and be large enough to hold the essentials: my phone, cash/credit cards, a small mirror, a piece of gum, and lipstick/lipgloss. Clearly this heart clutch won't come close to holding everything I want, but isn't it adorable? Plus, what event is more appropriate than a wedding to wear a heart-shaped clutch to? Realistically though, I'm leaning towards this gold mesh one or this floral one.They would both complement my coral/peach dress. 

Which would you pick?

one || two || three || four || five
six || seven || eight || nine || ten 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I wish...

...I were more patient.

...I liked blue cheese. I feel like it's something I should like. (Does that make sense?)

...I were more brave.

...I could go home.

...I could take a nap right now.

What are you wishing for?

Monday, May 20, 2013

one, two, three

one, two, three


My sister's graduation is this upcoming weekend, and I've been trying to come up with several outfits. This is particularly hard for me because I don't do dresses very often. This is not because I dislike dress - I love them! - but finding one that fits my rather hard-to-dress body is hard, especially when it comes to more formal dresses since they're usually not made of forgiving knit. When I saw that Loft was having a 30% off everything + free shipping (no minimum, with code gottashop), I decided to try out some dresses and purchased these three. I figured I could got with an easy, summery vibe (it is Memorial Day weekend, after all) and got some comfy knit options. I love the cowl neck in option #1 but I'm worried about the thin straps since I'd have to wear strapless. I love the color of option #2, and a v-neckline is always flattering. This one doesn't look too low, which is a plus. My favorite so far is option #3 - the ikat print is so cheery, and I love the neckline. I'd go with a clutch and sandals for all three for an elegant, season-appropriate vibe. 

I'd love some ideas in case all three of these options fall through (this has been known to happen to me with dresses). Please share:

What would you wear to a graduation?

Friday, May 17, 2013

this weekend

This weekend is jam-packed. I'll be going to my friend's wedding dress fitting and a staff BBQ on Saturday while trying to catch the Blackhawks game on the radio. Playoff hockey is the best. James has been wanting to go see Star Trek so we'll probably catch the movie later that evening after the BBQ.  Sunday should be more relaxed - church and then more hockey. I'll be doing groceries and getting my bridesmaid's dress altered today - it came swimmingly huge on me so cross fingers my tailor will be able to work his magic.

What are your weekend plans?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

currently eyeing: zara

currently eyeing: zara


You know the saying 'when it rains, it pours'? That's how I feel about Zara right now. There are seasons where I'm ambivalent about everything Zara's offering - I don't love anything, everything is just okay, so I end up passing. Then there are seasons like this one, where it seems I want everything. I've already bought more shoes from Zara in the past two months (5) than I have in the past two years from them. Granted, this downpour of offerings from Zara has coincided with my biennial replacement of sandals, but still. It's rare that I shop this heavily from one brand in a compressed amount of time. And, as evidenced by this post, the rain hasn't stopped. This collage of 11 pieces is me narrowing down my cart. They all certainly won't end up in my closet, but I'm thinking 2-4 more pieces are coming home with me. I'm heavily eyeing these silver heels (did I mention they come in white, too?) and these tan sandals

Have you been eyeing Zara lately? Eyeing any of the above? If so, which would you choose?

recent purchases

recent purchases


New additions to my closet, purchased within the last two weeks. I don't usually buy two pairs of the same shoe. I originally purchased these sandals in black to replace an older pair that was on its last thread. I went back for the nude to serve as my bridesmaid shoes for my best friend from high school's wedding next month. I think they'll go really well with our peachy/coral chiffon grecian gowns. Since all of the bridesmaids are tall and lanky Lithuanians except for me, I need all the height I can get, and at 4", this pair is at the highest I want to go without all-out sacrificing comfort. I loved this necklace the moment I saw it, and James did, too - so much so that he bought it for me as a "just because" gift. It was super sweet of him and made me love it even more. With two discounts combined and free shipping, it came to $38 and change.

sandals :: nail polish :: necklace :: dress

What are your recent purchases?

Update: I ended up returning both J.Crew bags from my last "recent purchases" post.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

shopping habits

 At the beginning of the year, I decided to make a conscious effort to keep track of my spending. In the past 4+ months of keeping a running inventory, I've learned a lot about the way I shop.

I've learned that I do 75% of my shopping online versus 25% in person. Online shopping is just so much more convenient than finding the time to head out to an actual brick and mortar store. All of my in store shopping occurs on the weekends simply because I don't get home from work until around 7 p.m. Monday-Thursday. That being said, I've also learned that I return 75% of the items I buy online while I tend to keep 80% of what I buy in store. That's not really surprising - it's so easy to stockpile your online shopping cart because you need x more dollars to get free shipping or because you don't know which size will fit better so you buy two sizes to try on. On the other hand, you spend valuable time in store trying on and trying out everything that catches your eye, which goes a long way towards eliminating unwanted items by the time you check out. 

Another thing I learned about is where I shop. I noticed from my spreadsheet that I often end up buying the same type of clothing from the same retailer. This may seem like I'm reading too much into the data, but for someone who is super short and super curvy, finding clothes that fit decently is time consuming and frustrating. Petite sizing fits length-wise in the arms and legs, but don't accommodate my bust line. Plus sizing accommodates my bust line but is swimmingly huge everywhere else. I've found alterations to be a necessary reality for my body type, but anything that will help minimize the trial-and-error process is welcome.

My current rotation:

for casual dresses: Gap, Old Navy

for formal dresses: Nordstrom

for shoes: Zara & Topshop (on trend), Nordstrom (great variety), Madewell (love their flats), Zappos (great service), J.Crew

for jackets: Gap, Old Navy, H&M

for basic t-shirts: Target, Gap

for jeans: Gap

for jewelry: J.Crew, BaubleBar, forever21, thrift stores, eBay

for cute tees and shirts: Madewell, J.Crew

for discontinued/last season/hard-to-find merchandise: eBay

for splurges/gifts: Shopbop, net-a-porter

Gap and Old Navy make a heavy rotation in my closet for a variety of reasons: they have a wide range of sizes, they do basics quite well, they are often at reasonable price points to begin with but in addition, often have frequent sales, and shipping is free daily with orders of $50+, no code needed. They also take returns in store. I've found Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's to be my go-tos when it comes to department stores. Nordstrom's awesome return policy plus free shipping and returns (no minimum!) makes shopping there hassle free, and Bloomingdale's loyalty program is great for accumulating rewards (Nordstrom's has a rewards program as well).

Knowing all this has helped me cut down on aimless and futile browsing by going to my tried-and-trues first. It's also giving me the opportunity to analyze my habits and how I can improve them. I'm trying to transition to buying better - whether that means buying less, buying for quality, or a combination of the two. I'm trying to find the ideal balance between my budget, my needs, my style, and the ethical consequences of my purchasing power, especially in light of recent events in Bangladesh. It's a work in progress, but knowing how and where I shop is a start.

What are your shopping haunts and habits? Do you keep track of your purchases?

Monday, May 13, 2013

pardon the interruption

My entire weekend was spent prepping for my little sister's senior prom. Translation: nothing else got done. It was nice to step away and just immerse myself in real life. She had a great time, and I was able to spend some time with my family and my mom. A belated Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers and mother-figures! 

I'll be back into virtual reality shortly. :)

Happy Monday!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

shoe love: rain boots

rain boots


This pair makes me hope that my long search for a functional yet stylish rain boot(ie) has come to an end. $150 for what are essentially rubber foot coverings seems like a lot of money, and let's face it, it is. But I have searched high and low, near and far, and I haven't found a single pair in which my athletic calves will fit. If I had, I would be the proud owner of either the polka dotted pair I saw at Target a month ago. 

So I have had to resort to finding ankle rain boots...only to find that that is easier said than done. The less than a handful of pairs of ankle rain boots that I have found were so darn ugly that I couldn't make myself click "buy". I am not too proud to admit that looks are just as important to me as function when it comes to shoes, even shoes whose sole essential purpose is to keep my feet from getting wet. I'll rationalize the imminent future purchase by this mathematical calculation: $150 divided by [the number of bad weather days in Chicago in a year (~200) + the number of days of sheer effort on my part in finding alternatives only to come up empty (~573)] = totally worth it. Bonus: they look good. Not bad for some rubber shoes.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

dress me



Warmer weather brings out the more feminine side of me. When the sun is shining, all I want to do is wear dresses. Whether it's a casual, perfectly draped maxi or a more dressed up blue and white stunner, the thing I look for in summer dresses is comfort and ease, because when the sun is shining and the weather is warm, things are simple and uncomplicated - why dress differently?

dresses: grey maxi :: b & w stripes :: red jersey :: blue & white :: print :: pink & coral

What's your warm weather uniform?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

current obsessions

A new feature on the blog: a quick roundup of everything I'm currently loving. 

I didn't mean for it to be so makeup-centric, but I guess I've just been inspired by the beautiful weather around here lately to play around with makeup. 

This blush looks scary and intense in the pan, but with the right brush and a light touch, it blends beautifully to the perfect peachy cheek. Now that I know it's blendable, I'm tempted to get the other color in the NARS x Pierre Hardy collection: Boys Don't Cry, a beautiful flushed pink. If you've been eyeing it, keep in mind that it's much bigger than the regular NARS blushes (0.45 oz. vs. 0.28 oz.), which explains the much bigger price ($41 vs. $29). It originally came with a gold overlay in a geometric pattern all over the pan, but I've already wiped some of it away with use.

I've been looking forever for a bronzer that would give me enough of an effect on my relatively dark skin. This one from D&G was a splurge during the Sephora friends and family sale, and it's given me just the right amount of contouring and color. I don't think it will work for me when I get darker as the weather gets warmer (I get about 4 shades darker than what I am now), but until then, this has been wonderful. I got it in the shade "bronze 40". The packaging is beautiful and luxurious, coming with its own velvet pouch and gold-handled compact brush that fits in the pouch's front pocket.

 I'm really digging this cobalt blue and silvery/gold glitter mani combo. I used these colors this weekend, and I can't stop looking at my nails.

This lipgloss is a recently re-discovered oldie but goodie. It's the perfect coral (#165 volupte), and the formula is not too sticky. I got this mascara as a sample, and it's become a fast favorite. It really extends my lashes and gives me an open-eyed look for when I'm looking half-asleep, either by itself or layered with my other favorite mascara. While I don't have really bad undereye circles, this concealer has been great for some touch-ups on my face after a particularly hard week when I need a little help. It's creamy and blends seamlessly, and I like that it comes in an easy-to-transport tube.

Lastly, I've been wearing this necklace nonstop. It's delicate while still giving enough of a sparkle. It's no fuss glam, which is what I've been needing as the past few weeks at work have been grueling.

What are your current obsessions? Do share!

Monday, May 6, 2013

back to black

back to black


I have a long-time love affair with black, a love affair that shows no signs of ending any time soon. I love its versatility, its timelessness, and its mystery. The right little black anything always feels fresh. 

Black is definitely the most represented color in my closet. At last count, I own 12 pairs of black shoes. I have a nice little pile of black t-shirts - perfect for all the times "I don't know what/have anything to wear". But, funny enough, I own just two black bags: one evening minaudi√®re and one semi-structured satchel (okay, I own four, but two of them are work/travel totes). Maybe it's because I vowed in the past I would never buy anything black again, but I honestly think it's because I don't know if I've found the perfect one yet (at least, not the perfect one that I can currently afford...I'm pretty sure the 2.55 and the Cabas Chyc are perfect). 

Black is so simple and ubiquitous that sometimes settling for less than perfect makes the bag/dress/shoe go from classic to boring in a heartbeat. But I've re-devoted myself to the impossible search, and found some options. For under $400, the Coach and Zara bags are a great deal for the quality and style (I have the dark brown version of the shopper, and it looks and feels more expensive than $150). For under $850, the Pashli and the Prisma are two solid options. I love the reinforced corners of the Wang and the functional zippers of the Lim - black with a little edge. If we're talking about breaking the bank, the silver hardware 2.55 is pretty much tops when it comes to black bags. I think the silver hardens up a pretty conservative purse and makes it more versatile for a variety of events/lifestyles. I'm also really intrigued by the Cabas Chyc from Saint Laurent Paris. I love the iconic but minimal hardware, the practical but chic shape, and the multiple options for wear (top handle, shoulder, crossbody). I think I'm going to hold out for one of these two, even if that takes awhile. Because if there ever was a time to invest in a bag, for me it would be a black one. 

I don't know why I've resisted for so long, but it's official: I'm going back to black. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

closet organization

I recently re-organized my closet (that's my half you're seeing), both to edit my wardrobe and to give my guy a better percentage of our closet real estate. In terms of hanging and shelf space, we're close to a 55/45 division. The division of the lower half, aka shoe space, is a different story. There, it's more like 70/30.

We recently invested in slim-line hangers, and now I'm wondering what took us so long in the first place. Even James conceded that they did a much better job of hanging our clothes compactly. After initially planning on purchasing them from The Container Store, we lucked out when they were being sold at our Costco for $8 per box of 35. 

I store my sweaters in sweater boxes from The Container Store. Now that it's spring, they've moved up to the highest shelves along with the blue and white basket that holds my tights for out-of-season storage.

I pile my khakis, jeans, skirts (casual and seasonal), and shorts on the middle shelves. 

I hang my tops by type from left to right: camis, tanks, short sleeved solid t-shirts, short sleeved printed t-shirts, short-sleeved blouses, 3/4 sleeve shirts,  long-sleeve shirts, button downs, lighter cardigans, sweatshirts, and lastly, vests/sleeveless trenches.

I store most of my smaller purses (I have around 6) in their dust bags in the butterfly box I found at TJ Maxx. My bigger bags are to the left and right of the box, and they're all on the top shelf. My clutches are stored in the tan and white box directly below my khakis/jeans shelf.

My shoes are also grouped by type and to a certain extent, color. I keep all of my black heels together, followed by heels in different colors and prints. Sandals and wedges are on the top shelf of the second rack. My flats fill up the rest on the bottom, and my boots are lined up on the floor and to the right. The shoes still in shoe boxes are recent purchases that I'm still contemplating on keeping or haven't worn yet. Right now, the boxes are serving as shelving for flat summer sandals. In the future, I'd like to get some cubby drawers to better organize my shoes, but this will work for now.

My dresses are hung on the other side of the closet next to James' suit jackets because that was the only shelf that was high enough to keep them off the floor (the 5% of encroachment into his half). Everything else (socks, workout gear, pajamas, etc.) goes into the bottom two drawers of our dresser (James gets the top two).

How do you organize your closet?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


madewell's having a sale!

madewell sale


my picks: shirt :: skirt :: shirt

all you need

It's sunny and warm (almost 80!) in Chicago today, and it could not be any more beautiful. I'm starting the day off with a little iced coffee. With a day as beautiful as today, that's really all you need. That, and a pair of sunnies.

Happy Wednesday!

rings: forever 21 .:. shirt: j.crew .:. nail polish: nars x pierre hardy vertebra