Monday, January 31, 2011

Do you Smashion?

A few weeks back, I was contacted by Vanessa @ Smashion, introducing me to a site combining both marketplace with a sense of community. Users are able to buy and sell new or lightly worn clothing without paying a fee. Yup, no more selling on eBay or Bonanza for me! Other cool features include browsing other people's styles in the Gallery, or interacting with other users in the Forum. I've been thinking of setting up a blog shop to make space in my closet. I haven't had time to get around to it, but Smashion seems pretty easy to use and will be at the top of my list.

She also asked if I'd be interested in being interviewed for the Smashion Lounge. Of course I said yes. I felt like a quasi-celebrity, hehe. So if you're interested, check out my 2 minutes of fame.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Grey's anatomy

Ahh... the shirt looks so unpolished, so excuse the wrinkles and pretend I had smoothed it out instead. I really should invest in an iron, or a steamer. Maybe the steamer because it looks more fun. Any recommendations? Or simply hang things up in the shower and let natural steam work its magic?
necklace: Cara Accessories
shirt: Abercrombie & Fitch
sashes: J.Crew - one, two
tights: Forever 21
bag: Chanel

Friday, January 28, 2011

30 for 30: My thirty items

I've already worn most of the pieces I've selected... a lot. I know I took the easy way out by selecting mostly neutrals. (Hey, it's my first 30 for 30! I want to make sure I can see this all the way through). It wasn't too difficult to narrow down to these because they're my favorite items :) Some I would classify more appropriate for spring/summer, but I can't wait for the challenge to winterize them. Saying good-bye to the other items in my closet won't be easy!

9 shirts:
2) H&M basic jersey tee
3) H&M top with lace sleeves - gift from Elle
4) crewcuts boys' popsicle gingham shirt
5) American Eagle favorite shirt
6) Gap striped cowlneck T
7) Abercrombie & Fitch polo
8) Abercrombie & Fitch floral silk cami
9) Hollister Pacific Coast button down shirt

5 sweaters:
11) Old Navy cardigan
12) Abercrombie & Fitch cowl-neck sweater

3 jackets:
16) Express luxury stretch 1-button jacket
17) Abercrombie & Fitch denim jacket

3 pairs of pants, 2 skirts:
20) Express wide-legged khakis

2 dresses:
24) Plastic Island color blocked smocking dress

6 pairs of shoes:
25) Mossimo Desta ballet flats

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Inspired by: Shopbop - dressed shirt casual

How did you all North-easterners survive the thundersnow last night? I wish I had a cool adventurous story to tell, but instead I took the day off from work (being the lazy bum that I am). Forecast predicted the bulk of the storm to hit during the afternoon rush hour commute and I did not want to be a part of that. In hindsight, I'll pat myself on the back for the smart move. But if we had gotten nothing (like all the other times this season), I would be steaming over having to use my vacation hours, lol.

As predicted, the snow came down hard and fast right in the middle of rush hour. It's already bad enough that DC is tied for first with the nation's worst commute, but add to the fact that we simply do not know how to drive in the snow is a disaster waiting to happen. I sat in front of my computer throughout the night watching various live traffic cams as the drama unfolded. Tons of cars stranded on roadsides, traffic not moving, cars driving in made up lanes, normal people directing traffic, etc. I hop onto Facebook and see friends posting that they've been sitting in traffic for 6 hours, or taking 3 hours to drive 1 mile, or people not making it home until after midnight! It was ridiculous but I couldn't look away. This really is one storm to remember.

ETA: Round 2 of bloggers with their Bals are up at for the love of Balenciaga. Go drool for eye candy :)
necklace: J.Crew
sweater: Forever 21
belt: Express
jeans: LOFT
flats: Miu Miu (similar)

*Haute Hippie image courtesy of Shopbop

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Petite Fashion Challenge #5: Brighten Up Your Winter Blahs!

Hosted by Cynthia @ Shorty Stories, Petite Fashion Challenge #5: Brighten Up Your Winter Blahs! has us creating a sophisticated work appropriate look that has no more than one dark piece (it can be a skirt, pants, a blazer, sweater etc...) excluding shoes, accessories and hosiery.

My one dark piece is my theory blazer, which I can't get enough of. And to brighten things up, I paired it with a fuchsia top and neutral colored pants and coat. In real life, I don't get many chances to dress up for the office, so this PFC was fun and quite challenging.
top: LOFT
bangles: Forever 21
pants: XOXO
bag: Chanel

Monday, January 24, 2011

Purple people eater

For me, the most fun part of blogging is sorting through my pictures. I usually take around 10 per outfit. Especially at work, I have to hurry up because I never know who's going to walk in. Bad lighting? There's always that rotten apple in the barrel. Blurry ghost picture? I scare easily. Copying a pose from another blogger that I thought is so cool? Never fails to work. I'm athletic, but horribly gauche in front of the camera. But at the end of the day, my pictures never fail to make me cringe.

The worst part of blogging is coming up with topics to talk about. I'm not a good writer (thank goodness I took the SATs before they implemented the writing section) and not very articulate. There's only so much I can drone on about new item this or different color combination that, blah, blah. So help a girl out, what are some topics that I could talk about?
jacket: Abercrombie & Fitch
belt: Abercrombie & Fitch
pants: Hollister
shoes: Ugg (currently sold here)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Neutral ballet flats: fourth time's a charm

My quest for neutral ballet flats started when I spotted these Valentino flats at Saks about 6 months ago. The retail price of $495 was much more than I'm willing to spend, so I spent weeks staring at its prettiness while trying to find another that makes my heart skip a beat.

I bought these Delman Mona ballerina flats in oat crinkled patent, size 6 (currently sold here) because they retail for $195.00 and I paid $55. I can't say no to a great sale. Reviews for this pair said most people sized up, but since it was on sale, I was stuck choosing between either 6 (my normal size) or 7.5. I was hoping to be one of the minority where it fit true to size, but unfortunately size 6 was too tight on me. There was toe pinching and now I have an inkling of how sardines feel in a can, lol. Another 0.5-1 size up would be much more comfortable. From the few steps that I did take, there seemed to be a good amount of cushioning and padding, so with the correct size I can see this pair being comfortable. After all, Delman are supposed to be known for their flats.

After returning the Delmans, I then went and bought the Gap the city flat in camel, size 7 (currently sold here) over the holidays. These are actually a great look for less alternative to Lanvin ballet flats. The scrunched up shape (bottom right) looked odd when I first saw them, but don't be scared because they're quite comfortable on. What made me decide to return this pair was the color -- a few shades too dark for my skin tone, and I needed more structure in the toe box -- the leather practically molds to the feet and didn't make mine look flattering.

On the third try, I thought I had found success with this pair of Forever 21 Scrunch Flats with Bow in taupe, size 7 (currently sold here). Size 6 was too tight and size 7 is a tad loose. If only these flats came in half sizes, then 6.5 would have been perfect. After trying on the previous two pairs, I've come to the conclusion that my feet look better in flats with some sort of adornment on the toe box. I think it draws attention away from my wide feet. I decided to keep this pair, but the happiness didn't last long, as I lost one of the bows soon after :(

When the Valentinos finally went on sale at Saks, my size sold out almost immediately. I kicked myself (literally, by accident) for not being on top of daily shoe stalking, because now here I am back to square one. When browsing for other similar options (like this Miu Miu pair which is oh-so-pretty), I came across the same exact Valentinos for half off at Foot Candy! It must've been fate, first to lose a bow on the F21 pair at the same time sales are going on. So here it is, my Valentino Bow Ballerina Flats in blush, size 36.5 (currently sold here).

I did my research prior to purchasing and went half a size up. The flats are definitely more on the narrow side, so my regular size 6 would have been too small. Size 7 would have left too much room in the toe box, so 6.5 is about as good as it gets. It still is narrow, but I think over time the leather will stretch and mold to my feet. I like how the leather is super soft and buttery. After wearing it for a few days now, to my dismay there is a breaking-in period. Unlike my patenet Miu Mius where the back would rub against my feet causing blisters, this elastic back on this pair would push my feet forward a bit (but no blisters!). Now looking back at pictures, I shouldn't be surprised because out of the box the flats curved like a "U." Do you have experience with curved flats? Do they flatten out over time?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Talbots top + sweater

I picked up this Talbots Winter lace top in navy, size 0P (currently on sale here). The online model looked absolutely gorgeous wearing it so I had high hopes for this top. When I received it in person, I marveled over how nicely made this top was and how it didn't feel itchy when running my fingers over the lace. The fit on me was a disappointment. It felt fine across the shoulders but had more of a boxy and short fit, reminiscent of kids' clothing. Perhaps it's my long torso or the model wearing higher-rise jeans, but I'm getting too old to be baring my midriff. Sadly this top will be going back.

I couldn't turn my eyes away from this Talbots Drape front sweater in mist heather, size S/M (currently on sale here). I love the draped look and it reminded me a lot of an Alice + Olivia sweater from a few months ago. The fit was big on me, but probably would look a lot better if I had belted it like the model. I couldn't get over how itchy it felt, so this too will be a return back to the store.

Overall, this wasn't a horrible experience. I would still give Talbots a shot (but staying away from final purchases!). They have pretty and modern pieces that I'm already eyeing for spring :)

On an different note, go check out some fabulous modeling shots of bloggers' Bals at for the love of Balenciaga including yours truly and SewPetiteGal!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another scarf post

I wanted to wear a scarf as a wrap, but couldn't quite pull it off, so I layered it underneath a cardigan instead. Not too bad, you say? It's because you can't see the bunching from the back :D And I hope nobody was walking behind me and staring at the bulge, lol. I tucked the loose ends in as best I could, but if the scarf was just a bit shorter, then I would've had the perfect amount of fabric. Nevertheless, I found it pretty cool to try something new.
necklace: J.Crew
top: Hollister
scarf: American Eagle
jeans: LOFT
bag: Chanel
flats: Miu Miu (similar)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In real life: childhood memories

I was tagged by Elle @ Fast Food & Fast Fashion to share my baby pictures awhile back and I finally found the time to dig up and scan a few.

In the bottom left image, I'd guess I was practically a newborn. My mom likes to tell the story that my eyes were my best feature, the thing she first noticed when I was born. (Were being the key word because I have terrible eye sight now). Just curious, how much did you weigh at birth? I was average, a little over 6 lbs. And now I've grown to an average height of a little over 5'4". That's me, average to a T.

Growing up, I always had medium-to-long hair. (Thank you Mom for never subjecting me to the Chinese bowl haircut!) Since I didn't really had a say (or didn't really care?), I sported bangs for a good 2/3 of my life. Blunt cut bangs, side-swept bangs that looked like a cowlick gone wrong, you name it, I probably had it. Since I have thick, wavy, and frizzy hair, they didn't fall nice and silkily and definitely didn't frame my face. Ahh! I'm getting a mental nightmare just thinking about it. So I'll leave you with a not-so-horrible pic of me with bangs from when I was a child.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

1 year blogiversary giveaway - CLOSED

Where did the past year go?! I didn't expect anyone to read, let alone follow my blog so I was pleasantly surprised when A Chicken became my first reader (that I know of) and JenlovesBal left me my first comment. It's been a wonderful year and I want to host a small giveaway to my loyal readers as a thank you for putting up with my random ramblings, or sometimes rants =D
The winner will receive a $30 gift card to one of my favorite stores of your choosing: Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, Ann Taylor, Anthropologie, Banana Republic, Bloomingdale's, Esprit, Express, Forever 21, Gap, H&M, Hollister, J.Crew, LOFT, Madewell, Neiman Marcus, Nine West, Nordstrom, Old Navy, Saks Fifth Avenue, Starbucks, or White House Black Market.

This giveaway will be open to US residents only and will end on Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 6 pm EST.

Simply 1) be a public follower through Google Friend Connect and 2) leave me a comment below this post with the store of your choice and your email address (if I can't find it easily).

A winner will be selected by a random number generator and announced soon after. Winner will have 48 hours after the announcement to respond with their mailing address. That's it and good luck!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Skirts and dresses haul: LOVE 21, J.Crew, Bensoni

All of these skirts and (useless) dresses were bought in December, so I'm still doing ok with my resolutions ;)

First is the LOVE 21 Tiered Waist Skirt in mauve, size XS (currently sold here). It looked promising on the model, but I knew it was going to be a return the minute I opened up the package. There were loose threads in multiple places and the fit just did not look flattering on me. The more I look at the photos, the more the pockets look like Dumbo's ears.

Next is the J.Crew Factory cotton Nico skirt in soft sandalwood, size 0 (currently sold here). I was really looking forward to this because a cute cotton skirt in a neutral-khaki color goes with practically everything. When I tried it on though, a muffin top I didn't know I had popped out! All the fat I had around the stomach area was pushed in by this thick rubber-band-like waistband. Not flattering at all. When the skirt is worn above the waist though, it looked a whole lot better. In the end, I still decided to return this skirt.

This J.Crew Factory Cotton-Silk Shimmy Dress in ivory, size 0 was a final sale item. I loved the ruffles and the Victorian look, but let's be honest here, it could pass for a nightgown, lol. Mostly, I loved the potential of the dress --- I could already imagine styling it multiple ways.

The dress came in 3 parts, the actual dress itself (quite sheer), a slip (sheer as well), and a black sash. There is no zipper opening for the dress, just a small keyhole in the back with a button closure. I was a little worried because I sometimes have a hard time getting my shoulders in and out of dresses without zippers (darn wide shoulders!) J.Crew's size 0 is a hit or miss for me, so I crossed my fingers praying it won't be too big. The shoulders seem to fit me fine, but the rest feels a bit big, but could be remedied by the sash around the waist. What do you think though, should I pay to get it slimmed? If anyone has experience, how much would that roughly cost?

I also picked up this Bensoni Silk Asymmetrical Ruffle Dress in coral, size 0 from Gilt, also a final sale item (note to self: I really, really, need to stop buying at final sales). I fell in love with the dress on the model and despite some reservations on the bright color, I figured I should be dark enough to pull it off.

I would say the color is more of a bright salmon-y pink instead of coral. The V-neck is not too low, which I appreciated because I'm flat as a pancake. But I was expecting the neckline to not be dead-center given the asymmetrical name. Half the ruffles around the waist was also pushed downwards, which I didn't notice until now, but a quick iron should fix this. I thought the fit was pretty good overall, except the armholes. Is that worth $ for alterations?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Got cheese?

Warning: whiny post ahead. Feel free to skip.

Has anyone been following the housing bubble/fallout? I have, and I'm still waiting for the fallout. What recession? My area is practically immune. Reading articles, following message boards hardly makes me an expert, but I do know what I want. And I know there's no way of getting it unless I compromise. All I want is a garage townhome with 3 bedrooms, a place I can live in the rest of my life. Semi-newly built? Good schools? Prime location (for a decent commute)? Move-in ready? Right size? I'd be lucky to get 3 of 5.

Sure, I can easily increase my price range and possibly get everything I want, but I'm too cheap to be paying off a mortgage into my 50s/60s. Who in their right mind expects to buy their dream home (really, a garage townhome is my dream home) in their 20s as your first house unless you're a millionaire?! I know I'm being difficult and not following the traditional path of buying a starter home (ie, condo) and using equity to move up the housing ladder. I honestly can't foresee housing prices going up significantly in the next few years where it'd be easy to move up to the next tier. But what do I know? People are still snatching up houses left and right that I feel are overpriced (as in, out of my budget).

Then you ask, if you're not happy with these prices, why are you even looking to buy? A part of me is ready for the next step, owning a home, starting a family, etc. Sure, lots of people do that in rentals, but it isn't what I want (and I realize I'm being greedy and wanting too much). The logical part of me believes housing is a good investment in the long run, when you're free to live in something you own without any more monthly payments. Plus, there's the help of inflation. Oh, and I also hate moving. The realistic part of me knows that I'll never be satisfied with prices and my budget. Every generation probably feels that housing is expensive and adjusts their budget according to the market. It's only looking back that we'd say, "You had it so lucky to only pay $X for a house when nowadays we're paying three times that amount for the same house. I'd snatch up $X for that house in a heartbeat." Well, if I was in that situation back then, I bet I wouldn't feel $X was cheap and rather budget according to the norm then. It's a lose-lose situation.

Sometimes I half-joke to bf that we should up and move to Atlanta or Texas, the land of cheap housing. If we didn't have family ties or steady jobs, I wonder if we really would have the guts to do so? ...probably not as I'm a wuss at heart.

Nope, don't feel bad for me. In fact, I know I come across as bitter, entitled, and unreasonable. Someone who wants too much (used 'want' 7 times in 4 paragraphs?!) and am too stubborn to compromise. Eventually, I'll grow up and realize the error of my ways. I hope to come back to this post in the future whenever I'm moody and remind myself: wake up, life isn't fair, learn to compromise.

Did you have to make compromises when purchasing your home? If so, how did you prioritize?

Thanks for putting up with me. I promise this won't be the norm. *deep breath* Knock some sense into me and bring on the honest feedback. As bf likes to say, "do you want some cheese with your whine?" :)
top: Gap
belt: J.Crew
coat: Express (currently sold here)
bracelet: disney couture
bag: Chanel

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lace-d

Today I'm wearing a H&M top with lace sleeves in black, size XS, which I won from Elle @ Fast Food & Fast Fashion (thank you!). The top fits me but is more form-fitting than what I'm used to, especially worn alone (but how else can I show off the pretty lace sleeves?!). So I tried pairing it with a scarf and then with a necklace. I'm thinking I can also wear the top under a vest or a dressy tee (more reasons to go shopping?) Also, check it out on Elle here.
sash: J.Crew
tights: Forever 21
flats: Mossimo

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sad. mad. resigned

I bought these flats about a month ago and already one of the bows fell off!!! Sadly I was walking around in a crowded area and didn't notice I had lost it until it's too late, so I couldn't retrace my steps. It was only my third time wearing these flats! What a bummer -_- My first pair of shoes from Forever 21 and the first negative experience. I'll stick to buying only clothing and accessories from now on. Looking back, what was one item you regret buying the most?
cardigan: Old Navy (currently sold here)
top: LOFT
necklace: Banana Republic
belt: Forever 21
jacket: American Eagle
jeans: LOFT
flats: Forever 21 (currently sold here)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Reader request: side by side images using HTML tables

I was helping Lilly figure out how to place two images side by side using HTML tables, when it occurred to me that a bunch of text is useless without pictures! So hopefully this tutorial (with pics) is somewhat helpful.

1) The code. Simply copy without changing anything:
text above table
<table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" width="100%">
<tr valign="top" align="center">
<td width="50%">1</td>
<td width="50%">2</td>
</tr>
</table>
text below table

2) Go to where you compose posts. Note that there are two tabs, "Edit HTML" and "Compose."

3) Click on the "Edit HTML" tab and paste the code in the text area:

4) Click on the "Compose" tab. Highlight the text "1" and then click on the "Insert image" icon. Upload your image as you normally would. Repeat for text "2."

5) After you're done, you should see something like this:

6) Click on the "Preview" button (see above) to see how your images would look on your blog. *Note: there won't be a box around the images. It's there for demonstrative purposes only.

7) Go ahead and delete the text "1" and "2." I added them for temporary placeholder purposes. Replace "text above table" and "text below table" with your own text, or simply delete if they're not needed.

To add more columns or rows, continue reading. Otherwise, that's it! Now you have two images side-by-side spaced out evenly using HTML tables.

8) To add another row, simply copy and paste the original code:

9) To add more columns, copy and paste the td line. The example below has 4 columns, so the width % has to be modified from 50% to 25% (100/4) each. If you want 3 columns, use td 3 times and change the % to 33% (100/3).

Let me know if you have any questions!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy 2011!

This year I will:

1) Stop buying dresses that I have no occasions to wear to. Must... resist... all the pretty designs and fabrics. (Good thing I've already [hopefully] bought my share of dresses at the end of December).

2) Lose the stomach fat. Most people will scoff if they see my stomach. It's one of those things that I've taken for granted my entire life... and never noticed until I've put on weight. I definitely miss my old stomach! Need to form a workout plan, eat better, and stop being a lazy bum.

3) Go on vacation. Would you believe that it's been years since I've taken time away for myself? I've completely maxed out my company's comprehensive leave many times over. It's a good thing we can cash out extra unused vacation hours, so it's not a total loss.

4) Train my feet to wear high heels. As much as I love flats, I wish I felt the same way about my heels. They're too pretty to be sitting in my closet collecting dust ;)

5) Stop my wandering eye from lusting after new bags. The ones I already have are beginning to feel like unwanted stepchildren.

I'll revisit this next year and see how much self control, or lack thereof, I had :)
sweater: Forever 21
belt: Forever 21
jeans: LOFT
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