Monday, August 4, 2014

Shoe Polish

My worlds collided recently when Christian Louboutin  announced he would be selling nail polish. Being a sucker for a good window display, I set out immediately to see the city scape-like windows promised at the Louboutin Store in South Coast Plaza. 

These polish bottles do not disappoint. The spikes are tall, and the bottle is big, offering a lot of paint for your pot. While I would love to own a pair of Louboutins someday, the polish might just have to do for now. Read all the details here

Monday, June 16, 2014

Shop Birdie

One of the good things that can come out of being in a wedding is the new people you get to meet and bond with over the months of planning. When I met one of the other bridesmaids, Kia, it was evident she had great taste. She had told me early on she was quitting her day job to pursue her dream of opening up her own boutique. In a few short months (among getting pregnant and being a bridesmaid, no less) she whipped this dream into a reality and Birdie Boutique was born.

I drove all the way out to Norco for the grand opening festivities and it was well worth it. This eclectic little shop has it all: decor, clothes, accessories, and gifts. Every piece is so on trend and the displays are artwork on their own. I would definitely say the store is like Anthro meets Pier One, with fun colors and useable items that give your home that sweet extra something. But the prices at this boutique are SO much more affordable. So much in fact, that I went on a tiny shopping spree and picked up a bunch of midi rings, a serving platter, a London-themed scarf, and a chunky, colorful statement necklace. 

My thanks to Kia for making her space inspiring AND affordable and sharing her vision with us all. I have to say, seeing this woman's determination left me wondering what my excuse is. So I am trying to push myself all week to work out a little harder, work a little longer, and write a lot more. 

Go here for for some happy shopping!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Made of Honor

My sister got married two weeks ago. Since her engagement in October, everything happened so fast. 

One of the memories that always sticks out from our childhood is one Halloween when my sister was a bride. She was probably 8 years old or younger. I am surprised my parents allowed that for her costume, but they allowed me to dress up as rigor mortis that year so ...

I remember her being a bride so clearly when she was a kid and it was just make believe. Then I blinked and everything was real. Being my sister's maid of honor was the most honorable thing  have ever done. I will probably never lead troops into battle or save continents with some grand discovery, but at least I can say there was a time and place where I did my duty and did it well, and someone else's life was richer for it, even if it went by very quickly. I struggled with my Maid of Honor speech, but one night my sister sent me a quote from ee cummings, and the rest just came naturally. Below is my speech. Thank you, Katie, for choosing me and for being a wonderful muse.

"My wise sister shared a quote with me from one of my favorite poets that I had never heard before: 

'To be nobody but yourself in a world that doing its best to make you everybody else is to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight.'

Katie, I can't tell you how proud I am of you for being yourself, for fighting this longstanding battle with the world and in so doing have won the hearts of your friends and family, and the love of a good man.

You might not realize it, but you have actually given me the best advice throughout the years. I have learned from you what it means to really be somebody and that love is always worth fighting for. I urge you and David to continue to be yourselves, despite this battlefield called life; that you become better versions of the person you fell in love with. Sometimes it may feel like it is only you fighting against the world, but remember that the two of you are in this together. And I truly believe that together, you can take anything on."


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Silver Lining

A funny thing happened on the way to my sister's wedding. I actually found myself stressed out about buying shoes. First time for everything, right? Here was the dilemma: my sister made silver the mandatory shoe color for the wedding. As someone who has shoes in virtually every color, style, and height, it is embarrassing to admit that silver was the only color in the spectrum I did not have. Gray? Sure, but no cigar. Other metallics? You betcha, I have coppers and golds galore. Basic black? Of course, these are the LBD of the shoe world. Neon pink and yellow? Yeah, why not?! But silver???? Not so much. 

After realizing that my sister wouldn't bend on her decision, I set out to buy silver shoes that I could reuse and silver shoes only. But of course that didn't happen. I set aside a Saturday to concentrate on this shoe quest at the newly refreshed Outlets at Orange. My new favorite discount store, Neiman Marcus Last Call  was my first stop. To my surprise, I found a great many silver shoes ... but I found a lot of other shoes too. After finding that the silver ones weren't my size or special enough, I gave in and allowed myself to try on some of the other shoes I found, which included Charlotte Olympias and Jimmy Choos. Forcing myself to still have money for the shower and bachelorette party, I decided to settle on some amazingly discounted Charlotte Olympia poodle slip-ons with feathers up front. And though I love cats, the poodle faces on the front were just too adorable to pass up. I picked up a couple of tops too and was prepared to walk away, but I was mesmerized by the limited edition crystal embellished Jimmy Choos. The problem was they were a tad big and well beyond my budget. It took a lot of will power, but I left them behind. On one final sweep of the store I made the discovery of a lifetime in the clearance accessories bin. I found a Charlotte Olympia perfume clutch that I had pined over for months. When I realized that the clutch was a better deal than the wine colored shoes and that I would probably never see it again, I picked it up and took it to the counter. Lesson learned: always do at least three sweeps of Neiman Marcus Last Call. 

My visit to Nordstrom Rack at the same mall on the same day yielded the perfect result for the wedding: silver snake print Burberry heels. While not as fancy or as cheap as I would have liked, the shoes were undeniably comfortable and were the right height to be worn again and again, especially at work. Satisfied with picking up heels for business and pleasure, I returned home.

But as any bargain shopper or shopping addict will tell you, second thoughts can be strong motivators. While I was over the moon about my perfume clutch, I was questioning why I put back the crystal Choos (especially after learning that I would be going to Fashion Week). So one weekend I set out to reclaim the shoes (if they were still in store). Much to combined disappointment and relief, the Choos were gone, but after three sweeps of the shoe section I stumbled upon these Charlotte Olympia poodle heels. I think these shoes are an absolute work of art! Since they were cheaper than the Choos would have been I picked them up.

In order to try and make amends for buying the poodle heels, I tried purchasing silver and rhinestone Betsey Johnson heels for the wedding (much more affordable than the Burberry). But alas, the heel was way too tall for standing in and dancing in, so I returned them.

But things all worked out for the best. My boyfriend was so charmed with the Charlotte Olympias that he drew me a cute sketch of my shoes. Laura from Pedi Princess gave the bridal party cute sandals to wear for our pre-wedding pedicures, and I bought my sister these I Do decals for the bottom of her silver Michael Kors that served as her something blue. And while no one probably saw my shoes at the wedding, it's OK because now I officially have every color shoe under the sun. It takes a lot of work to make it down the aisle and get every detail exactly right, but sometimes the journey and the slight detours we take can be equally as fun.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Cat Lady

I started considering myself a cat lady only a couple of years ago. We had one cat (my former roommate's) but then we adopted one from Lisa and I absolutely fell in love. (My Instagram is full of pictures of both cats.)

My mom says she isn't surprised I am a cat lady, because growing up, my grandmother (my dad's dear mother) always had cats. I loved seeing those cats and when I was little I really wanted one for our house, but my mom was allergic. My household became a dog-centered one, and while I still love dogs, I want a cat in my house for the rest of my life because they have become so important to me (and maybe because they remind me of my grandma just a little bit).

My parents were into seeing plays, and I remember when they saw "Cats" when I was a young child. I wanted to go really badly, but they didn't take me. It has taken 20 something years and I finally got to see the production last night in La Mirada. I took my boyfriend (very much a dog-person) and we both enjoyed it so much. I want to commit to seeing more theater in the coming years. There's nothing like getting dressed up. I broke out some special pieces like my new cat midi ring from Birdie Boutique,  feathered Elizabeth and James blazer, Charlotte Olympia nail decals  (not my best nail art work because I broke a nail and therefore had to file them all super short), Charlotte Olympia cat shirt , and Gatsby clutch from Kate Spade. 

One of my favorite Andrew Lloyd Webber songs has always been Memory. It is so heartbreakingly beautiful. I used to play it as I would do my writing in college. I suppose that's because doing a lot of nonfiction writing (my concentration) meant relying on my memories. Since my sister is getting married in less than a week (!) I have been combing through many memories to mentally prepare myself for the event and the speech writing. 

As my memories lead me back, I have been thinking of the meaning of happiness. For my sister that means getting married. For me that means shoes, jewelry, writing, my parents, etc. It is always tempting to think if we could just go back to a certain time we would be happier or rather, we would be happiest. It is scary to think of a new day; to imagine a new life. But the song teaches to not give in to that thinking, to not hold onto our memories as the sole definition of happiness. I don't want my memories to ever fade, like my grandmother's did before she passed away, I don't ever want to think that there was a time I was more beautiful, and it stings me a bit to think that there was a time I was a better writer. I make the excuse that I had more time ( when I was in college, when I lived closer to my job), but I was meant to go down this road, to have this be my life. I hope that I can be a better sister, a better writer, in the present and in the future. I have to look forward to the dawn of a new day; a new beginning. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Masquerade Bridal Shower

My first time throwing a bridal shower happened this past weekend. I spent months planning this with my mom and the bridesmaids. My sister decided early on that she wanted a masquerade theme (she has always liked peacocks, feathers, and Phantom of the Opera), so I got to Pinterest and Etsy and came up with some great finds that I had to share.

Masquerade engraved mint tins (that we later embellished) were the favors. They say "Katie and David" and their wedding date on the back. Bridesmaid Mayra used engagement ring ice molds to make ice for champagne and drinks. My sister bakes a lot so her cupcake standards are high. She is a fan of Dolcissimo, so we chose a dozen lemon and lavender and a dozen mini chocolates to adorn with mask rings. These cupcakes were absolutely amazing and I don't even like lemon flavored desserts that much! Purple crystals made the tables glisten while we toasted with purple champagne glasses. All purple items (my sister's wedding color and favorite color) and balloon bouquet came from Party City. I picked up the perfect gift for my sister on Black Friday when Kate Spade had a great sale on bridal accessories, including these bride and groom stud earrings. I then got a great last minute deal on this bridal hanger from Etsy. This seller is wonderful! I ordered last minute and she made sure my hanger reached me in time. The "Miss to Mrs." banner also came from Etsy in record time.  I then used my Polaroid camera  to take actual photos and put them in an album with messages for my sister. Lastly, we all decorated actual masks with crafting supplies my mom picked up from Hobby Lobby and Michaels. We even glued dowels to the masks for an authentic feel. Of course I had to include the quilt my great grandmother made that my grandma gave to my sister. It will look perfect in her new home!

This experience taught me that attention to detail is what counts the most. By listening to my sister's wants and needs and working together with friends and family we made it happen. While the shower did feature some crafts, we made up for the work by having the food catered. The only decoration we actually made were purple pouffs. Now that the shower is over I can appreciate how it all came together. While it seemed stressful at the time, I am sure that the lasting memories are better than any gift off of a registry.

Wedding season is here. Will you be throwing or attending any showers? Happy partying!