Tuesday, September 2, 2014

NYFW Prep







I realize this sounds ridiculous considering all the purchases I have posted on here in the past, but I went shopping on Friday to get "last minute items" for my trip to New York and ended up spending a small fortune on clothing. That's a small fortune on top of the already big fortune I have spent in the past. After months of honestly saving money, it didn't feel as good as it used to to buy stuff. I did get some amazing deals though, and hopefully come NYFW, I will think it was all worth it.

I have spent the last several weeks researching NYFW street style and pinning things I like from every major online retailer. You can see my Pins here. But I learned that just pinning things didn't help me. I wasn't buying any of the things I pinned, and likewise, I wasn't able to translate any of these pins into items from my actual closet. A lot of what is popular in street style these days just aren't things I like or would wear. I realized that in order to be myself at NYFW, I'd have to bring clothes that were truly me.

I had zero intentions in investing in yet another standout dress, but this one is very New York (it is after all from Kate Spade New York). The silhouette is perfect and so flattering. The color is divine and so eye catching. And the best part: it has pockets. I even think I can wear it with flats. The dress was on sale for Labor Day, but even so, it was a big ticket purchase. The garment bag made it all worthwhile though.

After having blown a lot of money I was in the mood to save. I decided to browse the consignment shops along Corona Del Mar (in my opinion, some of the best in the country) and walked away with steals from my two favorite stores. Recycled Rags had the most amazing silk ombre maxi skirt, Chanel heels, and Miu Miu flats. While I should probably buy more flats for Fashion Week, I just couldn't justify them although they were a great deal. The skirt was beyond amazing, so I took that and couldn't resist the sculptural heel of these champagne colored Chanels that I swear are comfortable (I already wore them this weekend!). I love that the interior of Recycled Rags has the mates of the shoes lined up all around the ceiling. I could live in that store.

Then it was off to On Que Style. Their sales were unbelievable. I walked away with a brand new Halston Heritage dress and a like-new 3.1 Phillip Lim frock for just over $100. One last stop at Beauty Collection to grab a new lip stain and some basics to pair with my statement purchases from Zara and I was done with shopping.

To be very honest with you though, all these purchases aren't completely removing the doubt from my mind. Maybe it's natural to worry a little when you don't know how exactly to dress for the place you're going, or maybe it's a bit of buyer's remorse. I have imagined this moment, of going to New York and going to Fashion Week for so long that I have forgotten to be realistic. I know things never go the way you think and I'm sure no matter what I wear someone will definitely be dressed better, but I didn't want to make it over there feeling like I didn't even try. I am worried about running around in high heels all day. I am worried about getting from place to place in a strange city. I am worried about breaking a sweat in my silk purchases, or worse, maybe even falling over my heels and twisting an ankle. I try not to worry about whether or not people will compliment my outfits or take photos of me, and instead am trying to enjoy it all, because I know it will be over so soon. I'm trying, and hopefully it doesn't look like I'm trying too hard.

I intend to post outfit images when I get back and some via social media. I'll try my best to look my best. Until then, happy shopping!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dreams DO Come True (& All That Other Good Stuff)



Langston Hughes wrote an entire poem about what happens when a dream is deferred. I hope I am not alone in admitting that I have postponed a dream or two here and there. Right now this poem really resonates, as I have literally gone running instead of working on some of my goals. I have also drowned some of my nights indulging in all things sugary and sweet instead of getting to work. I would have to agree with the ending lines of the poem that a dream deferred will eventually explode.

In a week, two of my lifelong dreams will come true. I will be in New York attending Fashion Week. I am guilty of being someone who has often rolled her eyes when a celebrity/politician/athlete stands on a podium and declares that dreams do come true, so this blog post is my apology to the world. This is my testimony to possibility. I have always been a big thinker, dreamer, believer, I can imagine a great many things, but I have for a long time felt like I had to package these things up and store them somewhere to save for a later date. I have treated my dreams and goals like a nice pair of shoes. I get really excited for them to arrive, and once they do, I tuck them away in their packaging. Sometimes I have a specific idea of when I will take them out, but mostly, I let them sit until the right opportunity arises and I have tried on several other pairs first. Why do I do this? I don't know. Perhaps I am afraid. Perhaps because sometimes it's easier to slip on a pair of running shoes or flip-flops rather than break in something new. Sometimes it's hard to walk the walk.

So here's my podium speech to all those out there who have dared to dream only to defer. I caution you that if you can dream it, it can explode into actuality. A dream is a heavy load to bear, and if it consumes you, you will work as hard as possible to carry this load. It is the work of many days (and night and weekends), it is the wearing of many shoes and trying many more on that get you in shape to be able to walk the path you were meant to walk. I'm not entirely convinced a dream is something intangible that happens only when we sleep. A dream can be a small glimpse, a gut feeling of what's to come. Once detonation happens and things become tangible and present, you won't want to run. You will even forget that you were ever afraid.

Dream on.


*Big heels, big dreams. Dare to stand tall and walk the walk. Shoes by Charlotte Olympia from the Outnet.  Unfortunately, these are probably too tall for NYFW.

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."

Cheers!


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.