27 March 2013

Repetitive Easy

casual safari  casual safari

I am completely a creature of habit. I guess I am an old lady at heart because there are just certain things that I like to have done a certain way. 

 I eat breakfast every morning partly because ... I eat breakfast every morning. I sit on the right side of the couch, I sleep laying on my left, I brush my teeth for for the entire two minute Sonicare cycle. Once I like a certain dish at a restaurant, that will be about the only thing I order when I go there (Cracker Barrel, you had me at house salad with ranch and chicken and dumplings). I've been pretty consistent with the treadmill each day and have not given myself any time off unless I'm traveling, because I know one day off will soon equal two days off, then three ... And if I like a book or a movie/show, I can reread or watch reruns without fail over and over and over ... ad nauseum.

casual safari  casual safari

Currently on repeat with me? Born Round by Frank Bruni. A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. Mystic Pizza with Julia Roberts and Lili Taylor. No Reservations or Bizarre Foods, if either happens to be on when I'm watching TV, the remote stops there. (Wow, just realizing all this stuff has a food-related slant to it - what does that say about me?)

Are any of you creatures of habit? What are some of yours? Are there any books or shows that you don't seem to ever tire of?

casual safari

casual safari

Vest: F21 hooded utility (worn here - sim, sim, sim)
Top: Lili's Closet via Anthropologie skirted stripe (worn here - simpler, simpler, layer this or this)
Jeans: ON rockstar pop-color cords (worn here - sim, sim, same in denim)
Necklace: c/o RedEnvelope open heart
Bracelets: Tiffany & Co. 1837 (sim, wide), Tag Heuer (both worn here)
Bag: Pour La Victoire roma (worn here - sim, sim, luxe)
Shoes: Gap calf-hair (worn here - this year's version, sim, cap-toe, deal)

♡       ♡       ♡       ♡

A special thanks to RedEnvelope for gifting me this beautiful sterling silver open heart necklace. It's a beautiful piece that's both delicate and a little rustic, a great choice to wear on days when I just don't feel like a big heavy statement piece. RedEnvelope has been one of my long-time go-to places to find unique gifts - they've got stylish and quirky pieces, loads of them which can be personalized!

25 March 2013

Fable for a Day

fables print  fables print

So this dress is a bit outside my normal style aesthetic but when I saw it on online, I knew that I immediately needed to have it. The mix of colors and patterns were just fun, the cut of the dress seemed like it would be super-flattering and it's jersey knit! I love that stuff! Stretchy knit clothes are like cheating when it comes to getting dressed because they're so comfy. It seemed perfect for easy weekend wear.

And when I donned this dress, I just felt like it would be the right thing to pair it with more Anthropologie - probably the most pieces from the retailer that I've worn together in a while. Because though Anthro is one of my fave retailers, I've really cut back on my purchases there. Partly because I think my tastes have changed - and partly because I think I'm a bit more wise about succumbing to outside influences.

fables print  fables print

I admittedly got caught up in the Anthro-specific style blog heyday of mid-2011 (wow, was it that long ago?!). When for a period in the style blogging community the brand was the thing, and we fans went seriously gaga over new releases, stayed up late or woke up extra early for sale days, bent over backwards and promised first-born children for highly-coveted pieces (scalloped dots skirt, winding ruffles boots, stormy seas necklace, mompos dress - remember the hysteria over those pieces?).

I ended up buying things that were popular or hard to find, so I could be " just like the Joneses" or "the First!" I ended up with stuff that was quirky and cute as heck, but honestly didn't fit into my lifestyle or would have been something I picked out on my own. I learned my lesson about succumbing to the hype via my wallet. Now I still look at the Anthro site often, but I'm smarter about the items I buy - I listen to myself more. So though I snatched this dress up as soon as I saw it, this dress (and the boots and the bag) are all me.

Have you been influenced by outside forces before to buy stuff that you may not have chosen on your own? What items have you tried because of the "hype?" What's actually worked out and what hasn't?

fables print

fables print

Dress: Pinkerton via Anthropologie fables print (sold out online, check stores - sim, sim, sim, floral)
Tights: Target
Necklace: Emerson Fry (worn here - sim, sim, pricey)
Bracelets: Glitterbox Jewelry via Etsy (sim), Betsey Johnson (sim), Asos, ON (sim, sim)
Ring: c/o INPINK turquoise polished (worn here - sim, sim, real deal)
Bag: Holding Horses via Anthropologie tasseled leather (worn here - sim, clutch, more brown)
Boots: Schuler & Sons via Anthropologie studded strap (worn here - sim, sim, pricey)

22 March 2013

Click Refresh

jailbird   jailbird

I guess you could say that I inadvertently theme-dressed in this outfit, but I couldn't help the matchy-matchy-matchy. Once I grabbed the dress and top, the rest just snowballed. I'm not sure what the theme of the day is though, when I put this ensemble on and glanced at myself in the mirror, I didn't know if I should get in line and grab a shovel or don a mask and go steal some cheeseburgers.

jailbird  jailbird

Blazer: J.Crew Robert Noble herringbone (worn here - sim, sim, trimmed)
Top: Modcloth lace share (worn here - sim, sim, sim, black)
Dress: J.Crew maritime (worn here - sim, sim, dressier, deal)
Scarf: Ebay (sim, sim, sim)
Tights: Anne Klein
Bracelets: Asos (sim), J.Crew (sim), Target (sim)
Ring: BR (sim, sim)
Clutches: Rebecca Minkoff (worn here + here - sim, wallet, pricey)
Shoes: Vince Camuto bronco (worn here - sim, sim, pricey)



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So I've had this current blog layout for a while now and I am starting to wonder whether or not it is time for a refresh. I've pretty much DIY'd my own blog layout since the beginning by doing what I can with the Blogger's canned themes and "customizing" with Picasa and the now-gone Picnik (I miss you Picnik!).

I am wondering whether or not it would be worth it to get some pro help this time around if I decide to move forward but I'm a bit intimidated by the whole deal of working with a web designer since I've heard some custom blog designs can run upwards to the hundreds of dollars (egads). And honestly I'm not entirely sure I know what I want (I can't decorate my living room, this "theme" thing kind of blows my mind).

So I'd like to see what you ladies think about blog layouts. What do you like (or irks you) about certain things people do on their blog layouts? 

Have any of you worked with outside help for your own blogs? If so, are there any blog designers you recommend? And how does the whole process go down?

20 March 2013

I'm a Banana, Look at Me Now

I'm going to warn you, this post is going to be a semi follow-on to Monday's about that book, Kitchen Chinese (I don't know the author, I swear!). It's not necessarily because I think the book itself is so awesome, but I felt like I could relate to the main character, Isabelle, and there were a lot of "me too!" moments when I was reading along.

houndstooth stripes

Like I mentioned before, my family moved to the States from Taiwan when I was three. Though my parents still had us speaking Mandarin at home and made traditional Chinese dishes for dinner most nights, I grew up very American. I lived in NYC for most of my young life and went to public school like everyone else, rode bikes after school, hung out with my friends, ate fries, and swooned over Hollywood hunks like Tom Cruise (pre-Oprah couch-jumping), Christian Bale, Brad Pitt. Color, religion, it didn't matter when we were kids - we were all different and just like each other.

It wasn't until I was older that I started noticing I was different. Different in the American-but-not sense. Like being asked all the time (typically by people of the older generation) where I was from - and "Queens, NY" wasn't the answer they were looking for. Or noticing that people got uncomfortable around me when they criticized Chinese politics, etc. because of course I'd be sensitive to that. Or realizing that someone didn't want to date me simply because I looked a certain way. As "heck yeah, America, y'all" that I might have felt, it didn't translate for everyone.

houndstooth stripes  houndstooth stripes

And I really noticed it the first time I went to China. Though I can speak Mandarin conversationally, I sometimes miss words due to regional accents or if someone was speaking too fast, I can't write or read Chinese, and I certainly can't have a business conversation. Going to China was a moment where I felt like I was just a normal American girl going to visit a foreign land, but everyone there just thought I was like them. Heck, I lost me in a crowd. And everyone there didn't give me the "hey, you're American, let's speak English and you tell me about Lady Gaga" like they did with my caucasian co-workers. They gave me the "you're Chinese. Why don't you speak Chinese better. What do you mean you can't read Chinese?" vibe.

It's a weird in-between world that I sometimes feel like I reside in of I ams, but I'm nots. I think "banana" is a perfect descriptor for myself - the yellow exterior is my Asian appearance while the interior describes my "American-ness."

I know there are a lot of other American-raised children out there of non-caucasian foreign parents - have you felt a sense of belonging but not? Does it bother you, or do you just let it be? And for everyone - what do you all think?

houndstooth stripes

houndstooth stripes

houndstooth stripes

Top: J.Crew perfect striped (worn here - sim, sim, sim)
Skirt: J.Crew pixilated houndstooth (worn here - sim pink, pink, cas)
Necklaces: J.Crew (sim, sim) & Elizajay Charm via Etsy (sim, sim)
Bracelets: Tiffany & Co. 1837 (sim, wide), Tag Heuer, YuniKelley via Etsy (sim, pricey)
Bag: Brahmin sadie (worn here - sim, sim, fun, luxe)
Shoes: Jessica Simpson jaide (worn here -  same colorblock, sim, sim)

18 March 2013

Yan Can Cook - I'm Not Yan

blue floral

blue floral  blue floral

blue floral

blue floral

Dress: LE pattern modal wrap (same in solid, sim, darker)
Necklace: Emerson Fry (worn here - sim, sim, pricey)
Earrings: Jeweliq contessa (sim, sim, pink, white)
Bracelets: J.Crew & ON (sim, sim, sim)
Bag: Brahmin anytime (sim, sim, luxe)
Shoes: Guess kissani (worn here - sim, sim, peep)

♥       ♥       ♥       ♥

I finished reading Kitchen Chinese by Ann Mah this weekend, which is about an American-born Chinese gal named Isabelle in her mid-twenties who decides to move to Beijing for a new start. Though I was born in Taiwan, my family moved here when I was three and I was raised here, so I felt an easy bond with the character of Isabelle (or as well as person can bond with a fictional character).

There's a lot than can be gleaned from the novel in about how an American-raised child of foreign parents can act and feel very much one way (as an "American") but still be perceived very differently in another way (because they look Chinese or [insert non-Anglo race of your choice here]), but I think I'll hold off on that for another day and probably a much longer post.

What caught my interest initially were all the references to and memories of good home-style Chinese food that the story brought up. My mouth was salivating through much of the novel. So after I finished the book, I felt inspired to try some good ole Chinese cooking for myself and globbed onto the idea of making zhajiangmian.

photo 1

Zhajiangmian is a noodle dish made with thick wheat noodles and a salty soybean paste. It's kind of like Asian spaghetti, you can add in ground pork, diced tofu, carrots, onions, garlic, etc. It's traditionally topped with julienned cucumbers and scrambled eggs.

It's comfort food for me since my parents used to make it for us all the time and they changed the ingredients around on us all the time for variety. The key is the soybean paste (I grew up using the SzeChuan sweet bean sauce, with a bit of hot sauce for saltiness and a kick) and using big thick noodles - all easily found at my local Asian food mart.

I've never made this dish before but I've seen my mom do it a ton of times so I figured I didn't need a recipe (here's an actual recipe) and winged it from memory and used ground turkey which I already had. It turned out ... well it certainly satiated my craving, but I could have used the help of a recipe to remind myself that I didn't need to use a can and a half of the bean sauces - hello, salty city! (The sauce itself wasn't terrible, but considering how "savory" it is, I think I have enough sauce for about 20-30 servings).

Are there foods from your culture and family that you sometimes crave? Do you know how to make any of them? How do you satiate your cravings?

photo 3

15 March 2013

Being Neighborly

 orange olmeda  orange olmeda

Happy Friday, ladies! Has this week seemed long or what?

Today I'm guest-posting for P at Phiphi's Blog, so please check me there!

orange olmeda

Top: Limited button detailed (worn here - sim, sim, pricey)
Skirt: Tabitha via Anthropologie olmeda (worn here - sim, sim, pricey)
Belt: Asos bow skinny (worn here - sim, sim, deal)
Necklace: gift (sim, sim, pastel)
Rings: BR (sim, deal, deal) & c/o JewelMint (sim, pricey)
Bag: Coach legacy penny (worn here - sim, sim, pricey)
Tights: Anne Klein
Shoes: Seychelles via Anthropologie raines (worn here - sim, sim, strappy-er)

13 March 2013

Highway to the Danger Zone (& Giveaway Winner)

camo gingham  camo gingham

In high school, I “discovered” the movie Top Gun thanks to a long over-due rental copy of the film (which still may be somewhere amongst my stuff in my parents’ home) and wanted All Things Fighter Pilot. I became obsessed with the F-14 Tomcat, I seriously looked into the qualifications for Annapolis, I bought aviator sunglasses, collected naval air squadron patches (VF-1 wolfpack!) and sported personalized dog tags that I got while on a tour of the Intrepid. Somehow at the time I felt like I could fool people into thinking that this gawky 15-year old could be the next ace of the skies.

Summertime brought about swimsuit tan lines and over-use of Sun-In in my hair (Sun-In is meant to help lighten blonde hair, ladies, it has the most “flattering” effect of turning dark hair into weird brassy shades of orange) – partly because I wanted to seem like I was carefree and spent my Augusts laying out by the water with the sand between my toes,  not working part-time at a card shop and staying clear from the water because I couldn’t swim.

camo gingham  camo gingham

I played lacrosse in college, so of course I had to stress that to the Nth degree by  hanging around and go to class in LAX team shorts, cleats slung over my shoulder, and/or my banged up stick with the dirty grips sticking out of my gym bag. Forget that we sucked, I was a collegiate athlete.

I think I’ve come quite a ways since high school and college and actually try to avoid looking potentially like something I’m not. So I was hesitant at first when it came to acquiring this camo jacket (though I’ve wanted a camo something forever). To keep the whole feel more fashion statement-y than tour of duty though, I’ve been keeping the look more girlie than tough, accessorizing with pink and big flowers.

Have you ever found yourself “faking it to make it” with fashion?

camo gingham

camo gingham

Jacket: J.Crew camo (worn here - sim, sim, sim, studded)
Shirt: LEC gingham poplin (worn here - sim, sim, neon)
Jeans: J.Crew vintage destroyed matchstick (worn here - sim, sim, skinny)
Brooch: Broochmaker via Etsy (worn here - sim, sim, luxe)
Bracelets: Asos (set or single), J.Crew (sim), Target (sim)
Bag: Holding Horses via Anthropologie tasseled leather (worn here - sim, sim, quilted)
Shoes: Seychelles ring in the new year (worn here - sim, wedge, solid, luxed out)

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And thanks much to all of you who entered my Shabby Apple giveaway for a $50 gift card! Out of 166 qualified entries, the comment drawn at random is 24, which means that the winner is -

Congrats, girl! You will be contacted direct by the fashionable ladies from Shabby Apple to claim your prize.

11 March 2013

Where Did You Go?

Being a style blogger can be a fickle thing. It's a great little hobby and you can "meet" a ton of fun like-minded people, but it can be a total time-suck. And as simple as it is to start a blog nowadays, it is just as easy to let one languish. For every one blog that starts, I wonder how many existing blogs get left behind - the Internet must be littered with half-forgotten dot-blogspots.

checked floral  checked floral

I mean, I get it. Sometimes we just run out of free time, sometimes we run out of want-to, sometimes outside forces make us reprioritize. Just as there's not a thing wrong with blogging, there's nothing wrong with deciding to no longer keep a blog.

But as an active blogger who loves to read blogs, I can't help but to mourn some fave reads who are no longer updating. Some of the blogs of style-past that I miss?

Kelinda.KELINDA - Amy had a wicked sense of humor,  was a layering pro and always had a cute mani to boot. Amy was one of the bloggers I interacted with quite a bit and felt like we could have been hilarious real-life eating buds.

Ginger Girl - Pamela had fun style that was still office-appropriate, was not afraid to wear bright color and pattern, and she shared a love for J.Crew and Anthro.

checked floral  checked floral

Where the Lights are Bright - Spiffy had a clean, realistic sensibility about dressing, did great reviews, and I considered her my fit twin!

Anthroholic - Controversial choice probably considering how her blog ended, but she who shall not be named was one of the first style blogs I started following and though her style was different from mine, I enjoyed seeing her sweet girly looks.

Little Girl Big Closet - My fave Anthropologie-centric blog, Tara had a great eye for putting together colors and patterns, plus her outfit photos were gorgeous vignettes. Though she's no longer actively blogging, Tara has changed her blog layout to make it easier to review her past posts - thanks!

Are there some fave style blogs of yours that have long since gone but you wish would come back?

checked floral

checked floral

Top: J.Crew quincy (worn here - sim, sim, green, not sim but adore)
Skirt: The Limited pleated front (same print in shorts & crops, sim pencil, more blue)
Belt: J.Crew (sim, deal, steal)
Bracelet: Ann Taylor pearl & pave cluster (worn here - sim, sim, brown)
Shoes: Audrey Brooke via DSW mary (worn here - sim, higher, platform, flats, slingback)

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The winner of the Shabby Apple giveaway will be announced this week - stay tuned!

08 March 2013

That's What I Intended

I am overdue for a trip to the salon, and for a million tiny reasons I haven't found the time yet to make an appointment. So in a prior post I was writing, I started things off by apologizing for the haphazard state of my hair - and then proceeded to feel a bit huffy about the whole thing and deleted it.

double stripe  double stripe

My mind went something like this: Why should I apologize - I am a busy person with a life outside of blogging, I sometimes struggle to find the time to even take outfit pics, I can't be expected to look "Lisa perfect" all the time, right? ... Except I am also by-choice a personal style blogger who intentionally puts herself out on the Internet to show off my daily ensembles, so. Yah.

I know we all try to keep things "real" here and are ladies who blog in our spare time for fun, and not because we get paid loads of money to do so or have a pro group of primpers and stylists at our disposal. We have jobs, kids, uncontrollable acts of nature to deal with, just to name a few. We can't be expected to look absolutely Stepford immaculate every second of the day - nor is it realistic to think that every blog picture of ourselves will be the Most. Flattering. Ever. And sometimes Goofy beats Fashion-y. Case in point ...

double stripe  double stripe

But as a blogger, shouldn't there be some sort of standard we set for ourselves? By having a blog, I am asking to be looked at (and thus judged), so I should want to show myself off in the best light possible, yes? I mean, it's my blog, I have full control of the content and imagery, right, so if my hair looked gnarly, shouldn't I be responsible for making sure it looks good? Or don't show it? Why half-ass and then whine about it later?

I think I've winded long enough for - what do you ladies think? As style bloggers, isn't it part of our "job" to look good on our blogs? We're putting ourselves out there for praise (and criticism) so shouldn't we be looking to post the best version of ourselves as we can? Or does the idea of that make things less relatable for you? 

 double stripe

Jacket: Gap stripe twill (worn here - sim, moto, peplum luxe)
Top: J.Crew gondola stripe (worn here - factory version, same print in skirt, sim)
Jeans: BR classic skinny (worn here - sim, sim, deal)
Earrings: Target (sim, sim)
Ring: BR (sim, sim, pink)
Bracelet: J.Crew (sim, sim, skinny)
Shoes: Michael Kors hamilton (worn here - sim, sim, bow luxe)

♤      ♤      ♤     

Today's your last chance to enter my giveaway for a $50 gift card to Shabby Apple!
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