In My Closet: Céline Bam Bam

December 18, 2013

Good things come to those who wait.....and shop sales. I've been coveting these sandals for a couple years and came pretty close to purchasing them a few times. Even got a similar flat version (seen here and here) a while back, but there is just something - that heel. The scrumptious leather. Minimalist with serious attitude. Mom is always right - if it's meant for you, it'll be yours. I walked into Barney's the other day and there they were -  in my size. 40% off ! BAM. BAM. Gotta love their semi annual designer sales. 

These Célines are a shoe dream come true. I'm thrilled with how comfortable they are.  Tried on the higher heel version about a year ago, and it was actually really really painful. The shorter height on this is so much more practical. And- I'm not sure if this is an improved style, but the sole is so flexible and cushy. Full disclosure though - these were made for very narrow feet. They're making me wish for warm spring/summer weather right about now. Needless to say, I'll be wearing these nonstop next season.

Here are a few other shoe favorites from the Barney's sale that I have my eyes on:

Thanks for dropping by! Hope you've gotten most of your holiday shopping done - and picked up a few goodies for yourself! Be sure to take advantage of all the year-end sales happening now.

Style File: Wearing Lately

December 17, 2013

It's been a super super busy past couple of weeks, but I am surely enjoying every minute of it. This is my favorite time of the year - despite the hectic schedules and stress involved. When we're not out and about running errands or working, we've been snuggling together on the couch with hot cocoa watching our favorite Christmas movies (Love Actually, Home Alone....The Holiday...). Everyday I take a few minutes to absorb the moments and reflect on all the love and blessings the big guy has showered us with. We get so caught up with the little things that it seems like days just fly by without purpose. I've been making a conscious effort to be more present and making each and every day more special than the last. 

This has been my go-to ensemble as of late. It's just so easy and chic enough to go from errands, shopping, work and dinner out. I've been hibernating in these cozy comfortable over sized sweaters that can easily be dressed up with leather skinnies or a flared skirt and some heels. The flats were a recent purchase -love the minimalist and edgy design. They're a very affordable version of Jenni Kayne's popular D'Orsay style that I've been coveting. Overall they're pretty comfortable, but need a little more breaking in. With all the shopping I have left to do, they'll surely be perfectly worn in by Christmas.

Thanks for dropping by! Hope you're having a great week.

Sweater: HM  //  Jacket: Forever21  //  Pants: JCrew (Pixie)  //  Flats:  Report Signature  // 
Purse: Celine  //  Sunglasses: Celine


Style File: Holiday Glam

I don't think I'll ever get tired of playing dress up. Love the thrill of figuring out a look from head to toe and that excitement of getting all dolled up before an event. Throughout the year I have fun with practical everyday wear. So when opportunity strikes to glam up, I go all out. The hubby's company holiday party was "Masquerade ball" themed - everyone came dressed to the nines and it was such a sight. 

This gown was an impulse buy while on vacation in the Philippines earlier this year. Definitely did not need it, but I had to have it.  It's by Harlan+Holden - designed and made in Manila. I'm so proud of all the local designers and brands I discovered. Can't tell you how blown away I was by the fashion scene back home.

I love the draping, the color and how comfortable it is. To justify my purchase, I told myself it would make a great maternity session dress (talk about planning ahead....and no - no bun in the oven). It's also very versatile - I can belt it up and make it a bit shorter and play around with the draping. But really, I think every girl needs to have that one special dress for no reason. If there isn't an occasion, you can always create one ;). 

Thanks for dropping by! Hope you're enjoying all the holiday festivities!

Gown: Harlan + Holden  (at Adora, Greenbelt)  //  Heels: Zara  //  Purse: Vintage
Lips: Chanel rouge in Passion


Set The Table: Holiday 2013

December 12, 2013

My goal for this year's holiday table was to create something lush and fresh, with a simple and understated festive mood. When I'm pulling a look together - be it a space, an entire event, or a simple table, I always ask myself "How can I make it look special, without using the typical elements?" First things first - I let go of the poinsettias, pinecones, and the red and green color scheme. 

As always, I kept things neutral and re-worked lots of pieces from our thanksgiving table - the faceted vases filled with eucalyptus pods (added some white talo berries), gold flatware, glassware, plates and brass candlesticks.  I switched out the woven chargers for these marbleized platters, eliminated the table runners and in place added a fresh cedar garland down the table.  Then I added some selenite crystal candleholders (topped them off with air plants), and a little unexpected element - the wire ornaments. This one little detail adds a sculptural and modern touch.

I like keeping our Thanksgiving and Christmas tables cohesive - as always,  practical and  easy is my priority. With just a few additional pieces and a little bit more greenery, I can transition from one holiday to the next effortlessly. Our table is all set and ready for our next gathering - now I'm free to spend more time enjoying the season with the ones that matter most. 

Styling and photography: Therese Jacinto 

Wire Ornaments: CB2  //  Marble platters: West Elm  // Dinnerware: Thrifted  // Brass candlesticks: Thrifted  //  Napkins: Threshold at Target  //  Glassware: Marshall's  // Selenite crystal tealight holders: Marshall's  // Flatware: West Elm  // Faceted Vases: Dwell Studio


DIY: Modern Handcrafted Ornaments

December 11, 2013

A couple of months ago I came across a photo of gilded wood block ornaments while searching for some new craftspiration. They were so elegantly simple yet bold at the same time. I loved the rustic modern look and decided it would be a fun project and a great addition to our holiday decor. I'm totally floored with how they turned out. Paired them with some matte white paper mache diamonds, and some fun new wire ornaments from CB2 (all, above). They work so well with our existing holiday trim and give our whole tree a modern look. 

G O L D   L E A F E D   W O O D   B L O C K S

You will need:

1. Some Whittler's wood (I grabbed a pack of bass wood blocks from Michael's) - Any soft wood would do
2. Pack of ready leaf gold (or silver or rose gold...)
3. Eyelet screws (Any art or frame supply shop has these. TIP: buy a framing kit at the dollar store, it's a small box filled with a bunch of different little screws)
4. Gold leafing glue and sealer
5. Foam brushes
6. String

Screw the eyelets onto the wood blocks. 
No drilling necessary! The wood is so soft.

Use painter's tape if you want to create a hard line. 
If you'd like a natural "dipped" look, skip the tape. We liked
the dipped look and how unique each piece turned out,
so we nixed the tape after a few trials.

Apply the Gold Leaf adhesive, and let it sit for about 30 minutes.

Once the glue is tacky, lay a sheet of the gold leaf on 
top and rub gently with fingers or a foam brush.

Gently peel off the wax paper and dust off excess
 gold leaf with the foam brush. Remove tape (if you used any).
Apply a light coat of the sealer and let dry.
Thread a ribbon or string through eyelet, tie and hang up!

All done!

M A T T E   W H I T E   D R O P   O R N A M E N T S :

I had planned on doing some origami paper diamonds for this, 
but came across some ready made paper mache at the craft store. 
Half my work done! All I needed was some matte white paint. 

I gave the paper ornaments 3 coats of the acrylic 
white paint, drying completely between coats. Simple and easy!

Here's another DIY ornament we added into the mix:

We grabbed a handful of plastic (less breakables in a house
 with a 5 year old, the better!) ornaments and a pack of white
 feathers at the craft store. Filled each ball with 2-3 feathers 
and voila! Yet another easy and super affordable DIY.

Are you crafting up some decor? Hope this inspired you
 to create something fresh and unique for the holidays! 
Thanks for dropping by!

Our Home: Holiday Decor

December 10, 2013

It's the most wonderful time of the year! We started holiday decorating over the weekend and finally picked up our tree on Sunday.  The Mr found the most perfect one - it looks faux! Our home is filled with the scent of pine, cinnamon, and cedar. I crafted a couple of fresh cedar garlands for our consoles and dining tables, brought out the stockings, adorned our front door with a boxwood wreath, and we trimmed the tree with our vintage and DIY ornaments. 

Our style can be described as california casual (think modern barn/ranch) - so I kept our decor simple, fresh, and monochromatic. I prefer that our holiday trim be subtle, cozy, and a great complement to all our existing pieces. That being said - we don't have any color around here except greens. We don't do the extravagant bows and draping and the perfectly put together tree. We have lights and ornaments. And greens and gold and silver and cozy faux fur and lots...lots of white. 

We added a lot of crafted ornaments this year and mixed them up with vintage ones that were from my mother-in-law's collection.  The white reindeer, hand blown glass finials, and white starbursts are all vintage. I fell in love with these gold and silver geometric wire ornaments from CB2, and love how they give our tree a more modern vibe. They look like sculptures or jewelry! Natalie and I crafted a lot of white paper mache ornaments and gold leafed wood blocks (DIY tutorial coming soon). I think they add a rustic modern luxe touch.

Thanks so much for dropping by! Happy Holidays!


Style Staples: The Silk Blouse

December 03, 2013

Silk Blouse: Uniqlo (here)

To say I love this blouse is an understatement. I own a handful of silk tops, but this has been my go-to as of late because of the quality and the price ($49!!). Every lady needs at least one amazing silk blouse. I've worn this dressed down with shorts, denim.... dressed up with a skirt, leather pants - you name it. The way this drapes and resists wrinkling is beyond me.



And yes - I got the Aldo boots. I was a good girl and only bought one item over the weekend. So proud of myself for spending so little over the biggest shopping weekend of the year. The original price tag on these boots was already a great deal, but the crazy sale and additional discounts made it a ridiculous steal. Can't say I didn't have a hidden agenda. I held off in an attempt to wait for the even better deals. Let the year end sales begin! The closer to Christmas, the bigger the discounts. My self control may not last too much longer - the Barney's semi annual sales starts tomorrow. Eeeep. Hope Santa knows I've been really really good this year. 

DIY: Geo Tabletop Terrariums

December 02, 2013

I thought I'd share the DIY instructions to creating our tabletop succulent terrariums (seen in our organic modern thanksgiving table here). I've been working with them for years - they're my fave plants because they're so hardy and you can get so creative with them. Came across this great tutorial by West Elm that perfectly outlines how to make them (saved this mama from a few hours of photographing and photoshopping a step-by-step). They are so easy to create and keep alive, so they make for a great beginner's garden. We've got around 5 of these guys around the house right now - it's my hobby and obsession. I'm really into simplistic geometric details with a vintage, slightly rustic mod feel - like these faceted terrariums and ceramic vases. We'll be carrying the same look and details onto our holiday decor this year - crafted a few fun Christmas ornaments that I can't wait to share with you!

Our current organic modern tablescape is so Eco and budget-friendly . The terrariums can transition from everyday to holiday with just a few fancy touches like the gold flatware, woven chargers, and a fun thank you card as a welcome note. Aside from the succulents, I also have a few air plants perched on top of smaller geo vases (they literally only need air, and a light sprinkling of water here and there).

T A B L E T O P   T E R R A R I U M S
West Elm Tutorial

A D D I T I O N A L   T I P S:
I've picked up a few great succulent tips from working with flowers, events, and spending a lot of time at the flower market. 

1. Fall/Winter is the best time to repot succulents into these terrariums. They are in their dormant or "sleeping" phase and are less likely to suffer from "shock".
2. Make sure the roots of the succulents are very dry before repotting. Roots break during the transfer process. If they are damp, it will be harder for the plant to heal and it can be susceptible to infections/mold. If the roots are dry, they easily form a scab over the broken areas, and adapt much better into their new home.
3. DO NOT water your newly repotted succulents for at least 10 days. Let the plants adjust to their new environment. Remember - damp soil doesn't give the roots time to heal.
4. Water every two weeks during the fall/winter, once a week during the spring/summer. 
5. I like to use Miracle Gro Cactus Plant food - only during the spring/summer. I use very little each time I water. Their moisture control potting mix is great as well.
6. I get my succulents at Lowe's, but any garden and home supply store should have them.

Thanks for dropping by! Hope this post was helpful and inspires you to create some of  your own.

Styling and Photography (Top three photos): Therese Jacinto  //  Step-by-Step graphics: West Elm


Happy Thanksgiving!

November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year has been amazing, to say the least. I have so many things to be thankful for and feel so inspired!

We're about to sit down and enjoy an early dinner for our second Thanksgiving celebration this week- this time with family. I make the turkey every year, along with the gravy, stuffing and mashed potatoes. I'm not much of a gourmet cook, but I tend do go all-out during the holidays (I've been in the kitchen since Tuesday).

Decided to switch things up for this setting and go a little bit more traditional with the fall colors, but kept things extra informal (we tend to spend more time in the living room watching old movies or playing board games). I eliminated the runners and exposed our white lacquer table. Added a bunch of dried maple leaves and some broom corn for a contemporary harvest-inspired centerpiece. 

I hope you are having a wonderful day spending quality time with your loved ones! THANK YOU so much for dropping by and reading my little blog. :)

Style File: Isabel Marant for H&M

November 22, 2013

I picked up a handful of amazing buys at the Isabel Marant for HM launch. On the top of my list was this blazer - even more gorgeous in person! Love the silk lapel, over sized cut and the weight of the material. The grosgrain ribbon adds a feminine touch to this tuxedo style, but I opted to tie it up in the back with this outfit to give it a more casual vibe.  I'm also wearing the white linen tee from the collection - such a great closet staple. This is my go-to classic "casual" look, made a bit more edgy with the deconstructed Rag and Bone denim and my fave pair of peep-toe heels.

Thanks so much for dropping by! Have a fab weekend :)

Blazer and Tee : Isabel Marant pour HM  //  Jeans: Rag and Bone (shopbop exclusive)  //  Heels: Alexander Wang  //  Purse: Celine


A Modern Organic Thanksgiving Table

November 20, 2013

When it comes to holiday decor, it is so easy to go overboard with the glitter and fluff. Not that there's anything wrong with that- I love me a good sparkly setting. Lately I've been into veering away from tradition. Practicing restraint in design is a good  challenge. Our style is simple, modern, yet cozy. Discovering ways to decorate our home during this time of the year becomes tricky when almost everything out there seems to scream "more is more".  I keep three things in mind when I'm pulling a look together - it always has to be 1. unique, and 2. easy, and 3. practical without sacrificing style. I aim for settings that don't require too much time or effort and can be repurposed throughout the year. My goal is always to evoke a mood through a mix of thoughtful details and unexpected elements. I put myself in the guests shoes and think....what will he or she be  expecting at a Thanksgiving table? (Then I try to do exactly the opposite)....What will surely wow them or make them feel special? I maintain our simple aesthetic yet do something completely different each year, and this table is my favorite so far.

I strayed from traditional elements like the maple leaves, pumpkins, and typical foliage. I wanted it to be clean, fresh, organic yet still inviting. When you think modern, it can give off a stark cold vibe. To warm things up and add a hint of the fall season I used a variety of textures and organic elements mixed with a touch of gold (just enough to add some holiday sparkle). 

Breaking Down the Elements:

1. I always aim to keep things practical and budget-friendly by incorporating affordable pieces from thrift stores like the simple matte stoneware plates and woven chargers. The gold flatware was my tabletop investment last year. I got them on sale from West Elm - they're great for everyday use but totally dress up any table. They're like the LBD of flatware!

2. Sculptural geometric vases topped off with air plants and glass terrariums filled with succulents lend a fresh take on traditional floral decor - and not to mention can be re-used all year round. They are extremely budget and environmentally friendly and would make great favors for your guests. I also added a vase filled with eucalyptus pods - our place smells soooo good. No flowers you ask? I decided they tend to add a lot of fluff and sticking to botanicals was better for the look I wanted to achieve.

3. The deer antler is the perfect example of sustainable decor (they naturally shed and no animals are harmed in the process). It adds organic movement, shape and a bit of drama. 

4. The table runners were a Homegoods find. I like the idea of not covering up the entire table with a table cloth - makes things feel less formal. 

5.To play up the cozy feel of our dining area, I added large throw pillows on our banquette and a sheepskin throw on a couple of chairs. 

6. Instead of place cards, and to add a graphic punch to the setting, I used simple letter press "thank you" cards I had stashed in my stationery box. Slipped the napkins inside them and topped the setting off with an air plant. I plan on writing a special note inside for each guest. Simple yet makes a thoughtful statement. This one detail totally transforms the table. 

To make this whole set-up even more practical, I'll be re-styling this same table for our Christmas gathering. I enjoy making our holiday decor for both Thanksgiving and Christmas cohesive each year. I'll simply switch out a few elements and add some festive accents. Repurposing vintage and recycled goods is my favorite way of adding character. I like mixing up our family heirlooms, hand-me-downs, and thrifted knick knacks with my own more modern pieces. There's no need to have a ton of decor on hand or to buy all-new items to create table settings for each occasion. A few details here and there can turn a whole look around.

I hope this inspires you to create your own simple, crafty yet sophisticated table for the upcoming holidays! Thanks for dropping by.

Styling and Photography: Therese Jacinto  //  Table runners: Homegoods  //  Woven Chargers: Thrifted  //  Plates: Thrifted  // Napkins: CB2  //  Flatware: West Elm  //  Terrariums: Urban Outfitters  //  Geometric Vases: Dwell Studio  //  Sheepskin throw: Ikea  // Goblets: Marshalls  //  Thank you cards: Hallmark (via walmart)  // Botanicals:  SF Flower Mart


Style File: Sweaters and Sweatpants

November 19, 2013

It's been two weeks since my last outfit post! One of the longest lags since I started posting. If you read my previous post you'd know that I hit the pause button for a bit in lieu of the typhoon tragedy in the Philippines. Please take the time to read the post if you haven't (specially if you're a blogger or need ideas on how to help the relief efforts).

I've been living in sweaters and sweatpants lately - blame it on the cozy fall weather! I'm thankful to live in this day and age where we can step out in comfort yet still look appropriately chic. I picked up these Isabel Marant for HM sweatpants from the boy's section. I love the fit and feel - and it was almost half the price of the women's version. Definitely one of my favorite shopping tips is to hit up the boys and men's collections. This Gap sweater I picked up over a year ago has gotten so much wear - I've worn it through almost every season (probably only possible here in the Bay). 

New hair. Ahhh yes, I went ahead and took the plunge. I've gone S'Ombre (aka subtle ombre). Thoughts? Been contemplating for months, and finally decided to give it a shot. It's basically a gradual ombre using partial highlights instead of full on color. The effect is less harsh than ombre - a more blended gradation between the tones. I've always stayed so safe with my hair color and kept things natural. There are times I love it. Times I don't. I feel like my hair is so fried right now. Found a great mask to alleviate that problem, and will probably share more about it after a couple more weeks. If you have any recommendations for conditioners/masks for color treated hair - please leave a note!

And yes - that is my little Celine Trio covered in raindrops. Of course, the one time I don't look up the weather forecast is the day it rains. Had I known, I would've switched out the heels for boots and grabbed a parka to go with this ensemble.

Sweater: Gap  //  Sweatpants: Isabel Marant Pour HM  //  Shoes: Alexander Wang  //  Purse: Celine

Hope you are having a great week so far! 

** Don't forget to check out my Poshmark (free app - sell and shop the closets of ladies throughout America) . My closet is @Brass_and_linen - all proceeds of sales this month will be donated to the Red Cross, for the Philippine typhoon relief efforts.