Style File: Casual Friday

August 30, 2013

As some of you may know from my previous post, I started a new part-time job about two weeks ago. It's been fun and it's a great sideline on top of this blog and my casual projects. I'm off to work and wearing one of my fave go-to combos when I'm on the run - silk shirt, jeans, simple heels, and a relaxed coat! Full disclosure: during the day I switch out the high heels to flats for when I need to be on my feet for extended periods of time. These Celine  wedges (that I scored for a steal at the  Barney's Outlet) are pretty comfortable considering their height, but I definitely can't run around in them!

TGIF and have a great weekend!

Jacket: Vintage, Thrifted  //  Silk shirt: Equipment  //  Jeans: Zara  
Wedge pumps: Celine  // Clutch: Celine  // Sunglasses: Celine


Our Home: Dining Nook Rug Update

August 27, 2013

Pardon the creases and folds! We just got this in - took me a few months, but I was able to get the hubby on board with a cowhide rug for our dining nook! It's what I originally wanted, but had no luck in getting him to even consider it at first. For a month or two we were living with this rug- which we absolutely love and will just save for another room. But after constantly staring at the space, I just knew an irregular shaped cowhide would work so much better. Since the area is tiny, a traditional rectangular one emphasizes it by defining and creating a boundary. 

We love having a rug in the nook because it adds a lot of warmth (crucial when you live in the foggiest part of this city). There are no shoes allowed in here, so we like having comfortable and cozy accents in places we spend a lot of time in. The hubby finally gave in after a lot of convincing and we agreed on trying one out to see how he felt. Thankfully, he doesn't hate it. And that's good enough! He usually lets me do what I want and trusts me when it comes to design and our home (um, he should!!). However, it wouldn't be our home if I completely took over and called all the shots. ;)


I did a lot of hunting, and this is the best priced light colored cowhide out there (other options with the same quality range from $500 - $1,200!). Apparently the lighter ones are in demand and harder to come by so they're a lot pricier than the blacks and browns. If you plan on purchasing this or something similar, note that each rug is totally unique since they're real hide. Cowhide is actually a pretty practical rug. With proper care, they can last a life time and are naturally stain resistant. I really love how it looks in the space!   **Don't forget to sign up for their World Explorer rewards program to get 10% off your order!

View the before photos here, and a DIY post on the chandelier here

Thanks for dropping by! :)

In My Closet: Alexander Wang

Shoe dream come true!! I've had my eye on these for a long time. My jaw literally dropped when I spotted them at Nordstrom Rack on clearance at 85% off! If there's one thing everyone should know about Alexander Wang shoes (aside from minimalist perfection) -it's that they are superbly comfortable. This is pretty much the perfect year-round heel that can effortlessly transition from season to season and day to night. How amazing is the tassel detail?

The vest is a recent thrifted vintage score- not Wang, but along the lines of the label's signature look. I'll be pairing it zipped up as a top with high waisted trousers, or layered and unzipped on top of a simple tank or tee.

I've been behind on outfit posts lately because we have a whole lot going on here at home! If you follow me on Instagram, you know my little one just started kindergarten yesterday. We've been busy gearing up for that, and at the same time - this mama added another part time job onto her plate! I won't dive into the details just yet, but I've been having a lot of fun and it's exactly what I needed.

I hope you are having a great week so far! Thanks for dropping by :)


DIY: Sweater Care

August 21, 2013

More fall prep! Right before the temperature starts to drop, I like to bring out the cozy sweaters, coats, and scarves and get them ready for the season ahead. This includes checking the condition, washing, brushing, and repairing (if necessary). In my previous post - I go through the basics of laundering delicate fabrics. Now on to the next topic- caring for woolens (cashmere, wool, angora, blends) after they've been cleaned.

Pills. You know them - those tiny fuzz balls found on most knit fabrics after a bit of wear. They happen due to friction and matting of the fibers. From the most expensive cashmere and wool to the more affordable synthetics - pilling will happen. They're not pretty. But - with proper care and some affordable little tools (that you probably already own), you can have your knits always looking fresh and fab.

After laundering, it's now time to de-pill. Avoid shaving with a razor - they can lead to holes and do more damage than good. Electric shavers are great, but I prefer not using yet another battery-dependent gadget. Sweater stones get the job done, but they can crumble and they can leave an unpleasant scent. Thanks to Miss Martha, I've discovered you can use a fine tooth comb (I get packs of 5 at the dollar store). If you want something a bit fancier, this D-Fuzz-It comb is a great effective alternative. Lay your sweater on a flat surface. Use one hand to hold the fabric down. Then with gentle, quick short strokes comb through the pills - do not dig into the fabric. Tuck any snags back in and cover it with your finger when going over that area. After combing through, I go over the sweater (or scarf or shirt, etc) with a clothes brush to get the tinier fuzz and lint. I use a compact clothes brush by Redecker (however any natural bristle hair brush could do the trick). The combination of the comb + brush works really well for me.

I got this wool oversized Michael Kors sweater at a thrift store. Have a feeling it was discarded because of all the pilling! Other than that, it's in great condition and now looks almost brand new. 

A few more sweater care tips:
1. Avoid exposure of wool to hot water and sunlight
2. Hand wash (avoid too much friction) with specialty detergent and air dry on mesh rack
3. Best to fold them, do not hang
4. Use The laundress fabric refresh cedar clothing spray to ward off closet pests from munching on natural fibers.
5. During the off-season, store them in breathable cloth bags instead of plastic.
6. Do not wash cashmere and wool after each wear. Wait until at least 6 uses because the natural oils are necessary to keep them in tip top shape.

Hope this post was helpful. I'd love to hear any clothing care tips you swear by! :)

**UPDATE: Just found another great "de-piller"alternative - sand paper or the rough side of  a Velcro. Have you tried any of these methods? 


In My Closet: Vintage Oversized Coat

August 20, 2013

Just got this beauty back from the cleaners, and now I can say I'm ready for fall and winter! Totally in line with the upcoming season's oversized silhouettes, this is vintage modern perfection. Designers like Celine and Chloe have been sending similar coats down the runway, and I have been on the hunt. I literally jumped for joy when my eyes landed on it at a Salvation Army. I am guessing it's from the 80's or early 90's. The tag says "Steve", and "Made in U.S.A". A great way to tell how old something is - back in the day, there were a lot of great quality pieces that were locally made. The coat also has a Neiman Marcus tag on it. From what I know (from google), this is probably a Steve Fabrikant design. **If anyone can confirm, I'd love to know if I guessed right! ;)

Aside from attached shoulder pads (which I had removed by a seamstress since they were literally sewn in between the lining and the outer wool fabric), it is in amazing condition! Can't wait to pair it with a cable knit sweater or structured blouse, skinny leather pants and some heels. 

Thanks for dropping by! :)


Style File: The Boyfriend Jean

August 18, 2013

My current fave tee and denim look. After countless seasons of skinny jeans, It's so refreshing to slip into more relaxed silhouettes. Been living in these Gap sexy boyfriend jeans since I got them a year ago, and I've actually received a lot of compliments. They seem to be the perfect pair for me because of a lot of flattering details. Most ladies I know avoid the thought of "baggy" jeans for fear of drowning in them, looking stumpy, looking too "undone", or just re-living their early 90's fashion choices. I had the same issues when I was considering this trend. However, I've actually embraced this look and think it's all about finding the right fit. 

Here are a few things I've discovered and little details to look for in the most flattering pair of "boyfriend" jeans:

Cut: It should slightly taper in to the ankles (lengthening effect) and not fall straight. 
Wash: A little distressed. Vertically darker on the edges, with a slight fade on the center front (see my photos above), visually slimming ;).
Size and fit: Should be relaxed - it shouldn't hug or squeeze any part of your thighs or behind. The whole point of this trend is to rock something a little over-sized for that borrowed-from-the-boys look. However, the most flattering ones are not too loose (you shouldn't look like you stepped out of a TLC music video)
Wear: For summer - with sandals (mid to high heels to create more length). For fall and winter- with ankle boots. Pair with - dressy loose tops for a streamlined silhouette.  (Tight tops kind of break up the proportions and emphasize a bigger bottom)
Style:  Roll up the cuffs a tad bit to expose the ankles. Just a little skin makes it subtly sexy. 

** For reference, I am 5'5" and wearing a size 0 in these GAP Sexy Boyfriend Jeans.

For a casual Saturday out, I paired them with this simple silk (yes, 100% silk!) top I scored at HM on clearance a few months ago (great alternative to this Phillip Lim one). Just love how once in a while HM releases great high-quality pieces for less. This is my fave "Tshirt" because it effortlessly transitions from day to night, looks relaxed yet sophisticated and I've already worn it with countless pieces in my closet. Pairing a luxurious fabric in a simple staple like a tee, with something easy like these jeans makes for the perfect polished casual ensemble.

Thanks for dropping by, have a great week ahead!

Top:  HM  //  Sexy Boyfriend Jeans: Gap  // Sandals: Zara  //  Purse: Celine  //  Sunglasses: Celine


In My Closet: Fall Prep

August 12, 2013

Sharing a few steals and deals I've come across lately in preparation for fall/winter! I've pretty much checked off the top 5 items on my wish list for next season. Stocking up on what else- lots of black, white, and grey! Finally found a great pair of "flat" black ankle boots that hit at just the right part of my legs, as well as a second pair of buttery soft leather leggings at such an amazing price (let's just say it cost less than a pair of really, really good jeans), and a wide-brimmed wool hat that's along the lines of the $$$ Saint Laurent one I've been eyeing.

Wool Hat:  Target  //  Cashmere turtleneck sweater: Thrifted  //  Leather leggings: Theory (via Off 5th Saks Outlet)  //  Leopard print coat: Zara (sale score!)  //  Suede ankle boots: Aldo

What fall items do you have on your wish list?


Current Beauty Faves: Lips and Lashes

I don't wear makeup on a daily basis. When I need coverage, I wear BareMinerals Ready mineral foundation and their cream concealer. Other than that, the only beauty products I really indulge in are lippies and lash products. Tinted lip balms will be the death of me. I have an entire drawer of almost every brand - from drugstore to luxury labels. I like being able to put on some sheer moisturizing lip color on the go, without having to look in a mirror. Tinted lippies are no fuss - and not to mention, hubby approved! While I have discovered a hand full that almost met HG status, it seemed like the hunt would never end. Every time I stop by Sephora, Ulta, or Target - it never fails, I always check out the balms in hopes of finding the perfect one. Some are either too sticky, taste wrong, too shimmery, too shiny, too drying, or the color is off. 

Finally, just recently I discovered my favorite beauty brand BareMinerals released their own mineral tinted balm - Jack of All Trades. And, just like almost every other item of theirs - it is now a HG for me. The color "For Keeps" is the perfect MLBB (my lips but better) tint. Super moisturizing, no foul taste or smell, and it has a natural looking sheen to it. 

Just before my lip discovery, I had also picked up BM's new Lash Domination mascara. Wow. It totally delivers. I have very fine lashes and it does everything - thickens, lengthens, defines, strengthens..etc - all without clumps and globs. Staying power is amazing. To make it water proof, I also got their Locked and Coated clear top coat, which is a great add-on for trips to the beach or times you know tears are inevitable.

Added a photo of me I took with my phone - wearing both the lip balm and the mascara with just a touch of concealer under my eyes. 

What are your fave lash and lip products? I would love to know! :) 
Thanks for dropping by, have a fabulous week ahead!


Style File: COS and Thrifted Bermudas

August 04, 2013

The hubby and I stepped out for a quick and impromptu date night on Saturday. We had dinner at Pizzeria Delfina (highly recommend the meatballs, prosciutto pie, and their strawberry lemonade soda) near Fillmore, and dropped by my fave Le Labo for some fragrance treats. Love dressy casual nights where I get to simply swap out my day flats for a fun pair of heels. I did just that with this ensemble.

I'm wearing one of my favorites - a COS wrap top I picked up in Paris last year. It's quite possibly the most comfortable top I own. What I love most about it though is how versatile it is. Always thinking ahead - I like investing in items that can accommodate a potential bump. Don't jump to conclusions! No bump just yet! This top goes even beyond because it could be an amazing nursing tee and cover up as well. Paired it with a recent thrift store score- the white bermudas, and Aldo heels.

I hope you had a fabulous weekend! Thanks for dropping by!

Top: COS  // Shorts: Thrifted  //  Heels: Aldo  // Purse: Celine  // Sunglasses: Celine


DIY: Delicate Clothing Care

August 02, 2013

One of my hidden talents is Laundry. I take pride in caring for our clothes and linens at home. I find it somewhat therapeutic for my OC self. It only makes sense to take care of our investments! I have some garments that are over 15 years old that I still use regularly and definitely don't look their age. Knowing the basics of fabric care and when to send special items to the pros is all it comes down to. As with most of the things I do, I always aim to DIY at home (yes, even the delicate items) since it's better for the environment, convenient, cost-effective, and a healthier alternative to professional cleaning. 

I love my silks, wool, and cashmere - and actually wear them often. Most people avoid them and other specialty fabrics because they fear the dry cleaning bills or "work" that needs to be done to maintain them. I often get asked by friends and family:

 How do you keep your clothes in such great condition.......without spending too much time or money?

Because I could go on and on and write an entire novel on laundry, and because I'm pretty sure most of us have all mastered everyday items- I'm going to focus on the next level - hand washing delicates.

W H A T   I   U S E:

The Laundress Fine Fabric Wash
(Silks, nylons)

The Laundress Wool Wash
(Cashmere & Wool)

The Laundress Stain Bar
(Pre-treating stains)

Wash Basins
(At least two, one for darks and one for colors)

Bath Towels
(One white and one dark colored)

Mesh Drying Rack

Sweater Stone

Sweater Comb

I'm a huge fan of The Laundress products. They are definitely pricey, but if you calculate how much you save on dry cleaning bills they are more than worth it! I love the soft scent, and how amazing my clothes look and feel after washing. To keep costs down, I only get their two specialty detergents for silks, wool, and cashmere (pictured above). For everything else, we use regular detergent (Cheer Stay Colorful). I have tried Woolite and the like before, but they don't compare to the gentleness and effectiveness of the Laundress. I get their products from either  J.Crew, The Container Store, , or Crate and Barrel.

G E N E R A L   T I P S:

1. ALWAYS read the labels to see what kind of fibers the fabric is made of and suggested cleaning options. If you must cut these tags off, take a photo of the label and the garment. Keep a file of these for reference.
2. Some manufacturers put "DRY CLEAN" on the care label just to be safe - but most fabrics including silks, wool, and cashmere can all be washed at home. Unless it says "DRY CLEAN ONLY", then delicate hand washing ( or even machine washing) with special detergent then air drying works just fine. See charts below. 
3. Items that have serious stains or ones I don't know how to treat, pieces with intricate lace or beading, suits, leather, and DRY CLEAN ONLY items are always sent to the pros.
4. Always separate colors. I have one wash bin for whites and lights, and another for darks. Make sure all zippers are zipped up, buttons un-fastened, and anything with embroidery or embellishments turned inside out.
5. Pre-treat using the Stain Bar. Make sure to rub areas that get the most stains - collars, sleeves/under arm areas.
6. Never wring or squeeze after rinsing. I use one white bath towel for the lights, and one dark towel for the darks. The reason why I use two towels is because colors and lint can transfer (i.e. -white fuzz on a black silk shirt, a white cashmere sweater with blue towel stains...etc). Having drying towels designated to lights and darks makes the job more effective and efficient. On a flat surface,  spread a towel out and lay the item of clothing on top of it. Roll it up gently (just like a fruit roll up) to remove excess water.   Let the item hang to dry on a hanger (if its a lightweight top) or if it's heavier guage, dry flat on a mesh rack.
7. Never machine dry delicates!
8. To keep cashmere and wool looking like new, I de-pill them using a Sweater Stone (for heavier gauge/thicker items) or a Sweater Comb (cashmere or fine gauge knits).
9. I have 5 laundry baskets - 2 for everyday laundry (lights and darks), 2 for hand wash- (Lights and darks), and one dry cleaning bag. This prevents any "accidental" laundering of specialty items in the regular wash.
10. Take 5-10 minutes every other week for laundering delicates. It really is so simple and easy, you will kick yourself for all the times you took these delicates to the cleaners or passed up that gorgeous silk blouse you spotted at J.Crew!

The Laundress created fantastic cheat sheets on this whole topic. Feel free to right click and download their charts and "recipes" below.

S Y N T H E T I C   F I B E R S

N A T U R A L   F I B E R S

D I D   Y O U   K N O W:

Wool is naturally stain and wrinkle resistant, quick drying, 
antimicrobial, and a fire retardant.

Linen softens as it ages, dries quickly, doesn’t lint, and resists deterioration from sunlight.

Ramie resists heat, bacteria, and molds.

Starch can encourage mold and mildew.

You should iron natural fabrics (such as linen or ramie) while damp.

Cotton absorbs water more easily than any other fabric, can withstand a range of temperatures, and maintains color.

Air-drying is easier on clothes, can reduce wrinkles, and eliminates static cling.

You shouldn't wash sweaters until you’ve worn them six times or more (or of course- if it's soiled). Fabrics like cashmere last longer and stay looking new when they contain natural oils (from the specialty detergents and body oils) and are not washed too often.

Clothes can be air-dried anywhere but the bathroom. It's too damp in there!

I hope this post was helpful! Would love to know if you'd like more tips on general laundry and stain care.

Have a great weekend!

S H O P   T H I S   P O S T: