Friday, June 29, 2012

Steven Alan Sample Sale and Style Comparison

Steven Alan plaid boyfriend cut shirt, Current / Elliott Yellow Stiletto Jeans, River Island Wedge Sneakers, Rayban Wayfarers (stolen from K)
I'm a relatively new convert to Steven Alan; I bought my first shirt in the reverse seam style a few weeks ago at the outlet in Los Feliz, and picked up another shirt in the boyfriend cut as well as a shirtdress from the online sample sale last week. Reverse seam and the boyfriend cut are the two main styles for Steven Alan's womens shirting. Now that I have both and can compare, I prefer the boyfriend cut; I like the longer length and overall fit. It seems to fit me better all around, whereas the reverse seam feels a little tight in certain areas, particularly shoulders and chest, and loose in others, like the body and arms, which is why I took a larger size. I'm wearing a size S in the boyfriend cut and a size M in the reverse seam, but the boyfriend cut still feels more loose and casual, which is the look I'm going for anyway. The price for both shirts was the same, at about 70% off, so a really good deal. A complete sample sale outfit; worn with some blindingly bright highlighter yellow jeans from Current/Elliott to avoid looking too preppy or corporate. I like the folding Wayfarers as well; I'll have to steal them more often from K.
Steven Alan Reverse Seam shirt

Thursday, June 28, 2012

End of Season Sales Purchases

Etoile Isabel Marant Hana Romper. Image from
I've managed to do a good amount of damage at the spring 2012 end of season sales without leaving house. It's what happens when you are sitting in a chair for long periods of time with nothing much to do but surf the web on the iPad. Timing has been perfect (or bad for the wallet), as it is peak time for end of the season sales as well as sample sales. I just can't resist a good deal. Plus since its mostly spring 2012 clothes, its stuff i can wear right away, so instant gratification. So far, I've done damage at Zara (sale just started last night), Barneys for some Isabel Marant, the Steven Alan online sample sale last week. I am really happy about all my purchases, they are all items that I have been eyeing since they've been full priced, so I am even more excited at a discount. The discounts have been really good too, at 60-75% off for Barneys and Steven Alan, and 40% off at Zara (which is cheaper to begin with anyway). Since I'm up at all hours, I'm often able to catch the sales right as they launch, which is usually in the middle of the night, and I'm able to grab my size before they sell out by morning, which is often the case by the morning west coast time for the more popular items. Pics to come!

Friday, June 22, 2012

June 2008 and Now

June 21, 2008
June 21, 2012
The four year anniversary gifts are flowers or fruit. These peonies fit the bill perfectly, as they are not only my favorite flowers, but they were also the flowers (in this same shade) in my wedding bouquet. We opened a bottle of 2005 Chateau D'aiguilhe Bordeaux last night as well which is our wedding wine; we have a tradition of opening a bottle every single anniversary. Happy to say that 2005 Bordeaux are still holding up well! We usually also open a bottle of our wedding champagne, 2005 Schramsberg's Blanc de Noirs, but my drinking is more limited these days so another time. Usually we celebrate with a roadtrip up north, including meals at Passionfish and Jockos; year 1 we did Santa Barbara / Big Sur / Monterey, year 2 we did Sonoma / Monterey / Pebble Beach / Big Sur and year 3 we did Carmel / Monterey / Muir WoodsPoint Reyes. This year we kept it low key and stayed at home and made some pizza. Time flies; happy fourth K!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Marni x H&M by the Beach

Marni x H&M T-shirt, Current/Elliott Beatnik Jeans in faded blue, purple Maz sneakers, Prada sunglasses
It's a nice change to be back in my regular clothes now. I've been wanting to wear this Marni x H&M t-shirt for awhile now, since JK picked it for me up at the launch back in March. It was a little too short to wear back then, but now it fits perfectly! I'm really embracing fun patterns and color for the summer, it's a refreshing change after wearing mostly dark neutrals for the last few months. Worn with faded blue Current/Elliott beatnik jeans from the recent sample sale. The Current/Elliott jeans definitely run big and stretch out with wear. I think they need significant hemming to look more like they do on the website models.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sweets by the Beach

My sweet tooth has definitely subsided a bit but not enough to resist an afternoon cupcake snack at yummy cupcakes by the promenade. I really like yummy cupcakes, their stores and offerings may not be as pretty as say Sprinkles or Susiecakes but the cupcakes are delicious. They're super moist with interesting flavors that change on a daily basis. I had the raspberry red velvet which was a daily special while K. had a classic chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. Loved the raspberry jam filling of the red velvet. A sweet treat to accompany a nice day and stroll on the bluffs by the beach.

Friday, June 15, 2012

iPad3 Love and Plug for Amazon Prime

I got my first iPad earlier this week. I love my iPhone 4s but I was finding that the small screen was straining my eyes, especially now that I was using it so much, spending so much time confined to the nursery. I went with the 64 GB iPad 3 as I expect to use it a lot for photos and basically replace my really slow and memory constrained laptop. It took a little longer than I expected to set up and get used to the iPad (I thought it would be easy since I had an iPhone 4s already set up but turns out many apps are iPhone or iPad specific so I had to get a lot of new apps. Plus transferring pictures took forever since syncing with my slow laptop took forever plus I was putting a lot of additional pics on given the additional memory of the iPad. For the most part, I finally have the iPad set up the way i want and its been great. Only big remaining thing is to set up our bew western digital drive that should get us a lot more organized as well as efficient with backup and syncing. I also wish that google related programs and apps such as photos were and importantly blogger were a lot more user friendly and as easy to use in their web versions, but they aren't. It's still easier to blog from my laptop.

After much research I bought some non-Apple accessories, including the Duo case from Monoprice for about 18 bucks and a five in one card reader from some Chinese company but fulfilled by Amazon for about 3 bucks. So far they work great for much cheaper than anything sold by Apple or other mainstream brand. I've used the card reader to download pics from my dslr as well as connect a keyboard via usb for my more lengthy email sessions.

We bought the iPad from B&h Photo in New York in order to save on sales tax. Had to delay instant gratification as we had to wait a few days for shipping (which was free), but it was tolerable as every penny saved counts! Speaking of instant gratification, Amazon Prime is such a must have, especially for someone somewhat restricted from traveling outside the house. As a first time parent, there's lots we need that we didn't realize we needed (ie, diapers. We didn't realize we would go through them so fast). Amazon has the best price anyway, plus combined with 15-20% off with amazon moms subscribe and save as well as quick shipping, it's saved us time and money. It's nice also not to have to think about the $25 minimum order. We've gotten multiple shipments per day from amazon, for things as varied as a new external hard drive, iPad accessories, last minute fathers day gifts and of course stuff for small fry like diapers and the increasingly important waterproof pads.

Three Scoops of Happiness at the Brentwood Country Mart

Cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip and salted caramel in a waffle cone from Sweet Rose Creamery. Been cooped up in the house too long; a walk to the country mart and some small batch ice cream is the perfect remedy. I love being walking distance from the country mart, I feel like I live in a small town, where I can walk to my local post office, bank and grab a bite to eat or some coffee. Just a slightly Hollywood version with expensive but delicious $5 scoops of ice cream (sweet rose creamery), $15-20 brunch entrees from a French laundry expat (farmshop), shops selling mulberry, helmet lang etc (newly opened intermix), and celebrity sightings. It is possible to get a cheap and filling bite to eat though, I usually turn to fridas tacos in the central food court-ish part of the mart. Brentwood country mart is a good place to take small fry because even though it's a public space with lots of people, there are plenty of quiet nooks with tables and benches for us to hang out in to avoid germy crowds. I can have my ice cream and eat it too.

Colorblock Fun: Zara Turquoise and Blue Stiletto Sandals

I particularly am a fan of Zara for some of its more affordable fashions with fashion forward design that look more expensive than they actually are. I love my leather sleeve safari jacket from a few months ago, which I wore constantly until the weather got warm and have gotten many compliments on it from both friends and strangers. Every time someone asks me where the jacket is from, they are surprised to hear Zara. The jacket is well made and definitely looks more expensive than it is and should last awhile. Europe is the best place to shop for Zara. My grayish pink faux suede motorcycle jacket is from my Spain trip and was only 20 euros on sale. It's much harder to find such good deals in the states and I still find that lots of their stuff to be overpriced for something that may be of questionable quality. Most things look nice online but look cheap in the stores and Some of their items are just better relative value than others. In the former camp, I've had my eye on these strappy Zara basic sandals in blue and turquoise for quite awhile now, which are quite a good relative value for $49.99. My only hesitation was that I havent worn such high heels in awhile now (very clumsy when pregnant), and certainly not going to wear such high heels when carrying small fry. Plus we have less occasions to be dressy. I do love the look though.  I had a same day exchange store credit (the exchange policy sucks, 30 days and you must have receipt. Otherwise you have to do a same day exchange, no store credit). The shoes were the best relative value for 49.99. I think they look a lot more expensive than that and are a fun addition to any outfit. They were part of my exchange for the $59.99 tie-dye blue jeans which weren't as good of a relative value, especially after my Current/Elliott denim purchases. I'm much happier with these sandals + navy and white striped t-shirt that was only $16.90.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Sweet, Modern, Owl Themed Nursery with Handcrafted Touches in Shades of Lavender and Sage

Before I start this post, I need to say that this room wouldn't be as special as it is to K. and me without Sunshine and all her crafting skillz and the always astounding generosity of my dear family and friends who gave many of the items in the room, from video monitors to toys to books to gear to clothes. I am eternally humbled and grateful for the support of all our family and friends: thank you all so much.

I'm really happy with how the nursery turned out; it's always been my favorite room in the house with the high ceilings, balcony and view of the pine trees, and now it's really the one room that I feel is complete, down to every last detail. As babies are expensive, I tried to work with what I already had in terms of furniture and color scheme. The bed and nightstand are from my parent's place (we swapped our spare queen size bed for their full size bed), we've had the ABC Home purple geometric deco area rug for several years now; it was previously in the master bedroom, and the West Elm curtains were already in the room. We've had the white organic West Elm pintuck duvet cover and shams for awhile now, as they were previously used in the guest room. We actually aren't using the duvet cover right now because the pintucks are really delicate and rip easily. Because we already had the sage curtains and purple area rug, I decided to go with a lavender and sage color theme for the room. I didn't want the room to be overly saccharine so I thought the sage was a nice contrast. Plus lavender / purple was one of my wedding colors and I had plenty of leftover lavender ribbon from the wedding almost four years ago. We were going to leave the room white, which was the original color, but we noticed small scuffs everywhere, so we painted it using Benjamin Moore's Natura non-VOC paint line in Violet Pearl. It's a nice gray / purple contrast to the mostly white furniture. Not cheap at over $54 a gallon, but worth it for the lack of fumes, especially for a little one.
I made fabric covered letters spelling out her name using mod podge and cheap wooden letters from Joann's (~$1 each), but I've blurred them out in the photos as small fry told me she wants to remain anonymous
Munire Urban Crib from USA Baby San Dimas, handmade giraffe and elephant mobile and bunting flags, sleepytime giraffe, pottery barn kids' Hayley organic cotton owl sheets, Dwellstudio for Target Menagerie crib skirt, old ABC Home area rug, owl blanket from JK
Ikea Expedit bookcase, lavender bins from, lots of book and toys. Never too early for storytime!
Room & Board Carter swivel chair (the Carter chair currently online also rocks back and forth in addition to swiveling side to side, but this one was a custom order that was returned, hence the 50% off back in December). Ikea lamp and shade, Etsy "What a Wonderful World" print from rawartletterpress, and lavender, gray and sage paper lanterns from Paper Lantern Store.
West Elm white organic pin tuck bedding (shams here, duvet cover not used because too delicate for a high traffic area), pottery barn kids harper personalized sham, colorful stuffed cat from Main Street (formerly known as "A.") and stuffed bunny blanket from Ah ma (grandma). Ikea white ceramic table lamp in corner
To save money and just because it's fun, Sunshine and I crafted pretty much all the little finishing touches, including the two animal mobiles, various owl pillows, the bunting, modge podge letters for small fry's name, and the arm sleeves for the Room & Board swivel chair. We probably spent about $50 or so (using lots of coupons) at Joann's on all the crafting supplies and were able to use all the materials and scraps for all our little projects. It's nice, because we were able to customize the exact color scheme we wanted, and everything matches! I'll be updating the blog with instructions for some of these projects, although at least for the ones that I was involved with, they were quite simple, which is good, because I have no crafting skills. Sunshine actually taught me how to sew a button, that's how elementary my skills were / are. The owl inspiration came from this Jonathan Adler-esque Owl Lamp from Target, that A., Sunshine and I all bought on sale a few months ago. The only purchased decorations was the "Wonderful World" print from etsy (one of my all-time fave songs, plus I like the lyrics re: babies crying) and the paper lanterns which are a super cheap way to add a little color and hanging interest in the room at ~ $1 a piece.
Target Owl Lamp. Cheap sage basket for diapering from clearance section of Bed Bath& Beyond
Bonavita Peyton Dresser from USA Baby, Naturepedic organic changing pad and changing pad cover from Handmade fabric bunting, owl mobile and mod podge fabric covered wooden letters.
Our first craft project, the owl mobile. Tutorials for all the craft projects to come on the blog.
Handmade Giraffe and Elephant felt mobile. I made this one all by myself! I'm proud because I literally did not know how to sew a button before making the owl mobile, which was our first project.
Sunshine's sleepy owl pillow (matching pair with the awake owl pillow on the Room & Board chair)
As for the other pieces, the only major purchases were the Munire Urban Crib and the Bonavita Peyton dresser. I did a lot of research to triangulate on the pieces with the most real hardwood (Munire is solid wood), best value for the money, while remaining aesthetically pleasing. I like clean modern lines for the larger pieces of furniture, using accessories and toys for a pop of color and excitement. The white Ikea bookcase is also new (we bought it after a lot of hesitation since it wasn't real wood obviously, but it was hard to find a similar alternative for so cheap. We tried to mitigate the fumes by airing it out in another room for several months), and the Room & Board Carter Swivel Chair was a gift from my parents from the annual Room & Board clearance sale; a great deal at almost 50% off especially since it's a style and fabric that is currently still full price in the stores (staying up past midnight on Christmas Eve always pays off!). All the lighting, closet storage units, hangars, even wall bracket for the giraffe and elephant mobile are from Target / Ikea. We tried to go with organic materials when possible; in addition to the organic West Elm bedding, we have a Naturepedic organic changing pad and changing pad cover, a natural nook pebble mattress from Gilt, pottery barn kids organic crib sheets (only $19 each in cute patterns, a bargain compared with most the other often overpriced pottery barn kids items) and personalized white and lavender embroidered sham. I'm definitely an over-researcher and bargain hunter and spent a ton of time researching, deciding on an item and searching around for the best price. Getting the best deal is pretty much the most satisfying part of the whole process  In the case of the crib and dresser, the big ticket items, I played several retailers off of each other, going back and forth on haggling for the best price (I did this with car shopping as well). USA Baby San Dimas was able to price match my best offer and also throw in a free toddler bed conversion rail, so they won. We ordered the crib and dresser in January, which is a popular month for twice yearly furniture sales (other being ~ June / July).
Sunshine's handmade owl pillow, 1 week stuffed balloon and armchair covers, West Elm purple pillow and organic white throw, Pump Station lavender back support feeding pillow, Luna Lullaby Bosom Buddy sage nursing pillow. I spent A LOT of time in this chair so comfort and support is paramount
Pretty much everything else was shower gifts from friends and family. At least so far, the room and configuration has been perfect for a newborn. Everything is functional and well-organized, I find the room calm and relaxing and small fry seems quite happy! I'll be updating this post with more specific links and descriptions of the various items, but just wanted to get some pics and background up.
So fashionable! Little Marc Jacobs mouse shoes from Claire in Seattle (see here for more pics) and lavender rhinestone sunglasses from Ryan of Malibu.
All the classic books.
Carter elephant hamper from (thanks to my shopping buddy N!) and Ikea antonius wire basket storage system. We have at least half dozen of these storage systems in closets around the house. We are too cheap for a custom solution or even solution, this works great.
She is definitely her mother's daughter although in terms of fashion / clothes, although even I don't have as many leggings as her. Love the DVF for babygap ones as well as the ruffly butt Carter ones (thanks Main Street!)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Current/Elliott S/S 2012 Sample Sale Report: Rainbow Brite

Love the bright saturated colors of my new Current/Elliott sample sale finds. L-R: day glow pink, neon yellow, turquoise and faded blue in the stiletto and beatnik cuts. How can you not be happy looking at this picture with all the colors?!
Post of outfit with day glow pink Current/Elliott jeans here

I'm currently unable to leave the house for long periods of time right now with the arrival of small fry, but when I heard about the Current/Elliott, Joie and Equipment sample sale at Siren Studios in Hollywood, I knew I had to call upon a huge favor from my more mobile friends to have them scope out the sale for me. The last few seasons has been all about fun denim in all sorts of patterns and colors which I've missed out since I've been expecting. Jeans are pretty much the only items of pre-small fry clothing that I couldn't wear after a few months. I haven't worn jeans in forever, so I was definitely itching to buy a new pair (or two :)). I think going forward, jeans will be a staple part of my wardrobe as the flexibility of wearing separates with small fry is paramount, as opposed to previous summers where I would be mostly in dresses. I don't own any, but I've always liked Current/Elliot for their fun patterns and colors, as well as their slim and flattering cuts, like in the stiletto and skinny ankle styles. With warmer weather here, I the slightly cropped length of those styles is perfect for me, plus I have short legs anyway and sometimes regular length jeans make me look even shorter.

I sent my proxy to the sale which started at 9am on Friday, June 8, at Siren Studios in Hollywood. There was a 100+ person line outside when my proxy got there at 9:45am and parking was a pain. My proxy has the patience of a saint though, and waited nevertheless and got into the sale about an hour later at 10:45am. After much rummaging around, my proxy was able to pull 4 pairs of colored jeans and 2 pairs of shorts, pretty much all that was available in my size for denim. There were no patterned jeans in my size. All the jeans were "irregular" and thus marked down to $41 from retail of $178. I decided against the shorts as they were also "irregular" but $40, a much poorer relative value compared with the jeans. I'm pretty picky and you really don't notice the 2-3 irregularities per pair which were marked with red tape. Stuff like a tiny pinhole on a belt loop or a barely perceptible smudge somewhere. I couldn't find the irregularities under the tape in several cases. After one wear by me, I would probably get them dirtier with more wear and tear than their current condition. After consulting with me over the phone (being home bound is so hard for me, the anticipation is drives me crazy, as I'm not a very patient person in general and I easily get obsessed about and fixated on random things), my proxy bought all four pairs (as well as a beautiful silky Joie Alanna tunic dress for $50, down from $288, for Sunshine) and a really nice and stylish wool men's Current/Elliott jacket for $68 for K. Sunshine & I are two very lucky girls; we got some really cool pieces at great prices and didn't even have to deal with the usual sample sale madness and stress. It's such a good deal that it makes you not want to shop anywhere else but sample sales; after my proxy brought me these jeans, I quickly exchanged my $59.99 Zara tie-dye jeans (for the tshirt in the outfit post and blue and turquoise colorblock high heeled sandals that I've been considering for awhile, post to come, which will look good with these jeans). The Zara jeans seemed like a good deal at the time vs. premium denim which is usually $150-$200+. At $41 for Current/Elliott, it was a no brainer to have the Current/Elliott which is just better quality, cut and fit, and return the Zara jeans. After all, I only need so many pairs of jeans anyway.

A Current/Elliott denim rainbow. The blues are probably less trendy, although the pink and yellow are so fun. Can't wait to have colorblocking fun!
I completely adore all four pairs: in the stiletto style: day glow pink, neon yellow, turquoise and in the beatnik style: faded blue. What's awesome is that all these exact styles and colors are current season and still available online and in high end department stores like Nordstroms for full retail price of $178. I doubt that there's a better deal out there for Current/Elliott denim, current season or not. The main difference between the beatnik and stiletto style is the rolled up cuff of the beatnik, which makes it slightly shorter than the stiletto. They are both fairly low rise and quite stretchy, slim fit though not very tight like some skinny jeans that I have. They seem to stretch a bit as you wear them, check out the fit in my outfit post with the pink pair. Since I have comparatively short legs, they go to my ankle, which is a little longer than it looks online. I bought my normal pre-small fry size, and they fit fine right now, a little over a week after small fry's arrival, if not even a little loose, so they must run big, I would say at least a size bigger than other premium denim, also helped by the stretchiness of the fabric and low rise.
Current/Elliott stiletto cut on the left, beatnik on the right
Beatnik on right slightly shorter length, otherwise very similar material and fit
Irregular jeans marked with a red "X" on the tag
Example of the most obvious irregularity that I found, a small stitching issue, but not very visible from normal range and does not affect fit or integrity of the fabric


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