Easy Breezy Bluesy

by - Tuesday, May 31, 2011
I was wearing this denim jacket when bf and I met up with his sister for lunch the other day. As soon as we sat down, his sister asked, "Are we wearing the same jacket?" I looked down at myself (because when I'm happily eating, I forget what I'm wearing), then looked at hers. "Yep, it looks like it. I got mine from Abercrombie." To which she responded, "Me too! Circa 2002?" "Err... probably? It was a long time ago."

I've always wondered what it would feel like to wear the same thing as someone else in public. Awkward? Embarrassing? Surprisingly, not so much. But if I'm ever out in my crewcuts shirt and see a little boy in the same one, you can bet I'd be running away as fast as I can, hahaha.

Do you have any accidental matching clothing stories to share?
jacket: Abercrombie & Fitch (similar)
top: Hollister
belt: Old Navy
bracelet: disney couture (similar)
flats: Old Navy (currently sold here)

What's Old Is New Again

by - Monday, May 30, 2011
Today's outfit was from a few weeks back, when temperatures were much cooler. Before skinny jeans, all I wore were bootcuts/flares. Nowadays, all I seem to wear are skinnies. With all the 70s looks floating around lately, it's the perfect time to bust out these oldies once again... plus I paired them with heels! *pats myself on the back* To think all I used to wear were flats with the hems tucked in *shudders at the mental image*

Do you have an old item that you've recently reincorporated back into your wardrobe?
top: LOFT (similar)
belt: Express (similar)
jeans: Express (similar)
shoes: Nine West (currently sold here)

Bait and Switch

by - Friday, May 27, 2011
I got the dreaded Blogger commenting error the other day, but thank goodness I had already made a copy, so all was not lost. I did notice that I was logged into my Gmail account, but not into my Blogger account. What I mean is, when I was leaving a comment, the "Comment as:" option was not preselected to "Cee (Google)" because I had not logged into Blogger yet. Instead, it defaulted to "Comment as: Select Profile." But, in another tabbed window, I was already logged into my Gmail account (with the same email account that Blogger uses). So before the comment could go through, I had to re-log into Blogger, which causes Gmail to log out and re-log in automatically. I think the conflict happened here, and somehow Blogger couldn't handle it, so poof goes the comment.

It's a pain having to switch between different accounts, but I have noticed that whenever I'm already logged into Blogger (not just Gmail, because your profile will be automatically selected in the comment option), I never have this problem. So long story short, I just have to make sure I'm logged out of Gmail and preferably logged into Blogger before I leave a comment. Whew that was long winded. Maybe it's time I switch over to Disqus.

Have you gotten this error before? Do you have any tips to share?
belt: Forever 21 (similar)
skirt: LOFT
flats: Valentino (similar)


by - Wednesday, May 25, 2011
When I first started blogging, I didn't tell a soul about my alter ego. It just seemed weird to say out loud, "I take pictures of myself. Outfit pictures, and I blog about it." Umm... a bit narcissistic? :) When I finally told my boyfriend, he said the initial weirdness soon faded away to something that made sense. It's the ideal hobby for me, combining my two loves: clothes and web design.

Every once in awhile he'd joke about being featured and I would laugh it off... until now. So here's a rare shot of the two of us dressed up for no reason before heading out to eat. Just so we're going along with the M.O. of this blog, head guillotined, which kind of defeats the purpose :)

Some random tidbits: We're both engineers by background but neither of us really work in the field. I'm Taiwanese and he's Cantonese, so English is how we communicate. Then again, even if we both spoke ManTonese*, English would still be our choice (duh, if my French skillz are of any indication). He's about 3" taller than me... so my tall heels are saved for times when he's not around, or when he's got his "man heels" on (Nike Shox, anyone?)

*Mandarin + Cantonese
necklace: Banana Republic (similar)
cardigan: Old Navy (this season's version sold here)
dress: Bensoni
sash: J.Crew
flats: Valentino (similar)

Boots and a Dress

by - Monday, May 23, 2011
My usual choice of camera* placement is on the trunk of my car or on a ledge on my building's rooftop. Either would give me a background photo of a parking lot. I don't know about you, but I'm getting a little tired of the same old :) So... the hunt for a cheap tripod begins. The cheaper the better, but still sturdy enough that a gust of wind won't knock it over. Perhaps this, this, or this one? Do you have a tripod to recommend?

*I also toyed with the idea of potentially upgrading to a nice DSLR camera, but I don't know if I have the time right now to learn enough of the controls to get my ROI back... perhaps further down the road.
jacket: Abercrombie & Fitch (similar)
cardigan: stephanie b
dress: Express
ring: Spotted Moth via Kendi's giveaway (similar)
belts: Ann Taylor (other colors sold here); Forever 21 (similar)

Double Trouble

by - Sunday, May 22, 2011
Inspired by Shopbop, this Chris Benz Molly dress (below left) caught my attention with its huge cluster of flowers. I did my best to recreate, but I wasn't even close. The placement should have started higher on the shoulders, cascading down to smaller flowers (which I want more of). So in the end, I threw a jacket over the dress, and pinned the flowers on for a good enough compromise. Second time's the charm :)
jacket: American Eagle (similar)
flower pins: Old Navy (similar)
dress: J.Crew (similar)
bag: agnes b - gift from cousin
shoes: Nine West (currently sold here)

*Chris Benz dress image courtesy of Shopbop

Prep School

by - Thursday, May 19, 2011
The theme for this Bloggers Do It Better challenge is a style I love, preppy but with a menswear twist. I had an easy time raiding bf's closet for a tie because this was the only one I could find, hanging by its lonesome self next to two dress shirts, lol. I did help him pick out the tie, so it should be ok if I borrowed without asking... like how I "borrow" his side of the closet to put my things but eventually take over :D

I picture stripes when I think of prep, so I may have been a little too stripe-happy: shirt (even though it's hard to see), tie* (only choice), blazer cuffs, and belt. I'm glad the tie had shades of pink to make the outfit more feminine, but I also added my own touch with additional jewelry.

Have you ever incorporated a tie into an outfit before? How did it turn out?

*I really need to learn how to tie a tie
necklace: J.Crew
tie: Express (bf's - similar)
shirt: Hollister (similar)
blazer: theory (similar)
belt: Old Navy (similar)

Wrinkles in Time

by - Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Linen is such a comfortable fabric to wear, but holy moly, what a walking disaster I was -- or should I say, sitting disaster? Every time I got up, I run my hands over the creases, trying to smooth it out. It doesn't help much, but something is better than nothing. Now next time I just need to photograph these in the bright glare of sunlight... or cheat a bit with Photoshop :)

Do you take the gamble with a high-maintenance fabric like linen (white or colored)?
jacket: Abercrombie & Fitch (similar)
ring: Spotted Moth via Kendi's giveaway
top: Gap
tank: Old Navy (currently sold here)
belt: Ann Taylor (other colors sold here)
flats: Old Navy (currently sold here)

Fall into Spring

by - Tuesday, May 17, 2011
An abnormal day two weeks ago with a high of 60 meant I could wear what I love most, layers upon layers. Okay, so I went a little way overboard... with a tank, tee, wrap, scarf, and jacket. All on the top half :) This may be my last chance to wear fall clothing, so you bet I made the most of it!

Are you missing your cold-weather gear yet?
scarf: unknown (similar)
pants: LOFT (similar)

Short Stuff

by - Sunday, May 15, 2011
Lately, I've been catching myself tugging on my shorts to make them magically longer. I'm taking this as a sign that I'm... maturing (sounds so much better than old). Though I'm finding it hard to completely phase these shorts out of my wardrobe. I think at least for this summer, I'll just continue to pair them with loose, flowy tops, possibly layered. That should help balance out the bottom half.

Do you have any do's or don'ts when it comes to short shorts?
jacket: American Eagle (similar)
necklace: J.Crew
belt: Ann Taylor (other colors sold here)
shorts: American Eagle (this season's version sold here)
socks: American Eagle (similar)

Reader Request: Professional Work Bag

by - Friday, May 13, 2011
Reader A emailed me asking if I can help recommend a stylish work bag. She is a 5'1" law student who will be working at a firm over the summer. Her requirements are a sensible, professional, yet fun work bag that is big enough (but doesn't overwhelm her frame) to fit shoes and preferably a laptop, for no more than $150.

I was thrilled when I saw A's email because bags are one of my favorite topics of conversation :) At the same time, a bit unsure because I know next-to-nothing about law firms and lawyers besides the occasional Law & Order episodes. My impression is that the legal industry is highly conservative, so I would veer away from overly logo-ed loud bags and stick to classic styles and colors.
(1) Fossil Executive Center Zip ($148 - buy here) / (2) Fossil Executive North/South Tote ($148 - buy here) / (3) Giani Bernini Glazed Swagger Tote ($128 - buy here) / (4) JP Lizzy Luxe Society Tote ($98 - buy here, here) / (5) Merona Microfiber Tote ($30 - buy here) / (6) Piel Slim Tote (on sale for $143 - buy here) / (7) Marc Fisher Dress for Success Flap Tote ($98 - buy here) / (8) Leatherbay Leather Commuter Bag (on sale for $135 - buy here, here, here)

Style - For a professional environment, I would recommend a structured bag. Totes would be my first choice. They are the most practical with many size and design options. I would pay attention to strap drops -- making sure they fit easily over your shoulder and are thick and sturdy (don't want laptop remains splattered over your feet!) I'd also suggest broadening the search to include diaper bags. Yep, you read that right. Most have the shape of a shopping tote, but roomier, so if space is important, they could be a good alternative. I also like the look of satchels (but some may be hand-held only). Bag #7 is a great example of a feminine-looking briefcase-type bag that would look great in the courtroom -- am I idealizing again? Last time, I promise :)

Color/Design - With the legal industry being as conservative as it is, I would want to blend in as much as possible. Sticking to neutral colors (black, brown, gray, etc) may seem boring, but you can find ones with fun textures (ie, quilted, crocodile print). If that is still too blah, I'd expand the search to dark colors (ie, burgundy) but keep the design plain. Men wear red ties, and it's supposedly considered a "powerful" color, so I would think a dark red bag would be the equivalent for women. I would also try to pick bags with minimal hardware. Less is usually better.

Material - Most people's first choice would probably be real leather. Of course that usually means shelling out more money, but it is possible to find bags with real leather without turning to designer names and still staying within budget (ie, bags #1, 2). Faux-leather is also a possibility, with many feeling as soft as real leather. However, I would be careful of chemical smells. Bag #5 is made of nylon, but I like how the shape and overall look of the bag is very sleek. Depending on the environment, this could be a good choice.

Where to shop - Personally, I prefer to shop online for almost everything. The options are endless and it's pretty easy to compare products and get feedback through reviews. While browsing for A, I found many options at eBags and Zappos. If bag #6 is up your alley, Piel has more great selections. For shopping in person, I would recommend stores like Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack, and outlets for bags at great prices. If there is a particular designer you're after, sample sales (in person) and online through sites such as Hautelook, Rue La La, and Gilt Groupe are great options.

A also asked if I have any tips/success stories at bag shopping in thrift stores. I'm afraid I can't help her out here, but if anyone is willing to share their experience(s), we'd greatly appreciate it :)

What are your thoughts on work bags? Do you have any recommendations for A?

*Images 1-2 courtesy of Zappos / Images 3, 7 courtesy of Macy's / Images 4, 6, courtesy of eBags / Image 5 courtesy of Target

My Kind of DIY

by - Tuesday, May 10, 2011
When I saw SewPetiteGal's clever transformation of her scarf into a top worn two ways, I gasped out loud. So neat! Wow, only a few steps and no sewing?! I need to try this ran through my head as I marveled at how she wore her scarf.

Once I had the perfect pair of pants in mind for this outfit, I went to work. My first attempt was a big fat FAIL. I didn't have a scarf ring, so I used a regular ring instead. Somehow though, after I tied the initial knot, the ring fell to the floor, hahaha (I'm not very good at following directions, it seems). Well, at least the knot was still in place. So I then slipped the scarf over my head in the one-shoulder style and tied the remaining ends around my waist.

On my right side (can be seen more clearly in the back view below), the material was sort of left open, flapping in the wind, so I tucked the top part into the strapless top I wore underneath. I should have straightened out the bottom part better and tucked excess fabric into my pants. In the end though, I think the scarf is just a teeny bit small for my body, so there will always be a bit of a gap.

Overall, I'm really happy with this DIY. Next time, I would probably twist the scarf a bit so there's more of a one-shoulder slant instead of how this attempt turned out.

Check out how Elle wore her scarf, with help also from SPG's tutorial.

Have you worn a scarf as a top before? How did it turn out?
cardigan: Old Navy
belt: Ann Taylor (other colors sold here)
flats: Old Navy (currently sold here)
sash on bag: Abercrombie & Fitch

Skirting Around

by - Monday, May 09, 2011
Step aside, J.Crew. Today's inspiration came from LOFT and Ann Taylor. I've had the LOFT image (below left) in my inspiration folder for awhile, so when Elle posted pictures from Ann Taylor's summer lookbook with the embellished floral halter (below right), I knew I had to recreate the look myself. I had actually worn a cardigan with this outfit for work, but off it went for pictures.

Off on a tangent -- has anyone else seen the floral halter in person? The flowers looked quite sparse and not at all like the ones in the photo.
flower pin: LOFT (similar, smaller)
top: LOFT
sash: J.Crew
skirt: Gap (similar)

*(Top left) LOFT image courtesy of LOFT; (Top right) Ann Taylor image courtesy of Ann Taylor

Longchamp LM Metal Tote

by - Saturday, May 07, 2011
Whee! Or should I say, yikes?! I went and bought another bag. So much for staying true to my resolutions for this year. But from now on, no more new bags unless I part with an old one. In with the new, out with the old. This obsession of mine has got. to. stop. before it spirals out of control.

I fell in love with this Longchamp LM Metal Tote in white, size medium (sold at Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's / large version sold at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks) at first sight. Yes, yes, I say that with every one of my bag purchases, haha. I've been on a white streak lately, and the subtle silver pattern is just too gorgeous.

A couple thoughts since I've started using this bag:

- Thumbs up to the price tag. It isn't astronomical (Chanel lovers will know what I'm talking about).

- Perfect size for everyday use. I was initially set on the large size, but after much debate, I felt the medium size suits my needs better and doesn't overwhelm my frame. The large size would be perfect if I traveled a lot though.

- It's white. Pretty as it is, folds and creases are very apparent, especially under bright lighting. I'm not a bag babier, so I'm hoping it doesn't start looking worn and old with just a few uses.

- I do wish there were more inside pockets -- or at at least make the existing one bigger. I'm used to at least two, one for my cell phone and one for my magic wallet. The single compartment does get weighed down with heavier things, which doesn't help with keeping the canvas smooth.

- The bag screams spring/summer to me. I'm not sure I'll be using it when the cooler weather hits.

- Love the long handle drops. I don't know how I've been putting up with measly 4" ones.

Do you own a Longchamp bag? How has it held up over time?

*The lighting wasn't the best when I took these pictures, but the bag is really a true white in real life.

May Flowers

by - Thursday, May 05, 2011
I'm such a copycat. After Jean and Vicky both picked up their citrine belts, I lucked out and found the last one in my store. Though it looked like it had been a store display piece because the ends weren't even. But, armed with a $25 off coupon thanks to Aubrey, I decided the belt was worth paying for, instead of hunting one down in pristine condition.

I heart this blogging community. From the amazing girls I've come to know, the inspirations I've gotten, the up-to-the-minute sharing of deals (hopefully my closet doesn't resemble others' too much), and the nice and constructive feedback I've been receiving. /End sappy Hallmark moment. Happy Cinco de Mayo!
scarf: Spotted Moth via Kendi's giveaway (currently sold here)
ring: Spotted Moth via Kendi's giveaway (currently sold here)
shirt: American Eagle (similar)
belt: Ann Taylor (other colors sold here)
skirt: LOFT
wedges: Nine West (currently sold here)

White Out

by - Tuesday, May 03, 2011
My first Bloggers Do It Better entry and... ack! Please ignore my too-short pants with heels (need to add metallic flats to my wishlist!) Otherwise, I really like this outfit. Similar to wearing all black, I find all white to be a great palette for accessorizing with colors. Though, at the same time, I also don't think you'd look under-dressed without adding color. Agree? Disagree? I chose to go with the former with this outfit because I've been loving my Amrita Singh necklace as of late.
top: LOFT (similar)
necklace as belt: Banana Republic (similar)
pants: LOFT (currently sold here)

Unexpected Surprise

by - Sunday, May 01, 2011
I finally found the scalloped blazer at the third H&M I visited. I tried on both size 2 and 4, but neither felt and looked quite right. From reading reviews beforehand, I've already braced myself for the thin material, but was surprised by the fit. Size 2 felt tight across the shoulders and the sleeves were too short for my liking. Size 4 wasn't horrible, but the jacket sort of just hung on me, shapeless, like a coat hanger. I stood in front of the mirror debating for the longest time, but ended up walking away from both.

While in the city, I also made a stop at Zara. There were so many cute items I saw online that I wanted to check out in person. I either couldn't find them or the items didn't look as nice in person. Instead, a Jacket with Zips, which I glossed over online caught my attention while I was at the store. I tried on both size S in black and a M in beige. The black fits perfectly, and with this type of jacket, the tighter the better, right? But... I had trouble moving my arms around. Boyfriend noted that my arm flopping just looked plain unnatural, so it shouldn't even be an issue. The best part? This jacket didn't squeak! In the end, I decided on the beige, even with the looser fit. The color just appealed to me so much more (wrinkles and distressing was very apparent in black). Now I'm wishing for cold weather again.
top: LOFT
belt: Forever 21 (similar)

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