Friday, August 31, 2012

Happy Hour.

     Last week I met up with a friend from NYC who was in the District for the day for a meeting with a client. I hadn't seen her since May, so it was a good opportunity to quickly catch up for a few happy hour drinks before she had to hop on a train back to NY. 

   I didn't have any real reason to dress up except that I knew she was going to be wearing a suit. So I took it as an opportunity to wear something other than my typical summer uniform of a tank and shorts and slip on something a little more presentable so I didn't look so completely under-dressed standing next to her:

Blouse: Banana Republic Silk Safari Shirt (Black, size 0P).
Pants: Theory Gratilla S Trouses (Legal, size 00) (similar here or here).
Shoes: LAUREN by Ralph Lauren Amelie Pumps (Black, size 6).
Ring: Le Chateau (Silver) (similar).
Clutch: Botkier Charlotte Clutch (Black) (similar).
Belt: Banana Republic Factory Skinny Leather Belt (Black, size S).
Watch: Michael Kors Runway Watch (Silver).
Bracelet: Leather and chain bracelet, unknown maker from TJ Maxx (Black, silver) (similar).

    Have a great long weekend, everyone! Apparently there is a sale at the Theory outlet this weekend (extra 25% off reduced prices). I'm actually in the country for this one and I'm going to do my best and try and not go even though last week I saw some stuff that I absolutely loved! Anyone heading to the outlets this weekend??

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Review: J.Crew Emmaleigh Dress.

    
     I have been looking for a sheath dress in a great suiting material for a long time now, just so I can make up a three- or four- piece suit (jacket, skirt, dress, pants). The biggest issue, as my fellow super petites can relate, is fit. My fit issues are a bit unique in that I wear 00P on the bottom due to my narrow hips and wear a 0P on top. When buying a dress, it's anyone's guess as to whether I could fit a 0P or a 00P. I generally end up with a dress that somewhat fits on top, but is too big on the bottom, or it fits on the bottom but is too tight on top. 

   Most recently, I haven't had any luck with Banana Republic (too tight on top) or Theory (too long on top for my short torso), but I have yet to try J.Crew dresses. One of the sweaters I've been stalking for months finally went on sale and I needed to fill the free shipping quota, so I decided to try on the Emmaleigh dress for size. To ensure I wasn't going to keep it, I ordered it in Royal Violet, thinking it was a color that I wouldn't like. 

   Here are a few photos in 00P (the color is much less fluorescent than is shown below):



   My initial reaction was that I was in love. I didn't expect to like it at all because of the bright color, but after putting it on, I thought it would be a fun addition to my work wardrobe. It was only after I took the blog photos that I saw that it wasn't as great as I had first thought. 

  The breakdown:

   Quality: I am a big fan of the J.Crew's Super 120s wool. It's smooth and soft, and drapes incredibly well, assuming that you can get the item to fit you.  The dress seems well-made. I found no issues with the construction. The dress is also full lined.

   Look: The overall look of the dress is really nice. It is a great sheath that is appropriate for work or any other slightly more formal occasion. It can be both dressed up with a jacket and heels or you can try and wear it more casually with a pair of flats. It does have pockets that are sewn shut. If you are thinking of opening them, I would give it a second thought before actually doing so. I love pockets, but they can also ruin the lines of a dress or skirt because they tend to open as a result of any movement and you no longer get that streamlined look. 

    Another detail that I loved is that in the inside the shoulder there are little hidden clasps to hold in bra straps:



  Sizing: In the mirror, I thought it actually fit rather well. The bust could fit a bit smaller but the waist fit, and I thought that the hips did too...until I took these photos. Then I realized, after seeing the back view, my rear didn't look that great:



    Hmm. When the butt isn't filling out the dress, that means something is definitely off. Upon further inspection of fit, I saw that the hips were too wide and could use about an inch of slimming on either side. Overall, I would say that this dress runs TTS for J.Crew, in other words, too large for very small petites. Here are some measurements in inches, taken on one side only:


Overall length: 34"Shoulder to waist. 14"
Waist to hem: 20"
Armpit to armpit: 14.5 (unstretched)
Waist: 12.75"
Hips: 17.5"
Shoulder to shoulder (outside seam to outside seam): 10.5"

Verdict: As much as I like the color, and the somewhat *close* fit, doing the actual slimming seems like too much work for this type of dress. If you have a larger bust and slightly larger hips than I do, the Emmaleigh has the potential to look amazing on you. For me, sadly, return.

   To try it for yourself, grab it here. The Royal Violet color is on sale for $149.99 down from $188, plus, if you have a J.Crew credit card, check your inbox. You can get 25% off your entire order and free shipping (anything on the website!) until September 11. I'm thinking long and hard about what to buy. I'm also expecting new stock to be uploaded on to the site during the first few days of September so I'm holding tight until then. Anything J.Crew that you love and think I should try??

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Cool down.

    We're approaching the end of August and I'm just itching for fall which is my favorite season for fashion. It's about this time of year in DC where the humidity is beginning to dissipate somewhat even though the temps are still sitting around the mid-80s (translation: low 30s, for my fellow non-Americans). I take this opportunity to wear any sleeves and pants if at any moment I deem the weather even the least bit tolerable for that sort of thing. 

   I wore this on a shopping excursion with my mom last week. I really didn't think much of it, except that I wanted to be comfortable and that I really, really wanted to wear this new boy shirt I bought from J.Crew in this cool Snowcat print. I didn't really care about the rest of it. Haha. But the outfit actually generated quite a few compliments, so I figure it must be blog-worthy:


Blouse: J.Crew Boyshirt in Snowcat (Black/white, size 0).
Shorts: Anny Taylor Resort Shorts (Oasis Teal, size 00P) (see similar here or here).
Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs Flash Slingdoodle (Black) (see similar).
Bracelets: Ann Taylor (similar), Jacob (similar), Leather and Chain bracelet (unknown maker) (similar).
Sandals: Twelfth St. by Cynthia Vincent Gladiator Sandals (Chartreuse, size 6) (see similar).

   I really love the casual fit and the print is a great addition to my closet that is dominated by solid colors.

   And no, I still haven't cut my hair. It's growing out rather well which is why I'm not really in a rush to get to the salon, not that you can tell. :P  But this is what I'm thinking of getting done when I finally do get to see my stylist:


photo from Tomandlorenzo.com

     I know it's not dramatically different from what I've had for the past few years. In fact, I've probably had this exact cut along with the side swept bangs once or twice. But it's really the only hairstyle that appeals to me right now. I also have a strange desire to dye it purple or magenta, but I likely won't be doing that. LOL. For some reason, lately I've felt a need to re-visit everything I did in my early 20s. =P. What do you ladies think of my next potential haircut?

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Friday, August 24, 2012

AFD IDIM Adventures: Skirt #5.

   No, you are not going crazy. You did not miss the post about IDIM Skirt #4, I had just decided not to post about it since it was not much different than skirt #2 and #3. However, skirt #5 is dramatically different and was quite the challenge...and so stressful!

   Just to give a little background, I made the mistake (?) of offering to make my mom a skirt. My mom and I do not really share the same personal style. She leans towards being very glam and girly, and loves light, flowy fabrics.  And as you know from my EOTDs, I do no such thing. So making something for her would be a project that is completely different from anything I've made before. Additionally, making something for myself is somewhat high pressure because I'm such a perfectionist. Making it for someone else is stressful because I don't want the person to point out any mistakes. Making something for my mom takes the stress up a notch because she is as picky as I am.

   The type of skirt my mom wanted was a skirt with a high-low hem. Easy enough, right? I had the pattern for it already (I used McCall's M6567). So I take her to Jo-Ann Fabrics, and of course, she chooses a polyester chiffon-like fabric. Not the easiest thing to work with when you are just a beginner. She also wanted a lining and an elastic waist. The simple skirt  with an elastic waist is generally one of the first sewing projects that a new sewist begins with, so I figured that it wouldn't be a big deal...that is, until I started playing with the "chiffon". It was somewhat of a nightmare. Also, trying to help my mom decide on how long she wanted the front hem to be was a bit trying. She can be very indecisive and incredibly picky. So when she finally decides on something, she won't budge even if I make suggestions on how to make it better. At some point, I will have to realize that I should just do what she wants even if it means that I have to start all over when she sees that I was right. =/ I love my mom to death, but, as I'm sure many of you can relate, she can also drive me crazy! But after two and a half days this is what we got:



     A flowy, lightweight, red skirt with lining and an elastic waistband finished with a narrow hem that hit her mid-calf in the front and at the ankle in the back. Let me tell you, it wasn't even the hem that almost killed me, it was putting together the elastic waist with the double super slippy and flimsy fabrics. For months, I've been putting off purchasing this liquid stabilizer because I didn't think I would need it in the near future. Boy, did I need it. Thankfully, I was able to improvise and found a can of cornstarch to temporarily "stiffen" the fabric so I could sew with it. From this experience, I can tell you that if you sew, a can of cornstarch is definitely a cheap and quick solution when working with difficult slippy fabrics that don't really "fold" or press flat. As a disclaimer, I would test the cornstarch on a piece of scrap material before spraying it all over your project. I have no idea how cornstarch interacts with silk and such. 

   My mom seemed pretty happy with the end result, I think. If there was something she didn't like about it, she didn't really let on. For my first flowy skirt with elastic waist and working with such a difficult fabric, I think I did OK. I also learned a few new things about elastics and lightweight fabrics.

   Any fun stories out there about trying to impress someone with your handiwork and it worked/didn't work out so well??

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Finally.


     I've had a pair of wine-colored skinnies on my wish list for over a year now. I finally snagged myself a pair at Off 5th in my favorite denim brand, Paige! The fact that I had placed myself on a shopping ban somewhat negates the feeling of satisfaction of finally crossing something off the list that's been on there for an extended period of time...but only very slightly. =)

    Buy similar pairs here by Vince, here by Marc by Marc Jacobs, or here at Asos. I also saw something similar at H&M recently and the exact same pair at my local TJ Maxx.

    Have you crossed off anything on  your wish list lately that's been on it a long time??

    P.S. If you're wondering, EOTDs should be back up on the blog starting next week (hopefully).

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

BHcosmetics Haul.

     I try my best not to be a cosmetics junkie mostly because my daily make-up is nothing "fancy". I use foundation and concealer, blush, brow filler, eyeliner, and sometimes mascara. More recently I've been using lip color a little more often, but since I have chronically chapped lips, I usually stick with Aquaphor. 

    Despite a fairly basic make-up routine, every now and then I get caught up in some product and I suddenly need all the colors. My friend emailed me the other day and asked me if I heard about BHcosmetics. I think I had heard about it in passing, but I've never actually explored their makeup. Apparently their eyeshadows are highly regarded by makeup artists and bloggers due to their great pigmentation and colors and it just so happened they were having a great sale on their palettes last week. Thanks to my enabling friend, I ended up with three palettes:

   The Smokey Eye Palette for $12.07:


   The 120 Color Palette, 3rd Edition for $19.77:



   The 120 Color Palette, 5th Edition for $19.77:



    This is 268 eyeshadows!! LOL. Remember, I don't really wear eyeshadow on a daily basis, so I guess it's about time that I started. Despite all these colors, I kind of wish for more darker jewel tones like blues, purples, and greens but none of their palettes really have much of these.

      BHcosmetics has sales pretty much every week and right now they are having a special sale: up to 45% off select palettes and you can get the 88 Matte Palette for just $8 if you spend more than $25. Also,  if you like them on Facebook and one of your friends likes them too, you get an extra 10% off. Something else that's caught my attention is their Synthetic Brush Set:



     I was very close to getting this, but eventually decided against it given my tighter budget this month. It has 24 pieces plus the brush roll for $29.22 (35% off  the regular price). I have a personal preference for synthetic brushes due to their smooth application of makeup as well as less irritation than animal hair. If you've tried mineral makeup and every brand you've tried makes you itchy, the cause could be the brush! It was the brush for me and it was such a relief to finally figure that out.

  I've been playing around with these and the pigmentation is very good. Some colors are better than others and I actually do find that my favorite Alima eye shadows don't require as much layering as some of the BH shades to get the color u see in the pan, but I'm not complaining at all considering the price. Here is a sample of the pigmentation without much rubbing into the color:



   Pretty good, huh?

   Now that I have all these eyeshadows and despite the fact I've been searching the interwebs high and low for some great eye make-up tutorials and watching endless hours of how-tos, I find I still don't really know what I'm doing. I'm good at one or two looks that I've perfected over the years and just change up the colors. Not very creative. I think have to go retrieve my Making Faces by Kevyn Aucoin book from my parents house to brush up my skills. 

     Do you have any favorite makeup tutorials or books I should check out?

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

AFD Obsession: Ash Bowie Wedge Sneaker


Photos from Ashfootwearusa.com

   Even I acknowledge that the idea of a high-heeled sneaker is just so incredibly ridiculous, and yet, I cannot turn away. Quite honestly, I've wanted a pair since my teens and even though I'm now in my 30s, I apparently haven't outgrown the idea. OK, I admit, I owned a pair of those stiletto converse versions from the late 90s-early 2000s. They were very similar to these with a more classic-shaped heel:


Photo from Gizmodiva

    Funny, right?? 

    I likely (or hopefully?) won't purchase a pair of wedge sneakers knowing that it is probably a short-lived trend, but boy, am I tempted. I tried on a Steve Madden "knock-off" version in the mall yesterday and they were oh so cute, but true to Steve Madden form, oh so hurty. 

   Ash has several different pairs, but I'm partial to the Bowie style. They have hefty price of $225 (although they don't cost as much as Isabel Marant). They also come in several other colors:





     Urbanoutfitters and Jildorshoes carries a few colors that are not yet sold out. Check it out here and here.

     As a side note, my mom is staying with me for the next three weeks, so I'm not sure how much blogging I can do while she's here. Posts may be very sporadic until she's gone. 

What do you think of wedge sneakers? I know that there are some strong opinions out there on these. Love 'em or hate 'em?
  

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Friday, August 3, 2012

One Yellow Sweater, Three Ways.

     Admittedly, when I go home to Toronto, I don't pack that well. Inevitably, I'm always either over-packed or under-packed. I'm under-packed, because I usually don't bring the correct layers--jackets, sweaters, etc. And sometimes I'm over-packed, because I always end up wearing the same thing anyway. Take this yellow J.Crew Tippi Sweater for example:



    I wasn't even going to bring it with me but at the last minute before leaving the apartment, I slipped it over my head because my dad likes to blast the A/C in the car and I needed something to keep me warm despite the blazing heat outdoors. 


    Even though I dont *really* need to,  I am thrilled to be able to wear this layer anyway. Toronto does get heat and humidity during the summer, but it is nowhere near what it is in DC. The fact that being able to wear this layer as an option makes me so happy. 


    The first two outfits aren't dramatically different, but when you're living out of a suitcase, you have to make do with what you have. I know the color of the photos are a bit washed out, but I made a new spot in the house to take some photos and the lighting is a bit weird and I didn't put too much effort into trying to fix them via post-processing.


   Fam jam:


Blouse: Jacob Sleeveless Bow Blouse (without the bow) (white, size XS) (see similar here and here).
Trousers: J.Crew Cafe Capri in Pop Art Polka Dot (cream/navy, size 00P and altered by me).
Shoes: LAUREN by Ralph Lauren Amelie Pump(black, size 6).
Clutch: Botkier Charlotte Clutch (black) (see similar here and here).
Watch: Michael Kors Runway watch (silver).

Dinner with the BFF for his birthday:

Necklace: Forever21 (gold) (see similar).
Bracelets: Forever21 and Material Girl (gold) (similar).

Running errands:

Tank: Express Racerback tank (black/white stripe, size XS) (see similar).
Ring: Le Chateau (silver).
Belt: H&M Leather belt (Brown, size XS).
Shoes: Converse Chuck TaylorAll-star Ox (grey, size W6).
Denim: Abercrombie & Fitch Cut-off Denim shorts (destroyed, medium wash, size 00) (see similar).

     You might not be able to tell because of the flash, but the sweater is a bit sheer so you can see the stripes of the tank through it which I thought was fun. 

   If you're wondering what the heck is going on with my hair lately, it's the result of two things: One, I need a haircut and I feel like I need a change, but I'm not quite sure what I should do with it. And two, right now I'm obsessed with Gwen and No Doubt's new song "Settle Down". This hair is inspired by Gwen and I've been sporting it pretty much every day for the last two and a half weeks.

  Any suggestions on what I should do with my hair? I have a few requirements: not too short (preferably around shoulder length), easy to style, and grows out well.

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