Saturday, July 31, 2010

Adventures in Silverlake

Happy Saturday, Everyone!

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! I know I said yesterday that I planned to be a couch potato, but the hubby convinced me to head to up Silverlake to grab some breakfast and go for a stroll around the neighborhood. He'd heard me continually rave about the food at Cafe Stella and wanted to try it for himself.

Carol and I and our other friend Lisa had tried it a few months back, when we went to visit Matrushka Construction to check out their dresses. While the service at Cafe Stella left us a little underwhelmed, the food more than delivered. I couldn't wait to go back and try more of their menu, and my hubby is a serious breakfast connoisseur (it's his favorite meal) so we were happy to finally have a free weekend to make the trek.

My tummy didn't regret it. Feast your eyes on these gorgeous lemon ricotta pancakes:

the edges were crisped to perfection, and the lemon ricotta filling was a perfect complement to the syrup

The hubby ordered the salmon benedict, which he described as being "perfect":

the salmon was smoked to tender perfection while the hollandaise sauce was light yet flavorful

Have you ever seen toast look so pretty?

grilled French bread toast with butter and fresh raspberry jam

And check out these crispy breakfast potatoes, in all their buttery glory. I love the presentation, in the cute little skillet:

I was told that these "Crispy Breakfast Potatoes" (as they're listed on the menu) are sauteed in butter with onions. YUM!

The happy and ever-stylish DH (in his Anniversary Sale Diesel Polo from Nordstrom!):

I highly recommend Cafe Stella to anyone who likes yummy food - though, here's the catch: make sure you're not absolutely starving when you get there, and make sure you have a lot of time at your disposal. The service isn't exactly what I'd call "prompt." Carol, Lisa and I waited for what felt like an eternity to order, get our food, get beverage service and then get our check. Today wasn't nearly as bad, so maybe the service is just hit and miss. But a lot of other reviews online suggest that many others have encountered the same problem.

Also, be prepared to open up your pocketbook, as the place is a little on the pricey side. The food is absolutely fantastic, though - a feast for the taste buds, and the presentation is just gorgeous. So if you can spare a few dollars and can put up with the wait it's definitely worth a try!

I rate it a perfect 10 for food quality, maybe a low 6 for service. DH and I love yummy food though, so we vow to go back soon, to see how their dinner menu compares.

After our lovely breakfast, we had a great time walking in and out of a bunch of little shops around Sunset Junction. One shop of particular interest was called "Driftwood" and they featured a wonderful collection of vintage clothing. The pieces they carry are really high quality and don't have any musty smell or yellowed collars that you might find with vintage clothing. As a result, the prices are also a little on the steep side - on average, about $70-$80 for a dress.

I passed on the clothes, but I managed to find some cute espadrilles by Soludos for myself:

Soludos "Playa" in White and Grey Seersucker (buy here)

These espadrilles are so, so, so comfortable! And this is coming from someone with problematic feet, so I don't say these words lightly. The cotton is soft and breathable (and won't destroy my French pedicure!), and the jute sole is like heaven for my feet. Heaven. And I just love the little contrast lining cute!

I've never tried TOMS...but at $28, these Soludos were too hard to pass up! Love! *happydance in happy shoes*

Another shop of particular interest to me was one called "Pull My Daisy" that featured a healthy collection of Eva Franco pieces (I seriously did a doubletake when I saw the Dreaming in Green Skirt, as well an entire dress made of the same material!) as well as some great dresses from Viereck.

Again, I passed on the clothes (after all, I'm still dreaming about the Mullany and the Babergh and the Compeer and the and the and the...), but I did find a very cool new guitar strap for my bass guitar!

Below is my (yes, repeated from two weeks ago) OOTD, once again inspired by the beautiful Kim (and by Maria, too!), also with my comfortable new guitar strap. This thing is seriously sooo much more comfortable than the seatbelt-like guitar strap I've been using. And it's pretty!

Target Merona Chambray Dress in Pond Green (available here)
Splendid Open-Front Cardigan (similar here)
Anthropologie Snakebite Belt in Grey
Nordstrom BP Necklace
Oh, Hello Friend Cameo Ring
Juicy Couture Sunglasses (from last year's Anniversary Sale, similar here)
Yamaha Bass Guitar

Detail of the guitar strap:

100% vegan guitar strap, by Couch

So, there you have fun (and delicious) day in Silverlake. Thanks for putting up with my rambling!

Have a wonderful rest of your weekend, everyone!

CSN Stores $60 Giveaway Winner!

Hi everyone!  Happy Saturday!  Yesterday was the last day to enter the $60 CSN Stores giveaway, and now, the best part - getting to announce the lucky winner:

Susan G.
from Chicago

Congratulations, Susan!  All entries were compiled in a list by order of comment submission, which can be seen here.  Your entry was selected by a random number generator, from a list :

Please contact us within the next 48 hours via email: carol[dot]prettythings[at]gmail[dot]com, and we'll arrange for you to receive your $60 credit from CSN Stores. Thanks to everyone who entered!  

Friday, July 30, 2010

Nordstrom Is Good for the Soul (OOTDs)

Happy Friday, Everyone!

Who else is ready for the weekend? I know I am!

Last weekend I did a whole lot of...well, nothing. I guess that's not entirely true - I did clean up a bit around the house, and I also went to Disneyland to ride Star Tours one last time before they close it up for "updating." But other than that, I was largely a big ol' couch potato, and I have big plans for repeating that pattern this weekend.

So while I was entrenched in my couch potato state, I did some catching up with some movies. One such movie was "She's Out of My League." I confess, I largely chose to watch this movie's July, and there isn't much happening in the hockey world other than Ilya Kovalchuk not going anywhere. So, to get my hockey "fix," I decided to watch this movie just because there's a little bit of hockey in it.

I actually ended up enjoying the movie a lot more than I thought I was going to. Don't get me wrong - it's no "Inception," but it was surprisingly entertaining (even my husband couldn't resist sitting down to watch it with me!) and a happy dose of brain candy.

Today's outfit was inspired by one of the outfits worn by Molly (played by the gorgeous Alice Eve), the female lead and love interest of adorable Kirk (played by an adorable Jay Baruchel).

While I'm no Alice Eve and I'm certainly not a "hard 10," I thought her outfit would be easy to recreate with one of the little tops I picked up during my Anniversary Sale appointment at Nordstrom. I liked being able to "dress up" what is undoubtedly intended to be a top for juniors, to be worn over skinny jeans and whatnot. I also figured it'd be good to give one last plug for Nordy's Anniversary Sale, since this is the last weekend before prices go up. And gees, for $21.90 this piece was an absolute steal! (*edit: there are actually functional buttons on the placket of the top, but I decided to leave them buttoned)

Blouse: Lily White Ruffled Chiffon Top (similar color here, also from Anniversary Sale!)
Skirt: MICHAEL by Michael Kors Ponte Knit Pencil Skirt
(similar Anniversary Sale version by Halogen here)
Belt: Brass Plum (similar here and here)
Heels: Cathy Jean Strappy Heels (similar here)

Carol here: I bought this blazer sometime this past winter, when I very stupidly (oh, and I rue it to this day, I do, I do!) hesitated and didn't buy the Sine Tweed Schoolboy blazer and it sold out! When I saw this one in the sale section, I realized that it had the same cut and build as the tweed one (waaaah, why didn't I buy it when I saw it? Why?) so I decided it was better than nothing. Sigh. Then it proceeded to hang in my closet until yesterday. I think it was tainted in my mind by the fact that it wasn't tweed (and really whose fault is that but mine?) but I decided to pull it out and wear it yesterday anyway.

And now I love it. What a great blazer! Why haven't I worn it before now? I got lots of nice compliments and well, I can tell you that it will probably be getting much more regular use from now on. But if anyone out there, for reasons that I won't question, has that tweed blazer in a size 2, and wants to get rid of it, please consider letting me know. I'm still (quite obviously) a little heart-heavy whenever I think of that tweed jacket that got away. Sigh...

The Paige jeans I'm wearing are new as well - this is the first time I've ever bought "petite"-sized jeans. I actually really like the Hollywood Hills cut from Paige, as I find the more popular Laurel Canyon cut just isn't flattering on me - and I saw that Anthro was carrying them in the petite sizes, on sale! So, I ordered some (free shipping, whoo!) to give them a try and I have to say I love them! The inseam is a great length for wearing heels with (I've got on my Seychelles, which aren't a terribly high heel - maybe 2" - 2.5"?) and I didn't have to wait to get them hemmed. This could be life changing for me....

Oh, and on the off-chance she ever reads this, this outfit really made my think of my dear friend Loretta from upstate New York, who always wears blazers and chunky rings and fun accessories (though not generally with jeans - though I have seen it!). It made me miss her something awful.

Jacket: Sine All Yours Blazer, Anthropologie Winter 2009-10 (similar here and here)
Top: Balletomane Tank, Anthropologie (bought on sale early spring 2010 - similar here and here and here)
Jeans: Paige Denim Hollywood Hills Petite, McKinley wash (on sale here)
Ring: Ariella Collection Flower Ring, Nordstrom (on Anniversary Sale for just 3 more days!)
Necklace: Pearls, Nordstrom (on sale here)
Shoes: Seychelles, She's Got the Moves, Nordstrom (on sale here and here)

Kathryn back!

So, I'll close off with a few bonus shots of my recent night out with the girls. We went out for some yummy Korean BBQ, which is one of my favorite things to do! One issue that can come up when you're going to one of these "cook it yourself" places is the stench that it leaves on your clothes afterwards.

But never fear, for Anthropologie machine-washable dresses are here! No need to resort to wearing an old t-shirt when you can just as easily throw on a pretty dress and not worry about the dry cleaning bill. I happily pulled on my navy Reed Shirtdress for this fun night out.

*** W A R N I N G ***

Vegetarians beware - photo of grilling meat ahead.

And everyone else beware, too - photos of me making a fool of myself at karaoke after dinner also ahead.

(Y U M M Y! )

"Just a small town girl...livin' in a loooonely woooorld..."

"Whoooooa, we're halfway theeeere, whoa-OA! Liiiivin' on a prayer!"

And remember - today's the last day to enter our $60 CSN Stores giveaway! If you haven't yet, make sure you do - they have some really amazing stuff! ^_^

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Reviews from a One-Eyed, One-Horned, Flying Purple People Eater (Fitting Room Reviews)

Good Evening, Everyone!

I hope you're all doing well! It's been awhile since I've done fitting room reviews, and I was lucky enough to stop by Anthropologie (wassup Newport?!) this evening, so I thought I'd share them with you!

Apologies for the way my hair hangs over my eye - I do have two eyes, I promise!

Mullany Dress (by Eva Franco, $258)

(shown here in size 4)

I see that Cat also posted her review of this dress for Jen in Australia tonight! Well, what can I say? This dress makes me ridiculously happy. It fulfills everything that I was hoping for from the Chocolate Chip Dress that came out earlier this year. I tried on a size 4 and a size 6. The 6 was way too big on top, and while the 4 fit me fine I think this is one of those dresses that I could size all the way down to a 2 for. (maybe even a 0!) I'm teeny-tiny on top, and the full skirt is roomy enough to accommodate my size 4-6 hips. You can kind of see in both photos that there's excess fabric on top.

(profile of size 4)

(photo of the size 6, for reference)

The construction of this dress is just wonderful. The belt is no flimsy little belt - it's very well-made, almost to the point of being a little bit on the stiff side. I suffered the same issue with the side zipper that I seem to encounter with all dresses with side zippers - it got caught a little while I was zipping it up. But check out the details of the fabric, with the polka-dots woven through:

One thing missing from this dress that 98% of all Anthro dresses seem to have? Pockets! There are no pockets on this dress. ("But where will I put my hands when I'm feeling awkward??")

I can't even adequately express how much I want this dress. If it was $100 less, I'd pull the trigger no doubt. But $258 is sooo steep for me. Maybe I'll talk this over with Carol and see how she'd feel about this dress for co-ownership. Gah! I am in love, and I need this dress!

(*ahem* I also need someplace to wear it, but that's another story...)

(...maybe if I ever stumble into an Anthropologie catalog?)

Sugar-Coated Shirtdress (by Edme & Esyllte, $128)

Oh, look...a shirtdress. I never wear those. *wink*

So I had liked this dress when I saw it on the website, but I was much less enthralled once I had it on. It might've been because this dress was an absolute pain to pull over my head, even after unzipping it all the way and unbuttoning all the buttons. I just don't like fighting with my clothes that much. (...unless they're ridiculously cute and completely transform me, making me look like Angelina Jolie...jussayin')


I tried on my normal size 4, and it felt pretty true to size (though still somewhat ill-fitting) once I successfully had everything in place. I thought the covered buttons were a nice touch, but the ribbon sash was kind of sad - all wrinkled and limp. The self-tie sleeves were more annoying than they were cute. I actually had to untie them to try the dress on, and then I needed to ask a SA for help in tying the sleeves once I had dress on. Ultimately, the pattern was a little too overwhelming for me, and...well, to be honest, I felt a little old lady-ish in it. And with Fall/Winter being my favorite seasons to shop for, I think I can find something else I can spend $128 on. Pass for me.

Vestiges Dress (by Girls from Savoy, $148)

I was excited to see this one in the store, as I'd been waiting to try this one on.

I have to say - for an ensemble dress, this one's really pretty. I have on a size 4, and it fit TTS with the A-line skirt substantial enough to accommodate my hips. The top is really ruffly and there's some nice detailing around the collar and through the bodice. And I adore the stitching detail at the bottom of the skirt. The fabric is substantial and feels worth the $148 price tag.

Personally, I feel like this is a look that I can create from pieces that I already have in my I'm going to have to pass on this one. But I'd recommend to anyone to give this one a try!

Acting Out Skirt (by Cartonnier, $88)

Okay, so I'm late to the party on this one...but better late than never, right?

I admit, I wasn't a huge fan of this one in the light gray, but once I laid my eyes on the Sapphire and the Black Motif I was immediately interested.

Holy crap, this skirt is insanely flattering. I tried this on on a 4 and in a 6, and I couldn't even get the zipper up on the 4, haha! Which actually makes sense, as I usually wear a 6 in pencil skirts.

All the photos shown are of the Black Motif, in size 6:

Outfit ideas, anyone?

(shown with the Fiiiiiiiield Gaaaaaaaame!)
(also with the Breeze Along Cami, which is on sale!)

The Black Motif is very tweed-like takes on a charcoal grey hue. The fabric itself incredibly soft, yet very substantial. I was actually petting the skirt in the dressing room, it's that soft. (yes, I'm a nerd) I tried the 6 on in the Black Motif, and it fit like a glove. I was never sure what I thought about the ruching in the sides in photos online, but in person I loved what they added to what could be a boring pencil skirt. I was already formulating 1,576,994 outfits I could make with this skirt...

The Sapphire feels like a cotton twill and is a lovely deep teal color. I liked it, but it felt like the kind of material that would pick up any trace of lint and pet hair. Combine that with the dark color, and you have a recipe for disaster. I guess it didn't help that it was the 4 I tried on in the Sapphire, and I couldn't even zip it up.

So, erm. Can you guess which color I took home with me? =)

Which leads me to...

Remaining Lilies Cardigan (by Field Flower by Wendi Reed, $128)

Yes, Carol already tried this one on here. But this is the first time I've been to Anthropologie in several weeks, so today was the first time I've gotten to lay eyes on this lovely cardigan in person.

Oh boy. I know Carol didn't love it, but I adore it. I have a ton of cardigans, but none in this color. I really really really really really really really wish it weren't $128, because that's what's stopping me from buying it and wearing it tomorrow. I love all the detailing from the silky ribbon trim to the floral applique. (and I normally hate applique like this) I even love the little floral detail on the one sleeve! I had on a Small in the fitting room, and I thought it fit rather nicely - not boxy at all. WANT.

So, the question is - is this cardigan special enough to justify a full-price purchase? Help!

Chilled Ripples Shell (by Floreat, $118)

So I'm not going to lie - I tried this one on without any intentions of purchasing it whatsoever. I mean, come on. It's $118. But it was so darn pretty that I wanted to take it into the fitting room and play with it. Just for a little while.

I took one look at the billowy silk and grabbed a 2 to try on. For those that are small on top like me, I'd say it's safe to size down. The fabric itself is pretty sheer, so I'd definitely recommend a nude bra underneath - possibly even a cami, just to be safe. It looks absolutely fantastic tucked into a pencil skirt, and I imagine it'd be a pretty versatile piece in general. I'm wishlisting this one for sale...maybe even second markdown, if it makes it that far.

Blurry photo (sorry about that!):

Say hello to my little black bra:

(told ya - it's pretty sheer!)

(confession: I kept typing the name of this top wrong - from "Rippled Chills" to "Chilled Nipples" to "Rippling Chilled Nipples" - I should refuse to buy this top because of its silly name!)

(...except iowanna refuse to buy it, because I have to confess that I like it. It's pretty!)

Well, that about sums up this round of fitting room reviews. I hope you enjoyed them as much I as enjoyed trying on all these pretties!

Have a wonderful day!

Dresses for Dreaming In (Fitting Room Reviews)

Good Wednesday, everyone!  Hope you're all doing well.  I woke up this morning, as most of you probably did, to Roxy's post about the new August Arrivals, and oh-for-the-love-of-all-that's-good-in-this-world, why, why, why???  I'm on a fairly porous shopping ban as it is right now, so I really didn't need for the Sugar-Coated Shirtdress to appear in my life, honest!  It's like they know that 100% cotton, machine-washable shirtdresses are my kryptonite.  (Yes, and apparently, Anthropologie's catalogue choices are now all about me...blech.  I need a break.)  Here are some fitting room reviews...

This is the Manor Gates Dress ($188), and when I put it on, I felt conflicted.  I'm wearing a size 2, and I'd say this dress is pretty true to size.  It hit right below my knee, so will be knee-length-ish for most women.  There's a side-zip on this dress and pockets as well, and it's a handwash silk.  The details are so beautiful and the fabrics are so gorgeous and's definitely not Kate-proof (can you spy her playing in the background?  In the photo above right, that's her trying to figure out how to crawl through the opening beneath the fitting room door...).  The bit of transparent silk at the top of the dress, framing the neckline, is what threw me off the most, I think - and I say that because I didn't feel love for this dress, even though I really liked various components of the dress.  I think I can honestly say I loved the colors, I loved the print on the skirt, I loved the beading at the waistline...I just didn't love that neckline for some reason I can't put my finger on.  At any rate, I'm not a woman who shies away from wearing a pretty dress to work - but I do feel like it'd be hard to make this one office-appropriate, even at a stretch.  If I had a really nice event to go to, I'd definitely consider this dress. But for now, it's a pass for me.

Here is the Seaside Fields Dress ($138), which I was slightly ambivalent about on the hanger, but felt drawn to because I just like green colors - in this case, a chartreuse.  Also, I liked the look of the ruffles - and when I put this little ensemble dress on, I was really pleasantly surprised.  It really made me smile.  I'm not sure I totally love the print on the skirt - and to be honest, I think that's what's holding me back from giving this one a     five-star review - but it's definitely wishlisted for sale. The top is silk and the skirt is cotton, but it's still a dry-clean only dress, so this would be a wear-it-to-work-then-take-it-off-around-the-kids dress.  There's a side-zip, and the top was a little blousy on me (not surprising, as I'm short-waisted) but still wearable, I think.  I'm in a size 2, and I'd say this dress is definitely true to size.  Fun, fun, fun!

Here is the lovely Violet Gloaming Dress ($268) which lives up to its name ridiculously well.  I don't know about you, but when I'm watching a sunset on a sparsely wooded landscape, and the sky is streaked with these colors, and the horizon is lit with such simmering sweetness, I think of words like, "gloaming," and "violet."  All right, all right, so I think of "violet."  And maybe, back when I was in my late teens and early 20s, aspiring to write poetry, I would have thought of the word, "gloaming."  Regardless, this dress is like a poem.  It really is.  I know we always go on about the details, but this dress does it right - the picture printed on the dress does most of the talking, as it should - and the little ruffles on the shoulders do nothing to distract from that.  The dusky green velvet ribbon that acts as a belt is also very appropriate.  That being said, it felt a touch long on my shorter frame, and it's not something I'd ever want to have hemmed up.  So, if this dress were available in petite-sizing, I'd be agonizing over the price, etc.  As it is, I'll just gaze at it adoringly, and enjoy it that way.  I'm wearing a size 2, there's a side zip and pockets, and unsurprisingly, it's dry-clean only.

Lastly, here's the as-of-yet-unnamed tweed pheasant skirt that's been reviewed on so many other blogs.  At $158, it costs about as much as a dress, but I have to say, I love it.  I'm wearing a size 2, and it fits wonderfully, hitting me exactly at the knee. Also, the colors of the appliques make it really easy to pair things with on top.  It's a wonderful fall-winter piece, and on my personal list of things to buy (possibly even at full price) once my shopping ban's lifted.

So, um, I can tell you that I'll probably be making my way to a brick & mortar Anthro later tonight...even though it's unlikely that these new arrivals online will have already found their way into the stores. can hope?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Putting It All Together (Building a Wardrobe, Part 2)

So, yesterday I posted about the shopping Lillian and I did, to try and update her wardrobe and style.  The following are a compilation of various outfits that can be assembled from the pieces we purchased.  Thinking along lines of "easy," as well as cute, I created the following layouts as a guide for Lillian.

Outfits 1 & 2

Both of these dresses are easily paired with the gray cardigan and finished with the looping lanes belt and some sandals for the summer.  To transition to fall/winter, swap out the sandals for some tights (any color suggestions, readers?) and tall boots.  Keep the short sweater on, but layer a long-sleeved scoop-neck  layering tee (like this $10 iteration from Charlotte Russe) under the floral print dress for warmth, and if necessary, layer a longer 3/4 length coat over the dress and cardi to ward off the winter chill.  Or something like the Alice in Autumn sweater coat (sigh, did anyone else notice that it's already sold out online?  Seriously?  C'mon!  It's July!!) in ivory would be perfect over these dresses too.  (I'm really hoping it gets restocked.  Fingers crossed.)

Outfits 3 & 4

Lillian owns a knee-length, a-line white linen skirt already.  In fact, she told me, when we were shopping, that she was struggling with how to style it, so we came up with the above left outfit - ruffled tank, gray cardi, Looping Lanes belt, and necklace.  The outfit to the right utilizes the jeans she already owns.  Combined with the pewter camisole and the fuschia cardigan, Gucci flats, and necklace, this outfit is relaxed but still sophisticated.

Outfits 5, 6, 7, & 8

One of the best things about dresses is that they can be paired with any number of different toppers, and instantly become a new outfit.  Both of these dresses would look stunning paired with the black leather jacket - the juxtaposition of the feminine details on the dresses against the toughness of the leather lend a playfully edgy feel to both.  Similarly, the fuschia wrap cardi (which looks more like a lilac color, in person) could be layered over either dress, making them both feel more cozy-casual, again in a fun, playful way.  The longer cardigan can also be belted over the blue floral dress for a more finished look.  (Belts can also be worn over dresses and beneath cardigans as well - they don't need to be worn just on top. Play around with placement to see what look you like best.)

Hope this was helpful, Lillian (and others), and remember, enjoy yourself!  Don't wait for an occasion to wear pretty clothes - every day is an opportunity!  ^_-