Friday, December 28, 2012

Pretty Party Dresses (Wishlist)

Happy holidays, everyone! In classic childhood fashion, I wanna know - what'd you get?

Most of you know what I got (and I went with the grape since I have to agree it might be the more practical choice - and it happens to be a super pretty color). My handbag is on its way to me. I got so busy right before Christmas that I forgot to order it, and well, now I have to wait a bit.

I don't mind so much, though - there's nothing like drawing out the holidays, right? 

I also have two parties to go to (a wedding and a work-sponsored holiday party - the company I work for likes to do ours in January) over the next three weeks, and while I'll probably wear something I already own, I decided I could just look. "For fun." You know...

I've been nursing a healthy obsession with stripes and striped dresses. This Kate Spade frock hits all the right party-notes with its fitted waist, flared skirt, glossy sheen, and oh gosh, I think I love it.

I don't need a new dress. I don't need a new dress. I don't need a new dress.

Did anyone else notice that if you were to knock the last two letters off its name, it would be the "Carol" dress?


Okay, so in case anyone else is looking for a pretty party dress (oh, lucky, lucky you!) here are some other numbers that have caught my eye in recent days:

1. Diane Von Furstenberg Pandora Dress (Okay, let's talk turkey here. This dress? It's too pricey for me. It's SO fuschia. Those ruffles might eat their wearer. It's polyester, for goodness' sake! And despite all that, I love it. It fills my heart with a brimming-over-with-delight sort of happiness that I can't even begin to describe. It's completely impractical, as it's very strictly a going-out-party-dress and I have no idea how you can turn it into anything else. And still...still...well, if I won the lottery, you'd have to look out. Not that I'd be easy to miss, wearing that.)
2. Madewell Silk Swingdot Strapless Dress (I love the way strapless dresses look, but being as flat as a board as I don't have a lot to hold them up, they're not usually my favorite. Still, this sweet little dress would be perfect paired with basically any color cardigan - something cozy with tights for winter and something light and bare legs for warmer months.)
3. Falling Wing Dress (There's something so delicate and dainty about this dress without being overly precious - I really, really like it. The beaded belt with which its styled on the product page gives it the perfect accent. Super pretty.)
4. J. Crew Jules Dress in Scroll Print (I love the sophisticated silhouette and look-at-me! brightness of this dress. Also, you can probably eat in it comfortably. The Collection botanical print version is also beautiful.)
5. Alice + Olivia Elise Metallic Tweed Dress (I love the cap sleeves, I love the structured cut, and I love the shimmery gold tweed. This is a really playful take on an otherwise very conservative dress.)
6. Tracy Reese "Michelle" Dress (The nation - well, half of it, anyway - took a collective gasp when they first laid eyes on this gorgeous masterpiece by Tracy Reese. If you feel up to rocking some FLOTUS style, then this is the way to go. Beautiful.)
7. Tracy Reese Floral Print Peplum Dress (I've been looking at this dress online for the past month. Something about the print and the colors and the shapes - all kinds of good going on here. And did I mention the strategically placed peplum that's long enough to cover one's tummy, allowing one to eat? And the dress looks like it'd play nicely in an office setting, when paired with a cardigan or a blazer.)

So, are there any more holiday fêtes left on your calendar? What are you wearing?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pretty in Fleece (Chic Sweatshirts)

I admit it - my comfort clothing of choice in cooler weather? Sweatshirts. I have several - mostly college gear - that I tend to live in when the work/public part of the day is over and I'm free to change into my "comfy clothes." But I do like the idea of being able to be supremely comfortable during the day too (who doesn't) without looking sloppy.

Because really, wearing hooded sweatshirts emblazoned with university or sports team logos doesn't really shout, "chic and stylish." Don't get me wrong - they're super comfy. I love 'em. But super stylish? No, not so much.

So, when Neiman Marcus and Target released their collaboration collection that included a sweatshirt from Proenza Schouler, I pounced on it. And then I started to wonder - are there more out there? Sweatshirts that might reasonably be called stylish?

Is there a Santa Claus?

Yes, dear readers. Turns out there are.

Here's what I found:

1. Burberry Brit Studded Sweatshirt (Wow, I love this! But even on super sale, it's cost would be prohibitive.)
2. James Perse 'Vintage' French Terry Sweatshirt (This sweatshirt is super simple but I will attest to the fantastic cut, drape, and fit of James Perse's essential items.)
3. Graphic Print Sweatshirt (The floral print is really pretty and the faux-leather shoulder patches give it a little edge. I also really love this Mango flower print sweatshirt.)
4. Rachel Roy Juliana Sweatshirt (With its stripes and split back, this top has enough interest to keep from feeling like loungewear.)
5. BCBGMaxAzria Lace Front Sweatshirt (So cute! Also take a look at this Lace Sweatshirt from Haute Hippie.) 
6. DVF Paryse Sweatshirt (Sparkly and fun!)
7. Rebecca Taylor Cashmere Sweatshirt (Can you really call it a sweatshirt, when it's probably just a cashmere sweater that looks like a sweatshirt? Am I really going to quibble over this?)

So, what about you? Are you a lover of sweatshirts too? Stay cozy and comfy, everyone!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I Blame Anne (Trench Coats)

I blame France too. France with all its chic and coiffed women running about in the striped shirts and trench coats. And of course, England where the darn things were first made. I definitely blame England. I also blame the fact that San Diego has had a fairly overcast and even rainy week or so.

But mostly, I blame Anne:

Oh, and maybe her Grace, the Duchess of Cambridge too:

I've resisted the fascination of trench coats for a long time - mostly because I'm short and small boned, and trench coats always made me feel like a tent on legs. But ever since I saw the photo of Anne's outfit (and then came across this Kate outfit), I've been a little obsessed. I think I might need a trench coat. A proper trench coat. One that fits me well, and doesn't make me feel like I'm a walking tent.

And oh, when I look online at all the possibilities (because there really are quite a few), my eyes keep being riveted by the BBB (Big British Brand) Burberry.  The structured shoulders and well-cut silhouettes keep me thinking that maybe one of these will work for me. The only problem? Some of them cost as much as a mortgage payment! Sheesh.

Anyway, a woman can dream. Here are the ones I'm sighing over:

1. Burberry London Gabardine Trenchcoat (Let's start with a mid-length coat - while this hits at the top of the model's thighs, it's nearly guaranteed to hit me a couple inches above the knee. Very classic. Very pricey.)
2. Burberry Prorsum Belted Twill Trench Coat (I love the trim, neat look of this one. But it's quite a bit more than the first. Wish I could figure out why...)
3. Burberry Brit Honey Cotton Trench Coat (And despite all my talk of wanting something that will fit me well, I can't help but long for...well, the longer version. I mean, it's so super spy! And closer to Anne's version. All of this despite the fact that it would be practically tea-length on me. Sigh.)
4. Lacoste Cropped Mack Trench Jacket (Not at all what I had in mind originally, but oh my goodness, so cute!)
5. Banana Republic Classic Trench (Quite similar to the Burberry versions, and there's a petite version available. Looks promising!)
6. Merona Water Repellant Classic Trench Coat (So cute and on sale, which makes this totally reasonable, price-wise. But also probably too big for me. *sad face*)
7. Club Monaco Harper Trench (Another very classic look, with a bigger collar. Priced in between the BR and lower end Burberry coats.)

Trench coats also come in leather (the palest pink! Oh, I die!), wool, silk, and fur (???). And you can find them in an array of colors, including navy, red, coral, orange, yellow, green, purple, and of course, the ubiquitous black. Not to mention plaids, prints, tweeds, puffers (!!!), and flocked fabrics (omg, so cute!) as well.

So - tell me. Are you part of the trench coat club? What sort do you wear?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Living the High Life (For Maya)

A week or so ago, my friend Maya asked me to offer some recommendations for stylish high top sneakers.

I have to admit, while I'd seen high top sneakers about this past year, I hadn't paid any attention to them. Mostly because as a professional woman and mom-of-two-in-her-late-30s, I just feel...well, too old for them. After all, the last time I wore high top sneakers, I was sporting white Reeboks in middle school paired with layered socks and scrunchies.

I know - it's brutal, right?

But I respect and admire Maya's sense of style - she's always so well put-together (even when she insists she's not) and so, I had to take a closer look. And here's what I found:

Wow, I could so do this. Well, minus the leather leggings (will a ponte knit or denim version do?). Seriously, how fantastic does Anne Hathaway look in this outfit, with those high tops (Isabel Marant Bekett sneakers) anyway? (Note to self: don't forget to carry potted delphiniums as an accent accessory.)

But it gets better - because look at this outfit below:

I love everything about it. So effortless and totally put together, and I have to admit - the outfit would be lovely even without the high tops, but those shoes elevate (haha, no pun intended) the look from conservative to edgy. Bold, even. 

Man, she has come a long way from the Princess Diaries, hasn't she?

To envision how you might wear high top sneakers in the spring, take a look at Miranda Kerr's outfit here:

Again - we all have these elements in our closets - striped tee, skinny jeans, tote bag. The interesting difference? Her shoes! High Top sneakers. Who knew?

So, here are some possible options that I'm totally considering for my next weekend's outfits should you be thinking of getting a pair yourself:

1. Isabel Marant Bekett (These are the pair that Ms. Hathaway is sporting in the photos above - only in white. The black pair seems to have sold out, except on auction sites and other retailers of a more dubious nature. Still - I gotta say, if you can afford them, the lighter shade are just as cute.)
2. Steve Madden Hilight  (Trust good ol' Steve to bring high end designer style to the masses. These are pretty close to Anne's black Isabel Marant pair. There's also the Olympiaa, should you like a velcro/laces combination along with a white sole.)
3. Lemaré Sneaker (I like the gray and blue shades in this one - and I also like that ruffled accent under the tongue.)
4. Prada High Top (The high top sneaker from the house of Miuccia: elegant, refrained, refined. And with the price to reflect it. Economy versions here and here.)
5. Paul Green High Top Wedge Sneaker (I'm loving this camel-colored version of the high top - and the extra 2.5" wedge is always welcome to this shorty.)
6. Lemaré Hi Top Wedge (The muted mauve is so pretty and I kinda love it. Economy version here.) 
7. Tory Burch High Top Sneakers (Super cute, but so bourgeois. I know, I know, who am I to talk?)
8. See by Chloe Lace-Up Wedge Sneaker (So pretty, they're practically a boot.)
9. Marc by Marc Jacobs High Top Sneaker (I feel like I saw the "future" characters from "Back to the Future" wearing shoes like these. Not something I could pull off, but fun.)
10. Converse Chuck Taylor High Top (An oldie but a serious goodie. They're definitely less of a fashion statement/risk, but if you want to play with the trend without really committing to it, this is a good way to dabble.)

So, what do you think? Is this something you'd try or consider? Is there a pair that you've been mulling over? I'm dying to know!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Little Help From My Friends (Reader Poll)

My husband is a lovely, thoughtful, brilliant human being. He's super smart and really one of the nicest people I know. He's so smart, that he's figured out that I should really be left to choose my own gifts.

There are so many things on my wishlist, but I've been wanting a new handbag for a while. So, I have my eye on the Rebecca Minkoff 'Cupid' Satchel. Only, I need some help. I can't decide which color I like better:

Not only is the bag lovely in real life, it's a great size (not overly big but with plenty of room), has tons of pockets to help me stay organized, and has the perfect amount of detail to make it interesting without making it...too interesting (if you get my meaning). 

Oh, and if that wasn't enough, it comes in practically every color in the rainbow. You can check out the Cupid in burgundy (I kinda love this too!), royal blue, navy, red-orange or teal green, smoke, or sand. There are also about a dozen other colors (including black, cognac, light grays, lavender, etc) should you be interested at some of these links. 

But back to my original question - which should I go with? Mint or grape? Grape or mint? I'm really struggling with this one, so would love some feedback. I tried to find a poll...I think this one below will work. 

Thanks! Hope you're all having a great day!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Things Made From Yarn (Wishlist)

There's nothing I love giving as a gift for the holidays like a sweater. For some reason, sweaters just shout, "Wintery-Wonderful-Goodness!" at me, as I walk past them. So, what am I supposed to do? How do you ignore that?

(My current sweater-obsession)

The truth is, as much as I love giving sweaters as holiday gifts, I also love wearing them. Here are a few favorites that I've come across during my holiday gift hunting:

1. 3.1 Phillip Lim Floral Print Sweater (There's something so delicate and pretty about this sweater. I'm not convinced it'll provide much warmth, but I don't think I care...)
2. RED Valentino Ribbon and Bow Cardigan (There are a lot of embellished cardigans out there, and to be honest, lately the vast majority of them have been boring me. But this one - there's something about it that catches my eye. Too bad the price catches my breath.)
3. Free People Flower Power Cardi (I have a feeling that I might look like I'm wearing a rose-patterned blanket in this, but I love it anyway. I can't choose between the mulberry or black color schemes...which one???)
4. Madewell Jackalope Sweater (For a healthy dose of holiday whimsy, take a peak at this sweater. There's something about the antlers that make me think of reindeer. Not that I actually know the difference between reindeer antlers and antelope antlers.)
5. J. Crew Colorblock Wool Turtleneck Sweater (I don't know what it is about this sweater, but every time I'm in the store, I walk up to it and touch it. My eyes seek it out and fix on it from across the room. I never actually convince myself to go farther - I don't try it on. I certainly haven't purchased it yet. But I'm obviously drawn to it. And I rather imagine that before the month is out, this sweater will be mine. It's like we're having a drawn out flirtation with each other. Yes, I did just type that. I am, apparently, have an affaire de coeur with a sweater.)
6. J. Crew Collection Cashmere Ribbed Sweater (I like a nice, substantial cashmere sweater, and too often these days, cashmere feels...flimsy. I've not actually encountered this sweater in person so can't be sure, but it looks sturdy enough, doesn't it? And the ribbed neckline is a lovely added detail. On sale + up to 30% off right now makes it dreadfully tempting...)
7. J. Crew Giant Bow Sweater (I am absolutely in love with J. Crew's sweaters this year. This is another one that was catching my eye every time I came into the store. I actually pulled the trigger on this one. Love it. Love, love, love.)
8. J. Crew Take A Bow Sweater (I saw this one in-store in the grey+black colorway, and it's seriously too cute. I want, I want, I want!)

What about you? Are you a sweater-fiend in the cooler winter months? Which have you been snapping up?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Insert-Very-Clever-Title-Here (OOTD)

I was hoping that I'd have something great to write here. After all, how often does this happen, lately? Fun outfit, time to snap some photos of it, and look! Here I am, actually sitting in front of the computer, writing it up.

Sort of.

I mean, I would be, if I could think of something to say.

Maybe...if I scroll down the page some...

Hmm...yeah, nothing here.

And nope, nothing here either...

Sweater: Madewell Meerkat Sweater (similar here, here, and here)
Pants: Tory Burch Ankle Jeans (similar here, here, and here)
Shoes: Blake Pump, Sole Society (similar here and here)
Necklace: Kate Spade 'Hang in There' Necklace (similar here, here, here, and here)

Oh well. At least there was the fun outfit. I rather enjoyed it, anyway. Nothing like Meerkats, plaid, and coral suede to say, "I knew where I was going with this!"

Yes, well...maybe that was the problem.

Hoping you're all having a wonderful day. Thanks for stopping by. ^_-

Monday, December 3, 2012

An Interlude (Family OOTDs)

Kate doing the cha-cha:

Rowan getting another perspective:

Kisses from my sweetie:

Shoes: Hunter 'Original Gloss' Rain Boot (Big Kids' size 6 - grown up sizes here and here)
Necklace: Cara Accessories necklace, Nordstrom (similar herehere, and here)

Holidays mean holiday cards (I've ordered mine from Minted for the past three years and they're always beautiful - I highly recommend them), and I've been lucky enough to have a talented photographer friend, Haseeb Omar, take our family photos for me both this and last year. I love them so much, I just had to share a few with you before they go to print.

Hope you're all having a wonderful day - thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Fantasies (Wishlist)

And here it is - the annual Superbowl of shopping known as Black Friday. Some of you may have gotten a jump on the action by going to one of the "Early Bird" events at Target or Walmart (though really? Seems a teeny bit excessive to me.) Some of you may be preparing to get out there for the midnight openings of other stores, shopping centers, and websites. Others of you may be tucked in bed already, sleeping off all that turkey and getting in your Z's before getting up at the crack of dawn to get out to some of the early morning sales (Anthropologie, anyone?).

The rest of you may be completely eschewing the human frenzy and planning on sleeping in tomorrow morning and getting up in a leisurely manner. Sales? What sales?

Me? Well...I've made out my list, and I've checked it twice. *Ahem* Does that list resemble the "One for you, One for me" sort? Okay, okay, it's not even that. This list is entirely an "all for me" list, but I've got the gift lists (for other people) too, and will share some of those later. In the meantime, here's what I'm dreaming of:

(You already know I'm a fan as I own one. But I love the black and gray stripes. Can't...resist...)

I love stripes. And I love the Maritime Dress, pretty much in all of its iterations. It's just so comfy and easy to wear. And I have to admit, this particular palette is much more wearable than my other royal-blue-and-white striped version, which you know...makes me feel a little smurfalicious. Just a little.

So that being said, if I run into it this current version in the store tomorrow, I can't guarantee I won't walk on by. And with J. Crew's current promotions (25% off entire purchase online - use code COLOR25 - or in stores/30% off for card members - use code CARDMEMBER), it could be dangerous. That goes for these others too:

1. Teddie Dress (A lovely, super simple, perfect-for-work dress. And that exposed zipper adds a bit of edge that's just right. You'll find me in the green version, should it fit well.)
2. Perfect Shirt in Tartan (I have a friend who owns this shirt and every time she wears it, I feel a frisson of desire - not for her, though she's lovely. For the shirt. I'm excited to see it's returned this winter. If it's in the store, it will be mine.)
3. Double-cloth Greatcoat (There is no call for a coat of this caliber in a San Diego winter. Which may be my saving grace. Because seriously, this coat sings to me.)
4. Frenchie Sweater (sold out online, available in some stores)/Giant Bow Sweater/Heartbreaker Sweater (I am trying really hard to ignore all the absurdly adorable, whimsical sweaters J. Crew is bombarding us with this season. But I'm not quite successful. If any or all of these are in-store, all my best intentions may be entirely overcome.)
5. Collection Everly Calfhair Pumps (Wow. These are I'm going to try and snow myself and remind myself that the Nordstrom's Half-Yearly for Women and Children is coming up next week, and to wait and see if there's anything there that might do instead. But wow. And geez. And wow.)

Then, too, there's Madewell with their 25% off everything promo (use code TREAT at checkout if buying online). Here's what I'm eyeing:

6. Striped Duet Dress (It's green. I love green. And made from a comfy knit. I love that too. Did I mention it's striped?)
7. Rebeca Raney x Madewell Cashmere Sweater (I absolutely have no budget for something like this, but speaking of adorable, whimsical sweaters...!)
8. Silk Flutter Sleeve Top (How much do I love this, especially in the Whisper Pink color???)
9. Transport Tote (in English Saddle, please!)

And of course, there's also my favorite department store, Nordstrom. There aren't any Black Friday specials going on, but I've got my eye on a couple of things there, including:

10. iiiBeca by Joy Gryson Reade Street Tote (I love all the colors, but I think I want Mustard. Or maybe the Ocean? No, the Lime Green with Navy Blue accents...haha, maybe all three? This bag is made of smooth, sturdy leather, is surprisingly light, and will hold my laptop as well as all my other crap miscellaneous items. And 9% of proceeds goes to charity - everyone wins!)
11. TOMS Classic Dot Woolen Slip-on (I bought my first pair of TOMS just a couple months ago, and I have to say, I'm totally smitten. I think these might have to be my second pair...)
12. Caslon Patterned Crewneck (Obviously, fun, whimsical sweaters are a thing because Nordy's has 'em too. I love the yellow one with the gray fox and the green one with the black/green dots across the shoulders. Too cute!)

So, what about you? Are you out there or planning to be out there, braving the Black Friday Frenzy? Or are you shopping from the quiet and comfort of your own computer? And what fun things did you pick up? Do tell!

And as always, thanks for visiting!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Grateful for:

1. Loving families
2. Good friends
3. Beautiful weather (San Diego has a forecast of 71º F, today!)
4. Opportunities (they're everywhere, if your eyes and heart are open to them)
5. Yummy dinners
6. Health
7. A mopped kitchen floor (sometimes, it's the little things)
8. The kindness of strangers
9. Coffee
10. The internet (for making it possible for us to shop today without feeling guilty about leaving family/going into stores where people are working instead of celebrating with their families)
11. Holiday shopping lists (Whoo-hoo, Thanksgiving Sales!)

and you, wonderful and fabulous blog-readers and friends!

We wish you a very happy and bountiful Thanksgiving. 

Carol and Kathryn

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hi, Again! (OOTD)

I've been away for a while. A really long while. According to Blogger, it's been three and a half weeks since my last post, which converts to something like 8.75 months in blogging-years.

My apologies for the long silence.

Shoes: Sole Society 'Katherine' Suede Wedge (similar here and here - if you need a Sole Society account, click here. Non-Sole Society alternatives here and here)

Life has been...busy. Full. Interesting. Kind of awesomely so. Have you ever done that thing where you're looking, seeking, searching for something (your keys, your cell phone, your glasses, your pen, your vocation, stuff like that) and you feel like you've been looking forever and getting more and more frustrated because seriously you need this thing and where the heck is it??? And someone says to you, "What's that in your hand/in your pocket/on your head/tucked behind your ear/all over your conversation+Facebook feed+desktop+brain?" And wow, there it is! And it's been there all along and geez, how did you miss that? You feel both silly and enormously relieved, because finally - finally - you can stop spinning your wheels and get on with your life, now that the missing piece has been found.

Now that you see it clearly, for what it is.

For the past few years, I've been trying to discern my life's vocation. I've been going to conferences, reading books, blogging, journaling, and just talking with friends and loved ones for what feels like a really long time, trying to figure out what it is that I was put on this world to do outside of caring for my family. Unsurprisingly, there were lots of suggestions regarding fashion. But the fact is, while I really love clothes and style and I defend to my last breath the right of smart, accomplished women to enjoy and cultivate their style and fashion as both a creative and expressive outlet without being disparaged for it - it's not what makes me who I am. So when recently, a friend of mine pointed out how passionate I was about a particular subject and asked me if I did any work around it, I suddenly had an enormous epiphany.

It wasn't so much about knowing what I was passionate about - of course I knew what that was.

It was about giving myself permission to acknowledge that this passion isn't just an area of interest. That rather, it is what I'm called to do.

The whole thing rather took my breath away.

I wrote in an earlier post a couple months ago, on the topic of daring greatly. I imagined in that post that "daring greatly" was more of a circumstantial thing - that some crisis or opportunity would arise before us, and in daring greatly, we would stand and meet its challenges, engaging whatever came at us with courage and valor. 

But I didn't quite have it right. What I've realized since then, is that rising to meet conditional, situational, or circumstantial occasions does not constitute the whole truth of "daring greatly." 

To truly dare greatly, we must embody our "enormous, amazing, possible" Selves all the time. Not just sometimes. Every moment, no matter how seemingly trivial should be lived with everything we have and are. There should be no on-off switch for our authentic Selves. 

What this means is that we must acknowledge that we are, nearly always, called to do things that may seem crazy, impossible, or way too big.  

When I say, "nearly always," I'm referring to the fact that most of us, when baldly confronting the reality of our vocations - our callings - whether they are family building, entrepreneurial, community-based, creative, artistic, spiritual, etc., will feel inadequate in some big or small way. This is how I've gone decades - decades - seeking my vocation and being blind to the fact that it's written all over my Consciousness all the time. This is also how in order to accept and embrace it, I have to give myself permission to believe I can and should do this work.

I'm still figuring this out. After all, I've spent the past 36 years of my life cultivating the habit of diminishing myself in small or big ways and unlearning those habits could actually take me longer (though I'm really hoping not!). But I am figuring this out. I'm sharing my process just in case anyone else out there might be struggling with the same issues. 

And also, because the world needs more women - all women, really - to be their greatest, truest, most authentic and powerful Selves all the time. What will that take? And how close are you?

Monday, October 29, 2012

In Which I Look For Good Things To Eat... (Food GPS)

A couple months ago, I was in Los Angeles for work. After days of hotel food at a conference, I was really looking forward to a friend's birthday dinner, particularly because the place we were going came based on a recommendation of someone I knew by reputation - and would be meeting later that night - food writer and founder of Food GPS, Josh Lurie.

I've got to tell you that between Josh of Food GPS and another friend, Stacey Sun of DineLA, the way I eat in southern California (and particularly Los Angeles) has completely changed. That night, for instance, Josh recommended and joined us at a little Korean seafood BBQ place in L.A.'s Korea Town called Jae Bu Do. It was a revelation to me - and I'm Korean. Friends, it was SO good (yep, and that's why I'm not a food writer...). I'm really looking forward to the next time I'm able to go, though I'm not sure when it'll be, as it's not really child-friendly (cooking on table top grills with real fire = yummy food but dangerous conditions with small children).

The thing is, when I'm hungry and in transit (which happens more often than you'd believe), I don't want to spend time perusing a website. In all honesty, I can read Josh's reviews of restaurants for pure pleasure - he's a very talented writer, but when I'm hungry, I just want to know where I can find something decent to eat. So, more often than not, I'd rack my brain for random tidbits I'd picked up from friends, try hit-or-miss places I came across, or in my best moments, text or tweet Stacey (DineLA) and ask for her recs, which just as often came from Josh (they're good friends).

So when Josh told me that he was launching a Food GPS iPhone app (Android version coming soon), I was super excited. It costs $1.99, and for that you get recommendations for 125 restaurants in SoCal, including descriptions, suggested menu items, great photos, GPS enabled turn-by-turn directions, one-touch calling, and all the restaurants' "vitals" (e.g. hours, website, etc.). I gotta say - I love it. So, for any of you out there, who live in SoCal, are planning to visit SoCal (admittedly, this app works much better for LA, Orange County, and the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys than for San Diego or Riverside), or and want some really good food (and we're not talking all fine dining either - there are lots of little hidden gems and neighborhood holes-in-the-wall type restaurants featured too), I highly recommend the app.

Also, check out the Food GPS website/blog for a broader perspective on eating - Josh and some colleagues write about food and eating all over the United States, in cities in Canada, Mexico, and various Asian countries. It makes you realize that even as a lifelong denizen of a specific area, there are so many amazing eating experiences you've been missing. Food blogs are a dime a dozen these days, but this one is really not to be missed.

Full disclosure: Josh actually sent me a promo code to download and try the app for free, but I let it expire like a ninny. Therefore, I bought and paid for the app (which to be completely honest, I was more comfortable doing anyway) and the review of it above is my honest take on it. I do hope that they'll add more restaurants to it as time goes on, especially in San Diego, but that's my only real complaint and I can live with it, since I know San Diego better anyway.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Something About Idle Hands and Mischief... (J. Crew)

I wish you could have seen my face when I got the email from J. Crew about the sale-on-sale promo  (an extra 30% off - use code "OURTREAT") this morning. I've been trying really, really hard to be very, very good in anticipation of 1) medical bills (I haven't seen what I'm going to owe after my insurance pays out my benefits...I'm bracing myself) and 2) budgeting for upcoming holiday expenses.

You all know that I've already spent many happy hours filling up my Boden shopping cart with lots of pretty things and then just as carefully removing items that "I really don't need," to see if I could convince myself that any sort of a purchase would be permissible. I think I got a shopping cart with $800+ of merchandise whittled way, way down. And you know, there's always Ebates (2.5% back at Boden, and 3% back at J. Crew). But I still don't feel like I can justify any outside purchases until I know certain things, even if I've got Christmas presents included in this current order.

So, anyway, going back to my face when I saw that J. Crew email...well, you can imagine it (it's funny looking, for sure) and then check out my progress in filling up yet another "just for fun but maybe not" shopping cart below.

Really, that lilac-y purple is just a dream. And I love that it's tweedy! I was eyeing a couple of the tweed jackets (like this one) on Boden's site, but now that I've seen this one, I'm torn. What do you think? And while you're pondering that (admittedly one of the greater puzzles of life), let me know what you think about these:

1. Schoolboy Blazer in Herringbone (Is this not one of the prettiest blushing-est pinks you've ever laid eyes on? Can I have it, please?)
2. Ink-Dip Popover (for layering under cozy cardigans, obviously)
3. Toothpick Ankle Jean in Garment Dyed Twill (I bought a pair of these in the "shallow sea" color less than a month ago for double this price. As they're still sitting in the bag, tags on, guess who's going to be making some happy returns!)
4. No. 2 Pencil Skirt in Double-Serge Wool (much cozier than spring/summer's cotton version)
5. Sterling Skirt in Double-Serge Wool (I think I may actually prefer this one to the No. 2 Pencil version - I'm loving those welt pockets! )
6. Painter Boatneck Tee in Stripe (I already own this one in the black/ivory combo and I love it. Am happy to add another to my wardrobe...)
7. Collection Colorblock Shift Dress (I have no idea how this would fit me, but I love the idea of a shift, I actually like the colors used in this dress, and I am totally won over by the way it's styled on the website. It's still pretty pricey, so I don't know if I'd actually jump on this one, but it's definitely fun and catches my imagination.)
8. Sparkle Row Cami (I still really love this top. Un/luckily for me, it's sold out in my size, though I'm tempted to call and see if I have any success placing a call-send for it...)
9. Edie Grand (I've long admired the careful, structured construction of the Edie bags and this is the size I'd find most practical for me...and at this sale price, it's so tempting.)
10. Bow Locket Necklace (I can't tell at all how big or long or anything this necklace is, but I like it enough to risk weird sizing issues. So pretty!)

What about you? Are you going to indulge or are you planning to sit this one out?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Twinkle Toes

There's something about winter and the holidays that bring out my love of sparkle and glitter. It probably has to do with all the rich colors and sumptuous fabrics that we allow ourselves to indulge in this time of year. So you know when I saw this, my heart skipped a little.

Tory Burch 'Eddie' Bow Flat

You know I love my heels (at a staggering 5'2" I can use all the help I can get), but when I need to run around, I prefer a more practical option. Sparkly and practical. That's right, you read it right here. ^_- 

Here are a few more pairs that caught my eye:

1. Jeffrey Campbell 'Daisy Age' Flat (sweet and whimsical daisy-shaped sequins!)
3. n by Nicole Miller Pete Flat (I love the color of these shoes!)
4. Vera Wang 'Lanelle' Peep-toe Flat (lovely - and even better, on sale!)
5. J. Crew 'Cece' Studded Leather Flat (if too much bling just isn't you're thing, this shoe is a great, understated option)
6. Rani Flats (comes in an array of unique colors and patterns - not sure which I like best!)
7. Dollhouse 'Cheeky' Flat (an economy version of the Eddies pictured above.)
8. TOMS 'Classic Glitter' Slip-on (the ultimate multi-tasking shoe - sparkles, comfortable, and does a good turn for kids in need. What's not to love?)

On a side-note, thanks to everyone for your well-wishes. I'm feeling better every day, and am even looking forward to going back to work part-time starting this week. (No, really. I am. It helps that I work from home, of course. Going into an office - heck, getting into non-pajama pants right now - seems challenging beyond belief.)

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

It's Been Quite the Week...

And when I say that, I mean as in, "I-had-an-emergency-appendectomy-early-Monday-morning-and-have-been-recovering since."*

Yeah. Let me tell you, there's no better way to finish a great outfit than with some unplanned abdominal surgery, said no one ever.

Suffice it to say, I'm not 100%, but I'm finally feeling well enough to be interested in pretty things again. (Believe it or not, having a vestigial organ removed will sort of put the kibosh on those tendencies in the short term.) So, you can imagine how well the latest Boden catalog has helped my *ahem* healing process.

(Between the two of us, it was almost better than the heavy doses of ibuprofen I've been taking. Almost.)

1. Lucy Shirt (so sweet - and easy to wear with way too many things. At its current promo price, how does one resist?)
2. Full Jacquard Skirt ( it weird that I just want to eat this skirt? Yes. Yes, it is. But really, I love it that much. The price is a little harder to swallow, unfortunately...)
3. Natalie Dress (so, I was eyeing this one a little wistfully, thinking how lovely it is but how definitely way too long it would be on shorty-me. And then I saw it - petite sizing!!! YES.)
4. Glamour Tweed Skirt (still on my radar. So cute. Love.)
5. Fitted Cable Jumper (to go with the skirt above. That whole outfit is just perfect.)
6. Vintage Heeled Boots (Will be great with skirts and casual dresses. But are currently in the running against these boots for my winter wardrobe. I'm leaning toward the latter...but keep waffling.)
7. Full Skirt Dress (I realize this one's sold out. But I had to show you, so we could share our grief together at having missed it, somehow. Do you think they'll restock?)
8. Skinny Graphic T-shirt (I spotted this on Shopping With M's blog, and couldn't resist the graphic of a girl reading. I mean, c'mon. How is this even a choice?)
9. Marylebone Bag (a great everyday bag for a really great price. My only question - red or green? How am I supposed to decide these things?)
10. Everyday Socks (seriously, how do you say, "no," to these? Adorable.)

Here's to imagining wearing pretty things again really soon...

*More on that in a later post.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Shades of Blue

I've been a bad blogger lately. I've been so busy between work, family, and "extracurriculars" that I've just had no bandwidth for blogging.

Which is why I'm belatedly posting this review of a jersey dress from Mokkafiveoclock, an Etsy seller and a long-time reader of In Pursuit of Pretty Things.

Jersey Dress c/o Mokkafiveoclock (similar here)

When Monika (the talent behind Mokkafiveoclock) contacted me to ask if I'd be willing to try and review one of her dresses, I was more than happy to oblige. I'd actually been stalking her Etsy store for quite a while, just waiting for the right time to pick up something - it's always chock full of pretty, pretty things (currently eyeing this dress - in my shopping cart as I write, this skirt in colors #1 and #17, and this dress despite the fact I am not a bridesmaid - it's just too lovely). Knowing my penchant for comfy, pretty, jersey dresses, Monika sent me this one - and needless to say, I just love it.

It's a summer weight dress, so unlined. At first, being used to the heavier, lined dresses of Bailey 44, I was worried that this one would be "too light." I actually didn't find it to be a problem - in fact, when I layered a slip under it, I realized there wasn't all that much of a difference, and so left it off. In warm weather, it's fantastic - I ran around San Diego in it perfectly comfortable the whole day - and in the evening, when the temperature falls, I layered a cardigan over it, and it was great that way too. Being mindful of my petite stature, Monika made it to my measurements specifically. I don't know if she does this all the time with the dresses in her shop, but I really love the proportions, the drape, and the flow of the dress. 

This particular color is great too - in the spring and summer, the pool blue is just perfect, and in the winter, I think it'll be great to brighten up my gray sweaters and black tights and boots. Taking a peek at the store, it doesn't look like this color is available anymore, but Monika may have others available too.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by.