Elizabeth and Clarke Review – Fall Collection

Elizabeth and Clarke is a quarterly subscription box where you receive up to 3 neutral blouses and tops for 60 dollars per quarter — which breaks down to 20 dollars per top. You can also change your subscription package to 2 tops at 50 dollars per quarter and 1 top at 30 dollars per quarter.

Every season, they release a set of 3 seasonal shirts usually in a white, black, grey, brown, and cream color. They also have 2 shirts in their permanent collection (see below).

 

I’ve been following Elizabeth and Clarke for about year before I decided to become a subscriber. At the time, I was not sure if it was something really needed until I realized a lot of my neutral blouses are ill-fitted and had some discoloration that I couldn’t wear them to work. Also at the time, I was hesitant about subscribing basics because I wasn’t sure if they would fit me right I preferred still buying basics in person. This past year, subscription boxes and online shopping have been my lifesavers. I feel my closet has gotten better, I save money on driving everywhere, and I get to spend more time doing other crazy errands such as the DIY projects for the wedding.

For myself, I did the Signature Collection which is 2 t-shirts per season for 50 dollars per season. I’ve been following this company for the past year and I’ve noticed there were some of the same blouses from last year and I did not want to find myself running out of choices after a year if did 3 blouses per season. The blouses I got for fall were:

The Bacall

This simple sheath is perfect for a day at the office, out for drinks, or even the grocery checkout. The Bacall has a high neck with a large extended hem to create a chic drape effect at your neck. It also has small vents on each side to allow for plenty of movement.

 

For a simple top, I felt I had to play around with it to make it drape a certain way otherwise it would be too bulky. I think would be a nice backdrop of chunky gold jewelry.

This black top and the cream colored skirt felt pretty Grace Kelly (think “Rear Window”). I just need a belt for a finishing touch.

By the way, sorry about the mess in the background–those are my wedding DIY projects.

The Taylor

Our most popular blouse EVER. Long-sleeved blousy shirt with buttons on each sleeve to easily convert to a short-sleeve blouse. Has the feel of silk, but is wrinkle- and stain-resistant and easy care.

 

This is so far the best white blouse I’ve ever had. FYI, it’s actually more of a cream color rather than a true white. I am still trying to learn how to roll up my sleeves nicely.

The fits for both of these shirts were amazing! Honestly I wished I also bought the Allende as well, but I could wait for another season or year.

E&C just released their latest tops for the Winter 2014. Check it out:

The Bronte

source: Elizabeth and Clarke

This would pair beautifully in jeans and this blue lace skirt I have.

The Williams

Source: Elizabeth and Clark

You can live in this shirt!

The Swan

Source: Elizabeth and Clarke

I think I would wear this sweater all year long!

Recommended for:  The busy woman who has no time to shop for that perfect basic (it’s a NEED!)

My September Box

I thought this would be a fun exercise, if I had my own monthly subscription box I would have these 5 following items curated by me and sending it to my subscribers. I was inspired by some of the Fancy boxes which are curated by models, singers, and other public figures but I wasn’t too impressed with a lot of the picks. Some boxes were really lame such as a Brides Magazine because they were on the cover or an engraved bracelet with the model’s name on it. I think that’s really weird wearing a bracelet with someone’s name on it.

Anyways if I had it my own way, I would like to share my monthly curated items. These items would be items I’ve purchased and maybe some items I’ve been lusting over recently — still haven’t decided.

credit: Sephora

1. Hot Toddy Heat Protector Frizz Fighter - I’ve been going to the gym in the mornings which means I have to shower before I get to work. I’ve been using the hair dryer lately which is something I’m not use to because my hair becomes too dry. I recently bought this and it stays in my gym bag and I have frizz-free hair all day. I can also comfortably use a hair dryer at the gym now without worrying my hair turning into straw. You don’t need a lot of product to use it.

il_570xN.344338469

source: Etsy

2. Cherry Blossom Necklace with Pearl Pendant -I bought these for my bridesmaids. I wanted gift that could be used beyond the wedding and wear it for all occasions.

3. Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf gift card ($10) – get yourself a Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea :-). It’s Pumpkin season.

source: iherb

4. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Hand Soap, Rhubarb Scent – Best scent ever! I think you’ll be seeing Mrs Meyer’s in future subscription boxes too.

source: Amazon

5. The Art of Manliness by Brett McKay and Kate McKay – This is my fiance’s groomsmen gift, to be exact, he bought The Art of Manliness Collection for his groomsmen. Give this to book to your significant other, your brother, or any man in your life.

If you had a monthly subscription box, what would be inside?

Ways Pinterest has made me do things better…

For some people, Pinterest has made them psycho with being on the computer for 6 hours just pinning their fantasy world and events that won’t happen in the near future such as creating boards for their baby shower when they’re not planning to have kids within 2 years or single ladies who are planning their wedding or having a bunch of recipes when they don’t know to cook an egg.

I’ve been on Pinterest since 2011 (?) and I was pretty addicted to pinning everyday and pinning things all pretty. Three years later, I have 20 boards and 2,250 pins. I didn’t think I had that many pins. It made rethink how to make the most use of my Pinterest board — make boards that are practical and also learn how to manage some of my pins (get rid of pins I want and don’t want).

Here are the ways Pinterest has made me better at:

1. Planning a wedding – 

wedding board

 

First of all, you need to actually be engaged to create a Wedding Planning board*. When I first got engaged I pinned everything that caught my eye — I pinned weddings of different color schemes, centerpieces, dresses, escort cards, paper flowers, pom poms, etc. When I narrowed down which color scheme I liked, which DIY projects I wanted to pursue, which flowers I liked — I kept these ideas all in my head. When I showed my Pinterest board to my wedding coordinator, it was a mess. I may have told her what colors I liked but it was really confusing when she saw it because I pinned so many themes and so many different schemes — it wasn’t cohesive. I had to to go through board and showed her a couple of pins  I liked and promised I would clean up my Pinterest board which I did.

Tip on creating a wedding planning Pinterest board:

  • Manage it regularly. When you decided you like your wedding colors to be green and blue, delete all the other pins that don’t fit your color scheme like grey-and-yellow weddings or black-and-white weddings.
  • When you find out the thing you wanted is out of reach because it’s too far/impractical/expensive — delete it! If you can’t afford having a horse-drawn carriage on your wedding, delete it! I originally wanted our wedding in Topanga Canyon because I loved the idea of being on the mountains and having the beach in the background. Unfortunately, I learned there was hardly any reception in Topanga so I had to let that idea go.

*There are a couple of exceptions though:

  • you can be someone who is helping out plan their wedding and suggesting ideas to the bride. I had my unmarried bridesmaids collaborate on my board.
  • if you’re a wedding planning/event designer or someone in the wedding or event industry — those people need to constantly be inspired they listen to clients all the time and it’s a great a marketing tool for those people in the event industry.

2. Made me a better DIY-er

diy

FYI, I DIY’d a few things for the wedding and I learned it takes a lot of time. I’ll eventually reveal some of my DIY wedding decorations and event the seemingly most simple things took a lot of time. If you never DIY before, it’s better to start practicing before you dive into a Pinterest project.

I always knew how to make paper flowers but on Pinterest, they take paper flowers to the next level. I am also learning how to make flowers out of fabric.

3. Made me better professionally

work

I am a Levo League fan — they’ve got great pins! I think this is probably my post valuable board — I’ve collected pins on how to become a better writer, how to work with people, and just be a better worker overall.

4. Made me dress better

fashion

 

I have the most fun with my fashion boards because I have Stitch Fix. Instead of me going to the mall hunting of the items I wished for on my Pinterest board, I’ve got a personal stylist doing all the hunting for me. I love shopping…when I have the time. Before Stitch Fix, my “Dream Wardrobe” board was a mess and everything was all over the place. With Stitch Fix, I’ve been much more organized showing my stylist what items I’ve been dreaming about and they deliver. However, there were times I liked an item on Pinterest just to find out that the item I lusted for didn’t work out on me and I delete that pin. I do manage my fashion board the most, since it is one of the more watched boards.

Here you go, ways Pinterest has made things in my life easier. Just remember to organize it once in a while.

In what ways has Pinterest helped you?

September Stitch Fix

I am really impressed this month’s Stitch Fix that I actually kept the whole box! Which is a first. When I first try on the pieces I do have a simple criteria which is:

  • Does it fit well?
  • I name three occasions I would wear this piece to (can be specific such as “friend’s wedding” or “casual Friday’s when I’m in the office” or non-specific such “weekends” or “after work”)
  • If I liked the piece but I wished it was in a in different color or some other detail, it automatically gets sent back.

Very short and simple criteria. How do you Stitch Fixers decided what to keep and not keep?

For this month, I had Xiomara and she picked out amazing pieces that I’ve been eye-balling on PInterest but having a hard time finding at the store–maybe I don’t go shopping very often. I’m happy that’s what my Stitch Fix stylists are for.

1. Daniel Rainn

Ishara Lace Detail V-Neck Blouse

2014-08-31 13.10.152014-08-31113105_zpse76ddc06 (1)

 

It’s kind of hard to tell but the shoulders and back are lace detailed. I wore it to my birthday lunch with my family on Sunday. Can’t say this is “fiance-approved” because I already owned two purple/violet tops and a dress. I think he was over me getting purple in plenty of my fixes. I do like the way it feels and so I decided to keep it and how I can wear this in many occasions.

2. Kut from the Kloth (not pictured)

Giuliana Bootcut Jeans

I wore these jeans to work on Friday. I like them so much, I am getting rid of my old go-to jeans since I have been losing weight.

FYI, below is my photography using a 10-second self-timer. My usual photographer, my fiance, was at school that day. They are not the best photos since I already wiped out all my makeup from work.

3. Vanessa Mooney

Skylar Nuggest Bead Layering Necklace

I’ve been meaning to look for another layering necklace and I’m glad I got one in my latest fix (you can barely see it).

4. Kut from the Kloth

Maisha Ponte Drape Front Jacket

I have/had a few black cardigans but this one is very unique. I love the faux-leather detail.This will make my typical outfits more interesting. I like this jacket so much, I wish I had this in a brown and red.

5. Mystree

Valina Open Cargo Jacket

Another unique jacket from the fix. I did try it with other outfits and I think it goes very well with a lot of them including this maxi skirt. It’s a nice mix of edgy and romantic. Yes, it has been too hot to wear jackets like these, but I liked them enough to keep them.

2013-06-29 19.24.26

Things no one tells you about wedding planning

FYI, this is from my perspective and the things I’ve been going through with this wedding planning the past year. I won’t talk about how weddings are expensive to fund because they are and I won’t talk about how choosing the right font and colors. So far I’ve learned (in particular order):

1. Everyone wants to know how the wedding planning is going – STFU! We picked our vendors in the first three months of being engaged and from January to June we did not doing anything major major regarding the wedding planning–there was the engagement photo shoot in March. Between the months from January to June, I had a root canal and I trained for my half marathon. But yeah…a lot of people like to ask how the wedding planning is going and you tell them “I’ve been training for this half-marathon, I’ve been running 3 times per week” or “I had a root canal and it put a huge dent on my bills; I haven’t really put too much thought on wedding planning, sorry.”  I think they were honest answers. But in the end their ears are hearing wedding, wedding, wedding. I understand they’re excited but I feel terrible that I didn’t have anything worth talking about since we did most of the work in the very beginning of the engagement. I guess I just got sick of talking about the same thing over and over again.

2. There’s this expectation that you’re suppose a certain way…. – I wasn’t sure how to word this. But people are very surprised to see I do not have the pre-wedding jitters or becoming bridezilla and the wedding is in 5 weeks. Well…I don’t know how to explain it. I’ve got plenty of things to be distracted. I don’t know how to explain it, but I don’t like being told that I’m not acting a certain way.

3. It can get political even though you tried to mitigate EVERYTHING! - We already made it clear that we were going to fund the wedding and do WHATEVER we want. My future FIL and MIL has asked us to invite more people to our wedding because they want to get some money from it. Well, we’re not a business transaction. You see, my fiance has been giving money to people’s wedding on their behalf because his parents asked him for money so it’s really not their money. They’re not funding our wedding so they don’t have any control of the guestlist.

4. Pick up some creative skills - I’m glad I took a few Paint Nite classes to get in touch with my creative side because some of the DIY projects I decided to take on from Pinterest take a lot of time and patience. From Paint Nite, I learned whatever I was going to be painting was not going to be perfect. When I attempt DIYs from Pinterest, I don’t try too hard to make it the exact replica but I do put a lot of effort into what I do.

5. You don’t need to plan your wedding at every waking moment of your life - If you plan correctly, you don’t need to plan it everyday. Besides, why do you want to plan it at every waking moment? When the wedding is over, what is there left really? If your engagement is 12 months or more, you have a lot more lull time than you think.

6. Still pursue your hobbies – I think plenty of people forget that I (and other bride-to-bes’) do have a life beyond planning a wedding like working out, reading books and music, blogging, and having a social life. During my time as a engaged woman, I also learned new things where I wanted to get better at something such as becoming a better writer at work, getting more confident in public speaking, and practicing better communication skills overall.

7. Exercise (and other good habits) AFTER the wedding is over – For those who have never exercised before planning the wedding, maybe your plan to exercise AFTER the wedding. You may not have a dress to fit in anymore, but didn’t you feel great losing all that weight and picking up healthier habits?

For myself, I’ve always exercised before getting engaged because I like going to the gym. When my half-marathon was coming up, I really had to up my exercise regiment. I usually do a lot of cardio classes like dance and spin but I also needed to pick up more strength training such as doing more squats to get stronger legs. I did lose weight and people did notice. I really didn’t like it when people said my weight loss was for the wedding. I’ve always exercised before, it was just those months I had to amp it up more than usual.

8. DIY within your abilities - Otherwise, it might become a glue-mess disaster. There are exceptions though, if you have extra time start your way slow. When I first got engaged, I DIY’ed a lot until I figured out which skills I was good at (painting) and which ones I wasn’t (making yarn balls).

9. Delete your Pinterest board…or delete some of the pins – I’ll admit it’s very hard to do. I love collecting ideas on Pinterest but once you do decide on what you like delete the rest of the pins that you didn’t chose. For examples, I pinned a lot of high heeled shoes on my board but now I decided to go with flat shoes, so I deleted all the high heeled shoes. I also pinned a lot of dresses I really admired from afar. Once I decided on the dress, I deleted all the dresses too on the board too. It just makes things less cloudy and makes me less indecisive.

Exception is that I am keeping a few items on my board because my wedding coordinator/florist does look at my Pinterest board.

10. The younger the bride-to-be, the more “stressful” situations she’ll encounter – Maybe they’re relatively stressful because the are things she never thought she had to deal with. For myself, I’m the first of my friends to get married and plan a wedding and I never thought I would have to deal with my future MIL becoming Momzilla because we couldn’t invite her friends.

My friend’s sister is a few years younger than me and she’s on the same boat too but for a different reason–bridesmaids drama. She has A LOT of bridesmaids.

One of my coworker’s daughter is engaged and she’s also a few years younger than me too. Recently, I told my coworker about all the things that stressed me about about the wedding like…in-law drama. My co-worker loves weddings and the planning process of being around pretty things, but she realized she forgot the things her daughter is going through like her own in-law drama. Yeah…it’s not all about the pretty things.

Sorry about my cynicism but I’ve been meaning to post the things I’ve encountered throughout my wedding planing process. I do enjoy it but I’m not sure if I would ever want to plan another wedding again. I learned I do like to DIY such as creating money boxes and altar arrangements, and I would do that for someone else’s wedding. But other than that…with the in-law drama and the guestlist craziness is enough for me not ever want to plan a wedding again (I’ll write more about that in detail another time).

Bachelorette Party 8/3

I know this was long overdue. My bridesmaids got a limo and we did a wine tour around Temecula.

On the event details, one of my bridesmaid kept emphasizing to wear comfortable clothes and shoes — I still thought about wear a dress. On the day of when I read the weather forecast, it said “humid” and I decided to wear a dress…but I’ll pack myself a pair of pants just in case.

When I arrived, my bridesmaids were shocked to find I was wearing a dress because they were meaning to surprise me with a shirt, a crown, and sash :-P. That’s why I had to wear pants that day.

Surprise giftboxes created by my bridesmaids. My bachelorette attendees all get a box with a wine glass, a shirt that says “team bride”, and other goodies.

Food in the limo.

From one of the wineries — Leoness.

From Danza del Sol. I should’ve bought the Gerwurstraminer from there :-P.

Of all days, I forgot to bring my phone that day :-(. But I am grateful that I’ve got plenty of photos from my friends!

Stitch Fix August 2014

For this request, I asked for no pants just to see what I would get and I ended with 4 dresses and earrings. I’m glad I got to try on a bunch of dresses to find what works and doesn’t work, but I wish I got a skirt and a top as well in this fix.

1. CASSY CLOVER CHANDELIER EARRINGS

I thought they looked cute but they felt really cheap to me.

Verdict: Pass.

2. CALLAFIA PRINT WRAP DRESS


I’ve always wanted a wrap dress. I loved full skirt and the way the material felt, but I didn’t like how it was so low cut I had to wear a tank underneath. I felt if I wore this dress throughout the day, I would have fallen out of this dress.

Verdict: Return

3. LORRENA LACE DETAIL BELTED FIT & FLARE DRESS

The price tag is pretty high at $148 dollars. I initially did not want to try it but I’m glad I did later on tonight. I love the fit and I love how I felt in this dress. I wish I had better photos of it in our room (lazy fiance was sitting at his office so he took a photo at the living room). The skinny belt makes me look taller but it also looks good with a thicker belt as well.

Verdict: KEEP!

4. NIKI ABSTRACT FLORAL ELASTIC WAIST DRESS

This dress was ok. I love the fabric but I am not a big fan of the elastic waistlines on dresses. They don’t really sit well on my waist and I feel I have to constantly adjust throughout the day.

Verdict: Returned.

5. MURIEL COWL NECK SHEATH DRESS

I like the way the dress photographs but I didn’t like the way I feel in the dress. I think there is a lot going on–it’s two-toned and there’s a sash too.The grey and navy colors are beautiful but I did not like the sash at all. I think I would have preferred two-toned and no sash or single color and sash.

Verdict: on the fence   Returned!

 

 

She suspects we don’t eat…

image

Crazy to think I use to eat a large portion of food back in San Diego. I also exercised like crazy. I did pilates and hot yoga just to burn off the food.

Well…I couldn’t even finish this bowl of bun bo hue from my last visit to SD. My fiancé’s mom does serve my us large portions every time we’re here (I’ll talk more about this another time…I suspect helicopter mom-in-law/momzilla). Before I would make myself finish my food,  but that day I couldn’t force myself if I could.

When we moved to LA I lost 20 pounds without doing anything crazy. I now think going to the gym two times per week is an accomplishment versus the times I use to give myself a hard time for only doing two times in a week. My gym routine would consist of spin class and some other fun class such as yoga or dance.

I guess the point of my post is portion control is the key to losing and/or maintaining weight. When I just couldn’t finish this large bowl of bun bo hue, I had to accept it. I know in Asian cultures it’s disrespectful to not finish the food. But I just had to let my future mother-in-law know I couldn’t finish what she served and maybe next time she’ll serve me smaller portions or maybe let myself serve.

Ceremony Decorations – Altar Part 1

My fiance wanted cherry blossoms for a fall wedding and I thought Manzanita branches would be a better alternative. I spoke with my wedding coordinator and she does have a cherry blossom tree to rent. It had pink silk flowers and it costs 350 dollars PER TREE!

PER TREE?

This wedding planning thing is making me sick to my stomach. 350 dollars for silk flowers? I’m sure they’re high grade silk flowers and I wasn’t interested in pink cherry blossoms — I was more interested in white.

Then came in this DIY project. It was worth waking up at 5 AM to go to downtown LA. I got two manzanita branches, silk white flowers, and silk orchids (which is really great quality) from the Flower District. Later that same day, I got two foam blocks from Michaels. Here is phase 1:

2014-07-13 12.43.24I got these manzanita branches for 4 dollars each and it had so many twigs. This required some trimming to create a more clean look. I still thought the one on the left needed more trimming. I didn’t like the little white flowers I got from the flower district because it was already covered in glue and I had to QA each and every little white flower to make sure there was no purple glue residue.

I went back to Michael’s again to get another silk flower to help cover some of the eye sores such as purple glue residue and gaps on the branches. I know Michaels is pricier than going to downtown LA, but Michaels is down the street from my place so it’s the most convenient.

Anyways, I’m done gluing all the flowers on the branch!

2014-07-13 20.44.45

2014-07-13 20.45.082014-07-13 20.45.34Part two of this project is creating a box and filling the base with…flowers? Or maybe moss.

 

 

July 2014 Stitch Fix

I am so happy I got Windy again this month! Even though I did not get an A-Line Skirt as requested I enjoyed July’s Stitch Fix. I needed more casual tops that don’t look like I am on my way to the gym.

This Fix is slightly overdue so I will try to remember as much as I can. I blame the 4th of July festivities and wedding planning for my overdue writings. I am still playing catch-up with the food blog as well.

2014-07-03 21.31.41

1. Zad – Alva Tiered Beaded Collar Necklace – I’ve never really liked the jewelry in the previous fixes. I am however very pleased with this one. This necklace goes well with a lot of the tops with the fix and the top I wore to work that day. I am definitely wearing this necklace for my friend’s wedding next weekend and maybe the bridal shower next month.

Verdict: KEPT!

2. Ezra Alejandro Printed Double Spaghetti Strap Tank – I think I can wear this top to work on casual Friday if I wore a shrug or cardigan. Since this is a slightly overdue review, I wore this top for the 4th of July festivities.

Verdict: Kept

3. Under Skies Reba Floral Print Spaghetti Strap Tank – The pattern and colors are really pretty but I did not like the straps because I felt they might break easily.

Verdict: Returned

4. 41Hawthorn Dita Sleeveless Ponte Dress – It took me a while to decide whether or not to keep this dress because I’ve been looking for another dress for work that’s not black. In the previous fix, I kept a coral dress and I’ve been wearing it pretty often. I love the shape and the fit of this dress but I would’ve kept it if it was a different color like a turquoise or grey.

Verdict: Returned

5. Kensie Jeans Kaleigh Ankle Biter Skinny Jeans

I do not have a picture of myself wearing this jeans. I love the jeans Stitch Fix has sent me and have purchased jeans for every fix but I wasn’t looking to buy another pair.

Verdict: Return`