January 31, 2015

Exploring the Marina in San Francisco

Splendor in the grass at the Palace of Fine Arts

It was such a warm, sunny day in the City that I took advantage of it by exploring the Marina.  I love coming here for the amazing ocean views as well as the shopping.  Who doesn't love Heidi Says or Ambiance, which has the perfect mix of high-low fashion.  I have to admit though it felt a little strange wearing shorts for the second straight weekend in a row in San Francisco.

We spent the afternoon walking along Fillmore Steet and popped into the Jonathan Adler store for a bit.  Unfortunately, I can't afford anything in there, but it's always fun to see what's new in home decor.   I also got to do my own version of Abbey Road, er, Broadway Street rather and that was an adventure in itself trying to get some awesome shots- thanks in part to my talented, awesome photographer-husband.

If you've visiting the Marina and it's your first time here, I have to warn you that walking up and down the steep steps on Fillmore and Broadway is a work-out in itself and I don't recommend wearing thong sandals or flip flops.  I've been here more than once, you'd think I'd know this by now.   Afterwards we headed over to the Palace of Fine Arts and breathed in the scenery.  There's birds and ducks floating along the pond and it's so lovely and tranquil against the backdrop of the pillars of the Palace that you'll find many couples having their engagement photos taken here.

Exploring the Marina neighborhood

The mighty pillars at the Palace of Fine Arts

For the fashionably curious:
Chanel small classic flap
Anthropolgie thong sandals 
Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses
BDG mid-rise shorts from Jeremy's
H&M Polka dot button-up shirt

All photos in this post by Timothy Lee

January 25, 2015

Chanel and pearls

It's funny.  Five years ago, or even two, I never considered myself one of those girls who would ever be interested in owning a Chanel anything or pearls for that matter.  I equated them as being too old lady or grandmotherly and too expensive.  I'd be baffled when I'd see someone in my then twenties wearing either one.  I even thought the term investment piece was a joke until I started casually reading about it in numerous blogs.  With Chanel handbag prices rising each year (the sales lady mentioned a possible increase in May by the way), coupled with the never ending demand for the handbags, it really is an investment piece.  

The special handbag comes in a special package

Blame it on Instagram, blame it on fashion bloggers or whatever celebrity influence is out there, but what I think is great is how you can mix these elegant pieces with a day at the beach wearing nothing but cut-off shorts, thong sandals, and a regular striped tee.  That structured Chanel purse or those iridescent pearls you inherited or purchased with your hard earned money are no longer confined to Sunday mass, formal dinner parties, or black tie events.    And if anyone does say it's too old lady, you can say that old lady's got style.

The woman's got spunk

Luminous Mikimoto pearls

My favorite things:

January 24, 2015

Chanel at the beach

Blown away by the king tides - the sound of waves crashing was earth-shattering 

I spent all morning long figuring how to "true" a front and back clothing pattern and was ready to take a break and tag along with my Mister to Pacifica to pick up yet another one of his special gadget toys.  Our drive to Pacifica on Highway 1 was gorgeous and seeing the ocean on a clear, abnormally warm day with massive waves crashing against the pier enticed us to join the crowd and take photos.  Particularly since the king tides were the news lately, I knew there would be lots of photo ops.   Luckily we take our trusty Nikon with us everywhere we go and these were the amazing shots we took.

And yes, I did take Coco to the beach.  I'm probably the only Chanel crazed woman to risk getting sea spray and sand all over her goods, but it was an unexpected detour and boy was it worth it.

 Chanel classic flap
BDG mid-rise shortie from Jeremy's - a steal at $24
Pearl earrings from Majorca - found these buried in my jewelry box
New wayfarer classic Ray-Ban sunglasses - smaller version of the original
Striped nautical top - H&M.  My alternative to the Saint James classic shirt

January 18, 2015

Sale alert: Jimmy Choo kitten heel pumps

As usual, I happily stumbled upon these heels while searching for some kitten heel pumps and was delighted to know they were on sale.  If you haven't noticed on my blog, lately I have a sickness for lace anything.  These Jimmy Choo dot lace heels are a triple threat - sexy lace, comfort of a kitten heel pump, and yet quirky and fun with the gauzy corsage.

I'm more of a flats girl since the majority of my commute involves a lot of walking, particularly San Francisco's deadly hills, but I haven't been happy going through more shoes than the average girl does in one year.  My manager mentioned she keeps boxes of shoes under her desk and I thought that it would be a great idea to just wear some simple flats on my commute to work and just change them out once I've hit the office.  I've always been a little paranoid about leaving my belongings at work, but I realized that I actually have the option of locking them up in the storage of my cubicle.

January 17, 2015

Iconic Investment Pieces

When I first heard about the term designer investment pieces, I thought it meant something along the lines of having your clothes as your sole investment portfolio or what Carrie Bradshaw would say- "I like to see my money right where I can see it...hanging in my closet."  I did a little bit of research on investment pieces and Hermes and Chanel came out on top as the designers with the best resale value, as well as Christian Louboutin shoes, surprisingly.  You would think that shoes are the first to go but apparently those red soles can still fetch a pretty penny if they're well taken care of.

I made up my own list of investment pieces - iconic to be exact.  I didn't include Hermes in the mix because, well frankly most of us would probably spend our money on a new car than on a new Birkin.  But we can dream...

Saint Laurent jacket - The closest thing to Le Smoking jacket
Burberry trench coat - It's so darn versatile.  
Cartier Tank Francaise watch - Inspired by World War I military tanks
Chanel Classic Flap bag - Do I really need to explain this?  I love mine, it's my Picasso.  Never mind the fact that I hardly ever use it, I'm happy just looking at it. 
Ferragamo Varina flats - Timeless ballet flats.
Christian Louboutin pumps - This shoe makes my heart skip a beat

Out of the list I have 1 out of 6, and I'm certainly in no rush to collect them all at once.  I'd like to think of them as rewards for personal achievement.  The Chanel small classic flap was a recent purchase I made a few months after I got my new job working in the government sector from manufacturing.  And believe me, it was no easy feat after going through the groundhog day, 7 year process of applying for new jobs, phone interviews with HR, more phone interviews with management, and morning or afternoon-long on-site interviews with the entire team.  Pretty grueling.  For those of you who are currently going through that process, don't give up!  The light is at the end of the tunnel!

January 16, 2015

Adventures at Neiman Marcus

Fabulous gold and marble clay charger plates

Despite the craziness of protesters on the Ferguson case all morning long and thankfully not having any delays on my Muni morning commute, I braved going to Union Square after work and took a trip to Neiman Marcus to get the special handbag.  That will be on a separate post, but as I ventured up the the escalators looking for Burberry, I happened to find myself at the home floor and let me tell you, that was an adventure in itself.  I fell in love with everything on that floor - from the gold and pastel plates that I've been obsessing about for a while, to a baby high chair with the seat designed like a pod, and the fabulous Haute House furniture showroom and stunning chandelier.  And all this time it was under my nose.  It's by far one of the most fabulous spaces my eyes have feasted upon in San Francisco.

 A special bed for your four-legged best friend

January 15, 2015

Glamorous preppy girls

Growing up in the mid-west and the east coast - Chicago and Virginia Beach to be exact, my first taste of preppy were Sperry shoes from the late 80's, all-the-colors-of-the-rainbow Lacoste and Izod shirts, and of course the Catholic school uniforms I had to endure in grade school.  Then I eventually experimented with the grunge look of the 90's by wearing lots of plaid shirts, Doc Martins, and much to my devout Catholic Filipino mother's dismay - black nail polish, which all the cool girls in tiny Jamestown, North Dakota were wearing.  Don't even get me started on the Guns N' Roses cassette tapes I bought which had the parental warning labels on the cover.  Over time, I gradually changed my style as my family moved across the country until finally when we settled in California, I went back to my roots of loving preppy styles.  

The prepster initative of private schooling
(and yes, my dad pinned a name tag on me in case I got lost on my first day lol)

What's that saying?  You can take the girl out of her preppy surroundings, but you can't take the preppy out of the girl or something to that effect.    Below are some of the women who exemplify and define prep in their own glamorous way, including my beautiful mother below.  


January 13, 2015

To have and to hold

A cousin-in-law of mine is getting married in paradise- in Hawaii to be exact and I couldn't be more excited and happy for her.  Destination weddings are gaining ground and I personally have never attended one but I would think they would be more fun to dress up for.  A wedding in paradise would call for a floral, light-as-air chiffon dress bordering on bohemian or maybe a little more spunk with a cropped print top and matching skirt.

My husband and I like to play the "what would you do if you have to do it all over again?" game. For me it would be a dream to get married in the Amalfi Coast or Tuscany surrounded with a small group of our closest family and friends, but in the end we probably would've gotten married in Burlingame, California all the same.  But who knows, maybe for our 10 year anniversary when we're reciting our vows all over again, it just might be in Italy.  

Photo of my wedding at Crystal Springs in Burlingame

This is years from now but a 10 year anniversary party in Tuscany would be fantastic

January 12, 2015

Lovely Lace

When I was a child, I hated lace.  I mean really hated it and the itchiness of it against my skin.  It also reminded me of the vintage mantilla tablecloths my mother would collect which I didn't appreciate at the time but now find so exquisite.

Thankfully they're now made a lot softer and gentler against the skin, with or without a lining.  Because lace is so elegant, I'll balance a lace top with a pair of jeans which is perfect for casual Fridays and can easily be worn straight from work to happy hour.  But I love this mystery woman's pairing with a gray blazer and black skinnies below.  

A top I scored from Banana Republic for a mere $15.  
 I believe it's sold out online but I found another top that's just as lovely here

January 11, 2015

Glamorous topiary trees

I'm not known for being a green thumb, but I'm fallen in love with topiary trees whether artificial or not.  They're so elegant and they remind me of days growing up in the east coast where we'd drive by lovely colonial Virginia homes with perfectly manicured lawns.

Photos taken in the Financial District - I used to walk by this restaurant every day on my way to work.  I commend the designer for the striped awnings and black and gold exterior.  

My version of using topiary trees in my decor.  They needed to be dressed up a bit so I used the grosgrain ribbon from a Net-a-porter purchase I made.  

Topiary trees - About $12 each from Home Goods
Candle - Violette by Diptyque 
Silver-rimmed tray - By Nicole Miller, also from Home Goods
Laduree macaron package I saved from a recent trip to France

January 10, 2015

Nostalgic for Burberry

I have a soft spot for Burberry - it was the first piece of designer anything that I ever owned and it was even more special since my father went to the San Francisco boutique with me to buy the small Nova Check tote that was all the rage among college girls back in 2002.  Even though I haven't used it in years, the tote is carefully tucked away in the back of my closet and will never, ever see the day of light in a designated Good Will shopping bag for donation.

I still remember the day I got that purse.  Leading up to that day, I had already been to the San Jose Santana Row boutique twice with my boyfriend now husband and it was probably all I ever talked about all November.  I was home from college during Christmas break and we took a trip from our home in the Central Valley to San Francisco with visiting Canadian relatives for a day of shopping in the City.  When we finally arrived at the boutique , I was giddy like a child when we went up to the counter, surrounded by classic gabardine and plaids all in its British-designed glory.

When we arrived home I inspected everything including the package and my father would chuckle in amusement when he would glance away from the television and still find me in blissful wonderment of my beloved new companion.  I carefully examined the beige, sturdy box my purse came in, the tags, and of course the purse itself.  I'm pretty sure I went to bed with the purse by my side.  I was that obsessed with it!

Lately I've had my eye on a Burberry trench and whenever I visit the boutique or even think of this iconic brand, it brings me back to that special day with my father.  And it wasn't so much that I finally got to own a piece of a designer item, but the fact that it was gifted to me by someone I really, really love to the moon and back.

The small Nova Check tote - the tote that started it all

January 3, 2015

Sale alert: Rene Caovilla and Oscar de la Renta shoes

As delightful it would be to have a closet filled with an exquisite pair of shoes by Rene Caovilla, Oscar de la Renta, Christian Louboutin (you know the pinnacle of shoes that in my opinion is like collecting art), I wouldn't be able to afford to eat for the rest of the year.  Miraculously, I stumbled upon these beauties on The Outnet at an amazing discount but alas, they didn't have my size. Considering that the sight of me strutting in heels over 4 inches is akin to watching a baby giraffe learning to walk properly was a consolation.

Oscar de la Renta Rosa pumps.
Or a mean case of the reds below...

It's a tough call with the Lady satin pumps
by Oscar de la Renta.  Just in time for Valentine's Day

Oscar de la Renta lace, satin, and mesh pumps
These shoes bring back memories of evening strolls in Seville, Spain.