Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy Hawaiian Holiday

The hubby is finally back, ladies. Finally. Can I get an Amen?? OMG, 2 1/2 months of loneliness and long distance-ness and late night phone calls has finally come to a bittersweet end. In celebratory fashion, Hubs and I decided to take a "Stay-cation" to Turtle Bay Resort on 'Oahu's North Shore. This is so not Waikiki; it is country, folks. But it's still gorgeous and fun in such a perfectly relaxed way. Here are some great photos from our stay.

Little Guy came the first day we were there (Grown-Up time followed after Grandma politely excused him from the party). Here he is enjoying his "fancy" poolside smoothie.

Here's the view from our room. Just exposed reef in the low tide morning. Perfect way to wake up!

Surfboard "Art" in Haleiwa, the cutest little town on the North Shore. Well. Maybe the "only" little town on the North Shore. So fun and rather "hippy" vibe. You just feel care-free and fun.

Country views. You know, barbed wire can be beautiful.

An old church in Haleiwa town.
Old is beautiful, too.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Just the Bare Necessities: A Few Pairs of Shoes

While Hubs, Little Guy and I wait for most of our things to be shipped from Japan to Hawaii, I am living on a limited number of shoes, ladies. Which for fashionistas like ourselves, is akin to water rationing or some other similar personal sacrifice for the greater good. What I've done to "prepare" for this, has been to limit the shoes in rotation to a few pairs that can work overtime, look fabilis in a number of different and varying situations, and just work it for momma. So here they are, all lined up and ready to go.

(L to R): Nine West Nude Platform Peep Toe Heel, Ann Taylor Black Platform Faux Snakeskin Heel

I find these two in heavy rotation at the office. The nude peep toe for $60 on sale at Macy's was a smart buy. It perfectly matches my skincolor, makes my legs look a mile long (and my self esteem 50 ft high), and goes with everything. I have a hard time holding back from wearing these every day. The Ann Taylor Black Platform heels are comfortable, elegant and were also on 40% off clearance. Can't go wrong there. Every gal needs a perfect black heel.

(L to R): Marciano for Guess Black Peep Toe Bootie with Lace Up at the Back Heel and Cut Out to look like Eyelet, BCBG black braided sandal
Aaah, these are the fun girl shoes. These are the pairs momma wears out on the town, which doesn't happen too frequently. However, have you ever noticed that Girl's Night Out always seems to sneak up on you, and then you're stuck infront of the closet going What am I supposed to wear??? I get that alot. But oh not anymore, ladies. Not with two pairs of fun shoes ready and willing to go out. The bootie is SEX on a stick. They are on-trend, make every outfit look fierce, tones down the girly effect of whatever dress you've got on, and perfectly juxtaposes that feminine-masculine balance in an outfit. I love them. But they're not appropriate for every public foray. That's why I have the BCBG's, because sometimes, I really want to look like a girly girl. & here's the pair that makes that happen.

Jeffrey Campbell Brown faux snake skin flats with Wood Trim.
I bought these at an upscale department store in Bangkok a few years back and I just can't part with them. I recently just sold two pairs of TB Revas on eBay, and yet these stayed perfectly safe in my closet. I think they are so adorable, and not too mention comfortable. You always need a pair of ballet flats. With white jeans this summer, this pair will up the ante on any outfit I decide on. They are the perfect go-to flat.

J.Crew Serengeti Juliet Heels
A mainstay. A classic. Always there to spice up a black dress in the perfectly elegant way. The wood heel is the perfect height, the patent exterior never looks bad and wears very well. I've had these for over a year and they still look great. That's not easy to say for most pairs of shoes that are similarly priced. For those days you just want to say ROAR, ladies, these are what you need. Another shoe that goes to the office frequently and gets me compliments just as often.

Ann Taylor Platform Black Faux Snakeskin Platform Peeptoe Sandal with Hood Heel

A fun shoe for the summer, and such a great deal. Originally priced at $198, it was marked down to a final price of $35 when I bought them. They are well made and fun in young, resort sort of way. & I'm in Hawaii, so these are great for when you want to sit (because truly, standing is tortuous in these) and look fabilis with a mai tai in your hand and a flower in your hair.

What can I say? J.Crew Flip Flops with the Platform Heel.
Comfy. Casual. Perfect for the beach or running errands. I've made toe marks already.

Friday, June 25, 2010

New to My Closet: Yes, I Went There.

Oh I soooo went there. Head first, peeps. Not just like a little splash in the shallow end of the pool.... the DEEP end of the pool, where the big girls swim.

This dress was just too freaking cute to pass up. It's flowery and summery and wedding-y and baby shower-y and every event in the middle. It can be dressed up with heels or covered up (with the Jackie cardigan I got in matching Lavender... Oh, yes, I did go there) for those more demure moments. Or when the summer breeze is just a little to much to take bare-shouldered. I've never gone for the bare shoulder look before. I usually like symmetry, peeps. Either 2 shoulders covered or 2 shoulders exposed. This look is going to shake things up a bit. But me likey. Me likey very much. I need a little shaking in my life and my closet right now.

This dress, though quieter, I think will look fabilis with a my Joe's Jeans denim jacket. It is cropped and little and will look so cute against the white backdrop. I'm in need of a little summer lovin' not-so-serious pieces, and I think this will do the trick.

Ok, now why wouldn't I go for the cotton jacket in the adorable rose vines print?? Seriously? & for $60, I so went there. I want to have the sleeves hemmed to bracelet length and I want to wear it just like you see here, with denim cut-offs. I am so looking forward to this jacket. This is a little fun and doesn't look very hot. Perfect for the next few months.

You know sometimes a little shopping is a good thing. & when the pop-backs start up, I just had to!

Outfits of the Week: Randomness is my Middle Name

So here is where the week started, ladies. With the new bag, recently swiped from my mother's third bedroom / closet. I started off a little casual, with a Maya cardigan in the great pale pink color as a cover up over my sloppy white tank and khakis. I thought blankly this week that if I threw on a crystal necklace - HECK - people at work would be brainwashed into thinking I was actually dressed up. Yup.

The khakis are Ann Taylor and I have to say are great pants. They are so comfy and I love the wash and wear. I haven't had a pair of pants I like so much as these in a long time, and these are petite so I didn't have to hem them up. Even better! I love how the Maya cardi photographs. It actually makes me appear to have something of a waist, which peeps, I most definitely do not have. God was slow to give me anything in the waist department.

Day 2 of the week? I made up the sloppiness from Day 1 with my favorite dress, the Serengeti. I tell you, this dress can do no wrong. I may not look fabilis, but I feel fabilis, and that's all that matters! (Notice Little Guys' Nerf gun in the background with rubbermaid full of foam darts).

Wore the dress with a rosette cardi from J.Crew Fall '08 (?) that I love. It has the nicest little glass buttons. The attention to detail like that is what brings me back every
A shot with the shoes. Ladies, I have found the most fabilis pair of nude peep toe pumps from Nine West... on sale, Macy's. It matched the cardigan and the purse. I went for all over primness. Love the way the pumps make my legs appear thin. Gotta love that lengthening effect! Even if just for smoke and mirrors!

Lastly, an outfit thrown together where I felt all monochromatic and happy for it. A full-skirted mushroom color dress, with a matching J.Crew cardi belted in patent black. The cardi had a little bit of bling on the placket and was just enough to raise my spirits on hump day.

Purchased today fro Off Saks: A new Rebecca Taylor dress. Can't wait to wear it tomorrow, ladies! OOTD's to follow!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

For Sale. It's Time to Bid 'Adieu'

It's that time, ladies. Where my loverlies are no longer my loverlies and I'm ready to purge the closet of some gorgeous pieces. I have them listed on eBay right now and there is about a day and a half left in the auction. Take a look when you have a moment.

Sequin Jaspe Jersey Sweatshirt, NWT
Current bid: $102.50

Watercolor Leopard Sheath, Pre-Owned
Current Bid: $15.50

Liberty of London for Target, Pre-Owned and Never Worn
Current Bid: $15.00

Other items for sale: Double Serge Pencil Skirt in Plum ($16.50), Tory Burch Revas ($40.00), Super 120's Black Dress ($15.00), and tons of other great stuff. Happy Hunting.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Shopping Mom's Closet: Cole Haan Handbag for Moi!

Ladies, you know what's the best part of having a mother with good taste? Shopping HER closet! Now usually my mother keeps me out of there with a ten-foot pole, but somehow I made it in, promising to help her weed it out and put some things on eBay. That's when I came across this little baby.

First, it's Cole Haan Collection. Second, it's braided leather -- nude braided leather -- akin to something I might swoon over at Bottega Veneta. Third, it has the most adorable handles that fit into the crutch of my elbow in an ever so perfect Grace Kelly sort of way.

For the days when I must channel my inner Audrey, Grace or Jackie O., this baby is coming out to play.

The King of Hearts Liked It. Make Dad a Raspberry Tart!

This may seem like a simple jump in the pool to most of you ladies, but for moi, I did not get the cooking gene. I am surrounded by excellent cooks and am usually very jealous of their ability to whip up anything and everything and have it turn out AMAZING (All-Caps, even). I am usually loathesomely jealous of the girl who can be the absolute center of the party and have everyone cooing because she was able to put flour, sugar and water together and have everyone weak at the knees. I am the worst cook. You can ask my husband. There is little I can not mess up.

What am I good at making? Drinks, usually. & salads. I'm like Cher's character from Mermaids. Do y'all remember that movie? That was the one with Winona Ryder in her young, pre-shoplifting, angst ridden years; Christina Ritchie before Addams Family; and Cher as their mother, for the limited point in time when she put down the box of Ogilvie and had the cutest retro hair-do. Anyhoo. My point about the movie is that Cher's character can't cook. She only makes finger foods and ka-bobs everything. I hate to admit this, but I usually fulfill that role. It's agony. But this week, peeps, Costco turned my world upside down and put me on a path to try something new. They offered raspberries in the mega Costco-sized container for $3.77! $3.77 is an amazing deal in Hawaii for 3 cups of raspberries. So my idea was to enlist the aid of my Sister in Law and get to work on a simple raspberry tart. Yes, peeps, this is 101 for most of you but seemed like Mount Everest to me!

Our starting point was the Joy of Baking (it came up first in the web search) recipe. It looked simple enough to not intimidate this remedial baker. Here was the starting point:

Pate Brisee (Short Crust Pastry):
1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon
(2 grams) salt
1 tablespoon (14 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 grams) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces
1/8 to 1/4 cup (30 - 60 ml) ice water

2 cups fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons (30 grams) granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter, melted

Pate Brisee: In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). Pour 1/8 cup (30 ml) water in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube until the pastry just holds together when pinched. Add remaining water, if necessary. Do not process more than about 30 seconds.
Turn the pastry out onto your work surface, gather it into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour to chill the butter and allow the gluten in the flour to relax.
Once the pastry has chilled, remove from refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry into an 11 inch (28 cm) round. To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards to get uniform thickness). Transfer the pastry to a parchment paper lined baking sheet
and sprinkle the pastry with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Leaving about a 1 1/2 inch (4 cm) border all around, cover the pastry with the raspberries, stem ends down. I like to start at the outside edge and work toward the center of the pastry in concentric circles, making sure the raspberries are placed close together. (If possible, use raspberries that are of uniform size.) Gently fold the edges of the pastry up and over the filling, pleating as necessary, being careful not to squash the raspberries. Brush the edges of the pastry with melted butter, and then sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar over the raspberries and crust.

Our product before baking.

And after! Ta-da!

Being a Saturday night and having no energy to go buy vanilla ice cream, we served it with some whipped cream and Snickers Ice Cream, LOL.

But it was yummy. & self-esteem boosting. That doesn't happen together quite often, so I enjoyed it and lapped it up. Every. Last. Crumb.

For the recipe first hand, go to the Joy of Baking. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It had to be posted!

Warning! This is NOT me. But I've been helping my sister-in-law take photos for her baby shower invites and I thought I'd share! Have a glorious day ladies!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Stella Ain't Got Nothing on Me

Ladies I'm feeling like I got my groove back, blogging-wise. I think what it took was a good break from the blogosphere, time to get over the newness of my *old* location, time to visit with all the friends and the family my heart and schedule could fit in, time to visit all the stores I hadn't had a chance to go into over the last four years.

[Little Guy at the beach in Honolulu. Pail and watering can ready for sand castle engineering perfection.]

& also, a new blog layout! How are these fabilis new backgrounds and templates blogger is pushing our way? Loverly, if you ask me. I needed something to wake me up and I'm loving this new background. It is my summer sizzle, ladies! Pass me a mai tai-tini (Never had a mai tai-tini? Oh you must)! I'm ready for a little fun in the sun!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Building a Better Cart: Great Sale Items that are Calling My Name

"Yooohoooo! Hey you! Lady who hasn't shopped with us for a while! Did you see this? Did you? Come over here and check these out!" Y'all I swear that is what I'm hearing from the J.Crew website.

I haven't been in forever. I actually made my first purchase from J.Crew since I've been to Hawaii only yesterday. That would be the first in 2 months. Please don't let that fool you into thinking I haven't shopped in eight weeks. Pshh! Ofcourse I have, but my world has been full of random Nordstrom purchases, Ann Taylor 40%-off deals, and great Target finds. & I'm proud to say, all in moderation.

But one little purchase seems to open the flood gates, do they not? So here I am, one purchase deep so far, and I find myself in less than 24 hours perusing the website and building a cart full of items from Summer Sale that are rather fabilis, if I must say so myself. & while I am supposed to be saving for my house and all the awesome accroutements that come with it, here I am, in J.Crack-land.

Stretch Flannel Banquette Dress, $129: How gorgeous for work. I have it in black but this fabric with its Heathered Grey color is amazing. J.Crew calls the color Heather Graphite. I call it fabric perfection. But mind you, it's for us girls who are not well-endowed. It cuts rather low.
Gabriella Dress $59 in black. I have it in Navy. Aaah, do you see the pattern arising? I already have this one and here I am buying in multiples. But I'm in Hawaii, peeps. Hawaii. Where the sun shines 99% of the year with a cool breeze keeping the temps roughly at 80 degrees. All the time. Everyday is beach day. & thus, I justify the multiple purchase of this great dress. Plus it hides the rolls and focuses on the upper chest-a-ses area, therefore highlighting the good and camoflouging the bad. Yes. A worthy purchase indeed.

The Surf Blossom Shell: I love this for its ethereal 1920's feel. Like I'll feel 20lbs lighter in it. I'm envisioning very cute with distressed jeans (like below) or with a black pencil skirt and smart heels for the office (please, a blazer or cardi as a cover up. I have a rule about bare arms). Or with black skinny jeans and sky high heels for an evening of dancing with the girls. Me loves.

& finally, just a great pair of jeans that are a deal at $39. Matchsticks, which look great with flat gladiator sandals for day. I actually have siphoned my closet free of any light colored jeans after going through a few seasons of dark-dark midnight washes and blackest-of-the-black denims. So this is a great way to offset all that darkness. Let there be light, peeps! Let there be light!

But... And there is a BIG but in this. None of these can be mine, peeps. None of them. I have enough willpower to say no and back away from the shopping cart. I have a house to purchase. Floors to choose. Off-white slipcovered couches to buy. Chinese antique cabinets to display. I can not get distracted by these glorious items. Because you don't go in the hole by massive items. Those we all tend to budget for. It's the little items like these that pick away at our savings! & I just can't have that right now! I need to focus!

... But I still needed to talk about them. These loverlies. So thank you for being my sounding board! Have a great Sunday!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Final Choices - Interior is Coming Together!

Here are some of the final choices for the new house! Kitchens will be white cabinets, dark wood floors, corian counters that are a dark grey, sort of colored like concrete / honed dark granite. Bathrooms will be limestone floors on the first level. Banisters will be a dark wood color.

The master bath will have an octagon and dot tile, with counters to sort of match, with white cabinets. Can't wait to see it all together!

So Excited!