Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Perfect Sunday in Photos

This, ladies, is the end to my day - my week - and I think I needed it. With the week starting out with certification exams, and then my birthday, which I spent at work, on the elliptical at the gym, and a working lunch - well, this is a nice end to a crazy and jam-packed schedule.

Flowers from the farmers market today....with...
A Mint Gin Fizz
Aaah, yes, the mint gin fizz. I seem to be going through a phase, ladies, where I want to try out different cocktails and see where I stand with them. Or where they stand with me. Or if they leave me standing. Well, the last one's not so true. I only have one. But this one was pretty good. I have the recipe below for my readers. & by the way. You will hardly ever find a recipe on this blog. In fact, this is my first. I am not a cook or a chef, though I can make some interesting dishes from time to time. I seem to have been a mixologist in a previous life, though. I can make some great little 'tinis.


2 oz Bombay Sapphire Dry Gin
1 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
Fresh Mint Leaves (un-muddled)
Sugar, to taste
Club Soda
3 ice cubes

Combine sugar and mint leaves in a cocktail shaker
and muddle a bit, just to bruise the mint leaves a little. Add Gin, Lime Juice,
Club Soda and Ice Cubes. Shake it like a polaroid picture.
Strain and pour into a chilled martini glass.
Garnish with a small sprig of mint.

We took a scooter and skateboard tour around our neighborhood this afternoon. Hubs on the longboard skateboard, Little Guy and I on scooters. We checked out the beaches around us as we made our way down to the port and took a few photos along the way.

Shells and Coral on the beach. In the bottom left-hand corner, there is a pottery shard.
We tend to get these. Instead of sea glass, we have sea pottery.

Little Guy trying to hustle towards us.

It is cherry blossom season here. Okinawa is filled with Taiwan Cherry Trees and we are fortunate to get to see their gorgeous bright pink blossoms in late January/early February. Interestingly, even though we are "in" Japan, we're only a 40 minute trip from Taiwan, China.

The blooms on a tree down the next street over. The blooms on this tree were amazing.

Finally made it to the Wharf, where Little Guy spent the time looking for fishes along the pier. What a wonderful day! Hope your Sunday is easy and breezy.

Perfect day.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Another Lazy Saturday

Today is a nice day, ladies, and the NoJCrewinJapan fam spent it at the beach across the street. The tide was low and the Little Guy and the dogs were roaming the beach in full appreciation of the sunlight. Let me tell you, weather has been rainy and ugly but I told you all that spring has sprung over here, and I wasn't joking. It's incredibly beautiful, if I must say so myself. We are a fortunate bunch. On another note, I took these photos with my new lens filters. They are untouched and I'm pretty surprised at the color and the sharpness. It almost looks like I photoshopped them and played with the contrast, but no, just a couple of cheap filters. What a difference.

Rocky and the Little Guy checking out the creatures in the tide pools.

A boy and his dog -- it's a beautiful thing.

Shell searching for goodies.

Kaya - enjoying the breeze on the sand.

Friday, January 29, 2010

What do we think of this?

Perusing the new arrivals at J.Crew online, I have come across this. No, I am not dating the piece. I'm wondering how wearable this is. I am partial to the Jersey Lomelina boy shorts they are showing, or the French Sailor maillot, realistically speaking. But I keep looking at these, which J.Crew says was inspired by bloomers.

I have to get ready for work, and fix up my baby boy with some breakfast, but I had to drop a line say WTF. Because part of me wishes I was uber skinny enough to pull off a look like this. That's the fashion forward side of me. & the other side is in a conundrum of wearability questions. It's like a catch-22: If you are bottom heavy, you will be attracted to this, because it covers well (obviously). But I think it will look better on a rail thin body, like the model's. The issue is that if you are rail thin, would you wear this? Or would you be in your typical 2 piece, showing off what your momma gave ya?

Just some thoughts for an early Friday morning.

Have a great one, ladies!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Grrr, Baby, Very Grrr.

What does it say about you, or moi, in this case, that I would prefer to present my OOTD in a blur, rather than clear and crisp? Oh the deep intonations, ladies. I think now that my certification exams are done **crosses fingers and toes** I've gone off the deep end with nothing else to ponder except IRL pics.

Artistic Expression? Or just can't focus the camera before a full cup of coffee? Your guess.

Wearing Today:
Head to Toe J.Crew... Surprise Surprise!
Jackie Cardigan in Champagne
Studded Skinny Belt in that cross between lilac and blush pink that came out recently over the winter roll-out.
Watercolor Leopard Dress ...
A jumble of bangles.. all J.Crew
& the BUG PIN from Fall 08

Ladies, I love me the Bug Pin. I don't wear it often, but I think it is so odd that I simply can't help myself. In a world where we all take ourselves so seriously, I look down at my little bug and think how fabilis it is to have some whimsy in my life. Even if it is in the form of a goofy, ill-sewn and falling apart bug pin.

& while we are talking about bugs, I have to digress onto animal prints. I was never an animal print type of gal. I like my solid colors. I like to play it safe. The only other real "print" I have is the J.Crew Collection Serengeti dress from Fall 08. But this dress is such a cool bunch of shades of purple, I just had to have it. & the material is something so different. It's very structured, which is interesting because the color and the look is so girly. See it reviewed by Dina at My Superfluities.

Closeup of the details - belt, bug, and bangles

Shoes: Charlie Ruffled Heels, J.Crew

Last but not least, I received a wonderful birthday present from my girl Soraya, at The Outfit of the Day. I don't know about you all, but I love stationary. I am a paper ho, if you will. You give me some good paper products and I'll love you long time. In this digital day and age, loving paper is a dying art, I think. Well, I digress. My gift was comprised of note cards from The English Tea Paperie, set with a gorgeous heel and my name at the center. Check out her wonderful blog and see what she has to offer because I can tell you first-hand this made my day. They are gorgeous! On top of that, TOOTD hooked me up with a sweet little Coach wristlet and a book, A Guide to Elegance, in my favorite color, Tiffany Blue. The wristlet will work miracles for moi, who is always traipsing around with my iPod Touch, keys, money, and ID Cards - this is a perfect solution - and the book is something I can't wait to crack open on a lazy Saturday on my deck with a glass of white wine.

What a wonderful finish to my exam day.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Things I Miss About Europe...

Peeps, I say, why study for my certification exam tomorrow when I can procrastinate for fifteen minutes and write this post instead?? Isn't that a good use of my time? To that I lift my cup of Jasmine Tea and say, "Heck, yes!"

No, I don't miss street vendors. But I do miss Paris. & who woulda thunk it. Paris didn't exactly rub me right. It wasn't love at first sight for me the way Rome was. But as I sit here, with hair washed clean with leftover shampoo from the french pharmacy down the street from our little rented apartment, I feel the need to indulge myself in a little list of what I miss about the City of Lights.

1. French pharmacies and their products. OMG. Why even trudge to Sephora when the pharmacy a five-minute walk away holds heavenly products.

2. The boulangerie's daily dose of baguettes and the little grocery stores with their "gourmet" foods. Mais bien sur, the little french grocer on the corner is an American food snob's delight. & I'm not a cook, but I know what's good and I can eat. I miss the greek yogurt, the prosciutto, and everything else in between that was priced so well and tasted so good.

3. The wine bottles for 100 Euro. Yeah, it roughly equates to Two-Buck-Chuck from Trader Joe's. But seriously, I've paid more here for worse rot-gut here. I'm an Italian vino type of gal and can't tell you diddly about French wines anyway. For 100 Euros, I had my fill.

Now...for what I miss about my short stay in Rome.

1. The color of the sky. It was gorgeously clear and blue, with the whitest clouds. I'll never forget it.

2. The streets and the sites. The amount of history that is packed in here is amazing. & life just seems to still go on around it all.

3. The coffee, the wine, the food... need I go on? I ate and drank my way through Rome. I loved the breakfasts, the lunches and the dinners. I was on a permanent Lavazza high, for sheezy.

4. The cobblestones. I hated them and totally cursed them out as I rolled my suitcase over them. Or should I say as I attempted to roll my suit case. Roll-y suitcases don't do well on stones. But at night when the sun has gone down and you're walking along the cobblestones, you can't help but get all romantic about who's walked there before you.

Well, that's my thoughts for tonight. I need to go back to studying now. Yuck.

I've left it a month ago and I'm ready to go back!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Case for the Pop-Back Dress

Apologies up front for the blurry photo or two, folks. I used the little Exilim this morning and sometimes that's what I get out of it. I was just too excited to show you the Golden Roses flannel dress I got as a pop-back in FS a few weeks ago. For $59, this dress is a winner (It's currently on eBay for $75-$135). I always feel triumphant in this crazy way when I get a) a pop-back from a previous rollout and b) when it's totally on sale. Why is that? It makes the dress even that more special. It was not offered in my usual size but I remembered from a past purchase last year that anything bought in that heavier flannel should probably be bought sized up. I was thinking this may be too large, but after trying it on I have to say I was pleasantly surprised that the fit was nice, and then I was disgusted that the fit was nice and the size was larger than usual.

I hadn't thought about buying this dress when it was originally offered. This was the dress where the model looks positively emaciated in the photos, and at the time it gave me the impression that I too must be emaciated to fit into it. The silk top part of the dress is very nice and I like how the grey calms down the yellow (because y'all know I fear color and like to live with my neutrals).

I paired the dress with the grey bubble necklace. It is a little much but the bubbles tend to just kind of settle into place against the golden roses / grey background.

I ended up wearing the pewter tartine cardigan with it to work. In my office there is a lot of face time with senior management and one doesn't attempt to do that with bare arms. Alas for that, ladies, because I didn't want to hide the golden roses print. Watch out eBay... I'll be looking for other pieces.

Last but not least, I ordered the Charlie ruffled suede heels with the dress. These werewaaaayyyy marked down and they are so cute. I was very excited to get them. In this order I also got the Tuxedo jacket and the short shearling chalet boots, which I'll share in an upcoming post.

Happy Hump Day, Ladies! It's a short week and it's almost over!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Spring has Sprung!

Our weather has somehow swung 20 degrees from last week. I went from wearing a coat to work (lows in the 40's and highs in the 50's) with tons of tights and black, black, black - to today's glorious high of 72 and some nice breezes. Okinawa's cherry blossoms bloom pretty early because of our sub-tropical climate and combined with the beautiful weather I was ready to dress all spring-like.

Ignore the Pirate Eye. I'm ordering a remote, finally! I'll actually have a tripod and a little clicker so I take some decent photos.

No tights today! Finally!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday is for perusing Anthropologie.

A hazy ring I like to call Sunday Perfection surrounds me, peeps (or is that my margarita? I'll never know). Under the influence of too many episodes of The Real Housewives of NYC and its homegirl, Bethany Frankel, I spent the afternoon with Skinny Girl Margaritas and some of my pico de gallo outside on the deck, enjoying the breeze and the sunlight. Knowing I don't have to work tomorrow just indulges my laziness further than it has to go. Hubs hung around the house engulfed in the male soap opera otherwise known as professional football while the baby and I simply enjoyed shooting the breeze.

Pico de Gallo , a fabilis bunch of chips and a Li Hing Margarita. The Li Hing flavoring gives the margarita its orange color.

What's that, you ask? Li Hing Mui is a salty, dried plum from China that is extremely popular in Hawaii amongst everyone. It is salty, but sweet, tangy and very tasty. It's one of those "acquired taste" things where you get it if you're from there but if you're not, it can be a little bit of a transition. The point of all of this is that Li Hing Mui, with its sweet saltiness goes perfect with tequila. In Hawaii, it's perfectly common to find tequila bottles filled with dried, salty, preserved plums. & perfectly commonplace to find Li Hing Margaritas. If you are in Hawaii and are feeling daring, order one anywhere. You will not be sorry.

The view from our little deck . A park next door and the beach across the street.

As a by-product of being under the influence, I answered the siren song from Anthro. Anthropologie was calling my name. I found a few pieces that are now coming home to Momma.

Let me tell you, peeps, I've been such a good girl so far, completely ignoring the 20% off FS at J.Crew and being ultra-good. But the green Emerald Cascade Blouse had me at hello. It was just too cute to give up. I love the cowl neckline and the color. It will look adorable under a black cardi until its warm enough to wear on its own. With pants ofcourse.

The Bouquet of Stripes tee was inspired by an outfit I saw in Paris over Christmas. A popular dress while I was there was an American Apparel t-shirt dress with navy and white stripes. It was a simple, 3/4 sleeve piece that was worn with a red coat over it, black tights and boots. It was nautical, preppy, a little bit edgy (with the boots and tights), and in all, tres chic. Thus seeing this tee, I'm inspired to wear it with a long navy cardigan I picked up from J.Crew last year. I'll wear with the dark toothpick ankle jeans, my Tory Burch black Revas and perhaps cinched with a belt at the waist. The piece is basic enough to dress up and I think I'll get a lot of wear out of it. All in all, worth the price point. & I couldn't resist the red color.

There are a lot of pieces at Anthro that I'm loving right now. The soft edginess they have going on --- loving it.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Quiet Day at Home. Finally!

I have nothing going on today, ladies. Nothing at all. It's a little bit on the chilly side for our little dot on the map - a bitter 60 degrees or so, he he - but the sun has been out and it's finally not raining.
I plan to do nothing today except drink some fabilis Mariage Freres tea I brought back from Paris (Vert Provence - heavenly), read my paperback book (Julie and Julia), and hang out with my little guy.
Here a few shots of the lazy day we're reveling in. Enjoying our deck and comfy chairs in some hoodies and sweat pants, watching dvd after dvd. I don't want this day to end! It's going so well and feels so good!

Friday, January 15, 2010

New Preview of Feb Offerings + A Nice Note from CS

Peeps, you know you've gone off the deep end of the J.Crew Cliff when your Personal Shopper is sending you emails about what's coming up. No, I don't have a J.Crew card. I just shop there way. too. much. Hi, My name is Marisa and I'm a J.Crew-a-holic. My wonderful PS, Marisa (we share a name, J.Crew actually found me a PS with the same name. That's evil), sent me a few images of what's coming out in February. I saw a few of the pieces in the Look Book that went out recently but it's nice to see the images all styled in the open.

On top of all of this, I got a nice note from Customer Service. Here 'tis:

This email is in regards to the Toothpick ankle cord, warm maple in order # xxx. I’m sorry to say this item was cancelled from your order because we didn’t have the item available to ship. These cords will not be in the shipment with all other items from your order.

Because this is an inconvenience for you, I was able to locate these cords in a retail store. The same form of payment will be used that would have been used on the original order. Once this item has shipped, which will be in the next few business days, you will receive an email confirmation.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. If you have any questions please reach out to me.

How nice is that?? I feel so special today!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The J.Crew Agenda has a long, lost cousin!

I've wanted to do a post on the J.Crew Agenda that came in the mail as a free gift since I got it a week ago but just didn't have time. Now that bags are unpacked and I have time to take some pics, we all need to sit down and discuss.

So all this time, when J.Crew says in their little blurbs that they got the cashmere from this such-and-such mill, and it's the same mill where uber-designers also source their material, I've always been a little skeptical. No, I don't think I'm being lied to, but I don't totally buy into it, I tend to take it with a grain of salt and go, yup, got it! & move on.

Not so this time peeps. It hit too close to home. Above is the 2010 planner I received from J.Crew. Below is the 2009 planner I had last year. When the J.Crew one showed up, it looked eerily familiar.
Interiors: check! Same font, same style, everything down to the maps in the back is the same.

Except for the interior. See, last year's planner interior cover looked like this:

Because it was Tiffany & Co.

But J.Crew sourced Graphic Image, Inc., who happens to make the same planner for Tiffany. Except my J.Crew was free. & the Tiffany was, well, as you can assume, just a teensy bit more. The only true differences I could spy between the two are that the Tiffany cover is leather and the J.Crew is pleather. Also, the year on the J.Crew planner appears to be printed, whereas the year on the cover of the Tiffany planner is embossed.

So, OK. I'm a believer, J.Crew. Nicely played. As an individual who had purchased the Tiffany planner last year, I am really impressed with your offering, especially since it was a gift to me and I totally appreciate it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I actually wore that?

Oh dear, fellow bloggers. Today's OOTD pics were simply horrahs. First, it was composed of mainly black and navy. & we all know how those colors photograph in a dimly lit room at 6:30am. On top of that, the room was still in a state of Post-Europe calamities, with bags and luggage everywhere. Completely not blog-worthy. Ugh.

But I promise to get on the ball tomorrow. No more slacking. I have no clue what I'm wearing but whatever it is, it will be photographed and posted!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ok I'm Ready!

Peeps, I am so thankful for your being there for me out there in blogland. I was feeling down and out in my last post and you all have truly made me feel bolstered. I have since slapped some cold water on my face, told myself to get a grip and have decided to get with it and be positive about moving. This is not such a bad thing.
Let's list why.

1. It's Hawaii. There could be worse places to be. It's neither too hot nor too cold. There's always a breeze. The weather is perfect and the place is a melting pot. You want authentic roast duck? Got it. You want some seriously high class gopply-goop? It's got that, too (in spades). You need High Tea at a fancy pants hotel? Check. You need just a barren and deserted beach where it's just you, a kayak, blue-green waters and a paddle? You can have it. In other words, peeps, I shouldn't complain. There are places in this world that are far worse.

2. If you're in Government, Hawaii is a major player. For Hubs, he'll be returning to a great department with peeps he knows. On top of that, the department is at the Regional level (a level of command higher than where he is now). For myself, there are opportunities with higher commands, as well as numerous govt agencies that all call Hawaii home. I'm lucky I have a network of peeps here. We could have gone somewhere where I knew no one professionally. & then what?

3. We are fortunate that Hubs' job still allows us to live pretty well. In other words, if we have to pay for private school, we'll still be able to do it. I may not be making multiple J.Crew orders and I'll definitely have to make some sacrifices, but we can still keep a similar lifestyle even while I'm job-seeking. We are very, very lucky this way. Especially in Hawaii where a gallon of milk is close to $7. (Ridiculous!)

4. This is a new adventure! Even though we've lived in Hawaii most of our lives, we get to see the place and the people with new eyes. Since we've sold our home there a few years ago, we've got the opportunity to choose a new place to live and create an entirely new life. We're young, we've got a good, solid network of individuals around us - and family & friends - and we're ready to get out there! This is a positive thing!

Everything happens for a reason. I definitely believe that even though I know how corny it sounds. If we had the opportunity to stay in Japan longer, we would have taken it and been very happy and comfortable. But maybe this is the kick in the tush we needed to get ourselves motivated again!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Is it that time? Really?

No, I haven't joined hula lessons. & I'm not traveling to Hawaii for vacation. It appears that my husband's overseas contract is coming to an end and our time in Japan with it. Looks like we'll be headed back to Honolulu, Hawaii on the island of 'Oahu. Mixed feelings. Mixed feelings. Let me tell you, peeps. Upon hearing the news from Hubs, I cried my eyes out for about an hour, had a glass of scotch, and then took a nap. Which made everything just marginally better.
I should be saying to myself, It's Paradise! But instead I'm a little humdrum. First of all, y'all know I like my plans, and a move right now was not in the cards for me. Or atleast I didn't think so. Hubs and I thought we'd be in Japan for atleast another 2 years and were ready to bunker down. Japan has been good to us and has allowed to save some dollars, not to mention being excellent for both our careers. Our original goals had been to stay in Okinawa, move ourselves up the ladder near Tokyo, and follow that with ending up in D.C. Given circumstances out of our control, we find ourselves heading back to Hawaii 2 years early and are unsure of our long term goals. The timeline has definitely been shot to sh*t. & there are the distractions. Being "home" in a place with gorgeous scenery, family, and old friends is fraught with them. For 2 career minded peeps who love their families, what do you choose? The path of least resistance and comfort - home - or the path that takes you to what you work hard for everyday?

My other issues stand mainly with the insanely high living expenses, housing expenses, and tuition expenses (The public school system is on average in such shambles most parents who can elect private school for their kids). Our 6 month timeline gives me some time to find a new job, while Hubby must adjust to working with individuals from the past. All of this, coming from an organization like mine with wonderful people and and an excellent work environment is hard to stomach.

It's new and it hasn't sunk in yet and I'm still trying to adjust to the reality of what this means for us. Keep me in your thoughts if you can. I'm a person slow to accept change and need excel spreadsheets riddled with formulas to calm my nerves.

I'll keep you updated on the latest here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Is there such a thing as too much bling?

Swag, meet my fellow bloggers. Fellow bloggers, meet my bling-alicious swag. It's possible I went off the deep end in the bejeweled-sequined-glittery-sparkliness category of crazy. Some may ask, Is there even such a place? & I'm here to say, Yup, I'm pretty sure... & I think I could draw the map to its exact location. While immersed in Christmas spirit, I may have gifted myself a little something here and there (Tries to withhold own giggles). & those little gifts - mostly tees and sweaters - seemed to have a common theme.

Shown (All J.Crew, of course):
Sequined Peakaboo cardigan, or, the one with the sequins going down the front of the placket
The Florentine (?) tee, or, the one that looked like a large bejeweled angel wing going down the front.
The Antler tee
The Starburst (?) tee, 2 colors, blush and ivory.
The sequined pocket long cardigan
The crushed glitter minaudiere in Copper

Somewhere along the path of staunch preppy-clothed-preferences, I have gotten a taste for the sparkly-sparkly. Like a full-on magpie. The funny part is, I arrived home from Europe to numerous -- and I do mean numerous -- J.Crew boxes. With the free shipping offered on top of the discounts, I seemed to have ordered numerous "little" orders. & when all the mini orders were opened, I had to laugh at how single-minded I had been.

Up-close of the sequined pocket cardigan. Like having little darling coin purses dangle from your cardi. I have to say the bling on this one is extra fantastic. The sequins are laid out rather randomly with no precise pattern, are a mercury-silver color and have a clear bead sewn on top of each. I love when the sequins are laid out all mish-mash like this.

Here's an up close of the peekaboo cardi. The color is more taupe than the slightest off pink I had thought I would have received but I wouldn't kick it out of bed. As Goldmember says from that Austin Powers movie, "It's a keeper!" The sequins as you can see are see through and in straight lines, which I think gives a nice lengthening effect. An illusion I don't mind given my short torso. Although I usually don't prefer the in-a-row sequin thing, I do like the subtlety. It's actually rather subdued bling.

& there is not one ounce of subdued anything in this minaudiere. It was a total sale item, $29.99 I believe with 20% off. A great deal for a little bit 'o swag. I was wondering how well the glitter would stay on this thing. I envisioned receiving this with glitter flakes everywhere but it is much sturdier than it looks.

I did remember this time to take a picture of the interior, which is lined in a fabric I will call, Not J.Crew Canvas. It's not silk but it's perky and dressed-up enough of an interior to match the bag's exterior.

Well, ladies. January better be a festive month, because I've gots me some bling to wear out and about. I will try my best to take IRLs of these when I style them or put outfits together. Let's just hope I've got the sparkly-sparkly out of my system!