Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013

I just finished reading Cee's and Elle's year in review posts and I felt inspired to write one of my own going over my favorite DIYs, purchases, and events of the year.

Favorite DIY Projects:
  • Peplum Mania
  • Going Nautical
  • Dresses, Dresses, and More Dresses

Favorite Purchases:
  • Red Blazers from H&M and J. Crew
  • Monogram Necklace (from Etsy) and F21 Pearl Necklace - I wear these necklaces all the time and always get compliments. 

Favorite Events:
  • Spending 8.5 months at home on an extended maternity leave and soaking up as much baby / toddler goodness as I could with my son and daughter.
  • Moving to San Francisco and opening us up to try so many different, delicious foods!  
  • Playing skirt designer selling my wares on Etsy thanks to Jean.
  • Getting to know some of my favorite bloggers better!  Cee, Elle, and P - thanks for filling in with your guest posts during my move!
What were some of your favorite events / things in 2012?

Happy New Year to everyone!  Here's to a wonderful 2013 :)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

PFC #22: Cold Weather Shopping Clothes

This month's PFC (Petite Fashion Challenge) is hosted by A Preponderance of Fashion.  Be sure to check out her blog for other entries!

The Challenge: Cold Weather Shopping Clothes
"The weather outside is frightful, but indoor shopping is warm and delightful.  So, whether you have wind, rain, or snow, show me your clothes when shopping for friends or foes!"

In general, I like to dress lightly, comfortably, and warm when going clothes shopping in the winter.  My essentials include a crossbody bag to keep me hands-free and comfortable shoes that can be kicked off easily to try on clothes.  I usually try to wear a shoe with some kind of heel to mimic what I wear to work.  This helps me get a good idea of what the pants / skirt / dress would look like "in real life."

LOFT Coat
LOFT Striped Sweater
NY&Co Pants (DIY slimmed)
Ann Taylor Pumps
Coach Station Bag (a gift from the lovely Jean)
NY&Co Tortoiseshell Necklace

A better view:

Lately, especially since I'm still healing from minor foot surgery, my shopping outfits consist of rolled up denim plus boat shoes - very comfy!
eBay scarf, J. Crew coat, Kate Spade bag, Abercrombie jeans, Sperry shoes

What are your go-to shopping clothes?

Past PFC Entries:
  PFC #19: Trend Benders

Sunday, December 23, 2012

J. Crew Reviews - Crewcuts & Factory Dec

With all the recent J. Crew promotions, I ordered a few things to try out from both Crewcuts and Factory.

Crewcuts Houndstooth Button Sweater, Sz 14, $25 (buy here)
Fueled by my successful Crewcuts in-store experience here, I decided to go ahead and order this sweater.  The differences between a normal women's XS sweater and this lies in overall sweater length and sleeve length.  The torso might be a little boxier too, but I'm also rather rectangular so that is sometimes hard to tell.  The sweater hem falls a little past the top of my hip and the sleeves hit a little past my wrist bone.  The shoulders / sleeves / chest (especially since the temporary baby-related changes have all since gone away) fit well with just a little room at the torso.  It's worth noting that the houndstooth print is only in the front.
Verdict: Keep.  At $25, I think this a good buy!

On the first day, I mistakenly thought the sweater was black and paired it with a black button down, black blazer, and gray pants.  When I got outside, I realized it was navy blue.  So the second time I wore it, I paired it with a navy mini-dot button down and jeans :)

Factory Stripe Knit Blazer, XXS, $47 (buy here)
I originally tried this in XS way back in February and noted that it ran a little bigger than the typical J. Crew 0.  When I saw that this was finally on further sale online, I decided to try the XXS.  It's a little more fitted all over without being too snug or showing unsightly pulling at the buttons.  I still love a good striped item and considering that my husband had just asked what I wanted for Xmas, this was the perfect thing to offer up.  After trying it on, I wrapped it back up and put it under the tree :)
Verdict: Keep

Polka Dot Popover, XS, $30 (buy here - ivory color is more expensive)
I had tried on a polka dot button down at J. Crew before and thought it fit rather nicely.  I apparently ordered the wrong item though (this one is a popover instead of the normal button-down), because this one is rather billowy and large throughout.  Note to self - read a little more carefully next time.
Verdict: Return, too big

Fitting Room Reviews:
We were determined to do an entire day in San Jose so we could eat both lunch (Layang Layang) and dinner (Izakaya) there.  We are very food-motivated people.  So despite the crowds (and the 20 minutes it took to find a parking spot), we stopped by the Great Mall to kill some time.

 
Classic Button-Down Shirt in Flannel, XS, $17 in stores
 I had been looking for a "Christmas-y" plaid with red, green, and a little navy and this one pretty much fit the bill (though if I wanted to be super picky, this has a little too much white).  The sleeves are a little long and the chest / torso is a bit big, but it's great to accommodate the extra holiday pounds.  The flannel is super soft and I love that I can button this all the way up without feeling like the collar is choking me.
Verdict: Bought

Charley Sweater in Leopard, XXS, (buy here)
I would normally go for XS in a sweater like this because the XXS is too form-fitted for my liking.  As in, if I ate a sandwich, you'd be able to see the outline of it.  It's a cute sweater, but it's not me.
Verdict: No, too form-fitting and can't pull off this much leopard

Striped Sweater, S, (don't see online)
Late to the neon game, I thought this would be a good option for someone (like me) who isn't ready to do solid neon.  Sleeve and shoulder fit fine, but chest / torso were a little too big.  I would normally take an XS, but S was the smallest I saw.
Verdict: No, couldn't find my size, but I loved the general look

Factory Ruffle Collar Top, Sz 0, $20 in stores, (buy here)
Ignore the lumpiness above my chest, that's the necklace I was too lazy to remove.  I love this periwinkle blue color and think it's perfect as a good work shell beneath cardigans or blazers.  The shoulders fit well and it's a straight cut all the way down.  The roomy torso makes it a good candidate for tucking.
Verdict: Bought for work

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season this year!  For those who celebrate, Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tutorial: Altering a Commercial Pattern for Petite Frames

I have the same problem with off-the-rack garments as I do with commercial patterns - the shoulders / neck are too wide and the waist often sits too low.  After some trial and error, I wanted to share a very easy (and non-permanent) modification you can make to your patterns to address these issues.

Trial and error sewing w/ commercial patterns

How to narrow the shoulders and raise the waist:
Just move the pattern inwards!  Rather than aligning the edge of the pattern to the fold, pull it over the edge.  I usually go for a little over an inch.

Cut the neck, shoulder, and armhole.  Stop.

Because my ribs and waist are not in proportion to my shoulders, I move the pattern back to the normal position of edge aligned to center front fold.  Resume cutting the armhole and then down the side.

I didn't take a picture of this, but to raise the waist, you do the same thing.  Simply slide your pattern up to the correct position and cut the bottom.  For me, I raise it 1/2".

Easy right?  Happy sewing!

P.S.  Yes, instead of pretty pattern weights, I use canned goods :)

On a personal note (because I have the best luck in the world) I am sick again.  That means I had 2 relatively healthy days this month, haha!  

Moms - how do / did you battle germs your kiddo brought home from school?


Sunday, December 16, 2012

DIY Animal Capelet & Toddler-isms

I don't really know how to word this part of the post.  I feel like I have a lot to say without having an eloquent way to convey it.  My heart goes out to everyone in Newtown and Henan.  Our children are our everything - I live, breathe, and look forward to each day because of them.

-----------------------------------------

I spied a leopard Baby Gap capelet last year that I had on my list to purchase for E before she was even born.  When I decided to pull the trigger, it was sold out.  Super thoughtful Cee even sent an early birthday present to E in the form of a gift card for it (thanks again!).  Fast forward one year and I finally put one together.  Though this one is a giraffe print :)

DIY Animal Capelet
Simplicity Pattern 4434 (cut larger because I have a tall bean sprout)
Though I didn't intend to, it also fits me, BUT I am not the type that can pull this off ;)

Trying it on E
I bought her some black leggings for when she actually wears this in public

I'm going to end this post with some toddler-isms from my 3-year old son :)

(Driving to preschool and passing a traffic light)
V: Mom, red is "stop" and green is "go".
Me: What is yellow?
V: Yellow is "keep going."
Me: Yellow is "slow down."
V: No (with a little bit of attitude), yellow is "keep going."
Sigh.  This must be my husband's doing.

(At home)
V: Mom, I want to watch Disney Junior
I mindlessly turn on the TV and flip through until it lands on Disney 
V: That's not Disney Junior, that's Disney XD
The perils of a toddler who can semi-read

(Playing.  V sticks a candy cane in his sleeve)
V: Look Mom, I'm Captain Hook!

These kiddos make me laugh every single day. <3

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Raw: A Food Post

This is my first real stand-alone food post and I'm oddly nervous about it.  I'm not sure why, lol.  Ever since moving to the Bay area, I've been OBSESSED with raw fish a la sushi / sashimi.  I've always lived in a land-locked state (save for my brief time in Maryland) and raw fish always tasted kind of slimy and really fishy.  Needless to say, I wasn't such a big fan of raw.  Things changed on a trip to a little sushi place in LA's Japantown.  Urged by culinarily adventurous friends, my husband and I sampled a little of each type of sashimi offered.  It was WONDERFUL and it's been stuck in our head for the last 7 years.  So now that we're here, we've gone hog wild nearly every week.

Lime Scallop - Amakara
My favorite roll to date.  That tiny little sliver of lime packs a beautiful citrus punch while the tomato and avocado gives it this feel of bright freshness.  This is the perfect bite of food.

Spring Mix Salad - Meiko
Sounds pretty tame, but see those little slices of red ahi tuna?  They pack a spicy wallop that mixes deliciously with the cool cucumbers and sesame.

49er Roll - Meiko
Another roll with a citrus splash - this time lemon.  Very good, but the Lime Scallop just tops the chart. 

Sesame Seared Tuna - Amakara
The sesame crust gives it this great toasted flavor and a nice crunchy texture.

Agedashi Tofu - Amakara
My favorite appetizer.  Pillowy chunks of tofu deep fried and served in a dashi broth.  I would lap up that broth if people weren't around.

Today is my dear Mother's birthday.  Happy Birthday to the most amazing woman I've ever met!  Her love and devotion to her kid / grandkids knows no bounds and we are ever so thankful / blessed to have her in our daily lives.  <3<3<3

Monday, December 10, 2012

J. Crew & Crewcuts Fitting Room Reviews - Dec

I spied a J. Crew with Crewcuts near my off-site meeting and pretty much headed right over afterwards.  I know that sounds incredibly silly, but sometimes there are treasures to be found in the kids' section (i.e. cheaper versions of the adult style).

Crewcuts Long-sleeve Sparkle-collar, Sz 14, $49.50 (buy here)
You might already know that I have a thing for stripes and I have a little bit of a weakness for anything that pairs a trend with stripes.  This one was a cute combination of sparkly Peter Pan collar + stripes.  It fits approximately like a J. Crew 00 with a little more ribcage room and I was kind of surprised the sleeve length was right on.  Who knew?  Even with the 30% online (at the time making it $35), I think it's a little pricey for a tee.  
Verdict: Am still feeling cheap, but would consider on further sale

Close-up of the collar
Love that there are rhinestones in the mix

Giant Bow Sweater, XS, $98, (buy here)
I saw this on Gigi and wanted to give it a try.  I have to say that this is much cuter IRL than in pictures. Fits pretty true to size, maybe a little more relaxed than a typical J. Crew sweater in XS.  Very soft!  I looked for the Girls' version of this but they only had very small sizes left in the store.
Verdict: Waiting for further sale

Gabby Top in Dot, Sz 00, $50, (buy here)
This was adorable on the hanger, but a little boxy on the body.  I would say that this runs about one size large.  I love the pleated neck and the light, airiness of the material.
Verdict: No, fit is too boxy

Long Sleeve Tweed Dress, Sz 0, $215, (buy here)
Gorgeous on the hanger, a little too White House for me though.  This fits a little small in the waist / belly, but a little big in the chest.  Unlike most J. Crew dresses, this one definitely does not hide the good old tummy.  The tweed material felt a little scratchy to me too. 
Verdict: Not for me, would probably look fab on someone longer limbed or different body type

Crewcuts Cotton Anchor Sweater (Boys'), Sz 12, $59.50, (buy here)
Ok, how could I resist giving this a try?  As Aubrey mentioned, I think this would look great layered with a plaid button down underneath.  Though I'm digging all of these novelty sweaters with bows / anchors / neckties, I'm hesitant to buy one because I don't think this will be something that I wear year after year.  I do keep telling myself though that maybe my son will wear it when I tire of it LOL.
Verdict: No for now

Have you fallen in love with this year's novelty sweaters?

And I am finally getting over my flu / eye infection / cold / longest illness in years.  Thank you for the get well wishes!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Budget Friendly Gift Picks for Her (or you)

December just started and it's already flying by!  I've been passing the time of not talking (super sore throat - this is the longest I've been sick in years.  Those preschool germs V brought home are potent!) by browsing the internet.  Here are some cute and budget-friendly items I've seen around:

J. Crew Factory iPhone Case in Hearts or Leopard, $12.50, free shipping thru 12/11 with GIVEANDGET, (link)

Target Merona Leather Studded Gloves, $17.59, (link)
I tried these on and they fit my hand well though my fingers are still too short to fill it in.  Very cute though and a great price for leather.
Target Merona Leather Plaid Gloves, $17.59, (link)
Love the equestrian feel of these gloves and the tan leather with the plaid!

Banana Republic Cable Knit Over-the-Knee, $7.92 if you buy 2 and use BRJOY40 (today only!), (link)
I detest wearing pantyhose.  Something about the constriction or seaming makes my tummy itch.  Since these come up to the thigh, I think they might be a good hose alternative.  Comes in black, gray, and this season's it color: burgundy.

If you missed out on the Kate Spade New York Black Friday sale, you can check out their exclusive event on eBay featuring the same prices:

Happy Shopping!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Battle of the Yellow Toggle Coat: H&M vs. Old Navy

The whole family's still sick and I seem to have replaced my flu / eye infection with a raging head cold (which is a good trade, but I'd prefer to just be healthy).  Just letting you know in case this post sounds unintelligible.  :)

L: H&M Toggle Coat
R: Old Navy Hooded Toggle Coat (link)


What color of outerwear are you looking for this winter?  I'm presently drawn to yellow and red-orange.  Hoping everyone is staying healthy!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Buttons to Bejeweled Necklace Easy DIY Tutorial

I found these buttons at Britex (the same place as the buttons from Tutorial Part 1) and thought they were oh so pretty.  I'm still crushing on the color green and I loved how vibrant the stones were without that murky look that some rhinestones have.


What I Used:

  • Buttons
  • Chain (I used one from an old necklace)
  • Jump rings
  • Eye pins
  • Glue (E6000)


Materials

1.) Slip your eye pin through the button shank

2.) Trim your eye pin to size and loop the straight end.  Allow both loops to just peek out from the button's sides

3.) Add 2 dabs of glue to secure your eye pin

4.) Allow glue to dry and connect your eye pins together with a jump ring

5.) Voila!  Easy peasy.

On a side note, I'm so pleased that my Blogiversary post got published at the Lucky Mag community site!  Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

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