Sunday, April 28, 2013

J. Crew Factory 50% Off: Fitting Room Reviews

A perpetual sucker for a sale, I was excited to learn J. Crew Factory was running a weekend promo of 50% off everything in stores (today is the last day!).  I was feeling a bit blue on Friday so went right after work for some retail therapy (and it worked).  :)

Floral Embroidered Cap Sleeve Dress, 0, $59 (here)
I LOVE the embroidered details of this dress and really liked the cap sleeve (though it seemed more like a sleeveless dress with a wider shoulder).  It had pockets and that magical JCF ability to mask tummy pouches.  Ultimately, it came down to me feeling cheap and also feeling like I looked a bit rectangular in it.
Verdict: No, but would consider on sale and then doing a little waist nipping alteration

Printed Sanur Dress, XS, $30 (here)
See also on Gigi.
Gigi hit the nail on the head with her review.  I thought the print was very cute, but did not like how the top portion became more sheer when it stretched over the bust.  Made it seem kind of cheap?  In comparing with this with my first Sanur dress here, the fit was one size smaller and I felt like the material was more coarse and stiff as well.
Verdict: No, I had high hopes for this one but the material wasn't up to par with last year's

Stripe Sleeveless Popover, 00, $32 (here)
I'm a big stripes fan and rather liked the fit of the slim blouse-like silhouette.  Ultimately, I felt like $30 for a semi-simplistic, polyester top was a meh value.  Especially since I know I have striped poly fabric at home. 
Verdict: No, I can make this shirt if I decide I need something similar

Stone Fan Necklace, $27 (here)
I had been eyeing the Fan Fringe necklace for awhile and was excited to see this Factory version during the 50% off promo.  I love the navy / crystal combo and snatched this up quickly.
Verdict: Fervent yes

Textured Charley Sweater, XS, $29 (here)
Charley sweaters fit very much like the Tippi where the chest / arms fit well with a little bit of wiggle room in the torso.  Similar to the Sanur above, I felt like this year's Charley is more coarse than last year's here.
Verdict: No, decent fit but didn't like the feel of it against my skin

Printed Pencil Skirt, 0 (here)
Stripes and red/white/blue? Of course I felt compelled to try this!  This seems to fit one size smaller than the retail No. 2 pencil skirt.  The cotton is a little on the thin side.  It felt more like shirting material than what I would expect from a pencil skirt where the fabric is likely to be stretched for long periods of time while sitting.
Verdict: Liked the general aesthetic but didn't love the material

Stripe Knit Blazer, XS, $25 (here)
Another red / white / blue motif I felt compelled to try.  Sizing wise, I prefer XXS as seen here, but the $25 price tag made it worthwhile for me to alter if necessary.  As it is, it's only a little bit looser in the arms / torso so I will probably leave it alone.  See Sm on me for sizing reference.
Verdict: Bought

$50 for a blazer and a pretty bauble seemed like a fair price to pay, but my $50 gift card made it even better.  Yay for free stuff :D

I then went to check out sunglasses at Off 5th:
Chloe CL2119 in Brown
I think they're cute, but my husband thinks I look like a bug.  They were marked down to $90 from $295.  I tend to gravitate towards oversized frames because I feel like they fit my face width better.  
Verdict: Bought.  My old sunglasses were too tight on my big noggin and these are much more comfortable.

I also got to meet up with my fave SF girls this weekend for food truck eats and fabric shopping:
Ping, Karen, Me (thank you Ping and Tim for the pic!) at SOMA StrEAT Food Park

Looking for more J. Crew Factory reviews?  Hop on over to Gigi's.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Scattered Flowers DIY Top Tutorial

I made this nude top a couple of weeks ago and pondered different embellishments options for a while.  I ultimately decided on a scattered floral motif.


Difficulty:  Embellishing - easy, Top - average
Time:  1 hour to embellish, ~1.5 hours for the top

  • Existing DIY'ed Top (DIY instructions here)
  • Silk flowers (I should probably note that I'm not sure how this will behave in the washer.  I'm guessing it will be fine in gentle wash with cold water, but I won't toss it in the dryer.)
What to do:
1.  Pluck the flowers off of the stem
2.  Lay out your general flower design and mark it (I use chalk) like the first photo.  Add a few stitches to the center of each flower and backstitch to secure.
3.  Follow Step 2 for all of your flowers and you'll wind up like #3 pictured above.  Snip off the extraneous threads from the front and back.

I wound up liking the semi-ruched look, so kept the back stitches intact on one shoulder :)

Scattered Flowers DIY Top
Polka Dot Skirt DIY (original post here)
Basketweave Crossbody from HK
Talbots Sandals

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sewing 101: How to Line a Top

Lining a garment provides several benefits: 1.) great to add opacity to sheer fabrics 2.) finishes all of your raw edges 3.) if your outer fabric is itchy, lining can provide a smooth barrier.  I'm currently in midst of creating an embellished nude shell (thinking of adding cascading petals at the moment) and figured I'd show you the process of lining my top while I was at it.  2 birds, 1 stone :)

What You'll Need:

  • Shirt fabric and lining fabric (In my example, I'm lining my shirt with the same fabric.)
  • Shirt pattern: tutorial on how to create your own OR buy a commercial one


1.) Cut out 2 complete tops using your pattern

2.) Take 1 top and align the front with the back.  Make sure the right sides of the fabric are together and sew along each side of the top from the underarm to the bottom.  Do the same with the lining.

3.) Place the lining inside your top with right sides together. (Ahem, I took a picture of it with wrong sides together, sorry!)

 4.)  Sew along the armholes and neckline.  Do not sew the shoulders yet.

5.) Flip your garment so that the right sides are facing outwards.  Tuck one shoulder inside the other shoulder.  (This helps me orient myself)  Flip the exterior layer over.  (This makes more sense if you look at the picture below)

6.)  The shoulders should now be sandwiched together like the photo above with the right sides of the shoulders together.  Stitch the shoulder closed.  Do the same for the opposite shoulder.

Both sides of the shoulder should now look like this.

7.)  Just hem as desired and you're finished!  The best part is that you can use this tutorial to line your tops OR to create a reversible top since each side is completely finished and no raw edges can be seen on either side.

Hope this was helpful!  

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hong Kong Eats: Kanizen (Japanese Crab Restaurant)

Upon review, I realized I took around 150 food pics during our recent trip to Hong Kong.  That's a LOT of eating!  I'm not planning on dedicating a post to each restaurant we went to (that'd be 12 weeks of nonstop food posts), but Kanizen is an exception.  I am a huge fan of Japanese food and seafood, so when I heard about a Japanese Crab restaurant, I was beside myself.  I know that sounds exaggerated, but my stomach is very influential upon my moods.  :)

It took me a few minutes to realize this was a door (press white button on right side and it will open) and not a wall.  If I could read, that nifty little sign probably would have told me that.

The crab tank upon entering

A private room w/ 3 self-cooking stations

Grilled edamame and Chuwanmushi (a savory egg custard dish - silky smooth!)

Shabu shabu w/ a basket

Assorted fresh mushrooms, noodles, tofu, and veggies for hot pot

Matsuba Crab Tempura and veggies
See that green powder in the corner?  This is green tea salt (new to me) and it tastes good on EVERYTHING

Horsehair crab for shabu shabu

Gorgeously marbled Wagyu beef slices for shabu shabu

This crab really is hairy looking.  SO good and I very much appreciate them de-shelling a portion so I can eat it lazily

Crab Tsukune - a little like a crab meatball on a stick

 Grilled crab roe

 Our crab rice steaming away next to our strands of udon for shabu shabu

And the end result? Delicious!

The first time we tried to find this restaurant, we got lost and wound up getting there right when it closed.  Disheartened, we almost gave up on it since Wan Chai was so far from Sha Tin (4 MTR lines to get there).  On the very last day, we decided to try again and I am so glad we did!

Despite the fact that we didn't have reservations, the staff very kindly let us dine in one of their private rooms upstairs.  The private room was fantastic both for the overall experience and for the kids.  Service was very attentive without being intrusive.  The wait staff took great care in informing us how to cook and/or eat each item.

We ordered 3 lunch sets (3 adults, 2 children).  One executive set ($500(?) HKD) including crab tempura, crab shabu shabu, grilled edamame, chuwanmushi, and veggies, one Wagyu set ($150 HKD) including wagyu beef and udon, and one Crab Rice set ($180 HKD) with Matsuba crab / salmon roe and the crab tsukane.  Each dish was beautifully presented, incredibly fresh, and oh so tasty.  I would highly recommend this restaurant for the food, service, and experience.

Stay tuned for more Hong Kong travelogue posts :)


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