A New Day – Target Womenswear Picks September 2017

I’m not even going to pretend I’m to the minute with my trends or fashion scoop–heck, I’m barely on the blogosphere these days. But imagine the nice surprise when I found myself running the umpteenth errand of the week at Target to see several new concepts unveiled in the apparel department. I have to hand it to the retail giant, they’ve been improving their offerings every year and this fall I think they’ve hit on something with their womenswear concept called “A New Day.”

Disclaimer: not an ad, no sponsorship (though I wouldn’t mind if I got sent pants! Hi Target Corporate!) just an every day woman shopping for a bargain. etc. etc.

Kristina’s Picks (left-to-right):

1.  Bi-Stretch Twill Skinny Pants in black, $24.99
Don’t get me started on work pants. Oh wait, too late. I’m STILL looking for work pants that have functional pockets that hold, oh I don’t know, pens? a phone? not tiny Tic Tac boxes? These pants unfortunately suffer tiny pocket syndrome, but at $24.99 it’s at that price point where I can live with it–somewhat. It forces me to use a wristlet or purse, which is just not efficient IRL. I am woman and I still want real pockets. I’m wearing a size 4 which is a bit baggy throughout the thigh and knee, but I can’t go down on the waist size. The bi-stretch twill fabric will warm up and eventually bag out by a second day’s full wear, so I’d get two if you prefer dark colors, wash inside out, and air dry to preserve its life for as long as possible. My favorite black pants from Target’s Mossimo brand had deep enough pockets and still works well today except it is horribly faded. These pants are on the short list for when I MUST be in pants, but I’ll wait for it to come down to $20 or less with coupons. WOMEN NEED REAL POCKETS TOO.

2. Ponte Pencil Skirt, $22.99
This is just okay. It’s a skirt. Pocket is deep enough for a phone. It’s a bit long on me (I prefer mine to go at or an inch above the knee.) There is also a pesky silver chunky visible zipper in the back. Good if you need a pencil skirt.

3.  Denim Pleat Front Skirt, $19.99 and Utility Popover Shirt in indigo, $17.99
These ended up being my favorite combo together. I had initially picked the top to try with the pants but it looks better with the denim skirt. Madewell-heads rejoice–you can get the Courier shirt look for less. The Target version is Lyocell though, not chambray.  I am wearing a M in this but can go down to a small for the true fit for my shoulders, but you may loose the relaxed fit if you go your true size.

The skirt is not quite my favorite–I don’t really care for the paper bag/ruffled waist, but if you do this I’d go up a size. The elastic is a bit tight for the small to fit me where I want it, which is slightly below the belly button in this picture.

4. Gingham Popover Shirt, $17.99
Same double pocket construction as the previous popover, but no pocket flaps. Instead the pattern for the pockets is turned for “visual contrast.” A little too distracting for me, to be honest, but the fabric on the shirt is soft and comfortable.

5. Flutter Sleeve Crepe Dress in cherry, $27.99
Go your true size. I’m in a M and it’s definitely too long in the torso, shoulders, and length. I should probably be in a Petite but I don’t see PM or PS options for this dress. It’s poly all throughout, and lined. I thought it would be a good office option until I realized it’s too baggy overall plus polyester. The color is good for the upcoming season and should be flattering for most body types.

6. Anorak Jacket in olive, $44.99
I truly don’t need another olive jacket but this was surprisingly well-made. Not really a fan of roll-tab sleeves but it’s not heinous–in fact, I wear my beloved H&M military jacket with the arms rolled up most of the time now. I really should have unfurled the Target jacket sleeves to see how long they are. There is a thin hood wrapped/tucked into the collar under a zipper. I’m wearing a small, which I probably wouldn’t do if you wanted to wear a substantial sweater under this.

The entire jacket is pretty thin with no lining, and the anorak tail and waist are adjustable via drawstring. I wish it had storage pockets on the inside of the jacket, but at this price you can’t really ask for more. I’m going to go back and see if the blue version can pass for navy. On the site it looks a little too bright of a blue to work in my closet.

Let me know what you think–I’m definitely eyeing those pants and am hoping the jacket goes on sale sometime soon!

Advertisements

Vacation 2017: Palm Springs – La Quinta Resort & Club

Hands down one of the best vacations in a long time, and that’s huge praise considering I usually only get euphoric after San Francisco or Seattle.  The desert area of Palm Springs is typically not the type of destination I gravitate toward, seeing as how it’s terribly hot and to be frank, a bit unfamiliar to me. But this year I’ve been dealing with a lot more stress than I’m used to and the usual eat-run-sightsee-circus I generally put myself through didn’t appeal to me. In the spirit of trying something new I decided to check out the quiet but refreshing La Quinta Resort & Club in the city of La Quinta, California.

Disclaimer: not a sponsored ad/comped stay etc. etc. just a nice discovery that I’d thought I’d share for those of you who might want to travel somewhere neat sometime, etc. (back to the post)

As far as I know there’s no real easy way to get here other than driving in–you may have to fly then drive about 2 hours to come into the Palm Springs area. I’ll spare the locals the boredom of me explaining how to get here. Suffice it to say, a car is needed if you’re a mere mortal like me and protip: load a bunch of water, Gatorade and maybe a snack or two because your road food options are all fast food. I’m not going to knock the McDonald’s stops though–they have $2 vanilla iced coffees and I like McGriddle breakfast sandwiches (oooh, such elevated brekkie.)

img_2105
Once a very popular getaway for Hollywood stars, now a destination for golf, tennis, and other outdoor recreation.
La Quinta Resort was established sometime in the early 20s-30s, with the original casitas and other structures well-preserved throughout the ages. Since then the resort has grown to include more facilities that include not only regular rooms but full quad-style units, some with private patios and hot tubs to others with full kitchens and living amenities. By luck the casita I was assigned was part of the original rooms built in 1926. Despite its proximity to the lobby and main restaurants, the open layout of the resort and the lack of high rise structures makes the entire area feel expansive and free.

img_2106
Can barely see the casitas but they’re there behind the trees. Each little grouping has about 3-4 rooms together, with a small shaded seating area per room.
I unfortunately can’t tell you how the golf or tennis is because I don’t play either but if you want to be outdoors–you’ll have all the choices in the world. I didn’t see many folks outside for too long because average temperatures were in the 100-110Fs (37C+) during most of the day. But here’s some pictures while I was exploring the grounds:

img_2001

Behind this is the Fitness Center which I didn’t get to, but it looked pretty rad. There are also cruiser bikes to rent if you want to ride around the property which I should have done at nightfall. Hopefully I can come back next time to do more. I pretty much spent most of my outdoor time at the Plunge Pool which is the adults 21+ pool:

img_2130
It was quiet here all day, but by 4 pm I practically had it all to myself. First come first serve cabana-loungers in the back.
It’s hot and harsh and the sun is a serious force to be reckoned with. My cheeks peeled on the first day just because it was way drier in the desert than the humidity we’ve been having back home. But after the second and third day you get used to it and it’s sort of pleasant to step outside and be enveloped in the encompassing warmth. Remember to drink/replenish fluids, don’t be like me and forget. Heat illness is a serious thing. And don’t even get me started on sun protection. Sunglasses, hat, a shirt, and sunscreen every time I’m at the water. Even on the short walk from the room to breakfast you can go zero to lobster if you don’t cover up.

I am admittedly a n00b at resort vacationing so please excuse my wonder, but I do appreciate that the Hilton/Waldorf-Astoria experience was as advertised. I like to answer the post-visit reviews because it’s a genuine chance to give feedback and appreciation for the staff. There was nothing lacking period, from arrival to the room to the restaurants or grounds and amenities. If you’re needing to get away from it all but want a pleasant, relaxing, efficient stay, here it is.

img_2095
Entrance to Morgan’s in the desert–named after Walter H. Morgan, the original builder of the resort in the 20s.

Penultimate dinner at Morgan’s. American steak and seafood house featuring CA wines and fresh ingredients.


On the left: a mix of Spanish influences in the architecture and decor of the grounds. Right: Lilly Pulitzer offerings in one of the several boutiques on-site.

img_2156

One of the larger conference halls/meeting rooms, and the Santa Rosa mountains in view on the top left.

snapseed-3
From the main entrance and shopping area (sunny area), through a passageway to the original casitas.
It was great to really slow down, decompress, rest (naps anyone??) and enjoy a mid-year break. I haven’t been writing as much for quite a few reasons–I’m trying to save money and so I’ve been acquiring less overall, but it now enables me to do things like this. And after I got back from the Philippines last year I’ve been mentally challenging myself to want less so I can divert funds to experiences I can share with others, like food, travel or music.

When the fun money fund is restored, I should like to come back.

Everyday Face – June 2017 edition

Everyday Face – June 2017 edition

I had a post idea bubble up this morning as I was doing my makeup so I thought, let’s run with this inspiration and fire up the good ol’ blog! So here I am with a mid-year update; let’s get down to business, ne? Prepare thineself for the copious selfies–thou hast been warned.

The Glow-Up
I started writing/posting in 2013, and I wore nothing / pressed powder only:

DSC_0366
December 2013. I miss this crazy long hair. I was living out my Zooey Deschanel/MPDG dreams with the bangs and specs.

In 2014 I lost twenty pounds, grew more hair (that remained tangled, lol), and made a little routine called the “Five Minute Face” that began with my brows. It felt pretty good, and I enjoyed doing my eyebrows so I kept it up.

DSC_0497 rsz
No mascara, just brows and bb cream and powder.

2015 events brought the introduction of eyeliner and lipcolor, to varying success:

2016– muscle memory and control is a little better. Started looking for a nude lip color and bought a few new brushes to add to the makeup bag.

IMG_0551
Brow game solid by 2016.

2017’s Everyday Face no longer takes a mere five minutes, because I’ve since expanded my skill set. Here’s what I use on a regular basis (some steps optional):

EverydayFaceJune2017

From left to right:

    1. Lorac Pro to Go Eye/Cheek Palette
    2. NARS Radiance Enhancing Light Optimizing Primer
    3. Rimmel Matte BB Cream 9-in-1 Skin Perfecting Super Makeup in Medium
    4. Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara in 001 Black
    5. Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Pencil in 005 Nude
    6. L’Oreal Infallible The Super Slim Liquid Eyeliner in Black
    7. Rimmel Brow this Way Brow Gel in Clear
    8. L’Oreal True Match Pressed Powder in N3 – Natural Buff
    9. Nyx Blush in PB01 Mocha
    10. Urban Decay De-Slick Oil Control Setting Spray

In general:

    • Moisturizer with SPF (not photographed), NARS primer on eyes, BB cream, pressed powder.
    • Brow routine which is filling in sparse areas with a Bobbi Brown eyeshadow close to my hair color; Rimmel brow gel to set.
    • Eyes. I create my own version of a “cut crease” or what I think looks like a cut crease, but is really just a smudge of something, with the Lorac palette. Or if I’m in a rush and only can do one color, I use single MAC pots in a non-descript brown just to have some color on the eyelids. Optional: I’ll tightline the lower waterline with nude pencil for work, smudge the gold/bronze color if I’m in the mood. Same with mascara or eyeliner. If I’m wearing all of the above, I consider that my “fleekest” for the day. Not really. It still looks pretty restrained.
    • Blush because why not. Concealer if I really need it, but I tend to forget/eliminate this step.
    • Setting spray when done.

I like what I’ve been doing so far:

img_1714
Not photographed, on lips: NARS Matte Lip Pencil in Bansar

Hair’s all poofy.

This definitely takes a little longer than five minutes–I’d say about twenty, because I’m a lot more picky about my eyebrows and the eyeshadows when I do this. I’ve had days where I overfilled the brows and looked pretty silly or was sloppy on blending the shadow. But overall I really like where I am right now with the routine and while I am not quite yet a glazed donut perhaps 2018 might be my year! Maybe contouring will be passe by the time I get to it?

Packing 101: Philippines 2016

Packing 101: Philippines 2016

Disclaimer: I’m not about to teach you how to pack for a trip to Asia–there are actual bloggers who do that sort of thing for a living; I just want to talk about what I ended up bringing and what worked or didn’t. 😀

I realize I’m five months late on this but hey! it’s still fun to discuss, n’est-ce pas?

Background:

Left California in December (aka 55F-79F highs/lows) to go to Manila “winter” (mild rain, humidity 80%+++, makes 80F-95F feel like 90-105F)

Activities: city travel, island stay (4 days), exercise (running)

Things I brought:

Tops: cotton short-sleeved tees, tanks (a few each), a light cardigan, rayon long-sleeved split neck blouses

Dresses/bottoms: one polka dot 3/4 sleeve dress, two pairs of Levi’s cutoffs, Uniqlo Ultra Stretch skinny jeans, Everlane culottes

Shoes: brown Saltwater sandals, running shoes, Nike Free RN Flyknit, Sam Edelman ballet flats

Special: three bikinis (to rotate wash/dry), goggles, water shoes

Outerwear: Arc’teryx rain jacket, Uniqlo Ultra Light down jacket

img-polyvorevacation
The winning bits!

What worked:

  1. Arc’teryx rain jacket: you would think wearing what amounts to a huge plastic tarp would be insufferable in humid rain, but it actually was surprisingly comfortable. Not to mention it doubled as an emergency layer when we entered heavily air-conditioned areas. Note to self: you can get sick from the AC-inside, hellfire outside dichotomy. bring scarves too, it gets cold AND dry when a draft is blowing on you all day.
  2. Long sleeved (rayon) blouse/top: counterintuitive when you think about humidity and heat, but I was more comfortable in these blouses (and looked more put together) than in a tee-shirt. As long as the material is breathable and not constricting, I actually did better and preferred to be covered up rather than exposing my arms.
  3. Levi’s shorts: wore these more than the culottes which needed to be ironed every night. They broke into my shape in just the right way and were comfortable as all get. The only downside? full exposure to mosquito bites 😦
  4. Saltwater sandals: an impulse Amazon buy right before leaving. Not the most comfortable of all footwear (there’s a pressure point under the arch for me that kept bugging after 2-3 hours of wear.) but it goes well with the summer-casual dressing. I would have brought my Birkenstocks but I didn’t want to risk getting them damaged at the beach.

What I forgot and wished for:

  1. Tweezers and nail clippers – sounds basic. I thought I’d be able to borrow some from the family I was staying with–which I did eventually, but when my nails broke while at the beach I made a note to make it part of my makeup/grooming kit.
  2. Goggles – this was my fault. I forgot/couldn’t find mine, ended up buying a pair while on vacation. Unnecessary necessary expense.

What I learned:

  • Pack a beanie for the long plane ride (doubles as eye cover) and keep drinking water throughout (bathroom line be damned.) Hydration and sleep so that you feel less beat up when you get off the plane.
  • You really don’t need five tee shirts when three and daily washing suffices. YMMV on what facilities and opportunities are available to you regarding cleaning your clothes while traveling, but I still only used a good half of what I packed and the rest was just sitting in the suitcase.
  • Importance of curating (ugh, I hate that word) your closet IRL so travel packing is less annoying: after a few years of culling (also buzzword) my stuff into the things I really like and use time and again, all my potential building blocks for an outfit are thematically related. All that’s left to do before departure is ensure they are in good condition (I repaired a seam that was coming undone on a top) and you’re done.
  • Whatever you forget or is broken or missing can usually be replaced while abroad (except for special medications, most likely.) Don’t sweat the small stuff and try to relax!

Little Saigon Night Market

Little Saigon Night Market

One of my favorite things about Southern California (and I’m completely biased) is the sheer density of food choices in a small radius. The area has quite a few established ethnic enclaves, one of them being the largest Vietnamese community outside of that country, centered right here in Westminster, California. This weekend I went to check out the most underrated summer food festival in Orange County–the Little Saigon Night Market.

DSC_7098

The Little Saigon Night Market is hosted every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night at the Asian Garden Mall, on the corner of Bolsa Avenue and Magnolia Street. The 2016 series runs through the weekends of June 17 to September 4, from 7 pm to 11 pm. Vendors and food stalls cover the entire front parking lot of the mall, while an entertainment stage keeps the mood going with performances from featured guests. The mall’s food court also stays open during this time, which provides even more food choices for the hungry. From the main cross-streets, it’s hard to miss the market–the lights, sounds, and delicious smells of barbecued meats are enough to make a pedestrian (and sometimes quite a few drivers) pause and redirect into the parking lot.

Now that I’ve sufficiently conveyed the pertinent information, time to move on to the food:

The grills operate non-stop, constantly refreshed with choice cuts from land, sea, or air.

DSC_7110
Deep-fried quail

You will want to make a slow circuit of the food stalls to check out who’s offering what, or ask people milling about where they got their food items.

DSC_7113
The grilled squid stall is quite popular. Not seen to the right: the growing line of orders.

There’s also a stall that does modern market favorites. Below are some ramen “buns” being toasted for a ramen burger.

DSC_7101
Noodle bun?

But I think the strength of the market lies in the unique street food offerings from Vietnamese cuisine:

DSC_7120
Grilled snails! 3 for $5.

I really enjoyed the grilled snails and the somewhat controversial/exciting (?) chicken embryo (balut in Tagalog, trung vit lon or hot vit lon in Vietnamese.)

DSC_7121

The snails were served with a spicy green oil; the balut with salt and pepper. Both plates came with a sprig of rau ram, or Vietnamese mint. These snails required a fork or chopstick to dig them out, and I had fun trying to drink the sauce out of the shells. The eggs were quite good on their own. I had a lot of fun experiencing these foods; I’ve had balut before, but the snails are an exciting new dish that I’d like to return to very soon.

My friends also bought some other Vietnamese snacks that were very good:

Left: banh khot, savory mini-pancakes (rice cake) with shrimp. Top right: bot chien, fried rice flour cakes with scrambled eggs. Bottom right: spicy pork sung (shredded dried pork) banh mi

DSC_7109
I have to come back for the rest of these!

This stall alone sold: fried pig tail, grilled sticky rice, grilled bananas, deep fried quail, grilled intestine, and that’s just what I see/remember/can identify here on this shot.

Desserts ranged from fruit cups, frozen coconut milk/fruit cubes, and the standard milk teas, boba, and jelly drinks. Up above is a coconut pandan waffle, and some plain taiyaki fish to be filled with a choice of sweet paste or ice cream.

DSC_7140
Friendly face at 3-in-1 Food Truck.

Piece de resistance of the weekend is a taiyaki churro ice cream (mashed together by yours truly.)

DSC_7147
#EATINGFORTHEGRAM 2016

The Little Saigon Night Market runs for two more weekends until September 4 this year. Come and try something new, celebrate the last few late nights of the year, and eat well! #repOC

 

Review: Taylor Stitch Katherine in Washed Black Oxford

Review: Taylor Stitch Katherine in Washed Black Oxford

I’ve had this review sitting in my Drafts forever, but thanks to a lovely (and timely!) comment from a previous post,  I’m finally finishing this! Let’s get to business with a look at Taylor Stitch’s Katherine shirt in Washed Black Oxford.

Taylor Stitch is a clothing company based out of San Francisco, California. I think their crowdsourced method of funding and pushing projects is smart–it allows them to determine and predict demand and only produce as many units as needed. If you sign up for their emails you’ll get notified when new items enter the Workshop, whereupon customers have about two weeks to purchase at pre-sale price. Taylor Stitch started with menswear but has been steadily increasing their women’s offerings throughout the year. When they announced this shirt I thought it would be a good time to try out the brand. From pre-sale purchase to receiving my shirt, it took about 6-8 months overall.

My package arrived in a brown paper envelope with a historical map of San Francisco’s street grid printed in white ink:

Packaging is key.

I had initially ordered a M, but it was soon evident that it was too big in the shoulders (although the relaxed fit throughout the body was good.) I contacted Customer Service to arrange an exchange for a S, which didn’t take more than two weeks to return and receive the new size. Here are some fit pics for the Small size:

DSC_6993 crop
Katherine shirt, old Uniqlo boyfriend-fit ankle jeans, Gap belt, Blondo Valli ankle boots.

Measurements (Women’s Small, after multiple washes)

Sleeve (measured from shoulder): 24 in
Shoulders: 16 in
Body: 27 in

DSC_6999
Because averted gazes are all the rage in the blogosphere.

Things I like (nay, love) about this shirt:
– the fit: I mean you can’t really tell in these pics, since I wore it straight out of the package (gasp! bad blogger) but the shoulders are spot-on. And the slim fit follows my body without making me look cramped. There’s no boob gap on the buttons (good placement?) and the sleeves while technically long aren’t comically unusable.
– the fabric quality: I won’t insult the shirt by comparing its fabric to other retailers’ offerings, but this particular cotton cloth just feels better than my Uniqlo and JCrew oxfords. It’s thicker, but it wrinkles less even though I spend 9 hours in a chair at work. It also irons like a dream. You could wash and dry it and be fine, but it just feels so crisp after ironing.

Not much I don’t like except to wish that it were offered in more colors (oh wait, it is.) Quick check of the other Katherine models available reveal, however, that not all the fabrics are the same weight or type, so I don’t know how that will influence the fit. I wash all my clothes cold/normal cycle and dry on medium. There was no appreciable shrinkage, and in the last 6 months of owning the shirt I’ve not seen any stitching or buttons come loose yet.

Final thoughts: if the folks at Taylor Stitch ever see this post (hi!),  I’d like to see a short-sleeved version like their men’s Short Sleeve Jack but with a tailored fit like the Katherine body. The mens’ line gets such beautiful fabric choices: I want a women’s shirt in this hanami batik fabric! Please share fabric choices over to the women’s side and you will quadruple sales. Short-sleeved versions with collars with men’s fabric as an option. Just a thought. (indigo for ladies too!) 🙂

I hope that helps you shop wisely; if there is anything else I can cover, leave me a note below!

OOTDs: June 2016, Week 5 (End)

Last week of outfits for the month of June:

Monday: old Cotton On crop tee, Uniqlo ankle boyfriend jeans
Tuesday: Forever 21 floral print button front dress
Wednesday: Taylor Stitch Katherine oxford shirt in washed black, Uniqlo ankle boyfriend jeans
Thursday: old JCrew Factory check camp shirt, Gap real straight pants, Gap belt

I can’t stand how schlubby/disheveled I’ve been on the bike-to-work days (MWF) that I’ve been inspired to try a little harder on my driving days (TuTh). To me, the air feels humid lately–or maybe it’s just the house, but I don’t feel crisp in my clothes. And I don’t like the restlessness that comes with summer dressing–I don’t need new gear, I just need to be happy with what is already there. At least for workwear bottoms and tops.

Thus concludes our June series of OOTDs! I may leave small musings here and there as I see fit, but it’s been fun to write semi-regularly again.