OOTDs: June 2016, Week 3

Back at it again with the outfits.

Monday: old JCrew Factory polka dot popover, old Uniqlo boyfriend ankle length jeans
Tuesday: old Gap v-neck sweater, Gap striped skirt
Wednesday: old Nike Dri-Fit long-sleeved zip up, Nike Legend sleeveless tank, Nike Legend capri pants in tight fit
Thursday: old H&M military jacket, old Muji short-sleeved checked shirt, Target Mossimo ankle pants
Friday: old JCrew Factory polka dot chambray buttondown, Target Mossimo ankle pants

In general:

  • a feeling of satisfaction when I reach for my clothes in that it is the best possible iteration for me. The striped skirt, the chambray shirt, and the H&M jacket are all examples of items that when I first purchased them, there were details about them that bothered me. The skirt has an exposed zipper in the back, the jacket didn’t look tailored on me, and the chambray shirt was falling apart in less than a month! But after some repairs, and some time to reflect on these purchases, they end up being the things I reach for again and again.
  • learning about what I really wear on a day-to-day basis. When I started this blog I didn’t know what my specific needs were, so I bought clothes and accessories to fit the “office” life I thought I’d entered. Turns out my workplace is far more casual than my previous idealized preppy-style. The blue Gap v-neck sweater (and the other 2 colors I purchased) have been staple fall/winter tops, chosen for being thin, amenable to layering, and the v-neck and oversize fit being flattering. Now that the cotton/silk blend fabric is beginning to show its age, I’ve begun to keep an eye out for replacements (see Everlane v-neck sweater.)

On athletic wear:

  • buy the thing that makes you excited to get back outside.  I don’t have to have an all-Nike kit (even though that’s totally what happened this week) but as long as it is reasonable I do try to buy what I like, what fits right, and what makes me look damn good.

Hope everyone is having a good week so far! Can you believe we’re almost halfway through 2016?

OOTDs: June 2016, Week 2 | Everlane SF Showroom Visit

OOTDs: June 2016, Week 2 | Everlane SF Showroom Visit

It’s been a while since I’ve done this but here are some pics of recent outfits worn:
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Monday: Everlane cotton sweater v-neck in heather gray, Banana Republic cropped skinny jean
Tuesday: old Uniqlo 3/4 sleeve dot dress
Wednesday: old Forever 21 jersey sleeveless dress, Heattech long-sleeve shirt under
Thursday: old JCrew boy shirt in polka dot, old Target Mossimo ankle pants
Friday: Everlane cotton sweater v-neck in heather gray, old Gap Real Straight corduroy pants

Visit to Everlane Showroom

2170 Folsom St.
San Francisco, CA 94110

The newest piece is the gray sweater from Everlane, a brand I’ve heard much of and seen for quite a while since I started writing on the blog. I had an opportunity to visit the store’s showroom in San Francisco during my recent trip–it was a great experience and I recommend it to anyone visiting the area; I got a better idea of fit and quality of many key pieces.

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Showroom area. Behind the mirror are the workstations for Everlane employees.

Linen tees and shoe display.

Currently, to view the showroom you must make an appointment at either their SF or NY location. The staff person who attended us was very personable and helpful–I can’t remember her name now but she gave great customer service. Neither of us didn’t expect to buy anything but between my friend and I we ordered:

my cotton sweater v-neck in heather gray
we both got the cotton poplin culotte (both in black)
she got the cotton poplin pleated skirt (in navy, which is actually a richer, more vibrant blue in person than in pictures)

all of which was sent to our respective homes with free two-day shipping. For the culottes, a light press with an iron gets rid of most of the wrinkles, but otherwise the fabric feels very light and crisp–this will be necessary for surviving the upcoming heatwaves and yet still looking somewhat presentable for work.

Unfortunately for my wallet’s future, I also got a look at the following which are now on my “hmm…” list:

the swing trench in sage (I took a S for layering purposes–I wear stuff in US 6-8 Regular or 8-10 Petite. I don’t need another olive jacket, but this falls so nicely and the fabric is a comfortable weight that I go, hmm. Probably better suited for those of you with actual climates; it would be underutilized where I live)
the cashmere cropped sweater in grey (I think I took a M in this one. The cropped fit is what I was going for; liked the slightly longer back hem, but again not going to need this with the climate I live in. Would buy a cotton cropped version though, ASAP)

Anyhow, my post got away from me–this was only supposed to be a quick “what I wore last week” but it rambled on. It’s really been a long while since I’ve written anything and it feels good to want to write again. I tried on other Everlane favorites during my visit so if you have any questions, drop me a line!

Review: Blondo “Valli” Waterproof Ankle Bootie

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It’s only been a week (or less!) with these but I’m enjoying my new Blondo “Valli” waterproof ankle booties. My beloved Ecco Sculpted GTX booties of 2013 are still doing okay, but because they ended up being the most comfortable and dependable (MVP during NYC 2014) they’ve been wearing down quicker than I would like. So in my head I thought that if I were to split the wear and tear between two pairs of boots I might be able to add a dressier version and also introduce a slightly different shape into the collection, etc. etc. Okay, I also really wanted another pair of shoes, because shoes. 🙂

I didn’t have much criteria this time around–it just has to be comfortable, supportive (somewhat snug around the midfoot/arch, which is where I have the most trouble fitting shoes), and ideally waterproof. Not that I live in a place with any water action whatsoever, but my mind is always trying to optimize and have items that do double-duty in case of travel (to places with actual weather.) Not to mention the old “buy nice or buy twice.” So all throughout fall and winter I’ve been on the lookout for something low-cut and waterproof to little success, until these.

Blondo is a new brand to me; it seems to come from my northern neighbors in Canada. Note: this particular model of ankle boots is a Nordstrom exclusive and it was initially the suede “Mushroom” model that I tried on while boot-hunting. But since suede is notoriously hard to clean (even though Blondo certifies that their shoes are all made with “Aquaprotect” waterproof treated leathers), I didn’t immediately bite on the suede pair. It wasn’t until the next day when I did a little more research (ah! the wisdom of patience) that I realized Blondo also made a full-leather version, in black, and that magically my size was one of two left online at Nordstrom.

As far as fit, take your standard shoe size. The suede is a softer fit overall; the full leather is still a little stiff around the top of the ankle and will need some break-in time. I’ve been wearing them to work, around town, just about anywhere, really…fastest integration I’ve seen thus yet. Let’s hope they become a wardrobe valuable player* as the year goes by!

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“editorial” pose 😀

 

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*from lovely Pret a Porter P‘s post re: Wardrobe MVPs

Interlude

Interlude

California makes no sense. Absolutely no sense. The second week of February in Southern California is supposed to have temperatures reaching in the low 80s. I was enjoying scarves and boots last week and today I saw an 86F on my car’s dashboard. I was hoping for a little bit more “winter” but who knows what we’re getting this year? Anyway, enough griping, onto the important stuff aka #whatiwore:

Dug some stuff out of the storage bin.

A mix of old and some 2015 purchases:
old Forever 21 split neck rayon blouse
Zara denim culottes (more like wide leg pants on me)
Birkenstock Milanos

I’m a late bloomer/adopter of trends so I realize Birks are definitely old and unexciting news in the blogosphere. I’ve had to eat my previously dismissive attitude about these sandals. They’re orthopedically sound and I’m looking forward to wearing the heck out of them later this year.

Hair is growing back.

2016 has been interesting so far. January went by in a flash: I ran my first half-marathon and I learned what to work on, fitness-wise, to become a better runner (need to do more core work and stretching! Needs flexibility!) But then recovering took a week and a half and then I got hit with the worst flu I’ve had to date as an adult. Missed work, couldn’t exercise, didn’t feel like eating/couldn’t eat. This is the first weekend I feel like myself again–I got to run and lift finally! I thought I was doing better allotting more time to rest and recovery, but I suppose a fine-tuning is still needed. More discipline in the realm of sleep–just as much dedication to it as I give toward the myriad of activities I participate in.

Review: Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Water Defender Jacket

Review: Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Water Defender Jacket

It’s been a while since I did one of these, but judging from my stats/analytics it seems quite a fair amount of people happen upon this blog because of my previous post on Uniqlo’s Ultra Light Down vest. Here’s a hybrid review/update now that I own its sleeved-sibling, the Ultra Light Down (Water Defender) jacket.

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Over Christmas I received a Uniqlo gift card from my awesome relatives, so first thing I did in January was to go for that ever-exciting black for the jacket version. If it ain’t broke, or so the saying goes. Fit is the same for me–the small is the best across the shoulders, but it IS a little tight across the hips. I’m okay with that since I wear it more like a shirt than a jacket. Size up if you want to wear thick sweaters under, otherwise, take your usual sizing.

I’ve owned the vest for about two years now. I lost some fill in the bottom part in the back, and a small amount around the neck. It’s not visually noticeable, but I know how puffy those sections used to be. I predict about the same pattern of loss will occur with the jacket–and who knows how much I’ll lose in the sleeves. Overall, it shouldn’t affect the fit or the warmth of the garment.

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Seams on the jacket version.

Something to note: the jacket’s pockets have zippers, a welcome upgrade from the zipper-less ones from my vest. Not sure if this year’s vests have them–so you might be luckier than I. The pockets will do for a phone and keys.

Water Defender: I’ve been unable to test this claim as 1. I live in California, which barely sees any rain, and I don’t know if the news has spread internationally, but 2. we’re having a terrible drought as well. To be correct: it has rained some in other parts of the state but not as much where I live. As far as this jacket’s waterproof abilities, I’m sure it will keep out a mist or a small spatter, but I wouldn’t toss out your Gore-tex any time soon. The jackets and vests do not have weather-sealed seams or zippers.

Nota bene:  I vaguely remember at one point maybe late 2014 or early 2015 there was a regular ULD line and these “new” Water Defender style jackets. This year they seem to have incorporated it into the main ULD offerings. So to be exact, my 2014 vest is not part of this new line, but my 2016 jacket should be water-repellent. It probably doesn’t make sense to market one jacket that is hydrophobic but still offer one that isn’t. Anyway.

The Ultra Light Down products really shine in the weight and layering department, which is what I bought it for. I’ve worn the jacket under a rain coat, and the vest under a wool peacoat. It’s not going to be a severe-weather solution, but for most people and most situations, it will be plenty. It’s best to think of them as modular warmth for the torso and arms that you can pack easily.

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Carhartt beanie, Uniqlo ULD Water Defender jacket, Vans Excerpt chino joggers

I hope some of that discourse helps you with your purchases! Stay warm and enjoy your weekend. 🙂

Wardrobe update – 4Q 2015

Wardrobe update – 4Q 2015

Hello. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I had a whole late fall blog post planned out (featuring these outfits), but life and the weather got in my way. This is now quite behind, but I hope you can still enjoy this late 2015 sampler micro-wardrobe:

Such fance. -heh-

Tops: Black Gap V-neck sweater, gray tee, cream Zara open cardigan, JCrew embroidered indigo dot shirt, JCrew Factory polka dot popover, blue Gap v-neck sweater

Pants: black Gap straight slacks, brown Gap 1969 corduroy straight pants, Uniqlo slim fit boyfriend jeans, Zara wide-leg denim trousers

Shoes: Gentle Souls Gabby flats, New Balance Fresh Foam Zantes, Clarks oxford/brogues, Camper Nina Right flats

Jacket: olive H&M military jacket

Work wardrobe must:
– be warm enough for the workplace AC, but not be so much so as to be miserably sweaty while being outside
– comfortable and allow for crawling, crouching, lifting and cleaning
– have real pockets

In general I’ve stuck to blacks, blues, and that trusty olive topper. Mix and match ad nauseam. The corduroy pants and the cream open sweater are clothes I rediscovered after my weight and proportions changed yet again. Over the years I’ve gotten rid of items but I’m still holding onto a few pairs because of this exact situation–finding that I fit them again and I still like them. In this particular case, I’m glad these escaped the donation cut.

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Mini-purchase update:

September

Zara denim culottes (but I’m short so they’re wide-leg pants on me.)

October

Birkenstock Milano in black Amalfi leather
– wasn’t going to keep these but a quick few hole punches to the straps solved my small-volume foot problem. I think I’ll be keeping these–they’re supportive and the heel strap means I’m not sliding around everywhere.

November

COS dropped shoulder top (UK link, couldn’t find it on US site.)
– I saw a gray cropped sweater on Stephanie a few years ago and subsequently bought its black sibling from Zara. I haven’t been able to shake the idea of skinny sleeves and a wide-cut body, so when COS finally opened in Orange County, I was really happy to find this top. Not that I need any more black clothing…but then again, it IS what I wear without fail, so onto the work/play pile it goes. The fabric is a mix of rayon, spandex and polyester–it drapes well and has a nice solid weight to it. I think it feels like a fluid ponte.

One last month and a half to go in 2015! Hoping to dig deep–the season of extravagant holiday sales is nigh, and treats are so very tempting around this time of year. -eek-

Dinner with Irenia Supper Club

Dinner with Irenia Supper Club

One of my hobbies lately is tracking the development and progression of this trend called the “Filipino Food Movement.” It’s a hashtag I’ve been using to promote my own culture’s food–more often when I eat out but also on the rare occasion when I cook something at home. I’m hoping Filipino food gets more traction internationally, just like how Vietnamese, Korean, and Thai food are familiar to Western palates now.

In support of such awareness and growth of Filipino cuisine in my own neighborhood, I attended one of Irenia Supper Club‘s pop-up dinners in Costa Mesa, CA. Yesterday was my first time going to such an event, and it was a great introduction into the world of fine dining. Irenia Supper Club is the brainchild of Chef Ryan Garlitos, who named his restaurant after his grandmother Irenia. “…the Irenia Supper Club aims to create modern Filipino inspired dishes that are reflective of grandmother’s style and values and also demonstrate Chef’s commitment to making deliciously imaginative plates. Currently a monthly Pop-Up Supper Club, Irenia’s long-term goal is to operate as a brick and mortar restaurant in Orange County.”1

Yesterday’s event occurred at Famosa Tile in the OC Mix/South Coast Collection (SOCO) plaza.
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Kitchen, bar seating, and main seating for the guests.

Last night’s dinner was six courses prepared by two teams: Chef Garlitos and the folks from Irenia Supper Club, and Chefs Nate Overstreet and Ashly Amador of Wheat and Sons Butcher.  I should clarify that not all the courses were strictly Filipino-based, but the non-Filipino dishes presented flavors that remind me a lot of Spanish cuisine, but within an American framework.

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From left: Corinne Mosqueda of Irenia Supper Club, Chase Valencia of Lasa LA, Ashly Amador and Nate Overstreet of Wheat and Sons Butcher.
Here are the six courses from the dinner:

1. Salad Sariwa (Tagalog for “fresh”)

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Persian cucumber, radishes, pea shoots, pickled red onion, milkfish tonnato, bagoong caramel
I wanted more salad so I could eat more dressing >_> 😀

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Nico De Leon of Lasa LA and Ryan Garlitos of Irenia Supper Club preparing the Salad Sariwa.
2. Dungeness Crab Conserva

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Smoked paprika, tarragon, baguette
3. Repolyo

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Grilled cabbage, tinola broth, chayote, crispy chicken skin, preserved meyer lemon
I would call this a very friendly, comforting introduction to chicken tinola soup. My own family tends to make theirs with a little more ginger/lemon edge with chicken drumsticks in a big pot. The version above is definitely a more elegant, muted take on what I remember from youth.

4. Mussels Caldo Verde

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Linguica, potato, cherry tomato
A hearty thick broth with potatoes, tomatoes, and chopped sausage. Almost reminded me of gumbo with the smoky sausage.

5. Afritada

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Braised ‘Cooks Pigs’ pork shoulder, roasted dwarf carrot, charred shishito, jasmine rice
I’ve made afritada for myself before–but only with chicken thigh. This pork shoulder was tender, but a little dry. I much prefer making this dish with chicken. Nevertheless, the roasted carrot and shishito was a treat for me, and I could spoon the sauce over rice for days.

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Kitchen flow.
6. Cassava Cake

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Burnt coconut cream, San Miguel ‘Negro’ glaze, morro grape
I’m not much of a coconut or cassava fan but this was delicious and not too sweet! Win win.

Overall the dinner was well-executed, and I could not have asked for a nicer first pop-up supper. I am looking forward to attending the Los Angeles series of dinners by Lasa LA.

If you’re in the Southern California area and want to learn more about fine dining and Filipino cuisine check out the following:

Irenia Supper Club (Orange County)
Lasa LA (Los Angeles)

A few helpful links on Instagram, where I get my foodie news from:
@savorfilipino
#filipinofoodmovement
#FFMSoCal

It feels good to learn new things every day! 🙂