Wednesday, December 8, 2010

DIY Bedazzled Pumps

I've been inspired by studded heels lately, especially upon seeing the new Lanvin for H&Mlightly bedazzled pumps. I decided to whip out the dusty bridesmaid shoes that I haven't worn since I re-dyed them black (they were teal before). I figured I might as well make them more appealing to wear so they wouldn't sit in the shoe box any longer.


1 pack of flat-backed Swarovski crystals
1 tube of super glue
black or colored sharpie (for coloring in crystals)
ribbon (optional)

I'm still debating whether to add a ribbon tie to these heels, like the ones by Lanvin for H&M. However, they may not look so hot with this style shoe. Feel free to experiment with an old pair of pumps you have lying around in the back of your closet or garage!

Pinkish Camel & Blue

Found this pinkish camel top with ruffled shoulders at the H&M on the Champs Élysées...probably the cheapest store on that street! I paired it with a navy BR skirt that I got from my sister as a bday gift and Charles by Charles David white patent pumps.
Photos above taken by my sis, Melody
gold bow-tie ring
This was in the clearance aisle at Target for 4.98! : )

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bienvenidos a España!

The first day we arrived in Madrid was chilly! I ended up changing after this shot.
Local artisan-crafted jewelry
Handmade by an artisan at El Rastro Flea Market
A necklace I bought from El Rastro Flea Market. They had the most fabulous jewelry pieces made from metals.
Spanish gummies
Self-timer accident
We put the cam on self-timer and came across this happy accident!
I love birdcages.
Spikey berries
Afternoon break
Afternoon cafe break with bite-sized pastries.
Rolls of delicious leather...
Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor

Madrid Recs:
Churros con chocolat
San Gines for churros con chocolat. This is not your typical American churro or hot coco. The Spanish churros are thinner, crispier and not doused with cinnamon + sugar (though I like that combo just as much!). When accompanied with sipping chocolate, it's a real treat!

El Rastro Market - Open on Sunday, this market is packed with locals and tourists alike. You can find crafts made by local artisans that are unique to Madrid, as well as antiques, clothing, shoes, cheap thrifted items (I found a pile of clothes that were 2 for 5 euros!)

Palacio Real - Just as Versaille has its Chateau, Madrid has the Palacio Real (Royal Palace), which housed Carlos the III and IV. The interior decor is magnificent, especially the ceiling frescos on your way up the main staircase. Another fun perk is going into the old school Pharmacy, which stores many medicinal herbs placed in apothecary jars, just as you would picture it to be.
Palacio Real

Museo del Prado - We didn't know this, but found out while waiting for an hour to get into this museum...Sundays are free for all after 5pm, making it a great deal. After all, what's open on a late Sunday afternoon in Madrid anyway? One of the more famous paintings in here is Las Meninas, by Diego Velazquez...the questionable painting we learned in Spanish class with the artist himself in the background, 2 dwarfs, children, etc. Lots of beautiful paintings are found inside, along with Goya's "classier" paintings.

Next to the museum is a Botanical Garden (separate entry fee) that's filled with different plants, flowers, a greenhouse and mini-gallery showcasing actual watercolor drawings of botany from hundreds of years ago to the present. I wish I could've taken those drawings home with me!

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia - Another "free" museum if you are a student, professor, unemployed, or just free after 7pm. The cool thing about this museum is the old building mixed in with a modern, clear elevator. The MoMa of Madrid, it holds several of Picasso's paintings, including the Guernica. Another personal favorite of mine are Goya's creepy "Black Paintings," which were done later on in his life when he became a bit mad; quite a contrast to his light-hearted paintings found in the Museo del Prado. Salvador Dali and Joan Miro have some mind-boggling pieces as well.

Museo del Jamon - You really can't get any cheaper than this. For 1 euro, you can have a large croissant or bocadillo (small baguette) with prosciutto and cheese or several other choices on their 1 euro menu (think McDee's but better). For breakfast, you can have a freshly squeezed cup of oj AND a choice of espresso/cafe con leche or soda, 2 sunny side up eggs, 2 pieces of bacon ham (they're known for jamon in Madrid, so load up!) and a side of toast w. jelly for 4.50 euros. Beat THAT, Denny's.

Txirimiri - Don't ask me how to pronounce that name, but we had the best tapas there. If you didn't know already, most restaurants in Madrid open at 9pm, due to their siesta time. We were starving at 6pm and the kind bartender wanted to feed the hungry Americans. They had our tapas out in a jiffy. : ) We enjoyed the steak over roasted peppers + toasted bread, drizzled with sauce, fungi risotto and mushrooms stuffed with foie gras and cheese while standing up at the bar with a local beer and a glass of Tempranillo wine.

Mercado San Miguel - Located near La Latina, this indoor market is filled with little vendors selling everything from wine, anchovies, smoothies, desserts, fresh fruits and vegetables, ham, a variety of fish with bruschetta and more. It's a good place to get out of the cold and have a large selection of foods to try without having to commit to one place.

There was another little bar/snack place we stumbled across near the museums, which had a huge menu of bocadillo selections, including smoked salmon with cream cheese for 1.50 euros, wine and beer 1-150 as well. It seemed to be popular with the locals, but I can't remember the name...I'll have to look through my memorabilia and get back to you...

I know it sounds totally cliche-American, but stop by the McDonald's near the Metro exit to the art museums. It looks more like a Starbucks than McDonald's, and their helado con cafe (ice cream with espresso = 1 euro) will make you and your wallet happy.

This was both of our first times in Spain and overall, it was a good experience. The Spaniards are naturally warm and laid-back. Things are relatively cheaper than London and Paris. I could definitely get used to having afternoon siestas. Tapas are delicious and plentiful and for once, I was able to put my broken Spanish into good use. Con: Get used to inhaling second-hand smoke because the Spaniards enjoy smoking up a chimney and it hasn't been banned inside restaurants. Also, we thought we saw some casual hookers while walking around the Moulin Rouge of Madrid. We were only there for a few days, which was plenty of time to see most of Madrid. I'd definitely recommend Madrid as a stopover while visiting Europe. Next time: Barcelona.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Bags are a girl's best friend, which makes sense when nearly every designer has their own line of bags. I came across today and noticed that Givenchy makes some pretty spiffy bags! Even though I don't own anything by them, I admire the fact that Hubert Givenchy became a dear friend and designer for Audrey Hepburn. They both benefited from the relationship because his career took off soon after.

Btw, sorry for the lag in posts, just got back from a long vacation. I promise to post photos from our adventures shortly! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, we have so much to be thankful for...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Delayed Seattle Photos

Gloom and doom
The Seattle Pier. Photo was enhanced to make the gloominess more apparent, heheh (this was also the trip that led to a deceased SLR, unfortunately before any photos were taken).

This was perhaps our third visit as a couple to Seattle, a city we have considered settling down in numerous of times. It may very well be a place we call home in the future, but for now we are soaking up the rays in California with loved ones surrounding us. However, there may be a time for us to move up there, and I sure hope more people we know will feel the same urge!

Anyway, these photos were taken back in August, while Mike had a business trip and we wanted to pay a visit to our loverly friends who are former Californians. They've been recruiting us to move since. We've been having friends ask us what to do, see, eat at specific cities we venture to, so I figured I might as well start blogging more about our vacations. Some old vacay spots may pop up on this site every once in awhile when I feel like reminiscing...stay tuned!
Make a wish!
My favorite little model.
Blackberries grow like weeds here...I was tempted to pick some off the side of the road.
Queen Anne
Queen Anne- One of my favorite places in the Seattle area. They also have a cute downtown area filled with little bookshops, cafes, boutiques and pastry shops. Sort of reminds me of the East Coast in a charming kind of way. I intend on retiring here one day...
Art Installation
Saw this random bench + floral arrangement that was supposedly part of an art installation.
Sweet Iron Belgian Waffles
Found this little shop while roaming around downtown Seattle. The perfect morning snack that has a bit of a sweet crunch with every bite, topped with bananas flambe and cream.
Fremont Vintage Mall
Fremont Vintage Mall - One of the coolest vintage shops I've seen, found in the Fremont District in Seattle. Sort of like the eclectic, urban part of the city. After entering this store, you feel as though you've been transported into the 60s, my favorite decade. They sell all sorts of knick knacks ranging from houseware/decor to clothing and records. We managed to score a Michael Jackson record for free dollars after our grand total.
Seattle Public Library
Got lost inside the crazy architectural design of the Seattle Public Library, definitely worth going inside.
Raindrops on berries... doesn't the rain just make everything more magical? I know most Californians hate rain (which is why they live there), but I love it. It makes everything look more lush and dewy and not a trace of smog is to be found in Seattle.

More recommendations from past trips:
Maneki Japanese Restaurant - An authentic Japanese hole-in-the-wall that's located in the heart of Japantown in downtown Seattle (yes, there is one). They have everything from your basic sushi/rolls, tempura to the more homestyle small plates (their black cod is amazing). This place has stuck around for over 100 years, and there's a good reason why.

Royal Grinders - Located in downtown Seattle in the Fremont district, this place looks like an ordinary sub sandwich shop, but throws Subway out of the water. They serve their bread hot and toasted with fresh deli meats, veggies of your choice and a side of their house dipping sauce (tastes like sweet marinara sauce). They also sell gelato, and they give you a mini scoop on top of your regular-sized scoop so you can sample another flavor.

Salty's On Alki Beach - Mike took me to this restaurant for my birthday the year we got married. I'd come here specifically for the Blackened Salmon and city view, it's absolutely breathtaking. Grab a table by the window and all you see is the water and city lights of Seattle (if you go for dinner). I believe the last time we went, they used Copper River Salmon, which is only available during certain seasons and originates from Alaska. It is unlike any kind of salmon I've ever tasted. They are considered the fattiest of all, making them rich and tasty, mm...

I think there were more recs, but I can't remember them at the moment. Feel free to message me if you would like me to post a specific city recommendation!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Random outfit posts...

H&M blazer, Threads 4 Thought pink tee, BR belt, vintage Italian wool skirt, vintage scarf, thrifted cowboy boots
BR trenchcoat from Spring 2009, embellished black top/dress from Morgan in Paris, python belt from Kmart, Guess mini-bell bottoms, zipper pull necklace from Savers
Mossimo for Target plaid blazer and pouf skirt, H&M striped tee, Topshop stockings, Jeffrey Campbell wedges

Been feeling kind of lazy about dressing up these days unless there is a purpose or event...why is that? Of course one should always dress for themselves, but sometimes I feel a lack of motivation when I'm going about my day-to-day activities such as running errands.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Never do something for the sake of becoming famous. -Phillip Lim

What I wore on Saturday: Billabong native-print cardigan, sheer top from Target, H&M shorts, thrifted native beaded necklace, Rough Justice boots

When the weather is gloomy out, it makes me want to do the cliche, such as drinking tea and curling up to a book or magazine. This past weekend, I finally had the opportunity to stop by Coffee by the Books in Pasadena. They're known for the coolest latte art. Unfortunately, while we were living here, we never ended up going! Once we stepped into the cafe, we were pleasantly surprised by a familiar face. Turns out one of our church friends started working here, and made us a beautiful flower:
Latte art from Coffee by the Books
Harney & Sons tea
At the counter, I recognized the "Paris" tea by Harney & Sons I tried when the Hubby saved me a teabag during his conference. I immediately fell in love with this tea company, so imagine my delight when I saw a stack of their pretty tea tins at the counter!! I ended up buying one container to bring home with me for these gloomy days.
On a happy note, I finally found the children's book I've been looking for! I remembered this book being read to our class when I was in 1st grade. The book was one of my faves and the illustrations always stuck with me. Sadly, I could not recollect the title. All I could remember were the images of dresses on paper being taped onto a wall. After some good ole googling last night, I found the name of the book: The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes.
The story is about a Polish-American girl named Wanda who wears the same faded blue dress everyday to school. The wealthier girls make fun of her and so she tells them she has 100 dresses, all lined up in her closet. The girls continue to poke fun at her, not believing her claim. Wanda ends up leaving the school, due to all the bullying and social violence. In the end, one of her friends discovers that Wanda had entered into a dress design competition and in fact, did have 100 drawings of dresses, all lined up in her closet. Turns out she was telling the truth after all. Unfortunately, it took her leaving for the girls to discover this fact.

Such a simple, yet profound story. The illustrations by Louis Slobodkin, a well-known illustrator during the 40s-60s are also amazing, it makes me want to check out his other books.

And speaking of books...I don't know what it is about children's books, but I've always been more attracted to them than thick novels. Perhaps it's because I have the attention span of a goldfish and I am a visual person. I recall reading children's books up until middle school (fine, judge me). I had siblings who were much younger than me, so I would go with them into the children's section at the library and pick up a few myself. Of course I also enjoyed reading paperback novels, but it just isn't the same.

I remember joining our elementary school's Young Author's Fair competition every year, and given the opportunity to represent my class each time. I really enjoyed writing and illustrating my own stories. Unfortunately, I have stopped writing stories since the age of 11. One of my goals as a child was to become a children's book author and illustrator. When you're a child and you're not thinking about money or what makes sense as a career, you're the most honest with yourself. And these days, I find that I need to go back to that innocence to discover what it is that I'm truly passionate about.

I feel inspired to go to the library and sit in the children's section now : )