Monday, February 25, 2013

Let's paint the town pink!

There's something about bright colors that's an instant pick-me-upper. In this case, colored denim makes any outfit cheerful, just ask bebe! I like to pair them with neutral, subtle colors to keep them as a statement piece. I found this one for a bargain on sale at Target several months back, and paired it with a Helmut Lang blazer and top from Nordies.

In honor of the Year of the Snake, I pulled out these old heels I found while visiting Brooklyn a couple years back. I didn't have a chance to wear them much because I was sworn off heels while being preggers...: P 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Homemade Vday Dinner by Chez Hubs

Woke up Valentine's Day morning to a cookbook from my favorite Cooking Channel show, Little Paris Kitchen with Rachel Khoo. Our cable company had been doing a preview for this channel and I recorded every single recipe before the preview was up. I love her simple, non-intimidating way of French cooking inside her tiny Parisian apartment (she even uses matchsticks to light her stove!). She also has an adorable sense of style, and used to do PR for a UK fashion luxury brand. They recently released the US version of her cookbook and the Hubs snagged one just in time for Vday!

{Bonus:} I was to choose an appetizer, entree and dessert that the Hubs was going to prepare for me as my post Valentine's Day meal. We have never been fans of going out on Valetine's Day, and with a baby, it makes it even more unappealing this year. So I must say, I was pleasantly delighted with his idea!
{ || Top-bottom: Parisian asparagus | Scallop Sabayon | Chicken and mushrooms in a white wine sauce | Mont Blanc || }
Pictures are worth a thousand words, but if only you could taste them! Dinner surpassed my expectations and I was quite proud of the Hubs, I am so very blessed. It was a meal labored in love, and that is better than any Michelin-rated restaurant! Some people say they are Anti-Valentine's Day, which makes sense if you are single. However, I see it as a good reminder to take the time to appreciate your significant other. Ideally, it would be great if we could make it an everyday thing, but unfortunately that isn't always possible with the busyness of life. And now with a new baby in our lives, finding the time for romance can be tricky but is even more necessary than ever. As you can tell, the baby enjoys being the star of the show, but we need to constantly check ourselves to make sure we are connected as a couple. If Mommy and Daddy are happily in love, baby wins too!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Thoughts from a Recovering Shopaholic

We are now in the middle of February and I cannot believe how quickly time has gone by! Much of that time has been spent taking care of bebe, but that in itself has reminded me of how much I have been blessed with. Each smile, giggle and new milestone he reaches brings more joy than any material possession.

I have been sticking with my challenge and surprisingly, it hasn't been as difficult as I had thought. And yes, it may have partially been due to the fact that I was not actively window shopping (ignorance is bliss?), but I've been feeling a sense of liberation, even despite my initial fears of feeling restricted and limited.

I recently went into my closet again and did an inventory check to see what I could eliminate. Through this process, I discovered new "old" items that have gotten lost within a stack of clothing. This goes to show that I live in excess, even if I haven't spent much on each item, it is the hoarding mentality I need to free myself of. I have also found that deciding what to wear on a daily basis becomes more complicated when there are more choices in front of us. How many times have we told ourselves, "I don't have anything to wear," while facing a full wardrobe. I too have been guilty of such first-world statements...

My friend and I have decided to go on a fast together this month to help eliminate some of the garbage we've been feeding our self-image. The goal is to find contentment in the things God has blessed us with, and to stop thinking that the grass is greener on the other side. By saying goodbye to fashion magazines, fashion blogs and shopping, we hope to restore our souls, which are so easily entangled by the trivial joys this world has to offer. We covet what we don't have, when we live in the land of plenty.   We focus on the single flaws on our physical appearances when we should rejoice that we are healthy, well-fed and unique in our own ways.

Having said all that, I still struggle with finding a balance between my love for styling and being free from excess. I tend to get bored quite easily and am always trying to reinvent the way I assemble my clothing. I don't think it's wrong to enjoy clothing and find creative ways to wear them, but I suppose it is the amount of time, energy and money we place into these things in which it can consume us.

Some simple tips and ideas I've entertained lately...
  • Having good basic items will carry you far
  • Accessories will take them to the next level
  • If you get bored, try wearing your tops backwards (especially tops with a v-neck) and no one will ever know the difference
  • It's okay to wear the same item twice in a row
  • Sharing is caring- give some clothing away and let another person enjoy it in a new way
  • Ask oneself, "How many times have I worn out a clothing item?" (which goes to show the practicality of it all)
  • Take the time to look through your closet before buying a new item
  • Mix your fancier items with casual items to dress down an outfit and get more mileage out of them (e.g. a sparkly top paired with boyfriend jeans, sweatshirt over a dress...)
  • Cut off the bottom of old jeans to wear them cuffed at the ankles = Et voilĂ ! Boyfriend jeans.
  • Having Personal Style over Fashion Trends
Richard J. Foster in his book Celebration of Discipline, states that "Simplicity is freedom. Duplicity is bondage. Simplicity brings joy and balance. Duplicity brings anxiety and fear." How true of a statement is that? I started reading excerpts from this book, per recommendation from our pastor, and it has not been an easy, feel-good type of reading, but it is better than chicken soup for your soul. 

I am still a work in progress and always will be until the day of eternity, but I am willing to accept that and will continue moving forward...