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lace tee, leopard clutch, blue pants, birthday

Just Another Birthday

Today’s my birthday and as another year passes, I’m remembering to be gentle to myself. I don’t usually do much on my birthday, just a quiet dinner with friends is enough. It’s never been a big deal since summer birthdays tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to party guests. Still, I do appreciate all the friends and family that have sent their well wishes.

As another year passes, it can be easy to remember all the things I haven’t yet achieved and what little I have attained…but I’m striving to be content. Content with my body, content with my style, content with life. I used to have a definitive guide to how life should be, but as I get older, that picture becomes fuzzier. Things don’t always turn out as planned as it’s ok. Things aren’t perfect and that’s ok. Sometimes the timing isn’t right and that’s ok too. Not only should I celebrate the positives, but learn from the negatives. Life will always have ups and downs, sometimes more downs than ups…and yet, it’s still meaningful. It’s still valuable. And it’s still part of a life filled with contentment. I’m not so serious anymore.

Why so serious? Or not

I don’t take myself that seriously. I don’t take fashion too seriously. What’s the point in being so serious all the time?

Learning to laugh at myself is a way to let go, to stop trying to be in control of everything. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Sometimes, you just have to make do with what you have and let it be enough. Even these photos, the quality isn’t ideal since I lent out my DSLR for a few weeks. Instead, I have a super old point and shoot and it does the job. Not perfect, not super awesome quality, but it’s good enough.

Sometimes, we have to let go of the little inconveniences and laugh it off.

lace tee, leopard clutch, blue pants, birthday

Lucky Brand Jeans lace tee || Alice + Olivia tank || Trina Turk blue pants || Topshop sandals || DIY leopard clutch

Learn to want less

With each passing birthday, I’m learning to want less, to be minimalist, and essentialist. I’m not only wearing black and white, but rather taking a long term approach to building and maintaining my wardrobe. I’m mending and repairing more often than buying new things because it still feels like, well, I have what I need.

The need to accumulate will always be there, but I’ve learned to hold back and say no. The more I understand and know what’s in my closet, the less I have to search elsewhere for my favorite outfits. No longer are they theoretical ideas, but concrete items in my collection. It’s a long journey to get to this point and I still have a long way to go.

I’m hoping that this year will be a year of less. Less wants, less clothes, less worrying. So that I have have more what is valuable and meaningful to me.

So until my next birthday comes around, I’ll continue to enjoy the life that’s already here.

Cheers! :)

 

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summer camping essentials tent

Instead of glamorous getaways, my friends and I prefer camping weekends as an affordable alternative. Usually this means heading off to Big Sur, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe. But this past weekend, we visited Morgan Hill, specifically the Henry W. Coe State Park. I packed my summer camping essentials and carried it all on my own.

More glamping than camping, we went hiking and took a dip in Anderson Lake. We did some cooking, played a few games, and just had a blast despite the 100+ degree weather in the afternoon. I overpacked but it wasn’t too much since I didn’t anticipate how hot the weekend would be, especially at the campsite.

My lifesavers during our 6 mile hike were my hat, water bottle, sunscreen, and insect repellant. At the lake, I really appreciated my sandals for walking into the rocky and muddy lake floor and my quick drying camp towel. We limited the amount of super sweet and salty snacks we consumed so that we wouldn’t be so thirsty. Staying cool and hydrated was probably the most important part of our trip to stay healthy and energized.

summer camping essentials packing list

Clothing Packing List

The weather was expected to be in the mid-90s during the day and low-60s at night, so I had to pack for all situations. I brought my workout gear for day hiking and some warm yet lightweight items for the evening. I wish everything fit more compactly, but until I get one of those ultra light down jackets and fleeces, I’ll make do with what I have. I wore everything except one outfit. It was surprising how hot it was during the weekend and on the last night, it rained a bit so it was definitely cool in the evening. Next time, I should bring one less outfit and add a lightweight rain jacket instead.

  • 2 Hot Weather outfits: 3 tank tops, 2 sports bras, 1 capri leggings, 1 pair shorts
  • 2 Cold Weather outfit: chambray shirt, sweatshirt, leggings, mint jeans, khaki jacket
  • Accessories: 1 scarf, 1 hat
  • 1 floral sundress
  • 1 swimsuit

summer camping essentials packing list

Summer Camping Essentials

Everything I brought fit into a backpack and small bag for shoes. I have some pouches to pack everything neatly without digging around for my items. There weren’t any shower facilities so I didn’t make use of my shampoo and soap. But a dip in the lake was quite refreshing and it made me feel cleaner. I relied on wet wipes and dry shampoo to look and feel more refreshed during the trip. It’s a little vain, but if there are photos to take, it makes sense to look halfway decent. It’s amazing how much we take everyday conveniences for granted until we don’t have it anymore.

  • 3 pairs of shoes: Vans slip-ons, Reva sandals, hiking boots
  • 3 days worth of undergarments and socks
  • Shower essentials: camp towel, travel shampoo and soap
  • Toiletries: travel makeup kit, deodorant, wet wipes, dry shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste
  • 1 pair of pajamas
  • 1 water bottle
  • 1 flashlight
  • 1 backpack
  • 1 cross body bag (check this post to see what’s in my bag)
  • 1 Polaroid camera and film
  • Not shown: sleeping bag, tent, sunscreen, insect repellant, food, etc.

What do you bring when you go camping? Do you take everything with you or are you an ultralight packer?

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gap chambray shirtdress and oxford brogues

As an avid chambray lover,  this chambray shirtdress is so easy to wear. Just put it on, add a belt, slip on some oxfords…and presto! Instant outfit.

I am never too far away from anything denim. There’s just something about the color, the texture, and the look that makes it awesome. Chambray is a summer staple that never seems to go out of fashion. Added to this shirtdress silhouette, which is my latest obsession, it’s a look that’s comfy, casual, and chic.

gap chambray shirtdress and oxford brogues

Gap Chambray Shirtdress || M+O orange belt || Jack Wills oxford brogues

I mentioned in a previous post that I am adopting a more classic sense of style. It’s easier to put together outfits when you have all your basics and neutrals. For me, this chambray shirtdress is a versatile staple that works in many different situations. It can look super casual with a pair of sandals or dressed up with a pair of heels.

Dresses are hard to wear since I don’t feel as in ease in a dress than in a pair of pants. But I realize that dresses are more figure flattering and forgiving so I’m pushing myself to wear more dresses. I am transitioning away from my tomboy sensibilities, but I still have a die-hard love of oxford brogues. Seriously. Is there any shoe that can be so cool? Oxfords makes any outfit look so interesting.

What’s your take on classics? Do you consider them to be interesting or boring?

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what's in my purse, what's in my bag

Most days, I like to carry a small crossbody purse.

Less items to carry and less time to dig around for my keys. I’ve streamlined it to just the essentials so that it’s not very heavy and there’s still room for additional items. This Louis Vuitton Trocadero 27 bag is quite an old purse, it’s about 25 years old and still in good shape! My mother got it ages ago and it was only in the last few years that it was handed down to me. It doesn’t need much maintenance, only a quick re-stitch at the strap and a little bit of cleaning. Who knew LV items actually last so long and still looks good after so many years?

So what’s in the purse?

what's in my purse, what's in my bag

What’s in the pouch?

I don’t like having items roll around in my purse, so I put everything in a Keds pencil pouch. Luckily it all fits nicely in it and it makes my purse look very neat. Now, whenever I need to find something in my purse, I don’t have to dig around to find anything, I know where it all is and it’s easy to access.

These are my everyday essentials that I carry around with me everywhere. Sometimes, I add or take away items depending on the circumstances, but for the most part, this is it!

How many items do you have in your purse?

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equipment silk blouse and white jeans outfit

Equipment silk blouse || J.Crew toothpick jeans || Boutique 9 black pumps

One of my favorite outfits of the summer is this pairing of a silk blouse with white jeans. It’s an easy uniform to wear that works all the time.

I have a weakness for silk blouses and this Equipment blouse is no exception. I love the ombre effect, starting with dark navy and lightening to white. The white jeans helps elongates the silhouette emphasizing the graduated effect.

I used to think that I couldn’t pull off white jeans but now, I could care less. Fashion is all about having fun and being bold and courageous to wear what you want to wear. So I wear them regardless of whether or not it’s slimming. If only they would stay white longer…I feel like I’m always washing these since they get dirty so often. Do white jeans attract dirt and stains or is it just me?

Summer is a time to break free from fashion rules and let loose. For me, white jeans is a way to let loose and have fun!

What’s your summer uniform?

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J.Crew bridesmaid dresses, kylie dress

J.Crew bridesmaid dresses come in a variety of colors and styles, even in petite sizes! I had to try out a few styles to see how they fit and hopefully find a dress that would work for my friend’s upcoming wedding.

Most of the dresses run in the $250+ range, but that’s expected for this brand. I needed a dark gray chiffon bridesmaid dress and I found two styles that would be quite flattering for my body. A few J.Crew stores have a wedding section where you can make an appointment to try on the various styles and figure out which size would best suit you.

I didn’t get the opportunity to make an appointment but I tried on two styles in size 00P, the smallest size.

How Do the J.Crew Bridesmaid Dresses Fit?

The one shoulder Kylie dress is quite a flattering look. The silk chiffon material feels more durable and the design is definitely an upgrade from the Ann Taylor one shoulder dress. The dress itself feels really light and it’s truly a beautiful dress.

In size 00P, it fits snug against my body and it’s a bit too tight that I feel like if I eat a meal or something, I might break the dress. I think a size 0P would be better for me.

J.Crew bridesmaid dresses, kylie dress in graphite

There was also a strange design flaw in the Kylie dress. There is extra material on the right side of the torso but there is a lack of ease on the left side. Basically, the one shoulder area was very tight but the other side of the dress was loose to the point where there is a visible gap. It’s hard to tell from the photos, but once you look at the dress or even put it on, you’ll notice that the torso is not quite symmetrical.

So despite how awesome this dress is, I had to pass on the Kylie dress.

J.Crew bridesmaid dresses, arabelle dress

The next style I tried on was the Arabelle dress in 00P. The style is quite beautiful and it’s a lovely and well constructed dress.

In the same way the previous dress was too small, this one was way too small, especially the bust and the torso. A size 0P would be better for me, but aside from that, I have no complaints.

This strapless dress is a dream to wear and I only wish that I had selected the right size. Luckily, the dress was on sale and it’s way cheaper than $250 so I can try on another size. This is going to be my backup dress in case the one I ordered from the bridal salon won’t arrive on time.

J.Crew bridesmaid dress, arabelle dress

If you’re on the lookout for awesome bridesmaid dresses, I think J.Crew hits the spot, even for petites. I usually wear the smallest size, 00P and I found them even too small for my frame, which is a blessing because I know that I can at least wear these dresses without worrying if the smallest would fit me. So for all you extra small petites, have no fear because J.Crew has your back!

What do you think about J.Crew bridesmaid dresses?

 

 

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Ann Taylor Bridesmaid dress, silk georgette flower one shoulder dress in medium gray

An Ann Taylor bridesmaid dress. Did you know that they carry their own line of dresses and in petite sizes too? I had to try them on.

Since the color was going to be a dark gray, I selected the dress styles that ran in that color and in my size (00P), which ended up being the Silk Georgette Flower One Shoulder Dress and the Silk Georgette Pleat Tank Dress in Medium Gray for $265 each. I wish that they had the Silk Georgette Strapless Dress in my size, but it’s a popular style and the sizes ran out quick.

The dresses are very lightweight, thin, and lacks the thick internal structure of the Donna Morgan Blaire dress, which was a bit surprising given the price. But the silk georgette material is gorgeous and it makes the polyester dresses from Donna Morgan look cheap in comparison.

How Do the Ann Taylor Bridesmaid Dresses Fit?

The Silk Georgette Flower One Shoulder dress fits amazingly well.

The bodice, the waist, the length, it’s perfect in size 00P.

Ann Taylor bridesmaid dress, silk georgette flower one shoulder dress in medium gray

But I got a little nit-picky about the details and though not perfect, it was a pretty decent dress.

The flower design near the shoulder was not very flattering for my body, I think it’s a bit too big and with my hair down, it gets lost. The silk georgette material is beautiful but it doesn’t drape as well as the Donna Morgan dress. Then at the waist, it seemed like it was missing something, a belt or some sort of detail.

For most people, I’m sure this dress looks fine since it fits well and it’s quite flattering overall. But for the price, I expected something more from this dress and it didn’t make the cut. So, I sent it back.

Ann Taylor bridesmaid dress, silk georgette pleat tank dress in medium gray

The Silk Georgette Tank dress in size 00P is the right size. The waist fit well, the length was ideal, but the bust? Well, I didn’t fill it out properly. It looks pretty strange with all that extra fabric drooping from the sides of the bodice which is quite unflattering for my body shape. However, if you are busty, then I think this dress would be way more flattering.

This conservative style dress would be a great pick if the bust was more fitted to my frame, but since it wasn’t that great, I had to pass on this style.

ann taylor bridesmaid dress, silk georgette pleat tank dress in medium gray

The Ann Taylor bridesmaid dresses are pretty good picks for petites.

The sizes run a bit smaller than Ann Taylor’s petite department, which is a great thing for me. The quality of the fabric is fantastic and the construction is decent too. I think the fit of the dresses and some of the details left a bit more to be desired. The Pleat Tank dress was unflattering in the bust, but if you have a large bust, I think this dress would look amazing. The Flower One Shoulder dress was pretty darn near perfect as a bridesmaid dress but there is a lack of detail at the waist that distracting and the flower detail wasn’t very flattering.

But if you’re looking for an off the rack petite bridesmaid dress, Ann Taylor is one place to definitely check out.

Have you had luck with Ann Taylor petites? I’d love to know in the comments!

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