Daily Outfit: Skirted Issue

26 09 2011

Last weekend I went out on the town to celebrate a friend’s birthday.  Instead of hitting the usual bar scene, we went to a beautiful hotel and partied it up in their Wine Cellar.  This was also the week I kind of spilled the beans about what I was doing with my blog to my friends.  Some thought it was silly, but others were incredibly encouraging.  Take Alicia, my lovely photographer for the evening!  I don’t know how so many fashion bloggers manage just using a self-timer, I definitely need someone to hold the camera- which probably means the quality of my shots will completely vary depending on who I get to take my photos.  But I’m okay with that, it’ll make  life more interesting!

[Gifted top, Derek Heart Skirt, Primark Bag, Primark Heels, Crisson Earrings, Luxury for Less Cuff.]

I am planning a few posts soon that talk about my love of certain styles of interiors.  The foyer above is a great example- so old-world glamorous with the gold elevators, marbled floors, sconces and mirrors everywhere.  Beautiful.  I really adore a whole pile of design blogs, but feel that since I am still living with my parents I am limited with what I can do with my space.  For now, I am going through all of my clothes and trying to purgepurgepurge so that I am no longer faced with the “million things in my closet but nothing to wear” dilemma.

This is one of those outfits that came out of a moment of panic.  A friend was picking me up soon, I couldn’t find anything that satisfied me and I somehow jumped into this.  I quite like it now, but at the time I was rushing around just trying to be ready on time.  Next time, I think I am going to focus on my photo setup, as I am giving a bit of crazy face in most of these.

My updates were infrequent this weekend because I had a family dinner and a wedding to attend.  That means I got to dress up a lot, but was also too busy to write posts.  To make up for it, I took lots of photographs and even have a disturbing question I’m going to pose to you all later.  I also am going to share a crafting fail I had last week and hopefully, I will be able to rescue it and show you a wonderful finished product.  But who knows, it may be more crazyface until then!

Metafictional Wishlist: Hallelu

22 09 2011

This must be my week for finding cool, funky new online stores.  Hallelu is a family-run fashion retailer based out of North Carolina.  I love them because they ship internationally and they also have a fun section dedicated to how bloggers wear the various items on their site.  It’s great to see how the different elements look styled by real girls, although I must say I like how Hallelu have styled these pieces.

Going through their looks, I realise how much I am loving sweet mini-pleats.  I have been covertly collecting bad 80s pleated skirts from thrift stores and hemming them up into something sassy and cute.  But I think the below display is further evidence that I have a problem.  I.love.pleats…

Top Row:
Jasmine Sweater– $83
16 Candles Dress– $39
Tripoli Layer Dress– $34
Collectable Dots Skirt– $32

Bottom Row:
Olive You Top– $25
Ponte Dress– $57
All Caught Up Shorts– $71
Butter Bag– $48

I like that there is a pretty consistent palate between all of these pieces.  I’d wear the cool semi-open weave sweater with the sweet lace shorts.  I’d toughen up the mint tripoli dress with leather booties and a skinny black belt.  I’d double-team the dots by pairing the coral skirt and sheer blouse.  I love the on-trend rust colour of the ponte dress and would scrape my hair into a top knot and throw on some sassy orange lipstick.  Finally, that red bag would be a great weekend errand bag, it’s soft, stylish but roomy enough to throw in everything you’ll need for a day of fun.

I am planning a new skirt reconstruction and this post I think is my inspiration to get it done, so that I can get my pleat on ASAP.  Have you ever shopped Hallelu?  How would you wear their gear?

Daily Outfit: Vested Interest

21 09 2011

My first attempt at an on-body outfit post!  (Yes, I like to celebrate the small milestones, haha).  I went to a local open-mic night and wanted to be comfortable, casual but stylish.  The weather is still scorching in my parts, so I needed some breathable fashion.  A friend of mine was obliging enough to take photos of me on her Blackberry, since I forgot my camera.  I am getting a bit better explaining to friends that it is not out of complete vanity that I am making them take a huge series of photos of my clothes.  And I think with a bit more practice, I may not make such awkward faces and poses.  But I don’t promise anything, since I’m a relatively awkward individual.  It’s cool, I like it.

[H&M top, Marks & Spencer Vest, American Eagle Shorts, Primark Ballet Flats, John Lewis Bag, Pocket Watch Necklace from Brick Lane Market, Fairtrade gold and silver cuff.]

I love this outfit for it’s monochromatic sleekness- trouser-style denim shorts teamed with a cap sleeve white shirt dressed up with a linen vest.  My favourite element, however, is the back of the linen vest, which has a gorgeous silk inset.  The photo doesn’t capture it precisely, but I love wearing it.  I am slowly collecting vests, or waistcoats (I am never sure what to call them) but don’t always know what to wear with them.  I am trying to use them more frequently to dress up basic combinations (like shorts and a white tee).

I only felt mildly weird posing at night, on a street corner.  Luckily, my awesome friend and photographer was very patient with me.  I explained why I wanted the photos, and she was so excited to hear about my new blog.  She has a rocking tumblr, and she is going to be guest posting some recipes over here in the near future (yes, that was me putting you on the spot, Aruna).

I had been messaging her before she actually showed up to the open mic night and when she arrived, we had the best laugh- we were matching.  Do you ever accidentally match with friends?

A History of Problems with Denim

21 09 2011

I’ve never really believed in premium denim.  I totally admit, that on some girls the look is amazing.  But those same girls could probably rock $50 jeans just as well.  A lot of what’s special about wearing jeans is how you wear them, what you wear them with.  I had a roommate at boarding school that moved halfway across the world with 15 pairs of jeans with her and infuriatingly managed to look completely glamorous every time she wore anything.  For me, jeans have always been something I’m forced to wear when it is too cold to have my legs out.  (As a disclaimer, my only caveat to this rule is denim shorts & skirts.  I lurrrrve them.  I don’t know why, but somehow adding legs to the denim messes the whole situation up).

But I think my real hatred of denim stems from shopping for it.  I am quite tall, with thin legs, moderate sized hips and a flat bum.  I know that curvy-bottomed girls have trouble finding denim to fit their behind, and, well, so do I… for the opposite reason.  Unless I wear a size smaller than I should, the jeans slide right off my backside, even with a belt.  If I do wear a size too small, well, then we’re stuck with gratuitous muffin top which is never okay.  I love my body.  I am a size 12, and I love my body.  When I try on jeans, I have to remind myself this during every step of the process.  I wonder what is wrong with me, why I don’t fit the clothes… when really, it is just that the clothes aren’t quite right for me.

To prove my point, I went back in my archives (read: looked through my Facebook tagged photos and found a few examples of my pants-wearing) to get a few examples.  In almost everything I found, however, I was rocking skirts and dresses.  And if you look in my closet, you’d see the same thing.  Tangent over, let’s get on with the embarrassing denim shots.

While you can see my body and style has changed over the years, there’s still something totally awkward about my jeans.  From semi-acid wash in 2006 to not-quite-right skinnies in 2009, to super-comfy but too big in the bum skinnies in 2010 (what, you don’t pole dance in the rain?), to olive-coloured denim in 2011 shot from a very weird angle.  I have a problem.

Before jeggings had made it big, I lamented to a friend after a particularly gruelling denim hunt (first world problems, huh?) that tights and leggings fit me fine and that they should make denim leggings.  Cue jeggings two shiny years later… but again, I didn’t get on-board.  The ones I saw either didn’t look like real denim on or reminded me subtly of mom-jeans when worn.  And again, some girls rocked it.  I just wasn’t with them.

Skip forward through all of my denim problems and I find myself coveting something dark, sleek, leather-y.  Something that fits beautifully but doesn’t slide off of me.  Now, I haven’t tried these on or anything, but looks-wise, I have found a contender- a jegging by J Brand.

Gorgeous, right?  It is the J Brand 901 Coated Legging and costs a whopping $174.  This is too much for a recessionista like myself.  I am cheap.  But I don’t think I can DIY it.  I don’t know where to get a similar style.  They don’t sell J Brand clothes where I live, so I have never tried on anything they produce for fit.  And somehow, I have always had the impression that although they stock bigger sizes, they aren’t always cut well to flatter bigger frames.  Maybe I’m judging them unfairly.  Maybe all this conjecture is an excuse to continue being cheap about my denim.  But when was the last time you saw an average-sized girl wearing J Brand?

Metafictional Wishlist: HeRe J

20 09 2011

I still am working on my editorial schedule *giggle*.  I keep finding tons of new, awesome blogs that have me spending my online time reading and reading and reading and not posting.  It is something like link roulette and I find myself clicking from blog to blog to see what they have going on!  I have recently found the wonderful eat.sleep.wear. run by adorable Kimberly.  Her fashion sense is gorgeous and I have been avidly clicking through the links of her style to the sources.  Today, she posted an outfit featuring a to-die-for leopard skirt courtesy of HeRe J.  I’d never heard of them so I surfed over and was totally loving their on-trend, affordable clothes.  They are fun, flirty and fashion-forward, so I decided to do a little round-up of my favourite looks they have.

Top Row:
Stripe Crop Tee– $18
Leopard Print Crop Tee– $9.50
Pixy Cotton Pleated Dress– $17
Streets of Beverly Hills Top– $12

Bottom Row:
Leopard Maxi Skirt– $31
Dainty Lace Skirt– $30
Leopard Blouse– $31
Lady Jane Felt Hat– $34
Charming Pleated Dress– $51

All of these looks are fun and would help add dimension to a wardrobe full of classic pieces.  The striped, leopard and streets of Beverley tops are all such fun, stylish alternatives to plain t-shirts.  You could wear them with shorts, as styled here or with your favourite skinnies.  I’d pair the lace skirt with a black tank and sky-high heels.  I’d tuck the leopard blouse into a classic black pencil skirt with red pumps.  I’ve been looking for a felt hat like this for ages and this one is the perfect blend of classic and affordable.  The pleated dress is timeless and elegant and would be a great winter white.  On a colder night out with black opaque tights and heels with a skinny belt.

Enough daydreaming about these clothes, back to editing photos of me wearing them!  I promise, this blog is getting on the road!

What fashion blogs do you read?  Do you click through to see where their clothes are from?

Quinoa Medley Recipe

20 09 2011

I’ve already posted about how to cook up quinoa and how to roast cherry tomatoes.  I freely admit that I take most of my directions and inspiration from this 101 Cookbooks recipe.  I riffed on it a bit, based on what I had available and my tastes.  If I made it again, I’d definitely lower the portion of quinoa down to 1.5-2 cups and add in more spinach because although it is the mother of all grains, I still prefer more veggies than grains.  It must be because of my rice phobia.  Don’t judge.

Quinoa Medley Recipe- Adapted from here.  Serves 6

  • Splash of olive oil
  • Dash of sea-salt
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa (for instructions on how to cook it, see here)
  • 1 cup corn
  • 3/4 cup black beans
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/3 cup of pesto + more to taste
  • 1/3 cup of toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup of roasted cherry tomatoes or sundried tomatoes (for the best roasted cherry tomatoes ever, see here)


  1. Measure out your quinoa, corn, beans, spinach, pine nuts.  Maybe I’m slightly scatter brained, but I find it helpful to do this before I start, so I can dump it in as I go.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and salt on medium-high heat.  Stir in onion and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in quinoa, corn, black beans and cook until sizzling, roughly 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in spinach until wilted and remove from heat.
  5. Stir in pesto and pine nuts.  Add more pesto to taste.
  6. Serve topped with cherry tomatoes.

This is a great vegetarian meal, or is a delicious side-dish.  I ate it with baked chicken and was stuffed.  You could throw in some tofu (a la the original recipe) or slice up some baked chicken and toss it through.  I think it would also be delicious with feta and chickpeas.  It is a great dish to use as a base and throw in whatever your pantry has.  Enjoy!

Cooking Quinoa

19 09 2011

I had my first taste of Quinoa in a Marks & Spencer’s ready-made grain salad with chickpeas, couscous and a variety of other yummy add-ins.  I didn’t know what it was, but I liked it.  A few vegetarian and vegan friends also mentioned cooking with it and I realised I had been blissfully unaware of quinoa as a grain option.  So, in true nerdy fashion, I did a little wikipedia-ing.  Originating from the Andes, the Incas believed quinoa to be sacred, calling it the “mother of all grains”.  During Spanish colonisation of the area, quinoa was forbidden and the Incas had to subsist on wheat as their grain.

Every time I asked one of my vegetarian friends how to cook quinoa, they looked at me as if I were painfully stupid and informed me that you cooked it up just like rice.  I’d like to take this time to admit that I am the worst rice-cooker, ever.  My rice is always over-cooked in a globby mess or under-cooked and brittle to the taste.  I had a friend in college who owned a rice cooker and I found myself asking her to make me perfect, slightly-sticky rice.  We’d cook together and end up sharing our meals, I miss the dorm-kitchen companionship.  Since then, I barely try or I use (I can’t believe I’m admitting this) boil-in-bag rice.  So, for anyone that is a little curious about where to start with the mother of all grains, I thought I’d include a recipe of how to cook it.

Quinoa Recipe- Yields about 5 or 6 cups of cooked quinoa

  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 4 cups water


  1. Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer (if your quinoa is smaller than your strainer, line it with paper towel and pour through- water will get through, but quinoa will be trapped).  Make sure to rinse thoroughly, as there is a slightly bitter taste if you don’t.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the quinoa with the water until it boils.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Quinoa is finished when it has turned slightly transparent and you can see a spiral in the grain.  It will have a “pop” in each bite (I know that sounds crazy, but you will know what you mean when you try it).

Now, I will post a recipe using quinoa here tomorrow, but for now let me say that quinoa is a very malleable grain.  You can use it as a side of rice, a pilaf, in stir-frys, etc.  The sky is kind of the limit.  But if you want a delicious starting recipe, check back in tomorrow.  And if you’re lucky enough to be near to a M&S and want a no-cook option, try some of their delicious grain salads.  Yum.

Daily Outfit: Job Interview Chic

11 09 2011

I promised a few posts ago that I would talk a bit more about what’s happening with me.  As I mentioned in other posts, I was working with a start-up charity but due to the recession, growing pains of a new company and new managers, I left my job.  The departure wasn’t exactly amicable, but I am much happier than I was working there.  I am currently unemployed, which means I am having to be a lot more careful with my spending and thrifty with my fashion.  Call me a recessionista, because I am still rocking the hell out of life on a budget.  It has been a roller coaster of emotions, and some days, having a life without structure really gets me down, but I am trying to spend lots of time working on creative projects and seeing friends and having fun.  Life really should not be about the job you do or don’t have, and I keep reminding myself that.

I am starting lots of new projects that I will be slowly posting about as they come up.  But for now, I am going to be a bit more dedicated about taking photos of what I wear.  I hope this serves as inspiration for me to mix up my looks and dress better daily, as I often get stuck in fashion ruts.  I don’t consider myself the most trendy person, but when I put my mind to it, I can look stylish.  More than that, I am interested in fashion- the photos, the styling, the clothes, the textiles, etc.

Last week, I went to the government employment agency to talk about job options.  Of course, it was a scorching hot afternoon and I jumped right out of my outfit when I got home before I could bully someone into taking photos of me.  So here are the elements of my outfit.  I know that’s cheating, but I am still working up the nerve to ask people to take my photograph and my self-timer skills are abysmal.  So this is what you get.  Next time will be better, I promise!

Thrifted H&M Dress, Marks & Spencer Heels, New Look Bracelet.


I loved this outfit because it was simple, classic and undistracting.  The worst thing in an interview is when your clothes are telling more of a story than your resume.  My interviewer noted that I looked professional, and we came up with a few options for me in search of employment.  The classic H&M shift dress, however, was way too hot for the scorching afternoon so I ditched it soon after I departed the air conditioned sanctuary of the office.  How do you keep cool while looking professional?

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

11 09 2011

I love a good side dish.  A few weeks ago, I went out to a  fancy local restaurant with a friend, Barracuda Grill.  The food was hit-and-miss, which was somewhat disappointing.  It is allegedly Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones’ favourite restaurant on-island- my guess is, they get to order off of a different menu.  I loved my meal (a slightly seared yellowfin tuna with gnocchi, hummus and a balsamic whip), but my friend’s food (some sort of lobster pasta dish) just wasn’t that good.  What I found was so delightful about my meal, however, was that although the fish was beautifully prepared and tasted great, the side dishes both complimented the fish and also provided a new palette, a different type of taste.  My friend’s dish was a lot of the same, so she was stuck with the mediocre lobster.  We ended up drinking lots of wine and having a gorgeous gingerbread dessert which saved our dining experience.  But the dinner got me thinking about side dishes.

This roasted cherry tomato is part of a recipe I made recently (and plan on posting here), but I would eat it a million times over- by itself, thrown into pasta, with goats cheese and pesto on foccacia, tossed with fresh mozzarella balls- I can’t wait to make it again in a bigger quantity to try it all out.  And I promise, I will be sure to talk about it.  Here they are below, all chopped and ready to be made sexy.

Roasted Cherry Tomato Recipe

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (next time, I plan on doubling this, so maybe you want to do the same!)
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 dash of seasoning salt (You can use regular salt or sea salt, but I really like seasoning salt.)
  • Several dashes of coarse sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut cherry tomatoes in half.  Arrange in a large oven-proof baking dish.
  3. Mix olive oil, brown sugar and seasoning salt in a bowl.
  4. Pour olive oil mixture over tomatoes, tossing to coat.
  5. Ensure all tomatoes are cut-side up.  Sprinkle with a few dashes of coarse sea-salt on top.
  6. Place in oven and bake 45 minutes, or until tomatoes are shrunken and sweet.

I will have dreams about these tomatoes.  I served them as a garnish to a quinoa dish and my dad wanted to know if he could have more.  I may have snuck a few out of the dish to eat them solo, but I’m not confessing to anything.

DIY Inspiration: Shoes

9 09 2011

It is hardly a shock that a 23 year old woman loves shoes.  While I live in flip flops during the sweaty island summer days, I love a great blinged-out sandal, a flashy pump, a suede platform heel and even a sweet ballet flat.  I can’t get enough.  And while I do have quite a shoe collection (my dad often asks if I actually wear them all), I also find myself craving more!  Since I am trying to be recessionista-chic, my best option is DIY!  There are quite a few awesome thrift stores locally that I grab amazing shoes at, but I am trying to be a bit more open minded about the ones I see there that may have as-yet undiscovered potential.  Here is a roundup of a few awesome projects I’ve found across the web!Painted Soles
1.  Craftster Lace Patterned Wedges: These absolutely magical wedges are from Craftster user petite_patineuse and are hand-detailed with gold and silver markers.  I wish I had the skill or the patience, but the results are beautiful.  Check them out in full-detail with instructions.
2.  Dirty Hems Neon Sole Heels: This simple DIY elevates a simple black shoe into something fun, on-trend and a little bit daring.  She’s taken lots of great pictures to help show you how to take your black heels from “meh” to “meow!”

1.  Craftster Red Dorothy Glitter Heels: Another pair that I spotted on Craftster, this time by user kellianneeee.  She takes a pair of classic peep-toes and updates them first with red glitter and then a cheeky yellow brick road painted on the bottom.  A riff on the classic red-soles of Christian Louboutin’s, but the end result is playful and fun.  She also has an etsy page, where you can custom-order glittered out shoes if you’re low on time and want her pristine results.
2.  Honestly WTF DIY Miu Miu Sneakers: I’m not normally a sneaker girl, but the original Miu Miu’s are to die for.  Style mavens from Honestly WTF must think the same thing, because they made their own awesome version.  I’m literally biding my time until I find a pair of appropriate shoes to bling out.

Make them your own
1.  A Matter of Style’s DIY Stella MCCartney and Zara asymmetric shoes: While painting, glittering and bedazzling shoes may seem like elementary DIY, A Matter of Style took it to a new level by cutting into her pumps to create a new sexy silhouette for her heel.  I have a shoe I could do this to, but I am terrified of ruining them completely.
2.  …love Maegan’s Christian Louboutin Petal Sandal DIY: A gorgeous, floaty and completely removable sandal adornment.  While this DIY came out in 2009, the style is still very fun and replicates styles still in stores today.  Me likey!

Sitting with a very random grouping of books, my Oasis tribute solo shoe.

I wish I could say I had a great history of shoe DIY’s, but actually it’s a bit embarrassingly abysmal.  Years ago, I bought cheapie white slip-on canvas shoes and tried to graffiti with Sharpies to create a punky, urban look but they ended up looking like… well…. I had tried writing on my sneaker with marker.  Those went into the trash.

Next up, I scored these awesome white pointy-toed pumps in a thrift store and covered a heel with Oasis lyrics.  It looked awesome, but I was terrified to wear them and had no way of sealing them.  I moved as I was in the middle of the project and managed to lose one of the shoes.  The other sits on my shelf as a bit of temporary art.


When I pulled them out to take a picture, the camera stopped working properly. The shoe mocks me, yet again.

The final shoe DIY I’ve done was more of a success.  I wanted to replicate the Jeffrey Campbell shoes that half of the blogosphere had taken on with thumbtacks.  I found the perfect shoes for the project, but ran out of the style of tacks I was using.  The shoes got finished with different tacks, but the finished product isn’t as clean as I’d have preferred.  I wore them once on Halloween as Lady Gaga and now they sit on my shoe shelf, mocking me.  I have been tempted to take the tacks out and re-do them with all the same type, but I haven’t found the time yet.

But I am feeling that creative itch and I know shoes are what I want to focus on so hopefully this inspiration kicks my butt into gear and gets me going on some DIY!