Saturday, March 27, 2010

Obsessions: shopbop dresses

{photos from}

Top row from left: Foley + Corinna Lace Dress, $350; Twenty9Twelve Venetia Dress, $360; Sachin + Babi Eva Dress, $325; Twinkle Greek Goddess Dress, $319 on sale for $223.30.

$181.50; Twinkle Evening Walk Dress, $302 on sale for $151; Anna Sui Braided Metallic Strap Dress, $471 on sale for $141.3; Hanii Y Dana Dress, $420 on sale for $295

While it seems everyone is scrambling at the last minute trying to find the right dress to wear to S and J's big day, I realize I should probably start shopping around for something to wear to B's brother's wedding in July.  I know it's a while from now, but almost every single time I have an occasion to shop for, I end up buying something I only kind of like, or wearing something I already have.  While I'm not against reusing clothes by any means, the three weddings I'll be going to in Hawaii are probably among the most "important" functions I'll be attending all year (probably all my life too!) so I hope to at least be wearing something different at each one!  So I'm trying to prevent the headache and stress of finding a dress by doing some research... just to see what's out there, what style I might want to focus my energy looking for, and what price range I'll be looking at.

Although price range will probably be one of the most important factors, I still feel like I'm pretty far out from the wedding in July so I did a little "daydreaming."  I don't wear expensive clothes, and I don't have an impressive income... so why are all the dresses I love at least $200?  And why do they never have my size?!  The only dresses on sale for almost affordable prices are all sold out in my size!  And by "affordable" I mean somewhere under $200, which I don't know is actually affordable for me, but hey clothes are my priority so I must admit that my definition of "affordable clothes" is a teensy bit skewed.

Oh how I would be so happy with a wardrobe of these beautiful dresses.  They are all so gorgeous.  The first dress is one of my favorites-- click on the link to see the lace up close, and the back of the dress, it's so cute.  I don't think the Anna Sui dress would look nice on me and it's a little too structured and stiff looking for my taste (hawaii wedding = flow-ey and light, right?) but I still love it.  Most of the dresses are a mix between the kind of style I just love (classic, sophisticated?) and what I think would be flattering for me.  As you can tell, a couple of the dresses would definitely NOT be flattering on me nor would I even try to make them work (a.k.a. twenty8twelve venitia dress, something only a tall slender person could pull off, and anything but would be a disaster!), but it's nice to admire how beautiful they look on the models!

Sometimes I think I choose dresses subconsciously because I like a certain model-- in this case you might have already noticed that the brunette chick is modeling 4 of my favorite dresses!  Coincidence?  Maybe.  But I must point out that when looking at Victoria's Secret Catalogs I always go for the lingerie and bikini's that Alessandra Ambrosio is wearing.  Like this bikini, for example.  Ugly bikini, but why do I want to buy it?  Probably because she looks amazing in it.  I know me buying it will not transform me into a model, and I don't expect to look like her in it... but for some reason I want it!  

After looking at the prices and size availability, there really isn't anything I can buy from this batch of dresses.  I guess the hunt continues...

P.S. I'm so glad I have something to wear to S's dinner already!!!  And it was well within my ideal price range! =)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lovely Cooking: If only you could have smelt it cooking...

Every so often, I get in the mood to eat risotto. I don't know if it's the rich, warm, creaminess of the dish that draws me in, or if it's because it reminds me of my trip to Italy last year, but it's definitely one of my favorite things to eat. If it's on the menu at a restaurant, chances are, I'm ordering it!

It's only fitting that one of my Christmas gifts from Jason last year was a Ruffoni hand-hammered copper risotto pan from Williams-Sonoma (pan).Before Christmas, I happened to point it out to Jason because I loved the copper color and the acorn handle details...but I never imagined he would get it for me! I love it so much, and we plan to get it mongrammed after we get married so it can be a family heirloom!

So last night I decided to make Champagne Risotto with Asparagus and petite Scallops. I followed a recipe I found on the Food Network's website from Giada DeLaurentiis (recipe) and added in some seared scallops to give it a little more substance. The recipe is simple and requires few ingredients, however, it is time consuming because you have to stand over the risotto and stir it constantly so it becomes creamy.

Sauteeing the minced onions and pouring in the arborio rice to coat.

Stirring the rice with boiling chicken stock.

Almost done! The rice has gotten creamy!

In the past, my risotto attempts had come out drier than I would have liked. I don't know if it was the pan or the recipe, but it turned out great!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lovely Cakes: Golf Cupcakes

I made red velvet cupcakes with buttercream frosting for my grandpa's birthday. =)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Lovely Obsessions: My Statement Bracelet

For Christmas, B likes to trick me by only wrapping a smallish gift and giving it to me.  Then after I open the gift feeling what he hopes is disappointment, he runs into the bedroom to the secret hiding place to get the "real" gift.  As the gift opener, it is difficult to know what the right reaction should be.  While I am always appreciative of the small gift, which is usually very thoughtful, but yes, "small," in the back of my mind I am waiting for the "real" gift.  And there's always the chance that this is the real gift!!!  Hopefully we're in sync enough to where we both know what constitutes a real Christmas gift, and what can be considered the small gift.  It would be quite unfortunate for me to one day expect him to go running in the room for the real gift, and it not happen.  It's not my fault, B brought this upon himself by trying to trick me!  Now that I think about it, why would anyone want to trick someone into thinking they got a crappy Christmas gift?  Not that any of my small gifts have been crappy by any measure.  But now my standards have gotten pretty high as a result of this little game of his...

This past Christmas was no different.  My small gift was so great!  B got me this book that I didn't even know existed: You Know You Want It, by Gossip Girl Costume Designer Eric Daman.  B knows I love Blair Waldorf's style in Gossip Girl, so this was such a thoughtful gift.

Although it's not about Blair Waldorf, it's a beautiful book about finding your style, dressing for your body type, accentuating your features, and understanding the appropriate wardrobe for different occasions.  While most of the information in the book is probably common sense to most people, I find it motivating to read because sometimes you can get caught up in the trends and forget to focus on what you really like and what really works for you.  It is also a reminder of the wide array of styles and pieces a wardrobe can have, and how beautiful outfits can look even when they're not the latest trend.  I like the idea of having my own personal style that won't necessarily change with the seasons or fads. 

With that being said, it was a funny coincidence that right after Christmas, an article came out about Eric Daman's book party (see here).  In the article he claims that the next "It" accessory is "the statement bracelet."  Well thanks to my real Christmas gift from B, it looks like I've already got my "statement bracelet."  I think my bracelet is "statement" enough to make me feel current yet classic enough that I'll love it forever and ever.

 {Lily McNeal Sweater, Paige Jeans, Marc Jacobs Blake, Hermes Wide Enamel Bracelet}

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Obsessions: Oxford Shoes

Since mid-2009 I have been searching for the perfect oxford shoe. I didn't want it to be too masculine, too feminine, too shiny, the toe must not be too pointed or too rounded, the heel must be very low...the list goes on and on. I thought for sure I would find a pair while on vacation in San Francisco since the place is a shopping mecca, but alas, there were not many oxford shoe options. Behold, the Steven Melin Pinked Perforated Oxford in Cognac. At $105, it's quite a bargain compared to other options on the market. However, I have yet to decide whether the shoe matches anything in my closet! Plus, it's not really a wear to work kinda shoe...except on casual Fridays...and then again, it begs the question "what do i wear it with?" The only outfit I can think of would be skinny or straight leg jeans rolled up to above my ankles and the top would definitely have to be relatively plain.

What are your thoughts on this shoe? What would you wear it with?

Lovely Cakes: Lion & Love Bugs Cupcakes

This is my latest creation. As you can see, I love the grass tip cause you can't mess up. =) If you can't tell, it's a lion and love bugs in grass.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Lovely Cakes: Happy Birthday Grandma

Months after taking a cake decorating class, I finally decided to make a cake. Our family planned a surprise birthday party for my grandma because we're not sure how many more she will have due to her health issue. So, I thought it would be nice to make a cake especially for her. So here it is. A yellow cake with buttercream frosting. I use the cake mix from the box, but alter it a little so it's lite. The cake becomes fluffy and yummy. =)

Cake Recipe
1 box mix (not the butter recipe)
2 eggs
1 1/3 cup water
Bake as directed

Buttercream Frosting Recipe
1/2 cup unflavored solid Crisco
1/2 cup (1 stick) solid margarine
1 t clear vanilla
1 t clear butter flavoring
1 lb box powdered sugar
1 T Meringue powder

Cream ingredients together on low until they stick together. Then grandually increase to high for about 5 minutes. This makes STIFF icing. For medium or thin frosting add 1-2 T water.

The stiff frosting is good for making roses and decorations. It's best to make a thin frosting to frost the cake. Ya I know, the frosting is soo unhealthy....

This was the best cake I ever made because my grandma looked at the cake, looked at me, and then said "I love you!" I had to hold back my tears because she never says that out loud. I know she always worries about me and loves me a lot, but this cake made her express her feelings out loud. I love you too Grandma!!!