Saturday, October 24, 2009

How to get the look for less: J. Crew window display outfit

I've been obsessed with getting this outfit, seen on a mannequin at my local J. Crew store:

Here's the Polyvore dissection of the outfit:

except the cardigan is the Mohair Argyle Cardigan which seems to be store only, and the necklace is different (it has oversized pearls and glass pieces)

At first, I thought I HAD to buy every single piece, from head to toe, to get this look. I ended up spending way too much (if you do the math, it's about $300). But then, I poked around Forever21 today and found some great pieces that I could substitute in for less. I also scrounged around my closet and found a skinny black belt from ages ago. So here's my look for less:

F21 Double Breasted Cardigan
Heritage 1981 tweed skirt
J. Crew jewel tee
J. Crew necklace
Armani Exchange belt

I bought this F21 Double Breasted Cardigan which I LOVE - it kind of reminds me of J. Crew's Marled Wool Cardigan. And I also got a Heritage tweed miniskirt for less than $20!

So the total cost of this outfit is... $133!

So I ordered one of those Nubra thingies on a whim...

and they work! Brilliantly! Even for a flatty like me! For anyone who's been toying with the idea of ordering one - do it! Although, I have yet to test mine out for a night of dancing, I'm just thrilled right now that they actually do stay in place and it seems like they have quite a grip.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I got my giveaway prizes in the mail today!

So, BIG NEWS! I won Chloe's Blog Anniversary Giveaway about two weeks ago (if you guys aren't already reading Chloe's hilarious commentary on her blog The Chloe Conspiracy, you're definitely missing out) and both packages arrived in the mail today!

This Simply Vera by Vera Wang necklace came wrapped up in cute pink and yellow paper!

CUPCAKES! IN JARS! (I have no idea which one is more exciting - never seen a cupcake in a jar before in my life)
I devoured one right on the spot - it was SO good.

In the spirit of Chloe (and Kitty and Petunia), I decided to include a picture of my furbaby Winnie!

In this rather awkward photo, I was trying to take a photo of my cupcake and my dog scrambled over to beg for a taste (or more like photo op, haha).

Thanks Chloe!

A Photographic Diary of My Trip: French Riviera

After Paris, my friends and I took a wonderful break in the coastal town Nice - it felt so good to be back near a beach (I'm from sunny San Diego - salty water runs in my veins).

Using my camera's nifty Photostitch feature to make this panoramic view of the beach - click for a closer look

The beaches here are rocky, which surprised me.
And topless is an option.
And there were a lot of older couples when I went...
maybe this is where wealthy French people vacation?

The water was lovely, although when you get out you have to step onto rocks and pebbles with your bare feet - ouch. And there seems to be glass everywhere (since it seems you can drink on the beach) but I didn't get hurt.

The market - where they sell flowers, produce, and local crafts

The town square has this beautiful fountain

and this oddly mesmerizing tile pattern.

I wish I had taken a picture of this amazing ice cream shop located in one of the main squares - not only did it have ice cream, it also had miniature frozen desserts, shaved ice, and popsicles!!! These seem to be rarities in Nice. I totally had a craving for a popsicle and this store saved the day.

We also hiked up to Cimiez, a wealthy neighborhood on the hillside of Nice, and visited the Matisse museum and saw some Roman ruins. On the map it looks like a small distance, but the elevation combined with the hot weather wiped me out.

Funny story at the Matisse museum, I took off my hat (a boater hat I had bought at a stall by the beach) and walked around, but my hat was too big for my bag so I had to hold it. And I put my sunglasses in them. And then the security guard, this funny old man, would pretend to tip money into my hat. Every time I met him. I must have bumped into him like three times. And finally, I decided to thank him in french "merci" and he found that wildly amusing. I thought that was a cute story.

Anyway, we also saw this beautiful Russian Orthodox church but didn't go in because the entrance admission was a bit steep.

Here is a picture of the beach just before we left.

But before we left, we took a night train to Monaco.

And had dinner by the waterside at this lovely seafood restaurant, where I tried some snails (and it actually wasn't that bad, although it's not worth the effort it took to get those teeny snails out of those shells). Had a bit too much wine...

and then went inside the famous Monte Carlo! It was pretty intimidating, seeing these people play thousand dollar stakes on roulette. If we had paid a bit more, we could have seen the high rollers. I couldn't take any pictures inside, so you'll have to trust my description that the interior exudes luxury and sophistication but was surprisingly smaller than I imagined.

Since I'm a poor college student, I just played a little slots.

The New Kings Of Convenience CD is out!!!

I love the part with the girl carrying her surfboard... from a lake! haha! And I love how they decide to load the surfboard in the car.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My French Kitchen: Ratatouille

My Amazon order arrived a few days ago, so I decided to try out a recipe from the cookbook My French Kitchen, starting with ratatouille!

The ingredients - I love how cooking shows have all the ingredients already prepared and waiting, it makes cooking seem effortless.


After - it actually looks more appetizing than it does in the picture...

Voila! SO YUMMY! I ate tons of it with garlic bread, it was the best!

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Photographic Diary of My Trip: More Paris

I tried to include all of this in my Paris and Versailles post, but Blogger was being fussy and wouldn't upload my pictures. SO here are the rest of the photos, trying to keep it short and sweet, cause I still have Nice, Avignon, and Morocco to go.

Inside Notre Dame

The Shakespeare and Company bookstore in the Latin Quarter - where young writers work in exchange for a place to stay

My favorite movie of all time was filmed here!!!

Do you see in the gnome? Oh, and they have a fantastic Sunday brunch here.

The Sacré-Cœur - I overheard a tour guide explain that the building was meant to be seen from far away, it's more beautiful that way, and I agree.

Again, my favorite movie in the whole world was filmed there!

And finally, the romantic Pont Neuf

Oh, and I thought I'd include my two cents about Paris fashion - I tried really really hard to figure out what was fashionable in Paris, but this was extremely difficult because I pretty much went to all the touristy places and saw touristy fashion. Not pretty. And maybe I wasn't paying enough attention to people's clothes. The only thing I can say is that Longchamp is VERY BIG here. My friend and I spotted Longchamp bags so often that we made a game out of it. The Longchamp store at the Galeries Lafayette was CRAZY busy.

I even bought two bags - and they have served me well. They are fantastic for day - roomy enough to store everything, and still look dressy enough (maybe) for night.

This bag survived Morocco - that's saying a lot. The other one (it's bigger and purple) survived a freakin' camel trek into the desert.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Photographic Diary of My Trip: Paris and Versailles

I took the train from London to Paris the day after my program ended and met up with friends in Paris.

The Arc de Triomphe

The Eiffel sparkles at night

The Louvre

Winged Victory of Samothrace - you MUST see this in person!

I wish I had taken pictures of the underground level - you could see the remains of the foundation of the Louvre, which was originally a fortress! I loved being down there, it was cool and dark and it felt like some kind of secret passageway.

I took a day trip to the Palace of Versailles. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a great picture of the front of the Palace of Versailles - it is very wide, and my pictures really don't do justice to how spectacular the exterior of the entrance looks in person. And the golden front gate pretty much blocked the view, too.

Gardens just outside the palace

From the rear of the palace, you can see the fountains and the lake

The gardens of Versailles are beautiful and my favorite part of the day trip - you just want to get lost in them. The grounds of Versailles are expansive, and its quite a walk from the Palace to the Trianons. On the way, my friends and I stopped by a sunflower garden and several quaint hamlets. There are also these sculptural hedge gardens by the lake, where you can find hidden eateries.

And finally we visited the Grand and the Petit Trianon. The Petit Trianon was kind of disappointing - sparsely decorated and very tiny - but the Grand Trianon went beyond my expectations. I actually thought it was more beautiful than the Palace.

The furniture at the Grand Trianon was AMAZING! There were so many beautiful fabrics and wallpaper, and the furniture looked incredibly luxurious and ornate.

My favorite room, the perfect shade of lemony yellow

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Photographic Diary of My Trip: Back in London

I split the rest of my time in London between stalking Jude Law and getting more sightseeing in. For the rest of the program, I had time to see Kensington Palace, the Tower of London, and the British Museum, as well as go shopping on Oxford Street and Camden.

Garden - Kensington Palace

Afternoon tea with friends at the Orangerie, Kensington Palace
This delectable assortment of goodies was called the Debutante's Tea, I think - yummy

Entrance to the Tower of London

My Beefeater guide at the Tower - 20+ years in the service and available, he jokes

The Tower Bridge

The Globe Theater - where I watched performances of As You Like It and Romeo and Juliet.
Watching As You Like It during a heavy rain, as a groundling, was not fun. Not fun AT ALL. I wore a jacket that I thought was rainproof, but quickly discovered was not, and got completely soaked. I bought a plastic poncho at the Globe, but then discovered how steamy it can get on the inside - icky.

I spent my last day at the British Museum.

The Elgin Marbles at the British Museum - I wish I had more time to explore, but I did get to see the Rosetta stone

OH - and I totally forgot - I got to see Ethan Hawke playing a flamboyant Autolycus in a performance of The Winter's Tale at the Old Vic. If I had stuck around, like my roommate did, I would have been able to take a picture with him - bummer.

What I wore for the end-of-program banquet

I am SO glad I picked up this dress from J. Crew - the ruffled cotton sateen dress - it was completely worth the price since I wore it for both my graduation and this trip. I got a lot of mileage out of it, wearing it for a few of the nicer play performances and for the end-of-program banquet, as well as for an evening out to the Monte Carlo casino in Monaco.

I wish I had taken a full-length photo so I could show you what I usually paired it with - my navy blue Alessia patent-leather peep-toes, black polka-dot tights from Topshop, my J. Crew beaded flamenco polka-dot cardigan, and the Temperly beetle bag I got on Gilt.

Next up: Paris!