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Grateful Moments

~New blooming leaves on my winter branches~

Can I tell you, there's so much hype that goes into starting a new year that apparently subliminally had me expecting something monumentally exciting to happen this month. Being that January is at its end, for some odd reason leaves me with this sense of let down even though I didn't make any resolutions. I'm not completely sure why, it could be hormonal or because the sky is gray and snowing, aaand I had a melancholy week. In any case, whatever that 'big exciting thing' I subconsciously expected might not have come to fore, but the small special meaningful moments I enjoyed throughout the month leave me with a grateful heart. Besides, there's one day left to the month, there's still that chance anything (extraordinary) could happen. You never know, right? ;-)

~I'd love to have this gold metal cafe sign in my kitchen~

~The movie we saw on date night~*

~Love the look and glow that these globe pendant lights cast~

~My office terrace view all week~

*Photo credit: image 3

"Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have."

Have a lovely weekend!


13 Fashion Must-Haves To Take On A Paris Vacation

One of my girlfriends is planning a trip to Europe and a prime destination for her will be Paris. She was asking me what I think she should bring. As we were exchanging ideas of some must-take items for her trip, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to start making my own list of fashion must-haves that I would pack when our Paris vacation time comes. Here's how I came up with my fashion selections based on what I know about the city of lights:

ONE: Stylish fitted jeans that are comfortable enough to allow room for the occasional stops at cafes along the way to enjoy chocolate croissants and cups of cafe-au-lait.

TWO: Since Paris weather is unpredictable, a classic trench coat or a chic timeless jacket are must-haves to fend off the city's erratic elements like a Parisian.

THREE: You wouldn't dare be caught in the most stylish city on earth with a bad hair day, so a great sturdy elegant umbrella is an accessory must for any unexpected rainfall.

FOUR: The quintessential French accessory is the scarf. Parisian women are known for wearing scarves and for good reason - it adds that pop of color to their neutral palette while keeping the cold breezy air at bay and the neckline warm. (But of course, wearing a scarf is an art for a Parisienne, so arm yourself with these few tips on how to tie a scarf like a Parisienne.)

FIVE: To enjoy the beautiful sights, a good pair of cool-looking, comfortable walking boots are imperative for strolling along the streets of Paris.

SIX: Dainty jewelry accessories (some more amazing choices here) give that effortlessly chic vibe.

SEVEN: You can never go wrong with an understated black sheath dress that can easily go from day to night; adorn with a simple necklace, a swipe of red lipstick, and voila!

EIGHT: It's always good to have more than one piece of outerwear when traveling. I couldn't think of anything edgier and cooler to traverse the streets of Paris in style more than this Helmut Lang leather sleeves jacket (which is at a whopping 60% off right now). Whoop!

NINE: I added these exotic Derek Lam ankle booties as another possibility in lieu of option No. 5. They screamed for my attention. Aren't they divine?

TEN: In addition to selection No.1, these dressier Current/Elliott slim-fit stretch black jeans (also on SALE) make for a perfect second outfit option. Two pair of pants is all you need to keep your traveling bag light.

ELEVEN: It's a walking city, stylish flats are indispensable. And what better place to sport a signature pair like these Chanel ballerina flats.

TWELVE: This Rebecca Minkoff crossbody bag, a less expensive option to the Chanel Stitch boy flap bag allows for carrying your lady essentials in a hands-free manner, giving you the freedom to hold your maps, and is just as sexy looking.

THIRTEEN: Again, in case option No. 11 isn't your taste, this quilted Chanel ballerina with floral embellishment and stacked block heel looks quite snazzy - perfect to pair with every piece in this suitcase.

...other great options:

Super Bowl Sunday Cocktail Queen

How is it that it's already Super Bowl time this weekend already?!? That alone should tell you that we're not planning on having any party. We have attended a good amount of big Super Bowl events at friends' houses and hosted them at our own home over the years, but the hubby who's not much for crowds, (especially the type that talks while the game is going on) has vouched to have a quiet Super Bowl viewing at home. For me, there are three things I look forward to during the Super Bowl while I'm stuck having to listen to the pestering, auctioneer-like commentary of the sports castors: delectable food, the halftime show and cocktails!! So for our intimate 'party of two' (which might change last minute...), I thought I'd make one of my favorite signature cocktails called "Queen Bee" that Duplex on 3rd in LA turned me on to, which will give me something to look forward to on Sunday and get me in a happy spirit for the sake of the hubby during those long hours of the game . It's distinctive sweet flavor is light, refreshing and the splash of bubbly gives it a festive fizz that will take my Super Bowl Sunday from dull to delightful.

Here's how it's made:

Ingredients (serves 6)

1/2 Cup Honey (TIP: warm up just a tad in a glass measuring cup to liquefy it, so it can incorporate well.)

1/2 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 Cup Pineapple Juice

1 Cup Vodka

1/2 Cup St. Germain Elderflower Liquor


A Handful of Red Raspberries for Topping (optional... I used cherries in mine since that's all I had on hand.)

Directions Whisk honey with lemon juice and pineapple juice until completely dissolved. Fill cocktail shaker with ice, shake mixture vigorously with the vodka and St. Germain. Strain into chilled cocktail glasses. Top with a splash of Prosecco and 1 red raspberry.

~ Also check out these other 5 simple recipes for Super Bowl Sunday.


Broken Checks

Most of the time, if I were to describe my style in one word - it would be eclectic. From interior decor to fashion, I've never been one to shy away from playing with different combinations of pattern, texture and color just to see what I come up with, as is proven here by the combo of this 'unique' outfit ensemble. So on this particular morning when I opted for the Calvin Klein houndstooth print sweater dress, it was not my plan to wear it with the chevron coat, but as I was rushing out (as it inevitably seems to always be the case) to my meeting, that coat was what felt right to me in the moment. The juxtaposition of these two classic patterns ended up working well together for the chartreuse green color in the coat with its fur collar added a playful contrast and personality against the all black and white. To awaken the look, I injected the orange statement necklace (styled here) for an unexpected punch.

Chevron Coat (old - really liking this and this), Calvin Klein Dress (on SALE now), L.A.M.B. Noss Stilleto Booties (currently out of stock), Statement Necklace (similar)

"It’s a new era in fashion - there are no rules. It’s all about the individual and personal style, wearing high-end, low-end, classic labels, and up-and-coming designers all together." — Alexander McQueen


Grateful Moments

{That time when I snuck into a cafe to warm up}

Happy Friday! Any fun plans for this weekend? Honestly, I have no real agenda to speak of for this weekend, which I'm secretly happy about because I've been moving around indolently these past couple of days. So I intend to have a low key weekend. I'd like to finish at least one book out of the 4 that I'm reading simultaneously and possibly squeeze in watching a movie, or I may coerce the hubby to go see 'Big Eyes'. In the meantime, here are some of the moments that I'm grateful for.

{This wallpaper means a cozy fun weeknight getaway at one of our favorite local spots}

{Just a simple ribbon finish made this shopping bag feel even more special}

{Can't help but be grateful for a different variety of this view daily}

{Such an awesome idea for a kitchen wall}


Necessary Kitchen Tools

Going into Sur la Table, Williams Sonoma, or any other kitchen supply store makes me as giddy as entering into any clothing boutique or major department store to clothes shop. It's usually a hard balance of restraint from buying almost all the cooks' tools when I'm in those places. Thanks to having a mild touch of excessive compulsion were keeping my countertops free from a lot of gadgets (with the exception of a couple necessary objects like flour and snack set canisters, toaster, and kitchen aid mixer), that reels me in and limits me to buying only what I really need. However, the items listed in this post are some aesthetically pleasing necessities I have found to be practical kitchen tools that make prepping a lot quicker, especially as a person who entertains at a drop of a hat. I'm slowly modernizing by using the electric machines in lieu of using arm muscles (to squeeze my orange juice in the morning for instance)...for the sake of spending less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying a quick respite before entertaining guests, so my days of doing things like Julia Child are fading into the past.

...some more functionally pretty kitchen tools options for your shopping pleasure:


Favorite Links

1.  Inspirational modeling stories that reinforce why reaching 40 and beyond is not the time to give up on dreams, but it could be the beginning of wonderful possibilities.

3. Going to implement these 5 new can be done anywhere ab exercises to see if I can get back my adolescent abs before the spring/summer arrives.

4. I would have never thought to handle a squirrel this way, but it's pretty funny.

5. 82 mind-blowing movie facts that you probably didn't know (like, Sean Connery wore a wig in every single one of his bond performances.)  


Citron Checkered on a Snow Day

Oh snow days, how I love thee! The best thing about snow fall is that it makes everything look more beautiful. I really like the glow and freshness that it casts on the terrain. It's one of those seasonal blessings that helps break up the monotonous gray that sometimes give the winter blues. A blanket of fresh snow seems to deafen the noise of the chaotic world around us and energizes me to put on my 'cone-like' white beanie and boots with a touch of citron color, rounded out with a fun checkered pattern clutch to go exploring the blankness of a vanished landscape. As I feel the rush of cold fresh air enter my lungs, the mental fogginess dissipates, reinvigorating my soul.

Golden Lime Green Coat, Nordstrom Grey Corduroy Leggings, White Turtleneck (similar), Grey Fuzzy Sweater (similar), White beanie (similar), Patent Leather Boots (old), Aldo Checkered Clutch, Black Cashmere Gloves 

Similar outfit options:


Going Back To Closet Basics

A classic tux blazer// Effortless chic wide-leg pants// The versatile button-down shirt// 

Back when I was 18 years old when I started my first job on Wall Street, proper professional business office attire from black slacks to button-down shirts, pencil skirts, and blazers was of utmost importance to companies. This helped me learn how to be a savvy shopper - focusing more on classic dressy pieces that made getting dressed in the morning a cinch. Over time as I got out of the corporate world, I've deviated from that mindset when it comes to clothes buying. I've been slowly editing my wardrobe so I can get back to those days of having classy basic timeless pieces that kept my closet looking minimally chic and sharp. That process to achieving this goal, however, has been dragging on a bit too long and has me feeling antsy as of late. It may have to do with all the mega 'end of the year' sales that some of my favorite stores like, Barneys, Club MonacoNordstrom, Piperlime, Shopbob, Express, Net-A-Porter are currently running. These deep-discounted prices afford one the opportunity to snatch those much-desired wardrobe base pieces at more sensible prices {as I always say 'the prices that they should have been to begin with...'} that will get you excited about going into your closet in the morning.

...more favorite options:


Stenciled Entry Wall Makeover

The first moment I saw our new space, I knew I wanted the whole place be painted bright white just to keep everything feeling cohesive and fresh since it's an open concept design. In that same instance, I also knew that I was going to either wallpaper or stencil the long entry wall just to hide the thoughtlessly placed circuit breaker box, which was a major eyesore. After a couple of days contemplating the idea of hiring someone to apply the wallpaper (as it has been years since I've applied my own wallpaper), I opted for stenciling instead, because I felt this would be a lot quicker to get it done in the time frame I was working with. Let's just say, I was too impatient to wait to find someone reliable and good to do the job without causing me much frustration. Since there really isn't a designated entryway as I'd hoped for, I decided to create visual separation by stenciling that one big wall, which sets it apart from the rest of the room while making it stand out. I also find the process of applying paint over a pattern on a wall and peeling it off to reveal the design underneath to be most gratifying. I settled on a pattern that I felt would give the look of wallpaper with a feel of sophistication. So I channeled the inner artist in me and went to town - finishing the whole wall in three days with the help of my dear loving hubby and Julie and Julia on repeat playing in the background, keeping me company through the whole process. I now know almost every line in the movie by heart. Love that movie! 


The hubby and I couldn't be any happier with the end result. It wasn't an easy project because at the beginning after stenciling the first square on the wall, it got a bit tricky trying to match up the pattern perfectly. It was exceptionally difficult in the corners. I ended up painting the corners free-hand since the stencil was too big for those sections. Vision and determination made all the hard work pay off in the most dramatic way, even better than I imagined. The combination of shimmering high gloss paint along with the pattern gives the wall surface such a depth, creating the resemblance of a high quality wallpaper. The ultimate bonus: the unsightly circuit breaker box disappears. 

If you are yearning for more than flat painted walls and want big impact on a small budget in the fastest way possible, I highly suggest patterned stencils. The design options are endless.

...some classic options:



While most seem to be ready for spring right after New Year's Eve...I, on the other hand, love to relish in everything winter. From winter scented candles, snow fall and glistening snow branches, to snuggling up watching a movie without feeling guilty whilst enjoying the soft glow of winter light peaking through the windows. But I especially revel in all the layers - there's nothing more cozy than the feel of soft luxurious fur brushing against the skin on chilly winter days. Adding this faux fur vest {from piperlime} over my leather jacket kept me warm and the outer layers looking chic, thanks to its contemporary motto inspired design with asymmetrical zipper closure and leather trim detail. I thought the texture and color contrast on the Rachel Roy's calf hair shootie {that is now on SALE!} combined with the clutch brought the outfit to life.

Similar outfit options:

A Brand New Year 2015

Here we are a week into 2015. How has it been going so far? How many of you are still going strong with your new years resolutions? Much like when a big plate of food placed in front of me turns off my appetite - making a long list of resolutions tends to also de-energize me instead of motivating me. So, instead of being gung ho on making resolutions that most likely will make me feel like a failure by mid-January, I find writing down small realistic daily goals to be more approachable. I can tick items off my list as I fulfill them, which gives me more of a sense of accomplishment and confidence, while serving as building blocks to reach those monumental goals. For the next year, there are at least 12 things that I especially want to consciously work extra hard on improving aside from how I live my life normally.

1. Being kinder to myself by consciously shutting out the negative noise.

2. Focus more on the small accomplishments, instead of the seeming failures.

3. Dwell on people and things that matter, rather than spending energy on those who drain.

4. Spend more days reading.

5. Not shy away from doing the things I love just because it makes others jealous and envious.

6. Stop berating myself when I don't have time to post on the blog.

7. Live more with intent and less from habit.

8. Daily focus on getting at least 5 things done on my to-do list.

9. Network more with inspirational people.

10. Curtail my sugar intake (ahem, like desserts, cocktails, sweet wines...hope I can see my way through on this.  It's only the first week and I am almost caving in!)

11. Take more professional risks and not be afraid to make mistakes in business.

12. The top quote sums up my ultimate goals for 2015 in a nutshell.

How about you - what are the main goals you want to focus on this year?