Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012 much has happened these last few weeks.  There were a lot of these things I could've put in this entry: product reviews, purchases, vacation photos...but what I really wanted to do was simple.  And that was to simply wish everyone a merry Christmas.  Even if you don't celebrate Christmas, I wish you the peace and joy of the Christmas spirit. 

Here are 2 photos from my most recent trip.  Photo #1was taken at a manger scene in a chapel in Shepherds' Field, also in Bethlehem, which is where the shepherds were when they learned of the birth of our Lord.  Photo #2 was taken at the actual site of Jesus's birth, in what is now known as the Church of the Nativity, located in Bethlehem, Palestine (yes, that's my hand!). 

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

I had such a busy day today, but it was quite nice.  I heard from my loved ones and had a nice sushi dinner with my family.  I nearly forgot about this until I got a text from my friend M.  Here's my b-day present(s), finally unwrapped:
It's nothing new.  It's been a couple of months since these items were released, but I just had to keep the promise to myself to not open my birthday presents until my birthday came.  Well, I can finally introduce these babies into the world: my limited-edition Yayoi Kusama & Louis Vuitton blue Speedy bag with white keychain. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Chosen Few

So I finally decided to pare down my Christian Louboutin collection to 20 pairs.  It was a much easier decision to make than I thought.  I slowly sold off pair by pair, until I got to 20.  Here are the chosen few, none of which I would sell unless I really will, literally, starve:

In case you want to know the color/material/style names:
back row (left to right): jade watersnake Jenny, nude patent Lady Peep, nude/red patent Very Prive, leopard ponyhair Madame Butterfly pump, and batik python No Prive; 3rd row from front (left to right): black kid Clou Noeud, yellow satin Jolie Noeud, nude patent Bianca, nude satin Youpli, and blue python Lady Claude; 2nd row from front (left to right): purple satin Fiorellino, black/burgundy jazz No Prive, mandarin red suede Lady Gres 160, lavender sequin Poseidon, and black patent Horatio; front fow (left to right): black nappa Madame Butterfly booty, leopard ponyhair Tigresse, gray suede Declic, leopard ponyhair Simple 85mm pumps, and red lizard Simple 100 mm pumps

I think I did a pretty good job keeping the variety of colors and materials I have here.  I have every color in the rainbow represented, plus a few others, too.  I also did a pretty good job of mixing up classics, seasonal, and limited styles...and kept it at a relatively low total.

For a while, I wanted to keep my collection at 21 pairs, but I then decided that lucky #21 will be purchased AFTER I meet my big goal ;)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

10 Days to Go...

...until I can open you...

Friday, October 19, 2012

A "New to Me" Hermes Purchase

This is only my 2nd consignment-store purchase.  I bought a pair of Chloe heels a while back, which were brand-new.  I told myself I'd buy only unused items from consignment stores, and this new purchase isn't exactly unused, but it's pretty close.  It had a tiny stain on it, but it's hardly noticeable, and I got it for just $75 (slightly more than half the current retail price of $140).  Here's my newest Hermes twilly!  It's called "Belles du Mexique".  I remember seeing it at the boutique, but unable to find it in the twilly size.  I'm so happy to call it mine now!

Hermes items truly are the pinnacle of luxury, even down to tiny inches-long pieces of silk.  However, they are pricey so if you're trying to save where you can while still enjoying luxury (like I am), consignment is the way to go.  Just be sure to really examine your pieces before purcashing.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hermes AND Louis Vuitton in One Post

I knew there was no doubt that my Kelly dog was authentic, as I'd purchased it from a Hermes boutique and know that they'd never sell an inauthentic item to a long-time customer, but the issue came up recently.

In the wake of my closet-cleaning kick and all the ebay drama, I've been carefully going through all my possessions and have been finding items that I forgot I ever owned.  Yesterday, I came across my blue electrique Kelly dog bracelet (pictured below, modeled with Chanel Blue Rebel nail polish--a great match, don't you think?!), which I've never worn, so I decided to give it to my oldest sister, who's a fashion freak, with a focus on bags and Kelly dogs (she owns 6 to date and is constantly on the lookout for more--she's a designer item freak in general--oh, it's a girl's dream to look in her closet, I mean, bedroom that was set aside just for clothes, shoes, and bags!).  She was excited to get it, but her face fell when she examined it.  She pointed out that, unlike the KDs she owns, there was no "HERMES PARIS MADE IN FRANCE" heat stamp on the inside of the leather band.  I actually never noticed, and as I own just one KD and had no doubt it was authentic, I never even looked for it.  It'd been 10 months since I purchased it, so I thought it was too late to do anything about it...but I decided it bothered me enough, so on the advice of my sister, I called the Hermes boutique from where I purchased it and spoke to a manager.  She listened carefully and suggested that I bring it into the boutique. 
I got to the boutique about an hour later.  The manager with whom I spoke was at lunch, but I was helped by another nice manager.  She took one look at the KD and declared it authentic.  I pointed out the missing heat stamp, and she said it was strange, but undoubtedly authentic.  However, she decided to ask another manager about it.  The other manager came just a couple of minutes later.  She agreed it was authentic, yet unusual without the heat stamp.  Neither one could explain why for sure, but with Hermes goodies being hand-made, the look of the finished product is up to the person who actually makes it.  You see, with mass-produced goods, they all look the same.  With hand-made ones, how they end up is decided by the person who makes it BY HAND.  It's possible (s)he decided it wouldn't look right with the stamp (it does make an impression on the leather, which you can see on the other side--like when you press hard while writing and look at the reverse side of the paper and see the impressions your pen made) or just plain forgot.  Makes sense?  Well, anyway, they gave me 3 options: 1) have it sent back to France to have it heat-stamped; 2) exchange it for another KD; or 3) get store credit.  They actually had one in the store, so I opted for #2, also because my sister's specific instructions were "If they have any non-black or tan ones in the store, buy them all"!  They had a KD in a brand-new color called "mangue", which is a peachish color, but I think "mangue" is supposed to be "mango" (I know about 5 French words total, so don't quote me on that!).  As it turns out, the price was raised in January by $30 (current price is $490), so I ended up paying the difference.  I initially thought the difference should've been waived, but the manager was being so sweet that when she told me she wouldn't be able to waive it, I didn't argue.  Oh, well, they did accommodate an exchange on an item bought almost a year ago!  The KD ended up going to my sister.  She was more than pleased to get it.  She has perfect olive skin, and it blended quite nicely with her arm.  I think I'll hold out for a lizard or croc in the future.  Here's a pic of "mangue" leather (image is from 
Overall, though, an interesting experience.  I'm not sure other fashion houses would accommodate an exchange for an item purchsed months into the past, but Hermes is an exception. 

Onto the Louis Vuitton story: my sister and I had been exchanging calls back and forth while we debated what to do about the KD dilemma (I involve my family as much as I can in my life--and she's the go-to for fashion crises).  She asked that, while I was in Beverly Hills, could I pop into the LV boutiques (the store on Rodeo and the store-in-store at Saks) and see if any polka-dot Kusama Speedy bags were left.  For someone really into fashion, I thought she was kinda slow on this bandwagon...but anyway...I did.  Both were sold out of them totally (although a couple of Neverfulls were left--go figure), but a nice saleslady at Rodeo Drive told me that the Topanga Plaza store had a yellow and green left.   It was kinda funny cuz she made a disappointed-looking face as she told me this and said, " know where that is?  It's way out in the Valley!".  I smiled and said, "That's where I live".  She then offered to put one on hold for me, but I said no thanks and called my sister right away.  She then told me to go to her house, only 15 minutes away and bring the KD over.  I did, and when I got there, she had a huge smile and told me she was heading to the Valley to pick up the yellow Kusama Speedy at Topanga Plaza.  We headed there in our separate cars and got there within an hour, she before me.  When I got there, she excitedly told me she had just purchased the yellow AND the green Kusama Speedy bags!  They were the last 2 in the store, and now all the stores in the Los Angeles area are sold out of Kusama Speedy bags.  I just laughingly shake my head at my crazy sister =)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Calm Blue Ocean, Calm Blue Ocean...

Sooo much drama in the Drama Queen's life lately. 

I don't want to bore you too much with every last detail of every last situation, so I'll choose to talk about the drama that's fashion-related.

I've been on this closet-cleaning kick lately, and for the most part, it's been going well.  I've been selling on ebay for more than 5 years, and after almost 200 sales, I've been lucky...until last week.  I got hit with not one but TWO cases of "item significantly not as described" from buyers claiming that the items I sold them were not authentic.  Both were high-end designer items, and both ARE authentic.  The DQ does not do fake.  The DQ doesn't even buy online.  The DQ works really hard and saves her money to buy less, but the better and real thing.  I provided the bitches with the receipts and photos to prove the items' authenticities, but both insisted on refunds and sent totally nasty messages to me demanding refunds. 

Instead of taking a chance on escalating and being in the 99% of cases in which ebay sides with the buyer, I decided to refund the bitches.  I'm done with ebay after this, and seeing the slow sales lately are making me chuckle just a bit.  If sellers don't feel valued, then there will be nothing to sell, and ebay doesn't get their commissions.  OK, ebay's a big company, and there will always be people looking to unload their stuff even for just chump change, but I don't have to be a part of it.  I think I'd rather hold onto my stuff or give it away for free to friends and family.  BTW, do NOT sell to or buy from dproby2011 or sara_spendersara was the worse of the 2.  She told me she took her item to a Hermes store (and was allegedly told it was fake), but I know the store she reportedly took it to, and I know those salespeople don't authenticate items from ebay, and I'm a well-known customer at that store.  She also threatened to give me negative feedback if she didn't get her refund immediately, which is considered "feedback extortion" and against ebay rules.  Oh, well, sara doesn't deserve the joy of owning a real Hermes item, which makes it wonderful she doesn't get to keep mine at the discount price she paid for it. over over the drama, so on Sunday, I headed to the beach.  I thought about inviting a friend, but later decided I needed to think, so I decided to go alone.  Someone once told me that looking at the ocean makes you forget your problems cuz looking at the ocean makes you realize how small you really are (and if you're DQ, you're really small!).  It's true.  I took a couple of pics of the Pacific Ocean from my car, which I posted here for you to see.  It took me only 20 minutes to drive there, so I think I will be returning the next time I need to think.

BTW, the title is a line from an episode of my favorite TV show, "The Simpsons".

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Hard Work Is Finally Paying Off

I've been slaving away at my job for the past 4 years, taking abuse from patients and their family members and other staff, but mostly from management. As someone who has always had a strong work ethic, I always put my best effort in, regardless of the results. Finally...the little guy (girl) is catching a break!

I was just about to go home from work today when I decided to check my email one last time. Surprise! I got a very nice email stating, "Congratulations, R! Your application for student loan repayment has been approved!". Yay! I applied for this program 6 months ago. I had only a day to fill ou the application, and I knew it was a long shot, but I gave it a try anyway. The idea behind this program was to serve as an incentive to retain employees the company felt was deserving of the honor because they are so great the company doesn't want to lose them to other companies. One obstacle in the way of my huge goal, on which I am 100% focused, is my student loan. I'm now facing the possibility that I may never have to pay another cent toward it. I worked hard in school to get my Master's degree, and I worked hard for 7 years after it, and now I'm catching a break. I'm so grateful I'm almost in tears (seriously)!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Bye-bye, Raspberry Babies!

Hi, dear readers. For those of you in the United States, I hope you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend. I'm staying home, but for those of you going wonderful places, take me with you in spirit. May we return home safely and well-relaxed. I think the farthest I'll physically venture this weekend is Beverly Hills lol
Anyway, the closet cleanout continues. I said good-bye to the beautiful pair pictured on this entry, my framboise suede Christian Louboutin Madame Butterfly booties. To work toward my goal, I have to "Sophie's choice" my shoe collection. So I ended up literally listing all my CL shoes on paper and found that I had 24 pairs left in my collection. Initially, I decided that 20 was the maximum number to have, but I decided to change it to lucky number 21. I highlighted all the ones I HAD to keep and made sure to leave out 3. One of them was the framboise MBBs. I was so excited to get them last year, but in 14 months, I never found the opportunity to wear them outside my house. I thought of getting rid of them sooner, but whenever I took them out of the box, I'd change my mind. No looking back, just rip the band-aid off, DQ, and let them go. The universe must've heard me cuz I got a reasonable offer for them immediately, from a grateful woman in New Jersey. She'd been looking for this pair for a while, and now she's getting them brand-new and below retail. I hope she gets her Cinderella moment in them. They're on their way to her as I type. Sniff-sniff
Oh, well, I still have my bad-a$z black leather MBBs. The great thing about the cleaning of the closet is that whatever is left gets appreciated more. I will NOT fall into old habits and look to add to the collection to replace what I let go, at least not right now. I will NOT fall into old habits...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lessons Learned in Luxury Purchasing/Sales

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about selling off my rouge garrance Birkin. I'm still on the closet purge, so I had to say good-bye to another beloved item: my aqua Christian Louboutin Poseidons. It was a hard decision to make, but as I got a decent offer for them, I decided to let the aqua ones go. I bought the aqua ones from the West Hollywood boutique, which carried it in that color, gold, and silver. I didn't even know the lavender ones existed until they were posted on tpf, but it was sold at other boutiques, and I couldn't afford to get 2 pairs at the time. Fast-forward a few months, when a dear friend and CL angel told me he found the lavender ones ON SALE! He fronted the money for me and even brought them to me, then they were mine! I hate to admit that I haven't even worn them yet :( .... but I promise to soon! The aqua babies went to a very grateful buyer in New York who swooned over them 2 years ago in the boutiques, but couldn't shell out the retail price for them. She was very grateful to find them again. I hope they find their way to her and she can have her Cinderella moment in them. Here's the one picture I took of me wearing them, on a Mexican cruise captain's dinner in 2010 (Wow! What a difference 2 1/2 years can make--that dress was a size 10--I now wear a size 2).
Anyway, in this closet purge, I learned a few lessons, which I will now share with you. These were some very expensive lessons, and by reading them, maybe I can save someone else from making the same mistakes. However, don't take my words as gospel. Do what's right for you and you alone. Also understand that your experience may be different from mine.
1) I'm not Victoria Beckham/Paris Hilton/Kim Kardashian/etc. I'm a single working girl with a limited wardrobe budget. Every lesson following this one is based on this premise.
2) No one needs designer bags or shoes. You buy them because you want them. You can carry your essentials in a no-name bag from Walmart or wear shoes from American Eagle and still look great.
3) If I buy a bag, I buy it for life. Today, I threw out an old Mossimo T-shirt I bought from Target years ago cuz I found a huge rip in the fabric. Designer handbags are different. It takes an AWFUL lot of wear and tear before throwing out should even be considered. Even if it becomes trashed, do you literally throw out the bag? Probably not. The next step would be to take it to Eddie's (see previous posts on my wonderful experiences with this man!).
3) Considering designer handbags last a lifetime, how many can you actually use in your life? The more you have, the more options you have for different outfits/occasions, but the more you have, the less each one gets used.
4) Brand names count for a lot. Rachel Zoe said that your bags should earn you money. I mostly agree with this statement. If you have extra money and find a bag that you want and know you'll love for a long time, then buy it. I will likely not be able to make money off my next birthday present, but goshdarnit, I will love and use it anyway, so it's worth it to me. However, if you're ever in a predicament like I'm in, you'll realize that certain brands carry more worth than others. I sold my Hermes Birkin bag for 96% of the price I paid for it, despite being used and with a few imperfections. The best offer I got for my Chloe Paddington bag was for 23% of the price I paid.
5) Classic bag brands above all else, classic styles above all else. Even though I sold my Birkin for 96% of the original price, I can't even sell my Hermes Paris-Bombay for 50% of the price I paid. Besides the money factor, classic brands/styles can be worn/used at age 18 or 98 or any age in between.
6) Shoes will not make you money, particularly if they're worn. Christian Louboutins are a very desirable brand, and of all designer shoe brands, they're likely to fetch you the highest price, but it's rare that you'll get the amount you paid back. If they're used, you'll be lucky to get 40% of what you paid. So buy the shoe only if you love it. Sell it if you have to, but be prepared to take a hit.
Bottom line: No more "it" bags, and I think I'm done with new purchases, save for the yearly birthday treat ;)
When all's sold and done, I will proudly post pics of my pared-down collection.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Gifts: Obligation or Thoughtful Gesture?

A couple of weeks ago, I got an invitation in the mail to a wedding. The bride was a good friend of mine back in college (many years ago now), but we gradually lost touch over the years. Our contact has whittled down to a yearly Christmas card. As I'm not on Facebook, there are probably a lot of people I could be in touch with. But the way I look at it, even without FB, I manage to keep in touch with the people I want to stay in touch with. This couple chose to put their info on a website, so I logged onto it. I decided to click on the "gifts" tab and immediately saw the phrase "monetary gifts preferred". OK, I get it. This couple is in their 30s and each person owned a home prior to the engagement. They have a lot of stuff and don't need more, so money is more practical, so that they can use it toward paying for the honeymoon or other expenses. I've seen this phrase on almost every wedding invitation I've received, but I still shudder at reading it. I've never had a wedding, but I imagine that if I ever do, I wouldn't expect any gifts. If I invite someone, it'll be because I want him/her there. I wouldn't care if a gift was given by the someone, but I'd be grateful if he/she did give one, no matter what it was. Gifts should be freely given, I believe, so there should be no condition placed upon the giving of it.

I'm currently debating attending or not. I would have to drive 2 hours alone to a venue in which I'd have to sit with people I probably don't know. That would be after I shell out at least a hundred dollars on a gift. Is it worth it? I logged onto tpf to read up on the discussion regarding this issue, and I couldn't believe the number of people who posted that AT LEAST $100/guest should be given to the bride/groom, even if they are just casual acquaintances. The idea is for each guest to cover the cost of his/her meal, so the guest would essentially be reimbursing the bride/groom for his/her share. I get the idea. Weddings are expensive, and in this day and age, many people getting married don't need stuff but need money. Money's more practical, so why not just save the hassle of buying an item when you can fork over the cash? If that's what someone chooses to give, fine, but why ask for it? Even in cultures where it's tradition to give money as a wedding gift, I don't think a request for it is written on the invitation. The guests should be close enough to the couple to know that's what they need that the written requests aren't necessary, I think.

Then I got an invitation to a friend's daughter's birthday celebration. This isn't such a bad situation. This friend actually reached out to me over the years, and I've known her as long as I'v known the friend getting married. This friend actually knows my current situation and offered to serve as a personal reference for job searches. I walked through Beverly Hills today, debating whether or not to get the little girl a "real" gift or to just pick up a gift card or write a check. What if the little girl has clothes and toys, so would money be the best thing? Then I decided to pop into Baby Gap, where I found a cute little dress, and I knew it was the right gift for the darling girl. I pictured her in it, and the style was just so like her mom's. Then I had a thought: gifts aren't an obligation. Gifts are things you freely give, so put a little thought into it, and you'll have your answer. Of course, I got a gift receipt, in case the dress doesn't fit
I was exhausted thinking of all this, so I walked down the street and straight into Sprinkles Cupcakes. And for the first time ever--I didn't see a line outside! thrill during my shopping ban (the only exception being my birthday present!). I meant to take a pic of all 4 cupcakes, but forgot about it until after I ate the raspberry one (oops!), so that's why there are only 3 in the pic lol

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Saying Goodbye to a Member of the (Handbag) Family

Nothing lasts forever, and things are just things. When it comes down to it, you can't hold onto things if they're getting in the way (and we'll all end up leaving the material world without being able to take those things with us, anyway). I have a major goal in mind, and I'm getting closer to achieving it. In order to do that, well...I need more money. When this great offer came, I had to take it, no hesitation allowed. What did I end up saying goodbye to?
The rouge garrance Birkin bag I've had for the last 4 1/2 years. Here is the last photo I took of her. I still remember the day I bought her. I was in Hermes with my friend M., who actually was there to help me purchase it. It was crazy how it happened, but it did, thanks to M. I did carry my red baby a number of times, and she's joined me in various delicious lunches and has overhead some pretty juicy conversations. But it was time to let her go to a new family. It was hard to let her go. Rouge garrance is the perfect shade of lipstick red, and it's no longer being made by Hermes (not in bag form, anyway). Also considering the price of a 35 cm Birkin has gone up considerably since 2008, it was even harder to let her go...but I did. She ended up going to a lucky mother, courtesy of her very grateful daughter. I wish them the best.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Congrats, Allyson Felix!

Today, I drove by Heritage Christian School in North Hills, CA, alma mater of Allyson Felix, winner of 3 track-and-field gold medals at the 2012 Olympics. At the time Allyson was a student, the school was called Los Angeles Baptist.

They should be proud of her. If she wasn't already a star, she is one now. And not only is she talented and beautiful, she is one of the few who actually looks really good running really fast lol. I hope to see her in Rio in 2016!

Image of Allyson is from

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Congrats, Kerri Walsh Jennings & Misty May-Treanor!

Maybe it's cuz I'm a California girl, but beach volleyball was the sport I was most excited to see during the Olympics. KWJ and MMT got their 3rd gold medal in their 3rd straight Olympics games together. I'm so proud of them. It's Misty's final Olympics game, and she went out with a bang.
California girls rule (cue Katy Perry lol)!
(image is from USA Today sports)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Happy 28th Birthday, Ryan!

How hot is Ryan Lochte?! Those eyes! Those arms! Those abs! Those pecs! I don't care that he hasn't won as many medals as Michael Phelps (although congrats to him). He's just hot hot hot! I look forward to seeing more of him during the Olympics. How proud I am to be an American lol...Ah, a perfect use of my 100th blog post...sigh...

ETA: I just watched the local news here, and the local NBC reporter presented his interview with Ryan, who revealed that he'll be moving to LA after the Olympics (Valley Girl scream)!

Image is from

Saturday, July 14, 2012

DvF: My 1st Wrap Dress

It's not exactly my 1st. I bought one about 5-6 years ago, from the now-closed Belle Gray Calabasas boutique (owned by Lisa Rinna and Harry Hamlin). The dress was turquoise, sleeveless, and had brown lip prints on it. I paid almost $400 for it, and I wore it only once, to a friend's wedding. The reason I wore it once was actually a good one. It was because, not long after I bought it, I became 3 sizes too small for it. I wanted another one, but the quality of Diane von Furstenberg clothing appears to have gone down since I bought my 1st one, so I didn't feel it was worth paying $400 for another. Fast-forward to today: I was at Saks in Beverly Hills after my haircut. I combed through the DvF racks about 3 times and didn't find anything, so I ate in the cafe, ready to leave with nothing but my leftovers and the Clinique All About Eyes Rich cream I picked up from the cosmetics counter (I highly recommend it-I felt it work instantly!). Newly energized after my meal, I decided to hit the general women's contemporary section sale racks. There I spotted this: my 1st DvF wrap dress (I'll consider it my 1st, since I'd sold the real 1st one). The style is called "Julian 2" and the print is called "African tulip". I found a really nice sales associate to let me into the fitting room. I tried it on, and when I came out, I asked the SA for the price. She scanned it: $164.25! Down from $365. I wasn't 100% sure of it, but decided it was time to go home and bought it anyway. After going to dinner, I tried it on at home and took pics of myself in it for the moment of truth. I love its feminine fit, but the material is clingy and not very forgiving. Shapewear is recommended, but as someone who hates shapewear (too restrictive for me), I found acceptable middle ground (a regular slip over perfectly-fitting cotton underwear), which I'm wearing in the pics. I also recommend buying these dresses in a size up. I think I could've fit into the size 2, but I found that the size 4 fit just fine, due to the clinginess of the material. Also, I tried this dress on after eating buffalo wings and pizza and drinking a Coke, so I have an idea what it looks like on a bloated stomach (very useful to do, as many special events revolve around a meal).
What do you think, readers? Keep? Or return (I think I have 30 days)?

Friday, July 13, 2012

I Found My Birthday Present!

Every year, I allow myself a guilt-free expensive luxury purchase for my birthday. For my birthday, I allow myself to break a certain price barrier I would never otherwise break. The challenge is picking something that happens to be available for purchase at that time (October) that I really, truly want, not just something I have to get just because it's that time of year. Last year, I ended up buying a couple of things I liked, but didn't love that much (although they were practical, like the Christian Louboutin wallet, which I use every day now). This year, though, I told myself it won't be that way...and it won't. I found something that will be available to purchase in October--perfect timing. So what is this thing that will arrive in October? Here's a hint (image from

Monday, July 9, 2012

Night of Filipino Entertainment

Last night, musical history was made at the Hollywood Bowl. In LA, we had the first-ever concert featuring traditional Filipino dance and music, as well as modern dance and music, featuring current celebrities of Filipino descent. I knew I had to attend this event. And I'm so glad I did.
The mastermind behind the event was, a rapper from the Black Eyed Peas. In fact, all members of the BEP were there (minus Fergie). Also featured was Nicole Scherzinger. The event was hosted by Lou Diamond Phillips. is very proud to be Filipino and incorporates many elements of Filipino culture in his work. While he rapped and danced, videos of real native Filipinos were featured in the backdrop. The BEP sang some of their great hits ("Let's Get it Started" and "Pump It" among them), and so did Nicole. People danced and sang along. I'm happy to say that the audience was full of Filipinos that supported their kababayan, as well as non-Filipinos that came with friends introducing them to the culture or that just came out for a great time. Judging from audience response (very loud, and it was loud, despite being an outdoor venue), people had a great time.
I'm not much of a hip-hop lover these days, but I'm still a fan of the BEP. I admire their persistence and hard work. They really did struggle along, playing the college scene for years, before they became as famous as they are now. In addition, they're grateful for their success. This venue was relatively small, considering how well-known they are around the world, but they signed onto it anyway, in thanks to the Filipino community for supporting them from the beginning. They even expressed their thanks to the audience and to Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (a non-profit Filipino organization) for supporting them from their early years.
My seat wasn't great, since I got my ticket kind of at the last minute, but I got some pics to show you. I apologize for the poor quality (from top to bottom: 1) marquee sign in front of Hollywood bowl); 2) dancers performing the tinikling, a popular Filipino folk dance); 3), with Filipino choir members in various forms of traditional costumes; 4) from left to right: Nicole Scherzinger, of the BEP, and apl).

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

I will not buy those Louboutins...yes, they're on sale for under $300...but I don't need them...and I'm happy with my current collection...OK, crisis averted! Onward...
To my US readers: Happy Independence Day! I hope that, at sometime today, wherever you ended up, you took a moment to reflect on something wonderful about our great country. I admit that mine ended up being late in the day, after I learned that the Lakers signed Steve Nash=) But being that the Lakers are an American basketball team, that did lead me to think of how grateful and proud I am to be an American. I didn't end up going to the beach or Rose Bowl to watch fireworks, like many Angelenos did, but I did participate in a 4th of July tradition--barbecuing! Yum!
To my international readers: Happy 4th of July! I hope your day was good, whatever it was you did and wherever you ended up.
(Above photo is from

Friday, June 15, 2012

That Time of Year-Christian Louboutin Spring Sale

Oh, boy...there goes the drama about the CL sales on the forum again. I really don't get all the frustration and the "Private-message me if you want the sale list", then saying "We don't post the list cuz we don't want to ruin our relationships with our sales associates". Why go on there to say you have the list, then refuse to give it out? I actually did PM someone, who did not give me the list. What was the point then? You just wanted to show off that you got the list to people you didn't know? It's like watching "The Real Housewives of Orange County" for me. I love hearing the silly little quips, but then someone says something really mean (usually Tamra), and I have to change the channel or turn off the TV. It's just shoes, it's just TV. If you get what you want, great. If not, well, that's life. Move on...

I did end up getting what I wanted this time, and it was unexpected, which made it even sweeter. I promised I'd sit this one out, but I couldn't help myself! I headed out to the Robertson boutique and got the only pair of these that made it to sale, which meant that they totally sold out at full-price. Here are my CL Super Dombasles, this time in taupe suede. I swear this will be my last pair of CL for a looooooong time!

I really should post a CL collection pic. And more modeling shots, too. My new summer goal =)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bye-Bye, Betsey!

OK, not really. Fashion designer Betsey Johnson will continue to produce clothes and other stuff, but the brand will cease to exist as it has been for the past several years. I didn't know the news about the bankruptcy until yesterday, when my sister sent me an email telling me to hurry on down to my local Betsey store to check out the store-closing sale. I did, and sure enough, there was a huge sign saying "Last 2 Days". There were some dresses hanging on the racks, and even the racks were for sale. I walked away empty-handed, but decided to return today.
I got there right after the mall opened and picked up dress #1, a navy silk ruffly halter style poofy dress (pictured near right, with my Christian Louboutin nude Very Prives with red tip). As I gave the dress to the sales associate to ring up, I asked her, "What's gonna happen to you guys?". She looked a little surprised, then said softly, "We find new jobs" (I wonder if anyone else had asked her that question). She added, "I'm just sad there's no more Betsey". She made an even sadder face, then continued on, talking about her fond memories of seeing her mom wear Betsey's pieces from the '80s, and I really felt for her. I hope she does find a new job, one that will make her even happier.
I had my eye on dress #2 (the white floral version of dress #1), but decided to wait on it and return for it if I decided I still wanted it after giving it some thought, so I left with dress #1 only. I did think about it and decided I wanted it, so I returned for dress #2 about an hour later (I guess that Rebecca Taylor dress I just bought from Nordstrom will be going back--yay for their easy return policy!). It almost didn't go home with me. I spotted it in a fitting room with a young girl. I stood around, waiting to see if she would buy it, and it seemed like forever. There were others on the rack, but there was only 1 in my size, and it was with the girl. She finally came out with the dress, along with several other pieces. She joined a middle-aged woman (probably her mom), an elderly woman (probably her grandma), and 2 little girls (probably her sisters) for a brief conversation in Farsi. Then the girl turned to a SA and gave her all the clothes in her hands and said, "I'll think about it". The SA turned around and saw me, so I asked her for the dress. She handed it to me, and I took it into the fitting room to make sure. It was mine 5 minutes later. I left with the iconic hot-pink Betsey shopping bag in my hand, for the last time from that store. It's closed for good in 5 1/2 hours.
I decided to read up on the story when I got home. So many people felt that her targeted wearer was too young to afford the clothing. They may be right. I saw a lot of teenage girls in the store with their moms today. It turns out the SA wasn't totally right. The company plans to keep a few stores open, and some of the collection will be sold at Nordstrom and Saks. However, who knows what will happen in this shaky economy? And I may not love the future collections, so these 2 dresses may be my last Betsey pieces. Today, I realize that Betsey's designs really fit my style. I love the ultrafeminine, Isn't it awesome being a girl?" look. Maybe I should've taken advantage of buying from the store that's down the street from my house when it was still there. Oh, well, it's only right then to treasure the pieces I do have, including these 2 dresses. My friend joked that I should keep one dress in my closet with the tags on, but I don't think I can. It is awesome being a girl, and I want to show the world I really believe that by wearing these dresses.
Just wanted to edit to add, since I'm a girl who loves sports and loves to support her fellow kababayan (countryman): Pacquiao, you were robbed (read the story here:! You won that fight, and boxing fans all over the world know it! Don't agree to the rematch. The judges' decision just proves that the World Boxing Organization is f*cked up and allows the wrong people to win. You had an illustrious career, and don't allow the WBO the glory of presenting any more of your work. Retire with the titles and honors that you won for yourself and allowed us Filipinos to hold our heads high. Like the ESPN announcer said, the decision is a true injustice to the sport and to fans. I will no longer be a part of it. As a boxing fan who became one only because of Pacquiao, I resign!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Someone In Your Corner

I've never been a fan of "The Real Housewives of Orange County". I've missed several episodes, but because my favorite show has been canceled ("Ringer"), and I no longer have a show to look forward to on Tuesday nights, I tuned in. I came upon the episode in which the women take a trip to Costa Rica. They're having dinner, and 3 of the 4 other women gang up on Alexis, calling her "phony", Tamra even yelling at her. One of the others, Gretchen, was supposed to be a good friend. Of the few episodes I've seen, Tamra appears to be really mean and nasty. They accused Alexis of being "materialistic", but they all are. All of them are driving around in luxury cars and showcasing their multimillion dollar homes on TV. Look, I understand why people dislike Alexis. However, no one deserves to be ganged up on. I've been her...more than once, and it really sucks. You rack your brain trying to figure out where you went wrong, but then, when you gain strength and confidence, you realize that the bullies have the issue, not you.

Somone in your corner is always a good thing. Sometimes, that someone isn't physically there, but you know they would be if they could. I'm lucky to have such a supportive family, and I know they're always in my corner. Also, I'm Filipina, so I've got a big family! One thing I'm proud to be is that person in the corner. Another awesome Scorpio trait: severe loyalty.

Friday, June 1, 2012

In Consideration of Others...

Some of you may already know this, but for those of you that don't, I'll let you know a little bit about my family. My family is very important to me, and I'm very close to them. I'm fortunate enough to have a great relationship with my parents, and as much as they've supported me throughout the years, I think the least I can do is help them out once in a while. My dad had a stroke 3 years ago, which left him unable to do all the things he used to do. He is in his 70s and now walks with a cane or walker, and he can no longer drive. It's very hard for him to leave the house, so whenever he does, it's a huge production. It didn't matter that I was very tired from a busy weekend out of town and went straight into a hectic work week. My dad told me he needed me to pick him up after work today to take him on some errands. No problem. Well, at about 5:15 pm today, we pulled into the parking lot of his local Bank of America. No surprise that there was a long line for the ATMs. It's Friday afternoon, so all those people are like how I used to be, hankering for some cash to spend over the weekend. However, I was annoyed. Why? Those people were standing in the handicapped parking space! I tried to do the polite thing, not honking but looking some of them in the eye and waving to the side, hoping they'd get the message. Either they didn't, or they didn't care. I gave up and parked the car to the side. I told my dad to wait while I went inside to tell the first employee I saw that my dad is disabled, has a hard time walking, and needs the handicapped parking space, but there were people in it. Thank God the BofA employee decided to be helpful. He immediately went outside and politely asked the customers to move out of the way. When I finally parked and helped my dad inside, with him holding onto my arm with his left hand and with the cane in his right, a lady at the front of the line gasped and immediately apologized profusely. I just nodded my head and told her it was OK. The employee who helped us out held the door and told my dad to go straight to the short merchant teller line (for those of you who would like to argue that it's just for business owners, it also happens to be that my dad co-owns a business with a checking account at BofA). If no one had bothered to help, I'd be tempted to instruct my dad to take all his money out of there. But I'm grateful someone did.

It didn't used to be that I cared so much. This being LA, I likely have gone into parking lots to find all spaces taken, except for that one right by the front door. In order to make it more convenient, I probably did pull into the handicapped space and told my friend or family member in the car to wait "while I did this real quick" and "If you see a cop, just move the car". However, most of the time, the cop doesn't come, and most people never move the car, even if they see an elderly person in a wheelchair with the blue placard who has the legal right to be there. I can't tell you how many times I have seen this happen. My dad, who really does have a hard time walking, really does need the space. And unless they're about to be ticketed, people don't care. It's not an even playing field. Please have consideration of others. If even one person stops to think about this for a moment, it can make a difference. I just think about that lady at the bank who apologized to me. Just her words, her being considerate made me less angry, which helped me to be less stressed and a better caregiver to my dad.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Do You Believe Your Astrological Sign Reflects Who You Really Are?

I've been thinking about this question a lot.

Here's a description of my sign (from
"Intense, complicated and unpredictable – a Scorpio woman revels in all these qualities. Most of all she likes being in control of her own destiny and of her relationship. She is unapologetic about her own powerful persona and in fact is attracted to the same kind of self-assurance and magnetism in others. A Scorpio woman is in search of a man who is confident and strong enough to take her for what she is and expects nothing less".

Take away from this what you will ;)

Happy Memorial Day, everybody!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Drama Queen's Collection of Nudes

Nude what? Paintings? Scupltures? Photos? This is me, so what do you think we're talking about here? Shoes, of course! What kind of shoes? Again, this is me, so we're talking about Christian Louboutins. Nude Christian Louboutins!
Most people don't bat an eye on a shoe collection that is 50% or more black. In these people's minds, black is the most practical color. I, however, think nude is. You can wear a nude shoe with any color clothing, and it doesn't look as harsh with light colored clothing as black does. I don't think anyone does a better nude shoe than Christian Louboutin. Fortunately, for me, the nude patent leather used by CL goes pretty well with my skin color. So why not invest in a nude CL shoe collection, and why not post it here?
First, I'll post solos of my newest addition, the Lady Peep, added today. When it first came out a couple of years ago or so, I passed, thinking it looked too much like the Very Prive, of which I already had a nude pair. Then, several months later, I visited the Robertson boutique and discussed the matter with my fave sales associate. I told her my thoughts on it, and she suggested I try the LP because it had a different look. I put my name down for it, but being that I rarely pay for an item without seeing it first, I likely got bumped down under another customer who requested my size but reserved with a credit card. Fast-forward months after that, and I saw them at the South Coast boutique. I tried them on in my usual CL size, 38, but my heels slipped when I walked in them. I tried them in a 37.5, and voila! They were soooo sexy, and my friend M., who was with me that day, agreed. I nearly plunked down my credit card to buy them, but I just couldn't spend the money at the time. A few days ago, I got notification of new styles from my SA at the Horatio boutique in New York. I replied to her text, asking her to let me know when they received the nude LP in 37.5. She replied that they were in her store, in my size! Aaaahhh! I knew I had to act fast cuz I know this is an in-demand style. After a lot of back-and-forth, they were on their way to me. By the way, I highly recommend that if you're planning on buying a classic CL style, buy it as soon as you can afford to. The prices go up on most styles yearly, usually increasing by about $50. The Lady Peep originally cost $895. I bought it for $945. I bought the Bianca when it was $735, back in 2010. Now it costs $845!
By the way, UPS has a new service called "My UPS". I highly recommend it. I used to dread having stuff shipped by UPS cuz, in the past, they refused to hold packages. Being that I'm rarely at home, I always missed the delivery and had to wait for the package to be delivered to the customer service center so I could pick it up there. One time, about 6 years ago, I waited at the center for 3 hours...on a Friday night! And the UPS employees were so rude. I wanted to leave, but I was waiting for a Hermes bag, so I decided to tough it out. I always thought it was stupid UPS wouldn't hold packages cuz it was actually more convenient for them. Anyway , with "My UPS", you can request the package to be held at the center. If you pay a $5 fee, you can request a different shipping date or address. If you pay a $40 yearly fee, those requests are free. Anyway, the UPS customer service center in my area is 2 miles from my work, so as soon as lunchtime rolled around, I hopped in my car. Totally different experience this time! There was no line, and the guy who helped me was so nice! He read the return label, then said, "Where's this from? Let me see if I can pronounce this right. Christian Louboutin?". He pronounced the name perfectly and smilingly remarked that it was due to his 3 years of high-school French. Then he said, "I've seen that before. What is that? Jewelry? Clothes?". I answered, "Shoes", then he said, "Oh", and smiled.
I read the reviews on, and most of the posters recommended buying the shoe in a bigger size, but I'm wondering if they mean buying the shoe in a size bigger than your normal US size. Like most women, my US size is smaller than my CL size (7.5 vs. 8 in CL, or European 38). However, like I wrote above, the 37.5 was the perfect size for me in this style (my feet are sort of on the narrow side). Keep in mind that patent stretches a little, so it's good to buy patent shoes in the tightest size you can bear. And with the 150mm (almost 6") heel, you don't want any heel slippage!
Also included, of course, are the other 3 members of the nudes collection: satin Youpli, Bianca, Very Prive with red tip. I also included a comparison toe pic of the VP with the LP, just to show you the difference: the LP has a little more lift with the higher platform and extra half-platform.
Hello to my newest follower, Girlie Shoppe!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Rebecca Taylor Dress Makes a TV Appearance..

on "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23". It was worn by Dreama Walker's character, June, in episode 104. In this episode, June is freaking out over knowing that she'll see her ex at a friend's upcoming wedding, so Krysten Ritter's character, Chloe, tries to train her to be more confident. June shows up to the wedding, where she indeed runs into her ex, wearing my dress! It looks good on her. It's a sexy dress, but not too much, I think. Alas, I've yet to don the dress myself. I don't know about you, but I feel kind of funny wearing the exact version of a dress that's already made an appearance on TV, in a movie, or on a red carpet. Oh, well, maybe in a few months or so, I won't feel that way. Here's the pic of the dress from the episode:
Here's a pic of me in the dress:
It's the same pic from 2012 entry #1.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cheap Clothes, Expensive Shoes...Who Cares?! (part 2, Fashion Star)

I'm continuing my post from Friday. For people who aren't familiar with "Fashion Star", this is a reality show that features designers who make one special piece of clothing or accessory each week. They're mentored by 3 people who are current successful designers: Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie, and John Varvatos. Each week, their items get showcased on a runway in front of 3 buyers: one from H&M, one from Saks Fifth Avenue, and one from Macy's. If any of the buyers likes the item, a bid is placed. The item can be sold in only 1 store, so if more than 1 buyer likes it, a bidding war takes place, and that's where it gets exciting. If a designer doesn't get any bids, (s)he gets put at risk for elimination from the show. The winning items are sold in stores the next day and online right after the end of the show.

This dress is one of the latest winning items from the most recent episode, which I bought from H&M. I learned my lesson after about 5 episodes. The items go on sale online right after the show ends on the East Coast, which was why I missed out on buying them from the online H&M store. Now I know to log on to H&M right after 8 pm PST. Now I can get the same advantage as East Coast fashionistas and watch other shows at 10 pm. However, I'm one of those people who hates returning, so it's pretty rare that I buy any clothes online. So it suits me to go in store to buy them. But feel free to use this piece of advice, West Coasters/Midwesterners/Mountain Regioners! Honestly, I don't feel any item from the show is worth more than $50, so I don't think I'll be buying them from either Saks or Macy's. At Saks, the items sell for around $300 each, and at Macy's just over $100.

The H&M items from this show sell have been selling like hotcakes, so I was surprised to see it in the store at Century City mall on Thursday. I'm now wearing a size 2 in most brands, so when I saw the smallest size was a 6, I thought I'd be swimming in it. I took the size 8 in, too, just in case. My first thoughts were totally wrong. Boy this dress runs small! I was able to zip myself into the 6, but barely. The size 8 went on perfectly, but on a petite woman like me (5'3"-5'4"), the top part was a little long and bunches out. The dress was only $39.95, so the retail price may end up costing as much as the alterations to fix it, but I love this dress, so it may be worth it.

Following the theme of the title of this post and making good on my promise to post a pic, here is the "Fashion Star" dress designed by Luciana with my Christian Louboutin nude Bianca pumps:

Hello to my newest followers: Ms. Shena and nikkiwix!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Cheap Clothes, Expensive Shoes...Who Cares?!

I'm so tired on most Friday nights. I don't hit the bars to relieve my stress. The last thing I want to do on a Friday night is deal with crowds. I usually go home, kick back, and watch TV. Nothing I wanted to watch was on TV tonight, so I decided to log onto tpf after a long absence. Then I was reminded of the reason why I took my absence from tpf.

I clicked on an interesting thread that addressed judgements people make on wearers of Christian Louboutin shoes. It started off well. Many people posted that they usually deem the wearers to be sexy or fashionable. Then someone posted "why would you spend that much on shoes and then have really cheap clothes".... People are entitled to their opinions. I get that, but since this is my blog, I'm going to give mine.

Why does it matter to one person how much a complete stranger spends on her/his clothes, shoes, or accessories? I don't care if the girl who passes me at the mall walks into Steve Madden and buys the shoe that looks like my Very Prive. Why should I? I have more important things to think about. Do I think that, as a Birkin owner, I'm better than the woman who buys her purses from Wal-Mart? No, because I know that a person is much more than the things she owns. And if the woman who bought her purse from Wal-Mart decides to splurge on a pair of Louboutins one day and to continue buying her purses and all her clothes from Wal-Mart, should I care? Hell no! That woman is entitled to spend her money how she wants.

The tpfer's statement really got to me cuz it made me think of my dear friend J. J, if you can recall from my earlier post on my trip to New York last summer, is the friend in the photo with me in front of the Christian Louboutin Horatio boutique: J had been planning, for months, to buy her CLs. She'd been admiring mine for a long time, but due to all her financial commitments and overwhelming generosity toward others, couldn't afford a pair of her own. When we decided to go to NY together, she was determined to get a pair for herself. She knew it'd be a one-time deal cuz those commitments weren't going away. She's also tiny, so it works out for her body and her budget to shop at Forever 21 and H&M. Since she went through with the splurge, she's been rocking her CLs almost everywhere. We both recently took our CLs to my favorite cobbler, Eddie ( He joked that he could tell she'd been partying cuz hers were so much more worn out than mine (he did a great job restoring them, though). I need to take a page from J's book. Talk about enjoyment from your things! And yes, she wears them with her F21 and H&M dresses...and she looks hot! Should she have kept the CLs in her closet until she was willing and able to buy a Dior dress?! I don't think so!

Speaking of mixing inexpensive clothes with expensive shoes, I went to H&M last night. I was lucky enough to find the Fashion Star floral dress designed by Luciana. I put it on in the fitting room, thinking how perfect it'd look with my nude Biancas. So I took it home. Pic to follow. And since it's a Fashion Star dress, it'll be easily recognized as a cheap dress, but IDGARA!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

To Outlet, To Outlet, To Buy a...

new wardrobe!  After losing a significant amount of weight so quickly, I found myself severely lacking in the clothing department.  I'm pretty much having to rebuild an entire wardrobe.  I found that I was mostly lacking in the clothes that I wear regularly, the basics.  Also, today being Saturday, and having had completed yet another hectic work week, I decided a shopping trip was in order.

I allowed myself $200 for this trip, to buy my basics plus a pair of scrubs for work and a few items at Target.  Not much to work with, and I'll admit that I wanted clothing from labels I'd bought in the past.  No Prada this time, but could I afford Juicy Couture and Joe's Jeans on this budget?  I could...if I go to Camarillo Premium Outlets!  Of course!  I Googled them to get directions.  Then I went to the outlets' website and found that a Splendid/Ella Moss store was there, too!  OMG!  I knew I HAD to go!  Luckily, for me, it's only a 45-minute drive, totally doable on a Saturday afternoon. 

I found just what I was looking for at Joe's Jeans.  For shorties like me, their Provocateur jeans are EVERYTHING.  At the outlet store, the price is $99.99, and at retail stores, the price is $158 and up (only about a 35% discount, but it's a style that rarely goes on sale, particularly in dark classic washes).  They're not like other denim brands' petite styles, where they seem to just cut inches off their normal styles.  The Provocateur jeans are actually cut to flatter the shorties.  At 5'3"-5'4", the length on me is perfect.  I can wear them with sneakers AND with heels.  And the wash I got is dark enough to be worn out to dinner/drinks (I see myself wearing them with my 150mm Loubies!).  The salesgirls there were so nice.  One of them told me to go to the info desk and present my AAA card for a VIP pass, which is free to members.  Unfortunately, I didn't use the VIP discounts (in order to use them, I had to make bigger purchases), but it was good to know of, anyway.  I highly recommend AAA membership-the discounts I've gotten with it have made it so worth the fee (I used it on my hotel stays in New York during my last 2 trips there).

After going to Joe's, I headed to Juicy.  They had a large selection of velour track pants (not a basic for everybody, but definitely for Angelenos!) for $39 each and some T-shirts for $24.  Great prices, but I couldn't find any pants in a color I liked in my size, and though I love the softness of Juicy tees, I just can't get myself to wear T-shirts with any brand names actually written on them (and it seems all Juicy T-shirts have that).  I love their beach dresses, but I couldn't find any of those in my size, either.  So I left empty-handed.

Then I headed to Splendid/Ella Moss (opened 2 weeks ago, I learned from the cashier).  They had plenty of items in all styles, but the discount wasn't as big as I hoped it would be.  The Splendid crew neck T-shirt sells for $48 at their retail store and for $29 at the outlet, a discount of about 40%.  The tank was a better deal.  It sells for $38 at the retail store and for $19 at the outlet, a discount of 50%.  I ended up getting a red tank.  I'm still debating on the crewneck T-shirt and on a 3/4-sleeve T-shirt I saw there, but I'm of the school of thought that believes that if I'm not sure about it, I should walk away.  As part of their Earth Day promotion, they're giving their customers reusable nylon totes, free with purchase.  It's blue and white, in their infamous stripe design with their asterisk logo.  I'm modeling it, along with my new tank and jeans, here:

The shopping experience at outlet malls is a little different from that in a regular one.  I've added a few tips here.  They're mostly common sense type of things, but hopefully, someone can find them useful:

1) Check out the major department stores' outlets first.  They tend to have the most promotions, often with major discounts.  If you have their store credit card, they may send you notices of their sales by email or snail mail postcards.  They may also have special discounts at their outlet stores just for their cardholders. 

2) You may roll your eyes at this tip, but you'd be surprised at how many people just don't think of it.  Try before you buy!  The majority of outlet stores do not allow refunds, and in some stores, ALL sales are totally final (although most allow exchanges within a certain period, like 7 days).  Even if the store allows refunds, you'd have to return at the outlet and not at the retail store.  I don't know if it's because people try to cram in as many stores as possible in one trip to the outlet mall (they're often a long drive from the major cities), so they feel pressed for time.  Or if they're so blinded by the discount they don't want to face the possibility the item won't fit.  But you'll be surprised at how infrequently people actually try on clothes or shoes at outlets, and I see people try on things all the time at the retail stores. 

3) After you try on your items, inspect them carefully.  Outlet malls are no longer dumping grounds for defective or rejected items, but considering that you'll likely not be able to return your items after you buy them, it's a good idea to make sure you're not getting any duds.

4) Outlets are good opportunities to save on classic items, since they never go on sale in the retail stores.  However, if you're looking for a specific color or style or a limited-edition item, you may not find it. 

5) Think twice about buying gifts from outlet stores.  If there's any doubt that your friend/relative/significant other/co-worker wouldn't like the item you're picking out, just remember that it'd be a hassle for him/her/them to exchange it, even with a gift receipt.  There's the drive time to the outlet mall, then there's the (usually) short amount of time allowed between the date of purchase and exchange deadline, then there's the chance he/she/they won't like anything in the store.

So I'd say I had a successful shopping trip.  I got all the items on my list, including the scrubs, groceries, and the items from Target.  Did I stay under budget?  Yup.  With about $13 to spare!

Friday, April 13, 2012

"Vintage" Gucci

Sigh...this blue velvet Gucci blazer! It's from the Fall 2004 collection (picture on the far left is from, the last one designed by Tom Ford. I've had it for nearly 8 years, waiting for its debut. I just couldn't bring myself to put it on and risk getting my sweat or food on it. But I don't have it in my heart to sell it or give it away. I had anticipated its arrival for weeks and even placed an order with my Saks sales associate at that time. When I finally learned of its arrival, I hurried to the store to breathe it in. I bought it on the spot. The price tag was $1990, a bargain compared to a comparable designer runway piece being sold at Saks today. It was a lot of money to me at the time (it still is today). I had no business spending that much money on a month's worth of clothes, let alone on one single piece...but I'm glad I did then (although I wouldn't do it today, even with a salary that's double the size of the the one I had in 2004).
Honestly, Gucci just hasn't been the same since Tom Ford left. I do love their classic handbags, but as far as clothing goes, I just don't think they measure up to the glory days of Tom Ford. Love him or hate him, he created a buzz for the fashion house that will never be matched. I thought of this today, as I was thumbing through my copy of the May 2012 issue of Vanity Fair. In their photo spread of their 2012 Oscar party, I came across the photo on the right. Tom Ford himself is wearing a blue velvet blazer, not too different from the one I own.
What do you think? Is this blazer too precious to wear? Or does it deserve a night out on the town?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Lesson Learned from This Easter Season

I realize that my posts that have nothing to do with fasion don't get much attention, but as this is my blog, I'm gonna go ahead and post my thoughts, anyway.

Today was Easter Sunday, marking the end of a period we Christians call Lent. Lent is known as a time of sacrifice. Many people vow to give up a certain habit or indulgence during that time of year. For me, last year, it was shopping, as it usually is (I nearly went without shopping during the entire Lenten season, but weakness took over me, when I bought the Christian Louboutin jade Jenny shoes). At the beginning of this Lenten season, though, I learned through a wise person that the reason for sacrifice is to make room for something new, something better. That was a new way for me to look at it.

What'd I learn? It's summed up by that slogan from the Chrysler commercial: the things that you do when no one is looking are the things that define you. I hope I got that right. Anyway, I don't like to give away a lot of details about this, but I'll just say someone I'm close to is no longer the person I thought they were when we met. It's not that that person changed. It's that I've recently seen a different side of her. I learned that people can pretend for short amounts of time. Eventually, though, they show who they are. You learn that some people, when they know no one (or no one else) is looking, they're different. It's those people who run when they finally get called out for their behavior. They're too chicken to come face-to-face with who they really are. But if you're true to yourself, you've no need to run. You've no reason to be afraid.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Where Have I Been?

So my last entry was on 3/2. Where have I been since that day? Well, the week after that, I was in the Big Apple...again. Second time in a year. I'm on a roll!
I was there for business and pleasure. I went to a very informative work-related seminar, then I just spent the rest of the week relaxing. I know people don't generally think of New York City as a place to relax, but for me, it is. Work has been so stressful that I wanted to take a week to do something that's different from my daily grind. Every time I visit NYC, I feel more and more like I belong there. It must've shown in my face cuz 3 people asked me for directions! Last time, just one did (and I gave them to her in Spanish). I also learned to take the subway-I couldn't believe how easy it was!
One way in which I was taken out of my daily grind is the volume of food I ate. I'm normally a light eater, but with almost every meal in NYC, I was able to scarf down an entree, appetizer, dessert, and wine. The best part? I didn't gain any weight! It must've been all that walking. Speaking of food, I couldn't leave NYC without checking out the first American outpost of Laduree, the infamous macaron bakery from Paris. It may be a very long time before I get to see the original one in Paris, so I figured I should pay a visit to the NYC one. I got there at about 4:30 pm on a weekday, and there were about 20 people in line ahead of me. It took more than a half hour for me to get in and out of there. In the end, it was worth it. The treats were scrumptious! I've cut out a lot of dessert from my diet lately, so it shocked me that such a little piece of food can cost $2.70. If you're like me and like to save a little here and there, don't get the gift boxes. They're in all the displays, so it may look like you have to buy them, but you don't. Besides, the regular boxes are not-too-shabby-looking (as you'll be able to see in the pic on the left). Of course, I had to do the New Yorker thing and eat hot dogs and pretzels from the street and pizza. Yum...but I was sure to balance them with salads and fish, too ;)
Having a mostly open agenda, I was free to move about the city as I wanted. I spent hours in neighborhoods I had never visited previously, such as the Flatiron District and Little Italy. I also spent quite a few hours in the Financial District, home of the newly-built 9/11 memorial. It was pretty crowded there, so I can see why appointments have to be made. I felt a little humbled, just taking in the sights around the memorial. To think of people who give their lives and have to leave their loved ones, all in the name of service, it makes me think how lucky I should feel to be alive and how grateful I should be to people who sacrifice their lives so people like me can go on.
So my agenda was mostly open, but what was sure to be included was...can you guess? Shopping, of course! Did I get anything special? Yes, I did! Christian Louboutin Lady Gres 160 pumps, in mandarin red suede! This is a style exclusive to the CL 20th anniversary capsule collection. Even more exclusive to the style is the color, which was sold in very few stores around the world. I lucked out big time that the Horatio boutique had my size! Each pair from this collection comes with a special box, cloth bag, and even special tissue paper!