Why do tigers have stripes? Because they don’t want to be spotted! Hahahaha–oh wait, this is a leopard print dress outfit. Oops.

Asian in Fit and Flare Leopard Dress

Leopard Print Dress

Fit and Flare Leopard Print Dress

H&M Pointy Toed Black Pumps

Leopard Print Dress with Black Blazer

Asian in Leopard Print Fit and Flare DressBlack Chiffon Blazer and Leopard Dress

Black Chiffon Blazer

I’m still feeling a bit of vacation hangover, as you can see from the countless animal-references to the zoo lately. We had this really entertaining tour guide and he told a bunch of jokes while he showed us around.

Here’s another one:

Did you know that koalas bears aren’t actually bears? Why not–they have all of the koala-fications. 

HARHARHARHARHARHARHAR.

Har.

For some reason I’ve been really obsessed with leopard and animal print things lately. Clutches, shoes, dresses–you name ’em. But I used to hate them. They used to be one of those trends I didn’t understand.

I guess you change as you grow. Or something.   


This outfit will always bring back a lot of memories because it was the same one I wore to pick up Husband from the airport after more than a month apart. I kept telling myself I wasn’t going to cry, but then of course the moment I saw him, I started crying.



:: Leopard Print Dress Outfit Details ::

Dress ($12 from Ross)
Chiffon Blazer ($12 from this store in Westminster <my hometown>)
Tights ($2 on clearance from Target)
Pointed Toe Black Pumps ($24 from H&M outlet, now on sale for $30)
Cross-Over Body Clutch ($15 from Ross)

Fall is Here and Boots are Back!

Floral Fit and Flare Dress and Brown Bag Outfit

Bright Girly Floral Dress

Floral Fit and Flare Chiffon Dress

Floral Dress and Suede Boots Outfit

Suede Boots and Brown Bag

FLoral Dress and Gray Cardigan Outfit

Floral Chiffon Dress and Brown Boots

Outfit of Floral Dress and Gray Cardigan

Black and Blond Ombre Hair

Brown Suede Boots

Floral Fit and Flare Dress and Brown Boots

The other day, the Hubz and I stopped by Ross to pick up some new bowls for the children, and of course I spent half our time there in the shoes section. I was really looking for a pair of comfortable sneakers since our recent trip to San Diego made me realize I don’t have enough of those. That’s when I noticed that there are quite a many pair more boots than there were since the last time I was there.

And it suddenly hit me that it’s fall. Fall is here and boots are back!

Which is like, jeez, wasn’t the April 15th deadline just yesterday? (This is relevant because I work in a tax firm.) And now we’re already approaching the final extended deadline?

What am I doing with my life??

Anyway, you can’t blame me for not realizing that it’s fall because I live in Southern California and, really, it’s like never-ending summer here.

BUT nevertheless, I still love boots.

Plus no matter how hot it is, it’s always freezing in the office where I work. There was a period where it was nice and comfortable, but turns out it was just the calm before the storm. Because right after that the power went out completely so we were suffocating due to no airflow, and then after they fixed it, we returned to sub-zero temperatures.

So you can even argue that I’m always dressed for somewhere between fall and summer. The best part about this transitional season is that you can still throw on a dress. Just style it with leggings and warm shoes and you’re prepared for the weather.

Which explains why I love boots.

Except the ones I’m wearing today, I’ve had since forever. At $10 from 10DollarMall.com, they’re quite the steal, since I wear them almost everyday–fall, summer, or winter. Actually, I seem to wear whatever I want no matter what the season or what’s trending. Hey it’s ninety degrees? I’m going to wear my giant crocheted sweater if I want to! Or hey it’s freezing outside? Bring it on, shorts.

:: Outfit Details ::

Dress ($17 from here)
Gray Cocoon Cardigan ($15 from F21, forever ago)
Black Leggings ($6 from Ross)
Brown Cross-Over Body Bag ($30 from H&M)
Suede Qupid Boots ($10 from here)

Missing Pieces

Blue Polka Dot Dress with Yellow Cardigan 1

Blue Polka Dot Dress with Yellow Cardigan 5

Blue Polka Dot Dress with Yellow Cardigan 4

Blue Polka Dot Dress with Yellow Cardigan 2

cut out blush shoes

I’m so into this cutout trend right now, and I love everything about these shoes, even the missing pieces. The Oxford, the lace, the detail, the blush color. Again like my cutout boots, I have no idea what to do about the sock issue… I just sucked it up and wore the ones you wear with flats, so sorry for the faux pas yet again.

I have this nerd-fetish for libraries. I love them all. The smell and feel and quiet and solitude of them. The way that everyone leaves you alone the moment you step inside. (Well, except for this one traumatic incident in my childhood, but I won’t get into that right now.) I especially love the Huntington Beach and Newport Beach library, which are both just gorgeous places.

When I worked at this one fabric store, I used to come to this library during my lunch. It’s a gorgeous, small place in Signal Hill, so of course I went there over the weekend to check out some books.

I love pairing navy blue with yellow, especially mustard. Actually I just love the color mustard in general. I thought the blush-colored oxford flats would go well as a neutral balance to the rest of the outfit.

blue polka dot with yellow cardigan 3

:: Outfit Details ::

White Polka Dot on Navy Blue Dress (~$15 at Ross)
Mustard Yellow Cardigan (~15 from Papaya)
Blush-Colored Lace-up Cutout Oxford Shoes ($10 from here)
Handmade Crossover Body Clutch(~$20 from Etsy, but I can’t remember which store 🙁 )

The Girl in the Purple Scarf

Girl in the Purple ScarfGirl in the Purple ScarfGirl in the Purple Scarf

I’m channeling Becky Bloomwood a.k.a. Shopaholic today–figuratively of course (actually, literally as well, but don’t tell Husband, shh). Except my scarf isn’t from D&G, it’s from Express. Also, I don’t have a British accent, just a boring American one, and I wish my life was half as dramatic as hers, although not really because I’m really happy with the way it is so far. 🙂 Also, if she’s the Girl in the Green Scarf then I’m the Girl in the Purple Scarf.

Also the dress is made by me, and I doubt Becky Bloomwood would ever make anything that she can just buy.

Girl in the Purple Scarf

Click to learn how to make this dress!

Girl in the Purple Scarf

It was cold today! Which explains the scarf. Fine, by California standards it was cold. In the morning. And then it warmed up by lunch time. So I felt like a weirdo in this scarf and cardigan standing amidst a bright sunlit park. Still, it’s lovely and I feel lovely in it, so I’m not taking it off. (Well, maybe when it gets hot, though.)

Girl in the Purple Scarf

I love reading outside, and settling down in the sun is while the weather is just right is the perfect way to spend my lunch.

This post deviates from my usual budget for Outfits-on-a-Budget, BUT I’ve worn this scarf so many times that I no longer feel bad about it. It was $40 from Express, and I bought it back in the days when I thought it was okay to pop 40 bucks on one piece of fabric. But they say you should divide the dollar amount by how many times you’ll wear it, and then decide if the purchase was worth it. Well I’ve worn this about a thousand times, which means it would cost me 4 cents every time I wear it. So by that logic, I totally deserve more of these scarves.

Or maybe I’ll just make some. 🙂

:: Outfit Details ::

Elastic-Waist Curved Hem Print Dress (made by yours truly, tutorial here!)
White Hollister Knit Cardigan (Christmas gift from my sister-in-law)
Leggings (~$6 from Ross)
Cross-Over-Body Bag (~$30 from H&M)
Brown Flats ($13 from Ross)
Purple Scarf (~$40 from Express)

My Summer Resolutions Accomplished–For Now, Anyway

close up sunglassespurse as clutch

Pink Polka Dot Dress with Pointy Black Heels from back

This summer, I resolve to do two things:

Wear more sunglasses to protect my eyes. And not carry half my weight with me when I leave the house.

I used to have this large collection of sunglasses, and I hung them on a string of yarn at my accessories station. Yes, our apartment was big enough in Albuquerque that I had an entire section of my bedroom dedicated to shoes, makeup, and generally to the Art of Getting Ready. BUT that was back in New Mexico where space isn’t as limited as it is here, and where I had the luxury of being able to set up such a somewhat scary but very thoroughly missed shrine. Pink Polka Dot Dress with Pointy Black Heels

pointy black heels from top

ANYWAY, I don’t know why–I guess it’s due to a number of lifestyle changes–but when I moved back to California, I ditched most of my accessories. Obviously the beanies and scarves had to go, but I’m not sure why the sunglasses disappeared. I think I just got sick of them. Plus I ran around a lot more often then, and to be honest most of the time they were to protect my eyes from the windy desert debris than from the sun.

Lately I’ve realized how very little protection I actually provide myself from the scorch, especially since I live by the beach and tend to hit the waters more often now that the weather is appropriate. While I’ve always been very diligent when it comes to sunscreen (thank you, Asian Mother), I’ve been neglecting my eyes. So my summer resolution is to wear sunglasses more often. For protection. Not to supplement my shopping addiction. Not that I really need a reason to do that. 🙂

2nd Resolution: Pack lightly when I leave the house.

As in, no more heavy purses that weigh more than my dog (18 pounds–yes, as a chihuahua, he is contributing to the country’s obesity rate). No more packing my life inside my bag. I now have license to leave my ten bottles of sports supplements at home–because despite carrying them with me I never remember to drink them in time. (I mean, I have to pop pills the size of my pinky, and then I have to wait 30 minutes to eat? I’m lucky if I can manage to speak coherently when I’m starving.)

To force myself into this new resolution, I’ve switched out my giant cross-over-body bag from H&M (which has been a staple, and lasted for several years–surprisingly, considering that it was very affordable at $30) for this hybrid clutch / cross-over-body purse. If you haven’t noticed from my outfits, I have a thing for cross-over-body bags because they’re so convenient. I like to have my hands free, especially when I shop– a pastime that takes up much more of my schedule than it should. Which makes this bag perfect because it doubles as cross-over-body, but I can tuck the straps into the pocket and immediately transform it into a clutch.

crossbody bag

Pink Polka Dot Dress with Pointy Black Heels and crossbody

This bag pretty much only allows me to bring along my essentials: phone (the case doubles as a small wallet for my cards), sunglasses (bonus points for summer resolution #1!), lip gloss(es–I mean, how can you really brave the outside world with just one?) and keys. I think it only weighs like 3 pounds. So yay. No more being burdened down by unnecessary weight. What are your summer resolutions? And can you believe half the year is already gone? I know it’s a cliche, but sheesh. It felt like the end of tax season was just last week.

If you’re wondering what’s on my knee, it’s RockTape (kinesiology) tape, which provides support and helps speed up recovery on sports injury. I’ve been swimming and running a lot, and I’ve always had a problem with my right knee but it seems to be flaring up a lot more lately. Anyway, I try not to wear it unless I’ve got some leggings or tights on, but I figured if I have to, I might as well rock it. So I got neon green. I know! Scandalous. I can’t help being a little bit rebellious now and then. 😛

pointy black heels

:: Outfit Details ::

Pink Chiffon Blouson Polka Dot Dress (~$15 from Ross)
Gray Knee-Length Cardigan (Also ~$15 from Ross–maybe I live there, don’t tell the managers)
Cross-Over-Body Clutch ($17 from Ross. Okay I definitely live there)
Black Pointed Toe Pumps ($25 from H&M. These make me so happy!)
Aviator Sunglasses ($6 $3 from Charlotte Russe — I can’t express how much I love these. They’re the first pair of Aviators that have not made my face look like it’s melting, yay!)

What Do I Wear to See the Dalai Lama?

Lace Gathered Fit and Flared Dress Outfit 1

Lace Gathered Fit and Flared Dress Outfit 2Lace Gathered Fit and Flared Dress Outfit 5
Last weekend, I got the chance to see the Dalai Lama in Garden Grove and hear him talk about compassion and kindness. My sister knows the mayor Bao (*flicks dust off shoulders*) and he got us free tickets. I felt really special until I realized that all the tickets were free. Heh.

I’ve made the tragic mistake of Over Dressing before–but then again it’s always better to be overdressed than under-dressed. And plus, since I’m always wearing, well, a dress, I’m technically usually overdressed anyway. So who cares anymore, right?

Lace Gathered Fit and Flared Dress Outfit 6

Thus I opted for my beige stretchy lace fit-and-flare gathered dress, made by mooooooiiiiiiiiii, thankyouverymuch. (The tutorial will be released soon as a part of the 10 Dresses in 10 Weeks Summer Sewing Series.) I shall bare no arms, so I went in search of a jacket–and I am always looking for an excuse to wear my favorite mustard cardigan (I just bought some fabric to make another one!). Of course when it comes to shoes, I knew that I would be on my feet most of the day since most conventions/lectures usually mean you’re running around looking for your spot, and for the rest of the people in your group. So I wore these cute stacked sandals that I just loooove and they’re so comfortable. I could stand in them all day.

stacked sandals

I love this handmade purse that I got from Etsy, even though one of the rings is starting to break. I reattached it with an extra keyring I had lying around.

Cross Over Body Purse

My sister Vy and I were supposed to go with her friend and her friend’s friend, but Vy bailed on me because she had a last-minute engagement singing gig. (She’s a singer! Check out her YouTube when you have a chance.) But that’s okay because I was just excited to go see the Dalai Lama. This is where I need to add that I don’t believe in the whole reincarnation thing. I know he’s just another man. But it’s cool to go see a celebrity figure. And what’s wrong with hearing about compassion and kindness–don’t we need more of that in the world?

My brother Mac decided to take her place, and then her other friend also bailed, so we ended up giving away one of our tickets anyway. Go figure.

Anyway, it was cool. I got some shots of him. Tiny tiny man.

Dalai Lama Speaking in Garden Grove with Mayor Bao Nguyen

Dalai Lama Speaking in Garden Grove

Dalai Lama clapping with a bunch of Asian people

Dalai Lama SigningDalai Lama Signing

Full disclosure, I didn’t hear anything he said. Neither did my friend.

Which might explain why no one showed anything resembling compassion or kindness when we were fighting to leave the parking lot. Then again, I was in Garden Grove, the heartland of Asian drivers, so…

When I told my boss I was going to see the Dalai Lama, he gave me this Tibetan Prayer Garland. I had no idea what to do with it though. I mean, is it a necklace? A bracelet? Or do I just hold it while I…pray? I don’t know. Besides, it didn’t match my dress.

Tibetan Prayer Garland

So what I wore to see the Dalai Lama was…also what I wore to go shoot some arrows with my brother at the archery field. He offered and I said I wanted to go, and we had about an hour of sunlight left so off we went.

Van Hoang Being AwesomeVan Hoang Being Awesome

Van Hoang Being Awesome

Not too bad for my first try.

Van Hoang Being Awesome

:: Outfit Details ::

Lace Fit and Flare Gathered Waistline Dress (made by yours truly as part of the 10 Dresses in 10 Weeks Summer Sewing Series)
Mustard Yellow Cardigan (~$15 from Papaya)
Stacked Sandals ($10 from here)
Cross-Over-Body Bag (~$30 from H&M)

Chunky Monkey

Every winter I get this urge to crochet and knit a million things I’ll never get around to making. But I’ve always wanted a super-oversized chunky knit sweater. I guess I wanted it bad enough to actually make it this year instead of just think about making it. Except I didn’t want to knit it because it takes me much longer to knit something than it does to crochet.

So when I saw Stephanie’s super cute crocheted sweater–not to mention her easy tutorial and pattern–I had no excuses.

I pretty much followed her exact instructions and duplicated her sweater. I really love the way it turned out, though I do feel a little silly when I wear it since I live in Southern California and it rarely drops below seventy here. 😛

I drive by this beautiful park every morning and finally had a chance to stop by today. It’s a golf course technically, but I’m up at dawn to get some work done which means no one is around. Better for me. 🙂

Everyone at the office likes to make fun of me because I’m a huge fan of bananas. (That’s what she said!) If the potassium overdose didn’t give me heart attack symptoms, I’d eat nothing but bananas. Thus I have been nicknamed the Office Monkey. Which goes pretty well with the fact that I’m wearing my chunky heel, cut-out boots with my chunky crocheted sweater.

I love everything about these shoes. I especially love chunky heels, obviously because they’re much easier to walk in than toothpick stilettos. But I just love the look of them too.

The cutouts are super cute. The only hard part is…what socks do I wear?

Maybe the ones you’re supposed to wear with flats? But that would look funny. So I just gave up and wore regular socks. Sorry for the faux pas, but I’d rather not smell and slip and slide all day because I’m human and my feet sweat. Gross, I know.shoes

:: Outfit Details ::

Crocheted Chunky Sweater (made by yours truly with like 6 skeins of Bernat Softee Chunky Yarn following All About Amy’s pattern, now available on my Etsy shop)
Fit and Flare Floral Pleated Dress (made by moi, tutorial here!)
Leggings, oops I mean Knit Pants ($6 from Ross)
Charlotte Russe Chunky Heel Cutout Boots ($10 from here)
Cross Over Body Bag (about $30 from H&M)

Vivid Brights

close up

dress with purse

Strappy Blush Wedges

Dress with Purse

a line dress with blue raincoat and bright yellow purse

dress with bright purse

I was supposed to wake up super early and take a hike at Hilltop Park in Signal Hill, but of course that didn’t happen. So I went swimming instead and had an amazing hour of almost non-stop laps. My knee is still hurting from kicking wrong, but I decided to opt out of my kinesiology tape because I figured I might as well still make use of the sunshine. Also, I just didn’t feel like having it on my knee in pictures, and then subsequently having a million people ask me what it was, what it’s for, what happened, am I okay blah blah blah.

(I know they’re just being nice. I’m just having a bad week. You know, one of those where nothing goes right and just when you think you’ve had enough, you realize that you can, after all, take on just one more bad thing. Because what choice do you have?)

Anyway, I’m glad I went to Hilltop Park because this place is just gorgeous and made me feel so much better. The pictures don’t do the view any justice, so I’ll spare you my lame attempts. 🙂 People were already there bright and early to enjoy the sunshine, the nice summer air. Moments like these are what make me so glad I moved back to Southern California, even though I had to give up most of my beanies and scarves.

I absolutely loooooove my bright neon-yellow purse. It’s just so gorgeous, and when my outfit feels just a tad bit boring, this always brightens it up instantly. The only problem is that my phone is just slightly too big to fit inside of it, so I tend not to use it as much as I’d like.

Some guy was totally photo-bombing me in this picture:

dress with sweater and purse

:: Outfit Details ::

Floral A-Line Fit-and-Flare Dress (~$6, made by me as part of the 10 Dresses in 10 Weeks Summer Sewing Series, tutorial anticipated release date Sep 1st)
Blush-Colored Strappy Wedge Heels ($10 from here)
Bright Neon Yellow Cross-Over Body Purse (~$15 from Ross)
Navy Blue Rain Coat (Christmas gift from my sister)
White Hollister Knit Cardigan (Christmas gift from my sister-in-law)

Do I Have Too Much Time?

Did anyone else take about an hour getting dressed this morning? Or was it just me. I’m talking just getting dressed–not even makeup or hair or anything (because when do I really spend that much time on my makeup or hair, being the low-maintenance lazy person that I am).

Seriously I changed my top about three times. I had originally decided on my usual staple of dress + leggings + chunky heel boots + cardigan. But then I figured in the spirit of casual Friday, I should dress…well, casual. So I switched out my dress for a Peter-Pan-collar top. It just so happens that the top is a star-print  silk number, which goes perfect with Independence Day. That worked pretty well because the top was long enough that it COULD be considered a dress if you’re That Person.

But then I realized I wasn’t That Person. At least, not at work anyway. So I switched out my leggings for skinny jeans. Then I couldn’t decide on which jacket to wear because I don’t like baring my arms if I can help it. Mostly because it’s cold and also because I’m self-conscious about them. First I tried on a denim jacket that I love, but that looked terrible, and the silhouette just wasn’t working. (I still keep trying to find an excuse to wear that jacket, and no go so far.)

Anyway, four cardigans later, here I am.

Mostly I just wanted to wear my new boots though. 🙂

The fact that I spend so much time deciding what to wear got me thinking about this concept of time, and how I allocate it. It’s not that I have too much time or too little of it. Like they say, I have the same 24 hours in my day as the next person. But it’s what I do with it.

The truth is I just don’t sleep as much as other people. On average, I get five to six hours a night. I know this will one day bite me in the butt, but I can’t help it. When I try to sleep more, I’ll wake up in the middle of the night or toss and turn and waste time I could have spent doing something more useful. Just to fall asleep at night, I have to wake up early, and then I also have to exercise my body to the point of exhaustion. Otherwise, I’ll spend four hours staring at my ceiling, too tired to get up, but too wired to fall asleep.

When people hear about how busy I am–I have a full-time job + one part time job (though sometimes as a petsitter, I’m kind of just paid to sleep) + freelance writing + sewing, arts & crafts and my blog–they tend to respond with disbelief. Then they’ll say something like, “You have too much time on your hands.”

Really?

Really?

Me. The girl with such a busy schedule that I literally had no time to cut my own fingernails. So I had to suck it up and bring a nail clipper with me this morning, and clip them while I was waiting for the elevator. Okay, I know that’s gross, but I was desperate, and I really hate it when my nails are even slightly long. It gets me irritable and I want to turn everything into a scratching post. Like a cat.

Then again, I did spend an hour changing clothes this morning. So maybe they have a point.

:: Outfit Details ::
Old silky top with Peter Pan Collar and white star prints on black ($10 from here)
Skinny distressed jeans ($10 from here)
Long, knee-length cardigan from Ross (too old to remember :P)
Charlotte Russe Cut-out Chunky Heel Boots ($10 from here)
Crossover-Body Bag (about $30 from H&M)