Friday, August 31, 2012

Longwood Gardens, PA

Top: INC - $10 via eBay (want this one)
Jeans: Current/Elliott - $15 via eBay with tags still attached! (seller: BHFO; available here)
Shoes: Coach - $90 via Marshalls (similar here)
Bag: MICHAEL Michael Kors - $100 via Marshalls (similar here)
Sunglasses: Fendi - $80 via Nordstrom Rack
Necklace: courtesy of Anjolee

1. Blatant abuse of chambray
2. Orange orchid
3. The silver garden - a glorious array of desert plants
4,5. Magenta orchids
5. Belin - the ambassador to Longwood Gardens and the guardian of the Pierce-du Pont house. Think I'm exaggerating? Check out his page here

Ever since I visited Longwood Botanical Gardens in Pennsylvania three weeks ago I vowed to return as soon as I possibly could. I took my dearest friend Kate for the ride this time and we spent a whole afternoon enjoying the view. This is but a snippet of all the photos I took since I picked the ones you might enjoy the most (while sparing your data plans if you're browsing with a phone/tablet). I traveled over two and half hours each way and I was not disappointed. If you live in the area (or are within reasonable driving distance), I couldn't recommend this place enough. I paid $8/ticket with a student ID but they're normally $18 with some variation in pricing on select days. If you have other questions/want to see other photos, just let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wearing Now: Wide Legged Pants

Top: Theory, age old (similar here)
Pants: RED Valentino - $28 via eBay (very similar here)
Jacket: Forever 21 - $30, eons ago (this season's here)
Shoes: Gianfranco Ferre - $79 via Marshalls, eons ago (here sizes 7, 9; similar here)
Sunglasses: Fendi - $80 via Nordstrom Rack (similar here in black)
Bag: Bric's - $100 via DSW (similar here)

Wide-leg pants do all sorts of happy things for my curvacious hips, so I'm always on the hunt for more (you can't own too much of a good thing... right?). I lucked out with this pair by Valentino in that they came from an online consignment shop with tags still dangling from them (they were listed as new too, which is all I buy on eBay anyway). How were they $28 with no takers? Don't care, because they're mine now ;) This is a large, trustworthy seller with excellent history; I highly recommend these guys.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Wearing Now: Ikat and Chambray

Chambray shirt: INC - $10 via eBay (on sale and with another 15% off here; code: DDP15)
Jean jacket: Forever 21 - $30 (7-8 years old) (this year's version here)
Skirt: Banana Republic - $20 via eBay (similar here)
Shoes: Leifsdottir - $100 via Nordstrom Rack (similar here)
Sunglasses: Fendi - $80 via Nordstrom Rack

This is a slightly different iteration of a favorite outfit of mine starring chambray and denim. They go with everything: prints, neons, silk, wool, leather, your birthday suit... Here I'm toning down some scary bright colors. 
How do you use chambray/denim in your wardrobe?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Wearing Now: Unfinished Business

Blouse: Faconnable (similar but sans embellishment here)
Trousers: BCBG - $110 via Lord & Taylor (here)
Shoes: Sergio Rossi (similar in suede here)
Bag: Bric's - $100 via DSW (similar in leather here)
Sunglasses: Fendi - $80 via Nordstrom Rack

I was due back at college a couple of days ago for a formal event so I wore my wide leg trousers again. In case it isn't obvious, I have wide hips and a flat behind, which rules out most cropped ankle trousers (example here). On the flip side I can wear parachute pants and look/feel awesome.
Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wearing Now: Interview

Blouse: DKNY - $11 via eBay (similar and affordable)
Trousers: BCBG - $110 via Lord & Taylor (here, on sale)
Blazer: J. Crew - $35 via eBay (similar)
Shoes: Jimmy Choo (similar)
Bag: Bric's  - $100 via DSW (similar by PS)
Sunglasses: Fendi - $80 via Nordstrom Rack

I had a job interview yesterday and if things go my way then I'll be the first to spill all the details; otherwise I'm keeping quiet (more of a superstitious reason than logical). I also have an exciting project in the works (not fashion related, I'm afraid), which I'll reveal soon. I hope you're having a productive week!

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Business of Fake (in Nordstrom Rack)

Here is something you don't see every day: counterfeit UGGs in... Nordstrom Rack! I spotted these monstrosities on one of my recent trips to the store, tucked away in the shoe clearance section. I quickly alerted the manager but she didn't quite realize the gravity of the situation (she might be trained not to acknowledge HUGE booboos): these are fake $140 winter boots that some unsuspecting shopper may purchase for lack of reliable information. They'd expect the durability, reliability, and quality coming from a relatively high end brand but instead get these for 5 times the price.

How does this happen?
According to the manager Nordstrom Rack receives 75% of its merchandise from Nordstrom and 25% from third party suppliers. She suspects a shipment was contaminated since buyers don't see the goods until they arrive to the warehouse, but I have a simpler theory: people buy knockoffs on eBay (or another site), go to Nordstrom Rack to purchase the real deal, and return the counterfeit. Cashiers work too quickly to check the returns thoroughly and besides, would any of them think to make the accusation even on account of legitimate suspicion? Unfortunately the "buy real, return fake" phenomenon is more common than you may think, especially in high end department stores like Neiman Marcus and Saks. Here's a real life example.
We want your hard earned money but we don't want to deliver!

How to spot the fakes?

Fake UGGs are usually very obvious (with a few exceptions) but the specific characteristics differ among models. Thankfully these counterfeits are easy to spot because they're imitating one of the most popular models, the classic tall.

1. Check the back label: 
Every pair of classic UGGs has an eponymous label attached to the back of the heel: it should be rectangular rather than square-ish and the font must be even.
Left: Authentic! || Right: Fakey McFake Fake
2. Check the lining:
A real UGG lining is ALWAYS made of sheepskin. ALWAYS. The lining of the fakes was made of polyester.

3. Check the sole
There isn't a hard and fast rule here but the general consensus is that the soles must be symmetrical (meaning equal in every respect, from the size and orientation of the design and position of logo) and cleanly cut. In the case of our fake friends above the sun at the top of the sole isn't completely circular and the grooves aren't evenly stamped.

Real UGGs. [image credit]
Readers, have you ever encountered fakes in a trustworthy store? What have you done about it? If not, what are your thoughts on fakes in general?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Travel: Utah

Hello friends! I didn't mean to disappear quite as abruptly as I did but I left for a mountaineering vacation in Utah. I even had a post ready but couldn't find a reliable internet connection, hence my absence. Now that I'm back I've decided to post about my trip first.

Where: Zion National Park, Utah; more specifically on the way to Observation Point - 4 miles uphill, 4 miles downhill. I'm a mountains and snow kind of girl so this vacation was nothing short of heaven on earth.
A deep canyon on the way to Observation Point
Left: self explanatory || Right: a waterfall at the Emerald Pools
Observation Point
Grafton, a ghost town reminding of the days of the pioneers
View top of a mountain
The very edge of a cliff
Note: Even if heights don't bother you don't make the mistake of looking out into the distance for too long when standing at the edge of a cliff. You will get disoriented and run a serious risk of falling. This is moments before my head started to spin.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Wearing Today: Peaches and Oatmeal

Top: BCBG - $22 via Lord&Taylor (similar but wrinkle free and on major sale here)
Pants: J. Crew - $25 (here)
Shoes: Burberry - $190 via Nordstrom Rack (similar here)
Bag: Bric's (gorgeous here)
Sunglasses: Fendi - $80 via Nordstrom Rack
Accessories: Coach Watch, J. Crew bracelet

Again with the impossible fabrics - but oh the comfort. Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Just Jonesing

Notoriously overpriced and underwhelming, Balmain leads the fashion scene's most frivolous brands. I, however, don't give a deuce because this jacket is equivalent to a gold-glazed cherry on top of an ambrosial sundae. Gimme.   

Monday, August 6, 2012

Wearing Now: Ikat and Stripes

Top: Juicy Couture - $15 via eBay (similar here)
Skirt: Banana Republic - $20 via eBay (similar here)
Shoes: Leifsdottir - $100 via Nordstrom Rack (similar here and here)
Sunglasses: Fendi - $80 via Nordstrom Rack
Accessories: Coach watch, vintage bracelet

Job search is a painful process. You send out your resume, write cover letters, and even call companies directly all in hopes for an entry-level lab tech position that doesn't even pay enough to jump-start a proper adult life. For every 50-60 submitted applications you *may* get 1-2 responses. That said I haven't quite exhausted my avenues (at all, actually), so I'm not despairing yet (I haven't sent out the 50 applications yet either). All in all I'm optimistic until reality stamps me with a big red "DECLINED" on my forehead.

Onto cheerier things: I saw yet another friend I neglected over the past two months and decided to wear this getup to the museum. I'm not sure if the look works but hey, live and learn, right? 

One last note, I joined Pinterest!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Wearing Now: Chambray, Olive, and Black Accents

Chambray top: INC - $10 via eBay (from the ultimate authority on chambray)
Skirt: Burberry (similar, classy, and on sale here; another well-priced option here)
Sandals: Coach - $50 via eBay (similar here ($), here($$), and here($$$)
Bag: MICHAEL Michael Kors - $100 via Marshalls (similar here)
Sunglasses: Fendi - $80 via Nordstrom Rack
Accessories: Coach watch, necklace courtesy of Anjolee

Making my way to the metro (subway, in non-DC English) after a productive day of work and application essay writing (I'm often a compelled volunteer at my boyfriend's business). Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Wearing Now: Faux Leather and Cuban Heels

Dress: BCBG - $35 via eBay (similar here, on sale)
Shoes: Leifsdottir (a.k.a Anthropologie's brand minion) - $100 via Nordstrom Rack (very similar here, on sale, here, and here)
Sunglasses: Fendi - $80 via Nordstrom Rack (classics here)
Accessories: Coach watch, Roberto Cavalli bracelet

Here's a vocabulary tidbit that you (probably) wished you knew: those comfortable 1-2' square heels that have been all the rage lately are known as Cuban heels. They're arguably more comfortable than flats because they provide a fair bit of arch support where flats sometimes strain the arch. Just so you have a context for this look (I personally hate it when bloggers wear a knock-'em-out-drop-dead-gorgeous outfit and lead us to conclude they only put it on for the shoot) I wore this to a favorite neighborhood dump to see old friends... I'm still on a mini vacation ;)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Wearing Now: Chambray and Neutrals

Chambray top: INC - $10 via eBay (from the ultimate authority on chambray)
Linen pants: J. Crew - $25 (here)
Sandals: Theory - $50 via eBay (similar here)
Bag: MICHAEL Michael Kors - $100 via Marshalls (similar here)
Accessories: Coach watch, Roberto Cavalli bracelet, courtesy of Anjolee necklace
Sunglasses: Fendi - $80 via Nordstrom Rack (these are gorgeous)

I could have easily titled this post "wrinkled" but that would have drawn attention to all that is wrong with this outfit (and linen/chambray in general). But wrinkles are like battle scars; evidence of a hard day's work. I'll spare you all the boring detail so have a great evening!