Sunday, June 26, 2016

Tasseled sandals and beach bag

Blazer: Tahari, thrifted (similar)
Top: Forever 21, purchased in store this season (similar)
Skirt: J. Crew via ebay (similar)
Shoes: LOFT (similar)
Bag: Old Navy (similar)
Earrings: vintage (similar)
Watch: Michael Kors via ebay (similar)

I still haven't decided whether I think this fancy-casual pairing of heels and skirt with a beach bag worked or not, but I'm okay with that.  Sandal weather comes around rarely in San Francisco, and I was so happy to have a chance to bare my toes that a coincidental color coordination (like that alliteration?) with my beach bag was too good to pass up.  As I sit in my house today watching the fog pass by, wearing my furry slippers, looking back on this sunny warm Sunday (just 7 days ago!) is a nice reminder of life past "June gloom" here in California.  It will come!  

Have you ever paired an item usually reserved for one type of occasion with something from another part of your closet?  Do tell!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Wardrobe workhorse: Slouchy gray tee

Jacket: Tulle via ebay (similar)
Top: Marshall's (similar)
Jeans: LOFT (similar)
Shoes: Via Spiga via ebay (similar)
Earrings: vintage (similar)
Watch: Lucien Piccard (similar)
Sunglasses: Forever 21 (similar)

This tee is one of those wardrobe items I would never have said I "needed".  I wasn't in the market for a stubby, slouchy gray tee at the time, but I have blessed the decision to buy this tee so many times since then.  And, although this one is starting to see signs of wear, a gray relaxed tee has now become part of my "must-have" wardrobe list, so it will be replaced, not just retired.  I've worn this top in other ways, some of which have appeared on the blog (here, here, here...), but more of which didn't.  I've combined it with shorts, a pencil skirt, blazers, field jackets, you name it!  Have you discovered the versatility of the gray tee yet?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Maxi skirt and platforms, short girl heaven...

Top: Hugo Boss, thrifted (similar)
Skirt: Target (similar)
Shoes: Korkease (similar)
Bag: Ashley Brooke via DSW (similar)
Earrings: ebay (similar
Necklace: self-made (similar, similar)
Watch: Kenneth Cole (similar)

In my (near) obsession with pencil skirts, I always forget about my maxi skirts.  I own two (finding - or creating -the proper length and width can be a challenge when you're vertically challenged, so I don't have many), and they are hung with my dressier skirts, instead of folded with my knit pencil skirts.  Perhaps that's partly why I don't think of them, but when I do remember, it's a treat to feel all tall and swirly for a day, especially when I pair platforms and maxi together as one long and fancy-feeling combination.  On the practical side, since I am rather disgusted with needing tights in June in San Francisco, the long skirt warms my legs in the cool morning hours while I pretend it's summer here.  Then my tights can stay where they belong in June - put away!

Happy summer to those enjoying seasonable temperatures!

Monday, June 13, 2016

OUTFIT: Lace up flats and chambray

Shirt: thrifted (similar)
Scarf: Nordstrom Rack (similar)
Skirt: Charlotte Russe (similar)
Shoes: Gap (similar)
Bag: GiGi New York via ebay (similar)
Earrings:  Robin Undira (similar)
Watch: Michael Kors via ebay (similar - on sale!)

This was my "so happy to be reunited with (part of) my closet" outfit...  I'm still in transition, as we stay with friends waiting to move into our home, but just being able to grab some cute shoes that were different from the two pairs I used for the past 6 weeks was such a treat!  The lace up flat trend has been here for a little while (I bought this pair last fall, and wore them this way, that way and in this outfit), but I'm planning on enjoying every last moment of it, since they're comforable and cute, always a great combination.

There are some really cute options out there right now for lace up flats.  While I love my denim pair, I can't enough of these cognac and blush/nude options, as well...

Friday, June 10, 2016

OUTFIT: Graphic tee and pearls (and a shout out to San Fran... Happy to be back!)

Blazer: Theory via ebay (similar)
Tee: BeGood (similar)
Denim: LOFT (similar)
Shoes: Via Spiga via ebay (similar lower price, similar higher price)
Necklace (looped four times): Nordstrom Rack (exact - on mega sale!)
Bag: GiGi New York via ebay (similar)
Sunglasses: Forever 21 (exact)

While I had an incredible trip to Ecuador, one of the best parts of coming home was having access to more of my wardrobe (the rest will be out of storage and usable in less than a week when we move into our new home!).  I didn't post outfit photos from Ecuador for a couple of reasons: I couldn't bring my trusty tripod, which is how I usually struggle through capturing a photo worth posting (I get too embarrassed to have anyone else take them), and I hadn't brought ANY cute clothing (see this post for why).  It's so nice to get back home and be able to feel like myself again, able to portray my mood with items from my closet.  Contented sigh.

This outfit would have been great for Cuenca, if only I had brought it.  And, I didn't own these shoes until I ordered them during the trip, when I realized how useful these shoes would have been during my time there.  So, I had a nice package waiting for me upon my return.  I know I'm the last person ever on the slip-on sneaker bandwagon, but better late than never, right?  They're still cute, and I will get lots and lots of wearings from them!

The pearl necklace hasn't appeared on the blog yet, it was one of those closet "bucket list" items I've had on the back burner forever (someday I'll create and post a list of those items, if only to help me categorize them better).  When I stumbled upon a fabulous sale at Nordstrom Rack, I knew what to do.  This was my first time wearing it as a collar-length necklace looped four times, I've also worn it long - looped two or three times with a button-front shirt layered under a scoop neck sweater - which didn't photograph well enough to be posted, but will surely appear later in a similar form.  I'm not a big pearl person, but I like the idea of pairing pearls with unexpected items, like a graphic tee and sneakers.  I also have a cute faux pearl necklace a friend made me, that I like to wear unexpectedly as well - wrapping around my wrist multiple times as a bracelet, or layered with a shorter and longer metal chain necklace.  It's not (at all), but it feels a tiny bit rebellious to me to wear pearls dressed down or differently than they were intended.  Yay for my tiny, itty bitty stick-it-to-no-one act of fashion resistance.... 

Anyway, it feels great to be back home!  

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

TRAVEL: Tips for traveling in Ecuador

This isn't a travel blog, and I rarely get much traffic from non-outfit posts, but these are some things I had forgotten between our last year visit here to Ecuador and this year's visit, so even if no one else benefits from these reminders, I will! 

Ecuador is such a great country.  Beautiful, varied, relatively inexpensive and with a wide range of travel options, from luxurious to budget.  But, especially if you're from a more developed country, and you haven't traveled extensively in developing countries, it's good to know a few things.


1. Unless there's a sign stating otherwise, your used toilet paper goes NOT in the toilet, but in the bin next to the toilet.  Some newer places, like the Quito and Guayaquil airports have tougher plumbing, but most homes and hotels cannot handle the toilet paper, only the waste.  Yucky, but part of life here.

2. Bring cash!  Most of life uses cash here (United States dollars), not credit or debit cards.  Only the more touristy (and expensive) stores and restaurants take cards, so you'll really limit yourself if you plan on only using a card.  Also, don't bother to bring anything bigger than a $20 bill.  Even that is pretty big, don't expect someone in a small store or street market to change a $20 bill for a small purchase of a few dollars.  When you can, try to break your $20s into smaller bills of $10, $5 or those ubiqitous $1 coins that I only see in Ecuador, never in the US.  If you must bring bigger bills, plan on changing them at a bank.  Many stores and restaurants state that they don't accept $50 or $100 bills.


3. Buses can take you almost anywhere, ranging from 25 cents for a local bus in Cuenca to $15 or so for an all day ride from Quito to Guayaquil (beautiful, but brutal - fly if you've got the means to do so).  You're going to want to try to get the higher end buses with air conditioning, bathrooms (although they usually only handle liquid waste, and the driver will tell you that).  Some even have wifi.  Those buses cost a little more ($8 for an adult vs. $4 or $2), but they make much less stops, and don't have animals or other interesting cargo on them.

4. Bus tickets will state your assigned seat numbers.  If you're traveling in a group, the printout may include all of the seats you purchased on one receipt.  Hang on to this receipt!  You need to know where to sit, and they will come through and collect the ticket once you are underway.  Sometimes the driver collects the ticket as you exit the bus.

5. Your bus ticket will also state the "disco" number.  That is the number on the outside of your bus.  Sometimes more than one bus leaves for the same location at the same time, so pay attention to the spot where your bus is to be parked, and the number of your bus.  The different buses may end up at the same location, but via a different route and some take less time than others.  Plus you need to be on the bus for which you bought your ticket!

6. Often salespeople will get on the bus at the depot and ride along for a while.  They will spend 10-15 minutes giving a little talk about their product, usually something low-priced like energy vitamins or a teeth whitening pack for around a $1. As they begin, they'll often pass out their product to each person on the bus, then when they are done, they either collect the product or your money if you decide to buy the product.  Don't feel like you're obligating yourself by taking the product when they pass it out.  Just hold on to it until the person is done and give it back to him or her if you don't want it.  They won't fuss about it or try to force you to buy it.  But you'll look like a jerk if you don't just hold on to the product during their talk.  It's easier to just take it for the moment.  I personally find the experience relatively entertaining - like a free show during the (usually) long trip.


7. WhatsApp.  Everyone in Ecuador uses WhatsApp for texting and voice calls.  If your phone doesn't have international service, you can still make voice calls or texts using wifi with this app.  You might be amazed how many of your friends and family who travel or have international contacts might already be using this app.  It's very useful if you're traveling briefly to a place where you don't plan on getting international phone service or setting up a local card.  We would have found this very useful on our first trip to Ecuador, when we didn't have international phone service, and wanted to contact our new friends without having to resort to direct messaging them via Instagram, which they often didn't see until much later.

8.  Super helpful downloadable maps that don't require data or wifi to use once they are downloaded.  It even shows you where you are on the map, and there is a search function to find attractions and plan a route.  You can also drop pins so you can always find your way to a particular spot again.  It also shows where bus routes pick up and drop off, and since you can see your location on the map, you know when to get off the bus, always the hardest part of using the bus when traveling.  This app was life changing for us.