Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fröhliche Weihnachten!

Merry Christmas friends!  Thanks so much for reading, I always love reading your comments :)  I haven't been very good about posting outfit pics lately, but "Santa" put one of those awesome bendy tripods in my stocking for Christmas...so more photos soon!  In the meantime, enjoy the bizarre Christmas photo we sent out in our Christmas cards this year...

My family had a relatively small, quiet holiday this year.  We've all been scrimping & saving for a giant family trip to the Philippines next year, so we agreed on a gift spending limit.  Admittedly, it was hard to feel Christmassy (?) while being so frugal.  Obviously it's not the gifts that matter, but when you're buying gifts for your loved ones, you want to give them everything.  We just had to keep telling ourselves that the trip is the real gift, and once we cross the Pacific we'll be glad we pinched our pennies!

Just wanted to share a couple photos from Christmas.  Enjoy, and I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

Wandering around Town Lake with the fam

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

All I Want is You

via Free People
I never know how to answer the question "Where are you from?".  I know where I was born (California).  I know where I've lived (California, Indiana, the Philippines, Texas).  But it doesn't feel right to say I'm "from" any of those places, and I hate launching into a long explanation when people expect a one-word answer.  I would say I was most at home in the Philippines, despite my very poor grasp of Visaya, but I think I prefer not having a "from".  I'm more interested in "going to"!

I live in Texas now, but I am most definitely not from here.  Before I moved here for college I thought Texans either dressed like cowboys, or like they were on Dallas or Dynasty.  Sometimes, I actually don't think I'm that far off ;)

Sadly, these Jeffrey Campbell over-the-knee(!!) cowboy boots are no longer available (at least, not anywhere I've thought to look).  It's just as well, as I have no need for yet another pair of boots.  But if there were ever a reason to assimilate to this place I currently call "Home", this would be it.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Journeys Through Bookland

For Thanksgiving, my husband and I road-tripped our way to Phoenix to visit my family and stuff our faces.  My family is scattered all over the world, so it was really great to see some of them even if it was just for a few days.  My grandfather made the Thanksgiving dinner, and then we had a 2nd Thanksgiving of sorts on Friday, with a massive Filipino meal at my parents' house.

My grandpa let me take home some of the old books I used to read as a child, and I was so excited to sift through them all and relive those memories.  My grandparents used to live in a large, cozy house on a lake in Minnesota.  Whenever we visited, my brother and I would head for the basement and the "library" of treasured tomes in a tiny room under the stairs.  We would read, read, and read some more, and when we left for home, we were always encouraged to take some books with us.  Over the years I've slowly collected my favorite books...which were once favorites of my ancestors:

The Wizard of Oz books (I would guess that many people aren't aware this was a series!).

My great-grandmother's copies of Anne of Green Gables, & Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (first editions!!).  Also, this is Napoleon, the miniature falcon who has been known to kidnap small children!

The Patty Fairfield series, clearly a favorite of my great-aunt Barbara.

A book inscribed to my great-great-great Aunt Julia.

 When I compare these to my own modern day books, I wonder what of mine will survive 100 years from now.  What books from today will be considered classics?  And so many of my own books are paperback (because, well, they're cheaper), and will most likely crumble away before any great-great-grandchild gets her hands on them.  Which books will go the distance?

I think my project in the upcoming year will be to buy hardcover editions of the books that I really love...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Magic

I just had to share this video, which follows Bergdorf Goodman as they create their stunningly beautiful holiday windows.

Found on Coffee & Trace (a really great retail design blog!).

It's easy to become jaded about the holidays, but the magic can still be found if you look for it.  Christmas windows are probably my favorite thing, now that I'm too old for Santa Claus ;)

Coming soon--giant post about my Thanksgiving trip.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Blogger Off Duty & Kitchen Mishaps

I'm not really a t-shirt/jeans/flip-flops kind of girl.  I love getting dressed, and there's very little pleasure to be had by throwing on whatever's close at hand.  With that said, I am definitely not the girl wearing lipstick & pumps to buy groceries on a Sunday morning!  So, when I'm buying milk and eggs at 10am...t-shirts it is.

Today I started out throwing on my "weekend errands" attire, and it evolved into something more interesting...when I put on my favorite nude/mocha tee & was horrified by a GIANT cheese stain on the front!

Yes...  A couple weeks earlier I had put cheese on a tortilla, put it in the toaster oven, and promptly forgot about it until I walked by again and saw the tortilla puffed up like a balloon and cheese running down the sides.  Like a genius, I pulled it out with my bare hands(?!) and then threw it up into the air (?!?!) screaming.  And then, it landed cheese first on my t-shirt.  So now, I'm screaming and running down the hallway pulling my burning cheese t-shirt off with my burned fingers--my husband is so disappointed that he wasn't home to witness this--annnnd I threw it in the laundry, and forgot all about it.  Until now!

Swapped the t-shirt out for a plain navy tank.  Too chilly for a tank top...add beaded, embroidered cardigan.  Can't wear sneakers with sequins?  Cuffed my AG Boyfriend jeans (best weekend jeans ever!!!  You must get a pair) and traded my dirty Pumas for Corso Como cork platform wedges.

Results?  Not as casual as I intended, but I feel so much better!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Crazy Times

Many stress-inducing situations in the last week or two...some work-related, but mostly things happening right in my neighborhood.  Trying to think happy thoughts...fantasizing about moving to Bohol and running a bed & breakfast...or moving to Tasmania to raise goats and make goat cheese...ahh.

I am trying to decide on my next project.  I've been daydreaming about leather skirts, tweed skirts (have you noticed?  I love skirts!), houndstooth capes, beaded cardigans, tie-dye, and possibly something involving applying gold leaf to wooly fabric.

I ordered a handful of lovely fabric swatches from both Mood Fabrics and Fabric.com.  I'll let you know what I decide to do first!

I haven't used Polyvore in so long...but it's addictive!  It's a great way to pull together a visual wish list:

Look at that great bag...and it's a steal!!!  Think of how amazing it would be with some kind of pattern painted on the canvas...

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Old Friends & New

This is a relatively new addition to my family of weird jewelry.  Sometimes I space out and stare at it mindlessly when I'm at my desk.  Yesterday I introduced the necklace to some old friends of mine:

Necklace, Anthropologie
Sweater,vintage (label "Katherine H")
Basic tank, Sola
Denim pencil skirt, Level 99/Anthropologie
Heels, H&M

The cardigan and shoes have been in my closet for years, and they won't be retiring anytime soon. The sweater was a gift from a friend on a chilly day.  I had forgotten a jacket, and I remember putting it on immediately and going "Ahhhh...."!  Despite the open knit sleeves, it's super warm and cozy, and the nude/rust color goes with everything.

The shoes were an accidental discovery at H&M, while in Chicago to visit my brother 5 years ago.  They were on a shelf, all alone and a size too small according to the tag.  I searched high and low for more pairs, thinking that perhaps a customer had picked them up from somewhere else and changed her mind.  None were found.  Oh well, I thought.  Maybe the pair I found wouldn't be noticeably tight--maybe I could get away with it.

Well?  Turns out H&M's size 7 is Lisa's size 8.  The End!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Instant Gratification

I snagged this skirt at Buffalo Exchange a while ago.  I love the fluffiness and the neutral ombre-ish silk, but I broke one of my own shopping rules: Never buy something that doesn't fit perfectly.  Oops.

Umm...?  Time for a quick & dirty alteration!

Before: Ginormous--this would barely sit around my hips if I didn't take in the waist!  I think I'll be taking in about 7 inches.  With a pinch here, & a pinch there...

Sew the waistband closed at each pinch...

And voila...

Button-up, Target via Buffalo Exchange
Belt, H&M via clothes swap
Skirt, Buffalo Exchange
Flats, Urban Outfitters

And Lola, our giant Lab!

Would a professional take in the waistband this way?  Absolutely not.  But this took me less than 15 minutes to get from "What was I thinking??" to Totally Wearable.  Works for me!

Monday, November 1, 2010

La la LA la la...

Just for fun...my Halloween costume this past weekend (and at the office!).  I had a little too much fun trying to make the photo look cartoony :-P

Monday, October 25, 2010

Candy Stripes

I don't really consider myself a girly-girl, but as you may have noticed, skirts are basically my uniform. Maybe it's my Catholic school upbringing ;-)  And I'm really excited about the resurgence of realistic hemlines for fall.  Not only do I already have these pieces in my closet, but it also means that I won't see as many cheeks whenever I go downtown!  One can hope, right?

Over the summer, I started making a pink seersucker skirt, but stopped midway when I decided it looked too "baby" (and when I realized the waistband was a better fit for my thigh than my actual waist--oops!).  Ever since, I've been on the lookout for a great pink/white stripe fabric for my second attempt.  I finally settled on this from Mood Fabrics:

And used a pattern I already had.

This is ridiculously easy to make.  Only 6 pieces to cut, an invisible zipper, & a button--that's it!  Invisible zippers sound scary, but aren't as tricky as they seem.  Just follow the directions in the package...and don't melt the coils when you iron.  Everyone says you need an invisible zipper foot to sew an invisible zipper, but I'm not sure I believe it.  My machine didn't come with one, but when I went to my local fabric/sewing shops, no one seemed to know what I was talking about!  Hmmm!  So, I just used the standard foot, and stitched verrry slowly and carefully to avoid breaking the needle or straying from the edge of the coil.

The finished product.  You'll be seeing this again soon!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


It's been a long week.  Busy season is upon us at work, and that means it's almost impossible to get home before 6!  Nevertheless, I am enjoying my new job immensely and I've been doing really well.

I am finishing up a fabulous skirt project that I can't wait to show off.  In the meantime though, here's what I wore yesterday:

Cuff from the Philippines
Dress, Feathers vintage
Vest, Forever 21 
Purse strap (as belt!!), Anthropologie
Flats, Urban Outfitters

I usually don't wear flats.  I am not tall, but I like to pretend.  Oh, and I feel like I'm walking like a duck when I wear flats...so there's that.  But, these are super cute, and I like how the color blends into my skin.

The "belt" is a strap from a handbag I bought at Anthro last summer (on sale, and I had a giftcard...score!).  Most of my belts are of the wide, stretchy variety, and I felt like this needed a skinny belt.  This was the perfect color and hey, it actually worked!

Hmm, I bet I have other purse straps waiting for new lives as belts...and I'm sure you do too!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Prized Possession

Like I've said before, I don't buy too often.  My purchases are long-term commitments, not one-night stands!  Even so, there are a few pieces that stand apart from the rest as true fashion soul mates, and I think they deserve a little bit of lovin here.

So this week, let's introduce my one-and-only Marni bag, circa Spring 2004!

Here it is on the runway:

photo from style.com
I bought this lovely thing the summer before my senior year at college.  It was a great summer: I had just started dating my husband (didn't know it yet though!) and I had just started my first non-"work study" job, which meant I actually had a small amount of spending money.

I've always had this huge crush on Marni--the eclectic mix of interesting prints, the always-fabulous shoes, and the whole "gainfully employed bohemian" look ;-)  So one day, while daydreaming my way through netaporter.com, I happened upon this gorgeous bag tucked away on the "Marni - Sale" page. What what what!!

It was just barely, barely out of my college-student price range.  I agonized over it for days, obsessively checking to see if it was still there.  Finally, I was looking at it for maybe the 100th time when my good friend Reese happened to look over my shoulder.

"Ooh, that's a Lisa bag!!"

Sold.  I may have eaten ramen for a couple weeks after, but it was completely worth it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Can't Trust That Day!

It's Monday.  Enough said, right?

Here's a goodie from my Inspiration folder:

I don't remember where I found this, so if you know, tell me who to credit.

I love the creepy vibe here, but more importantly, it kind of makes me want to cover my ceiling in birdcages.  What a cool idea for light fixtures!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Red "Dress"

In the summer before my senior year of high school, I went to the Athenaeum Girls' School in Columbia, Tennessee.  We spent the entire week in full 1860's costume, right down to the corsets and pantalettes.  It was fabulous--who doesn't secretly want to be Scarlett O'Hara?

My mom and I spent the previous 3-4 months preparing my wardrobe for that week.  We had a dressmaker in Tennessee make my ball gown, but made my "casual" 1860's gowns at home.  And what a lot of work it was!  One full dress took about 8 yards.  To save money while still adding variety, we made separate blouses and skirts/overskirts instead of single-piece dresses, and a wide sash to hide the waistbands.  A couple of the skirts were gingham or floral, and could be worn with a coordinating blouse and/or scrunched up into "swags" and worn over solid skirts, and solid skirts and blouses could be worn together as a "dress".

It was with this "dress" trick in mind that I put this outfit together for work last week.  And, the "skirt" here is actually a dress!  Am I confusing you yet?

Blouse & belt, Anthropologie
Dress (worn as skirt), H&M
Shoes, Buffalo Exchange

The dress/skirt is a ridiculous mini-babydoll dress, from a few years ago.  Who knows what I was thinking ;-)

Have a great week!  And coming soon: another sewing project!  This time, we'll be doing a skirt with invisible side-seam pockets.  Stay tuned :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Right Attitude

"I buy things because I fall in love with them. I never buy anything just because it’s valuable. My husband used to say I look at a piece of fabric and listen to the threads. It tells me a story. It sings me a song. I have to get a physical reaction when I buy something. A coup de foudre – a bolt of lightning. It’s fun to get knocked out that way!”
-Iris Apfel

I really don't buy clothes or go shopping very often.  I worked in retail for several years, and because of that shopping just doesn't feel recreational anymore.  And that's a good thing!  I think a lot of women get caught up in that shopping high, buying things that aren't needed (and sometimes returning them--shopping bulimia is a big pet peeve of mine!).  It becomes a fleeting kind of therapy.

I've had more time to sew this year than I've had in the past, and it's been much more rewarding than any shopping trip.  It's creative, yet practical.  If I think my wardrobe is lacking something, I can make it, instead of hunting down something sort-of-similar within my price range.  I'm finding that my average-girl budget can go much further with fabric and a few hours of "labor" (or, FUN!).

Now that I've been sewing regularly, I've finally found a shopping trip that I do enjoy (other than grocery shopping, that is...):  Fabric shopping!  When I walk into a good fabric shop, I really do feel like I can "listen to the threads" as Iris says.  One can feel the potential emanating from every bolt.  "What could I be?" they ask. 

I haven't stopped buying ready-made clothes altogether (see last post...actual recent purchases!), but like Iris, I prefer to wait until I "get knocked out".

P.S.  I bought a new camera this week.  I can't promise better photography, but my photos won't be grainy now.  Yay!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

New additions

Just a quick outfit post!  I had been coveting some Anthropologie pieces recently, and finally pulled the trigger.  

Top & wedges, Anthropologie
Shorts, old thrifted Levis

Hope everyone had a great weekend.  I spent mine eating rabbit hot dogs and duck burgers.  Yummm!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Let's Make a Dress--Part 2

So, I've dyed, rinsed, dried 5 yards of fabric, and harvested vintage fabric from an unused jacket.  I decided not to fully line the dress as indicated on the pattern instructions--the mere thought of an extra layer made me feel sweaty.  Yuck!  I used this pattern--super easy to follow.  Just cut the pieces & follow the instructions, pin, sew, and repeat until your piles of fabric turn into a dress!

I did run a little short on the main fabric, so I cut the pocket and belt linings from sari silk left over from another project (actually several projects, but that's for another post)...

This was the first time I got to use my new overlock machine, a birthday gift from my parents.  If you do a lot of sewing, I think you'll understand my excitement.  It makes everything so much easier, and finishes all those edges that would normally fray in the wash!

While sewing my buttons on I watched Cartoon Noir via Netflix.  Check it out!  Especially the mannequin short "Club of the Discarded".

But anyways...voila!  The finished product:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Let's Make a Dress--Part 1!

One of many things on my long, long list of projects is a 50's style shirtdress--full skirted goodness in some sort of lightweight cobalt blue cotton.  It's hard to imagine anything heavier in this weather!

 I couldn't find the exact shade I wanted at the local fabric shops, so when I came upon a pure white crinkled cotton gauze at Jo-Ann's, I whipped out a 50% coupon (courtesy of mother-in-law) and got away with 5 yards of fabric for only $15. Ahh, so that's how coupons work! Scooped up a packet of Dylon in "Ocean Blue", which was the closest to the shade I was hoping for. Not cobalt, but still a good saturated bright blue.

Some quality time in the kitchen cooking up some delicious fabric...

While waiting for my fabric color to process, I dug up a vintage jacket I bought at Feathers last year.  I loved the fabric, but hadn't worn it much.  Hmm, was it time to give the jacket a new life?

I think yes!!

To be continued....

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Vintage, perfected

A few months ago, I found this adorable peach full-skirted 50's dress at Feathers here in Austin.  It fit perfectly, but I had only worn it once as the length wasn't quite right. Well, my husband & I have now become obsessed with Mad Men--we got sucked in last season and have since caught up thanks to the magic of Netflix!  I was inspired to revisit this dress and lop off just enough length to prevent Stubby Legs Syndrome, while keeping the original mid-century vibe.

The original--
(That's Albie!)

Ta-daaa!  Slightly shorter.

In the end I only took about 3 inches off, but it feels like a huge difference.  This was lovely in its original form, but this length will be better with flats I think.  Hooray practicality! 

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Wore this yesterday--

Aviators, Dita Flight (from Therapy)
Top, Sola
Skirt, made by me!
Necklace, Therapy
Shoes, Sofft

I'm loving the resurgence of high-waisted skirts...classic, flattering, and versatile--even in this nutty marbled print!  I made this a couple months ago and it has quickly become part of my regular rotation.  Works with a basic tank and flat sandals too, which is basically my everyday uniform in these sweltering Texas summers!

Even better, every time I wear it I'm asked "I love your skirt, where did you get that?"...and I love being able to say "Oh, actually I made it!".

Friday, August 6, 2010

A fresh, blank sheet of thick paper

Lots of changes going on over here.  Just started a new job last week...going well so far!

I recently scored this great Lara Miller top at a swap...so excited about it!  I actually sold this to one of my girlfriends a few years ago when I was working at Therapy, an amazing (and sadly retired) S. Congress boutique.  It's made from sustainable seaweed/bamboo jersey, aaaand you can style it so many different ways!  I think you'll be seeing this again in various forms :)

Shorts, super old, American Eagle, dyed olive green (Dylon)
Sandals, Anthropologie

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Top- Anthropologie (oooo on sale!)
Skirt- Feathers
Necklace- Therapy
Bullet cuff- East End Art Gallery
Shoes- Sofft (I know...totally grandma)

After seeing Coco Avant Chanel not too long ago, I've been seeing some version of her marinière striped top everywhere I look.  It's a bit preppier than I normally go, so I paired it with this vintage wrap skirt I found last summer. 

When I was 11 years old my family moved to the Philippines and lived in Cagayan for almost a year.  I had a skirt very similar to this that I think we found at a little gift shop.  I have a lot of fond memories of that time and I always think of those days when I wear this...riding horses on my uncle's farm, rollerskating in Cagayan, and of course the homemade paper dolls!

My cousin Gigie and I made little paper dolls from cardstock and then would find inspiration from magazines, cartoons, and strangely enough, an episode or two of "Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous"...what??  --and then put together little paper outfits.

It's funny how much more fun life can be when your resources are limited, isn't it?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Welcome to my blog! Everyone and their grandmother has a blog these days, so thanks for stopping by this particular one.

I love fashion, but my eyes are bigger than my wallet--so if I can't buy it (or can't find exactly what I want), I make it.  I like cooking, and I love eating (my parents used to call me "The Stomach"). My best friend/husband and I live in Austin, with a giant dog and a mentally disturbed cat.

This isn't a "fictional" blog in a literal sense. The name was inspired by both my love of reading, and the ability to express one's personality and/or create a "character" of sorts through dress.

To be continued!