Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blogger's Dilemma: Camera Woes

Hello all,

I am dying to share all kinds of clothing reviews with you, but I'm realizing more and more the importance of having a great camera! My camera (a Canon Powershot- which I THOUGHT was a good camera) cannot seem to capture indoor images without washing them out, or being too blurry. I've tinkered with the ISO quite a bit, and have tried every setting I can think of, but nothing works. So sad! I'm hoping to use my mother's extremely fancy artist's camera when I go home for Thanksgiving break. Please let me know if you have any tips for taking photos with a Powershot automatic :(

Here's hoping I'll have posts up soon!

Friday, October 21, 2011

New England Adventures

I think my love for New England has become more apparent in my recent blog posts, which have centered around Boston and coastal CT. My best friend and I headed up to the Connecticut/Rhode Island border this weekend to explore:

Stonington, CT:
We visited this quaint fishing town on a rather windy day, as you can tell by these photos of me and my friend:

I was glad I decided to wear my hair up! It's hard to discern what I'm wearing in this photo, so I listed my outfit creds further down.

My friend is wearing one of her much-loved pairs of Oakley sunglasses, and is borrowing a favorite color-blocked scarf of mine from Francesca's Collections.

 There was a great farmer's market near the water that day:

There was a great display of fruits, veggies, cheeses and maple syrups for sale.

Did someone lose a claw?

While admittedly searching for a Dunkin Donuts for a bite to eat, my friend and I stumbled across this little restaurant in Pawcatuck, CT called Donna's Cucina:

(My scarf is from J.Crew, my cardigan is an XS from Vineyard Vines.)

We LOVED this place! Not only was the food fresh-tasting and home made, but Donna herself was extremely friendly and welcoming. I'd recommend a visit for anyone who is in the area.

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Our next stop was downtown Mystic, CT, a popular destination that I haven't visited since high school. I loved watching the bridge go up to let the boats through, probably as much as the 5-year-old standing next to me.

'Scuse me coming through!

There were so many cute shops! Preppy favorites were abundant, such as Lilly Pulitzer, Jonathan Adler and Kiel James Patrick.

I got a cute little whale notepad here at Webster Road. 

There were also lots of cute, quirky items in the boutiques, such as these tiny glass animals my friend is pictured rummaging through:

Hunting for an otter.

And of course, I had to get a picture with the whale statue outside the bookstore:

It turns out I also posed for a picture with the whale back in high school:

Circa 2008. 

We ate lunch at a great little restaurant that caught my attention with its brightly-colored facade:

Oyster Club

One of my favorite things about coastal New England towns are the brightly painted doors. I wish to own my own white colonial house with a red door one day, and actually passed by a house that looked as if someone built it based on the vision of my future dream house. I was too in awe to take a photo, unfortunately, and Google images doesn't seem to have any close-enough lookalikes. Oh well! I'll be on the hunt next time I head up to the area.

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I just ordered a bunch of new goodies online, including corduroys, tights and shoes...reviews to come!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

FOUND! Bangles for tiny wrists

I was so excited to come across these small sterling silver bangles while adventuring in downtown Mystic, CT this weekend! For the past few years, I've been searching for elegant, silver bangles to fit my toddler-sized wrists (5.5" circumference). I had come across a few potentials here and there, but they were always $50 or more each, which I simply can't do on my college student budget. These little bracelets are pure sterling silver, which is why their $17 price tag surprised me!....

Apparently, the saleswoman at Dexter & Company jewelers told me that had been sitting there for AGES since they didn't fit anyone, so they had to mark down the price considerably. Lucky me! And lucky for you fellow small-wristed ladies too if you visit, since they have several other tiny bracelets.

Dexter & Co. storefront, on Main St. in Mystic CT

I have much more to post about my New England adventures, stay tuned!


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Outlet Scores! Brooks Brothers, Barney's, Vineyard Vines

Why do I love holiday weekends so much? For the insane deals you get at stores...and the even INSANER deals you get at the outlet malls! I headed to the Woodbury Common outlet mall yesterday night to do some...um, Christmas shopping. Early, I know, but it's the last big holiday weekend sale before the craziness of Black Friday (nooo thank you!). Even weirder was the fact that I was Christmas shopping for myself....

...While that may sound strange and/or self-indulgent, it's actually my family's way of maintaining a Christmas tradition for a little while longer. I'm at that weird young-adult stage where I'm no longer a child, but I'm not yet an adult with a legitimate income. Therefore, my parents still like to buy me Christmas presents. However, seeing as how what I mostly want is clothes, and how finding those clothes would mean me having to give my Mom an explicit list and a journey all over the tri-state area, they prefer to give me a budget and have me pick out the gifts myself. The catch is that I don't get to see the clothes again till Christmas morning, when I unwrap them. Most of my friends' parents just give them cash, but this way, my parents still have physical presents to wrap and put under the tree, which in some way preserves the magic a bit longer. Christmas traditions get a bit hairy as you get older...when do/did your parents stop doing the whole stocking & Santa thing? My guess is that it'll stop once my brother and I officially move out. But no rush! :)

Anyway, I managed to find *almost* everything I was looking for. Here's what I got:
**Click to see larger.**

Brooks Brothers Fleece, XS: Oh my goodness! I loved this fleece from the moment I saw it, and even more from the moment I felt it. It's my favorite color, and is as soft and cozy as it gets. I originally went to Vineyard Vines to find a similar sort of pull-over fleece, and was very surprised to end up finding it at BB. Although the Brooks Brothers outlet brand is made-for-outlet, the quality is still wonderful and I got it for a STEAL. I wish I didn't have to wait for Christmas!...

Barney's Wallet: The most challenging part of my hunt was my long and strenuous search for a solid-colored leather wallet in a bright color, for a good price. Kate Spade surprisingly didn't have anything I liked (and a KS wallet I saw a few months back was what I was basing my preference on), Longchamps had several but for unfriendly prices, and everything else was either too sparkly/textured, not leather, or black. As a desperate last attempt, I went into the Barney's New York outlet to see if they had wallets. Imagine my surprise when I see a WALL of genuine leather wallets in every pretty color imaginable, that were on sale for a very reasonable price!! I was ecstatic. Not to mention, it had all the features I needed (long dollar pocket, attached coin purse, many card slots). So I got one in my favorite color.

(P.S.- My current Vera Bradley wallet is in such a sad state of affairs that I'm embarrassed to post a picture...let's just say you can barely make out the pattern, and a pen exploded on it. Never again will I buy a fabric wallet, no matter how pretty!)

Vineyard Vines Tunic, Chid's Medium: Vineyard Vines is always my favorite outlet stop since the clothes come from the actual stores, and are not made for outlet like most outlet shops' clothing. As much as I love the styles, however, Vineyard Vines is NOT petite friendly. I was mislead in that post from March...the skirt I found must have been a lucky find! Some things are worth altering, however, like my Seawater Cardigan which I recently got taken in.
Luckily for petites, though, they have a GREAT kids section! Structure-less items like this cute tunic work, but I would recommend staying away from the dresses and button-downs, since there's no room for curves or shoulders. I was very happy to find this seahorse tunic though, which I got only got for 25% off the outlet price, but also at the bargain of it being a children's item! There's always a silver lining in a world of vanity sizing.

I had wonderful success shopping for my family as well...only I can't post what I'm getting them! That will have to wait till Christmas.

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I'm not allowed to take the tags off of them yet, as I'm really not supposed to see these again until Christmas. Expect to see future OOTD posts with these!
And don't walk, RUN to the outlet malls this weekend. Arm yourselves with comfy shoes, a water bottle and plenty of stamina.

***P.S.- College Prep is hosting an awesome Angela Moore giveaway- her bracelets are adorable! Check it out here.***

Happy Shopping!

Sunday, October 2, 2011


After my birthday trip to Boston and Boston College this past weekend, I couldn't be more sure that BC is the grad school for me! My mom and I headed up to the area Thursday and stayed in Newtown Centre with a family friend. The weather wasn't the best, but luckily the rain stayed away long enough for us to walk around the gorgeous BC campus:

 The architecture is beautiful. I wish I took more pictures of the flowers everywhere!

It was unseasonably warm, but the rain left a chill in the air, so I decided it was a good day for tights and boots.

Shirt: from Christina's, Ltd. in Watch Hill RI. XS
Belt: Forever 21, XS/S
Corduroy Skirt: American Eagle, sz. 0
Tights: Simply Vera by Vera Wang ***note: they look black, but
they're actually a dark patterned brown!**
Boots: Franco Sarto, sz. 5
Bag: Dooney & Bourke

Lucky for us, the sunny, hot weather on Friday was a big improvement from Thursday's rain. I spent my birthday walking around Boston, absorbing all the sights and sounds:

Sam Adams: Founding father, beer legacy.

A statue honoring the Irish immigrants (my ancestors among them) who sought a new start in America after being devastated by famine. There's a famine statue alongside it, but I thought this one would make for a less depressing photo.

Mmm...New England, Kennedy-kitchen style! 

The famous Boston Duck Tours...on a vehicle that drives right into the water. I went on one of these with my family as a kid. 

My mother in front of Quincy Market, a famous historical marketplace now known mostly as a good food spot for hungry tourists. I picked up some saltwater taffy.

Jack Rogers were not the best choice for walking on cobblestones- I nearly tripped twice!

We ate lunch at the Salty Dog, and had a seriously fresh-tasting seafood meal. New England clam chowder, seafood salad sandwich, and raw littleneck clams:

Yum! They taste better than they look.

As a newly turned-21 year old, I had to buy a beer of course. It would've been more exciting if I had actually gotten carded!

Inside Fanueil Hall. 

The city is full of history; everywhere you turn there's a historically significant building. I love how the city is bustling and busy without being as cold and overwhelming as Manhattan. Thankfully, it has a great public transportation system, because I definitely don't want to have to navigate by car through the disorganized streets- unfortunately, it lacks the neatly-laid out grid system of New York.

I wish I would've had more time to explore the downtown city area, but I only had a few hours before I had to return home in time for our dinner reservations. No matter- hopefully I'll be a MA resident in a year, and then I'll have all the time in the world to explore!

Your future New Englander,

Monday, September 19, 2011

How to stay sane (and stylish) in stressful times.

With great ambition comes great stress. If you're an overachiever like me, sometimes staying on task with the millions of things you feel you must do perfectly can make you feel, well, like this:

(click for photo cred)

I decided to take extra classes this semester to expand my teaching certification from grades 1-6 to birth through 6. What I didn't count on, however, is having to study for the GRE. As I've posted about before, my #1 goal at the moment is getting into Boston College (Lynch School of Ed) for grad school. What I wasn't aware of until a few weeks ago was that I had to take the harder version of the SATs GRE exam. So with the extra coursework plus the intense study sessions, my life has gotten a bit nuts. Here's what I do to keep my sanity (and style):

1.) Take mental breaks. As tempting as it is to bury yourself in work for hours, your brain will FRY and won't retain half the information it needs to. Same goes for chores: after a while you'll be doing a poor job at half the speed. Just like with exercising, I like to work in intervals. I'll read or study vocabulary intently for an hour, then I'll watch an episode of Gossip Girl. Then I'll continue working. Trying to work for several hours straight is just asking for some serious procrastination and lack of focus.

 2.) Keep your space looking pretty. If it can be pretty, why not make it pretty? Having a visually pleasing environment helps you stay relaxed.
For me, this means having a pretty agenda:

a lovely set of note paper on my desk:

And my beloved little palm plant. (Not my photo, but the same plant!)

3.) Give yourself rewards. It is much easier to deal with an overwhelming to-do list if each task has a little reward at the end. Like I mentioned before, an hour of hardcore studying earns me an episode of Gossip Girl.  A completed reading assignment may earn me a homemade cookie, and a successfully-tackled vocabulary list can be self-rewarded with the latest issue of Cosmo. And if there's an ultimate goal at the end (for me it's getting accepted into BC), always keep it in mind.

One of the additional challenges of a stressful, busy lifestyle is maintaining a sense of style. It is way too easy to pull out the sweats and forget any sort of makeup regime when there's a million more important things to do. When I look frumpy and unapproachable, however, I feel frumpy and unapproachable. Here's how I keep my style when I'm in a rush:

1.) Mascara + concealer. Brightens the eyes and hides my dark circles/redness. Two minutes and I look well-rested/revived!

2.) Button-down shirt, dark jeans, high boots, pearl earrings.
Bam. Instant polish, no thought necessary.

3.) Dry shampoo. Sometimes, I'll admit, there's no time to properly wash and dry my hair. For "skip" days, I spray a bit of dry shampoo on my scalp and brush it out. No more greasy hair! I use one made by Tresemme.

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I hope to find time to continue posting on a somewhat regular basis. If you don't hear from me for week intervals, just know that I didn't fall off the planet, I've been consumed by GRE prep. Can't wait for my visit to Boston in a few weeks!

Hope your life is less stressful than mine currently is,

Friday, September 9, 2011

New boots! The search is over.

BOOTS: Franco Sarto Women's Rivoli Boot, sz. 5 (buy here)
: H&M, sz.2
Jeans: LOFT, sz. 00P
Scarf: Francesca's Collections
Bag: Dooney & Bourke

Yes! Despite having skinny calves, extremely picky tastes and an unpopular shoe size, I managed to find my perfect pair of boots.

The leather is soft and a lovely tan color, and a much better option than suede (my black boots are suede and ALWAYS dirty!). I love that the slight heel doesn't make the annoying "click-clack" noise that some boots make, and that there is a zipper in the back for easy pull-on/off convenience. 

Trying to find a size 5 pair of tan leather riding boots that would look decent on my skinny calves wasn't easy. Most boots have at least a 15" circumference, and my calves are a scrawny 12". Imagine my luck when I found this pair, which have a narrow 14" circumference! Not narrow enough, mind you, but narrow enough to not look ridiculous. My trick?

Leg warmers. Adding a pair of these under my boots fills out the shaft just enough to prevent the leather from bagging around my ankles, and also fills out the top part of the boot nicely. (If you have extremely scrawny ankles like I do, I recommend tucking most of the fabric down around your ankles and the tops of your feet). IMHO, I believe that using this trick is the best bet for skinny-calved ladies, and that it's not worth paying hundreds more dollars to have custom-made boots, especially after Kelly's lukewarm review of the (only?) petite-friendly boot company DuoBoots.

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I am super excited that boot season is nearly upon us- can't wait to wear these everywhere! I'm particularly looking forward to wearing them around Boston and its suburbs, which is where I'm headed in a few weeks for my 21st birthday. My mom and I will be checking out Boston College- my absolute #1 choice for graduate school- and I couldn't be more excited!

More on that soon.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tired of eBay for designer consignment? Try Style.Ly

Yesterday, I came across a brand new website that allows women to buy and sell their "loved already" (or often new) clothing and accessories online without bidding and without the hassles of site commissions: style.ly!

Launched by former eBay executive Danny Leffel, the site describes itself as "a social buying and selling marketplace where fashionistas buy and sell new, gently used and vintage women's fashion and accessories" (check out the article about the site here on auctionbytes.com). Items are organized into "Coteries," which are either categories such as City Chic, or stores such as Ann Taylor. The site is heavily linked to Facebook (which is how I found out about it), which I like because I can find out about items recently added to my favorite coteries through facebook:

(Note: It doesn't blow up my newsfeed, either- they feature one item a day). The seller page on the site makes it seem like selling an item is quick and pain-free. However, like most consignment shops, not everything is considered "worthy enough" to sell on the site. From the words of the style.ly blog, "the style.ly team will hand-pick the items we think our buyers will MOST want to buy and we’ll include them on style.ly. This process can take up to 24-48 hours."

The site is only a few days old, so naturally there are probably many kinks to work out. From the looks of it though, this site seems like a good place to buy consignment online.

Will you check out Style.ly?


**Note: This review was provided entirely based on my own interest. There is no compensation/promotion from style.ly.**

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

PFC #10- Summer to Fall: 1 striped top, 2 seasonal outfits.

Petite Fashion Challenge #10: Take traditionally summer pieces (like tank tops, shorts, mini skirts, sundresses etc.) and make them appropriate for fall.

For this month's petite fashion challenge, I took a summery striped long tank top from Forever 21 and made it fall appropriate by adding a silk cardigan and brown belt:

Tank Top: Forever 21, XS (similar here)
Cardigan: Banana Republic, Petite XS
Belt:....no idea!
Jeans: Forever 21, 25/29
Earrings: Vintage

The cardigan is extremely light-weight (a silk blend), which makes it ideal for early fall. Its length can be a challenge to style, but its a perfect match for this long top that peeks out the bottom. I kept a neutral color palette for a classy, put-together look, giving the summery stripes a subdued autumn-friendly feel.

Since this top is usually something I would wear in the summertime, I also created a summer-appropriate outfit with a white skirt, shown below:

Tank Top: Forever 21, XS (similar here)
Skirt: J.Crew, 00
Necklace: Forever 21

In the upstate NY town that I live in, this outfit would only be appropriate for another week or so. White skirt season is ending, and boot & sweater season is just around the corner!
Thanks to Liza for hosting this month's PFC!

How do you style your summer clothes for fall?


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The easiest clothing fix ever.

Many of us petite ladies have been there: you spy a cute sleeveless/tank top or dress you love, only to discover in the dressing room that the neckline plunges down too low for comfort. Don't be so quick to put it back on the rack! A strap adjustment is one of the easiest fixes you can make, and it makes such a difference in the way a top or dress can fit.

All you have to do is find the seam that's usually in the middle of the strap (if it isn't there, create one!), and fold the strap down evenly (see above) to create a new seam. When your done, trim the excess fabric, and voila! It's an easy, hand-sewable job that can make a huge difference in the way a top or dress fits. I'm glad it worked on my new Forever 21 striped top:

This wonderfully versatile (and inexpensive!) top will be featured in my next post, Petite Fashion 
Challenge #9: Summer to Fall.
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Classes start tomorrow for me, it's time to get into academic mode! Are any of you starting school again as well?

Staying studious (and stylish),

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A favorite item of both petites and preps...

Judging by many posts that I've read throughout the blogosphere, there is one item I've discovered that is universally loved by petites, preps, and petite preps: J.Crew's Jackie Cardigan. I've mentioned it several times on my blog, but I decided my most recent purchase deserves its own post.

Cardigan: J.Crew Jackie Cardigan in Bavarian Blue, sz. XXS (buy other colors here)
Tank: Express, sz. XS (a great thrift find)
Pants: Gap Skinny Pant, sz. 1

Anyone who has read my blog before knows I don't like paying full price for anything. Why bother when you can almost ALWAYS get what you want for less? In this case, I had my heart set on getting a blue XXS Jackie cardigan at the J.Crew Factory Store when I was at the Tanger Outlet Mall. The Jackie cardigan I already owned was from the factory store, and I was satisfied with its quality, but I this time I wanted a new color (my old one is slate) and an XXS rather than an XS. What do I find when I get there? NO XXS at all (maybe they haven't started to make that size for the factory stores yet?) and not a single shade of blue. Such a bummer!

So instead, I looked to the internet to help. I visited the J.Crew Aficionada blog that I follow, and checked out their "Looking to Sell" weekly feature, hoping someone miraculously had the size and style cardigan I wanted. No luck. I decided to post on the "Looking to Buy" feature instead, asking for an XXS Jackie Cardigan in a shade of blue, offered for less than full price. What do you know, someone had exactly what I wanted! A lovely seller named Susan offered to sell me her Bavarian Blue cardigan from the actual store (not the factory store), new with tags for 40 bucks shipped (same as the outlet price!).

The cut of the sweater is perfect for petites. It has a short, cropped length, and flattering 3/4 sleeves. The XXS is a snug fit, but petites that are around my size may also like the XS, which fits slightly looser. It is a wonderful, classic style named for the icon of classic American style: Jackie O, of course. :)

If you haven't picked one up yet, I highly recommend that you do!!


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Petite Clothing Review: Work Attire from the Outlets

I finally was able to take some photos of my most recent purchases at the wonderful Tanger outlet mall in Rockville, NY (we took a visit on our way back from the Hamptons). During this outlet trip, my main goal was to find teacher attire for my upcoming student teaching: I needed well-fitting slacks, and I was lusting after another non-iron shirt from Brooks Brothers. Needless to say, the trip was a success!! Here are my great petite finds:

I wasn't even planning on visiting AT Factory, since I'm always horrified by how the prices of the made-for-the-outlets clothing are often more expensive than the sale prices of the good quality normal-store clothing. However, I decided to take a peek anyways, and I'm glad I did! Turns out their trouser pants are roughly the same quality and price as LOFT, AT's sister store, with the exact same fit system. As advised by my tailor, I always go for the low-cut modern fit, which is the appropriate cut considering my short stature and low butt-to-thigh ratio. For slim-legged  ladies with a bit extra in the derriere, stick to low cut pants as higher cuts won't drape properly and will cause bunching (as taught to me by my tailor, Noemi!).

Pants: Ann Taylor Factory Store, Modern Fit, sz. 00P

With heels, no shortening is necessary! The length is perfect as is. I also picked up a pair in a subtle plaid pattern:

I realize they draw attention to my backside, but I prefer to err on the side of overly flattering than overly frumpy (as long as it's tasteful, of course)!!
While in AT, I also found a nice top:

Top: Ann Taylor Factory Store, sz. XXSP(Watch: Vintage)

The quality of this top is nothing exceptional, but it's good enough, and it fits very well. I'm very fond of bunched necklines, since they draw attention away from my tiny bust and give my narrow neck/shoulder area some dimension (note: if you are also narrow on top and wider at the hips, bunched or gathered necklines are a great way to balance your figure!). This top could be worn as is during the warmer months, and paired with a blazer during the colder months. The black and white coloring and subtle pattern makes it super easy to pair with pretty much any solid blazer or cardigan.

Lo and behold, I found my petite non-iron shirt!! Although it wasn't the exact fit I wanted (I wanted the more feminine "tailored" fit), this "fitted" shirt works just fine, and it's my favorite color:

Shirt: Brooks Brothers Factory Store, Miracle Shirt, Fitted, 0P

This shirt fits me how a "classic" fit would fit most women- slightly looser and a bit more modest. The cut is perfect, and the sleeves are the perfect length (although I think I look hideous with the sleeves rolled down!). The quality is great for a made-for-factory shirt: when I asked the saleswoman the difference in quality between the factory store shirts and those from the regular store, she said the only differences are what country the shirt is made in, and a slightly lower thread count. It still has the same non-iron "miracle" fabric as the regular store's shirts have.

I have never had any luck with Gap (they usually run HUGE), but I remembered reading something about a petite-friendly pair of Gap pants in the Alterations Needed forum, so I decided to give the store a try. I am so happy I did, because I was SHOCKED by how well these pants fit:

Pants: Gap Skinny Pant, sz. 1
(Shoes: Payless Shoe Source, sz. 5. These pants are dying to be worn with a cute pair of flats, but I had to make due.)

I'm guessing these pants are meant to fit average-sized ladies as a cropped pant, although the tag didn't mention anything about it being "cropped." What's even more shocking is that the sz. 0 was too small!! Just to make sure I wasn't going crazy, I checked out a different style of pants in sz. 00, and sure enough they were super long and too big. This pair alone is magic, I guess. Even so, I will no longer write off Gap as being hopeless.

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Successful shopping trips are such a mood-booster, even more so when I'm pleasantly surprised. I'll soon be posting about a slight tragedy that happened with my Brooks Brothers shirt, as well as some wonderful news regarding a J.Crew cardigan.