On the Go

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Today I’m sharing some recent photos posted on Instagram (espressowithem).  Our little family hosted some out of town relatives and also took a short road trip down to Los Angeles.  With the warm (actually, quite hot) weather in SoCal and all the moving/packing of baby luggage, I chose versatile pieces to take me from day to night.  Shorts and easy breezy tops were on rotation all throughout our mini-vacation.  With the recent J. Crew sales, I picked up two amazing pairs of shorts that I literally wore all weekend.  Hope you’re having a great week thus far!

1st Photo: Top – Zara (old) / Shorts – J. Crew (here) / Shoes – Soludos

2nd & 3rd Photos: Top – Anthropologie (here) / Shorts – J. Crew (here) / Shoes – Soludos

Polka Dotted

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Happy Monday!  We had a gorgeous weekend in the South Bay and our little family of three strolled through the Sunnyvale Art and Wine Festival this Sunday.  It was the perfect opportunity to get some outfit shots in (I know, it has been a while).  I still need to be creative in choosing what to wear since I can’t quite fit into all my old clothes.  However, given it’s my last month of maternity leave, I’ve finally buckled down on my workout regime (more on what I’m doing later this week!).

Hope you all had a relaxing weekend.  We’ve still got a few more weeks until it’s officially summer, but it sure does feel like it in our neck of the woods!

Top – J.Crew (old, similar version here ) / Skirt – Ann Taylor (old, a pretty lace version here) / Bag – Michael Kors (love this bag) / Shoes – Anthropologie / Sunglasses – Ray-Ban

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A favorite dress I wore in Bali is this swing-silhouette number.  It was another warm night and we were on our way to dinner.  The free form dress kept me cool and I just love the combination of color and pattern against the lush Bali foliage.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get many pictures of this dress, but here I am in the hotel lobby ready for a night out!

 

Dress – Anthropologie / Sandals – J.Crew (also seen here and here) / Jewelry – Michael Kors, Bloomingdales

 

By the Park

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As you may have heard me say many times before, the weather in Asia is hot and humid this time of year.  While the first few photos above look like I was standing in a decrepit house, I was visiting Anping Tree House in Tainan, Taiwan, in which an old warehouse was taken over by a huge Banyan tree.  The roots have expanded and permeated through much of the structure.  Some say the house is haunted, and while there is a somewhat eerie feeling while walking through it, from an aerial view on top of the steps, the site is beautiful.

Following a day of site-seeing, a must-do is stopping by one of Taiwan’s famous shaved ice vendors.  My favorite flavor is mango and as you can see they serve huge chunks of fresh cut mango with the shaved ice!  So good.

 

Top – Anthropologie (loving this print) / Shorts – Anthropologie / Hat – J.Crew (last seen here) / Sandals – J.Crew (last seen here) / Bag – Coach (last seen here) / Sunglasses – Ray-Ban

Airport Attire

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I don’t normally post very casual outfits on the blog, but since I’ve been traveling non-stop lately I thought I would share what I wore on the plane on my recent cross-country trip to NY.  The key to longer flights is comfort.  I like to use a pair of black leggings as the base and then build the rest of my outfit from there.  I wore my favorite soft gray tee — then topped it with a denim jacket and floral scarf for warmth (airplanes get cold!).  My shoes and bag were added pops of color to make the look interesting.  For those 5 1/2 hours on the plane, I was definitely comfortable!

What do you wear on long flights?  Let me know!

Tee – Old Navy / Leggings – Old Navy / Jacket – Hollister (similar here) / Scarf – Anthropologie (also love this one) / Bag – Coach / Shoes – boutique store (similar here) / Sunglasses – Prada

Holiday Gift Guide – For the Family

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Wheels up!  As you’re reading this, I’m on way to sunny and beautiful Los Angeles.  I’ll be there for a little over a week so please follow me on Instagram and Twitter for what I’m up to!

As promised, I’m sharing with you my last installment of this year’s holiday gift guide — presents for the family.  If you’re stuck on ideas for a brother, cousin, or just the parents, here are some ideas for thought.  Enjoy!

Images from Pinterest.

1. Cashmere Anything – sweater, pillow, throw

2. (Monogrammed) Cutting Board

3. Gold Monogram Mug

4. Hugo Boss Belt

5. Tory Burch Cross-body Bag

6. Travel Make-up Brush Set

7. Wireless Phone Charger

8. Books for Everyone

9. His and Hers Fragrance

Easter Entertaining: Modern & Fresh

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I am thinking of throwing an Easter Sunday brunch this year for some close friends and have just started perusing sites for some table setting inspiration.  Ever since I moved into my new town house, I’ve been endlessly on the hunt for beautiful, modern tableware.  In the beginning I started with all-white, minimalist dinnerware so that I could let the food really shine.  Then, over the most recent holidays, I was drawn to clean, contemporary lines.  These days, I find myself gravitating towards the ‘mix & match’ concept: pair modern with a little traditional, juxtapose classic with a little edgy.

After browsing Better Homes & Gardens for some ideas, I came across the two table sets above. Love.  them.  The first setting is mostly classic white and sleek, allowing the cool-colored confetti ring to stand out as the centerpiece.  Classic cool.  In the second set, the mostly warm-colored placemat and floral plate paired with crisp gray linen set the stage for an inviting meal.  Traditional with a twist.  Which one do you prefer?  Do you mix & match your home decor?

To get the creative juices flowing, here are some dinnerware sets that I adore from two of my favorite stores to find house/home items…bold, bright and just great works of art!

Anthropologie (from L to R)

Sissinghurst Castle Side Plate

Handpainted Tori Dinnerware

Watercolor Petals Dinnerware

 

 

West Elm (from L to R)

Bold Stroke Dinnerware Set

Potter’s Workshop – Red

Potter’s Workshop – Yellow

Interior Design: Statement Rug

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It seems like with the start of the new year, many people I know have moved into new homes and are in the process of decorating their abodes.  Those who did not move are re-decorating or adding the right conversation piece to their current homes.  Whichever group you belong to, one decorating tip that I like (and currently use in my own home) is making a bold statement with a rug.

From the examples above, statement rugs just add the right zing to a room.  Stripes (how about this one from West Elm), geometric patterns (like this one from C&B), repeating lines, a striking color, shapes (such as a round rug from Anthropologie), are all ways that make a statement rug stand out.  The general rule of thumb I follow is if my rug is busy and bold, I try to keep the rest of the room simple and let my furniture and furnishings compliment the rug.

There are many options out there and all in various price ranges.  There are even sites that let you create your own pattern/design.  Some of the best finds are from small local businesses right in your town that would not be available to the masses.  I’d recommend first looking at magazines, online sites, Pinterest, to get ideas.  Maybe talk it over with your interior designer (if you have one).  Once you have an idea of what speaks to you and have some knowledge of fabric options, sizes, and care, you can shop around and make adjustments as needed based on your budget (if you have one).

All images from Pinterest

1 – Ali Carter  2 – Yvette Hardy  3 – The Decorista-Domestic Bliss  4 – Apartment Therapy  5 – Vintage Design  6 – Decorology

Gift Guide: For Your Girlfriends

ImageWith two weeks (and counting!) until the big Christmas Day, I am dedicating this week to gift guides for the various special and VIP people in your life.  Let’s start with gifts for your girlfriends, from BFFs to co-workers.  Have you started shopping yet??

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Stila lip set from Sephora

ImageFurry knit scarf from C. Wonder

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Tory Burch wrap bracelet

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Wristlet from Club Monaco

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Set of champagne flutes from Crate & Barrel

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Taschen Guide Book Set at Anthropologie

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Fortune Turtle Bowls from Wisteria

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Estee Lauder nail polish set

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Flash bobbi set from Ban.do

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Quilted vest from J.Crew

Playing Hostess (Part 2)

ImageSo what should the hostess wear to her own party?  My recommendation is to prep and cook early in your ‘at-home’ wear (jeans, t’s, sweats) and an hour before your party, change into your party attire.  Tidying and freshening up before your party will ensure you won’t smell like dinner!  When you are putting the finishing touches on dinner, go ahead and wear an apron so you minimize splashes – and you’ll also look cute.

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Polka dot apron from Etsy

For the holiday season, I like incorporating a little red in what I wear.  Another option is to wear black and accessorize with lots of gold jewelry, gemstones, and a sparkly shoe.  I like to keep it simple with dresses (no thinking there) and you also give yourself room to eat away!  (It is Thanksgiving, after all.)

Here are some party outfit options:

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3/4 sleeve red dress from Ann Taylor (sale happening right now!)

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Black dress from Anthropologie

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Dress up with a scarf and bow tie at J Crew

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Etta sequin pumps, J Crew

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Loeffler Randall

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BaubleBar Ice Pinwheel Bib

Happy hosting!