Friday, July 30, 2010

Voom by Joy Han

Another one of my Hautelook orders came in the mail (I still have a few on the way!) from Voom by Joy Han.  Ok I may have to rescind my previous comments about Hautelook because they have been stepping up their game and having tons of great stuff lately.  I've been able to find some things I couldn't resist to purchase every couple days, and I've also been neglecting Gilt and Ruelala.

Anyway, I LOVE Voom by Joy Han.  It's such a cute, feminine and FUN line!  The designs are always chic, the colors bright and the prints bold.  It's so different!  While some of the designs I would not wear, I find a lot of it super interesting and cute.  Joy Han launched her line with her husband in 2002 as the sole designer and it immediately caught a lot of media attention since it was loved by celebrities like Jessica Alba, Eva Longoria, Paris Hilton (I think this is like her fav line, she's always wearing it!), Kim Kardashian, the girls from "The Hills", etc. etc.  So it's always in fashion and celebrity magazines.  This line is now sold at stores like Saks Fifth Ave, Bloomingdales, etc.

I read one of Joy Han's interviews where she said she aimed to make clothes that were not the "it" trend of the moment, but pieces that could last throughout different seasons.  That's my kind of girl!  When I saw her line being marked down by 90% or more on Hautelook, I had to snatch a few pieces!  Actually I wish I had gotten more!  But it was hard because so many other people were trying to add things to their carts when this brand went on super sale, and I had only 15 minutes to purchase an item once I finally placed it in my cart or else it would leave my cart to be purchased by some other fanatic who's furiously clicking "add to cart" in the hopes of snatching it when it becomes available for a micro second.  Definitely makes buying multiple items a rather difficult task.  Making separate transactions is kind of out of the question on Hautelook unless you are willing to pay shipping multiple times.  It's not like Ruelala and Gilt where you get free shipping for the whole day after you make one purchase.

But, here's what I got, the English Garden Cami Top in powdered pink, 100% silk and gorgeous.  I got it for $19!!  Original retail price $108!

I loooovveeee the back of this cami.  But I have to say that it is really hard to put it on and make it look like that!  Well, luckily I think it only requires much adjusting the first time you wear it.  The reason it's so hard to put on is becasue you have to completely arrange the back by yourself.  So basically you start with the two shoulder straps on the front, take them to the back and have to tie them once at the back of the neck.  Then you let the straps drape down the middle of the back and end at this hole on the area inside of the bra line where the back of the shirt starts.  Once you put the straps through this little hole, you then have to tie them together and make a bow, all the while having to make sure the length of the straps is left exactly right, otherwise it will either pull on your neck from being too tight, or your boobs will be popping out from the very low cut front from being too loose.  Ok I don't know if any of that made any sense, but just trust me, it was hard. 

But after I fiddled with it for like 30 minutes, I got it to tie at the perfect length and it's so cute!  The print is adorable, and even cuter in person than the pics I think.  The print is more muted in person I suppose, so it creates a more cohesive look with the background.  The background color of the fabric is a very light and pale pink.  There's a hidden zipper closure under the left armpit.  It is also a little hard to zip up without help from someone else.  I got this cami in a size S because silk items don't stretch at all and I rather have it too big and having to take it in than too small and can't do anything about it.  But they sent me a XS.  It actually fits, but a little tight in the chest which is probably why I was having a bit of trouble zipping it up by myself.  Once it's zipped though, it doesn't feel too tight.  The body is loose and long.  Really long actually, like covers my butt completely.  So maybe I will have to take it in to get it hemmed a few inches shorter.  We'll see.

I feel like I've been buying lots of silk camis lately so maybe I should stop.  But $19 was really a great price!

I also got the Magazine Print Mini dress.  This one is so different and very cute too.  The retail price was $280 but I got it for $29!

This dress seems very "French" to me.  It's also made with 100% silk, but the inside lining is definitely not silk.  I don't know what it is because it doesn't state that info anywhere on the tag.  I got this one in a size S as well, and they did send me a S.  But maybe it's too big.  I don't know, but it doesn't fit me like it fits the model.  The shoulders, chest and arms fit well, but it feels too baggy in the waist and hips.  I could take in at least an inch on each side.  I know it's meant to fit loose, but I don't like really shapeless dresses either.  Now that I'm inspecting the pictures more closely, I think she might have put her hands on her waist to make the fit look better for the photos by creating more of a waistline.  And the photo of the back looks like she has her arms really close to her body, I bet she was using her arms to hold the extra fabric in the front!  Well, it's nothing a good tailor can't fix.  Although the dress doesn't have any zippers, so if I got the waist taken in, I may not be able to squeeze into it.  Maybe I'll have to add a zipper on the side as well.

But anyway, I love the fun print of this dress!  There are also hidden pockets on each side that was a nice surprise to me!  They are right below where the model's hands are on the front view photo.  I'm so wearing this dress out to dinner this weekend despite the fact that it's a little too loose in the body (but my boyfriend swears it doesn't make me look fat!).  The length of it is perfect at mid-thigh-ish.  I tried it on with some high heel sandals and the outfit makes my legs look really good and long!  Well I also got a pretty good tan from my pool time last weekend so I think my legs look leaner now! 

This Magazine Print also came in another dress that I was considering getting instead of the one I got.  Now that I look at the pictures more, maybe I should have, since it's definitely more fitted.  Would've saved me a trip to the tailor!

There's a zipper on the back of this one, and you can obviously tie the neck and chest to the length you want.  The back is gorgeous too.  But the reason I got the other one is because I didn't want a halter dress.  I feel like with the short sleeves I can wear the dress to more places.  It's simpler whereas the halter is fancier with the ties and open back and all.  I wish I could have just got both and tried them on to decide which was better and returned the other.  But none of the Voom items were returnable since they were a "blow out" sale.  And I definitely didn't want 2 different dresses in the same print.  Oh well, it may require more work, but I think I can make my dress work well!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fage Greek Yogurt

I've just discovered Fage Yogurt and I'm so happy I found it!

I had been looking for a good yogurt forever and almost gave up.  I've tried lots of brands, they either had too much calories, too much sugar, too much fat, or tons of other ingredients, like high fructose corn syrup found in Yoplait.  Yuck.  So the other day I was checking out the yogurt section at Ralphs once again, and was pleasantly surprised to find that the non-fat Fage Greek yogurt had only 7g of sugar/carb, and 15g of protein!  Most yogurts have over 20g of sugar and under 10g of protein at the most.  I thought well, it must be high in calories, but there's only 90 calories in the whole container.  It's all natural too and contains only grade A pasturized milk and live active cultures.  There's no added sweeteners or thickeners or preservatives.  I had to try it out. 

It has the consistency of sour cream - very creamy.  Tastes pretty good!  I added some Splenda and almonds to it and it was a perfect snack.  I can't believe I never noticed it on the shelves of the grocery store earlier!  Maybe it's because of the modest packaging, when next to all these colorful containers, it did not stand out.  I guess Fage (pronounced fa-yeh) has been around for almost 100 years and is the biggest diary company in Greece today, and makes products all over the world.  The Fage yogurt we get in the US used to be made in Greece but is now made in New York.  Obviously I never had the Greece version to compare, but I'd imagine it was probably even better!

The taste of this Fage Greek yogurt reminds me of the home made yogurt my grandma used to make all the time when I was little.  If you search for home made yogurt recipes on google, lots of recipes come up that call for precise measurements of different ingredients and temperatures and seem to require a lot of work.  But my grandma's recipe is tested and yet extremely simple.  You basically just put milk in a pot (she'd always use whole milk or grade A milk), boil till it bubbles, let cool to room temperature, and add some yogurt in it as the culture.  Then you just leave it in a container with a lid on it, let it sit overnight in the fridge and voila, you've got the best tasting yogurt in the morning!  Of course I can't seem to find the time to do this myself (I know, I'm so lazy), but it would be a lot more economical!  In the meantime though, I'm going to stick with the Fage Greek yogurt!  Yay for a new great find!

The CFA Program

Well well, I finally signed up for the CFA program (Chartered Financial Analyst) after putting it off for a few years. This program is a very prestigious 3-level self-study certification in the investment industry.  It's basically like a masters degrees, but without the degree!  Though you do get to put "(first) (last),CFA" after your name!  As irrelevant as that sounds, it's actually worth a lot.  Most (if not all) top level investment firms will require applicants to be a CFA charterholder for a lot of job openings.  Having it is considered a huge accomplishment and puts you among the best of the best.  I kind of consider it a must have if I were to look for another job.  It will enable me to get considered for higher level jobs and put me in a different salary bracket, and get more respect!  Hehe.  Seriously, it's more useful, and a lot cheaper than a MBA degree.

The hard part is, I have to actually pass the tests!  The 3 tests must be passed in sequential order.  Level I is offered twice a year in June and December, Level II and Level III are both offered only in June.  So it means that if you don't pass any level, you have to wait at least 6 months to a year to re-take it and hope you pass.  The fastest anyone could achieve this designation is 1.5 years.  But it could drag on forever.  This guy at my work has been taking Level I and Level II for at least 4 years now!  The suggested study time is crazy, like 120 hours minimum for each level - with a full time job and um, a life, that's hard to achieve.  So, it means that I will have no life whatsoever from now until December 4th!  Not looking forward to that part.  But suffer now and thank myself later I guess!

I've heard that Level I is not bad, but Level II is extremely hard, and Level III is in between.  So I better pass Level I.  But I won't tell anyone at work I'm taking it in case I don't, to spare myself of the embarrassment, hehe.  The good thing is though, people understand how hard these tests are, so they don't look down upon people who don't pass.  The 2010 June test results just came out recently, and it seems that nobody at my work who took Level II was able to pass it.  Still, there are also people here who already hold this prestigious designation, so it really differentiates them.  I want to do this in 1.5 years for my own sanity as well as bragging rights!

My Level I registration and exam fees were over $1000, and I don't get reimbursed from my firm until I pass, so I don't want to throw away my money for nothing!  Not to mention the time I will spend studying, it will be devastating if I don't pass.  I also got the Schweser Notes (another few hundred bucks I don't get back till I pass) which are supposed to be the best third party study tool, so now I'm all gun-ho.  I don't know why they call them "Notes" when they come in 5 different parts, with over 300 pages each!  More like a novel?!?  I went through about 150 pages of the first part yesterday and I thanked God for my Business Econ degree because most of it felt like a refresher.  Hopefully this feeling lasts.  Over 1000 more pages to go..... I'm giving myself 3 weeks for each part of the "Notes", which should give me a few weeks before exam date to go over everything again, and again, and again....

Must say it's kind of nice being a student again.  I like learning new things.  I feel like my mind will become dull really fast if I don't stimulate it with new material!  Will be a trip during the actual test though - they are usually held at the Convention Center here in LA, and you actually use pencil and paper instead of a computer screen.  How old school and cute!  Reminds me of my college days!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Urban Behavior Cropped Jacket

One of my Hautelook orders came today from Urban Behavior.  I still prefer not to order from Hautelook since they are based out of California and I have to pay sales tax on my orders on top of shipping, but I had credit there I had to spend from previous returns, and they were having really cheap stuff the past few weeks!  I ordered the Urban Behavior Cropped Jacket for $28, original retail at $92.  So even after paying tax and shipping, it was still pretty cheap for a jacket!

This jacket is made of 55% linen and 45% cotton, so I figured that it wouldn't wrinkle as much as 100% linen items.  I threw it in the dryer for about 10 minutes after I received it today a bit wrinkled, which was to be expected since it was sitting flat in a bag during shipment.  Most of the wrinkles did come out so yay!  

I think the style of this jacket is really cute.  I love the tuxedo jacket look with the 3/4 sleeves and faux pockets with leather trim.  There's also leather details at the shoulder and fish eye hook closure in the front.  I don't care too much for the leather details but I suppose it makes the jacket more dressed up so I don't mind them.  They aren't that noticeable after all since they are black as well.  And my long hair would cover them most of the time.

I feel like it looks shorter on me than the model, but I have to check it out again later.  I ordered a size S, same as what the model is wearing supposedly.  It looks cute and it fits perfectly, but I don't think it's made to be worn with the fish hook closed.  It just looks weird.  I think it definitely looks cuter open.  I tried it on with my ZOA Antigua Print silk cami underneath and it's actually super cute!  The ruffles in the front of the cami go well with the jacket over, and you can still see most of the print of the tank!  It would be a cute outfit with jeans or even to work!  It really could work from a day at work to a night out in town!  Hmm... I sense versatility for this jacket in the future.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Lululemon Light Up Tank & Electric Orange Cool Racerback

On Thursday a reader alerted me to a new hoodie that appeared on the Lululemon website.  I went on to check it out, and while I wasn't wanting to buy a hoodie in this heat, I did see some cute stuff!  I haven't been to a Lululemon store for a few weeks since I've been busy, and I also don't live within walking distance to a store anymore either.  So I wasn't really up to date with the newest stuff.  I do get notification emails from a couple of my local stores, but I don't think they put all their new stuff in the emails.  So I hadn't seen this Light Up Tank which is just gorgeous!  I got it in the pig pink/ heathered coal wee stripe color.

This tank is more expensive than normal Lululemon tanks, at $68.  I guess it's probably because it has more details and reflectors on the straps??  But still the price is way too much.  I figured though, that I would just order it and try it on, and I can always return it at the store.  To be honest, I was really hoping that I would hate it so I wouldn't feel like a sucker for paying over $70 for a tank (after tax).

But, when I opened the package and tried it on yesterday (love ordering from Lulu because it always gets here the next day!), I totally fell in love with it!  Oh no!  Of course this would happen!  Now I can't bare to return it.  It's such a cute tank.  It's a lot more supportive than I thought it would be - I would rank it a high support tank.  I actually think it would be really nice for someone with a large chest, because the built in bra is way bigger than my other Lululemon tanks.  Since I don't have particular large boobs, the band of the bra sits pretty low on me, which is a little weird.  It didn't come with cup inserts, so I had to use inserts from my other tops.  I don't know what happened, when I've ordered tanks from the Lululemon website in the past, I would always get cup inserts, even for bras.  But the latest 2 tanks I ordered both came without.  I can't wear my tanks without cup inserts, and I have a pair for every top.  So this is really inconvenient for me.  I can't believe I don't even get inserts for a $70 top!  I guess I'll go to the store and see if I can get some.  Super lame.  I hope their plan is not to cut costs while increasing the price! 

Anyway, so when I put the cup inserts in, they really enhanced my chest.  The straps are thick and stretchy, very comfortable and supportive, and do not dig into my shoulders.  It's such a figure flattering tank.  The lines that go down the sides actually create a hour glass figure.  They go around the outside of my boobs and make them look bigger!  And then they come in around the waist to create an illusion of a smaller waist line.  Love it!

The fit through the body is a little bit looser but still pretty figure hugging.  And I didn't realize this when I ordered it, but the hem has elastic gripper, and it's glittery too just like the Run:Energy Skirt!  This is nice, since it means the bottom will stay in place very well.  It's always great to not have to pull down your top during a run or whatever other type of work out.  I got this tank in my regular size, but I think it would also be fine if I sized up for a slightly looser fit around the chest.  Though it wouldn't have as much support if I did that.  I just have to make sure I don't gain any weight, otherwise I will have major side arm boob issue.

The back of this tank is really cool.  It's all ruching, and it's mesh, whereas the rest of the tank is luxtreme.  I really like luxtreme material because it's cooler.  That's a very good thing when it's almost 100 degrees outside!  The back pocket is huge!  I can easily put my iPhone in it and probably a lot more stuff!  I love that in a tank.

So yeah, all in all, it's a great tank.  But I won't really be needing the reflector feature, because if I'm running outside in the dark I will probably have on a long sleeve running top.  I like the whole look and color combo of this tank a lot though.  And it will be totally appropriate for the gym too.  So I'll have to just accept the fact that it's priced higher.  And my birthday's coming up next week so happy early birthday to me!  =)

While I was grabbing this tank, I also browsed through the Cool Racerback tanks since I always seem to need (or want) new colors in this style.  I believe I've written enough good things about the Cool Racerbacks in the past.  They are just so versatile and comfortable!  I own a bunch of them, and they are my go-to tank if I can't decide what I want to wear to the gym.  I even wear them outside of the gym sometimes, and wear them inside out so I can show off the pretty multi-color stitchings on the inside and hide the logo.  So when I was browsing, I saw the Electric Orange color that looked pretty.  I hadn't seen this color in person either, but took a chance on it with the option in mind of being able to return it if I didn't like it.

I'm not usually a fan of the orange color family.  But this color didn't really look orange to me online.  In person, it is a very bright - highlighter bright, peachy/salmon-y color.  I actually really like it!  It's awesome that it's so bright, I can just see how it would pump me up at the gym!  But it's a very pretty color at the same time, and I don't think it would blind anyone!  Hopefully, hehe.  I want to wear it with my chirp Flow Y bra underneath and be totally summered out.

Lululemon Run:Energy Skirt

About a week ago I was messing around on eBay, and came across the Lululemon Run:Energy Skirt in potion purple.  It was new with tags, and was listed as buy it now for $24 including shipping from Cananda!  So I decided to get one.  I never even knew this skirt came in potion purple color.

This color was never on the Lululemon website, and I never saw it in stores.  Not that I paid too much attention to this skirt though.  Probably because it looks way too tight on their stock pictures.

I didn't want a short skirt that was also tight like that across my behind!  Not a flattering look at all.  I actually did try this skirt on really quickly in store a while ago, and while I thought it was cute enough, I didn't like the color enough to pay $54.  I think I tried on angel blue.  I don't remember it being as tight on me as the model pictures show though and I tried my normal size.

So for $24, I thought it was a good enough price to give it a try.  I usually only stick to dark colors for bottoms because I'm not really into the 80s look.  Most of my bottoms are black or different shades of dark gray, with white being an exception.  So potion purple is definitely a branching out color for me.  But I think for a skirt it works.  If they were pants or crops, I would not have bought them in that color in a million years!

So I received this skirt today and I'm really really happy with it!  It fits much better than I remember from the time I tried it on in the store.  I actually will go so far as to say that the waistband fits me better than any other Lululemon bottoms I own!  And I have A LOT!  It's wide and comfortable, and the rise sits at the perfect spot on my hips.  This skirt is the perfect length, it's long enough to cover the butt, but still short and cute!  I think it would be so cute for tennis, even though I don't play tennis but maybe I should!

This skirt comes with built in liner shorts with elastic grippers on the hem.  The grippers are actually glittery!  Even though nobody will be able to see it but me, but it's such a cute touch!  The only other Lululemon running skirt I own is the Run:Jog Skirt, which also has the same built in liner shorts and they pretty much fit identically.  I've ran in the Jog Skirt and the shorts were very comfortable and never rode up.  So I'm hoping that the Energy Skirt won't either.  The Jog skirt also has ruching on the sides but towards the bottom, whereas the Energy Skirt's ruching is mostly on top.  The thing that always bugged me about the Jog Skirt was that the ruching made the skirt shorter on the sides than the front.  So I'm glad the Energy Skirt doesn't have this problem.

But I'm not sure if the Energy Skirt would stay in place during a run though.  There is no built in drawstring in the waistband to tighten the fit if need be which is a definitely disappointment.  Since they fit perfectly now, I think they are bound to slip a little when I'm moving around that much.  Who knows, will have to test this out.  It seems to me that the cord on the outside is more for aesthetics than function to me.  It doesn't really do a good job of tightening the waistband at all.  It will also most likely be bulky under tops since most of my tops are longer than that.  Oh well, those things aside, it's still a super cute skirt.

I wish I could wear running skirts to work out in all the time because they are just adorable.  I prefer them over shorts since the skirts provide greater range of movement.  Shorts will always flip up unless they are really really short, or sometimes ride up in the middle.  And with pants or crops, I'm always wary of the "camel toe" issue during my work outs.  Skirts eliminate all these concerns!  But they don't really work when I know I'll be doing any type of work out that requires bending over, or inversion, or anything that might make me flash myself to the world.  Too bad!

By the way, if anyone is interested in this skirt, there are still some left on eBay, in most sizes.  Can't go wrong for $24 including shipping!

Diesel & ZOA Stuff

I don't know what it is lately, but Ruelala and Hautelook keep having these blow out deals of stuff I like!  So I've been spending money there.  I ordered some stuff from Ruelala last week, and they arrived today already!  Very happy with the shipping speed with my few Ruelala orders.  When I made my first purchase with them back in January for my Koolaburra boots, it took at least a month to arrive!  My last three orders all came super fast so I'm glad they have been improving!

I got the Diesel Faccyo black shorts and Diesel Tafy Singlet top.  Love them both!  So I basically bought this whole outfit, for $29 each piece!  The retail price for the top is $80 and for the shorts is $95.

Here's the detail of the tank.  I love the print.  In person it looks exactly as I expected from these pictures.

I like the V neck style on both front and back of the tank.  I got a size XS and it still fits pretty loosely.  But it's a flattering fit, not baggy.  The material is soft and light weight.  I guess it was designed to be flowy!  The bottom of the tank has a gathered hem so it's designed to be cinched in.  I was wondering if that would be the case or not when I ordered it because I couldn't tell from the pictures if they styled it that way or the tank was made that way.  I really like it.  This way the tank doesn't bag out on the bottom.  It looks really good with the shorts and some high heel sandals too!  But it can also be dressed down of course.

The shorts are pretty awesome.  I ordered one size up because I didn't want them to fit too tight, or have my butt half way hanging out.  And it turned out to be a quite perfect fit.

It states that these shorts are made of 95% cotton and 3% spandex.  Wonder what the rest of the 2% is??  They are softer than I had thought.  They are not as tight on me as the model since I sized up, but not too big either.  I kind of think they fit too tightly on the model because you can see the fabric stretch marks on her butt cheeks and digs in on the bottom of her butt!  I just don't think that's a good look for me.

It's interesting that the front zipper goes diagonally across.  I don't think I've seen bottoms made like this before.  The side seam details of the gun metal toned grommets and ribbon trim is really cute.  They are on both sides.  You can't really see on the pictures, but along with the regular side pockets, these shorts also have a zipper pocket on the front right side.  And it's a pretty decent size too.  The zipper pull of that pocket has some really fancy graphics carved in and it's really different.  I like these little details!  The cursive Diesel logo is a hard black plaque on the back waist.  The waistband also has belt loops so that is always a nice feature to have.  I think belts can definitely add distinct looks to an outfit and make it look more dressed up.

The length of these shorts are perfect too.  The inseam is about 2.5 inches which is still short, but long enough to prevent the unattractive look of riding up in the middle of the inner thigh area.

I love these shorts so much I now wish I had bought the white ones too!  They were also on Ruelala for $29.  Grrrr!  Seriously you can't really get Diesel shorts for this price anywhere else.  I should have just grabbed them!  They are made so well too with all these details.  Definitely kicking myself in the butt right about now!

I also got a ZOA Antigua Print Silk Tank.  I wasn't sure about the print exactly, but it's a 100% silk tank that was priced at $29 from $117.  So it's a pretty good deal too!

So yeah, this is definitely an interesting print and I wasn't sure if I liked it or not.  Then I decided that it would be cute to wear under a jacket, even maybe for work under my suit jacket.  I will have to try that one out.  As I'm sitting here looking at it, it's growing on me!  Either that or I'm trying to make myself fall in love with it.

I got this tank in size S because I figured silk doesn't really stretch and I didn't want it to be too tight.  I like the looseness of the tank on the model.  The S fits me well, but perhaps XS would have been fine too because the scoop back has elasticized ruching to adjust level of fit.  But no worries, I like the flowy-ness of this tank.  It's also interesting because the back half of the bottom hem is lightly cinched in while the front half is not.  I don't know if it was on purpose or it just happens to fit me that way.  I actually kind of like it since without the control on the bottom, the tank would probably be flying up when there is a breeze. 

Anyway, the exaggerated drapping of the tiered bust is ultra feminine.  Almost a little too feminine for my taste.  But once again, I think it will be cute under a jacket.  

On a side note, I also ordered a hoodie for my boyfriend.  It's from the brand called Original Penguin which he really likes.  They have some really nice looking stuff that would work great for a put together, cosmopolitan type of guy in his 20s or 30s that cares about how he looks without being "metrosexual" or too avant garde.  This brand appears on Gilt once in a while, but the prices are normally still not that attractive.  However, Ruelala was having ridiculously good markdowns, but since I was focused on shopping for myself right when the sales started, by the time I got to the men's section, the Damarion Hoodie was the only thing left in his size that wasn't sold out!  And it was going for only $29 as well, down from $89.  I guess everything on Ruelala that day was $29?  All the sold out Original Penguin stuff were cheaper though.  You could get shirts and jackets for $10-20 and shorts for $15ish.  That's like cheaper than Target prices.  Lol.

I really like the look of the heathered cream colored textured thermal knit pattern.  The lining including the inside of the hood as well as the strings are light gray.  The Original Penguin logo is embroidered light blue on the left chest.  It's super soft and comfy and yet sophisticated at the same time.  My boyfriend loves it and I really like it too!  I even tried it on and it's actually pretty cute on me!  Works great as a "boyfriend hoodie" look.  Very cozy!  Hmm... might have to steal this one some time!

Anyways, I love all the stuff I received from Ruelala.  What a great feeling when your online orders all look great and fit well!  Sometimes I just have the complete opposite experience!  It makes me even happier that I scored such great deals too!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Yoga and Running

Right after I graduated from college, I had moved to LA and got a "stepping stone" type of job that required lots of hours of work work work.  I'm talking 8am - midnight M-F, and 8am - 5pm Sat and Sun.  The pay was good for a fresh college grad, but when divided out by the number of hours I put it, it was a meager amount.  I had no life, lost touch with a lot of my friends, barely had any time to sleep and definitely no time to work out.  I was moving around like a zombie everyday.  The firm also paid for all my meals so I would order whatever I wanted from any restaurant and eat at my desk everyday.  I would go through months of not seeing the sun!  It was a horrible experience and I was rather depressed.  After I pulled myself out of that hell hole almost 2 years later and got a new job, I had gained at least 15 to 20 pounds and was way out of shape.

The first thing I did to bring myself back together was to join Equinox.  I worked out religiously when I was in college, so I was no stranger to the gym.  But I was nervous to get back into it after treating my body like shit for so long.  I had no confidence in my athletic abilities anymore and I wanted to avoid high impact or any cardio work outs.  I thought I'd go back in nice and slow.  At the beginning, the membership fees at Equinox seemed pretty high, but after looking at their schedules of yoga and pilates classes, I figured it was worth it.  And that was how I would get back to being in shape again.

So I did yoga or pilates for about a year with minimum cardio training (eliptical machine for a few minutes at the most).  It was not a great way to lose weight but I did feel stronger and I could tell that my body became more toned.  The number on the scale stayed pretty much the same though.  But I started to love going to my yoga classes.  I would go at least 3 times a week.  I went to different instructors and different types of yoga classes.  I decided that I liked power yoga or vinyasa yoga the best because I liked the constant movements and they were challenging!  I wasn't one for meditation since I get bored easily.  I guess I need to work on that! 

Holding different poses was so hard for me at the beginning.  Gosh I couldn't even do a real push up back then.  I had to constantly move out of my poses for rest.  I wasn't all that flexible either so I wasn't good at the stretching and twisting type of poses either.  So basically I wasn't good at anything!  It was frustrating watching everyone else do things I never thought I would.  But I kept on going to my classes because I always felt great afterwards.  The benefits were worth the pain.

As time went on, I became better and better.  Slowly, but surely.  I was able to hold most of my poses without having to take breaks.  I was even able to do more advanced levels and my flexibility had improved greatly.  It's amazing when you actually SEE the difference.  I almost screamed and cheered for myself when I first accomplished a real push up during my vinyasa!  I think that was when I really started to believe in myself and the power of change.

So after going to the gym and practicing yoga regularly for about a year, I wanted more from myself.  And I had the confidence back that I COULD do more.  So, I signed up for my first 10k with a month of training time.  I was never a runner before, and when I first started with 1 or 2 mile runs, it was the most uncomfortable experience.  I got bad cramps, my face would quickly turn bright red from all my efforts, and shin splints made it almost unbearable!  I hated it.  And I was only running at 4 miles an hour pace!  That's like someone else's fast walking speed!

Well perseverance overcame my discomfort once again.  I think I definitely should have trained longer than a month because I almost died during the last 2 miles of my 10k race.  My boyfriend literally dragged me through the last mile, no joke.  I finished in an hour and 15 minutes.  But I finished it.  Then I swore I would never do it again.  Then I got back into it. 

That was almost exactly 2 years ago.  Today I can easily run a 10k and maintain at least 8 min a mile speed.  I went on a 10 mile run one Sunday just because I felt like it, and I did it easily without any type of training - that's almost a half marathon!  I don't get cramps and shin splints anymore, and my face stays the normal color because I can breath easier.  I also got into all sorts of other cardio work outs such as spinning and boxing.  Heart is a muscle too right??  I'm proud to say that I've trained it to be in top notch shape!  I can also lift more with my arms and legs, and I'm just much stronger overall!  I went to a nutritionist and started really learning about food and healthy eating.  I've dropped all the weight I had gained during my years of corporate slavery and more.  Most importantly, I've dropped my body fat percentage, and that's what I care about most of all.  I'm a picture of health nowadays just from eating right and exercising.  I am extremely happy at how far I've come..............  But, and here's the big BUT, I also stopped going to yoga regularly.  I had decided that I needed high impact, sweat inducing type of work outs in order to stay in shape, and just don't have time to fit yoga in my life anymore.

Last night, I decided to take a yoga class because I figured I needed a good stretch.  It was my first time in a long time attending yoga.  And I was horrified to discover that I can no longer hold the same poses like I used to when I was 25 pounds heavier!  My muscles were burning and I was once again coming out of my poses early for breaks!  I guess since I've been focusing so much on my "boot camp" type of work outs, I've let go of my muscles that support isometric movements.  Holding the same pose for an extended period of time is really no easy task!  Case in point, I woke up sore in many different places today.  I've always heard people say that yoga is great for runners, but I've never paid much attention because I thought they were referring to the stretching part, which is obviously good for runners.  But now I understand!  I need yoga to balance out my running and other types of cardio and strength training.

Last night's yoga class wasn't all bad news though.  I was able to accomplish a hand stand which I was never able to do before!  And that's definitely due to my increased strength in my arms and core.  So, I guess I got better at some things while neglecting others.  Balance is always hard to achieve.  But now, my goal is to supplement my work out routine with yoga once a week.  That way I can reap the physical as well as the mental benefit of practicing yoga.  Funny how things work - I am now going back to the old routine I had when I first started to work out!  It's humbling to know that there are many facets to everything we do, and things aren't always what they appear to be.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Laura Mercier Illuminating Blooms Shimmer Bloc Compact and Lip Plumper in Persimmon

The other half of my Laura Mercier order from Gilt finally came today.  I got the Illuminating Blooms Shimmer Bloc Compact just because it's so pretty!

There are different shades of shimmery pink, silver and gold colors and the flower blooms shapes are so cute!  This thing works extremely well - may be too well.  It adds a soft, illuminating glow to the face or cheeks, and the color blends very evenly with the complexion to give a natural, beautiful, sun-kissed skin.  I literally looked like I just got in from a day out at the beach.  The shades of pink are nice to add some life and color over my everyday foundation or powder.  I say it may work too well though because I think it's pretty easy to over apply.  I just used my big powder brush and went over different parts of my face.  I looked just a little too shimmery and shiny, which can also be interpreted as having oily skin.  So I would have to be very careful when I apply it next time, and I think I need to avoid applying it on my nose.  Just the cheeks will do - a little will go a long way!  It's like a natural blush!  

I also got the Lip Plumper in Persimmon color.  

The color was described as a coral pink shade.  Sounded pretty.  But it looks a little bit orangey in person.  This is what I hate about online shopping!  The color on different monitors always look a little bit off.  The color is not bad, but not my favorite.  I'm used to more natural or more pink type of colors.  I don't make statements with my lip colors.  I don't know, maybe this color will grow on me. It does look better when I wipe off the excess color with a tissue as well.  I don't know why I bought this thing.  I must've been just so happy that Laura Mercier was on Gilt and made an impulsive purchase.  It wasn't even that cheap.  Most lip plumpers just numb my lips like crazy, I guess that's how they make your lips swell and look "plumper"!  But the numbing factor with this lip plumper is not bad at all.  It also doesn't really plump though.  I guess it's more like a regular lip gloss to me.  Oh well, I hope I will be able to get some use out of it!

Lululemon Run:Team Spirit Crop - Black

I got the Lululemon Run:Team Spirit Crop in black today for $50.  Pretty good deal me thinks!

I own these in coal/chirp, and LOVE them!  Actually they are my favorite running crops.  I love everything about them - the fit, the length, the ruching on the thighs, the color, the material, the performance, etc. etc.  They are great for every type of work out!  They hit me much higher than the model pics, at right below my knee.  I've worn them running, boxing, kettlebell, bootcamp, spinning, and just weight lifting and whatnot.  So I've been looking for another pair for a long time.  Most of the color combos of these were price adjusted from $86 to $69 and flew off the shelves.  The solid black ones never did though.  I guess they figured that black is popular since it goes with everything?  I'm not sure, but I was very happy to have found them again and gotten them for the price I did!

I think these fit tighter than my coal/chirp ones through the legs for some reason.  They are the same size - my regular size 4.  But the black ones don't stretch as much or something.  They also look shinier while the coal ones don't look shiny at all.  The waist fits the same though, and the length is the same.  It's weird.  But it's not necessarily a bad thing, because the compression is probably better.  And I can still move and bend my legs freely so whatevs I guess!  I do think the ruching on the sides look cuter in the all black version because they appear to be more obvious. 

Anyways, I love these and I can't wait to wear them!  Love the fact that they are all black and low key too.  I just know that I will get a lot of use out of them!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Samsung WF330ANW Washer & Dryer Set

Finally my washer and dryer were delivered today!  Gosh it's tough to go without doing laundry for 3 weeks.  My boyfriend ran out of clean clothes long ago, but I still have tons of clean underwear and clothes left.  Hmm... maybe it's a sign that I have too much! 

Anyway, I've never owned any washer and dryer before because every place I've lived in had them.  So I don't really know anything about which ones are good or bad.  All I know is that all the apartments I lived in before had top loading ones except the last one which came with front loading ones.  And I realized that it makes a huge difference!  So I knew that I definitely needed to get front loaders.

I did some research online before going to the store to see which brands I should be looking at.  Surprisingly Samsung came up as the number one from all the consumer tests and reviews.  I say "surprisingly" because I didn't even know Samsung made home appliances.  I thought they just made TVs and cell phones.  Hehe.  But apparently their washer and dryers are very quiet, use less detergent, and are water and energy efficient.  Also the clothes come out very clean and nice of course. 

So I knew to look for Samsung when I went to the store, but also wanted to price compare and see if there were other brands that were cheaper.  Well I guess there are so many different models and their prices differ a lot.  AND, any color other than white cost a lot more!  Even if they are the same exact model.  What the hell?  White wasn't my first choice of color, but I wasn't about to pay $500 more for "ice blue" or some crap.  They are always in the laundry room so who cares?  Still I thought that was pretty lame.

Anyway, after spending like an hour just staring at different washer and dryers at Best Buy as well as Sears, I decided to go for the Samsung WF330ANW washer and matching dryer.  They were among the cheaper front loading machines available, I think mainly because the dryer is not a steam dryer.  But I think these will be plenty fine.  All I ever do is wash stuff in cold water on delicate/hand wash cycle anyway.  So I don't need too many settings.  And I don't even dry a lot of my clothes, sometimes I just air fluff them or use the "rack dry" setting.

They are pretty big too at 4.3 cu. ft. and 27 inches wide each, which is great because I tend to accumulate lots of laundry before actually doing them.  And I can also comfortably fit bedding in them.  The quietness is a big factor for me since I live in a condo, not a house, so the size of the laundry area is limited and is actually a part of the "master suite".  The last thing I need is a loud ass machine that shakes every time I wash my clothes. My boyfriend already did like 3 loads of laundry right after the delivery/installation guys left.  So far so good!  Very quiet and clothes came out looking great.

I'm happy that these are energy efficient to save the Earth and bills in the long run.  But also, the LA Department of Water and Power is giving $300 credit to anyone who buys an energy efficient machine right now.  Plus some other smaller rebates like from the Gas Company and whatnot, which really do add up.  The whole set was about $1600 after taxes and stuff.  With the $300 back, it will be a pretty damn good price.  Hope this check comes soon!

Hmmm I think I just need to get one of those folding board thingies that lays on top of the washer/dryer, then I'm all set!  I think this is the first time that I'm actually excited about doing laundry tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Covert Affairs

I just watched the first episode of this new show on USA called Covert Affairs about a new CIA agent trainee and her double life.

It's cute!  I don't think it's a serious drama that will win many awards or anything.  But it's lighthearted and entertaining.  Kind of like the show Leverage which I'm also a fan of.  I like the lead actress in Covert Affairs, Piper Perabo.  The last thing I remember seeing her in was that Coyote Ugly movie years ago.  Back then I was still in high school!  I think the movie was a hit, but then she kind of fell off the grid.  I also like the guy that plays her blind partner in crime in this show.  I don't know his name, but I know he was in Ugly Betty and played Betty's nerdy accountant boyfriend Henry.  I always thought he was so cute in a nerdy way! 

The reason I really like this show though is because it totally rekindled my desire to work for the CIA!  Though if I was really serious about it I probably shouldn't be blogging about it.  I think when they do background check on you, they really look into EVERYTHING you've ever done in your life.  Like how many ants you've killed and how many times you cheated on your test in school, stuff like that that you think no one would ever be able to find out!  But I really looked into working for the CIA some time last year!  They want people from all walks of life.  Having a finance/economic background is actually a pretty good way to get in, as well as being able to speak different languages.  Plus I've had some pretty extensive travel experience to many different countries in my day and can adjust pretty fast.  I actually fit most of their list of an ideal candidate.  And no one in their right mind would ever think that I would be a spy!!  I think I normally come off as pretty innocent and unsuspecting.  But I could hold a huge secret!  I think it would be fun to act like someone else, but be hard to live a double life though.  I'd imagine it would get rather confusing after a while to keep the lies straight!

The CIA training is pretty extensive and lasts a year if I remember correctly.  Maybe more?  For the training, they group you by your age (kinda weird), and there is a cap!  So yeah, you snooze and you may lose the chance to become a CIA agent forever.  After the training, I guess you have different directions to go, such as staying mostly in the US, or spending a lot of time abroad.  I'm sure some end up doing more of a desk job, and some more field work.  The pay was ok, nothing spectacular or to die for, but more than many other types of jobs out there, especially at the beginning of your career.  But I figured if I was really in the CIA, I probably wouldn't have any chance to go spend money anyway because I'd be doing some cool spy stuff!  Hehehe... but I do realize that it's probably not at all as glamorous as it sounds.  And there are many different divisions within the agency so not everyone is a spy... bleh.

Well, I may have to let my CIA agent dreams die since I don't see myself moving to DC any time soon and I ain't getting any younger.  So for now I can only fantasize about it!  But hey who knows what the future holds.  A few years ago, I would have never imagined that I'd be where I am today!  Things definitely can change, and change fast.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Laura Mercier Travel Brush Set - 6 Pieces + Leather Bag

I ordered some Laura Mercier stuff from Gilt more than a month ago, some of it finally came today!  The rest are still on their way I guess.  Today I got my 6 piece Travel Brush Set that came in a brown leather bag.

Obviously the brushes are travel sized so the handle parts are shorter than normal brushes.  The brush heads are regular sized though, which is nice.  I also like that they come in a nice leather bag so it doesn't look cheap.  The dark color of the lining is good since makeup tend to leave residue and make fabric dirty.  The bag is pretty flat and thin when it's closed up, and can easily fit into any purse or luggage.  The extra pockets on the inside pockets will come in handy too to store some little makeup and things like that.  I normally use MAC makeup brushes and love them.  I've tried many different brushes and none seemed to compare to the MAC ones.  I haven't tried any of the brushes in this set yet, but so far they feel pretty soft and look to be made of good quality.  I'm a fan of most Laura Mercier products so we'll see about these!  They were on sale for $40 on Gilt, which is a pretty good price for 6 nice brushes.  I also had some credit on Gilt for referring a friend or something, so I ended up paying only $25 after shipping - can't beat that deal!

The 6 brushes are: 

*Cheek Color Brush:  A natural-haired brush sized to perfectly shape the cheek bone.
*Eye Color Brush:  A soft 100% natural brush perfectly sized to apply powder shadows to the eyelid and brow bone.
*Double-Ended Eye Brow Brush:  Perfect for precisely shaping and filling in larger areas on eye brows.
*Flat Eye Liner Brush:  Contains synthetic, firm bristles narrowing to a thin, flat line to ensure the most exact placement of Eye Liner.
*Ponytail Brush:  A natural brush with soft, medium-length bristles formed at a slight point ideally used in the eye crease.
*Secret Camouflage Brush:  Perfectly shaped for precise application in the tiniest areas - shadows, corners of eyes, tiny scars or blemishes.

Cool.  I pretty much have my whole face covered with this set. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mirin and Ponzu

I eat fish for dinner everyday.  Sometimes I eat fish for lunch too.  Actually I wouldn't rule out breakfast either - I did have salmon and oatmeal for breakfast today and yesterday.  Hahaha.  I know it sounds weird.  But my nutritionist introduced me to oatmeal and canned tuna mixed together for breakfast and I thought it sounded gross at first, but decided that I like tuna, and I like oatmeal, so why not try them together.  Hey, don't knock it till you try it right??  It's actually pretty good.  She puts lemon juice and splenda in it too but I don't need that.  It's the perfect nutritional combination to have for breakfast because it's got all the healthy carb and fiber from the oatmeal, and protein and omega 3 from tuna.  It's great for a post work out meal.  Anyway, I feel like the anti-inflammation properties of omega 3 in fish really help me stay lean.  If I skip fish for even one day I immediately feel bloated.  But I do need more fish recipes since for the last year I've been grilling it on the George Foreman with some lemon pepper sprinkled on both sides.  Well must admit, it gets boring.  I'm actually surprised I haven't gone crazy yet.

I read some pretty good fish recipes on Fitness magazine's website.  They had like 40 different fish recipes.  But I had to veto 95% of them because they required either too much oil or salt, or both.  I figured the other ones could work with modification.  It turns out, most of the recipes I picked out contained this ingredient called Mirin.  It's Japanese cooking saki.  I had never heard of it before, but I like saki.  Apparently Mirin is a sweet saki, and it is great as a substitute for vinegar or white wine, and great for glazing as well.  So I got it at the store today.

I also got some ponzu sauce.  I had never used it before either, but I've had it at my favorite sushi restaurant and remember it being good.  It's soy sauce with citrus flavor.  The one I got is lemon flavor.  But it also comes in lime.  The citrus makes the color of the soy sauce a lot lighter than regular soy sauce.

Supposedly ponzu is great for fish as well because the flavor covers the "fishy" taste, while bringing out the natural sweetness of the fish.  It still has a high sodium content though, at 400mg a tablespoon.  So I have to use it sparingly, otherwise I will blow up like a fish!

Well tonight I mixed mirin and ponzu together with some crushed garlic, and brushed the mixture on the fish, and broiled it.  Very very simple and it turned out to be really good!  The taste is light with a faint sweetness - I didn't use too much of either sauce.  But they both complimented the fish instead of overpowering it.  I think I overcooked the fish a little though because the mirin and ponzu mixture started to glaze a little bit on top and sides of the fish.  It was still good though.  If I had bought some fresh herbs or something, I think it would have been even better!  I will have to do more research later and figure out different ways to incorporate these ingredients to my dinners! 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Indo-Row, Lululemon Featherweight Socks & Run:Empower Crop

I was planning on going to the Lululemon run club tonight, but they had different Indo-Row classes going on in the store all night instead.  So I decided to give it a try.  I guess it's a new exercise thing that's come onto the market somewhat recently.  The guy who created it Josh Crosby was teaching it.  He comes from 3 generations of rowers and is a world champion rowing competitor himself.

I know nothing about rowing myself, having only tried out the rowing machine at the gym once or twice.  I never thought it was a very heart pumping kind of work out and didn't see the point of it, so I was willing to learn more about it.

Indo-Row machines use actual water inside the machine itself to simulate the motion and sense of being in a real boat and rowing in the water - you even hear the sound of the water which is relaxing.  The machine doesn't need to be connected to any power source.  The water and your own efforts provide energy and resistance.  It's very interesting and the machines are light weight and very portable - the guy did get all these machines in a uhaul and took them to the Lululemon store after all!

I was glad to learn the right form of rowing from the expert.  You basically use your legs, core and arms to pull, then going back the reverse way.  It definitely got me sweaty after some intervals of going at really fast speeds and competing with others (our team won by the way!).  I can see how it would be good for strengthening the back, legs, core, and arms.  It's a low impact cardio work out that's easy on the joints.  So there are definite benefits and is probably perfect for some people.  And you can make it as hard or easy as you want to go.  But I don't think this is for me.  I got rather bored with the same one motion after a while - the class was 45 minutes.  It's kind of like spinning in a way - you are working your butt off but not going anywhere.  Except in a spin class, you can go up and down on the bike and there's positions 1, 2, and 3!  I always get super sweaty in spin classes and feel like it's a much better work out.  But if he's willing to bring the machines back to Lulu some time again in the future then I'm game to go back.

Anyway, so I arrived at the store a bit earlier so I had time to shop and try some stuff on.  Lots of stuff on the sales rack, but all the same things I've seen before.  But I did pick up some Featherweight Socks that came in a 3 pack.

They come in the above 3 colors of the thumbnail pictures - coal, white and black.  I have a few pairs of their Ultimate Running Socks which I like for running, but had never tried the Featherweight socks.  They are much thinner and would probably be cooler and really good for working out at the gym, such as taking a spin class, weight lifting, etc.  These are basic colors to have in socks, though nothing exciting.  I kind of wish at least one pair would have been a bit funky!  The Ultimate Running Socks always have different color blocking and designs that are fun to look at.  But realistically it doesn't matter at all since they will always be covered by my shoes.  The 3 pack was $24, and a single pair is $9, so you get them for $1 cheaper per pair if you buy the 3 pack.  I don't know why that sold me to get these instead of just getting one pair to try out first.  Probably not a smart move.  But I have a feeling I won't be too disappointed by these socks.  Could socks really be disappointing?  

I also finally broke down and got the Run:Empower Crop in Coal/Heathered Coal Wee Strip/Passion.  I've tried the Empower Crop on before and have seen so many different colors and designs in them, but I always thought that they were too long on me.  They can't be altered because they have special designs around the hem.  They are actually about 2-3 inches shorter on me than they are on the model pics below (I'm 5'5, the model must've pulled them down a lot), but I usually like my crops right below the knee. 

I've always liked the feel of these crops when I tried them on.  They are really comfortable, feels like second skin.  The rise is good - not too high like grandma panties, and not too low that they'd slip off.  As other run crops I have, these also have a draw string on the waist so I can adjust it.  The waistband is comfy, no digging.  I got my regular size 4, fits pretty well.  Though I think this color combo fits tighter in the legs than the coal/angel blue ones I tried on before in the same size.  Not sure why.  These don't feel as stretchy.

These are also lighter than my other all power luxtreme running crops from Lululemon because the whole entire area on the back of the knees and calves are made of circle mesh material rather than luxtreme.  That makes them more breathable.  I like the different lines and color blocking designs on them.  That gives the crops a unique look and not like anything from any other brand.  I'm slowly getting used to the idea of having a slightly longer crop.

Got them for a good price - $65ish after everything, compared to regular retail price of $86 before taxes.  That was a big deciding factor in getting me to give these a try.  I think these crops have good technical fabrics and features that are worth the money.  Who knows, maybe I will become hooked.  I also really like the color combo of these crops.  I've been loving my coal colored luxtreme bottoms (I only have one pair and wear them all the time) to work out in and neglecting my black ones.  I don't know why, I think I just got tired of all black bottoms all the time.  And I feel like coal looks nicer with a lot of different colored tops I have than black.  I mean I know they both pretty much go with everything, but I'm just liking coal better nowadays when paired with more vibrant colored tops.  Plus I can wear black tops with coal bottoms, whereas black on black is too depressing for me.  Because of all these reasons, I'd been keeping my eye out for another pair of coal run crops.  So, now that I have them, I will just have to go out and try them!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Isopure in a Tub

I wrote about my favorite whey protein - Isopure (by Nature's Path) back in Feb.  I've been getting them from forever.  I always got the 3 lb bottle which would last me about a month of 1 scoop a day. 

Since I order them so often, last week I decided to get the gigantic tub sized one!  It just arrived today.  It's almost 8 lbs!  It was $89 (vs. 3 lbs for $36) so I save like a dollar when I average it out to get the price per pound and compare the two prices.  I do save on shipping cost though since it's a flat rate no matter how many pounds you order.  I really just did it for the convenience rather than savings though.  But it's weird, I'm looking on their site now and they are priced at $105!  That makes it not worth it anymore.  Why would you price the bigger size product at more $$ per pound than the smaller size???  That just doesn't make good business sense.  Buying bulk should always equal lower price per unit.  I guess they rather you spend $36 than $89! 

Anyway, this should last me almost 3 months.  The tub just arrived today and I think it's really funny how big it is.  It makes me feel like I should be a muscle head or something to buy protein that comes in this portion!  Hahaha


I went to Ikea on the morning of 4th of July to get a couple pieces of cheap furniture.  I mainly needed a cheap dresser for my closet because at my old place I had built in drawers and shelves in the walk in, and it came in very handy and I got used to having it.  But my walk in now only has rods for hanging clothes.  I would like to build some drawers and shelves eventually.  But the cheap fix now is to just get a dresser and stick it in there.  Well, Ikea is perfect for that.  I was able to get the Kullen 3 drawer dresser for only $39.

This was perfect for what I was looking for.  The size is on the smaller side for a dresser but it fits perfectly in my closet under my clothes that are hung up.  Super easy to assembled - I put it together in about 30 minutes!  But I am kind of pretty good at assembling furniture haha.  I could use at least 2 more of these in my closet!  I love having drawers in my closet so that I can put my bras and underwear as well as camis and tanks in them.  It's a lot easier to make outfit decisions when I don't have to walk back and forth to the bedroom dresser to get stuff - I'm lazy!  They are also good for tons of knick knacks too.  It's amazing how much "stuff" can get in my closet! 

I also wanted to get some of these panel curtains from Ikea for my patio sliding door.  I hate what came with the place - these cheap plastic thingies that don't work well.  I like the chic and layered look of panel curtains since they give the room some dimension and incorporate different colors and designs. 

I stole this pic from Flickr so this is not mine.  But I also got the triple layer curtain rail and the panel that's in the very front of this picture.  The others I got are more muted in pattern and color.  It's not up yet but I plan to put the more "flowery" one on the back or middle layer so the room does not look too girly.  

My sliding doors are about 105 inches wide and each curtain rail is only 55 inches so I had to get two - at $20 a piece, they kind of add up.  They can be connected together easily though.  But now they are a little too long and won't fit so I have to wait until my boyfriend can saw a piece off one of them tomorrow.  I got 4 panels total and I'm thinking I should have got 1 or 2 more but I guess I can always go back later after I see how they look.  They are about $10-20 a panel which is not bad.  But the thing that pissed me off though is that you gotta buy everything separately! You get the rail, then have to get the hooks to connect them to the wall (and they don't even come with screws by the way so you better have some at home).  Then you get the panel curtains, but you have to get the top and bottom rail for connecting the curtains to the rail and for weighing the bottom of the panel down.  Each part is priced at $10, or $5 or whatever little amount, but when you have to buy 5 of each, it really adds up!  The whole thing ended up costing over $120!  For curtains!  Wtf.  I didn't realize this until after I paid and got home.  I guess that's how they get you!  I'm really quite annoyed though.  Maybe shoulda just stuck with good old fashioned curtains.

I also wanted to look at some patio stuff at Ikea since mine is quite bare at the moment, but they were completely sold out of all outdoor furniture.  You would think that they would be better stocked for the upcoming months of hot weather!  Ever since I saw this picture from Ikea's website, I wanted my patio to look exactly like it... I love the floor decking, the table set and the colorful cushions and accessories!  Oh well, that will have to wait I suppose!  Boooo...

I did get a shelf thingy that I'm using as plant holder for the patio though.  It's only $14 and totally worth the money.  It works perfectly and was super easy to assemble.  You don't even need tools.  Seems durable (at least for holding some plants) and looks pretty good!

Seriously this was a great buy.  Just can't beat the price!

I also got some other small items but that was the gist of it.  The quality of Ikea items is obviously not the greatest, and for the price you can't expect too much (other than those damn curtains, they better last me years!).  But I've actually bought stuff from there that lasted quite a while and still in good shape.  Ikea is pretty great for smaller items that don't get as much use and abuse because their furniture is stylish and affordable.  But for bigger ticket items I would go elsewhere. 
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