Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Splits59 Chase Long Top

So I've been wanting to try out this activewear brand called Splits59.  One of my favorite fitness instructors at Equinox, Elise Gulan, is one of their "firestarters".  I don't know what that means exactly but it's something similar to Lululemon's ambassador program I suppose.  Elise is also a Lulu ambassador.  They were calling her the "face of fitness" when she was in their store on Sunday lol.  She is really cute and always has the cutest Lululemon outfits on which she wears very well.  But a while ago when I took one of her classes at Equinox, she was wearing a Splits59 tank that looked very cute.  Naturally I was curious about the brand, because I had never seen her wear anything but Lululemon.  Then I saw the price tag of their tanks at the Equinox Shop and they are about $80 a pop.  So yeah, I didn't feel like "trying something out" for that price, especially since nothing really caught my eye.

But later on, I found their website and signed up to receive email specials.  They were running a free priority shipping thing until the end of August (today), so I decided to get a top from the sales section as a guinea pig to see if it's really worth the price.  I feel very strange since I haven't bought a brand other than Lululemon for the gym in a long time.  It feels like I'm cheating on them?!?

I must admit, browsing through the Splits59 collection, the designs look nothing special.  Most of them look like very basic tanks.  So for $80 or so a piece, they must be made of some amazing material right?  I guess this company is started by triathletes that wanted to make clothes that would enhance your performance and last through rigorous work outs, while providing the sleek and streamlined look.  Anyway, I decided to get the Chase Long Top in Lemon-Eggnog since it was pretty much the only thing available in a size S from the sale section.  The price is $29 now, down from $80 original.  There were a few other tops in the sales section in size XS but I had never tried this brand on and didn't know how the sizes ran.  I figured S would be a safer bet.  Shipping was pretty fast since they are also located in the area.  I ordered yesterday and received it today.

The picture of the back of this top is only available in the black color

The outside layer is really nothing special design wise - just a racerback top, with some mesh inserts with circle design on them on the front.  But for $29 and being my only choice, that was fine just to try out.  The yellow is happy and bright too, I don't own any other yellow tops so this is a first for me.  The inner layer is a cream colored bra top to create that "layered look".  I wasn't sure how supportive the bra would be or if they would have pockets for cup inserts when I ordered it yesterday, but the answer is no.  It's a very low support bra with no pockets.  The bra is so thin I don't even consider it a bra.  I would have to wear a separate sports bra under it for sure.  The bra is only attached to the outer layer by a couple stitches on each side, so I think it would be pretty easy to cut them apart and wear them separately as well.

Aside from that disappointment, it seems to be made in pretty good quality.  Made in USA by the way.  All the seams are flat locked, like Lululemon.  However, I am in love with the material!  It feels close to Lululemon's luxtreme material, but thinner and stretchier.  It's a very soft and buttery feel.  Another difference between this material and luxtreme is that it doesn't show every bend and ripple in the skin like luxtreme does, even though it's thinner and is form fitting.  I don't know why this is, but it's true.  It really feels like second skin!  The Splits59 logo on this top is on the lower left side - not visible from the model pictures.  But it's a long vertical rectangular strip that is silver and reflective.  I like that it's not so "out there".

The size S fits well, and the length is perfect.  The bra band is very comfortable too.  I haven't been able to take this top off all night, and I can tell that it would stay in place very well during work outs.  Most of my tops from Lululemon do move around and ride up a little bit during vigorous movements - some styles better than others.  But for the most part, I'd have to adjust them by pulling them down from time to time, especially when I'm running.  Not a major problem for me, but I can tell that this Chase top would not move at all.  I can't wait to try it out during an actual sweaty work out! I'd imagine it would be really cool to work out in this material.  And I want to check out how well it wicks sweat.  But it still makes me think harder to shell out $80 for one of these babies when I can spend around $55 and get a Lululemon top that has a much more unique design.  So maybe I'll just stalk their sale section from now on because I have a feeling that I will want a few more!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lululemon Bon Voyage Duffel

I got my Lululemon Bon Voyage Duffel today in ivy and lolo purple.  I couldn't decide which one I wanted from the pictures online so I ordered both!  But as soon as I saw them in person, I knew ivy was the one!  I mean lolo purple is very pretty too, but ivy is just gorgeous!  And so different from the other Lululemon bags I have that are bright feminine colors.  Ivy is also a lot greener than I thought it would be, which is great.  It's like a deep forest green.  I thought it would be more brownish-yellowish from the pictures.  Maybe it's just the resolution on my computer screen.  But I love the color so much more in person!  I also love the satiny material which makes the colors look more fluid and silky.

By the way, the shoulder strap for both of these are this camel colored strap, which looks pretty bad paired with the purple bag.  It's like they forgot to make matching straps for the bag and then just added it on at the last minute!  Would have made more sense to do it in black.  But the camel strap actually works fine with the ivy color since they are both military tones.  This is another reason I'm keeping the ivy one vs. purple.  If I were to keep the purple one, I would have no choice but to use a strap from another Lululemon bag.

See?  It works with the camel strap.

The bag itself is awesome!  I love the unique pleats on it, and the size is great!  I love big bags, and I always carry lots of stuff with me.  I usually go to the gym with 3 pairs of shoes (running shoes, spin shoes, heels, sometimes a pair of flip flops too!) along with different changes of clothes and hair stuff, so I need a big bag.  Plus it would be so great to travel with!  It's small enough to be a carry on, yet big enough to fit everything I'd need for a weekend trip.

I explored it more than I did when I saw it at Equinox last week and took some pictures.  By the way, the price tag at Equinox was $120 and it is $108 from the Lululemon website.  I didn't know Equinox marked items up.  Interesting.

Anyway, it's a huge bag!  And there are so many pockets.  I took pictures of the bag on me so it's easier to see how large it is.  I did it with the bag carried as a purse style with the handles as well as a gym bag style using the shoulder strap. I think it works either way depending on how much stuff is in it.  The pictures are taken with the bag empty, so if it was full, it would look even bigger!  The handles are pretty thick and comfortable.  I think it would be fine to wear it as a purse even with heavy items in it.

My yellow tint lighting really sucks for pictures, but not much I can do there...

And here are some pictures of the different compartments of the bag, taken earlier when the sun was still out:

The inside pocket of the main compartment, with the removable pouch folded in there

The removable pouch - not the two sided one they used to have with an elastic band, but still big enough as it covers most of the length of the bag itself

The mesh shoe pocket, there is one on each side inside of the main compartment

This is the pocket in front of the main compartment pocket.  It's also a huge pocket, with different mesh pockets for phone, music player, "chocolate", etc. as well as whatever else you want!

The vertical side zipper on the front of the bag opens up so you can store sweaty clothes in there.  It's huge and goes through to the other side of the bag.  There is also a zipper on the opposite side so you can access this pocket from either side.

The shoulder strap hardware

This is the back side of the bag - there is a little pocket for easy access

The large back pocket which is also a lap top holder.  It's big enough to hold my Mac.  Not as padded as a regular lap top bag, but it would be fine.
Side pocket on the outside of both sides of the bag
Ok I might have gone a little crazy taking all these picture, but I just love all the different pockets!  How many times did I say that?  Hehe.  Great bag!  It really might be "A gym bag so awesome you can kiss other bags good-bye"!  I still love my other Lulu bags though, and will use them all!  I rotate through all of them every week or so.  I have serious bag addictions, and I think Lulu bags are always well made with the cutest little details that are unrivaled by any other brand.  And the price is pretty reasonable too as far as bags go.  The large size of this bag is probably over kill for daily use when I'm not going to the gym, so maybe I should just go to the gym more often to get more use out of it!  What a great motivation hehe... Very excited to start using this! 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lululemon Tadasana Pant & Shady Brimmed Beanie

I hit up two Lululemon stores today. First one I went to do yoga at, browsed through the store afterwards and didn't see anything I wanted to buy. Then I went to eat at Bay Cities (Yum! Must go if ever visiting LA/Santa Monica) then went to check out the new outdoor mall at the Promenade in Santa Monica which just finished reconstruction and is so much better now even the food court has nice booths seating and ocean view.  And by the way has an Ever store now too!  I love Ever.  They carry some very cool tees and sweaters.  And of course their famous hoodie that just gets softer and softer with each wear.  I didn't buy anything though, because you can occasionally get their hoodies for like $60 if you sign up for email alerts.  I then popped into the Lululemon store because the Santa Monica location carries a lot more stuff than other locations in LA.  And sure enough, I bought 2 things that were not found at other stores here.

The Tadasana Pant:

The ones I bought have a wide lolo purple waistband instead of black.  I'd been in the market for another pair of long pants since I only have one pair of Groove pants and all the other bottoms I have are crops or shorts.  The Tadasana pants are made of luon, same as the Groove pants.  But the fit is much more snug than the Groove pants.  For me, my Grooves are tight fitting from the bum through the upper legs down to about the knees, then flare out towards the bottom.  But the Tadasana pants are tight like the Wunder Unders, all the way to about the upper calf area.  Then it flares out a little, but not as much as the Grooves.  It's more like boot cut.  And there is a continuous drawstring at the bottom, which is much needed because these are long (only comes in long length)!  So they are a few inches too long on me if I don't cinch them in.  But I like that you can cinch them higher to be like crops.  The rise is also higher than the Grooves, rather grandma-pants like, I must admit.  But probably great for not falling down as you move.

The logo is on the lower left leg but I wish it was on the back waistband.  They are not reversible, because there's no logo on the inside.  But I think they could definitely be reversible since they look exactly the same inside out, but all black.  So it's like having 2 pairs of pants for the price of one, and the all black side doesn't have any logos at all so they won't look as much like gym clothes. 

I think I might not like these as much as I thought when I bought them.  They are a little too tight fitting through the legs for my taste, and I have pretty small hips and thighs.  By the look of the pictures above, I think they are meant to be this tight.  Does luon stretch out with wear?  I feel like my Grooves in the same size fit much looser even in the "tight" areas.  Maybe I should have tried a size up to see if that would fit better, but that may be too big in the waist and bum though.  I don't know, the Grooves just work well for me as I like the flare leg, so maybe I should just exchange these for another pair of Groove pants.

The Shady Brimmed Beanie, though, is sooooo cute!  I don't care if they make me look like I'm 15, and that it's been 100 degrees outside last week, and the "winters" here never get cold enough to need hats, I had to have it.  $34 is the price, and it may be about $10 over priced.  Oh well. 

This would be great for snowboarding especially with the brim!  It looks cute both on the front or the back.  I love the design and the colors.  It also comes in two other colors - same shade of gray as this one and a black one, both with the same pattern but more monotone.  It's a pretty large beanie and can cover most of the head, which I like since I have a lot of hair. 

It matches my Run Fast Short in Coal/Citron so maybe I can wear them together for "winter" running.  =)  They just got these beanies in and there was only a few left in this color combo, a couple other ladies were woo-ing and ahh-ing about how cute it was too, so I think it will sell out very fast even in the warm SoCal summer time!

I like the little teal color metal plate of inconspicuous logo.

Oh but I guess there's also the gigantic Lululemon logo knitted on the beanie all the way across in ivory!  But to someone who doesn't know the brand, it just looks like a design.  The beanie is made of merino wool.  It's pretty thick and may be overkill if I wore it around in LA in the 60 degree winter.  But I do go to Denver a lot (my boyfriend is from there) in the winters, so I can get some use out of it.  Hehe.  We are going there in October actually.  I wonder if it will be cold enough then!  I've never hoped for cold weather when I went there before, but am now!

Friday, August 27, 2010

KitchenAid 14pc Knife Set

Weeeee my KitchenAid Knife Set from Ruelala got delivered today!  I don't know much about kitchen cutlery, all I know is that my $14 knife set from like 5 years ago is finally falling apart.  The other night I was thinking about getting a new knife set soon, and the next day I saw KitchenAid on Ruelala.  It was a sign!

I think it's probably the grown up thing to do to invest in nicer kitchen tools.  So I'm starting with the knife set.  Later on I gotta get some nicer pots and pans because the ones I have are dying.  I quite like the set I got.  The discount on them wasn't that great - it said retail price $99, and Ruelala was selling for $69.  But the cool thing about these is that the base comes with a built in sharpener.  Cool!  I don't know how to use knife sharpeners so I never touched my old ones.  But these are built in and all I have to do is slide my knife through it.  That I can handle!

Like I said, I know next to nothing about knives, but these sure do look nice to me!  They are really sharp too!  I love them.  It's so nice to have knives that cut.  Lol.  14 piece is more than enough for me too.  The contents of the set are:

  • 8 inch chef's knife
  • 8 inch slicing knife
  • 7 inch santoku knife
  • 5.5 inch serrated utility knife
  • 5 inch santoku knife
  • 3.5 inch paring knife
  • six steak knives

The description says that they are made of durable high carbon stainless steel blades with a Rockwell hardness of 48-52.  What does this mean?  It sounds like gibberish to me.  It also says that they are ergonomically designed and perfectly balanced for precision and ease of use. I guess they are good for the joints.  Now I feel like I should cook more!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Getting into Shape is Not THAT Hard... A Cool Little Tale

I used to go to the run club that's hosted by Lululemon when I lived within walking distance to the store.  But since I've moved away, I haven't been able to make it.  It should be only a 10 minute drive, but "should" being the key word here.  The 405 during rush hour in LA is not your friend.  Too bad.  No more free "product testing" Lululemon goodies for me!  On the other hand, there is a Lululemon showroom opening down the street from me next week so I can hope they will be equally generous!  I can't believe it.  When I was house hunting, I wanted to live in a neighborhood that was close to a Lululemon store and an Equinox.  Seriously, I have problems I know.  It didn't exactly work out that way, but looks like my wish is coming true after all!  Well at least half of it.  Now I just need Equinox to open another location nearby and I'm all set!

So I've been spending my Thursday nights being trained by my boyfriend along with these two other ladies.  My boyfriend works in the entertainment industry (production and post production, not an actor!) just like everyone else here in LA, which means he doesn't have the 9-5 work schedule.  And with the economy in its current state and so many people out of jobs in California, the movie studios are cutting costs too, and it's hard to be a freelancer.  So he started training people a few months ago on the side.  I actually think he is very good at it because he always knew a lot about working out, and he LOVES to help people.  We'd be at the gym and he would always go up to different people and show them how to do stuff if their forms are wrong.  I don't know, I think it could be kind of annoying for people to get unwanted advice from a complete stranger, but that's just how he is.  Or they could be happy with the help I suppose.  I guess it could go both ways. So I think this trainer thing comes natural to him.  And I am also jealous of the instructor discount he can get at Lululemon!

He trains tons of people now.  I think they all love him.  I really like his work outs too because he spices things up with cardio of different levels and inclines, as well as all kinds of HIIT weights and strength training.  When I do his work outs, I always burn at least 500 calories in an hour, most of the time around 600 (I always wear my heart rate monitor when I work out).  I normally only burn 400 or 450 at the most when I take a hard class at the gym, so I guess he makes me work harder!  In fact, a couple Sundays ago, I took a 75 min spin class at my gym and only burned about 500.  And this instructor is amazing and always gives a great work out!  Ugh.  I was annoyed.  I got to the gym late and skipped running before the class that day.  I normally run for about 15 minutes before that class so my heart rate is already pumping when I get in and don't have to waste the first half of the class warming up.  That way I would end up burning 200 more calories during the whole work out, so 700-800 for the total class, which I think is 15 minutes VERY well spent!

So on Thursday nights, I always work out with these two ladies that my boyfriend trains.  They are older, about 30 pounds overweight, and were definitely not in shape when they first started, about 3 months ago or so.  But they really decided to change their lives for good, they always show up, and they started eating right as well by cutting out all the extra fat, sugar, and calorie overload from their diet.  When we first started working out together, they were pretty slow and weak.  But they always have a great attitude, and did the best they could.  Their work definitely paid off!  Tonight, they were able to run a 5k with me, and about half of it was pretty hilly too!  Each week I see them running faster and lifting more weights, and tonight was a milestone for them because they had never been able to run this much before in their entire lives!  So cool.  I think this was very inspiring to see everyday people get up and decide to do something to get healthier the right way!  They are not doing it for a TV show or for money, they just really did it all for themselves!  It really goes to show that it isn't THAT hard to start getting into shape.  Just a few short months is all it takes once you get your butt up in gear!  Once someone sees results and starts to feel better, it's even more motivation to continue on.  How cool to be a trainer and see people change for the better everyday!  Makes me want to become a trainer too!  And of course there's always that instructor discount at Lulu...

Speaking of Lulu, I went to Equinox to shower after my work out.  I really only use Equinox to shower now, which makes the hefty membership due not worth it.  But what can I say, I just love it, and it's really hard to cancel a membership to a gym that provides Kiehl's products freely in the locker rooms!  So I slobber that shit on!  After my shower and on my way out of the gym, I saw this cute and awesome Lululemon gym bag with tons of pockets at the Equinox Shop.  It's called the Bon Voyage Duffel.  They had black and this dark gray with black graphic print (didn't see the color code).  I didn't buy them there because I wanted to see if Lululemon had more colors, so I got online tonight and saw it in lolo purple and ivy, and I love both!  So I ordered both.  Hehe.  I will have to see which color I like better when I receive them.  I didn't want to wait until the weekend to go into the store and see in person, because the stores always tend to have different stock than the site so I didn't want to chance not being able to get the one I want.  Excited to get them on Saturday! 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Lululemon Push Ur Limits Tank - Lolo Purple / Power Purple

I love my boyfriend for many reasons, one of which is that he doesn't think I have a shopping problem (or maybe thinks it but doesn't voice it?), and never ridicules me for buying too much of anything, and a lot of it consists of Lululemon stuff.  He actually likes my Lululemons and thinks their clothes look nice on me.  He even suggested that I apply to work there part time on weekends because I could then get discount on their clothes, wear it around all the time and get paid to work out at different gyms.  I agree it's pretty much the perfect job for me - only if I had more time!  So yeah, he always goes shopping with me and chats with the girls while I try on a million things.  Occasionally, he also goes alone to the store and picks up things for me.  And today was one of those days!  He brought me back a pretty Push Ur Limits Tank in lolo purple with power purple straps!  And he even asked for cup inserts which he calls "boobie cups".  Lol.

Hmm I don't know why my floor shows up gold in the photos - I'm having iphone camera issues.  But the color of the tank looks pretty close to real life colors. 

I LOVE the Push Ur Limits Tank.  I have only one, in Passion Wee Stripe, because I keep waiting for them to come out in non-gray or black contrasting colors.  Finally they made this one!  I swear if they had made more of these, I would have about 10 of them right now.  But I refused to buy solid colors, because I think the contrasting colors are what makes this tank special.

This one feels and fits exactly the same as my passion one, so my regular size works.  But I feel like the lolo purple looks darker in this tank than it does on other things I've seen.  Maybe it's because of the luxtreme material.  I can't wait to wear this one - it's been like 100 degrees lately, so the luxtreme material feels a lot nicer than luon to sweat in!  Not to mention the mesh panel in the back.  We'll see how well this color does with sweat - my passion one shows sweat like crazy and I sweat a lot when I work out, so I always look like a sea monster when I wear it.  I don't think it happens to luxtreme tops across the board though, because my Light Up Tank looks exactly the same dry or wet.  But it doesn't matter either way because I love my new tank and will wear it lots no matter what!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lululemon Run: Fast Short - Black

I just got home from a weekend cruise trip to Mexico that my mom kidnapped me to at the last minute.  I mean she told me I was going with her on Thursday night and we were supposed to leave on Friday.  I was protesting it at first, because I had a nice little weekend planned for myself here.  But then I decided that when someone offers you a free cruise trip, the correct response is to cancel existing plans and go.  I know I'm probably in the minority here, but going on a cruise is not an appealing idea to me at all.  First of all, I hate being on a schedule when I travel - when I go on a trip, I rarely book hotels or make transportation plans ahead of time.  I always just buy a plane ticket and get there, then see what happens.  That way I'm not constrained by my pre-arranged travel schedule, I can stay in a place I like as long as I want, or leave as soon as I want.  Secondly, I get sea sickness really easily, and being on a boat for 4 days just didn't sound nice.  Third, I can't help but wonder if my cruise will turn out like the Titanic.  And lastly, being stuck in a place where there's free buffet for every meal and full of food enablers around me is kind of a nightmare too!  How am I supposed to not eat pizza and cake at 2 am when they are just within arms length and everyone is telling me to eat and enjoy my vacation?!  Seriously it's much harder to have self-control when it's right in front of you.  On the other hand, there was a gym on the cruise, as well as tons of tanning opportunities. Apparently that last argument won over all the other "cons".

Anyway, of course since I couldn't help but order this amazing warm chocolate melting cake for dessert every night, I had to get my ass up at 6 am the next morning to run.  I'm so glad that I brought my Lululemon Run: Fast Short.  I love them so much that I bought the black ones right before I left on the trip and brought them with me.

They were perfect to pack because they are so tiny and light, I could stuff them in any little corner of my bag.  And they were perfect to work out in.  I like the solid black version since they go with any top, and they don't look as much like athletic wear as the ones with contrasting colors.  And they are just so darn cute!  I do have to say though that I really felt the lack of adequate sized built in pockets on these since I had to carry my credit card sized room key with me everywhere on the cruise.  That waistband pocket on my Groove pants really came in handy.  I think they could have easily made a back or side pocket on the Fast Short that would be big enough, so that is my only complaint with these.  Otherwise though I still love them to run in as well as to just hang out in.  Love the boxer shorts-like waistband - so comfy and don't ride up!

By the way, I really think I should stop shopping so much at Lululemon.  I looked at everything I packed for my trip and I pretty much only took Lululemon stuff!  How pathetic is that.  Other than my Fast Short and Groove pants, I took my (I'm embarrassed to type this out loud) Wunder Grooves, Do It All short, Explore Short, a few Cool Racerbacks, Flow Y bras, Dance Strap Tank, headbands, Flashback jacket, packed everything in my Jumpstart gym bag (which was kind of perfect for the cruise and I even packed my beach towel using the yoga mat straps on the bag) and my laptop and other knick knacks in my Move It Messenger.  The only things I brought that were not Lululemon were my bikinis, my cocktail dresses that I needed for dinner, one pair of shorts and the Green Dragon Oversized Tee I just got (which is also a yoga wear company might I add).  OMG I need to branch out.

Green Dragon Delicate Flower Top

Ok so my last Green Dragon top arrived!  Yay!  I was worried for nothing!  I love this one, it's so pretty and feminine.  It's called the Delicate Flower Top, and it's 100% silk, made in California!  I was able to snatch it at $29 which is a great price, down from $108. 

I could really get away with wearing this at work too, with a tank under, since it is semi see-through.  I really love the print and color - It's very soft.  The detail on the left shoulder is unique but not overpowering.  It's extra fabric cut into the shape of flowers and sewn onto the shirt.  Gives it some texture while blending in with the existing graphics.  So cute, love it!

The dropped waistline of this top has drawstring side ties on both sides that also add a cute feminine detail.  This top is another bohemian / hippie chic type of look that I am not usually into, but love now!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Green Dragon Pink Lotus

I like a lot of stuff from the yoga brand Green Dragon / Pink Lotus (their other line).  They are a young company based out of California, and actually make their clothes in California.  It always feels good to support the local economy!  I believe Lucy also sells some of their products.  It's much like Lululemon in that they make high quality clothing made for fashion as well as function.  But they have really developed a full on fashion line for that casual chic, comfortable yet stylish look.  Their clothing are made of high quality natural and organic material. 

Anyway, their price is pretty steep, but they were on Hautelook about a week ago or so.  So I "fought the crowd" to grab a few pieces at large discounts.  There were so many people trying to buy their products and things were constantly "on hold" in someone else's cart, it was really hard to get everything I wanted.  They sold out really fast too.  I did manage to get 4 items by clicking "add to cart" like a crazy maniac for like half an hour?  Must've been a slow day at work.  Well today I received 3 of the 4 items.  A little weird that they didn't all ship out at the same time.  The one that didn't get shipped out was of course my favorite one!  So I really hope that they are not going to come back and tell me that they over sold.

Here's what I did get tonight:

Smocked Peasant Tunic - I thought the bold pattern was very interesting, and the style is cute.  I could get away with wearing it to work under a jacket or something.  And it would also work as casual wear.  The Hautelook discount was pretty good - the retail price for this top was $108 but I got it for $29.

I'm not usually into the Bohemian look, but I was drawn to this print/style.  In person it looks just like the pictures so no surprises there.  It fits on the loose side, and is slightly sheer.  It's very light weight and the neck detail is cute. It's made of cotton and silk, and it's very soft.

Then I got this Oversized Tee, because I just really like oversized tees.  My boyfriend thinks I'm weird for working out so hard and then hiding in oversized tees.  Hehe.  I guess I don't really have an explanation.

This tee must be the softest thing I've ever felt!  I loved it as soon as I took it out of the packaging.  I don't know what they did to it, but it's amazing!  No wonder its retail price is $79.  I would have seriously considered getting this at that price if I had felt it first.  But I got it for $28 from Hautelook and I'm completely fine with that!  I like the pretty floral print on the front too.  The pictures don't show this, but the wide rolled sleeves of this tee have twill tape detail.  Nice touch.  It gives the sleeves some definition and weight so they drape better.

Thirdly, I got this Embroidered Cardigan for $29 also, retail price $124.  The tag says made in China for this one though, as opposed to California on the other two tops.  It's very weird.  I thought Green Dragon prides on making their products solely in the USA.  Guess they are moving overseas like all the other companies.  Profit margin wins the fight every time huh?  

It's still a cute cardigan though.  I like the 3/4 sleeve length and the embroidered details are pretty.  I love the big round buttons on the belt.  I also like that it's a shorter length so that the tank underneath can show through.  I think I will mainly be wearing this to work before Labor Day, since that's when we start wearing suits everyday... yay (hope you can sense the sarcasm).  But I can also wear this everywhere else as well!  I think it looks cute with jeans too like the model has it.  Again it is a very soft piece.  I guess it makes sense because it's made of cotton, modal and cashmere.  Feels really nice against the skin.  This cardigan also came in black with white embroidery.  It was sold out really fast.

I'm pretty happy with these pieces.  So now I'm just waiting on the last item I ordered.  Really hoping that it will make its way here soon!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sweet Potato

I've been on a sweet potato kick lately.  I used to eat baked sweet potatoes all the time when I was little.  But for some reason haven't had it in years!  I totally forgot about them.

When I lived much closer to my gym and was working out in the morning before work, I would have fish and veggies for dinner, so pretty much no carb.  But now that I'm working out at night, I need some carbs afterwards so my body doesn't start breaking down protein - I am trying to get more lean muscles and lose more body fat after all.  But I obviously don't want to load on pasta or bread.  So it came down to a yam or a sweet potato for me.

Aside from the taste of sweet potatoes which I love, it's also very nutritious and low cal. A whole baked sweet potato has about 100 calories, depending on size, and it's a great source of vitamin A (beta carotene), C, and B6, not to mention tons of fiber and potassium.  It's got protein, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties.  And it's just yum!  It satisfies the sweet tooth craving I tend to get when it gets closer to bed time as well.

I've been trying out different ways to make it, and I've found the easiest, laziest way to do it.  I just wash it, wrap it in some foil, and put it directly on the rack of the oven at about 400-425 degrees for about 30 minutes.  And it comes out perfect!  I eat the skin too, and the inside is soft and sweet.  It's really the healthiest way to eat it since I don't add anything to it!

But of course I have also tried making sweet potato fries because who doesn't love them??

I think I have perfected this as well.  I just wash and cut, with skin and all.  Then put a little bit of olive oil (2 tbsp-ish?  I don't measure) and minced garlic (the kind you can buy in a jar from the store) together in a plastic bag.  Put the fries in the bag, zip it, and shake until the fries are covered evenly in the mixture (I don't like my hands covered in oil).  Then I lay them on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 for about 15 minutes, then turn it up to 425 for another 10 minutes so the outside gets crispier.  Sometimes I also add some cracked black peppers or a tiny bit of salt.  And YUM!  So easy too!  I love healthy and low maintenance type of recipes because I really can't be bothered with too many steps and don't have much time.  And I love how the fries taste just as good as if they were fried but without the artery clogging effect. Gotta experiment and keep looking for more recipes like this!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I just finished reading this book called The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  I've been reading on my way to and from work on the subway, which is great because otherwise I would not have time to read leisure books right now.  It's the first of the Millennium trilogy, written by the Swedish author Stieg Larsson who actually died before the novels were found and published.

So the book became a sensation in Europe and now in North America.  My boyfriend actually read it first and liked it.  Then he took me to watch the movie that was based on the book.  So by the time I read the book, I already knew what happened already.  Of course, as always, I find books better than movies because they just have much more detail. 

This book has unique characters based on an investigative financial journalist and a anti-social crazy computer hacker genius.  They are definitely a unlikely pair, actually the polar opposites of each other.  But fate has them intertwined, and they wind up being in the middle of a global complicated financial fraud as well as a serial murder.  

I really like the development of the characters, especially the girl.  The description of her past is just enough for the reader to understand why she is the way she is, without being too detailed and boring (I could be kind of ADD).  And I think you do sympathize with her even if she does seem so strange in the beginning!  The plot development is a good pace for me as well.  Even though I knew what happened at the end, it still kept me turning the pages. 

So I got the next book in the trilogy - the The Girl Who Played With Fire.  Very interested to see what the new plot will be about!  Also, the American version of the movie just got casted so it will be interesting to see how the movie turns out.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lululemon Scoop Neck Tank & Another Cool Racerback

I went to make returns at the Lululemon stores yesterday.  I had to go to a different store than the one I normally go to because I've been making so many returns lately!  So I had to go somewhere where they didn't know me.  While I was there, I saw the Scoop Neck tanks in new colors, and they are very pretty. 

There were 3 different colors:  Potion purple/ power purple, river rock / static charcoal and static dark classic sport gray / seniorita pink.  I ended up getting the last one.

I like the silky feel and the look of the static gray a lot.  And the pink neckline makes this top very striking.  I love the fit of the Scoop Neck tanks, although they are very snug fitting and sometimes pull on my neck.  I suppose I could wear a size 6 in this top, but I've never tried that and I'd be afraid that the bra band would be too loose.  I normally only wear them for an hour or so at a time anyway, so whatevs.  

I don't like to wear the Scoop Neck tanks I have anymore because they have white neckline.  The white is too see-through so when I have the cup cookies in (I always wear my tanks with the inserts), a part of them show through.  It looks very odd.  So I always have to fiddle with them to hide them.  So I'll never buy any tank with white necklines again.  I won't have that problem with this one though!  

I also really liked the river rock color, just didn't want to buy 2 scoop neck tanks.  I think I might have to return my static oasis Cool Racerback and wait for it to come out in river rock.  They are of the same color family and I like river rock better.  It's lighter and more muted than oasis.  I don't always feel like wearing bright tops!

Speaking of the static Cool Racerbacks, I saw the static alarming color which I actually liked.  I didn't like alarming in the tanks I've seen before, but it's nice in static.  I didn't get it though.  I'm going to see what else comes out later. 

I did get a wish blue Cool Racerback though, because it was on the sales rack for $24, which is a pretty good price.  I've never seen any Cool Racerbacks on sale at the store I normally go to, let alone in my size.  I think this store had it on sale because it had some deodorant marks on it.  But it came out in the wash pretty easily.

This color is pretty nice.  It's very close to bold blue from the end of last year I believe, but bold blue had a hint of purple hue, and this is a true blue tone.  I don't have any dark blue tanks so this is a nice addition.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lululemon Goodies - Journey Jacket, Cross Train Pullover and Static Cool Racerbacks, and Me Modeling Again!

I had some down time at work yesterday (rare occasion nowadays) so I was able to jump online as soon as I saw the Lululemon email with the new merchandise on the website.  Hooray!  I saw that the Cross Train Pullover came in yet another color - coal/static coal.  Good thing I haven't taken off the tag on the black one I got!  I like the black one, but I love this coal one!  So I ordered it instead and will be returning the black to the store this weekend. Besides, most of my bottoms are black, and I don't want to look too much like a ninja!

Oh I also got it a size down.  My black is a size 4 and I felt like the chest was a little loose on me.  So I took a chance and ordered a 2 in the coal.  I tried on both multiple times tonight and there really isn't a big difference between the 2 sizes.  The size 2 is just slightly tighter through the body and the arms, but I could barely tell the difference.  The chest area seems just a little bit tighter too but almost unnoticeable difference. 

I ordered the two new static Cool Racerbacks in Lolo Purple and Oasis. 

I like the new material - they are silkier.  The fit is the same as the regular Cool Racerbacks.  But I really like the static colors!  I've been loving my boyfriend's Metal Vent Tech in dahlia/silver and wishing they made that color for women so I could buy it!  The static lolo purple is darker than dahlia but similar.

Ok I feel like his shirt looks more purple in person than the photo above.  But static lolo is close enough!  And I think I prefer the more saturated purple anyway.

The static oasis is also a nice color.  It looks more like a darker shade green than teal to me, and the static mutes the brightness of the oasis color tone, so I love it. 

I also got the Journey Jacket in heathered charcoal/citron. 

I loved this jacket as soon as I saw it!  I'm a sucker for military style shirts and jackets so this was an easy one for me.  I don't know if it's supposed to be military style, but looks at least military inspired to me.  I used to never buy Lululemon for street wear, but I guess I'm branching out!  But this jacket is not just a casual hoodie, and I would be able to wear it everywhere!  From the front it doesn't scream Lululemon either, it looks like it could be from any of those stores like Armani Exchange, Zara, or Diesel, etc.  Of course the back has the same Lulu logo like all the other hoodies they have.  

I don't normally like short jackets but I actually think it works with this one.  The length really accentuates the figure, and it's nice to be able to show the color of the shirt underneath.  I really like the charcoal color as well.  It's made of french terry so it's not too thick or warm.  The jacket will be perfect for the fall (and winter here in Socal)! 

The thing that kind of bugs me about it is that the front pockets don't lay flat, and it's not because it's too tight or anything.  Maybe the way the pockets were folded during shipping caused this problem, so I'll try ironing it or something later and see if it helps.  I do like that the pockets aren't identical - you can't tell from the model picture, but one side is a horizontal zipper and the other side is vertical.  The pockets are not fake either - they are really good sized!  I can't imagine putting anything bulky in those pockets, but it's nice to be able to put some cash or credit card in them easily for running errands and whatnot.  

This jacket has a lot of cute details that I think makes it worth $88.  In fact it's a pretty good price as far as jackets go, and especially since most jackets at Lululemon start at $98.  Interesting though that the tag actually says $108.  I wonder why it's priced at $88 online.  I think I would have thought harder if it was $108, that's for sure!  Now I think I'm definitely taking back the Fireside Jacket since it costs $10 more and I don't love it as much.  I actually think tomorrow is my cut off day for that return so this one came just in time! It's funny, when I was impatiently tearing the plastic bag apart to take out the Journey Jacket, the tag came off with the bag!  I must have accidentally ripped it off, but I think it was a sign that I should definitely be keeping it!

Since you all seem to like real life photos, I'm thinking that maybe I should put pics up more often.  Though I don't know how often it will happen since my boyfriend already thinks I'm nuts!  But he did take pictures of me in the Journey Jacket when we got home from dinner, with the static lolo purple Cool Racerback underneath!  Sorry for the lighting though, but this is as good as it gets for now.  I think this jacket looks better with jeans than yoga pants or tights because of the more dressy feel.  Enjoy.  =)

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