An Outfit Post!

Denim-shirt

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Shirt H&M (old) | Leggings Marks & Spencer | Shoes Ferragamo

I don’t usually do outift posts anymore. Cath still inspires me with her style posts, but I honestly seem to wear about the same five basic outfits … mainly centred around stretchy trousers.

There are a few reasons for my sartorial shrinkage. Around the time I moved to Scotland four years ago, I really cut back on my shopping. Part of that was just down to having very limited funds after an overseas move (costly things, they are!). I had also started researching how horrendous working conditions are for many of the people who make our mass-produced clothes. I wanted to be more aware of all the stuff I had and think about where my clothes were coming from.

So with all of that, my outfits have become really boring the last few years. And I’m not saying that needs to happen if you start caring about the ethics and environmental effects of your shopping habits, but it did to me. I just really had a lot less interest in having lots of different looks and more interest in buying fewer, higher quality pieces (hence the spendy shoes above — the most expensive items in my closet by far).

I’d love to strike a better balance again where I could be a bit more creative with my style, but still keep my consumer habits humbled. I think these more frugal years in Scotland were an important stage in finding that style and learning about what I could do without very much. My secret hope too is that when we move to Seattle in September, I’ll be able to wear fewer layers year-round than I do here (my next post is all about how I’m still wearing a coat … in the summer — egads, someone pass the vitamin D bottle!).

How do you guys approach the complexities of personal style and consumption?


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Lovely Edinburgh

The Shore Leith

THe shore

Robert Louis Stevenson memorial

Castle farmers Market

St Cuthberts

Edinburgh castle

Matt and I have two months left before we move back to the States after four years in Edinburgh. Because I’m a mushy sentimentalists, I’m already starting to get very nostalgic. Edinburgh is such a beautiful city. These pics above are all places I pass every day on the way to work. Yup, I walk by a Castle (or what essentially looks like Hogwarts), every single day and it’s about a five minute walk from my front door.

But I have to thank Edinburgh for trying to keep my nostalgia slightly in check by giving us a wet and cool start to summer (I still wear my winter coats some days!). I seriously wouldn’t have it any other way though. A place this beautiful has to be tempered by something or it would be too unbearably perfect.

See what I mean about the sentimental nostalgia? Someone pass me a hanky!

Another way to stop the sentimental sniffles? Thinking about being on the same continent with Cath again!


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Charleston

Charleston

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality … I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’ve been feeling so sad since Wednesday night’s shootings. Maybe using a Dr. King quote seems like a cliche, but it made me feel hopeful even though the horrendous act committed in Charleston seems like such a destruction of that very progress MLK believed in. For a man that had seen so much evil and hate to still trust in a reality of love and brotherhood, is so immensely inspiring. As inspiring as the survivors forgiving a man that has caused so much pain to so many people.


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Springtime in London!

london-roses
sunny-london
hyde-park
sweet-william
leilas-shop
london-window

London is one of my most favourite places in the world. It’s one of those places I always feel at home — even though I’ve never lived there! I love the hustle and bustle of an international city mingling with gobs of history. I love walking down Brick Lane sniffing food stalls full of bubbling curries and freshly baked bread as much as I like people watching in Soho whilst slurping lemon, basil sorbet (because that’s a thing!) and oggling Matisses at the Tate Modern. Shops are always open, the people are always varied (and somehow seem more comfortable being awesomely eccentric than in other international cities I’ve been to) and museums are packed.

This past weekend, I saw a different side of London. Not only was it hot and sunny (can it still be considered part of the UK when it does that?!), but it also seemed so calm and beautiful. I spent a lot of time traipsing around Hyde Park and looking at trees sniffing roses. And on my last morning in the city, I finally found Leila’s Shop in Shoreditch where I had the most simple, but beautiful breakfast in the world (fried eggs with butter and sage and a side of crusty bread and out-of-this-world butter). I think of Leila like the Alice Waters of East London. The pics above of the peaches and sweet william are from her shop. I bought a peach — it smelled so peachy and tasted like sweet, syrupy heaven.

Nature and slow, simple living isn’t what I usually expect from one of the largest (and most expensive) cities in the world, but I love it just as much as the louder, busier sides of the city too.

My dream is to one day live in London (and magically move all my family and friends there too). Do you guys have a place that feels like home to you that isn’t actually where you’ve ever lived?


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2015 Q2 Favorites

Q2 2015 Favorites

Here’s my second favorites blog post for the year. In my first post I mentioned that I’ll only do these every quarter because I don’t think I have enough favorites to make it a monthly thing. So without further ado, here are the seven things I’ve been loving this quarter.

1. Mossimo sneakers – I know these are kind of passé, but I’ve been looking for a replacement for my black TOMs that I wore out last summer. These required no breaking in, were only $16, and go with everything.

2. Physicians Formula Tinted Moisturizer - I’ve been using this stuff for years. It’s super light coverage so it’s perfect for the summer and has SPF 15. I don’t use this if I want a more finished look, but it’s perfect for daily makeup.

3. Oribe Texturing Spray – I’m not going to lie. This stuff is expensive. I paid $26 for this little bottle (at a local salon, it’s a little cheaper online) and actually thought I was buying hairspray. I was about to return it when I gave it a try and was hooked. It’s perfect for reviving second day hair and adds texture unlike just regular dry shampoo. It also smells amazing!

4. Pure Barre – The socks aren’t a favorite, but the workout is! A Pure Barre studio opened up two blocks from where I work and I decided to take advantage of the new client special. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Pure Barre (or any barre class for that matter), it has nothing to do with ballet. It’s more like pilates, but with a focus on isometric moves and exhausting major muscle groups: abs, thighs, arms, etc. It’s one of the hardest workouts I’ve ever done, but after 12 classes, I already feel stronger.

5. Jennifer Zeuner bracelet – Another expensive item on the list, I’ll admit, but I love how delicate it is and I wear it almost everyday. And the main reason why it’s on my favorites list is because Lar bought one too and I love it when we wear the same things – even if we are thousands of miles apart.

6. Mario Badescu Facial Spray – I purchased this at an Urban Outfitters when I was in Phoenix two months ago. My skin felt so dry, so I would spray this on my face throughout the day and it completely helped. Now I use it to help set my makeup.

7. Yes to Coconut Cooling Lip Oil – This is a super cheap item – less than $5. I first read about it in a magazine and thought it was overhyped, but I’m so glad I tried it. Unlike lip balm, it doesn’t sit on top of your lips and it doesn’t feel greasy at all.

Are you a fan of any of these items? Anyone else doing Pure Barre? I’d love to hear what your recent favorites are.


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Work Appropriate Stretchy Pants

stretchypants

Isaac Mizrahi 24/7 pants | Banana Republic top | J.Crew Factory flats

Here’s a couple of things that I never thought I would mention on this blog in a million years:

  • Wearing pants with an elastic waistband to work.
  • Purchasing clothes from QVC.com.

Well, the day has come where at the ripe old age of 31 (almost 32), I’ve given up with trying to be cool and am wearing stretchy pants in a professional setting. And those pants are only available on QVC, my friends. What’s next? Bright white orthopedics with ankle socks? Maybe I’ll even start collecting porcelain dolls from the Home Shopping Network. Seriously. It’s a slippery slope and I might be on my way down.

Really the need for stretchy pants is my own damn fault. As much as I have every intention of eating as clean as Lar, I don’t have the discipline she does. I’m working on getting healthier by working out more and eating less, because I need to lose between 5-10 pounds (mostly so I don’t have to buy a new wardrobe, which I’m getting dangerously close to having to do). So stretchy clothing items are the best. Enter these Issac Mizrahi for QVC pants. If I lose some weight, then these pants will still fit just fine and if I don’t, they’ll still be forever comfortable. They have an elastic waistband, are made out of some type of magical stretchy material, and somehow totally look like legitimate trousers.

I have to give my friend Meredith all the credit for turning me onto these pants. If I had just seen them online on my own, I would have never believed they were worth trying. Honestly, they look like typical mom pants online. See? Luckily they’re much more flattering in person.

I feel a little silly spending so much time writing about a pair of very basic pants, but I just find it so hard to shop for pants and I know I’m not alone. They’re always the last thing I try on at stores because it always seems impossible to find the right fit. After I try on three pairs that don’t fit I give up completely and end up walking away from the store with a bunch of tops and no bottoms. Do you have a pair of go-to pants? My friend Katie swears by the Old Navy leggings and Lar loves her Marks and Spencer leggings. I’m always on the look-out for the perfect pair (jeans too), so leave a comment if you have a favorite.


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What I Eat to Feel Good

green juice

I started changing what I ate about four years ago when my endometriosis was getting more severe. Before I made the change, I remember thinking that being a vegetarian was really tricky. How can you eat every meal without meat?! Fast forward four years later and I eat a mostly vegan and wheat free diet. Old me would have been picking her surprised jaw off the floor looking at new me (and then had another cronut once she got her mouth closed). I seriously never thought I could (or would have to) give up my foodie ways.

Before I made the change, I thought I was pretty healthy because I liked fruit and wasn’t opposed to a veg or two on my plate. But I never tried to consciously change my diet just because I had put on 10-15 a few pounds since my early twenties. Loosing weight was never a good motivator for me, but pain was. When my endo got more severe I looked for ways to combat the debilitating pain. The pain motivated me enough to think if giving up hamburgers and beer could help me, let’s give it a go.

I started by reading Kris Carr’s Crazy, Sexy, Diet. I also started following the endo diet as closely as I could. Green juices, big bowls full of kale and broccoli and beans and brown rice became the norm for my meals. I cut out all refined sugar and most fruit too (and replaced the fruit with lots of veg). It was hard, the first two weeks I felt miserable. And then I felt really, really good.

It shocked me to find out that I felt stronger and more awake on a vegan, wheat-free, sugar-free (and alcohol-free) diet.

Sadly the diet didn’t do much for my endo pain even though it made me feel better overall. So about a week every month I would still be in agony (too painful to do anything — even sitting hurt). But I stuck with the diet because it helped me feel stronger the rest of the month.

And I’ve stuck on the diet on and off again the past four years. Any time I veer off the diet for two long, I begin to feel sluggish, achey, more anxious and my digestion gets wonky. Although it doesn’t seem to have much power against my endo, I’m really lucky that my second surgery has helped me feel so much better. I also think it helps keep my body in balance overall, and that should help keep the endo monster humble (Take that, endomonster! You’re getting more broccoli!).

So without further ado, here is a general list of what I usually eat during the day. I often have cheat meals where I don’t stick to the diet, but I try to keep those to one or two a week. As you can see, it’s not completely vegan (I do eat organic eggs), but there’s very little refined sugar, dairy, wheat or alcohol.

fancy-oatmeal

Breakfast:
Oatmeal is one my most favourite foods in the whole wide world. I’ve always liked it, but since coming to Scotland (and learning to add a pinch of salt to it), I’ve fallen in love. During the week I’ll just throw in a few dates and chia seeds because I’m usually in a rush. But on the weekend –oh the weekend! — there’s time for pecans, bananas, pumpkin seeds, ground flax seeds, sunflower seeds, maple syrup — the whole works.

buddha-bowl

Lunch: Buddha Bowl
Steamed broccoli, avocado, tomato, garlic and quinoa, sprouts and and an egg. All sprinkled with some lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper.

sprouts

Lunch #2/Snack
Steamed broccoli with lemon juice and sprouted, wheat-free toast with green pea hummus and sprouts.

mocktail

Mocktail
I’m not always great at sticking to my teetotal ways. My job involves tasting a lot of delicious boozey drinks. But I do try to keep it to one or two nips of alcohol per month. If I go to a fancy bar, I’ll ask the bartender to make a mocktail that doesn’t have much sugar in it like the one above. You obviously don’t get a buzz from gingery bubbles and mint, but alcohol usually is one of the triggers to make me feel lousy even after a few sips. Enough motivation to keep my intake to a minimum.

daal

Dinner
I usually have something with brown-rice and beans and lots of veg. This is my new favourite. Endo Diet’s daal — sooo good! Even if you don’t eat vegetarian or vegan, this recipe will blow you away. I added chickpeas and lots more garlic and ginger and topped it with a healthy sprinkle of parsley.

healthy-frosty

Dessert: Healthy Frosty
I have such a sweet tooth. I’ve cut out almost all refined sugar, but I do still eat fruit and … delicious, healthy smoothies! This one is based on Wendy’s frosty but is much healthier: one frozen banana, a big spoonful of cacao (not cocoa — that usually has sugar added to it), a cup of almond milk, a healthy spoonful of almond butter and a dash of maple syrup if you need it. Seriously, I don’t crave other sweet things when I have this and the only sugar is from the banana and a bit of maple syrup.

If you are looking for more recipe inspiration (because I know the idea of eating veggie/gluten-free/dairy-free/sugar-free can seem so daunting), here are some great resources:

Tara eats
Kris Carr recipes
Endo Diet
Detoxinista
Greener Resolutions

Even if eating this way most of the time doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, I strongly recommend trying it for a week and just to see how you feel cutting back on some of the foods that do tend to cause inflammation in the body (dairy, red meat and sugar). And let me know how you feel! I love hearing other people’s adventures in trying new ways to eat — if you’re a foodie or paleo or are an almond-butter junkie like me. I love to hear it all. Happy chomping, guys!


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The Best At Home Pedicure Trick

easy_pedicure

Butter nail polish in Trout Pout

I love getting pedicures – especially if I go with a friend and we look at trashy magazines and hilarious Instagram accounts together. It’s the best! Too bad* I’m trying to save money this summer, so I’ve cut out spa visits completely and do my own pedicures at home.

I’ve never had a lot of patience with painting my nails and I end up coloring outside of the lines. So here’s how I get around that little problem: I paint my nails in the evening a couple of hours before bedtime (if you paint them a little bit before bed, the polish might not dry completely and you’ll get sheet marks on your nails). Then, I take a shower in the morning and simply rub off the nail polish that’s on my skin while I’m showering. After I dry off, I paint on a top coat and let it dry as I blow dry my hair. Voila! Perfect pedicure!

*It’s really not too bad since I’m saving up to go visit Lar in July!


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Sunbathing on a Scottish Beach

bathingroomsNorth-Berwick-ScotlandNorth-Berwickseaside-doorsLobsterruins savoury-muffin beach-chairs by-the-sea  beach-yogi

This past weekend Matt and I took a short train ride east to North Berwick, a lovely little Scottish seaside town. Edinburgh is right on the sea too, but we don’t have a beach and I miss the susurration of waves lapping the sand.

But you can’t be picky when you’re in Scotland. Going to the beach usually means being an intrepid toe-dipper or agreeing to sunbathe in layers — yes, even in spring (and summer!).

We had a beautiful sunny day, but it was wiiiindy! And I shed my winter coat momentarily to take some pics, but generally I was bundled up tight while my hair whipped around my head and I tried not to get it in my butter garlic lobster dipping sauce. A hard life, I know.

Ahhh to be by the sea!

 


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A Favorite Necklace

You know when you have one of those weekends that’s so busy it feels like you haven’t had a weekend at all? This past weekend was one of those. I had plans to take some great outfit photos for the blog (plus clean the house and do some yard work, which definitely never happened). Instead, I had a couple of minutes Sunday afternoon to take some quick photos on my deck. Not the best outfit and not the best background, but it still counts, right?!

zara_top_outfit

Zara Top | Asos Skirt | r-ki-tekt necklace | Rialto wedges (secondhand from my sweet friend, Meredith)

The skirt has an elastic waistband, so totally Lar approved ;)

rkitekt_necklace

I wear this necklace all the time. It’s all black, my favorite color, and has a tassel along the back. I purchased it last year at Root City Market from Kel, a local accessories maker. I love all of her products, own two of her necklaces, and have been eyeing this one for the summer.

Any of you local Atlantans planning on going to this month’s Root City Market? I’m hoping I’ll be in town for it. Kel won’t be there, but two of my other favorites will, Block & Hammer and Oakleaf & Acorn.

P.S.: To see my daily outfits, add me on Snapchat: asiancajunscath, and I’ll follow you back. Is it “follow” or “add as friend”? I’m not on top of Snapchat lingo, but I swear it’s not just an app for middle schoolers!


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