January 2015Creme de la Chic: January 2015

Boyfriend Jeans + Peonies


Okay, so I'm gonna call some blog posts my "flashback series". I'm not one to post images that aren't necessarily up to date but hey, packing and coming to terms with the fact that I was leaving for Europe for the first time was kind of time-consuming! 

To be specific, I'm currently in London. There was this whole obsession over clearly stating that I'm not in the UK or England exactly but more London than anything--to avoid falling into touristy-traps where natives automatically smell the foreignness. Here are some things I've learned so far!

1. London is incredibly hard to navigate--yes, I'm not the sharpest with directions but the fact that there are random squiggles and sidestreets stemming off from the most remote areas is a tad bit difficult. 
(Oh, & rather than looking for poles that'll indicate a street name, look on the walls of buildings. I wish I was joking)

2. Cheers, thank you, please--all evoke that warm politeness (usually). But in the UK that's all typical and commonplace. Personally, I only use those words when I really mean them and it can lose its specialness when word vomiting it on the daily without a tinge of appreciation as a response. 

3. No one really carries an umbrella. Being an LA native and somewhat of a New Yorker (I'm getting there!), you'll see massive clumps of black umbrellas huddled together, jabbing unprotected passersby eyeballs. Excuse me, brollies*, are more for those cowardly tourists.

So what have I been up to lately?
After trekking across Heathrow airport and getting into a ridiculously adorable & oh-so British, black cab with my roomie, we finally made it to King's Cross and settled into our flat. Let me just add that I've lived in New York for the past 2 years or so, meaning I'm used to claustrophobic spaces--our room is snug. Yes, we get room cleaning services and it comes fully furnished, but our kitchen sink is the size of a medium bowl, our beds come set with prison-esque blue sheets and airport-esque pillows. But luckily we got a lovely window view--that's partly clouded by a neighboring building of financial workers that just love seeing our bright, shiny faces from 9-5 pm. 

After venturing around and opting for Primark vs. Argos, I had to haul a buttload of new bedsheets, pillows, and house slippers. Don't worry mom, I'm not retail shopping because I want to. For those of you that aren't familiar with these brands, Primark is like the Forever21 of London--except with way more home selections. Argos has these high-tech options of ordering items to add to your trolley(a.k.a. shopping cart), via ipad in store and picking up your items at the register. 

I also went to my first club/bar in London! That pompous feeling of sheer confidence when whipping out my California license was magical. I secretly wanted the bouncer to test me because I'm actually legal here! Time to purchase some Rosé, free of guilt.  Also, Zebrano > Be at 1 club.

Update: I finally got my iMessage working complete with a new UK number! Thank the Vodafone heavens! I think my overexcitement and relief proves how much society's addicted to technology...#sosad #imbasic #notreally

What's next? Time to munch on some authentic fish & chips, curry dishes, bangers & mash! Living far away from campus = traveling more and exercising that food off (my way of coping with my flat). Oh, & I need to use my oyster card (London version of a Metro card) to be a tourist and peruse London on a double-decker red bus!

P.S. Thanks to the boyfriend for taking such lovely snaps and being (incredibly) patient ! Oh, and for making me smile with unsavory but incredibly hilarious screams of certain words to get me to laugh. Let's just say if you've watched 500 Days of Summer, you'll know what I'm referring to.

au revoir


Cue the frantic, last-minute escapades to the drugstore and the mental teeter-tottering of whether to bring that sequined top or ditch it. My mom may be a seasoned veteran when it comes to beating the international flight stress and packing merely minutes before a business trip to Brazil or Paris, but me? Not a chance. One of the oh-so many nouns I would admittedly (yet regrettably) associate myself with is: procrastinator, OCD freak with unnecessary lists, and hoarder. 

Okay, okay. You won't catch me hoarding even the last tissue I used (gross), but you'll find me keeping every little memoir of some random memory that doesn't need to be remembered. Case in point, my tutti-frutti-esque laptop case adorned with pinstripes that are reminiscent of the 60's. And I'm not talking about the retro, kitschy-chic wallpaper patterns. But underneath the neoprene is the memento of my dad's spontaneous gift which we rarely does. 

So whenever I pack--even if it's for a 2-day trip to Palm Springs, you'll see me helplessly limping to the car with a mountain of luggage bags. Yes, I am that person. With that said, I'm making an implicit pact to forcibly squeeze my entire life into one international bag--and a carry on. Maybe, I'm exaggerating but studying abroad and going to Europe for the first time, mind you, is going to require a lot of self-restraint.

Don't even get me started about the unpacking part. But enough of my persistent whining, I'm starting to mentally prepare myself of all the food I can get my hands on. Travelling = food tasting. Honestly, what better way to love a country than through my stomach? 

Up next on the list of things to do:
Understand the slang. Brolly = umbrella. Crisps= Chips. Chips = fries. Flat = Apartment. 
But I already knew that last one thanks to my addictive obsession with Misfits on Hulu. Ugh, Robert Sheehan's curls though. 

I think that was a good last sentence to end on, don't you think? 

rings and tings


The Lust List:

White roses--the more, the better. Even though it's technically a fashion outlier when it comes to the typical list of accoutrements and apparel, a sprinkling of anything floral or a bursting bouquet of these blossoming beaus can really add a refreshing and lively twist to any outfit. 

Delicate, gold jewelry: I'm an absolute sucker and hoarder of anything gold. Sorry, silver lovers. I even have a Kate Spade bangle with "Good as Gold" wrapped around and encased in--gold. What a shocker, I know. 
My jewelry mantra is : The daintier, the better. 
It's all about evoking that Grace Kelly-esque feeling of being classy and timeless. (Take it from one Kelly to another) My implied superlative might as well be "Most Likely to Wear Layers of Gold". The trick is to avoid tackiness and camouflage a few inexpensive pieces with some more pricey--yet quality-- items.

Diptyque Candles: Honestly, if you're a woman that loves treating yo self and smelling a world of sheer deliciousness, you probably have way more candles than you can burn. Being a rebellious college student (not really), I snuck candles in every nook and cranny. Hey, when you live in NYC and you're still acclimating to the conventional stench of steamy garbage, a quick lighting of a mimosa candle is the cure and savior of your ill-treated nose. Also, they're super romantic which helps too. *ahem, Zack*

Coco Mademoiselle: Having interned at CHANEL with an embarrassingly lack of knowledge, I came to swoon over Gabrielle Chanel. Also, writing a mandatory 20-page paper on the company and her life story helped. The woman empowering Chanel suits, her heartening upbringing, her best-selling fragrance--need I say more? So if I can nab some liquid (rose) gold and don Gabrielle's favorite scent, why in the hell wouldn't I?

Now, back to my sudden obsession with experimenting in my sketchbook/travel diary for London while watching crime movies! 

What's on your Lust List?

sweet tooth


Stressed spelled backwards is desserts

You know that question: "If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?"
The answer is simple. Chocolate. 

Hey, it's scientifically proven that chocolate releases hormones that mimic what it feels to be head over heels swooning in love. 
But enough of my mini science-related rant--I'm sure most of us are done with anything related to science (prayers to our science majors and soon-to-be doctors). A much-craved trip to Bottega Louie's amidst its jaw-dropping, pocket-emptying parking costs is probably one of my most raved bakeries and eateries to go to. Sure, Laduree (the New York counterpart) may be incredibly austere and fit for a modern Marie Antoinette. But honestly, Louie's is more refreshing and not as dimly lit and stuffy as the design layout of Laduree in Soho. 

For those of you who read my last post Art in my Heart, an impromptu description of a petite lady clad in a flamboyant fur coat managed to stab her stilettos into my exposed toes--all for a lighthearted snap. This pretty much sums up how deliciously gorgeous the pastries are. Falling victim to a string of fatalities (mainly including jabbed toes and kindergarten-esque pushing) is pretty typical. Especially when it comes to the sea of crowds huddling over the rows of candy-colored macarons that boast a kaleidoscope of shades. Call it my (young) adult candy store. Let's face it, Louie's may showcase an instagram-worthy display of pastries, but the real money lies in the macarons. In spirit of the L.A. season of movies and red-carpeting shaming, the pastries might as well be a nominated supporting actress for the Golden Globes compared to the macarons which would be nominated for the Oscars.

Here's my lowdown and attempt to be a food critic on some noteworthy macarons: 

Speculoos: A hint of graham crackers and a nutty flavor. A dash of gold dust makes it even better--call it a graham cracker 2.0

Rose: I don't know about you, but I am a flower child at heart--so, rose is hands-down my favorite. It's light, sweet, and has that subtle touch of rosewater.

Violet Cassis: (Same as above) it feels like you're eating how flowers smell. It sounds so weird but it tastes like a garden of flowers are blossoming from your heart. 

Earl Grey: I'm a mixed tea & coffee lover. But when it comes to tea, my mom makes the best té con leche and Earl Grey is like a mini bite-sized piece of childhood heaven/throwback. 

So, you know how pretty much everyone has a bucket list? I do too. But...I also have a food bucket list. Let's just say I'm going to be taking way more trips to Louie's a.k.a. my goal is to try at least one of each of the pastries and macaron flavors. 
Goodbye skinny jeans, hello sweatpants.

art in my heart


Nicole Lee bag / Lou & Grey sweater / Dogeared wishbone necklace / Madewell bar necklace / F21 pearl rings / Dogeared 3-set rings / UO hat / Madewell skinnies / Steve Madden sandals 
(Photography by Lynn Gilmour a.k.a. lynniecg)

*insert inspirational, tear-jerking phrases and New Year's resolutions*

If you're like me, New Years can genuinely evoke that one-of-a-kind feeling of rebirth and rejuvenation. Call it a cathartic tabula rasa-esque moment--in human words: a blank slate. But there's a twist--it only lasts for a few days (maybe a week) tops. Por que? Because, let's face it, the New Year may entail an overly generous pour of cheap champagne in wine glasses (as was my case) and a little elf-like dance as you celebrate to a new year you'll be in control of. But subtract the drinks, glitter-like confetti Ke$ha would strongly approve of, and the overly melodramatic countdown, and you're left with a queasy combination of excitement and anxiety. All you anxiety-prone people, raise your hands up--myself, included.

So for 2015, my main New Years Resolution amidst the cliché and blasé classics like--"work out more", "read more", "do something other than sit like a lumpy potato on your beanbag while overly abusing your Netflix account", is to travel more. Okay, okay. I swear, I'm not being a cop-out. For some of us, traveling can be either incredibly exhilarating or it can be a nervous Britney-Spears-esque breakdown waiting to happen. Remember, I'm anxiety-prone. 

No, I'm not going to get abducted by Russian/French mafia dudes dressed in black in Paris (Taken 3 is the last movie meaning Liam Neeson can't make Taken 4 just for me). No, I'm not going to get lost in London because they do speak English. So, rather than progressively building my anxiety for my semester in London, I will naturally take the next best medicine to cure my traveling worries. Explore Los Angeles!

If you look up my full name in the dictionary, you'll find California girl. Correction: SOCal girl. Don't fight me on this--West Coast, Best Coast. Also, SoCal > NorCal. Period. 

What better way to start my enlightening adventure with two of my best gals, Lynn and Devi, than with a scrumptious meal and dessert at the infamous Bottega Louie (think West Coast version of Laduree)? If you want a finger-lickin lunch and don't have "eat healthier" on your New Year's list, I'd pick the Orecchiette. *faux and butchered Italian accent is a must when ordering*. 

Most people go to Louie to get their charming macarons and obviously drool over the endless rows of Instagram-worthy desserts. I admit, I fell victim to whipping out my phone for an attempted artsy shot and even got stabbed in the foot by a lady wearing dagger-like stilettos while snapping pics. The things I do for a good instagram shot... Do it for the gram. 

For all you visual learners out there, I'll be posting pics of my bittersweet encounter at Louie for my next post! 

Fast forward and skip past the drive which consisted of nonchalantly cruising past skid row while Devi blasts her "TRAP" music (what are kids listening to these days?). Once we bravely passed Urth Caffe with food comas (alright, we surrendered with hot coffees), we explored the Art District. It was a slice of Brooklyn heaven a lá graffiti-sprayed and hand-painted parking lot walls and a sprinkling of underground hipster stores. A lot of the mini boutiques were the kinds that sold overly-priced Mason jars, amethyst candles, and questionable but very artsy flatware. For a split moment, I envisioned a past life of me as an Art-District-wandering native sipping bitter black coffee while walking my French bulldog and wearing thick, wooden eyeglasses. Hey, it could happen.