Monday, April 26, 2010

Power Walk

I decided that since I was broke (and in debt), I will not shop for any clothes, accessories whatsoever for a long time (how long, GOD only knows). I will have to make do with the things that I already own, and keep dreaming of the fabulous things I want so much for this season. I was very strong willed particularly when after clear thinking, I could not remember the last time I stayed a whole two months without buying clothes. It was about time that I try to save money, because after all as much as I love clothes, they are probably not worth loosing my kids college fund or my future Escalade over them.

My plan fell in the toilet last Sunday when we went to the Galleria mall with my husband, one of his colleague from Canada and my kids. The Galleria or Simon mall is a mall that host very high end shops such as Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Salvatore Ferragamo. However, they also have the usual suspects: the Gap, Zara, Aldo and the ones that I can afford: Wet Seal, Charlotte Russe and Payless. I like the Galleria because it is big and diverse. The free air conditioning during Summer does not hurt either. Back when we used to live near the Galleria, we would go there twice a month just to walk around. But since we moved, I cannot tell you the last time I have been there. That is why after a copious lunch, I suggested going to the Galleria to shed some calories.

Soon after arriving, I ditched the boys and went window shopping on my own. I really did not want to buy anything. I just wanted to check things out. And thank GOD, I did not find anything going crazy for. I just realized that the trends I have been following recently were on point: I saw so many denim shoes, exotic prints dresses that I got dizzy. But they were not my style. Over at Nine West, I found some Gladiator Sandals that were not too high for me. But, I could not purchase them because how can I explain the $79 price tag to my bank? I know my motto for 2010 is to just live. But let us be real, how much can I keep on living when I keep spending like I do (or did) without an income? I left Nine West telling myself that I may be luckier hitting Ross some other day.

I walk for hours in the entire mall. I even went into Macy's to check their shoes racks and Michael Kors. The entire time I was walking, I was also checking out people around me, particularly the ladies. Some were dressed really sexy wearing rompers and flat sandals. Some were harboring maxi dresses. I was so inspired and envious of it all. Then I saw a black sister wearing a black sleeveless jumpsuit. The fabric seemed to be in linen. The look was so laid back and simple. It made me feel like buying a jumpsuit. As you know, the jumpsuit look is not really for me. Or at least that is what I thought because I am way too curvaceous to let it all hang like that. But as I discovered recently, the jumpsuit comes in all sizes and shapes. It does not necessarily have to be tight. In fact, the one the girl was wearing was fitted at the bust but was wide at the waist and thighs. It reminded me of a cotton jumpsuit I saw on sale at Charlotte Russe for $4 back in March. I tried it on and it was large enough to camouflage all the extra fat. But the bust was a little loose so I decided to let it go. I regret it a bit. For $4, I could have gotten it and tweak it a bit. I think when I shop, I do not always look at the big picture. They say, you should think of ways to coordinate the outfits or where to wear it. In reality, I just get something and try to work it out later. And If I don't find a way to work it out, I give it away or sell it or keep it in hopes. That is crazy I know.

Anyway, the more I window shopped, the more I realized that walking around the Galleria is very good exercise. Since I had my second child, I have been so much out of shape. I would love to work out but I am so lazy. I hate running, or anything that is routine. I prefer to do fun exercise routines like Yoga, Belly dancing or Bollywood dancing. That is my kind of scene. And I could do them all for free in front of my TV set. I have no excuse not to. So the real exercise I get these days is when my husband drags me to the park on a sunny Sunday afternoon. You can imagine that walking around the Galleria mall is way more fun than walking around a park full of ducks. Because as much as I appreciate nature and its beauty, looking at clothes and shoes and accessories is way more inspiring. I did not even feel tired after walking non stop for 3 hours (that is until my shoes starting to give me blisters).

Speaking of accessories, I ended my power walk at the Galleria by checking their newest Charming Charlie. Well, it has been a year since I was at the Galleria so I am not sure how new the store was. Anyway I could not leave without checking it out. I love Charming Charlie because all of their stuffs are color coordinated. And depending on the store location, the prices are not too crazy. I used to shop at the one in Harwin and I always find something very cheap. Last year before going home I bought accessories for family members and some for myself for less than $20. Now the ones in Sugar Land Town Square and Galleria do not offer that much bargain but they are still pretty to look at. I went in looking for the bargain section which was relatively small. I was about to leave when I saw it. And I bought two bib necklaces in same style but different colors for $3.75 each and a exotic print bangle for a $1. Actually since I have a membership card I had the whole set with 5% discount.
I left the mall not hundred percent satisfied but happy and really exhausted. I just wish that someday I make enough money to go back and shop at all the fancy places I like. I would start off with Victoria Secret for some lingerie and bras, check Coach for a basic tote bag, look for a sheath dress at Michael Kors and hit up Nine West for some crazy sandals. I would also check Macy's for perfume and make up. And If I have some money left I will shop for my kids at Children's place and buy some shoes and watch at Steve Madden and Swatch for my hubby. But I am just dreaming....

Side Note:

Things I found cute at the mall and would have bought if I had money to waste:

Charlotte Russe Tribal Print Tube Dress $28.00



Loft Fern Print Maxi Dress $98



Nine West Idelistic Sandals in brown $69.99



Wet Seal Beaded sandals $24.50




Wet seal Wooded Bead Tank $20.50




White House Black Market Cobalt Tie-Dye Maxi Dress $198




And things I bought at Charming Charlie

Necklace and matching earings in gold





Note that I reinvent the necklace by adding two silk ribbons at the end. I made myself a bib necklace (no need to go buy one now). If you want to learn how to make your own, check this website
http://www.craftstylish.com/item/49230/how-to-make-a-sewn-necklace

Same necklace and earrings but in Lavender




Exotic bangle






info about the Galleria
http://www.simon.com/mall/?id=805

info about Charming Charlie
http://www.charmingcharlie.com/

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

African prints, western clothes



Summer is around the corner. Well, not really! But it is getting warmer. I know that people in Texas are already swapping their sweaters for tank tops and their boots for flip flops. As far as I am concerned, I already indulged in some pre spring shopping spree so I will have to lay low for a while. In fact, when my best friend visited me from the UK back in March, I went all out and bought maxi dresses, skinny jeans, belts and sandals. I love the items I got but I think they are not enough to get me through Summer. So, I am already planning for what to get for the upcoming season. And the only things I crave for this Summer are African prints.
For those of you who do not know about African prints, let us just say that they are prints that are colorful,vibrant and exotic. There are several types of African prints:

Bogolan: one of my favorite is a Malian fabric dyed with fermented mud. The Bogolan fabric is very simple compared to other fabric.

Bogolan Fabric:


Bogolan printed skirt available at oli.co.uk


Batik: is a cloth which traditionally uses a manual wax-resist dyeing technique. It was originally from Indonesia but through the years it has spread into Africa in the form of what they call Wax.

Wax Prints


Wax Outfit (top and mermaid skirt)available at modeafricaine.com


Thioup: are fabrics that are hand dyed. They are more a combination of colors although now you can find some with prints. They are more expensive than the previous fabrics

Thioup Print


Thioup Outfit available at modeafricaine.com


Lagos: are almost like Wax but they are of less quality and cheaper as well. The name comes from the Capital city of Nigeria from where they originated.

In my country, you can see these prints every where you look. For casual look, women would wear wrap around printed skirts. Sometimes, we would even wear them for parties. Those fabric were always for what we call traditional attire. However, I remember that growing up, my father would buy the fabrics in bulk and ask our tailor to make European outfits out of them for my brothers and I. It was way cheaper than to buy retail. And since most of the fabrics were in cotton, it was very comfortable.

Nowadays, you can find all kind of African fabrics in western countries. Recently, even certain stars have been using them in their video or for daily wear. They are setting a trend that is soon to be followed in mainstream America (if it has not already).

Kimora Lee in Kevan Hall


I have been in love with African prints for a long time. But I really appreciated it when I moved in Japan. Being black, I was always a rare thing there. Japanese people tended to ask me several questions about my country and my culture. It was always a pleasure to share some of it by showcasing my outfits. I started to enjoy dressing in my African prints. I would wear maxi skirts or dresses to school and instantly draw attention around me. Over the years, I have been collecting African prints attires just in case I was invited to a party.

As for now, I am looking for something more casual (because I cannot wear my fancy traditional African attire to the mall). I have an idea of where to go in the States to find some African prints. Anthropologie have been showcasing some cute dresses and rompers in African prints. I also know of a designer- contestant of (Project Runway knock off) the Fashion Show, Anna McCraney who did some nice dresses like that as well. My favorite so far has been designer Maya Lake who made the rompers and skirts Alicia Keys and Beyonce wore in their "Put it in a love song" video. The silhouettes are very feminine and the African prints add a tad of sexiness to it all.

Boxing Kitten outfits for the "Put it in a love song" video:


There you have it. My plan for this summer is to get (more) African print dresses and skirts. However, instead of investing my money on designers, I will design them myself and find a good tailor. Because let us face it, who better than African tailors to make me an African print dress?

What I want
- maxi dress:
You know I adore maxi dresses. Since last summer, I have been dreaming of a maxi dress in exotic print. I saw many styles back at home. But since, I was pregnant, I was not really in the mood to have a dress made that would not fit after I gave birth. This summer, I will go all out. And I already have a source of inspiration. Have you ever seen Erikah Badu's Tyrone video? Remember the gorgeous full skirted dress she was wearing? Well, I want one just like that.

Erikah Badu in "Tyrone"


-maxi skirt:
I used to own a maxi skirt in blue and red when I was in college. I loved riding my bike with the skirt. It was gorgeous. I got rid of it because I was getting big around the stomach. I will make another one just like that or maybe with an elastic waistband just in case I gain weight.

- African traditional attire:
My father works in Congo where you can find all kinds of African prints for nothing. He usually sends a lot back home for my mother and I. I already had two made into full blouses and assorted long pencil skirts. I want some more to make similar outfits because they are very comfy and classy back home.


More info
About Wax
http://thewrendesign.com/2008/07/10/the-story-behind-african-wax-print-cloth/
About Maya Lake
http://www.boxingkitten.com/
About Anna MacCraney
http://annamccraney.com/

Thursday, April 8, 2010

You do not swim in my bathtub, so I will no longer piss in your pool

I have been going through some changes lately. I was getting bored with my blog and I wanted to change it a bit. I had been checking other fashionistas' blogs. I grew envious because their blogs seemed fun and interesting. Moreover, they had so many followers. I wanted the same and I thought that by incorporating some of the things they had in their blogs in mine, I would get popular.
However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I had lost myself in this new change of blog. I started this blog for my own fun. I wanted to do something that was for me, to escape the daily routine of motherhood. At first, my intent was never to get followers or people to appreciate my work. It was just a guilty pleasure, an outlet. But now, it seems I have fallen into the temptations of wanting an audience. I am taking pictures of myself and posting my outfits, trying to show myself as a true fashionista.
My blog is not about that. My blog is not about what other people like. My blog is about what I like. I am no fashion writer or editor with an assignment to complete. I am my own writer and editor. I may take suggestions from friends and write on a certain topic. But at the end of the day, this blog is all about me.
Therefore, I am done with trying to be like others. I ma do me. I am not entirely sure what is me yet, but I will figure it out soon enough.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Shoes with an edge

Today, the Early Show had a segment on brand new shoes in time for spring. The shoes were over the top, between beautiful and outrageous depending on your taste.
check it out here:
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6368022n&tag=cbsnewsVideoArea.0

The topic made me think about my own shoes. I have been buying a lot of shoes lately, some for me, some for my business. However, I never get enough of shoes and I am still on the lookout for something cute. The problem with the shoes I own actually, is that they are too generic. There is nothing that pops except from the color. I always go for a classic look. There is no detail nor embellishment that would take my shoes to another level.
However, for this Spring/ Summer I am willing to change. I want to go out there. I want to wow myself. In other words I want to take a big bite of what they call life and just enjoy myself. And these great shoes will help me with that:

- Jeweled (or Bejeweled) peep toes
I love a pump. In fact I own several pumps in neutral colors such as black and brown. However, I want the next pumps I will purchase to stand out. And what better way for pumps to stand out that when they have embellishments such as crystals on them. Actually I already bought a pair of pumps just like that. They are black Nicole pumps with a bow and jewels on them. I bought the same pair with my best friend who had the grey ones. They were on sale for $9.99. I like the shoes but to be honest, the grey ones are far better looking than the black ones. Therefore, I think I will put them aside for my business. And look for something better.

Nine West Women's 'Jon' Peep-toe Pumps
available at $46.99 at Overstock.com





- Exotic Skin Gladitators
I am still looking for the perfect gladiator heel with no success. I want them not too high, not too curvy, not too expensive and with an exotic skin like lizard or crocodile.
A combination of these two BCBG shoes would be perfect.

BCBGeneration Women's 'Kassidia' Snake Print Gladitor Heels available at Overstock.com for 69.99



BCBG girls Brandise




But these are more like me, cute and comfy. I saw them at Marshalls for $15 and then at Ross for $11.99. I would have purchased them if they were in my size. Sniff, sniff!

Franco Sarto Phuket sandal



- Satin pumps with ruffles, or rosettes
Two years ago, inspired by the Sex and the city royal blue Manolo Blahnik bejeweled pumps, I bought some Nina peep toe pumps. I loved the shoes but I never found an occasion to wear them. (Well, I had a chance during my brother in law's wedding but I was too tired to even try them on). And unlike Carrie Bradshaw I cannot just wear my satin pumps with a pair of jeans for a casual day. That is why after careful thinking, I just sold them. This time, I will look for a satin pump in an easier color to match like red with an extra something something such as a ruffle or rosette.

Kate Spade Clarice



Touch of Nina Women's Fencel Black



These are my favorite but I want them in red. I saw them at Ross for $29.99 last fall. I wanted them but I thought I could get them for less if I waited a while since they always put stuff on sale there. However, I am sad to report that they are no longer available. If ever I find them in the future I will buy them without looking at the price because when you compare them online, $30 is nothing.

- Hardware details (zipper, studs,sequins)
It is all about hardware recently in fashion. People are no longer afraid to add hardware to soft looks like a rosette zipper to a plain white tee. I am all for the hardware details because it looks different and edgy.
I am in love with these velvet studded pumps available at forever 21.

Studded Velvet Pump available at Forever21.com for $25.80



I hate booties but for this pair of sequins I could make an exception

Sika ankle boot at Forever21.com for $11.99



Denim and zipper sandal! I have nothing to say except scream: Super Edgy....

Denim ruffle zipper trim heel available at gojane.com for $24.20

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I dream of Denim

I am in mood for shopping (when have I never been in the mood for shopping?). It is Spring, and there are tons of items that I want hanging in my closet by the end of this season. In fact, since January, I have made a list of clothes I want to purchase for this spring/summer but I never stick to it. I get distracted by pictures on fashion magazines, on my favorite shops online sites, of my friends on Facebook and most recently of fashion bloggers. These pictures distract me but they also inspire me.
A new subject of inspiration for me is denim. I had a craving for denim things, particularly jeans for a long time now. I own several pairs of jeans in every style and shape. But the denim that I particularly want right now is a denim that I used to wear when I was a teenager and for some reasons it is back in style in a more modern way.

- Denim Maxi dress:
Two weeks ago, I was browsing pictures of friends of friends on Facebook. I came across a picture of a beautiful lady wearing a halter maxi dress in light denim. The dress was simple but so beautiful. And it fit her perfectly. She had a shaved head in the picture and the complete style gave her an edge. I have been wanting a denim dress ever since.
The last time I had a denim dress, I was barely 20 years old. I bought this short denim dress that looked like an overall in dark denim with cute flowers and butterfly accents. The dress made me feel sexy because it was so short it was almost impossible for me to ride my bicycle. But when I look back on it, I guess it made me look like a teenager. I loved the dress and although it may have been a bit inappropriate I wore until it did not fit me anymore.



Arden B denim maxi dress


This time, the dress I want will be suitable for me approaching 30. I will be looking for either a dark wash or a light wash. Moreover I will opt for the maxi dress that it very flattering and modest enough to cover some of my curves.
Dots offers a range of denim dresses but they are short and very sexy. Forever 21 and Gap also have some denim dresses in stores.


Junior denim maxi dress available at Walmart.com for $16

- Floor length denim skirt:
Ever since I can remember I always own a denim skirt. I had two that I absolutely adored one ragged one and another in black denim with a huge flower. They were knee length and very form fitting. I liked the style but for some reasons I always dreamed of a long A line denim skirt. The first time I saw the style it was on one Kuwaiti classmate. The girl was a hijabi therefore she would always cover herself. She owned several denim or cargo skirts that were A line but also very long. She revealed to me that she bought most of them at Zara Kuwait. I remembered that I dreamed of shopping at Zara Kuwait because there were no other place in Japan (where I lived at that moment) where I could find such skirts.
Recently, I found one at my goodwill. It was dark wash A Line skirt with a dusty rose satin bow at the waist. The skirt was pretty but a bit short for me. I am still on the look out for it.

Find me on Polyvore


- Denim shirt dress:
The denim shirt dress was very fashionable in my teens. Every hipster teenager owned one back home. Back in those days they were huge and not very flattering I may add. Nowadays, women can find pretty classy and simple denim shirt dress. Gap offers some that are very simple. I wonder with what kind of pants, I can rock them with. Denim on denim is a big no no. So I guess a nice pair of white slacks would do.


Merona® Women’s Shirred Waist Shirtdress - Denim available at Target.com for $24.99

- Denim shoes:
Every where I look now, I see plenty of denim shoes. Some are high heeled gladiator style, some are flats. Some have even an interesting combination between denim and cork. I admit that they are different and I cannot stop thinking about getting a sandal for this spring summer. Whether the heel will be short or high will depend on how comfortable the shoes can be.


Lindy Platform Pumps available at Forever21.com for $22.80

I used to own a pair of denim wedge. There were the first expensive shoes I purchased when I moved in Japan. They were barely $50. I do not remember the brand but I had those shoes for a long time. I would wear it every where because they were super comfy. But someday, out of the blue (it was one of those days where I had the giving bug), I just decided to hand it down to one of my relatives. Come to think of it, I should have kept them. They were the best $50 I invested on shoes.


Denim Cork Wedge available at Wetseal.com for $29.50


Daniblack denim ballerina

- Denim leggings:
They call them Jeggings. Growing up, the faux jeggings were really hot. They were leggings in cotton but looked like acid wash jeans. Every girl had to have a pair. I remember receiving a pair from a classmate during a secret Santa party.
Actually I already bought a pair of jeggings but they are not the real deal because they are in cotton and for some reason they do not fit me properly. What is this story about leggings not fitting? you may ask. The truth is that they are wide on my ankles. Therefore, I will be looking for jeggings that resemble to skinny jeans except this time they will hug me from waist to ankles.


Jeggins available at Urbanoutfitters.com

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