Monday, January 30, 2012

Outfit Of The Day

What I'm Wearing:
Dress by Free People
Jacket by Alice Temperley for Target
Belt by Libertine for Target
Black tights by Merona
Bowtied-Beauty Boots by Lucky Penny

Two-Year Anniversary

What We're Wearing:
On me:
Dress by Free People
Jacket by Alice Temperley for Target
Belt by Libertine for Target
Black tights by Merona
Bowtied-Beauty Boots by Lucky Penny

On John:
Shirt by Modern Amusement
Jeans by Diesel
Boots by Sperry Top-Sider for J. Crew
Watch by Hamilton

Tonight, my husband and I celebrated our two-year anniversary. We went out to Biscotti's, which is one of our favorite restaurants. They have the best bruschetta and I always get their Thai chicken salad - so delicious!

For dessert, I opted for the bread pudding with ice cream and John ordered the carrot cake. This place has some of the most amazing desserts. They're all on display and it's so hard to choose just one!

It has truly been an amazing two years being married to my husband. I love him so much!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Saving Money: Update

It's day 7 of my cold-turkey shopping rehab. I think I've done really well so far. I haven't been to the mall, although on a recent trip to Target with my Mom, I caved and bought a pair of Paul Frank pajama pants that I'd been waiting to go on sale.

Paul Frank pajama pants

Don't worry folks - they were 70% off so I got them for under $5 (isn't this what every shopaholic does - tries to justify every purchase?) I still think this is really good progress - I mean, I can't really quit shopping cold-turkey, so I'm taking baby steps to get there. I've followed Rule #2: Ignorance is bliss, even when I was faced with some very tempting emails from J. Crew boasting an additional 40% off sale items. At first I thought, "Maybe I can just take a little peek at the Town Center and promise myself I won't buy anything. Just browse." But we all know browsing is just a gateway drug to full-on shopping and subsequent rehab relapse. So I didn't look. Instead, I turned to Rule #1: Shop from my own closet, as a means to satisfy my desire to go shopping. It seemed to tide me over and I do feel better after seeing that I could throw together some new outfits from old pieces. Now, I know you may think I'm being a bit dramatic, but "my name is Stephanie and I'm a shopaholic." It's difficult to give up something you love so much (especially when that something is what you do to unwind and relax after a stressful day.) As a result, I think I might add some new rules such as watch TV, blog, or clean the house to take my mind off shopping (these tasks will be like the "patch" I slap on my arm to help ease my withdrawal symptoms.) As for Rule #3: Make my gift cards last - I haven't used any of my gift cards - I don't want to deplete my emergency "funds" quite yet.  I think overall, it's been a pretty positive week in shopping rehab. I haven't exactly pulled a "Lindsay Lohan" yet, but only time will tell. Wish me luck!

Outfit Of The Day

What I'm Wearing:
Take Action Dress by Girls From Savoy
Felted Colorbar Cardigan by Charlie and Robin
Saffi belt from Anthropologie
Grey tights by Merona
Bowtied-Beauty Boots by Lucky Penny (circa 2010)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Kate Spade iPhone Cases

I opened my email this afternoon and found a message from Kate Spade with the subject line "well-dressed tech..." Intrigued, I opened it up to find some of the cutest, quirkiest iPhone cases I've ever seen.

I actually do need a new iPhone 4 case (I'm still using my iPhone 3 case, which kinda fits, but I always have to remove it when I'm taking a picture). I know I'll probably end up getting an Orla Kiely case, but these Kate Spade ones are really cute. For some reason, I'm really drawn to the All Eyes Case.

All Eyes iPhone 4 Case by Kate Spade

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Outfit Of The Day

What I'm Wearing:
Dress by Orla Kiely
Saffi belt from Anthropologie
Brown tights by Merona
Bowtied-Beauty Boots by Lucky Penny (circa 2010)

I decided to start a new section of my blog titled "Outfit Of The Day." I was inspired by Sara over at You, Me, & Anthropologie and Liz at Behind the Dressing Room Door. They both always have the cutest outfits and I'm constantly inspired by them to mix-n-match and have fun with fashion.

My husband was kind enough to walk me to this nearby "park" (i.e. man-made lake in front of the parking lot of our subdivision). I think the pictures turned out nice and I love my husband even more for patiently being my photographer for the day :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dijon Thyme Pork

One of my favorite recipes to make is Dijon Thyme Pork, which I found from Publix Apron's Simple Meals. I like it because it uses simple ingredients, it's super easy to make, and of course, it's delicious. Here's what you'll need:

1 pork tenderloin
1 tbsp thyme (finely chopped)
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 tbsp garlic butter
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp flour (which is what's inside the Orla Kiely jar)

This is the brand of pork tenderloin I use. Just make sure you actually get a pork tenderloin. I accidentally used something else one time and it completely changed the texture and taste of the entire meal. It was so bad that we had to throw it out, and I hate wasting food.

Cut pork into 1-inch-thick slices, which allows for even cooking. Set aside.

Add thyme, mustard, and garlic to a medium bowl.

Mix until well combined.

Add pork slices. Press and turn to coat each side.

Continue until all pork slices are coated. Then set aside on a plate until you're ready to start cooking.

This is the brand of garlic butter I use.

Preheat large saute pan on medium 2-3 minutes. Place butter in pan, then add pork. 

Cook 5-6 minutes, then turn them over.

Cook another 5-6 minutes or until browned and 160 degrees F (for medium)

Meanwhile, add wine, milk, and flour to a bowl.

Mix until well combined.

Add to pork.

Cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Serve sauce with pork and voila! Dinner is served. I usually eat this meal with rice, which is pretty much my staple. My husband teases me about this, but what can I say? I'm Asian.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sour Patch Kids

Uh oh. I'm in trouble.

My Mom just bought me the biggest bag of Sour Patch Kids I have ever seen - 3 1/2 pounds!

This candy is my kryptonite. I could probably eat this whole bag myself. And then be forced to work out extra hard at the gym.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Saving Money

In an effort to control my spending and therefore save money, I decided to come up with three rules that will help me accomplish my personal financial goals.

RULE #1: Shop from my own closet.
This should really be the most fundamental rule for all shopaholics. It should be our daily mantra that we silently tell ourselves when we see sale signs or new arrivals in stores. I know that I have more clothes than one should really need. And I really love every piece I own. So I have to start treating my closets like stores - a place for me to rummage through the racks and find little treasures that I haven't worn in awhile or at least find new and creative ways to wear my clothes so that they feel new.

Now this is not my closet - it's my DREAM closet, but sadly not my own. But it could be yours! The house this closet is in is actually for sale. Yup, for a cool $35,000,000 this closet could be all yours.

This house was actually featured on HGTV. The woman loved Chanel (obviously) and she had a huge collection of their classic quilted purses. I'm sure this woman has no problem shopping in her own closet.

Yes, it's a two-story closet. Filled with designer clothes.

RULE #2: Ignorance is bliss.
If I don't look at or go to the mall, then I won't know what sales are going on and as a result, I won't be tempted to buy. In theory, this will work. In reality, it will be like giving up smoking cold turkey. There will be withdrawal symptoms no doubt. But. I. Will. Be. Strong. 

RULE #3: Make my gift cards last.

I got several gift cards for Christmas and my birthday. So should the need for shopping arise, then I will use this "money" to treat myself to something nice. No harm in that, right?

So shopaholics! Who's with me?! If we stick together and support each other in this endeavor, then I think we'll get by. Anyone wanna join me? (Bueller? Bueller?)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

John's Proposal

Tonight on Glee, Will Schuester is finally proposing to Emma Pillsbury. I love hearing other couple's proposal stories, so I thought it would be fun to share with all of you how John proposed to me.

In order to tell this story, I have to backtrack to our first date, which was probably one of the best, most romantic nights of my life. We had gone out to dinner in the Riverside area, which (if you're not familiar with the Jacksonville area) is a historic district. There are cute boutiques, one-of-a-kind restaurants, and the best part of all - beautiful homes that date back to the early 1900s. It is me and my husband's dream to one day own a house like that. Anyway, after dinner, we decided to take a stroll through the streets and admire these wonderful homes. We came upon this empty lot right on the river (shown in the picture above), and even though I'm pretty sure it was private property, decided to walk through the grass to get a closer look of the river. It was simply romantic.

Fast forward 16 months later - John and I decide to have dinner in the Riverside area again. I was in the mood for Five Guys, so we ate there. Afterwards, John got his usual strawberry smoothie at the Smoothie King across the street. As he was sipping his smoothie, we decided to go for a stroll through the streets again. So far, nothing was out of the ordinary. Well, we finally came upon that same empty lot. It was evening time, so the streets were already dark except for the lights cast from the street lamps and lit houses. We gazed at the empty lot, reminiscing about our first date. And before I knew it, John got down on one knee and proposed. The moment was perfect. There were no interruptions - no dogs barking in the distance, no cars rolling past, not even another pedestrian in the street. I know many people like the big showy proposals, but John knows that I'm very private and that I'd want an intimate, romantic proposal with just the two of us. It was absolutely perfect. And of course, I said yes :)

I love how we had a completely casual evening with nothing too fussy or over-the-top (I mean, dinner at Five Guys is not exactly what I'd call romantic). But it was perfect because it threw me off and I wasn't expecting anything at all - I like surprises :)

A few months after that, we decided to take our engagement photos there. This was so special for us because it's something we can share with our children and hopefully grandchildren one day - to be able to point out to them and say, "Yep, that's where your dad/granddad proposed."

This small driveway is the very spot that John got down on one knee and proposed.

What We're Wearing:
On me:
  • Top by Midi
  • Jeans by Lucky Brand
  • Belt by Banana Republic
  • Three's Company Wedges by BC Footwear

On John:
  • Shirt and shoes by Original Penguin
  • Jeans by Diesel

It is our ultimate dream to one day own this plot of land and build a house here. We looked up the price and I believe it's valued at a little over a million dollars (it is a waterfront property after all). This is beyond what we'd ever be able to afford, but it's still fun to dream about. At least in the meantime, we can still visit this spot and reminisce.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Orla Kiely at American Eagle

I made the most amazing discovery today - American Eagle sells Orla Kiely.

I was beyond excited and started frantically gesturing at the table display to my Mom. It's so hard to find Orla Kiely anywhere (random boutiques will occasionally carry the line, but it's rare). So to see Orla Kiely at such a mainstream store was a pleasant surprise. 

Now, I think my collection of Orla Kiely journals is complete. What will I do with these notebooks you ask? I haven't decided on that yet. A possible diary? Maybe a place to jot down my goals? A place to write my random thoughts (isn't that the purpose of this very blog)? For now, they will simply make a pretty display atop my desk and make me smile every time I look up at them.

Dillards Outlet

I scored big today at my local Dillards Outlet. I noticed that at my regular Dillards department store, my Kate Spade Pebble Point wedding china was no longer available. So I thought to myself, "Hmm, what are the chances that they moved them to the outlet center?" And lo and behold, they were there.

Granted, it wasn't a full place setting, but I was still able to snag these three pieces for only $25. Originally, this would have set me back $114 (I still don't get why dinnerware is so expensive). What I got here is the dinner plate ($8.61, marked down from $41), the accent plate which is not included with the regular place setting but oh well ($9.45, marked down from $45), and the salad plate ($5.88, marked down from $28). Talk about a steal right?! I was skeptical at first to purchase these because a) it was not a complete set and b) there are some minor imperfections such as a few scratches. I happened to be on the phone with my mother-in-law at the time and she said, "BUY THEM" and pointed out that one dinner plate alone would cost more than all three plates combined. She also said to ignore the tiny scratches. And if I want to complete this set, I can always buy the cup and saucer separately, which honestly, I probably won't do because I more than likely won't use them. 

When I brought these plates home, I washed them, then pulled out the dinnerware I did have to compare. Now that the plates are cleaned, I don't really see any of the imperfections and feel that they are a close match to the ones I got for original price.

Plates bought for full retail

Plates bought on clearance at Dillards

Not much difference, right? I am so happy with this purchase. I only wish I had thought to visit the Dillards Outlet sooner to see if they had any more place settings. Maybe one day they'll get more in stock as other Dillards department stores start clearing out their old inventory of Kate Spade. For now though, these plates will make a happy addition to my ever-growing collection of dinnerware (I'm at 5 1/2 place settings now!)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Birthday Basketball

Last weekend, some friends and I got together to play basketball and celebrate my birthday. Well, actually, the guys played basketball and the girls sat on the bench and talked :)

Me and John

Good form

Bad form

Afterwards, we went back to my place and had pizza.

John also bought Camicakes, which were delicious.

Overall, a fun and low-key evening spent with close friends - the perfect way to spend my 28th birthday.