Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Some good news in the midst of all the craziness

Today, I wanted to come on here to share a bit of good news with you. We can all agree that this is a very unsettling time for everyone. You'll get to the point that little things will set you off. It's devastating what is happening. We can't control what's around us, but we can control our responses. I truly believe that thinking positively will lead to a happy and successfully life no matter how bad the situation may get.
I don't really share much of what we do for a living on here due to privacy reasons. I did mention a few times that my husband spends a lot of time at work (typically 60 hours per week). Not to mention a busy travel schedule. There is no such thing as work life balance for him. He had been with this company for over 11 years (the company is ranked #14 Fortune 500). He had a very stressful, high-demanding job. He managed several million-dollar projects at once. It's the main reason that I will never take a management job. I want to be available and take care of the kids when they need us. As the kids get older, we've been talking about making a career change so that he can work less hours and be more present with the children. However, finding the right job with the right company isn't an easy task (especially for an executive position). Long story short - Last week, he joined a startup company as a Director of Information Technology. I couldn't be more excited for him. It's a big transition from working at one of the largest corporations in the US to a startup of 25 employees. In the startup world, there are a lot of unknowns but it can also be an exciting journey. Working alongside the CEO, he's hoping to make an impact and contribute to the company's growth and overall success. We are both career-driven so this is a wonderful opportunity for us. I wish him the best in this new chapter of his career!
To celebrate his achievements (and his birthday), I got this bag for him and he loves it. It looks very sharp and professional in person. It's a well-designed bag and the quality is absolutely fantastic. A 15" MacBook can fit comfortably in there. The bag has many interior compartments to keep everything safe and organized. I love the smoked chrome hardware. I am glad that I got it for 30% off because the bag is definitely not cheap. This particular style comes in 5 different colors. The promotion code is still valid if you're interested. He took this bag to work on his first day (the day that Gov. Mike Dewine issued a statewide stay at home order - Talk about perfect timing). I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe.

Everything is under $20

Lulu's has always been one of my go-to sites to shop when it comes to fun and trendy pieces. They're offer extra 40% on all sale styles. I purchased from them many times in the past and never had any issues. Nine pieces below caught my attention and the best part? They're all under $20. Shop the entire sale here
Tweed dress - $15.60
Sweater dress - $12
Burgundy lace dress - $11.40
Burgundy jumpsuit $20.40
Black lace dress - $18
Red ruffled dress - $18.60
Military jacket - $16.80
Burgundy sandals - $8.40
Snake sandals - $15.60
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Ann Taylor is my one of my go-to sources when it comes to work clothes. They are offering an additional 60% off all sale styles. Prices are unbeatable. I combed through the site and picked out nine pieces under $20 for you. I know we all have a lot on our minds but sometimes we just need to forget the reality and enjoy the moment we have today.
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Madison pants *I own and love these so much* - $14.88
Faux leather leggings - $14.88
Sailor flare trousers - $14.88
Mint sweater - $16.88
Blue sweater - $16.88
Tie waist top - $19.88
Cheetah print camp shirt - $19.88
Shawl open cardigan - $10!!!
Leather boots - $29.88. This is the only item that is over $20 but it's worth mentioning

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Masks for everyday heroes

HowToMakeMask_SydneysFashionDiary As you might already be aware, hospitals have run so low on their protective gear that they are asking staff to reuse gear that was created for one-time use. I spoke to a friend (who is a family physician) and my heart breaks for healthcare professionals. He said many of the healthcare offices are making masks from paper towels  and rubber band, using bandanas or reusing the same mask over and over again. He has been using the same N95 mask for the past week because he has only one left. They are treating infected patients without protection. Healthcare professionals have started asking community members to begin sewing masks for them. If you have a sewing machine, please consider helping out. They do not have to be perfect. I was able to make a few today. I have very little to no sewing skills but I gave it my best shot (they are far from perfect and trust me, no one needs perfect pleats). I will donate them to my friend's medical office. These masks are washable and reusable. If you are a healthcare professional in Ohio and looking for a mask, please fill out this form. Someone will get back with you.
1. Template and directions are here
2. Video tutorial is here
3. Joann's across the nation will be accepting mask starting tomorrow. This program is called "Make to Give". You can read about it here
HowToSewFaceMask_SydneysFashionDIary I am working with a few of my girlfriends to see if we can place a large order (roughly 2000 masks) from Vietnam to help medical offices in Ohio. We are still trying to figure out rules and regulations. Until that shipment comes, I am planning to spend my free time making masks. Ohio governor just announced stay at home order for Ohio until 4/6. All we can do is try our best and pray everything will work out in the end. Hang in there and take care everyone!

Friday, March 20, 2020

25% off Canada Goose parkas

I mentioned yesterday that Nordstrom is offering 25% off site-wide (Canada Goose jackets are included). However, the selection is limited. I just discovered Back Country is offering the same discount. If you're wondering, yes, Back Country is one of the Canada Goose authorized retailers. Shop with confidence. They have a wide selection to choose from. These jackets are no doubt expensive so 25% is a pretty generous discount. I already placed my order =). Please understand that posting about shopping does not mean I am insensitive. Trust me, I am well aware of the situation that we are experiencing. I have family members stuck in a different country waiting to get back to the US, my Dad is in his 80s and has diabetics, my husband and I are both working from home until further notice while finding ways to homeschool the kids. However, life must go on. If you have the ability to help boost the economy, by all means, go ahead. Take care and be safe!
1. Canada Goose Shelburne
2. Canada Goose Rossclair
3. Canada Goose Chelsea
4. Canada Goose Kensington
5. Canada Goose Victoria
6. Canada Goose Trillium

Thursday, March 19, 2020

25% off items that never go on sale :: Canada Goose, Jo Malone, Charlotte Tilbury

I know this is such a strange and confusing time to talk about shopping. However, Nordstrom is offering an incredible deal on items that never ever go on sale. If you need a pick me up, check out my picks below. Take care, everyone!
1. Canada Goose outerwear *25% off* - This never happens in the past. These parkas never go on sale. If you've thinking about picking one, this is a great time to do so. Read my review here
2. Barefoot Dreams collection: The entire collection is 25% off now. If you own of of their cardigans, you know how amazing it is. These pieces go on sale probably only twice a year.
3. Charlotte Tilbury makeup products: The entire line is also on sale. Again, their makeup products never go on sale. I purchased the popular Pillow Talk lipstick and lip liner last year and I am hooked.
4. Fjällräven Kånken backpack: I purchased this exact color for my trip to Peru (on me) and this backpack has been a dream. It's so durable and practical. Perfect for any outdoor activities
5. The entire line of Jo Malone London: You know how I feel about Jo Malone perfume. I talked about my signature scent here. They never ever go on sale until now.
6. Longchamp bags: Another tried and true closet favorite. I own several Longchamp bags and I seriously love them all. Take advantage of the sale now. The entire line is 25% off.
7. Patagonia puffer jacket: I purchased this nano puff jacket last year as my running jacket. It has big pockets, lightweight yet keep me so warm during those windy days. Again, Patagonia puffer jackets rarely go on sale.
8. Levi's jeans: My beloved jeans are 30% off right now (on me)
9. My Michele watch is also included in the sale (very rare!). See it on me. I purchased it 3 years ago and it's still going strong.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Coronavirus Madness

I know we're all tired of hearing/talking about #COVID19. The kids have no school for the next 3 weeks (could be longer depending on the situation). Fortunately, my husband and I are able to work from home as long as the kids are still home. Today, I wanted to share my take on Coronavirus and how I prepare to handle the situation in the best way possible.

1. Don't panic: Instead, be proactive and prepared. I get it. It's frightening for people to have an unknown virus. It feels very scary. However, there are reasons to feel safe and reassured: we have identified it, we know how to stop it from spreading, low risk to most people, the situation is improving in China, science is on it globally. Most importantly, we have never been better prepared to fight a pandemic.

2. Know your facts about #COVID19: There is a lot of misinformation floating around social media but you can help share facts not fears by following trusted and reliable sources. A few that I follow: World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Johns Hopkins University and my local news.
3. What to buy for #COVID19 preparation: Still not sure what the obsession with TP. I bought cleaning supplies (disinfecting wipes, hand soap, hand-sanitizer), over-the-counter cold medicines, extra paper towels, tissues and a bit of canned foods and non-perishables like pasta and rice. I was lucky to be able to grab 2 packs of TP (40 rolls) last week. That was all I bought. Nothing extravagant. The U.S Department of Homeland Security is recommending 2 weeks' worth of supplies and that's what I did.

4. Buy only what you *actually* need: Being prepared does not mean stockpiling or hoarding. An excess of toilet paper will not help protect you against #COVID19. There is no shortage if everyone takes only what they need. Don't be a hoarder. Step back for a moment and think about the next person who can't buy it because they are waiting on the next paycheck, waiting for a ride, or just can't get to the store. Let's help each other out during this outbreak!
5. Be kind to retail workers: People across the world are rushing to the stores to gather up any emergency supplies. Shoppers are finding empty shelves, long lines stores nationwide. Grocery stores struggle to meet demand. We're in unprecedented times, we need to be patient and most importantly, be kind to those who work extra hard to serve you. If you don't find what you need, come back the next day.

6. Set a daily routine for your kid(s): As mentioned above, my kids have no school for the next 3 weeks. It's important to keep their days as routine and scheduled as possible (especially both of us have to work from home during the day). It's going to be hectic in our household for the next few weeks. This is the kids' daily schedule that I put together. I am usually done with work by 4:00 p.m.
7. Free resources available for kids during this outbreak: There are many fun and educational things available for you to do with your kiddos.
8. Embrace the situation: It's not easy but embrace these next 3 weeks with joy, positive attitude and make memories you can look back on in year to come. I plan to use this time to be productive. I have a list of things that I'd like to accomplish. The number one thing on the list is overall spring cleaning chores. We desperately need to clean and organize their outgrown clothing. If you have kids, you know they keep everything! We'll use this time to go through their desk drawers, closets, dresser drawers, toy containers. Most importantly, enjoy doing these chores together, treasure these moments and let them know you want to spend time with them.
9. Social distancing: It's not easy for anyone. The kids have no school, no playdates, no practices and everyone avoid all contact with others but social distancing is currently the most important factor we can control in the outbreak. I have planed a birthday celebration for my husband next weekend but ultimately decided to postpone for obvious reasons. One major relief to you parents is that kids do very well with Coronavirus. They usually bounce back in a few days.

10. Main takeaway: The main takeaway for me is this: be calm, be kind, be respectful and be patient. We will get through this

Monday, March 9, 2020

My go-to work outfit & you need this $40 work bag

Sharing one of my go-to outfits for work. When I struggle finding what to wear in the morning, a pair of trousers and a plain top will do. The outfit is basic but I feel great wearing it. This is my 4th pair of the same trousers. I will do a throughout review of these pants very soon. The star of the outfit is this $40 work bag. Towards the end of last year, I was looking for a non-designer tote bag for work. I was looking for a zippered black tote. It's surprisingly hard to find a tote that zips shut for some reason. This bag has so many great features (lightweight, adjustable shoulder strap, outside compartment for easy access). It's made of faux leather but it looks and feels wonderful. I love the look of the pebbled "leather". The material is sturdy and does not flop over. It's also a good size for me. I've been using it for 6 months now and it's holding up really well. If you're looking for an affordable work bag that you can shove everything in and not feel bad about it, I can't recommend this one enough. Outfit details: Express Columnist ankle pants | A new day bag *available in 4 colors* | black bodysuit | Le Specs sunglasses | Van Cleef & Arpels necklace
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Thursday, March 5, 2020

30% off Coach Cassie

Hope you are having a great week so far. Today, I wanted to quickly share a rare promotion with you just in case you’re interested. Coach is offering 30% sitewide. I have not seen a discount code from Coach since Christmas. As you might recall, I purchased this adorable bag during the holiday season. I love it so much. It’s such a pretty and practical bag. I can’t wait to wear it more when the weather gets warmer. You can save over $100 today by entering the promotion code “MARCH30” at checkout. Below is a list of things that I love about this bag. There are no cons to note =)
  • The size is perfect for everyday use. The measurements of this bag are almost identical to the measurements of the Louis Vuitton Pochette Metis (10” x 7.5” x 3”)
  • The bag is super versatile. It can be carried by a top handle or worn as a cross-body with the removable strap
  • The shoulder strap is adjustable which is perfect for small frame ladies The bag is spacious and the compartments are great for organization
  • The leather looks and feels amazing The brushed gold hardware is understated
  • The price is reasonable (for a full leather bag). The discount makes it even more attractive
  • The polished pebble leather makes the bag more durable than the smooth leather
  • The back pocket is great for easy access to your phone
About a month ago, I was so excited to see Coach has released the same bag in a smaller size. I am a huge fan of small/mini bags. With 30% discount, I might pull the trigger on this adorable bag. If you are a fan of the Louis Vuitton Pochette Metis but do not like the price tag, take a look at this beauty. I can’t recommend it enough. The Cassie is truly the ideal everyday bag.

Sunday, March 1, 2020


We went out last night to celebrate a friend's birthday and this is what I wore. I rarely wear black but it's fun to change up your style once in awhile. This little black dress is so great. The fabric has a slight sheen that makes this dress great for a night out. The fit is amazing. I feel empowered and confident wearing this dress. My husband and I had a great time. We needed a night out so bad. It's been a rough month for our family. Will share a little more in my upcoming February recap. Happy March, everyone! Outfit details: Femme Luxe dress *available in 6 colors* | Valentino shoes | Chanel earrings *exact pair* | Rolex watch
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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Instant Pot Recipe :: Vietnamese Caramelized Pork

This Vietnamese dish is one of my favorites. Today, I am showing you how to make it in the instant pot. It's easy and super delicious. If you marinate the pork the night before, dinner can be ready in 30 minutes. As mentioned in this post, I can't live without my multi-cooker *it's on sale right now*. It's definitely one of my best purchases.
- 2 lbs of boneless pork loin. You can use pork butt or belly but I prefer the leanest cut.
- Half a dozen of hard boiled eggs
- Fish sauce
- Caramel sauce for color
- 1 can of Coco Rico soda
1. Cut pork into large chunks
2. Turn instant pot to Saute setting, add water and parboil pork for 10 minutes. Clean and rinse well
3. In a mixing bowl, add 4 tbsp of fish sauce, 3 tbsp of sugar, ground pepper and 1/4 tbsp of coconut caramel sauce. Mix well and toss the pork into the marinate
4. Allow it to sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour (I usually marinate it overnight)
5. Use the inner pot, add marinated pork along with hard boiled eggs. Pour 1 can of Coco Rico soda, 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup of fish sauce
6. Close the lid and select Custom/Manual/High Pressure and set for 30 minutes
7. Once cook time is over, adjust the sauce to your taste. Serve with rice.