Friday, April 24, 2015

My 15K and 5 tips for beginning runners

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I did it! I ran my very first 15K two weeks ago! That's a 9.3 miles...

When I first started running about 1.5 years ago, I had to stop every quarter mile to breath because I thought I was going to die. I still couldn't believe I completed 9.3 miles without stopping. This was my longest distance to date. Not going to lie, it wasn't easy. After mile # 6, it is really a mind game. I kept telling myself that the finish line was so close and I can do this. The last 3 miles seemed to drag on forever. Many deep thoughts went though my head but I did cross the finish line in 1:51. It took me longer to finish than I expected (1:45) but I didn't care about my pace. I had only one goal for my race and that was to cross the finish line!

{All outfits provided by Kyodan clothing}

With temperatures warming up and if you're thinking about running, I hope you find these tips helpful:

1. Get the right running shoes: I highly recommend you visit one of your local running stores to get fitted. I can't stretch enough the importance of a proper shoe fit. I am a huge fan of Saucony running shoes but everyone is different.

2. Find a running partner or a running group: A running buddy will keep you going and hold you accountable to the commitments. Last year, one of my girlfriends and I decided to get up at 5:00 in the morning and run 3 times a week. We promised not to call/text each other on running days. By doing so, we had no reason to skip a run knowing the other person is waiting for you to show up.

3. Figure out a schedule that works for you: My running schedule changes from time to time. You just have to find a schedule that works for you and stick with it.

4. Get proper running gear: Invest in some technical running clothes. Running gear can be affordable and last for quite a while. It will not only help you improve your health but also will boost your fitness motivation. This is an excellent article to help you choose the right type of running gear.

5. Set your expectations low: Start with a 1 minute run + 5 minute walk and work your way up. Give yourself ample training time to build mileage and endurance. Eventually, your body will adapt to running longer distances.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Extra 40% off all sale styles at Piperlime (last day!)

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Piperlime is sadly closing its door by the end of this month. Being a huge fan of GAP for many years now, I sure will miss Piperlime. In the mean time, almost everything is on sale. This is a great opportunity to update your wardrobe without spending a fortune. Today is the last day to get an extra 40% off all sale styles (with code SALEONSALE). Happy shopping!

1. Distressed skinny jeans ($42)
2. Destructed cut-off shorts ($36)
3. White midi skirt ($72)
4. Coral sandals ($36)
5. Floral sandals ($60)
6. Burgundy pumps ($39)
7. Lace dress ($51)
8. Lace trench ($54)
9. Blush pink moto jacket ($54)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The quest for the perfect white denim

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A pair of white denim is on my spring/summer wishlist this year. I purchased these GAP always skinny jeans years ago (as seen here and here). While they are not perfect, they have served me well over the years. After 3 years, I knew it's time to find a replacement as they're starting to wear down. What I look for in my new pair of white jeans: quality thick material (not the typical jeggings fabric), skinny cut, mid-rise, preferably under $100 and the most important factor besides the material is the length. I promise myself I won't be cuffing my jeans anymore.

{Old Navy Mid-rise Rockstar Skinny Jeans - 40% off - ends tonight}

I've had good luck with Old Navy jeans in the past so thought I'd start there. They didn't have a size 0 in a short length available so I tried on a 2R. They were just big overall and as expected, the regular length is too long on me.

{Old Navy Rockstar Skinny Cropped Jeans - 40% off - ends tonight}

Then I tried on the same size in "cropped" length and hoped it might work as a regular length on me. Nope, the length hits at an awkward spot.

{WHBM Saint Honore Skimmer Jeans}

Next up is these skimmer jeans from White House Black Market. I own a few items from their petite line but have never tried on their jeans. The material feels nice and seems durable. However, the sizing was way off on me (a 2 was too big and a 0 was too tight). I didn't care for the ankle zippers either.

{LOFT Modern High-waist Skinny Ankle Jeans - currently 40% off}

I then made a quick stop at one of my trusty stores - LOFT. The store near where I live has a very small petite section. These jeans were the only pair available in my size. Loved the thick material but again, they weren't a perfect fit.

{Articles of Society Sarah Skinny Jeans - starting in size 23}

Next up is these Articles of Society jeans from Nordstrom. I placed an order last week and had high hopes for them. They’re actually not bad. The material is not as thick as I would have liked but it’s not see-through either. If you wear nude undergarment, you should be OK. The price is actually really good for a decent pair of jeans. The overall length measures 37", inseam = 29", waist = 13". The overall length is about an inch longer than my desired length (which isn't too bad). They might shrink a tad after washing/drying. The only thing that I am not too thrilled about is those non-functional pockets. I can’t stand them. If non-functional pockets isn't an issue for you, I would recommend these jeans. I will hold on to these jeans for another 2 weeks to see if I can get my "perfect pair of white denim" - read more below. If not, I will keep these.


From left to right:
1. Rag & Bone in bright white (size 25) - On sale - 30% off with code FRNFAM
2. AG The Leggings Ankle Jeans (size 25) - 30% off with code FRNFAM
3. Joe's Annie Skinny Jeans (size 24) - 30% off with code FRNFAM

Frustrated with the fit, I decided to pop into Saks to check out some premium denim options. I won't go into much details but overall, I wasn't impressed. Everything I tried on is made out of the stretchy lightweight fabric. The material is comfy to wear and actually good for dark denim. For a pair of white jeans, I find the stretchy material is very unforgiving.

I save the best for last – I am in love with these Express legging jeans. On a whim, I tried these on and it was love at first try. They fit me really well. As you can tell from the pictures, the length is absolutely perfect on me. Only one problem – they’re sold out everywhere in my size (in white). I've been calling every single store near me as well as checking online every morning but so far no luck. I will for sure pick them up as soon as they become available. If you have any recommendations for a perfect pair of white denim, I’d love to hear!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Closet Essentials: Black & White Striped Dress

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I wholeheartedly believe that every girl needs a B&W striped dress in her wardrobe. It's comfy, easy to style and can be worn all year round. You can find a B&W striped dress just about anywhere. What I look for in a dress is the cut. I wanted something that is fitted and skim along my curves without feeling skin tight. 3/4 sleeves make it a versatile option for any season. Below are 5 different ways to wear a striped dress. You can also layer a button down shirt underneath or pair the dress with a turtleneck sweater during the cold months for extra warmth, the possibilities are truly endless. Need more styling ideas? Previous "closet essentials" posts can be found here.


Outfit details: 
Dress (c/o) *sized up to a M - material is thick) | Sunglasses | Sandals | Watch

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Weekend sales: Sephora, Saks and Kate Spade

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There are a few noteworthy sales are happening this weekend so I thought I'd mention. First up is the Sephora VIB sale. From 04/26 - 04/21, take 15% off all purchases online (with code VIBLOVE) and in stores. I recently switched all my makeup products from mid-end to drugstore but below are a few tried and true products that I highly recommend if you're interested. I bought this Clarisonic Mia 4 years ago and it has honestly changed my skin. I use the sensitive skin brush head twice a week and never once had a problem. Another product that I swear by is the Caudalie Vinoperfect Serum, I think this is my 5th bottle and am still seeing improvements in my skin. This serum gives skin an instant radiance while brightening spots over time. If you are looking for a statement lipstick, I highly recommend the Stila stay-all-day lipstick in beso (see it on me). My favorite nude/natural everyday lipstick is the Too Faced Melted in nude. I recently picked up the Urban Decay naked on the run and have been enjoying the kit. It's not something groundbreaking but is suitable and convenient for everyday use.


Saks is also having their F&F sale from 04/20 - 04/27. Take 30% off select apparel/shoes/accessories and 20% off jewelry with code FRNFAM2. Sadly, the exclusion list is quite long. My Karen Walker sunglasses and my Michael Kors runway watch do qualify for the discount. Even though Burberry, Valentino, Prada and Hunter are all excluded from the sale, you can earn double points when using your Saks charge.


Burberry puffer jacket (full review here)
Michael Kors runway watch
Karen Walker sunglasses
Valentino shoes
Prada wallet
Hunter boots
1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Another sale that worth mentioning is the Kate Spade F&F sale. From now til 04/19, enjoy 25% off your entire purchase with code DEAREST. This is the perfect opportunity to pick up some Mother's Day gifts. Some of my picks are below. Happy shopping and have a wonderful weekend!

5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Friday, April 17, 2015

Relaxing at home with my favorite face masks

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Sale alert: This J.Crew skirt I am wearing in this post is now 50% (no code needed)


Today, I wanted to share something that I am obsessing over lately - face masks. Taking care of my skin on a daily basis becomes very important as I get older. I bought the variety pack in order to try all the different types and so far, I love them all. My absolute favorite is the teatree ones. In general, face masks won't move mountains overnight. However, after consistently using them for over a month, I do notice some improvements to my skin (I use it once a week). Life can be hectic at times with 2 kids and a full time job, putting on a face mask is a great way to relax, unwind and rejuvenate my skin. I also use the Glamglow youth mud twice a month in conjunction with the face masks to help minimize my pores.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Shopping in Paris/Rome and my VAT refund experience

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As promised – today, I am going to briefly talk about my shopping adventure in Europe as well as getting my tax refund at FCO airport. A couple of months prior to the trip, I sold my Chanel jumbo flap because it wasn't a good fit for me. My plan was to get a medium size as a replacement and loved the idea of getting one at Rue Cambon. 3 weeks prior to the trip, I contacted the Rue Cambon boutique as well as the Avenue Montaigne boutique but had no luck. Due to the rumors about Chanel price increase, classic flaps sell out very quickly. Rumors turned out to be true. Chanel boy flaps, classic flaps and Chanel WOC's have gone up 20% across Europe as of 04/08. I checked back with both boutiques regularly and still had no luck. I then settled for a pre-owned one and couldn't be more thrilled. BTW, I have the contact email of both boutiques and am happy to share them with anyone interested.


Although the hunt for my replacement was over, I still wanted to visit the Chanel flagship boutique just for the experience. On the other hand, my sister in law was interested in getting her first Chanel bag and has asked me to look for one. We went to the Rue Cambon boutique and there wasn't a classic bag in sight (only seasonal styles/colors were available). I waited 15 minutes for a sales associate. She showed me a few bags but they were not even close to what my sister was looking for. We left the store empty-handed. We then walked around the area and stumbled upon another Chanel boutique on Rue Royal which isn't very far from the 1st one. This one is significant smaller than the original boutique. I caught a glimpse of a black bag out of the corner of my eye and decided to go in. I quickly realized that this bag is pretty close to what my sister was looking for. A sales associate greeted us and started gushing over the bag. She said this is a cross between a classic flap and a boy flap and suitable for a petite. Perfect! I took a few pictures and sent them to my sister. However, after 3 tries, they didn't go through and I finally gave up. My husband and I had a brief discussion and decided to purchase the bag anyway. We both love it so much and were confident that she would love it too. As soon as we got back to the hotel, I tried again and finally got a text from her saying that she loves the bag. Whew! I have not seen this style here in the US. If you have any information about this bag, I’d love to hear (style code: A90810). The bag is available in black/beige/gray and made out of calfskin. As you can tell from the side by side comparison, these two sizes are incredibly similar. The bag is truly perfect on her. Mission accomplished if you ask me =)

Monday, April 13, 2015

When in Rome...

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After 3 nights in Paris, we woke up the next morning to catch our 9:00 am flight to Rome. The 2-hour flight from Paris to Rome was painless. We arrived at FCO airport right before noon. Instead of spending time to figure out the train system, we decided to take a cab back into the city. A quick travel tip: If you travel with a party of more than 4 people, your best bet is to take a cab. We traveled with my parents and the oldest daughter and paid a flat fee of €55 which includes 5 of us and all bags. A train ticket would cost €8 per person. The fare turned out to be almost the same but convenience-wise, cab wins hands down.

{Wearing: Skirt | Tee | Denim jacket | Sunglasses | Camera}

After we checked into our hotel, we turned around and headed to the Vatican immediately. We booked a group tour of the Vatican and Sistine Chapel. I thought the guide was quite good and have enjoyed it. It was roughly a two and a half hour tour (including the Sistine chapel). We had a group of 25 people. Our tour guide was excellent, spoke very good English and provided us with headphones. Although she did a great job of keeping everyone together, the overall crowds in the museum were a little too much for my daughter and my parents. If you like in-depth information, a private tour probably is the best way to go. I highly recommend you pay for a tour. This will not only save you at least 2 hours of waiting in line but will also help you understand everything you are looking at. The Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel both are breathtakingly beautiful. There is so much to see so you will need a half day to walk round.

{Inside the Vatican Museum}

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Boyfriend jeans and mint green sweater

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Taking a break from vacation posts to show you an outfit I wore last weekend. My love for all things mint continues with this adorable sweater. Mint is just a pretty shade and so easy to wear. I plan to pair this light weight sweater with my white denim shorts to go grab some ice cream in the summer =) A bit of history of my new-to-me Chanel bag: As mentioned in this post, my jumbo flap just wasn't a good fit for me. I'll be darned if I let it sits in my closet unworn. After much debate, I found a new home for it. I also found this bag as a new replacement. This bag comes as no surprise (same type of leather/same hardware/same color as my jumbo - the only difference is the size). The medium fits my frame so so much better. It's truly perfect and I couldn't be happier. OK, can we take a moment and talk about these slip-on sneakers? I wore them for the entire week traveling around Europe and never once had any problems. I walked all day everyday in these (no blisters, no rubbing) and they're under $25. I highly recommend them and am going to get the black version for myself as well. Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

When in Paris...

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We’re finally back into the swing of things. I wanted to get vacation recap posts up before I become lazy and/or forget about things. The trip was amazing but tiring to say the least. We left home at noon and arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport around 8:00 the next morning. At that point, we were up for almost 24 hours and still needed to find our way into the city. We somehow managed to figure out the Paris train system. 2 train rides and 2 hours later, we made it to our hotel. On top of that, I unfortunately caught a bug on the way there and felt miserable the entire time. I crashed as soon as we checked into our room. As I was lying in bed, I kept thinking to myself – I am in Paris, why am I lying here? I forced myself to get up and do what I do best – shopping (lol – don’t judge!). We made our way to the original Chanel boutique (located at 30 Rue Gembon). I was expecting the wait but luckily, that was not the case. We got in right away and only had to wait 15 minutes to be helped by a SA. I will do a separate post about my shopping experiences in Paris/Rome as well as my VAT refund experience. We spent the rest of the day exploring the area, got back to our room and called it a night.


Woke up the next morning feeling like a new person and ready to explore the city. The first stop, of course was the Eiffel Tower. It’s pretty impressive to say the least. We spent some time admiring the incredible structure. The queue going up in the tower was very long so we decided to skip it. We spent almost 2 hours at the tower, took a gazillion photos and loved every moment of it. You need to be fully aware of all the scammers, pick pockets and vendors that abound in the area. We then strolled along the Seine river, saw the Arc de Triomphe in the distance, passed by Musée d'Orsay and made our way to the chic neighborhood of Saint-Germain



We stopped by Bistrot Saint-André (36 Rue Saint André des Arts, 75006) for a quick lunch. Service was great but food was just overall average. After lunch, we headed to Saint-Germain City Pharma to pick up some skincare products for my Mom. The place was absolutely crazy and packed to the rim. A lot of French skincare brands like Caudalie, Vichy, Bioderma are cheaper in France. They’re even cheaper in City Pharma. If you're planning a trip to Paris, make sure you visit this place. It’s always helpful to bring a list with you. I ended up getting 2 of the Caudalie Vinoperfect Serum for the price of one (£35 vs. $79 at Sephora)

{Wearing: Trench | Shoes | Skirt | Sunglasses | Scarf | Camera}


We then made our way to the Pont des Arts bridge (the Lover’s bridge). It was really cool to see thousands of padlocks on the bridge, each engraved with a message of love. Last stop of the day was Notre Dame. Words can't express how beautiful it is! We were just in awe of the stunning architecture and beautiful inside and out from all angles. Being one of Paris’s free attractions, this amazing cathedral is well worth a visit. We then made our way back to the hotel, had dinner and ended our second day. 

NotreDame2 NotreDame1

Last day in Paris - We woke up early and headed to the Louvre Museum. We made so many stops on the way there and didn't get to the museum until 11:00 a.m. We had to wait almost 2 hours just to get in. Luckily, it wasn't raining. The museum is massive and filled with over 35,000 works of art. It is one of the world's largest museums and you can undoubtedly spend your entire day there. We went straight to the main attraction which is the famous Mona Lisa painting. There were literally hundreds of people in front of the painting taking pictures. The little one and I did wiggle through the crowd and saw the painting up close and personal. We ended up spending 4 hours at the Louvre, grabbed a late lunch at L'Impérial Brasserie (food and service were both wonderful) and headed back to the hotel for our dinner cruise.
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