Thursday, January 29, 2015

Winter White


Today, I am joining Audrey's PMT Style Challenge. Just because we are in the dead of the winter, that doesn't mean we have to wear dark, depression clothes. I don't have a problem with wearing white after Labor Day. As a matter of fact, I love the look of a white ensemble during the winter. Wearing white can create such a fresh and clean look. I stumped upon this photo on Pinterest and decided to recreate the look. I opted for tall boots instead of ankle boots for extra warmth. For those who are interested in this Burberry jacket. After wearing it for over 2 months, I can honestly say it's worth every penny. It was 25 degrees outside when these photos were taken and this jacket kept me toasty. Whenever I wear it on my morning commutes, I have to turn the heat in my car off. Otherwise, I would be sweating like crazy.


What I am wearing:
Sweater: OASAP
Jacket: Burberry (read my review here)
Sunglasses: Dolce & Gabbana
Boots: Cole Haan Petra in sand

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Printed top


What I am wearing:
Top: c/o Front Row Shop - size S
Jacket: J.Crew *old*
Sunglasses: *old* (a great option for only $12)

JCrew Trench_SydneysFashionDiary

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Black jumpsuit


The jumpsuit trend is something I wanted to try for a long time. However, being only 5'2", most jumpsuits make me look frumpy. Finally stumbled upon this one from OASAP. When it comes to trendy pieces, I refuse to pay a lot of money. How many times would you wear a jumpsuit a year? For me, probably less than a handful of time. This little jumpsuit not only fit me but also fit the bill. The upper portion of the suit is made out of lace fabric and completely see through. I just wore a basic black cami underneath. I then put on my favorite belt to break up an all black outfit.


What I am wearing:
Jumpsuit: c/o OASAP - size M
Sunglasses: Karen Walker
Watch: Michael Kors
Jacket: J.Crew

Friday, January 23, 2015

Winter layers & Mustard boyfriend blazer


I love wearing well-fitting clothes. However, winter is a time for layers and it's nice to have something slightly oversized to accommodate all those layers. This is definitely not a winter coat but has enough room for layering. Saying that I'm obsessed with this fur vest would be an understatement. I've been wearing it over and under a jacket for extra warmth. This fur vest adds just the right amount of texture and interest to any outfit - definitely a winter must have. Sadly, this exact one is sold out but I found some similar ones here, here and here (use code SHIPFREE for free shipping - today only). Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Into the woods


Winter in the Midwest is pretty brutal. When it’s 40 degrees or above, we’re ready to be outside. There is something so peaceful and calming about walking through the woods. Living in the Midwest for a good portion of my life, I am used to the cold. I don’t need a ton load of layers to keep me warm as long as there is no wind chill. My father in law got me this sweatshirt for Christmas and it's been a great addition to my closet. It makes an excellent layer for a quick Saturday morning run. Let's just say walking 3 miles through ice and snow with a toddler was an adventure but we had a great time shooting pictures and testing new lenses along the way. Wearing: Activewear by Kyodan Clothing | The North Face sweatshirt | Saucony Guide 6 running shoes

Monday, January 19, 2015

Chanel Jumbo Classic Flap vs Chanel New Medium Boy Flap


Today, I wanted to briefly compare the Chanel jumbo classic flap and the new medium Boy flap just in case you have a hard time deciding between the two. Click here to see how they look on me.

Chanel Jumbo Classic Single Flap in caviar
Measures: 12" (L) x 8" (H) x 3" (W)
Retail price: $3500 (in 2011). This exact bag is no longer in production but you can find many preowned options available here

Chanel New Medium Boy Flap in calfskin
Measures: 11" (L) x 7" (H) x 3.5" (W)
Retail price: $5200 (see tag) - Many preowned options available here

Chanel Old Medium Boy Flap in calfskin
Measures: 10" (L) x 6" (H) x 3.5" (W)
Retail price: $4700

Chanel Jumbo vs. Boy_SydneysFashionDiary

As you can tell from the photos, the jumbo is significantly bigger than the boy. It's quite large and can hold a lot of items. I picked the caviar because it’s really durable and less prone to scratches. Both of my preowned bags are in caviar leather and they hold up so well over the years. I love the timeless look of the classic flap and the size is perfect for daytime wear. The boy is my first Chanel bag in calfskin. While calfskin isn't as tough as caviar, it's not as fragile as lambskin. My very first Chanel purchase was a black lambskin small classic flap. Although, I don't baby my bags, I am not careless with them either. After using it for a couple of years, I eventually found a new home for it because it was too high maintenance for me. All of my caviar bags have been a breeze to take care of.

Chanel Jumbo vs. Boy_SydneysFashionDiary

Friday, January 16, 2015

Weekend Style: À la mode Sweatshirt & boyfriend jeans


Sharing an outfit I wore a couple weekends ago while the weather was still bearable. I scored this sweatshirt on super sale the day after Christmas and am so in love with it. It's stretchy and insanely comfortable. Although, I am surprised that Banana Republic made the grammatical error (Á la mode instead of À la mode). If you can get pass that, I highly recommend this sweatshirt for weekend wear. I am also so in love with these boots. They're one of my Christmas gifts from my family. I will do a quick review next week just in case someone is interested. Happy Friday - finally!


What I am wearing:
Sweatshirt: Banana Republic - size XS
Sunglasses: Dolce & Gabbana
Coat: J.Crew icon trench - size 00R
Boots: BP via Nordstrom (my new obsession!)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

*CLOSED* Giveaway: Win an Equitance skin care kit

Congrats to the winner. Please contact me to claim your prize!

Equitance Giveaway

Equitance skincare_SydneysFashionDiary

You might remember me talking about some of the Equitance skin care products here. Today, I am excited to team up with the brand to giveaway one trial kit. I've used up everything in the kit and honestly can tell a huge improvement in such a short period of time in my skin. If you're interested, simply fill out the form below. I will announce the winner next Wednesday 01/20.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The great room & custom window treatments

Today, I am excited to show you guys my great room. It's my second favorite room in the house (the kitchen is the first). There are still a few things we’d like to do with this space but I really love how minimal, light and airy this room is.


Written by the husband:

The design: The great room extends the open concept that begins with the two story entry. The entry hallway flows down the center of the house back to the great room. The focal point of the great room including the oversized fire place, mantel and 8 foot tall mirror are centered on the back wall. We made sure the fireplace is viewed prominently from the front entry and the fire place is dead center on the hallway center line. The 19 foot high ceilings in the great room allow plenty of natural light. The height of the ceilings, windows and light colors make the room feel airy and grand.


Products pictured:
Pottery Barn tall vase | Pottery Barn outdoor seahorse sculpture | Pottery Barn Hyannis lanterns
Wall color: Sherwin Williams (sand trap) | IKEA curtain rods

{Pictured: Sofa | Love Seat | Ottoman (all from Havertys) | Tray | Pillows from IKEA}

Friday, January 9, 2015

Chanel Boy Adventure...

{Pictured: Chanel medium boy flap - Many preowned options available here}

As promised - Today, I am sharing my Chanel shopping adventure. A month ago, I had no desire to get another Chanel bag. I am happy and content with what I have. Now that Madelyn is older, I don't carry a diaper bag with me anymore. For a quick trip here and there, I usually carry my jumbo flap. It's super roomy and durable to haul around. There is one problem - The bag hangs down to my knees when worn as a cross-body (I am only 5'2"). As a temporary fix, I tie 2 ends together using a ribbon to achieve my desired length.

Chanel Jumbo Flap_SydneysFashionDiary

We were out Christmas shopping and I wore my flap as a shoulder bag (double up the strap - it works fine in this case). As the day progressed, Madelyn needed to be held. I told my husband I need to sit down to tie the strap so I can wear it as a cross-body. It's silly to wear a bag that hangs down to your knee. That's inconvenient - he said. I guess he never noticed my ribbon trick. Don't they make something that fit your frame better? He continued. I told him "I am sure they do but we're not getting a new bag, are we? He then said - let's just go look ... and this is how it all started =)


Wednesday, January 7, 2015



Kicking off the first work week of 2015 with this little houndstooth dress. I added a turtleneck underneath for extra warmth. This dress is fully lined but runs small. I would recommend going up a size if you're in between sizes. Happy Wednesday!


What I am wearing:
Dress: c/o Sheinside - size M
Sunglasses: Dolce & Gabbana

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The journey of building our home: The planning phase

Hi everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and your year is off to a great start. Today, we're kicking off our home series with the first post - The Planning Phase. Like any major life event, building a home is a journey. We wanted to take this opportunity to share our experiences (good and bad) as well as tips for 1st time home buyers. Since my husband was heavily involved in all stages of the building process, I'll let him take over this series.


Why we decided to build our home: 

We looked at many homes using the usual Realtor tools and visited the models and neighborhoods of several builders in our target area. All were missing something significant that we were looking for – namely good utilization of space to provide our must haves in a custom home that offers character and a unique look. Instead of compromising or going up in cost, we decided to work with a builder. However, the builder we were most interested in did not offer the unique features we were looking for in one of their designs at the square footage that we wanted. We were very impressed with the quality and soundness of their homes. The sales associate suggested that we could modify one of their plans or draw our own. She was aware that we had a plan that we had drawn many years before. It was really impossible to alter one of their plans significantly to meet our needs. Each modification we added had a domino effect on other design aspects. After working with their plans extensively, we decided to attempt to update the house plan we drew years ago. The plan had to be reworked significantly to fit on a standard subdivision lot. Their subdivision lots are not small, but our original plan did not factor in this aspect of building a home.


What our family needs:
  • We heavily factored the specific needs and desires of our family to shape the design of our home.
  • To start with, we knew we wanted curb appeal and a grand two-story entry with a double catwalk.
  • We also strive to achieve an open concept design that is functional with common areas that bring everyone together.
  • The two-story entry features a front catwalk overlooking double front entry doors a bank of three floor-to-ceiling windows on the second floor.
  • We also wanted four large bedrooms that were separated from one another for greater privacy - each with a bathroom and a large walk-in closet.
  • The front catwalk overlooks the grand entry and formal sitting area and provides access to the front right and front left bedrooms.
  • The back catwalk overlooks that two-story great room and the bonus room and provides access to the back left and back right bedrooms.

Tips for building your own home:
  • Give yourself plenty of time to review the design. Even though we drew the plan we still missed a few things in the design stage.
  • Last minute changes almost always impact aspects of the design that are not immediately recognized. New ideas and solutions come to mind over time
  • Plan to build the foundation pieces first. Basement wall height, location of mechanical, pitch of the roof, lot plan, driveways, etc. are not items you can easily address later. Get it right in the initial build even if it is a cost that impacts some of your other needs or desires.
  • Do not accept or take for granted that the contractor grade is adequate for your needs or taste. Remember that even the contractor grade is costing you something. For example, your builder is charging you an allocation they have for carpet. If you ultimately prefer hardwood flooring throughout, consider that if you go with carpeting in some areas now to save money initially that down the road at the point you tear out the carpeting to replace it with hardwoods you are throwing away money. 
  • Put some emphasis on how your family’s size, habits and needs will change overtime. For example: we wanted each child to have a large bedroom, bath and large walk in closet to provide them plenty of space to grow. We also wanted to ensure we have connectivity with the family by centrally locating the kitchen with the great room and the kids' playroom.

I know it's a lengthy post but I hope you find it somewhat helpful. Please feel free to leave any questions you might have in the comment section below.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Weekend Style: Wrap it up


My extended holiday break is coming to an end. I took a couple of weeks off from work and it's been so wonderful. I feel recharged and ready to tackle 2015. I've been living in some variation of this outfit (denim, sweater/cardigan and comfy boots) everyday for the past 2 weeks. Wrapping style outerwear is still a huge trend this season. Some wrap cardigans tend to have a little too much "wrap" fabric but this particular one drapes very nicely. It's the perfect piece to throw on for a casual day. Happy Friday, everyone!


What I am wearing:
Cardigan: c/o Bohme - size S
Denim: Mavi Serena (same style - different wash)
Earrings: Chanel (almost identical here and here)
Sunglasses: Dolce & Gabbana
Boots: Cole Haan Petra in sand

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Happy New Year, everyone! 2014 was a great year for us. We accomplished some personal goals as well as some life goals. One of our family traditions is on New Year’s Day, we both sit down, reflect on the past year and set goals for the upcoming year. Some of our highlights in 2014 were:
  • It's been exactly one year since we moved into our new home. The house is nowhere near perfect but we did get a couple of planned projects done
  • Completed my very first 10K in April
  • Little Courtney made it to the Advanced Academic Programs - I am one super proud Mom.
  • Biked across the Golden Gate Bridge (checked this off my bucket list!)
  • Welcome my adorable nephew into the world in July
  • Extremely thrilled that my younger brother took possession of his new home in October.
{Cheers to 2015 on NYE}

Of course, life always has its ups and downs. I was diagnosed with macular degeneration in September. At first, I didn't think it was that serious. Turned out to be it can cause severe vision loss if not treated quickly. Since September, I've been getting an injection in my right eye every 6-8 weeks (enough said!). Sorry for endless photos with sunglasses on. My eye is extremely sensitive to light. My next appointment is in Feb. Fingers crossed I get a positive outcome. My husband also traveled a lot last year. He took 24 business trips in 2014 (average 2 trips per month). I am used to it but still struggle from time to time.

What to look forward to in 2015:
  • We plan 3 more small projects for the house in 2015
  • Get back into my workout routine (too much food and chocolate lately)
  • Do at least I race this year. Thinking about a 15K. Yikes!
  • I crossed off some luxury items on my wishlist in 2014 (4 to be exact 1, 2, 3, 4). 2015 is all about family and creating memories. We planned a couple of exciting trips this year and I can't wait to experience them with my family.
{Our dinner last night at Kona Grill}

To wrap up this post: As always, I am incredibly grateful for my family. I say it often but feel like I can never say enough. Last but not least, I wanted to take a moment to thank each and everyone of you for supporting my blog. This blog is just simply a creative outlet for me. I am in awe that I have people who stop by and read what I have to say everyday =). Here to a stylish 2015!