Sunday, August 28, 2016

Black and White Tunic

Signature Look

I have said before that a tunic and leggings is one of my signature looks. Since it’s still warm, I’m wearing my tunic with my capri leggings but I’m planning on wearing it with my regular leggings in the fall. The black/white tunic I’m wearing here is another early birthday present I received in Germany. Yes, I did get a lot of birthday presents!

Black White Tunic 1
Black White Tunic 2

I like that it is made of black/white and white/black fabric (it took me a moment to figure this out…). I think the two fabrics make for a more interesting look. 

Black White Tunic 3

Transitioning a Tunic into Fall

I wore the tunic with a thin, black cardigan in the evening when it got a bit cool. I can also see myself wearing it with a denim jacket - white or blue. The tunic would also work over white or black skinny jeans with some cute boots, which have been on my “list” of items to get for a long time.  

Black White Tunic 6

Silver Lace-Up Flats

I also wore my silver lace-up flats that I got for 50% off the sale price (which was already very low) at Banana Republic. I had wanted to get some lace-up flats for a long time, but I wasn’t sure what color to get. I also have been eyeing different silver shoes for a while. So when I saw these lace-ups, I found the best of both worlds.

I found the flats when I went shopping with my older son for his birthday. He commented they were so cheap, it was okay if I wore them only once. I told him that no, that would not be okay. Because if I only wore them once they wouldn't be a bargain, and I wouldn’t choose to buy them. The flats are comfortable, and I know I will wear them a lot this fall. I hope that the cost per wear will be only pennies, and that I get lots of wears out of them... 

Black White Tunic 7

Questions: Do you like wearing tunics? What are your signature looks?  

Click here to check out the fabulous bloggers I’m linking up with.

Be well,

[Disclosure: Links to clothing items in this post are affiliate links, and may benefit from actions taken on the links.]

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Importance of Selfcare When Life Gets Stressful

This is a sponsored post by Groupon. As always, all opinions are mine.

Life can get stressful. I’m in the middle of preparing for a new academic year, Andy is working long hours, the kid is getting used to a new school year (and getting up and out the door on time is NOT easy), and on top of it I injured my right elbow a few weeks ago and despite my hopes, it’s not getting better on its own.

Over the years, I have learned to make sure to take a break and do something for myself when life gets especially hectic. It seems counterintuitive to add something else to your schedule when you are busy, but I have found that whenever I take care of myself for an hour or two, I’m much more productive - and relaxed - afterward.

That’s just what I did earlier this week when I decided to get an extra fancy pedicure that included a hot stone massage and aromatherapy oils. After the pedicure, I felt relaxed, and I LOVED the way my toes turned out! I picked a dark red nail color, which means I guess I have started to transition my toes into fall!

Unfortunately, pampering yourself can get a bit pricy, and I can’t afford as many pedicures, massages, and yoga and barre classes as I’d like. One way to be able to afford a special treatment a bit more often is by using Health, Beauty & Wellness Groupons. With a Groupon, I have gotten as much as 75% off the original price, which makes a $100+ massage a lot more affordable, and therefore allows me to indulge in a treatment more often.

I also love that a Groupon gives me the chance to test out a new salon or spa without a huge financial investment. In fact, I used a Groupon to find my current hair stylist many years ago. I think it was meant to be as I absolutely love her...

Questions: How do you take care of yourself when life gets stressful? When was the last time you got a pedicure and/or massage?

Be well,

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Green Drink, A Shake & Some Soup

Chef V Organic Cleanse Review

A few months ago I was contacted by Chef V to see if I was interested in trying out their organic cleanse. Regular readers of this blog will know that I’ve been cleansing in the past, and that I very much liked the results. Since I knew we were traveling a lot this summer, I postponed my cleanse until the middle of August. I was provided a 2-day cleanse free of charge. As always, all opinions in this post are my own.

Many are skeptical of cleanses as they see them as just another crash diet. But a cleanse is not a crash diet for me but rather a way to hit the reset button. It’s a way to let go of the sweets, the salt, the oils, the processed foods, etc. that creep back into my diet little by little despite my best intentions to eat in a way that’s optimal for my body and that makes me feel my best. Plus, a cleanse is also a good way for me to take it easy and relax.

The Chef V cleanse gets delivered in a insulated bag with ice to keep it cold. I received a text message when it was delivered (which was at 4:50 a.m.!). In the bag were two bottles of Organic Green Drink (one for each day), two containers of soup (one for each day), four “ultra shake” packets (two for each day) as well as some detox tea bags.

Chef V Organic Cleanse 1

You are instructed to “eat clean” two days before doing the liquid cleanse. There is a list of foods to cut out (such as milk, cheese, eggs, white rice, pork, beef, soy, peanuts, butter, alcohol, coffee, etc.) and a list of foods to eat instead (such as hemp and nut milks, brown rice, quinoa, fresh or cold-water fish, lamb, legumes, seeds, lots of vegetables, nuts, etc).

You are also given a schedule for what to do on the days of the cleanse. You start the day with water, followed by a green drink. Then you’ll have an ultra shake, water, a green drink, etc. You basically rotate between water, a green drink and the ultra shake throughout the day. In the evening you have the detox soup.

You are instructed to “eat clean” (choosing foods from the list that is provided) for at least two days following the cleanse.

My Experience with the Chev V Cleanse

As I stated above, I’m no stranger to cleansing, and I like it. I think a successful cleanse has a lot to do with your mindset. It’s not a good idea to see it as a “quick fix.” Personally, I see it as a way to get back to a better way of eating as well as a way to take care of myself. I treated myself to an extra fancy pedicure on one of the days, rested more than usual, and went on a long, leisurely walk on each day of the cleanse.

I enjoyed the cleanse because I had to do absolutely no prep work, cooking, cleaning, etc. (I did make green smoothies for the boys for breakfast, but the kid ate lunch at school and Andy at work, and they ate leftovers for dinner).

Chef V Organic Cleanse 2

The juice and shake kept me surprisingly full throughout the day. You are instructed to do only light exercise on cleanse days and to make sure to get enough sleep (something I already knew from other cleanses I had done in the past, and I think doing little physical activity and resting as much as possible is key to a successful cleanse).

The green drink has a mildly “green taste” (much less so than many green juices, but I actually like things that “taste green.”) Andy commented that the flavor of the green drink reminded him of a certain tea he drank growing up. The shake tastes like cinnamon and was surprisingly good (I had serious doubts before tasting it since I’m not a protein shake-type person). Somebody not used to green smoothies, green juice, and lots of raw veggies (which are a big part of my daily diet) may not like the green drink quite as much as I did. I also added some ice to the shake (which you are instructed to do to make it taste better, and, as I said, I liked it).

In conclusion, I found the Chef V Cleanse an easy way to clean up my eating a bit. I think it’s important to follow the instructions for the pre-cleanse days to get your body ready for the cleanse (if you are eating few veggies, etc. you may want to do the cleanse prep a bit longer than two days…), do little physical activity on cleanse days, and continue to “eat clean” after the cleanse. If you have the mindset to use the cleanse to reset what you are eating, I think it can be a very positive experience.

Questions: How do you rest your taste buds and your diet when you’ve veered off the healthy path a bit? Do you like green smoothies and green juices? Have you ever done a cleanse? If so, what was your experience? Would you be interested in doing a cleanse? Why or why not? 

Be well,

[As stated at the beginning of this post, I was provided with a 2-day cleanse free of charge. As always, all opinions are my own.]

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Tommy Bahama Maxi Dress

On our way to Lake Tahoe, we like to stop at the Vacaville Outlets as it breaks the trip in half. So over the years it has become a tradition. When the kid was younger, it was also a great place for him to run back and forth on the sidewalks to expend some energy. Seems so long ago but brings back wonderful memories…

At the outlet, I always love to check out the Tommy Bahama Outlet store, but, contrary to Andy’s claims, I don’t always buy something there. In fact, in all of the years checking out the store, I have only bought three items: a bathing suit, my “oceany” maxi dress and this interesting striped maxi dress. I got a great deal on the dress; I believe the original price was $168, and I got it for $39. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen the dress in one of my Instagram stories as well as in my feed.

Striped Maxi Dress

Black White Tommy Bahama Dress 1
I love that the stripes are arranged in interesting angles. Plus, it’ll be fun to change the look with different colored accessories. I’m already thinking of different ways of transitioning the dress into fall.

Bourbon Steak 

I wore the dress to an early birthday dinner/date night with Andy. It had been months since we went on a date night, and it was nice to go out by ourselves (even though I love to spend every second with the kid as he is growing up WAY too fast… I can't believe my "baby" is in 4th Grade, and my other "baby" recently turned 25...).

We went to Bourbon Steak & Pub at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. 

Tommy Bahama Black and White Maxi Dress

Bourbon Steak is a Michael Mina restaurant with very good food and an upscale yet relaxed atmosphere. There is a more casual pub as well as an upscale steak restaurant. We attended a beer dinner in a spacious area on the lower level that is reserved for special events. Here is some of the food we enjoyed. Again, you may have already seen it in my Instastory.

Bourbon Steak Food

How to Style a Maxi Dress Into Fall

I kept the look black & white but thought it would be fun to wear my newish red flats. It was super windy when we took the photos, and I definitely needed the light cardigan. The weather is starting to transition into fall around here in the early morning and evening; I know it’ll stay quite warm - or even hot - in the middle of the day for many more weeks. The maxi dress will work well into fall by adding a warmer cardigan or a jean jacket, a scarf on chilly days, and by switching out the flats for boots.

Tommy Bahama Black White Maxi Dress 2
Mango Red Pointed Toe Flats 
Outfit details: Tommy Bahama dress (outlet), Mango Pointed Toe flats, black cardigan (I like this one from Eileen Fisher), Rebecca Minkoff Dog Clip Saddle Bag, black and white necklace (I like this fun black and white necklace)

Here are some Tommy Bahama dresses that I love:

Questions: Do you like maxi dresses? Do you wear them only in summer, or also in other seasons? If so, how do you transition your maxi dresses (and/or skirts) into fall?

Click here to check out the fabulous bloggers I’m linking up with.

Be well,

[Disclosure: Links to clothing items in this post are affiliate links, and may benefit from actions taken on the links.]

Getting the Best Price Possible

This is a sponsored post by Groupon Coupons. As always, all opinions are mine.

I consider myself a conscious shopper who only buys items that I need and fill a void in my closet and my home. So I’m not easily swayed by a great sale. I always think whether I truly need the item because if you buy something just because it’s a great deal but you don’t really need it, it’s really not much of a deal after all. I also consider the quality and probable longevity of each item I buy. But for the items I do need and purchase, I like to get the best deal possible.

Here are some recent purchases I got for a great deal - as much as 80% off (I see myself enjoying each item for many years to come):

Mango Red Pointed Toe Flats

Rebecca Minkoff Dog Clip Leather Bag Gabs Bag 3

There is no worse feeling than standing in line at a store and seeing everyone getting money off with a coupon but you don’t have one. Unfortunately, I’m not that good at collecting/printing out/keeping track of coupons. But I was recently introduced to Groupon Coupons and enjoy checking the site for my favorite stores. Some of the coupons available at the site are for online use and others are to be used in stores.

For example, through the site, I was recently able to get a 20% off coupon to be used at Macy’s in stores (or online, if you so chose); I bought a birthday gift with it. I also got a 40% off clearance items coupon for J. Crew Factory; we got Andy some new shirts. There isn’t always a coupon available for all stores, but if you check back frequently, you are likely to find a coupon for many of the stores you shop at. I think it’s definitely worth it to do so before you complete an online transaction or head out to the mall.

Questions: Are you good at using coupons? How do you decide whether to buy something that’s a “good deal?” 

Linking up with: Inspire Me Monday

Be well,

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Gabs Bag

On our trip to Germany, Andy bought me a handbag as an early birthday present. It’s a Gabs bag. 

Gabs Bag 3

Gabs is an Italian company, founded in 2000. One fun element of Gabs bags is that they can often be transformed into different shapes. The same bag can morph from a boxy bag to a bucket-style bag to flat tote.

Gabs Bag 4

My sister has a large collection of Gabs bags in all different shapes and colors, and I like her colorful and unique bags. I decided to get a green one - I love the color and the ways it can be transformed. It was on sale - reduced twice - and therefore a great deal. Plus, I think the shade of green can work year round.  

Gabs Bag 6

The bags have fun (and useful) elements, such a tiny notebook and a shopping bag that’s attached to the interior of the bag.

Gabs Bag 5

Gabs’ trademark is the pretty turquoise button.

Gabs Bag 7

Here are a few photos of when I carried the Gabs bag in Germany.

Gabs Bag 1
Here we are visiting the little (but beautiful) town of Gelnhausen

Gabs Bag 2
And here we are in Aschaffenburg, another small(ish) town along the Main river with a castle, beautiful gardens, numerous interesting churches, a museum that is a replica of an Roman villa (Pompejanum), and more.

I always love looking back at photos from our trip… Here are more Gabs bags I wouldn't mind owning:

Questions: Have you heard of Gabs bags? If so, do you own one? What are you looking for in a handbag? I never used to be a “bag lady” until fairly recently. At this point in my life I see a bag as an investment piece that I intend to carry for many years, but I don’t want to spend too much money on a bag as I live a pretty active and casual life. But I’m more and more aware of the fact that a bag can add some quite a bit of interest to an outfit.

Click here to check out the fabulous bloggers I’m linking up with.

Be well,

[Disclosure: Links to Gabs bags in this post are affiliate links, and may benefit from actions taken on the links.]

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Graphic Tee

I’ve been wanting to get a graphic tee for a long time, but somehow I had never come across the “perfect” one. When we were in Germany I saw a cute graphic tee in a little shop. I liked that it’s a shout out to my hometown (so, yes, this is the second “touristy item” I bought, the first being the bag). I also liked the colors - white, black & red, so I bought it.

Graphic Tee CloseUp

Graphic Tee 2

I wore the tee for the first time back home on an outing to downtown San Jose and decided to style it with white shorts and my new Rebecca Minkoff Dog Clip Saddle bag, which I purchased during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale as an early birthday present to myself (actually, I used birthday money my parents had given me early…).

Graphic Tee 1 
Graphic Tee 3

I love all of the fun street art that’s popping up all over downtown San Jose.

Graphic Tee 4

Here is a close up of the Rebecca Minkoff Dog Clip Saddle bag. I love this little bag. It has an adjustable strap and can be worn as a crossbody.

Rebecca Minkoff Dog Clip Leather Bag

And buying this tee reminded me that I like graphic tees, so I’ve been looking online a bit. Here are some graphic tees that I wouldn’t mind adding to my closet: 

Questions: Do you like graphic tees? Do you own any? If so, which one is your favorite one? 

Click here to check out the fabulous bloggers I’m linking up with.

Be well,

[Disclosure: Links to clothing items in this post are affiliate links, and may benefit from actions taken on the links.] 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Why A Scarf is A Great Souvenir

When we were in Munich, I spied a beautiful silk scarf on our first day there. To be honest, Andy actually saw it first. The scarf was quite pricey, and I debated whether to buy it for a day. But then I decided to get it, and I’m very glad I did as I know that it will bring me joy for many years to come and at the same time remind me of our time in Germany and Munich. Plus, scarves are light and small and therefore the perfect souvenir to bring back!

The scarf has a green side and a turquoise side, and I love both colors. I wore the scarf on a beer garden outing and borrowed my mom’s green purse (btw, I decided I needed a green purse myself and bought one. I’ll show it to you in a future post). I look forward to experimenting with the scarf some more, but here are a few ways I played with it. 

GreenTurquoiseScarf 3
GreenTurquoiseScarf 4
GreenTurquoiseScarf 5
GreenTurquoiseScarf 7


If you have been reading this blog for a while or follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I LOVE scarves because they can easily transform a boring outfit. Here are a few scarves I would love to add to my collection:

Question: What was the last “extravagant” purchase you ended up making after some deliberation? Are you regretting it now, or are you glad you went for it? 

Click here to check out the fabulous bloggers I’m linking up with.

Be well,

[Disclosure: Links to clothing items in this post are affiliate links, and may benefit from actions taken on the links.]

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Summer Poncho and Würzburg

Summer Poncho to Stay Cool

While we were in Germany, the weather ranged from cool, rainy and windy to hot and humid. One of the pieces of clothing I bought while there, was a summer poncho, made of a thin, “cool” material (I looked for the tag with the material, but I think I cut it off, and I have no idea what it said - which also means I have no idea what the washing recommendations are!). The poncho became my go-to piece during the hottest days. It kept me so much cooler than just a tee or tank and provided some protection from the sun on those sunny days.

The photos were taken in Würzburg, and the castle in the background is the Fortress Marienberg, a medieval castle that’s fun to walk up to and explore. Würzburg is also the starting point of the Romantic Road and is quite popular with tourists. In addition to the old fortress on the hill, there is also the Residence, a Baroque/Rococo palace downtown with famous frescoes by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Besides being easily reached by car or train, Würzburg is also a stop for many river cruises, including possible day trips to Rothenburg. I’m very intrigued by many of the European river cruises and hope to go on one some day. 

Most of the town center is closed off to cars, which makes exploring the city very enjoyable.

Summer Poncho

We also enjoyed a nice lunch right by the Main river with a beautiful view of the river and the Fortress Marienberg.

Summer ponchos I love: Chico's linen poncho (on major sale), sheer fringe poncho, Vince Camuto poncho blouse

Questions: Do you own a summer poncho? If so, how do you like it? 

Click here to check out the fabulous bloggers I’m linking up with.

Be well,

[Disclosure: Links to clothing items in this post are affiliate links, and may benefit from actions taken on the links.]

Thursday, August 4, 2016

What To Pack for a Trip to Germany in Summer

The weather can be quite unpredictable in northern Europe in summer. Even if you’ve checked the forecast online, things can change rather quickly, and it is not uncommon to get caught in an unannounced rain shower.

Rainy SummerMake sure you always have an umbrella with you!

When visiting Germany in summer, you’ll have to be prepared for anything from rain and temperatures in the low 60s (or even lower) to hot and humid conditions.

BerlinRainy and windy day in Berlin 

We spent almost three weeks in Germany in July, and I put a lot of thought and planning into my travel wardrobe and have to say that it all worked out very well. Since all pieces of my travel wardrobe worked together (and I made sure I had layers for different temperatures), I was able to take very few pieces of clothes (and had plenty of room to buy clothes and other things to bring back!), and I also wore almost everything I packed, which is a first! In the interest of full disclosure, I did laundry and also hand washed some items.  

BiergartenOne of several beer garden visits

The base of my wardrobe was black and white with blue and green accent colors (as well as a few colorful necklaces). Here is what I took on our trip and some thoughts on what worked (and didn’t work) and why:

First, here is what I wore on the airplane (very similar to the outfit I wore above in Berlin):
  • Grey leopard print jeans 
  • Jacket Society Hooded Cargo Jacket 
  • Black Athleta Pure Tank - this is such a flattering and versatile top. It worked with everything.
  • Thin long sleeve sweatshirt 
  • Sneakers 
  • Large blue/white striped scarf - I always take a large scarf on an airplane. Since we flew with WOW Airlines, which does not provide pillows or blankets, I was VERY glad I had the scarf. 
Marienplatz MünchenTrying to catch some pokemon at Marienplatz in Munich - unfortunately, our cell phones didn’t quite cooperate...

In addition, I brought the following tops and sweaters: 
  • White Athleta Pure Tank - it’s the same one as the black one I wore on the plane 
  • Black and blue Daniel Rainn pleated blouses - these blouses were some of my best purchases in a long time, and they were perfect for my travel wardrobe (in fact, I bought them specifically for the trip). The blouses are very comfortable and flattering and were really easy to wash and dry in a hotel room. 
  • Black Trina Turk Accomplice Top - I didn’t necessarily need to pack this top as I already took the Daniel Rainn blouse in black, which is quite similar. 
  • White peasant blouse
  • Off-white/black striped blouse and matching tank
  • White vest
  • Black cardigan
  • Black/white striped cardigan 
Fortress Würzburg 2
Fortress Marienberg in Würzburg in the background
Catching PokemonCatching pokemon in Würzburg

And here are the skirts I brought: 
  • Black/white striped maxi skirt
  • Black/white pencil skirt - never wore it 
Fortress Marienberg Würzburg Visiting Fortress Marienberg in Würzburg - such a fun place to walk around and explore, especially for kids

And here are the pants I brought: 
  • Denim capris
  • Marimekko for Target Palazzo pants 
Würzburg ResidenceAnother view of the Residence in Würzburg on another day

  • Capri leggings - to hang out in
  • Full-length leggings - I brought these to wear under the maxi skirt on colder days but ended up not wearing them
  • 2 tunics to wear with the leggings - I wore them around my parents' house, etc. 
  • Several necklaces, scarves & neck scarves
  • Colorful Desigual bag
  • Umbrellas

Walk to Randersacker and exploring the cute, little (but well-known) wine town

Hike to Kloster AndechsHike to Kloster Andechs from Herrsching at Ammersee (you can take the S Bahn from the Munich main train station to Herrsching - a beautiful little town with a beautiful lake) - such an amazing hike; we chose the steeper route and also walked very fast as a very heavy rain storm was fast approaching. We were very glad that we made it to the top before the heavy downpour started. Since the rain was so heavy, we took the bus back down to Herrsching.

Kloster Andechs 2Almost there!
Kloster Andechs 1We enjoyed a giant pretzel, beer, & apple juice mixed with sparkling water at Kloster Andechs. 

If you want to see more of my travel looks, you can check out my last post when we visited Rothenburg as well as my Instagram feed.

Questions: Have you ever visited Germany (or any other country in Europe) in summer? If so, what did you pack? Did you pack enough/too much? What are your holiday packing strategies? Are you like me and like to leave plenty of space in your suitcase so you can bring back plenty of things? 

Click here to check out the fabulous bloggers I’m linking up with.

Be well,

[Disclosure: Most links to clothing items in this post are affiliate links, and may benefit from actions taken on the links.]