Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Day In the City: Extra Fancy Birthday Tea and An Art Gallery

This past Saturday my ladies and I went to San Francisco for an extra fancy birthday tea at Neiman Marcus and to an art book signing at the Rena Bransten Gallery

The book signing was actually first on the list. The artist, Marci Washington, is an old friend of mine from middle school! I was so excited and happy to hear that she had a book out! I love her style. It's so dark and thick with ambiance and mood! Each of her paintings tells a vivid and layered story. I love how each of her paintings invoke a sense of a Gothic bygone time and yet feature modern elements such as a building with modern architecture or the modern lines of a man's suit... it's as though it's a historic time which perhaps hasn't existed yet.

Marci and I at the Rena Bransten Gallery In Front of Marci's Painting and Wallpaper!

Marci's Book!

Next on the list was tea time at the Rotunda at Neiman Marcus. I've never been to either Neiman Marcus or to tea at the Rotunda so it was quite a treat to check it out. The Rotunda is up at the 4th level of Neiman Marcus and as you walk through and up the escalators you pass by what looks like little individual shops for each of the major super upscale fashion designers such as Chanel, Oscar de la Renata, Diana Von Furstenberg, and so many more I can't even list them. Super swanky! I have to say though, other than the beautiful stained glass window on the ceiling featured in the Rotunda (and when you first walk into Neiman Marcus), after walking through Neiman Marcus and past all the upscale fashion labels, I was a little disappointed that the Rotunda didn't seem fancier than it did. The seating and the ambience of the restaurant was just.... kind of normal... the wait staff did, on the other hand, definitely infuse an air of elegance to the atmosphere! It's hard to describe exactly. Maybe it's the straight upper lip, the good posture, the soft spokenness, the uniforms? But the wait staff was amazing and exactly what I would expect from such an upscale establishment.

When we were first shown to our tables we were served glasses of iced water right away soon followed by demitasse cups and saucers of chicken consume with a mini cheese pastry. Next we were informed that they had made extra popovers and gave one each to us complimentary with strawberry butter. The popovers were warm and fresh. For tea I ordered the Royal Tea with Jardin Bleu Black tea. The tea was excellent with definite notes of fruity rhubarb and strawberry without being at all tart.

Oddly enough, for tea here you are presented with small paper packets of the usual sugar, raw sugar, and sugar substitutes rather than a proper sugar bowl. The cream we got for our tea on the other hand seemed to be real cream rather than just milk.

For our tea, each of the teas came with a selection of five tea sandwiches: lobster salad on puff pastry, smoked salmon with cream cheese, chicken salad, turkey, cucumber and cream cheese, and deviled egg salad. While more or less it was the usual fare for tea, the sandwiches were excellent and so flavorful. Very delicious! The deserts on the other hand were a little subpar. Nothing really stood out as being especially delicious, or especially decadent.

The scones were the saving grace for the sweets selection. The cranberry scones were extra flaky and very good. These were served with an extra wide selection of accompaniments: honey, lemon curd, fresh strawberry jam, whipped cream, and a lemon. The lemon was wrapped in mesh material to keep the seeds from going on your plate.

For as much food as we were served, we all finished everything on our plates. I kind of had the impression that it wasn't as much food as I am usually served for tea though it may have been that we were all especially hungry too... In any cast, we were all definitely and pleasantly full by the end of tea.

In parting, we were served single packets of chocolate mints packaged exclusively for Neiman Marcus.

Overall, it was a fine tea and an excellent day out with the ladies in the city.

Stained Glass Window At the Rotunda, Neiman Marcus, San Francisco

Tea Menu at the Rotunda, Neiman Marcus

Chicken Consume

Enjoying My Chicken Consume

Schramsberg "Mirabelle" Brut Rose, California NV

Warm Popover and Strawberry Butter

Tea For Three at the Rotunda, Neiman Marcus

Jardin Bleu Black Tea, Dammann Freres
Assortment Of Accompaniments For The Scones
The Ladies At The Rotunda, Neiman Marcus

Outfit of the Day:

For this day's outing I wore the Eiffel Tower dress by Tatyana (formally Bettie Page). This is one of my most favorite dresses in my closet! I picked this dress because it is both lovely and comfortable and also I picked it in homage to Bastille Day which was just that past Monday! I paired this with my trusty and comfy black flats from the Gap Outlet because I knew there was going to be a whole lot of walking going on! I also took along a black angora vintage style cardigan for good measure in case it got cold. You never know what the weather's going to do in San Francisco... or Northern California for that fact!!

Bettie Page/Tatyana Eiffel Tower Dress- Front View

Bettie Page/Tatyana Eiffel Tower Dress- Front View

Bettie Page/Tatyana Eiffel Tower Dress- Side View

Bettie Page/Tatyana Eiffel Tower Dress- Front View

Bettie Page/Tatyana Eiffel Tower Dress- Side View

Monday, July 21, 2014

Cat's Where It's At: Heart of Haute and Their Blue Kittens Skirts!

I love Cats! 

I wish I could take my cats with me everywhere. Actually, in theory, I do since they travel with me via cat fur on my clothes! ;)

In any case, it is so nice to see cat print clothing readily available for purchase. I recently picked up Heart of Haute's Blue Kittens print in their A-line skirt. I was torn between ordering the Blue Kittens in the Monique dress or in the A-line skirt but ultimately opted for the skirt since it's more versatile and can be worn with more things. Even though a dress is a ready-made outfit, I do find it a nice option sometimes to mix and match and wear some separates in form of skirt and top.

The Heart of Haute A-line skirt is exactly as named: a nice basic A-line skirt. It has a back zip, a nice A-line flair, and has a decently long length. On me, this skirt comes to just under my knees. The perfect length for a classic 60's style and silhouette. This skirt is 100% cotton as is usual for Heart of Haute's items which makes it easy to wash and care for. The print is a light blue with white pin dots and with adorable white kitties scattered about either playing with each other or wearing crowns.

I paired it here with Modcloth's Retro Bike Ride Top by Sunny Girl and also with a vintage white button up blouse I got from Etsy. For sizing purposes, I ordered this in my usual size large and it fit my 39-31-38, 5'3" frame well.
Heart Of Haute Blue Kittens A-line Skirt With Modcloth Retro Bike Ride Top- Front View

Heart Of Haute Blue Kittens A-line Skirt With Modcloth Retro Bike Ride Top- Side View

Heart Of Haute Blue Kittens A-line Skirt With Modcloth Retro Bike Ride Top- Back View

Heart Of Haute Blue Kittens A-line Skirt With White Vintage Top- Front View

Heart Of Haute Blue Kittens A-line Skirt With White Vintage Top- Front View

Heart Of Haute Blue Kittens A-line Skirt With White Vintage Top- Side View

Heart Of Haute Blue Kittens A-line Skirt With White Vintage Top- Back View

Heart Of Haute Blue Kittens A-line Skirt with Blue B.A.I.T. Ida Kitten Heels- Close Up

Friday, July 18, 2014

More Modcloth Finds: 50% Off Sale!

During the last couple of weeks Modcloth was having an awesome 50% off sale!

During this sale I snagged a few things ;)

The Chic Companion Skirt in Chat by Bea and Dot is a fun modern take on the 1950's poodle skirt. This is a essentially a poodle skirt with a cat! The material of the skirt is a flowly, heavier weight polyester/spandex blend and has a good drape to it. I think this skirt would be perfect with a petticoat to really show off the silky white cat which is stitched onto the front lower corner of the skirt. It has a shape without a petticoat but the cat does get a little lost in the folds of the skirt when it is worn as is.

I paired this skirt here with a vintage white 1950's blouse from Etsy and B.A.I.T. Ida black and white kitten heels... a perfect pairing for this 50's style skirt!

Also, for those who are unfamiliar with the brand, it seems that Bea and Dot is Modcloth's house brand and are their own in-house designs. Apparently Bea and Dot was named after Modcloth's Founder, Susan Koger's two grandmothers. Myrtlewood is another house brand of Modcloth's. At least this is what I read on blogger's Cathey with an E's blog. Makes since as the label for the Bea and Dot skirt read: Bea and Dot By Modcloth. ;)

Bea and Dot Chic Companion Skirt- Front View

Bea and Dot Chic Companion Skirt- Front View

Bea and Dot Chic Companion Skirt- Side View

Bea and Dot Chic Companion Skirt- Back View

Bea and Dot Chic Companion Skirt- Cat Close Up

Another great find which I was especially excited about is the Off Tropic Dress by Collectif A.K.A. Collectif's Tullulah Tropical Toucan print dress.

The Tullulah Tropical Toucan print dress is a sarong style dress (the first in my dress collection!). This dress has wider shoulder straps, a ruched fitted bustline, a back zip, and a self fabric belt with a bamboo buckle! The fabric is a thickly woven cotton print which has fun pink flamingos, blue and teal leaves, pink, yellow, and white plumaria, black and white toucans, white and blue birds, and yellow pineapples! The thickly woven texture of the fabric gives this dress a true vintage look!

While I absolutely love the print, the material, and the design of this sarong style dress, the fit of it is extremely weird. I chatted with a Modcloth stylist about what size I should get since on the Modcloth website it says to order a size down but also that there is no stretch in the fabric. She advised that my best bet would be to go with my usual size large since a medium might be too tight around the waist. Once this dress arrived I was dismayed to find that the top was extremely big and the waist was also a little big. Also, a strange thing about this dress is that the back zip is able to zip a good distance down the length of the dress but the opening of the liner on the inside of the dress actually stops a good distance from the end of the zipper, restricting the opening for wiggling into the dress. While size-wise I might actually have been able to order a size down, the weird lining closing the back before the end of the zipper would have completely prevented me from getting into the dress.

In any case, I pulled some seams in on the sides of the dress (thank goodness there were no side zippers!) and on the waist darts. I made these alterations as just a quick fix without doing a super professional job and without undoing the lining first, but because of the super busy pattern on the dress it is completely unnoticeable!

I probably wouldn't have put as much effort into this dress if it wasn't such a steal and if it didn't have the flamingos and the super cool thickly woven true vintage looking fabric. After the sale price discount and after a $20 credit from their refer a friend program (!!!! :D People I know are awesome for trying them out. You know who you are ;)) I ended up getting this dress for only $30!

Tullulah Tropical Toucan Print Dress, Collectif- Front View

Tullulah Tropical Toucan Print Dress, Collectif- Side View

Tullulah Tropical Toucan Print Dress, Collectif- Back View

Tullulah Tropical Toucan Print Dress, Collectif- Close Up

Collectif is a U.K. based vintage reproduction company which features awesome designs. One thing I really love about their clothing is that they don't only focus on dresses as most vintage repro brands seem to do but also have an extensive collection of tops, blouses, cardigans, and even pants! I often hesitate on ordering their stuff though since shipping from the UK is rather high and I cringe at the thought of having to ship back clothes and loose out on both shipping to me and shipping back to them if the items I order don't fit. Enter Modcloth who often stock some of Collectif's items and offers free shipping on orders over $50 and only $5 shipping back to them if the items don't work out. :)

Overall, it was a great shopping day on Modcloth :D

Also, for sizing purposes, the Bea and Dot skirt I got in large which fit my 39-31-38, 5'3" frame well! And as mentioned, I ordered the Collectif dress in size large (UK 14)... my usual size from Collectif, which fit me not so well.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Leisurely Sunday Afternoon

Leisurely Sunday afternoons are the best.

Especially when the sun is shining, the weather's great, and you get to spend some time outdoors.

This past Sunday my husband and I went out to the park to play a round of bocce ball then went out for Italian ice and frozen custard. Too bad every day can't be a Sunday!

Outfit of the Day:

For this easy-going day I wore a green plaid sundress by Ixia which I bought from Ebay and some oversized woven-looking white and gold earrings I picked up from Modcloth during their recent 50% off sale.

Plaid Sundress By Ixia- Front View

Plaid Sundress By Ixia- Side View

Woven-Looking White and Gold Earrings, Modcloth- Close Up

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Picnic In The Park: Betty's Baby Shower

Hello Kittens!

Last weekend I went out with my girls to Santa Clara to celebrate a friend's baby shower. The weather was perfect, we had a nice comfortable seat in the shade, the food was great, and you really couldn't ask for better company! Congratulations to the happy couple on their new edition!


Lovely Cake Table At Betty and Brady's Baby Shower

The Happy Couple Celebrating Their New Edition

Outfit of the Day:

For this day's festivities I wore the Bettie Page Paradise Dress and a straw cloche hat. For convience and comfort, I paired this with blue flats from Blowfish.

Bettie Page Paradise Dress- Front View

Bettie Page Paradise Dress- Side View

The dress comes with a matching bolero which I brought with me but didn't end up wearing... the weather was perfect for a sundress!

Bettie Page Paradise Dress With Matching Bolero- Front View

Bettie Page Paradise Dress With Matching Bolero- Side View

With Straw Cloche Hat

Monday, July 14, 2014

Dress Reviews: The Ruche Semi Annual Sale!

A couple of weeks ago Ruche launched their semi-annual sale.

There were a couple of things I had my eye on on their site and had just previously missed their $30 off $100 or more sale so I was happy to see that this new sale brought my items down to an even lower price. During their sale they had several items marked down to 30-50% and were offering an additional 20% off everything on their site!

At bargain prices I picked up their Estate House Floral Dress (about $30)... a dress I previously blogged about on the post Matching Your Dress To Your Teaware and I also picked up the Parisian Cafes Drop Waist Dress (about $20).

The Estate House Floral dress by Under Skies is a shorter style, fit and flair, chiffon dress in a dark turquoise blue with pink, yellow, and white flowers and blue leaves. I love the combination of the vivid yet calming colors, the flowiness of the light and airy chiffon fabric, and the classic fit and flair shape! This dress comes fully lined, has a hidden back zipper, and a cute little metal button in the back at the nap of the neck. On me this dress falls a couple of inches above the knees which is a little shorter than I usually like to wear but will suit me well for when I feel like having a more modern look. And just as expected, this dress goes just darling with my Grace Tea Ware tea for one set which is something I really love about this dress!

Estate House Floral Dress By Under Skies From Ruche- Front View

Estate House Floral Dress By Under Skies From Ruche- Side View

Estate House Floral Dress By Under Skies From Ruche- Back View
Estate House Floral Dress By Under Skies From Ruche- Back Button Detail
Estate House Floral Dress By Under Skies From Ruche With Grace Tea Ware Tea For One

The Parisian Cafes Drop Waist dress by Hem and Thread is a two piece dress. The first part is an under dress, a mauve dress that has a sheer perforated pleated skirt attached to a super soft stretchy mauve tank top. The straps on the under dress are adjustable and the sheer skirt is lined with a silky material in the same color as the skirt. The second part of this dress is a white lace tank top that goes over the dress. The white lace tank top is loose fitting with a back zip and button closure at the nap of the neck. I love loose fitting drop waist dresses! They have such a fun look and feel. Usually these style of dresses screams 1960's to me but because of the lace and the soft feminine mauve color of the sheer skirt I feel like this dress definitely has more of a early 1930's feel to it. This dress is so comfortable and adorable at the same time! I love it!

Parisian Cafes Drop Waist Dress By Hem and Thread From Ruche- Front View

Parisian Cafes Drop Waist Dress By Hem and Thread From Ruche- Side View

Parisian Cafes Drop Waist Dress By Hem and Thread From Ruche- Back View

Parisian Cafes Drop Waist Dress By Hem and Thread From Ruche- Close Up Of Lace

I will definitely be looking forward to more finds from Ruche and will definitely look forward to their next semi-annual sale!

In both dresses I ordered a size large which fit my 39-31-38, 5'3" frame perfectly!