Category Archives: Outfits

{Travel Diary} The Pacific Northwest

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As if traveling to the other side of the world wasn’t enough this summer, I took a quick trip across the country to visit my friend who just had a baby in Portland, Oregon and therefore had a little adventure in Pacific Northwest.

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While I’ve done the must-see things as a tourist in Portland like hike in Forest Park, admire the International Test Rose Garden and Lan Su Chinese Garden, spend time in the largest book store, Powells, wait in line for an hour just to get Voodoo Donuts, lunch at the food carts, and get the original Stumptown coffee, we decided to try some new things, including other coffee at Water Street Coffee (also good!).

|ABOVE| Mavi overalls (c/o) // J.Crew tank // Birkenstock sandals // Free People tote // Goorin hat (similar here) // etc… for By Brooklyn necklace // Stella and Dot spike bracelet // Maison Antonym ring (c/o)

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Doughnuts are the new cupcake in Portland—and definitely meant to split to try all of the fun flavors. Voodoo is the most famous doughnut shop there, but this trip we did as the locals do and tried Bluestar donuts, which had some of the most exciting flavors like including blueberry bourbon basil.

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After traveling across the world this summer, it took flying 30,000 feet over Portland to realize how magical some of our own country is.

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We took a road trip to Washington, which was surprisingly mostly desert through the middle and what little forest we saw was sadly on fire. On the bright side, we managed to get past the smoke and watch a beautiful sunset over the gorge next to Arcade Fire in concert. We laid on the grass and watched the stars, something us city folk don’t see often, and enjoyed the show that way.

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We stumbled upon the Renegade Craft Fair and found some amazing local designers and artists braving the oddly hot day for the Pacific Northwest.

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One of my favorites there happened to be a jewelry line called Dea Dia, which won me over with their beautiful recycled brass cuffs with raw crystals on it. I had a stack of them on one arm and was so tempted to buy them all. I’m kicking myself for not purchasing just one of these one-of-a-kind cuffs.

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Another tempting purchase was the most adorable cat food bowl I’ve ever seen by Cinder Ceramics, complete with golden fish scales and a fish in the inside. The designer told me she just sold the other half of the set, which houses the water and a fish actually moves around in it.

Below are more of my picks from these talented Portland designers. Click on the image below to shop their sites:

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Casually Polished

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As I’ve mentioned in the past, sometimes it’s just a few pieces in your wardrobe that make you always look polished and complete.

Case in point: when I went to visit my good friend Rachel on her family’s panoramic wrap around deck on the Upper West Side, I had been casually dressed in jeans and a tee all day. Then I swapped my flat sandals for heeled sandals, threw on a blazer and a killer bag, and I was then ready to go from my comfortable casual look to catching up with a friend and grabbing dinner with friends in the city.

Speaking of killer bags, I’ve coveted this bag since last winter to the point where I’ve had a picture of it from Harper’s Bazaar ripped out and hung in my office. To my dismay—and every other fashionista’s dismay—it’s been sold out to the point where I’m on the wait-list…for spring 2015. I couldn’t wait until then and who knows if this style will even be around then? Like the savvy shopper I am, I stalked eBay for a while until I found the one I want and a reasonable price.

If you’re loving the bucket bag look but can’t get your hands on one, check out the alternatives below.

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Rag & Bone blazer (sample never produced from sample sale, similar here and here) // Isabel Marant x H&M tee // J.Crew jeans (similar) // Iro shoes // Goorin hat (similar here and here) // Nona E. Rose belt // Mansur Gavriel bag (sold out everywhere, similar styles below)

photos by Rachel Sax

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{Travel Diary} Hoi An, Vietnam

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|ABOVE| French Connection top (old) // Vagamundo pants // Birkenstock sandals // TOMS sunglasses // Hathamade necklace // bag and bracelets from Sapa, Vietnam

I think the best comparison of Hoi An would be the “Disney of Vietnam.” Only in the past decade or so has this become quite the tourist destination and shopping mecca, so when our trip was planned by our family friend that’s a native to the country, she didn’t want to spend much time there. I can see why. I definitely saw more foreigners than locals hanging out in the streets of the French Quarter, the old city of Hoi An that was once part of the Silk Road and now is filled with shops and tourist attractions.

Still, there was no denying the charm, beauty, and even the history of this port city. The silk lanterns that filled the shops and lined the streets were colorful eye candy, especially at night, when they all were lit up and the streets were filled with the hustling of tourists and motorbikes. I constantly was dodging one or the other as I couldn’t help from looking up and taking pictures (as you can see!).

Of course my favorite destination in this region was hands down going to Yaly, a store that makes custom couture clothing on the spot. I met with a salesperson who took my hubby and I around the shop to pick out fabrics, silks and blends with silks, for the designs we wanted. We had our measurements taken and they give you an infinite amount of design options with books that have styles they can copy, but they just as easily took the Elizabeth & James suit I had on my iphone, as well as the Armani tux and another suit found in GQ that my hubby wanted. You can see the beautiful result here, which they made in just one evening for us, after a few fittings.

The tailors even worked until midnight to make sure we received our order before leaving for the next city the following morning, so we were there late enough to see the entire city of Hoi An shut down promptly at 9:30pm. All of the lights of the lanterns go out then and the tourists are back in their hotels. It’s similar to what I imagine seeing Disneyland is like after hours is like. The magic is not quite the same without all of the energy of the lights and people.

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{Travel Diary} Hue, Vietnam

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|ABOVE| Vagamundo tunic // Hathamade necklace // Urban Outfitters rucksack // TOMS sunglasses // bracelets from H’Mong women in Sapa

The ancient city of Hue was the most magical stop on my 16 day tour through Vietnam, thanks to the rich history of the central region of country. The temples and Forbidden City of the king were both incredible reminders of the culture of the country, as well as the sad destruction from war. What still stood from what was destroyed, gave me the chills, as it was older than anything existing in our own country and it was easy to envision how they once lived here.

For me, the region won my heart over because of the large Buddhist population, which are all vegetarian, so the scenery was zen-like and the food was heavenly. The smell of sandalwood incense became part of me after visiting temple after temple, where the incense burned around the clock. I had to bring some home after stopping at a market, where they showed us how they make incense. Since being home, the smell transforms me right back.

We spent much of our time in Hue on a dragon-shaped boat, cruising down the Perfume River, which owes its name to the fragrant flowers that surround the river banks. In the evening, we were serenaded by local musicians on the boat and then sent our wishes into a candle to float down the river—a wonderful way to end our evening in this city.

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{Travel Diary} Sapa, Vietnam

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My journey through Vietnam continued in the North via a bumpy 9 hour ride on a sleeper train up a mountain to Lao Cai by way of Hanoi. Not quite the luxury vacation, but it’s really the only way to travel to this region, as it’s quite mountainous and the roads are underdeveloped. We did upgrade to first class on the train, which meant there were only 4 to a cabin instead of 6.

It’s impossible to look fashionable when you’re traveling on bunk beds and then go straight to hiking mountains with local Minorities like the beautiful Flower H’Mong Tribe—which put my style to shame (case in point below).

The colors of the few minority tribes we came across were unreal, like out of a painting. The pigments of the dyes are rich and their handiwork crafting woven pieces are impressive. When they pressured me into buying their bags, I told them I was more interested in the stacks of cuffs that all of the H’mong women were wearing. They let me buy a few of the engraved brass cuffs right off of their wrists after we walked down the mountain together and talked about their village life.

While that was a remarkable experience, it was also heartbreaking to see their poverty and hardships, now relying on tourists coming to Sapa to sell their goods to. “Why you no buy from me” was desperately asked by many of them upon purchasing from another. I regret not buying more of those bracelets!

On the weekends, the Minorities Markets are quintessential to Northern Vietnam with artisans and farmers trekking miles up a mountain to set up and sell their goods. I bought an intricately hand woven and indigo dyed blanket from the market we went to, which will be a stunning bed cover in my bedroom.

We saw similar items claiming they were handmade in Sapa all over, including the bag that I bought and later found it was made in Thailand. These markets and visiting the Sapa women directly seemed to be the only way to get the real thing. It’s a shame because these villages could really use the business, as their children have to start working at age 10 and most have to drop out of school because it’s too difficult to get to on the mountain. It makes you appreciate their skills and gorgeous handmade pieces even more.

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|ABOVE| Kimono jacket found at TJMAXX // Liefsdottir tank // Vagamundo pants // Birkenstock sandals // Zara crossbody bag // Urban Outfitters backpack // TOMS sunglasses // necklace and bracelets via Vietnam

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|ABOVE| LOFT top // Express pants (old) // Keen hiking sandals // Zara scarf

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