Thursday, February 19, 2015

Tea and Crumpets!

I went to a bridal shower a few weekends ago at Crown and Crumpet's Tea Stop Cafe in San Francisco.  It was the cutest little English tea shop located in an incredibly modern building in the middle of Japantown.  Despite the oxymoron that was the last sentence, it was a great experience.

Crown & Crumpet's teas were fragrant and tasty. They served four different types of tea at the shower (but obviously have more available): traditional English breakfast, Peach Crumpet white tea, Lychee Oolong and Murky Water, which is a rooibos blend.  I tried all of them and my favorite was definitely the peach white tea, but they were all delicious!  We also got some traditional afternoon tea snacks including crumpets (obviously), mini sandwiches, scones and a variety of desserts.  I would highly recommend checking out this little shop if you're ever in the area!

Gorgeous table setting with a very "English" decor

Bridal centerpiece with tea time snacks including mini sandwiches, crumpets, scones and desserts

 Tea party favors with English Breakfast tea and some Danish sweets... and the "Great Wall of China," which I found hilarious, so I thought I'd take a picture of it

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sephora Formula X Nail System Review

I've been incredibly obsessed with nail polish lately, but I hate going to nail salons.  I don't like how long the process takes and how much it costs for something that usually doesn't last for more than a week.  People tell me that I'm supposed to feel pampered at the nail salon, but I would much rather just do my own nails at home.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across the Formula X nail system at Sephora.  I've used the nail polish before, but decided that since it was probably time to throw out my old Orly base/top coat that I've had for 3 years, I'll try the entire Formula X system.  The "system" includes a nail cleanser, base coat, and top coat (all 0.4 fl oz. bottles).  If you buy the complete set, you get a free nail color (I chose "Prism" which is described as a "mermaid green pearl").  The system costs $32 at Sephora (a $44 value, since you get a free polish).

The sales associate at the store claims that the Formula X system will keep your manicure lasting up to 8 days.  I've never had a polish last 8 days on my hands, so I decided to do a review on this.  For this review, I'm not using the Prism polish that came with the system (since the color is not really "work appropriate"), but am, instead, using my new Essie polish in the color "Merino Cool."  Here are my findings... enjoy!

Day 1: Thursday, February 5, 2015, 8:30 pm

Finished manicure... my initial impression is that the cleanser felt like it was drying out my nails, but I guess that's what it is supposed to do since its job is to get rid of excess oils and residue.  The base coat went on smooth, but A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY!  Don't use too much of this or you will get a thick coat that's takes longer to dry.  The top coat was incredibly thick, but very shiny!  So far so good.

Base coat

After two coats of polish

Final result with one layer of top coat

Day 1:  Thursday, February 5, 2015, 9:35 pm

I just bumped my nails up against the computer (one hour after nails have been done)... I was freaking out thinking that I would have to start over.  When I looked, however, there was no chip, no scratch, no indent... nothing!  My nails still look freshly polished, which is not what I have experienced with other top coats/polishes in the past.  The top coat seems incredibly fast drying and sturdy.

Day 3, Saturday, February 7, 2015, 8:24 pm

Polish still looks pretty good and intact with a few small chips on the tips due to my own clumsiness... but all in all, still good!

Day 8, Thursday, February 12, 7:49 pm

My polish finally started to really chip on day 8, but I think it could've still last a few more days!  I have to say, I am pleasantly surprised at how well and how long the polish lasted!  When I took off the polish, there was no staining on my nails, which means the base coat did it's job protecting the nails.  It actually took a few cotton balls soaked with remover to get rid of it completely.  The top coat remained consistently shiny throughout the week and is very long wearing.

I highly recommend the Formula X Nail System.  It does what it says, which is "get twice the shine and twice the wear," and well worth the investment!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Stitch Fix Unboxing!

This is not my first time trying Stitch Fix.  This, however, will be the first time I blog about my unboxing experience, which is something I've wanted to do for a while, but never did.

If you don't know what Stitch Fix is, it is a service in which a personal stylist picks out clothes for you based on an initial profile of styles, likes/dislikes, and body type/shape, etc. that you indicate when you sign up for the service.  Each shipment contains five items (could be clothing, accessories or jewelry).  The items get shipped to you, and you have three days to try out the clothing in the comfort of your own home.  There is a $20 styling fee for each "fix," that gets put towards the items you decide to purchase.  If you decide to send everything back, then you lose out on the $20 styling fee.  

This unboxing will be my third "fix."  My first one didn't go so well... the box came with torn skinny jeans (which I hate!!), two hideous blouses, a weird boxy dress and a drape cardigan.  I ended up buying the cardigan only to not lose out on my $20 styling fee.  However, the more fixes you get, the better the stylist gets to know you and will, supposedly, pick out better items.  My second fix was excellent - they were all things that I could wear to work as well as on the weekends.  I kept all the items except for, yet, another boxy dress that didn't fit me.  Hence, we are now on this third fix, which I will now unbox!

When you open the box, you'll see your items wrapped in tissue paper, a pre-paid return bag for unwanted items and an envelope with a note from your stylist and your invoice.

Your stylist will include some cards with ideas on how to match different items in the box.

In this box, I received the 41Hawthorn Gideon Polka Dot Sweater, the Callie Denim Jacket from Kut From the Kloth, a Renee C Macklin Blurred Floral Print Blouse, the Margaret M Emer High Waisted Cropped Trouser (which I actually requested because I loved the previous pair I received in fix #2 so much), and lastly, the Maisy Geo Print Dress from Collective Concepts.

My initial impression when I first opened the box and took out all these items is that I didn't like a single one except for the trousers that I requested.  I'm not a big "print" person, I like solids, and half of these things had prints that I would just never even try on if I saw them in a retail store.  I immediately thought that fix #3 was a failure just by looking at these things.  I suppose this the good thing about Stitch Fix:  it forces you to try things you wouldn't even look twice at in a store!  You tend to discover things about your style that you didn't know.

Here are the items that I tried on:

Outfit #1:  Here is the dress with the denim jacket.  I actually hated the denim jacket when I put it on by itself, but it looks nice with the dress!  The like the dress well enough by itself.

Verdict: Returning both.  As much as I like this outfit, I cannot justify spending $88 on the dress and $74 on the jacket when I feel like both are "meh" by itself.

Outfit #2:  Polka dot sweater with the Margaret M pants.  The sweater actually looks pretty good, despite my initial reservations!  I was very disappointed with the Margaret M pants.  Since I requested it for the second time, I thought that I would love it (and at $98 a pair, I better love it), however, this pair didn't fit the same as the last one.  The fabric was a bit different and not as stretchy, which made it a bit uncomfortable.  

Verdict:  Returning the pants, but keeping the sweater.  The sweater was one of the cheaper items in the fix at $68, which is not more than a sweater would cost at Banana Republic.  This is actually a dual layer sweater and very warm.  If you turn it inside out, it can be worn as a black sweater with white dots.

Item #3: Though it was the most affordable item in the fix at $54, this Renee C blouse was just awkward.  It did not fit me well and was way too long in the back vs. the front.  Therefore, no picture of me in it!

Verdict:  Returning for sure!

Final Verdict:  I give this fix a 3 out of 5.  If it weren't for the prices, I might actually have kept the dress and denim jacket, since they were both comfortable and, together, made a great outfit.  This was definitely not as good as fix #2, but overall, a decent fix.  

I think every should try Stitch Fix at least once!  The first time is free - they will just give you $20 for the styling fee that you can use towards your purchase.  So it's risk free.  If anything, it's definitely exciting to open up a box of new clothes waiting for you at the end of the day!

Stitch Fix

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Grand View Park... the view really is grand!

I got a Canon EOS Rebel T5 for Christmas this year, and have been inspired to explore my city and try out different settings with the camera.  We went to Grand View Park in San Francisco this weekend, and here are some pictures I took!  The park is located on 15th and Noriega in the Sunset District.  However, to experience it all, you must start at the bottom at 16th and Moraga to enjoy the climb up as well as the mosaic stairs!

Mosaic stairs at the bottom of 16th and Moraga

Intricate mosaic

View of Ocean Beach from the top of the mosaic stairs... it's a bit foggy, but it's there!

Different colored mosaic at the top!

More stairs at 15th and Noriega... Grand View Park is at the top of this climb!

Gorgeous view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park 

You can even see downtown San Francisco from here!

This is a hidden little gem in San Francisco.  The climb is easy and at the end, you're treated to a 360 degree view of the city!