Lace tops: I missed the bandwagon

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When lace tops first started trending some seasons ago (I don't think they're "on trend" right at this moment but I just barely jumped on this bandwagon a couple years ago- don't push me off yet!), I was unsure if I could look and feel good in one because they were more frilly and "fancy" than anything I am usually drawn to. Sure, I like tops that have a unique style to them with various prints, colors and textures but somehow, the lace top felt a bit too wedding/1800s Lizzie Borden-esque. The other issue I had was, what do I wear under this see-through thing? A camisole every time? I can't be bothered! 

Then one day I spotted the lace top I'm wearing in the top photo (and the one below) and somehow, it "spoke" to me. It didn't seem too fussy and I loved the pattern of the lace so I bravely decided to give it a try. It ended up being a really stylish (I mean, I think so) and surprisingly comfy top. These days, I take a second glance whenever I see a lace top and I'm currently the proud owner of 3. I've found a way to make them work for both super casual looks just as well as some almost-dressy looks.

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What I love most about lace tops is that they are versatile and now I see that they have a bit of a timeless feel to them, depending on how you wear them. I like that they can pretty much be worn from Spring all the way to the beginning of Fall. Even though I'm often late to the party with major trends, I think after this whole lace top thing, I will be less hesitant to try something new. Now, off-the-shoulder and ruffle tops are all the rage. I tried on a few and liked them but some of those off-the-shoulders are, well, very shoulder-y and to be honest, I don't think my shoulders appreciate being the center of attention (I mean, I'll have to ask them just to be sure...), she says as she posts a photo of her bare shoulders below...

Are you a lace top wearer or trendy top follower?

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The $2 loafers I can't stop wearing (and where to find a pair for yourself)

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When I was a little kid, I was annoyingly spoiled and sulky. I didn't kick or scream or anything like that (quite the contrary) but I had a certain Wednesday Addams charm that I'm happy to say I've almost fully grown out of. From that young age, my mom tried to convince me that penny loafers were classy shoes worn by classy people (always a good thing). I rolled my eyes, of course, because at the time, all the 90s kids were wearing cool sneakers with lights or jelly sandals with a scandalous 1-inch heel. Loafers felt like something an old man in the 1800s would wear.


Well. Somewhere along the line, I turned into an old man from the 1800's. To be more specific, back in March, I went to a Church rummage sale and as with any thrift or flea market I attend, the first thing I do is check out the shoes (and bags). These Dexter ones immediately caught my eye despite my 7 year old self giving me some major side-eye. These days, I'm older and wiser and quality is so important, so as soon as I felt the butter soft leather, I had to have them.
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If you've been following me on instagram, you might notice that these loafers have made a ridiculous amount of appearances in all my "from where I stand" photos. They are the perfect color to go with everything I own and honestly, I've just never worn a pair of shoes that have been so comfortable. This makes me want to search every thrift store and flea market and yard sale to hunt for barely-worn good quality shoes because you just never know what you're going to find.
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I don't know if it's just coincidence or what, but I always seem to find good shoes in towns where older people reside (and have donated their items to local thrift shops, for example) or in towns where there aren't a lot of people who share my same style. I also try to search during a week day when there are less shoppers and when it's likely that new items have recently been donated. It might sound obvious but I find that rummage sales or flea markets offer a lot more variety since many groups of people have donated their stuff. It's also important to be familiar with designer brand names and don't even hesitate when you see "Made in Italy" or "Made in Spain" items because they're usually great quality.

Now that I own these loafers, I definitely understand the classy feeling you get when wearing them. They're timeless and practical. Definitely two words my 7 year old self did not know the meaning of.
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A millennial's guide to classic films (a.k.a. movies made way before we were born)

via Google (let me know if you know who the photographer is)

I'm already predicting that a total of maybe, I don't know, 2 people will read this post. I've decided to write about classic films (in my opinion this means films that were made before 1970) because they're such a huge part of my life. I literally almost never watch films that were made in this day and age (I mean, other than must-see films like Home Alone, for example) because basically, I'm 80 years old... and I'm definitely okay with that.

When I was younger, classic films were always on in my home and my earliest film memories are The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz, Pollyanna, and The Parent Trap. I remember my parents mentioning names like Maureen O'Hara or John Wayne and I'd think "who?" and wonder what films made them so famous and why hadn't I heard of them? This was during the time when to me the only movie stars who mattered were Princess Jasmine and Aladdin.

As I got older, I started watching more classic films but mostly the family-friendly ones. They just were so easy to watch and become captivated by. 13 Ghosts. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Calamity Jane. Swiss Family Robinson. That's the gist of it. Anything with Hayley Mills. Or Doris Day. Or Audrey Hepburn.

There's always been this sort of magic that classic films bring and it's not just due to their story lines. It's like catching a glimpse of a world I knew nothing about- a world before I was born. I know Hollywood tends to exaggerate or glamorize things but I am still able to get a bit of an idea of the general lifestyle that people led back then. I can sense the bad- the racism and addiction problems that we still face today, for example. And at the same time, I see a lot of the good- the catchy soundtracks and amazing fashions, for example.

Some of the best ways to watch classic films that I've found are: Warner Archive (monthly subscription service like Netflix), Amazon (I rent films that look particularly interesting without having to commit to buying in case I don't like the film, plus I like that you can instantly stream them), and sometimes YouTube has some really old films or parts of films. Netflix occasionally has some good classic films (as of now, my favorites that are currently listed on there are The Parent Trap, Desk Set, & Cheaper by the Dozen so that's a good place to start if you're interested). Additionally, you'll probably find that your local library has a ton of classic films to borrow for free or for a small fee. (None of these sites are sponsored, by the way!)

These days, you'll catch me watching any category of classic films from westerns to film noirs. I'd like to make this a more regular thing where I highlight and talk about a current favorite classic film or film star especially if I can relate it to fashion/personal style. I hope you won't mind too much. :)

I'd love to hear what your favorite classic film is, if any!
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Day trip travel guide: Cayucos, California

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I recently took a day trip to the coastal town of Cayucos here in California. It is a super small town with a lot of life and just perfect for a weekend getaway. I've visited a handful of times before but I never got to know it as well as I did this time. Usually, it's full of tourists on weekends during the Summer (duh?) but this time, despite it being Saturday, it was nearly empty and it was quite nice to be able to walk the sidewalks without having to make room for everyone else (I'm not usually selfish, I promise, but I am a fast walker so, well, don't judge me).

Obviously, being a coastal vacation town, there's a lot of entertaining stuff to do that you don't usually get to do IRL (surfing, kayaking... who am I kidding, I don't do that stuff even on vacation but it sure looks like fun and it's nice to know it's there if I ever get brave enough). Usually, I go the antique shopping route because this town has a couple of large antique malls, so it's always fun to step back in time and browse through all the old stuff that I recognize from all the classic films I religiously watch (there's some pretty random stuff out there).

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Once you're done browsing these antique malls, your stomach will inevitably start growling and the good news is that there's a variety of eateries to choose from. After a quick google search, because millennials and their technology, I opted to try Duckie's Chowder House, a short distance from the pier. Being the predictable soul that I am, I ordered fish & chips and iced tea with a side of clam chowder (which, honestly, used to be as weird-looking to me as sushi still is, #sorrynotsorry- Duckies clam chowder is award-winning, by the way, and I definitely can assure you it's the best one I've tasted in the little time I've been eating clam chowder) and I inhaled it all in a matter of 5 minutes (you know, I'm all about living in the moment).

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After stuffing my face, it was time to roll myself out like Violet Beauregarde ("Violet, you're turning violet, Violet!") and take a short walk on the pier. It was golden hour and literally the most perfect lighting and scene I'd witnessed in such a long time. You know that rare feeling you get that all is right with the world? That's what overcame me at this moment.

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There's still quite a bit I want to do the next time I visit Cayucos. I've got my eye on their famous Brown Butter Cookie Company as well as Ocean Front Pizza, because there's nothing that brings more happiness in this world than cookies and pizza (and dogs), don't even try arguing with me.

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In true Cinderella style, I wanted to get home before midnight so that was all I got up to this time around. It was a memorable day (despite the 8,000 photos I took to help me remember the day because one day I'll be 90) and I am already looking forward to returning soon. If you're in California and need a weekend trip, this is definitely one to make. If you're not from California but are just visiting, I'd stop here for lunch if you're passing through. Let me know if you've been to Cayucos before or if you'd like to visit someday, because...because, I'm just nosy like that!

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A Wildflower show

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Over the weekend, I went to a wildflower show. Not gonna lie, my first thought was "ohh, this will be a great chance for me to get out of the house and practice my photography". But when I saw all the plants IRL, it was actually very interesting and educational and I realized you don't have to be 85 years old to appreciate the beauty of acquiring plant knowledge. *Granny voice* The kids today just don't appreciate stuff like this. But in all seriousness, events like this are really quite special.

I wasn't even going to mention this because it doesn't matter anymore, but what a pain this post was to upload. I got locked out of my flickr account (fyi, that's what happens when you forget your yahoo email password that you've had since you were 15 and can't remember the password for the email you used to backup your yahoo email account. Long story short, don't let this happen to you)
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Golden beige on a golden day

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"Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory." 
Dr. Seuss
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National Pet Day: What I wish my dogs could understand

IMG_6607 In honor of National Pet day (April 11), I wanted to share some of the things I wish I could make my dogs understand. Sometimes I feel super mean for not giving them that extra treat or I feel guilty for not having time to walk them every single day. But when all is said and done, I just want to be the best pet owner I can be because they deserve that and much more.


Dear Djinn Djinn & Lulu,

Sometimes I wish I could make you understand...

That I would give you all the chicken and treats in the world if I knew it wouldn't hurt you in the long run. I'm not being mean, I'm just selfish and want you to be in my life for as long as possible.

I wish I could make you understand that car rides are fun and 99% of the time we're going to a fun place (only 1% of the time we are going to the Vet). Speaking of the Vet, I wish you could understand that they only want to make you feel better even if sometimes needles are involved. But a simple nail trim will not hurt you (ahem, Djinn Djinn) so please don't freak out.

I also wish I could make you understand that you don't need to bark at every little sound you hear outside- I appreciate you wanting to be the tough guard dogs that you are, but it's only the mail lady and she's harmless.

I wish you could understand that grass and dirt are very different than blankets and pillows and therefore, you mustn't pee on every blanket or pillow (ahem, Lulu)

Please understand that I keep trying to find the best food to feed you but there's literally a million brands to choose from and all I can do is hope that I'm feeding you the best.

I wish you'd understand that sometimes it's necessary to wear a sweater because you both are naked in the fur department and I don't want you to freeze.

If you could only understand that I don't mean to ignore you sometimes but as a human, I'm forced to have other responsibilities- it doesn't mean I love you any less. I often wish that for one day, you could be fluent in English and I fluent in dog just so that we can be completely honest with each other  about everything (although I'm pretty sure I already know what it means when you're sitting and waiting right by the refrigerator...no words are needed for that).

I'd love to make you understand how happy I was the day I adopted each of you- they are two of the happiest days in my life and I hope that everyone who wants a pet can experience an adoption day.

Above all, I wish that you could understand how much I love you. If there are still people in this world who think animals are "just animals", they have no clue and we don't need them in our lives. I wish I could make you understand, but somehow, I think you already do...
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Pros and Cons of Coastal Living in (Central) California

Untitled Everyone wants to live by the beach, right? Right? Well, yes, and...no. I originally come from the Northern California valley so my experience with coastal living is probably a bit different than people who grew up on the coast. Still, in case you're thinking of moving to the beach (and of course, I have to add that every coastal area is different even here in California- Southern California is much warmer than Northern, for example), here's my opinion on a few things to think about...

PROS
The weather: While I'm used to experiencing 4 different seasons throughout the year, after I moved to the coast, I realized that there's really only 2 seasons here: warm-cold and cold-warm. The weather tends to change every hour with many more days of wind than I would prefer. However, when the weather decides to be perfect, well, it's...perfect. Btw, calm, rainy days are just as perfect as calm, sunny ones, in my opinion...

The views: Of course, this is the main reason everyone moves to the beach- for the views. In my little corner of the coast, I am so lucky to be able to walk a short distance to see forest, mountains or the ocean. Now, if only I could learn to paint like Bob Ross and his happy little trees...

Laid-back lifestyle: If everyday before-or-after-work beach days are your idea of heaven, then the coast is definitely for you. Except during tourist season (unless you're in LA, then it's always tourist season), there is definitely a slower pace of life which is good, because life is too short to be lived too fast (or, well, you know what I mean).

Healthier lifestyle: I definitely think that just living on the coast inspires people to live a healthier life. You have no excuse to really stay indoors and not explore your surroundings, either by hiking, biking or just simply taking a nature walk. Also, after keeping an active lifestyle, somehow it makes you feel less like reaching for a double cheeseburger but opting instead for a fresh salad with locally grown produce.

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CONS

I never quite know how to explain the "cons" of something without feeling like I'm risking sounding too negative. But, you already know this whole post is just my opinion(s), not FACTS, so, take it with a grain of salt- or should I say- sand...

The weather: I'm not a fan of wind AT ALL especially the kind that makes me feel like I'm in the tornado scene of The Wizard of Oz. Of course, I sound like a complete hypocrite because I have hopes of living in a place where it snows (if only temporarily) but I guess my point is that you should always make sure you're aware of the weather you're getting yourself into because that will affect you more than you know.

Cost of living: I don't know if California's just arrogant or what but the cost of living is insane (I know the same applies to most coastal areas and big cities, but still...) and most people would argue that you'll always be happier in California even if you live in a tiny apartment rather than living in a mansion in a random state (sorry for picking on you, random state). I bet there's quite a bit of truth to that, but I urge you to get a taste of both worlds, if you can (at least, that's what I plan to do).

Too Crowded or Too Empty: In California, if you live by the beach you either live in a big city with way too many people and traffic or you live in a tiny beach town where everything closes at 5pm. It's a bit hard to find a good balance here. Just an FYI though as I'm sure this doesn't bother others as much as it does someone like me who prefers a mid-sized city.

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While I definitely appreciate all that coastal life has to offer and I am so grateful that I've gotten to experience it, a part of me often feels a little bit guilty for inwardly preferring an environment that is a little farther from the beach. I can't speak for every state but California feels like a different world in every county you visit. I like to switch it up whenever I can, but for the most part, I think I prefer the beach to be solely a vacation spot. If you are considering moving to a coastal place one day (or anywhere new, really), I strongly suggest you live there temporarily (at least 6 months) before making a permanent move because vacation spots are often very different when you actually live there (note to self for Ireland).

Where would you most like to live? 
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My 4 year old self is alive and well after seeing Beauty & The Beast

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It's hard to see, but I'm totally holding my Belle Barbie doll here at age 5 while on my first trip to Hawaii
A million years ago, when I was 4, Beauty & the Beast was released in theaters and Belle gave me my first glimpse of what true girl power is. At the time, of course, I didn't realize that Belle was brave and intelligent and all those good things, I just wanted to run to the quickest toy store to buy the Belle Barbie doll.

My wish came true at Christmas when I received not just Belle but the Beast, and it was literally one of my favorite gifts ever. Belle was my very first Barbie doll (my mom "approved" of her because Belle liked to read and was not just another princess who relied on a prince to rescue her, ha!). However, it was a sad, sad day in my made-up Barbie world when Belle's head suddenly fell off and, instead of throwing her away, I just jammed the head back on (who cares if she was completely neck-less, I wasn't gonna throw Belle away!) Not long afterwards, tragedy struck yet again when my pet rabbit, who loved chewing on things, found it way too easy to chew off the Beast's nose (I would lovingly forever refer to him as "nose-less") Poor Beast (what was his real name, anyway?). I, of course, didn't throw him away either but I never could remember what he looked like before his "accident".

Fast forward literally, what, 26 years later? Who would have known they'd ever think of making a real-life version of Beauty & the Beast? I mean, I feel like they could've made it a lot sooner but without knowing it, we were all just waiting for Emma Watson- literally, Belle in human form- to grow up so that she could play the part. During the first 10 minutes of the film, I couldn't help but see Hermione Granger singing about the baker with his tray like always... but that image quickly disappeared and all I could see from that point on, was Belle, exactly the way I would've imagined her IRL, if I had imagined her...

After seeing the film, I can honestly say my 4 year old self is smiling from ear to ear and I will most definitely be seeing it again. For 2 whole hours, the world stopped and I got to relive my sweet, perfect childhood. I'd like to thank Emma Watson, Alan Menken,  and all the other people whose names I have no clue of, for making this possible. I don't want to be a snob, but I feel like only true millennials can appreciate how special this film is. Quite possibly no other group can understand the importance of, I don't know, trying the grey stuff because it's delicious.

Now, if Disney would take note, myself and all the other 90s kids out there would also love to see Pocahontas (I vote Chip and Joanna Gaines for the roles of John Smith and Pocahontas), Aladdin, and Mulan remade into real-life film versions. I hope I won't have to wait another 26 years but, I guess, better late than never
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