HOW TO: Watch a Musical By Yourself



Step 1: Have no friends

Step 2: Have no friends that like musicals.

Step 3: Have no friends that like musicals enough to watch them on a random weekday with you after work.

Step 4: See that Conrad Ricamora is starring in a musical that ends in one week.

Step 5: Realize you do have friends so your calendar that weekend is full and you can't watch the show then.

Step 6: See if you can get cheap tickets.



New Apartment Inspo

I'm moving again! This time, out of my parents' house, and into an apartment with Andrew.  I got rid of most of my (ikea) furniture when I moved back from LA, and am using the rest of my furniture in my room at my parents' house, so the new place will be a mix of Andrew's furniture from his LA apartment and new stuff that I plan on buying.

Planning a new apartment together is its own struggle and probably warrants its own post, but we've mainly decided to use the furniture he does have for now, and replace things when we find things we like/can afford.  So far, we are using his: bed, couch, tv stand, tv, and coffee table. I am still interested in getting a new coffee table. We also need dresser(s) and somewhere to put our shoes.

I would say the intended vibe right now is unisex, collected, mid-century modern.  Whether Andrew would say that is a different story.

All I am sure of is that I want this coffee table from West Elm,



Billy bookcases with glass doors for our shoes,

Source: Ikea

and a big mirror for selfies.

Source: Style Fragment

Oh, and a breakfast nook like this.

Source: Cup of Jo

For the bedroom, I'm really inspired by my favorite movie of all time, The Intern.

Source: AD
Unfortunately our bedroom is approximately half the size of the one in the movie.
We will see how much room is left for additional wants once we actually get the furniture in.

My "Stop-Buying" List


I recently came across an amazing piece of financial advice that I had never previously considered. It's to make a "stop-buying" list. I am great at making lists of things I need to buy and I'm even better at finding things that I never knew I needed to buy and buying them.  Especially since I haven't been paying rent at home, I've been feeling flush with cash and especially eager to swipe my cards.  Now that I'm going to be paying rent again, I really need to TONE IT DOWN. This "Stop-Buying" list seems like a pretty good solution, because I do seem to keep buying the same things that I don't really need over and over again.

1. Books
Ok, this may seem counter-intuitive to someone who doesn't know me, but I'm obsessed with buying books and have somehow convinced myself that they are a 100% productive use of my money. Which they are. As long as I actually read them. However, I am grossly out-buying books for my actual reading pace.  I have at least 15 NEW books that are on my to-read list. I need to start actually making some headway into those books until I start buying books again. At the very least, I can try to stop buying 4 books at a time every time I walk into a bookstore. I should probably just stay out of bookstores generally and maybe pop into a library. In any event, this would be a VERY easy way for me to save money. Books are expensive! I also refuse to buy books on Amazon so I'm paying list price! It needs to stop.

2. Sunglasses
I am obsessed with sunglasses. Nordstrom Rack recently started getting Celine sunglasses and it takes a lot of hard work for me to put them back on the rack every time I go in a store.  I already have two pairs so you would think I don't need anymore, but you would be wrong.  They are $150 each, so very fairly priced for Celine, but since there are so many options I have a hard time choosing just one. Which helps, in the long run, because then I don't buy any.  I sort of resigned myself to only allowing a purchase if I find a pair on clearance, which has yet to happen.  However, I really still shouldn't buy them. However, they are my favorite sunglasses and another quality pair wouldn't hurt.  Clearly this is still up for debate.  What I really mean by "sunglasses" is "sunglasses that aren't Celine sunglasses."

An Analysis of my Italian Instagrams

Since I already planned my outfits for the trip, of course I also roughly planned my instagrams for the vacation. I planned on posting about one per day.  The only posts I was certain to post were at the Trevi fountain, one at Gucci Garden, and one in my pink pantsuit.  The result of my planning is as follows: 

INSTA #1: TREVI FOUNTAIN


Backstory: TBH, I wanted a Roman Holiday pic but the outfit didn't come together like I expected and definitely did not photograph how I expected. I was also having the worst allergies of my life so my face was looking a little swollen and did not look good in smiling photos. I instead settled for this side shot that was saved by the caption. Luckily I watched The Lizzie McGuire Movie in preparation for this trip because it gave me a fire caption to work with. I would not have otherwise posted this photo. 

Like Analysis: 80 likes is pretty good, most likely because this was my first Italian Instagram post and was the first indication to my followers that I was, in fact, in Italy.  Half of the likes were probably for that reason, and half were for the caption.  The outfit honestly looks bad and you can't even tell that I'm wearing a neck scarf like Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday.  I could have gotten more likes if my hair was in a ponytail and also maybe if Andrew was in the photo. 

INSTA #2: COLOSSEUM 

Backstory: Honestly I paid for this tour of the Colosseum that gave you special access to the arena floor so I had to make it worth the money by posting this photo.  We just walked out onto the floor and while the tour guide was talking and people were listening I forced Andrew to take this photo. I don't look the best but it was the best of the photoset that I had to work with. Plus again, it's mostly the caption that makes this. I considered the basic caption "brutus is just as cute as caesar" but I decided to instead go for a deep cut that might have cost me a few more likes than usual.  It's the beginning of the rant though so any run-of-the-mill Mean Girls fan should be able to understand that. 

Like Analysis: 88 - more than Trevi fountain despite my perception that not as many people would understand the caption. Maybe people didn't understand the Lizzie McGuire caption either. Who knows who my audience really is these days. That's actually more likes than I was expecting for this look, only because I don't look my best. These jeans don't photograph very well when I have shirts tucked in.  Plus this graphic tee backfired on me and actually made me look like a real loser when walking around Italy. 

INSTA #3: PINK PANTSUIT AT THE VILLA

Backstory: I almost posted a photo of just this cute lil bag I got with the navy maxi skirt and a plain t-shirt I was wearing. Luckily I realized that it would colorblock perfectly with my pink pantsuit that I was planning to wear later that day, and I saved it for this insta.  I convinced my cousins that we needed a photoshoot and I told one of them that I needed a full body pic of the pantsuit with the bag in clear view. They got me.

Like Analysis: Fewer likes than the Colosseum post, which is shocking, but way more positive comments both on the photo and verbally, IRL.  Probably the most comments I've ever gotten on a photo. So why don't the likes reflect this?  The caption was lazy, but also I don't know what else I would have captioned it.  It seemed to fit. I'm still happy with this post even if the likes don't reflect its success.

ITALY LEWKS

I am newly obsessed with making plans for the simple fact that I can plan a LEWK for them.  This fervor for fashion is really what I've been missing for a large chunk of my life.  Now I'm all about planning ahead and carefully thinking about what is going to look best for a given occasion.  It's all part of that polished lifestyle I'm trying to live this year. It's also thanks a lot in part to the bookmark feature on Instagram. It's really changed how I plan my vibes and outfits.

My next big trip is Italy in the middle of August.  It's supposed to be weather similar to San Francisco, but for some reason I keep planning my outfits as if its going to be summer in Capri. I'm slowly getting out of that headspace and into something a little bit more reasonable.  A girl can dream though.

Things I Bought
Banana Republic Pink Pantsuit
Asos Floral Off-The-Shoulder Maxi Dress
Joie Camel Sandals
J. Crew Black One Piece Swimsuit
J. Crew Camel Sweater Blazer
Lo & Sons Waverley
Commes des Garcons x Converse low top sneakers
Uniqlo Grey Linen Pants
Uniqlo White Camisole



The LEWKS
We are essentially going to be in Rome for 2 days, the wedding villa outside of Florence for 2 days, and Florence for 2.5 days.  The vibes I'm going for are chic, romantic, and nature-inspired. I wanted to say "summery" but I really need to get myself out of that mindset. It's still going to be spring and it is probably going to be cold! It might even rain!

ROME LEWKS
Since we only have two days, we will probably do a day of sight seeing and a day of shopping and eating. At least, that's how I would have it. We will see when we actually get there.  I want to channel Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday for my Rome lewks. This actually makes it quite easy because I basically already have one outfit planned. The one lewk that is all over the internet when you search "Roman Holiday" lol!

   

Sorry my mirror is dirty but I was too busy trying on clothes to go downstairs for windex.

It's basically a longer circle skirt (gonna, in Italian) , a short sleeve white button up shirt (camicia), and a neck scarf (not scarpa...scarpa is shoe... hmm).  She wears ballet flats in the movie but that's not happening for me. This is where the white tennis shoes (scarpes) should come in.

   


I don't want to look too cliche, but WHEN IN ROME RIGHT? Is wearing a neck scarf in rome like wearing a beret in Paris? I hope so.

As for the other day, probably the pantsuit pants with my navy striped long sleeve and red Gucci belt, and the tennis shoes again. I don't want to wear running shoes. I want to only bring leather tennis shoes and look CHIC and not like a tourist. If the pantsuit doesn't happen, I'm going to buy linen or cotton paper bag pants in a khaki, likely from Uniqlo. I'm into it. A very Emma Hill on vacation lewk.

WEDDING LEWKS
My cousin's wedding is at Villa Fiesole outside of Florence. There's a pre-wedding dinner the night before, then the actual wedding.

For the pre-wedding dinner, there doesn't seem to be a dress code. I really want to wear my pastel pink suit to this. I'm into wearing a pastel pantsuit because its cool and fun but still not casual and no one else will be wearing one.  Plus it's only a spring wedding or Easter that a girl can really wear a pastel pantsuit amirite? Hopefully I'm not right though because if I keep any of the suits I want to be able to re-wear them. I also hope to wear the pantsuit with a nice cream silk cami. That will have to go on the list of "things to buy" if the pantsuits end up working out.  A pantsuit might be too fashun.

If the pantsuit thing doesn't work out, I'll probably just wear this anthropologie dress I wore to my law school graduation with my red Gucci belt. Sort of boring but nice and Italian.

   


For the actual ceremony and reception, the dress code is "floral or pastel" maxi dresses for females.  I ordered this dress from ASOS last summer when I was still living in LA lol! But it's perfect and it does scream romantic Italian wedding to me.  I also saw Tahani wearing it on the Good Place so I know I made the right decision. I'm going to bring my J.Crew Sweater Blazer to wear over it as an alternative to a shawl or cardigan.  My personal brand is becoming very blazer-centric. That's me trying to be perceived as a professional woman and not a teenager. I really can't be buying anymore trendy teenager-type clothes. Everything needs to be ELEVATED.


FLORENCE LEWKS
The only thing I have planned in Florence is a trip to GUCCI GARDEN.  To which I will obviously wear my Gucci belt, the only Gucci item I own.  Probably with either the linen pants or pink suit pants and the CDG shoes.  We were also going to go to The Mall, the ultimate luxury outlet also just outside of Florence, but I don't think we are still going. We only have 2 real days in Florence so not sure that I want to spend one at the outlets where I probably won't buy anything anyway.  Wasting a day there would probably make me buy something I don't even care about just to make the trip worth it. The other days will then probably mostly be seeing the sights and museums.


  

I can't wait for the instagrams. I'm going to need to start storing potential captions in my mind.

I will keep you apprised accordingly.

Best,
Isabella



A Review of My Shopping Addiction: First 2 Months of 2018

We are almost 2 full months in to 2018, and I already have probably spent at the very minimum $3000 on shopping for basically nothing.

      


T H I N G S   I   B O U G H T  I N   J A N U A R Y :

LE LABO SANTAL 22 CANDLE a present for Andrew for sending in his application!
CHANEL CARD HOLDER already one of the best purchases of 2018. it was a gift to my 2017 self.
RIPNDIP LONG SLEEVE T-SHIRT impulse buy. it's the great wave off kanagawa made up of cats, and it matches my phone case. 
DAVIDSTEA LOOSE LEAF TEA AND MUG I drink so much tea at work, I thought it would be more cost-efficient to drink loose leaf tea. still TBD on that.
NANETTE LEPORE STRING BIKINI mom and I were going to get massages and burke williams and I forgot a bikini so I bought one because I'm a baller.
UNIQLO X J.W. ANDERSON TURTLENECK SWEATERS I bought these full price then returned them because I felt they were too cropped. once I saw they were on sale for $10, and also once I realized I could just wear them with high waisted pants, I bought two. 
UNIQLO MERINO WOOL SWEATERSSS these are my new white button-up uniform in SF. I bought three.
BANANA REPUBLIC DARK TEAL TWEED SUIT I had just come from a client meeting in Napa to the Napa outlets to get a new suit because I don't have any pantsuits and I felt so uncomfortable in the meeting wearing slacks and a blazer that were not the exact same shade of black. the regular suiting at BR was ugly and cheap looking, but a full teal tweed suit was on clearance and I ended up getting the top and bottom for about $70.
J.CREW RUGBY SHIRT impulse buy. I love my navy one so much I decided to get the gold and white when I saw it at the outlet. 
NIKE LUNAREPIC RUNNING SHOES did not need, but I now wear them every day to work because they are a neutral color and therefore relatively more appropriate for the office than my pink APLs.
NIKE OLIVE WORKOUT LEGGINGS I needed more long leggings because it's too cold after the gym for me to wear my cropped leggings.
NIKE LOGO TANK okay I didn't NEED this, but my other blue tank is my favorite so I figured I would just get another one.
NIKE LOGO HEADBAND what? I was at the outlet.
PIER 1 GOLD CURTAINS these have changed my room for the better. I finally got them when Pier1 finally sent me a 20% off coupon. do not ever buy anything there without a coupon! 
THEORY PANTSUIT continuing on my pattern of BALLING OUT this month, I splurged on a Theory suit for all of my court appearance and client meetings. it's a suit I will always feel comfortable and confident in, and therefore worth every penny.
BRANDY MELVILLE LONG SLEEVE it says Biarritz/Paris 1990 and I was born in 1990 and I liked the colors. It is possible I will be matching a bunch of teenagers whenever I wear this. 
BANANA REPUBLIC SHEATH DRESS I was in a suit-buying mood. this dress will be good for court appearances and meetings.
CHANEL EYE SHADOW PALETTE this was a weird impulse purchase that I made on the ferry.
BOOKS commonwealth; difficult women; power of one; the buried giant; a tale for the time being; story of a new name; fire & fury; heroes of the frontier



T H I N G S   I   W A N T E D   T O   B U Y :

CLARE V FANNY PACK this fanny pack will haunt me forever. I already wrote an entire post about whether I should buy it or not but I think the price point will just never be reasonable enough. even if it goes on sale it will likely still be close to $200.. 
COACH MINI BACKPACK this mini backpack really almost came home with me. I am obsessed. I think the only reason it didn't is because I had already just balled out on my Theory suit and another $150 on an impulse item was too bitter to swallow. I sort of already regret not buying this, but I guess if I go back to the outlet and it's still there, and presumably even more discounted, then it will be meant to be. 
J.CREW LAVENDER COCOON COAT it was on sale for $60 at the J.Crew outlet and in size 2P but I did think it looked a little bit too small on me plus why would I need a lavender coat. but $60!!
OUAI TRAVEL HAIR CARE SET okay this is actually still in my Nordstrom cart right now, but I'm trying to hold off any more purchases until February.

     


T H I N G S   I    B O U G H T   I N   F E B R U A R Y : 

ROSE GOLD MICKEY MOUSE EARS needed obviously for future visits to the park
ANNA SUI FOR INC COWBOY BOOTS i just decided that same day that I would be on the lookout for cowboy boots for Michelle's bachelorette party in July, and I found this pair on clearance at Macy's for around $35. they are black with rhinestone star brooches on them. I'm still dreaming about red cowboy boots though.
J. CREW BLACK ONE PIECE SWIMSUIT I have been on the hunt for the perfect black swimsuit with thick straps and padding, and this is it
ZARA ELASTIC PLAID PANTS I bought these only to get free shipping with my wicker bag, but I actually ended up really liking these for work
J. CREW SWEATER BLAZER the perfect heavyweight cardigan with structure that will take place of my coats once it finally warms up again
HRH COLLECTION HEIZE BACKPACK okay this was a little bit of an impulse but I watch this girl on YT all the time and I've always been wanting to support her business and this backpack made me finally take the plunge. I also pulled the trigger because she was offering free sunglass chains..
HRH COLLECTION SUNGLASSES CHAIN I'm already really obsessed with these but since I'm allergic to nickel I don't know how long they will last for me and the back of my neck.
UNIQLO RAYON SHORT SLEEVE BLOUSE there was a time in February that it got really hot and I was thinking I needed these to wear in the offie during the day so I wouldn't overheat. that lasted only for that week and I'm back to layering sweaters with my puffy jacket again.
UNIQLO HIGH RISE CIGARETTE JEANS I bought these because I was trying to get away from super tight skinny jeans but I think these are actually all wrong. they are also too big for me and I think the length is wrong.  I'm hoping they change in the wash.

T H I N G S   I   W A N T E D   T O   B U Y :  

PATAGONIA BETTER SWEATER FULL ZIP there's a store randomly right by our office in SF and we went during lunch one day when there was a sale. they are not for me.
J.CREW LOAFERS I am holding off in case I decide to buy Tods or Gucci loafers in Italy
ZARA BLACK WICKER MINAUDIERE BAG okay I actually ordered this and returned it but I'm still thinking about it. it's sooo cute and also all over IG.
LAURA LOMBARDI HOOP EARRINGS they are the new fashion earring and all over NY instagram.
TOPSHOP RED COWBOY BOOTS these are exactly what I want to wear to Austin. they are exactly $150 more dollars than I want to pay for them though.

What can I say? I love stuff.
Stuff is what I love writing about. Plus I'm keeping myself accountable.
Let's see how March goes.


A Guide to DCA Lunar New Year 2018 (and how to get a pic with Mushu)

Happy Lunar New Year!



I’m back! And there’s no way I’m going to write enough posts this month like I wanted in my last post. You live and you learn I guess.

I know I’m a little bit late, but I’ve been meaning to write a post about the Lunar New Year Celebration at Disney California Adventure, but of course, I “haven’t had time.”  I’ve never been to LNY at DCA before, and there isn’t a lot of scholarship out there about it. I think it might be something that grows and grows with each passing year.



I walk in to the park and am immediately greeted by park maps featuring Mushu and Mulan. I am going to keep these for a long time longer than I should. I have no reason to keep park maps yet for some reason I like to hold onto them. I’m just a sentimental person and I attach arbitrary sentimental value to arbitrary things okay?