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.

Step 7: Decide how much you want to see the show before it ends.

Step 8: Buy one ticket approximately 5 hours before the show starts.

Step 9: Look for will call to pick up your one ticket.

Step 10: Walk to the orchestra seats.

Step 11: Look for your row. Find your row with one couple sitting in it.

Step 12: Check your ticket and see that your seat is right ndcg to them.

Step 13: Sit down and hope that the row fills out and that you don’t have to be sitting awkwardly close to these people for no reason.

Step 14: As the lights dim, realize there are still 4 empty seats next to you.

Step 15: Try to block it out and enjoy the show!

My Walk to End Alzheimer's 2018 Team: 2LITAS

Both of my grandmothers have varying stages of Alzheimer's. Both of them are named Lita. I'm walking for them both, and thus have literally named my team for the 2 of them.

In the coming weeks/months I will be detailing my plan to create a team and raise funds for both my team and the Alzheimer's Association. Together, we can find a cure to #ENDALZ!


My old domain name is expiring in 57 days and there has been a little twinkling in the back of my mind that I should change my blog name to "halika dito."

It means "come here" in Tagalog.  I've been trying to learn more and more tagalog and this is one of the phrases that stays with me. I've been trying to get away from using my name in the name of the blog, and for some reason this keeps popping back up. Plus, the domain was available so I bought it.

Furthermore, since I moved jobs, I very rarely actually sign "Best, Isabella" anymore. It's a stylistic thing between firms, but since I'm not doing actually doing it a million times a day, it felt disingenous to keep it up on the blog.  Not that this has been kept up at all. I get one post in a month, if even.  I think the name was starting to feel forced and I really needed a change.

I'm going to go through some more changes with this site and hopefully get it back to something I actually want to update again.

I mostly like to post about home decor and outfit/lewks. I also like to riff on random topics.

Mostly I want to promise that if you "halika dito" you will regularly get new content and will be entertained.

I also pretty much broke my domain server connection with the blog. So I don't know that anyone is even going to be able to see this unless and until I announce this blog to the world. We shall see.

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.

I will keep you apprised accordingly.


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: 


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. 


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. 


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.


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

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!

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.

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.

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.