Sunday, December 4, 2016

Lo & Sons The Seville in Black Saffiano Review - 13 Inch

I think it’s no secret that I’m a Lo & Sons fan. I own 3 of their bags - the Catalina, the Pearl, and now the Seville. The designs are thoughtful, with utility and style in mind, without compromising quality above all.

With that said, I bought the 13 inch Seville in black saffiano leather about four months ago when it was on sale with the intent to replace my well loved Longchamp Pliage which I used as a work bag. I wanted something a lot more polished and professional since I’m frequently traveling to clients for presentations. One of the features of this bag that appealed to me was the ability to swap out the shell for something lighter weight and travel friendly, a laptop compartment meant to fit a 13’ computer, and of course, a zip!

Receiving the package, its contents included a dust bag, a nylon shell, and a black saffiano shell.

Travel Friendliness
When I bought this, it was a few days before I was going to fly out to Colorado for a short vacation. On a whim, I decided to bring this bag in its nylon shell to keep the essentials on hand. Laptop, cell phone, empty water bottle, various knick knacks, snacks, and a bag of toiletries. It’s really light on the shoulder, stands upright on its own, and the nylon shell has a zippable flap in the back to slide over your carry on handle. The top of course does zip all the way across, which gave me a sense of security as I was traveling. The straps are wide and made of leather, and was comfortable on the shoulder.

When I initially bought this bag, I didn’t think I’d ever use the nylon shell at all. But I definitely see the appeal! I just wish it came in more colors, as I’d definitely snag another pair for a more casual every day.

Switching Up The Shell
When I came home, I was assigned to a new local client, which meant switching from the nylon to the Saffiano shell.  When I initially started doing research on this bag, I was a little hesitant about the ability to switch shells at all. I was nervous that the buttons would not hold under the weight of the bag, and it would snap off easily. However, it is definitely not the case.

In fact, switching the shell came with a bit of difficulty, since the fasteners were so tight. The buttons are a bit hard to snap on, but once they’re on, I could see they were really secure and took some force to snap off.

Saffiano Shell
As for the Saffiano shell - if you’re familiar with the Pearl saffiano, it’s the same one. I bought it in black (because I buy everything in black) so nothing to write home about. Very durable, scratch resistent, and water resistant. the bottom of this shell has four golden feet so the bag can stand upright without touching the ground. Of course, once you start loading the bag up with things, the middle of the bag WILL touch the ground. But the bottom of this shell is made of a durable leather, so I’m not too worried about it. But all in all, nothing of note - a very good looking saffiano leather that is suitable for a professional setting.

The Insides
The organizational features of this bag are a real step up for me, upgrading from the Longchamp Pliage. Going from 0 pockets to all the pockets! I didn’t realize what I was missing from my life!

The main pocket here is the laptop sleeve, and will fit a 13’ laptop. I have a Dell Latitude Ultrabook for work, so this fits perfectly. My Macbook Air also fits with room to spare. For both computers, I still have room to fit either a legal pad or a notebook in the same slot.

Other than that, there's one pocket sewn onto the laptop pocket which has a bit of depth to it. I usually keep my notebook there. On the other side, two additional pockets where I keep a hand moisturizer, wireless mouse, phone, and my laptop charger. Additionally, there is a zip pocket on the same side that I keep smaller things in. I usually keep my headphones and card wallet in this (Ventra pass, license, keycard to office, credit card).

With all of that, there's still room in the middle, which I usually keep my keys on the attached lanyard. Like the Pearl crossbody I have, the lanyard here is long enough to reach the door without struggling too much.

I'm really pleased with the bag overall. As I mentioned, I was looking for an upgrade from my Longchamp, which carried me through college and the first two years of my job. I've since been in a significantly more client facing role with a lot more travel. The Seville in Saffiano fit all of my criteria - water resistant saffiano, laptop compartment, travel friendly shell option, zippered pocket. I did consider briefly the 15" option, but after seeing some comparison photos on their website, decided it would've overwhelmed my frame (5'2").

The Seville right now is on promo at Lo & Sons - several varieties are 40% off which is an additional 10% off of when I purchased in August!


Saturday, December 3, 2016

J. Crew Chateau Parka Review

I recently picked up a new wool coat while I was in Portland as one of my pieces for F/W 2016. This one is from J. Crew and is called the Chateau Parka. I usually don't shop at J. Crew, mainly due to the price and also hearing anecdotes that the quality does not match the price.

I stopped in to actually pick up this coat for my mom, since she's had her eye on it for about a year now. I tried on a couple sizes to gauge what size she might be and fell in love with the fit of the coat. I've always really liked A line or Cocoon style coats. This one in a size 00  hits about mid-thigh. The shoulders across fit perfectly, and the sleeve length ends about an inch up from my knuckles. 

The wool itself is smooth, hefty, and seems resistant to pilling (at least for now!). It's very warm and is pretty wind resistant. The A line shape of the coat does let wind up inside of the coat from the bottom, but doesn't bother me, as it keeps my core warm - just not my thighs. The inside of the coat is lined with a satin poly, and has an inside pocket. The outside of the coat has four pockets - 2 zip up ones big enough to fit a card wallet or a cell phone, and 2 button flap pockets that are much roomier. The hood is faux fur lined, and is the one downside to this coat. It sheds considerably and I find I need to lint roll the coat pretty frequently. It has lessened over time though AND the fur is detatchable. 

Overall, I think it's a good value for what it is if you manage to pick it up on sale. I bought this during a 30% off sale + no sales tax in Portland. Chicago's sales tax is 12.5% within the city center, so effectively I saved about 42.5% from what I would've paid originally. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

S/S 2016 5PFW Review

It’s almost December, but I wanted to bring the S/S 5PFW full circle with a review. Better late than never! Summer is my least favorite season to dress for. I typically wear athletic wear or shorts and a tee when I'm not at work. When I am at work, I'm wearing a dress, or some sort of skirt/blouse type of look. Looking back, all the things not on my list, were bought out of sweaty desperation during the summer.

On the list was:

1. A pair of leather flat shoes (Everlane, modern loafer)
x. Silk tops for summer (Uniqlo, not silk, but sleeveless - impulse) - Did not purchase
2. A shift dress - (Uniqlo, not shift style)

Not on the list but bought:

3. Shorts (Old Navy)
4. Navy/White striped skirt (Loft) - so well loved, and really cute with a blue oxford button down tucked in. This ended up being a winner.
5. Dressy sandals (DSW) - needed a pair of non-flip flops for work
6. Nubuck Slip Ons (Everlane) - took a lot of work to make these wearable, review coming soon!

Some mini reviews/updates on a few select items above:

Everlane Modern Loafer - These have become my office day to day shoe. They look great with cropped chinos or any type of dressy pant. They are super comfortable and I’m glad that I got the front soles lined at the cobbler because the heel is not lined, and is definitely showing some wear and tear. I’m not too worried, as I can just go get them fixed. But other than that, they are holding up well! When it gets slushy and gross out, I’ll need to retire them to indoor only until spring time. The one thing that irks me about these shoes is that every now and then, they rub against my skin in a really uncomfortable way - usually when my feet are cold.

Loft Navy/White Striped Skirt - I used to think that I was too short to wear skirts, and I think that was because I was constantly buying regular sized skirts when I was younger, when I needed to be buying petite. I bought this on a whim when it was on sale at Loft, and ended up loving the cut and length of it. This, paired with a blue oxford button down tucked in was an outfit that was constantly in rotation this summer.

Old Navy Shorts - Nothing too special here - a solid pair of shorts from Old Navy in a navy blue. Really comfortable twill fabric, cool in the summer. Bought this to replace some denim cutoff shorts that no longer fit me!

And finally - a lack of silk. Although I love silk, I wasn’t super inspired to add any to my summer wardrobe. Maybe it’s the heat, but in the summer, I just really like to stick to cottons.

Hope to update soon with F/W!

Saturday, October 15, 2016


summit lake at mt. evans, co
Hello again! Checking in after a very long hiatus. 

In the past 5 months: 
  •  I have finished up projects with 3 clients, and started with another 4. Staying pretty busy and enjoying it for the most part. But like any job, it is definitely hard work. Rounding out a full year here in November, and hoping to stay here long term!

  •  Moved apartments in June, and I think we're likely going to renew our lease! Loving the location, and the amount of sunlight it gets makes my houseplants very happy. 

  •  Traveled to Colorado and did a TON of hiking. We stayed in this super remote AirBnB in the mountains and it was perfect. One of my favorite vacations yet. In November, we've booked tickets to go to Portland, OR, so I'm getting excited to return to the PNW. 

  •  N and I got engaged in May, around our 7 year anniversary! Aiming to have our wedding when he graduates with his PhD in 2018. It's very weird/exciting to think about how far we've come, literally growing up together, and now planning to grow old, together.
Having written out all of these points now and reflecting upon the past 5 months, it's crazy to think of how stable my life has become (in a good way!). I went from changing jobs a few times in a short amount of time, to feeling very satisfied with my current job. The apartment situation is similar as well - moving once a year, to also feeling very satisfied with my current place. And then obviously, N and I have always been a constant, but now we are engaged. 

Overall - I'm alive, have gotten my bearings on the (not-so-new) job, and am hoping to get back into writing around here more often. Hoping you're all well!


Friday, May 6, 2016

Outfits on Repeat

I recently have unpacked some clothes from storage - and this old brown sweater has become a recent favorite. It's a little short on me due to shrinkage, but I just try and air dry it and it ends up drying a bit longer. It's been quite chilly lately in Chicago, and I've been super busy - so that means uniform time. Lately, I've been relying on my black slacks from Old Navy, these slip ons from Everlane, and some sort of top. No shame in that!

What is your lazy day uniform?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A Couple Outfits


Things have been busy -

Drastically different weather! Apologies for the dirty mirror.

1. I have been so busy at work (good!). An analyst on one of my projects left the company, so I've been picking up the slack at work and trying to keep it on timeline. In the meantime, my other two projects have picked up a ton as well, so I've really spent time working, doing chores, or relaxing.

2. My lease is up in June, so I've been looking at new apartments and finally signed a lease on a beautiful, sunny, one bedroom with a washer and dryer in unit! It's super rare to find in an apartment without paying a boatload of rent. I'm so excited to move in!

3. Wardrobe Updates: Added a short sleeved striped dress from Uniqlo, different than the one on my list. Also added a pair of Everlane Street Shoes which I ordered along with my loafers, which are very cute, though very painful when breaking in :( Otherwise, Grana have just restocked their silk tops with new colors - so I've been carefully deciding if I want to add 1 item or 2 for the last 2 things for my S/S 5PFW.

Hoping you're all warm and well!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

REVIEW: Everlane Modern Loafer

Hello all! I’ve been MIA for the past month due to traveling for work. I’ve had no time to really shop, but still managed to absolutely fail at sticking to the list and came away with an extra pair of shoes from Everlane while I was picking up these loafers (review to come!) AGH. I’m a sucker for beautiful shoes.

Now for the review of the Everlane Modern Loafer.

  • 1. The full grain leather is smooth, unblemished, and wears (creases) beautifully.

  • 2. There is a break-in period! I threw on some thick SmartWool socks and walked around the house for about an hour over the course of 3 days, and they broke in very well! I would not advise breaking them in out in the wild, but I’m a baby about sore feet!

  • 3. The bottoms are not grippy at all. I took them to the cobbler actually, as it bothered me so much, and got some Vibram soles put on them. It’s much better now, and it will protect the soles!

  • 4. Follow the sizing guidelines and size up 1/2 size. I’m normally a 7, but a 7.5 fits perfectly!

  • 5. I have the shoes in Olive, which I think transitions well from business casual to casual - as well as season to season. The website photos skew a bit more green than they are in person, where they solidly olive-y brown.

Overall, I love them. I’m very glad they were part of the list, and I think they’ll be well loved once it’s consistently warmer in Chicago (#believe)!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

FEELING COLD... And Some 5PFW Updates

Spring WILL come, no matter what the weather might be in Chicago right now (cold). Nevertheless, I’m re-doing my list of items for S/S because I realized that a lot of the things I currently have on there are winter-mindset items, and that they’re more appropriate for later in the year.

So what’s coming off? Just 2 of the 3 things. A long sleeved silk blouse. Why do I need to wear long sleeves if I’m buying for 80 degree weather and >70% humidity? And lastly, a work bag. I’ve decided to wait for the winter sales, since they’re much better - and I’m still quite happy with my Longchamp.

What’s being added? Lots of silk! Whaaaat! I wrote a while back about how I didn’t like how high  maintenance silk was. But I wash it in the washer and dry it in the dryer with other delicates of course! Very daring, and I feel bad every time I do it. But I figure clothes are meant to be worn and nothing bad has happened yet. They come out wrinkle free and clean. Anyway, I think I’m starting to figure out what my summer uniform might be. For work, a pair of cropped slacks and a silk tank or a silk tee. For casual, the same, but instead of slacks, shorts or a skirt.

So the new list...

1. Loafers
2. A silk tee or short sleeved button up
3. A silk tank or a camisole
4. A shift dress, appropriate for work and play. Something striped, or something patterned.
5. ???

I've been really into Grana's tops, which I've heard are more petite friendly than Everlane. I still haven't worn the Everlane sleeveless top I received for Christmas yet because it doesn't fit at all! I actually held up the difference between the XS and the S and it's +1.5in to +2in bigger in both body width and length. Very sad :(

Anyway - stay warm people! The windchill is currently 3 degrees in Chicago and my face hurt while walking to the train home.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Early Riser

Are you a morning person or a night owl? I work a very flexible schedule. It's not uncommon for me to roll into work around 9:30 and sadly, it's become a habit as I've changed jobs. My first job was one where it was common to get in around 8:30 and stay very late. And now I've ended up at one where it's so flexible that I frequently have the privilege to work from home. I have a much higher propensity to work late in the evening than to wake up early to do work.

I read a lot of articles on high achievers. The types of people that are A-players, hyper productive. You've probably read them too - the titles often look like "30 habits CEOs have" or "How successful people do more in 24 hours than the rest of us do in a week." These are just two examples, but a LOT of them have "Wake up early" listed. And I am so bad at that, even though I go to bed consistently at 11pm. I'd love to get up early, get a work out in, eat breakfast, and otherwise be productive. I just cannot get up when it's cold and dark out though! It's a much easier pill to swallow in the summers here.

Are any of you guys ex-night owls, turned morning people? Especially up further north in the winter where it's cold and dark? On the bright side though, the days are getting longer by 2 minutes every single day. I can see the sun still when I leave work!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Little Things

In the new year, I made a drastic change to my month to month spending. I moved to a 5 piece wardrobe method to cut down on my shopping. I started to pack my lunch every day consistently (saving 1 day for going out with coworkers). All my expenses now are just rent, bills, groceries, transit (pre-tax), and my gym membership. So, that means not very many posts about clothes this year! I've just been wearing the same 2 silhouettes every week to work, and that combined with the cold makes for very utilitarian dressing.

But, I'm really enjoying seeing my savings grow every month, and how that will make my future a lot easier to attain. It's so easy to be young, make an awesome income, and to blow it all on things to enjoy in the here and now. Clothes, drinks, eating out, going out. Sometimes I feel like I spend money on these things to fill some sort of hole, I'm not sure what it is. After I graduated, I felt a little like I had just come out of the prior 10 years of my life preparing, working, and waiting for the very decade I'm in now - my 20s. It was a constant narrative of "You deserve this" or "Treat yourself" and the timeline for that was "Now." 

I had reached the end of my 5 year plan that I had made in high school. Get into a good college. Finish my degree. Find a good job. I didn't know what I wanted after that, and I hadn't really thought about it past the basic life milestones (move out, continue working, get married). I hadn't given any more thought to what my next 5 years would look like except for work - get promoted - repeat. It wasn't until this year that I actually sat down and thought about what I wanted. And I realized that my goals are no longer on a 5 year timeline - they're more realistically on a 10 year+ timeline. And instead of the clear cut path from high school to college to work, post-grad is a lot more circuitous and unwritten. 

Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm okay (happy even) with being a little more disciplined now to make the next 10 years a LOT easier on me. And I'm enjoying appreciating the little (read: free) things - a french press in the morning, cooking fancy plates at home with my boyfriend, the feeling after a good, long work out, and reading on a Sunday afternoon. 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The 5 Piece French Wardrobe

This season, I’ve been starting to think of how I should be adding pieces to my wardrobe. I’ve decided to follow the 5 Piece French Wardrobe methodology. I’m at a place right now where I’m really happy with my current core wardrobe. I never feel like I have nothing to wear. My style, however boring it may be to others, is something that makes me happy. I have wants, but nothing that is urgent anymore. So the idea of only buying 5 pieces a season really appeals to me. To only buy 10 things all year round, 5 for Spring/Summer and 5 for Fall/Winter.

I guess I’m starting off at a good place - I don’t even have 5 things on my list. Here’s what’s on it so far:

Seville tote from Lo & Sons, when there is a sale.
I love Lo & Sons. I love the brand, I love their travel-friendly and versatile designs, and I love the quality-for-price. I want to upgrade from my Longchamp tote, which is nice, but I’d love something nicer/more mature to bring to client meetings. I love the versatility of The Seville, since there’s an option to use two different shells that come with the bag - the saffiano leather one for day to day, and the nylon one for travel. The price point is a little steep for this bag, but I noticed during their winter sale, that it had been knocked down to the high $200s - which is exactly the price point that I’d pay.

Everlane Modern Loafer, April
I’ve had my eyes on this pair of shoes since they came out a year ago. I’ve hesitated to purchase though, since I had heard they ran narrow when they first came out. Now that they’re a bit older, and more well reviewed, I’ve decided that I’d love to add a pair in Olive. My only other pair of flats are my J.Crew factory smoking slippers, which are well loved, so having another pair to switch it up will extend their life a little bit longer!

Everlane Silk Shirt, April as well (for the free shipping on 2+ items)
I was skeptical about how silk could fit into my lifestyle. But after I accidentally washed and dried my Everlane silk tank (with no consequences), I’ve changed my mind. I really like the clean design of this Everlane blouse, especially the front placket to hide the buttons. I also don’t have a long sleeved blouse, and keep thinking to myself in the mornings how I’d enjoy having one to mix up my work silhouettes. I’m undecided on the color for now.