Thursday, October 22, 2015

#jihaedidnewyork. only a month ago!

I just straight up stole that image from Wendy's Lookbook. I don't have my phone near me and I can't get all my pics on the computer properly. You'd seriously think I was 75 or something with my absolute lack of technological savvy.

That bottom right pic is of Marissa, Wendy and I at the end of the Banana Republic presentation that I went to on Saturday, Day 3 of my awesome NYFW extravaganza.

I started off the day with this gorgeous beaut once again:

We brunched at La Petite Abeille, which is the first place I went to with Wendy and Nina. I can't remember what my friend got, but I had these potato pancake things (like a rosti) with smoked salmon and sour cream. Oh it was so delicious! My mouth was so happy the WHOLE trip!!!!

After brunch, we walked around. I had to find a gift for my girls, cause I still hadn't done that. We went to an adorable book store, which was on like 17th or 18th Street, and I saw Eva Chen. I didn't stop her, cause she was with her daughter and another lady. But I was kind of starstruck and regret not saying Hi. Eva Chen used to be the Editor of Lucky Magazine, but has recently become the fashion person at Instagram. I'm really letting my weird stalker side show, eh?

My friend and I went to a few stores, she bought a ton of sweet books for my kids, and then we parted ways. I hope I see her again sooner than later. I reminded her that though the desert is terrible in the summer, it is like heaven on earth in the winter. And I should also take a minute to thank the incredible people who watched my kids while I played and Chris worked. I was gone 4 nights and my kids slept in 4 different homes! Thanks a million Lindsay, Christin, Carrie, and Grace for watching, entertaining, feeding, and loving my kids!!!!!!

I met up with Wendy and Nina for lunch, I don't remember what the place was called but it was delicious, and it was right across the street from Banana republic's flagship store on 5th Ave. Then we went over there and I watched Wendy take a bunch of pics for Banana's Instagram. I seriously just loved watching these women work! And even in the middle of working it, women would stop Wendy, and tell her how much they loved her, I would take their pictures, and Wendy would just stop and chat and get to know her fans a little better. She is seriously just so dang NICE.

After loitering at the store for a while longer, we hoped into a cab and made it down to Banana's Spring/Summer 2016 presentation. (Word to the wise: save up some extra spending money for some fun-colored, gorgeously tailored pieces from Banana next spring!) We were there about an hour before everything started and it was just COOL watching everything transpire. Marissa was there telling the models what to do. There were tons of press photographers getting their shots before the 'public' (I don't actually know how you get into these things...) came in. And when it was time for the press photographers to go- it was time for them to go! I saw a couple of them hide their cameras and just stay in the room. the difference between the Banana presentation and Marissa's runway show was that Marissa's models walked and the Banana models pretty much stood in place. But beautiful clothes were present at both shows, and I feel like my first (only? last?) Fashion Week experience was an eventful and mesmerizing one!

 That night we went out with Wendy's beautiful friends and we ate, talked about life, and a bit about clothes, and our families, and traveling. I was sitting at the cool kids' table and I was loving it. I will probably never see these delightful people again (except in my Instagram feed) but I am so glad our paths crossed and I got to meet some fantastically fashionable professionals who are living their dreams.

I said bye to Wendy and Nina at the hotel, and we made promises to see each other again. They only live an hour plane ride away, or a fun 6 hour car ride (which I actually love driving), so I hope to see these two again. We have texted and will emoji the crap out of each other on Instagram. It's not a traditional friendship, but it seems as though more and more friendships and relationships blossom over the interweb nowadays, so maybe I now have a 'currently traditional' relationship with these women.

The plane ride home was an excellent one, since I got to sit in the aisle and got up to pee three times without bothering anyone. Sitting in the window seat on my way to New York- I held it for five hours. I think that's some kind of personal record for me. I was afraid of terrorism, or mechanical malfunctions that might prevent me from getting home to see my beautiful family AND from letting me enjoy all the new, beautiful, wonderful things I had gotten on my trip, so I prayed fervently to get home safely, hoping that the fact that my priorities were straight (though just barely) would save me.

It's now been over a month since that crazy weekend in September, that I vowed I would never forget but am already feeling foggy on some of the details (what did I eat for lunch on Saturday before we went to Banana again? How did I not take more pictures? Why is my memory so terrible?) So, even if my tales have already grown tiresome to you, and just barely interesting. I needed this post more than you did! And with that- we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming of mothering, living unglamorously, though exceedingly blessedly, and suddenly a bit more stylishly.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Shopping spreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have never been on a shopping spree before in my life.

The closest I have ever come to going on one was two years ago, when I went shopping with my parents and sister in Las Vegas, and my dad was feeling super generous so he bought my sister and I new shoes and some clothes. It was so very fun, unexpected, wonderful, and a memory I will treasure forever.

But. That was my dad's money. He works a lot and hard. I got some $30 shoes and probably $50 worth of clothes. So great. Cause you know I know how to get a bang for my buck! But, I wouldn't call that a real shopping spree.

When I heard I won this contest, and that there was a SHOPPING SPREE AT BANANA REPUBLIC involved, I nearly lost my mind. as did those who were nearest and dearest to me. there was lots of speculation and hopes and reality, but when it came down to it- I had no idea what to expect. Even while it was happening!

So, day two of my incredible NYFW extravaganza started off with me meeting a dear friend who I went to high school and university with. somehow, even with those two major educational similarities- we veered way the heck away from one another after our post secondary education. I moved to Korea, and taught, and eventually got married and had a crap ton of kids. My sweet friend decided to go to Harvard Law and is now a pretty incredible lawyer in New York. I hadn't seen her since she came to my wedding ten years ago!

We met for breakfast at this little place called The Grey Dog Café. It was delicious. And once again- it was a novel treat to eat my food while it was hot and fresh! Eating with no kids and one incredible adult who never needed my assistance with anything was such a great start to this amazing day!

And then my important lawyer friend had to go and lawyer it up, so I went walking around, and waited til it was time to meet up with Wendy for my shopping spreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!

When the magic moment had arrived, Wendy and I walked into the flagship Banana Republic store on 5th Ave, and Sarah and Amy were there waiting for us. Sarah and Amy are my new heroes because they were the ones who arranged all of my flights and hotel stay and other major wonderful details of my trip, cause they work for Gap Inc. (I'm positive. Cause I google stalked them so hard.)

Wendy asked if I minded if she styled me today and I said OF COURSE NOT! who would not want to be styled by Wendy of Wendy's Lookbook?!?!? So, we waked around the store and seriously just started grabbing things. Not Walmart-Black-Friday style grabbing. A slow, intentional, and thoughtful grabbing of clothes that I would never have dreamed of owning!! Wendy grabbed stuff I never would have picked, I grabbed stuff that I knew I was going to get whether Wendy liked it or not (I don't know if she ever just wears plain cotton shirts...) And then we went to the dressing rooms.
Or MY dressing room.

Yes. Amy and Sarah sectioned off the largest dressing room for me, and even had a little velvet rope sectioning off my party area. How do I not have pictures of that? I guess I was too damn excited people! They had juice and champagne- there was no end to the awesomeness!

And then I tried on The Stuff. I started with a little black dress that Wendy picked out that I NEVER would have picked. It was form fitting but not skin tight. And it was incredible cause I have no figure. No, I have the figure of a 12 year old boy. And after a large meal, I actually look like a malnourished child- flat on top, distended belly. It ain't pretty. But this dress! This dress made me look like a lady.

Wendy had also picked out a ton of outer pieces like a blazer type vest- Marissa Webb inspired, some sporty looking vest type thing, an actual blazer (that fit like a friggin glove!), and I picked some cardigans (cause I cannot live without cardigans.) We mixed and matched things and it was the most fun I had ever had in a store. EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The clothes we started out with...

Me. Drunken with material joy.

And then it was all over. I tried everything on. Said no to some stuff. Said HECK YES to everything else. And then Amy and Sarah took my stuff and had it sent to my hotel. Thank you ladies for not over looking one single detail! And thank you Marissa Webb for making Banana Republic a store that I want to shop at again!
The shopping spree was over, but the greatness of my day was not. We went to High Tea at Bergdorf Goodmans. It was all kinds of crazy fancy. We had yummy tea, wine, adorable finger sandwiches, scones, and dessert things. Magnifique!

While we were at High Tea (we were supposed to get there at 4, we got there closer to 5:30) Wendy made reservations for dinner at this amazing restaurant with the unfortunate name of 'Quality Meats'. Kind of made me think of 'The Dress Barn', which is apparently trying to make a fashion comeback- which will take some Herculean efforts due to that name (maybe they would succeed if they changed the name of the store.) Our meal there was outstanding (the meat was top quality! they weren't lying!) But between our late lunch and our very late dinner- I watched Wendy do some shopping. And that was also lots of fun. Except that I was wearing heels. And I don't remember the last time I wore heels for that long.

After dinner, we got back to our hotel at about 11pm. Nina turned in to do some work, and then Wendy and I went to get foot massages. I don't particularly like it when other people are touching me, but I did want to saw my feet off with a butter knife after walking around in heels all night- so I agreed to the foot massage. Wendy and I had a great time chatting about life, and love and love languages. Our talking spilled past our time at the massage place, so we hung out in the lounge of our hotel til about 1am. We laughed, we cried. Maybe we did become blood sisters in that hotel lounge after all...

I was pretty exhausted after I got to my room. But my adrenaline was pumping again when I opened up all my bags!!!!!

Here's some of the stuff I got...

And here is a less glamourous shot (cause it's in my bedroom in my house. I need new and fancier bedding!!!!) A ton of people have asked me how much stuff I got from my shopping spree, so I will give you a run down:
-two pairs of jeans (both ripped!)
-a pair of pants
-two dresses
-a sweater/dress
-two long sleeve tees
-a tank top
-the cute glasses t-shirt you've seen me in at least a dozen times by now
-the smart cookie sweatshirt (one of my fave items!)
-a long cardigan
-a blazer, a sleeveless blazer, and that sporty vesty thing I was talking about
-a pink moto jacket (Wendy's pick! I do love it though I never would have picked it.)
-an awesome jean jacket that actually fits me well
-a super cute black skirt (the striped thing next to the jeans)
-two belts, a ring, and some bracelets

basically I made out like a bandit!

I no longer look like a run down clearance rack monger.
And my husband thanks you ;)

Monday, October 5, 2015

an average person's fashion week experience

You know how amazing things happen and you think they are so incredible that you will never forget them for as long as you live? And then you live a little more and you realize you can't remember anything? I don't remember any of my kids' first words. I started this blog because I could not believe that I could forget something that momentous. I don't remember the date that chris proposed to me, even though that was one of the best days of my life! So, needless to say, I am still reveling in the wake of my New York trip, and I have told so very many people all about it already, but part of me is afraid that I am going to forget the details. The fun, amazing, unreal details of this trip. So even if you are all done with my #jihaedoesnewyork posts- these are for me to reread when i am 80.
(Let's be real, I'll probably forget some major details by the end of the year. The marbles are pretty loose up here.)

My first full and official day in New York started with me looking out my hotel window and noticing rain. Oh glorious rain. So I got my face and hair ready for the day, which did not take long because I am a lazy bum. But I wore eye liner. Cause New York deserves my best face! I put on a jacket, grabbed my umbrella, and headed out to 5th Avenue to go look for a little black bag and some jewelry to wear to Marissa Webb's show later on in the day.

I had a free continental breakfast of coffee and croissants (gluten be damned! i was on vacation!) at the cute restaurant downstairs, and then I felt fueled to explore the city. As soon as I got outside, I turned on my Pandora to superloud, listened to some good ol'90s rap music, and felt like I was walking the streets of Toronto as a young, bright eyed high schooler. i did not have a care in the world. No that's a lie. I was slightly terrified that I would look insane and out of place being at a fashion show later on in the day. but I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn't at this fashion show because I am in the fashion industry. I am a stay at home mom who wears clearance clothes from target. They didn't pick me cause I'm chic. They picked me because a random generator popped my name out! 

As I was walking around, I was definitely overdressed for the rainy appearance of the day. I was hoping it would be freezing cold but it was kinda humid and muggy. I was regretting my clothing choices as I was sweating along Fifth Avenue, but someone asked where my jacket was from. Old Navy. Kids section. On clearance. $6. Fashion week was starting off just right!

I got a text from Wendy asking if I got in ok and that we would go to Marissa's show together at about 2. So fantastic. I stopped at Stumptown Roasters for a delicious decaf Americano. I love me some Starbucks, but since I was on an adventure, I decided I would only drink coffee from independent coffee shops (or small chains! I guess Stumptown is not as small as I thought according to the interweb) for the duration of my time in the Big Apple.

I went into a bunch of beautiful stores, but couldn't find what I was looking for. I did run into a CVS and bought a lipstick, something I haven't done in over a decade. Jeehon usually just gives me lipstick. Where was my sister when I needed her most?!!?! Stupid Singapore! Why are you so far away!?!? My next major purchase after the lipstick was at the Lego store. They had a little $5 set of the Statue of Liberty that I knew Topher would love. Speaking of my kids- it was Thursday. The big two were at school and Chris had to go to work later in the afternoon. So Lily and Topher would be going to their wonderful Aunt Lindsay's after school and spending the night there, and Mia would be spending the night at my precious friend, Christin's. Chris worked until 2am every night that I was gone (except on Wednesday) so I had a slew of my finest friends and family watching the kids and making my trip a reality! Thank you Lindsay and Christin for taking my kids!!!

At about 11:00am, I got a text from Wendy asking if I could do lunch at noon. Absolutely. I walked around some more, still looking for final pieces to make my outfit look a little bit more awesome for the runway show that was quickly approaching. Then I got a text from wendy saying that we would go straight to Marissa's show after lunch. OK! I texted back. then at about 11:40 it dawned on me that maybe I should be dressed and ready to go by noon. I texted Wendy back to see if that was the case, and she replied in the affirmative. Aw crap. I was about ten  minutes away from the hotel, and now it was 11:50. and I was not dressed. So I ran. If you know me- I don't run. Ever. But I did not want the first time that I met Wendy to be five minutes after I was supposed to be meeting her! So I ran. And I was sweating. And a little bit peeing. Cause that's what happens when I run. Cause I've had three kids and apparently my bladder kind of sucks.

I got to my hotel room at 11:55. Stripped off all my clothes, put some more face on, put on a grey dress (a clearance find from TJ Maxx for $5!), with black leggings (from Forever 21, regular price like $4), and some black booties (also clearance from Kohls for $7), and a black blazer (my sister's from Korea, probably about $20. so my entire outfit probably cost as much as most people's belts at the fashion show), and ran down to the hotel lobby by 12:02. I may not be a fashion plate, but I wasn't going to make Wendy wait for me!  I beat her by 3 minutes. Success!

So, again, deciding what to wear to the show was the most stressful part of my trip (next to finding five people to watch my kids). I debated whether I should buy something new. And EXPENSIVE. But I had to remind myself that I didn't win this contest because people liked my style or my clothes. No one was expecting anything from me. So, I got over myself and I picked stuff I already had (and clearly did not pay much money for) that I felt would go with the Marissa Webb vibe, and that was it. There were a good number of people at the show wearing the designer's beautiful clothes. But lots of people were wearing white button down shirts (MW loves her some button down shirts!), and pretty normal looking stuff. I didn't stand out in a good way or a bad way. Relief.

I met Wendy and Nina, who works with Wendy, in the hotel lobby. We chatted and immediately became blood sisters. Like we got out a little pocket knife and exchanged blood, that's how tight our bond was. Just kidding. That's creepy. But we seriously all hit it off right away, decided we were all food sharers, jumped into an Uber (my first time ever), and grabbed lunch at La Petite Abeille. That's 'little bee' in French. I'm so glad I got a minor in French from U of T. Speaking of the University of Toronto- Nina is from Toronto. And Wendy used to work at Wells Fargo, and I bank with Wells Fargo. See? Deep, meaningful connections. But seriously, these women were the bees knees and I was so dang happy to be with them all weekend long.

here we are at La Petite Abeille. Nina, Wendy, and Me (right to left)
I'm wearing lipstick. But you can't really tell. Which begs the question- why did I even bother?!?

After we ate some delicious mussels, Brussel sprouts, a salmon burger, and fries, we headed to the Marissa Webb show. We got there 10 minutes late, which made me want to poo my pants, because I thought if they were punctual- then we missed it. But fortunately they were very fashionably late getting started. I was seated in the Friends and Family section behind Marissa's parents, and I felt like the absolute luckiest girl in the world.

The show was stunning, unreal, ethereal, beautiful, and a little bit bad ass. I didn't hardly take any pictures because I could not believe I was there!

this was before the show started.

And this is the adorable, amazing, genius herself- Marissa Webb, at the end of her show. The two figures on the bottom left of the picture are her parents, who adopted Marissa and her three siblings. Wonderful people! I google stalked them a little too hard before my trip so I was too nervous to say hi to them, even though I just wanted to hug them.

After the show, we got to go backstage and meet Marissa. Don't be dumb. Don't be weird. Don't be dumb. Don't be weird. We said Hi. We hugged. I don't remember the rest. hopefully I wasn't dumb or weird. Who knows. I did meet her brother, who did all the music for her show, which is just plain cool. I love meeting people who think family is important. Because in this world, there are plenty of people who don't. And you know I know that first hand. And it's heartbreaking.

We went back to the hotel, ate some more Brussel sprouts, and chocolate, and ice cream. Then we went to Gap, Inc. and got to see the Banana Republic team do a hair and make up run-through for their up-coming presentation on Saturday. Marissa was obviously there, and I just felt SO TIRED for her. It must have been so exhausting getting ready for a runway show, but then to turn around and get ready to display Banana's Spring and Summer collection just a few days later! Seriously, this woman is a torrent of creativity and energy! We did some spicy tequila shots, looked around and saw the oufits that the models were going to wear, and even the outfits that the servers were going to wear (they thought of everything!). The coolness of this whole experience was exhausting. And it was only day 1 of 3 of awesomeness.