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Hustle | Coral Dress and Pointy-Toe Pumps

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12:00 PM
Happy Monday!
What better way to start off the work week with an office-appropriate outfit? This has been my favorite dress to wear to work because it transitions to a happy-hour-appropriate dress seamlessly! I love the foldover detail and the asymmetrical hem as it adds interest to a very simple and sleek silhouette.

Tell me about some of your favorite work clothes!

Dress: H&M (similar here)
Accessories: Tory Burch bag

Shoes: Michael Kors (similar here)

Brunching | Leaf Dress and Strappy Heels

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12:00 PM
Wonderful Wednesday everyone!

In DC, weekend brunches are taken quite seriously. I know that there were times early in my career (senior year of college mostly) where I sacrificed good meals throughout the week so I can save money to go to brunch (#noregrets). It's actually paid off - In fact the job I have right now, I got from a contact I made through a brunch meeting months ago! It's funny how it’s little things that can lead to something great -  a mimosa with a few friends can lead to a whole new career!

Tell me about some of your favorite places to brunch!

Dress: Zara (similar here)
Accessories: Kate Spade crossbody
Shoes: H&M (similar here)

Fun in the Sun | Loose Shirt and Neon Maxi

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12:00 PM
Magnificent Monday lovelies!

I love finding new ways to wear old clothes - getting more mileage out of a closet item is my jam! I think one of the easiest ways to restyle a dress is to wear a shirt over it, which is what I did with my neon maxi. I wore this dress a lot this summer- music festivals, concerts, girls' night outs, etc. I'm not completely ready to give up on this dress just yet for the fall so toning down the loudness of the color with a white shirt is all right with me. 

Top: Forever 21 (similar here)
Dress: Francesca's Collection (similar here)
Accessories: Vintage aviators (similar here), Kate Spade clutch
Shoes: Payless (similar here)

Romping Around | Chiffon Romper and Lace Up Flats

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12:00 PM
Fantabulous Friday lovelies!
Does this romper look familiar? It should! I wore it in my last outfit post, only as a top! 
I say this a lot but I like finding new ways to wear old items. In the past I’ve worn dresses as tops and vice versa but I really liked the delicate-ness of the chiffon so I paired it with my more structured shorts last time. Today, I wanted to showcase this romper in its full glory. What do you think? 

Tell me about some of your tips on repurposing your ‘one-trick-pony’ closet items! Also, please excuse the bandaid and the scrape on my leg - I took a bad fall on the Metro a week before these photos were taken and am waiting for the cut to heal :[

Romper: H&M (super cute by ASOS)
Accessories: Kate Spade wristlet, Ray Ban sunnies
Shoes: Zara (not sold online, similar by Jeffrey Campbell)

Coffee Break: Paul

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I tend to avoid most chain coffeehouses (though I am certainly guilty of going to Starbucks every fall for my mandatory cup of Pumpkin Spice Latte), but I couldn't help but pop into Paul's Bakery this month. Paul is a French chain that was started back in 1886 in France and is still owned by the original family today. They recently arrived in several locations here in the US, though still mostly on the east coast and Florida. I remember when I was studying in Europe, I saw quite a few Paul Bakery shops and I remembered them being so good but it had been ages since the last time I had a cup of coffee there so I walked in with a book before heading into work and ordered coffee and a pain au chocolat. 

I really liked the ambiance of the particular Paul's I went to - it had a cozy home feel and the staff was incredibly friendly! While I ordered a cup of coffee and a pastry, they sell all sorts of things - quiches, macarons, danishes, you name it! It's a classic French bakery cafe after all! (Their macarons are divine, by the way).

If you ever find a Paul bakery near you, go inside and check it out! The food is quite good and their coffee will leave you satisfied!

Cattitude | Loose Shorts and Soft Chiffon

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12:00 PM
Wonderful Wednesday lovelies!
I’m normally not a cat person so much as I am a dog person but something about these shorts made me look twice! They’re just so sassy and cute! I wore them to hang out with my friend who actually has a pet cat and lots of cat puns were made! “I don’t much like your cattitude,” for one and “You get out of here right meow!"

Tell me about some of the whimsical pieces in your closet!

Top: H&M romper (worn as a top) (similar by BCBG)
Bottoms: H&M (similar here)
Accessories: Forever 21 sunnies (similar here), Forever 21 bag (similar here)

Shoes: Forever 21 (similar here)

Book Club: Go Set a Watchman

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12:00 PM
There was quite a bit of controversy surrounding this week’s Book Club book but I wanted to add my two cents in. From rumors of elder abuse, the fall of the mighty Atticus, and just the general timing of the release, the circumstances of the publishing of this book has been dodgy to say the least. I know almost everyone who grew up in the US has at the very least heard of this book if they weren’t required to read it in school. To Catch a Mockingbird was my favorite book I read in high school so it was with eager anticipation that I picked up this sequel/prequel. I hope you all enjoy my honest review.

Go Set a Watchman
By Harper Lee
I hate to confirm everyone’s suspicions about a beloved character in fiction but it’s true: Atticus Finch is racist. 
This was perhaps as shocking to me as it was to Jean Louise “Scout” Finch - this man, this larger-than-life character, this diamond in a racist rough of his time, is a racist. Don’t believe what you’re reading on this blog? Here are a few excerpts (direct quotes by Atticus):

  • …You realize that our Negro population is backward, don’t you? You will concede that? You realize the full implications of the word ‘backward’ don’t you?
  • …If the scales were tipped over, what would you have? The county won’t keep a full board of registrars, because if the Negro vote edged out the white you’d have Negroes in every county office—
  • …do you want Negroes by the carload in our schools and churches and theaters? Do you want them in our world?
Do you hear that? That is the collective sigh of disappointment by Atticus Finch fans the world over. And I would add that disappointment is an understatement.

Before I even talk about what we as readers should even make of this, let’s talk a bit about the the story itself. It’s been two decades since Atticus defended a black man in court who was accused of raping a white woman. Scout has since moved away from Maycomb, Alabama and is visiting her family and hometown from New York. Jean Louise, for the first time, is seeing her town for how it really is. While she was raised to be rather color-blind (especially compared to the rest of the residents of Maycomb), the people that she grew up with and even looked up to are very aware of race and color. Upon seeing Atticus introduce a racist man going on a tirade against integration (the time period of the novel is just after the Brown v. Board of Education case) and the NAACP, she is aghast at the fall of her hero and her world comes crumbling down. Throughout the rest of the book, Jean Louise struggles with her realization that the man she idolized growing up and many of the coming-of-age themes that we all know and love. 

Some of the other themes of this book are interestingly very relevant to some of the political topics that headline the news today. Atticus admits that he is a Jeffersonian Democrat and he is firmly against big government (sound familiar, US readers?) He represented black people in court simply because he didn’t want the NAACP and the government to get involved in Maycomb and force the county to add black jury members in court cases - he didn’t believe the South was ready. While he believed black people were people, he didn’t think they were the same as white people. His views are appalling, sexist, racist, homophobic, and (quite frankly and quite unfortunately) consistent with the views of others of his time and place.

This book came at an interesting time for me because I was going through a similar but completely opposite, situation with my parents. I always knew that I had differing social-political opinions from my parents so I tried to avoid topics regarding social issues because I had it set in my mind that nothing I say will convince them to see things my way and vice-versa. It was a pleasant surprise when I actually did sit down and had a conversation with my parents about a certain issue and they were both more than reasonable about my opinion - though we still disagreed in the end, there was no tension and we both came out of the conversation with a renewed sense of understanding. I couldn’t believe that my parents were so much more reasonable than I ever gave them credit for. It was literally the exact opposite situation that Jean Louise went through when she found her father lacking when she considered him the epitome of morality. It goes to show that the people in our life we consider sacred or larger-than-life are, in fact, human too with real human flaws and sometimes, real human dignity and understanding. It took the crumbling of her hero for Jean Louise to realize her father was simply just a man and I think it’s a lesson that we should all take with us - our heroes are people too. Let’s not glorify them and put them up on a pedestal.  

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Go Set a Watchman

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Deborah Yi's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Mister Blue Sky | Chambray Shirt and White Shorts

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12:00 PM
Marvelous Monday lovelies!
I've been starting my days listening to Electric Light Orchestra's Mister Blue Sky
          Mister Blue Sky, 
          please tell us why 
          you had to hide away for so long (so long)?
          Where did we go wrong?
          Hey there, Mister Blue
          We're so pleased to be with you
          Look around say what you do
          Everybody smiles at you!

What songs have you been listening to lately?

Top: Forever 21 (similar here)
Bottoms: Forever 21 (similar here)
Accessories: Kate Spade (sold out but super cute here)
Shoes: Forever 21 (similar here)

Product Review: Etude House BB Cream Compact

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12:00 PM
While I was in Korea, I had a chance to stop by a few makeup shops. Korean makeup is considered one of the best in the world so I, of course, jumped on the opportunity to try out a few products. I was instantly drawn to Etude House stores because I'm a sucker for cute things and all of their stores has a pink-and-white, girly princess theme. I realize how basic I sound, especially since I usually don't even like such girly things but there's just something about Etude House. I'm convinced their marketing team consists of geniuses. 
In any case, here's my review of their Precious Mineral BB Cream Compact:

Packaging: I've said this a million times but I really can't resist cute packaging and Etude House has the cutest packaging ever! The lovely pink color of the compact combined with the softest foam pad makes for a very pretty design. I like that the pad has a ribbon on it - I slip my fingers between the ribbon and the foam for easy application of the product. The compact itself is sturdy and I like that you can hear a click when you close it so you know that it's not going to open up in your bag and fly all over the place. 5/5
Formula: The formula is out of this world! I gotta say, I wasn't expecting too much from a powder but it gives the most even coverage, not to mention a buildable one without looking like there's a caked on layer of makeup on your face! It's perfect to cover up a bit of shine on your face and to even out discoloration on your skin. I also love that this is SPF 30. 5/5
Price: I paid the equivalent of maybe $15 for this. Considering the packaging and the formula, I think this has an amazing price tag - I've spent more money on a product that doesn't perform half as well as this one. 5/5

If you're in the market for a BB Cream and don't mind a powder formula, I'd say give Etude House a try! I can honestly say that it won't disappoint!

7 Essential Shoes

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12:00 PM
I think that shoes can really change the vibe of an outfit completely. Wearing t-shirt and jeans? Pop a pair of fancy heels and suddenly your casual outfit is more refined. Add a pair of sneakers to a pretty dress and your whole look will be street-chic. It's kind of amazing how much power a pair of shoes can have. I've come up with a list of seven kinds of shoes that go on serious rotation for me. 

  • Classic black heels: My black heels from Zara were my work-wardrobe work-horse! You could tell by how my scuff marks there were on the leather and the heel that broke off completely last week! I considered getting it repaired because I loved the shape and the height of the shoes but I decided that I'm not going to repair a pair of mid-priced shoes. I went and bought a pair of black heels from H&M instead that were around the same price I paid for my Zara ones. If i learned anything from the Zara shoes, it was that I'm not graceful enough for a pair of super-expensive Louboutins (even if I would wear the crap out of them). I will scuff them, I would break the heel and repairing the damage would probably cost more in the long run than what I pay for the shoes anyway - just something to consider when buying shoes. In any case, I really like these H&M ones though I would have preferred a pointed toe rather than an almond toe but no complaints here!
  • Nude heels: I'm in the middle of looking for a perfect pair of nudes but for now, Forever 21 sandals will have to do. I really like these because they look so sexy paired with anything and the minimalist look dresses up everything I pair them with. I wouldn't call them my "perfect" pair though because it seems a bit…trendy? But they'll do for now. Nude shoes are a necessity for me because I'm quite short (I'm 5'3) and they make my legs look longer! "Nude" means something different to everyone so find a shade that works for you!
  • Leopard print: I know lately that my leopard shoes have been worn a lot - you'd think I didn't have any other shoes! I'm a firm believer that leopard print is a neutral so these babies pair with any outfit so easily. Wearing all black? Pop a pair of leo for a dash of print. Flats, heels, booties - any kind of leopard shoes will work but my d'orsay leopard pumps are my faves!
  • Colorful shoes: Everyone needs a fun pair of shoes to brighten up a neutral outfit. I'm in love with my cobalt ankle-strap heels from Forever 21 (Forever 21 makes awesome trendy shoes)
  • Sturdy ankle boots: I wore a very awesome pair of suede ankle boots to death this winter. And I say 'to death' somewhat literally because the heels to the shoes gave out so I had to say a very sad farewell to them. I think it's a testament to how much I love ankle boots - they're versatile, they're comfortable, and if you prefer heeled ones like me, they elongate your legs! I love these old ASOS ones for spring because they dip a bit in the front making my legs look longer instead of cutting them off at an awkward length. 
  • Fun flats: These are a recent purchase but I can’t get enough of these lace-up flats! I think that because they’re not as posh as heels, flats get a bad rep but I personally feel that a good pair can jazz up any outfit. I think that a neutral pair can tone down the feel of a fancier outfit as well. I added my pair of neutral Forever 21 flats to the circle. Since my flats get a lot of wears, they’re usually the first to fall apart so I normally don’t splurge too much on flats but a lot of retailers have cute flats for cheap.
  • Sneaky sneakers: I don’t think that my my Chucks get enough love because they honestly go with everything! The right sneakers can make an outfit instantly casual-cool so play around with outfits with your sneakers and the results may surprise you!

Would you add anything to this list or take anything off? Let me know in the comments below! 

Summer Makeup Routine

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12:00 PM
Thundering Thursday everyone!

Today I wanted to share my summer makeup routine with you guys. I know Autumn is right around the corner but perhaps this may help some of you next summer if you’re sort of at a loss as to how to do your makeup (especially those who are starting out! I know that when I first started wearing makeup I wasn’t sure what to do with my face at all!) I'm not a big makeup person to begin with and I wear even less in the summer. DC summers are extremely hot, humid and sticky and I find that if I'm not careful, I'll have sweat off my makeup by the end of the day (not pretty). Here are the things I wear and the ways I make it stay on my face:

  1. I always start off with sunscreen - it's summer after all. I wear Aveeno Protect + Hydrate in SPF 70 because it has a hydrating but non-greasy formula that feels like just lotion. 
  2. I wear a bit of concealer (just on the places that need it). I don't like wearing too much on my face in the summer time because I end up sweating it off anyway. Better to just spot conceal than sweat off the whole face makeup. Here I'm using my Benefit "Fake Up" concealer.
  3. I use Urban Decay's Primer Potion on my eyes. I've been using this primer since they first came out with it and I'm quite loyal to it!
  4. I usually like felt-tip applicator eyeliners but my friend recommended this Maybelline Studio Master Precise Liner and I really like it! It doesn’t rub off easily and it’s very dark and pigmented!
  5. I coat my lashes with waterproof (and sweatproof) mascara. I'm a big fan of Maybelline's Cat-Eye waterproof mascara
  6. I use a bit of cream blush (because it lasts longer) - I like Nars Multiple in 'Portofino.'
  7. For a punch of lip color, I like wearing a bright pink like this Revlon Lip Butter in "Sweet Tart."
As you can see my makeup routine in the summer is quite minimalistic but it covers the bases. Plus, I can never go wrong with a bright lip :]

Got any summer makeup tips? 

Shapes | Triangle Midi Skirt and Black Crop Top

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12:00 PM
Happy Wednesday lovelies!
I don't know what it is about black and white outfits that makes me think of sophisticated elegance but I promise I'll try to incorporate more color after this post. I couldn't help it with this mash-up though - they were begging to be worn together! 

What are your favorite color pairings?

Top: Forever 21
Bottoms: H&M (similar here)
Accessories: Kate Spade wristlet, gifted necklace (similar here)
Shoes: H&M (similar here)

Book Club: A Cuckoo's Calling

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12:00 PM
I was actually planning to have a book review on Go Set a Watchman up but as I had finished this book a while back and this review was sitting in my “Future Post” list collecting cyber dust, I figured I should have this up first. I’ve had quite a bit of time to think about what I thought about A Cuckoo’s Calling and I want to get my feelings about this out there before I even begin to tell you all what I thought of Go Set a Watchman.


A Cuckoo's Calling

Shoes: Zara (not available online, but similar here and another by Zara here), Phone Case: Kate Spade (super cute here)

I want to get it out there that I absolutely adore J.K. Rowling and I grew up with the Harry Potter series. She has this wonderfully whimsical way of writing that really captures the imagination. Reading her books almost feels like listening to someone speaking in a Jane Austen novel, if that makes sense. I mention J.K. Rowling because Robert Galbraith, the author of A Cuckoo’s Calling is the pen name of Rowling. The minute I found that out, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy and read the crap out of it, and read the crap out of it I did! 
The novel centers on a private detective, Cormoran Strike, who is down on his luck (very stereotypical, I suppose). His fiancee has just left him, business is slow, and he is living in his office when a temp worker comes knocking on his door. To make things more interesting, he is hired by a John Bristow to investigate the apparent suicide of his sister, model Lula Landry. 
I think the thing that really struck me about the book was that the way Rowling writes for adults is incredibly different from the way she writes for children. The pacing is a bit slower (which is noticeable considering this is a crime/mystery novel). What it lacks in stride, it more than makes up for in interesting characters and character development. All of the characters Cormoran interacts with is a delight to read because they’re all so different and interesting. Rowling’s strength is definitely in dialogue writing because all of the characters have a bit of an old-fashioned way of speaking that makes it so much fun to read. Every suspect certainly fits an archetype that can be found in many a detective novel or crime movie but I think the thing that really grabbed my attention was how much we learned about the victim, Lula Landry. She died in the first few pages of the book her presence was very much felt throughout the entirety of the novel. The more I learned about Lula, I found myself forming my own opinions about her - if she were a real person, would I want to be her friend? Is this a celebrity I would find myself admiring? I think when I start to think of characters as what they would be like in the real world is when I realize this is great writing and even better characterization. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good mystery. It’s an excellent beach book and a definite must-read for any J.K. Rowling fan. 

To add this book on Goodreads, click here:The Cuckoo's Calling
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Deborah Yi's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)