my handbag collection


satchels || coach borough bag (loving this similar one) | coach juliette (similar) | mk medium sutton | dooney & bourke domed satchel (vintage, from  my mom; bag pictured is very similar; this one is available)

totes || cuyana short tote | mbmj metropolitote | longchamp le pliage large shopper | longchamp medium short handle

crossbodies || coach city bag (vintage; check ebay) | rebecca minkoff mini mab | coach swingpack (current version) | fossil memoir novella (similar)

travel || lo & sons omg | warehouse backpack (similar)

clutches || clare v. leopard | shoplately grey suede (similar) | coach brown (similar) | rachel roy kindness (similar) | kultura raffia (old from the philippines; similar) | j. crew black (similar) | whistles w/ chain (similar)

over the years, I’ve built up a good collection of handbags. as someone who dresses more on the plain side, I know just how much bags & accessories in general can keep the most basic of outfits from being boring. along with shoes, I tend to spend more money on bags because I know that I’ll use them for a long while, but there are some high street pieces that I got for a steal & love just as much. most if not all of these pieces were bought on (major) sale or are vintage, and a lot of them were holiday & birthday gifts. I’ve linked the exact bags if they’re still available; otherwise, I linked to something similar.

I’m in the process of doing another closet clean-out, so this will be a fun way to document what I started with in the handbag department. 

p.s. I read somewhere that the average woman (whatever that means) has 21 bags…which means I’m right on the money. how about you?

fall flats

flat-outflatsleave it to j.crew to bring out some gorgeous flats for fall… #Iwantthemall. but alas, my closet, conscience, and budget can only take so much ( ;) ), so I’ve got to pick & choose. my heart is set on the d’orsay sloan flat in that rich, burgundy color, but I’m still teetering on which color for the gemma flat. on the one hand, the blush pink is oh-so-pretty and has enough warmth to actually look good against my skin. it’s a good staple neutral that would go well with everything. on the other, leopard is a neutral, too, and leopard is always a win in my book.

so let me turn the question over to you. if you were me, which would you pick:  blush pink or leopard?

25 random things about me


  1. I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to food. I love all kinds of ethnic cuisine, and the hotter, the better in my book!
  2. …but I hate celery. I can taste the tiniest amount of celery in anything, and it immediately turns me off the dish.
  3. my favorite flowers are tulips (especially yellow ones!) and hydrangeas.
  4. my happy place is the ocean. put me next to the water & I’m a happy clam.
  5. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I crave all things salty & sour.
  6. I eat ricola (the original flavor) even when I don’t have a sore throat.
  7. I can sleep through anything. seriously. I once slept through getting my face completely covered with shaving cream as a summer camp prank. by the time I woke up, all the cream had dissolved since I slept for so long!
  8. I love hot sauce & put it on pretty much anything. my absolute favorite is louisiana, but cholula, frank’s, and texas pete are good, too. I’ll take tabasco if it’s my only option.
  9. caipirinhas are my go-to cocktail.
  10. I have a callus (tmi much?) on my right ring finger that’s been there for as long as I can remember. it’s because I hold my pen weirdly – it sits against my ring finger, and I write very hard & very often. james is totally grossed out by it, but it’s so much a part of me now that I think it would feel weird not having it.
  11. I’m really picky when it comes to water. there are certain brands of bottled water that I won’t drink because I don’t like the way the water tastes. james finds this really weird.
  12. when I eat badly, my go-to is either chinese takeout or filipino ramen.
  13. I have a serious stationery addiction. I love sending out handwritten cards via snail mail.
  14. to relax, I color.
  15. I’ve worn glasses since the first grade.
  16. I play the flute.
  17. I speak English, Tagalog, Ilocano, and Spanish fluently, and I’m decent in Portuguese.
  18. I didn’t start watching the Simpsons until I was a freshman in college.
  19. I don’t have dreams that I remember very often, but when I do, they’re almost always nightmares.
  20. I used to be afraid of the dark when I was a kid, but now, I prefer sleeping in complete darkness.
  21. I love the sound of an old-school window unit air conditioner late at night.
  22. I love rainstorms.
  23. I’ve been bitten twice by snakes.
  24. I have to sleep on at least 2 pillows.
  25. I’m quite shy & reserved around people I don’t know, but around people I know & love, I open up considerably.

monday memo

dothings…and another monday is here once again. here’s to making it a good one, with a little inspiration from the inimitable amy poehler.


loving right now

loving right nowthe title says it all really. but allow me to elaborate…

a perfect-for-fall scarf | the first & only fall purchase I’ve made so far. the colors are so rich & beautiful and perfect for autumn, don’t you agree? I also love that it‘s long & soft, just like I like my scarves.

the perfect dress cardigan | I bought the black one & the grey one this past summer. I had been looking for a dressy but not too fussy cardigan to wear over dresses. these are perfect. they hit me right where I want them too, they’re sleek enough to be able to be dressed up but utilitarian enough to wear every day. I’m quite tempted to buy the white and the plum, too, just because I know I’d wear them until they died from overuse.

a book-lover’s best friend | earlier this summer, james accidentally left his messenger bag on the commute home from work…the bag that had, among other things, our kindle. when amazon was running one of its promo sales on the kindle, I jumped at the chance to replace it. this new version doesn’t look all that different from the one we had before, but I’m loving the touchscreen functionality, sleeker size, and better graphics. now that I have some time to read books for sheer pleasure, this has seen nonstop use.

artichokes (aka summer in a jar) | I’m mad for them. I like the ones in a jar from trader joe’s, but I also like them roasted, fried, sauteed, alone or in a salad…you get the gist.

burberry beauty @ sephora | finally. mostly online only, but that’s better than nothing. I’m relatively new to burberry but the handful of pieces I have from their beauty line are well-loved & used regularly. I snagged this vib rouge exclusive box set as a “congrats on nursing school” gift to myself.

have a good weekend! whatever you’re up to, I hope it’s lovely!

food for thought | the true cost

truecosta couple of weeks ago, I finally got around to watching the true cost, a documentary about fast fashion and the price of having cheap clothing. I don’t want to get preachy, because God knows, I’m in no position to lecture, but I do want to say that it really hit home for me. one of the lines from the movie that really stuck with me went something like this, “there are two types of things: things you use, and things you use up. we’ve turned the things we use into things we use up, so they’ve become disposable, and so we always have to buy more to replace them.”

before seeing the doc, I had slowly begun to transition away from that kind of mentality. I still buy occasionally from fast fashion stores, mainly old navyzara for various reasons, but I try to buy less & less often. watching this doc has made me pay even more attention to what clothing I buy & how often & for what purpose. very few of us, myself included, are in a place where we can buy everything fair trade and/or organic. but I’ve found that big changes start with little tweaks here & there. I’m starting with what I choose to purchase for the upcoming season, and I hope to build on that little by little.

if you haven’t seen the true cost, I think it’s a must see. if you’ve seen it already, what did you think?

food for thought is a series on short & lovely that highlights more serious-leaning topics & issues with the intent of fostering honest & respectful discussion.

f/w skincare updates


one | two | three | four | five | six

while I’m loathe to put anything on my face besides sunscreen in the summer, I really get back into the pleasures of a skincare routine when the weather comes back ’round to getting cold. the cleansing/slathering/scrubbing that I find oppressive in the summer heat becomes comforting &  luxurious in cooler weather. here are some things I’m itching to try out come autumn:

one & two | true story: I first discovered le labo in the bathroom of a hotel in downtown Pittsburgh. I was there for my college roommate’s wedding, and they had le labo products in the bathrooms. I was really drawn to rose 31, which was surprising to me because I’m not really a fan of rose scents. this one, though, was the farthest thing from the overly powdery rose scent I was expecting it to be. it’s musky, intense, a little dark, & a lot sexy. I’d wear the lotion all the time and then layer it with the perfume for the evening.

three | during the colder months, I’m all about moisture, moisture, moisture. I’m a fan of clinique‘s gel moisturizer, so this overnight one seems like a good bet. I’ve yet to try it, but it’s on my list for sure.

four | ah, aesop. the packaging alone is drool-worthy. last Christmas, I splurged and bought their resurrection hand wash. I’m down to the last quarter of the bottle, and I’m doing my best to make it last because once that baby’s done, good ol’ regular soap is going in to that lovely bottle. but I might splurge on the hand cream version instead. ;)

five & six | the part of my skincare routine that I most want to overhaul is the cleanser. the cleaner I currently use is ok; it does the job, but I want something a little bit more. this cleanser & serum duo are certainly more ($$$, that is) but I’ve read rave reviews from numerous sources across the web and from friends who’ve tried them. perhaps a worthy purchase to throw a gift card at to lessen the sting?

good news & a request

nursingI found out I was accepted into a nursing program yesterday, and I’m over the moon. it’s incredibly gratifying to have something come to fruition after a lot of praying, hoping, & hard work. I’m so, so grateful for all the support I’ve gotten from so many people, including all of you for being understanding as my blog has gone largely unattended over this past year.

now that it’s official, I’m in need of some advice: what’s the best pair of shoes for a nursing student? my school requires that they be all white, closed (no slip-ins, etc.), and made of leather or synthetic vinyl (no canvas/cloth). I’d love to read your recommendations!

have a lovely tuesday!


fall lips

fall lipsone (boy gorgeous)  | two (oxblood) | three (bright plum) | four (plum) | five (iced pomegranate)

happy friday, everybody!

when I think of fall lips, I think of dark berries – plums, cranberries, juniper berries, cherries, etc. the deeper, more intense red shades seem so right for cooler weather. my favorite berry (and one of my holy grail picks) lipstick is burberry‘s oxblood. I’m in the hunt for another one, specifically a deeper, more burgundy cousin to oxblood. despite the name, oxblood is surprisingly beautiful in a lighter-than-expected kind of way. it’s definitely a berry, but it’s softer and not quite as intense as the name might suggest (see it on me here). I’m looking for one that takes the intensity up a notch. laura mercier‘s lip parfait in iced pomegranate might just be the one. I quickly tried it on in store, and I immediately loved the formula – smooth, easy to apply, no tugging. the color is beautiful – it’s a deep, matte, wine. so, so good. the marc jacobs and bite options look sumptuous, too, and I have a good track record with burberry, so I might have to check those out before making the final decision.

what’s your fall lip color of choice?

monday memo

begina much needed pep talk this monday morning.

hope your monday is off to a good start!