Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Stripe Scuba Fit & Flare Dress

Meet my new favorite dress: the Stripe Scuba Fit & Flare dress from Gap's spring collection.  I saw this dress a few weeks ago on the Gap Style Instagram feed, which if you haven't seen yet is two California gals sharing photos modeling the Gap's latest pieces.  It is always great to see what items look like on real people, and after seeing this Stripe Scuba Fit & Flare dress modeled I knew I had to have it.  I took advantage of a 40% off code, and am so happy with the dress in person.  One thing to note is that this dress does not have a zipper, but it is a little stretchy so I didn't have any trouble putting it on.  The material is a nice thick scuba knit, and the fit-and-flare shape is flattering on everyone.  I paired this Stripe Scuba Fit & Flare dress with my favorite army vest (see one of many ways I have styled it here), DVF tall boots, bucket bag, aviators, and gold jewelry to run errands and grab sushi with my #1 guy last weekend.  I can guarantee this dress is going to be on heavy rotation this spring and all the way through fall.







 Dress: "Stripe Scuba Fit & Flare Dress" in navy stripe (also available in white stripe), $69.95 at Gap here
Army vest: Conversation Pieces (no longer available), similar "Cotton Military Vest," $34.99 at Charlotte Russe here 
Boots: Diane Von Furstenberg via Poshmark, check out the Frye "Marissa Back Zip Tall Boot" in cognac (available in 3 other colors), $388 at Zappos here
Bucket Bag: Banana Republic (old), currently loving the "Signature Mini Bucket Bag" in pale camel (also available in dark sky), $98 at Ann Taylor here
Necklace: Paris "Coordinates Bar Pendant" (8 other cities available), $36 at Baublebar here
Rings: "Arrow Wrap Ring" in gold, $28 at Baublebar here and similar Gorjana "Chaplin Band Ring" in gold, $60 at Nordstrom here
Watch: Marc by Marc Jacobs "Henry" in gold, $250 at Nordstrom here
Aviators: Michael Michael Kors "Sicily" in dune, $55.99 (61% off!) at Bluefly here

Check out my picks for more striped dresses that are perfect for spring and all affordably priced under $100:
What is your favorite way to style stripes this spring?  Thank you for visiting my blog today, and I hope you have a great rest of your week!
 
Linking up with Rhea, Et Cetera, Style Elixir, The Fashion Canvas, and Walking in Memphis in High Heels.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Travel Log: Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

After about six days in Thailand (check out my travel logs on Bangkok here and here, as well as my Koh Samui travel log here), we flew to Cambodia for a step back in time.  Angkor Archaeological Park is a UNESCO world heritage site, one of the most important in Southeast Asia and home to the former capitals of the Khmer Empire.  Visiting the Angkor temples has been on my bucket list for a while now, and January was the perfect time to visit for warm and dry weather.  January is within the peak tourist season (November through March), so we knew we would need a plan to avoid the worst of the crowds.  The best piece of advice I received was to hire a car and driver to visit the major temples, and I am so glad we did.  During the dry season, it gets hot and dusty and being in an open tuktuk looked miserable.  The car and driver cost us $30 USD for ~8 hours and we enjoyed history lessons from our friendly driver as well as air conditioning, cold water, and door-to-door service.  Our driver picked us up from our hotel after breakfast, took us straight to the Angkor ticket office to get our day passes, and then dropped us off in front of Angkor Wat about 8:00 am.  We were told that most of the tour buses go to Angkor Thom first, then Angkor Wat, so he took us the opposite route.  After dropping us off at each location, he would wait for us in the parking lots and was always very easy to find.  Best $30 spent of the trip, hands down.  Please read on for photos and details of our time in Angkor Wat, the most famous site within the Angkor Archaeological Park. 

Angkor Wat is often considered the centerpiece of any visit to the Angkor temples.  It was built by King Suryavarman II during a span of ~35 years and dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu.  There is an exterior wall and a moat, and once you get inside the outside wall you find this long walkway toward the main temple.

When we reached the center of the temple, the first level contained an exterior wall covered with bas-reliefs, a stone walkway, and a double row of columns that seemed to stretch for a mile.

Another view of the outside wall, with a better view of the bas-reliefs that detail key points in Cambodian history & mythology.

The most famous section of the bas-reliefs: the "Churning of the Sea of Milk" in the East Wing.  This scene depicts the the gods (devas) and demons (asuras) enlisting the help of Vishnu and the five-headed naga Vasuki to churn the Ocean of Milk in an effort to produce an elixir that would grant immortality.

Moving further inward, we reached the central structure of the temple, a three-tiered pyramid that also contained the iconic lotus-shaped towers that Angkor Wat is known for.  The steps were old and steep, but how amazing to be able to climb the same steps as someone in the 12th century!  This view shows some of the wear and tear on the structure.

One reason why I wanted to visit Angkor Wat sooner rather than later is that you can still roam freely throughout the temple with few restrictions.  As you can see, there was a bit of scaffolding/support here and there but not much.  I was able to walk over to the base of one of the towers, and this photo shows the scale - I felt so small!

A man-made wooden staircase takes you up to the third level of the temple, because the original stone steps are too worn and unstable to allow foot traffic.  This is a small indicator of how many tourists pass through Angkor Wat and the effects on these ancient structures. 

Looking out from the upper level of the temple, you can see the outer walls containing the bas-reliefs, and the forest beyond. 

If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen these next two photos but I have to share again because it was one of many highlights on our trip.  The highlight was galloping around Angkor Wat on a horse that was brought into the grounds for tourist photos.  Now if you don't already know, I grew up with horses and riding is one of the things in life that makes me truly happy.  In this case, I jumped at the chance to ride in Cambodia and negotiated to take the horse around the grounds for $5.  I wasn't sure if this horse would even want to run, but when offered the chance he took off at a full gallop!  What an exhilarating experience, and a head-turner.  I have a feeling that I was in a bunch of people's photos that morning.

When I came back to where I started, the local guides were amazed that I knew how to ride, and told me that they had never seen anyone do that before.  Who knows, maybe I started a new trend?

This spontaneous horseback ride was a great end to our ~2 hour tour around Angkor Wat, and as you can tell by my face I was so glad I did it.  We then walked back out through the exterior gate, found our driver, and headed to our next stop: Angkor Thom. 

I hope you enjoyed these photos and details about Angkor Wat, and if you have ever been thinking about visiting Cambodia I absolutely recommend a visit to Siem Reap and its amazing historical sites.  Please stay tuned for more posts on Angkor temples, and thank you for visiting my blog today! I hope you have a great week.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Foodie Review: Kaisho Brunch, Seattle, WA

Last weekend, we decided to have a Valentine's Day brunch date at a fairly new Asian fusion restaurant in our neighborhood called Kaisho.  Kaisho means "meeting or gathering place," and offers what they call a "boozy dim sum brunch" on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 3pm.  Sounds good, right?  The brunch menu reminds me of Tray Kitchen, another Seattle restaurant I reviewed recently here.  Kaisho opened this summer and is located in the space formerly occupied by Boom Noodle on 12th and East Pike, if you are familiar with the area.  It is owned by the same company who own Blue C Sushi and Boom Noodle, however, this is not a chain restaurant.  It is a new concept by Executive Chef Kalen Schramke with dishes inspired by his travels through Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.  Since we get up fairly early anyway, we arrived at Kaisho right at 10am on Saturday morning.  It was a little dark inside, but they have a huge space and we were able to sit by the window.  Service was prompt and very friendly, so we were seated immediately and ordered a large french press of Caffe Vita light roast (my guy's favorite!).  Please read on for photos and details of our tasty meal.

We ordered a couple of small plates and one large plate to share.  The first small plate was this bacon and egg steamed bun with oven dried tomato and thai basil.  A little messy, but a delicious combo that I would definitely order again.

The second small plate we ordered was this Portuguese sausage breakfast taco with moo shoo tortilla, fried egg, and cabbage slaw.  There are four options for breakfast tacos, and this one is also messy but delicious.  I would also order one of these again.

From the large plate section, we ordered this bao benedict with dragon sauce (chili hollandaise - yum!), smoked pork, and escarole served on a biscuit.  Benedicts are my favorite breakfast dish, so when I saw they had a unique one I knew I had to try it.  I read in initial reviews that this benedict was served on a chinese style bun (aka bao or baozi), but my plate definitely contained a biscuit.  It was tasty, don't get me wrong, but I was a little confused and curious if they ran out or changed the menu.  I would try this dish again - but first clarifying that I was actually getting baozi in my bao benedict.  I thought that the flavor combination was delicious!



 
The full brunch menu is above, also posted online at http://www.kaishorestaurant.com/menu.  The chicken and waffles were highlighted in several other reviews, so I will have to try that next time. In addition to brunch, Kaisho serves dinner, happy hour, and late night happy hour until 12 midnight Sunday through Thursday and until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays.  Not that many places in Seattle serve food until 2am on the weekends, so I will definitely keep Kaisho in mind for late night eats in the city.  Thank you for visiting my blog today, and I hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Style Remix: Cropped Sweater + Blouse + Fedora

We are enjoying sunny spring-like weather lately here in Seattle, which is odd for February but I am loving it.  Afternoons have been wonderfully warm with highs up to 60 degrees, but morning and evening lows are down in the 40's.  This temperature range provides a great opportunity to create layered looks, and today's outfit is a great example.  I wore this casual layered ensemble last weekend for a Valentine's Day breakfast in our neighborhood with my #1 guy (check back for details on our meal).  For our casual breakfast date, I paired a cropped sweater and blouse combo (last seen here) with moto jeans (previously styled here), black booties (seen before here), and a fedora (styled most recently here).  I finished the outfit with a black crossbody bag, gold jewelry, and a Burberry down jacket for the chilly morning air.







Coat: Burberry Brit (no longer available online), similar Burberry Brit "Cornsdale Channel Quilt Down Jacket with Hood" in black, $795 at Nordstrom 
Sweater: Express (old), check out the Topshop "Ribbed Crop Sweater" in black, $34.99 (30% off!) at Nordstrom here
Blouse: J Crew Factory (old), similar Calvin Klein "Top w/PU Trim Pockets" in eggshell, $34.99 at 6pm here
Denim: Joe's Jeans (old), currently loving the Hudson "Stark Moto" jean in vandal, $159.99 (on sale) at 6pm here
Booties: Me Too "Colt" bootie in black, $103.96 (on sale!) at Amazon here
Bag: Vince Camuto "Robyn Crossbody," see available colors, $170.99 at Macys here
Necklace: Forever 21 (old), similar "Chain Tassel Necklace" in gold, $7.80 at Forever 21 here
Rings: Forever 21 & Baublebar (old), currently loving the Gorjana "Camila Hammered Ring Set" in gold, $55 at Shopbop here
Fedora: BCBGeneration "Pleather & Flannel Fedora," see available colors, $42 at Zappos here

Cropped sweaters are a perfect piece to layer now and all the way through spring.  Check out my picks for cropped sweaters, all currently available online and priced under $100:
What is your favorite way to layer this spring?  Thank you for visiting my blog today, and I hope you have a great rest of your week!

Linking up with Happiness at Mid-Life, Mix & Match Fashion, The Fashion Canvas, and Walking in Memphis in High Heels.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Travel Log: Koh Samui, Thailand

Hello and happy Monday!  Today I want to share with you another installment of our recent Southeast Asia trip.  You can view my first two posts on our first stop, Bangkok, here and here.  The second stop of our journey was Koh Samui.  Samui is the third largest island in Thailand, originally home to a fishing community and developed in the last few decades.  We debated visiting Phuket or Samui, and ultimately chose Samui because we felt it would be a little quieter with a good mix of beaches and nightlife.  Please read on for photos and details of our four days on Samui.

One of the highlights of our time on Samui was an elephant ride in Namuang Safari Park.  Now I know that this is a controversial topic for a lot of people, because elephants are not native to Samui and were brought in specifically for tourists.  However, the elephants appeared to be healthy and none exhibited signs of distress.  Our elephant's name was Gina, she was a total sweetheart and we greatly enjoyed our time with her.

During our ride, we got to trade places sitting behind Gina's ears and experience riding where a mahout sits.  It was pretty incredible to ride along to her massive strides - like a horse but so much bigger!

After our ride, I fed Gina a couple of bunches of bananas as a treat.  I hope I made her day!  Elephants are amazing creatures, and on my next trip to Thailand I hope to be able to go up north to Chiang Mai to visit the elephant sanctuary.

We were not originally planning to visit the Hin Ta and Hin Yai (Grandfather and Grandmother) rocks on Samui, but our trip to Namuang Safari Park included a stop on the way.  There are vendor stalls set up on the way in/out, where you can buy snacks and souvenirs.

The "Grandma" rock was underwater, so it wasn't visible, but "Grandpa" rock was in full view and everyone got a kick out of it.

We purchased these sweet coconut caramels called galamae on our way out, and I am kicking myself for not buying more.  These coconut caramels are native to Samui, and the bag we bought had four flavors: banana (yellow), black rice (black), pandan (green), and I think the last one was original caramel flavor.

We chose a resort called Code on the northwest side of Samui, in an area called Maenam, because it was less touristy than the popular Chaweng Beach.  We were very happy with our resort - it was modern, quiet, and had a lovely view of the water.  There was an hotel shuttle that took guests down to the beach on a regular schedule as well.

Not a bad view from the beach bar!  January is a great time to visit Samui because temperatures average about 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the humidity is moderate, and it's reliably sunny.  The actual temps during our visit were more like mid 80's, which felt perfect.

Another view of Bang Por Beach in Maenam.  It definitely wasn't the biggest beach, but the view was lovely and the bar was only ten steps away from the lounge chairs.

Not bad for a Monday morning, am I right?  I got used to this morning routine fast and four days went by way too fast.

In addition to Bang Por beach, we also visited Bophut and its lovely larger beach.

Bophut has one main street with bars, restaurants, and shops.  The shops were all typical tourist stores and they had a mini mall on one end.  Nothing too spectacular, but worth a walk through.

Beach dining with delicious food and a gorgeous view!  Of the dishes we had, the mussels with lemongrass and green curry broth were my favorite.

The best place to watch the sun go down was one of the beach bars.  I don't recall any names, but this hookah bar had bean bags on the beach as well as a couple of cabanas for an inviting atmosphere.

Our last evening on Samui, we treated ourselves to dinner at a restaurant called The Farmer in Maenam.  I featured this outfit a few weeks ago here if you missed it and would like to see the details!

The Farmer is a unique restaurant - it doesn't sit on the beach but instead sits in a rice paddy.  The rice paddy is lit up at night, creating a beautiful scene.

My favorite dish of the night was this phad thai.  The noodles were wrapped inside of an egg "nest," which could be broken apart and mixed in along with the peanuts, lime, and sprouts.  So good!

Mussaman Farmer Style Curry - one of the restaurant's delicious signature dishes. 


Rice is not only complimentary at The Farmer, but you get a selection of colors and flavors!  You can choose from blue (butterfly flower), green (pandan leaf), red (rosella flower), white (plain), and yellow (turmeric).

Crispy Fried Duck, another specialty of The Farmer and also fantastic.  You can't go wrong with tender roast duck with perfect crispy skin!

After a wonderful meal, we packed up and prepared to fly to our next destination: Siem Reap!  Please stay tuned for my view on Cambodia and the temples of Angkor.  Thank you for visiting my blog today, and I hope you have a great week!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine's Day Outfit Idea: Blush Moto Jacket + Grey + Rose Gold

I love traveling and my new job, but both have kept me too busy lately to even think about shopping for a Valentine's Day outfit.  The 14th is right around the corner and I have a closet full of clothes, so I decided to remix existing pieces for today's Valentine's Day outfit idea.  I have been loving blush and grey combos lately, and these two soft colors made perfect sense to style together for this holiday.  I started with a blush moto jacket (styled previously here), a soft knit grey pencil skirt (seen last summer here), and a white silk blouse (styled last fall here).  Rose gold pumps, a glitter clutch, and glitter belt added a touch of sparkle and glam to this perfect date night ensemble.  This blush and grey pairing will be perfect to wear from now all the way through spring.  Oh, and let's not forget my sock bun - because I am currently obsessed with this chic and easy hairstyle!







Moto Jacket: Piperlime (no longer available)
Skirt: "Pencil Skirt" in dark grey (available in three other colors), $24.95 at H&M here
Blouse: Banana Republic (old), similar "Airy Blouse" in white (available in three other colors), $19.95 at H&M here 
Pumps: "Ninah Pump" in pearl pink, few sizes left for $129.99 at Banana Republic here or similar Charles by Charles David "Pact Pump" in rose gold metallic, $98.95 at Nordstrom here
Clutch: Kate Spade (no longer available online), similar "I Kissed a Frog Clutch" in multi, $328 at Kate Spade here
Belt: Old Navy (girls section - no longer available online), similar "Christina 2 Pack Glitter Skinny Belts in gold, $5 at Boohoo here
 
Moto jackets continue to be on-trend this spring, and a blush version is a great way to update your closet this spring.  Check out my picks for blush moto jackets, currently available online and affordably priced under $100:

What are you wearing this Valentine's Day?  Thank you for visiting my blog today, and I hope you have a great rest of your week!
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