June 29, 2013

Happy early birthday to me

Yesterday I did a very un-Gen like thing. As some of you might know, I've been on a pretty tight budget these couple of months while living off intern pay and intern pay alone. I spent a ton of money in April and May when I had family and friends visiting SF, and dramatically scaled down my expenditure this month to compensate for that... and also commenced a SHOPPING BAN. Against all odds, I have actually been successful (!) and haven't bought a single non-essential/ non-food or transport related item all of June.

But yesterday, in a stroke of shiny luck, I was on Facebook and saw a fancy camera being listed for a fairly affordable price (and significantly under market value). And so, I went for it. Presenting - my new Nikon P510!!


As a caveat, I did not take these shots with my camera obvi, I used my trusty iPhone 5. So far I really like it. It looks like a fancy camera, but is smaller than a DSLR and has all these handy auto-set functions. A professional photographer I am most definitely not, and I have almost no desire to learn how to fiddle with apertures and all of that fun stuff, but I did want a better camera to take nice pictures for my blog and to share with my family.

Even though my fancy camera fund only has a grand total of $10 (I'm a great saver, as you can tell), I think this was a great bargain and I'm really loving fiddling around with the features and this is basically a combination congratulations on surviving the whole of June without buying clothes!! and happy early birthday you survived the past terrible year!! type gift to myself.

Well then. Off to work I go.

June 16, 2013

Top reading picks for the week!

I've been reading a ton lately (what else is new really), and have been really enjoying and learning a lot from some of them. Others... not so much - I get through around 10 books a week, give or take a couple (this is sadly not an exaggeration; I've been raiding the Berkeley Public Library), so this really is the best of the best!


This book is pitched at entrepreneurs and start ups, but I think its concepts apply to many things, including marketing, blogging, and life in general. Huge claims. It breaks down the process of bringing a product to market, identifying what kinds of metrics you should be tracking, and how to define success. There's also a bunch of case studies in there and just generally cool insight for anyone who's interested in innovation. The most compelling (and popular) idea in the book is the Minimum Viable Product, where you use customer feedback as an integral part of development. Having worked at a start up, it's been really interesting to see how my CEO uses Ries' ideas and how I had internalized a lot of it even though I had never read the book!

Daily: The Skimm
This is, hands down, the best way to get news in the morning. I load the email on my phone and read it crushed up between sweaty commuters on the BART. It's written in a very accessible (and snarky) voice and very efficiently breaks down key issues. I've become a LOT more informed since subscribing, and it's really one of those emails I always open to read everyday. Sign up for it here!

Side story: the first time I read Harry Potter I couldn't get enough. Same for The Hunger Games - I read all 3 books in a single night and ended up sleeping at 5am the night before a VERY big interview. I got the exact same feeling while reading Divergent.

(Apparently movie execs felt the same way, because it's being filmed as a movie right now, starring Shailene Woodley. Who would not have been my first pick for Tris, but oh well)

It is SO GOOD. If you loved The Hunger Games and dystopic fiction in general, you will absolutely love this book. Tris is such a strong female character, and there are so many plot twists (and of course a cute boy in the mix) that it makes for a very compelling story. It's also written very well, which is really more than I can say for a lot of YA dystopic fiction today. Two thumbs up and yes I'm chewing my fingernails down for the release of Allegiant (3rd book) this October.

Have a great week ahead!

June 12, 2013

Summer sweater weather

Summer in San Francisco - just beautiful days of rolling fog and chilly winds blowing in from the bay. It's been absolutely freezing in the morning and such a pain to get out of bed, but then fairly bright and sunny in the afternoons. I've been trying to strike the right balance between warm/ cold and I think I've found that in the thin crew neck sweater!

I have 2 that are on heavy rotation now - a navy blue cashmere one from Vince that I found on super sale at Jeremy's, and a black cotton-cashmere one from the men's department at Uniqlo. I've been pairing them all of last week with midi length skirts or patterned pants, and along with my trusty Old Navy anorak, they've combated this weirdly cold weather we've been having in SF quite nicely.

Some street inspiration for my looks:


I love how put together a crew neck sweater looks - right now it feels very Audrey Hepburn, put-together, and makes an outfit automatically chic. Maybe I'm thinking too much of it? Anyway I love these simple looks and am definitely going to be bringing some of this into my outfits this week.

p/s Want some free styling advice? Say hi at my Keaton Row page! I do all the legwork for you in finding the perfect outfits, and there is absolutely no obligation to purchase anything.

Images: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

June 10, 2013

Fancy family photos

When my family came over for graduation, we grabbed the opportunity to take some family photos to celebrate my parents' 15th anniversary and to get some lovely pictures of Cal (and of me in my cap and gown)! Adi Nevo was our photographer and she was incredibly lovely and so professional - I felt a little bit like a movie star, and am really in love with the photos she took.

Here are some of my favorites (and yes, there are many):


We took pictures all over campus and we managed to capture some of my favorite places - in front of the music library, Haas, the little wooded area that I used to walk through on the way to Pimental for Physics for Future Presidents. When I look at these photos I remember all the little areas of Cal - the spaces I used to go to just breathe for a little while - that have a special place in my heart. It was so nice to introduce my family to my favorite areas. And also - danggg my hair has never looked so good ;)

If you're in the LA/ Bay Area and looking for a photographer I highly recommend Adi! She was so great and I love her light-filled photos. She was a little pricey, but I think it was all well worth it when I look at these images. They capture so much of my family and they are possibly my favorite pictures EVER.

Happy Monday y'all! Great times ahead, I have to believe it.

June 8, 2013

Breakfasting

Lately I've been trying to eat more healthily - though when my family came to visit they also brought along a massive amount of snacks from Marks & Spencer's (one of the many perks of having a brother who lives in the UK), so that hasn't been going so well. But I think I'm doing pretty well with breakfast!! I've been really into yogurt and granola, and I think it does a really great job of filling me up and giving me some good nutrients to start the day off right.

What I've been eating a lot lately:


Clockwise, from top right: Open Nature Strawberry Vanilla Splendor Granola, Busy Bee Organic Honey, Fage Total Greek Yogurt, Saint Benoit Yogurt in the Honey flavor

I also love the Yoplait yogurts for another breakfast option and the Yoplait YoCrunch Oreo yogurts for a midday snack, but they're not featured because 1) I find the Yoplait yogurts a tad too sweet and the fat free/ low-fat versions taste weird, and 2) Oreo isn't exactly the healthiest of snacks.

My all-time favorite yogurt, though, is the yogurt from Saint Benoit Creamery up in Sonoma. Their honey flavor is mindblowingly delicious and that jar is just the most adorable container for some faux-French goodness. I first learned about them when I was at the Monterey Bay Aquarium with my family on our Southern California roadtrip and the Aquarium was having some Whole Foods tie-up and we got a whole bunch of samples. The bad part about this is that it can be only found in Whole Foods, and is SO expensive, $3 for that little jar PLUS a $1.50 container deposit you only get back when you return it. Whole Foods is a little too far for me and way out of my struggling intern price range, so I only buy this a couple of jars at a time and try to eke out every last bit of it by splitting it into 2 breakfasts (I sometimes eat it with strawberries so it's a little more filling).

So more often than not, I eat my Fage yogurt. Greek yogurt is supposed to have tons of health benefits and to be better than regular yogurt. I don't really like the taste of Greek yogurt alone, but it is absolutely delicious with honey and my all-time favorite granola from Safeway!! It has dried strawberries and is around $4 (Safeway had a 2 for $6 deal last week so I stocked up). SO good. I HIGHLY recommend.

Trying to be more accountable with my food choices and to cut down on sugar and cookies, so I'll probably be posting a few more of these on the blog as I continue working on my diet and fulfilling resolution 2!

June 3, 2013

May Favorites

My new scientific theory is that time speeds up the older you get, because there is no way it is now June. Highlights of the month include hanging out with my family, graduating, and working really, really hard (and loving every minute of the experience, especially when your boss gives you a high five at the close of a great event!)

My first May favorite should come as no surprise, with all my obsessive Instagramming of graduation and taking a million pictures in my cap and gown:


1. Graduation bear from family, cap with the proud "Class of 2013" blue and gold tassel, and the gold pin signifying my graduation from the best university in the world

Woohoo! My graduation bear, especially, is just the sweetest present ever from my family. The bear is one of my old teddy bears that a dear friend bought for me from Harrods, and they bought all the graduation gear. My mum sewed on the blue bands on the graduation gown so that there would be some blue to match the gold, and my grandpa bought the bear a Casio watch to (kinda) match the one he got for me for Christmas last year! Just all in all the sweetest and most thoughtful graduation present ever. My REAL grad present - a black bag from a designer of my choice (I'm leaning towards the YSL Cabas ChYc) to come when we visit France next year!

Speaking of watches:


2. Casio watch and Madewell bangle

This is the watch my grandpa gave me for Christmas last year and I've been wearing it everyday with my silver Madewell bangle, which I got when Madewell was having a ridiculous sale. I need a watch for work, and I've been really loving this simple arm combo  to pair with my all-black outfits.


3. Rebecca Taylor dress and Kate Spade New York Rainey dress

I showed a sneak peek of the Rebecca Taylor dress in my April favorites, but I've been saving it for graduation. I wore the Rebecca Taylor to general commencement, and the Kate Spade dress to Haas commencement. LOVE both of them so much - they perfectly capture my style and were so comfy to wear under my black gown. I can see myself wearing these dresses over and over again and always remembering the special moment of graduation when I do so! I bought the Rebecca Taylor dress at a Saks sale for around $120, and my mum bought me the Kate Spade dress when we were at the Dessert Hills outlets on our SoCal roadtrip for around $130. I've loved the Rainey dress for so long (first saw it when reading about the Garance Dore collaboration and then Lauren Conrad wore it!) and jumped at it when I saw it at a more affordable price at the outlet.


4. Clarks sandals

These new Clarks sandals are my footwear of choice for the summer. I love the color, how sturdy it feels on my feet, and how it's still office-appropriate even though it's a sandal! This has been one of the most responsible footwear purchases I've made in a while, and I haven't stopped wearing it since I bought it a few weeks back.


 5. Essential oils: lavender, peppermint, and "Stress Away"

I've been really, really stressed the entire month of May with work and life in general, and I've been getting these terrible migraines and jaw pain. I've always suffered from bad migraine attacks, but they've never been this frequent and I've NEVER had jaw pain the likes of what I've been suffering the past 3 weeks. My mum has been really into essential oils, and we've been laughing it off, but God help me, I think they really work. I use the lavender and peppermint oils every morning and use the lavender oil to massage my jaw every time my TMJ pops up. Before big events or particularly stressful work days, I rub the "Stress Away" oil on the back of my neck. I think it's really helping me cope with my stress, even if it's such psychological or taking the 5 seconds to breathe deeply in.

That's it for my May favorites! This month was a spending anomaly because my parents were in town and they bought me almost everything in this post, but I feel horribly guilty now for spending so much and I'm stopping myself from purchasing anything non-essential this upcoming month. Fingers crossed I'll do better with spending in June!