Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dressing for my Body Type

As I've been exploring style, I've been doing some thinking and researching about what to wear for my body type. I have some pieces in my closet that I love, but don't feel the most flattering on me (boatneck tops, puffy short sleeves). I wanted to create guidelines for any new pieces I might add.

Here's what I know starting out:

A. I'm pear-shaped (my hips are more than 10 inches bigger than my waist). I carry most of my weight in my hips, butt, and thighs.
B. I have a relatively short torso and longer legs

I looked up some tips for dressing those two realities about my body and here are the lists I gathered (from hereherehere and here).

The funny/interesting about this research is that while there are some overlaps in styles, there are also some clear contradictions (what looks good on a pear shaped body should never be worn on a person with a short torso, and vice versa) Here are the guidelines:

Short Torso
1. Wear long, lean, tops, tunics, sweaters and jackets, wear shirts untucked
2. Go for only pants with a low rise.
3. Tops with subtle, narrow, vertical stripes.
4. Dresses or tops without a waist, like empire styles or blousons.
5. A monochromatic color scheme or shades of the same color without much contrast between top & bottom.
6. Belts worn loose and low around the hips over a long top.
7. V-necks and plunges, because they emphasize verticality.
8. Long necklaces and scarves left hanging or tied low
9. Sleeveless, long sleeves, or three quarter sleeves
10. go for a two piece bathing suit with low cut bottoms 

1. Horizontal necklines
2. Short sleeves (especially if the are puffed or embellished.)
3. High-waisted pants
4. Dresses that hit my actual waist
5. Belting at the waistline


1. Go for clean, tailored lines on the bottom. 
2. Create an “A-line” silhouette with your clothing (fitted on top and roomier at the bottom).
3. Wear pants or jeans with a mid-length waistline, and flare on the bottom.
4. Wear tunic tops or dresses.
5. Make use of jackets to distract from bottom, with design features to draw eye upwards.
6. Show off your shoulders.
7. Most pear-shaped gals have tiny waistlines. They were made for the waist-cinching belt look.
8. Wear V-neck tops which elongate the neck and draw attention to your slim midsection.
9. Wear tops fitted to your shoulders. Try an extended shoulder pad or ruched sleeve.
10. Wearing an eye-catching colour on top draws the eye upwards.
11. Wear pointy-toed or almond toes shoes with bottoms that are wider at the hem.
12. The length of your tops should either catch you just below your hipbone, or past the thigh area.
13. Accessorize the top part of your body well, with necklaces, scarves, earrings.

1. Cargo pockets, side entry pockets, waist pleats, drawstrings or hip embellishments.
2. low-rise or high-rise pants
3. belt at the hips, or thick belts

Overwhelmed? In recap, the guidelines that experts agree work for a short-torsoed/pear-shaped person:
  • wear tunic tops and dresses
  • wear pieces with empire waistlines
  • wear v-necks
  • accessorize on top with long pieces
  • Avoid: high-waisted bottoms
The contradictions. Do I wear?...
  • low rise pants vs.mid-rise pants
  • monochromatic color scheme vs. dark color on bottom, bright on top
  • belt low the hips vs. belt at the waistline
  • show off shoulders vs. minimize shoulders
  • can pull off flats vs. always wear heels
  • draw clean lines down body vs. draw attention to upper body
  • long tops untucked vs. tops tucked in at waist

This week I'm doing my best to find outfits that meet the compromises of dressing my body type well, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on the lists, as well as what you think I can pull off or not. (I'm having a hard time thinking about giving up my high-waisted bottoms, pocketed skirts, and waistline belting)

Here are few outfits that I think work really well for my body: Feeling EuropeanEarly Morning SunScarf as Belt

And a couple that are not terribly flattering: Three TieredTomato, Comfy

PS. I'm wearing
tunic: Zara
necklace: J.Crew
leggings: Target
Sandals: Target

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pizza keeps me grounded

Five weeks apart.

It didn't seem like so long in April when we were just excited about the prospect of being in Milan for the summer! Then June flew by and it was time for me to go home...and for E to stay in Italy.

The first week felt fine - I kept busy, was really comfortable at home again, and time passed quickly.

The second week was a lot tougher.

The third week downright sucked.

After hitting the three week mark, I am feeling on the verge of a breakdown. I'm not just bored - I've actually found plenty of things to do, and I have really enjoyed my "Secret Single Behavior" time. But I'm lonely. Oh, so lonely.

I used to think people were big babies when they complained about being apart. I had been in a long, long-distance relationship. (E and I spent half of our dating relationship, and our entire engagment 2,000 miles apart.) But that was before we got married. And now, it's SO different.

During a particularly lonely and sobby weekend, I decided that the only thing that could cheer me up was to cook. (that, and a 10-days-left countdown calender)

So I opened up my fridge and started gathering an assortment of toppings.

Leftover capocollo (a cured meat) from dinner with my family last weekend, a couple different kinds of tomatoes, onion, basil, and sheep cheese (has a distinct flavor like goat cheese, but different - slightly more like feta). A local grocery store sells pre-made dough, which is just perfect for me.

A couple tips i've picked up in pizza-making.
  1. Try stretching the dough. It's quicker, easier and more even than rolling out the dough. Plus it makes you feel like a real Italian.
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  3. Pizza doesn't require sauce!
  4. Always, always, always cook on a stone
  5. Spray the baking stone with olive oil spray, then sprinkle with cornmeal. perfect non-stick solution, plus you get the crunchy cornmeal on the crust - classic.
  6. Drizzling olive oil on the pizza before baking is always a good idea.
  7. If you're going to use onions, carmelize them. There is no excuse!
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pizza, pizza!

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enjoy with a homemade strawberry margarita-ish
(juice of 1 grapefruit, 2 limes, and 8 strawberries blended with ice, triple sec and tequila)
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and then pop in a drama [season finale of Parenthood for me] and pine away.

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and ps. please read all about Secret Single Behavior from the blog posts linked above. They're fun and hilarious.

Friday, July 22, 2011

babies make me a little nervous

I'm baby-sitting tonight.

This is probably totally unremarkable to some of you. But I almost never babysit.

The story is that a coworker's wife who became a member of my book club has two little guys and after we'd gotten to know each other a bit, she asked me stay over (after the baby was in bed) for a date night or two over the last year. So I basically fed and put to bed a 3 year old, then watched tv. That's not really baby sitting.

But she referred me to a new co-worker who needed a sitter, since she knew E is still gone and I'm lame and didn't have any plans. And now I'm watching a 9-month-old for five hours tonight.

It can't be that bad and I'm not clueless - I'm actually confident in my diaper changing and bottle-warming abilities - but I haven't really babysat in a long time...and I feel like this is some kind of preparedness test for having my own children.

I even called my little sister to ask for advice because she has done approximately 452349 times more babysitting than I have and still nannies regularly. She basically told me to chill out and play toys with him.

Mommies of 9-month-olds (or former 9-month-olds) - anything else to add?

ps. On a baby note -- one of my good friends, A, is 30 weeks pregnant and last night while watching the new Harry Potter movie she grabbed my hand and placed it on her belly to feel her little girl kick. What a crazy feeling! Life is pretty amazing.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

the color of: [awesome]

Have you guys heard of the color of: ?

Flora pointed it out recently and I'm having a little obsession love affair.

You type a word in the find feature (ANY word: theme, mood, place, event, thing]. The program then pulls 80 images from Flickr with that word, and uses an averaging algorithm on the colour pixel values to create a gorgeous piece of art reminiscent of water-color. (The best part is you can watch the piece take shape, photo by photo!)

I made at least ten when I discovered it.

It's $45 for a high-quality print without the words - so I'm not sure I'm ready to invest quite yet, but it certainly makes for some pretty pictures!




the color of san diego



These are surprisingly accurate! I especially love the Eiffel tower, and Venice. (and how great is San Diego? - all blue skies and beach!)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mama visits San Diego

When I knew E and I were going to be apart for five weeks while he stays in Italy, and I had to return home for work - I called up my mom and asked if she wanted to come out and spend a weekend in July. It all worked out last minute, and it was so nice to have her here!

My mom and I are really different - I'm much more similar to my dad [it was funny to hear my mom say "wow, you are your father's daughter" during the trip] but there is something so comforting about having your mama home with you.

Italian-style dinner on Thursday Night (antipasti, primo, secondo, followed by alcohol/espresso)






my grandpa also came out to visit, and he spent most of the weekend with his brother who lives in Inland Empire (about 80 miles from me), but we got together for dinner on Thursday and Sunday


Saturday in Seaport Village



seaport village




Grandpa and his brother

he is the best.

I'm again reminded of what a blessing it is to have a family like mine.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Big Apple Nosh Chef Challenge: Peach & Mint

I hope you've all heard of Big Apple Nosh's 4th Noshgirl Chef Challenge - where three bloggers are given two mystery ingredients to combine into one fabulous dish. It goes up for a vote and the winning chef gets two NYC black and white cookies! This week I'm a contestant, and our mystery ingredients are delightfully summery: peach & mint.

Initially knew I wanted to incorporate something with Italian flair, as I've been immersed in their food lately.
I decided to put together a caprese salad - but replace the tomatoes with peaches! Fresh, juicy California peaches are in season now and I scored them for a great deal at my local market.

As for the mint -- well that was easy. I have a HUGE pot on my back patio filled to the brim :-)

(I forgot to get a photo of mine in daylight, but this ^ one looks exactly the same)


First, I sliced the peaches and mozzarella, and layered them with large basil leaves on a plate.

(can you tell I'm not a food photographer? or any kind of photographer? Apparently, I do not understand the rule of thirds)

I topped the peach caprese with a champagne mint vinaigrette, and garnished with a few mint sprigs.

Champagne Mint Vinaigrette

3 tbls champagne vinegar
1/3 c olive oil
1/2 c mint leaves
salt and pepper to taste

Pulse vinegar, mint and salt/pepper in a blender or food processor. Then blend while slowly adding olive oil in a stream until full incorporated.


drizzle onto caprese


Be amazed at the beautiful colors.

Then dive in!


It's not a terribly complicated recipe (that's the best part!) - but it is such a light, refreshing summer lunch. The flavors of the basil, mint, and peach blended beautifully.

My mom and enjoyed it today, and I hope you'll give it a try. :-)


As for the Noshgirl Chef Challenge - voting should start on Monday, so be sure to check Big Apple Nosh and vote...and may the best chef win!

ETA: Voting is now live on the Noshgirl Chef Challenge #4. Vote here!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Souvenirs from Italy

I was excited that Catherine guest posted for me about buying souvenirs when traveling. it helped me prioritize the things we could and should come home with.

While food was one of the best parts of this experience, I couldn't take many of the things I would have loved to, home with me (Mozarella de bufalo? yes, please.)

I'm still not sure what E will bring back with him next month, here is what I took home from our Italian adventures:


1. The church in Milan gave us this beautiful espress cup set from an Italian brand, Thun for our anniversary. It's a 2011 exclusive set for us to remember the anniversary we spent there.

Thun: 2011 exclusive espresso set

2. After we tasted Rosanna's creme di limoncello, a recipe from the Napoli region, I had to take some home with me - so delicious!

3. The balsamic vinegar we had in Italy was leagues above anything we've tried in the US. This balsamic reduction is fabulous for caprese salad and seafood.

4. We were gifted some Illy espresso grounds from a family in the church.

5. Italian stovetop espresso maker. This is the old school, better tasting espresso maker (Kate and Rob agree!) You saw a version of this in my post on Italian breakfasts, and I couldn't bear to give up my morning caffe con latte! We were told this is the best brand you can find.

6. Shoes! I got these Italian leather sandals at a local store (brand is Sonoitalyana) (see them styled here)
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7. I was not planning to buy any more shoes...when I stumbled across these sexy heels on clearance and couldn't leave without them. (see them styled here)
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8. I took two of these kilo bags of espresso beans home (4.5 lbs total). We have a grinder, so I grind up a couple days worth of grounds to make in our stovetop maker.

9. Sfolie was one of my favorite pastries in Italy. I ate these often, and took home a jumbo package which I'm slowly working through... (and not sharing!)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Work Shoes

oops! looks like part of this post accidentally went up last it is in full.

I work in fairly conservative business casual southern California.
This means that while I feel comfortable wearing open-toed shoes - I probably shouldn't come to work in something like this.

It's taken me a long time to find cute summer shoes I feel are appropriate for my work environment (and I only have maybe two pairs). I recently checked out the big Nordstrom summer sale online and found a few work-appropriate sandals and peeptoe pumps. I thought I would share a few that I added to my wish-list.

Summer Work Shoes

Seychelles pewter shoes$40 -

Me Too strap shoes$44 -

Franco Sarto narrow shoes$45 -

Nine West chunky sandals$40 -

Enzo Angiolini ruffle shoes$60 -

Cole Haan open toe shoes$114 -

VANELi beige sandals$99 -

Magdesians magdesian shoes$60 -

Me Too pewter shoes$40 -

any other inspiration to add to this set? (feel free to link below!)
Do you ever struggle finding your style when following a work dress code?

weekend in San Diego

I'm keeping myself as busy as possible during my weeks of bachelorette-hood. [And trying to keep my whining about missing E to a minimum for your sakes!] This weekend was spent with some wonderful ladies and lots of sun.

The recipe:
canapes, wine, beach, movie, chatting, kayaks, sunburn, and books.

It was a perfect little retreat weekend ( is it time for you to come home, husband?)


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cell july 2

-Dinner at Canapes

Monday, July 11, 2011

Greetings in Italian

I can hardly believe I'm home. Italy feels like a faraway dream. I'm still thinking through and processing a lot about what I experienced there (and living vicariously through E who is there for another month) so I hope you guys don't mind me sharing some more reflections and thoughts from the trip...this time about Italian greetings and etiquette.

Cheek Kissing
On the plane ride to Italy, E and I flipped through a travel book for some tips on Italian culture before we arrived to prepare for the culture shock. We had been warned by previous visitors that the expectation at church was that we would greet every single person when they arrived, and greet them again/say goodbye after every event.

We knew that it was customary to kiss both cheeks, but were misled about which cheek goes first! We had read it was left cheek, right cheek - which seemed natural to me - but it turns out its the opposite! (only a few awkward near-misses before we figured this one out)

E would greet every man with kisses (more like a light cheek touch with a kissing sound), and all the older women and children, but not usually women his own age.

I would greet every women with cheek kisses, all the older men and children. The nonni (grandparents) were usually a little more affectionate with some real kisses on the cheek.
The occasion, and level of emotion seemed to dictate how long you would hold each other, or whether or not the cheeks were actually kissed. :-)

It took me a few weeks to not instinctively put my hand out for handshake prior to the kisses. (This is proper for the first few times you meet someone, then you can stop putting your hand out). Finally after watching the ladies for a little while I began to greet with just a light holding of one shoulder, or just leaning in for the kiss-kiss.

I have to say I fell in LOVE with the cheek-kiss and cannot figure why it isn't customary in the US!

We had studied a few words of greeting before we arrived in Italy, but didn't know the rules of when to use them or how. Here are some tips we picked up!

For greeting formally before 2pm, buongiorno = good day
after 2pm, buonasera = good evening

When you are leaving or saying goodbye:
buona giornata = have a good day
buona serata = have a good evening

Ciao = (informal) hello/goodbye

ce vediamo _____ = see you _____
you can say it on its own, or add a dopo (later), a domani (tomorrow), a venerdi (on friday...or fill in any other day of the week)

When eating
For a wine toast, you say "Salute". & don't drink before the toast!
(humorous note, our hosts thought it was so funny that Americans use the same word for toasted bread and a glass clink!)

Everyone repeats "buon appetito" after the host says it, before eating.

I learned that it is impossibly to compliment a meal appropriately, unless you speak Italian.
It's proper to say either buono or buona -- the gender is determined by the gender of the name of the food which you are eating!

Since I never knew this I usually said buona cena = good dinner. (I'm still not sure if this was right or not!)

It was really fun, although awkward at times to learn a lot of the social customs and words, but we were so thankful for our patient hosts!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Shabby Apple Summer Sale

Have you guys heard this news? Shabby Apple's holding a rare summer sale: 20% off your entire order using the code: SUMMER20

Dresses from Shabby Apple

This isn't my first time posting about Shabby Apple -- they have some really stylish, colorful, unique dresses, that are also demure. I bought my first dress from Shabby Apple last year (L'Artiste from the Oh La La line) with a Groupon.

and also purchased fun cocktail ring - which i wore for our anniversary photos.

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Now that the 30 for 30 is over and my shopping ban is over, I treated myself to a couple new pieces from Shabby Apple.

The Adelaide skirt

I can't wait to see them!

Go forth, and purchase all things Shabby Apple with the code: SUMMER20

ps. disclosure: if you happen to click over to Shabby Apple from this here blog and make a purchase, I will receive a tiny affiliate referral credit.

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