2012 | what jess wore

December 27, 2012

Happy Holidays

I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays with their family and loved ones. This was the first year where I didn't spend Christmas with my immediate family. Luckily for us, my fiance's family came up to visit (with our godson in tow) so it was a fun and eventful long weekend. Before I go on vacation next week, I wanted to share some quick reviews particularly since I haven't updated in a while.

So I've been around the Boston area for over 10 years and I just discovered L.A. Burdick for the first time (I kid you not). I realized after the fact that I've passed by the Newbury location numerous times but I never once bothered to step in. Last week, someone was kind enough to share the white chocolate mouse pictured below and I promptly went to the closest location to buy more to share with my other colleagues.

#Chocolate #mouse from #laburdick.  Too cute to eat.
White chocolate mouse from L.A. Burdick

While I was there I also grabbed a box of snowmen as a present for a dear friend as well as some pastries for our visitors. My favorite pastries were the pistachio macarons but I have yet to try their hot chocolate. It's on my list of things to try for next year since I've only heard good things.

Without further ado, are some snapshots and my thoughts on some recent purchases.

Forever 21 Elephant Ring Holder

Forever 21 Elephant ring holder   Forever 21 Elephant ring holder (close up)

The elephant is adorable but the gold paint on the two front paws hands can scratch off. The one I received in the mail had this issue so I went in store to find a better one since they are sold out online.

Forever 21 Bunny Couple Ring Holder

Forever 21 Bunny Couple Ring Holder

This is an adorable alternative to the Anthropologie bunny dish and half the price at $4.80. Unfortunately, it also sold out rather quickly online but I saw a lot of them in store last week.

For dog lovers, I also saw a weiner dog jewelry dish which was cute as well.

Elie Tahari Shirley flats

Elie Tahari Shirley flats in antique rose, size 7

I had these flats on my wishlist for a while and I purchased them once I saw that my size/color was back in stock. (They are pricey but Nordstrom is good about price adjustments so I took the plunge.) The bows on these flats actually remind me of Ferragamo flats. I found these flats to be comfy because they don't have the binding elastic on the sides and back of the heel unlike other flats. In terms of fit, I personally found that they run true to size. I didn't have to go up half a size as suggested on the website.

J.Crew Raindrop Lace dress

J.Crew Raindrop lace dress
Raindrop lace dress in 00

I loved the fit of this dress when I slipped it on for size. I think I may need to save it for a special occasion. ;)

Banana Republic Striped Skirt and LOFT colorblock top

Banana Republic Striped Skirt
BR striped skirt in Petite 0

I was disappointed by the color of the skirt when it arrived since it wasn't exactly as pictured online (beige stripes instead of white stripes). Nevertheless, I think it looks great on. The first skirt I received had a defect. There was a hole in the seam on one side of the skirt so it looked like it wasn't sewed closed. I actually re-ordered the skirt at 40% off and I had no quality issues with the second skirt I received.

The LOFT top I purchased in Petite XS at 50% off. It's a great layering piece but it's definitely on the sheer side even with nude undergarments.

Banana Republic Dot Print Roll-Up Shirt

BR dot print shirt in Petite XS
Thanks to Annie for telling me about this shirt. The sleeves definitely look best rolled up.

Forever 21 Matelasse dress

Forever 21 Matelasse Skater Dress (black)   Forever 21 Matelasse Skater Dress (champagne)

I purchased this dress in both the black and champagne colors in size XS and I love both. They are definitely a great staple and the black is a nice simple LBD. Unlike many other Love 21 items these dresses were not too huge/swimming on me. I was originally on the fence about getting them at all because of the percentage of viscose (which can shrink in the wash) but I'm glad I did.

I paired the champagne version with a Banana Republic dupe of my Theory Gabe blazer. The BR wool blazer is shorter and has a more feminine cut while the Theory version fits like a boyfriend jacket.

Happy New Year!  



December 03, 2012

OOTD: Ruffles and Mustard

Banana Republic Regal Ruffle top (sz P XXS)
grosgrain button cardigan (sz XS)
LOFT Kate Straight Leg Pants in Bi-Stretch (0 Petite) - sold out quickly in September
Louis Vuitton Trevi PM
Louboutin Simple 100 pump
Whale Talk Soon iPhone 4/4S case

I usually stick with the first choice I pull out of my closet but today I just didn't feel too comfortable in dress pants and heels. Before I left for work I changed into skinny jeans and flats (pictured below). I still loved this outfit though and figured I'd share on the blog since I haven't done an OOTD post on the blog in a while.

LOFT Modern Super Skinny Leggings in Rinse Wash (sz 26 Petites)
Bruno Magli Dalida flats (sold out purchase from last year)

I hope you all have a great week!

November 28, 2012

J.Crew Bow Across Silk Top

J.Crew bow-across top

J.Crew Bow-neck top in bow print
On the hanger in store

Update 12.3.12: Just checked the website and it's now available online!

I was going to do a review on this J.Crew Bow Across silk top (33648) but some quick googling put me over in Gigi's blog where I found that she's already done a thorough review. I hope she doesn't mind me linking to her for those that are interested in more details. :)

I purchased it when J.Crew was offering the 30% off for cardmembers event on Black Friday. The fit is a little boxy but I thought it was cute and took it home to think about it since I was shopping with my family (still a bit of a splurge at $77 down from $110 retail). The bow in front and the cute bow print sold it for me while I was in store despite the obvious wrinkles which will go away after steaming/dry cleaning.

This top appears to be a new arrival but it's currently available in stores only (I couldn't find it online or in the most recent style guide/catalog). I also saw it in what I remembered as a jewel toned purple solid color.

Unfortunately, I managed to misplace my receipt sometime between unpacking when I came back from vacation so I have no choice but to keep it even if there's a better sale. lol

Wearing size 00
Note: I am not wearing a cami underneath (I didn't find the top to be too sheer).

November 11, 2012

My picks from the Banana Republic Friends & Family Event

I purchased a few items for myself (and two shirts for my fiance) at the recent Friends & Family event at Banana Republic (50% off 5 things). One of the perks of being a Luxe cardholder is that you get more opportunities to spend your money at Banana Republic. I say this lovingly though because I really like how Banana Republic fits on me and my significant other. :)

Annie found some really good picks too. She scored this pretty sheath dress that's I've been lusting over online. Unfortunately it was not at the store I stopped by for me to try on and I can't decide if I should order it online for 35% off.

Banana Republic Lace-front sweater, Bella silk square scarf, Abby flats
The whole outfit together:
Lace-front sweater
Bella silk square scarf
Abby flats
Banana Republic Lace-front sweater, sz PS (product no. 195927)
Lace-front sweater, size Petite S (product no. 195927)
I usually wear PXS but it was tiny so I went up a size.
Banana Republic Bella Silk Square Scarf in Tan (product no. 232951)
Bella Silk Square Scarf in tan (product no. 232951)
See it here on me in navy
Banana Republic Abby flat, sz 7 (product no. 230422)
Abby flats, size 7 (product no. 230422)
Possibly the comfiest flats. They feel like slippers.
See it here on me in black and flame red.
I ended up returning the red pair because I prefer neutrals.


November 09, 2012

Favorite Winter Coat & Some Recent Alterations

Soia & Kyo Bergi coat after alterations (dressy)
Soia & Kyo Bergi coat in sz XS (with alterations by All Fit Tailoring)
Dressed up with my Louboutin Simple 100 pumps as seen in my 11/7 OOTD
Soia & Kyo Bergi coat after alterations (casual)
Worn casually with Hunter 0rain boots as seen in my 11/08 OOTD

Yesterday marked the first snow day in Boston and luckily I was prepared. I had the foresight to bring in my Soia & Kyo Bergi coat for some alterations by my tailor and it was ready for pickup last weekend. This coat was one of my Christmas presents from my fiance last year but pre-alterations I only found a chance to wear it once to a company dinner party. (After the New Year you can expect markdowns on the coats and we ended up getting a price adjustment.)

In my opinion, Soia & Kyo is very petite friendly and figure flattering in their smaller sizes (they carry size XXS but I went up a size to XS so I could layer with comfort). They usually have a few items that catch my eye (although I wouldn't mind having a Mackage coat too). The Bergi coat originally had a more pronounced tulip hem that you may or may not be able to discern from the stock photos and the sleeves were on the longer side. To make the coat more wearable (instead of being a special occasion coat) I had it hemmed and I also shortened the sleeves. The end result is a classic cream coat that looks great for casual wear or dressed up with pumps.

I also brought in my khaki Theory trench coat for some alterations. I loved this trench with its classic lines and details and I actually wore it as is for a few years but I was always bothered by the size of the lapel. I have a smaller chest and the lighter color makes the lapel seem more pronounced. This year I decided to do something about it and I had the lapel reduced after finding a tailor I trust.

Theory trench, after alterations
Theory khaki trench after alterations (similar here)

I admittedly forgot to take before and after pictures of the khaki trench but I have the same trench in black. You can see the original lapel (including button holes) in the picture below.

Theoy trench before (black trench) and after (khaki trench)

Original lapel on left (black trench) and altered lapel on right (khaki trench)
The original lapel actually looks okay in the black version so I've opted to leave it alone for now.

I don't plan on buying any new coats this season because I splurged on two Burberry coats last year (see them here and here or buy them here and here). We'll see if I hold out. hehe I also purposely altered the Soia & Kyo coat so I'd get more wear out of it. One of my favorite things about winter are all the pretty coats (and cozy scarves... don't get me started on scarves) but if you invest in classic/quality coats then they should least you at least a few years.

What about you, are you planning on buying any new coats this season or altering an existing one?

October 29, 2012

Extra crispy. Read all about it!


The following are general steps of how my family makes pan fried dumplings (gyoza, potstickers or whatever you prefer to call them).

 What you'll need
  • Carrots (1-2 carrots)
  • Taiwanese cabbage (use half a head or a quarter if it's on the larger size)
  • Scallions (5-6 sprigs but the more the merrier)
  • Ginger (at least 1 teaspoon)
  • Ground Pork (about 1 lb.)
  • Dumpling wrappers (buy at least two in case you have more filling)
All ingredients do not have to be exact and you can use more/less vegetables or protein depending on your preference. For example, you can use scallions and ginger with pork and skip the cabbage and carrots. You could also switch the protein for beef, chicken or turkey if you don't like pork.

photo.JPG photo.JPG

  • Black Pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Sesame oil
  • Five spice powder
  • Lite soy sauce

Cooking utensils
  • Non-stick pan with a lid
  • Wooden chopsticks

Prep Work

(1) Peel and wash the carrots, cabbage and scallions.
(2) Cut up all of the fresh ingredients (carrots, cabbage, ginger and scallions) into smaller pieces. This ensures that they will be diced more evenly by your food processor instead of ending up with large chunks of carrots/cabbage.

photo.JPG photo.JPG

(3) Place the carrots, cabbage, scallions and ginger through the chop setting in your food processor. If you have a smaller food processor then you will have to put it through in batches.


My family used to use a cheese cloth to wring the extra moisture from the veggies but I skip this step.

(4) Add the ground pork to the diced vegetables in a large mixing bowl.
(5) Season to taste. I recommend erring on the side of less soy sauce otherwise you'll end up with wet filling and it will be harder to wrap. You can always make a savory dipping sauce for flavor so it's okay to keep it light on the seasoning.
(6) Mix together the protein, vegetables and seasoning using a spoon (or your hands using latex gloves).

How to wrap a dumpling

There is no correct way to wrap a dumpling (as long as you close them securely so that they don't fall apart during cooking). I doubt my method of folding them (pictured below) is the prettiest.


Rather than reinventing the wheel, you can visit this link for a quick tutorial of how to wrap a dumpling (three different ways).


You should freeze any uncooked pieces as soon as possible to prevent the dough from becoming soggy. I usually line the surface of my cutting board with tinfoil or cling wrap to prevent the bottom of the pieces from freezing onto the surface and ripping off when I try to remove them later. I like to keep my frozen extra dumplings into Tupperware or Ziploc bags.

Cooking your dumplings

The cooking method I use for achieving perfectly crispy dumplings (fresh/frozen) is called the pan fry and steam method. Please follow the instructions I've outlined below.

(1) Add oil to a non-stick pan and put on medium-medium high setting on your range.

(2) When the pan is hot, arrange the dumplings in the pan.

(3) Wait for the pan to get hot again (you should hear sizzling) and then add a quarter to half a cup of water. The water should coat the bottom of the dumplings but there should not be too much water (you are not trying to boil them).

(4) Close the lid allow the water to evaporate and steam cook your dumplings thoroughly.

For frozen dumplings, repeat Steps 3-4 two to three times especially if you used a protein. For a crispier bottom keep frying the dumplings a few minutes after the water has evaporated.

You can check the readiness by lifting a piece to see how charred it is on the bottom.

What the bottom of your dumplings should look like

Dipping Sauces

I use a mixture of toasted sesame seeds, chilli paste, organic sugar, lite soy sauce and water to caramelize the yellow/white onions. My family likes to eat their dumplings with fresh garlic and soy sauce and I know other people like to eat it with soy sauce, ginger and vinegar. The combinations are endless. I used to enjoy eating mine with ketchup when I was little (don't judge... ketchup is awesome!).

October 28, 2012

Banana Republic Haul from 40% off weekend sale

Here is a quick review on my haul from Banana Republic's 40% sale (10/27-10/28 in stores only). Did you get anything or are you planning to visit in store to check out the sale this weekend?

Banana Republic Grosgrain button cardigan (product no. 323435) and Bella Silk Scarf (waterfall knot)
Grosgrain button cardigan (product no. 323435) and Bella Silk Scarf tied using the waterfall knot
Banana Republic Bella silk square scarf in navy (product no. 232951)
Bella silk square scarf in navy (product no. 232951) with my MaiTai scarf ring

 I've been on the lookout for this scarf since I first spotted it in tan at end of July on BR's IG account.
I'd love to get it in tan too but I loved the navy more. It also comes in a burgundy color.
Aside from the great color selection it's also a bigger size so it makes it easier to tie in fun knots.
Banana Republic Grosgrain button cardigan (product no. 323435), in regular XS
Grosgrain button cardigan (product no. 323435) in gold orchid
I usually wear petites but I purchased this in regular XS. I think the sleeves and length are already petite friendly on me.
This is also my first mustard piece of clothing. :)
Banana Republic Pinwheel Necklace (product no. 905741)
Pinwheel Necklace (product no. 905741)
This necklace appears to be an older item since I noticed that another Pinterest user pinned it 25 weeks ago.
It happened to catch my eye in the jewelry section before checkout. :)
Banana Republic Striped lightweight open cardigan (product no. 327499), in sz XS
Striped lightweight open cardigan (product no. 327499), in sz XS
Unfortunately I noticed there's some rayon in this. :(
From my experience rayon clothing can shrink a bit even if you wash in cold water and air dry.
If you have any care tips (aside from dry cleaning) please share!
Banana Republic Shawl Collar Open Cardigan (product no. 195920), in sz. Petite S
Shawl Collar Open Cardigan (product no. 195920), in sz Petite S
This is so cozy and I love the drape so much even though this pictures is meh.
I originally tried it on ivory but I found and preferred the grey color.
Banana Republic Flats
Super comfy flats! I can't say enough good things about these babies.
Purchased all in sz 7 and I think they fit TTS. It feels like you're walking on Cloud 9.
 I have foot/ankle issues so I try to wear flats over heels if possible.
Banana Republic Breanna Bow Ballet Flat in Sahara, in sz 7 (product no. 228821)
Breanna Bow Ballet Flat in Sahara, in sz 7 (product no. 228821)
Banana Republic Abby Ballet Flat in flame red, in sz 7 (product no. 230422)
Abby Ballet Flat in flame red, in sz 7 (product no. 230422)
These are also my first pair of red shoes ever!
Banana Republic Abby Ballet Flat in black, in sz 7 (product no. 230422)
Abby Ballet Flat in black, in sz 7 (product no. 230422)

It was very busy/crowded in the Copley store due to the sale so I ended up grabbing a few things that caught my eye (including a very shiny/pretty necklace) before checkout. I always try on what I pick in the comfort of my own home to make sure they are keepers. I'd love to know what you think. Do you think I should keep them all?

In full disclosure, I caved today since there was no limit on the number of items you could purchase. However, I probably should have waited to buy some of the newer items. I've been sitting on a stackable 20% off coupon (click here to see why I received this special code) and I anticipate a 35% off sale across all three Gap Inc. stores (this usually happens some time in November). Combined with the stackable coupon my total savings would be close to 50% off.

As an aside, all pictures from today's post were taken with the Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS ('free' after trading in our credit card points). Based on today's use, I think it takes such nice pictures that I don't have to edit them which is a bonus for me because I'm a lazy picture taker. e.g. Uploading them from the camera to my computer to online is already too much work.

October 24, 2012

Bow Obsession

I've been obsessed with bow tie blouses for a while and the one that Annie recommended at the end of this post (option #4) has been stuck in the back of my mind. Last night, I happened to be nearby an American Apparel store where I found two prints in my size (XS). I asked the sales associate if there were any promotions and I also inquired about their return policy since I wasn't really familiar with shopping at AA. I wasn't surprised to hear that there was no sale and I also didn't like their return policy (you have 45 days to return the items for store credit or exchange) but I still went through with the purchase anyway.

I tried them on again at home with a few of my work staples (refer to the below pictures) and I was pleased to find that they were fun, girly blouses that I'll enjoy wearing this fall/winter. As a fit comparison I found that the size XS is a very similar cut to my size 2 H&M blouse.

For the first blouse I chose the secretary blouse in black dots and bows on white:

American Apparel secretary blouse, in black dots and bows on white, sz XS
Paired with my high waisted Zara skirt
American Apparel secretary blouse, in black dots and bows on white, sz XS
Paired with by Banana Republic bow pencil skirt.
American Apparel secretary blouse, in black dots and bows on white, sz XS
Paired with my Theory jumper and Forever 21 patent belt

For the second blouse I chose the secretary blouse in white black narrow stripe:

American Apparel stripe chiffon secretary blouse, sz XS
Again, paired with my Zara high waisted skirt
American Apparel stripe chiffon secretary blouse, sz XS
Paired with my J.Crew wool mini skirt
American Apparel stripe chiffon secretary blouse, sz XS
Again, paired with my Theory jumper

Both blouses are 100% polyester which from my experience washes well in cold water and they will air dry fairly quickly too.


September 19, 2012

Theory Haul

This is a quick post of my Theory haul this past weekend. I tried to update my Pinterest board with my recent finds but none of these pieces are available online in the exact color or style.

I haven't been to my local outlet since the end of March and I generally try to stay way from outlet shopping. Every time I go I almost always make a lot of huge purchases on a whim particularly at Theory. I adore Theory for both the quality and classic fit. At the outlet it's generally 50% of retail prices (plus 15% off if you spend over $450). Purchasing Theory is definitely an investment even at the outlet's discounted prices but I feel that the brand is a great value for my personal style. I notice that I reach for my Theory pieces year after year unlike a lot of the other pieces in my closet.

Anyway here are the fitting room pictures I took of the pieces I brought home. If you like any of them then I hope you're able to snag them for an even a better deal. FYI. I received a email about 20% off $500 now through Thursday (better than the 15% I got off on top of the outlet prices, excludes sale items). Outlets are generally out of the way so good luck to those of you that have time to stop by on a weekday after work.

Theory Betty sheath dress (style no. C081608R), size 0. I love the plaid print so much!
Theory Nichelle blazer (style no. C081108R), size 0. This is the matching blazer to the sheath dress above.
Theory Deronisa silk blouse (style no. C072501R), size P.  It's surprisingly flattering and the vneck is not too deep.

Theory Blinn double breasted blazer (style no. C081109R), size 00. I'm wearing it buttoned here but prefer it unbuttoned.
Theory Carrian peplum top (style no. B074540R), size P. I normally shy away from peplum but I'm a sucker for white and the pleated details at the waist.
Theory Marandel button up shirt (style no. C044506R), size P. I love this chambray shirt and it has pockets as noted by the SA.



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