The Cable Crewneck - Gap 50% off & J.Crew 30% off + free ship

This month, I've been shopping deliberately for items on my want-list and avoiding tempting, distracting sales. One of the items on that list is an ever-versatile, casual fit cable sweater (or several!). Just an affordable, warm, long-sleeve sweater with large cables, no embroidered logos, and a true crewneck for layering over collared shirts.

Gap is currently having 50% off sweaters online, and everyday free ship over $50. I went through ebates (referral) for 7% cash back. This is what I picked up:

Gap wool-blend cable sweater - 5 colors, $29.98
I had the above sweater in my cart during their meager BF 30% off sale, and am glad I waited for a better price. Gap often has great coupons and discounts in-stores, but by the time prices get that low online, petite sizing is often sold out.

Gap Striped Cable Sweater - added to get free ship. Looks like something out of a Rugby catalog for less.
And although I've been trying to avoid kid sizes like the plague, I was tempted into trying this girls sweater in the gorgeous "Spiced Chartreuse" color. J.Crew is currently having 30% off and free ship on sweaters, plus 4% cash back through ebates. Will this run short and wide? Maybe. I got a sz 14 to try for a casual fit.

J.Crew Girls Mohair Cable Popover - $34.95 and free ship
I haven't seen the above sweaters in person & can't attest to the quality. I'll do a review after they arrive : )

eBay Tips: Shopping for Vintage Costume Jewelry

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Some of my pre-owned jewelry (also shown in video)

I love vintage costume jewelry. These pieces can be scored at price points similar to F21 and H&M, but are much more unique and have more character. Also, buying pre-owned means you don't have to wonder about the quality and whether or not the jewelry will oxidize, turn green, or fall apart after a few wears. I realize not everyone has a fun Savers thrift store nearby (where I found much of my loot), but eBay can be just as fruitful. Here is my shopping /browsing method (tips are at the end of this post):

1. Go on eBay and type in your search. Here I used "gold chain necklace," but the options are endless. Other things on my wish list include "collar necklace," "locket," "cuff bracelet," "stone ring," "pierced earrings" (tons of clip options too), etc.
46,786 results? No thank you, not tonight...

2. Next, I select the category "Vintage & Antique Jewelry." Unfortunately, this may filter out a lot of nice vintage pieces that were just not categorized under here. I accept this in exchange for having to weed through 40,000 less listings. And unless I am searching with specific keywords like brand names, I keep the "include description" box unchecked so eBay only searches listing titles. Otherwise, you may get numerous irrelevant results.
3. If you're under a budget, put in a max price (you may have to scroll down to find this field), then hit enter. Now I'm left with 542 listings. At this point, patient scrolling is key. Add potential items to your "watchlist," and check back in a day or two to see if you're still in love with it.
Here are some pieces that came up in my above search, each under $10....

Holiday Party Outfit - Cocktail Peplum (& t+j styling challenge!)

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Peplum Dress: H&M Divided sz 2 (item # 061128, $30), Pumps: CL Elissa 100 (similar in sz 4-11)
Earrings: from craft fair (similarClutch: Chanel WOC  Lipcolor: Rimmel "Bordeaux"
Bracelets: thrifted chain & cuffs thanks to t+j designs (enter their styling challenge here)

In my last holiday-themed post, I showed a glitzy, fun pairing for a night out on the town. Today's outfit incorporates similar colors and some of the same accessories, but the finished look feels more glamorous and cocktail-appropriate. I started with my hair partially pinned, but with a neckline like this plus big earrings - hair swept back is the way to go.
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Since the coy peplum hem adds width to my hips, I tried to balance it out with sleek, tall heels and higher hair (by way of velcro bumpit). For finishing touches, I grabbed statement earrings and chunky but classic wrist decor. I've received lots of questions on shopping for vintage chain bracelets and necklaces...you'd be surprised at how easy and affordable it is. I'll do a quick e Bay tutorial tomorrow!
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Tiffany of I am Style-ish kindly sent over these adjustable bracelets from her jewelry line, t+j Designs...

50% off Ann Taylor and LOFT + free ship at any price

**J.Crew online is offering 25% off and free ship on any order today. See my J.Crew reviews here.**

Update: AT and LOFT are extending this deal through Tuesday due to their websites crashing today. For "cyber Monday" (today) only: take 50% off everything online and get free shipping at any price with code MONDAY for Ann Taylor and code SHOP50 for Loft. This is almost as good as the last stack-able sale, works on sale items, and the free ship at any price is rare. LOFT is also having increased 6% cashback today if you go through ebates (referral).
Shop LOFT:                                                 Shop Ann Taylor:
Note: Above dress also comes in blouse form. For those of you who can wear regular sizing, the cobalt blue ponte skirt (runs short) that I love and wore here and here is still available online in almost every regular size. Remember that it is unlined and typically not even worth the sale price, but I haven't found anything similar at a lower price point. Also, check out the bag and belts section - there's tres chic accessories on there that I would've never guessed to be Ann Taylor.

Readers - I haven't browsed LOFT in ages...any good finds to share?

Thanksgiving Weekend

I hope US readers had a wonderful holiday weekend with your loved ones. I spent the past few days at my parents' house, and relished not even touching a computer or going shopping. Instead, I...
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worked on a DIY jewelry display case shared by a very crafty blogger. I'll post more on this soon!
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Made and ate endless holiday treats...
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and discovered the magic of making gingerbread houses/villages. If you have kids (or kid-spirited adults) in your household, this might be one the best $5.99's I've spent.
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My parents served as blind judges and inspected our houses for structural integrity and decor. First prize went to brother Ed (an engineer, so it wasn't really fair), Nick came in at a close second, and lil' brother Schuyler and I tied for sloppy thirds. Ed is leaving soon for a semester in Stockholm, Sweden - any readers who have visited or lived there, please share any "must do's" or "must sees" !

PS - I did stop by the Ann Taylor Factory store today and left empty-handed. There was tweed overload and I tweeted some cute skirts that were around $40 after discounts. Everything was 40% off and they do ship to homes (see my Ann Taylor shopping tips). Prices were not great for the quality, plus AT and AT Factory sizing runs generously, so someone my size would need to get alterations.

Girly Girl - Leopard, Nudes, and Pleats

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Leopard cardigan: Ann Taylor (similar in XXS-XL), Blouse: Gap (similar)
Pumps: CL Simple 100  Watch: Michael Kors Tortoise  Skirt: c/o Modcloth (also styled here)

Don't you love discovering cute pairings by accident? Last month when we were blessed with two days of mild weather, I was on my way out the door in this blouse, skirt, and shoe combo. I asked the same question that I ask every day: "Nick, how do I look?" He gazed over me passively (as he does 99% of the time, yet I still value his opinion dearly) and said I resembled a neutral blob. Disgruntled, I ran back into the bedroom and grabbed the first non-neutral layer I could find, and turned out liking the end result much more.
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Soon, my warm-weather pieces will go into hibernation under my bed...

Craving Crimson - 40% off at Ann Taylor w/ THANKS

For a limited time, use code THANKS for 40% off online (no code needed in-store) plus get a meager 2.5% cash back if you go through ebates (referral). I think I was spoiled by AT's previous stackable sales. Plain 40% off just isn't as enticing anymore!
Ann Taylor Wool Crepe Jacket and Pencil Skirt in Petite & Regular sizing, $225 for the set

My friend showed me this suit today and I thought it was beautiful. It's one of those sets that would look striking together, yet operate easily as separates. The color oozes elegance, and the shorter blazer with "X" center (reminiscent of my favorite Theory Gratian jacket) tends to be flattering on petite figures. I won't be picking this up because it won't fit sans alterations, but if you measure a little bigger than 32-24-32, Ann Taylor's suiting could work nicely. The AT tropical wool skirts I own (and got altered) are work staples, and do not wrinkle on me.

Reader Rec: Trump pumps in small sizes (and various heights)

I receive so many reader recommendations through comments, FB, and Twitter...thank you guys for taking time out of your day to share a good find with us. A while back during my quest for leopard pumps, I received numerous rec's for the Ivanka Trump "Pinkette." Readers pointed out the classic colored & aptly sized animal spots, a sleek silhouette, genuine leather, and nice "ponyhair" upper. And I agreed! But aside from the fact that it's made by The Donald daughter's vanity line, I did not buy for a few reasons:

- No sizes found below a 6
- Over the $100 limit I set for leopard shoes
- And the clincher: heel height listed at 4.5" (w/ .5" platform) - whoa! Much too high for me for work.

Instead, I went for the comfy, chunky heeled CK's shown here, and never looked back. That is - until yesterday. A reader kindly linked me to these "Pinkish" pumps at Nordies, on sale. I took one look and was very confused. They looked exactly like the sky-high "Pinkette," but had a listed heel of 3.75" including a .75" platform. I assumed it was a measurement mistake, or they forgot to add the two. But no...per Nordies Alicia: "The heel height is 3.75" including the platform, so with the platform on this shoe, it actually feels like you are wearing a three inch heel but you will be raised 3 3/4 inches off the ground." Okay - got it, Alicia! And thanks for the floating visual : )
Left: Ivanka Trump Pinkish - sizes 4 to 12, 3.75" heel, on sale for $89.90, free ship both ways
Right: Ivanka Trump Amoros - sizes 5 to 9.5, 3.25" (?) heel, retails for $130, free ship both ways
Plus 7.5% cashback on Endless and 5% on Nordies if you go through ebates (referral).

After doing some reasearch, I found yet another similar pump from Ms. Trump, with an even lower heel and no platform. Heel height for the Amoros is listed at 3.5" by endless, 3" by Macy's, and a reviewer said her size 6's were 3.25" high. No idea which one is accurate. Both of these styles have received great reviews, even from initial skeptics of this brand. They are pricey even with a sale, but I've been shying away from bargain brands for this one, because it's easy to go wrong with a cheap leopard.

My quest for the perfect animal-print pumps have been filled with ups, downs, and false-positives, but hopefully some of you can benefit from my trials. In upcoming posts, I hope to show how leopard heels can be truly versatile and dare I say classic? They are winter tights-friendly and go effortlessly with black, brown, and brights. My favorite pairing to date is with a crisp red skirt.

PS - Fellow petite Mel showcases a live 360 view of these (plus quite the assortment of AT pumps) in her haul video. Start watching at 07:50 for the shoes. Only part I'm iffy on is the back strip.

Quest for a work tote: Goyard St Louis vs Marquises

For the past few years, I've been a happy user of the Longchamp Planetes Tonal tote for work and travel. It's lightweight and water-resistant (a must for Boston), perfect for hauling around my daily burden of clunky work laptop, heels, wallet, small makeup baggie, and snacks. Refer to my old Longchamp post for a review on these bags in all sizes, as well as this travel outfit video for a brief feature. 

Lately, however, I've been looking for something new. I do a lot of thinking on what to splurge on vs. what to save on (posts to come), and decided that a nice work tote - used every single day, seen by clients and coworkers - is worthy of a splurge. The Longchamp is undeniably functional (and I still highly recommend it), but is more casual, and is seen on the arm of most college girls and working women in Boston.
20080411goyard Enter, Goyard. I first learned about this French company while interning in northern CA. Goyard was founded in 1853, one year before competitor Louis Vuitton, and has a rich history of award-winning luggage and bag making for royals. The only Goyard boutique in the US is in San Fran (though they can also be found in 3 Barneys and at Bergdorf's).

Their coated canvas with leather products are all handmade in France, and their signature chevron pattern is hand-painted (goodness!) onto the canvas. Owners of Goyard pieces can get them personalized with initials, graphics, and stripes.

Although I was enamored by this lesser-known company and it's striking chevron, I didn't buy for a few reasons:
- The price
- A very limited pre-owned market. As many of you know, I don't mind pre-owned items and like to browse resale markets.
- Their most popular bag, the St. Louis shopping tote, seemed impractical for me.
- Their more structured bags (a better value) were a bit mature for my style. I had contemplated the Jeanne satchel, before spending a fraction of its cost on a Louis Vuitton Speedy 25.

Alas, for years I admired these colorful bags from afar, and pointed them out with interest every time I saw one on a stranger (this happens maybe twice a year). When Nick surprised me with this blue St Louis PM tote last month, my heart skipped a beat.
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Sweater: Old Navy 3/4 sleeve crewneck sz S   Shirt: Gap  Skirt: YesStyle  Pumps: CL simple 100s
Same outfit as from this post, Tote: St Louis PM (medium sized, 19"W x 10"H)

After the initial excitement, I regained my senses and started evaluating the bag. Designed as a shopping tote, the St. Louis has thin handles and no zipper. The canvas was thin to me, and did not hold it's shape very well. I put my 10lbs of laptop and other crap inside, and felt this tote would not be able to sustain the weight in the long-term. Although I was immensely touched that Nick came up with this gift, I didn't think the bag was practical for my lifestyle...

Easy outfit pairing: Monochromatic plus a print

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LOFT Petite blouse (similar in XXS-XXL; love but no petites), Cole Haan heels, ebay pearls, Chanel WOC
Ann Taylor tropical wool pencil skirt (old color, 00P taken-in) and leopard cardigan (similar)

This outfit is from early Fall, before I sold the yellow heels to a lovely reader. An easy tip for wearing prints and patterns is to pair them with monochromatic pieces. Or, if you tend to wear a lot of solid basics, add some interest to your outfit with a print layer in the same color family...

Talbots: Extra 50% off shoes & accessories (sale included!)

Silk scarf in a rich Fall hue, $15 from $69. Suede bootie in two colors, sz 5-11, $39.50 from $159.

From now until 11/21, Use code ADORN to get 30% off 1, 40% off 2, or 50% off 3+ shoe or accessory items. The prices I'm listing on here are post-50% discount. Free shipping for orders over $100, and returns accepted in stores. Thank you, Elle for sharing this deal! It’s a great opportunity to pick up gifts for mom, gal pals, or your deserving self at a good value...

Barcelona Wrapup (& Joe's Skinny Jeans in 55 colors)

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From left to right: Gala, JessicaSydneLilliana, moi, CarmenWendyDiannaVahni, and Karen.

For my last Barcelona post, here is the outcome of our MNG by MANGO photoshoot plus a little compilation video. Big thanks to jcpenney, MANGO, and Yuli of Style Coalition for an amazing time, and thank you all especially for your readership which allowed me to even be considered for this campaign.
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Photo day was incredibly fun, especially since my only prior experience is with the infamous Asian glamour shot (oh, you know…the ones where everyone comes out looking milky white and flawless, photoshopped beyond recognition). I think the jcpenney team did a great job creating looks from the November collection that aligned with our personal styles.

My favorite piece here is the tweed sheath dress. It almost worked for me w/ a hem (XS fits like a 0 reg), but the waist line was 2” too low. If you are a little taller than 5 feet or have a longer torso, I recommend trying this piece.

And here’s a video with snippets from our entire trip, including the shoot. I appreciate how patient the professionals were with an amateur like myself. Behind the beautiful final photo, I was sweating bullets trying to balance on a crate in roomy heels, and to hold a smile despite uncontrollable facial twitching (how do you do it, Miss America?).

Win Holiday Cheer from Banana Republic

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Paillette dress sz 00 reg c/o BR, Louboutin Elisa 100 pumps (similar), Theory blazer, Chanel WOC

With December quickly approaching, I've been giddily compiling holiday outfits (in my head). This week, Banana Republic asked me to style a party look to help promote their NYE contest. I even got to invite a friend! I chose a fab local blogger, Khatu, however our plans for a fun photoshoot together were foiled at the last minute. Nevertheless, here we are each bringing our own spin to this glitzy paillette shift dress.
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Khatu is wearing: Paillette dress c/o BR, Nine west clutch, YSL pumps, vintage earrings & belt

Although BR offers a sizeable petites collection, we were both drawn to this statement shift in the regular line. The looser torso worked on me, but we both raised our hems by 5" for it to hit on us like it does on the model. When donning something covered in a busy material, print, or texture, I love keeping it simple with a basic silhouette and short length. I also believe shorter-gam'd gals can get away with showing a little more leg, especially for party time.
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For a simple holiday look without breaking the bank, look for little black dresses in fun materials, like sequins (or, if you're crafty...buy sparkly fabric and sew a simple sheath). A longer-length boyfriend blazer would look perfect with a festive mini, but you can also make do with a basic suiting blazer like I did. Accent your look with crystal jewelry or a statement color. If you're trying to ease into the color red, start with classic burgundy and a rich but wearable lipcolor, like my favorite Rimmel Bordeaux.
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To join in on the holiday fun, enter Banana Republic's contest to win the ultimate New Year's Eve party for yourself and five friends, including an all-expense paid trip to NYC, party tickets, plus a shopping spree. Two 2nd prize winners will also be randomly selected to win shopping sprees. To enter, just snap a photo of your favorite party outfit and share it per these instructions on Banana Republic's Facebook page. Entries will be accepted until Wednesday, November 23rd. Good luck!

Disclosure: We each received 1 dress c/o BR, and are not affiliated with the company in any other way.

New York City Asian Food Tour (from 1 year ago!)

Every other month or so, Nick and I make the trip to NYC for good food / drinks and to catch up with old friends. We had a wonderful time there this weekend (pics to come), but first I wanted to share this long-lost entry from one year ago...I drafted it on November 14, 2010 and just found it again today!

"I apologize that this post (a continuation of NYC visit part I) contains nothing but Asian eats. I don't have very broad or sophisticated likes when it comes to food. I constantly crave simple dishes full of flavors I remember eating as a child. Noodle soup, rice dishes, dumplings, hot pot ... bless my non-Chinese boyfriend's heart for putting up with my narrow palate. I treat him once in a while to tacos.
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Comfy "exploring" outfit: Gap cardigan, H&M shorts and booties, F21 tights (all old)

Hells Kitchen: Totto Ramen. While previously working in NYC, I visited the famous Ipuddo several times, but was not a fan of the 1-2 hour wait and $14+ per bowl price tags. I was hoping to find a more humble alternative, and was surprised by the hoard of people waiting outside this little place at 3pm on a Friday! 
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Ramen here was around $10/bowl. I felt it was comparable to, if not better than Ipuddo, and worlds better than any option here in Boston. I enjoyed the eggy noodles and rich miso broth - but as always with any kind of ramen, I felt overwhelmed by the sodium when finished.

Channeling Coco Chanel (for Less)

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Jacket: Malang Jacket c/o UniQUEEN sz S (color no longer available)
Pants, belt & blouse: H&M (old), Bag: Chanel taupe flap from '09

Pioneered by my fashion idol, the combination of tweed and pearls has such a simple elegance to it. I love the top half of this outfit, but oh, drat these cheap H&M pants! I wear them a lot because the rich color is so versatile, but every time I see photos I want to burn them and get a quality pair.
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A while back, Anna of UniQUEEN (based in Toronto) contacted me to try some of her petite-friendly Korean clothing. At the time I declined, but offered up some feedback. Although Korean casualwear is trendy and cute, I mentioned that I'd love to see more classy, elegant pieces available as well. I feel like petite women can currently find affordable and well-fitting casualwear from a variety of retailers (ASOS, Gap, H&M, F21, LOFT, Urban Outfitters, etc...). It's with work clothes, blazers, and coats when the options get limited. What do you guys think?
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Last month, this gorgeous piece in her store caught my eye. I've been hunting for a collarless tweed jacket to fulfill my Coco styling dreams, and this one fit the bill. It comes in a feminine baby pink/blue as well as a chic navy blue/teal combo - tough decision. I've received so many compliments on this jacket, and wanted to do a full review for you guys.

H&M November - Peplum dress, tweed, and drapey blouses

I have not been enticed by much at H&M lately, which is a good thing. I did plenty of Fall shopping and now need to focus on streamlining my wardrobe. Here are the items I tried on this month (1 purchase so far):

1. Divided Peplum Dress (item # 061128) in sz 2, $29.95. My wardrobe is in dire need of cocktail dresses. This LBD fit me nicely and I thought the silhouette was smashing. I know some women are scared of peplum, but it can be figure-enhancing for those like myself with minimal curves. With the right accessories, this $30 dress can look more $$$. The material is poly/elastane - feels like a thick ponte. Purchased.

2. Divided Tweed Jacket in sz 2, $39.95. I have been looking for a Chanel-esque collarless jacket, and would've seriously considered this if the color combo was classier. Sleeve length was slightly awkward on me, but the cropped torso length is good for shorter women. Unfortunately, pink, white, and black with silver zippers all over is not for me. Passed (although I did find my Chanel-esque jacket shortly after - can't wait to share!).

Today Only: 20% off everything at Piperlime (+ 10% cashback)

Thanks to a tip by a fashionable coworker, Piperlime is celebrating their anniversary with a rare 20% off everything coupon. Visit their homepage to get your unique code. Shipping & return shipping is free. Per the discount-saavy MamaTamTam, go through ebates (referral link) for 10% cash back. Thank you, MTT!

My rec: I thought my leopard pump search ended with the Mad Men pumps from this post, however the size 5's that arrived were too tight. When I went to look for a 5.5, I stumbled upon these Calvin Klein Elara Pumps and got them instead. I was uncertain about the chunkier heel, but it makes the shoe sturdier and easier to walk in outdoors. Although the Mad Men colors were unique, the classic camel combo here can’t be beat. A sz 5 fits me the same way Ann Taylor 5's do. I'm wearing them today with my AT lace skirt:
Readers - Please share any recommended items from this store!

J.Crew Reviews: Schoolboy Blazer and Hacking Jacket

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Jeggings: J.Brand  Shoes: Aldo heels & Vince Camuto booties (returned)

J.Crew online is having 25% off everything with code STAYWARM, good until Wednesday, 11/9. Currently, there is also a generous 8% cash back if you go through ebates (referral). For petite women, I recommend checking out their coats and blazers that come in a vast selection of materials and colors (beautiful, vibrant colors!). A while back, I ordered two blazers to try on in petite sizing. Descriptions below are from jcrew.com:

Schoolboy Blazer - "One of our all-time favorites updated for fall in classic wool flannel. Featuring a posh, slightly shrunken fit and finished with details like a lapel buttonhole, a ticket pocket, a secret interior pocket...and crested gold buttons for a touch of legacy luxe."

Hacking Jacket - "Inspired by traditional British riding jackets, our newest wear-with-all third piece features a longer, leaner silhouette with a nipped-in waist for a flattering effect."
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True to the descriptions above, the Hacking riding jacket (in gray) has a longer and leaner silhouette, with a more defined waist. This is especially evident in the back view. In comparison, the Schoolboy blazer (in camel) was about one inch wider and two inches longer. What a dilemma...I liked the shorter length of the Schoolboy, but the slimmer fit of the Hacking!
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Barcelona Photo Journal, Part II (and impromptu TO meetup)

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Summing up my Barcelona culinary experience in 3 words: ham(on), cheese, sangria.
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On our first day we toured the MANGO design facility, which was quite the experience. I learned that the founder of MANGO visited the Philippines one day, tried a delicious yellow fruit for the first time, fell in love, and named his clothing line after it. Half-Pinoy Nick enjoyed that story.
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On Day 2 we had a "photoshoot" for the MNG by MANGO November collection. Our outfits and looks were already selected for us. I got a fitted high-waist pencil skirt (US sz 2 in this runs fairly small, and fit like an H&M sz 4 or 00 in other brands) and a cream blouse (XS runs big).
 
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