Lookbook: Zesty Neon and Finding Balance

Thank you all for the candid feedback on my Jason Wu for Target items. I ended up mailing all the clothes to friends who will hopefully look better in them. On a separate note, I wanted to explain my recent (& upcoming) absence and delay in responding to your questions and emails. Interacting with readers is so important to me, and I feel terrible that my responsiveness has fallen to the wayside.

As some of you may know, I’m currently studying for the CFA Level 3 exam in June. I’m scared just thinking about it and considered closing Extra Petite til then. However, remembering Level 2 with the 10-12 hour workdays then cramming past midnight, never seeing friends or even Nick, and almost sprouting a beard due to lack of grooming…I realized I need this stress-relieving outlet. Please bear with me as posts may be sporadic, and please accept my apology for not being responsive during this time. I have plenty I want to share – like a beautiful walking boot for small calves (twitpic), a costly alterations saga, and photos from my Asia trip – I just need to find some balance.
lalights2

H&M; blazer sz 2, style #037443, $34.95 (altered here), H&M; shell and clutch, Talbots necklace 
Crewcuts Cotton & Silk Double-Dipped Skirt sz 10 (taken in), Gap neon sweater, BR heels

The warm-weather outfit in today’s post was from right before my Asia trip. Nick and I had a lengthy layover at LAX and were preparing to set up camp, but Wendy and her boyfriend came to our rescue. We had a delish Korean lunch involving more banchan than I could ever ask for, satisfied Nick’s boba cravings, and chatted away 5 hours before I knew it…

lalights4
Last week, I saw that Wendy’s Lookbook was nominated for Bloglovin’s newcomer of the year award (cast your votes). A quick scroll through Bloglovin’s top fashion blogs shows tall, leggy, model-esque bloggers. I’m proud to see a fellow 5-feet tall (not to mention, minority) woman being recognized amongst the top influencers of fashion blogging.
lalights3
This zesty Crewcuts skirt was purchased on final sale for about $11. With J.Crew final sale, I strongly suggest asking their online customer service for item measurements and comparing them against stuff you own. I was certain I’d be a kids 12 and was bummed that it was sold out. I decided to settle for the kids 10, praying that it wouldn’t be scandalously small. The kids 10 turned out to be so roomy that it hung limply off my hips. Darn you, J.Crew, and your inconsistent and often inflated sizes. If you are my size, then a kids 8 in this skirt might fit best.
lalights
This outfit made me think of an interesting article Kelly wrote about “faking the fit” on garments – something I’m occasionally guilty of. Both jacket and skirt here didn’t fit right off the rack, which is not unusual. As alterations can be time-consuming to DIY or costly to get done, I was tempted to mask the roomy sleeves by scrunching them, and to hoist the skirt up with a snug belt.

Unfortunately, an outfit that truly fits gives off a noticeably different vibe than one with “faked fit,” not to mention brings the wearer a higher level of confidence. When faking, I was too distracted constantly adjusting the sleeves, and the skirt bunched up unnaturally around the cinched waist. I ended up taking the time to slim and shorten the jacket sleeves, and sewed both sides of the skirt in about 1-2 inches. Several hours of labor later, I couldn’t be happier with the results!
lalights1

Readers – For those of you who juggle work, study, and/or other responsibilities, I’d love to hear advice on how to find balance and stay sane through it all.

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113 Comments

  1. Rinny wrote:

    I love the neon yellow skirt! I can't believe it's a J.Crew kids item, because it looks like something that would be appropriate for women as well. You look great!

    And best of luck with your CFA exam! Don't worry so much about your blog until then – real life responsibilities are more important. Whenever personal life gets in the way of blogging, I just put my blog on the backburner. You seem to have a very loyal group of readers, so I'm sure they will still be here when you can be more active 🙂

    Posted 2.12.12 Reply
  2. J wrote:

    love the skirt! initially, i was like size 10!? what? but yes crewcuts, aka kids, makes PERFECT sense! you look gorgeous!

    Posted 2.12.12 Reply
  3. newpetite wrote:

    Gorgeous!! Love the colors here! You are my inspiration behind dressing better and starting my own blog to keep me going. Please dont stop posting!

    Posted 2.12.12 Reply
  4. Lemiza wrote:

    Woow amazing look!!

    xx
    http://lemizy.blogspot.com/

    Posted 2.12.12 Reply
  5. Anonymous wrote:

    Please don't stop posting. I love your blog and think it's one of the best out there for petite fashion.

    Posted 2.12.12 Reply
  6. Scarlett wrote:

    OMG you are so awesome! I signed up for CFA Level 2 and now due to spending around 11 hours in the office every day I almost give up on it…..Too exhausted!

    Posted 2.11.12 Reply
  7. Please don't stop posting, sporadic posts are much better than none! Good luck with your exam…I was in a similar boat a few years back – tough but worth it in the end. All the best to you, and thank you!

    Posted 2.11.12 Reply
  8. Alice wrote:

    Hi Jean! Ahhhh, this outfit is so cute! When I saw your post and went to J.Crew's website to order the skirt only to find the biggest size available is size 8. I've a pretty consistent size 10 in children's clothing, so I was pretty bummed. But now I wish I got the size 8 because the biggest size now is size 3, haha. Darn the troubles of online shopping!

    In terms of balancing your schedule, I can totally sympathize. Before I graduated last May, I was overloading 20 credit hours, doing research at the med school, working 20 hours a week, and throw in independent research and thesis writing for senior year too. One thing I noticed was that it's very counterproductive to force myself to study when I'm tired. It was more helpful when I see a sign of fatigue (reading the same line over and over and over….), I would rest and do something that requires no brain power, so to speak. So when I start working again, my brain's rested, and I focus better. I don't really know anything about CFA exams, but if the time crunch isn't terrible, try relaxing when you get home (maybe reinforce old material you've already studied, so it's not too tiring), then go to bed. In the morning, wake up earlier to study before work (even though you're still loosing sleep, I find this much more productive than studying while fighting sleep and fatigue at night!) Then on weekends use one day for hardcore studying and another day or light studying and chillaxing. Also try to multi-task as much as possible – eat and study, eat and hang out, study and hang out (study party? idkkkkk! haha). Ok, this rant is getting way too long, but, good luck and hopefully you won't be too stressed!

    Posted 2.11.12 Reply
  9. Anonymous wrote:

    I emailed her once asking, she said it was closed but referred http://www.userealbutter.com which I have come to love!

    Posted 2.11.12 Reply
  10. MJL wrote:

    Just want to drop by to say hi! I just discovered your blog and am in love with the style!! I'm petite and revamping much of my closet and work clothes. Thanks for the inspirations!! ^_^

    Posted 2.11.12 Reply
  11. Fabulous, i´ll be back soon.

    http://paquetevistasbien.blogspot.com

    Posted 2.11.12 Reply
  12. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi jean!

    I enjoy reading your blog. I understand that you are needing to find balance with everything you do. I know you don't want to close down your blog, but I think you just need to put things in perspective. The most important thing is your exam. Consider going on a temporary hiatus. People will understand that you have to do what you have to do. The blog and your fans will always be here. Think about it this way, you are paying a lot of money for your exam, you don't want to have to do it again. We are not superhuman nor are we expected to be. Don't put so much pressure on yourself. At the end of the day its not worth it. Best of luck!

    Posted 2.11.12 Reply
  13. Carol wrote:

    Good luck, not that you need it! I will totally miss your eloquent posts.

    Posted 2.11.12 Reply
  14. Anonymous wrote:

    In one of your previous blog posts you mentioned your mom's cooking blog. What is the name of it? and may I have a link to it?

    Posted 2.11.12 Reply
  15. Claud wrote:

    I totally understand what you're going through, I'm in a similar situation finishing my graduate studies. Best of luck Jean! I'm sure you are going to do amazing. Let's celebrate after we get done 🙂

    Posted 2.11.12 Reply
  16. Good for you for being able to balance and keep the fun stuff like blogging in your life. Screw the shaving.. you're pretty enough to work it 😉 J/K. Best of luck with the studying.

    Posted 2.11.12 Reply
  17. Halle wrote:

    oh my gosh I love Wendy! She's awesome! And so are you!! You look beautiful in that outfit, gal! If you check out my blog that would make my day! 🙂

    Best Wishes from,
    Halle

    Posted 2.11.12 Reply
  18. Anonymous wrote:

    Good luck on level 3!! I'm sitting for level 1 in June…ugh. It's difficult to find balance. I think having a supportive group around you helps–people who are understanding of your personal goals and help you achieve those goals by, say, leaving you alone when you need to study or reminding you to take a break so you won't burn yourself out. I'm sure you'll do great. You're almost at the finish line! Smart, pretty, and fashionable–get it, girl!

    -Q

    P.S. Take a nice, long vacation after the exam! I plan on doing so. 😉

    Posted 2.11.12 Reply
  19. Annapurna wrote:

    Good luck girl!

    Posted 2.11.12 Reply
  20. prosephina wrote:

    Jean, you're such an inspiration! I think it's very important to be honest with one self and equally important to find fulfillment in life, that way one can prioritize and a figure out a balance for everything. I am so very glad you find blogging to be a stress relieving outlet. Do take time off to study if you need- I personally, selfishly, would wish for you to pass so you can blog more. 🙂 Good luck!

    Posted 2.11.12 Reply
  21. I can already tell you put a lot of quality into your blog, and no doubt do you do the same in your real life. It helps a lot if you make comforting soups in large batches (catering style for me, lol) and storing them in the fridge. 🙂
    I think it helps a lot not to worry about cooking 😀

    Congrats on getting so far with the CFA exams. I know it's a very VERY hard exam and I know you can do it!!! YAY FOR FINANCE PEOPLE! 😀

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  22. Anonymous wrote:

    The color palette you chose is so beautiful! I love it! I'm a bit curious… I ordered the same skirt from J.Crew a few weeks ago, but my version seems a bit more like a highlighter yellow as opposed to your sunny, lemony shade (which is what I was hoping for!). When you take photos, do you make color adjustments? Anywho, I love seeing your photo updates; they're very inspiring! 🙂

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  23. Lauren wrote:

    Best of luck on your test–and don't let the blogging stress you out! All of your loyal readers will be here after you ace it. 🙂

    http://www.petiteonapenny.com

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  24. Good luck! I am going to start studying for the bar soon so I know how you feel :/. But you do need stress relief however you can get it! And the outfit looks awesome!

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  25. Lili wrote:

    Loving the outfit! You look great in neons and neutrals 🙂

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  26. Jess ♡ wrote:

    You look so gorgeous, and my gosh are you insane. It's inspiring for young women like myself who are struggling with balancing things to know that everyone suffers from it (not that I'm suggesting your pains are gains). I doubt you need to have lessons taught to you again, but I find reiterated messages resonate best with us:
    – Exercise when you can, make time for it!
    – Use an agenda and plan out your day
    – Eat healthy
    – Indulge in "treats" once in awhile.

    All the best and remember to relax! 🙂

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  27. cookie wrote:

    Learning to let go of some of it. It's easy to feel the pressure to do it all and be amazing at it all. We are a generation of superwomen who are empowered to have the career, family, adventure, looks, health,everything. Sometimes, we forget we are just human. At certain points in my life, I've used this metric: Is the work put in worth the enjoyment I get out of it? At the time I was juggling a busy career, prepping for an art gallery showing, working out tons, starting a mary kay business, partying, running speed-dating events. Oh, and sleeping somewhere. I evaluated each thing I was doing and decided to drop a few that were just taking more work than they were worth. Definitely left me happier! The final note — let go of guilt. At the end of the day, this is your life to live, and if you do what is best for you (and those important to you), everything will work out, and those that matter will support you.

    Rock on, Superwoman! Good luck on your test. Looking fwd to more posts when you have had a breather.

    XO

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  28. Hi Jean

    You are such an inspiration. I discovered your blog through your youtube channel and loved how you were so well-spoken and to the point. And since you don't post videos often, I started checking out your blog, which I am so glad I did. I really like your style, the quality of your blog and I have learnt quite a bit about styling from you. I believe this is the first time I've commented on your blog since I started reading it a few months ago. It really connected with me that you are also writing the CFA exams. You truly represent both beauty and intelligence. I am graduating from university this year and signed up to write the CFA level 1 exam this June. Afterwards, I am joining the banking industry for full time and that's also where I interned for 3 terms. Sometimes, it really feels like there isn't enough hours in a day to do all I want to do. I wanted to get into blogging too as styling is a passion of mine as well. But between school, internships, looking for internships, time with friends and boyfriend and miscellaneous stuff in life, there hardly is any time left. I really want to have time for reading, yoga and develop a hobby, and maybe learn how to cook and play piano. But these things get put aside when there are more important or pressing things to be done, such as an assignment due tomorrow. Sometimes, I think I live life to passively as I always have to focus on what needs to be done instead of what I want to do. After reading this blog entry and writing this response. It made me realize that there is always time if I make time for it. Because there's nothing worse than wake up 20 years later and realize I haven't done all the things I wanted to do and be the person I hoped to be. Anyways, just wanted to say you are amazing, a true inspiration and love your blog. Lastly, best of luck on CFA.

    Helena

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  29. Annabelle wrote:

    I hope the studying goes well! Obviously life has to take precedence, but it'll be nice to see your posts when you have to the time to make them.

    Your DIY alterations are starting to make me want to buy a sewing machine and learn to do it myself!

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  30. Anne wrote:

    Absolutely love both yours and Wendy's outfits.
    Simply gorgeous! And, I wish I could fit into a size 10 or even 12 kids for that matter. That went down the drain when I became pregnant, but now I'm 1 lb less than my pre-pregnancy weight (116), and hoping to lose a couple more lbs. 🙂

    I feel your pain with juggling different things at the same time. I'm a full time stay at home mom now, running two small businesses (Etsy and Stella & Dot), and helping my husband launch his photography business (through Facebook, blogging, and networking through friends for gigs). You just have to take in stride, and keep a calendar handy (whether it's a regular paper calendar or on your phone). Only you know what's best for you and how to handle your stress, but in the end I say organization is key (checklists, calendars, reminders, etc.)

    PS Now that you mention boba and banchan, I want some honeydew bubble tea & Korean food (tang soo yuk is my fave!)

    xo Annie
    http://inspiredbythesethoughts.blogspot.com

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  31. Anonymous wrote:

    Love that outfit so much. I LOVE yellow, but I can't really pull it off.

    Your DIYs are so inspiring. I'm going to have to get going on some of my own.

    Best of luck with your test. I will certainly miss the more frequent updates! But, life is calling, so you have to answer.

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  32. DSK Steph wrote:

    Beautiful, smart, and stylish! That is you! 🙂

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  33. I know how challenging the whole CFA program is, not to mention it's expensive to take the exams. Good luck with it, Jean!
    And we understand of course. I am a new blogger, so my blog is very amateurish compared to yours, and I think I'd prefer it to stay that way, because blogging is the way I de-stress, not to add more stress. ^_^
    Still, I found it hard to be consistent and interact with readers. Especially now that I'm in critical phase of my projects at work, and also in my personal life.
    So, just do the best you can do, and good luck with the exam. I'll cheer you on when you are able to put Jean, CFA on your business card. Or you still need to wait for additional years in finance work experience? I know the minimum is a 4-year experience, rite? If I remember correctly.

    Visit me:
    LeeAnne, Style N Season
    http://stylenseason.blogspot.com

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  34. Anonymous wrote:

    I LOVE Wendy's bag! Any chance I can get the details on it?

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  35. Kim wrote:

    Good luck on your CFA exam! I just wanted to reach out and say that you're such an inspiration to me Jean. I'm currently in my last year of college and super scared about stepping out into the real world and like you, working 10-12 hours a day while studying for an exam (CPA). Seeing how balanced your life seems to be makes me realize that everything is going to be okay. Please don't stop blogging, I enjoy reading your posts during my study breaks. 🙂 Also, thank you for representing asian women in such a positive light. You are my role model!

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  36. Arts wrote:

    Hey Jean

    you are beautiful and smart 🙂 good luck for your exams.
    As for being sane handling different things, well, all I can say is, take one day at a time.

    best wishes

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  37. girly girl wrote:

    Good luck on your exams jean! Do what you need to do and we'll be here when you get back. 🙂

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  38. Kira wrote:

    As long as I remember myself I always worked and studied. There was a time when I had vacation coming and a coworker asked about my plans. My reply was: " Eat and sleep". Although I do find shopping relaxing at times, I think most important things are sleep and exercise. I know that after long day at work going to the gym is the last thing on your mind. Try yoga. I recently joined yoga after my friend has been trying to convince me to do it for 3 years. I find that unlike aerobics class, or walking on a treadmill, yoga relaxes me and I have more energy and I am less stressed out after it, even if I do it late in the evening.

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  39. Anonymous wrote:

    Don't put your blog on hold … how would I choose outfits in the morning! Just kidding – I hope life de-stresses for you. When I'm stressed I find taking 20 minutes to do something relaxing – a jog, a manicure, a glass of wine – always helps.

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  40. Anonymous wrote:

    Good luck on your exam in June 2012. I want to share this with you. http://www.hm.com/us/coupon-us-20-off-w6?cm_mmc=NewsletterNTR-_-20120209-_-US-_-Coupon_L It's a 20% off coupon on a single item for H&M;.

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  41. Jackie wrote:

    Don't close the blog!! I love reading your posts…even if you can't post often.

    I like this outfit with the yellow sweater =D

    I'm sure you'll be fine balancing work and life. It's hard, yes. Since I work from home it's often hard to separate the two, I try to make little changes in my living space to give my brain cues as to whether or not I'm working. For example, I live in a very small space and I work about 6 ft. away from where I sleep. My hubby and I want to get a sofa bed that we can fold up during the day and pull out at night to specify work time and sleep time; mnemonic reminders help.

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  42. Ping wrote:

    aww jean, i wished you didn't have to take your exams! hahha, my selfish reasons! 😛
    i was wondering where that skirt was from. love that colorblocking! adorable outfit.
    looking forward to your vacay pics and delish food you got to eat!

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  43. I'm so glad you decided not to put the blog on hold, even if you're going to be really busy studying for your exam. It's important to take time to relax in between studying though and take some time for yourself. Best of luck on your exam!

    That Crewcuts skirt is beautiful but I'm always scared to order kids skirts online because I'm never sure of the fit. And their final sale scares me even more!

    -Sharon

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  44. When I was studying for the LSAT I used my blog as an outlet to rant and complain about my stress. Other times, I was away from the world, friends, BF, eating, sleeping, exercising, and grooming. It was horrible but so worth it. I also work 40-50 hours a week so it gets gruesome. Definitely take the bulk of your free time to study and study during breaks, lunch, etc. But find a little bit of you time whether it's getting a massage, eyebrows waxed, etc.

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  45. Candy wrote:

    Loved the way you put the neon in your look! Beautiful!

    http://www.patcandytips.com

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  46. Cee wrote:

    Hang in there Jean, June will be here before you know it. The good thing is you've already been through this before with Level 2, so it should be more manageable another time around. Should being the key word here, haha. It's nowhere near as exhausting and pressure packed as what you're facing (I only work 40 hr weeks), but when I was going to grad school while working full time, I had to give up my Saturdays and most Friday nights for a year. Sure I missed out on a lot with friends, family, and bf, but I knew this was only temporary and there was an end in sight (with rewards to reap!) The people around me were very understanding about what I chose to do with my free time, even if it meant not spending it with them. I'm sure yours will too, as there are so many ways to keep in touch now. I learned to be more efficient with my time by setting smaller goals along the way. It didn't seem as overwhelming that way and feels good when you're able to check each one off, haha. Best of luck these upcoming months and on your test!

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  47. Katherine wrote:

    How cute are you and Wendy? That skirt looks great on you – I was thinking that my whole mistake was just getting too big of a size until I read that you had to slim it down – another victim of the J.Crew giant skirt syndrome (though yours looks great now!) Good luck on the CPA exam and I'm sure you'll do fantastic 🙂 Hugs!

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  48. You are truly inspiring! Most people would stop doing everything they love and lock themselves in their room if they had a big exam coming up. My friend who has been trying to get her CPA for a year now, never has time to hang out. She just works and studies and tries to have fun. It's really unhealthy. I don't think you need advice on balancing your life, you just need to do what you feel is a good balance for yourself! You're so dedicated to this blog (that isn't your job) that you're apologizing to your readers for your absence! We all love you to understand that Extra Petite is not your entire life. Thank you for being you, and I wish you good luck on your exam!

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  49. Annie wrote:

    Good luck on your CFA exam! it's a hard one! As always I Love your outfits
    yellow and beige goes so nicely together!!

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply
  50. My husband is still struggling to find a balance between work and family (travelling for work every other week doesn’t help, either). Family is obviously very important to us but our career is important as well. I can somewhat manage my work-life balance. You may not have noticed it before but I am offline from 6:00PM (when I am home from work) to 9:00PM (when Courtney goes to bed). That 3hr time frame is 100% dedicated to family activities such as having dinner together, home work time and play time. After she goes to bed, we have some alone time to do our own thing. She is now getting older and there are a lot more to do after school. It's not easy to find a balance between work and the rest of your life. Sometimes, you just have to prioritize and go with what's truly important to you. Good luck with your exam. I know you’ll do great! Your outfit is simply adorable =)

    Posted 2.10.12 Reply

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