San Francisco Getaway // CAAMFest

While the first day of my Napa getaway consisted of wine country relaxing, the second day was all about big city living.

After a well rested night fit for a queen in our respective plush queen beds at Bardessono, my girlfriend and I woke up early, ready to take full advantage of day two of our two-day getaway. The hotel has free bike rentals, and luckily they had just two sunny yellow cruisers that were calling our names. A morning bike ride sounded like a great way to begin the day. With the open road in front of me and vineyards to my left and right, I freely coasted down the road. I never knew I had “ride a bike in wine country” on my bucket list, but I do now, and I’ve got photos to prove it.

Driving back to San Francisco in our Buicks, the group reconvened at The Slanted Door inside the Ferry Building. Just like in Napa, I’ve been to the Ferry Building dozens of times but never once have I ever stepped through the [slanted] door. A fresh, lighter take on traditional dishes, it’s a great place to try Vietnamese cuisine for the first time if you’ve never had it. Although I found myself wishing there was more fish sauce flavor, I can see why this place remains to be a favorite amongst locals and visitors alike.

With the mini road trip now behind us, we wrapped up the getaway in style. After a glam session at Blowology Dry Bar, we were whisked away to the Castro Theater (my first time there!) to view the opening night film, The Tiger Hunter, for CAAMFest. If you didn’t already know, CAAMFest is the largest Asian American and Asian Film festival in the nation, having just celebrated its’ 35th year. The Tiger Hunter hit all the feels – I laughed, I cried, and laughed until I cried, all the while snacking on buttery popcorn. The film was really good, and what made it even better was the Q&A session with some of the cast and crew. You can’t quite make out the actors’ faces from where we were sitting, but I was still starstruck. I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t see him with my own eyes, but Napoleon Dynamite is all growns-up.

All in all, it was a fun trip and I’m glad I got to experience this mini-getaway. Despite everything being so local, there were a lot of firsts for me on this trip. It just goes to show that you don’t have to travel halfway across the states (or even around the world, although I certainly encourage that), just to explore new places and try new restaurants – and if you’re lucky, you’ll rub elbows with a celebrity.

Hella Coachella

My title doesn’t make sense, but it rhymes, yo.

Three days. Triple digit temps. Specialty food trucks. Sandstorm. Flower crowns and cutoff shorts. Over 180 music artists. Yes my friends, I’m talking about Coachella.

It was my first time at a multiple day music festival and needless to say, Coachella lived up to the hype and did not disappoint one bit.

On the music front, every single artist I came across sounded amazing live. If I wasn’t a fan before, I became one after I saw them. Coachella is proof that there can be too much of a good thing. There are so many bands that participate in the festival that there are bound to be schedule conflicts. I had to pick and choose, and I wasn’t able to catch everyone I wanted to see, but the ones I did watch put on an awesome show. From guest appearances to covers of oldies but goodies, every performance was a surprise that wowed the crowd.

I knew I would get a bit dirty, but nothing could prepare me for the sandstorm that dusted its way in the early evening and picked up with increasing wind speeds well into the night. Remember to pack a scarf or bandana to wrap around your nose and mouth, or else look like a coal miner by the end of the night like I did. I’m still finding sand in places where the sun don’t shine.

Although many celebrities were in attendance, there were no sightings on my end. With all the visual and auditory stimuli happening before me, it is no wonder I walked by Kendall and Kylie Jenner without even knowing it. Would you be able to recognize these famous faces?

The expansive green lawn was filled by throngs of music and festival lovers dressed to the nines. I was overwhelmed and inspired by everyone’s creative festival fashion: hats, boots, flower crowns, sheer kimono cardigans, fringe, body paint, and bare skin were some of the reoccurring trends. I was a sweaty mess and was dressed tame and lame in comparison. I didn’t feel my usual chic self, to say the least.

D&Y hat (similar hat) / Urban Outfitters romper (similar romper & romper)

In the midst of the hot weather, sandstorm, and pure excitement running from stage to stage, I seldom pulled out my camera. I tried to capture the essence of the festival with the few photos I managed to take – but they simply do not serve Coachella justice. You’ll just have save up the funds and go for yourself next year.

As the final weekend of Coachella starts tomorrow, I’ll be nursing my withdrawals by singing and dancing in the comfort of my living room. Couchella, if you will.

Party Like a Rockstar

Or how about dress like one?

Mercy Vintage recently hosted a pop up shop featuring limited one of a kind items from the closet of Kim Gordon, rock icon from Sonic Youth.

It was a hot summer evening as a small crowd of people gathered into the cozy boutique. With a glass of spiked lemon ice tea in hand, and a plate of delectable pickled veggies in the other, my eyes devoured the sights of Kim’s clothes – all in perfect vintage condition and only at an arm’s length away. Marc Jacobs, Pucci, and Alexander Wang were amongst some of the designer duds for sale, as well as other vintage items.

I also couldn’t help but sift through the racks of Mercy’s regular merchandise. They have an amazing collection of dresses ranging from casual cotton day dresses to fancy chiffon and tulle fit for prom – no wonder I love shopping here. All of the frocks were so darling and I swear I heard one call out to me, “Chic Vic!” To my surprise, it was not a dress, but Brandy, the fashionista-confectionista blogger from Will Bake for Shoes. We oogled over which of Kim’s pieces were our favorites.

Alas, I was good to my pocketbook by not spending a dime, but I assure you this is one act you don’t want to miss out on.

Attention All Vintage-nistas!

Coinciding with Fall Equinox (September 22), the Vintage Fashion Expo returns to the Concourse Exhibition Center for two days of fabulous vendors selling vintage clothing, baubles, and one of a kind items you couldn’t even imagine. Did I just die and go to Vintage Heaven? Yes, yes I did.

Shopping for vintage and thrifted items is definitely not for the faint of heart. Most of my friends ask, “How can you stand that musty smell?” followed by “Um, I’ll just wait outside” are the usual responses I hear. Their comments fall on my deaf ears, as I’m already knee deep digging through bargain bins or flipping through racks of clothing. Fear not, for as long as you are armed with a bottle of hand sanitizer for post shopping clean up, thrift shopping can be quite fun and rewarding if you just put in a little elbow grease. Or, you can shop in a fancy vintage boutique where they have perfected the art of removing that odor.

For the newbie, here is a quickie guide of popular women’s’ styles by decade from 1920s-1980s:

1920s Flapper era: boyish/straight lined silhouettes and looser clothing; shorter skirts, drop waist dresses, and pleats were popular

1930s Great Depression: longer hemline returns as well as a more womanly silhouette (natural waistline); bias cut dresses for a figure flattering look that was fluttery with draping and ruffles

1940s the war years: broad, padded or puffed shoulders and defined/fitted waist; pleated knee/calf length skirt; dress suits popular; peplums

1950s post war: feminine, flouncy dresses; circle skirts with petticoat; twinset sweaters; cigarette pants; the Chanel Suit was introduced

1960s counterculture & social movement: the Mod look with mini skirts/dresses with very short hemlines; the Hippie look with bell bottoms and frayed jeans; knee high boots

1970s glam rock & disco: hot pants; glitter and Lurex fabrics; zippered jumpsuits; flared jeans and trousers; the famous DVF wrap dress made its first appearance

1980s I was born: the return of shoulder pads for “power dressing” to reflect women in the workplace; the dance wear look with leotards, tights, and leg warmers; leggings; “Members Only” jackets; Doc Martens; influence of Madonna and Michael Jackson…..and the list is exponentially long

Some trends overlap in decades, and there are styles that I have left out to keep this brief. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, and I am exhausted after all my research! If there is a favorite fad of yours that I didn’t include, please share.

Lights, camera, fashion!

Cute party dress? Check. Fancy handbag? Check. Hair perfectly coiffed and makeup flawless? Double check.

On September 6th, 2012, all of San Francisco’s fashionistas, stylish cats, wannabes, and socialites were dressed to impress as they attended Fashion’s Night Out (FNO). Boutiques, shops, and department stores took part in this fourth annual national event to celebrate fashion at its finest by offering an evening of shopping promotions, events, cocktails, and music. The crowd was diverse, ranging from young and old, the fashionable and the not so fashionable, native San Franciscans, and tourists from halfway around the world who just happened to be at the right place at the right time. “I think it’s a great how everyone comes together to celebrate fashion, dressed in their best. It’s also great to see all the new styles that are coming out,” said Ashley Jones, who has modeled for FNO for the past two years.

As I fought my way through the throngs of stylish folks, I couldn’t help but notice the trend of printed pants among the crowd. Whether it was geometric or tribal, from cropped trousers to stretchy leggings, it was clear that the printed pant is this season’s must have. What a perfect way to pack some punch into an outfit! I suddenly felt bland in my chosen outfit for the night. Note to self: must stop by H&M later to pick up some fancy pants.


The evening wouldn’t be complete without checking out Macy’s on Union Square. I made a beeline to the Impulse section on the third floor, where six budding designers in residence showcased their collections. As a part of the Fashion Incubator, a non-profit program run by Macy’s Union Square, the program aims to turn fashion designers into successful San Francisco entrepreneurs.

The simple, yet alluring silhouettes of Tony Sananikone’s line, “Sounthavong” caught my eye. Dressed in a sleek black Hugo Boss suit, accessorized with his own designed leather flower, Tony described his favorite designers. “I am in love with Chloe. There’s something simplistic about her and also in European designers. There’s something that’s very high quality about it and that’s something I kind of want to portray in my aesthetic,” said Tony.

Working my way through the crowd, I was drawn to the intricate and delicate detailed designs of knitwear from the line, “Mansoor Scott,” which is a collaboration between designers Sabah Mansoor Husain and Bethany Meuleners.  Their collection looked so comfortable and soft, I had to restrain myself from grabbing the sweaters right off the display. As a student myself, I wanted to know what kind of guidance these designers would give to someone who wants to study fashion design. “When you want to study design, it can be a little scary. Stick to it, and keep your own ideas and concepts, and don’t try to change it to what fits to everything else,” said Bethany. The single most exciting moment of their design career so far? “New York Fashion Week!” exclaimed Sabah. Great words of wisdom, and it certainly looks like staying true to their ideas has worked in their favor.

By the end of the night, my feet were aching in my cute shoes. Oh, the things I do for fashion! See you next year, FNO, hopefully in New York or Los Angeles!