That 70’s Style! Psychedelic Patterns & Snake Cuffs Invade San Fran

California girls learn to bundle up during the summer in San Francisco and while you may be gearing up for fall fashion; SF is about to hit the weather jackpot. Typically, September and October is our official summer with sunny mornings and delightfully warm afternoons. Bright long sleeve dresses are one of my staples for SF evenings and with 70’s patterns in full swing, it’s time to glob on the gaudy disco jewels and slip into some platforms.
Today, we’ll time travel into a 70’s-esque style post complete with a gold medallion choker and a non-venomous blinged-out snake cuff. To get in the mood as we go, here’s the famous “San Francisco” song by Scott McKenzie who sadly passed away this month. And ‘if you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair’ or at least pack a hoodie. Here we go….
If you’re singing along… ~ “For those who come to San Francisco, Summertime will be a love-in there…”
Prada 70’s Style ~ From geometric shapes to vibrant bold patterns, classic 70’s is in-style for fall 2012 as seen on the fall/winter 2012 runway for Prada. This black & white Trina Turk dress is perfect to make a retro statement this fall and winter.

Starships and Hot Pink Lips ~ One of the only Nicki Minaj trends I’m daring enough to try is her ‘Viva Glam Nicki’ lipstick by MAC I’m wearing here. It’s the perfect contrast to any neon top or black dress on a night out and can be toned down with lip gloss easily.

Go for the Gold ~ If you’re in a bright, over-the-top 70’s style dress, why not add a gold chunky statement necklace? This clunker scratches my neck in about 5 minutes, but after going through this much work to get it at the Versace for H&M sale last year, it’s worth the pain.

Get Groovy with Brights! ~ When I found this Trina Turk for Banana Republic dress on the sale rack a few weeks ago, I knew it was more suited for a tropical vacay, but I love bright dresses. Never shy away from bold, trendy, or fluorescent hues. Once you find your signature ‘sunshine’ shade; it’s surprising how wearing bright colors can make you feel happy in a sea of others in denim and black. (Sidenote to guys: If you’ve never tried a pink polo, tie, or collared shirt, it’s never too late to shop)

The Longsleeve Dress = A Style Solution ~ Long sleeve dresses are not only trendy, they’re easy to pull on for fall nights and eliminate the need for a jacket. Most importantly they’re more comfortable and often more flattering compared to cap sleeve or tank dresses.
Shall We Swag Now or Swag Later? 😉 ~ If I visit Shanghai again next summer, I’ll bring back tons of these iPhone cases! A street vendor was selling these generic geometric cases for $2 in all different colors. After being asked multiple times where I got it when I got back to SF, next time I’ll bring back enough to Giveaway. simple smile (Sidenote~ My “Shanghai” Giveaway including a Trina Turk makeup bag & MAC lipstick is going on for 1 more week. ENTER HERE)

Dress ~ Banana Republic Trina Turk (recent), snake cuff c/o ~ AliExpress by Alibaba HERE, nail polish ~ ‘Bikini’ by Sinful Colors, choker ~ Versace for H&M (old), purse ~ Shanghai market, sandals ~ (old) ALDO previously seen here

Will you be wearing any 70’s inspired geometric prints this Fall?
Have a great ‘Labor Day’ weekend & keep on truckin’ simple smile


Blake Lively is Stylist Free & Winning on Red Carpets Worldwide

Miss Blake Lively turned the big 2-5 over the weekend and while she hit the quarter-of-a-century mark; she’s packed in enough stylish red carpet ensembles to last a lifetime. Blake first caught my eye when I saw her in Gossip Girl dressed to the nines in every scene battling with Blair and Chuck Bass. She is one of my biggest style inspirations. Plus, she’s one of the few celebs who consistently lands on best dressed lists and she doesn’t hire a stylist which is rare in Hollywood. Not everyone loves her style, but here’s how Blake Lively has inspired some of my looks and other’s I’ve styled throughout the seasons in my blog posts…
Spring Style
 SS Collage 082712 BlakeLively
Bright Summer Romper ~ Blake wore the this blue romper a few years ago and inspired me to try this coral BarIII onsie with mint wedges in my Rompers & Railroads post last summer. 
Summer Party Style
SS Collage 082712 BlakeLively3
Partying in Hot Pink ~ (on the left) Blake Lively wore this Michael Kors hot pink dress to the CFDA awards in 2009 (on the right) Inspired by the bright bold hue, I styled Hermione Way for her birthday celebration this summer as she filmed for the new Bravo! reality show, ‘Silicon Valley’ that will air later this year.
Winter Sparkles
 SS Collage 082712 BlakeLively4
Blake on the left, my sister, Jody, on the right ~ I styled my sister in this sequin party dress last winter paired over black tights and 5″ suede heels. Blake also wore a similar sparkly top showing off her long legs in black tights earlier this year.
Fall Fashion
Gossip Girl Flashback ~(Left ~ Blake, Right~ Me)  When I saw this winter outfit complete with over-the-knee boots on Blake in ’09, I loved the look. I wore this similar (much lower priced outfit) here featuring my favorite Goorin Bros. hat.
(Fall Fashion Sidenote) This Fall, burgundy is one of the hot colors that can be paired with brown or black. Keep an eye out for handbags, boots, and clothes in burgundy or oxblood.
Do you ever find your style is occasionally inspired by a particular celebrity? If so, who is it?
I also added a new Pinterest board called “Blake Lovely” where I’ll pin all my favorite Blake fashion moments throughout the years. simple smile Hope you’re having a great week.


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Style Dilemma ~ What to Wear Winetasting on a Hot August Night

Remember in “The Hangover” when the guys initially lie about Doug’s bachelor party? The whole ‘road trip to Napa Valley’ story complete with Stu’s descriptions of ‘tractor rides,’ ‘baby goats’ and those ‘Sequoia trees’ blocking the cell phone signals? Women would probably never lie about this. simple smile A trip to wine country is not only beautiful, peaceful and romantic; what group of ladies wouldn’t want to be wined & dined followed by a visit to a castle and an afternoon at the spa? This brings me to the email below I received last week… 

 Q. “Hi there!  I am going wine tasting with a few girlfriends tomorrow evening. It is going to be hot and sunny (95-100 degrees). What to wear? Sorry, forgot to mention there is a bbq after tasting and we will be walking along dirt roads to taste in the underground cellar.” ~Jennifer

A. I wrote her back and decided to break it down in this blog post styling my sister for a “Hot August Ladies Night Out in Winecountry.” Plus how to transition from wine tasting to the dirt road and bbq scene…
Queen of the Castle? ~ Nor-Cal’s wine country hotspots have expanded beyond Napa. Healdsburg, Sonoma and Calistoga are must-see destinations. Even if you’re not a wine connoisseurr, how could you pass up perfect weather, vivacious vineyards, amazing food and this castle called Chateau Montelena Winery just down the road from Calistoga? Subscribe to Calistoga, CA on FB to be in-the-know about upcoming events including the Napa Valley Film Festival this November.
Sheer Joy ~ Longsleeve or tank style sheer tops are in-style and can be worn at any age with a variety of options under. I paired a lace cami under my sister’s top and the entire flowy top & skirt is perfect for 100 degree temps.
My Nightly Low-Cal Mocktail ~ When a product changes my life, I have to share. My sister is sipping on a little spritzer I drink almost every evening. Have you ever heard of Soda Stream? I discovered it this year and it should really be called Anti-Soda Stream. Sure, Soda Stream is great to make mixers for alcohol using the syrups, plus it saves $$$. However, I use it every night to make my own sparkling water. It takes 10 seconds, then I add a little cranberry or pomegranate juice and garnish with a lime. I have this exact one. Yum!
Pinot & Peter Pan ~ Peter Pan collars are a hot trend. Plus lace camis and flirty pleated skirts romantic staples women of all ages can wear. My sister has super long legs, but a white skirt, pastel top and nude heels or wedges is a simple end-of-summer combo women can customize to their own preferences. If you’re winetasting all day, take water breaks after each vineyard to avoid the next morning’s “Hangover part III.”
(Sidenote) Budget-Lite Outdoor Decor ~ A warm night, freshly mowed lawn and a simple string of lights makes the most basic backyard suddenly more inviting as the summer evenings dwindle.
What to Wear after Winetasting to an Evening BBQ
Avoid this Mistake ~ From Vegas to the vineyards, most women who wear high heels reach a “gotta-go-barefoot” breaking point after (X) amount of hours. When it comes to grass or a dirt road, ditch the stilettos. Take a day bag or small flats that can easily be switched out and just in case of red wine spills, pack an extra summer dress. Cardigans or denim jackets are perfect for chilly evenings in wine country once the sun goes down.
Miss MacGyver ~ I always have a stash of bobby pins in my purse. In hot weather, you never know when you’ll need an impromptu bun or up-do. Plus, they come in handy for other reasons like opening locked doors or when we were in China, our taxi driver my bobby pins to fix the bumper coming off his car.
Who’s Invited to Your Weekend Arm Party? ~ Day or night, stack on bling and try new shades like rose gold or mixing old and new sets of bangles.
skirt ~ (old) H&M, Heels ~ Guess, top ~ Passport (similar here), watch ~ Shanghai (similar here), lace tank cami (old) ~ F21, nail polish ~ OPI (Gargantuan Green Grape), tiki torch~ BigLotsThanks to my sister Jody for posing for this post
What are you favorite ways to enjoy these last few weekends of Summer?
P.S. If you’re planning a trip to Napa any time soon, check out my good friend Gianna’s blog Decantress Wine Diary featuring the hottest wineries and her newest post~Why you should try sipping these sexy alternatives instead of the always popular Pinot Noir.
Upcoming Special Event in Danville, CA
Speaking of Ladies Night, There is a special event on Sept. 20th in Danville, CA hosted by Pinkie’s Nail Salon with Special Guest Kristi Yamaguchi for an evening of pampering, a fashion show, personal shopping, prizes & more. Tickets are $10 and proceeds benefit Kristi’s Always Dream Foundation. Tickets available here. Hope to see you there!   

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7 Blogger Tips in my Non-Designer Bag of Social Media Tricks

Have you ever had an itch to start a blog? From what I’ve heard tumblr is more simple and less time consuming which may be more convenient. Plus, it can take off like the UGH-worthy subjects in Rich Kids of Instagram. In the world of fashion blogging, I consider myself going into my sophomore year (if this was high school). I was a slow learner in the beginning and I still have a long way to go, but I learned a lot in my first 6 months of blogging. I shared PR tips for bloggers a few weeks ago and now I can share a few tricks and blogging tips that have helped along the way…

1. Be Afraid of the Dark ~ If you’re all alone blogging away at the end of the night and feel a little lost about the direction of your site, that’s the worst. Ask questions, reach out to fellow bloggers & friends. I’m tech-illiterate, but living in San Francisco I have neighbors or friends who work in about every tech company possible which is fortunate, but most answers I find by just “googling” questions. I also owe a huge thanks to my old roomie Lisa of Cocobella Ballerina who shared the secret of checking out other blogs that write about your same interests and building a blogger network of friends. This is VERY important, plus you’ll discover lots of great blogs and the people who created them.

2. The Truth About Photography & Design  ~ For months, my blog was a black background with watermelon green font and I had no idea what to do with it. Finally, my best friend said You should really make your header and blog design look better,” and she was right. You want your blog to be personal and unique, but ask your closest friends what they like or don’t like about the design. Mine is a work in progress and you can always make updates and changes. Also, you don’t need a super expensive camera, but I try to make my photos as clear as possible and generally the same size which is something I failed to do in the beginning.
3. Secret Agent Blogger?! ~ The best way to beat writer’s block is to be prepared throughout the day in case you get a craving to create content. Pay attention to current events, trends, listen to conversations and jot down (or add it to your iPhone notes) any time you have an idea. I always have a pen (like this Kate Spade doodles pen necklace similar here) and a note pad in my purse. Also, always carry your calling card (aka your blog business card)

4. Which Direction are you Going? ~ If you want to start a blog, don’t over think it or stress. Write about your passions, hobbies, life, etc. You can just keep it private if it’s a daily journal style blog or share with friends at first. If you want to build an audience, see what readers respond to and what content resonates then go from there but it defintiely takes time & work. simple smile

5. Offer a Buffet of Social Media Options ~ Some readers have a beef with Facebook and for others, Twitter isn’t their cup-of-tea. It’s best to offer at least 4+ social media options for readers to follow your blog. If you only offer one, you’re limiting yourself and more importantly limiting avenues of traffic. (Sidenote ~ I often try to include different neighborhoods & locations in SF like this French restaurant Fringale. I enjoy seeing parts of other people’s cities on blogs. It’s like a mini tour in case I ever travel there)

6. Strategy vs. Shady ~ Always be honest when reviewing a product and if you’re gifted an item; disclose that to your readers. It’s okay to work with affiliate programs once you’re ready or to be sponsored if it’s a good fit. If you have your own products or work with a company like Stella & Dot, definitely link to your online store or stylist page like I’ll do now showing you where to find these Stella & Dot Pippa Stone Earrings I’m wearing. simple smile


Outfit ~ Dress ~ Zara (on sale recently), necklace ~Kate Spade similar here, white collared shirt ~ Banana Republic, watch ~ Michael Kors here, ring ~ F21, heels & clip on flower ~ H&M summer sale (recent)

7.  Post Up with a Smile~ It takes time to build traffic and can be really frustrating comparing yourself to bloggers that have been around for years so go at your own pace and be inspired by others. I love DIY blogs, but my idea of a DIY is taking a fake flower and clipping it to this boring white laptop bag. The best post policy is to write about what makes you happy or interests you. (Also, if you’re a fashion blogger, always note what you’re wearing somewhere in your post in case your readers are wondering what you’re wearing. Plus, it could lead to a partnership with a company later on.)
Have you ever wanted to start a blog or if you already have one, what helped you in the beginning? (I’m always trying to learn more)
I’ll be back Friday with a”What to Wear Winetasting Dilemma” that involves heels, a dirt road and a magical mocktail 
For Fashion Updates & More, find me on twitter @savvy_spice & facebook

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Back to School Fashion ~ Twin Teacher Edition

Did your mom ever dress you in matching outfits with one of your siblings when you were a kid making you feel like an awkward set of twins? This tends to happen when parents have couture control over their kid’s style and while I didn’t mind, my sister wasn’t a fan of our matchy-matchy outfits. Nowadays my mom and sister occasionally ask me, “What should I wear to work?” and they both happen to work in education (4th grade & college) so today I’m featuring them in…..the same dress. The tables have turned and luckily they work on different campus’s so there will be no need for a stare down in the faculty room on the first day of school.

Here’s some ‘back to school’ fashion tips for teachers including the ABC’s of stylish classroom essentials …
SS Collage 082012 Back2 School
I surprised my mom & sister styling them in the same dress…
Needless to say, this was the look my sister had on her face when she realized she was twinsies with my mom. (Sidenote) ~ How many Jr. High campuses have you seen located across the street from a gorgeous California vineyard? This is just one of many in Mendocino County located near Ukiah, California.
1 Dress, 2 Styles ~ The same dress can easily be styled differently by adding a blazer or layering a cardigan in the fall with a belt to make it look like a skirt.
Simple Hair Lesson Plan ~ If you’re a teacher or work in an office, a simple signature up-do is essential if you’re low on morning prep time. Whether it’s a bun, ponytail or a 4-minute french twist like my sister prefers, go with your favorite maintainable color or highlights if you like. My sister just had her hair colored at Pitch Salon in San Francisco. They offer a 20% discount for first time clients.
Shades ~ Sunglasses are an easy way to show your personal style, plus they’re vital for yard duty.
ABC’s of Teacher Style
A is for ACCESSORIES ~ I don’t recommend wearing your finest jewelry or clothes just in case finger painting goes awry and one of those little angels spills on you. Stella & Dot is one of my favorite affordable jewelry lines and my mom is wearing this Libby Layering necklace 
My sister in this distressed ruler necklace from TJ Maxx (Cute gold & white utnsils necklace~$15.99 Here)
B is for Banana Republic ~ It’s sale time at most stores now and this includes Banana Republic where I found these dresses and my mom’s blazer for more than 60% off. (Sidenote) ~ Banana Republic gives a 15% discount off in store purchases to all teachers & students. Even if you never wear it in the classroom, take advantage of the savings. 
C is for Comfort ~ Always wear the most comfy shoe options whether it’s wedges, flats or boots in the winter.

What about the Guys? Introducing LiftLuxe…
Male teachers and professors should try to dress professional (aka no gym clothes including workout shorts, warm ups, etc. unless you’re a P.E. teacher) Collared shirts, sweaters, dark wash denim, khakis or slacks depending on your style are all great. I was recently introduced to a men’s lifestyle and fashion site called LiftLuxe and was very impressed. They even offer celebrity style tips like ‘How to Dress Like a Bad Boy’ or the ‘Timeless Elegance of Cary Grant’


Jody ~ dress: Banana Republic, purse ~ LV, heels ~ Zara, bracelets~ H&M, watch & sunglasses (Shanghai) similar Michael Kors tortoise shell watch here

My mom (Jan): dress & blazer ~ Banana Republic, Necklace~ Stella&Dot

Do you remember the styles your teachers wore throughout school? I remember some of the snazzy dressed teachers I had in school. simple smile
 And If you’re a teacher and have any “Back to School” fashion faves, please share…


Also, the ‘Faux Real Travel Essentials Giveaway’
As mentioned in my previous post, I brought back a ‘Tory Burch’ item below from the factory markets in Shanghai and I’m also giving away this BONUS Banana Republic Trina Turk makeup bag (real) & the new MAC lip shade (real) in the same color my mom & sister are wearing in this post. It’s called Pure Zen. See pics of ALL items in detail, plus the wallet box & bag included in detail HERE
Enter Below


Enter Here

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Steamy Shanghai Nights plus 5 Tips to Survive Shopping in a Fake Market

My sister and I spent the past week in the big beautiful city of Shanghai with friends and while we soaked up new experiences; it was a bit of a culture shock. We saw families of four holding onto each other carrying an infant on a motorized scooter driving all over the streets. Most cars and definitely taxis don’t have seat belts, the pollution is thick enough to taste at times and you can find almost any product copied in China from DVD’s to their own non-carbonated version of Red Bull. They even make fake Mercedes. Apparently, they also make faux Louboutins. The US border patrol seized potentially $18 million in fake red soled heels yesterday in So-Cal coming from China.

I’ll share pics from our big night out at The Bund which is a huge historical waterfront district in Shanghai as well as a few pointers if you ever find yourself in a fake market negotiating for a faux Ferragamo or a Roberto Cavalli replica…

SS Collage 0801512 ShanghaiNights H
As mentioned in the previous post, we visited a 4-story fake market called Han City and it’s overwhelming. There are people calling out to you asking “What you want? What you’re looking for?” pointing to watches, shoes, jewelry, purses. These aren’t like the fakes you’ll find in the US. They are real leather (they even show it can’t be burned with a lighter) and have details like boxes, dust bags and manuals. Luckily, we had friends help wtih the negotiating and show us how these markets work.
Coming Monday ~ The “Faux-Real Travel Essentials” Giveaway (some real items, some not) like this ‘Tory Burch’ surprise I’ll reveal Monday). I was comparing it and couldn’t tell the difference….
TOP 5 Things you Need to Know at a Fake Market
 1. Make a list of exactly what you’re looking for
2. Once you pick out your items, ask them what price they want and they will type it into a calculater
3. Cut that price in half or more and type your final price you’re willing to pay and let the bargaining begin
4. Don’t act excited about any item (after all it’s not exactly real) because if they know you really want it they won’t be willing to go down.
5. Always check the quality. If something is crooked, ask to see a new one and often they will go in the back and get you a better quality purse or shoes
Massage Time
Head Scratcher ~ China is confusing in the sense that you can stay in a hotel that charges tourist rates from $150-$250 a night and then walk across the street to find massage parlors and hair salons for the most unbelievably low prices. It was $30 US dollars for a 90 minute massage! We ended up buying a membership card for our week there after our first relaxing foot massage. 
BlowOut Time
How Much?! ~ My sister and I were having major problems with our hair in the humidity. We couldn’t believe that hair salons in every city we visited only charge only $3-$5 US dollars to get your hair washed and blow-dried perfectly. They were so good at taming hair in the humidity, we ended up going a few times for that price. 
Nightlife Time
The Bund ~ There are so many clubs, restaurants and cocktail lounges overlooking parts of the city, but my favorite part was The Bund seen along the water. If you visit Shanghai make sure you visit the Park Hyatt in the Shanghai World Financial Center and have dinner on the 87th floor 

Mango-rita & Lychee Martini Time ~ Special thanks to our friend Matt living in Shanghai who was the best host ever & our new friend Jordan who I think should definitely launch her own fashion blog in Shanghai simple smile

 Our last night in Shanghai ~ Jody in my “Fifty Shades of Lace” outfit & me in an old BCBG maxi dress

Along The Bund where there’s endless restaurants, clubs & shopping

‘When the Lights go down in the City’ ~ To save energy, Shanghai shuts down all of the lights on these buildings at 11 pm sharp. Luckily we made it about 10 minutes before all of the lights behind us went off.

Until next time Shanghai….
What are your thoughts on the “Fake Markets“? Do you think it’s okay to carry a faux handbag now & then that looks identical or would you be worried people would notice?
Next week, I’ll add a few items from the “Fake Market” into my outfit posts as a little test. If you think it’s a ‘faux’ item, feel free to call me out and I’ll admit it. simple smile

For more pics from the Silk Factories to the Lotus Gardens, I’ve added a FB Shanghai album HERE

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