Book Report | All’s Fair in Love & Wardrobe

Why you need to add Stephanie Simons’s All’s Fair in Love & Wardrobe to your shopping cart immediately

all's fair in love and wardrobeIf you love The Devil Wears Prada, read Vogue religiously, or know every episode of The Rachel Zoe Project, you MUST pick up this book. Written “to all the girls who’ve ever wanted to shop, dress, eat, party, travel, and Instagram like a fashion editor; now you can date like one.”

With a crash course on how to date like a fashion “editrix” (“channel a front row state of mind—don’t settle for being a back-row babe who’s constantly shuffled around and buried out of sight under the proverbial exit sign”), guides to the 7 phases of waiting for him to call and throwing the pity party of the season (“do create a stellar guest list; don’t open less than three gift registries”), a history of the relationship between love and fashion, how to master the “signature walk” of shame, a collection of closet confessions (assumedly Simons’s own dating anecdotes),  and over 100 cheeky rules, All’s Fair in Love & Wardrobe makes you want to makeover your wardrobe, your romances, and your life to appear as casually cool and easily put-together as an editor off-duty. Here are 5 points why you should pick up a copy, read, reread, and personify All’s Fair.

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Everybody Say [Happy Birthday] Ms. Carter

On Beyoncé’s Birthday, 10 lessons from her live performances



Today Beyoncé turns 34. We know from many stars before (i.e. Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Aniston, Gwen Stefani) that if you work your pound cake hard enough, you’ll only get better with age. A year ago, I attended the On the Run tour when it made its final stop in San Francisco. I made a concerted effort to avoid any spoilers (as if the show was one of my favorite murder mystery shows… i.e. one with a villain named A), but I knew I was in for a treat.

Mr. and Mrs. Carter set up shop at the home of the Giants, AT&T Park. The energy was palpable walking in; we have watched countless Giants games, but no one had attended a concert there before. No one knew what to expect. The crowd was grabbing pre-show beers, scarfing down some kind of sustenance to soak in the alcohol, hurrying to their seats, chatting uncontrollably.

Then the lights dimmed. Everyone stopped talking. Everyone got on their feet. There were maybe two occasions when the crowd sat down, and it definitely wasn’t during “Forever Young” (Justin Timberlake who? Just kidding. I love JT, but Bey brought new swag to the song) when the entire stadium lit up with 50,000 cell phone lights.

Nothing else mattered while we were gathered together for Jay and Bey. Their technically perfect performance left us wanting nothing more than to savor those two and a half hours. We left changed. But what does that mean really? Let me tell you. In honor of the Queen Bey’s birthday, here are 10 lessons I realized from her live performances, both at On The Run and at that insane spectacular at the MTV Video Music Awards.

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Fall Reading List

Catherine’s Fall Reading List 2014

fall reading listI have a nerd confession to make: During my college years, I would visit my high school’s website for their English classes’ summer reading requirements. These along with the books I never got around to reading (though I managed to pretend I did) became part of my growing “to-read” list. For book lovers, choosing one has much to do with your atmosphere, where you are in life, and what you need from the book you choose. Perhaps it’s just me but as the temperatures start to drop (perhaps figuratively in California), I am looking for a paperback with impact—one that might change me in some way with its story or with its composition. These kind of books require undivided attention: read from your your in-home reading nook, a quiet park bench, or on your long commute. Here’s my reading list for the fall, some that have been on my list for a while, some that I’ve read before, all highly recommended.

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Living with Bitchy Resting Face

My 3 techniques for alleviating Bitchy Resting Face

bitchy resting face

PHOTO: Mizkit.

My bitchy resting face started early—as early as the age of 3. I like to think that it was part of the reason no one liked me in elementary school, that I was merely misunderstood. In truth, I was the girl everyone called “bossy,” so if I’m being honest with myself that likely contributed as well. Another day, another post.

Today I want to to focus solely on the issue of Bitchy Resting Face. It’s real, and I’ve worked most of my life trying to manage public perception of myself because of it. Plus, let’s be real: frowning, however unintentional, causes wrinkles. Here are three techniques I practiced over the last decade that may help alleviate prejudice against your Bitchy Resting Face.

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Leaving Home for Home

1 year after moving, a look back at my decision to leave Los Angeles

los angeles

PHOTO: Tara Freese.

I moved to Los Angeles in 2005, fresh out of high school and ready to tackle my first taste of freedom. The rivalry between the Bay and L.A. was palpable among my friends at LMU, and shortly after starting my freshmen year, I was already homesick for San Francisco. Every opportunity I had to fly home for an extended weekend, I took. Then after opening my eyes to the world and studying abroad in Florence, my perspective changed. My senior year I embraced the limited amount of time I had left in college, took an off-campus internship, and really started to explore the city I had lived in for three years beyond the neighborhood around LMU.

Though I started to find my groove—particularly once I was working full-time at a magazine and working events in glamorous Beverly Hills and exciting West Hollywood—it wasn’t until a couple years after college that I finally admitted to all my Bay Area friends that I loved L.A. I even started to feel a sense of pride in the city (though I will never ever support the Dodgers), especially when people told me how much they hated it.

Many people decide to start fresh after college by moving to a new city; I was not one of those people, though I did face the obstacle of making new friends after my college friends slowly but surely left the area. The last time I really felt like I started a new chapter in my life was when I originally left home. Serendipitously, while cleaning out my place, I found the video from my cotillion and watched it with my parents. My 18-year-old self gave a speech about leaving for college, moving to L.A., and what I’d learned up to that point in life. It was so fascinating to look back at the girl I was before I started this L.A. adventure… and to feel the difference in what I went through then versus what I’m going through now.

Back then I had so much direction and focus: I knew my purpose in moving, I knew what I would study in college, I knew what I wanted to do after (though at that point I thought I would be a high school English teacher first). Now I’m leaving L.A. with more life experience and a better sense of who I have become, though what the future holds may still be hazy (or should I say foggy).

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Stars & Stripes Sophisticate

An inspiration guide to elevated red, white & blue style

PHOTO: Pinterest.

PHOTO: Pinterest.

There is no shortage of American flag-emblazoned garb in the States. Let freedom ring this holiday weekend with classic Americana—hot dogs, water slides, apple pie, fireworks—and maybe leave the repurposing of flags into dresses to the college gals. Try these ideas on for a more grown-up iteration of the star-spangled banner.

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San Francisco by Avant-Barre

San Francisco-born Nini Gueco tells us why she never tires of her City by the Bay

PHOTO: Quoc Ngo.

Over 30 years in San Francisco, and Avant-Barre‘s founder Char “Nini” Gueco has a palpable love for this fair city. Born in the City and raised in the Peninsula, Nini stayed in the Bay Area to attend Santa Clara University where she graduated with a degree in Accounting. Travel opportunities happened domestically through work (her first career move was as an accountant with a big 4 firm) and internationally through dance (she was a premier soloist with Likha Pilipino Folk Ensemble), but she always made her way back home to the Bay. I had the privilege of meeting Nini 27 years ago when I was born her second sister, and she’s one reason I cannot wait to make the move back this summer. After hearing what she had to say about San Francisco, I found a few more reasons to add to my list (one of them is Avant-Barre’s brand new SoMa studio that opens today).

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Cleaning Out Your Closet (and Shopping Your Wardrobe)

5 Guidelines to Discard Items + 6 Classic Pieces to Keep When Cleaning Out Your Closet

cleaning out your closet

PHOTO: Sex and the City.

Admit it. It’s the middle of the summer, and you still haven’t gotten around to spring cleaning. If you read All’s Fair in Love & Wardrobe (or even just my book report on it), you might have the urge to edit your wardrobe (before editing your love life). The good news for you slackers is that I just did a major overhaul of two closets thanks to my move, and I learned some things in the process.

Cleaning out your closet is beneficial for a) making room for new things, b) taking inventory of what you might have forgotten you have, c) making a little extra cash, and d) feeling emotionally lighter. A well-edited closet gives you the opportunity to know exactly what you have and streamlines the getting ready process and your options of what to wear. Now where to start? There are the tried and true rules for what you should discard, but where can you draw the line? Read on for your guide to what must go as well as what should stay in your wardrobe.

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Around the World in 24 Hours | Summer Movies

10 summer movies to feed into your wanderlust

summer moviesTime and/or money limitations holding you back from taking your dream vacation? Live vicariously through the travels of film characters. Reminisce about carefree summers with classic childhood movies. Host an outdoor movie night, curl up under the stars with these movies, and remember that your next adventure is just a choice away.

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Favorite Stays | ACE Hotel Downtown Los Angeles

My experience at the ACE DTLA and tips on planning a “staycation”

ace hotel

PHOTO: Catherine Abalos.

I love everything about staying in hotels… fresh sheets, fresh towels, a mountain of fluffy pillows, the option to order food straight to your room, the free Bible. A couple years ago I made my first trip to Palm Springs and was introduced to the ACE Hotel. I was an immediate convert to the laidback, urban cool vibe of the compound and have considered visiting new cities in order to stay at the ACE. The ACE is purposely a little undone and can feel like glamping. I was fortunate to take refuge in my sister and brother-in-law’s room at the ACE when all of us were stranded in Manhattan after Sandy hit. When I heard that they were opening up in Downtown L.A., I vowed to book a night for some personal R&R. A staycation is a mini vacation from your life, without the inconvenience of leaving your town. A solo version should be purposeful and a way for you to invest in yourself.

A solo staycation has been on my to-do list for a long time. To have an immaculate suite to myself for one night (or more) to relax on thousand-count sheets is more luxurious to me than a day at the spa. However, when I mentioned my weekend plans to people, four times out of five their first response was to ask whom I was going with. For some, the idea of staying in a hotel by yourself for pleasure is comparable to eating alone at a restaurant or going to a movie theater alone. It sounds scary, you would feel judged, you may judge people who are doing it. When you find the courage to face your fear of being alone in any situation, you have the potential to liberate yourself from the constrictions of popular opinion and discover something new about yourself. One night away from my living space filled with material possessions and the figurative weight of the current ups and downs in my life gave me refreshing perspective.
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