to NYC with Love

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Woohoo! It's halfway through the work week and next week it Fourth of July!! I'm kinda excited because my Momma and my little sibs are coming to visit. Looking forward to that, I think I can make it through the rest of the week!

Today I wanted to show you a more casual side of me. I love to dress up, but I am also a huge fan of a t-shirt and jeans! Today, I have paired just that. One of my favorite graphic tee's and some of my favorite cut offs. This kick back look cost under $30.00!

brand: In love by 2 am
purchase price: $4.99
purchased from: The Goodwill
suggested retail: $24.99

brand: J brand (used to be pants)
purchase price: $7.99
purchased from: The Goodwill
suggested retail: unknown (over $100)

brand: unknown
purchase price: $1.99
purchased from: eBay
suggested retail: unknown

brand: unknown
purchase price: $7.00 for all
purchased from: eBay
suggested retail: unknown

"Sexy and I know it" Face

brand: Gap + Keds
purchase price: 5.99
purchased from: The Goodwill
suggested retail: $35.90

Do You have any plans for the Fourth of July yet??

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closer to 30 and assessing life

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Last week I had my 27th birthday, and let me confess, I had a meltdown. I know I am probably too young to start hating birthdays and I am constantly reminded of that quote "do not regret growing old, it is a privledged denied to most." Yet, I still manage to get worked up about the things I haven't accomplished and what I am lacking in my life.

To quote another blogger "27 is much different from 26, at 26 I was just a year older than 25, at 27 I am getting closer to 30." Thank you for summing that up perfectly. 27 is just a few short years away from 30, and aren't you supposed to be grown up by then?

I don't know why I felt so crappy on my birthday, I have a lot to show for my 27 years, but somehow I still wanted to be further along. I set out to search what you "should" have accomplished by 30 to see if I was at least on the right track.....

6 hours later....

So........ I searched out other peoples accomplishment lists and their opinions of the things you need to accomplish before 30, like the places to visit, and the foods to eat, but then I found myself thinking, why am I holding myself to other people’s standards? I never have before, I didn’t follow someone else's road map thus far in my life, so I’m not going to start now. I think some of the stuff I read was of value, like “learn to balance your check book” well I can confidently check that off the list. But other ones like, Buy a entire bar full of people a drink and have a one night stand, well, those don’t really rank very high on my to – do lists in life. Instead, I have complied a list of what I feel are my greatest accomplishments and the things I hope to check off my bucket list by the time I’m 30.

What I’ve accomplished in 27 years....

  1. I moved out of my home town (seriously, that’s kind of a big accomplishment where I’m from).
  2. I moved across the country to Chicago. The Midwest is very different in terms of values, ideals and especially weather. It opened my eyes beyond the farming community I was raised in.
  3. I graduated college, 3 majors, 3 schools, and huge amounts of student loan debt later, I did it. My degree is from an Art school, but it is in something I absolutely love. I probably could have gotten to the same point I am at now without it, but I don’t know If I would have the same confidence.
  4. I moved to Los Angeles, a city I have grown to love. I cannot imagine living anywhere else, nor do I plan to. LA is my home and I am very thankful we can afford to live here (very modestly of course).
  5. I married my best friend. For city folks we probably married young (I was 25, he 27) but we had been together 5 years and from the beginning we talked about marriage. He is my biggest fan and I could not find someone who loves me more.
  6. I started my blog (December 2010). I honestly had no intentions when it began. I just needed to speak my mind and share my closet. Since then I have realized I can turn it into a business and I aim to do so.
  7. I got my first and only tattoo! It was on the bucket list an it hurt like hell!! I got it on the outer side of my right foot and it says “Peace Patience Positively” Three things I have to constantly remind myself to enact.
  8. I jumped out of a plane. Another thing on my bucket list, but something I did not enjoy one bit!! I’ve heard people say it’s better than sex… they must be having bad sex! I hated every second of it, so needless to say, that won’t be happening ever again. I will not be bungee jumping either!
  9. I have taught myself a variety of skills: computer software, blogging, web design (very minimally), how to write television sitcoms (not well) refinishing furniture, sewing, tennis.... etc. But what I’ve realized is with enough googling and reading I can teach myself anything, thus I will constantly be learning new things.
  10. Successfully and with minimal damage figured out exactly who I am. I didn’t have to experiment with drugs, sex or alcohol to find who the real Tori is. I will say it took me till I was 25 to do so. I am constantly redefining who I am and how I see the world, but I know unequivocally who I am and what I stand for. I am very confidant in that fact.

Things I hope to accomplish by June 2015

  1. Make this blog into a revenue generating business. I want to be a full time lifestyle blogger who make appearances, gives interviews & advice, maybe get a book deal… who knows. I want to be the new age Martha Stewart without a stylist!
  2. I want to be able to afford a place with a yard and at least 2 bedrooms. This may sound crazy simple, but in LA, what I have outlined is expensive.
  3. I want to have visited at least one country in Europe. It’s a big place so I need to start soon!
  4. I want to see the northern lights, be it Canada, Alaska or Montana, I wanna go!
  5. I want to take a cruise. Don’t care where or how long, but it needs to happen. It would be nice to take my mom and my siblings with me too.
  6. I want to have read at least 20 new books (I should probably start keeping track).
  7. I want to finish my TV pilot script and start on a couple of my other ideas as well.
  8. I want to decorate the entirety of my home and love every corner of it. I want to feel settled in one place.
  9. I want to be having serious baby talks, if we don’t have a baby yet.
  10. I want to welcome my thirties with no regrets and buckets of confidence & determination.

So there you have it, a small slice of me and who I am. I know this is a very different type of post than I usually do, but I felt like it was worth sharing. Have any of you gone through a mid-twenties life crisis? I feel like I have a lot to be proud of but I'm still unsettled with what I want to accomplish. I'll let you know when I find contentment ;) 

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Real v. Steal: Fringe t-strap sandals

Monday, June 25, 2012

Fringe, fringe, fringe... I don't know when it rolled into town. I think it came piggy-backing on the 80's neon trend. I hate to admit it, but I really am loving the fringe. My mom used to wear it in the early 90's and even as a kid I made fun of it, so why is it that now I'm adopting it? I must just be a trend whore. I hate to say that because I want to pretend that I am un-phased by trends, but really I love the ever changing world of fashion. I love that something can be out of style one week and then a week later it's gone viral... maybe it's because I get bored easily? Who knows, and at this point I just accept that I love trendy shh-tuff!

Today I am highlighting the cutest fringe t-strap sandals that I found. The "real" are made by Steve Madden and I love me some SM! However I do not like to pay Steve's prices :( I then found a very similar pair for a fraction of the price!! They are adorable and I think I need a pair for myself!

The "Real" can be found at Nordstrom and The "Steal" are from

Notice, the only real difference are the metal detailing on the top, but that's a simple DIY fix!

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{My} Super Easy Caramel Crème Brûlée Recipe

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Let's talk food! I know this is a fashion/diy/style/budget blog and you may not think that food falls into those categories... but it does! Food can be sexy, upscale, trendy and inexpensive if you make it at home! I love to cook, in fact I consider myself rather good at it. I also like to watch an immense amount of the Food network channel, so consequently I always want to try new recipes.

About a year ago I taught myself how to make Crème Brûlée. Now mind you, I had only ever eaten Crème Brûlée ONCE in my life, because it is always such an expensive dessert. I had this misconception that the reason it cost so much at restaurants is because it must be difficult to make.... I could not have been more wrong!

I want to walk you through the Crème Brûlée recipe I use, I hope you try it, it is delicious!!

For the Custard
6 large egg yolks
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups heavy cream

For the Topping
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Caramel Ice Cream topping (optional)

Makes 4-6 servings depending on what size ramekins you use

Let's Begin,

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).

2. In a large glass pan, place a wash wash cloth on the bottom and then place 6 small ramekins. Set aside for later.

3. Beat egg yolks, white sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl until think and creamy.

4. Pour heavy cream into a saucepan and stir over low heat until it almost comes to a boil. Remove from heat immediately.

5. Stir the egg yolk mixture into the cream slowly. Beat until combined.

6. Slowly add the combined mixture to the ramekins you set aside earlier. I like to use a large ladle to keep from spilling.

P.S That is my husbands hairy hand, not mine :D

7. Pour hot water into the large glass pan. Make sure the water level does not go any higher than mid way up your ramekins. And don't get it in your ramekins either.

8. Bake approximately 40 minutes. The Crème Brûlée should be set but still trembling in the center. I like to bake mine on the lower rack.

9. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Once cool, remove the ramekins from the water bath, then refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

10. When you are ready to serve, combie 2 tablespoons of white sugar and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Sprinkle evenly over each Crème Brûlée ramekin.

11. To Brûlée, you have two options, you can use a Brûlée torch like I do or you can place the ramekins under the broiler. If you place them under the broiler, watch carefully until they turn a light brown. They will burn quickly!

Tip: If you do burn the sugar, slowly scrape off
the top layer and then reapply sugar and repeat process.

Wait.... there's still more...

*Above is the entire recipe for plain vanilla Crème Brûlée. It is very delicious just like that, but I like to add some caramel sauce myself! I am lazy so I just picked up the premade stuff at the grocery store. Other additional things you can try, berries, whipped cream, chocolate sauce.... The possibilities are endless.

For me though, I'm content with a dab of caramel.

I know there may seem like a lot of steps in this dessert, but they are not hard at all! I have made this dessert at least 10 times and (knock on wood) I haven't messed it up yet!

Have you ever made Crème Brûlée at home?
Do you think you'll try this?

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Upcycled Vintage Peplum Dress

Friday, June 22, 2012

Yesterday I posted a dress and mentioned I had up-cycled it. I thought you might be interested in seeing some before and after pictures? First off, let me tell you how this project came to be....

There is a little Mexican restaurant right by my house. On Wednesday nights they have dollar tacos and half price margaritas. Last November, my husband and I decided to cut loose and have a couple margaritas, and you would think at a discounted rate, they'd be weak... wrong. After we were done with our drinks, we went next door to guess what... a Goodwill! Note: inebriated shopping can be challenging.

I was not completely intoxicated but enough, that when I picked up this horrendous taffeta gown, my husband was severely questioning my judgement. I promised him, I had a vision and at $8 I didn't care what he thought, I was taking it home.... and I did.

When I completely regained my whits, I still had a clear vision and I went to work on this 80's nightmare. I ripped a million little threads and scattered beads all over the floor! But, I think it was all worth it, take a look....

Here is the dress originally. Forgive my crappy photos, sometimes when I get really excited about a project I forget to take thorough pics. These were taken half way through the deconstruction phase.

All the sequins were attached to a thin layer of tulle. I had to rip up all the hideous beading and all the tulle.

There was also this really gross rhinestone rope thing in the center of the bow... that had to go too!

Here is the dress minus the bow and all the sequins. I didn't like how long it was, so I shortened the hem a good six inches.

 And... Here is my final version of the dress! After I shortened the hem, reattached the bow and I had to give it a GOOD wash. I don't know where this dress has been stored for the last 2.5 decades but it turned the water a greenish/brown color.... YUCK! After it dried, I steamed all the wrinkles out and I think it looks super modern now! It is seriously one of my favorite DIY's and one of my favorite dresses!

For more pictures, see my previous post here.

What do you think? Did I totally defaced a vintage masterpiece?

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Blogger Thrift Store Challenge

Thursday, June 21, 2012

As you may be aware, I am a big fan of collaborating with fellow bloggers. So, when Melissa from The Key to Chic contacted me to be a part of her "Thrift Store Challenge," I was all in! The challenge was to find a date night look (not including accessories) for under $20. The dress I found for this challenge, has actually been sitting in my closet for a good 7 months. I found this hideous taffeta nightmare at the Goodwill last winter, but I saw potential. With a lot of seam/sequin ripping and a shortened hem, this Peplum beauty found new life! I am planning on posting the before and after pics of this dress... but that's for tomorrow :) My date night dress cost me $7.99 and some sweat so I'm pretty sure I beat the challenge! My entire outfit, including all accessories cost under $50.... still an amazing feat!

I also want to say a special thank you to the talented ladies who took this challenge with me, They all look gorgeous! Please click their links to see how they approached the challenge!

The Ladies:

1. Toni from The Love Hanger
(Hey, Central Valley peeps, she's from Fresno!!)

2. Lauren from Moon Child
3. Melissa from The Key to Chic

My Entire Look:

brand: For David Howard Climax Karen Okada
(80's Vintage)
purchase price: $7.99
purchased from: The Goodwill
suggested retail: unknown
(I probably screwed up it's resale value by getting rid of all the tackiness)

{cocktail ring}
brand: unknown
purchase price: $5.59
purchased from: eBay
suggested retail: unknown
This ring is Featured on one of my 'Real v. Steal' posts, see more here

brand: Forever 21
purchase price: $7.80
purchased from: F21
suggested retail: $7.80

brand: Barney's New York
purchase price: $20.00 (with new tags)
purchased from: The Goodwill
suggested retail: $99.00

brand: Delicious
purchase price: $ 7.99
purchased from: The Goodwill
suggested retail: $44.00
Also styled in this post:

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Product Review: L'Oreal Go 360 Clean

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I get really excited when I find a new product I love, especially one I wasn't looking for! Yesterday I had to pick up some more beauty products and while I was shopping I stumbled across L'Oreal's Go 360 Clean Deep Exfoliating Scrub. First of all, I had no idea L'Oreal made face wash and creams, I thought they stuck to hair and make up... but it does make sense, duh! At first I picked it up because I was intrigued by the scrub aspect, then I smelled the rich peach scent and then I saw it comes with a little rubber exfoliator, major score!!

I took it home and then the real test began.... I used it to wash my face and it not only removed all my make up but left my skin extra smooth. I am a super fan now and I just had to share it with you!! You can find it at any drugstore or large retailer like Walmart, Target or Ulta. Best of all, it cost under six bucks!!

See the little scrubber, tucked right in the center of the bottle?

It pops right out for easy use and right back in for storage!

It's soft enough on your skin, but still gently exfoliates :)

Have you ever tried any of the L'Oreal skin care products? What are your reviews?

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Monday, June 18, 2012

It's that time of the week again... Monday. Wha wha whaaaa... (that's me whining). I had a really good weekend, despite the 100 degree temps I endured in my hometown. My husband and I went back to visit family and friends and consequently almost melted from the scorching temps. We made it back to Los Angeles last night and have began to cool our insides back to a normal temperature. We realize how spoiled we've become to 70 degree temps... but we're perfectly fine with that :D Today I'm sharing some photos I took a couple of weeks ago (sorry for the delay) I've had other stuff I want to share and tons of stuff going on. Finally they're up though :) These cut off teal shorts are from a pair of skinnies I posed in a few months ago, seen here, in this post. I went through and cut off all my colored jeans, so now I have an abundance of colored cut offs :) This look cost $38.08.

brand: Forever 21
purchased price: $10.80
purchased from: Forever 21
suggested retail: $10.80 (it's weird when I pay full retail)

brand: City Streets
purchased price: $7.99
purchased from: The Goodwill
suggested retail: $38.00

brand: various (thrifted)
purchased price: $12.00 for all
purchased from: The Goodwill
suggested retail: unknown

brand: Ecote
purchased price: $5.99
purchased from: The Goodwill
suggested retail: $34.00

brand: unknown
purchased price: $1.30
purchased from: eBay
suggested retail: unknown

Here's a photo of how I spent my weekend. I went back to my hometown and went floating down the river with all my childhood friends. This is a Summer tradition and it is always a blast!

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Top Jewelry Trends for Summer

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I've said it before, I think we are in a time in fashion where anything goes. You can get away with wearing lace, neon, pastels, cut outs, see through, denim and maxis.... and all in one outfit :D. I think it's a very exciting time and a great opportunity to play around with patterns or textures that you wouldn't normally!

Jewelry also plays a big part in fashion right now too! When I was researching what are the biggest trends in jewelry, the list just grew and grew. I originally wanted to title this post "top 5" but five in no way touches what kind of jewelry trends are happening right now!

I looked up a lot of articles on current jewelry trends and with the help of Million Looks, Fashion Trend Seeker, Squidoo, and my own personal observations I have put together a list of what I think the top jewelry trends are for Summer 2012!

All the images today can be found at Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, H&M or eBay (My favorite places to buy jewelry)!! All items are linked, so feel free to shop for any pieces you like ;)

Okay, here goes....

Floral patterns have been hot for almost a year now and I feel like they are gaining more momentum than ever! If you have been shying away from a loud floral printed dress, perhaps a flower accessory is a better choice for you :)
Links: Romantic Rosette bracelet - Spotted floral bracelet - Flower necklace

Statement pieces are some of my favorite types of jewelry. I tend to buy more basic garments, so pairing unique accessories is just one of the ways I dress up a plain outfit.
Links: City scape necklace - Filigree bangle - Boho necklace

It is ALL about the stacked bracelets this season! The more the better it seems :D I have been stocking on my own bangle collection too!!
Links:  Mesh chain set - Faux ivory set - Color block bangles

We've all seen the resurgence of those 80's neons lately, and jewelry is no different. I'm not the type to wear a bright pink shirt, but I will wear neon accessories.
Links: Geo bangle set - Vibrant bangles - Pink wing bracelet

Instead of "seeing red" all I can see is Blue! Blue appears to be the hot color of the moment. You really can't go wrong with anything blue this season.
Links: Color-pop ring - Broach bracelet - Blue stone pendant

Cross jewelry is coming back too. I think it comes with the revival of 80's trends, but I am kinda digging it. I actually own a cross ring just like the one pictured.
Links: Cross necklace - Geo cross earrings - Cross double finger ring

I for one am really happy to see chandelier earrings coming back. In '07-'08 I had over 50 pairs of dangling earrings. I was a little sad when they abruptly left the fashion scene, so I am excited to bust out some of my old pairs.
Links: Beaded chandeliers - Match stick earrings - Leather tassel earrings

This next trend should come as no surprise. We have seen a ton of garments inspired by tribal or ethnic influences. I really do enjoy this trend, it reminds me of my childhood and how my grandpa used to make Native American art :)

I feel like the geometric trend is a split between the 80's trends and the tribal trends happening. I am enjoying a lot of the art deco feel too!
Links: Triangle earrings - Chevron bracelet - Circle earrings

Skulls are one of the things I didn't find on any fashion site, but I read a lot of blogs and trust me, skulls are big! Even if they haven't made it to the runway (or traditional retailers) yet, that punk vibe is here. I'm not super edgy, but I did buy myself the flower skull ring above.
Links: Double skull bracelet - Skull bead bracelet - Flower skull ring

Spikes & Studs are another trend I didn't find on anyone's top  list of jewelry trends, but I beg to differ! Spike and studs are everywhere; accessories, shoes and especially jewelry. I own the gold stretchy spike bracelet too!
Links: Pyramid stud bracelet - Studded contrast bracelet - Spike stretch bracelet

This is one of my favorite trends!! Friendship bracelets came back around last summer, but I feel they are just now starting to get super mainstream. I have been making my own, but you can buy them online too.
Links: Rhinestone chain bracelet - Handmade friendship bracelets - Leather bracelets

Feathers are part of the Boho trend that I don't think we've ever lost. We've seen feathers about for at least a couple of years, and they don't seem to be going anywhere.
Links: Feather earrings - Floral printed earrings - Feather choker

The last jewelry trend I want to share with you is the Sea inspired trend. Now, I cannot testify that I have seen this trend anywhere but on the runway. The only place I could even find sea inspired jewelry was on eBay too. But I am trusting that if it's on the runway it will eventually make it's way to a retailer... we'll see what happens ;)
Links: Sea sediment ring - Starfish pendant - Anchor pendant

There you have it, an over the top list of jewelry trends for Summer 2012! I am sure many retailers carry their own versions of these trends, but I buy most of my costume jewelry from these 4 retailers so I wanted to show you the cheapest way to stay trendy :) What is your favorite trend? Will you be wearing any of these?

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