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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Luna and Terra Alpaca Knits, Brown Suede Skirt, and Maven Watches

*Note: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting those who support Chow Down USA! Photos by Icy Li Photography.

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Beanie & Scarf: c/o Luna & Terra | Brown Suede Skirt: c/o Zaful | Sweater: H&M

When I first moved to Boston, everyone told me I would get sick of the snow REAL quick. Well, I moved here in October of 2013 (my plane literally flew over Fenway Park as the Red Sox won the World Series), right before one of the worst winters on record. Everyone told me if I survived that winter I'd be fine in New England - then the winter of 2014 hit which was an even stronger winter! The train system shut down for days on end, I saw people literally skiing down main streets and crawling through snow tunnels on the sidewalk. And I loved every. single. minute. of it. 

I think it would be really tough to live here if you didn't enjoy the snow, but to me it's still this magical, sparkling phenomena that makes everything look prettier and gives such a fun crunch to every step you take. I honestly don't think I'll ever get sick of it.

Now in my fourth Boston winter, I was so excited for our recent first snow storm of the season. The trick is dressing the part, of course. Beanies and scarves are non-negotiable in freezing temps, and looking stylish in the process is a serious cherry on top! That's why I was so excited to discover Luna and Terra, a winter accessories brand whose name reflects its mission statement: moon and Earth in Latin, signifying their dedication to never-ending inspiration and a commitment to protecting and conserving the environment

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Luna and Terra is a "consciously warm" brand creates high-quality beanies, scarves, headbands and gloves which are SUPER soft, warm, and stylish beyond measure. The coolest part is that they're made with 100% alpaca wool, so that every single time you wash them, they actually become SOFTER and WARMER. Aka these items are pure magical. They're so easy to wash too - simply handwash with special wool detergent and warm water, and lay flat to dry. They will last you forever and just get better with age. 

It's the best winter investment, not to mention ethically sourced, cruelty-free, and sustainable for thousands of years. So you're doing our planet a favor by purchasing these rather than from a fast-fashion company if it's in your budget. Plus, you'll just look really, really cute.

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The suede skirt trend is still going strong, and I'm loving this brown suede skirt from Zaful to layer in the winter! It's less than $23 and a really soft material, which I like a lot better than the stiff versions I've seen. I think this one conforms to your shape much better, which is good especially if you're petite and is better for movement. 

The website shows it as having almost a red tint, but it's really more of a chocolate brown which is better in my opinion and will go with more outfits. The front are real buttons (not some faux  buttons with a zipper on the side), which is much appreciated too. I really have no complaints on this one and the price is certainly right!

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I'd like to also introduce you to the coolest new watch brand: Maven Watches. These watches have gorgeous, unique designs and are made with high-quality materials meant to last for decades. The internal mechanisms are created with Swiss movement and stainless steel, while the outside boasts sapphire crystal glass, Italian leather, and 3ATM water resistance. 

Made in Hong Kong, the artisan collection symbolizes the marriage of nature and bustling city streets in its city of origin. I love the Earth tones of the olive green face and brown leather band (which is interchangeable). Look out for Maven Watches, as they are making a big push on Indiegogo in mid-February! Sign up for their email newsletter to get updates before anyone else. 

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Book: Amazon | Sweater: Gap | Watch: c/o Maven Watches | Rings: c/o Moonchild  

Who else is reaching Capture Your Style by Aimee Song? She was one of the first bloggers I ever started following (back at UCLA), and so far I'm loving the new tricks and tips I'm learning from her Instagram strategy book. P.S. the Gap Factory near us was having a 50% off EVERY regular priced item, so I scored 2 of these cozy sweaters this weekend (pink and blue, they also come in white, black, and gray). I definitely recommend grabbing one if you're in the market for more sweaters this season (I can never seem to get enough of them)!

Comment Challenge: What are your favorite winter pieces this season?

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Gold Sequin Blazer and Red Booties in San Francisco

*Note: This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Photography by Richard Park and Jenn Alexander.

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Gold Sequin Blazer: H&M (similar here and here) | Top: Target (less than $20) | Jeans: Express 
Ankle Boots: United Nude (similar here) | Necklace: c/o The Pearl Source (similar here) | Bag: old, similar here

Editor's Note: This post is slightly epic in size. As in, practically as long as those epic poems we used to read in school. The good news is, it's 90% pictures (whew!), not only of this glam NYE outfit but of one of the most picturesque cities in the world: my hometown of San Francisco. 

This shoot (one of three, stay tuned for the rest!) was especially important to me since I have never done a professional photoshoot in San Francisco before, and this city will always hold a special place in my heart. SF (never San Fran or Frisco), is where I was born and raised, where my parents met, and home to some of the best foods and scenery you can find. Anyone who has visited knows the magic held in the City by the Bay (which is also the definition of my name), and if you haven't been yet I highly recommend a trip out.

Now on to the good stuff: This sparkling outfit I wore for New Year's Eve! Comfort is always key for me, so I wanted to wear pieces that felt good, while still giving off that fireworks vibe that NYE deserves. 

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You probably recognize the distressed black denim (from Express for $88, buy 1 get 1 $29) since I literally can't stop wearing these. I'm probably going to get another pair soon just so I'll have a spare when I can't wear these anymore. They're SO comfortable and stretchy while looking trendy and chic, and versatile enough to match your entire closet. See how I styled them with a cold shoulder sweater and burgundy booties.

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Let's be real: The real star of the show is this gold sequin blazer! I got it from H&M last year and it somehow got lost in the black hole that is my closet until I found it right before my SF trip, just in time for NYE. This glam twinkling jacket is the perfect statement piece for any girl boss - it's clearly perfect to dress up jeans/pants, and could you imagine it with an LBD? It makes any outfit effortlessly chic and confident, whether you're out the door for date night, a wedding, graduation or any other special event (and who says you can't just wear it on a random Monday for some extra pep in your step)! I found similar ones for you from Forever 21 and Tart Collections.

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This black and cream lace top from Target is a must for any wardrobe - wear it to class up some jeans like I did here, or with a skirt (remember my Yankee Swap outfit?). It's so versatile and I always get tons of compliments on it! For all that, it's less than $20 so I recommend it to everyone I come across!

This classic chain link black purse was a gift from one of my best friends in SF a while ago. It's my go-to purse when I'm back home, see a similar one from Forever 21 for $22.

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Don't even act like you aren't mesmerized by these red ankle boots. I can't even focus when I put these on because I can't stop staring at them! They're so comfortable, with a kitten heel that I can walk for miles in, and they bring good memories too. I picked them up at a United Nude sample sale in Nolita during our NYC trip after stopping by the Flying Solo store and catching the Minan Wong collection. Their shoes are all so my style and remind me of SF - colorful and slightly funky, with a mix of style and unique detailing. These have great little ridges that run across each shoe. I officially feel that every woman should have red ankle boots in her wardrobe arsenal now! See similar pairs here and here.

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Gold Sequin Blazer: H&M (similar here and here) | Top: Target (less than $20) | Jeans: Express 
Ankle Boots: United Nude (similar here) | Necklace: c/o The Pearl Source (similar here) | Bag: old, similar here

Our plan for New Year's Eve was to stay in and play board games (one of my all-time favorite things to do), but as with all plans we couldn't tell where the night would take us. We went to this amazing sushi restaurant in Oakland called Shimizu Cuisine and ordered the Flaming Dragon Roll, which comes wrapped in tin foil and set ablaze at your table! 

After dinner, we headed down the block to a little tiki bar which ended up being one of my new favorite venues - it had not only cute Hawaii decor, but was also decked all over with Christmas lights and new year's gear (hats, buzzers, etc.). Plus, it had pool tables and a giant Connect Four game! After midnight we went back and played board games to end the night, so we got the best of both worlds to start 2017 off right! Head here to see my 2016 fashion round up and check out my 2017 resolutions!

Comment Challenge: How did you spend your NYE and what did you wear to kick off the new year?

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Saturday, January 7, 2017

2016 Fashion Roundup

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Can you believe it's 2017 already? This has definitely been a crazy year, but I can't deny that it's done wonders for my blog! Chow Down USA has grown more in 2016 than in the prior 3 years combined - not only in the number of followers (now over 32,000 across social media!) and blog traffic, but also in the quality of photography and consistency of posts. Thank you all for following along on this journey, it means more than you know! 

In life, and especially the world of blogging, there's a fine line between finding inspiration and getting discouraged by the pull of perfection (I'm looking at you, social media)! For this reason, it's so important to keep in mind how far we've all come and give ourselves due credit - not only for peace of mind but for the realization of how far we can go. In honor of the past year's hard work, I've compiled a 2016 fashion roundup featuring my favorite outfits and collaborations (including Macy's, Timex and local shops), starting in January and going through December. Hope you enjoy the roundup and remember you can shop the blog anytime! 

January


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February


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March


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April


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May


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June


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July


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August


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September


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October


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November


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December


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Cheers to how far we've come in 2016, and to where we'll go in the coming year!

Comment Challenge: What are you proud of in 2016?

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