After spending time in rainy weather wearing non-waterproof Repettos (don’t worry, they are fine) and returning home to more rainy weather, I decided I needed durable boots and logically looked into L.L.Bean “bean boots”. It also didn’t help that I’ve been wanting a custom boat tote and L.L.Bean sent a targeted 20% off e-mail a few days later…

L.L.Bean has a great ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ story and I love that every item is still lovingly crafted in Maine. I definitely need to make a trip to the Freeport, Maine store the next time I’m in the area.

Bean Boots

With age, I care less for the pretty and opt for utility and durability. These bean boots come in many styles for women, men, and kids. If you think you want them, hurry up, because they tend to get backordered (as summarized in this Atlantic article). They come with different linings or no lining. The general sizing advice is to size down for no lining and to order your normal size for styles with lining. I tried to go the kid route since the largest kid size of 6 is recommended for women with a shoe size of 8 and is lined/slightly cheaper, however, they are backordered until January. I ended up ordering the 6″ Bean Boots since the 6″ seems more versatile than the 8″ in both my normal size and a size down, in the wide width. I wasn’t picky with colors as the 6″ only comes in brown.

Canvas Boat and Tote Bag

The iconic boat and tote bag already comes in plenty of colors and sizes, but it’s not enough, is it? There’s a great custom option that lets you customize the handle length; colors of the handles, body, and bottom; pocket; zip-top; and monogram. You can’t go too crazy since there is a limited number of color options for each. Best yet, the totes are very reasonably priced, custom or not. I also discovered that the Japan site has different covetable styles, sizes, and colors, which is no surprise given the country’s part in keeping demand up for the totes!

This was my custom order (and I was able to find it already made on Instagram via #llbeancustom to confirm my inspiration). There was a strong urge to do an all navy tote.

Hunter’s Tote Bag

I love a good tote and ordered this in the smallest size, medium, in “olive drab” (as camo isn’t my thing and I don’t need another black tote). There are also options for zip-top or open-top. I have too many open-top totes, so it’s time for a zip-top tote. Since it’s in 1200 denier polyester with a water resistant coated interior, it looks like a super durable alternative to the Longchamp.

I will report back once I get my order.

All photos from and its llbeanpr IG.

I have been using my gold matte Almoco flatware for over 3 years. As previously mentioned in my West Elm flatware review, the Almoco set was priced only slightly more than West Elm. I don’t pamper them, they have no rust/tarnishing issues, and I can throw them in the dishwasher (handles down and spread out). Design within Reach, I think, is the exclusive distributor/seller of the Almoco flatware, and they are currently having a semiannual sale (ending today!). Though the sale only 15% off, every bit counts when it comes to a place like Design within Reach! There is also an Amex offer out there which you can stack with the discount (for Amex cardholders only).

The Almoco flatware is also available in black matte (love), copper, silver matte, along with gold matte. Personally, I prefer the mattes. There are also cost savings built in to the 20 piece setting.

Since I only purchased two settings via eBay back in the day, I plan to round it out with the sale, and also pick up some black. I will report back on the black.

Gold matte, stock photo

Gold matte, in real life

Costco has some fantastic beauty deals online. I rarely go in person. Shipping is almost always free. Inventory does fluctuate a bit for the hot brands. I’ve seen Chanel, Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, Deborah Lippmann, and the list goes on. (Reminder: If you have a Chase Freedom credit card, get an extra 5% back through the end of the year.)

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, 2-pack 1.7oz
$39.99 vs up to $60; FSA eligible. This is one of my staple daily sunscreens.

Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist, 1.35 oz
$29.99 vs $48

Mason Pearson Junior Mixture Nylon & Boar Bristle Brush
$124.99 vs $170

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, 11oz
$189.99 vs $290

Living Proof Prime Style Extender, 5oz
$14.99 vs $20

Sisley Black Rose Precious Face Oil
$124.99 vs $235

Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream, 1.7 oz
$34.99 vs $48

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk, 3.2 oz x 2
$29.99 vs $40


Here’s a full directory of where you can find A.P.C. bags on the internet.

  • (*) denotes non-US stores.
  • (**) denotes sale items (as of press time)
  • (***) denotes future sale potential (either markdown or store-wide discount)

A.P.C. is French. It is cheaper in France (as of the current exchange rate) especially if you can obtain a VAT tax refund, however, do not underestimate the ease of finding what you want in the store. I’ve stopped by the Rue Royale boutique and Le Bon Marche shop in Paris and they barely had any bags out. But I also didn’t ask if they had anything in the back (I was just browsing).

I currently have two half-moon (demi lune) bags. They are both textured, saffiano leather, as reviewed here. I love them and have no plans to expand the APC family as of this time. The colors/texture for this style may be seasonal, so if you love something, don’t wait!

Re-sale sites:

The Drunk Elephant Vitamin C serum is probably my favorite non-Asian skincare purchase of late. I stopped using the Skinceuticals CE Ferulic a long time ago — though I have other serums that have a dropper-glass bottle packaging — I didn’t like the packaging re: oxidation and I couldn’t get myself to use it consistently.

  • Drunk Elephant vs. Skinceuticals: Both products have the initial hot dog smell. The Skinceuticals probably has a stronger formula but it’s twice as expensive and the oxidation. Drunk Elephant has a better price point, additional antioxidants (it has pumpkin!) and virgin Marula oil, and I love the Drunk Elephant packaging.
  • Application: Every morning, I dry my face right after I wash it, apply the Vitamin C serum, and wait a few minutes for it to dry before putting on the next layer. Depending on the mood, I might also apply it to the neck and hands. I definitely see results.

Reading about DE’s non-toxic mission, I wanted to try more products. For the skeptics, even critical Paula’s Choice’s Beautypedia gives high marks to DE. (Note: I’m not sure what’s wrong with the Beautypedia — it redirects to the PC main page. If you want to view reviews and it’s not showing up, click on the dropdown in Google and click on ‘cached’ to view the cache of the review.)

The Littles set looked cute, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay $90 much for it. I happened upon the DE Facebook page and was ecstatic to read that they had value sets launching soon on Sephora this week and their own website over this weekend (20% off for new customers). I prefer Sephora for the convenience, samples, loyalty program, and return policy.

I really wanted to try the T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum ($90), which is the full size item of the AHA Moment set ($96). The other deluxe samples are well worth the $6 price difference and will be great for traveling!


I do have a ton of Korean essences and serums already, so am not sure if I will try the B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel ($52) in the Let’s B Clear set ($82).


P.S. There are also new Sephora Favorites sets (in anticipation of the holiday season), including this Skin Wonderland set, and the Perfect Bite set from Bite Beauty. And get extra points on all purchases through Saturday. And I love the extra samples and promos: VIB & VIB Rouge get a great bag of samples with code MYSURPRISE.


Trench Coat in Gingham

Boxy fit. Size down! I love the simplicity of the black and white. And it’s on sale – sizes pop back often. Also available for full price on Net-a-Porter.

Collection Red Plaid Trench Coat in Nylon

I can’t believe this was a Collection piece. It runs about 2-3 sizes too big and is pure wrinkly nylon. Two thumbs down.

Brooks Brothers

I love navy. The quality and fit on Brooks Brothers‘ main line can be impeccable and I love when they have petite sizing. Items tend to pop back online, so if you love something, do check back periodically. Amex cardholders, don’t forget to use Shoprunner for free 2-day shipping and returns. If you prefer the whimsy/preppy, check out the Red Fleece line.

Wrap Coat

Great sale price, but keep in mind this is all high quality nylon, albeit very nicely tailored and quality. I like the drape, the shape of the sleeves, and cuff. I do not like the stiffness of the belt, but I suppose you need the stiffness to keep it tied. It does look nice without the belt. This ran true to size.

Cotton Blend Jacket

This jacket is gorgeous and looks much better in person. I like the large hood and the lightness of the nylon/cotton blend. It’s also water repellent. Looks like a great layer for traveling, but not wrinkleproof. Not as great of a sale price, but it’s no surprise that it’s mostly sold out at “only” 50%. It runs big — I think I sized down 2 sizes.

The recurring Uniqlo x Ines de la Fressange collaboration is my favorite Uniqlo collab to date for its quality, wearability, fit, and classic styles.

The Fall/Winter 2016 collection just dropped a few days ago and has three style concepts: La Femme Rive Droite (Paris Right Bank), La Femme Rive Gauche (Paris Left Bank), and 70s Rock. Not all of the styles have dropped — more are coming in October.

The US Uniqlo site isn’t that great this time in terms of lookbooks or even explaining the concept. For reviews/lookbook/styling info:

When shopping the desktop version of the site, all item measurements are listed in the “size chart”. In general, I find IDLF to run true to size. Their sweaters and knit tops have a slimmer fit. Some coats may run big (like the prior season trench coats). If anything is sold out, for the US site at least, you can sign up to be notified when an item is re-stocked.

I’m not a sweater person and don’t wear work-friendly button down shirts as much as I’d like, so I gravitate through fitted tees (that are easy to care for), casual flannel buttondowns, blazers, and outerwear. These are my favorites:

Read More

I’ve always admired Lotuff bags from afar. They are made in USA, kind of pricey, on the boutique circuit, and hard to find on sale. Eventually the right sale came along in the form of a retirement sale. I got this Lotuff small leather tote with strap in a natural color. I also ordered the small leather tote without strap in chestnut brown. That was returned — the chestnut brown shade wasn’t caramel/rich enough for me. And please note that all sales are not final, which was a driving factor in placing an order sight unseen.

The leather quality is amazing — I find that leather smell to be intoxicating. The 14″ x 10.5″ x 5″ size is big enough to hold a good deal of belongings but small enough not to overwhelm. I was having it sit on the sidelines until I figured out how to treat it, but the more I read about pebbled leather, the more I’m convinced it doesn’t need much babying. The corners are a bit soft, so I am thinking of getting a purse shaper/insert/organizer to hold them up. I love the look of the small tote (without straps) and do wish the strap could be removed. The weight of the bag is not lightweight, but it’s not bad.

Part I: A.P.C. Half Moon (Demi Lune) Bag Review
Part II: A.P.C. Greenwich Bag Review and Comparison with Half Moon

Note: these are not all mine!

The half moon doesn’t look that big, but when you lay out the measurements or compare it with other bags, it’s quite large. I recently checked out the Greenwich. The Greenwich is a classic turnlock crossbody bag that comes in Brick red or Navy blue (almost black) in a calf leather with a glazed finish. It’s pricier than the half moon.

The half moon bag is 0.75 inches deeper than the Greenwich. The Greenwich is slighter taller, but felt too small and slippery with the glazed finish and flap.

Both styles can accommodate a small S’well water bottle. It is definitely easier to access with the Greenwich as it has a top flap versus a sometimes dangerous zipper on a new Half Moon. Overall, the size of this style felt too small and inferior to the Half Moon.

The leather of the Greenwich had subtle veining which was noticeable in brick red. Both colors had some “marks”. I can handle it with the Mansur Gavriel vegetable tanned bag, but not with this style/type of leather. Saffiano leather, I am still a bigger fan of. Lastly, the crossbody strap of the Greenwich is 18.5″ which is almost 3″ shorter than the Half Moon.

The A.P.C. Half Moon in Saffiano wins out due to the quality of the leather, size, and length of the crossbody strap.

Where to Buy