(1) Marimekko for Target is launching on Sunday, April 17, which means midnight tonight-ish. Aside from studying their lookbook, check eBay auctions (there was a press preview last weekend) and also understand Marimekko retail prices (no need to overpay for a Target collab piece!). I anticipate a crazy launch.

(2) Two thumbs up for Moshi CS. I use a Moshi iGlaze case for my Macbook Pro. The corner cracked. I continued on. Then it completely broke off about 10 months in. I wasn’t in the Moshi system for a warranty because I stupidly threw out the packaging before realizing the numbers I needed to register were on it. But at $50+ for the case, I figured it was worth a try to contact Moshi CS (before even attempting Amex Warranty Protection). After sending over photos of the crack, of another number inside of the bottom case, and the receipt, they sent me a brand new case! And I definitely registered this case…

I love this case, especially since I spilled an entire cup of ginger beer over the closed case once and my machine was completely protected.

(3) Two thumbs up for Instant Pot CS. My stainless steel Instant Pot liner interior was chipping. At least that’s the best way to explain it. I’ve never seen stainless steel chip or have any sort of wear, so I hope that was a one-off. Similarly, Instant Pot sent a new one!

(4) I love the Dr. Jart Liftra contour shaper tool that I got from Sephora. So much that I promptly ordered the set for my mom during the site-wide sale, even though I haven’t tried the products that come with it yet. I bought the shaper to improve circulation in my face (and have tried it on the body too), but it’s touted to help with sculpting facial contours, improve elasticity and sagging skin. You can see it in action at NYFW from Dr Jart’s instagram here. Aside from Sephora, Dr. Jart Liftra is also available at Birchbox.

Image: Dr Jart Instagram

(5) Currently watching: The Americans (FX), Call the Midwife (PBS), Orphan Black (BBC America). And Turn (AMC) is coming back soon!

(6) I’m currently getting Birchbox (after a 5 year hiatus — I like them much better now and the $5 worth of points/month for reviewing). But, I’m realllly excited that Sephora is expanding their Play box distribution and I finally got off the waitlist. You can see all the boxes since they launched in 2015. If you like seeing the ‘just arrived’ section on their site like me, you’ll like it!

(1) I love bringing Suja Mighty Greens juice to work in a S’well bottle, since it stays chilled. The extra large bottle from Costco is reasonably cheap and it lasts us for a few days. We grab a few bottles every time we go to Costco. You can find the S’well bottles here and here. I have a 9 oz for juice and a 17 oz gold one for water, which always gets comments.

(2) Lots of Mansur Gavriel on Barneys available for pre-order, including the saffiano mini buckets, regular buckets, lady, and tote. The craze has died down a little — highly sought after styles and colors still quickly sold out when MG launched last week, but the unpopular styles took a while to sell out and some are still available.

(3) Skincare favorites of late with empties: LJH Propolis Ampoule, Pixi Glow Tonic. The former is seriously cheaper when one of the Asian sites has a sale and that’s when I stock up. I use about 3 drops a day for the glow factor and it’s lasted about 3 months. You may be able to get the Pixi in-person from a local Target through the Curbside app with code MGPEN for $10 off.

(4) I have a ton of Sephora gift cards to use. As a lowly, free Beauty Insider status, save 10% today through Tuesday with code BINOTE. If you’re not a Beauty Insider, you can sign up on their website and the code should work. In my cart, for further filtering:

If you’re curious about May Lindstrom, this Rodale’s 20% off one item sale is probably the only time you’ll find it on discount. Unfortunately, shipping is not free.

(5) COS is having their mid-season sale. I really liked the royal blue version of this textured knit cardigan jacket, so I picked one up in black. I feel spoiled with these COS sales and not having to pay full price (which I used to do whenever I visited a country with COS). I do have some items that I love a little less, which leads to my next point.

(6) I’ve been cleaning my closet and unpacking some boxes that were never unpacked. Some items go for the donation bag, a few go to the trash. If its worth more than a “few dollars” of profit/not too much trouble, I will list it on eBay, Poshmark, or Tradesy. I would donate to Dress for Success if they didn’t make you dry clean everything before you donate and more flexible hours.

  • eBay still reaches the largest market. It can be stressful but they give the seller the most flexibility and control.
  • Poshmark hits a niche and if it doesn’t take too much trouble to cross post, I will. I’m not sure about selling more expensive items though. My biggest gripe is how they provide shipping labels (in the middle of a sheet of paper) and how I always have to screenshot and paste in Word to manipulate it to print on my label paper. It’s US-only and you don’t get paid until a few days after the item is received.
  • I haven’t used Tradesy too much and definitely put it on the bottom of my list — I really dislike how you aren’t instantly informed of a sale (more like hours) yet the buyer can message you and you can’t do a thing. There’s also a waiting period for your money.



Pictured: cammello mini lady bag (returned), flamma/flamma mini bucket bag (returned), brandy lady bag (returned), black saffiano bucket bag

Mansur Gavriel’s made me a goldilocks.

I’ve been wanting a mini lady bag or lady bag in cammello or brandy, which are both vegetable tanned leather. I like brandy because it was always love at first sight, but photos of the cammello patina’ed get me and brandy’s always been harder to find. I’m wavering between the lady and the mini lady — because I can never see myself traveling with the mini lady. It doesn’t help that I repeatedly buy these bags (which is no easy feat), only to return them because they came with scratches. I’m not naming any names, but the scratches are not a manufacturer’s defect — I’ve seen plenty of perfect non-lady vegetable tanned bags and one cammello mini lady. Some of these bags have been very poorly packaged or handled by the retailer. I’m okay with the nature of the leather being susceptible to scratches, but I will not pay top dollar for a pre-scratched bag. Especially scratches in a non-conspicuous spot. I rather scratch it myself. And as much as I love my durable saffiano bucket, I don’t want another black bag (unless Mansur Gavriel decides to make a non-black saffiano lady…)

Isn’t the brandy gorgeous?

Image: PurseBlog

So, only buy from a shop with a return policy, pre-order where you can, and have patience.

P.S. Barneys has non-black saffiano buckets in rosa (pale pink)! If you were waiting for a mini, I think the ship has sailed and you will have to wait a while for the next round of pre-orders.
P.S.S. My mega post on where to find Mansur Gavriel is up to date. Even I use it to do my ’rounds’.

I absolutely love Ann Taylor for certain ‘basics’ and I find myself hitting the virtual sale racks often during this time of year. There are some very nice lace items and sweater skirts/dresses.

The extra 60% off code (SPRING60) only applies to sale items (not promotional items) through Tuesday, 3/22/3016 at 3:00 AM EST. If an item is eligible for the 60% off, it will say so on the product page. Similarly, if an item is final sale, it will say so on the product page and in your cart. I try to avoid final sale when I can…

lace top in winter white or navy, lace skirt in winter white or olive green

all season stretch navy suit top. matching pencil skirt (on sale, not pictured). thank you, ann taylor, for continuing to produce items in this material and color season after season!

sweater skirt. similar sweater dress (on sale, not pictured).

Image source: Ann Taylor

I found myself in West Soho one evening, not quite sure where to visit since I rarely go downtown. Then, I remembered the new Repetto store! It’s next door to the Soho Laduree and similar to the Laduree, it’s as if they imported the store from Paris. The store design, layout, selection, and sales lady — all just like the Paris stores! There are so many styles, colors, and lines that are new to the US! There’s also an atelier in the back for custom shoes.

They also carry 4 type of shoe care products at the register (pricey at $20/bottle). After a quick chat with the sales lady, I need to bring in my patent shoes some time to diagnose if the black marks are fixable.

All in all, a must-see for any Repetto fan.

Published on February 13. Updated on March 26.

Image source: Mansur Gavriel

Mansur Gavriel isn’t stocking its own web shop until March, but you can find their SS2016 collection at a number of sites. Though you’re not getting a pink box, many of these sites offer returns. Buying directly from MG is final sale, which I learned the hard way, and they also charge shipping. The biggest perk of buying direct from MG is the selection.

New for SS2016 (Update: MG’s own site has been updated with all new styles and colors)

  • Shoes in four styles and five heel heights, in many colors. Sorry, none of these appeal to me. And you may have heard about the drama. The shoes pre-launched at Net-a-Porter two days ago, which means you can trust there will be plenty of popbacks.
  • New bag styles: the Moon Clutch, the Flat Clutch, the Volume Clutch and Circle bag.
  • New bag size: mini Lady bag. It looks substantially smaller than the regular Lady bag. Mini dimensions: 9″ x 10.5″ x 3.5″ vs regular dimensions 11″ x 12.5″ x 4.5″. The handle drop differs by 2″, which means the mini top handle won’t fit on your shoulder. Both have a crossbody strap.
  • New color: Rococo (dark berry pink) and Blush (between the existing rosa and peony).

Personally, I am not interested in the new colors, shoes, or new bag styles. I like the lady bag, but not sure if I like the mini or regular size, or if Barneys will have the mini in saffiano.

Brief Description of Leather and Size Options

  • Leather: Vegetable tanned, tumbled, saffiano, and calf coated, in ascending price with a tie between tumbled and saffiano. Canvas is obviously cheaper than the vegetable tanned – and I won’t be mentioning it further.
    • Vegetable tanned is the most delicate, needs to be loved with leather milk/sprays, and in return you will get a beautiful patina. It comes in black, cammello (light camel), and brandy (burnt brown) exteriors and a huge array of colorful matte, smooth leather interior or raw, unfinished interior. This is the most popular – folks want a contrasting interior! It has structure and will soften a bit with use, but will still stay structured. Not a good option if you do not like signs of wear or treat bags roughly.
    • Tumbled has no structure. It is soft and I’ve never seen one in person.
    • Saffiano is pretty indestructible and an exclusive to Barneys and Opening Ceremony, and at some point, Colette in Paris. While the string may soften a little with use, the stiffness and structure of the bag will not change.
    • Calf coated is smooth, matte, and softer than vegetable tanned and saffiano. It is the most refined out of the bunch and doesn’t really require any maintenance, but may eventually show wear on the corners. The exterior color = interior color. No contrast here. The lady bags do not have a matte leather interior but a canvas lining. Since it is softer, I do not think it looks good in the lady bag style (look at how the top flap pulls).
  • Size: 
    • Bucket: mini mini, mini, and regular (often referred to as large). The smaller sizes are harder to find.
    • Lady Bag: mini, regular, and large. Large is harder to find than mini.
    • Crossbody: mini and regular.
    • Backpack: mini and regular.
    • Tote: small and large. Small is super rare outside of MG’s own site.

Mini bucket can hold a similar amount as the mini lady. The same can be said for the regular bucket and lady bag. They’re just different shapes.

Image source: Mansur Gavriel

Where to find Mansur Gavriel

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I was out of town last weekend and last week was exhausting. My saturday six series is more difficult to maintain than I expected… Better late than never, right?

Six things from the last two weeks

(1) Tata Harper master class at Cap Beauty. The event was PACKED. Once the crowds subsided, I got to ask Tata a bunch of questions and try many products. I will be blogging details in a separate post.

(2) I love Instagram’s new update — you can now log into multiple IG accounts. I’ve been more active on my @irenelikes account of late. If you don’t see the option to link another account, make sure your app is updated. (I don’t love how spacey the feed looks now though.)

(3) We checked out David Chang’s newest restaurant, Momofuku Nishi, in Chelsea. Reservations were made online. This is a tip-free restaurant and we found that prices were a little high as a result. Service was good and unobtrusive at the bar. We ordered two apps and two pasta dishes and were out within an hour. Pictured clockwise: (1) Spicy Beef Sichuan – flat noodle, tofu, yacai; (2) Ceci e Pepe – chickpea hozon, black pepper; and (3) Beef Crudo – watermelon radish, dashi ponzu. I loved these dishes, but don’t think I’m itching to come back any time soon. The fourth, unpictured, dish was the ama ebi (shrimp) dish that was inspired by the razor clam dish at Ko. I would not recommend this dish. Overall, I always find Momofuku to be too heavy on the sodium, so it was no surprise that I knocked out once I got home and overslept the next morning.

(4) I’ve been a Goldilocks lately with purses, mostly with Mansur Gavriel since it’s so hard to find and you can’t walk into a store to peruse all of the styles/colors, and some vegetable tanned purses arrive pre-scratched! I was also sorely disappointed that the saffiano rosa tote at Barneys was actually calf, not saffiano. Enter the new Longchamp Roseau reversible collection. I ordered a tote during a great Neiman Marcus promo + eBates $50 bonus. I’ve historically not been a fan of Longchamp leather, but I think this one is a keeper! It’s a simple tote with a closure on top, buttons to taper in the sides, super lightweight yet structured, and ironically a lipstick red interior (like MG). The textured leather is also much more durable than the veau foulonne material.

(5) This is the first year in a while that I haven’t scheduled a bunch of vacations… and the AA devaluation is looming over my head. I’m not sure if I can get my act together in time vs. should I stay true to myself and be content with coach!

I also started following Conde Nast Traveler in Feedly and it’s inspired me to plan a solo vacation, which I used to do fairly frequently:
20 Reasons to Travel Now
This Mom Says Solo Travel Keeps Her Sane

(6) Looking forward to Uniqlo x Liberty of London? Expect a 30-piece collection including womenswear, menswear, and childrenswear to launch on March 18. I don’t wear florals often, so I wonder how much of it I would actually like enough to buy, if I can get my hands on it!

lolbImage: Uniqlo

I got the Tata Harper resurfacing mask and face oil late last year and started following Tata on Instagram. The master classes looked really interesting, so I was ecstatic when I saw that Cap Beauty was hosting a master class in NYC (via Cap Beauty’s mailing list). The natural beauty boutique in the West Village is adorable and everyone I came in contact with was really nice, despite the huge crowd that showed up. (The event was broadcast on Racked, so that’s the effect of social media.) The event kicked off early. Christine introduced the brand first and Tata came in to talk about why she created the products and her experiences. Then, Tata and Christine (and maybe somebody else) took questions and demo’ed the products to smaller groups. The crowd thinned out so I stood in Tata’s line, listened in on some others’ questions, and got to ask her a few.


  • Product formulations took 5 years with her chemists in Europe.
  • She’s been working on a sunscreen for many years but has yet to find something that she would like to use. She’s looking forward to new sunscreen ingredients from Australia.
  • She barely wears any makeup and if she does, it’s the lip and cheek products from her line, and I believe she said she loved RMS. (She had a beautiful glow.)
  • Everything is pregnant/breastfeeding-friendly. She started her line when she was pregnant.
  • The Regenerating cleanser was what she considered the first, good product.
  • Many ingredients are grown on Tata’s farm in Vermont and is used as the base for her products. All other ingredients are sourced from 48(!) countries.
  • While the Vermont farm is not open to the public (since it’s her home), she would like to one day.
  • Before she started her own line, she loved La Prairie, especially the caviar cream. Her stepfather had cancer and this is when she started researching natural beauty products.
  • She talked indirectly about pricing. More on her philosophy here.
  • You can look up when a batch was made. I did this when I got my mask and face oil in November; mine were made in October.

On product usage:

  • Cleansers are underestimated. She recommends double cleansing and starting on dry skin, not in the shower.
  • The bare minimum for aging well is cleanser + serums (all the anti-aging technology is here) + moisturizer + eye cream. Highly recommends masks 1-2x/week and an essence.
  • She recommends the new purifying mask 2x/week for anyone who lives in the city to clean up the buildup from pollution.
  • For hyperpigmentation, you have to control the rate that melanin gets out of your system. She recommends the Concentrated Brightening essence and serum, Regenerating cleanser, and Resurfacing mask.
  • If you want to use a facial steamer, layer the resurfacing mask on top of the regenerating cleanser.
  • She uses her moisturizing mask as an overnight mask.
  • To use the face oil during the daytime, drop a few drops in your hands, rub to warm it up, and gently pat your face. The face oil is a last step for sealing the layers in.

In general, I found the master class to be very informative, you don’t have to buy and use her products to apply the knowledge. There are other products similar to e.g. the purifying mask or cleansers that you can use to double cleanse or counteract pollution. I got to try many products (from Tata, herself!) that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I got the big bottle of the Regenerating Cleanser and though it was the most expensive cleanser I had ever purchased, it fills a void in my overall cleanser rotation (I have 6). I love how it felt on my skin and those deluxe samples were a consolidation price. I’m willing to splurge on good cleansers/essences/serums because I think they are the workhouse products, and there’s no point in working on the superficial surface if what below it is congested, clogged. I also rationalize that I use mostly well-priced Korean or drugstore products (like Cerave) and don’t need prescription strength anything (for now).

Where to buy:

Baggu’s semi-annual sample sale is this weekend at their Williamsburg, Brooklyn store! They will have past season styles and samples.

March 5-6th
11AM-6PM | Saturday & Sunday
242 Wythe Ave, No. 4, Brooklyn, NY 11249

I’ve been to most Baggu sample sales since 2010. The sale is a wildcard — there isn’t a consistent mix of leather, nylon, or duck canvas. Over the years, the sales have also gotten more crowded, however, I haven’t stood in line (nor arrived before opening) for a while. Good stuff does sell out fast. I usually don’t see them restocking, but did for the first time during the last sale. Prices drop as the weekend winds down. The best prices are for samples or seconds (where any sign of a defect isn’t noticeable). The AT&T signal is pretty weak (in case you wanted to text photos to someone). See snapshots from the Spring 2014 sample sale on my Instagram under #irenelovesbaggu.

And here are some shots from the Fall 2015 sale below. While most products are very straightforward (e.g. a baby Baggu is a baby Baggu), the ‘duck bag with laptop sleeves’ box only had duck bags without laptop sleeves. Those 3D zip bags on the wall were also freshly stocked while I was there, and weren’t priced very excitingly.

Click to enlarge

What I got for myself and friends… The most exciting ‘deal’ was the $3 leopard regular Baggus.


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