Lei Ann...Off Duty

acupuncturist kung fu sifu speed typist hawaiian-born bostonian zombie hunter...so what's a girl supposed to wear on her day off? leiannoffduty@gmail.com ~ FB: Lei Ann Off Duty

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*boston fashion blogger girls dinner*

i’m between trips…just got back from FL tuesday & now out again this weekend. so, it’s been a pretty bleh & unexciting week just trying to catch up on everything.

so, here are some pics of my favorite blogger pals, najeema, holly, kristen, michele & renata from a recent dinner out.  kind of a second birthday meal for najeema…hahaha :)  hopefully will be back to normal programming next week ^_^

of note: there were menfolk at our dinner even though i have no photos of them. just didn’t want pete, ray, greg & jonathan to think they were being snubbed (on purpose)…hahaha!

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*boston blogger night & shopping party at goodwill boston*

last thursday night found me back at the goodwill headquarters in downtown boston at the kind invitation of fellow blogger friend & *newest* addition to the boston globe as their new DIY BOSTON contributor…melissa!  congratulations sweetie!

i attended goodwill’s first blogger day back in may & was all to happy to return for their fall event with some new & familiar faces.  i can never resist a chance to shop at the HUGE store down on harrison avenue & scored a ton of great finds!  in fact, it was one of those moments where i actually had to haul around one of the goodwill shopping carts while i shopped…my treasures were getting so heavy in my arms!  BTW, that christian audigier double panther hoodie above almost almost made it into my cart, but then i came to my senses…bwahaha!

the rest of the night was spent eating pizza, chatting with everyone including the goodwill team members & once again touring the warehouse…concluding with group photos at the famed ‘wall of baled clothes.’  since i had already experienced the “behind the scenes,” it was cool to hear the new girls who had never been ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over the expansive space & what it takes to get those donations out to their respective stores all across the new england area.  

goodwill really is a great nonprofit with such a positive mission statement & their message (which speaks to me personally) of reuse & recycle.  by donating your unused items to them, you are helping them turn that into revenue which in turn runs their employment training & community support services.  it’s the easiest way to contribute!  if you want to do more, there are also volunteer opportunities.  truly though, the best way to help out your local goodwill is by SHOPPING there!  so hard right?  goodwill has even provided you with a 25% off coupon…like you really need an excuse as goodwill prices are the hardest to beat!  the discount is good until nov. 30th, so get to your nearby goodwill, shop & support this amazing organization :)

photo credit: group photo via goodwill boston’s FB page & all other photos, via moi :)

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*goodwill boston blogger day 2012 & a 20% off coupon*

i had been having a lot of ups & downs lately (travel & my dog’s surgery) so i was glad to get back into the blogger swing of things with this invitation from my 2 favorite boston bloggers…amy & melissa…at goodwill!  the first part of the night involved shopping at the *huge* goodwill store in downtown boston.  i’ve loved thrifting ever since college, so that certainly wasn’t hard to do!  plus, yukking it up & running around the store with sami of a glimpse of glamour, made it all the more fun :)   

after buying up all our glorious finds, the second part of the evening involved a presentation of what goodwill was all about. the directors, james, JD, christine & patti were really great, super helpful & informative.  we all have goodwills in our towns & cities, right, but how much do we really know what they’re all about…other than where we donate our unwanted stuff?  well, goodwill sells those “unwanted” items & proceeds go to the following:

- jobs skills & readiness programs geared towards people facing barriers to employment, such as disabilities, language issues, etc.

- a career center to help successful graduates of these job training programs connect with employers

- youth programs…everything from after school programs, mentoring & college/career help

the final part of the night was touring the ginormous warehouse where all the donations are processed & sorted to go to the various stores around the boston & surrounding areas.  i have to admit that getting the “behind the scenes” view was quite impressive & inspiring.  the warehouse alone employs about 150 people sorting, organizing, etc.  

all so that bloggers like me can enjoy the fruits of their labor with great finds like this!  here’s the ann taylor loft coat (for $10…no less) that you saw the other day.  i had been inspired by the louis vuitton 2012 spring collection, so added these sweet eyelet pieces to ye ol’ closet as well (all for a total of less than $20)!

so, get to know the goodwill in your town.  as a special treat for those of us who live in MA, here’s a 20% off coupon that goodwill has graciously provided for your next shopping trip!  just print the link & use before may 15th…super easy :)

for more information, go to goodwillmass.org, follow them on twitter or like their facebook page & learn more about this great organization ^_^

**picture of me via amy. the rest via moi ^_^ **

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*a night of personal style with zoora*

now that thanksgiving is over, i finally feel back in the swing of things & that can only mean one thing…hanging out with some of my stylish blogger buddies!  i love these girls & what better way to reconnect with them than at the preview launch of one of the newest style websites in boston…zoora!  

it was held at the bradley & diegel salon on newbury street, so you know it was a swanky affair ;)  we got to meet the zoora founders, members & a couple of the fashion designers that will be working with zoora when the site launches in january 2012.  i loved emily muller's leather trimmed dresses, but this houndstooth print cape coat from victoria dominguez-bagu really caught my eye.  i’m fascinated with the idea of having designers directly accessible.  instead of buying a ready-to-wear piece & having it tailored, you can work with designers & have a piece of theirs that’s truly personalized not just for fit (important for a short, muscular girl like me), but also to your preference, like if you want pockets added or taken away, hemlines adjusted, etc.  get it?  if not, well zoora is much better at explaining it than i :)

since i did want to talk more about zoora in this post, i’ll quickly run through my outfit.  a marni top i found at the filene’s basement going out of business sale for 95% off!!!  yup, totally my find of the year.  a pristine (no stains or snags) convertible silk wrap thingy that i could probably wear 10 different ways.  it’s also like 10 sizes too big, so i have it cinched up super tight to keep from falling off my shoulders…but who cares???  it’s MARNI (yes…as in the *next* h&m collab) at 95% off!!!  then, my jeffrey campbell night walks in nude suede.  when the black ones first debuted, i was hoping, praying they’d come in a beige/neutral & these are exactly what i wanted.  also, YES, even at this nosebleed-inducing height, they’re totally easy to walk in (IMHO) & don’t feel much different than any of my other platforms. truly…i’m not joking!  you can even ask holly about them ;)

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*louis boston blogger styling contest*

last week was turning out to be a pretty boring week, as in nothing much to report on the boston blogger front…*until* i got the email from louis boston (the premiere shopping destination in boston, imho) inviting me to come in & style some outfits for myself & the chance to win a styling campaign for their website!  now, i’m an acupuncturist by trade…i’ve never styled anyone but me (and maybe a certain reluctant chihuahua), so the idea of winning is quite daunting, even nerve wracking, to say the least.  however, if louis boston invites, then i have to participate :)  even if i don’t win, it sure was fun playing in their closet!

sorry for awkward face dressing room photos, but here are some outfits that didn’t make the cut.  a simple black lace dress…very gothic & fitting my pre-halloween mood.  unfortunately, i didn’t make note of the label, but it floated like air.  my second outfit that almost made it was head to toe marni (one of my favorite designers).  the polka dot dress was my inner nerdy girl’s dream!  coupled with the short sleeved leather coat (my favorite piece of all), all i needed was some thick horn-rimmed glasses & i felt like a chic librarian :)

the outfit below was what i picked out though for the styling contest.  i loved the color of the jason wu skirt & cobalt blue is very much on trend for fall.  the sequined jonathan simkhai top got me already in the christmas party mood.  this is definitely an outfit i would wear for upcoming holiday festivities ^_^  if you would like to vote for my outfit, please go to louis boston’s facebook page & vote to ‘like’ it…that simple :)

of note, this last photo is courtesy of louis boston’s facebook page, however the woman taking the picture admitted she wasn’t familiar with the camera settings, so i took the liberty of photo editing the picture a tad, since it looks dark on the FB site.  thanks again for voting ^_^

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*it’s on…with alexa chung!*

so, boston fashion week has arrived to *cough*…ahem, uh…boston! there’s already been a few activities i’ve had the good fortune to participate in, however i’ll start more recent & work backwards.  first of all, got to meet alexa chung!!! 

ok, hold up…stop! lemme really back up.  friday started off with me doing a lot, but by late afternoon, i was with natalie & melissa of the boston day book. we were off at another BFW-related event which i’ll detail in another post.  madewell on newbury street was holding a meet & greet for alexa chung’s new collection & the beauty herself was going to be there!  i’ll be honest & say i’m not a super crazed, die-hard fan, but i did watch her MTV show fairly regularly before it was dubiously canceled :(  since then though, you’d have to be living under that proverbial rock to not know that alexa has become quite the personality, designer & style icon/it girl/fashion show front row presence these days.  rightfully so, she’s just absolutely beautiful & striking in person.  i’m sure she gets sick of hearing that *all* the time…hahaha!  plus that adorable accent…

so, melissa, natalie & i stood outside (in the pouring rain…booo!) but luckily the line moved quickly & we were inside & on the stairs waiting patiently for our turn to meet alexa.  we were quickly joined by other blogger pals (and regulars on my blog), najeema, marissa & kristen.  when we finally got up to see her, we all kind of briefly chatted & took our photos with her.  halfway through our group, she must have gotten tired as she disappeared for about 10-15 minutes!  guess she had to go potty…or go to the loo.  see, i can speak, um…uh…english! hahaha!  either way, she came back, declared she was tired & plopped down on the couch to finish her conversation with natalie & melissa.  too funny!

after we finished our turn & had to let other girls talk to alexa, we all continued to have fun hanging out…drinking pimm’s/iced tea cocktails which were super delicious & i’ll definitely have to stock my liquor cabinet with pimm’s now! also, apparently (from what the sign said) palm tree nail art is alexa’s newest favorite thing & there was a station set up for free manis!  very exciting as marissa, new blogger pal…NY-based jamillah, kristen & i were the last ones to get our nails quickly & expertly done & yup, i have to agree with alexa.  palm tree art on just your one fingernail is pretty darn cute!

as usual, i always have a super fun time whenever i’m around the boston blogger girls!  it’s great to feel such camaraderie around our universally-shared passion — CLOTHES!  hahaha!  big ups to najeema for taking the pictures of alexa & me.  she has mad photog skills! speaking of skills…what about this last photo?  what’ya think?  not too shabby huh?  don’t all the girls look great!  much improved from the last big group blogger photo i took, wouldn’t you say?  hahaha!  anywho, hope all my boston-based beauties enjoy fashion week just getting started & i’ll report on my other fun times soon ^_^

FYI…that guy in the background isn’t your average, every day photo creeper.  he’s the husband of one of the blogger girls & is actually pretty frikkin’ AWESOME at these fashiony events.  he should come around with us more often…eh natalie???

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*vince & madewell ~ 2 blogger events, 1 night*

think i’m starting to be quite the social (media) butterfly. first, there was persona the previous week…then 28 degrees last week…and now 2 blogger events in one night this week? say it isn’t so! 

first off, met up with my usual partners in crime, najeema & holly…plus new friend, kristen, the boston fashionista, at the styleboston viewing & vince fall preview event…or as kristen & i kept making fun of all night, pre-fall. there was prosecco, guac & ceviche apps, champagne in a can (which kristen was brave enough to try), plus gorgeous metallic knits, najeema’s most perfect pair of black high-waisted pants and coyote fur vests galore! don’t ask.

didn’t get a good complete outfit photo today. i really like this new dress i got too, so hopefully later i can do a proper styling & description of it. i like how my 3 blogger pals are all perfectly matched in their neutral hues & prints. what the heck memo did i get? white jacket & palm print dress? where’m i…miami? hahaha!

after we had our fill of sparkling wine, we headed over to madewell on cobblestoned newbury street (quite impressively in fact with all of us in our supremely high platformed glory) to meet up with with fellow blogger buddy, julie of orchid grey, as she hosted their denim after dark event! i’m not a big fan of denim since jeans always fit me just all kinds of wrong, but madewell had plenty of lustworthy items. for example, there were huge chunky metallic jewelry, delicate scarves in unusual color combos and *the* power buy of the day…najeema scored a very pretty watercolor ikat dress that was an additional 50% off. LUCKY! speaking of drooling, there were also plenty of paper cones of kettlecorn popcorn & root beer (plus the regular kind for the beer drinkers in our group)…yum! look at my ecstatically grinning face! such a dork! some days i don’t know which i’m more gleeful over, a pair of shoes or free food! hahaha!

anywho, this weekend is my last consecutive weekend of traveling for a while (soooo glad!) & it’s a doozy…the annual birthday party of MDH’s grandma who is turning 99-1/2!!! every year she gets older, her party just gets bigger & crazier. for good reason…99 and a half??? i’ll have plenty of pics to share next week for sure. have a great weekend, everyone…the summer is just slipping away :(

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*boston bloggers at 28 degrees*

sooooo…i kinda suck at photography. no…not suck as in technical abilities (although i still couldn’t explain anything to you in terms of f-stops, metering or what not) as i think my photos do turn out pretty decent, but just suck in general. it’s either too much or not enough. for example, i either photograph everything & *all* the time (like douchebag mcgee so kindly pointed out) or just not enough.

take for instance, last night i got to hang out with all my blogger girlfriends at 28 degrees in the south end, snack on yummy appetizers, drink tasty watermelon blog-a-tinis & have a goody ol’ time, but took all of 2 pictures. i’m so frikkin’ lame. everyone was dressed so cute too. i didn’t even photograph my own outfit which was painstakingly put together. ah well…sometimes you just gotta chill with your homies, put the camera down & let the good times roll ^_^

anywho…keeping the post brief today. have to finish up work, give the ol’ stinker a bath (the puppy…not the husband bwahaha!) pack up tonight & head out bright & early in the a.m. back to florida for my 20-year high school reunion. eeeeek! since i’ve already kept some of you in suspense over what i’m wearing for that (don’t worry najeema, you’ll see soon enough), i’ll be sure to get those photos…hahaha! 

if you don’t know them by now or from previous posts, mouse over the photos to see the identification of these lovely ladies ^_^

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