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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*blue jay in the snow*

blue jay, snow, snow bird, winter, snow storm, bird watching

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!  starting off the new year with a bang here in the boston area with a big ol’ snowstorm…hahaha! no personal style today as i’m snowbound & dressed in grubby sweats while cleaning around the house.  so instead, i thought i’d share the daily outfit of this dapper charmer hanging about my tree outside.  if you’re in the northeast, stay warm & safe these next couple days as we haven’t received the full brunt of the storm quite yet.  we’ll be back to regular posting schedule, soon!


*boston sightseeing in bright colors*

turquoise, orange, neon, bright, cardigan, prabal gurung target, leggings, boston sightseeing, copley square, boston marathon, globe

just a quick photo for today from last week when my parents, uncles & aunts (technically my parents BFFs, but easier to call them aunties & uncles) were in town for a quick whirlwind visit.  i took them around all over boston for kind of a down & dirty, no frills driving/walking tour.  luckily the weather was perfectly sunny, yet still cool & not a cloud in the sky :)

wearing: prabal gurung x target cardigan || BCBG t-shirt || simply vera leggings || lesport sac bunny print purse || dolce vita x target sandals


*a day at the MFA boston part 3: the samurai collection*

the last part of my day at the museum of fine arts in boston involved touring their new samurai armor collection.  needless to say, the exhibition was quite spectacular & breathtaking in real life.  if you are a fan of anything japanese culture, past or present, this is definitely the collection to see this summer.  i’ll just let the photos speak for themselves :)   

disclaimer:  i received free admission courtesy of the museum of fine arts boston, but opinions are 100% my own.


Love, positive vibes, and prayers to those affected in the city I still call my home. (at Boston )


Love, positive vibes, and prayers to those affected in the city I still call my home. (at Boston )


*the gilt city boston warehouse sale*

the fine folks at gilt city invited me to the first peek night of their famous warehouse sale.  i had been to the last one & it is phenomenal!  basically, for 2 days, gilt city offers up their designers fashions for up to 90% off!  my white winter kate silk kimono jacket is my most favorite layering piece & i scored it at the last warehouse event :)  i’m looking forward to finding another similar treasure!  plus, the shoes!  oh, the shoes…rows & rows with boxes piled as high as my head!  can’t wait!

tickets for friday & early saturday morning already look sold out, but you can still shop the sale saturday afternoon.  get your ticket here!  even that late into the sale, i’m sure you could still find some great items for you, for men, kids, pets & even home!  trust me…there will still be a lot of shopping to be had!  

also, if you do attend, quick tips i learned from last time.  you will be made to check in your coat or jacket & any large bags.  if you can swing it, don’t bring a big purse containing valuables you’ll feel squeamish about leaving, as you will have to check that in also. this is a credit card event as well, no cash :)

in addition to the shopping fun, gilt city is also running a contest. tweet or instagram a photo of your purchases with the hashtag #RAIDTHEWAREHOUSE & you could win $100 of gilt credit!  see you there!

all photos provided by gilt city


*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!


*the sartorialist at wellesley college*

boston seems to be in the midst of a fashion photography moment…first, mario testino comes to town & now scott schuman, aka the sartoralist, famed street style photographer arrives to speak to the meticulously-dressed masses at wellesley college.

even though it was a dreary rainy night in the boston area, several fans, myself included and renata of scorpion disco, came out to hear mr. schuman speak.  it was a very informal talk that he gave…mostly personal anecdotes of some of the street pictorials he had taken.  everything from the woman on the bike that he tried to capture the glint off her prosthetic leg in the flickering sunlight to the very quiet & unassuming girl outside of a chicago art school.  i love behind-the-scenes type stories…just makes the man behind the lens more than just a name on a blog.

after his 30 minute talk & unfortunately a very brief Q&A session, we headed downstairs for mr. schuman’s reception & book signing. i’ll admit at that point, i was pretty tired, but i waited around with renata so she could get her boston phoenix interview that she conducted with him signed.  then, we took pictures, ate some brownies & left.  kind of a casual monday night.  how was yours? hahaha!


*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 :)


*mario testino: in your face/british royal portraits at the museum of fine arts*

i love boston…i really do.  there’s always something fun & exciting happening in this city.  however, something of the greatest magnitude happened last week that you’d expect from someplace like new york or los angeles.  you see, mario testino, famous vogue and vanity fair photographer, debuted his first ever USA photo exhibition right here in our humble city.

i was invited by my blogger pal, sami, to the press preview of his collection 4 days before its public opening.  we met up with other friends, smita & renata, organized our agenda for the day & proceeded to make our way through testino’s hand-picked gallery of gloriousness! 

karlie kloss, bao bao wan & shaolin monks || beijing || 2011 || american vogue

right away, i was taken in by the above photograph.  yes, it’s a fashion spread & a beautiful shot, but obviously with me being a martial artist, how could i not immediately recognize shaolin monks whom i’ve trained & competed with in years past?  the fact that testino could speak to my heart so directly with the juxtaposition of kung fu & power…fashion & grace…literally, the both halves of me…it took my breath away!

as we wandered through the 5 rooms full of photographs…some literally life size & some could easily be framed pictures hanging in your home.  we ooh’d & aah’d over celebrity photos we recognized from magazine covers of madonna & lady gaga, to our high fashion model favorites of stella tennant & gisele bundchen, to even the most candid & intimate moments caught of the partying glitterati.  because honestly, who else but mario testino could bring you a glimpse into that world where donald trump is lighting kate moss’s cigarette? 

daria werbowy || cusco || 2007 || british vogue

even this breathtaking wide angle picture placing a high fashion model in all her avant-garde regalia against the backdrop of mario testino’s native peru.  it literally took me to a whole ‘nother world.

gemma ward || los angeles || 2004 || vogue paris ——- lara stone || paris || 2007 || british vogue

the above photographs i found very interesting because the one on the left immediately reminded all of us of another blogger friend of ours, holly of covetous creatures, & her pale lavender hued silver hair.  the other photo of lara stone just purely spoke to the fashionista in me who wanted to lounge about at home on a chaise lounge in the most fabulous of wedding ball gowns :)

after we had finished perusing the main gallery, we headed over the more intimate collection of testino’s portraits of the british royal family.  such a stark contrast to the glitz & glamour (even nudity) we just walked through.  this much smaller exhibition showcased the quiet & more candid moments of the queen, the princes, kate & the late princess di.  even though this collection was more subdued, it was nonetheless just as awe-inspiring.

the last part of our day involved listening to ann & graham gund MFA director, malcolm rogers, in a very casual, almost conversational manner, interview the man himself.  mario testino chatted about everything from growing up in peru, having such outlandish personal style himself, his big breaks working with madonna & versace and how even after this session at the MFA, he had to go to work! (as if photographing beauties karlie kloss & alessandra ambrosio is work…hahaha!)  after that, he kindly fielded questions (mostly from us bloggers) & he seemed amazed that there were so many of us.  he even asked “should i start a blog???”  no, mr. testino…but you should start an instagram!  could you imagine the kinds of photos we’d see of his everyday life?  now *that* would be amazing!

mario testino:  in your face & british royal portraits are currently on display at the museum of fine arts boston from now until february 3, 2013 & june 16, 2013.  please go to the MFA’s website for visiting hours & more information.  


*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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