Oscar de la Renta Exhibition in San Francisco

Earlier this morning, I had the pleasure of attending the press event for Oscar de la Renta: The Retrospective exhibition at the de Young museum in San Francisco. When I got there, let’s just say I channeled my inner Carrie Bradshaw when she was rummaging through her closet in the first Sex and the City movie (or in the wedding dress scene of the same movie) and appreciated every de la Renta piece that I saw there.

If you are able to recognize de la Renta on the red carpet, but don’t know a lot about the late designer and how and why certain things influenced his work, do make your way to the de Young museum to check it out (exhibit opens March 12).

Walking through this world premiere exhibition of de la Renta’s work is truly an experience one should partake in. It includes more than 130 pieces produced over five decades and is divided into sections: his early work, including Spanish, Eastern and Russian influences; day-wear and evening-wear influenced by gardens; and ball gowns and red carpet gowns.

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During this press event, I listened to a Q&A with former American Vogue editor at large, André Leon Talley, who was a close friend of de la Renta’s over the years.

Here are a few things I learned about Oscar de la Renta while walking through the exhibition:

  • De la Renta was born in the Dominican Reublic in 1932 and after training in Spain at Balenciaga and working for Lanvin-Castillo in Paris, he moved to the United States to work for Elizabeth Arden.
  • De la Renta took part in a fashion show that pitted American designers against their French counterparts and his show, different than what most had seen until that time, granted de la Renta a standing ovation. Side note: he played Barry White’s “Love’s Theme” as the runway song.
  • De la Renta’s designs reflect his dedication to making every woman “feel wonderful about herself” at any shape and size.
  • He drew influence from European history (18th century France), the Golden Age of Spain, Chinese embroideries, Indian textiles, Japanese woodblock prints, traditional Russian fabrics and more.
  • De la Renta was an avid gardener in both his Dominican Republic and Conneticut homes leading to him to have botanical themes in his work, including: floral-printed silk taffetas, appliquéd flowers and soft ruffles.

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Who knows when this exhibition will make its way back around to San Francisco again, so if you have the time to see it, do.

If You Go:

When: March 12 – May 30, Tuesday through Friday, times vary

Where: de Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr in San Francisco

Cost: Prices vary (click here) $30–$50

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Do let me know if you end up attending the show and tell me how you like it!

xoxo,

Leigh

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Ipsy Glam Bag

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courtesy of ipsy.com

I am always in search of new makeup, especially eyeshadows, lipsticks and glosses, blushes, mascara and the occasional liquid eyeliner. Being the Virgo that I am, I do extensive research before forking over a substantial amount of cash for a new makeup product by a top notch cosmetic line. If I had it my way, every product would be available in sample form and I could try things out and see if they work for me.

That being said, last Friday night, an old colleague of mine from my retail branch banking days told me about the San Mateo-based company, Ipsy. I had never heard of Ipsy, but she said that it’s similar to Birchbox, and you get to keep these cute little makeup bags along with your samples, for only $11 per month ($10 for the samples/bag and $1 for tax). Before even paying for your first glam bag, you go through a whole questionnaire about your skin tone, eye color and complexion, along with what brands you like and products you may use and other important makeup and beauty questions.

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courtesy of ipsy.com

I’ve looked through past glam bags and they’re all fabulous. Each bag is catered to your specific profile, so no one bag is the same. I haven’t received my first bag yet, but I will be sure to review the products once I get it (should be around mid-April). You can earn points to redeem more products and enter giveaways, as well.

You can learn more about Ipsy and sign up here.

Do you subscribe to a different glam box? Let me know in the comments.

xoxo,

Leigh

BarreWear

I am super proud of myself. I have taken seven barre classes and am loving every minute of it. Each class is different and challenges me in a different way. I feel my core getting stronger and that strength is resonating through the rest of my muscles. It’s super convenient for me to stop by Pure Barre San Rafael on my way home from work at least four times per week.

But even with feeling proud that I am sticking with these barre classes, I’m not 100% on my game mainly because I have a limited closet when it comes to workout/gym clothes. Sure, I have a couple pairs of comfy yoga pants and some baggy tees that I bought from Target ages ago, but I see people in my barre classes in cute pants and tops and I have to admit – I get a bit jealous of their barre style.

I’ve been posting barre related photos on my personal Instagram account and last night a clothing account called Life By Lexie followed me. Not knowing who this company is, I of course tapped on the profile and fell in love with the posts. Life by Lexie is a site full of barre and yoga related tops and sticky socks! Another cute site that Veronica shared with me yesterday is called BarreSocks. They don’t just sell socks, but tanks, tees and sweatshirts related to barre.

Here are some of my favorite barre related clothing finds:

Live, Love, Barre, Life By Lexie ($40)

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This is My Barre Shirt, Life By Lexi ($40)

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I Can & I Will Graphic Tank, Target ($13)

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B is for Barre + Brunch Sweatshirt, BarreSocks. (On sale for $49)

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Pony Tee With Strap, Pure Barre ($38)

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Supermodel Capri, Victoria’s Secret ($59.50)

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Don’t Tuck With Me Sticky Socks, BarreSocks. ($13)

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These are just some of my favorite. Target has a great variety of graphic tanks that’d be really cute in a barre class, too.

I’m always looking for cute barre class gear, so let me know if I missed your favorite brand!

xoxo,

Leigh

Book Lovers, Get Amazon Prime

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I turn to Amazon for a lot of things: home decor, accessories, technology and – of course – books. Speaking of books, I received an email from Amazon this morning about my Kindle Book March First. What is that? Well, as an Amazon Prime member, I can choose one book out of six to download for free, even before it’s officially published!

This has been really beneficial for me in terms of book club. It gives me great ideas about what new books to read (that haven’t necessarily made the New York Times Bestseller List) and, let’s be real for a second, who doesn’t like free books?

Now, if you’re not an Amazon Prime member, you can still purchase a Kindle Book First for $1.99. But still, why pay when you can get it for free with Prime? Side note: if you’re married or live with other people, you can share one Amazon Prime account and only get charged once per year, instead of separately. I discovered this last month when my husband and I were trying to figure out how to avoid paying for Prime twice. 

The reason why I really dig the Kindle First picks is because there’s always a variety in genres. This month it’s: thriller, fantasy, historical fiction, suspense, children’s picture book and literary suspense. Sometimes it can be a gamble with these books, however. They aren’t thoroughly reviewed, in some cases not reviewed at all, so if you like the synopsis, take a chance. I picked The Queen’s Poisoner (The Kingfountain Series Book 1), which is the fantasy book pick for March and also one of my favorite genres. I am really excited to read it once I’m done with All The Light We Cannot See for book club.

Let me know if you participate in Kindle Book Firsts – or if you’re planning on it!

xoxo,

Leigh

Oscar Party Ideas

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This Sunday, February 28th, is the 88th Academy Awards. I have to say that it is one of my favorite award season nights (that and The Tony’s) because of all the glitz and glam and, of course, the films. Over the years I have experienced a number of different types of Oscar parties, now just sticking to my own rendition (although, not sure if I’m throwing one this year). Here are a few ideas to get you pumped up for The Oscars – and maybe throwing your own party this year.

  1. Chinese take-out, The Oscars ballot and a gift card. This is now what my Oscar party consists of. I send out the invite (usually no more than 7 or 8 people come), print out Oscar ballots and purchase a gift card for the person who gets the most correct on their ballot. About a half hour before the Academy Awards actually starts, I order Chinese food and go pick it up and we eat buffet style in the living room.
  2. Glitz and glam. If you’re looking to get dressed up to enjoy the Oscars, you can always attend or throw your own red carpet extravaganza. Decorations can include: black and gold plates and cups, mini Oscar figures, gold table confetti, red carpet with a Hollywood wall decal for a selfie booth. If you’re looking to find decorations on the cheaper side, check out your local dollar store or Party City. Be sure to let your guest list know to dress in their Hollywood best in the invitation.
  3. Awards Night parties in your neighborhood. It’s a tradition – at least in Marin County – that some local theaters broadcast the Academy Awards and throw a party along with it. The Battery in San Francisco is throwing their Oscar party, the Lark Theater (in Larkspur) and Rafael Theater (in San Rafael), FunCheap SF’s Oscar Viewing Party and here are more Oscar viewing parties in San Francisco.
  4. Family, pjs and popcorn. This is a way more laid back version of an Oscar party. Reminiscent of my Chinese take-out option, who doesn’t love lounging around in their pjs, eating popcorn, laughing with family and watching the star-studded award show? Pop some kernels, throw a blanket over your lap, relax and enjoy the show.

Did I miss your favorite type of Oscar party? Let me know in the comments and stay tuned for Veronica’s worst/best dressed list.

xoxo,

Leigh

Fitness: Pure Barre

 

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(photo credit: pure barre)

It has been four months since my wedding, and let’s just say that I haven’t been working out and eating super healthy since the day after my wedding. With spring approaching and summer right around the corner after that, I figured it’d be a great time to amp up my fitness game and get in shape so I can wear those cute outfits and swimsuits.

I have heard wonderful things about barre classes, but never had the courage to actually sign up for them. To be honest, I truly didn’t know what to expect. Would I get a good workout? Will it help me with my weight loss goals? Will the class target my problem areas? After researching extensively for about a month – and going back and forth in my head about whether or not to sign up for it – I took the plunge and signed up for Pure Barre in San Rafael.

If you’re looking for a new class, definitely give Pure Barre (or a class like it) a try. There are studios all over the country and they offer a great introductory class called Behind the Barre. It’s a 75 minute class where the instructor breaks down the choreography and you can ask questions and learn modifications for each move. In this class, you’ll learn about the small (dime-sized) movements that really make your muscles burn and shake. The instructor will show you how to use certain parts of your body to get the best minute movement and burn. Pure Barre’s motto? “Lift. Tone. Burn.” If you’re out of shape like I am, then you’ll feel those three things at the end of the Behind the Barre class, for sure.

If you enjoy that class, Pure Barre currently has a new client special: unlimited classes for 1 month for $99 (you can pick a studio, create an account and purchase online). That’s the offer I claimed before even signing up for the introductory class.

I had my first real Pure Barre class yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it. I will be back on Wednesday, then again on Friday and Sunday, giving myself the goal of four days per week of lifting, toning and burning.

Do you have a favorite barre class that you attend? Let me know in the comments!

Survivor: Kaoh Rong

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Last night was the premiere of the 32nd season of Survivor. This time, contestants are on a beautiful island in Cambodia called Koah Rong. Now, I haven’t watched Survivor in about six or seven years. The reason I decided to watch this season? Local ice cream entrepreneur Neal Gottlieb, founder and owner of Three Twins Ice Cream, is competing with other members of the “Brains” team.

I’d like to point out his attire in this first episode: ice cream pants, ice cream bowtie, and later on in the episode, ice cream boxer-briefs.

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Can’t forget to mention Tai, a gardener from San Francisco. He’s fabulous and causes a little bit of trouble in the first episode.

Although this post is short, the reason why it fits so well on Sassy Sweet SF is because of the contestants from Marin and San Francisco. Also, who doesn’t love Three Twins organic ice cream?

Catch the next episode of Survivor: Kaoh Rong on CBS, Wednesdays at 8 p.m.

 

Moving Tips

  
This past weekend was an eventful one in my household. Sure, it was Valentine’s Day, but it was also the weekend Max and I moved into our new place. Let me tell you, it’s been a stressful last couple weeks, but the stress is gradually being lifted off my shoulders as things are getting organized and placed appropriately in our new place.
We moved from a first-floor apartment to a third-floor apartment about a half mile away from our old place. Moving is a really stressful experience for both people and animals so I want to share some tips and tricks with you to make your next move a little easier.

  1. Make sure you give yourself enough time to actually move. I cannot stress this enough. Luckily, our lease at the old place officially ends this weekend, so we have a whole extra week to move last-minute items.
  2. Pack boxes appropriately. Whether you head to U-Haul to buy boxes or purchase bankers boxes, make sure to not overpack a box. You don’t want them to be too heavy if you’re moving boxes on your own.
  3. Clean out your fridge well in advance. This was one of my main tasks during the packing process. I got rid of things in the fridge and made sure not to buy anything extra – just the essentials.
  4. Can’t move the furniture yourself? Hire movers. This was the best decision we made in regards to our move – and worth the investment. Local company Johnson & Daly Moving & Storage came out weeks prior to our move to estimate total costs and the two gentlemen who actually moved our furniture ended up fitting heavy boxes and more into the moving truck. Once at the new apartment, they unloaded all the furniture and placed it in exact spots for us.
  5. Unpack boxes immediately. There’s nothing worse than living with boxes in hallways and all over the living room. In order to avoid knocking into them, unpack as you go. This was another of my main tasks. As boxes came in, I unpacked them and placed items where they belong.
  6. Canvas bags come in handy. For the odd-shaped items, throwing them into a canvas bag or bag you may use for groceries is wise. It’s easier to carry and you can throw the whole weight of the item on your shoulder if need be.
  7. Have pets? Let them acclimate. Animals are interesting beings, especially cats. Our cat Oliver has been hiding under the couch since the moment we brought him into the new place. At night, he’ll cry for the old apartment. Why? Because it’s all new for him. If animals cry, it’s important to just let them do so without you going over to console them. They need to readjust and acclimate on their own time. With cats, it’s making sure they are putting their scent on everything. With dogs, it’s a little easier. They’ll be slightly confused for a while, but keep the treats coming and they’ll adjust just fine.

Did I miss some of your key moving tips? Let me know in the comments.

Affordable Valentine’s Day Date Ideas

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Valentine’s Day is this weekend! While some of you might be planning a tropical getaway or a stay-cation in a nice hotel in San Francisco, others might be trying to figure out what to do on a tighter budget. Since my husband and I will be moving into a new place this weekend, we need to stick to a budget to celebrate the day of love. I have come up with seven fun and inexpensive date ideas. Did I miss your favorite? Let me know!

Fun & Cheap Valentine’s Day Date Ideas

1. Make dinner together: For those who cook, and even those that don’t regularly, this is a great Valentine’s Day go-to. It’s ample opportunity to crank up the romance factor in your relationship, or, if it’s a newly formed relationship, a great chance to get to know each other better without anyone else being around and distracting you. Cooking together can be a lot of fun. I’m a fan of a stir-fry since it’s super simple to make and can be done quickly, but if you wanna go all out, try homemade lasagna or something a little more complex. Don’t forget the wine and dessert of your choice. Can’t be a traditional Valentine’s Day date without a great dessert!

2. Takeout and board games: This brings out the kid in everyone. Grab takeout from your favorite restaurant, head over to Bev-Mo! or your local Safeway to grab some beer and wine, then head on home, or to your significant other’s house and choose a few board games to play while you get your grub and drink on. It’s always fun to sit picnic style in the living room by candlelight and play games like the good ol’ days.

3. Valentine’s Day hiking trip: Valentine’s Day dates don’t necessarily have to take place at night. Day dates are just as fun! Living in Marin County, there are tons of beautiful hiking trails. I’m sure wherever you live, there are trails equally as beautiful. Plan the hike so you end up overlooking a beach or something beautiful. To make it extra special, bring a backpack with yummy little (healthy!) snacks and two drinks to celebrate your Valentine’s Day hiking adventure.

4. Dinner and a movie: This is the standard, go-to, every day kind of date. But on Valentine’s Day, try to amp it up and make it a little more romantic. Venture out to a restaurant you both haven’t been to before and see a movie in a genre you both like. Don’t forget your trip to the local frozen yogurt place! Can’t forget about froyo…

5. Video game fun: Even if you both don’t play video games religiously, it’s still nice to sit down together and learn how to play a new game. It can be on any console and head over to your local GameStop and pick a game out together and have fun learning the ins and outs of a new game. Laughter will surely be had.

6. Cards Against Humanity game night: This is a game that requires a lot of people, so be sure to plan it in advance. You will spend your entire night laughing your buns off and having a great time. They don’t call Cards Against Humanity “a horrible game for horrible people” for nothin’! Be sure to have snacks and beverages on hand for this gathering. Keep in mind that the best and easiest place to buy the game is through Amazon, but you can always ask friends if they own it. I personally have the game and all the expansion packs. Totally worth the investment.

7. Road trip it!: This road trip can be a day road trip or a lengthy one. I’m sure that beauty surrounds where you live, so why not venture out to a place like that? Or, to fulfill that kid-at-heart urge, drive down to Disneyland (if you live in California, or Disney World (if you’re in Florida), and have yourself a grand ole time! Disneyland is fun at every and any age, so why not make Valentine’s Day fun? Don’t forget your Disney character gear — I’m a fan of the sparkly Mini Mouse ears headband.

I hope you and your love enjoy the holiday and long weekend!

xoxo,

Leigh

 

Recipe: Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Did you watch Super Bowl 50 on Sunday? I’m guilty of dozing during the game, but enjoying the commercials and the half-time show. I mean, who doesn’t love Queen Bey, Bruno and Coldplay? While I didn’t bust out the bean dip I usually make to celebrate this sporting event, I did bring out my crockpot and make some turkey chili. I started at around 11:30 a.m., threw everything in the crockpot at around noon and the chili was ready by 4 p.m.

Just like the slow cooker balsamic chicken recipe I’ve shared, this, too, is a staple in my household.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package ground lean Jennie-O turkey (or whatever you have in the freezer)
  • 1 16 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 large can (24 oz.) of petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1/2 green or red onion, diced
  • 6 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2-3 tablespoons cayenne pepper (or more if you like it spicy)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Up to 1/2 cup of water

To Prepare:

  1. In a large non-stick skillet, cook your ground turkey 90%.
  2. Once your turkey is cooked, place it in the crockpot along with the tomato sauce, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, kidney and black beans, onion, chopped celery and mix it together.
  3. Add the spices: chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper, and mix those in.
  4. If you see that it’s too thick, add a little water and mix again.
  5. Cook on high for 4 hours.

What is your favorite type of chili to make in your slow cooker? Let me know!

xoxo,

Leigh