Grana Silk Camisole Tops – My Review

25 August 2016

Grana Testing

Hi everyone, just letting you know that I’m not being paid to write this… I wish!

I’ve recently become very interested in investing in a range of silk camisole tops for my wardrobe.

I have 3-4 silk shirts from Equipment (two I bought off eBay!), 2 silk tops from Tibi, 1 silk shirt from Isabel Marant, 1 silk dress from Zimmermann, 2 silk tops from Country Road (very old, with ruffles!), 1 silk top from Forever New (very old with a digital print), a few silk dresses from Sass and Bide and Aurelio Costarella. I think that’s about it.

So far, the silk I like the most from most to least is: Equipment, Isabel Marant, Tibi, Zimmerman, then lastly Country Road and Forever New (their silk feels more like a kind of stiff polyester silk).

(I didn’t rank the designer dresses, because I only wear them occasionally).

Now that I think about it, this scale possibly reflects the price of each garment too. I guess it rings true… you get what you pay for.

Anyway, I was keen to buy a silk racerback top from Grana, for AU$65.

I’ve heard nice things about their silk, plus their silk items are SO AFFORDABLE!!

When I was in Singapore, I was in a cafe, I saw this tall, gorgeous, young Asian woman, wearing a bright orange silk racer-back camisole and it looked AMAZING on her. I wanted to ask her if I could FEEL the silk of her top, but that would have been waaaaay too creepy!

SO what is the quality of Grana Silk like?? Where does it sit on the scale of all my silk items?

I bought these two tops above and here are my thoughts.

Grana Silk Tops Review

The Grana Silk V-Neck Camisole in Marzipan for AU$71.00 in XS.

The website describes the top as a “structured V-neck with the beautiful relaxed drape of Georgette Satin”.

Firstly, I didn’t like the Georgette Satin. Even though it was 100% silk, it felt like a slightly stiff/slippery satin. And it had that satin shine, which I didn’t like.

This satin-look, “slip” top may be in fashion at the moment (worn over a white t-shirt), but I felt that the material made the top look a bit cheap.

Having said that, it looks and feels like a high-quality polyester top from Witchery, which would probably cost you around $70-$80 anyway.

I really liked the shape and soft drape of the top, but the XS was slightly too big for me (I’m usually a standard Size AUS/UK 6). It flared out slightly at my arm pits and it didn’t sit nicely on my chest.

I chose the size based on my equivalent AU sizing, but I should have chosen based on the measurements supplied on the site, which indicated that I should have bought a XXS.

I loved the colour though! It was a muted ivory and would work really well with the rest of my wardrobe.

I also loved that it was lined (double layered).

Unfortunately I decided to return this top.

I had to pay $10 for return shipping. I might buy some black shorts instead.

Grana Silk Tops Review

The Grana Silk Racerback Camisole in Rust, for AU$65.00 in XS.

The website describes the silk as “100% silk Crepe de Chine”.

I LOVE the silk for this price. It feels softer and more “buttery” than my Tibi top. It is DEFINITELY a winner, I’m very happy with it and I think it is super-duper good value for a silk top.

However, the silk does feel a little delicate. It feels like it might tear or snag it on something sharp, where as my Tibi top feels a little more stronger and robust.

Basically I feel like I have to BE CAREFUL with the Grana top, where I simply don’t even think/notice that I’m wearing my Tibi silk top.

The Size XS fits me perfectly.

The top is lined (double layered).

The colour is OK. I was hoping for it to be a little darker (as shown in my shadowy photo above), but in fact it is more like on the photo on the website: a bright burnt orange.

I decided to keep this top, instead of swapping it for another colour, like navy, because I think I’ll get a lot more use from this colour than the other colours offered on the site (plus I already have a black, white and grey top in a similar style).

I’m trying to wear a bit more colour!

Take home message:

Read the fabric description carefully.

Buy the 100% Silk Crepe de Chine. It’s beautiful!

Look at the supplied measurements on each individual garment

10% Discount Anyone?

I have a 10% discount code is you’re keen to buy something from Grana!

Just use this link, create an account and they’ll automatically send you the 10% discount code (I will get some credit added to my account, so if that upsets you, sorry! Just type in www.grana.com and you won’t get the 10% discount sent out to you.)

Happy shopping or browsing!!

xxx


 

Styling banana cake with a bit of love

24 August 2016

Banana Cake Styling

I have been clashing with one of my boys these last few weeks. Lots of fighting, shouting, negativity. It’s been pretty bad, worse than usual.

I won’t go into an detail (because he reads my blog now and again, and my heart is a bit fragile) but basically, we’ve been having an awful time. I suspect that 20 years from now, when he looks back at his childhood, all he’ll be able to remember of his mother is me being this angry, frustrated, shouty, crazy person.

Anyway, to heal this mother-son relationship, I figure that since I’m the adult, I should do something to change the situation and bring about some positivity.

I’ve discovered he’s quite interested in my work. Photographing things, styling, visual branding, social media strategies, creating a branding voice, graphic design and Photoshopping; Not so much the fashion stuff for my blog, but my commercial/contract/freelance work.

So I talk to him about it… and to my complete surprise, he actually had some really clever ideas and feedback. And would you believe I like to bounce my ideas at him and get him involved with some of my styling.

The other day, I made a banana cake and cut up a whole lot of fruit for my kids to eat after school. I thought it was a nice opportunity for a pretty photo, BUT I was trying to prepare dinner at the same time, so I asked HIM to style up the banana cake.

I showed him a few photos of cake + fruit + flower styling as inspiration, by Floral & Fauna Cafe in Northbrdige. I did tell him to give it his own personal twist, but in the end, it did look quite similar to their styling.

Nonetheless, I was so so proud of his work!

But I think I was glowing more from the little bonding moment we had that afternoon and how it healed a little bit of my heart.

Banana Cake Styling


 

Fitness Update: First 10km in ages!

23 August 2016

Last Saturday, I struggled through my first 5km run in 6 weeks.

So the following day (Sunday), I made myself run another 5km and I felt soooo much better about life!

Running

This week, I decided to do a longer run.

I set aside 1.5 hours and plotted out a 10km run using Gmaps.

The run was great. I started to feel wobbly at the 5km point, but I pushed through and it was all good.

I ran a pace of 6:30min/km and I only stopped to cross roads.

The main problem was that… it rained!

It poured so hard that my shoes filled up with water and my running jacket got absolutely soaked. And when it stopped raining, my wet jacket made me really cold, so I took it off and tied it around my waist.

So there I was, in the middle of winter, running in the rain, wearing a wet singlet and teeny tiny running shorts (also wet), and I was praying that my mother didn’t drive past and see me like this – she would have lectured me to death about getting rheumatism when I’m older?!?!

What is it with Chinese mothers and not getting wet/cold? Haha.

Anyway I ran and I felt AMAZING!!

Planning to do an even longer run next week :)


 

What I Wore: Sabe Structured Top

22 August 2016

Hello Parry Sabe Top

Top from Hello Parry, Skirt by Tokyo Fashion (similar styles here), Cardigan by Acne Studios, Heels from ASOS.

OK I’m talking tops here.

A good, going out top.

A versatile top (that you can wear with jeans or shorts) but not boring or expensive either.

I’ve been dying to feature one of my favourite tops this season, because it’s a good one! I wear it all the time, it goes with everything and I really like it.

It’s called the Sabe Structured Top, I’ve had it for about 2 months, and I’ve actually written about it before in this post.

Hello Parry Sabe Top

I went to a day time event the other day and wore the top with a lace skirt.  I love that I can wear it with a plain or patterned skirt and it looks amazing.

Because the top is structured in a loose way, it hides the waist a little, so it’s nice to pair the top with skirt/pants/shorts that skims or hugs your waist. That way your silhouette looks flattering, balanced and you’re not doubling the boxiness.

So pencil skirts, jersey pencil skirts, midi skirts, slim fit jeans, cropped pants, slim shorts will look great.

Hello Parry Sabe Top

Top from Hello Parry, Jeans from ForeverNew, Blazer by Alexander Wang (from The Outnet), Heels by Schutz

Here I was heading out to a coffee date with a girlfriend.

I like that the top looks smart and more polished than a regular tee.

Hello Parry Sabe Top

As I said in my previous post, I think the top looks gorgeous on, it looks effortless, minimal, it has a super-flattering, classic, Audrey Hepburn style about it. It’s not clingy, not boxy and it really suits petite, small-frame people like me.

Quality is brilliant, the fabric is soft and has a slight, satiny shine to it, that gives it a polished look.

It also comes in BLACK, which also looks gorgeous.

If you check out the photo of the model wearing the top, you can actually wear it like a regular top (not just off shoulder). I’m wearing a size S (I’m usually a size 6).

I have a 15% off everything code to share with you all (which makes this top under $50!)

You can use the discount for everything including new arrivals and sale items (even the stuff on 60% off sale).

Just enter the code “karenforhelloparry” at the checkout.

Enjoy!


 

Shopbop Best Buys Under $100… (Ok more like $130)

19 August 2016

Many people have written to me saying, Yo Karen we love the stuff you feature from Shopbop, but some of it is a bit expensive! Show us the good, cheap stuff! I’m broke!

(Not exaaaaactly worded like that, but haha you get the drift!)

So I’ve trawled through Shopbop to find some awesome buys under USD$100 – and therefore AUD$130.

Shopbop Best Buys Under $100

1) BB Dakota Aden Crinkle Dress – Looks pretty, floaty and great for warm weather.
2) Hat Attack Ibiza Tote – Lovely shape and texture. Looks so stylish for a woven straw bag.
3) Splendid Danaka Wedges – Gorgeous wedges for the new season.

Shopbop Best Buys Under $100

1) Splendid 2×1 Racer Back Dress – – Sweet and simple. Can’t go wrong with the brand Splendid for luxe basics.
2) Gorjana Cayne Crescent Studs – Edgy, kind of cool, looks like claws, or fangs?!
3) Kate Spade New York Bee Pouch – Polka dots will always be in fashion!
4) Steven Sayzar Mules – Mules are soooo in at the moment, especially chunky ones. This one is close to perfect and it’s real leather too.

Shopbop Best Buys Under $100

1) BB Dakota Cuthbert Striped Top – A great looking lace top, without looking TOO lacey / flowery / girly.
2) Kate Spade New York Mix Tape Coin Purse – How cool is this coin purse?!
3) Superga 2750 Cotu Sneakers – Sleek, not-too-chunky, light grey sneakers. Minimal without being too minimal.

Happy shopping or browsing!

xxx


 

When Plush Toys Get Annoying

17 August 2016

Liam's Plush Toys

My youngest boy loves his plush toys.

But I’m not talking about your typical teddy bear or rabbit. Hell no.

He’d have the whole cast of Star Wars 1,2,3,4,5,6 in plush if he had access to my credit card.

The reason for this story is that my boy’s favourite toy is this bomb.

The character is “Bob-omb” from the Super Mario video game, but my boy calls him “Bombie”.

It’s kind of cute and kind of weird.

He loves his Bombie. He loves it so much that he insists on taking it everywhere, and I’m CONSTANTLY SHOUTING at him…

“WHERE’D YOU PUT YOUR BOMB?? I TOLD YOU TO PUT IT IN THE BAG SO YOU DON’T FORGET IT!!”

“WILL YOU QUIT JUMPING AROUND OR THAT BOMB OF YOURS WILL FALL ON THE GROUND!!”

Obviously, this is so politically incorrect or socially sensitive or SOMETHING and it’s super annoying while out and about.

Can you imagine if we lost it in a shopping centre and I’m speaking to the lost and found people, trying to describe the toy without using the “B” word?

“Yeah it’s shaped like a bomb. BUT IT’S NOT A BOMB! It is. But it’s a TOY one. With legs! And big eyes!”

The upshot of this is Little Bombie has to stay on his bed – in his room – forever haha!


 

Finding My Fitness Class Vibe

16 August 2016

Finding My Fitness Class Vibe

Wearing Abi & Joseph crop (old), Lululemon tights and Hello Parry Cardigan.

Years ago when I was part of a gym, I used to do pilates and yoga classes – I disliked both of them!

(I would rather do a boxing, pump or spin class, because I liked my exercise to be INTENSE and SWEATY!)

After that, I got into long distance cycling for a few years… and now I’m into running.

And lately I’ve discovered the joy of yoga.

In fact, I’ve fallen in love with yoga and what it has done to my body. I breathe better. I stretch better. I relax better. I meditate better. My awareness of my body, my posture, my flexibility and my pose has heightened. I loooove yoga. I never thought I would.

I’m also incredibly frustrated with it, because I want to be better at yoga NOW. I want to be stronger, more flexible, more more balanced NOW. But I’m not. It’s humbling for me. So in that, it has made me listen to my body and be much more patient with it.

(OMG will you listen to all this yogi shit coming out of my mouth!! Who am I??)

Finding My Fitness Class Vibe

Anyway, I thought I would try some pilates again. Who knows, maybe I might fall in love with that too?

Nope. I went to a new class the other day and had a rather poor experience.

The actual pilates movements were OK; I was good at some moves and extremely crappy at others.

I just didn’t connect with the instructor in our style or vibe.

And it made me realise how important it is to find that connection with your class instructor, in terms of learning/teaching styles, what you’re looking for in a class, and what stage you are in your development.

Anyway, enough rambling from me, I’m still going to stick with it and stick with yoga too.

I’m hoping to experiment with a few more Pilates classes and studios in the next few weeks, and hopefully I’ll enjoy it! Wish me luck!

 

 

 


 

Fitness Update: Back Into Running

15 August 2016

Running 14 August 2016

On the weekend, I started to run again.

It’s been about 6 weeks since I’ve gone for a run – and it showed.

First run: I set aside 45 minutes and I planned to do a 5km run.

I felt sooooooooooo crappy throughout the whole run! I didn’t go very fast. But I was cursing and swearing the WHOLE way. I felt like absolute and utter shit!! I felt wrong, uncoordinated, slow, aching and heavy. It felt like it was the WORST run I have ever done! It was all wrong. But I did it. My watch ticked over to 5km, I immediately stopped and wanted to cry out with frustration. Ugh!!!

I was soooo pissed off with myself, that I determined to try again tomorrow. I planned to do another run the next day.

Second run:  I set aside 35 minutes and planned to do a 5km run.

OH MY GOD THIS FELT BETTTER. I went pretty slow. My motion was a lot smoother and lighter. I felt good.

At the end of it, I felt that I could have run for longer. I was content and a bit proud at myself.

Next week, I plan to do a longer run. 10km perhaps.

Nothing like a bit of failure to get myself up and kick some ass!


 

Unfinished Flowers with New Pathways

14 August 2016

Sketching Camelias

Inspired by the flowers from my garden and conversations with friends about the decline of the fine arts (art, painting, sculpture, literature)… I recently pulled out my old graphite drawing pencils and tried to sketch again.

It has been years since I’ve used the drawing/sketching part of my brain!

As a blogger/creative, I’m constantly taking photos, playing with composition, colours and textures in my daily life  – you’d think that “drawing and sketching” is closely connected to “being creative”? Nope!

It’s a totally different skill… and I’ve found it really difficult to get back at it again.

Just like anything really, whether it’s long distance running, tricky yoga positions, 30 push ups with your nose touching the floor, learning a new language, throwing a ball – you just have to practice, practice, practice.

And I keep telling my kids this: The more you work hard at it, the better you’ll be at it. Your brain will create little neural pathways for that skill, like making a path through a jungle, and soon the path will turn into a big, easy road.

You can pretty much do anything, if you set your mind to it!


 

What I Wore: Tassel Red Dress

12 August 2016

Tassel Red Dress

Oh how I love a bargain! And I love to share!

I bought this Copper Red Dress from Cotton On the other day! It’s so cute!

I’m wearing the XS and it also comes in a black version.

I love that it’s not too bulky, not too scrunchy; it drapes nicely, the waist sits at the right spot on me, the neckline is not too low, the skirt is not too short… it looks great.

It was $39.95, now $20 (Still on sale! Lots of XS/S/M sizes in stock!). I didn’t see the dresses in-store, so they must only be online?

I wore it out last night, with a fur vest and knee high boots to keep me warm. Such great buy hehe.

Have a fantastic weekend everyone!

Tassel Red Dress

Also wearing Schutz Caddy Lee heels, Gold Tassel Earrings (similar here) from Shopbop.


 

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