I have been reading a lot about this “capsule closet” trend. The idea is very intriguing to me. If you haven’t already heard, it is essentially a limited wardrobe that you build to rotate each season and is made up of few, but quality items. You can make up your own rules to fit with your lifestyle, but the overall concept is that less is more. To learn more you can check out the blog Unfancy. I really love following along with Caroline’s capsule closet journey. I only wish I had legs like hers and then I would just copy her wardrobe exactly.

Anyway, the whole idea has me thinking a lot about what I buy and wear. In particular I have been thinking a lot about my shoes. I have never been an excessive shoe person, but I definitely own a decent sized collection. With college and moving, it has gotten a bit spread between various storage boxes so I’m not entirely clear on what I own. The result is that I often feel that I don’t have the right shoe for the outfit I’ve [finally] put together. I thought it would be fun to make up my own perfect shoe wardrobe for my current living conditions. This isn’t exactly the capsule closet idea since this would be for all seasons. I’m going to make it as realistic as possible and include many pairs that I already own so that, just maybe, it could become a dream come true one day.



Wow, after pulling this together, I realize that my taste for shoes is very neutral. I suppose shoes are generally neutral though anyway so perhaps that isn’t too uncommon. Also, I’m not sure how much my wishes and wants have been affected from living in Asia. Toms and Converse are certainly popular here, are they still acceptable in the US?

1 / 2

I would love to own a basic pair of converse. They go so well with pretty much any casual outfit. They are also great for walking about town and in particular they suit the Taipei climate. These are high on my wish list. I used to own a pink low top pair and an orange hightop pair in high school. They were my favorite and made me feel super cool. Toms are a trend that I didn’t fall for straight away. They are so pricey for what they are and not very durable, but I ended up purchasing a pair in the sale a year or so back. My current pair is grey and they have been so wonderful for Taipei. Super comfy and like the converse they go with everything! Presently I really need a new pair because mine are stinky!

3 (similar)

I bought these Clark’s sandals last year. I love the touch of gold, which lets them be dressed up and down. They’ve been a great addition to my wardrobe.

4 / 5 (similar) / 6

I own these Steve Madden boots. It’s so important to have a good pair of boots. I basically live in these in the winter. I usually wear them over skinny jeans along with either a cozy sweater or a button down shirt. I also have these Seychelle ankle boots. They were a magical find in the sale at anthropology. The one thing I find with them is they go a little too far up the ankle so it chops my short legs, which is why I would really like to get some ankle boots like the black ones from ASOS. I think they would be so cute worn with black tights and a sweet dress.

7 (similar)

These UGG shoes are brilliant in concept. They are even fleece lined for ultimate coziness. Unfortunately the backs really rub my heels making them hard to wear for much longer than 10 minutes. So I suppose I shouldn’t really put them in my “ideal closet,” but I am really hoping that I can break them in because I love their look.

8 / 9 / 10

Some essentials. First, an Idaho essential. Black chaco flip flops. The only trouble is telling them apart from everyone else’s. Second, the best tennis shoes around. Nike frees. Third, snow essentials. I actually have these in the classic beige and black, but this color is so fun.

11 / 12

And of course I need some beautiful heels for evenings out and special occasions. This pink pair from Badgley Mischka is way more than I would realistically pay for a pair of shoes, but they are so darn pretty and add such a great pop of color so they are going in my virtual closet. The black heels are similar to some that I own from Börn, but unfortunately they aren’t selling anything close to the style anymore. I think it is important to have a fun pair of black heels and these from Steve Madden with that slight v in the front would be especially flattering to us short-legged folk.

Who knew I could say so much about shoes? I think the only other thing I might add would be a pair of tall black boots. I do love my boots. Also, I notice a theme with Steve Madden. I guess I like their designs and their price point.  This was fun and now I am adding Toms and Converse to my Christmas wish list. And maybe those black boots too. Hmmm…this isn’t sounding very minimal ; )


Chinese Dinner Reservation

I am doing my best to learn Mandarin Chinese during our stay in Taipei. It can be difficult to put it to use here though, because so many people speak English and are happy, eager (very!), and ready to practice it with you. Occasionally though, you get in situations where they don’t, and really those occasions are the best. The other day I had that experience on the phone. That’s the ultimate because you can’t even fall back on the worldwide language of ridiculous and often futile hand gestures. Now, before I share the embarrassing dialogue, I will just say that I would usually over prepare before picking up the phone and dialing a Taiwanese number. We’re talking fully planned out bullet points with all essential and possibly needed translations. This time, however, I was calling an American restaurant to make a reservation for Thanksgiving dinner. Since most everywhere speaks English anyway, I thought this place would surely be answering the phone in English so I didn’t perform my usual pre-phonecall study session. So, without further ado, the conversation.

(and to help the imagination, a gif of me reenacting the expressions I was probably making during the phone call) photo 2 [imagine all said in Chinese, unless noted]

Pleasant Guy: Hello

Me: Hello. Hello I’d like to make a reservation for Thanksgiving dinner. (in English)

PG: How I can I help you?

Me: I’d like to make a reservation. 5 people. 4 big, 1 small. (that’s how they say 4 adults and 1 child when making a reservation)

PG: When…? (probably a longer question, but I usually only catch essential words)

Me: 11 month, 27 day, 6 o’clock

PG: Name…?

Me: Hofstetter

PG: Phone number?

Me: 093 *** ***

PG: (question I don’t understand)

Me: My name is Hofstetter (guessing he is maybe asking for the name again)

Ryan [from the other room]: Try Ryan!

PG: (question I don’t understand)

Me: Ryan? (maybe he couldn’t understand Hofstetter as a name, Ryan is more familiar)

PG: 093 *** *** (words I don’t understand)

Me: Yes, that’s right. 093 *** ***

PG: 093 *** *** (words I don’t understand)

Me: Yes, Shafer’s Kitchen? (checking I have the restaurant right)

PG: 093 *** *** (words I don’t understand)

Me: I’m sorry. I don’t understand. [getting very frustrated with myself]

PG: 093 *** *** phone number (in english)

Me: … [not sure what to do] … [finally click!] Oh! I left out a number! (in english)

      09six3 *** ***

PG: OK! [laughing] Thank you!

Me: Thank you! Bye Bye!

UGH! Probably a really boring read, but sometimes communicating in a foreign language you are just starting to learn is soooo difficult and frustrating. You just miss one little thing and you’ve lost all hope. I’m thankful that this guy was so patient with me and I somehow clicked to what the issue was!

Virtual House : Kitchen

One thing that Ryan and I love to do is dream about the future changes we will make to our house back in Boise. I’m not sure if it is the healthiest activity while we are trying to enjoy life in Taipei, but we really enjoy it so we do it anyway. His contributions tend to be more practical like updating the sprinkler system and painting the exterior of the house. I tend to envisage paint swatches, new comfy furniture, tile back-splashes, and gold accents. Anyway, I may or may not have taken it too far one day and made mood boards for various rooms of the house. Today I am here to admit my virtual remodeling adventure and to share my kitchen inspiration with you. It is the project I am most looking forward to! Although, we have determined that updating other parts of the house first will be important trial runs before a major undertaking like a kitchen reno, so it might be awhile before it becomes reality.

I apologize that I have few sources since I did this in a crazy pinterest and screenshot frenzy. I’ll do my best though to reference the ideas.

kitchen inspiration

(click image for larger scale)

I would absolutely love a fresh feeling kitchen with lots of white, but without entirely losing warmer tones. We are thinking about butcher block counters to add that warmth, but we also know there are both pros and cons to that choice. We’ll have to do more research. I would love minty and aqua touches especially to go with our newly acquired dinnerware from our wedding. We registered for a mix of Sophie Conran Celadon for Portmeirion as well as the Apilco Tuileries Dinnerware at Williams Sonoma. I have always loved the open shelving trend so I really want to incorporate that somehow and show off the pretty dishes.

We already have the wooden light fixture in the image above. I discovered it on the JCPenney website and HAD to have it immediately! Unfortunately it is no longer available, but there are similar options at West Elm. The pendant light is currently in our dining room, but I think it would be better suited above a white table (or another color) to give it more contrast. I love the combination of it with this tulip table, especially with Thonet style bentwood chairs (definitely inspired by my Aunt’s taste there! Shout out to Mez!). I really love the idea of using gold tinted or brass hardware, but I have some conflicts. First, is it just a trend/do I really love it? I think I do… Second, how do you pair it with a sink? It is very difficult i.e. very expensive to find a gold tinted kitchen sink and faucet. Third, what about the clash with stainless steel appliances? Maybe it’s a no go.

Below are some inspiring kitchens that each contributed elements to my overall vision. I actually just realized that the third image combines a stainless steel oven with gold hardware and it doesn’t look half bad. Hmmm… Anyway, I linked the images to their sources except for the second because for some reason it is no longer available. Enjoy!

kitchen1 kitchen2 kitchen3 kitchen4

I think if we can pull off my inspiration look, it will be stunning. Oh how I love the dreaming. Now, back to the reality that is our minuscule kitchen in our apartment. Ta da!

kitchen taipei

Holiday Dreams

Not sure if it is because of the shift of temperature this week or the fact that we just bought our flights home for December, but I am feeling quite excited about the upcoming holiday season. The thought of snowy pines, twinkly lights, and mince pies has me giddy. I know it is way too soon, but I couldn’t help myself to posting a few things I’ve been browsing on the web that are getting me even more eager for the festivities to begin!


Sources: 1 – Crate & Barrel / 2 – Urban Outfitters / 3 – Rifle Paper Co / 4 – CB2 / 5 – Paper Source / 6 – ASOS

(1) The sweetest little penguin ornaments from Crate & Barrel! They have some of the best Christmas tree ornaments that I’ve come across online and they’re usually reasonably priced as well. I’ll have to do a Christmas tree ornament round up one of these days. (2) I also love this golden squirrel throw pillow from UO. It is wonderfully festive for the season, but could also be used year round. (3) I can’t do a post without referencing a Rifle Paper Co product. Anna Bond’s holiday designs this year are splendid. I probably won’t be splurging on this wrapping, but I like to dream. (4) Aren’t these tree ornaments from CB2 delightful!? They are such sophisticated holiday decor you could use year after year. (5) I can’t pass up a darling cardinal especially if it comes with some natural brown paper like on this card from Paper Source. (6) Lastly, the sweater that might have started it all. I love this and I might just hit the “proceed to checkout” button before too long. It’s been sitting in that good ole online shopping cart for a couple days now.

All this Christmas talk has me amped up to sign up for the Annual Christmas Run that the YMCA puts on every year in Boise. I get back just in time and I may even sign up for the six mile this year! I better start training. So thankful for the cooler temperatures that are finally hitting this island. And by cooler I mean a low of 70˚! Definitely not what I’m used to in Idaho.

YMCA Christmas Run

Wedding : Bridesmaids

We’re married! Yay! It turned out to be such a special celebration full of family and friends and just the dance party we were hoping for. I’m going to continue documenting some of the elements of planning and in the end share our beautiful day.

I had known all along that I wanted my lovely bridesmaids to be wearing miss-matched dresses. Mainly because I wanted them to suit their dress and hopefully like it enough to wear it for other occasions. I also didn’t want them to have to spend an arm and a leg. I sent out one of my favorite rifle paper notebooks (similar) to each bridesmaid and let them know they could choose any dress within the color scheme. If we all lived closer together, we could have had a grand old time trying on dresses together and choosing them all out in person, but sadly we are spread around the globe so we were confined to online shopping. Thank goodness for sites with free shipping and returns!

Screen shot 2013-11-11 at 1.58.19 PMI sent out this compilation of swatches that I liked along with a long list of links to dresses. In the end, I think I ended up basically choosing for everyone. They all have busy lives! I hope they liked the dresses. I think they all looked gorgeous.

I fortunately did have the opportunity to go dress shopping with Ellie because she was in town before I had left for Taiwan. We found this lovely dress at Anthropologie and knew it was just right. It set the scene and the rest of the dresses followed suit.Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 2.04.17 PMFor Anwen, Maria, and Catherine, I ended up sending them dress after dress from online shops until one worked. It was scary not knowing if the colors were going to end up working together or just complete clashing. I made countless mockups to try and gauge whether I was going in the right direction. Thank goodness it all worked out. Here’s what we ended up with. Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 1.35.32 PMSources: 1 – Kohls / 2 – ModCloth / 3 – Nordstrom

It all worked out really nicely, but I know that I ended up spending a lot of time browsing thumbnail after thumbnail of coral and teal garments so it was definitely time consuming to find just the right combination that everyone seemed happy with. I loved every second of it, but was lucky enough to have the time to do so. If I were to give advice to future brides, I would almost say (and I have a slight cringe saying this) to go with a shop like jcrew where there a lot of styles and colors, but options are limited. Even better BHLDN, but again the dress price just goes up a little to high for my liking when looking at the catered for wedding places. Perhaps the best option, is to pick a style that works well for most body types and choose a dress for everyone from one of your favorite shops. I’m just rambling though, and honestly I wouldn’t plan the bridesmaids any other way if I was doing it all again. I just think you have to be excited about the process. 

Wedding : Mood Board

From what I can tell, it seems as though most wedding planning begins with a mood board. Something to set the tone, something to refer back to when making aesthetic choices down the line. I can’t say that I ever finalized a mood board. I did have a selection of pinterest boards going back in August and September, but nothing concrete. I felt like I had a very clear picture of the look I was going for in my head, but in many ways I regret never putting together something official. It would have been so helpful to show vendors, family members, bridesmaids, and especially Ryan. Perhaps we wouldn’t have ended up six months into planning when I first heard of his desire for a blue suit if I had had something visual vs. verbal.

Anyway, despite its untimely arrival here is a mood board for the floral dinner party with touches of gold in an industrial setting “look” I am aspiring to for our upcoming wedding.

mood board

Sources: 1 – Nette Shaffe / 2 – source unknown (Pinterest) / 3 – Wedding Chicks / 4 – Magnolia Rouge / 5 – Jolie Jolie Design /  6 – Ruffled / 7 – Southern Weddings

wedding : priorities & inspiration

It’s 50 days until our wedding. I’ve decided to document my wedding planning journey here. I obviously have a lot to catch up on since our engagement in August 2013. So here I go.

I will begin with my inspiration. I have always been an adorer of weddings. I have secretly been following a handful of wedding blogs for an embarrassing number of years. Once I got a beautiful ring on my finger (see below), this secret obsession was able to go full tilt and I have immersed myself in all things floral, shimmery, and lace (not to mention slo mo photo booths, hand scripted signage, and perfectly messy boho braids). I am slightly concerned about withdrawal symptoms post wedding, when, once again I won’t have an excuse to be scrolling through countless wedding montages. Having this amount of wedding love is both a good and bad thing. It’s good for the clearly evident reasons of me enjoying the sometimes dreaded wedding planning process, but it also meant that choosing ONLY ONE direction for the type of wedding I wanted seemed like an overwhelming decision. There are just so many amazing versions of the perfect wedding.



Thankfully, some things were pre-determined. Ryan and I both had a clear thought of where we wanted to tie the knot. Our home town, Boise. We also didn’t have too much leeway on guest list size. Based on having a local wedding plus Ryan’s extended family being on the large scale, it seemed  obvious to us that we would be inviting a certain set of people that came to about 130. We also knew there would be dancing and lots of it. Other than that? completely open. Since I was such an avid wedding blog reader, I was able to at least lead us in the direction of making some priorities. Here’s what we came up with.

1. Intimate – We want our guests to feel loved and appreciated. We want it to feel like a dinner party with lots of good coversation and yummy food. We want people to be comfortable with one another even if this is the first time they’re meeting.

2. Dancing and Drinking – We want everyone to have a good time. We like to dance. We like to drink. These things are important.

3. Authenticity and Sentiment – We want our ceremony to be from the heart. We want it to be real. For us as a couple, this might look a little different than average. Ryan and I are both reserved, particularly when it comes to sharing our feelings for each other with anyone but each other. Most people will tell you we are the least PDA couple they know. We hope that our ceremony will express our love for each other without straying too far from ourselves or our comfort level. If that makes any sense… We also want the ceremony to capture each of our cultural backgrounds and be a true expression of our hopes for our marriage.

4. Easy – We want it to be stress free for all involved. This will mean for the wedding party–not having to spend too much money. For the guests–not having to travel too far (aka affordable taxi drive home/walking distance to a hotel). For everyone–no fear of being too cold or too hot (aka indoors).

5. Gorgeous (more for Eleri, less for Ryan) – This is maybe less important, but as I’ve proclaimed, I love all things wedding so along with that comes a deep love for beautiful things. I have to admit it is an important aspect of the wedding. I want to do my best to make this a gorgeous day aesthically from invitations to flowers to little decor details.

So there you have it. Our top priorities. From this, we were able to naturally make quite a few decisions, but we’ll get to those decisions in later posts. Now, when I said that it was tough to figure out the type of wedding I wanted, I not only meant the overall feeling of the wedding, but also its “look.” So so so many options, but luckily for this inspiration, I had just purchased a set of Rifle Paper Co. notebooks that I completely fell in love with. These quickly became the inspiration for the color palette and I was off!



Aren’t they so pretty? Next up will be mood boards and bridesmaids!