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    is a virtual space where Liyana Aris documents her evolving modest personal style, which is based on the art of looking casually stylish while still remaining modest and doing it all on a budget; about 93% of her closet are filled with affordable things. (PS: The remaining 7% has a lot to do with her secret addiction to Adidas shoes and her occasional splurges on discounted high-end bags and clutches, shhh.) [+]
    30.10.14 .

    I was browsing through different clothing brands' websites for my Yankees ensemble post when I saw a photo of what I would call 'sleeveless biker leather jacket' listed as biker gilet.

    Source: Biker Gilet by MANGO

    My instant reaction was, "Um...what's a 'gilet'?"
    The image of my husband shaving his 5 o'clock shadow in front of the mirror using his Gillette razor came floating into mind but I immediately shook off the thought, because the picture above from Mango's website is telling me otherwise.

    OK, so I've come to terms with the fact that gilet is a piece of clothingbut what is it exactly? I put on my research hat (translation: my imaginary Googling hat) and got to work...

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    30.10.14 .

    I was browsing through different clothing brands' websites for my Yankees ensemble post when I saw a photo of what I would call 'sleeveless biker leather jacket' listed as biker gilet.

    Source: Biker Gilet by MANGO

    My instant reaction was, "Um...what's a 'gilet'?"
    The image of my husband shaving his 5 o'clock shadow in front of the mirror using his Gillette razor came floating into mind but I immediately shook off the thought, because the picture above from Mango's website is telling me otherwise.

    OK, so I've come to terms with the fact that gilet is a piece of clothingbut what is it exactly? I put on my research hat (translation: my imaginary Googling hat) and got to work...

    29.10.14 .

    As a hijabi who still wants in on the crop top game, layering is going to be the only way to do it.

    28.10.14 .

    Yes, a healthy green smoothie that tastes delicious does exist. You better believe it!

    And this recipe needs only four (4) ingredients. I mean, you HAVE to try it out, just on that basis.

    I've never tried almond milk before. Heck, I've never even seen it in supermarketsor should I say never noticed it because almond milks are actually available in the local supermarket I always go to. I just never bothered visiting the "fancy milk" section.

    I had this idea that healthy green smoothies taste, you know, gross. But this smoothie is far from that as the natural sweet flavours of dates and banana help enhance the taste greatly. Add the fact that I absolutely adore dates (I'm known to eat 10 in one go) and this smoothie is a winner for me.

    I found this "The 4-Ingredient Green Smoothie" recipe on Pinch of Yum. Seriously, try it out. You're going to be so proud of yourself for going all healthy and green (I know I did).

    Note: Did anyone notice that I filled my green smoothie in a Coca-cola glass?
    24.10.14 .

    The rumour is true: I am a complete sucker for lips print. Anything lips on clothes and in accessories, I'm in.

    Have you been in a situation where you think "OK this shirt would look good with that jeans" or "What a cute skirt, that would go well with my blue denim jacket" but when you're actually wearing them, the outfit seems a little off, somewhat?

    That's how I felt when I paired this lips print shirt with my go-to black jeans. It didn't help that I was going to be visiting an elderly relative later that day, looking the way I thought I did.

    So I did the easiest thing to do to save an outfit: put a blazer on.

    A good blazer really has the power to change an entire outfit. I especially love casual cut blazers, like this teal green one.

    I bought the blazer when I was in Paris. I liked it so much that I bought it in two colours: this green one and a another in a warm red shade. I have to admit, I have regrets about not buying the navy blue version...

    Pale-mint-and-black lips shirt: Pull & Bear   |   Green blazer: Pull & Bear   |   Black jeans: Pimkie   |   Black shoes with velcro straps: random Asian store near Les Halles Metro station, Paris   |   Handbag: Lancel Premier Flirt, black canvas   |   Green leopard scarf: old, from New Zealand
    21.10.14 .

    I was watching an old episode of The Rachel Zoe project in which one of her employees was pulling things from shops for a photo shoot. When she entered a David Webb store to select some jewellery, lo and behold, this gorgeous black and white enamel zebra bangle appeared on the screen.

    I happen to own this bangle. Except, I don't. Not really.

    I was not familiar with David Webb but since that episode, I've done some research online (translation: a lot of Googling) and I must say I am a huge fan of his beautiful, intricate work. The brand David Webb is most famous for its animal-themed jewellery but there are so many interesting pieces in their website to salivate over.

    It's no wonder that I coveted the zebra bangle the moment I saw it, because it was pretty much an exact rip-off of one of his most famous designs.

    The RM 15 zebra bangle I bought at a jewellery kiosk in a bazaar:

    David Webb's $69,500 (USD) diamond-and-ruby, platinum-and-gold zebra enamel bangle:
    Image from David Webb's website

    The similarities are uncanny, aren't they? I also own a giraffe bangle that has David Webb written all over it.

    I have to admit, I felt a bit cheated when I made this discovery. Then again, I don't even know if I should feel cheated as the bangle cost me a mere RM 15. But I'm now starting to wonder: if I had known that the bangle was such a blatant copycat of a famous jewellery, would I have bought it anyway?

    I'm not one for buying fake handbags; I love beautiful and good quality handbags too much that I could never handle the dissatisfaction of owning a subpar version of a bag or clutch that I love. If I can't afford the Chloe Drew handbag (and I certainly can'tyet), I might as well use my ringgits to buy a good, nice handbag at Michael Kors or Kate Spade, or even Zara, all the while continuing to dream about the day I would own Drew.

    Based on that sentiment, I'd like to think that I would treat jewellery the same way.

    But how about when it comes to clothes?

    As much as I love style and fashion, I don't pay close attention to what's showing during Fashion Week but I am aware of the fact that many high-street brands get inspired by what they see on the runway and translate that inspiration into making everyday clothes for people who can't afford high-end.

    This scenario though—I'm all for it. If an upscale brand does a leather jacket that I love, I'm going to hunt for a more affordable version of it, and what better place to scour for amazing finds than high-street stores?

    But I'm not so much into buying a creation that is an obvious carbon copy of someone else's authentic brainchild, though, and same goes for these people: the trio designers of Sibling and Sister By Sibling was displeased (and not amused) when Zara imitated a floral motif they designed on their own with an actual artist; earlier this year, The Man Repeller also wrote a piece on the similarities between the garbs in Zara's Spring lookbook and Celine's designs.

    But then you also get someone who likes being on the other end of the spectrum; I remember this article I read about how Balmain's creative director Olivier Rousteing loves it when other brands copy his work. Heck, he even complimented them for doing so!

    I am a huge fan of Zara as most of their clothes and accessories are really stylish, well-made and most importantly, affordable (or I should say affordorable?). However, if I'm aware of a clothing piece being an exact imitation of a high-end product, I probably won't bother taking it to the cashier. 

    But then again, a big percentage of peopleincluding medon't study the designs of high-end brands, so we might not even recognise a copycat when we see one. When we see something cute in a store, we'll get it.

    All in all, I think I'm just going to happily continue filling up my closet with the best deals that Zara, H&M and my other favourite high-street brands have to offer.

    The question now though: what do I do with these bangles?

    For more photos of high-end copycats, visit these pages, then decide how you feel about the whole situation:

    Don't forget to share your own personal sentiment on the topic in the comment section down below!
    18.10.14 .

    Polka dots on polka dotsit sounds cutesy wootsy but who knew that it could actually work when they're in neutral tones? 

    16.10.14 .

    I used to be experimental with makeup, wanting to try as many products out there as possible. I'm no longer in that phase, though; I still love experimenting but it's moderated. Now I think about what products that I would really benefit from and concentrate on buying real staples.

    MAC Spiked Eye Brows Crayon Pour Les Sourcils (sure is a mouthful!) is hands-down one of my current staples.

    Let's talk the good and the bad of MAC Spiked eyebrow pencil:

    14.10.14 .

    If you're going, "Wait, Yankees? Liyana is talking baseball??", I'm just going to answer with this: why not? I did just talk about my love for a football team the other day.

    Baseball season is well under way so I decided to take on a little project in which I style one of the many, many, many hats that are available online here and come up with an MLB-inspired ensemble with my own personal flavours injected into it.

    So which team's hat did I pick? I knew I wanted to do New York Yankees straight away but first, I had to pick which of their caps to style. After visiting Fanatics' website multiple times, I made this fashionably sporty decision:

    Growing up in a country where baseball doesn't garner much interest at all, my knowledge of baseball is as good as my knowledge of the big bang theory (the actual theory, not the hit show)that is, not much at all, but it's there.

    So why would I pick New York Yankees in the first place? I'll tell you why, using this list:

    (1) Because, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez (Good times, Derek Jeter, good times. Such a shame on the ban, though, Alex).

    (2) New York is the one state in America that is close to the heart of my growing-up experience. I have F.R.I.E.N.D.S and Sex & the City to thank for that.

    (3) New York happens to be one of the fashion capitals of the world—that has to count for something! I love Paris forever and ever and to infinity and beyond but, alas, New York tops it in the fashion capital sense. Even Wikipedia says so. Choosing New York Yankees, therefore, feels natural.
    Note: If you're asking, "Why not the New York Mets, then?" For answers, please refer to (1), (4), (5) and (6).

    (4) Everyone knows the New York Yankees. Everyone. Everyone has heard that name at some point in their life. As foreign as baseball is to me, even I know the big Yankee legendary names like Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio.

    (5) All of the New York Yankees' colour themes flatter everyone. Seriouslyyou know you love 'em.

    (6) They're winners. Enough said and all that.

    I used to wear caps all the time when I was younger (and tucked in my ponytail into the cap opening at the back because it's super cute) but never even bothered to coordinate my outfits to my caps, so this is a fantastic opportunity to finally do that!

    Gone are the days when you pair your boyfriend's jersey with sweatpants on game days! Those days are o-v-e-r.

    I came up with an ensemble that's casual and comfy, with a little bit of a girly edge in it.

    Check cardigan, Mango
    This warm cardigan is the perfect garment for cool weathers. Also, how effortlessly chic are those black and gray checkers?

    V-neck blouse, H&M
    I love this loose blouse as it doesn't only compliment the entire outfit, but notice how the black trimming is basically a built-in 'Y'? I mean, really, could any other shirt be more appropriate for a Yankees' fan? I think not.

    Skinny jeans, H&M
    The great thing about wearing basic colours like gray and black is that you can play around with prints and textures and get away with almost anything. For the bottom half, I'm going with this cool pair of grey skinny jeans that has zipper details and gathered seams on the knees. These stretchy jeans would be comfortable enough for sitting down, for quickly standing up (as people tend to do at games) or for a feisty celebratory dance.

    Flat black booties, Zara
    I want to look stylish without letting my feet suffer during a game so those flat leather booties sound like perfection, do they not? They look it, too. The zipper accents, which mimic the jeans' details, just double the cool factor.

    Black scarf, H&M
    A plain black scarf can come in handy, always. Basic must!

    Kitty shoulder bag, H&M
    I decided to go with something quirky in the bag department; hence, the cutest yet most badass black kitty purse you will ever see. The size is good enough for carrying my necessities.

    I can just imagine how au courant my outfit would look with the dark gray New York Yankees cap!

    The thing is, Fanatics offer such a huge variety of caps that I really had a hard time to choose which one I like the most. If you're on a search for your perfect cap, or any garment belonging to your favourite team of any sport, head over to their website and you will very, very likely find it therethe selection is simply vast.

    I was utterly delighted to see that they sell soccer apparels as well (reminder: We call it 'football' on this side of the pond). I spent some time ogling the many Manchester United things they sell and I'm looking forward to ogling them with Shah by my side.

    I hope you like my Yankees outfit as much as I do. To end this post, here's a quote by Mr. Rodriguez himself:

    "Always follow your dreams. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't be something." - Alex Rodriguez

    This post is in collaboration with Fanatics.com.
    12.10.14 .

    I think 70 percent of my shoes are dainty flats. I mean, they go with EVERYTHING, after all. But then there are days when I'm feeling like, "Let's look a little less girlie and turn to boots or sneakers", and these Levi's printed sneakers are my go-to sneakers.

    9.10.14 .

    7.10.14 .

    People usually associate vertical stripes in fashion with Beetlejuice, the guy that you love to hate but love anyway (note: If it's Robin Thicke at the VMA's you think of when you see them stripes, just.....no).

    But as I looked at myself in the mirror wearing this striped maxi skirt, I didn't think of the devilishly annoying ghost but I felt more of a connection with Obelixof Asterix and Obelix.

    3.10.14 .

    I'm always on the lookout for recipes that require minimal effort but packs a punch in the taste department so I definitely got some warm fuzzies after discovering this orange infused hot chocolate's recipe.

    It's decadent, really rich and very chocolatey. On a scale of 1 to 10, the chocolateyness is probably 8.5; I mean, it tastes like sweet melted dark chocolate.
    That's major, you guys.

    I found the recipe for this delightful hot beverage at Super Healthy Kids. I altered the original recipe by eliminating heavy cream and substituting chocolate chips for good quality dark chocolate. The Lindt chocolate pieces in this recipe don't come cheap but I'm looking forward to experimenting with other dark chocolate that's more affordable.

    I was genuinely surprised at how thick and creamy this hot chocolate is because the heavy cream in the original recipe was meant to make the drink, well, thick and creamy. But as it turns out, using a good milk and the best chocolate is all you need.

    Seriously, this recipe is SO EASY. Minimal ingredients and you're basically just throwing all of them in a melting pot. Not to mention how you get to witness yourself creating something amazing!

    The recipe:

    Ingredients (serves two, in small teacups like in the photos above)
    • 2 cups of your favourite Milk
    • Your favourite Dark chocolate (optional: If you're not a fan of bitter dark chocolate, have milk chocolate at hand for mixing)
    • 1 slice of your favourite Orange
    • Sugar
    • Salt
    • Marshmallows (optional)


    1. Heat milk in a small pot over medium heat. When milk is simmering nicely, add four pieces of chocolate. Stir them all around until melted. 

    Note: My drink tasted very, very chocolatey and was quite thick, so use only one piece per one cup of milk if you're not a fan of strong dark chocolate taste. Another option is to mix dark chocolate with milk chocolate to balance out the bitterness.

    Extra note: I used Lindt dark chocolate with 70% cocoa here. The very first time I tried out the recipe, I used Lindt dark chocolate with a touch of sea salt, so I didn't have to add any salt in.

    2. Put orange slice in the mix; I like navel orange and mine happened to be the brightest orange evah!

    Leave it be for 5 minutes or so. Stir once in a while. You might find your milk getting darker and darker, which is nice, isn't it?

    3. Add a teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt. 

    If you think it's weird to add salt, do this: ignore that thought and add the salt anyway. It will totally elevate the taste, seriously. Feel free to add more or less and adjust taste to your liking. Stir and stir and stir.

    4. There isn't actually a step 4 because your hot chocolate was all done in step 3! All that's left to do is to pour it into two cups now and add marshmallows if your heart desires them (of course your heart does).

    Do give this recipe a go! Let me know how it turns out if you do in the comment section. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.