We've moved! We are now at genmaicha.tumblr.com.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


It's been twelve years since I've been to Hawaii, but I still remember the smell of the flowers, whether around our neck or framing the pool. While we don't have plumeria or tuberose growing around here, we do have gardenias (lots of them!) and jasmine. Much like my love of cherry tomatoes in the sun, the wave of jasmine on a warm day or cooling off at night is one of my favorite parts of summer.

I recently bought Kai Fragrance's signature perfume oil, "Kai", the Hawaiian word for ocean. It's got a long list of celebrity fans, including our favorite Miss Tyra, but that's not the only reason I wanted to check it out. It really is the same as lying back and enjoying the heat of an afternoon with a warm breeze sending the scent of warm white flowers your way.

If you've been looking for an easy tropical fragrance for summer that isn't too overpowering, this is a good one. It's pricy for a little roll-on bottle of oil (around $45), but I tend to prefer oils and solids to sprays, as I've been choked by other people's perfumes before, and I don't want to be "that guy". I don't want to kill anybody with my perfume, thank you.

Again, I'm not really much of a perfume blogger ("it smells really pretty and you can carry it with you!"), so check out Now Smell This' review of Kai for a more in-depth analysis by the real perfumistas.

The real test would be me flying out to Hawaii and comparing directly, of course, but alas, not this summer. Maybe next year... ladies?

Kai can be found at several brick-and-mortar locations, as well as numerous online fragrance shops such as b-glowing.com (based in Portland), lacremebeauty.com (based in Seattle), and luckyscent.com.

image from kaifragrance.com

Saturday, June 23, 2007

My new shoes

I don't buy new shoes very often, because the thing I hate most is breaking in new shoes. But since it is finally summer here, and all of my flip flops are either a) broken, b) ugly, or c) cheap-o from Old Navy that everyone has, I thought it was time to invest in some cute casual flats!

Brand: BC Footwear.
Style/Color: Repeat Offender, Green.

These took me a few days to break in, but they are worth it. I get compliments every time I wear them. They're really comfortable (now,) and the slight wedge heel at the back gives you an extra inch without being noticeable to others, or your feet. I did have to go down a half-size to get a good fit, so that's something to keep in mind when asking the salesperson for sizes to try on.

Brand: Rocket Dog
Style/Color: Palm Tree, Pink

These were a total accident purchase! I have been trying to track down a pair of Rocket Dog's Kitten flats for about a month now, since passing by a pair in San Francisco and not trying them on. Since I couldn't find them anywhere in my home town, I decided to do the next best thing and try on another pair of Rocket Dog shoes to try on to test their sizing. I picked up a pair of the Palm Trees, and once they were on my foot, I was in love. I'm still breaking these in because I just bought them.

Brand: Rocket Dog
Style/Color: Kitten, Blue/Grey

I caved and ordered these off shoemall.com. Hopefully they will be here soon, because I want to wear them all the time.

These little buddies from walgreens have been my best friends in the new shoe endeavour- they're cheap, colorful, and I am happy every time I look at them. I am sure there are proper band-aids for new shoe-breaking-in blisters, and you guys can recommend some. Although, keep in mind I am apparently about five years old and love crayon band-aids the most.

images: http://www.zappos.com

Monday, June 18, 2007

An issue of taste: sugar or salt?

Ah, summer. The time when we're supposed to take off our long pants and our opaque tights and start wearing shorts (preferably not the formal sort! and not to the office!), capris (but not gauchos), and skirts. I always fall into the "my legs are so pale, I am going to wear my jeans all summer -- why are my legs so pale?" trap, so I'm saying to heck with it this summer and going for it... a little more than usual. I haven't busted out the gradual tanning lotion yet, but it may be a matter of time.

Here's my issue, though: if you're supposed to exfoliate right before you put on your bronzer, don't you just exfoliate it right off the next time you do it? What's the point of tinting a layer of skin you're going to slough off next time you want to use your tanner? Am I overthinking this?

Anyway, I've been using the past two scrubs since, oh, October: Philosophy's Gingerbread Man scrub from October to April, then LaLicious's Sugar Souffle in Passionfruit Lime. I've used both in the tub pre-shaving -- I don't scrub in the shower.

The Gingerbread Man scrub, being based on salt, has bigger grains and is a bit rougher to use. It also can leave brown goo on you or on the side of the tub if a bit of it lands and dissolves there, but it is easily wiped away. The scent is pleasant, if more autumn-y (it is gingerbread, after all). Since it's salt, it does sting if you nick yourself and put your nicked part in the water. However, it's not an oil-based scrub, so it won't make your tub slippery.

The LaLicious Sugar Souffle has a finer grain, but is definitely oil-based -- water beads up on you as soon as you start scrubbing, while the sugar and oil melt right into your skin. It smells really nice and is very moisturizing, but you will definitely have an oily tub after using it. It's also more expensive for less product ($32 for 16 ounces, versus $25 for 20 ounces), but LaLicious is a smaller brand than Philosophy, and I do like supporting smaller brands and trying new things.

So what's the verdict? Sweet or salty? I like both, but I don't really know which I would buy again if given the choice. Truth is, I have a big-sized jar of Crush On You in Yuzu that I've been waiting to use...

Philosophy products can be found at Sephora or Beauty.com; LaLicious is available at LaLicious.com or through their store locator.

images from lalicious.com and beauty.com

Friday, June 15, 2007

Nancy Drew: Head of the Class in Headbands!

It should come as no surprise that we love 1960s vintage style here. So it probably shouldn't be a shock that one of the movies I am most excited to see this summer is Nancy Drew. I secretly love watching fluffy preteen movies to see the fashions, and throw in adorable Emma Roberts in vintage inspired twinsets? I love it. (There are no headbands in this picture, I just think the dress is adorable.)

While no normal 16 year old girl would run around like this, Emma Roberts totally pulls it off. She looks adorable in every cap I've seen of the movie, with her kicky headbands and her cute dresses, just like she looked adorable in everything the Teen Vogue people threw on her last month. (At least inside the magazine. The cover shot was a little stiled, especially for Teen Vogue.) Now if only we could see some caps of her shoes!

I guess I have to go see the movie for that.

While we can't all be 16 again like Emma Roberts, there's nothing wrong with stealing some inspiration from her Nancy Drew wardrobe. I like the fabric covered headband idea, especially with a cute one that buttons in the back underneath your hair. Neat and tidy! If you're crafty, it would be easy to sew one of these together, or knit up a cute garter stitch version of this. (The holes make great buttonholes!) If you're not, Modcloth has a cute chain-link inspired headband here.

Adding a matching headband to a skirt pulls this outfit together, keeping it retro and fun, instead of boring and frumpy.

Sadly, I do not wear as many headbands as I'd like to in my day to day life, since at my current job I wear a headset everyday. I'm looking forward to jury duty so I can wear headbands in my time off from work!

What are your thoughts on headbands?

Images from http://www.fabulous-emma.com/.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Things I'm loving lately

I think it's fair to officially say it's summer: it's June, people (like KATI!) are graduating, and my office thermostat is somewhere in the range of 80-something degrees.

So, in the interest of full disclosure, here are some of the things I've been obsessing over for summer when I finally get to go outside.

- Bright accessories and cosmetics. Like Gala Darling's Delight for June, I'm craving and buying up all sorts of things in primary and candy colors. My favorite so far is yellow, but I'm also partial to turquoise and hot hot pink, like Essie's Mod Squad polish. MAC Cosmetics just released their summer collection, C-Shock, yesterday, but I'm going to wait until the event (you know me and my MAC events!) next weekend to see if I really can pull off such vivid eyeshadows.

- Gold jewelry. I have been a fan of silver ever since I was in elementary school and wearing little silver rings, like the kind you can get at any faire or concert booth, was the coolest thing ever. I've got silver toe rings, silver anklets that I've been wearing since Memorial Day last year, and anything else I can get my hands on. But for this summer, I don't know why, but I suddenly want the big gold hoop earrings and bangles. Maybe it's from reading too many fashion magazines lately, or maybe from listening to too much female pop lately, but I'm digging the gold bamboo jewelry this summer. I'm waiting for my pair of 1.25" bamboo hoops to come from GirlProps.com and the matching bangles (from Urban Outfitters) any day now. Soon I too will be super Fergalicious.

- Hand-dyed/screenprinted t-shirts. I confess, I love American Apparel a bit too much, and was overjoyed to find out they were opening one a few blocks away from me -- no more journeying up to the Haight for me! While I do love the simplicity of the unaltered pieces, I also like having awesome designs on my shirts and supporting independent artists. Who doesn't? So, with the help of Modish, I've found a couple of t-shirt artists whose work is really amazing. I have the "flock" t-shirt from wenifnotnow, which is absolutely gorgeous and super-comfortable, as well as two t-shirts from SuperMaggie.com -- the double goldfish and the marigold sweetpea (there's that yellow again!). I love them all, and, once I finish cleaning out my closet, will definitely buy from both of them again.

- So You Think You Can Dance. I freaking love this show. Seriously. I've been dancing on and off for years, mostly in the classroom, both partner-dancing (ballroom, swing) and solo (ballet, musical theatre, and in lieu of gym class), but these dancers are amazing -- one week they'll be dancing hip-hop, the next they'll be waltzing, then tangoing, then doing contemporary/lyrical, and then perhaps a disco. Whatever they get assigned, they do and they do dang well, for the most part. I started watching last year, and this year's group looks just as talented if not more so than the last bunch. My early favorite? Sara, the b-girl from Colorado. She's really something. Keep your eye on that one!

Clearly, with my obsession with bright colors, chunky gold jewelry, sweet t-shirts, and an awesome breakdancing chick on TV, I appear to be prepared for a fun summer... once I get out of this roasting office.

images from beauty.com and girlprops.com

Saturday, June 09, 2007

I dreamt I was a blogger in my Maidenform bra.

For a long time, pretty much since I developed a healthy set of breasts during puberty, I refused to buy into the lingerie industry. Everything was too risque, too painful, too unnecessary for my otherwise chastity-belted lifestyle. Indeed, I quit looking in Victoria's Secret the day I went in and got measured by a frighteningly aggressive Russian woman who promptly declared me a 44A and told me I was a large-ribcaged, small-boobied freak. In not so many words, but I was an impressionable teenager trying to shop for nice bras. In reality, I am a comfortable 38B, a size which until recently was dastardly hard to find at the stores catering to the 32-36C set. (Whoever wears a 32C, that is totally whack.) As much as I love the media, they certainly make you think every woman is walking around in matching La Perla lingerie, ready for work, play, and naughty time with hunky men, but really? It will be a cold day in hell when I have the wherewithal to put on matching bra and panties, and we're just talking color here.

As for my bra credo now, so many years later, there are three simple rules:
1. Lightly lined or padded, but not push-up or anything ridiculous and unnatural. I don't want nipple showing (inappropriate! distracting!), but I don't want water-jiggly pads shifting and gooshing around.
2. No jabby, pointy, or digging bits. There has been many a day when I thought I'd mistakenly put on a whale-bone corset with all of the pain poorly made underwires have caused me.
3. Must balance out your figure nicely, no smashing or extreme perkiness allowed.

A recent trip to our local Macy's resulted in major brassiere success after I rampaged the racks for anything and everything 38B (it's such a nice, well-rounded, pleasantly zaftig bra size, don't you think?), thanks to Maidenform:

I tried on about twenty bras--ladies, it's as much of a hassle as trying on jeans, only you get to jump up and down to test the bounce factor--to find three that worked quite nicely for my purposes. The first was a black lace Maidenform demi-cup, whatever the hell that means. It's my new fancy-time bra. You know, the kind of bra that makes you feel a little more fancy on the inside without being all silk and leopard print and loony-tunes?

In the end, the best bra I found was again from Maidenform, the Smooth Bra. When they say smooth, they mean it. Looking at the thing on the hanger in bubblegum pink with cup edges looking like they'd just been hacked at by a pair of pinking shears, you wouldn't think it's the most amazing bra ever. Seriously? If you were to fashion a bra out of softened butter, this would be it. Butter. Cushy, smushy, comfortable as all get-out, and supports the girls like they were holding hands and singing "Kumbaya". Check out the difference, taken from the Maidenform website:

I feel like a woman on a MISSION in this bra--admittedly, not hard to do, being driven as I am, but DAMN. Every bra I've owned until these has made me feel frumpy and blah, it's incredible what a new piece of undergear can do for a girl. Next up, no-VPL panties! Look out!

Images from ? and maidenform.com.

Monday, June 04, 2007

2 Beautiful 2 B in America?

I admit to being a little late on the Lush bandwagon. It's taken me a couple of trips to the store, a couple of times trying things out, and a couple of mishaps by not remembering if it's a soap or a massage bar I've got in my little plastic bag. (Note: When water starts beading up on you in the tub, it's not soap.) But slowly and surely, with some help from Kati, I've been building up my Lush collection. I love the Floating Island bath melts, and I've switched to Angels on Bare Skin for my evening face wash with great results.

So what's missing? The beauty line, clearly -- why not a beauty line with the same principles of Lush? Surprise! There is one -- B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful. With highly pigmented (!) vegan (!!) products and amazing packaging (part of the fun of picking out your eyeshadow is picking out the case it's in), the two London stores are bursting with color and style. Alas, there are only the two London stores as well as a store in Poole. While the online shop ships to the US, it's at a hefty price -- the equivalent of $50 to ship one eyeshadow to California.

Cross your fingers and hope that Lush expands out this line; surely the worldwide success of their bath and body products will make them realize that their cosmetics should spread out and conquer, too.

Until then, you can find B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful at their London shops in Covent Garden and Carnaby Street, their Poole shop, and online at BNeverTooBusyToBeBeautiful.com. Sigh.

image from bnevertoobusytobebeautiful.com

Related Posts with Thumbnails