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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Thoughts for the day

You'll have to forgive me for this quick'n'dirty post today, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on some of these topics!

- Has anyone ever finished a Philosophy 3-in-1? Because I never have. I just keep buying new ones and switching them around seasonally.

- If my boyfriend-cut jeans are so unflattering (because good gracious, they really are), then why do I keep wearing them?

- What are your favorite foods to make/eat when it's hot and the last thing you want to do is be in the kitchen? "Calling for pizza" is not an option. Links to recipes/hints are appreciated!

- I just got a Wii and a Wii Fit for my birthday, and I have already made a Mii of myself, Blair, Serena, and Chuck from Gossip Girl. (What? And yes, I can/will take pictures if you want.) What hilarious Miis have you made/would you make? Also, if you're a Wii owner, what are your favorite Wii games?

Any questions? Any thoughts? I'd love to hear 'em!

image from sephora.com

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hot hot hot!

It is boiling hot in the San Francisco area, everyone. I made the mistake of wearing pants and a long-sleeved cardigan to work today, and as soon as I came home I switched into a skirt and tank-top.

But first off: yes, I'm totally pale right now. I mean, it's still the middle of April. I was not expecting to have to be bikini-ready until maybe closer to Memorial Day, but there've been girls lying out by the pool since late March (!), and there were people in the hot tub this evening, and I had to make an emergency flip-flops and beach-towels purchase today. Again, I remind you: it's April and I'm buying beach towels instead of rain boots.

And so while I'm going, sure, it's April, it's fine, no one expects me to already have that summer glow going just yet, I'm thinking about it already. And maybe I should just go outside more and show off my pale legs more (because otherwise, they will just stay pale), but I'm thinking about self-tanning stuff again.

Now, last year I had a mishap with a spray, so I'm thinking something a little more gradual might be better. I'm looking at FakeBake, since my local beauty supply carries their stuff, particularly the Skinny Solution. Obviously, I don't expect it to be a cellulite-killer or leg-toner or some sort of miracle potion, but a nice gradual tan that I can build up would be really nice...

Still, it's not even May, and I'm totally allowed to flaunt my pale pale legs. (Related, did you see Dita von Teese at Coachella? Gorgeous!) I'll keep it in the back of my mind, I guess... but for now, I need a new sunscreen more than I need a fake tan!

Have you already started thinking about prepping for summer with a "base tan"? Or are you embracing your pale side?

image from fakebake.com

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Science Fair for April 13th-19th

In honor of Earth Day this Wednesday, I'm sure your life has been invaded by suddenly "green" advertising--it's inescapable! You would not believe the number of ads Wal-Mart has been running here in California, it's all very deceptive. I think it kind of subverts the whole message of Earth Day, because one day out of the year isn't going to make a difference, 365 days of the year should! So, on that note, onwards and upwards with this week's Science Fair:

-The New York Times (I only subscribe to the Sunday paper so I can read the Style section's wedding announcements, DUH) ran a feature called, How Green Is Your Water Bottle?. Little did we know, those super-chic steel and rubber-sealed containers are not that great. I can't seem to use one for more than a week without it starting to smell or just be generally nasty, despite washings. Of course, the plastic water bottle I just picked up for $1.50 at Ichiban-Kan in San Francisco looks like a sippy cup.

-Did you know that our beloved Silicon Valley was once known as the Valley of Heart's Delight? True story! If that doesn't make you fabulously enchanted with this area, then...well, we have a Babbage machine for you to see!

-Kyoto Foodie reminded me of great times with my grandmother and great-aunt in old Kobe, eating our way through bakeries and manju shops with this yuzu kokuto marmalade on fresh, European-style bread. Oh, YUM. Some of the best parts of Kobe, Kyoto, and Osaka are the hidden-away relics from the turn of the century/late Meiji period, when Western influence first came into Japan and coffeeshops and fried cutlets were all the rage. Those shops are just like walking into Paris in 1908, and I love it.

-Speaking of Japanese swirled culture, have you ever seen a moffle before? IT'S INGENIOUS. My grandmother grills her mochi bricks on a rickety old aluminum contraption that looks like it could give you third-degree burns if you just looked at it. The modern convenience of the electric waffle iron is a much safer bet.

-To go with those moffles, and your regular ol' waffles, a short history of maple syrup! Although the maple syrup harvest these past few years has been suffering, and due to ye olde Economics supply and demand, the price has skyrocketed (you may have noticed). Some local breakfast places are only giving real maple syrup with an additional charge, it's maple syrup blend for you otherwise. Sad.

-You heard all about the ridiculous nonsense surrounding this year's Miss America pageant, but did you know about Miss Aloha Hula? The lovely Cherissa Kane is your 2009 Miss Aloha Hula, check her out! Beautiful. My mom, who grew up in Hawaii, taught me a few hula moves--I know how to do the "waving palm," "sunrise," "sunset," and "waves." Yeah, I'm not about to win any Miss Aloha Hula contest, believe it!

-That movie, Ben Affleck's big-screen return with whats-his-nuts and Rachel McAdams (love her)? State of Play, that's it. The Baltimore Sun has exposed how the film's wardrobe department totally gaffled this reporter's style! Whaaat. I think it's great that they looked at how real reporters dress instead of making the lovely Rachel McAdams run around in stiletto heels like every other movie depicting professional women, ever.

-The fabulous Sally Jane Vintage scored a huge windfall of fab vintage clothing after a chance encounter at an estate sale. She'll list all of the items she's not keeping for her personal closet on her Etsy site next weekend! Check it out and let us know what you get!

Have a great week, everyone! Enjoy the beautiful weather and have a green, green Earth Day!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Presenting Swan Lake

This spring, the San Francisco Ballet debuted its new production of Swan Lake, and Karen and I went to go see it, and it was simply stunning and had us both battling back tears at the end. (It doesn't have a happy ending.)

Here's a glimpse of San Francisco Ballet's production:

We came away emotional but inspired, particularly by the lead ballerina, who has to dance two completely emotionally-opposite roles -- that of Odette, the tragic and graceful queen of the swans, and Odile, the charismatic trickster daughter of the sorcerer Von Rothbart.

Odette was a princess who caught the eye of Von Rothbart, and because she rejected him, he turned her into a swan. (I hate it when that happens.) She can only become human by night, which is when the prince comes across her at the lake with her maidens. The only way to release her from her spell is to be truly loved, and if he is unfaithful to her, she will be cursed to be a swan forever. Her prince swears to love her and her alone...

Here's Gillian Murphy of the American Ballet Theatre, dancing the Pas D'Action as Odette in Act II of Swan Lake.

Karen put together a Polyvore set inspired by sweet Odette, complete with a darling white dress, creamy feathers for her hair, kissable pink lips and blue mascara for bright eyes, accented with lake-blue ribbons and teardrop earrings. (Foreshadowing, perhaps?)

Odette, the White Swan

After leaving Odette at daybreak, the prince returns home to a ball where his mother insists he choose a bride. After meeting several foreign princesses, the prince rejects them all, only to have two uninvited guests show up -- Von Rothbart, in disguise, with his charming daughter, Odile. Odile and the prince dance, and he, thinking she's Odette, pledges his love to her, breaking his oath to the real (and heartbroken) Odette...

Here's Gillian Murphy and American Ballet Theatre again, but this time she's Odile. Even if you're not super-familiar with ballet, you can tell just by her dancing that she's a different girl than the one before:

And so I got to put together the Polyvore for Odile, the Black Swan, the sharp and sassy villainess. I also gave her feathers, dark ones, for her hair, as well as gold and yellow accessories (including those fierce zippered Louboutin sandals). The nail polish, by Butter London, is Branwen's Feather. With smokey eyes and a glistening rose lip, Odile is one to watch out for.

Odile, the Black Swan

If you didn't manage to catch San Francisco Ballet's Swan Lake this season, you're in luck -- the ballet just announced their 2010 schedule, and Swan Lake is the first program of the new season, starting January 23rd. I know I'll certainly be going again, and Karen and I both highly recommend it!

What art has been inspiring you lately? Are you inspired more by performances, or by fine art, music...? I'd love to know!

images from polyvore.com

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Ladies Wore Mustard at Japan Fashion Week

This year's Japan Fashion Week had a lot of high points and a few looks I'd like to single out for my own personal style notes. As always, the accessories are grade A, primo deliciousness and I will take ANY AND ALL of it. There is a reason my bank account in Japan is empty... Through my review of the photos posted at JFW.jp, I noticed an interesting trend: MUSTARD YELLOW EVERYWHERE. Colonel Mustard is here to stay, ladies and gents! Is that particular shade of mustard yellow appropriate for the fall? Really now, it's a hard color to pull off most of the time, what's up with that, guys? Even the LA Times had a short pictorial feature on fashion's "yellow fever" (eww, what)but Japan Fashion Week really cornered the market on pure, deep, earthy mustard tones. Here are a few of my delightfully mustard-y favorites.

First, this look by Ono Motonari:
PhotobucketLOVE the gold rose scarf with the lightly ruffled blouse and hardcore belt. If the skirt were about a foot and a half longer, I would wear this to work with no qualms. Sans cuckoo bouffant hair, of course.

Second, by Kamishima Chinami:
PhotobucketThere certainly is a lot of gold-ochre tone going around this year, I love the contrast and play of the geometric shapes in very fall hues. Again, did you SEE the accessories and styling? SEND THE SHOES AND NECKLACE TO ME ASAP, PLEASE. I want to take mustard-yellow construction paper, make a ring chain out of it, and tie a ribbon to make it into a necklace. If you look closely, you can see that the model has a very fine, grey spidery net-veil over her face and hair, which is absolutely creepy and fab at the same time.

Third, by Torii Yuki:
Photobucket I fully expect to see this strapless, gathered dress on the red carpet someday soon. Continuing the motif with the black lace tights is...interesting, but I feel like the combination of the chunky black boots makes it look like her legs are hairy. Weird, y/n?

Fourth, traditional kimono designs by Saito Jotaro:
Several of his looks included a mustard-yellow highlight (the "soft" obi) underneath a contrasting obi to break up the patterns of the kimono fabric. Lovely! The play of the gradient shades of purple, grey, silver, black and yellow is perfectly balanced. It all makes me want to pull out the giant book I have somewhere on color references and meaning in classical Japanese poetry. Also, unrelated, but: HUBBA HUBBA! P.S. his models are fierce to the max.

More mustard for your macular enjoyment:
-support surface
-Han Ahn Soon
-Reem Alasadi
-Shirahama Ritsuko

Realistically, who can pull off mustard? Does it depend upon the exact shade, your complexion, the quality of the fabric, or the dye saturation? Is mustard limited to combination with neutrals only? My eye is always attracted to the jewel-tone colors on the clothes rack in my neverending quest to balance a closet full of black with something a bit more exciting.

And finally, an interesting note/question--why is it JAPAN Fashion Week, and not TOKYO Fashion Week like New York Fashion Week or Paris Fashion Week? I would sincerely hope that there will someday be a Tokyo-specific Fashion Week, a Kobe week, Osaka, Sapporo, Naha, the list goes on. All great, fashion-tastic cities worthy of a full week of high fashion appreciation by the whole world.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Rose tint my world - colorful glasses frames!

As a glasses-wearin' lady, it's almost time for me to go in and get my eyes checked out and my prescription updated. And what that means is that I'm already starting to think about new frames.

I'm pretty satisfied with the look I've been working for the past two years, which is a soft rectangular tortoiseshell, but taking some style cues from Miss Karen as well as Gossip Girl's Nelly Yuki (Nelly Yuki! Nelly Yuki!) and their vast wardrobes of fun frames, I've been thinking a lot more about doing something a little more fun and colorful, especially since it's coming up on spring. (Granted, I'd be wearing these glasses for longer than spring, but colored glasses are fun to think about!)

I had a pair of l.a. eyeworks glasses for four years (!) until it was time to replace them -- they were tortoiseshell (of course), but the interior side of the frame was a smart purple. Fun! And so I've picked three of their colorful frames that I'd be interested in checking out, just so I can get away from my "but does it come in tortoiseshell?" crutch...

The Peak frames have a fun two-tone double-dipped look, and I can't help but think that the cheery pink would help brighten up tired eyes.

My only non-tortoise/reddish brown glasses that I had, back in Ye Olde High School days, were purple, and so these Concord Grape Mason frames would be a fun update. Plus, purple makes my eyes super-green. Hmmmm!

While it's not typically a shape I go for, since I like the more rectangular look, the curvy apple-green Code frames are a lot of fun with their purple temple bars. It's definitely a pair I'd have to try on to see how I feel.

After I get my new glasses checked out, though, I'm definitely thinking about getting another pair of prescription sunglasses. I love mine, but I'm still thinking about something bright and colorful for summer.

I know everyone and their mom is wearing Ray Ban Wayfarers again, but they're classic for a reason. I'd probably go with classic black if I were to get a pair, but that turquoise is super-cute.

Juicy Couture (I know! I know!) also has their own version in pink, which is so girly I kind of adore it despite Karen's dismay. I'm just not sure that the pink lenses would be very flattering, though. I could always change to a different color when I took the glasses in for my prescription, though.

But if I still want my big celeb-in-hiding-style frames, then the big blue Juicy Couture sunglasses might also be a fun choice. (They also come in white, but they have a giant ol' logo on the temple bar. Hmm.)

All right, all you spectacled-ladies, I know you're out there -- what style of glasses do you tend to gravitate to when you pick new frames, or are you someone who loves to experiment and try new shapes and colors all the time? Do you have one pair of frames that you wear all day every day for all occasions (like me), or do you have different pairs for different situations/outfits? Let's hear all about it!

images from laeyeworks.com and framesdirect.com

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Science Fair for April 6th - 12th

Happy Easter Sunday, everyone! I hope you got to eat as much chocolate (and drink as many mimosas!) as you wanted to today. I know I have a giant chocolate egg waiting for me once I finish up today's Science Fair (booyah).

- Speaking of giant chocolate eggs, you do know about Pimp That Snack, right? Well, they're dedicated to taking your regular ol' tiny junk food and blowing it up to giant proportions. For example, this nearly-five-pound Cadbury Creme Egg. Add your own "om nom nom" and/or heart attack here.

- This is nothing new or no big "secret" (if you will), but if you aren't reading Post Secret, you should be. (You can also follow it at @PostSecret on Twitter.)

- The lovelylovely Ms. Wendy Brandes was in town, and she took me, Patti, and Annie out to a fab San Francisco dinner! It's always fun to meet up with the San Francisco blogger ladies! (Also, that lipstick I'm wearing is the Shiseido Perfect Rouge in "Salon".)

- Oh, for those of you who are bloggers -- are you participating in the ProBlogger 31 Day Challenge? I've been following along, and a lot of it is interesting -- it's good to get a kick in the pants every so often.

- Finally, you're probably all reading this already, but Coco Rocha's blog is awesome. And I want her apartment.

Have a great week, everyone! xoxo

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Top 10 Cute Cheap Spring Dress Picks!

Ohhh, yes, it's starting to be that time of the year! The past week has been so beautiful and warm that the city's starting to peel off its winter clothes. I'm talking sandals, skirts, freshly polished toes, sunglasses... and dresses.

And so, just like last year, here's some of the super-cute dresses I've found online for under $45 (not including taxes and shipping). I've separated them out into two categories: dresses to wear to work (which, basically, means your bra won't be showing) and dresses to wear on the weekends (less stringent on the bra thing).

Five Workwear Dresses:

From Modcloth.com, this super-cute shirtdress would go very well with flats, sandals, or wedges. $42.99

Another Modcloth dress, the Grey Gardens dress is on trend for spring with its pastel florals. $39.99

This striped knit dress from Delias comes in purple and in black; I always tend to lean to black, so picking purple is a brighter choice for spring. $34.50

Gauzy and bright, this keyhole-necked dress from Old Navy comes in several other colors (including green and white), and is perfect for wilting-hot days. $24.50

All right, this sweet jersey dress from American Eagle Outfitters doesn't totally fit my requirements for a workwear dress (as in, you'd have to layer a cardigan over it to really make it office-appropriate), but I love it all the same. $34.50

Five Weekend Dresses:

I definitely could see myself heading down to the pool in this turquoise embroidered dress from Alloy. $39.50

Or maybe I'd go out to the park in this darling plaid strappy dress from Delias -- I'd just need to remember sunscreen (and maybe a sweater -- we are still talking spring in San Francisco, here). $44.50

I've been dying for a white spring dress for the past few years, and maybe the embroidered dress from Alloy is the one. (Still, I'd have to be sure it's not see-through...) $39.50

Looking for a dress in tropical-punch colors? This knit party dress from American Eagle Outfitters comes in teal, yellow, pink, and blue floral prints. Plus, it's a cotton/modal blend, so it's got to be super-soft. $34.50

Finally, for a dress that can be worn a thousand and one ways (seriously, go check it out) in spring and summer, there's the Le Sac dress from American Apparel. $38

Are you already breaking out your spring dresses? What sort of dress are you looking forward to wearing most?

images from modcloth.com, delias.com, oldnavy.com, ae.com, alloy.com, store.americanapparel.net

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Japanese Skincare Revolution

Back in, oh, February, I was browsing through my knitting blog feeds on Bloglines (because I still check in on those every once in a while) when a super eggplant's post jumped out at me. (And, on checking in again, now she's talking about BB creams -- stop, no, pull me away from the eBay shops!)

Anyway, Mariko had just purchased a copy of The Japanese Skincare Revolution, and me, always looking for new skincare solutions and ideas, ordered a copy for myself.

I've flipped through it and, honestly, I'm kind of slacking on revolutionizing my skin (oops?). I've already purchased the NARS Hydrating Freshening Lotion for the Lotion Mask, which is when you apply cotton and lotion to your skin. This is Saeki Chizu's cure-all for everything -- clogged pores, oily t-zone, dry skin, and hangover-skin (!). She also suggests upping the ante by cutting holes in a shower cap and placing that over your face, while sitting in the bathtub, for a quick (and cheap!) steam treatment.

I've also done some of the lymph node massaging, which is where you try and "unclog" your lymph nodes behind your ears, then massage your neck, collarbone, and ultimately, armpits. Whether it really works or not, I'm not sure, but it's a good thing to do while you're in the bath or shower or even at the office (if no one is looking). She also has massages for eliminating the double-chin (!) and sagging neck or cheeks.

I will say that I was disappointed in that both Amazon and the bookcover are all about "the secret to get rid of blackheads!" as one of the selling points, because, yeah, actually, I would like to know the secret. And the secret is... don't pick at them and use a scrub twice a week. (That's not really a secret.) So I was disappointed that, you know, there wasn't a better secret or system to get rid of blackheads.

All in all, the advice is pretty solid (be happy, eat good food, get good rest, and don't overload your face with products, including taking one day a week to just let your face go without products), and the book itself is a good resource, including suggestions on how to adjust your skincare routines depending on the time of the year, since summer skin is different than winter skin is different than spring skin, how to revive hangover skin, how to look ten years younger the next day, and the proper ways to remove eye and lip make-up.

Any skincare tricks, techniques, or books you'd recommend? I've always got an open ear for successful secrets...

images from amazon.com

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