August 31, 2007

HG's LA Trip II

After yesterday's not-too-positive post about LA's food, I'll move onto LA's shopping today! I stayed at Beverly Wilshire so the place I went everyday was Rodeo Drive. Before going I wasn't really enthusastic about Rodeo Drive because I thought it was just going to be another designer name-packed street which will be like all the other places I usually go to (-Hong Kong, London etc.) I was right about the designer-packed part, but what I didn't expect was that I really loved the street. I loved how there was so much space to walk around and not feel crowded, and the salespeople there were so friendly and helpful! (The sad thing was of course, I could hardly afford anything there!)

The thing I loved most on Rodeo Drive was the Prada shop. The first time I saw it from across the street, I thought, that coat looks like it's from Prada's FW07 collection and those stairs are very NYC Soho Prada-like, is that the Prada shop? You will notice that the shop doesn't even have a Prada sign, and I really haven't seen a store before that didn't display its own designer name! I loved it! (Seriously, if you didn't know Prada well and just walked past it, you would think it was a weird warehouse!)

But walk by at night and you'll be surprised. See those three holes on the ground?

They're like lighted caves filled with Prada goodies. The concept is so cool.

And of course, there is the newly renovated Chanel store, my second favourite looking store on Rodeo Drive. It looks so clean and clear cut, with only white, black and gold.

While I love the atmosphere and all of Rodeo Drive, the shopping place that I really liked was Robertson Blvd. Robertson Blvd is the street where a lot of mix-brand boutiques like Kitson and Madison are, and also boutiques of American brands like Nanette Lepore and Alice + Olivia. For me, Kitson was sort of... blah. I only noticed lots of T-shirts and the new Paris Hilton clothing collection. If anyone visits Robertson Blvd, then you must go to the Alice + Olivia store -the clothes are SO gorgeous. It's not too often that I think clothes look even prettier in real life than on And there are so many more stores on Robertson -that was def a fun trip.

Unfortunately for me, the only things I could afford on both streets was the BCBG sales rack! Surprisingly, the sales rack still had loads of goodies. I got a boring/ classic, black and nude-coloured dress for only 150usd (half price!) and a very useful black cardigan thingy. And while I love my BCBG purchases, my favourite (and most useful) purchases were probably the two pairs of sporty shorts (great for lounging around the house doing nothing) I bought at Target, where my sister bought her moving-into-college-stuff. So all in all, shopping in LA was pretty cool and it ended up being a really relaxing holiday.

Ooh, and now I finally understand why Mary Kate and Ashley look so wrapped up (with scarves and cardigans) in paparazzi photos even in LA. Even though it was sunny everyday in LA, the temperature was kind of cool ,especially in early mornings and nights. Anyways, I'm leaving San Francisco tonight so I better go pack now!

August 30, 2007

HG's LA Trip I

Today I just wanted to give everyone a quick look at my LA trip. Last week, I stayed in LA for a week suppsedly helping my sister move into USC. (OK I wasn't much help carrying her stuff nor did I attend the orientation but whatever.)

First off, I just want to say how boring LA's sightseeing spots were. The Walk of Fame, Kodak Theatre, Lady something catherdral thingy, the Hollywood sign etc. -honestly, all a yawn. I don't know why people get so excited and take so many pictures there. The only thing worth seeing was The Getty Center -the garden and photography exhibition were gorgeous.

Since the sights were so disappointing, I decided that a trip to LA must involve the young people hotspots. So I made my poor family go with me to Koi, Pink Berry, Sprinkles, Spago and The Ivy. For those who don't know, Koi is one of the 'it' restuarants, where a lot of celebs get their photos taken by the paparazzis when they leave. It's a Japanese fusion restaurant. Admittingly, it was fab for the ambiance and all, but the food seriously sucked (way too salty,) and the tables were just too crowded. Definitely not a place for serious dining. Spago (which claims to be a Californian restaurant with Austrian influences) on the other hand, served fantastic food. The only warning I should give out is that it's pretty touristy.

Sprinkles, the hotspot for cupcakes, always had a line outside the store.

The cupcakes were... cupcakes -Sweet, but nothing special and overpriced. But it was an 'LA experience' for me, to join in the craze with other Angelinos.

Pink Berry is basically the snack place of the moment in LA. They sell simple yogurt, soft ice-cream style, and you add toppings on it. Surprisingly, I actually liked the yogurt there and had it three times in my one week there! No wonder they're earning so much money and opening so many stores. Do try it if you go to LA -it's another 'LA expeience' one should enjoy!

Ah, the oh-so-famous Ivy. I stumbled across it on a shopping trip and surprisingly managed to get a table without reservation in 15 minutes. The food there was pretty good, although my mum and I were more impressed by how the waiting crowd outside the restaurant didn't seem to get smaller even at 3pm! While it wasn't the best Italian food I've ever had, the meal was certainly one of the better ones I had in LA.

So ya, this has been the food-related highlights of my LA trip. Yes I know I'm no food critic but these are just my little thoughts on the restaurants. Tomorrow I'll move onto the shopping!

Teen Choice Awards 2007 Fashion

Hey people, so sorry for the uber late posts. I'm at my aunt's house in San Francisco at the moment and the internet connection is sort of wacky here. (Thankfully BG posted for me yesterday!) I'll talk about last week's LA in the next two days, but first, the Teen Choice Awards! OK, so the fashion there was so boring and uninspiring that I wasn't even going to blog about it but staying in the States for a week has turned me into paprazzi-obsessed (temporarily hopefully,) so I'm going to blog about it anyway.

Hilary Duff -She was the co-host so you will notice that she had more than one outfit. I quite like her wearing this Corey Lynn Calter black, sequined dress, although it feels more nightime than daytime.
Hilary's other two outfits were very 'her'. I like her in the blue and black sequined dress, and so-and-so about green jeans. What I don't like about her is her hair! What happened to those classy locks? What is up with the gradient-coloured hair?
I may like Avril's music but I'm really not a fan of her clothes. I used to like it when she kept it simple with jeans/ pants with tank tops, but now her clothes (and pink hair) are just, for a lack of better words, not cool. Actually I suppose this outfit isn't too bad, but it would have looked much nicer if her hair was just left straight down.

I've never liked Fergie's clothes so I'll just say here that her grey heels don't match her polka dot dress.
Lauren and Audrina -Kind of typical choices for them, but they could have chosen cuter dresses. Audrina's dress is too nighttime clubbing-ish, and Lauren's is just not as fun as her usual choices. (Lauren's dress is from her upcoming collection.)
Jessica Alba's dress is really nothing special, but seriously, that girl can make anything look amazing. Jessica not surprisingly, won the female hottie award. I really want to watch her new movie, Good Luck Chuck!
Emmy Rossum is finally not in a boring long dress, but I don't really like her dress here either. The pink looks great on her, but maybe the way the fabric is draped on her just isn't that cute? Or maybe adding a thin belt around her waist would have added more shape to the dress.
Wow, Sophia Bush looked amazing in a hard-to-wear Herve Leger dress. I love her playful dress with that cute but proper hairstyle. I guess she had to look good, afterall, she won three awards!
Vanessa Hudgens -The dress really suits her, except the clutch doesn't match the dress. OK, I accidently watched two minutes of High School Musical 2 this afternoon, and I don't get why they are so popular! True, they do seem talented (which is not a given in Hollywood these days,) but what is so fun watching a bunch of kids sing on tv? I suppose musical is only cool to me if it's live.
Since I really have no interest in men's fashion, Zac Efron (who won male hottie) is obviously here for eyecandy. He always looks a bit too photoshopped (or madeup?) for my taste, but hey, eyecandy is eyecandy. Enjoy!
What did you think of everybody's dresses?

August 28, 2007

Paul and Joe Beaute: Autumn 2007

First of all, I'd like to say that I am by no means impressed by the quality of Paul & Joe make-up. But I AM very impressed by their packaging. It never fails to make me want to buy everything. I suspect that this is their selling point. Their autumn collection, Dear Diary collection, is no exception. They have a very touching story to go with this collection, something about shades that will allow you to be yourself, but I really fail connect the product/package design with the story. What I do know is that not only do they have a pretty print of flowers and leopards (they assured me that it was not a cat) packaging and a pretty floral pattern inside, but they also have pretty names: Daydream, Pressed Roses and Poetry to go with it. The colors though are not too inspiring. Lip colors all look the same to me. Though my mom uses them, and she assures me that the texture is very moisturizing and smooth and points out that the paper packaging is very lightweight for the purse. The eye shadows, brown on brown, Dark Blue on blue and Pink on maroon is not wow but they are practical. Plus, it has a hint of shimmer, which should be pretty! The only downside is that because they are not separated, the two colors will eventually mix into one ugly mess after a few months of use. But I'm sure they'll come up with some other pretty design by then for you to replace it ;) Such clever marketing.

So the point being that while I am by no means blind to its flaws, I still cannot help but gush and oogle the beauty that is the Paul & Joe cosmetics- its just SO PRETTY!

Image Source: Paul & Joe

August 26, 2007

Beach Party Wear

This weekend I went to a beach party that goes from day to night and onwards into the next morning. Personally, I've never been to a huge beach bash before (I can't even remember the last time I stepped foot on a beach), so I was actually really excited to go. I imagined it to be similar to the beach party scene in Princess Diaries, minus the public humiliation bit of course. As the date approached, I was increasingly thinking about one question- what does one wear to a beach party? Beach wear? But its a party.....supposedly like a nightclub moved to a does one recouncil the two?
Some thoughts. As I didn't plan on getting myself wet or anything, the first thing that popped to mind was a pretty summer dress in bright colors like these two from Free People shown here. Just imagine what a pretty beach pic these dresses would make! And the thin material and relatively cheap price is perfect for the beach, as you wouldn't have to constantly think about ruining it.
Ultimately though I ended up wearing cropped jeans as the practical side of me pops up, with the fear that skirts may be blown by the wind and it could get messy. You always want to wear pants when things get messy. Of course, shorts work too, but I was also scared of mosquitos too since it was night- I know I think too much! (Both from Forever 21)

Topwise, I suggest a pretty floral top that would also make a pretty picture (left: UO, right: Forver 21).
And if you're worried about a tan line (as I'd be if I'd went in the afternoon), tubes are a great option like these two from Forever 21 (left) and UO(right). I especially love the white tube, because its so simple but elegant and fun.
Then came shoes. These are the times when sandals/flip flops become your best friend, as heels will sink in and are impractical and sneakers are too hot. Remember to get super cheap ones, as you wouldn't want to ruin your fancy pair on the rough sandy shores of a beach (above from UO). I bought a pair of flip flops for less than $3 especially for the occasion!
Then came a bag to put all your stuff in. At that moment, I wished I had my white Le Sportsac huge tote with me. But alas it is in Chicago. But really, just stuff everything (mat, sunscreen, food, water, shades, umbrella etc) into a big beach bag like the one above from UO. And just in case you want to head over to the bar for a while and don't want to bring everything with you, consider bringining a small clutch like this one also from UO to put your valuables in. Leaving valuables anywhere is not a good idea. Plus, it'll look more chic then holding your wallet around.

And lastly, don't forget to bring a cardigan. It CAN get cold at night on a beach- think OC beach parties with everyone putting on college sweat shirts and cardis. And that is my whole thought process prepping for this beach party. I know, I think too much. LOL. Hope everyone has a fun weekend as well!

Image Source: Urban Outfitters and Forever 21

August 23, 2007

The DvF Wrap Dress

Everyone knows about the Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress. Everyone who loves fashion anyway. It is the legendary dress that is perfect for all occasions, from work to shopping to dinner to a night out. I have always coveted one, but thought that they were a bit too old for my age and out of my price range. Besides, what makes it so different from say, wrap dresses one finds at Top Shop, that is at least half the price? Well, the other day passing by the DvF store, I finally experienced the magic of the DvF wrap dress. The fit is truly amazing and staring at oneself in the store mirror, one just feels wonderful. Very chic, put-together, smart yet feminine and sexy. I don't know what I was thinking when I thought it old. Maybe it is a taste acquired when you step into the twenties and above age bracket....

Anyway, previously I've tried on a few wrap dresses before at Top Shop hoping to find something similar, but alas, because I have a small chest, they never fitted well. The V was always too loose and so it hung in a most unattractive manner- but not with the DvF dress, it fits perfectly. I haven't figured out why- the cutting? the jersey material?- but Diane is definitely doing something right and deserves to be the queen of the wrap dress!

Image Source: Diane von Furstenberg

Shiseido Maquillage Neo Climax Lip

A year ago, I've decided to abstain from buying any lip-related makeup products because I hardly ever apply anything other than lip balm on my lips -lipstick always seems too mature to me and lip gloss never seems to stays put for more than 15 minutes. (Anyone else feels the same?) But while I was waiting for the makeup lady at a Shiseido shop to try on eyeshadow on my mum, I got bored and looked at the new products. I very quickly noticed Shiseido's younger line, Maquillage's ad. I absolutely love this look, especially as a night look. Doesn't the model look so sophisticated, cool and pretty?
The product that really caught my eye was the new 'Neo Climax Lip', which is described by the saleslady as an in-between of lipstick and lipgloss. She suggested I try on the colour that the model had on. I did that and loved it! Like the ad suggested, it wasn't overly sparkly, and gave a cool, glossy finish to my lips. Unlike the lip glosses (too sheer) or lipsticks (too strong) that I own, this product actually gave my lips a perfect amount of colour.
You know how you get to an age where you feel like you're in-between for everything? Too young for certain things and too old for others? I want some lip colour that will stay on but I'm not ready for lipstick yet. So basically, I consider this a more sophisticated-looking version of lipgloss. On the Maquillage site, there's this image which shows how you apply this product (-which is simply how you apply all other similar lip products.) So do check out the Neo Climax Lip when you pass by a Shiseido counter next time!

August 22, 2007

Buberry Scarves FW06-07

Burberry seems to be getting that we're all a bit over the classic plaid scarf. One can only have so many plaid scarves in multiples colors after all. And who wants to risk clashing with everyone other person on the street anyway? This season, they've come up with some pretty ingenious scarves.
So much so in fact, that I've made this sparkly Burberry scarf my first FW06-07 purchase. I figured it wouldn't go on sale anyway, and I was right, it was the last one in the store. The thing I love most about it is that when worn, it doesn't immediately shout Burberry because of the underlying criss cross pattern. Then there is the subtle but still very visible silver threads embedded all over the scarf, making it oh-so-pretty and sparkly! (I'm not sure if you can see it here, but its there!) A trendy twist to an otherwise classic scarf. And of course, the fact that it is black and white makes it very sharp and easy to match with everything. The only thing I find lacking with this scarf is that it is not 100% cashmere and therefore not as soft and warm as I'd like. But I guess in this case, its style before warmth!
Another clever design is this abstract check scarf (right), which I also quite like. Especially the color, which is also very versatile. And then there is this chunky scarf. I've always wanted one of these. Actually I think I have one that my friend knitted for me. Except they're sooo big and chunky I never know how to wear them properly, without fearing that I'd choke myself when I leave half of it stuck to the bus door and it moves...I know, I have an overactive imagination. But maybe I'll find inspiration this season and figure it out.
Then there are these very simple plain scarves with the Burberry signature casually scrawled across. As logo branded as the concept is though, I actually quite like this signature. It looks very casual and pretty. Like someone just absentmindedly scribbled their signature on the scarf. Plus, the rest of the scarf is plain and as fun as the prints are, at the end of the day, it is always the plain ones that I wear most. For this design, I think white or grey is best. Although if you want to be very feminine they also have a pretty purple- though not online but in the shops.

But anyways, the scarf designs in Burberry this season are definitely worth checking out- so go before they run out!

Image Source: Net a Porter and Burberry

August 17, 2007

My US Shopping List

I'm off to my annual San Francisco (plus LA this time) trip this Sunday and I'm now in the process of researching about LA and compiling my shopping list. One reason why I love going to the States once a year is that there are certain brands or products that are only available in the States or are cheaper there. I love making lists so here is what I have so far:

Even though there are Urban Outfitters shops in the UK, the US UO things are so much cheaper! For example, a graphic T-shirt is around 23 pounds in London but around 28usd in the States. One item I want to check out is the Lux cinch dress. It looks so easy to wear and pracitcal -one of those items that can take the dresser from daytime to nightime activities.
Another thing I just found on UO's website is this Lux dress. It looks really cool in the picture but it could look cheap and awkward in real life so I really must check it out.
I've never been to an American Apparel shop before and I've been wanting to go so I can't wait. So many people seem to love American Apparel at FashionSpot. American Apparel sells really boring, basic clothes so I probably shouldn't have such high expectations but I do love plain clothes. The first thing I want to check out is this tank dress (and any other useful basics).
The other item is this cardigan. It looks perfect to wear to school this fall -simple and goes with jeans. Afterall, who has time to think before rushing to class?
Onto beauty products, after reading so many rave reviews on Urban Decay's Eye Primer Potion (at MUA and from you guys,) I am determined to buy a few bottles -one for me and a few for friends who have requested I buy it for them too!
OPI nail polish, which is my favourite nail polish brand, is very expensive in Hong Kong (about HK$120 per bottle,) so my mum and I are definitely going to stock up. BG tells me they sell for around 6USD in the States so I'm hoping they're about the same price in San Francisco too. The most important thing is the base and top layer.
Then onto basic (but fun) colours -red and nude.
I recently saw a friend who had wine/ maroon-ish purple nails and they look so sophisticated. But I really can't tell the difference between the many shades of purple! Perhaps this colour is becoming fashionable because OPI's new Russian collection seems to be all about this colour!
And finally -books! On my list so far are Charmed Thirds by Megan Mccafferty (in paperback finally,) Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel (only because I love Wurtzel so much,) and The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.
Opinions? Anything else I should add onto the list?

August 15, 2007

Blemish Concealer

10 days ago I made the grave mistake of squeezing a blackhead on my cheeks. You'd think that I'd know by now after reading countless beauty magazines the beauty commandment that thou shalt not squeeze your pimples/blackheads by yourself. But this time I really couldn't resist since it feels like that blackhead has been there forever and no matter how much I exfoliate it didn't look like it was coming out anytime soon. So I gave in- and now I'm still living with the mistake.

I now have a huge red bump on my cheek- after 10 days! :( So I've tried many methods to try to conceal it. I don't want to wear foundation everyday nor use some really heavy concealer that might block my pores even more and make me break out. Here is what I've been through so far...
I first went for my trusty Bare Minerals foundation, using my concealer brush to blend it. The beauty of this of course is that it is minerals so it won't block your pores and cause more pimples AND it absorbs oil so you won't look shiny. The downside though is that the coverage is too sheer (and you cannot use more as otherwise it'll look patchy) the area gets kind of dry and obvious that you're covering up something.
The next thing I used is the Benefit Galactic Shield because the texture is more creamy (less dry and flaky!) AND has salicylic acid to prevent pimples! Except it only has three shades and the coverage is still not that good and looks kind of obvious. Maybe its just me and my lack fo skills?

Clinique just came up with something similar. I'm thinking of trying it.... anyone tried it yet? And any other suggestions for blemish coverage that won't cause more pimples??

Image Source: Sephora

A Big, Roomy Messenger Bag

My favourite trend from SS07 (which I assume will carry onto FW07) is big messenger bags that double as handbags. They are SO useful and cool.
I'm on summer holiday at the moment so I've been able to use my non-school-bags. I haven't bought a bag since last summer so I've hit a bag dry spell. Luckily, my mum bought a few bags for herself and I managed to 'borrow' her Marni balloon bag. I'm really loving it right now. It's SO roomy so it fits pretty much everything in it -when I went to the hair salon, I stuffed a magazine and book in; after I bought skincare products, they fit into the bag too. It's just so convenient to be able to just grab a bag and run out of the house. Plus I love the dark purple -it's the perfect shade of purple to make the bag look pretty, but just dark enough to make it look almost black thus making it versatile. Plus, huge messenger bags seem to go with volumous clothes. Right, I should stop gushing. Here are some others that I found online:
Kooba's Charlie bag from SS07 is so pretty and simple that I can't get why shopbop still has stock (-on sale!) The style reminds my a bit of a less feminine version of Miu Miu bags. And the metal hoops add some detail to the otherwise boring design.
Urban Outfitters has this canvas convertible bag online. It looks kind of like Balenciaga's motorcycle bag. Think what a great school bag this would make!
I usually don't like Marc by Marc Jacobs' handbags, but it surprisingly has a collection of pretty bags this season. Now this Dr. Q tote would make a fantastic travelling bag because it's huge and soft (so you can stuff the bag into hand luggage comparments.)
I absolutely adored this Miu Miu bag when it first hit stores last FW. Who knew it would still be around, albeit in different leather and colours? It's super girly yet it's still practical. Why oh why didn't I buy one last FW?
Because I love this bag so much, here it is in another colour. I can't decide whether a mono-coloured leather version (the one before) is better or this one. There is a contrast between the brown leather and tan kanvas that makes this bag seem more casual and easy-to-use. OK, I'm going to stop obsessing over this bag now -but don't you just love it?
Lastly, I just can't resist tagging on a picture of Ashley Olsen with one of last season's hot bags, Givenchy's Nightingale. I'm not in love with this bag myself but see what I mean about messenger bags? The bag looks so practical and pretty, and you can just throw things in quickly!