October 29, 2007

Bold Nail Varnish

Having been a devotee of the pale pink/whitish nail varnish for most of my nail varnish wearing life (seriously, I have about 5 bottles of pale pink varnish in slightly different shades), recently I've finally jumped onto the bandwagon of bold (darker) colored nail varnish. I am not exactly sure what go me into it....perhaps its because everyone on TV has it and since I watch so much TV it has subconsciously filtered into me and displaced my initial notion that bold nail colors look old and trashy. About time too! I think the trick is to keep nails short and rounded. Long and sharp...now that is trashy.

My first bold color obsession: red. Bright red. Mine is a similar color to this, An Affair in Red Square, from OPI, except mine is called Fishnet Stockings from Essi. I just couldn't find the Essi website. But yes, I randomly bought the bottle and tried it on and I LOVED it. Its just so SHARP and cool! I actually spent a few minutes in the mirror checking out my new nail color afterwards! :)
The next color I wanted to try was Purple. But not electric purple. And not reddish purple. Cause then it'll just look too purple. It was a tough choice, but in the end I settled on this Russian Navy, from OPI, which has a bluish, purplish tinge. This one actually took me a while to get used to (I think I'm still trying to get used to it), but I think once winter comes on full force, it'll fit my wardrobe perfectly.

Incidentally the whole new OPI Russian Collection fits my recent fall/winter mood perfectly. Dark, rich colors of blue, purple and red. Its fabulous. Although I'm not sure about the texture. Maybe its just me, but I find them not to go on as smoothly as my Essi ones.

And lastly, HOW does everyone apply their dark nail varnishes? I am phenomenally bad at application. So I try not to mess up by just applying one layer (no, I'm seriously bad) and for these bold colors, its not too bad since its already so strong. But I can't help that I accidentally apply over the edges and then it just looks like a little kid coloring and going outside the lines. Also, a lot of times, I get streaks. HOW am I suppose to DO this properly??? Please help!

Image Source: OPI

October 27, 2007

Guilty Pleasures

Having had a stressful few weeks, I decided to treat myself to a day of guilty pleasures.
  1. My top guilty pleasure is sleep. And by that I don't mean the usual 8 hours. I mean sleeping for however long and whenever I want. See, I'm not a morning person. Hence I never feel like waking up in the morning. So this morning (afternoon), I woke up late. And then I went for guilty pleasure number 2......
  2. Romance novels. I find the newer novels these days to be much too formulaic and tedious to go through to find a good one. Hence I love reading the old ones that I know are good. The classics never get boring. They are all the same anyway, its just the quality of the writing that differs. Besides, all I'm looking for is a happy ending to escape from the real world. One of my all time favourites is Jill Mansell's, Miranda's Big Mistake. Its super sweet. Mansell is generally pretty good, though I can't say much for her newer books......And while I was reading by the window next to the warm sunlight, I indulged myself some more and rest my eyes whenever I need to.
  3. Next on my list is endless hours of mindless TV shows. These days I watch just about anything, Greys Anatomy, Samantha Who, Gossip Girl (love it), ANTM etc. But my ultimate favourite is still the chic lives of the girls on Sex and the City. I can never get bored of them. They are classic!
  4. And we must not forget nourishment. Guilty pleasure number four: eating ice cream out of the carton. Then you can really eat as much as you want. And the ultimate pleasure of all? Sleep after you eat. I know that it is highly not recommend it. But succumbing to food coma is just the best thing I can imagine. Even if you cannot sleep for the rest of the night after....
  5. But thats ok, because then you can indulge in guilty pleasure number 5: talking on the phone with an old friend and going down memory lane- for hours. 4 hrs and 5 minutes to be exact. There is no path better than memory lane. Now I really want to read all those Christopher Pike books I loved to read when I was 13...... especially Starlight Crystal. Its about this girl who falls in love with this guy but a few days later she had to go on a spaceship that is designed to be a time capsule that observes human evolution over time. And then something goes wrong and there is this huge time warp and....I just remember it being more cool than it sounds now.
  6. Staring into space and letting your mind wander...and closing your eyes for a few minutes whenever you like. Especially nice if you have a nice view or a clear sky to stare at.
  7. And the last of my guilty pleasures? List making. I love list making. I make lists about everything (observe this blog). And diary writing. It really keeps track of your thoughts and clears your head up. Besides- its awfully entertaining to read a year later....especially if you make interesting lists, like new years resolutions and checklists... I highly recommend it.
And this is my list of guilty pleasures I like to indulge in on my "me" time. What are your guilty pleasures?

Image Source: Amazon.com

Curl Your Lashes

Last year, my routine was just tinted moisturiser and blush (on the days I actually wake up on time). This year, I have officially added eyelash curling as the final step.
If you have read any top beauty secret lists in magazines, then you would remember that curling your lashes is always one of them. Curled lashes are supposed to make your eyes look bigger, make you look more awake -basically, brighten up your whole look. I always took this advice very lightly because it seemed that whenever I curled my lashes and applied mascara, my lashes just became straight after 5 minutes, so what's the point? However recently, I've started curling my lashes at the end of my makeup routine. Surprisingly when I get home after school, my lashes are still curled, and sometimes, people even ask me if I have mascara on.
The point I'm trying to make is, try curling your lashes everyday before leaving the house. It takes less than a minute to do and really livens up your eyes! And at the end of the day, you don't even have to wash it off. Convenient huh? Makes me think we should listen to conventional wisdom more often!
Image credit: www.sephora.com

October 24, 2007

Vivienne Tam Dresses

I am constantly amazed at my mom's ability to be so up to date with the latest going ons in fashion. Her latest discovery are the trendy dresses at Vivienne Tam. Surprising isn't it? I've always related her style as western with oriental influence and wouldn't exactly call it trendy. So when my mom told me she'd bought me a dress from there, I was like, what?
Luckily for me, the dresses over at Vivienne Tam seems to have gone through a revival and are much trendier than I'd imagined. The dress my mom got me was this one, except mine is black and made of a woolish material. Now to be honest, when I first saw the dress (and identified it as this one in the catalog), I didn't like it very much. It was past my knees and it has the most awkwardly positioned tie thing in the middle. That is not exactly the most flattering cut. But after playing around with it, I've tied it at the waist, such that a little puffy effect is created and is shorter, which is kind of cute with ankle boots!
This of course got me looking into the rest of the catalog and now I am lusting for more Vivienne Tam dresses! They have more simple casual (kind of shift) dresses. I especially love the grey one in the middle. The color is also so nice and wintery without being too black.

And check out those silver Mary Janes! I WANT a pair. They look so perfect in the winter with all these cute short dresses!
For something more sophisticated, there are these more polished creations. The dress on the right is my favourite! The bottom frills gives it just the right touch of girliness to the otherwise sophisticated and simple design.
Something a little more fun, there are these printed dresses. The rich silver brocade dress is so adorable! And as a side note, I really like that look on the far right (sorry about the bad scanning). Its so simple to achieve too. All I need is to go out and get myself a cute printed mini!

Who would've thought that these creations were Vivienne Tam?

Kate Moss Top Shop AW07 and Christmas Collection

Remember back when the Vogue preview of the Kate Moss Top Shop SS07 collection came out and I was really excited about it? Well, since then I have seen the collection in real life, applauded Photoshop's ability to beautify cheap material and lowered my expectations for the clothes. While I really don't like the idea of Top Shop basically recreating some of Kate's designer wonders from her wardrobe, I can't deny I'm really excited about some of the designs I see.

With this line, you really need to see the clothes in real life before buying anything. The quality is really so-so and the photos you see are really photoshopped (or taken under clever lighting.) For example, this dress in real life? I felt it in real life last week and was surprised by how bad the quality was. The material was coarse and felt cheap.

Another thing I don't completely get about the clothes -some of the tops and dresses are very sheer. Yes I realise you simply have to wear a camisole underneath, but it's hard to find the perfect v-neck camisole to go underneath, preferably made of silk.

When you look through the collections, you would notice that there are sequined T-shirts are an essential part of the collection. The tops aren't bad, but I'm not sure they're worth paying 35pounds (tank on the right) for.

OK, so onto the AW07 and Christmas collection:
When the AW07 collection came out in Aug/Sept, I was disappointed. What's with these preppy clothes? The school girl look is cool up to a point, and pink is certainly past that point.

The one thing I've been eyeing has been this Zig Zag dress. Thankfully I've been too indecisive to buy it, and it just went on sale on topshop.com. Obviously I've bought it now. I love the side where the dress is short and the tie around the neck -gives the dress a unique, stylish twist.

After the disappointing AW07 collection, the new Christmas collection is about to be released. From the photos I've seen so far from topshop.com, Gracia magazine and ID, the Christmas collection looks way more fabulous. There are some really cool, edgy little dresses -perfect for the coming Christmas and New Year parties!

I LOVE this dress, especially the patterned beads that look like a belt! It looks so stylish and pretty in the image. I'm trying not to get too excited though, because the dress could possibly be of bad quality in real life.

This ID image got me excited about this Deco style dress. It's fun, edgy and trendy. I love how the sequined top has a solid fit, and the bottom chiffon skirt bit is soft and flowy.

Here's the Deco dress again on the right. On the left is a dress that looked decent in Gracia magazine but looks kind of cheap on the topshop webstie. I'm still hoping to try it on in real life though. Who knows?

And then there's this pleated mini dress. When topshop describes it as mini, it really does looks supremely mini. it doesn't even go down to Kate's legs in the ID image! But hopefully it won't be that short on me since I'm short anyways. It looks demure on the top, but short and young at the bottom.

The Christmas collection is supposed to hit stores on 25th Oct -that's this Thursday. I can't wait! I only hope Top Shop stocks enough of my size for once. Clothes-shopping-wise, there's nothing more annoying than finding a design you like and the shop doesn't have your size left.

Image credit: www.topshop.com, ID magazine images

October 20, 2007

Happy Birthday Barneys Girl!

The big 21 -BG is finally legal worldwide! Here are your virtual presents:

To kick off your birthday celebration, the purple Rebecca Taylor dress (left) would be perfect for a fancy dinner and the pink Mint Jodi Arnold dress (right) would be so fab and cute for cocktails! These dresses are short enough to be cute and young, yet not too revealing. Gosh, I want them too!

Sexy, basic knee-high boots for winter (by Versace)! They might be a bit too high for school, but they're good for all the other occassions where you don't have to walk too much.

And more winterwear. You've been craving for a black, basic coat for ages. This Burberry coat is perfect for all occasions, from work to shopping, to fancy dinners and meeting up at Starbucks.

You totally needs extra stock of her new basic makeup -YSL Radiant Touch Concealer. Such an easy-to-use and good quality concealer to cover up those dark circles from late nights.

Even though you've got more than enough eye shadow palettes, you still hasn't gotten around to buying a Chanel Quadra eyeshadow palette.

Tickets to the musical you've been wanting to watch for so long- the Legally Blonde Musical! Has anyone watched it? We both want to know how it translates from the movie to a musical.

With your HP laptop dying, here's a gorgeous and seriously useful MacBook Pro.

Although on the 26th Oct, Mac's going to come with the new OS, Leopard.

Finally, in the spirit of our favourite new show, Gossip Girl, get some young, hip party dresses. Remember this Catherine Maladrino dress? Serena just wore in the latest episode to a date -it's so pretty and trendy. Loves it!

Have a fabulous time at Ruth Chris and cocktails darling! Muah!
Image credits: www.shopbop.com, www.burberry.com, www.saksfifthavenue.com, www.apple.com, www.legallyblondethemusical.com

October 17, 2007

Halloween on the Streets

For more inspiration, I turned to the streets. More specifically, celebs and current pop culture icons.
First off are Lindsay Lohan's outfits for Halloween 2006. Her aerobics outfit is not bad. And as for the other one...well I guess it IS Halloween and looking slutty is a prerogative. After all, didn't they say in Mean Girls that Halloween was an excuse for girls to look let their slutty side out?
More inspiring and less slutty, I love Hilary Duff's gypsy idea. And I think if one is to go for the aerobics look, Haylie Duff knows how to do it. The colors and accessories match perfectly, everything just looks so cute! Also, she doesn't look like she forgot to put pants on i.e. Lohan above.
One of the sources of inspiration for Halloween I believe are movies. Last year it was probably Marie Antoinette and Memoirs of a Geisha. So I tried to think of all the thematic movies out this year.... there weren't that many:Harry Potter, Spider Man- too cliche. Finally, I settled on the Pirates of the Caribbean and Hairspray. For Pirates, you can either go for Kiera's whole Chinese pirate look (not that I think Chinese pirates dress that way) or go for a more simple Pirate look i.e. loose white short, black skinny pants, captain hat, compass and sword. And for Hairspray- 60's fashion and BIG HAIR.
And last but not least, we can all take inspiration from Marc last year and try the Ugly Betty look. I bet you they probably sell that poncho somewhere by now. And for something highly imitable with a trip to Walgreens, there is Betty's Halloween costume last year.

And these are all my more "creative" ideas so far. Betty Boop, cowgirl, Greek Goddess (actually not bad), playboy bunny, Barbie, Elle Woods, goth, Edie Segwick, pinup girl, Dita von Teese, cheerleader, preppy, American flag, zombie, hobo also comes to mind. But they didn't strike me as very easily achievable or creative. Any more smart and creative ideas to share?

Flared Jeans

For the past year, I've been imagining myself in a pair of plain, black, flared jeans and a simple top. For one thing, flared jeans, in my mind, form part of the going-to-college image. Another thing is, even though I've been favouring the long top and straight/ skinny jeans look in the last year or two, I've got short tops that just don't go well with skinny jeans.

But apparently, finding a pair of such simple jeans was a lot harder than I thought. I visited Barney's, Saks and Neiman Marcus near Rodeo Drive and hardly found any bootcut jeans available -All they had were skinny or high waisted, wide-legged jeans.

So I lowered my expectations and decided that I would even settle for a pair of washed, boot-cut jeans (like the Citizens of Humanity ones above.) In San Francisco, even though the new Bloomingdale's offered a wider selection of jeans, I still couldn't find my dream pair. Luckily, one of you readers suggested I go to the Blues Jean Bar -I loved it there! (Thanks for suggesting I go there btw.) You tell the saleslady what you're looking for and the size and they just pull out a few choices from their shelves. Normally I would hate a store that doesn't organise its clothes by brand names, but this is one exception.
One of the saleslady's recommendation was the new J Brand's Lovestory jeans, (technically, low-rise bell-bottom jeans.) The saleslady wasn't sure about them since they looked more like pants than jeans, but I tried them on and love them! The material is really elastic and they're tight on top and flares out at the knees, so they're comfortable, fits well and look good. If you haven't worn a pair of flared jeans in a while, go try a pair on! It's such a refreshing feeling, (and perhaps slightly odd since it's been awhile.) (I found out later that Kate Moss supposedly wore them in blue recently.)

The truth is, finding jeans that match what you want isn't actually that difficult -just go onto www.shopbop.com. But I'm one of those careful people and I wouldn't buy jeans unless I've tried them on, meaning that I'm limited to the choices sold in shops. Anyways, anyone else been trying on flared jeans again recently? And I don't mean bootcut, I mean flared!

October 15, 2007

Halloween on the Runway

I've never been much of a dress up for Halloween kind of girl. The last time I did it, I bought a witch hat and put it with the outfit I was wearing- which was a black dress and a denim jacket. Not very inspiring. But since this is my last year of college, I feel like this is my last chance to go all out for Halloween and dress up crazy and everything. With that, I've started to think of what I want to dress up as for Halloween. I don't want to be boring Halloween cliche after all and go as a playboy bunny or anything (not that I know where I am going, but thats beside the point). And so, I've decided to draw inspiration from the most creative and trendy of them all- the fashion designers. After all, there is not reason not to be fashionable on Halloween! The first designer I thought of was naturally John Galliano who loves to dress up so much himself. And luckily for us, his FW07 collection was all about costumes (isn't it always?). Here are two I pulled out: the viking look and what I would like to call, dressing up like a rose look. The viking look here is all about the hair and the rose look is pretty much just one big layered dress- oh and the make-up. Don't forget the scary red make-up. For the most part, there are lots of room for you to also look pretty in. And remember to have fun with the color of your stockings! Halloween is THE time you are allowed to be mismatched! For something more feminine and sophisticated, draw from the Dior Haute Couture show, which to me looks Venetian inspired (first two anyway). Love the cute clowns outfit. And I LOVE the askewed masks. I am currently kicking myself for leaving my Venetian mask at home sitting on my Koala bear..... Oh and there is also this blue look, which for me is in between statue of liberty (the hat, one shoulder strap and pose) and a water nymph (blue flowy skirt). Next on my list for creative talents is Alexander MacQueen. From his FW07 collection, we have the supposedly witch look (left) though to me its more like a vampire look, and the Egyptian Cleopatra look (right). Hmm... I may consider the vampire look.... that would give me a good excuse for very fun make up :P Inspirations from the latest SS08 runway. We have MacQueen again with this bird look. If you must be an animal, at least do so fashionably right? And then there is Gorgio Armani. This is actually my favourite look so far. With those pants, its an almost gypsy/genie look. And probably this is the most economical and fashionable to achieve too! Anything gypsy pants you buy may be considered an investment for next season! Back onto the Haute Coutures, Jean Paul Gaultier has the royalty look. Now all you got to decide is whether to be an western royalty or sultan. A chance to buy something rich, gold and shiny. More from the FW07 runway, we have Balenciaga with the folk people look and Dior with the farming/peasant in expensive clothes look. Any attempt at folk can be considered an investment this season (nice scarf?). And as for the farming/peasant in expensive clothes look- its all in the hat. These two looks can really be considered just looking fashionable. And lastly, try the space age neon look. This is your chance to wear bright colors all over without people wondering what you are thinking!

Image Source: Style.com

October 12, 2007

Tom Ford Sunglasses

I've never been much of a sunglasses girl. Don't get me wrong, I think they look very cool on celebs and most people around me. But personally, I just don't want to spend 300usd on an accessory that I'm going to use probably 5 times a year, (and then it'll probably go out of season.) Which is why I don't pay much attention to sunglasses in general. That is until I got bored shopping one day, I remembered that Ashley Olsen wore Tom Ford's Hawkings (iamge above,) and I tried a few pairs on. (No, I'm not trying them on only because I'm a fan of Ashley's. We have a similar face shape, which as you know, is key to whether glasses look good on one or not.)

I first tried on this pair. When it comes to sunglasses, I prefer metal frames because in my mind, metal frames seem more classic and less cheap-looking. This is one pair of sunglasses that looks trendy but basic enough that I could wear for the next few years. Unfortunately, it looked awful on me.

Then I tried on this extremely trendy-looking pair (called Whitney.) I LOVED it! It suited my roundish face and looked so cool. I liked them so much I tried them on at 3 different shops. But a pair of Tom Fords is about 1.5 times the price of a pair of Marc Jacobs, meaning that they're really expensive, even in this time when accessory prices are going up and up.

The saleslady told me that Tom Ford doesn't exactly have a FW07 collection of sunglasses, but the newer styles that the shops have at the moment are generally new colours of the SS07 styles. This is slightly comforting in that if you bought yours in the SS season, at least you'll know they're still 'in season' for the FW season. But for now, since it's almost winter, I should probably just wait for the SS08 collection. Plus, I'm really not ready to part with 300+usd for a pair of Tom Fords.

October 10, 2007

Think Pink

Its Breast Cancer Awareness month everyone, so when shopping- think pink! Here are a few of my favourite "pink" things this month that are both stylish and meaningful:
To start off with, there is the new running polo from the Pink Pony Collection at RL. To be honest, I would probably have bought it anyway just because I am a fan of polos and the running polo looks interesting. But now, they've given us a better excuse to buy it- this month all proceeds from the Pink Pony collection will go towards the Pink Pony Fund. Yes, all $125 will be put to good use! For something a little less preppy with more of an edge, there is this really cute t shirt, Live to love, from Loserkids,for the Keep a Breast Foundation. So its not pink, but I think this is the perfect color for such a t shirt. If it was pink, I don't think it would have quite the same rockin' effect. Oh and another point, these tees are printed on American Apparel t shirts- so quality control everyone! They also have a few more t shirts supporting the foundation, so check them out too. I also really like the Own Hope tee!
Following the rockin' theme, there is this Y-Me Link Tank from Presents for Purpose. For $56, you can benefit the Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization. I think the chain looks really cool on the otherwise plain white tank. From the same site, Presents for Purpose, they have pink stationary that also contributes to Breast Cancer Awareness. The cube shaped photoframe/box is my absolute favourite! I think it'll make the perfect present for anyone. Come to think of it, I bought something very similar to my best friend once for her bday and she thought I'd sent her an empty box before she realized it was a photo frame....haha.
Moving along to beauty, lots of beauty companies are also embracing this month's theme (it is fashion's favouite charity . As HG says, the pink ribbon is just sooo pretty!). Smashbox came out with this BCA Blushing Pink Fusion Soft Lights & Brush Set, for $59 and Bare Escentuals made this Pink Passion set for lips and lids for $40.
For the body, Philosophy has a Shower For The Cure shower gel, where 100% of the proceeds goes to Women's Cancer Research Fund. Then there is Lacoste with its Touch of Pink perfume. Isn't it just so adorable how they all incorporated the pink ribbon into their packaging?
Accessory wise, there is this cute cap from Ford's Warriors in Pink collection, where 100% of the net proceeds goes to Komen for the Cure. I've JUST been looking for a cap this summer to keep the sun off my face. A plain one seems too boring, a designer one seems a waist, a sports brand one feels like I'm wearing an advertisement, Von Dutch is a cliche...this is perfect! And to keep warm and pretty over the fall/winter months, the Pashmina Store is also doing a promotion this month, where 5% of the proceeds of anything pink you buy on their site will go to Komen for the Cure. A great opportunity to stock up- think of the coming cold weather and all the evenings you will have that you'll be needing a nice pashmina shawl to keep you warm and stylish! They are also divinely soft and comfy!
But for the ULTIMATE pink accessory, there is nothing quite like this limited edition Warrior Mustang, a special addition to Ford's Warriors in Pink collection. With only 2500 units around, they are available in a V-6 Premium Array Coupe or Convertible models. But more importantly, this Mustang comes with a pink ribbon and Pony fender badge, pink Mustang rocker tape striping, charcoal leather seats with pink stitching, aluminum-spoke steering wheel with pink stitching and charcoal floormats with pink ribbon and contrast stitching. I especially like how it is selectively pink, a completely pink car will be waay too Barbie. Through the sale of these hot cars, Ford hopes to donate more than half a million dollars to Komen for the Cure. Talk about a sweet meaningful ride!