April 30, 2008

Spring/Summer Nail Varnish!

Just when I found the perfect winter nail shade (just in case you were wondering, it is the Essie Sole Mate. It is the perfect rich deep dark purple, with just a hint of red!) , spring comes around. Not that I'm complaining, I can't wait for the weather to get warmer and the sun to shine. Although now it means my nail colors will have to change along with it- to get into the spring mode you know. But I am kind of tired of the pale white pinks that I usually favor for warmer weathers. As classic as they are, it does get a bit monotonous after a while. AND it is super hard to apply properly (this might also be due to my lack of nail varnish applications skills- though I'd like to point out that I have no trouble with the darker colors! Odd, I know).
So I started to consider other colors suitable for spring. Flicking through the Essie advertisements (Yes, I have a preference for Essie!) bright pink crossed my mind (left: Secret Stash). As much as I wanted to try something new though, bright pink does seem a bit too much. I AM 21 now. Not quite Barbie. Then I considered pale purple (right: Looking for Love). It is subtle but still quite different from pale pink. But then I quickly rejected the idea- that is just TOO weird. Its just not a color one would relate to nail color! Kind of like how it is odd for people to put pale blue/purple lipstick on their lips!
After much consideration, I finally found the perfect color, Ball-timore (left). It is the perfect coral pink, with the sharpness of a super bright pink but toned down by orange/coral tones. I simply LOVE LOVE LOVE it. It is youthful and fun with a hint of sophistication. The other color I bought is Hard to Get (right). A more intense version of my usual pale pink hues, I thought this would just be fun and girly to play around with.I also wanted to get a nude color, like this (above: bags to riches). This one is the definition of sophistication and simplicity. But alas, it was getting rather expensive (they hiked the price up in the place I usually go to!!!).

Image Source: Essie

April 29, 2008

Are Eco-Friendly Bags Worth It?

In my head, eco-friendly bags usuallt mean low-priced, off-white bags with some kind of save-the-earth type of message printed on it. Obviously, I've got Anya Hindmarch's "I'm not a plastic bag" bag -the first famous eco-friendly bag imprinted in my head. Back then, they were sold for 5 pounds each in the UK. (The whole craze for the bag is another story.) But clearly with over-demand, many other designers have tried to come up with smart slogans to put on suppsedly eco-friendly bags. I've managed to ignore that trend up until two weeks ago, I found this (literally) happy-looking bag in my mum's paper shopping bag.

No, my mum didn't buy it. She bought a jacket and the bag was a gift for shopping at Seibu, a department store in Hong Kong. We didn't think anything of it until we got home and discovered a HK$500 price tag on it. Wait, $500?! Yup, that was our reaction. We were kind of confused with why this bag would cost $500 in the first place and why the department store gave it away as a gift. I mean sure, the green smiling tree is sort of cute and it does have Moschino printed on it, (-as we all know, anything with a brand name printed on it allows it to be priced above what we think it ought to be worth,) but is it really worth 500hkd? (-500hkd is around 64usd or 30 pounds.) My point is not that I'm complaining about wasting my money on it because it was free, but that who would pay that much for it in the first place? And what you may not be able to tell from the photo is, this bag is small! It is probably the most impractical eco-friendly bag I have ever seen. Even the "I'm not a plastic bag" bag is more practical since it was wide (making up for it's lack of depth.) Plus, there was no message tag attached and the saleslady didn't even explain the point of the bag. Perhaps the proceeds of the bag goes to an unmentioned charity?

Anyway moving onto the Feed Bag. BG blogged about the first style last April. Recently, Lauren Bush released Feed 2 Bag. I have to admit the reason I looked it up was because I was surprised by the 50pound price tag when I saw it in Tatler magazine. But after reading the Harrods website, I am actually convinced it is worth it -According to Harrods' website, "each Feed 2 Bag sold will provide a year's worth of lunch meals in school for two children in need" for the UN World Food Programme's school feeding program. As for the design, it is reversible and made of 100% organic fair-trade material. OK, I can't claim to fully appreciate how 'green' the material is, but the cause actually sounds solid and worth it. I'm assuming people use these eco-friendly bags as their grocery-shopping bags, not to replace their Chanels, so even though it's not supremely stylish, it looks fit for the job, (although I would much prefer one that didn't have "Harrods" imprinted on it.)
What do you think of the whole eco-friendly bags trend in general? Do you use them for grocery shopping? Have you bought any?

Image Credits: http://www.harrods.com/

April 27, 2008

The Nokia 7900 Crystal Prism on eBay

Hey people, you know the pretty purple Nokia phone that I blogged about a few days ago and some of you have been wanting to buy it? Well you can now! Since we are the kind of girls who want practical phones with classic, silver designs, (largely because we travel between countries a lot and Hong Kong is one of those places where phones are not attached to phone plans, unlike the UK or US,) we have decided to follow in Style Bubble's footstep and put this Prism up for auction on Ebay (UK). If you are a fun girly girl who wants this phone before it gets released, place a bid here!

April 26, 2008

Uniqlo UT Project 08

Two weeks ago, the new Uniqlo ad in Grazia (a UK glossy tabloid) featuring Chloe Sevigny really caught my eye. I'm not a fan of Chloe's style, (actually I wonder why people love her style so much,) but I really liked how the black tank top fits her here. Doesn't Chloe look very casual rock chic? And the other big attraction? The fact that the ad is by Uniqlo means that the shirt is actaully affordable!
Uniqlo's collaborations with designers to produce capsole collections are usually much talked of on the Internet. But UT Project seems much more accessible to me. UT Project is basically where Uniqlo collaborates with a bunch of artists and designers to make printed T-shirts. Depending on the designer, not only are the print designs different, but even the fitting of the t-shirts is different. You can probably tell from the few pictures of Chloe modelling them.
The most popular (and publicised) t-shirts seem to be the Basquiat t-shirts (-they're the ones Chloe is wearing in the first two pictures.) I bought the tank top on the left and I love how it's really long, and it's got a slit on one side so you can tie it together the way as shown in the ad. It's going to be one of my lazy-day shirts this summer!
I think the Osamu Tezuka t-shirts are kind of cute. Don't they look so easy to throw on? I imagine wearing them to hang out at a friend's house.
But I'm really not a fan of the surfing-looking t-shirts like the one on the right. (A bunch of people back in high school used to wear surfing t-shirts to school everyday and I think I've been scarred by them.) And I really don't know how to appreciate art because the print on the left t-shirt just looks ugly to me.
The long blue shirt on the right is one of the more special designs. And as for the shirt on the left, it didn't look so pretty to me until I saw it modelled on Uniqlo's Japanese website. Those blobs of green look just like the blobs of colours I'm trying to add to my wardrobe!
We all know celebrities and ads always make things cooler, so if you want some idea how how to dress-up these ordinary T-shirts from 'normal' people, take a look at the images on the Japanese UT website. (Speaking of which, why is the Japanese Uniqlo site so much better and complete than the US and US Uniqlo sites?) It has many girls posing in the tees, giving the tees many different styles -from hipster to cutsy to rock chick to boringly ordinary. Actually, even if you're not a fan of Uniqlo, you should take a look at how they styled the girls for inspiration!

Image Credits: http://www.uniqlo.co.uk/, http://ut.uniqlo.com/

April 23, 2008

Clip on Bangs

For a while now, I've wondered what I'd look like with straight bangs. When I found out that my friend managed to avoid the whole "awkward" growing out stage when she got tired of her straight bangs by getting extensions, I seriously considered getting them.I mean, doesn't Alexis Bledel look sooo cute and pretty with straight bangs? Of course, I know that what works for Alexis might not work for me, but I figured that since I have a long face and already have side bangs anyway, I can't go too wrong with straight bangs. I am kind of want to get a new look anyway. Alas, the the prospect of regular maintenance, the fear that it won't suit me after I've cut it and my upcoming graduation (and therefore I don't want to do anything to screw up my hair), stopped me from getting straight bangs.
The other day, flicking through my cousin's teen magazines, I saw the most interesting thing: clip on bangs. How smart! How come I didn't think of that before? So, the next time I went to get my hair done, I consulted my hairstylist, Roy, on the use of clip on bangs. He said that he sometimes used them when they are on location and don't have that much time to style hair properly and that they used it for hair product ads (I was very disappointed to find out that the long, shiny, silky locks models have in hair product ads are fake). He told us that they actually sold them a few blocks away from the salon. At that, HG and I immediately headed over there to get one each. I even brought it back to the hair salon, so Roy can give my clip on bangs a trim. He actually made me go back to return them, because the ones I got were too short. He advised me to get longer clip on bangs. That way I can clip it further back on my head, so that I can cover up the obvious line where it clips on, with my layers. For the shorter bangs, you'd need to wear a headband or something to cover it up.

Excited I immediately went home to try it on. While the concept of clipping your own fringe back, clipping on the fake fringe at the side (I've pointed out the clips with the blue arrow above) and then covering it with your layers sounds very simple, it turns out to be a very difficult task. Trust me, I've given it many many tries over the last 2 weeks and have still to master it. I am tempted to blame it on my inability to use a bobby pin, but I'm beginning to suspect that they are just impossible to put on properly. First it is very hard to clip it onto your hair, because it needs to grasp onto some hair first (difficult to explain properly, but the point is, its hard!). Then, when you DO get it clipped on, it is NOT STRAIGHT. And you cannot have straight bangs that are not straight. If you DO manage to get it half straight and your real bangs are not falling out at this point, you face the problem of color. Apparently, there are many shades of black. I thought that my hair would be fine, since I already dye it an artificial blue black and the clip on bangs were an artificial black as well. But NO. I took it out for a quick 15 minute test drive this weekend (once I FINALLY got it on half way decently) and took a picture. EWW. Not only was the color a bit off, but I totally looked like I had a MOP on my head. Maybe I just don't know how to get it on right? Anyone tried them?

So yes, my awesome clip on bangs idea turned out not to be such a good idea after all.

Image Source: Yahoo TV

April 21, 2008

A Weekend in Boston

Just when I was about to hit "Publish" last week a "Warning" sign popped up and claimed that the our blog had been LOCKED by blogger spam-blog prevention robots and that until it was verified that this was an actual blog, we cannot publish anything. I was flabbergasted! What IS this?? Blogger really needs to rethink this strategy of theirs. I hope this is only a one time thing. We were beginning to worry that our blog will NEVER be verified. Thank god it has! FINALLY. But yes, in case you were wondering, that is why we haven't been posting for the last week.


Deciding to take advantage of my excess mileages, status as a part-time senior (read: minimal school work) and free housing before my friends graduate in May, I went off to visit Boston this weekend since I've never been and it is definitely on my list of places to go.
My first stop (since I was living there) was Tufts. I absolutely love the collegiate feeling of the campus. Everyone had so much school spirit! The Tufts mascot, Jumbo (left) was everywhere. Now I'm really sad my school does not have a mascot.... Another point of interest is the painted canon (right), sorry I forgot to take a larger picture of it. It is tradition for Tuft students to paint this canon and then stay overnight to guard it while it dries. From this close up picture of many many layers of dripping paint, you can see how many Tufts student has carried on this tradition. One suspects what the original size of the canon might have been. When we went that morning, the paint was still wet.
The next stop for us on the T was Harvard Square. I'm afraid I didn't know the Harvard campus very well and got tired once we reached the quad with the library/cathedral and took a picture with John Harvard. And no, I did not touch his feet... it is rumored that it has been peed on many times. Later on I found out that I missed paying tribute to the first computer ever made and some other Harvard sights as well, but oh well maybe next time. I did walk around the area though, and it was very quaint and cute.
Then we hit Quincy Market (left), which for those who don't know is a big long food hall (like those in a mall) in a pretty, classical looking building. The area around it was also very interesting. Cobbled stone and lined with restaurants, I imagine it would be really cute on a nice day. There was also a restaurant named after "Cheers" (the TV show from many years ago that Fraser was in) there complete with a gift shop. But I hear the original one, named the Bull and Finch, is actually near Boston Commons.
Then we walked over to the North End, which I guess is their waterfront (think The Rocks & Darling Harbor in Sydney and Fisherman's Wharf in San Fran). Compared to the bustling waterfronts of Sydney and San Fran though, this one was a bit quieter (prob because it was a gloomy rainy day). But it was lined with adorable lamp posts and gorgeous townhouses and the effect was just wonderful. Its so nice to walk along.
Near that area, is Little Italy, which has a lots of delicious Italian restaurants on a series cute little streets. After dinner, we stopped by Mike's Pastry and tried their canoli's. It was really good. And the place was bustling with people. My friend claims that she thinks that the canoli's taste even better than some of the ones she's tried in Rome!
The next day, we hit the downtown area. We went to Boston Commons, the MA State House (left) and then strolled along the elegant streets of Beacon Hill (right: the prime real estates of Boston).
We passed by the park (left: sorry I forgot the name) and onto Newbury street (of course) and stopped by for lunch in one of those cute little cafe's there (right). I'm SO glad that Saturday morning was such a nice, sunny day.
After lunch, we went to do our touristy thing at Copley Square, taking pictures of the Boston Public Library (left) and the Trinity Church (right).
I especially LOVED the Boston Public Library. It was surprisingly gorgeous, with a lovely peaceful courtyard (left), an beautiful mural stairway (right) and a room that had a huge dome ceiling, rows and rows of tables with little green lights on them and lots and lots of people studying there (again, I didn't catch the name). But once you walk in, you are instantly accosted by a sense of awe, as if you've entered a sacred study sanctuary. It was so sacred that we didn't dare make a peep or a camera click before we hastily left, in fear that we'd disturb any of those intently studying there. I've never professed to love a library, but I love this one. It actually makes me want to study!
One of the most interesting shops I visited in Boston was Johnny Cupcakes on Newbury Street (*gasp* not fashion related!). Upon seeing Johnny Cupcakes, I insisted we go in, because as most of you know, I LOVE dessert. But once we entered, I immediately looked for the cupcakes.... and saw none. Instead there were only t shirts being sold in baking trays and freezers.. where the cakes were supposed to be! Then we caught "story" of the store, which began with, "I started this as a joke." We had a good laugh.

Another shop of interest was Black Ink (right) at Harvard. It sold a variety of very cool gadgets, games, kitchenware and gimmicks. I especially want the cute plates and the baking recipe box filled with Betty Crocker recipes! It is an awesome place to get people fun and interesting gifts.
50% of the reason why I wanted to come to Boston was because I wanted to try the desserts at Finale. Everyone I know whose been to Boston has come back and told me that I'd LOVE Finale. And so, on a rainy night, we went to the Finale at Cambridge. And I DO love it. The upscale decor and the gorgeous looking desserts got me instantly hooked. I wanted a cupcake, a cheesecake, a boston cream, a chocolate cake... I wanted everything. In the end, my friends shared a Fantasia (right)...
and I settled on a creme brulee (left) and a molten chocolate cake (right). Yes, I got both. And yes, I finished both too. Our server was very impressed. They're both the "signature" dish there and really, you can't take either home, what else can I do? After trying both, I must say, the chocolate molten cake was only so-so, but the creme brulee was absolutely DELICIOUS. Completely divine. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I also took home a cheesecake, a tiramisu and a Boston cream. The Boston cream was ok. But the cheesecake and the tiramisu was quite good. Not too sweet, with a rich milky flavor.

Over all I really loved Boston. It was just so quaint and collegiate- something I do not feel in my own college. And I'm already missing the creme brulee!!!!!!!

April 14, 2008

H&M's Tribute to Marimekko

If you've been up-to-date with your online fashion news, you would have read that various blogs and sites are anticipating H&M's 'Tribute to Marimekko'. You may have wondered what the heck is Marimekko. Well, at least I did. According to H&M's press release, Merimekko is "the Finnish textile company that has thrilled since the 50s with its bold, bright colour." It's apparently "well known for vibrant bold simple prints," and oh, get this: "It was fashion icon Jackie Kennedy that put Marimekko on the international map when she wore their dresses during her husbrand's 1960 presidential campaign."

And if you were anywhere near an H&M store over the weekend, you would probably have noticed that the collection is out. Actually I don't think anyone could have walked by an H&M store and not notice the collection -the collection basically consists of a bunch of crazy, colourful prints. My friend and I went into the Reagent Street store on Friday night and all I thought was, as if H&M wasn't hard enough to navigate -now these crazy garments are making the store layout even more confusing! You can obviously tell that I was not impressed by the window display or the clothes inside the store.

When I got home, I checked it out properly online and let's just say it didn't look any better online. Now I admit I am not a particularly creative or crazy dresser, but I'm usually pretty open to old and new designs out there (as long as I'm not buying it.) But all the clashing colours and the prints were just too much for me.

These pants are just crazy! They look more costume-perfect for a music video or Halloween. I hope I actually see someone wearing them on the streets just so I can see how they look in action!

And the designers seemed to really like the maxi-dress -a silhouette that I'm not too fond of, and the maxi-skirt. I just think the manequinns look like they have bedsheets or curtains wrapped around them! Plus, I'm really not a fan of the combinations -I can't stand that shade of army orange and green together!

I did find this pink and blue blouse, and black and white dress to be ok. (Although certainly not ok enough for me to buy them.)

I thought the best items out of the collection were the swimsuits, although that doesn't say much for the collection since I don't even have much of an opinion on swimsuits to begin with.

This collection is meant to "take you all the way from the city street to the heat of the beach." I can only picture myself on city streets and possibly small cities in the EU, so obviously I am not this collection's target customer. Maybe that's why I don't like this collection. I just don't understand why some of the blogs and sites out there were so excited about it. Am I the only one who isn't impressed with the collection, or do I simply not know how to appreciate it?

Image Credits: http://www.hm.com/

April 13, 2008

Thank You Gifts

Due to limited resources and unlimited wants and the fact that we can't read each other's minds, a few years ago, my friends and I decided that the best gift to give each other was no gift at all. By canceling each other's presents out, we effectively saved each other the trouble of thinking of what to get and wasting resources on something that we do no want. Instead we can concentrate our resources on what WE want, which makes complete logical and economical sense to us.

But on occasions, gifts to friends are warranted. Thank you gifts for example. More specifically for me, thank-you-for-letting-me-stay-at-your-place-rent-free-while-I-visit-the-city gifts. Getting something for your host in that case seems like the polite thing to do. But what to get? That is always a huge headache. Ideally you want to get them something that they'd want/use. Some of my ideas.

For the two times that I stayed with HG in London in the last two years, I've given her the Benefit Realness of Concealness set (left) and the Caudalie eye cream (right). Do be careful giving away concealment make-up though, because anyone not so close to you may think that you are giving them a hint about their zits and dark circles. HG and I don't have this problem, but I get the feeling that it was fun to try out but not so useful in the long term. I understand. Its hard to beat the YSL touche eclat when it comes to dark circles. Ultimately I think she liked the eye cream better since it is more useful. Something more useful and in the moment, would be just to offer to pay for something that you're doing together. For example, I treated my friend to a day at Six Flags this Thanksgiving when I visited her in San Diego (yes, I went all the way to SD just so we can drive 2 hours away to LA for Six Flags). I thought she appreciated that more than if I'd given her something like face cream- especially when I don't know which one she uses!
Even easier, you can take a page from HG and my friend T's book from when they visited me in Chicago last fall, and just treat to a meal. They treated me to my favourite thing of all- steak. A genius, clean, practical and easy gesture that is MUCH appreciated. If your host is a huge family and treating them all to steak is not economical for you, try breakfast. Any meal is appreciated.

But if you encounter a super super super nice, warm and friendly host/family who would simply never let you pay for a meal (and so probably no point trying), you can always resort to chocolates. When it comes to such a situation and there is more than one host, something that everyone likes and can be shared, like chocolate, is the best one can do. These are from See's (above). Usually I'd say go for Godiva, but their site was acting weird.
Always aspiring to be personal etc, I decided to give the more personalize gift another shot. For my weekend in Boston (this weekend), I got my friend E a black and a white kohl eye liner from Mac. I know, it sounds weird. Here are two pencils, thanks. Not exactly a very present looking present. But I like to think that they will be super useful. Who does not need black eye liner? And HG and I personally think that the Mac kohl pencils are the best (we've already converted so many of our friends to it). They go on so smoothly and it smudges less than other brands that we've tried. And the white eyeliner would be perfect to try out the white eye liner trend from last season and to just subtly open the eyes. Fingers cross she'd like it!

And those are my ideas so far. What do you all generally give as thank you gifts to people? Or am I just thinking too much about this topic?

Image Source:
Sephora, Mac, See's Candies and Ruth's Chris

April 11, 2008

S/S08 Trend: Translating the Lanvin Ruffles

Lanvin's S/S08 collection was one of my favourite S/S08 shows. I liked the vibrant colours, the ruffles, the way the silk dresses seemed to flow around the models -everything was just so gorgeous. Unfortunately, Lanvin's not exactly the most accessable brand -its designs are admired by the fashion crowd but they don't get copied too much by highstreet stores (compared to other brands like Balenciaga and Miu Miu,) and of course, most people can't afford Lanvin clothes -maybe some people can afford the accessories.

The huge ruffles was one of the main features. It came as part of a one-sided top and dress.

Ruffles sashaying on both vertical sides of the dress.
Ruffles becoming the main feature of the dresses.
The beige, one-sided, ruffled dress by Lanvin is available at a Zara near you! -In linen (or some other rough material) rather than silk though.

So when I first thought of ruffled clothes, the first thing that came to mind was Rebecca Taylor's ruffled camisole -it's one of the most wearable item, and it's kind of affordable yet still looks classy because it's made of silk. If only I had 212usd to dish out.
Rebecca Taylor's also got this tie-dye dress. Normally I am nota fan of all things tie-dyed, but I love this dress! It's got just the right amount of ruffles and the way it 'ruffles' downwards in the direction of the changing colours -it's so pretty! I imagine it would be such a great day or night summer dress -I want!
For something very casual, Ella Moss's Abbey Tank Dress is a daydress candidate -although I'm not too sure about the elastic band in the middle. For something more girly and that can be for both day and night, I like this purple, layered dress by Madison Marcus.
Top Shop's got these one-shouldered, chiffon-like material, girly dresses. I'm always not sure about these dresses because they seem too formal, or black & white for daytime, I'm don't know where I'll wear them to for nighttime either.

I just think they're so pretty!I really like this Top Shop Boutique dress because the colours are so 'now' and the design is so wearable. Too bad I wasn't in London when it was released because they've run out of sizes online, as usual!
This black dress by Ong is from last season, but I like that it's simple and doesn't scream 'girly', yet the fabric on one side makes the dress more interesting.
Always on top of dress trends, AKA already has a one-shouldered, ruffle top and ruffled, strapless dresses available. They do kind of remind me of the Lanvin style!
This is one of Lauren's more interesting dress choices -usually her choices are sort of boring -and I really like it! I think this Geren Ford dress has got just the right amount of ruffles along both sides to liven up the basic dress, but the dress still feels unfussy. The colour is vibrant and it looks young (short dress) and fun -how very The Hills!
PS. Yes, I realise not all ruffled clothes were inspired by Lanvin, and some of these clothes don't look particularly Lanvin-inspired, but it's convenient to group them all here!