Back to School Grown-Up Style

I recently decided to take advantage of a sale that one of my favorite online websites for shopping ModCloth had and purchased the following without knowing at the time I would be able to put together this “Back to School” look:

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But between the navy blue blazer and the plaid skirt it screams preppy. I wore my previously purchased pair of preppy brown shoes with button embellishments.

I am also a fan of lounging around in my robes and night gowns when I’m at home. And this one I got is good enough to work as a  bathrobe post-showers which I think is a perfect purchase for college dorm-bound kids:

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(The rose embellishment definitely worked for both looks!)

For those high school kids getting ready for the homecoming dance or formal dances to come this school year, I recently purchased a dress on amazon for a economical price of $63.09 and got it shortened to have it be floor length for my 5ft. 5in. height + 3 inch heels to wear to a banquet dinner:

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Click here if you want to purchase the one I wore

(Above photo courtesy of fellowShorinji Kempo kenshi and blogger Finnworld)

I liked what I got for the price but I admittedly did feel like the padding on the breast that it came with was a bit much (though the person who shortened the dress for me forgot to take the breast pads out so I left them in when I wore the dress to the event). I did pair the dress with matching earrings and lacy black gloves.

I suppose this was a celebratory event since I found out a few days later that I did pass my 5th degree black belt exam which coincided with the timing of my birthday that same week. So the dress was this year’s version of my “birthday suit” tradition I have!

It has also been a year now since I published my book amongst other milestones & anniversaries of other related/non-related accomplishments in my life so far. So here’s a reminder to celebrate by simply being proud because it’s perfectly alright to be proud of one’s accomplishments no matter how small or big.

-M

My Love for Life-Like Inanimate Objects

I’ve done a few “Look Like a Princess But Don’t Act Like One” segments now. And this month, I’ve concluded that I would be Belle from Beauty and the Beast if I had to choose a “Disney princess” to be. I admittedly do a good number of my postings on book reviews too. And who doesn’t want a sexy beast?

Click here to read the film review I wrote on Beauty and the Beast in April

I’ve been raving to my friends about my recent purchase of forks and knives after I realized that I was down to just one fork (I only started out with two when I moved into my current apartment to start a new life two and a half years ago). And the one and only fork left had a bent tip. Voila, the fork and knives I got from Paris at Pylones (where I stumbled upon during my Paris trip in 2015):

The knives are male and the forks are female. If you take a closer look they all have faces (and booties when you flip them over on the back!) And the knives have a slight bulge for a package. Gosh, it all made me laugh so much!

As some of you also may recall, from that first visit to Pylones I also fell in love with the 58Products Tassen collection and have their tea set and bowls. I mentioned in my book that I would like to eventually collect all of them! This is a portion of my growing collection:

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As you can see from the photo above, I’m also a big fan of having silicone lids for my tea cups. Pylones does usually have a number of choices in stock but I’ve also been fortunate enough to stumble upon on them in other places now too:

Click here to buy the Bumble Bee, the Kitty Cat, or the Bunny Rabbit ones I found!

Eating and tea time should be a joyous time and it certainly has become so for me. As cliché as it sounds, sometimes it’s the small things that make all the difference.

-M

Making an Ombre Headband for a Bedazzled Sweater

I live in an apartment complex where people kindly leave books for other people along with other items that they want to give away for free in the library section of the laundry room. One of my recent lucky finds was this bedazzled pink sweater that appeared to never have been worn. Like many of my other outfits, I decided I wanted to have a head piece to go with it so I decided to make a bedazzled ombre-effect headband:

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Here’s a closer look at the design on the sweater shoulder area I was inspired by in juxtaposition to the headband I made:

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Here are the materials I used to make the headband:

Step 1: Separate the gemstones according to color. There should be a variety in sizes for each color too. For a fun look, I decided to keep the colors consistent but the sizes of the stones mixed.

Step 2: Trim the ribbon according the circumference of your head of where you would wear the headband and leave extra length on (to be safe, I would leave on about an extra 4 inches on)

Step 3: Go ahead and arrange the stones on the ribbon according to how you want to have it be on the hairband. Once you’re happy, start gluing each stone onto the ribbon by applying fabric glue. Tip: It’s easier to apply the glue if you use a Q-tip

Step 4: Let it dry! I let it dry for a day and continued working on it the next day to be safe.

Step 5: Cut fairly identical-sized pieces (about 3/4 inch) from the velcro straps [from both the soft and rough surface spools]. Fold each ends of the ribbon twice and glue the folds down with the glue gun. Place the velcro pieces onto the ends (make sure you have one on the front and the other one on backside of the headband:

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In case you were wondering what the rest of my outfit looked like, I decided showing off a little leg would balance out the conservative nature of the top half so I paired the sweater with grey plaid shorts (you can wear tights or knee socks underneath during the colder months) and one of my favorite fuchsia satin heels:

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And there you go! It’s a classic look with a bit of a bedazzle~

-M

Book Review: Three Souls by Janie Chang

For this month’s book club meeting the ladies honored my book suggestion by reading this novel that was originally gifted to me by another lovely lady and I had been wanting to read it for a while now (when people find out you love to read you become that woman everyone loves to gift books to and you end up with so many that you no longer have to seek new books on your own).

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(For the purpose of privacy, I have blurred out the faces of the other book club members)

And to nourish our own souls, we indulged on high tea. Per tradition, the book club documents the books we read every month with a photo of my gloved hands holding up the book we read so I hand modeled in juxtaposition to beautiful tea cups:

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(Click here to purchase the gloves I am wearing)

The ladies of the book club are in agreement that the novel illustrates the enduring strength women had to go through in being married into families during the time period (the 1920s and 30s) and making the most of their situation or the hardships and consequence they endured when they chose other paths. It does also explore the concept of “what if” in how different each character’s lives would have turned out to be had the protagonist Leiyin not interfered.

Though the story has tragedy (ie. the novel does start off at the funeral of Leiyin so death is a constant overshadowing presence throughout the whole book) I was pleasantly surprised at how the women treated other women and their children with respect and kindness since mother-in-laws are traditionally very mean to their daughter-in-laws in the Chinese culture and even in modern times (regardless of the culture) stepmothers aren’t always nice to their stepchildren either. And while a majority of the prominent male characters turn out to be horrible, Leiyin’s husband Baizhen was thankfully an exceptional spouse (and student) to her and a father to their daughter. In a way, it all balanced out with the dark sides of the story about all the passion, secrets and betrayal.

The book pokes at the age old question about whether it’s better to lead a peaceful but long, dull life or risk a short-lived life of passion and hardships. Though I think it’s fair to say that a lot of people end up having a mix of both to a certain extent. And while some situations are beyond our control we must all live (or die) with the choices we make.

Overall, the book did end up having a good amount of twists and turns even if you know from the very beginning that the main character is dead. And as I was progressing through the book I did keep wanting to know what happens next. In a way, a lot of the book club ladies agreed that we all still felt that way when we reached the end of the book since there were questions hanging around of what ended up happening to this character or that character or how things were going to ultimately happen (like movie endings when it’s ended before you really get a chance to see what actually happens so you are left to imagine what you think would have happened).

I would give the book a letter grade A-

M

The Watermelon Dress 3 Ways

As an avid dress wearer, I decided I wanted to get one of those watermelon dresses I’ve been seeing around lately. And frankly, I couldn’t decide between all the different options of gloves, hats and shoes. So here’s 3 ways I’ve worn it (which doesn’t include other looks I have since then played around with):

Click here to buy the watermelon dress I’m wearing

Look#1: The most indoor-event friendly and hugging/kissing other people-friendly option. The fascinator makes me think of the vintage swim caps a bit which is also season-appropriate. Since it’s the only hat option that doesn’t come with a wide brim it does make it easier for the kissing/hugging of people. However, it is also very securely fastened by a band onto my head and would actually fare well in windy conditions if I were to be out and about. The minty, sea foamy sage green gloves and shoes were also with the lighter green color scheme that you see in the thin stripes of light green near the hem of the dress.

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Look #2: The farmers market look (especially if I’m picking up some watermelon there). It’s the most casual look out of the three and would also be the most practical when it comes to protecting myself from the sun. I did end up wearing the same shoes as look #1 but would ideally pair it with something of a darker green to match my darker green gloves (which I would have on so that it wouldn’t get dirty as easily as the lighter green gloves when I’m picking out fruits and vegetables at the farmers market and such).

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Look #3: The derby, polo or wedding look. This one is definitely the look I would go for at festive events where it would be acceptable for me to show some flare. The green gloves were appropriately matching the color of the fascinator and are satin so I went with a pair of one of my favorite satin heels that went with the fuchsia color of the watermelon.

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Along with my cucumbers, I have been enjoying some good watermelons lately with my balsamic vinegar and mint leaves. So whether you are eating them or wearing them as a fashion statement, I hope watermelons and all the refreshing fruits in season will help you stay cool this summer!

– M

Book Review: Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

IMG_1952One would make the assumption that with times changing (along with the technology and the introduction of online dating) that things have changed in the land of pursuing romance in the modern world.

However, in reading Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari, that the author and my fellow book club ladies are in agreement that many things have not changed. Though a good chunk of communication that used to be done via phone calls have now been replaced by text message exchanges, that silly rule of waiting to call or text someone so that you don’t appear too eager/desperate still is very much commonly practiced.

Though before the internet it’s probably very unlikely that men you didn’t really know yet would send you a dick pic enclosed in an envelope to your house. As Ansari pointed out, unless you had your own photo development set-up at home most places would not have printed out a dick pic for you during the times when photos were all taken on film anyways.

Needless to say, this book definitely lead to quite an interesting an extensive discussion amongst the ladies of the book club in regards to dating in general. We all agreed that we found the field research done in Buenos Aires, Tokyo and Paris fascinating. Living in a region of the States where we have people from all over the world, it put things into perspective of how it would be a cultural shock for both parties involved when dating someone who have different views on things like cheating, chasing, etc. In spite of these differences, it is definitely universal that marriage is becoming commonly delayed in all of these countries if ever pursued. Thank goodness for the pressure easing off for us to get married by a certain age, especially for us women.

One of the things I appreciated Ansari doing in the book is the thorough illustration of the pros and cons of technology in the modern world of romance. A lot of us remember the social stigma that used to exist about meeting someone online back when online dating was still relatively new. Such stigma still exists for newer forms of online dating such as Tinder where the common view for that App today that it’s more for casual hookups. But it was interesting to have it be pointed out in the book that when we meet someone in person (ie. at a bar) you do pretty much the same thing where you make a snap judgment/decision as to whether you are interested in that person based on something superficial like their physical appearance. So the argument was that something like Tinder would be much closer to how we would decide whether we were interested in someone or not in real life.

It admittedly has been less than a year since I have owned a smart phone and one of the features I did appreciate immediately was the ability to block phone numbers. I can delete the phone numbers I used to list as “Stalker #1,” “Stalker #2,” so on. And while I am not someone interested in getting to know someone I just met via a texting dialogue, I do think it’s nice to have the kind of ease now in being able to share things like photos and videos that you can take anywhere with someone you want to share them with. But in case it wasn’t already clear to any man reading this, please don’t send an unsolicited dick pic to a lady you just met or have not even met yet.

-M

Usage for Decorative Boxes

You may often come across these types of decorative storage boxes that are sold when you go into a store. And I personally have become quite fond of finding different uses for them so I would like to share:

1. Wine Boxes for flowers

I first did this for my mother’s birthday when I had bought some tulips for her at the farmers market and brought them into a restaurant with me. At the time, I had double layered plastic bags and filled it with a bit of water for the flowers, securing the hem of the bags onto the edge of the box opening with a rubber band. But as you can see above, you can also place a glass bottle en lieu of that as well.

2. Photo boxes for toiletries 

The bathroom sink I have does not come with drawers so this is how I store my toiletry items. Since I have an nautical anchor theme going on in this room, I keep decorative boxes on shelves that go well with the theme.  I also prefer keeping the tissue box design to also look oceanic for that reason!

3. Parties and Special Occasions 

Parties too often have some sort of theme to them and I recently helped chip in for a friend’s baby shower by providing party favors that coincidentally also went well with my ongoing anchor and nautical theme I had going on in my bathroom. So I went and got another larger photo box that had the nautical look to it and customized the lid with the baby’s name in hopes of it becoming useful for the nursery since I kept with the look the parents-to-be came up with for the room. I stuffed it with heating/cryotherapy pads I had made to go with the “relaxing” beach theme that was requested for the shower (for which I also used nautical anchor printed fabric to stay consistent).

4. Hat storage 

When people discover my love for hats and gloves and realize how much of it I own, one of the questions that usually come up is how/where I store them. Since most of my clothing shopping is done online, my hats do not come with a hat box like they might if I were to purchase them at a fancy hat store. The deeper rectangular shaped ones are great for storing some stacked sideways (this works for hats that do not have wide brims) and the smaller, rounder shaped ones make for great use in traveling with relatively compact-sized fascinators and hats that you don’t want to have be crushed inside your suitcase by the rest of your items.

These decorative boxes are typically categorized as nesting boxes. Though the wine boxes might be a bit more difficult to find online they can also be called nesting boxes.

Though there’s the phrase “think outside the box”  —- I would like to think that I am thinking about what to put inside the box.

-M