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

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

Film Review: Beauty and the Beast

I did get to go watch the currently popular box office hit Beauty and the Beast this week. And I can see why it’s popular:

  • The film’s story line was richer than the original animated version Disney did, explaining details such as the reason behind why Belle didn’t have a living mother.
  • All the original songs were still sung, but there were additional new songs that got added in.
  • The costumes were true to the animated version and I personally liked the take they had on the white/blue dress Belle had in this one which seemed like it would fit in more with the setting.
  • Those who had been turned into household objects in the castle were gorgeous pieces. I thought the metamorphosis of the broom/duster from the animated film being a peacock bird duster in this one was an elegant choice.

It is one of those films that I feel like you can enjoy it whether you are a child or an adult. And you’ll most likely still like it regardless of whether you’ve seen the original animated version or not. So I personally recommend watching the film [if you haven’t yet]. I give it a letter grade A.

I decided to go with the spirit of the film and gifted my friend who went to go watch the film with me a single red rose as well! So just a fun little suggestion if you decide you don’t want to dress up like the characters or do anything too over-the-top.IMG_1579

Enjoy!

-M

 

My Pre-Ocar Films List 2016-2017

Usually when the Oscar nominations are announced, the nominated films become available for viewing in bulk the weekend(s) prior to the award night. However, I am very sensitive when it comes to sensations such as fatigue of my eyes from film viewing for long periods of time or the motion sickness felt from motions of the camera (and often made worse from the smell of movie theater popcorn).

So I have never done the bulk viewing at such events. Therefore, this year I had resolved to make a list early on in the season in November of films I decided I was interesting in watching prior to the Oscars. Of course, the nominations were not announced back then so I did not know which films would get the nominations at the time I wrote the list. Behold “the list” (with respective release dates):

Hacksaw Ridge – November 4th

Nocturnal Animals – Nov 18th

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Nov 18th

Lion – Nov 25th

Jackie – Dec 2nd

La La Land – Dec 9th

Collateral Beauty – Dec. 16th

Hidden Figures – Jan 13th

Silence – Jan 2017

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(WARNING: Do not read the rest of this blog posting if you do not want any spoiler alerts. )

Like many Oscar-worthy films tend to be, the list is dominated by films that are based on rather serious subject matter. So I did also recently view the film Fifty Shades Darker to indulge on a guilty pleasure moment with a grilled cheese sandwich. And in regards to the Fifty Shades Darker, I did actually enjoy watching this one more than the first one (Fifty Shades of Grey).

Though I applaud Natalie Portman’s transformation into former First Lady Jaqueline Kennedy in Jackie, I was a bit disappointed in the context of the film as it was very much centered around the assassination of her husband which was nothing most of us haven’t heard of (I thought it might go more into her upbringing or other parts of her life).

Nocturnal Animals is the one film I had not been able to cross off my list. However, from watching Collateral Beauty I can see how the films would explore a similar realm in going into someone’s mind in how they see things after a heartbreaking moment. The concept of writing letters to things [in Collateral Beauty] I did find fascinating. And I did think that each “thing” was represented well by the chosen actors – You wouldn’t expect anything less from such an all-star cast.

Andrew Garfield played the main character/protagonist in both Silence and Hackshaw Ridge where he is trying to stand up for his beliefs and they both take place in Japan. But I personally liked Hackshaw Ridge better. It might also be because I’m a sucker for happy endings, but the story of Hackshaw Ridge was also about something I was not familiar with, whereas I had learned about the history of Christianity in Japan in Japanese school (Silence).

Likewise, a lot of people talked about how sad it was that the story of Hidden Figures had not come out until now. But the treatment of black people by NASA and the other characters in the film was something I had become more familiarized with when I binge watched the ABC show Astronaut Wives a few weeks prior to watching the film. Even then, I really did love this film. My girlfriends and I did a lot of cheering for the leading ladies while watching it.

I was also a bit surprised at the ending of La La Land as I thought it was also going to be a happy ending since it seemed like the film was going to be a musical with lots of happy songs (which they still did have a lot of). Prior to watching the film I had heard a few people tell me that they thought the film was overrated but I personally enjoyed the dancing and the artistic color scheme of having everyone wear vibrant solids.

Fantastic Beasts was an adorable film but it might be a bit too adult for a much younger audience as it does also showcase death, abuse, etc. Even if you have never seen a Harry Potter film you should not have any trouble appreciating/understanding the film storyline. I’ve liked a lot of films Eddie Redmayne has starred in and this one seems to also agree with the shy smile-type of personality that he plays well.

With Lion, I liked how you don’t find out what the meaning behind the title is until the very end of the film. I had that experience with the film Arrival back in December (which I also unexpectedly loved). Since Saroo gets lost when he’s only five years old, it did automatically make me think back to my five year old self and what I would be able to recall and piece together had that happened to me. It’s what films do — they make you feel and interpret.

So grab some tissues and get ready to do some crying (and laughing) at the movie theaters if you haven’t already. And to all the Oscar-nominated films — congratulations!

-M

On Dating Myself

Date Example #1: Earlier this year, I went to go watch the film How to Be Single. Appropriately enough, I went to go watch the film solo. Prior to arriving at the movie theater, I stopped by Whole Foods to grab a little bit of pulled pork shoulder at the hot food bar. And then I made my next stop at the grilled cheese sandwich chain restaurant The Melt so that I could concoct myself a pulled pork grilled cheese sandwich, which I snuck in my movie theater purse to devour while watching the film. It was a perfect afternoon.

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Date Example #2: The year before that, I went to Paris by myself where I spent hours upon hours smelling tea leave samples in tea shops before deciding which ones to purchase and bring back with me to the states. Unless I was on the trip with another tea enthusiast it would have probably been torturous to have a travel companion! I would read a novel in a café sipping on such delicious tea all over Paris on this trip. Note: While Paris was not listed, I did come across an interesting article on Refinery29 of places recommended for solo female travelers.

Date Example #3: Fast forward to my current day — I am spending a relaxing weekend of having the placeIMG_0759 to myself during my roommate’s absence during the holiday weekend. Reading the book Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel, I suddenly get into a sensual mood and realize that I am free to pleasure myself as I please without having to feel discreet. It may seem odd because the book is about maintaining physical intimacy and desire with a long-term spouse/partner. But I am without that partner so I decide I would appreciate my own sexiness. I then promise myself that I would continue to occasionally do so even if I were to ever be coupled up again.


It goes without saying as I mention in my own book that I would like to fall in love again and be in that “ultimate romantic relationship” at some point if I may be so fortunate enough to meet someone. However, like a photo album full of fun memories shared with that special someone, I pride in the fact that I have these fun memories of dating myself. Whether you are dating someone else or yourself, I figured why not enjoy it?

I also strongly believe that in order for me to be a fun, loving and sexy partner to another person, I need to be so in my own company. It’s what I would think would naturally be attractive for someone else to see in me in the first place. As cliché as it sounds, it’s true that in order to love someone else you need to love yourself first.

Here’s to falling in love with myself all over again,

-M

 

My Take On the Maxi Dress

Last year, I dedicated a blog entry on celebrating my friend Muse Meileena’s birthday. When we went to ModCloth’s pop-up store in San Francisco, I tried on the maxi dress with the high-low hemline in made of multiple shades of purple.

Back in late January, I decided to purchase the dress and finally decided to sport it for a summery look over the Memorial Day weekend. It was actually in anticipation of watching the film The Huntsman, but the movie ended up not playing at the theater that my girlfriends and I went to go watch it at.

I was very close to even going as far as concocting a cape made of a similar material to give it an extra royal look for the event (Though we did end up watching the X-Men movie so if it would have not been completely inappropriate to have a cape). Instead, I made a purple peacock feather fascinator to wear in my hair.

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I no longer have my purple pair of Nina pumps but still have a matching pair in fuchsia so I decided to bedazzle them with purple rhinestones:

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Click here to buy the satin bow pumps (available in different colors too)

Pairing that all up with my purple gloves and voila:

Click here to buy a matching maxi dress in green (the purple variety is not available at the moment)

As you can see from the photos this dress is so fun to move in! It was driving the dog I live with nuts because he kept wanting to chase the hem of the dress trailing behind me every time I walked around in it (I guess the look got at least one male creature chasing after me)

As I’ve said before, one of my mottos is to to enjoy looking like a princess but not act like one.

– M

 

 

My Top 3 Celebrity Idols

My previous blog entry was about Oscar-worthy films in anticipation of this year’s Oscar awards. And when I did watch the award show, I was once again impressed by Lady Gaga’s performance of “Til It Happens to You” (her Sound of Music tribute performance at last year’s Oscars was excellent too, of course!) She is one of my “top 3 celebrity idols” so I wanted to take the time to openly express my appreciation for her alongside my other two choices: Ellen Degeneres and Clinton Kelly.


Lady Gaga

I did pay tribute to Lady Gaga by being her for Halloween in 2009 when she was quite the popular choice for Halloween costume that year. It was the year she wore the meat dress
but I particularly loved her wetsuit outfit she came out of the swimming pool in the “Poker Face” music video so I made my own version of it.

She’s obviously made quite a few fashion statements over the years and has become iconic but like her music (which I also love) she is never afraid to reinvent her style or be what she wants to be in that moment. I also admire her advocacy of anti-bullying, LGBT rights and her latest performance tribute at the Oscars of standing up against rape on college campuses.

And like the causes that are dear to her heart, I love seeing the passion and commitment she puts into all of her artistic endeavors (if you have seen any of her music videos you will agree with me that they are quite the production)


Ellen Degeneres

As an openly lesbian woman, Ellen Degeneres is also someone who has advocated LGBT rights and constantly reminds her show audiences to “be kind to one another.” However, I admit that what I came to love about her first and foremost was the ability she had to make me laugh. And even her sense of humor is “kind” in that she manages to not offend or put down people in order to make people laugh unlike a lot of other comedians out there. As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, I love a good hearty laughter and genuinely believe that it’s one of the best medicines.Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 5.39.21 PM.png

Dancing is also a great way to feel great, so I love that she always makes sure she and the show audience members make time to do that on the show.

And while Oprah Winfrey is famous for when she used to give away extravagant gifts to the audience members, I love that on Ellen’s shows she not only is generous with her gifts but is also humorously thoughtful when it comes to gifts she gives her show guests making sure they don’t ever forget her by having her face/or name on the personalized items.

I look forward to reading her book Seriously… I’m Kidding in the near future.


Clinton Kelly

Clinton Kelly may not be as well known as Lady Gaga or Ellen Degeneres. Like Ellen Degeneres he is in fact an openly gay daytime show host (he is one of the co-hosts on one of my favorite daytime shows The Chew on ABC and has previously co-hosted “What Not to Wear” with Stacy London).

But like Lady Gaga I admire his versatility that I’ve come to see on The Chew. Most of the other co-hosts of The Chew are primarily celebrity chefs but Clinton Kelly really makes the show “not just another cooking show” with his showcase of fashion, crafting, table setting/interior decoration, game hosting and his occasional singing and dance performances (in addition to his cooking abilities and specialization in cocktail making).

He is clearly the best moderator out of all the hosts and would definitely be co-host on The Chew as Whoopie Goldberg is on The View (the similarity of the show names have continued to be made fun of coinciding with the shows both airing on ABC one right after the other).


All three people in this blog posting have the commonality of being true to who they are (genuine) and are role models to me for simply having the courage of not being afraid to be so.

While I am not nearly as famous as any of these people are, I have received my share of criticism at times as a blogger or a model and even in my “more private life” as a dancer, martial artist or a healthcare provider. Some people think it’s impressive that I am able to be/do all these things (the versatility characteristic that I admire in my celebrity idols).

But it’s fair to say that I too cringe when I look back at some of the work I’ve done whether it’s some of the early modeling photos I’ve taken or blog entries I’ve written that weren’t as good. The important thing is to not let perfection be the enemy and keep practicing. As the saying goes, it’s all part of enjoying the journey.

And between my personal fashion choices or the variety when it comes to blog posting subjects, I love not being afraid to freely choose what I want to choose in that moment. If I were to limit myself to being a fashion blogger who blogs only about modern vintage fashion, it would quickly become much more difficult for me to be as prolific of a blogger because that means I wouldn’t get to blog about all the other things I want to blog about.

Here’s to finding all the different sides of you and being able to showcase that – Here’s to being YOU

-M

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“Dare to be different!” (message written inside the card)