Sunday, January 30, 2011


My most recent infatuation as of late: make-up, especially make-up and beauty blogs. I'm just addicted to Temptalia. That girl is gorgeous and the amount of product she reviews and the detail that goes into those reviews and the photos is simply astonishing. I won't post any photos because I haven't asked her for permission yet and I respect a girl's right to blog.

Unknown origin of photo

I'm not a big make-up person. My routine for the day consists of powder foundation, blush, eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick. I only have one powder foundation and two blushes and don't use anything else on my face. I can't stand bases and primers and concealers and bronzers and highlighters (actually...I just bought a NARS blush that doubles as a highlighter so I guess I can't make that claim on the last one) because I feel like a geisha with all that shit caked on my face. I got my make-up done by MAC for my high school prom back in ---- and I couldn't even smile for fear of cracking my countenance. Needless to say, I went home and removed all my make-up and did it again myself. One light coat of Chanel face powder, one Chanel kohl cat eye, two coats of Dior DiorShow mascara, and red Chanel lipstick.

I tend to invest on my puckers because I love bright lip colours. A lot of reviews don't apply to me because of this preference but they also don't apply to me because I simply do not understand the cult of MAC. I always liked Chanel beauty products better than MAC. I always wanted to like MAC, especially since it was more affordable for a teenager to buy their products, but every product I ever bought failed me (except for the eyeshadows - those were hit and miss) so I eventually divorced MAC and went steady with Chanel. But then I fell deep in love with the glossy black packaging and the shimmery pinks and neutrals and the double C logo.

While I was in Hong Kong, I didn't want to pay the premium on designer make-up products (Asia is extortionist when it comes to marking up retail on beauty brands) so I started checking the professional make-up brands like NARS and Make Up For Ever. Wow! Now there's a bang for your hard-earned buck. I adore Make Up For Ever products now. I learned to stop being an obsessive-compulsive brand-whore and that it was OK if not all my beauty products matched. This was when I grew up and stopped putting beauty before quality. (It was also shortly before this transformation that I stopped dating the bad boys and decided to commit to a good guy - my current boyfriend. A correlation between my dating habits and my make-up choices. Coincidence?)

I still love my Chanel products like the Glossimers, the Rouge Allures (although I'm liking these less now because I've already experienced 3 tube defects since I started purchasing them), and their brushes (superior to MAC, by far) and I still care about good packaging (MAC was a bigger disappointment in this department, for me) but I'm definitely open to all that the beautiful beauty world has to offer. This means that I'm open to trying MAC out again. There's still some products that I will never buy again, like their nail polishes, their lipglasses, and any of their face products, but I'd like to think that with all the grudges I hold for this company that I can channel some of that past, pent-up disdain into a satisfying future romance.

Did anyone else out there have bad experiences with MAC or does anyone just simply not worship them like every other beauty addict out there?


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ebay ♥ Errol Flynn

I just received my most recent clothing purchases - one coat and one cape - from Errol Flynn on Ebay! I'm just going to post the site's model photos because I want to make some alterations to the pieces before I model them myself.

Wool camel trench coat  

The arms are a bit big so I'm going to take those in.
Wool navy military cape w/ mustard lining

I really love this colour combo. The cape, however, is incredibly long so I'm thinking of chopping it in half and using the extra material to somehow turn it into this cape from Maki Maki...

Wool aubergine cape w/ red lining

I was in LOVE with this cape - the cut, the style, the colours - when it went up for auction but when the bidding went over $300, I had to tell myself to stop because I just couldn't afford it. It's really unique and although I won't try to replicate it entirely, I hope that it will look as amazing as this one.

I can't wait to wear these!

All photos courtesy of Errol Flynn except for the last one, which is from Maki Maki.


See by Chloé @ Shopbop

I'm loving the colour palette for See by Chloé's Spring collection. Here are few pieces I'm coveting from Shopbop.

V-back striped sweater
Silk crepe drop-waist frill dress

Jersey dress w/ metallic mesh shoulders

Long sleeve jersey knot dress
Lifou perforated leather cross-body bag

T-strap leather cork wedge sandals

I'm in the mood for Spring!

All photos courtesy of Shopbop


Sleepless Nights

From January 20, 1011

It's shortly past 5 in the morning and I'm wide awake. Such is my life when my body's circadian rhythm fails to coincide with that of the Earth's rotation around the Sun. I've had the problem my whole life (as far as I can remember) and regardless of how tired I am during the day, even if I've gotten no sleep the previous night, I cannot fall asleep at a normal hour.

I felt like I'd made a petite triumph back in December when I was going to bed around 1 or 2. Although that might be considered late for some, that's early for me, especially since I average around 4 or 5 am. Anyway, I'd discovered a trick to help me reach shuteye status: crossword puzzles. Don't get me wrong, I love crosswords and I adore puzzles and reading a book tends to excite me but something about reading and re-reading obtuse clues from the New York Times just put me to sleep. I was quite happy with this progress but I've relapsed and am blogging in lieu of sleeping. I have one sleeping pill left (and those rarely ever work either) but I want to save it for when I have an actual reason to get up in the morning. I don't have the schedule for my new job yet so sleeping in is still part of my current vocation.

This is all very fitting since the last book I read was Elizabeth Hardwick's Sleepless Nights. I don't have much to say about this book. It's definitely an experimental novel as there's no linear narrative. It's reads like one esoteric New Yorker's diary of her recollections and observations of the world around her. But even diaries have some sense of organization: Dear Diary: this was my day, this is how I felt about it, now this is what I'm going to do. Hardwick is all over the place and her prose is very discursive, very figurative, very cynical. Nothing great, but still a pleasant read.

 I'm looking forward to reading her collection of short stories.


The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

I was really looking forward to this book because I have a lot in common with the protagonist (the author?) I'm not Dominican but I do come from an immigrant family and I was also a ghetto nerd (minus the ghetto). Now, I wasn't nearly as nerdy as your stereotypical fanboy - I didn't play Dungeons and Dragons, I wasn't hugely into comic books or video games, and I still had friends, but Tolkien, Star Wars, and a LOT of books and alone-time helped me stay afloat in suburbia. Like Oscar, I was obsessed with the opposite sex but had no social skills, I hated running and physical exercise, I read vociferously to dull my pain and I wrote fictional stories to escape my reality.

Oscar is my homeboy.

All in all, I enjoyed this book. I love the colloquial voice and the seemingly regressive narrative (it starts with Oscar in the present day and it documents the lives of his family backwards, so after Oscar it's his sister Lola, their mother Beli, and then their grandfather Abelard). It was also extremely funny, but the humour comes at the expense of the Dominican experience under the harsh regime of the dictator, Trujillo. It's got some very heavy subject matter: sexual violence, violence, rape, misogyny, suicide, bullying, etc. but it's all presented in a very light tone but Diaz doesn't do this to diminish the potency of those travesties, but rather, he evokes a tongue-in-cheek prose to illustrate the absurdity of having a voice while you are simultaneously being silenced: the Dominicans by their own government, Lola by her mother, Oscar by the culture and society of steroidal America, and ultimately, of himself. The joking and the lightheartedness gets them all through the mess.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Jersey Shore

So my boyfriend's gone back to Pennsylvania and I'm alone again. I'm in no mood to make a real post. Plus, my Macbook adapter is broken AGAIN. All I can do now is reminisce about the summer before Craig and I both left Canada, he for the US and me for Hong Kong, and our road trip to Atlantic City. Why we decided to go to the Jersey Shore for our last [edit: penultimate] weekend together, I don't know. We took a risk on each other and thought we'd project that attitude on ourselves at the casinos?

And now we resign ourselves to watching Jersey Shore together on Thursday evenings.

An old couple I saw walking together along the beach.

I hope that we can be that happy one day.

I know we will. 
Now if only my fucking adapter would stop breaking on me, I'd be even happier.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Bleed for Fashion

Since I couldn't sleep, I decided to marathon through every post on Lily's blog, Bleed for Fashion while eating toast. This blog is amazing. It's sparse, personal but not heart-on-the-sleeve torrential, has beautiful fashion-centric photos but isn't weighted down by dozens of similar looking photos of the blogger-cum-model, and it's especially effective because I see Lily as a swankier, better-dressed version of myself. (I'm a writer and have come to terms with the fact that I will never be wealthy in life, which is ok. I prefer insatiable desire to insatiable greed). We like the same brands, have the same styles, same hair, same dysfunctional personalities, same loves and same peeves, same attitude, and same views on life.....

And yes, I got all of that from an hour and a half's worth of blog-reading. All her outfits are A+ so instead of picking the highlights, I picked the looks that I'm craving for now.

Wilfred blouse

Gucci booties

Wilfred shredded tee

I'm LOVING this lavender colour and the amount of sheerness to the fabric!

American Apparel raglan top

Siwy sequin leggings

Stella McCartney mesh heels

Nasty Gal leopard maxi skirt

American Apparel tights

Gucci ankle boot

H&M motorcycle jacket

Silence & Noise corsetry bra

Armor Jewelry body chain

Tom Ford sunglasses

Talula Babaton blazer

Le Fou by Wilfred blouse and pants

(I swear, I didn't just pick this outfit because I now work for Aritzia. I really love Wilfred's blouses and how Lily transforms the simplest light blouse into a badass outfit).

Alice + Olivia beaded crochet shrug

Alexander Wang tank

Citizens of Humanity jeans

Christian Louboutin ankle boots

Gucci sandals

Club Monaco blazer, shirt, sweater, and red tie

Christan Louboutin pumps
Christan Louboutin studded pumps


I kid about this girl being my doppelganger. I know nothing about her. I kid because I envy her shoe collection and her seemingly infinite supply of soft, slouchy t-shirts.

It's 7am now and it's about time for some more toast.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Black Swan

As many of you will learn, I absolutely adore ballet. I'm not a dancer but I revere ballet as an exquisite art form and respect the dancers who spend their lives honing their skills. It's an art form that apotheosizes the grotesque human body and transforms it into an object of divine aspiration. Why else do ballerinas dance en pointe, if not to elevate them higher and higher, closer and closer to the zenith of mortality?

With that in mind, I saw Black Swan about a month ago. I read and followed all the hype surrounding this movie for a good year or so and was expecting way too much from this film. I wanted so badly to love this film.

Natalie Portman studied dance when she was younger and she trained really hard prior to filming. Despite all her hard work, the skills were mediocre. For a film about ballet, there was very little ballet dancing. The camera lingers too long on her face and arms - arms which are far from principal dancer calibre - and doesn't delve deep enough into the douleur exquise that is ballet. And isn't that what Aronofsky tries to elucidate?

I shouldn't be nitpicky about the dancing because it's a film, not a ballet production, but I found that in addition to the poor ballet, the script was also poor, and for me, that's a dealbreaker. The overdone cliches had not an ounce of cleverness or wit to them. Caricatures only become compelling when they've been subverted by complex emotions or contradictory psychologies but Aronosfky's characters are all one-note players who spew nothing but tired cliches. Vincent Cassel's character, Thomas Leroy, the salacious, egotistical ballet director, was chock-full of these horrible, asinine quotes. The awful script read like a high school drama club play.

A friend of mine, trying to counter my position, said that "Aronofsky uses his scripts to create visuals" and that in Black Swan, "the mix of digital technique and mise-en-scene are spectacular . . . Dance as metaphor, which is Aronofsky's medium, is a more palpable way to approach ballet for a guy." And in that, I agree with him and everything he mentions in terms of the film as a cinematic medium. I do love Nina's complicated relationship with her mother. Although there was very little dialogue in that relationship, everything about it (the infantilization of Nina, the mother's vicarious thrills, their mutual obsession with ballet) is communicated superbly through set design, music, body language, props, etc.

And although I'm impartial to the doppelganger motif, I really enjoyed the extended metaphor of the black swan and the manifestation of the psyche on the body, not only in the form of self-destruction for the sake of art (bulimia, bloody toes), but also, in self-destruction as an entirely free agent of its own. It would've been easy for the film to have just been a documentation of Nina's transformation into the evil black swan but what I liked was the interrogation of the camera's perspective. We don't know if she's consciously or unconsciously expediting her transformation. I realized this when someone asked me: "Does she know she's scratching herself?" That ambiguity of whether or not she's crazy made Nina's character a little bit more interesting than the others.

A ballet movie that I'd have to recommend would be Michael Powell's and Emeric Pressburger's masterpiece, The Red Shoes, a film based on the fairy tale by Hans Christan Anderson.

Similar story (the film was made in 1948 so I expected a 2010 film to have updated the story a little bit) but it's been overturned by the inventiveness of the directors. And if you like ballet, there's an entire dance sequence in the middle of the film (it must be at least 20 minutes long). I highly recommend this British classic over Aronofsky's dark fluff.


Trend: The Sheer Blouse

I've been noticing a lot of sheer blouses for Spring and I'm not talking semi-transparent fabric with the additional insurance of a bra or tank underneath but full-on nipples-as-embellishments sheer. Check out the collections for Spring/Summer 2011:

Jason Wu

Obviously, the runway is prone to provocation and nudity is ok but no normal woman would wear once of these tops without something underneath. I've also been seeing lots of sheer button-downs with semi-sheer pockets over the breast-area. I suppose this is a more subtle way of covering up.

Jason Wu (from Fall 2010)

Rachel Comey

Jenni Kayne

Dries van Noten


And some more sheer blouses in different styles:

Oscar de la Renta

Narciso Rodriguez

Dries van Noten


Marc Jacobs

Some options:
American Apparel

Elizabeth and James


I'm really liking this trend. I think it has something to do with the ambiguity of the transparency. I love the exposure of skin without it being obvious.

All photos courtesy of, except for American Apparel photos, courtesy of American Apparel and Elizabeth and James and Vince photos, courtesy of Revolve Clothing.