January shopping

My 2012 shopping pledge has been remarkably easy so far! Yes, it’s only been one month. Baby steps. We’ll see how things go later this year.

Had it not been for this pledge, I would have hit the stores hard in the past few weeks. It’s been a tough time for me, everything has been very unsettling with all the work drama going on, and my coping mechanism is generally to go shopping “to take the edge off things.” Not so. I’ve been comfort eating instead, but that’s another issue for another time.

Also, this month may not be the best indication of how the year will go, because of the new items I picked up when I was in Boston over Christmas. I went a little nuts in December, which spawned this whole “I must cut back!” phase.

Anyway, I have bought my January item, and it’s not even very exciting:

lululemon Wunder Under Pant

I call this a necessary purchase, because it’s time I stopped buying those American Apparel leggings that rip along the inside thigh within two months. Lululemon isn’t cheap, but if these are anything like the Groove Pant I’ve had since 2004, I’ll save a ton of money in the long run. Also a bonus that I can wear these in my casual weekend life and actually exercise in them, if I were so inclined to exercise, but that’s also another issue for another time.

So it’s only been a few weeks, but I think there’s been a change in my shopping habits. No more mindless shopping. No more buying something because it’s “good enough” and “yeah, I’ll probably wear it.” Now I always have in the back of my mind that I’m only buying one thing, so it better be something good. No, it better be something GREAT.

But even though it’s going well, I’m now wondering if I should have tacked on some more rules to this resolution. Or maybe thought it through a little more. The purpose and the spirit of this exercise is to spend less money and accumulate fewer things. So it’s not within the spirit of my goal if I buy one thing that’s $500+ (like, say, these Louboutins). Maybe a budget limit would be better, like $200 total, but then I could go out and buy 10 $20 pieces at H&M and that’s not within the spirit of the goal either. And what about the small things? I also bought a 5-pack of grey socks ($13) and a new pair of wool gloves ($11) this month but I didn’t count them, should I?

As usual, I think I’m overthinking things. I’ll stop now and go have some chocolate to calm down.


Review: HANAair Professional Hair Dryer

This is my sad tale of hair woe.

I have a lot of of fine, somewhat wavy (but not in a manageable way), prone-to-frizziness long hair. I’m completely hair incompetent. I can’t braid my own hair to save my life, and I never wear my hair in a ponytail because that’s “hard”—I can never get it smooth enough, or messy enough to look purposefully dishevelled, I just end up looking like I don’t know how to put my hair in a ponytail. My idea of hairstyling is putting my hair through a straightening iron. But I started to care more about my hair last year, when I bought a styling wand and started to curl/wave it.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been testing the heck out of the HANAair Professional Hair Dryer, thanks to Brian from Misikko (an online store specializing in blow dryers, flat irons, and curling irons of all brands, basically all your hair needs) who sent me one to review.

As usual from Misikko, the box came packed with extras. Seriously, it was like a clown car of hair products—I kept unpacking, and I kept finding more goodies.


The dryer is in their somewhere, under the sleepshade, eyelash curler, nail files, hand sanitizers, HANA Shine Shield, and full-size Paul Mitchell shampoo and conditioner. Oh, and the stuffed monkey.

I’ve been testing the heck out of the dryer for the past few weeks, in all different scenarios: on wet hair straight out of the shower, on hair that’s been air-dried first, on the medium setting, on the high setting, with the concentrator nozzle, without the nozzle, etc. It’s a good weight (feels heavy out of the box, but quite comfortable while actually using it), with plenty of options for heat and speed.

There’s still a little frizz, but I think that’s due to my incompetent blowout rather than the dryer itself. (I’m sure if I learned to master these steps, I’d get better results.) Still, my hair felt very soft, silky, and healthy, with much less frizz than I was getting before, and much faster than any other dryer I’ve used. During the week, I wash and dry my hair at night, and if I spend the time doing a good blowout, I can sleep on it and just run a brush through my hair in morning, or I just blast my whole head dry in 3 minutes before I go to bed and then spend 2 minutes with the flat iron in the morning. I’ve been raving and raving about it to anyone who would listen, definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a premium hair dryer and willing to pay a higher price. (Read other blogger reviews here, here, here, here,here, and here.) I’m really impressed with Misikko as a company too, so much so that I’m planning to buy a HANA Professional Flat Iron as soon as my budget allows it (I’m sure I could cut that 2 minutes down to 1 with it).

Oh, and the monkey? He found a good home at my friend’s office.


glass half empty

Sometimes it’s a struggle for me to see the bright side of things, and this week has definitely been a “glass half empty” kind of week. My coworkers have commented that I seem really bummed out, and yep, that about sums it up. Doesn’t help that I haven’t been sleeping well. It’s really really hard to stay positive when all you want to do is crawl back into bed and sleep forever.

But at least my outfit today is okay? Or is it? I don’t even know anymore.

Anthropologie Volante Tee (Deletta) | Anthro Sumukhwa Skirt (Maeve) | Wolford Satin Opaque tights | Michael Kors heels

TFGIF tomorrow.


ice cream, NOW

I’ve had the kind of week that would end with an entire bottle of wine, if I were a drinker. Since I’m not, it’ll be ice cream, and lots of it.

Anthro Slung-Sash Tee (Bailey 44) | J.Crew Jenna’s Cardigan | Anthro Goban Pencil Skirt (Maeve) | Wolford Satin Opaque Tights | Michael Kors heels

I need to work on the lighting; you can’t see the pattern on this skirt at all. Also, not my best hair day.

But that’s not the reason for drowning my sorrows. My manager (former manager, really)  was laid off on Wednesday and when it happened I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. You never want to see that even when you don’t like the person, but it’s worse when it’s someone you like and respect. He was a great manager, there’s no schadenfreude here at all. He’ll be fine, though. It just really sucks. More sugar, please.


Blowing my own horn

The end of the year/beginning of a new year means performance reviews at work, and I sat down to have mine with my now-former manager last week. Nobody likes doing reviews (the process is so long and drawn-out), but there is value in them, particularly in the sitting down with the boss and talking about how things went. And it did reinforce something I already knew about myself: I am not very good at self-promotion. I scored myself low on my self-review, and my manager kept asking me why I didn’t score myself higher. Part of it is that I don’t want to get shot down, but mostly I don’t want to seem like I have a swelled head. Personally, I despise arrogant, cocky people, even if they do have the goods to back it up (but a lot of them don’t).

I’ve said this before, but I’m totally a girl of contradictions. I aim for modesty in my life…but here I am, with a personal style blog where I take pictures of myself and put them up on the interwebs.

Nobody really knows about it, because I am afraid that friends and colleagues will think I’m incredibly vain and I’m all “LOOK AT ME! I’M SO PRETTY!” because that’s not who I am. It’s hard to reconcile…but I’m going to keep taking pictures of myself and blogging anyway.

Anthro Drape & Twist Tee (Postmark) | J.Crew Jenna’s Cardigan | ayala bar necklace | Anthro Sumukhwa Skirt | Wolford Satin Opaque tights | Michael Kors heels

And as for self-promotion at work…I know I have to get better at that, because if I don’t blow my own horn, no one else will.


Anthropologie catalogue: January 2012

January 2012
cropped cable pullover, dappled sea blouse, AG leopard leggings – I’d love to be on a deserted beach somewhere right now. It doesn’t even have to be hot. Sweater and jeans weather like this would be fine.

tie-front buttondown, blue rainier cami
– "and when I lay with you, I could stay there, close my eyes, feel you here forever, you and me together nothing gets better."

patched heather hoodie, blue rainier shorts; curved stripes dolman, stand-in slip
– I don’t really know what the clothes really look like from these shots

slim bubble wrap vase, glebrook bed, cockatoo duveet cover, flutter sheet set, bowled over lamp base, linen ladder curtains; badminton maxi chemise

scuffed stripes pullover, pleated optic palazzos, canvassed cork wedges, awash rug, illusion bench
– oh hey, that’s Victoria’s Secret model Behati Prinsloo.

crushed rose mini-dress; crepe myrtle shirtdress, tortoise cirque belt

pink cottage blouse, tortoise cirque belt, citizens of humanity fusion wide-legs, diamond-sliced wedges; breezed crochet pullover, kudzu skirt

en pointe flats; pulled tides wedges, diamond-sliced wedges; tied-shoulder tank, yarn plumes skirt;  tufted dots sweater, longtail tee, current/elliott stiletto crops; tape yarn pullover; square gradients tote, grass court dress

cropped cable pullover, dappled sea blouse, AG leopard leggings

bike lane dress, scalloped perimeter belt

industrial stitching floor lamp, hidalgo bed, camille duvet cover, camille sheet set; sundown crochet maxi dress, diamond-slice wedges, cordoba bench

gilded raffia necklace, pleated optic maxi dress

cropped keyhole cardigan, dried larkspur skirt, camille duvet cover, camille sheet set

chiffon swing dress – lots of lying in bed in this catalogue…I like it.

crest-cut wedges, pierina bow pumps


Black and… white?

I wear a lot of black. The staples in my closet a black sleeveless top, a black pencil skirt (I have two, actually), black tights, and a black cardigan. But white is not a colour I wear often.

Club Monaco dress | J.Crew Jenna’s cardigan | Wolford Satin Opaque tights | Michael Kors heels

I don’t have any rules about wearing white in the winter or anything like that (although I do tend to feel a bit “bridal” in all white), I’m just clumsy and I can’t keep anything white clean. Black is so much more forgiving for a spaz like me.

Black + White | Everybody, Everywear


Keep calm, and carry on.

I’m already putting my motto to good use this year, and it’s only January 9.

Or in my case, maybe it should be “keep calm and wear a nice outfit.”

Anthro Echoing Folds Cowlneck (Bordeaux) | J.Crew Jenna’s Cardigan | Ayala Bar necklace | Anthro Sumukhwa Skirt (Maeve) | Wolford Satin Opaque tights in Admiral | Miz Mooz Felicity Pump

(Note: couple of new pieces here, but new to the blog, not new to me this month. I bought the skirt a while ago and haven’t worn it yet, and the shoes are also from a while ago but just haven’t been worn in pictures. I’m still committed to my one-item-a-month shopping pledge.)

My boss dropped a bombshell on me last week: I’m no longer on his team, I’m moving over to a new team, and I’m going to be doing something new. I’m pretty sure my jaw hit the floor and my eyes got as big as saucers. Wha??

Good news: I still have a job. He was quick to assure me of that. Also good news: my new boss is the nicest guy in the world, or so everyone tells me. But it’s all very uncertain (I don’t even know what my new role is) and it’s not something I particularly wanted – I’ve only been in this job for 7 months, I really liked what I was doing, and now it’s like they’ve pulled the rug out from under me (side note – how many clichés can I fit into one post? or parenthesis?). I don’t deal well with change at the best of times, even when it’s change I’ve initiated (I come to the change and think “why did I want this??”), and this is out of left field (ooh, there’s another one). I’m putting on a brave front – “I’m not going to go with the flow, it’s going to be great, it’ll be great to do something new” – but really I’m freaking out a little. No, a lot. I hate not knowing what’s going to happen, and I always think that it’s going to be something bad. Who knows, maybe it will be great.


2012: pretty good year?

I don’t think 2012 has gotten off to the best start for me. New Year’s Eve was a bust; after dinner I broke out into hives (nothing too serious, but still) followed by stomach cramps and a headache, and when I lay down I fell asleep and slept through midnight, then woke up the next morning with back, shoulder, and neck pain. I think I’m okay now, two days later (though I am suffering from post-holiday, back-to-work blues), but it wasn’t an auspicious start to my year! I’m hoping that it can only get better from here.

That’s my motto for 2012. Not that I’m expecting a personal equivalent of WWII, knock on wood.

I am one of those people who make New Year’s Resolutions every year and then promptly forget about them by January 21. But I still make them every year. And I don’t know, things feel different this year (let’s see, I’m not sick, depressed, or feeling hopeless in my job, for a start), I feel positive about my chances for lasting change in my life. I’m up for a challenge!

In 2012, I will:

  1. Be financially responsible. I am terrible with money, I am not a natural saver and budgets are a mystery to me. A year without shopping is unrealistic for me, so my plan is to put away the plastic (cash only) and limit myself to one item a month (much like Dea). This is a tough one for a spender like me, but I’m pretty excited about it. I think I’ve come to a point of closet saturation and I don’t really need anything else, so that one item will have to be something I love. I really hope that when I look back again on December 31, 2012, I’ve kept this resolution, even if it’s the only one.
  2. Exercise at least once a week. It doesn’t have to be in the gym. Walking 5km (just over 3 miles) home from work counts.
  3. Be tidier and eliminate clutter. I think shopping less will definitely help with that.
  4. Cook/eat at home at least four times a week. Leftovers count. I actually think this one will be the toughest, because as much as I love to eat, I don’t actually like to cook.
  5. Put the iPad down and read more. I always say my M.A. in English Literature killed my love of reading, but I graduated almost 10 years ago (June 2002). That’s not an excuse anymore. It’s terrible that it took me 6 months to finish one book (actually, I was only halfway through after 6 months when I decided I had to finish it before the end of the year, and read the second half in two days). I’m hoping for at least one book a month. Rereads count. It’s only January 3 and I’m 3/4 of the way through my first book of the year, so I have high hopes for this one!

And the less tangible stuff that I aspire to…



I’m really looking forward to this year.

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