Saturday, April 26, 2014

Life Is Precious, Fragile, & Short

I'm noticing that, more and more, I'm not getting less and less attention to this blog.  Just as well--we live in a world of instant gratification.  I've lived just long enough to understand that it wasn't always this way, but I'm still young enough to not curse it and just shrug my shoulders and say, "It is what it is".  Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are cornering the market on public sharing.

I still refuse to participate in this instant social media world.  I like my (relative) anonymity.  And I like that I'm not obsessively checking my phone or iPad, wasting time.  Because time is precious.  And we all need to realize this.

A couple of years ago, a relative died from a heart attack--at the age of 42.  This relative's immediate family lived overseas for a long time, and I rarely saw them, so we weren't close.  However, his death was still tragic..and unexpected.  42 is only 6 1/2 years away for me (gulp!).  Then a few days ago, I learned that a family friend, someone who I knew as a casual acquaintance, but his mother was very close to mine, died suddenly while taking a shower--at the age of 54.

Lesson to take away from all this--those 2 men could be any of us.  We never know when the breath we take will be our last, or maybe worse, we never know the moment anyone we love will be called home. What to do?  Well, some people are still looking for the fountain of youth.  The fast pace of this world allows us to be bombarded with messages of "buy this" or "exercise like crazy" to prolong your youth, so that you might live longer.  Who knows if that'll work?  We hear of healthy people having fatal strokes or heart attacks, too.  I'm all for taking care of your skin and body, but not for the purpose of prolonging youth, and not for the purpose of staving off death.  No one can do that.  Just God.

I'm into eating healthy and working out, but not because I believe I can stave off death this way.  It's because, as long as I live (however long that may be), I want to be in the best shape and mood to enjoy it.  Also, have a better attitude.  I'm so guilty of saying, "I got this, great.  Now I want that".  Prime example is Coachella.  I was so bummed about missing out on it this year.  I tortured myself with extensively looking at photos online, but that's not what I should've done.  I should've been happy for my friends who did get to go, then reminded myself of what fun concerts I did go to (like Lady Gaga at Staples Center, when I sat thisclose to Gwen Stefani).  Besides, if I'm lucky enough to be alive, then there's always next year or other music festivals.

Even if going to Coachella 2015 does not come to fruition, and I'm still alive, I'll still have many things to be grateful for.  And even if I'm not alive, if I'm in Heaven with God, I'm sure I'll be happy.  Who knows?  Maybe life up there will be much happier and more fun than life on this earth.  We won't know unless we experience it for ourselves.  It's not like the angels can tweet about it.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Have We Really Become More Open-Minded About Body Image?

Back in the 1990s, when I was a wee little schoolgirl, Kate Moss was starting to become world-famous.  There was a lot of controversy surrounding her weight, but it only seemed to increase her popularity.  More and more models with waif-like figures dominated the fashion scene.  One common argument was simply that skinnier women looked better in clothes than thicker women.

The 2nd decade of the new millenium ushered in a new school of thought on the image of the ideal body, thanks in part to the rise of models Lara Stone and Kate Upton, and as the best example, Kim Kardashian. This new thought declared that a curvier and more womanly type of figure, one with wider hips and larger breasts, should be celebrated.

However, fashion magazines and luxury fashion houses refuse to celebrate this curvier body.  Sure, singer Adele and Kate Upton have landed on the cover of Vogue, but all the models and even the actresses in the fashion spreads of Vogue and similar magazines continue to be very thin.  Even spreads that feature clothing that supposedly flatters curvier women star waiflike models.

On tpf, there's a thread dedicated to the Isabel Marant pour H&M collection, and I got caught up in sharing the excitement with my fellow tpfers by posting info about stock in stores and a couple of modeling pics in it.  So did a few others.  Well, this topic came to mind because I noticed there were 2 tpfers who got a lot more compliments on their pics than I did.  I noticed a difference: their bodies were much slimmer than mine.  I'm not fat by any means, but yes, I do have hips, a butt, and boobs.  No matter how much I work out or diet, these aren't going anywhere.  It took me a long while, but I've accepted them and actually work out to keep these things in the best shape I can.

So maybe we haven't become THAT much more open-minded then.  We, as a society, still value the thin body above others, at least in terms of fashion.  Maybe we've made a little progress by putting curvier models in the magazines, but keep in mind that even though Kim, Kate, and Lara are still curviER than the other models, they're still thinner than the AVERAGE woman.  I'm simply quoting someone else, but I read a female designer once said that there were misogynistic male designers who didn't want women with womanly bodies wearing their clothes, so they purposely made only clothes that flattered boyish figures.  Unfortunately, the female designer stated that these male designers were in the majority.

I have to accept that most of the luxury fashion world looks down on women with my body type.  So does that mean I don't get to participate in it?  No, but the trick is to find the pieces that flatter me and to find the designers who do love women.  And bags and shoes don't discriminate against dress size ;)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Happy Belated Birthday to Me!

Normally, I buy my birthday present to myself way in advance and have to wait weeks, even months, to open it.  It didn't happen that way this year.

After reading a brief mention about Celine bags in Vanity Fair this summer, I decided to buy a Celine bag.  I didn't know any of the style names, but I'd heard the name "Phantom", so I just moseyed on over to Barneys and asked the 1st sales associate who approached me for a "Phantom".  The SA showed me a gorgeous slouchy black leather top-handle bag.  It was the beautiful bag that matched the picture in Vanity Fair.  Then the SA showed me another bag that looked very similar to the Phantom.  I told her I thought it was the same bag, but she shook her head and showed me the inside.  It turned out that the 2nd bag was a Luggage.  I couldn't decided, but I liked the Phantom more, and the SA pushed for me to buy it, but I just couldn't at the time.  I had to go home and think.

The following week, I went into a Celine boutique for the 1st time.  It was a very sleek minimalist space.  A very nice red-haired SA offered to help and showed me the slouchy black Phantom.  I wanted it, but I couldn't bring myself to buy it.  I went back another 2 times, and the SA was so gracious and helpful every time, even getting other SAs to help other customers who approached her.  I gravitated toward the black smooth-leather Phantom each time, but just couldn't bring myself to buy it again and again.  I then came across a tabloid with a picture of Reese Witherspoon with an orage (grayish blue) Luggage tote and thought it was the bag for me.  I went back to Celine and bought one, happy to do so so that the SA would finally get the sale she deserved.

I took it home and was...underwhelmed.  I thought it would wow me and make me scream, but it didn't.  I took it back to the store 3 days later and got a store credit.  I asked for the black Phantom, but was told they were currently sold out and would call when more stock arrived.  Lesson learned.  Buy only if you're over the moon, especially a Celine bag, cuz those ain't cheap!

So here I was with a $2800+ Celine credit sitting in my wallet for over a month.  After work on Saturday, I headed back to the Rodeo Drive boutique to see if I could finally find something to spend my credit on.  It was on a shelf...there was my birthday present!  My SA came out of the back and immediately brought her to me.  I also asked to see the regular black smooth-leather Phantom, the same one I'd looked at before.  It turned out that there was a recent price increase, so it was $400 more this time.  I nearly kicked myself.  Why, oh why did I pass it up just 2 months earlier?  But I needn't have fretted.  I decided to go with the 1st bag I saw in the store on Saturday that took my breath away.  I needed to see it only once to know she had to be mine.  So...without further medium black croc-stamped Phantom!

And since: a) I was in the area; b) there was a limited-edition salty caramel cupcake they'd stop selling at the end of this month; c) their cupcakes are just yummy, period; and d) I was celebrating my birthday, I stopped by Sprinkles after my shopping trip.  Like I needed a sugar high!  I was already on cloud 9!

And finally, here's a modeling pic.  I'm wearing it with my burgundy "Smile" sweatshirt from the Isabel Marant pour H&M kids collection.  I love this collection, and this sweatshirt is so perfect cuz it allows me to still express my "California casual" style but still not look ratty:

I apologize for the dirty bathroom mirror.  I didn't even notice it until after I saw the pictures uploaded lol

Friday, October 4, 2013

Special Limited Edition Hermes scarf

I sometimes find myself fantasizing about being that put-together woman in skinny jeans, ankle booties, blazer, white shirt, and scarf.  Truth be told, I own none of these things, save for scarves.  But I don't wear them.  I have the Hermes scarf cards, the ones designed to give wearers ideas, but I've never opened them. The reason for not wearing or opening is simply because I think both are too precious to risk tattering.

Also, living in Southern California, there's no need to become a scarf person.  But collecting them is something entirely different.  You see, Hermes has tons of new scarf designs every season.  But only occasionally do they do scarves that are limited to just one boutique, and these scarves become highly coveted by hard-core collectors.

The re-opening of the Beverly Hills boutique in early September was an occasion special enough to warrant an exclusive scarf design.  I was told about the re-opening, but as I'm not a VIP anymore,  I wasn't invited to the party, and being busy, it wasn't the first thing on my mind to visit the new store.  Yesterday, however, I came across a pictorial in Vanity Fair.  Hmmm...maybe it was time to go back to Rodeo Drive after all, so I headed there

after work.  I was greeted by the sales associates and walked up and down the spiral staircase.  I came down to look for collier de chien bracelets with gold hardware (they didn't have any, of course).  A SA I know quite well advised me to pick up the very limited-edition scarf created just for the re-opening of the Beverly Hills boutique.  Of course I would!  This scarf was featured in the Vanity Fair pictorial.
Palm trees--perfect representation of Southern California!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Phillip Lim 3.1 for Target

I didn't see too much hype about this collection, and honestly, even when I did manage to look at photos, nothing interested me.

A few days ago, I got an email from my sister, stating that she was eager to buy the BOOM sweatshirt and scarf.  Still no interest from me.  Then I happened upon the 9/23/13 issue of Life & Style magazine to find a picture of Jessica Alba wearing the sweatshirt.  Those tabloids really do work their magic on generating interest.  After that, I decided that I did want the sweatshirt after all.

I get up at 5:45 am 5 days a week for work, but I was out pretty late last night with some friends and I had a 9 am appointment for a massage this morning.  My original plan was to "sleep in" until 7 am, then head to Target at 7:30 and quickly pick up some items and head to my appointment at 8:30 am.  However, that didn't happen. 

It wasn't until just after 2 pm that I finally made it to Target with my sister (who stayed up until after 2 am PST to snag the stuff she wanted).  I went to the busiest store in my area, which always gets the collaboration collections, and the biggest selection of the collections.  However, we were shocked to find that this store didn't get the Phillip Lim collection.  Instead, 3 other ones did, and these stores don't get nearly as much traffic as this one. I overheard the woman we talked to tell a group of people that they had customers lining up outside the store at 7 am, and they were quite upset to learn they lined up for nothing!

I had other errands to run, so I made it to one of the 3 stores at 3:30 pm today.  No bags, and nearly nothing under a size 10, except for a navy/green cotton/sheer top.  It costs about $40, and the stitching is so poor.  There was a hole in the seam on the shoulder, so I put it back. 

I headed to another Target, and it was a bust...or so I thought.  I was confused about the BOOM sweatshirt, so I called my sister while at the store.  I had seen one in a size medium at the other store, but it had a skirt attached, which I didn't like.  She explained that indeed there was a sweatshirt without the skirt.  I was bummed that I missed out on getting one for the sake of sleeping in another hour, but I needn't have fretted.  As I was just about to hang up with my sister, I spotted a crumpled-up gray fleece object that had a red "B" on it under a shelf stacked with several pairs of jeans.  No waaaaaaay!  I picked it up, and it turned out to be my object of desire!  The cashier told me she hadn't even seen one before I brought one to her.  I guess she must've started the later shift!

So this is a M.  I normally wear XS, but I highly doubt I'll be able to find that or even find a S.  I like to wear sweatshirts the same way I wore them in college, that is, over T-shirts, so I think I'll do fine with M.

I wasn't able to find any bags, but from what I've read, none of them are made of real leather, so that turns me off a little.  However, if I happen upon one and fall in love with it, I may pick one up to use for traveling or for work.

Edit added on 9/16: I went back to the same Target and found the sweatshirt in a XS in a random cart near the guest services desk!  I grabbed it and hurried to the cashier as if I were trying to get the heck out of Dodge!  Here's the pic of me wearing it:

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Just Say Ignorance

The DQ has sworn off rap music within the last few years.  OK, not actually sworn off, but I've become so disinterested that I may as well have sworn off of it.

I don't know if it's cuz I'm in my 30s now, but rap music to me just sounds like misogyny, violence, and vulgarity (particularly of the sexual kind).  It seems as if every rap song has these, so to me, they're all pretty much the same.  Every rap song has at least one of these basic lines:
  1. "I'm better than you cuz I drive a Bentley and own tons of diamond and gold jewelry".
  2. "Girl, we just met, but let me take you back to my house so we can have sex all night".
  3. "We had sex, but don't mistake that for love.  I plan to have sex with a different girl tomorrow night".
  4. "Talk negatively about me, and I'll beat you up...or worse".
Once in a while, a song will have lyrics that are totally offensive to a certain group of people.  For example, in an episode of last season of Love & Hip-Hop, a female rapper refused to collaborate with a male rapper on a song that had a line that stated that light-skinned people were better than dark-skinned people.  Good for her...and good for everyone else that spoke up about it.

I hadn't even thought about this subject until yesterday.  Backtrack a little...I was at the mall on Sunday.  I was looking for a gray cardigan (under $25) to purchase with a $25 Gap gift card I received from the Visa Signature rewards program (do NOT open a Wells Fargo Visa Signature card, and if you have one, close it immediately--they are NOT on the customer's side--and yes, I will close mine, as soon as the 0% APR period expires for me).  I didn't find anything that fit the bill at Banana Republic, so I walked back to The Gap, which was on my way back to my car.

I had about a hundred thoughts running through my head, when to my left, I see a group of about 6 young African-American men, all dressed similarly, in long-sleeved T-shirts, sneakers, and jeans.  I recognized one of them, but wasn't sure where I'd seen him.  I did a double-take (this type of thing happens really quickly) and figured out who he was.  He was Drake! 
 (image from
I knew nothing about Drake except for the duet he did with Rihanna (which, surprise-surprise, was a very sexual song) and the fight he got into in a New York nightclub with Chris Brown (supposedly over Rihanna). 
This being LA, you'd think people would be so used to celebrities that the celebrities would be pretty much left alone (the paparazzi is another story).  For the most part, Drake was.  No one really so much as blinked an eye, save for a group of  4 teenage girls trailing behind him.  For a split second, I thought about approaching him and asking for an autograph or a picture to show my friends, but thought better of it and headed straight to the Gap so I could do what I went there for and go home.  At that point, my goal was to get home before 6, not have something to tweet about (I don't have a twitter account anyway).  What was a celebrity doing in a suburban mall on a Sunday?  This mall has seen its share of celebrities, but they usually shop on a weekday morning wearing sunglasses or big hats and do not wander around. 
I decided to share my story with my co-workers when we all returned to work yesterday.  One of them, a 59-year-old woman, said she recognized Drake.  Not for his saucy lyrics, but for something that I think is much worse.  She told me about a recent story which involved a conflict he had with the actress Holly Robinson Peete.  I know this is "old" news by now, but I hadn't heard of it until yesterday.  Apparently, in a song in which Drake collaborated with another rapper, J. Cole, an offensive reference to people with autism was made. 
I do not take kindly to this.  I spent 4 years working with children with autism, and I must say that the stories parents publish about children with autism having special gifts is very true.  I treasured the time I spent with these children, and to this day, I look back at it fondly.  It was a truly rewarding experience.  Not only that, but it's just plain wrong to marginalize this population.  Someone like Drake who has the power to influence young people who are in the process of developing into (hopefully responsible) adults really should be more careful and considerate.  I don't understand how John Galliano gets kicked out of high fashion and humiliated all over the world for verbalizing slurs against Jews, but rappers can make similar slurs against other groups and hardly feel a sting.  Neither John Galliano's nor Drake's and J. Cole's actions are right, so why are the punishments so out of proportion?  Yes, Drake and J. Cole apologized, but so did Galliano.
Boy, I'm really glad that I didn't give Drake even an ounce of my time or effort.  Not that he cares or even knows, but I somewhat protested in my own way, and I'm glad I did.  And I'm glad he didn't cause a scene that involved hundreds of people like the one I witnessed that involved Victoria Beckham in Barneys a few years ago.  He just doesn't deserve the attention.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Best Hermes Sale Ever

I'm not a big spender at Hermes anymore, so it wasn't until I got a text on Wednesday night from my friend T in NYC that I found out about the supposedly "really good" sale at the Beverly Hills boutique.  It turned out that that was the day of the private sale for their VIP customers.  The public sale began on Thursday.  I headed there right after work (tempted to leave early, but I would've hated abandoning my patients).  Almost immediately after I got in line (the first time I'd ever seen a line at Hermes!), I spotted my friend M, about 10 people ahead of me.  We chatted and caught up, so it seemed that the half-hour we waited in line just flew by.
There must've been at least a couple hundred people in the store, the most crowded section being handbags, of course.  I'd never seen Trims or Evelynes on the sale rack before, but there they were.  I even saw a couple of Medor clutches!  Wow!  I grabbed one immediately, but then saw that it was totally scratched up.  Then I saw the others, and they were just as scratched up, some with dents.  A Medor clutch for $2600 is a deal, but $2600 is still $2600, and to pay $2600 for something that's in bad shape is not a deal at all.  Sighing, I put all the Medors back on the shelf.  Was I destined to walk out the door empty-handed?


I walked up the stairs to the 2nd floor, where the sale RTW and shoes were.  I found some espadrilles in beige and red.  I nearly picked up a pair, but then spotted these Celeste wedges:
OMG!  I wanted these when they were selling at full retail price in the boutiques 2 years ago!  At the time, I was saving for a very big goal, but time and time again, I was tempted to abandon my goal to purchase these shoes.  I'm so glad I didn't cuz I found them at this sale for 50% off!  And if you want to talk further about things "meant to be", this was the only pair on the shelf, period...and it happened to be my size!  I knew they were my size, but I tried them on anyway, and of course, they fit perfectly.
M ended up leaving earlier than I did because she had to pick up her son.  I looked around some more after she left, but didn't find anything else after the shoes...or so it seemed.  I was on my way to the checkout line (yes, literally...just like you find in Costco-another 1st for me to see at Hermes) when I spotted this on the shelf.  Someone must've put it back because I spent quite a long time at the bag shelf and didn't see this there until that moment, and it was the only one, a zip-top Garden Party:
I didn't know these bags even existed!  You see, I've always liked the Garden Party, but I hated the magnet closure.  I must have bags that close, so this is the perfect solution...and it was 50% off!  I contemplated putting it back on the shelf, due to my recent Balenciaga spree and my plan to possibly purchase a Celine phantom tote for my birthday in October, but I knew I couldn't pass up the opportunity to buy this bag.  I gave it the once-over (twice) and saw that it was in excellent condition (it didn't even have the "S" stamp anywhere), so I decided that it was definitely coming home with me. 
As I promised T, I returned yesterday, the last day of the sale, to search for items on his wishlist.  Unfortunately, one of them was a Medor clutch, and there were absolutely none, in any condition.  However, I found him these:
I'm hoping he likes them.  If not, the zip pouch would make a nice clutch for me lol
And I passed on this on Thursday, but decided I'd regret not buying it, so I did.  "This" is the pocket square commemorating the Year of the Dragon.  It's not my favorite colorway, but I did not already own a pocket square in it, and the zodiac sign pocket squares are special, IMO (plus it was $87.50!, even cheaper than the price of the 1st pocket square I bought in 2007):
I don't know how to rotate the picture on blogger, so I apologize.  At times like this, I'm so glad I live in LA!
Best Hermes sale ever!