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12.24.2013

Break Time!

Hey All!

I think it's pretty obvious I've been busy with the holiday season. (Who isn't?!)  What with all the traveling and family to see. So, I'm officially taking a break till the new year. No worries, it'll be here in no time and I'm sure you're all super busy with your own family festivities anyway.

In the meantime, you can follow my Instagram feed here if you really need to know what I'm up to (including the fact that MY PARENTS GOT A NEW PUPPY - #RexTheRetriever.)

OMGOMGOMGNEWPUPPY
I promise to try to post at least one photo a day.

So, with that, I'm wishing you all a happy holiday and may your time off be relaxing, rewarding, and full of self-reflection (cuz that's what we all do at the end of each year, am I right?)

I'll see you in 2014! xoxo!

12.13.2013

Winner Announcement: Who Gets the TATCHA KiraKira Gift Set?

Don't think I forgot about you guys! It's time to announce the winner of our "Go Gold or Go Home" Tatcha KiraKira Gift Set Giveaway! (Wow, that's a mouthful, huh?)

Firstly, thanks to everyone who entered. I realize, in this day and age and with the social media distractions and daily responsibilities, it actually takes some effort to like a Facebook page, sign up for a newsletter, and leave a comment on a blog to say "I did it!" So, really, I do appreciate you taking the time.

In the meantime, I hope everyone else who read the giveaway post, but didn't enter (why didn't you enter?!) at least took a look at some of Tatcha's stuff because they're truly amazing!

Ok. Now, then, back to business. So, how did I choose my winner randomly. Ready? Here we go (excuse the low-quality phone photos...I needed to do this on the fly)...

12.12.2013

I'm Enthusiastic About: Salsit's Ryder Leggings!


Um. Newsflash, people. Los Angeles is cold! Mother Nature decided last week to just drop the temps on all of us, causing mass hysteria by way of clothing confusion. I've been in a state of shock and haven't been able to figure out what in the world to wear lately. That and I've become the world's biggest weather wimp.

12.11.2013

It's the "Go Gold or Go Home" TATCHA KiraKira Set Giveaway!

I know I just spent the last week telling you what you need to buy people in your life, but what about you? Have you treated yourself to anything as of late? (Not counting the little travel-size products at Sephora that always seem to find their way into our baskets when we're waiting at the register - I swear, that check out line is the devil!)

Well, I'm sure you already know about my obsession with Tatcha. They're my go-to for perfect skin...I can't even begin to tell you how much my complexion has improved since they came into my life! (You can check out my night time skin ritual here to get a better idea...we're talking "Geisha Technology," folks! It's serious business!)

And speaking of Tatcha, I have some exciting news!

WE'RE HAVING A GIVEAWAY!!!



Can you tell how excited I am right now? (I'm really excited, just in case you couldn't tell.) Let's just say I'm currently experiencing the equivalent of mental & emotional fireworks.

So, yes, my dearest friends at Tatcha and I are bringing you a chance to give their amazing products a try! All you have to do is enter and there's a possibility the KiraKira Gift Set will magically end up on your doorstep in the next week or so by way of mystical flying Geisha unicorns (which are about as elusive as Bigfoot.) Just in time for you to show off a goooorgeous complexion at your New Years Eve party and start 2014 lookin' fresh!

This limited-edition holiday kit includes:
  • PURE One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil Deluxe Sample — 30mL
  • RADIANT Deep Brightening Serum Deluxe Sample — 8ml
  • AGELESS Enriching Renewal Cream Deluxe Sample – 12ml
  • AGELESS Revitalizing Eye Cream Deluxe Sample– 5ml 
All of these products have my big, enthusiastic stamp of approval and these gift sets have enough to last you at least a week so you can really see the difference it makes! (Trust me. BIG difference.)

So, how do you enter? Just go ahead and...
  • "Like" TATCHA's Facebook Page (always a good place to keep an eye out for great deals - of which there are plenty going on right now)
  • Sign up for their newsletter (luckily, not annoying or spammy)
  • Leave a comment on this post and let me know you did both! (Don't try to lie! My buds at Tatcha and I are keeping close watch!)
Get it all done before Friday, December 13th, at 12pm PST!

A winner will be picked at random & announced on the blog on Friday evening! We'll get in touch with each other after that! (Did someone say "let's become email penpals?" MAYBE!) Time is limited, so act now! Trust me, your skin will thank you! xo!

12.10.2013

An Enthusiastic Holiday Gift Guide (Part 7): For the Young Adult

It's here! The final day of our holiday gift guide. That means you're basically done with your shopping, right? RIGHT? Awesome! Great job! [Insert mild guilt trip for those who haven't finished up yet.]

So, we've covered most of our bases thus far (click on each to get their specific gift guide): Artist, Sartorialist, Literati, Techie, Homebody, or Hipster. Some of our giftees may even fall into more than one of these categories, giving you even more gift-giving leeway. Who doesn't love a little consumer flexibility?

But, wait...WAIT! There's one more category we haven't covered! Some may consider it the most difficult of categories. The funny part is, we've all been part of this category at one point or another. The challenge, however, is that times are always changing and so are their tastes.

Who am I talking about? THE YOUNG ADULT!

Good grief, these guys are probably the hardest to gift. They are no longer tiny children who are endlessly amused by blocks, stuffed animals, pop-up books...straws, napkins, sand, air... Nope. Young adults are opinionated, secretive, painfully judgmental (even if they say they aren't), and haven't yet honed the skill to look like they love your gift. THAT skill only gets better with time as we all know.

So, what can we get the future of America without fear of having our hearts crushed to smithereens when you see the utter disappointment in their eyes? My goal with my young adult giftees is to prime the pump for appreciation of design and style. Otherwise, I'd just get my niece One Direction everything and my nephews videogames. (By the way, I do that for their birthdays. It's about balance, people.)

I enjoy torturing myself and being that aunt who is relieved to find out later that their gift is actually being used and, what more, is actually appreciated and helping to shape my young lovelies into better human beings...but the road to success is paved with uncertainty and insecurity. (DRAMATIC!)

Now, let's get down to business, shall we?

Find links to these items below!

12.09.2013

An Enthusiastic Holiday Gift Guide (Part 6): For the Hipster

Ok, we're nearly done, folks! We're on Day 6 of our holiday gift guide and, rest assured, there's a light at the end of this tunnel, m'friend. You've almost completed nailing it with the gift giving this year. Feel free to bask in the awesomeness that is you as #1 gift-giver of the season!

So, today's guide is for those of our friends who will deny till the end of time what they actually are because admitting your one makes you not one...or something. It's complicated and nuanced and very "now." Originally spotted as mustache-obsessed, painfully ironic heathens, these friends and family have somehow carved a spot in our hearts with their vintage (or seemingly vintage) t-shirts and rare, bespoke suspenders made from shetland pony hair and hard-to-find red dye that's only produced in limited quantities from an old factory in Nebraska.

Yep, today's guide is for (you guessed it) THE HIPSTER!

Listen, I have plenty of hipster friends, but they've earned their stripes. They've aged like a fine wine and are now adult hipsters who are a blast to hang out with. To be honest, I'm quite fond of them...and I'm even more fond of them when they know what they are and own it.

So, what do we get these waxed-stached, 90's windbreaker wearin', obscure-band-knowin' creatures of indie culture?

Find links to these items below!

12.08.2013

An Enthusiastic Holiday Gift Guide (Part 5): For the Homebody

Our holiday gift guide continues today with Day 5! Kinda frightening how quickly the week is going by, yeah? That's ok though. With all these gift guides being flung at your head daily, I'm hoping to save you some gift shopping stress...or make you feel really guilty that you haven't gotten it done yet. (I'm kidding about the latter...kinda.)

So, today's gift guide is one that I hold close to my heart because, well, I fall into this category. As the winter months settle in on us and the amount of comfort food and Netflixed documentaries increases at an alarming rate, perhaps its safe to say that we all can relate to this particular type of person.

Who am I referring to? THE HOMEBODY!

Yep. Whether your friends & family are homebodies by choice or they just had a new baby and are kind of chained to their house with very little sleep or patience, this guide is sure to bring a little joy. Our goal? To bring a taste of the outside world indoors. Now, what do we get for people who love being home so much?

Find links to these items below!

12.07.2013

An Enthusiastic Holiday Gift Guide (Part 4): For the Techie

Guess what? Day four of my holiday gift guide is here! You know what that means? 4 days less to get your holiday shopping done. I know, I know. "Why did you have to remind me, Nami?!" Sorry about that, but don't panic. With the magic of the Internet and online shopping, you're still in the green.

You likely have at least one of these people in your group of friends if not all of them. So, what do we get for...(drumroll)...THE TECHIE!

That's right. The friend or family member we call when our laptop decides to conk out on us. The same person that asks, "is it plugged in?" and "have you tried restarting it?" and the panacea of all browser functions - "clear the cache and try again!" Our technological lives would be mere shadows of what they actually are if not for their existence, so it's time to say thanks to them and show them that you care.

But not all of us are super tech-savvy and instead of pretending that we are, here are some nice little gifts to give that won't make them scoff and ones they just might actually use!


Find links to these items below!

12.06.2013

An Enthusiastic Holiday Gift Guide (Part 3): For the Literati

Day three of my holiday guide already? Time is whizzing by and we have so much more to discuss! So many more gifts to buy for our friends and family and so few hours in which to do it. Thankfully, there's online shopping and some really great holiday-hustling going on with e-retailers these days. Thanks, Internet.

With that in mind, we're moving on to our next installment of gifts. And who do we have in mind today? THE LITERATI!

That's right, folks. We have to think about our more bookish friends. Whether they're just obsessive readers or avid writers, everyone's got somebody in their life who's a fan of literary endeavors. So, what if you're not that type of person? Or maybe you're worried that they don't love Murakami or Tolstoy as much as you do. What if they've already (impressively) made it through all of Dostoyevsky's novels?

THEN what do you get them?

Have no fear, my dears. Here's part 3 of my Enthusiastic Holiday Gift Guide for our reading/writing friends & family members!

Find links to these items below!

12.05.2013

An Enthusiastic Holiday Gift Guide (Part 2): For the Sartorialist

Why, hello again, dear holiday shopper (or holiday dreader...or, perhaps, holiday "too many people to buy for, please help me! I've run out of ideas" - er.) It's time for part 2 of my holiday gift guide! Today's focus? THE SARTORIALIST !

Indeed, we definitely all have that painfully fashionable friend (or ten.) The one you're always dragging to the mall when you have a wedding coming up. The one you call when you've forgotten the term for "those old timey things that men used to hold up their socks with" when you're in a heated battle of Trivial Pursuit. (They're called garters, by the way.)

It's the same person who can buy a vintage grandma quilt at a flea market and turn it into a avant-garde poncho with the use of a belt and a pin. In short, naturally fashionable molecules ooze out of every one of their pores.

SO, what to get this person? What can you get that they don't already have? Or that they haven't discovered already in a remote vintage shop in Helsinki on a cold winter weekday evening? The key here is to not try to mimic your friend, but to go with timeless pieces.

Find links to these items below!

12.04.2013

An Enthusiastic Holiday Gift Guide (Part 1): For the Artist

Yep, it's that time again! Holiday shopping! If you're anything like me, you fear the wrath of Black Friday (I've read way too many articles about deaths from stampeding customers to want to test my luck) and always forget to checkout your cart on Cyber Monday, leaving you with a feeling of despair as the time between now and the holidays slips through your fingers. So goes the sands of time, my friends.

Luckily, I've spent the last few weeks doing my homework and though my holidays shopping is more or less done at this point, I'm of the "no one gets left behind" policy when it comes to helping my fellow shoppers out. The combination of "OMG, I have no time" and "OMG, I don't know if so-and-so is going to like this gift!" can basically make you want to hurl yourself off the big ol' cliff of consumerism. So, before you decide to fake your own kidnapping or buy everyone on your holiday gift list the same thing in different colors, here is part one (of seven) of my holiday gift guide series for THE ARTIST!

We all have that friend. You know the one. Went to an art school or has that weird ability to quickly sketch something out on a diner napkin with alarming precision. Many of them scoff if you call them an artist, but we all know that's the truth.

So, what do you get your creative friend or family member?

Find links to these items below!

12.01.2013

Sunday Styles no. 48


Oh, hey! How was your Thanksgiving weekend?
Mine? Just the usual. Overeating, watchin' movies, obsessively watching documentaries on mammals, and hangin' out with my two favorite dudes - Mr. Merlin & Charlesband, if you didn't know who I was talking about.

And here we are. The final day of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and I'm loungin' hard with a new favorite piece of clothing.

I'm sure you're aware, but sweatshirts are back! (Hurrah!) But not your old school sports team or gigantically branded sweatshirts of decades past with hoodies and unflattering fits that are made for those mornings you awake from a week-long bender with no recollection of what happened (and who is that weird man passed out in your bathroom?)

Ok, I'm overdramatizing. I wasn't that kinda lady back in the day, but I did have my share of lazy days (and still do.)

With that said, the new crop of sweatshirts are minimally branded, neutral in color, fitted in a "this is a boyfriend sweatshirt if my boyfriend were only one size bigger than me and shaped like a girl" way - seriously, "boyfriend" anything is a sham. It just means "a little bit bigger" - and stupidly comfortable.

I've decided to up the academic ante today with a little collegiate flair (read: collared shirt and loafers) to make my comfy new sweatshirt seem slightly pulled together. Why I need to do that is beyond me. I'm just planning on boppin' around the neighborhood and finding a new book to read. (Intense goals, I know.)

Whatever the case, I'm a fan of the return of the sweatshirt and plan on wearing this new piece any chance I get. Oh, and I cut my bangs again because...I dunno. I get bored with my hair and the only way to not lop it all off is to go with bangs. Bangs & sweatshirts. Win.

Now, off to do something...or possibly nothing. All I know is I need to soak up as much of this Cali sun before dusk. Hope you're all having a fantastic weekend and find a sweatshirt of your own to dress up or dress down as you see fit. (I never thought "dressing up a sweatshirt" would have been a thing 5 years ago while I hissed at various hoodies with sartorial loathing. Looks like I'm a convert!) xo!

A Note About the Clothes: Madewell Layup Sweatshirt, J. Crew Factory Cap Shirt in End-On-End (Classic Navy), American Apparel Stretch Twill High-Waist Side Zipper Shorts (Jet Black), American Apparel Opaque Over-the-Knee Socks (Black), G.H. Bass Original Weejun Loafers (Black)

11.28.2013

Quote of the Week: Thank You


Well, it's nice to have a reminder once a year to sit down and reflect on all that you're thankful for (while stuffing your face with all kinds of delicousness)...to look back on the past year and say, "Oh, yeah. Couldn't have done this without Mr. X and I'm so glad I met Miss Y."

So, what am I thankful for?

CHARLESBAND (The Husband Named Charles)...
Has dealt with all of my various issues, hardships, victories...he's put up with my incessant traveling, taken me to get soup dumplings and burgers on a whim. He's given me sound fashion advice and has played therapist on numerous occasions when I've been near meltdown (usually for no apparent reason.) Another year of marriage and I'm happy to report that he's even more amazing than the year before...despite me thinking that wasn't possible.

He's also pretty cute, so that helps.

Ok. Are you done gagging? Cool.

MR. MERLIN (The Beloved Dog with His Own Internet Fanbase)...
Has kept me company every single day since I got him. He's alerted me to deliveries, curled up on my lap at completely inconvenient times, assisted in keeping me calm during turbulence on fights, and held out tennis balls to me when I've had my hands full with things. I couldn't have asked for a better pup.

MY FAMILY...
Who lives on the east coast, but manages to stay in touch through various channels including Instagram (my father-in-law is really great about keeping up with my Merlin photos!) Phone calls, emails (like the one I got the other day notifying me that my niece would be trying her best to get front row at a One Direction show on Good Morning America), and text messages about everything, nothing, or something.

They give me a place to stay when I travel back east, make sure I'm warm enough, that I'm taking my scarf with me...My mother will ask me if I'm wearing my hair "like that"...all the honest, but wonderful things that families do. They've really taken the unconditional love thing to a whole new level...because, really, what do I have to offer them these days? A good laugh and someone to talk to. Wish I could give all of them hugs every single day!

In addition, I'm gaining a sister-in-law this December! Nina!!! My brother's fiancée will officially be related to me in less than a month and I'm really excited. We've seen each other go through some rough patches and had it not been for her and my bro giving me refuge during a particularly rough relationship oh-so long ago, I may have never survived. So, cheers to more family!

MY DEAR FRIENDS...
Who I don't get to see enough!

I realized as I've gotten older how much I've trimmed down my social group. I have acquaintances, sure, but life is busy and you have to figure out who you want to spend your very precious time with. Lucky for me, I've pulled together an amazing group of friends out here who have not only been a great support system, but hands-down the best company a gal could ask for.

Gimme a latte, a cookie, and an afternoon with one of my friends and I'm peachy.

YOU...
Dear readers.

Seriously, there are times I sit and think, "who am I really writing this to? Hello? Is this thing on? Is anyone listening?" And then I see the numbers and realize someone, somewhere is reading what I write and I'm incredibly grateful...that and I really hope I'm writing things that give your life some sort of value.

So, thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting. Thank you for being part of my life. Hope you're spending today with loved ones being thankful for what you have, getting excited for where you're heading, and eating delicious food. Love from Merlin, Charlesband, and your neighborhood (if the Internet was a really big neighborhood) Life Enthusiast. xo!

11.26.2013

The Triple Threat (3 Lipstick Shades for EVERYTHING)


There was a point in my life where I literally was carrying around 10 different lip colors. My poor bag was lopsided from the weight of tubes of lipstick, lipgloss, and pots of tinted lip balm. Not to mention my right arm was looking a little beefier than my left. No bueno.

I finally took a stand (read: cleaned out my bag) and realized that 3 shades were all I needed to get through ANY situation. I think the normal number is two, but I'm schizophrenic about my lip color throughout the day and you never know when you might get a last minute call for a meeting, coffee with someone important, or get caught on the street by a photog. (That only happens at fashion week...and, to be honest, I think it's because I always have epic hair thanks to the TRESemmé stylists...but I'm digressing.) Ok, let's just say "you never know when you might see a cute dude you wanna impress. (For all the single ladies. Don't worry, Charlesband. I'm not trying to impress dudes...anyway, my resting bitch face does the trick when it comes to scaring any prospective men away. I bet you think I'm kidding.)

Ok, so here's the deal. Here are the three shades every girl needs in her purse:


Pink, red, wine. Boom. Done.

Pink is perfect for your more casual days...wind-swept hair, a light jacket, a big ol' scarf, and perfectly imperfect bedhead. Throw on some blush, give yourself a swipe of pale pink and head out the door. Easy. It's a little sweet, a little romantic, a little coquettish, and about the easiest color you could ever wear...kinda like your natural lip color with a little something extra. Bonus: you don't need a mirror to put it on. It's so pale, no one will notice if you play a little outside the lines (or have shaky hands after drinking a latte. Hey, I'm sensitive to caffeine sometimes, ok?)

Next! Red is the perfect "I may or may not have gotten enough sleep last night, but I'm committed to looking put-together" shade. The quest for the perfect red can be long, but once you find it, you'll never look back. NOTHING brightens up a face like a red lip...and you can elevate any outfit, casual or classy, by throwing a red lipstick on. You are awake...you are awake...keeping telling yourself that because no one else is questioning it.

And last but certainly not least. Wine hues. Oh, these hues are on the scene right now. Totally on-trend, but also timeless. Welcome to the no-nonsense version of yourself. A woman with a wine-hued lip doesn't mess around. A little mysterious, a little aloof perhaps, and a touch of edge without going straight-up goth. Honestly, it makes me feel a little Dragon Lady-esque, but with simple hair and neutral clothing, you can go uber-modern with little effort.

So, clean out your bag, ladies. Time to cut down on the lipstick tubes and pick your perfect triple threat...and if you're someone who only carries one tube at a time...well, congrats on finding your perfect hue and having a lighter bag. I envy you! xo!

A Note About the Lipstick: From left to right - Mac CremeSheen (Creme Cup), Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope (Private Party), YSL Rouge Volupté Shine (Violet Incognito)

11.24.2013

Sunday Styles no. 47


No winter would be complete without a big ol' sweater, am I right? So, this Sunday I'm celebrating the lower temps (this is relative, I realize, since it's in the 50's & 60's here in LA...perfect sweater weather) with my new favorite sweater.

Behold, my off-white, super cozy turtleneck! (Or is it a cowl neck? I mean, how big does it have to be before it's considered a cowl & not a turtle?)

Anyway, this has been my most recent go-to on those chillier mornings and goes with EVERYTHING. Not only that, but it also has a more modern cut with shorter sleeves, which I absolutely adore and fits under most of my jackets without too much bunching - score. Another added bonus? NOT ITCHY. Thank goodness.

I can't tell you the number of times I've abandoned near-perfect sweaters because the itch factor was too great. I mean, I get it. Wool keeps you warm...and wool is, for the most part, itchy...but when temps drop in this town and the already-dry air gets even drier, the last thing my skin needs is an additional itch factor. I'd just be a scaly mess.

I seriously wish I could wear this sweater everyday till it gets warm out again...and maybe I do wear it two days in a row sometimes. (Not like anyone's noticing. I work from home most of the time anyway...and you just have to make sure you don't see the same people the second day, right? Sneaky, I know.)

So, that's the latest! Charlesband and I are going to spend this Sunday hunkering down on the couch to watch documentaries between work projects and creative endeavors. (Did I mention this sweater is also perfect for snuggling?)

I'm sure we'll go outside to get some sun at some point too (did someone say "soup dumplings at the newly opened Din Tai Fung right by us...that we already went to yesterday for soup dumplings?"...I'm pretty sure someone said it. Possibly me. Possibly Charlesband. Most likely both of us.) Definitely suffering a lack of vitamin D...gotta get out while the sun's still out!

Hope you all have the most fantastic Sunday! xo!

A Note About the Clothes: Madewell Funnelneck Sweater, Gap 1969 Legging Jeans (black), G.H. Bass Original Weejun Loafers (Black), Warby Parker Larkin Frames (Oakwood Brown)

11.22.2013

Brain Food: Blue is the Warmest Color


It's been a while since I sat through a 3 hour movie. These days, unfortunately, I go in with a cynical point of view...something between "am I going to waste 3 hours of my life right now?" and "should I be doing laundry and writing another blogpost instead?"

I know. SUCH a cynic. I need to lighten up a little.

So, with all the hullabaloo (yes, I just used that word) around it, I figured it was time for me to unplug from work and go see Blue is the Warmest Color (a.k.a La Vie d'Adèle - Chapitres 1 & 2.) A few reasons for my initial decision:
  • French movies rarely let me down
  • Excuse to hang out with my closest French guy friend and watch him get uncomfortable & blush (even though I won't be able to see it in the dimmed theater)
  • It stars Léa Seydoux who I have an immense girl crush on
  • Reviews were calling it one of the best love stories of all time
  • Also, hello, it won the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival - the likelihood of it being a made-for-TV movie? 0%.
Well, what can I say. It didn't feel like 3 hours at all. In fact, I was completely mesmerized by the entire thing. The feelings of confusion from my youth came flooding back to me...because, in the end, though people keep going on and on about how it's about lesbians, really what it's about is love, lust, obsession, dependency, growth, revelation, loss, being lost, and the journey to find yourself.

It could have easily been about a man and a woman or a man and a man.

Additionally, this movie was based off of an award-winning French graphic novel from 2010 titled "Le Bleu est une couleur chaude." And that graphic novel was about a lesbian relationship. Naturally, no one wanted to change the gender of the characters for the film. It would have taken away from the overall story.

So, back to the movie itself. Is it worth seeing? Absolutely. If ever you were a youth in love, you will be able to relate. If ever you experienced that moment of sexual revelation, you will be able to connect. If you've ever felt an intoxicating connection to another human being, it's like taking a walk down memory lane.

The moments in between are what makes this film so captivating. It captures those fleeting glances, those times you wished (while they were happening) would never end...those same moments that you might, unfortunately, forget. There is nothing overly dramatic about these women falling in love. There is everything real about it. I felt my heart race, my heart break, my heart sputter...it was beautiful. I just can't get over what amazing actresses they were and how they were able to convey so much emotion through just a smile.

Be warned, the sex scenes are very real. There is no soft lighting. No background music to cover up the very human, carnal sounds. No overly-made-up faces, no fancy bedding, no slow, languid, "we're making looooove" stuff here. You're watching a young woman's innocence juxtaposed with an older woman's experience. You're also watching something truly moving.

Here's the trailer, if you're interested...



So, if you can handle the heat, go get in the kitchen and take 3 hours out of your day to go see this movie. If you've already seen it, I'd love to hear what you thought! xo!

11.19.2013

I'm Enthusiastic About: Soap & Glory's "A Great Kisser" (Lip Balm)


My lips...in Los Angeles. One word: Dry.
Ok, scratch that. Two words: Sahara Desert.

A few factors aside from the complete lack of humidity here...
  • I've gotten bad about drinking enough water (with shorter days, I've been relying much more on coffee - I know, I'm horrible)
  • Charlesband enjoys running the fan at night which is basically like being in a plane all night long (our newly purchased humidifier has helped some)
  • Lastly...I didn't have the proper lip balm.
Cut to me at the local Sephora a few weeks back, looking for a pot of lip saving goodness. So many options and so little time! Lucky for me, one of the helpful staff members approached me and asked if I needed help. When I mentioned I was looking for a good lip balm, her eyes lit up.

She spun around and grabbed Soap & Glory's "A Great Kisser" and noted a few key points:
  • No white residue
  • Shea, Apricot & Mango butter for super moisturizing
  • Pretty pink sheen
  • Luxurious vanilla scent
I was game. Hey, lip balm is something I'm much more willing to experiment with...so, I went ahead and got myself a pot.

What can I say? I'm IN LOVE. SUPER moisturizing! And, I didn't realize what a big deal the lack of white residue was until I started using this. My lips are plumper, there's a significant minimizing of lip lines (I refuse to call them wrinkles), and my lipstick goes on SO smoothly now, I've stopped worrying about weird lipstick caking and flaking. 

Seriously, people. Even the most matte lipsticks look gorgeous.

I slap this on whenever my lips feel a little parched and they look glorious afterwards! One mild downer is the fact that it's a little sticky. Almost like a lip gloss finish, which means if you step out on a windy/breezy day, you will get hair stuck to your mouth. So, keep that in mind.

I'm especially enthusiastic about packing it on at night before bed for a perfect pucker in the morning.

So, make the small investment next time you run out of lip balm. Totally worth it. You can find it here. Cheers to your gorgeous pout! xo!

11.17.2013

Sunday Styles no. 46


Yes, seriously. I haven't written in exactly 2 weeks...
I know, right? What's my excuse? "NAMI, WHY ARE YOU SO IRRESPONSIBLE?!"
What could possible have kept me from writing to you guys about all the things one can be enthusiastic about?

Well, to be honest, I'll tell you what really kills my enthusiasm...
DAYLIGHT SAVINGS...namely, that time of the year when we "fall back" one hour and get shorter days. Couple that with a business trip that got extended from 5 days to 10 days and you got yourself a decent excuse. I was too busy trying to make 5 days worth of outfits into 10 (read: shopping trip) and buying underwear (I guess it was about time. I mean, what I had was looking more like a pile of peasant loincloths than anything remotely sexy.)

And, as per usual, upon my return from NYC, I always end up going back to black (or at least dark colors), AND I hopped back onto the menswear-inspired train (and thank goodness for that! I was wondering when that train would be back in town.)

The good news is that LA is nowhere near as frigid as NYC. Boy, I went at the wrong time. Lemme tell ya, it was fine when I got there. A little 60 degree weather never hurt anyone...but as the days progressed it dropped down to 30 degrees with that relentless, soul-crushing, icy wind that only the cross-streets of NYC can provide. Maybe I'm getting old, but I found myself telling co-workers they should come visit me in LA. Something I never would've done 2 years ago when the LA weather was still something that just caused intense amounts of confusion and a (welcome) OD on vitamin D.

I was there for the first snow of the season and was, by the end of the trip, cocooned in what some might consider a sleeping bag with armholes - big thanks to Mama Matsuo for having such a convenient coat sitting in the hallway closet. Luckily, it was big enough for me to wear it like some Yohji Yamamoto or Commes des Garçon piece. Sometimes you can get away with "grossly oversized" by traipsing around like you're making some momentous fashion statement.

DIGRESSING!

What I'm trying to say is, "I'm back!" and will do my best to make it up to you for not writing the last two weeks. My Seasonal Affective Disorder is coming on pretty strong right now and I'm still jetlagged, so I might not be Miss Bloggy-Blog, but I sure won't wait 2 weeks again to post.

Today, I'm going with a painfully simple outfit with a hint of subdued color to break it up a bit. I had forgotten about indigo (I know, what's wrong with me?) and happened upon this deeeeeeep blue shirt at Madewell while I was back east. I'm all about it right now, but also afraid of washing it for fear that all the dye will wash away and I'll be left with another chambray shirt of which I have too many (no such thing, but you know what I mean.) I'm also kind of obsessing over these ankle boots right now, but we can talk more about that later.

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A Sartorial Sidenote: I've decided to embrace stretched-out-pants. I spend so much time washing or drying various pants to get them to fit perfectly, only to have the knees and butt stretch out two seconds after I decide to sit down anywhere. I mean, is it really worth all the stress? NO. So, I'm allowing myself to throw caution to the wind. No more opting to stand rather than sit just to hold on to a sausage-casingly tight fit anymore. Take that, pant fabric! You're not the boss of me!!!

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Hope you're doing your best to get as much sunlight as possible during these short days! In the meantime, I'm off to the Huntington Library with Charlesband to go sit under a tree and try to do absolutely nothing and soak up as many sunrays as humanly possible for a few hours before the darkness envelopes us at noon. Ok, maybe I'm being slightly dramatic. The sun starts going down around 4...BUT STILL. Ugh. [Insert child-like tantrum here.]

Well, off I go! Have a great rest of your weekend! xo!

A Note About the Clothes: Madewell Indigo Denim Collared Shirt, Gap Ankle-Zip Jeans - no longer available, Dolce Vita Gala Boot

11.03.2013

Sunday Styles no. 45


Holy confusing weather, Batman! What is going on right now in LA?
Seriously, people, the mornings range from being in the 50's to 60's and the afternoons are in the 70's and 80's...In short, it's a whole world of "what am I supposed to wear?!" all day long, every day.

Don't get me wrong, I adore the crisp morning walk to get coffee and the chilly breeze that hits me when I'm standing in the shade, but one minute I'm freezing and the next minute I'm sweating my bum off. Of course, there is only one remedy for this type of situation...

LAYERS!

Yep. I've been a layer monster the last week and it's definitely helped. Like a fashionable onion, you just peel away the clothes as you step into the sun and re-onion yourself the minute you hit a shady patch and get that delicious fall chill.

T-shirts, light sweaters, crisp button-downs and jackets are the name of the game and for this occasion, I finally went and got myself a new military-style jacket. My older one (you can see it here) has gone through hell and back again. The pockets have holes, there are little tears here and there and though I still adore it, it's not cuttin' it anymore in terms of a good transitional weather piece. It has graduated to "wear to the beach or the park so you can sit on it" status...which is actually a pretty honorary title. Most clothing never makes it that far.

Anyway, cut to me at Madewell last weekend (I think I visit them a little too often, to be honest) and me discovering, like a sailor led by a siren song, this tough-as-nails, but flatteringly tailored military style jacket. There was no question. Done and done. It has lining, it has tons of pockets (a must for me since I like to leave the apt without carrying a bag), and a nice big collar (which my earlier jacket didn't have) for those particularly chilly winds. It's also a darker olive drab, which will allow me to wash it a bunch and let it fade without it basically turning white. YES!

In other news, I'm obsessed with wine-colored lipstick right now. So, there's that too, but I'll write more on that later. No need to go into details here.

So, I'll be taking this little outfit off to the Huntington Library today with Charlesband so we can sit in the shade of a tree and I can try to pretend I don't have to fly again tomorrow to NYC for business. (I'm just thankful that LAX is back up and running and horrified by the shooting...seriously? Can we just ban the right to bear arms now? I'm ok with that.)

Alright. Time to decompress.
Hope you all have a wonderful rest of the weekend!!! xo!

A Note About the Clothes: Madewell All-Weather Outbound Jacket, Zara Invisible Zip T-shirt (no longer available), Rag & Bone Arrow Print Leggings (no longer available), Jessica Simpson Ankle Boots (no longer available)

10.29.2013

Diablo III (for Xbox): A Videogame Review


Yep, it's true. I've sprinkled hints here and there all over this blog. I'm an avid gamer and have been since about the age of 5.

With that said, I wanted to take a minute to talk about Diablo III (now available on consoles!)

It had become obvious after our 8th character on Skyrim and the fast and furious nature of Charlesband's and my gaming habits that we were going to need another game to play stat. We spent many weeks (if not months) contemplating what game could possibly quench our fantasy thirst the way Skyrim did. We even searched articles like 26 Games Like Skyrim.

We wanted character options, a vast world with tons of side quests, and I just couldn't bring myself to play any games that were overtly sexist...which is why we ended up not going with Witcher, despite it being pretty close to what we were looking for. Sorry, no dice. Also, I don't wanna play that dude. I can't relate to him.

10.24.2013

Quote of the Week: Rich


You know, sometimes life gets so busy and we all get so consumed by our work and things that need to get done that we forget about life. Sure, life goes on without us, but in the meantime, what are we doing to enrich our lives and make them better?

There's the rat race. Work. Working all the time. Working day and night. Working on the weekends...but when you're sick, work won't take care of you. Your friends and family will. What is it that makes life "rich" and worthwhile?

I know. "Deep, Nami. What have you been reading?"

Actually, I've been reading The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm again...and it always reminds me about love. Real love...love that takes work and the ultimate thing about love: Giving.

Not giving to receive. Not giving to sacrifice. Giving because it makes you happy. Giving because the act of giving is worthwhile.

So, I had to take a step back and look at my current life...I had to think about what I've been doing recently and something came to mind. Being given the opportunity to help Charlesband with his EDM project. Being given the opportunity to style the photoshoots, work on the photographs, help him build the website (which is look amazing, by the way...and I'll share it when the time comes.)

I didn't do it for money or recognition. I realized that I really enjoyed helping him with something because he has very little time to work on things outside of work-work. To see his face light up when I showed him another photograph that was finished or how the website was coming along really made me feel good. I love giving...and I realize I need to do more of it.

I'm being frank here. I feel like the capacity to give, in many ways, has a direct correlation to the amount of available time one has in their life. The phrase "I know I'm inconsiderate sometimes, but it's not because I don't care or don't love you. It's because I'm so overworked and stressed out" comes to mind. Yep. This is reality, people.

Life doesn't get any easier and I have plenty of inconsiderate moments too. Things I could've done that I didn't get around to because of time. Always time...I never forgot birthdays until my life got super-busy...Ya know, that kinda stuff. (I know. HORRIBLE!)

I'm coming to realize that I need to do more giving and make a real effort to do it...time or no time. I'm not making that an excuse anymore...because it's true. Life is richer and you are richer when you give.

Agreed?

10.22.2013

I'm Enthusiastic About: My Mason Pearson Brush!


Ok, it's a little bit sad that it took me so long to get one of these.

The Mason Pearson Brush...iconic, legendary...basically, the Ferrari of brushes. They're handmade in the U.K. with the original design created in 1885 and only slightly tweaked since then (because it's basically perfect.) If you're curious, here's a little more history.

Being a former hairstylist, I should be hanging my head in shame...and, at the same time, it's an investment, people. These brushes are not cheap...BUT I'm happy to report that this brush is, in fact, totally worth it.

I just happened to have a bunch of credit on Amazon and, for months, was trying to figure out which pair of shoes to purchase...and then it dawned on me. "Dude, I'm growing my hair out and it's about time I graduated from using a comb to owning a brush of my own!" (Yes, my inner monologues often start with me calling myself "dude.")

To be honest, I haven't owned a brush since I was a kid. After cutting my hair short in 5th grade, the idea of a brush was just not in the cards for me. I had Asian hair which already doesn't tangle much and it's not like I was planning on sitting in bed at night, brushing my long locks like some fairytale princess.

Nope. my childhood and majority of my adulthood have been spent wearing cropped locks that took seconds to comb through. Again, as a former hairstylist, you would think I was spending more time on my hair, but I wasn't. I'm a wash-and-go kinda girl. My haircuts are of utmost importance, wanting to make sure I have the kind of precision trims that allow me to not do much in the way of styling.

And so, here I was, staring at the selection of Mason Pearson brushes on Amazon. Nylon bristles, boar bristles, mixed bristles, full-size, junior size, travel size...choices.

After reading through tons of reviews, pulling out my tape measure to calculate the actual size of the brush, and debating about synthetic vs. boar bristle vs. mixed bristle, and coming to terms with the fact that I was going to be buying a brush instead of another pair of shoes ("really, Nami, you have enough shoes...calm down"), I decided the Junior Mixed Bristle Brush was the one.

Cut to a few days later when I opened the mailbox to find my brush awaiting me...and then, the test!

I almost immediately ripped the box open and took my hair down. A mass of dents and tangles from it being throw up into a bun. And then...

LIKE BUTTER. I mean, I ran the brush through my hair and it magically untangled and smoothed it. No tugging, no wincing. I was amazed (and also fantasizing about being that princess in bed, brushing her hair every night and singing about her prince charming...this fantasy isn't completely doable since Charlesband will likely be lying next to me and telling me to cut it out with the singing because he's trying to watch another astrophysics documentary, but you get what I'm saying.)

Welcome to my beauty family, Mason Pearson brush. You are the follicular fairy godmother I've been waiting for.

I win. My hair wins. This brush wins.

So, to any of you in the market for a brush, in the midst of growing your hair out, in the need of a tool that won't rip your poor tresses out, OR wanting a little bit of luxury for yourself, go get one of these brushes. With proper care (did I mention this brush comes with another brush just for cleaning purposes? FANCY!) you too can have a legendary piece of history that is not only super-effective, but also incredibly easy on the eyes. (I feel like I need to get a new vanity just so I can display this beautiful work of art!)

Do you own a Mason Pearson? And if so, what's your take on it? (Hopefully, I'm not being a crazy person!) xo!

10.20.2013

Sunday Styles no. 44


Hello, Los Angeles Autumn!

What does that really mean? 80+ degree days, tons of sun, and a very real confusion every morning as to what one should wear. The mornings are brisk and in the 60's. The afternoons are in the mid-80's. The evenings drop back down with a touch of humidity (by LA standards, which is still pretty dry relatively speaking.)

So, yesterday, I was out and about in all black (like ya do), thinking that a pair of shorts would keep me from melting. Sadly, such was not the case...And with that Charlesband and I ducked into an American Apparel and I got around to picking up one of those scoopback leotards that I've been meaning to get forever. (And Charlesband came out with the most adorbs denim jacket!)

The good news? It solved the problem! Wearing all black in the confusing weather is no longer an issue with this little number...and, so, I'm doing that thing that people do, but never admit to. I'm wearing the same outfit two days in a row. (Come on, you know you do it...especially if you don't plan on seeing the same people on the second day.)

I'm in love with this top! A few absolute pros:
  • Bra? Nope.
  • Keeps me from slouching! (Because if I did, there is potential for it to just flop off and for me to accidentally flash everyone with some full-frontal action...which is SO not happening. Shoulders back, ladies!!!)
  • Streamlined! Hey, leotards can kind of be a pain, but you don't have to stress about stuffing in your shirt, it coming unstuffed or weird bunching of fabric. It's like a second skin.
  • Affordable. Duh. Total plus!
  • A great basic! Shorts, pants, skirts. It goes with everything...and if you get cold, you can just throw on a cardigan and call it a day.
I can't think of any cons right now...in short, that's an absolute win in my eyes!

So, if you're on the west coast and are looking for a basic that works for this frantically fluctuating weather, go pick yourself up one of these. It's dramatically feminine without being gross. Really, there are few things prettier than the nape of a woman's neck and the curves of her back.

Alright. Back to life! Have a great rest of the weekend! xo!

10.17.2013

Quote of the Week: Slow Down


I'm overworking again. Surprise...but the good news? I've made a new rule for myself.
I am forcing myself to take my pup on a 1 hour walk at least 3 times during the work week and once on the weekend with Charlesband.

After trying it once last week, I realized that it's not only great for Mr. Merlin (who's been looking a little thick these days - resulting in his head resembling a little bean stuck to a barrel), but it guarantees me a few quiet moments to myself each week.

No coffee with friends (no offense to my friends, I love you guys), no emails to check, no articles to read...I've had to leave my phone in the car to keep myself from calling my Mom or best friend to see what they're up to...it's just me and Merl and a whole lot of outdoors to take in. The weather is cooling down (only slightly - that walk in 84 degree weather two days ago was a little rough on us) and the air is feeling crisper. It's the right time.

I know. I should probably be going to the gym or something, but I'll be honest. I hate going to the gym. As much as the thought of pumping iron with people or scurrying along on a path that leads to nowhere (poetic treadmill description) makes my heartbeat quicken with excitement (it doesn't), I would gladly replace that with a lazy, loungey afternoon with a book.

I know what you're thinking. "What kind of Angeleno are you?" Yep, my Instagram feed has no "off to the gym" cute workout outfit photos. My Twitter has never heard the common "great work out at [insert brand name gym chain here]!" Nope.

The occasion romp to Heartbeat House for a dance session or a ballroom dancing class with Charlesband make-up my outside exercise attempts. I thoroughly vacuum the house to get exercise mostly...but now I have my walks too. Easy on the knees, easy on the eyes, good for the soul...I sound like a 90 year old.

But I digress.

It all comes down to slowing down a little bit. This is my very honest attempt at scaling back my "let me see how many things I can get done in a single day" attitude. Instead of having a contest with myself each day (ok, full work day, grocery shopping, clean the apt, write a blog post, walk the dog, do the dishes, arrange the flowers, and give the dog a flea bath - that was Tuesday), I'm going to really make an effort to veg a little more. (These long, meandering walks also count as vegging...a mildly active kind of veg...kinda like when I sit on the couch and play 10 levels of Candy Crush - brains need exercise too.)

So, to all of you who are really just woodland creatures dressed in human skin, take a break...slow it down. Give yourself a quiet moment and you just might relax for a hot second. xo!


10.15.2013

I'm Enthusiastic About: Atelier Cologne in Vanilla Insensée


I found it!!!

People, I've finally found my signature perfume!
Say hello to my Atelier Cologne in Vanilla Insensée!
I've spent so much money and time trying to find the right one...always going for citrus or musk...and then I found something totally new at my favorite local shop, Broome St. General Store.

Many mornings, waiting for my latte, I've stood in front of their numerous perfumes and colognes. Spritzing, sniffing, testing...wearing scents for an entire day and not being entirely sure. I thought I found the right one once, but they were out of stock and then it fell through...and then, the other morning I tried something new.

A vanilla scent. Totally not in my comfort zone...but what did I have to lose? Possibly smelling like ice cream all day? That's fine. I like ice cream. Who doesn't like ice cream?!

So, I spritzed it on and within 10 minutes - BOOM - completely in love. (They say when you know...you know.) It's rich, luxurious, warm, and welcoming. I feel like a dessert on legs...and without the cloying florals of so many other vanilla-based perfumes. It's also ever so slightly peppery. It has a little kick and somehow successfully conveys vanilla without it being so saccharine that you think your teeth are going to melt off with one whiff. (It's happened to me...when it's overly sugary, I get headaches...this would explain why I can't survive in a Lush store for more than 5 minutes.)

After one more mornings of testing (you can never be too sure...it's a life investment after all), I decided to finally get myself a small bottle to test it out for the autumn. (The store manager already ordered me a larger bottle, knowing immediately that I had found the one. He ordered it without even checking with me...they know me too well over there.)

What else? The other night, Charlesband mentioned that his flannel shirt smelled like it...and that it felt very Nami. It made him think of me all day...and if I wasn't sold already (I was), that was the final decider. I mean, I don't do things for men, but if I can avoid disgusting my husband by the way I smell, I'm ok with that.

Another perk? It's the kind of perfume that reeeeally stays with you. After showering and properly lotioning, the scent is still present on my wrists and neck. I'm convinced that once I've been using it for several weeks, it's going to permanently be part of my natural scent. (Win!) It's already starting to permeate all of my clothing..,and Charlesband's clothing that I borrow. (Score!) The journey to making it my signature scent is well under way.

Now, let us not forget what Coco Chanel once said...


So, go get yourself the future you dreamed of. It's amazing what smelling delicious can do for your mood! What's your signature scent?

10.13.2013

Sunday Style no. 43


Wow. Hey.

So, I've been slightly MIA recently. Been traveling a bunch for business and working my little Asian tuckus off between actual work-work and side-job work. The most recent project is working as creative director and stylist/hairstylist for Charlesband's EDM single promotion material.

Part two of that is happening today and took up most of yesterday. I'll be sure to give you guys a taste of the ridiculous awesomeness of that shoot once I get around to cleaning up the images. Needless to say, it's a creative job that I enjoy despite the running around, neurotic OCD of making sets just right, styling hair just so, figuring out clothing, and telling people things like "ok, you're soul-less" and "more dead in the eyes, please. Thank you."

Work-work has also been bananas...and nuts...it's been banana-nut and not in the balanced breakfast sort of way. Nonetheless, I lucked out having co-workers that share my "get sh*t done" attitude and some really wonderful, hardworking people I get to manage. All in all, I'm really lucky in that department.

So, today's Sunday Styles is an homage to all of this madness. I'm going with my "what I wear when I direct a photo shoot" thing. In short, comfy clothes...in addition to that, a little wink with my "Bien Fait" shirt which means both "well done" and "serves her/him right" in French.

I'm exhausted and kinda falling apart...it serves me right, doing all this stuff at once...but I'm going to pat myself on the back for a second for a job well done. Bien fait, Nami. *pat pat*

So, I'm off to shoot the last look for this promotional/album artwork downtown after which I hope to do a whole lot of nothing. Stare at a wall. Maybe give Merl a much-needed/deserved walk around the local reservoir and enjoy this autumn day in sunny LA.

Hope you all have a wonderful rest of the weekend and to those who have tomorrow off for Columbus Day, enjoy your long weekend! xo!

A Note About the Clothes: J. Crew Field Jacket - no longer available, Uniqlo Button Scarf - no longer available, Madewell "Bien Fait" T-shirt - no longer available, Club Monaco Tasha Faux Leather Legging (black),  Madewell Teddy Loafer in Calf Hair (truffle)

10.07.2013

I'm Enthusiastic About: Gravity!

Image from gravitymovie.warnerbros.com

Ok, so I battled my allergies and made my way to the movies yesterday to see Gravity in 3D...I was already bracing myself since it's the culmination of all of my fears: the unknown, space, lack of oxygen, complete silence, asphyxiation, weightlessness...

Man, I've never been so stressed out watching a movie ever. It differs from horror movie stress which is where I crawl up into a ball, crush my movie-buddy's hand, or enjoy the near-heart attack ride over and over again.

No, this was different.

Mind you, if you look for them, there are plot holes, but I usually go into movies with no expectations...whatever the case, I ate half of my large popcorn within 10 or so minutes of the movie starting out of sheer anxiety (paying the price of a dry mouth which just enhances my anxiety) and spent the rest of the time clutching at my greasy napkin (and sweating through it very quickly) as I experienced one after another of my fears in quick succession.

There's one thing I can be sure of. I will never willingly go into space. If ever there comes a time that we all need to exit stage left from Earth, I'll be one of the last ones to go...I envision a scenario where I dramatically clutch at soil as soldiers drag me into a big astro-caravan, complaining that I'm holding things up. Charlesband calmly walking beside me as I kick and scream and have a tantrum. (Classy broad, I know.)

Now then, do I recommend going to see it? ABSOLUTELY.

I usually don't use this word because I feel like only jerks do...but I'll make an exception here. It was...tremendous. Visually stunning, well-cast, well-directed, all-encompassing...go see it in 3D (it's worth those painful dents those glasses leave on the bridge of your nose)...It was also TERRIFYING. (It's a T-word kind of movie.)

Will I see it again? No. It's likely impossible you can watch it again and experience it the same way. The level of WTF and OMG won't be as great since you'll know what's coming.

What can I say? I'm an anxious person who generally hates being anxious, but this was the one time I truly enjoyed feeling those feelings and likely the last time I'll ever enjoy it.

So, find someone to go with, turn off your mobile phone, revel in the complete silence & terror of the reality that lies just outside our atmosphere. The worst part of it is that there's no science fiction here. It's all totally feasible (with a lot of luck and about 20 rabbit feet strapped to your jetpack.)

The one thought that crossed my mind as I left the theatre was this: This is best kept away from our youth because there's no way anyone would dream of becoming an astronaut after watching it.

Enjoy! (And if you saw it, would love to hear your thoughts!) xo!

10.01.2013

Decorati Fever Strikes Again!!!


So, not sure if you're aware, but I have this thing that I suffer from. A life-long struggle with wherever it is that I'm living. I like to call it Decorati Fever. It happens annually (and sometimes several times a  year.)

Seemingly out of nowhere, I get a very serious urge to change my surroundings...and, so, with the darker, colder months and shorter days, I felt the need to lighten up my apartment. The best way to do this? More plants and lighter paint.

Plants, if you didn't know, make everything better. I recommend them to everyone.

So, I got two new Foxtail Ferns (one of them is happily displayed in the photo.) The other will live in my office. By the way, I just learned that they aren't actually ferns and require lots of sunlight. (So much for that idea of actually having a plant in the less sunny bedroom!) Fun Fact: they're actually part of the asparagus family.

Let's see if my green thumb is effective with these two little dudes. I spent a good amount of time this past weekend toiling over plants and soil. Potting, repotting, trimming roots, packing dirt. All that fun stuff. Our money trees have all been moved to bigger pots to let them stretch their roots and get bigger.

They look happier already.

Now, on to the good stuff.

So, my green & gold striped accent walls in the living/dining room were boring me. The green never sat right with me and I left it because I was too lazy to paint again...but Decorati Fever is unavoidable. I immediately starting doing paint inventory. I have an entire cupboard of paint buckets from all the various paining I've done in the apartment and came across a pale green.

Perfect. PERFECT.

I started collecting several rolls of painters tape from around the apartment and began taping up the stripes. All I can say is "THANK GOODNESS I already put the stripes up!" I don't think I could go for another 6 hours of measuring out wall upon wall of stripes with a ruler, pencil, and a level.

So, with the gold stripes as my guide, I set out to get myself ready for a repainting...and then, after I finished up with work for the day, I commenced putting two coats of paint on every dark green stripe. By the time Charlesband had come home, I was done...and before we went to bed, everything was dry.

After pulling off the tape, I'm happy to report that this may be my favorite color combo yet. Pale green and gold...why didn't I think of it sooner?!

And with that, I'm left with a lighter, brighter apartment brimming with the promise of keeping my spirits up as the days get shorter.

Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe it's too much effort to pull this off every year, but it just feels right. What do you do to keep your living space interesting? Am I the only one that suffers from Decorati Fever?!

9.29.2013

Sunday Styles no. 42


So, the autumn came and went in LA this past week. One day, we were having crisp, cool, sunny days...and then, unapologetically, the heat returned. It was 88 degrees yesterday. I mean, c'mon! I'm over it...warm weather is nice and all, but I've got sweaters pestering me to take them for a spin.

Which brings me to today's Sunday Style. Whether I'll actually survive the day wearing this is a mystery...but, mostly likely, an impossibility. Nonetheless, I'm trying to celebrate autumn with a fail-safe combo of black & tan. (Mr. Merlin included...his tan coat and black nose & eyes are oh-so fashionable!)

I'm never one to wear tight sweaters. It's just not my jam. When it comes to the chillier months, you'll find me in bigger, comfy sweaters throughout most of the season, but sweaters that are tailored in such a way that they don't become a lumpy, bumpy mess under a coat. The key, I found, was wearing sweaters with a roomier midsections (also great for when you wanna go out for a large meal) and well-tailored armholes.

It's all in the armholes, people.

Big armholes equal lumpy, bumpy annoyingness when you put a coat on. You know what I'm talking about...that big mass of sweater resting in your armpit and cutting off your circulation. Not cool. If the armhole is cut small enough to your actual arm size, all will be well. That and thinner materials that are still warm. Cashmere and thin wool work well. Lightweight, but still warm. A winning combination.

A wider midsection and a little bit of length will give the entire look a casual, comfy feel and still allow you to wear a coat. Big plus for a bigger neckline also. Magic.

In this case, I opted for getting a larger size as well. This sweater is a medium.
My usual sizing is small or x-small, but not for sweaters. Nope. Gimme a big ones and marvel at how comfortable I am all day. No pulling and tugging. No weird self-consciousness. Just the equivalent of a blanket...that you wear.

Because we all know that those days where you can get away with just wearing a sweater are few and the winter months come up as fast as sirens surfacing to trick sailors into getting lost at sea.

Anyway, maybe I'll end up changing in a few hours (probably), but for now this girl is gonna dream about the east coast changing of the leaves on the trees, hot apple cider, and getting cozy with the one I love while spending the rest of the weekend out and about amongst the west coast palm trees and blazing sun...and maybe cozying up to the one I love in our apartment with the AC blasting.

Have a great rest of your weekend! xo!

Update: It's going to be in the 80's today. (Insert a big, heavy, sad-it's-not-autumn sigh here.) Well, a girl can dream, right?

A Note About the Clothes: Madewell Leafstitch Crewneck (Hthr Toffee)Club Monaco Carolina Skinny Waxed Pant (Black)Madewell Teddy Loafer in Calf Hair (Truffle), Mr. Merlin - not available.

9.26.2013

L.A. Ladies Interview #5: Jessie Kahnweiler on her film, "Meet My Rapist"

It's time for some serious talk, people...

Rape.

It's happening all the time. Maybe you know someone who has been raped. Maybe you yourself have been. Maybe you recently saw something on TV, read something online, read an article about someone's experience...

The fact of the matter is, rape is very real. It's tragic, it's horrifying. No one deserves it.

So, what happens when your best friend has been a victim of this heinous crime?

You watch her write, direct, and act in a short film about her experience. She does it to inform, to learn about herself, to heal, to inspire others to have strength...and, shocking to many, she does it through comedy. Yep. It's true. An incredibly difficult task indeed.

Jessie Kahnweiler, one of the most talented women I've ever met and my best friend, has created a very powerful piece of art and I wanted to share her journey, her reasoning, and her experience with you...

Here is my interview with her as she takes me through her process and her purpose behind her film:


And now that you're probably curious to see her film, you can watch it here (warning: if you are easily offended, are particularly sensitive to this subject, or feel incredibly uncomfortable right now, proceed with caution...still, it's definitely worth watching):


Some of you may be sitting there, judging her. Maybe you don't understand or are horribly offended. Still, many of you may be inspired and get what Jessie is trying to do here.

This short film put me through a whirlwind of emotions, but in the end, it brought me closer to my best friend and I honor and respect her amazing work. She's truly an inspiration.

Don't forget to check out more of Jessie's work here.

9.24.2013

Quote of the Week: Special


So, I woke up this morning with the usual vigor that one has at 6am (as in not very vigorous, especially pre-coffee) and got to work.

Whilst getting dressed, I ended up pulling together an outfit that may have seemed a little fancy for working from my apartment with no meetings to go to and nothing in particular planned aside from a possible painting project. (I'm getting Decorati Fever again!) Chalk it up to getting dressed in the half-darkness.

When I was getting ready to head to the local coffee shop with Charlesband to get my morning latte I mumbled, "Should I just put your flannel on and jeans?" (By the way, I just discovered that I totally fit into one of his newest flannel button downs which makes me extremely happy because that means I don't need to get new flannel for myself.)

He looked at me, cocked his head and said, "what's wrong with what you're wearing right now?"

And I was about to make a point that it seemed too fancy...but then I stopped myself and thought about it. My fancy-pants conscience (who I always imagine to be either Regina Brett or Holly Golightly), perched on my shoulder and whispered, "Why not? Why not wear fancy clothes? You never know what might happen today!"

Which brings me to today's quote. I do find myself holding out on wearing certain things or using certain items (let's not get into the pile of beautiful notepads I have lying around because I'm too scared to write in them) because I'm saving them for a "special occasion". What the occasion is and when said occasion will happen is a mystery...and then you die. Boom.

I can see it now. My obituary will read "Nami is survived by her husband, Charlesband, her pooch, Mr. Merlin, a very large stack of gorgeous notebooks and a pile of fancy clothes - the latter two, completely untouched."

I mean, what am I waiting for? And I ask you the same thing. What are you waiting for?
Let's just say that the special occasion is that you woke up alive & well and ready for the day ahead. In this day and age, that's something to celebrate!
Remember: TODAY IS SPECIAL, so use those beautiful things in your life. That's what they're there for! xo!

9.22.2013

Sunday Styles no. 41


have officially returned to the land of the living, everyone! Isn't that exciting?! You never truly appreciate being healthy until the Angel of Death is hanging out with you on the couch all week, watching episode after episode of "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant!"

Whatever the case, the flu & I officially parted ways on Friday. As I said to my dad-in-law, "a relationship that stops you from eating or sleeping and stresses you out isn't worth it. It's for the best." It was a relationship fated for disaster from the very start.

Anyway, to further fluff up my shiny new enthusiasm for life, the weather is cooling down. (Happy First Day of Fall!) Though, to be fair, autumn in Los Angeles is vastly different from autumn in New York, I'm still appreciative. The air is crisper, the sun is still bright but less "let's make the entire world feel like a skillet where you play the steak," and overheating Charlesband can comfortably exist with me without having to blast the AC. An open window will suffice. (HALLELUJAH!)

In other really (maybe not really) exciting news, I discovered this morning that my hair has gotten to the point where I can put it up in a (not so polished, but still passable) bun! I know this might seem like a non-event for most of you, but for this woman who has almost always had short hair and has been struggling for over a year to not lop it all off just to prove she can grow it and to have something to do fun things with...well, this was like the hair gods giving me a reassuring pat on the back. "Good job, Nami. Way to grow your hair, kid. You done good."

Thanks, hair gods.

And because I'm bunnin' today, I've decided to go with a ballet silhouette while still honoring my all-black aesthetic. Pleated skirt and super-simple fitted shirt anyone? I know I wore this pleated skirt two Sunday Styles ago, but I'm so obsessed with it, that I just had to wear it again. The coated fabric really defines the pleats and gives the skirt more structure and volume which me (of narrow hips) wants badly. Couple the ensemble with my trusty field jacket, sunnies, and some gold bling for a look that's decidedly almost-autumn.

And, ya know what? It's a really comfortable outfit too. The skirt has a little room at the waist, so I can still eat and the shirt is super-soft and stretchy. Good times, good times.

So, with that, off I go to enjoy this gorgeous weather with Charlesband! The days are getting shorter, so we need to take advantage of the daylight stat! Hope you're all enjoying the rest of your Sunday! xo!

A Note About the Clothes: Club Monaco Faye Solid Top (Black), Zara Coated Pleated Skirt (Black), J. Crew Field Jacket - no longer available, Jeffrey Campbell 'In Love' Flat (Black/Black Patent), House of Harlow 1969 Imagine Sunglasses - I can't find them anywhere now!

9.19.2013

Fashion Week: Day 5 (Long Overdue!!!)

I know, right? Way to make you guys wait! I'm the worst.

The good news? I think I'm finally rejoining the land of the living! I had enough energy to clean the apartment, do the laundry and go grocery shopping! Also, I don't think I'll be eating soup or sipping tea anytime soon. I can't stand even thinking about either of those things at this point.

AND Ritz Crackers...I can't. I never thought I'd see the day, but it has come. I can't stand them. I'm hoping my love will return, but after eating several sleeves over the course of the last 6 days, I'm done. Those buttery, golden disks will have to sit in their box and wait.

Goodbye, sick foods. Hello, fabulous food! I didn't realize how much I missed real food until I was sitting and watching Food Network last night and near tears wanting to put everything in my mouth. Now, the real question will be whether my stomach can actually handle real food. We shall see tonight! How exciting?

Ok, back to Day 5 of Fashion Week! (Sorry, illness digression. Booooring.)

Have I ever told you how much I love menswear? If you've followed the blog for a while, you know this. There are few things I love more than a sassy suit...and, guys, don't tell me that it's boring. You have so many options. To be honest, the best part about it is that you have options within a slightly limited set of options...let me explain.

Suits. Period. Suits are awesome...and within that parameter, you can play with colors, patterns, accessories...and it always looks put together. Women? I feel like we have too many options sometimes and too many options can lead to disaster.

So, what am I referring to in terms of suits?

I give you exhibit A & B:


Behold! A pale pink suit jacket and matching paisley pants with bright green touches. A little bit of seriousness with black hair, black shoes, and black sunnies so as to not go off the foppish deep-end. I practically ran over 10 people to get a photos of Mr. Pink. It's fresh & clean.

Speaking of clean, Mr. Seersucker got the matching pant & jacket on lockdown with a classic, updated with black/brown accessories as an anchor. This guy was oozing snazziness. Another crisp look that will never, ever go out of style. If it's hot out (and, boy, was it gross in NYC that day), go seersucker if you're stumped. It will never steer you wrong.

Meanwhile, you don't always have to go the suit route. (Rhyming is fun.) Guys, feel free to have a little fun: