2 Years Later...

Ah. Freshly married and in Normandy.

Let me tell you a tale, dear readers, about how I met Charlesband...

Around August of 2008 was the first time Charles and I made contact...through Facebook of all places. I had friended his brother (who was a friend in high school) and he had friended me through that. All I remembered about him then was that he had been friends with my older brother when they were kids and I used to frequently see him at local diners being the angst, beatnicky, cute musician who was too cool for me to talk to.

We spent most of our formative years in that limbo. Hi-Bye friends. We'd see each other at a diner, maybe wave and I would run away because I felt awkward and didn't know what to do after that. Talking to him was out of the question. His best friend, his coffee and his cigarette seemed way more cool than me.

And so, I was surprised and delighted to have a few Facebook exchanges with him over a few weeks back in 2008...but then that fell Facebook messaging often does when you don't know what else to talk about. The last message was some time around Thanksgiving of that year.


Sunday Styles no. 40

Sometimes, I can get crazy with prints and textures and color...but, as you know, I've been embracing black recently, and to further streamline, this week I decided to concentrate on clean, yet dramatic cuts to bring out the lack of color.

Meet my latest dress. Super simple from the front with a little bit of sass in the back and super comfortable to boot. Can't really beat that. The cut is not form fitting, the fabric has stretch, and it's one of those dresses you can't wear with a, factor all that in and it feel like I'm wearing pajamas, but look thoroughly modern and put-together. Win and win.

I've been in a playful mood lately about proportions and experimenting with how things fit. I used to hate my shoulders because I felt like they were too broad, but I'm embracing them and enhancing them with this dress (it has mini shoulder pads) and its hard lines and angles.

I also used to think that body fitting tailoring was the only way to best compliment my body shape, but it turns out that a cut like this is not only comfy (read: you can eat whatever you want in it), but it compliments the body in its lack of body-hugging-ness. It flatters with what you can't see...that may sound like some mystical and mysterious sartorial jargon, but I hope I'm making sense. Sometimes a hint of shape is what makes something more alluring.

I added a little bit more structure with these loafer/shootie hybrids (henceforth, I will be referring to them as my shoofers...or maybe loafooties.) And that's that.

So, to everyone, have a little bit of fun and experiment with shapes, cuts, and take a chance on body parts you may have secretly been hating on. Sometimes they just need a chance to shine!

Now, back to trying to squeeze as much relaxation as possible out of this Sunday. Have a great rest of the weekend! xo!

A Note About the Clothes: Zara Dress with Bow at Back, Zara Mid-Heel Leather Ankle Boot


I'm Enthusiastic About: Ballroom Dancing!

Yep, you heard right, folks! Over the past month and a half, Charlesband and I have taken up ballroom dancing as a means to spend some more quality time together and to get ourselves off of our respective butts. Overworking affords little time for lovingly gazing into each others eyes or finding the willpower to go for a run. My at-home workout DVDs have collected dust and I haven't gone do a Latin Jam class in almost a month. I know. Go ahead and point your fingers. I'm being lazy.

With that said, I've always been particularly enamored by ballroom dancers. Their poise, their posture, their ease of movement and synergy with their, naturally, I went ahead, did the required research and found a great little studio in Eagle Rock called Ballroom Blitz.

Susannah & Anthony are the owners and a fantastic couple with a rambunctious and charming son, Roman. The studio is their second home as they spend countless hours helping couples attain a new level of physical activity, closeness, and fun. Their teaching style is the best. Easy to grasp concepts mixed with humor make an hour-long private lesson fly by. (They also have group classes, but Charlesband and I didn't want to step on the toes of unsuspecting - and undeserving - fellow dancers until we got the basics down, so we're doing the private thing until we're confident enough to dance with strangers.)

Let me just say, if you have a significant other or a close friend that's willing to make the time, it's totally worth the investment...and it's worth giving up an hour of vegging to learn something new with someone you love. Since starting, I definitely feel like my posture has improved and we're dying to go to a wedding so we can try some moves out. In the meantime, we're making due with trying to practice here and there in our apartment (which isn't all that easy - we don't live in a closet, but we definitely don't live in a huge dance studio.)

Over the course of the 4 lessons, we've learned the box step, turning box step, box step with an underarm turn, progressive, reverse turn, twinkle, twinkle with an inside turn, natural turn, and change steps. Sure, we need to keep practicing, but that's legit for the number of visits we've made. Anthony has been teaching us so far and when we get into the more complicated steps, we'll be switching over to Susannah, who has taught ballroom and Latin dancing for 25 years. I'm beyond excited.

So, just a little something to consider for everyone who might need a little more time with their loved one or can't seem to get up and go to their cardio barre class. (I wouldn't. All my friend have told me they're near-vomiting by the time those classes are over and I'm not a fan of that particular feeling.) Try your hand at some ballroom dancing. The best part is, there's no way you'll ever regret your decision. Seriously. xo!


Mama Matsuo Musing #8: The Hands of Time

Tis time for another musing from my Mama Matsuo! This one is something that none of us really care to think about most of the time, but if you fear aging or are in preventative-skincare mode, listen up.

Today's tip is something I ignored for too long & am now coming back to:

Mama Matsuo Musing #8: Take Care of Your Hands

Seems obvious, no? And yet, we don't always realize that our hands are exposed to so many damaging things all day, every day. Hands, much like your neck, are one of those areas of your body that can immediately give away your age...not that I'm all that sensitive about my age. That's not what I'm saying, but it's one of the easiest places to ignore and, because of that, ends up getting abused.

Growing up, I always admired my mother's hands and even though she complains that there's no way she could get a manicure now because she's constantly washing dishes or cleaning the house, they're still beautiful to me. She complains about liver spots, sun damage, her nails breaking...but in my mind, they will always be those gorgeous, slender, warm and loving hands that comforted me in my times of need while growing up.

Mind you, my mother is now 66 years old and she still looks amazing. I suspect an unnatural amount of collagen in her skin and great genetics. (I can only hope to inherit those things, but I guess I won't know until I'm her age.) And though she may have relaxed a little on the hand care, the things she taught me have resurfaced in my life in a big way. So, what can you do to take care of your hands even when you're busy?


Sunday Style no. 39

Oh, Zara! How could I have forgotten about you for as long as I had!

It's that time again, folks. September Fashion Week in NYC is nearly upon me and that means I need to start pulling together my looks for the week. (I'm talking lists, outfit choices, all the wonderful things that Type A Nami lives for...seriously, my packing lists are frightening to some.)

As mentioned last week, my love of black has returned with a ferocity I can't even explain. Something about always looking put together even when you're comfy. So, I began my search online with the usual suspects and stumbled upon Zara's recent collection. I swooned so hard, I nearly fell off the couch. It encapsulates everything I love about texture & proportion play that black affords...and hits the nail on the head in terms of the "gallery owner" look that I adore...and all without cutting my bangs above my eyebrows. (Did that once. Don't feel liked doing it again.)

So, this week's Sunday Styles is another shout-out to black. This time I'm also hollerin' at the concept of the New Classic...or Neue Classic because I feel like being German today. This cropped top + pleated skirt combo definitely harkens back to Dior circa 1960, but with a fresh new take. Namely, the structural viscose fabric & tailoring of the top and the coated fabric of the skirt. Similar proportions with a modern twist. Can't go wrong there.

I'm hoping to wear this one in September. Just really praying the weather isn't too hot...let's hope the AC in the tents, at the very least, is blasting!

And now, back to  bummin' around the apartment. I think there's some laundry that desperately needs to get done. Have a great rest of the weekend! xo!

A Note About the Clothes: Zara Cropped Sweater, Zara Coated Pleated Skirt, Jeffrey Campbell 'In Love' Flat


How-To: Twist & Shout (Ok, Maybe Not Shout)

So, I've been stopped a number of times by women on the street, in office buildings, and at events, asking about a certain hairstyle I wear when I'm sportin' 3rd day hair and only have enough patience to spritz some dry shampoo on and jab a ton of bobby pins in my hair.

Surprisingly, people are impressed with this style and have often asked how I put it together. Well, ladies, I have a secret. It takes me between 5 to 7 minutes (3 minutes on super-rush days) to do it and I urge all of you to give it a try. It's a real time saver and works really well on 2nd & 3rd day hair. Went to sleep with wet hair and woke up looking like you got punched in the head by a tornado? Well, this will fix that too.

This is also a great style for the braiding-impaired. (I'm raising both hands here.) My hair's just not long enough right now to accommodate fancy-pants plaiting. I'll play with those when it gets a little longer.


Quote of the Week: Time

You ever get that creeping feeling? Like your whole week just melted away and you're unsure if you have anything to show for it aside from hundreds of email responses and hours of phone time on conference calls? I'm pretty sure it's a common ocurrence, so I needed to commiserate with you for a hot second.

My job? It's a great job...but I recently read a fantastic article called "What Gets Done Is What Gets Done" and it's based on the fact that long work hours don't help any of us in the long run. Burning the candle at both ends, late work nights, long work days, missing special occasions because of emails back and forth, having to put off planning a vacation because you might be needed for work. It made me rethink things a bit.

These are all things I'm guilty of...same with Charlesband. Planning a vacation for us is basically something that doesn't happen. (Though we like talking about it at great length.) The one and only time we ever truly unplugged was on our honeymoon and that happened nearly 2 years ago. (Note to self: Anniversary is coming up in a few weeks.)

So, I'm trying my best to unplug (I say as I wait for any emergency messages or emails to come in regarding projects that are due tomorrow.) I said I was trying. In the meantime, I'm taking little steps every day to not delay on things. I won't wait until next time to give Charlesband a smooch or give Merlin a nuzzle when he's looking particularly lonely. If he makes a sad face at the door as I'm leaving for the office, I'll take the extra 30 seconds to walk back into the apartment to give him a big, squishy hug and cover him with kisses. I mean, not to sound morbid, but I could get run over by a car a few seconds later for all I know.

In short, this is really a call to arms. It's a call for those of us whose occupations can eat up all of our precious time to not delay on, to start, the little things...because when it comes to the job, what gets done is what gets done. You'll work more efficiently and have a clearer head if you take the time eat. love. play. (See what I did there? No, I don't have an Asian accent, you jerk...then it would be "rove & play.")

So, don't delay. Get to it as soon as you can! Time waits for no one! xo!


Sunday Styles no. 38

Sometimes, you have a week that's so bananas that you can't possibly find the energy to wear anything that will hinder the two main things you need to focus on for the weekend. Namely, eating and lounging (with Merl & Charlesband, naturally.)

Because of this goal, today has been spent in the most comfortable of dresses. I found this little steal at a J. Crew Factory outlet on the way back from Santa Barbara a month ago and it's my go-to for those days when eating and face planting on the couch (or just lounging hard in any position really) is necessary.

The best part about this dress is that it still looks put together...and the fact that it's black keeps it looking a bit more serious. (I never feel right lookin' like a beach princess in a crazy flowy, pastel number. I'm always looking for a little hint of sternness in my clothes. Not sure why.)

It pairs well with my favorite jackets and I can wear it with my hair up or down...the bed head was lookin' a little cray today, so I opted for one of my Filthy Mouth Clothing turbans which are quite the life saver.

So, this is what's up this Sunday. An attempt to relax as much as possible before the work week comes crashing down on me...Yesterday was spent running errands and cleaning. This morning? Working on replacing a flat, I deserve to bum around in my fashionable sack and play videogames with Charlesband till my eyes fall out.

Hope you're all having a great Sunday! xo!

A Note About the Clothing: J. Crew Factory V-Neck Maxidress (no longer available - BOOOOO, I want 10 more of these!!!), Filthy Mouth Turban


I'm Enthusiastic About: Converse All-Stars

Ya know, even though I (sadly) walk a lot less in LA than I did in NYC, my feet don't seem to be any less stressed. Mind you, it's not like I'm wearing sky-high heels every day. On the contrary, you can usually find me running around in flats (whether of the pointy ballet kind, a boot, or a sandal.) Sometimes I'll venture out in a high platform or a heel on the weekends, but weekdays are meant for scurrying around like the woodland creature I truly am on the inside.

But I ended up buying an especially hard-to-break-in pair of flats (I know...seems like an oxymoron - blame patent leather) a few weeks back and ended up with holes in my feet. Beyond blisters, people. I went through a box of blister band-aids in one day, if that gives you any idea.

So, a few days of hobbling around, changing my band-aids constantly, and even getting to the point of asking poor, tired Charlesband to please pick up more band-aids on his crazy commute home because I couldn't get a pair of shoes on...a few days of that and it dawned up on me that I had a pair of chucks sitting around that needed some more wearing.

And so, today, I donned my pair of Converse All-Star High Tops and marveled at the level of comfort I was feeling. I mean, I wore them before, but wasn't hindered by my feet basically bleeding off...and these guys made it all ok. So, this post is a dedication to my newfound enthusiasm for my dear, dear chucks.

Maybe I didn't wear you...quite as often as I could have.
And maybe I didn't love you...quite as much as I should have.

If I made you feel second best...Chucks, I'm sorry I was blind.
You were always on my mind.
You were always on my mind.

Yes. Rewriting Willie Nelson lyrics is the thing to do when you want to pay homage to canvas sneakers. I thought that was a pretty obvious option.

So, to all of you who beat your feet to shreds, maybe it's time to grab a pair of chucks (which are incredibly affordable - did I mention that part?), roll your jeans up and have yourself a wildly casual, yet grossly stylish day. Whether at the office or out & about. Not only will your spark for them rekindle itself in anywhere between 2 seconds to 5 minutes (depending on your current activity), but you'll also be pleasantly surprised to find them incredibly adaptable to a number of looks. (Though, I will almost always go with rolled up denim and a white T-shirt.)

We've all had a pair in the past right? Mine was when I was in an indie phase back in the early 90's...I also had an obsession with pro-Keds, corduroys, V-neck sweaters and going to as many obscure shows as I could shake a stick at. (Note: You can shake a stick at a lot, as it turns out.) I had a shag haircut and was so angsty back then.

I'm glad I can now wear them with a new vigor that my depressed, pubescent self couldn't appreciate. Rolled up jeans & white t-shirts? OMG, my 14-year-old self would be hissing right now. Can you tell I'm glad I got out of that phase?

Anyway, digressing.
If you have a pair, pull them out! If you don't, go get yourself a pair and enjoy! xo!


LA Ladies: Interview #4 - Kristin Livingstone (on Online Dating!)

Have you ever online dated? Or are you looking to online date anytime soon?
Are you convinced it's not for you or have you tried and thought you failed?
THINK AGAIN, m'dears!

I'm pretty sure I created an online dating profile eons ago after a particularly wretched break-up and never checked it. If anyone comes across my profile, let me know. I can't even remember what site it was on...all I know is that it was a paid site and I was using a free trial.

I will say that part of me is sad that I never got to try it out, but I'm not complaining about being married to Charlesband. I couldn't have asked for a better other half.

BUT for those of you still on the quest to find your partner in crime, there's help!
Enter Kristin Livingstone. A very dear friend, immensely talented writer, and a woman who married a man (a very good man. I'm totally Team Dave) she met on, of all places, OKCupid.

Naturally, I had to pick her brain about the do's & don't's in the realm of virtual courtships. So, without further ado, I give you my L.A. Ladies Interview no. 4:

Note: it's a little on the long side, but after countless attempts at editing it down, I couldn't find anything else to cut. It's all just toooo good. Enjoy!

So, you think you're ready? Or do you want a free online consultation of your profile?
Then don't wait. Check this out!

And if you want a good laugh & a very honest opinion, give this doozy a read.

And don't forget to check out more from Kristin here.

Happy Online Dating, everyone! xo!


Sunday Styles no. 37

It's always really obvious when I get back from an extended trip to NYC. Reason being, I inevitably end up reverting back to my completely monochromatic way of dressing from days of yore. Wearing all black never seems wrong in NYC, whether it's 100 degrees and 100% humidity or it's 10 degrees and nearing an icy apocalypse.

So, of course, upon my return, I reached into the shadows of my closet for the inkiest items to prolong the memory of my sweet & hectic stay last week. I find that the interesting thing about wearing all black (or, at the very least, staying greyscale) is that you end up focusing more on shapes and proportions because you're not distracted by crazy patterns or bright colors. It all comes down to the cut, the angles, and the overall composition.

So, this week's Sunday Styles is dedicated to black. To texture, proportion, and nostalgia. I can honestly say that I miss it a little bit, New York that is...and, no, I can't move back, east coast friends. You'd have to take that up with Charlesband since he's in a situation where he can't really move.

Also, Merlin likes it on the west coast and I can't take that away from him. Sadly, he was too tired to join our shoot today. He chose the new comforter over us.
Fair enough.

For now, I'll savor my monthly visits to the big apple and celebrate it in my own, quietly sartorial way. Cheers to the grind, the long workdays, to all of my co-workers who make it so easy to want to just stay in the office all day and all night, and to the new faces & old friends I've made at my current job.

...And a big hug to my friends I didn't get to see. If only there were more hours in the day and I didn't enjoy my job so much. xo!

A Note About the Clothes: Club Monaco Thea Top (Soot Black), Gap 1969 Ankle Zip Legging Jeans (Black) - no longer available, but here's an alternative, Jeffrey Campbell In Love Flat