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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?!