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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)