2012: New Year’s Resolutions vs To-do list

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I’ve tried to pare down my list of resolutions to the bare minimum this year. This was difficult, as I tend to get them confused with my to-do list and thus write out too many resolutions to actually keep ;P Anyways, I finally solved the problem by creating two separate lists. I also jotted down the “rewards” of keeping each of my resolutions: This will serve as a reminder as to why I even bother doing this ENCOURAGEMENT. I’m determined to keep them all!

Here’s to 2012!! ^_^

RESOLUTIONS

Study an hour a day. DON’T FREAK OUT ON ME DAD (I know you’re reading this!) My study time ranges from 6-8 hours on regular days. But I’m trying to study everyday, and I tend to forget about the time once I’m really into the textbook. So, yeah, I like playing mind games with myself. Weird, much?

Reward: I won’t have a ♥ attack every time I get called on in class.

Keep blogging. I know, I hardly need to be making this a resolution as I’ve been reasonably consistent with my 4 posts a month mantra. However, exams are coming up soon, and this is to remind me to create content well ahead of time.

Reward: I’m hoping this pressure will help substitute focused blogging for mindless drifting on the internet. Plus, with all the studying I need to do, methinks my little bloggy habit will help keep me SANE.

11pm bedtime on school nights. Believe me, 11pm is a huge improvement. I especially like how the last three words sound like a caveat. (It’s not. But don’t tell my brain that.)

Reward: Makes me more productive in the morning; Kicks my caffeine addiction; Gets rid of dark under-eye circles.

Keep a planner. I love planners. Blank ones. But I’m determined to fully utilize them this year.

Reward: Better time organization. Plus, I’ll know how many days are left till the world ends…oops, I mean, till my exams.

Work out 5 minutes a day. I usually get excited about exercise only 5 minutes AFTER I start. I figure that instead of terrifying myself with the thought of a daily workout, I’ll trick myself into doing it instead – by making it sound TOO easy. (Even if this doesn’t work out, I’ll still enjoy the torturous mind games. TMI?)

Reward: Makes my body work better, makes my body FEEL better…and makes me feel better about my body :D Plus, it helps me sleep at night!


TO-DO LIST

  • Crack the denim code. I need a pair of jeans for family vacation. We’re visiting a lot of theme parks this year. (Oh, the joys of having a huge age gap among siblings ;)
  • Comment on more blogs I like. I’m shy, so this will be hard.

Congrats if you made it all the way to the end. As a reward, you get a magical unicorn! *sprinklesrainbows* However, since there are no such things as magical unicorns, you basically get nothing ^_~

Oh wait…Here you go! :D

 

A Parliament of Owls

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Apologies for missing last week’s post. I’m back in Penang for the holidays and didn’t bring my laptop for the ride. With everyone (including my geeky, Unix-obsessed dad WHO I KNOW IS READING THIS) at home for Christmas, there wasn’t a computer to spare for my little bloggy habit. That is, not one that could sustain my love of Photoshopping sorcery. *magicalsparkles* Anyways, I finally got my grabby hands on one unattended machine, so here’s a picture-heavy post to make up for all that.

The above photos were taken last weekend. I’d spent a lazy afternoon with my sister at the flea market held at Straits Quay. It’s one of my favourite places in Penang. There, I was weirdly fascinated by a stall that was COMPLETELY OWL-THEMED (as if I needed to bold that.) According to the stall-owner, she’d sourced them from all over the world. Cue the jaw drop of awe. She was also a darling about graciously ignoring my whole camera-snapping thing :D

Anyways, scroll down for more hyperglycaemia-inducing eye-candy. Mouse-over any photos for my completely unnecessary commentary and all that.

Hope you wonderful people had a MERRY CHRISTMAS! ^_^

PS: I’ll be doing an extra out-of-routine post on New Year’s. Here’s to 366 days of a brand new 2012! *confetti*

Avoiding National Geographic – How to style a khaki shirt

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Previously, I’d noted my problem with khaki shirts: they make me look like a wildlife documentary host! Some lovely readers then suggested a few possible solutions. Inspired, I ventured to explore the styling options of a khaki shirt via Polyvore. The result? A few solutions to avoiding the Steve Irwin-ian look ^_^ (However, none of said solutions exist in my own wardrobe -_-)

Enjoy my Polyvore suggestions and Instylesque commentary! :D

This hovers dangerously close to steampunk territory. But I think the clean lines help balance it out. Plus, the repetition in the details help with the overall cohesion.

Gold and khaki make for old school glamor. But the flowing lines of the shirt and the shortness of the skirt keeps it relaxed. The mint-green accents make it fresh.

One of the comments in the previous post suggested I go for the "Girl Scout" look. I decided to make like a hipster and go for irony: Nothing says "Girl Scout" like berets, cookies, and the Cookie Monster! This shirt is 100% cookie inspiration. *MEWANTS*

The brocade on this Vivienne Westwood skirt was just screaming DECORATED OFFICER.

Lastly, but not leastly - a homage to the Crocodile Hunter! :D Khaki shirts are synonymous with wildlife documentaries for a reason, after all, so perhaps I should just stop fighting it...*embracesconcept* I'm loving the "urban huntress" vibes of this look ;) *EDIT: I just realized the irony of using a leather skirt in a homage to Wildlife Warrior Steve Irwin >.< I'm not against wearing leather (I'm an evil non-hypocrite. Yay me ;P) ...but this is clearly inappropriate. Let's just pretend it's faux, ok? *self-loathing*

Hope you enjoyed my Polyvore efforts ^_^

Please let me know which one is your favorite and why! (It’s for my own personal shopping-research purposes ;)

***Special thanks to lovely reader Levisque for the fun “Girl Scout” idea + helpful tulip skirt tip!! :D***

Confession/Attribution of Inspiration: This was inspired by a post from one of my favorite bloggers, Maja Piraja. She, with the help of the lovely Maria, did a gorgeous Polyvore post about “How to wear a beige skirt”. Unfortunately, I didn’t (and still don’t) own a beige skirt. I do remember comment-complaining about how I had a lot of khaki in my wardrobe though. Hence, the conception of inspiration – and a post was born :D

Hope you don’t mind, Maja >.<

Watch me

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It does not matter how slow you go, so long as you do not stop.

At least, that’s what Confucius said. (Tumblr users ought to be familiar with this ;) Self-identification and all that.

Some people tell me I don’t update often enough. Truth. However, I’m shooting for consistency: 1 post a week, 4 posts a month. My previous goal was twice that many. But that didn’t work out.

What changed? Well, let’s just say there was a shift in the wind blowing inside my dark cold id that made me all grouchy and restless. Or perhaps I’m just riding a different drift: priorities be a-changing, and a post a week feels exactly right for that.

Excuses, excuses: There’s a part of me that agrees – I could do better than this. But would I?

To me, blogging is an art – and art is all about expressing yourself for the sake of expressing yourself. Right now I’m working towards the point where it becomes a part of my schedule, and thus a part of who I am, as opposed to merely what I do. Corniness aside, this bloggy pace feels exactly right for me now.

But then again, that may change with time ^_^

(Regarding the photo: I bought me a new trinket. Guess the answer to the riddle and you’ll know what’s inside that locket. Impatient? Just highlight the rest of my words: the answer is Time – hence the pocket watch ;)

(PS: Who else is looking forward to the movie version of The Hobbit?)

Amazing bloggers: A shout-out to Lindsay K of Un Petit Bijou

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Not too long ago, the lovely, generous Lindsay K of UN PETIT BIJOU hosted a giveaway of the most gorgeous fashion tome I’d ever seen: Balenciaga and Spain.

It was a giveaway open to readers WORLDWIDE and the winner was to be drawn at random.

Don’t you think that’s amazing?? Think about it. How many bloggers do you know hold worldwide giveaways? Lindsay K, I salute your amazing generosity *salutes* It is surpassed only by your even more amazing sense of style.

I took part in that fantastic giveaway, of course. But I didn’t mention it on my blog before because…*ididn’twanttojinxit* >.< So many of her loyal readers took part that I didn’t think I had a chance.

But guess who won that beautiful book?

Now, I want to be mature and reserved and gracious about this. Especially since I didn’t do anything to deserve it.

I WON.

I can’t believe it, I really can’t! I don’t deserve this, I really don’t! But! I! Actually! Won! I know I’m babbling, but I’m JUST SO HAPPY AND EXCITED!! :D This is the first giveaway I’ve ever won! And such a lovely giveaway it is!!

THANK YOU LINDSAY K!! ^_^

It’s amazing bloggers like you who make the Internet a better, more wonderful place!

Here’s to the gracious Lindsay K and her wonderful gem of a blog Un Petit Bijou :D Please become her loyal readers and give her all your support (so that she’ll host more amazing giveaways *coughs*).

I really don’t know how to express my gratitude enough. As of now, I’m still in a state of SHOCK. This is just so overwhelming and incredible. I’m just her humble reader and I totally don’t deserve it but I. WON. THE. GIVEAWAY. *squeals* I can’t wait to curl up and INHALE that breathtaking book of sartorial inspiration! I’ll be sure to tell you guys all about it! ^_~

A/N: I just found out today and was so excited about blogging this piece of news that I haven’t even emailed Lindsay K my address yet ;P To the gmail mobile! :D

Khaki shirt

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Not too long ago, I wrote a post about wardrobe staples. Lovely blogger 0000 requested to see some photos, so here you go :) Regarding the scrawling script, I basically get that a lot, yes ^_^” Any suggestions on how to style this khaki shirt so I don’t look like I’m presenting a wildlife documentary?

PS: I’m really busy right now…so I like to relax by indulging in some pretty pictures! Hence the plethora of picture/photo posts. I’ll get back to writing as soon as possible I feel like it ^_~

A thousand words of apology

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With profiles, it’s difficult to capture the soul of the sitter. The main reason being that the eyes are the “windows” of the soul – and profiles just don’t show enough of them O_O However, even if I were to try a three-quarter view, my attempt to portray mood through fact would probably still be limited by my current obsession with trying to draw what I see. But I’m determined to get it right…one day ^_^ After all, as Ansel Adams put it:

There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.

Edit: Regarding the title: I’m sorry about not posting for so long, so here’s a picture to show that I’m not dead yet :)

Edit #2: I wrote this post in-between classes. Hence the rambling. I wanted to make a coyly vague observation about the sitter (who has one of the straightest noses I’ve ever seen – What? No, of course I’m not jealous *totallie* ) but ended up writing about myself instead. Narcissism acting up and all that. (I’m blogging. It happens.)

Wardrobe Staples: Real vs ‘Ideal’ (Part I)

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1. Khaki shirt - Kathy Ireland, 2. Black tee - EDC by Esprit, 3. Dinosaur tee - shirt by Okarma: hand air-brushed design by unknown artist: bought at London's Covent Market, 4. Brown skirt - unknown, 5. Blue flowery skirt - Cache-cache, 6. Grey pleated skirt - Minna Classic

Remember the Six Items or Less concept? (Refresh your memory here and there.) It entailed a sartorial diet of only six items of clothing for an entire month (undies and such excepted).This was not so much a ploy for encouraging laundry duty as it was a study in stylish pragmatism – a study that I hope to incorporate into my daily life.

Depending on its sartorial context, Gothic vibes go careening into either punk or pretty territory. *strumsairguitar* Yeah, I'm juvenile that way.

Originally, I’d intended to cover the how-to’s of packing in this post. But then I realized that my *cough* packing strategy didn’t so much cover how to pack as it did what to pack. Evaluating and editing my clothing needs was crucial to helping me condense all my essentials into my carry-on. (Check-in luggage is always such an expensive, hassling risk to take.) My college-bound packing was thus an educational exercise in pinpointing my wardrobe staples.

Before, it was always difficult to figure out what were my actual, real wardrobe stapes because so many fashion books had lured me into fantasizing about the ‘ideal‘ wardrobe staples – like the perfect straight jeans, white button-downs, and pencil skirts.

Those garments always look so shiny and gorgeous in fashion books. But do they work? In a word: no. I own exactly one pair of jeans which I haven’t worn for over a year. The only times I’ve donned a white button-down were as part of a uniform. Pencil skirts? Closet Untouchables.

Rainbow dinosaur = Awesome 4EVA Happiness :)

The truth is that these types of garments rarely, if ever, flatter my figure. If something doesn’t make me feel and look good, I won’t touch it. It’s no surprise then that they fail at being my personal wardrobe staples. (Yes, they work in theory. They even work in practice. But only on other people. Not me.)

However, it was years before I grasped the fact that I was never going to be able to work these ‘ideal‘ wardrobe staples into my daily life.

Until I realized that, however, shopping for clothes was a rather pathetic process. My attitude ranged the gamut from denial (Perfect jeans, I choose you! *sparkle*) to despair (It doesn’t fit…*pwnd*) to anger (Why is it not super effective!? *meme*) Last year, I finally gave up on this fruitless quest, feeling discouraged. Was I doomed to live with a less than ideal sartorial style? *cuedramaticmusic*

Khaki and button-downs are two elements that rarely work for me. But, somehow, this shirt does.

 

Thus, I was rather inspired when I read the lovely Maria’s blogpost on personal wardrobe staples. (Visit her at Lost in a Spotless Mind.)

Maria pointed out the problem with the so-called ‘ideal‘ wardrobe staples – they didn’t always work for her or her style. She then proceeded to draw up her own drool-worthy list of wardrobe staples that were just that: garments that she enjoyed wearing regularly.

According to Maria:

…wardrobe staples should be items that instantly make you feel great, well-dressed and like yourself.

It helped me realize then that wardrobe staples should reflect your own unique sensibility. Everyone has their own special items that work for them, that they reach for again and again. Maybe those items are on the ‘ideal‘ list. Maybe not.

Military-inspired chic at its most practical, feminine basic. Nerdy much? *actsalldefensive*

It doesn’t really matter.

What does matter is that your clothes work for you.

I know many people might think I’m stating the obvious. (Yes, you there! What are you sniggering at, hmm? ;) But, the truth is, those fashion books were awfully seductive with their shiny photos of gorgeous models who look good in anything, parading about in the perfectly fitted ‘ideal‘.

Who would say no to that?

So I bought and bought, needlessly stuffing my closet with the said ‘ideal‘ that was supposed to make me a chic and efficient dresser. I wanted my style to be both sensible and refreshing. Following that well-meaning fashion advice resulted in neither.

I’m NOT saying that fashion books are bad. Some give very helpful styling advice, while others provide delicious eye-candy. I still read them and sometimes even daydream about those elusive ‘ideals‘.

A waist-hugging, curve-skimming twirl of flowers that hits at a just-right-knee-length. Need I say more?

However, I now view them through more critical eyes: Does that style look good simply because the model looks good? When and where would I wear something like that? Would that piece work with something I actually own? Stylish pragmatic coming through!

Schoolgirl or office uniform? Take your pick. Versatile subversiveness and all that.

Of the two types of fashion books, inspirational and instructional, I’m now more drawn to the former. Mood boards and style icons are my muses. The instructional ‘list of wardrobe staples you need’ variety are generally avoided.

In other words, I gravitate towards books that inspire true personal style. ‘Style’ books rather than ‘fashion’ books, if you will.

Or, as I like to call them, books that promote the real over the ‘ideal‘.

That’s because good style is all about being real, being the best you you can be. You are the real deal, and, for all the best fashion advice in the world, no one else knows how to be you as much as you do.

As Dr. Seuss put it:

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

And BEING YOU is the most stylish thing you can do! ^_~

 

 

**SPECIAL THANKS! To the ever-stylish Maria for inspiring this post and for being so gracious about letting me quote from her lovely blog!!**

A/N: I honestly don’t remember where I got half of these wardrobe staples (namely, 1, 4, and 6). I’m just giving the names written on their labels. Anyways, this post is only for the ‘basic’ wardrobe staples. As implied by the header, I’m working on a Part II (and possibly III) that will feature said ‘non-basics’, including: accessories, formal wear, and the like. I’ll also try to address more aspects concerning the Real vs ‘Ideal‘ issue.

A/N #2: Please remember that I live in a tropical climate. Therefore, certain items, such as coats, won’t be featured here. Seriously. The only coat I ever wear is a raincoat.

A/N #3: This is the first time I’ve written a post this long about fashion. I got a bit carried away…So! Feedback is much appreciated. I’ll gladly learn from my mistakes, but only if I know what they are ^_~