Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hoi An, world heritage site

malnourished cattle on the banks of the river, between Hoi An and My Son

My Son Champa site

My Son is pronounced "me sun". It is about 2 hours from Hoi An. Much of the sculpture has been taken to the Champa Museum in Da Nang, which I didn't go see.

all i could think as i looked out on the lush jungle landscape was Agent Orange.

rachel comey top

Impulse Seattle proves yet again how important the right model and the proper styling is for unusual pieces such as this Rachel Comey linen top.

However, as much as I've grown fond of the animal print, I think I'd more likely wear this version:

Rachel Comey cotton top, $219, www.hejfina.com (i've yet to see it in this print anywhere else online)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

eBay saga continues--boots

so i bought these APC boots last December at Hejfina in Chicago, hoping desperately that I could make them work, even though they felt a little small. well, i think i've suffered long enough. But oh, they're so beautiful. i especially love the narrow calf opening, which is perfect with a mini skirt and tights. so, i'm selling them on eBay. i don't think i'll get much for them, considering they're worn. the rubber layer on the sole is worn down enough that it needs to be replace (damn my pronating ways!), and the left boot is oddly more worn-in than the right. maybe it was the display shoe? hmm. anyway.

apc military boots, FW 06: originally $588 (they were on sale, when I bought them), asking price, $49.99.

ideally, i'd like to sell them for $100-150. that would make me happy


i just bought these boots on eBay.

i need to preface this with a small confession:

i love loeffler randall boots. when i first saw their Kat boot nearly 2 years ago, i desired them more than i've ever desired a pair of boots. they were the perfect color (vachetta leather), with the perfect wedge heel, and resembled a minimalist grown up pair of cowboy boots.

anyway, $630 was too too much for me at the time. then, last January, a friend and i went to the Louis Boston half yearly sale. and there were my boots. but not in my size. my friend tried them on, they were perfect (in my mind), but there was some doubt about the canklage. so, even though they were $315 or so, my friend decided not to buy them.

anyway, later she found a shorter version of the Kat boots, but with grommets. they were on sale, in her size, but in black. she wanted brown. and the grommets? not necessarily what everyone wants in their everyday boots, if you know what i mean. so she didn't buy those, either.

so, recently i found these Birtie grommet boots in brown on eBay. and, well, i ended up buying them for a few various reasons.
1) my apc boots were a major disappointment, and i really wanted a pair of shorter boots to wear with skirts, etc.
2) there's nothing i want more than a pair of loeffler randall boots
3) i love the color and the quality of the leather
4) secretly, and not so secretly, i see myself as a grommet kind of girl
5) so cheap, so very very cheap
6) i don't care if there's canklage, and i don't care if they're a little bit 80s, i want them

so i feel bad that i ended up with these boots and my friend still doesn't have her perfect brown boots. all i wanted were boots that fit. my riding boots are too big (a really big italian size 39), and my apc boots are too small (a really small french size 38). i feel like i can never win with shoes. but i'm pretty sure these 8.5 boots will fit. please god. let them fit.

Loeffler Randall Birtie boots: originally $600ish, paid $230.
up until the last 5 seconds, i was winning at $160, and then someone came in and pushed the price up drastically. my limit was $260. argh. $160 would have made for a much nicer story, but $230 isn't bad at all for new in box shoes.

i hate eBay. i need to promise myself that after these boots sell (or not) that i'll swear off eBay altogether.

someday i'm going to buy real cowboy boots. or something that resembles cowboy boots. like these boots designed by Heather and Margo Harrison of Gurej, an awesome boutique in Houston. i think they're made by this really famous bootmaker in Texas who charges $1000+ for really hardcore cowboy boots with blue colored ostrich leather and scary things like that.

i want these, but in a darker color:

Palomino boot, $900, from www.gurej.com (25% off with www.grechenscloset.com code). custom orders available.

or these amazing riding boots by Golden Goose, an italian label known for 'antiquing' their boots. $878, from www.kateboutique.com.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

not ready to celebrate

but i have really fabulous news!

someone wants to buy my first wedding dress. after 1 1/2 years of posting it on www.preownedweddingdresses.com, i have a real potential buyer. i had a few nibbles over the year, but they would always ask me to reduce the price drastically or would simply change their minds. i don't blame them, it's a hard thing to buy your wedding dress online.

anyway, this is what i could have looked like on my wedding day:

as you may remember, this is what i ended up wearing. totally different look. both could have worked, but this one was so much more exciting.

you know the drill:

Dress 1-- Altered Bride Boston lace strapless gown, $2200, sold for $500 (unworn condition)
Dress 2-- Vera Wang silk organza with hand embroidery, $6500, paid $900 at a bridal outlet

net loss (including alterations fees): $2900.

i keep telling myself how amazing the Vera Wang was and how beautifully the pictures of it turned out. but still, do you know what i could have bought for that much money? a super lightweight laptop (thinkpad x60s, yeah!) and a vintage dress from thefrock.com suitable for bridal wear. i am never getting married again, no matter how much i enjoy designing my own stationary or making up a gift registry.

another reason to check out Stel's Boston

Stel's Boston is having a warehouse sale, 75% off fall merchandise.
April 20-22, doors open at 10am.
334 Newbury St. (basement level), near Patagonia and North Face, towards the Mass. Ave. side of Newbury.

I have to present a paper on Friday at 1pm, and I really shouldn't be shopping beforehand, but I might just have to. Maybe they'll even have some Tom Scott sweaters or Tashkent by Cheyenne flats.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

rachel comey sandals

something must be wrong with me because i really like these fringed rachel comey sandals. here's the wedge t-strap version:

creatures of comfort, $290 ; kick pleat, $276

brown version at Impulse, $288. according to their blog, these shoes run narrow and half a size small. i'm not sure my wide birkenstock feet will be able to wear these shoes, even in a size 9 or whatever. anyway, anthropologie also carries these, i think in brown, for about the same price, if not a little more.

slingback version at mick margo, available at refinery29 shops, $265

brown version at creatures of comfort, $280.

i prefer the cream color. the brown ones seem a little too moccasin-hippie-luxe for me. i wonder if this style also runs narrow. i'm definitely leaning more towards it (these are all hypothetical decisions and ruminations, of course).

anyway, there are a bunch of great shoes by rachel comey this season. but can i justify nearly $300 on sandals when i know i'll revert to wearing my reefs anyway? plus, i have those pretty mayle slingbacks that i bought early last fall and haven't had a chance to wear yet. similar in concept, but a totally different look. but rows of leather fringe? hmm, i wonder if i would regret it later or would embrace it as part of my california heritage. they're almost like golf shoes reinterpreted in sandal form. which is a little bit preppy and and a lottle bit me. i keep telling myself i need to find a rich husband. but then i remember that i'm already married and destitute, with bleak financial prospects. shame on me. i'm sure other grad students manage quite well on their stipends and even save a bit of money, pay off loans and don't carry credit card balances. oh the shame.

vince cashmere sweater + APC smock dress

vince cashmere open-front sweater, $110 from bergdorfgoodman.com, originally $275. neiman marcus is selling it online for $138. aren't they owned by the same company? i still have a hard time understanding these price discrepancies. maybe the problem is that i spend too much time comparison shopping at brick and mortar and online shops. as much as i like a good bargain, i still feel pretty loyal to certain shops. if i had money, i would buy more things from them, even if they charged a few dollars extra and i had to pay shipping for the phone order. but bergdorf? neiman marcus? as if i really care about those companies.
(image from www.azaleasf.com)

would like to buy:
APC pocket mini dress in orange and khaki, $197 from Azalea SF.

Monday, April 16, 2007

acne jeans paperbag skirt

acne jeans paperbag skirt, $275
(photo from www.lagarconne.com)

judging from these mannequin shots of my skirt, you would think that it's a disaster waiting to happen.

here are my blurry photos due to gloomy weather. anyway, the paperbag waist does not disappoint. admittedly, it's a tricky silhouette to pull off for curvier people. but as you can see from the side view, it doesn't add disproportionately to your waist area. it's like a more adventurous pencil skirt. whoever designed this is brilliant because the huge, roomy patch pockets aren't very bulky, and the belt can be cinched for a more or less bunchy-look depending on your mood. as you can see, i prefer less, and the mannequin probably would have appreciated my approach, too.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

bad hector

here is hector, about 5 months old, harassing poor turtle.

but he was such a beautiful baby.

isn't that what all mothers of horrid bully children say?

nor'easter in april, or what we mean to say

turtle dreaming of being an only cat

yesterday i was very annoyed with hector because his behaviour is regressing to a rodent-like scurrying and foraging for bits of food. i told him that if he continued down this evil road of maladjustment, i would drive him to a far off city, like Beverly, and leave him in a parking lot to fend for himself. i didn't really mean it, but i am beginning to worry about my moral and psychological fitness as a potential mother.

so tomorrow is the boston marathon. hooray! apparently the weather will be pretty frightful, although thankfully this unseasonable nor'easter should be mostly wrapped up by then.

as this morning was grey and miserable, i woke up, changed out of my pjs into nearly the same outfit i was wearing last night, plunked myself in front of the computer, and have been trying to write ever since. i am terribly behind and in trouble with my workshop organizers for not turning in a draft of my presentation last friday. it's my fault for putting things off for the last minute, especially since i knew i would be gone for an entire month. but my half-excuse is that i left my thumb drive in california and no longer have access to all those drafts i had been working on beforehand. this is a bad excuse though, because i probably wouldn't have used them since i decided to write something completely different that incorporates my vietnam and US travels into a paper written two years ago.

so this is what i look like when i really let myself go:

apc new standard lowrise jeans
warm sheepskin slippers
plaid flannel shirt from faconnable
neighborhoodies customized hoodie paying homage to my college and the venerable "OE in the IE" column penned by Drew Eastman and Richard Caperton in The Student Life paper. it featured our fearless duo drinking themselves silly in various locations in the Inland Empire.

the film by David Lynch is pretty incredible, too.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


my friendly cyclo driver in Hanoi. he learned english from a book, and it was a lot better than the few vietnamese phrases i learned from my routledge tapes. normally i don't take pictures of people as 'souvenirs', but he was one of the nicest people i met in vietnam.

beautiful bougainvillea spilling from a balcony near the Dong Xuan market.

supermarkets are so comforting somehow.

anthropologie.com regrets / new finds at stel's

against my better judgement, i bought these rachel comey derby shoes from anthropologie.com for $99.95 (originally $288). i must need a new monitor, because the color was totally off in real life. i thought these shoes were supposed to be a pale bone color. and in fact, they seem to look just like the ones featured on rachel comey's website. how could two different websites be so wrong?

so in real life, they're closer to a pale taupe. that's just not the color i was envisioning when planning new outfits around my new shoes. plus, they cut into my ankle bone, which is a typical problem for me. so, the shoes are fine, but a bit longer and pointy-toed than i would like, the color is off, and they're cheap but not cheap enough to justify suffering through them. god, i'm already suffering for my overly small APC boots that i bought at Hejfina in chicago. i'm learning to trust my instincts when it comes to shoes. if i have to tell myself that we'll make it work, i should just walk away from the sale.

anyway, i went to stel's yesterday because i heard they had some pieces by tom scott. i tried on the square black sweater ($450?!?! why the extra markup? so confused), which was exactly what i hoped for, and a couple other more 'avant-garde' pieces. one of which, my partner later commented, was obviously the 'upside-down sweater look'. well, i thought it looked interesting and challenging, but of course he chose to belittle it.

so instead of buying $300+ sweaters, i opted for the acne paperbag waist blue skirt. it is truly amazing. i was skeptical of the paperbag waist (80s flashback, counterintuitive design), but when i tried it on, i had to admit it looked pretty fabulous. i was struck by how quickly i adapted to the new fit. normally i hate tucking in my shirt or wearing anything that is particularly formfitting around my mid-section, but for some reason, i had no problems tucking my tanktop into the skirt. it's like the skirt was calling all the shots. anyway, i'll post pictures later when i'm feeling less under the gun about this research in progress workshop i agreed to do months ago.

i also went into dress, but wasn't so excited by their offerings. it's not that anything has changed in the store. same lovely vanessa bruno, adam + eve, catherine malandrino, vena cava, 3.1 philip lim pieces. so it must be me. stel's was so much more exciting and interesting. although i wouldn't wear a lot of their things, the way the collection is curated (not a single bad APC piece in sight) forces you to react differently and imagine potential outfits/selves that you wouldn't have ever considered on your own. so, if it weren't for the fact that they're charging $60 more for that tom scott sweater, i would totally buy it from them.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

tom scott arrivals at impulse

remember this dress from a long time ago posting?
yes, it's our favorite tom scott cotton jersey parachute / cocoon dress.
impulse now has it in stock, $354.
so many endless fascinating possibilities! so tempting!

but wait!
maybe what i really want is the tom scott cashmere navy square sweater for $388. so many thoughts running through my head now as i try to justify a non-essential clothing purchase:

-$354 is $34 less than $388, so i should buy the dress
-cashmere will last longer than cotton jersey and is a more luxurious material, so i should buy the sweater
-a dress is a complete outfit, buy the dress
-i wear sweaters with jeans or skirts more often than i wear dresses because the weather is fickle here, buy the sweater

you've seen the pictures, so what's the verdict? if i had, hypothetically, money for a tom scott piece, which should i buy? it's difficult because i feel a certain amount of loyalty to the dress, since i fell in love with it first. but now i'm leaning towards the sweater because i know i'd probably wear it more considering my track record with dresses (i wear the same grey habitual skinny jeans and a cardigan every day). let's face it, my life is a hopeless reclusive mess. the last time i wore a dress and heels was, um, never. but the sweater is more expensive than the dress, and i've never spent THAT much money on a top, not even for cashmere. anyway, i'm sure my hand will be dealt for me since the dress will likely sell out soon.

one final parting image of the sweater. there's something a little eileen fisher about it, i must admit. but there's also something about it that makes me think that audrey hepburn would have worn this outfit. slouchy yet structured is always a good thing.