February 29, 2012

Whimsical illustrations by Rebekka Seale

Happy hump day! Only 2 more days to the weekend. I am absolutely loving these illustrations from Rebekka Seale- they are so charmingly hand-lettered and I really like how obviously illustrated they are.

She does commissions for house paintings as well; wouldn't that be a fantastic wedding/ house warming gift? I already know a good friend who would be putting that to good use sometime in 2015 :) Isn't it crazy how fast we're growing up?? I'm turning 22 this year; it makes me a little sick. I still feel like I'm 12 sometimes- how am I now wayyy too old to be watching movies about American high school drama?!? Time, you need to cease this at once.

Images from Rebekka Seale's Etsy store and blog

February 28, 2012

Fashion week street style: bright

I love pops of colour against a neutral palette- I'm a huge fan of red and purple, but as Spring approaches I am increasingly drawn to obnoxious neons. Like highlighter Barbie pink, which I would never have been caught dead in as a child but that seems edgier and more exciting as time goes by.

How ridiculous is that electric blue cape??
I'm also really loving pastels and mixed prints for Spring:

I think Mary Kate Steinmiller does such a great job of combining winter florals without going all-out crazy (such a classic, preppy, interesting style- I always really look forward to seeing what she wears), and Joanna Hillman from Harper's Bazaar in the next picture- WHAT a gorgeous red lip. I usually only wear Chapstick (and even then- I need to take better care of my lips, they are chapped and awful-looking most of the time), but that image's really making me want to run out and purchase some red lipstick right now!

Okay. Sorry, boys who read my blog.

Anyway, some things I really want in my closet this Spring: a loose, taupe blazer; midi-length dresses; sheer black tights; tapered pants. I really should start hunting some of these down, but I am currently broke and saving up for New York during Spring break! (the stakes are even higher now because I just scheduled an interview in New York!!!!)

Images from Jak & Jil and Harper's Bazaar.

February 27, 2012

Fashion week street style: muted

Berkeley's been hit by a cold front (about time; all that sun and cloudless unblinking skies were making me antsy)- but now all I can think about is glorious Spring and not wearing tights. I'm getting bored of my closet; am thinking of packing up some clothes and selling them off at Buffalo Exchange, so I turned to street style blogs for some inspiration and WOW. It is the documented street style at fashion week that makes fashion week the astoundingly inspirational time it is, I think- seeing real people interpreting runway looks in their own ways. I'm all for crazy prints and textures and fashion as art, but what really draws me is how practical some of these looks are and how easily they would fit into my closet.

A collection of images, part 1:

More to come! I have Part 2 scheduled for tomorrow morning because there were SO many images that I wanted to save! I really should get a Pinterest account. But- I love the neutral layers, that AMAZING skirt in the bottom-most left picture, the slouchy yummy leather bags (that shade of maroon is so gorgeous), the strong red lip. Really inspiring me to up my game with my dressing! I have been in such a boring, formal-professional rut these past few weeks and I don't really feel myself when I'm not having fun with my clothes.

Sorry if that sounded vacuous. I just like clothes a lot, okay??

Now back to my paper and huddling indoors. The Berkeley cold was such a slap to the face after the sunny warmth of LA!

Images from Refinery29, Jak & Jil, and Harper's Bazaar

February 23, 2012

Thursday music: pumped

Headed to LA later today for an interview- I felt like a rockstar when I told my parents that a firm was paying for my airfare and hotel and everything...! I am such a big girl now ;) I'm nervous but really excited at the same time- traveling for the first time with a good friend and I think that's why I'm more excited than stressed at this point!

Music that has been making me happy this past week:

1. Light a Roman Candle with Me, by fun.
2. Mom and Daughter, by Pep Talk
3. Painting by Chagall, by The Weepies

Pep Talk is one of the new Baybeats audition bands. I really like their sound; it's so fun and rollicking and very '60s. And the photo was taken via Instagram- Dan insists that it's a great shot of his CAR, but I think that it's a great shot of how Spring is exploding into Berkeley. Today we had such bright sunshine that I didn't even need to wear a coat out! In February! I think I took it after coming home from eating dimsum in Oakland, and it's a great memory of our really chill long weekend.

February 21, 2012

Photos of food

One of the things that Dan and I have been trying to do a lot of this semester is to eat at different/ interesting/ new places more often. Asian Ghetto (completely misleading name for the non-Berkeleyans, it is neither ghetto nor is it entirely Asian- there's a Mexican place, a donut bakery, and an Italian restaurant in that area). So here are some iPhone photos of our food adventures:

[1] Valentine's dinner at Bella Trattoria in San Francisco: the people were really nice but I think the food was a little overpriced. The gnocchi was DELICIOUS and the desserts were to die for (seriously the best tiramisu I've ever had, and that includes the ones I had in Italy), but it was a really adorable little place and it was a really nice romantic dinner. Also, I wish I'd taken a better photo of the dress that I wore that day, it looks like a muddy mess in the photo but it's actually gorgeous and I wish I could live in it (it's a little too dressy for everyday though)
[2] Dan bought an Ici's ice cream bombe for us to share (was supposed to be dessert, but we ended up having it for breakfast the next morning because we were too full the night before)- hazelnut and vanilla and chocolate MHMMM. I think one of the places that I will miss the most about Berkeley when I leave is Ici's. Seriously delicious ice cream.

[3] A map made out of car plates from a little store in Petaluma. We stopped there because I was feeling a little sick after our RIDICULOUSLY DELICIOUS crab lunch from Spud Point Crab Company in Bodega Bay. I still dream about that crab sandwich, I really do. A hand's span of bread literally stuffed with crab meat and a dab of mayo. Better than eating freshly cooked crab because they do all the shell cracking for you!!
[4] Sandwiches from Wood Tavern that we had for lunch. I had the cod sandwich and Dan had the pork belly, and both were extremely delicious. Boys would really like the pork belly because it's a lot heavier and meatier. the cod was very girly and light. Wood Tavern's one of those restaurants I really wanted to eat at before leaving Berkeley, and I think their lunch menu's very reasonably priced (compared to their dinner menu, which is a little more expensive).

[5] The cutest little coffee set from Wood Tavern! That teeny little milk bottle- I DIE. Went into squeals of excitement when I saw it- all rather embarrassing. Plus there were sugar cubes in that little blue pot, and you know I love me a good sugar cube.
[6] THE best seared ahi tuna sandwich you will ever have. (Obviously not in the picture; the picture is of the buzzer they give you to collect your food when it's done; I thought it was a nifty play on words because the place is called Gott's Roadside in addition to yes, being grammatically incorrect.) I have been DREAMING about eating this burger since Dan brought me across the bay to this place and this is not an exaggeration at all. It is that delicious. We had lunch outside on a bright sunny California day and I have never felt so content that I chose to study in California since.

[7] and [8] Suitably awed expressions of excitement at our brunch at Cafe M in Fourth Street, Berkeley. It was pretty good- I ordered a crab cake (I love crab cakes, if you can't already tell)- eggs benedict scramble thing, and Dan ordered stuffed French toast. Super yummy- I remember thinking that my potatoes were cooked weird and the hollandaise sauce a little strange as well, but it was generally a good meal.

Wow, we've been spending a ton of money on food lately (looks shamefacedly away), plus I'm going to have at least 2 extremely delicious [and expensed...] meals in LA this week, but WHY OH WHY is there so much good food in the Bay Area? Anything else I need to check out?? We're planning a trip up to Seattle and also Napa Valley (now that all our friends are legitimately, ahem, 21) soon and I can tell I'm just going to roll myself back down to Berkeley after.

Oh well. To school I rush, hungry again (for food, not for learning, though I feel that it really should be the other way round at this point)!

February 20, 2012

Found type in Singapore

Just stumbled upon this really interesting Tumblr with pictures of interesting typefaces in Singapore. I think it is so easy to cast aspersions on a country's cultural development when one is far away- I think too many people, even in Singapore, just write us off as having had our creativity stamped out in favour of science, having given up our political rights to freedom of speech, and being stale and clinical and boringly safe. There is definite truth in that, but then I stumble on sites like these and it just reminds me how beautiful Singapore can be, not just in the clean, sleek, modern way that we have come to expect of our terrifyingly efficient country, but also in the little pockets of beautiful type we gloss over all too quickly.

I wonder who Doris Tay is- everytime I see that name I remember what Belle said at PE...!! Okay back to a paper that I NEED to get done by tonight and that I'm barely halfway through- Presidents' Day, where have you gone?? No adventures to be had during recruiting and midterm season I'm sad to say ):

Images from Found Type in Singapore tumblr

February 19, 2012

Lessons learnt

I think I really grew up a lot this week. I debated for a long time about whether or not to blog about this, but I want this to be a fairly accurate representation of my life at Cal, and I can't only blog about the good parts of recruitment, I need to remind myself of the lessons that I'm learning about myself as well. And also because I've instituted a ban about this subject among all the friends who have been really supportive about me stressing out this week and I just want to make sure that you guys know I'm really fine.

This week I got an internship offer from one of my dream firms- I really enjoyed everyone that I talked to, found the work incredibly interesting, found the interview VERY challenging; I was super surprised when they offered me the internship and so, so excited. But then silly me put my foot in my foot and told them that I was in the US on a student visa, and then they rescinded my offer.
Everyone told me that I was really silly because I had offered that information without them prompting me, that I had to look out for myself, that this was something that I really wanted and that I should have gone after it without thinking that I was cheating the firm (because I knew they couldn't offer me a full-time offer without paying for a work visa), that I had already been offered the internship. And after I got the phone call I cried for a long time because I had been so astoundingly impulsive (and really, quite stupid) about sharing this information.

Lesson #1 learnt: Think a billion times before telling anybody anything. Then think for another million times before you actually do.

But then the more I thought about it, the more I realised how much I valued honesty in a person. How much I hate it when people lie to me or are shady about things. How, even though I really valued this opportunity and it would have been so easy to just keep my mouth shut about it, I couldn't really live with myself if I had just kept silent. It is really easy during recruiting I think to get swept up in the entire process and forget yourself- forget to evaluate why you're recruiting, how you're recruiting, so easy to slip into this persona of competency and carefully-modulated weaknesses. And then in that process lose yourself. I admit that I did beat myself up a lot for doing what I did, but at the same time I know that if I hadn't, if I had gone into the internship knowing that I was deliberately withholding important information from the firm, I would have really disliked the person I had become.

Lesson #2 learnt: Never be ashamed of being honest.

So now I'm plunging back into the recruiting cycle, a little burnt out and more than a little stressed about finding a job this summer. But when I went to speak with my English professor (of this class I'm taking that's studying the Bible in a very literary/ secular context) on Friday to discuss my paper, he said a lot of things (completely coincidental- he doesn't know anything at all about my recruiting experience) that reminded me of God's goodness and God's promise. We were talking about Genesis 15, and how Abram met God's covenant with skepticism, questioning, and lack of faith- but in the end he just let it go, and the promise came to pass. And how even though it may seem like God has forgotten His people or is playing a joke on you, He has a plan up His sleeve and all we have to do is trust that He knows what He's doing.

Lesson #3 learn[ing]: Let go and let God.

So here I am still waiting patiently and trusting that good things will happen to those who work hard. And I really believe that I'll have a great time this summer, no matter what I do.

February 16, 2012

Poem: may my heart, by e.e. cummings

may my heart
e.e. cummings

may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it's sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there's never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile

Happy Week of Valentine's Day! It's been a busy one, but filled with love (Tuesday seems like it happened a long time ago, though) and much happiness (and also stress, but that's another story). Dan and I had dinner at this dark little restaurant in San Francisco at 10.30pm, where we were the last people in the restaurant and had the most delicious little gnocchi(s?)- YUM. It was a really fun evening, but I think the nicest part of the week is reconnecting with friends and reminding each other how much we love each other. May my heart always be open to honesty, uncertainty, excitement, dreams, friendship, conversation, and all the beautiful things in the world!

February 13, 2012


One of the things I look forward to the most in the week is my PE ballet class- sometimes the last thing at 10am on a rainy Monday morning (like this) that I want is to trudge down to Hearst Gym and contort myself painfully, but I don't ever regret attending ballet class. I think my body is sometimes an alien object to me- I find it hard to believe that I exist as a physical extension into space (no really, I'm not kidding). I grew up always reading books, never really taking any physical risks, always floating along existing in my own mind. Now that I am forced to contend with gravity and hips and the inexorable bending of knees, I am made so much more of aware of how my body moves. Sometimes I think I completely psych myself out in class because I overthink where to place my foot or how to lift my heel, but it very refreshing to be focusing in college on the body instead of only the mind.

I found these pictures online by Douglas Despres of the Alameda Civic Ballet. I think they really showcase the hard work that goes into ballet but also the astounding loveliness of doing something right. (That first picture with her feet in third position is so beautiful!)

It aggravates me SO MUCH in class when I don't do things right, but I need to remind myself that it is okay, I am allowed to not get the perfect passage the very first time I attempt one. It's a real reminder that while perfection is the ultimate goal, is it never the achievement of that goal that defines you, but the attempt to get there that does.

All images from Douglas Despres' website.

February 6, 2012

Plastic fantastic

Is there anything more exciting than a Monday full of meetings??
Well, yes, but I have an unholy love for meetings and busyness and so I think I'm really going to enjoy the Monday ahead.

These adorable pops of color caught my eye this weekend- they're designed by Singaporean designer Rayson Tan as part of his label, L'ile aux Ashby, and I love how he's layered acrylic to make such sculptural jewelry. THOSE EARRINGS. I'm a sucker for obnoxiously loud earrings, and this pair does that to perfection.

A minor gripe, though. I love the products but I dislike pretentiousness, and the website is a pain to navigate, but talent is talent and these are still so covetably well-designed.

First image from Qin at the Disco, and the rest from the L'ile aux Ashby Facebook page.

February 5, 2012

Addendum: New Girl is my new favourite show

This is solely because of the best retort on modern television, courtesy of Zooey Deschanel's Jess:
"I brake for birds, I rock a lot of polka dots, I have touched glitter in the last 24 hours, ...and I find it fundamentally strange that you’re not a dessert person. That’s just weird, and it freaks me out. And I’m sorry I don’t talk like Murphy Brown, and I hate your pantsuit. I wish it had ribbons on it, or something to make it just slightly cuter."
Yes. Yes, yes yes to all.


Calligraphy is something I've always been really interested in, and if I survive this recruiting process, I'm going to reward myself by taking a class at Castle in the Air. In the meantime though, Lila Symons' work is  providing me with heaps of inspiration:
These really spoke to me because in recruiting- it is so easy to go with the flow and be super obsessed with the way that other people view you (that is exactly what I've been stressing out since Friday), but D keeps reminding me that this process is as much a selection process for MYSELF as it is for them, that I need to stay true to who I am and not give up on myself right now. Which is true. 

Anyway, I love these. And if anyone has any suggestions on where to take calligraphy classes in the Bay Area, I'd really appreciate it :)

February 3, 2012

Rounding up the work week

I am a huge fan of street style blogs, and I especially love Shentonista, which is a Singapore-based blog. Shenton Way, for the uninitiated, is the financial district in Singapore, and so it's just really nice to see how Singaporeans jazz up work wear, since we're not especially known for our great style. These people though, blow this stereotype out of the water.

These pictures kinda make me miss home a lot. And bare legs. Though I shouldn't be complaining, because at least Berkeley still has sunny skies!

All images from Shentonista.

Poem: A Note Left on the Door, by Mary Oliver

A Note Left on the Door
Mary Oliver

There are these: the blue
skirts of the ocean walking in now, almost
to the edge of town,

and a thousand birds, in their incredible wings
which they think nothing of, crying out

that the day is long, the fish are plentiful.

And friends, being as kind as friends can be,
striving to lift the darkness.

Forgive me, Lord of honeysuckle, of trees,
of notebooks, of typewriters, of music,
that there are also these:

the lover, the singer, the poet
asleep in the shadows.

I feel continually that I am all asunder, veering between rash optimism and feverish gratitude to discouraged, irritable, and mad at the world. Thank God for the people who love me regardless; that is all I have left to say. Thank you for loving the best me even when I'm behaving at my worst.

February 2, 2012

Thursday music: unwinding down

I feel really grateful for the people in my life. This whole recruiting process, without Rach and Belle on Whatsapp, and all the lovely lovely Berkeley folk (I make them sound like magical woodland creatures haha) who have referred me to people I can talk to, looked over my applications, given me pep talks on request. I am such a lucky girl to have so many lovely people in my life. Next week is THE week of intense interviewing, but I get by with a little help from my friends :) Thank you all, so much.

1. Lille, by Lisa Hannigan
2. My Father's Father, by The Civil Wars
3. In my Veins, by Andrew Belle

These images are so restful and homey. I love them, and I think they really reflect the music well.
Images from Julie Pointer, who hosted these dinners. Aren't they lovely? When I grow up I want to host dinner parties like these too. via Emmadine.

February 1, 2012

European Adventures: Rome

The continuation of my Europe for Poor College Students posts!

Rome is incredibly overwhelming. There is so much history everywhere that it is hard to keep track! I think we spent the most money on touristy stuff in Rome, but there are so many free sights that I think it'll be as easy to not spend any money on monument hopping.

Day One
We went to the Capuchin Crypt, which this amazing crypt in the middle of the city where the old Capuchin monks took the bones of their dead and decorated walls and small chambers with them. Photography wasn't allowed, and there's a €1 required donation, but it was really stunning.

Then we went on (you guessed it) a free evening walk covering all the major Rome sights. We took this free walk, and she was SO good! Had a heavy accent, but was so knowledgeable about everything. Some places we went to: the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain.

Day Two
We went to the Colosseum and the Foro, with a stop by Bernini's The Ecstasy of St Teresa on the way over. WHAT a gorgeous sculpture. It's located in Santa Maria della Vittoria, which isn't one of the famous large churches, but is certainly very, very beautiful on the inside. Plus if you're a Bernini fan (like I am) ROME IS THE PLACE TO BE. There are so many Bernini sculptures just hanging out in churches, and The Ecstasy of St Teresa is absolutely gorgeous in real life- so much emotion gathered in that crumpled skirt and one exposed foot. I still have shivers thinking about it.

If you're going to the Colosseum and the Foro, I recommend you get your tickets from the Forum counter (it's just a block away from the main entrance to the Colosseum)- there was no line. But go early in the winter, because it closes "an hour before the sun sets" = 3pm. Not cool. We also got the audio guide for the Colosseum, which I really enjoyed.

Day Three
We visited the Pope! We were so incredibly lucky to get on the Scavi Tour, and I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend it. It's €12, but it's so worth it. We went under St Peter's Basillica, got to see the foundations of the old basillica, the coffins of previous popes, and the bones of St Peter! Really really fascinating; it was just extremely humid and if you're afraid of small dark spaces- um, this isn't the tour for you.

There's also a post office in the Vatican City (supposedly has the best post system in Italy), hence the Pope stamps below. And we spent the better part of an afternoon at the Musei Vaticani- if you like art, you will love this museum. I recommend getting a tour or an audio guide, because we didn't and I felt like I missed out on A LOT because of that. There is just so much great art in this place! The entrance price for students is €8, and if you go there just to see the Sistine Chapel (and take all the short cuts), you're really missing out! I loved the Raphael rooms and the modern religious art and recommend checking out those rooms.

I think people have this misconception of Rome that it is super expensive, which it can be if you take one of those tours that zip you past all the major monuments without giving you time to breathe. There is so much art in the churches and so much history everywhere that you don't really need to spend that much money if you're really careful!

Other Europe for Poor College Students posts: Barcelona
Images taken by Kia Liang and by me.