May 31, 2012

First thoughts on cross-country moving


Well. Here I am, safe and sound in Brooklyn, NY. Some thoughts:
1. Moving across the country for 2 months is hard. I feel as though I've torn away from my life in the Bay and have been plonked on some loose soil in Brooklyn. Walking to the subway station scares me. Leaving the apartment to walk to the small grocery store nearby terrifies me. I am so resistant to personal change.
2. My happiest discovery yesterday was that a branch of the Brooklyn Public Library is right at the end of my block. 
3. I am a minority in the neighborhood I'm living in. It feels incredibly odd. I feel incredibly out of place and nervous all the time, walking past these African-American boys loitering by the side of the street and staring, staring, staring all the time. They don't move or say anything, but something inside me freezes up and my face takes on this rigidness- am I secretly racist to feel this unsafe?? I have never felt so acutely like a minority in my life. 
4. I start work on Monday and I can't breathe, I'm so excited. At the same time though, the thought of waking up at 6am to make the trek to Manhattan exhausts me. Just thinking about leaving my staid, steady routine completely tires me. I have forgotten how to work hard, in just 3 short weeks of (almost) complete relaxation. 
5. It feels odd that- today I spent my day the same way that I would have spent it in Berkeley. I woke up lazily in the late morning, ambled to the kitchen to prepare coffee and oatmeal, then went to my laptop to do some work, with the occasional trips to the kitchen and to my bed. The only difference is that at 6.30pm, Ju Ju won't be buzzing at our front door; we won't be heading out for an evening run, I won't be having dinner with Dan tonight, we won't be cuddling to a movie and/or ESPN, I won't be able to nip down to Safeway for a late night adventure in the snack section. I think it's just a matter of adjusting to my new life here. I'm not unhappy, I think, I'm just- resistant to change. I think my excitement will exponentially increase once I start work and start being brave enough to leave the apartment alone (which must happen before Monday morning, clearly.)
EDIT: Happiness is restored. I just discovered the most AMAZING bakery 5 subway stops away. I just had a strawberry cheesecake and the most divine cream chocolate cake. I am about to explode with sugary goodness.

Images of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge from Pep Ventosa's The Collective Snapshot, via Fast Co Design. More images at my Tumblr; aren't they blurrily stunning?

May 29, 2012

Leaving

I can't believe that I'm finally leaving for New York. After all the stress of securing an internship this semester, that moment when I received the call (I'd snuck out of Literary Theory because I saw the 212 phone number, and then that blinding happiness when she told me I got it), all the subsequent happy smug moments thinking about moving to my dream city and all the subsequent nervous stressed moments thinking about what moving across the country for 2 months and leaving my apartment and friends behind actually entailed - I cannot believe that I'm leaving Berkeley tonight!! 

I logically know it's not a huge move (I am moving into a household of Singaporeans after all), but:
goodbye Berkeley, goodbye oysters at Tomales Bay, goodbye wonky fridge, goodbye comfiest bed, goodbye string of family photos on my wall, goodbye sitting next to Dan driving down random freeways, goodbye traveling over an hour to get yummy food with friends in the backseat talking about coding languages, goodbye view outside my window, goodbye closet, goodbye room, goodbye sweater that I can't bring because my luggage's a stuffed beast.

But also:
hello New York, hello amazing summer with amazing friends tripping across the sun-hewned city, hello excursions emblazoned with humidity and helpless laughter, hello the great unknown of working in a job I am so proud and excited to have, hello to ADVENTURE and the thrill of BEING YOUNG in one of my favourite cities in the world!!

But first: figuring out how to close my suitcase. See you on the flipside

May 28, 2012

Two Ways: striped shirt

Full disclosure: I am obsessed with stripes. This should come as no surprise to those who have seen me in stripes at every conceivable occasion- I have 4 striped shirts and 2 striped dresses; it's a problem. But I think a classic sailor boat neck top is THE most versatile piece of clothing around and to prove it, a Two Ways post:

Polyvore set here.

Striped Top: Uniqlo ($24)

Firstly, THE TOP. I might actually go out and buy it because it's like $23 from Uniqlo and the perfect thin navy stripe. Would prefer it if it had bracelet length sleeves, but for $23 this really can't be beat.

For Coffee Chats
I mean this in a very specific sense: the kind of informal info sessions you set up with alumni who are now working at firms that you are looking at applying to. I think that the summer is the perfect time to plan such chats and to prepare for the Fall- this sounds terribly shady, but I've really enjoyed and appreciated everyone that I've spoken to. I think speaking to an actual employee (and not a recruiter) gives you a much better picture of the firm and their people/ culture (to me, the most important aspect of the job), and doing this over the summer means that you're ahead of the game come Fall, when everyone else is scrambling to set coffee chats up.

The J Crew Edie bag (how gorgeous is that shade of apple green??) is definitely the investment piece in this ensemble, but I think it elevates a fairly casual outfit into a "I am genuinely interested and taking this conversation/ meeting seriously," while the bright colour keeps it fun. Love the classic shape; can be used in a thousand other outfits. The red flats and the pants are just there for reference- I believe I have sufficiently rhapsodized about these Forever 21 pants (full gushing post here) which are my #1 top pick for black tapered pants; I'm sure you can get cheaper red flats out there (mine are £4 from Primark...), but these look like good basic flats if you're looking for a more long-lasting shoe.
Accessorize with a lightweight floral scarf- I actually REALLY like this scarf; I think it looks perfect with the stripes and the green bag. All in all, a nice business casual (leaning more casual, but definitely not sloppy) for an informal coffee chat.

For a Night out at the Theatre
Am I the only one who thinks that part of the enjoyment of going out to the theatre is the dressing up? There just isn't that same ring to it when you go out to a movie. Striped tops are typically used in more casual outfits, but I think that it can dress down overly formal accessories for those awkward in-between events like going to the theatre/ a more dressy dinner/ etc.

I used a pale jacquard skirt from Warehouse with a slight bell shape- so cute. I love the contrasting textures. Paired with a mustard clutch from Milk and Honey Handbags on Etsy- I love that it's vegan suede (this is the Berkeley student in me), is handmade, that purchasing this will be supporting small artists. Buying this bag is practically a civic duty to indie craftsmen everywhere!! Right? Right??
I love these crazy shoes from Zara, and I've been seriously coveting that pearl necklace from Kate Spade for the longest time. The gold bow clasp just kills me. This outfit would also look good with a dark chambray shirt actually.
I would pair this with some bright nail polish (I just bought Fearless, from Revlon- the perfect summery cherry red) and a bright red lip (I just got Evangeline's Red from L'Oreal on sale yesterday for $2.50 at Walgreen's- it is gorgeous). Clearly I went on a mini makeup shopping spree yesterday.

In other news- I leave for New York tomorrow! Good God, where has the time gone.

May 25, 2012

Friday Favourites: May 25th

This week I barely left my house. No joke. It's so hard to leave the bed when there isn't anything really to drag you up...I think if I didn't have the transcription job I would literally stay in bed all day and watch movies. I only sit up because of transcribing. BUT some things I've been loving this week:

1. Adorable summer styling from Tommy Hilfiger


I think it's the little details that really attract me to this--after interning at a magazine and trooping down to the studio every other week to get masses of still objects photographed, I really have an appreciation for when still images of products are styled more uniquely. Love especially the one in pink- it reminds me of a jaunty flag. So adorable.

2. Literary posters from Litographs


I am absolutely in love with the Emma one and The Secret Garden- they are 2 of my favourite books, and I love how delicately they are rendered in illustrated print.

3.  Invitation cards I made for my grandaunt's 76th birthday party

So many things I like about this:
1. I haven't been able to hang out with my family a lot (being an ocean and many many miles away), and I haven't been able to attend my grandaunt's birthday party for the past 3 years since I left for college. This makes me feel like this is my birthday present to her-- designing the invites, thank you cards, little placeholders, etc.
2. Is she not a gorgeous lady??
3. I am OBSESSED with this font- St Marie Thin. Just completely obsessed. I'm using it on everything (I'm helping to design the header images for a website right now)- it's a little ridiculous
4. I'm not the best designer (and clearly do not have the most sophisticated tools- I used Powerpoint to do these... #powerpointforever) but I think they turned out pretty nice huh? Beams proudly.
5. Actually on second look I totally should have vertically centered the party info for the 2nd version... ):

Have a great weekend! We're headed to LA for a spontaneous beach/ Getty Museum trip (this is becoming an annual tradition...)

May 24, 2012

We decided to drop out of school and become berry farmers

But then we realized how tough that actually was ):

This was how we started out the drive:


We took the winding coastal freeway CA-1 and basically went from plunging into cool, dark temperate forests (picture #1) to veering dangerously next to wide, open beaches (picture #2). It was such an experience driving down the coast; we haven't done it in a while and I always forget how gorgeous it is until we do it again. 

And then we got hungry:


And stopped by Sam's Chowder House at Half Moon Bay for some to-go clam chowder. So yummy! Their lobster rolls also look amazing, and they have these huge windows inside the restaurant with a phenomenal view of the ocean- we decided to be a little more ghetto and have our chowder in the car. But the view we had was equally amazing ;)

And then after all of that, we finally reached the farm!! (It was ~1.5h drive from Berkeley)


It was much less impressive than I thought it would be, to be honest. They had a smallish strawberry patch (they have a much larger olallieberry patch- I have no idea what those are but their vines look cool) and I think the strawberries were a little picked over by the time we got there. But it was really fun because- did you know that strawberries grow like that? No? Me either.

It was $3/ entry and $3/ pound of strawberries, which I think is alright for a fun day out in the fields. We went to Phipps County Farm in Pescadero, CA. Everyone we met there was super nice and they have a little zoo (it looked a little sad though) that you pass through to get to the patch, so I think it's a great place to bring kids.

We stopped by Pescadero Beach on the way home:


That is all. California, why are you so beautiful??

May 22, 2012

Another barn

Well, clearly I've been attracted to barns lately (last post on a vintage barn here), but this home- Bonnie's, from Going Home to Roost, is just absolutely spectacular. It is just so full of light! One of the main reasons (besides finding a plastic basketball hoop stand slung over my 3rd floor balcony in the middle of the night... yeah, that's another story) why I moved out of my old apartment was because I felt stifled all the time under fluorescent light. I think Bonnie has done an amazing job capitalizing on that amazing view and light, and I love all the charmingly handmade details to the house!


And yes, this is also in fact a barn. This one's in California, near the Santa Ynez mountains (agh, how amazing is that), sits on a neighbouring vineyard, and has a hayloft that serves as a guest bedroom. I die. This is completely my grown up home dream.

May 21, 2012

Two Ways: mustard jeans

Coloured jeans are everywhere this season, especially coral (Kate Middleton, I'm looking at you) and red, and I've been on the serious look out for red jeans lately. But when faced with the plethora of choices (and the many, many girls in red jeans this season), I decided to take the road less traveled (ha) and decided to get mustard jeans instead. I LOVE mustard; I think it's the perfect neutral, and have paired it with everything, so how difficult can it be to wear mustard jeans, right??

Wrong. Hence this Two Ways, featuring mustard jeans from Hudson. I have to say first of all that these jeans are ridiculously overpriced ($160 for a pair of trendy jeans?? No, no, no)- and I'm only using them for the purposes of brainstorming potential outfits. I got mine from Forever 21 (clearly I get all my pants from Forever 21 these days...), and they were $25. Zara, Target, and Urban all have more affordably priced mustard/ colored jeans in general, but none of them had the perfect jean cut-out for the Polyvore set, hence me linking to them instead of featuring them.
Polyvore set here.

Beachside Wanderings
I decided to go crazy- honestly, my first choice was this amazingly kooky flamingo print tee from Vero Moda (sold on Asos), but I KNOW that I would never wear that and Two Ways is all about imagining different ways to wear pieces in my wardrobe, so I restrained. BUT, how cute is the neutral blue shirt with the jeans? (This, by the way, would also be a good Game Day outfit for the Fall- without the hat of course). I've been dying to use this ridiculously hot pink sandals from Zara in a set, and I think the pink-yellow combination is, while vaguely nauseating, really interesting. Especially since the rest of the pieces are fairly neutral- the Billabong drawstring purse picks up the pink accents in an unobnoxious way. Topped with a wide-brimmed hat and I think- perfect beach town wandering outfit!

Casual Mondays
This is a more neutral colour palette, but I like the contrast of textures. I've featured fairly expensive items here (for a student at least- nothing is above $100, but everything is above $50 with the exception of that gorgeous necklace- $21 from Lulu's.com; so adorable, right?), but they can easily be swapped out for cheaper items with similar shapes. I really want to purchase a T by Alexander Wang shirt; I've heard they are butter soft and drape perfectly, but really any grey t-shirt should do the trick. I'm also looking for a new open collared, oatmeal-coloured cardigan since my current Forever 21 one is practically in shambles, and I like the boxy shape of this one from Oasis. All the pieces are just great basics that will go well with basically anything, and I think they're great investment pieces (or as investment as under $100 will get you).
I think the necklace is what really makes this outfit though, the colours in this one are just so pretty and perfectly complement the mustard without being too crazy.

Want me to feature an item in Two Ways? Drop me an email or leave a comment! :) Happy Monday!

May 18, 2012

Friday Favourites: May 18th

As always, some things that have caught my eye this week on the internet:

1. These gorgeously delicate edible lace and butterfly creations by Sweet Deja Vu
(via Coming Home to Roost)


I wouldn't dare eat any of them, but they are so delicate and lovely, perfect for a girly tea party celebration!

2. This witty literary puzzle map of San Francisco
(via Fast Co Design)


Literary quotes + San Francisco, what could be better? Plus my favourite description of San Francisco in the Fast Co Design article:
In A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, notable local Dave Eggers describes it thusly, “A city built with putty and pipe cleaners, rubber cement, and colored construction paper.”
Just absolutely brilliant and beautiful on a wall.

3. Clustered star headpieces from the Rodarte Fall 2012


They look like fallen fairies. The makeup kinda scares me though, but the hair is just windswept perfection. Such a pretty look for a fancy dinner out!

(Images via Lace and Tea)

Happy Friday! I can't believe a week has whizzed by so quickly. I've been so stressed with that darn transcription project, but at least it's ended!!

May 17, 2012

Biking the Golden Gate Bridge: an athletic adventure

Dan and I decided to cross a major item off our bucket list last Sunday- biking the Golden Gate Bridge. We've talked about this for a long, long time, but never quite made it happen. Then finally- we did!

We started out strong:


But soon tired of the steep hills and blind tourists who would walk right into our bike paths... only to take multiple pit stops and breaks where we pined over the Bridge looming in the distance:


But against all odds, we finally got on the bridge!!


And then we made it across! Without killing anyone!!!! (This is much harder than it sounds, believe me)


The sweet taste of success...


...Comes in the form on french fries and burgers from Sausalito's Hamburgers. Soo good.


Level of challenge for unathletic me: 5/5
Level of challenge for a normal person: 2.5/5

Yes, I am just that unfit ): It was a good adventure (even though there were times halfway through the journey I was mentally kicking myself- WHY did I pay money to hurt myself this bad), and Sausalito's a really charming town. The ferry ride back also provided a lot of great views of the city, the Bridge, and the Bay. All in all, it was a good day. Except that now Dan thinks that we're athletic enough to go on more physically challenging adventures and to that I say NO. Good thing our date plans this weekend include going berry picking and LOTS OF EATING. That's the only kind of strenuous activity I am capable of right now.

May 16, 2012

The most amazing pair of pants

I interrupt regular programming to say- GIRLS, BUY THESE PANTS. THEY ARE AMAZING. I was going to feature them in this week's Friday Favourites, but I am so terrified that they will sell out before you manage to purchase them and letting that happen is like letting CRIME HAPPEN. I am dead serious.

I've been looking for the perfect pair of tapered black pants for what seems like the longest time:
1. At J Crew: the Minnie Pant made my thighs look gross, their Cafe Capri just fit wrong on me; I think I'm between sizes for J Crew pants. Size 4 was too tight and squished in all the wrong places; size 6 was too loose and bunched up weirdly.
2. At Ann Taylor: No. The capri pants were too capri length- I was looking for a tapered pant that hit the top of my ankles and theirs hit squarely at my calf. Not a good look. They also didn't have any other tapered pant in the material I wanted (all they had was linen at that time).
3. At Zara: I thought the pants I saw online would be perfect (though I was nervous about the material- they were chinos, not the more formal pant material that I was looking for)- and then I went in-store to try them on because the pants I've bought from Zara have had irregular sizing to say the least- and they hadn't received the new shipment yet!! We were not meant to be.

I thought my perfect tapered black trousers was a MYSTICAL CREATURE that only existed in dreams with fairies and frolicking unicorns. And then during dead week, when hit with a restless bug only online shopping could fill, I found these amazing pants on Forever 21, of all places:

Ignore the styling, I know it's terrible. I got the navy one first to try them out, and I wore it out today. It's a little darker than I would have liked the navy to be but
HOLY CRAP
THEY WERE AMAZING.
The fit so well, they come pre-cuffed and hit just the top of my ankle, and they are just basically everything I've ever wanted in a pair of pants. They aren't lined, but the material is fairly thick and sturdy, so I don't really see that as a problem.
Plus they're $22.80, making them one of the cheapest and best pairs of pants in my closet.

I love them so much I actually just bought another pair (in black) today for wearing with my black blazer as a suit (and just because I love them okay?), and I had to purchase them online because I was terrified that they would be sold out in-store by the time I got there and then sell out online and then- yes. I am a little obsessed.

Get there here.

(For the record, I am 5'8/ 173cm, and a US size 4 with abnormally large hips, which is why I got these pants in a size 8- measured primarily based off my hips)

And yes, I just blogged an entire post about how much I love a pair of pants from Forever 21 but it is so insanely difficult to find a good-fitting pair of pants that this is practically a CIVIC DUTY to blog when a pair of pants as perfect as these come along.

May 15, 2012

In love with this house

I fell head over heels in love the minute I saw this house. It's made primarily from recycled materials and vintage pieces; it's completely my dream home.


I've been feeling very self-conscious and awkward lately- I don't know. I always have this gripping anxiety before I plunge into a new situation or meet people that I desperately want to like/ want to be liked by. Plus the hellish transcription job I assigned myself- WHY. I always do this to myself; I feel so unable to enjoy the start of the summer because of all these jobs that are cluttering up my life.

Back to the house. Is it not utterly divine? Swans off happily dreaming about my own future vintage barnhouse- somewhere in the South of France, I think, would be a good location ;)

Images from Côté Maison, via Automatism

May 14, 2012

Two Ways: green pleated skirt

I got a calf-length green pleated skirt over Winter Break (when I went crazy in London and trawled Oxford Street at least 5 times in my 11 day vacation)-- it is a really gorgeous and perfect for twirling. So gorgeous and so affordable that two other friends purchased the exact same skirt, except thankfully we live on three different continents (Australia, Asia, and North America) so we will probably never see each other in the same outfit.

The only problem is that how I originally envisioned wearing it (with a white collared shirt) inevitably makes me think that I'm wearing a classier version of the RJ uniform (reference here, my class in all our spritely youth). So today's Two Ways: how to wear a long pleated green skirt that bears uncanny resemblance to a school uniform you wore for 2 years.

Polyvore set here

Saturday Farmers' Market
I am actually madly in love with this outfit and would totally wear this when Kim and I make our inevitable rounds of farmers markets and flea markets in New York this summer. I've been looking for an affordable chambray shirt (I thought I had hit the jackpot with one from Old Navy for $20 but ALAS it was sold out in my size)-- this one from American Eagle is almost twice the price (at $40), but still cheaper than many of the options out there (J Crew, I am snarling at you). How cute are those orange penny loafers?? I think a light brown would also do the trick, but I love the interesting pop of color against the green skirt.
An owl brooch because: who doesn't like owls?? (If you don't, we can't be friends. Sorry.) And I think that with the exception of Princess Kate and the Queen (and me- ha.), no one wears brooches anymore, which is a shame. Because this felt stuffed one is too adorable for words. Topped with a lightweight mustache tote bag and you're ready to roll!

Free Summer Concert
...And really I should be terming this admission-free summer evening concert/ casual date to outdoor concert. I chose this casual white t-shirt from Topshop, but really any loose-fitting scoop neck tee should do the trick. I really like the mix of colors (coral and blue) with the gold accents in the Zara necklace, American Apparel wallet, and Alloy shoes.
Full disclosure: I've had 3 pairs of Alloy shoes in my checkout bag for the past 3 days (this is one of them), but I've mercifully had the self-control to not purchase anything when I have over $100 worth of Forever 21 and Asos merchandise flying across the country into my eager arms.
Anyway, I think this is the perfect date outfit for the summer- easy, breezy, but the heels and the gold add a sophisticated (for summer) kick.

Summer in New York in two weeks!! I can hardly wait!