Saturday, November 24, 2012

eden i(n) love (you)

natural life slouchy sweater; shorts = american eagle outfitters , shoes = nine west

(This was originally to be a post about letting go of material possessions and how freeing it is to economize, but it got too heavy [ever notice how ruminations on de-cluttering your closet can evolve into philosophizing about how great it feels to finally cut untrustworthy people out of your life? RAWR! ... no?] ... so I scrapped it.)

Positively positive do-over: I love slouchy tops and am so happy I found several ways to make these marked-down cowboy-esque boots work with something other than skinny jeans. And I capital-L Love that Eden in Love's Black Friday sale did not leave me guilt-riddled or penniless. Slouchy and swingy tops have become my new closet staples because I'm not a fan of turning down desserts and I'm physically tired of sucking in my muffin top. And everyone knows that once you hit your 30s, you can do all the plyometrics you want, but that donut is still going to settle on your ass. (Or wherever you least want it to settle.) The solution: slouchy tops, blouson dresses, the occasional foray into shapewear. (Yeah, shapewear. I have no shame anymore. I will do what is necessary to look decent in a matte jersey dress, and I will tell you allll about it. I will also tell you which of my "designer" purses are from the pit-bull guarded back-alleys of a Hong Kong night market and which ones are real. No. Shame.)

The clothes buying rule in our house is "one in, one out." Scott's rule, obviously. It's a good rule, but it gets ignored a lot. My rule is (and it will help if you've seen the shoe-trying-on scene at the end of Cinderella, where Drizella declares determinedly ...) "I'LL MAKE IT FIT!!" Yup, that's my rule. I'll make it fit in the closet. So, I let things get to the point where the closet was so jam-packed that I could slip the hangers out of the dresses and tops and nothing would fall. And then it was obviously time to apply Scott's rule. So for the first time ever, when I brought home my Eden bag (most of which were Christmas gifts because THAT'S WHY YOU'RE REALLY SHOPPING, REMEMBER? i kept screaming at myself as I navigated the black friday waters), I actually got rid of more stuff than I acquired.

Big goal while stocking up: add color.
I'm sorry it's hard to see how vibrantly, beautifully purple this dress is.
Also, that belt is looking a bit Santa Claus so maybe I'll rethink that.
But separately, I do love this dress and this belt. 

I have a ton of stuff to photograph and describe (and I promise I'll leave them on their hangers and stop playing dress up camwh), but have to choose an outfit to wear to dinner, so more later! (Says the author of the most neglected blog in the world.)

[Edit: EIL had the most fun, best-stocked, most incredibly organized Black Friday chaos I've ever seen. It was so crowded, but everyone was happy. The checkout process was a thing of beauty. First you exited the main room and entered the accessories area, where of course you were sidetracked by belts in every color under the sun, statement necklaces, scarves, fedoras, handmade earrings and other trinkets designed to put a twinkle in your eye and a major dimple in your savings. Then you were ushered into the checkout area (a whole conference room unto itself) where your accessories were bagged and you were sent to the next checkpoint, where hangers were shed and garments draped over your arms. Next you went to the bagging table, where more Eden elves expertly folded your items (and complimented your choices), placed everything in a reusable shopping tote, and sent you to the Actual Line, which made your heart drop a little bit because it resembled the line for Peter Pan at Disneyland. But as you were waiting, smiling workers walked around offering you water, you'd notice someone(s) you knew and strike up a conversation, you'd read the posters on the wall about Divas Doing Good, you would in general have the best time anyone could have while standing in a line to pay for stuff. And when you got to the front of the line, you'd show them the 40% off stamp someone had put on your hand earlier that morning and they would congratulate you on getting there early, and they'd ask you how your day was going, and you'd say, honestly, "Great!"]

To sum up Black Friday: You CAN sleep til a decent hour and you DON'T have to be miserable to get good deals. The end.

One last love note on Eden in Love -- many of these pieces are work-to-play, weekday-to-weekend, dress-up-or-down types, and so I don't miss the things I got rid of. I can mix and match shoes, jewelry and pants to create different looks with a reasonable amount of pieces, and not feel like I have to amend the rule to "one out one in." Much to Scott's relief.


Disclaimer: I don't work for EIL.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Have found much joy in my new ultra-guilty, almost dirty little secret:

cheap gel manicures at what I will refer to very lovingly as the "Viet hole-in-wall near my house," VHIW for short.

And now I read (AT VHIW no less) that those nifty UV lamps may cause skin cancer? I know, duh, they're UV lamps, plus nothing that produces such a beautiful and durable shellac at such an unnaturally high speed could possibly be good for you. But phooey, because the one law that governs my existence seems to be, the moment you start enjoying anything, science will prove that it's a silent killer. Jillian Michaels workouts want to kill my knees. Cell phones want to kill my brain cells. Caffeine wants to kill my reproductive system. High heels, soft contacts and now gel manicures want to kill me. Why can't I love filtered water from the tap, standing still, flat shoes, and glasses that make me look like Harry Potter's Asian spinster aunt?

I read that slathering your hands and arms with a high-SPF sunscreen prior to sticking your fingers in the UV oven helps. But I'm sure abstaining from gel manicures helps more.

This first-world-problem rant has been brought to you by someone with too much time, and too much hard-to-remove gel nail polish, on her hands.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

daily purr



... supremely Happy Cat.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

purple reign

Fact: My school colors are purple and gray. Fact: I am overflowing with school spirit. Subjective observation: I own a lot of purple clothing.

At left, a small sampling of the purple, plum, grape, lavender, periwinkle, and otherwise violaceous clothing with which I bedeck myself on school days and weekends alike. I wear a lot of black and a lot of white as well as fail-proof black-and-white combos, but the purple spectrum is heavily represented in my color pieces.

Side note: Not long ago I went through a Banana Republic naturals phase but decided life was too short to wear taupe. Next to the purples, my closet is home to a pretty decent population of green-blues.

Anyway, as we prepare to move, I'm doing mini-closet excavations, paring down the bulk of my wardrobe by forcing myself to admit that I never wear a lot of this stuff. (Not this stuff. My purples get a lot of mileage. The other stuff.)

I've found that it saves hangers and closet space to pre-assemble and hang entire outfits. Jeans, mulberry top, cardigan. One hanger. Ruched cami, lavender plaid, cropped pants. One hanger. The downside is not always being able to find that cami, or having to unlayer everything if I want to wear that particular pair of jeans with something else.

Next to packing up my books, the scariest thing about moving is knowing that I will have one - count it, ONE - tiny-ass closet to shove all of my clothes in. How tiny is tiny? Compared to the current one, which I could comfortably do jumping jacks in, it's painfully small. Cub is set against bringing the free-standing closet organizer because of a lack of space in our new place.

** Life-rumination interlude**

We are in such a weird place in our lives right now. Good, but weird. It seems like "everyone" around us is on their second kid (or first divorce, or both), but we have consciously decided not to start a family until next year. Sometimes this makes me feel panicky, like I missed my bus or something, but then I remember that I asked for this time, and that there's another bus next year. I asked for this goal, this marathon, this column, this challenge. I declared it my goal, I asked for the column, and I got what I wanted. "Everyone" around us is moving into bigger places, but we are scaling back, moving into a place that is much older, and despite comparable square footage, somehow much smaller, so that we can rent out my condo and start some serious savings. Again, we asked for this, and again through the grace of God we got what we wanted. It's just such an odd feeling sometimes that the second year of our marriage is proving much humbler than our actual beginnings. While we go through all this change - this downsizing, this dance of unending compromises, this slow and continuous searching for what is truly important - I know we will be happy, but I hope that I will also be well-dressed. I'm studying these closets and having some pretty serious doubts about that.

But I know this much for sure - I will not become Taupe Girl. Ever.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

O Candied_cat, where hast thou been?

Between teaching for dinner and tutoring for dessert, fashion show nuttiness and RAP Thursdays, car woes and marathon training (hey, those two sort of go together!), writing a column and tweeting every third annoying thought that bounces through my overcrowded brain, I haven't had much time to blog. However, I've found myself at work before 6 a.m. for the past three weeks, and I am so far ahead of my own game that I thought I'd take a few minutes to blog the candy, 2008-style.

First, of course - The Bag. Back in Oct., I took my first-ever trip to the Northwest, invited by Ms. Vickie for a week of utter and total hedonism in Portland, OR. Tax-free Sephora runs, Sonic, Massage Envy, 24-hour access to an adorable puppy, no work, no cooking (except for super yums like currant jam and cream cheese stuffed french toast) ... if it weren't such an awful song, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" could have been the running theme. One of the first things we did was hit up the Coach outlet where I bought a super marked-down bag - black, very simple, classy. And some other stuff, but let's just focus on the bag. Later (I think; the chronological details of this trip are becoming obfuscated with those of the Sac/SF trip - especially because both involved Vickie and several pairs of shoes) we were at the Nordstrom in either the mall she works in or the one her roommate works in, and I spied this beautiful mulberry leather bag - love at first shoulder, it was. The only problem (besides a nearly prohibitive price tag) was the gigantic magnetic closure that I was sure would mess with the building key, cell phone, memory sticks, etc. (It's not a teeny little clicker, it's a big enough snap to stun a curious three-year old who decides to stick her tiny fingers in Aunty's purse.) The condensed version: I bought it, thought it over, decided I couldn't justify the sensible bag and this beautiful B. Makowsky data killer, so I returned it. Very, very sadly.

Fast-forward a couple of months, to the season of silver bells, silver dreams, and silver boxes from Nordstrom that arrive on your doortep and scream at you to open them! Ms. Vickie decided that my life demanded a little Mulberry after all. It is the nicest bag I've ever owned. Despite its very strong color, it goes with everything (not that I've tried it with orange or anything). It's a day and night purse, and it's so big that the other day I lost my bagel sandwich in it. And you know something? My building key, cell phone, cam, and niece's fingers (after that one time) are all fine. I'll take a better pic soon.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

10 for 2009

Ten cat_candies I've come to love this year:

1) Philosophy Hope in a Jar w/SPF 20. The regular Hope was great, but when I hit my 30s (or did they hit me? I'm still not sure), I knew I needed a regular moisturizer w/built-in sunscreen. The only minor issue I have w/this is that it's a little on the heavy side and leaves me a little shiny. Verdict: a moderately-priced necessity.

2) But never fear, this year I also discovered Smashbox! The photo-finish primer perfectly offsets any sheen left by Phil Hope. Waterproof creme eyeliner + my new best friend, the smudger brush = undying love. Verdict: expensive toys for your face.

3) Bath and Body Works Sleep line - I use the LV sugar scrub in the shower; it has replaced Origins' Incredible Spreadable Scrub, which is made of salt, which really hurts when you rub it in a nick or cut you didn't know you had. The scent is intoxicating to me ... it reminds me of clean linens and idyllic childhood summer vacations. Verdict: a moderately-priced tub of deep comfort.

4) Woolly footwear. This year, on a San Francisco jaunt w/Ms. Vickie, I acquired a single pair of Uggs ("short w/stacked heel and cowboy-esque design w/o fringe" is the best I can do in the way of a description.) Hopefully the one pair will last me a good part of my lifetime. Verdict: a guilty extravagance.

5) Tarte Green Siren Cheek Stain. Verdict: best gel cheek color ever, but really expensive.

6) High-foaming version of Philosophy's Purity Made Simple. Start and end my day with it. Verdict: reasonable, and a necessity.

7) Fresh Sugar Lip treatment. I'm sure I discovered it awhile ago, but it's something I've used religiously this year. Tastes like white jellybeans. Verdict: another nostalgia-induced extravagance.

8) I haven't yet found my signature fragrance. I have been using some Kat Von D "Sinner" samples I got in an online Sephora order, and I enjoyed the CK One Summer that Cub got me for our first Christmas, but other than that, I am a soap-and-water plus lotion-when-I-remember-it kind of gal when it comes to fragrance. I love the scent of Vera Wang's Princess, but anything stronger than the lotion gives me a headache. On her October trip to the islands, Peahen insisted I'd love Escada's Ocean Lounge, and after I ridiculed the tacky name and bottle for about five minutes, she sprayed me with it to shut me up, and I fell in like. Not love, but I do like it. I prefer sweet fragrances to ultra-floral ones. It's an EDT, so it's but a faint memory by lunchtime (she also insisted I buy a purse-sized atomizer, which I refused - I don't reapply anything throughout the day except maybe lip balm). Verdict: Cheap fun.

9) Munro American. I'm 30 plus one - I need comfortable shoes. Verdict: my feet thank me every day for spending that money.

10) Fresh Nectarine Milk Bath and Shower Cream. Happy showers. Verdict: A major splurge, at $28 for a 10-oz. bottle.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

flagship follies

An absurd yet bright spot in a foggy day: Victoria's Secret opening! Truth be told, I was not all that excited about the store and had not planned on carving any time out of my day to browse, let alone stand in a two-hour line to get in. 1) I am an enthusiastic and effective online shopper, and 2) I liked that VS was a "mainland thing," something to look forward to on each trip.

But I ended up at the mall for this reason or that, and breezed past the VS store. The doors were closed, and it didn't look all that crowded inside. "Is it open?" I asked the guard.

"Yep, but the entrance is" - he pointed - "over there."

Well, snaking out of that entrance was a freaking line that wrapped around the building and ended at Jamba Juice. A guy was walking up and down the line asking if anyone had an Angel card. There was just no freaking way I was standing in a line that long to peek into a store I've been in ten thousand times in one form or another. But I thought I'd give it one small shot and told the guy with the headset I was a member. Did I have my card on me? No, but apparently it didn't matter ... he told me to follow him to the front of the VIP line (the diva walk past the whole line made me heady for about two seconds - that's for all the times I stood in a bullshit line to get into a ridiculous club! - then I became just really confused.

There's a line inside the store? What for? Why am I here at the front of it? Ooh, cameras. Why didn't I put makeup on this morning? Why is that guy waving at me? What are we all in line for?

"Name you want on your autograph?" the Man in the Suit barked.

"Um. Say what?"

"You can't get an autographed picture unless you have a post-it with the name written on it."

"Oh. Okay." I spelled the name for him, still totally bewildered (all I wanted to do was browse Biofit!) and he went away.

"Uh, what are we in line for?" I asked the nicest-looking girl in the line behind me. (The rest looked like the wanted to kill me. Could I blame them ... no.)

"Marisa Miller's signing autographs," she replied.

"Oh how cool!" <--- I tried to squeal this with a knowing inflection but I did not know who the girl was talking about (I know one VS model name: Alessandra Ambrosio), until Marisa Miller actually came around the corner. She is very tall, very slim, very beautiful, and very down to earth.

I made small talk with her for about 10 seconds while she signed my photo, and finally, I got to enter Biofit (and Pink) heaven. I sneaked some photos (what were they going to do, take my Marisa Miller autograph away?), bought some woo-hoos, sniffed some scents, and finally left.

So yes, I "went to the opening" - and I didn't have to take off from work or stand in a line. The store, by the way, packs much awesomeness. It is big and beautiful (vocabulary suckage due to the late hour). I still don't know how I got to the front of the VIP queue (and I wonder what I could have pulled off with a little makeup and some heels!), but whatever. Btw, the guy was not waving at me. Obviously. He was waving at Miss Hawaii 2001 (and fellow former Miss Chinatown Hawaii princess) Denby Dung, beautiful (and congenial) as ever, who was next to me in line.

Next stop: OREGON!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

a very merry unbirthday to me

I bought myself a present in San Francisco. Well, a few presents, actually. Considering that some of them were things like dried mango slices from Trader Joe's and erasers shaped like sushi from Japantown, it's really not all that bad. The ring is, of course, my favorite.

It's a belated 31st birthday present, a last-hurrah-in-SF present. A right-hand ring for a right-brained girl (who is, unfortunately, very clumsy with her right hand and therefore, while gesticulating wildly in the throes of a right-brained idea, has bashed the pretty ring against many a door jamb and bookcase already).

It's pretty and I like it. It put a significant dent in my Oregon savings. Hopefully V will forgive me!

Friday, July 3, 2009

(rid)dle me this ...

How much stuff is too much stuff?

After a lot of soul- (and closet-) searching, and a long talk with Cub, I am undertaking a great overhaul. Of bedroom and bookshelves, of clothes and trinkets, of junk and treasure. I suppose even if we lived in a mansion, there'd still be limits as to how much stuff one should possess.

The good news: made headway on the Kindle discussion.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

good-bye old friends (II)

No, I didn't bring home another thrift-store haul - but you never know when you're going to need more closet space.

Breaking up with things that have been in your closet for years, no matter how infrequently you wore them or how well you know you never will wear them aga in - is hard to do.

Click on pic. Notes at flickr.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Not a good picture of my recent "Oregon setback." Two years after co-chairing the whole thing, Bon and I found ourselves with a much lighter job at this year's ACUW fashion show: silent auction runners. Whee! That gave us a lot of time to meander around the pre-show boutique, where I found these.

My grandparents, who named me after the gemstone, probably turned in their graves as I parted with hard-earned Oregon cash to own this double-strand of what they would call "not-so-good pearls." But I've been after pink-toned pearls for so long that when the woman draped them artfully around my neck in 100 different ways in under 60 seconds, I grabbed them. Before someone else did.

In other, but related, news, here's a Candied update because I haven't done one in forever:

We got married. That cost a lot. But because we insisted on not being ridiculous with the details, and because our parents, families, and friends are so generous, we are not in debt. Credit cards are well under control, and now our joint priorities are refinancing our mortgage and building up our rainy day savings fund (people in the know suggest anywhere from three to eight months of living expenses - I think six is a good middle ground.) My own personal short-term savings are geared toward getting Scott a wedding band he can actually wear (sadly the one we picked out before the wedding caused some problems because of the material), and Oregon in October. We invested in a WiiFit (happily it sees a lot of use, from Scott anyway) and are budgeting for a new stackable washer/dryer (and possibly a more streamlined water heater).

That's it for now. On the one hand, I should have nothing new to report for awhile (because of the October Savings Fund) but on the other hand, saving in itself is quite an adventure ...

Friday, April 3, 2009


They discontinued Sap Moss?



I am the (bad) kind of shopper who sets out to buy something - but, upon finding out that the store is out or no longer carries what I needed, will browse till I see something I like, and create a need for it on the spot.

Voila, Brilliant Universal Styling Creme, which I use less to style and more to tame. It is a really thick, sticky goo that will take care of those flyaways but also make your head into a Lego-warrior helmet if you don't heed the directions on the back: use a very small amount. I love the scent of Aveda products, but if you're not into a spicy, slightly earthy scent (and by earthy I mean the good clean smell of freshly tilled earth, as in dirt), leave the hair products alone.


I can't believe they discontinued Sap Moss!