Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Real Life goes nuts, I wear two scarves

     Yeah, it's been about a month. Not quite, but almost, yikes! But this time I actually have a valid excuse-rather than pure laziness-to blame. Basically a month ago the Canadian embassy surprised us by telling us that my visa and PR was approved, so since then we've been running around like crazy to get ready for our big international move that is coming up fast in 3 weeks time. I'm looking forward to re-starting this blog when we're in Toronto... actually, it'll be my first Western Christmas in years... I've almost always been in Singapore or Japan for the holidays, so I can't wait! And we'll be joining the rest of the civilized world by finally getting iphones, so I'll also have access to a much better camera. Yay!
     I'll try to keep up with posting more, though I'm sure you all understand why it's been rather quiet lately.

In the meantime, I'm loving these two scarfs:

Synthetic leather jacket (old) and faux fur scarf by some random Japanese store
Sweater and metallic-effect scarf from Zara

And not loving the fact that our apartment looks like this:

Warehouse-chic


Friday, November 4, 2011

Over the knee socks: yay or nay?

     So Autumn marches on... rather slowly, unfortunately, I mean it's November and at night Tokyo is still just under 20C and rather humid. C'mon, get cold already!
     This mild weather is also annoying because it allows for the continuance of one of the most annoying hosiery trends: over the knee (OTK) socks. There. I said it. Some people may laud the look, and fashionistas and style mags may try to push it, but I'm not buying it.
     Now, on some occasions, even I can admit that OTK socks can be the cute, even practical. Under tall-shafted boots? Sure. Even cuter, peeking out from said boots against opaque tights of a similar or complementary color. Warm, layered, and perfect for winter, I don't doubt.

Even Gossip Girl couldn't make OTK socks happen Stateside. And with good reason, if they can make even Blake Lively's legs sport a little hosiery muffin-top.
     What I shudder at is the fashion of wearing them against bare legs, paired with micro-shorts or skirts, and high-heels/mary-janes/whatever.  Even worse are the OTK socks that are not socks at all, but sheer tights/stocking material.

Why??? Just go all out and wear tights. Or better yet, pants. 
     Luckily, despite cropping up in magazines over the last few years, OTK socks are usually restricted to runways back in the States. Girls in Tokyo, however, love this look, but really, it doesn't do anybody any favors. It can make even the slimmest legs look bulgy, and really, what's the point? Tights are much more practical. It's just my opinion, but I doubt anyone takes a glance at such a look and thinks, "wow, that's so classy and elegant." I even (rather evilly, I admit) refer to them as "slocks," combining "socks" with a rather unflattering term (that you'll have to figure out on your own, haha). And I always wonder, how comfortable can they be? Inevitably they'll start to slip down, giving the girl yet another thing that she has to monitor/touch-up during the day.
     I do wonder, however, if my abhorrence is merely due to the fact that about 70% of the girls I see are sporting these oddities. What do you ladies think? Are OTK socks haute, or horrid?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Seasonal Suede

     Suede has got to be one of my favorite clothing elements, right up there with metallics and scalloped edges. Previously the only suede I had was on my autumn/winter boots, but this year I branched out a bit, first with a suede H&M dress, and recently with a suede skirt from F21. I bought it on a whim online (gotta love the cash on delivery option here in Japan), because I needed a brown skirt anyways, and the suede intrigued me. I didn't know if it would wrinkle, or get scuffed or marked easily, especially since it was not real suede. But after wearing it one day at work, with my favorite speckled brown tights and suede brown boots (which luckily was close in shade to the skirt), I was pleasantly surprised. I can tell I'll be wearing it a lot in the coming months!



    Now if only I could find a new pair of black suede boots that weren't over $100! I bought 2 pairs a few years ago, one black and one brown. The brown are still going strong, but the black has faded and for some reason have become very slouchy and lumpy, so I had to toss them out. Right now I wear a lot of brown shades, but come winter I love me some black and grey, so they need to be replaced ASAP. There are some decent one on Aerosoles, but nothing too interesting and at a higher price point than I'm used to paying for the brand. I LOVE these from Born, great quality, I know the size 11 fits me perfectly, and at $250, not a crazy price for a gorgeous boot. But I'm thinking I'll be able to see a lot of options in Toronto, so for now I just settled for this pair I found on endless.com. Cute, sleek enough for work, cheap (under $70, including international shipping; they have some crazy sale on boots until the end of the month, so my order was $20 off!), and with a side zip for easy wear. The 11 only came in a wide width, so I sized up to a 12. Which is fine, since sometimes 11s can be a little snug on me, especially if I'm wearing thick winter socks.
     Other than that, I've been dying for some autumn candles. One of my favorite seasonal things, besides the weather and the clothes and the Starbucks drinks, are the candles that Bath and Body Works put out every year. I love the old favorites, like Cinnamon & Clove Buds and Creamy Pumpkin, and I just saw they have some interesting new ones with names like Winter Night and Sleigh Ride. Their candles are huge, cheap, and actually do a good job of scenting the whole room, BUT of course they don't ship internationally. And I'm not going to ask my dear Mum to ship some heavy candles all the way to Japan.
Why oh why haven't the Japanese embraced the candle trend? 

   They do have stores in Toronto, though, so I've actually sealed away some cash so when we get there in mid-December I can pop out to the store the day after we arrive to stock up. Sounds a little crazy? Maybe haha. But I love candles, even more than eggnog and turkey and fireplaces (okay maybe not more than fireplaces), so I will brave the Toronto snow and late Xmas shoppers to get me some. And then I will have an eggnog latte. Or two.
     Speaking of seasonal coffee drinks, my German friend and I were traumatized at Blenz coffee earlier this week. Now, a bit of backstory. My friend is from a small village in Germany, and we met at our pre-job training a few years ago. We bonded instantly over our shared German heritage (including our unpronounceable last names), our love of shopping, and the fact that unlike many other coworkers, we were actually sane and somewhat competent. Her finacee is American, half French and half Vietnamese, who looks 100% Japanese, a fact which causes much hilarity and confusion on a daily basis. When my friend went to the States with him for the first time, she was introduced to the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice latte, and fell in love. Hard. But Starbucks here doesn't offer most of the American seasonal drinks, and neither her pumpkin nor my eggnog variants have ever graced the menu. We met up for lunch recently and then decided to have coffee at Blenz, which is a Canadian chain on par with, if not better than, Starbucks. We were ecstatic to find that they were offering a seasonal drink called a "pumpkin latte", and ordered two without a second thought.

Perhaps the ultra-bright orange topping should have been our first warning.     
     So we eagerly took a sip, then another, more cautious one. And my goodness, it was utterly DISGUSTING. It was neither pumpkin, nor a latte. In fact, I don't think the hot version even had any coffee in it. The flavoring was Japanese pumpkin, not Western. For Westerners, pumpkin always means something spicy, autumnal, and nutmegy. For Japanese, it just means a type of Asian squash, which is nothing like a North American pumpkin. Usually this squash is called "kabocha" and "pumpkin" (or "pampukin" in Japanese) is reserved for the spicy/nutmeg flavor. So the advertisement was definitely misleading, not to mention the picture they showed was of a pumpkin, not the green-rinded kabocha. And with Blenz being a Canadian chain, what they heck were the doing offering a kabocha flavor? Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. As my friend put it, it was like warm squash milk, a taste which I definitely could have gone my whole life without experiencing. It was so bad we just left, ran upstairs to Starbucks, splashed out another $10 on a pair of cappuccinos, splashed in some cinnamon and vanilla powder, and downed it as fast as we could to counter that horrible lingering taste. I think she's still having nightmares about it now. As for me, I'm just dreaming of one of these...

Get in my belly!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hunter Green

     Well, as I'm sure you guessed, I've taken to wearing all my new Zara purchases shown in my (first) vlog in the previous post. I haven't had the chance to take photos of all of them, and some I haven't worn yet (and probably won't for awhile as the weather has gotten a bit warmer lately), but I think the winner from that lot is the sheer green sweater. Combined with chocolate brown jeans and boots and off-set with a white under shirt, it looked and felt great. So much so that I immediately went out and bought the navy version!



All clothes by Zara, silver bead necklace by Rope Picnic Japan

Friday, September 30, 2011

First Vlog! Hear my raspy voice after speaking all day at work as I share my autumn haul!

video




Here's the shirt I mentioned, it really is gorgeous, a little short, but no matter. I like how the lack of collar and the fact that the buttons don't continue to the hem keep this shirt from looking like a "work shirt." The skirt is from H&M, probably my favorite purchase of last winter.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Typhoons and Slytherin Skirts

     Well, here we are on the other side of the autumn equinox, and the weather has suddenly shifted from super hot and humid (just a handful of days ago) to dry and cool, even when it's clear and sunny outside. So long Tokyo summer! Nobody's going to miss you!

And it's supposed to go down to 20 degrees during the day next weekend! AMAZING. 
     This midweek Tokyo was blasted by a rather strong typhoon, not the stuff of disaster movies but crazy enough to make walking outside an unwise move and downing nearly every train line in Tokyo. Overland trains were stopped for obvious reasons, and subways were flooded (I think, I really have no idea why the subway wouldn't be somewhat protected against such a thing). Work was cancelled that night, but fortunately/unfortunately it was our day off, so we couldn't cash in on the cancelled work-but full pay trophy. But I guess it was fortunate, since our slow to decide company only officially cancelled rather late in the afternoon, so I would've been made up and dressed or even at the office already, and I would have been PISSED if I had to turn around and figure out how to get home from freakin Shinjuku. As it was, we were only about 20 minutes from our place, so we squeezed onto a packed bus (the driver let us on without paying, given the emergency situation, and that there was no way we could squeeze through other passengers to get to the pay spot) then had to walk/run five minutes in heavy rain/wind to our place. So we got soaked, but we were happy to be home. Right after we got in, the typhoon really went nuts. We dried off, then spent the rest of the evening killing zombies on the PS3. Not a bad evening, actually.

     Recently I wore my new H&M skirt, which I LOVE. I will love it even more in the next few weeks once it gets cool enough to wear with a form-fitting black turtleneck and black tights. Can't wait! Also, I am alone in thinking that the black/green combo will forever remind me of Slytherin House out of Harry Potter? Probably not.

Ugh, need to get a haircut soon. I don't know about you, but I hate going to the hair salon.  At least they have plenty of US/UK fashion mags to read, since I could never afford to buy one myself (they cost almost $20 here!)

Wow, hair actually looks good in this one.
Skirt (H&M F/W 2011), black tie-neck blouse by some random Japanese label, pearl bracelet (anemone Japan)
     Just realized that all the shows are starting their fall seasons now. It's weird to go from having next to no TV to download/watch to having almost too many shows to keep track off!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Week(end) in Review

      Nothing new to report, no new clothes to share. Like the rest of Tokyo, we're just struggling to remain upbeat through the final weeks of the horrible, humid, and annoying summer. Even all those people who profess to love this wretched season because they like the increase of beach visits, barer limb sightings, beer guzzling, or whatever seem to have had enough.
     As for me, I'm just counting down the day until I don't have to shave my legs everyday or make my way to the office only half-dressed. Until then, I'm focusing on the little pleasures to get me into October (my favorite month!).

1. New books!

     My usual distraction of choice at home (besides the internet, obvs) is usually of the video game variety, but I regularly check the Amazon fiction and bestseller lists to see if anything catches my eye. Recently, there have been a fair amount of interesting debut novels so I'm happy to say I'm reading more than usual (though nothing will ever top the amount I read when I was a child, to be honest I think I burned out reading-wise in high school haha). And of course, I was bitten by the Game of Thrones/Song of Fire and Ice bug like everyone else in the English-speaking world, so I'm rapidly making my way through the five books.

2. Something Sparkly!


     Speaking of ice, gotta love how a cheap sparkler from Forever 21 can instantly lift one's spirits. Granted, it's going to rust like mad and fall apart any day now, but it was like $8, so whatever.

3. Banana juice!

     This may be just a German/Euro thing (courtesy of Dad), but damn, I love banana juice. Most people I know wrinkle their nose at the idea, though it's very similar in texture to mango juice. I never expected to find it anywhere in Asia, but recently I stumbled upon this banana/mango blend in a nearby convenience store, of all places. And it's surprisingly good, not too sweet and thankfully lacking a chemical aftertaste. This is Tokyo, so I imagine it will be discontinued come October, but I intend to enjoy it as long as I can.

4. Tuesday Treats!

     On our Saturday, we had a nice dinner at at amazing pizzeria near our place, and picked up some desert at the Payard counter. I had the amazing cassis (blackcurrant) mousse (just wish it came with more raspberries... my favorite berry every but they cost like $1 each over here) and the fiancee had a pumpkin/chestnut tart that tasted exactly like pumpkin pie. And I mean real American-style pumpkin pie, not the Japanese squash version (delicious as a veg, but as a dessert? Uh, no). Needless to say, he was in heaven.

5. YouTube favs!
 

Love the funk song he makes up on the fly towards the end of the video, had me in tears.

      Watching my fav Youtuber DarkSydePhil (DSP) play his way through the new gaming releases (September is that start of the hard-core 2011/2012 gaming season, so my wallet will soon be suffering). What I love about him is that he just enjoys the hell out of playing and can just happily amuse himself and his fans without taking it too seriously. Rock on, Phil.
 

     And, unfortunately, one thing that was definitely not appreciated this week. Our "weekend" kicked off with us finding out via Facebook that one of our favorite TV stars lost his battle with cancer. Spartacus is one of our favorite shows, and we loved Andy Whitfield as the titular character. He was a beautiful man and an incredibly talented up-and-coming actor, and he seemed like such an awesome guy in real life, too. So the next day, we made sure to make a toast to Andy when we had our Tuesday date night.

RIP, Spartacus. You will be missed.