Tuesday, June 28, 2011

French and Italian

     This past weekend I was feeling super lazy at work, a state which I like to blame on the newly arrived scorching summer heat... though in all honesty it wasn't even that hot until today. I couldn't be bothered with shaving my legs or struggling into hosiery, so pants it was; I wore jeans to the office and then swapped them for a old pair of black Zara pants. It was only after doing so did I realize that I looked suspiciously similar to a French maid:

Scalloped-hem tunic (Topshop), white cardigan (H&M), black pants (Zara)
Just imagine a feather duster in my left hand.
     Not that I didn't like the outfit, though. It was easy, comfortable, yet not frumpy. The Topshop tunic is pretty awesome, though I wish the scalloped hem and ruffle didn't curl up so much. Still, all in all, I'm pretty pleased with the outfit. Looking at it now, though, when it's 35 degrees, I can't imagine I'll be wearing it anytime soon (Sunday was so random, it was like under 25 degrees). Now all I can think about is wearing the least amount of clothing possible, sitting with a fan trained on my face, and eating endless cups of Grom gelato.

     It's apparently some famous Italian chain that has locations in select overseas cities including Tokyo. It's been here for awhile now, also busy but never super crowded, and we've been meaning to try it forever. Today seemed like the perfect opportunity, and it was AMAZING. I had peach/melon combo, and next time I'm going for the lemon/apricot. They also have heavier flavors like hazelnut, pistachio (my fiancee's favorite), and even straticella. It's all organic and very authentic, tasting just like the Italian gelato I've had in Greece and Germany. I kinda wonder what the Japanese think about the very European flavors, though. Rather refreshingly, the shop doesn't pander to local tastes; no green tea or red bean flavors to be found. I suspect it would be even more crowded if it was a bit more localized (and/or a bit cheaper), so I'm glad the place is sticking to its roots. Just wish they had the banana and green apple flavors that I remember from my German summers... drool.

Friday, June 24, 2011

What the heck, Tokyo?!

     This time last week, it was relatively pleasant weather, cloudy and cool, with a decent breeze. It was so atypical for late June that we all had somehow fooled ourselves into thinking that this summer might be mercifully short, or at least not so scorching hot.
     Then, since this Tuesday, the weather has been something like this:

That's like 95 F, ya'll.

     And the humidity is almost 80% at night, AND Tokyo's summer sun rises at... wait for it... 4:30 AM. AWESOME. So by the time we wake up to get ready for work not only is it super bright in our bathroom (thought not in the main room, thankfully) it has been baking in direct sunlight for almost 2 hours. Lovely.
     Thankfully, Tokyo has been rolling out some delectable summertime treats. I have pledged to drink only water at home/work (with the occasional soda or Arizona Raspberry tea at home, can't help it, it's my crack) instead of lemon tea/flavored drinks. So I've picked two indulgences to enjoy this summer.
The Lemon Zest Sorbet is probably the best lemon sorbet I've ever had, and I've had my fair share!

     The first is Ciao Bella ice-cream/sorbet. I believe it's actually from the States, and can be found at a number of retailers such as Whole Foods. It's made with all-natural ingredients; the lemon sorbet, for example is made from Sicilian lemons and sweetened with natural cane. Here in Tokyo Ciao Bella can be found in random convenience stores or supermarkets, though the only appealing flavor IMHO is the lemon sorbet (TO DIE FOR). All the other cool flavors have not made it over here yet and we just have blah vanilla and chocolate varieties, but I'm hoping as summer drones on we'll get a better selection. I'd love to try the mint chip, and the pistachio!
     And on the coffee front, it's getting much too hot for my usual vanilla cappuccino, and on top of the weather Starbucks Japan has randomly stopped putting out cinnamon shakers for customers to use. What's the point of getting a vanilla cappuccino if I can't spice it up with some cinnamon? Arrrgh. Luckily this week Starbucks rolled out a new variety of their cheaper convenience-store coffee drinks, the caramel macchiato.
Yeah, took this with my MacBook Photo Booth. Don't try to read the lettering, your brain'll explode.
     It actually does taste like an iced caramel macchiato, or a caramel frappuccino, without the icky ice chunk effect, and since it's for the Japanese market, it's not super sweet. At only $2 a pop, I'm a fan! That is until they decided to pull it off the shelves; these drinks are usually limited edition so I'm going to enjoy them as much as I can before they disappear!
     Summer in Tokyo is always hellish, but I'm comforted by the fact that I'll be outta here soon after it. Anyways, I hope to have another OOTD post by Monday, depending on if I can muster up the will to actually wear something relatively decent rather than just wear whatever makes me sweat the least!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Prim and Proper

     While unearthing my summer clothes last week, I stumbled across what is perhaps the oldest piece of clothing I own, and if I remember correctly, the very first piece of H&M clothing that I bought.
     I bought it in Frankfurt when my father and I went to Germany to visit family, while I was still in college, if not before. By my estimate, the shirt is at least 7 years old, if not closer to 10. And still in great condition. It's a sheer pink blouse with red polka dots, a button-up front, and with both a frill and a ribbon that you can tie in a big bow at the collar. Paired with a pale pink cardigan and a grey pencil skirt, it's a little bit Peggy Olson, but hopefully more flirty than frumpy!

Tie-front blouse and grey pencil skirt (H&M), cardigan (Japan), pearl bracelet (anemone Japan)

     I've found that most H&M stuff usually lasts a long time, even though the quality is not super amazing. Especially compared to F21, or even Zara. If I need to buy something that I plan to wear on a regular basis, such as a basic cardigan or pencil skirt for work, H&M is always my first stop!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Around the World

     It was yet another drizzly (but mercifully cool rather than hot) Friday here in Tokyo. Most commuters wore a grim look of frizzy frustration that morning but I was secretly thrilled to have an excuse to wear my Hunter wellies again. The day before I had rifled through my closet, attempting to uncover some summer clothes and weed out some pieces that I never actually where, and I rediscovered my beloved Cartography cardigan from Anthropologie. It was hiding inside a long, flowy cardigan knit and I had practically forgotten about it, so I decided to wear it the next day to give it the love it deserves!

Cartography cardigan (Anthro), white chemise and jeans/jeggings (Zara), rain boots (Hunter)
     Today is Sunday evening, which means my two busiest work days are safely behind me and my weekend is almost here, so I'm in pretty good mood! I'm also excited because my friend was planning to order some things from the States and asked me if I wanted anything from ModCloth. I saw that they still were selling the Blooms in the Sky cardigan, with only 3 left, so I decided to go for it. I'm looking forward to the end of the month when it arrives! I just hope it's not too hot to wear it by then...

I can't wait!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Slate and Cinnabar

     I decided to give the ol' blog a fresh face this morning, partially because I wanted it to have a cleaner more monochromatic look, and partially because I need something low-key to do while I installed game data, save files, and old PSN downloads on our new baby. Yes, that's right, after a year or two of good service, we've finally decided to retire our fat white Playstation3, mainly because it's 40 GB HD wasn't cutting it anymore. Now we have one that's 320 GB (and the smallest HD Sony currently makes is 120 GB, so you can imagine how puny 40 GB is!), and it's about half the size of our old one. We ALMOST splashed out an extra $50 for the Japan-only Silver Satin edition, but our sense prevailed. And the charcoal black is pretty fine with its matte casing and glossy black trim, so we're definitely in nerd heaven over here.

Basically, this is our child. No, seriously. We love and coddle our PS3 (and our MacBook Pro) the way most people fuss over babies and adorable pets.

     Okay, enough with geekdom. Now to the clothes! Today was yet another dreary rainy season day here in Tokyo, but while other folks find it depressing, I just love the cloudiness and the fact that at least the rain and gloom keeps the scorching summer temperatures at bay, for another few weeks at least. And as I've been on a streak of bold and brights (check out the previous two posts) I decided to continue the trend today with a super-bright vermilion cardigan:

Vermilion cardigan (gaminerie Japan), white frill top and grey pencil skirt (H&M)

A better look at the undershirt
     The H&M white undershirt is a pleasant surprise. It was super cheap but the sheer pleated frill is quite high quality and the shirt is sleek and fitted, perfect for an undershirt. Too bad the white was the only useful color they had; I wasn't too keen on the sallow yellow and sickly pink versions. The navy one might be one to consider, though. The sweater is one I had for ages, but usually don't wear since it's really a fall color but it's very sheer and too light for the season. So today's warm but dark weather was a perfect chance to wear it at least once this year!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Full of Heart

     Continuing the theme of my last outfit post (in which I wore a color I never like or wear), yesterday at work I wore a pattern that I never wear: hearts. I don't like heart prints, usually, but this piece from Topshop totally won me over. It could be the red white and blue color scheme, which is one of my favorites, or it could be the cute and useful little pocket, or the sleek and somewhat 1950s fit of the thick and tight weave. Whatever the reason, I just had to have it.

Heart print cardigan (Topshop), grey pencil skirt (H&M)

     Loved this outfit, it kept me in a fun and cheerful mood despite the humid rainy weather and the long boring day at work. The only complaint I have is that it takes quite a bit of muscle to button or unbutton this thing. The buttonholes are too small, which ensures that the buttons never pop open accidentally, but also causes a wee bit of frustration in the morning. But well worth it, methinks! If you frequent Topshop, I highly recommend this one! But stay true to size or even go one size up, since the knit is very tight and doesn't stretch much at all, which is a good thing since the cardigan won't stretch out or lose it's shape too quickly.

Friday, June 10, 2011

One is the loneliest orange

     Everybody has one or two NG colors. NG of course being the Japanese-English abbreviation for "No Go," referring to any and everything that is deemed not possible or acceptable. Most commonly featured colors on this list are yellow, orange, red, purple, or anything neon. For me, my most hated are definitely purple (except for very pale/almost grey lavender) and orange, though I'm also getting tired of seeing ultra-brights pop up everywhere... no matter what spring fashion trends and Zara window displays tell me, I'm not traipsing around Tokyo in a bright pink mini with bright green espadrilles on my feet, thank you very much. Not saying that other boys and girls shouldn't rock it, but it's a definite NG in Tokyo, where such bold clothes always carry the stigma of Shibuya teens.
     Orange is one of those colors that I instinctively abhor and avoid despite the fact that some shades of it are actually quite flattering on someone with my coloring. Last year my eye was drawn to this simple T-shirt with shirred sleeves at a Zara sale, and I decided to take the pumpinky plunge. I have only worn it a handful of times, but I reached for it this morning on impulse.

White cardigan (Rope Picnic Japan),  orange top with brown and white dots and jeans/jeggings (Zara)

One of my favorite cardigans, super cheap and I love the draped yet fitted look.
Love the slight b*tch look on my face.
     A nice, simple yet cute outfit for an easy day of an early but short work shift, a few errands, and a couple of soothing hours with Dragon Age II. Don't really want to go to work tomorrow... shocking, I know!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Twin Teardrops

     Yesterday at work I wore one of my favorite purchases of the summer, a double-chain necklace that features two tear-drop shaped pendants of varying size. The pendants are etched with a starburst design and the base of the drops are studded with little diamond crystals. Unlike other double-chain necklaces that I own, this one doesn't shift around or get tangled up, it stays perfectly centered all day. I have the earrings from the same set, albeit in silver rather than gold. I was hoping to also find the silver version of the necklace, but so far, no luck.

Necklace by mayglobe Japan

     As a backdrop to the necklace I chose a simple white top from Zara with a laser-cut pattern along the neck line and upper chest. Paired with a white cardigan and a light beige skirt, the main focus of the outfit was definitely the necklace! Just as I had hoped.

Cardigan (H&M), cut-out blouse (Zara), beige woven skirt (Japan)

     Soon it will be too hot to wear any cardigan whatsoever...sigh.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Back to the Norm

     With the little bro back in his own hood, it was back to work and work clothes for me this weekend. Unfortunately summer has suddenly and violently come upon Tokyo, so both I and my clothes were a little wilted.

Beige woven skirt (Japan), ruffled cardigan (pour la frime Japan),  sheer pleated top (Zara)
     The skirt, a former summer staple, unfortunately has to be retired this year. It's a little on the worn side, and it seems to wrinkle and bulge more than I remember. I've been looking for a sleek beige pencil for months already, but both H&M and Zara have been consistent let-downs in that department. Oh well, maybe next paycheck!

     I do love this Zara blouse, though. It's a pale, soft pink/blush with tucked pleats down the center and a  drawstring neck that ties in the back. I just wish the bow fabric was heavier and plusher, so it could be tied in a full bow. The sheer skinny ribbon just hangs limply (I tried to take a photo of it, but it's so unimpressive I just gave up)... in fact maybe I should see if I can replace it somehow...

Friday, June 3, 2011

Rainy Day Woman

     Sorry I've been MIA this week! My little bro and his best friend decided on a whim to come to Tokyo for a few days so I've been busy squiring them around the rainy, humid city, a situation which required casual clothes and limited chances to take outfit photos. I did manage to capture what I wore yesterday, featuring my new Hunter rain boots. Love those things, even my sartorially-disinterested brother admired them.
Floral tank (F21), thin black turtleneck (H&M), jeans/jeggings (Zara), rain boots (Hunter)
Close-up of the floral pattern (pearl bracelet by anemone Japan)
     I also love this F21 tank, with the gorgeous black and white floral print. It's a very un-F21 in my opinion, and I love how the flowers look like botanical sketches you'd find in an academic text rather than girly, soft blossoms. The fit is also very flattering, it doesn't sag or billow out, probably because it is secured and stabilized in the back by a heavy zipper.
     Anyways, tomorrow it's back to work I go (noooooooo) but I'm a wee bit excited about it because I just washed and ironed one of my favorite summer skirts from last year and I have a gorgeous new Zara blouse to debut. Stay tuned!