Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cinnabar Lace, plus 5 more things

     Here in Tokyo we're now in the yo-yo weather season now, as we start to slide into fall (yes!). Still warm to hot during the day, but no longer super humid 24/7, often with a somewhat cool breeze in the air. Some days can be cool enough for long sleeves, while the next day can be pretty damn hot. So last week I could wear my heav(ier) Zara knit, but this week I had to go back to bare legs, sandals, and delicate layers. Not that I really minded, since I wanted to wear my older lace skirt, which went nicely with a sheer vermillion cardigan. 

Damn, that's bright... probably the brightest piece of clothing I own!

Love this skirt... it was super cheap, it doesn't wrinkle, and the elastic waist is a definite plus.

Cardigan and skirt by pour la frime Japan, cream undershirt by Zara

And now, another installment of 5 things that have rocked my word recently:

1. A new candle for autumn:

2. Melon cream soda (served in a pretty glass, of course): 

3. New time-sucker:

4. New tumbler (been looking for on with a lid to prevent accidental spillage, so this one from Starbucks fit the bill):

5. New H&M skirt (just a preview, I'm wearing it later this week):

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Golden Girl

     The year isn't close to being over yet, but I have to say I think I've already scored my favorite buy of 2011. It's part of the amazing fall/winter Zara collection, so I thought I wouldn't be able to wear it anytime soon. But for a few brief miraculous days this week, the weather turned unseasonably cool, dark, and rainy. It was incredible, especially because it made this outfit possible (and not bat-shit crazy, as it would usually be deemed in August).

Gold/white metallic sweater dress and slim-fit khakis (Zara)

Close-up of the metallic print, plus my favorite gold necklace that's meant to look like a wax seal (from anemone Japan) and a recent favorite nail polish of mine (Chanel's Pearl Drop)

Oh fall weather, can't you please stay?
     I seriously cannot recommend this dress enough... it's lightweight, the metallic print is gorgeous but not over the top, it doesn't wrinkle at all... and the kicker, it was less than $80. Full price. Don't know why this was so cheap but a wispy scrap of a miniskirt was over $100, but I'm sure glad it was!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tue-Date (aka meet Mr. So-So Good)

     Since Tuesday is our "Saturday," we usually go out for "dates" then, which suits us just fine since actual Saturday nights in Tokyo are nightmarish; every downtown street, cinema, and restaurant are overflowing with partying weekend warriors, shrieking kids and their oblivious parents, gangs of high school kids... shudder.
     So Yesterday we ventured down to Omotesando, one of the nicer parts of this concrete jungle, and had a nice, leisurely afternoon marked by the triumvirate of our favorite treats: good-quality coffee (sometimes at Starbucks, but yesterday we went to the Canadian chain Blenz, which is amazing), soup curry for dinner, and then gelato at Grom for a decadent desert. Omotesando/Harajuku is super-convenient for us since it actually has all of these things, as well as tree-lined streets, and interesting shops, and, most importantly, it's located just over 15 minutes (well, 30 if we count the 15-minute walk to the relevant subway station) by train. So we went and had a grand old time, despite the super-high temps, smothering humidity, and the throngs of people who happened to be on O-bon/summer hols this week.

Goofing off while waiting for the train. I look a touch demonic here,  awesome.
I will never, ever get tired of soup curry. Also, this top is one of the oldest ones I own... I think it's going on 6 years, got it when I first moved to London for grad school. Ah, Oxford Street Topshop, that place was heaven.
Grom! Mine is the girly-looking cup bursting with peach, melon, and fig gelato. 
Haha he HATES getting his photo taken. But he's a good sport, for me at least. One of the many reasons why I love him.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Belated OOTD, and Five More Awesome Things

     Yet another hot, humid week, and yet another without any interesting outfits to report, though I do have one from a few weeks ago, when it was actually kinda cool for summer. Like most of you, I'm sure, I'm dreaming of fall weather and, more importantly, the fall fashions that have stormed the store shelves and displays (despite the fact that this week the temperature has soared as high as 41C/105F). Though I suppose I shouldn't complain too much, since until August summer has been remarkably bearable, and even now the sun is pretty weak or shrouded by clouds most days. Still, I'm longing for the days when I can dress like this once again...

Skirt (Zara), cowl-neck top (Mango)

I seriously cannot believe that it was cool enough to wear this in July!
     I was thrilled that I was able to wear one of my favorite tops ever on a non-fall/winter day. The top has a more chain-mail appearance in real life than in the photo, though sadly the somewhat delicate weave is staring to snag and pill in places. If I hadn't been overseas on vacation (and therefore on limited funds) I would've snatched up two of these beauties. Ah, well, can't change that now!

     I decided that I liked last week's "Five Things" post (see below) enough to do another installment, and I'm thinking that you all find it interesting enough, since some of the items relate to expat life in crazy ol' Japan. So without further ado, here are five random things that rocked my world this past week:

     1. Summer nails! I always do my nails myself, though I'm looking forward to getting them occasionally done by somebody more skilled than I in Canada. I usually play it pretty safe when it comes to colors, but recently I felt like wearing some super-bright summery pink (which I like to call Barbie pink), at least on my toenails. I came across Mavala's Toulouse, a creme formula that is amazingly easy to put on. One my fingernails I played it a bit more safe with Rosee, my favorite Mavala shade.

I apologize for the frightening close-up of my toes (yes, I have five, the little one is just hiding!)

     2. Summer jam! Oh, my fiancee both loves and loathes me for finding this catchy Nicki Minaj song and playing it every five seconds on YouTube. I've never been a big fan of her music, though I appreciated her somewhat unique style (kinda Gaga/Katy Perry-esque, but still), and she does originally hail from my mater land of Trinidad and Tobago. But then I stumbled across this song, which is fast becoming my guilty pleasure pop anthem of the summer.

     3. Summer vegetables! Thanks to my super health-conscious fiancee (seriously sometimes I cannot believe that I'm marrying this uncanny mix of my father AND my mother) I have eaten foods that I previously shunned before coming to Japan. Especially vegetables... now thanks to him I crave things like eggplants, cauliflower, asparagus, and most recently, zucchini. A summer vegetable here in Japan, good quality ones can be a bit pricey, but today I managed to find some gorgeous specimens for 198 yen ($2.58), on sale from the their usual price of 298 yen. My fiancee just grills them in a mostly dry pan with a bit of olive oil, and then they're ready to eat. Yum!

Still can't believe it was that cheap. According to the label,  this one was grown up in Akita prefecture by the dude in the picture.

     4. Summer "only-in-Japan" moments! So, a bit of backstory: Japan has been gearing up for a few years to change all household TV signals/antennas to digital rather than analog, which requires all people still using old CRT TVs to buck up and actually get a decent TV (they're not expensive over here, and many reailers offered some crazy discounts when the deadline loomed). But in Japan, such a momentous occasion could never go without some official PR character mascot. Thus was born "Chidejika" ("chideji" aka digital terrestrial televison + "shika/jika" aka deer), a little deer sporting digital antennas instead of antlers. Now I love me some deer, and I love me some Japanese craziness, so I wondered if there was some way to get my hands on some Chidejika merch. And this being Japan, of course there was! The changeover came and went in July, but Chidejika is here to stay, at least on my phone.

In Japan everyone, young and old, male and female, decorates their phones with charm straps. All three of mine were gifts from Mr. So So Good. The Starbucks strap commemorates the fact that we both love coffee and all of our early dates were at the Starbucks near our office. In the middle is the Chidejika, with headphones on, for some reason. And lastly is a pink rabbit meant to resemble a famous traditional Japanese sweet (I hate the sweet, but I love rabbits). 

     5. Summer TV! Usually sucks, but a few weeks ago the fourth season of AMC's Breaking Bad premiered, and damn, is that show perfection. Teeth-grindingly tense perfection, so this is definitely not a show I watch before falling asleep. AMC is home to two of my favorite shows, Breaking Bad and Mad Men, and while both shows' staff seem to take FOREVER to write and film between seasons, if they can maintain the superb quality, then I suppose the long wait is worth it.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Good things come in fives

     Nothing new to report, no new clothes to share. So I decided to do one of those "Five Things" posts that other bloggers such as Cupcakes and Cashmere commonly feature, sharing things that made me happy this week. Not exactly original or revolutionary, but hey, it's summer, and I'm a wee bit lazy. And by wee bit I mean utterly and completely.

1. Haircut! Straightened out those pesky roots, got a deep conditioning treatment and finally got my bangs trimmed so that I can see again. Still trying to grow my hair out, but it's taking a butt ton of time.

There's something a bit Cleopatra-esque about this shot... top is an old Zara purchase.

2. Peaches! Japanese fruit and veg is nowhere near as tasty or varied as back home in California, but some things are absolutely delicious here. Peaches are at the top of that list, only available from mid July to the end of August, and pretty damn pricey (you can get cheaper ones, but they're half the size and not as sweet as the expensive varieties). We usually get the normal sunset-colored ones, but if we happen to spot these rarer, larger, sweeter and MORE EXPEN$IVE golden-skin versions, we snatch them up. Well worth it.

Looking at this picture, all I can think is "Marge Simpson's bosom"
3. Old-school American summer drinks! Lemonade has got to be one of my favorite drinks of all time. The problem? Almost nobody in Japan has ever heard of lemonade, let alone drank it. To my amazement I recently stumbled across a selection of Joe Tea beverages at a random boutique in Omotesando. Joe Tea stuff is all natural (cane sugar sweetened) and apparently is sold at Whole Foods back in the States. I got myself a bottle of half&half, a southern beverage that is just 1 part lemonade to 1 part iced tea (usually lemon, sometimes peach). Delish.

4. New bling! Got this awesome necklace for about $15 at a random shop in Omotesando metro station. I'm a sucker for all things sparkly.

5. Fruit yogurt that is a) cheap b) decently sized c) natural tasting! The Japanese do plain yogurt surprisingly well, and kefir and Bulgarian selections are easy enough to find. But fruit flavored ones? Yech. Usually only available in strawberry and blueberry (yawn), the brands found in most supermarkets or convenience stores are downright awful. They're cheap, sure, but are so chemically sweet and artificial tasting that you'd have to have never had decent fruit yogurt in your life in order to stomach it. But recently at some more upscale grocers I've come across a variety that offers interesting flavors that actually taste good, yet are priced the same as the cheapo crap from the convenience stores. I aim to enjoy these as much as I can before they disappear into the ether of Japan's fickle food market.

This being Japan, even yogurt has to be endorsed by some random celebrity. Well, at least it's actually a good product. The bottom two are orange-cassis and passion fruit-lemon. The one on top probably tastes like crap, but I got it at 7-11 because I can't resist anything that calls itself peach melba. Kinda funny how aggressively these yogurts are targeted towards female consumers. As if guys don't eat fruit yogurt!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Metal on Metal

     Well, haven't I been a bad blogger lately! Don't know what it was about July, but I seemed to have entered a summer slump of laziness. I basically wore the same boring set of clothes in an attempt to beat the oppressive heat, and on many occasions I simply forgot to toss my camera in my bag... whoops. But it's a new month now, the last one of summer (THANK F*CK), so I'm going to do my best to rally myself.
     Let's see, what have I been up to... been watching a lot of movies this summer, not such a great selection here in the Tokyo cinemas, but I'm one of those people who enjoys going to the movies even if the actual film is just meh. Within the last month or so I saw X-Men First Class, which I really liked (I was always a fan of the X-men film series), though I was more intrigued by the Romeo and Juliet subtext of Magneto and Professor X than I was by the actual plot. The casting was excellent, with the exception of January Jones as Emma Frost; don't get me wrong, JJ kills it as Betty Draper, but as an evilly brilliant telepath, not so much. We also saw Thor (kinda cool, but not as awesome as most reviews led me to believe), and the last Harry Potter installment. Saw the trailer for Brad Pitt's Tree of Life, which looks awesome, so I'm looking forward to fall when the superhero/CG fest popcorn flicks of summer give way to more mature and introspective movies.
     It was recently summer sale season here in Tokyo, and the fiancee was able to score some great stuff at Banana Republic and Commes des Garcons for like 50% off. As for me, I didn't really find anything; as per usual I was more drawn to the newer fall collections. I got a beautiful metallic sweater dress at Zara and a stripped angora jumper from Topshop, that's about it. Zara's new collection features a lot of metallics, which is one of my favorite trends ever. In addition to the sweater dress, I got a silver puff-sleeve T-shirt that is quickly becoming a favorite of mine:

Metallic top and beige skirt (Zara), white undershirt (H&M), silver accessories (mayglobe Japan)
     I can't wait until autumn... cool weather, sweaters, boots...drool. But we still have a bit of the current season left to go, so hope you all have a great late summer!