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 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!


  1. As I read through this post, I kept thinking "yes, yes I agree with that" .. "OH and that" .. "Holy this girl is freaking awesome"...

    I just stumbled on your blog, and it seems like you and I could be awesome friends. You had me at suede, candles and pumpkin lattes.

    I'm actually from Toronto myself. So that too!

    Lovely blog you've got going on. I'll definitely have to follow.


  2. Thanks so much for your sweet comment, Katya! And thanks for following, I'll definitely stop by your blog and check it out!

  3. love the sweater. and i'm trying to get a pair of over the knee boots but they are all so expensive. good luck and good luck with those candles.


  4. Thanks, Lindsay! Yeah boots just seem to be getting more and more expensive each year... zappos and endless still have some budget-friendly options, but I always worry about quality/comfort etc. I usually stay away from cheap (fake) leather boots because those can look pretty horrid, but suede is usually easier to get away with.