outfit: complimented

ootd monday harper tunic elizabeth suzann_1244

Today, a woman at work said to me “I really like the way you dress.”  And I jokingly replied “Oh like kind of frumpy?”  We both laughed.  I’ve always dressed a little different from the general population.  My sisters used to tease me about how I dressed like a homeless person, lol.  But anyway, I think this woman who complimented me today was being genuine and I felt good knowing someone else out there appreciates a non-traditional way of dressing.  It’s not like my outfits are loud or flamboyant but there are eccentric aspects to my clothes, like that giant pocket and those brown socks. I didn’t wear these shoes to work, BTW.  I changed out of them and into my oxfords before heading out the door.  A while back another one of my co-workers asked me where I bought my clothes.  She commented on how I always looked appropriate for work but that my clothes stood out to her.  I gave her some suggestions on where to buy clothes but a couple weeks later, she told me she still couldn’t find anything she liked.  My guess is that although she could appreciate what I was wearing, she didn’t actually see herself wearing the same stuff.  So much of our style choices is not based on what we think looks nice on others, but more about what makes us feel like our true selves.  So do you want to buy that blazer because that’s how you think you should dress?  Or do you want it because that speaks to who you really are?  I ask myself similar questions about so many aspects of life.  Do you want kids because that’s what you think you should be doing or does that speak to who you really are?  Do you want to buy a house because that’s what you think you should be doing, or is owning a home speak to what you really want?  Usually what gives me the answer is being hyperaware of that little pit in my stomach, that little twinge of regret, when I imagine doing something I don’t truly want to do.

[outfit:  elizabeth suzann linen gauze harper tunic, elizabeth suzann twill clyde work pants (old), gold toe socks, pre-owned kork ease wedge sandals]

outfit: a pop of orange

ootd weeknd 2018-02-11 at 4.37.15 PM

Quick rainy day outfit post here.  It was pouring rain when we finally got out of bed this dreary Sunday morning.  Both me and Freddy are donning neon orange rain gear. You might remember how the dry cleaners totally fucked up this coat by bleaching the sleeves.  I covered up the bleach spots with green marker but now I kind of regret doing that.  It’s my wabi sabi mindset making me regret that decision. There was something naturally imperfect about the appearance of those bleach stains.  I should have just left it alone.  It’s like that feeling some one gets when they are on the Antique’s Road Show and the appraiser tells them that the value of their item would have been 10x more if they hadn’t cleaned it up.  Oh well, not that big of a deal.  Moving on.

I almost sold the jeans I’m wearing here. They are APC japanese denim that I bought new about 4 years ago.  I find myself reaching for them less often lately, mainly because they sit kind of low on my waist, and I don’t like the feeling of anything constricting me low on the waist.  But I did notice a tiny little hole developing over the left knee, and that little hole will turn into gold one day! That little hole and the prospect of it turning into a big distressed tear convinced me I should hold onto it longterm.  When I wear my New Balance shoes, I like to add a little pop of color with my socks.  Here I’m wearing a salmon colored ribbed sock I bought from Uniqlo a long time ago.

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Here’s what I submitted to the New Yorker caption contest this week.  I’m not very good at coming up with clever captions, but it’s fun trying.

I’ve been busy with work related reading and really enjoy spending my breaks checking in on the style blogs I follow, but I always feel like there isn’t enough posting going on out there.  Every once in a while I go on a search for new blogs, but it is so hard to find ones that are NOT obnoxious.  There are a ton of style blogs, but almost all of them are filled to the brim with sponsored content, unrealistic images of perfection, or super high end / unattainable clothes.  It’s really frustrating.  Where are all the ‘real’ bloggers?!

[outfit:  apc nepal coat, apc japanese denim, uniqlo salmon socks, new balance 999s]

outfit: RIP my dearly beloved linen top

ootd weeknd 2018-02-10 at 3.44.01 PM

Wah! While getting dressed this morning, I discovered a big hole in my favorite linen top.  The fabric disintegrated where my right arm rubs against the side of my body.  I’m not surprised given how frequently I wear this top.  I bought it pre-owned about one year ago.  It’s been an every day staple in my closet since. I wore it on it’s own in the summer and under sweaters in the winter.  Sad to see it go, but it lived a good life.  I hate the idea of wasting precious linen fabric though… trying to think of ways to repurpose the material.  Any ideas?

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I kept my color palette light today.  I was initially hesitant about pairing a cool toned white with a warm toned white, but after snapping this OOTD photo, I think it actually looks OK.

ootd weeknd 2018-02-10 at 3.43.32 PM

So I emailed Everlane to complain about the button on my winter puffer falling apart and they very graciously offered to replace it with the newer version. They are letting me keep my old puffer until the new one comes in after I told them that I only had one winter jacket and couldn’t go a single day without one.  Once the new one comes in, I’ll send back the old one.  I guess they want to inspect it.  Overall I liked the old puffer.  The design is good, but aside from the button falling off, I didn’t like how the loose fabric around the zipper would get jammed into the zipper.  This happened a few times and resulted in me crawling out of my zipped up puffer to take it off.  Then I had to yank at the fabric to free up the zipper.  This never tore the fabric but it caused me to be very slow and cautious whenever zipping up which became a daily annoyance. It looks like the new version has the fabric stitched down flat around the zipper to prevent this from happening.  My old puffer was the first generation winter puffer made by Everlane, and it seems like the newer versions have a lot of upgrades, like a larger hood, fleeced lined pockets, better insulation, etc… so I’m looking forward to being able to compare them.

When I logged onto the Everlane website to make the complaint, I found out I had $125 in store credit that I had forgotten about! I hadn’t logged in for many weeks. I combed the entire website looking for something to buy with that credit, but honestly I didn’t want anything.  I did want a more functional wallet though, and spent a lot of time debating over the zip up square wallet.  It isn’t exactly what I want, especially since the black one was sold out, but it’s good enough, so I went ahead and bought the silver colored one with store credit.  Silver is a little crazy for me.  But we’ll see…  I’ll let ya’ll know what I think when it comes in.  Stay tuned!

[outfit:  old zara knit sweater (5+ years old), pre-owned black crane corduroy carpenter pants, arizona birkenstocks]

What’s in my bag?

bag contents

Prototypical ‘what’s in my bag’ blog post here.

I’m working on a research project today.  It’s very tedious. I got bored and decided to unload everything from my bag onto my desk to write this blog post.

What’s in my bag?

  1. A 6 year old leather wallet from Madewell that holds my cards, cash, and coins all in one pocket.  I’m really unhappy with this wallet.  It’s quite dirty inside and the two card slots are too small.  Because everything is in one pocket, I find it takes a long time to find the card I’m looking for, which I’m sure irritates the hell out of the New Yorkers waiting behind me in line.  I should probably replace it with something more functional and structured.
  2. A 4 year old key chain from Madewell with my house keys.  Very happy with this.  It’s functional and the furry texture of the key chain makes it easy to find in my purse.
  3. My work pager (it hardly ever rings anymore, thank god); battered from the many times I’ve dropped it, held together with scotch tape.
  4. A pill box for random OTC meds that I use on an as needed (PRN) basis
  5. A cheap pen
  6. Cerave healing ointment for lips.
  7. Dr. Hauschka rose day cream –  I no longer use this on my face because of all the botanical ingredients that I’m actually trying to avoid, but I need to use it up so now it is delegated to hand cream that I keep in my purse.  It smells amazing; nice for freshening up the stinky air inside the subway on my commute.

Not shown are my ID badge and headphones, both of which I usually wear on my body while commuting.  I tend to carry bags on the smaller side.  There are times where I need to carry larger items, and for that I take along a canvas tote or one of those netted french market bags.  I’ve had mild scoliosis since puberty which has never given me any problems but when I was diagnosed with it at age 12, my pediatrician warned me to never carry a big purse because that could make it worse, so I never did!

outfit: high waters


My 5th grader self would have made fun of me for wearing such cropped pants with socks.  “Haha, she’s wearing high waters!”  But I’ve become accustomed to this look.  It is a tad dorky, but I do this so I can still make good use of my summer trousers in the winter.  I think if I were staying in NYC any longer, I’d invest in more ankle covering pants, but given it will be my last winter, I’m not going to waste my money on that.

I’m wearing a new pair of organic cotton leggings (that replaced my worn out American Apparel winter leggings) underneath these pants and faded dark brown wool/cotton socks underneath.  This kept me pretty warm today in 29 degree F snowy weather.  When wearing light colored pants, I like to avoid black socks.  Black socks and light pants look too harsh and contrast-y.  I tend to go with faded dark colors for socks or a subtle heathered pattern.

A few posts back, I mentioned my dire underwear situation.  Since then I’ve added 7 more pairs of organic cotton underwear to my collection.  I feel much less stressed out now when it gets closer to laundry day and my supply starts to run low.  My emergency panties is just that, now only for emergencies, rather than a regular thing I dip into.  I bought them from a company on amazon called Hesta that’s based out of LA.  They make a good standard basic panty.  Just simple quality panties with good seams, and no frills.

Other than the leggings and panties, I don’t have much to update you guys on my wardrobe.  I haven’t had a strong desire to buy any new clothes lately.  Not even the new Elizabeth Suzann items anymore.  I got really excited about them initially but those feelings faded quite a bit.  So maybe I’ll buy more ES when things warm up but not anytime soon.

Actually I do have a little update.  One of the metal buttons on my old Everlane winter puffer fell off on its own.  There was no tugging or damage that I inflicted on it.  I actually never use the buttons.  I usually just zip up my jacket and keep the buttons unbuttoned.  But suddenly a button fell to the ground.  On closer inspection the metal buttons are made of two pieces that are then cauterized together.  It’s slightly annoying that the button fell off without any stressed put on it, but it’s hardly noticeable so I’m not going to try and replace it or fix it which would be near impossible anyway.  But this does not give me confidence in the quality of Everlane’s winter puffers and I would not recommend anyone invest in one from now on.

Recall how I did a 60 minute workout on Monday to make up for 3 days of laziness.  Well, bad idea!  I still feel very sore, especially around my shoulders, neck, and upper abs.  I know this is supposed to be a good feeling, but sore shoulders make me feel like I’m anxious or stressed even when I’m not.  And my abs hurt if I yawn or sneeze.  It’s very strange.  Again, I’m new to this whole working out thing (as of January 1st).  The day after the 60 min workout, I didn’t exercise because of the soreness.  I’m not sure if you’re supposed to push through the soreness or take a rest, but mentally I wanted to rest.  Yesterday I did a 30 minute work out and it felt good and went by really fast in comparison.  I think doing the 60 min workout gave me perspective on the 30 minutes ones so I’ll be more inclined to just get the 30 minute ones done in the future.

I’m still not losing any more weight but I’m kind of over that goal.  And I haven’t lost any inches either.  But it is easier for me to do planks and hold downward dog poses now so I know that I’m getting physically stronger.  I’m glad that working out is becoming more of a habit for me, something I never thought possible.  I’ll probably live a few years longer as a result.

Other updates.  I’ve been battling winter dryness these past few weeks.  My lips and ears were really chapped to the point of cracking and bleeding.  I’d also wake up with a parched throat and feel desperate for water in the mornings, which is annoying because that delays my coffee consumption.  But anyway, I’m doing much better now because of two things I’ve added to my routine:  1) I’m turning on the diffuser at my bedside every night.  It really works!  On nights where I forget to use it, I wake up with a dry throat.  On nights I do use it, my mucous membranes are nice and moist (“MMM” for those of you in medicine).  I haven’t used any essential oils with it, but I’m glad that is an option for me if I wanted to in the future.  A humidifier would do the trick even better, but they are all ugly and bulky and I didn’t think I needed something so powerful.  2) I started using the cerave healing ointment on my lips.  Within the first day of using this my cracked lips healed up significantly.  And it didn’t heal up when I used standard Chapstick or a very expensive Korean lip balm that I received as a gift for Christmas.

[outfit:  street vendor scarf, *apiece apart boat neck cotton top, *vince trousers, hopp studios essential oxfords, baggu crossbody; *=pre-owned; base-layer:  thirdlove 24/7 bra, hesta organic cotton panties, In Touch organic cotton leggings (made in USA)]



outfit: what I read and wore this weekend


On Saturday I read this little book about the concept of Wabi Sabi for artists, designers, poets & philosophers by Leonard Koren.  To be honest, it fell way short of my expectations.  It’s attempt to articulate the essence of wabi sabi was shallow and missed the mark on many points.  It could have offered a wealth of guidance for the creative process too but it didn’t cover that topic at all.  Why even give it the title it has? Thumbs down.  If you’re interested in this topic, I’d highly recommend the book by Andrew Juniper instead.

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On Saturday I wore this outfit around the house.  I’m wearing my eggplant colored athletic workout leggings that I bought from Amazon.  It’s got a pocket at the side of the thigh that I use to carry my iPhone around the house while listening to podcasts or audiobooks.  On Saturday, I finished doing my taxes.  I owed the federal gov’ment money but got a tiny bit more back from the state.  I don’t think the new tax law did much to change things for me.  This year H&R block let’s you photograph your W2 and other tax forms and automatically fills the info into your taxes.  This saved a lot of time, but also made me feel a little paranoid about what happens to the photograph. Saturday night the BF decided to move furniture around again in the living room.  We moved the mirror and sofa closer to the windows and moved the dining table to the opposite side of the room.

On Sunday, we did laundry and made some hot pot for dinner.  I wore my vintage Trademark 4 pocket shirt and Trademark jeans (Trademark no longer sells clothes btw).  Both shirt and jeans are around 300-400 dollars retail but I got the top for $30 a few years ago at a New Orleans thrift store and bought the jeans for $25 at the real real.  I seem to own a lot of navy.  I need to stop buying so much navy.

ootd weeknd 2018-02-04 at 4.10.59 PM

I was seriously lazy and skipped Barre3  for 3 days straight.  To make up for it, I’m going to do a 60 minute workout tonight.

Are any of you guys watching the Superbowl tonight?  I’m not!  I’m morally opposed for all the major reasons, and I’m not alone anymore.  But I might tune in for the Justin Timberlake half time show to hate watch.  His new album is seriously bad.  Pitchfork wrote an on point critique of it here[update: JT’s performance was not that bad mainly because he didn’t sing any songs from the new album!  He probably knows how terrible it is!]

[outfit:  *everlane cashmere/wool sweater, amazon work out leggings; *trademark shirt, *eileen fisher linen top, *trademark jeans, new balance 999s, *=pre-owned]


outfit: the same thing every day (+ January expenditures)

ootd 2018-02-02 at 3.41.06 PM

“Feels like” temperature today: 12 degrees F 🙄

There’s 6 more weeks til winter is over.  During the winter in NYC I wear the same outfit every day.  So sorry guys, not much variety here.ootd 2018-02-02 at 3.40.49 PM

The fabric on these Kamm pants feel dry and crisp.  It’s structured and hangs away from the body, leaving enough room for freezing cold miniature tornadoes to engulf your legs and turn them into icicles.  To prevent that from happening, I’ve been pairing these with my synthetic workout leggings. The shiny surface of work out leggings don’t cling to pants as much, so I do prefer them as a base-layer with pants that are a little on the tight side.

Here I am with my HOPP studio oxfords again.  I have a couple other options for shoes, but have not worn anything else on my feet since I got them.  They are seriously comfortable.  This past week though, I noticed an ache at my heel on the left side that I think is being caused from improper alignment of my foot.  I’ve been told the ligaments in my feet are weak, so I’m going to try using an ACE wrap to give it more support and slow down any further deterioration.  Ah, the joys of aging.

Anyway, I’m excited for the month of February because things at work will be a little more flexible so hopefully I’ll be able to share more OOTD photos with you guys here.

I finally did my personal finance homework today and tallied up all my expenses in January and made a bar graph of discretionary spending in each category.  This graph does not include regularly occurring bills for rent, utilities, loan payments, my subway card, etc.

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 4.59.55 PM

I spent $400 on clothes in January, but I didn’t actually buy a lot of clothes.  The one purchase that drove up that dollar amount was the HOPP studio oxfords, which cost $245 with taxes and shipping.  For the quality and the fact that I’ve worn these shoes every day, I think the purchase was a good one.  The rest of the $400 was spent on inexpensive workout clothes and underwear.  Because I’m working out more, I end up taking showers every day, and needing more bras, athletic wear, and underwear to go with that change in lifestyle.  I see it as a one time investment that I’ll probably need to maintain about once a year.

In any case $400 feels like a moderate amount to have spent, so in the month of February I’m going to be a little more conscious of my spending in that category.  I think another area where I could cut back a lot on is home supplies.  I probably went a little overboard with the scented candles and other random amazon purchases this month.  Areas where I did really well on were in the “fun” and “beauty” categories.  I bought a pair of concert tickets to see Men I Trust in March; this went into the fun category.  The tickets were only $26 for both me and the BF.  I’ve been to a million live concerts in my lifetime and the best ones are always lesser known indie acts (rather than the mainstream trash you tend to hear on the radio).  These bands tend to play at small venues that are dirt cheap to get into.  Usually the ambience and sound quality is a million times better than anything you might find at an arena or stadium type show.

No big plans this weekend.  I’m going to file my taxes.  I better get to it soon before the identity thefts beat me to it.

Anyway, thank God it’s Friday!!  I hope you all stay warm and cozy on your days off.  And thanks for visiting me here.  I always love reading your comments and feedback. Stay tuned for more updates from me later this weekend.

[outfit:  xmas gifted beanie, pre-owned everlane wool-cashmere sweater, kamm ranger pants size 6, gold toe socks, HOPP studio essential oxfords, old everlane winter puffer, baggu crossbody]

outfit: commuters incognito

commuter incognito style 2018-01-30 at 9.19.11 PM

Today while taking this OOTD photo, I discovered the iPhone’s photo editing mark up feature and was able to use it to stay incognito and still be able to show you this beanie I got for Christmas.  It’s hard to find a beanie with the right proportions because my head is very large.  I’m like a lollipop.

commuter incognito style 2018-01-30 at 9.20.27 PM

I also used it as an opportunity to show you some outfits that caught my eye on my commute to and from work.  I love this woman’s insulated coat.  You can’t see it here but she’s also wearing wide leg cropped pants with all white converse high tops with gray socks keeping her otherwise exposed shins warm.

commuter incognito style 2018-01-30 at 9.17.33 PM

I love this charming modest outfit on this young lady.  She’s wearing turquoise velvet trousers with a patterned hem.  It’s not something I would wear myself but I admired it on her.

The trains have been a disaster lately, lots of delays or trains that skip my stop.  Loud speakers that are either way too loud or don’t work at all.  Extreme crowding.  Bad bad smells.  I couldn’t get on my train twice because it was too full.  The one upside to commuting here is getting to witness all the crazy random stuff that happens everyday, with the occasional cool outfits along the way.

[outfit:  xmas beanie, old street vendor scarf, uniqlo knit top, old everlane winter puffer, elizabeth suzann twill clyde pants, hopp studios essential oxfords, baggu crossbody]


Aging has been on my mind lately. This dreaded topic was brought on by a lot of big changes in my life:  another year has just past, a new job, a new title, plans to settle down somewhere else, palpable changes in my health and body, new commitments to regular exercise and the resulting total body soreness.  Aging has also been a hot topic all over the internets lately, with the progressive changes to the way we talk about aging, and the move away from the term “anti-aging” when we talk about skincare for example.  Some of the bloggers I follow have written honestly about their struggles with aging too– All this has brought the topic of aging to the forefront of my mind lately.

Simultaneously I’m thinking about how I want to lay the foundation for the rest of my life.  I’ve never before been in a position where I felt like I was laying down roots in a place and life situation.  With so many years of school and training, I’ve always lived somewhere with a finite expiration date.  So naturally I want to learn how to approach my next life phase in a way that brings contentment and in a way that is in line with my true self.

So as I said before I had been looking to secular Buddhist teachings to ease some of the anxiety I felt over the aging process, and that led me to dig deeper into the concepts behind wabi sabi.  The philosophy behind wabi sabi is expressed pervasively in all aspects of life: spiritually through a heightened sense of interconnectedness, impermanence; through our state of mind, how we relate with others, in the way we look at ourselves in the mirror;  it’s expressed physically in our environment, in the materials found in our homes, and in the clothes that we wear.  I’ve read a ton about minimalism; and I do believe it has it’s virtues, but especially lately, it seems inadequate, sterile, and kind of soul less on it’s own, especially taken from a female point of view.  Wabi sabi carries within it, tenets of minimalism but it has so much more.

Wabi sabi is an intuitive appreciation of a transient beauty in the physical world that reflects the irreversible flow of life in the spiritual world. It is an understated beauty that exists in the modest, rustic, imperfect, or even decayed, an aesthetic sensibility that finds a melancholic beauty in the impermanence of all things.”     

— Andrew Juniper

Today in one sitting I read the entire book Wabi Sabi: the Japanese Art of Impermanence by Andrew Juniper.  It’s a very good read.  I learned so much from this book.  It’s changed the way I perceive aging, in objects and people. It’s key to accept  aging and change as inevitable, so the only option we really have is to change the way we perceive it.  Easier said than done for sure.  And also, what the hell do I know?  I’m only 32 for God’s sake.

There are two parts to wabi sabi.  Wabi is about simplicity and minimalism and we all know about that already.  Sabi is the part that I found more interesting.  There’s no exact definition to it but sabi connotes the quiet beauty that comes with age, when the life of an object or person persisting through time and its impermanence is evidenced by natural wear and tear.  It’s the patina on an old leather bag, the rust on a cast iron skillet, the wrinkles around her eyes.  Sabi is the acceptance of the “decorations” that come with age.  Furthermore, sabi are the changes that can only come through aging.  It cannot be manufactured, unlike shabby chic, where new furniture is carved, manufactured, painted, and then sanded away at the edges to give the false appearance of age.

The concept of sabi reminds me of photos I took in Vietnam of my grandmother’s sister and her two elderly daughters that you see here.  I never really had grandparents of my own so the experience of meeting someone in my family two generations back was extra special.  When we arrived at a remote village in the countryside of Vietnam to meet my grandmother’s sister, there was something magical about her.  I felt a subtle sense of longing for something I couldn’t really define.  Her calm demeanor, gentle smile, foggy eyes, missing teeth and those ears!– it made my heart melt.  I half jokingly said to my mom “She’s so cute.  Can we adopt her and bring her back to the United States?”.  My mom replied in Cantonese, with full seriousness “We can’t.  She’s old and too accustomed to life here.”   We don’t speak the same language.  She didn’t say a single word, yet I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her.  It’s hard to describe that feeling she gave me.  No words needed.


She lives in a small village with maybe a hundred people from the same family, so the entire village was all distantly related to me. When it’s time to find a partner they have to venture out to far away villages. Her children served us food on two foldable tables pushed together in a medium sized room that also contained a bed, TV, and a few chairs.


The food was made from fresh ingredients harvested from their farm.  The rice was milled that morning in preparation for our visit.  The chicken was slaughtered just hours before our arrival.  It’s a completely different world.


We met her two daughters who were both probably in their sixties.  They both worked on the farm and had probably seen a lot of sun in their life time.


When I look at them, the concept of ‘ugliness’ and ‘beauty’ loses all meaning.  And yet at the same time, I know I’m witnessing something beautiful.

“If one had to suggest one common thread that is able to link all wabi sabi expressions, then it might be said that those sensitive to its mood should, when coming into contact with wabi sabi expressions, find themselves touched in an indefinable yet profound way. They have a sensation of yearning for something that defies articulation and a sense of peace brought by the reaffirmation of our impermanence.”

— Andrew Juniper

I think the unspoken message in wabi sabi, very simply, is that we can’t just tell ourselves we should see beauty in aging.  It’s not enough.  We must intentionally put it into practice, in our daily lives, through our behaviors, and by surrounding ourselves with organic materials, that on their own are beautifully imperfect and show signs of age with the passage of time, so that these objects can evoke a positive feeling in our minds and bodies as we bare witness to their natural decay, so we can more readily accept and appreciate the same inevitable aging process occurring within ourselves.

The physical decay or natural wear and tear of the materials used does not in the least detract from the visual appeal, rather it adds to it. It is the changes of texture and color that provide the space for the imagination to enter and become more involved.”

— Andrew Juniper

A few good links.


image: etsy golem designs
  1. I stumbled across this Vice article about 22 year old model Jazelle from the instagram account uglyworldwide.  Have you seen it?  There’s a compelling message conveyed through her photo library.  She comes out full blown “ugly”, loud and proud. But I can’t help but wonder if being exceptionally beautiful affords her the privilege of going viral while looking “ugly”.  But still, I like her.  She talks about having a rough childhood, growing up in Detroit, and learning to not care about what others think.   There are dark undertones of depression in her photos as well, some I found disturbing.  It got me thinking about how intentionally looking “ugly” is empowering, especially for a young woman who probably got noticed a lot for her striking “beauty”.  She used to dress “normal” and didn’t start experimenting with make up until her teenage years, but eventually shaved off her eye brows, shaved her head, and expressed herself powerfully through make up and clothes.  All eyes have always been on her, but at least now, it’s on her terms.
  2. Been thinking about dresses (in theory) a lot lately and was struck by all the beautiful dresses in the new Rodarte 2018 spring/summer line.  A lot of them would make really pretty wedding dresses, especially toward the end of the show here.
  3. I’ve been window shopping for a new apartment in my old neighborhood of Echo Park Los Angeles and have been thinking long and hard about the aesthetics of my next home.  Wabi Sabi really appeals to my sensibilities. Above is an example of a Wabi Sabi vase. I’ve been listening to “In Praise of Shadows” to get a better sense of this design philosophy.  It’s a short book, more like an essay, written decades ago by a Japanese novelist, Tanizaki.  He basically sounds like an old man grumbling about how modernization was ruining the traditional aesthetics in Japan at that time. The essay isn’t directly about wabi sabi, but I think it carries a lot of its ethos in its imagery.  I think wabi sabi can teach us how to see beauty in the aging process and how to honor our own imperfections.  I’m starting to worry that I will become extremely distressed about aging in the future, so I’ve been looking to Buddhist teachings to prepare myself early.

How my budget and the bitter cold makes getting dressed for work difficult.

I noticed myself feeling very frustrated with my wardrobe this morning.  It was really cold (the “feels like” temperature was 14 degrees F).  I looked at all my pants, and didn’t want to wear a single one of them because they all require that I layer them over my winter leggings to stay warm.  On my commute I’m walking a good 15 minutes, plus I have to wait at the train station, so staying warm is imperative.  And sometimes the trains get stuck and I’m forced to get out and wait on the open air platform for long periods of time.  Adding an extra layer of pants is a big chore because that extra layer makes my pants feel snug around my problem area belly and when I’m finally in my tiny office at work, I begin to overheat.  The heater is blasting at work and the engineering department can’t seem to get it right.  It is literally 80 degrees in my office!  There were times where I closed the door and took off a layer of pants to cool off, but keeping the door closed traps the heat in more.  It’s hellish.  Wearing my winter leggings without pants over top keeps me warm enough when outside, but that means I have to wear it with a work appropriate dress to cover my ass, and right now, I only have one dress.  It’s a sweater dress (which would cause me to overheat even more, so not an option!).  So today I got desperate and dipped into my pile of unwanted for-sale items for a pre-owned Eileen Fisher jersey dress with a boat neckline.  I’ve never really liked this dress and that’s why I want to sell it.  It’s faded and the A line feels very boring and mainstream.  And when I wear it with my tights, I have no pockets.  Anyway, I felt myself wishing for just one or two simple work appropriate dresses.  But of course I’m conflicted because I’m on a budget and don’t want to buy any more clothes, and since this is my last year in NYC I’m not sure it’s worth investing in more clothes for the cold (it’s counter-intuitive but dresses are better for the cold in the F-ing winter here).  Should I just try to ride it out and save $ or stop the madness and buy a damn dress already? Back when I said I didn’t want to buy anything, the weather was in the 40’s and I could get away with just wearing pants.  Times like these, I really resent NYC.  If the weather was nice, if I had more disposable income, if I didn’t have to walk in the bitter cold, if my work had better facilities, I wouldn’t have to buy all this shit to adapt to the harsh environment, and if I did, I wouldn’t feel so conflicted about it.  I think I might just tough it out though and wear this ugly dress for a few more weeks until it’s level 2 cold again.

the one thing in my closet that I do quantify: panties (+ my favorites from the new ES collection)

panties 2

How many panties do you own?  I’m not one for counting how many items are in my wardrobe, with one exception: panties! Here in NYC, I do my laundry at “The Mat” about every one-two weeks. Anything more frequent than that is expensive and inconvenient.  I always feel like I’m at the brink of running out of panties to wear.  Why haven’t I learned my lesson and bought more?  Today while folding laundry, (something which btw, I really learned to enjoy doing while practicing mindfulness and listening to music, especially folding towels, love doing that!  seriously), I thought it’d be a good idea to count how many panties I still own to assess how bad the panty shortage is.  Drum roll please… so I own a grand total of 8 pairs of panties!  Good panties that is. When I dug around my underwear drawer, I found two more pairs that I never wear because although “pretty” I never reach for them because they are made of polyester and don’t feel nice against the skin.  Then I found 3 more pairs with holes in them (like the one in the picture).  If I stretch out my laundry to every two weeks, I tap into this desperation pile of panties.  It’s terrible.  I bit the bullet and decided I would replace the ripped and polyester panties with unbleached organic cottons versions, which are on their way.  I chose organic cotton because it’s better for the environment, but I read reviews about how it reduces your exposure to pesticides too.  Does that really matter though??! The panties get washed presumably so is it really leaching pesticides onto your skin?  It’s not like we’re eating the cotton.  I have no idea and wonder if that’s just another marketing gimmick.  My underwear collection has evolved a lot over the years.  Have yours? I’ve always stuck to mostly cottons in the bikini or high waisted cuts (aka. granny panties).  Occasionally I’ll have a moment of poor judgment and think I should wear something less boring like lace or panties with ridiculous patterns and embellishments, but I never end up wearing them, and that’s money down the drain!  Besides even if I was motivated by the idea of looking “sexy” (cringe), I really don’t think men care all that much about underwear anyway.

Have you guys checked out the new mini release by Elizabeth Suzann?  I’m really excited by the Andy Trousers.  I’m too short to pull off full on wide leg pants like the Florence pants, but the Andy’s strike a nice balance.  They are loose and wide but have a subtle taper at the ankle, that is just enough to give an elongating effect.  I’m admiring the ones in midweight linen, but don’t actually want to buy anything right now.  And I don’t feel pressure to either because I know these pants will still be there months and maybe even years down the line.  I’m also kind of over the Clyde jacket in cotton canvas.  I felt the ES cotton canvas in real life when I bought the Tilda pants in that fabric, and it was impressively thick and sturdy (I ended up returning those pants because of the bulk), but for my purposes, I think the fabric in jacket form is a bit overboard.  If I worked on a farm, it might make sense.  I do really like the same Clyde jacket in midweight linen though.  I haven’t made up my mind about the Clyde trench yet.  I like the length and lapels, but the batwinging on it is a bit too extreme to be practical for me.  Will it feel right when driving a car?  I do really like the parabola top in midweight linen and think the black version would pair nicely with a black pair of linen Andy trousers, like the one Chung is wearing here, for a head to toe wrinkly black linen monochrome outfit (it’s so dreamy!).


[image: from the elizabeth suzann website]

Anyway, I’m admiring all the new pieces, can imagine a few of them in my wardrobe, but don’t necessarily have a strong urge to buy anything right now (even if I could afford it right now, which I can’t).  Sometimes I do get a sudden urge to replace all my clothes with everything ES. Rachel Hochman on my blog roll, who is an engineering grad student at Berkeley, owns a ton of ES.  She’s even featured on the ES website in the community section!  I’m so impressed by her outfits and wish more people would post pics of their ES clothes.  There must be more people out there, somewhere.  Please come out of the shadows and share!

weekend update: not wanting any more clothes + scented candles + fighting winter dryness

OOTD 1-21-18

Here’s a quick snap shot of the frumpy outfit I was wearing today while walking home from Whole Foods.  It was like 45 degrees.

After I cleaned out my closet this weekend, I realized that there was nothing else I wanted to add to my wardrobe at the moment.  It’ll probably last for another two or three months.  In the foreseeable future the only thing that I think maybe I might want is the ES Clyde jacket, but even with that, I’m not that excited about it.  I go back and forth. The sleeves are a bit too short, and maybe I’d prefer something more cozy.  I’ve decided to shelf the idea and re-assess in May/June.  Right now, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the absence of wanting something new in my wardrobe.

I’m feeling better from the RSV infection and can breathe through my nose again.  I’ve been lighting up scented candles at home since my nose regained functioning.  Today I’m enjoying the Bob’s Flower Shop scented candle by Trapp (which has a soft scent, like fresh cut flower stems and other floral notes).  We also invested in an essential oil diffuser that’s on its way.  Hope to use it to humidify our very dry apartment and for aromatherapy.  I’m tired of waking up every morning with an extremely parched mouth and throat.

To combat dry skin, I’ve been using the CeraVe moisturizing cream on my body and the PM moisturizing lotion on my face.  I chose CeraVe because it contains ceramides and niacinamide (in the lotion only), but is otherwise no frills.  In the past couple weeks I’ve been learning more about skin care and have changed the way I think about beauty products drastically.  For one thing, I’ve swung away from “all natural” products and I’m no longer paranoid about preservatives.  My skin has been much less prone to blemishes since I made the switch from Dr. Haushka (super expensive all natural product) to The Ordinary and CeraVe a couple weeks ago.  And my theory is that the botanical ingredients and essential oils in Dr. Haushka were actually causing my skin to react, not in a drastic way but I did notice that I always had 2-3 blemishes when I was going all natural.  Will write more on this at some point.

[outfit:  pre-owned sas relax sandals, boot socks, black crane carpenter pants, elizabeth suzann harper tunic linen gauze, old everlane winter puffer]