Thursday, February 28, 2008

Drinking the MAC Kool-Aid

My Nordstrom gift card still had some money on it, so I went to the MAC Counter to check out the Fafi collection and liberate a couple eyeshadows from their shackles.

The salesgirl (who was rocking hot pink eyeshadow) seemed really surprised/horrified that I tend to wear brown and bronze eyeshadows...apparently there are way better colors for me? Anyway, I looked at Vanilla (an off-white highlight color that was a little shinier than I was hoping), Steamy (a mermaid-like sea green with flecks of gold and blue), Beautiful Iris (a light purple), and Brulee (a matte neutral highlight color).

Photographing eyeshadows: surprisingly hard!

I ended up with Brulee and Beautiful Iris, because I go through light, neutral, all-over colors despairingly quickly, and I wanted a fun, light purple to go with Satellite Dreams (a dark rich purple I wear all the time). I liked Steamy a lot - the color payoff is excellent, and unlike my Smashbox-brand green eyeshadows, it doesn't muddy up. However, I'll have to save that purchase til a little later.

Brulee, Beautiful Iris and Satellite Dreams (which I broke at some point, obvs)

Also, the salesgirl invited me to my first-ever in-store event, on March 8. Whoo-hoo! I must have appeared sufficiently moneyed! Go go goody bag full o' samples!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New at Anthropologie

More items I will probably not be buying from Anthropologie, because I am having way too much fun puffing up my IRA! :D

Wear-It-Well Jumper, $128

Whitehall Scoopneck, $68 (also in yellow and blue)

Jovibarba Satchel, $365
(crazy expensive, but aren't the colors and patterns divine?)

Chambord Satchel, $228
(Again, crazy expensive, but it's too cute not to post. Maybe it could serve as inspiration for a sewing project? For, uh, someone who sews?)

Peach pie necklace, $38

Incandescent scarf, $68

And on the home front...

It seems that lately people have been finally realizing that Anthro carries a nice selection of hardware. Well, yes, they do, and frequently have really good deals in the sale section.

I dig these knobs, because they're more like pom-poms than hardware, and they're so delightfully impractical.

Zulu Knob, $8 (also in red and white)

The ineptitude is strong with this one

Man...this contact lens-wearing business has gotten hairy.

On Saturday, I succeeded for the first time in getting them in, and scampered around the park to celebrate.

Sunday, I got the suckers in within 20 minutes.

Monday, I came home from work and got them in within 15 minutes.

Today, I decided to take the plunge and try to get them in before work, so I could actually enjoy them throughout my day. No such luck! I struggled for about 25 minutes, until I had no more time to struggle because it was time to skedaddle.

This evening I came home from work and got them in within 20 minutes. The right eye was a real bitch, and I struggled with it for most of the time. The left one popped in without much trouble.

I had a theory that after I learned to put the contacts in, each successive time I would cut my personal best in half - until I hit a terminal velocity (so to speak) of one or two minutes. Obviously, this hasn't really panned out. Yet.

Tomorrow I'm going to wake up early, shower to get my eyes nice and awake, and then do my thang. Then I'll go to work and chat up Eric, the coffee cart guy. It will be grand.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Something's fishy on the red carpet

Ok, obviously I didn't watch the Oscars and didn't really care about the whole affair, but Marion Cotillard's dress, hair and makeup united to create an orgy of fabulousness. I don't love the necklace with the dress, but I'll give that a pass.

I have a hunch Ms. Cotillard is a huge Little Mermaid fan. Me too, Marion, me too.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

My Virgin Eyes (or, how I learned to relax and enjoy contacts)

Sooooo I went to the eye doctor on Friday for a contact lens exam. Contact lens exams aren't really exams at all; in reality, the appointment involved my eye doctor prying my eyes open and trying to get a contact in the vicinity of my eye. After an epic struggle, she succeeded in getting one into my right eye, but for some reason my left eye is much more sensitive, and that one was a bust. She got exasperated, and I had trouble relaxing and keeping my eye remotely open, despite my best efforts.

In the course of our frustrating meeting, the doc made the astute observation that my eyes are A) very small and B) don't open wide at all. This doesn't surprise me at all, as I am descended from tiny forest people (true story) and my father in particular has tiny squinty George Dubya eyes. Putting a toric lens (diameter: 14.5 millimeters) in my eye is like trying to park a semi truck in a one-car garage.

Once the right contact was in, the eye doctor left me to my own devices in getting it out after quickly describing the process. I pussyfooted around the issue in her office for about a half-hour; finally she shooed me into the bathroom to finish the job. I finally got the hang of it and burst out of the bathroom, triumphant that I could do something right.

I left the appointment with two contacts, two bottles of contact lens fluid and the sinking feeling that I would never be able to put the damn things in. After all, if a trained professional like my doc couldn't even get within six inches of my eyes without me flinching like a mofo, how would I ever learn to put contacts in?

Naturally, I Googled. I found this Metafilter thread, which had lots of good suggestions for how to overcome a fear of touching one's eyes.

On Friday night, I tried again to put in the contacts. Not...even...close. I wanted to cry hot tears of frustration and rage.

Saturday morning, I tried again. Again, I totally failed. I realized I needed to take a step back. I re-read the Metafilter thread again, and (this is so lame) watched videos of people putting in contacts on YouTube and Videojug. These helped me visualize success, and to realize that if snot-nosed teenagers could master contact lens insertion, so could I.

I washed my hands, sat in front of a mirror, pulled down my lower eyelid, and touched my eyes for hours. First I touched the white part at the very bottom; then I worked up to touching the iris. This took dozens of repetitions, especially for my ultra-sensitive left eye. Finally, I was able to touch my eye for a few seconds, consciously keeping myself from blinking the entire time. I was slowly retraining my reflexes. It worked much better than I expected. All it took was patience and lots of repetition.

After hours of poke-poke, I got my contacts out and attempted to put the right one in. After much less of a struggle than I anticipated, it was in! I was ecstatic.

Putting in the left one wasn't as hard as a I anticipated, and I got it in about 20 minutes after the right one.

I immediately left my apartment and went for a walk in Balboa Park. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I had a great time. It seemed like my vision was better than it had ever been.

This morning, my goal was to get both the contacts in before breakfast and a shower. Once again, I started slow. I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, washed my hands, sat in front of the mirror, and practiced touching my eyes again. In about two minutes, I was able to touch my eyes and keep from blinking as well as I had done yesterday. And I got both contacts in within a half-hour.

I'm pretty shocked I was able to retrain my reflexes so quickly. On Friday, in the eye doctor's office, I was a mess. I got scared and even shaky at the very thought of putting something in my eye, and when my eye doctor got close my only reflex was to shut my eyes tight. Now, my reflex is to keep my eyes wide open. My brain knows that when a finger (with or without a contact on it) is approaching, no pain will result.

Now, I can put in contacts like a pro. Pull down bottom lid, tuck contact in, repeat for other side.

My eye doctor will be shocked when I tell her about my success. I think she's expecting me to call tomorrow morning and say that I'm having no luck whatsoever with contacts.

Edit: Oh yeah, and some other things I did to help the process: first, I cut my nails. Touching one's eye with a pointer finger is less scary when that pointer finger is not tipped with a long nail. Also, I found that curling my eyelashes helps a bit in keeping them out of the way.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Squee! I'm in the LA Times!

Holy shit, guys. Because I never shut up on the Apartment Therapy comment board, I got contacted by an LA Times reporter doing a story on people who use the Internet to document their homes, discuss their homes ad nauseum, and argue about color schemes and restoration techniques and such.

The reporter roused me out of bed on Saturday and asked a lot of thoughtful questions. For all my online gregariousnesses, I'm actually a shy person, and talking to a reporter is extra-scary because they have the power to make people look really stupid. However, the reporter seemed really intelligent, open-minded, and passionate about home decor (yay, a kindred spirit), so it wasn't too nerve-wracking.

Anyway, the article was JUST posted online and I was shocked to see that I lead it off.

This is the sort of thing that makes me excited and nervous. I really need to learn to bask in my celebrity. :D

Oh yeah, and the article's here.

Edit: My mom just happened to be browsing the LA Times and found the article just a few minutes after I did. Weeeeeeeird.

Dear UPS...

I live in a secure building, i.e. one where you need one key to get into the building and another to get into an individual apartment. This is somewhat unusual in Southern California, I guess.

USPS and DHL peeps seem to have no trouble getting into the building and carefully setting packages up against my front door.

UPS guys, on the other hand, don't give a shit. They don't knock on the front door or make any effort to get into the building. Instead they just leave those damn yellow InfoNotices. I was working from home all day Monday, and the guy didn't knock or anything - instead he just left a notice and split. Thanks...thanks a lot.

I got the notice yesterday morning and immediately called UPS to have them reroute the package to my work. I know better than to EVER try to catch them flitting by my apartment building. My work, though - they can waltz right in and leave it at the front desk. Not too hard, right?

However, the package still hasn't arrived. If you live in a secure apartment building, never try to get anything via UPS.

(FYI, this was my first-ever order from and I forgot to check who they use for shipping packages.)


I went in for an eye exam last Friday - my first in years. It turns out both of my glasses are over-correcting my nearsightedness and astigmatism - no wonder my eyes always feel strained.

I'm going back on Friday for a contact lens exam, since frankly I am sick to death of not seeing when I'm jogging/cycling, having to don my glasses at cafes in order to see menus posted above the counter, and so forth. Even though my sight is not that bad, I find myself wearing glasses nearly the entire day, so I might as well trade them for contacts.

In addition to contacts, I'm getting a new pair of glasses to wear at the computer. My eye doctor didn't quite explain what computer glasses do, but I plan on asking.

Picking out new frames was funny-slash-humiliating. I tried on many frames, and at first they were all way too large for my face - so the lady started giving me kids' glasses to try on. On the whole, they fit a lot better than the adult frames. However, the frames I settled on are made for adults, so yay for me.

I'm eager to see if I can tolerate contacts. Both my mother and father wear glasses because they can't handle contacts, but I don't suffer from dry eyes or anything (and my eyes are about a thousand times more comfortable since I switched to Kiss Me mascara). I cannot WAIT to go to a movie without having to fumble around for my glasses!

PS. Haha- a film crew from the local FOX affiliate just walked in as I was writing this post. Gotta love fooling around at work.

PPS. Part of me wants bitchin' violet contacts like Goth Girl above.

[ Photo via DavidQuick's photostream ]

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Gets the red out

I have the complexion of a drunk, sweaty Irishman*. This stuff makes me look halfway human and makes my skin feel nice.

That is all.

*No offense to drunk, sweaty Irishmen. I'm descended from them, after all.

How hippies get to work

My bike in repose.

After a very long hiatus brought on by the short days of winter, I'm going to return to commuting to work by bike.

I moved into a high-rent neighborhood specifically so I would have a short commute. My apartment is about 2 1/2 miles uphill from work. Biking to work takes about 10 minutes and very little energy, and returning home is an intense, rewarding workout that takes about 25 minutes.

I biked every day for months, and really enjoyed it. I would pack my work clothes and my lunch into a backpack, and I brought my bike right up in the freight elevator with me, storing it in a closet in my company's offices. Flying down the hill in the morning left me exhilarated and ready to kick ass at work, and biking up the hill after a day stuck at a desk always gave me that tired, happy feeling that intense exercise brings.

Then the days suddenly got shorter, and at the same time, the building management sent an email to my office manager saying I couldn't bring my bike into the building anymore (for reasons still unknown to me).

I told myself I'd return to biking at the beginning of this month, but I had trouble motivating myself to make the slight change in my routine.

Now is the time, though. Today I cased the building and located a bike rack on the highest level of underground parking, so I have a relatively safe place to lock my bike.

Tomorrow, however, it's supposed to rain, so perhaps my new routine will have to wait until Thursday. Bah.

Monday, February 18, 2008


In New York Magazine today - profiles of five people who dress entirely in one color, all the time.

My high school chemistry teacher was like this. For the first few months of the year, she only wore orange. She had so much orange! But then she switched to all brown. After that, blue (I think...I may be remembering incorrectly). The year after, though, she mellowed out and sometimes wore two colors at once. Daring!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Seriously gorgeous

This...this is hot stuff. I love me a modern floral. Too bad it's a gazillion dollars.

[ Foley + Corinna dress, $321 at ]

People I'd like to know

Via Facehunter - some people with the mix of style and attitude that makes me think they would be cool people to know. Keep in mind these women were photographed at various locations throughout mainland Europe and Scandinavia. Europeans always look so chipper compared to New Yorkers.

Great coat, great tights, great shoes.

I could definitely be friends with this girl. We both appreciate a good curve-hugging t-shirt dress.

This is just a great portrait. What's on her mind? Why is her finger up like that?

The clothes are great, but the attitude is what makes this special.

I adore this girl's makeup.

The girl's sunglasses remind me of some I had as a kid. Gotta love the 80s.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

New purse!

Old purse

New purse!

Both are leather, Nine West, and bought from Ross/Marshall's for cheap. The leather on the new bag is far nicer, though.

I'm the world's most unenthusiastic/unadventurous purse-buyer, so a yellow tote is a big step for me. I've finally decided that a loud bag that clashes with everything is just as workable as a neutral bag that matches everything.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Are you a Serena or a Blair?

I just discovered Gossip Girl. It's an immensely popular show but seeing as I don't have a TV, it took me a little while to get motivated enough to Google around and find episodes online. Now that I've found them, though, I'm hooked.

The show is about the scandalous lives of some upper-crust Manhattan teenagers, and the conceit of the series is that some mystery "gossip girl" somehow learns all the gossip and puts it online, so the rumor mill is on constant overdrive.

People are going bonkers over the show in part because all the characters are ridiculously pretty and fashionable. The two main characters, Serena and Blair, have differing styles of dress. Serena's style is sort of hippie/Anthropologie - despite being a dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker, her style seems influenced by California surfer chic (something I can definitely relate to). Blair, in contrast, is ultra-preppy and buttoned up at all times - she's all about tailored silk dresses, plaid, houndstooth and headbands.

Copying the fashions of a TV show is sort of lame, but inspiration can come from anywhere, right? America's teenagers would do well to trade their UGG boots for a high-heeled suede version (a la Serena), or ratty sweatshirts and t-shirts for crisp white Oxford shirts topped by cardigans (a la Blair).

In one episode, I was grabbed by a cropped houndstooth cardigan that Blair was wearing. I'm normally afraid of houndsooth because it can be so loud, but it worked on her. I couldn't find any good houndstooth examples, but I found lots of other prints. My favorite is the New York & Co zebra print.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy V-day

I love you, Internet! Now go stuff yourself with strawberries, snog your lover, or whatever else you wish to accomplish on this day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Yellow tootsies

This image of Heidi Klum from the Project Runway finale at Fashion Week burned itself into my brain for some reason.

I watch pirated episodes of Project Runway online (shh) since I don't have TV, and it's a real treat to see how Heidi is styled for each show. Sometimes her beautiful figure is totally obscured and her hair looks like crap - and sometimes she looks dazzling. I suspect her stylist has a love/hate relationship with her.

Anyway, not everyone can pull off light, cropped, skinny jeans. However, what really caught my eye are the yellow shoes. They inject a bit of fun into what's otherwise a pretty run-of-the-mill outfit.

Especially if yellow doesn't do you any favors when it's near your face, yellow shoes might be a fun choice. Orange, too.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Superstar of the Day: Gala of

Imagine an amalgamation of all the positive, charming, stylish free spirits you've ever known in your life. Give her perfect skin and vivid blue eyes, and give her a blog with articles about fashion, beauty, friendships, style, relationships, and everything in between. That's Gala. Gala is my new girl crush. She is awesome and you should check her out.

Five trends that deserve to die

I don't spend much time thinking about trends, but since everyone's chirping about new clothing trends now that NY Fashion Week wrapped up, I've complied a list of clothing and beauty trends I'm ready to see die. I hate to be so negative, but...ah well. Let 'em rip.

1. Hooker heels

Watching women walk in shoes like these is like
watching a baby donkey taking its first steps.

I love a high heel, but designers have popularized sky-high platform hooker heels that A) aren't particularly attractive and B) no one can walk in. Too-tall heels, especially when they are badly constructed, really cheapen the wearer. Abide by this rule of thumb: beyond a 3-inch heel, you're dealing with diminishing returns.

2. Leggings


It seems like leggings have been trendy forever. A popular item among lazy and uncreative girls, they will make your legs look like tree trunks if you have any muscle mass whatsoever. Wear tights instead if you want to cover your legs. Or wear those antiquated garments called "pants."

Of course, the upshot is that Lindsay Lohan's penchant for leggings spawned Lindsay Lohan LeggingWatch over at GoFugYourself, which his pretty funny.

3. Stick-straight hair (especially stick-straight blond hair)

Heidi Montag straightens and bleaches her hair.
You don't want to be like Heidi, do you?

Fashion magazines have long fed us the stupid notion that all curls and waves must be straightened for a woman to look sleek and sexy, but it's just not true. I'd like to see women embracing their curls, and certainly giving up the bleaching habit. You're not fooling anyone if you have olive skin and straight, straw-colored hair.

I've heard talk that this insistence on straight hair is truly becoming passe, and I was heartened to see curly hair on runways during NY Fashion Week, most notably at the Diane von Furstenburg show.

(the next two trends are easy targets, I admit, but they make me so neck-vein-pulsingly angry I must comment.)

4. Acrylic nails

I Google Image Searched "acrylic nails" and this
was the third result. WHAT THE FUCK, WHY?!

Hey, you know what's sexy? Gluing square pieces of plastic to the tips of your fingers, inhaling noxious chemicals in the process. Whoever decided this was an attractive or prudent thing to do?

Here's a hint: try eating healthy and taking vitamins so your nails grow. Then shape and polish them. A shocking suggestion, I know.

5. Trashy chic


Especially in beach cities like LA and San Diego, people easily confuse "sloppy and trashy" with "stylish." Sweat pants, even if they are made by Juicy Couture or Victoria's Secret, are not stylish. Neither are track suits, platform flip-flops, or white tank tops over black bras. I realize this style is comfortable, but if you truly care about comfort and not some perverted idea of "style," you would be wearing no-name sweats rather than Juicy Couture or Victoria's Secret ones.

Like the curly hair thing, I think the tide is turning on this one. There's a trend toward looking a bit more polished and put-together, though there will always be sloppy people and they will always find silly brands to sell them stupid clothing masquerading as stylish duds.

Whew! That was weirdly cathartic.

Bedding at Pottery Barn and PBTeen

The Sale sections of and are my go-to sources for textiles. They feature truly amazing deals, decent quality items, and cute colors and patterns.

The duvet and Euro shams in the picture above are from Pottery Barn. They are really good quality - soft, smooth fabric that seems to get softer with every washing. I think the duvet cover (full size) was only $30. I also have a duvet cover and pillowcases from PBTteen, in a more trendy/contemporary pattern. The fabric is heavier and a bit rough - it almost feels like denim. But it's obviously made to last, and the weight is nice in colder weather, so I'm a happy camper. And again, I got everything for less than $50.

First, some picks from PBTeen. It's easy to rag on PBTteen for sticking with the same preppy candy colors, but I happen to like them. I think people tend to choose really bland bedding, but why not sleep in a pretty color? Light green in particular is a really good choice for the bedroom, and looks really sharp paired with black, gray or dark brown.

Also - all these picks are from the "girl" bedding. The "boy" bedding features colors like navy blue, khaki, and charcoal gray, if that's more your style.

Medallion duvet cover and shams in purple, pink or blue - shams
are only $2.99 and full-size duvet is only $24.99!

Versailles Ribbon duvet cover and shams - shams
are $25 and a full/queen duvet cover is $150

Velvet duvet cover and shams in green, blue, pink, or purple and
even more colors here - shams are $20, full/queen duvets are $120

And now, Pottery Barn picks. I hate how Pottery Barn styles its beds for catalog/website photos, and I think that's what puts a lot of people off their bedding. The key is to separate the actual pattern of the bedding from the fuddy-duddy styling. Some patterns are truly fugly, but some have potential if styled the right way. The seashell bedding, for example, would look fresh and modern on an ultra-modern platform bed.

Verona duvet cover and shams -
shams are $15, full/queen duvet is $70

Saranac duvet covers and shams in dark blue or sage -
shams are $15, full/queen duvet is $80

Seashell duvet cover and shams in blue or natural -
shams are $15, full/queen duvet is $50

Monday, February 11, 2008

I need a boyfriend with a foot fetish

With over $60 to burn on a Nordstrom gift card, I headed down to Nordstrom Rack for, uh, research. Actually, I'd got this idea in my head that I needed a pair of black pumps or Mary Janes I could wear with tights, and when I get an idea like that in my head, it eats away at my brain until I scratch the itch. I believe that is called "obsessiveness," but I'm not sure.

Anyhoo, the shoe selection at N. Rack was pretty dismal and I was about to leave when - yeah, I think you know where this story is going.

So here they are. You can't really tell from the picture, but the heels are red. Not really a bright red, but an oxblood. The effect is sort of Mod, I would say.

And because I'm not a total masochist, I bought Foot Petals. They run about $8 for three pairs at N. Rack, and are totally worth it unless you are one of those women who gets off on complaining about how her feet hurt.

Oh yeah, and the shoes are Nine West cost $31.

Edit: They are online at Piperlime for $55 and for $75.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

MC Lars is my homeboy

On Saturday night we headed down to USC for what I thought would be a round of shitty local bands. I wasn't really feeling the concert, until I heard that MC Lars was about to go on. MC Lars?! Writer of such hits as "Download this Song," "Hot Topic is Not Punk Rock," and (my personal favorite) "Mr. Raven"?!

Just a few days ago I'd discovered this little gem of a video, so MC Lars' white-boy, post-punk awesomeness was in the front of my mind. I shoved my way to the stage and started snapping pictures.

MC Lars throwing me dirty looks while his band set up

Aaaand they're off. MC Lars had himself, a three-piece backup band, and a co-star, DJ. Since visuals and samplings are important to Lars' work, so he performed in front of a projector screen with videos streaming from a laptop. Nerdy? Yes. Awesome? Yes.

Lars' co-star, DJ, was a slammin' hottie. Who doesn't love a guy who raps and dances while wearing glasses and those dorky earplugs with a string holding them together?

After a few songs the drummer pointed out that they were having problems with the click track. Imagine how hard it is to get a band to play together, while also adhering to the pacing of a pre-prepared video. And now do that without a proper click track. Yeah...they were pretty much amazing. Lars rearranged their set on the fly, and the show went on.

After the show ended, and I felt a little bruised after idiot moshers nearly knocked me to the ground during "Hot Topic is Not Punk Rock," we retired to the outdoors to chill out for a while. Suddenly, MC Lars and couple members of his entourage emerged and started heading off. What to do? I didn't have a pen or paper, so no autographs. After dawdling way too long, I dashed over for a picture.

"Lars! Do something awesome, because you're awesome!" I chirped. He did this.

Next I got a picture with both of them. Oh DJ, will you be my Valentine?

I have many more pictures of the momentous occasion here.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Off to seek my fortune

After a very busy week which had me cooped up in the office more than I'd like, I'm off to Pasadena to visit an old friend and hit on Caltech undergrads. I'll be back whenever they get tired of me, which will probably be sometime on Sunday.


I've been eyeing this jacket for awhile, and now it's on sale for $35. So tempting...but is it too weird? The sleeves in particular are a bit odd. Opinions?

[ Gentle Fawn jacket, $35 at Karmaloop ]