Thursday, December 30, 2010

new year's eve

I am more excited about new year's eve than I ever have been in my life. Usually, in the past, I don't really do anything to celebrate, mainly because I saw no reason as to why it was such a big deal. Yeah, it's another year, so what?

Well, from now on, that mindset is dead.

Because December 31st isn't just about ringing in a new year,'s about being fabulous.

Going to cocktail parties
Wearing the best damn outfit you can get your hands on
Over-the-top sparkly makeup
Being in the city

Unfortunately, I am unable to go to a majority of the big parties that are going on in downtown Seattle, because I'm under 21, but I will be spending my new year's at Hotel 1000, on 1st avenue. Maybe we'll be able to see the Space Needle from our suite?
See you all in 2011.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

new year's resolution

I've already decided on these things long ago, but no harm in writing them down and calling them "new year's resolutions," right?

1) Go organic

It's gonna be a little tough since I'm still living in the dorms, but I'm definitely going to force myself to take weekly trips to Trader Joe's/Whole Foods to escape the nightmare that is dorm food.

2) Bikini body.

Forget waiting til spring, I'm going to start now! 3 times a week at the gym, or even better, the pool. Rinse, lather, and repeat. Feel the burn.

3) Become a morning riser...willingly.

One of my favorite types of weather is fog, actually, so that alone should be worth waking up to. So far I'm not doing a very good job, typing this out at one in the morning, buuuuut, it's not 2011 yet.

4) More shoes. More dresses.

More looking fabulous! I got lazy this year and at one point went through a temporary t-shirts and jeans phase during the spring...not acceptable!

5) Move into an apartment

This is definitely going to happen if not now, but later in the year, hopefully at the start of summer. As much as I love the convenience of living on campus, not having to cook, clean, and pay rent, I'm not growing and learning how to be an adult in this environment. I'm turning 20 next month and sometimes I still feel like a sheltered child.
Plus, you're not allowed to paint the walls, light candles, or have pets. And the beds are too small.

6) Cut out caffeine

Upon moving to Seattle, it was a goal of mine to search far and wide for the perfect whole-in-the-wall coffee shop that wasn't Starbucks that I could call my new hangout spot. I'm still set on achieving this goal, only ordering in decaf this time ;)

7) Read more books

College definitely took away time for pleasure reading. Not okay.

down undies

I admit, when I first heard about Gilly Hicks oh so long ago, I had my doubts. Any store that is the spawn of the Abercrombie and Fitch empire has got to consist of overpriced and cheaply made products that you can't even see because the store is so damn dark, right?

However, against my better judgment, the other day I ventured into the store to take a look inside, fully acknowledging that I may or may not make it out alive. My little adventure was at first disorienting, since I had a little trouble finding the actual products (if you've ever been into a Hollister store, it's pretty much the same), but after a bit I managed to figure out the layout of the store and on the way, stole a glance at the giant photos of naked men hanging on the walls. Tasteless, I know, but whatever, sex sells.  The entire store is currently 40% off, so I decided to take advantage of the 5 for $25 panty deal (that was now $15), and thus I picked out my selection, paid for them at the register, then left.

It wasn't until I returned home, washed them, and put them on, did I realize how magical these things are.

Never. Again. Am. I. Going. Back. To. Cotton. Panties. Ever. Again. Oh. My. God. These. Things. Are. So. Damn. Soft.

A perfect blend of polyester and elastane makes a heavenly combination that my derrière has never experienced.
Available in multiple colors and prints

I must say, I'm usually very picky when it comes to panties, especially thongs, but these left me quite impressed. Abercrombie or not, I'm going back for more. Dammit. 

And no, I can never have enough panties in my life. Did you just meet me yesterday?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

May I have this dance?

There are few things in this world that are sexier than a man who knows how to dance.
A dark, alluring and seductive art that is practiced by too few.





In my opinion, meeting and dancing with a handsome stranger in a ballroom is far more sensual and provocative than doing the same in a club. Who agrees?

Century ballroom Seattle.
Art by Fabian Perez. Seduction on canvas.

Friday, December 10, 2010

I need this dress.

Oh Modcloth, why do you tempt me with such darling dresses when I'm having enough trouble being a starving college student struggling to feed myself? I feel like this is the ultimate holiday party dress, but I'm not invited :(

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Waldemar Hansson Photography

Because I like to search the internet looking for pretty pictures instead of studying for finals, I happened upon this photographer while snooping through blogs and online articles. Swedish photographer Waldemar Hansson's work can only be described as...fairytail-esque. Needless to say, his photography has quickly captured my attention.

All images (c) to Waldemar Hansson. Please take a look at his portfolio, I guarantee you'll like what you see. 
And now, if you'll excuse me, I have a Japanese exam I must attend to~ 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Russian Vogue, December 2010

Why can't my life be something like this? Just everyday, dressing up like a Victorian aristocrat or some beautiful Russian princess living in a castle in the woods, being surrounded by everything artistic and feminine, and owning winter coats that are actually stylish?

I also wouldn't mind having freakishly long supermodel legs as well...

More images like this from Haute Macabre.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

all I want for christmas...

...are these shoes. ♥

$129.99 at Modcloth.


Thought I'd share some of my artwork :) This is where my current blog header came from.

Larger view can be seen here.
Photoshop CS3, tablet, about 10 hours. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"I'm just a jeans and t-shirts kinda guy"

Ladies, pictures this. You see a strapping young man walking down the streets, and he immediately catches your eye. He's got the walk, the talk, the sex appeal, the cute looks, the everything. As your eyes wander unrestrained at the fine specimen before you, you notice his attire. It's a rainy day, and he's clad in a pair of recently polished loafers, and some neatly fitted jeans tied down with a belt. On top he's wearing a clean-cut wool peacoat. Gray with brass buttons. Looks expensive. Must be Armani. Wrapped loosely around his neck is a thin scarf, cream-colored, to compliment his coat. His hair is a light brown, tousled to look as if he had just woken up. However, the cut suits well with his strong jawline, so it's okay. He looks at you with a sly look in his eyes. You smile coyly in return, instigating an intense session of eye sex which lasts for a fleeting few seconds. As you both part ways, you giggle quietly in an attempt to regain composure. This man, this handsome stranger, is the embodiment of the perfect man, the epitome of masculinity, right?

Well, in America, some people would think that this guy is gay.

Isn't that appalling? You'd see these kind of men left and right if you were in Europe, and over there, their sexuality is not questioned when judging upon their manner of dress. In America, however, it's different. The majority of men here are "jeans and t-shirts" kind of guys, and frankly I'm sick of it. I've had more than one of my male friends tell me how other members of their own gender will question their sexuality because of the way they dress. These guys don't even dress flamboyantly! To me, a white button down shirt, peacoat, and dress shoes cannot be considered even close to being "gay." If a guy in America wanted to surpass the societal norm of basketball shorts, extra-large t-shirts and baggy jeans, people start to ask questions. Not in my book!

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only woman out there who not only appreciates, but is attracted to, men who actually make an attempt to dress nicely. It shows that he is body conscious, confident, creative, and isn't afraid of being attractive. He isn't afraid of getting attention from members of both genders, and he doesn't give a damn what you think of him! When you dress good, you feel good. Having that right outfit gives you a huge confidence boost which radiates off of you and remains for the entire day. Haven't you felt absolutely horrendous when you went to class wearing the same clothing that you had worn to bed last night?

Yes, in the long run, it is personality which will keep a woman in love with you, but how are you going to prompt that initial attraction when you blend in with every other male in that crowded bar? How are you going to entice a woman's attention and curiosity when you look like everyone else, plain and unoriginal? A guy wearing basketball shorts and a white t-shirt says, "yeah, I'm a pretty cool guy once you get to know me," but a gentleman wearing a fitted blazer and dress shoes says, "I'm going to be the best damn thing that will ever happen to you." Ladies, which of the above would you rather have approach you?

After reading this article, I can agree. American men are too preoccupied with demonstrating their masculinity. They stay well within the boundaries of societal norm to make sure that not an ounce of "homosexuality" gets out. Unfortunately, this results in an increasingly casual culture that lacks in originality and sex appeal. I'm sorry, fellas, but wearing shirts that are several sizes too big is not attractive and will not draw my attention to you in any way. Why be ordinary, when you can be extraordinary? Or does the very thought of that scare you? Which would you rather be, guy A or guy B? The guy who blends in with the crowd, or the one that stands out? The guy who everyone can relate to, or the man who can sweep a woman off her feet without even touching her?

Monday, October 25, 2010

I've got a secret

I confess. I have a borderline obsession for lingerie. Not just in general, but for the kinds that you impulsively buy and never use because it's too sexy for everyday wear, and you just end up keeping it in your drawers for God knows how long. Maybe if you're lucky, you'll use it a couple times for a date or two. But honestly, I can't get enough of it! Who can? What woman can resist the allure, the seduction, that assaults her visuals when she walks by a Victoria's Secret store? How can anyone fight the plethora of lace and frills that "inspires a thousand fantasies?"

I didn't start bra shopping on my own until I was about 15 years old. Back then, I thought you had to be a certain type of woman to be able to grace the lingerie stores. The kind who constantly had men eating out of the palm of their hands and knew every trick in the book on the art of attraction. My first visit to Victoria's Secret was rather intimidating, because to me, underwear stores were equated to sex shops such as Lover's Package (yeah, I know...). I remember my very first purchase being some lotion, because I was overwhelmed with the entire store in general. Mind, you, I had a very sheltered childhood and back then, never had a boyfriend. Can you blame me for being absolutely terrified?

I couldn't muster up the courage to go and buy an actual bra until a few visits later. It was something very basic, no lace, push-up, in black. However, that little black bra triggered something in me; suddenly, I wanted more. I wanted lace. I wanted frills. I wanted sexy. I would save up whatever money I had to buy more--push-up, demi, balconette, strapless, you name it! I wanted all of it! I then broadened my horizons by looking in the panty section, taking advantage of those 3 for $30 deals to their full extent. I remembered how mother would always scold me when I returned home from shopping carrying one of those iconic, bright pink VS shopping bags, but honestly, I was damn happy with myself. Whenever I walked into that store, picked out something I liked, then bought it, I felt like a woman. A sexy woman. An enchantress, if you may.

Along with basic bra and undies, I think every woman should have something sexy in their lingerie drawer. It doesn't matter whether you have a significant other or are sexually active, just having a risqué little number hiding underneath your jeans and t-shirt just makes life a little more fun, you know? You've got a secret that you're hiding from the world, and no one gets to know what it is!

By the way, check out this sexy little thing. Isn't it beautiful? They've even got an entire set of this theme!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Drive-in Movies

...yes. They still exist.

I love the retro Americana vibe you get when you visit one. I've recently started attending them over a year ago, and frankly I'm hooked. I frequent them more often than I do regular movie theatres, which are less intimate and charge too much for popcorn. I mean, you get to go to the movies in your pajamas! In fact, you can fill up the entire car with blankets, pillows and stuffed animals as I personally enjoy doing. Not to mention it's easier to sneak food in (bags and bags of it, I might add), and you can be as loud as you want without disturbing the neighbors. It's also cheaper; the one I usually go to is $8 per person and is a double feature. Movies with your date and nights out with close friends will no longer be clichéd and boring.

Not to mention afterwards the 3am, calm and tranquil drive home, allowing you to relax and collect your thoughts.

.........Unless of course, your car battery dies, which has happened to me before.

(Fyi, for those living in Washington state, there are still quite a few drive-in movies. I personally go to the Valley 6 Drive-in in Auburn, since it's close to my house. Here's a complete list of them all.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Unique designs. Reasonable prices. Eye-catching photography. I think I'm in love.

"And then he ran into my knife. He ran into my knife ten times."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

what I wore o2

Wore this when I went to Bellevue Square today:

FCUK sweater
French Connection

Black legwarmers

Gray cutoff shorts
Wet Seal

Enzo Angiolini riding boots

Music tote bag

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

19 years young.

As a kid, I would always try to imagine what life would be like being "grown up." I would create these scenarios in my head of me doing adult things like drinking coffee, going to the bank, using big words, voting, learning calculus, etc. I often wondered what I would be like as an adult. Would I be pretty? Would I be smart? Would I be happy? Sad? Okay? Would I have brown hair? What color shirt would I be wearing? Would I be able to wear high heels? Would I be married and with 3 kids with a house in the suburbs, or live the bachelorette life in a studio apartment overlooking downtown?

At this point in my life, I wouldn't completely call myself an adult. I don't live on my own, I don't know how to cook without a recipe, I've never had kids, and sometimes I still have trouble wearing high heels. Sure, I can drive, travel by myself like a big girl, own my own bank account, and have boyfriends. But like I said, I'm not completely grown up yet. However, it's just starting to hit me that adulthood is pretty much here, and it's kind of a crazy feeling.

A lot of my friends who I've grown up with are turning 20. Some are already 20. Some are even 21. 24. 25. You name it. We're no longer ickle kiddies or teenagers anymore--we're big kids now. I'm sorry, big adults. Most of my guy friends have facial hair (legitimate facial hair, not 16-year-old peach fuzz), and a lot of my girl friends wear makeup and have closets full of shoes...including myself. Suddenly it's okay to date people several years older than you. Back in elementary or middle school, it would be considered weird to date outside your grade level. But nowadays, the only real criteria is, is he/she over 18? Of course, I've ogled a few graduate students here and there, but it's a really strange feeling looking back at all these years and realizing how much has changed.

Remember back when you were a kid, and you were considered an old person if you listened to jazz? Well here I am, listening to Frank Sinatra (I own two complete CDs by him!), realizing that people 5-10 years younger than me are probably thinking the exact same thing. Kids don't listen to Frank Sinatra! Only old people do that! Obviously, I don't feel that way anymore, as quite a few of my friends who are very young at heart listen to jazz, go to jazz bars, and have Old Blue Eyes listed under their favorite music on Facebook.

To make things even better, I recently had a wrinkle scare this summer! I was completely horrified. 19 years old, and with wrinkles? What a completely asinine thought! But I'm so young! It turned out to be dry skin on my eyelids, but that was when it really hit me. Women can start getting wrinkles as early as their mid 20s. That's five years from now. Do I really have five years left before I start looking haggard and gross? What happens next? Slower metabolisms? Gray hair? Memory loss? Back pains?

My youth is one of the things I treasure the most. I love being able to stay out with friends until 4am, eating at any hour without getting some nasty digestive problem, being in shape, having the ability to get away with crazy attire, being careless and making mistakes. That's why I love being in college, because I can start exploring the world that used to be so limited back in grade school.

Am I the only person who feels this way? It seemed that last year, most of my fellow freshman completely jumped into the adult world without looking back. For me, it took a little bit of pushing, but eventually I did too. But did anyone else pause to reflect back on the past 18-19 years and realize how much they've grown? Am I the only person who's completely awed by how much has changed over the past two decades? I mean, I'm happy with all my self growth, and I'm definitely enjoying my boundless youth and independence, but like I said, this is all kind of a crazy feeling. What will the future be like? What will it be like getting married, experiencing the miracles of childbirth, buying a house, and growing old? I'm a little reluctant on becoming an old lady, but if it's inevitable, bring it on. Carpe diem.

^and as a little kid, I would also never imagine myself ever taking Latin. See what I mean?
And I'm sorry if the blog title's a bit misleading. No, I did not recently have a birthday, I've been 19 for quite a while now. I just didn't want to put something generic and stupid like "growing pains."

How's everyone liking my new header, by the way? I drew it myself! I've always been a fan of art nouveau and burlesque outfits, so why not put them together? ^^

Monday, September 6, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Anti what not to wear

While there are things in this world that ought not to exist (like uggs and sweatpants), there are some things that people wear that I really do not see enough of. Which is quite a shame, because with every fake tan or North Face jacket I see, a part of me dies on the inside. But it's those few people who know how to dress amazingly who restore my faith in everyday fashion:

1) Military jackets
I know this has been an ongoing trend for quite some time now, but I just can't get enough of the military jacket trend. It adds a dash of sophistication and edge to pretty much any outfit. Pair it with some skinny jeans and knee-high boots and you're sure to turn heads.

2) Guys in button-ups
With the first top buttons undone, and the sleeves halfway rolled up the forearm. Sexy yet casual. Unfortunately, the majority of guys I meet are just jeans-and-tshirt kinda guys, which is considered the norm nowadays. What happened to trying to be attractive? What happened to being dashing, charming and having the ability to sweep a girl off her feet? Any man with these above traits gets an A+ in my book.

I'll admit, I'm a total sucker for anything vintage. But really, what's a better thing to wear on your head in cooler weather? Throw it on with your peacoat, skirt and lace-up boots ensemble and you'll look like you're straight from the 1940s.

4) Healthier amounts of makeup
Lately, I've been seeing both ends of the spectrum: Too much makeup, or none at all. But when a woman has layers of foundation caked onto her face and eyeshadow all the way up to the brow, I cringe a little. A little bit of liner and mascara never hurt anyone, is effortless to put on in the morning, and it lets natural beauty shine through as well. Too much makeup is unhealthy for the skin and is a sign of insecurity.

5) Septum piercings
I'm usually not an advocate for facial piercings, but for some reason, I really like septum piercings. I've had people say they remind them of bulls, but honestly, that's not the first thing I think when I see someone with one. Besides, it's a nice alternative to the generic and done-to-death nostril piercing.

6) Vintage heels
Maryjanes, Oxfords, Spatterdashes, you name it. I pretty much adore anything with a steampunk/Victorian feel to it. I especially LOVE the things they sell at Clockwork Couture. I've particularly had my eyes on these beauties:

7) Trench coats, which I've already elaborated on in previous posts.

I like these colors together because it's unique, edgy, and modern. It's loud, but easy on the eyes due to the inclusion of a neutral to balance it out.
*Image (c) Karolina Anderson

9) Cigarette holders/pipes
I don't support smoking at all, but if people are going to do it, they should at least look fabulous. If I was a smoker, I'd definitely be wielding one of these lovelies. Besides, what woman wouldn't want to feel like Audrey Hepburn when they're having a cigarette?

Aaaand...the most important thing a person should never leave home without:

10) Confidence. And a smile.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What I wore o1

Happy September! It's finally getting cold enough for me to start wearing my new wardrobe!

One of my favorite artists does this thing which she draws pictures of her outfits and posts them on her blog, which I thought was a neat idea, so why not do the same?

Wore this on Monday when I went to the mall:

Enzo Angiolini riding boots

Bowtie print long tunic

Black tights
Old Navy

Red cardigan

Burberry tote

Friday, August 27, 2010

I think I know what to wear for Halloween now

I figured, well, I already have a pair of skull crushing knee-high dominatrix leather boots, so why the hell not?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What not to wear

I consider myself a very open-minded individual when it comes to fashion. However, there are some things in this world that I draw the line at. I am most likely going to hurt some feelings with this post, but frankly I don't really care. Because I'm pretty sure that I speak for a lot of people when I say that the following are an offense to society and my eyeballs:

(In no particular order)

1) Excessive tanning
In no way do I find this appealing at all. Considering that I had jaundice when I was an infant, you all are lucky that I'm not easily offended. I hope you look like a leather bag 20 years from now.

2) Leggings as pants
I admit, I do love the leggings/tights trend. It's very versatile, slimming, and works quite nicely in cooler weather. However, in the past few years, girls have been getting this asinine notion that it is okay to substitute these things as pants. I don't care if you're a size 00 or size 16, camel toe is never attractive, and neither is seeing your underpants.

(Fyi, it's only okay to wear these things with either a skirt, dress, or a really long shirt. And when I mean long, I mean long enough to cover your butt.)

3) Clothes that are too tight

It really grinds my nerves when people buy the wrong clothing size. All that tight clothing just makes you look even worse. Too often do I see a girl wearing jeans that are several sizes too small, bringing out the dreaded muffin top. Which is funny, because it ends up making them look fatter instead of the opposite. Here's a fun fact: skinny jeans don't make you skinny.

4) Clothes that are too large
I hate it when guys (and girls) choose to wear clothes that are several sizes too large. For one, it's impossible to tell a guy's age when he looks like a 14-year-old raiding his dad's closet; and two, it's not flattering at all. What's even more frustrating is, some of these people have pretty decent bodies, yet they choose to hide it. I remember I had that 6th grade. When I was a complete dork who didn't know how to dress and only wore the t-shirts that mommy bought me that were often too big but I didn't care because they had dolphins on it.

5) Asian mullets
Saw this A LOT when I was in Hong Kong. You know what I'm talking about. Asians who try and pick up the whole choppy 104832492 layers look, and end up spiking it with hair gel to kingdom come in an attempt to look like super saiyan. I've only seen it look decent on androgynous looking Japanese singers, but otherwise I really don't think it looks good at all. Mullets didn't look good in the 80s, and they most certainly don't look good now.

6) Sweats with buttwords
I've never been a fan of wearing sweats in public anyway. I don't care if your class starts in 10 minutes, it takes just as much time to slip on a pair of jeans. Unless of course you slept in sweats last night, either way you really shouldn't be wearing these unless you're going to the gym or taking the dog for a walk or something.

Anyways, I really think these sweatpants that have words like JUICY or SEXY written across the buttocks are just silly, because often times it's just false advertisement.

^I once saw a lady wear this exact same outfit. In public. And it was bright pink. It turned me off from Juicy Couture forever.

7) Crocs
....I really don't need to elaborate on this.

8) North Face jackets
For some reason, almost every Asian I know owns one of these and proceeds to wear it 300 days out of the year with every single one of their outfits. I really don't see the appeal. They don't look that nice, and they're not that warm to be honest. I only wear mine when I go skiing.

9) These things:
WHAT in GOD'S name are these? I don't even know what they're called, but I saw them everywhere when in HK. I couldn't understand it at first. Are they diapers or something? Do you hide things in them when going through airport security? I don't see why girls would need to wear these unless they have a dirty little secret...

If these ever become popular in the U.S., I'm afraid I will have to sew my eyelids shut.

And for those who know me well, you're definitely gonna see this coming....

10) UGG boots
These are the biggest insult to fashion since...I don't know. Like a friend of mine said, they look like loaves of bread on peoples' feet. NOT flattering, NOT sexy, NOT to be worn in public. Ever. Boots should flatter your legs, not make them look shorter by a foot.

I've been told that they're great for cold weather, but at the same time, if you live somewhere with cold weather, chances are there's snow, right? Correct me if I'm wrong, but these things do not look waterproof at all. I'm pretty sure you can find better looking boots that are both warm AND waterproof. And don't look like loaves of bread.

I especially love it when girls wear these with miniskirts. As if you already don't look confused, it looks even better when it looks like you didn't even bother to look out the window this morning to determine the weather and the proper attire.

No, my favorite combination goes to:

Sometimes I'm ashamed to be a college student.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Best. Shoes. Ever.

Oxfords. They're sexy, they're timeless, classy, sophisticated, and unique. In my humble opinion, they're the perfect shoe for fall and back to school.

Ladies, wear these and I guarantee you will turn lots of heads. You can either wear them as heels or flats, but I prefer wearing them with heels, to give them a feminine twist. I recommend two-tone, to make things more interesting.

I especially love these. So vintage! Like someone had pulled them straight from an old sepia photo from the `20s.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Hong Kong

I've always considered myself a city girl. Growing up in the sleepy suburbs of Western Washington, I have grown to despise the quietness and lack of excitement of living in a 3-story house surrounded by nauseatingly nice neighbors and pleasantness in general. That's why, when I was given the opportunity to go to Hong Kong, even for a few days, I squealed with excitement. For quite a while I was craving the rush and excitement of being lost in a giant metropolis, a thick urban jungle that stretches as far as the eye could see. Hong Kong, with its population of 7 million people squished onto a tiny island in southern China, satisfied my cravings quite nicely in both the atmosphere and culinary triumph.

However, my entire trip was not quite spent in Hong Kong. We first flew from Seattle down to San Francisco, home of one of the nation's largest airports (by the way, I cannot understand why they put such a giant airport in a place with such bad weather problems). Due to fog, our flight was delayed for two hours. During those two hours, the flight to Hong Kong from San Francisco left without us. Thus, my mother and I ended up spending the night in SF. I confess, at first I was dreading having to do this. Being a bitter, snide and moody Seattlite, my conception of California in general consisted of sun-worshipping, obnoxious orange people running around with bleach blonde hair flaunting as much skin as legally possible. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that San Francisco was quite a swanky city, at least the downtown area. I spent an entire day walking around, looking at high-end stores and dreamily window shopping at the local Gucci outlet. The food in the Chinatown area was also quite delectable, but it was nothing compared to what was in store for me in Hong Kong.

Upon arriving in Hong Kong, I was immediately blasted by a solid wall of 90 degree weather, 70% humidity and the lovely aroma of Hong Kong sewage that is ever present in Victoria harbor. Usually I am very irked by such things as hot weather and bad smelling places, but with the thought of food blaring loud and clear inside my head, such trivial matters were cast aside. After leaving the airport, we met up with my aunt in a buffet at Hotel Excelsior on Hong Kong Island (Hong Kong consists of three main subdistricts: HK Island, Kowloon, and New Territories). In terms of dining, the next few days proceeded in a similar fashion--meeting up with relatives who wouldn't stop raving about how much I've grown since I was two years old and, due to my influency in Cantonese, treated me like a goddamn white tourist instead of a person who's been raised in an Asian household. However, the food was amazingly delicious, so I wasn't one to complain.

And, of course, every meal is accompanied with a nice cold glass of Hong Kong style milk tea:

In my opinion, this is the best thing to drink in such disgustingly hot weather. I'm craving one right now as I type this, and I'm at home in Seattle relaxing to 73 degree weather.

For those who are not familiar with Hong Kong style cuisine (which is slightly different than regular Chinese food), the best thing to eat during lunch time is dim sum. It's where waiters go around the restaurant pushing carts full of food, stopping by each table and offering a wide variety of small dishes. It's kind of like a sushi conveyor belt, minus the conveyor belt. My personal favorite dishes are sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves, ha gao (shrimp wrapped in...hell, I don't know what it is, I just eat it), beef balls with vegetables, and beef chow fun. Of course, there are way more dishes than this, these are just the ones I enjoy eating the most.

Being a girl, of course food wasn't the only reason why I came to Hong Kong. Asian fashion is a world all on its own. I wouldn't say that it is mutually exclusive to Western fashion; I mean, they do follow the general trends set by major European fashion houses, but they add their own twist to it to make it exclusively Asian. And of course, every woman must have either an LV or Burberry bag at all time. These might or might not be real, however.

Outfits usually look like they're thrown on at last minute, but somehow they work quite nicely. It doesn't follow the rules. It's innovative. It's sometimes quite outlandish. It's different.

Shopping in Hong Kong can be a bit pricey, but it can also be very cheap if you know where to look. Forget all the large shopping malls and department stores; where you want to go is the Kowloon area, more specifically, Mong Kok and Causeway Bay. Look for little markets and hidden shopping centers. That's where you'll find the good cheap stuff. Accessories such as necklaces go for around 20HKD--around $2.50USD. I scored several pairs of shorts for $30 each ($3.75 US) and many, many pairs of legwarmers for around the same price. I left Hong Kong with a full suitcase, but surprisingly a not-so-empty wallet.

However, my shopping crusades were not over yet. Realizing that there was no way we were getting to San Francisco with just a couple of standby tickets, we instead flew to Tokyo, Japan, for an overnight stay. To my disappointment, we didn't have enough time to take the train to downtown Tokyo where all the action is, but instead stayed in the small airport city of Narita. The next day, before we left for the airport, we stopped by the AEON shopping mall to have a look-see. Due to previous shenanigans in Japan, I realize that the clothing they sell at this mall is a more "tame" version than what you see in downtown Tokyo. It was a lot like what I saw in Hong Kong, except more expensive. And yes, I bought more legwarmers. I am ready for winter!

And you know what I'm craving right now? This stuff:

This delicious thing consists of sweetened coconut milk with tiny tapioca bubbles (sago). It tastes even better with purple rice or some sort of fruit, like strawberries or mango. The perfect summer treat.

Being the daughter of a flight attendant, I've been bitten by the travel bug ever since I was a small child, with no hope for a cure. Who knows where my travels will next take me? Rio? Moscow? Athens? Bangkok?
Until next time,


Saturday, March 27, 2010

God save the Queen

So this past week I decided to hop across the pond and spend my spring break in jolly ole England. While most normal functioning Americans spend their spring breaks in warm places like Cancun, Hawaii, or Florida, I did the opposite by leaving my home town of Seattle, which was warm, sunny and rainless for once, and flying over to the colder, rainier, cozy little town of Cheshire, where my aunt lives. She resides in a small two-story house, three bedrooms, one bath, one kitchen, shared by six people. Those six individuals consisted of myself, my parents, my aunt, my other aunt, and my adorable 10 year old cousin who reminds you of Oliver Twist.

I confess, I had several reasons to go on this trip. One was to bask in the glory of what I had perceived as to be British and European fashion -- a.k.a. go shopping. Going off of that, I needed to leave the U.S. for a bit. America can be a to live, but you have to get away once in a while. So, naturally, on the second day of my trip (the first was spent taking naps and playing Wii-sports with my cousin), I went probably one of the most gigantic malls I have ever seen in my entire life. The Trafford Centre in Manchester was, for a striving little fashionista such as myself, mind-boggling. First of all, the exterior of the mall itself looked like a goddamn castle, and I felt like a princess. What wonders await me inside? Clearly high-end brand name stores and the most finely dressed people these American eyes can see, right?

The answer: TO AN EXTENT. Yes, there was Burberry. And Armani. And Marc Jacobs. Vivienne Westwood. D&G. French Connection. YSL. Dior. Finely dressed individuals with the walk, talk, and amazing outfits. However, there were, to my displeasure, things of the other end of the spectrum. I thought, by leaving America, I could escape from the atrocity that is that of Ugg boots and sweats. Leggings as pants. Obnoxious Juicy Couture purses. Fake orange tans. Everything that is wrong with America.

I was wrong. Of all the fashion atrocities listed above, I saw all of them in just that day. I was shocked and appalled. This is Britain, not America! I thought these were just American problems! Apparently not. Left and right, there were lazy university students, Californian wannabes, middle-aged women going through mid-life crises, you name it. There was even a Hollister store at the mall. I could not escape these horrors merely by leaving America!

Perhaps I am going a bit overboard with my description, but I honestly expected...something else. I wanted to visit England to experience a new culture, people, and nation. But instead I had gotten a different version of the U.S. of A. Yes, I enjoyed listening to people "talk funny" over there, but the British very quickly lost their exoticness after a few days. Possibly because I have lived with them instead of staying in a hotel, and was able to understand the language (to an extent...those Cockney accents can be a bit hard to understand at times). I've been to other parts of the world in which I was a downright tourist, lost in the middle of Rome, Tokyo, Bangkok, etc. desperately trying to decode street signs and maps. During this trip, I almost felt like a local. Where's the fun in that?

Perhaps it is location? Manchester, while still a big city, is nowhere as large as the gigantic metropolis that is London. In London, my romanticized perception of England is more fulfilled. In London, there is a giant Burberry store. In Manchester, there be dragons. In Ugg boots.