Sunday, June 29, 2008

Who needs froyo?

Now, I absolutely adore Nutella -- I'm pretty sure even cardboard would taste delicious with some thick creamy chocolate-hazelnut goodness spread on it. When I need a quick fix to my sweet tooth, I eat a spoonful (or two) of Nutella straight from the jar -- I even contemplated sneaking an unopened jar from the cupboard at home to take with me to New York City.

As I was walking on Broadway, I spotted a frozen dessert shop called Yolato which sells gelato, sorbet (sorbetto?), and frozen yogurt (yolato?). While I was waiting in line, a freshly made batch of Nutella gelato was brought out.

And so, I walked back to my residence, happily dripping gelato on my pants.

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Miss Couturable

P.S. While this may have been a pointless story, I just wanted to share with you a slice of fatty heaven from yesterday.

The Sunday Six: June 29th, 2008

I thought I'd have more time to blog during the summer -- but I've run out of time (and energy) between work, exploring the city, summer homework, college applications, and pleasure reading.
(Photo Credit -- Concordia/WireImage)
  1. Rest in peace, Miss Ruslana Korshunova.
  2. Starting college in the fall? I discovered a fabulously complete Master List for College. Don't leave home without reading it (and good luck, my lovely '08ers!)!
  3. If you're not interested in romance novels or overtly materialistic chick lit for casual afternoon readings (I know I'm not), reading a play may be your cup of tea. My wonderful American literature teacher recommended M. Butterfly by David Henry Hwang to me -- a fascinating play about a French diplomat who falls in love with a male Peking opera singer who is pretending to be a female to obtain secret information about Indochina from France on behalf of the Communists. Confused yet? Best part is that it's based on a true story! As my teacher says, "In a way, that points to the greatness of the form - plays can evoke an entire world in the mind of a sensitive, imaginative reader, yet they can be read in a surprisingly short amount of time."
  4. Is anyone else also obsessed with the Valentino Nuage Bag? Patent leather and a girly bow?
    (Photo Credit -- Style.com)
  5. Shannon Click and Natasha Poly -- I love cute models who make shoutouts to their parents like us mortals do in front of the Good Morning America show at Bryant Park.
  6. Oh my goodness -- I love Gala's coverage of the Louis Vuitton Cruise Collection! I don't know how Marc Jacobs made Barbie-style hot pink stilettos not tacky -- but there they are, in their shining glory.
I hope June is ending gloriously for you, my lovelies.

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Miss Couturable

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mistakes of a fashion intern

I might as well be sprouting daffodils from my behind if I told you I was an impeccably excellent fashion sittings intern during my past three days at Seventeen. In fact, I was (am?) awkward, committed many mistakes, learned a lot from my mistakes, and have become completely humbled and awed by the editors and my fellow interns.

Some of my horrendous mistakes that I've learned dearly from (and hope you will too) are as follows:
  1. When your editor is sitting at her desk working, it is not the time to walk up to her and ask, "Is there anything I can do?" I did not have a specific task to do at the moment, so I took it upon myself to make sure every single loose staple, scrap of paper, fiber strand, etc was off the floor -- in addition to organizing the magazine stacks in categories based on title and size, and categorizing the plastic ziplock bags based on size. Afterwards, I asked my editor about any possible tasks for me -- while she was busy typing an email. No, don't interrupt an editor when she is busy -- your job is to make her job easier.
  2. Clothing racks are organized by type of clothing -- then you can arrange the clothes in alphabetical order or color once they're in their respective categories. I spent two hours alphabetizing two racks of clothing based solely on the brand -- only to find out later after the other interns had trouble finding some clothes that alphabetizing comes after clothing categories. I spent another two hours mending my mistake.
  3. Always ask the other interns if they need any help -- especially if you're new like me and you need to learn the ropes. The other interns are so efficient and organized that I thought they wouldn't need any help -- which is why I spent so much of the past three days figuring out how to find something to do when I probably could have learned something new if I had asked the other interns -- and in fact, I did today. I learned a lot in just five minutes and have better awareness of how to keep busy.
  4. Speaking of which, always keep busy. Yesterday, I sat on a footstool for five minutes because my feet were blistered and I had no idea what else I could do -- not a good idea. Editors notice this kind of idle behavior and don't approve of it, even if you don't think they notice. There is always something to do, whether it's cleaning up the closet or replying to some emails. Get busy -- but don't interfere.
  5. Smile and be enthusiastic -- no matter how tired or nervous you may think you are. Oh my goodness, while I am normally quite a cheerful person, I became so nervous in these past few days that my voice has become meeker and I've almost become reluctant to smile because I feel like I'm doing everything wrong -- and in many ways I am. Once again, editors notice this -- and as much as you can say you want to be there, a smile speaks for itself. Note to self: You got sleep last night -- so stop being so nervous and smile because you do love it there! Small mistakes are forgiven, as long as you work hard.
If any of you have facebook -- feel free to join the 'Insider fashion gossip from 17 mag fashion closet' group!

In the meantime, I'm out to improve myself as an intern!

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Miss Couturable

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Appreciation

Five thoughts that have come across my mind from my past two days as a fashion sittings intern for Seventeen:
(Photo Credit -- BusinessWeek)
  1. I am so lucky to be interning in the Hearst Tower -- and oh my goodness, my own identification card for entering the building? And sushi is only five dollars? Is this corporate heaven (if there even is such a thing)?
  2. Thank goodness I brought an umbrella in my purse -- I would have been wetter than the wet clothes I was carrying to the dry cleaner.
  3. Organizing is suddenly very fulfilling to me. When I finish organizing the clothing racks, I always pick up staples on the ground and make sure every single stack of papers or magazines or books is grouped in categories in neat piles.
  4. I've made a lot of mistakes -- but I've learned a lot at the same time.
  5. I really love working at a magazine (particularly in fashion). I understand that I'm younger than the other interns (who are mostly at least 20), and I'm very happy and grateful to be there -- doing anything I can to help out.
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Miss Couturable

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Sunday Six: June 22nd, 2008

I bumped into a friend from theatre camp yesterday -- we were both shopping around Houston street. She is two years older than me and is currently an art student at NYU. She asked me if I wanted to go out that night -- I of course, obliged. That is, until I received a phone call from my parents: "No, you cannot stay out when it gets dark. You're 17-years-old and you're not an adult yet, so don't start getting any ideas about independence because you're still under my jurisdiction," said Mumsies (she winces when I jokingly but affectionately call her that). I grudgingly listened to her and bid my friend farewell -- because it's true, when your parents let you live by yourself in New York City before you've graduated high school, you have to respect them for all the lenience and trust they've given you so far. For now, 'tis better to calm my dear mommy's nerves and work hard, study lots, and sleep well. Call me boring, but I really love my parents and I'm so grateful for everything that they've supported me in so far and "pushing" their buttons would cause greater stress to all of us. Still, the bright lights are so tempting...

But then again, I have my college years and beyond to explore the city in greater detail at night. I don't despair for happiness is easiest to attain when one counts one's blessings.
  1. After a series of lectures from the lovely parents, I bought two books from the Strand Bookstore: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood and Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor. I'm hoping these two books will not only occupy my late nights until my next shipping of books from Amazon come, but also expand my literary knowledge as both works are acclaimed social critiques -- one of dystopia, one of elegant satire.
  2. Where can you get a great pair of Japanese denim for less than $50 with free two-hour alterations? Uniqlo. I bought a fantastic fitting pair of black skinny jeans for only $50 there yesterday and the store shortened the inseam for me within two hours. I realize that most of the fashionably-inclined and hipsters of New York City have already frequented this Japanese import and that I'm rather behind on my obsession, but whenever I visit the website I just see print t-shirts that I have no interest in. Somehow, I saw it as Urban Outfitters meets Bathing Ape meets American Apparel before. Turns out, Uniqlo is a fantastic place for high-quality basics at drool-worthy prices. Uniqlo executives, please consider opening one up near San Francisco.
  3. I just tried Pinkberry two days ago while I was lost on Spring Street. Even though I'm from California, the closest Pinkberry to me is a one-hour drive away. Pinkberry and Uniqlo? I've been missing out on some widely-known outlets of pleasure. Pinkberry is very creamy, more expensive than Yogurtland, and more sour than tart but still delicious. Next time, I'm trying Red Mango.
  4. Casey of Teen Fashionista wrote a really great guide to sample sales. I never realized that San Francisco had so many sample sales too, which is something I'm looking forward to when I get home.
  5. Ginger candy: better than saltwater taffy. That is, if you like a spicy burning sensation on your tongue in addition to a chewy texture.
  6. What's your favorite men's cologne? I remember being told that pheromones are contained in scents (is this true?), which must be why I begin to swoon when I smell Polo Black.
It's a somewhat rainy day -- but I don't have the rainy day blues. I'm eating extremely healthy, getting a great workout from nonstop pavement pounding (in search of fantastic bargains), and starting work tomorrow!

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Miss Couturable

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Nostalgic for middle school

I sauntered off to Soho (again) today in order to finally check out the Kira Plastinina store on 594 Broadway. I was expecting an opulent bedazzled sign sticking out in front of the store, so it took me a few seconds to realize that the small "KP" sign across Houston Street was for the store.
That said, I felt like I was in middle school again -- there was a DJ upstairs playing a rap and hip hop mix, and everything on the racks were either shiny, glittery, bright, sparkly, or covered with cartoons. There were televisions showing clips of Kira and Paris Hilton and photos of the two on the wall. I spent most of my time in the store ogling the shelves stocking Dylan's Candy Bar, actually.

I wasn't particularly interested in buying anything, but I do wish there was a store like Kira Plastinina when I was in 7th grade because I would have loved it then (and only then). Oh wait, there was -- Zutopia. Does anyone remember that store? I fiercely denounced Limited Too back in 7th grade because of my loyalty to Zutopia.

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Miss Couturable

Friday, June 20, 2008

When all else fails, shop

When I met Connie of Pretty Legit, I thought to myself, "I would look ridiculous in that (the chunky boots) and that (the filmy printed shirt tucked into the skirt) -- but how does Connie pull them off so fabulously?"

I pondered this question a little more as I went shopping today -- continuously noting why I was attracted to certain pieces of clothing. I suppose it has something to do with "personal style", that desirable piece of innate sartorial wisdom that many fashionistas seek for years.

Looking at my purchases, I prefer a prim and proper look -- some critics could say I "play it safe", but I've always been attracted to tailored pieces that accentuate femininity and delicacy. In kindergarten, the first piece of clothing I picked for myself was a pale yellow straw sunhat with silk flowers and ribbons adorning the rim.

In a desperate attempt to get out of my room and do something in the city, I picked up a cropped three-quarters-sleeved red dot jacket for $105 (originally $525) at the Bill Blass sample sale. Amused that mostly everyone else at the sample sale was much older than me (my dear mommy would love the pants on sale!), I figured it was a good investment that could change meaning with age -- and maybe my mommy and I could share. I then found myself in the By Francine sample sale, where I purchased a gorgeous ruffled silk tank top and a beautiful intricately decorated black sundress with huge puffy sleeves -- $40 and $70, respectively.

Afterwards, I visited the Botkier sample sale (thanks Fashionista!) in Soho. While I was never an avid admirer of Botkier (knew what it was, didn't bother to thoroughly check it out), I immediately fell in love with the Metallic Pewter Zoe Hobo -- $275 (originally $675). I could feel the blood pulsing through my veins -- bags were stacked on tables all over the room, as potential Botkier-owners (and oftentimes their dragged-along boyfriends) eagerly snatched up and scrutinized each bag.

I said I was going to go home afterwards, but I stumbled into Intermix and bought the Valentino Polka Dot & Crystal Straw Ballerina Flats that I've been coveting ever since I saw them on the Neiman Marcus website two months ago -- $250 (originally $395). The straw is fitting with the summer season, I've been searching for quality black flats for over a year, and I need flats in New York City because I've been walking around in flip flops for most of the week.

However, other than shopping, visiting museums, and watching shows -- what can a 17-years-old girl do on a Friday night in New York City? Please do tell if you know -- otherwise I'm considering traveling from the Upper West Side to Soho again, just for some more Pinkberry and people watching. Not that one could ever have enough clothes, but I think I've reached my quota for quite a while.

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Miss Couturable

P.S. Excuse the blurred quality of my images -- I'm using a camera phone since my camera is still in the repair shop.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Flower power

There are moments when I think only Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City can pull off something as ostentatious as this vintage gown-turned-minidress by Patricia Field.

Patricia Field, by the way, is an brilliant stylist and businesswoman; I wasn't surprised to find an imitation of the flower dress on her website. I wasn't surprised to see that the dress, at a not-that-cheap price of $398, was already sold out. I also wasn't surprised at the paltry quality of the dress -- it's not that easy to mass produce a one-of-a-kind vintage dress.

But really, after seeing Carrie Bradshaw strut in the original dress, I can't help but think, "The copy is so not worth $398." However, I love Patricia Field -- so perhaps the dress looks better in person, as many articles of clothing do.

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Miss Couturable

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Labels or...food?

There are too many sample sales, boutiques, department stores, and consignment stores in this city to not lead me to temptation with my credit card -- and at the same time, there are too many bakeries, cafés, frozen yogurt joints, and street food vendors that eat away at my wallet.

Luckily my residence provides both breakfast and dinner (included in the boarding fee), but when I'm out-and-about at lunchtime, I'm always surrounded by more delectable bites than I can budget.

Earlier this year, I remember joking with a friend about eating crackers and buying designer shoes -- but in reality, a 17-years-old girl has to eat. Luckily I keep my lunchtime expenditures down to $10 or less everyday with a healthy wrap or salad.

Nonetheless, if I wasn't aiming to return home to my parents exercising fiscal responsibility, I'd probably eat my own weight in lychee brownies from Amai Tea & Bake House -- and shop my own weight in ballerina flats and snappy day dresses too.

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Miss Couturable

Prima donna

Goodness gracious, I have no expertise in music and to my ear, every single of the top twenty-four contestants on American Idol deserves to win a record contract -- but I absolutely adored watching The Phantom of the Opera in the Theatre District.

Fantastic music aside, I am enraptured with the costume in the show, particularly in the "Masquerade" scene. I spotted yellow tights lined with cartoonish black hearts and black stockings with sequined sparkles along with giant tulle bows on rich crimson tuxedo jackets -- and big hair bows on top of perfect ringlets.

Which show do you think has the best costume design?

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Miss Couturable

Monday, June 16, 2008

Down south

I spent a good twenty minutes studying the subway map this morning -- in doing so, I managed to trek down to Greenwich Village, Noho, Soho, and East Village from the Upper West Side without getting lost. Hopefully my luck doesn't run out -- I spent five minutes staring at the street signs in Noho, figuring out the difference between avenues and streets.

After turning in my camera to the repair store in East Village for an estimate, I discovered Mavi Jeans over at Union Square. Now, being a petite-sized 5'1" girl who desperately wants a pair of black skinny jeans, I dashed into the store -- recalling raving reviews that this is the brand for short girls. Conclusion? Once I get my camera repaired (I shudder at the thought of the cost) and reevaluate my budget, I'm coming back for a pair of black skinny jeans that finally fit me.

After some considerable walking and maneuvering through subway lines, I met Casey of Teen Fashionista! Casey is both lovely and bubbly -- she is just as witty and amiable in person as she is online. She brought me to the Marc by Marc Jacobs store -- where she pointed me to a pair of light pink flats with ankle straps and a dainty bow on each strap, shoes that she's been craving. I immediately fell in love with the black version; I really need a pair of functional flats for my seven weeks here anyway. Unfortunately, they're not online -- otherwise, I would have a picture of them here in their dainty glory.

We had left our umbrellas in our respective rooms. The rain poured down heavily, the thunder boomed as if Zeus himself was pounding the afternoon dome (okay, not really), and it seemed like the dastardly storm of last Saturday was going to repeat itself. We ducked into Yogurtland -- Casey's first time there. At $.39 instead of $.30 per ounce and with an icier consistency than at the store at home, I'd rather try Red Mango or Pinkberry next time.

Casey mentioned all the work that she does outside of her Teen Vogue internship -- reminding me that after a wonderful day familiarizing myself with certain parts of Manhattan, I still need to finish my fashion articles and start my college applications.

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Miss Couturable

Sunday, June 15, 2008

East coast college visits, part 7

On Monday after a triple shot of espresso from Starbucks, I visited Harvard University -- the only college on my list that I hadn't visited yet. "You have no idea; Harvard is amazing," exclaimed an older student. I had to see it for myself to believe it.
Harvard University: Cambridge, MA
Harvard University is truly beautiful -- I was breathless as I walked around campus. The admissions session however, left much to be desired. The informational session was not very well organized and I did not learn anything about the university that I couldn't replace with the name of any other Ivy League institution. The tour was worse than the New York University tour -- considering New York University doesn't even have a campus. My tour guide was very nice, but he rehashed everything that was said in the informational session -- only under the scorching sun instead. I later spoke to a friend about this -- and she pointed out that perhaps it's because Harvard receives many prospective students everyday; they can't possibly provide attention to minute details to every single visitor.
That said, Harvard Square is absolutely fabulous -- a wonderful college town with quaint shops and food, lots of food.
The university, of course, has many strong points: amazing academics, proximity to a great city, and fantastic ambiance. Did I mention that they have a huge fashion club and campus fashion magazine?
The next day, I visited a dear friend at Phillips Exeter Academy, which is quite possibly the most beautiful high school I've ever seen. I thought my school was beautiful with its multi-million dollar complexes -- but you can't beat the riches of history.

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Miss Couturable

P.S. I didn't have internet all week. Pardon me.

Intern party

Who's coming on Tuesday? Look for the girl who's probably a head shorter than everyone else, even with heels on.

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Miss Couturable

The Sunday Six: June 15th, 2008

I just moved into my residence in New York City for the next seven weeks when, to my dismay:
  1. New York City rainwater destroyed my new camera. I'll have to go to the Greenwich Village area and see how much repairs cost. If it costs more than my camera did, I'll have to buy a new one. That's approximately $300 lost -- in other words, a pair of Marc by Marc Jacobs flats or two new pairs of straight-leg jeans forgone.
  2. The wireless internet is not functioning very well.
  3. There's no air conditioning in my room.
However, to put things into perspective:
  1. I'm in New York City! I live approximately four blocks from Central Park. Today, I walked around my neighborhood, bought lamb over rice from a street vendor, tried on lingerie from Victoria's Secret to cheer my camera-less self up, strolled around Central Park, and realized that I'm going to have to learn more about balancing my budget and taking responsibility for myself. Because you know, I'm hoping this camera ordeal will be the last of my blunders.
  2. No internet means more reason to stroll around my neighborhood.
  3. There's no air conditioning in my room -- but there's two reading rooms, a piano room, and a parlor at my residence. All of which are beautifully furnished with air conditioning.
Delightful. Daddy's little girl must grow up now.

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Miss Couturable

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The week off

I just received an email from my editor at Seventeen telling me that I have next week off -- instead, I will be starting work on June 23rd.

Thus, I have quite some time to acquaint myself with the city -- an extra week of vacation (by myself, unfortunately) that I didn't expect.

The daunting task? Occupying myself next week -- I don't know where to start. Help, please?

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Miss Couturable

Monday, June 9, 2008

The next time that I gaze lustfully at a pair of heels

After two days of packing two of the biggest suitcases in my house, I've found a startling dilemma: for every five pairs of heels that I've packed, there is only one pair of flats. While I've amassed a quirky collection of pumps -- ranging from white patent leather Mary Janes to pink open-toed pumps with polka dotted bows -- I only have three pairs of flats.

Though flats are more practical for striding across campus, I've (ironically and somewhat foolishly) relegated my splurges to heels and have worn heels to school almost as many times as I've worn flats. The consequence? I currently have a pair of platform pumps in my suitcase that costs four times as much as the value of my three pairs of flats added together.

Whenever I read about Casey of Teen Fashionista's fabulous bundle of ballerina flats, I resolve myself to save my money for a pair of quality flats. While browsing the sale section at Nordstrom, I came across Prada white ombré patent bow flats for only $250 -- only to realize that I was $100 short because of my last 4-inch stiletto purchase. The stilettos, while I've received numerous compliments for them on the two days that I've worn them so far -- well, I've only worn them for two days so far.

Shopping in Boston and New York City will be very tempting and accessible -- but I'm going to jot down a reminder in my Moleskine: no more heels; keep the money in my wallet until I find a pair of flats to rival my collection of heels.

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Miss Couturable

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Sunday Six: June 8th, 2008

After I finished my SAT biology exam this morning, I stacked my junior year textbooks and exam preparation books to one side of my room -- 3/4 of my high-school career is finished, and my summer has finally begun in a mishmash of retail therapy, writing gigs, and attempts to stuff all my shoes into one suitcase.
  1. After withdrawing myself from anything that could distract from my studies in May, I briskly rewarded myself with a few purchases today. On sale for only $45, the Betseyville by Betsey Johnson 'Vidonia' Pump (felt more like a flat than a high-heel) came in candy shop-colors that my little sister would appreciate -- I suppose I couldn't resist the bold plastic and rhinestone hearts either. I picked up a Moleskine pocket journal from Borders to use as the "omnipotent intern notebook," as recommended by Jazzi. Lastly, I attained a kid's cupcake apron and sweaterknit with a blue sparrow from Anthropologie. Standing at 5'1", the apron fit me perfectly -- and I completely didn't realize it was a child's apron until I checked the website. You might as well give me a lollipop and a nice pat on the head.
  2. So everyone and her mother have seen Sex and the City by now -- and I, finally departing my enclave of perpetual schoolwork, just saw the movie tonight. Controversies aside, the movie ticket was worth the $10.25 to see the clothes.
  3. Just in time for my internship in a week, I came upon two insightful articles with tips for fashion interns: Fashion Tips for Interns for the Pros by Stephanie D. Smith and Style.com's Summer Interns Guide.
  4. I will be in Boston for three days this week -- any tips on where to shop, dine, and sightsee?
  5. Speaking of Sex and the City, Sarah Jessica Parker was rocking the over-the-knee argyle socks. Perhaps it's the preppy schoolgirl -- or the Clueless movie fanatic -- in me, but this makes me wonder if I should pack a couple of my own argyles into my suitcase.
  6. I'm an exceedingly vicious shopper -- I pause over every single shelf and rack with a discerning critical eye that thankfully doesn't burn holes into the clothing. Once I find something I like, I wait until I visit the store a second time before I actually purchase the item -- just to be certain of my decisions. How do you shop?
I spent the whole day shopping -- and luckily I had a boy to accompany me, who was willing to carry my bags, wait for me outside of the dressing rooms, and stand awkwardly between rows of dresses. Oh, and who was willing to watch Sex and the City with me -- here's to the friends who are there for you when you least expect it.

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Miss Couturable