Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Sunday Six: August 31st, 2008

Every day, I receive piles and piles of mail from colleges, some of which I will never open and some of which I keep stacked on my desk in case I ever need to refer back to the brochures. Every single letter, catalog, and brochure I receive gives me comfort, knowing how lucky I am to be attending school in the United States where there is almost a guarantee that I will get into a college. In China (and many other Asian countries), students take one exam once a year to get into college -- and that score determines the college they get into. Just another blessing that we take for granted, eh?
  1. Natalie (good luck at Harvard!) sent me this video she made this week, inspired by singer Brooke Waggoner's new song, "Live for the Sounds". I'm no musical connoisseur, but I've played this video about twenty times so far and I absolutely adore the upbeat instrumentals and whimsical tones -- I'm definitely buying the album when it comes out on September 9th, 2008! We need more happy songs that inspire us -- and is not her website the cutest thing?
  2. "And please take the advice I gave you a few messages ago about believing in yourself during the college admissions process. You are a truly extraordinary young woman, and you should have the faith that you'll end up at a great school. I know for certain that [insert amazing college counselor] would want you to see this process less as a competition with your peers around the nation and more as a means to discover a college that is a good fit for you - a place where you will be able to explore, learn, and grow - and enjoy what should be four of the most exciting years of your life. I would encourage you to be open to the possibilities of the process, even to let fate have a role in it," writes my favorite English teacher in a recent email to me. I had been stressing out so much about college applications that I had forgotten to explore and open my eyes wider to the possibilities of the future.
  3. As a girl who has always dreamed of being a Disney Princess (and yes, I love that term and I don't give a toot as to what you may think of it), Chic and Charming's post on Disney-inspired outfits is just my cup of tea!
  4. Susie Bubble asks you what you do with your not-plastic bags. While in SoHo, I was captivated by a particular $80 Anna Sui tote that I thought to be perfect for grocery shopping -- only to realize how I didn't need a $80 bag for grocery shopping.
  5. Even if you didn't care about Phelps' world record, I hope you still watched the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the Beijing 2008 Olympics. If you missed them (or just want to relive the magnificence), there is a multitude of phenomenal photos here. Outfit inspiration, anyone?
  6. Gossip Girl Season 2 begins this Monday! Join me in couch potato-ing.
But really, I hope you've all had a blessed week (especially if you're started school like me!). Here's to terrific beginnings, shaky obstacles, and surprise endings!

Miss Couturable

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Matriculation wear

I rarely post my outfits on my blog -- mostly because I don't think my personal style is very "inspiring" anyways. Personal style is, well, very personal to me and I've yet to find the time in my life to share my fashion hits-and-misses with the world everyday.

Now, I love wearing heels to school -- so it was very surprising (to myself) that I opted for sandals and a short little black dress for Matriculation, a.k.a the first of day of school but not class, a.k.a the day where we sit in the scorching sun and listen to speeches, a.k.a one of the happiest days of my life because I get to see my lovely classmates.

The photo, above, is of my wonderful advisory group. We're all very different, we don't hang out with the same group of friends -- once a week, we gather together with our teacher-advisor and chat together like we're family. I'm, of course, the girl in the short black By Francine dress with huge puffy sleeves and Sonia Rykiel sandals -- or maybe you just noticed the fact that my face is paler than my legs.

I decided to dress down (as in, this is an outfit I'd wear to class, not just to a formal school ceremony) because as a senior, I've finally realized that one should always look presentable and dressed-up at school. Why save your best look for the first day of school when you might need it as a confidence booster on the day of your big psychology exam?

Miss Couturable

Seniors '09

Within a week, I've already figured out that senior year just might be the most interesting school-year of my life (so far):
  1. We have a new building on campus -- the science and technology building. The strangest feature is a circulur room dedicated to this giant pendulum -- apparently the Smithsonian Museum has one too (please correct me if I'm mistaken?). There's some controversy at school regarding this pendulum; in my view: it's shiny and I can calculate the orbit of the Earth with this metal ball-on-a-string, but I can't wear it. Therefore, I still prefer these scientifically-influenced baubles-on-a-string that I can actually wear.
  2. I am incredibly in love with my classes so far. AP Psychology and Gothic Literature work magnificently well together as I begin to delve into regions of the human psyche that I've never encountered before. In only three class periods, AP Statistics has already begun to change the way I interpret data in the media. Really though, I absolutely adore all of my classes and I think my instructors are engaging and phenomenal. Lucky me.
  3. I learned recently that eating a light lunch helps you stay more alert and awake. I intend to stop stuffing my face with cookies at lunch and opt for lighter, healthier options to prevent myself from slumping over in fifth period.
  4. Did I mention that I'm a senior?
  5. I'm even more in love with my friends. They are brilliant, witty, beautiful, and caring (and no, I'm not just being overtly sappy -- somewhat). For many reasons, they make me want to be a better person and I'm joyous to know that I'm taking classes with some of them. There's nothing like huddling in the hallways after-school with some of the best people I've ever met in my life.
  6. Senioritis has not hit yet -- and I'm hoping it never will. I want passion. Non-stop passion.
  7. I finally believe in letting things be -- all I need to do is stay positive, work hard, surround myself with the people I love, cherish every moment and all that cheesy mumbo-jumbo, and everything will fall into place. It's been this way so far, hasn't it?
  8. I make sure to dress up for school everyday. School isn't a fashion show, but I'm trying to strive for my best in every aspect of my life!
  9. I'm sure some of you are curious as to where I am applying to college (is that not the main topic of conversation for most seniors?). Guess, my lovelies?
Miss Couturable

Friday, August 22, 2008

I wish to be that cupcake

Heidi, who is going to be a freshman at Wellesley, gave me this painting today. I begged to buy this painting back when it was on display at school -- but she so kindly gave it to me for free, as a goodbye present (is it goodbye?) I suppose. Class of 2008, how will I ever repay you all for the incredible advice and laughter throughout the years? I can only dream of being one of the wonderful seniors that you all were to me.

I would like to be that fluffy yellow cupcake amongst the sea of delicate pink cupcakes.

Miss Couturable

Monday, August 18, 2008

Why fashion bloggers?

I stumbled upon this article about young fashion bloggers -- Fashionista reports that their favorite line is: "You are what you post online... Is it how you want to be remembered when your tuition scholarship person's going to review you for Dartmouth?"

There are indeed many dangers in cyberspace and there is, of course, a certain amount of risk in having a blog.

But really, is the writer of the article referring to young fashion bloggers or young people who post provocative photos of themselves online? Because there isn't much of a correlation.

In terms of college, I've actually listed my blog on my college applications. I don't mind -- I have fun with this blog and I'd love it if the admissions staff had time to check out Miss Couturable. A blog written for the public (and yes, I've come to accept that my blog is written for an audience) has no shame.

I think Amanda Kwan, the writer of this article, has a very good message for internet safety -- but I don't think young fashion bloggers should have been the focus. Perhaps I haven't been reading enough of my peers' fashion blogs, but I don't see any scandalous poses -- just classy, stylish girls.

Miss Couturable

P.S. I know, I should be working on college applications -- but this struck a heartstring.

Indefinite hiatus

Babesies, there are only so many hours in a day and I have cheerleading practice, fashion articles, summer homework, and college applications.

I have one week until the beginning of my senior year -- really, I wish I wasn't this tense but everyone I know is crunching down on their applications.

I'll be back when I'm finished with the bulk of my work and I've spent enough time with my family and friends. Until then, feel free to send me emails!

Miss Couturable

P.S. I'm quite sure I need only a few weeks -- at most. Where else am I going to rave about Fashion Week and squeal over Gossip Girl?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Sunday Six: August 17th, 2008

When I was younger, I would wake up on the weekends with the anticipation of going to church, finishing off a withered book from the library, and staying up all night watching Roman Holiday with my mommy. Nowadays, I wake up thinking that if I even did one of these childhood activities of mine, the weekend would be well-spent.
  1. For years, I've been reading former America's Next Top Model contender Elyse Sewell's blog. If you're not one of the thousands who already read her blog, I would suggest that you start.
  2. I'm addicted to PostSecret and I like to save the postcards that mean something to me. In this week's installment, I've realized that it's been a while since I've considered my mommy as my best friend. Somewhere along the lines of bra shopping and first dances, we lost our lazy weekends together. There are secrets I save that are secrets I have, and then there are secrets I save that are secrets I wish I had.
  3. "Hi, my name is Albert, but you can call me tonight," joked my friend when I asked him to tell me his best pick-up lines. So tell me, what are your favorite pick-up lines -- whether they're good or so bad that they're good?
  4. Speaking of pick-up lines, Gala uses twitter to report on bad first dates! And then she gives great advice for being a good date -- splendid, I tell you.
  5. Did I mention that I am now a huge fan of Alexander Wang?
  6. The emergency room bill arrived at my house yesterday -- "Look at this, you get sick in New York City and it costs us an unnecessary $800," sneered my daddy. I feel guilty, very guilty.
Miss Couturable

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Rethinking trends

My perception of Tiffany & Co. has been tampered by years of spotting eighth graders in giant heart tag charm necklaces. I'm sure there was a time in my early life when late nights watching Breakfast at Tiffany's was the only thought that crossed my mind when hearing about the jewelry company, but eventually that was forgotten when all the cool girls in seventh grade started wearing the signature heart tag charms. I never asked my parents for one because they looked too chunky for my taste, but to this day, you can still spot the cool girls in middle school by their Tiffany & Co. heart tag charms and Abercrombie jeans.
That said, I'm entranced by the new Tiffany & co. advertisements -- in fact, Hye Park (my favorite model) is wearing a heart charm bracelet.

I almost forgot that style can combine the most cliché trends with one's individual preferences. American Apparel leggings, Tiffany & Co. heart charms, and Rainbow sandals seem to be staples throughout teenage America -- but for logical reasons: the leggings are high-quality, the charms are sweet enough to please a mother, and the sandals are extremely comfortable.

Miss Couturable

Friday, August 15, 2008

08-09 courses

I'm extremely excited for my senior year courses:
AP English Literature & Composition
AP Psychology
AP Spanish Language
AP Statistics
AP U.S. Government & Politics
Gothic Literature
Graphic Arts
International Issues & Public Policy
Journalism: Yearbook
I'm taking a variety of classes that interest me -- classes that I've wanted to take since I was a freshman, glancing through the glossy green and white course selection booklet.

Will the workload be heavy? Most likely, especially with the addition of college applications.

I hope to absorb the wisdom radiated by my teachers this year -- to give academics my best not only because I love learning, but also because I'm in awe of my instructors.

What classes are you taking this year?

Miss Couturable

Another stylish Anna (not Wintour)

Miss Couturable has definitely been lacking the fashion-y posts lately -- mostly because well, the fashion world has been the last thing on my mind since getting my foot smashed by a bitter cab driver in Queens, New York. Susie Bubble is your go-to girl for extensive fashion commentary by a cute Asian girl anyways.

I've never had a real-life style icon -- I think Blair Waldorf's uptight and put-together style is very proper (goodness, I cannot stand sloppiness) and Carrie Bradshaw's designer extravagance is definitely a style that millions of girls strive for (and never achieve), but they're television characters and they are ideals, not reality. Sure, I think Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Coco Chanel, and Dita Von Teese all have beyond admirable style qualities that I want to emulate, but have never thought, "I want to be like her when I grow up," until I noticed the photos of Anna Della Russo, creative director of Vogue Nippon, on The Sartorialist:Without the slouching, though.

To quote one of the comments on the blog:
Fashion world's most over rated virtue: "efortlessness". Anna della russo's style is amazing and her own. The one thing it is NOT is effortless. And that is a good thing! Here is a woman who loves fashion and puts a lot of thought into the way she dresses...
I can't dress "effortlessly chic" because I just prefer primping myself up every morning, so I've never been able to find inspiration from the Kate Mosses of the world. I think I've finally found a real-life style icon of my own to admire.

Miss Couturable

Monday, August 11, 2008

Three lessons

Honestly, Miss Couturable is a prime culprit of self-vanity -- a lot of fashion blogs (and blogs in general) are. This blog thrives upon the musings of a 17-years-old, her fashion cravings, and pieces of daily life that she chooses to share (okay, why am I talking in the third person?) -- seriously, vain.

But then again, fashion and writing entail self-vanity in themselves -- I don't know about you, but I don't wear cocktail dresses and four-inch pumps at home; I'll primp and doll up to go to the doctor's office but I'm not going to dress up unless there's someone who will notice. On the writing spectrum, writers write to be read by others -- or if it's in a private journal, writing is utilized for self-reflection. Either way, writing reflects on the self -- and it's vain, to some degree.

Okay, so my top two interests are based on self-vanity -- I've already accepted and acknowledged that some self-vanity isn't a bad thing. There's no harm in loving and embracing yourself. I'm all about the self-love à la Sex and the City.

This summer though, I've (slowly) learned that yes, it is very important to live your live the way you want, to love yourself for who you are -- but it is even more important to live your life knowing that your life doesn't revolve around yourself. Much of our lives are based on our interactions and relationships with others -- and I would even go as far as saying that many of us perceive ourselves based on others. The media definitely takes advantage of this fact, as we scrutinize celebrity bodies and fashion mishaps while scrutinizing our own bodies and commit fashion mistakes of our own.

I need to work on maintaining relationships, whether they're with my family, friends, pets (hello, dead fish), or God. Actually, I don't even maintain relationships with my fellow bloggers very well -- I rarely comment like a good blogging buddy should but I definitely read every single blog on my Google Reader.

Nothing like spending two months by myself to make realize how important relationships are to me -- how they are everything, if you strip away the frivolities of everyday life.

It started with a screeching phone call from my mommy, after I didn't call her for five days during my first week in New York City. Somehow, I had convinced myself that my parents didn't care what I was doing or how I was doing in the city, since I spent my first week shopping in SoHo anyways.

I've always gotten what I want -- my parents rarely say no to my wishes and desires (how else would I be living in New York City by myself?). It seemed for the longest time, that my happiness was based on getting what I wanted. When I didn't get what I wanted -- I, well, was not the best friend, daughter, or sister that I should have been. I am ashamed to admit it, but I would be even more ashamed if I didn't.

But to live in a big city of millions all by myself, subsisting only on phone calls from my family and postcards from my dear friends -- I learned a valuable lesson (or two or three). I learned that it's important to be happy, but it's even more important to share in the happiness of others. I learned that sharing in the happiness of others doesn't mean I will be as equally happy -- but that I already have everything I need to be happy, so it doesn't really matter. I learned that having everything I need materialistically doesn't make me any happier, but it does make me more fortunate -- so that I can give more to my family and friends.

It's not about me anymore.

Miss Couturable

P.S. I'm typing this as my mommy's yelling at me for being a failure at life who "doesn't make the cut" and has no future. Second lesson learned: Don't take anything too personally; this will all come to pass. Just keep swimming, as Dory from Finding Nemo might say.

Third lesson? We all have a future -- we just can't find it until we believe in it ourselves. I promise that I believe in you, my lovelies.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Sunday Six: August 10th, 2008

I'm back home in California -- and as cliche as it is, this summer requires some reflection. I mean, I'm sitting in my PJs on a Sunday afternoon; what else should I be doing?
  1. I can't enter Henri Bendel without buying something. It's as enticing as a candy store, but the only things that are edible in there are served at the chocolate bar. I drooled at the headbands, indulged on too many beauty items, and had to keep myself from purchasing a bright yellow cocktail dress. I must say, I don't know how I'll ever be satisfied with shopping in my dear little nook of California when it doesn't entail designer sample sales or whimsical store displays. Actually, San Francisco has great shopping -- but the Gossip Girl experience in New York City is unforgettable.
  2. My internship was wonderful. Look, I even contributed to the 17 Buzz blog!
  3. I stayed at The Brandon Residence in the Upper West Side -- it is actually a very nice place to stay and I don't regret my decision. There were quite a few elderly ladies in my building who touched me with their endless tirades about how I didn't clean my sink properly or stopped me in the hallways to talk about which floor in the building is cleaner. But really, it's a very wonderful place to stay and very cheap at $250 a week (breakfast and dinner included -- and yes there's soymilk!).
  4. My taxi driver charged me $10 for driving down the block to pick up my huge suitcases, screamed at me in Cantonese and English because he couldn't understand what I was saying and was misinterpreting my words, and shouted and swore at me because I refused to pay him a tip after he dropped my 50 pound suitcases on my foot after shouting at me for an hour. But hey, he might have just had a bad day.
  5. I've realized that happiness is easy to achieve if you count your blessings. As high-school students, we're constantly pelted with pressure for getting into college, conflicts with our parents, disagreements with our friends, struggles to figure out where we want to go in life -- but if we can just name one thing that we did right every day, we can count that day well-spent.
  6. I am perfectly happy being who I am. For weeks in New York City, I considered myself the most boring prude on the planet -- yep, I don't party, drink, or do anything behind my parents' back and I fell completely silent when I listened to others talk about drinking and fake I.D.s. My idea of going wild is splurging on a pair of designer shoes, in fact -- but ladies and gents (yes I know you're reading this, Andrew), we are all fascinating people and there is no shame in doing what we, ourselves, want to do. I wish I realized this sooner, instead of beating myself up internally for not being "cool" enough.
Miss Couturable

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Laptop problems

Sorry my dears, I'm having laptop problems, so I'll be back on Sunday when I arrive home in California to my desktop.

Miss Couturable

P.S. I want a Mac.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Worth viewing, worth reflecting: Randy Pausch

Instead of the usual Sunday Six, I encourage everyone to view the Last Lecture by Randy Pausch below. It's more useful for your life than any Sunday Six that I could conjure up.Randy died recently of complications from pancreatic cancer -- he was a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon and was named one of TIME's 100 Influential Most Influential People.

He was really extraordinary (click here for more information) -- and his Last Lecture is an internet phenomenon that I've found to be amazingly inspirational.

So, if you have an hour or two to spare -- please watch this lecture. And if you have some spare change, please donate to support pancreatic cancer research in Randy's honor.

Want to know why pancreatic cancer is not as well-known or well-funded as prostate or breast cancer?

Because there aren't as many survivors. 75% of patients die within 12 months.

Miss Couturable

Friday, August 1, 2008

Fall-ing for these must-haves

Summer's only half over, but I'm already in back-to-school mode. I'm working fervently on my college applications, digesting the summer reading books required for AP English, and stretching on an obsessive basis to get ready for cheerleading practice. That, and I'm making a list of my back-to-school must-haves.

Black satin bow tie
I have been craving this sleek little piece for over four months. Not only did I have an inspiring United States History teacher last year who wore a bow tie everyday (and sadly for me, will be teaching at Saddle River Day School this fall), but also there is a spread in the August 2008 issue of Elle with satin bow ties being worn in the hair. Whether it's pinned to my hair or tied loosely around my neck, I'm looking forward to channeling my history teacher this fall (I'm not kidding).Grey flat suede boots
I've never owned a pair of Steve Madden shoes before -- while Steve Madden shoes are a staple amongst high-school students, I'm very picky about not wearing the same shoes as someone else from my school. However, Solestruck sent me a pair of these grey suede Steve Madden Bonanza boots, and I can't resist my first pair of boots! The boots are not entirely casual, but the slouch allows for easy slippage over a pair of black skinny jeans. I'm a huge fan of embellishments on shoes, as my past two footwear purchases were a pair of lacy Sonia Rykiel sandals and Swarovski-encrusted Valentino ballerina flats, but when it comes to heavy boots (especially since I'm petite), I prefer clean simplicity.
Soft headbands
I will always love my stiff headbands -- but the allure of soft headbands is irresistible, especially that of this Bow & Pearl Soft Headband from Betsey Johnson. These elastic wonders are no longer relegated to sweaty workouts thanks to the addition of girly adornments.Patterned tights
I don't think we're allowed to wear fishnet stockings at school, but I do love me some subtly-patterned tights. I'll have to make a stop at Century 21 this weekend (my last weekend in the city!) for their fabulous collection of Betsey Johnson, Emilio Cavallini, Wolford, and DKNY tights at extremely low prices.Shu Uemura false eyelashes
I have thick voluminous hair on my head and barely any eyelashes -- can you blame me? Dolling up for school is an indulgence we should engage in every day.Blazer from the boys department
I have enough coats and jackets adorned with lace and ruffles and bows in my closet. I even have a black ruffled blazer that I haven't worn for two years because it looked like it couldn't choose between being a blazer or a blouse. A blazer from the boys department, such as this one from crewcuts, would fit perfectly on my 5'1" petite frame and costs only a fraction of the price of a blazer from the mens department.
Black pencil skirt
It's senior year -- I'm all about the power woman who makes changes underneath the idealistic school girl. Urban Outfitters sells one for only $28 -- too bad it's only online.Cocktail dresses
I've always had trouble finding day dresses that are still "dressy" -- but just yesterday, I read an article about wearing your evening dresses in the daytime. Why not whip out my shorter little black dresses, add a cotton tank top underneath, and slip out in dressy sandals -- or even heels if I'm feeling especially daring?
To be continued.

Miss Couturable

P.S. What are your back-to-school must-haves? Include pictures or links if you'd like!