Saturday, February 28, 2009

Nicholas Kirkwood: be still my heart

(Photo Credit -- Neiman Marcus)
I was planning on saving up for a classic pair of Christian Louboutin pumps. I really don't think there is another more versatile pair of heels.

But between a pair of classic Louboutins and a pair of sculptural Nicholas Kirkwoods, I choose the latter. I am now saving up for a pair of Nicholas Kirkwoods.
Sculpture, after all, is my favorite medium of expression (that I have no innate ability for).

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Miss Couturable

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Top(hat) o' the morning to you

Ever since I visited a milliner's studio in San Francisco two summers ago (and had a delicious vegan lunch prepared by her assistant and played with her cat), I've always wanted to invest in a closet of hats -- shoes too, but hats come to mind first.

"I was in Italy and I saw this magnificently elegant woman in a big straw hat, and I was so entranced by her that I wanted to see her face. Well, every time I tried to look at her, she'd turn her head and demurely cover her face with her hat," recalled the fashion designer I was interning for, as she tried on some custom-made hats for her trip to Venice.

Hats are sensual, mysterious, entrancing -- and excellent for bad hair days. When a former schoolmate who now attends MIT introduced me to GALVIN-nized Headwear in Boston, I had two thoughts:
  1. I really need to visit Boston again.
  2. I really need to visit a milliner again.
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Miss Couturable

P.S. For equally beautiful hats with San Francisco-flair, visit Deanna Gibbons Millinery.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I Heart 'I Heart Daily' every morning

Melissa C. Walker is a former ELLEgirl editor, former Seventeen Prom editor, freelance writer, author of several books, and co-founder of I Heart Daily (a super cute daily newsletter or blog for the young at heart) -- and even though she is no longer a teenager, I've never encountered another adult who understands the mind of a teenage girl better than her.

So when she asked me to an adorable little interview for I Heart Daily, I couldn't say no because I obsess over Melissa and I obsess over I Heart Daily -- "You’ll never hear about stuff we hate, just stuff we heart." In fact, I Heart Daily introduced me to an eco-friendly font that I use on all of my printed documents. If you're interested, sign up for the daily newsletter (I love reading it before class every morning!) and check out my Q&A.

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Miss Couturable

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A coat that fits

Little Bow Prep mentioned Lia Lintern -- an outerwear label by Julia Lintern, a structural aerospace engineer-turned-designer.

I'm obsessed with the dove blue Anna K (is this a reference to my favorite novel, Anna Karenina?) coat, made of cashmere wool with silk lining. Actually, all of the Lia Lintern coats are made of cashmere wool. I could totally see Anna Karenina walking in the streets of Saint Petersburg in this gorgeously structured coat. Best of all, each coat is custom-fit with no extra charge.

You see, my biggest problem with buying coats is that most of them almost touch my ankles.

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Miss Couturable

Vegan 'til six

I really need to incorporate more vegetables into my diet. My family used to eat mainly vegetarian dishes, but lately our dinners have consisted of some variety of lamb or beef, some type of fish, some form of carbohydrates, and not enough leafy greens. I thought Asian families ate more vegetables than meat.

So, I'm going "vegan until six". That is, no animal products until after 6:00pm (which is basically dinnertime). This way, I can take advantage of the ample array of vegetables and fruits at the salad bar at lunch, make sure I veer away from cupcakes for breakfast (I've been guilty of this many times), and still enjoy Mumsies' braised lamb shank at dinner.
And macarons or frozen yogurt for dessert.

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Miss Couturable

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Everyone knows I love Bernini

My friend and I caught up with our former art history instructor today -- it was a quick after-school chat, but I enjoyed hearing about her favorite places to travel in Europe (I am now determined to learn Italian in college) and discussing our favorite works of art. My friend recalled The Seated Boxer -- "Something about that just struck out to me," he said. But he couldn't pinpoint exactly why it did.

Bernini's Ecstasy of Saint Teresa always struck out to me -- but I can't explain it fully in words either. Is it Bernini's ability to create different textures (gauzy material, feathery wings, smooth flesh) with marble? Is it the theatrical expression that is so representative of Italian Baroque and of Bernini's own skill? Heck, is it the lighting?

I never really wanted to be a painter, but I've always wanted to sculpt. Educate me -- what are your favorite works of art?

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Miss Couturable

Pitter-patter for petticoats

I've been looking for a crinoline skirt or petticoat for a few weeks, so when I saw the Betsey Johnson Crinoline Skirt in the store display, I bid my guy friend farewell for a few minutes (I was shopping with him and I figured he wouldn't want to traipse into the pink boutique). It was pretty and fluffy -- but then I saw the price tag.

$190 for a crinoline skirt. Society ladies wore these as undergarments in the early twentieth century. I cannot pay $190 for a petticoat.

I will, however, continue to scour eBay and thrift shops. Send me your suggestions, if you have any!

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Miss Couturable

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A moment from summer

I really enjoy reading college application essays -- to the friends who have chosen to share their essays with me, I'm so honored to have witnessed a glimpse of your "acorn", as my junior year English teacher describes that part of us that we choose to reveal in writing.

I've decided to share one of my essays -- an essay that emerged from numerous "Eureka!" moments in the shower and long-winded meditations in my journal:
Swinging their Louis Vuitton purses and strutting their sky-high Louboutin shoes on the pavement, the glamorous women strode past me without a glance at my scraggly-looking self—they were occupied by their Blackberry Smartphones anyways. I was standing on the corner of 77th Street and Lexington Avenue on the Upper East Side of New York City wearing a pair of pink pajamas and furry slippers, covered with band-aids and holding only a prescription receipt in my hand. The hospital had promptly released me when my fever had subsided; because I had collapsed in my apartment without my purse (and thus, my wallet), I decided to swallow my pride and venture through Central Park towards the Upper West Side, where my apartment was—looking like I had spent the night at a slumber party and had forgotten to bring a change of clothes.

As I navigated my way towards the park, my thoughts simmered in the feverish events of that morning. I had tried to crawl downstairs to the front desk to ask for the location of the closest physician, but I ended up collapsing from chest pains, a fever, and difficulties in breathing. As the paramedics strapped me down in the ambulance and attached an oxygen mask to my sobbing face, I was asked a series of questions: What is your name? How old are you? Where are your parents? Are you emancipated? So you’re living in New York City by yourself? What are you doing here?
Noel Duan. Seventeen. My parents are home in California. I’m not. Yep, I’ve been here by myself for about five weeks so far. I am interning in the Seventeen Magazine fashion department for the summer. My words gurgled out along with my tears; I was crying not so much because I was in pain but because I had foolishly assumed that my eight weeks in New York City would prove to my parents—and most importantly, to myself—that I was fully capable of living by myself without needing others to fuel my happiness and security. I wanted to be fiercely independent, but I was not as autonomous as I was alone in the city; this fact was blatant when I realized that I was the only person in the emergency treatment room without loved ones by her side.
“We’re going to have to call your parents to ask for permission to treat you,” said the paramedic as I awakened in the hospital. The piercing chest pain became overshadowed by heartache for my parents: yes, I had learned to navigate the subway system very efficiently all by myself; yes, I was working in a skyscraper with college-aged interns; yes, I had mastered the austere stare of a New Yorker in order to avoid adult men trying to take advantage of me on the streets—but when I needed help in a dire situation, I still relied on my dear parents to bail me out.

Thinking back on the ordeal of this past morning as I walked through the Upper East Side, I threw my head back and chuckled; I wish I had brought my camera to capture this moment of absurdity that would forever remind me of the importance of relationships. Yes, it is very important to live my life the way I want to, to follow my passions and ambitions wherever they carry me, but it is even more important to live my life knowing that it doesn’t revolve around myself. I had selfishly spent so much time fantasizing about my glorious summer in New York City that I had forgotten that my mother and father sat at home across the country, waiting for my phone call every night—as if I had unconsciously decided to disappear for two months and yet expected none of my friends or family to be affected by it.
Instead, I discovered the selfless contact that made up my relationships with others—that independence comes not from shutting the closest people to my heart out of my life, but from embracing them and acknowledging how much I need them no matter where life takes me. Independence is not about autonomy; it’s about taking responsibility for myself while cherishing those who have my back.
Just for the record, I'm not going back to New York City to intern this summer -- not because I don't want to (I have city yearnings practically every day), but because I have plenty of summers and years in the future to be there and everywhere else. There is no place like home.

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Miss Couturable

Monday, February 16, 2009

Charmed by Kate

One thing I love about Kate Moss is that she can look luxuriously glamorous in editorials and rock heroin chic on the streets. "Charme!" from Vogue Italia back in 1992 is one of my most favorite editorials of all time -- I can't believe this was sixteen years ago.

Marie Antoinette meets twenties flapper, I say.

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Miss Couturable

Fashionistas keep getting younger

Forget Park Avenue princesses and rock band starlets, my new style muses are less than half my age.

So, when I was this age, the cool girls wore Powerpuff Girls t-shirts and blue jeans from Zutopia. And Roxy sweatshirts.

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Miss Couturable

We're in a Barbie world

Before winter break, my advisory group signed up to buy presents for a local underprivileged family. I was in charge of buying gifts for the little girl. On her wish list, she had asked for a Barbie doll and the High School Musical 2 soundtrack.

"No, no way are we getting her a Barbie doll," said my advisor, "Why don't you buy her a science kit instead?"

I couldn't find a decent science kit, so I bought her a really nice book and the soundtrack.

I guess there's a lot of controversy surrounding Barbie -- does she promote narcissism? Insecurity in young girls? Unhealthy aspirations? Sounds like the fashion industry as a whole.

Out of all the shows and presentations for Fashion Week, I would have wanted to attend the Barbie runway show the most -- especially after watching this finale video from nitro:licious:


I'll choose Barbie over Bratz any day.

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Miss Couturable

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Functionality and fashion

Last week, a friend said, "If I go to school on the east coast, my mom says I can have all the North Face I want!" with the same enthusiasm I would have if North Face was replaced with Chanel or red velvet cupcakes.

I, being my hoity-toity self, just never thought North Face was, er, fashionable. Not even in eighth grade when all the cool girls had black North Face fleeces -- it just isn't my style.

But you know, while I could never delight or swoon over a North Face purchase in the same way that I do for Lanvin flats, I just bought a white North Fleece jacket for this weekend's ski trip with my family -- and it is very comfortable and warm. A girl can have all the peacoats and blazers that she wants, but she also needs one North Face jacket -- just in case.

I do look like a marshmellow, but at least I feel like a toasted marshmellow.

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Miss Couturable

Stuffed with love (and pizookie)

{By Francine silk minidress, pink Swarovski-crystal drop earrings, heart-shaped pendant necklace, polka-dotted clutch from Target, Taryn Rose patent leather platforms pumps with glitter heels, crimson satin bows tied around wrists}
For most of Valentine's Day, I lounged around in a pair of black Calvin Klein hipster undies, a white Gap tank top, and a pair of black cashmere knee-high socks, rereading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and wondering what Plath would say about this day. I don't love this holiday, nor do I hate it and consider it a consumer-driven day. I mean, at least it's a day to celebrate love.

But then I realized that I was actually going out to dinner with some friends (single and taken) -- concluding the night with a game of pool, scary stories, and truth or dare (apparently I was born to sell underwear).
Oh, and BJ's pizookie. I thought I had a thing for red velvet cake but warm chocolate chip goodness with vanilla ice cream is so much better.

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Miss Couturable

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Watch me demolish a heart-shaped red velvet cake by myself.

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Miss Couturable

P.S. Am I the only person who gets more excited about Fashion Week than about Valentine's Day?

Friday, February 13, 2009

So young and so fresh

E.J. Samson, the online editor of Teen Vogue, does an amazing job with the website. There's always great new content every week and a real effort in reaching out to all the teen fashionistas out there.

My favorite feature so far is the addendum to the article about teen fashion bloggers in the March 2009 issue. The website lists twenty of the most wonderful young fashion bloggers I've ever seen -- as I sorted through the blogs, I couldn't help but be in constant awe and jaw-dropping admiration at all of these amazing girls (and Bryanboy!). The future of fashion is bright and spunky.

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Miss Couturable

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Nostalgic for junior year

I have a confession to make: I wish I were a junior in high school again. I'm sitting here, glancing at the Facebook statuses and Twitter tweets of juniors I know, and I'm nostalgic for the days of February break college visits and summer internship panic (luckily, I didn't stress about internships because I got mine in December). From "Shopping in Harvard Yard!" to "Took me forever to get to Vassar!", I can feel the memories of my college visit trip with my daddy seeping back into my mind. The frost bite too.

So here's what made junior year work for me:
I came in with the mentality that I could do better.
On my first AP U.S. History in-class essay, I received a score of 84%. I mean, rumor had it that my teacher was an especially hard grader, but I refused to settle. I immediately arranged a meeting to discuss future improvement with him. At the end of the year, I had a solid A in the class.

I didn't wait.

Second semester junior year, everyone was panicking about getting into prestigious summer research programs and internships. I secured my internship with Seventeen in December. I applied in early November. I was 16 years old when I sent out my resume and I knew I couldn't stand a chance if I applied later in the year. Really, there is no harm in emailing someone and telling them how eager you are to learn. I didn't wait for my opportunities to appear on Ed2010.com or in the form of a prepackaged summer program -- I knew I wanted to intern for a top magazine in New York City and I knew I had to be unconventional to do it.

I didn't quite know I was but I knew who I wasn't.
I threw out all of my Abercrombie from middle school. I finally admitted to listening to country music. I quit the debate team and I joined journalism. I have yet to reclaim my speech and debate trophies, but I would give them up in a heartbeat for the journalism opportunities I've had.

I let myself fall in love with the people around me.
I got into a lot of fights with my father because of college visits and SAT test preparation. I saw my friends in the library more than I ever did before. And yet, that was the year I realized that none of us could pull through without each other, whether it was through vocabulary cramming sessions or lying on the football field in the afternoon, soaking up the sun.
I learned a lot from junior year, but it wasn't limited to calculus and economics and how much caffeine I could consume for my body weight. I learned to give myself a chance.

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Miss Couturable

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I want to write like a girl too

(Photo Credit -- WireImage)
In order to learn more about a college or university, I always peruse the campus newspaper. Perusing isn't even the right word -- I pretty much read the daily paper front-to-back, and then I visit the online newspaper. Reading the newspaper is an excellent way to see the school from the students' perspectives, understand the priorities of the school, and learn about campus events and activities.

Today, I was reading The Chronicle, Duke University's independent daily newspaper. After clicking through a few links (okay, a lot -- I didn't have school today and I had the time), I found myself reading one of Faran Krentcil's columns from when she was an undergraduate at Duke. Yes -- Faran, founder of Fashionista and current Digital Director of Nylon. At Duke, she wrote a column called, "You Write Like a Girl" -- and she writes like a girl brilliantly!

Some of my favorite excerpts:
According to my mom, the best way to change a system is from within that system. "If you're going to a women's rights rally," she said, "look beautiful so men can't say, 'she's just bitter because she's ugly.' You could be part of their structure, but you're choosing a different path, a better one." -- Faran explains it all

Last week the sun skimmed over West Campus. Iced lattes melted and there was more Lily Pulitzer at Alpine than on East Hampton. As I sat on the quad, the summer sky was closing in, and the year was closing up. If the only baggage we want to have is our Vera Bradley carry-alls, we might have some work to do. Admitting you have a problem is usually the first step. So for all of us with closure issues, repeat after me:
It's ending, and we're ready. -- Summer, start your engines

When it comes to relationships, you can't always get what you want. But if you stick with your friends, blow off the pity party and get yourself to a real one, then you usually get what you need. -- An excellent adventure

My friend and I used to think that happiness was like a Barney's shoe sale: You duke it out for the one perfect life the way you scratch and tear your way to one pair of perfect Prada pumps. But there is no one perfect way to be. Everyone's future is a different fit, and it can't run out or go on backorder. -- Custom-fit futures

Girl Glares are a quick fix. They don't really make us stronger, and they turn us into bitches that we don't need to be. Salads and water aren't the solution. As soon as one thing gets fixed, you'll find something else that's too ugly, too pretty, too big or too small.
I wish that the answer to happiness were as attainable as a flat stomach or an expensive purse. But after years of diets and Louis Vuitton splurges, I know it's just not true. I also know that "beauty" has a million definitions.
It's our job, as women and as peers, to find one-in-a-million beauty that defines us. Maybe then, we'll finally be able to stare at ourselves. -- The 'Girl Glare'

I don't know why, but I've been both frightened and excited by the prospect of attending college in a few months. And Faran made me realize that even some of the most brilliant writers in fashion are just like the rest of us. There's hope for me, ha.

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Miss Couturable

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ripping my runs

{Erin Fetherston for Target jumper, Calvin Klein metallic gold thread cardigan, Taryn Rose patent leather platforms with silver glitter heels, Emilio Cavallini floral tights, vintage gold necklace with pearls, Botkier bag}
I discovered huge gashes in my black floral tights a few weeks ago, and I didn't know what to do with them (other than tossing them out) until I stumbled upon Miss at la Playa's excellent guide to ripping tights.

So I thought, "Hm okay, I'm not allowed to have runs in my stockings at school and I don't have anything in common with the girls photographed by The Cobra Snake, but ripping my already-tattered tights must be good catharsis."

I found a pin in my sewing kit and proceeded to rip my tights. It turned out to be harder than I thought because the floral pattern on my tights (which were made of thicker material) stopped my runs from stretching very far.

However, tearing at my tights was still excellent catharsis. Is it weird that I like the sound of ripping fabric?

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Miss Couturable

Monday, February 9, 2009

Q&A, part 2

Part One can be found here.

What's your favorite thing in your closet?

That's really hard for me to choose, but I'm obsessed with my By Francine silk black minidress with giant puffed sleeves! It was the first item I've ever bought from a showroom sale -- it was definitely an adventure trying on clothes in front of everyone.
What do you look for in a piece of clothing when you go shopping?
Cut and fit. If it doesn't fit well on me (even with tailoring), I won't buy it. I'm really short and buying women's sizes is tough. I've had a lot of frustrating moments when a beautiful dress in size zero would fall right off.
What's your favorite musical instrument?
I've actually never played a musical instrument! However, my friend has a beautiful Steinman grand piano and I can't help but be awed by its grandeur. I've definitely had moments when I wished I had learned piano when I was younger!
Who is your favorite artist, and which art period is your favorite?
I'm crazy about Gian Lorenzo Bernini because he sculpted with such theatrical style, which is characteristic of the Baroque. My favorite art period is the Baroque, of course. It's so flamboyant!
I'm visiting your neck of the woods (San Francisco) in a month; tips on what to do- where to shop, eat, visit?
In San Francisco, you should walk and shop around Union Square, visit and shop around Haight Street, and find some authentic Chinese cuisine in Chinatown and load yourself with carbohydrates in Little Italy. But then you should go visit Berkeley and the South Bay. I can help you more with the South Bay than I can with San Francisco, sorry. I love shopping at Ooma in the city though.
Do you believe that a good sense of style be learned, or is it innate?
I think some people are just born with a natural sense of aesthetics, but I really do think style needs to be cultivated. It's kind of like education -- education teaches you the foundations of the box so that you can think outside of the box. You learn certain "rules" about style in order to break them.
How old were you when you wrote your first article and what was it for?
I was in seventh grade, and I desperately emailed KriSeLen.com, a teen entertainment website, in hopes that I could write a piece for two. I was assigned a review for the band, Strata:
I refuse to answer my parents’ request for me to turn the volume down as I rock out to “Piece by Piece” by the intense and full-of-purpose rock band, Strata. To tell you the truth, I can hear my dad humming along to the song across the room, and you have to give credit to a band with such high-strung emotion and meaning that even your parents are guilty of loving. A highly-independent and confident band, Strata self-produced and even self-recorded their debut album in their own studio. Their songs are direct messages and prove that Strata is not a one-hit wonder to be ignored. These four Californian natives (bass player Hrag Chanchanian, vocalist Eric Victorino, drummer Adrian Robison, guitar player Ryan Hernandez) write their songs from an emotional prospective, with dramatic passion full of symbolism and significance. It’s hard to compare Strata to the other rock bands that dominate the airwaves because their songs are real and not written by a 40 year old record producer. To be modest, their music combines the passion and deep emotion of Nirvana with the strong instrumentals of Switchfoot.
The Campbell, California natives are known for their artistic styles of heavy rock, and playing from the heart. They try to not just be another industry band, but a rock band that will truly make a difference and impact. Victorino and Hernandez met each other at a local coffee shop, while Chanchanian joined the group after getting to know Victorino, and Robison was drafted into the group a couple months later as the drummer. They soon began playing in well known clubs in their area, such as the Cactus Club. They soon formed a devoted fan base in the San Francisco bay area, and things began to take off.
Having toured with Alien Ant Farm, Finger Eleven, dredg, Trapt, Sno-Core, and Smile Empty Soul, Strata has proved themselves worthy of the stage. Accomplishing what would be very risky in the highly competitive music business (producing one’s own debut album, it is obvious that Strata has great potential for greatness. Their songs are intimate and personal, from the provocative “Piece by Piece”, possible the hardest track on the album, to the deep meaning of “The Panic, which also debuted as a music video on MTV. Unlike other bands where only one member writes the song, Strata’s band members all collaborate together. “It’s a democracy where majority rules,” adds Chanchanian. “If someone else comes up with a better idea for a bassline or even a lyric, each member is fine with it. We all want to make the best song possible.
For years to come, Strata will be known to people as more then just a layer of sedimentary rock. As one of the last few bands around that still writes their lyrics with complete honesty and integrity, Strata will be in the music world for a long time, continuing to produce meaningful songs.
I have not reviewed music since then. Nor have I written for KriSeLen.com.
How did you go about getting your work experiences?
I was (am?) persistent and I'm not afraid of sending emails and getting rejected. And the more work experience I get, the less likely I'll be rejected. That makes sense, right?
How much charity work have you done?
In seventh and eighth grade, I used to be a volunteer reading and homework tutor for underprivileged kids at the local library. It was one of the best experiences of my life, especially because I never thought I could teach. I almost cried when I found out that my pupil's reading level increased from first grade to seventh grade (she was in third grade) and raised her math grade from a D to an A-. I don't think I did anything special but it was so wonderful to witness that moment in her education. I also do a lot of random volunteering with Key Club, and I'm really involved with the March of Dimes in terms of service and fundraising.
What is your favorite cupcake flavor?
Red velvet with cream cheese frosting all the way!
I know this is personal, but what do your parents work as?
I won't say, but they work harder than I ever could, no matter what I do. And no, they don't work in publishing or fashion.
Scan your handwriting!
My scanner is broken and I haven't been able to scan in my favorite magazine spreads or anything lately. Egh sorry.
What's your favorite TV show?
Recently, my favorite show has been House! Dr. House is brilliant but caustic, and I'm still really amused that the show is based on Sherlock Holmes. Gossip Girl's still pretty good, but I can easily go weeks without watching the show (I'm starting to think I only watch it for Chuck). My favorite show of all time is Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- I love girls that can kick arse.
What inspired you to write?
I don't really know -- I can't imagine a time when I wasn't writing or making up fairy tale stories in my head. I just read a lot of books when I was little. I mean, I was really shy and timid back then, so writing was a way for me to speak out without, er, speaking
What tips do you have for internships?
I hope this helps.
Where can I find a nice leather bag for under $100?
This is probably no help at all, but secondhand stores and consignment stores tend to have nice leather bags for under $100. I wish I could help you more, but I'm ashamed to say that I've yet to buy a nice leather bag in America for under $100 but will be on the lookout for one. Mumsies recommends Asia, ha.
Can you speak Chinese?
Yes! I speak Mandarin, but my friends make fun of me and tell me that I have terrible pronunciation.
What courses do you take at school?
This semester, I am taking Graphic Arts, Journalism: Yearbook, AP English Literature & Composition, AP Psychology, AP Spanish Language, and AP Statistics.
How do you organize your wardrobe?
Oh, I don't know if I could say it's organized. Half of my closet is stuffed with old magazines and the other half is crammed with clothes, arranged by piece.
What's your room like?
It's somewhat embarrassing but I have a canopy bed and pink curtains, remnants of my childhood. This one time, I tied a blanket around my neck and pretended that I was Superman. I jumped on my bed and made a giant hole in the mattress. Thus, my bed is not comfy.
What influences has your Asian heritage had on your style, and do you look to the Asian fashion scene for ideas to incorporate into your look?
Well I mean, I like Asian designers such as Vivienne Tam and Colleen Quen. I also really love Korean hanboks. Other than that, I haven't embraced the Asian fashion scene all that much. I have some copies of FRUiTs magazine and I seriously think Asian girls are fabulously dressed, but I've learned from some friends from Korea that the girls there admire Abercrombie and Seven Jeans and all things American, which saddens me because there is a lot of great shopping in Asia. So yeah, I love shopping in Asia but I pick inspiration from anywhere I can. I love some things I see in Asia and I can't stand other things -- same as I do here.
If you had to get rid of your entire wardrobe (a nightmare scenario I know), and could only keep one item, which item would you choose and why?
My Uniqlo black skinny jeans. I had to travel across the country to find a pair of skinny jeans that fit me well!
What is on your iTunes playlist right now?
Paper Moon by Ella Fitzgerald, Put Your Record On by Corinne Bailey Rae, Let it Rock by Kevin Rudolf, and Say Hey by Michael Franti. I know, my musical taste isn't very impressive.
If you could do anything with your life right now, what would it be? What is your wildest dream?
I'm having trouble answering this question because I am doing everything I want right now. Everything else requires time and patience. My wildest dream (okay maybe not, but one of my crazier dreams) would be to sit front row at Fashion Week someday, ha.
What are some good/bad things that you've encountered since you started blogging?
I love sharing my ideas with everyone and learning more about other bloggers and readers! I don't like negative comments, but that's what I get for starting a blog.
My hair is dry and pooofy and I use conditioner but it's still like that :( Any tips? Your hair looks soooooooo silky and smooth--me jealous!
Right after I shower, I spray aloe vera extract mixed with water into my hair. Then I brush and let my hair air dry.
What do you think is the greatest flaw in humanity?
We're greedy, and we're all guilty of it.
What is your favorite vacation destination?
Beijing! Amazing cultural destinations, great shopping, cheap delicious food -- yum.
What is your favorite material item?
My Toshiba laptop. MacBooks are pretty, but I still love my sleek black Toshiba.
What is your favorite color?
Plum.
What would be a regular type of outfit that you would wear to school?
A short dress made dress code-appropriate with tights, a pair of ballet flats or patent leather heels, my schoolboy blazer, a strand of pearls from Mumsies, a silk scarf around the neck, and a spritz of Annick Goutal Mandragore eau de toilette. Maybe one of my many headbands from Mumsies thrown in there.
What is your idea of good style?
Confidence -- everyone has a different sense of style but you're only stunning when you're confident. Confidence is when you can wear something ridiculous or different and get looks of awe.

My questions for you:
  1. What is your wildest dream?
  2. What is your favorite magazine?
  3. What was the first thing you thought about when you woke up this morning?
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Miss Couturable

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Cable chains and charm

If you asked me whether I would wear pearls or wear chains around my neck, I would probably have chosen pearls in a heartbeat.

...Before I laid eyes upon this Brass Tassel Bow Necklace by Emily Elizabeth Jewelry though. Of course it's still girly and delicate, but a little more edgier than the same ol' pair of pearls.

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Miss Couturable

Sweet tangerines

Mumsies was recently raving about some tangerines she bought, so I decided to eat one.
"They're too sweet," I grimaced.
"Too sweet?! You obviously haven't experienced enough hardship to appreciate a sweet tangerine," she sighed.

I thought that was quite profound. There has to be a reason why this conversation still resonates with me.

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Miss Couturable

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Less is more

In the Lanvin Spring 2009 Ready-to-Wear collection, there were quite some ornamented shoes, bedazzled with jewels, feathers, and sequins. I imagine the wonderful Alber Elbaz had a lot of fun conjuring up the hectic and crazy designs on these shoes!
However, while Lanvin is known for its expert embroidery and beading, my favorite shoes of the collection (and quite possibly, the most beautiful shoes I've ever seen) are one of the simpler pairs of the collection. From the deep blue satin to the bow around the ankle, it's easy to see that Elbaz knows how to make a girl drown with desire.

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Miss Couturable

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

J'adore Dior

I adore the entire Assouline collection of books on culture, fashion, design, art, and photography. The book that introduced me to the publisher was Dior -- a short but beautiful hardcover chronology of Christian Dior throughout the years, given to me by a friend who understood my infatuation too well.
(Photo Credit -- Christian Dior Archives)
And this is why I love Dior.

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Miss Couturable

Monday, February 2, 2009

When I sheepishly exclaim, "I've met her!"

There are certain people who get prettier the more you get to know them, and then there are certain people who are already stunning the moment you meet them. Elana Fishman, Teen Vogue's super-intern, is one of the latter.
I briefly encountered her over a casual dinner at the Peanut Butter & Co. Sandwich Shop in Greenwich Village over the summer, in which I enjoyed a peanut butter, pineapple jam, and grilled chicken sandwich -- feeling especially uncouth because I had requested the crust to be cut off. Still, that was a great sandwich.

But I'm getting off-topic. Really, Elana is just as chic in person as she looks in photographs (more photos from Altamira here) and just as smart and articulate in speech as in writing.

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Miss Couturable

P.S. Who else is getting sick, already sick, or recovering from sickness?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

For the regular people

I'm obsessed with artist Dallas Clayton's blog. He writes brilliantly but simply -- something I've yet to master. A particular poem, titled "Teen Vogue", is worth sharing (among many other gems of his):

I like to let the models out
and watch them walk with the regular people
down crowded streets
and market thoroughfares.
like elegant giraffes
so high above the sad sad faces.

They strain to see them
the regulars do,
to touch their coats
and smell their hair.

They try to be gentle,
not frighten them off.
They take pictures
and bring them home
and tack them to the wall
and before bed each night
they imagine a world where
they too could be in magazines
selling belts.

I sound the whistle
after about an hour
and herd the models
toward the corral
behind the house
miles off the main road
and fence them in again.

It’s the second Friday of every month
and sometimes Sunday morning.

Just enough
for them to be seen
but not so much
that the others start thinking
that they are just like everyone else.

There is always something truthful and something laughable in his poems.

ex.oh.ex.oh
Miss Couturable