general / lately


What I read about:

  • Alison Roman going after WOC (Chrissy Teigen, Marie Kondo). Here’s a recap and her apology. (Sorry, I’m a week behind on posting, not reading!)

What I made:

  • Dominique Ansel Gâteau au Yaourt. I made it with strawberries and in a muffin tray. (Recipe here but also recommend watching his Instagram post.) I didn’t love it.
  • DIY Meet Fresh grass jelly signature. I made grass jelly (grass jelly powder and Knox gelatin) and boiled frozen sweet potato and taro balls from 99 Ranch. Way cheaper and healthier (less sugar) than the real thing! If I had made grass jelly ice, it would’ve been more authentic.
  • Trader Joe’s ube mochi waffles (as pictured above). Their new seasonal pancake and waffle mix has been so popular that it dragged me to a TJ after not going for months. If this is the only item you want, I recommend calling ahead and asking because I heard the Bay Area locations are sold out. My location was sold out of the ube ice cream. Tip: if you love the mochi texture, make the waffle even more ‘q’ by substituting half of the recommend ube mix for tapioca flour. I also added a pinch of baking soda, even though it’s in the mix.
    • Waffle maker recommendation: I love waffles but never made them before. I bought the Dash mini waffle maker in mint green. If you aren’t familiar with Dash, they have many super affordable kitchen electronics in a rainbow of colors. This is perfect for my household as I’m the only one into waffles and the machine is so tiny and easy to store. (Purchase at Target, Amazon. It’s been selling out!)

What I’m watching or watched:

  • I finished Homeland (series finale), Outlander (season finale). About to start on Westworld.
  • Chinese drama series, 鬓边不是海棠红 (Winter Begonia). It’s on Youtube with subtitles. 49 episodes. Set in 1930s Peking, much of the story is related to Peking opera. I still don’t like Peking opera, but feel like I have a better understanding and appreciation for it now. This series has the same producer (and some of the same actors) as the very popular Story of Yanxi Palace. The cinematography is gorgeous. The male lead is played by Huang Xiaoming (so good looking). There is another popular show (清平樂) that my dad is currently watching — but I’m usually multitasking and this one is harder to comprehend.

What I bought:

  • Fresh flowers from Whole Foods on the Amazon app. It’s peony and tulip season!
  • Estee Lauder had a BOGO for their ever popular Advanced Night Repair serum last week ago. I stocked up. It was at a few places and sold out pretty quickly. Estee Lauder is such a mainstream, older lady classic brand. I didn’t think to start using it again until I saw how popular this serum was in China.
  • Shopbop is having a sale. It’s strange buying things to wear in public, when I don’t know when I will spend time in public again. I’m not sure if I will keep everything. I ordered Adidas x Missoni sneakers, a Ferragamo bag, and a dress (potential for a wedding). Generally, I add what I like to my hearts or wishlist and check back when there is a sale.
  • Brooks Brothers flash sale. Similarly, I also add what I like to a wishlist and check back when there is a sale. If you miss the old J.Crew quality, check BB. Their collections are smaller than J.Crew, quality is typically better, and markdowns are not as aggressive but also because the style is less trendy. It is not uncommon for something from a few years ago to languish in the sale section because it’s not clearance prices. They also use Shoprunner 2 day shipping, which is easy to get for free as an Amex cardholder. I do have a high rate of returns with them, so won’t recommend anything until I’m sure I’m keeping it.
  • Allure Beauty Box for May. I got the box that I posted about. Just as advertised. The June and July boxes (pictured below) have already been announced. If you want the Purlisse watermelon cleanser or the Peach and Lily glass skin serum, definitely check it out. I’m stocked up on the glass skin serum from the Ulta sales. As I mentioned, it’s easiest to order the Allure Beauty Box on Amazon. Order within the month you want (i.e. order the May box during May) and cancel the subscription once the box you want ships. Subscribing directly with Allure gets you some freebies, but it won’t be as easy to cancel.

June 2020 / Full size Purlisse cleanser, lip oil, Dashing Diva gels; variation between the Shangpree eye masks and LRP Vitamin C serum:

July 2020 / Full size Peach and Lily glass serum, lip and cheek balm, Clio eyeliner in purple; variation between the Dr Jart tiger grass gel cream, Dr Jart sunscreen, OR Sunday Riley Ice:

(Images: Allure)

 

2018 thoughts on clothes and shoes

Yup, still catching up on my 2018 thoughts. Previously: 2018 thoughts on bags and self-care

In general, I think I have a better sense of what works for my body and lifestyle. I also think I spend less on clothes than I used to, but I have not backed this up with credit card statement analysis. I have gotten better at returning things on time. Earlier in the year, I was better at reselling whatever didn’t work. I need to get back on that.

I work in New York City. Companies have gone more casual. My office has a business casual dress code with most women veering on the casual end and it saddens me.  With that said, women dress for other women and I’m pretty demotivated to dress nicely! Of course, it is a personal choice on how to dress, but I still prefer to dress nicer. Even outside of the office, when I do go out, people don’t dress up. And it’s not because we’re going to a KBBQ. I prefer to buy clothes that can be worn all the time.

I still love neutral colors, especially black and navy. It’s versatile. I used to really like red as an accent color. Now, not so much. Perhaps forest green is the new red for me?

I. Clothes

Brands I can’t quit

UniqloStill my favorite for basics and the occasional collab. I consider it affordable enough that sometimes I buy at full price. I also had no problems with their e-commerce this year. I prefer to pay through PayPal (and they refund return shipping). My 2018 faves:

  • Airism slip (previously). I wear this year-round under most dresses. Sorry, it’s not available… I did wait 4 years for it to come back the last time so I did stockpile this!
  • U Crew Neck Short-Sleeve T-Shirt (previously). The Uniqlo U collaboration is recurring and each season has a new batch of colors. I haven’t checked out the new season (just launched) to confirm the fabric weight is still the same but I’m semi-shocked that Uniqlo increased the retail price from $9.90 to $14.90! You can find the past season on sale. New season also has a boxier relax fit version (unsure if it’s the same weight).
  • Blocktech Outerwear (previously). However, this is one where I like to see them in person as I do not like the stiffy, boxy ones. Current Blocktech styles.
  • Tomas Maier Flight Jacket. I got it in olive green (sold out). It’s on the lighter side for a jacket and perfect for layering, travel. Lots of pockets. This was an unexpected love for a lackluster (to me) collab.
  • Extra Fine Cotton A-Line Striped 3/4 Sleeve Dress (previously). My favorite dress of the summer and perfect for those balmy summer days. It also does not require ironing after washing! Uniqlo has brought it back in slightly different colors. It also comes in dark solid colors, but I personally prefer the lighter colors since it’s a bit tenty.
  • Light V-Neck Cardigan (previously). Also another summer staple. Hunter green has been having a moment and I couldn’t resist (and it’s a departure from my standard black and navy). Hope they will bring back the style for this spring, but I am stocked up for now.

Continue reading “2018 thoughts on clothes and shoes”

2018 thoughts on self-care

I know it’s already 2019, I am catching up!

I compiled a list of my favorites… not just skincare!

Listen to your skin. It’s hard for me to tell the effect of one product, since I switch around and may add multiple new ones at one time. But, I will say that anyone that goes from using nothing to something will see a difference in your skin. Hydrating toners (not the stripping kind that you apply with a cotton pad), cleansers at a right ph, double cleansing, some exfoliating, or essences make a discernible difference. There are always affordable options for every product type.

Favorite Cleanser: Tatcha Cleansing Oil and Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser. I have tried other cleansing oils during the year (and will continue to) but my favorite is still the Tatcha. I’ve been using the Cerave as a first or second cleanser for a long time. These cleansers clean well and don’t strip the skin.

Favorite Watery Essence: The Amorepacific Vintage Single Extract Essence was on my wishlist for a while.This was a rare product that was sold out on the Lotte Duty Free app so I had to buy in person, but it worked out because I got a ton of gifts. It’s made of fermented green tea (yummy antioxidants!!).

Continue reading “2018 thoughts on self-care”

2018 thoughts on bags

Updated: Bao Bao Issey Miyake added

Every year I intend to write ‘year in review’ posts. Somehow time escapes me, so let’s see if this works this year. I plan to write on different topics. First up: bags.

I go through periods of times of buying no bags and then bam! I get a few. I bought a few recently, mostly black bags.

($$$$ to $)

  • The spendiest purchases were driven by Hedi’s takeover of Céline. I couldn’t get myself to Europe soon enough, so I managed with duty free shops in Seoul. Prices are comfortably below US prices and the # of stores are somewhat plentiful. I went to 4 duty free boutiques – 3 in Seoul and 1 in the Incheon airport! For the most part, what I purchased is what I have wanted to purchase for years but the opportunity and urgency never arose. I have no regrets with my purchases, although I have yet to use all of them. I have invested in Samorga inserts for most of them.

I am hesitant to buy Céline secondhand online. It’s hard to assess the structure of a non-super structured bag on the internet. Or for example, the Trio was quietly redesigned in recent years where the straps that connect to the purse were reinforced. This isn’t apparent in most online listings. I wouldn’t want to buy an older Trio. I haven’t sold any of my Célines, but the resale of some of them look roughly the same as duty free. It’s a no lose situation, in my opinion. Some of the classic Phoebe Philo designs are still around but now don the new Celine logo (no accent over the é) and new colors.

Image: Celine

  • (Updated: Can’t believe I forgot to include Bao Bao!) My friend Pam got me into Bao Bao Issey Miyake bags. At some point, they were super hard to buy in Asia. Almost everyone and their mom has one, it seems. They are popular with the older crowd. The brand is Japanese, but I found these bags much better stocked in the US and sometimes on sale/discount! I have four of the totes in different sizes (Prism or Lucent) and got the last one when I was in Tokyo. I highly recommend these for its lightweight, low maintenance, easy to pack (flattens), and uncommon style (at least outside of Asia). I think I’m done for now!

Prism Tote in a Japan-exclusive color

Continue reading “2018 thoughts on bags”

general / saving on usps shipping

This post is for anyone who uses United States Postal Service (USPS). I mostly ship for eBay through PayPal, but very rarely I have to ship a return not using a return label, or a present. (I previously blogged about reselling/shipping here.)

(1) Padded Flat Rate Envelopes. These Priority Mail padded flat rate envelopes are great. I rarely go to a post office, so I can’t comment on whether any post offices have them but I’ve never seen these padded envelopes at a post office before. It’s best for shipping from one coast to the other, or items over a pound that doesn’t need cushioning. If something needs cushioning and it fits, I put a box within the padded envelope. You can order these envelopes for free online along with other Priority Mail supplies. I always have some handy along with the flat rate envelopes for flat items, e.g. documents.

(2) Cheaper Rates on PayPal. Take advantage of USPS commercial rates when you purchase a shipping label on PayPal. It’s almost a dollar difference for a padded flat rate envelope within the US. With international priority mail, the difference is pretty significant. When it comes to shipping expenses, every bit counts and I prefer to keep them low, especially if it doesn’t require much work.

(3) First Class Mail on PayPal. If you’re shipping something under a pound (<16 ounces) and you’re not in a rush, use First Class Mail. It only takes a few days extra than Priority Mail. You can’t print first class postage on USPS.com but you can ship and print it through PayPal. Note, in post offices you can only ship First Class Mail up to 14 ounces. The <16 ounces is for commercial accounts.