Monday, December 28

Ho ho ho !

Yes, this is a belated greeting. I've been away at Mr. O's and we didn't do much except eat, watch lots of movies, and sleep. It's always refreshing to skip checking e-mail for a few days.

Of course, Christmas was wonderful and quiet. The planet revolved around our laziness because we didn't hear about that terrorist attack until the day after, on the 26th! And then we couldn't stop talking about it, since it was pretty much in our neighbourhood. One of the things I enjoy about living here is being within 20 miles of the airport. Now I'm just a little apprehensive to get on a plane, any plane! The F***er almost blew up our airport; and it's an awesome airport, thank you very much.

No thanks to this, in the words of Brian Williams on today's Barack broadcast, "incompetent terrorist" I have to worry about a terrorist attack all the time now, including the flight to and from Schipol, which I have travelled often.
INCOMPETENT terrorist Mr. O and his cousins had particularly strong words about this incident since it so closely relates to their family and friends. It only takes one guy to screw it up for everyone else.

Moving on to better things, guess what Mr. O bought me for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 16

The semester is done!

I'm so pleased to announce that I have completed my first semester of the MBA programme. It has been an extremely productive and successful semester, thanks in large part to the fact that I have had two excellent professors. I am merely making the mistake of attending courses with the two best professors in the College of Business a little too early, as the road ahead is thoroughly paved with instruction by some of the type of characters we give "First Class Asshole" awards to.

That's right, I said it! Some of these PhDs have reputations that precede them, and I'm not talking about fragrant rose bushes.

In the mean time, check out that awesome, mounted certificate I received at the end of class today. I don't even have my Bachelor's degree framed; perhaps rightly so, especially since I have learned more in this one course, instructed by the wisest man of the moment, than I have in my entire undergraduate programme.

Graduate school is wonderful. Thank you.

Saturday, December 5

Mac Factor Shuts Down

The orange stickers mean clearance! The rumours had swirled for almost a year now. Max Factor will no longer be sold in the U.S. after the current stock is sold out. Please consider this the worst decision Procter & Gamble Beauty Care has made in the last decade. My, and most Max Factor users', biggest gripe is the impossible replacement of the Volume Couture mascara -- pound for pound the best mascara in the commercial market today.

P&G's peace offering, if you can find them, are $2 discount coupons for Max Factor users to buy a CoverGirl "replacement" product. I've tried their much touted supposedly-Diorshow-comparable LashBlast mascara and it's absolute rubbish, not trash rubbish but rubbish nonetheless.

Hopefully P&G will come to their senses and bring Max Factor back, as L'Oreal has now (this week) brought back the once banned Ellnet hairspray. In the mean time, Max Factor users will have to scour the Internet or the European Union for any remaining stock beyond 2009. Good luck, ladies.

Sunday, November 29

Thanksgiving Haul

In keeping with my personal recession, I had decided to do no shopping this Thanksgiving weekend and merely enjoy some good food and good company.

Alas, my friends are shoppers and as such, I helped the miserably ailing Michigan economy (highest unemployment in the nation, four years in a row, ya'll!) by purchasing some justifiable goods that I had been eyeing for a while anyway.

O.P.I is the greatest!
Of course, I don't have to explain why I bought O.P.I nail polish, especially when they were buy one get one free. I'm not a regular polish junkie but these are the best (suck it, Essie!). I am also not a fan of the current matte polish trend -- it really ages the hand. The suede formulation looks more doable and I'll report back here again if I start painting and it turns out otherwise.

Cuisinart Pot and Pan
I also lucked out with the gleaming stainless steel additions from Cuisinart since some friends were eyeing a skillet from a generously priced seven-piece set. These pots now join my beloved heirloom-quality WMF jumbo saucepan. I'm still waiting for a good chef's knife to go on sale; hopefully the wait won't be long.

Nice-to-look-at-but-hard-to-wash serving spoon
However, the best deals this weekend could be found at Old Navy. I'm not a frequent visitor there since I've experienced repeated quality issues. Yet their discounts were extremely generous, even more so than what is offered on their website and I want to recommend their solid coloured tights to anybody whom cares for tights. Yes, they are well-made and at 50% off, the price is unbelievable. Buy them now, because they were flying off the racks in the store! Available in many colours; I bought purple and will be hunting for more. For everyone else, get one of the colour block scarves from the men's department -- they are awesome, even in acrylic.
Old Navy scores with coloured tights

Tuesday, November 17

General (Shoe) Business I

Did you ever know that you cannot store anything on your balcony even if you pay rent for it? Talk about a waste of square footage. The building instructor vehemently stressed on the need for emptiness on the space -- how Zen of her.

This has forced me to rethink the organisation of my footwear collection, more accurately; the need for proper organisation of my footwear collection. Seeing that I'm on a "shopping ban", I have decided to pay more attention to the current stash of shoes, particularly to the conditioning aspect.

I, for one, find it rude when we subject our shoes to snow, sand, and salt and expect them to continue looking good after the vigorous beating. Good-looking, well-aged leathers require some love.

See for yourself the exhibit of shoes below, in cowhide and snakeskin for the footwear, and lambskin for the owl wristlet (my impulse buy from Marc on Bleecker, back in July).

I don't remember when I started getting religious about leather conditioning but it was probably when I started buying some French and Italian bags and I immediately became serious about "protecting my investment" -- a somewhat lovelorn idea.

The only thing I will say about leather conditioning is that it is time-consuming but worth it. Like all great outcomes, this kind of loving takes time; at least 24 hours but I do 48 hours if I can spare it. I use the museum curator stuff from Pecard, which I recommend to all of you (including your soon-to-be-very soft-hands).

Friday, October 23

Misfit Iggy

Marc reads my mind. I love every crazy aspect of the Misfit Iggy bag here. You can tell the juxtaposing elements come together and the sensible restraint of the angular shape makes this bag scream my name. The colours are, frankly, quite heavenly.

I'm not being sarcastic: Marc Jacobs is God.

Monday, October 12

Holy Cow, McQueen!

Alexander McQueen Spring Summer 2010 No, no. NOOOOOOOO!

Artistic, yes. Futuristic, maybe. Pushing the limit, really; I mean; Jesus Christ!

This recalls Chinese foot binding mumbo jumbo. It's just not flattering, Alexander! Sadly, your boldness will be mistaken for genius and truckloads will follow suit.

I suspect the (hidden) platform alone is at least six inches high. If you want to look like you have flower pots as feet, be my guest.

Jibber jabber!

Tuesday, October 6

If God did not want women to wear high heels, then Jesus must have sent this to Givenchy



I don't often buy your shoes. They are poorly made, and are blatantly copies of everything that is relevant on the most recent runway shows in New York, Milan, and Paris. Inspiration is abundant but you and your team are lazy, so you make copies and charge too much for your lack of creativity.

But please; perhaps you can make yourself useful for once; copy this shoe. I understand that crocodile skin is more expensive than the price points your customers are used to. Perhaps you can just use embossed leather, calfskin preferably. Perhaps. Please.

I look forward to seeing this product on retail shelves.

The Cherry Junkie

p/s: Kindly forward my request to Forever 21 if you are not able to produce the most marvellous open toe ankle boots ever created to date, as shown above.

Monday, September 28

It IS Fall

It rained. It is raining. It will rain.

Yesterday night, all of today, and some of tomorrow. Water, water, everywhere.

Fall is here.

No, these are not supposed to be lines stuck together to form some stanzas; searching for discovery with words.

It's just indicative of how my mind is working of late -- sporadic, slow, momentarily excited, observational, but a little bored.

I am due to give a speech in less than 48 hours, yet I have not written it yet. Not that I don't have an idea, but my idea is ... "too big" ... or I have no confidence in my idea. I never have confidence in structured speeches. If the world ran on impromptu speeches and gave out awards for those, perhaps I would feel more justified to push myself.

Graduate school is interesting. May I say, for once, that I am finally feeling challenged in an academic setting; that I am actually learning new things. Half of the semester has not even passed yet, so this is progress for sure.

And Fall is here. I need to wear socks again; I need to slap on lotion religiously.

But for now, I don't care about all of the above. The following things have been on my mind. I can remember the last time I've had these:

Thursday, September 17


Pure, ergonomic, uncompromising Italian luxury. You really need to know about the luxury set's best kept handbag secret. Please seek yourself some Valextra and tell Hermes to shove it.

Sunday, September 13

Anna $ui for Target

You've heard rumours about it. It's was even rumoured to only be a rumour, but the collection debuted this weekend at New York's Spring 2010 Fashion Week, and on sale today at Target. It's here and looking pretty spiffy. Can someone just explain to me why the prices are way above the Target designer series price points?

Available online and at limited Target stores, so don't wait for a sale. Yeah, tell my bleeding wallet that.

Saturday, September 12

First Week of School

I cracked open my first jar of Bonne Maman peach preserves this afternoon. I wonder what took me so long to give this stuff a try. Rows and rows of these have been staring me down in the grocery aisles for decades and it's not as if American supermarkets are filled with great jams/spreads/jellies to begin with.

What makes this French jar of fruit and pectin so good? I don't know. Maybe it's because it's not too sweet (I'm talking to you, Smuckers and Welch's!), not tasteless, those little bits of actual fruit, or the fact that it does not gel up or get hard after you take it out of the fridge. It's just really good. I'm not fussy about jams; good is good. So do American jams have any hope?

Actually, yes. American jams are pretty decent. I had originally gone back to the store to re-purchase a jar of Made-in-USA "peach butter", which is formulated to perfection. Then I made a beeline for the homely-looking Bonne Maman. But do try Braswell's of Georgia. Tell them I sent you. Bonne Maman vs Braswell's? It's a tie.

The first week of graduate school just ended. It didn't really occur to me that I was a grad student until after Wednesday's class. If there was one thing that was nudging me to stop mucking around, it was definitely my classmates. They were all so ... serious ... and this is beyond the fact that they weren't very much older or younger than I am. Everyone behaved as if they had enlisted in the army. It felt like I was sitting in a room full of Type As. In fact, we had three bankers in there pitching their wares. Welcome to grad school.

Fortunately, I'm looking forward to a productive semester. My professor appears to be one with a big personality and wisdom to offer. I assume his national and European awards aren't for nothing.

Monday, September 7

Happy Labour Day

I've been labouring a lot for the weekend, spending the last 72 hours in three different types of campus orientation programs for graduate assistants, international, and graduate students. Needless to say, every time I think I might be an extrovert, my introvert really kicks in in super large (community imposed) crowds. It's time for a re-evaluation of my Myers Briggs personality type.

I deserve the day off today. I shared a lot of oxygen with a lot of people for the past few days.

Happy barbecue-ing, people. Let's hope it doesn't rain.

Friday, August 14

Gun Bag

I just received this directly from James Piatt this morning. Yes, it is a handbag. $379. Good luck at the airport.

Wednesday, August 12

Dino Egg

I was at the store today for grocery shopping (yes, coming back from a month-long vacation to an EMPTY FRIDGE!) and these peculiar, little things I saw on display. The bright pink sticker on each fruit says "Dinosaur Egg™ Produce of USA" and a neon green brontosaurus prances merrily on print.

I guessed these things were in the same family as plums, based on size and skin texture. Well I bought some and bit into one. Yup, it's just a plum with speckled skin. The taste is extremely mild, with a slight tart, not flavourful and vibrant like regular plums are. However, the only thing spectacular about this dinosaur egg is the awesome dual tone flesh on the inside. Check it out below.

So buy it to say you bought some Jurassic produce, but don't expect to be impressed.

Tuesday, July 28

Python is ... who cares ... I want it!

Yes. Yes. O be still my beating heart. Is this perfection or what?

The most surprising discovery I made today was stumbling across a fantastic and well-edited Zagliani and Pauric Sweeney python-only collection, about half a dozen bags in varying sizes and colours but mostly metallics, at a store on the luxury retail floor of my favourite mall in the city.

I was just astounded, mainly because retailing is demand and supply and no one this side of Asia let alone wee-little-old-corner-of-the-equator here has actually heard of Dr. Zagliani and his crazy silicone injections or the youthful genius that is Pauric Sweeney. As the stereotype goes, it really is monogram lovers land here.

I asked the Sales Assistant if any of these bags had been sold and she said yes. I was floored. So there is a lone retail buyer out there who has been stocking these beautiful exotic bags to the tune of almost (after conversion) USD 3,700, which is borderline rip-off. Clearly there is a discerning woman or a very generous man in the city whom actually gets the whole idea of buying the best in the business, and not merely just buying a brand that is Vuitton, or Chanel, or Dior.

But back to the PS1 in Python: I am pleased that there are still many wonderful things (literally) to look forward to (owning) in life.

Alien Vibrating Mascaras and other stories

I'm quite a newbie to eye makeup in general, which upon reflection either shows how much I love skin preservation, or how much wasted potential I've allowed in not highlighting one of my best facial features.

To shortcut years or adolescent makeup ignorance, I have ventured into the deep waters of mascaras and have tried out most of the well-documented / oft-praised department and drugstore tubes of vaseline+talc+iron oxides. Yes, mascara is all the chemical stuff your dermatologist told you to avoid.

I give myself a pat on the back because I've made astounding progress in just a few short months. There's nothing like a recession-induced boredom to make you try out new things.

Today, I want to give praise to the industry-approved Lancôme Ôscillation. This award winning bla bla bla ....

Look, let me put it this way, I have stick straight lashes that don't really stayed curled even with a (really good) curler. And yes, I own the best curler in the market.

This vibrating mascara thing curled and coated my lashes just like that; I mean LIKE THAT. And it wasn't even waterproof! Girls with stick straight lashes get my drift about waterproof mascara and keeping a curl.

7000 oscillations per minute -- Jesus didn't give me nice lashes but science did and I am now a believer. The price tag is $34.

I'm looking forward to trying the exact drugstore knockoff, right down to the vibrating mechanism: Maybelline New York Pulse Perfection Vibrating Mascara, at $13 a pop. Could it really be the same product for a third of the price? I'll let you know when I try it.

But for now, if you ever need a gift for your mother / sister / cousin / girlfriend / wife, get her a tube of vibrating mascara. She will thank you, I promise.

Tuesday, July 21

Rainy Day before the Tsunami

I've been out of the posting-any-relevant-or-irrelevant-updates habit for a few weeks now, mainly due to intercontinental travel. The weather conditions today (and what looks like only today) have finally allowed me to not sweat for a continuous 12 hours, and settle down and greet all of you here from a desktop in Asia Pacific.

The Middle East can't beat me here when it comes to weather complaints. They may have it hot over there, but it is hot and extremely humid (count at least 80%) over here. Every time I use the Lord's name in vain, it is mostly because of the weather.

The big thing this week for me is hearing the good news on the accurate predictions of what will supposedly be the most massive tsunami occurrence this side of the world since the last one that hit South Asia. Yes, I said it! Call me bitter. I have been forced to forego any plans to lie out on a beach because this urban legend has perpetuated to a point of being accepted as truth. Godamnit!

If you live in a tsunami predicted region, please stop being foolish and leave immediately! And with that, do not return either. The "Pacific Fire Rim" is forever, so choose your residence wisely.

Now back to the main event, for those looking forward to the total solar eclipse scheduled to take place Wednesday; July 22, 2009 (which triggers the so called tsunami), have a happy viewing.

For now I am left with memories of ogling at "Consular Agent Joshua", whose real identity I may never discover. He looks like a gorgeous, Asian version of Channing Tatum. Feast below and thank me later.

Monday, June 22

Vuitton and eLux countdowns

Not yet, bitches!
Two things LVMH is (confirmed) doing this week that will piss me off:
(1) Louis Vuitton product prices are increasing on Wednesday; June 24, 2009.
(2) E-commerce at will close for good on Friday; June 26, 2009.

As a consolation, those of you whom adore the Damier Azur canvas pattern like I do, have a lot to look forward to when the Cruise 2010 collection comes out circa December 2009 -- the Neverfull finally gets an Azur makeover.

Start saving now, and add at last a 15% premium on the prices you see today.

Monday, June 1

I am so hyped for lycra/spandex

I am here to confess that I am a recent convert into the female religion of leggings. Yes, leggings. Technically they are footless tights.

I don't remember exact which style maven sent this item down the runway and thus revived such a horrendous 1980s style into the 21st century. I suspect it was a last minute creation of necessity as I can imagine Marc Jacobs (I credit anything relevant today, to him) staring endlessly at his statuesque fit model, it being 2 a.m. in the moring, and he knew he had to cut something up to save his outfit from looking hoochie by way of the model's ass hanging out of his prototype tattered shirt/top. And thus Marc eyed a bunch of opaque tights, or solid pantyhose if you want to call it that way, cut off the bottom ends because he is very prone to cutting stuff, and told the model to put them on. When she was done, he knew his genius was sealed. Another runway collection saved.

I may be making the story up but I know how he works in his studio even though I have not step foot in the neighbourhood it is in. Do I want to work for Marc Jacobs? Very badly, yes.

So anyway, I've never hesitated to wear skinny jeans even with my somewhat massive thighs because, I guess, I'm just a sucker for any garment that makes my butt look good.

I always thought leggings would be my downfall because the frabrication, while more substantial than regular pantyhose, would surely not have enough "hold" to shape my butt. So that's why I've stayed away from leggings while the rest of the world has taken to it like breathmints at the annual garlic convention.

Well, I've been legging-free until, April this year. So after surviving over a quarter of a century, I caught the legging bug while shopping with a friend. Yes, it is some sort of infectious disease. See above -- this molten leather looking thing was too cool to pass. My ass actually looked decent and my thighs were fixed with a heavy dose of high heels, thank you Roger Vivier.

Fast forward about two months later now, I can't keep my eyes off leggings. Insanity. Most people wear the regular black/navy/brown/neutral coloured ones but I am so fascinated with crazy leggings, as exhibited below. Haven't bought any of them though.

Tuesday, May 19

I love my American Express

I received a random "Unknown" number call at close to 4am this morning. And before the afternoon came, a text message was sent to my phone, requesting me to call Amex about a fraudulent charge.

What? Me? Like everyone, I always thought credit card fraud happened to everyone else but me. Well today, the omens gathered and some fool in Oregon was attempting to charge over $500 of Lowe's (for the foreigners: a giant, national home improvement retailer) purchases to my card.

I've never even been to Oregon, and since I don't own a house, I haven't been to Lowe's in years.

Did I expect this to happen? Yes. I received a letter from one of the online retailers I purchased from, a few months ago, informing me that their servers had been compromised and credit card information was stolen, mine included.

Oh, great! Just another thing for me to worry about: the recession, unemployment, and some unauthorised use of my credit card.

Well it's a good thing I still manage to scrape up the $150 annual fee Amex demands of me every year. I could easily subscribe to any other card company for free (and their infamously bad customer service; I'm talking about you two, Citibank and Chase!), but all the best things in life are not truly free.

New credit card on the way via overnight service by UPS.

God bless my credit card, Amex.

Wednesday, April 29

The Swine in Michigan

Barack celebrates 100 years, I mean, err, days in office. It feels like years because he is fixing over a decade of problems. I said over a decade. Yes, I said it! People think the real estate mortgage collapse (which is the catalyst for the current recession) was a product of the Bush era but it started when Greenspan went around deregulating Wall Street in the 80s.

So yeah, leave it to Barack to clean up the dirt. For those who gave him a C or lower grade (ahem, Fox News network) for his performance so far, let's see if you can outdo this man without making all kinds of gaffes like Bush I and Bush II. Why did I not make a Bubba joke? Please, we all love Bubba. And we have to support Ms. Hillary since she did the braver thing twice -- stood by Bubba and stood by Barack.

To celebrate my extremely boring week and fear of catching The Swine, I ventured out of my apartment building today to join a friend for coffee. Along the way, we paid a visit to the Hospital because my friend is his sister's little bitch, I mean, err, his sister's valet and she had a mid-evening Frappuccino craving. Then we went around shaking hands with some of his friends in the Hospital -- nurses, food service people, etc. Yeah, I feared for my life for a good 30 minutes and I pumped the Purell hand sanitizer stuff on two separate occasions.

I suspect Purell must have a $10 million dollar contract with the University of Michigan Health System (including the Hospital) because there was a full-size Purell pump every 10 feet of a corridor and also one in every patient and examination room.

I am praying that The Swine stays at only 2 people in Michigan, though it has been spreading rapidly through the Midwest already, no thanks to the 51 kids in New York. This was supposed to be a Mexico-Texas thing, and America would have gladly allowed Texas to secede from the Union. Now it's global.

Good luck, everyone.

Monday, April 27

Bad junior fashion in Ypsilanti, MI

I attended a graduation commencement ceremony on Sunday and the weather was blazing hot, so there were a lot of unspeakable fashion mistakes going on everywhere, but I found this little boy to have committed the most grievous of all style sins: the sock-and-sandal.

Yes, that is the boy and his older brother in front of him, with the all-American footwear faux pas. Clearly his parents (especially his mother) are to blame for this display.

Parents, please. Casual is fine but stupid is not okay. If you want the kids to wear socks, then wear shoes. If you want it to be breezy but covered then wear canvas shoes, or (in desperate times, try) Crocs.

Saturday, April 25

Hawt Pink

It's the end of the semester and the kids in the neighbourhood have been partying endlessly, celebrating the last of their exams and the upcoming summer break. Here's a wonderful reminder of some of the craziness that enrolls into college here in Michigan:
My phone's camera is not the greatest but the car is in (in American terms) Pepto Bismol pink, which is a cotton candy pink with a tinge of violet undertones. I've never seen the owner of the car (no prizes for guessing the gender) but s/he parks in a different spot every school day on the street in front of my apartment building.

If I don't see it in Fall when the new school term starts, I will surely miss it.