Saturday, March 28, 2009


I've been to the mall. And no matter what Kelly says (see video below), it was pretty awesome.

An old roommate and I met up today at Potomac Mills, a shopping mecca with lots of outlet stores outside of Washington D.C. The mall itself is literally a mile long (all one level) and has more than 200 retailers. Plus, the surrounding area has practically any store you can think of, from Costco to Petsmart to Ikea -- not like we had time for those, since six hours was barely enough time to visit the most interesting mall stores and grab lunch at the food court. (Mmm, bourbon chicken.)

I'll write more about the trip later, but first, I wanted to show off some shoes I saw today. From the moment I saw this first pair, I knew I wanted to blog about it...since I can't decide if I think they are attractive or over-the-top:

Aiko, Betsyville by Betsy Johnson, $69.90

I like them better looking at the picture. They looked stranger in person. What outfit would these go with?

The next shoes are only related because they follow the white-flanked-by-dark trend.

Klarice Spectator Pump, Predictions at Payless, $16.00

I'm not super thrilled by this Payless shoe. I think it would look better in canvas, because it doesn't look very formal to me and I don't think the faux-patent leather helps. But it's not too bad. (Especially if you could have seen some of the high-end shoes I saw. Ie: gold + leopard print + red + patent leather + buckles = 30 percent off clearance price).

Anyway, my new goal is to inject some color into my wardrobe with colored shoes. In which case neither of these fit the bill. Since I always reach for black or brown, I'm going to start by trying subdued colors, like burnt orange.

Though no more clothes shopping for a bit, since I did nicely on this trip. I'll post soon...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Unfree To Buy Undewear

A group of women in Saudi Arabia launched a campaign this week to boycott lingerie stores until they employ women, according to the Associated Press.

But this isn't just about hiring women. In a country in which the genders are very strictly segregated in public, it's also about how uncomfortable it is for women to buy underwear in an all male-staffed shops.

I still get bashful perusing the lingerie sections of departments stores. I can't imagine if Victoria's Secret was staffed by all dudes. And, more than that, the salesmen who are sizing these women up can't see much more than their eyes.

Under Saudi Arabia's strict interpretation of Islamic law, women are required to cover themselves head-to-toe in black robes in public. But in the privacy of their own homes — and bedrooms — they can wear whatever they want, and sexy undergarments are popular.

But buying them is another story. Fitting rooms are banned in the kingdom — the idea of a woman undressing in a public place with men just outside is unthinkable. So a woman is never sure she has chosen the right size until she gets it home.

Sounds like an uncomfortable crap shoot.

With the way things are, the salesmen are embarrassed, the female customers are embarrassed, their (non-mandatory but common) male chaperons are embarrassed. Could
you take your brother thong shopping??

Women supporting the boycott campaign want enforcement of a 2006 law which says that all female staff can be employed in women's apparel stores.
The law has never been put into effect, partly due to hard-liners in the religious establishment who oppose employing women in mixed environments like malls, where religious police are always on the lookout to keep men and women from interacting.

Hiring women would also deprive men of jobs in a country where more than 10 percent of men are unemployed.

The campaign [also] calls on women to shop at the country's few women-only lingerie stores. Usually stand-alone boutiques or located in malls that have women-only sections, these shops have no windows to ensure passing men cannot look in — and giving women the freedom to actually try things on.

I'm not surprised that attractive lingerie is popular in a place where women have to hide in public, though -- it seems to me like there'd be a lot of people itching for a little bit of independence, to make themselves feel beautiful and feminine even if it must be hidden. And it certainly makes me think a bit differently about my ability to go into any number of malls and stores and buy whatever underwear I want, largely unnoticed.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pink Leopard Print Nails

My first attempt in quite a while to do some nail art. I'm pretty happy with the results.

The tools:

--Apply base coat, followed by one or two coats of light-colored polish.
For these pink leopard nails, I used Sally Hansen Double Duty Base & Top Coat (I'd definitely recommend) and Sally Hansen Maximum Growth plus Nourishing Nail Color in 15 Fair Fawn.

Apply darker dots on nails. Allow to dry.
I found that the bottom part of my polish brush made nice-sized dots, the key is to be very careful when pressing it down! I used Maybelline Forever Strong + iron in 60 Wonder Melon.

Using a thin brush, draw black lines around the pink dots. Add a few small, random black spots/lines around the larger dots, if you'd like.
I suggest doing two or three lines around each big pink dot, not making them close all the way. The other little dots I just found added a bit more character, mimicking the real animal.

Once everything is dry, add top coat, and voila!

Check out this link and this YouTube video for more inspiration.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

An Award and a New Attitude

List 7 things that you love, and then pass the award on to 7 bloggers that you love! Be sure to tag them and let them know that they have won.You can copy the picture of the award and paste it on your sidebar letting the whole world are Kreativ!

I'm about to run out to have dinner with a friend and see a midnight showing of Fight Club, but I wanted to post this and thank Maayari for the love. Since so many of my favorite beauty bloggers have already received this award, I'm going to cop out and say that if *you* are a blogger doing your own awesome thing, you're tagged!

So, seven things I love...

1) Staying up late watching TV snuggled under a blanket, knowing I can wake up late the next day. (Oh, the days before an office job...)

2) Dancing, especially salsa, samba, tap, and most things with my friends in a club.

3) Crafting, especially crocheting and making greeting cards.

4) Reading news online, from newspapers like the Washington Post to magazines like Slate to lots of blogs -- TMZ, Gawker, etc.

5) Taking good care of my teeth. I used to have bad gums, and I floss pretty regularly.

6) New lip glosses and balms. The beauty product I use most often.

7) Singing in my car!

In other news...I am planning to revamp the look of this site and I signed the lease/paid the deposit for my new apartment today! I move in April 1. So if my posting continues to be light, it's in preparation for the move to my own first place. I'm getting pretty excited. And hopefully the new layout will be up around that time too.

Already, moving to a new place is helping me gain a new, reinvigorated spirit. It will be out here soon...

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Yum: Grilled Eel, Cheesecake Brownies

No, I didn't eat these together...But I figured I'd explain more about my eel adventure and share with you all a delicious, super easy and attractive dessert.

First, the eel: I purchased it pre-grilled and frozen from a local Korean supermarket. All I had to do was boil it in its plastic package for about 10 minutes and mmmmm, it came out really well. I served it with a side of jasmine rice (thank goodness for my $12 CVS rice maker) topped with frozen peas and flavored with soy sauce.

Sadly, I didn't take a photo of the meal -- a norm for me -- because I was so hungry that I forgot! I took a picture of the package (upside down) in water though. What you can't see is that 'rice wine' is misspelled as 'bice wine' on the wrapper, and the serving size is miscalculated in the nutrition facts. Oddly enough, I think this gave me more hope for the food. I can't read Korean, but assuming that is the native language of whoever produced this food made me hopeful that it would be at least a little bit authentic tasting. Then again, maybe I should have just assumed it was the work of careless people and been wary of its quality...But hey, I lived, and it was tasty, so it's all good. :)

Second, you should run out and make these wonderful cheesecake brownies. They have been a favorite treat of mine ever since I first tasted them about four or five years ago. This version, adapted from, can easily be whipped up within an hour or two.

--1 package of cream cheese (8 oz)
--1 egg
--1/3 cup white sugar
--1 box of brownies mix (19.8 oz) [and ingredients necessary to make mix per-manufacturer's instructions...probably vegetable oil and eggs]

First, prepare the brownie mix as directed on the box. Pour about 3/4 of the mix into a greased pan.

Then, combine egg, sugar and cream cheese. Beat until smooth. This is easiest with an electric mixer, but can be done (vigorously) by hand.

Spoon cream cheese mixture onto brownie mix in the pan. Then top with the remaining brownie mix, and swirl together with a skewer or fork.

Bake according to manufacturer's instructions. Brownies are ready when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Thanfully, these brownies look as good as they taste and are practically foolproof. Let them cool, cut them up and share them with friends. My housemates and coworkers liked them, and I think people around you will too. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

EOTD: Gold and Green Revisited

I wanted to put together a teal look but couldn't find that shadow, so I ended up with a gold/green combo.

Talk about if looks could, why do I look so serious in the first picture?? Reminds me of Tyra telling the Top Model contestants to 'smile with their eyes.' I'm not doing that in the pic, but I am cooking eel for dinner so I'll be smiling in a bit :)

The look: "Beware the ides of March"

The products:

But shhh...the reality is, I don't have the courage to wear such bright colors out in public!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Summer Daydreams

Thanks to Polyvore for making my summer dreams into a virtual reality.

Really, wouldn't it be great to be sassy and soaking up sun at this very moment? (With sunblock on, of course! See bottom left.)

At least it's the weekend...

If you could drop all your obligations tomorrow (school, work, etc.), what would you do and where would you go?

Friday, March 13, 2009


I think that I'm going to sign the lease to move into my first real apartment tomorrow.

Well, technically, it's a loft within a condo that I will share with an older Peruvian couple.

But it means moving out from the nice, single-family home which I've called *my* home for six months. Just as the icky smoking situation was resolved (I don't smoke, my two roomies do) and we were all getting along really well.

I really love this place.

I guess it's time for a big, new adventure, though.

**So that's why I'm kind of behind on posting and the like! Plus, I'm finally catching up on things at my job, which is very important and taking up extra time.**

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Does Size Matter?

After years of reading it, and even reciting it as a sales associate at a clothing store, a little part of me remains unconvinced that size doesn't matter.

Clothing size, of course.

The topic came to my mind over lunch this weekend. I was sitting in a casual restaurant across from a 30-something couple with two young children. The littlest was probably no older than 2 and still in a stroller. Dad looked fine, but mom was squeezed into clothes that looked like they were pre-maternity.

She wasn't heavy-set, just looked like a woman who'd recently had a baby and hadn't yet dropped all the weight. I probably wouldn't have noticed her if not for her outfit: a boxy-yet-clingy floral shirt and flimsy gray cargo flood pants (the kind that look good on almost no one) that were clinging to her hips within an inch of their life.

Well, I really noticed when she turned around to wrangle the kids and flashed a foot's worth of her back, love handles spilling over her pants in full-glory.

Clothes are understandably not the first thing on a mother-of-two's mind. And I don't know anything else about this woman's life or budget. But what I do know is that this is a look I've seen before -- women of all shapes and sizes squeezing themselves into clothes that are too small. (I know oversized is also an issue, but that's a blog for another day...)

Sometimes clothes shrink in the dryer. Sometimes you gain weight. Sometimes your body changes along with hormonal changes, like after having a baby or hitting puberty. Sometimes your size doesn't change at all, but one company's "small" is another company's "large."

Size doesn't matter, it's what looks good! Whatever the reason, when you're poking through your closet or out shopping, you really shouldn't fall victim to thinking a lower number is better. Frankly, no one knows what size you wear unless she looks inside the label! So if you want a number to be concerned with, focus on reaching a healthy Body Mass Index. And leave the clothing to what fits and what flatters your body.

Next time I have the little size voice pop up in my head, I'm just going to try remembering how foolish I could look in overly tight clothes and how uncomfortable they would be...and find something in whatever my size is that day from that particular brand. :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Thwarted, then Impressed, by HiP Jelly Balms

I'd wanted to try L'Oreal HiP Jelly Balms for a long time, but never got around to picking them up at any of the drugstore BoGo sales. Plus, none of the CVS stores around me seem to carry these products. (That's not what I mean by "thwarted" though. I'll explain at the end.)

Finally, seeing them on sale at Target inspired me to take the plunge. And I'm very happy I did!

I went for "Delectable," a candy-red color that makes me look like I've just eaten a bunch of strawberries. (In a good way.) It's not as dark red as I expected on my lips -- more of a natural blush. The swatch looks almost berry-colored on my hand, which is okay since those shades work for me.

It is very shiny, not at all shimmery. It glides on well, almost too well -- this isn't a pot in which you have to swirl your finger around to dig out an application, I found that after a few wears, a thin layer of already-soft goop remained on the top of the balm.

Jelly Balms retail for between $7 and 9. I got mine on sale at Target for $5 or 5.50. I will probably buy this again in other colors, and layer it over lip balms, lip pencil and possibly lipstick, to give a finishing oomph of shine and color.

You might like Jelly Balm if: you want sheer, shiny color that feels smooth on your lips. **My tip is to layer it on top of some lip balm for an extra-smooth experience.

You might not like it if: you want full coverage color, SPF sun protection and dislike balms that come in pots. **SPF if something I try to look for when I can.

Okay, lastly, "thwarted"...After purchasing it at Target I skipped to my car and eagerly ripped off the seal, wanting to try it after months of anticipation. And the jar wouldn't open!! I had *three* male friends try it over the next week and none could get it either. One even got out a pliers and almost busted the thing. (Thankfully, the pliers wasn't big enough. At the time it seemed like a good idea in desperation though.) I finally exchanged the damn jar, where the woman at the returns desk was also unable to open it. She ended up labeling it as it will thwart no other well-meaning consumer, I hope. :)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Why I'm Glad I Finally Got Boots

I'm feeling in an alliterative mood, so it comes down to this: Fashion, Function and Fit. That's what I realized this morning when I thought about how glad I am to have my new boots!

They are all black, leather, shin-high boots with flat fur on the outside (not as garish as it sounds) and suede trim around the laces. The inside is plush, warm wool. The sole is synthetic with a two-inch platform heel and has surprisingly good traction.

It was love at first sight. They were strewn on a table with about two dozen other assorted pairs at the front of Marshalls as part of a season-end clearance, and since I'd been looking for boots for at least a year or two, this was like a dream come true. I tried on several pairs but these definitely stuck out. However, I wasn't quite ready to spend $110 on shoes on a whim the first time I saw them. Plus, they felt a bit tight.

About a week later I returned to the store. Most of the inventory I'd seen was gone but these boots remained. They were now $70 on final clearance, and though I still hesitated, that price was much easier to swallow. Especially since I felt satisfied with the apparent quality of the materials and craftsmanship, and I was confident that I really liked them. I thought twice about the purchase and still liked them. Plus $70 down from $200+ is a deal that's hard to beat.

So I took the plunge. Great decision! I've worn them with skirts, with skinny jeans, with boot cut work, to go out, to hang out...and this morning, I wore them while digging my car out of four to six inches of snow. (Who'd have expected that in the Washington D.C. suburbs in early March??)

I love how stylish they look -- I'm not very trend-conscious or always stylish, but these look pretty darn nice. I like how they fit -- uber-comfortable. They are one of the few pairs of shoes I can wear for hours during light activity (work, fun, no marathon running) that remain very comfortable.

And finally, they are so functional! I didn't get one drop of moisture in my socks today, even while marching through totally unshoveled snow to retrieve my car. As someone who's had a lot of snow seep through her sneakers, this was just the most fantastic development.

So I give a glowing review to Oscar Sport boots. Hopefully these will hold up for a long time to come.