Thursday, April 21, 2011

they really do fall like snow

I never realized how much the seasons affect my mood and personality until this year. But then again, this was my first winter in Korea. All I wanted to do was sit in my heated apartment with my computer. But now that the weather is awesome and the world is a nice place to venture out into, I've been out hiking every day. EVERY DAY. For the past month. One of the things I will truly miss about Korea is having mountains across the street from my apartment. (Charleston: awesome beaches, awesome nightlife, awesome shopping, awesome food, awesome laid-back attitude, but mountains? Korea has you beat there!) So between hiking, parties and spring festivals I've had no time to sit down, which has been great for my life (not to mention my butt), but my online life has suffered. I have tons of pictures, but no time to upload them. However, today is a rain day. And if there's one thing Korea does not half-ass it on it's rain. So here I sit sharing some of the best shots of my quirky-gorgeous mountain town. The ubiquitous cherry blossoms and wild azaleas really class up the place. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

how awesome is awesome?

Josh Keyes, thank you for existing, for putting your stuff out there, and having a website. You make the rest of the world look a little duller in comparison, but that's ok. Your only flaw: you don't have a t-shirt to make me re-think my no t-shirt policy.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

for the love of spring

Had the first semi-warm day of the year yesterday and I went hiking. You could see the happiness on everyone's faces on the trail. While it's still jacket weather for now, and the cherry blossoms have not appeared, I am jonesing for it bad. So here are some things I'm loving/wanting/needing/breathing that would easily make the transition into just-spring warmer weather.

some more achievable than others

Friday, March 11, 2011


Please donate to help the Japan earthquake relief effort, but be careful who you give your money to. Until a reputable charity is established, go over to the Red Cross to dedicate money specifically for this disaster. My heart goes out to the country I have come to think of as my home away from home away from home.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

not rich enough to be a convert

Chloe is one of those lines that seems to be in love with my enemy, the high-waist. So, their clothing is usually more miss than hit for me. And I'm not usually one for animal prints. (Stay far far away.) So please excuse me while I eat my words:

What's the appeal? I think it's that the prints are done in my favorite range of neutrals, which makes the prints less garish and gives my usual colors beautiful texture. And the cuts are just so... so... perfect! There really is no other word.

So am I headed out to add more snake skin to my wardrobe? Definitely not. This is one of those things I don't see successfully done often, and while my tastes may be expanding, my bank account isn't, so no real Chloe coat for me. But, I am definitely going to pay closer attention to this designer.

And, has Chloe changed my mind about high-waisted, fat momma, 1980's shorts that even make this model look like she's got a bit of a belly?


(Thanks to Alix over at The Cherry Blossom Girl for sharing!)

Monday, March 7, 2011

low waist vs. high ethics

I love low-rise jeans. The early 2000s were a great time for jean buying. I hate the current trend toward high-waist everything. (Note: if you have a concave waist, and you think this looks cool, more power to you. Personally I can't wait to buy things that actually look good again.)

So, happy happy me when I found these Miss Sixty jeans, on sale for even cheaper than online at my recently discovered new shopping spot, Shinsegae. The coolest department store in the province is right here in my sleepy little town.


So I check the label when I get home, and they are made in Tunisia. Should I be, like, concerned? I admit, before the revolution, I didn't know much about the country, but it didn't seem like a good place to get a job where you are treated well.

One manufacturer that I feel good about buying from is American Apparel. I love that all their clothes are made from union-represented workers. However, they are also under this ridiculous delusion that everyone should wear shorts and pencil skirts up to their boobs. Sigh. I do have to say though, they make the best mesh bra you can get for the price.

Hear my call American Apparel! Make clothes for the rest of us! We want to buy from you too!

(Speaking of boobs, does anyone know where this comes from? Such classy classy nudity. I want it!) via

Friday, March 4, 2011

a few goodies

So... I should be working. But the boyfriend is writing a magazine article about the All Tomorrow's Parties show we attended in Tokyo, and if it gets accepted my photos will be published with it, which will change where and how I post them. So they've all been corrected and prettified, but I can't put them up yet. I've also gotten a huge head start on my work for next week, so I'm kind of in a holding pattern. I could be cleaning, but, yeah, no. So I've spent the morning out playing in blogland, and found treasure!

I've been searching for a good Korean street style site for a while. They have a way of complimenting their bodies' natural shapes that would never work on me, but is cool nonetheless. So, I was stoked to discover Sushi and Silk! She's just gotten started but she's already better at braving the cold weather than I would ever be. My favorite shot so far. It's a great example of the puffy jacket/awesome boots style that I see all the time here. It also shows the boisterous, friendly personality of Koreans once you get through their shy exterior. Good job!

Also, a beautiful alternative to the image glut on a lot of sites, Crying Feather. They have just a few well-composed shots that have such texture and mystery they make me want to throw out my whole portfolio and start again. Well, maybe not the whole thing. I think I'm just in those restless, last-throes-of-winter doldrums and these photos are squeezing out the final drops of winter melancholy.

Last but not least, I want this bad. However it's a custom, one-of-a-kind piece, and my sewing machine is back in the States. So, that ain't happening.

So now, clean, go hiking, clean, go hiking, ...laze about some more? Decisions.

P.S. - what I love and hate about fashion. What a gorgeous freaking dress! What a stupid freaking hat! A wedding or the set of Conan the Barbarian? Which BTW, I totally love. Again with the vacillation.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Good and tired, tired but good, you know what I mean

Sorry for the craptastic cameraphone shot

48 hours was not enough time in Tokyo. Due to exhaustion and a confusing subway system, I didn't get to do a fraction of what I wanted. Still the city was amazing and I have pics to post soon. We came back to a complete schedule change at work, so I haven't even had time to start sorting through my pictures. I actually completely forgot about posting until I was plugging in my iPod to charge this morning and noticed the orange cover and thought "Oh yeah! Forgot to include that in my orange post... wait... posting, blog, what's that? I haven't done that in... when?..."

Also, a little love to the funniest fashion post ever. Coming from someone who actually did sunbathe in front of a barn (when I was in school and lived more inland) I have to say it's not the most superlatively bad thing I've ever seen, but it's still pretty freaking funny.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Intended Purpose

>I was going to do a post about a newly discovered site that I've been loving, but I thought rather than do that every time I discover something, why not just include a list of sites I like on my page. (So that's why every blog has that...) So, viola! In super-original alphabetical order, look to the right for I'm sure what will be an ever-growing list of fashion/photography/music/culture/travel/art sites I love.

But the site I want to talk about is worthy of discussion, so back to the matter at hand. Being faced with something so interesting and complex as another culture on a daily basis makes you want to talk about it all the time, which can be difficult, because people in other cultures talk about culture in different ways. Americans tend to ask direct questions and want direct answers. It turns out, this is not the only way to do things. (All those years of being brow-beaten with topic sentence, body, conclusion has affected my brain!) Individual personalities affect conversations more than culture in my experience, but I notice even the most outspoken of my Korean friends will eventually defer and agree on subjects I know they feel strongly about, in the expectation that I will understand, by body language and other cues that their culture has trained them to pick up, what they're really thinking. Unfortunately, I mostly don't and it can be confusing. So I used the internet for its intended purpose (no, not dirty pictures), instant access to information. I tried to look for insights into Asian culture written by Asians. There's plenty of whining out there written by other expats who are having culture clash problems, but that's not really going to help me. So, I stumbled on Disgrasian. It's great, loads of cultural discussion, written by some feisty Asian-Americans, with a good smattering of humor and bad language. (...and it's even helped me figure out a couple of things!) My thanks to the ladies holding down the fort back Stateside, and keep the good stuff coming.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Memory lane takes an unexpected Northern turn

Fan of the lovely New York Times? Hate that Lib news rag? Doesn't matter. Check out this travel story slideshow about little, traditional restaurants in Northern France. While the food and beer is definitely not-so-French, the atmosphere and decor of the buildings (right down to all the fake flowers hanging on the wall) and towns remind me so much of my time in the mountains of Southern France. I almost teared up! Even the people, often older and not terribly skinny, are well-groomed, yet relaxed in that specifically French way. I can just see them digging into that shared slab of pate and cracking jokes with the waiters. While I have never been to Paris, I can tell you French small town folks know how to live. The food I had there was not unexpected or really original, but it was exquisitely prepared. The mushroom omelette I had was the creamiest, best one ever. Enjoy!

Also, I leave for Tokyo next week for the show. I'll have about 48 hours in the city, ten of them solely dedicated to the concert. Any thoughts on what are the must-see-and-do things are that I can cram into the rest of my time?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Orange pop

Yesterday, I commented on how I'm seeing this color (scroll down to picture 6) everywhere. It's lost somewhere between orange and red, but bright enough not to worry too much about its identity crisis. It's all things bright and garish, beautiful or painful depending on how it is used. It's the color that's literally on everyone's lips.

I have had a tricky relationship to orange my whole life. The color was verboten in my house growing up because of a stupid football rivalry. (Note: If a football rivalry brings value and joy to your life, good for you. I think they're stupid.) I was always attracted to its pop, and perhaps even a little to the controversy it stirs up at home. So now that I'm out on my own I've started adding it into my life, and now that it's the color of the moment there are a lot of ways it can be incorporated, which is good because I have one huge problem: my skin. I have a mix of Eastern European and Mediterranean heritage, so I have olive undertones, but I'm super pale, especially in winter, so big blocks of bright color tend to look terrible on me. The big, bold a-line coat on the trendy Japanese lady in my photo would probably make my face look like runny pistachio ice cream. So what's a girl to do? Accessorize!

My beloved laptop's happy sleeve, and a thermal vest that's perfect for adding warmth under a tight coat without the added bulk of a sweater.

A neckerchief is the perfect quick way to class up any rough outfit. (Plus the boyfriend totally has a thing for the flight attendant outfit so, everyone wins.)

An awesome-smelling candle from innisfree

While bright makeup is also usually a trap for me, this blush adds just the right amount of healthy color.

A detail from a sweater I picked up from a mall in Europe.

The gorgeous color is the perfect contrast to my favorite room freshener, lavender.

Will my fascination last? Maybe, maybe not. I am probably just appreciating the brightness it's bringing to the home stretch of the Korean winter. When spring rolls around, my preferences normally turn briefly to pastels, before looking forward to fall neutrals, but who knows? The hardest thing about spending a lot of money on clothes is not knowing how your tastes will change.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fukuoka, Japan

A few shots from my recent trip to Fukuoka. My first experience with the city was during a layover last year. The airport is in the middle of downtown, which means you get a fantastic view of the coastal city cradled by mountains when landing. Unfortunately, this trip the weather was too hazy for good views of the surrounding landscape. It sounds shallow, but weather can really affect my opinion of a place. I definitely wouldn't have enjoyed Beijing as much if it had been hazy the whole time. Still, there was a lot worth seeing.

A swanky hotel called With the Style. We didn't have enough money to stay there, but we did enjoy a couple of drinks at the bar.


I'm starting to see this road-cone orange everywhere. It's definitely the in color for spring, and I couldn't be happier. I may do a post devoted solely to it soon. (Update: I actually did. Yay follow through!)

Hakata ramen from a sidewalk stand, which made my vegetarian stomach a little ill, but the boyfriend loved it.

The impressive exterior and interior of the Kyushu Museum. Unfortunately, you were not allowed to take photos in the Van Gogh exhibit.