Friday, December 16, 2005

The Case for the Holiday

First we start with the good news, which is that I've finished another quarter this week and it looks like yours truly is going to pass once again with flying colors. Whee! Also: Best. Research Paper/Presentation. EVER. (Okay, more like a personal best, but still.)

With that said, however, the end of another quarter also means that my Christmas vacation has begun, and I have less than 48 hours to clean the house before the parental units fly into the island - extreme domesticity! And by the time I finish, I will definitely not have enough time to blog before we all fly out to Las Vegas for the big family reunion out there - even though I've already gone ahead and finished packing, since I still need to leave room for all the other stuff I'll end up finding at the outlets.

(I'm only going to be off island for a few days, but I'll be here before New Year's to spend more quality time with the ohana.)

So, in honor of this blessed holiday season, Domesticity will be officially on vacation until January 4, 2006. And this time I will make sure to come back with more shopping and snark, plus a few choice Vegas anecdotes or two.

Until then: Mele Kalikimaka e Hauoli Makahiki Hou!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Case For More Random Unpopular Opinions

What the world needs more of now: Carolers.

What the world also needs more of now: "Christmas in Hollis" by Run DMC.

What the world needs less of: Radio stations that switch their playlists to all Christmas songs, all the time as an excuse to overplay the schmaltziest interpretations of Christmas carols ever recorded. (Then again, I don't listen to the radio as much as I used to any more, so I have no excuse. )

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Domesticity Weekend: Caption This!

In honor of my participation in tomorrow's Honolulu Marathon Race Day Walk, I bring to you this actual JPEG from the pages of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin:

Naveen Andrews of the ABC series LOST explains to former Olympic boxer Brian Viloria that Dominic Monaghan does not, in fact, "swing that way."

"So, Brian, let me explain to you everything that's been happening on the show these last few weeks..."

Naveen Andrews and Brian Viloria discuss the logistics of recreating the Punjabi wedding number from Bride and Prejudice for the audience during the Honolulu Marathon Expo at the Hawaii Convention Center.

"Funny that you should ask - I didn't have time to change, so I went down into the hatch and got my good friend Michelle Rodriguez to help me pick this outfit..."

"Yes, Brian, I understand, but for the last time... please stop asking me for Evangeline Lilly's phone number!"
"Eh, brah, no fair! You promise you go wen' tell Evangeline I jus' like go one date wit' her after I tell Meimei to do the Race Day Walk for you!"

The Case for the Funny

What's more hilarious than reading this blog? (Okay, apart from the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the thought of Peter Sarsgaard waking up in the morning thinking, "Damn, I really should call up Meimei to stage a bra intervention for my girlfriend.")

Why, it's Television Without Pity's Project Runway Caption Contest, of course! Hours of entertainment, even if you don't put yourself in the running for the special grand prize. Read 'em and weep.

The Case for the Holiday Wishlist: 2005 Edition, Part II

Enough with the fantasy shopping! I've finally managed to snap out of my funk and get my window-shopping retail mojo back. That means I've been able to try out some goodies, for a change. Here's a few things worth sharing from my recent shopping trip:

- Nike ID: I got to check this out firsthand at the Honolulu Marathon Expo, where the Niketown booth had a display of some of the shoes featured on the site. Anyhow, the Nike ID site is worth playing around with - select shoe, select size (and in some models, width), then go crazy with colors, monograms, shoelaces, the works. On top of the customization services, the site also offers free shipping till February 2006.

- Gap's Curvy Fit Jeans: Seriously, if you're anything like me, this jean fit is definitely for you - not only does it fit nicely around your booty and thighs, but it also works with a pot belly by not bunching around the waistband and not having that weird bulging around the crotch area. Combine it with a low-rise boot cut and a dark rinse, and the effect is nothing short of devastating. (Trust me: I tried the Regular and Straight cuts, but only the Curvy one worked out for the best.)

Note to all Gap shoppers: If you think the store nearest you does not have your size or style for jeans or pants, try on a pair in regular, then check if they have it online, which has the wider range of petite and tall sizes. In some cases, you may even be able to just place the order at the store, and they won't even charge you for the shipping fees. This is doubly crucial in Hawaii, where shipping fees from online stores can take a huge chunk out of your wallet.

- Cargo SmokyEye: Wow! Why have I not seen these babies before? The brush is actually quite substantial (no poking-yourself-in-the-eye), the formula is smooth, and the colors (my fave: Katmandu) are really nice. The effect seems quite soft, though - more Audrey Hepburn than Ozzy Osbourne.

(Which reminds me: I just saw Franz Ferdinand on TV, and Alex Kapranos was not wearing any eye makeup - but he was still hot, yo. Which is more than what I can say about other guys in eyeliner.)

- Urban Decay palettes: Personally, I think I've outgrown the target demographic for Urban Decay, which explains my initial meh-ness upon seeing these in person - sorry, guys, not a fan of the glitter. The Shadow Boxes would've made me go totally “meh” if it wasn't for the glittery neutral shades, but the gloss set is definitely a wow.

- Williams-Sonoma Hot Chocolate: If you're the kind of person who doesn't want anything fancy in your hot chocolate, this one's definitely something you'll enjoy - it's sweet and chocolaty, but not cloyingly so, and goes best with marshmallows.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Case for the Random Unpopular Opinion

Even though she just happens to be dating somebody I happen to like (lucky duck), I do think that Maggie Gyllenhaal is pretty, and talented. I just wish she would invest in (a) bronzer, (b) an IPEX bra, and (c) a decent pair of jeans, so I won't have to keep mistaking her for Jake in drag.

Also, I wish she would just eat a steak or two once in a while. And let Peter do the same.

The Case Against The Grammys

I kid you not - here, nominated for the Grammys along with Martin Scorsese's No Direction Home and videos for Bruce Springsteen, Brian Wilson, and the Ramones, is this magnum opus:

Category 108

Best Long Form Music Video
(For video album packages consisting of more than one song or track. Award to the Artist and to the Video Director/Producer of at least 51% of the total playing time.)


Trapped In The Closet (Chapters 1-5 )
R. Kelly
R. Kelly & Jim Swaffield, video directors; Ann Carli, video producer
[Jive Records/Zomba Label Group]

There is only one thing on my mind right now: Oh my God, a remake... remake... remake...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Case for More Holiday Cheer

A couple of girls just stopped by my doorstep as carolers, and they asked me if they could sing for me. One of them was playing guitar, and both were singing harmony. Their voices were very pretty, and they were just the two nicest, sweetest kids ever.

Usually I have a thing against people -especially kids - who just show up on my doorstep, especially if they want money from me. But these two were an exception; they were polite, they were gracious, and for a moment there they made me forget what a cranky old lady I've turned into lately.

Sigh. Why would anyone want to grow up so quickly at their age?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Case for the Holiday Wish List: 2005 Edition, Part 1

In keeping up with the “theme” of Everything I Want and Nothing I Need, here's a sampling of what my holiday wish list looks like.right now.

WHAT I WANT: The 2006 Ford Mustang convertible. My favorite memories of this year were the times when my friend Lola would pick me up in her 'Stang and we would drive around the island. (Lo eventually had the car shipped back to the Mainland before moving to Europe. Miss her.) That ride was sweet, from the convertible top to the bucket seats. Now I want one.
WHAT MY FOLKS WANT: The 2006 Toyota Prius. Can't argue with that. Great mileage, silent engine - the right balance of practical and trendy.
WHAT I'LL END UP GETTING: The 1998 Toyota Corolla. All the virtues of the Honda Civic, but without the slutty reputation.

WHAT I WANT: These sexy, sexy shoes, because... heck, I gotta live a little, and it's been a while.
WHAT I'LL GET: New running shoes from the Nike outlet, and possibly a Nine West gift card. (Not that it's a bad thing, mind you.)

WHAT I WANT: The Vosges Aztec Collection. If you need to get to my good side (and you know who you are if you have to) , this would definitely be a good place to start.
WHAT I'LL GET: In the absence of a good chile-spiked chocolate bar, there's always a cup of Ibarra or Abuelita hot chocolate, made on the stove with hot milk and lots of love, and served with warm homemade bread. Instant holiday cheer.

WHAT I WANT: A crown roast served with all the trimmings and a good wine.
WHAT I'LL GET: Christmas dinner at an undisclosed location in Las Vegas. And you can bet your sweet bippy we're gonna get us some ham and cheese on that table!

WHAT I WANT: Home Rules: Transform the Place You Live into a Place You'll Love by Nate Berkus. Oh, don't look at me like you've never had that fantasy yourself.
WHAT I'LL GET: The trifecta of Meimei's it-only-looks-brutal reality: Suze Orman's The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke (because those shoes and rent checks won't pay for themselves, my dear); Young and Hungry by Dave Lieberman (even I think he's more accessible than Nate, but that's just me), and Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell (bound to become a blogger classic).

More to follow as we continue window shopping...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Domesticity Reviews: Dead Man Walking

Folks, I know it's been more than 10 years, but Dead Man Walking is a very serious movie. It's definitely not an easy one to watch if you're just looking for a flick to kill time, because it sticks with you.

If you can appreciate great filmmaking, you will enjoy the performances in this movie, especially with Susan Sarandon (who earned her Oscar here-she's very convincing as Sister Helen ) and Sean Penn (who I think deserved it less for Mystic River); you'll be even more surprised by the even-handed and artful way that Tim Robbins handles the script. (Note to Zach Braff: This is how you do a quick-edit montage to music without looking or sounding pretentious.) But the subject matter... well, it's not the stuff of quick watercooler talk, that's for sure. I'm not saying it's heavy, like Passion of the Christ, but the subject of the death penalty and the sanctity of life is not something to be taken lightly, no matter where you stand.

These arguments, of course, are beyond the scope of this site, so I'll leave it at that. But the way the events are portrayed here - in the screenplay, in the cinematography - are so weighty, and so moving, that you may not be able to appreciate anything about the story without having an understanding of the greater truth behind the characters' motivations. You'll definitely need to watch it with a devoutly Catholic (or at least Christian) friend who can handle a good argument. And you'll definitely have to keep a ready and open mind.


And now, a much-needed moment of levity.

Dear Peter Sarsgaard:

You know, I don't harbor any illusions that a single blogger like myself is capable of making another person - let alone a famous person - take a long hard look at his own career, but I'm going to do this anyway..

So I just finished watching Dead Man Walking, which I believe was one of your first film roles. And you know what? For someone who doesn't spend that much time on screen - and gets his head blown up by Sean Penn - you were pretty darn indelible. Haunting, even. (The '80s bangs were not a hindrance to this judgement- but you were soooo CUUUUTE!1!1!!) Who knew you'd turn out to be a good actor? And I still respect that about you. It's your line of work; it's what you do well.

That said. (And this is a very pointed "that said," mind you, coming from me.) You know who else was in that movie with you? That's right: Jack Black. And I like Jack Black, too. Say what you will about Jack Black's integrity of purpose, or credibility as an actor, but Jack Black is about to make more money than you this Christmas by being in a movie that I might actually want to watch. (Okay, me and the rest of the planet, but still.) That's not even with the benefit of hanging around macrobiotic restaurants or being accused of getting cliquey.

(Which reminds me: I figured you could use some holiday cheer for the dinner table, so I ordered this for you... Kidding.)

You know where I'm getting at, do you? Don't front and tell me you don't have any fans, bro, because you do. But what about the rest of us who like you but don't want to see yet another movie where you play another smirky-faced, HoYay-generating scumbag-who-got-that-way-because-of-Something-Bad? You were fine (in many definitions of the word) as an innocent, my sweet. You've got a whole holiday season to think about this. Give it some consideration the next time people start whispering about you while you're ordering your next bowl of miso soup.

Sincerely, Mei.

PS. Dude, if you're ever on Oahu? Lanikai Juice, Boots & Kimo's, and Nick's Fishmarket. That's all I'm saying.

The Case for the (Holiday) Present

Here at Domesticity - where getting into the Christmas spirit means posting a link to NORAD's Santa-tracking site - we have nothing against giving and receiving presents. (Which is good, especially now that we also realize that we do have something against people who eat at macrobiotic restaurants. Oh, Peter. )

So when I was cleaning my place and found a tiny sample of Philosophy's The Present Skin Perfector, I just had to use it. A moisturizer and primer in one, promising "airbrushed skin"? I'm so there - and considering that I've been in the market for both moisturizer and primer (since I'm not going to give up on pressed powder any time soon) I knew this was the way to go. Besides, there was an outdoor reception that I had to attend that afternoon, which provided a perfect opportunity to test drive any sort of cosmetic product.

First things first: The application instructions for this product specify a wait time of two minutes before applying the rest of your makeup. Which is fine by me, since I was doing other things (like talking on the phone) but I personally don't think that this would fly if you're the kind of person who always puts on their makeup in a hurry. Nevertheless, the Philosophy product had a light texture - a cross between a cream and a gel - that went on smoothly and spread out pretty nicely without feeling like I'm spreading Elmer's glue on my face - more like a fast-absorbing cream that made my skin feel smooth in seconds.

But did it look smooth? Well, not exactly - some of the tiny blotches on my face still peeked through, which precipitated me sponging on some foundation. But the amazing thing about using a primer is that I didn't have to use too much foundation; all I needed was a light formula to even out my skin tone, and barely any powder to set the whole look. (In retrospect, I should've gone straight to powder, though, since having foundation AND powder on top of the primer felt heavy.) That's when my skin truly looked "airbrushed," like I was lit up from within and there was no traces of any stress whatsoever on my face. I not only looked like a well-rested version of myself, but a camera ready, well-rested version of myself .

And camera ready I did turn out to be, since there was some picture-taking at the event (okay, digital photos taken by friends that turned out to be candid) and the only thing I had to worry about was getting bits of broccoli on my teeth and spinach dip on my chin. Still, my makeup stayed flawless for those two hours I was out and about, and not once - not once - did my face get the usual itchy feeling it would get whenever I put on makeup. Not only that, but I still did not feel like taking off my foundation when I got home, because my skin was still very much "airbrushed"-looking after all was said and done. Fantastic!

Keep in mind, too, that this isn't exactly the first primer that I've tried - I used to be the proud owner of a tube of Laura Mercier Foundation Primer, which I had until... well, I don't remember why I don't have that any more, but I do remember being skeptical even when I did wear the stuff. I like the fact that at least the Philosophy primer did have moisturizing properties of its own, which would be nice for those days when I don't feel like wearing too much product on my face. In short, definitely a must-consider-buying kind of product.


And for those of you keeping score at home, here's what the rest of my makeup looked like:
  • All eyeshadows by Stila from my reliable 8-pan: Wheat as a base, Rain (discontinued) on lid and crease, and Twig smudged in with a Sephora short-handle crease brush on lashline over eyeliner
  • Rimmel Exaggerate eyeliner in Aubergine (kinda dry, but I like the color)
  • L'Oreal Translucide gel blush (discontinued) in Blushing Glow - not too much to overpower the rest of the face, since the foundation was already sheer
  • Can't say I remember the lipstick color (sorry!) but it was a medium rose in a creamy formula, possibly discontinued; besides, it was all gone by the time I got to the spinach dip. I'd imagine that this look would work with a rosy-mauve "your lips but better" kind of shade, like Maybelline's Wet Shine Fusion in Rose ' N Shine or MAC lipstick in Del Rio. A sheer lip stain would work with this, too.
  • No mascara, no hair product (I ended up tying my hair back in a ponytail) and a generous spritz of Bath and Body Works spray in Plumeria.

Stunning? Definitely. The only regret was that I didn't have this "face" on when we went out the night before, when I ended up at Aloha Tower with barely any makeup and the clothes I wore to clean my fridge.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Case for the Thousand Flowers

Looks like Domesticity's being heavily influenced by the New York web presence: First Sars points me to Apartment Therapy, now Kristin introduces me to more new beauty blogs - including (gasp!) Male Detail, for men into the whole grooming thing! Woohoo! More time to waste on the Internet!

Okay, I take that last sentence back - I still have 20 more pages' worth of action research left to type out in excruciating detail. (Yeah, woohoo to that too, and by the time I'm done I might as well write the BEST RESEARCH PAPER EVER. Pass the bourbon!) And the thing is, now that it's December I can finally get into the holiday spirit! Yeah! I even watched the rerun of Rudolph The Red Nosed Raindeer last night, and it was awesome!

Okay, off to watch Oprah on Letterman. I'm going to be laughing myself silly for the rest of the night. (Then I'll wake up and spend the rest of my morning typing up my gigantor paper. I didn't say life was easy; I just said it was good.)

More holiday goodness tomorrow.