Saturday, December 20, 2008

Domesticity Guide to Last Minute Gifties, Part 6: My Personal Wish List

Every year, Santa always gets the same list of wishes with regards to yours truly: Job. Boyfriend. Car. On-call maid service. Unlimited shopping sprees at Sephora and Nordstrom. Personal training sessions with Jillian Michaels and Gina Carano. A house by the beach where people can actually sleep over when they come and visit me here in Honolulu.

And while this year doesn't look like it's going to be any different - since none of the above has materialized yet on my doorstep - I thought I'd go ahead and spruce up the old wish list anyway:

- Full sets of makeup brushes from Sephora and Sonia Kashuk, since my current arsenal is feeling quite outgunned lately

- Circular knitting needles and some yarn, so I can start making my own gifts... especially since it does look like I'm going to be a godmother anyway (*ahem*)

- Another solo trip to the Mainland, just like the one I just did last summer when I went to Cleveland. Wonder if New York's going to be the next stop?

- An honest-to-goodness day at the spa. Massages, mani-pedis, maybe even a hair/makeup consultation... Oh, what the hell. Make it a week, already.

- A brand new pair of running shoes

- A killer job-interview outfit. All these dark pants and pretty blouses are nice for the field I'm in... but I want something that says, "Hot damn, let's hire THIS ONE!"

- Heels that won't hurt to walk in

- For that matter, boots that look hot but won't hurt to walk in

- A dress that can go from work to cocktails... and if it's black or brown, so much the better

- Quality time with friends and family

- A printer, to make this whole working-from-home-and-getting-things-done setup more effective

- A cure for writer's block and listlessness, respectively

Mele Kalikimaka and Hauoli Makahiki Hou to everyone!

Domesticity Guide to Last Minute Gifties, Part 5

All I could say is that I would never wish this, ever, even on the worst frenemy on my gift list. (From, of course.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Domesticity Guide to Last Minute Gifties, Part 4

This entry is dedicated to the trickiest of gift-giving categories: colleagues and co-workers who may (or may not) read more into your gift than you intended. They may have their reasons, but let's try to be on the safe and ethical side here, mmkay?

For your boss: You know him, you love him, it's a real joy working for him... and if you could change one thing about him, it would probably be his hang-ups about coffee. Ever since he bequeathed his old Krups coffeemaker to the rest of the office, he has been on a relentless quest for the perfect cup: Starbucks is too corporate, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is too mall-ish, espresso machines are out of the question and nothing seems to measure up to his standards. But before you and your coworkers go ahead and shell out all that money for kopi luwak, you may want to consider one last option: Get him a French press from Bodum (like this one) to keep in his office, where he can heat his own water and make his own brew, any time he wants. Throw in some freshly ground beans and you'll have a happy workplace in no time.

For that client: He's one of two kinds of people - the kind who either makes your life hell by making so many insistent demands on your projects (um, hello?) or the one who makes you so many promises that even he doesn't notice that his hands are getting clammy and his eyes are glazing over. Maybe there's a little bit of both in him. In any case, you know that he could really use a tall glass of Chillax, and no cookie basket is ever going to be good enough for him to be worth taking on in the next fiscal year. We've got just the solution for you: Maui Rum from Haleakala Distillers. Some are made for smooth sipping, and some are made for swirling into a mai tai... and then there's Braddah Kimo's 155 Proof Da Bomb Extreme Rum, which is unavailable outside of Hawaii for very obvious reasons, and should only be a good idea if you're working with both Jimmy and Warren Buffett.

For the sad-sack singleton in the cubicle next to you: You've heard her talk so mournfully about her lackluster love life. She meets guys every night, you hear her say, and if she wanted a boyfriend she could hook up with any one of them right now... but she doesn't want just about any man; she needs a man, and none of those "guys" are meeting her standards. Obviously, it's not your business to tell her what to do (unless she is making those lamentations on office time, and even then you should hand the ball over to the HR folks) but God knows she could really use some spicing up for the holidays. This holiday season, upgrade her usual office cocoa with MarieBelle Aztec Hot Chocolate - as dark and rich as she could hope for in her wildest dreams -or tell her Secret Santa to get an entire canister of the after-hours-worthy Serendipity 3 Frrrozen Hot Chocolate Mix. It may not be the same as sending Mr. Darcy to her doorstep, but at least it's easier to gift wrap.

For the hardest-working colleague in your department: Take it from somebody who spent her entire year going in and out of the public school system - nobody, and I mean nobody, enjoys being sick. The only thing worse than being sick, in fact, is suffering that unspoken guilt trip that comes from having to use those sick days - especially if you're in the kind of workplace where people look at being laid up with the flu as being tantamount to a luxurious but unneccessary vacay in the Bahamas. (Just ask anyone in your office who has kids.) That said, the Herbal Infusion Assortment from Mighty Leaf Tea is a good start for anything that can affect your health and productivity: ginger for laryngitis, chamomile for anxiety, yerba mate for mental clarity (or the times when the office coffee doesn't pack enough caffeine), and other herbs to help, you know, promote a clear sense of well-being and all that.

Domesticity Guide to Last Minute Gifties, Part 3

For the foundation-challenged: Seriously, people, it all begins and ends with the Sample Pack from Everyday Minerals - all you have to pay for is shipping, and you'll get your choice (in tiny but long-lasting sample sizes) of three foundations, a powder concealer, and a blush. Start a friend off with the sample and she may not only find a new favorite foundation (or two - their powders are made for blending!) but she may even end up splurging on a full-size custom kit to spruce up their makeup arsenal. It's the gift that keeps on giving!

(This may constitute as an unpaid triple-endorsement of EM, though: I heard about this from SisMei, and after I tried it, I did give a sample pack to Scribey for her birthday. And guess what? She did end up with a custom kit and got eyeshadows and bronzer for free! What. A. Deal.)

For the brush-challenged: Did you know that MAC always offers brush sets as part of their holiday collection? Did you know that their sets this year (like this basic set) are totally adorable? Did you know that they even offer a cosmetics bag with mascara, lipstick, and shimmer powder included? Did you know that all of their holiday kits are 25% off online right now? Why not grab one now before it's all gone? Or before I'm unable to stop myself from writing sentences with question marks?

For the aloha-challenged, kane edition: If there's one thing that my Dad and Mr. SisMei can agree on, it's their fondness for crisp, business-appropriate aloha shirts. None of the bright-colored, palm-festooned Magnum PI nonsense - just good old fashioned reverse-print cotton that looks just as great tucked into a belt and sensible trousers in a meeting with CEOs as it does untucked over khakis and flip flops at the beach. Reyn Spooner and Tori Richard may be the gold standards for Honolulu movers and shakers, but those of us who rely on the ol' Internet clicky-clicky for our shopping needs may also want to check out the selection of Kahala shirts at Zappo's: classic designs in natural, summer-friendly fabrics and neutral colors that won't freak out the mainlanders. (Shown here: Kahala's Native design.) Just don't wear them with mandals... unless you're a clergyman, and even then it might not stop us from commenting.

For the aloha-challenged, wahine edition: Tropical holiday out of the question? Don't want to even think about wearing a bikini in December? Look no further - I recently came across these Ola Hawaii Body Butters at Blue Hawaii Lifestyle in Ala Moana Center, and found them to be totally blog-worthy. The packaging is way cute, for sure, and the scents are really nice (hello, coffee-chocolate!) - but it's the moisturizing power of this stuff - from organic sources, natch - that makes it so perfect for winter-ravaged dry skin.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Domesticity Guide to Last Minute Gifties, Part 2

For the well-traveled man: Twenty years ago, my dad would have gotten a fragrance like Burberry Classic for Men - not just because its aromatic blend of fresh herbs conveyed the appropriate amount of worldly confidence to friends and colleagues without making him smell too sexy for the office pool, or because it would not have clashed with my Mom's perfume. Nope - Dad would have gotten this in his Christmas stocking because Burberry - like YSL and Bally - were one of the go-to designer labels that he would always rely on for his accessories, especially for rain jackets and trench coats. (If only he knew then what the label would be like now.)

For honeymooners and out-of-towners: Speaking of my parents, one of the things that amaze us about Mom and Dad is the endurance of their relationship - after several decades of togetherness, up to and including several road trips and vacations that have tested their bond in one way or another, they still manage to be each other's most valued traveling companions. That's why a travel set like this Ole Henriksen Travel Kit (featured: dry/sensitive skin) and/or the Anthony Logistics Gifted Grooming Kit would make a great gift for the couple who takes frequent trips a deux - whether it's for a romantic getaway or the occasional trek to see the grandchildren.

For the quirky nonconformist: Perhaps there's a guy in your life - a brother, perhaps, or a significant other - whose refusal to blend in with the crowd has not been diminished by time or lifestyle. Get him a fancy aftershave and he'll end up balking at the extravagance, or he'll read the same unspoken message into it as he would with a gift of, say, a necktie or a gift certificate to Banana Republic - another way of saying, "Clean up and join the real world, buddy." Give him a bath-and-body set that smells like, say, cookies or fruit, on the other hand, and you might as well give him a neon sign that says, "A girl bought this for me." Instead, get him something that makes a subtle but grand statement - like, say, a paraben-free body wash (e.g. Kings & Queens shower gel, available at Nordstrom) or a bar of soap that means business (e.g. Bliss Mammoth Minty Scrub Soap) - and he'll appreciate both the sentiment and the practicality.

Domesticity Guide to Last Minute Gifties, Part 1

EDITOR'S NOTE: This series of entries is not supposed to represent, in any way possible, what actual people on my gift-giving list will be receiving this Christmas. Let's just say for the time being that this is a theoretical giftie guide, were I or any of us could afford to give them anyway.

For the girly-girl, or at least those who want to feel like one: The first time I saw the Harajuku Lovers fragrances at my local Sephora, I immediately thought of my niece, the Junior Fashionista. Never mind that her recent pursuit of robotics have left her feeling less than girly lately - she is, after all, a teenager, and it probably wouldn't hurt to have something feminine and super kawaii on hand for the times when she's feeling a little less emo than usual, but not something so blatant as to make her feel like somebody she's totally not. Personally, I'm more partial to the Baby fragrance because it's the kind of subtle, powdery fragrance that's still age-appropriate (and therefore less likely to freak out any adults into thinking she's growing up too fast) while maintaining that subtle edge of sophistication.

For the excitable boy: True, it may be just plain easier to snap up a videogame or two - or at least a gift card redeemable for said video game or two - Lord knows how many times I've walked past the demo versions of Rock Band 2 without being tempted to play along. (And yes, hearing "Give It Away" in a videogame does make me feel old.) But even the hardest gamers of them all could use a little cleanup time to themselves, too. That's where the Secret Santa Gift from Lush comes in: no flowers or cheesy aftershave scents here, just a rare holiday treat of a cocoa-scented bath bomb shaped like Santa Claus, and a honey-enriched soap that literally smells sweet. As far as treats go, it's practically a sugar rush in itself.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Randomesticity: Too Cold to Blog

Yeah, yeah, I know, I should stop bitching about crappy weather in Hawaii - but we just endured a storm all day yesterday, and I actually showed up at work with wet shoes, wet jeans, and some splashes on my hoodie. It's enough to make a girl go GRRRR ARRRRRGGGHHHH.

I am blocking out this weekend and the rest of next week, however, to fill in the blogging blanks before we go straight into the holidays - and not because I am also growing as annoyed as you are with the endless stream of Flo-Rida that greets everyone whenever they open this page. (Damn you, GAP!) I won't spill here about what I've got up my sleeve - lest I forget to write about them AGAIN - so let that be our surprise, yes? :)

Edited to add: There is one good thing that came from posting that Gap ad on this page, though. Dagnabbit, where has Freddy Rodriguez been all my life?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

New GAP Holiday Ads are Here!

Just in time to cheer you up (or get your corporate-hating goose on, if that floats your boat) - a new spate of GAP holiday ads online!

For what it's worth, this is my favorite, along with this one.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Face of the Moment: Honolulu City Nights

Picture this: a perfect early Fall evening in downtown Honolulu, as close to the seaside at the harbor as possible. Winds are crisp, the lights are twinkling, and everywhere you go you're reminded that you're only one week away from Thanksgiving, one step away from the full-on holiday season.

A perfect night to go out with one's friends... and have a pint of seasonal ale at an Irish pub.

So this is what I looked like that night:

The stars of this look are three of the most tenacious eye makeup products that I have ever used in my life, seen here in combination.

EYES (done first to avoid errors)

- Base: MAC Paint Pot in Painterly, applied with a Taklon eyeshadow brush. This locks in any and all eyeshadows that will be used during this time. Best base evarrr.

- Eyeliner: L'Oreal HIP Color Truth Cream Eyeliner in Black - using the brush that came with the package, I drew a thick cat's eye line on top lid and a thin line underneath. Believe me when I say that not only did this stuff dry quickly, but it also did not budge or flake all night.

- Shadows: All of the eyeshadows are from Stila. Using a modification of this smoky eye technique (credit goes to Karen at Makeup and Beauty Blog and Gordon Espinet of MAC) I powdered over the eyeshadow with Barefoot Contessa eye shadow, then a matte grey shadow in the crease (try Kalahoo as an alternative), and finally Wheat on the brow bone.

- Lashes: Cover Girl Lash Blast in Very Black. Again, yet another tenacious product in my arsenal. Usually I'm pretty bad with mascara - usually stuff like this runs on me after a few minutes, leaving me with unfortunate dark circles - but Lash Blast keeps my lashes lush and dark all night, even when I get a little teary-eyed. The only downside: I still needed a more emollient makeup remover.


- Foundation: L'Oreal Bare Naturale Mineral Makeup in Sun Beige
- Blush: Bare Escentuals BareMinerals Face Color in Warmth


I started out using Cover Girl's TruShine lipcolor in Cinnamon Shine, which turned out into a pretty sheer nude shade on me. Unfortunately, the sheerness meant that the lip color did not last as long as the eye makeup... but when you're knocking back a burger with blue cheese, who's there to complain?


- Fragrance: Chanel Chance
- Hair: Washed and banana-clipped into a bun while wet, then brushed out and air-dried
- Top: The jacket from Nepal (not belted) on top of a pink Fruit of the Loom tank
- Bottom: Old Navy jeans, re-tailored at the waist so they won't fall off
- Shoes: Madeline Stuart patent mary-jane flats (purchased at Ross for $6.99)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Franken-Body Splash

The bad news: This post is not about the Senate race in Minnesota. The good news: This post is inspired by an ongoing discussion I've been having with Karen at Makeup and Beauty Blog about my tendency to "juice up" my drugstore body splashes with essential oils.

It all started, simply enough, with a bottle of pina colada-scented body spray. I received it as a gift (brand withheld to protect identity of the person who gave it to me - don't want to give away the game here) and was wearing it for a few days when I noticed that it was way, way too sweet for me. The coconut note in the spray wasn't even the fresh buko juice accord that I usually associate with fine sun protection products, but the overly cloying, candied coconut flavor that I associate with - yep, you guessed it - supermarket pina colada mix.

Well, then, I figured: Back in college I kind of liked the combination of patchouli and coconut essential oils, so why not juice up the body spray with patchouli oil?

So that's what I did: went to the nearest health-food store, bought a bottle of patchouli oil, and proceeded to goose up the aforementioned pina-colada fragrance with it.

If it was possible to come up with an after picture of what happened afterwards, the end result would be similar to pineapple soda:

Suddenly the pineapple was pushed forward onto the top note, with an uncharacteristic fizziness that came from the mingling of the "coconut" with the patchouli. The end result turned what could have been a garden-variety body spray into something that smelled like something I shouldn't be wearing for work - the olfactory equivalent of a Valerie Joseph cocktail dress worn with chunky jewelry and the strappiest of strappy sandals.

Mind you, the experiment is actually ongoing as we speak. I actually bought an oil blend called "Money" in Cleveland at the hippie/wiccan store Scribe and I visited on Coventry - it smelled intensely spicy, which I then proceeded to blend into a blackberry spray that turned too sweet on me. Voila - the refreshing (and un-candied) scent eventually became my lucky fragrance, since I wore it to all of my job interviews and has helped me land my short-but-sweet work experiences at my last two jobs. This same oil is currently being road-tested on another fruity spray that I've also started wearing to work.

There's something very Jo Malone about this - playing with the olfactory elements of certain fragrances to come up with one's own special signature blend - and I'll admit that it's a great way to make certain fragrances smell warmer or spicier, especially when the weather starts dropping. So far, however, I only do this with my inexpensive stuff, since there's more to go around and my finances don't extend to splurging on designer juice at my next trip to Sephora. For now, it's all about striking the perfect balance between sweet predictability and dark maturity - a sort of cautious optimism for the times ahead, if I should say so.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

You Are My Other Constant

Guys, remember how I've been slacking on getting the MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack? Well, it looks like I've been able to score a worthy drugstore substitute in the meantime...

Check out that lower left hand corner: The texture of this product is a little more buttery than the Fluidline (which made it hella easy for me to load my eyeliner brush) but the staying power is practically comparable - identical, even. (And doesn't it look like a Toffifay inside the jar?) Best of all is the price - I got mine on sale for $9, while the MAC one has an SRP of $15.00.

Oh, did I also tell you that my new favorite eyeliner happens to be part of L'Oreal's incredible HIP line? And that I would never have bought it if it hadn't been for this review?

You'll have to wait for the pictures of me wearing the stuff, though. But take my word for it - the L'Oreal HIP Color Truth Cream Eyeliner is a worthy contender.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November Birthdays, Part 2: About La Familia de Meimei

The next November birthday on my calendar happens to be my sister's, which happens to be a certain landmark one for her... and she's celebrating it (a few days late, but still) in the best way I can imagine: by spending the weekend in Reno to meet up with her former classmates from high school. You go, SisMei!

That said: My sister's birthday is also the reason why I am taking this picture of myself out of the vaults...

Okay, so I don't really look too much like my sister here (it's an unspoken Meimei family policy to not post any non-self pictures on non-networking sites sin permiso) and the background is obviously not Reno (it's actually the Excalibur in Vegas), but it is the perfect illustration of all the style tips that my sister and I have inherited from our Mom.

Note that I said "inherited": for many years my sister and I have been looking at our own pictures (like this one) in which we've found ourselves remarking that we're both beginning to look like our own mother. But now that we think about it, our Mom still looks pretty good for her age... so we can definitely say that she taught us pretty well.

- The accessories are always key. Note the scarf, the purse, and the gold-dipped orchid pendant: not all of them are "designer" accessories, but together they elevate the otherwise basic top. Mom was the kind of person who spent well on her accessories; there's a reason why my preschool self always got in trouble for raiding her closets of silk scarves and oversized sunglasses. And while my sister and I would rather go to the mall for our purses and bags, we learned from our Mom's fake-designer shopping jaunts in Bangkok that good construction and classic design always trumps trends, regardless of label or price.

Also note that I am also not wearing earrings in this picture; Mom was a very strict adherent to the "take one thing off" rule, which partly explains how I've become a slacker when it comes to the jewelry I've inherited from her.

- People will always pay attention to your shoes. "Wait," you may ask, "you told us last month that your Dad was the one who taught you about shoes?" Well, if you haven't noticed it yet, we are a shoe-lovin' family: Dad's Ballys, Mom's cork platform wedges, my sister's pointy boots from Ann Taylor (which, in a hilarious turn of events, was once mistaken by Mom for my own shoes when she saw them lying around at my sister's house). Very few pairs of shoes go out with the trash - and if they do, it's more than likely that they look more like what my brother's Asics sneakers would look like after three straight years of marathon training: beat up beyond recognition, and completely unusable. The rules always apply: polish them well, wear socks when necessary... and as long as you can get them to the nearest shoe cobbler, a good pair will always last you for ages.

- Preventative care helps, too. Mom grew up in the Philippines at a time when women who wore makeup were not looked upon too kindly - which explains why her makeup repertoire had always remained on the neutral and sheer side for the most part, except for her standby coral and berry lipsticks. (If there's anyone who had ever nagged us to wear more, in fact, it would be our Dad - he was the one who always reminded me to "powder up" so I wouldn't look pallid coming out of the door.) Again, makeup and skin care was a place where our Mom didn't skimp - she's been a devotee of the Clinique 3-step program for years, and every year we take her to Macy's and Sephora for her foundation and lipstick - so we learned to cleanse and moisturize (and wear SPF) when it matters.

- Better to be polished than underdressed. Last spring, Mom injured her ankle a few days before arriving in Honolulu for my graduation. Even though she had to spend the rest of her days with a cane, an occasional wheelchair, and Velcro sneakers, you would barely - if ever - have noticed them in the pictures, because she was impeccably dressed throughout the entire time in silk jackets and scarves, or even a long-sleeved shirt on her most casual days. More than that, however, her posture remained as sprightly and confident as ever; not once did I ever notice her slouching in pain, her face contorted into a "woe is me" frown. (Meanwhile, I'm the person who leaves the house in sweats and a scowl if I should read so much as an anger-inducing op-ed piece.)

- Stick with what works. For as long as all three of us have been alive, we always remember Mom for her wardrobe staples: long pants, shift dresses, interesting blouses, tank swimsuits, leather satchels. Doesn't matter if she bought them or had them made (since she has her own dressmaker in the Philippines), as long as they fit her. There have been times when we've asked her to change it up a bit (to which she'd always reply, "But what will your Daddy think?")... and yet, even when she's physically not around, we - and by this we mean the two sisters - always end up walking out of whatever store we're in with almost the same stuff that we would remember from Mom's closet.

- It's never too late to start being stylish. The first piece of jewelry that my niece inherited from her Grandma Mei was a necklace of pink plastic beads that she used to chew on as a toddler. This is the same niece who easily incorporated "ooo, shiiiiny" as a catchphrase after spending part of her childhood years watching QVC and Style Network alongside her mother. Now this little girl is in her (pink-shunning, vampire-novel-reading) early teens, and while she's more interested now in science projects than shopping, we're still holding out hope that some of this advice will reach her as well. Who knows, maybe ten years from now, it'll be her closet that will be packed with the same shift dresses, silk scarves, and fine leather dress shoes.

(Would that the same be said for the two nephews in the family, however. My brother's son is catching up quickly, but my sister's little boy... well, we finally managed to pry him away from the Crocs, but we still have to convince him to wear socks or risk having his shoes smelling like dead animals all the time.)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

These Are Not the Pants That You Are Looking For...

...And yet, I still bought these low-rise "trouser jeans" from Old Navy because I needed jeans for my current job assignment (part of the dress code), but I was already short of money and had no time to have a proper pair hemmed.
Right now the denim on these babies are as stiff as heck, so I'm working on wearing them every day to get them as stretched-out as I possibly can for the next few days. I know, I know - they're supposed to be capris, which explain why they're tight in the cuff area (about half an inch above my ankles) - but I've shopped for pants at Old Navy long enough to know that they always end up getting that desired beat-up softness in a few wearings, no matter how tight they are in the beginning.

Besides, I kinda like how my butt looks in 'em.

Monday, November 03, 2008

November Birthdays, Part 1: The Scribe

Today marks the birth anniversary of one of my great friends and favorite people on this God-given earth, about whom I can say nothing that couldn't be said better. Hard to believe that it's actually been a year since she last came to visit us here in Hawaii, and less than six months since my own turn to visit her and Mr. Scribe in Ohio - but here we are, looking forward to the future with open hands and hearts.

While I can't really speak of Scribey without getting too wistful or teary-eyed, I will admit that it was our mutual love of style and shopping that brought us together in the first place. While she continues to be befuddled by makeup, I will admit to being more than envious of her insanely unedited wardrobe, which not only includes clothes and shoes from her "costume dramas of one" but also various items that have carried her through various fluctuations in dress size and mood. (It also helps that we share the same shoe size.) And while I may never get to fit myself into the same vintage-quality tunics and maxidresses that she has been wearing lately, I will admit that I've borrowed elements of her personal style to match my own, to wit:

- Taking risks with fashion. Yes, those leather boots looked ridiculous on both of us in the middle of the tropics - and my pair didn't survive the Great Wardrobe Weed-Out of the last two years - but if that's what it takes to up the fearlessness factor, then so be it.

- Shopping inside your closet. "Fashion is cyclical," she always says - which explains how her mother's blouses and suede Ferragamo boots from the '70s have ended up with her in Cleveland. (Though it probably does not explain why her cat seems to have developed an attraction to those boots.) True, it may sound ridiculous and selfish to keep weeding out... but when times get tough - as they often do - it always helps to have those investment pieces at the ready.

- When everything else is in doubt, dress bright. Believe me, this was a hard lesson to learn for both of us - and especially in my case, since I've always thought that we were always going to be the creative/emo types who were destined to roam the world clad in all-black Prada, with the occasional Happy Bunny tee thrown in for extra snarky flavor. Lately, however, she has opened my mind to embracing swirly prints, dreamy fabrics, and bright colors to convey a never-ending sense of hope - not to mention a conscious celebration of our shared Filipino heritage. Yeah, you can go ahead and blame all of that on living in Cleveland's answer to Haight-Asbury, but I think it's the kind of wisdom that comes with age. Speaking of which...

- It really is all about the eye of the beholder. We may be imperfect, but we never realize how much our imperfections can be the very things that people admire about us. Scribe took a long time before she could truly embrace the very Eurasian features and cultural traits that many people have admired about her, which in turn has given her a newfound sense of purpose and advocacy. I, in turn, have learned from her to acknowledge my own feelings about my body - especially the fleshy parts that I have kept covered up for years - which has led to my ongoing path towards building a better sense of self-acceptance. Not to mention it has also led me to choose cuter dresses and take better pictures while wearing them.
So then: Cheers to another great year of life, dear friend. :)
Stay tuned for Part 2: A Salute to the Women of Hacienda de Meimei.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Happy Halloween, Y'All

Two things that are making my stay-in, oh-was-I-supposed-to-get-dressed-today? Halloween this year:

1) Eddie Izzard's Dress to Kill, which should be in the mailbox by now thanks to Netflix....

2) ...and an Eddie Izzard-worthy mascara in the form of Cover Girl's Lash Blast, which has been giving me dramatic, wall-to-wall, false-looking lashes for the last three weeks. One swipe is all I need on the days when I am expected to look more like myself. :)

Stay safe tonight!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Let Him Down Easy

So you've already heard about the "Safer Sex" gift box from Nars - yup, the one with the condoms - which is all fine and dandy for a few giggles here and there, and - hey, great cause, right? What you don't realize, however, is that there is an alternative for those of us who would like to give the gift of a naughty-named highlighter without being scandalized by the accompanying French letters...

From the Sephora website:

NARS Safest Set comes with a little black book that lists out all of the ways to
say 'no' and let your wannabe lover down easy. The cream stick with a cult
following, Multiple in Orgasm, is included to deliver a peachy flush and a
shimmery accent to eyes, cheeks, and lips.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Randomesticity: Downward Spiral, Upward Crawl

So this week has been very cruel to me. I don't want to get into the dirty details, but I will say that I'm a bit emotionally spent from all the hand-wringing and spontaneous crying, and I've already called it a mental-health week to recover from all the insanity.

Not everything, however, is pure insanity.

Take, for example, the story ideas that I've been kicking around in my head: a fashionista moment I had over the weekend during the Valerie Joseph anniversary party at Ala Moana Center (bring on the fall clothes, I say!), tips on business-casual dressing that I've picked up from a career fair; and - just in time for Election Day! - a roundup of Honolulu Anchorwoman Hair.

I've decided to pass on the fall makeup collection coverage because I am SERIOUSLY broke-da-broke, so you won't hear any ooh-ing from me about the new MAC stuff. I'm also passing up on the Halloween revelry due to a seminar that I have to attend first thing in the AM on the Leeward side of Oahu. What I won't be passing up on, however, is a chance to dress up - and you can bet I'll be writing about that as well.

In the meantime... how about some eye candy to tide us over? (And, yes, les fragrances pour homme count towards this blog.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Haaaaaaaaaaave You Met Josh?

I'll go ahead and admit this as somebody who has watched How I Met Your Mother for as long as I have: I never really found Josh Radnor particularly attractive. And I don't mean that because I think he's ugly; on the contrary, there's something about him as a person that brings out the irrational dislike for some reason, even though I know that the humorless, pretentious character that he plays on TV is exactly that.

(Which reminds me: Ted Mosby, the character? Is so the kind of guy I would've checked out for five minutes on the first day of the semester before he opens his mouth and whomps the rest of the class over the head with his good-God-WTF-have-you-been-smoking insights on, say, globalization or post-modern irony. Yep, the same guy who ends up with you in small-group discussion a few minutes later, and mentions off-the-cuff that he and his really amazing long-term girlfriend spent the summer in India for humanitarian work, and just brought back the best recipe for veggie samosas. Yep, I went to college with that guy... why do you ask?)

That said, I was surprised to find out - from a HIMYM board on Television Without Pity - that the same Josh Radnor wrote an op-ed article for the Los Angeles Times.

It really shocks me when I encounter people who think kindness doesn't
matter. Because I think it's pretty much the only thing that matters. This
should not be mistaken as a call for humorlessness or some naive, fussy
moralizing on my part. It's not about being "good" (a loaded concept, to say the
least) or "nice," which is really just a social convention that often has to do
with worrying about being liked (occasionally masking real deviousness). It's
ultimately about compassion, recognizing that all of us are going through it all
in our own particular way, no matter our social status.

It's not our job to play judge and jury, to determine who is worthy of our kindness and who is not. We just need to be kind, unconditionally and without ulterior motive, even—or rather, especially—when we'd prefer not to be. For me, it's simple and not entirely unselfish: When I'm kind, I feel good; when I'm not, I feel horrible. (Of course, the publication of this piece now ensures I will be caught on tape
being a total schmuck.)

Of course, this is the kind of Midwestern-bred optimism (and the boy did grow up in Columbus, after all) that would get a certain type of celebrity immediately tagged as a hypocritical Pollyanna by the scandal-mongers who populate the comment sections of Perez Hilton. As a former op-ed writer, however, I do think that putting yourself out there with an essay like this - whether you're the lead actor of a successful sitcom, or a housewife who merely dabbles in writing - takes a good measure of guts. Lord knows how many times I've been congratulated for something I've written, and how quickly I forget the compliments once I realize that my words are being dissected and misconstrued by people who have yet to have a conversation with me in real life.

That said: Apart from the being-from-Ohio/acting-in-my-favorite-sitcom thing, I know that I'm responding to Josh Radnor's opinions without knowing anything about, say, which way he's voting this November, or which day of the week does he choose to take off his schedule and consider as sacred - although he does hint at some of his beliefs in the article (to which I say, ahem). Yet, I will say that I do, indeed, agree with what he has to say here about kindness to others, and bravo to him for putting himself out on a limb and speaking out for such a neglected virtue in the first place.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Give a Little Bit

If you care about education - or if you simply don't feel like spending money for shoes today - have we got a plan for you!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

For Some Strange Reason that Has to Be...

...this song sums up how I'm feeling right now.

Please don't lose hope; I'll be able to write more soon once this blog-cation is over. Hope to see you all soon.

EDITED to add that I want to use this space to wish PapaMei a very, very happy birthday. How could I not forget the man who taught me how to fold my pants, shine my own shoes, make my own restaurant reservations, and pour beer into a glass so it doesn't have too much of the foamy head? In honor of his birthday: Bally shoes at Zappos - one for him, and one for me.

Monday, September 29, 2008

What's Your Fantasy: Everybody at the Table, Getting Tipsy

Scribey and I recently had this conversation about dating during your 30s, which is so radically different from dating in your 20s because it's a good time to get over the list of ideals - you know, the whole "tall, dark," whatever - and consider what else is out there. But this post isn't so much about my own love life (ha!) than it is about what I've been finding attractive lately on a male, in general.

Case in point: A few months ago I started watching MOJO TV's Three Sheets (available on both Hulu and iTunes) only because I thought Zane Lamprey was kinda cute. Well, he sort of is, in a Steve Guttenberg-ish kind of way, but after sitting through his frat-boy schtick I concluded that I'd probably find him more attractive if I was, say, ten years younger, and preferably with the same level of alcohol tolerance that I had in my early twenties.

At around the same time, I also started watching Lidia's Italy on PBS - understandable, because I love Italy and Italian food, and seeing both in the same cooking show is the TV equivalent of Zoloft for me. Lidia Bastianich, of course, is the marquee star of the show, and the food is mighty tasty... but it's the guest appearances from her son Joseph that really makes the shows for me.

Joe Bastianich, of course, is also a big deal in the F&B world - considering that he counts both Lidia and Mario Batali as his business partners, on top of his expertise in Italian wines. (Note to self: Must. Borrow. Heat. NOW.) All that I already knew before I started watching his Mom's show... and yet, watching him walk and talk (and drink) his way through la bella Italia as he recommends the best tipples for his Mom's cooking just made me all happy inside. Nothing at all like the snotty, effete sommeliers you'd see in other restaurants - and yet, there's not even a hint of eau de Frat Boy on him. Sure, he's got a physique like an oak cask - and God help us if he even duplicates Zane Lamprey's attempts to run around in a banana hammock - but Joseph's screen presence is so easygoing that you almost want to come along with him and have a few drinks with Mama's home cooking.

And yet, for some reason, the whole Bastianich package - the gravelly voice, the bald head, the expertise with the cocktail shaker - strikes me as more attractive than average. Maybe it's because I'm developing a thing for knowledgeable older men who age wisely, or maybe I'm just an aging crone who's losing my taste for the bar scene of my misbegotten youth... but, still.

Tutto a tavola a mangiare, indeed.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

All Seven, and We'll Watch Them Fall: A Meme

Stolen from a friend on Multiply.

1. unemployment
2. poisonous creepy-crawlies that can bite (e.g. spiders and centipedes)
3. the apocalypse
4. people or things that might end up seriously hurting my loved ones
5. terminal disease
6. horror movies
7. living an unfulfilled life

1. God
2. family
3. friends
4. work
5. kids
6. books
7. beauty

1. my bed
2. my religious icons
3. my clothes
4. my bags
5. my laptop (including DSL connection and webcam)
6. my shoes
7. my wallet

1. I'm much crankier than you think
2. I won't stop drinking coffee (even when I have to switch to decaf for medical reasons)
3. I sometimes dance around in my apartment wearing nothing but my underwear
4. Living on my own without roomies has made #3 possible
5. Sometimes I smell like patchouli
6. I'd like to start dating again... someday... but soon...
7. Yes, I'm going to start teaching Sunday School next month. Got a problem with that? ;)

1. Get my driver's license - yes, I know, but really!
2. Be in a satisfying long-term romantic relationship
3. Get married and have kids
4. Visit one or more of the following, preferably on my own or with somebody I really love and care about: Scotland, Australia, Brazil, Portugal, Costa Rica, Malaysia, New York, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Florida, Atlanta
5. Finish my novel(s)
6. Live long enough to see my fiction get adapted for film and/or television in an award-winning production
7. Plan, host and cook an entire dinner party for my loved ones

1. Teach
2. Write
3. Dress appropriately for my body type
4. Have some restraint
5. Dance
6. Sing
7. Spot good bargains all-around

1. Dress appropriately for my age (unfortunately)
2. Go overboard with my orders at Yogurtland
3. Be an absolute complete vegetarian
4. Stop eating chocolate
5. Get lipstick on my teeth
6. Wear high heels for longer than 4 hours
7. Hide my displeasure, even when the situation calls for it

1. Okay, kids - line up quietly, boy-girl, boy-girl...
2. Yes, they're supposed to line up quietly, boy-girl, boy-girl...
3. Aw, isn't that cute?
4. Um, not until you finish your work.
5. Oh, honey, come over here and gimme a hug.
6. Are we OK here?
7. Man, I'm gonna need a beer.

1. Peter Sarsgaard
2. Colin Firth
3. The Rock
4. Clive Owen
5. Tim Gunn
6. Stephen Fry
7. Neil Patrick Harris

Monday, September 15, 2008

Game Changers

Before I begin: Here's what last week's haircut looks like right now.

Now, it does seem like cutting my hair this short in the fall may be counter-intuitive, but we're now in the middle of Humidity Season here in HNL (i.e. steaming hot days followed by sudden rain) and I couldn't stand putting my hair up in a ponytail any more.

Also, I did forget to take off my makeup after changing into my bathrobe. What can I say - I'm kind of vain that way.


With the resolution of the Major Job Situation looming in the horizon - and the backlog of unwritten blog-entry ideas piling up - I thought I'd devote some space to products that have been working pretty well for me in the last two weeks. I can't guarantee that some of this stuff will work for you, but I will say for sure that the stuff I write about here at this moment have yet to do me wrong.

- Getting my entire face waxed every fiscal quarter. A nail/wax place opened next to the Neighborhood Chain over the summer, and today I went to them to get both my brow and upper lip done. Guess what - they did such a great job with my eyebrows that they actually look much fuller now. Surprised? So was I. :)

- Arbonne Daily Nutritional Chews for Teens. In case you're wondering, let me explain: I have nothing against direct-sales companies at all. (And yes, there is an Arbonne-centric entry in the works.) That said, when I placed my first Arbonne order with my friend Trix, I balked at the insane prices for the vitamins... until she told me that the chews packed as much nutritional punch as the other stuff for less money ($24 for a box of 60). Needless to say, I tried them out - and believe me when I say that the energy boost I got from this stuff is so amazing that I had to check the box twice to make sure that there were no stimulants involved. (Luckily for me, there are none.) The chews are no bigger than a Starburst, but take one with a meal during the daytime (twice is optimum) and it'll keep you running, crash-free.

- Eye cream and anti-aging serum, in general. Again, this has something to do with the Arbonne samples that I've received recently (especially this, this, and this) - but it also made me stand up and pay attention to the other anti-aging stuff that I've stashed in various regions of my medicine cabinet, especially since I've been looking haggard lately. Until recently I thought serum was another word for "fancypants moisturizer," but using it under my moisturizer has made a much bigger difference for me. Same deal with eye cream; using it on my lids and dark circles has also helped me deal with my usual problems in that area.

- Eyeshadow on top of eyeliner. Check the above picture again; the eye sockets have been darkened with the Jordana black eyeliner pencil, which was then layered with the black side of MAC Hot Contrast (applied with an eyeliner brush) for more visual interest. It's a trick I've been reading about a lot lately - Mally Roncal, for one, swears that powdering over the pencil renders your liner "bulletproof" - but it's only now that I've managed to make the whole deal work for me.

- Suave Professionals Volumizing Conditioner. Yes, it's the one that's supposed to "work as well as" Matrix Amplify for significantly less coin - and while I haven't used the real thing yet, I've found that the Suave version works so well with my other shampoos that it's become part and parcel of my workday hair routine, just for giving my hair both volume and softness in one long-lasting package. Goodbye, oppressive ponytailers!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Seven Years Onward...

I should make a point to post this song every year around this time.

And I'm not saying this to be insensitive, people. Come to think of it, the more I listen to this song, the more I remember the moment for what it truly was: a call to stand up and take a good look at what was still good, and true, and necessary.

It didn't matter which way was up or down; ultimately the blame game was useless and unnecessary. As long as we knew we were going to find a place to stand, it was still a good place to heal.

And seven years onward, we can't afford to let the bastards win by arguing ourselves to death.

Remember. And believe.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Four-Eyed Domesticity!

So: I finally picked up my first set of reading glasses today at Sears.

(Forgive the craptastic lighting here; to my credit, at least the shots match the vintage look of the frames.)
Don't worry; my vision is still pretty much 20/20 for the most part - it's just that I need these to help me read and pay attention to more detailed reading material, like books and field-related forms.

Pair #1 (Covington frames in Dark Amber, $49.99) happens to be everyone's favorite; there's a bit of a Tina Fey/ Clark Kent vibe to them, and the thick frames are a nice counterpoint to my Kewpie-doll face. (In the "moody" photo, above, they also make me look a little like my own Dad - not much of a stretch, since he also used to wear dark, thick frames before he switched to bifocal aviators.) Really, really cute... though I'll be the first to admit that they're too cute for me to tote around and bandy about in public, especially since I'm not as good about not keeping my sunglasses where they ought to be.

Pair #2 (Thornton & Banks square wire frames, $19.99) caught my eye at the store - not just for the price, but also for the '50s-style design. On the rack it looks pretty masculine, but here it's deceptively lightweight and feminine. (And if the first pair made me look like my Dad, these ones make me look like the carbon copy of my Mom... plus she already wears a similar pair of bifocals, too, with cat-eye frames instead of square ones.) I don't mind wearing these out in public, either - and not because it should keep bartenders and liquor-store clerks from carding me, although it might not help with store clerks who already refer to me as "Mrs. Meimei." I actually road-tested these by reading the latest issue of Lush Times (seriously, Lush North America - could you shrink your typefaces any more than you already do?) and while my eyes still needed getting used to, at least I was able to really concentrate and take my time reading.

I love both pairs equally, but I thought I'd open it up to the readers to see which pair is sassier: Would it be the thick-set superhero specs, or the more debonair square half-wires? Comments welcome below.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Cult of MAC, Part 3: Lime Slice

I have to close out my MAC Cult of Cherry series with a view of the eye look seen here:

Lovely, isn't it? Chantel from the MAC store started out with the Cream Colour Base in Pearl, then proceeded to use shades from the Spiced Chocolate and Tempting quads.

Tempting, of course, is the star of this look, especially when you consider that gorgeous shade of chartreuse (MAC calls it Sharp) that ends up in the crease.

Jude of The Girly Show demonstrates a similar eye look both on her blog and her YouTube channel (seriously, this girl is the American version of UK's Lauren Luke), but she does make an excellent point - this look can be replicated on your own, if you already have similar colors in your collection and an equally deft hand with the brushes.

In my case, I didn't cave on Tempting because I already have way too many neutral eyeshadows at home. I mentioned this to Chantel because I had been eyeing all of the other green eyeshadows and I wanted something as close as possible to Sharp - closer to lime than apple or mint.

After much swatching, Chantell and I found a perfect counterpart: Bitter, which isn't as frosty as the Sharp, but shares the same acid yellow-green base tone.

(picture was color-corrected using Photoshop Express)

I've experimented with recreating the Cult of Cherry looks several times since this makeover, and while I still have yet to master eyeshadow contouring, I will say that the Bitter eyeshadow really makes the look - especially when blended with a bronze or brown eyeshadow to create the appropriate je ne sais quoi. Not to mention that it does make my brown eyes stand out with a vengeance. :)

Now I have a solid collection of workhorse basics and a few zingers to throw in whenever I feel especially adventurous. Looks like I'm set for the rest of the season!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cult of MAC, Part 2: You Are My Constant

Electro Flash @ Nordstrom, early July
Color Forms @Nordstrom, late July

Cult of Cherry @ MAC Ala Moana, August
At first the last picture from the Cult of Cherry stands out for all sorts of reasons, - not just because I had somebody else (the lovely Chantell from MAC) do the makeup, and that the lighting in this particular bathroom is harsher than the ones at Nordie's. There's still that sultry ManCatcher edge - especially since the "O" lipstick is a lovely stand-in for the Lustre Twins - but it's a lot less in-your-face.
But then... the eyes. And in particular, the eyeliner.
Make no mistake about it: That Fluidline gel eyeliner in Blacktrack looks fantastic on me. Love love love it. Love how it stays on for hours, even when I've sweated the rest of my makeup away. Love how it's so versatile for a simple cat eye as well as a full-on smoky mod/goth look. Love how makeup artists use it to give my eyes so much definition, especially since they can apply it straight to my eyes without diluting in water. Love how it stays on and never runs, EVER.
So why have I not bought this stuff?
If I had a whole hour or two for makeup, as I did during these makeovers, I would totally use the stuff as regularly as possible. Unfortunately - with my life being what it is, now that I'm working two jobs (none of which require black eyeliner as part of the dress code) - working with a gel eyeliner and a separate brush in the mornings (or between functions) would be unwieldy at best, impractical at worst. And, c'mon - for the MSRP of $15 a pop, I do expect to be able to wear it every single day, right?
Anyway, this may be a good time for me to start talking pencil eyeliners. The long-running gold standard at Casa de Mei - heartily endorsed by the makeup-wearers in my family - is Revlon's ColorStay, for its tenacious staying power; their black is suitably dark and intense, while the Black Brown is work-friendly and versatile with just about any color. I've also had some luck with Jordana's EasyLiner (aka the dirtiest, best-kept secret of fashionista wannabes everywhere), but right now I've decided to road-test their regular 7-inch pencil liner instead... yes, the 99-cent one from Walgreens that they're also promoting just in time for Halloween. (Oy, tell that to the emo kids!) I'm not expecting this to last as long as the MAC or Revlon, but I am expecting richness and intensity, and an ability to at least play nice with everything else that I wear with it.
But until then... we shall wait, and see, and find out soon.

Cult of MAC, Part 1: Making Our Own Lightning

Tell your mama, girl, I can't stay long
We got things we gotta catch up on
Mmm, you know
You know what I'm sayin'
Can't stand still while the music is playin'

- Neil Diamond, "Cherry Cherry"

As much as I would've loved to cave on all the rich, deep colors from that Cult of Cherry collection, practicality (and my budget) eventually won out in the form of "O" (yes, as in "The Story Of..."). It's still a dark, rich red, but it's lightened by all those shots of gold - which means that it can go from work-friendly to sultry without taking you to Transylvania. On me, it's the perfect bronzy red that isn't too brown and isn't too orange. No wonder it's always been a cult classic for more than a decade.

And then there's the *other* cerise-inspired lip product in my arsenal...

Revlon's Just Bitten Lip Stain in Cherry Tart was supposed to be limited-edition, which explains why I hunted this tube down at Longs Ala Moana when it went on sale for $5.75 (only to discover that they put the price back up at $11.95). The consistency of the stain is almost syrupy and gel-like, so it's not as watery as the much-hyped Benetint - which makes it easier to control, too. Plus the roll-on applicator reminds me so much of the old Kissing Potion, which warms my retro-loving heart. Result: a bright, cheery pinup red that won't be out of place on the set of Mad Men.

And yes, I did try layering the "O" lipstick over the Cherry Tart, which resulted in the picture from the last entry. Still doesn't explain the headband, though...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Randomesticity: Double, Blind

I just wanted to post this because I have to give folks a heads-up in case I forget to post on this blog again.

This time the big deal happens to be a major life change in the form of two jobs happening at once; it's too soon to tell how things are going to work out on that front, but I can tell you for sure that the next few weeks will be marked by a lot of running-around... which means that I won't be publishing here as regularly as I'm used to doing.

That doesn't mean I won't have anything to write about - au contraire! This Saturday alone has already brought me so many blog-worthy things, including a stopover at the MAC Store in Ala Moana for a Cult of Cherry makeover and a moment to gawk at yet another Fendi bag (which I still can't afford, just so you know) at Neiman Marcus.

Let's put out the preview of things to come in blind-item form, shall we?

  • Which two MAC items came home with me this Saturday after my makeover? (Clue: Only one of these items came from Cult of Cherry; the other was inspired by the collection, but not part of it)

  • Conversely, which MAC product - or two - has been all but begging to be added to my arsenal... and why do I continue to resist its siren call to this day?
  • Which current staple of my makeup bag is about to run out on me.... and why am I waiting until now to blog about its awesomeness?

  • Which company that specializes in person-to-person sales is about to be featured on my blog, courtesy of a dear friend who works for them? (And it's not: Avon, Herbalife, or Amway/Artistry.)

  • Which cherry-inspired makeup product did I purchase from Longs Drugs recently... and why did I have such a hard time trying to find it before the stock ran out altogether?

  • What is it about Dolores O'Riordan from The Cranberries that still merits getting mentioned once in a while?

  • Which foodie celebrity (not named Tony Bourdain, Dave Lieberman, Tom Colicchio, or Michael Symon) recently became my newest TV boyfriend?

  • And in the same vein: What on earth are those episodes of Three Sheets doing in my iTunes playlist? (Besides the fact that I've already downed my fair share of both lambanog and cachaca, of course! But not together. Honey, no.)

  • Which inexpensive conditioner has been giving my hair a new (read: bouncier) lease on life?

  • And if my hair now has a great reason to be bouncy, then why in God's name am I wearing a headband in THIS picture, in my first attempt to look like that chick from Gossip Girl?

The answer to these, and other questions (including "Robert Downey, Jr.: Hot or Not?") will be forthcoming in a few days. Until then, chin chin!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

...But Wait, There's More!

This morning I woke up thinking about the prospect of starting my regular yoga workouts once again. It's possible now that the weather isn't as hellishly hot as it had been (in fact, I actually welcome the occasional rainy day now) - and now that I'm getting more work in the education field, I find that my chosen occupation requires me to literally run around a bit more than usual - the better to burn off frustration and calories at the same time. (Hey, it has happened to me before - I credit my drop in pants size to a daily routine of lifting boxes at the bookstore.)

Since I already walk a lot (and who needs bus stops when you're clocking major mileage in FitFlops?) I figure that going back to toning would be a great way to balance things out exercise-wise, even as I work on getting more vegetables back into the diet. And since we're talking exercise already, I now have a better idea of what I would like my own perfect body to resemble, with a little more diligence.


Impossible, you say? Well, yes - but so are the sculpted guns and six-pack abs that I've been spotting on celebrities in tabloid bikini shots for the last three years. Sophia Loren circa 1963, in comparison, looks quite soft here - check out the lean forearms tapering into the softer line of the biceps, the thickness of the thighs, and (of course) that legendary rack, boosted up by some fine Italian engineering with the underwire. Even her waist looks pretty thick here - though perhaps that could also be because of the lighting and the lingerie.

Lest you want to argue about La Sophia getting some excellent (and tasteful) plastic surgery, let's face it - it's not like the folks behind the Pirelli calendar are going to ask just about any 70-something to pose for a shot like this. (Next to that, even Penelope Cruz is seriously outclassed.)

And besides, if I can't have that body right now, then at least I now understand why I always end up with shimmery lids and seriously winged black eyeliner every time I get a makeover.

Other bodily inspirations (hotlinks only):
  • Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita (confusing movie - and Ekberg, unfortunately, has not withstood the test of time - but worth watching just for the fountain-dance)
  • Catherine Deneuve in 8 Femmes
  • Ava Gardner in general
  • Toccara Jones (from ANTM) and her Vogue Italia "Black Issue" photo shoot
  • Jennifer Lopez (before she got on my nerves and literally worked her tush off) in Out of Sight
  • ...and, of course, Jennifer Hudson in Sex and the City, without whom I would never have gotten so many wardrobe cues to work with over the summer

Readers: Care to present more examples of your own body inspirations? Post in the comments!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

What's Your Fantasy: Hollywood Week Edition

You know it, you love it, you can't live without it... and to cap off Domesticity's Hollywood Week, I'm giving it all to you. I'm talking about the eye candy, of course!

(And captions? We don't need no stinkin' captions...)

And because you can never go wrong with a classic...

Friday, August 22, 2008

XOXO: Meighton Meister

Those of you who know me know that I am not a fan of steamy pot-boiler TV dramas masquerading as teen shows. Believe me, I've tried - yep, that was me running around my middle school in gigundo T-shirts with Jason Priestley and Luke Perry on them, but that still didn't mask the fact that the original Beverly Hills 90210 made my teeth ache. (The less said about the remake, the better.) Same goes with the likes of Dawson's Creek, The OC, and Laguna Beach... and, yes, even The Hills, which I only enjoy in two-minute doses.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: If I wanted to live vicariously through the fictional lives of rich, spoiled teens who get all emo at the drop of the hat, all I need to do is gather up my high school friends on Facebook for a nostalgic chat-a-thon - complete with incriminating photos and lots of tequila.

It also goes to show that my beauty-blogger badge should be confiscated ASAP because I also am completely averse to Gossip Girl. Mind you, it's the show - and the hype - that gives me the hives; I could care less about the supposedly cute boys that the show passes off as eye candy. (Besides, the whole cougar thing? Been there, done that, still ashamed of it all.)

That said, I do have a few things about the two lead actresses on the show. Blake Lively, I don't mind much; she reminds me a bit of a younger Poppy Montgomery, and both of them could pass for girls that I actually went to school with - blonde, sporty, friendly but far from bubble-headed.

And then there's the inspiration for today's blog entry: Leighton Meester, the lovely brunette who plays Blair Waldorf.

Look at her! She's young! She's gorgeous! She can still carry off a tweed coat and an oversized bag with leather ruffles AND a bow tie AND a preppy scarf in her hair! Nothing at all like yours truly...

...except that The Scribe says that I bear an uncanny resemblance to the lovely Ms. Meester. An older, tanner, more Filipino version of Ms. Meester, but still.

I can see it around the mouth and the eyes, although her face is a little longer, and my cheeks are chubbier. Otherwise, I probably resemble Blair Waldorf in almost the same way that (according to some of my family members) The Scribe resembles J. Lo, especially when she ties her hair back.

So now I have to go to the website for The CW and get over my teen potboiler aversion for a few Blair-tastic clips. In the meantime, here's my own (age appropriate) wardrobe homage to Gossip Girl, which I decided to do after writing about the Britney skirt recently...

I plan on wearing this with black hose, a cardigan, and kitten heels. So preppy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Unsolicited Career Advice

Dear readers: Yesterday's Bruce Campbell entry should have been a tip-off, because today marks the official start of Domesticity's Hollywood Week! For the next few days I'll be offering up all sorts of B-list snark - I can't guarantee you that you will care about these famous peeps, but I will guarantee a lot of unsolicited career advice, wardrobe wrangling, and lots of eye candy. Oh yes, there will be eye candy. But first...

Poor Anna Maria Perez de Tagle. First she gets typecast as the spoiled Asian girl on Camp Rock, Hannah Montana and Cake TV. Then she gets antagonized by her stylist and lands on the pages of Go Fug Yourself.

And now... darling, don't tell me that your makeup artists have antagonized you, too! How else to explain the "supertan tranny" look (TM Scribe) in this video? Because you look pretty normal otherwise.

'Tis a pity, because her grandmother happens to be the superfantastic Sylvia La Torre - a legendary (though now retired) character actress, on top of being a classically-trained singer - and even Sylvia was well past the drinking age when the Pinoy movie industry started typecasting her as a donya. Heck, even the Fug Girls would've taken one look at La Sylvia's sequinned ternos (because nobody else wore 'em better... sorry, Imelda) and declared them the height of fabulousness.

So then, Anna - can we talk now? Because I still think there's hope for you. You're 18 years old, for crying out loud; there's still time to walk away from the Disney ghetto while you still can. (Look at what happened to Lalaine!) I'm not suggesting that you consider going straight away on the "sexy" route - first, ew, and second, you'll give your Lola a connniption - and while college may be good for the long run, I won't be surprised if you really are determined to make it as a stahhhh. Even if it means taking roles from Brenda Song's slush pile... or, worse, doing the cliched route of "exploring your roots" in the Philippines, aka moving to Manila in the hopes that your Tagalog will improve and your countrymen would embrace you so warmly that they'll never let you go back to Hollywood.

Here's a thought, if not a suggestion: Ditch the Bratz-doll roles and start looking at more dramatic and action-packed scripts - less Lindsay Lohan and more Shia LeBeouf, if you have to. Also, rent Juno and pay very close attention to whatever it is that Ellen Page is doing - contrived, yes, but at least there's broader appeal and less stereotyping. If you can't do it, now's the time to start honing the craft; maybe now's the time to start hitting the boards for some Shakespeare.

Who knows, maybe when you're finally old enough and well-established in your career, you can now look back on all of this madness and think, "Well, that was interesting." And maybe then - just maybe - you can probably discuss working with JJ Abrams as the lead actress in Domesticity: The Movie, where you play the fictionalized version of a sassy Honolulu blogger whose life takes an interesting turn after a trip to the MAC counter...