July 23, 2015

My Summer Resolutions Accomplished–For Now, Anyway

close up sunglassespurse as clutch

Pink Polka Dot Dress with Pointy Black Heels from back

This summer, I resolve to do two things:

Wear more sunglasses to protect my eyes. And not carry half my weight with me when I leave the house.

I used to have this large collection of sunglasses, and I hung them on a string of yarn at my accessories station. Yes, our apartment was big enough in Albuquerque that I had an entire section of my bedroom dedicated to shoes, makeup, and generally to the Art of Getting Ready. BUT that was back in New Mexico where space isn’t as limited as it is here, and where I had the luxury of being able to set up such a somewhat scary but very thoroughly missed shrine. Pink Polka Dot Dress with Pointy Black Heels

pointy black heels from top

ANYWAY, I don’t know why–I guess it’s due to a number of lifestyle changes–but when I moved back to California, I ditched most of my accessories. Obviously the beanies and scarves had to go, but I’m not sure why the sunglasses disappeared. I think I just got sick of them. Plus I ran around a lot more often then, and to be honest most of the time they were to protect my eyes from the windy desert debris than from the sun.

Lately I’ve realized how very little protection I actually provide myself from the scorch, especially since I live by the beach and tend to hit the waters more often now that the weather is appropriate. While I’ve always been very diligent when it comes to sunscreen (thank you, Asian Mother), I’ve been neglecting my eyes. So my summer resolution is to wear sunglasses more often. For protection. Not to supplement my shopping addiction. Not that I really need a reason to do that. 🙂

2nd Resolution: Pack lightly when I leave the house.

As in, no more heavy purses that weigh more than my dog (18 pounds–yes, as a chihuahua, he is contributing to the country’s obesity rate). No more packing my life inside my bag. I now have license to leave my ten bottles of sports supplements at home–because despite carrying them with me I never remember to drink them in time. (I mean, I have to pop pills the size of my pinky, and then I have to wait 30 minutes to eat? I’m lucky if I can manage to speak coherently when I’m starving.)

To force myself into this new resolution, I’ve switched out my giant cross-over-body bag from H&M (which has been a staple, and lasted for several years–surprisingly, considering that it was very affordable at $30) for this hybrid clutch / cross-over-body purse. If you haven’t noticed from my outfits, I have a thing for cross-over-body bags because they’re so convenient. I like to have my hands free, especially when I shop– a pastime that takes up much more of my schedule than it should. Which makes this bag perfect because it doubles as cross-over-body, but I can tuck the straps into the pocket and immediately transform it into a clutch.

crossbody bag

Pink Polka Dot Dress with Pointy Black Heels and crossbody

This bag pretty much only allows me to bring along my essentials: phone (the case doubles as a small wallet for my cards), sunglasses (bonus points for summer resolution #1!), lip gloss(es–I mean, how can you really brave the outside world with just one?) and keys. I think it only weighs like 3 pounds. So yay. No more being burdened down by unnecessary weight. What are your summer resolutions? And can you believe half the year is already gone? I know it’s a cliche, but sheesh. It felt like the end of tax season was just last week.

If you’re wondering what’s on my knee, it’s RockTape (kinesiology) tape, which provides support and helps speed up recovery on sports injury. I’ve been swimming and running a lot, and I’ve always had a problem with my right knee but it seems to be flaring up a lot more lately. Anyway, I try not to wear it unless I’ve got some leggings or tights on, but I figured if I have to, I might as well rock it. So I got neon green. I know! Scandalous. I can’t help being a little bit rebellious now and then. 😛

pointy black heels

:: Outfit Details ::

Pink Chiffon Blouson Polka Dot Dress (~$15 from Ross)
Gray Knee-Length Cardigan (Also ~$15 from Ross–maybe I live there, don’t tell the managers)
Cross-Over-Body Clutch ($17 from Ross. Okay I definitely live there)
Black Pointed Toe Pumps ($25 from H&M. These make me so happy!)
Aviator Sunglasses ($6 $3 from Charlotte Russe — I can’t express how much I love these. They’re the first pair of Aviators that have not made my face look like it’s melting, yay!)

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July 22, 2015

2 Trends I’ll Never Understand: Tassels and Shoes with Graphics

Tassels 

Tassel Cross Over Body Bag from H&M

Tassel Cross Over Body Bag from H&M

I know this is a personal vendetta against tassels that I have. And there’s nothing wrong with the look per se if you can pull it off. But the fact that they’re super POPULAR for most girls right now is just bizarre. What is the point of them? They just hang there and get in the way. I can just imagine them catching onto every door frame, nail, or pointy object I pass. Because I am the type of person to bump into everything I see. Even a doorframe that I know is there and have passed by many times.

And it’s not just purses! I’ve seen them on shirts and cardigans and sweaters and shoes and pretty much everything. They’re like ruffles to me. Pointless and unsightly.

Shoes with Graphics Printed on Them

Shoes with Seashell

Shoes with Seashell from H&M

And Shoes with Words Written on Them

Shoes with graphics from H&M

Shoes from H&M

Why?

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July 21, 2015

10 Dresses Week Two! Crocheted Swimsuit Coverup

How to Make a Swimsuit Cover Up or Sweater DressWelcome back to the second week in our summer dresses challenge! Who made the first dress? Please send me pictures if you did!

I’m not sure what to call this, really. A cover-up? A light sweater dress? Also, the fabric–is it lace, is it crocheted?

Swimsuit Coverup

Well whatever it is, I looooooove it.

You can wear it as a swimsuit coverup as I do here.

swimsuit coverup

Or you can wear it over a simple tank dress.

Swimsuit Sweater Dress

It was pretty easy to make this especially since I left the salvage as part of the hem for the bottom and the sleeves, which meant no hemming–yay! Right behind ripping up seams, hemming is probably my least favorite part about sewing. But that’s not the reason I left the neckline raw–I just liked the effect this fabric has when it’s unfinished.

The cuts are very simple. I used a tank dress for the bodice, and then added sleeves. Voila and done. Here’s the video tutorial:

I really love this dress because it’s so versatile. As a swimsuit cover-up, it’s definitely eye-catching, and the bright color goes perfect for summer and pool-side lounging.

I really love layering clothes, so I think it also looks great worn over another dress. Or maybe as a sweater over some leggings. I sometimes think I was born to live exclusively in winter months. But then again, I love bikinis and sunbathing and beaches and pools too much to really stand by that. Actually I just love clothes in general, so never mind.

The other day my best friend and I decided to take advantage of the neighborhood pool. We popped some tiny single-servings of Sutter Home Moscato wine, snacked on frozen grapes, and had a great girls’ day. It was so nice to see her and just enjoy the sunshine.

Next week we’re working on the elastic-waist, curved-hem dress. So if you’re getting ready to sew that project along with me, you’re going to need a yard of woven fabric and a length of elastic. I used the very thin kind, somewhere around 3/8″ wide. Looking forward to seeing how your projects are turning out!

July 20, 2015

Review: Sublime Beauty Oil Control Sulfur Mask

Sublime Beauty Oil Control Sulfur Mask with Orchid2Sublime Beauty Oil Control Sulfur Mask with Orchid

I guess I’ve just been into a lot of masks this month or something. Or maybe I’ve just been breaking out and desperate to keep it from getting worse. But anyway, I decided to give this Sublime Beauty Oil Control Sulfur Mask a try (and I did get it at a discount for my review).

Sublime Beauty Oil Control Sulfur Mask Cap Off2First off, it is a sulfur mask, so that’s something to keep in account when you realize how terrible it smells. It smells like…well, sulfur. Then again, it’s totally not as bad as how this Dead Sea Mud Mask smells, though that one was totally not expected which might have made it worse. The texture of this mask is similar to a hair clay that I use. It feels more like clay than anything. I washed my face, and then while it was still wet, I applied the mask to my face using a wet foundation brush. I coated it generously, then let it dry for about 15 minutes (even though the directions say 5-10 minutes, it took longer for the mask to dry since my face was wet). Sublime Beauty Oil Control Sulfur Mask Cap Off3

It was easy to wash and didn’t leave a sticky residue or anything like some masks do. No messy, no fuss. Just a straight-forward apply for 10 minutes, then wash off sort of thing.

Sublime Beauty Oil Control Sulfur Mask Cap Off

The next day, I did notice a reduction in the oiliness of my skin. I’m not sure if this is just my imagination, but it seems to speed up the healing process on some of my pimples. My acne is toning down a little, but I can’t tell if that’s because of the mask or maybe I’m just not as stressed out anymore since life has managed to ease into normalcy again. I’ll update you guys on whether this is worth it in the long haul, though from what I can see this is a great product and I would totally recommend it.

:: Overall Thoughts ::

5 out of 5
Weird sulfur smell to consider, though really not that bad
Easy to apply
Easy to wash off
Only 10 minutes
Would recommend

July 17, 2015

TMI Friday: Guys! I went to the mall and only spent $15!

Pink Pointy Heel Pumps and Sunglasses

And then I went to H&M the next day and spent much more. But that’s a whole other topic. For now, let’s focus on the fact that I only spent $15, which is a miracle considering that I walked the entire length of the Lakewood Shopping Center and visited all my favorite stores. This was right after an hour of swimming and no food, so I’m actually proud of myself for not caving into the temptation known as Auntie Annie’s.

(Then I went home and stuffed my face with a bowl of Ramen + egg whites + Pepper Jack cheese (it’s weird but try it!) + chicken dumplings + kale. Yeah! I know! It’s the weirdest unhealthiest + heathiest combination ever and I both enjoyed it thoroughly and regret it immensely!)

So I have been dying, DYING to get some pointy heel pumps. But I’m also very particular. I need them to be a certain height–not too low and not too high and I need the pointiness to be JUST pointy enough. When I stepped into Charlotte Russe, it was only to brave the jewelry section and see if, for once, I can find anything I like. (Nothing to do with their jewelry selection, more to do with my lack of interest in jewelry at all.) They’re having a buy one, get one for $10 sale on shoes, so I figured I’d check it out. But none of their selection really worked out, except when I stepped near the clearance section. And that’s when I spotted these GORGEOUS neon pink pointy toe pumps!

Pink Pointy Heel Pumps

I knew the moment we met that I had to have you.

I’m in love. And then I checked the price. Only $9.99. And in my size. And it’s like…this is the moment I’ve been waiting for……

Ahem.

Right now, they’re on the Charlotte Russe site for $28.99 (but as part of their buy one get one for $10 deal), so I definitely nabbed a steal there.

I’m so so happy right now. I had no place to wear them, being the lonely loser and hermit that I am currently–well it was Sunday and all I really wanted to do was stay home and read a book and maybe attempt to sew something–so I just wore them while I lounged around the house. I pretty much spent an entire afternoon drinking tea on my couch and staring at my new shoes. I know. I’m aware of how sad this sounds. I swear, I have friends. They were just busy.

Having such a round face, I can hardly find the right sunglasses. They have to be flat with rounded square lenses, and they have to be large enough to fit my strangely large head and to also make my face appear smaller. Because when I try to wear smaller frames, I look like the Hulk as he erupts with hunger, I mean anger.

I walked by these Aviators–which usually tend to make my face look like it’s droooooooping–and for some reason figured I should give them a try. And I actually love them!

Aviator Sunglasses from Charlotte Russe

They’re now my favorite sunglasses. The nose-piece elevates them slightly so that my huge cheeks don’t hit the frame when I smile. Plus, they were on sale for $3 (down from $6). Boom. You best believe I’m go’ng to buy dem shades. (That’s right, folks. You can take the lady out of Westminster, but you can’t take the Wet-min-tuh out of the AzN BbY GrL.)

Thus concludes my TMI Friday. I was so excited about my purchases, that I had to share with you guys. What are you shopping for this weekend?

July 16, 2015

What Do I Wear to See the Dalai Lama?

Lace Gathered Fit and Flared Dress Outfit 1

Lace Gathered Fit and Flared Dress Outfit 2Lace Gathered Fit and Flared Dress Outfit 5
Last weekend, I got the chance to see the Dalai Lama in Garden Grove and hear him talk about compassion and kindness. My sister knows the mayor Bao (*flicks dust off shoulders*) and he got us free tickets. I felt really special until I realized that all the tickets were free. Heh.

I’ve made the tragic mistake of Over Dressing before–but then again it’s always better to be overdressed than under-dressed. And plus, since I’m always wearing, well, a dress, I’m technically usually overdressed anyway. So who cares anymore, right?

Lace Gathered Fit and Flared Dress Outfit 6

Thus I opted for my beige stretchy lace fit-and-flare gathered dress, made by mooooooiiiiiiiiii, thankyouverymuch. (The tutorial will be released soon as a part of the 10 Dresses in 10 Weeks Summer Sewing Series.) I shall bare no arms, so I went in search of a jacket–and I am always looking for an excuse to wear my favorite mustard cardigan (I just bought some fabric to make another one!). Of course when it comes to shoes, I knew that I would be on my feet most of the day since most conventions/lectures usually mean you’re running around looking for your spot, and for the rest of the people in your group. So I wore these cute stacked sandals that I just loooove and they’re so comfortable. I could stand in them all day.

stacked sandals

I love this handmade purse that I got from Etsy, even though one of the rings is starting to break. I reattached it with an extra keyring I had lying around.

Cross Over Body Purse

My sister Vy and I were supposed to go with her friend and her friend’s friend, but Vy bailed on me because she had a last-minute engagement singing gig. (She’s a singer! Check out her YouTube when you have a chance.) But that’s okay because I was just excited to go see the Dalai Lama. This is where I need to add that I don’t believe in the whole reincarnation thing. I know he’s just another man. But it’s cool to go see a celebrity figure. And what’s wrong with hearing about compassion and kindness–don’t we need more of that in the world?

My brother Mac decided to take her place, and then her other friend also bailed, so we ended up giving away one of our tickets anyway. Go figure.

Anyway, it was cool. I got some shots of him. Tiny tiny man.

Dalai Lama Speaking in Garden Grove with Mayor Bao Nguyen

Dalai Lama Speaking in Garden Grove

Dalai Lama clapping with a bunch of Asian people

Dalai Lama SigningDalai Lama Signing

Full disclosure, I didn’t hear anything he said. Neither did my friend.

Which might explain why no one showed anything resembling compassion or kindness when we were fighting to leave the parking lot. Then again, I was in Garden Grove, the heartland of Asian drivers, so…

When I told my boss I was going to see the Dalai Lama, he gave me this Tibetan Prayer Garland. I had no idea what to do with it though. I mean, is it a necklace? A bracelet? Or do I just hold it while I…pray? I don’t know. Besides, it didn’t match my dress.

Tibetan Prayer Garland

So what I wore to see the Dalai Lama was…also what I wore to go shoot some arrows with my brother at the archery field. He offered and I said I wanted to go, and we had about an hour of sunlight left so off we went.

Van Hoang Being AwesomeVan Hoang Being Awesome

Van Hoang Being Awesome

Not too bad for my first try.

Van Hoang Being Awesome

:: Outfit Details ::

Lace Fit and Flare Gathered Waistline Dress (made by yours truly as part of the 10 Dresses in 10 Weeks Summer Sewing Series)
Mustard Yellow Cardigan (~$15 from Papaya)
Stacked Sandals ($10 from here)
Cross-Over-Body Bag (~$30 from H&M)

July 15, 2015

Chunky Monkey

Every winter I get this urge to crochet and knit a million things I’ll never get around to making. But I’ve always wanted a super-oversized chunky knit sweater. I guess I wanted it bad enough to actually make it this year instead of just think about making it. Except I didn’t want to knit it because it takes me much longer to knit something than it does to crochet.

So when I saw Stephanie’s super cute crocheted sweater–not to mention her easy tutorial and pattern–I had no excuses.

I pretty much followed her exact instructions and duplicated her sweater. I really love the way it turned out, though I do feel a little silly when I wear it since I live in Southern California and it rarely drops below seventy here. 😛

I drive by this beautiful park every morning and finally had a chance to stop by today. It’s a golf course technically, but I’m up at dawn to get some work done which means no one is around. Better for me. 🙂

Everyone at the office likes to make fun of me because I’m a huge fan of bananas. (That’s what she said!) If the potassium overdose didn’t give me heart attack symptoms, I’d eat nothing but bananas. Thus I have been nicknamed the Office Monkey. Which goes pretty well with the fact that I’m wearing my chunky heel, cut-out boots with my chunky crocheted sweater.

I love everything about these shoes. I especially love chunky heels, obviously because they’re much easier to walk in than toothpick stilettos. But I just love the look of them too.

The cutouts are super cute. The only hard part is…what socks do I wear?

Maybe the ones you’re supposed to wear with flats? But that would look funny. So I just gave up and wore regular socks. Sorry for the faux pas, but I’d rather not smell and slip and slide all day because I’m human and my feet sweat. Gross, I know.shoes

:: Outfit Details ::

Crocheted Chunky Sweater (made by yours truly with like 6 skeins of Bernat Softee Chunky Yarn following All About Amy’s pattern, now available on my Etsy shop)
Fit and Flare Floral Pleated Dress (made by moi, tutorial here!)
Leggings, oops I mean Knit Pants ($6 from Ross)
Charlotte Russe Chunky Heel Cutout Boots ($10 from here)
Cross Over Body Bag (about $30 from H&M)

July 14, 2015

Week One! Floral Fit and Flare Pleated Dress

Fit and Flare Pleated Dress

Oh em gee, yo, I’m excited to post this dress. I think of all the ten I’m doing for my 10 Dresses in 10 Weeks summer series, this is still my favorite. But not really because I love them all!

This fit-and-flare, floral dress fits absolutely perfectly, but that wasn’t so much due to my sewing talents as it is to the stretchy knit fabric. It’s perfect, thick enough that I didn’t need a lining, but light enough that it won’t suffocate me during those hot 100-degree Southern California days. (First world problems, I know, I know.)

I got this fabric for half off at Joann’s, so I think it came out to about $6 to $7 a yard. Since I only need one yard to make a dress (on average, anyway, depending on the style) because I’m short, that’s definitely a steal!

The bodice is fitted, and modeled after another fit-and-flare dress I own that’s shrunken to a miniature size of what it used to be. The bodice hits me just above the waistline–though I wish I would have dropped it about an inch or two below that.

The skirt is a boxy cut, and I pleated it at the waistline. Want to know a secret? I did it wrong at first. The front pleats were facing the wrong way (inwards, when I wanted them outwards). I was too lazy to change it at first, but then it bothered me so much in the pictures that I had to go back and rip up the seams, which has got to be the worst thing ever (in sewing life, anyway). I’m so glad I sucked it up because I love the dress so much now that it’s done and just the way I like it.

Fit and Floral Pleated Dress OOABFit and Flare Pleated Dress

In the video, I’m pairing it with my black lace booties. Only because stilettos make my legs look longer and I’ll take what I can get in the vertical department. I think it would look lovely paired with some round-toed flats, some sheer tights, and a comfy cardigan for extra warmth.

Then in the summer you can tone it down to some cute sandals and a big floppy hat (to please my Asian mother and protect from the sun) and head to the beach!

So go grab some floral knit fabric and whip up this dress. I made it with half a yard, but I’m petite and wear a small to medium in most brands. If you’re taller, you might want to consider buying a yard and a half, but I still have some leftover from that yard of fabric.

Please send me pics or links if you do make this dress. I’d love to see what you come up with!

Next week, we’ll be working on the pink swimsuit cover-up (or oversized sweater dress, depending on how you look at it 😉 ), so go grab yourself a yard of a sweater-like or crochet-like fabric. I got mine at Jo-Ann, and it was half off apparel knits when I went, so my dress was around $6 to make. Good look, and see you next week!

July 13, 2015

Review: Vernal Repair Care Eye Gel

I don’t sleep as much as I should. It’s not something I’ve been able to control so I stopped feeling bad about it, but I used to force myself to stay in bed for the recommended 8 hours and just waste so much time trying to fall asleep. Then one day I decided who cares. I’m not sleeping so I might as well get up and do something.

The only bad thing is that my eyes are always really puffy and I have bags underneath that make me look tired all the time. There’s this coworker in my office who loves to point out that I look “pale” and “tired.” I know she doesn’t mean to be mean, but it’s not a compliment lady!

Anyway, so I decided to give this Vernal Repair Care Eye Gel a try. (Full disclaimer: I received this at a discount in exchange for my review.)

Vernal Repair Care Eye Gel

The packaging is pretty cute, and the 40 bucks a pop might seem like a lot, but .5 ounces will last you probably a lifetime. You only need a tiny tiny drop for each use. The instructions say to massage it onto your eyelid and surrounding areas.

One pump is really too much. Just need a tiny amount.

I used it for the first time one night, and for some reason I couldn’t sleep. I don’t think the cream had anything to do with it. I was probably just stressed and overanalyzing every aspect of my life. I got about three to four hours that night, and that usually means I puff up like a, well, blow fish.

Please don’t judge but this is me sans makeup before using the repair gel.

The next day, I tried this again hoping to diminish any damage I’d done to myself with my lack of sleep. And it worked! My eyes were normal. Actually they weren’t even as puffy as they usually are when I sleep an okay amount (which is still less than normal people).

So the instructions don’t specify whether you can wear this under makeup, but I decided to give that a try. I thought it might make my eyeliner melt off, but in fact it helped it stay in place! Almost like a primer.

I’ve been using this only for a week, so I can’t say much on whether the other claims work–such as getting rid of crows’ feet and undereye circles. I’ll probably be able to tell whether the undereye circles are going away, but I am only 26 after all, and objectively speaking I don’t think I need to be watching for wrinkles or anything like that yet.

After one week of use. HUGE difference in puffiness and some in undereye circles.

Vernal Repair Care Eye Gel

:: Overall Thoughts ::

5 out of 5 stars
Reduced puffiness drastically the first night I used it
Made my eyes feel refreshed and firmer
Can’t tell yet whether under eye circles are going away
Same for crows’ feet

Nevertheless, A+ product 10/10 would recommend

July 10, 2015

TMI Friday: No I will not sew that for you.

Nyx Intense Butter Gloss

Because I want you to make it yourself! That’s why I write and create tutorials. I love to sew and want to teach others how to do it also. And that way, I won’t be alone in my obsession and I’ll have someone to tell me it’s okay to spend a chunk of my paycheck on fabric every month, hehe.

I get a lot of people asking me if I can make them clothes. Ironically, it’s always a dress or something I made in a video tutorial. I say it’s ironic because I created that tutorial specifically to teach you how to make that one thing, and here I have people asking me to make it for them.

The answer is always a clear and resounding No. But lately I’ve decided that I shouldn’t be so one-sided. So here’s the deal:

If you live in Southern California or within close range of Long Beach or you’re willing to drive to Long Beach for this purpose, then yes. I will make you something. Granted, you’ll have to pay for the fabric. You won’t, however, have to pay for the dress itself or the time and effort it will take for me to make it. The only thing I want in return is for you to pose in pictures. 🙂 And also short clips for videos. These pictures and clips will be posted on my blog, social media, and YouTube.

So that’s the deal.

The truth is…after editing a million pictures of myself and my dresses over the past weeks, I am incredibly sick and tired of looking at my face. And fixing the same flaws. Getting rid of the same blemishes. I’ve got to say though, thank God for Photoshop. I wish there was a patch tool for my life.

Anyway, if you’re also sick of looking at my face, my coworkers are on board, so you’ll see some fresh looks on here pretty soon. Have a great weekend guys, and I’ll see you on Monday for a makeup review. Also don’t forget,the first 10 dresses in 10 weeks tutorial will be posted this coming Tuesday, so stay tuned!

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