Guitars and stories

Let’s face it: shopping is something that most of us like to think about. My friends are always talking about it when there’s nothing else to talk about. Labor Day was last week and I got a lot of shopping done. I’m already looking forward to the next big holiday where I can get some more shopping done. Well, probably window shopping and browsing since I feel bad about buying too many things. One of the places my friends mentioned was guitar center knoxville to get a new guitar for his nephew.

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Part 5: Weight, what? (The fitting room)

So where the heck does that first paragraph come in in this long story? It doesn’t. I’ve only just realized this after posting the first four parts. The fitting room stories that inspired the main gist of this mini-series, namely my struggles with my size/weight, don’t really tie in with the other parts. But well, who cares because I already wrote the rest of this post. So here goes anyway:

I’ve been yo-yoing. If you know anything about Christina Aguilera, you know what I’m talking about. One year she’s wearing XXL, the next she’s dancing in a tiny dress in Burlesque. Not that I have ever been that slim, no.

After slimming down as mentioned in the previous post, I put some of it back on. I acquired a new companion – his name is anxiety – in Vancouver and did a lot of emotional eating. Free flow of fish and chips? Bring it on. Oh, and can we get a refill of this endless bottle of tartar sauce? A whole box of Hong Kong roasted barbeque pork rice? Nope, not sharing. The only thing that I maintained was my butt which saw a lot of inclined walks. They say spot-reducing doesn’t work but well, inclines helped my butt stay toned lol.

The gist is I gained and lost weight here and there, now and then. Part of me also allowed the yo-yoing to happen because I wanted to resist the idea that bigger-than-average or fat is not beautiful which are society’s and many cultures’ mindset when it comes to size. Am I less worthy if I am 5lbs heavier? Why can’t I be 5lbs heavier and be okay with it? Why do I feel disgusting when I look over at someone skinnier? Nevertheless, it was a never-ending tug of war – eat, exercise, portion control, eat some more, don’t exercise, no portion control.

That brings us to today. Whew, finally.

Where do I stand on the scale, so to speak, today? I still don’t know. Even now I have no exercise goals related to numbers. I have no plans of reducing myself to a number on the scale.

I think I’m a size 9… somewhere between 8 and 10, some days a 10, not quite an 8 yet, something like that. Decent, I would say. Could stand to lose a bit more belly fat but no complaints about being in between sizes some days and a full 10 (and a half) on others. Unless, of course, mean comments about my size are aimed my way then I either 1) fall back into my thinking that I’m fat therefore disgusting and unworthy or 2) struggle between feeling like I haven’t done enough or 3) think, F off, a**hole, you don’t know my life. Or all of the above.

I came home this summer, fully expecting to continue our workout regime. I worked but I managed not to slack off. The conflicting emotions after I lose weight or drop a jeans size aren’t as severe as they used to be either.

OR SO I THOUGHT. Cue more dramatic Dracula music.

/prelude Fitting rooms here are where I am taken back to the times when people made me feel bad about my size. When I look at myself in the mirror in the fitting rooms here, I remember the younger me who had this ugly love-hate relationship with her body. I didn’t hate my body but people around me made me. /end prelude haha

The wife of my dad’s friend recently gifted us a bag of clothes from South Korea. Korean fashion is something I never thought about until I started noticing my sister’s growing interest in it. I long ago stopped keeping up with the fashion world, if you’re wondering how that interest went.

What is Korean fashion? I haven’t studied it enough to give you a thorough overview but basically flowy A-line shapes, cute layering, trench coats that look impossibly good on men (this might only be Kpop men but correct me if I’m wrong), ripped jeans, platform shoes, and no showing your shoulders or armpits (at least that’s what I’ve read). Sounds good to me since I love sleeved clothes.

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise, after doing brief research, when we pulled out the clothes and I immediately noticed how oversized all the clothes in the bag were. By the way, a lot of their clothes are free-size (never understood this). The other obvious thing was the empire waist/A-line shape that ALL the clothes had. They are feminine, beautiful, expensive clothes but empire waists…?

You see where I’m going with this? Oh yeah. We tried on all the clothes that looked like they would be too big and shapeless to fit.

Much to my disappointment and embarrassment, I found out that I am no Korean female idol. Dreams of joining a female idol group evaporated as I stared down at the flowy dress with spaghetti straps. I’m kidding. I have loftier goals than that – joining a male idol group. Super Junior, let me in.

Empire-waist and A-line clothes make me look like I’m pregnant. Having never been your typical dainty Asian with a small frame or flat butt or small chest, it was clear that those clothes were not made for the likes of me. I could have been the Hulk (amen, Bruce Banner, whom they recently killed off in the comics; don’t tell me I spoiled it for you, it was in the news!!) being delusional, thinking he could still fit into a pair of tailored office slacks after morphing into that angry green giant.

kfashion-dress5

Photo from YesStyle. I apparently saved it halfway lol.

kfashion-dress2

Did anyone even think the clothes would look remotely like this on me? NO.

Yes, I was sad. No, I will not be wearing any of those clothes to meet my dad’s friend’s wife.

Later, for whatever masochistic reason, I went to browse Korean fashion sites. To my fascination, and masochism, if you will, I noted that most clothes with sizes only go up to a medium. Well, this one hasn’t worn an Asian size M in years. Looks like I will not be shopping at online Korean fashion stores.

The fitting rooms here are where I first ‘confirmed’ the fat comments said to my face. From my pre-teen years onwards (or at least that’s when I first started looking at tags instead of just having my mom buy clothes for me) I didn’t need to bother looking at anything smaller than an L. School uniforms? Large. Okay, extra large. Jeans? Large. Size 10-12. T-shirts? Large. I was always ashamed of buying size L clothes. That is, until fitting rooms in the US entered my life. Well, they didn’t have that big an impact that time I went and gained a lot of weight but later when I slimmed down a little, I realized that I was actually pretty average-sized over there. Sometimes M even does it for me.

That was yet another aha moment for me when it dawned on me that I may not be as monstrously big as I was told and made to feel. BUT apparently, I don’t learn my fashion lessons too well because I still keep going back to try on Asian-sized clothes at the malls back here. I don’t do it often because I spend a lot of time glaring at racks and shelves of clothes, thinking, ‘nope’ but when I do, sometimes I come out of the fitting room, ready to go home and wallow in self-pity. Unless we’re going to Nando’s after that, no joke. Okay, maybe not self-pity… More like feeling irritated and angry with myself.

At a recent fitting room session, I had the sense to laugh off what I could classify as the worst piece of clothing I have taken in to try. It was a maxi skirt, size L. In my head, I didn’t look as good as the mannequin wearing it but could still somehow look okay in it. I tried it on. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I still hate trying on clothes here but at least now I know it’s not me, it’s the standards. And well, eff the standards and the people who bring down your self-esteem.

Raine
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More California things… I think

1. PINK everything. No, really, why is Victoria’s Secret Pink wear SO popular here? I swear everyone in school has at least ONE Pink article of clothing be it a Pink bedazzled hoodie or a pair of Pink-emblazoned yoga pants or Pink tank top. I guess people take their VS seriously. I just like their flip flops which went out of production.

vs pink2. Under Armour obsession. Same thing here. UA shirts, UA hoodies, UA bags, UA caps, UA everything. I don’t get it. Explanation please?

underarmour3. Giants everything. Okay, this I kind of get because even before I came here I found myself browsing the Giants merch pages. I’m not a big sports fan but I can appreciate the SF Giants. If people are not wearing Pink or Under Armour stuff, they’re probably wearing something Giants-related. Orange and black… always.

giantskeychain4. Sweatpants and hoodie combo. I’ve read about the typical American’s obsession with sweatpants and hoodies but um, I did not expect it to go this far. Girls show up to school in sweatpants… and it’s acceptable. I thought sweatpants were for lounging at home or going to the gym. Well, apparently sweatpants are the new jeans because people wear them everywhere. To Target, to eat, to school, to fill their gas, to the park, everywhere. Well, I’ll take the sweatpants+hoodie combo over non-existent shorts and cleavage-baring tops that are popular back home (you did not hear this from me). Brb ordering sweatpants.

I get it. I really do.

5. Non-winter. It’s December. It’s 70 degrees outside. It’s January. It’s still almost 70 degrees. It’s February. We’re back to 70 degrees. Um, what? I was right about not needing our Vancouver gear. It’s still hot and sunny in between sprinkles of rain, random cool drafts and occasional grey skies.

cali-sky4

6. Bad drivers. They’re all over the world but they’re all of slightly different breeds. Back home, you have inconsiderate folks who pressure you when you try to park/back out of a parking space, folks who cut into the tiniest gap between you and the car in front of you, folks who shoot out of corners without checking oncoming traffic, douchebag level max, etc. Here: Californians speeding, Californians braking at the last second, Californians tailgating, impatience level max…

Wait, did I forget tailgating?

Side story: while I was test-driving a car on the freeway the other day, the guy told me I wasn’t going fast enough and that I could get a ticket for going too slow. K. HOW is going at 55mph slow? HOW? How??? 65mph is 105km/h. That’s crazy. The speed limit is 65mph. Read: limit. Why do I need to push 65mph?

7. Ranch and mayo. I will never understand covering your meals with excessive amounts of ranch or mayo. I used to think that I ate a lot of mayo.. Now I see how foolish and wrong I was. I eat at least only 1/8 of what people eat here. Just waaay too much dressing.

8-ways-to-ruin-a-healthy-salad1835075941-may-24-2012-600x3998. Sandals and socks combo. Are you seeing a pattern here? Yeah, I notice tons of fashion statements that are different from the ones back home. Apparently it’s totally COOL to wear socks with sandals like the Romans and Japanese. This is a fashion trend we are getting on! We just bought ugly sandals from Daiso to wear out with mismatched socks. Check these out:

socks-and-sandals

Working it

Pg-13-romans

These are the ones more commonly seen around campus. Adidas sandals and white/black socks.

Apparently they are also called slides here. I don’t know, I just call them slippers.

9. In-N-Out. Ah, here we have the number one pride of California. And you know what? I totally get it. I get why the lines – counter AND drive-thru – are so freaking long from the moment they open at 11am. The first time we went, we ordered 3 burgers and 2 fries. The fries, however, are skinny, soggy and quite unimpressive so that was a let-down. But we liked the cheeseburger so much that we went again the following day. The cheeseburger is tasty, Animal Style or not. We have agreed that In-N-Out is better than Five Guys.

cali-innout

Agree or disagree? Did I miss anything?

Raine
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How we are surviving winter with only two layers

It’s 50F out there (when it’s not 70F, pfft Californian winter) and windy but I walked out this morning in only two layers – a thin cotton T-shirt and a long-sleeved shirt. Now this may not seem like a big deal to people who are still wearing tank tops outside (I salute thee) but if you’re like us and you struggle to think of how to stay warm, read on.

I’ve been seeing people in college bundled up in scarves, coats, boots and beanies since early October when the temperature dropped to… 75F. Omg and I thought I was a water crab (a Chinese saying to describe a person who can’t stand the cold). I think I do okay in the cold but obviously not to the extent of being able to walk out in a tank top right now. Also, since Vancouver, I’ve been telling myself, this is nothing compared to Vancouver, I can do this.

The weather right now is kind of frustrating because while it’s cold, it’s not cold enough to be wearing fur-lined jackets. I tried to wear my fur-lined jacket the other day and nearly passed out from the stuffiness. I’ve since shoved it back into the closet. The other thing that annoys me is the fact that it’s cold outside but the school library is SO. DAMNED. HOT. I walk in and feel like all the furnaces are on full-blast. Why?

Oh, but people are STILL wearing their fur coats, boots, scarves and beanies INDOORS. I don’t understand. How are they not fainting yet? What powers do they have to keep them functional in such a stuffy situation? I’m just sitting there, panting like a dehydrated dog in summer, complaining to my sister about the heat and wondering why I even bothered with a jacket.

I’ve since figured out the perfect outfit combo to stay warm yet not too warm.

Here’s how we’re enduring the mild winter weather without a jacket or scarf: Uniqlo Heattech tops and leggings. I wear my Uniqlo Heattech crew neck long-sleeved top under a T-shirt and I’m good to go from morning till night.

In Vancouver I wore a Heattech top and Heattech leggings every. single. day. I accredit my ability to stay warm in the windy, rainy and freezing Canadian winter to these wonders.

So what is Uniqlo’s Heattech all about? It’s some kind of technology used in clothes to absorb and retain heat. That is a good enough explanation for me but if you want to read in detail what it does, the site tells you a lot.

Pros of Heattech:

#1 reason: They. keep. you. SO. warm. I’m not kidding. Technology is amazing.

2. Minimalistic styles. Just your regular old long-sleeved tees, turtlenecks, crew neck tops, tanks, camisoles, leggings, socks, leg warmers, jeez this is endless. You can go check it out yourself. There’s also a men’s section if you’re interested.

3. They are easy to match. There are so many colors to choose from. We bought a few dark colors and some subtle patterned ones. Your inner fashionista’s idea of mix-and-match heaven.

4. Endless layering options.

5. Soft and stretchy. I love soft clothes. I also love stretchy. Stretchy everything please.

6. LIGHTWEIGHT. Warm doesn’t have to be bulky/heavy anymore. No more rolling around in 3 thick layers.

Cons of Heattech:

1. Too thin/sheer to wear on its own. I think there are some fleece Heattechs which aren’t sheer though.

2. Too warm for certain cases. The other day I wore a long-sleeved Heattech top under a hoodie and it was so freaking hot. I couldn’t take off my jacket because the Heattech is too sheer so I had to bear with it for the entire day… I came home with a headache @_@ The turtlenecks also give me a headache if I wear it in a warm room. Same thing happens to me when I wear a scarf for too long.

~

Best part is, my friends, Heattech now comes in EXTRA WARM so for you guys thinking, oh it may serve you in a Californian winter but what about us in the colder regions? I personally haven’t tried the Heattech Extra Warm products because we don’t need that extra warmth but you should definitely check it out if you’re in the colder parts.

We basically raided the Uniqlo store before coming over. Do we get a member discount? Haha.

Update: It’s finally getting to winter temperatures here and I’m still going out in 2 layers (one Heattech and one sweater).

This is not a sponsored post or paid review in any way. I just think it’s a great way to stay warm in winter. Let me know how you stay warm in winter and if you’re a Heattech fan like us!

Raine
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Last week of the semester and some thoughts

The title speaks for itself.

As I write this, I’m stuffing my face with leftover peanut butter & jelly sandwich, Ruffles and Ritz garlic biscuits; resisting finishing Immortal Rain (a manga I discovered last night); and I have 2 papers due (one tomorrow), and some finals next week.

Update: That was a week ago. I have since moved on to pita chips and Carr’s crackers topped with smoked salmon as my afternoon snack. I finished reading Immortal Rain and it was incredible. Loved every moment of it and I highly recommend it. Also, I’ve submitted all my papers and finals are over.

But anyway let’s just take some time off studying to recap how the semester went.

1. I actually made friends. Unlike in Vancouver where I made zero friends in 4 months and not because I didn’t try to put in any effort.

2. I participated in a few activities/events that I would never have seen myself attending. They are not ragers or frat parties, in case you’re wondering. There were some barbeques, dinners, picnics, golfing and orchestras. Needless to say the introvert in me was EXHAUSTED and it’s taken me half the semester to recover from all that mingling and socializing.

3. We joined a club. The meetings were late and we only attended a few but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We will be looking at joining other clubs.

4. My classes were 1) so-so, 2) boring, 3) excellent, and 4) boring. Not bad, if you ask me. The workload was okay too.

5. We camped in the library every free moment we had. We tried going to the upper floors a few times because that’s where all the ‘cool kids’ hang but yeah, it wasn’t for us. Find us in the bunker downstairs. Oh, all the library tales we could tell you.

6. We discovered a new eatery on campus (it’s been there for ages; we just never ventured inside) on the 2nd last day of the semester so needless to say we’ll probably go there if we have any pizza cravings. It’s usually also extremely packed, I think, so we’ll have to find a good time to stop by.

Now it’s time for other thoughts:

7. Huang is missing. Yes, Huang, our cat, is missing. We haven’t seen him in over a month. I read (because I secretly enjoy being a cat owner) that cats can go missing for months or years but one day came waltzing back as if they never left. I can only hope that Huang will come back.

8. We go out quite a bit… to Costco. You can say that our Costco membership is quite worth it. No wonder the guy at the checkout counter tells people, ‘see you tomorrow’.

9. We have also discovered Ross Dress for Less and TJ Maxx. They. are. awesome. I bought a Christmas sweater for $10 and it’s gorgeous. The girl handing out food samples at Costco today told me that she loves my sweater. $10 for a pretty sweater, yes please.

10. I have recently discovered coffee. I am certain that in one of my ‘random facts about me’ posts, I stated that I am NOT a coffee person. While everyone is at the Starbucks line ordering a frappe or latte or whatever caffeinated drink of their choice, I’m pondering the juice choices. That being said, on a whim, I decided to have my own cup of mocha (it was from a beverage machine so it was free) and it was heavenly. I loved it so much that I finished the entire cup by myself. That’s unheard of. While I haven’t become a coffee convert, I can now appreciate a cup of coffee better.

11. Holiday shopping and free shipping. Very excellent creations of the 21st century. I approve.

12. Burritos are delicious. So is red curry.

13.What would a recap post be without anime/manga recaps? Psycho-Pass 2 just ended. Let’s just say it was lousy and not get into detail here. Donten ni Warau is also ending today but since I’ve read the manga it shouldn’t be anything too surprising. It was good. Garo is also airing today! Excite! Garo is a pleasant surprise. So is Shingeki no Bahamut (which doesn’t have anything to do with SnK). We’re also getting through the second season of Saiunkoku Monogatari (don’t let the name scare you) which isn’t that fantastic but has its great moments. Other anime worth mentioning: Magic Kaito 1412, Nanatsu no Taizai (A+!!!), Gugure! Kokkuri-san, Orenchi no Furo Jijou, Akatsuki no Yona (not sure where to put this since we’re sitting on the fence with this one). Ah, I’m reminiscing about Darker Than Black so I might have to watch it again sometime.

14. Manga wise, apart from Immortal Rain (which, I have to tell you again because once is not enough, was A fricking +), I’m still reading Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun and Rinne. I also just caught up with Bleach (ugh, so many things to say, where do I begin?). I’m thinking of doing a top 5 manga post so stay tuned.

15. Oh, about the car thing? Done.

Now to gather myself and do something during the break rather than wake up at 8:30 and reblog stuff all day.

Tell me about your week or month! How is your holiday shopping going so far? Happy Friday!

Raine
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Winter fashion: sweater dress

Hello all. Today I bring you stressed-out post of the week. While I write this, I’m so stressed, I could a) punch a hole through the wall, b) sit in a corner and cry, c) go to sleep and pretend this is all a dream.

As if it wasn’t bad enough that we’ve spent two WHOLE months looking for a car, we finally decided at the last minute to give up the idea of getting a new car and are now back to square one. How many hours have I spent browsing the freaking used car inventory and squinting at the screen and not having time to do anything else, I do not know and would rather not know. -punches hole through a wall- Where was I? Oh, never mind that I over-confidently and accidentally missed Target’s Black Friday sale because I thought it would last till Sunday and I have finals coming up.

Anyway, a girl can still continue dreaming that her shopping basket (be it clothes or a car) will be checked out. Here are some pretty sweater dresses that I found in between car-hunting:


Olive & Oak Cowl Be There Navy and Lavender Sweater Dress


Cocoa and Kisses Wine Red Sweater Dress


All Lined Up Black and Ivory Striped Sweater Dress


Mark Your Mayan Calendar Black and Beige Print Sweater Dress

How has your week been? Any tips for car-buying/car-hunting? We would appreciate any input.

Raine
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Little black dresses for the holiday season

I don’t know about you but I’m doing Black Friday shopping from the comfort of my own home. Isn’t online shopping great?! Click, click, and you’ve got stuff on the way to you.

Anyway, if you’re also bumming around at home, clicking away on shopping sites like us, here are a few dresses you may wanna consider adding to your basket.


Queen of Sequin Black and Gold Sequin Dress


Recipe for Spectacular Black Sequin Midi Dress


Darling Saphyia Black and Gold Sequin Dress


Because The Night Black Sequin Skater Dress

Sequin everyyything. Happy shopping!!

Raine
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