Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap! Day

In my years of fashion adventuring, I've had an inclination to take many LEAPS of faith grandeur. Not sure why I haven't been jump-shotting as often these days. Maybe it's my old bones squeaking in noncooperation. In honour of Leap Day 2012, a by no means exhaustive yet exhausting Pandaphilia history of jumping:

leap day 2012 collage

1. Nerdy chic (published in Style Yourself!) 2. Crayola multicolour 3. Hello Kitty watermelon

In other news, I joined the Bone Marrow Registry today. For people with immune system diseases such as leukemia and multiple myeloma, a good tissue-type match can be live-saving but hard to find. One has a 1 in 4 chance of matching exactly with a sibling, but for many people that's not an option. Donors of Asian descent are especially needed, and matches are most likely found within your ethnic group due to the genetics. So I did the scary thing and signed up. If I could have donated bone marrow stem cells to my Mom for transplant, I would have but immunology doesn't quite work that way. Whose Mom or loved one will you save someday? This is part of my new endeavor for the rest of my life:
image credit:

Readers - what did you do on Leap Day?
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012


the stash open mouth, insert candy
Pudding, preserved plum, candied strawberry Hi-Chew
Black cola, cola, orange soda, grape soda, lemon soda, white soda (like ramune) Hi-chew
Lemon, green apple, strawberry, peach, grape Hi-chew
frutti tutti
HI-CHEW is a chewy Japanese candy that usually comes in many fruity flavours that actually taste like the real fruit. It's so refreshing to eat a grape candy that actually tastes like grape. You know what I'm talking about ... fake cherry or banana Laffy Taffys, orange and lemon Starburst? Of course most candy is yummy but Hi Chew takes the cake (or should I say, candy?) on realistic tastes. For example, their Cola flavour tastes exactly like pop/soda/cola! The Pudding one even has chewy bits that simulate the caramelized sugar and Kiwi has little black "seeds." They come in little individually wrapped cubes and sometimes are white with a pastel colour center but the taste is especially impressive for such a modest looking candy. Though, as a warning the ones made in Asia do taste different and better than the ones in America. Thanks to my friend Francis who brought this goldmine all the way back from Taiwan over break. Most of this stash is long gone, absorbed into my food-loving tummy keke. Hurray for Tuesday Treats!

Readers - what's the most interesting flavour candy you've tried?
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Monday, February 27, 2012 Giving Local Fashion an Online Presence

If you're like me, you feel odd when you see the shirt sitting in your closet sported by Lea Michele on Glee or the embarrassment of strutting into formal in the same dress that two other girls are sporting. This is why occasionally I turn to local boutiques like Pitaya (which is a small chain with only 17 stores nationwide) and SKY Boutique, which is my daily neighborhood fashion ogling stop. However, it's really sad to see local businesses (including restaurants) being bought by more mainstream mall or store chains. is a new Miami-based site that helps prevent local fashion businesses from shutting down by helping them open an online version of their store as well. I know I spend forever on the internet gazing at Forever 21 and H&M before a shopping trip but can't find the clothes in store and oftentimes don't have the time to stop by my local boutiques to see what's in stock. Having a small-scale selection that is visible online is the perfect balance. While my student budget forces me to prefer to find cheap steals at the mall and thrift stores, sometimes it's nice to treat yourself to that stunner piece. Most of the pieces are definitely out of my range though, like this Dolce & Gabbana (ugly) jacket for $600, but for the designer bargain hunter, this could be an option. There are some pieces under $50 that I would consider.

Much better: a black mesh striped leather jacket for $60 (NY Fashions) and this cute Peter Pan collar black and white romper for $72 (Electric Couture). These prices are comparable to Threadsence, Lulus, Romwe.
 Here is an example of a store info page with a photo, the boutique address, complete with a local map
Meinto's site has a clean design and is easily navigable with a useful search function for both items and boutique stores (unlike Forever21). They offer 30 days return and over 3000 brands for women, men, and kids. In the store search bar, I entered my St. Louis zip code and unfortunately nothing came up. This is because most of the local stores listed are near Miami, Florida. Hopefully with time, this could expand to the entire US (Meinto has already worked well in Europe). It's a good concept and it is really sad to see local stores go out of business. 

There's also a Facebook video contest - you can win $1000 of boutique clothing from Meinto! You must be a resident of the US and at least 21. The contest ends on 3/19/2012.

Readers - do you shop local fashion?
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This is a sponsored post in which I was provided monetary compensation. This does not affect my honest opinion whatsoever.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Miss You, Mom

My Mom was always very supportive of this blog and kept it bookmarked in her favourite sites. I hope she doesn't mind me sharing this news with the world. Nevertheless, it's hard to capture my feelings into words.

My Mom fought multiple myeloma (a cancer of the bone marrow) for eleven years. She lived her life with so much optimism and a  big smile on her face despite having this terrible illness. She was kind to everyone: strangers, new nurses and hospital staff, people who probably didn't deserve her goodness too. On Saturday, February 11, 2012, the day we feared for so long came. The night before I got the call. Saturday morning I hopped on a plane and rushed to the hospital. She held on for 9 more hours so I could hold her hand and talk to her about anything, everything. She's been holding onto life so bravely for the past decade just for us. Then at 9:40 PM she floated up peacefully to Heaven. Just like that. My brain still can't wrap around this. It was so sudden - we still chatted and wished each other happy Chinese New Years two weeks before. But she more than deserves this peaceful rest and we are happy that she doesn't need any more chemo, medication, pain, suffering. As much as it hurts to let her go ... bittersweet.

Last week was rough and it stretched on like a year. I tried to keep this inside and not share with many people but I am so thankful for the friends that called me and patiently listened while I sobbed incoherently. Thank you guys. And if I haven't yet told in person yet, I just don't have the strength to mouth the words again and again. My Dad and brother have been so strong too and we are here for each other and even closer now. We went through the motions of starting to plan the funeral and it all came together beautifully, in the process allowing us to focus on how special and bright our Mom's life was. Looking through old photo albums was both difficult and calming. She was just 24 in these photos, and she had a rare radiance and beauty, in youth and after she became sick. The memorial service took place this past Saturday, with lots of family friends flew in from all over the country, and it meant a lot that they would come so far at short notice. My Mom touched the lives of everyone she met. If you talked with her for 5 minutes, she would change your life and you can count yourself a really lucky person. She made us strong because she was and is the best role model there can be.

This is why I've been MIA from the internet for a while. It's going to take a long time to heal and even if the world stops turning, we won't forget her. But life moves forward. I'm going to have a lot of adventures for her - go all the places she couldn't travel to because she was sick. I'm going to take care of my body and never forsake my health just to get ahead in work. Since coming back yesterday, hearing people complain around me about tests and work and not having enough time to do things they love makes me realize that the small things are not worth stressing over. A lot of things have been put into perspective and I hope that this inspires you to appreciate the time you're given instead of complaining. My Mom somehow never blamed, yelled about the pain, or tried to make us miserable with her. She did everything she could to live a normal life and to give her family happiness and spent all her remaining energy worrying about us instead of herself. She's always been an angel. I'm going to try hard to be a better person every day, to become like her and to continue doing things that make her proud. In a way, she won't be missing anything - she has the best seat in the house. 

We love you so much, Mom.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dragon Age

sweet red and black tea flutter dragon crown jewels posers 101
H&M red and black flutter sleeve dress (Euro 4) // Forever 21 sheer black rose print tights (M/L) //
Fioni for Payless black cutout booties (5) // Forever 21 layered gold bird chain necklace //
Rings: turquoise cluster ring from China (gifted), and snake coil ring (Aldo size 5) //

Photography: Alice Gu

TO BE A DRAGON (LADY). My outfit for watching the Lunar New Year Festival performance (1/28). I picked up this H&M red and black dress with flutter sleeves on sale probably a year ago and only wore it out once during my Spring Break adventures around St. Louis (Missouri Botanical Gardens and Forest Park). My IRL friend and blogger phenom Alice took these photos for me and I'm very excited to show you her outfit for the same event (eons better: think gold sequin skirt and amazing hair). Thank you lovely readers for bearing with me this past week while I have been going through a sad and difficult time. Hopefully with time I'll be able to share, but for now just thank you for understanding.

Readers - what's your go-to outfit to wear to performances?
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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Spring 2012 H&M Fitting Room Review + 20% off coupon

Are you ready for a massive fitting room review? Last weekend I went to the mall and H&M to scope out the leftovers of their massive and still-ongoing winter sale and check out new spring clothes. There weren't that many interesting items that screamed spring, but plenty of neutrals and versatile cross-seasonal pieces. H&M also sent out a 20% off one item coupon via email for use 2/9 to 2/14, so I might brave the 17 degree temperature to grab something that I passed up from last week. If you want pictures of the tag bar codes for anything shown here, just send me an email.

1) H&M mint green cable knit sweater (size S), $20 USD
This lightweight mini cable knit sweater in a delicious pastel spring mint green would be a perfect spring transitional item. Paired with the pastel pink tulle skirt I had on when I went shopping, it's a dreamy colour palette! They also have this in other colours, including carnation pink.
- Verdict: Pass, too many sweaters and a little pricey for such a thin sweater

2) H&M faux leather leggings/tights (size S), $25
Found these on a return rack somewhere and thought I'd try them on. Breaking my rule of no attack-of-the-uncovered-leggings-butt just to show you the fit and material (seriously, worst fashion faux pas ... badonkadonk hanging out, no shorts or skirt over it, leggings and Uggs/boots). The material is quite thin and very stretchy - I thought that these were Medium but in fact they're small and even have a few creases (indicating too loose), which surprised me and my non-toothpicky legs. The style gives any outfit an edge, moreso than simple cotton black tights. These are probably more comfortable than leather pants, but definitely less structured (of course) ... may have to look into pants too.
- Verdict: Purchased, despite the price tag, this piece is very versatile for building a minimalistic wardrobe that still packs punch - in a week I already wore them three times!
3) H&M purple velvet ruched dress (size S), $7 ON SUPER SALE
This velvet material caught my eye in the massive sale rack, then when I saw the price tag I ran to the fitting room. The Small is even a bit loose on me, and it's actually a flattering classy length, hitting mid-knee on 5'3" (160 cm) me. The rucheing makes everything drape elegantly and I like that you can wear the sleeves off the shoulder or on. I've included the tag too in case you're interested in finding it at your H&M - I know there were like 10 of these left at the St. Louis Galleria (click to enlarge).
- Verdict: Passed, reluctantly. Didn't feel like I needed another dress, and where would I wear something this mature/classy to? I think I'll go back for it this weekend.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Glamour Photos 2: Swan Lake | K-drama

DSCF0073 DSCF0057 DSCF0072 DSCF0067

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Animal Farm

flick wrists goldilocks vignette and torso ionic curves wishful glances embracing lack of focus why hello dare
Forever 21 sheep jumper/sweatshirt (S) // Pitaya bunny print peter pan collar top (S) //
H&M pastel pink bird print pencil skirt (Euro 2) // Forever 21 burgundy tights //
Xhilaration wingtip oxford flats in Cognac (5.5) //

Photography: JJ

SHEEP + BUNNIES + DOVES. You guys don't know how long I've been waiting to wear this outfit! (1/30) A few things barring me from just throwing on a massive animal pandemonium: this is a size 2 H&M skirt, meaning it's like a 00. My intake of half chicken tenders/half fries (we call them half and halves here) and other heart-stopping meals makes fitting into that a sick joke. Second, it was "oh ... there's my butt, I suppose it just froze off"-cold. But last week, St. Louis was really dishing out the beautiful weather - 60s to 70s and sunny. What!? in a very, very good way! Alas now it's back to mediocre attempts at snowing and being unjustifiably cold.

I'm not a fan of the way this skirt looks on me - my thighs push up the pencil-skirt-like part on my thighs and there's a poofy balloon thing going on in the front. Either way, at the time a $25 bird print skirt was irresistable for my Miu Miu dupe-hunting craze. The navy shorts with the same print looked way cuter on Jen (herwaisechoice) but never caught them in stores here last spring.

This semester has been utterly fantastic - hanging out with a different group of friends everyday, almost always spontaneously. Classy wine in plastic cups, making a scene in the library cafe at night, laughing and more laughing. Viva esta vida loca. Second semester senior also translates to "more time to ogle architecture on campus" - after all, this is one of the deciding factors for choosing my specific university. Side note: it's already February and I'm still writing my dates like 2.8.11. It's 2012 and my brain is a little slow on the gear-turning process for this factoid. Cray.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Matcha Green Tea Kit Kat

unwrapped no makeup kit kat like matryoshka dolls
Thanks to my friend Mike for bringing back these delicious matcha green tea Kit Kats from Japan! They taste like green milk tea and even have green filling between the wafers inside. Excuse the face - it was a lazy weekend no makeup day. Big shocker: I actually look like this most days, the glasses/eye bags/pimples look in vogue, the battle scars of many nights of studying late. So much green in these pics, right? It's my favourite colour and almost everything in my room (yes my desk is lime green!) - desk, lamp, edamame peas plush - is this vibrant and lush colour. Enjoy this edition of Tuesday Treats!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Schoolgirl Tulle

perfect twirl shot wood against tulle ballerina schoolgirl reach for the skies homies modeling bling
H&M mustard knit sweater (XS) // Forever 21 chambray shirt (S) (underneath) //
Forever 21 light pink tulle skirt (S) // Merona faux calfhair leopard print flats (5.5) //
BCBG silver metallic foldover clutch (c/o ReallyPetite) // Forever 21 burgundy tights //
Bracelets: Poshlocket (c/o), Forever 21, H&M // Forever 21 white plastic bow ring (S) //

Photography: me, tripod and remote

TUTUS, NOT VOODOO. As much as I like the idea of bravely going where no fashionista has gone (on campus) before, the last few times I pulled out my pink tulle skirt for styling, I've chickened out and reluctantly put it back in the closet. One day while surfing Lookbook, the perfect inspiration scrolled across the screen - a girl wearing an orange sweater with a collared shirt underneath and a tulle skirt very similar to mine (sorry can't remember exactly who). This was the toning-down solution that escaped me and I gleefully stored the image in the back of my mind.

Friday (2/3) was the perfect day (mid 50s and cloudy) to throw on this ensemble for my one class. Even in a class full of pre-meds and biomedical engineers, I felt fun and flirty but not crazy. Mustard and chambray are a match made in heaven and I love how the bright yellow pops against the grey skies and is reminiscent of a schoolbus. JJ was gone for a grad school interview so I fumbled with my self-photography equipment and raced the wind and impending rainstorm. This weekend has been pretty tortoise-paced in a pleasant way - hanging out, sleeping, playing racquetball, feeling out some Legend of Zelda tunes on the piano/violin, eating exorbitant amounts of pho, green onion savory pancakes (congyoubing), Chipotle, hot dogs. No, I did not watch the Super Bowl (but glad a Manning won) nor join the fray for Jason Wu x Target. Now for squeezing a big dollop of catch-up on my work. Have a great week!

Friday, February 3, 2012

H&M giving out $5 gift cards!

gold glitter card holder nice surprise
After my mall-therapy and careful pruning of H&M today, the SA surprised me at the register with a free $5 gift card to use between 2/23 and 3/7. Run, don't walk, to your local H&M and take advantage of this! Not sure about the minimum purchase so you should ask. Also, say hello to my new badge proof of glitter obsession: a $4 gold mini envelope clutch cardholder. It's so adorable!

Edit: After reading angry comments on H&M's Facebook fan page ... shame on them for not admitting stealing an independent artist's graphic. You can read the story here.

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