Personal, Travel

New York in Motion

I might not be able to ever finish my photos on New York at the rate I’m going…I have over 6 GB of shots and I’m feeling overwhelmed with my editing. Here are some GIFs I made from NYC. There’s so much to do in the city and so little time; if I could do it all over again I’d just film the constant movement. It’s just as they say in the movies; the city never slows down. It’s nothing like Los Angeles or San Francisco or Washington DC; it is its own kind of beast. I’m glad I was able to see it in my youth. I want to come back and see more of Brooklyn, Queens, or Harlem. Manhattan, you sure are something.

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This is Grand Central Terminal on a weekday rush hour.

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Times Square on a Saturday night.

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The early morning sky over the Flatiron Building.

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A quiet afternoon at Brooklyn Bridge Park, looking out toward Manhattan.

I hope that was enjoyable and not terribly slow on your browsers! :)

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Inspiration, On The Hunt

Holiday style

Earlier this year I made a joking aside to my friend that we should both find New Year’s Eve parties in SF and LA respectively to wear obscenely sparkly outfits to. Flash forward to now and while I haven’t found NYE plans just yet, there are office parties and Friendsgiving (friend-Thanksgiving) as well as family occasions to prepare for. In the past years I haven’t really felt like dressing up, opting for jeans and sweatshirts at family parties because we all end up falling asleep after Christmas lunch anyway. But this year, I want to be a little more polished, especially at work where it can’t hurt to leave a good impression leading into the new year’s performance review period. Heh.

Off-duty holiday elegance is the tone I want to strike. Knowing my habits, it will probably end up being pretty sporty where a pair of sleek black Nikes wouldn’t be out of place (note to self: actually acquire sleek Flyknits. wallet says please let us recover from New York first.) Here’s what I’ve been looking at in terms of “off duty holiday,” a mix of the casual and polished:

I especially like the last picture of the gal in the plain gold skirt. I’d use my Ecco heeled booties and black tights and I have any number of sweaters I could use for the top. I’d just need a shiny skirt. I also like the monochromatic pairings of the other two pictures–it’s subtle sparkle, not literal Christmas ornament/disco ball styling. I’ll leave the Ugly Holiday Sweater moment for goofing off with friends.

I did some preliminary scouting yesterday and came up with these lovely bits over at Banana Republic:

A shiny skirt:

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I like that it’s subtle-sparkle and not HELLO SEQUINS. Not that there’s anything wrong with sequins; but I checked out a couple of bedazzled skirts and I get the feeling that it will snag on tights and be itchy to wear. I get pretty particular about what lays close to my skin. Love this skirt. Here I just have my Heattech top on but I’d like to find a slightly more opaque top to wear with it tucked like this. I also have a short-sleeved close fitting turtleneck sweater I can use but I like the v-neck, long sleeved arm look (reminds me of that gal up top in my inspiration picture.)

Paired with a comfy sweater:

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Sweater: Textured Cropped Turtleneck
Skirt: Coated Shiny Mini

That turtleneck is pretty light but warm. I said I shouldn’t buy more sweaters, but I think I might buy this one. I’ll have to keep a Heattech layer between us, but the drape is lovely and the neck is not too constricting. The arms are kind of long but that’s ok–they’ll be additional protection in the cold when I head out East again. My NYC wardrobe was pretty good but if I actually had to take my coat off all you’d see would be Nike. For work, I’ll be able to wear this up until March and stay plenty warm–I envision throwing the Uniqlo ULD vest over this, jeans and boots and I’ll be set.

As for the skirt, I’m not sure yet how to remix a shiny skirt in for workwear but I do have a light gray Gap v-neck sweater that might look good tucked into it. The skirt I’m less sure about integrating into my wardrobe–I have ways to make it very very casual, but will I really want to wear what is effectively a white skirt? Can I even keep myself from dropping stuff into my lap?

What do you think? How do you dress for the holidays? Do you have a tried-and-true dress or top that gets you through the party season?

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Thoughts, Travel

Lessons in Packing: NYC Edition

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I thought these two people were the closest male and female expressions of my personal style and influences. How fortuitous that they should both walk into the frame at the same time.

Looking back on my trip to New York, I was better prepared than I was for Washington DC, but I still learned things about myself and how I want to be dressed. Despite my perceived lack of preparation–I packed two days before I left (too close!)–I managed to bring what I needed with no waste of luggage space, and most of my needs were met by what I’d packed.

NYC pack list:

3 pairs of Uniqlo Ultra Stretch jeans, two black and one dark blue pair
6 long-sleeved Heattech shirts
1 Muji gray cashmere colorblock cardigan
1 H&M black cowl-neck sweater tunic
1 International Concepts short-sleeve turtleneck sweater
2 Nike Dri-Fit jackets
2 Gap men’s sweatshirts
1 Uniqlo gray sweat pullover
1 H&M men’s black and gray scarf
1 Urban Outfitters gray chunky knit scarf
1 Ecco Sculptured GTX ankle boots
1 Nike Lunarglide 5+ running shoes
1 Lands End wool walker coat (with Carhartt beanie) see below:

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At Sutphin Blvd – Archer Ave Station, the last NYC subway stop before getting onto the JFK AirTrain system.

This is an accurate depiction of what I looked like for the week I was traipsing around Manhattan.

I learned some very important things on this trip:

- Wool and rain are a bad idea
My Lands End wool coat does well on a regular, dry cold day, but turns into a weight vest when wet. Thankfully I never got so drenched for it to seep through, but next time I travel to the East I’m bringing something waterproof instead. My bag is already heavy. Wearing 3 layers is already heavy. I don’t need a soggy coat restricting me on top of all of that.

- Waterproof shoes sont très utils.
I was fortunate that the one damp day on my trip was actually very light rain / barely a shower, but despite that my Nikes got soaked in less than two minutes. What would I have done if I didn’t have my Ecco Gore-Tex boots? They kept my toes warm and dry and my ankles covered. Well worth the $150 I paid for them. It allowed me to still go out on that day and I ended up at the New York Public Library and Grand Central Terminal (where it was warm indoors) and I spent a good 5 hours photographing everything in sight.

- Impulsive decisions are made when Kristina feels cold.
Did I really need an Ultra Light Down vest? No. Was I jealous of every slick person on the street in something puffy and down-filled? Yes. So many of the locals? tourists? had opted for cozy-looking North Face puffer jackets or parkas and I wanted in on the action. Thank goodness I was able to be somewhat sensible and went for the thinnest and smallest of the ULD options at Uniqlo–my mind is always thinking toward what would be California-appropriate. I don’t need a jacket rated for -20 degrees F. The locals didn’t seem to be wearing much; some ladies were able to go about in just a shawl and a scarf, but my desert blood quailed at 50F.

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Trying to blend in with the city slickers.

Did I really need this vest? Not really. And I kind of regret it because 1. there is entirely too much feather leak for my liking–every day I’ve worn it since coming back I’ve needed a lint roller to clean myself up when I get home (more than 3-4 errant feather bits. Is this normal?) and 2. my local store had it for $10 less ($39.99) AND it’s on sale next week (Nov 18, men’s and women’s ULD vests go down to $29.) I could have waited. Classic case of Kristina is traveling and wants a souvenir and is conveniently cold and wants more clothes. Now that I know you, damnable pattern, I will make sure I’m bundled up well when I go shopping! Say no to impulse temperature-regulating buys!

- Buy all your consumable supplies (beauty products, medicine) at home.
I foolishly thought I could buy my $1 travel Dove body wash at a Target somewhere in New York. Duane Reade wanted $2.99 for a little 0.3 fl oz bottle of body wash. My penny-pinching soul railed at my stupidity for being too lazy to pick it up back home. If there’s a product you simply must use (a particular brand of shampoo, hypo-allergenic facial lotion), it is as important as not forgetting gloves or a hat. I’m lucky to be a fairly hardy person, but hotel shampoos and washes can be pretty harsh or just not do an adequate job. I paid the dumb tax on that one. I’d previously packed bottles of my own shampoo and conditioner before, but I wanted to avoid the pressurization kerfuffle and not have them potentially explode in my suitcase. Well, better to double bag some tried-and-true products than wander Manhattan at 10 pm wondering why the travel-sized section has a crappier per-ounce price than buying the full-sized product.

Most Valuable Items (MVI?) on this trip:

- Nike Thermal Dri-Fit jacket with thumbholes that I wore for practically almost 6 days: I will buy another one of these in the future; they’re multi-purpose, has a tall collar to cover my neck, and zippered pockets kept my valuables secure. It’s the jacket I’m wearing in the ULD vest picture. The long sleeves worked out because the thumbholes made it like a partial-glove over my hand, keeping my fingers free.
Carhartt watch cap: blocked out the wind and kept my head warm. Solid little hat for $7.99 on Amazon.
– Ecco Sculptured GTX boots for the reasons mentioned above.
– a cheap pair of lycra/cotton gloves from Daiso Japan with the thumb, pointer, and middle fingers cut out + plastic dots on the palm-side for traction and grip. I had brought my mom’s 80’s style Isotoners on this trip but I didn’t even bother with those–having smartphone-ready gloves was more useful and if my fingers were a little cold, well, that’s what pockets are for, right?
– all my Uniqlo items were worn to full potential and where would I be sans Heattech? Frozen and/or very sick by now. That stuff works well; I wear it even when it’s not winter because I have no Cold Resistance.

TL;DR: maybe another trip to the East next year and I’ll have bought a proper jacket for wet/dry conditions. Also thank you for reading all the way through this post; I understand that I know very little about cold-weather climates and how to dress for it, so I beg your patience upon reading my pronouncements. What do you recommend is a good-all-weather travel jacket? Should I chance it with wool or go for waterproof down next time? Recommendations and tips for dealing with traveling in wet weather would be welcome!

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Personal, Travel

In transit.

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Hello! I haven’t forgotten you, my little blog. I’ve just come back from vacation in New York and the last couple of days have just been me loafing around the house and finally getting to look at the pictures I took. Here is a neato GIF of my cousin waiting for our train to brunch.

I’ll be back soon, hopefully with some anecdotes and pictures from the trip. I hope I can share more GIFs like these because they’re awfully fun!

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OOTDs, Personal

All Hallows’ Eve

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Hot stuff.

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Madonna and child.

Happy Halloween to those of you who celebrate. I may not be attending any rowdy parties this year, but I had fun wearing this to work and to my doctor’s appointment. I made everything by hand after realizing that buying a pre-made ketchup tunic would put me out $30 and it still wouldn’t have the Sriracha label. Hand-painting felt takes forever. Don’t be like me and try to sew and paint everything in three weeks (with a work trip scheduled days before the costume is due.)

Thanks for indulging me in today’s silliness! I’ll be back to my regular rambling next week :)

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"Piece" Series, "Workweek" Series, OOTDs, Personal

Workweek 10/20 – 10/24

This week in sartorial adventures: I’m still high from that Muji lookbook (and my flailing attempts at mimicking it) so I stuck to the blues this week. Not photographed: Monday, which was just black jeans and my olive Bridge and Burn Straat jacket.

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Tuesday: Gap luxlight v-neck sweater (see Gap Eversoft version), old H&M men’s scarf, Uniqlo Ultra Stretch ankle jeans, old Puma Speeder IIs
Wednesday: Madewell oversized button-down shirt (similar length), Target Mossimo ankle stretch pants, Uniqlo Heattech socks, Clarks Charlie brogues
Thursday: old Forever 21 fleece peacoat, old Uniqlo cotton lawn tunic (throwback to last year w00t), Uniqlo Ultra stretch ankle jeans, Clarks Charlie brogues
Friday: Muji organic cotton wide count panel stripe long sleeved t-shirt, Uniqlo Ultra Stretch jeans, Gentle Souls by Kenneth Cole Gabby flats

Lots of dark pants this week; I need some variation. Maybe I’ll work the maxi skirt back in sometime next week, once I find my Heattech leggings. That work AC is no joke (where were you during our heatwave?! Figures.)

Not much to report this week. Am waiting for the weather to cool even more for the heavier knits. Right now the challenge is to be warm enough inside the office but to keep it to one or two layers at the most. I’ve been putting Heattech shirts under the buttondowns so I can just have a scarf or a light jacket. It keeps me warm despite the AC but when I go to lunch I can peel off the scarf and enjoy sitting outside without ruing the sun.

I’m just mostly excited about being able to wear socks again without my feet frying. Tuesday’s pants make me feel a bit like Fred Astaire:

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Sock game strong. Actually, #menswear game strong.

Happy Friday to everyone! I’m looking forward to sweet coffee drinks and slow mornings; I hope you all have a restful weekend as well!

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"Piece" Series, Inspiration, OOTDs, Thoughts

MUJI-esque

So thanks to Valerie’s idea and a burst of energy over the weekend, I can present to you my silly little take on a “Muji” fall/winter collection. Warning: heavy plagiarization ahead. :P

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From last week’s blog post.

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My headless modelling career is on its way.

Tops: MUJI Women’s Organic Cotton Wide Count Panel Stripe Long Sleeve T-Shirt (in raw white and navy), JCrew Factory dotted chambray shirt, MUJI cable knit open cardigan, Lands End Supima cardigan (in gray), Lands End Wool Walker Coat (similar at Uniqlo), Uniqlo white oxford button down shirt, Uniqlo gray sweat pullover.

Bottoms: Uniqlo Ultra Stretch denim, Target Mossimo ankle pants, old Gap blue wrinkled polyester skirt, old H&M straight leg denim.

Shoes: Gentle Souls by Kenneth Cole Gabby flats, Clarks “Charlie” oxfords/brogues, Ecco Sculptured 45 Ankle Bootie (2014 model), Camper Right Nina flats, old Puma Speeder IIs.

I’m happy with how neat these three looked:

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My favorite part of the look on the left are the polka-dotted Heattech socks. They kept my ankles adequately warm in 40F windy DC weather, so I’m happy to recommend them to folks. The chambray shirt under a breton–well, I don’t think I have the right materials; I would want a thinner chambray shirt and I should probably tuck the ends in. My striped shirt is also too long (here I have it folded under) and when I did it the way Muji did it in their catalog I just looked boxy and shapeless. Probably not for my body type, but some of you may have better luck than I did.

My Lands End walker coat will soon be getting some wear when it cools down some more in my part of town. I’ll share a story about that coat later on this year. Overall, I’m really excited about how my closet has grown and I hope that I can create some neat outfits from what I already own and not spend so much on foundation pieces this year (running-related expenses are taking over! T_T shoes)

It gives me no small delight to be able to do this with my closet. Thank you for indulging me in my little hobby; I hope you enjoyed it! :) Let me know what you think.

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