Acquisitions: November 2014

November hit heavy on the ole wallet:

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Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Vest

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Banana Republic Textured Cropped Turtleneck (in charcoal) and Coated Shine Mini

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Aerie Romantic Lace Bralette in black (shown in navy)

Not photographed:

Hue super opaque tights, black
NYX Powder Blush PB01 Mocha
A soft-haired blush brush from Marshalls
NYC Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil, dark brown

Good news: only the vest was full-priced. Banana had a 50% off sale on the sweater and 30% off on the skirt. American Eagle Outfitters/Aerie had 40% off.

Meh news: Theย vest, tights and makeup were all regular-priced. Silly me got too eager in New York; I could have waited two weeks and got the ULD vest for $30. T_T.

Notesย about the bralette: I’ve wanted to try one for a long time, but I kept waffling over it all throughout the summer which would have been an excellent time to test it out. Kept waiting for more than buy-one-get-one-50% off sales. I didn’t want to pay very much for what isn’t really a workhorse bra for me–I like my regular wired t-shirt bras for most situations. But bralettes look pretty and fancy and in my imagination, I am a pretty and fancy lady. I tried some Target bralettes from the Gilligan and O’Malley and Xhilaration lines but their construction and fit was not up to snuff (rough lace, and unflattering.) Enter the Aerie bralette. It arrived and while I thought the extra lace at the band was elegant, IRL it’s not as flattering on me as I would have wanted. The lace is also a bit itchy at the tops of the cups and on the band. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I returned it yesterday. Try looking again, Kristina.

For those of you with eligible American Express credit cards, you may want to check out Shoprunner. It seems to be a shopping service that offers discounts as well as free 2-day shipping (similar to Amazon Prime’s offering) to a host of partner retailers, including American Eagle Outfitters. I took advantage of Shoprunner as I have an eligible AMEX card. Ordered my stuff on Tuesday 11/25, package arrived Friday 11/28. Not too shabby, Shoprunner!

Makeup mini-update: The Five-Minute Face is evolving. I’ve noticed that I look beat-up and pale at work after some long nights. I’m happy with my brows and my BB cream + pressed powder scheme is enough coverage for daily life, though I still want to eventually figure something more long-lasting for parties (with tons of dancing, because I’m shameless.) Enter blush. I’m trying this NYX Powder Blush which comes highly recommended by friends and family in the universally-flattering Mocha shade, which doesn’t look brown by any means.

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Blush + tiny bit of eyeball pinstriping, lip balm, and brow shenanigans.

This isn’t too hard after all. It’s just muscle memory, right? With the holiday I’ve been wearing a little bit every time I go out with my family, just for practice and to get used to seeing it on me. I like the addition and the NYX price point is really fair. As I am not at ALL a powerhouse makeup consumer, this tool and compact should last pretty long. As for the eyeliner pencil, I’m hoping that the NYC pencil does not break as I am trying to sharpen it. I have yet to find an eyeliner pencil that did not suffer catastrophic crumbling upon sharpening. *crosses fingers* Do you have any favorite tough-as-nails eyeliner pencils? I’m willing to spend if it’s long-lasting and not prone to waste (breaking.)

Some musings on shopping and prioritization:

Something I’d like to work on or at least understand about myself: I noticed that while I make shopping lists and try to prioritize buys by time of need and buying when there is a deal, there are still times where I let certain items jump to the front of the list, for a myriad of reasons. The Banana Republic purchases were a bit unplanned; I had less than three days from the initial thought/desire to dress up for the holidays to looking around in-store and finally purchasing the two items I came away with. I usually can wait two weeks or more until I “forget” the item and end up not buying it. But this particular buy was accelerated and I hope that the short amount of review time won’t cost me regret in the long run–as in the sweater ends up not well-used or the skirt had a flaw I overlooked in my haste to have an outfit ready.

Why did I let it jump to the front of the list? I distinctly remember feeling like I had a deadline–my family’s dinner party, for example. I also had a vague musing that I would wear it to a work function, but that isn’t for another two weeks. I also remember saying I wanted turtlenecks because of how I didn’t have anything ย warmth-generating to wear to New York. I depended a lot on a Nike jacket in NY, which isn’t a crime in and of itself, but if I could do it over again I would have liked to wear a nice sweater on some of the days in the city. To look good. And also because while I don’t mind the sportswear look, I do like to look nice. I think sweaters are nice. But why am I focused on fulfilling a need that won’t even come around till the next time I’m in a location that actually requires cashmere and wool? My ordinary life is lived in a dry desert-type climate.

My own armchair analysis of it all is that shopping is still very emotionally linked for me. I buy things to tap into positive feelings. I had a great time traveling and experiencing things I don’t get to do very often. The weather in the East Coast is a novelty for me, so buying a sweater or a down vest can remind me of New York. I associate lox bagels with New York. I got home and tried one from a local shop and it can’t even come close to the lox I had (at Russ and Daughters / at Grey Dog.) I’ve been trying to replicate the experience I lived by purchasing items that give me back that state of mind.

I haven’t decided yet if this is necessarily a good or bad thing. It can definitely affect one’s finances, and more importantly I’m not sure that in the long run this whimsical purchasing really soothes the root of the buying, which isย I want to experience more things.ย The thrill of a sale, or searching through stores for the “perfect” skirt is temporary. What I really want more than a charcoal sweater is the experience of living.

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I almost can’t stand how introspective this got so I’ll wrap it up here for now. None of what I’ve just yakked out is new necessarily, but it’s eerie to find it so applicable to myself at the moment. I want to experience more of life. Consumption is a part of novel experiences. How does one keep emotion’s inexorable power in check while acknowledging and fulfilling reasonable needs?

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24 thoughts on “Acquisitions: November 2014

  1. Too bad about that bralette! That does look really cute.
    And thanks for the Shoprunner tip, I’m checking that out. I just got to take advantage of Amex’s small business saturday deal, seems there are more good benefits to having an Amex โค

    Gina
    Pink Wings

    1. Let me know how your Shoprunner experience goes! So far so good. I mean to check out the website to see who else is a partner retailer. That and Ebates will make this holiday shopping round very interesting (and busy!)

  2. Love your post! The bralette looks so beautiful but I experienced the same thing as you. I think the best ones are from VS but they are really more pricey. I’m constantly on the hunt for these since they are so gorgeous and elegant โค

    1. I’ll check VS out–thanks for the reminder ๐Ÿ™‚ I thought about Urban Outfitters too but their regular prices are closer to $30 and I never bit on anything.

  3. I’ve had amazing luck with Anastasia’s brow pencils (warm dark brown has been the best match for my blackish-brown hair). The pencils are pricey, but one pencil lasts me almost a year at a time (with daily use), so I’ve found it to be worth the splurge.

    Your introspection is wonderful, and I share your feeling of wanting to experience living over owning any specific item…although looking great in a charcoal sweater while doing so would be a great perk ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m still balancing my overwhelming desire for a fur vest with the pragmatic reality that I now live in southern California, again. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I really love your photography and the thoughtfulness of your purchases, writing, and experiences.

    AND, as a southern California kid who has bounced back and forth between the east and west coasts for the last several years, I can say that the grey Everlane sweatshirt has been fantastic as a base that has kept me warm on cold days in DC, but is not out of place in San Diego. It’s also been easy to dress it up or down depending on where I am and what I’m doing.

    1. Hi Kathy! And welcome. I’m glad you’re here, and I really appreciate your fleshed-out remarks.

      The Anastasia line is one I’ve heard much about–especially the brow gels, but I’m glad to hear that they have a workhorse pencil too! I suppose a “research” trip to Sephora is in the works.

      Isn’t it the balls? It’s tough to find the right kind of charcoal gray. Bonnie who I know over on Instagram as @bosanbo said something that stuck with me about how much easier it is to find heather gray items vs. charcoal gray. I totally agree. A lot of what I see sold at the mall is light gray (at least for women.) Makes finding that one sweater even sweeter, hehe.

      Fur in SoCal is just NOT going to happen, as you already well know. It’s like how I have fur-trim down parka dreams and then cry-laugh when I walk through fall displays in California. Silly visual merchandisers. I know there’s a store standard to follow, but are you really selling me a sherpa-lined leather jacket in SoCal? That’s just both mean and completely out of touch. I guess there’s always people traveling who might need it, but it makes me just gape in wonder.

      Do you mind sharing which Everlane sweatshirt has worked out for you? And yay SD!! ugh I miss going around the museums in Balboa Park, and my friends are supposed to teach me the ways of the California burrito (because apparently it’s next level unlike in OC. :P)

      1. Oh my, thank you for the welcome! I’m glad I’m here, too. I find your blog very refreshing.

        I have the boatneck sweatshirt in heather grey from Everlane. I generally prefer longer shirts and sweaters, but I think that the shorter body on this one is what has allowed me to get away with wearing it to nice dinners (it’s amazing what you can get away with once you add some bling) and plays.

        And I totally feel you on the heather grey vs. charcoal grey. I am of the opinion that most heather greys only look good on very specific complexions, and they tend to make me look washed out. I think the best heather grey is the heather grey of old-school sweatpants (the Rocky Balboa work-out montage variety), and they RARELY ever make that shade for women. I’ve had the best luck with finding charcoal grey sweaters in the men’s department at J. Crew and Banana Republic.

        I tell you, it’s disorienting to come back to the land of eternal sunshine and see people wearing Ugg boots, pea coats, and scarves in 60 degree weather. All I’ve wanted since September 1st this year was to wear a sweater comfortably, and it’s raining here in San Diego today, so I’m thrilled that fall has finally begun…in December. I’ll take what I can get.

        I’ve never had an OC California burrito before, but the San Diego California burrito totally lives up to the hype! As a native San Diegan, I would direct you to Roberto’s for the OG experience. For fun and campy and a damn good burrito, go to Lucha Libre. Balboa Park is lovely as ever. I hope you can enjoy a burrito (perhaps in the park?), soon!

      2. ^^ what you said about the heather gray + complexion woes! I wanted this Mango sweater (in gray) to work out so badly…the crop was good, the drop shoulder was livable, but the color and the loose-pseudo-scoopneck neckline killed it for me. It’s a shame too because the sweater material is a nice soft viscose that has a good weight. But the color, ah the color!

        I thought I was being pretty shameless wearing riding boots in the high 60’s but seriously, anything that even pretends to be “cooler” weather in our area will see me busting out pseudo-fall looks (just in case heatwave 2,056 decides to come around Christmas time.)

        Coffee, puffy vest, boots and giant scarf–basic will not be repressed!

  4. I love the blush on you! It is, to quote Beyonce, ***flawless. I also saw that you mentioned Urban Outfitters, and I will warn you that I found their bralette to be a little uncomfortable/itchy. :\

    1. I WISH I WOKE UP LIKE DIS. In truth it takes probably like 40 min bc drying hair and then squirting potions into hands until FLAWLEZZ.

      Nooooo UO. Ugh. I was hoping that might be a little better! I see their grumpy models hawking some pretty-Tumblr worthy lingerie and thought it might be a place to go.

      Also how do you care for it? I’m thinking I probably should handwash if I get one.

  5. The blush looks nice on you! The bralette is super pretty, too bad it didn’t work out.

    I find it worst when you have to shop for something for an occasion/event coming up, because there’s a deadline and you can’t really ponder things for a while. E.g. I’ve been buying clothes I think I need to take when I go travelling this month, crossing my fingers that they work out…

    1. Thank you Jane! if anything I suppose I should also look through the big department stores and their lingerie sections.

      I am trying to read your blog to see where you’re off to, since I don’t remember off the top of my head. Where to next?

      1. I’m off to South America and the States next! I’ll be visiting LA – we could grab brunch if you’re not too busy with the holiday season ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Nice eyeliner. You have a steadier hand than me you may like Ulta Automatic Eye Liner, occasionally they’ll go on sale for $1 each.

    1. I really ought to know where my nearest Ulta is. They have good bath products (I like buying bath poofs from them) and when their drugstore makeup goes on sale, sometimes it’s just as good or better than Target prices. Thank you for the recommendation and reminder!

  7. You look amazing in that blush! I love the colour on you a lot – it’s a nice healthy glow and I’m suddenly wishing I was a bit tanner!! Time to hit the beaches maybe ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have the Kimchi lace triangle bras from UO – they’re great but don’t hold up that well to being thrown in the washer and dryer. The elastic bits are starting to go after a year+ of abuse but I love them enough to buy new ones for that price. They’re a little skimpier than the one you’ve tried though, so I’m not sure if they’re what you’re looking for.

    I’m using a random Japanese drugstore eye pencil that i picked up there. There was a little picture of a panda cancelled out like a “no entry” sign – I took it to mean that it was budge proof and weirdly enough, it’s the best thing I’ve ever used. It’s one of those twist pencils that don’t need sharpening – these type of pencils might be a solution? I love it for the convenience since I almost always lose my sharpener within the week.

    And oh I have serious eyebrow envy!!

    1. Thank you Steph! isn’t tanning season upon you? ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll be looking forward to your Spring/Summer inspo.

      I’m ok with skimp as long as the shape is flattering. I even went to VS; I saw unlined lacy demis or balconette bras, but with wire. I’m…keeping that on back up because I know those look good, but the point is to be comfortable. I’m excited to check that out sometime.

      I am finally learning how to harness the power of my little face caterpillars! so glad the bold brow is in right now so I can Lily Collins-it up! I’d only ever gotten them threaded but for a while I gave up the practice, but I think I’ll do it for a special occasion should one arise.

  8. Eyeliner: I’ve been using a few of the “mechanical” ones from Origins and Clinique for ages. You don’t need to sharpen them, just twist the pencil to bring up more, and they last forever (both on the eyes and as pencils).

  9. Since I’ve decided to spend less time on the Internet I’m getting late at commenting posts. Even if I’m late to the party I’d still like to share my thoughts on this ๐Ÿ™‚ I find it really interesting how cohesive your style is becoming. Yes you still seem to be experimenting and testing about for what you like most, but in the end you seem to refine something very personal and very “you” with time. For example this little light golden skirt feels so relevant to your style… I guess that’s the key: time. Getting to know ourselves better, and as we do discover ourselves it becomes clearer what we prefer and what we feel most comfortable in. At least that’s what happened to me.

    On a more materialistic note, I’ve been yet again tricked by the cold weather since my return from Thailand (and we lost some 15ยฐC in 2 days last week-end, too) and I realize I still miss some gear for that kind of cold – I guess I don’t buy much of it because it’s only useful for 2-3 months at most. For example, apart from a great duffle coat I got on sale 2 years ago, my coats really are mid-season rather than winter (I have a peacoat, a fur-lined jacket and a trench-ish fur-doubled coat), only I wear leather jackets in mid season. But instead of getting rid of them and buying a real winter coat, I’m seriously considering buying a thin ULD jacket to wear underneath. You know, optimizing what I own. Is this how you use your ULD jacket? Is it warm enough?

    1. I agree with you that after all, the light golden skirt seems very appropriate to the me I am crafting. ๐Ÿ™‚ I pulled out my similarly-toned flats today and marveled at how time and again I’m drawn to that look/color. I’m hoping that more of this introspection will bleed over into other parts of my life ๐Ÿ™‚ one hopes.

      Re: ULD jacket I cannot vouch for “winter” as you well know we don’t really have adverse conditions in LA, but I’d like to actually give some more detail in an upcoming blog post. To answer your question now: I do think it affords warmth and is thin enough to be layered under a coat, though I would bring the coat you wish to pair with you into the store (because the sleeves may become unbearably tight with the ULD underneath.) I do have gripes with the construction and several other observations but I’ll leave that for this upcoming post. Quick verdict: if you are able to get any ULD product on significant discount, it will be a nice addition to your closet.

  10. I love the bralettes in theory, but they never work for me in real life either. On tights, while I love the colors Hue has, I don’t love their fit and quality. I usually just stock up on practical black tights once a year on ASOS since they have lots of denier count options and those almost always get me through winter without too many holes/runs.

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