Sunday, December 11, 2011

I'm not passive aggressive

Okay, maybe I am a little, but you can't blame me. Blame the times; it's the way of our generation, the zeitgeist, l'air du temps. Blame the Internet -- now I can call you out on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ and my twenty-plus blogs without ever writing your name thanks to this handy hashtag: #youknowwhoyouare. Like, totally, right? Or I can always fall back on the fact that I'm Asian, and if that's not good enough for you either, there's the classic excuse of my female birth. Passive aggressiveness is practically social survival.

I'm not self-absorbed either. And if I am, well, it isn't my fault. See, I chose to be in a line of work that sells little more than glorified personal opinions for $15 a pop. And I ended up there because I was born with a soft voice and people just assumed I had nothing to say (unless I resorted to yelling) because they had to work harder to hear me and I had no choice but to express my ignored sentiments turned to pent up judgments because there was no other way for people to listen to (not hear) me and I need people to listen to me because I was born the oldest and everyone knows the oldest always ends up with some kind of self-important, vainglorious neurosis. So, you see, it isn't my fault at all.

I'm not short-tempered, am I? Getting mad at you for choosing him over me isn't silly, is it? Well, if it is, I can tell you I'm probably going to be moody for the remainder of this week and possibly into the next because I'm on the rag. And I know it isn't an excuse, blah, blah, blah, but actually it is because did you know my hormones are raging inside of me and the imbalance is causing me to produce legions of little red armies all over my forehead not to mention I crave (and eat) like I'm pregnant? In fact, every time I read a period-related article in one of the six women's magazines I'm subscribed to (which averages out to one period story a month), I swear I have PMDD and should go see my gyno soon, but then I don't because I forget, and I also swear I have some sort of ADD because this spiel started out with why it isn't my fault that I'm short-tempered, and actually, it ends my argument nicely because I obviously can't remember that life is actually good and much worse things have happened, which makes me think that something silly like you choosing him over me is actually one of the worst things that ever could've happened.

And I'm not ruthless. Maybe you'll consider this online reality check ruthless, but I can tell you to blame yourself and my ex-boyfriends and frenemies because I've done the nice thing, and again and again you people take advantage of me and I swear to you I'm the victim in all of this and I know everyone says that but I'm telling you that's just how it is 'cause I didn't ask to be, and it's not like I've ever hurt anyone like that in my life. And sure, maybe I can be a little more empathetic to people, like when a girlfriend is going through heartache, but it's so hard for me to remember what that's like! Refer back to previous ADD mention.

Maybe I am all of these things, but I don't think I should have to change myself because well, that's just me. I'm not always sure how I ended up that way, but I did and that's who I am. And frankly, I just don't feel like it. And everyone knows the key to happiness is to be accepted as your true self, right? Isn't that what we're told? Just be yourself.

And maybe, I am a little passive aggressive.

Did you buy my excuses? Yeah, I don't buy yours either.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


This online retailer cracks me up.
Isabel Marant
Burberry Prorsum
Miu Miu, the darlings of the fall season (for a gajillion dollars less)

Isabel Marant

(photos stolen from

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Rhodes to Perdition

Nate: "So, you still love her."
Chuck: "I can't imagine the day I won't."

Gawd, last week's episode was pretty friggin good.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Some of the coolest styling (and the prettiest models) I've ever seen. (Except for the excessive use of Jeffrey Campbells. If I see another Lita bootie, I'm going to have a physical reaction.) Stylists take note: this is good business. Like, a pink furry jacket? Really? How often would I wear that thing? But the styling makes me think that pink fuzzy thing is the new key must-have addition to my closet. I'll be wearing it every single day! I need to have it, right? (The answer is no. No one needs a pink fur coat.) It's the perfect mix of Korean and American retail, as in not too fobby but definitely more exciting than, say, Zara.

(photos and clothes found at

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dear Santa

Zara vest
Topshop blouse
lurex dress from Topshop
This is so cool. Too bad it's, like, $90 for a phone case.

Burberry Brit wool coat
(Christopher Bailey! Why do you do this to me every, single, time?!)
Chako clutch
(luuurve the shape -- very vintage Dior)
Pucci ankle-strap pumps
(and while we're on the subject of ankle straps, how about those Celine sandals I've been dying for?)
cross necklace from BCBG
(I actually like this one better than the original)
"Blessed" necklace from BCBG
Michael Kors Bradley watch
DITA aviators
And at the heart of all my wishful thinking, the Celine luggage tote. Or, you know, ANY Celine bag is fine with me. (Oh hay, Shu Pei!)

Christmas shopping is dangerous business. Like, how did I end up at ShopBop while shopping for my brothers. It's my version of YouTube! To be fair, I think I've figured out a good number of gifts for the loved ones on my list despite my, ahem, distractions. 

I can't believe it's December already.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Love from afar

I'm seriously trying to figure out where in my budget I can squeeze these in. I mean, food is overrated, right? Kind of?

The Tsumori Chisato (La Garconne) dress is more likely to never happen in my lifetime. But that jacket. I could live off of cereal for a few weeks.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Donatella, Hennes & Mauritz: An Affair

Versace is never my if-I-had-to-wear-one-designer-for-the-rest-of-my-life choice. It's flashy, unexpected, sexy, completely over the top and risque in every way. Versace is The Italian Woman. It is what it is, which is completely sick and fantastic in its own right. I think I just naturally lean toward London (with a dash of American a la Francisco Costa's Calvin Klein). But this. Do I really need to say anything? No, I didn't think so.

Is it sad I can't even afford the H&M version of Versace?

(videos via Refinery29)

P.S. Is anyone else miffed they didn't air the VS Fashion Show live? I don't know if that was VS's  decision or CBS, but I think they got a little confused -- Victoria, you are not Donatella.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hair and Beauty

perfection @ Paris Fashion Week

(photos via R29)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

It was love when...

I knew it was love when even during the hard times (which are few), it still felt so easy.


Postscript: To celebrate the easy 18 months we've been together, we're going on a date tonight. And it feels like the first.


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Resort 2012: Loeffler Randall


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Chivalry, An Obituary

A conversation with a friend led to:
"I get slightly annoyed at chivalry is dead comments, when girls talk about the past like it was some golden age where men treated women awesome cause they held the car door open or w/e."

And I'm a girl, a girl that's had more than her fair share of chival-less boys, and I get it. I get that girls want to feel special, to feel valued. (I hope you guys are taking notes. No, really. I think you should.) We want to feel like priceless treasure because that's certainly how we feel about you (forgive our pride and forget what we say out loud). Why else would we feel heartbroken when we end up feeling as valuable as dirt instead?

I digress. The point of this post is to bring the "chivalry is dead" vs. "chivalry is dying" vs. "the deterioration of chivalry is emitting noxious fumes that will turn us all into monkeys" debate to an end. Because what's really going on is the "chivalry" in that clause is no longer relevant. What these "girls" think of chivalry is men in suits and pocket squares, red lips, hands that help wasp-waisted women out of the back of 1960 Ford Falcons. Yes, ladies proceeded first and men removed their fedoras in a woman's presence, but it was also this:

Chivalry came at a price, and if you ask me to choose between a pulled out chair and the choice to be 27 and unmarried without being considered an old maid or suspected of marrying my soul to the devil -- or the choice to be anything you can imagine for yourself -- well, need I say more? Look beyond the surface folks. Because if what I get for a little tip of the hat is a grouchy despot in the morning expecting a four-course breakfast, then no thank you, sir. I wouldn't trade the present for anything.

I'm not saying that we have to pay that price now if we want the same kind of civility, but I believe this is the new question: Do you still want it? Is a pandering smile and him walking on the street side of the sidewalk because his mother "told him so" enough to satisfy you? 

Because for me, chivalry is a man who will give me his coat during the sub-zero Chicago winter because he wants to show he cares for me, and he's the same man that will be there when I impatiently switch career paths four, five, thirty times. Isn't this what we want? Not a habitual creature who is programmed to carry a woman's bags, but someone who does so because he cares. The chivalry I seek today is beyond the superficial. This is the heart of the matter. (Note: Actions speak louder than words.)

He will view me as his equal, not his baby-making coffee-maker. I want to make coffee (delicious or disgusting, I can't promise anything) for him in the mornings to show him my own brand of chivalry because I love him, not because he's a parading tyrannical oaf.

A chivalrous man will listen when I speak, digest what I say and value my opinion. And more importantly, a good man will do all of that with a complete stranger, too. Opening doors does not a good man make. Don't get it twisted.

And at the end of the day, that is who I want to come home to: the good man. The man who is chivalrous in character, not by default.

The lesson? (Anything I say, take it or leave it. We're two-cent creatures by nature.) Girls, no more romanticizing! This was the 1960s (see the above videos), and we have got it way, way better. Present-day chivalry -- there's nothing like it. And appreciate it! Nothing kills chivalry faster than ungrateful presumptions.

And guys, it's pretty simple -- show you care. I'm pretty sure that's the most valuable piece of advice an insider could ever give to you. And if you don't know how to show, ASK.

It's kind of a lame ending, but sometimes, I just have to let those slide.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Ho-Down

I was never a huge fan of Halloween (besides the obvious excuse to stuff my face with fun-sized Kit Kat and Crunch bars. Which I can't do anyways because I just got a root canal today. If I ever needed to use a hashtag, #Thisismylife.) because it never seemed worth all that effort just to make myself look like a ho. It's not really my aesthetic -- I think I missed that trend.
But I was wrong:

You can look fabulous on Halloween.

Friday, October 21, 2011

How to Be Cool

The mother of all girlcrushes.

I think my "extensive research"  is now legally considered stalking. Probably turned that corner around page 23 of Google search.

If I ever believed in the word "cool," it'd be spelled "Zanna Roberts Rassi."

(photos and other stalking material thanks to sartStyleCasterErika ThomasStyle Du MondeThe Provocative CoutureMiss WalkerRDuJour)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Burberry Body

MAJOR girl crush. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley for Mario Testino.

And no, the parfum doesn't smell as great as she looks.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bergdorf, Bloomies, and Bendel

I saw this today while I was coming down the escalators in Water Tower. I literally had to stop in front of it and process the magnitude of this sign, which proved to be a bad idea since it was situated right in front of the escalators. But reason left the building five minutes ago. This is big. Bendel big.

Sorry Topshop, you ain't got nothin' on Henri.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The One That Deserves a Post

Context: A reader's comment on an op-ed about a lesbian couple in San Francisco allowing their boy to begin the process of a gender switch. If you want to read the whole thing, it's here and it's short.

"I guess it's no coincidence that all these lost souls are gathering on top of a major fault line." Really?

Well, then I guess Alabama will be flooding over soon to make a mini Gulf of the United States because everyone living there is obviously an ignorant bigot.

I know he isn't trying to make it personal (really, how can I not take it that way -- that's a real concern for people living there), but sometimes, I can't understand people that won't understand.

Monday, October 10, 2011

In Paris with You

Don't talk to me of love. I've had an earful
And I get tearful when I've downed a drink or two.
I'm one of your talking wounded.
I'm a hostage. I'm maroonded.
But I'm in Paris with you.

Yes I'm angry at the way I've been bamboozled
And resentful at the mess I've been through.
I admit I'm on the rebound
And I don't care where are we bound.
I'm in Paris with you.

Do you mind if we do not go to the Louvre
If we say sod off to sodding Notre Dame,
If we skip the Champs Elysées
And remain here in this sleazy

Old hotel room
Doing this and that
To what and whom
Learning who you are,
Learning what I am.

Don't talk to me of love. Let's talk of Paris,
The little bit of Paris in our view.
There's that crack across the ceiling
And the hotel walls are peeling
And I'm in Paris with you.

Don't talk to me of love. Let's talk of Paris.
I'm in Paris with the slightest thing you do.
I'm in Paris with your eyes, your mouth,
I'm in Paris with... all points south.
Am I embarrassing you?
I'm in Paris with you.
-James Fenton (1993)

No fluff, no sentimentality. And still, in love with love.
Everywhere is Paris with you.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


People often ask if you feel older on birthdays, and as those years add up and friends get married, we rhetorically ask each other, "Don't you feel old?" And to those I answer no and no. Sure, the numbers always look higher each time, but it never fits right (am I the only one that feels like my brain is four years behind, older and none the wiser?); and all weddings seem to do is emphasize how not old I am. In all sobriety and no means of morbidity, nothing makes me feel older than funerals.

For those of you who are confused, I went home (San Francisco) last week. And trust me, I'm just as confused as you are, which is probably why I told barely anyone where I went and why. (Frankly, most people probably didn't know I was gone. Welcome to the self-absorption of working life.) What can be said in thoughtless conversations with interval friends?
"Hi, how have you been?"
"Oh, actually my aunt died yesterday from something that had to do with a stroke and the leukemia she found out about two weeks ago and I found out two days ago. I'm going to California tomorrow to attend her funeral."
I don't mean to be cavalier about it, but I don't think (don't think) I realized I was talking about a dead body. And not a dead body, a dead person. And not a dead person, a dead aunt. A dead sister, mother, grandmother. My aunt. Dead.
It wasn't until the wake that it sunk (maybe that's why they call it that -- a wake): she's not going to be there anymore.
"Were you close to her?" is the inevitable question. Does it matter? She was there for as long as I existed, but she wasn't a part of my day-to-day life.
And now, she isn't. Won't be. Now, her powdered remains lie there in the open casket with glued lips. All I think is, open caskets are stupid. (I know what they symbolize, but symbolism isn't immediate in the minds of those in bereavement.) My grandpa and my dad's sister also had open caskets. The made-up cadavers look strange and foreign, a mockery of our loved ones, a sad imitation of the living, the real person. Like a sick joke. Like they're simply hiding in the closed part of the casket, waiting to spring out at you, laughing. Surprise! It's the laughs you miss the most and remember the longest. So laugh a lot.

When we arrived at the burial site, my family noticed she was being buried right next to my grandfather. We took time to say a prayer after the service, me, my brother, my parents, the pastor; and afterward, I stayed behind with my dad for a minute.
"Dad, I miss Grandpa." And I did. I think it was the first time since his passing that I really felt that ache: the I-haven't-seen-him-in-a-year-now kind of missing, and slowly, the I'm-not-going-to-see-him-here-again kind of missing. Does that make me inhuman? Or more so? I cried at my aunt's funeral in surprise, for my mom and her sisters, for my cousin and uncle. I love her and my family will never be what it was without her, but certain kinds of mourning turns out to take its bitter time.

I've never felt older because death has never felt closer, or more visible. Twenty-two is not old by any measurement of life or death, but I no longer have delusions of this body's immortality. I know it is inevitable, unpredictable, and its clammy claws take with no consideration of our plans. I see it and it exists.
When we passed by my grandfather's stone, my parents and their close friends stood around me and pointed to their plots down the row: "Look, this is where I'm going to be buried!" Yes, in exclamation. I can't say I've accepted it to that extent, but my recognition of the Styx is the marker: I'm not a little girl anymore. Twenty-two is not eternal. Twenty-two is twenty-two.
Everything feels a little more trivial and bigger at the same time -- the paradox of growing up.

They all said it was a beautiful funeral and that they'd never seen so many attendees before. Maybe they were being appropriate, but there were nearly as many people standing, spilling outside of the chapel doors as there were sitting in the pews, a total of 300-something people. To have loved that much is all I could pray to do until I'm called Home.

Who knew I could be so Russian?