Fantastic Pants

gray pants gray coat white sweater brown booties by 14 shades of grey

Ever since I wore these pants in an outfit inspired by Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I keep referring to them in my head as the “Fantastic Beasts” pants, or, more straightforwardly, my ’20s pants, because somehow I always style them in a ’20s/’30s-inspired manner. My only wish is that they have a higher waist, for a better vintage look. But you can’t have everything, I guess.

So this is the last of my leftover work outfits. I’ll see you guys next week with a couple of outfits I wore for the Lunar New Year celebration!

gray pants gray coat brown booties by 14 shades of greygray pants gray coat by 14 shades of grey

gray coat brooch by 14 shades of greygray pants gray coat brown booties by 14 shades of grey

Pants & Coat: Esprit (hand-me-down), Sweater: Atmosphere, Boots: Topshop, Brooch: local shop

Saved For A Rainy Day

gray sweater boyfriend jeans black pumps by 14 shades of grey

This was almost another “forgotten” outfit – it was taken two weeks before the break, but it was a fairly simple outfit, so I kept saving it for a rainy day, when I don’t have any other content (ironically, it was taken on a very rainy day). Well, I guess that rainy day is now. The Lunar New Year is officially over since Monday, but I’m not going back to work for another 10 days, so I’m using this time to catch up on my freelance work.

Speaking of which, I’m translating The Atlantis Gene and gods, it is like pulling teeth. I set a limit for myself to translate at least 5 pages a day to make the deadline, but it’s so bad that even that is hard. I thought The Host was bad, but it was a breeze compared to this. What I don’t understand is this – this drivel is what my employer decided to buy and translate, while I have been at them for years to translate American Gods, Neverwhere, and Stardust, and they still refuse. Well, I’m hoping that with the American Gods TV series coming out soon, they’re going to change their mind.

gray sweater boyfriend jeans by 14 shades of greyboyfriend jeans black pumps by 14 shades of grey

Sweater: gift, Heels & Necklaces: local shops, Jeans: Charlotte Russe

Black Lace

black wool dress lace tights black heels by 14 shades of grey

When I saw the inspiration for this week’s SIA – the woodcut lace design by Isabella Parasole – I immediately thought about my lace tights. Once I had the lace element down, the rest of the outfit came together pretty quickly – black tights layered underneath and a dark gray dress to make the white lace really pop, just like in the print, and a silver brooch and cut-out heels to mimic the intricacy of the lace.

I wore this last week, for my last day at work before the break (I still have a few work outfits left to post), back when it was still cold enough to wear two pairs of tights. Now the sun is back, which is good, but I could never get used to the Lunar New Year without a bit of drizzling rain.

black wool dress silver brooch by 14 shades of greyblack wool dress lace tights black heels by 14 shades of grey

black wool dress lace tights black heels by 14 shades of greyblack wool dress silver brooch by 14 shades of grey

Don’t forget to check out Jen’s blog tomorrow for the full round-ups of all the outfits inspired by this work of art!

Dress: tailor, Tights: Target & Forever21 (I think?), Shoes: hand-me-down, Brooch: Dutch flea market

Year Of The Rooster

It’s not the Year of the Rooster until tomorrow, but I know I would be too busy celebrating (i.e. stuffing my face), so here are some photos from yesterday’s Lunar New Year market that I went with my sister. This year, my dad was so busy that all of our preparations were done beforehand, so there wasn’t that exciting rush in the few days leading up to the New Year. To make up for it, my sister and I decided to go to the Old Quarter to check out the traditional market there – not because we needed to buy anything, but because we simply wanted to bask in that atmosphere. It was quite fun, but insanely crowded. I probably wouldn’t brave it if my sister hadn’t insisted.

lunar new year market by 14 shades of grey

lunar new year market by 14 shades of grey

lunar new year market by 14 shades of grey

lunar new year market by 14 shades of greyAn often-encountered sight around the Lunar New Year: huge pots of chưng cakes boiling away

lunar new year market by 14 shades of grey

lunar new year market by 14 shades of grey

lunar new year market by 14 shades of grey

lunar new year market by 14 shades of grey
Antique stalls

lunar new year market by 14 shades of greyPiggy banks (kids are often given piggy banks at the start of a new year, for their lucky money)

lunar new year market by 14 shades of grey

lunar new year market by 14 shades of greyThese are not a Lunar New Year thing, but they’re too delicious not to be included – donut holes

So anyway, Happy the Year of the Rooster! I’ll be back next week with (hopefully) a couple of outfit posts!

year of the roosterOriginal art by my niece

Book Reviews: January 2017

It’s the last Wednesday of January, that means it’s time for the first book review post of 2017. It’s been a… pretty interesting month of reading, as you’ll see:


Gentlemen & Players by Joanne Harris:

As I’ve said, my reading goal for this year is to read more mysteries and thrillers, so I started with this book, which has been on my to-read list since forever. It’s set at an English private school for boys, with alternate chapters told from the points of view of an unnamed narrator who has infiltrated the school with the intention of bringing it down, and a teacher on the brink of retirement trying to figure out who the saboteur is. I was drawn to it because of the setting and because apparently there was a mind-blowing twist at the end. Now that I have read it, I have to say that the twist is not that mind-blowing as I expected – I guessed it, about halfway through the book – but it’s a very captivating, edge-of-your-seat kind of story nevertheless. 4/5

The Snowman by Jo Nesbø:

My second attempt at a mystery novel is another Harry Hole book. I’ve read Nemesis for work a while ago and thought it was enjoyable but not particularly memorable, and I was hoping that this one – which is probably the most popular of the series, considering it’s being made into a movie – would be better. It sees the anti-hero detective Harry Hole on the trail of a serial killer, who kidnaps and kills women and always leaves a snowman at the scene of the crime. I like it better than Nemesis, and the last few chapters are super suspenseful, but my impression of it remains – it’s all very standard. Harry Hole is your standard troubled detective struggling with alcoholism and an obsessive streak; his partner is your standard loose cannon; and the serial killer is your standard psychopath. It’s fun, but not great. 3.5/5

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness:

After the two mysteries, I want to read something shorter, so I went with this, even though it’s not particularly light either – it’s a dark fantasy story about a boy, whose mother is dying of cancer, that gets visisted by an ancient tree monster and is taught some Important Lessons about truths and death. A lot of people talk about how haunting this is and how it makes them cry, but I have to be the unpopular opinion here: I don’t get what the fuss is all about. It’s not bad, exactly, I just don’t have any emotional connection to it. It feels very… predictable and formulaic, to be honest. The fact that the author didn’t come up with the original idea (another writer did, but she passed away before she could write it) probably have something to do with it. I can’t help but think that if the original author had managed to write it, or if it was picked up by someone like, say, Neil Gaiman, who did this kind of stories quite well (The Graveyard Book and Ocean at the End of the Lane, anyone?), it would’ve been amazing. Sadly, it just fell flat. 2/5

Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio by Pu Songling:

This 18th century collection of stories can best be described as a Chinese version of The Twilight Zone, as they all feature ghosts, demons, spirits and other fantastical elements. I’ve read the odd stories here and there, but didn’t get a chance to read the entire collection until now. They’re not really scary, and some can be repetitive (I’ve lost count of how many stories that are about a young man meeting a beautiful woman who turns out to be a fox demon), but they’re kinda fun too. A good “bathroom book”, because the stories are short and you can put it down anytime 😛 3/5

SIA Inspiration: Isabella Parasole

Last challenge, we have an Italian sculptor, and this time, we have an Italian engraver and designer from the same period, courtesy of Jen – Isabella Parasole, the first to publish a manual on lacemaking and embroidery based on her own designs in 1616. I’m including here one of the prints, but you can see more of them here:

Jen picked her because of how modern her designs look, especially with the dark background of the woodcut and the white lace patterns. I already have an idea for this, but I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with. Remember to send your outfits to Jen ( by next Monday, January 30th, to be included in the round-up!

A Forgotten Outfit & A Blog Notice

navy blazer maroon jeans blanket scarf brown booties by 14 shades of grey

I was cleaning out my camera’s memory card the other day when I discovered a set of outfit photos from last December that I had completely forgotten about. And it’s not a bad outfit either (if I do say so myself). Good thing I found it, because I was running out of content to post.

Which brings me to the notice: my Lunar New Year starts from next week. It’s going to be a 3-week break, and after that, I’m going on a 3-week business trip (I’ll post more on that later). That means that for the next month and a half, posting is going to be sporadic around here. I will try to post when I can, and regular features like SIA and book reviews are still going to be up. So don’t worry, the blog won’t be dead, just a little quieter than usual.

navy blazer maroon jeans blanket scarf by 14 shades of greynavy blazer blanket scarf by 14 shades of grey

maroon jeans brown booties by 14 shades of grey

T-shirt: Uniqlo, Blazer: Atmosphere, Jeans: Pull&Bear, Scarf: local shop, Boots: hand-me-down