Cooling Effect

We’re in a grip of a record-breaking heatwave here in Hanoi (the heat index has been hovering around 120F every day since last Wednesday). It seems I’ve been saying that every summer, but then again every summer they told us the heatwave was breaking another record. I guess that’s global warming for you. This outfit was from last week, when it was still blessedly cool, and I was hoping that the blue color would have some cooling effect – for me at least. The heat is so bad that I can’t even bear to look at warm colors right now.


Midnight Blue

This week’s SIA is pretty easy for me. The two stand-out colors are blue and red, so I immediately knew I’d wear this navy dress with my red heels. The accessory required a bit more thoughts, though. Sadly I don’t have any brooch or pendant in the shape of a rooster or a violin-playing goat, but then I noticed that the lady in the painting has a heart shape on her top (is it her actual heart? You never know with Chagall), so I added my heart-shaped brooch.

I wore this to my students’ thesis defence last week (their thesis projects are feature film scripts, but they still have to present it in front of a committee). This was my first year as a thesis adviser – that may sound important, but honestly the work isn’t that different from what I do in my freelance script reading job. People ask for your advice, you tell them what they’re doing wrong, and then they don’t listen to you. I’m not surprised, really. One of the first things they teach you in screenwriting class is how to take criticism, but almost nobody knows how to do it.

Don’t forget to stop by Jen’s blog to see other interpretations of this painting!


The Search For The Perfect Striped Tee

I know I wear stripes a lot – I’ve lost count of how many striped tops I have – but I think I keep buying them because I’ve never found the right one. There’s always something wrong with it, either in the stripes, the neckline, or the fit. My black-and-white striped sweatshirt is the closest to the perfect striped top that I have, but even that one is a bit too short, plus it’s a sweatshirt so I can’t wear it year-round. This one is pretty close too, but it is also too short, and I prefer a wider neckline. All I want is a simple striped top, boat-necked, not too fitted, preferrably with black-and-white stripes, but I’ll also take blue-and-white, even red-and-white, or red-blue-and-white (like this one.) Is that too much to ask?


TV Reviews: March – May 2017

As promised last month, this month I’m going to do TV reviews instead of my usual book reviews. This isn’t going to be a regular thing, it’s just that I’ve been watching a lot of amazing shows lately and I wanted to rave about them. So here goes:

Legion:

This is a superhero show, more specifically, an X-Men show (Legion is the son of Professor X), but it’s not your typical superhero show. It’s not your typical show, period. According to the comics, Legion’s mutant power is that he can absorb other personalities into his mind, and this manifests into a severe case of schizophrenia. The show took this idea and really put us inside Legion/David Haller’s mind – sometimes literally – as he tries to come to terms with his power while figuring out what is real and what is not. Because it deals so much with the idea of mind, memories, and mentality, the show’s storytelling is quite unlike anything you’ve seen before. That, combined with slightly off, retro-looking production designs (the show looks like it takes place in some trippy 1960’s alternate universe), means that it can be difficult to get into. But the cast is tremendous – especially Dan Stevens, who has a near flawless American accent (how is it that British actors are always so much better at American accent than vice versa?) and Aubrey Plaza – and after the first couple of episodes, you’ll be hooked and won’t find it so weird anymore.

Big Little Lies:

This isn’t my type of show (it’s a murder mystery about a group of women in a wealthy neighborhood of Monterey), but it’s been getting rave reviews, so I decided to check it out, and suffice to say, I spent an entire Saturday binging it. It’s not so much a mini-series as it is a 7-hour long movie, and it does such a great job of building the tension that I spent the entire time watching with my fists clenched, waiting for it to explode. I’ve also read the book, and it’s good too (I actually prefer Reese Witherspoon’s character in the book) – book review coming next month.

American Gods:

Do I have to say anything more? Neil Gaiman, Bryan Fuller, a damn near perfect cast (this and “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” have restored my faith in casting for adaptations – the only quibble I had was Emily Browning, who I think is too young to play Laura, but after the episode two weeks ago, I was convinced), of course I would be all over this. My only complaint is that it’s not streaming, so you have to wait each week for a new episode. Therefore, I would recommend reading the book first – the plotting of the show can be really slow and a bit all over the place if you don’t know where it’s going.

The Handmaid’s Tale:

Again, this is not my kind of show – I’d never read the book, and in today’s political climate, a story about women losing all of their rights and being reduced to “two-legged wombs” sounds far too real and too depressing for me. But again, I’ve heard amazing reviews of it, and I’ve liked Elizabeth Moss since “Mad Men”, so I started watching. Well, it’s terrifying – the most believable dystopian story I’ve ever seen – but that’s also what makes it so riveting. I’m not sure if I’m invested enough to keep watching, mostly because it’s so mentally exhausting, but I’ll finish this season at least.

Anne with an E:

This may come as a shock to you guys, but I’m not a fan of Anne of Green Gables. I’ve read all of the books and watched the 1985 mini-series, and I love the world of L.M. Montgomery, but to be honest, I’ve always found Anne kind of annoying (when it comes to PE Island, I prefer the TV show “Avonlea”.) So I wasn’t particularly interested in a new adaptation of the book. But, after “The Handmaid’s Tale”, I need something light and wholesome to nurse my wrecked nerves back to health, so this fits the bill perfectly. It does a great job of making Anne more sympathetic (it shows very clearly that her imagining and daydreaming is a coping mechanism for all the horrors she’s had to endure) and of course, the scenery is gorgeous (or “divinely scrumptious” or “scrumptiously divine” or whatever Anne is wont to say.)


SIA Inspiration: Marc Chagall 2.0

Happy Memorial Day to my US readers! It’s Jen’s turn to curate this week’s SIA challenge, and she picked “Coq Rouge dans la Nuit” (Red Rooster in the Night) by Marc Chagall:

It’s a fun painting (what’s up with that violin-playing goat?!) yet quite romantic in that typically off-beat Chagall way. The main color is blue, which I greatly appreciate, but there are also other details and pops of color that you can explore too. Just remember to send Jen (librarianforlifestyle@gmail.com) your outfits by next Monday, June 5th. Have fun!


Rewired

Occasionally, after I’ve been in a sartorial slump like I have over the past few weeks, I would try to put a bit more thoughts into an outfit to get my “mojo” back, so to speak (actually I don’t use phrases like “get my mojo back”, which sounds so corny to me. Plus “mojo” only makes me think of Mojo Jojo from The Powerpuff Girls.) The result is often spotty – sometimes I would chance on something good and get inspired again; sometimes I would overthink it and end up with an awkward mess. This outfit falls somewhere in the middle. It isn’t an awkward mess, but it certainly didn’t look as good as I pictured it in my head. I guess I’m going back to my minimalist phase for a bit longer…

(P/S: I was going to title this post “Re-inspired”, but the outfit is not “inspired” exactly. Then I saw Kasabian playing on TV and just grabbed the song title. It’s close enough.)


SIA: Space Tourism Poster

Welcome to another SIA round-up! This week our inspiration is this space tourism poster, one of many created by the Jet Propulsion Lab for NASA, featuring Venus. Everybody is crushing it this week, so let’s get to it!

First up is Jodie, who sent me her outfit a mere 2 hours (!!!) after I posted the inspiration. That’s got to be some sort of record. Plus, her outfit is super on-point:

Up next is Mike, who went with something simple but spot-on as well:

My co-host Jen, like me, doesn’t have any blush pink in her wardrobe, so she went with gray and tan instead. She even had a “dome” of sort, with her umbrella:

Jen also said that the dome in the poster reminded her of the Tacoma Dome, and after looking at the picture, I have to agree:

As an added bonus, Jen also sent along this photo of her with her mom and her brother back in 1979, all of whom seem to be channeling the poster in their outfits. Time-traveling SIA, this is a first! (Also, isn’t Jen the spitting image of her mom?!)

Our other co-host, Erin, wished she had a gray skirt for this, but I’d say her blush top and silver sandals are pretty much perfect:

Trust Kezzie to always come up with the sweet/romantic look regardless of the inspiration. She also includes a photo of the rose in her garden, with colors to match the poster:

Xat didn’t manage to take a photo of herself in this outfit, so she put it on a dress form and placed it against the perfect backdrop:

Finally, here’s me:

And that wraps up another successful SIA. Don’t forget to check back next week for Jen’s inspiration!