Summer Flower

For this week’s SIA, inspired by Daenel’s photo of a pink/purple coneflower, I knew I wanted to wear my green linen pants – I only have a few green things in my closet, and given the weather, these pants were the natural choice. However, for the top, I was stumped. The other colors in the photos are pink, purple, golden yellow and dark orange, which are not very present in my closet, and I already wore a pink top with these green pants for another SIA challenge.

In the end, I decided to go with this embroidered top. Sure, it’s mainly white, but the colors of the embroideries can mimic the shades of pink/purple/red in the photo, and finally, I chose my brown oxfords for the yellow/orange shades (since I don’t actually have anything yellow or orange!) All in all, the outfit is not as close to the inspiration piece as I’d like, but at least it’s wearable and comfy. I’d rather have that than to force myself into some ridiculous getup just to meet the inspiration.

Don’t forget to check Daenel’s blog on Wednesday for other outfits inspired by this lovely photo!

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Feeling Crabby

The post title is both a reference to the crab brooch on my shirt (very creative, I know) and the fact that I’m not entirely happy with the outfit. The shirt is a bit too loose-fitting, so when I tried tucking it into the paper-bag waist of these pants, it just created all this bulk around the waist. A more fitted shirt may work better. And the brooch feels like an afterthought too. I wanted a pop of color that was not shoes, and I just got this brooch, so I decided to wear it, but now I think I should’ve saved it for a more “nautical” look. Or would that be too costumy? I don’t know… I guess I’m just not feeling this outfit.


Book Reviews: May 2019

I only managed three books this month, but in my defense, two of them are pretty dense, so here goes:

Possession by A.S. Byatt:

I’ve read one other book by A.S. Byatt, “The Children’s Book”, because I was hired to translate it. I didn’t think much of it at first, but after translating it (which took forever because it’s so dense), I’d gained a new sense of appreciation for the characters and their lives. So I decided to check out her more famous novel to see what she does with a more defined and contained plot – two academic/literary researchers stumble upon evidence that two Victorian poets may have had a secret affair, and must rush to discover the truth before their rivals.

It sounded great, but I wasn’t impressed. It’s mainly because I can’t connect to any of the characters, and the stakes aren’t high enough (at the end of the day, it’s just about some dead poets. The emotional stakes just aren’t there.) And I admire Byatt for including the poems and stories by her fictional poets, but they slow down the story a great deal. I often found myself skipping those passages to get back to the main plot, even though I already knew the story from the terrible adaptation with Gwyneth Paltrow. 2/5

The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf:

This is another book that hooks me because of its pretty cover. Plus, I’m always interested in books about natures and explores, so a biography of one of the most prominent naturalist explorers of the 19th century seems like a good choice. I’ve never heard of Humboldt before, so it’s fascinating to read about him and to learn that many of our understandings about nature today came from him or were popularized by him – such as the idea of plant geography or the very concept of nature preservation. The book also includes some chapters on how Humboldt has influenced other scientists and writers, like Darwin, Henry David Thoreau, and John Muir. These can be a little reaching (take the chapter on Simon Bolivar, for instance – sure, Bolivar and Humboldt were close acquaintances after Humboldt’s trip to South America, but how much did Humboldt influence Bolivar, really?) but they’re interesting to read, nonetheless. I also appreciate the fact that everything is in chronologically order instead of jumping all over the places like some biographies I’ve read (like the one on Sissi, for example). 4/5

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab:

After quite few non-fiction books, I figured it was time to get back to my roots with a fantasy novel. This one, the first of a trilogy (one of these days, I’d like to read a standalone fantasy book for a change, thank you very much), follows Kell, a young magician with the ability to travel between four different worlds – Grey (our non-magical world), Red (the magical, thriving world), White (the world starving for magic), and Black (the world destroyed by magic). One day, Kell stumbles upon a dangerous relic from the Black world, and together with a human pickpocket, he embarks on a journey to restore the balance between the worlds. It’s quite standard fantasy stuff, as you can see, but the world-building is interesting and the action is fast-paced, which makes for a quick, easy read. My only complaint is that the characters, to me, feel a little flat. Still, I enjoyed it enough to want to check out the other two books in the series. 4/5

What did you read this month? You can check out my friend Mike’s read here, or discuss your books in the comment!


SIA Inspiration: Coneflower

Happy Memorial Day to my US readers! It’s Daenel’s turn to host SIA, and she picked one of her own photos as the inspiration:

I love this because the flower makes it appropriate for spring, while the bright colors (which Daenel has kindly collected into a palette underneath the photo) is more summery – perfect for this transitional time, right? So get inspired, put together an outfit, and send it to Daenel (livingoutsidethestacks@gmail.com) by next Tuesday, June 4th. Have fun!


Shoe-Mad

This may sound like a total stereotype, but like most women, I have a problem with shoes. As in I have too many shoes. And yet I still can’t seem to resist a new pair. Like this one. When I saw it in the store, I was just like SpongeBob going “I don’t need it, I don’t need it, I definitely don’t need it.” I mean, I really don’t. I have enough oxfords in every color of the rainbow (well, not exactly… oh gods I’m giving myself ideas), and a pair of patent black-and-silver oxfords wouldn’t fill any hole in my closet. But they hit that sweet spot between classic, vintage, and whimsical that is exactly my style, so in the end, just like SpongeBob, I screamed “I NEED IT!!!” (not literally) and bought them.

I justified it by saying that the patent leather would make them easier to wear in the rain, but that’s just an excuse. I bought them because I like them, and I can’t wait to wear them. In the end, isn’t that the best reason to buy something though?


SIA: Women Admiring Plum Blossoms

Welcome to another week of SIA! This week, our inspiration is Suzuki Harunobu’s woodblock print “Woman Admiring Plum Blossoms at Night“, and we have a variety of great looks, so let’s get to it!

First up is a regular SIA participant, Kezzie, who is back with a lovely embroidered dress with bell sleeves to mimic the kimono sleeves in the print:

Up next is our co-host, Daenel, looking lovely in a floral jumpsuit:

Our other co-host, Kim, chose to recreate the colors rather than the print itself, which results in a fun and funky outfit:

Leslie is also a long-time SIA participant, and she’s back with a gold-embroidered blouse. She also included a pose like the woman in the print – how fun!

Shugunna has been participating in the last few SIA challenges, but this is the first time I featured her on my blog, so welcome, Shugunna! She has not one but two lovely dresses for SIA:

And finally, here’s me:

And that’s it for another SIA challenge. Big thank to everybody for participating, and don’t forget to check back next week for new inspiration!


Reverse-Engineered SIA

When I pick the inspirations for SIA, I often have two approaches. Sometimes I’d see a work of art so cool that I have to feature it on SIA right away, regardless of whether I can recreate it in an outfit or not. Other times, though, I already have an outfit in mind and would find a painting to match. Reverse-engineering, so to speak.

This week’s SIA inspiration, the woodblock print “Woman Admiring Plum Blossoms at Night” by Japanese artist Suzuki Harunobu, is a bit of both. I’ve saved the print on my Pinterest for a while but didn’t feature it on the blog because I didn’t know what I would wear for it. Then I saw this skirt. The color is perfect, and the pleats even mimic the stripes on the woman’s kimono. Top it off with my black printed top to reflect the dark background of the print, and we have a perfect SIA outfit, even if I say so myself.

If you haven’t sent me your outfit, you still have until tomorrow. And don’t forget to check back on Wednesday for all the looks inspired by this lovely woodblock print!