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

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Weekly Capsule 12.4: Offline

pink t-shirt moto jacket boyfriend jeans cut-out heels by 14 shades of grey

Lately, I’ve noticed that my productivity has gone down, and I haven’t able to concentrate on my work as well as I did – I used to be able to finish reading and commenting on a 110-page screenplay in about three hours, sometimes even less if it’s written well, but now it takes me four hours or sometimes even longer. Then I realize, it’s taking me so long because whenever I get bored (which is often) I would go check Tumblr or Instagram or Facebook or a gazillion other online distractions, and before I know it, an hour has passed. Like the other day, for example, I had to read this historical script, so I went on Wikipedia to check some facts, and ended up reading about the entire history of the Hapsburg (the script wasn’t about the Hapsburg, by the way.) Educational, yes, but not exactly productive.

So I’ve made a decision. From now on, whenever I sit down to read or write or translate, there will be no distraction. The Internet will be off, and the only music playing will be movie soundtrack (Pacific Rim is my favorite, it gives me so much energy.) Already I’ve seen an improvement. Hopefully after a while I can learn how to stay focused again.

pink t-shirt moto jacket boyfriend jeans cut-out heels by 14 shades of greypink t-shirt moto jacket boyfriend jeans by 14 shades of grey

pink t-shirt moto jacket pink silk scarf by 14 shades of greyboyfriend jeans cut-out heels by 14 shades of grey

T-shirt: Uniqlo, Jacket: tailor, Jeans: Charlotte Russe, Shoes: Tamaris, Scarf: hand-me-down

Here are my looks this week – I guess the theme is dark + floral, which is pretty good for transitioning into spring. Also, boyfriend jeans FTW:

floral tunic boyfriend jeans black cut-out heels by 14 shades of greyblack embroidered sweatshirt boyfriend jeans black flats by 14 shades of grey

black and white dress black cardigan black cut-out heels by 14 shades of greypink t-shirt moto jacket boyfriend jeans cut-out heels by 14 shades of grey


Weekly Capsule 12.3: Night At The Opera

black and white dress black cardigan black cut-out heels by 14 shades of grey

I actually wore this last weekend to go a concert with my mom at the Hanoi Opera House. I don’t have that many occasions to dress up for, but when I do, this is my go-to “special occasion” dress – it’s really easy to style, and it looks more put together than everything else I had. (Although, if I’m being really honest, another reason I automatically reach for it whenever the word “fancy” comes up is because it’s one of the few things in my closet that I paid full price for, and I’ve only worn it, like, four or five time since, so I’d like to get my money’s worth :p)

black and white dress black cardigan by 14 shades of greyblack and white dress black cardigan black cut-out heels by 14 shades of grey

black and white dress black cardigan by 14 shades of greyblack and white dress black cardigan red flower brooch by 14 shades of grey

Anyway, the concert was fun. It was to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of Vietnam joining La Francophonie, so there was a nice mix of Vietnamese and French music (Clair de Lune played on Vietnamese traditional instruments and Vietnamese folk songs sung by a French choir, that kind of thing.) It was too bad that they didn’t allow DLSR inside the Opera House, because the architecture is gorgeous. I had to make do with these crappy phone photos instead.

hanoi opera house by 14 shades of greyhanoi opera house by 14 shades of grey

hanoi opera house by 14 shades of grey

Dress: Zara, Cardigan: Target, Shoes: Tamaris (hand-me-down), Brooch: vintage


Weekly Capsule 12.1: Spring Window

floral tunic boyfriend jeans black cut-out heels by 14 shades of grey

I’d put together an entirely different outfit for this week’s SIA, inspired by the “Spring” stained glass window designed by John La Farge, using this navy floral dress with my white button-up shirt layered underneath. However, when I put it on, it doesn’t feel very me at all – the old me, about two years ago, wouldn’t think twice about it, but now it seems too fussy, too schoolgirl. So I tried something else, and put that dress away for my niece when she’s older. Really, I’m too grown-up for it now.

floral tunic boyfriend jeans black cut-out heels by 14 shades of greyfloral tunic boyfriend jeans by 14 shades of grey

floral tunic golden snitch necklace by 14 shades of greyboyfriend jeans black cut-out heels by 14 shades of grey

That has been my challenge with SIA lately – with the more intricate inspiration pieces, I always struggle to find an outfit that both mimics the painting and still stays true to my new, more minimalist style. In the end, this is what I came up with – the floral tunic and the shoes are to reflect the stained glass, and there is a bit of blue in it as well, hence the jeans (a truer blue may be more accurate, but I prefer the relaxed fit of the boyfriend jeans with the tunic), and I added the necklace for the wings. The end result may not be as close as I’d like, but it’s something I’m happy to wear, and that’s more important.

Don’t forget to check out Jess’ blog for more interpretations of this gorgeous stained glass window!

week03_jess_lafarge&hensonfloral tunic boyfriend jeans black cut-out heels by 14 shades of grey

Tunic: Handmade, Jeans: Charlotte Russe, Shoes: Tamaris (hand-me-down), Necklace: self-made


Do-Over: Orange Top & Black Bottom

orange polka dot blouse black pencil skirt black heels by 14 shades of grey

I was feeling uninspired today, so I decided to do another “do-over” post by going through my archives to find an outfit I’m not happy with and redoing it. This time I picked this outfit, which, as usual, has some messed-up proportion. The blouse has kind of a peplum, and it starts about 4 inches above my actual waist, so it makes me looks really short-waisted (quite a feat, considering my long torso!), and the rolled jeans and flats don’t help either. I’ve paired this top with wide-leg jeans before and it looked OK, so this time I wanted to see if I could pair it with something else. I kept the bottom silhouette fitted, only with a pencil skirt instead of skinny jeans. The shoes I’m not so sure about, but I like that they add a bit of an edge to the outfit and keep it from being too “office-y”.

I don’t know if it’s much of an improvement (I’m thinking about putting this blouse into my “donate” pile anyway), but at least it looks more interesting, right?

orange polka dot blouse black pencil skirt black heels by 14 shades of greyorange polka dot blouse black pencil skirt by 14 shades of grey

orange polka dot blouse black pencil skirt by 14 shades of greyorange polka dot blouse black pencil skirt black heels by 14 shades of grey

Comparison:

polka dot blouse black jeans captoe flats by 14 shades of greyorange polka dot blouse black pencil skirt black heels by 14 shades of grey

Blouse: Target, Skirt: Forever21, Heels: hand-me-down


Office Party

embroidered sweater black skirt teal belt cut-out heels by 14 shades of grey

I don’t have to go back to work yet, but there is a New Year office party that I can’t get out of, so this is what I wore. It’s still skewed a bit young-looking, I think. A dress would be better, but I was too lazy to figure out what to layer with a dress. I guess I got a bit rusty after 10 days in nothing but baggy sweaters and old jeans.

Honestly though, I think I’m going through another winter style rut (even though winter is barely here at all). So far this season I’ve mostly worn three to four pieces each of tops, bottoms, and shoes. It’s not like I don’t have anything else, but I always reach for those pieces because styling them doesn’t require a lot of thinking. I may have to do a remix challenge to rediscover the rest of my closet.

embroidered sweater black skirt teal belt by 14 shades of greyembroidered sweater black skirt teal belt by 14 shades of grey

embroidered sweater black skirt teal belt by 14 shades of greyblack skirt cut-out heels by 14 shades of grey

Sweater: Atmosphere, Skirt & Heels: hand-me-down, Tights: Target, Belt: thrifted


Book Review: The Thorn And The Blossom

floral dress black cardigan yellow belt by 14 shades of grey

You didn’t think I’ve dropped the Book Review feature, did you? I finally finished A Clash of KingsĀ over the Lunar New Year break, but I’m not going to review it, just allow me this one piece of advice: if you’re a fan of the show and want to check out the books, then watch first, read later. Your brain will thank you.

Anyway, on to the book of today’s review: Theodora Goss’ “The Thorn and the Blossom“. I think I first read about this book on Goodreads, and it immediately grabbed my attention because of two things. One, it’s set around a medieval legend, which is right up my alley – the central romance mirrors an alternative version of the legend of the Green Knight. And two, it’s a two-sided book. It tells the same story from the points of view of the two main characters, Evelyn and Brendan, and the accordion binding allows you to choose whichever side you want to read first. So when my friend Trang was getting ready to come home from England, I asked her to order this for me from Amazon (because international shipping to Vietnam is kind of a hassle.)

the thorn and the blossomfloral dress black cardigan yellow belt by 14 shades of grey

Well, I have to say, I was disappointed. It is a very pretty book, but I think the gimmick of a two-sided book outweighs the quality of the story itself. I don’t think it needs to be told from two points of view – I started with Evelyn’s side, and when I read Brendan’s side I saw that it offers no new insight to the story at all (in fact, a lot of the same scenes are repeated, with the same dialogue.) It’s a super quick read (I finished both sides in one sitting), but the problem is not the length of the story. When I saw how thin the book is, I’d hoped for a short but beautifully written story. It’s not. Not badly written exactly… it just feels very flat. It’s categorized as novella, but it doesn’t read like a novella. It reads like an outline for a more complex novel. Everything is too on-the-nose, there is no depth to the characters or the story, and the style is as straightforward as it comes – no word choice that wows me or sentence structure that gives the story the poetic quality it needs. I think ultimately that’s my problem with this book: the writing is just too boring.

I guess I should never judge a book by its cover, literally.

floral dress black cardigan yellow belt by 14 shades of greyfloral dress book necklace by 14 shades of grey

floral dress black cut-out heels by 14 shades of greyfloral dress black cardigan yellow belt by 14 shades of grey

About the outfit: I’m wearing this dress backward (not that you can’t tell.) This is how the neckline looks, but it doesn’t work with the cardigan and the necklace, so I flipped it around. It kinda fits the whole “two-sided” thing too, right?

floral dress black cardigan book by 14 shades of grey

Dress: tailored, Cardigan & Tights: Target, Belt: Vietnamese shop
Necklace: self-made, Shoes: borrowed from my sister