Late Bloomer

For this week’s SIA, inspired by the flower collages/decoupages of Mary Delany, I had to dig into my storage and brought out this dress. I’s a hand-me-down from my mom, and I haven’t worn it in a while because it’s a little short for my taste now, but for this challenge, it’s perfect (so glad I didn’t donate it!) I layered it with a knotted black T-shirt and topped it off with my flower brooch as a nod to the 3D feel of the collages – and I mean, come on, you wouldn’t expect me not to wear a brooch with this, would you?

You still have until tomorrow to send me your outfits if you haven’t already, and don’t forget to come back on Wednesday to see how everybody did!


white shirt floral dress brown heeled oxfords

Apparently today is the first day of spring, so of course I had to wear floral… right? Though actually this might be my last chance to wear this dress like this (inspired by this) because we’re having a cold snap this weekend and then the temperature is going to skyrocket during the next week, and soon it’s going to be too warm to layer anything at all. I know I talk about this a lot, but the weather here doesn’t have much middle ground. It’s either freezing cold or scorching hot, so you really can’t get used to it. I’m a native and even I’m not used to it.

white shirt floral dresswhite shirt floral dress

white shirt floral dress brown heeled oxfordswhite shirt floral dress

floral dress brown heeled oxfords

Shirt, Tights, and Belt: Target, Dress: tailor, Shoes: local shop

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 Kings 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

Let The Travel Begins

Sorry for the radio silence. Yesterday was Vietnam’s Independence Day, and we had a long weekend (which coincided with Labor Day weekend – hope my US readers had a good time!) so my family decided to have a road trip to our hometown. It’s also sort of a preparation for me and Debbi, now that September is here and we’re going to start our traveling for earnest. More posts about the trip will be up later this week, but for now, here’s something from our outing last Friday. We went out for dinner, had delicious Black Forest cake for dessert, and went to a bar ran by my friend from high school to watch some pretty good short films. Other than the fact that we got lost trying to find the bar even though it’s right there (never rely on Google Maps in the maze of Hanoi Old Quarter), it was fun.

On me: tailor-made dress (it was my mom’s but she decided it was too young for her), Target belt, Payless flats
On Debbi: tailor-made shorts, Target cardigan, Gap tank top

The Black Forest cake, and an Engrish menu (the “jambon and format” one is actually ham and cheese, from the French “jambon” and “frommage”)

By the way, this is the inspiration for next week’s Style Imitating Art – Portrait of Louise Trudaine by Jacques-Louis David. I thought we’d go back to something simple this time.

Whimsical Vintage

For the last day of the 21 Day Challenge, we’re supposed to “work it“, i.e. put together a killer outfit with what we’ve gathered from the challenge. At first I was kinda half-assing it since it’s Sunday and I was feeling lazy, but after reading a comment from Quest For Fashion Sense where she described my style as “whimsical vintage” (thanks!), I used that as a jumping-off point to put more thought into my outfit.

The end result, inspired by this outfit from ShopRuche’s lookbook, I feel speaks for my style – vintage-inspired, a bit of pattern mixing, and a pop of color (not too much.)

So, a big “thank you” to Kayla for hosting the 21 Day Challenge. It’s been fun. But I’m also glad to go back to my old schedule and not having to take outfit photos everyday 🙂

Dress worn as top: H&M
Skirt: thrifted, remixed
Flats & Cloche: Payless, remixed

P/S: Check out this awesome albino praying mantis I found while taking photos. It looks like something out of Pan’s Labyrinth.