Pinned It And Did It

gray floral shirt tan blazer dark gray jeans heeled loafers by 14 shades of grey

Here is another neutral outfit from me. This one is on purpose, not because I couldn’t find any pop of color to add to it, but because it was inspired by this, as part of the Pinned It and Did It challenge. Although it didn’t turn out nearly as sharp as the inspirational photo (never knew I needed a grey blazer until now), I liked it.

It’s been feeling more spring-like around here, except for us “spring-like” means rain and humidity, so it really isn’t as nice as you’d think. Good thing that nature makes up for the miserable weather by putting all kinds of trees in bloom. Our grapefruit tree has been blooming for nearly two weeks now and I wish I could capture how incredible the fragrance is. Not sure how many of those will bear fruits, but at least we can enjoy the flowers for now.

gray floral shirt tan blazer dark gray jeans heeled loafers by 14 shades of greygray floral shirt tan blazer dark gray jeans by 14 shades of grey

gray floral shirt tan blazer by 14 shades of greydark gray jeans heeled loafers by 14 shades of grey

grapefruit flowers by 14 shades of greygrapefruit flowers by 14 shades of grey

Shirt: hand-me-down, Blazer & Belt: thrifted, Jeans: Target, Heels: Payless


Book Review: The Grisha Trilogy

black embroidered sweater charcoal jeans black boots by 14 shades of grey

I am still trudging my way through the collection of short stories I got from Tor (there are about 150 of them and I’m only at the “B” authors) – trudging, because as much as I love fantasy/sci-fi short stories, there has to be something very special about a short story, either in the world or the writing or the characters, etc., to grab my attention. So far the only stories that impress me in this collection are Leigh Bardugo’s The Witch of Duva and The Too-Clever Fox. They have very similar twist endings, but the world of Russian folklore in them is not something I’ve seen in other English-language fantasies before, so after reading the excerpts from her Grisha novels, I decided to check them out.

There are two books from the series, “Shadow and Bone” and “Siege and Storm”, with the third one “Ruin and Rising” coming out next summer. The story takes place in Ravka, a country that is clearly inspired by Russia. It’s ruled by the Grisha, witches and wizards who have the power to control and manipulate elements. They are divided into different groups like Corporal (healers), Material (metal and glass workers), Ethereal (those who work with wind, water, light) and are led by the most powerful of them all, the Darkling. Ravka is threatened by the Fold, a stretch of impenetrable darkness populated by terrifying monsters, and when the main character, Alina Starkov, is discovered to be a much-revered Sun Summoner, she becomes Ravka’s only hope to destroy the Fold.

black embroidered sweater charcoal jeans by 14 shades of greyblack embroidered sweater charcoal jeans black boots by 14 shades of grey

Like I said, the world of the story is what draws me to these books, and it’s the strongest point of them too. Once you get past all the Russian folklore, the story is pretty much standard YA fantasy.  The writing is standard (I should probably stop expecting amazing prose in YA fantasies.) The plot is kind of slow – the first book sags in the middle, and the second one gets slow near the end too. The characters are standard. They’re not bad, really, just not amazing. I enjoy the first two books enough to want to read the third installment, but do I recommend them? Eh. If you like a bit of light fantasy in a slightly different setting, then sure.

charcoal jeans black boots by 14 shades of greyblack embroidered sweater by 14 shades of grey

As for the outfit, I was going for a Russia-inspired look, and this embroidered sweater is perfect. The rest of the outfit I kept simple, since I figured the black/charcoal colors represent the Fold and the Darkling. My watch would’ve made the perfect accessory, but alas, it’s broken. While looking for a replacement, I’ll see if I can turn the band into a bracelet, because my wrist is feeling quite empty.

black embroidered sweater detail by 14 shades of grey

Sweater: Atmosphere, Jeans: Target, Boots: Vietnamese shop


Blog Worthy

red striped shirt plaid scarf cap toe flats by 14 shades of grey

chambray shirt plaid scarf oxfords by 14 shades of grey

Recently the lovely Franziska of Franish has talked about “blog worthy” outfits, which got me thinking about the whole idea of dressing up for the sole purpose of taking pictures and posting them. I guess there’s a certain amount of dressing up on my blog, but that’s because if I didn’t dress up for the blog, I probably would take a leaf out of Jennifer Lawrence’s book 😛 I’ve mentioned this before, but putting on real clothes really puts me in the “work” mindset. When I’m working from home and there are distractions everywhere, I need all the help I can get to concentrate.

So yeah, I make sure that my outfits are “blog worthy”, but that for me simply means anything I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable wearing to an actual office or to go out. Sometimes I put more effort in, sometimes less so (like these two outfits for example). Just because I have the luxury of playing dress-up doesn’t mean that I’m going to be unrealistic about it and dress to the nines every day so I could have “blog worthy” photos.

red striped shirt plaid scarf by 14 shades of greyred striped shirt plaid scarf by 14 shades of grey

black jeans oxfords by 14 shades of greychambray shirt plaid scarf by 14 shades of grey

My dad bought this scarf for me from Cambodia; it’s a slightly modernized version of the traditional Cambodian krama (checkered scarf; Vietnamese people in the Mekong Delta also have something similar, though ours is more simple, usually just with black-and-white pattern.) I just looped it in a circle in the first outfit, and in the second one I used this knot.

chambray shirt plaid scarf by 14 shades of greychambray shirt plaid scarf by 14 shades of grey
Keep one side of the scarf longer. Loop this longer side twice and tuck the short side in until it’s hidden

chambray shirt plaid scarf by 14 shades of greychambray shirt plaid scarf by 14 shades of grey
Take the tip of the longer side and tuck it into the opposite side. Done!

Outfit #1: thrifted shirt & flats, Forever21 jeans, gift scarf
Outfit #2: thrifted shirt & oxfords, Target jeans, gift scarf

take one pass it on 10-11


Hear Me Roar

t-rex sweater black jeans brown booties by 14 shades of grey

… out of frustration, that is. I’m scraping the entire (well, most of it, anyway) 70 pages I’ve written of my book and going back to the drawing board, because I’ve finally had it with borrowing from American Gods. So while I’m trying to figure out how the heck I’m going to write this story, here’s some photos of me wearing my floral T-Rex.

black jeans brown booties by 14 shades of greyt-rex sweater black jeans black scarf by 14 shades of grey

t-rex sweater black jeans black scarf by 14 shades of greyt-rex sweater black jeans brown booties by 14 shades of grey
I look less like a T-Rex and more like I’m doing a terrible version of the Thriller dance

Sweater: hand-me-down & refashioned, Jeans: Target
Scarf: Forever21, Booties: Steve Madden (thrifted)


Braided

navy cable knit sweater yellow scarf brown booties by 14 shades of grey

Outfit post didn’t happen yesterday because the weather was miserable, cold and rainy. 52F may not sound cold to you guys, but just so you know, in Hanoi when it gets below 50F, kids have school off. It’s still cold today, but at least it’s dry… Still, I think if this keeps up, I will have to make do with indoor photos until it warms up.

Anyway, for my first official outfit post of 2013, I wanted something simple, no-fuss, without being boring – I forgot to add this to my New Year’s resolutions, but I’m hoping to evolve my style toward “simple without being boring” while still maintaining the whole “whimsical vintage” thing that I like. So when I saw this braided scarf tutorial on Sidewalk Ready, I knew it would be just the right finishing touch.

navy cable knit sweater yellow scarf brown booties by 14 shades of greynavy cable knit sweater yellow scarf by 14 shades of grey

navy cable knit sweater yellow scarf by 14 shades of greyblack jeans brown booties by 14 shades of grey

navy cable knit sweater yellow scarf by 14 shades of grey

Sweater: Fedora Boutique, Jeans & Scarf: Target
Boots: Steve Madden (thrifted), Brooch: vintage