Summer Flowers

I almost decided not to participate in this SIA, because one, I’ve been stuck at home all month, working in my pajamas, so there is no reason to dress up, two, it’s been raining almost all month, and three, I have no idea what to wear.The most noticeable color in the photo Erin picked is purple, and I don’t have anything purple.

But as luck would have it, the rain stopped and I had a couple of errands to run this past weekend, so I had the excuse to wear something marginally dressier than my ratty old tee and pajama pants. I picked the light blue jeans, black sandals, and silver cuff to mimic the background of the photo, and my floral printed t-shirt, while not exact, is a pretty good interpretation of the tulips in the photo, if I do say so myself.

It’s been a stressful summer. On the one hand, I am so ready for it to end so I can start wearing actual clothes and put the blog back into shape (cooler weather would be nice, too). On the other hand, I have so much left to do with all of my side projects that I know I would be overwhelmed once the school year starts again. Well, I have until August 21 to at least finish some of them, so I guess I’d better shape up.

Don’t forget to stop by Erin’s blog to see other interpretations of this photo!

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More Of The Same

This is pretty much a more casual version of my outfit on Wednesday – same shoes, another white button-up shirt but looser and with short sleeves, and distressed boyfriend jeans instead of black ankle pants. I saw a similar outfit on my favorite Japanese style blog and thought I’d give it a try. Of course, it looks much more effortless on the website than on me, but I’ve long given up on looking effortless. Effortless on me would just look sloppy, like I literally make no effort, so, no.


Breathe

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We just got through another heatwave – it was our second or third of the summer, and each time it just got worse. You know when you open an oven and get blasted in the face with heat? Yeah, it’s been like that over here. Going outside is like stepping into an oven.

Thankfully there was some cool air last night to lift the heat (we’re expecting rain any minute now). So to celebrate, I put on a marginally cute outfit instead of the pajamas I’ve been wearing these past few days. Originally I wore this with my brown sandals, but they looked off somehow, so I swapped them for these sneakers and they work much better – they kind of match the top, so they keep the outfit balance and keep the color scheme cohesive (hey, even with a casual outfit, you have to put some thoughts into it!)

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Top: local shop, Jeans: Mango, Sneakers: Johan Cruyff


These Old Bones

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This has little to do with the outfit, but one of my New Year resolutions (I actually don’t have official “New Year resolutions”, I just have a few things that I want to change/try/keep doing in the new year) is to exercise more regularly. Nothing vigorous, just 15-20 minutes a day, to at least get my muscles moving. Because I’m terribly out of shape. How out of shape I am, you ask? Here’s proof: yesterday I pulled something in my hip just from stretching, and now it hurts like hell every time I try to sit down or stand up. So I’m going to have to put that exercising plan on hold for now.

And that also means flat shoes for me at least for a week. Gods, I’m such an old lady.

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Shirt: Uniqlo, Blazer: Atmosphere, Jeans: Zara, Oxfords: Vagabond, Pins: Forever21


Weekly Capsule 33.2: Normcore

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Is “normcore” still a buzzword? Do people actually talk about “normcore” outside of the fashion and style blogosphere? I recently used it in a script to describe a character, and I was afraid it might sound too dated or esoteric. Maybe I should change it.

But that doesn’t stop me from dressing in normcore clothes during these last few days before school starts. My week consists of working from home + babysitting my nephew, with just one “public” appearance at my workshop class, so this is all I could muster. Blog-worthy? Hardly. But it’s comfy and perfect for running after a toddler, so here I am.

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T-shirt: Uniqlo, Jeans: Zara, Sneakers: local shop, Necklace: vintage

It also means this week’s capsule has only two looks, but next week posting will be back to normal… I hope.

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Weekly Capsule 33.1 & Book Review: Apocalypse Now Now

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I try to keep a schedule for the book reviews, but the books I read last month are either not interesting enough, or do not lend themselves well to any sartorial interpretation, so the review has to wait until now, when I finally read something that I can talk about (it doesn’t necessarily mean that I like it though – more on that in a minute). And that book is “Apocalypse Now Now” by Charlie Human.

I first heard about this when I learned that the writer of District 9 is adapting it. It’s a YA fantasy novel set in Cape Town and described as “Tarantino meets Gaiman”, so naturally I was interested. The main character, Baxter, is a self-proclaimed teenage Machiavelli, a dealer of pornography and the leader of his gang, the Spider. He is willing to do anything necessary to ensure that the Spider survives the brutal world of high school, but this all changes when his girlfriend, Esme, disappears. Soon Baxter finds himself teaming up with a supernatural bounty hunter, Jackson Ronin, as they make their way through the underworld of Cape Town to bring Esme back and prevent the apocalypse along the way.

I myself have wanted to write an urban fantasy version of the Orpheus myth, so this is right up my alley. The setting is unique, and Baxter promises to be a great anti-hero. However, I was disappointed. The supernatural world is a bit of a mess – I’m not familiar with Afrikaan myths, but here it seems the author just dumps in random elements and adds some sex and violence on top of them. I don’t like Baxter either. He talks a lot about what a manipulative bastard he is and we don’t actually see much of that on display.

What annoys me the most, though, is how Esme is treated. She is a prime example of the “fridged girlfriend” trope – she is harmed to motivate Baxter, and then that storyline (mild spoiler) is hastily and lazily resolved to make way for Baxter’s heroic quest. I don’t mind this trope when it’s done well (Laura in American Gods comes to mind), but Esme is so one-dimensional (her sole defining trait is that she is a klepto, which, OMG, so edgy) and Baxter’s proclamation of love for her is so unconvincing (because what do they have in common?) that it makes me really angry. I mean, it’s the 21st century. There is no excuse to write a female character like that.

2/5 stars, and that’s only because I think it would make a better comic book than a novel.

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As for the outfit, I thought long and hard about how best to interpret the book, and finally settled on something Baxter might wear, like on the book’s covers – the shirt and oxfords are to mimic his school uniform, the jeans are to add some edge, the glasses are obvious, and the necklace is to represent the Knowing Eye, an important plot point. It’s simple, but I like it.

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Shirt: local shop, Jeans: Zara, Oxfords: Vagabond, Necklace: Lia Sophia


Weekly Capsule 23.2 & Book Review: Alif The Unseen

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I’ve had this book in my Kindle since forever, but it took me a while to read it, because as amazing as the premise sounds, it is also a little familiar: Alif is a hacker in a Persian Gulf emirate state, hiding behind his computer and a screen name (Alif is the first letter in the Arabic alphabet). This all changes one day when his aristocratic lover becomes engaged to the Head of State Security, and Alif receives from her a mythical book called The Thousand and One Days (a fictional counterpart of The Thousand and One Nights.) Soon Alif finds himself journeying through the world of the unseen, as he is pursued by both the police and jinns alike.

Now, jinns with Internet access sounds awesome. Take that away, though, and what you have left is a very standard cyber thriller. But then I found out that the author, G. Willow Wilson, was the creator of Marvel’s first Pakistani-American superhero, and I finally cracked open “Alif the Unseen”.

The book more or less meets my expectation. The fantasy part is great, with beautiful imagery and a wonderful blend of mythology and reality (a demon with a Dell, anyone?) I’ve read The Thousand and One Nights since I was a kid, so perhaps I’m more familiar with the mythology than most readers. Still, I think the author did very well to keep the mythology authentic and accessible to the average reader without dumbing it down. The thriller part I find a little slow in places, and the ending is a little anticlimactic, but it’s probably just my screenwriter mind talking. I only wish it could go a bit further: the fantasy more epic, the thriller/revolution more substantial, but overall, it was an enjoyable and quick read. I’d give it a solid 4/5.

On a character note (gosh, it sounds like one of my script analyses now), I’ve read some criticisms of the way the female characters are treated in the book, in that they are only accessories to Alif’s adventure, but I disagree. I think the female characters are well written while still staying true to their culture and religion (G. Willow Wilson herself is a Muslim convert), and they are integral to the story in their own way. “Strong” female characters don’t have to conform to the masculine standards; on the contrary, they are all the more interesting because they are so traditionally feminine.

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As for the outfit, I decided to go super casual, like something a hacker would wear (Alif himself is described as wearing a black T-shirt and jeans), but with an intricate detail in my necklace, to reflect the “unseen” part. And yes, I finally buckled to the trend and bought a pair of slip-ons. How very normcore of me.

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T-shirt: Uniqlo, Jeans & Sneakers: local shops, Necklace: my mom’s