Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Secret Garden

When I was a kid, I loved The Secret Garden. My class read it in the second grade, and I loved the air of mystery of the garden and characters. Maybe it was that movie that partially inspired my love of nature. I always wanted a garden full of lush greenery and flowers, with high ivy-covered walls. This picture makes it look like I'm halfway there!

Did you ever read that book?

Yes, this is really my yard. Or, these days, jungle. It's nothing like the manicured 100% Kentucky bluegrass lawns that are prized in the North, but I love the various little ground cover plants that grow here. I love spending time in my little nature sanctuary. As long as I have, you know, bug spray :D

And it's also better when it doesn't start raining every five minutes! Yikes!

Jacket: $20
Dress: $13
Sandals: $16
Necklace: $10

TOTAL: $59

dress - Target / jacket - Steve & Barry's / sandals - Payless / necklace - JC Penney

Friday, May 21, 2010

Makin' Stuff

I'm nearly finished with altering a dress I snagged a few weeks ago. I ended up hating it after I took it home, but I really liked the fabric so I decided to change the shape of it. I was putting the finishing touches on, including a drawstring waistband, only to discover the cord I bought for it is too wide for the drawstring tube! Arrghh! So I'll have to wait to post pictures until I can get more suitable cording. In the meantime, I thought I'd post pictures of more stuff I made.

I whipped up this tea cozy a little while ago. The bottom green polka-dot fabric was a scrap from another project (a coffee press cozy), and the rest of it I cut from a linen shirt salvaged from the $1.00 section of Goodwill. That stuff is great for practicing embroidery on! I don't know why I'm crazy about tea cozies (and coffee cozies) lately. Probably because they're simple and quick to put together and they can look like anything you like.

Look at my tomatoes!! Not bad for a patio garden, huh? There are about 8 on that plant right now, and the biggest one is almost the same size as my fist. OK, I have small hands, but still, I think it's pretty decent for a patio tomato plant! I'm trying to wait for them to turn, but looking at these pictures has me fantasizing about fried green tomatoes...mmm.....

These aren't really my project, but I thought I'd share them with you guys anyway. This is K's bonsai collection, not including the larger one he keeps indoors. We found a great bonsai nursery at a plant festival in April, run by the nicest older couple. The husband shapes all the trees and experiments with soils and things, and the wife creates the little landscapes around them and chooses the pots. I swear, it was like looking into a mirror of the future of us, haha.

I think this one is so neat. Bonsai trees that produce flowers and fruit just blow my mind. Can you see the little green fruits? We have no idea what kind of tree this is, and neither did the couple from the nursery unfortunately. I still love the look of it.

This little guy is cute, too. K is wanting to start experimenting with different tree shapes, so he got the two little juniper starters to play around with. In the background is one of the pots he bought at a flea market in Osaka. It's not the most beautiful pot in the world, but it has such a neat story behind it because it's from our first trip abroad together and K actually haggled in Japanese (which he does not speak hardly at all) with the owner of the stall for it. Haha! I was proud of him :P  He was too shy to order food in Japanese that whole trip, but he didn't let language get in the way of a good bonsai pot!

Have a good weekend~

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The cost of day-to-day fashion

 I felt like it was time for a change in decor around here. The picture I used for the header is one of my favorites that I snapped from the plane to Miyakojima last December. What luck the shadow was so clear! What do you think?

 We are one step closer to Korea. Gosh, it feels like we've been in this waiting game for ages now. Well, we kind of have. We started thinking about this over a year ago and submitted our very first applications back in November. Maybe at the end of this, I'll have enough information to publish "Moving to Korea for Dummies"!

Late next week, K and I will be going to New York state to check out a long-term boarding facility for our cats. It breaks my heart that we can't bring them with us, but with any luck we'll be able to find a pet-friendly place and have them flown over to us. Anyway, we're making the best of this road trip and checking out Rochester and Niagara Falls while we're in the area. Money is tight right now since we need to save until our departure, so sadly I can't use the trip as an excuse to go shopping. I can, however, play with Polyvore and still get a fashion fix! Here are some of the outfits I came up with for this trip that I would love to buy, if, you know, my wallet was bottomless!
Something else I wanted to bring up today was an article I read earlier (from MSNBC I think) about the average cost of an American woman's daily outfit with accessories. The total was just over $1,500. That seems absolutely crazy to me! I would definitely be above and beyond this number if you counted my wedding ring, but the article didn't count wedding/engagement rings. I did a quick tally of my outfit, generously including my bag and everything in it as the article did, and still came under $240. Am I just incredibly cheap? I wonder where the women polled were from (the Upper East Side?!) and what the average would be for women my age. I'm really curious. Including underwear, clothes, jewelry (except wedding/engagement rings), accessories, bag and contents, is the article's number or my number closer to your daily ensembles?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The calm before the storm....literally

Just under the wire! We snapped these just before a huge thunderstorm rolled in. With the clouds thickening above us, the light was a little tricky, but I think these came out all right.

Other than today's storm, it's been a really nice weekend. It was warm enough on Friday night to go out to the drive-in! I love doing that. We saw the new Robin Hood movie. <3 Russell Crowe!  Do you like going to drive-in theaters?

This is one of my favorite dresses. I styled it back in January with a ruffly cardigan, belt, and beige heels. I think it switched to warm weather fairly easily. And I love the deep neck in front and back, it feels very 50s glam!

Sometimes I think I like taking all these pictures because there are very few pictures of me between the ages of about 10 and 15. I had some major self-esteem issues in those days because my skin was, well, let's just say less than perfect! I remember intentionally avoiding cameras and tended to wear baggier clothing so I wouldn't call attention to myself. I think I'm trying to catch up now for all the photo years I missed out on. I wonder if there are any other fashion bloggers who are like this?

And anyway, it's a good excuse to go to pretty parts of the city.

(Yes, I do all my own stunts! :P)

dress - Urban Outfitters / necklace - JC Penney / sandals - Payless / belt - NY & Co.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


This is possibly my best thrift-store find ever. EVER. Do you feel the gravity of that sentence? I consider myself a pro at thrifting, but I think I've outdone myself here if I do say so myself. Behold, a floral Betsey Johnson sundress, which cost me a whopping...


Like most girly-girls, I love love love Betsey Johnson designs and cheerful prints, but as a girl who is on a pretty tight budget, I could only drool over them in magazines, fancy blogs, and when they popped up on Modcloth once in a while. So imagine my surprise and delight in finding this one at such a low price... and then in my size!! I got it at a new "boutique" thrift shop. Hey, I'm sold on the place.

This makes the grand total of this spring/summer outfit $35. My kind of style!

I kind of feel like this dress was the universe giving me a little break. The day I got it, I was on my way to get an oil change, and was in a really, really bad mood because it was the day the M.A. graduation ceremony was being held. I couldn't get the thought that I should be walking across the stage with my colleagues out of my head, and I was so upset I started crying in the car. Well, I couldn't go to a mechanic like that (I already feel like they try to fleece me even when the prices are posted, maybe 'cause I'm female), so I drove around a little and stumbled upon this thrift store, which had opened only two weeks earlier.

Needless to say, my mood improved greatly after leaving. I also found a great linen dress which I'll share later on.

Hm. Although come to think of it, I still need to get that oil change.

I love going to the local coffee shop, getting iced coffee, and strolling around the historical part of campus. Now that the semester is over, it's especially nice because it's not crowded at all. It's funny, this campus is so different from most other campuses I've been on because it somehow commands respect and quietude. I rarely see trash or anything out of place here, and even when there are dozens of students sitting outside studying, playing frisbee, and walking dogs, it's still remarkably quiet. It's kind of surreal.

dress - Betsey Johnson / hat - Target / sandals - Target

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Oh dear, it's been so long since I last posted. I'm still here, I'm OK, really! The past few weeks have just been super busy, finishing up the semester and fussing with visa documents and whatnot. I've also been a little down, really coming to terms with this being my last semester of school for a while. I'm hoping to take my last two M.A. courses online somehow next spring. I want to finish the Ph.D. as well, but the M.A. is my priority right now because I'm *this* close. It's really been bittersweet finishing this semester. Of course there's the rush of turning in final papers and doing presentations, but also that realization... I've been trying to enjoy it as much as I can since it may well be the last time I have this experience. Even so, it was hard to enjoy having to do a 25-minute presentation on experimental methods of vocabulary retention in the second language, haha! The neat thing is that I got to draft a research proposal as part of the presentation, so if I do go on for the Ph.D., I'll already have the layout of a study to conduct for a conference presentation paper. Someday. きっとできる。

K and I also went to a beautiful beach that we'd never been to before. South Carolina is so amazing in that regard-- there are so many amazing beaches just waiting to be discovered, but there are also great mountain hiking trails in the opposite direction. When we come back from Korea eventually, I really hope we can come back to SC. Anyway, we had a wonderful time, and the water was even warm enough to swim in already! The only unfortunate thing was that we didn't wait long enough for the sunscreen to soak in, so both of us got a little sunburnt on our backs. Ouch! But there are lots of outlet shops in the area, so we indulged in a tiny bit of retail therapy to ease the pain..hehe...

I love the beach!

It's my goal to enjoy my country as much as possible before I leave this summer. We don't have tons of extra money to spend, but I can at least share pictures of some of my favorite places around here on my blog. I know I gush about SC a lot, but it's just so nice! Ok ok, so we have a really high unemployment rate, and a relatively high poverty rate, and most SC drivers seem to have gotten their licenses in Happy Meals, but if you overlook the negatives--just like with any place-- there are plenty of things to love. Like, a month ago the city seemed to be covered in wisteria, which has since disappeared, but now honeysuckle has taken its place. It's already hotter than Hades down here, but it's so nice to step outside and smell honeysuckle in the day, and night-blooming jasmine at night. There is nothing like the scent of summer in South Carolina.

For today I'm enjoying a cup of dark-roast coffee with honey. It's my new favorite treat!! It's especially fun to sip it from our new antique cups and saucers. We've built up quite a hodge-podge of mismatched antique English china now, I just love the effect. Someday I want to decorate part of my house in old English cottage style. What do you think? Do you like coffee with honey?