Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bloggers and Regulations - Go check out ALU

I just read this wonderful write up on how the FTC is regulating bloggers and their free swag, written by Michelle at All Lacquered Up. If you write a blog, or even just read them, it's really an interesting little article. I think Michelle outlines both what is happening as well as her thoughts about what is happening very well.

I remember back in August when Michelle, Steph (Steph's Closet) and I met up in Columbus we talked a lot about this topic, or at least similar topics. For me, this was a completely different side of blogging to what I know. I've never had to deal with the business aspect about writing a blog - I don't have the viewership or the recognition in the blogging world to get press releases, receive swag, get asked to do reviews. I don't have the type of blog that would. I doubt I ever will. But that's not the point...

The point is I know that some of my readers (who may or may not read ALU) have much more established blogs than mine and may be affected by the FTC regulations much more than I am. In case you missed Michelle's post and happen to be reading mine, I figured I'd alert you to the educational material provided there.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bluefly's Blogger Showdown

If you're on Bluefly's email list you probably already got this but I thought they presented an interesting little question: Who Rocked It The Best?

What is "IT"? This thing they're calling "the Boyfriend Vest":

And who are "They"?
No surprise - I didn't know any of these blogs existed. But I do now. And that's really the point, right? At least from the blogger perspective. From Bluefly's perspective, if these lovelies are well read then Bluefly's bound to get more traffic.

I sort of love these mutually beneficial relationships between bloggers and companies. At least I hope they are mutually beneficial.

Anyway, who did you vote for? I like a few of them. I'm more excited about learning about different blogs to read. How fun!

Tokyo - Window Shopping In Ginza

I've been taking my time getting these Japan trip posts out. So much to share, and so little time. Fortunately, this is the last spot I think I saw that might be of interest to you readers:


For those of you who don't know about Ginza, it's basically THE shopping district in Tokyo (from what I know at least). Designer boutiques on every street, mixed in with other more common brands and stores, lots of people and and something for everyone. Far more crowded than the designer street on the way to Dotomburi in Osaka, but not nearly as crowded as Dotomburi itself.

Now the cool thing about Ginza is that because of the heavy street traffic, they seem to shut off some of the streets to cars (at least some of the time). It gave the atmosphere a much more street-fare feel to it than an area like this usually has.

Experience Shopping "Designer" in Ginza
Do you ever feel like you're being judged when you walk through the door of a designer boutique in the States? I always do. I always feel like I don' t belong, especially when I'm wearing just jeans and a t-shirt. It doesn't matter how much cash I have to spend, if I'm not the picture perfect image of what the sales associates expect, then I get that "can I help you?" that you know translates to "What are you doing in my store?" or ignored completely. The opposite was true in Japan. Every store I went into, whether it was an upscale department store, Burberry boutique, or the Mont Blanc store my husband wanted to go in we were greeted with a seemingly genuine smile, and associates rushed to help us even though they knew we were just looking. The snobbery was just not there. I wish the exchange rate had been more favorable - I would have gone on a shopping spree just because the experience was so much better in Japan.

Now the fun stuff...

Anna Sui Makeup in a Shopping Mall in Ginza
(the polishes looked AMAZING)

Some Funky Shoes I Saw

My Husband Enjoying Sapporo in the Oddly Located German Beer Hall in Ginza

Overall, we didn't stay too long in Ginza - Long enough to have a walk up and down the main streets, stop for a snack at a cafe, have some beer in the Sapporo German-style Beer Hall we found (very out of place and strange). I preferred Osaka a bit more, honestly. But at least my husband got his beer.

While I didn't purchase anything in Ginza to bring back with me, my husband did take note of my admiration of Burberry Brit perfume at the Burberry boutique and purchased some duty free on the flight home while I was sleeping. Very thoughtful and sweet of him

Monday, October 26, 2009

Polish - Zoya Raven and Testing the Colorlock System

I realized in all my work-craziness lately I forgot to post this. I had wanted to also test the Zoya Colorlock system again on another Zoya polish. What better test than a test with Black polish? For some reason I always find that Black Polish seems to chip the fastest on me - or rather the chipping is far more noticable. A worthy test!

This picture was taken, I believe, at least 3 days after application. As you can see, I only have some minor tipwear on my index finger, and that is mostly due to my badly peeling index. If you want to wear black, I would definately go with Zoya's system.

Now for Raven...

Color: Zoya's answer to Chanel Black Satin. Identical to Black Satin in every way but price. In the bottle you can see subtle shimmer, but really on the nail it looks like a flat cream.

Formula: Opaque in two coats. Usually pretty smooth. Good Zoya quality as always.

Wear: Honestly, before trying the Zoya Colorlock System with this I would never have said the wear was good on this one. But now that I have, I have to say it's excellent - with the system. Finally, a relatively long wearing black!

The Bottm Line: If you want a black, get Raven. She's pretty!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Quest for My Pretty - Weekly Weight Loss Report

Trend of losing continues! Though not significantly. I do expect it to level out soon. This weekend was full of Conferences (Society for Neuroscience in Chicago) which means dining out and lots of drinking, like most conferences. That will come back to haunt me.

Weight: 191.0 - Like I said, not much of a loss by 0.8 lbs is better than nothing at all.

What I did right this week: Staying hydrated - I think. Or at least not getting as dehydrated as I could have.

What I want to improve on next week: Food. I need to avoid the high fat high sugar. Too much of that recently.

Goals in Progress

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hard Rock Barbie and Other Fun Things in Dotomburi Osaka.

Look what I found at the Hard Rock Cafe Osaka:

My husband dubbed her something like "Goth Punk Skank Ho Barbie" but I sort of love her. If I'd had an extra couple hundred dollars she would be mine. Her price was something like $110000 yen.

The entire time we were in Osaka my husband kept saying to me that we had to go to Dotomburi. Yeah, I had no idea what that meant but apparently he thought I would think it was really cool. We started at the Hard Rock Cafe Osaka (which, by the way, has Hello Kitty Hard Rock exclusive items) and walked to Dotomburi. Here are the pictures of my walk there... you will understand why I was in awe.

You get the idea. Sort of "The Magnificent Mile" but in Osaka. My husband even took me into Tiffany and Co. and purchased me a charm to get me started on a Tiffany charm collection for my travels. It was WONDERFUL!

Now, contrast that with Dotomburi itself:

Obviously, this was the night life I had been missing out on...

The picture doesn't do it justice. On the streets where cars couldn't go... wall to wall people. But if you managed to get a look inside the stores you'd find some very cool accessories:

Rhinestones and beading were very big, let me tell you. It was a lot like Claire's, if Claire's stuff was actually fun and cool. I have a low opinion of Claire's - almost everything I buy from them falls apart immediately. I've worn my clips from Osaka several times now and they're fine.

By the way, did I mention they also had awesome underwear?

Obviously, I was a fan of the plaid set on the right. But wow... 8800 yen? I think that's about $95 now. Way too much. Not that I could fit into any of that.

My husband will kill me for posting this, but I think this picture does an excellent job at describing just how unique this district actually is:

I couldn't stand the crowds for more than about 1/2 hour. But if you get to Osaka, definitely go down to Dotomburi. The Hard Rock is right by the station, then just start walking toward the water. You'll have fun. Try the Okonomiyaki. Avoid the Fugu (if you're scared like me - otherwise tell me how it is when you live).

Friday, October 16, 2009

My Observations - Dressing Trendy in Japan

Sadly, most of my pictures trying to illustrate my observations did not turn out too well so I'm going to try to do my best to describe what I saw as best I can. Regardless of the cities I was in (Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto) there were definite "trends" fashion-wise I saw everywhere I went. Oddly, it was extremely uniform. To me, it seemed like everyone still dressed alike even though they were no longer wearing school uniforms (and yes, the Japanese school girls really do wear the uniforms). However, this fashion "uniform" was very awesome and stylish (and really easy to do).

What I mean to say is, it seemed almost every "trendy" woman I saw was wearing the same elements in their clothing:

  1. Awesome Shoes (specifically Boots) - It's ALL about the shoes. Every girl had a pair of really awesome shoes. Mostly these were "boots. If wearing jeans, the boots were worn on the outside and were knee high. If wearing a skirt, boots could be any height from bootie to thigh high depending on personal tastes. Tights were often used in conjunction with these boots. By the way, the boots were REALLY FRAKKING AWESOME. Not your standard styles.
  2. Layers - Almost always short sleeves were layered over something with longer sleeves. If not, a jacket was worn.
  3. Scarves - Every woman had a scarf. Sometimes two at a time.
  4. Skirts - Now, I mentioned Skirts in conjunction with boots but I have to be clear. Skirts were knee length, or slightly higher than knee length. Not long. Not super short (most of the time)
  5. Tight Jeans with Boots on the Outside - If a skirt was not warn, it was usually passed up in favor of tight jeans with awesome boots worn on the outside of the jean. Most often paired with a sweater and a scarf.
  6. Leggings - Quite often women wore tunic length dresses or skirts with leggings. And of course, very cool boots over the leggings. Sometimes these leggings had decorative rips or lace panels. You've seen this trend I'm sure if you've been watching the department stores or runway shows for this fall.
  7. Fur (0r Faux Fur) Vests - I saw these everywhere. You'll see them in the pictures I'm showing below.
  8. A Pink Cell Phone - No joke. They were almost always pink for girls
Now for some pics - just for fun!

See the boots and the skirts with the layers? Also, I'm very excited about that knit bag...

I believe this was Cynthia Rowley... but notice the fur vests/shrugs. All over the place, I'm telling you!

Fur vests again, though this wasn't nearly as pretty.

Yes, that's "British Punk" as interpreted by a Japanese Woman. Pretty fun, huh?

And my husband pointed this out to me. I'm so glad he did because it was one of the most awesome outfits I saw the entire trip!

That should give you an idea bout the boots I was seeing.

My Great Boot Hunt
I'm disappointed. I found a Liz Lisa pair of boots I liked very much but I couldn't pull them over my calves. They were black suede lace up (though the laces were decorative) and a small ruffle around the knee. My husband suggested we buy them, get different laces that were adjustable, then they'd fit over my calves. But I wasn't about to spend $100 on a pair of boots in from Japan that may or may not last AND have to perform surgery on the boot to get it to fit! Oh well. I at least am still boot hunting!

I wish I knew how to walk in heels the way the women in Japan walked in those heels. Amazing!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Ribbon Cut Dress - Oscar de la Renta

Well this is a little different...

Oscar de la Renta "Tie Dye Ribbon-Cut Dress"
Available at Bergdorf Goodman for $2,490.00

Reminds me of "the Bandage Dress" but not. Hmmm. I was intrigued when I saw this pop up in my email box from BG. What do you think? Think we'll start to see Ribbon-Cut dresses running around all over the place the way Bandage dresses sort of exploded onto the scene in the last few years? This is really just a derivative (thinner bands), but it's kind of cool. Right?

Pretty in Tokyo - Shiba Park Area

In case you're wondering, this is me in a suit. You won't see this too often:

For the first part of my trip, I was on business. I stayed in Tokyo at The Prince Park Tower Hotel in the Shiba district. While there didn't seem to be much going on in this district, it was quite beautiful. I was terrified to venture out of the immediate area for the first few days, so I got quite a good look around my hotel. I thought I would share.

Lets start with an iPhone pic and a view I saw all the time: The view from my hotel room:

That is the Zojo-ji Temple. If you look at the temple's website there's a detailed description. But when I asked what it was for I heard it was the temple for the "First General". Honestly, at the time I was too tired and too disoriented to do much investigation. But on my fourth full day in Japan I did venture out to the grounds to take some pictures...

Gate into the Park

The Main Temple with Tokyo Tower in the Background

I didn't take any pictures inside the temple - there were people worshiping. And while I didn't see anything expressly forbidding pictures, I felt it might be disrespectful so I restrained myself from snapping away. Let me just say the atmosphere was the most peaceful atmosphere I had encountered in many months.

Even the kitties felt at home...

The park entrances had a lot of detailed statues around, such as this guy:

Of course, Shiba also is home to Tokyo Tower. I got to see that quite wonderfully from my hotel room on my return trip to Tokyo:

With a view like that, who needs to pay the sitting fee in the Park Tower Hotel's lounge on the 33rd floor?

The Funny - I had to share my little video I made for my co-workers on the coolness of the Japanese Toilet in my hotel. Now, not all toilets were like this in Japan. But this thing was awesome. It lifted the lid itself, heated it's own seat, had a half flush and a full flush, had a variety of bidet settings, and made a water-rushing noise when you sat down to cover up the noises you yourself were making. Apparently that's a common function. As my husband put it: Japanese Women don't "tinkle". They just cover it it up with a tinkling noise made by the toilet.

Holy Pink Pagoda! (Literally... my visit in Kyoto)

Actually, I don't own "Holy Pink Pagoda" by OPI but it sure came to mind when I was at the Kiyomizu temple complex in Kyoto last week. At least I think that was the name of the complex. I saw a LOT of temples in Kyoto. This particular complex was pretty fun because there were two big buildings, and a bunch of little shrines. The shrines mostly seemed to be dedicated to Love and Marriage, so my husband and I rubbed a bronze Buddah belly and purchased a couple of temple charms like the tourists we were. It was a LOT of fun - and a lot of stairs.

My favorite Temple was the Ginkakuji Temple, otherwise known as the "Silver Temple". Now, from my understanding it was supposed to have silver put all over it but never got it's gleaming veneer. Here it is from the mountain walk behind the temple complex:

Yes, the Silver Temple is as serene as it looks. Beautiful.

Now, it's called the Silver Temple because of it's sister temple The Golden Temple:

Easy to take pictures that look like Post Cards at this temple. My husband thought this would be my favorite but it was much too busy to be my favorite. In fact, we were sort of ambushed by a group of Japanese School Girls who we think were doing a project for their English class. They asked us a ton of questions, so it was either a class or they were running a mini scam of some sort...

The Golden Temple is worth seeing - and I wouldn't have believed it was made out of gold if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

We also went to a touristy show in Gion Square. The show was rather silly and forgettable but the tea ceremony instruction afterward was a lot of fun. I was, however, deficent at making tea. Take a look at my green tea (top) vs. my husband's frothy green tea goodness (bottom):

Overall, I would definitely go to Kyoto again. If you go, invest in a bus pass. It will be your best friend. Also, a LOT of deodorant and take plenty of tissues because you'll be using the nastiest bathrooms at some of those temples. I was not made for squat toilets.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Quest for My Pretty - Weekly Weight Loss Report

So I have been in Japan for the last 10 days. I haven't been worried about diet, though everything tended to be Japanese (which isn't THAT unhealthy, even when it's tempura) so it was great for my weight!

More on Japan to come... I have a LOT to share

Weight: 191.8 - must have been all the walking in Kyoto

What I did right this week: Walking in Kyoto. Lots of up and down. Lots of stairs. Lots and lots of sweating.

What I want to improve on next week: Keeping the exercise habit going. :)

Goals in Progress