Sukiyaki

by Valerie on Tuesday, May 1, 2012

“The way to remember how to say ‘you’re welcome’ in Japanese” Kaoru san says, “is ‘don’t touch my moustache.'” After Hope admits she’s taken to Asian men, Kaoru san says, “you riiiike tofuuu?” She says to me, “we are soul mates,” and I believe every word.

We are talking about boys and, “how obvious is that guy from security? He keeps passing by your counter. You know that guy is checking you out?”

“What guy? It’s his job to make rounds,” I say

“That’s what I thought, but you were on one side and he was staring at you while you were helping the customers and then you went to the other side, I dunno, I think to get the merchandise or something and he went out of his way to get to the other side too. And then you went back, and he went back too.”

“Who is this guy? Do I know him?”

“He’s a handsome guy, tall, kinda dark complexion.”

“You mean the guy with the huge Hispanic butt?”

Kaoru san says she was married for 20 years, but now they are separated because you can’t domesticate a Latino. I ask her what’s her type of guy and is she looking for someone new? She says, no she’s not looking. “I’m too old to start over again.”

I say, “you’re never too old for love. I guess it’s just a matter of finding it.”

She talks of her dog, “my Hanachan, gives me enough love… But I like an intelligent man. Maybe one with a heart of gold.”

I tell her, “oh, that sounds like just my type, too,” and think about playing something from Neil Young.

I’m changing the c.d. for our counter music. I ask her does she prefer to listen to anything else in particular and she says, “anything is fine with me, except rap… I don’t really care much for rap.”

I say, “not all rap is bad, yea know. Like Outkast is pretty alright.”

And Kaoru san, this kind little Japanese lady says in the tiniest most agreeable tone of voice, “oh yeah, some is okay… I just don’t like the one’s that are like, ‘da booteh’ and ‘da bitches.'”

“word.”

Theme Day: Chen Man

by Valerie on Monday, April 9, 2012

chenman1

Spring has sprung and newness is trickling in.

special packaging
The collection, a collaboration between MAC and Chinese fashion photographer Chen Man, was inspired by love and water — two things essential to life. The not-so-essential: pretty packaging.

love and water
Mineralize duo eyeshadows were baked to form the yin and yang symbol — a neat detail. But I swear by Force of Love lipstick and fluid line gel liner in Waveline.

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I was able to salvage these collars from old uniform blazers. Add little Chinese ball buttons to make it more cohesive to our theme and they are the sex!

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face chart

Also, completely off subject, but over the weekend my mom played this song while riding in her car. She’s so groovy!

Hey, Been Tryin’ to Meet You

by Valerie on Monday, March 26, 2012

Two years ago, I started this blog as a supplement to my Etsy store. I had just completed Dressmaking and Design courses and that itch to create something new everyday was more like an infectious disease that overtook my entire being, 28 days later style. Flash forward to the now–where a second job, relationships and the general “I’ve been busy lazy” has become the bane of my existence. Every once in a while I’d post a few random entries, but never really picked up the momentum of my initial attempt. Sad puppy.

I’m a huge advocate of personal blogs. It’s a neat way to stay tuned into what’s been going on with friends and family, especially when there’s so much distance between us and everyone is just so goddamned busy.

Whenever Tina and I go on break and enjoy a plate of pasta together, we always touch on how important it is to live passionately, but how lately what we’ve become is just a couple of couch potatoes. Well, now that I’ve switched from working graveyard to regular day/night shifts, I feel like I’ve regained some sort of homeostasis and I’m ready to hug the world again. And last week, Tina cleared out her old room and started painting again–she just completed two orchid still lifes (one in watercolor and one in acrylic) to get the hang of working with different mediums again. As it turns out, the only mediums we’ve gotten accustomed to working with these days is makeup on other people’s faces.

What I really want to make more than anything is connections, or even making missed connections would be enough. I want to draw and salvage old dresses and read stories before bedtime without feeling the heavy pull like blinds over my eyelids. Talk about accessories and the last pair of shoes I popped a boner for. And do some yoga with my girls under the sun until we’re all NC 42. And sip on some margarita’s along the shoreline while Roni teaches us how to shake our hips the Tahitian way.

I want to write about nothing at all, which is to say, everything. And appreciate terribly mundane incidents. Stuff that we often overlook when at the end of the day, it’s really what makes living that much more bearable. Like when my dude smiles and takes a mental picture with his eyes. Or that one time when I handed her her change, for 3 seconds our fingers touched and it was electric. Or how I wish more people would hug me the way you did before boarding the plane that morning. Like I existed and you knew I was there. I mean, you hug Marcus Aurelius like that and even his cheese would melt.

All that good stuff, if I understand correctly, is what Amy Hempel calls connective tissue. The space that looks empty initially, but adds up to form something complete when seen from afar. In an interview with The Paris Review she says, “If used honestly and not as a gimmick, these spaces can signify the way the mind really works, noting moments and assembling them in such a way that a kind of logic or pattern comes forward, until the accretion of moments forms a whole experience, observation, state of being.”

Monday Bloody Monday

by Valerie on Monday, February 6, 2012

“Girls are complicated beings” Francis says. “But with you sometimes it’s scientific–like clockwork. Like when you get emotional, I already know why.”

I like this song.

Weekend in Hong Kong

by Valerie on Tuesday, May 17, 2011

airplane ride survival kit
Travel checklist: miniature sized shampoo and conditioner, lotion, hand cream, 3 step face cleansing/serum/moisturizer routine jammed into plastic sampling containers, sunscreen, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, deodorant, 4 changes of clothes and underwear including a set of pajamas, 1 pair nude skimmers, 1 pair black leather boots, a light read for the 7 hour plane ride, passport, itinerary, sense of adventure. And exciting times.

The Peak
Three things about Hong Kong: Originally colonized by the British, its official languages are Chinese (spoken Cantonese) and English. It’s the most densely populated city in world. If it is your first time visiting, you might want to book your trip for longer than a weekend.

peaces
Ralph Lauren shirt (from Francis’s closet), UO bag, Jeans from outlet mall, Dolce Vita boots
We stayed at the Imperial Hotel on Nathan road just next door to Chungking Mansion. This is where Chungking Express was filmed. Now all I need is my sunglasses, Burberry trench and a Marilyn Monroe wig and it would be enough to say, “eat your heart out, Faye Wong.”

If you are a born and bread island person, there will be a lot of firsts for you.

metro
Things like commuting via metro

welcome to Disneyland
coming out to play in Disneyland

live theater
The live theater show, I enjoyed most of course

view from cable car
riding a crystal cable car suspended 112 feet high

wataaah
goofing around the Avenue of Stars, wataaah!

and action
vintage sweater, Korean boutique pleated skirt

zen master
meditating in sacred places

temple
I am like totally zen

time travel...not
Neneee romper
and generally experiencing the hustle and bustle energy of a big city.

the actress
City people weren’t always as curteous as the island peeps I am so accustomed to, but you have to hand it to them for keeping it real. “You no buying, no take pikchar. I am not actress,” said the starlet above.

night market

fisherman's village
One thing I was super looking forward to was shopping at H&M, but it was pretty much a let down. Over rated and not so different from shopping at Macy’s or any other commercial department store on Guam, even shopping at Disneyland was way more exciting. The provincial markets on Temple street, Tsim Sha Tsui and fisherman’s village yielded the best novelty prezzies to take home.

prezzies
Bruce Lee tee, various types of Chinese teas: jasmine, pu erh, lychee, ti kuan yin, white and orchid, Little Prince marshmallows–if only for the packaging, Mickey Mouse chocolates, classic Mickey tee (which would look even better after a one billion washes), MMJ make-up bag, remote control helicopter, lots of black workwear, cheap clothes, expensive shoes
“Bring two empty luggages and a lot of money.” That’s what Mieko said when I told her I was going. It’s a good thing I kept it in mind and also stuffed an extra duffel bag into the front pocket of our check-in baggage.

eat your vegetables
Eat your vegetables!

beer and chaser
If there’s such a thing as buyer’s remorse, even worse is the antithetical nonbuyer’s remorse. I’ll forever regret not buying those miniature wind-up dancing robots and funny splatballs from the old man with no voice and kind eyes at the Tsim Sha Tsui market. Our intuition is good; the problem is we ignore it. I need to learn how to be more implulsive. Like when we decided to have 3 dollar 32 ouncers (amazing!) literally smack dab in the middle of the street. Those were really nice served with poached snail thingamagiggies in a dark chili sauce. I forget what the dish is called, but if anyone knows, please please please drop a line.

Last week I finally scavenged eBay only to find those little dancing robots and splatballs I so wanted but tried to convince myself I didn’t need. I bought them anyway. So I don’t need them per se. So what? They are just cool things to have around. Like in case of emergency, break glass and play with these, they’re fun! And since they are being shipped from Hong Kong, I imagine they are coming from that same kind old man in that same crowded old market.

shagadellic baby yeah

double decker
A final note on commuting in Hong Kong: drivers are either suicidal or insane. Or both. Every time we decide to hop in the back of a cab or bus, I find myself hanging on for dear life. All the while The Smiths are playing There is a Light That Never Goes Out” in the back of my head. That song could pretty much sum up the entire duration of our stay.

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