Monthly Archives: January 2012

Snake Oil


Lured by these exotic names, I explored the wild world of etailers and perfume oils.
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, or BPAL, is a purveyor of perfume oils, concentrated bottles of pure scent goodness. They offer numerous general catalog and limited edition scents, in full bottles as well as samples, affectionately known as Imp’s Ears.
Imp's Ear
BPAL has a strong cult following. Born from enthusiasts, a loving community at was formed. Aside from the thousands of reviews, there’s a wonderful Swaps section. It was from Swaps that I was able to sample over a hundred BPAL scents.
sniff sniff
Unfortunately, after the samplings, I realize that I don’t actually enjoy many flavors of BPAL. However, I simply adore the BPAL community. The folks at are among the friendliest I know. I think the Pay It Forward section exemplifies the attitude most forumites have: “you don’t pay love back; you pay it forward.” If you have the blues, chances are someone will offer to cheer you up with some sweet treats or Imp’s Ears.
Pay Love Forward
I’m glad BPAL has led me to such a wonderful community. It ranks high as one of my favorite things.

I got a new pair of glasses today!
It’s my first pair of plastic frames. I’ve always had metal framed glasses, and had metal semi-rimless for a really long time. Now, It’s a new year; I’m switching it up.

I went to the optometrist six months ago to update my prescription. I needed a new pair of glasses but was super hesitant to shell out $150 for one.
A friend recommended Zenni Optical, an online store for prescription glasses. Initially, I was super excited because they had cheap glasses. $7 could land you a frame with lens! I bought three pairs for about $50, just to try different styles.

Zenni Optical glasses were terrible! I had imagined the glasses would be low quality given their price, but these were worse than I’d thought! Not only did they fit awkwardly, but also their anti-glare coating reflected weird colors. One pair even seemed to have the wrong prescription! I couldn’t focus my eyes at all when wearing that pair. It was super strong and gave me headaches!
I was about to give up online ordering when I saw a promotion at Coastal: FIRST PAIR FREE! I took up the offer. I spent a long time deliberating which frame to get. Googling advice sites were once again unhelpful. I could not distinguish the different face shapes. It seemed everyone had an oval face.
everyone has ovals!
After many hours perusing the site, I finally decided on Vera Wang 194 Auburn for my “oval” face.
vera wang 194
It was one of the few that had reviews.
It came in the mail today and looked spiffy. The lady adjusting my frame at Lenscrafters even complimented on their shape!

I decided to return my pairs from Zenni Optical. They only do 50% refund, and only if you return within 30 days. Buyer beware!
No Zenni Yes Coastal

I love with my new pair of glasses.

*I am not paid to endorse anyone

We hit a low 11F today, and none of my extremities were pleased.

When I ventured outdoors, the warm embrace of my purple guardian sheltered me from the bitter cold. It’s an old friend, acquainted around the time I met the Eastland oxfords.
Sadly, unlike the oxfords, it bears a long lost brand and is the last of its kind.
Northern Glades
My beloved coat has all the marks of an intimate companion, not unlike the scrapes of a well-hugged teddy bear. Its faded purple hints of food court spills, epic outings, and too many cycles in the laundry. Its lonely button hole suggests happy times roughhousing with friends.
I nicknamed it Nana, after the pink Ice Climber, and dreamt that when I got a significant other, he would wear a Popo to match. Nana became very heavily associated with me, and I could trick my friends by having another don this purple glory.
Unfortunately, Nana is at the end of its life.

Its trimmings shed like sand falling through an hourglass, counting down its days.
I shall be awfully sore the day I retire this old friend.

Tear Tear
For now at least, I shall enjoy its warm company.
luv luv

Tangerine is the new black, but so much sweeter.

I broke out of my all black wardrobe several years back, after realizing I looked like a makeup counter assistant (nothing against that, but I felt funny since I don’t wear much makeup).
Nowadays, I’ve been wandering from color to color.

When a tangerine sweater dress blazed from a sea of clothes at Marshalls, I just couldn’t help myself.
Maybe it’s my contrary nature, but I love to go against the grain. The weather is miserably dreary and bleak right now and so perfect to wear this bright sweater dress. I want to add a little cheer to the winter gloom, like how in the mornings, the tangy orange juice wakes you with a POW!
so sour!
As much as I enjoy wearing it now, I didn’t always love this garment. In fact, I had a huge dose of buyer’s remorse right after its purchase. This sweater dress wasn’t just loud, it was near deafening. People could spot this miles away like evacuees to emergency exit lights. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to attract that much attention. It was also super oversized on me. The belt was way too large and landed nowhere near my waist. While I loved the color, it wasn’t terribly flattering on my skin tone. On me, it didn’t look nearly as well as lovely as on the Nordstrom model.
so pretty on the model
I debated with myself for days. Conventional wisdom advised me to return this sweater dress at once.
The fit was all wrong!
The color washed me out!
oof D:
While it was really difficult to argue against conventional wisdom, the boldness of the color inspired me. I decided I wore the sweater dress; it didn’t wear me. If I got lost under this oversized piece of clothing, I’d exude more personality. If I appeared sallow, I’d let the world know I’m as bright as the color of this dress.


Orange you glad I’m so zesty?

It’s now winter and it’s cold.
Most of my winter wear didn’t survive the last purge.
I was down to one last thick hoodie.
Armed with a recently acquired gift card, I stormed into Marshalls with determination to find one suitable sweater. This wasn’t my first trip. However, I resolved to not fail.
I dreaded clothes shopping. I loved to browse but after hours in a store, I’d find nothing that fits. On the smaller end of the spectrum, I found most items look like ponchos on me.
poncho D:
After browsing isles after isles, a sweater stood out among the racks.
pretty sweater
It had a lovely ribbed cowl and very loose fit. I’m not a fan of swimming in my garments, but I was quite taken by the color, a beautiful teal.

It reminded me of a dress I had purchased a long time ago. The dress was in a gorgeous turquoise. Even my internal cotton police could not prevent me from purchasing this 100% rayon garment.
pretty dress
Unfortunately, I never wore the dress. It was super thin and super short, a combination very apt to expose oneself. I still loved the color and scoured for clothes with similar hue.

I bought the sweater.
Even though the sweater’s teal could not match the dress’ turquoise and dismayed the cotton police with 41% acrylic, I liked it. I even liked the Dolman sleeves.
hmm toasty
It’s warm and toasty.

*According to Google and Boscov’s, this sweater is known as Chaus Fashion Force Ribbed Trim Boxy Sweater in Waterfall

I find most fashion advice from Google searches dubious.
Different websites give different, and sometimes conflicting advice.ahh!
Though, back before I was a youngin’, I headed their every word.

According to the blog universe, my body shape was straight or rectangular (though I was never sure since people in the photos looked the same shape to me). I wanted to look more of the hourglass figure, hailed as the figure all clothes flattered, and bought clothes based on their advice. Unfortunately, by the power of sites combined, I became instead a frumpy monster.
However, one piece of advice led me to find one of my favorite things: Express Ruffled, Sweetheart Neckline Dress

One day, I came across an article that said sweetheart necklines would look good on me. Immediately, I sprang to sites in search of clothing with sweetheart necklines. By happenstance, a dress with sweetheart neckline was in vogue at Express.
It was perfect. It had the blog advised sweetheart neckline, optional straps that assuaged my fear of strapless dresses falling and exposing me, and 100% cotton quality that pleased sensibilities of my material conscious grandma whom I respected very much on this issue. It was also on sale and going hot.

I bought it in size small.
Size small fit wonderfully. I received more compliments than I’d dreamed of. Everything was perfect, except around the sides where it was a tiny bit large!
Darn it!
That tiny bit of loose fabric catalyzed years of compulsive hunt for the same dress in size extra small.  I crawled Ebay every month, for years, hoping someone would list my desired dress. I saw many dresses of similar design and fabric, but atlas couldn’t bring myself to replace the one I lusted after.

Then, about two months ago, I spotted it on Ebay. Express Ruffled, Sweetheart Neckline Dress in XS. A lovely lady was passing this treasure to a better home. I wasn’t letting this out of my grasp. I placed a reasonable bid very early to stake my claim. However, with each passing day, I became increasingly fearful of bid snippers. On the night the auction ended, I was pulsing with adrenaline. To me, it seemed like hundreds of other lurkers were watching this dress, waiting to rip it from my clutches. Within last five seconds, I entered an extremely high bid to better my chances, far beyond what I could afford. I was now afraid of bid snippers for another reason! Not good!!!!
Time ticked to zero.
I won the dress. There were no bid snipers.

This is definitely a one in a million [advice] dress.