Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Eureka! Eureka! Eureka! in Taipei

I'm still working on getting my outfit-making mojo back. It's getting warmer in Taipei (finally!) and all I've wanted to do is wear t-shirt dresses and avoid thinking about another muggy, hot summer. In the meantime, I want to share one of my favorite Taipei-based fashion blogs, which is run by the owner of Eureka! Eureka! Eureka!, a cool boutique in Taipei.

The woman in all these photos is Sandy Wu, who opened Eureka! Eureka! Eureka! in her mid-twenties. I interviewed her a few months ago. She's very soft-spoken, a definite contrast to her outfits. I love her sense of color, proportion and fun. Also, her store recently started carrying those Les Queues de Sardines tights you've probably recently seen on a few fashion blogs and the only thing that is stopping me from running over and grabbing a pair is that we have an insane cat who is good at sensing when things are expensive and delicate. He caught him gnawing a pair of socks I'd knit the other day. Bad cat!

I'll be using Sandy's blog as inspiration for my own summer outfit planning. There's a definite art in dressing for weather that's extremely humid. I'm a big fan of just pulling on a sundress, but I realized while going through my wardrobe the other day that I don't actually own that many sundresses. I want to invest in more separates so I have some more variety, but I'm also not great at mixing and matching! Sigh. Anyway, for those of you who are looking forward (or not) to very hot summers, what are your wardrobe survival tips?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Socks of nostalgia for my husband

Zitron Trekking XXL sock

he 10 days or so have not been very style-oriented ones for me, as you can probably tell by my lack of outfit posts. I had a doctor's appointment to check up on a chronic condition I have and got so wound up over it that I couldn't think of anything else. Fortunately, it turned out okay, but then Taipei's weather decided to become incredibly insolent, with temperatures zig-zagging all over the place and the rain and sun duking it out for dominance. On the chilly days, I've just pulled on the comfiest things I have (mostly polo dresses from American Apparel, leggings and various sweater coats). On the warm days, I've worn the same few sundresses I've owned for the past couple of years, which reminds me... I need to buy more summer clothes! Oh, I hate shopping for summer clothes. But that's another post.

When I was stressed out about my doctor's appointment, I started knitting in a frenzy. I finished a pair of socks that I'd started two years ago (my excuse is that I fell out of love with the yarn midway through the first sock). When those were done, I pulled out this ball of Zitron Trekking XXL from my stash:

Zitron Trekking XXL

I call it my nostalgic sock yarn because I bought it three years ago from Downtown Yarns in New York City, my favorite yarn shop when I was still living in the States. Casting it on reminds me of the trips I used to make there, ostensibly just to take a peek and fondle some fiber, though I more often than not returned home with at least a skein of Koigu or a ball of handpainted laceweight yarn tucked guiltily in my purse. If I had known how intensely one little skein could bring me back to a place I miss... I'd have bought even more yarn! As I knit, I thought of the trips I took to Alphabet City (where Downtown Yarns is located), strolling through the East Village on my way and then sometimes wandering into the Lower East Side to window shop or gorge myself at Economy Candy (I once bought and ate so much halvah that I can no longer stand the stuff!). At that point, Ron and I were in a long distance relationship (we spent 18 months on opposite sides of the planet), so I had plenty of time to walk around by myself on weekends. It wasn't easy being apart, but I can't say that I didn't enjoy my solitary rambles through the city.

Zitron Trekking XXL sock

My husband's favorite color is orange, which I'm usually not very fond of. For some reason, I really, really dislike transparent orange things. I remember looking up at some stained glass with glowing orange diamonds inset into the design when I was about seven years old and just wanting to dry heave. Yes, I know, that is totally weird. My husband, on the other hand, loves flaming orange things. As a compromise, I found this tweedy yarn and I actually love working with it. If Ron ever wants a neon orange sweater/scarf/socks, however, he'll just have to learn how to knit himself!

I'm working on getting my dressing-up mojo back. Over the past few days of knitting, it occurred to me that styling an outfit is very much like starting a craft project. You have to think of the textures, colors, materials and (if it's something for yourself) whether or not it will suit you and how the final product will make you feel when you wear it or see it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Vermont Country Store

A few weeks ago, the wooden iPhone cases from Brook Farm General Store started showing up all over the blogosphere. The first thing that popped into my head when I saw "general store," however, was Vermont Country Store. I've never been to their stores/restaurant (in Vermont, of course), but I was a huge fan of their catalog back when I still lived in New York. Every few months it'd arrive and I'd pore over the color illustrations and all the quirky, nostalgic items they had for sale, from Black Jack chewing gum to something called Tired Old Ass Soak.

I wish I'd brought a few catalogs to Taipei with me, but their Web site is almost as great. Some of my current favorites include...

... swimsuits with a vintage flair (click on the picture for a link to the purchase page)...

...a really cute playsuit that looks retro and modern at the same time, thanks to its geometric print...

... this awesomely kitschy swimcap...

... a peacock chenille bedspread that looks straight out of a 1950s bedroom...

... reproduction Moser glass, including this Hen in a Basket dish and Depression glass mixing bowls, both made from original molds...

... the same toys your parents (or grandparents) played with, including this amazing ballerina top and tin kaleidoscope...

... cosmetics and toiletries you've only seen in vintage magazines before, including Tangee lipstick, Evening in Paris perfume and Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific shampoo...

... cute support sandals that have a 1940s/1950s flair...

... sweater clips...

... reproduction 1949 Big Ben alarm clocks (I own an original ivory one that I bought from an estate sale for $5. It still works)...

... and best of all, the indestructible Singer sewing machine of my dreams.

I really regret not making a trip to the Vermont Country Store while I was still living in New York City. I mean, I was busy with work and short on funds and everything, but it would have been worth it... there are counters of fudge! FUDGE! If you live on the East Coast, don't make the same mistake I did! For more about the history of the store, click here.

Monday, April 5, 2010

What I'm Sproutin': Bunny Malone

The Renegade Bean: Bunny Malone
Cardigan: American Apparel, bunny t-shirt: Mono+ in Singapore, skirt: American Apparel, tights: Night market, shoes: Green Pine @ Shin Kong Mitsukoshi (新光三越), vintage sweater clips: Night market, red coral necklace: self-made
Behold, my bunny tee, just in time for Easter! I bought it during my trip in Singapore from Mono+ on Haji Lane. My second favorite thing about this outfit is that my skirt and tights are the exact same color, despite being bought at two different stores in two different countries on two different continents. As you can imagine, this gave me many hours of amusement and glee.

Here's a close-up of the bunnies:


Speaking of furry creatures, here is my cat rejecting my lovin':



Boohoohoo, Taroko George

Taroko George doesn't actually hate me. He just hates being held. In fact, he's cuddled up on my stomach right now, looking very dashing in his new argyle collar (his days of running around naked are over!).