Thursday, December 31, 2015

My 2015

I wasn't intending to do a post like this. Partially because it's doesn't really feel like the year is ending to me for some reason and partially because I've never done one in the past (so there's no precedent or pressure). I didn't know what I would write about. But the more I thought about it, the more ideas I came up with lol. I had so many different small ideas before going to sleep two nights ago. This is going to be a little bit more of a "raw" post which really just translates to "rambling" lol. Instead of being one of my posts that I take a couple days or weeks to plan and polish before publishing, I'm just going to write and see where this goes. (Maybe next year I'll look back on this and be like, "no you definitely need to draft this a few weeks a head of time and then trim the fat" lol.)

Favorite purchases
These are my favorite purchases of 2015 in no particular order -
Row 1: I have to say, without a doubt that I totally love the wagon skirt lol. I liked it immediately when I saw it and have no regrets about buying it at full price. It's so girly and sweet. The March 2015 Yui Kanno collab OP and the riders faux leather jacket were both purchased during my spring Japan trip. I had to get rid of my old faux leather jacket and needed a replacement specifically for the trip and luckily Liz Lisa had one that fit the bill. Liking the YK OP was a complete surprise to me and I had not intended to purchase it but it makes the list because it turns out that I adore the fit and the cut and I'm glad I just flippantly bought it so I could meet the novelty minimum wtf lol.
Row 2: I missed picking up the off shoulder blouse during the spring as well but my brother's gf bought it and the more I saw it on her and on shop staff, the more I realized I made a huge mistake by passing on it and purchased it as soon as it went on sale on TKL with no hesitation. I love off shoulder necklines and I love pairing this blouse with my Liz Lisa bottoms. The bow back shorts were purchased secondhand from Yahoo Auctions via Buyee. I didn't realize how much I wanted them until seeing them on Rei when we did a photoshoot together in April. I was lucky to find them just a short while after that and nab them for myself! The floral ribbon OP in bordeaux is another item that I fell in love with as soon as I saw it. I loved the color that screamed autumn but also the silhouette is just great for me as well. This was another full retail purchase but I definitely didn't want to miss getting it in my #1 color choice although all color options for this OP were quite nice imo.
Row 3: I was so, so, so happy to get all three spring ribbon pumps! I had to go a non-traditional route and use an SS and Shoppies with Claire's help, but I got them all and for significantly under the retail price each. I don't wear them often but I adore the style and colors. The rose quilted purse is another secondhand item from Yahoo Auctions via Buyee. I have the exact same purse that I purchased back in 2012 but it's falling apart and this one is practically new! I am so, so happy to have a replacement because it's my favorite purse to use when traveling. I can't believe my luck. The pom pom pumps were a recent purchase but I am excited to finally have a simple white Liz Lisa pump. But the reason these make the list is that the fit is fantastic. And they were pretty comfortable to wear during the trip as well.
Row 4: This Samantha Thavasa purse and charm. Do I have to say more? I love the shape, size, color and material. I was desperate to find something to buy during my summer Japan trip that wasn't from Liz Lisa and this set up from Cecil McBee is perfect. I've already worn it about 4 separate times lol. It's great for parties/events. Ugh, god, I am absolutely head-over-heels in love with this One Spo set even though I will never wear it in Hawaii and honestly don't know where I will ever wear it again. But I just think it's so cute + the top is really soft and the skirt is quite sturdy. I also like the colors! I'm glad I at least got to wear it once during the trip and I wouldn't mind if I never wore it again wtf.
Most of them are from Liz Lisa because that's just what I've been spending my money on recently (this past year) lol. When I really think about it, I do rarely spend "frivolously" (as in not gas, food, etc) on things except for Liz Lisa items, so it makes sense that most of my favorite purchases are from there lol. No complaints tho.

Favorite outfits
I started documenting my OOTDs a bit better this year because I decided to start using Instagram (@_emiii_chan). And I also started sharing them here on this blog in a new "series" of OOTD compilation posts. Here are my favorite outfits (that I have photos of) for 2015 in no particular order:
(click to enlarge)
Initially I just wanted to pick 9, but I just couldn't narrow it down. And I wore like 365 different outfits this year, so just having 12 favorites is still a pretty small number in comparison lol. These aren't necessarily the most "popular" and these might not be the best pictures of them (wtf sorry sometimes they just look better in person or my hair could be better), but they're the ones that I really like. Some are more "fashion" or "flashy" than others but what makes an outfit great to me is how I feel in it. For example, the black peplum top and skinny pants probably stick out a bit like a sore thumb among the pastels, but I feel amazing and confident while wearing it lol. I feel amazing wearing many of these other outfits as well, but maybe it's just because I think the clothes are cute (and by association I'm cute as well :P). Honestly, at times it can be like the clothes are wearing me instead of me wearing the clothes. I'm glad that there's 3 majority non-Liz Lisa outfits in the bunch. As much as I love Liz Lisa, I know that at some level, the clothes and outfits can seem a little monotonous depending on how it's put together, and my style and wardrobe is so much more than just one brand.
Overall, I'm happy with these and pretty much all of the outfits I've shared throughout 2015. There are many, many more that I absolutely adore, but after looking through what I've posted, these are the ones that stood out to me the most for me.
Side note: This OOTD post of me in my red heart dress is probably the most "popular" of my outfits of 2015 (based on Tumblr notes and IG likes), and I do enjoy it as well but since I've had the dress for a while, it doesn't feel all that special to me in particular. I have to say, the fit is spectacular though and that's one of the things I love about it.

Japan trips
I've been so fortunate to have been able to travel to Japan not just once but three times this year!
This is mostly in part to the reasonably cheap airfare that we were able to get. And partially just because I've unintentionally caught a small Japan-specific travel bug. I've probably mentioned this on the blog before, but I'm generally not a travel person. I don't enjoy living out of a suitcase. I don't like going to airports and I don't enjoy riding on planes. I don't like being in places that I'm unfamiliar and uncomfortable with and I don't like that I'm only spending money and not earning money while I'm doing it. That last one probably seems kind hungry or greedy, but it's just the kind of person I am, I guess? When I did the study abroad for 6 weeks in the summer of 2012, it felt so weird to just be constantly spending and spending (while studying ofc lol) but not working and earning any money back. I strongly believe in only spending within my means, and while I was, I don't like to let my means deplete so much if I can help it lol.
Anyway, in the past year, I've learned to "let go" a little bit with the money I've saved and carefully budgeted and embraced the advice from people who keep telling me, "You're young, you should travel now while you have the chance" (i.e. before you have "real" bills like a mortgage or have a child, etc.). They probably didn't mean go to Japan 3x, but that's where my current interests lie and where I currently enjoy traveling the most. Each of my three trips this year were different in their own way and each incredibly worthwhile and fun.
In March, I was able to visit Japan during the spring. I hadn't visited during that season since I first went in 7th grade, but obviously my experience was very different over 10 years later lol. I got to try out some new things like attending a Liz Lisa event(!), visiting an owl café, picking strawberries and also finally met Berri in person!! Even if it was only for like 1.5 hours and I made her rush everywhere lol. I really enjoyed dressing for the weather and although we weren't there during the peak of sakura bloom, we were still able to catch a few buds.
In August, S and I went to Japan just by ourselves for the first time. (Actually was that the first time we travelled just the two of us in general? Lol.) This was as trip that we planned completely on a whim, simply just because the plane fares were too cheap to pass up and probably because we were still coming off the high of visiting in March wtf. We were both able to do a lot of shopping that we wanted to do which was really our main focus. I visited 13 different Liz Lisa locations (some more than once), and S visited just about as many fishing stores (also some more than once) lol. I also insisted that we try at least one new "big" thing during our stay which was a day trip to Sendai! We visited during the Tanabata Festival and it was a great experience. We also had a lot of fun catching the shinkansen everywhere once we figured out how to use our rail passes to the fullest extent.
Just about a month back in November, I finally got a chance to explore Japan during autumn! Instead of going with my family or S, I went with my friend from my freshman year of college. The trip was her idea and we had actually first started planning it back in December of last year. I had a lot of fun planning and researching to try to make the most of the 7 days we had there. Japan is absolutely beautiful in late November during koyo season, and the weather is great! Because it was Christa's first time in Japan and she has different interests than my family/S, I got to do a lot of different things that I had never done before including going to DisneySea, getting my hair cut and colored at a salon while in Japan and checking out the Ghibli Museum! We also did a lot of season specific things like viewing (Christmas) illuminations in Rikugien Garden and Yebisu Garden Place and eating momiji tempura!
If you had told me in 2014 that I would be taking three trips to Japan in 2015, I would not have believed you. It seems totally ridiculous! And yeah, maybe it is. But honestly, I wouldn't have gone in August if it weren't for the plane fares dropping to just $541/person roundtrip! How could we pass that up? Since I'm pretty careful with my budgeting when I know I want to take a trip, I was able to manage it all financially by cutting back in other spending when I needed to. I can't imagine what my bank account would look like if I hadn't gone on at least one of those trips, but each experience was amazing in its own way, and I don't think I would go back and do it differently.

I've really come to love blogging and sharing things with the internet. I still have a little bit of a censor up when it comes to some things that are more personal and I don't think are relevant to the content I do want to share, but for the topics that I am open about, I really enjoy being candid and honest in my writing and spending time on it. I think I've really developed a good structure for some of my "regular" posts like TKL orders and what has now become annual fukubukuro posts. Looking back at some of my first posts on this blog, I realized I have come a long way lol - which is good.
I was able to more or less keep up with my personal quota of 4 posts a month/about one a week. Every month except November actually had at least 5. And actually I was purposefully kind of only posting 1 a week for the month of November because I wasn't sure how long it would take me to churn out my trip posts once I came back in December and I didn't want there to be too long of a lull so I needed a few as back up. I did have two or three more posts ready to be published in November but I forgot to post one while I was on the trip (last week of November) and then just immediately started with the trip posts as soon as I got back in December lol. That explanation was probably unnecessary, but I now typically have at least one or two posts in draft form ready to be published during any slow times that aren't time sensitive just in case. Since many of my posts rely on shopping/spending money, I don't always have something for 4 different posts a month lol and I may need other content as back up. As such, I've been trying to branch out and write about slightly different topics recently! Some are a bit more opinion based and some are kind of like guides based on my personal experience, but I've been pulling inspiration from questions I've gotten from Tumblr or other feedback, and it's been kind of fun and interesting.
One of the "big" changes I made in 2015 is actually to my Liz Lisa wardrobe master post which was originally published about 2 years ago in Dec 2013. It might not seem like much but I really did spend a whole week revamping, coding jumps and re-linking each of the photos. And that was a pain in the butt to format for some reason. I had several back ups of it running the whole time I was editing because I was so iffy about the whole thing and I didn't want to lose everything lol. I love the look of it now and I think it's a lot easier to use and look through. I had previously organized it chronologically by purchase/acquisition date because that was easiest for me (and honestly it is, especially for picking favorites from 2015 lol), but I think the new organization is best and I'm glad I did it. #timewellspent
A few of my favorite blog posts from 2015 (in chronological order) are:
Again, these aren't necessarily based on popularity or views, but just ones that I either had fun putting together/writing or was happy with the feedback I received after posting it (which just makes it seem more worthwhile lol). You'll notice that none of my TKL/Liz Lisa shopping haul posts are in there and it's not because I don't like them, but maybe just because I feel like they're a bit generic at this point? There isn't one that really stands out for me, and if it does, it's usually because of the items and not because of the post if that makes sense.
For the Swankiss post, I really liked it because it was my first time ordering and owning clothes from the brand. The fukubukuro was an excellent introduction to Swankiss and I had such a good time creating coordinates with each of the items just among the fuku contents and then each on their own with other items. I actually felt really proud to publish that post when I was done with it lol.
The Liz Lisa fukubukuro trunk carry comparison post is just on the list because it took me so long to do and I feel like the finished product was exactly what I wanted it to be. I love scrolling down and seeing each of the images side-by-side.
Similar to the reasoning for the trunk comparison post, I just like the final executed look of the two posts about my Liz Lisa ribbon pumps and the matching 3-way bags. Between the two posts, I had 17 different outfits with some of them utilizing different combinations of the shoes and bags with the same clothes (so actually more like 25 if you make the distinction). It took forever to plan, shoot and edit, and I also made two YouTube videos lol.
My room tour post and video was a long time coming and had been requested a few times on different social media sites and I was happy to finally get my act together, organize my room and present it in a way I was happy with. I actually did a bit of "room tour" video research to figure out how I wanted to do it. I think the combination of the overview video and the slightly more in depth photo blog post was the best of both worlds.
I don't often talk about what I do for work, but I think the field of GIS is so interesting and not enough people know about it or what to expect if you're studying it! I also have a post about generally being a Geography major (and I do also like that post quite a bit as well), but the "Working as a GIS technician" post really took off on Tumblr after a couple "big name" GIS-related blogs took notice and encouraged others (considering working) in the GIS field to read it! I was so pleased with the response I got and I think it reached and helped/gave insight to a lot more people than I ever expected. Since the content is very different than what I usually write about, I wasn't anticipating it to be seen much at all, but I'm glad I went through with it.
My "himekaji" coordinates with shoes/sneakers/flat boots post was something I had in the back of my mind for a bit before I was finally able to put it into action. I've shied away from posts like this in the past, but I am really happy with the end product and even made a video version too. It hasn't garnered as much interest as I would have thought considering how many asks I received about the topic previously, but I'm still happy with what I ended up with regardless of how many people will see it.
Maybe it's because it's the most recent, but my Japan trip Autumn 2015 budgeting post is my absolute pride and joy right now wtf. It's not like it's a groundbreaking topic or idea, but I've been meaning to write about it for 3 trips, and I've finally done it. And I actually really like how I organized it. I honestly put a lot of time and effort into both the content and the format not only before but also during and after the trip and am so excited to finally share it. 

Personal life
I've had a lot to be thankful for this year (and honestly every year). I don't have any particular complaints about my life that are sticking with me at the moment. There's been ups and downs of course, but nothing I wasn't able to overcome or learn from. I changed jobs again in October, so this current one I have still feels a little fresh and I'm still adjusting. I miss my old coworkers and the working environment and camaraderie there, but I'm determined to make this new place feel just as much as home soon. Aside from that, it's a lot of the same old, same old. I can't think of anything in particular worth sharing atm lol.
OH EXCEPT THE LINE GROUP. #WSS. Sorry idk why I didn't think of you all sooner. I read Berri's Dayre post and was like DUH. Maybe because it seems like it's been over a year. (And it has, I think??) But we've talked more and more and definitely become more like friends than just acquaintances over the span of 2015. I can always count on you guys to just tolerate my rants about stupid internet or Liz Lisa things that no one irl understands lol. Thank you, girls!

Thoughts for 2016
On the "fashion" side of things, I obviously want to continue to expand my wardrobe but also keep it under control by continuing to find new homes for things I'm not making good use of. I'm always happy to sell things to other people who really want them because it means the items will actually be worn! For some reason I think I did a bit less Liz Lisa purchasing this year than last year but I think only in terms of online/TKL purchasing since I did quite a bit of Liz Lisa shopping during my first two trips to Japan in 2015 (the last one not so much lol) and I've been indulging in Yahoo Auctions quite a bit wtf. (Actually I just went to check and that's absolutely not true at all lol. Even without the secondhand purchases, I purchased like 25+ more Liz Lisa items in 2015 than I did in 2014 lol.)
I wrote a post somewhat addressing this about a month ago ["Am I too old for Liz Lisa? & the idea of "Adult Cute" / 大人可愛い Otona Kawaii"], but I feel that my personal style will continue to develop and change as time moves forward. I don't expect (or want) it to remain the same and I look forward to what it will become even if it means a whole wardrobe turnover...although I highly doubt that will be the case. I'm sure it's going to be a lot more gradual and honestly 2016 may not even see any significant changes at all, and honestly I'm okay with that!
I don't currently have any solid plans for travel for 2016 but on my "to go" list are still Hokkaido and Okinawa/southern Japan + Taiwan, Hong Kong and/or China. Hopefully we can make at least one of those happen in the next year although I'm also perfectly happy to just visit Tokyo again lol. (I definitely don't want to try and hit all of those destinations in 2016. I think that's just going to deplete my savings too much wtf.)
I hope to further explore new topics for blog content while still keeping it true to myself. Obviously, I only write about things related to me or things I have an interest in or personal experience with, but who knows where my interests will lie in 2016! There may be a complete shift lol. Not just in terms of style which I already mentioned, but maybe life?? I know that I don't always still to the same thing for a long time, but hopefully the quality of content I produce will still be the same - or better!
I don't have any resolutions necessarily, but I always aim to be more patient and open-minded every year. To continue to learn and see things from other people's point of view. I'm not sure how I would gauge this exactly, but I guess I'll continue to try lol.

This post has really just been and opportunity for me to talk about myself and things I like for 4700 words lol. This is a mishmash of reflection, self-critique and just picking favorites lol. I had more to say in that blogging section than I thought I would wtf. Not sure if anyone else will find this useful at all, but I did have a pretty fun time picking personal favorites and offering a little explanation for why I like them versus just picking out what was "popular" which is what I usually do for Tumblr.
I hope everyone had a pleasant holiday season and will have a fantastic 2016. May you continue to grow and improve yourself, not necessarily just physically but emotionally and mentally as well. Stay safe, make good decisions and take life one day at a time. You can do it!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Larme 019 and Seventeen January 2016 scans

I purchased Larme 019 and the January 2016 issue of Seventeen during my Autumn 2015 Japan trip, and I wanted to share a few pieces of them with you that interested me/that I thought would be interesting for you. These scans are meant to be for personal use and I do not claim ownership of these images. Please do purchase the magazines/book if you are interested in seeing more!
This is a supplement to Part 8 - Liz Lisa & Other shopping purchases, but that post was getting too long and there are quite a few scans, so I decided to make this into a separate post :)

Larme 019


Seventeen January 2016
I do not claim ownership of any of the scanned images. Please purchase and support where you can!