Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Kate Spade New York heart bag + a week of outfits

I was browsing through our local mall for a present for S's mother when I couldn't help but notice something for myself at the Kate Spade New York store. Right at the entrance of the store, a large red heart shaped purse was greeting me lmao.
I actually didn't get it that day because our focus was on a gift instead, but since I had to go back the next day anyway, I gave myself the chance to sleep on it and bought it!

Doily Heart Tote (WKRU4276) 
The size is somewhat larger than what I'd ideally look for, but with Valentines Day just a few days later, I decided that was logic enough to buy it. In reality, I haven't had a true/bright red bag in my wardrobe for a handful of years now (RIP Betsey Johnson quilted heart purse), and although this is a bit more of a specialty piece, I thought it would be nice to fill the void. Tote-type bags are usually not by cup of tea but since this one has a lot of structure to hold the shape, I don't mind it so much.

Since I purchased the bag the weekend before Valentines Day, I was determined to use it every day for the work week lol. Here's the 5 outfits I came up with:

Monday -
Forever 21 tiny floral print dress, Liz Lisa x Yui Kanno collab rose drop cardigan, Liz Lisa heart suede pumps

Tuesday -
Liz Lisa floral tiered dress, Liz Lisa My Melody 2017 fukubukuro cardigan, Liz Lisa (pom pom) pumps

Wednesday -
Delyle Noir lace blouse, Delyle Noir floral A-line skirt, Delyle Noir jewelry buckle belt, Ank Rouge watermark cardigan, Liz Lisa 3D flower pumps

Thursday -
Forever 21 dress, Forever 21 cardigan, Nine West velour sandals

Friday -
Liz Lisa strawberry gingham OP, Liz Lisa batwing knit, Liz Lisa flower wedge cage sandals

I work out at lunch on Tuesday and Thursday so I don't like to wear clothes that are too fussy since I have to change in and out of them, but even with that in mind, I'm really happy with each of these outfits! If I wasn't so redundant, I would always wear my Liz Lisa red heart suede pumps with the purse because I love how it matches, but I was determined to try 5 different kinds of combinations. I also didn't want to just match red with red over and over again, so it was fun seeing what else paired nicely with such a big, red bag.
Since there is no closure/clasp mechanism for the top of the purse, I compensated by organizing my smaller items into a pouch or two which resulted in my bag being less messy than it has ever been in the last few years lol. I was still able to fit all of my essentials and even a few random other items as well (umbrella, water bottle, etc) when I needed them.

This is a bit more casual than my regular coordinate-type blog posts, but since I was already wearing the outfits and taking the photos, I thought it wouldn't hurt to throw together something quick like this to share. The bag is so frivolous but also really fun, and I'm glad I got it!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

My Wardrobe MVPs (2016-2017)

Inspired by Berri's own wardrobe MVP and an ask I received on Tumblr, here are the most versatile and therefore valuable pieces in my current wardrobe. I tried to ask myself - if something happened to this item, would I try to re-buy it/something exactly like it to replace it? That's how essential it should be in my wardrobe.
It's not based on monetary (retail or resale price) value but how useful it is to me for how I wear my clothes. These might not even be my "favorite" pieces lmao. Even though I live in Hawaii and certain items are kind of useless in our weather/climate, as someone who likes to have seasonal variety in my blog photo coordinates, certain other pieces may rise to the top even if I don't actually wear it out often.

Outers like this aren't big players in my daily life in Hawaii, but I know that if there was a major temperature change and I could only pick two, these are the ones I would keep.
Liz Lisa My Melody 2016 fukubukuro A-line pom pom coat
I was so happy to get a white coat in the 2016 fukubukuro that is cute but still versatile. This was a very useful item during my recent Japan trip in January 2017 and I wore it almost every day because it is so easy to match with so many oufits. If I were to travel again to a colder place, I'd definitely consider bringing this coat.

Liz Lisa faux leather riders jacket in beige
This riders design is one of my favorite types of jackets. I had a less detailed pink version from Charlotte Russe that eventually deteriorated and I welcomed this one in its place. While not incredibly useful in Hawaii, it's great for travel with the neutral color and could even work with non-Liz Lisa and/or casual everyday outfits.

In a general sense, cardigans are the biggest MVPs in my wardrobe. I wear them with casual settings, for dressier occasions, and everything in between.
Liz Lisa fur collar cardigan in white
When I first purchased this cardigan, I didn't have high expectations for it. The length is a bit longer that most Liz Lisa cardigans and without the fur collar, it was largely unremarkable. However, I've definitely come to love utilizing it for many of my coordinate posts on the blog, especially pairing it on its own (buttoned up) as a top with a patterned/statement skirt that loans an excellent winter vibe. I also took this with me on my Japan trip Spring 2016 and it was useful in both Hokkaido and Tokyo areas.

Liz Lisa x Yui Kanno collab rose drop cardigan in white
I was really irritated with this cardigan when I first purchased it because I was overcharged, and I blamed myself for not checking the receipt better (because when I was paying I felt like the total was way too high but I was too shy to say anything). I hadn't even really wanted it but was only purchasing bc of the set price that I didn't even get. Because of that, I had initially wanted to sell it immediately so I wouldn't have to look at it and think about the money I wasted, but the more I tried it with different outfits, the more I grew to love it. It's a great length and the material and flowy sleeves make it different than most of my other cardis. I would be a lot happier with it if I had actually paid what had been advertised to me by the shop staff (because it would still be the same cardigan), but at this point, I'm just happy to have it all.

It was a bit of a struggle for me to pick for this category because I love dresses and admittedly have too many of them. But because of the sheer numbers, I try to rewear as little as possible and therefore don't have much in the way of MVP. However, I did my best to pick what I look at and think about wearing often even if I don't actually do it for fear of being too repetitive if that makes sense. It's basically a dress that I have to make sure I don't wear too often lol.
Liz Lisa x Yui Kanno collab fairy story OP in pink
This is an unexpected favorite. I was actually in Japan during the release of this series of Yui Kanno collab items and went to the Shibuya 109 Yui Kanno event where I only purchased the rose barrette. It wasn't until later than I kind of gave in and decided to just buy this OP even though I felt luke warm about it. As it turns out, the fit is great, the material is really nice and I love the little cut out detail in the back. The color and pattern are subtle and the collar is a nice contrast without being fussy. Because of the length and details, this dress is an easy choice for work, church or a casual party so I have to make sure I don't wear it too often since there are a multitude of options to do so.

I think I probably have too many white Liz Lisa tops, but I love having just the right one to complement the skirt/bottoms I really want to shine. Some of them definitely get more use than others
Liz Lisa ribbon off shoulder blouse in white
This was another not-love-at-first-sight item. I actually had completely dismissed it and thought the shoulder ribbons were way too bulky, but after I saw it on my brother's gf at the time (we were traveling together) and how the wider shoulders actually helped emphasize a smaller waist, I realized I had to have it wtf. I ended up buying it online after the trip and use it in practically every blog post with a skirt/bottom lmao. The fit is great and the white color is easy to match. It's a great summer top. I even found an similar Liz Lisa top from a past year and scooped it too bc I feel like I need to have a back up for this one just in case lol. 

Similar to dresses, I don't have a large amount of stand out MVP bottom pieces from Liz Lisa because they're usually meant to be the statement piece within an outfit by itself, but I found one that are more likely to be used now than any others and ofc have to mention my favorite casual shorts as well.
Liz Lisa corset tutu sukapan
I avoided solid color sukapan for a while because I just didn't feel like they were special enough to warrant the price + most of the tops I had were purposefully plain and simple. However, as I started to purchase more statement tops, I realized I didn't have the proper bottoms to balance the outfit. This white tulle sukapan is the perfect thing to fill the vacancy. It's a nice neutral color, high-waisted, gives a bit of volume and the material isn't too fussy/doesn't need special care.

Hollister denim shorts
I don't know if it's surprising to anyone here, but I practically live in Hollister shorts when I'm in casual clothes. I have about 8 pairs and I am constantly wearing them on the weekends when there's nothing I'm doing in particular. They're all pretty much the same style with a few different washes but I like them bc I like the length and the fit which is hard to find from American/western and Japanese brands for me.

I have a variety of different kinds of purses that I love matching with each outfit, but I wanted to pick a travel bag, a purse and a (shopping) tote that are pieces that I truly value. This was a pretty easy category for me compared to others.
Travel bag: Liz Lisa 2013 Royal Rose fukubukuro tote
This is my absolute favorite travel bag. It holds tons of stuff but is still super cute and matches so well with my Liz Lisa suitcase trunks. I only wish it was made from sturdier materials that could last more than a handful of years with heavy use. Aside from that, I completely love it and I already repurchased it when I got the chance on Yahoo Auctions.

Purse: Liz Lisa rose quilted purse
This was one of my first Liz Lisa purchases and it wasn't even from a Liz Lisa store. I got it during the first weeks of my Kobe study abroad in June 2012. I've questioned the validity of it sometimes but I think it was just one of those "alternate retailer" type things because I'm pretty sure a big department store like Daimaru wouldn't sell actual replicas wtf. I love the color, shape and size plus the subtle quilting and rose details. The pockets work great for travel which is why I always take it with me on trips. My original 2012 bag actually started falling apart and I was lucky to find a replacement on Yahoo Auctions. This second bag isn't faring as well as the first and will likely only be good for one more trip, but I am determined to use it until it can't be used any more.

Shopping tote: Liz Lisa My Melody vol 1 mook tote
If you know me IRL, you know that I rarely carry this kind of thing because for some reason I'm just not a big fan of tote bags. However, this has certainly become a travel essential for me when I'm in Japan. It's cute but roomy and since there's no pockets or fussy details, I can easily throw other packages and items in there like my cardigan or a hodge podge of Daiso purchases.

Shoes are such an essential in any fashionistas wardrobe and everyone has their favorite statement pair, but these are the ones that I wear most often and I wish I had multiples of because I know I'm going to run them into the ground.
Liz Lisa 3D flower pumps in white
I clearly like the design - I ended up buying these shoes in every color option (white, pink and yellow) and all at full price FML. White is definitely the MVP of the bunch though. I end up wearing them in my OOTDs all the time. It's almost annoying because I have to try and make sure that I'm not posting 8 outfits in a row with the same shoes lol. Somewhat surprisingly, I get a lot of positive comments from strangers and acquaintances alike about these shoes. To me they're not extremely special (if I saw a stranger wearing them, I don't think it would be worth mentioning), but I guess there's something about them that catches people's eye.

Liz Lisa knot wedge sandals in pink
I first purchased these in yellow because they were on sale but when there was a later release of this dusty pink color (for a higher price), I knew I had to get them. I love the style and I sorely miss this heel height from Liz Lisa for summer shoes. These are also really comfortable. If I can find a pair in white or another pair in pink, I would definitely scoop them up.

Liz Lisa metallic combination sandals
You don't see me wearing these very often in OOTD photos, but these are practically a daily wear shoe for me. I basically just slip them on with pretty much anything lol. I can wear them for long periods of time and they're reasonably comfortable. The neutral color is really unassuming but I like that there's a little contrast with the front metallic strap that keeps things a bit interesting. A year or two ago, I would have called these shoes boring and matronly, and maybe they are but I really don't mind them as a casual slip on shoe for days when I really don't feel like trying very much lol. 

I've probably said it about 20 times so far on this blog but I'm not a big accessories person. I do now have my fair share of pink ribbon hair barrettes but I just rotate them equally depending on what matches with whatever outfit.
Liz Lisa 2-chain butterfly necklace
I was so against spending money on Liz Lisa necklaces because I'm not a big fan of the fake material (and just contact with my skin half the time tarnishes them) but I end up wearing this type of thin chain necklace with a lot of my Liz Lisa outfits. I had a flower version from spring 2015, but it's at the end of its life, this butterfly one has stepped up to the plate. I only wish the chains were a little bit longer, but otherwise, I know I can easily wear take this necklace with me when I travel and it'll match with pretty much everything in my suitcase.

Knot watch
This is a daily wear item for me besides my ring and the handful of static earrings I have. My gold Michael Kors watch used to be my go-to but since getting this one from Knot, I haven't gone back to the old one. The Knot watch is much more lightweight and I love the simple band and overall design that isn't too fussy. It matches with pretty much everything I have!

Honorable Mention / RIP 
Flag J pumps
These didn't actually make the list because the platform is actually separating from the base of the shoe so I really can't wear these anymore, but I love them so much. It would be ideal if I could find an exact replacement but I know it's not going to happen. I browsed the Flag J store during my last trip and everything they had was a bit too flashy or too high for me. These were perfect because it's all one even, neutral color and the size, heel height, the strap were just perfect and they were SUPER COMFORTABLE. There were even a few blog posts where I was lazy and wore them with every single outfit lmao. I'm really sad that they've pretty much fallen apart.

Initially I had wanted a structured 2 items per category type thing, but I realized that if there's 3 items that shine in a particular category or only one in another, then that's really what this post should reflect. I had to try really hard to differentiate between items I really like and items that really would leave a hole in my wardrobe if they were missing. I did my best to keep the mindset that if I didn't have that exact item, I'd need an immediate replacement for it and these are the results I came up with.
I wasn't exactly sure how to date this since it seems a little late into 2017 to be doing a post about 2016, and I'm really not sure what the most versatile/valuable pieces will be in 2017 since it's too early but I think 2016-2017 might reflect what I mean most accurately lol. It's what was useful in 2016 and what I think will continue to be useful in 2017. I'm not sure this will be an annual type of post but rather something maybe every 2-3 years when the content will be largely changed. Let me know what you think!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Ramblings & Reflections - My blogging & being a Liz Lisa "collector"

I don't think I've ever really sat down and tried to write about/like this before on Blogger so I'm not sure what to call this, and I can already tell it's going to be very casual. I started writing a bit about this on IG (and thank you so much to anyone who has left me comments there - I truly, truly appreciate it) but I think I do need to flush out my thoughts a bit.

I feel like maybe I'm in a weird place with blogging or even maybe just in my life in general. Honestly every few months or so, I get in a bit of what is essentially "blogging slump". I question why I bother - why do I spend so much time on planning coordinates (depending on the number and type of items, maybe 1-1.5 hours), setting up and taking photos (2-3.5+ hours), editing photos (2-3 hours), uploading photos and writing each blog post (maybe 2-3 hours). And then if I decide to shoot a YouTube video as well? Add 4-5 hours for set up, shooting, editing and uploading.

Does anyone even really read the text in my coordinate type blog posts? I'm not talking about the ones that are basically walls of text like this but like the ones that are mostly focused on new items I received. I've considered just throwing in a random weird sentence into one of the posts and see if anyone would notice. Because honestly, why put so much time and effort into the text part of the post if most people just scroll past the pictures for half a minute and move on? That's perfectly OK to do, but just something I'd prefer to be aware of so I know what to focus on in the future.

This is all a bit rhetorical but I really do feel like I spend too much time on certain aspects on these posts. And part of that is my fault. Sometimes I know instantly what I want to pair items with and sometimes I want to take my time and explore all the options instead of just immediately coordinate with what's easy. I'm not a "model" in any sense of the word, and I feel like I need to take about 30+ pictures for each look because chances are I look terrible in 90% of them so that can take a while. For blog posts with 5+ featured items, I might take 500 photos or more and obviously that'll take a while to sort through and edit as well.

But I guess if I knew the effort I put into these things was appreciated and helpful, I wouldn't mind so much that I put the time in. In the same vein, I know that's not why I should be doing it though. To really enjoy blogging, I need to do it for me. I've said before that the reason I initially started to blog is because I want there to be a resource (in English, since there's already a ton in Japanese) that helps overseas Liz Lisa customers buy authentic product and support the brand. But I've already established a few posts to that effect and update it when necessary, but they just kind of sit and function without my help at this point. Plus bloggers who are much more popular than me have since made their own versions of this kind of post and it pretty much renders whatever I write unseen in comparison. Which shouldn't matter but it kind of does. Meanwhile, I try to generate at least 6 posts a month of other things I like to share and/or think would be nice to showcase but who am I doing it for? Maybe I do need to stop until the answer I know for a fact the answer is me.

Truthfully, I do use my own posts as a reference for myself, so I guess on some level, I do find some usefulness in them personally. But for some reason, if I'm 100% honest, it would just mean so much more to me to know that other people actually read and appreciate them too. There's something so fulfilling about validation from other people. And obviously I don't expect that to be the case for every single post because I'm sure it's impossible for people to like and find every single one useful, but it would be nice.

This is not to belittle anyone who has left me encouraging or appreciate comments in the past. I want you to know that your feedback has warmed my heart and do have a positive impact on me, but I do still fall into slumps like this sometimes. It's not your job to keep uplifting me either and I shouldn't rely on it to motivate myself. So what is there really to do and what is the way ahead?

I am a bit mechanical in the way I've handled things in the past 18 months or so. I make sure I plan for consistency whether it's on Tumblr, Blogger or Instagram. I like to have things scheduled or in the queue for posting so I'm never lacking in content which I feel is important. However, that makes things a lot less spontaneous and natural. Instagram is good example of this. I have this folder of OOTDs that are waiting to be posted to IG. It's almost the end of March and I still have OOTDs that are waiting to be posted from December 2016. I cut my hair earlier this month and I probably won't even show any pictures with my shorter hair until over a month from now lol. And it's not because I have an IG aesthetic - one look at my profile and you can see that it's just a mischmasch of photos without any kind of uniformity. But it's because I don't want to run out of photos to post so I accidentally end up stockpiling them. And also, in the interest of being really honest, I feel like I need to post at a certain time or certain interval to get decent visibility. IG's new algorithm isn't perfect for me and I don't have it really figured out, but I know that there are some times or some intervals that just aren't great. And why post at a crap time when you know there could be a better one? (Even this post...I'm writing on Saturday but already know I probably don't want to push publish until Monday because it steals away from the post from yesterday.)

It's not really about the number of likes, notes, comments or followers either. Or at least it shouldn't be - is what I try to tell myself. Unfortunately for me, I'm not a hashtag crazy person. I'm much too shame for that lol. To outwardly show how much I truly crave attention with a bunch of hashtags (maybe half of them only 25% relevant)...I'm not sure that's within my personality. But I'm probably also in denial a bit because I know that posting a certain way will probably occasionally get me the validation I crave every once in a while, and I do cave every so often.

This is also a bit all of my fault because I don't really try to insert myself into any particular online community. I have internet friends of course (you know who you are), but I'm not into being in those Facebook groups (whether it's because the admin blocked me for an unrelated reason or because I really just don't want to be part of that environment). I don't reach out and try to comment on posts from tons of other people. Sometimes I straight up avoid a certain hashtag even though it's completely relevant to my interests because even though I'm sure I could connect with some people there, I'm tired of seeing posts I think are tagged just for likes (with content that isn't even related) or just annoying reposts tbh. I often come off as bitchy or standoffish because I don't use a lot of fluffy language or emojis and I'm often straightforward with captions instead of trying to tell a story. I know that if I changed this, it would be too fake, too far from who I really am. I know that maybe some people that post a certain way are actually being genuine but it just seems really contrived to me. But at the same time, I can't fault them - it works.

I also have a bit of a wall put up because I'm reluctant to share too much of my personal life online. Or it could also be that I don't do much. I have a 9-5 type, Monday - Friday job that isn't very interesting with content that's slightly FOUO and then when I'm home I'm mostly just watching tv or...blogging. And blogging about blogging is pretty boring. I don't really go out and go shopping anymore. I don't go hiking anymore. I don't often go out with my friends to a place where I would post about. And that's a bit self-inflicted but it's also because on the weekends is when I have time to blog so I can't really do any other day time activity. (I can't blog or take pictures for blogging at night because bad lighting.) So, yeah. I blog and I work. That's about it lmao.

I got nervous about sharing too much when someone told me that they could track down where I went to school and what my address/where my house was, which church I went to, etc based on what I was sharing online. Because of that, I tried to pull back a bit. Even with "disappearing stories" on IG/FB/Snapchat, I'm honestly too scared to post too many personal details. But yeah, there's no way I'm going to change that.

It's weird because I feel like I'm happy with myself a lot of the time. I have a really decent job with long term potential. I have a comfortable salary where I can buy most of the things I want, go on trips and even do/buy some frivolous things while also maintaining my savings. I feel really good about the things I own because I earned and paid for them out of my own pocket with money that is rightfully mine. And to some extent, I feel the same way with whatever social media following I have - that I "earned" it without having to compromise my personal integrity/standards. I'm mostly comfortable with my body (but let's not get into that). S isn't perfect but he loves me and I love him. My extended family is happy and healthy and we all get along. One of the hugest problems in my life is that Hawaii is a great environment for roaches so they often sneak up on me no matter how much I clean.

So why do I feel the need to be further validated by strangers over the internet? Why so I occasionally still find myself comparing myself to others? Why can't I be more secure with who I am and what I'm doing and just stay in my own lane? I mean, lbr, I know I feel jealous sometimes when I feel like certain people get praise or accolades for basically nothing (this isn't limited to internet stuff obviously but life in general). Is there even a way to avoid that? Do I need to look more introspectively and be more appreciative of what I do have and not what I don't?

When I look at the Liz Lisa items I have, especially when I try to use a critical eye to see what may do better in a new home for secondhand sales, I'm sometimes overwhelmed. Why do I have so many things? S called me a "collector"/said I have a "Liz Lisa collection" maybe about a year ago and my knee jerk reaction was "NO" and I even got a little defensive. I don't consider myself a collector of Liz Lisa. I think it's because if I really saw it that way, I would too easily get myself in trouble - buying things just for the sake of having them and keeping things for the same stupid reason. I really only want to hold on to what is right for me - things that I'm going to actually use and wear. To me, being a collector would mean much more investment (esp monetarily) than what I am willing to currently pony up and it would mean that I'd probably be unwilling to use certain items because of their supposed "value" to the overall "collection". I try not to get myself into situations like that.

I do have some attachment to certain pieces I own but at the end of the day, they're just clothes. Someone on Tumblr asked "how sad do you get when you are unable to find something that you really want? do you try to stalk it for years to come lol?" My answer was simply that when it comes to clothes...they're just clothes. I don't actually get sad about not getting an item of clothing. If I miss out on a 2am release that sold out within minutes, I'm likely more irritatied with having woken up in the middle of the night for nothing rather than sad about not getting the item. Sure, I'd be disappointed for a bit because of the wasted effort, but what's the big deal really? And I think separating "buying clothes I like" from "collecting Liz Lisa items" really helps me keep that in perspective. Even though I didn't realize it at the time, there's a reason why I called the post with all my Liz Lisa items "Liz Lisa wardrobe master post" rather than "My Liz Lisa collection".

I just want to note that what I wrote about above is likely just specific to me. You may consider the term "collector" to have a different connotation and that's fine. Or you may enjoy being a collector and don't see it as a bad thing. That's totally cool and I respect that. But I really don't enjoy it as a label placed on me because that's not how I see myself, and I don't want that to motivate or dictate what I buy and keep. I'm just trying to be realistic and pragmatic for my own situation.

This post has jumped around a bit and is kind of just a random assortment of thoughts that have been kind of floating around my head for awhile. Since none of them in particular call for a post on their own, I guess this is kind of the best way to dump them. I'm also kind of procrastinating on doing my taxes. I don't see myself doing this kind of post very often (and honestly hopefully I snap out of this line of thinking soon), but I suppose now that I've broken the ice, maybe you'll see them sporadically when inspiration strikes.
If you do have a topic you'd rather see me write about, please let me know! I've gotten some great suggestions in the past, and I'm a bit stuck for motivation right now. Recommendations and feedback are always welcome.