Sunday, May 31, 2015

Smells Like Teen Spirit (AUSSIE CURVES: SONG)

I am a child of the '90s.

Flannels, ripped jeans, Doc MartensMy So-Called LifeEraserheads, they all influenced me in my formative years and can be thanked (or blamed) for who I am today.

I actually have a '70s dress I wanted to wear for this week's challenge because it's oh-so-cute. But for the life of me, I could not think of a song that will be appropriate.

On a cold autumn morning, while listening to Nirvana, I realised I should just be true to myself and interpret this challenge the way my heart tells me to.

This week's inspiration are two songs:


So here I am dressed as a '90s kid. Or more specifically, as Angela Chase.

The Guru got free tickets to this awesome cinema

and went last Sunday to watch Tomorrowland. The film featured one of my favourite actors - no, not George Clooney, but Dr. House himself, Hugh Laurie. Also Life Unexpected's (why must awesome show end?) star, Britt Robertson. The real gem of the movie was the girl who played Athena, who looked eerily like Audrey Hepburn.  Or at least, how Audrey probably looked as a child.

But I digress.

Awkward pose/smile - I am still not used to posing in public

Plaid babydoll from Dotti (this must have been so popular because I bought this few months ago, and they recently restocked it), random tights, heat-tech from UNIQLO, and black nappa 1460s.

The leather jacket is not Angela Chase, but I could not find my denim jackets - still have not finished sorting stuff in our new place.

I would like to say this was how I dressed when I was a teenager but I would be lying - I didn't wear dresses until later. I was an insecure teen (inside, because I always faked confidence and I think got away with it most of the time) who was considerably bigger than the rest of my highschool and even uni batch (I was 5'7", and 160 lbs who ballooned to 190lbs by the end of HS and probably 200+ lbs by the end of pre-med - in a sea of 5ft tall 100 pounders). I was always in flannel or band shirts, my dad's sports shirts, ripped jeans, and either Doc Martens or Converse. I didn't wear a drop of makeup, either. Actually, I didn't learn how to wear makeup until I started in the corporate world - and I still don't wear makeup if I don't have to until now. I remember obsessing over black lipstick toward the end of uni, but I did not have the guts to wear it so it just sat in my room until I forgot about it. My form of rebellion, if you will, was getting my ears pierced - I added two piercings/ear, to the one piercing/ear my mom got me as a baby (it must have been, because I don't remember getting it).

So that's it for this week's Aussie Curves. See you next week for BLACK.

"With the lights out, it's less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid, and contagious...."

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Aussie Curves : Jacket and Washing Leather on the Machine

So I've been obsessing over leather jackets.

I've been googling, posting in forums/FB pages, talking people's ears off - no biggie, really, my friends are used to me blabbing nonstop about stuff they can't relate to(most of them are in the tropics).

I started with Witchery, moved on to BLK DNM, then to other random jackets in eBay, most of which I have since resold.

I thought my leather jacket obsession was over until I came across a preloved biker jacket from Husk. I was familiar with the brand because they have a Rick Owens dupe I was eyeing in eBay few weeks ago. I don't know if this sounds crazy, but I have this sort of gut feeling whenever I am bidding on an item. I kind of know that I'd win the bidding prior to the end. It's never failed me - maybe I should start telling fortunes for a living?

Ignore my ten pounds weight gain (yes, it's official) and focus on my super awesome leather biker which I got for 1/5th of the RRP! Yes, it's preloved, but I don't care - it's oh so soft, the leather is luxurious, the scuffs and creases give it character, and I cannot afford it if I had to buy it full-price!

Here I am taking a selfie using the giant mirror in the very cool lobby of the building of our new place. We have not officially moved in yet (on Thursday!). Most of the tenants, I think, are uni students. 

My tummy says hi!

My eyebags too! 

The Italian lambskin leather is supple and oh-so-buttery! ♥  

Up close and personal.

LOVE that the hardware is copper and not gold. I'd prefer it to be silver, but copper >>>> gold, with black. At least, in my eyes. I have an aversion towards black with gold hardware. Copper hardware with black isn't as garish.

Another reason I think this jacket and me are meant to be are the sleeves - they're crazy long, but since my arms are freakishly long too, they're just right for me. ♥ ♥ ♥ 

So yeah, eBay score!

Now about washing leather jacket on the machine...I did it. I bought a Pierre Cardin vintage leather jacket from eBay which was in excellent condition except for one thing - it did smell vintage. Like unearthed-from-your-grandma's-chest-where-it-was-stored-for-20-years vintage. It was also too big for me, but perfect size for The Guru (duh, it's Pierre Cardin, I don't know why I thought it was a women's jacket.) 

So I had two choices: resell it, or have it cleaned. But considering Evans charges $150 (cleaning with waterproofing) and I got the jacket for $17 ($31 if you include the shipping fee), I thought what the heck, I'd try machine washing the leather. Also found some articles that say you can wash leather jacket on the machine. 

I bought some wool and delicates detergent, put the jacket inside a mesh bag, and washed it for 30 mins. After which, I checked the jacket, it didn't seem ruined, so I put it in the dryer for 56 mins (our machine's shortest cycle). It still smelled afterwards (although noticeably less so) so I did another round of washing/drying. 

After air drying it, it still had that vintage smell, now more sweet-ish than dusty/attic-y/storage-y. I read in a forum that baking soda works - I sprinkled baking soda generously, put it inside a bag, tied it, and left it there overnight. It still has a faint vintage smell but tolerable and it's decreasing day by day.

Oh, and the leather seems unchanged. Lookie!

The Guru and the jacket aboard the 59 tram - we were off to Fitzroy for our food trip. More on that next post. 

I think this was on our way home - clearly two happy tummies judging from our giddy smiles!

Oh, my Husk jacket also had a bit of vintage smell, but just faint, so I used the baking soda technique, and it worked too. 

So yeah, you can wash leather jackets but don't blame me if yours get ruined. :)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

An Open Letter to UNIQLO (Aussie Curves : Favourite Store) and What's Been Happening

Dear Qlo Qlo,

Sit down, we need to talk.

So 2015 is the year I am supposed to be frugal. A penance, if you will, for buying a lot of clothes last year (hey, I just moved to Australia, I had an excuse).

So what are you doing luring me with your amazing basics?

You know what, you never appealed to me when I was still living in Asia. You have been there for several years, with branches all over, but I hardly entered your stores, eventhough my friends were ooh-ing and aah-ing over you. I always thought you were expensive (remember, I was surrounded by flea markets and F21).

And a snob - I was a size UK18 (top)/16 (bottom) back then, and Japanese brands like you usually did not have clothes for me. I think the only article of clothing I had from you was a navy cardi. I also remember liking this but I didn't buy because I thought Php1200 ($34) was overpriced. Of course when I came back to get it, it was already out of stock and I wanted to kick myself.

Then I moved to Melbourne, and so did you. I still didn't give you attention during my first few months since I knew I wouldn't fit in your clothes. I was rapidly gaining weight, and stopped having periods. I was diagnosed to have PCOS. I always suspected I had this condition, but never felt the need for a proper diagnosis (since whenever I stopped having periods, I'd lose weight, and it'd come back again) this time, it was official. My GP told me if I did not lose weight she'd put me on Metformin. That, and the pictures taken of me when we went to Sydney (I was huge and puffy - I have always avoided taking pictures of myself until then, I guess I was in denial), kicked me into getting serious with my weight loss regimen. Sadly, I am in what seems to be in a eternal stall yoyo with an upward trend (Must.Buckle.Down.I've.Officially.Gained.Ten.Pounds.Since.January.GP.Will. Kill.Me!) -  but that's beside the point.

So when I lost weight and started fitting into the straight sizes, I first had a Dotti phase, which started because of a 50% off sale items sale. Then these phases followed: Forever New, Dangerfield and Princess Highway/Clear It Brunswick, some of the brands from Miss Shop, Topshop, and of course, Valley Girl, my guilty pleasure. My last phase was my Mango phase - QV store was closing, and for three months or so, everything was 40% off. Because of that, I have jeans to last me a lifetime.

And then one day I fell in-love with you - blame the really soft denim jackets in blue (dark blue and medium) and dark gray. The UV Hoodies followed (I love that the sleeves were long enough to accommodate my freakishly long arms!), then it was all downhill from there. Cartoon t-shirtsdown vests, I even got Mr.-I-Don't-Need-New-Clothes-The-Guru into your 100% merino wool jumpers!

But oh, my ultimate favourite - the Heat Tech range. It's easy for me to feel cold nowadays so I knew I had to "invest" in some warm clothes for Winter. Usually I don't like buying expensive basics - I survived last year's Winter with my plain long-sleeves shirts from Big W that cost $5 or $6/each. So yeah, $20 is expensive for me to spend on plain shirts. But I tried your scoop neck long-sleeved shirt and just like that, I was hooked! I wore it under my volunteer shirt, and it felt warm and cozy, like flannel sans the bulkiness.

What's Been Happening #1: I started volunteering at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. It's been interesting thus far. It's a good way for me to still be in a clinical setting eventhough I cannot practise my profession (What's Been Happening #2). 

I also knew I was going to get the fleece turtlenecks - is it just me, or does ribbed turtleneck really make one look boxier and bigger? While turtlenecks don't really do my body shape any good (strong, hanger-like shoulder, basically straight-shape, so not an #AussieCurves), fleece looks better than ribbed. Or any other material, for that matter. And yes, I wear turtlenecks during Winter because I don't really like wearing scarves. I feel they don't suit me, they hang weird on my non-existent chest, and they generally make me feel like I am being strangled.

Here I am showing The Guru our airbed (ok, that's What's Been Happening #3 - we are in the process of moving; this May, we are actually renting two places because of overlap, so everyday I lug around a suitcase full of stuff to our new place by tram - if you see an Asian girl trying to carry a heavy Samsonite luggage into or out of the 59 tram, there's a big chance that's me). I'm wearing the fleece turtleneck Heat Tech, which is so warm and soft to the touch. It's a steal for $19.99 (of course, since I bought multiple pieces - you know, because I'm a hoarder - that didn't come out cheap).

So it took several daily visits to your Emporium store before I was able to decide to get the ultralight down vest. At first, I got the jacket version, but since I am top heavy, I thought I looked like him. So I settled for the vest, but I could not decide which colour to get - the black?

or the pink?

While I really liked the pink, I settled for black because it's more versatile. And I got it $20 off because you were celebrating your anniversary. Happy One Year Down Under to us. I originally planned to use it as an extra layer of protection when I'm out and it suddenly gets cold. You know, Melbourne and its four-seasons-in-a-day weather. It fits into a little pouch when folded and you can just store it inside your bag - so convenient! 

Lately though, Melbourne's been really chilly, and I've been finding myself reaching out for it even before I go out and wearing it because it's sooo warm. My only beef though is, the feather leaks and I won't be surprised if there won't be any more feathers left by the end of Winter. So please, look into this, and make it sturdier?

I am wearing the Medium in this picture (also Medium in the Heat Tech range), so yes, the sizing is generous. I'm either AU12 (Witchery, DottiForeverNew and Dangerfield and Princess Highway bottoms) or AU14 (ForeverNew tops and dresses, Dangerfield and Princess Highway tops). The jacket and the Heattech shirts go up to XXL. If I was gifted with decent boobs I would need the Large size. But since I wasn't, I could fit my non-existent chest inside a medium. So I'm guessing XXL is AU18-20. 

And look - even babies have their own Heat Tech tops and down onesies! My uterus doesn't really shriek at the sight of baby clothes (I'm more into this, baby-wise), but this is just cuteness overload. ♥

Ok, so about the profession thing, I recently found out that I have to either a) redo my bachelors degree, or b) move out of Melbourne if I want to practise my postgrad degree. Since moving is not an option for me for personal reasons, I figured if I have to go back to uni to study, I might as well study something I'm interested in. Right? Let's hope the degree I am considering is the one for me. 

So yeah, I'm looking into studying again. I just hope I won't stick out like a sore thumb among uni kids so many years younger than me. Can you believe even after finishing two Bachelors and one postgrad, I am actually excited to go back to school? I don't know if I should call myself a nerd or a masochist.

But I digress. Story of my life.

So there you go, UNIQLO. I like you, but enough bleeding me dry already. I have enough Heat Tech to last me years.

But if you slash $20-off your ultralight down range again, I might just go get the bright pink.