Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Virtual Journal: The Philharmonic at Lincoln Center

The playbill had interesting reads!  This real life girl looks like how I imagine Nao could look from A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.  In the background there is one of my actual journals, bought in Beijing.

I never thought I'd be one to attend a classical music concert and yet, by accident, that is where I found myself.  L., my boyfriend got us tickets for Swan Lake.  We both assumed for the ballet.  We get to the place - huh, rather shabby plain place to hold a ballet (I'd been to one once before and there had been red velvet curtains, ornate gold trim, plush seats) ... hm the stage is kinda small ... hmmm why is the stage set up with chairs and musicians are sitting in them, practicing?  I hope they pack up soon and leave.

Turns out the tickets were for the Swan Lake suite.

I didn't think I would be able to appreciate it, but I did.  In fact, I walked out of there thinking that out of the classy choices of opera, ballet, or symphony orchestra, the last is probably my new favorite.

All you have to do is make the effort and pay attention.  Very visual, very abstract.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Line Ink drawing

line ink drawing girl sitting on bench

It's been a while since I've written here.  I updated the little section of text on the left side of this blog that was supposed a general 'about me'.  The last thing it had said was that I was starting my 2nd year of grad. school, which was a shade over a year ago.  In the interim, I've still been drawing from time to time.  Mostly just very rough, crude sketches, but occasionally finishing something that I like.  A year or so ago, I began to really appreciate - the Line.  Just the idea of lines, forming the shapes of things - outlines, silhouettes.  Crisp, sharp lines with variations: thin/thick, smooth/rough, fluid/abrupt.  More to be quick, because who has time for painting and coloring, I also started appreciating the sharp contrasts of b&w a lot more.  So these two are examples of what came out of that.  What else...I've become conscious of the fact that I dislike superlatives, so I will be trying to avoid them in writing.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

I'm going through this weird phase where every time I look at something I have posted in the past, online, I just *cringe*.

There's nothing objectively wrong with it.  Something about it just feels unreal, inaccurate?

Like, the colors are too bright.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dress-savers: black and beige sports bras

"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are."  - Reflections on the Art of Living : a Joseph Campbell Companion

This black sports bra was purchased specifically for this dress which has X-shaped straps in the back. Forever 21 calls this a 'layering bra' and it has - no padding - which is fine for this dress since it is slightly thicker (98% cotton, 2% spandex) than what you would expect from a summer dress. The layering bra is made of a thin stretchy fabric with lace trim around the upper border and textured dots across the surface. As a reminder, here is what the actual bra looks like.

I love the classic trend of black and white for summer because it is visually cool and crisp and works as a transition piece into fall when paired with olive cardigans and the like. I am looking forward to trying it with a textured woolen cropped cardi by Jil Sander for Uniqlo, also in black.

These are the accessories I chose for the outfit - The neon pink nail polish is by Color Club and has no name but is bubblegum scented (!).  I'd actually prefer a neutral white nail polish - the neon is a little too jarring I think, paired with the black, but it went well with the cassette tape street art I found.

Here's what the beige sports bra looks like (identical to the pale turquoise in design) ---

I don't think I need to go into depth on the merits of the ever practical skin-toned undergarment. They disappear under sheer fabrics and are a good thing to have around. I prefer this simpler style over the lacy ones with the decorative components, especially since most of my dresses are frilly and flowery enough on their own. Unfortunately, a basic black one was no where to be found when I visited the store. Perhaps next time.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Sports Bras - a surprising summer accessory

Forever 21 turquoise blue sports bra

The one that started it all - This pretty light turquoise one is the first purchased.  All due to the dress I am wearing in the photos below.  I found the dress at TJ Maxx, loved the color combinations (I've been very into mint green since last summer and increasingly this summer) and loved that it buttoned all the way up and down the front.  However, the chest area was a little loose, the straps were kind of weird, they curved inwards in a C shape and when I mildly complained about these factors to the friendly checkout person who complimented my dress choice, she suggested a sports bra underneath.  So I checked first at American Apparel - nothing! Somehow wound up at f21 and discovered this cheap goodness.  : D

The quality, fit, and comfort is just amazing for $4.80 and best of all, for practical purposes, it has these openings in the side where you can remove the pads!  This is honestly my favorite thing because I have never figured out a way to fit hand washing bras into my schedule, and as a result, after one or two machine washes, the pads inside start to get lumpy and misshapen ... which means that before long, I can only wear them underneath fall sweaters.  These pads are easy to remove and easy to put back in.

Forever 21 turquoise blue sports bra

The sports bra shows a little bit at the neckline, which is nice - similar color scheme!  A contrasting color such as yellow or purple would also be nice (addicted).

Forever 21 turquoise blue sports bra

Forever 21 turquoise blue sports bra
Aand in the back, you just see the 2 thin straps which I totally don't mind.  Some people have issues with any straps showing though, even if it's totally coordinating straps.  Can't be helped!  I tried a strapless bra once and it kept sliding south.  Most uncomfortable.

I love these sports bras over regular bras because they create a slimmer silhouette and feel more natural and comfortable, maybe due to the lack of wires and hooks.  I kind of want to just switch over to these completely, even for fall and winter.

Let me know if you have any particular underwear preferences (lol, wink wink) and next up, an outfit with the black one and an outfit with the tan one.

Friday, August 9, 2013


From: f21

My newest discovery this summer is the sports bra.  The Forever 21 sports bra in particular (sometimes called a layering bra on the website).  It is the perfect companion to dresses with atypical straps or dresses that are slightly ill-fitting on top due to lack of bust on purchaser.  The checkout person at TJ Maxx suggested it to me. I know. I'm very upset I didn't think of this simple but brilliant idea myself.  This black one is my third one now and I actually wouldn't mind one or two more in yellow &/or lavender.  Addicted!  I love being addicted to things that are really good and totally cheap.

They only cost $4.80 and I think they deserve their own post.

I am delighted to say that my newly begun off-time from school has resulted in a slew of sketches being finished.  I am very reluctant to photograph them though because I always feel like they are not quite finished and could use a little more shading/outlining/detail ... Well the plan is to post those, write a little more about sports bras, and do an outfit post incorporating the above accessories.

side note: frequently using Instagram has caused me to square-crop my photos even when it's not necessary. I read an article about this; the square frame is harmonious and balanced and helps with focus. All things I need.  

also, I am trying to toughen up my 'look' starting (and probably ending) at the accessories level.  Namely, bracelets.  Helloo studs, leather, and chains. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Lovely me:ex - Peach Cushion Blusher

Lovely me:ex blushes
Recently, I got two more 'Lovely me:ex' blushes from the Face Shop because I loved the first one so much.  The location in Koreatown, when I went at least, did not have any more of the ones with the girls on them!  The newest addition is the peach color (No. 5) because this summer I want to get as much coral-orange on my face as possible.  I love warm-hued blushes.  They instantly make me feel cheerful and it always feels like the finishing touch, along with some lip gloss.  I think they also subtly direct attention to the eyes.  This is the original one that I first tried - a very pale matte pink with zero shimmer.  Loved it!  After I hit pan, I decided to pick out the vivid pink with shimmer particles, which I've found requires a much lighter hand.

Lovely me:ex blushes

Lovely me:ex blushes

The bright pink on the far right is way more pigmented compared to the other two.  I can't even use the included powder puff with it - must use a brush, or else it's too vivid.  The newest addition for spring/summer is this matte peachy-coral.  Again, zero shimmer.  It's a little more subtle than I had hoped, but it does add a very natural flush to the face, and similar to the light pink, creates a soft, downy look:

Lovely me:ex blushes

Whenever I sit down to try and write something after a long period away, I either do a series of rapid mental edits that reduces everything I wanted to say to 2 sentences or develop a emotional narrative in my head that has a "wisdom of the ages" feel to it and which I know will not translate well from my brain to the screen.  I have been on the lookout for signs that I am becoming more 'adult-like'.  For instance, I recently took up reading a Zen book in the genuine hope that it would bring inner peace and a better understanding of life and myself.  Another sign might be referring to certain experiences as "humbling".  I've finished with the first year of grad school!  This past semester was a bit of a shock and not what I imagined at all.  It is very hard to be the best at something, or anything.  I don't think that is a good goal for certain personality types.  Instead of that, it might be more fitting to have as a goal - doing something right away --- or being completely okay with not being busy and not doing things because you've done those other things right away.  The worst feeling and the best way to ruin a day is when there's something that I ignore or just cannot mentally accept and therefore don't deal with.  This is different from procrastination I think.

Blogging is so calming.  These past few days, due to the sudden absence of the extreme structure and busy-ness needed in balancing school and work, I've been feeling adrift and unsure of what to focus on.  Writing and organizing my thoughts here is the most calm I have felt in days.  More so than journaling, because (for me) that is such a stream of consciousness activity.  At times that just makes things worse.  Here I try to slow down and think more, to be structured, cohesive, & clear.  It's comforting because so often when I feel stressed about something, reading someone else's writing about it helps.  A recent example is this interview with Emma Watson, and similarly in terms of figuring things out, here where someone talks about why she left the acting profession.  I really liked her piece on the freedom to have a big zit.  The thing I am never sure about is how much I should share.  I mean, when I read others' writings, I love the details.  But then again, those things I am reading are usually from people who are famous in some degree for being 'entertainers' so it makes sense that it's all so interesting.  I've been watching a lot of the original Star Trek episodes (with Shatner and Nimoy) and the Mindy Project.


1. No blush, just a little bit of foundation and concealer (Laura Mercier, L'oreal True Match) and setting powder (L'oreal True Match).

2. Addition of peach blush (Lovely me:ex #5) and lip gloss (L'oreal in Coral Tattoo).  

3. Added glasses, which I wear all the time, and another layer of blush.  

Haha, had a bit of fun with this last photo.  I slipped on something more colorful to see if the pinks and yellows would bring out the makeup colors more since they are in the same color family.  It seems to have just made the makeup pale in comparison.  The little bag came with the dress - it held a spare button and some thread.  If you are interested, here is the last time I posted about one of these blushes, the pale pink one, which is the first one I tried.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Marimekko Flatiron NY
Marimekko, Flatiron NY

Bluebottle Coffee Chocolate Bars
Bluebottle Coffee, Midtown NY

I pass this new-ish Marimekko boutique several times a week on my walk to and from work.  Each time I feel the pull.  My appreciation is more of the gestalt type - once I stop to examine individual pieces, I have less desire to actually purchase anything.  (It would help if they made at least some dresses in the fitted/flared style rather than the baggy-bag style.)  Still though – every time – I just want to step in, walk around, and soak up the happy vibes.  Who knows, maybe one of these days I'll try on one of their dresses.  Maybe it'll look smashing on me!  The patterns and colors are gorgeous.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Mani hands: Pink with Silver Border, Instagram Edition!

NOTD pink with silver border

Good morning!  I thought I would share some of what I have been up to through pictures selected from my Instagram feed.

I tried a few simple variations on the standard manicure - First is what I like to think of as the borderline style.  I saw it online and thought for a good while about how to achieve it on my own.  I first painted a thin layer using a Sally Hansen silver (Celeb city).  I find metallic nail polishes easiest to control.  For me, the creamy, milky pastel polishes are the most challenging to work with!  Metallics glide on smoothly and are very forgiving.  I tried to bring the silver color as close to the cuticle as possible.

Sally Hansen Celeb City

Next came the Essie pink (Muchi muchi).  As expected, it was easier than if I had painted the whole nail as there is less surface area to cover.  Working with my non-dominant hand was a bit trickier and the silver border came out thicker on the right hand.  However, overall, they looked great!  I can't wait to try this with other colors.  I'm hoping to get a gold and shimmery white polish sometime in the near future.

The trick to designs like this is to keep the hand muscles loose and relaxed while knowing exactly where you want the brush to go.  So, having a plan and being precise - but not getting tense.  Also, as with all diy manicures, cuticle prep is crucial!

Here is another shot of this manicure, taken with an actual camera:

Feel free to add me on Instagram - emyaugustus is my user name. Those of you who follow me know these pictures are from a while ago. I never have time to blog when school is in session, so re-capping from Instagram might be the only way!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

House & Home

Apartment moving

It was around three weeks ago, and it was really difficult in retrospect.  First, moving out of the top of a five story walk up, without the help of any movers, just you and your bf, is already pretty tough.  We spread it out over 2 or 3 days, and oh boy was there a lot of up and downs!  ... Then a mix of the cold and flu hit me for 4 days, and just when I was almost all recovered, it was "that time-a-the-month".  Now that all that is over, I can focus on the more enjoyable aspects of moving.

Urban Outfitters Curtains

I ordered these sheer curtains from Urban Outfitters (by a brand called Magical Thinking).  I think UO is one of the nicer places to get curtains in that they have a variety of choices with the lowest prices.  My second choice would be Modcloth.  While they are also not too expensive, they are a little hit or miss in the designs.  Sometimes they'll have a nice selection and other times, like right now, they'll have 4 types of curtains in not-so-great patterns.  My third pick would be Anthropologie which has great designs and many styles, but as you can probably guess, very, VERY high prices.  Their online furniture/accessories sale section is one of my favorite places to browse on a weekly - monthly basis though.

I was hoping to get everything mounted this past weekend, but all we managed were a set of curtains!  I think we needed a weekend of mainly rest after all the hard work and sickness.
Green Drawer shelf - Etsy
From Legacy Studio on Etsy - A very nice shop with a sweet country farm aesthetic.

Why yes, I am reading Moby Dick, and have been on and off for the past several months!  It's a very funny book when it is not busy overwhelming you with its sheer bulk of words.  

These also need to find a home somewhere on the ceiling:
Japanese style fish decorations
Wax paper blow-up fish from Kinokuniya (Japanese for 'Corner Bookstore') at Bryant Park. 
Aren't they fun?  I'm amazed and glad they survived the move despite being made out of some thin, crinkly, plastic.  They came in a flat package, and to puff them up, you blow into a small hole in the center.  The big blue one was a challenge.  Don't attempt it if you have or have had asthma.

Green floral curtains from Modcloth

This is our one completed project!  A very important one too as our window looks directly into another person's window which tends to make me get twitchy and self-conscious.  These curtains are from Modcloth.  Lovely color and pattern!  I was hoping to get another set to match but alas, they don't sell it anymore, and even when I googled the specific brand, none were to be found. 

Some future plans for our little 1-bedroom apartment :
1) A tiny couch.  Leaning towards this one from MUJI.
2) Building a sleeping loft (!!!)
3) A small kitchen table, preferably drop-leaf, preferably this one from Etsy seller 'Envy Alley'.  

From time to time, I tend to get bouts of impatience for everything to be done and settled already.  Yes these types of things take time.  In fact, I think that in decorating a living space, the slower it comes together the better.  It gives one time to find the right thing needed for the space/function.  It feels like a natural growing process, and probably shouldn't be rushed.

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