Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Christmas!

Hello and Happy Christmas! I hope your day is filled with cheer and laughter and family and maybe a few gifts. If you don't celebrate Christmas, then I wish you seasons greetings instead!

I just wanted to share the polish look that I thought looked festive and cheerful. I used Essie's Stroke of Brilliance over a clear base coat and loaded on 2 or 3 thick coats, doing my best to get as much glitter on my nails as possible. My ring is a copycat Princess Diana (and now Princess Kate) ring from Macy's, which I actually bought at a mall in Hawaii, from my trip in January.
Have a lovely day!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Girly Post: Sparkly Nails

Today I'll be sharing two different nail looks, one is an ombre-ish glitter nail and the other is a matte silver with rhinestones look (which I actually did for Halloween but I think would be nice for the holidays as well).

I was trying to make my nails look like falling snow collecting on the ground or maybe the fake glitter snow inside of a snow globe floating to the bottom. Well, whatever it is, I achieved the look by first painting my nails with base coat and then a base color (I used Sand Tropez by Essie, which is a nude peachy color). Then, I applied a blue glitter nail polish (Stroke of Brilliance by Essie) in 3 steps. First, I wiped off 90% of the polish from the brush and just patted the glitter onto most of my nail, which you can see in the first frame. You just want a few flecks of glitter here and there. Then, I dipped back into the bottle and coated the brush in lots of glittery polish and patted it onto the bottom 1/2 of my nail, which you can see in the second frame. Last step was to dip back into the bottle and then apply the glittery polish to the bottom 1/4 of my nail - pretty much where you might apply the white polish for a french manicure.
Seal with a top coat and tada! I think this could also look like bubbling champagne too (if I'd used pink glitter). Special effects are courtesy of Instagram.
And here is a shot of my rhinestoned nails from Halloween, but I think this look could be nice for a Christmas party or New Years Eve bash. I just used some rhinestones I had leftover from a craft project so these aren't specialty nail rhinestones or anything. First, I applied a base coat, then I used a silver nail polish (Essie's No Place Like Chrome), and then topped it off with a matte top coat (from Sephora by OPI collection). To get the rhinestones to stick, I just placed them onto my nails while the polish was still wet. If you are worried about the gems falling off, you can always wait for the polish to dry and then use a little bit of crazy glue. Don't worry about damaging your nails because the nail polish will act as a buffer between your nail and the glue.
Whatever the occasion, I always enjoy making my nails look fun. I hope this post inspires you to do the same.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

DIY: pearl beads

And yet again, I am here to post a DIY. Decembers are usually full of DIYs for me. Actually, I'll be honest, I just DIY when I feel like it; and when I feel like it, I REALLY feel like it and will go over the top, out of my way to find projects to do. But December really gets me in that mood because I like making gifts and I will DIY until my fingers shrivel up and my eyeballs fall out, because I have fun doing it.

So, today's post is about sewing pearl beads onto something to make it pretty. It's similar to my last post about sewing sequins onto stuff to make it shiny except this time, it's pearl beads. But I suppose you could do this with almost any kind of bead.

And again, this is the type of project that's nice for making your old things look like new cool things but I used something that was already new, which is this shirt from H&M that was $10. It was the last one available in this grey color but it was a size 4. If you don't know anything about H&M, you should know this: their sizing is weird and makes you feel like a fatso. Seriously, a size 4 from them would be a size 0000 at the Gap. So, normally, I need at least a size 6, especially because I have some substantial boobs (at least for a short Asian girl). When I tried on this shirt, I got stuck and I was considering returning it, but then I had a brilliant plan! Scroll down to see what I did.
Oh, and for this project you will need:
  • needle & thread
  • beads ($2 from Michaels)
And hoorah! I have another cute little pictorial to share.

Monday, December 17, 2012

DIY: Sequins

I'm not sure if the title of this post is misleading. This is NOT a "make your own sequins" post but rather an entry about sewing sequins on boring things to make them look a little prettier, a little sassier, a little more holiday appropriate. And, I've stopped trying to make excuses for "this is not really travel related but I am going to post it on this blog anyway"-style posts. I'm just going to do it unabashedly because you know what? This is my blog and I'll post what I want to (Cyndi Lauper reference).

If you are like me, you despise going to the mall this time of year because of many reasons, and I will list the top three reasons here:
  1. It is too crowded, no matter what time of day I go (lunch break, after work, during work), because everyone is trying to get their holiday shopping done.
  2. The parking lots are super full and I end up wasting time (and gas) trying to find a spot.
  3. I have to wear a warm coat (because it's winter) and because the parking spot I've found is almost a mile away from the entrance, I can't just leave it in the car, I have to wear it. And then once I'm in the mall, I am way too warm and have to either endure the heat of wearing a winter coat indoors or I have to drape it over my arm and end up with sore "biceps" (because I am just that weak).
So, when I'm feeling like, "I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!" instead of going to the mall, I just take something I already own and make it a little cooler. I will confess that the dress I jazz up in this post is a new purchase from H&M from a few days after Black Friday and that is because 1) I had something I had to exchange and 2) I was at the mall already after dropping my sister off at the bus stop so she could go back to school (the bus stop is in the parking lot of the mall).

Now, onto the photos! First, a shot of the $10 dress I bought. It is a lovely dusty rose color, which isn't too apparent in this photo. It is a faux satin with a tulle overlay (2 layers of tulle, actually) and has a small zipper detail in the back. It is not a boring dress, by any means, but it could use a little spice.
For this project, you will need:
  • needle and thread
  • sequins
  • and there are beads pictured here but I ended up not using them so ignore them
  • also, my dog's paws are in this photo because he was being an ass and wouldn't get out of the shot
And here, I am attaching a lovely pictorial, drawn by yours truly, of how to sew sequins onto fabric. It's really quite sophisticated and nice so don't be too impressed (that is pure, unadulterated sarcasm, people). No, but really, I think it's a nice and simple pictorial that should help you, if you are new to this whole hand sewing game.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Girly Post: Holiday Nails

It is the holiday season and to get in the spirit, I painted my nails red. But that didn't quite do it for me so I painted over the red with a gold glitter top coat and boy, that was the ticket! Sorry, I wasn't calling you boy, I was just using it as a "gee golly!" type of exclamation.

... And that's the whole post. Not much else to say today, I guess! The red nail polish is from the Gap from a v. long time ago - probably from when I was in middle school which was 10 years ago (OMG I AM OLD BUT THIS POLISH IS AWESOME BECAUSE IT IS STILL GOOD) and the gold glitter top coat is from Essie's Lux Effect top coat collection in "As Gold as it Gets" and it is gorgeous over black and navy polish as well.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

DIY Bib Necklace

For the past few weeks, I have been occupying the chilly winter nights with DIY projects and today, I am sharing my "floating gem" bib necklace. Statement jewelry, especially embellished necklaces, are super trendy these days but personally, I am not a big fan of giving into trends. Not because I think I'm a cool hipster, but I'm not keen on spending money on something that may go out of style in a month. So making trendy things myself for a fraction of the cost is always a nice way to give in to the trends without breaking the bank.

Also, since it's the holiday season, you may be trying to save a little money or you might be looking for a nice homemade gift for a friend, so hopefully this post will inspire you.

You will need:
ribbon ($2 to $3 depending on the type)
tulle or mesh ($4 for a 20 yard roll)
rhinestones, sequins, beads - your preference ($2 to $4 a pack, depending on the style)
bead glue ($3)
cardstock or any thick paper (I used a brown paper grocery bag)
tissue paper or wax paper
Start by creating a template with the cardstock (or in my case, brown bag). Take a sizable piece (one that's big enough for the necklace you are creating) and fold it in half so you can ensure your design is symmetrical. Cut out your pattern with scissors and unfold to reveal the shape.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

San Juan: Where to Eat

We ate a lot of delicious food while we were in San Juan, though I'm not going to lie and say it was ALL good because there were some misses amongst the hits. This link will take you to my yelp list for San Juan places, which includes places from my previous trip as well as the recent one. And as of today, I haven't actually finished reviewing all of the spots from this trip, so I'm sorry - shame on me.

I don't want to review every restaurant here, as that would be redundant and also, I'm lazy so I'll just share a few photos and add captions and maybe a quick description.
La Playita restaurant, pretty sky - probably my favorite restaurant that we visited

Monday, December 10, 2012

San Juan: Old San Juan

If you are visiting San Juan, you cannot miss out on Old San Juan. It's historic with affordable restaurants and plenty of souvenir shops so you can get chotchkies for your friends.

Here are a few photos:
These vintage looking photos were taken at Sofia's Italian Kitchen, which was a really yummy restaurant.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

San Juan: the Ritz Carlton

We stayed at the Ritz Carlton San Juan for four nights and it was a lovely experience. The hotel itself is clean, modern, and the staff is v. friendly and always ready to get you what you need. Our room was on the smaller side, but it was still nicely furnished, had a large bathroom with the toilet in its own room (which made getting ready in the morning and evening easier), and a big television.

The room rates aren't crazy extravagant here, unless you want a fancy suite, but a fancy suite in most hotels will set you back anyway. If you want to stay in the Isla Verde area, there are many hotels right on the beach with comparable rates so I suggest you stay here.

Here are some photos shot in and around the hotel.
our first drinks on the island

Monday, December 03, 2012

San Juan 2012: El Yunque Rainforest

So I got back from San Juan 2 weeks ago and am finally ready to post some photos. First, I'll be posting our trip to the Rainforest.

I've been to Puerto Rico before (about a year and a half ago) and had a great time so I was really excited to go again. One of the other girls on the trip had also been before and suggested that we take a tour to El Yunque Rainforest. We booked our half-day tour through Viator for about $52 per person. Our tour guide called himself "Ricky Ricardo" and he picked us up at our hotel (the Ritz Carlton) in a 12-passenger van, checked our vouchers, and we were on our way. We brought water bottles, sunscreen, and bug spray with us, but the bug spray ended up being unnecessary, as no bugs were around to bother us.

The van-ride was around 45 minutes and Ricky gave us background information on Puerto Rico and El Yunque as he drove. Once we actually reached the mountain, we made stops at 5 different spots to explore and take photos. The first stop was at the Welcome Center so we picked up maps and then headed to the gift shop. It started raining like crazy while we were there so we each picked up a poncho, for $7.50, and they served us really well. After that, we stopped at a few small hiking trails (so wear sneakers), Yukahu Tower (100+ steps to an amazing view), and our last stop was at the Coco Waterfalls, which were really beautiful.

Okay, so enough chit-chat. Here are some photos:

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