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POTD: 8.21.10

21 Aug

Man, I’ve really been slacking on this blog.

Sorry.

It’s been a busy few weeks with filming, plays, and other personal … stuff.

It’s a good busy though, hectic, but good.

I had a little free time yesterday evening before going to see Scott Pilgrim vs. the World with the boyfriend (which was awesome, by the way), so I went into the downtown Nordstrom’s and drooled over all the bags and shoes I can’t afford.

I noticed a bit of a trend in the shoe section. Military style boots looked like they were coming back. Knee highs, ankle boots, with heels, without heels, leather, patent leather, red, black, brown…
Personally, I really love that laced up look. Once I get some money I’m gonna snag me a pair…

On another note… what’s with all the gap-toothed models these days? I’m not really a fan.

On quite the unrelated note…

This is a really cute puppy. ­čÖé

Through the eyes of a puppy

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My, Oh, Mai

28 Sep
(I can barely contain my excitement)
Yes, I know, it’s been a little bit since I last updated with my craving for sakura mochi.

Well, good news, I got my sakura mochi (as you can probably see in that photo), and it was good.

Mmmmhmmm.

Anyhow.
This week has been crazy, but good.

Music rehearsals finally began for The Full Monty, and so far, so good. All of the performers have amazing voices, and I’m really excited to get running on this – thank goodness for sight reading skills.

Things are getting busy, a week before school starts, and I have more going on than I did all Summer. What with plays, films, school, housing, jobs, and individual projects, I am going absolutely insane – and loving every minute of it.

Great news though, I heard back from H&M! I was getting a little worried since I hadn’t heard from them in more than a week, so I thought I should follow up; but, lo and behold this afternoon I get a message from the store, they want to set up a phone interview!

I called back, and it’s scheduled for this Wednesday.

I am absolutely thrilled.

Fingers crossed I don’t screw this one up, but I have confidence in myself.

Confidence is key.

Anyhow, one thing is for sure, I am absolutely exhausted.

I think a good night’s sleep is in order.

P.S.

To the outcome on this last week’s Project Runway episode: Poo Poo!

Welcome to the World of Video – Vlogcast 1

18 Sep
Vlogging!
Didn’t get a chance to put this up yesterday since I ran out of time as I was waiting for it to upload.

Anyhow,
My first awkward attempt at a video blog!
Enjoy.

P.S.

I’ll be updating on the goings-on this week and weekend (including the show!) later tonight.

Shopping Smart: Part 3 – Used & Vintage, This Ain’t Your Momma’s Hand-me-Downs

7 Aug
As I’m sitting at the terminal in Seattle waiting for the next ferry sailing back home, I’m munching on some rather delicious cheese-its. I’m wearing a new outfit I just purchased yesterday from Forever21 (one of my favorite stores to purchase cheap and adorable new clothing); Purple Romper – $19.99, Brown Waist Belt – $10.99, Looking Like I Zapped in From the 80’s – Priceless.
However, I’m not here to talk about Forever21 brands today; today, I talk about vintage and used clothing. Here in Seattle we have a plethora of thrift and vintage stores to scour for the next great deal. For example, within just a couple blocks on the Ave in the U District we have Red Light, Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads, and Goodwill as well as several other vintage stores on the outskirts of town, such as l.ucky Vintage. And in the Capitol Hill neighborhood there’s not only Red Light and Crossroads, but Atlas Vintage, Value Village, Le Frock, and many many more.
With all of these great bargain stores around there’s no doubt in-the-know Seattlites take advantage of their sweet deals. The best part about most of these stores is that they can buy and trade your clothes and give you cash or store credit for them. Like today, I made a solid $18 selling some of my old clothes and bags at Buffalo Exchange at the U. How’s that for Shopping Smart? I walked out of the store with more money than I came in with!
If you’re worried about walking into the store and just finding a bunch of junk, have no fear, most if not all of these stores have strict rules to make sure you get the best quality used clothing your money can buy. All of these stores have something different to offer; Red Light has an excellent stock of unique vintage finds while Crossroads specializes in the newest discount designer merchandise. From Goodwill to Atlas, there’s a store to fit your every budget. I mean, who can say no to $3 jeans? (Given they’re cute of course).
Most important of all, these stores couldn’t possibly survive without you, the consumers. If people didn’t come in every day looking to buy, sell or trade their clothing, these stores would be virtually nonexistent. So go on! Sell and trade your clothes! Make yourself some money, then buy that used Juicy dress you’ve been eyeing!

Water, Hair, and Some Very Good Popcorn…

4 Aug
Thought I’d take a little break from bargain tips today as I’ve got a fair bit happening. I’m on the ferry right now heading back from Seattle, munching on leftover popcorn (that is quickly turning stale but it’s still SOO GOOD! This popcorn most have crack in it or something, I can’t STOP munching!) after viewing a screening of A Water Tale directed by SJ Chiro. It is one of five short films that screened tonight at the Northwest Film Forum. I was quite excited to see this little film as several months ago I had helped in part of the movie-making magic when I secured myself a sort of “internship” being an assistant to the films costume designer, Doris Black. Doris wasn’t always able to be on set due to her young twins, and that is where I came in. I stayed on set while she wasn’t able to be and took on the responsibility of making sure the costumes looked just right for every take.
This had been my very first film-making experience, and I loved it; even when I had to stand outside in the drizzle and rain in near freezing temperatures (or babsit the talent), I was there doing my job. Thanks to this experience I’ve been able to land more film jobs doing costuming as well as make-up from the connections I made, and hopefully there will be even more jobs in the future.
And I’ve gotta admit, the film turned out pretty darn good, and I’m super proud to have been a part of the production. It was great having a mini reunion with the cast and crew tonight too.
In other news, I got a haircut.
And my, I think it turned out quite fabulous. I had been planning on growing my hair out all summer, but it started to become a bit too unruly and to be truthful, not very healthy. So, I decided to take a bit of a drastic change.I had the dead ends chopped off and went back to my natural dark roots and added a bit of excitement with a caramel chunk in my bangs. I got the idea for the hair coloring when I went to Japan this past spring to visit family, there was this model in a television commercial who had fab hair, kinda like what I have now, and I’d been dying for the ‘do ever since.
Haircuts are probably one of the very few things I’m willing to drop a chunk of cash on. And yes, I’ve cut and dyed my own hair in the past but I decided it’s best to leave my hair to the professionals, at least until I get my cosmetology license (if that ever happens…)
Nevertheless, I don’t like to walk into a snooty and expensive hair salon if I can get the same result somewhere cheaper, so I go to Hairmasters (so what?), and I’ve been quite happy with the results every time I’ve gone and I’m saving a crap ton of money.
There’s a mini tip for you, don’t mess with the expensive salons, even if you go to a cheaper chain, you’re most likely to get the same kind of expert, designer products and the stylists most likely have had the same training as the ones you’ll find in the more expensive salons. Some of the girls I’ve talked to at Hairmasters have gone to school at Aveda or Gary Manuel, so I’m pretty sure they know what they’re doing (at least I hope so).
Well the ferry is docking, and I must get going.
Until next time.
See ya’ll around.

Shopping Smart: Part 2 – Discount Stores. Great Deals, Great Fashion

3 Aug

It’s especially in economic times like this when finding that great deal on a designer outfit means that much more. This is when great discount stores like T.J. Maxx, Ross, and Nordstrom Rack (and many, many more) really come in handy. I honestly don’t see why more people don’t shop at stores like this, they really are quite a deal. You never know what you’ll find, and that’s what makes shopping at these stores so exciting.

You might think the tv commercials are cheesy, or that the clothing there is actually crap, but in reality the selection is great, and there are serious deals to be found.

Often times, buying clothing cheap means you sacrifice something for the bargain price, like quality. However, at stores like T.J. Maxx and Ross, you get exactly the same quality clothing and major-label brands as your department stores, but for deep discounts. (Check out this blog entry at Shoe Smitten to find out more about how these stores work).

Much of the clothing in my closet comes from discount stores like Ross or T.J. Maxx; for example, one of my favorite cardigans came from T.J. Maxx, a BCBG angora hair, soft and warm grey cardigan, it would’ve retailed at the department store for over $100 but I snagged it for less than $30! You can’t possibly deny deals like that.

An adorable white Tommy Hilfiger bag for $25? Oh yeah.

Juicy Couture? Coach? Michael Kors? Heck yeah they have it! Selling for far less than you’ll ever see at a department store.

And at the Nordstrom Rack (born in Seattle in 1975; now with 61 locations in 21 states), you’ll be in designer discount heaven. You get all the brands you see in Nordstrom, but much cheaper, and it’s fantastic. How about a pair of Betsey Johnson sunglasses for $60? At Nordstrom you’d have to pay twice as much. I’ve even seen and held the occasional Gucci or Prada bag, on the racks for half their retail price, sometimes even less; still a bit out of my price range, but man… holding those bags in my hands, feeling the quality and workmanship, it’s magic.

One of these days…

Shopping Smart: Part 1 – Bargain Hunting 101

2 Aug
I admit, I can be quite the shopaholic sometimes. I love bags, dresses, sunglasses, and especially shoes. It’s sometimes difficult to control myself and my spending. That’s why I made some guidelines for myself.

When it comes to shopping, I have 5 simple rules.

I admit, I may not always follow the rules to a tee, but they help me stay sensible when I go out shopping and make sure I come home happy, and not broke.

My first and most important rule is this:

#1: Know Your Limit

It’s extremely important to be realistic about your shopping. That’s why it’s always good to set a budget. Take some time for yourself and do a little planning, look at your money and set aside a few different funds for yourself. You don’t have to save every penny you earn, you just have to know how to spend it wisely. Allow yourself some spending money, but make sure it’s reasonable for your living situation.

Set yourself a spending limit before you go out shopping, and stick to it.

As for me, I keep the majority of my money in a Savings account, and a fraction of that amount in a Checking account. I rarely ever touch my Savings unless it is absolutely necessary. The only money I use comes out of my Checking or the cash I have at hand, and I keep track of my spending. Save receipts, and organize your bank statements, always know approximately how much money you have available, that way you don’t get a surprise when you’re checking out at the counter.

Just be smart with your money, don’t spend what you don’t have.

This leads me to my second point…
#2: Leave the Plastic at Home

If you’re the kind of person who thinks they can just charge, charge, charge to a card; don’t even tempt yourself. It’s always easy to say “Oh, I can just pay it off later” and simply let the expenses stack up. According to an article in USA today, the average undergrad college student carried $3,173 in credit card debt last year. Now that’s a lot of money. Don’t be a part of that statistic.
When you go out shopping, leave your plastic at home; just bring as much cash as you’re willing to spend and leave it at that.

I know that may be difficult to do, but it’s one smart way of staying out of debt.
For me, my card is set so I can’t overcharge; if I’m out of money, I’m out of money, the card is denied and I walk away or I pay in cash if I have it. Never, ever withdraw cash or transfer money from a Savings account, trust me, you don’t want to start that avalanche.
If you don’t have the money in cash or on your card, you don’t have the money. (Starting to see a pattern here?)
Now, to the next rule…
#3: Avoid Stores You Can’t Afford

There’s nothing more frustrating than going into a store and quickly realizing you can’t afford a single thing there. You see the price tags and choke, and walk out feeling miserable and empty handed; it’s not fun.
So let’s keep shopping fun and go to stores that can accommodate your budget. Be realistic! You’re definitely not going to be running into me at Barney’s any time soon. To be honest, I don’t feel that over-priced designer labels are always worth it. Dropping $500 on a brand new Coach bag isn’t going to make you feel glamorous if it just means you’ll be $500 in debt, it’s fiscally irresponsible! That’s why I keep to the stores I can afford; maybe for you that means the Nordstrom Rack instead of Nordstrom, even Ross, or T.J. Maxx (More on Discount Stores later this week). You shouldn’t feel ashamed going into a discount store, you should feel smart!

But if you do find yourself walking into a department store, or fancy boutique, my next rule should keep you in line…

#4: Deny Full Price
I can’t even remember the last time I bought something full price. Spending more than 20 bucks on a simple top seems just ridiculous to me. When I walk into a store, I make a beeline to the sales rack and start there; sometimes I don’t even bother looking at any other part of the store. If I find a deal, it’s cute, and it’s worth my money, I snag it. If not, I move on to the next store. I don’t pine over a dress that’s out of my price range, because believe me, I’m sure I can find something similar somewhere else, and it’ll be cheaper.

You just have to stay patient, and if you’re willing, buy off-season. The best time to find a deal on a swimsuit is Winter. Want a deal on a great warm Jacket? Wait ’til Summer. Why? Because the season to sell will have passed, and the stores are going to want to clear off what’s left of the last season’s inventory to make room for the up-coming season. This is when you’ll find great discounts. If you’re out shopping and find a must-have piece, but it’s just out of your price range, don’t burn a hole in your wallet; wait a little and keep checking back. Chances are it’ll go on sale in just a few weeks.

Last but not least…

#5: Treat Yourself Every Once in a While
 
Indulging yourself shouldn’t be a guilt trip, as long as you make it a special occasion. Every few months or so, I’ll have just enough money saved up to get myself something really nice. Say, a handbag I’ve been dying for or a really great pair of shoes.
Constantly worrying about and limiting your money expenditure can be tedious, and it’s probably not that healthy either; it’s always good to allow yourself a little release, consider it a reward for your hard work saving money.
Just make sure that you can really afford it, then go for it. Believe me when I say it feels a lot better to save your money and make one great purchase than constantly splurging. You still get what you want, and most importantly you feel smart and good about it.

So those are my 5 rules, not too difficult to follow right?

Well that’s it for now, keep your eyes peeled for more tips on Shopping Smart during this next week.