Fashion & Beauty

How to look like you’re wearing fake lashes, in a good way.

There are few things I hate more than waking up in the morning, bleary eyed and disoriented, and stumbling into the bathroom to stare down my naked, makeup-free face.

Now, I enjoy putting on makeup as much as anyone else who also happens to enjoy it. But one of my complaints about doing so during the work week, at such an early hour, is that it all seems for naught. I follow a pretty strict regimen, but an hour-long commute complete with train-switching and bus-catching can take its toll on all my hard work before I even set foot in the office.

One area that I never have issues with, however, is my eyelashes. I’ve been told since I was thirteen by everyone from dental assistants to bus drivers that I have good lashes. They’re long enough to almost touch my eyebrows, and they curve upward instead of sticking straight without the help of a curler. What all these fools don’t know is that without the help of mascara, my eyelashes are actually thin, sparse, and not very dark—albeit long enough to put in a ponytail.

I discovered Lancome Hypnose mascara when I was working in a Thai restaurant in the mall the summer before my freshman year of college. Virginia in the summer is humid and swampy, and combined with working eight-hour shifts running in and out of a hot kitchen, my eye-makeup routine wasn’t holding up. My mascara would often begin to flake midday, and reapplying to fill in the bare patches would create a spidery mess. I tried all kinds of different formulas, but found fault with each one. In my experience, mascaras are too thick and clumpy, too dry (also resulting in clumps when layered overzealously) or too liquidy—coating and separating the lashes, but not adding any volume.

One day as I gazed out over the parking lot contemplating what the staff meal might be, my manager approached me without introduction and demanded to know what kind of mascara I used. It was a weird question, but she was a very direct and weird person, so I promptly told her. (I can’t recall now what my answer was—most likely whatever was sitting in the bottom of my purse).  “You have nice lashes,” she said seriously, “but you should use different mascara. You know Lancome? Go buy the Hypnose. During your break.”

So I did. I walked to Macy’s during my lunch break and forked over $27 in wadded- up tips. I’m not really sure why I felt the need to heed this woman’s demands that I change what I put on my face, especially given the fact that I was skeptical of her own beauty habits (she wore purple contacts and a face-full of mask-like foundation). I guess it was because I was 18 and real adults could still tell me to do stuff back then.

My skepticism was immediately erased. I know we’re talking about mascara here, but I have been a convert since that fateful day. Hypnose’s formula is rich, creamy, and substantive, not unlike oil paint. The shape of the brush is kind of rectangular (weird, ok, but stick with me) so I use an edge to push mascara into the base of my eyelashes, and then fan it out using a flat side of the brush. Two coats and I’m set for the day, without clumps, flaking or smudging. I’m pretty sure this is the only absolute must-have item in my makeup bag, so I’m ordering you to go and buy it, as a wise restaurant manager once did to me.


Lancome Hypnose Mascara and Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in “Lucky.”

Fashion & Beauty

Sunday Funday


Sunglasses: Marc by Marc Jacobs, Dress: Necessary Objects (Piperlime), Bag: Gucci (ebay), Scarf: unknown, Earrings: Urban Outfitters (old), Bracelets: Lou Lou, Ring: House of Harlow (ebay), Booties: DV by Dolce Vita (Piperlime).

Today I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather to get some final wear out of one of my favorite summer tunic dresses. We went on a long walk this morning through Mount Pleasant, the neighborhood where my parents lived when I was born. The first time Chris and I went exploring there, we unwittingly happened upon my childhood (infant-hood?) home. I thought I recognized the area for some reason, so I called my mom and she informed me that we were standing right in front of our old house. Spooky.


The area has changed a lot since my parents decided to move away, and there are a couple of great places we keep coming back to. Flying Fish Coffee and Tea is a favorite, and Beau Thai is one of the better Thai restaurants I’ve come across in the city. (Their cocktails are phenomenal. Try the Sparkling Lemongrass or the Thai Basil Gimlet.) We also make a practice of scouring the neighborhood for open houses and yard sales, especially on Sundays. For some reason, Mount Pleasant always has a surplus of both. Nice way to spend a day.

Fashion & Beauty


Millenium Park

My boyfriend and I took our annual summer trip this past weekend, and chose to visit my favorite city. He’d never been before, and I was dying to drag him around and impress him. Beware, this is a long post.

We saw all the sights, and I did so largely in a pair of Bieber pants. I was browsing my favorite consignment shop the day before our trip and came upon these James Perse cargo capri sweats (they’re actually more of a t-shirt type material– not jersey, but old school cotton). They were kind of an inessential purchase (ha) so I decided I needed to make the most of money spent by wearing the hell out of them this trip. Plus, they’re versatile and perfect for pre-fall in the Windy City. Since we were walking around so much, I wore them with sneakers, but they’re great with ankle boots as well.

Millenium Park

Millenium Park

Sunglasses: Marc by Marc Jacobs, Shirt: BDG (Urban Outfitters), Pants: James Perse (consignment), Bag: Gucci (ebay), Shoes: Nike Huarache Women’s Dance Low sneaker.

Navy Pier

City view from the Ferris wheel on Navy Pier.

I didn’t want to bore Chris with too much shopping, so I skipped what’s known as the Magnificent Mile– an expansive downtown stretch of luxury retailers and massive, multi-level stores like Target and Forever 21. Instead, we checked out some of Chicago’s Northside neighborhoods, like Bucktown, a Brooklyn-esque area full of boutiques, consignment, and vintage. I also spent a day with my cousin in Roscoe Village, which ended up being by favorite shopping spot of the weekend. It’s a pretty unassuming neighborhood on first glance, but it was filled with small shops and truly unique finds.



I’m a huge sucker for draped, asymmetrical cuts, so I swiped this jacket/sweater hybrid off the mannequin as soon as I saw it. It’s by Blank NYC, and the back and sides are faux leather. Brown jeans are a surprisingly rare find (in my experience), and I love earth tones for fall and winter, so I also jumped on these burnt sienna coated denim pants by Red Engine. I love the print of this super-soft Monrow sweatshirt, which I feel like I’ll be living in once it gets a little colder out. I got all of this and the gold bracelet with inlaid stones at one store, called the Denim Lounge, which basically bankrupted me for the weekend. They were having an incredible 75% off sale on tons of gorgeous stuff. (I could have done a lot more damage if I’d had a couple of beers with my Murphy’s hotdog, and I kind of wish I did.) The delicate stone and spike necklace was from a store across the street, called Hubba Hubba. The sneakers are by a San Francisco brand called Chrome, which makes super durable, masculine shoes and bags (though they do carry women’s sizes in a handful of designs). Chris and I each got a pair on sale at their store in Bucktown.


Necklace: Hubba Hubba in Roscoe Village, Bracelet: The Denim Lounge.

I guess the only thing that could rival the shopping in Chicago is the food. (And the architecture. And the limitless number of things to do.) But yeah, eating out usually ranks among the highest on my list.


The aforementioned Murphy’s hotdog, or “redhot,” whatever that means.

Luckily we were right down town, and were within walking distance of plenty of bars and restaurants. It was a little cooler at night, so I got to break out a couple of warmer pieces.


On this particular night I think we had Chinese at Dee’s in Lincoln Park. Amazing. View from our hotel.
Sweater set: Missoni (consignment).


Can we all agree that it’s cool to wear white after Labor Day? Rules are dumb.
Jacket: J. Crew (consignment), Jeans: Maker’s (Loehmann’s), Necklaces: Etsy and Lou Lou, Earrings: Ralph Lauren (Nordstrom Rack).

Coincidentally, our friends Mike and Pearl (of Chandeliers and Ripped Jeans) were in Chicago for the weekend as well. We were lucky enough to catch them one night for a couple of drinks at the Hubbard Inn, a gorgeous, multi-level restaurant bar downtown that had the feel of an old saloon mixed with an artist’s loft. I couldn’t take too many photos because it was so dark, and I didn’t want to disturb everyone with too much flash-photography. But I did get a picture of our lovely and fashionable friends.


On Pearl: Top: Zara, Necklaces: Etsy and French Connection, Bag: Kate Spade.
On Mike: Shirt: Scotch & Soda, Watch: Kenneth Cole.

On the last day of our trip, we visited the Art Institute for an exhibition on Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity. The show featured works by Impressionist painters like Degas and Manet alongside the actual garments worn by their subjects, housed in glass cases. It was pretty amazing to see them side-by-side. I wish I could illustrate this with pictures, but naturally, photography wasn’t allowed in the exhibition. Suffice it to say, the corsets looked really, alarmingly uncomfortable.


The modern wing at the Art Institute.


Courtyard at the Art Institute.
Sweatshirt: Monrow (The Denim Lounge), Pants: James Perse (consignment), Shoes: Chrome, Bag: L.A.M.B. (ideeli).


And then we were on our way home. Until next time, Chicago.

Fashion & Beauty

Boston Wedding

I mentioned that I was headed out of town for a wedding last weekend, but I haven’t gotten around to writing a post about it until now. Our friends Paul and Amanda got married in their hometown of Boston, and had an incredibly lavish, super elegant reception at the Boston Public Library. Seriously unbelievable.


Cocktail hour in the courtyard.

My boyfriend was a groomsman, so we were invited to an equally gorgeous rehearsal dinner at the Hampshire House, a historic mansion in Beacon Hill. I had a feeling this weekend would be one of the nicest events I’d get to go to this year and I was absolutely right. I had a few things lying around to wear, but I wanted to supplement them with… other, newer things.

Rehearsal Dinner


Dress: Rebecca Taylor (consignment), Shoes: Badgley Mischka (ebay), Clutch: Aimee Kestenberg (ideeli), Earrings: unknown brand (ideeli), Bracelet: Lou Lou, Rings: Melinda Maria (, Makeup: Lancome Hypnose mascara, MAC smudgeproof liner in Buried Treasure and Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Smog, Burt’s Bees lipgloss in Autumn Haze, Benefit Watts Up! highlighter, Airspun translucent powder, Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee in Honeymoon Honey, Tokyomilk perfume #57 Sencha Blue

I scored this dress a few months ago at one of my favorite consignment stores in DC, Secondi, and had been looking for an opportunity to wear it. I didn’t have too many options by way of formal heels, so I decided to buy a pair of strappy stilettos in a light, neutral gold. I love Badgley Mischka shoes, and had been obsessing over their signature embellished pumps, but I decided to go with something a little more understated and versatile. I found this brand new pair on ebay for a mere $60, which is less than you might pay for a standard shoe from many a lesser brand. This is why I basically never walk into a department store, or really any store, and just buy things off the rack. (I’m getting anxious just thinking about it.) Then again, I enjoy sifting through options and searching for bargains, and some people don’t.


For makeup, I basically dressed up my standard cat-eye. I’m half-Japanese and I don’t have a ton of eyelid real-estate, so I don’t usually use shadows, at least not in the traditional sense. Instead, if I’m looking to get fancy, I smudge a liner across my lid after using a translucent powder to hold everything in place. I used Smog by Urban Decay this time, which is a rusted-copper brown. These liners have kind of a cult following because the colors are rad, and they’re creamy and easy to blend. Once they set, though, they don’t budge. I followed this with MAC smudge proof pencil in Buried Treasure, which is dark brown with tiny flecks of gold, for the cat-eye. I used Benefit’s Watts Up! highlighter on my brow bone, blending it onto my lid, and finished with Lancome Hypnose mascara on my top and bottom lashes. Josie Maran’s Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee has become my go-to blush, because it’s so easy to apply and it looks completely natural. The consistency is reminiscent of Jell-O, so it’s also fun. I mean, for me it is, but maybe I have low standards.


Drinking wine by a mirror.



Dress: BB Dakota (Piperlime), Shoes: Badgley Mischka (ebay), Clutch: Ann Taylor (consignment), Earrings: Kate Spade, Bracelet: Tahari (ideeli), Rings: Melinda Maria (

I love the big fat graphic floral print of this dress. I got it on sale from Piperlime for $50, which I thought was more than reasonable, but the price has been reduced even further since then (you’re welcome). A few days before the wedding I stumbled upon this Ann Taylor Loft clutch at Secondi (you should be sensing a theme, here) which I was pretty ecstatic about. I have been lusting after one of the classic Bottega Veneta ones for years, but LOL at that ever happening. I love the aqua/coral combo, especially paired with gold jewelry. I happened to snag the Kate Spade earrings months ago (for another wedding, naturally) on one of their sneaky online super-sales. They matched perfectly– what are the odds?

I ended up doing the same makeup routine the second night as well, minus the copper lid. Yes, I am a one-trick pony.


Truly sorry for the awkwardness of this crappy iPhone photo.

Now let’s ogle this venue…


Holy cats.


Dining hall/study hall.



And, most importantly, congratulations to these two.