Category: Accessories

Mood of the day: the Frenchie

Very strange weather. Last week I was boasting about New York’s Indian Summer to all my European mates and this week is a mix bag of rain, thunderstorms and tornados alerts, Fall breeze, hot and sunny afternoons etc… As the French say, ‘c’est n’importe quoi!’ (It’s anything…and everything). So I decided to just mix Summer and Fall:

– my favorite summer jumpsuit from United Colors of Benetton. It is as comfy as pajamas. And it has helped me a lot to hide my bump in the early days of my pregnancy with L, after I gave birth to L and …now.  Yep, it is kind of the same bump, and it looks like it is here to stay, the kids even named it. They call it ‘LE BEBE’ (the baby)…

– my mint pumps from Nine West

– a scarf by Day Birger et Mikkelsen

– and my most precious item of clothing: a trench coat from Louis (Vuitton) that I literally snatched away from some skinny gal during a sample sale (back when my cousin was working for LVMH). I am not proud.

Every fashionista has read at least one article or two about French women’s (supposed) natural and effortless chic. My little brain went French woman + scarf + trench coat = BINGO. Except that how effortless chic can you really be when you can no longer freaking close the trench coat???? Oh well…

On a side note, I met up for a coffee with Lou, a childhood friend from France, who was visiting New York with her hubby. We haven’t seen each other in about 18 years and it is was shocking how easy it was to just pick up the conversation and run with it. Great feeling. It was also funny to talk to someone who knew you as a child and as a teenager but then missed your adult years because they say things like:

‘It’s hilarious because I would not have pictured you with a husband and 3 babies. You were so adamant about not getting hooked up with anyone, so independent!

-‘Back then you already seemed rather unaffected by shitty stuff that would happen around you, like floating above the crap.’

I guess I did change but not so much 🙂

French trench

French trench 2

Creative mama: Archer

After a quick start and a madly productive period, I dropped the ball with the Amateur Art August challenge…Almost 20 days have passed since I last finished something. It is not because I was lacking inspiration but it was blatantly because I lack skills. I basically spent 2 weeks thinking of a prototype for some removable cuffs and then I finally got into action. Blimey. I realized that even though I really want it, I am not Stella McCartney. Terrible design. Terrible choice of materials. Terrible pattern. Terrible construction. Usually when I create something, it is is an original piece as in ‘look closely at it because you will never see me doing this piece ever again’. It is not snobbery; it is just that I usually have no fucking clue how I got there.  I just wing it.

The key problem with my latest creation was simple: 2 arms, 2 wrists, 2 bloody identical (preferably) cuffs. So yep, totally outside of my comfort zone. Anyway here is my ‘Archer’ piece, tribute to Archibald who was on my ass for the last 10 days  saying ‘Just do it woman, just do it!!!!’.

I cut 2 pieces of soft leather, pleated flannel animal printed fabric with tulle material, and stitched the whole thing together. Then I finished with some golden snaps so the back of the snaps can be seen to add some edge.  I tried them on a long sleeved black top and underneath a men’s jacket. Oh well, let’s hope they’ll last until the end of Fall. Also, it is clearly not suitable for when eating soups.

Lessons I need to apply for my future projects include:

– I have to learn how to use my sewing machine because hand stitching is NOT always a good idea especially if you sew like a drunken sailor walks.

– Because your hand stitching sucks, try to find some ‘forgiving materials’ that won’t show every screw up you make. For example, ‘varnished’ animal prints are a NO-NO, OK?

– There is no way to make shortcuts to cut your leather properly. It takes time. Yes it sucks but that’s the way it is. You need to clean your cutting board, use it with a sharp blade and stop using a pair of scissors to cut leather as if you were doing some friggin’ paper Origami.

I think this is my last piece as part of the August challenge, I had fun and hopefully my creative streak will remain alive. Thanks to my fellow bloggers who took part in the challenge:

Archer 2

Mood of the day: back to back

It has been a while since I have done a MOTD post and the reason is simple: in the last 2 weeks I have been looking like a hobbit on most days and when I was not, I had to rush out of the house because I was late for this or for that. I did miss not doing this type of post because it encourages me to mix and match old and more recent clothing and accessories and give a new twist to my wardrobe – which is sorely needed considering my emaciated clothing budget. Something funny happened yesterday; I realized that I was wearing the same combination of necklace (a 50s 3-strings necklace from Pippin), belt (a reversible grey/fuchsia belt by Calvin Klein) and shoes (flat sandals by Mix No6) as the day before!

This never happened before; I don’t do this type of stuff usually. The funnier thing is that these two days could not have been more different.

Day 1

Main activity: going to the Supreme Court to register the name of my freelance business. It was a little silly to be in such a grandiose place for a trade that only has one client who signed for a few hours of my time. But I must admit it was a silly and feel good moment too.

Look: Zara suit jacket, anna-kaci harem cropped pants, Gant halter top, and reading glasses by Vera Wang

Food: a 3 courses lunch at Robert@MAD Museum, top floor, with my French friends Louis and Chloe from London. It was quite a heart-to-heart meal during which we honestly shared how fucked up we can be as parents and shared our bemusement at Americans and British parents. How come they never yell? We, French people, seem to have this motto: Discipline = Putain de merde, tu vas arreter, oui??? (Are you fucking going to stop or what?).

Funny anecdote: I came out of the Supreme Court and hundreds of people at the bottom of the stairs were screaming in
my face ‘we want justice‘ showing signs with a teenage black boy with a hoodie. Turns out I was in the middle of shooting for Law & Order. That was very scary, all this crowd….I don’t think I’ll ever have what it takes to be famous 🙂

Day 2

Main activity: taking care of L. All day.

Look: Stripe top, electric blue Kensie crepe trousers, H&M sunglasses

Food: Shrimp and cilantro wrap from Pret-a-Manger in Bryant Park with Archibald. The plan was to have a catch up during Archibald’s lunch break and watch L run around the lawn…We ended up running after L as he decided it was way more interesting to mess with people’s lunch. People were not amused. DH and I usually let our kids wander off so we can chat or drink some wine but often have to sprint at the last minute to get them out of mucky situations (e.g. getting licked by a dog, stealing people’s frapuccinos etc.). And people usually wonder with mixed concern and annoyance where the bloody parents are …

Funny anecdote: P & L were at the day care and I managed to get showered and be out of the house at 8.45 with L for a coffee run. It was the first time ever that I was ready that early with a kid in tow. A true miracle.

So what do you guys think? Day 1 or day 2?

Note: I realized I bought a XXL size belt…Bloody moron so I had to dig out my leather craft tools to make a hole. I guess my 5 weeks at Fashion Institute Technology in Accessories design 101 were not completely useless.

Note 2: in the ‘spot the differences’ game, who noticed the little man in the background trashing my white bedding with his shoes????
Back to back

Backtoback2

Creative mama: Sandrine

I cannot believe I am still part of the Amateur Art August challenge. I seriously thought I was going to drop out after the first week but that’s the beauty of the blogosphere, you get to ‘meet’ women from all over the world who, despite being sick and/or trying to juggle everything, stuck to their pledge and have been pretty productive. So thank you:

because of you, I am on the longest streak of accessories production since…well…EVER. This week’s piece is called Sandrine, as a tribute to a dear Japan-obbessed friend (or at least, I think she is Japan obsessed, if not…AWKWARD :). Anyway, this friend, a very, very long time ago told me: ‘You should take your creativity seriously, just do it.’ Better late than never, I guess.

I shaped some teal straw and added a double bow. To tell the truth, the shape is pure luck because I cut it out from some old and damaged summer hat. I was going to through the hat away but thought the wave was interesting so I cut out the center piece thinking that one day I might do something half-interesting with it. I hand stitched a piece of black suede leather (yes, my fingers are still hurting and yes, my needle is ruined) into a japanese Obi style shape and used a vibrant ribbon from Mokuba to maintain the shape. Mokuba is an exclusive Japanese ribbons and trims supplier which has stores only in Japan, Paris and NYC. It is like Heaven:  everything is beautiful and soft there.  Heaven with some tenacious guards who don’t allow you to touch anything. You have to look at the ribbon rolls with submission and reverence and you have to lie (e.g. ‘Yes, of course I own a fashion label, here is my uber fake business card’) to be able to buy a piece of Heaven. God Mokuba, I hope I served you well with my ‘Sandrine’.

Sandrine

Working mama: Clemence and fireflies

I have been in a mental slump since returning from our vacation in France hence the frenetic blogging. Apologies to all my readers for becoming that emotionally needy mess and for ‘postifying’ you! However, this week I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is nothing like a solar beam; it’s more like fireflies floating in the dark but still, it is something. I can feel it.

First, I might soon sign my first contract as a freelance consultant for a start up. No big money here but a very exciting collaboration with some really good peeps (professionally and humanely). Can you believe that this might be the first time in 3 years that I am getting paid for using my brain? It’s not volunteering, it’s not caring for my household, it’s not about crafts…So yeah, I am chuffed. This firefly is a kick ass firefly or what??

Second, I mentioned taking part in an Amateur Art August challenge started by Katelikestocreate. And ideas started to mushroom in my head right, left and center. I then discovered that a few others have joined in and thought: ‘shit, I really have to do this now, don’t I? No more contemplating of scarfs, hats, necklaces etc. Chop, chop, woman, and get your dusty craft supplies case out!’

To fulfill my pledge, on this first day of August I am finishing the hat I created for my French girlfriend, Clemence. It is made of felt which I shaped by creating 2 folds on a balsa block and trimmed into a 30s style cloche hat . I curved 3 strands of blue ribbon with a hot flat iron so they softly follow the tilt of the hat and finished with a feather trimming. The head size is maintained by a hand stitched lilac ribbon. Et Voila !

I tried to emulate Clemence’ s elegance and taste for chic but alternative details while celebrating her very blue eyes. What is awesome about her is that she is quite an entrepreneur who started a successful French bakery with now 2 premises in New Jersey from scratch and while being heavily preggers. Disgusting 🙂 She is a true an inspiration to me. A human firefly.

Sent from my iPhone

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Fashion babbling: what to pack on vacation part 2

2 hours left before the big departure and we have:
2 suitcases
1 suit bag
5 cabin luggage (including 1 diaper bag, 1 kids entertainment bag and a foodie bag)
2 strollers
And a baby carrier

This is not going to work. How are we going to carry sleeping babies into the air craft with all these bags. Need to come up with a back up plan muy pronto.

In the meantime I am very proud of my 40s inspired ‘light’ packing of accessories:
1950s rhinestones brooch, 1940s Coro earrings (both from my favorite Vintage Jewelry shop, Pippin in Chelsea), my little bird fascinator, pearls, ribbons, rolls for retro curls …and lollipops. Our pediatrician recommended that we use Benadryl to help us get a ‘hold on’ on our kids. But it backfired. If anything L was more excited than ever this morning at 3am…So now we stacked up on our ultimate ‘I will give you anything if you stop climbing onto people’s head rest and sit on your effing seat’ weapon: the lollies.

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Fashion babbling: what to pack on vacation part 1

I described the challenge of packing a stylish vacation wardrobe with now 3 kids in tow. So I looked for some inspirations, this blog post by Ain’t no mom jeans is particularly useful. I also decided to curb my fashion schizophrenia by adopting only one look for the entire vacation: the 40s. The idea is that it will help me filter through outfits and accessories and thus pack light (or at least lighter). It will be tough for me because I never stick to one style – see my ‘mood of the day’ posts.

First item on the packing list: Le chapeau.
Options included straw men’s hat, a cap with visor, a cowboy’s hat, and a straw large brim. The main attribute should be ‘easy to carry around’ but I favored the ‘I don’t care if it gets trashed’ factor because on my  last trip to France, I wanted to show off to my family my millinery skills so I flew with my straw cloche. It was my way to say ‘No, I am not a jobless loser. I kind of make my own hats…How cool is that?’ But unfortunately a fellow passenger put their suitcase on top of it….Nice. I almost sobbed in the middle of the aisle. I have thus chosen a granny brim purchased in Savannah, Georgia which I improved with a striped scarf.  The plus factor: I can pack a couple of ‘no space cluttering’ scarves as alternative trimmings. Still schizophrenic but genius, right?

I am throwing in two pairs of sunnies, a cheap one and a Tom Ford pair: one to wrestle with the kids in the pool and one to pose with on a bar terrace.

Hat

PS: my rants of the day
– I had to buy something in the village for my sis today and ended up walking in the meat packing district. I adore this hood but could not help feeling like I was the protagonist of the ‘Truman show’, except that it was more like the ‘Cindy Crawford’ show. In the meatpacking, all the women are long legged amazons, all men are like Richard effing Branson and I am the naive troll wandering around wondering if unbeknownst to me I crashed into a Style Network production.

– I did some shopping in a department store in Chelsea (aka known as gay and skinny Chelsea)and a shop assistant heckled me:’Mommy, mommy, the fitting rooms are over there’. I was like ‘Am I in the maternity section?’ and thus checked if I had picked nursing tops…Horror, I had not. She bloody thought I was pregnant !!! B-I-T-C-H.

PS bis: in the middle of the rush hour at 34th st Herald Square, a perfect falsetto rose. A big guy was singing a Maxwell (I think) song, he did not have a GQ face but a voice that stopped at least 50 people in their tracks: young African American teenagers, tourists, commuters, elderly people, busy mamas etc. I love this city for the sickening volume of talents you can find at every corner. And when that talent stops time, unites such crowd and makes me forget about the sticky weather and my swollen feet, it is just magical. New York, I am going to miss you on my vacation…

Building in meatpacking

Mood of the day: Grecian cabin girl

The last week end was the hottest of the year so far. And as a true Lao, with the burning sun and the humidity, I was right in my natural element…or NOT. Truth to be told, I do not know how to use chopsticks and I am a sweating mess when it is above 75 degrees Fahrenheit outside; in other words not your typical Asian gal. Anyway what to do in the City when it’s like a furnace outside and you have 3 kids having a bad case of cabin fever? I thought about letting them run around the house naked while spraying water from an Avene thermal spring water can on them and sipping champagne but DH was on a mission. His scheme for the week end: get the kids as knackered as possible so they would pass out and not squat our bed in the middle of the night. The final program included:
– sprinklers in the building yard with neighbors’ kids AND in Morningside park. It sounds cute but in reality, it is violent. I am not kidding; I usually hate playgrounds and I hate it even more when I become the victim of a 6 year old water bomber.
– BBQ by the Delaware river which my three kids dove into with no sense of fear whatsoever. Note to self: I really need to learn how to swim because from I gathered this week end, G, P and L think they can walk on water…
– play date with their friend K. in a massive playground/water park in Jersey City with Manhattan skyline as backdrop; which means they were high on excitement, which means me looking for one of the kids every 30 seconds because they  were running towards a different corner of the park all afternoon: G was ‘chasing’ sprinklers, L was stuffing his mouth with moist sand and P sat next to and stared at a woman nursing her baby (poor woman trying to hide her breast…).

Considering how much I slaved around, it only seemed fitting that I wore a cabin girl inspired outfit: a light white and blue stripe dress and some gold and ivory bracelet and necklace, all by H&M.

Grecian cabin girl

Summer fun

Mood of the day: the young and the restless

I don’t exactly know why I was obsessed with the word ‘young’ today. Possible reasons include:
– I woke up with Miley Cyrus’ ‘Party in the USA’ track in my head and have been humming the tune since. The fact that I know who Miley Cyrus is at my age is odd, the fact that I have her song on repeat in my Iphone is…well retarded.
– I have been procrastinating on the final assignments for my NYU course (including shooting and editing a cause video) and thus I will have to pull a couple of all nighters in the next few days drinking Red Bull or similar crap.
Here’s my ‘pretending to be young’ outfit for the day:
– denim shorts by Theory, it is tacky to show that much skin past 25 but it is 73 degrees Fahrenheit (23C) and that is the consequence of a long winter. As soon as there is sun now, flesh, young or old, is popping out everywhere so suck it up people.
– pumps by Cole Haan
– necklace made of 3 copper and silver bangles
– holes, holes, holes. This customized Tee makes me feel particularly young because Christian, my childhood artist/off the cuff fashion designer friend, made the cuts directly on me to make me ‘lose’ a couple of pounds. It is actually quite genius – some kind of punk tailor made clothing. I wore it the last time I partied until sunrise in edgy Dalston, London with Christian and his flatmates, youngsters in their early twenties. It was pre-children life; DH was in NYC and I was ‘commuting’ between London and NYC. I remember that I had to pay for the beers because those students were too broke and that some were mesmerized by the fact that I actually had a paid job. I felt a little like a sugar mama. It was a little uncomfortable and I remember thinking ‘Gosh, those kids are so impressionable. I hope life treats them well’. Despite the mindless fun, that was when I realized: ‘Thank god, I am over this sense of loss and search for who knows what.’ I realized that I had never been a content youngster; I was mostly insecure and always angry. So growing old is just fine by me, I guess. Especially when I can still groove in my head on the sound of Maroon 5’s Moves like Jagger…But shush, keep the secret. I will deny it anyway 🙂
PS: the French braid was inspired by a blogger which blog Closet strategy details a meticulous and smart approach to shopping. Plus I love that she is a Balenciaga fan too..
the young and the restless

Mood of the day: I’m like a bird by Nelly Furtado

I knew I wanted to have some kind of hunting/pheasant feel for my 37th birthday outfit – the 18th I am celebrating with DH who was born on the exact same day. It is weird to think that we are like twins who have twins. Thank god for L’s arrival which disrupted our slightly freakish household dynamics. Anyway I had in my head these flamboyant dark feathers assembled behind a golden vintage brooch that I was going to pin on my one shoulder American Apparel but I had a last minute technical issue. Note: when you have three kids you should not attempt to design an accessory from scratch 30 minutes before you are out of the door because you are doomed to: 1- have a wardrobe meltdown 2- thus be late and get your DH pacing around you trying to be patient but really starting to sweat in his jacket and wishing he was married to a somewhat lower maintenance gal.

In the end I opted to show the world a headpiece I put together a year ago using an old belt and a red feather I stole from a dinner party at the Buddha/Ajna bar and add to the look a diamantes Roberto Cavalli belt and my favorite suede Tassel high heeled boots by YSL. Turns out  that although I loved the fierce look, with my post pregnancy belly that is still there (pfff), I felt more like a Turkey than a bird. Oh well, I had a hell of a party so felt not too shabby for a 37 year old mama.