Basic Building

I have surprised myself (quite pleasantly) that I haven't bought much of anything at all this summer, but I have an inkling that when summer school ends in early August, I will no doubt indulge myself then. Instead of marching full force ahead with little forethought and planning, I thought I should at least set myself some goals to rein in careless and mindless spending. Truth to be told, I was afraid of doing this as Ives have put it so well here, that the stress from curating/planning the wardrobe can be paralyzing and stifling, zapping all the fun out of the very thing that is supposed to bring you joy. While I commend those who are abiding by the 4-5 Piece French Wardrobe rules, I don't think that's really the thing for me, mostly because you need to already have great basics to build on and then 4-5 statement pieces per season on top of it. Quite frankly, I don't think I even need that many so-called statement pieces, unless you count Barbour jackets, Filson briefcases, L.L. Bean duck boots and Bass Weejun penny loafers into the mix but even then, they are not flashy as the word statement suggests so I am more inclined to think that they are basics more than anything.

Though I have purchased little, already I am seeing the benefits of having good basics (i.e. the navy jersey skirt) as it makes everyday dressing for summer classes a breeze. I will like to continue basics searching and building for the next year, yet I worry if I can continue with the project because I do need the funds to buy some much-desired magazines and Alain de Botton books as well as art supplies (when did stretched canvas became so expensive?). I am already trying to cut down the costs of books by reading them online via Bartleby or downloading them through Project Gutenberg. I suppose we'll just have to wait and see what happens! Anyone else going basics shopping?

Guest Post: A Summer Mixtape

Hello! This is Jada from Minestrone Soup for the Teenage Soul, and I am so happy to be guest blogging for Joy. All of her posts are so refreshing to read, and she's just a lovely lady and phenomenal blogger. For my guest post, I wanted to have all you readers enjoy a few great tunes that I have selected to compliment your summer days and nights. Hope everyone is enjoying the sun and having a happy summer!
Vetiver - Wonder Why // Album: The Errant Charm They had just released their new album, "The Errant Charm" in June and already caught the attention of indie music blogs everywhere, but most importantly, Rolling Stone. This indie folk band from San Francisco makes you almost feel as if you were on your way to a map less trip to California. Perfect summer anthem? I think so.
Foster the People - I Would Do Anything For You // Album: Torches I am in love with this band and not because the boys are cute...but on a serious note, listen to them. You may know this band from their popular single, "Pumped Up Kicks," which happens to be a pretty kick ass catchy song about a homicidal killer...oh. Anyways, this song is perfect for the summer because maybe you'll have a summer romance? Maybe not? Either way, it's dreamy.
Lisa Mitchell - Red Wine Lips // Album: Wonder This Australian singer has the most distinct and darling voice ears have ever wanted to hear! She was a contestant for Australian Idol and has played in numerous music festivals. This song will get your shoulders shuffling up and down and your feet on the floor. A cheerful tune to get you smiling and out in the warm summer sun.
Surfer Blood - Take It Easy // Album: Astro Coast From West Palm Beach, these Florida natives really bring the beach to their album, "Astro Coast." Just hearing the entire album, the band brings an oceanic imagery to their crazy, afro beat sound. They have been compared to the ivy league cuties of Vampire Weekend, but I believe these boys have a unique style of their own.
Bombay Bicycle Club - Ivy and Gold // Album: Flaws It's crazy to think how much this band has blown up into the indie music world. I've been a fan of them for years, and they will be releasing a new album by the end of this summer. From London, these talented and adorable British lads also cover a Joanna Newsom song in this all acoustic album. It is flawless...

Friday Favourites III

Sorry for not posting anything yesterday. I was so frustrated at writing this German essay with so little vocabulary available at hand. It felt so silly and childish (in a bad way) writing such short simple sentences. I am pretty sure many know by now of a new exquisite magazine by the name of KINFOLK through the sheer amount of bloggers talking about it.  These are the videos from the magazine that I came across on Vimeo, which are absolutely phenomenal and creatively inspiring. I'm pretty sure you'll like them as much as I do. Read the magazine online here.

Credits reserved for the creators of the videos.

A Fitting Opening

I have a long wordy post waiting to be written later tonight, so I thought I'll just do a quick little update for now. This is MAD MEN's opening title re-design by Paul Rogers. I saw this over at Laughing Squid and thought it looked great but I am wondering whether it is official or not. Still it looked amazing and is totally post-worthy so I couldn't hesitate. I can't wait until the show comes on air again.

Love for All Things by Miuccia Pt. 2

Now round two for sister MIU MIU to shine, in all its glory. Personally, I think Miuccia played it a little safer than I would have liked, however that does not make this particular collection boring or uninteresting. It's apt that she made this more girly because Miu Miu is intended for a younger audience. I am just surprised at how wearable this is. Strangely, the collection feels generally more polished than Prada even though it is supposedly "younger". Suppose Betty Draper's daughter is growing up and starting to play with her mother's jewels? Perhaps. I love the slight preppy feel to this, with the gingham and the hairbands, though of course Miuccia puts her own spin on it by featuring thunderbolt prints in some of the dresses. Quirky yet polished, all in one neat little resort collection.

Full size photos here.

Love For All Things by Miuccia Pt. 1

I finally came across the new PRADA's Resort 2012 collection and Miu Miu's Resort 2012 collection and you can say that I am absolutely smitten with both of them. I'm having such a hard time now choosing which looks from each collection to post so I thought I'll separate the two to have their own posts each. I suppose Prada, as the main line, should have round one first. The collection has a distinct retro feel and one blogger had commented before that the collection has a Betty Draper-esque quality as well to it but it feels so very Italian and not at all American, whatever that really is. No sense of Americana here! Can we say this is Betty Draper after her semester abroad at Milan? I love the simplicity and the exquisite detailing; I prefer the pastel looks to the others but on the whole this was a strong cohesive collection that blows other resort collections out of the water.

Full size photos here.

It's All About Pride and Prejudice

I agree with many Austen purists out there that the best adaption of Pride and Prejudice would be the 1995 BBC series staring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. Oh Colin that man looks even better now a decade later is beyond me. I digress. I have to say, though the 2005 film version strayed from the always safe path of sticking to the books, it did an excellent job of translating the book onto the big screen in its own fashion. Keira Knightley was of course, as gorgeous as ever as the witty Lizzy and had great chemistry with her co-star, Matthew McFayden, who was still a great Darcy though no Colin Firth if you know what I mean. The Bennets were a wonderful and warm lot, but did you know Carey Mulligan was "Kitty" back then? I'm slapping myself for not noticing her before An Education. Then again, she didn't have much of a role in the film. I mean Lydia has her big moment with Wickham and Mary gets the chance to bang on the piano at the ball, but her? Nothing much. Moving on, Tom Hollander was most wonderful as the hilariously awkward Mr. William Collins, minister and cousin of the Bennets.  But the best thing of all? The jaw-droppingly beautiful locations featured on the film, as well as the the neutral palette and exquisite simplicity of the dresses worn.

I must have watched this film on the DVD more than dozen times now but It never gets old. Remember that awesome, "I've found it" giddy feeling I mentioned in the last post on Midnight in Paris? Well I feel it every single time I watch this film without fail. I am still trying to figure what exactly makes watching this film such an incredible experience. Is it the great acting? The lush cinematography? The inspiring soundtrack? The arresting sets? The elegant costumes? The timeless romance storyline? The spot-on directing? I think it encompasses a bit of everything, which is why this film will continue to last into the future, never to be forgotten, to be watched again and again with great enthusiasm. I suppose I should stop gushing now and move to things other than praise. But I don't have to describe plot do I? I think this the best love story written ever (better than Romeo and Juliet in my opinion, and Butterfly Lovers coming to a close second). I have to admit I didn't like Austen so much in the very beginning, partly because I've started on the wrong foot by choosing to read Emma for summer reading when I was twelve. However, Pride and Prejudice was really something I could bite into. I see a bit of my quickness to judge, my obstinacy and a penchant for reading. Sadly sans a Darcy of my own of course.

I forgot which blog I read it from, but I too notice this Sofia Coppola-esque return to dreamy romanticism in terms of both shape and colours. Maybe it's summer and we all like to wear lighter colours for the hotter weather, but even the king of all things dark and edgy, aka Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy, included in his fall 2010 couture collection many dresses in luminescent pale gold and white in soft, sheer chiffon/tulle-like fabrics. This theme is echoed equally in Pride & Prejudice in their use of similarly lightweight though less luxe fabrics like cotton or linen. This new romantic turn of things seems to be not just a trend. It certainly is not like the fun but gaudy and over-the-top grand ballgowns of Marie-Antoinette of the film circa 2006, but more of the simple silhouettes and muted shades of this film. This new minimalism of both colour and shape must have been inherited from Céline but perhaps, instead of the stiff, super-tailored, structured looks, the lines and the cut of clothes have been softened up quite a bit. The take home message here however isn't about this romantic revival in trends but rather that there is much beauty in the unembellished and the unadorned. It means shying away from the harsh metal studs, acid washed denim and ripped garments from Balmain. It means paring things down, and don something natural and organic, not fabric-wise, but rather the overall general quality of the garment needs to feel comfortable and not jarring in the least. Then everything you wear will last, and be as classic and timeless as this unforgettable love story.

And one last note, please get the soundtrack for this film. Dario Marianelli really works his magic here and the glorious music is perfect for a day spent on a shaded bench reading (the same goes for the soundtrack of Atonement, another Joe Wright production). Have a wonderful weekend.

Fall 2011 Couture Makeup

Sorry for the lack of beauty posts. I'm one of those ten-minutes-and-I'm-out-the-door kind of girl. A little blush, mascara and good skin goes a long long way! A lot of attention has been given to the couture collections but little to the make up and hair. Here are some backstage photos from CHANEL, CHRISTIAN DIOR and VALENTINO that I loved. It's strange that there are no backstage photos of Givenchy's own couture show. Let me know if you find it?

Chanel: Reminds me of Lara's Vogue Paris October 2010 Cover

Valentino: Nothing particularly unique, but nonetheless striking. This looks more spring than fall though, hmm...

Dior: There were many looks throughout the collection but I thought the sequin ones were the best. Hated the collection; loved the makeup. 
Photos via

Le Quatorze Juillet

HAPPY BASTILLE DAY! I have taken French for many years now but I still lacking in many areas due to little daily exposure to the language. What better way to remedy this problem than to read awesome French blogs? They are so useful in this area because these are well written, interesting and most of all, engaging and relevant. They provide great respite and reprieve from the heavy French literature of college classes. Here are some I read quite regularly and often:

Like a Virgin

...thrifting for the very first time! I don't know why I've never attempted it before - maybe it was due to the lack of consignment stores in Hong Kong. The idea of wearing old clothes isn't very en vogue there. But anyways, thanks to a quick crash course of into the art of thrifting by Hannah here and with the discovery of a great vintage store right in downtown Vancouver who are having a huge sale due to their moving to a new location, I decided to hop in and do some shopping. I did see this really nice gingham shirt as well, but it didn't fit so well in the bust area. Boooo. I have been trying to not be so materialistic and to devote more time to broadening the mind, and I guess because of all the time I've spent reading and studying for midterms that I've forgotten to go shopping. Impossible I know. Here are some of things I picked up but there's not a terrible amount because I was pressed for time. I will definitely be going back and take pictures of the whole process. Lastly I bought this white and red polka dot concoction of a dress that I can only say looks straight out of Gone With the Wind. I call it my Scarlet O'Hara dress. It was a wholly unpractical purchase but I knew I just had to get it. The dress looks so wonderful that I think it warrants a post of its own in the future. You will be seeing it soon.

Mr. Adorable

I was outside planning to take some simple photos to update the blog and guess who I met? MY NEIGHBOR'S LITTLE BOY! Because I spend so much of time either in the U.S. or Hong Kong I rarely see him anymore. I still remember holding him when he was just a little baby right from the hospital and he's so big now! Why do little kids have to grow up so fast? Anyway he is quite the stylish little man here. He's wearing pseudo-Madras pants paired with my favourite colour of the summer this year, orange. And the Crocs? Usually they're unforgivable but he's only three and he is really rocking that safari hat and monkey backpack combo so the cuteness wins.

I'm on a Boat

You have no idea how many memories came flooding back when I came across this video on Nowness. It feels so nostalgic talking about CREW now. Despite being no longer on the team after fall season of college, I still have a very soft spot for the sport. The boarding school I attended really pushed everybody to join any kind of team sport, so for a while, I tried out many things including Track & Field (god knows why when I can't run well), Tennis, Snowboarding and even Volleyball (don't ask). I was miserable in every sport I tried and grew frustrated of getting yelled by the coach every time. So when junior year rolled around, I felt that high school was ending quickly and I should make the best of whatever little time I had left. I looked through many sports flyers the school tacked up everywhere in the beginning of the school year and thought I had found "it" when I signed up for crew tryouts. This was a sport that requires a large body of water, boats, oars and so many other gears I thought this would be impossible to do in Hong Kong. 
Fellow seniors in high school crew
For the first time, I didn't suck. There is so much relief in being able to saying that. I spent the first fall season as a novice and spent the winter season getting super fit. I was just trying to get in the best shape possible and try my very best. I didn't have goals or hopes at all of winning anything. Little did I know when spring season rolled around, I would be assigned seat six of "the engine room" in the women's varsity boat. Also, I was grouped into the lightweight boat at seat three, so I ended up learning to row port and starboard at the same time. There is little opportunity to bond with people and learn how to be a team player in the classroom, so I owe it all to crew. It has taught me so much more than just good sportsmanship, rather how to always put your best foot forward always, learn to look out for and love your teammates, be responsible and most important, to be on time. Of course the best thing in crew was not just the adrenaline rush in the last power twenty to the finish line, but most of all fellow rowers rowing in front and behind of you, the yelling coxswain in the stern, and the rest of the team standing on the shore cheering you on. Through playing the sport, I have meet some of the smartest, funniest, cheerful, warm people I have ever met in high school, as well as new best friends and a high school crush from another school, hee.
I like to think that it was because of this sport that I got into Trad/Ivy style. I am so glad that there is such an interest in American preppy wear and classical styles that this often overlooked sport is getting its share of the limelight again. I was overwhelmingly gratified to see it featured in Take Ivy and mainstream blockbusters such as The Social Network. It is sad to note then, that I had to quit the sport after my first semester. It was simply way too much for me because my coach in college immediately put me in the varsity roster with no time and little room to adjust to the faster pace. Moreover since I attended such a small school, we were only NCAA division III and there was no differentiation between lightweights and openweights. I made for a decent lightweight rower but I don't stand a chance against college teammates were fifty pounds heavier and inches taller. In fact I was only marginally bigger than the coxswain, which was a first. I had no life whatsoever outside of academics and the sport, and had no opportunities to really take the time to find my place in new surroundings. Sure it was fun to be able to see my high school friends at the Head of the Charles, but I really had no die hard desire to be in the nationals. It is a pity that I have to end on such a bittersweet note, but I still love the sport very much and attend regattas when I can to support my schoolmates. The best memory of college thus far after all was the relaxing row down the Connecticut River all the way to Mt. Holyoke, bathed in the soft light of the sunrise. Hopefully in the future I can save up for my own little boat and go rowing with friends then. I apologize for the lack of actual fashion posts but I promise I'll get to them very soon. 
I now listen to "In the Hall of the Mountain King" every time I'm on the erg

A Glimpse of Xiamen

After seeing some photos of Hankou at 0000, I felt like doing a post or two of China. Perhaps I have been reading way too much of The Economist lately, but I cannot help but feel that the world (America?) has such an antagonistic distorted view of China as the big bad dragon that threatens to challenge America's hegemony. When people of think of China they focus way too much on Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen that they forget some parts of China is still rural and traditional. As if on cue, my father just returned from a trip to XIAMEN (廈門) where he took many wonderful photos which I will share you today. Apparently, Xiamen is not too far from Hong Kong at all and sits across the strait from Taiwan. I had to wiki that due to poor Chinese geography from so many years of British education at the ex-colony. I am going to blame the Brits for my ignorance! Heh. That aside, it is only when I see pictures of old buildings that I dream of being an architect and follow my parents' footsteps. It would be wonderful to apply ANDO TADAO (安藤 忠雄)'s thinking of marrying the old with the new. That said, it is sad to see that despite China's growth at breakneck speed, it sometimes does not have the matching wherewithal and knowledge to preserve whatever old relic that survived the Cultural Revolution.

My First Guest Post

Pretty self-explanatory! It was a pleasure writing for her though in retrospect it was quite nerve racking because there's less of a margin for error. It's ok if you screw up on your own blog but it's quite another to screw up on someone else's, especially one as nice as hers :) I just wrote a few commentaries on books that I have read so far and I hope you will enjoy reading it as much I did writing it. Let me if you have any books that you think I should read in the comments below. Also after watching Midnight in Paris, I feel inspired to do imagined outfit sets like the ones from TEXTBOOK at Tumblr but instead of literary figures, the actual authors themselves. I think it would be fun (e.g. Hemingway safari/hunting outfits). I already have a few in mind, but again feel free to suggest any you think I should cover!

Happy 4th of July

Happy Birthday America! I have spent a good five years in the U.S. now (four years of boarding school + one year of college) but I never got a chance to really celebrate it with the requisite fireworks and BBQ. Maybe next year? An actual substantial post very soon! (Though I am not sure how you could call Tao mere filler material, heh.)

C'est Minuit

You have no idea how guilty I feel due to lack of updating. I may or may not have been suckered into a micro-blogging vortex of Twitter and Tumblr. I can't believe June is already gone by and July is here! Happy Canada Day! It's crazy how time flies, whether you're having fun and or not (more of the latter due to German midterm and four hour long Chem labs). There will be SPOILERS in this fashion in film review, hence the page break and I hope it works in Google reader but if it doesn't, please press on towards the next post in the reader!