Oriental Venice

Wu Zhen is a small town 2 hours away from Shanghai. It’s really something else. The canals, the narrow alleys, the stone paved streets, the traditional houses – viewed under the late afternoon light - made it seem so quaint and rustic.

At first I was wary the place is just a pseudo old town filled with souvenir shops when I saw the number of parked tourist buses. (I myself came out of a tourist bus, I know). Happy to say it still retained its old China feel plus its a living village to boot.

Sadly due to time constraints we only had 30 minutes there. A real shame. We could have easily spent a whole day exploring and taking pictures. That half hour is probably my favorite part of the week long trip. And we had 3 days at the Expo. Toink.

top & skirt – Zara ; belt – F21 ; bag – Jellybean


Flea market finds

Just as I imposed a minimal shopping rule on myself, a couple of friends rang me up last weekend and whispered the two most intoxicating words to a girl: "flea market". (Right up there are "clearance sale" or "chocolate chip".)

Technically, flea market is not really shopping, right? It's more like...exploring for hidden treasures. And...should I happen to pick up anything from it, it'll still be counted as "minimal", right? Right?

So off we went to Westpaket, which is the alternative part of Leipzig city. Rundown buildings, indie theaters, warehouse converted into offices--you name it. Westpaket only holds its flea markets quarterly, so its relative rarity is a must-go event. I don't think it measures up to the flea markets in the US, but it's a place where students sell stuff at low, low prices, so why not check it out?

Well. We did more than "check it out". We dug, we bargained, we conquered :)

Seen here is a little knitted cover-up/bolero that has Japanese tags. I snagged this for 2 euros! Its mustard hue is a welcome pop of color for my rainy day outfit.

black top - Promod; plum turtleneck - Zara; mustard knit - thrifted;
black skinnies - Zara; striped leg warmers - no brand; black boots - German shoe store

I'm still not too sure of outfit number two, which consisted of a 2-euro ochre silky top and a 4-euro mullet wool skirt. I thought it could be office wear for my upcoming internship. But sometimes I'm afraid people might mistaken me interning at a prairie. Not that there's anything wrong interning at a prairie, but you know, I want my outfit to be appropriate for each occasion. I still have until January to think about it, so maybe it might end up back in the flea market pile or I might just go ahead and wear it, who knows? Keep, donate or pitch?


West Lake

At Hang Zhou West Lake. A beautiful serene place perfect for photo-ops. You won't believe the number of fully garbed bride and grooms scattered across the huge park. I think we sighted 7 or 8 pairs with photogs in tow.

Also this cover up is what I ordered online. I love the print and color. And it's versatile too. I can wear it over pants, skirts, shorts, or button it up, or maybe belt it. Can't wait to experiment.

romper - Jellybean ; cover up - Museum ; bag - Egg


Fashion adverts

Stumbled onto this video of J. Crew's 2010 Collection via Camp Comfort.

Simple yet sweet. Cute outfits, cute girl, cute actions! The French song, of course, nails it :)

Sort of reminds me of this advert by The Row.


All of the world in a huge lot

Day 1:

top & pants – Zara ; belt – SM Dept Store ; flats – Shoebox

Day 3:
black tank – Ensembles ; black knit top – Landmark ; skirt – Zara

Shanghai Expo = long lines. From the entrance to the pavillions to the buses to the food - you have to queue up for everything! We only went to a few exhibits and China, Italy, and Turkey are our clear favorites. Here's the jaw dropping section of Italy:

Cool right?? The entire orchestra's on the wall! There's lots more cool bits of surprises inside the pavillion. The 1 1/2 hour wait was worth it for this country.

And the moving painting of China is definitely something to see. It depicts the busy everyday lives of a town during the olden days and every single person moves along the huge painting. Couldn't tear my eyes away from it. Here's a clear photo, but it's probably better appreciated through video.

We were in the Expo for 3 days and it's easy to get worn out by the crowds. An aunt who's part of the tour succinctly said (in Fookien of course): "You'd regret not going, but you'd regret it more if you did." I don't share the same sentiments right now, but when I was under the hot sun shoving my way through people or waiting impatiently (and sweating buckets) in the never ending line, I had the exact thought in mind.


Hello again

Hello, dearies, it's me again, hogging the space. This is my 15 blog posts of fame before my sis comes back from her Shanghai trip and wows us with her get-ups.

Okay, first thing's first. I know we're not allowed to wear red, because our Grandpa passed away last year. But before donning this on, I sent a little message to the heavens and hoped Grandpa would forego this transgression in tradition. (Sorry, Grandpa! :( )

I wore this last month on the day my dad turned 60. Being so far away from home and missing out on family festivities, I sometimes want a tangible reminder that I'm still there celebrating events with them. And I guess the only way I could express this is through what I wear. It worked though...wearing this little peek of red felt like I was celebrating my dad's birthday the whole day :)

And yes, boots in August. Isn't German weather so weird? It's warming up the past few days though, so maybe there's still time to bust out some flats and cute ankle and peeptoe booties for the last hurrah.

green top - Stradivarius (for 5 freakin' euros from a sale in Barcelona!);
black turtleneck - Promod; skirt - Zara (5 euros sale again :));
belt - Rockwell tiangge; boots - German shoe store


Say it isn't so

I've imposed a "minimal shopping to absolutely no shopping" shopping ban on myself recently. It's almost homestretch for my MBA degree, and I want to be smarter with my savings, especially when there's the low pay 3-6 month internship to consider.

The "shopping ban" dictate can be a good challenge. It'll be fun to reinvent the stuff I've got so far in my closet, but it's going to be hard not to wipe the drool off my face when I pass by window displays.

In fact, I hardly had the time to grab a bunch of tissues when I saw Christian Siriano's Spring 2011 shoe collection at Tom and Lorenzo's blog. I started loving shoes when they became more sculptural, and Christian Siriano's collection just hit it straight to my crazily fluttering heart. Would you look at the heels! And would you look at the shapes encasing the feet! It's beautiful art.

Same thing happened when I clicked to see the Carolina Herrera Spring 2011 Collection. I love the Asian inspiration, the delicate floral painting and the drapes, shapes and volume.

Anyhoo. One day! Some day!

For now, here's my little humble outfit for school :)

And somehow, we need to do something about the quality of our photos. I love photography and I believe I do a decent job photographing things, sceneries and other human beings. But when it comes to self-portraits, I'm a bit perplexed about the whole thing, especially when the only place I can prop my camera is on a bookshelf, pointing to a long hallway with dim, yellow light. Oh, and did I mention that I prop up the camera lens with a matchbox :)

blouse - Bayo; skirt - Zara;
necklace - Promod; flats - Zara


Make it work

Ever since my sister introduced me to Project Runway eons ago, I've been such a fan. A few weeks earlier, I was inspired when Team Luxe put together its menswear collection. Although the collection sadly didn't fulfill their vision, I could see hints of it. I think it would have shone if they chose a different type of fabric...something with more texture.

But then again, look who's talking...haha! Here I am putting together a hodge-podge menswear look, based on what I could scour from the depths of the Project Jill workroom...a.k.a. my closet. Cardigan from Zara, vest and trousers from Promod, shirt from H&M. And from the Piper-Jill-lime Accessory Wall, we have a scarf from Espirit (a farewell gift from a friend) and a pair of brown boots from a German shoe store.

And do you see the wrinkles? It's probably what adorable Tim Gunn would call "alarming". Well, the pants are made out of linen. And iron and press and steam as I may, it still wrinkles after 15 seconds of wearing it. How the heck do you wear linen anyway?

Tomorrow I am off to an internship interview in another city far, far away. It would entail a 5.5 hour train ride, which chugs off at 4:58am. Which means I would need to wake up at 3:30am to put together a look, fix my hair, put on make-up and grab a cab to the train station. Gak, what a "make it work" moment. I just hope that the McDonald's at the Leipzig Hauptbahnhof is already serving McMuffins. I think I would wake up at 3:30am for a McMuffin.


Chasing the clouds away

Weather's getting a bit nippy in Leipzig, but I still haven't gotten enough of summer! This year's summer has been painfully short--something like two months' worth of sunshine.

Then again, it is September (ba-de-ya, de-ya de-ya) ...Get on with the program, Jill. (Where did time fly though?!)

The plus side of this whole nippy-weather-thing is that I can start layering again for autumn. Peep toe booties, cardigans, tights and skirts!

By the way, I'm really on the phone here with my friend from Bonn. He's dishing the latest gossips and people drama in my old city. I thought it best to multi-task and take photos, although you could see I was sort of shocked by some of his news! :)

Tunic - Lhasa (located in Powerplant's tiangge); Batwing cardigan - Zara;
Pants- Zara; Belt - SM Department Store; Booties - Buffalo


It's the weekend

Saturday outfit. I got to unwind yesterday night with a couple of good friends. Somehow last week felt longer than usual. We went to Coffee Bean for dessert and I tried their yogurt. It's really more ice cream than yogurt. It's a bit too sweet, but when spooned with the rich bitter coffee underneath, it hits the spot.

Sunday outfit. When Katie Holmes wore a series of cuffed baggy jeans a year or 2 ago, I reacted with "They look so unflattering. What is she thinking?" Well, who's cuffing her jeans now?? How delayed is my fashion taste?

Anyway I was looking for a pair of boyfriend jeans a while back. No such luck. I got to try on a pair of Levi's 501s though. And they were really nice. Loose, comfy, but flattering at the same time. They feel like real manly, manly jeans. Now I know what's the fuss with Levi's. It costs 3k ++ so I didn't even imagine bringing it home. The pair I'm wearing is a pants from the college days. It's straight cut but it became worn out and baggy. After cuffing, I now dub them as boyfriend jeans.

Outfit 1:  striped shirt - ? ; crop top - Topshop; skirt - Greenhills tiangge; necklace: Diva
Outfit 2:  striped shirt - ? ; jeans - Terranova; belt - F21; black flats - Janilyn


I like Gaudi stuff

One of the trends I'm loving right now is the nude trend. I'm still a huge fan of colors, and I think that's precisely the reason why I like the nude thing a lot. Because by wearing a nude palette, you can accessorize with bold pops of colors.

Clearly, I did not accessorize too much here (hehe), but I'm glad I stayed simple. I don't think I would be able to compete with Gaudi's inspiring, colorful and whimsical designs.

Even from the facade, Casa Battlo offers a preview of Antoni Gaudi's genius. He took his inspiration from nature. He stated that in nature, no two things are alike nor are there rigid straight lines. Thus, one cannot find straight lines in his architectural and design works.

The living room boasts a gorgeous ceiling and colorful stained glass windows, reminiscent of an underwater grotto.

And then you start noticing the details. At this point, the audio guide helpfully informs you that the window handles were all individually molded from Gaudi's fingers, to make sure that it ergonomically fits a natural grip.

It was not just design that was eminent in Gaudi's works, it was also about functionality. He thought extensively about lighting, ventilation, structural support. The first picture in this post was taken in the attic, where he invented the idea of catillary (spelling?) pillars, which supported the ceiling's weight and yet provided a feeling of airy space. Geeenius!

A few twist and turns, and the dining room opens up to an airy terrace designed completely of mosaic tiles. *Happy sigh*

The hubby and I came out of Casa Batllo totally transformed into Gaudi fans. The following day, we decided to visit another one of his buildings, the La Pedrera.

Dress - Pimkie; Owl necklace - Pimkie; Bracelets - H&M