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An in-depth look from fashion insider's point of view and her numerous daily adventures and misadventures.

Taylor Swift Owns the Snake

Carla

I cant believe I'm even writing about this. About skirmishes similar to the ones in we might have had back in high school. Is this adult "Mean Girls"? It seems like it, having all-out feuds is immature, and reveling in it is just sadder- admittedly, I sometimes am guilty of it. There’s also something disheartening in how often critiques of Swift are put forward in the context of a celebrity cat fight. Much of the backlash is tied to Swift’s seemingly never-ending feud with Katy Perry, with both women having every song or video they release combed over for signs that it might be referencing their relationship, but  like a TMZ addict, Iclick on articles that are about Kimye vs Swift, or Swift vs Perry. 

Right now, Swift is synonymous to the the snake emoji, compared to the antagonistic Regina George; and, unfortunately,coined as an "Aryan-Princess" according to Breitbart. Her racial politics are more than tone-deaf. She uses feminism to promote her work, but is not politically engaged when it doesn’t benefit her financially. In a nutshell, her reputation is just crap right now.

Taylor Swift Reclaims the snake,  and we're loving it

Taylor Swift Reclaims the snake, 

and we're loving it

 

But I want to give her the benefit of doubt here. And not pigeonhole her as a pop's Regina George or Hitler's dream prototype. After working in social media, having had some experience in marketing. Everything is not what is always what it seems to be. "Receipts" are not enough to measure what a person truly is. I remember when Taylor's camp immediately denied that the entire lyrics [of Kanye West's "Famous"] claiming that the lyrics weren't run past Taylor, but had instead asked her to promote the song. According to her reps,  "Kanye did not call for approval, but to ask Taylor to release his single 'Famous' on her Twitter account. She declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message. Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric, "I made that bitch famous.'"  Did they mean approval for the final released lyrics or just its early stages? Her camp was pretty vague.

 

How did that conversation go when she "declined and cautioned him about the strong misogynistic message"? Im hoping (or expecting) that artists would generally give each other updates about their lyrics especially if the lyrics entail both of you having sex, orif one person is responsible for their fame. Fine, Taylor basically gave the go signal for West to exercise his artistic freedom and write anything he wants, but the girl has the right to change her mind right? Considering her female-empowerment-centric marketing at that time, it would totally betray the image and the message she was trying to sell/convey to her legions of followers upon the release of "Famous". With all that girl-power marketing revolving around Swift, it would be expected of her to not approve of the lyrics. I guess we wouldn't really know the entire story. The explosive Snapchat video was obviously edited, probably to make one party look good, and we will never know what really transpired in their other conversations after that. Was there a contract? We dont know. If I were portrayed like how Swift was after the expose especially if it was an unfair portrayal, expect me to bring hell and fury.

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Can you imagine how being inundated with snake emojis, being called as Taylucifer, and figuratively being buried, can do to your psyche? This is probably the way to turn a constant victim and resurrect her as a villain. I dont want to comb the lyrics for signs of the feud and low blows- I am sure there are lots.  There are way to many articles out there that would do dissect.  To be frank, she shouldn't care what we are portraying of her. Her new single is the most played video in Vevo and the most searched single in Spotify. She can be portrayed as the newest bitch in town, the queen of snakes are or the new villain du jour. But,  there's no denying that her music is still catchy, and she is a master lyricist. Immature- probably, talented, yes.

 

Now, lets talk about her clothes...

Express Your Unpopular Opinion: Game of Thrones Season 7 feels Half-baked

Carla

Game of Thrones season 7 just had their finale three days ago. I hate to say this but it is no longer the same. I felt like it was predictable ( I blame my online fan theory addiction), there were too many plot holes, lack of character continuum and that metal grommet in Arya's capelet failed to suspend my disbelief. Lets not forget the zombie swinging into empty space (I blame my Game of Thrones Reddit addiction for finding this clip) . 

I was left with more questions after the finale.  Here are my following thoughts.

 
 

1) Why didn't Daenerys just burn the Red Keep and not the entire King's landing? I know that Tyrion prevented the Dragon Queen from bringing "fire and blood" to the entire Westeros, just to keep the innocent safe. But we know that dragons are not like Wildfire- an uncontrollable, highly combustible solution.  Drogon's fire didn't seem like a cluster bomb. I think that three dragons burning down the Red Keep is enough to remove Cersei Lannister from the world by just burning the entire castle. The only reason why I think they didn't opt for this, was that they probably assumed that there will be more deadly Scorpions- a dragon-killing contraption that can deliver Drogon, Rhaegon, Viserion (RIP) and Daenerys to the afterlife.

2) What's with Arya's bitchy speech in the episode "Beyond the Wall"? 

Was it really necessary for her to tell Sansa about how curious she was to wear her face, and be the Lady of Winterfell. This mind-f*ckery simply cruel. She officially out-creeped Bran with this soliloquy . A sister who sincerely cared for her sister would never do such assh*ler-y. I think the sole purpose of that scene Is just to make us think that Baelish is in the safe zone.

 

HBO

HBO

3) White Walkers fear of cold water or can't swim?

That scene where the white walkers wouldn't walk thru thin ice. It doesn't make sense. First of all, they are dead, hence no hypothermia. If they couldn't swim who attached the chain to the Dead Viserion?  Which lead me to ask...

4) Where did the White Walkers find those giant chains?

Were they carrying it around all over the snowy terrain that is beyond the wall?  Did they seek it out?  Im pretty impressed with how equipped these undead are.

 

Those chains are pretty handy

Those chains are pretty handy

5) What's with the weird editing?

I just didn't like how they merged the wedding scene Rhaegar Targaryen to Lyanna Stark, with Jon Snow's and Daenerys Targaryen's  lovemaking. It would be nice to forget that they are related during that specific scene that many  fans have been waiting for seven seasons. Game Of Thrones successfully reminded me that I'm sort of sick in the head for rooting for this incestuous boat shag.  

All in all, Game of Thrones is still the best show I've seen.  This may not be the best season for me since it does feel rushed, and I feel like GoT writers caved in to the public pressure of saving and reuniting the Starks and empowering women after all the rape scenes that occurred in the past seasons. I'm all about the Starks and the female empowerment.  In doing so, they failed to develop most characters except for Sansa Stark, and created to many plot holes. Like what is the point of keeping the characters Sam Tarly and Bran, but ditching Lady Stoneheart. The badass characters from Dorne weren't utilized to their fullest potential. I guess, they still have another season to prove their purpose.

I'm also guessing that they are pressured to wrap this up, hasn't helped either

 

 

Lipsense Review

Carla

I've never had a lipstick (cream or liquid) that I'm truly happy with, perhaps it was almost perfect with Exposed Kylie Lip Kit but I personally think that the color is not best for my Asian skin. Someone in Instagram randomly offered me the LipSense lip kit by SeneGence International. They gave me two colors (Sheer Berry and Precious Topaz), a moisturising gloss and a lipstick remover.

 

My first try was painful. It really stung, but this was my third time to use this. Third time was a charm. It didn't sting as much.

I like its brush that was somewhat sponge-like. It is short that it gets enough lipstick to apply it evenly and easily.  The lipstick is a bit sticky that it reminded me of the consistency of a fake Kylie liquid lipstick that was gifted to me in one PR event. The liquid also had the viscosity of nail polish- perhaps it was the smell.

I think its best that you let it dry a bit before you apply another coat. After five coats, it was suggested that you put another layer of their moisturising gloss, which says on the packaging will "improve the longevity of the color".  The gloss helped a lot with the stickiness issue.

2 Hours Later.

 

The color survived cold coffee and tons of chatting.  There was no cracking yet and it didn't rub off when I was wiping my lips with the napkin. It was also very lightweight that I forgot I was wearing any lippie.  Note to self: do not apply makeup under yellow light. I never thought that this color was so shimmery till I took this photo. 

 

5 hours later. 

The color survived three slices of pizza and New York humidity, but it feels like dried glue every time I drank water. I guess if I rubbed vigorously enough it may peel off, like dried glue., but I wont because I don't think people would actually do that if they wanted their color intact.  It still wont rub off or budge. 

6.5 hours later

6.5 hours before shower. 

6.5 hours before shower. 

The color finally started cracking starting by the portion in my inner lips. It still feels like dried Elmer's glue on my lips and I'm trying my best not to cave in to the pre-schooler tendencies of peeling it. The color was still there before I showered. But after my warm steamy shower, the color disappeared after accidentally wiping my lips with a towel.

The brand claims that It can last up to 18 hours. I guess it can last that long if your lips are properly exfoliated before application, not to expose the lips to moisture as much as I did. 

Staying intact for almost 7 hours is pretty good for a liquid lipstick but I think there is no need to purchase their Ooops Remover- you will be able to remove it like dried Elmer's Glue which is actually fun to do. It didn't dry my lips, in fact, I never had a liquid lipstick that dried my lips. Moisture content of my lips is still pretty much the same. 

The price is similar to other brands. I just wished that they had an actual store to try their colors. I'm not a fan of the colors provided. 

 

 

In defense of bloggers and influencers

Carla

Carla Sta Cruz' Instagram account

Carla Sta Cruz' Instagram account

I have blogger/influencer friends who commonly complain about people who would complain (combatively) why they charge a certain amount for a certain campaign. It may seem that my job is easy. It is fun but its definitely not just taking random photos.

In my experience, I took classes for photography so I can communicate with my photographer the feel of the photo, it took a lot of time to teach myself Adobe programs, and I spent money to make good content (think location, freight fares, clothes, makeup). Its a serious time and monetary investment at the first year. It took me years to grow an audience and a lot of pride swallowing when comments were all levels of cruel. 

Big money were spent to make visually appealing content-think hotels, transportation and clothing. Running an Instagram account is like running a magazine on your own. You are the model, the wardrobe stylist (I press and steam my clothes before shooting), the creative director,  makeup artist, hair stylist, sometimes photographer, retoucher and even assistant (I carry my entire wardrobe -shoes, accessories, clothes- to different locations in one day). It really is not glamorous- as a matter of fact, fashion behind the scenes is not glamorous. IT IS HARD WORK.

 

Sometimes, after finishing your shoot, the client will reject the photos, and you will have to reshoot all over again. 

Its hard to look pristine during the polar vortex or a heat wave especially when you are lugging your clothes everywhere. It's especially hard to keep your makeup from melting and to keep your hair intact during those times.

I know I seem to be complaining a lot about I do, but the things is- I REALLY LOVE THIS! I still cringe at the word blogger or influencer, but this career opened a lot of relationships, experiences and knowledge that would be beyond my wildest dreams if I were working as a patternmaker or a doctor. Meet Beyoncé- check. I enjoy making good visual content. I enjoy making a fool of myself. I enjoy joking with my followers online and also crying with them with every political, environmental and social catastrophes that happen. Sometimes I feel like I'm giving everyone a social media hug when madness occurs (think shoot outs, terrorist attacks, Brexit, elections Etc.)  I feel lucky that this became a full-time job for me. I am actually one of those lucky ones that live their passions. But like everyone else, I can't live on passion alone - I will also need to get paid.

Audiophiles' (and non-Audiophiles') Wet Dream : Review of the Bose SoundSport

Carla

Using my wireless Bose SoundSport while gardening. sunglasses: Gucci

Using my wireless Bose SoundSport while gardening.

sunglasses: Gucci

Well, It has been two months since receiving myBoseSoundSport wireless headphones and, I’ve got to say, I am impressed.  After getting the new iPhone 7 and coming to terms with the fact that a headphone jack is officially dead, I set out to find something wireless that had:

 

 

a) Great sound

b) Some noise canceling capability (especially for airplanes)

c) A good fit or my weirdly shaped ears

d) A decent battery life

I also wanted to get something that didn’t make me look like a tool while wearing them.  Have you ever noticed that the majority of the wireless headsets on the market today look comically large and unnatural around people’s heads?

I initially bought Apple’s wireless ear pods and, while they were easy to use and had decent sound, I did not like the way they fit (I must have weird shaped ears).  I also didn’t like the fact that they did not have at least some level of noise cancelling.  So, I returned the air pods and started searching for something else.  Luckily, I was able to find the Bose SoundSport wireless headphones.  Bottom line – I love them.

 

 

First off, the sound is incredible.  I am not an audiophile by any stretch of the imagination but I know when I hear good sound.  The music is crystal clear and, in some instances, I can feel the bass pumping.  I actually found the sound to be better than my wired headphones.  I was always concerned that any wireless headset would result in the degradation of sound; however, I did not notice this with these headphones.

As for noise cancelling, I was really impressed.  I tried these out on several trips in the air and found that the noise cancelling was more than adequate and, while it did not cancel out all noise, it was quite good at minimizing it to something that is not noticeable most of the time.  When I am working out, and listening to music, I don’t hear anything but my music – which is how it should be.  Also, I love the fact that they are water resistant because I sweat hard when I work out.

 

In terms of fit – the Bose SoundSport wireless headphones have different sized ear pieces to fit freakishly shaped ears such as mine.  I am happy to say that I found a size that fit very well with no shifting while they are in my ear canal (which can be uncomfortable and create a feedback noise).  Some of you might have concerns about the wire connecting the two earbuds – don’t be.  I had no issues with the wire and actually appreciated it over the Apple ear pods as it helps to make sure one of the buds will get lost.  I also really liked the speaker and control buttons as they make it easy to pause and skip my music, answer calls, and adjust volume with ease.

As for battery – again – I was impressed.  I found that I can get about 6 hours of battery life out of the Bose SoundSport wireless headphones.  They are also very easy to charge with a simple micro-USB cord; however, I highly recommend paying extra for the Bose carrying case with a built in battery pack and charging capabilities.  If you are going to spend this much on high quality headphones, you should kick in the extra dough to get a durable shell case that also supports charging.  Very convenient!

 

Finally, you’ll be happy to know that the BoseSoundSport wireless headphones don’t make me look like a tool – at least that’s what my mom tells me!

In terms of suggested improvements to this product, there are three observations I made in the past two months of use:

 

1.Bose offers an app you can download to support with the headphones.  While I think it’s a great idea, the functionality and/or practicality of the app is limited.  While you can do unnecessary things like adjust the volume, somewhat helpful things like reviewing the instructions for the headphones, and interesting things like play your music simultaneously on your headphones as well as another device (like a friend’sBoseSoundSport wireless headphones).  Since downloading this app, I have used it once.  What might make it more appealing is if I could adjust treble and bass settings or acoustic themes on by headphones through this app.

 

 

2.While not enough of a frequency to be annoying, I have experienced several instances where the connection was lost (for a fraction of a second) disrupting the song.  I’m not sure what is causing that (could be the device I paired the headphones with).  That being said, this is quite common with wireless headphones and was not enough to bother me.  I will say that the range of the headsetheadphones and was not enough to bother me.  I will say that the range of the headset (30 feet) is amazing.  I like being able to move around the house with carrying my device with me while it’s charging

 

3.There is a clip on the wire connecting the two earbuds that allow you to clip it to your shirt when working out.  When trying to remove the clip, it sometimes stays with the shirt – becoming separated from the wire.  I would have liked the clip to be fully secured to the wire as there is a good chance you could lose it.

Overall, I am very happy with my BoseSoundSport wireless headphones.  Very happy.  I will never go back to wired headphones again.  This headphones are the right choice for me.  They are extremely comfortable, they fit well, and – most importantly – they sound amazing.  I encourage picking them up – especially if you listen to music while active.

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shirt COS, pants: Old Navy, Shoes : Feragamo, bag: Chanel, Earphones: Bose

Not Exactly Sleepless in Seattle pt 1

Carla

Darth Vader (my significant other) loves Seattle. He keeps comparing NYC to Seattle. So I caved in and decided to visit the city of his dreams. I only had three days so this blogpost will never accurately describe its real spirit. But it did confirm one thing,  it is rainy, like how I imagined it would be. My only knowledge of Seattle weather is from Sleepless in Seattle and accounts of friends who live there. Despite the rain, we still managed to have a good time. I sort of regretted not bring my McQueen umbrella, I think a designer umbrella is requisite for Seattle. 

I couldnt help but think about the movie Reality Bites when I was in Seattle. I saw a lot of people wearing laced boots probably Doc Martens or something similar to it. Locals are experts at layering like San Francisco locals. And it might be that weekend only that I saw a lot of plaid- with the 90s grunge vibes. People loved their hoodies too. 

Pot occasionally wafted in air, and all sorts of paraphernalia for pot were in full display in the park.  

Seattle is a very chill place- best for pot lovers or connoisseurs, gourmands, musicians, artists and techies. Its a very diverse city and I still cant accurately describe its spirit or identity.

Enough discussing about the locals. Here are the spots that I quickly visited and loved.

1) Pike Place Market

Shirt: Dior, Jacket: Asos, pants: Topshop Unique,  and purse: JW Anderson

Shirt: Dior, Jacket: Asos, pants: Topshop Unique, 

and purse: JW Anderson

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This is the place where my frustrated inner chef truly felt excited. Fresh catch from sea were sold everyday, and cooked and served instantly in the small food stalls in the market. It reminded me of the wet market in Asia, but this one is better smelling and more organized. 

For that experience sea-to-plate experience, one should try Jack's Fish and Chip Spot in the Pike Market for the boat to plate experience. They are known as the fishermen  who would serve their morning's catchin the afternoon. There's also an abundance of cheap fresh flowers (most tulips) grown from nearby farms. I almost bought some for myself. 

We also recommend that you visit the first Starbucks for Instagram photos and Piroshky Piroshky for the Salmon Pate. 

 

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Crumpets from The Crumpet Place

Crumpets from The Crumpet Place

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2  ) Starbucks Reserve Roaster and Tasting Room is a MUST visit for coffee connoisseurs. Its like the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory of coffee. A lot of giant brass and black contraptions all devoted to coffee roasting. Darth Vader tried the Gravitas Blend in the Roastery and Tasting Room where coffee experts would suggest coffee and fruit pairings for the specific coffee source. You will experience the academic side of coffee here. 

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3) Chihuly Garden and Glass

This place is basically a comprehensive exhibition of Dale Chihuly's work. Its not a place where you can dissect every art installation like an Art History student. There no gruesome history behind the art pieces.. This is a place where you don't overthink art. Its a place where you just enjoy them for what it is. I honestly felt like the creepy Johnny Depp from Willy Wonka was lurking in the corners.

I thoroughly enjoyed the glass-blowing demos. You'll realize that these art installations are labor intensive; and, are dangerous to make. They will also explain why amorphous glass creations are easier to make than the perfectly geometrical ones. If you have a tamed pet dragon a'la Game of Thrones, this hobby is perfect for you.

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4) Serious Pie

Many would recommend this resto, but coming from NYC, it's hard to be impressed by pizza restaurants. I honestly believe I live right beside the best pizza joint in the world. Perhaps I wasn't impressed because I just came from Pike Market.

They pride themselves by serving pizzas with melted artisan cheeses from around the world unlike the ones we have in New York that are mostly served with fresh mozzarella. But they do have the same Neopolitan or Sicilian influences; like, burnt blistered crusts with a chewy center baked in a stone of clay oven. 

 

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I planned to put more locations in this post but my stay was limited to three days. I'll be back in Seattle on mid-July; hence, having a part 2. If you guys have any suggestions, let leave a comment below. I would love to drop by and check it out.

The BASEketball of Broadway: Review Of Book of Mormon by Darth Vader

Carla

 

Carla watching with me. Coat: Mackage; purse: Gucci

Carla watching with me. Coat: Mackage; purse: Gucci

Before we get into this review, please go ahead and Google the movie “BASEketball”.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.  One year before South Park Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone released the theatrical debut of South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut – they released BASEketball.  I remember eagerly waiting in line to see this movie as I was a diehard South Park fan with Parker and Stone being my personal heroes.  I “get” their comedy.  I get the wit and satire that is hidden within a healthy dose of obscenity, immaturity, silliness, and just the right amount of innocence.  When going into see BASEketball, I expected to see more of the same; unfortunately, I was really disappointed with what I saw.  I felt that Parker and Stone tried to take their secret sauce and water it down to appeal to the masses and, as a result of doing so, the movie lost its edge.  It felt more like a rip off of their style of comedy in an attempt to satisfy everyone. 

 

Now, if you had Googled BASEketball, you would see that with a 42% score on Rotten Tomatoes, many people would agree with me.  That being said, I saw BASEketball as a one-off due to the fact that the aforementioned South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (BLU) and Team America: World Police were subsequently released and both made me very happy.  To this day, after 20 seasons and 277 episodes, I am still very much a fan.  So, when Book of Mormon was released on Broadway in 2011 to amazing reviews, I was excited.  Over the years, I’ve always wanted to go to the Eugene O'Neill Theater to view what, at least what I was led to believe, was a masterpiece.  For the first few years, it was impossible to get tickets.  Book of Mormon in 2011-2014 was what Hamilton is today.  Even though I live in New York, I didn’t have enough time to break away to see the Book of Mormon until this month.  On the way to the Eugene O'Neill Theater, I was so excited.  I had heard so many great things and was confident that I would love it.  I told everyone I was going and was assured that I would enjoy it – especially if I was a South Park fan.  Nuh uh…

 

In the opening act, I knew there was a problem.  People around me were smiling and laughing but I was just bored.  Gone was the wit – the satire and, in its place (like BASEketball) it just seemed dumb and watered down.  The jokes just seemed to be there for the shock value – but mildly shocking – rather than anything that pushes boundaries like South Park does even to this day.  I hate to say this but there wasn’t a single time where I laughed or even chuckled to myself.  In all honesty, I was bored.  I even felt that the quality of the songs were pale in comparison to BLU and Team America.  I still sing “Kyle’s Mom is a B****” and “Uncle Fu****” (in my head of course) to this day; however, ask me to belt out a few lines of ANY song from this play and I would be hard-pressed to do it. 

 

I think I probably spent more time in this review writing about South Park than I did about The Book of Mormon.  That should go to show you how I felt about this play.  It is forgettable.  It is not funny.  It is boring.  It is something that has been watered down in order to appeal to the masses; and that’s ok – it’s just not for me.  If you DON’T like South Park, you probably will enjoy it; however, if you are a diehard fan of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, skip this one as you will be underwhelmed with what you see.