↷March Madness↶

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

My days of basketball fandom may be dormant, but I celebrated March Madness this year in a slightly nerdier way. One of my resolutions for 2015 was to read at least 3 books per month. For the month of March, I felt a bit overwhelmed by job apps, interviews, adjusting, etcI hesitate to say I went crazy, but I will say I felt frenzied at points. As the month concludes today, I ask myself: why did I feel so swamped? Was it the fact that I am still transitioning back to life in LA or was it merely my reading choices for the month? Yup, you read that right: I celebrated March Madness 2015 with some madness-inducing literature. My picks for the month? Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (and Other Stores); Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar; W.F. Ryan's The Bathhouse at Midnight; and Leo Tolstoy's The Kreutzer Sonata.
Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite Disney movies, and I have always wanted to read the original story, so I figured March was the perfect month to read one of the founding classics of children's literature. This Barnes & Noble edition is lovely because it includes other stories like Through the Looking Glass, Bruno & Sylvie, and Phantasmagoria...with illustrations and gilded pages!
It was overall a delightful (if long) read; my favorite stories were definitely Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Phantasmagoria...both the concepts and prose were lovely and fascinating. The inner workings of Lewis Carroll's topsy-turvy, yet hugely mathematical, mind are groundbreaking for their time, and the fact that the book is tailored to children while still conveying some of the most metaphysically complex theories is incredible.
I'd always known of Sylvia Plath to be inspirational for many of my female friends, simply iconic. I absolutely loved The Bell Jar...her voice mesmerized me, as did the setting and time period. Hailed by many critics as the female equivalent to J.D. Salinger's Holden Cauffield in The Catcher in the Rye, I actually found Plath's Esther to be much more complex, eloquent, and (here comes my feminist rant) less entitled...more REAL/RAW as a character. The New England college, the magazine journalism internship in a once-romantic New York City, the mentally ill delusions, struck a note with me. I am so glad The Bell Jar was part of my March Madness.
W.F. Ryan's The Bathhouse at Midnight was a historical survey of magic and divination in Russia from the 5th to 18th century. While the content and style is certainly not everyone's cup of tea, as an aspiring fantasy novelist and Russian enthusiast, this book was very interesting, inspirational, and useful to me. It's pretty well-known that Russians are quite superstitious, folkloric, and "whimsical" (yes, also #darkwhimsical)-and learning the specifics of Russia's history of magic, witchcraft, divination, and late conversion to (Orthodox) Christianity tells a lot about modern Russian culture and even Communism. For anyone interested in the more "occult" theories, practices, even the "backwardness"/"otherness" of Russian culture, I recommend this book.
Last but not least, I took this month to re-read Tolstoy's classic short story, The Kreutzer Sonata, indefinitely a tale concerning "madness." A story "compartmentalized" (literally) on the railroad about marriage, supposed infidelity, music (yup, you guessed it, Beethoven's "Kretuzer Sonata"), and murder, the story is a classic Tolstoyan concoction that is as dark as it is absurd as it is fine-tuned and finely crafted to its time. Brilliant, brazen, and bombastically murderous, the story encapsulates March Madness in a wholly horrific, albeit, beautiful way. 
xo  SFB

✿ Mini Spring Makeup Haul ✿

Saturday, March 28, 2015

In the week since that spring has arrived, spring cleaning has been on my mind. From my blog to my wardrobe to my mindset, I’ve spent the past week taking various measures, from editing old blog posts, to editing my resume, to cleaning my living space, as lifestyle changes intended to improve my life. Spring cleaning certainly applies to my makeup as well, which I also took into account this past week. 
My current living situation requires that I stay very thrifty, in fact, the most thrifty I have ever been, so much to the point that I’ve sacrificed my look at times toward the goal (and necessity) of saving money. I have been in desperate need of new makeup in the past month and a half since I’ve been in LA, but it wasn’t until last week that I took the plunge and stopped by Ulta to get some much-needed new goodies. My makeup collection is currently not quite where I want it to be, but it's all a process...right? 
I nabbed It Cosmetics' "Bye Bye Under Eye" concealer from the recommendation of an Ulta sales associate that it was "the best concealer ever." I might have to agree with her...it's INCREDIBLE, and I can tell it will likely last me a very long time, as she promised. It comes out quite thick, so it's key that this concealer is applied with a brush or sponge. I use a sponge-like brush when I put it on, but I also bought a much-needed angled brush by the same brand.  I am a fan of both of these products so far...I am a pretty new Ulta customer and historically a Sephora girl, but I love the unique selection of brands Ulta offers that I wouldn't know where to find otherwise.
Certainly another plus of Ulta is its brand selection at various price points. I love Nyx, especially their Jumbo Eye Pencils. I picked up two...here's a secret: I also like to use them as lipstick! I'm a fan of Nyx's Wicked Lippies (featured here) and was in need of red lipstick so I got a Matte lipstick in Pure Red...for $6! Yes please. 
Benefit Bad Gal Lash is one of my favorite mascaras ever, so when my large tube (pictured left) was starting to run out last week, I definitely knew it was time for a refill. I'm pretty broke right now, but mascara, concealer, and tinted moisturizer are my essentials that I tend to go for quality over quantity, even if that means making a size sacrifice. Mini tubes of Bad Gal lash are available for $10 at Ulta and Sephora, so it's always been my go-to when I'm lacking in both lash ammunition and lax spending habits. I won't compromise on the quality, but the quantity is another matter. 
Last but not least, new spring scents! Having not owned a large bottle of perfume since my Miss Dior Cherie bottle broke in 2012, I've been a rollerball kinda gal for quite a while now. While this phase shan't last forever (nor shall my lack of funds/income, let's hope), I like perfume roller balls and samples for the sole fact that you get to change it up! I actually bought these in January with a Sephora gift card I received for Christmas, but these scents scream spring. Repetto is new to the perfume game, but I am a fan of their signature scent for the fact that it does indeed encapsulate the vibe of the company (elegant French girls, s'il vous plait). And Chloé is of course a classic. I find both scents are perfect for spring, and I love the option of switching between them.

❀ Happy Spring, and may you stay pretty at pristine price points! 
xo  SFB

☁ Orange Creamsicle ☁

Thursday, March 19, 2015

With record-breaking temps hitting LA this past weekend, forget about springing forward: spring in LA is not just an hour, but also a season ahead! The heat makes me crave nothing more than frozen treats, namely my favorite frozen yogurt joint in the South Bay (shoutout to Penguins Redondo Beach!). Specialty frozen yogurt aside, I also have my ice cream truck go-to: The Orange Creamsicle. As I feel I've now settled into La La Land, this outfit brought to mind an American ice cream classic and a head in the clouds. 
I'm well aware of how cheesy I look.
I got this petticoat from St Louis (quel surpris) from (...quel surpris again) my favorite vintage boutique, Parsimonia (mentioned here & here & here). I know it's technically (properly? traditionally?) supposed to be worn under a dress, but it's 90 degrees and 2015-I'll do what I want. It reminds me of a cloud; paired with my "Orange Creamsicle" top, I took on the heat. 
In case anyone is wondering, no I didn't get a tattoo: the mark on my wrist was from a club. Oops, I almost forgot to wash it off for an interview. 
All photos courtesy of Kaelin Bohl Photography.
Skirt: Vintage from Parsimonia Vintage STL
Daisy Hair Accessory: Urban Outfitters
Shoes: Sam Edelman (on sale at LF)
xo  SFB

❣ St. Patty's Day Nails: Strawberry Shortcake ❣

Friday, March 13, 2015

While The Grinch is one of my holiday favorites, I've always had a more complicated relationship with the true "green holiday". Why, might you ask? Well, green clothing tends to wash me out. As much as I humor myself in acting like an Irish grinch occasionally, even I will add a hint of green here or there to celebrate St Patty's. With the holiday upon us next week, this year I opted for some "washed out" green nails. St Patrick's Day meets Strawberry Shortcake. 
I used Essie in The More the Merrier  OPI Nicole in Enchantress, and the discontinued Sephora line for OPI in a shimmery green(also discontinued in my makeup collection as I used it all up!). 
I layered the Essie green first. 
Next, using the OPI Nicole pink, I speckled on pink. Two layers. 
 The shimmery green was next. 
As you can tell, I found a happy "Strawberry Shortcake" type of green color scheme that may not scream St Patty's, but what can I say, I'm a low-key grinch. 
xo  SFB

﹌Blue (Girl) Crush ﹌

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Call me dramatic, but something doesn't sit quite right with the above photo. It's not the Prius, it's certainly not the sunshine, nor is it even the fact that I was having trouble metering my ISO when I took this exact photo. 
The Missouri license plate. Yup. It's just not right. 
Born and raised in California, I'm no Missourian: I'm a beach girl. Case in point: the film Blue Crush.
A recent lazy morning brought me back to one of my childhood favorite movies, reminiscent of my Junior Lifeguard days, back when I lived for the ocean and during the summer, in the ocean. Yeah, you heard me: I was a mermaid.
While I did not commemorate International Women's Day this past Sunday on the blog, it was certainly on my mind. 
Blue Crush is near and dear to my heart for a few reasons, but the one I want to draw attention to now is its emphasis on female empowerment and strength. Surfers may deride the film for being inauthentic to surf culture and too "Hollywood" (it did launch Kate Bosworth's career, after all)-but it's truly about girl power. Sure, the girls look smokin' hot in the film (bikinis on bikinis on bikinis), complete with sex, partying, and bad girl 'tudes, but if you look a little more closely at the plot line, the essence is in kicking butt as female surfers. 
Kate Bosworth is indeed an actress (not a surfer), and Michelle Rodriguez was indeed my first-ever girl crush in this movie, but string bikinis and Matthew Davis aside, this movie rocked. 
In addition to all the positive lady vibes going around here, the film is about PIPELINE & surf culture in Hawaii. 
This scene, though: note M.Rod schooling the boys
As I mentioned, I'm currently living in a Hawaiian-nurtured household. Did I also mention I'm a former beach bum? After 4.5 years of enduring frigid winters and flannels BY CHOICE (why did I choose to go to school in Connecticut again?) I'm back in warmer, greener seaside pastures. Not quite the tropics you'd find in Hawaii, but the chill mindset & island-esque vibes sit very well with me. 
Here are some of my current blue crushes of my surroundings: 
Nothing I love more than the sound of the waves lapping against the shore
Just in case you were wondering, the candle pictured is from Anthropologie & is the most lovely way to start my day. 
The food pictured includes an old favorite dish(pictured left) from TNTs Aloha Cafe in Torrance, CA & some delicious Hawaiian staples Harry keeps around the house. Spam, pickled ginger, and perhaps my favorite coffee I've ever had: Kauai Coffee.
Last but not least, some real Kauai inspiration taken a few years back on my last family vacation to paradise:
xo  SFB

°•ิ.• East Meets West °•ิ.•

Thursday, March 5, 2015

East meets West: one of my favorite conceptual convergences. Not only does this describe Russia, but it may as well describe my mindset at-large. I am a West Coast girl through and through, born and raised in the Los Angeles area. From ages 13-15 my family moved abroad to Zurich, Switzerland, displacing my comfortable “happy place” where I had spent my childhood to my angst-ridden yet worldlier headspace during my teenage years. Living in Switzerland made me realize when I returned to LA for high school that I wanted to go to the East Coast for college. While I had once been the poster child for sunshine, surfboards, and chlorine-enhanced hair, I had transformed into this “urbanite” who wanted a world of J. Crew prints, leather-bound books, and fall foliage. It’s taken me a while to realize where I want to be, and where I can truly call home, but I’m happy to call LA home for now.

One of my favorite places in LA tips its hat off to another of my favorite places: Little Tokyo. I’ve been a Japanophile since I was a child, and I hold Little Tokyo near and dear to my heart. LA is indeed “West Coast” in mindset and content, but it’s much more influenced by the Far East than the actual Northeastern United States (a region we Californians deem "the East Coast") can claim for itself. My recent day trip to Little Tokyo inspired wanderlust, kitsch, and some peacocking of my newly purchased printed jersey dress

Jersey Dress: LF (on sale)
Leggings: Forever 21
Jellies: Jelly Beans at Princess Polly (available here)
Strawberry Hairclip: Random Candy Store

Makeup-wise I am wearing Nyx Jumbo Eye Pencil in Peacock and Maybelline Color Sensational in Coral.

Most (not all, I did take some of these!) photos are by Kaelin Bohl.
xo  SFB