This is How I Procrastinate.

Posted in london calling by bluewellesleyblue on November 8, 2008

Though I managed to do a little bit of academic work today while sipping on yet another Gingerbread Latte, I spent most of my afternoon ogling planners for the year 2009. Due to severe sophomore slump for the first part of the year, I’m admittedly more than a little ready to put 2008 behind me, though my summer ended up being low-key but productive and study abroad here in London has been eye-opening. The only sad part of rushing through the last two months of 2008 would be leaving London, but I think I’m finding that one semester away from the land of Wellesley is enough. I’ll miss my wonderful, lively, and diverse group of flat-mates, but I’m also re-energized and fully prepared to take the year 2009 by storm. Anyway, I’m the type of person who needs to write out and plan everything, hence my fondness for planners. I ended up splurging a bit on a day-by-day planner even though I wasn’t able to effectively use one in the past. I’m hoping it’ll inspire me to be intense enough to fill most of its pages.

butterfly-diaryI ended up buying a very plainly designed one though there were many classy and colorful ones available at the local bookstore. The Paperchase line from borders offers a lot of cover options, and both their weekly planners and day ones are quite nice. I really liked this weekly planner with a sort of Asian-inspired embroidered butterfly print.

Ultimately, though I went with the slightly hefty Moleskine day planner. My attachment to the cult of Moleskine grows every time I need to buy a notebook. Admittedly, it was a bit pricey – I paid 15.50 GBP which is a bit more than the Paperchase equivalents were going for – but it sure feels as if you get what you pay for when you write in any Moleskine. Since the planner starts with January 1, 2009, I won’t be using it much yet, but I’ve been happily filling in next year’s vacation days, reading period start and end times, and so on so forth. All of this is so that I can procrastinate just a little bit more.

But hey, I deserve it. It’s reading week, which still kind of counts as a vacation.

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The First Gingerbread Latte of the Season, and Other Things.

Posted in week in review by bluewellesleyblue on November 8, 2008


1. Even if the first five days of November are far too early to bring out the Christmas decorations, the Christmas treats, and the Christmas drinks to the tunes of constant Christmas carols – standardized Starbucks Christmas marketing – I can’t resist having my first Gingerbread Latte of the season. Yes, it’s a touch overpriced, and even if I can see the flecks of cinnamon and nutmeg, I can’t taste them, but it’s a comfort drink that reminds me of home. To be completely honest, Costa Coffee’s Cinnamon Latte is probably a better slightly spiced espresso drink. Still, it’s a taste of home!

I’m showing off my books as well. My summer research has pretty much directed me to my potential thesis topic.

2. Via Stylebubble, the very day after I turn in all my term evaluation papers, I could potentially celebrate with a jaunt to the Angels Big Vintage Clothing Sale. I’ve never bought anything vintage and am not quite as creative as many of the lovely fashion bloggers I follow, but it should be quite an adventure. At 10 GBP a medium bag, I’m sure I’d be able to find something to bring home and make it all worth it. Maybe this will be just the thing to lift me out of my fashion fatigue.

scaryboot3. I’m in the unenviable position of realizing that all my ballet flats are reaching near unwearable levels of wear and tear. I haven’t seen any cute pairs worth buying recently, but out of necessity, I’ll have to look harder. Of course, between rainy London and soon to be snowy and icy Boston, I won’t actually be wearing my ballet flats much for quite some time. Come the post-Christmas sales, I’ll definitely have my eye out for a good pair of leather boots.

Am I the only one who didn’t – for the longest time – understand the appeal of leather boots at all? I always feel like they make my feet look like boats, and since I’m kind of short and short-legged for my shoe size, they just don’t seem to work that well on me. Also, I find the really high-heeled and pointy-toed boots to be a little scary looking. It’s probably just me.

One Thing Primark Does Right.

Posted in shopping advice by bluewellesleyblue on November 6, 2008

Shopping at Primark is something many Londoners and tourists indulge in, which quickly becomes clear when you walk down and around Oxford Street and see just how many of those plain, flimsy paper bags are around. After all, with 4 GBP bras and 6 GBP jeans and so on so forth, the price is definitely right even if the fit tends not to be. I ate lunch with a friend from Wellesley who is also studying in London and then we popped into Primark since it was still a weekday afternoon, and she introduced me to the joys of Primark lingerie. Admittedly, they carry more than their share of brightly colored and strangely ruched and embellished bras, corsets, and so forth, but sometimes, you just want to buy some campy lingerie for costume purposes.

They carry a fairly limited range of sizes – none in my actual bra size here though I approximated alright by going up a band size and down a cup size – and you’re not actually allowed to try on their bras in the fitting rooms apparently, but it all fits pretty true to size. The nightgowns and non cup-sized corsets are probably a little awkward for… less average sizes, but if the shoe fits, you can’t deny that 6 pounds for a corset (less than 12 dollars) is wonderful.

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Shopping in London Part 1.

Posted in london calling by bluewellesleyblue on October 31, 2008

Its Part 1 because it is almost inevitable that there will be a Part 2, whether I post on it or not. For the most part, I’ve kept my indulgences to the weekly espresso-based beverage, but eventually I won’t be able to resist something at Uniqlo or H&M. Or maybe I’ll get a really loud and colorful corset at Primark for costume-ing purposes. There is a certain moderately notorious Wellesley social event that demands such attire, after all.

Bag from New Look, Blue chain headband from Accessorize, Everything else from Markets.

I’m leaving out the clothes because all of those are from places that are hardly London exclusives by any stretch of the imagination. Granted, pashminas and little paisley scarves are available everywhere, as is the cheap-y jewelry that gives me hives if I’m not careful. The bracelet suffers from the natural consequence of “you get what you pay for” and costing a fair bit less than one quid. The necklace can be worn with turtlenecks.

Oh, and New Look is an European high street chain that has pricing a bit below the USD equivalent of Forever 21. I have very mixed feelings about the clothes and accessories there, but for very simple basics, it works out well. I kind of violated my personal “all bags must be worthy, rare splurges” rule, but I needed a small bag for my tourist excursions.

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My Not-so-Lazy Longchamp Sunday.

Posted in london calling by bluewellesleyblue on October 26, 2008

I’ve mentioned my fondness for the Longchamp Le Pliage large totes before. Yes, they are so common on my home campus and amongst the young women of the greater Boston area as to be a cliche. Yes, the only reason why they aren’t as common in central London seems to be because they’re considered to be nothing better than a glorified and pricey grocery bag. Seriously, I was waiting in line at a Waitrose supermarket – an upper end supermarket chain here – only to see the well-dressed lady in front of me pull one out from her purse for her groceries. Still, two years after first meeting the Longchamp Le Pliage tote on many of my college classmates’ arms, I still haven’t been able to shake my vague desire for one. It’s just so elegant in it’s simplicity. If only it weren’t an $150.00 nylon bag. But today, I took the plunge and picked one up – legitimately – for 58 GBP. With the current exchange rate, that’s roughly $92.


Come With me to Camden…

Posted in london calling by bluewellesleyblue on October 10, 2008

Just one part of the immense Camden markets. Photo from livejournal.

I have the day off on Fridays so I headed off to Camden because I’d heard good things about the market there. It’s definitely one of the major tourist attractions in the London area, and for pretty good reason. There are tons and tons of stalls selling clothes, jewelry, and decorative items. A lot of the fashion here tends toward the alternative, with many stalls and stores dedicated to gothic, elegant gothic lolita, ethnic clothes, and rave clothhes. It is a bit of a tourist trap: most of the stalls with more conventional clothing offer the same selection of fairly overpriced tops and dresses that would be at home in a Taiwanese night market selling for much lower prices.

Still, the whole area is quite a sight to behold, and there are a lot of independent, local jewelry designers and quirky shops that are unique and very much worth a visit, though it takes some searching. There are a few vintage stores here, but in keeping with the ethos of a major tourist area, the prices are nothing to sneeze at and the goods are not that interesting.

I’ll do a post later with my recent purchases.

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Another Week in London…

Posted in week in review by bluewellesleyblue on October 5, 2008

I’ve been in London now for about two weeks and a half. It doesn’t seem that long until I think about how one term is really only about ten or eleven weeks. I’m going to miss everyone I’ve met here so much! If anyone leans towards international politics, history, or development economics when it comes to their academic interests, I highly recommend attending SOAS for a term or a year if they have the chance to study abroad. It has been really refreshing to meet people who are so well-traveled, internationally minded, and politically aware as so many of the students here are. Here are some of the other things that have been on my mind this past week:

1. Miss Couturable wrote a nice little post about just how important it is for young women today to be confident and assert themselves. As a college student about to enter the workforce herself, I’m painfully aware about how many disadvantages women tend to face post-college. So remember: do not fear salary negotiation and while there’s still a double-standard at times when it comes to how we conduct ourselves in an office setting (that dude is just being a leader but you’re being a bitch for doing the same thing, in essence), it is important to take a stand when the situation demands. I can’t help but advocate for all high school aged women to seriously consider schools like Wellesley because it is quite empowering.

2. I have this kind of old Ebay-purchased Kenneth Cole bag of dubious provenance – the logo is in a different font from the current Kenneth Cole New York one – but it has been my indispensable going out bag for the last two years. Tragedy of tragedies one end of the strap has broken clean off the metal ring holding it to the rest of the bag! I’m going to go to a shoe repair place and hope that they can sew it back together. I feel quite lost without it!

3. My love of food is quite profound and since clothes tend to be a touch too expensive for my budget here, I’ve spent a great deal more time grocery shopping and searching for the best prices on various things. I was saddened to discover that Chinese groceries – the vegetables I’m accustomed to stir frying and eating as well as the century eggs I like to have with tofu, which gross out pretty much everyone else I know – are among the things that are more than double the price they would sell for in the US. Tragedy again! In truth though, food is not necessarily more expensive here, and my budget’s not hurting too much.

4. I am, unusually for me, suffering from a bit of fashion fatigue as of late. My excuse is schoolwork, though there really isn’t that much to do yet since the term here has only just started.

5. This is a little random – a music recommendation though I think it’s a group most people have already encountered at some point or another – but I am becoming ridiculously fond of Stars and practically every song in their album Set Yourself on Fire is beautiful. My favorite is “Your Ex-Lover is Dead.”

Here’s to hoping for another good week!

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