92 Dragging Footsteps

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their 
dirty feet.  
The quote above isn't really relevant to this post --and this post isn't really relevant to anything at all-- but I just found it rather meaningful and, of course, as vital a reminder as Mother Teresa's one a few posts down.

The exams --both prelims and As-- are accelerating towards me faster than I'd thought possible and I couldn't help but remember what sec 3 was like, when I'd just come back from Bangkok. Looking back, I can't remember what was so stressful about the workload, but I do remember getting panic attacks almost every morning and feeling so stressed I'd just sit and cry over the weekends. It's a terrible period I don't exactly like talking about, but I am glad I've moved on, and it just made me marvel at the fact that no matter how down I've gotten these 2 years, I have never sunk to the same level I was at in sec 3.

Perhaps it's perspective I've gotten over the four years that have lapsed. At fifteen life is a microcosm; the world is small and you hold it in your palm, liable to let it drop to the ground and crash. Any external or internal influences can cause massive destruction. And, of course, I started learning ballet that year; sometimes I wonder if it's ballet that has given me a strong inner core (figuratively, of course; my literal core couldn't be weaker) to stand still in a storm.

Nowadays I come home feeling so incredibly weak and drained. Fatigue is a better term than tired. (Speaking of which, here's an interesting, off-topic article on why weak is a different term from stupidread more.) The worst thing is I'm not even productive most days, if you judge by my study plan, which I'm almost stubbornly not following. But even doing as little as 6 math questions in school can make me collapse onto my bed when I reach home, and the tiredness doesn't do anything for opening my mind to its demons.

Anyway, all I wanted to say is that I'm tired, and I'm searching so hard for the strength to carry on and push on. I'm searching for the little miracles, and the fact that my fatigue has thus far only led to a desire for thankfully temporary rest is a small one.

91 Dancer

we are the dancing shapes on the back of the universe’s eyelids

Quote and pictures from Tumblr

90 New Ideas

Atlantic Pacific is slowly debunking my previously staunchly held theory that peplum tops only go with fitted bottoms.

Besides this, check out her blog! She's a wonderful example of how a consistent style (in terms of favourite silhouettes and flattering colour palettes) can be reworked in a myriad of ways with the help of standout pieces. Check out the not-quite-nude peach heels above, and how she later pairs the same peplum top above with similarly pointy-toed hues in a striking lime green colour.

I'm trying to do the same with my wardrobe: I've long resigned myself to sticking to the fit-and-flare silhouette, and that navy blues and whites --though classic, sometimes boring-- suit me best; but of late I've bought pieces in a colour that's slightly off (try ice blue instead of baby blue!), or pieces with slight tweaks to the silhouette (such as lace instead of a plain swathe of fabric, or a square neckline instead of a scoop). These, paired with my favourite outfit finishers (nude heels, cream quilted bag, often either drop earrings or a statement necklace), usually put me in good stead for Sundays (a.k.a. the only day I dress up in the whole week) (woes of a student).

89 Thoughts from Underground

If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are. 

-Mother Teresa

This has been a constant, important reminder for me since my mum told me about it last year. At first, I didn't really get it, especially the 'praise' part: why shouldn't you let praise bolster your self-confidence? I'm realizing that there's a difference between self-esteem that's grounded in a very personal, internal discipline, and self-esteem that's pegged to what others think of you.

This week the Oxbridge applicant list came out; it's a HP tradition that's always terrifying, when the tutors come up with a list of those applying (with prior approval from the tutors, of course) and tack it to the board in the room. Last year, when I saw the seniors' names, I assumed that "all our seniors [were] applying", until my friends pointed out that 20+ out of 50+ is hardly everyone. This narrowing down, and of course the physical act of tacking it up (almost like a ballerina's casting list!), makes it terrifying.

It's both the praise of being thought well of, and the potential disgrace of having your name taken off if you don't maintain consistent results. And I keep trying to remind myself that I can't keep thinking of myself only in relation to what the tutors (and others) think of me: because, as it's only too easy to see when you're in the dumps, what everyone thinks of you is always only a minute measure of who you are as a person. And an uncertain one at that: because a little like the adage that says a student only understands half of what he learns, and remembers half of what he understands, others only see what you let them, and they only understand a little of what they see.

So I'm trying very hard to maintain a grounded self-esteem: the strength to believe in myself, no matter what, and to believe in the credibility of my goals without ever slipping into feeling that I am entitled to them.

That said, I am also trying very hard to learn from others, and study hard. I need to always remember what it felt like to fail an exam, and how deeply the conviction to work harder resonated within me then. 

Chase your dreams but always know the road/
That’ll lead you home again
-My Little Girl, Tim McGraw

There, a 'serious' break from all that shopping! But there'll be more shopping reviews coming up soon: I'm expecting my TVD dress (home after almost two months of waiting) and TTR bag (the first time most of my classmates witnessed my crazy shopaholic side).

88 Quiet Truths

Max Ehrmann's "Desiderata"
    Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
    and remember what peace there may be in silence.
    As far as possible without surrender
    be on good terms with all persons.
    Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
    and listen to others,
    even the dull and the ignorant;
    they too have their story. 
    Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
    they are vexations to the spirit.
    If you compare yourself with others,
    you may become vain and bitter;
    for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
    Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. 

    Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
    it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
    Exercise caution in your business affairs;
    for the world is full of trickery.
    But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
    many persons strive for high ideals;
    and everywhere life is full of heroism. 

    Be yourself.
    Especially, do not feign affection.
    Neither be cynical about love;
    for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
    it is as perennial as the grass. 

    Take kindly the counsel of the years,
    gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
    Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
    But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
    Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
    Beyond a wholesome discipline,
    be gentle with yourself. 

    You are a child of the universe,
    no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here.
    And whether or not it is clear to you,
    no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. 

    Therefore be at peace with God,
    whatever you conceive Him to be,
    and whatever your labors and aspirations,
    in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. 

    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
    it is still a beautiful world.
    Be cheerful.
    Strive to be happy. 

87 New Friends

I finally found a new blogshop to fangirl over with my mum: Dressabelle! It's so rare finding one that both of us like in terms of pricing, design and quality, though I have to say my mum has much better taste than me, even when it comes to what looks good on me (not her) (no surprises). So when I found Dressabelle, the two of us spent some time trawling through collections; I'm so glad she liked it enough to approve the two buys below :) 

Denim Shorts in Dark (S)
I never wear denim shorts and I never buy denim shorts: two rules that were overturned by this lovely pair! I will never look as good in them as the model does, of course, but since it's rare enough to find one in my measurements, I'm happy.

Paired with TVD Lace Basic tee and the belt that came with the shorts!
Lace Overlay Skater Dress in Mint (S)
I've tried and failed to get quite a few items in mint on other blogshops recently. My favourite colour remains spearmint (which is more green than this colour) but mint is still a pretty rejuvenating perk-up for my closet, which of late has stagnated into navy blues and whites (particularly whites). Not to mention, perfect fit at bust/waist/length, skater dress cut and lace are all deal-breakers! :)

Both items reviewed here.

On the personal life front, college and scholarship applications have me worried at least once a day, but I am trying to keep my eyes on prelims at the same time, since ultimately if I lose sight of the exams for the applications it'll be like putting the cart before the horse. It's quite a stressful period but I am praying for the strength to do the right thing at the right time, and to pace myself so I don't burn out. Only you know yourself best, remember that.

If anyone's looking for cool new music, listen to the Like Crazy soundtrack! The film itself is refreshingly honest: a bare-faced counterpart to (500) Days of Summer, and possibly even more heartbreaking.

86 Old and New

Just a short triptych of my past week:
Phantom of the Opera, live at MBS! So magical.
My favourite: QI/QUICK for 111 points.
Scores at the Kino 20% storewide sale
Have a lovely extended weekend! I haven't done anything work-related...

85 It Takes Two

...My reversible top from Thread Theory just arrived! It's my first time shopping with them and I'll definitely do so again. Besides the facts that (a) their model is Andrea Chong, who is probably my Singaporean style crush and (b) their clothes fit my style, their customer service is also fabulous.

That said, I will probably have to stop shopping for clothes at least one or two weeks because I've bought 4 items in around two weeks which is a lot for my standards. However, I now have 2 online vouchers that will expire between August and September, which means I will (not unwillingly) be dragged out of hiatus when the time comes :)

In the meantime, read my review of ThreadTheory's Two to Tango top here.

84 An Artist's Temperament

She will want you to leave her.
She glories in the pining, the chasing,
Then the loss, the suffering, all the while:
The state of non-being is all the more beautiful to her.
They say to be in love with an artist is to be immortal;
But that immortality is a perpetual estrangement,
A constant demarcation of what you are
And what You are as an ideal to be written about.
She will say, “I like you better when you are not around;
I like you when I think about you,
When I dream about you,
But not when I open my eyes
To find you there.”

83 Style Crush: Marina Larroudé

Just how awesome is this lady's style?! Google her and you'll know what I mean.
/Marina Larroudé, market director, Style.com

82 Local Trends

While I'm at it, I thought I'd compile a list of local trends: items that are all over blogshops recently:

  1. Perspex clutches (waited forever for them to arrive in shops, but now undecided: I like the lace-covered ones)
  2. Rompers (particularly the Topshop-inspired design seen with TVD's Talia!)
  3. Lace skirts (particularly the lace seen on LAB's Renessa)
  4. Cut-outs: back (MGP's Looque is quite popular), side (TVD has such a maxi, I believe), front (as seen in LB's latest launch)
  5. Lattice work (LB/TTR, notably)
  6. Cut-in tops (I just ordered Thread Theory's-- review when it arrives!)
Peplum skirts used to be all over -and everyone owns at least one colour of LB's Miranda- but it's one trend I am forcing myself to stay away from, since I discovered that peplums attract attention to ample hips. I bought a mint coloured peplum top from Cotton On once on impulse and traded it away in the end because I just couldn't find anything to wear it with that wouldn't make my hips look that much bigger.

This list isn't intensive and certainly wasn't done with much research, just off the top of my head-- though that's not saying much since I pretty much don't do anything except blogshop-hop online these days, so I always get instances of "where did I see that before" "ooh, new colours/sizes as compared to this other blogshop" "everybody is wearing this!!" etc. 

And once again-- invest in style, not trends! Always pick items that are flattering for you and that you love. Even if it's cheap and available everywhere, if you don't really love it, you won't wear it for long. #painfullessonslearnt

81 Piping

More Piping!

More Piping! by adaydreamer featuring marni

The pajama trend is one that didn't really take off in local blogshops-- with reason, since it's a particularly challenging one, and one that I'll probably never attempt, despite being intrigued by it. (Losing myself in swathes of layers is not the best way to tackle a pear-shaped body.) But a minuscule way of dipping my toes in, as it were, is experimenting with piping-- I'm still looking for the perfect shirt featuring it, but here're 3 that I found by perusing more than 40+ pages of items on Polyvore.

Meanwhile, if you're more adventurous, here're some celebrities whose take on the trend I like:
Rose Byrne
Marina Larroudé: a face I'll have to watch
Kate Hudson
Images Credit: Google Images

80 Eyelet Prepster

Girly Prep

Girly Prep by adaydreamer featuring jumpsuits and rompers

Wore my TVD Talia romper out for dinner tonight, tempered by a classic fitted black blazer and --indulging a whim here-- navy Converse sneakers. The thing about sticking to ballet flats 99% is that sneakers make for a very preppy, lovely surprise!

79 Para-Paradise

Experimenting with a new graphic style: yay/nay?
My correct order from LAB finally arrived, after two weeks + of waiting! Despite all the confusion and disappointment at what happened, I have to say their CS has been consistent and polite. What happened is they originally sent me the wrong dress --same print, different design-- that didn't quite flatter me anyway, so I sent it in for an exchange to the dress that I had actually ordered-- and it just arrived!

It is so gorgeous, it reminds me of tea dresses worn by young women in the 50s to pop by a cafe or something (purely fictional) (I have no idea if tea dresses were really a product of the 50s) (oh no) (a girl can dream).

(I have not gotten rid of my annoying habit of typing in parentheses.)

(Read my review of Love and Bravery's Hummingbird Bay Skater Dress here.)