FASHION: Get Dressed In Less Than 15 Minutes… or Less

 

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Happy Sunday, Lillers! (A nickname I’m trying to get off the ground)

THIS COMING WEEK, Colin Quinn and I will both answer the question, “Vaseline or Lubiderm?” …Right before that, I want you to meet another side of me. You have encountered insecure Lillian, crazy Lillian… Now, meet Lazy Fashionista Lillian. On average, as many as five people a year ask me from where I summon the imagination and creative genius to throw my various get-ups together. I owe it to these five fine individuals to clear a few things up:

I never lay my outfits out the night before and if I take longer than 15 minutes getting dressed in the morning, I’m doing it so wrong. In fact, my only method to the madness of morning assembling is to have one color (or one certain item) in mind. From there, I construct my ensemble one piece at a time, each new element clicking with the last while complementing my garb wholly. It’s not the friggin’ Sistine Chapel but my outfits are not bad for a girl who used to wear baggy turtlenecks with Dungarees to middle school EVERY. DAMN. DAY. So, if you will, 3 recent examples–all items accessibly priced:

1. DIP IT LOOOW

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THE CENTRAL PIECE: LUSH Crochet Waist Maxi Skirt in Black, $80.00 (closest style at ShopBop)

TOP: KIMCHI BLUE Scalloped Bralette, $28.00 (Shop it!)

TOP: AMERICAN APPAREL Fine Jersey Racerback Tank Dress, $18.00 (Shop it!)

ACCESSORY No. 1: NAKAMOL CHICAGO peach crystal-bib necklace, $65.00 (closest style at Nakamol)

ACCESSORY No. 2: BANANA REPUBLIC Zigzag Cuff, $49.50 (Shop it!)

SHOES: LUCKY BRAND wedge heels, $110.00 (closest style at Lucky Brand)

2. THE TALE OF THE TRIBAL VEST

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THE CENTRAL PIECE: A Tribal Vest my mom foraged back from China (closest style at Anthropologie, ON SALE for $18.00!)

BOTTOMS: 7 FOR ALL MANKIND cut-off shorts, $168.00 (closest style at 7 for All Mankind)

TOP: LUCCA COUTURE crop bustier, $68.00 (closest style at Nasty Gal)

ACCESSORY No. 1: KAIA PETERKA Revolution cuff in Rain, $68.00 (Shop it!)

ACCESSORY No. 2: Native American Turquoise Beaded Cuff from Arizonian Reservation (Shop this handcrafted similar cuff before it closes out!)

SHOES: VON DUTCH Black Leather Freerider Bootie, $135.00 (UPDATE: Sold out everywhere but on Amazon!)

3. THE “I SLEPT OVER AT THE BOYFRIEND’s”

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THE CENTRAL PIECE: MAX STUDIO Grey Silk Oversized Button-up Shirt, $158.00 (closest style at Max Studio)

TOP: ABERCROMBIE & FITCH Celeste tank, $28.00 (Shop it ON SALE!)

BOTTOMS: WILLOW & CLAY Huggy Leggings, $58.00 (Shop the WC Classic Legging here!)

ACCESSORY: NAKAMOL CHICAGO peach crystal-bib necklace, $65.00 (closest style at Nakamol)

SHOES: ARTURO CHIANG Black Fire Studded Moto Boots, $150.00 (UPDATE: Sold out everywhere but EBay-Hurry, homegirl!)

Much love,

Lil xx

GIRLS FOR GIRLS: Sue + Kristin, the Sexy Girls of “Ninja and Buckwild”

#LILGRIPESInterview
~ Lillian Gao

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Kristin (L) and Sue (R): Courtesy of Tampa Image Factory and @KristinEubanksDotCom on Instagram, respectively

AS A CYNICAL NEW YORKER suspicious of perky people who put exclamation points at the ends of all their sentences, I love meeting people from corners of the U.S. of A. where such perky quirks seem homegrown and genuine. And as a 20-something woman searching for agency over her own creative passions, I ADORE meeting other young women actively chasing theirs. Enter the gals behind “Ninja and Buckwild,” the personality-driven advice platform mounted by two lovely and sweet models (one of their many, many day jobs, as you’ll see), based out of St. Petersburg, Florida–Sue Seitler and Kristin Eubanks Parmeter. Not only are Sue and Kristin as gorgeous as you would expect (Kristin is a blonde, statuesque Southern drink of water and Sue is a bronzed, half-Filipina firecracker), they are brimming with positive energy and everything nice on the inside.

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Courtesy of @NinjaandBuckwild on Instagram

As a cynical New Yorker suspicious of perky people who put exclamation points at the ends of all their sentences, I love meeting people from corners of the U.S. of A. where such perky quirks seem homegrown and genuine.

Sure, their Instagrams and tweets may frequently enthuse about the latest healthy food kicks, how great the sun in St. Petersburg is consistently, and their favorite yoga poses (all things, by the way, that usually make us New Yorkers roll our eyes sooo far back in our heads that they become permanently stuck there), but their unapologetically blithe attitudes are hopelessly, disgustingly contagious.

DELISH Kale Chips!!! And such a healthy snack! I LOVED the tangy taste to these! Here's the recipe! •1 or 2 TB olive oil •1 TB freshly squeezed lime juice •1 bunch kale •1/2 tsp sea salt Preheat oven 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper. In small bowl, combine olive oil & lime juice and set aside. Rinse and dry kale thoroughly. (Be sure kale is dry, or you'll have have steamed or burned chips.) Remove kale stems and cut leaves into small pieces. Spread kale on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle oil/juice mixture. Bake for 10-12 mins or until crispy. Stay close to the oven because these can burn very quickly. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle sea salt.
Ninja and Buckwild’s original recipe for Kale Chips DELISH Kale Chips!!! And such a healthy snack! I LOVED the tangy taste to these! Here’s the recipe! •1 or 2 TB olive oil
•1 TB freshly squeezed lime juice
•1 bunch kale
•1/2 tsp sea salt
Preheat oven 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper. In small bowl, combine olive oil & lime juice and set aside. Rinse and dry kale thoroughly. (Be sure kale is dry, or you’ll have have steamed or burned chips.) Remove kale stems and cut leaves into small pieces. Spread kale on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle oil/juice mixture. Bake for 10-12 mins or until crispy. Stay close to the oven because these can burn very quickly. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle sea salt.

“Ninja and Buckwild,” originally a mere Instagram account, will soon entail a YouTube channel launching this May and official website all aimed at offering others tips on fitness, comedy, holistic living, beauty, fashion and spirituality. Their target audience? EVERYONE… According to Sue and Kristin, the venture sowed its original seeds separately before the two even met one another.

For years prior to their friendship, Sue had been known as “Sue the Ninja” affectionately and Kristin as “Buckwild” among friends, colleagues, and social media followers. “When we met, it was like ‘Hey I’m Sue the Ninja’ and ‘Hey Girl, I’m Kristin aka Buckwild.’ Two adult women walking around with nicknames like that was so funny and random,” mused Sue.

“When we met, it was like ‘Hey I’m Sue the Ninja’ and ‘Hey Girl, I’m Kristin aka Buckwild.’ Two adult women walking around with nicknames like that was so funny and random.”

-Sue

The pair began hashtagging all individual Instagram photos with #NinjaAndBuckwild. For pure convenience’s sake, a joint account was formed to simplify affairs. However, along the way, Sue and Kristin realized they both had a wide field of expertise for which others may seek their advice. Henceforth, the birth and nurturing of a YouTube channel became next on the “Ninja and Buckwild” brainstorm docket.

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Courtesy of Tampa Image Factory

Over a nice virtual chat, I played a round of Q + A with this dynamic duo and their answers were exactly what you would expect: lively, colorful, and sage, sprinkled with amusing interjections and adorable guffaws:

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Courtesy of NinjaandBuckwild on Instagram

Lil Gripes: So, what ARE your many day jobs?

Kristin: I am a model and a healer. I am a also a former wrestling diva…

After leaving the wrestling business, I was pretty messed up emotionally. I was really young and my first bout in the entertainment business really ate me up and spit me out. I was lucky enough to get a second chance in Television a few years later with Home Shopping Network and have soared there.

This was after hitting rock bottom and feeling like I would never succeed again after quitting my first TV job. The pressures there proved be too much for me to handle at such a young age and with so little experience. I was abusing Rx drugs such as Xanax at the time of my asking for release from my contract. Xanax definitely doesn’t help your decision-making skills at all!

“After leaving the wrestling business, I was pretty messed up emotionally… [And taking] Xanax definitely doesn’t help your decision-making skills at all!”

– Kristin

However, after I left my contract I moved back to N.C. and was introduced to a group of holistic healers and a spiritual group that changed my life forever. I learned to no longer live in fear, to take responsibility for my actions and my energy and I began to rebuild my life. I began to study under some of these teachers and that is how I became a proponent for holistic living and spirituality. I haven’t had an Rx drug since 2007.

 “I learned to no longer live in fear, to take responsibility for my actions and my energy and I began to rebuild my life.”

-Kristin

After I ‘learned all my lessons’  in North Carolina I felt ready to move away from the small town and try my hand in entertainment again–this time equipped with the tools to handle such a high pressure job. After about a year of auditions I was hired on at Home Shopping Network and that is where I met Sue.

Basically, the rest is history and it’s been an amazing ride! I also have my healing and angel card business at www.kristineubanks.com. I now help others to shift their perception and heal their life as I was taught to do.”

Sue: “What don’t I do, is more like it! I’m a licensed cosmetologist, freelance hairstylist and makeup artist. I am a Jannus LIVE TV host for the historic outdoor concert venue in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. I am a craft cocktail, high-volume bartender. I am a model on-air on the Home Shopping Network channel as well as modeling for all sorts of things like ads, print, etcetera. I am also a commercial actress,  a stand-up comedian, and mother of a 15-yr old handsome boy. At the end of the day, I’m an One Woman Show.”

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These two are so legendarily close that the folks at Mattel made Barbies out of them! (no, not really); Courtesy of @ninjaandbuckwild on Instagram

LG: “Ninja and Buckwild” already sounds like such a fun, engaging name for a lifestyle brand. Whose idea was it to do a comedy portion specifically?

Kristin: That’s something special that Sue offers. Occasionally I can be funny but Sue is hilarious. She needs to share that with others. Being able to make other people smile is a very special gift.

Sue: Why not?! I grew up living comedy! My mother’s pervertedness [sic] and my father’s dirty mouth like a sailor’s (and his wittiness) is what created this awesome half-Asian mess of a woman! Haha. I LOVE awkward moments and embrace them. My entire childhood and teenage years, I was so quiet and shy. I held back comments, remarks and statements that I obviously never decided to make because, well, I don’t know why. But as I got older, I became this outgoing, trash-talking, dirty, vulgar-mouthed model that surprises EVERYONE!

Growing up, I realized that everyone is so quick to judge people. I’ve been through so much in my life, that it would blow your mind. But I’m thankful for it because that’s what made me “ME”! So when people first look at me they typically think, “Here’s this pretty girl, probably a stuck-up model.” But the second I open up my mouth…..I shock the world! So don’t judge a book by its cover, folks!

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Sue performing stand-up for only the 4th time at Coconuts Comedy Club.. Looking like it’s her 1,000th!

LG: Why the holistic living angle?

Kristin: I healed myself from numerous ailments with food and different natural treatments such as angel cards and energy healing.  I want to teach others how to do so.

LG: You both seem so self-possessed and accomplished. If I may ask your age…

Kristin: A true lady never tells her age *affecting a sweet Southern drawl*.

Sue: I second that *affecting a tiny Asian voice, as she described it*.

LG: Very, very well-put, ladies. Where did you guys grow up? Are you natives to St. Petersburg?

Kristin: I am originally from NC. I have been in FL for five years, four of those in St. Pete and one in Orlando.

Sue: I originally grew up in San Diego, the Whale’s Vagina. I currently reside in Tampa, Florida but have lived here since ’95–not including when I moved back to SoCal for 9 months in 2004.

LG: Describe each of your personal styles:

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Courtesy of Tampa Image Factory

On Sue–  crop tank: The Shop / necklace: Forever 21 (similar here) / bracelets: Live Lokai / belt: Forever 21 (similar here) / denim: BDG (most similar style at Urban Outfitters) / wedges: Steve Madden / kimono:….not sure where. I must’ve been drunk off of soy sauce when I bought it (similar style here)

Kristin: I’m definitely boho-chic. I’m perfectly content in a maxi dress with a pair of gladiator sandals and a headband 99% of the time. They dress us up at work but I prefer a very casual style.

Sue: I LOVE fashion! So you can see me wearing anything and everything stylish and trendy! I love it all!

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Ninja and Buckwild showcasing one of their latest favorite items, a pair of Navajo-inspired Sam Edelman heels; Courtesy of @NinjaandBuckwild on Instagram
Dress: Urban Outfitters

LG: Name 3 things that inspire you each:

Kristin: First–Oprah! I want to be her. She is so amazing and has transformed so many lives on a global scale.

Second–Nature- We live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and I’m in awe every time I step outside or go ride my bike. The sunshine is beautiful but the storms are equally as beautiful and awe inspiring.

Third–My past. When I fell down, I fell pretty hard. Anytime I am tired or don’t feel like pushing through, I look back at that time in my life and I say to myself, “I have accomplished all of my dreams over and over again.” The dream tends to change every few years so I focus on one thing at a time and then move on to the next dream. I envy those who only have one dream and can give everything they have to that. I have so many that I must really focus on being “focused” on the task at hand.

Sue: First– Nature. We can learn so much from Mother Earth herself.

Second– Myself. What I’ve been through throughout my whole existence here on earth. I sometimes remind myself how far I’ve come in life and that continuously inspires me to keep forward in the right direction.

Third– Love. People who love. Showing love. Feeling love. Knowing love. Giving love. Expressing love. Love conquers all.

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Courtesy of @KristinEubanksDotCom on Instagram

LG: Twitter or Instagram? 

Kristin: Instagram for sure. I’m not funny like Sue so I’m not witty enough for Twitter.

Sue: IG, hands down. I would choose IG over Twitter and Facebook any day.

LG: Favorite junk food?

Kristin: Krispy Kreme. I just moved back to St Pete and now there is one so close to me! I’ve lived here a month and stopped twice for “hot and now” HAHHAHHAH—–When that damn light is on. It’s like a singing siren that lures me in!

Sue: HA! Depends on what you consider junk food. A lot of Filipino dishes aren’t the very best for you so I would consider that my favorite junk food. Masarap!!

LG: Favorite health food?

Kristin: I love raw food. I practice the Raw Till 4 lifestyle so I eat mostly raw fruits and vegetables every day. I don’t believe in limitations and I love filling my body with nutrient dense light filled foods from the earth.

Sue: I not only love eating healthy, but I enjoy it as well. Currently I’m doing the Gaiam TV Conscious Cleanse and it is by far, the tastiest, most fun and enjoyable diet I have ever tried. Makes me want to always eat like this. And by “this”, I mean, no dairy, no eggs, no soy, no wheat or gluten products and eventually no caffeine or alcohol. Lots of fruit and veggies!! I love it! Makes me feel great and so healthy!

LG: Favorite way to exercise?

Kristin: I like to ride my bike and do nature walks. I also like yoga from time to time. Specifically kundalini. It is yoga for the brain and the body and helps to align all the chakras and meridians. It also activates your own kundalini at the base of your spine. This is your energetic power point and your point of manifestation. When the kundalini is active you can accomplish all of your dreams.

Sue: Anything and everything fun in the sun while exercising is my most favorite way to workout. So whether it be a bike ride, kayaking, or paddle-boarding I am the happiest! I LOVE being outdoors and around nature! But if I’m indoors, it’s yoga! For sure!

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Sue; Courtesy of @NinjaandBuckwild on Instagram

LG: Favorite thing about St. Petersburg? 

Kristin: The water and the beautiful scenery.

Sue: The awesome and constantly thriving downtown area. I love watching St. Pete grow and flourish into a beautiful, badass, happenin’ place!

LG: Favorite 3 comedians?

Kristin: I don’t even know 3. I don’t watch TV very often. Sue is the comedienne.

Sue: I know she is more of a comedic actress but Kristin Wiig is my total #WCW! Other than her, I’d say Sarah Silverman & Louis CK.

LG: Favorite item that you’ve splurged on!

Kristin: Louis Vuitton purse. I had wanted one for so long and I just got one this year. Hubby picked it out and brought it home for me!

Sue: My car! This is my first brand new car with all the bells and whistles and I could not be any more ecstatic about it! I am very thankful. By the way, it’s a Toyota. Why a Toyota, you ask? Duh. Toyota’s to asians are like FUBU. For Us, By Us.

LG: Kristin, describe Sue in 3 words:

Kristin: Sexy, Goofy and Giving. She’s a triple threat!

LG: Sue, describe Kristin in 3 words:  

Sue: Gorgeous, Inspirational, Thoughtful

LG: How did you two meet and become best friends?

Kristin and SueWe met at Home Shopping Network (HSN). After working a few shows together and realizing we had some mutual friends, we started to hang out. We always have FUN together. I think that was the initial draw. Not to mention we really like the same things.

It seems as though where one lacks, the other is strong. And we have each introduced each other to things we may not have known before meeting. We have more of a sister bond than anything. You meet very few soul sisters in your life and we can tell each other anything and be very honest in our relationship. This has helped to strengthen the character of both of us.

What Sue and Kristin envision for the future of “Ninja and Buckwild” is a brand that empowers others to not fit the mold… In their words, “you can be authentically ‘you” and do that as your ‘job.’ We all have gifts given to us in this world and we are supposed to share them.”

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Courtesy of @NinjaandBuckwild on Instagram

Their goal is to empower others to realize a career can take the shape and form of many different things. As a Millennial, I can vouch that this is THE definitive dilemma of my generation. The generation before us, good ol’ Generation X, fought the good fight. They rallied to make it into good schools, secure steady-income careers, and raise the perfect nuclear family. In this current Age of Millennials, the percentage of youths admitted into college is astronomically higher than ever…which means two things:

  1. The job market is OVERSATURATED with competent young worker bees.
  2. The goal for Millennials isn’t money anymore…It’s PASSION. HOBBIES. Our LOVES. We’re a bunch of entitled little shitheads and we automatically assume we deserve jobs simply because our parents all have them. We take the very concept of a job for granted. Which leads us to do the obvious thing, follow our hearts rather than follow the money. Is this the right route to go? Well…Stand by for results, shall we?

As a Millennial, I can vouch that this is THE definitive dilemma of my generation… We’re a bunch of entitled little shitheads and we automatically assume we deserve jobs simply because our parents all have them.

Which is what makes “Ninja and Buckwild” such an inspiring, motivating effort by two young women with whom I strongly identify. There are plenty of New Age websites and wannabe lifestyle gurus out there *COUGH GOOP* *COUGH GWYNETH* *GAGGING NOW FROM COUGHING.* In their ever-Zen, kind words, however, Sue and Kristin are quick to point out that they “don’t believe in competition.” Their only goal is to work with other bloggers/vloggers to build an even greater conglomerate platform to offer the world.

*BTW, Sue and Kristin really DO encourage ALL vloggers and bloggers to holler at them if they are interested in collaborating, guest-hosting, or cross-promoting with “Ninja and Buckwild.” Email them at ninjaandbuckwild@gmail.com to get in touch. I promise they don’t bite 🙂

Much love,

Lil xx

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Courtesy of Tampa Image Factory

A Look Back on My life as a Pop Superstar and Eminem’s Girlfriend

MY SPOTLIGHT on the beautiful, inspirational girls of NinjaAndBuckwild is still coming up next, as well as my SUPER-serious expose on the comedic mind of “Saturday Night Live” alum and every famous comedian’s best friend, Colin Quinn.

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Courtesy of Tampa Image Factory

Sue Seitler (L) and Kristin Eubanks Parmeter (R), the founders of Ninja And Buckwild; @sueninja and @kristinbuckwild on Instagram

Colin_Quinn_at_the_Weekend_Update_Desk @IAmColinQuinn on Twitter

In the meanwhile, in honor of the waning hours of #ThrowbackThursday, I thought we would journey back to the early 2000’s and dive into some good old-fashioned joshing at my behest. Of all the humiliating things I have done in privacy in my 26 years on Earth, keeping a diary as a fictional person takes the cake. By “fictional person,” I do not mean some generic idea of a pretty, idealized young woman–some reverse-funhouse image of my inner self… Nope, nope, my fictional person had a biography:

1. Her name: Jean Gellar

2. Her diverse ethnic breakdown–Jean was half-Chinese and 1/4 Irish and 1/4 Ashkenazi Jewish.

3. Her cousin was, naturally, actress Sarah Michelle Gellar.

4. She had a multi-platinum pop recording artist career.

5. She also was entangled in a surprisingly stable web of love with rapper Eminem and despite being EMINEM’S girlfriend, Jean never got dissed on song.

I wish I could cite a younger age for this activity but sadly, I was already in the throes of adolescence. I wrote harrowingly emotional journal entries as this “Jean” and I did so from age 12 through freshman year of high school.

Jean was an international pop star. Naturally, she had to have a webpage:

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Jean was going to write her own profile in The New Yorker on how she found her voice:

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Apparently, I was going to go to Clive Davis’s pre-Grammy party and apparently, I was going to steal Avril Lavigne’s song, “Complicated” from her and sing it at the Grammys and then do a duet with Norah Jones on her hit, “Don’t Know Why.” WHO THE FUCK IS JUSTIN? Timberlake? What did he do to you, Jean? Oh, poor Justin.

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Now, this is my favorite. If my relationship with Eminem was real, this would have been the most beautiful diary entry a girlfriend has ever written about her boyfriend and his daughter, Hailie.

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One major question: WHO THE FUCK IS ALFIE, 12-14 year old Lillian??

Goodbye, Jean Gellar. Goodbye, cousin Sarah Michelle. I got, like real-world probz to deal with now. I lay you and that part of my hyperactive imagination to rest. Forever?

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xx,

Lil

Cheeseburgers and Sneakers: Getting Out of My Own Way

 #LILGRIPESLIfe

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Courtesy of Carl’s Jr.

WHEN I WAS 9 YEARS OLD, I became obsessed with McDonalds. One problem was that I hated the cheese that came with their burgers. “I’ll just have hamburgers for the rest of my life,” I thought. Except my 9 year-old self had a sneaking suspicion that this meant something far, far worse than me simply eating cheese. A terror steadily crept over me with each subsequent ham–not-cheese–burger order that I placed there: I was growing concerned that I would never recover from this fear of cheese and much. much worse…that something was horribly wrong with me. My fear of cheese was unnatural and unacceptable and would actually lead to my finally being shunned from society one day. I was the one with the problem, was the conclusion to which my 9 year-old self had jumped. From then on, I operated under the assumption that of all the toys in the children factory, I had come off the shelf with an inherent defect.

Skip forward or backward a few years, I was in gym class, changing for the first of several grade-school tennis lessons. All students had been instructed to wear white sneakers. Simple enough, right? Then, I quickly observed that while everyone else’s were traditional white lace-up Nikes, my sneakers were completely lace-less Keds (Who knows if they were actually Keds? I was a kid, for God’s sake–didn’t know where my shoes came from). So, as class progressed, my shoulders sloped further and further downward ’til I was just staring at my feet with the embarrassingly wrong white sneakers my mom had thoughtlessly purchased. Eventually, I made my way back to the locker room, eager to slip out of my white nightmares.

“Cute shoes!” Exclaimed one of my classmates.

“HUH” was my appropriately dumbfounded reply.

“Where did you get them? I really want a pair just like those! I hate these boring ones.”

“Um…WHAT?”

 

Not quite white Keds, but let’s say I feel better about my shoe choices these days…

About 20 years later, some few weeks ago from composing this blog entry, I connected these 2 completely isolated and seemingly insignificant incidents. The fear of cheese meant that I would be a social pariah forever. The non-Nikeness of my gym shoes meant that my whole family had terrible taste in shoes and that we basically couldn’t do anything right. On both occasions, I had jumped from point A to point D, point D being a place of utter and complete self-defeating delusion. Just because something was mine meant that it sucked.

I have always underestimated myself. Not that who I actually am is likely any greater than whom I have underestimated myself to be. I have just always been afraid to be myself, to be an original… Because I live with the constant fear that “myself” has never been and will never be quite good enough.

That’s why I have always attempted to copy what others ate, what others wore, the mannerisms with which they spoke, the facial expressions they have when they experience a particular emotion… Yes, it sounds totally “Single White (Asian?) Female,” but the truth is tragically less salacious–I have simply been afraid to be who I am and own what I own, lace-less sneakers and whatnot.

Well, welcome to the chronicles of the rebuilding of a woman from the ground-up. The Lillian Project, if you will. (Oh yeah, if you don’t like Mindy Kaling and/or “The Mindy Project,” you should just stop reading. And probably stop living)

Endnote: The last time I used a blog for personal reasons was chronicling my deep well of teen angst during HS years on Xanga …You guys remember Xanga. It was BlogSpot before it was Myspace before it was Facebook…before it was Tumblr and WordPress.

CUTE STUFF:

 photo courtesy of http://www.thedomesticgeekblog.com

I hope you stick around, my lovely readers. I promise I’ll try to entertain.

Much love, 

Lil

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Lifestyle Trend Watch: Zegna Dresses Up Maserati

A post from my time writing for a high-end men’s bespoke company in 2014

The Maserati Quattroporte-Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition

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At Badger & Welsh Bespoke, we adore Ermenegildo Zegna fabrics for custom-tailoring high-end suits, shirts, pants and ties. The world-renowned design house provides us and our clients with smooth silk fabrics and exquisite suits that seem to contour the wearers’ bodies with precise self-awareness.

Maserati, the Italian style authority of the motor-vehicle universe, apparently shares Badger and Welsh Bespoke’s state of mind as it has chosen Zegna to be its official designer for its limited edition, sixth-generation Maserati Quattroporte sedan. This collaborative project was first announced at the 2013 Frankfurt Motorshow and officially debuted this September at New York Fashion Week. As the final car model shows, the design process was significantly more involved than slapping one brand’s logo upon another’s product. Zegna and Maserati fully converged creative forces to create a luxury automobile equal parts Zegna and Maserati.

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Like any Zegna suit, the Quattroporte-Limited Edition is all about details. The refined exterior boasts an exclusively-developed coating called “Platinum Silk,” a metallic-y, café au lait finish intentionally reminiscent of fluid silk fabric. This luxurious effect, however, is not achieved so much through the color choice as it is through the depth and texture. A layering of extra-fine aluminium pigments upon the paint lends the impression that the car’s exterior is really a satiny flowing weave of metal.

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Perhaps more accurate a manifestation of the Zegna touch is the car’s interior. Crafted from specially-milled silk fabrics are the quilted seating, door panels, sunshades, and roof lining. The cabin is finished in warm colors–mocha and greige–with the seats and trim displaying a harmonious blend of classic and contemporary aesthetics. The seats combine ultra-fine grain leather with upholstery made from the same delicate, refined wool Zegna uses for suit-making. The trim of the interior, however, is made from open-pore walnut. As a finishing touch, the Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition comes with a spindle of spare Zegna silk among its 19 custom accessories, for the purpose of clean-up, you know, in case you ever spill something unsavory.

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The owner’s kit comes stocked with 9 Zegna items, including a leather weekend bag, sunglasses and a silk scarf with the same chevron motif as the interior trim.

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Front sunshades carry the fabric labels that read “Ermenegildo Zegna Exclusively for Maserati.”

On the flip side of the coin, like any Maserati, the Quattroporte-Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition does not simply rest on luxury and physical vanity. This is still an Italian sports car and even one who knows next to nothing about motor vehicles–yours truly, e.g.– knows that Italian cars don’t drive… they fly. This special-edition Quattroporte will not disappoint any aficionado of speed. The car is equipped with a twin-turbo V8 producing 523 horsepower and 524 pound feet of torque. It can achieve a 0-60 time of 4.6 seconds and a top speed of 191 mph. The car assuredly and safely accelerates free of any drama.

As with any high-end bespoke design, the Maserati Quattroporte-Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition arrives at a hefty price–$175,000 a unit. To be one of only 100 Quattroporte-Limited Edition owners in the world, however, does justify one’s bragging rights, explaining why 20 of these models have already been snatched up since the end of this September’s NYFW. Maserati has long prided itself on style in its brand distinction from its more conservative German competitors. With the artful help of Zegna, it has just raised the bar for not only style, but luxury, even higher in the sedan game.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES: Why Bespoke?

A post from my time at a high-end men’s bespoke company in 2014

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Berluti Fall 2014

Let’s talk about style… specifically, style to the average man. It usually connotes a sleek, tailored look: A crisp button-up, a sharp jacket and smoothed pant lines. Crisp, sharp, smooth—those are adjectives that most men would desire for their personal wardrobe, whether formal or casual wear. But lacking a formal—and informal—education in fashion styling, the average man finds the off-the-rack shopping experience… a harrowing one, fraught with pushy salesmen recommending jackets, pants and even shoes nowhere near what the customer had originally visualized in their minds.

Basically, that was a long-winded way of stating: The average man needs custom-made clothing. Body-skimming tailoring is one of the more dominant trends in menswear this Fall/Winter season. From big and boxy to slim silhouettes, extreme tailoring will be ubiquitous on men in late 2014. Berluti’s new chic tweed and wool ensembles utilize it, as do Fendi’s and Costume National’s jackets with fur and leather touches, respectively.

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Costume National Fall 2014

These slim, tailored looks can be intimidating and may even tempt you to double up on gym memberships. Lucky for all of us, bespoke clothing fulfills both this current tailored demand and the natural, perennial desire to have clothes contour to fit your body.

Now, the term “bespoke clothing” may conjure images of monocled, dapper British aristocrats in wool overcoats but it has actually come a long way from its patrician origins on London’s famous Saville Row. Originally intended to refer to high-end shirts and suits produced specially for the upper-upper British classes, “bespoke” now simply refers to any item designed for a customer on an one-off basis with no set pattern from which to begin.

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Fendi Fall 2014

The appeal of bespoke, or custom-made, clothing lies not in its class associations but in the freedom, ease and authority with which it provides its customer. With customer service being a cornerstone of the custom clothing industry, the average man’s shopping experience is painlessly expedited, with him assuming full control over his look, literally from head-to-toe. In the world of bespoke fashion, the clothes don’t speak for the man; the man speaks for his clothing.

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