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A 30 something blogging about her love affair with Fashion.....among other things!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My other new favorite place to shop in Japan: Don Don Down on Wednesday

Being on a shopping ban, did not stop me from checking new places to find a bargain. I was on my way to 390 Mart in Yokohama station when I saw a colorful new shop opening right next to it. I went inside to check it out. I was a 3 stories thrift store. The staff was still working on arranging the racks and they told me that their big opening was for the following week. They gave me a pamphlet and ask me to come back. I went home and checked them online and vow to return the following week. Back to my boring routine, I had completely forgot about it until I decided to take my sister in law (who came for a visit) shopping in Yokohama. Obviously we checked the shop and she was happy to find great pieces for herself. I also got a nice bag for my mother.

The shop is called Don Don Down on Wednesday. The principle is that:

1- you can sell your clothes
Usually a kilogram equals 500 Yen. But if you have brand items, you can sell them for a higher price.
Every Monday and Wednesday, you can sell your clothes for 1.5 times higher price.

2- you can buy items there
They have two sections:
- Clothes that are priced using vegetables and fruits. For example, a carrot equals 10.000 yen and a peach equals 2000 yen. But the great part is that the price is reduced every Wednesday on those items. Let us say you see a dress with the pumpkin price tag of 3000 this week, the dress will be 2000 yen next Wednesday and 1000 yen the following Wednesday, providing that it is still there. So you play a game with yourself: if you really want the dress you can go ahead and buy it right away or wait for it to be marked down the following weeks. But really what are the odds of that? For example, the second time I was there, I saw a beautiful coral summer dress (with the skirt full as I like them). It was 900Yen. But since I was on the shopping ban I told myself that I would wait until next time to get it. Well, I went there two weeks later and it was gone!
- Items that have a normal price tag. Those items are usually shoes, bags and brand items. Their prices do not really change at all.

I went to Don Don yesterday to look for my military short (I have a craving for military shorts lately. You can read about it here). I was surprised to see the place packed. As it turns out, there was a time sale from 4 to 6 PM. You could buy items marked Peach, Strawberry and Carrot for a value of 2000yen. Imagine the frenzy. I had to almost fight to find some items. Moreover I had to wait to try them one because they were only two dressing rooms and the line was super long. I came out with three new items and I could not be happier: a summer dress, a stripped top and wait for it......my military short. I was also about to buy some Arnold Palmer boots that were my size (do you know how hard it is to find cute shoes your size 8and a half  in Japan?) and only for 1500 yen. But the sole was a bit worn out. I thought about getting them fixed but that would cost extra money. They were pretty but I may as well try to get new boots.

There was no tag on this tunic but I love it because it is not see through like my other striped dress and it has an asymmetrical hem

This dress was the last thing I grab from the store. It was almost hidden. I quickly tried it on and it fitted like a glove. It is also sexy but I will wear it with a bolero.  It is from H&M, USA

I cannot believe this thing fits my heavy bottom. It is a bit tight and I am worried about wearing it with leggings. However I styled it with a grey tee and it worked. I can even hide the problem areas (aka my ass)

I think that the people at Don Don will see me often in the months to come. It is such a fun place to be. I may never sell clothes there. I prefer to send them home to the needy. But I think I can enjoy shopping there. They already have a great range of boots that were my size. Plus, I need to go there when it is less crowded in order to have the time and space to look for pieces I need. Last time was hell. I saw some ladies with full carts of clothes. Somebody was either renewing her closet or buying for her shop.

For more info on Don Don, check here (in Japanese) http://www.dondondown.com/
The one in Yokohama is located next to the West entrance, behind the police box.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Animal print for the Zoo?

Hey Folks!
These couple of days were kind of fun. My son being on Fall leave, I decided to take him out. Well, most of the people I know took their kids to Disneyland, but since I am not made of money yet, I took them to USA land. USA land is a small indoor amusement park (nothing compared to Disneyland) located in Honmoku not far from my place. Inside you have a huge playground, some games, bicycles, rides but what I like the most is that even adults can enjoy the place. It has massage chairs, karaoke booth, magazines, drinks and such. And you can also bring your own food. The plus is that you pay around 480 for one hour of playtime, or 800 yen for the whole day. I always pay more because it is kind of hard to pull the kids out of there after just one hour. Anyway I went there yesterday with my favorite Japanese mum friends. And we chatted while our kids had a blast.

I wanted to be comfy all day so I wore this:

White beret - random shop in Cial Yokohama
Ruffle leopard scarf - H&M
Animal printed cardigan - Nissen online
Chambray shirt - Ross
Maxi skirt - H&M
Grey leggings - Ross
Estee Lauder bag - Thrifted
Shoes - Pratunam Market Thailand

They announced on TV that it was supposed to be chilly so I dug this cardigan out. However, after going out to get some food before I left for USA land, I realized that it was just windy not chilly. I had to remove the cardigan because I was melting inside. For some reason, I feel like a hoarder or a nerd wearing this ensemble. I think that I just need to wear lens less glasses to look the part. Those things are so trendy right now. And I cannot help but wonder why? Why on earth would you wear glasses without lenses? Apparently I am not the only one who is wondering about that, read here.

Yesterday was another beautiful warm day. So I decided to take the kids to the zoo. We have a free zoo not far from our place to but so far I have been there only twice. It is not the biggest zoo ever but one can still enjoy the animals. My kids have been interested in animals lately so I thought I would let them indulge.
I wanted to wear this:
Black cap - Ross
Ruffle scarf - H&M
Beige cardigan - Walmart
Leopard uneven top - Anap 
Military short - Thrifted - Don Don Down
Black leggings - Uniqlo
Brown boots - G.U. 

 I was supposed to have lunch with the kids and then head to the zoo before it gets too dark. However, I felt sleepy right after and indulge in a well deserved siesta. Needless to say that the kids followed few seconds after. So, we postponed the zoo for another time. Thank GOD, I did not go out after all because after checking these pictures, I feel absolutely ridiculous in these shorts. I do not know which is worse, the uneven leopard top and the long cardigan or the Ugg inspired boots that make me feel like a mammoth. Whatever it is, it is not working for me. I am a bit saddened because I thought I could pull this look off. Maybe I just need to loose some pounds. Then I would not feel like a sausage in a casing. I am still keeping them; we never know....

Today was another great warm day. The hubby took the day off and we went to the Mosque and ate Sushi afterwards.
Here is what I wore:

Pink beret - H&M
Grey paisley print scarf - Walmart
Pink meshed top - Random shop in Seoul (had it since 2002)
Black top - Walmart
Black maxi skirt - H&M
Brown flats -Pratunam market
Prayer beads worn as necklace - gifted from a neighbor
Green ring - can't remember

I am in love with this skirt that I can wear all seasons. I was just thinking today that I needed to add two more comfy skirts like this to my closet but in different colors. H&M has a great one with pleats on sale right now but the price tag is a bit high for a sale item (3000Yen). After all my skirt only cost 1000Yen. I am not willing to spend three times more for something as great.
I also tried a trend I see often with Japanese ladies when it gets chilly: wearing a scarf as a wrap. I love this grey scarf I got at Walmart some years back. It was nice and felt warm. My fish guy even complimented me on it (lol).

What trends are you willing to try and what are a no no for you this season?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Lunch on a TV set, and why I am not popular

Last Tuesday I went to have lunch with my friend Angie. Since we live in the same area, we decided to have lunch once a month to catch up. We went to Applause which is supposed to be a French buffet restaurant, but in reality was a buffet restaurant with a Japanese cook and I have not seen anything that was typically French on the menu. Nevertheless the food was great: usual salad, with gnocchi, pasta, curry, croquettes, grilled fish and a divine cheese risotto. The restaurant looked more like a cafeteria but what made it interesting was that the set of TV Kanagawa was inside the restaurant. So, we had lunch while watching the crew and the announcers working on the noon show. It was to say the least entertaining. And for 850yen (or a 1000 yen with drinks), I cannot really complain.
Anyway, here is what I wore:

White studded beret - random shop in Cial Yokohama (bought just days before they closed)
Grey dolman sweater - Fam's market
Men's shirt - H&M
Cargo pants - Shimamura
Striped bag - Omake from Baila mag
Striped shoes - Zara

While I was talking with Angie during lunch, I told her that because I was an expat, there were little chance for me to have a career working at something. Expat families often change location and what are the chances that I would find a job at the next location we may go. Then Angie told me that maybe I should make a living out of my blogs. I did not know whether to laugh or cry about it. "I would love to make a living out of my blogs, but I need to be popular first", I replied. I know that most of the people who read me are my friends. I do not have the popularity of God's favorite shoes or Love Maegan. I do not get sponsors to "invest" in my blog. It is sad but true.

However, I am happy blogging. I started this thing to get out of my routine. It was a way to get away from my boring life of a mother. And even though, things have change for me over the years (my sense of style for example and my knowledge of the Fashion world), there was not a moment when I thought I would stop. Even when my hubby was bugging me, wondering why I was blogging instead of spending time with him, I told him that it made me happy whether I have one reader or none. As it turned out, he pushed me to check the stats on my blog (which I never did before) and I was glad to see that people in Indonesia, Colombia and even Saudi Arabia have checked my blogs. And recently even some male friends of mine told me that they were reading it. I was amazed and happy.  So, I may not be Tavi, getting invited to fashion shows and influencing the fashion world, but I am happy to do what I am doing and I hope I never stop. If someday, I become popular and can make a few bucks out of it, I won't complain though....

For info about Applause, go here (but it is in Japanese)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Exhaustion + Business call for Fun Weekends!

The last few weeks so many things prevented me to blog on a frequent basis but also to check my favorite fashion bloggers. First, my sister in law came for a visit. She stayed for 2 weeks and I took it upon myself to show her all the spots that deserved to be discovered on such a short time. Result: we were out almost every day of those 2 weeks except for one. There was a typhoon coming so we stayed at home. Needless to say that after she left, I was so exhausted. Truth be told I have not recovered.
The second thing that happened was that the computer I was using broke for reasons unknown. I still had another one to fall back on but I had to use it standing up and I was not having it. Thank GOD, the hubby who is a genius when it comes to computers, found another one pretty quickly. Still, I am craving for an I pad.
Lastly, I am trying to get more involved in my son's school by helping out with some activities. It is fun but time consuming.
Thankfully, I had two occasions to just take it slow and enjoy life. Last week was a long week end. And the week end was packed with fun activities around town. On Saturday, we decided to check Yokohama international food fair. We did not make it because we stop to watch some funny acrobats on the way. So on Sunday we went back to the food fair for lunch. It was packed but we did enjoy some Indian curry with Naan. Then we drove to Sagamihara to watch the Nebuta carnival. As newly weds, my hubby and I lived in Sagamihara so needless to say that this place feels like home. We walked the packed streets and checked the places we liked to hang when we lived there. We also watched the Nebuta which are handmade parade cars.

For that fun day, here is what I wore:

Infinity scarf - random shop in Ishikawacho
Beige cardigan - Walmart
Hibiscus dress - market in Seoul
Leggings - Uniqlo
Shoes - Ross
Beaded bracelets - Sandaga market and can't remember

The dress is sleeveless and has straps knotted with a wooden hook

I added some funky accessories and you can see the hibiscus print from the dress that I just noticed for the 1st time

I bought this dress in a market in Seoul back in 2002. So far, I wore it only twice before: once to go to work, and another time flying back from a Mexico trip in 2007. I had kept it even though I suspected that it might be too tight because the dress is well made and ageless. It is one of those items I would not part with no matter what. And imagine how happy I was that it still fitted.

Here are some of the pics taken at the Nebuta carnival:

Dragon car with taiko (Japanese drums) players

Another car with some "god" painted

Pocket monster car Pikachu

The kids taking a pic inside another pocket monster character car before the parade
To learn more about Nebuta festivals in Japan, click here:

More buttoned down shirts please!

Fall did not even creep up. It came full blast. One day it was 30 degrees, the next 21. Fall came so fast that I have not had time to take my Winter clothes out of my suitcase (Either I have too much clothes or not enough closet space; nevertheless when season changes, I put away some clothes and take out the ones I need), and dry them under the sun.

Under those circumstances, it becomes quite hard to dress up. As a resort, I go to my button down shirts. And add a cardigan when it is really chilly. They are very easy to put on and style. Plus the cardigan hides the spots that are wrinkled.
Black Cap- Ross
Beige cardigan - Walmart
Chambray shirt - Ross
Skinny jeans - Ross
Clutched bag - Random shop in Takeshita dori (Harajuku)
Shoes - Sandaga market

I like these leopard flats but they are falling apart. This is the second pair of leopard flats that are failing me. I am for the look out for a great one that would last. Any suggestions?

I wore this to run some errands with the hubby and kids on a bit chilly day. I am not really into wearing all jeans but I did it twice with the same shirts and different pants, and it worked both times. This shirt was really a great buy. I decided that from now one I will switch a bit by pairing it with skirts or even dresses.

Black cap - Ross
Pink striped tee - Epice du Mode
Flower printed cardigan - Walmart
Blue belt - Forever 21
Pants - Ross
Shoes - Ross

The hubby was disturbing my shooting session instead of helping me to take pics

For some reasons I like mixing the shirt and the cardigan. I think this must be the 2nd time I am wearing it. The first was at the beginning of Spring and I got great "reviews" from other mothers at school. Maybe because of the flowers on my cardigans. I do like pink but I do not get to wear it often. This is the boldest I have done when it comes to mixing patterns and colors (the pink of the shirt is light pink almost pastel when the ones on the cardigan are bright pink and fuchsia.

I am really looking forward to Fall and Winter. I have spotted some trends that will make break the bank. And once my shopping ban will be lifted, I may go crazy. Is it also strange that under this weather, I am craving military green shorts?

Heavy rotation challenge : final week

The final week was a blur so please bear with me

Day 23 Sept 21
Typhoon number 15 came so even though I planned to go out I stayed home all day!!!

Day 24 Sept 22
Green scarf + Yellow shirt + Green pants + Black flats (added item) + Basket bag

It was another rainy day. However when I left home it was so sunny I did not think about carrying an umbrella. Result I had to get one. It was raining hard and my shoes (who really are room shoes) were soaked wet. Yet, my outfit was very comfy for the day.

Day 25 Sept 23

Leopard scarf + Grey cardigan (not pictured) + Tie dye dress ( added item) + White pants + Striped flats + Basket bag

I went to visit some friends with the family. I wanted to dress comfy so I pull out this summer dress I thrifted at 390 Mart. This dress was originally from Walmart. And when I was living in the US, I spotted online and coveted it but once in the store, it was sold out. So I did not even tried it on when I saw it at the racks of 390 Mart. May I should have because, I do not like the bubbly effect it has at the waistline (I am fat but not that fat, ok!) Nevertheless, I had some great time eating really nice Senegalese food and playing with the kiddies. I wish I had more of those fun days with friends.

Day 26  Sept 24

Red scarf + Beige cardigan + Leopard blouse (added item) + White pants + Black flats (added item) + Basket bag

I went out to Enoshima with the family again. While dressing up, I realised that my grey cardigan that I wore the day before had white spots on it. The day before, I was holding my friend's adorable baby and she spat on me. I had not have this experience in a while, and it made me happy. However, I had to wear another cardigan.

Day 27 Sept 25
Stay home all day to enjoy another great Senegalese meal

As I told you the final week was a blur. Having a visitor at home can be my excuse but truth be told I was just getting tired with this challenge. But here are some of the things I learned all through this month

1- It was easier to dress up in the morning once I had selected all my clothes and decided how I was going to style them. I just had to remember what to wear in the morning and out the door I was. I did not have to go through my closet and search for items. It was a delight.

2- On the other hand, I hated that I had to stick to a certain amount of clothes. I would look at my closet and see clothes I never wear and suddenly missed them. Needless to say that as soon as the challenge was over, I started to grab at them.

3- If I have to do this challenge again, I will choose pieces that are more basic and easier to style. For this challenge, I wanted to wear clothes and shoes that I did find hard to style. Sometimes I succeeded in the challenge (like with my vest) and some other times it was a total  fail ( take the crocheted top. It will have to go). To top it all, I did not even manage to wear some of the items on my list like my sequin tee that I love so much.

I am thinking on doing another challenge in the future just because I am having a hard time dressing up in the morning. (Fall's quick weather change is not helping either). I am not an organized person but just by sorting clothes out, I see a kind of order in my life (and my closet). Maybe I should try doing it once a week because clearly I am bored even with 30 clothes in 30 days or less.

Have you tried this challenge yet? How was it for you?
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