How to Find Ryan Gosling!

The most hilarious flow chart I’ve seen, ever!!

Unfortunately, it doesn’t really get you to Ryan Gosling, but it might find you a suitable alternative who will say “hey girl.”

(Created by Joanna Chao)


Fruits of a Shopping Ban

Before I went on my US trip, I made a resolution to start a shopping ban to first save some money.  Those 3 months were a dark, dark time in my life, but I grew up on Destiny’s Child*, so I made it through.

Today, I would like to share a couple of tips on how to survive a shopping ban, told in the story of 5 pairs of shoes — why, yes, I did acquire 5 pairs of shoes on my shopping ban, all without breaking the rules!  Here’s how.

1.  Have your birthday in the middle of the shopping ban

Obviously not everyone can rearrange the year so that their birthday falls within the shopping ban period, but Muhammad and mountain and all that (read: move the shopping ban!).

A couple of dear friends gifted me these lovely jelly flats from Kate Spade:


(Plus 10 points if you can convince an unbiased third party that a gift for yourself is appropriate.  I recommend working on some type of sob story.)

2.  Use up your credit card reward points 

I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.  It got me these red suede peep toes — I’m just waiting for warmer weather to roll around again so I can wear them!

Oh, and I also got these cute Mimco bootie sandles.

3. Know your shopping history

Did you buy something before the shopping ban started, that now needs to be returned?  Well, that’s the very definition of a “shopping credit” that can be used without breaching the shopping ban! 😉

4.  Know the rules (i.e. necessities)

Everyone laughs at me when I tell them this, but it’s actually really important: the purpose of a shopping ban is usually to save money (mine was to save for my holiday).  But you can’t stop spending money completely — there are still necessities that are outside of the shopping ban, and rightly so.  This includes food, toiletries and, in this case, comfy flats suitable for long days of walking on my holiday**.

(I also got a travel bag.  It’s very important to keep your belongings secure when traveling — both Lonely Planet and the Australian Government say so, it must be true.)

Of course, this type of reasoning is not for the faint-hearted and can lead you down a very slippery slope, so I would suggest…

5. Appoint an adjudicator 

Choose someone you can trust.  Do not ask a fellow shopping ban-ner, as they are likely under extreme stress and might not be in their right frame of mind.  Try out all the crazy arguments with varying degrees of logic that you can think of, to see what sticks, e.g. my most compelling was:

If I am saving money so I can spend more in the US, then surely it wouldn’t be breaching the shopping ban if there is a limited period online sale with free shipping to Australia.  If I wait until I go to the US and buy it in person, it might not be on sale anymore and I’ll have to pay additional sales tax anyway, and maybe even more baggage fees??  In fact, it will cost me money if I don’t buy it now….

I rest my case.

Shopping ban?  Easy.

* I’m a Survivor! I’m not goin’ give up, I’m not goin’ stop… I’m goin’ work harder!

** Status of “necessity” determined at point of purchase.

The Mystery of the Sort-of Love Letter

First off: it’s not at all a love letter, but the subject is just so much catchier if I say it is.

So, I get a lot of parcels delivered to work. I’ve been credited with exponentially increasing other people’s spending habits, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the mail room hired extra staff and stopped delivering parcels to our desks soon after I started for a reason. In short, I may have a bit of a reputation at work for (perhaps?) being a shopaholic… (pssshh, they don’t even see what I buy at retail stores).

A while back, I found what I would call a moderately-sized parcel from ASOS sitting on my desk, and on top of that parcel was this note:


At the time, I assumed it was one of my co-workers because it reeked of their sense of humour, and also because I was more preoccupied with the show and tell session a.k.a. what I bought today.

It was only recently that I discovered I had falsely accused my co-worker, and now have no idea who wrote this note! After spending an entire Friday afternoon taking handwriting samples, I’m still no closer to finding the truth.

And so it remains… the mystery of the sort-of (but not really) love letter.

To. Be. Continued.

Swatching Like There’s No Tomorrow

I have this thing where I sometimes like to match my nail polish to an item that I’m wearing.  And I have a pretty big collection of nail polish colors, so it’s usually pretty easy, right?  But then this one time, I tried to find the perfect raspberry red shade to match my Reed Krakoff bag, but after a good half-hour of comparing bottles I came to the absolutely shocking conclusion that nothing came even close.

After the initial shock died away, I knew that this was a problem I wasn’t willing to live with.  So, I decided to solve it: Shopparama Style.

The technique

The key to any good problem solving technique is that you first need to understand the true crux of the issue (this is also how I successfully navigated my three-month shopping ban and came out of the other end victorious with 5 new pairs of shoes, but that’s a story for another day).

In this case, as any nail polish enthusiast knows, the color that you see in the bottle is rarely going to be the same color on your nails.  What I really needed was a good swatching and cataloguing system, because it is just not efficient to go through 15 bottles only to discover that all the potential pink-leaning reds are actually orange-based (true story).

Fast forward a few weeks, a little eBaying here and there (as recommended in Jaztee‘s post), and some incidental fume inhalation later (which was strangely therapeutic), I can now immediately pick out the perfect greige or turquoise or magenta to my heart’s content.

Unfortunately, I can also pick out that there is no perfect raspberry red in my collection — and so the search continues…

Messages to my sleeping self

For about 8 weeks I had myself half-convinced that maybe — just maybe — I was subconsciously having premonitions. Yes, I thought my dreams were telling me something.

Here’s how it started:

Before I go to work each morning, I walk past this tiny corner coffee shop near the train station, which opened up a few months back. But being a bit of a snob, I never gave it much thought because I just could not believe that it’d have good coffee, given its proximity to a local railway station.

But then I had this dream where I was searching for Sydney’s best coffee, and some random good looking stranger in my dream (it might have been Matt Bomer) told me that there was a little gem, hole-in-the-wall place he had discovered. And yes, you guessed it — it was that tiny corner coffee shop.

Ever since that dream, I’ve always wondered whether the coffee there is any good. After all, I was judging it by its location, but you know what else is from that area? Me! So maybe it was the best coffee ever, and maybe my subconscious was telling me so.

After weeks of thinking this, the other day I finally bit the bullet and ordered a coffee.

Sadly, I was very disappointed to discover that the coffee was bitter, watery and just generally bad (I got a free sugar palmier which was pretty good though).

So I guess I learned a few things from this little adventure:

  1. Do not trust strangers, even if they are a figment of my imagination, no matter how good looking.
  2. My dreams are not premonitions, so sadly I can’t recommend the coffee to others and say, “where did I hear about this? Oh I dreamt about it…”
  3. Essie’s Bangle Jangle is a gorgeous nail polish color, but its cool tones kind of wash me out, so I should stick to using it in gradients, and start hunting for its warmer sister.

There are not enough words in the English language to express my devastation.

Mind over Matter: A True Story

The other day, I admitted to Mallhaciel that I have problem, a problem called shopping, and therefore I am on step 1 of the road to recovery. Except that I was 100% sure I could control my problem (even if something was 75% off, because my decision in those circumstances would be, the epitome of control and rationality, to buy!right!now! and think about it later while knowing your constitutional shopping rights i.e. the returns policy)… so essentially I was fully recovered.

What can I say, I’ve always been an overachiever.

Today, however, I read that step 1 of the twelve steps is actually admitting that we are powerless over the addiction to alcohol, so I’m not even on step one, because I do have power over my shopping — and my alcohol — so in fact I don’t have a problem at all!

I think this calls for a celebration.  And to demonstrate my superb control and forward thinking, I am not even going to buy anything (new) to celebrate.

Instead, I am going to call this vintage Chanel small classic flap which I purchased last week that celebration. I heart it like there’s no tomorrow!

(…I also have the “celebration” ready for another 3 events.)

The Shopparama Anthem

I spent the last half-hour or so trying to write up an “About” page, with about 5 different false starts.  I mean, how could I possibly summarize in mere words what this blog is about, which in turn means summarizing my feelings about shopping?  It’s impossible, I tell you.

And then… I had a breakthrough.  This emotion inside of me can only be expressed through song, and tonight I have found my anthem (and yes, the strength of the emotion does require some words to be punctuated in bold):

Shopping. We’re only happy when we’re shopping.
We’re only happy if we shop until we drop.
In search of bargains we will never stop.
When God created the universe, He pulled out all the stops.
First, He created all mankind. Then She created shops.
Shopping, we’re really happy when we’re shopping.
We’re really happy if we shop until we drop!
In search of bargains we will never stop, stop, stop!
We’ll shop and shop and shop, shop, shop!

– “Shopping Song”, by Monty Python


You can listen to the song here (starts at 1m25s, in case it doesn’t take you there automatically).  Even though the first song “Men, Men, Men” is amusing, let’s just be clear that is not my anthem!

And, er, let’s also just pretend we can’t see the feet, and the picture in the video is actually my coffee mug:

I'm Superficial, Whatever