Sunday, April 28, 2013

What I've Been Up To

I've been quite busy with school. I am in the process of making another dress in hopes of getting into a fashion show.
We only just turned in our portfolios last week, and I need to modify my dress before I get to know whether I am in or out.
The project this time was called Macro to Micro where we took photos of our surroundings and picked a color palette from it, and then used shapes from the photos to create our patterns

We cut shapes and themes from the photos and looked for related images to make two moodboards and one keyword:
Macro to Micro 1 photo A3Moodboard1_zpsc1db2360.jpg
My teacher liked this one because it was more cohesive

Macro to Micro 2 photo A3Moodboard2_zpsfe963aaf.jpg
I like this one because it's brighter

My keyword ended up being "Wanderlust" with the background story of searching for one's secret garden (peace, happiness, etc.)
I wanted to do something brighter since most of my art and fashion projects for school have been dark or depressing and it actually sort of makes me unhappy when I work on them even if I love them. Dwelling continuously on negative things affects my real emotions... maybe I just get too into it!

We then had to make a linup of six colored designs:
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My teacher had me make a muslin mockup of the second and four outfits, which are actually the same dress just with or without the top. I ended up changing the design of the top because I couldn't pattern it the way I wanted.

The outfit was not finished when I did the photoshoot!! But it was finished enough that a little post-editing and strategic angling could hide that fact:

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Model: HanWen
Everything Else: Me

Still not good at photo-editing :( But at least I am beginning to actually use layers so I can adjust different portions separately!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

CNN's Top 40 Taiwanese Foods! Which would you try?

Taiwan is abundant with food. Ridiculous amounts of food everywhere. It's cheap, it's good (even the bad food is good), it's convenient, and there's always a few places open, no matter what time of day or night!

Here, CNN has made a list of the top 40 foods we cannot live without! I have tried almost all of them, but since I no longer eat meat (still eat seafood), there are some I cannot try now :( There are more and more vegetarian versions of these foods popping up though, so I hope that one day I'll be able to easily get vegetarian XiaoLongBao or Ba Wan without the need to special order it!

Here are some of my favorites from the list (in no particular order):
Braised Pork Rice
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I get the vegetarian version. The topping itself is quite salty, but with plain rice it balances out and is very fragrant and filling.

Oyster Omelet
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Oyster Omelet is good no matter where you get it. The amount of ingredients vs. the omelet base is key to getting a good one. Too much omelet base and it won't have enough flavor! The sauce you add on top is important, too. Some places have diluted sauces that aren't very flavorful.

Gua Bao
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You can actually buy the white bread separately and prepare this at home very cheaply! It's really good and easy to make a wide variety depending on your favorite flavors.

Tian Bu La
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This is just really good. I love the QQ texture and the sauce and just everything! Note that some places will cook it in a broth containing meat products, so if that is a concern, make sure to ask!

Oyster Noodles
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I LOVE this! It normally comes with intestines so I ask for it without the intestines. Some places may cook it all together and if you ask for no intestine they will just pick it out, so I try to go to places that cook the noodles separately from everything else. This is very good with some soy paste and hot sauce!

Stinky Tofu
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I used to think I hated stinky tofu. I tried it time and again at a stall at the night market by my grandparents' house. That stall had been on TV and in the news and was supposed to be really good. I never liked the stinky tofu. Then one day, at XiMenDing I tried stinky tofu at a random stall, AND IT WAS SO GOOD! So make sure you try food from different vendors! In addition to fried stinky tofu, there is also grilled (my favorite) and boiled stinky tofu. I don't like the "pao cai"/pickled(?) vegetables that goes on it, but the sauce and hot sauce is really good. Some foreigners are put off by the smell at first, but the flavor is actually very good and unique. I would definitely suggest trying it! Some vendors have different flavors you can put on your tofu, too.

Xiao Long Bao
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Literally "Little Dragon Buns/Bao," this is one of the things I miss most about meat! Ding Tai Feng has the most famous XiaoLongBao, but in the USA we could get them from oriental food stores in the frozen foods section. Be careful when preparing them not to tear the skin, or the delicious juices will leak out!

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Hands down, my favorite food is BREAKFAST. OK, so that's a meal, not a food, but Taiwan has the best breakfasts! Breakfast shops are everywhere. I love traditional breakfast with soymilk (no sugar), rice balls, sesame flat bread (pictured) with egg, dan bing (egg pancake), and sometimes the fried Chinese doughnut (pictured). YungHo Soymilk is probably the most famous chain, and some are open in the middle of the night so you can have breakfast food as a midnight snack (heaven!). Unfortunately, there are none near where I live. I would probably gain 10kg if there was!

Spicy Hot Pot
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I LOVE hotpot. I LOVE spicy. Therefore, I LOVE LOVE spicy hotpot!!! I'm sad that most mala (numbing spicy) hotpot is made with either duck or pig blood, so I cannot eat it. However, if you get the chance, I would definitely suggest trying this!!

What food is your country famous for? And which of the top 40 foods would you like to try or think are horrifying and would never dare to try? I love to talk about food and try new food and see food from other countries!!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Dancing in the Rain

When we think of "seasons" we normally imagine spring showers, summer sun, autumn leaves, and winter snow.
In Minnesota, we had the lovely four seasons of Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter, and Road Construction.
Here in Taiwan, we have Spring, Summer, Still Summer, and Typhoon Season.
For the past few years, I have been putting up with wet socks and soaked shoes. Glass socks are a nice alternative to regular socks and they dry out very quickly like nylons, but wet shoes are still rather uncomfortable. This week it has been very rainy (which is too bad because it's the Tomb-Sweeping Festival so it must be a real bother with the rain!) I finally got a pair of rain shoes last week, and they're stylish as well as functional!

I am PRETTY sure the pair I got is a knock-off (though I didn't realize it at the time), but a good brand of rain-friendly shoes is Melissa. I'd seen these designs around at department stores, but never actually tried them on. They are really great for the rainy seasons though, because they don't absorb water at all so they dry very quickly and you don't need to wear socks.

I first saw a cute pair of floral plastic shoes at a Lolita meetup when one of the Lolitas wore them with her coordinate and they looked really good!
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I ended up getting the peep-toe wedge version of these in pink!

The shoes come in a wide variety of styles, from flats to heels, boots, wedges, etc. so you can find anything for your style!
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Melissa also does collaborations with other designers, and one of my favorites was the Hermes-inspired (the god, not the brand) sandals in a collab with Vivienne Westwood:
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It came in a multitude of colors, but gold is really the best :D

This is a really short post just to share this :P Nice idea to stay stylish and functional. There are Lolita snow boots, but not Lolita rain shoes, so I think plastic shoes are a really great option!

If you had to categorize your local weather into four seasons, what would you name them?
And which season do you think is the most difficult to make nice coordinates in?