1. Be a Better…Dresser.

    Recently, a Be Better Blog reader wrote in with this (witty) query: 

    "I just started dragging my ass back to the gym and I’m finding that I’m in dire need of an updated workout wardrobe. My mesh gym shorts from college don’t seem quite sufficient when I know that space-age wicking technology exists. ALSO, I would like said ass not to be hanging out while I do leg things. Could you (pretty please) do post that gives like 5 combinations of gear that I can mix and match, but won’t require doing laundry every five minutes?"

    This is a great question as workout clothes can be tricky tricky. As an example of failing, I tried out some NEW athletic shorts this morning and hadn’t looked in the mirror until I arrived to the gym. TOTAL AIR FUPA people. You know as a kid when you loved filling your swimsuit with air, looking like either you had a boob job or beer belly? Yeah, those shorts looked like that except I wasn’t in a pool, nor am I 5 years old. Not to mention the lining was too short (apparently according to the manufacturer I have an elongated crotch region?!) so I had perma-camel toe. No one likes camel-toe squats. NO ONE.

    When building your workout wardrobe, here are a few basic items you’ll need: 

    //SUMMARY SHOPPING LIST//

    -2 Pairs of Loose Sporty Shorts/Booty Shorts

    - 2 Athletic tanks

    -1 Pack of White Tees

    -2-3 Supportive Sports Bras

    - Tennis Shoes

    - 1 pair of Yoga/Running Pants

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

    -Non-see through colors: You DO NOT want your days of the week undies showing through. 

    -Built in liner: It’s just a must these days, folks.

    -Great fit in the crotch region (as I learned previously): Avoid air fupas, avoid wedgies.

    -Ample coverage: Unless you are ONLY running, you’ll be bending, squatting, leaning, and burpee-ing for a full hour or more…so it’s best if you don’t accidentally get pregnant via the leg extension machine. Think enough coverage so your lady bits stay ladylike.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

    -Happy Colors: Pick a couple fun colors for tanks that make you WANT to work out. You’ll feel better about that 6am gym time and bright pops of color make your no-makeup face more alive looking!

    -Athletic or Natural Materials: This is a non-negotiable. Cotton OR Dri-fit hi-tech sh*t. If you show up at the gym in a Forever21 Polyester tank top and you’ll end up being the smelly/overly sweaty gal on the mats. The good news? You’ll have plenty of room to stretch because your odor and general wet aesthetic will have caused everyone to flee.

    -Refresh Often: Hanes men’s white v-neck tees cost a whole $10 per pack. Re-buy them every month or two to keep your whites looking fresh. 

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

    -Cups/Liner: Don’t risk poking your trainer’s eye out mid-workout with a rogue nipple. Make sure your sports bra has thin cups that keep pancake boob away and protect you from chronic NHO. 

    -Great Fit: High-knee runs should not include kicking your tatas ala David Beckham. Keep ‘em high and tight. 

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

    -Essential Fit: Be sure you get the right size for the types of workouts you’ll be doing. You may need to go a size or 1/2 size up…the best thing to do is ask your shoe salesperson to fit you properly. 

    -Keep An Eye Out: Every couple of months, check the bottoms of your shoes…especially if you’re having back or knee pain. You may be wearing out your shoes, therefore wearing out your much needed support.

    WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

    -Dark Colors: Dark color minimize trouble areas like ass, thighs, and giant calves..not to mention the whole “mask the cellulite” game we’ve all played at one time or another. Also, you’ll want these to be able to be worn over and over without recognition so black or dark grey will always work. 

    -Wide and Flexible Waistband: A general rule of life, avoid muffins and muffin tops. You want your pants to be comfortably tight in the leg region, but beware of thin super tight waistbands. They’ll make you feel self-conscious and you’ll spend half your workout tucking in rolls, rather than getting rid of them.

    -Non-See Through: A little tip, when in the fitting room to buy workout pants, lean over and spread eagle. Can you see your vagina? Yes? You need a different pair. No? You’re good to go.

    I think that covers it. 

    A few tips and tricks for lazy people like me:

    -Mid-week, toss your workout shorts/bras/pants in the shower with you and rinse them out with a little detergent. They are made to dry quick so they’ll be fresh and ready for the next workout. Yes, you’ll still need to do actual laundry once in a while, this is just to freshen in between real washes if you are one of us who doesn’t have in-home laundry.

    -Avoid Patterned Workout Gear. The more nondescript the gear is, the more you’ll be able to wear it. Still feel free to inject bright colors but those snake skin print yoga pants might be a bit much. 

    -Keep things snug. As much as you might want to roll out of bed and throw on a huge t-shirt and basketball shorts…you should avoid this. More fitted items let you actually see your body as you work out, you’ll be able to perfect your form because you won’t be lost in a sea of college-age jersey material. As a bonus, you’ll be able to see your progress more easily when those booty shorts look a little more filled out. Feeling hot (even at the gym)= instant motivation  (And no, that does not mean to put on makeup).

    Now, go shopping.

    Chinae

     


  2. Be a Better…Dresser.

    About a month ago, I was pissing and moaning about how I didn’t go to Coachella, and blah blah blah. Then comes the torture of perusing all the “Top Ten Best Looks at Cochella” blog posts that make me want to hang myself with a sueded-fringy bag’s strap. Soon after, I swore to bestie Becky that I would bring my own Coachella to NYC via flower head piece. This may or may not have also been inspired by pro-drudgery musician Lana Del Rey who I hate/love the shit out of.  

    So about a week ago…I crafted. A lot.

    I was gonna make like…1-2 head pieces. I think total I created 8 looks…and my fingers felt like I had played guitar like Hendrix for two hours. Worth it. 

    Here’s What To Do:

    Step 1: Buy crafty crap. I did it in one foul swoop at the flower market, but I am sure if you live in a suburb you can head over to your local Michael’s/Joanne’s/or another store with the first name of a person. Here’s the shopping list:

    • Bark-Covered Wire
    • Floral Tape
    • Paper Flowers with wire base

    Step 2: Measure your big head. OK…maybe I just have a big head, but take your bark-covered wire and measure it around the crown of your head, where you want your headband to sit. Now add 2 inches. 

    Step 3: Twist ends to form a circle. Why did I make you add 2 inches? So you have extra room for twisting, dummy. Twist the ends together and then wrap with a 6 inch length of floral tape, around the twisted part so you don’t pierce your head on accident. 

    Step 4: Wire on your flowers. Twist the wire part of the flower base around your circular crown in a random assortment. I suggest switching up direction and distance, so you don’t end up looking like a tacky flower girl. 

    Step 5: Cover your mess. After all the flowers are attached, wrap floral wire around the portions that you can visablly see the wrapped wire. It’s weird stuff and sticks to itself…I was amazed for way too long at this. 

    Tips to Sporting Your Flower Crown:

    • Do not wear to a business casual work environment. You’ll probably get fired.
    • Wear it with your hair down. If you match this with a bun…you might look like you work at the local renaissance fair or you may be mistaken for 
    • When you are making this, remember that you are a normal person, not a famous person, or a model. So no, you can’t pull off a Carrie/Bird in the Hair Moment when you are just on your way to get a bagel. Tone it down ladycat.
    • Keep it simple…too many colors, textures, and shapes are just going to make you  look like you work down at the Tropicana with Ricky Ricardo. 
    • Try to use as many natural materials as possible…plastic flowers and satin ribbon can go tacky tacky tacky REAL quick. Think Sienna Miller not Selena. (RIP) 

    Send me photos of your flower crowns!!!!!

    xo Chinae

     


  3. Be a Better…Dresser.

    Neon + Neutrals Edition:

    We’ve all heard that neon is the “thing” currently…or now some fashion gals are starting to say neon is so “over”…this pretty much means that stores we can actually afford, are starting to carry our fluorescent friends. Here’s my thing…I love neon, mostly because it makes me feel tan, and feeling tan means feeling skinner. There, I said it…again, hate mail can be sent to bebetterblogger@gmail.com. I’m just the internet truth teller, alright?

    There’s one problem with neon though, if you wear it the right way, you look fucking awesome. You wear it the wrong way, you WILL look like a crossing guard or the cover star of a Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper minus one unicorn (If you were not a kid of the 90’s you will not get this reference). 

    So, how do we make neon work, in places other than some blacklit gay dance club where people are doing interpretive dance moves to Ke$ha with mini glowsticks in their mouths?

    Tips, ahead!

    +Keep Your Face Classy: If you mix fluorescent colors with equally offensive makeup, you will look trampy. Unless slutty crossing guard is your thing, keep your makeup clean, fresh, and classic. Pull your hair back in a sock bun (my favorite thing ever) or wear it loose and down…Just watch combining all the Pinterest tricks you’ve ever learned into this look. Neon speaks for itself so keep the rest of your face/body simple and pretty.

    +Mix in Some Neutrals:This is the key to wearing neon and not looking like a crazy person eating their own underwear on 6th avenue. Pair your pops of neon with lots of neutrals. Try a camel colored jacket, or a black and white outfit instead of their colorful companions. Even while color blocking (as you do), utilize a subdued piece to balance out the Rainbow Connection vibe you are throwing out. 

    +Accessories Are Less Scary: Let’s say you’re that girl who isn’t exactly a fashion maven, but you stick with what’s being styled on the Ann Taylor LOFT mannequins. Sound like you? Well, this is your lucky day. I’m never going to get you into a pair of highlighter pants, but can I suggest a hot pink belt over that grey cardi? Use accessories to dabble in trends, injecting an otherwise un-trendy outfit with a little va-va-voom. Some great options to neoncceserize (that is a horrible made-up word) are: a piece of jewlery (preferably a necklace), a skinny belt, a bright shoe, or a neon purse. Muy excellante. 

    +Get a tan: Well, I threw this in there because in my opinion, when pale people wear neon they look sick, but you don’t need to be all tan ala Dog the Bounty Hunter…just maybe wait until you gotten a little Spring/Summer sunkissing done, and then layer on those brights!

    Love you all, and please don’t make fun of the photos of me, I’m aware that it looks like I am doing a self photo shoot for my Myspace page. 

    xo Chinae

     


  4. Be Better at…Shopping.

    I’m from Texas, and once a year, the state offers a weekend of tax-free purchases on clothing, school supplies etc. I have seen parking-related brawls, have witnessed a near eye-gouging over a pair of BCBG white jeans, and have since vowed to never step foot into a retail establishment when this time rolls around. Think…NYC on any culturally significant parade day (I love you Puerto Ricans, but your parade makes me want to move to the suburbs).

    Well once again, New York has trumped Texas and therefore validated me making the trek across this fair country to the land of impossibly high rent and hot dogs with toppings like kimchi, coleslaw, and organic placenta (OK, maybe not placenta). 

    NY state goes back and forth regarding sales tax on clothing items, and finally, once again, they’ve removed sales tax on clothing and shoes costing less than $110 bucks. This is good news people. 

    The state officially says, “Sales of eligible clothing and footwear costing less than $110 per item or pair are exempt from the state’s 4% sales tax and local tax in those localities that enacted the exemption.” This also includes the 4.5% city, 4% state and .0375% Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District tax (whatever that is).

    Sunday is the first day of the exemption people, so go forth and shop. And if you need some help finding the right places to buy some new duds for under $110 bucks, I’ve included a short list of some Park Slope gems below:

    Mommies: BUMP; 464 Bergen St.
    Dudes: PRIVATE STOCK; 458 Bergen St. 
    Gal’s Shoes: SOULA, 184 5th Ave.
     Kiddos: LULU’S THEN AND NOW; 75A 5th Ave.
    Rich People: BIRD316 5th Ave 
     Thrift: PONY; 69 5th Ave.
    Happy Shopping Lovies,
    Chinae
     


  5. Be a Better…Traveller.

    Pack It Up Edition:


    I went home to Texas for Christmas and must’ve really packed in a hurry OR there may/may not have been vodka involved with the process. That’s not the point. The point IS, is that when I arrived and opened my suitcase, I realized that I had made some grave packing errors.

    Here’s what my suitcase contained (other than Christmas presents for the family):

    • -Red Jeans
    • -Green Jeans
    • -Dress Shorts
    • -5 Sweaters
    • -2 Blouses
    • -Evening Gown
    • -Fur Cape
    • -Leather Jacket

    All sounds ok right? FALSE. My hometown averages a temperature of about 75-80 degrees in the winter, so that takes out the sweaters, jacket, fur, jeans, and the evening gown was for a wedding. So that leaves me with 2 blouses and a pair of shorts. Don’t worry, I brought 6 pairs of shoes, all short boots that made me look like a street walker when worn with shorts. PERFECT. Try figuring out what to wear to church without looking like Kit Deluca from Pretty Woman, short one mushy, hooker hat.

    I have no idea what the hell I was thinking last time…but as I embark on a vacay to see my California lover (well, not just a lover…well, boyfriend…lover just sounded cooler) this weekend, I NEED to be better than I was last time. Let’s figure this out together.

    Make a List: Over the course of a week before your trip, make a list of crap that you need to bring and especially those little things that you are probably going to forget. Also, make yourself write down everything you’re taking, so you have to come to terms with the number 9 in front of the words “pairs of shoes”. I can guarantee that this list will make you take a few things outta that bag. Also, it’s smart to make a few perfect outfits and take photos of them on your phone so when you are trying to look really low-maintenance in front of your travel partner, you can just say you threw that outfit together :)

    Mix-N-Match: You don’t want to look like a brown paper bag on vacation, but you also don’t need to bring that teal Indian caftan/wedding dress, complete with pointy shoes, that you’ve never been able to pair with anything. The likelihood that a location change is going to clear your style senses is just not going to happen. Here’s a rule: If an item can’t be part of 2-3 other outfits in your suitcase, ditch it. Also, if you haven’t worn it in a couple months, don’t pack it. Pick a slew of neutrals and then follow the next rule to make them sing!

    Pieces that Pop: So you are wearing different shades of poop because I told you to pack things that go with everything. I get it, you are pissed. To compliment your palette, pick bright punchy accessories that will transform “poop” into “pop”. Plus, bright jewels take up WAY less room than that giant furry orange Prada-rip off sweater that you were thinking about packing.

    Remember the Timeline: As I sat on my bed last night, putting things in my suitcase, I realized after the 12th shirt I put into that wheeled box, that I will be gone for a total of 4 days. 4. There is no possible way that I can wear 12 things, though sometimes I am like Mariah Carey with costume changes on her MTV Cribs episode. 

    Rolling is Bullshit: Just fold sh*t. Rolling your clothes into little couture pigs-in-a-blanket is just way too much work and doesn’t save any space…I tested it!

    The Power of the White T-Shirt: Bring one. You can dress it up, dress it down. Wear it with underwear to sleep or pop it on with a tutu and look like a J Crew ad. So simple, non-wrinkly, and is always good to go.

    Can we also just take a moment to celebrate the sheer joy I feel when I get to buy travel-sized EVERYTHING?

    Phew. Wish me luck!

    Cheers to forgetting something and having to pick up a new one,

    xo Chinae

     


  6. Be Better at…Halloween.

    I love Halloween. If I could dress in theme everyday (sh*t. I sort of already do) I would. 

    The idea of being able to for one day, be whatever you want to be and no one being able to REALLY place hard judgement on you…is the best thing EVER.

    Every year around this time the over planner comes out in me and I start thinking and plotting for costume ideas. Also, over pretty much every conversation with pals, someone asks me what I think they should be for Halloween. So…let’s lay down some ground rules and tips for being better at Halloween so I can stop answering that f*cking question.

    5 Halloween DON’Ts:

    -You can’t just add the word “sexy” onto your costume and call it a day: You know what I mean here. There is something really f*cked up about a sexy cat or a sexy pumpkin…don’t you see that?

    YOU’VE JUST TRIED TO MAKE A GOURD A SEXUAL BEING. (hello?!)

     If you are wanting to be sexy for halloween, I get that. It’s really the only time you can be absolutely scandalous and blame it on something other than you actual being a ho-bag. BUT at least do it in a smart way. Some 1ft piece of polyester that came out of a plastic bag from Ricky’s Costume Warehouse isn’t going to be cute or original. If you are going to be sexy, make sure that you’re something that’s actually sexy in real life…like a celebrity or something…not an oversexualized insect or condiment. Although, I would pay good money to see a sexy mustard bottle this year.

    -Dead Celebrities aren’t as funny as you’d imagine: As much as I love Steve Jobs, Amy Winehouse, Gaddafi, or Randy “Macho Man” Savage…dressing up as a recently dead celebrity isn’t really very interesting since you’ll be among about 2,000 other people dressed up as the same dead person as you. Plus, we know you are just lazy by buying a black turtleneck and carrying around your iPhone. 

    -Zombie or Vampire…something: This is often used as a tool to jazz up an otherwise boring costume…Yes, I get that you don’t want to be JUST a ladybug so zombie ladybug sounds better…but resist the urge to just tack on the word zombie or vampire for sh*ts and giggles. 

    -Couple’s Costumes: If you’re going to do a couple’s costume (which are very tricky to do right), PLEASE don’t totally emasculate your boyfriend by making him be some inane sidekick to the costume you are wearing. I literally saw a man dressed as a cotton-ball covered sheep so he “went” with his GF’s Little Bo Slut costume. Ridic. 

    -Effortless Costuming: If you aren’t going to put any effort in, just don’t dress up. A nametag or a pair of glasses is not a costume. You are just insulting the rest of us dressed in full garb that may or may not have spent 4-5 hours applying temporary tattoos to our entire body.

    Halloween DO’s:

    -Be Funny If You Can: I know it’s hard to stand out and be funny in the world of hipster mermaids and boom mic operators..but give it a go if you can. I absolutely loved being a chola last year and being a little funny/scary/unsexy was the best time I’ve ever had dressing up (see Chola photo above). Really tops the really unfunny/desperate/annoying “sexy” girl scout I was in college (vomit).

    -Get Interactive: My friend Jon suggested this point and I can’t agree more. If you can incorporate an activity, hand motion, stance, or musical number in your costume…you get SO many ghost points. Who cares if your arms are going numb from having to have your hands straight up in air all night being a “roller-coaster rider screen shot photo”? You committed and we respect that more than anything. 

    -Keep it Simple in Construction and Explanation: You know you’re probably going to have like 5-10 Whiskey sodas over the course of the Halloween night…so seriously think about your props and construction of the costume. You don’t want to be leaving hunks of your Space-Cowgirl-Lara-Croft-Tomb-Raider outfit all over the damn bar. Attach that sh*t well ok? Also, know that by 10pm you are going to be all slurry and the like…so maybe pick a theme that takes less than one sentence to explain what the hell you are. 

    All that to say…I think I’m going to be Pocahontas this year…so yeah. Yawn. 

    What’s everyone else thinking?

    xox Chinae

     


  7. Be a Better…Dresser.

    One-Piece Swimsuit Edition:

    It’s nearing summer, although here in the city I forgot what heat feels like or sun looks like…the closest thing I’ve gotten to sun is the UV nail dryer at my local favorite janky nail salon Q Spa. 

    Anyway, if I beleive what “they” say…summer is coming and that means it’s beach time bitches. You ready? If you didn’t start dieting back in January, just forget it and try again next year…starting crunches in late May just isn’t going to cut it unless you have Giselle genes so soothe your worries with another one of your homemade “stews”.

    With beach season, comes the ultimate female woe…a day typically that ends with you sitting in some God-forsaken dressing room, laying on the floor, crying or considering joining a convent so your pale, wintery ass can hide for the summer and avoid buying a new swimsuit. 

    Well fashion this year has done us a favor ladies…apparently one pieces are back in with vengeance and I don’t mean those tan-through Miracle Suits™ you find in SkyMall. No, actual cute one-piece swimsuits designed by actual people who have talent. Hurrah!

    Let’s see some Do’s and Don’ts of One Piece Bathing Suits for this season…

    Dont’s:

    Alright, let’s talk this out. These swimsuits make me get the “fashion runs” pretty immediately. The first lovely lady is sporting what I like to call the “Slutty Sumo”. Requirements for this suit are fake tatas, a perfectly sculpted back and judging by the pleather, probably some acrylic nails…so I don’t know about you guys…but I’m out on this one.  

    The next three lil’ gems are obviously designed by a man. NO WOMAN LOOKS GOOD WITH A CENTRAL STOMACH CUTOUT. Can we all agree this is the worst? Nothing says beach-sexy than a round tanline obviously highlighting the fact that you probably shouldn’t have eaten that second round of hot dogs at the beach bbq or that you may have not worked out since you took that hellish Zumba class two years ago and had to fake your own death as a quick exit strategy. 

    The last suit is just ridiculous…white/tan/cream are never really a great option for swimwear considering if its not made just right you look like the little Hispanic kids at the public pool in my home town that go swimming in their undershirts as well as white being the universally know “how to look fat” color. And those black boob cups? They look like two teacups, just waiting for a beachside tea party…let’s just say I prefer coffee. 

    These suits really suck. But here are some that don’t…

    DO’s:

    1. If you are looking for a solid suit, pick a flattering color in a bold, dense hue like these fun blue suits…jewel tones look good on pretty much everyone. Like I said, avoid light colors (only exception is if it’s heavily lined) unless you want a little extra attention at the beach when you do your unexpected peek-a-boo show. Hey, this might be a good option for those of you who need to make a few extra bucks on the weekends.

    2. If you are looking for a printed suit, pick a small to medium sized print that doesn’t overwhelm you, ultimately we don’t want you to look like you Macguyvered a swim suit out of your dad’s Tommy Bahama reject shirt. 

    3. Find your best assest and flaunt that. Long legs? Pick a suit that is higher cut on the thighs so you can elongate those hot gams. Small Waist? Find swimwear that has some structure to it, to accentuate your hourglass figure and make all those straight-up-and-down bitches jealous. Small Boobs/Big Boobs? Wear a cup shape that is supportive to the level that you need, for big knockers wear something with a built in cup, for small nuggets, you can get away with a deep v, so do it while the girls are still up and around.

    Hope this helps ease your forth-coming nervous breakdown regarding your thighs, 

    Chinae

    p.s. two pieces coming in a post soon!