1. A Be Better Story…The Dung Wah Bus

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    Four years ago, in mid-July, I felt myself getting progressively stir crazy within the confines of the city so a first time trip to Boston seemed like an inspired idea during the oppressively hot summer. Having moved from Texas just two years before, I had no concept of bus travel beyond the occasional luxury charter bus rides to and from fraternity lingerie parties and other terrible events I’d cinched my boobs together for. So when my friend Allison suggested taking the ol’ Fung Wah bus for a mere $15 dollars, I of course was thrilled.

    I met Allison for an afternoon bus, and as I crossed the threshold of the waiting area, my heart sank. THESE are the people taking the bus? CRAP. I promptly told myself to stop being so damn judgy and prepare myself for a restful trip. Think of it as a moving respite, Chinae. It’s only 4 hours, Chinae. You’re gonna get to sleep and catch up on some reading, Chinae. Maybe they have a bar area, Chinae.

    We boarded the bus. A/C broken in 97 degree heat. Only seats that were open, were directly left of the bathroom. Lots of crazy looking people, foaming at the mouth (ok maybe they weren’t totally foaming, but they looked scary). We met eyes with some of the other normals and silently made a pact that if this turns into a mutiny, we were gonna be in this together.

    Allison and I settled in our seats…I tried to crack my window a few inches so I wasn’t ONLY smelling “Smells Like Drakkar Noir” mixed with the aroma of my own fear. I thought to myself…no one is gonna use the bathroom on the bus anyway. Who would do that? If they do, they totally only will pee, right?

    That day, I discovered the lack of embarrassment and shame that some people have about strangers smelling their feces. After three hours of reckless driving, and zero minutes of reading later (my knuckles were too busy being affixed to the seat in front of me), the driver announced that we’d be stopping for a dinner break. I’ve never been so happy in my life, I felt like it was my wedding day. Of course my joy was swiftly snuffed out when he added that we would need to bring our meals back on the bus due to us running late. Whatever, we still get to stretch our legs and breathe normal air.

    I quickly realized that our “dinner” spot was a friend chicken joint on the side of the highway. I considered running away into the adjacent field at this point and leaving Allison to send condolences to my friends and family. Again, people have no shame and proceeded to board the bus with 5-packs of fried chicken and biscuits galore. The following 3 hours were not a good time to be near the bathroom. In the end, I arrived in Boston…probably sans nose-hairs, but I arrived nonetheless. I vowed that day, that I would NEVER, NEVER tell a new New-Yorker to take this God-forsaken vomit wagon, even to save money.

    So, I was delighted to hear some good news this week and share it with fellow New Yorkers. Fung Wah bus service was suspended this week due to unsafe conditions and ignored safety regulations, and who knows when these assholes will be up and running again. ABC reports that Fung Wah drivers are in the bottom 3 percent nationwide in driver fitness, which measures training levels and experience. A big thank you to the Department of Transportation for saving hundreds of people from a ride on the Poopy Bus of Death.

    The End.

     


  2. Be a Better…Cook.

    Frick.

    It’s been too long people. Lots of things have been happening in life so I’ll give you a short update on all things personal and if you could give two shits (most of you) go ahead and scroll your pretty heart on down to the next section, k? 

    K. 

    First, I went ahead with my sexy pot roast costume for Halloween. I was met with mixed reviews but I assume it went over decently when men in the bathroom line were telling me they got hungry after seeing me. Not sure if I should be insulted or delighted. All I know is that I needed guy-friend protection from these borderline cannibalistic creeps. (Thanks Jon)

    Secondly, there was a f*cking hurricane followed by an almost blizzard. It totally sucked for most people (I kinda lucked out with no loss of power and a week off of work), but NYC was and still is a moderate shitshow. Also, lots of folks are STILL without power, heat, food, and water so that totally blows and you should find ways to help through DONATING or VOLUNTEERING. Yeah…YOU.

    Other than apocolyptic weather conditions, I finished off a cocktail table that a friend started, drank a LOT of whiskey, and worked out less than I should have with that much time off. I also made some yummy food, one of the recipes is what this post is ACTUALLY about (after I get my rambles out of the way). After weathermaggedon was over, I headed to Texas to stand next to my gal, Lindsey, as she walked down the aisle to a rad guy named Wes. (Note the weird two finger jab I am for some reason giving Linds in the below photo)

    I always love time in my home state and of course I made sure to ditch low-carb long enough to eat my weight in chips and salsa. They come free with the meal but I will be paying a long time at the gym as penance for being a very very bad girl.  

    Oh, yeah…I have a new addiction to report…bored as hell on my plane ride home, I somehow got suckered into watching a show called Storage Wars on A&E and now I’m hooked on the 2012 version of Antiques Roadshow. This is a cry for help people. At least this might be better than than serial killer documentaries I was watching before bed previously.

    Other than that, I’ve been doing some freelance writing for this brand new tech/fashion startup, LOOKCRAFT. It’s a fun gig and I get to write about all things menswear which, I love. 

    Alright…enough recapping now to the blog post for today. 

    Cooking with Pumpkintown:

    I really don’t tend to like mixing salty and sweet flavors and pumpkin is one of those veggies that I ALWAYS associate with a sugary taste, but alas…I wanted to make a low carb Fall soup and ventured into a savory new world armed with cans of organic pumpkin. 

    This soup is a total mouthgasm. 

    Autumnal Pumpkin-Sausage Soup:

    1/2 Cup of Diced Onion

    1 Clove of Minced Garlic

    1 TSP Ground Sage

    1 Tablespoon of Italian Seasoning

    12 Ounces of Breakfast Sausage (Jimmy Dean or the like…not links) or Hot Italian sausage (without the casing)

    2 cups diced Fresh White Mushrooms

    4 cups of Beef Broth

    1/2 cup of Heavy Cream

    1/2 cup of water

    1 bay leaf

    Step One: Cook the sausage in a large pot and drain off the grease (I left a little for additional flavor)

    Step Two: Add onion, garlic, seasonings, and mushrooms to the pan and saute until onions are lightly browned

    Step Three: Throw in your pumpkin and stir

    Step Four: Add broth and bay leaf and mix well.

    Step Five: Simmer for 30 minutes on low-medium heat

    Step 6: Stir in your heavy cream and water and simmer 15 additional minutes.

    Season with S&P and serve!

    This is enough for 4-5 people and is the PERFECT dish for a chilly night in with friends…or you know…for a hurricane. 

    I missed you guys.

    xo Chinae

     


  3. Be Better at…Moving.

    Moving might be my least favorite thing in the world. Thanks parentals for making me do it every 3-4 years of my life until I was 22, if I become a weird hermit by 30, I’m blaming you.

    Anyway…by the end of my adolescence, I just learned a fun little trick…throw everything away and you can always get another one if you’re desperate enough. Well that was all good and well until now…I moved to New York City.

    Moving in NYC is just different than most places…normal Americans get professional movers, adequate/sturdy boxes, appropriate vehicles, and spend weeks packing their huge amounts of stuff and utilize items like dollies and sharpies to label things…but not New Yorkers. 

    No, we decided a long time ago to just to bribe our friends with bagels and mimosas, throw our stuff in the 10385 canvas bags we’ve received for free at the museum/IKEA/concert/Whole Foods, and take some sketchy van we rented on Craigslist to our new abode. We really suck. No wonder people will continue to live in a total shithole just to avoid this. 

    Here are 5 Be Better Tips to Moving:

    1) Packing is a Virtue: I have showed half-drunk/half-asleep to several moves and wipe my little eyes in disbelief, because I feel like I’ve showed up on the wrong day. Why you say? BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS STILL INTACT (and my friend is enjoying a mimosa at the dining table reading the Times). Friends, if I come help you move, and give up my Saturday…you better be prepared. I don’t want to crate up your crusty thong underwear or sort your Morgan Freeman dvd collection. I signed up for moving, not packing. This was not in the contract of friendship we signed long ago…and the only thing that can appease me now is a fully-paid for, beach vacation. Your punishment will be, forever reminding you that you are the worst. 

    2) Boxes of Books and Other Horrible Strategies: I seriously love my friends, but some of you couldn’t pack a f*cking box if you had a gun to your head. I mean, I’m going to say it…I think big boxes suck to move in-city…unless you live in the ‘burbs and have a car/van/moving company…they make almost no sense. BUT even worse is when you have a 5-fl walk up and someone hands you a snack-size ziploc baggie full of stuff and tells you to make the trip up. NO, make each trip worth our while with medium sized boxes, crates, and large bags and pile them on me like I’m a donkey (burro) in Little Mexico. But on the other hand…(and I’m only going to say this once) stop packing your entire Encyclopedia Brittanica collection in one box. We are not the American Gladiators, we are just your ex-friends and we cannot possibly carry 367lbs of knowledge in one trip up the stairs. How about volumes A-E with some sweaters on top? Good? Good. 

    3) Bribery Tips: Newsflash…mimosas are no longer a good way to bribe your friends to help you move. The champagne you bought costs $8 dollars and we are now tispy AND have a massive headache. We also have to drive that crackvan from Craigslist around the city for you…which is already a terrible idea since most of us haven’t been behind the wheel of a car (much less a windowless cargo van) in years…so adding in mimosas..not great. Bagels are in theory a good idea…but then who really wants to sit down and eat when you just want to get this damn thing over with. ***I have to say, my friend Rachel did it right this past weekend…come help me move, and get treated to brunch after.*** It’s the perfect tactic because people are going to need some serious yums after all that rigamarole and it’s way better than some god-forsaken donut platter from the grocery store. Also, just a protip, go to the store and get a slew of bottled water, sounds simple but it’s rare when it happens. (oh and if you are rich enough to get real movers, make sure you still offer them water, don’t be an asshole)

    4) Teamwork: Make teams on the front and back end of the trips…that way people can commit less time and they can potentially stay as near to where they live as possible. They’ll love you for this and may even volunteer to help on both ends.

    5) Information Station: I don’t like being lied to. You know what’s the same as lying in my book? Misinformation or not giving full disclosure. When you are asking people to help, give them all the info. 6 floor walk up? Pack of wild dogs living next door? Russian mob in your new building? I WANT TO KNOW. I don’t want to show up to a surprise of 20 flights of stairs, I need to mentally prepare for that sh*t and choose my footwear accordingly.

    Happy moving and yes, I’ll still keep helping as long as you follow these rules!

    xo Chinae

     


  4. Be a Better…Bartender, Beauty, Shopper, and Lover.

    It’s a mish-mosh sorta day around here…so I thought I’d compliment my scatterbrainedness with a mix-ey little post. 

    To start it off right…a new cocktail. Since it IS a Friday and all.

    Asian Sensation: (makes 4 cocktails)

    • -1 Asian Pear
    • -Handful of Fresh Blueberries
    • -4 servings of vodka
    • -Club Soda
    • -Dash of Grated Fresh Ginger

    In a blender, combine your diced up pear, blueberries and ginger…blend well until it makes a liquid. Mix together the vodka and your fruit smoothie concoction. Pour over ice and top with soda. Garnish with a sword of fresh blueberries! 

    BE PRETTY:

    I’m always looking for the perfect red lipstick and finally found my beauty soulmate in Loreal’s Infallible “Beyonce Red”. After being happy with this lil’ find, I started on the hunt for the perfect bright pink lipstick…matte, deeply pigmented, and not TOO expensive. Also, not looking like hooker Barbie is helpful.

    Well ladies, I found it. NARS Super Matte in Carthage…run, don’t walk to your nearest beauty retailer for this gem. 

    GO SHOP:

    In my shopping finds this week, I hesitantly ordered a new notebook from Minted. On their site, you can customize super cute designs with colors, photos, and text. I was worried that the quality would suck big time since the journals are only $16 but I was more than happy with mine! Take a look.

    A BETTER LOVER:

    I got a few messages from readers asking what I did for V-day since I did what seemed like a ranty post.

    I actually spent the night drinking virtual cocktails (about 6 of the one listed in this post) with the boyfriend…on Skype. Oh, the joys of long distance…BUT it was a great Valentine’s. I hope you all had a great day, whatever you did! Below, a sneak peek into our little date.

    Hears to hoping this weekend doesn’t suck and is as totally rad as a three-day weekend should be!

    xo Chinae

     


  5. Be a Better…Traveller.

    (Warning, this post is fueled with frustration and general MTA related angst)

    Mobile Body Positioning Edition:

    We all have to get to work somehow. I really am thankful that I don’t have to actually think/drive to work…we are lucky to jump on a moving box and just have to exist for 20 minutes and then get pooped out at our location. It’s great…unless you plan on sitting down. 

    This morning, my outer thighs were confronted with a harsh reality of NY city life…so much leg osmosis with my stranger/neighbor on the train. ugh. Now, usually…this would not bother me too much, but I raged after realizing, post commute that I had picked up the scent of Axe Body spray off my travelling cohort. I mean, if I wanted to smell like desperation and junior high, I’d go buy a bottle of CK1.

    So that got me thinking…how can we be better at riding the subway and stop annoying the sh*t out of everyone? I’ve attacked the subject before, but I think I missed a couple things.

    DO NOT BE THESE PEOPLE:

    -Gatekeeper: You know the guy…posted up right next to the door. Usually majorly creeping the sh*t out of me. His L.A. Gear Sneaks are planted to the floor like he’s working the gate at Buckingham Palace. HEY DUDE, you aren’t guarding the queen, you are just blocking the mariachi band from getting through the door in their giant glittery sombreros, and I’m pissed about it. I’d like to hear Feliz Navidad right about now and you are preventing that from occurring. Here’s a tip, grasp the idea that the doors open and close, people are going to come in and out, and you are going to have to get the f*ck out of the way for that to happen. And stop giving me that weird eyeball and pull your pants up, they are under your ass-cheeks and there is no possible way that is comfortable.

    -Thunder Thighs: Alright, the inspiration for this post came right out of this little corner pocket…there is a distinct amount of room for each person in a designated seat. Right?! Whatever you have to do to fit in that area, you do. I’ve seen people contort their bodies into  miniature trapezoids to fit in that little orange designated region…but here’s where I get sexist to the max…ready? Menfolk of New York City, you think just because you aren’t comfortable with your thighs touching (we women are fairly used to this) you are allowed to be all slutty business man with your legs spread apart. I get that, anatomically speaking, it’s not as comfortable for you to be thigh-to-thigh, BUT we don’t need you to be doing AC Slater-stance minus the backwards chair. Also, you aren’t just sitting normally with legs slightly spread….you actually look uncomfortable, your sh*t’s so far apart. Are you having a contest with yourself or something? I don’t get it……

    OK. I think I’m done for today. I’m sure there will be a part three to this lovely series as my blood pressure continues to rise due to subway related incidents. I can keep telling myself, at least this wasn’t my morning commute. 

    Xo Chinae

    *images via subway douchery

     


  6. Be a Better…Dresser.

    Skirting the Issue Edition:

    I have to admit, I’m having some fashion issues right now. With other people’s clothes. 

    What’s with the ugly quotient this season, ladies? I’m seeing a lot of Laura Ingalls Wilder look-a-likes and I really hate it. It’s like everyone’s allergic to sexy and we’ve resorted to guerilla knitting over our lady parts so we can look straight up Grandma status. Let’s tackle the issue of our bottom halves today and we’ll get into our top bits next week.

    I love a good maxi. Makes ya look tall, feel kinda princess-y, and overall can be quite romantic looking (to other ladies). So why the hell have you people taken the maxi and turned it into a floor-length chastity belt? I mean…seriously?! I thought broomstick skirts ended with my mom in the 90’s (who obviously paired it with a turtleneck skirt and chunky silver cross necklace)…but I’m seeing them again. Which is a damn shame. If you are going to go maxi, keep it simple, modern, and stay the f*ck away from tiered styles. Also, new pleated styles are great…but beware, buy it a size larger so you don’t maximize that fupa situation that can often happen with a large pleat. (just sayin.)

    I think mid-length skirts are maybe the hardest thing to full off when talking about the lower region. They can easily go from Mad Men to frump-fest with one bad fabric choice. Stick with a pencil skirt, in a bold color to stay away from looking like the teller at your local Bank of America (those f*cking cheap pin stripes KILL ME). Also, a note…gathered front midi-skirt…actually just looks like lady parts attached with Velcro™ on the outside of your clothing. RESIST. 

    If there were political parties dedicated to fashion…I would obviously be in the Mini-skirt party. Paired with a good sheer, black, back-seam pantyhose…minis can be a perfect transitional Fall item, keeping your style, sexy but functional. If I was a man, I’d be a leg man for sure. BUT…can we talk about bubble skirts? I REALLY HATE THEM. They ALWAYS look like you sh*t your skirt or like you are smuggling mashed potatoes down under. Soft and squishy is just an unfortch way for your super hot bum to look, so try a tailored mini in a sparkly fabric to glamorize your Fall look without trying too hard.

    Ralph Lauren has been hustling the plaid skirt for decades now, and Kudos Ralph, they are certainly making a resurgence lately in main stream style…but there are three ways the plaid skirt can go. Chic equestrian/Americana, naughty school girl, or Math teacher. Let’s not do the second two. Deal? Keep your plaid in modern cuts with minimal pleating to maintain the chicness and reduce the skank-prude factor. Also, I can jam with a long plaid skirt…but it NEEDS to be all the way to the floor and not paired with an orthopedic looking shoe, as seen above. YUCK!

    Putting a sweater on your lower bits can be tricky. It can add major poundage without much effort. To reduce the chance of a fatter looking ass, try the trend out in an A-line form…rather than this super tight pencil option, and keep whatever you have on top, less voluminous and do NOT pair with another sweater for fear of looking like a wooly, lumpy, Urban Sherpa. 

    Love you all. And have a fantastical Fall weekend!

    xo Chinae

     


  7. Be a Better…Waiter.

    PREFACE:

    Now, before all you waiters/servers/etc get all nasty with me…please note that I worked in the food industry for 2.5 years, and loved it. I loved the ridiculousness of the characters that make up the staff/kitchen/clients…I loved working at night and taking home fistfuls of cash. I didn’t even care that I smelled like a lobster boil everyday. So yeah…I’ve been there. Also, I’m going to use the word waiter…though I know people these days want to be called a “server”…you know what I mean.

    5 Ways Food Service Could Be WAY Better:


    1) Small Talk: This is a tricky one…because I HATE when servers don’t tell you their name or try to be moderately personable, but also…when Sharon wants to tell me about her drag-out fight with her boyfriend last night in the Applebee’s parking lot…I am at a loss. I wish servers would feel that balance just a little bit more and move in which ever direction the customer is leading them. If I am face down in my shrimp salad…you should probably stop bashing your management and telling me how you’re gonna get that job at the office supply company if it’s the last thing you do. 

    2) Be a Good Suggester: When I was a waitress, I perfected the disappointed glare. This facial expression is perfect and should be used frequently during the ordering process. But beware my friends, use with caution. This was my go-to move when someone is obviously ordering the wrong thing. How it plays out:

    ME: “And what will you be having today?”

    Customer: “I’ll take the sh*t sandwich combo, please.”

    ME: (DISAPPOINTED GLARE) 

    Customer: “umm…Should I not get that?”

    ME: “Don’t do it. Can I suggest something you might like better?”

    This is where a big tip can be earned people. We don’t know what the hell we want most times…you work here so I kinda trust you. You also are the Tree of Knowledge when it comes to which menu items aren’t being impregnated by the weirdo cook in the back…so suggest away. Unless they look like a regular, because then they’ll just get offended when you tell them their ordering procedure SUCKS.

    3) Free Shit: Giving people free shit was the way that I made TONS of money. And everyone…even super rich people…love feel like they are getting a deal. As a waiter, there are always things you can give away if you want…and no one is the wiser. Free beers may not be an option, but free after dinner coffee? SURE. 16 types of salad dressing on the side so they can do salad suicides all lunch long? SURE. At one point, a woman told me her pooch loved bacon…so what did I do?  I brought a woman a bag full of chopped bacon and she showed her gratitude with a big, fat, $40 tip. I’m not advocating STEALING from the restaurant, but maximize the things that are pretty much free game and I promise your tables will love you. 

    ** Protip: If you work at a mexican or italian restaurant…just bring more bread or chips and salsa…NO ONE DOESN’T WANT A REFILL. Just do it and if you make bottomless a reality, we will love you forever. These words have never been spoken:

    "That restaurant was pretty good but you know what sucked? That asshole waiter brought us WAY too many free refills of chips and salsa"

    4) Honesty: If you forgot something…just be honest. Sh*t happens and customers get that. You know what’s really annoying though? You blaming it on the poor kitchen staff when in actuality, you forgot to put the order in because you were doing shots of vodka smoothie at the bar with that mildly attractive bus boy.

    5) Open Your Eyes: I f*cking hate when people ask dumb questions…especially when it’s interrupting an actual conversation that I’m having. Yes, it’s great to check in with people, but you asking how the food is, before I’ve even had a bite means you aren’t paying attention to the situation. Look around and observe. If I’m doing the Exorcist/owl head spin move…I’m LOOKING FOR YOUR ASS. If I’m longingly looking into my boyfriend’s eyes and close talking…I probably do not want the dessert tray shoved in between us at this point.

    All this to say…be nice to your servers, people. They work hard, get paid nothing, and survive on your tips and tips alone. That goes for bartenders as well. 

    Cheers to the Soup of the Fucking Day,

    Chinae

     


  8. Be a Better…Bartender.

    Holy Moly. I forgot cocktail friday. Let’s fix this people. 

    It’s Tuesday and that seems like a great reason to make a stiff drink, yes?!

    Ginger-Honey Infusion:

    Things You’ll Need:

    1/2 Cup of Honey

    1/2 Cup of Water

    2 Tablespoons of Fresh Grated Ginger

    Vodka

    Splash of Fresh Lemon Juice

    Ok, so we’ve got a two-parter here. Deal with it. 

    You’re going to have to make your own syrup first, which sounds way more Oregon Trail survival time than it actually is. All you need to do is combine your honey, water, and fresh ginger into a pot and bring it to a boil for 5 min. Set that aside and let it cool down to room temp. 

    See…not so bad.

    So now let’s finish off our cocktail. Pour your vodka into the glass, and add a splash of fresh lemon juice and top off with a small amount (to taste) of your honey-ginger syrup. Add ice and stir. Garnish with lemon zest. 

    Also, this. Another favorite type of Ginger…my friend Rachel.

    xo Chinae


     


  9. Be a Better…Traveller.

    Tour Guide Edition:

    If you live in any sort of place that people may want to visit, you are going to have to play tour guide once in a while. And normally…it totally sucks.

    I’ve learned that living in NYC is pretty much a blessing and a curse…people always are wanting to stop in for a visit BUT you have to do things like wrestle hustlers on Canal street for faux-designer bags for them…so it really can develop into a resounding “meh” experience.

    While on my recent California dream vay-cay…I realized a place can totally be transformed by who’s showing it to you. Now, Charlie, my personal tour guide, has perfected the way to show someone around the LA area. So much so, that it actually induced tears at one point. Yeah, he’s that good.

    Here are 5 things I learned from him on how to be the BEST Tour Guide:

    -Have a Plan, But Be Flexible: One thing I learned very quickly is that I was always asked what I wanted to do, but overall, Charlie had a plan. He’d thought about the logistics, so I wouldn’t have to. That makes for a very relaxing vacation and usually your guest just wants to spend time with you, more than anything… so don’t let the logistics get you bogged down. If you’re visiting and you have a list of things you’d REALLY like to do, send it to them ahead of time…that way they can make a plan and see how the time could play out best. But respect that they know the city better than you, so just trust them.

    -Know Your Audience: When you’re playing tour guide…think about who you’re showing around. Interests are a great way to plan by, and your guest is going to have a way better time if the spots are tailored to their likes and dislikes. For me, seeing nature, vodka, meat, and art are things I’m in to. Guess what we did on my California vacation? Yep, you guessed it. (C wins all the points)

    -Soundtrack: Music is key to the perfect touring experience. I’m convinced that the background music can make a situation go from eh to epic. Especially in the car. Don’t torture your guest into listening to weird experimental rock or talk radio…unless they are into that sort of thing. Also, the “game” or anything involving balls, is not an option for travelling noise. 

    -Planned Rest: Sometimes the best time is downtime. Put some in there. Seriously. Just have some pockets of rest and relaxation…it’ll make the running around seem tolerable and actually can provide some of the best moments of your trip. Get a walk in, lay on some grass, nap in the afternoon…do it all.

    -Inject Normalcy: I think my favorite way to travel is with a local. I f*cking hate feeling like a tourist and constantly having to check things off a list of “things to see”. Take your guests to do something that you normally do. Plan a dinner with friends, go to a local bar, or spend sometime just in town hanging out. Seeing how people REALLY live, can make a vacation seem stangely home-y and getting a taste of real life, may be just what you need to top off the perfect trip.

    Cheers to many future vacations,

    Chinae

     


  10. Your Sunday Best.

    Today, the Be Better Blog is dedicated to my friend Sunday Ibok. Today, at 32 years of age, Sunday went on to bless heaven with his contagious presence. We will miss you Sunday. 

    Another dance party soon. Save some booty shake for the rest of us. 

    THWD.

     


  11. Be a Better…Dresser.

    Fall Fashion/Blazers Edition:

    When I hear the word blazer I think of three things.

    1) Chevy Blazer (Blame Texas)

    2) Designing Women and 90’s Style:

    3) Questionable Comedians such as Paula Pounstone:

    So naturally, when incorporating a blazer into my Fall wardrobe, I had some mental/emotional obstacles to navigate over (mostly the idea of being Paula Poundstone’s body double) before being able to commit to Blazerdom, once and for all. 

    Most times, I think women don’t know how to wear this piece correctly because 9 times out of 10..they look like a linebacker, like they sifted through their Aunt Diana’s (pronounced Dee-Anna) garage sale $1 bin, or that they will be proudly escorting me to my table and will be providing me with the Soup of the Day options. 

    Let’s look at the good and the ugly and figure out how to still visibly look like we own lady parts.

    The FUGLY:

    1) What you think…

    I look f*cking regal today. A Jackie-O doppleganger if you will. People are going to want me to give speeches and save schools wearing this blazer. I’m practically Michelle Obama. And to think…I only paid $20 at Charlotte Russe to look like I bought Chanel. It’s pretty much the same thing. 

    Reality Check: Look, I’m not trying to be a bitch, but when you buy a Chanel look alike, you will look like you bought a Chanel look alike. The only speech you will be giving is whether you prefer paper or plastic. Let’s be honest here, there are better blazer options than a Chanel ripoff…and unless you are a Grandmother to at least 3 children, stay away.

    2) What you think…

    I am totally doing that cozy, knitted blazer thing…it’s perfect, really. Like a sweater and a jacket had this super chic baby.

    Reality Check: You look f*cking homely. It’s not working sister friend. If you want to wear a sweater, wear one. If you want to wear a blazer, wear one. But we really don’t need to be wearing these strange hybrid clothing pieces that make you look like you make birch bark stools in some Amish encampment, by hand all day. 

    3) What you think…

    I get the look of a blazer, and then these ruffles totally hide my problem tummy issues and look super fashionable.

    Reality Check: You look like you have lady parts attached to the front of your jacket. STOP. 

    4) What you think…

    Corduroy makes me look so refined and equestrian.  I bet people think I escape to my country house in upstate New York and own at least one horse. Also, I feel totally smart…like I read Steinbeck and smoke my boyfriend’s pipe while thinking about my future “essays” that I’m going to write.  Who says cords can’t be sexy!

    Reality Check: You look fat. Corduroy just isn’t flattering for most women on top. Maybe try a skinny cord pant…but seriously, you’re probably going to look bulky and mushy, unless you’re Sienna Miller. 

    How to Wear a Blazer Well:

    1) Why this works: Structure and clean lines make a blazer flattering. Pick a bold color and have the jacket be the statement piece in your ensemble. That way, you don’t have a potentially boring piece..fading to the background. 

    2) Why this works: A shrunken blazer with some interesting details can turn stodgy into stunning. Pair a shrunken blazer with a great pair of structured pants and you’ll feel downtown cool but still professional.

    3) Why this works: I love the idea of a cocktail blazer. Throwing this on over a dress or to glam up a pants ensemble is just delightful. The detail of a belted waist also will keep you looking extra lady-like.

    4) Why this works: For you hip chicks…going the complete opposite of fitted can be a real gem. Just make sure the sleeves are the right length and that you keep the rest of the outfit close to the body. This is a great piece to pair with dressy shorts.

    Here’s to looking like this…

    And not so much this…

    xo Chinae

     


  12. Be Better at…Partying.

    Going to a Fancy Party Edition:


    Last night I took my pal Janelle to Kim Kardashian’s Welcome to New York Party. Yeah, that sentence sounds really lame, I know. Janelle went for the Kim, I went for the unlimited waterfall of free Stoli and overdecorated snacks. And of course…to gather new material for the Be Better Blog. 

    I’ve come to the realization, that after 4 years of attending events in NYC, people are doing it wrong. I mean, some of this party going behavior was down right embarassing (including some of my own). 

    Let’s unpack, how to be a better party-goer.

    DON’Ts:

    -Don’t Stalk the Catering Staff: Some people have a gift for eating food at parties. Last night was no different. You spot them, a bloodthirsty look in their eye for mini crabcakes, mouth watering, eyes peeled…and then they get the visual of the location of the catering entrance. They focus in and start their attack on the staff. They strategically place themselves in direct proximity to where the catering is coming out and plant their feet in the ground with tenacity.

    When the cater waiters start to avoid you, dude…you need to calm down on your lamb meatball warpath. And mark my words…every time, they act surprised and ask what they’re serving…Sir, I just watched you consume half a tray of the SAME damn shrimp kebobs, don’t act innocent. Just commit to the fact that you are there to compete, Kobayshi style for “Most Hors D’oeuvres Consumed in One Hour”.

    (Me with said Stoli, in hand)

    -Don’t Act Like this is the First Open Bar You’ve Ever Been To: Well…it’s confession time lovies, I was THAT girl last night. But so was Janelle. I go to a lot of events and rarely let myself get out of hand in the alcohol department, but last night, for some strange reason…I momentarily teleported back to high school and had tasted the kool-aid for the first time. And by Kool-Aid…I mean Stoli. As a reminder to myself and the world, let’s act like we’ve been outside before and not go all Ke$ha when there’s an unlimited source of booze. 

    -Don’t Try to Trick People into Thinking You’re Young: I would venture to say that 60% of the women at the event last night were Real Housewives of New Jersey dopplegangers. My question is this…Ladies, just because you got yourself a fancy blowout, wriggled into your finest Spanx, liberally applied self tanner, and donned a dutchess satin mini dress..it doesn’t mean we can’t tell how old you are. Why can’t you just age like the rest of America? I don’t mean you need to invest in Chico’s stock or anything but seriously…I can see your aging wonderbits and I’m grossed out. Please, get it together next time. 

    There are some good starts to being a Better Party Goer. Enjoy your next event Cougars!!!!!!

    Here are a few more pics from last night’s fete!

    Partyin’ partyin’,

    x Chinae

     


  13. Be Better…at Transportation.

    Subway Personality Edition:

    Public Transportation is either the best thing or the worst thing about New York City. It all depends on the day, mode of hauling your ass somewhere, and approximate time of departure. But you know what makes the situation worse? Those annoying subway characters who plague my journey along the way. 

    Now, I usually love like MOST people…but there is some behavior that makes me want to set my ombre hair on fire mid-commute. 

    Let’s try to NEVER be these people, k?

    The Pole Crusher: It’s that medium sort of crowded on the train, no seats but I’m not quite at the point where I’m tasting someone else’s armpit hair. The train driver seems like he may or may not have had a sniff of whiskey pre-shift, so I think I should probably hold on to the pole. OH WAIT. That pole seems occupied. BY YOUR ENTIRE BODY.

    How you ask?

    Well there’s a frontal option and a rear option. The frontal attack has our dear rider, doing a full-body lean-and-hold onto the pole. Usually involves some sort of newspaper option or god-forbid a f*cking Kindle. I’d like to make a suggestion…if you resemble any sort of animal (obvious Koala here), while riding the train…you should probably change your behavior. The rear option is just the best though. Sometimes, it’s just a back lean…but when the day is right and God smiles upon us…it’s all in the ass. 

    What do I mean dear readers? No hands needed, full-on, butt clenching goodness. It happens. 

    The point is…I just want to be able to put my hand on some part of the pole without having to wedge my fingers between your fupa/boobs/lower back/neck and the cold, metal pipe. That’s it. 


    The Stair Master: You know what sounds like the worst idea ever? Having any part of your body touch the subway stairs. Oh yeah, and you’ve decided to SIT THERE DURING RUSH HOUR. Perfect. Glad you are comfortable. I actually had a dude get upset with me for almost stepping on his fingers the other day.

    OH, I’m SO sorry that I almost stepped on your fat sausage fingers while walking down the stairs to GO TO WORK while you were using the bottom three steps as your f*cking VIP lounge…hope you are your lady friend weren’t too disturbed that day at your version of “da club”. I should have kicked over your Snapple right then and there. Consider this my public apology. 


    Super Power Business Guy: There are two versions of this. Let’s call this business guy…Ron. Ron can’t get off his f*cking Blackberry until the VERY last subway stair. He knows there’s no reception down there but insists on yelling into his mobile device “Can you still hear me?” while lingering (blocking everyone else) in the stairwell.

    No, Ron…they can’t hear you anymore. Because you are in this thing called a subway station. Sounds like someone needs to get out and take a cab. 

    You know what else Ron loves? He loves to pull out his work-commissioned Dell laptop while on the train. Since, that makes sense. Shit Ron. You need a new job for a lot of reasons. First off, they gave you a freaking Dell. You’re doing it wrong. 

    But to end on a good note…there are a couple Subway Characters who I’ll never be mad at. Thank you: Churro Lady, Full Mariachi Band, and MJ impersonator with portable amp for ALWAYS making my commute better. 

    END RANT,

    Chinae

     


  14. Be a Better…Parent.

    Dressing Your Kid Edition:

    How do you dress your kid without making little Tommy look like an asshole? That’s a great question people. I would say that 90% of children in my neighborhood look like little versions of their parents which can be GREAT or can be a real Crocs related nightmare. I will say to this day, that MOST of what I was dressed in as a child was pretty damn good. Props to my mother. We had a few questionable years but those were mostly when I started experimenting with fashion and cycled right into the world of baby tees and jncos.

    Me, plotting my escape from my mother

    But I digress.

    Don’t get me wrong…I’m horrible with most children. Babies are repelled by me and I have no idea how to talk to kids so I pretty much just use the same tone and sarcasm as I do with adults…which doesn’t get as many laughs from the tots as you’d think. BUT you know what I DO know? That your baby looks like an asshole. 

    Here are 5 things that really make me want to punch you on behalf of your baby:

    1) This is a human, not a dessert. Why does your offspring look like the 5th course on a Norwegian Cruise dinner? I understand that you are trying to show us that she’s a girl, but that doesn’t mean that you have to cover every inch of her baby pudge in ruffles and pink. Seriously, think about if we all had to represent our gender in the amount of lace we wear. This world would not be a happy place. Not saying your child has to look like Chaz Bono’s in-between stage, but just limit the fluff, k?

    2)Excessive headgear. This is typically a problem with girl children…I was privy to this unfortunate trend. As a child, I pretty much had a bow, larger than my face, attached to my cranium from age 5 until age 11, I think it was fused there by some special adhesive that my mother created in our garage, that she later sold to 3M. I had a bow holder in my room, mounted to the wall with my selection of headgear, don’t worry about options, there was always one that matched in the sea of grosgrain ribbons and rhinestones. 

    3) Crocs (I can’t even bring myself to post a photo of this). I just hate them. I understand that it’s easier than tying their shoes every minute, but really it makes me want to die. Commit to some L.A. Lights and take it back old school.

    4) No pants party. As a huge advocate for a good N.P.P. (No Pants Party), I will say that there are times this is appropriate. Tucking a t-shirt with a duck on it, into your kid’s diaper to head out to the grocery store isn’t one of those times. You need to put some shorts or a freaking onesie on that nugget. I don’t want to get side spray while I’m just trying to get my bag of kale at Trader Joe’s alright?

    5) Reduce the tacky. Kids like superheroes, Disney characters, video game things…etc. That’s great. But when you let your offspring wear head to toe branded bullshit, they WILL look like a tiny D*bag. I promise. Get them a Pokemon lunchbox, or a vintage Spider Man thermos, but God forbid that they wear a glittery Dora the Explorer t-shirt to their next play date. They’ll be pissed but they will be thanking you in ten years. Unless your kid wants to wear an entire superhero costume…I am ok with this as long as they commit fully. 

    Here’s a great baby/kids store that I love…that won’t make you look like I need to call Child Protective Service on you for crimes against fashion:

    TRICO FIELD (located in Soho)

    Good luck all you parents. I’m glad you all exist and do such a good job so I can still be irresponsible a little longer. 

    Chinae