Friday 29 June 2012

Le Sac Dress review

A fairly long time ago I stumbled upon a great blog called Sole Sisters. Two girls who met through work and discovered they shared a great passion for travel. One of their early features were blog posts about useful items for travellers. The one recommending the Le Sac dress from American Apparel really caught my eye, so much so that I put acquiring it onto my list. I finally got around to ordering the dress (from the Korean website, with the help of google translate) two weeks ago. It was delivered last week and when I got home from school I couldn't wait to start experimenting with it. Here is the premise for this garment: It's one dress, but you can adapt it into numerous styles. Different websites claim from 6 - 16 different styles. I really only found 7 ways I would wear it, a couple of the ones suggested by AA are extremely similar so it could be stretched to a tentative 8... Here are my attempts...

The Deepest V

This is the 'deepest V' style from the website. Basically a boob tube style. Crossing over the long straps at the back to clinch the dress in under the bust. There is a separate style listed as 'strapless' but that is without using the straps to clinch it in, and looks a little unflattering (although they have it styled with a belt so much the same as this one...)

The Grecian

One shoulder (or 'Grecian') I think I like this one best. The hem is wonky because of the one shoulder design but it doesn't look too bad and this style is quite flattering. I also like how you can change which shoulder the strap is on.

The Classic Le Sac

This is called the 'Classic Le Sac'. I've used a belt (as they did on their website) to give it a better look. The only problem is the length of the strap. In order to adapt the many styles the straps are really long, but this style only requires being tied on one shoulder. So as you can see from the picture the excess strap is very long.

The Gathered Mini

This style is almost identical to the above style, but this is called the 'Gathered Mini'. This one uses the whole strap to tie around the body. It's still a nice style, but this time there is a bit of an awkward ugly bit at the back.

The back of the Gathered Mini

To get the strap from the shoulders to the body you have to twist them around each other and it's clearly visible at the back. Not the end of the world but a little bit awkward.

The Halterneck

This is the halterneck style. On the tutorial videos the girl uses a small braided strap, but as I didn't have one I used the normal strap (and again I used my belt to pull it in.) This worked ok, but as the strap is long the back looks like this:

The back of the Halterneck

The marilyn

This one is called the Marilyn. It's a nice change of style, and at the top it looks ok, but it really doesn't do anything for my big bum. Because there is a seam running down the front in this style the material bunches together and although it looks ok in the picture I wasn't too keen on it in reality. Definitely not the most flattering, but still a nice alternative.

The simple line

This one is the 'Simple line'. It's a good way to have an unusual strap. The material gathers in a weird way at the back and you have to be careful with the opening at the front, I might take a safety pin around with me so I can ensure I'm not flashing my bra with some of these styles! Overall this is a fairly good one. The strap definitely looks like nice detail here rather than awkward as on some of the other styles.

The back of 'The simple line'

There is another style called the 'Dominatrix'. Which twists the straps around the d├ęcolletage. But I nearly strangled myself trying to pull it off and decided that was better left to the experts! I've also see some people wearing this as a skirt, which is quite a nice option, and you can also pull the straps right out and wear it with a long top underneath (gotta be careful of strong winds blowing the top of it open and flashing underwear though!) I'm pretty chuffed with this purchase overall, a good way to have lots of options out of one thing when travelling, and I might try and get some different coloured straps to add some more zing!

Monday 18 June 2012

Saying goodbye


As a traveller, and particularly an expat traveller, goodbyes are something you have to get used to. When you live abroad friendships are made extremely quickly. Sometimes those friendships don't stand the test of time. Sometimes they end up being formed purely through circumstance and mutual convenience. But other times those fast formed and quickly bonded friendships are real and important. They help you through home sickness and worries, annoyances and loneliness. I'm coming to the end of my time in Korea. I have 58 days until I board a train in Beijing that will slowly but surely take me back home. In the last 8 months I've met some people who have totally turned around my life in Korea. They've reminded me that great friendships are possible when you're living away from home. That when you find people who care about you, it's obvious and you don't constantly need to seek their approval or support, because it will always just be there. This weekend, the first of my fabulous group of friends left Korea. I met Donna about last October. At that time I was very slowly getting over my heartache and quite rapidly losing contact with the friends I'd made in my first year. I felt quite alone and I felt very confused. One night I decided to go on a social dinner night organised by Mannam (the volunteering organisation I'm now heavily involved with). It was so great to meet lots of friendly people and gave me a real boost. After that night I got more and more involved in the events and activities, and Donna was always a regular participant in the volunteering. Slowing and surely our friendship developed. Since then our little mannam family has grown and we've become great friends. The road trip I went on last month was organised by Donna, and as she works for the American Military and not the Korean government her apartment here in Seoul was fantastic! She's one of the kindest, most generous, caring and friendly people I've ever met. She opened her home to us every couple of weeks for different themed dinner nights. The weekend before last was to be the last of these nights and we went all out on a breakfast inspired party! This was basically our version of the last (Korean) supper! This weekend (her last) we spend time together, eating, exploring and relaxing in the park and it was a great way to say, well not really goodbye, but see you later. I want to wish Donna every success in Japan (where she has been re-assigned in her military teaching post) and thank you for showing me true kindness is alive and well! :-)

Donna and Naz

Apple cinnamon cheerios

Alex and me

Secret writing in Donna's farewell memory book

Yindee and Naz

Raj and me

Peter (without hat)

Sarah and Raffaele

Twin cameras

Donna and Mishka

Three wise monkeys?

The beginning of Battleshots (like battleships but with alcohol)

The following day we helped to clean up after the party and also to clear out Donna's cupboards. To share out the chores we played jenga and the clearing of cupboards was a free for all. I managed to snag pancake mix, asparagus, a bottle of red wine, cheese, brownies and hairspray.

This was Donna's view

The strangest hoover I've ever seen! It plugs into the wall!
and then you stretch the hose around the room
Our little family is slowly moving away!

Friday 15 June 2012

iPhone uPhone.

I have to admit it. I'm an iPhone convert. It's made my life abroad a lot more convenient. It enabled Nic and I to easily organise our Thailand trip (even if she did send me about 15 messages one day at 4am and wake me up!) I now use it as my main music player and I connect with people at home playing games like Draw something and Words with friends. I can check my emails or facebook on the go and the camera is pretty handy too. When I got lost in Bali and had no idea if I was near my hostel I turned on international roaming to check out my GPS, I check the bus and subway timetables and I take a quick look at the weather every morning (at the moment hot and humid everyday). It's my alarm clock and calendar. I have the metro newspaper app so I can see the UK's main headlines everyday and until I fractured my ankle I was progressing through the couch to 5k running app. I have a language translation app, and a currency converter on there, and another app that allows me to phone landlines at home for the same price as a local call. I use instagram to make my pictures look pretty and as my watch broke about a year ago I use it for time keeping as well. I could live without it, because I never want to be someone who relies too much on a phone, but it definitely makes life easier. My new most favourite app has to be popbooth. It's great fun and good for silly picture fun with friends. Here are some of the best photos it's taken so far!

so much fun!