Polette glasses review and ~giveaway!~

Today I’m partnering with a French eyewear company called Polette to organize a giveaway! Polette approached me to do a product review, and I was very excited to sample one of their many beautifully designed frames. Below is a giveaway so you can get your own pair (with a prescription, even!) but in the meantime, here are the ones I got.


The frames I chose were part of their e-Polette collection, frames that use polarized lenses to filter out 40% of blue light from our laptop and smartphone screens. If you’re anything like me, you spend like eight hours a day in front of a computer at work, and the eye strain is real.

When I’m wearing these, the harsh blue light looks like a soft, warm, “natural” light.

Take a look at the difference through the lenses and without:


I’ve gotten into the habit of wearing these all day when I’m at my laptop, and even when watching TV. Blue light from screens isn’t great for our eyes, and it can keep us up at night. If you’re a gadget addict, the e-Polette is a good choice. Plus they’re really cute.

I chose the “e-ferguson ecaille” and even though they’re a little big for my face (which is my fault because I have a small face and I should have known to choose a smaller frame), I really like the way they look. I wear them during work, and when I’m blogging. They make my eyes feel nice. They’re also sturdy and well made, constructed from “hand-polished acetate and metal.”


Aside from the e-Polette collection, Polette is an eyewear company that’s both stylish and affordable, which is my thing. And obviously, you can get them with your prescription instead of the ones I got, which are not prescription.

As for the review of my particular product, I’d give it a 5/5. I really don’t have anything to complain about; the glasses are excellent quality, I’m using them all the time, the shipping and customer service were prompt, and there are so many pretty designs to choose from! Buying eyewear online is getting more popular, because there’s no middleman storefront and so they’re much cheaper.

Giveaway time!

So for my readers, here’s a giveaway! Go to Polette.com to choose your favorite pair of frames (any kind, in any collection) and post your preference in the comments. Enter the giveaway by following/liking Polette on their FacebookInstagram, and Twitter! The giveaway will run until Friday, December 4th. Enter now!


Toni Bentley’s ‘Winter Season’ and musings about ballet

In my quest to learn about the insular world of ballet, I picked up a few books that were included on a list of the best books about ballet. This one by Toni Bentley was not on it, and that is a travesty.

43132The book is called Winter Season: A Dancer’s Journal. It isn’t a novel; it’s more of a memoir/diary hybrid. Toni Bentley was a dancer in the corps de ballet of the New York City Ballet in the 80s, and so she gave a firsthand look at the world of ballet that I found so much more enriching than any novel could be.

This book is much different from the previous ballet book I’d read about the “inside life” of a professional NYC ballerina because this one was less dramatized and sentimental—understandable considering it was not a novel at all, but a journal.

In the beginning of the book, Bentley begins by describing how anguished and torn she was about dedicating her life to ballet, because that much dedication to a difficult craft means having to sacrifice most of the things normal people enjoy, things like an education and a social life, not to mention decent health and relative freedom from the imminent threat of injury. Oh, and financial security and job skills, two things that most professional dancers don’t have.

My diary bore witness to the opposite, far more prevalent scenario: the transient joys—doing thirty-two fouettés ending with a double, finding the perfect pair of toe shoes, living in a world saturated with classical music—and the endless angst of not being a star, of realizing I probably never would be a solo dancer despite having talent, opportunity, and that haunting dark shadow called potential. I felt deeply committed, and yet totally powerless, to actualize my dream—which was never to be a star per se, just to be intoxicatingly beautiful as a dancer, for my passion to physically manifest. No small feat, but every dancer’s challenge.

Through the very poetic words of Toni Bentley’s nighttime, often post-performance musings, the New York City Ballet company in the 80s comes to vivid life. Balanchine himself, called the father of American ballet, is a “character” in the narrative, appearing as a benefactor, father figure, and a god. Balanchine’s vision was the one that Bentley and all her colleagues and contemporaries served, perhaps too blindly.

Through Toni’s eyes, we learn about the inner workings of the ballet world, and the narrative is free of the ballet cliches that so often riddle pop culture stories. It’s clear how much Bentley loves ballet, it’s almost as if she has sacrificed her identity, her agency, and her happiness to serve it. At one point, she compares herself to a brush that choreographers like Balanchine use to “paint” their ballet. For the art, she’s willing to let herself be used (and discarded) like a tool. But she does it because she loves it so desperately.

Truly, this book brought ballet to life before my eyes like no other book had done before. I learned that there is a stark, vivid, almost ironic contrast between the beauty we see onstage during a ballet, and the immense physical pain dancers can endure. Inside those pointe shoes are often bleeding, mangled feet, and the rest of a dancer’s body takes a hell of a beating, too. But all of that, to a dancer, is a sacrifice to the art. At one point in the book Bentley writes simply, “Dancing is a commitment that refutes real life.”

And perhaps that’s why I’m so interested in ballet—because dancers occupy a very different reality than we do, lead lives that would be unrecognizable to “pedestrians,” and they do it all with the stoicism and dedication of a monk (a very injured monk). And then, what we see onstage looks utterly perfect to the observer, and their life’s work has been accomplished. Maybe.


‘Modern Love,’ a poem by John Keats

Happy Sunday, everyone! Here’s a poem I love.

An English major in college, I had the chance to read and analyze a lot of Romantic poetry, which was the kind of literature I took the most classes in—it’s my favorite. And because I probably would never have gotten around the reading Romantic literature/poetry in my actual, everyday life, I was happy that I got to do it in college, when I was forced to! It introduced me to some of my favorite poems, this one included.

By John Keats, this poem is called “Modern Love,” and it is cynical as hell. I am so not a cynic, but I love this poem because it’s as if Keats is knocking love because he wants to understand it. And if you know much about Keats, he eventually falls desperately in love with a woman named Fanny Brawne. And then he dies. -___-

Modern Lovekeats

AND what is love? It is a doll dress’d up
For idleness to cosset, nurse, and dandle;
A thing of soft misnomers, so divine
That silly youth doth think to make itself
Divine by loving, and so goes on
Yawning and doting a whole summer long,
Till Miss’s comb is made a pearl tiara,
And common Wellingtons turn Romeo boots;
Then Cleopatra lives at number seven,
And Antony resides in Brunswick Square.
Fools! if some passions high have warm’d the world,
If Queens and Soldiers have play’d deep for hearts,
It is no reason why such agonies
Should be more common than the growth of weeds.
Fools! make me whole again that weighty pearl
The Queen of Egypt melted, and I’ll say
That ye may love in spite of beaver hats.

I think there’s some truth in this poem: that a lot of people think they’re in love because they like the idea of it. They think they’re like Romeo and Juliet, or Antony and Cleopatra. But it makes them fools, because they don’t understand real love, just the appearance of it. I think that’s still relevant today, making the title even more striking. What Keats thought in the 1800s still makes sense in our world.


Fashion || The start of something

Today I’m wearing this fabulous new cape coat over one of my favorite, very old dresses. I bought this dress at least four years ago, and because of the colors and how comfy it is, I must wear it a dozen times a year, and I love that. It’s definitely a staple dress, and one that I never get tired of.

I’ve been eager to find myself a good cape coat for ages, and I love this lightweight one. Cape coats of all kinds are definitely a mild-weather outerwear option, because obviously, your arms get no protection from the cold. But it’s such a fun piece to style for the warmer fall days because you get to play around with colors and patterns.

Also wearing the Kendall Jenner lipstick I cannot get enough of. It matched perfectly!

(As an aside: this is my 400th blog post. Crazy!)


dress from Forever 21 (old), cape coat c/o Wholesale Buying, shoes from Chicwish, lipstick from Estee Lauder (Kendall Jenner’s “Restless” shade)


Book thrifting ‘haul’ at Westsider Books

A few weeks ago I hit up one of my favorite bookstores in the city, Westsider Books on the Upper West Side. It’s very old and creaky, with two floors (top floor is rare books), ladders that you can climb to get to the tippy-top shelves (a la Belle), and books that are stacked two rows deep. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, then it’s probably behind that first row of books on the shelf.

Photo Nov 04, 5 52 39 PM

This is my favorite bookstore in the city because its atmosphere is perfect for slowing down, taking a moment to relax, and of course, because it lets you find books you didn’t know you wanted. They’re all used, and so they have that used-book character that I like. But if you come in here with a specific title in mind, you may not find it. Instead, something else jumps out at you, and you’ll take it home.

I came here with my best friend, and we found some great titles that I wouldn’t have put on my list otherwise:

Lucrezia Floriani, by George Sand; Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe; The House on the Strand and Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier; and The Letters of Charles Lamb: Volume One. 

I’ve read Rebecca and Daphne du Maurier’s short story collection, but none others by her, and of course, Things Fall Apart is a classic story I’ve been meaning to read for a while. The edition I picked up was a cheap reprinting for a college class in the 80s, and the book of Charles Lamb letters was printed in 1911. I love that. Oh, and these all smell fantastic.


Libba Bray’s excellent sequel to ‘The Diviners’

The book Lair of Dreams, the sequel to The Diviners by Libba Bray, was a long time coming. But since I’ve been reading Libba Bray since I was 12 all the way back in 2003, I knew her penchant for pushing back deadlines and making fans really earn the next installment in a series/trilogy. But this one, like her others, was worth the wait.

16060716Libba Bray is the author of a book series that changed my life when I was a young teenager: A Great and Terrible Beauty and its two sequels, books set in Victorian England and featuring a female character with connections to a supernatural world of power that she can control. Bray’s new series follows along the same lines.

Set in 1920s New York, a world of flappers and speakeasies, the Harlem Renaissance and Ziegfeld girls, The Diviners is about a group of teenagers who have psychic or supernatural abilities. The second installment follows eight different main characters, each with a rich backstory, strong characterizations, a different “ability,” and distinct voices.

There’s Evie O’Neill, the quintessential flapper and an object reader. She loves the high life, and she loves being the famous Sweetheart Seer, her radio personality. There’s Theta Knight, a sultry Ziegfeld girl with a dark past. Henry DuBois, a dreamwalker looking for his lost love, a boy named Louis he left behind in New Orleans. Memphis Campbell, a poet from Harlem who can heal with one touch. Ling Chan, a resident of Chinatown and a victim of polio who finds solace in her dream world, where she can do anything she likes.

And more…each unique, each interesting. It’s truly a feat to have such a varied cast, all of them main characters, all of them with a different voice, all of them as interesting as the last. As episodic as the book is, it never feels fragmented, and I never was annoyed to turn the page and find that this or that character was now the focus. I liked them all.

Oh, and these books are also literally the scariest books I’ve ever read. They’re horror stories at heart, so in the last one there was a ghostly murderer killing people and stealing body parts so he could build himself a body. I didn’t sleep for the entire time I read it.

This installment is slightly less horrifying, but just as gruesome. When the earliest (shut down) subway station in New York is accidentally discovered by a trio of workmen deep in the bowels of New York, a ghost is awakened who enters the dreams of its victims, showing them their deepest desires and then using that dream to sap their life force. The “sleeping sickness,” as the terrified New Yorkers call it, causes its victims to enter into an unending sleep while they burn from the inside out. Scorch marks appear on their bodies as they dream and dream—until they die.

Oh, and the ghost is also snatching people and turning them into monsters with razor-like teeth, horrifying howls and screams, and jaws that unhinge to attack their victims. Imagine Gollum but ten times scarier.

Despite its horror, this book is still very much character driven. Evie especially is a character who goes through many “growth spurts,” and each character has to face an inner demon as important as the physical ones that threaten to kill them and everyone they love. Memphis struggles to be a poet and has to deal with racism in 1920s New York. Ling Chan lives in Chinatown during the height of the Chinese Exclusion Act, and also faces racism. Theta deals with her murky and violent past, Henry copes with hiding and also accepting his homosexuality, and so on. The book is so rich, steeped in history and social issues, and the characterization is never sacrificed for the sensational.

I’m seriously impressed with the writing, as well. Since 2003, Libba Bray has become a truly talented wordsmith, even more so than she was.

“Every city is a ghost.
New buildings rise upon the bones of the old so that each shiny steel beam, each tower of brick carries within it the memories of what has gone before, an architectural haunting. Sometimes you can catch a glimpse of these former incarnations in the awkward angle of a street or filigreed gate, an old oak door peeking out from a new facade, the plaque commemorating the spot that was once a battleground, which became a saloon and is now a park.”

At the heart of this book is New York, a rich tapestry that becomes a character in and of itself. New York fiction is perhaps my favorite “genre.”

I really don’t have much criticism of this YA novel. I think it’s a must read, for all ages. It’s epic, important, full of truth and beauty, and just as striking as the first book I read by Bray, about 12 years ago.


Fashion // The light keep falling

Tried to blend into the leaves with this outfit. :)

The textures of this skirt, top, stockings combo all remind me of 90s style, and the color of the corduroy skirt is a little 70s. This is a very textural outfit, with the corduroy, ribbed stockings, and the material of this lightweight sweater. But I also love this color combination and how the colors just pop next to each other. Fall is the perfect time of year for these beautiful hues.

My friends think this necklace looks like the sign of the Deathly Hallows, and now I like it even better! △⃒⃘

Dyed my hair darker, to get rid of the green tips at the bottom (you can still kiiiiinda see it) and also for winter. I’m actually loving the subtle darker shade.

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skirt and top from boohoo.com, boots from Forever 21 (old)