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· The Sketchbook: Twenty Answers (Anne)

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The Sketchbook: Twenty Answers (Anne)
by Anne

Note (March 2013): The only constant in life is change, they say. A year and a half ago, when I wrote this, I believed I had changed so radically over the past few years that there was nothing left to change. Utterly predictably, I could not have been more wrong. I felt that these answers could do with updating, but rather than bore you with the same old format, I've decided to turn my updated answers to some of these questions into full-fledged posts. (Otherwise put, I'm lazy and can't think of topics for new posts.)

1. Favorite book?
My copy of Vladimir Nabokov's Ada is worn to tatters, and the bindings have long ago fallen apart. There is no way I will ever become erudite enough to understand as much as a third of his references, but I love the way he crafts his writing, weaving the threads of sound and meaning and association behind the canon of words in order to approximate almost tactile sensory impressions. Also The Mill on the Floss, mostly because I recognize a more vulnerable, less worldly version of myself in poor Maggie. I'm a sentimentalist at heart.

2. Country of origin?
Born in Incheon, raised in the U.S.A., I now go to school in Seoul.

3. How many red lipsticks do you own?
I own more pink lipsticks than red, and the one shade I'm currently fixated on Gothika, which has been discontinued anyway, damn NARS.

4. Most worn, beloved item of clothing in your closet?
An A-line coat in dark brown cashmere with just the right suppleness and weight, a pair of sharply creased black bootcut trousers that seem to take off at least 10 lbs, and a silken blouse the color of café au lait with moon and star cutouts on the collar.

5. How do you take your coffee?
I'm quite fond of Dutch coffee when I can get it, or drip coffee. When I'm in one of the big brand cafés, I also like to dilute out the dregs in the glass with cold water: the taste makes plain water a lot more palatable.

6. Pet peeve
When very short women wear very high heels, it looks very much out of proportion: all you see are the shoes, which dwarf the shortness of the legs by comparison.

7. Which product has kept your loyalty for longest?
I grew up with European pharmacy brands (Nivea, Neutrogena) in Korea, where they are much more common than in the States, and even now retain an affectionate affinity for them: my latest favorite Uriage Stick Lèvres, the only lip balm that has managed to keep my loyalty past the initial honeymoon period, only grows better the longer I use it.

8. Skin type
Temperamental, with the main problem being redness and overheating, with congestion, hyperproduction of oil, and peeling flakes as secondary consideration. I've found that layering gentle products, alternating between hydration and emollience, leaves my face the most comfortable: gentle exfoliation with a cloth or salicylic acid, a soothing face spray, hypoallergenic mid-weight emulsions, and face oils.

9. What was your undergraduate major?
I am currently working through my medical degree, hoping to match into psychiatry upon graduation, though I'm open to just about anything at this point.

10. Have you ever cut your own hair?
When I used to have longer hair, I sometimes trimmed my own bangs when I had no time to see the hairdresser, but even then I much preferred professional results: now I really have no choice, as I can't afford to dick around with hair this short and coarse.

11. What blogs do you check daily?
Cooking blogs
Smitten Kitchen
The Pioneer Woman Cooks!
Style blogs
Style Fish
The Sartorialist
Sewing blogs
The Selfish Seamstress
Male Pattern Boldness
Petit Main Sauvage
The Grand Narrative

12. The five most extravagant things on your wishlist (that you still intend to buy some day)?
1) a full bottle of L'Artisan Iris Pallida, provided it's still available, 2) the forthcoming iPad 3 (rumored to boast a freakishly high screen resolution), 3) a full set of hair / scalp care from Leonor Greyl, 4) a pant or skirt suit in black or charcoal wool, perfectly tailored to my specifications and measurements.
Really though, that's not even half of the list, just the four lemmings I'll most predictably follow through with, and I'm sure to think of the fifth one soon enough. As for more impulsive or frivolous purchases—the Leonor Greyl is a little outlandish, but at least there's a predefined niche for it in my catalogue of wishes—I'll probably burning through my paychecks as soon as I start getting them: I do believe my mother predicted with dead accuracy—when I was four, no less—that I need to study hard, because I have expensive tastes and I'm not one to marry for money.

13. Signature scent?
Vol de Nuit: an assertive perfume with a personality of its own if there ever was one, but it settles on my skin like a live thing, gravitating close like a reassuring hand on my arm.

14. Fashion in film—which inspires you most?
Irène Jacob in La Double Vie de Véronique manages to project grace in the kind of voluminous silhouette we come always to consider as the antithesis of sophistication: not only chunky sweaters and oversized men's bomber jackets worn with slender skirts—short, but not enough to be considered mini—but also demure pleated woollen skirts of the kind your granny wears paired with stubbornly utilitarian winter boots and what seems to be a man's winter overcoat. The setting is always the city—Krakow or Paris—but a different kind of urbanity, where everything is worn to a patina that glows all the more in the golden light that saturates each scene, for a kind of drowsy charm that feels lived-in and comfortable.

15. When you binge on snacks, do you prefer salt or sweet?
I suspect my body does a poor job properly metabolizing sucrose or fructose, because I always feel slightly ill when I've had too much sweet to eat. This is rarely the case with savory snacks: potato chips, string cheese, pretzels drizzled with melted butter, dumplings (mandoo in Korean), leftover fried chicken, cold shredded chicken breast seasoned with a little salt and pepper and sesame oil... hell, I can happily eat sea salt straight.

16. How do you highlight your best feature?
Brows are probably the one thing I will always "do" before I go out, because they instantly lift my face and bring out the symmetry and regularity of my features. Mascara draws more attention to my almond-shaped eyes, while a faint dusting of blush brings out the contour of my cheekbones.

17. Where is your favorite place to shop for makeup?
I've received very good service at AK Plaza in Bundang, and CVSs like Olive Young and Watson's are always fun to browse. I buy a lot of basics at the pharmacy too, where they stock Uriage, Johnson's, and Vichy.

Photography by JSLEE
18. Dream vacation?
A trek across western China, Tibet, and northern India. Krakow, Hokkaido, and Antarctica are other prime destinations.

19. Worst habit?
Biting my nails—down to painful, bleeding nubs that eventually get inflamed—a habit I succeeded in breaking myself of, only to take up again when exam stress got to be too much in medical school.

20. The beauty maxim you live by?
Discreetness is one thing: nothing is more shaming than making it obvious you're trying to hide something—and believe me, the more you try to hide it, the more glaringly obvious it will become.

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9/26/2011 [4]

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