CurvyHK

Asian-chested is not an oxymoron

Breast Reduction

Many months ago, a reader contacted me through email. She’s a fantastic woman and we’ve talked about a variety of things, but one thing that I wanted to bring to more peoples’ attention (with her permission) was her successful breast reduction! So, first of all, congratulations to fettucine_alfredo to taking that amazing step! I told her that it was braver than anything I’ve ever done but the woman is not taking her due credit so please back me up here!

She didn’t stop at the surgery, though. She decided to create a resource for others making the same decision (especially for large busts on a small frame, as there’s not much information for that surgery on that body type now) and wrote a review about her experience. Read it here:

http://www.realself.com/review/san-francisco-ca-breast-reduction-my-breast-intentions-complete-boob-titles   (It’s NSFW, btw; you probably don’t want to click on that in the library)

The review covers a bit of her personal history, her decision process, a little bit about insurance, and then the surgery itself and updates of her condition at various points afterwards.

If you are considering the surgery, have a friend or family member thinking about it, are curious about the process, or if you’re even just looking for something good to read, I highly recommend it.

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Hi…

And she’s alive!!

I’m going to be honest here.

A big reason for my absence is laziness.

Another is lack of inspiration, lack of interest, and lack of willpower to sit down and type about bras. I’ve exhausted a lot of what I’ve wanted to talk about.

Another is an overwhelming backlog of “oh I should write about and publish this” ideas. The problem is, they’re only ideas and I’m unable, or unwilling, to flesh them out into legitimate pieces of writing.

Another is that I’ve just seen so many good things, so many new and informative things come from fellow bloggers that I don’t feel that my contributions are really all that necessary.

 

So, for laziness, well, that’s just something I’ve got to work through.

As for this lack of willpower, that’s actually something I should be writing about. I really have not been thinking about bras and how they pertain to my personal life, to my everyday actions and thoughts, and that’s a huge shift from just one year ago. I haven’t been paying attention and I think it’s really significant that I can and do simply go through life now without always thinking about bras and breasts. Of course, there’s still a huge part in my life for body image, especially considering how I work with supremely image-conscious students and colleagues now.

The backlog is a legitimate problem. I have little sparks of hmm, I could write about this, but for other reasons, I don’t write about them, and as time passes, the potential for them to be relevant and helpful and appealing for me to write really just slides away.

And the other bloggers being fantastic? That’s just a good thing. I think I have a shot as being good too! And then I remind myself that I have something unique to contribute as well, and it’s right in the name: CurvyHK. Power to those who are victimized by stereotype! Let’s get this blog going again ❤

Review: Basic Five Toes by Tabbisocks

These fit women’s 6-10 according to SockDreams, so I do fall out of the range by half a shoe size (again! but then, when do I not?). There is indeed some extra material sticking out of the heel but it’s negligible.

(Not my feet)

They’re very comfortable, although not as much so as the Injinji especially in terms of material. They are lower-coverage, though, so these actually pass as no-show in more shoe designs. The toe compartments seem to fit a little better than Injinji, size-wise.

Image from SockDreams

The sticker says US 5-10, but because of the extra material I’m inclined to believe Sock Dreams’ judgment. There’s also materials information on there as well.

basic-five-toes-beige-os

Here’s another point for SockDreams: When I first looked at these socks, they were out of stock. However, right there on the page was a box offering email notification if/when that sock came back, whether in a specific size/color or just in general. No registration necessary, just the email to which the notification needed to be sent. Sure enough, I got an email as soon as it came back in stock! This is definitely a great way to help customers and to encourage well-deserved loyalty.

Perspectives: Modesty on the Other Side

I’ve been in Korea for a while now. I love it, I’m making it my home, and I’m looking forward to the rest of my time here, however long it may be.

As I’ve grown up in a version of Chinese culture, the culture shock to me is not as great as it is to some of my fellow foreigners. There are still lots of ideas and habits here that are totally strange to me though.

Korea is a fairly conservative culture, thanks in most part, I think, to Confucian influence. However, if you look at their pop culture icons, or at the younger generation of children and adults, you’ll find tight clothing, sheer clothing, “artfully” ripped clothing, clothing that just has great “sexy” holes”, extremely short bottoms, you name it.

This is one of the most popular singing groups in recent weeks. Their image is sweet and innocent, the adorable "girls next door". Look at how much shoulder they show... and then look at how much leg they show. I don't mean to be judgmental, just surprised that this is perfectly acceptable and fits into their proposed image.

This is one of the most popular singing groups in recent weeks. Their image is sweet and innocent, the adorable “girls next door”. Look at how much shoulder they show… and then look at how much leg they show. I don’t mean to be judgmental; I’m just surprised that this is perfectly acceptable and fits into their proposed image.

However: beware if you are a normal citizen (or alien resident) parading around in the streets in a sleeveless top! Or if, who could imagine, a top that fits your shape instead of draping around it!

korean fashion cardigan fake two piece knit tops k517 Green-3Korean_Fashion_Large_Pentagon_Embellished_Loose_Sweater_with_Scarf

I googled “Korean fashion” and found these two tops to be most representative of what I see out and about these days. Long and drapey with safely concealed shoulders and zero cleavage.

Actually, it’s getting a bit colder, so there’s also this going on:

Yes, a jacket with short shorts or a miniskirt. I'm told this is also popular winter attire in Japan.

Yes, a jacket with short shorts or a miniskirt. I’m told this is also popular cold-weather attire in Japan.

Meanwhile, I’m stomping around with these risque tops that indicate the existence of breasts and shoulder skin (ooooh) and nice comfy jeans.

I'm so, so glad I went on a The Limited craze before coming to Korea. Even now it's almost all I wear to work.

I’m so, so glad I went on a The Limited craze before coming to Korea. Even now it’s almost all I wear to work. I also bought the one button-down that has ever worked for me at that store. Should have bought another…

With the weather cooling down, I throw on a sweater or jacket too, which helps with the shoulder bit of appeasing society… but I still like to have some space around my neck to breathe comfortably. We’ll just have to wait for scarf weather to come around!

Life Changes

I’m very, very, terribly sorry for dropping off the face of the earth. And while I’m at it, for very possible future droppings off the face of the earth. The past few months and the upcoming two, maybe three, maybe four months have been and will be packed with excitement in my personal life. I’m gearing up for some major changes and as such CurvyHK kind of got lost in the crowd.

Major changes, you say?

The angst-ridden post lamenting interview troubles was written regarding a position to work overseas. Unfortunately, my performance did not land me the job. However, I had the chance to interview for another position, in a different country.

People… I’m moving to Korea!!

I can’t wait. I’m trying so hard to not abuse emotionally-charged punctuation here, which I think is working, but if it dampens your perception of my excitement, let it now be known that I AM SO EXCITED.

I’ve immersed myself in both Korean popular and traditional culture for so long, I’ve studied and cried and laughed and suffered and celebrated in the Korean language, and I’ve worked (somewhat) hard to qualify myself to do the work I’ll be doing there. I know there’ll be unexpected issues, and I’ll know I’ll run into plenty of problems, but at this moment I feel like this step is one I’ve been ready and hovering to take for a long, long time.

What does that mean for CurvyHK?

To be honest, I think this will be a positive change. I’ll be busy with my first non-summer full-time job, which means I will have less time to spend here. However, I’ll be an outsider looking into Korean society, which means lots of social commentary and cultural comparisons.

I guess there’s another big topic I’ll begin to attack, which is work-appropriate attire. This is a pretty essential concept that lots of other bloggers have written about. I’ve learned a lot from them, and I plan to learn more (so keep them coming, my friends!). I’ll try to address, specifically, how I’ll need to stay conscious of the more uber-conservative work culture of Korea (or larger East Asia), but I might also work up the courage to start taking pictures of myself for this blog.

I do have a backlog of posts to get out, including those sock posts I promised oh so long ago!

But to give this post just a bit more content, give this a little thought:

Japan is notorious for popping out the occasional unconventional vending machines. The latest to hit the Internet is a bra vending machine. What think you?

(I think it’s a cute gimmick, but probably not at all useful or popular.)

How to Sell a Bra on Bratabase

There are a bunch of very good places to buy bras (go to Resources to see some of my recommendations); some are official retailers, like Amazon and A Sophisticated Pair, and others are more consumer-sourced, such as Ebay and Bratabase. What about selling your bras? Maybe your recent purchase doesn’t fit, or you have some bras that you’re simply not going to use but are still in great condition and could serve someone else well.

I’ve recently completed a smooth transaction through Bratabase and wanted to outline the process for anyone else who wants to post a listing on this site.

1. Have/create a Bratabase account.

In order to add to the database and contact members of the site, you must have a Bratabase account. (Simply browsing the site and its listings is not restricted to account holders.) So if you want to make a listing to sell your bra, message a member about buying her bra, or write a review, you’ll have to register with the site first.

2. Add the bra you’d like to sell.

By “add[ing] a bra” to your profile, you’re informing the site that this bra is, or once was, in your possession. The site already has a wealth of information about common and uncommon bra brands and their lines, so you’ll very likely be able to select your bra out of pre-existing categories.

3. Add detailed information about the bra.

If you plan to sell the bra through a Bratabase listing, you must have at least one picture and you must take measurements of the bra itself. You’ll want to take pictures of the item you’re selling anyway, so that shouldn’t be anything too new or shocking. Bratabase filters uploaded pictures, so it may take a small while before they appear.

As for measurements, you simply need to take a tape measure (or a piece of string and a ruler) and describe each of the dimensions that the site asks for. There are very straightforward diagrams for each dimension they want measurements for, so don’t worry about things like where on the wing they want you to measure; they’ll show you.

4. Create a listing.

Once the site sees that your bra has both pictures and measurements, a button “List this bra” will appear on the page about the bra. (To reach that page, if you’ve left, go to “My Bras” on the top bar, and then click on the bra you’re selling from the list of bras you’ve added.) Click on that “List this bra” button to go to the listing page.

The information that you need to provide is simple. What condition is the bra in? How much are you charging? You can also add any other comments or information. Take a look at current listings for ideas on how much to charge or what kind of language you can use in your listing.

After you publish your listing, you can go back to edit any of this information at any time.

Note: Once upon a time, Bratabase covered shipping costs for bra sales. This is no longer the case. They do, however, currently cover shipping costs for exchanges and giveaways (transactions that do not involve the transfer of currency).

5. Wait for prospective buyers to contact you.

People who are interested in your listing will be able to message you about it. You may have to be patient; some listings sit for months. I was lucky and received two inquiries the day I listed.

6. Make arrangements and/or negotiations with your buyer.

Answer any questions they may have about the bra or about buying from you. Arrange payment details (you can either give them your Paypal address to send money to, or take their Paypal address to send an invoice). They’ll be able to provide their shipping address through Paypal, but just to be safe, I also asked my final buyer to message it to me.

7. Close the listing and ship out your bra.

Go back to your listing and close it so that other people know that it’s no longer up for sale. (You probably want to do this step after you receive the payment.)

Package your bra in a box or envelope. You can use any shipping service or company that’s convenient for you, but I highly recommend either using a service that includes tracking or buying a tracking number. On Paypal, you’ll be able to mark your transaction as shipped and put the tracking number right on the Paypal site. I also messaged my buyer the tracking number and estimated date of delivery.

8. Follow up on your transaction.

Just to be a nice person, stay updated on the package getting to its intended destination, but, technically, your transaction is now over. Congratulations!

Review: Injinji Lightweight RUN Toe Socks

I’m very easily drawn to very high-tech sounding things, so sports-oriented clothing and socks get my attention extremely quickly. They keep my attention if they’re high quality, and that attention turns to loyalty if they treat me well 🙂 The socks that I first went for in my quest for toe-protecting toe socks were Injinji‘s “Performance 2.0 RUN” socks. They come in different weights (thicknesses) and heights, and I got lightweight (the thinnest) at a no-show length.

The Injinji socks are made in four sizes: S, M, L and XL. I got my socks in S, and the packaging they come in states that they fit women’s sizes 6-8.5. Now, I bought this knowing that my shoe size fell outside of the range (I have inconveniently 5.5-sized feet), but seeing as how the company doesn’t actually manufacture an XS, and it’s not that far out anyway, any issues I personally have that result from sizing are absolutely minimal and do not detract from how happy these socks make me.

From Injinji’s facebook page. I think those are my exact colors! Also a very thought-provoking catchphrase 🙂

Despite being lightweight, the first thing I noticed was the high quality of the fabric. It just feels so good! It’s sturdy and solid, but also really soft and cuddly (as much as you like to cuddle socks). They’re incredibly comfortable too: I’m not sure how they make this really strange feeling work but the socks feel really secure and somewhat invincible but still really light and airy. It’s definitely a sock to wick away sweat and heat. My toes actually got a little chilly! I guess they’re used to squeezing together for warmth.

Some extra information about the design of the sock from the packaging:

There’s a band of specially compressing material around the top edge to keep the sock in place. Have to admit that I don’t really wear high enough socks to have them fall very often.

The material provides maximum ventilation. Yup.

Reinforced heel and toes. This is very good because I wear my socks so hard they often get holes in those very places. As well as along the balls of my feet. I probably should take better care of my socks.

The area around the arch is also specially designed to provide a bit of support. I’m guessing this is by compression? It’s not a huge amount of support (it’s a sock) but it does feel pretty good. It might be psychological after having read about its existence.

There’s also a fun little tab in the back to prevent blisters that form from rubbing the top edge of your shoes. Now that I think about it… huh. I guess I do get blisters there sometimes. Nice!

Other reviewers who have written about injinji’s new line are actually runners, so they have a more professional, athletic perspective on how these socks do or don’t work well for their actual intended consumers (spoiler: they do) but I’m just a person with feet who walks a lot, and I like them. I’ll definitely take particular care of them (meaning I’ll match them first when I’m folding my clean laundry) and pull them out for more active days.

What about those minimal fit issues I mentioned earlier? The toes are actually a pretty okay length; a few are a bit long by one or two millimeters. Eh. The heel does stick out and ride a bit up if I’m pulled all the way to the front of the sock. Also, eh.

Appearance-wise? I think they look better than all my ratty socks (because they’re new!). But honestly, the outfitted toes don’t look bad at all! And they feel so very comfortable that I don’t think I’d mind even if they did look bad. Which they don’t.

My feet! In socks!

Check it out guys, I’ve finally uploaded a picture of a personal body part on my blog! I guess the extra material doesn’t look bad at all. It feels like much more than it looks but going down a hypothetical size might be too much.

I’ve had these socks for less than two weeks and already I’ve worn them, washed them, worn them again, shown them off, and intrigued my mom with them. In fact, she showed these socks to her friend while I was out watching Star Trek. Not sure if weird.

Socks Are Also Quite Intimate, No?

It’s not quite that I’ve been wearing “badly-fitting socks”, but I do really like socks, and I have several pairs that are actually very meaningful to me (like the Halloween bat socks that I bought freshman year of college to treat myself and still cheers me up every time I put them on, the tabi socks I’ll talk about below, the “no-show” thin liner socks that actually still show but were free because I bought some shoes that were on clearance [which is really one of the weirder policies I’ve encountered: “hey, thanks for paying us much less for your items, let me give you free stuff as well”, the super tech-y Adidas athletic socks that I bought the day my friend was trying to convince me to buy shoes…). And besides sentimental value, there are some really unique socks that are very much worth thinking and writing about. So, yup. Socks now.

I have to do a lot of walking and standing where I currently work, and the past weeks I’m been experiencing some pain. Specifically, my last two toes of each foot were rubbing together and trying to out-blister each other.

My mind went straight to a particular pair of socks that I’ve had for a while. A tutor of mine gifted me a pair of Japanese tabi socks for Christmas several years ago, and besides having an adorable pattern, they also have a very functional split between the big toe and the rest of the sock front. The big toe is isolated and pretty well protected against… everything, I guess!

And then I thought, hey, there are probably full toe socks. I should look those up!

I’d been a customer at an online store called Sock Dreams before for arm warmers and leg warmers, and I remembered their quality products, so I made a visit to see if they carried something for me. And they did! And I bought them! And now I’m going to review socks on my bra blog!

I’ll start actual sock reviews with my next post, but first I’d like to review Sock Dreams, the store. (They very nicely emailed me their beautiful logo; click on it to visit them!) Again, it’s an online retailer for socks and similar accessories with a physical store based in Oregon. The actual products I bought last time are long gone (makes sense because this was years and years ago). However, both that experience as well as my recent one were very pleasant. The ordering process is clean and simple. Registration is optional for placing orders, and standard shipping is both fast and free in the US. Payment options include CC and Paypal.

There’s also a superb customer-based aspect of this website/company that I really appreciate. For pretty much every single product on their catalog, there’s a (seemingly personally written) description of known sizing, fit, and material facts. Is it prone to tearing or snagging? Is it stretchy enough to fit feet of a wide range of sizes? Details like this make the store super personable and make me strangely agreeable about forking over as much as ten bucks for a single pair of socks.

Stay tuned for a set of three reviews of Sock Dreams purchases: Injinji Lightweight RUN Toe Socks, Basic Five Toes, and Silk Ballerina Toes. (links will be updated as posts are published)

Discovery: Dispute over Faith of Mirror’s Edge

The recent E3 (a videogame expo) released some information about a sequel to the awesome PS3/Xbox first-person action/adventure game called Mirror’s Edge…which, unfortunately, I only just learned about and have never played. Mirror’s Edge and its sequel feature a strong female protagonist called Faith. And she’s Asian.

Mirror's Edge

For a great explanation of the premise of the original game, here’s an official trailer:

Awesome, right? So here we learn that she’s not only fiercely kick-ass but also passionate.

Here’s a different trailer that demonstrates more gameplay:

I totally wish I could do that.

And now, because there aren’t enough videos embedded in this post already, here’s the new trailer for new Mirror’s Edge game, which dives into Faith’s origin story:

My mind is blown. I have to live this game. Now. Too bad I will never own its console. Maybe one of my friends will get really rich and blow their money on one of those overpriced boxes so that I can go over and camp out.

So, what’s the dispute? Apparently, fans of the game are complaining that Faith is ugly. And apparently, these people are Asian.

What, then, would a Faith that meets their standard of beauty look like?

Behold:A new Faith.The Korean fan artist made three changes. He enlarged the eyes, he puffed out and lightened the face and he enlarged the breasts.

Before I address the meaning of these changes, let me say this: I think that the original Faith is kind of drop-dead gorgeous. The gamemakers didn’t mean to make her stunning but I think she’s really beautiful. (Here‘s a fun interview with Owen O’Brien, the senior producer for Mirror’s Edge. He cites Joss Whedon’s strong female characters as a base camp for where Faith’s strengths originate, and Joss Whedon’s Firefly/Serenity-verse as inspiration for the dystopian setting of Mirror’s Edge. Go. Read.) By the way: I love her eye makeup, and that is a sweet tattoo. And I just realized that the fan artist took the face tattoo away. WHY?! It’s pure unadulterated fierce!

Enlarging the eyes: “Asian small eyes” are a pretty hot issue, and surgery to make eyes bigger or to create eyelid folds is the most popular type of cosmetic operations in Asia. There’s a huge mindset that the typical eyes of a person from Asia are very small, and that very big, wide eyes are more beautiful. (Articles from CNN and a California high school magazine, about this particular phenomenon.) What about big eyes is beautiful, though? One argument might be rarity; if a society is populated by smaller eyes, the sheer novelty of bigger eyes may be attractive. Another is that bigger eyes may evoke the sense of a younger face. I personally think that this “younger face” ideal may be a big factor in at least South Korea, where they have completely elevated the ideal of 동안/베이비 페이스 “baby face” (Although, seriously, wouldn’t you be completely creeped out by a body with a face that resembles a baby just a little too much?). It’s also a huge advantage to look young in China and Japan.

Rounding and lightening the face: Rounding seems like a counterintuitive change to make, but then you see that original Faith is pretty gaunt. Light skin has been a sign of status in many cultures for a long, long time, indicating that a person is of a high enough status to not toil in the sun all day. It’s also a typical modern beauty ideal in Asian countries including South Korea and China. The effect? A healthy, bright, and probably well-fed individual.

Now, what do these bigger eyes and bright, round face do to the character of Faith? I definitely see the sense of youth creeping in. The fan artist did a good job of keeping the expression on her face, so she still looks fierce, but the girl on the left (original Faith) definitely has a stronger fire to her. Based on appearance alone, fan Faith looks not quite hardened enough and definitely does not have the look of a tough woman who grew up traversing the roofs of a dystopia. These two changes are enough to break her character. If I were a client requiring the services of a Runner for couriering sensitive information across a dystopian city and could only judge by outer appearance, I’d feel more comfortable hiring original Faith.

(Tom Farrer, Mirror’s Edge producer, also thinks that the fan Faith looks like a twelve-year-old girl with a boob job.)

But the breasts, the breasts! For one, I doubt that a simple black tank is going to encapsulate her breast shape like that. As I have no background in the actual artistry of rendering larger breasts, I will leave any evaluation of how realistic or unrealistic it is to those experts.

However, as a person, I can confidently say that if you’re jumping and flipping and ducking and squeezing around obstacles, a smaller bust is definitely going to be more valuable than a larger one, to the extent that even a smaller bust may turn out even better if compressed. Large breasts honestly get in the way even if they’re properly contained and restrained, and are you seriously expecting this petite woman to find a well-fitting action bra where she lives? I THINK NOT. For the woman’s own comfort, and for the type of work she does, I think Faith herself would prefer her original-sized breasts. If she cared.

Since she’s busy saving her sister, she might not.

Mini-review: Cleo Marcie

I actually tried this and sent it back already, so I’m writing this a bit from memory. Basically, it didn’t fit. (But still less that $30 on Amazon!)

From Amazon.com

Since I love the Lucy (so much that I picked up another one somewhere; now I have both the navy and the pink, and it sounds like there are two new colors coming out soon!) and not so much the Marcie, it sounds like I’m a basic full-on-bottom shape. There are ways of distinguishing shape such as, for example, actually looking at the shape of your breast, but I’m shape-challenged and don’t figure those things out easily. This “full-on-tops often prefer Marcie and Lucy is a similar bra for full-on-bottoms” system is a safe one for me.

I had a lot of loose cup material floating around; essentially the top third of the cup was not being filled. It didn’t feel like the kind of fit that could have been improved by going down a cup, though. It was nowhere near as bad a fit as the Meg from once upon a time, though. The Meg was terrible for me, but the Marcie was just a little bad. Bad enough to not want to keep at this point, since I have enough well-fitting bras to do laundry at a reasonable pace, but not more than just a little bad.

Here are some other reviews from Undiegamer, Bras I Hate & Love, Two Cakes on a Plate, Invest in Your Chest, and here is its Bratabase page.

Bloggy update: I’ve made some changes to the About page and plumped up the Resources page. Yay!

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