A Queen and a Princess

With my mom a couple of months after being selected as SFVJACC Queen.

When I was a little girl, my mother told me that one of her dreams was for me to be in a Japanese American beauty pageant which was closely tied to a week-long festival in Los Angeles known as Nisei Week. The first Nisei Week celebration took place in 1934, and a year later, the queen pageant was added. With the exception of the years during which World War II took place, the Nisei Week Festival has taken place yearly. I knew how much my mother wanted me to participate in Nisei Week, but since I wasn’t that interested in vying for a queen title and being in a pageant, I tucked the idea of pursuing such a goal in the back of my mind and kind of forgot about it.

Shortly after I turned 18, I decided to contact the Japanese-American community center close to where I lived and inquired about the pageant, only to be told that the age requirements for queen candidates were changed to 19 to 25. The following year, I inquired again, but the area’s queen selection had already been made at that time. After that, I simply forgot about the Nisei Week queen selection. Then the year that I turned 25, I figured that I had one final chance to see if I could win a queen title and advance to the Nisei Week pageant. So I submitted my candidate profile and waited for the queen selection day to approach, while also keeping my plans completely hidden from my mom. I thought that if I wasn’t selected as the San Fernando Valley queen, I wouldn’t say anything to my mother, so as to spare her any disappointment.

While at the queen selection event, I noticed that I was up against only one other candidate, but that candidate had competed for the queen title for two consecutive years previously, and since she was also 25 years old, the event was her final chance at being selected as queen. I made an assumption that since the judges were familiar with the other candidate, she would most likely be chosen as their queen.

We were assessed on our physical appearance and poise, were asked impromptu questions while standing on a small stage, and were interviewed individually by every single judge. When it was time to announce the 1991 San Fernando Valley Japanese Community Center Queen, who would then go on to compete at the Nisei Week pageant with 8 other regional queens, I prepared myself to hear the other candidate’s name, so it was a complete surprise when I heard my name called. Next thing I knew, the judges and guests were congratulating me, and the former queen placed a bouquet of tulips in my arms. When I arrived home, I called my mom to tell her the news, and she was incredibly proud and thrilled.

At Mayor Tom Bradley’s office with fellow Nisei Week Princess and WLAJACC Queen Alice Akahoshi

Over the next three months, I went to pageant practice 3 days per week, attended events with the rest of the court, and was primed and polished for business visitations and parades. It was like attending Japanese-American charm school, and I was grateful for the experience. I wore a tiara to many events, and also wore a sash whenever clad in kimono or in the matching outfits the court was expected to wear during events and visitations. We performed in front of 1,200 guests during the pageant, and though I didn’t win the Nisei Week Queen title, I was a Nisei Week Princess, still held the Queen title for my region, and became part of an incredible community.

Boot Crazy

Jeffrey Campbell Embellished Boot

I’ve loved boots as far back as I can remember, and eagerly anticipated obtaining my first pair, which finally happened at the age of 12 when my favorite cousin at the time gave me a pair of knee high boots for my birthday. They were made of buttery soft leather, were a warm camel in color, and they made me feel like the sassiest 12 year old on the planet. I managed to beat those boots up because I wore them so much.

Once I hit my 30’s, I developed a fixation on over the knee boots, but never ended up buying a pair until I was in my early 40’s. After I purchased my first pair of over the knee boots, I was hooked, but I also still enjoyed boots of any length. At this point in my life, I have eleven pairs of over the knee boots, seven of which are black, two of which are gray, and a red pair. The boots which I wear the most frequently are low heeled black suede over the knee boots, and I continue to be tempted to wear them even though they are finally starting to show signs of wear after four years of ownership.

Jeffrey Campbell Cattle Western Boot

This year, I realized that I hadn’t purchased any boots in four years, so I purchased a very distinctive pair of knee high boots, and shortly afterwards, I received a second pair of knee high boots as a gift. Both pairs of boots were designed by Jeffrey Campbell, are incredibly well made, and are very comfortable. Two pairs of new boots are enough to satisfy my boot cravings for a while.

Captured By Fragrance

Copyright: svl861

Several months ago, I read a book entitled The Emperor of Scent by Chandler Burr, which mainly explores the life and work of scientist Luca Turin. Luca Turin has made an indelible mark on the world of scent theory because he believes in a different concept of how we smell, and backs up his belief with hard science. What I did not expect while reading this book was that I learned how deeply immersed Turin is in the world of fine fragrance, to such an extent that he wrote a well respected perfume guide.

As I continued to read The Emperor of Scent, I became intensely curious about several fragrances which have been touted the world’s best scents. Turin’s description of Chamade by Guerlain captured me so intensely that I blind purchased two tiny vintage bottles of the extrait, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed, because the fragrance is sublime.

Une note de départ verte et anodine donne le coup d’ envoi à un miracle qui se produit sur plusiers heures, voire plusiers jours. A green and somewhat nondescript top note launches a miracle that happens over several hours, even several days. As soon as the initial fog dissipates, a splendid form appears, all of one piece, smooth and seamless, a strong white note, powdery and sculptural, that strengthens without losing complexity until complete evaporation. Typically Guerlain in its flattering and tender character, Chamade is nevertheless a haughty perfume, pure and distant and miles away from the slightly catty chic of Jicky and Shalimar. Its tenacity is prodigious, and one would believe it conceived to be smelled two days later. Put it on at least two hours before asking it to have its effect.

A masterpiece of elegance and poetry. One of the greatest perfumes of all time.”

How could I pass up an opportunity to obtain Chamade after reading Turin’s description?

I became obsessed with finding other vintage fragrances, such as Diorissimo (Dior) and L’Interdit (Givenchy), and also found other lovely scents which are currently being produced. However, I always try to get the vintage versions, because the newer iterations are never exactly the same as the originals. I also try to get the extrait or the eau de parfum instead of the EDT because of the staying power of perfume formulations.

I ended up finding a vintage bottle of Diorissimo EDP, which is a gorgeous expression of lily-of-the-valley, but sadly, it doesn’t last on my skin. I kept a bottle of the original L’Interdit (1957) which my mother had in her collection, and I have noted a difference between the vintage version and the bottle which I recently purchased. Nevertheless, the modern take on L’Interdit is absolutely lovely when mixed with my body chemistry.

I also found other fragrances during my recent foray into the world of scent, and stumbled upon the lovely floral Mon Guerlain (Guerlain), and the intense Sublime (Jean Patou). I revisited Byblos (Byblos) which I had kept from my mom’s collection, as well as J’Adore (Dior). Another fragrance which I absolutely love is a brand new offering from Givenchy called Irrestistible Fresh, which is a beautiful light fruity/floral.

The one mistake I made was in blind purchasing Joy (Jean Patou) based on the fact that it is the most expensive fragrance in the world. When I received the bottle in the mail, I spritzed some on my pulse points, and immediately became concerned because I could smell an imminent funk from the mixture. In addition, it was heady stuff, very grandma-esque, and just not my style. I waited for a half hour for the fragrance to meld with my body, and all I could think of was how much I wanted to jump in the shower to wash it off! The clincher for me was when my kitten approached me, took one whiff, and made swipes with his paw on the sofa as if to cover the results of a recent potty session. I took another sniff, and realized that Joy had turned into something that smelled like cat urine on me, thanks to the civet which is part of the base of the legendary scent. I returned it immediately.

Now I am just experimenting with the various fragrances I have in my collection, and will switch up my scent depending on my mood, the weather, or what I plan to do later that day. And though Marc Jacobs’ Daisy Eau So Fresh is still my go to daily fragrance, I am truly enjoying the variety which the new additions to my fragrance collection are providing.

The Great Rolex Shortage of 2021

©andreahast/123RF.COM

You might not know or care that there is a significant shortage of Rolex watches, but it’s true. Though Rolex is known as a rich person’s watch brand, it also manages to be the most recognized watchmaker worldwide. Rolex has no clear plans to address the shortage by increasing production either, so the demand for a Rolex timepiece will continue to seriously outpace the number available. This supply issue applies not only to brand new pieces, but is also affecting the pre-owned market in a big way. Part of the blame lies with the COVID lockdown situation, since the Rolex factory had been shut down for several months during the height of the pandemic, but there has also been a surge in luxury watch sales since then.

Let’s say you have your eye on a new Rolex GMT-Master II Oystersteel and Everose Gold. The MSRP is listed at $14,800. If you are unable to locate a brand new one, you might want to try a site such as Chrono24, which features pre-owned luxury timekeepers. The problem is that the price jumps up to a minimum of $22,495 for a preowned 2021 model, more than the MSRP for one never used. It seems quite backwards, but that gives you an idea of how well a Rolex piece holds and increases its value over time.

In summary, if you have been yearning to own a Rolex, be prepared to look high and low for one. You should also be prepared to purchase one as soon as it becomes available, because new models which are posted for sale on authorized dealer sites tend to sell within minutes.

The Michael Kors Jacket Nightmare

Source: 123rf
Image ID : 102290706
Copyright : Jonathan Weisswarm

On March 5th, when I was waiting to board the plane which would take me from LAX to Haneda, Tokyo, I walked by a Michael Kors store and saw a nice ivory puffer jacket on display.  I took it off the hanger and tried it on, and instantly loved it.  My reasoning was that since it was a puffer jacket, it would be incredibly warm and would keep me snuggly and comfortable while I was in Sapporo.  I promptly decided to purchase it, and decided to wear it out of the store.  The sales associate asked me to take it off so that she could scan the tag, whereupon another associate cut the tags off before I could stop her.  Though I was upset, I hoped that I wouldn’t have to return the item.

About 30 minutes after I purchased the jacket, I placed it in my carry on bag, deciding that I should wait until I arrived in Japan to wear my new jacket.  Then I put the jacket to the test, not in chilly and snowy Sapporo, but in Sendai, which was far more moderate in temperature, with highs in the mid-40’s.  Well, I ended up freezing in that darling jacket, and because I purchased the jacket for warmth and not to make a fashion statement, I tucked the jacket away in my luggage and vowed to return it once I was back home in the states.

I returned to Los Angeles on March 19th, and learned that the area was on full lockdown, with retail stores closed.  So began the ongoing contact with MichaelKors.com, engaging the chat function, calling local stores, and emailing them regularly, each time inquiring when they thought stores might reopen.  This was a major headache for me to deal with, but since I was in possession of a $213 jacket which conferred almost no protection against the cold, I persisted.  I was told that return windows were being extended as a result of the lockdown, and I didn’t need to worry about the return window closing on me.

Then on June 29th, I called a local MK store, and not only did someone answer the phone, but she also stated that the store was indeed open to the public. I rushed over to the store the next day, but as I was walking towards the store, I got a funny feeling in my gut that something was about to go very wrong.   I walked into the store, explained my situation, and as soon as I mentioned that I had purchased the jacket at the Michael Kors store at LAX, the salesperson grimaced and said, “Oh, I don’t think we can process the return here.  You see, the store you went to isn’t owned by Michael Kors, it’s owned by Hudson Group”.

The salesperson tried to enter the SKU, but the number was not accepted by the register, and he told me that I had to contact the phone number on the purchase receipt.  By this time, I was fuming, frantically dialing the numbers as I exited the store, cursing under my breath the entire time.  I called the number, only to be told that wasn’t the proper number, and that I had to call yet another number.

Little did I know that the second phone call would connect me to the bossiest, bitchiest, rudest woman I have encountered in years.  She was VERY nasty to me and kept interrupting me as I told her the situation.  It took everything in me to remain calm as I spoke with this witch.  She explained that Michael Kors was franchised, yadda yadda yadda…but all I cared about was, would they allow me to return the item?  Finally, she stated that the Hudson Group would issue a return, provided I sent numerous specific images of the jacket, a pic of the receipt, and proof that I had been in Japan from March 5th through March 19th.

I sent all the information over, then heard absolutely nothing.  So I re-sent the emails from a different email address, thinking maybe there was an issue with the email server.  Still nothing.  I called her once again, and she got nasty with me, stating that she hadn’t received my emails, and why was I wasting her time?  Then she provided a different email address when I implored her to do so, and I re-sent all emails from two different email servers once more.

Once again, I heard nothing.  So I sent the Hudson representative another email yesterday, marked urgent, which asked her to please get in contact with me if she received that particular email.  She called me today, stating that she had only received the one email, then started yelling at me, stating that I hadn’t followed directions, that I was wasting her time, and that she didn’t have to help me at all.  When I tried asking her to check her spam folder, she interrupted me, started yelling again, and HUNG UP ON ME.

I re-sent all the emails yet again, from both email servers, this time with hands shaking in rage.  Imagine my surprise when she responded and said that she received all my emails, FINALLY!

This battle isn’t over yet, though.  Tomorrow I will mail the jacket to her office, at my expense, and wait to see if a refund is actually granted.  This woman should NOT be in customer service.

UPDATE 8/10/2020:  I finally received a refund several days ago!

 

I’m A Jasmin Influencer!

I am so thrilled to be a Jasmin Influencer!  I have been with them since early December, and I have a blast creating highlights for the site and posting every day.  Yes that’s right, every single day, even on holidays and weekends!

Please follow me at www.Jasmin.com/staceynaito  and check out my highlights and daily story elements!  You can also direct message me anytime through the site, and I also make myself available for Video Calls for a pocket of time every day.

Topics I cover include:

Dating

Relationship

Soul Mate

Fitness

Flirt Advice

Beauty

Lifestyle

Travel

Fashion

I haven’t posted anything on Dance, but who knows?  I may talk about my three year stint with salsa dancing on the Jasmin platform!

You can sign up for FREE and get 15 FREE CREDITS!

 

I am also always open to suggestions on topics which you would like to have me cover.  Want more nutrition tips?  Beauty hacks?  Travel deals? Relaxation techniques?  On the go workouts?  You tell me, I’m open!

Black Friday Fitness Apparel Deals

Source: 123rf.com
Image ID : 86098754
Copyright : tohey

Every year, it seems that I am in need of new athletic shoes as well as new sports bras. My favorite time to shop for such items is on Black Friday, when some of the best deals are up for grabs. One thing I have noticed about Adidas sports bras is that they are well constructed, and don’t lose shape over time. So I am always on the lookout for their sports bras during the big Black Friday sales. I also love their athletic shoes, which are comfortable, offer great support, and also feature really attractive styling.

I remember hitting a Black Friday sale at a department store and scoring a pair of Adidas running shoes which sported an original price tag of $139, but I paid only $59 after the Black Friday blowout deal was stacked on top of the regular sale price. That was enough to motivate me to shop for athletic gear on Black Friday whenever possible. However, because my schedule has become increasingly more hectic in recent years, it can be challenging to figure out where the best Adidas deals (and deals for other major sportswear brands too) could be found.

Dr. Stacey Naito

Well, it’s like Slickdeals read my mind, because I can visit their site and find a whole slew of locations which sell Adidas apparel at steep discounts during Black Friday. How cool is that? Slickdeals has a full staff of editors who do all the work for you, sifting through all the deals which are available on post-Turkey day. The site will also provide coupon codes and links for coupons which yield even greater discounts on Black Friday. Some Adidas stores will often offer a storewide 50% discount, so if you prefer to hit those stores, you can find them on the Slickdeals site. Other stores will accept coupons which offer up to 50% off merchandise, making a shopping trek well worth the effort. Another deal which you might find is one in which you get deeper discounts with larger purchases. For example, you can save $20 if you spend $100 (20% discount), but you save $100 when you spend $300 (33% discount).

I bet you’re wondering what I’m talking about, so check out this link to see why I am so excited about Black Friday this year:

https://slickdeals.net/coupons/adidas/black-friday-deals/

If you don’t want to visit a brick and mortar store, you can find plenty of great online deals for Adidas and other major sportswear brands while cruising through the Slickdeals website. Another wonderful feature on the Slickdeals site is that you can read reviews by Slickdeals community members to really help you navigate through the information and select the best deals. So if you’re serious about getting the best deals on apparel from major sportswear brands like Adidas, I honestly think the best strategy is to peruse the Slickdeals site before Thanksgiving. This way, you can gather information on the Adidas deals which interest you the most, then map out the stores or websites which you plan to visit on that day.

Looks like I might be mapping out a strategy with the help of Slickdeals to get the best deals on Adidas athletic shoes and sports bras for this year’s Black Friday frenzy!

Rapunzels Are In Vogue

source: 123rf.com
Image ID : 81849095
Copyright : subbotina

Super long hair is in fashion these days, so much so that ladies who are unable to grow their hair as long as they want have been sporting extensions to produce the desired long locks. It’s been interesting hearing people comment on my hair, which I had decided to grow out again, because people who haven’t known me for long think it’s a new thing. Well, it’s not. I have always sported extremely long hair past my waist since I was a young child, and at one point in my 20’s, my hair was so long that not only would I sit on the ends, but other people sitting next to me would accidentally pin me down, and I would have to ask them to release my hair.

The longest my hair ever got was in 1991…

I know it sounds strange, but to me, my hair at this point almost seems short,compared to that time in the early 90’s when my hair was at its longest. Here’s where my hair was length-wise in June, and then in August of this year:

My hair in June 2019

By August 2019, my hair was this long, and this was even after a trim!

I still look at images of women with crazy long hair (past the gluteal fold), and find some appeal in it, but I honestly don’t know if it would drive me nuts to carry around such a long span of keratin everywhere. Let’s face it, long hair gets in the way, it’s heavy, it makes the nape of the neck hot during the summer, and caring for long hair requires some extra effort to keep it looking its healthiest. I’m not even sure my hair would reach the same length where I had it in 1991, but I suspect I’d get so sick and tired of the maintenance that I would opt for a shorter, more manageable length.

source 123rf.com
Image ID : 96202263
Copyright : Sergii Vorobiov

I will say that women with very long hair do stand out. Long hair is special, it’s beautiful, and not everyone can rock a Rapunzel-length mane. I think anyone with beautiful, healthy hair who wants to grow it out should do it, even if they later decide that sporting a scarf of hair isn’t for them.

source: 123rf.com
Image ID : 90512289
Copyright : YAUHENI HASTSIUKHIN

There is also a fair amount of versatility with long hair. It can be coiled into an elegant updo, crafted into a half-up, half-down hairstyle which is fashionable and pretty, swept up into a ponytail, braided, or left loose and free. In addition, long hair makes a handy shawl or scarf if one is caught in brisk weather without a sweater or coat. Believe me, I have used my hair as insulation from cold air many times over the years!

source: 123rf.com
Image ID : 84565803
Copyright : victoriash

Lastly, there is something so romantic about very long hair. Women with uber long hair aren’t afraid to express themselves as women. A sharp contrast to pixie hair styles, long hair evokes tremendous femininity. What’s strange, though, is how oppressed the literary character Rapunzel was. She was held captive by a witch in a tower, and her only hope of escape was to find a rescuer who would have to climb up her incredibly long hair to rescue her. Eventually Rapunzel cuts her hair, which apparently symbolizes cutting ties with a maternal figure. Wow, heavy stuff.

I suspect that I will sport extremely long hair, at least waist-length, for as long as I live. I’ve spent the majority of my life with long hair as part of my signature style, and I don’t plan to change that style by chopping my strands.

Technicolor Hair

Source: 123rf.com
Image ID : 95962170
Copyright : Yulia Koltyrina

The idea of sporting brightly and unnaturally colored hair has taken off in recent years, and has asserted itself as a means of self-expression and individuality for many people. What’s wild is that this trend has caught on with middle-aged people as well as the younger crowd. Even the names of the hair color trends suggest whimsy, such as unicorn hair and mermaid hair.

Mermaid hair is specifically defined as a mixture of marine shades blended into bleached and toned hair, while unicorn hair colors are more reminiscent of cotton candy and “girly” pastel shades. However, this by no means is any indication that this is only for girls or women. The wildly colored hair movement is found among people of different genders and ages. I’ve seen men with lilac and aqua hair, and women in their 70’s with pink hair.

Check out this collection of mermaid hair color combos from Redken:

https://www.redken.com/blog/haircolor/13-mermaid-haircolors-that-you-have-to-see-to-believe

Then we have the fantasy colors of unicorn hair which are truly imaginative and distinct:

Unicorn Hair Color

If you’ve considered trying some fun hair colors, make sure you understand what you are getting into. If you have very dark hair like I do, the color change you will see will be very subtle, only detectable in sunlight and other types of light which illuminate the coating of color which sits on top of the hair cuticle. If you really want to go for a dramatic change, you must bleach your hair to prep it for color.

But is it worth it to bleach your hair in preparation for bubble gum colors? This fantastic article, written by Nicola Dall’Asen (IG: @nicoladallasen) goes into real depth about everything that is involved with maintaining a multicolored mane, and it isn’t all rosy. It’s a good idea to do some research on different products to see which works best for you, and definitely consult with a reputable color specialist who can bleach and prep your hair with minimal hair damage.

source: 123rf.com
image ID : 117877877
Copyright : lightfieldstudios

While Nicola focuses more on full coverage dyes, I have zero intention of ruining my naturally dark brown locks, so the only fun color products I have applied to my hair have been color conditioners. Overtone makes some amazing products, including color conditioners which are formulated to show up more on brown hair. I love the fact that application is so easy, and I also love the fact that there is no long-term commitment. If I wanted to allow the red tint which I applied to about 18 inches of my hair to fade, I would just allow my regular shampooing regimen to take place without using color conditioner, and the product would fade away after a few shampoos. I could start from scratch and maybe try purple if I wanted. Options are definitely much more limited for dark brown hair, so keep that in mind.

What I DON’T like about color conditioners (which also applies to permanent hair color) is that they make such a mess. Whenever I take a shower and wash my hair, my tub looks like a Jackson Pollock painting, and I have to remove the stains with bleach cleanser and a sponge every single time. I now have to spread a dark towel over my pillows and sheets when I sleep because the red will transfer to the fabric. I have also worn white or lightly colored clothing and then noticed later on that the neckline and back of my clothing were pink!

That being said, it has been fun experimenting with colors and knowing that I haven’t damaged my hair. In fact, Overtone Color Conditioners actually condition the hair and improve its luster. So I am definitely on board with using the products and having fun with them.

Give the temporary colors a try and see if you like them before diving into permanent color options.

Bohemian Vibes

Source: 123rf.com
Image ID : 89336004
Copyright : Elina Zolotareva

I love the fact that bohemian, or boho, culture has blossomed as much as it has over the past few years. Bohemian fashion is creative, ethnically diverse and eclectic, not to mention loose and comfortable, and the social undercurrent of people who subscribe to bohemian culture is similarly diverse. Boho chic has brought back the hippie culture which had emerged during the early to mid-1960’s. The influence of hippies became so ingrained in our culture by the mid-1970’s that longer hair and colorful clothing from other countries was accepted as a new norm. Then with the Reagan era, a new conservatism swept the globe which remained for many years. Only in the past several years has the boho trend asserted itself once again.

Source: 123rf.com
Image ID : 60367478
Copyright : slena

Bohemian culture strives to break conventional norms, and to express a unique style. It appeals to artists, musicians, and anyone who is passionate about having essential freedom. Bohemians also strive to establish harmony with the environment, and often will participate in movements which are designed to save the planet. Think of events like Burning ManBurning ManBurning Man and Coachella, both of which capture the hippie free spirit vibe perfectly. Fashion-wise, the bohemian vibe allows people to mix and match different styles and colors on a whim to create a look which is truly unique.

So how do you put together a bohemian look? Just remember that a key feature of bohemian style is to mix textures, add accessories like jewelry, hats, or scarves, and to look and feel comfortable in whatever you choose to wear. Think of cozy fabrics like cotton, wool, denim, leather, and suede. Crochet and knit items, as well as some lace items, add a romantic flair and soften a look even further. Just make sure you don’t go overboard, or else you may end up looking like a thrift-store maven.

Boho chic tattoo design. Golden crescent moon and sun with elements of the mandala – astrology, alchemy and magic symbol.
Source: 123rf.com
Image ID : 109387236
Copyright : Yulia SELINA