My name is Dylana Lim Suarez and I am a fashion blogger, writer, stylist, and photographer from sunny Southern California who is now calls New York City my home. Fashion is what makes me wake up in the morning. This blog is my tool for storytelling through my personal style and fashion.
Never before did I think I would be comfortable enough to attend a trip like this at all. As a teenager, I remember having so many insecurities about my body. I was too flat chested and gawky. My hips had no curves. My back alignment was off center because of my scoliosis, and that was reason enough to never be caught dead in anything of a backless style. Not to mention, the lifeguard was cute and we all had crushes on him, but that just made me even more aware of how I looked. I hunched my back to be shorter so I wouldn’t stand out as much. These feelings of self deprecation, they still creep into my mind every once in a while today, because as a human being it is in our nature to judge ourselves harder than anyone else. And with the perpetual eye of social media and physical perfection portrayed within it, this judgement because even more rigid. Good enough is never enough it can seem.
The struggle with how social media pushes on us a perfect portrayal of the female body is real. But a lot has changed within me in the time since my teenaged community pool days in the valley. I have changed my perception on my body quite immensely, and it all started from within. I have taught myself to see past all of the overly perfect looking and overly flaunted bodies on my Instagram feed. Realizing that this so-called reality does not have to be my own reality has helped me to focus on a healthier relationship with my own body and mind. Removing comparison from my everyday in my personal life and my digital life was the first step. I don’t post too many photos of myself in a swimsuit, but every now and then I do, but not to show you guys how great I think I look in a swimsuit, but more to show you guys how great I FEEL. I’m still flat chested, just less gawky and with a few more muscles. My hips are still far from curvaceous, but I’m proud of them now and love supporting brands that create suits that can accentuate what I already have. My back alignment is still off even post scoliosis surgery, and with a scar as a result, but I have no qualms about having this be visible. My spine has played such a huge part in my personal struggle with my confidence. It makes me who I am in so many ways.
You’ll never find me doing that sideways, booty popped pose in a swimsuit, because one . . . I physically can’t, and two . . . I’d feel like someone who isn’t myself. I think swimsuits on a woman with confidence in herself, no matter what her flaws are big or small, is a beautiful thing and should be embraced. As long as it is real. Let’s be real, all of our imperfections are out in swimsuit. Stretch marks, stubble, bruises, scars, bug bites, cellulite. You may not tell from these pictures, but I’m here to remind you that they are there. Don’t believe the Instagram swimsuit models when they tell you they shouldn’t be there.
But now, back to the other point of this post . . . giving some love to the swimsuits that I wore on my trip to Turks & Caicos with Victoria’s Secret, and how I was able to find some that I truly felt confident in, even amongst a boat full of gorgeous ladies who all were quite flawless in my opinion. It took me a long time to get to this place of self love. And I came out of this trip feeling like every woman can rock a Victoria’s Secret swimsuit in her own unique, very different kind of way. And that is the truth.
There is too much that I love about a retreat to Upstate New York. Much more than I love about going out east to Montauk or the Hamptons. There’s a certain quietness and simpleness to life that comes with the territory up north. That should be enough to explain why it holds a special place in my heart.
Gabi and I planned three nights at some of our old favorite spots, and some new ones, for our anniversary, and it was a trip to remember. We indulged in amazing food, daily hikes, pool dips, our books and lazy mornings in. The days feel extra long upstate, and that’s one of the best parts. And we had fun counting the deer hiding off the sides of the roads. We drove extra careful in these parts of the woods. There’s nothing more peaceful than the sound of creek water and waterfalls. And especially at the time when the sun hits from the right angle. That is when it feels like time has stopped completely all of a sudden. We worked up our appetites amazingly well throughout the day on this trip, which is not the usual on vacations. We looked forward to every meal with vigor thanks to all the energy we used exploring on our feet the marked and unmarked trails. Our sneakers were destroyed, but our bodies felt strong. And it was the best to come back after a long day out and a spectacular dinner to a bed so lush we could sleep forever in it.
We spent our first night at The Debruce in Livingston Manor, which I’ve heard loads about. I was excited about the hiking trails they had on their grounds, as well as the 9-course tasting menu, which happened to be mainly vegetarian and was sooooooo far out delicious. Our rooms were small but cozy, but my favorite part of The Debruce is the main lounge area. It is the epitome of that eclectic cabin decor one usually just dreams of. We had time to brunch and then hike and then indulge in a fantastic red wine before the 9-course tasting menu has been boasted about. We were very excited to finally get a taste of it. I put on my fancy dress, and Gabi his fancy shirt, and we went all out. We watched the sunset from our corner spot at the table, and indulged for three hours in a very unique spin on vegetarian eating, with one fish-based dish that was immaculate. We were so full before the final two courses, which was an array of cheese and desserts, and let me tell you, we slept happy that night.
The next two nights we spent at Scribner’s Catskill Lodge in Hunter, where we spent the days leading up to Thanksgiving last year. It was AMAZING in the winter, but I was so stoked to finally get to experience it in the heat of summer. Last time we spent majority of our time there near the fireplace in the main area reading, writing and playing pool. It was much more quiet, but it was perfect this way for that time of the year. We had the exact opposite experience this time around, but the energy was so fun. The rooms are extra spacious, so you always feel like you have a private retreat. And our view of the mountains was amazing. Green, green everywhere. The pool was open and buzzing, and I went for a daily swim. At one point I had the pool all to myself It was perfect timing that we decided to visit right before Fourth of July as we got to join in on the festivities they had going on. A BBQ and celebratory fireworks were a cherry on the top, and Gabi got the full American treatment. I’ve never seen a place in upstate New York so packed with happy people and children playing as I did this evening. And s’mores. Can’t forget the s’mores. And what I missed the the first time we came to Scribner’s was the sauna, which we took full advantage of this time around. Food, hike, pool, sauna, food, repeat. This was exactly what I came here for.
I also want to touch upon the places we ate at and hiked at during our trip when we were out exploring.
This was our first time at the diner and it just happened to be along the way from The Debruce to Scribner’s Lodge. It’s pretty famous, and we were hungry for some classic diner eats. This place is a modern twist on the classics which is fun. They make a great avocado toast! It’s quite busy at lunch time, so try to get there a little on the tail end of lunch!
This is my absolute favorite place to eat every time we come upstate. It’s vegan and they are absolutely THE BEST at what they do. They have something for even the most dedicated meat lover. I really want them to open up in NYC because I would eat here on the daily if I could! My favorite is the garden bowl for the macro plate with tofu. Everything is so healthy, nourishing and flavorful. The outdoor seating space is so romantic for the summertime.
We stopped by this cafe straight after a hike and because it’s in the town over from Scribner’s. They offer super classic All American food like some really great and hearty sandwiches, but their specialty is cheeses. So make sure to order something which cheese! It’s a cute and casual spot, and has an amazing selection of beers, which we took to go back to Scribner’s with us.
The very first time Gabi and I came upstate was three months after dating, and I looked up what were some of the popular waterfall hikes in the area. We didn’t get the chance to get to this particular waterfall our last two visits, so we made sure to this time around. We did the upper trailhead last time, and I wanted to do the same since we didn’t have much time as it was already early evening. We started out at the high vantage point above the waterfall and man was it beautiful with all the lush green surrounding the waterfall. There was a higher level of the waterfall that we visited before, but it was cautioned off because of some deaths that happened int he area unfortunately, so we took another trailer down to the lower part of the waterfall. We got to go really close to the water, and could get in the water if we could. I always recommend Kaaterskills Falls to everyone I know! I just love it so much! And it was surprisingly chill for a beautiful summer day.
I heard that this hike is intense but that the view is totally worth the trek in the end. We went for the shorter trail (and what was supposed to be easier trail), but towards the end of it, it really got steep and my legs were legit shaking. Make sure to pack lots of water for these hikes. You will need it. It was quite peaceful and calm and cool, the entire way through, and it was lovely to just listen to the sound of nature while we talked on our hike. It was a bit muddy because of earlier rain, but we didn’t mind. The two miles was not bad at all, and we really worked up an appetite after this one! In places like this, I always take advantage of how easy it is to be active outside. It’s not that easy to do in the city, so when I come upstate all I want to do is MOVE MOVE MOVE!
And last, but not least, thank you Lexus for loaning us the amazing Lexus UX again for our trip! It’s my favorite car to drive for all my road trips! It’s so smooth (Gabi kept on raving about this), so spacious, and it’s a hybrid so I’m saving on gas on these long rides. The forest green color was so beautiful and perfect for the environment we found ourselves in. I cannot drive anything else anymore when I’m escaping to outside of the city.
I’ve been so inspired to dress this summer. More than in any other summer before. Maybe it’s the short hair. Maybe it’s a better understanding of myself. Maybe it’s a sort of ease that I have in my step that I didn’t fully have before. Adulting really changes a lot about a person, but for the better I think. Age is just a number, but it definitely is an idea that gives a sense of empowerment when you allow it to. No longer will my summers be like the ones that I had when I was 25, and that is okay. Those will be in my memories always, but so will be the memories of the summer I am having right now and the summers to come. They will be just as memorable but also something more. I appreciate them so much than I did before because my sense of time is so much more different now. My relationship with time is much more substantial. Every day, I am looking to feel better about my work. Feel closer to it. I am happier when I am doing less, but feeling more while I do it. I find myself putting more trust in my vision. And I am also giving myself more weeks off dedicated just to myself without feeling bad about it. I dedicate more time to letting the career woman inside of me can step aside a bit more so that I can enjoy my passions, my travels, my love, my everything else in my life without the filter of social media. This sort of balance that I have found coming into my 30’s has made summer a really significant time for me. It’s more meaningful and not taken for granted. It’s the time I can fully give to myself to enjoy freely, without the judgement of others or the need to juggle a million things into just three short months.
And this also reflects on the way that I choose to dress now. It feels so easy throwing something on in the mornings these hot and humid days. And now I am getting precisely more and more closer to knowing why.
Preen by Thornton Bregazzi dress
Dresses that seem to have that transformative quality about them are a rarity. But sometimes a streak of luck will help you stumble up one. And it feels like magic all of a sudden.
This is exactly how I feel about this sheer lace dress by one of my favorite brands, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi. Ever since I discovered their beautiful creations, of dresses specifically, a few years ago, I fell in love and went on to purchase one of my own. Since then, the love affair has continued to grow with each season; this current spring collection being one of my favorites. I lusted over the colorful lace dresses that I saw go down the runway, and felt like my life needed to make that statement right away!
It’s funny, because I never considered myself a lace loving kind of woman, unless the lace was paired in a very masculine way. But somehow, I was very drawn to this dress in particular. I appreciated so much it’s form on the runway, and in person the ruffle detailing and delicate beadwork throughout cannot go unnoticed. It is by far one of the most feminine dresses I’ve ever had the chance to wear, but it carries a type of unique individuality that goes beyond just something feminine and pretty to wear. There is a lot of imagination and whimsey beyond it’s sheer lace ruffles, and that is what I admire the most. I wore it to the Veuve Clicquot Polo Match, where I received many compliments on it, but it felt more right to be photographed somewhere in Dumbo with a very strong light play.
If only this dress was made before my wedding day last year. But hey, better late than never.
Take in as much of it everyday as you can until it becomes a rhythm of awareness that is second nature to you. It’s both an easy and a hard thing to do in a city like NYC, where sensory overload on a daily basis can either push us to shut ourselves off from the city sounds, scents and views, or it can pull us in dramatically that it wraps us up like an old sweater. After 6 years of living in this city, I trained myself to see the sides of the city that stimulates my creativity, rather than the sides that make my body and mind feel tired and unfocused. Of course, not everyday will NYC feel like the most nurturing place for my soul and body, but with many days in-between dedicated to patience, I have worked me way to finding my special happy medium here. I came here to be inspired and I never want to lose that. Reminding myself that everyday helps block out the noise that distracts and let in the music that feel like a fresh discovery.
My reliable, go-to outfit consists of taking inspiration from the color blocking that I see in all the Chinatowns that I have had the pleasure of visiting. It translates into a weekend dressing state of mind that is so easy to wear but that is still full of energy. You know me . . . I light up at a color combination that just clicks. Color gives me a simple feeling. But it is one that I cannot live without.
Sustainable. Comfortable. Machine Washable. Lightweight. I almost forgot about the existence of sandals at the beach this trip because these Rothy’s were even more easy on the feet. There’s so much that goes into making these, that every step I took in them in Mexico felt super important. Let me explain . . .
Rothy’s has diverted over 30 million single-use plastic water bottles from landfills, and has given them a second life as these beautiful shoes. It really blows my mind what they are doing as an environmental conscious brand that really stands for what they say they do. I like knowing that what I am wearing on my feet is a result of less waste on our beautiful earth. Less waste that can touch a place so stunning as where we found ourselves in Mexico. When you really think about the cycle of consumerism, making the decision to support and wear sustainable brands really makes so much sense. There is no reason not to. This is the #1 reason why I love Rothy’s.
Next, I adore them for their colors and patterns. I wore a wide range of styles on this trip, from neutrals to a far our Moroccan pattern. Each brought a unique aspect to my vacation look. Not only that, their lightweight nature is so great for travel because you don’t need to worry about your luggage being overweight. And their washability means that they are going to last far into the season and beyond, which means many more trips in style. We walked an uncountable amount of steps exploring the beaches and the city of Sayulita, and never did we say that our feet tired. It really was like that feeling of walking on clouds, if you could imagine that. In fact, I couldn’t imagine any other way to be feeling while on vacation.
It was a fun fashion statement to make to go the Rothy’s route this vacation, as opposed to the typical sandal. And it was the best reminder that fashion can actually be a way we can give back and do good for our earth. And now I’m back in the city, where I mostly go around by foot, and my Rothy’s are still kicking like they are brand new. They feel right at home in the concrete jungle as they are in that oceanside nature.