So, this has been a (really) long time coming. I'd been wanting to commit to this change for a few years now, but because of my insecurities over potentially not being received well and fear of stepping outside of the bounds I'd become familiar with (in a territory that's considered relatively uncharted, no less), I didn't. I think as the years went on, this digital space and my career veered off onto this path that felt like it inched further and further away from who I really was/am and what I cared about behind the scenes.
I've never felt good about excessive consumption. Even as a little kid I distinctly remember times I'd question adults for letting the water faucet run when we weren't using the water, and as a teenager, the time I'd asked my manager at my first-ever job as an office assistant to urge fellow faculty members to be frugal with office supplies. Or the time I'd worked at a restaurant during college and the knots I would feel in my stomach knowing that there would be so much water or food that will inevitably end up not eaten. Or the time I felt vacant working retail and how it was of utmost importance to up-sell and line plastic bags with more material things that customers would likely forget about in a month's time.
I grew up in an immigrant household with not much at all. My parents, siblings and I had to use items and wear clothes until they were all done or completely tattered, finish every single grain of rice so as to not waste a single morsel of potential energy, hardly use the AC or heat to conserve energy, turn off every light switch in rooms where no bodies were present. The farther along I went with fashion blogging, the more I felt trapped in excess and the farther I felt from myself. I have been slowly making my way back and I hope to finally share it you. In earnest x
I know I've mentioned this many a time on Instagram, but I had to divulge further this great product here. Being a fan of theirs for some time now, I happily collaborated with Caudalie on a few posts featuring their Vinopure skin perfecting serum. I'm fortunate to be at a point where I am able to only partner up on products that I would actually utilize on and off screen, until the last drop. That being said, this post was not a requirement on my end; rather, I really just wanted to get back into being truly transparent with readers and lend my full support to products that are gentler on the environment.
I've been using this pretty frequently for the past two months now, and let me tell you- my skin is really happy about it. It's doing damage control with large pores, uneven texture, and blemishes in one go, and I've realized that I don't think I've ever found a product that effectively addressed all of these imbalances. The organic rose water in it regulates sebum, while the mixture of essential oils (a great symphony of spearmint, lavender, lemongrass, geranium, rosemary and lemon balm) helps keep bacteria and dirt at bay, too, and I love that they create a naturally pleasant scent. Thanks to the salicylic acid (also all natural, sourced from wintergreen!), my skin feels ultra clean but never stripped dry - it almost feels like I've got illuminated, baby taut skin again.
How I apply it: I will usually take 2-3 pumps and spread it over my face (including my under-eye and eyelid areas) on a cleansed face at night before bed. I follow up with the usual suspects (eye cream, moisturizer or facial oil). If I apply it in the mornings, usually when I am experiencing oilier skin, I will apply as a spot corrector and dab it where I have pimples or large pores, e.g. t-zone, sides of nose, chin. I'll let it sit for a few minutes until it feels completely evaporated/matted before applying sunscreen.
- Not tested on animals - No added fragrances - Member of 1% For The Planet - Mostly recyclable: glass bottle, paper packaging
There's something about the air in autumn that makes me want to go clad in all-black. Maybe it's caused by the changes in the light and the colors of the trees, or maybe it's the shift in attitude, a desire to finish the year strong while also harboring a sense of nostalgia that ultimately comes with shorter days and cooler nights. My mantra then, for my favorite season, is to be bold, go easy, and do more, but feel effortless. These pieces from the new Marc Jacobs collection do just that for me - the shift dress, undemanding but oversized and tucked in all the right places, with just the right amount of details, and the Box Bag's marbling effect that lends extra texture for good measure. I love the lunchbox shape of the bag especially - it surprisingly stores a ton of essentials and still maintains its smooth, eye catching shape. As someone who appreciates both art and form, I'm taking this bag with me wherever I go this season, day or night, for its understated look and genius utility. To go freely, to do things effortlessly.
I've rounded up some of my favorite styles from Marc Jacobs’ latest collection below:In collaboration with Marc Jacobs and ShopStyle
As you guys know, I'm an ardent nester - being at home is the most freeing for me so I made it a priority to make it feel like my sanctuary. This would involve filling it with it a bunch of plants and adding unique furniture pieces that really highlighted the space and my personality. After months of scouring and multiple trips to various nurseries and flea markets, I'd inched closer to creating my ideal space. Still, it just didn't feel complete until I'd made the finishing touches with key pieces from Perigold - the pouf and marble accents were the perfect texture/look I didn't know I'd needed. This pouf/bean bag chair is the bean bag of my dreams and it sort of encapsulates me perfectly - relaxed and casual but a little posh at the same time. Best of all, Perigold offers a white glove service on large parcels, meaning they can deliver the package, unbox, assemble the piece(s) in a matter of minutes, clean it up and then be on their way. The ease definitely made up for all the times I had to lug huge plants and antique finds myself haha!
Though mentally I'm not quite ready to let go of summer, my body is more than happy to slip into the season of overcast mornings and crisp evenings. As always, my fall uniform will be kept simple and feel unfettered, much like this combo of shimmery silk and a plush mock-neck (made of other natural fibers!). As we inch closer to the season that precedes yet another new year, I can't help but become (prematurely?) reflective and hopeful for what's to come. This past year has been an eye-opener for me and I'm hoping I can start forging my new perspective in more ways than one, sooner than later.
...always a staple. I realize there hasn't been as many updates on here, and it's probably because I've been a hermit and I've been wearing the same ol' garb over and over again. The common denominator here and main perpetrator? Finding a peace of mind.
This past month if I wasn't bare-faced, I was most likely wearing a bit of a burnt orange-reddish lip color... namely "Faded Clementine" from Em Cosmetics (quick side note: it's a little drying for me and I'm not the biggest fan of its staying power [or the lack thereof], it seems to come off really easily so having it on hand and reapplying is a must... otherwise, best color ever). It feels like the perfect pop for a hot summer's day and/or evening. And if you pair with a light pink flush for your cheeks (I'm wearing 'Puff' from Glossier here), an equally reddish/orange-y shadow and some shimmer, I think "Faded Clementine" is a great hue for that laid-back-but-a-little-put-together feel for the thick of summer. I got SO many compliments every time I wore it.
OK. Normally I don't like all-in-one anything. Actually, I generally hate them, yes "hate". Every single all-in-one product I've tried has failed miserably... until this wondrous skin elixir came along. Admittedly I was very skeptical about this and was thinking about offering it to someone else who would be more appreciative of it, but a friend had raved about the brand and so I gave it a try and patted it on my skin one night. It felt amazing. You know that feeling you get when you're dying of thirst and you finally quench yourself? Slurrrrrp- that's how it felt patting this onto my face. It was incredibly softening and hydrating - I couldn't believe how baby soft my face had turned. Turns out, there's a bit of ceramide (makes your skin super lush feeling) and some argan oil in it (along with a handful of ingredients traditionally used for medicinal purposes), but you would never suspect it because it doesn't feel at all slick or oily- just a light, airy fluid on the skin. It's so light that I found it to be the perfect product for moisturizing my face in the mornings during such a warm time of the year. My skin didn't feel clogged nor did it feel weighed down by product--just my skin, but better. 10/10 would recommend!
Hands down the best tasting smoothies in Los Angeles, and possibly even of all places. I'm usually really frugal when it comes to buying beverages like coffee, juice, and especially picky when it comes to smoothies but I will happily drop for some LA Press. I've yet to try their coffee, but taste wise, their juices and smoothies are so refreshing and delicious without ever being too sweet or bitter/overwhelming, the consistency is perfect IMO, and I've found that almost every single smoothie I've tried has truly been perfected (my go-to is the 'Go Green' smoothie, made with spirulina, maca, in-house coconut milk, banana, dates, Himalayan salt). Generally I just feel so much more "balanced" and renewed and energized after having an LA Press smoothie, which was exactly what I'd needed all this past month. A huge bonus: their smoothies come in glass jars instead of plastic cups (YES) and you can either keep them for yourself or wash them at home and bring them with you to LA Press on your next visit and receive $1 off your smoothie.
824 South La Brea Ave Los Angeles, CA (323) 592-3415
So! July was kind of a rollercoaster month for me. And considering I typically already experience a bit of anxiety on a normal basis, in short: I needed this so fucking much. I will have to say right off the bat, even as a native and a huge lover of Los Angeles, I usually roll my eyes when it comes to laughable, archetypal LA things like tarot cards! and crystals! and astrology! excessive workout and diet fads! faux hikes! Instagram traps! (...the list goes on). BUT after trying this for some time and feeling the positive effects every single time, I'm convinced that maybe I don't have a total aversion to the idea of being healed by mushrooms. I take one every time I feel the stress and anxiety kicking in, and in about 30-40 minutes, I can actually feel my mind and body releasing the tension and worry. What I love about it the most is the fact that I still feel productive and fully functional on it, just without the nagging minor stressors I generally get. Not sure what I was doing before this!
These days I hardly find myself in heels anymore- and if I'm in heels, they're probably no higher than 2-3". The pair on repeat for the past couple months is this lizard-effect slingback from By Far. This low-heeled, modern Mary-Jane silhouette meets the criteria for comfort and surprisingly goes well with almost everything, day or night. Long live the kitten heel (my feet are sorely thanking me for this newfound sentiment).
Not sure if it made ANY sense to wear a long one-piece in the middle of summer, but I often found myself gravitating towards jumpsuits this month. Obviously it wasn't functionality I'd cared about (using a public bathroom while wearing one of these proved to be kind of annoying and awkward), but it was simply the fact that I just didn't want to have to think about what I needed to wear. I just wanted to feel good and go. And these did that for me. I truly believe jumpsuits look good on EVERYONE so if you've been wondering about getting into one, I say go for it. Find yourself a good one and keep it forever.
Okay so I kind of use this all year round but more so during the summer. It's my favorite retinol product to use during warmer months because it doesn't feel as drying and it goes on super light. I generally spray a bit onto my hands, warm it up a bit by rubbing both hands, and then pat it onto my face. It smells wonderful and it's a powerhouse of ingredients: retinol (reduces appearance of fine lines, dark spots, etc), hyaluronic acid (keeps skin moisturized and plump), glycolic acid (exfoliating), and vitamin C (antioxidant and great for collagen)!
Have been wanting to use colored candles for awhile, but couldn't really get my hands on some affordable ones. So far, World Market offers a decent collection. They seemed to match the mood for July :)
ngaengmyeon (Korean cold noodles)
We hit 110 degrees this past month and it was brutal even stepping out of the house for a couple of seconds, but I braved the suffocating heat for these ice cold Korean noodles a couple times in one week. They're god-send and I'm SO glad it's offered at plenty of places around LA. If you're ever around Koreatown, make sure to visit YuChun and order this dish.
Lastly, contrary to the first favorite item listed here, the best thing about July was that the majority of it was spent makeup-free and (perhaps subsequently?) feeling free. Or at least it was spent in the pursuit of that feeling... which I've come to realize, only really materializes during the summer and that should not be the case. Letting July be a lesson in improving that and making it a year round pursuance, despite how long the sun chooses to stay up.
While I do love the occasional night out and having fun with friends, I think my natural state is happiest when I'm at home, by myself. I'm a bit of an introvert. I had a conversation with a friend recently and we were trying to determine whether leaning introvert or extrovert was rooted in your neurological makeup, or if it was a personality trait that's carved over time, from circumstantial situations or your upbringing. Perhaps it's both, but I know that over the years after living in a hectic part of town, I'd realized how important it was to turn my physical fortress into a mental oasis. Consequentially, I think desperately retreating to home further encouraged my introversion- and so I kept making it a point to continually improve my sanctuary.
Anyhow, after sharing snippets of my space on Instagram a few readers were curious about what my home life was like, and well, the following photos will hint that it's mostly time spent tending to plants, cuddling my dogs, reading on my balcony, and playing around with skincare products. In collaboration with Society6, I'm sharing my favorite nooks below.
My bedroom might be my least inhabited room (during my waking hours anyway), but it is probably the most personal and private space, for obvious reasons. It's where I retreat to when my mind and body desperately need to recharge, where I briefly recount my day and make note of my feelings before drifting off to sleep. As my bedroom leans more on the minimal side, I thought this piece from Society6 was fitting for its depiction of intimacy and self-preservation and -love. I might spend more time in my office or in the kitchen, but the bedroom is the most sacrosanct of all, without a doubt.
It's hard to say for sure, but the living room is maybe my favorite. I have a small dining area but 99% of the time, I just prefer to eat in here. Maybe because it's padded with plants and sprinkled with my favorite flea market treasures, but I feel like I get a deep breath of fresh air whenever I'm in the living room. It's also the spot my dogs love resting in the most, and sometimes I'll catch them sunbathing by the window, scouting for strangers and mailmen. I check in with my plants at least twice a day (and a bunch of them are not pictured here so you can imagine how much time I spend in this room), so I go in and out of this area a ton, but my favorite time of the day is when the sun starts to cower and peek through the trees out in front, creating a brief, magical shadow dance on the floor during golden hour. I know my bedroom is where I primarily calm my thoughts at the end of the night, but I love spending a few minutes here during the day to recalibrate if needed.
I work from home 80% of the time so it was really important to have a distinguishable office to separate it from the rest of my home life. I have to say that this is the most "colorful" room of all. In the literal sense, it gets the most light and has a lot of bright-colored plants, but it's also where I spend most of my days, so naturally I felt like it had to house things that I cherished most, and things that are affixed to vibrant memories. It's decorated with these Society6 prints, my favorite books, my collection of cameras, crystals, dried flowers, rocks/shells and other random mementos. I also love these two art pieces from Society6 and thought they were perfect for this space; the figure washing her hair in the first piece gives me a sense of serenity and purity, while the balancing figures in the second frame are friendly reminders of strength and willpower. I always need to be reminded of both.
Ah my bathroom! As you guys know, I'm a huge skincare junkie so you can probably guess that I spend quite a bit of time here. I have an extensive skincare regimen - I'm committed to it at least twice a day and from time to time I'll utilize additional tools like the LightStim, so my actual skincare process might take a little longer on some days. I figured since I'm here often that I would try to make it more "homey" however possible, like decorating the walls with artwork, placing a few plants around small corners and some vintage fixtures to enhance the space and give it some character. I thought the rawness of this 'Twist' print, balanced by its quirky colors, was appropriate for the bathroom. It's one of my favorite pieces from Society6, and I love that it adds the right amount of eccentricity to an otherwise relatively neutral space. (PS. I receive quite a few DMs on Instagram about where I find my trays/containers. I usually just recycle old drinking glasses/candles or scour flea markets for them! It's the only way I can avoid clutter with having a ton of product, I have to make sure I have a home for everything.)
And last but not least: my balcony hideout, a place I can sit at any time to breathe slowly, properly meditate and sometimes do some quick yoga under the sun. Much like my living room, I wanted this to house a ton of plants, but unlike the former, I wanted it to feel more vibrant and energizing. Because I've always wanted a courtyard (anybody else crave being outside but want to feel completely safe and have it all to yourself?), I'd spent some time thinking about how I wanted this area to look exactly: hints of golden yellow and pink and bright greens against wooden furniture and a hodgepodge of succulents and flora with the ability to lay down comfortably. When I step outside to take a breather and sometimes catch a squirrel on the ledge, or a hummingbird or two whizzing nearby, I definitely feel grounded and grateful for the quick spouts of interactions with nature. I'm really thankful I get to call this home, even if it's only for a little while.
For more of my curated favorites on Society6, click here.
My favorite thing about summer in LA is not the beaches, the dry heat, outdoor concerts, or dining al fresco (we kind of get to do that year-round), but it's Cinespia! It's a movie screening held on a grassy lawn at the iconic Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where people can (and should) bring their own blankets, pillows, snacks, and beverages (wine and beer are allowed!). I love it - it's quite dreamy getting to sit and graze amongst a sea of people and swaying palm trees as the sun drowsily sets. It's a pleasant way to enjoy doing an activity you'd normally do inside a theatre, I definitely recommend going at least once during your stay here in LA. It officially kicked off at the end of May (I caught "Casablanca"), but Cinespia runs through the entire month of July. Find the rest of the schedule here.
Two things here: the radiant creamy concealer from NARS and cloud paint from Glossier. If I had to choose only two beauty products to wear, they would be concealer and blush (although admittedly I'm sort of cheating as I have lash extensions and my brows are microbladed). This past month and presumably for the rest of this summer, I've just been stepping out with some sunscreen, a bit of concealer around the under-eye area and a few dabs of blush for an easy, fresh summery look.
I've been a LONG time fan of the Tarte maracuja creaseless concealer... like a strong 10-11 years of use. It was the only concealer that I felt was actually brightening; it provided full coverage with true staying power (I never had to reapply even during a full day out). And then one day I tested this one out and I realized I needed to move on. The NARS concealer does everything that the Tarte one does, except it comes on a little bit lighter and looks a little more natural, which is exactly what I'm going for nowadays. It blends in easily, too, and I'd have no need to reapply all too often.
Ah Glossier's cloud paint! It's incredible how easy it is to apply this - it comes out in a liquid-like paste and then melts into your skin seamlessly. I particularly love the color "Puff" for spring/summer time because it is THE perfect color for a fresh, you-woke-up-looking-and-feeling-like-an-angel look. The photo above is how I walked out most days in May: a few dabs of concealer and a few of "Puff" on the apples of my cheeks.
I know they say you should keep your favorite fragrances a secret, but ugh this one is just too good not to share. I've been primarily wearing this Dries van Noten par Frederic Malle perfume the past month because something about its notes remind me so much of why I love spring and summer. To be completely honest, it has a funky aroma first off... but as the spritz settles, you begin to realize how mysterious and alluring it actually is. With a bit of bergamot, saffron, sandalwood, vanilla, and musk, it exudes equal parts elegance and exoticism, shifting through different phases as each hour passes. Nearly reminiscent of a perfect warm, summer evening.
I'm not sure what made dried-flower making particularly so fascinating in May, as I do it consistently at least once a month or so, but there was definitely a lot of it this past month. Maybe it was because all of the flowers near my apartment started blooming like crazy mid-May and I just had to preserve. I've got a lavender farm (not really, but pretty much) out in front and it's been really therapeutic snipping some stalks as soon as the sun slips and the bees go to sleep. I'd made quite a few bunches and placed them around my bed and bathroom to create a more serene atmosphere. Turns out, it really helps!
This was easily my favorite meal of May. Bavel, brainchild of Chef Ori from Bestia, recently opened up in the Arts District of Los Angeles. I'd been a huge fan of Ori Menashe and his culinary brilliance at Bestia since its opening back in 2012 so I knew I had to try Bavel as soon as possible. In short and as you might've guessed, it is fucking amazing. Every dish is a wonderful rollercoaster, flavor and texture wise - the grilled prawns, scallop crudo, grilled mushroom, and duck 'nduja hummus are especially glorious. I will go more in depth about this potentially new favorite restaurant of mine in another post to come soon.
Eric Buterbaugh is a famed florist known for his luxe arrangements and selection of quality flowers. It makes sense, then, that he would make some of the best-smelling candles in the world. Even as I unwrapped the box this candle sat in, I was able to smell its wonderful fragrance. It smells FABULOUS even while solid. So you can imagine how fragrant it is when lit. This one I have here is their rose candle - dare I say I prefer it to some of the more well known brands?
May seemed to have been the perfect month for picnicking - flowers were full bloom, weather was perfect, and the light was just right. What's better than snacking your way through the day, al fresco and all?
I've been on a heavy flea market kick for the past couple of months, finding treasures ranging from artwork, kitchenware, furniture and decorative items to clothing and little bits of jewelry. I'm just barely getting back into jewelry but I have to say that finding gems at the flea is my favorite. By now I've amassed a handful of unique earrings from the flea, and all for a reasonable price. The pair I'm wearing above was just two dollars, can. you. believe! If you haven't been in awhile, or ever(?!), I strongly recommend going to the flea and thumbing through the selection. It makes for a great date activity, too.
Dried apple and orange crisps by yours truly. SO easy to make, and so delicious. No need to buy them overpriced at the market. Perfect to munch on during warm months, or as a garnish to your summer cocktails. Will put up the recipe for them soon!