One Dress Styled for Every Season

I recently gave a tip to fellow fashionista & blogger Muse Meileena about my lack of winter-specific pieces such as bulky sweaters since I make use of a lot of my clothes all-year round utilizing outerwear instead to layer over in colder weather. Here’s an example using a dress I bought during the Cyber Monday sale:

Winter

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I would most likely wear a coat if I was walking around town in the dress during the winter time. However, if I’m attending a holiday party, I would sport the white furry shrug so that I can still show off the dress. The ear muffs are not usually something I wear in California but I’ve worn them in other places that snow during my travels and it makes all the difference. In this situation it worked out that the white fluffiness of both items matched.


Spring

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I could wear cardigans but I opted for the light purple jacket I had bought as part of a set with a formal dress this year since it’s close to that pastel color vibe. It works with the shoes (which also scream spring) that match the jacket. As a general rule of thumb, sinamay fascinators are more appropriate for spring and summer whereas felt and wool head/hair pieces tend to work better for autumn and winter months.


Summer

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I wasn’t able to quite decide which summer look to choose for this posting so I decided to post all three! The white cardigan can work for spring as well, but I figured in the summer months hanging it over the shoulder like that would still help prevent shoulder sunburns while staying relatively cool in the hot weather. Hats with longer brims would also help with sun protection along with a cute pair of sunglasses (which I sadly did not photograph myself with even though I purchased a few along with the dress). Summer and spring seasons call for bright colored shoes that pop!


Fall

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I couldn’t quite decide between the navy blue blazer (which I’ve been posting photos of me wearing in recent postings) or the black & white one. The black & white one does match the color scheme of the black & white hat (which I thought went well with the Parisian landscape of the print on the dress). But the navy blue does go well with the lighter blue color of the dress too and I did pair both blazers with navy blue pumps. When I wore the black & white blazer, I also wore black gloves. If it was in colder weather, I would probably opt for tights too.


As you can see, it’s really all about the outerwear and accessories. I do think it’s more fun to sport vibrant colors during the colder seasons too. So next time, consider reconsidering before you decide to put away so-called spring/summer clothes during the autumn/winter months.

-M

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How to Spice Up an Outfit with Fringe Shorts

I recently bought a few more of the fringe dance shorts I used to own in black. I bought two pairs (red and white) not being able to decide which color to get for an upcoming dance performance I have. I figured I would wear them out for fun too.

While I think certain situations call for more conservative outfits, I think if you’re out trying to have fun then why not put in some fun in the outfits too. Here’s how I accomplished that with two conservative outfits by swapping the bottom half with the fringe shorts:

Outfit Example #1 + White Fringe Shorts

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The top half of the outfit may look familiar if you recall the posting from when I made the ombre bedazzled headband to match the sweater I found.

I think if you’re babysitting for the night or working at a library the first outfit is still appropriate and there’s still some fun in the bling details of the headband and the sweater. But I decided to wear the white fringe shorts to go out for a weekend brunch with friends. The top is still fairly conservative so it balances it out with the party on the bottom half.


Outfit Example #2 + Red Fringe Shorts

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In these looks I also took pieces from a blog posting I did in August with the blazer and the rose adornment. For a day at the office, the first look would probably work. But for afterwork hours, I think swapping the pants for the red fringe shorts would be the perfect transition. It looks like you’re ready to go out for dancing indeed.

Like the first example, I like keeping the top the same and slightly more conservative to balance things out with the bottom. Between the pumps that scream edgy and preppy, keeping the blazer is a perfect compliment.


I used to own a pair of the fringe shorts in black and used it for a photo shoot (below) but have yet to find out where they went. I think the “bottom” line is it’s a great piece to have in any color and it’s so much fun to shake it. As a fun bonus tip, put one on and dance in it to  Taylor Swift’s song “Shake It Off.”

Modern Love Photography (13 of 49)

-M

 

Film Review on Wonder, Book Review on The Best Day Ever, and How They Helped Me Get Out of a Funk

This week I went to go watch the film Wonder on release day and completed the book club read of the month The Best Day Ever (by Kaira Rouda).

I personally don’t mind doing a lot of activities solitarily or with other people as it’s apparent from a lot of my blog postings where I read a lot (but do enjoy discussing the books with the book club ladies) or travel by myself (but also enjoy visiting others or traveling with others sometimes). So while I did ask around to see if anyone wanted to go watch Wonder with me, I did end up enjoying the film on my own as well as the book. And I found these two seemingly very different stories therapeutic.

We all strive to be perfect or want to at least look it, even though we know no one can be [perfect].

Screen Shot 2017-11-22 at 5.43.51 PMWith Wonder, it’s very evident that the story is about a boy who has a facial difference he was born with (Treacher Collins Syndrome) but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the film actually does go into the back stories of the other characters in his life. And while it is heartbreaking to see him go through what he goes through because of the obvious, the way the film shows perspective of the other characters’ lives it’s a lesson that it’s beyond life that revolves around you—- even when things are hard for you, it doesn’t mean other people have it any easier because we all have things we have to deal with.

Screen Shot 2017-11-22 at 5.46.40 PMIn reading the novel The Best Day Ever it was also surprising to know that it was written by a female author but from the perspective of a psychopathic male character. While some of the things this character thought was repulsing, I couldn’t help but be reminded that there are people out there who think these thoughts. And yet, this person thinks that he is “perfect” because he is in denial of his problems.

So may these pieces be a reminder to not be deceived by the facade of things and being able to accept and acknowledge your imperfections.

I admittedly strive to paint this image of fabulousness of myself in sharing things I do in these blog posts. But like everyone else I am vulnerable and feel pain. Even if I appear strong enough to get back up, the pain is still there. While some may perceive that as a sign of weakness, I believe that there is strength in continuously getting back up in spite of the pain and also being able to be kind to others through empathy of understanding or acknowledging other people’s pain/hardships.

Be kind to others and to yourself,

-M

Book and Film Review: The Zookeeper’s Wife

The book club ladies and I read The Zookeeper’s Wife for the month of October. And at the meeting for discussing the book, a lot of the ladies who had seen the film said that the film was better than the book (which doesn’t happen very often). So I decided to put that theory to the test and watched the film myself.

The verdict? Overall, I did like the film better too.

Visually – The book did provide actual photos of the Zabinski Family as well as the zoo animals whereas the film did not have any archived footage or photos even at the end. However, the film did make it easier to follow the different guests that stayed since it does tend to become difficult for me to keep up with too many characters in the written form. I did wish that the book would include a map of where everything was which would have been more helpful.
Historically – Luckily, both the book and the film were done in the style of having things happen in a chronological order. However, the book does have less of a progressing story feel to it in comparison to the film. This is where a lot of the ladies from the book club felt like it was hard to get through the book at times since it had a more history book or documentary feel to it. Though I will say that reading the book did give me a good understanding of what was going on in the film. So I’m still glad I read the book.

With the recent natural disasters that have been happening all over the country lately, it has been a sad reminder that whether it’s a natural disaster or a war innocent lives are taken and endangered, both human and non-human animals. And it is always heartwarming to hear about the selfless kindness and courageous acts to help others that exist amidst such tragedy.

-M

My Everyday Life in Black & White

Many of you have probably seen the posts people have been doing on the 7-day challenge of posting black & white photos from everyday life. The posts usually are something like this:

Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanations. Nominate someone to do the same. Day <enter number> of 7. I nominate <enter name>

My friend Megan nominated me to do the challenge on one of her 7 days, coincidentally on a Sunday after I returned home from an outing with my mother in the city where I came across this humorous book cover that I had just happened to photograph:

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Click here to buy the panda book
And then from the first photo I took for this challenge, I realized that the first photo was also an object that was in black & white against a black & white background, coincidentally enough! So then I decided to add a new layer to the challenge by being mindful that whole week of photographing everyday life that is ALREADY black & white, though I did still use a black & white filter to photograph them.

In following the instructions, I will not provide any explanations to leave a sense of mystery (or at least to those who aren’t familiar with what I’ve photographed). However, en lieu of nominating someone for each day, I invite anyone who is feeling inspired to take on this challenge!

From doing this project, I also became more aware of the different colors in my everyday life in general. It made me think about the fact that I could do different colored versions of this photography project (ie. a red things in my everyday life). For me, it was about taking a moment to notice things in my everyday life and being mindful. It’s why people do things like meditation.

Namaste,

M

Eco-Friendly Household Products Review: The Honest Company

I had heard about The Honest Company for a while now since Jessica Alba started promoting it a few years ago (upon her starting it). I spotted a few Honest Company items on a shelf in a Sprout’s grocery store several weeks ago and decided to give their hair conditioner a try. I then decided to check out their website and tried out their customizable 5 products bundle (to which you can have a monthly subscription to). This is what I decided to get:

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Items #1, 2: Conditioner (My rating: A+)

Since I go through hair conditioner fairly quickly, I decided to order two bottles of it. And I am personally a fan of the thick-necked pump feature the lids of the bottles come in because it won’t break off easily and you can retract it to lay back flat if you want to with ease. This is what obviously got me interested in the rest of The Honest Company’s products and still ranks as my favorite.
Click here to buy Honest Conditioner

If my hair was finer I may need more intense conditioning (The Honest Company does have a detangling conditioner too) but their regular one works just fine for my hair.

Item #3: Laundry Detergent (My rating: A)

I also do laundry everyday because I need to launder supplies for my business so I wanted to try their laundry detergent. Prior to this, I’ve used Method as well as Seventh Generation and I definitely think Honest Laundry Detergent was better than Seventh Generation’s because a.) The laundry does appear to come out cleaner and b.) the amount I have to use to achieve the effect is considerably less.

Like a lot of their products, Method’s laundry detergent does come in a pump bottle which does make it easier to not have to measure out into a cup and is more compact. However, I’ve had a few accidents BECAUSE of the bottle being a pump since I walk over to a laundry room with it so it would probably be more ideal if I had a landry room where I could keep the pump bottle there. So for now, I would go with The Honest Company again though I’ve also gotten recommendations for Molly’s Suds laundry detergent so I’ll have to try that out and come out with another verdict.

Item #4: All Purpose Balm (My Rating: A)

The organic all purpose balm reminded me of the Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Cream I’ve been using and decided to swap it in for the time being since my foot cream supply in its tube was nearing its end. For people that prefer something unscented, the All Purpose Balm is preferable to the Coconut Foot Cream. As a bonus, the All Purpose Balm also meets the 3.4 oz. or less requirement for carrying liquids on airplanes which makes it a great travel companion too (though the thickness of it makes me wonder if it would even be categorized as “liquids”). So this one is a keeper.

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Item #5: Dish Soap (My Rating: C-) 

The first thing I noticed about the Honest Lemon Verbena Dish Soap is that it’s very runny compared to Method’s Ginger Yuzu dish soap I’ve been using. It does make it feel like the soap gets diluted faster (and if you’re not careful enough, you can easily pour out a lot since it comes out more liquidy). And in referring back to my review for their conditioner, I wish that The Honest Company would use a pump container also for their dish soap which is also something I do like about Method’s dish soap. So in the future, the Honest dish soap is not my first choice.

~Bonus Items I Purchased Outside of the Bundle~

The Lotion (My Rating: B+) 

Although I did not have it in my bundle order, I have started using the Honest Face + Body Lotion(also in apricot) as well. The scent is very subtle and the consistency is slightly on the runnier side compared to the Burt’s Bees one I’ve been using which does make it easier to apply but maybe a bit more runnier than my personal preference. Like most lotions, I add in a few drops of body oil (I’ve been using Trader Joe’s Argan oil) when I apply it on. The Honest Company does have their own body oil too, so I will most likely give that a try in one of my bundles order in the near future as well. IMG_3184.JPG

The Shampoo/Body Wash (My Rating: B)

I know it makes me sound like a hater of runny items, but this was similar to my experience with their dish soap. Perhaps as a body wash this is a more normal consistency but it’s definitely one of the runniest shampoos I’ve ever used.

In comparison to the shampoo I’ve been using (Yes to Carrots) the container it comes in is a lot more preferable since it’s in the same style thick-neck pump bottle their conditioner comes in. I actually really don’t like the lids of the bottles the Yes to Carrots conditioner or shampoo come in because they don’t work very well so I always leave them standing upside down (lid side down) to make sure I can get product to come out. And the scents for both Yes to Carrots and the Honest shampoos are thankfully very subtle as I’m not a fan of heavy perfumes.

But the runny consistency may be bad enough for me to want to go back to the Yes to Carrots shampoo after I’m done using this one (and I may just fill the empty Honest Company pump bottle with the Yes to Carrots shampoo).

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If I were to be completely “honest” about ordering products via The Honest Company’s website, it’s been trying. I’ve done it twice now and both times I’ve had to go through customer service to make corrections. And unfortunately, the second time around the order was placed over the weekend and no one was able to get back to me until Tuesday. So I am now waiting for an incorrect order to arrive so that I can go through their return/exchange process. Though their 5 items for $25 bundle deal for first time bundle orders is a pretty darn good deal.

The thing with The Honest Company products is that it’s very much marketed towards households with babies. I finally stumbled across them at a local CVS store recently. But again, they were in the baby products aisle. As a result, I feel like those who are childless end up missing the chance of noticing them. With or without a baby, there are people like myself out there who want to use household products without harsh chemicals and toxins.

Here’s to healthy living,

M
(Now an affiliate of The Honest Company)

Book Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

IMG_3174Like most people, there are lots of things I have given a f*ck about that I no longer give f*ck about. Thank goodness for that…

As straight forward as the title of the book seems, it did offer me a good supply of laughter as soon as I started reading it. Though the last chapter is on death [appropriately enough] and the topic is also something I myself thought about when I wrote my own book. At the time I had thought that I was a rare weirdo in being a 29 year old approaching 30 thinking about such a concept. However, at some point in the book I did come to the mathematical conclusion that Mark Manson and I are actually the same age too.

And while I too have lived an unconventional life in my own ways, Manson’s included traveling to 55 countries in 5 years and with it came even a larger number of lovers. But you don’t have to rack up those numbers in order to reach a nirvana of “not giving a f*ck.” It’s about living a life true to yourself in who you are, not what everyone else wants you to be or tells you to be. And in Manson’s case he ultimately came to the conclusion that this adventurous and exciting lifestyle he had envisioned for himself turned out to not be all that it was hyped up to be.

I am a fan of his”Do Something” Principle and the analogy he used of how his parents would look to him as a technology prodigy as an example to illustrate the principle. It’s often the stereotype that the younger generation is more technology-savvy but the point Manson was making was that he simply would try every button and plug or unplug every cable/cord to see what would happen until he learned how the whole system worked. The fear of trying and doing something/anything is trumped by curiosity.

I still go to auditions my agency sends me out on knowing that there’s a high chance that I will not get the gig but I go anyways because I know that if I don’t go my chances are zero. I wrote and published my own book last year, knowing that it’s most likely not going to become a New York Times Bestseller or a Pulitzer Award winner.

I believe you could always make improvements but I don’t believe in being a perfectionist. I too share the same belief with Manson (and Nike) that you just do it. Some of my earlier blog posts would make me cringe today. But the belief is that as you keep doing something you get better over time.

One might say that in some altruistic motive, I started this blog in hopes of inspiring others with my so-called modern vintage lifestyle. But as Manson points out, it’s the action that inspires inspiration and then that becomes a motivation. It’s not to say that my blog postings can’t be inspiring. But there are many people out there who feel inspired by motivational seminars who will not apply what they learned to make changes in their life or those who hear about courageous acts on the evening news and they themselves will never lift a finger to help a stranger in need.

Though at the end of the day, it’s our choice as to what we decide to give a f*ck about. And there are billions of people out there who couldn’t give a f*ck about what I have to say. The important thing is to give a f*ck about something that matters to you. And it’s not a bad thing to reevaluate what you deem as important once in a while.

-M