My Photo Shoot with Mike Lloyd

I recently had a photo shoot with the very talented photographer Mike Lloyd in hopes of coming up with a good author’s photo for my next book as well as a few good shots to add to my portfolio. For the purpose of conserving space, I did group a few of them together to post onto this entry. Here is the aftermath:

  1. The White Bikini Look

Mike thought that pairing the roses with a white bikini would look good (it was my first time wearing a white bikini). So I got this one that had a one shoulder/ruffle look.

2. The Sexy Blazer Looks

I decided I wanted to try that wear-nothing-underneath-a-blazer look that you see in editorial fashion shots. These would probably be ideal out of the shots I got from the shoot for an author’s photo but I haven’t quite decided yet.

3. The Rainbow Sherbet Dress Look065D746F-7635-4395-8D43-EE4807A3C5EB
<Click here to buy the dress>
This one below actually would make a wonderful book cover shot (which was very different from my original book cover concept I had in mind) so that’s all very to-be-determined as well:

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 6.06.28 PMI kept wondering why Mike had me do certain things while he was shooting me but realized that it was to achieve this very cool shot (below): Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 6.06.40 PM

Feel free to let me know in the comments section what you think! As I’ve said, I’m still in the deciding process for choosing photos to use in my upcoming book for both the author’s photo and possibly for a book cover/back cover.



Year of the Rose


According to the Chinese zodiac calendar, 2018 is the Year of the Dog. However, I plan on having it be the Year of the Rose.

Perhaps this will also serve as a hint as to what my next book cover will look like since I am also working right now on my second AND third books as I type this.

Truth be told, I had a sunflower phase for a long time and actually was a bit anti-rose because I saw roses as the archenemy. I also have had a dahlia phase and actually do find all of these flowers still beautiful.

I think my newfound love for roses might have something to do with me embracing my inner Belle since last year when the film Beauty and the Beast came out. It’s evident by my many posts reviewing books, the one I did on my love for life-like inanimate objects, my fashion choices, and now my obsession with buying bouquets after bouquets of roses the last several weeks.


Also, being a Game of Thrones fan, I had a coincidental incident happen where a fellow GOT fan joked about my house doing well and I asked him what animal or creature my so-called house would be symbolized by. In my head, I thought to myself “House of Roses.” Out of curiosity I decided to look up “roses” on wikipedia when I got home and it led me to a historical reference to The War of Roses, the war within the English royal family between the House of Lancaster (symbolized by a red rose) and Yorks (represented likewise by a white rose). Being an American, I was not knowledgeable of much English history but these civil wars were fought between the two houses over which house were to gain control of the throne, serving as an inspiration for the author of the Game of Thrones books. Hence, the Lancasters would be the Lannisters and the Yorks would be the Starks.


Like the English, I continue to enjoy my tea, sometimes in my rose tea cup topped with a silicone rose lid to keep it from cooling down as quickly. One of my friends who gifted me with tea was thoughtful enough to also gift me with a gorgeous rose tea comprised of whole minature roses to steep.

So as the saying goes, don’t forget to smell the roses in life.


Back to School Grown-Up Style

I recently decided to take advantage of a sale that one of my favorite online websites for shopping ModCloth had and purchased the following without knowing at the time I would be able to put together this “Back to School” look:


But between the navy blue blazer and the plaid skirt it screams preppy. I wore my previously purchased pair of preppy brown shoes with button embellishments.

I am also a fan of lounging around in my robes and night gowns when I’m at home. And this one I got is good enough to work as a  bathrobe post-showers which I think is a perfect purchase for college dorm-bound kids:


(The rose embellishment definitely worked for both looks!)

For those high school kids getting ready for the homecoming dance or formal dances to come this school year, I recently purchased a dress on amazon for a economical price of $63.09 and got it shortened to have it be floor length for my 5ft. 5in. height + 3 inch heels to wear to a banquet dinner:


Click here if you want to purchase the one I wore

(Above photo courtesy of fellowShorinji Kempo kenshi and blogger Finnworld)

I liked what I got for the price but I admittedly did feel like the padding on the breast that it came with was a bit much (though the person who shortened the dress for me forgot to take the breast pads out so I left them in when I wore the dress to the event). I did pair the dress with matching earrings and lacy black gloves.

I suppose this was a celebratory event since I found out a few days later that I did pass my 5th degree black belt exam which coincided with the timing of my birthday that same week. So the dress was this year’s version of my “birthday suit” tradition I have!

It has also been a year now since I published my book amongst other milestones & anniversaries of other related/non-related accomplishments in my life so far. So here’s a reminder to celebrate by simply being proud because it’s perfectly alright to be proud of one’s accomplishments no matter how small or big.


What Makes You Feel Beautiful?

This is a question I decided to ask a few of my female friends to see what would come of it. It ended up bringing up more questions than answers. The differences between sexy, pretty and beautiful? Feeling beautiful on the inside or on the outside?

Admittedly I sort of anticipated it but wanted to ask it in that fashion anyways to allow room for creativity.

I recently watched an old episode of the ABC show Ugly Betty that ended a few years ago. It was Episode 11 from Season 1 called “Swag.” The closet clean out at the fashion magazine Betty works for had the “It” bag she was given by her seamstress friend Christina who is in charge of the closet there. It had reminded Betty of the bag her late mother used to have when Betty was a little girl that she was permitted to carry around crayons in. She said her mother gave it to her because she knew how it would make her feel – she felt beautiful carrying it around.

To other people working at the fashion magazine, the purse had a superficial value of status but to Betty, there was a sentimental value associated with the purse. You could argue the same about anything else that might seem superficial but may mean much more than that to someone whether it’s your favorite shade of go-to-lipstick that brings you out of your rut after you’ve been dumped by the love of your life or the pair of heels that give you a sense of confidence like being on the runway before you have to head in for the interview that make your palms sweat.

A lot of ladies I asked named activities such as dancing or exercising. It certainly helps to keep oneself in physical shape to exercise but I completely agree about how it also makes me feel to exert myself physically and get the endorphins going. I feel the same way about going in and getting my monthly facials – it helps to keep my pores clean and all but simply letting myself enjoy the sensation of relaxing and enjoy being pampered, knowing that I am making time for myself is a reminder that I am a worthy woman.

I don’t wear makeup on a day-to-day basis to cover up my facials-worthy skin. And likewise, I relish wearing luxurious panties made in the allover stretch fashion of Cosabella or Hanky Panky underwear underneath whatever other clothing I am wearing that day. As Steve Jobs believed in making everything look good including the parts you cannot see, I believe that being/feeling beautiful comes in intricate layers from underneath the skin –> skin –> over the skin but underneath the clothes –> clothes –> accessories, etc. etc.

So anything superficial in relation to the skin might seem “superficial” in that it might seem less important but I believe that whatever lies underneath the layer is a reflection of the other layers and vise versa.

I would say that if do not want to feel judged for your looks that I highly recommend not to ever pursuing modeling as a career. However, as a model or not — the reality for myself and everyone else out there is that people will make judgements about you no matter what you look like.

I recently watched an interview of actress Bryce Dallas Howard with Marie Forleo and she said that her grandmother had told her that the statistics for an average working actor landing an acting gig is 1 out of every 64 auditions.Whether it’s that modeling gig that you didn’t get or being dumped by that guy you’ve been in love with forever, rejection hurts and it might even make you feel less beautiful or desirable in that moment. But the truth is you were just as beautiful before you got that rejection and getting that rejection didn’t magically make your nose bigger or your breasts smaller.

Like any other emotions we experience, there are days when we might feel extra beautiful or less beautiful than other days. And even though we tell ourselves not to compare ourselves to others, we all do it inevitably at times. Rather than trying to punish ourselves more than the misery we already feel in that moment by telling ourselves we’re not allowed to feel that way, I say accept how you feel in that moment. But do something to feel just even a little more beautiful. Take a shower and wash off the sweat and tears. Go and enjoy a manicure/pedicure.

And you don’t have to wait for someone else to tell you that you’re beautiful. Why not be the person who tells someone else that they’re beautiful? And just because someone else compliments you on how you look, you don’t have to feel obligated to return the compliment right then. Do that dance to rejoice if you want to. Or blush and add a beautiful color to those cheeks of yours. Smile, express your gratitude for the compliment and take a moment to appreciate the beauty that is you.


My Current Writing Projects

I am currently trying my best to continue my blogging amidst other writing projects that I am working on simultaneously. One is writing my own book and the other one is translating a book that has already been published in another language. This is of course also doing my best to keep up with the two book clubs I’ve been a part of.

How do I do it? Prioritizing and really making the best out of the cracks of time I have between clients I have at the office and other things I do throughout the day. I have also have decided to take a break from dancing (with the exception of a few fun drop-in classes occasionally) until the book writing has ceased.

One of the book clubs I belong to we don’t all get together in person to meet and discuss the book whereas the other one does. So naturally, I prioritize reading the in-person meeting book club reads over the other book club reading list (which I admittedly will need to catch up on later after the book writing is done).

Likewise, the translation work has official deadlines whereas my own personal book writing does not (though I have set a timeline for when I do plan on finishing it so I have set my own deadline for it).

A few months ago, I heard a talk about how the word “deadline” has the word “dead” in it and how it makes people feel dreadful about finishing work in time for it. It’s interesting that to the contrary, I am thriving on these projects and feel rather alive. So rather than thinking of it as a “deadline” I think of it as a “lifeline.”

I feel like I have a purpose. Being a single woman comes with the freedom to spend more time and energy to do such things but it admittedly can also feel lonely or empty if you feel like you have no one else or nothing to live for.

I am extra excited about working on my own book so even if it’s a small section a day, I feel driven to be diligent about typing it out in the nascent stage it’s in at the moment. And it’s easy to make time for something you’re excited about.

Even if the translation work isn’t necessarily as exciting, it’s still an honor for me to have been asked to do it. Feeling proud of that is also a great sensation to have. Oh, and in one of the original books I am photographed in it. So that’s something brag-worthy too!

I have continued to blog fairly consistently at a rate of on average about two entries a month. I don’t make a living from blogging at the moment so there isn’t an immediate dire need for me to be publishing every day or week. Thankfully, it also allows the freedom for me to really write about things I want to write about whenever I feel like writing about them. Even writing this particular entry, the words just come out naturally.

Mind you, this is all in addition to the journaling I do EVERY night before I go to bed and the consistent letter-writing I do for family and friends. I never really thought of myself as a writer but if I didn’t like writing, I probably wouldn’t be able to do so much of it.

The writing and reading has also given me the serenity, the opportunity to really enjoy “me time” and love who I am on my own. I’ve jokingly put it as the year of choosing books over boys at times, but it’s also been a time of healing quietly on my own.

It only seems natural that I would be attracted to reading other people’s works just as much as I enjoy writing my own stuff.

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 5.42.35 PMFor this month the meeting-in-person book club is reading The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin

It’s more than three weeks before we’re actually meeting for the next book club meeting to discuss the book but I ended up finishing the novel today because it was just one of those novels where I wanted to keep finding out what happens next.

It will give me more time to finish my own writing and get hitting some of the other books waiting to be read!

– M



My French-Inspired Spring Fashion

While I love Modern Vintage fashion, I also like to throw in steampunk style flares with a hint of Victorian here and there. It might be my love for Victorian architecture but there’s something lovely about lacy details.

And spring always brings out the lovely in pastels. So I recently did a fun purchase of this fascinator which I thought would go well with one of my Marie Antoinette shoes (that’s what I call shoes that I feel like I would wear if I were her).

IMG_0284 2

Oh, and if the skirt I’m wearing looks familiar, it’s because I wore it in the photo shoot I had with photographer James Mancusi about three years ago (some of the other looks I sported for that shoot can also be viewed on my home page website) which was also inspired by my francophilia and steampunk fashion.


I also decided to do one dress purchase for the season and ended up being attracted to the lace detail in this charming striped dress:


It’s a bit cottage charm meets tea time. It was also reminiscent of the nautical theme I came up with for my bathroom when I moved to my current home almost two years ago (hence, I am standing on top of the bathroom rug in the photo).

The stripes give it a more clean look while the lace adds a feminine flare and creates a well-balanced look. It’s hard to see it in the photo, but the shoes I’m wearing also have a similar stripe pattern with the adorable button charms as an accent.

I love to wear skirts and dresses all year round but spring does bring out the extra flounce of fun.

Strut it!



My Virtual Closet Sale #2

My previous virtual closet sale led to inquiries about more items so I decided to continue with a part II with just two more dresses I am willing to sell.

I do love my dresses and have at times been in tune with my inner child spirit of still wanting to wear dresses that I would have loved wearing as a little girl. For anyone who would like to wear such dresses to match outfits with their own little daughter these may just do the trick~

Click here to buy the dress

I wore the cream colored lace dress as my Halloween costume of being a wedding flower girl (which I briefly explained in my Halloween blog posting. But it can also be a cute dress to wear for Christmas or Easter too.

The other dress that would be a perfect Christmas dress is this red number (an occasion for which I have worn it). A shot of me wearing the dress was snapped by photographer John Carmen a few years ago. Don’t ask me about the face…


Click here to buy the red dress

Again, all of my items that are on sale have been dry-cleaned since being worn. When it comes to my wardrobe in general, I tend to go for quality rather than quantity. So likewise, I am selling only a few select items.

Get ’em while you can!