It’s a new year and like everyone else, I thought about goals and things I want to accomplish in the new year. I really enjoy working on this blog; putting together outfits and ideas for shoots is fun for me. It’s one of my creative outlets. I don’t get to be this creative at my day job as a corporate graphic designer. But I’ve seen others burn out on blogging because of doing too much and I want to keep it fun. I’m not going to kill myself to post to an exact schedule all the time, and I don’t need to post a photo to Instagram every day.
This year, I want to keep getting better at taking photos and posing for them. I’m not a natural model and I default to a lot of the same poses. I also want to try more interesting shoots, to tell a story with my photos instead of it just being pictures of me standing around in cute outfits (not that there’s anything wrong with that!).
For my first photos of the new year, Ross and I went to a local library and discreetly took pictures. The children’s wing of the Pasadena Central Library is all beautiful wood furniture and vintage desks, but it was filled with people and employees, so unfortunately we couldn’t take any photos there. We had to settle for photos taken in other parts of the library and also the outside.
I’m wearing a new Miss Patina dress. I’ve mentioned before how much I love Miss Patina’s clothing, and they outdo themselves every season. I saw this dress a few months ago and thought the tiny print of scholarly cats reading books was adorable. The embroidered collar was the kicker! I bought the dress along with a couple others (including one that I left in a hotel room! I’m so upset about that one).
It’s pretty comfortable and I like the flared A-line cut of the skirt; I find this to be the most flattering on me especially when it hits above the knee. Is it a little annoying to button and unbutton the entire front of the dress every time I put it on? Yes. But it’s worth it because this dress is so cute.
By the way, the books I’m using as props in these photos are books I’m currently reading: We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I am purposely trying to read more books written by women and people of color as I think their voices are just as important as the typically white and male Western authors featured in the literary canon. It’s important to expose yourself to different voices. I think the quotation engraved in the library exterior below is a good way to think about reading. “The true learning that makes for righteousness.”
I hope everyone’s new year is off to a good start! Can’t wait to show you more outfit photos.
Dress: Miss Patina Kiterature dress
Cat beret: Forever21, old
Shoes: Carson boot by Frye, old
Purse: Luna cat purse, Amazon
Ross and I went on a weekend trip to Lake Tahoe a few weeks back, and snow was in the forecast. Living in LA, I never get to see snow and was excited to have it on our trip. Also, I figured the snow would make for pretty blog photos so I brought along a whole suitcase of Christmas-themed outfits for outfit photos to post in December (I know…an entire suitcase full of photoshoot clothes, what am I, a model??).
Christmas is probably my favorite holiday, behind Halloween. Ross and I are not religious (we’re pretty much agnostic) but I think almost anyone can relate to the feelings of the holiday season. I like spending time with loved ones, reflecting on the past year and of course, all the delicious food, especially the Christmas cookies! I love baking all different kinds of cookies at Christmastime.
Fall has finally arrived in Los Angeles. We were all complaining just a few weeks ago about how blazing hot it was (100-plus degree days for weeks on end!), but now we’ve taken out our coats and scarves. Autumn was just a little delayed this year but now the temperature is in the 60s to low 70s Fahrenheit. Perfect for sweaters and layers.
When it comes to sweaters, I can’t resist rainbow prints. I’ve accumulated a collection from various sources and this one is new. I like the slightly retro look for it- the rainbow stripes are in more muted tones and this chunky knit looks kind of 70s-ish to me.
Here is Halloween-themed outfit number 4! I’ve had a lot of fun this month styling different outfits for October/Halloween that weren’t too costume-y. I still wanted to get into the Halloween spirit, so a subtle way of doing that was putting in small touches, like the Halloween-themed collar clips from Femme de Bloom. And a little less subtle is this beret with cat ears. In my last post, I mentioned going to a small town called Oak Glen to pick apples and pumpkins. This set of photos is from the same day but at a different orchard called Riley’s Farm. Read on to see how this visit went.
I grew up on the East Coast in Maryland and this time of year is when I’m feeling nostalgic for my hometown. There’s nothing like autumn on the East Coast; visiting apple orchards and pumpkin patches, drinking fresh apple cider and of course, the foliage. I remember doing all that at Butler’s Orchard and getting cider from Cider Barrel, which was in a building shaped like, you guessed it, a giant wooden barrel. (Unfortunately, it’s closed now). Autumn in Los Angeles is not quite the same thing. First of all, it’s the end of October and there’s been a long string of 100 degree days (seriously, it has been SO HOT). Second, you’re more likely to see palm trees than the deciduous trees that turn beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow.
I still wanted to try to experience the autumn of my childhood, so I researched if there were even any apple orchards or pumpkin patches near LA. A lot of the pumpkin patches I found are what I call parking lot pumpkin patches, where they take over a parking lot and set up the pumpkins for you to select. But through my online research, I found a town called Oak Glen filled with apple orchards about a 90 minute drive from the city!
Continuing with my Halloween-themed outfits, today’s outfit is not explicitly Halloween (no candy corn, pumpkins or witches). But it does have a dark and kind of spooky print of the lunar cycle, with various phases of the moon on the dress. This is the Glow in the Dark Moon dress from Retrolicious and I got it at their sample sale earlier this year. I love the dresses from Retrolicious, and have worn a few so far this year (including this colorful rainbow dress!). I added some cute bat-shaped collar clips from Femme de Bloom because this big white collar was like a blank canvas to me; it needed to be accessorized!
I wore this dress for the first time during the eclipse in September, which was my way of participating in the eclipse craziness since Southern California didn’t get a great view of the event. I don’t like wearing something just once, so I thought it would also be great for Halloween (or “frocktober”). And to go with the celestial theme, I took these photos at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.
Me, having problems with color? Yep. When you like every color, narrowing a palette down to maintain a consistent blog/Instagram look becomes really hard and sometimes almost anxiety inducing (ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a little). Case in point: the outfit featured in today’s post. I don’t normally gravitate toward dark blues and grays, but sometimes I need some neutrals/dark colors to break up the usual pastels. This sweater is from Sugarhill Boutique. I love their sweaters and knitwear. Their prints are so cute and the sweaters are really quite comfortable. I find that they pair with jeans just as well as they do with skirts.
Even though this particular outfit is a departure from my usual pastel and bright color palette, it felt fitting on that weekend. The temperature was in the high 60s/low 70s and it actually felt like autumn in Los Angeles. (Of course, the next week it went right back up into the 90s. Ugh). The navy sweater has stripes but look a little closer and you can see a few little birds and hearts standing about on the stripes.
I spend a decent amount of time researching locations to do outfit photos. Sometimes I’ll go on Yelp, or even just do random Googling depending on what kind of environment or background I have in mind for a particular outfit. Murals and outdoor art are obvious choices, but in a city as big as LA with a lot of people taking photos at similar locations, I try to find the less known places. Of course, a nice mural or pretty location never stays secret for long.
This particular location I came upon by chance; I was walking around near my workplace and saw signs for Bold Pas, an upcoming temporary art takeover of public places in Old Town Pasadena. They had mockups of the art installations so I was able to plan my outfit around them. It looked like it had the potential for some interesting photos, so we went! (more…)
A little while ago, Unique VIntage sent me a dress from their in-house brand to review on the blog. I have always loved Unique Vintage’s vintage-inspired style of clothing and their boutique in Burbank (a city right outside of Los Angeles) is adorable and a shop I always enjoy visiting! For my wedding, my bridesmaids wore Unique Vintage dresses. They lived in different parts of the country but UV made it so easy to order the dresses. Another thing I like is how inclusive they are in their sizing; many items are available in plus sizes, which is great since my bridesmaids were all different body types.
Photo by Nolwen Cifuentes.
This was three years ago already! This is the bridesmaid dress on their website.
Review of the Unique Vintage Chateau Swing dress in mint fair llama print:
The dress I received is the Unique Vintage Chateau Swing Dress, in a pale mint color with a carnival/fair-themed print. The pictures on the website don’t do it justice because the print is so adorable in person. The print has llamas, popcorn, ice cream and cotton candy, all things you can find at a fair! Plus, mint green is pretty much my favorite color (well, unless you count rainbow as a single color).
I wore this dress to the Ventura County Fair. The Ventura fair is smaller than its Orange County and LA County counterparts, but I like the smaller size. It feels less chaotic and it’s on the beach, meaning the temperature is way cooler than at the OC and LA County Fairs which are more inland. (Trust me…it’s not fun going to the fair and eating hot fried junk food when it’s 90-plus degrees out.) I had a lot of fun walking around the fair, eating junk food and people-watching. Ross and I ate way too much food but that’s kind of the point of a fair, isn’t it? We shared a deep fried grilled cheese with fries and onion rings on the side (with an extra order of gooey, melted cheese) and survived! We also stuffed ourselves with cotton candy and soft serve (with sprinkles, of course).
The Old Mission Santa Barbara is a historic landmark in Santa Barbara, California. It contains the original mission building and the Santa Barbara Mission rose garden. The main building on the grounds is open for paid tours. I’m keenly aware of the criticism of the Spanish Mission system and its negative effects on Native Americans who were forced to endure it. I’m glad the mission remains as an educational site, though I do wish the history presented was a little more critical about what living and working in a mission entailed.
The area around the Mission is open to the public. People have picnics and just enjoy the outdoors there, since the weather is so beautiful most of the year. I was delighted to see the Rose Garden area in full bloom, so we took some photos.
There were so many different types of roses in a variety of colors. I’m sure this is a popular spot for photo shoots (but surprisingly, we were the only ones taking pictures that day).
Close up of yellow roses in the Santa Barbara Mission Rose Garden
Here I am sitting on the steps of the main chapel. It was around sunset on a Sunday, so the area was quiet. We were able to take a bunch of photos without any disturbances. The pink accent color of the chapel really stood out to me; I don’t think the pink is originally part of the building.
I don’t normally wear maxi dresses, but this one was on sale at ModCloth about two years ago and I snagged it at a deep discount. It’s very comfortable and I love the lavender and mint colors. I’m wearing it with a pair of pink Birkenstocks. Never in my life did I think I would ever wear Birkenstocks but this pair has very thin straps so it looks a bit more feminine and not as bulky as their usual wide-strapped sandals. I wore these for 4 days in a row at Disney World last summer, got no blisters and my feet were pretty comfortable! I am now a convert to Birkenstocks.
Dress: old, ModCloth
Shoes: old, Birkenstock Daloa in Rosa via ModCloth (still available here)