pasadena | standing in front of library exterior holding a book, in Miss Patina dress

outfit: miss patina kiterature dress | wearing a Miss Patina Kiterature dress with cat ear beret, pulling a Degas book off the shelf

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. | standing in front of library fountain holding a book, in Miss Patina Kiterature dress

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!). | wearing Miss Patina Kiterature dress, sitting on the floor in the corner of the library

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). | close up on collar of Miss Patina Kiterature dress, decorated with embroidered book imagery

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. | close up, wearing Miss Patina Kiterature dress, sitting on the floor in the corner of the library | standing in front of library exterior holding a book, in Miss Patina Kiterature dress, looking down at book

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.” | close up of engraved quotation on library exterior that says The True Learning Makes for Righteousness

I hope everyone’s new year is off to a good start! Can’t wait to show you more outfit photos.

Outfit details:

Dress: Miss Patina Kiterature dress
Cat beret: Forever21, old
Shoes: Carson boot by Frye, old
Purse: Luna cat purse, Amazon | bold pas outdoor art outfit behind Better as a Color by Asli Tusavul

outfit post: bold pas outdoor art takeover! | bold pas outdoor art outfit on the street | bold pas outdoor art outfit on the street

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. | bold pas outdoor art outfit behind Better as a Color by Asli Tusavul

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…) | rainbow sweater and clutch

outfit: sugarhill boutique and rainbows galore | sugarhill boutique rainbow sweater and clutchEver since I was a kid, I’ve loved rainbows. The easiest way to get me to buy something is to slap a rainbow on it (bonus points if it’s a pastel rainbow instead of the usual super bright ROYGBIV). I was teased occasionally when I was younger for wearing bright, colorful clothing, but kids can be jerks about anything, especially in middle school. (Some of the teasing had a homophobic tinge to it, which is gross because bullying people for their perceived sexual orientation is wrong.) It just made me more determined to dress the way I want, because who cares what people think?

I saw this sweater from Sugarhill Boutique and just knew I had to get it! I really love their sweaters; they’re perfect for warm days and cool nights in Los Angeles. I get cold easily but hate heavy sweaters, so this is the perfect thickness for me.

Back to the rainbows: June is also Pride month and LA Pride was a few weeks ago. In honor of that, I wore this rainbow themed outfit and took photos in front of this very colorful mural in Pasadena. It’s on the side of a building on the South campus of the ArtCenter College of Design, in case you were wondering. The artist RISK has painted several huge color walls throughout LA. | sugarhill boutique rainbow sweater and clutch | sugarhill boutique rainbow sweater and clutch | sugarhill boutique rainbow sweater and clutch | TUK Footwear rainbow flats from ModCloth

These shoes from TUK Footwear are so comfortable and adorable! I have several pairs of novelty ballet flats from them and always get compliments whenever I wear them. | rainbow sweater and clutch

I also got a rainbow gel manicure! I may have overdone it with the rainbows in this post, heh. | sugarhill boutique rainbow sweater and clutch | sugarhill boutique rainbow sweater and clutch

I hope everyone had a safe and fun Pride, wherever you live!

Outfit details:

Sweater: Sugarhill Boutique
Skirt: (actually a tank dress) Forever21
Shoes: TUK Footwear, via ModCloth
Clutch: old, ASOS
Sunglasses: Crap Eyewear (they’re on sale for only $28!) | sitting among flowers

outfit: plenty of heart

I’ve spent some time researching interesting places to take photos. Los Angeles has a wide variety of beautiful locations but the frustrating thing is quite a few places charge you a fee or require a permit to take photographs, even if you’re not a professional photographer or affiliated with a film shoot. That’s a consequence of living in LA, where the film industry is headquartered. So I have to get creative when searching for places to shoot. | heart printed boat | sitting among flowers

Luckily, I found this place! This set of outfit photos was taken in one of those open secret locations that is open to the public and as long as you’re not intrusive, you can take as many photos as you like. It’s a volunteer run public garden in Pasadena, right outside of LA. When I was there, I saw a couple doing an engagement photoshoot and a few kids taking photos of the flowers in bloom. It’s not a huge garden but it has plenty of little nooks and themed sections with different plants and flowers. | standing in garden | purple flowers, close up | sitting under floral arch

One of the neat things about writing for my blog and planning photos is that it has really encouraged me to explore more of my adopted city and its surroundings. I have found all sorts of new places, or looked at places I already knew about with an eye for what would make for good photos.

As for this outfit, well, I just love hearts! Are there specific prints or motifs you really love?

Outfit details:
Sweater: Sugarhill Boutique, old
Skirt: Miss Patina, old
Shoes: ASOS, old

outfit: it’s beginning to look a lot like a retrolicious Christmas | it's beginning to look a lot like christmas | it's beginning to look a lot like | it's beginning to look a lot like christmas | it's beginning to look a lot like | it's beginning to look a lot like christmas

I really enjoy Christmas, despite not being religious at all. I actually grew up in a Buddhist family, but we celebrated Christmas because it was the “American” thing to do. My parents would put up a fake Christmas tree and hang lights and garlands on the front of our house. One of my favorite childhood memories comes from the year my mom and I had a craft day and made a bunch of felt ornaments and used paint pens to decorate blank glass bulb ornaments for the tree. My mom still puts those DIY ornaments on the tree (they must be about 20 years old at this point).

It feels a little weird to me to celebrate Christmas in an area that is so warm all year round. Even after living in Los Angeles for over six years, I still expect cold and snow around Christmas time. Oh well, I’ll make myself a frozen hot chocolate instead and just think minty, snowy thoughts.

Ross took these photos of me at Pasadena City Hall, where they have a giant Christmas tree display in the rotunda. Pasadena City Hall is a gorgeous building with a beautiful courtyard with rose bushes. It’s a very popular place for wedding/engagement photoshoots. I work nearby and sometimes take a nice stroll on the grounds during my lunch break, and I’m pretty sure I’ve accidentally ended up in some wedding party photos. It was also used as the city hall for Pawnee in the tv show Parks and Rec.

The dress is from the brand Retrolicious, which is known for novelty prints and retro-inspired designs. I went to the Retrolicious sample sale this past weekend (you can see my haul on my Instagram) and was determined to get some Christmas/holiday-themed dresses. The dresses were around $40 (and they normally are $80-$100) so I couldn’t resist. I have a few other Christmas dresses from the Retrolicious sale that will be featured soon on the blog.

This particular dress is light pink with a whimsical Christmas candy print- candy canes, ribbon candy, peppermint swirls, gumdrops, lollipops, and more. I thought it was adorable, especially with the heart cut-out on the back. I paired it with a mint sweater and my favorite pink oxfords. Yes, even in a season known for rich, deep jewel tones, I still wear pastels!

Dress: Retrolicious (I was told that this was a production sample, so unfortunately it’s not available for purchase anywhere as it never went into production)
Cardigan: old, Nordstrom
Shoes: old, Jeffrey Campbell
Headband: old, Forever21