Thursday, April 23, 2015

Off the Beaten Path in Condado, San Juan


Vintage dress
Brixton hat // SHOP HERE
Vintage Salvatore Ferragamo shoes // SHOP SIMILAR
Luiny choker
Liebeskind leather bag // SHOP SIMILAR

My favorite part about traveling is taking the paths less traveled. The Condado area of San Juan, Puerto Rico is extremely touristy, but it's also where the locals hang out, so you know that more exists beyond just the sparkly waterfront resorts and ritzy poolside cocktails. Walking a few extra minutes outside the main strip of hotels, bars and restaurants we found ourselves in a part of the city that felt completely different. Much more quiet, but far more colorful. Locals reading the paper on the sidewalks. Kids flying around corners on old bikes. Sticker covered signs next to fruit stands next to artsy coffee shops. Dusty looking baby pink apartment buildings on one street. Mediterranean-style homes hidden behind bougainvillea on the next. Everyone going about their business without a care in the world. Every place feels like a hidden nook behind palm leaves. Don't mind if I do. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

#ItStartedWithMom | Sunglass Hut

To celebrate the upcoming Mother's Day (even though we will be on the other side of the states on the actual day) Natalie and I styled our favorite vintage pieces from our mom's closet with our favorite pair of shades from Sunglass Hut. The old and the new never fit together so seamlessly than as how they do right now. Mom would be proud :) And I am pretty sure she can expect a pretty little something from Sunglass Hut on Mother's Day, as well!
I'm wearing the Vogue sunglasses and Natalie is wearing the Ray-Ban sunglasses from Sunglass Hut. 

There are so many reasons why Natalie and I love to celebrate our mom. She basically taught us everything we know! She's nurtured our creativity from day one. She's always made us feel beautiful and smart. And she never let a day go by where we wouldn't learn something worthwhile. Not to mention, she taught us some really great fashion sense. I've always said that our mother was the reason why my sister Natalie and I have always loved getting dressed in the morning. I remember always admiring our mother's effortless way of dressing, looking at old photos of her as a teenager, with her sisters all dressed up for a night out in the 70's. Her style was defined by the decade she was in, but still felt totally original and timeless. Looking at those photos as a kid, I imagined myself wearing all of her outfits when I grew up. I still do. Thankfully, our mom held on to many of her favorite vintage pieces from her past for Natalie and I to play around with. When we were little, she always sketched me figurines that I would then use my crayons to draw clothing onto. Vogue, Elle and Marie Claire were in a perfect pile underneath the television set for me to take in thoroughly from front to back cover with my eyes and imagination. I dreamed to someday wear the leopard printed coat that the lady on the cover of the magazine wore. So my mom would take me shopping at the flea market so I could get a mini version of my own. Or I'd dream to sport the perfect little black dress my mom wore out to dinner with our dad every so often. So off I went to the mall with my friends and spend all of my allowance on a modern day version to wear to school. I wanted to be as elegant and beautiful as my mother. But the pieces of my mom's that I love the most are the ones that she acquired during her travels throughout Asia, like her authentic embroidered silk kimono jackets. Our mother was always a worldly soul; an adventurer. And her wardrobe gave even more life to her stories that she told us from the places she visited. Thankfully, she lets Natalie and I raid her closet whenever we visit home, and we are able to take back to NYC a few of her beloved pieces to interpret in our own ways. We can always be sure to get our hands on something colorful and standout. Pieces that are almost works of art all on their own, like these vintage Asian silk jackets are extraordinary all on their own. Thanks mom! 

Paired with our sunnies from Sunglass Hut, we are able to take our mom's past adventures someplace new. To me, there is nothing more special than passed memories from generation to generation. Whether these memories come in the form of a long-winded story, artfully brought to life with vivid adjectives, in the form of an eclectically patterned jacket, or in the form of a pair of sunglasses from Sunglass Hut, they will live on forever. And most importantly, #ItStartedWithMom

Looking for the perfect gift to get your mother this upcoming Mother's Day? Check out these gorgeous sunnies from Sunglass Hut:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

That Work Grind | Taking A Chance

I get tons of emails from readers about how I came to be able to run my blog full-time successfully, still do things that creatively inspire me, and pay the bills at the same time. For me, it really was something that just happened without a plan (although I am much more organized with my work now!), and it all started with taking a chance. And yes, that chance didn't come with a happy number in my bank account in the beginning. The struggle of balancing finances and creative fulfillment was real ever since I landed my first job after college. And as much as we try hard not to think about those bills piling up and the fact that we are always "just getting by", these things will always be there. Paying for things is a part of the real adult world, and it by far isn't a breeze.

When I first moved to NYC from Philly for a new job, the idea of paying more than $500 in rent was horrifying (and I still had a roommate). I had a stable position at a quick growing, on-the-radar start up company, but a stable job doesn't mean living that NYC life was going to be glorious. I held myself back from doing a lot of things because of my mediocre paycheck (shopping, getting that extra drink with my new co-workers, skipping the movie) to save as much as I could. Add long ass hours on top of that . . . and let's just say life was pretty crazy and exhausting. But a lot has changed since then, and paying NYC prices for rent isn't as much as a challenge as it was before, but who knows when that may change again (hopefully not!!!). Maybe if I decided to be a doctor life would be much easier for me still right now (boring but easier), but easy was never really an option in my book. 

I quit my full-time job in NYC with a good amount of savings in the bank (thank goodness rent was cheap as heck in Philly, or this would not be the case) and a few freelance gigs on the horizon. But just enough to cover the rent and food. I went to a gym that cost $10 a month, not $80. I'd still take the late night subway home at 3am in the morning because an Uber was totally out of the question. Sometimes I'd eat ramen noodles for dinner (but I actually really liked the stuff. lol). Deciding to pursue the blog full-time was more of a way to find myself and figure out the next steps of my career. And let me tell you, the pursuit wasn't easy in the beginning. I worked as many small paying gigs as I could that weren't even blog related at all . . . assisting on shoots, copywriting for brands, etc. I was trying the best to keep myself busy with opportunities that I thought would help me in the long run, and that I could actually learn from. Life definitely wasn't as fun or glamorous as Instagram can show it to be. But through all the experiences, every little job and every big job, I allowed myself to expand creatively. And my curiosity and love of storytelling drove me to focus much more on creating great content for my readers that I myself felt closely connected to. You know you love something when you do it for free. And when you have the opportunity to create a job for yourself doing the things you love, you can't just let it pass.

Collaborating with my sister, friends and other who made me feel happy to be doing what I am doing was the most critical part of me working for myself and actually getting by. And from there, a few months down the road, the paychecks and the struggles finally found a balancing point. I feel like the more confident I felt in myself and my work, the more people respected me for it and viewed this little blog as a legit creative and social outlet. The success and work came more steadily, but I am thankful that it crept up on me not too unexpectedly nor too expectedly at all. It came naturally. It just felt good to be sought out for work as much as I myself sought work out. And all the ramen noodles and late night subway rides were all worth it in the end. I might not be living the perfect dream life still, but I feel like if I ever even got to that high point, the magic would be lost. There wouldn't be more to work for. 

So that's my little story in a nut shell. Just remember, that at the end of the day whatever is in your heart is what you should be doing with your life. Your path should be completely and totally your own. It should be completely passionate, especially if you are a creative type. Not something someone else has molded for you. Really, the most amazing thing is knowing that you have a choice, and the confidence that if you find yourself in a rut, you CAN actually do something about it. As long as you realize it and want it. Making the money to do what you love is another story a lot of the times, and I can only pull from my own experience, which for me was based off a cushion of savings and really putting myself out there while also being super focused on making my site the best it can be. Teamwork is key. I never would have made it without family, friends and awesome colleagues. Networking connections are important, too. And I am by far not the greatest social networking in real life. I'll talk to you because I'm actually interested and enjoy the conversation, not really because there is an opportunity for me to gain something out of it. But you know what, sometimes saying that extra hello and an introduction to someone might be just the extra step you are missing. It could possible be the next person you collaborate with.

I always say giving yourself the opportunity to pursue what you love (no matter what the paycheck) is worth the shot. Life is lesson after lesson of trial and error. Hard work, drive and hope will get you into your groove. Everything is always worth the chance in my book. Because you never really know until you try. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Coachella with River Island


River Island jacket // SHOP HERE
River Island top
River Island shorts // SHOP HERE
River Island purse // SHOP SIMILAR
Vintage belt

What I love most about Coachella, and festival season in general, is all the more reasons for me to dress like myself! I'm a bohemian, rock and roll loving girl at heart. I grew up with The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Doors and Jimi Hendrix playing on repeat in the house, thanks to my Dad's love for it all. I've always preferred fringe over pleats and denim over bows. Fringe moves with my dance moves. And denim keeps up with me until I can't dance no more. I can't get enough of the desert heat, getting lost in a crowd of bodies pulsating with anticipation for the next song. No matter how physically tired you feel, you can be sure to find a stage that will rejuvenate you for another hour or two. It never stops and you never want it to. This look by River Island embodies exactly the type of girl I want to be during festival season. Tough, sexy and attentive to gypsy-esque detail. Faux leather for the boyishness, denim shorts to feel sexy and intricate embroidery for a touch of bohemian love. All these elements together help create a wanderlust mindset. All you have left to do is let the music transport you to wherever you want to be in your. Music is the greatest complement to the imagination. 

Now scroll through some of my top Coachella-esque pieces from River Island:

Floral shift dress

Strappy Wide Leg Jumpsuit
Lime Green Playsuit
Snake Print Skirt
Black Clog Sandals
Black Fringe Belted Purse
Black Fringe Leather Jacket
Black Denim Mid-Rise Shorts
Light Acid Wash Shorts
Black Jumpsuit
White Leather Fringed Backpack
Black Fedora Hat
Cream Spot Skinny Scarf

And make sure to check out the #PostcardsFrom… feature on my sister and I on the River Island blog HERE.