One Night Abroad

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 A few days ago, a translation tech company, Smartling and I were discussing travel and the means of communication for a foreign traveller. It really got me thinking about what I would do if I were in, let’s say Milan, for example. Would I change the way I dress in order to fit in? What about for a night out? Eating? And what about the language barrier? Obviously, I don’t speak Italian…

I don’t really like to fit in, in fact, I try hard to stand out, why would I want to fit in? I would, however, assimilate myself in Milanese culture by doing my research on Italian common courtesies. Eventhough I am a tourist, I do not want to make it plainly obvious by making errors in proper Italian etiquette and behavior (i.e. I would not be placing my hand on my tummy as it is a gesture of dislike, nor would I be caught chewing gum or slouching in public). As for dressing, I’d stick to what I like to wear, no tourist uniform ( clad in a sun hat, fanny pack, comfortable sneakers and jeans) for me thank you! As per all my travels, I look up the city’s weather and pack accordingly. I usually like to pack my favorite pieces as well as newest purchases. I have day to day outfits but they change as my plans do. For a night out, I would wear an ultra sexy leather dress like Shakuhachi’s Leather Zip Me Up Dress currently hanging in my closet and pair them with simple black stilettos for more vavavoom. The city is known for its fashion so why should I hold back? I am not one for the club scene and prefer a trendy lounge to sip on Italian cocktails such as Sgroppino or Bicicletta and discuss must see and do in Milan with the bartender. I’d prefer to go to places recommended by locals for more of an authentic experience instead of going to the usual touristy overpriced traps. A not so picky eater, I’d want to try traditional Milanese cuisine such as Risotto Alla Milanese. It would be ignorant and arrogant of me to expect that locals would understand English, so I’d learn Italian common phrases and carry a chic little dictionary in my satchel for quick and easy translations. Since Milan is known globally as a fashion mecca, I’d be frequenting shopping centres and sit on cafes to style watch. 

What I’m Wearing:

In these in between Summer and Autumn days, its hard to decide whether to bundle up or don Summery staples. Striking a fine balance and getting it just right is difficult. For me, I like to mix summery tops like this Handkerchief Halter top from Guess with fall staples like these Zara leather pencil skirt. My booties are an easy transition piece, heeled lace up sandals with leather uppers makes it look heavier duty than your traditional sandals. I added a pop of white in the form of a pearl necklace (Zara’s Mini Chain Necklace) and matching ring. I love a mini cross body and could not resist L.A.M.B.’s Elga Crossbody, I love its all black matte exterior, a perfect hint of edge to a chic look.

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I Wear Short Shorts

 

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Look at me, I’m actually wearing something other than black (for once)! Even a person whose signature style is putting together all black ensembles has to pay homage to classic staples such as these blue denim cutoffs from Guess (similar here). They are the epitome of the summer staple but also bode well as a transitional piece in between seasons. Here, I paired the cutoffs with knee high boots. For more of a western vibe, I styled the cutoffs with a white tee (I’m wearing Kill City‘s white tee with leather sleeves) and layered the tailored Tuxedo vest on top. I love the oversized “borrowed from my boyfriend” look of the vest as well as the metal collar which plays a twist on the classic. Silver accessories tie the look together: spider web body chain (similar here), braided Conch Belt, Unif Conch hat,  and the usual suspects of arm bangles. I invested on another pair of sunnies, this time a pair of oversized Cat Eyes which I often style with my casual looks. I am a sucker for zipper details so of course I had to have this clutch, a huge plus is it doubles as a cross body. 

While editing these pictures, I realized how tan I’ve gotten. This summer has been so much fun! Traveling to Michigan then Denver, but I am definitely ready for fall. I am so ready for layers, the turning colors of the leaves and pumpkin spice lattes. It is also the most exciting fashion season, in my opinion. I have actually been shopping for my fall wardrobe in advanced already. Call me crazy, but better to be prepared than to procrastinate on matters such as dressing. 

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Mesh’d Up

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Mesh, it seems, is a viral trend nowadays thanks to designers like Alexander Wang and Calvin Klein whose minimal athletica gave inspiration to contemporary brands like Elizabeth and James, Milly who used the fabric in their Spring and Summer 2014 Ready to Wear collections. Eventually the trend worked its way down the market to fast fashion brands like Zara and Top Shop. I wanted a piece of mesh I can call my own and found two that I liked: sen Raquel Top from Revolve Clothing and Topshop Laser Cut Mesh Scuba tee. Both were more or less $100, which I thought was just too much for such a trendy piece. I have no problem in investing on a piece that I would use time and again, but if I know I like it for its trendy appeal, and more likely than not, wear it once, maybe twice, price comes into question. So I passed on them. Both look like Football Mesh jerseys and so I went back to its origins and bought a boys sized M with its tags still attached at Salvation Army for $4.99. This is the result.

I layered my scuba bralette from Topshop (similar here) underneath the jersey and rolled up its sleeves, tucking it into my Leather Textured shorts from ASOS. Its the chic high fashion equivalent to your work out sweats minus the work out and the sweat. I paired them with Zara’s Bio with Ankle Strap and Buckle. Because they’re made from synthetic, man made leather, I am disappointed to share that the pair are not a comfortable everyday sandal. I did buy them for its clean look and gucci inspired oversized buckle.

These were shot in Good Hart, Michigan. The woods make for some epic nature girl shots.

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l’île de Mackinac

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Who would’ve thought that an island as gorgeous as Mackinac existed in Middle America? This petite pearl is tucked in the center of Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas, accessible via ferry. With no automobiles in sight, this place is like stepping back in time, rich in colonial style architecture and famous for its fudge. One quip is the overwhelming smell of horse dung that hung in the air. Lucky for you, the camera cannot capture the odor.

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While most were opting to wear “touristy” casual attire (i.e. sweater, denim and comfortable sneakers) I opted for a classy resort look. I wore the usual suspects of staples/my favorite summer must haves: Wildfox sunnies and Michael Kors Hamilton Mini . To go with the black and gold accents of the bag and sunnies, I paired them with MK’s Calder Leather Sandals, I love its oversized buckle and golden rand on the tip of the front edge. It is so comfortable yet so stylish, I didn’t have to sacrifice one for the other. An alternative to your traditional jeweled statement necklace came in the form of a Choker with Pearls, it adds a minimalistic touch: very simple and very clean.

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I am obsessed with all things pleated this summer. I love how it moves with the breeze. Its movements make for some spectacular pictures. Here, I styled my Asymmetric Fine Pleated Skirt from Zara, with its unhemmed and uneven cut bode well with a formfitting croptop like the Pick Your Poison Top. Its stringy strap attached to both sides of the bottom synch the waist. I was attracted to that detail, since not only is it a new take on a basic crop, the market hasn’t caught onto the trend as well.

 

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From the pictures it seemed as though the island was deserted but it in fact was teeming with people, some buying souvenir shirts, most purchasing pounds of fudge. Since the morning was gray and windy, a not so promising start to the only sunny day out of a week’s worth of rain, I decided to risk it and wear my summer’s best. I was met with “You’re gonna freeze!” told you so’s and offerings of warm sweaters, but my risk was met with reward. The day turned out to be beautiful. In an island that tourists frequent, my all black ensemble stuck out like a sore thumb.

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Uptown

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I promised another collaboration with Me in Film Life photographer, Levi Eugeniu. Here, we shot in Lower Queen Anne.

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I discovered this majestic wall of graffiti behind the restaurants that line up Queen Anne Ave. Standing in front of graffiti’d alleyways has become a signature of mine. I love the juxtaposition of my minimal all black ensembles with its cluttered chaos.

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Whenever I am confronted with the question of going with a casual look or dressing up for an event or daily work attire, I choose the latter. While most opt for jeans and a tee as the first thing they scramble to put together in time of desperation when alarms did not go off and tardiness would be eminent if you did not leave the house immediately, mine comes in the form of a dress or a jumpsuit, something quick and easy to shimmy into. Such onesies are sophisticated and elegant yet so effortless.

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I love the Bustier Jumpsuit from Guess because it is such a statement garment yet simplistic in its details: notched surplice neckline and tapered leg. It’ll be a piece that I’ll be able to wear on more than one occasion with endless combinations. To add some much needed edge to such a feminine and classy look, I opted to drape my worn in, wrinkled leather jacket and paired it with black and gold accessories: strappy Leday heeled sandals, my wool sun hat, and fringe cuff.

 

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Along the Tracks

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You may have already seen me pining over this shirred peplum romper aka the Mixtape Playsuit from Australian label Keepsake on my Birthday Wantlist post or have seen me around the city donning the ensemble. I generally am not guilty of being an outfit repeater, but in this case, it is an exception. I have a weakness for all things peplum combined with my penchant for voluminous structure, the romper hit me like a big yellow bus. Since I’ve worn it time after time, its inevitable that it would finally land on my blog. Another one of my favorite Australian brand is Shakuhachi. Leave it to the Land of Oz to take shoes to another level. These neoprene (that’s right the material used in scuba suits) Knee High Boots, featuring a peep toe, feel like a second skin, so lightweight. They bode well to structured apparel. Accessorizing was simple: Octopus necklace and bracelet from Something Silver and my essentials: 3.1 Phillip Lim Ryder mini satchel and Unif Concho Hat.

These images were captured in film by self taught photographer Levi Eugeniu of Me in Film Life. He is one of a handful of photographers of a dying breed. Others prefer its digital counterpart for its efficiency and virtually no wait time. But the wait time was well worth it! I love surrounding myself with people who are passionate about their craft. Not only am I honored, it is also inspiring and motivating. This is only the beginning of my collaborations with Me in Film Life. Hint, there’s more of this coming!

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Bel Air

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It is not a mystery that I wear black, lots of it. So it shouldn’t come as a shock that I would continue wearing black for the summer. Except that it did. Some were actually repelled by the idea, they thought I would smother in my own clothes due to the heat (though this is the Pacific Northwest, it doesn’t get THAT hot).  Everyone is encouraged to wear cool, neutral colors for the warm season, whites especially because it supposedly repels heat, but I find, its the materials and fabrics that make all the difference. Like this Chiffon Ruffle Maxi dress from Guess, a chiffon construction that is lightweight and flowy. The ruffles and high low hem add just the right amount of chic to a breezy day. Eyes follow when I wear this dress, a definite must have in my book!

Finding the perfect pair of sunnies was top priority on my shopping list. I’ve been meaning to invest in a pair for sometime now, and what better time to buy than Summer. My eyes have been ogling Wildfox Couture‘s Bel Air Sunnies, the round acetate frames elevated my features giving me Maleficent cheekbones. I love the gold font on them, they go perfect with my black and gold ensembles that seem to be my go to these days.

An ongoing love affair in my wardrobe has been the use of gold accessories to add a pop to all that black. I just love the combination. To me, gold adds that much needed touch of glamour and elegance. Its presence is so prevalent in this look. The Ornica Platform Sandals with Chain are high, but the platform is constructed to fit your natural arch. 5 stars for walkability and comfort. The chain and metal toe details I love for its unique but trendy appeal. I wasn’t hype on Michael Kors Hamiltons until I saw the Mini. And then I went head over heels gaga. Its so cute! They weren’t exaggerating on the mini though, these can only fit only a couple of my essentials: lip gloss, bare minerals Mineral Veil, mini make up brush, my ID and CC. My phone couldn’t comfortably fit nor my wallet. These are perfect for a night out, lunch dates or soirees as an alternative to a clutch. Despite bad reviews on MK, I would give the mini 5 stars, as it is well constructed from Saffiano Leather, and all in all, good purchase.

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DAMSEL X NEWSPIN

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I have been short of content lately as my chief  photographer (aka Ten Hundred) has been busy with this massive mural project for Green Lion Farms. It was the first time I visited and saw the grandeur scale of the piece and was awestruck by its beauty. The work is still in progress, the clean black lines that is a signature of Ten Hundred’s slowly emerging. I was atop the first of two stories of the scaffolding, the height coupled by the creeks of it was uneasy, I was there only a couple minutes, I couldn’t imagine being on there, going up and down the ladder twelve hours a day, seven days in a row as Ten Hundred has done. As the day was coming to a close, documentarian, photographer Red Williamson of Newspin who was there to capture every single step of the process right along Ten Hundred, asked to collaborate. I jumped at the opportunity as his work has been phenomenal as the pictures on this post will prove.

The setting has never been so perfect, an industrial warehouse with its crackled wood, graffiti’d walls, huge electrical boxes coupled by a Ten Hundred mural, I couldn’t have asked for any better. It just adds that much needed chaos to my otherwise black attire, a contrast of sorts.

The dress, what to say about such an ethereal creation. I discovered the dress (Amei Long Sleeve) on a fellow Instagrammer’s feed. She was wearing it for her birthday. I adored it so much I went to her comments and investigated. Yes, that is how much I was set to have it. After discovering that they were from All Saints, I immediately went on their site and hunted the dress down. I tried ordering but there was a system error so I Facebook messaged the only friend I knew that worked there. She informed me that they did not have my size and will most likely get more in stock. I pondered whether or not I should wait. A day passed and I knew I just had to have the dress so I retried ordering via online and this time it was SUCCESS! Oh the lengths I go to…. Upon receipt, I loved how the fabric draped and billowed in the front. The fabric, a Cupro, Elastane blend was so soft and cool, I didn’t mind the long sleeves. It has definitely become a summer staple to go with my Unif Concho Hat and usual suspect of silver bangles and rings. Here I opted to wear my scuffed vintage boots and Zara bag.

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The Damsel Does Sasquatch

For years, I have heard my hip counterparts talk about the magical festival called Sasquatch and their drug and alcohol induced adventures, camping on the grounds and listening to their favorite musicians in the marvel that is the Gorge. Only thing I could think of as they bragged was, “How the heck did you survive without showering for days?” But I guess thats part of the mystique. I, for one, am not the camping type. I grew up never camping as my mother refused to. Sure, we would go on hike trips (even as far as hiking down the Grand Canyon in the middle of the Summer) but we always stayed at lodges or hotels. My mother had a strong preference to her amenities and I grew up being the same.

When I found out that Ten Hundred was asked to design one of the tanks for the festival and in turn be given 2 3 day Artist Passes and Artist Camping and that I would be accompanying him, I had mixed feelings; I was excited to see all these musicians but anxious about camping (having never camped before and more importantly, the toilet and shower situation). I begged to have a RV rented, but TenHun refused. And so tents it were. Sigh.

Day 1-Friday

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Day one started out rocky. Shortly after we arrived at our camp site, our car’s battery died. We forgot to bring pillows. During check-in, there was only one wristband under Ten Hundred’s name. Just my luck. It worked out, I mean, the wristband sitch was taken care of, we were here for the entire weekend so one out of the thousands of people out here should have jumper cables and I wasn’t even going to worry about the pillows. I was here to have fun.

First stop on the agenda was to enjoy the spoils of the Backstage life. Entering the festival and not having to deal with the lines of general admission was so nice, and lounging backstage in between performances to grab a few drinks on the edge of the cliff with a majestic view of the Gorge was paradise. I was really excited to see Chance the Rapper and was even more hyped to have seen his set backstage. His performance blew me away. His tone, pitch, everything sounded just like his record. He was magnetic on stage and had the crowd on his fingertips. I still have chills.

Outkast was epic. Despite people’s fears that they might not have a good performance after what many consider their disappointing Coachella set, their chemistry on stage put the doubts to rest. Andre had a white pixie cut wig on and what looked like a navy janitor onesie that said “Everything is Temporary” that had a tag attached that said “FOR SALE” on one side and “SOLD OUT” on the other. Big Boy was rocking camo pants and signature gangster gold chain. They’re yin and yang in their personas but I’ve found that opposites often make the best teams. Listening to Outkast playing their hits amongst the crowd of thousands was the best way to end my night. I was a happy camper. Pun intended.

For the first look, I kept it minimal. Most are going for the gypsy, festival look. The only way to set myself apart from others is to keep the look clean and simple: Deep V Bralet and my trustee American Apparel high waisted twill zip shorts. I did not over accessorize, choosing to wear my signature stacks of leather cuffs and silver bangles and my geometric ring. My Unif Concho Hat I bought specifically for the festival as an essential piece: shielding from the rays of the sun all whilst showing off the eccentric carved symbols on the conchs. Other essentials are my oversized draped sweater and Shoe Cult Bowie Bootie (which was comfortable despite it looking otherwise).

Day 2-Saturday

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I woke up to an overheated tent that was frying in the sun. I was desperate for a shower as my hair was getting oily but decided to stick it out and go unwashed for another day. The car problem was solved, there was a guy who had jumper cables! Ten Hun and I drove to Ellensburg to get away from all the madness and buy much needed pillows (my neck could not function another day without them).

Back at the Gorge, the first set to see was Sol’s, which was a high school favorite of mine, of course I couldn’t miss it. I have never heard of Nekko Case before but her voice is so pretty and sweet, I felt at ease listening to her melodies, laying in the grass, drinking my frozen margarita. It was the most relaxing moment of Sasquatch. That night, Tyler the Creator’s set provided the exact opposite (Jason Derulo!).

I wanted to show off my recently purchased Nastygal Caged Chaos Bikini. For months I was on the hunt for the perfect bikini. I did not want the traditional black bikini or a monokini. I craved for a refreshing new take, but the variety disappointed until I stumbled upon this gem. On the Nastygal item description it said, “If every other bikini in the world is too boring for you– you’ve met your match. With a super fierce lattice and strap design, interlocking back hardware, and low hipster bottom– this is the bikini that will have people talking about you long after the pool party.” and it provided just that. Sure, I would suffer a terrible tan but it was well worth it. The Asymmetrical Draped Knit Maxi Skirt (simlar here) I used as an alternative cover up. The braided Conch Belt synched my waist and matched my hat (which I was super excited about. I’m such a dork for little things like this).

Day 3-Sunday

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I was getting used to camping but half of me was elated that it was the last day. That morning I took a shower. It was communal so I knew that hot water was not an option, the shower room was also dirty and dingy, (even though we were in artist camping and was supposedly a million times better than general camp aka Sodom and Gomorrah) but that’s to be expected. I wasn’t complaining, I just wanted to feel clean again. Before the day’s processions, there was another getaway drive to Ellensburg for the best teriyaki for lunch.

That afternoon was calm in terms of the schedule, but that night, Flavr Blue, Banks and Rodriguez was to play and I did not want to miss their sets. I could’ve been happy leaving the festival with the three performances under my belt but I have this huge crush on Diplo so of course I had to wait till midnight to see Major Lazer. At one point, he got into a human sized Hamster Cage Ball and walked on top of the crowd. I was so close to him for a second, a moment I will cherish forever. Oh woe is me, Diplo!

I wore the caged bikini top again as it gave more character to the otherwise bare top of the romper. I fell in love with the bell sleeves but did not realize how sheer the romper was prior to purchasing so it can only be appropriately worn at the beach or desert climates like that of the Gorge.

Sasquatch was a series of firsts for me: camping, having to go for a long period of time without make up, amongst other things. It was one of the highlights of my year. I will miss the Gorge, the scenic views and the spoils VIP wristbands provided. I know this is a first, but it will most definitely not be the last. Until next time, Sasquatch.     sasquatch3.2

Urban Cowgirl

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Ever had a piece revolutionize your wardrobe in a major way? I was not a hat person before but when I set my eyes onto these studded wool beauties last autumn, my whole outlook changed. It has carried me through the seasons, rain or shine, day to night.  You can catch me in these strutting downtown or grabbing drinks on the hill. The hat, I suppose, has become a signature piece of mine. Every time I wear them I imagine myself as a bad ass cowboy like those from a spaghetti western walking the mean streets and taking names.

For this look, I paired feminine details like the peplum bralette and the pleated shorts with edgy, “bad girl” must haves: cropped leather jacket and combat boots.

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