Of all the things blogging has brought to my life, a strong selfie game is not one of them. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm destined to be a horrible selfie taker. Besides my T-Rex like arms, I simply don't have the will or natural selfie abilities that so many people today seem to have. Maybe it's because I was born outside the generation of selfiers, but something about the concept has always eluded me. No judgement to anyone who loves a good selfie, but I do have a certain bone to pick with selfie nation.
I love that selfies can empower people, share a moment, or capture a mood, but I hate that selfies can silently also be vessels of self-doubt and insecurities. And for what purpose?
A selfie doesn't actually show anything about me, nothing that I'm all that proud of any way. Selfies can't show the type of people we are or the beauty we hold on the inside. In fact, a focus on external things, our make up, appearances, or a number of likes in the unforgiving world of social media is the enemy of inner beauty. Sure, we all love to see the inside of people's car - where the best selfie lighting seems to reside - but I question the selfie's motive. To me, the selfie is the small talk of social media. It doesn't tell me anything ABOUT you.
So, today, on #NationalSelfieDay, I'll ponder the great obsession we have as a nation with our faces. I'll peek in on my friend's selfies and smile, because their faces make me happy. But most of all, I'll send some positivity out into the world and remind us that our 'self' should never get less attention than our selfies.
Being a dad is not a job for everyone, but I believe my father had fatherhood in his destiny since the day he was born. He's a man's man, an old fashioned guy who works hard, doesn't complain, and wants mostly the simple things in life. He's strong when he needs to be but truly sensitive and wise as well. It's a delicate balance to be both strong and gentle in your parenting. I was spoiled with love but not with leniency. I was given compassion and understanding but never a free pass. My parents taught me to be a good person and to love others. They praised me for intellectual achievements and supported my dreams. They encouraged my creativity and my passions, but they never made things so easy for me that I didn't learn to work. It's a gift that only the wisest parents give, one that makes it possible for their children to be high-functioning members of society. For all too many people, a parental safety net seems to translate to an entangling trap.
I thank my dad every day for giving me the tools to stand on my own. I watched him work hard at a very physically demanding job that half the people I know would struggle with. Despite working long hours each day, our family was always a priority. He never complained, didn't bring his work home, and was always willing to work harder if he thought he could help someone in need. Having a strong example of someone with their priorities straight made it pretty easy for me to get my life in line too.
To me, my success is a representation of my parent's love and guidance. It speaks to the person they raised me to be, and the opportunities they helped me create for myself. I'm so thankful to have been raised by a dad who took to fatherhood so well. I'm so grateful for the love and life lessons he bestowed upon me every day. I love that to my dad I really am his world. I love that my family would both do anything for me and be the first to tell me when I've messed up.
That kind of love, that kind of parenting, it stays with you through the distance. Even through all the miles, all the texts, face-times, and technology, there's no match for that all-encompassing love.
Thank you dad for everything you've done. Thank you for being my hero, the hardest worker I know, the most generous man, and my biggest fan. I joke all the time that it all boils down to a life of "no daddy issues," but it's so true. All the subtleties and trials that come with raising a strong and secure daughter, you navigated with ease. I literally wouldn't be the person I am today without you. You deserve more than a day, but we've had a lifetime of love together as a family. I love you, dad!
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!
The last couple weeks have been very chaotic - I've faced many circumstances I once never had imagined. I've experienced hate, bitterness, love, and support all from surprising sources. Today will not be the time for that post, but if ever there was a time to post to a throwback, I would say it would be now. Throwbacks let us look back on memories fondly, for a brief second, reliving that moment. This post, while long overdue, covers very precious moments back home, experiencing wedding season at its finest.
When we attend these weddings, as guests or wedding party members, we're there for the happy couple, to cherish their happiness and the love they've found together.
The older I get, the more these weddings seem to mean to me. Watching people I've grown up with as single people and their journey to find that special someone is a profound and rewarding experience. When it all culminates into a wedding, knowing it's right, and that they've made a sound decision to forge their way into adulthood with this person is a privilege in which I'm so grateful to take part.
What better way to test out some on-the-go celebration than a romper. These past two weddings, I took two different rompers and two different dresses for a test run. They withstood hugs, dancing, and all the decisions that come with an open bar.
Inside the world of romper-dom is a whole new freedom, for high-kicks, for high heels, and for high spirits. I paired mine with bralettes that allowed the fun cut-outs and flowy designs to be classy and tasteful. Mixing up the dress and heels with the modern romper was a great way to make my wedding wardrobe more versatile. To bump your romper look to the next level, try mixing in accessories. I found having a belt was key, along with some very sparkly jewelry!
To my amazing friends, I wish you a lifetime of happiness; I'm so happy for you guys, and thank you so much for having an open bar. :)
I sat down to instagram a make-up selfie this afternoon, and I found myself thinking of so much more that I wanted to say. Not to mention the fact that half the words in the previous sentence weren't even around when I was growing up, and NONE of the make up options.
Make up is great; I love make up, and I love no make up too, but one thing I have never loved is the struggle that comes with finding any sort of beauty product that will look good on me that was probably intended for a white person.
Growing up in the middle of Iowa, I had zero beauty role-models that were Asian. I was raised by white people and lived in a white culture. When I wanted to do my make up for dance recitals or on the cheerleading squad, you can bet the struggle was real. I could never find make up that looked normal on me. I could never find anyone who even knew how to do make up on Asian eyes. I was basically doomed to teaching myself or hoping for the best with natural beauty.
Facebook was just becoming a thing, as I was entering high school. The insanity of puberty, social awkwardness, and social media were colliding at an unstoppable pace. Sometimes, I wonder how I made it out alive with no real self-esteem issues. (Thank you Mom and Dad).
As cell phones, likes, and social media became more and more popular, wanting to feel pretty, accepted, and otherwise happy became a huge struggle for almost everyone. I always leaned back on my academics, my faith, and my sense of humor, and somehow, I made it through mostly unscathed. I cannot imagine the struggle of navigating self-worth and beauty for today's youth.
The older I get, the more I understand the struggles women have in this world and the struggles that being different can bring. At one point, I was about 16, my high school boyfriend told me I couldn't meet his grandparents because they wouldn't approve of an interracial relationship. This was the first time I'd ever really felt different in a way that didn't seem so great. It made me glimpse something ugly in humanity and experience the powerlessness of being in the face of racism and discrimination.
As humans, I think we are better than this; we should aspire to better than this. We see people in glimpses, through filters, likes, and hashtags. Behind these things, we should all remember that we are people. We were connected before we ever GOT connected; we are connected as humans. In my Instagram post, I think I said it all: Beauty is only skin deep and some people are only as pretty as their filters. Oh - and I also said I'd give you the low-down this make-up look I finally DID find and grow to love, so here you go!
foundation: Smashbox Liquid Halo - #3
contour: Smashbox - Light
brow: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz - Dark Brown
face: BECCA hilighter - champagne pop
lip color: Buxom liquid lipstick - deviously dolly
lip liner: Make up Forever Aqua Lip - 2C
eyes: colourpop - birthday boy
eye liner: Marc Jacobs gel crayon - black
eye liner: Kat Von D tattoo liner - trooper
mascara: Too Faced better than sex - black
primer: Smashbox primer water
I've always believed that fashion is a personal statement. In the world we live in, people pass judgement in the blink of an eye, more now than ever. Whether or not you like it, your style is going to say something about you. It wasn't until after college that I started to really develop my own personal style and feel out exactly what my style said about me. Truthfully, as a dancer, I spent so much time in sweatpants, athletic wear, and buns, that I'm pretty sure my overall vibe was a perpetual state of "I woke up like this." This last week, I thought I'd try using a bunch of mix and match pieces, and it turned out it made it way easier to roll out of bed and simplify the morning routine. Including the fact that I also had to travel back to Iowa, I needed to compile as many outfit options as possible from the smallest amount of actual packed items.
I don't know who it was who took that baby pink I swore I hated and made it a trendy new color called 'blush,' but thank you for giving all these old pieces of mine new life! I've been mixing black, white, and blush all week and it is for sure my new favorite color combo.
I picked flowy, graphic shorts, a lace tank top, cream lace vest, a romper, one skin-tight dress, a blush braid belt, and made up all my outfits I needed this week!
If you've never tried pre-selecting your wardrobe for the week and mixing prints and patterns, I highly recommend it!
PS: My silver paddle necklace is my style pick for the season!
From top to bottom: lace shirt: forever 21, print shorts: forever 21, bib paddle necklace: forever 21, shoes: express
silver necklace: kohls, dress: Chelsea and Violet, tan shoes: Jessica Simpson
lace vest: target, tank top: target, necklace: lauren conrad
romper: forever21, belt: kohls, purse: express
watch: Michael Kors, ring: Jared - custom creation, long necklace: express, other necklaces: kohls
Sometimes, it's easy to get lazy on the weekends and let outfit planning or any sign of a morning routine fall to the wayside. I am definitely guilty of snoozing my mornings away from time to time, and having an easy way to pull yourself together is every girl's best kept secret. For me, that includes a pop of lip color, liquid eyeliner, and a really easy hair routine. Outfit wise, I opted for comfortable shoes, bold cobalt shorts, and a flowy polka-dot blouse. Even with my morning walk with Isabelle and a quick stop to a local cafe, I still made it out to run errands before some of the stores opened.
If you're looking to add something new to your wardrobe rotation, consider a bright color - I think royal blue looks great on everyone - or a print. In my case, I went with both! The top is Apt 9, the shorts, Express, and the shoes are Sam Edelman. What's your favorite way to change up your normal routine?
"I'll take a rum and Pepsi.." I sometimes wonder if this is how PepsiCo employees order my easy, go-to drink. Since I don't typically venture out from a few, standard drink options, I thought I'd use part of my weekend to see on what else more adventurous alcohol drinkers sometimes rely. After all, it's not just personal style that can get stuck in a rut.
In Texas, alcohol sales are governed differently than my home state of Iowa. Designated, private retailers sell alcohol during set hours, though beer/wine is often available in grocery stores. For me, this meant an extra endeavor through the giant alcohol and wine retailer: Total Wine. I was interested to see just what an alcohol store the size of a walmart had to offer.
Inside were more types and varieties of alcohols than I will ever know. I made my way to the rum section and flagged down an associate. As someone who tends to order a standard captain coke, I asked him if he had alternate suggestions. He pointed me in the direction of George Ocean. The company is locally operated, out of Dallas, and said to be a top staff pick in the store for rum. SOLD!
Saturday evening, I made a small glass and tried a few sips. For anyone looking to up their rum game, I would definitely recommend it (21+ of course). The blend of spices gave it a smooth and sweet taste. I also prefer to garnish it with a wedge of lime. Although I don't drink in my home that often, I'll be interested to see if it's carried readily at local bars the next time I'm out and looking to place an order. What are your go-to drinks or locally-crafted favorites? Cheers!
Any woman who's had to wear clothes in the real world will likely tell you that women's outfits are regularly under higher scrutiny than those of our male peers. For this reason, I'm always extra careful if I know I'll be in a professional setting. This week, I was invited out to a happy hour. It wasn't my own co-workers, but I figured, some people would come straight from the office and be donning work attire no less. I decided to mix cocktail wear with office wear and came up with this black and white blend. Even though it wasn't technically a professional setting, I still wanted to be dressed up, and this way, could have some fun too. I was able to pair a black crop tank, full-flair mesh skirt, and a sheer white portofino dress shirt. For evenings like this, I'm aiming for practical comfort and classic style.
I gravitate towards silver accents, and I've styled this look with bold, chunky jewelry as well as more subtle pieces. The mesh skirt is full and airy, gives a great shape, but is still heavy enough to withstand a gust of wind. I love my BCBGeneration wedges because the cork material is so comfy, but they have a full black canvas cover to keep their overall appearance sleek. That last pic shows their side view, and a peek of my furry assistant, Isabelle. What do you like to wear to social gatherings when you still want to look some what professional?
For me, the easiest way to make an outfit is to build staples around one or two fun items. When planning this look, I knew I was going to be walking around a lot, so that meant ditching my traditional heels / wedges. When it comes to flats, if I must wear them, then they need to be fun and functional. These Sam Edelman sandals were perfect for the day; they're comfortable and dress up any outfit, even when it's black pants and a tank top. My other items came from Express, one of my favorite places to go when I need to spruce my closet game up on a budget. The envelope tassel purse has become a great accessory for me - there's a removable chain that makes it versatile as a clutch too.
Oh, and if you're wondering about the purple wristband.. just a teaser for what's to come on my feature about things around town!
What sort of flats do you prefer when it comes to walking around? What topics would you most like to see next?
It took a huge truck, a few planes, and one furry companion, but I finally made it to my destination. Anyone who has ever moved before knows how much work it is, and I somehow managed to make it happen in two weeks. As someone who has always been fairly discreet over social media, opening my life up in a blog is a new adventure. As long as it's not a gateway into selfie sticks and leaked photo scandals, I'll take the risk if it helps me stay connected to the people and place I called home. With the huge outpouring of support from friends and family, it's safe to say this Iowa gal is ready to take on Texas!