Real talk: Blogging woes, (not) keeping up with trends, and the future of this blog

2017 has been in full swing for the last week, yet here I am dilly dallying on getting the first post of the year published. Why? I struggled (and continue to struggle) with putting my thoughts into words. Taking a break from blogging over the winter break gave me a chance to reflect on how crazy 2016 really was. Last year, I found myself struggling to balance between spending my free time blogging vs keeping up a social life vs personal time for myself. While it may be obvious for some to draw boundaries and let creative outlets (i.e. this blog) fall to the back burner, I started to feel the pressures of not wanting to get left behind in the blogging world.

moorea seal tassel necklace
(April 2016: Adventures in the city)

As a blogger who started before blogging was even seen as a plausible career, I’ve seen and felt the pressures of constantly staying on trend, making frequent posts, all whilst staying active on social media. While the balancing act of maintaining a regularly updated blog was doable between my full time jobs in the past, 2016 proved to be much harder. I was on and off the road for work almost every 2-3 weeks. When on the road, I would be at my job for 12+ hour days, falling asleep immediately after walking in the door to my hotel room. All I wanted to do when I was home was cuddle my cat, catch up with friends, spend time with my significant other, and fold warm laundry fresh out of the dryer. There would be full weekends that I would completely avoid checking my inbox or social media because I wanted to be unplugged and enjoy being present for those around me. It’s the little things that help to keep me sane and grounded.

The little time that I had set aside to blog is when I felt the pressure most. I will always be grateful for all of the sponsors and brands who choose to work with me. With bloggers on the rise, I know there are endless options of influencers to choose from and I am ecstatic when my aesthetic and voice matches that of a brand’s.

When I look back on these posts, I feel two things. One, I feel like 80% of last year’s posts were billboards for partners because at least one piece of most of the outfits were c/o. Two, in what spare time I had, I wouldn’t prioritize my blog unless I had an obligation to (i.e. had a post with c/o items that had a deadline) which is what lead to the previous point. While 2016 was the best year for collaborations, I also wish I didn’t feel the obligation to blog because of said partnerships. That pressure of keeping up with collaborations because I saw other bloggers working with them, having the latest and greatest, etc, played a big role.

women's athleisure outfit ideas
(March 2016: Kickin’ it with the cool kids)

Specifically to fashion, 2016 was a transformational year for me. Not because I was the trendiest or because I provided inspirational outfits… it’s actually the total opposite of that. One thing that I didn’t talk about on the blog at all was how I cut fast fashion in 2016. I stopped shopping at places like H&M, Forever 21, etc, because I didn’t want to (or have time to) stay up to date on the latest and greatest fashion trends. After a 2-year long process of minimizing and rebuilding my wardrobe, I had found my own groove for style and learned how to be creative without owning hundreds of pieces to mix and match between.

Instead of supporting fast fashion, I opted to thrift majority of my new closet additions (I’d say about 70% of “new” pieces were thrifted) and made investments in pricier pieces that I knew I would wear more often. I was also lucky enough to work with brands that encompassed the same values of slow fashion, or quality clothing at realistic prices, which helped to keep my clothing budget in check.

Although I added a handful of new pieces as I rebuilt my wardrobe, none of them were real showstoppers. Majority of the pieces were either elevated basics or “plain staples” (like black ankle booties) that wouldn’t turn any heads on the blog or in the real world. There were often times that I would question, “Will people keep reading this blog if I keep sharing the same pieces in my closest over and over again?” “Maybe I should buy a lace-up hoodie because that’s what everyone else seems to be wearing… even though I have no idea where I would ever wear this to in real life.”

To my surprise, even with slowing down on the pace of purchasing and the avenue I chose to buy “new” clothing from, I somehow continued to grow my readership and trust with you all. It was great to have honest conversations in the comments or on Instagram about closet woes (like this post about finding a jacket in the back of my closet that I forgot about for 2 years… it’s since been re-homed to a good friend who’s worn it more times in the last 2 months that I have in the last 2 years) and being accepting of the fact that not all bloggers’ lives and closets are perfect.

Even though I may not be the most fashion-forward style blogger, I hope to bring a new perspective in 2017. I’m excited to be more transparent about the thrift finds and budgeting that I’ve set for myself in the clothing category this year. Part of having a budget for clothes is to force myself to continue to be a conscious consumer… the other part is the fact that I’m also now cognizant of finances required to have a wedding. ;)

I also strive to be a more authentic blogger, sharing the good and the bad for purchases that I make. As a blogger, it’s easy to share praises for brands or products that I personally vouch for, but there are equal amounts of products that I buy on my own and try and don’t have such a “sunshine and rainbows” experience with, but have been historically too nervous to post a negative review about in fear of losing potential collaboration opportunities over.

Phew! If you’ve made it this far– thank you for sticking it out! This is the longest blog post I’ve written to date, but also the most transparent and vulnerable I’ve ever felt before hitting the “Publish” button. Thank you for always reading and supporting this creative passion project of mine. I can’t thank you enough for following along on the journey and am excited to keep styling and posting work that I am genuinely-from-the-bottom-of-my-heart-excited and proud to share!

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Sidetracked and ok with that

hooded oxblood jacket
outfit details:
grey tunic sweater: H&M (similar)
skinny jeans: J Brand (similar)
ankle booties: Sam Edelman c/o Aeropostale (exact and on sale!)
hooded coat: Forever 21 via Kim’s closet (similar options)

I cannot believe we are already a month into 2016! It’s been crazy– the good kind! Last month was filled with lots of reconnecting with friends new and old, reigniting old art flames (calligraphy and colouring), and getting a dose of reality from mentors.

If there’s one thing I learned and continued to preach from a past job, it would be the importance of mentorship (both inside and outside of work) and being able to have an honest reality check every 6 months or so. Mentors are not exactly people who I seek out explicitly, but after building up a solid friendship and getting to know someone’s strengths and/or weaknesses, it starts to become apparent whose life goals are similar to my own and who I want to continue to learn and get advice from.

Last month, I had dinner with a friend who I consider a mentor with strong insights to my personal career path. She is intelligent, articulate, ambitious, and carved her own career path by having a beautifully complimentary set of skills that melt into each other like butter. She’s the kind of jack-of-all-trades who is a master of her crafts, no matter which one is called on, and has played to many facets of her strengths across all the roles and jobs she’s held over the years. (Yes, she is my real life hero.) Our conversations are always filled with takeaways and strong lessons because of the fact that she has a few years up on me and is able to give me a dose of reality for circumstances in a foreseeable future.

Before actually penning my goals both for my personal life (here on the blog) and career (privately tucked away in my journal), I talked to my mentor about them. Why? I felt like I was getting sidetracked by the “generalness” of them and potentially signing myself up to plateau instead of continuing to grow. After all the crazy accomplishments last year, I felt like these goals wouldn’t be keeping pace for personal growth, which is why I kept waffling back and forth about lofty goals vs maintenance goals. She asked the hard questions around what I wanted my future to look like and why I thought it needed to look a certain way. On top of that, she made me realize that everything I panicked about career-wise in the past were slowly working themselves out because I stopped chasing things that other people defined as their own successes and started to understand what my own measurements of success are.

Mentorship has taught me that there’s no right or wrong way too define my own happiness and successes. While I may have gotten sidetracked in the past for chasing dreams that were not necessarily my own, or for blindly trying to find happiness in things that are not at all appealing to me in the same way they are for others, I’m ok with it. If it weren’t for these past life lessons, I would have never learned how to define success for myself.

A lot of that happiness was discovered last year, and this year is all about maintaining it.

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The little things

This week has been a crazy one. Started a new job (more on this later) and got thrown in in the thick of things. It’s been a super fun and already rewarding first week, but it’s also been a very tiring one. I’ve definitely called it a night by 9:30pm more times than I should probably admit.

portland-dv8-buckledbooties

If you’re following me on Instagram, you might’ve read that I did my first 40+ mile bike ride last weekend. I clocked in 80 miles in total for the weekend, which is the current highest mileage I’ve been able to hit in the span of 2 days. The end goal is to hit 200 miles in 2 days, but even trying to hit 80 was a stretch. I thought I was going to pass out by the 20th mile on day two from exhaustion and am so grateful for friends who kept pushing and encouraging me to keep moving.

What a week! It’s been crazy but I’m looking forward to taking a day off of cycling on Saturday and picking it back up on Sunday. Instead of cycling, I signed up for a morning workshop at Fresh Tangerine for intro to calligraphy!

If you’re local to the Seattle area, come join! :)

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Goals for 2015

2015goals

Not going to lie– I’m terrified to post my goals for this year on the blog because now the feeling of accountability is real and I have to stick to my guns on these. To be fair, the whole point of posting these is to stay accountable. When June rolls around and none of these are checked off, I’m going to need you guys to help give me a bit of a nudge, ok? Ok!

I want to start by saying that 2015 is the year to make things count for me. With everything that happened in 2014, I refuse to watch even a single day of the next 365 slip through my fingers. I want to be intentional about every decision made, relationships maintained, and everything in between. Here we go…

Build and maintain a minimalist wardrobe
After watching my style evolve over the past few years, I think it’s safe to say I know who I am when it comes to my closet. In the last year, I’ve gravitated towards to a monochromatic palette in basics and reworking them to make fresh, interesting combinations. It’s been a work in progress, but I hope to get a fully-functional wardrobe of just staples in the next year. No more using trendy, fast fashion stores as a crutch to fill the holes in my closet. Being intentional with purchases and investing in pieces that are going to last longer than a single season is what I’m striving for.

Listen to my body
The days of eating fast food every single night have to stop! I went on a gym kick at the end of 2014 and started eating carb-free, home cooked dinners at least 3 times a week. It was hard to change my regular habits to start doing this, but once I did, I could feel my body changing and feeling less fatigued. In an attempt to be better to my body (I see all of the other bloggers doing the Whole30 challenge, but I can’t say I’m at that level of commitment just yet), going to try to maintain these better eating habits in conjunction with doing some sort of physical activity at least 3 times a week.

Bike from Seattle to Portland
Ever since getting a bike in 2014, the Seattle to Portland bike ride has been on my mind. My friends do this ride annually and complete it in a single day. My stamina and endurance when riding is no where close to theirs right now and I hope to train this year to do the ride with them. Alas, I don’t plan to tackle this trip in a single day like they do, but my goal is to finish in 2 days. *fingers crossed* that the Spring showers hold off for long enough to get some decent training in before the summer hits!

Perform an open mic night
Writing this down makes me laugh because I have such bad stage fright! I have enough trouble with public speaking as is. Singing is a whole different story! Singing outside of the comforts of my living room is something that I can’t even imagine doing right now. But here it is. It’s on the list!

Go to hip hop class once
Another one that’s making me laugh as I type it out. Bff claims that I “dance like Taylor Swift… and not in a good way.” What does this even mean?? I can totally dance the way she does in Shake It Off ;) I’ve attempted several hip hop classes in the past and these usually ended up with me laughing at myself for a good 50% of the class. My lack of coordination really makes dancing challenging! I love watching choreographies on YouTube so much that I want to be able to push myself to one day be able to do them… so here it is. Also on the list!

Start a joint project with Kim
This one is already in the works. You may have noticed an increase of Kim’s presence on this blog in the last few months of 2014. She’s been a big influence on my blogging efforts and we jive off each other’s crazy energy. We’ve talked about potential projects to work together on and we are scheduled to kick one of them off seriously in the new year. More on this one soon…

goals

Sketch, prototype, and build a mini collection
I’m nervous about this one. I have been making clothes on and off for the better part of my life as a fun hobby. Halloween gives the best excuse for making an outfit, but I’ve never sat down to create a single, cohesive collection. Towards the end of 2014, I bought a mannequin from a store liquidation and plan to learn how to drape on it! No matter how big or small this collection is, I’m excited for it. My sketchbook is locked and loaded with scribbles of ideas from the last handful of years and I’m ready to make some of these a reality!

Whew! These goals are pretty big and lofty, but if 2015 is going to count we have to aim high! What are your goals for this year? Want to be goal buddies in checking some of these off together?

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Currently: July 2014


Kayaking along Lake Union in my go-to Franco Sarto Venezia sandals (via onlineShoes.com)

Loving: Summertime! Honestly, Seattle has the most beautiful summers I’ve ever come across. Every summer, a friend and I volunteer to be part of a summer camp-type program where we take anywhere from 20-30 kids (are they still considered kids if they’re 21-24? I feel so old around them… haha) out around the city on weekends. So far, we’ve walked through almost every neighbourhood within a ~1 mile radius of the Seattle downtown core, kayaked along the water to Gas Works Park, and are planning a pool party in a few weeks. We were hoping to sneak in a few short hikes, but it’s been pretty hot out lately and none of us are excited by the idea of sweating in the wilderness.


Reading: Went on a bit of a book-buying binge back in June and have been slowly chipping through the stack. #GIRLBOSS was the first on the list and I finished it in under a week. Sophia Amoruso’s unusual journey and honesty in storytelling was really compelling and made me want to get up and do something at the end of every chapter. If you haven’t yet read this book, I highly recommend it! One of my friends borrowed it and finished it within 3 days!! Next to be finished is Bossypants.

Watching: Master Chef is back!! And so is Suits! Two of my favourite shows in the same season? I love it! I’m hardcore crushing on Daniel from Master Chef this season… something about dudes with sleeves of tattoos and nice glasses who are great in the kitchen. dayuuuum.




Listening to: Currently tuned into the Iggy Azalea Pandora station. Sam Smith’s Stay With Me gives me goose bumps every time the track comes on. He has an amazing set of vocal pipes!


Working on: Building furniture… specifically closet-type things. I’m setting up a new space (more on this later) and of all the apartments I looked at, somehow I picked the one with NO CLOSETS. WHAT? Yeah. I’m a sucker for a nice kitchen and interesting interiors, so I wasn’t exactly using the rational/logical side of my brain when signing the dotted line on this place. The last 4 weeks have been spent trying to build a make-shift storage spaces and the current state of a closet is about 1/4 of the size of my current closet. I have no idea how I’m going to fit all my coats and clothes in one tiny wardrobe and I don’t have a whole lot of time to figure it out. Any suggestions?
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