2016 year end review

As 2016 came to a close this weekend, there are so many thoughts that crossed my mind. In and outside of this blog, there were the good, the bad, and not-so-pretty things that have occurred in the last 12 months. From my personal and blog fronts, here’s a quick month-by-month highlight reel of 2016:

January: As with every year, I started 2016 with a set of goals (some lofty [*cough* running once a week], some not so much). Did I make all these happen? Nope. Definitely fell off the running train once work travels picked up. Also did not finish fussing over my wardrobe, but more on that later.

February: What a fun month! Thanks to work, I had the opportunity to visit China for the first time ever. Made it to Beijing during the Chinese New Year festivities, which meant getting to walk the Great Wall without much traffic (both getting to the Wall or on the Wall itself)!

March: As part of the same trip in February, ventured over to Shanghai (so much delicious street food!) and eventually made my way over to Japan! With only a day of down time between meetings, I tried my best to visit all the touristy attractions. To this day, I still think about Japan a lot and hope to go back there soon!

April: Between work travels to visit new-to-me places in North America, and a quick weekend trip to Vancouver for fun, April was a quiet month. I focused a lot of my content with local Seattle Companies (Comeshopwithlove.com, Brooks Running, and Moorea Seal), and revisited partnerships with old favourites. In retrospect, I wish I had put aside more time to share non-partnered posts in April because looking back on this month makes me now feel like it was a rolling billboard month. Sorry friends!!

oyster picking at Hama Hama

May: One of my favourite memories of 2016 happened in May: Oyster picking! Having never been to Hama Hama before, or really having a taste for oysters, this trip taught me a lot. It was such a fun way to spend a day with friends, away from social media, and surrounded by the beautiful sunny skies, oyster smells, and yummy food. On top of the oyster goodness, May was the month of celebrating Moorea Seal’s B&M store turning 2! My, how the time flies!

June: With Summer kicking off in June, it was time to start wedding season outfit planning. Aside from all the outfit planning, there were fun personal trips planned for lounging around at a lake house, and planning the biggest event of the year: a pop up restaurant! The pop-up isn’t something I blogged much about (mainly because it was a joint event between myself and another friend), but I can’t wait to share more about it in 2017 because it’s something that I hope we get to do regularly in the future!

July: July was another busy month for work travel (so fun, but also a little crazy!). There was literally one free weekend that I was home in Seattle, which is the weekend my friend Joe and I hosted a fun pop-up restaurant in the Cap Hill neighbourhood. For one night, we offered a 3-course set menu centered around traditionally smoked meats and traditional Asian cuisine. With both of us being the children of immigrant parents, now raised and influenced in modern Western societies, this felt like the most authentic pairing of foods and flavours that we both grew up loving. Can’t wait to share more about this in the new year!

August: What a month for 3-day trips! A friend found an amazing flight deal which landed us in Alaska for a weekend. Eating through the Anchorage Weekend Market and then taking an 8 hour long tour of Denali was such a treat. As someone who grew up in a city and didn’t have easy access to the mountains or other outdoor activities, it always surprises me how excited I get about being outside and enjoying nature as I grow older.

the demure muse engagement story
September: The most exciting month of all months in 2016, hands down! Although I didn’t get around to recapping the story until November, September 2016 will always be my favourite month of this year because that’s when I said “Yes” to the next chapter with my best friend. I got to feel like Snow White for a weekend, running around Doe Bay with deer who would read with us at night, waking up in a cute little yurt – fulfilling all my glamping dreams – and hanging out without internet access with my fave guy. What a month!!

October: What is usually my favourite month of the year (mainly because of my favourite holiday, Halloween), October was bested by September. The biggest notable moment this month was being in Europe! Despite loving Halloween and being costume ready early (for once, hah!), I spent Halloween on the road with my coworkers in Germany. We spent almost 2 weeks on the road between Germany, Italy, and a few spots in between (Switzerland, Austria, etc). It was my first time to all of these countries and I loved every second of being on the road! This is the trip that taught me to be a hyper-efficient suitcase packer too.

holiday party outfit: maxi skirt and crop top

November & December: I’m lumping the last two months of the year into the same bucket because of how quickly they both seemed to zoom by! December is the month of my favourite outfit of 2016, which I wore to Bri’s annual holiday party. December is also the month that I discovered the magic of outdoor skating trails. December is also the month where I traveled the most, ringing in 6 flights in the span of 3 weeks!

Phew. Looking back, 2016 was a crazy year! Being on the road so often taught me a lot about myself as a person. I truly believe 2016 is the year I finally and wholeheartedly learned to grow comfortable in my own skin.

From the blog front, I feel like 2016 was a learning experience. This was the first year I started to branch out in partnerships and collaborations across all the platforms (blog, Instagram, Twitter, FB, etc). Although there were a lot of pros for the new blogging opportunities, the biggest con – to me – is feeling like I’ve lost some of my personal voice. Writing this year end review surprised me a bit because of the sheer number of collaboration posts vs personal posts. In previous years, my blog has been weighted much more heavily on the personal side vs partnerships, but that isn’t the case this year. I feel my voice and personal opinion coming through Instagram a lot more frequently nowadays and wish I did a better job of mirroring that across all platforms. Of course, every blogger will have a different opinion on the topic of partnerships, but I’m looking forward to 2017 and better about speaking up and out beyond partnered content.

I learned a lot about myself as an individual this year, and that extends to who I am through the lens of this blog too. I can’t thank all of you for continuing to read, support, and encourage this creative outlet of mine. The blog has really helped me to grow as a person – and professionally – and I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for us!


Cheers to the new year: Recapping 2015 goals

Happy new year!! Hope you all had an amazing time ringing in the new year last night! This post is coming out a bit late thanks to some scheduling mishaps, but better late than never, right? 2016 is off to a good start! *shift eyes*

Today’s post is being spent recapping the goals that were set at the beginning of 2015. At the beginning of the year, I thought I was a little crazy for setting such lofty goals, and even though I didn’t end up crossing off every single one from the list, just the sheer fact of having them made me feel accountable to get some of them checked off.

aritzia sunday's best faux fur vest
outfit details:
black turtleneck dress: H&M (exact)
faux fur vest: Sunday’s Best via Aritzia (similar)
riding boots: Franco Sarto (similar)
glasses: Burberry c/o SmartBuyGlasses (exact)

how to style a faux fur vest

Build and maintain a minimalist wardrobe
I’m going to keep this one 25% unchecked because it’s still a work in progress. There’s been a lot of progress made in terms of understanding how my personal style has evolved and started to mature, but I’m still learning how to pair down on the pieces that I own. After many, many bags of clothing being donated to Goodwill in 2015, my closet is down to less than 50% of what I originally owned at the beginning of the year. I’ll be continuing to work through this in 2016, with a goal of having a working minimalist wardrobe by the end of this year.

Listen to my body
YES! This one was huge for me in 2015. As someone who has trouble sitting still and knowing when to take a break, I forced myself to sleep in on the days that I knew my body needed it and changed up my eating habits to fit the lifestyle that I want to live moving forward. I won’t even feel bad for all of the trips to McDonald’s while training for the Seattle to Portland bike ride either, since the carb loading was really necessary to keep my body fueled while training.

Bike from Seattle to Portland
HUGE YES TO THIS ONE!! I almost convinced myself to not show up for the day of this event because of the weather. I had hit so many bumps in the road (pun intended, hehe) during training that made me doubt my own abilities. As much of a physical challenge this bike ride was, it was even more of a mental challenge to even be able to picture myself being able to ride 200+ miles in two days. It was a grueling two days of being on a bike (recap of day 1 and day 2 of the ride), but I am really proud of myself for seeing this one through.

Perform an open mic night
Umm… so, this one definitely did not happen. There were like 2 band practices for the entirety of 2015, none of which included guitar practice for me. Will this be attempted again in 2016? Not sure. Considering that I can barely even remember the differences in fingering for C and G-chords, maybe not?

Go to hip hop class once
Hahaha, ok definitely failed hard on this one. All of my weekends leading up to the Seattle to Portland bike ride were spent training on the road, which meant that hip hop classes couldn’t happen (classes are only offered on the weekend for the studio I was hoping to attend). Does this mean hip hop classes will happen in 2016 for me? Probably not. As time has gone by, my personal desire to learn how to dance has exponentially declined… I guess I’ll be awkwardly dancing like Taylor Swift forever! Good thing I got those Drake Hotline Bling moves down! ;)

Start a joint project with Kim
Technically, this one is checked off. Kim and I did start a project together in 2015, called Hello Kim and Kat. It’s a joint style blog that showcased how we both styled the same pieces in our own aesthetic. At first, it was really fun, but then as work picked up and we both had to balance our day jobs, blogs, and extra curricular activities, it fell to the wayside. We still love working together, so we’re going to try to find some sort of project to work on together in 2016!

Sketch, prototype, and build a mini collection
Originally, this goal was intended to be for a mini clothing collection. Instead of clothing, I ended up designing jewelry under Rogue T&K, and pursing this avenue of creativity towards the end of 2015. It was such an exciting adventure to conceptualize, build, and launch something tangible! Being able to do a first in-person show just weeks after starting also really kicked things into high gear super fast. I cannot wait to keep going with designing and see where it takes us in 2016!

Recapping 2015 goals and seeing that 5 out of 7 goals were achieved in 2015blows my mind. Even though I went through huge waves of personal doubt throughout the year, I am really glad that I had friends along the way who helped support me and remind me to continue to test my limits and constantly push my personal comfort levels.

It feels weird to write this, but I am truly proud of myself for my personal accomplishments this year! Not sure if 2016 can out-do all of this from 2015, but I’m going to try! Goal setting for this year starts soon…


Goals for 2015


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…


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?


Reflections: 2014 in a nutshell

source: Sincerely, Kinsey (here)

Looking back on the last 365 days, I think 2014 was the toughest year yet. So much happened in the last 12 months that made this year feel like a never ending fire drill. Here’s a quick month-to-month rundown of the year’s highlights (and lowlights):

January – Switched jobs!! Running with an insane learning curve at the beginning of the job is both super terrifying, but satisfying!

February – Added a new pair of specs to the collection. SEE Eyewear launched in Seattle and the bff and I had a blast playing with all the glasses. Aside from playing with glasses, I also started to learn how to play guitar in hopes of one day playing duets with the bff. (See the summer months for where this went!)

March – Met & adopted a sweet old man who was renamed to Mr. Gramps. Our relationship was short-lived thanks to really awful allergies. We stayed together for a month, but after waking up to blood-shot eyes and wheezing every morning, he returned home to the original couple I adopted him from. :(

April/MayLondon & Ireland got checked off the bucket list of travel locations! While on vacation is when I got a “you need to move out of your apartment which is being converted into a condo” letter. Best welcome home from vacation note, right? Scrambling to start a lease in the summer in Seattle is the worst because summer = peak season for hiked rent prices!

June – Bought a bike (finally!!) and joined a weekly “bike club” with 6 of my friends who helped keep each other encouraged to stay healthy by doing 30km rides on Sunday mornings. This was also the month that my reading obsession started. I’m going to blame it on all the baths I was taking after long bike rides and enjoying quiet reading time.

JulyBecame a redhead! Reunited with some of my favourite bloggers (hi Fran, Bri, and Lindsay!) while Fran was visiting Seattle. At the same time, I was apartment hunting and ended up signing a lease a month before my previous lease would be up and started building all the furniture during ungodly hours after work to prep for the move.

August – The week before the final apartment move (aka where all the big furniture was getting transported), I made a quick trip back to Toronto for a friend’s wedding. This month was all packing-packing-packing-unpacking-unboxing-packing! It was also the month where the bff and I decided to try to take this whole “band thing” seriously. We started transposing a handful of our favourite hip hop and R&B songs into fun pop ballads that we could play acoustically duet style!

September – Made a quick weekend trip to San Francisco for the Boba Guys Kickstarter launch party of their Union Square store! There is nothing more inspiring than getting to chat with Andrew & Bin about their business learnings on trying to change the general perception of bubble tea.

October – No doubt, this was the hardest month of the year. I have a really tough time talking about this still so I’m going to keep this short. One of my closest friends went missing, which made the rest of the year extremely emotionally challenging. There are still so many “what ifs” that run through my mind on a weekly basis.

November – Instead of spending nights in curled on the couch and feeling emotionally numb beyond belief, I took out my emotions out in a whirlwind of barre, spinning, and rowing classes with ClassPass. Forcing myself to go out and do something proved to be one of the therapeutic activities.

December – Finally got back into the blogging groove after a tough Fall. A big thank you to the supportive friends and family who are helping through the tough days.

Being back in Toronto for the tail-end of this year has helped me to put a lot of my year in Seattle into perspective. Going into 2015, I want to be intentional with goals and what I want out of the next 365 days. A lot of what happened in 2014 has put life into perspective and made me realize the importance of surrounding myself with positively-influenced relationships.

Thanks for following along & hope to see you in the new year!


The good, bad, and ugly of 2013

Happy new year!! I thought it would be fun to kick off 2014 with a quick recap of 2013 because who doesn’t love to reflect on the past? Honestly, there wasn’t a whole lot of bad or ugly in 2013, or at least I try to see the good in some of the less-fortunate events that happened this year. It’s all about learning and making the best of all the lemons life throws our way!

Style-wise, 2013 felt like the year of experimenting. I played around with colours, silhouettes, and even wandered off into different departments (hello inspiration from menswear and owl sweaters from the kids section!). I pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone more than once not only in what I was wearing day-to-day, but documenting my personal style on the blog. Looking back on the posts, I laugh at some of the back stories that accompanied some sets of the photos. Anything from getting side-eyed by a random passerby, to getting “yelled at” (but not really) for making silly faces by friends helping me take photos in more public places, to borrowing the belt my friend was wearing to help complete an outfit. Here are some of my favourite looks from the last 12 months:

November: Sanctuary between the bookshelves // January: Getting tough with Hello Kitty

December: Say Anything // August: Blending

Much like the experimentation in my closet, 2013 was quite the year of self growth. There were so many wonderful opportunities that I am so grateful to have been part of this year– especially all of the amazing people I’ve managed to meet through them. The ones that stick out the most in my mind are:

Hosting my first ever event at Rivet & Sway – As a longtime lover and supporter of Rivet & Sway, I can’t even begin to express how ecstatic I was to host one of their happy hour events this past summer. I absolutely adore the team behind this amazing company and it makes my heart feel so full to know that I could be part of their showroom events this year.

The #frandoesbubbletea experiement – One of the best, best, BEST things about blogging is the loving, supportive community that comes with it. I was lucky enough to meet some of my favourite bloggers this year. When Fran came to visit over the summer, I would’ve never guessed how great of friends these wonderful group of ladies and I would become as the year progressed. Aside from the Seattle locals, I also met Ashley and Erica in sunny California while road tripping down the Pacific Coastal Highway.

Surprise birthday party at Boba Guys – I probably sound like a broken record when it comes to Boba Guys, but it’s hard not to fall in love with such a passionate, inspiring team of people behind one of my favourite dessert beverages. My friends and the Boba Guys team threw the sweetest surprise birthday party in the shop this year! I will never forget it (and to this day can’t stop talking about it still…)!

UncommonGoods winter jewelry lookbook – Gosh, I can’t even tell you how amazing it was to work on this! Having never been part of a lookbook before, I could not have been more flattered to work alongside the other beautiful women in this project.

Being in print was another first this year that was pretty effin`sweet! 425 Magazine did a feature on local style influencers that I was really happy to be a part of. Looking back at this photo still makes me pinch myself a little to ask if this is real life!

There’s a lot that happens behind the scenes of this blog that I don’t talk about. From being over the moon about my job, dealing with heartbreak, and strengthening friendships, 2013 was nothing shy of an adventure. I can honestly say that this was the year I learned the most about myself and what I value the most about the people I surround myself with and the types of relationships I hope to continue to build moving forward. I can only hope that 2014 brings a little more consistency because this little insomniac mind doesn’t need one more reason to stay up thinking at night!

I haven’t finished dotting the Is and crossing the Ts on goals for 2014 yet, but I do have a couple in mind that I can’t wait to share! I’d love to check out your lists… link me to yours in a comment below! :)

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