Night Crawler

24 Feb

New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: San Francisco Clift Hotel, Black backless dress, night out on the town
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: San Francisco Clift Hotel, Black backless dress, night out on the town
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: San Francisco Clift Hotel, Black backless dress, night out on the town
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: San Francisco Clift Hotel, Black backless dress, night out on the town
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: San Francisco Clift Hotel, Black backless dress, night out on the town

“I don’t give a shit what the world thinks. I was born a bitch, I was born a painter, I was born fucked. But I was happy in my way. You did not understand what I am. I am love. I am pleasure, I am essence, I am an idiot, I am an alcoholic, I am tenacious. I am; simply I am…You are a shit.” -Frida Kahlo, from an unsent letter to Diego Rivera 

While I do not necessarily identify directly with every word written by the legendary artist quoted above, there is no denying the profound, heart-wrenching relatability that is present in its message.

I wasn’t born a bitch (though at times, I certainly can behave like one), I am not a painter, and being “fucked up” is sort of something what was an evolutionary process. I am tenacious, no doubt. I am passionate as all hell and sometimes I feel the anger, hurt and white-hot fire these words represent…almost as if they were pulled directly from my soul.

Note that this was taken from a portion of a letter written by Frida Kahlo to Diego Rivera that went unsent. I cannot tell you how many times I have done this. Putting my thoughts on paper has become an invaluable form of therapy, release and a channel to express emotions so powerful that, to be honest, I may be the only one who truly comprehends the weight and meaning my private words internally hold.

Whether it be a journal entry or an unsent letter to a loved one, where furious feelings are revealed and, often times, vicious daggers are figuratively thrown, I’ve learned to try and pump the breaks, if possible. This is not because I am anti-communication (I am likely the biggest advocate for openness and conversation – often times to a fault), but because I have, through experience, been slapped with the cold, hard realization that anyone who can induce such resentment and exasperation, is either unworthy or incapable of truly absorbing the meaning behind my words.

So, here’s to us — the ones who have had our hearts broken, who have acted out, who have turned to self-hate, anger and substance abuse in an attempt to cope with the bullshit life throws our way. Hats off to those who have had the strength to stand up and hold their own — to speak out or write down what they feel (sent or unsent), and move forward with their lives.

I love these harsh, disturbing, beautiful words by Frida Kahlo — so much that I feel them in my bones.

So cheers to being a an idiot and an alcoholic. Cheers to being pleasure and essence. Cheers to being happy in your own way and not being afraid to call out any friend, boss, acquaintance, lover or enemy who hinders the free, wild spirt that drives an electric current through your soul.

Cheers is to writing a fucking letter that expresses the words you so desperately and painfully hold within — even if the only person you actually are writing it for is yourself.

*head to toe: backless chain jersey dress by Atelier Gabriella Daher, Satur-Date heels by Kate Spade Saturday (pretty legit sale going on right now, FYI)

Photographed by Lance Skundrich at the Clift Hotel

Throw Like A Girl

17 Feb

New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cabin in the woods, knit beanie, fur jacket, basic white tee, painted vintage jeans, black booties
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cabin in the woods, knit beanie, fur jacket, basic white tee, painted vintage jeans, black booties
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cabin in the woods, knit beanie, fur jacket, basic white tee, painted vintage jeans, black booties
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cabin in the woods, knit beanie, fur jacket, basic white tee, painted vintage jeans, black booties
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cabin in the woods, knit beanie, fur jacket, basic white tee, painted vintage jeans, black booties

“Yes, I kick like a girl and swim like a girl and I walk like a girl and I wake up in the morning like a girl because I am a girl. And that’s not something that I should be ashamed of.”

I might not be winning any snowball fights, but that isn’t because I am a girl. I just happen to suck at being in the snow and don’t enjoy when my fingers go numb. If I actually cared about winning a snowball fight, I would win that damn snowball fight.

Yes, the title of this post is a reference to the kick-ass tampon commercial that aired during the Super Bowl (definitely worth watching if you haven’t seen it). It was refreshing to, for once, see an advertisement about, ya know, “that time of the month”, that isn’t cheesy as hell and completely irrelevant. Yoga, cartwheels, horseback riding, running on the beach, bla, bla, bla…

Last month a few of my favorite ladies and I fled the city and rented a cozy cabin in Connecticut, enjoying a weekend away from the bullshit. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time — an escape from those daily curveballs that sometimes knock me off base, allowing me to forget that I actually have all the power in the world and can do whatever I want with my life. No boys, no drama, no insecurities or inhibitions. Just real talk, silly behavior and plenty of unforgettable moments.

I laughed like a girl, cried like a girl, partied like a girl, ate pizza like a girl, ran around in my underwear like a girl, frolicked in the freezing cold like a girl, screamed like a girl, played with makeup and stayed up all night like a girl…

Well, guess what? At the end of that weekend I felt strong, confident and more powerful than ever.

I am no diehard super-feminist or anything….you know, the ones who are anti-men. In fact, I happen to be a huge fan of men. I like to get dolled up, be given flowers, and treated like a princess. I like that I can be vulnerable and have a soft, fragile side. I enjoy being taken care of sometimes, but know that I don’t need a man to take care of me.

I embrace my sexuality and am not ashamed of that. So I have the body of a pre-pubescent boy…I’ve finally become comfortable with it. I also wear “boyfriend jeans”, drink whisky, and curse like a sailor. At the same time, I am very proud of the fact that I am a girl who makes her own money, launched her own business and is capable of loving without holding back in fear. I stand up for myself like a girl, take risks like a girl, make brave decisions like a girl, and hustle like a freaking girl.

So here is to being a girl and owning it…let’s be real, we’re kind of the best.

*head to toe: Madewell knit beanie, vintage fur jacket, basic white tank (similar style here), Rialto Jean Project painted pants, Vagabond booties from Urban Outfitters

photos shot by Serena Goh

Shop Nasty Gal

Un Nouveau Chapitre

11 Feb

New York City Fashion, LIfestyle, Travel Blog: Clift hotel, Grecian dress, Gabriella Daher silk dress,
New York City Fashion, LIfestyle, Travel Blog: Clift hotel, Grecian dress, Gabriella Daher silk dress,
New York City Fashion, LIfestyle, Travel Blog: Clift hotel, Grecian dress, Gabriella Daher silk dress,
New York City Fashion, LIfestyle, Travel Blog: Clift hotel, Grecian dress, Gabriella Daher silk dress,
New York City Fashion, LIfestyle, Travel Blog: Clift hotel, Grecian dress, Gabriella Daher silk dress,

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.” -Bob Moawad

So, I have decided to move to Paris.

Last week marked my three year anniversary with New York City. It has been a tumultuous love affair…potentially more dramatic than any human relationship I have ever had. Well, maybe – I suppose that one’s debatable. When I give my heart and soul to someone or something it does tend to consume me, to an extent. For this I am not sorry, nor do I have regrets.

That said, I realized that it is time for me to do something big on my own, based solely on my personal needs and desires.

I am grateful beyond words for the time I spent here in New York, the incredible people I’ve met, and even all of the challenges that were thrown in my face along the way. I am proud of the person I have become, and excited for the person I see myself one day becoming as a result of the lessons I’ve learned here and the many ways in which this city has transformed me.

I used to be a creature of routine. A girl who would wake up on a Monday and know what the entire week would entail. My life was comfortable. Until it wasn’t…

When I moved here in February of 2012, I came with a boyfriend I had devoted six years of my life to, and a little puppy dog who was basically my everything. I lost them both. I worked full-time in the fashion industry and got battered, broken and bruised. I was thrown into a world of solitude that I was completely unequipped for. A weak little girl, across the country from friends and family, trying to navigate my way through what then seemed like the scariest place on earth.  I was alone for the first time in my life…ever. I cried and felt sorry for myself for months.

And then, one day, I opened my eyes to the fact that I am so fucking lucky. I finally saw things for what they actually were, and made a choice to wake up from my self-induced nightmare. I wasn’t alone, I was free. Work was intimidating and strenuous, but I had a job. Sure the city was scary, but I was living in New York — something I had always wanted!  What I was experiencing at the time is just a part of growing up and, compared to many, I actually had very little to complain about.

Sure, it took time, tears, breakdowns, self-medication through alcohol, meaningless flings aplenty and coming pretty close to hitting rock bottom before I was able to see things differently. But I didn’t hit rock bottom. I dug my nails into the wall and started to climb my way back up. I do remain a big fan of crying (I find it to be a lovely release), but feeling sorry for myself was no longer an option.

I learned that I am not, at my core, a creature of routine. I need to be light and free. I need excitement and adventure, and I had every tool necessary to make a change right there at my fingertips.

I learned to embrace the unexpected, and roll with the punches. I learned to stand back up after being beat the fuck down. These are qualities I only could have acquired through living in this harsh, beautiful city. A city that many of my loved ones begged me to give up on. But I am not a quitter. Thank you for that too, New York.

But, so it goes…an irresistible opportunity came knocking and, well, why not try out Paris for a while? I have no full-time job that I’m obsessed with, no husband, no children. I am finally light and free.

In two months I will be saying “goodbye, for now” to this special place, and embarking on another adventure. And I can finally do so knowing just how much I have actually grown and accomplished in the past three years, with too many great memories to count and an extraordinary “friend family” that I am beyond grateful to have found.

So here’s to taking risks, and living life on your own terms! Here’s to new beginnings…or, as the French would say, a mon nouveau départ.

*wearing the Balsa Caped Gown by Atelier Gabriella Daher

Photographed by Lance Skundrich at the Clift Hotel

Walking In A Winter Wonderland

30 Jan

New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Snow day, brimmed hat, vintage fur coat, oversized knit sweater, grey biker jeans,  leather boots
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Snow day, brimmed hat, vintage fur coat, oversized knit sweater, grey biker jeans,  leather boots
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Snow day, brimmed hat, vintage fur coat, oversized knit sweater, grey biker jeans,  leather boots
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Snow day, brimmed hat, vintage fur coat, oversized knit sweater, grey biker jeans,  leather boots

On our mission to prep for what we thought would be several days snowed in (i.e. hitting the corner wine shop to stock up on “essentials”), Stacey, Erica and I were able to capture a few moments spent frolicking around Brooklyn-turned-winter wonderland earlier this week.

Walking the streets that night was sort of surreal, especially since the Mayor declared a ban on all automobiles after 11pm. Almost like being in a ghost town, right in the middle of the Big City. Quiet, peaceful, and beyond beautiful…not words I would typically use to describe New York (at least the first two).

The storm passed quickly, so now it’s just frigid and muddy. I’m very much looking forward to fleeing to Florida for a few days and enjoying some family time and warmer temps.

Have a good weekend!!

*head to toe: Rag & Bone floppy fedora, vintage fur jacket, vintage knit sweater from Edith Machinist (similar style here), Citizens of Humanity distressed black skinny jeans, vintage booties 

Photos by Stacey Belko

Shop Nasty Gal

Stronger Than Blood

26 Jan

New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Cabin in the woods, messy hair, pale lips, sheer fringe dress, edgy spike necklace
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Cabin in the woods, messy hair, pale lips, sheer fringe dress, edgy spike necklace
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Cabin in the woods, messy hair, pale lips, sheer fringe dress, edgy spike necklace
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Cabin in the woods, messy hair, pale lips, sheer fringe dress, edgy spike necklace
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Cabin in the woods, messy hair, pale lips, sheer fringe dress, edgy spike necklace

I like messy people; people who don’t fit in a box or stay between the lines, but whose integrity is greater than any rule book and whose loyalty is stronger than blood. — Jim Wern

This month marks 3 years for me in New York City. And oh, what a long, short, incredibly bizarre journey it has been! I can genuinely say that I treasure the life I’ve built for myself here. It hasn’t always been pleasant, but I learn important lessons daily, and good times have been plentiful. 

Not only have I managed to grow into a semi-independent woman (at least for the most part), but I’ve also had many eye-opening experiences that taught me about the person I was, the person I am now, and the person I hope and know I have the power to become…

I write this feeling more confident than I’ve been in a while, having just spent a magical weekend in Connecticut with three of my dearest girlfriends. We rented a precious cabin in the woods that I’m pretty sure was designed for fairy princesses.

While I am proud of the numerous strides I’ve made since uprooting from my comfortable life in California (for a much more exciting one, granted), I also recently had my eyes opened to the fact that I’ve adopted a tendency to shut myself out from the people I love most – usually during times of turmoil.

Strange thing (and perhaps the reason it went unnoticed) is this is a very new tendency for me. The city can be blinding in certain ways, and if you aren’t extremely aware, you run the risk of acquiring certain traits that I, personally, find to be less than desirable.

Let’s be real…nobody here has it easy. But the strong ones keep on moving. Fortunately, if you are good you don’t have to do it all by yourself all of the time.

This “awakening”, so to speak, was accompanied by feelings of sadness, embarrassment, but, ultimately, gratitude. I am incredibly lucky to have made real friends during the relatively short time I’ve been here. You know, the kind of friends you can laugh with, cry hysterically in front of, reveal secrets to, and who will also call you out on the bullshit.

It is easy to become buried by burden, and at times feel like you have nothing…we are human. But so far, in my experience, having friends cool enough to give you a smack in the fucking face when you need it is far more powerful than any struggle. Just like all relationships (romantic, platonic, whatever), friendship is a two-way street and you get what you give. You should be able to lean on one-another…you should also be willing to provide and receive tough love!

So this one goes out to my East Coast family. Thank you CC, Bonnie and Serena for reminding me what actually matters, and to the rest of my tried-and-true…you know who you are. LOVE YOU to the moon and back. <3

*head to toe: Topshop statement necklace, Isabel Marant embroidered tunic

Landslide

20 Jan

New York City Fashion, Lifestyle Travel blog: Strappy lingerie, basic grey tee, distressed white jeans, black leather booties
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle Travel blog, Strappy lingerie, basic grey tee, distressed white jeans, black leather booties
New York City Fashion, Lifestyle Travel blog: Strappy lingerie, basic grey tee, distressed white jeans, black leather booties

Having recently returned to the frigid NYC temps, looking at these photos makes me slightly nostalgic for the California sunshine. Actually, it is more the fact that just a couple weeks back I was comfortable wearing such minimal clothing in the height of winter. The very evident downside is the awful drought this part of the country has been suffering from…

I shot these photos right down the street from the home I grew up in, where some beautiful houses used to stand. I left Orange County over ten years ago…and oddly enough at the time it wasn’t a lack of rain but the destructive landslides, that caused many people to lose their homes. Homes they literally watched collapse beneath them due to mud, misplacement, poor construction, and unpredictable weather.

If you are a regular (or even occasional) reader of my blog, you know I am much more predictable than the weather I speak of in that I will inevitably turn this odd metamorphosis into an analogy relating to “real life” and the way that we deal with fluctuations and fucked up shit.

Sometimes I find myself falling down slippery slopes, and crumbling internally as a result of the many unexpected and challenging scenarios I’m thrown into. Other times I find myself completely drained dry…so exhausted, both physically and emotionally, that I’m actually incapable of shedding a tear (and crying is something I happen to be damn good at).

But, in the same way that the community is rebuilding what was broken down here a few years ago, we have to remind ourselves that we, too, can always bounce back. In life, it may take a great deal of reflection, deep conversations with true friends, self-realization, and acknowledging that you are strong enough to see that a positive outcome is possible if you are willing to do what it takes to get there.

So here is to being blindsided, “broken”, embracing the hurt, but ultimately learning that you can work hard and stand back up again with pride…stronger than ever. Just keep on moving on, and don’t forget the powerful resilience that exists within us all.

*head to toe: Ray Ban sunglasses, American Apparel strappy bra, Marine Layer crewneck tee, Urban Outfitters distressed denim jeans,  Vagabond black leather booties

Shop Nasty Gal

Hopeless Romantic

9 Jan

New York City fashion, lifestyle, travel blog:  Black cropped top, couture silk wrap skirt, peach snakeskin pumps
0E0A3059
New York City fashion, lifestyle, travel blog:  Black cropped top, couture silk wrap skirt, peach snakeskin pumps
New York City fashion, lifestyle, travel blog:  Black cropped top, couture silk wrap skirt, peach snakeskin pumps
New York City fashion, lifestyle, travel blog:  Black cropped top, couture silk wrap skirt, peach snakeskin pumps

“Find someone who traces the lines in your hands just to feel close to you, someone who believes the ocean is trapped in your eyes.
Find someone who loves the bones in your body and loves the skin that you live in.
Find someone who will help you love yourself.” k.b.g.

I love this quote, and am totally moved by it. I have always been that hopeless romantic, and I think part of me always will be. I hope that’s the case, at least. While at times it causes me tons of pain, I still feel this to be an emotion with inexplicable power that I strongly believe in.

However, one very important thing that I also learned in the past year about relationships, which is easy to glaze over in the final sentence above, is that when it comes to loving yourself there is a very fine line between wanting and needing someone to “help you” reach this state of mind…a state of mind that is vital in that ongoing process of pursuing true happiness.

I want to find someone who will help me love myself more than I already do…you know, once I can figure out how to do that, of course.

So here is to independence…to working hard, being strong, knowing the difference between right and wrong, surrounding yourself with good, honest people — you know, the ones who you share a mutual respect with, and those who lift you higher. And, once you’ve achieved that self-love (and baby, it ain’t easy), here’s to finding someone who you want to share your life and your dreams with. Someone that will bring out your best qualities and vice versa. Someone who, as a very important accessory to your life, believes that the ocean really is trapped in your eyes.

*head to toe: Jenny Bird Shielded earrings (similar style here), LATS cropped top, couture skirt by Willis Brown, Alice + Olivia pumps

Photos by Jono Bernstein, shot at Hotel Indigo

NOTE: Handsome as he is, the cowboy in these photos is not the man I am referring to when I speak of love and relationships. While my dear friend Michael is quite the stallion, we are not romantically involved (I did buy him a slice of 99 cent pizza once, but I wouldn’t exactly call it a date). That said, he certainly isn’t hard on the eyes and it was a very fun photo shoot!!