SLIDER

HEY GIRL, HEY!

Thanks for stopping by! Here on BECOMING LOLA I share stories on becoming minimalist, as well as living a pure clean life as a style-obsessed digital nomad with a no BS approach to ethical fashion + travel. Grab a glass of wine and start here: Building A Minimalist Wardrobe.

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Dec 23, 2013

fashion is not what you think after leaving home

And because I don't want you thinking that I have returned home without planning a huge amount posts about the fantastically epic, eccentric, chaotic, mind-blowing adventure that was my trip abroad, here is a little tease with some photos. What do you think? Let me just say, style and indulgence take on a whole new meaning the moment you leave home and those four walls called your cubicle...
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i'm back!! how to return home from world travel and not get spent

You would think spending my days windowshopping for models, producing indulgent recipes, and chatting away with 'sisters from other mothers' would be an enviable way to live, but the truth is I sometimes want to run away from it all. That might explain why I took off to slow travel around the world in hopes of an undeniable wake up call. As a woman, the surging pressures of exhaustion, stress, and lack of motivation is enough to make us throw in the proverbial towel no matter how glamorous our life may seem to others (can I get an amen from  30 year old interns). But it doesn’t have to be that way.  You know how I know? Well, like an acute idiot, I decided to plan my trip home right before Thanksgiving. Can anyone ask for a more overwhelmingly chaotic time to get off the plane? Lights, sounds, commercially driven conspicuous consumption. My head would literally float off my body this was two years ago. Holidays are definitely a time when keeping up with the Joneses is do or die. But I've never felt more calm and ready to take on [enter challenge here].

I have read each and every one of your lovely comments here on the blog and privately through email, and while I know most to you are completely revved up to one day leave the strappy sandals behind and take a leap of your own to travel to faraway fantastical destinations, it doesn't take travel to have an epiphany that a little self-care and mindfulness can go along way. Do something for yourself that doesn't involve a plane or train ticket. You don't have to cross the Atlantic Ocean to feel a bit whole.
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Dec 15, 2013

sponsored post: fierce simplicity swimwear


Ed Note: Like every other sugardaddy-free woman in this country, I gotta pay bills. And yes its winter, but I'm bringing you a swimwear post anyway. Aspirational luxuries and such. Truth is, I was in Mexico not too long ago and might plan to hop over to California for much needed R&R now that they have water in their oceans again (thanks climate change!) but what I realized in Mexico after growing infuriated by the lack of unique swimsuits there is, shopping off season sometimes saves headaches. Like buying discounted designer boots in Spring. You know how it goes. And I probably do like one sponsored post a year, so it means I like this brand. I'll never be THAT skinny, but their styles make weight loss resolutions look as necessary as Amanda Byne's rehab. Let's call them the Nasty Gal of swim! Ciao.

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Sep 30, 2013

window shop #2: building a vintage wardrobe for fall 2013

As fashion week has come and gone I can presume the magazines, department stores, and self-appointed fashion blog gurus alike are all a buzz with this fall’s fashion to-do list. You know exactly which list I speak of, it's the who wore what, when, and, where of it all. Anyone that has been reading my blog long enough knows that I have some serious beef when it comes to the rapid and nauseating pace of alleged high-end fashion, or fast designer fashion as well. To add to my general distrust is the thousands of pictures of runway models  desperately striving to represent an artistic expression of the “modern woman.” (Um, no, I am not six feet tall with legs up to my neck.) The fashion world moves at a neck-braking pace and it seems like the only way to keep a closet up to date with the everlasting change is to ask (wait, no- demand) that some poor little girl in a third-world country work tirelessly for pennies on the hour. Yes, fashion can be fun and I most certainly like to adorn myself in items that are beautiful and new from time to time but this series is dedicated to the simple art of thrifting for the sake of others as well as your own expenses. Plus, you get to give a piece a new life and that, my friends, is exciting! Keep up with the trends without being an ignorant and extravagant dolt!

For those of you who are picking up in the middle of the program, here is a recap of my timeless tips for incorporating vintage items into your wardrobe during any season:
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Sep 18, 2013

am I really traveling around the world solo?!


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Sep 2, 2013

reader love #4


This week’s installment of “reader love” had my stylish heart beating with true admiration. This particular line-up of ladies all have blogs that seem to take the best from runway and high-end designers and translate them into enjoyable posts with STUNNING photography. As always, my sincerest gratitude to each of you for interacting with me on my blog through thoughtful commenting and I look forward to becoming a part of your online community as well. 
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Aug 31, 2013

getting ready to travel forced me to dress in a kim kardashian type fashion


So if you remember, in an effort to cull my wardrobe and become a little bit more of a minimalist while trying to cultivate a sustainable collection of fashion pieces by curbing consumption and only shopping at vintage stores and thrift stores, I reviewed what I've purchased so far this year here in this post. Well if you read it you remember that I was completely dumbfounded to realize I had absolutely no clue what my style is anymore. I was so busy being caught up in the life of a fashion magazine editor and seeing all these trends just passing by, everything from high-fashion to couture fashion then runway fashion and stick thin models wearing absolutely everything (which is never fair right) and all the way down to bloggers trying to be the hanger for designers, that in all of this I just completely lost touch with myself. I forgot to pay attention to what looks good on me, what colors worked for me, and what silhouettes worked for me, which is a foolish thing to forget as I'm dressing myself, not other people. Then today I come across one of my favorite blogs posting about proportions, so it's definitely a sign that it's time to stop and share with you guys my plan to revamp my wardrobe while also keeping it as minimalist as possible, and the only way to create a wardrobe from scratch is to get to know yourself in a genuine way. With that, I've taken a good hard look in the mirror (one of my least favorite activities mind you!) and decided that I am pretty much along the same style lines as Kim Kardashian herself. This was a bit shocking, yet not surprising in the least. 
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Aug 29, 2013

fast fashion vs sustainably ethical fashion, is it really that difficult to change?

Becoming a little miss minimalist for the sake of braving change and traveling the world for the first time in my life, has really got my knickers in a twist about certain habits we seem to think of as unbreakable. 

I’ll be the first to admit that there are some items in my closet that were complete impulse purchases, (we interrupt this broadcast for a fact check: about 40% of my wardrobe were impulse buys...because like the rational person I am, impulse to me should include even the items you knew deep down you never needed to begin with!) I know that you must be shocked. How could someone who seems to care so much about minimalism and sustainable fashion make ... *gasp* ... an impulse purchase? Well, it happens to the best of us, and even in my new bout of travel and reduction, continues to happen because the fashion industry moves at an unseemly and, let’s face it, unreasonable pace. Who honestly can keep up with all the “ins” and “outs” these days? Trends go up and down faster than a roller coaster and if you don’t have a deep wallet, tons of time to shop, and a body that rivals a lingerie model, you can be knee-deep in enemy territory without an escape route. OKAY, TIME FOR ANOTHER PAUSE. In truth, this is not the real reason I make impulse buys. It might represent the excuse for many other fans of fashion, but trends were truly never my thing since, well, ever. I did not venture into the fashion industry for trends. In fact, I originally started off as a design student and had my own collection planned for fashion week until I realized styling and writing was more my speed. No, the truth is that I am a part of the minority who shop impulsively for things that have no business being in our wardrobe because they either A) don't fit B) aren't a personality match, or C) are purely for designer label obsession. When I did my mid-year wardrobe haul and review I was flabbergasted to find how much I've fallen out of touch with my own sense of style, not those of others (bloggers, models, celebs, et al).

Trust me, I’ve been where you might be now: contemplating the habits and addictions you so blatantly deny. To keep up with the pace, most brands these days turn towards “fast fashion” items. You know what I’m talking about! Fast fashion items are cheap copies of current designer trends that are sold at a very low price point. They fill the shelves instantly, smell new and edgy, and seem so reasonably priced (though no one considers how ungratefully we are endorsing the unbearably low pay wages and working conditions to get our Zara and J Crew items so cheap, as ignoring something is the easiest activity known to man). 
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Aug 27, 2013

2 week countdown until I travel around the world indefinitely

Two weeks ago I set my intention of traveling around the world like a hedonistic minimalist, on this post here. Two weeks later and the sheer excitement has naturally been replaced with utter mental chaos, a bit of anxiety, nervousness, and a hell of allot of adventure adrenaline.  Why? Well, because if you haven't already gotten the memo, I'm not your average style blogger and I don't lead a double life. I literally woke up one day and said, "I've had enough! Something's gotta change..." and the rest is history. Ahh, not history yet obviously. But it will be. This is all to say that, NO, I did not win a NY lottery or get a marriage proposal from a Frenchman (though they're more than welcome!) nor did I get invited to fashion week from some big wig advertiser.


My decision to leave behind absolutely everything I know here in America to travel the world had absolutely nothing to do with my blog, so much as it had to do with my blog's readers. Between the thoughtful comments, messages, tweets, and private emails, I know there are still dozens upon dozens of you yearning for a more fulfilling life. And for whatever reason, we tend to choose comfort over adventure, Zara purchases over cultural experiences; bookmarking blog posts over living our own life. So as much as this is for me, it's also for you too, because I had an epiphany last week, and that little enlightenment was that my blog is going to be an inspirational tome for the rest of us. You know, the non-trust fund babies, the fashionable brown-skinned girls (as if we don't travel too!), the alternative minimalists, the rebels and the dreamers. Don't ask me why on Earth I waited this long to switch gears away from envying others to just doing the damn thing already. And that thing is called life. So with two weeks to go until a new chapter, here is how I am making it all happen, literally overnight:
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Aug 23, 2013

photo essay: poipu beach and kauai, hawaii in pictures



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Aug 20, 2013

don't blame the work, just the gray hair

I'll try not to be too dramatic, but at only a quarter of a century old, I have a bit more elderly colored hair than I'd like. And for the last four years as they have wrecked havoc, I without hesitation blamed stress. I mean we blame stress for so many other things right! But why do we blame the poor grays in our hair on the strains of life or pressure from work? If that is our way of thinking, does that mean it simply requires us getting rid of our work altogether to rid ourselves of our gray? I don’t think so. Consult an expert and get advice. Surely there’s a professional way to deal with this ratty little pest of a problem. Graying of hair is more biological than stress related. I set out to see what I could investigate Sherlock Holmes-style.
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Aug 19, 2013

reader love #3

It is not easy to reduce your wardrobe in pursuit of a fantastic and minimalistic travel experience. Don’t get me wrong, I am not whining about my pending trip around the world! But, it does mean parting with some dearly loved but unnecessary household and wardrobe items. The good news is that there are certain aspects of my life that I can encourage to grow and expand. I mean, can you really be surrounded by too many beautiful and talented writers? I think not! So cheers to never having to many blogger friends. This week's commenters on my blog include: 
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Aug 16, 2013

why you should travel around the world during a quarter life crisis


You’ve been the good girl your entire life. You’ve lived by the bells of a school, took whatever 9-5 came your way out of desperation and fear that you'd never quite land a "dream job" (you know, the ones Marie Claire make sound so easy to attain), and spend your weekends wearing two faces just to keep up with the Jonses on Facebook. Am I the only one that thinks this trajectory is a crock of you-know-what? 

When did we become pod people? Was it when the news anchor on the television started screeching on about the plummeting economy or could it have been more subtle? I mean, this is just what people do right. How dare you complain or run against the pack of suited-up zombies whose sole purpose in life is to make love to their romance-less relationship with their cubicle! I’m not advocating for a complete abandonment of responsibility, but can I ask you if this is really making you happy? Not secure, or stable, or fine- but freaking jump on your bed, laugh until your sides hurt, dance in your bedroom happy? If you are in the same boat as me, you may be a bit fed up already. Here are some signs for a self-diagnosis of the completely overhyped but nonetheless justifiable quarterlife crisis:
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Aug 15, 2013

mid-year fashion haul review & how everything I own will fit in a backpack





I am a statistically-derived newly single woman, hear me roar! I'm so excited for all the Eat, Pray, Love bull crap that's about to smother me to bits, I can hardly contain myself. I was born with a name that means joy and slid right into an identity crisis years later, maintained that faux sense of self for a decade while aspiring to greener pastures that were always out of reach such as elitist ivy league schooling and bustling city center social networks; had a love hate relationship with fashion that was greater than any affair I'd had with the men I was dating, and succeeded in milestones that would make much more adversely oppressed gals weep with envy while I'm simply rolling in disdain and contempt of it all. Ahhh, the life of an unfulfilled zombie. There's no greater feeling than wanting what you can't have, don't need, and will end up getting anyway to ignorantly fill a void that requires much more than material possessions. A sense of self? Well, there was no course on that in college! Must be unnecessary then. So with that, let's see what sort of mess I've made this year with my wardrobe but felt comforted by after reading this post, chasing all the lovely goods I deemed necessary whilst living a life that wasn't my own (though clearly I chose it as my own and have no one to blame but my imaginary therapist as blaming myself is un-american):
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Aug 14, 2013

minimalist beauty and makeup routine tips

Let’s be real for a minute. What’s easier than getting to know yourself for the sake of sanity and fuller piggy banks? Being lazy and ignorant while falling for every beauty advertisement, commercial, and clever packaging developed in the most robotic laboratories known to man. Don’t be shy to admit this because, make no mistake, I have bought many a mascara believing that my eyelashes would be longer than a Covergirl’s big glossy photo. This coming from a woman who used to manage junior photography staff editors who worked Photoshop tools like no one’s business. Beauty products and shoes are women’s stifling Achilles heel. You bring home a purchase, rip open the package, apply that gooey contents like its gold and then look in the mirror. Yeah, not bad but not exactly red carpet ready. And what happens to that tube or bottle? It rotates between dozens of other tried-and-failed items on the vanity like a child on a merry-go-round. Well no more, not for me at least. I’m smarter than this! I refuse to be a guinea pig. My hard earned dollar bills deserve better, and since I’m less than a month away from round-the-world slow travel, it’s time to nick this bad habit in the rosy essential oil bud! Realistically, building a minimalistic and signature beauty routine has a lot less to do with product hopping or impulse spending and a lot more to do with some good old self-reflection and research. Here are some beginner tips that can help beauty product junkies, like myself, get started down the road to recovery: 
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Aug 13, 2013

my 30 day countdown to becoming a minimalist solo traveler


The time has come. Opportunities are rolling in and I now officially have less than a month before I need to jet set over to a new life on the other side of the world. You shouldn't be so surprised. You read in my earlier post all my reasons why one should consider becoming a minimalist woman and embark on a traveling adventure while making homes in new places. Instead of continuing on a path filled with envy and complacency, I decided to give the damn experiment a try. What have I got to lose? Besides my mind. And those are overrated. So here it is, my super easy countdown checklist of exactly how to become a minimalist in 30 days for slow travel around the world:
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Aug 10, 2013

Reader Love #2

It’s time to fawn over some beautiful bloggers yet again (click here for the first installment). I must tip my hat to these lovely readers who have not only left engaging and thoughtful comments- but who also have their own delicious blogs for us web trolls and fashion lovers to dive into. This particular line-up of ladies all have imagery and style that make any other average blog look bleak.
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Aug 9, 2013

reader question: 5 top tips on how to look polished for slow travel



"You always look so put together in your images. Love your style. How do you manage to walk out the house très chic every time? Do I need to go to France before learning the secrets!!? Hopefully not, because after seeing so many of my friends take the plunge and go slow travel the world, I want to follow suit. Just how does one do this in the most polished way possible?" -Heather, fellow miss minimalist and eternal optimist

Dear Heather,
How kind of you to notice the obvious. Yes, I am indeed très chic, because I wake up looking quite frankly like a single chic with my hair extensions all unruly and skin more oily than a wok, only to call upon my entourage of minions who begrudgingly transform me into deux chic, and then magically, as if witnessing a mystical butterfly emerge from a cocoon of wonder, I set sail on my daily journeys as the most très chic of them all! And you too can achieve such a feat for the small monthly installment of $499, one Mexican maid to lint roll all your belongings (not just clothing obviously, face tissue needs to be lint-free as well) and a mute assistant who will adjust your corset each day Jessica Alba style, since we all know you cannot look polished weighing anything over an American size 2.

Truly though, it’s quite simple to accommodate a minimalist wardrobe for the sake of traveling around the world as I announced in this post I would be doing. The key is to start at home, cultivate a method of madness with surgical precision, then take that with you wherever you go. I can’t pretend to be an expert when my very feminine aura rests upon the many help of others, but here are some ideas and tips I've heard through the grapevine from years of being surrounded by fabulous folk:
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Aug 7, 2013

the whole pilates thing and why its great



Benefits of Pilates:


*You no longer have to feel guilty when passing by the never-ending racks of fitness apparel in the department stores because you actually have a reason to wear them now...you know, as opposed to that whole "I'm just in an 80s trend" thing you were doing before. Poser.

*You get to meet and connect with other women who also live mindfully and holistically and give you a derriere to aspire to.

*You get exclusive access to a full length mirror! Not the phony bathroom kind where you only see your face, or the dressing room kind where you are suffocating inside four walls. But that good floor to ceiling kind like at ballet studios where everything doesn't look as bad as you thought.

And you know, that's a big deal for women. We want to do good and be fit, but it always seems so out of reach. Today I just decided to look at the somewhat short (not supermodel tall like I imagined) and curvy (in a real way, not curvy like victoria's secret commercial way) reflection staring back at me and I was grateful for where I was. A few pounds heavier than last year, but in all the right places. And even better, I finally discovered some new labels for my fitness shopping addiction.

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Aug 4, 2013

avoiding fast fashion like the plague when dressing for work with the elsa dress

Here’s the thing about having a 9-5 and being surrounded by unethical fast fashion everywhere you turn: being defeated is inevitable. Especially for magazine editors, assistants, models, coffee runners…et al, who have to be unbearably chic at all hours of the day. Preferably while sleeping too. Wearing the same outfit twice is blasphemy, and stepping out in an unrecognized designer brand is quite a triumph. Well, I’m here to tell you that if triumph over Forever 21 and H&M closet filth is what you seek, it’s about to get allot easier.
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Aug 2, 2013

impromptu travel & why koa kea resort is a hawaiin utopia


It was a break-up that had left me gasping for air. Kind of like how you feel when Starbucks runs out of caramel for that frap in the middle of a summer heat wave.

I could feel the walls start to close in as my self-esteem plummeted into the deepest recesses of my insecurities. 

Nary a soul or unneeded handbag purchase could pick me back up. Or so it seemed. All I knew, is that the time had come for a change of scenery. In fact, it was time for a change, period. 

I needed to liberate myself from the nuances of everyday life while indulging in much needed R+R, not to mention private space away from everything and everyone FAMILIAR. True, my budget was tight clocking in at literally just $900 (including flights!!) for a week in one of the most popular destinations known to man, but that was no excuse to not get away and at least try. I knew I was a princess in my own right no matter what ugly things were said during my horrendous break-up. And who knew? Maybe I would even meet someone who understood how to treat a lady right! Okay, okay, truth be told I already had a gorgeous bachelor awaiting my arrival that I met...um...online. Yes, I had become one of THOSE women. Look, this is what idolizing Sex And The City does to a girl. You start thinking the story lines are attainable instead of enviable. And I am here for no other reason than to tell you they are. Please know that the only person ever standing in the way of the life you want at any given moment is YOURSELF.

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Jul 10, 2013

why building a minimalist wardrobe from scratch is bull crap

So I was sifting through my minimalist wardrobe the other day, (literally the most minimal of all the minimalist wardrobes...what have I done) when it dawned on me that this whole experiment of finally quitting mindless consumption for the sake of a simplified life filled with ethical decisions, renewed interconnectedness, reduced autonomy, less neurosis, and more money to allocate to "experiences" versus "materials" (do some air quotes with me here) is completely and utterly, well, bull crap! You see me above? Yeah, that's me. I'm doing that face where I feel ridiculous on the inside but it comes across endearing on the outside. 

Well anyway, there I am in a completely thrifted outfit. Not only have I embraced a reductive lifestyle in the context of consumption, I've chosen to not participate in propagated designer or fast fashion until more ethical options are wildly accessible. And clearly that was a lack of oxygen to the brain on my part, because had I known I'd be giving up a life of blissful ignorance, a plethora of choices at all times in all places of business for everything imaginable, opportunities to painfully compare my closet to those of others while adding shit I don't need, and the ability to develop my style based on a concocted formula of copying, trending, and filling in with freebies...well had I known all that, I wouldn't have done the damn experiment. Why? Because as a minion of the fashion industry I've come to enjoy certain aspects of life. Little luxuries that have now ceased to exist. I have to actually challenge myself to get intimate with my body shape again (hanging on to a high school waist size does wonders for bathroom mirror affirmations), flattering colors or eras of dress (turns out buying orange to seduce yourself into liking orange like that other blogger said doesn't work!), and create daily looks with the same amount of clothing as someone of a lesser class, or even those who are poverty-stricken might have. GASP. All for what? This is madness.
27 comments

Jul 9, 2013

reader love #1

Debbie's blog is chock full refined classic style remixed hi-lo
If you've paid attention, you know I cultivate community the same way I do personal style: eagerly and tirelessly. So in hopes of opening up my close knit group of long established online friendships, I thought spotlighting my readers who take the time to generously leave thoughtful and authentic comments would be a great way to build up a new circle of cohorts. In a sea of blogs with the same asinine comments fluctuating between "omg soooo cute" and "looks fab on you XOXOXO" it goes without saying that I value discovering readers who have thoughts that venture beyond six syllables, and if they too have blogs, then all the better. So here are just the handful of delightful blogs that are owned by readers who are welcome to my online party any time.
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Jul 8, 2013

what to do now that google rss reader is gone? replace with bloglovin

If you've been living in a cave, then please do yourself a favor and become a member of Bloglovin. It's free. It's great. And it was ALWAYS better than Google Reader. Come follow me here.

PS- Like my necklace? Come hither and see how I styled it here with thrifted blue shoes, here where I embody a Marc Jacobs daisy perfume ad, and here where I am completely overdressed for a stroll in the park. Because yes, I buy things...AND where them more than once. Who knew!


For Those With Outfit Envy:


·

What are you using for blog subscriptions now?
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Jul 7, 2013

how to become an it girl fashion blogger while saving the environment

This post is for you if you:

  • Spend innumerable sleepless nights agonizing over your to-do lists for the morning that's brimming with pesky chores like filing a trademark application for your two week old blog, finding film for your digital camera, calling in vacation days to your job as a hostess so you can align your schedule with your boyfriend's who takes your photos, and exchanging these pants...not because they are utterly ridiculous but because you clearly wanted a size 8, not a size 4, because you are above shopping in your size; you want to prove it doesn't take a feminist to appreciate "man repelling"
  • Have yet to figure out just what it takes to travel the world on someone else's dime where savoring free Mediterranean meals, attending notorious fashion events, and sleeping in world class hotels is just beyond your reach, but you are willing to do whatever and whomever it takes to forever be on vacation
  • Yearn for the day when clothing simply materializes at your door step, as if from an evolved baby stork, all because you had the courage, tenacity, wits, and physical perfection to start a fashion blog where you showcase never before gawked at OOTDs from never before heard of designers that are creating unprecedented new fashions, the likes of which, the previous 2000 years have never seen
  • Are completely and utterly willing to forgo your roots (heritage, hair, or otherwise) and shed your current social class in order to impersonate a refined, worldly, alluring being that exudes excess all in the name of pleasure and "once-in-a-lifetime-experiences" while keeping a revered publicist on hand for the inevitable character assassinations that will come your way
  • Also prepared to bleach your skin if you're a woman of color, tan your skin if you're too fair a caucasian, lose some weight if your not a designer's ideal size 2, or gain some weight for the perfect new curvy fashionista niche blog
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Jul 5, 2013

[video review] in my beauty bag june edition




THE GOODS:


REVIEWED & APPROVED: 

Benecos Liner Pencils for eyebrow maintenance
African Black Soap for cleansing, brightening, and pore refining
Physician's Formula 100% Organic Mascara for enhancing naturally long lashes
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Jul 4, 2013

[editorial] whimsically feminine style on 4th of july


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Jul 1, 2013

the $20 marciano shoes in which I restrained myself at a vintage shop


For weeks, even months now, I've been girl crushing hard on some bloggers that took me a lifetime to find. Honestly, it truly has. As an editor and technology slut of a consumer, I've been blogging since the birth of the word blog, and even when you could count them on one hand, the chore of digging through the aerated foam to get to the creme de la creme was literally needle hunting. Now the haystack is more like the Amazon, but luckily the cream still rises to the top and I count myself fortunate to have discovered one such rising star, Jess, who has taught me more than any overpriced collegiate program ever could when it comes to how the noggin ticks. 
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Jun 26, 2013

in my bag: sw basics, sprout watches, true beauty boxes

It is so hot outside. Are you hot? It's hot. Time to keep things light. Here's a peek at my goodies. And no, not that kind!

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Jun 25, 2013

how to curate a minimalist wardrobe like a french girl




This isn't going to work. And it's not you, its me. I'm just not as gracefully elegant, waify, and elusive as I once thought. I have no 'je ne sais quoi' to speak of. Perhaps I'm too young. For certain I'm too American. But if the last month and a half has taught me anything, its that the effortlessness of minimalist dressing is a false proposition. It's a paradox bordering on utopian thought. If only we lived in a world where women never have to try, but sadly that world does not exist, even for the femme fatales overseas who simply look like they don't try. My inside sources tell me that is completely untrue. 
18 comments

Jun 21, 2013

{sale} stella mccartney bootie wedges for under $200!

Thanks to the magical powers that be at eBay, I am officially a Stella McCartney shoe owner for the first time in my own fashion history. Its been a long time coming, but unfortunately as a jaded New Yorker on a stingy budget and penance for avant-garde European trends, Jeffrey Campbell had my heart for many years, until finally I came to the realization that classic beats copycat any day. So while I'm off to strut in my new strappy sandals by Paul's lovely prodigy daughter, I couldn't resist converting one of my dear readers. If you're a classics addict like me, this vegan suede wedge bootie by Stella is a must, and when I saw that sale price I nearly fainted. Get it while it's hot girls!
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{editorial} twinkle twinkle

Here is a story about a girl who reveled in times past. With a twinkle in her eye and one foot always planted somewhere in the present, she'd travel to places far and wide with an single swipe of her rouge and wrap of her pearls.
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Jun 20, 2013

the history of beauty & how beauty inspires fashion trends


A funny thing happens you know, when one succumbs to leading a minimalist lifestyle: the cream floats to the top. Just last year I had an innumerable amount of distractions vying for my attention, acting as an ally to my impulsive emotions like jealousy and fear, but certainly playing enemy to my true desires for simplification and being my true self. Once I finally removed myself from a fester pool of completely unnecessary habits, actions, materials, information, and annoyances, my flaws and imperfections had their 15 minutes. The abstract concept of beauty instantly became my focus and there was nowhere for my insecurities to hide. One doesn't need a magnifying mirror to be reintroduced with the blemishes and features that completely disillusion us into thinking we are less of a person with them around. For many women of color that could be their nose, their melanin genes, and even the fact that they are "of color" to begin with. How ironic that these days even light skin women hate their noses and skin color, enough to keep the tanning and plastics business alive and kicking. And while television introduced me to the notion of going under the knife, I absolutely have never found myself even remotely interested in changing what my parents concocted, even if my Jamaican nose and chubby baby cheeks are going nowhere fast. Instead I find myself utterly yearning for a new found intimacy with my skin, nutrition, hair, and overall inner beauty.
5 comments

Jun 19, 2013

review: maybelline bb cream & eyebrow kits ingredients review



Ahh good to be back. I've finally moved my entire house to a new, smaller, more quaint apartment in the city and feel my soul filling up again, especially after reading the most enlightening book I've ever laid eyes on called The European Dream. So just dropping in with the highly anticipated second beauty video as part of my new review series for aspiring green beauty converts. I'm taking the time to compare department store brands with natural and eco-friendly brands, and first up is the ever enticing BB cream phenomenon. Since women of color and darker skin tones still suffer from the lack of choices, I of course found myself gravitating to the always reliable Maybelline who unsurprisingly had stock of shades fit for my chocolatey skin. Hurrah. So stay tuned, and please let me know if you have hopped on the BB cream bandwagon too!
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Jun 18, 2013

my month on instagram

Follow me! Comment yours and I'll follow you too. Sharing is caring right.
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Jun 17, 2013

wearing all white for spring is bliss

wearing Bioneuma knit dress, Thief & Bandit organic cotton leggings, thrifted Stella McCartney sandals, Mink wallet

I needed a little break this month, and you might know why after my post here, but I'm back and have an inspiring new perspective on sustainable, ethical, and minimal living. I think you'll be pleased. Let's catch up on Wednesday dolls.
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May 27, 2013

meatless monday: first harvest radish omelette


Are you there Monday, its me, Lola? And if you didn't hear, I took my well-heeled city girl derrier to the country and started farming a year ago as an apprentice (to investigate where our food comes from...oh lord). Organically of course. And I can remember that very first harvest like it was yesterday. Nothing quite beats the feeling of gently tugging a leafy root vegetable until it gives way to the rich, dense soil, showcasing its luminous array of rainbow hues. Springtime is the birth of the radish, and boy are they beautiful. Want to know a secret? I've never even eaten one before! Yes, that is how American I am. If it can't be found as one of the lifeless, nutrient depleted toppings on a Big Mac, then I have no idea what it is. Can I get an amen? Don't worry, that's all changing soon. This whole organic seasonal menu planning is quite alluring, and definitely keeps you on your toes in the kitchen. I was reading last night that cooking during our grandmothers generation used to be the product of necessity. They'd cook with whatever was in the pantry or fridge. Fast forward to our obese, diabetes prone, ignorantly content generation and it should be the same way for the most part. Gathering around your farm fresh bounty and letting ingredients inspire your dish. 
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May 24, 2013

gift of pretty #6

This week's dose courtesy of Joni, who hails from my second hometown Atlanta and has the coolest job I've ever heard of. If I wasn't so busy persuading the world to be a bit more thoughtful, classic, and "green" I'd probably be molding peeps one by one.


What are you swooning over lately?
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May 21, 2013

simple day in the park faking marc jacobs daisy ad



THE LOOK
 
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May 20, 2013

meatless monday: dark truths about ingredients in supermarket ice cream

She'd always giggle when momma teased daddy every morning, "want some coffee in your sugar dear?" Wonder if daddy would laugh now, knowing a bucket load of sugar is the least of our worries. Now there's eel anus, arsenic, and antifreeze in a sweet pint of ice cream. What a knee slapper.


So I was minding my own business a few weeks ago, just laying around being a couch potato, my eyes glued to the pages of Clean by Alejandro Junger (you know the one, Gwenyth Paltrow's fave book of all time....and when do I ever suggest you listen to Gwenyth, but I owe her my life now) and he had the nerve to write in his book what I was already learning from Michael Pollan with the help of a few documentaries -- that pretty much all our food is corn. Now, this wasn't as shocking or upsetting as when I first learned this only one year prior whilst reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, but Mr. Junger here, in his sterile white doctor's lab coat and wickedly charming smile, was asking me to go down to my kitchen and find something in my pantry, freezer, fridge or countertop that didn't have some form of corn in it. Challenge eh? I was bored and up for it. I ran down the stairs faster than a spoiled brat on Christmas morning, confident my healthy lifestyle would reveal purity at its greatest. Well, low and behold my gosh darn hot cocoa had everything but cocoa, my salad dressing had corn chemicals that really have no business on my salad, and my freaking ice cream had more than a dozen forms of corn! Yeah, ice cream...had corn in it....all through it and around it. There was the corn syrup, who had to bring along its brother high fructose corn syrup (oh, because one kind isn't enough!) along with dextrose used to thicken that bad boy up (because corn starch is probably way too expensive for the creamery conglomerates these days) with some help from xantham gum that is a thickening bacteria agent that they feed corn syrup to get all sweet and goopy (but not always, I won't lie, since I did learn they sometimes feed the xantham milk products...ha, but cows are fed corn grain, so there!) and of course hydrogenated vegetable oils to fatten your ass right up.
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May 18, 2013

window shop #1: how to buy vintage fashion for spring 2013


Allot has been weighing on my mind as of late thanks to the ever-disappointing mass market fashion industry rearing its Medusa head time and again. And while I will be devoting my entire weekend to peeling back the layers of the little ethical choices we do have left, it goes without saying that ... when in doubt, thrift! How vexing it must be to hear the widespread outcry from certain bloggers (you know the kind, the ones that eat Prada for breakfast) mourning over the Bangladesh tragedy, pointing out that while they wholeheartedly feel sympathy for those suffering, they just can't seem to get themselves to stop shopping long enough to modify their consumerist choices. Oh how bourgeois a predicament. While they helplessly deal with the inner turmoil of having no power over the addiction to superfluous purchases and unequivocally poor quality clothing, I will wield my well-trained power of restraint (because yes, it takes effort to not be a freakin hypocrite, trust me I know...I was formerly very happy as Ms. Hypocrite USA) to not set one foot in a chain store again until due diligence is done. Not everyone has the luxury of whining over not being able to help themselves, because some people still live paycheck to paycheck (like me....fashion isn't all glamour and wealth) and some people have the means but lack the desire to constantly subject their wardrobes to repeated offenses (like me). So wherever you are on the spectrum, I thought offering up a silver platter of thoughtfully curated vintage inspiration each week would help you curb those impulsive buys at Zara and J. Crew and instead adopt a piece of history. It might sound like justification hogwash (and sometimes, isn't it always? after all, its fashion people) but honestly, as a true history buff, I find nothing more titillating than digging a gem out of a haystack and fantasizing about the era it was born in. Did it clothe a woman who had lunch with Diana Vreeland? Did it board a bus to Poland? Who knows! But that's the whole point. So first, a few tips from a discerning vintage rookie.
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May 17, 2013

how to clean out and empty a fashion wardrobe with common sense


I am so hopelessly infatuated with a few new blog discoveries this month that trying to embark on soaking up all the intelligent prose, cultural perspectives, and tasteful curations are more rewardingly distracting than sifting through eBay all night for ACNE in my size or Givenchy for less than $500 (which is like finding the gosh damn loch ness monster). But I digress. My new sister from another mother has clearly been found in Kali who not only analyzes the building of wardrobes and fashion consumption mindfully like Jess, but just so happens to be French. So...well...yeah, enough said. I think I've made it quite clear I surrender to all words uttered by French women. Why? Not because they are a superior bunch (ok well...perhaps, but then I get slapped for saying so) but because when you have never been steered wrong by someone, wouldn't you continue to listen? 

Such is the case for me and the French. From literature to fashion, gourmet delicacies to their take on community and family, I find my exploration of European tendencies a neverending love. And so I was quite enamoured with Kali's post briefly showcasing her wardrobe culling, or wardrobe emptying as some call it. Since I am doing the same as you saw here, it was only natural I take interest in her suggestions as well. I shall direct your attention there, because in all honestly the fashion stylist and editor in me finds it simply second nature, or even an innate ability since birth to be able to decipher what to keep, toss, and donate from an overflowing closet based on certain criterion I've established for myself after revisiting my sense of personal style, and articulating these tips for others sometimes seems more difficult for me than it should be. Kali simplifies it quite ingeniously, most specifically the notion of making five outfits out of one piece to see if its worth keeping. While its fantastically common sense to keep only items YOU WILL ACTUALLY WEAR (helloooo people) I also thought it makes for a great impulsion blocker while shopping- mentally pairing an item with pieces already back home. So even though I purchased this handmade dress from Etsy years ago (and in the end am deciding to part with since my curves have only doubled in volume since), it was inevitable that I would try Kali's tip on for size. Pun intended.

Ah yes, and I am a busy woman. I had time for only three outfit pairings. Hopefully she doesn't fail me. I really am held together by star stickers and pats on the back from teachers. 
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May 16, 2013

on the topic of attainable couture for the youthful modern woman


While lazily perusing through the archives of some of my daily blog reads, I came across Joy expressing her delight with Giambasta Valli's consistency and quiet elegance, but that she too feels haute couture is a dying art form making a mockery of its former glorious self with the likes of Lindsay Lohan designing for Emanuel Ungaro among other inexcusable marketing efforts, and that while some designers are worth her infatuation, she's too young to even dare step out in their concoctions as of yet. This got me thinking about my post yesterday on couture being a sustainable option, and how the younger set (like Dead Fleurette) subtly embrace the concept of couture or high fashion pieces by incorporating it into their wardrobe where it counts. And while I do fawn over French style aesthetics, I've come to realize this week that my love for Scandinavian fashion runs deeper than my love for their sense of home design style (sterile white rooms anyone?). When assessing the most notorious group of women who pair the avant-garde with refined minimalism, Danish definitely come to mind. And with that, I was as giddy as a school girl to discover Bloggers Wardrobe which is a link that seems to bind all my beloved Scandi style bloggers together. While ACNE jeans by the dozen is a staple in wardrobes the world over, it truly is the accessories, knits, and outlandish ornate details that make Nordic fashion designers quite appealing.

I'm still exploring the brands that make up Bloggers Wardrobe, and have not seen which ones offer custom fashion besides GAIA which designs exquisitely tailored bespoke knitwear that feature vintage fabrics and are handmade in one-off collections, but you can imagine my pleasant surprise to discover an ethical Swedish designer taking cues from New York for her latest 24-Hour dress collection, a design duo focusing on luxurious natural and sustainably-sourced materials, and the renowned young shoe brand Finsk, which also uses locally sourced by-product leathers for their ethical production of architecturally stunning handcrafted shoes hailing from ateliers in Brazil.

What do you think? Are there certain designers out there producing attainable couture fashion that align with your wardrobe aesthetics?

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May 15, 2013

modern haute couture more sustainable than ready to wear fashion?

wearing Nelly Liu demi-couture silk taffeta skirt / Organic by John Patrick oversize shirt / Matt & Nat vegan satchel / Olsen Haus vegan sandals


While knee-deep in wardrobe culling in order to rebuild a more sustainable fashion collection loosely inspired by the minimalist 5 piece French wardrobe as I mentioned in this post, I qualmishly considered the fact of average modern women completely disregarding the history of couture fashion and how it can be emphatically interwoven with the clothing consumption of today. As a fashion stylist in my heyday and now an eco-style editor, it goes without saying that my viewpoint on rising trends, designers, and world news (in context) is a bit more preeminent than the closeted consumer, or those that are decisively ignorant to the going ons of the clothes on their back. When everyone from opinionated bloggers to Cathy Horn of the NY Times are discussing the possible demise or needed appreciation of haute couture, I thought perhaps I might open this up for debatable consideration seeing as how on one hand couture has been allegedly dying since 2009 and on the other, most of us have no clue what it all really means, nor do we likely care. Could naive pedestrian consumers like you and me be to blame? Has the appeal of chains like H&M and Zara or even the infamous designer collaborations for Target made the sub-industry of haute couture so far-fetched for the non-Forbes 500 working 9-5 fashionistas? Who are these girls and women so determined to condemn this age old craft because they never see themselves as one of the elite upper crust, and why can't they just appreciate the medium for what it is? Well, if I was going to endeavor answering these questions I think a little history would be in order first. 

The King, father, don (whatever you want to call someone who did it first) of haute couture was the Englishman, Charles Worth. Now this "originator" term shall be used loosely as the term "haute couture" wasn't penned yet, but nonetheless was very much a percolating business dating back to the 19th century that included notable couturiers such as Rose Bertin whose main and only client was Queen Marie Antoinette. Thus, we start here. As France has remained the high fashion capital of the world since the monarchical 1800's, women looked to royalty and aristocratic society to get their trend fix. Its plausible that here too began elitism and our modern day frustrations with inaccessible couture. So inaccessible of course, that country folk wore cast-offs (what we now know as knock offs) or simply sewed their own reinterpreted versions. The most elaborate of these versions would be passed down from generation to generation and came to be called "folk costumes". And those who feel justified in their distaste of inaccessible, unnecessary couture fashion are not alone, as the ravish extravagances of the royal courts outraged the lower class to the point of the French Revolution* (all things considered). Soon after, fashion then evolved from elaborately decorative to less expensive refined pieces of clothing. 

When couturier Charles Worth came to Paris at age 20 in 1846, it was serendipitously the same year Elias Howe patented his sewing machine invention. As Marie Antoinette appointed Rose Bertin for court minister of fashion, Emperor Napoleon III enlisted Worth for his wife, Empress Eugenie. Fashion dolls were the means in which couture houses that followed Worth (Paquin, Callot, Jeanne Lanvin) sold their designs abroad. Clients would choose a style, mail it back, and have a custom fitted garment arrive at their door. When these little fashion dolls reached the US it was mostly for the purposes of copying, as Americans were one of the poorer countries at the time. However, this all changed when the Industrial Revolution brought about an explosion in advances for textile and ready-to-wear production. The introduction of separates, also known as sportswear, such as blouses and skirts, provided fashions any woman could wear comfortably albeit more affordably. Needless to say this put a major damper on the haute couture business as designer's primary source of revenue. With new houses popping up left and right at the turn of the 20th century like Dior, Balenciaga, Poiret, Chanel and YSL, couture became a means of advertising the houses' main bread and butter which included ready-to-wear, perfumes and licensing projects. Though Worth was the one to initiate using live models for his design presentations, it wasn't until the 1900's that it turned into a all out spectacle and a must see exhibition for the birth of trends to come. And so the cycle was born.
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May 14, 2013

shop my closet


I'm already two weeks into my wardrobe culling for the minimalist French wardrobe project, and that means one man's trash can be another man's treasure. Clearly we're talking about me, the pragmatic former utilitarian-minded fashion editor, and you, the Kate Moss inspired blog reader. If you like basics, and you like them built to last, then my closet is your ideal perusal. Nothing is over sixty bucks. So have at it and fill in what you need. New items will be added seasonally.

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channeling rachel zoe meets pam grier for 70s vintage fashion

Bhalo silk secretary blouse / Tiffany Kunz reclaimed bronze Plume hoops / faux fur stole gifted by grandma / vintage white trousers / Matt & Nat satchel

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