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.


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. 

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?

May 21, 2013

simple day in the park faking marc jacobs daisy ad


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.

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 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.

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. 

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?


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.

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


May 12, 2013

it's colder than a mother outside!

Kristinit camel coat / Bhalo backpack / Elan hooded wrap dress / thrifted denim shorts / Green Fibres organic tights / Olsen Haus vegan booties / vintage velvet gloves / Matt & Nat satchel

I don't know where you are right now, but in New York, we are experiencing what can only be described as Springtime rebellion. I thought by leaving Miami I could avoid all hurricane-like weather. Silly me. 

May 10, 2013

SALE: shop organic by john patrick spring collection

Thank goodness it's Friday dolls, because I need a good staycation. If you're in New York too, go see if FOS Living down in Long Island is as fabulous as it sounds. Just discovered it yesterday and the owner is a powerhouse of knowledge. I doubt you'd leave there looking anything short of A-list. And speaking of lists that are unnecessarily elitist, let's celebrate the birth of the weekend with a new treat just for you shall we. Introducing {VIP} Fridays. Every week I'll get a little schmoozey with my most beloved (and relentlessly background checked...I can't help it!) eco-style and ethical fashion brands in order to bring you exclusive access to generous sales (because frugality is my best quality). Only once a week though, as we wouldn't want you over-consuming like some chick on a bad episode of the TLC hoarders show. And with that, I am pleased to kick it off with a deep discount over at Organic by John Patrick, the epitome of high quality basics for the Lillie girl who wants her wardrobe as pure as the Virgin Mary, and then some. You caught sight of me in their signature white linen mini skirt in this minimalist wardrobe building exploration here but I even love how chic it was styled for their runway show and lookbooks above. Whether you're a Portland hipster or uptown pearl girl, the pieces are so classic and versatile with a little something something for everyone. Ahhh that crisp linen...

These are some of the pieces I tried on, and as luck would have it, this brand is so far reaching that small boutiques stock it everywhere. Go figure. One point for local organic fashion. My faves were the organic cotton button-down even though I had trouble figuring out how to wear it while not being a waify supermodel or even shorter yet artfully chic like Anna Karina (but really, wouldn't we wish to just be Lauren Hutton and call it a day!) and their leathered up elbow patch sweater is so luxuriously high quality I could run it over with a 4x4 every weekend and it'd probably still hold up gracefully!

DISCOUNT: 30% off


code: LILLIE

Where to get the goods: Organic by John Patrick


May 8, 2013

building a classic french minimalist wardrobe

classic french 5 piece wardrobe building

Hi. My name is Letitia. I'm a classics addict. (Now everyone unanimously say Hi Letitia! or this doesn't work). Ah, and if you don't remember, I also completely lose myself in anything Parisian, French, or Francophiliac (<-- invented word) as you can see here. And since I too have been thinking about the art of cultivated sustainable style led by a philosophy of minimalism and meaning (re: mindfulness, also known as being a conscious consumer), it was no surprise that I set out to discover there are actual rules for that iconic, somewhat minimalist je ne sais quoi French wardrobe. With fuel to my fire, a few dollars in the bank (don't believe any editor that says they avoid shopping frugally) and incomparable inspiration from Jess and Miss Sophie, I set out to conquer my 3-year-delayed wardrobe culling and establish what would become the quintessential way of being grateful for the quality over quantity I do have and not shitting my knickers every time I see an outfit posted with completely new designer pieces on enter-fashion-blog-name-HEREAnd to be completely familiar, redundant, and cliche, I find myself hopping on the bandwagon to launch a Shop My Closet section on this here blog. I don't need your hard earned cash (there's a recession, did you hear?) so do know that the pricing will be spectacularly inexpensive. But if anyone is willing to make like a Brit and just swap some things, I'm all in for that too so leave a comment. But I digress.

elephant in the room: beyonce worst dressed in givenchy at met gala?

This is NOT that type of blog my dear (you know the kind...where the lives of the jet set are more important than our own and the flip side is to interject our unkind hatred on every move they make), but I am going there today in light of research I was doing for an upcoming, more refreshing take on French-inspired minimalistic wardrobe building, but involuntarily crossed these seizure-inducing shots of Beyonce at Monday's Metropolitan Museum of Art Gala and became so incensed, bewildered, appalled, disappointed, and quite frankly ticked off that women of such wealth and power having the crème de la crème of notorious design talent at their flippant disposal would have the gall to show up in a dress that would make Audrey Hepburn shed crocodile tears from her very fashionable grave. Why bring up Audrey? Funny you should ask. Because in my state of bewilderment I got to thinking whether I should continue the quest of shunning designers for creating such tragedies, or question the style sense of the person who dare wear them. And in the case of Beyonce wearing what can only be described as Texas Pageantry Couture (sorry Texans, but you should be ashamed and take back whatever keys to the city you gave Beyonce) it rattled my brain chemistry when I realized Givenchy is the same beloved designer who iconicized what we now know as THE look of Audrey Hepburn. How this minimalist revered design house went from that to the flame-embroidered, sequin-busted, leather-belted failure I witnessed...doesn't it kind of leave you hopeless? And this is to say nothing about Beyonce as a post-baby-rearing woman. I believe all comments on figure in the context of weight is off limits. However, as a fashion design graduate, former fashion stylist, and current fashion editor, for heaven's sake! Slay me now if in 2013 a woman has not learned how to best flatter her figure as opposed to cutting it in half while also doubling it's volume. When I discovered the sweeatheart neckline and empire waist in school, I was eternally infatuated. As a curvy woman (re: average) I knew it would be my most trusted silhouette. But dear Beyonce, an aspiring empire (because clearly it failed her poor bosom) with descending riveted leather belt framed by a head full of two-feet-long extensions is not the composition I had in mind. Nor did I ever think a couterier such as Givenchy would give blessings to matching flame boots and elbow gloves. Am I the only one that had a flashback to when Britney Spears wore denim head-to-toe down the red carpet? That was then, this is now. Beyonce, I beg you, please evolve. And leave the robotic pose behind while you're at it.

What's more disorienting is that it took four pages on Google (three too many in my opinion) to actually find any evidence of someone sharing my highly concentrated opinion. Every media outlet from the Washington Post to Huffington Post felt the need to crown Beyonce as the heroine for the evening, until finally commenters on The Cut were in an upheaval about why their NY Mag article was titled How Beyonce Became The Queen of The Met Gala. I'm sorry what? While cringing and regurgitating ever so slightly, I ignored the thought of her PR team paying for the article and did something so unforgivable I sentenced myself to punishment in the corner with LIMITED ice cream privileges (not too much, just enough, I swear). The crime? I typed in GoFugYourself. An online destination I was never really a fan of when it first emerged on the scene, though acknowledged their witty brash humor nonetheless. It is a place I have not returned to since 2008, but on this day, the day no one wanted to speak of the elephant in the room (Beyonce's poor sense of style...keep up guys!) that I knew the only place I would find agreement was the Fug Girls. Surprisingly they are allot more impartial these days, favoring of course Sarah Jessica Parker and turning their nose up at Beyonce while putting little sister Solange on a pedestal. I won't repeat their criticisms, but I do wonder, on a night where the theme was punk and as always the sad ritual is to completely digress from the topic and show up as an irrevocable bore, why is the person on the cover of Vogue AND the honorary co-chair so confident in a dress that you and I would never wear? Ever. Like never ever.

PS- Thanks Emily Blunt for taking part in Livia Firth's Green Carpet Challenge by wearing a sustainably chosen somewhat eco-friendly gown, but even your  sheer facial gorgeousness could not dilute the yawn-factor of that vintage Carolina Herrara. Perfect for an engagement party, not so much for a full on 80's punk revival. Another day then.

"Let me just say that while Beyoncé is busting her ass to convince the world that it’s her oyster, Solange keeps casually popping up as the pearl." -Heather, Go Fug Yourself

Well, what did you think? If, of course, you're even remotely interested in unattainable fashion and celebrity culture or the going ons of Vogue. I'd love to hear your opinion about the state of the union (re: unexplainable personal style conundrums).

May 7, 2013

{EDITORIAL} take me away

Here is a story about a girl no different than you and me. A girl who hibernated in a thicket of winter’s grey frigid days, fervently waiting for the Spring sun to arise. A sun so illuminated and tepid that each day became a chance to escape in the wanderlust fantasies that plagued her mind in seasons past. This is a story of a girl who fell prey to the fresh youthfulness of familiar haunts and the exquisite craftsmanship of new discoveries. Gold threads and pearlescent sequin beads sparkle under the cloud covered rays with softly pressed rosettes and basket woven silk not too far behind.

May it transport you to a place of dreams today…

| TAKE ME AWAY  starring Ana Carolina | PHOTOS  by Kate Benson | STYLING  by Me for Idom Portland, Miriam Ocariz, and San & Soni 



May 3, 2013

thank goodness its friday!

Just a sneak peek at looks coming up next week and some of this week's links to love. By the way, you need to be out in the park too, its gorgeous out. Go go go! Happy weekend!

+ Discovered the wardrobe voyeuristic binge Closet Visit thanks to my absolute new favorite natural beauty blog Seed to Serum, who is undoubtedly my favorite because of this right here: "If you would have told me two years ago that in a short time I'd be a green juice drinking, synthetic chemical fearing, pseudo-yogi, I would have said, "b*tch, please." -Megan, Seed To Serum 
+ When Beauty Mouth speaks, I listen, so definitely perk your ears up to her new skincare chat video here
+ And when anyone French speaks, I listen even more intently which means it should come as no surprise that I was obsessively hanging on every word said about how to wash your face in Into The Gloss' latest video
+ Shirley Eniang is a doll and her new video series got a great kickstart on the topic of confidence, negativity, and friendships
+ My organic beauty GIVEAWAY ends tomorrow so be sure to enter!


spring 2013 organic beauty review & true beauty box giveaway

Vintage Dress: Tibi (white version here, striped version here) | NecklaceThrifted | CUFF & EARRINGSTiffany Kunz (10% off for my readers with code 'MD2013')

I’m so excited about today’s True Beauty Box giveaway and I know you will be too! Wait until you see all the lovely items I helped curate with the fabulous girls over at Love True Natural and Lavera/Benecos. Take a sneak peek at some of my personal favorites in the video of course.

© Beconing Lola • design Maira G.