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.


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. 

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:

Aug 23, 2013

photo essay: poipu beach and kauai, hawaii in pictures


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:

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):

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: 

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:

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.

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:

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 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.

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 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.

© Beconing Lola • design Maira G.