This was one of my favorite outfits from my shoot in Venice for the & Other Stories LA Collection. We were walking through the residential streets off of Abbot Kinney, and my eyes were glued to this baby pink building with sea foam trimming. Cacti spotted around its borders. It is quite possible that this is actually THE Venice Beach dream house. Romantic in the most retro of ways. And right around the corner from my favorite coffee sand matcha spots. I felt that its pastels were the perfect backdrop to contrast against the starkness of this shaggy knit jacket. I was laced up all the way to my neck, and I felt like I should have been carrying around a book of poetry. Or at least a blank notebook where I could write my own words down. Denim on my legs because it’s in the DNA of the city. And that DNA of Los Angeles, well, its burrowed deep down inside of me even though I am so committed to my east coast life for right now. Home is a huge part of me. I grew up exploring these streets, watching it develop and grow, change for both the good and the bad. I went to school here and spent my weekends taking a bus to spend my days by the beach. Home has inspired my style in endless amounts. You can always find a piece of California in the way I throw my looks together. Always a little disheveled. Verging on casual. Ready for anything. More and more, I start to think . . . now wouldn’t it be nice to have a little house in Venice, with a front yard, and a little dog, and a reliable hit of sunshine on my porch every single morning where I can sit coffee barefooted and inspired to live out my day slowly but passionately? Mmmm. Maybe someday again the pull will be strong enough to actually get me to stay for good.
These photos were taken in Austin, Texas during SXSW last month. I’m definitely not Texan, but many would say that I am a sweetheart, even though I like to deny even that. My boyfriend says I’m the sweetest, but that’s because he’s my boyfriend. I believe that I am kind hearted, but I also believe that the city has given me a slightly more tough exterior. Not in a bad way, of course, but how so you ask? A tougher exterior meaning that I have learned to cut out the crap for the sake of my sanity and wellbeing. Sometimes the blogging world, from an outsider’s perspective, and even from within the worlds built up in our heads about what we do, can seem too much like a pretty picture. It’s easy to be trick ourselves into thinking that the little grid on our phones is the most important thing in the wold. It’s not. And it’s definitely now all pretty, like the pattern of this Ulla Johnson overall dress featured here. But, of course, a lot of it is just as sweet as it seems. And, I’ll take as much of the highs of this industry as I can get, like any normal person looking to live fully and passionately would do. But as easy that it seems like the good can roll right in exactly when we need it, the harder parts play a major roll all the same. The world of a blogger, it can sometimes seem like a chase, even when you work as hard as you can to make it feel anything but that. But chasing what? And that’s exactly where I’m getting at. I get a lot of questions on how one can motivate themselves to carve a career out of their blogs at a time where the space is so oversaturated to the point that it seems nearly impossible to stick out. I also get questions on how to maintain a strong sense of self throughout it all, and without losing genuinity and passion.
Let me give you an example. Taking photos is one huge part of being a fashion blogger. Not just taking photos, but taking ones of yourself. Styling yourself, posing yourself, editing yourself, posting yourself. It’s a lot. It’s definitely a fun, creative part of the job, but it can also be one of the most exhausting parts. There are in fact days where I literally get sick of looking at myself on social media. That is why I am a big believer in social media detoxes. As well as remembering to never take myself too seriously when it comes down to the nitty gritty of what my life as a blogger entails. If I am looking at every detail, every speck, of every photo that goes up on my Instagram . . . every accidentally loose hair, every lazy eye, every crinkle in my shirt, every pimple on my chin . . . when the over analyzation starts to overtake my world, that’s when I know to take a step back, regroup and come back with a fresh perspective. And that new perspective, that’s just the point of this post; that there is no such thing as total perfection. Nothing can ever match up as seamlessly as it does in our heads. And why would we want it to? Appreciating the fact that imperfection IS beauty, is a really important step in keeping oneself motivated to keep going, to keep posting, to keep sharing. But not just sharing in general, but sharing what is REAL. That’s the key to finding one’s true voice in the social media realm, where there seems to be a lot of the same nowadays, and that’s your ticket to success. It’s the best place to start for newcomers to the realm.
Maintaining a strong sense of self? It’s not the easiest task in this world. But it for sure is possible. Compare. That’s the word. And you know what? DON’T DO IT! It’s an ego burner. A belittler. And one of the greatest ways to feel lost in a sea of what you apparently should or should not be. It’s great to take inspiration from others you admire, but there’s a huge difference between admiration and comparison. One takes and instills growth. The other steals and decreases confidence. My rules have always included: finding focus on the things you love, paying attention to the true drivers of your personal style and not trying to change things for the sake of what is trendy. For me, there’s no such thing as trendy. As long as you have the confidence to rock it, go for it. I appreciate it when I see bloggers doing their own thing separate from the pack. It stands out to me, and thats when I keep coming back for more. We don’t need anymore of what is already out there.
So, as you can tell . . . it takes a lot of guts to be a fashion blogger. To stick up for yourself, to believe in your aesthetic and point of view, and to do it all in front of thousands of eyes, most of whom will judge you first purely on what you look like and how many likes you get. It’s frustrating, and can be a place very far from sweet. No sign of a Texan sweetheart around this joint! But at the exact same time, all the amount of positive ways we can influence via social media, be it through creative direction, words, graphics, color schemes, is reason enough to be motivated to keep going. Most importantly, be a positive influence not only to your readers, but also to yourself 🙂 And to think, this post was kicked into action by this Ulla Johnson overall dress. See, fashion inspires in the most interesting of ways 😉
When you pack an entire carry on for 24 hours in Austin, Texas, and all you want to wear is a pair of flared jeans. And every single shade of indigo known to existence. That southern influence man. Can’t beat it. Ever since spring has arrived, I’ve been drawing myself back towards flares again. I think it’s that airy feeling they give me. They were made for this season in a way. Rather than going the natural retro kick back way I usually would have went with these flares, I was inspired by the floral detailing on this St. Roche top. It gave me inklings of Japan and cherry blossoms, and the first thing I reached for was this wide wrap belt to add some cinching. Very kimono-esque I would say. How would you redefine the styling of flare jeans for spring? Tell me!
& Other Stories leopard blouse, jeans and sandals Rebecca Minkoff scarf Sonix sunglasses
Remember that time when Jim Morrison from The Doors sang “L.A. Woman Sunday afternoon / Drive through your suburbs / Into your blues, into your blues, yeah / Into your blue-blue Blues?? Well, I think he was talking about me in these & Other Stories blue jeans right here. Blue denim jeans . . . the option appropriate for any occasion for the endlessly casual LA woman. Even one from the suburbs, like me. hehe. That’s how it has always felt since I was just a little girl admiring the fashionable women around me whenever my family went into the city. Anything can be conquered in a pair of high-waisted blue jeans. And any situation can be faced with confidence and spice with a pop of leopard print thrown into the mix. It’s funny, I felt sort of like Julia Robert’s character in Pretty Woman would have worn this outfit on her day off. A woman who is true to her humble upbringing, but has a lot of inner spark. I like to dress how I feel. The concept behind & Other Stories’ styling approach and aesthetic is exactly that. Dressing how you feel is all a part of telling stories. Big stories. Small stories. It doesn’t matter, as long as they shed light on the bigger picture of our outlooks on life, our creative pursuits, the music that makes us feel the best we can be, the type of people that are drawn to us and vice versa. The way we dress can tell so much about who we are, as long as we want it to. For some people, no story is told through the way they are dressed. But for a lot of us, all we want to do is tell stories with it. Even if it’s just a feeling that we can get across with the outfit decisions we decide to make. Fashion has always made a mark in its own, unique way throughout history. It has always been based on a mindset. A focus on the future, while at the same time reflecting the past. Today, on the streets of Venice, California, little parts of my story were speckled all over the place. Nostalgic ones and even ones made out of my imagination. Maybe this vintage Mercedes Benz is my getaway car for an adventure that’s been in the back of my mind for ages. Maybe this is the day I take the wheel and do something different. Who knows. Do it for the story 🙂
This post is in collaboration with & Other Stories for their new LA Collection.