May 28, 2015

Two crop tops

I think I've found my new uniform this season – a mostly modest crop top and any kind of higher-waisted bottom. I'm not trying to hate on my body when I say this, but I swear I have the torso of someone who is 5'5" and the legs of someone who is 4'11" (for reference, I'm actually 5'2"). For the longest time, I didn't know how to dress my proportions and I wore low-rise jeans with long blazers. Yikes. When I look back at those old photos, I cringe at how stout I look.

Ignoring the fact that this is a terrible quality mirror selfie, I wanted to share two crop top additions to my closet that are already in heavy rotation. This first one, by 3x1, is on sale right now with all sizes still in stock (!). This one is SHORT. I initially picked it up to wear with much higher-waisted skirts, but I'm really much more of a pants girl than a skirts girl. So I paired it with these mid-rise jeans (this was my first pair of non low-rise jeans and I still love them. They also happen to be on sale.) It was a very brave (and foolish) move to wear this outfit to a ramen lunch followed by ice cream. Though I managed to avoid ramen splatter on the white top, I could not hide my massive food baby with this top.

For a bit more stomach coverage, I love this Girl Tank by Rag & Bone. It's made from a heavier cotton so I feel like it will last me through the many washes it will need this NYC summer. I was already sweating balls yesterday and it's not even June yet. I paired this with new Acne jeans that I easily could have gotten three sizes up from my normal size in. I went up two sizes and they are still TINY. Reverse vanity sizing I suppose.

It's hard not to be tempted by all the sales going on right now. I've been browsing but mostly avoiding pulling the trigger. But since living in jeans in 90+ degree heat is not ideal, I picked up the closest thing to it – a pair of high-waisted jean shorts from SSENSE's sale. So I can pretty much continue my uniform and have a bit more breathability.

May 27, 2015

Beauty essentials

I'm fairly minimal when it comes to my makeup routine. If I were only allowed two products in my life, they'd definitely be some sort of eyebrow pencil and an eyelash curler. In fact, I won't ever leave my apartment without at least applying those two things. But since I'm not actually limited to that, I allow myself a few more products. These eight are a mix of current and long-time favorites.

Tom Ford Brow Sculptor – I've tried my fair share of brow pencils, but I always return to this one as my holy grail. Maybe for the shape and hardness of the applicator. It's not cheap (especially at the rate I go through these things) but I feel like good brows help frame the rest of my face and makeup.

Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler – I've been using this curler since I was, like, 18. It lets me get super close to my eyelash base and never jams my lashes or yanks them out, like other ones I've experimented with. My natural lashes stick straight down, so this product is a godsend.

RMS "Un" Cover-Up (Shade 22) – I was on a total makeup ban when I bought this, but when the founder, Rose-Marie Swift, herself is manning her counter at ABC Home, you get the hell off your ban and listen to what she says. This is probably the first concealer I've ever bought. I just was always too lazy to deal with concealing, or I felt like it didn't actually do the job. What I love about this is that it's lightweight and can practically be used as a foundation. It also blends super easily.

Tom Ford Lipstick in 'Flame' – When I want to feel just a little extra fancy, I reach for this fail-proof fiery orange-ish red. It has a nice matte finish too, without feeling dry. And I'm always shocked after a whole meal with drinking and all that the product is still on my lips!

Benefit 'They're Real' Mascara – Again, I have experimented for years with other brands and much fancier, pricier mascaras. There was a point in my life where I didn't have to actually buy mascara for as long as I can remember because I got so many samples from just being a loyal Sephora shopper and redeeming points. When I do finally have to buy it, it's always this guy. It doesn't run even when I bawl my eyes out and it gives my lashes great volume without weighing me down.

Anastasia Clear Brow Gel – Of course, I now have to set my brows after treating them to the brow sculptor. I've found that this gel makes the brow pencil last much longer, especially on sweaty days. In a wonderful coincidence recently, I was just about to have to replace my last one and it happened to be in an amazing package the kind folks at Tieks sent over.

Tom Ford Fleur de Portofino – I'm not one of those ladies who has a signature scent quite yet. I like having fun with many scents depending on my mood and the season. This is the scent I'll be wearing all summer long, for sure. Now if only it could actually transport me to the Italian Riviera...

RMS Living Luminizer – Naturally I picked this up on the same trip as the concealer. I instantly just feel a little bit prettier when I put this on. I mostly dab it on the high part of my cheekbones, but you can use it in so many places to highlight. It gives my skin a glow without making me feel glittery. Another huge perk of RMS products are that their compact sizes make them particularly travel-friendly. Highly recommend! Also sold here and here.

Whenever I travel and have to edit down all my products to fit in a small dopp kit, you can bet all of these are coming with me (though I'll probably opt for a travel-size of the perfume to save space). I'll likely do another post in this series of my long-time skincare favorites, though that's a bit trickier since I'm always trying new things.

May 19, 2015

Unlock your wish

In the final chapter of my collaboration with Cartier, I hoped to explore the idea of unlocking a dream or wish with this personal talisman. It's a little hard to explain the meta-nature of this post, because it was the act of conceptualizing this post and making these photos happen that really WAS my wish. Having my wish come true is being able to express myself in my photography and to have the ideas in my head be translated into something I can share with others. I am the happiest when doing so. Sometimes my friends hear me joke that when I'm not shooting or shopping, I'm rather depressed, and the part about shooting really is true. If I'm not producing work, I feel lost and don't know who I am.

Here I tried to convey the simple act of falling asleep on the sofa, lost in the dream world that the Amulette unlocks.

Shot on a grey rainy day, the darkness of my living room was the perfect backdrop for this series.

So long as I can continue to make this dream my reality, I don't really need to wish for anything else.

Outfit details: Theory Top | Self-Portrait Skirt (find similar here and here)

May 13, 2015

A good Paris haul

How can one return from Paris empty-handed? I never can resist the shopping in Paris (see December's pick ups here). Last week, I found myself in this magical place again to shoot an editorial on Paris food (hello, dream job). I took the opportunity to extend my trip through the weekend and came home with quite a few goodies this time.

Where do I even begin? And how have I not stocked up on more photography books in the past? I wanted just about everything from Artazart but was worried my luggage would be overweight. It turned out I was still 2kg underweight, so I totally could have bought more books. As luck would have it, I'm going back to Paris in three weeks, so a luggage full of books might be coming back with me... I picked up these two immensely inspiring books for now and an issue of Red Visitor Magazine.

I also underpacked clothing-wise, so naturally bought a striped shirt (this one's from Saint James) to tide me over my trip.

This tank was a quick and easy purchase from Printemps on the last day. It'll be perfect for the impending humid summer and is surprisingly 100% cotton (it felt like a synthetic to the touch, but in a good way). And I'd been wanting to try this Flower Mask Gel Mask for years but always talked myself out of it as it'd be a total indulgence for my face. Let's see if it's as magical as people say it is.

Peeking from the edges are a green Goyard tote (needs no introduction) and a pouch/wristlet from a new-to-me (though it's been around since 1717) brand, Fauré Le Page. Kat from Feather Factor introduced me to the brand recently and I am super happy with this purchase. I think it will be either a great organizer in a larger bag or a great casual clutch.

Hello, beautiful ceramics. I may have to do a separate post on this ceramicist, especially if I can visit again on the next trip, but wow. Really really beautiful things coming out of Emmanuelle Wittmann's studio. I almost don't want to share this info because the pieces are so one-of-a-kind and I selfishly want to have my pick the next time I visit! The marbled egg and coral-looking rock are from a fantastic junk store in the 11th. I can't remember the name, but it's right on the Rue de Charonne near Clamato.

The perfect sling-black black flats are from none other than Hermes. The problem with their shoes is they feel too beautiful to actually wear. I seriously want to put all of the protection on them before introducing them to NYC concrete.

Another favorite shop from this trip was Ofr. Librairie . I was completely smitten with the Portraits de Villes collection they carried, which are basically little photo essays of cities around the world but seen from an inspiring and unique point of view. I think I had nearly a dozen in my hand before controlling myself to just start off with a few (at 19 Euros a piece, it adds up quickly!).

From Merci, I picked up napkin linens and a great hand towel. And from Buly 1803 (an old favorite), I got a lotion that's almost too pretty to use.

I think that about covers it. Scattered around are some food souvenirs. I may need to bring a small cooler next time to bring back all the things I really want to bring back (read: Bordier butter). Now if only my French were as good as my ability to shop in France.

May 7, 2015

Lincoln Black Label at Home, NYC

I first worked with the Lincoln Motor Company on a road trip from Nashville to Austin last summer to promote their new MKC. I'm happy to be partnering with them again to experience their new Lincoln Black Label collection, a new line of interior themes with unique ownership privileges. It comes together with the cars themselves, and with their Black Label at Home program—where houses across the country have been reconsidered with interior design inspired by the themes and materials of the new collection.

Each of the four themes in the Black Label collection was designed with a specific personality in mind, and I went straight to the source to learn more. Lincoln Design Manager Janet Seymour says, "The goal was to reach out and appeal emotionally to a customer and their own personality and taste. We've tried to create as much differentiation between these themes as possible so we can appeal to a broad cross section of customers out there." 

After visiting the space in Manhattan’s Union Square and seeing the interiors, I tried to visualize how these “emotions” of diverse personalities could translate into food. Theme-by-theme, I paired ingredients that I felt best complemented them.

The Center Stage theme transports you to a swanky post-theater lounge with its striking black, white and red scheme. You also might feel like you've gone back to the '20s. Black leather and suede contribute to the drama of this theme. Janet talks about how the intent was "to create an interior environment where there's a surprise and delight, with an accent color called Foxfire Red within a black interior." Of course, it only seemed fitting to find a fiery red pepper (these are bird's eye chilies) to illustrate this theme's pronounced red detailing as well as this theme's target customer who is expressive and isn't afraid to make a statement about themselves.

Probably the most elegant of the four themes, Modern Heritage is for those who appreciate clean lines and a modern aesthetic. It is Janet's favorite (and mine too). Although the overall color scheme felt similar to that of Center Stage, the proportion of white made the rooms feel much more airy and open. The simple furniture lines and graphic art in both the living room and bedroom also made this feel much more modern.

How does this translate into the culinary world? These breakfast radishes are classic but never boring. The surprising bite you get at the end of the radish is like the surprise of the subtle red stitching that punctuates the white leather interior of the Modern Heritage car. More needs to happen with radishes.

Indulgence is an indisputable nod to the pleasure and allure of chocolate. The car interiors are the very color of a chocolate bar. Likewise, the Indulgence bedroom and kitchen are rich with shades of brown and contrasting textures, from the fluffy stools at the edge of the bed to the striped wood in the kitchen. This customer is looking for comfort and a cozy dark interior.

Translation? While I love a good dark chocolate bar myself, I have more of a savory-tooth and my indulgent savory counterpart is some good old prosciutto. I consider it such a treat.

The Oasis theme also very much mimics its namesake, with the cream and tan colors of the car interior and open-pore wood appliqués inspired by an actual oasis. The rooftop in the penthouse space was quite a haven in this bustling city. It had its own pool and multiple seating areas. I felt like I could easily spend all my time up there with a good book. In the bedroom, the same soothing neutral shades are repeated. I'm a sucker for succulents (yes, still!), and there were little guys scattered throughout. I felt a combination of lemon verbena tea and a sweet melon would be ideal for this environment.

Janet says Lincoln is "constantly looking into the future" and has already been working on more Black Label themes to come. I'm excited to see what personalities will be added to the mix.

Disclosure: This post was created in partnership with Lincoln Motor Company.

May 1, 2015

Inspired by Lapis Lazuli

The way light hits an object can completely change its color and mood. But you probably knew that, and I'm stating the obvious. In the second part of my collaboration with Cartier, I wanted to highlight the color of this particular Amulette with even more emphasis than in part one. I could wax poetic about this particular shade of blue for days. It's very reminiscent of Yves Klein blue, and I really wanted to bring that out with the textures and colors of the environment I shot it in.

I immediately knew I wanted to create a dust/powder in that color, so I started brainstorming how I could achieve that. My initial thought was to buy a TON of bright blue eyeshadow and crush it up. Then I thought about dyeing sugar or flour (but obviously the liquid would mess up the texture). Then I was at an art store and considered grinding up chalk pastels. Finally I learned that I could get paint in the form of dry pigments. Perfect.

Above, you can see fleck details in the Amulette. It almost looks like a galaxy swirl in there.
Change the light and environment as in below, and the Amulette becomes almost a satin-y glossy blue.

Change it again, and the Amulette turns into a midnight moody blue. This last frame also gives you a sneak peek of what's to come in the final chapter. I can't wait to share.