I took photos of this plaid dress from Smak Parlour this past Sunday, and unfortunately it was one of those days where nothing seemed to go right. I originally wanted to take photos outside of Katz Delicatessen, a famous deli in NYC. Although it was early in the morning, there were lots of tourists constantly going in and out the door, which would have made things a lot harder to get some good shots. They were also doing construction next door, so all the scaffolding really took away from the iconic vintage sign outside the restaurant. There is a vintage inspired coffee shop not far from Katz, so I decided to try that location instead. But once I arrived, I discovered they were closed, even though they should have been open according to Yelp. At this point, I decided to throw in the towel and told myself if I saw a cool location on my way to brunch, I would stop. A few blocks later, I stumbled across Beauty and Essex.
I had been to Beauty and Essex before, but for some reason it never dawned on me that it would make a good backdrop for photos. It is a speak easy style bar and restaurant, where you enter through a Pawn Shop. It was sort of a happy accident that I stumbled across this location, because the colors of the signage actually coordinated perfectly with my outfit. By this time though, it was almost 11:30 am, which means people were lining up outside for brunch and groups of people were strolling down the street, which made it hard to get some good shots, especially since I only had my tripod with me instead of a friend or photographer.
I can get frustrated with myself very easily when it comes to my blog and Instagram. I constantly find myself wishing I had more time to shoot photos, an #instagramboyfriend to help me, or a better camera. It can be hard to time manage between a full time job and creating content, but I try and do my best to balance between work, play and social media. Whatever your side hustle is, here are some tips to help you manage your time.
Take Advantage of All of Your Free Time:
Everyone is different, some people are more creative and work better at night, others are more productive first thing in the morning. I naturally wake up pretty early, so I’ve tried to take advantage of this lately, and go to bed earlier so I can wake up a few minutes before my usual alarm and shoot photos before work. This way, I don’t have to cram all my photos in during the weekend. Fitting in smaller tasks when you have a few hours of free time during the week is a good way to spread out your work load.
I keep several lists in my phone to help me prioritize and save time. For example, I have one list of locations around NYC that I would like to shoot at in the future. Having a list of locations saves me a lot of time brainstorming or searching for spots. Sometimes these locations also inspire me or help influence my outfit. I also keep another list of every product I receive or buy and want to shoot, that way I can visualize how much I have to shoot, and what order to shoot them in. Writing things down is a great way to prioritize and keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
Remember Why You Started:
At the end of the day, I try not to take blogging and Instagram too seriously. Yes, I see other full time bloggers and think I’d love to be where they are one day. However, that’s not why I started blogging with the intention of doing it full time. I started because I wanted to take inspiring photos that express my style. I’ve collaborated with so many brands I never thought I could, so I try to keep things in perspective and look at how far I’ve come, rather than beat myself up about not growing at a quicker rate. If your side hustle is a hobby like mine, remind yourself this is supposed to be a fun venture, not a source of stress.
P.S. If you’re interested, you can shop the dress I am wearing here:
Dress: c/o Smak Parlour
Saddle Shoes: Bait Footwear
Sunglasses; Foster Grant (vintage)
Location: Beauty & Essex (Lower East Side, Manhattan)
One of the reasons blogging is beneficial for me is because it pushes me outside of my comfort zone. I tend to be a bit anti social at times, and avoid social situations where I don't know anyone or where I might not be 100% comfortable. So when Skedaddle reached out to me and asked if I'd like to join them on some winery tours around Long Island, I was hesitant. It sounded fun, but I was worried I wouldn't know any of the other bloggers who were invited. When I was younger, my mom used to make me go to parties or force me to invite friends to come over to get me out of my shell. Obviously I'm a grown adult now, so my mom isn't constantly around to force me to be social, but I still try to push myself into these types of situations, so I accepted Skedaddle's invite.
When I showed up for the bus at 8 am this Saturday, I worried I had made a mistake by saying yes to this trip. Not everyone knew everyone, but everyone there knew at least one other person. There were 8 other girls there, and I was the random 9th wheel. But I told myself to just make the best of the trip, its only one day, and it would be over before I knew it.
Everyone was pretty quiet and sleepy on the bus, but by the time we arrived at the first winery, Bedell Cellars, I began to feel a bit better. All of the girls seemed really nice and friendly. One of them even helped me take photos at this vintage truck I had eyed up from the second we arrived. We tasted 5 different wines, and even got to see how they crushed the grapes to make the wine, then it was off to our next destination.
Next, we stopped at Greenport Harbor Brewery. We ordered a bunch of snacks for the table, and we each got to pick our own flight of five beers. I tried all different kinds, from an IPA, to a lager, to a saison. They were all good, but all of them were the exact same shade of light brown, which did not make for a good photo, and confirmed why I am not a food blogger, like a lot of the girls there. We also got to take a quick tour of the brewery to learn about how the beer is made.
Our third stop was Macari Vineyards, and my favorite stop of the day. Immediately after we arrived, we drove the bus around the vineyard to explore their extensive property. We made one stop to say hi to the adorable cows they use for compost. Then we drove a bit further to a private beach where we all got out to enjoy the view and a glass of rose. Then it was back to the main building, where we did our tasting in a private cellar. I think the highlight of the tasting was when “LOVE” by Nat King Cole came on and we basically all felt like we were living The Parent Trap. I really enjoyed the Chardonnay wine, probably my favorite tasting of the day, which is interesting because I usually don’t care for Chardonnays. They also have a pizza truck on their property, so they gave us a few different pies to try. I had the white and margarita and both were amazing.
After a quick nap on the bus, we made our final stop at Table 7 just outside of NYC. We got to try a bunch of different cocktails and appetizers. To be honest, I didn’t eat much here because almost all of the food had some type of meat in it and I am a vegetarian. But I enjoyed some of the cocktails and the chocolate cake they served us for dessert.
We arrived back in the city around 10pm. It was a long day, but overall it was really fun. I am a creature of habit, so I can easily get stuck in a routine of doing the same things in the city, but it was nice to get out of NYC for the day and explore Long Island with some new people. I am definitely glad I said yes to this opportunity and didn’t turn it down just because of my social anxiety.
Thank You Skedaddle for having me on this trip! If you’d like to learn more about Skedaddle, or any of the locations I mentioned in this post, I have listed their websites below. You can shop my cardigan here: http://www.tobi.com/product/60228-tobi-diem-plaid-cardigan?color_id=86310
Greenport Harbor Brewery:
Cardigan: C/O Tobi
T-Shirt, Skirt, Sneakers: Madewell (old)
Necklace: In God We Trust; Earrings: Vintage
Location: Bedell Cellars (North Folk, Long Island)
Stopping by with a quick blog post to share some more photos of this polka dot shift dress. Although it looks sixties, it’s actually an Esprit dress from the 90’s. It was handpicked especially for me by my friend Emily. I met Emily at the first job I worked at after graduating college. Like me, she works full time as a fashion designer, but is also a lover of all things retro, and resells vintage pieces on Etsy as a side business. You can check out her shop here:
We had a lovely day in Brooklyn catching up. We started out with brunch at Esme (the food was delicious, I highly recommend if you are in the neighborhood). Then we bounced around to a few vintage stores, while taking photos in between. We started at Record Grouch, where these photos were taken. We also popped into Monk Vintage, where Emily picked up a few pieces. Lastly, we stopped into Fox and Fawn, where I bought a sweater (and it is also the store where Emily found this dress I am wearing). All three stores had an excellent selection, with reasonable prices, I will definitely be visiting these stores again in the future.
Dress & Sunglasses: Vintage; Socks: Hansel From Basel; Shoes: LF Life; Ring: Kate Spade; Watch: Hyper Grand
Location: Record Grouch (Greenpoint, Brooklyn)
By now we are all well aware of the various pros and cons of social media. Critics of social platforms say that it's "fake", creates unrealistic expectations and is hazardous to our mental health, all of which I agree with, under certain circumstances. Of course the photos and messages we put out on social media are just a sliver of reality. I've seen couples I know that have relationship issues posting photos that make it seem like they are completely content with each other. I've gotten FOMO from seeing my friends out at bars or at events that look way more fun in their Instagram stories than they actually were in reality. But one aspect of this argument I do not agree with is the notion that having a curated Instagram feed automatically makes you "fake".
I consider my blog and Instagram feed to be a creative endeavor. I have always been an artistic person. Growing up, I loved art and dance, I went to college for fashion design, and now I work full time as a designer. I put a lot of creative thought and energy into the content I create. Creating content for social media is something I enjoy doing, the same way I enjoy dancing or illustrating as a hobby. Therefore, it makes me upset that some people think that I'm "fake" in a sense because the photos I post on social media are premeditated and are designed to create a certain mood.
Yes the photos I post are usually taken in advanced and all intentionally reflect a certain style, but that doesn't mean they are in genuine. I don't "do it for the gram" and post photos of things I'm not passionate about only for show. On the contrary, I feel like having a curated feed and planning out my posts ahead of time actually allows me to live in the moment more and not worry about capturing the perfect photo while I am out with friends or family. The goal of my Instagram is to create inspiring images that reflect my personal style. I never want to give people the wrong impression about my life to try to appear like someone I'm not. I feel like creating a false self image is the main reason curated feeds get a bad rap, but if you're staying true to who you are, then what's the harm in thinking or working ahead of time to create inspiring images?
How do you feel about curated Instagram feeds? Do you find them inspiring or do they create unrealistic expectations?
Top: C/O Yummy Cactus
Skirt: Madewell, Sneakers: Vans (from Madewell); Wristlet: Charming Charlie; Beret: Topshop
Location: Daly Pie (Prospect Heights, Brooklyn)
People are always saying you can't wear red and green together, otherwise you look like you're dressed for Christmas. But this is actually one of my favorite color combinations. There's something very 1960's school girl about this color pairing to me. When I saw this backpack from Leafling, I was immediately drawn to the colors and the embroidery on the side. I decided to take this backpack look full school girl and pair it with this vintage plaid skirt I own (which I'm pretty positive used to be an actual school uniform). If you want to try wearing red and green together, but aren't sure how to pull it off, here are some tips.
If you notice, the majority of my outfit is actually navy, and the red and green are just accent colors. This is key for achieving the school girl look.
•pick the right tones
The red and green I am wearing in this outfit are brighter, more saturated tones, which can easily read very Christmas, but because the colors are in such small positions, it works. Picking darker, less saturated versions of red and green, like a burgundy or forest green would work better if you do want to wear solid red and green pieces together.
you don't have to wear a completely printed outfit like I am here, but adding a print or two is an easy way to tone down a red and green look, especially if you do want to wear bright red and green together. For example, a solid bright red top paired with a solid bright green bottom would look ridiculous, but if you change one of these pieces to a multi color print that has red and green in it, this look easily becomes more wearable.
What are some other color combinations that are taboo, but you love to wear?
Backpack: C/O Leafling
Top: J.Crew, Skirt: Vintage (bought from Arbor Vitae); Socks: J.Crew; Shoes: LF Life
Location: Hoboken, NJ
By now you probably all know I love vintage and thrift shopping. However, I am very selective about what I purchase, because I never want my wardrobe to look like it's full of costumes. If you're new to vintage shopping and not sure which items are worth buying, I've put together a guide to help you.
-classic prints (polka dots, gingham, simple stripes, etc)
I usually pass on items in any of the above prints because it is easy to find modern garments in these prints, so you don't have to waste time altering your vintage find to look current.
Garments yellow over time, so I usually try to avoid all white garments or garments that have white in sweat prone areas, such as the neck/collar, armpits, etc
I know a lot of people love a good vintage band tee, but personally this is something I would not buy vintage. Vintage tees always look super worn and pilled (and for good reason). Plus it's so easy to find a reproduction of vintage tees nowadays, where they have a retro feel without all the wear.
-interesting collars and necklines
Even though oversized collars or exaggerated necklines can look very specific to certain time periods, these are the types of pieces I am always drawn to when I'm vintage shopping. If I do decide to buy something that looks super retro looking, I make sure I alter it to look more current or modernize it with my styling.
Bold and unique prints are also a guilty pleasure for me, but again, they can look very dated very quickly. Again, styling or alterations can easily tone down an amazing vintage print.
Denim is stain resistant and holds up amazingly over time, so I love buying denim pieces second hand. Because denim shorts or jeans are so abundant, you can easily find vintage denim pieces on the cheap too. PS: if you are in NYC, checkout No Relation Vintage in East Village if you are in the market for denim cut off shorts. They have two whole walls and each pair is only about $8.
If you're still on the fence about whether or not to purchase a vintage piece, a good rule of thumb is to weigh the cost vs the amount of time it will take to alter. If I’m not confident I can fix a piece or if I feel l can easily find a modern replica, especially if it’s not super cheap, I won’t waste my time or money attempting to bring it back to life.
Cardigan: c/o Rip and Rose
Dress: Forever 21; Shoes: Franco Sarto (bought at Century 21); Watch: Hypergrand;
Pin: Copper Cactus Vintage
Location: Jim’s Steaks (South Street, Philadelphia)