It was pretty ironic that I was taking photos in front of a boxing gym last week, because by the end of this shoot, I actually felt like punching someone...
As most of you know by now, I usually shoot my photos with just myself and a tripod. Last Thursday, I woke up early to shoot this t-shirt from One Round Jack before work. I headed to Overthrow, a popular, retro inspired boxing gym here in NYC, which isn't far from my office. I set my purse down on a door step, off to the side, and got set up and started shooting. While I was shooting, a guy tried to go in through the door where my purse was, but couldn't because it was in the way. I moved it so he could go in, then put it back and continued taking photos.
A few minutes later, he tried to come back out the door again, but couldn't because my purse was in the way again. He kept jamming the door against my purse, so I ran over to move it again. My foot accidentally hit the tripod, knocking it over. I tried to grab it, but at the same time a woman was walking by and got in my way so I couldn't catch it fast enough. The camera and tripod hit the ground, and since the lens was extended, it jammed, making the camera unusable.
The guy ended up going around and exiting from a door on the other side. When I came out I told him he caused me to break my camera. All he gave me was a lackluster "sorry" and walked away, which made me feel even worse about the situation. I was so tempted to throw the camera on the ground and smash it, since I would need an entirely new camera anyway. I was having a bad week already, and this was just the icing on the cake. I pretty much had a mental breakdown on the street and called my mom upset.
I was miserable for the rest of the morning. Even though I knew it was an accident, I beat myself up with ways I could have prevented this from happening. I should have gotten a sturdier tripod, I should have just stopped and been satisfied with the photos I had already gotten, I shouldn't have put my purse in that spot. I dug myself into a hole of negative thoughts, not just about the situation with my camera, but about myself.
Then when I was out getting lunch later that day, I saw something that put things into perspective for me. What I saw made me remember that it was just a camera and I shouldn't get so upset about material objects. The purpose of this post is not for sympathy or to complain, but just to give you some back story behind these photos. I saw something recently on Instagram that said, people only post about their successes on social media, not their failures, which is so true. I think it's important to publicly share our struggles from time to time to remind one another that we're only human.
If you'd like to shop my t-shirt, you can find it here:
T-Shirt: c/o One Round Jack
Cardigan: Vintage; Skirt: May 68; Tights H&M; Shoes: Eastland Shoe; Bow: Claires
Location: Overthrow Boxing Club (NoHo, Manhattan)
Lately I've been reflecting on my personal style and how it comes across to people through Instagram. I am constantly examining my feed and thinking of ways I can improve it. Ideas for improvement often come from observing what works on other people's pages. It seems like girls who wear the same color in every photo or perfectly primped pinups grow in leaps and bounds, while my account is moving forward at snail speed.
Of course feeds that are extremely cohesive are eye catching and are probably more likely to make you turn that "follow" button from blue to white. However, I have to ask myself, are these feeds even inspiring? Yes, when you first stumble upon them they look like a work of art. But then once you are following them, they become so predictable. Thinking about some of these cohesive feeds that I follow, of course I enjoy their photos, but it's rare that the photos from these accounts ever truly inspire me because they are so formulaic.
I think I have a recognizable style, but sometimes I feel like it's all over the place. Some days I look straight out of the sixties, and others I'm more modern with just a touch of vintage. Some days I'm All-American and others my inner Francophile comes out. But one thing I do know is that I am authentic and stay true to myself. I'm not going to confine myself to wearing one color or one decade just for the sake of social media.
If you'd like to shop my dress, you can find it here:
Dress: c/o Karina Dresses
Beret: Beau; Purse: No Fakes; Belt: J. Crew; Shoes: Steve Madden
Location: Roxy Hotel (TriBeCa)
I can't believe June is here and 2018 is half way over already. At the start of every year I make goals for myself, and with the midway point here, I like to check in and see where I'm at. When 2017 was wrapping up, I felt like I was finding my footing in a lot of areas of my life. I had high hopes for 2018, but this year has thrown me for a loop. To be honest, recently I've been feeling a lot like this sad cat on the sweatshirt I am wearing in these photos.
At the end of March, I lost my job because the brand I was designing was eliminated. Everything feels very up in the air right now, and I'm caught between struggling to find another design job in an industry that is currently very unstable, and questioning if I even want to stay in fashion or if I want to take this time to explore a new career path.
Since I'm not working a full time job at the moment, I've had a lot more time to dedicate to my blog and Instagram, which has been great since I enjoy creating content so much. However, I've been feeling discouraged recently with my growth and engagement rates on Instagram. I know I shouldn't let the numbers dictate my outlook. However, it's hard to not feel like this is another area of my life that is also unstable or unsuccessful.
Now believe me, I know that things could be A LOT worse. And while I feel down in the dumps about certain areas of my life right now, I've actually accomplished a lot of personal goals so far in 2018. Already this year I've traveled to Memphis and Miami for the first time. I've gone back to dance classes, one of my passions that I've neglected over the last several years. I also got to be an extra for a tv show (The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, which happens to be one of my favorites) which is something I've wanted to do since I moved to NYC five years ago.
The point of this post is not to complain about my failures or brag about my experiences, but to remind myself or anyone reading this that life isn't measured solely by job titles or Instagram analytics. There's something to be said for personal accomplishments, and we should acknowledge these life experiences as well. I often get caught up looking at people my age and feeling like they're so much more accomplished than I am because they have their own home, husband, kids or successful career, all of the accomplishments that society traditionally rewards. But it's important to remember that everyone has a different path. Not everyone accomplishes the same things in the same time frame, and that's okay. For now, I'm going to continue to put myself out there, keep my fingers crossed and just enjoy the ride.
If you're interested in shopping my sweatshirt, you can find it here:
Sweatshirt: c/o Yummy Cactus
Collared Shirt: Vintage; Skirt: Madewell; Sneakers: Madewell; Headband: American Apparel
Location: Schnackenberg's (Hoboken, NJ)
I started taking Instagram "seriously" three years ago, in the beginning of 2015. It was then I consciously started posting photos of more interesting and meaningful things, rather than just photos of my friends and I out at bars. I remember one day that spring I was walking home, and snapped a photo of the animal print flats I was wearing in a pile of pink petals from a cherry blossom tree on my street, then uploaded it to the gram. The following spring, I posted a photo of a cherry blossom tree on my street, this time with a pretty building that has mint green accents on it in the background. And last spring I posted a photo of a cherry blossom tree in front of a historical row home while I was in Philadelphia for the weekend.
It may sound stupid, but I feel like before Instagram, I didn't even notice cherry blossom trees. Social media often gets a bad rap since so many people nowadays feel the need to document every little aspect of their lives, rather than truly live in the moment. And while I agree it is a very fine line between posting what you're passionate about and oversharing, I do think that one benefit of social media is that it has made me more observant of my everyday surroundings. For example, I'm constantly looking out for new locations to shoot or interesting things to photograph. Since my blog and Instagram are vintage inspired, it's helped me notice little remnants of the past, such as an old school door or sign, small details I might not have otherwise noticed.
I shot these photos last week, and by now the trees have all lost their pink petals. It feels like spring is already on its way out and summer is fast approaching, but I wanted to document some cherry blossom trees once again this year. In this post I am wearing a vintage dress I recently bought at the Brooklyn Flea, and paired them with these new shoes I recently received from Charlie Stone Shoes.
If you're interested in shopping my shoes, you can find them here:
I paired these shoes with frilly ankle socks, both for a girly spring look, as well as to help break them in. Wearing cute socks with a new pair of shoes is one of my favorite hacks for breaking in a new pair of shoes. These flats run true to size and are beautifully made. However, like with most leather shoes, they need some time to stretch out a bit.
Shoes: c/o Charlie Stone Shoes
Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters; Ring: Kate Spade
This past Saturday, I went to the movies and saw "Call Me By Your Name" (which was good and I would recommend seeing it). The movie takes place in 1980's Italy where the main character, a teenage boy, spends his summer days reading, writing and listening to music. This aspect of the film made me nostalgic for the days before social media. It made me realize how much time we waste mindlessly staring at our phones and how easy it is to pick up your phone and start scrolling through apps out of boredom. While I love creating content for Instagram and my blog, and I have no plans to stop doing that, this year I want to be more intentional with my time on social media. I want to avoid falling down the rabbit hole of hate stalking frenemies on Instagram or reading poorly written Facebook articles. So here are some tips I've already began implementing to limit my social media screen time.
•unfollow accounts that no longer inspire you
By now, you are probably aware of the "follow/unfollow" method a lot of Instagramers use to gain followers. If you're not familiar, a user will go through and follow a bunch of accounts, hoping they will follow back. Then they go through and unfollow anyone who did not follow them back. I've ended up following a few bloggers this way, bloggers whose style I do not like at all. Every time their posts would come up, I would get a little annoyed, or ask myself, why am I following this person? I decided to start cleaning up my following list, and make sure I'm only following accounts whose content inspires me. It's not worth it wasting your time looking at images you do not enjoy, especially just for the sake of a few extra followers.
•mute instagram stories
I started muting certain people's Instagram stories a few months ago, and will continue to do this in the new year. I've muted a bunch of friends who I've grown apart from, because I was constantly getting FOMO sitting home on a Saturday night and seeing them uploading story after story all hanging out together. I've also muted some bloggers, not because I don't enjoy their stories, but because they were just posting too often and I was wasting a lot of time watching them. The beauty with muting Instagram stories is you are still able to watch them if you go to the persons profile, but you're not tempted to keep clicking to see their next story every time their little icon pops up in your queue.
•turn off notifications
I don't use Facebook much, it's not a platform that I post content to or interact with friends on. The main reason I keep it around is because it is a way I find out about events happening around the city. However, if I see I have a Facebook notification, I'll end up mindlessly scrolling through the app once I open it. I turned off notifications, so I am opening the app less, which is less opportunity for me to waste time on it. I've also unfollowed a bunch of pages, such as Elite Daily, Glamour Magazine and E! News, pages that are constantly posing click bait articles, which I would waste so much time reading when I was bored. With less temptation and opportunity, I will hopefully end up spending less time on Facebook in the new year.
•schedule time for activities that don't include your phone
One of my goals for 2017 was to read more. While I did finish a few books, I didn't read as much as I would have liked to. Often times I'd find myself bringing a book along somewhere I might have free time to read, but then end up scrolling though Instagram instead, merely out of habit. To get myself in the habit of picking up a book rather then my phone, I am going to schedule time to read. I am going to try to plan to read every night before bed, instead of staring at my screen until right before I go to sleep. Hopefully this will help me stop using my phone as a security blanket and find more fulfilling outlets for filling my time.
I hope these tips were helpful if you also want to become more intentional with your time on social media. What are your goals for 2018?
Dress: c/o Karina Dresses
*I am wearing the "Ruby" dresses from the Resort 2018 collection, which will be available on Jan 12th
Beret: Target; Shoes: Franco Sarto
Location: Pardon My French (East Village, Manhattan)
2017 is coming to a close, so this will most likely be my last blog post of the year. I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my blog posts, liked or commented on my Instagram photos, and anyone who has chosen to spend time in my little retro inspired world. I've had a lot of great opportunities to connect with some amazing brands and people throughout the year, and I hope to continue to do so going forward.
With 2018 fast approaching, I've been thinking about how I want my personal brand and blog to evolve in the new year. My goal for 2018 is to create inspirational content that steps outside the cookie cutter type photos we have become so accustomed to seeing across social media. I want to continue working with small businesses and brands vs big corporations as much as possible. I also want to buy and wear vintage and thrifted clothing as often as I can, and show my followers how simple alterations can revive a second hand garment.
Wherever you're at in life, I want to encourage you to write down your own goals for the new year. Here's to a great 2017, and an even better 2018!
Dress: c/o Tallulah’s Threads
Headband: American Apparel; Tights: Hue; Shoes: LF/Life; Bag: Urban Outfitters
Location: Strand Book Store (Union Square, NYC)
Introvert and extrovert are two words people love to throw around nowadays. Most commonly, I see people labeling themselves as an "extroverted introvert", stating that they enjoy going to parties, but also are okay staying in and watching Netflix. While it is true that most people fall in between the two extremes of introvert and extrovert, I feel that people like to label themselves as a hybrid because they don't want to identify solely as an introvert. Introvert has a negative connotation, and conjures up images of a hermit with no friends. When you hear the word extrovert, a bubbly, life of the party, social butterfly comes to mind. However, these stereotypes are simply not true. I am definitely on the more introverted end of the spectrum, and I appreciate my alone time, but that doesn't mean I don't like socializing. I often feel misunderstood by the people around me, so I decided to write a post about the most common misconceptions of introverts.
we don't hate you
So many people have told me they thought I didn't like them the first time they met me, but that couldn't have been farther from the truth. Introverts just take a little bit longer to warm up to you.
alone time doesn't always mean staying home alone
People always assume that introverts prefer to be home alone all the time. While there's nothing I love more then coming home to relax in bed after a long day out, on the weekends I love getting out of my apartment and exploring New York. However, I usually prefer to be out and about on my own. I would rather vintage shop, go to a museum, or grab brunch by myself. I consider these activities to be my alone time, even though I'm still surrounded by thousands of people around the city.
we prefer small groups vs big groups
Introverts find small talk draining, so we would rather hang out in a smaller group and have meaningful conversation with a few people we really care about. If you have a friend who is an introvert, consider making plans with them one on one, rather than inviting them out in a large group setting.
I could go on, but these are just a few of the misconceptions about introverts. Being an introvert doesn't mean that we don't like being social. I hope that if you have a friend or family member that's an introvert this helps you better understand them. I also want to mention Madison from Minnie Muse Blog. She wrote a similar post about understanding introverts, which inspired me to write this post. You can check it out here if you want some additional reading:
What do you consider yourself, an introvert, extrovert, or somewhere in between?
Pajamas: c/o Emily and Fin
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)
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)
Peter Pan collars. Red lipstick. Top knots. Polka dots. All of these things are present in my outfit in this blog post. And although these things are classic, they were also super trendy a few years ago. That Kate Spade inspired, classic yet quirky look (basically how I describe my style) was very popular. I couldn't walk into a store without finding something to buy. Recently though, the market has changed and it hasn't been in favor of my personal style. Lately, I struggle to find clothes I actually want to spend money on. I don't fit into the Zara, assymetrical, minimalist look. I also don't fit into the 70's boho look (although I have found myself gravitating towards late 1960's pieces more and more). And there's no way you will ever find me in athleisure, which it seems like is all anybody wears nowadays.
I've never been one to chase trends or just wear something because everyone else is. But sometimes I look in the mirror and worry I look like I'm stuck in 2012. Last week was fashion week here in NYC and I attended a few events, which made me remember (one of the reasons) why I don't like fashion week is because I never feel cool enough. I definitely don't think you need to wear head to toe designer to attend fashion week, but I just always feel like I don't have that New York City, fashion forward edge so many other girls have. Again, while I don't believe in changing my style for the sake of trends or to fit in, I do think it's a fine balance of incorporating trends and staying true to your personal style. Below are some tips for how to balance.
•only wear trends that compliment your style:
It can be tempting to jump on a trend, especially when you're seeing it all over the place. Sometimes we don't even realize it and subconsciously gravitate towards things we wouldn't normally after we see it on our friends or bloggers wearing it on social media. By all means, if you truly like something, you should definitely wear it. But usually when I'm shopping I like to pause and think about if this item makes sense with my personal style. Since I try to keep my style more classic, rather than trend driven, I usually buy depending on if I think the item embodies a fleeting trend. If I feel it's something that will only be around for one season, I usually pass on it.
•incorporate trends in a subtle way:
If you want to try a new trend, find a way to bridge it with your personal style. For instance, as we know, the 70's are very trendy right now, but my style isn't very hippie or boho. Bell sleeves are one 70's inspired trend I do like, so I recently bought two bell sleeve sweaters, one in black and white and another in a chevron print. I feel these colors and patterns are a good way for me to try out this new trend without straying too far from my style.
At the end of the day, confidence is the best thing you can wear. You can have the trendiest outfit on, but if you're not comfortable in what you're wearing, it shows. So even though polka dots and Peter Pan collars might not be the coolest items at the moment, I'm going to stay true to my personal style and not be influenced by those around me.
Sweater: c/o Tobi
Shirt: Forever 21; Skirt: American Apparel (thrifted from Housing Works);
Pin: The Silver Spider Print Shop
Sneakers: Vans (bought at Madewell); Back Pack: Century 21
Location: Hoboken, NJ