I Am Speed

Driving home on a classically crowded Los Angeles freeway, red beads shining into my eyes, my mind wandered miles away from my body. The cars in front of me sped off and I pulled away, my vision becoming a vertigo zoom. All around me lives are moving. People are having children, graduating from university, getting married and receiving modeling contracts from top firms while I do the same thing I've been doing since kindergarten. 

I've voiced this realization to a couple of my close friends and they've all replied the same thing, give or take a few platitudes. "Your life is happening! You're moving to New York!" While New York City is approaching fast (a reflection for another time) and it is quite exciting, it certainly is not the same as bringing life into the world. Where am I? Typing to a blog that I've had since freshman year of high school, which is no major contribution to the world (send my apologies to my fan club and biographer). 

When everyone and everything seems to be moving with superhuman speed to their purpose in life, taking more time feels stagnant and unproductive. And then there are moments like today. Everything moves in slow motion, but you're grateful for it because you can take it all in. Your best friend's dumb joke is just a little bit more funnier than usual.  The sweat down your brow inspires you to be more. A slight breeze reminds you that you're alive. For a moment, it doesn't matter that your legs are killing you, there are bugs everywhere, and you aren't sure if you're taking the right route outside of the forest. The whole day becomes a still of you smiling like a maniac in a really comfortable outfit. 

Hermit Falls fell victim to the Southern California drought. The waterfall was so adorably pathetic that we decided to spare it and not go in. It rendered my American Eagle one piece useless for anything but aesthetics. Airy and loose Ivy Park terry cloth shorts kept me comfy as I struggled up hill after hill. I wish I had such high marks for my Nike Roshes, but their soles left me slipping at every opportunity. Still cute? 

In an effort to evolve my style, I've been resorting to adding more layers, accessories and color. This outfit was a good pause--a slow-motion descent as I continue that journey. This day and this outfit are a pretty reminder that going slow is better than not doing anything at all. The next time I begin to question my path, I'll throw on a white tee and leggings. 

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Making Summer Last Forever

Tunic: New Look Tank: Forever 21 Shorts: Vintage Guess Denim Slides: Forever 21 Bag: Steve Madden

There's a photo in my bedroom of a small, screaming me next to my mother and a giant anthropomorphic female mouse. When I say it like that, it's easy to understand why I was so afraid of Minnie. Perhaps my former self was more #woke to Disney's capitalism and near monopolization of children's media. I won't even mention the racial discrimination and the fact that Walt was a Nazi (oops!). Then why is it that nineteen year old me--and every future me that I can fathom--is so obsessed with Disneyland?

I'm going to chalk it up to the hope that is always in my heart (but is completely petrified by anxiety), the thrill of magic, and the incredible technical detail that goes into the rides. I not-so-subtly request that my boyfriend becomes an Imagineer with "Babe, your animatronic could kick that Indiana Jones' ass". 

Disneyland and California Adventure is the ultimate summer getaway for me. I can thank my parents for taking my siblings and I in the summer when school was out. Not only is Disneyland Resort out of my small town, but it's almost in a completely different universe. There are no troubles at Disneyland. I stand by that. 

And since it elicits such a strong emotional high for me, I can always go back to this place and time in my head. There, it's always summer and there are no worries. 

I'm giddy over my outfit today. I'm wearing my favorite shirt: this colorful brocade tunic. The neck rises high to cover my chest and it flows right on over my tummy. On top, this little blue pleated tank added texture to my otherwise flat tunic. Not to mention, two tops layered basically signals to my brain that I don't have to wear a bra! Happy days are here again!

Before I leave the house, I do a pose in my mirror that best demonstrates the outfit's assets. And I completely forgot to do that pose. Because of that, you can't see my vintage light wash Guess shorts and the slightly bohemian looks served. 

My trusty gold slides made my beautiful gold ears a given and lit up the more matte look. I can also picture this outfit with white sandals, but that triggers something NorCal to me and that's so not my goal. 

Problems aren't so big when you remember that it's a small world after all
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I Went Back In Time (But My Outfit Didn't)

Did I ever really share with anyone the experiences I gained in London? Probably not. There's something about them that I find hard to articulate to anyone. Those who were also there will probably get a sense of what I'm saying, but their own perceptions will likely warp them. I'm okay with that. I like having sacred, untouchable memories and feelings. I don't mind that I won't ever get them back. Now, in my childhood home, it almost feels as though I'll never experience anything like it again. But since I'm moving to New York in less than 20 days, I know that it simply isn't true.

As lucky as I am, I got a quick taste of my British life at Universal Studios Hollywood, where they lay out their version of Baker Street in Westminster. The first thing I did? Take a photo with the telephone booth. Before this, I had only done it one time--in Windsor with my good friend. Better late than never!

This day was dedicated to avoiding butterbeer and trying not to be Avada Kedavra'd by little kids in too-big Hogwarts cloaks. I wore a t-shirt dress that I haven't been able to keep off of my body all summer. Around my waist, a chambray shirt that will not be seeing the fall with me (it's mutual, we've discussed it). My ever-trusty Nike Roshes who aren't Nike Theas but that's okay kept my feet connected to my legs. Together, I feel cool. 

My two favorite adjectives to describe an outfit are "effortless" and "deliberate". I'm aware that sometimes I don't dress conventionally and I want everyone around me to be aware of it, too. Another favorite word is: "fun", which is what I think my hair is, with two small buns at the top of my head. Theme parks mean I have an excuse to be silly, don't they?

And while I may have been having severe London flashbacks, I felt very "model off-duty" in this almost athleisure, almost normcore look. All of which doesn't seem to be going away any time soon. 
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I sat in a park for three hours watching my mother, brother and significant other play Pokemon Go in this very outfit. 

This was before I became addicted myself. Above all of the hype and lacking a nostalgic bone, I read Anton Chekov's Uncle Vanya peacefully under a tree. I long for those days again. Now, I'm obsessed with the game. I name my pokémon after Gilmore Girls characters and I've spent $2 on in-app purchases (which is miniscule compared to the amount I spent on Kim K: Hollywood. Shameful.) 

Last night, I got a total of three hours sleep. I did have a bad day. I was trying not to let anxiety overwhelm me when, out of a near-REM experience, I had a realization: Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan are named after Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. I had to confirm it. Peering into my iPhone's bright screen, I was justified and wide awake. During the next few hours, I kept seeing Charmanders in the shadows against my wall, hearing faint "Chansey"s whispered in my ear, and I tried to uncover the name meanings of other pokémon as if I win some sort of prize for doing so. It was agony. 

I like the games, show, and movies enough, but I think it's time for it to stop infiltrating my life. I can't spend another night anxious about Bulbasaur's leech seed. I know that Pokémon Go is helping a lot of people with anxiety, but definitely not me. 

Here's a bit of an homage to the person I was two weeks ago and the outfit that started it all. 

I had been ON in my own brain about wearing this beach cover up as a top for weeks. When you're as boobly as me, it's hard to find a bandeau or bralette that works. I settled for a plain black one and that's where this story ends. 

I exercise minimally, so these neon coral yoga capris were basically brand new at this time. I needed something inconsequential to wear to sit on the grass and these are about as expendable as they are comfy.

Finally, and I can't help but mention this, it was h o t. So sandals were basically my only option. Black with this pink would be a bit too 80s harsh for me and rose gold has become somewhat second nature. The thick straps and the almost ornate lace that hangs on the front and back take me to Ancient Greece on a layover. 

TL;DR: I'm quitting Pokémon Go and grateful that I'm taking Greek Theatre next semester because I'm questioning my own credibility. 
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To Me

Tops: Forever 21 & Forever 21 Bottoms: Forever 21 Socks: Ivy Park Shoes: Nike Roshe Bag: Forever 21 Sunglasses: Berlin Street Vendor
These photos cause me to have RuPaul's Drag Race flashbacks. Instead of being the curvy, almost-fit girl I used to know myself to be, I see what can only be described as a hog body. And it's totally cool, I can say that when it's about myself. I gained my freshman fifteen and I own up to that. A bad mixture of alcohol, stress-eating, not knowing how to cook for myself and a hatred of exercise got me here. I'm living with that. 

While I'm not entirely satisfied with my behavior, nor would I recommend it, I don't feel like I need to hide myself or do anything different than before when it comes to fashion. I frequently discuss on this blog how I like to hide my problem areas for comfort's sake. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. It doesn't come from a place of negativity at all. And there are also days when I don't mind baring a little bit of stomach. Like this one right here. 

Layering is what takes an outfit from pedestrian to street style. Heavy or intricate layers may not be fit for your everyday affairs, but small choices like this Forever 21 racerback crop top under a spaghetti strap one, elevates the colorblocking and juxtaposition of the look. If we were to switch the two, the thin straps poking out would be too reminiscent of  rogue bra straps and not quite there in terms of color blocking. 

These grey tailored capris oppose the more athletic aspects of this look in the best way. It doesn't allow the outfit to look like you just ran a 5k, but that you did this on purpose. However, because this is a sporty look first and foremost, athletic socks like this Ivy Park pair and your favorite (read: only) pair of sneakers show that you mean business. And that the concept of a gym isn't totally lost on you. 

So, while I'm working on being my best me, I'll never censor myself, apologize or try to make up for what I feel I'm lacking. This is just who I am right now and that will always, always be well-clothed. 
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What It Feels Like

Bathing suit: Forever 21 (similar) Top: Forever 21 Jeans: Pull and Bear Shoes: H&M Sunglasses: Berlin Street Vendor

Ah, back before the heat didn't burn your jeans off as soon as you step outside. That's a little bit of heat wave humor for you. I've gotten quite good at it these past few days California decided to see what hell feels like. 

Even though the weather wasn't murderous then, I was heading to lounge in and out of my boyfriend's pool. We grabbed lunch first, I recall, so I thought putting on something mildly appropriate was necessary. Emphasis on mildly. Around my bright coral one piece is a pink, gray and white striped button down. It covered my slight cleavage and made me feel like a superhero which is so clearly an apt situation. 

Black, faded jeans were made black and faded by Pull and Bear, a European brand that I fell in love with way too late into my stay on that side of the Atlantic. Alas, these are the only item I own from them. The waist is the perfect height for me. It makes my torso look long and still covers my unfortunate lower belly. The jeans are so strong yet comfy that they single-leggedly changed my opinions on jeans. 

It was a warm summer day in Los Angeles suburb, Valencia, when I fell in love with these 3 inch heels from H&M. A shocking $10, it was love at first try on. The thin straps somehow scream summer to me, especially because the flower is black which is so much less overtly tropical. They make me feel like Carrie Bradshaw, end of story. 
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Brand New! Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil

Launching tomorrow from Benefit, reigning champion of brow products is the Good Proof Brow Pencil. Let's discuss!

As far as packaging goes, this product gets a 10/10 for me. It's beautiful, metallic, strong plastic and light-weight. Some of the other products in this launch got very bulky, almost hindering packaging, but this one works well with the product.  I am concerned that the text will eventually rub off of the plastic. 

  On the larger side is a long tube where the product comes out with an easy twist. Think Anastasia Brow Definer. The spoolie on the other end is adequate in length, I personally dislike super long spoolies. The caps snap on and off easily. 

 The product itself applies very smoothly to the brow. Instead of clumping onto each hair or filling in too deep, it accentuates the brow and make it look thicker. It rivals the realism of the Anastasia Dipbrow. As a proud dipbrow owner and lover, I may be falling brows over heels for this product. It's much easier to carry around and doesn't require another brush. And one less brush means one less thing for me to clean. Because of the product's angle, I can fill in the thicker part of my brow and immediately shape the point. 

Thick and lush, the spoolie doesn't poke or prod, but perfect blends the product with your natural brow.

All in all? The Goof Proof Brow Pencil is awesome for those of us with sparse brows and definitely worth your coins. Benefit, you did it again! 

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Top: H&M (similar) Bottoms: Guess (Vintage) Sandals: WetSeal Purse: H&M (similar)

So, I stole my mom's button down shirt. It was lonely, sitting amongst a sea of tea length dresses and boat neck tops. I was roasting by mid-day and needed something airy, thin and that could cover my tummy in these low waist Guess shorts. This button down was a breath of fresh air. 

It turns out, however, that my hidden shoulders were terribly unhappy being forced into fabric and my neck suffered at the touch of a forward-point collar. With the undoing of a few buttons, I was suddenly set free and in the presence of what seemed like a brand new shirt. 

Bracelet: H&M (similar) Ring: Pandora

Pressed to find the perfect necklace for my miracle neckline, I opted for a chain bracelet and my everyday Pandora ring. Gold, silver, it doesn't matter. Today we're breaking all the rules. 

On my feet? Metallic gold flip flops from Wet Seal. 

I wore this outfit to none other than my local polling place on June 7th to vote in the California Primary. I hope the poll workers understood that I was a rule-breaking, Bernie-voting, mini-millennial because that's all I see when I review these photos. That and silky caramel melanin. 
*cue outro music*

Where else in your wardrobe do you find yourself breaking rules?
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New Makeup Faves (Or That Time I Scammed Ulta)

It's so easy to fall into old ways. I didn't buy any high-end makeup during the school year--partly because of London's high prices and partly because I couldn't store a lot of makeup in my small flat. 
Now I can't help but spend! 
The best part is, though, I only paid three dollars for the Tartelette palette, Anastasia Dipbrow, and Butter London nail polish. I racked up about 600 points on my Ulta Rewards account due to aforementioned overspending. That's $20 to use towards anything in the store. I tried to purchase the Tartelette palette online using those points, but the order did not go through and Ulta took away my 600 points. I waited. This was not the first time this had happened and after fo-fuming at Customer Service, the points came back within a week. This time, however, they didn't for almost two. So I called. The representative was so nice and accommodating. She arranged for my points to be returned within two days. Two days later, I check my account and there is 1200 points waiting to be used. I thought "How nice of Ulta to double my points after all the trouble they put me through!" 
I immediately went online and bought the three products using my points, a Butter London sale, and an extra $10 off for referring a friend. Definition of a steal. 
Shortly after, I checked my account and found that I had NEGATIVE six hundred points. Ulta must have recognized their mistake and took points away from me. I'll have to spend quite a bit of money to get out of that hole, but it seems worth it right now. 
At one point, I thought about calling and requesting to be brought back to zero because it was their mistake and they had already put me through so much inconvenience. The Ulta website and previous customer service representatives I had dealt with on the phone and over email fell very short of helpful. But I was tired of corresponding with them and I had already reaped benefits. I shouldn't push my luck. 
How am I liking my products? 
The Anastasia DipBrow is like no other brow product I've ever used! It makes the hairs look so fine, yet supple. I bought the color Ash Brown, which I thought would be perfect on me. Other browns tend to be too chocolate or too black. It's actually a bit too ashy, which was quite disappointing. However, I use the Essence Make Me Brow which is an exact dupe for the Benefit Gimme Brow, overtop and it comes out perfect. Make Me Brow (just like Gimme Brow) has the perfect ashy coloring for my brows. Together, I think I've found eyebrow peace! (Random question: How do you pronounce Anastasia? Ana-STA-sia or Ana-STAY-zuh?)

I've had and held highly the original Tartelette palette for just about a year now. After using it almost daily as brow powder, the black crumbled and made a mess of the entire thing. It's quite a shame, considering how much I loved the smoky purples and cool browns. My only concern with the entire thing was how blendable the shadows were. If using an especially strong eye primer (I typically use Urban Decay's Primer Potion), the shadow would literally stop where it was placed and refuse to blend out. It's not like that with Tartelette In Bloom. This new version moves like butter. It blends to perfection without losing that great pigmentation. The colors are so warm and the glitter is perfectly sparkling--not too clunky. This is the perfect summer palette. 

Honestly, I was underwhelmed by this $15 nail polish, Cotton Buds. I'm a big fan of white nails. I only wear black, white or gray nails if I can help it and in the summer, white is my go-to. The brush bristles are so thick that they tangle within themselves and paint in misshapen lines and consistencies. Then, the dense polish dries at different levels, making the polish look uneven and chunky. One thing I can say, is that it lasts very long! I kept the polish on out of pure spite because I didn't want to waste expensive products and I was surprised that the thick layer wasn't peeling off. I will be giving it another chance soon and hopefully it won't completely suck! 

My association with this Inglot Sparkling Dust (for face, eyes, and body) is classic romantic comedy. Friend introduces girl to highlighter, girl falls in love, highlighter makes her look and feel amazing, she gets tons of compliments and a credit card swipe later, it's happily ever after. At $16, this highlighter reaches the very tip top of my list of favorite makeup products for price. It has an amazing wet look when applied sparingly and a glittery glisten when you go a little wild. I have it in the color 03, which is a bright gold. Here's a relatively decent photo of me wearing it. Please ignore my secondary love interest in the background, this movie is about my relationship with the highlight. 
Barely perceptible eyeliner: Kat Von D Inkliner in Hemingway
Lastly, an EOS lip balm. I grabbed this while needing two more dollars to fulfill a coupon requirement along with two skincare products. I stepped away from using EOS because of sheer cost-to-effectiveness ratios. In the UK, Nivea is much cheaper and highly effective. Now that it's summer and my skin has fully adjusted to the beautiful California heat, I'm using this lovely coconut milk EOS on lipstick-free days! 

Are there any makeup products that are making your summer? Ever accidentally scammed a company? Let me know!
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Casual--Not Complacent

Top: Custom Shorts: Charlotte Russe Shoes: WetSeal Bag: Michael Kors Glasses: Street Vendor

My life looks nothing like the popular page on Instagram. I primarily check in at work or my boyfriend's house, neither of which require anything more than shorts and a T-shirt. But where is the fashion in that? More importantly, where's the personality in that? I'm making it a point to care more about the little outfits. Every look should be well-rounded, fun and say something about me.  

This one is a little obvious. I dug out a custom made Belize Jersey that depicts the Belizean flag and uses its colors. My dad must have had it made in the 90s and then promptly forgot about it. How vintage of me. 

The gold jewelry brings me back to the thick gold chains and rings my Belizean uncles would wear. They also spice up and otherwise boring look. I never took my sunglasses off that perfect perch on my head, despite the fact that it was pretty sunny. 

This outfit isn't anything that special nor is it worthy to walk a red carpet, but it represents a huge part of who I am. And I look hella cute. 

Do you find yourself sacrificing fashion for casual looks? Sound off! 
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I'm Having Too Much Fun

I hate the suburbs. With a passion. Every second that I'm not in London or New York, I can feel myself deteriorating. Where's the originality of a suburb? What makes it authentic? 

Except I'm beginning to change my tune. 

Before you get excited (or plot my excution), I'll clarify. 

The subtly of a suburb feels like exactly what I needed. It underscores the real action--lives. A city's essence can be a bit overwhelming. I've heard my New York friends discussing the "New York Attitude" several times since being back. Here, there's no persona but your own. 

I've used that opportunity, as previously mentioned, to say more about who I am through my clothes. 

And I think I'm pretty fun. The light weight lace and thin fringe are so easy. I feel like I'm cheating fashion. These cute cap sleeves are classic and refined. Downstairs, burnt orange is an atypical summer color, but the warmth soaks up the bright white. The off white sandals help out on that front while the black lining and block heel keep it from becoming too Kennedy. To tie it all together, a brown snake skin Michael Kors keeps the look neutral and soft. 
With every sharp movement, my culottes sway or my fringe whips. I love that action. And a cute pop of a heel is even more exciting. It's the little things. 

Put together, but also a riot. That's what I want to portray today. Unafraid, but prepared. Who have you been lately?


Breaking Out of a Summer Rut!

I move. I'm active in the sense that I like to get things done as soon as possible. If I'm not doing something, I feel like I'm moving backwards. It's incredibly easy to get pulled by that jetstream. You take a break, have a snack and the next thing you know, you're covered in chocolate and five seasons in on The Bachelor.  Fun? Hell yeah. Productive? Creative? Thought-provoking? No. 

Although not easy, getting out of a summer rut kick-starts your passion for creating something out of nothing. It may be simpler to reduce yourself to nothing but television fodder, but we both know you're better than that. 

I care! So much that I won't even recommend different exercises to get you moving. I'm not doing those. I won't force you to. Instead, let's get things going from the inside out. 

1. Try new drinks! 
Summer is the perfect time for experimentation. You now have time for trial and error, whereas the winter only allows time for filter coffee as you speed-walk to class. 

This "Pink Drink" has been sweeping Instagram, purely for aesthetic reasons. High in sugar, but even higher in delicious, the Strawberry Acai Refresher with coconut milk instead of water creates this lovely pink! Nothing says summer quite as loud as coconut milk. 

When you're in need of energy, but coffee just won't do it for you, get iced water with matcha powder. Matcha is condensed, powdered green tea. It boasts that it raises metabolisms and helps your skin! 

Rings: Forever 21 Sunglasses: Street vendor Slightly fading lipstick: MAC Dubonette 
A lover of iced green tea myself, I totally dug the matcha. It has a slightly thicker taste than regular old green tea but the superpowers it contains is worth it! Be warned! The Starbucks matcha powder formula contains an unknown amount of sugar. If you want it completely pure, buy powder on Amazon and make your own!

2. Take up a craft! 
I have a terrible artistic eye. I can appreciate it like no other, but when it comes to creating my own, it always turns out a little bit...wonky. I was inspired by this artist on Twitter and Instagram to make a paper doll. As a working artist, her secrets are entirely her own, but I attempted to create my own paper dolls of my boyfriend and I--one for fun and one for his birthday card. 

Despite the fact that it looks like a child produced it, I had a lot of fun making this. I turned my phone over, played music and completely focused on this project. It was nice for sitting with my own thoughts and to get in touch with my creative side. Who knew it was there?

3. Plan!
I have an addiction to planning. I don't just write things down in a Staples agenda. I pay a lot of money for my planners, stickers and pens. I would like to say that it's a problem, but it's certainly not. Now that planning is "fun" I'm much more motivated to actually do things. And it's another thing to spend money on. 
Planner: Erin Condren 2015-2016 Good to Go Pen: Pilot G-2 0.38 | Photo: Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Film
Planner: Kikki K Personal Planner
As laughable as writing down the days I do laundry or wash my hair might seem, at the same time, I'm writing down memories, events and chronicling who I am in a miniscule way. Eventually, I'll be able to look back at my spreads like a scrapbook of my life. To me, that's worth it. 

I refuse to let my summer go by in a blur of television drama. How about you? 
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