MADE









This wall was made for me. 

Of all the cities I've been to in my travels, they're doesn't seem to be anywhere like LA. I am beyond biased of course being born and bred in LA but I have yet to find anywhere else that encompasses all the uniqueness that LA has to offer. 

1. We've got great food, restaurants, and fresh produce. Diners have plenty of options when it comes to international cuisine from Mexican, Cantonese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Shanghainese, Peruvian, and the list goes on. No one does Korean BBQ like we do! 

Those with dietary restrictions needn't fret for once because vegetarian,  vegan, gluten-free, organic, local what-have-you is plentiful and much more convenient than most places.

The LA foodie scene is slowly starting to get more recognition (I'm looking at you James Beard Awards!) while Michelin stars aren't aplenty here, there are still some incredible spots you can't miss. If you want my recs, you'll need to stay posted!

2. We have an incredible multicultural melting pot of ethnicities who live and work here. Chances are, even the person next to you or a random passerby on the street is at least bilingual!

3. We can't shed the glittery glam of Hollywood and celebrity mecca no matter how many movies get made in other states and countries for tax breaks. Pop culture thrives here.

4. Disneyland and California Adventure in Anaheim, Universal Studios in Hollywood, Six Flags in Ventura, and Knott's Berry Farm in Baldwin Park!

5. Our vicinity to San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, Coachella, Las Vegas, and Catalina Island for quick weekend getaways. 

6. Where else can you have a morning ski in the snowy mountains, drive across a desert for an hour or so, and then surf at a sunny beach in the afternoon all in the same day?

7. For those who are outdoorsy: Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Sequoia, and Death Valley just to name a few...

8. For those who love art, we have some of my favorite museums: LACMA, MOCA, MOCA Pacific Design Center, the Getty Museum, the Getty Villa, the Broad, and so on always have amazing and awesome collections. And the street art in DTLA and Venice are a must see! We def have Banksy and other notable artists making their mark.

Black Asymmetrical Cutout Bandage Dress - Similar Here & Longer Version Here & More Modest Version Here // Wayfarer Sunglasses - Rayban // Saffiano tote bag - Prada // Strappy heels - Zara (old) // Lipstick - Mac Russian Red

Photo by @tekobaka

Love it or hate it? What's your favorite thing about LA?
 

TARTAN QUEEN

 



I had no idea plaid could be so fun to experiment with! I don't usually wear plaid but autumn weather just begs for it! Plaid can go so wrong in a picnic tablecloth redneck way but this checkered outfit pieced together with another coat I discovered back in high school was buried in my mother's closet looks perfect with my big fluffy blanket scarf that I couldn't resist picking up at Zara at the Grove last year. I was super warm in this cozy little outfit, like a fluffed up bird its nest, so I'm pretty sure I could rock this to brave chilly temps on the East Coast if need be. That's how I gauge an outfit's cold weather appropriateness: whether or not it can weather an East Coast trip through wind, rain, or snow. 😂😂😂

Scarf - Zara F/W 2014 // Wayfarer Sunglasses - Rayban // Plaid coat - Vintage (Mom's) // Bootcut jeans - rag & bone // Knee high boots - Aldo // Tote bag - Burberry (old) // Cream ribbed turtleneck - Gap (old) // Crystal lattice bib necklace - J. Crew (old) // Starburst earrings - Baublebar

What's your favorite fall outfit?

TRANSITIONS







It seems that it is only seasons in a state of transition do I find to be the most beautiful. To grow, to change, to develop and become part of a cycle of revival. Speaking of revival, I found this amazing plaid blazer buried in my mother's closet back in high school and I loved it. It was so classic and autumnal with small leather straps that lent an equestrian air to it. I knew it would go perfectly with my knee high brown Aldo boots which are my absolute favorite because despite the heel, they're more comfortable than you would think and go with just about any fall outfit I can whip up. I snagged the boots a few years ago when in a moment of insanity brought on by post Thanksgiving dinner dish-washing I agreed to brave the Black Friday crowds. After I got them, I didn't feel the need to add any more boots to my collection which is really weird because I usually would go crazy and try to hoard as many as possible. That these could satiate my crazy shoe needs is no small feat. Every girl needs a great, sturdy pair of knee high boots in a classic color (brown, black, tan, or taupe preferably) that are comfortable enough for long walks through crunchy leaves and able to keep your toes warm in a way that flip flops just can't.

I honestly used to hate turtlenecks. Not just for the obvious constant chokehold reason but because I thought they were so dated and the equivalent of what goes with mom jeans and a mom mullet. Now I see the error of my ways. They're a toasty warm alternative to wearing a scarf and a classic closet staple that I've found goes perfectly under almost any coat for a light warm layer without looking too bulky.

I haven't worn blue jeans in the longest time either but with these boots, I didn't think my usual black jeggings would work into the mix this time. These boot cut rag & bone jeans I got from a summer sample sale in LA worked perfectly.

I know it's winter but LA isn't really good about sticking to the four season weather pattern. Half the trees are bare and lost all their leaves while the other half are still beautifully golden so I figure this autumnal themed blog post could still be relevant kind of sort of.

Celestial Drops Earrings in Gold - Baublebar // Clear Crystal Flower Lattice Statement Bib Necklace - J. Crew // Lipstick - Dose of Colors Liquid Lipstick in Black Rose (Limited Edition) // Burberry Tote - Vintage (Mom's) // Plaid Blazer - Vintage (Mom's) // Ribbed Turtleneck in Cream - Gap // Jeans - rag & bone // Knee High Boots - Aldo

Photos by @brianjwhy

DIY Rose Water Facial Mist/Toner - My Thoughts On Natural Beauty

During my first forays into makeup, I would always find myself wondering where my beloved lipstick had disappeared to as it faded away between drinks, conversation, and laughter hoping that I could somehow, vainly, figure out a way to make it last forever. It wasn't until I'd seen that horrifying beauty myth that I'm sure every girl has seen by now about how every woman will have swallowed 6 lbs. worth of lipstick in their lifetime that I started to actually worry. Couple that with the miniscule amounts of lead that may be present and it almost makes you want to toss all your makeup out the window (almost!).

True or not (according to Snopes, 6 lbs is extremely unlikely and difficult to accomplish), who really wants to put all those nasty chemicals on your face/body/lips let alone ingest them when it's possible to avoid it entirely WITHOUT sacrificing on quality and performance?

In my experience, the government cannot be trusted to regulate things to the degree that they should (I'm looking at you, teethless FDA!) and America has fallen behind the rest of the world in the fight to better regulate cosmetics and skincare. And so (thankfully!) a revolution was born. Brands like Bite Beauty, Burt's Bees, LUSH Fresh Handmade cosmetics, Honest Company, Yes To..., Tom's of Maine, Tata Harper, Tarte, Jurlique, 100% Pure Cosmetics, Josie Maran, and Stowaway Cosmetics (which I just happened to stumble upon today!) to name just a few (for a full list, please see my post here with more detail). These brands are emerging as serious contenders in the cosmetic and skincare world holding themselves to higher standards. And bonus! Some of them are even edible!

And for those of you who are wondering, you don't have to be a kale-juicing-all-organic-vegan-only-gluten-free-eating-machine to indulge, have insanely sensitive skin that reacts severely to chemicals, nor obsess over sulfate, phthalate, and paraben content. I simply believe that if you don't have to add harsh chemicals to make a great product, why bother? While I must admit, it is a pain when products like homemade rosewater and LUSH bath goodies have an incredibly short shelf-life in your bathroom without the saving grace of a refrigerator and/or some preservatives, convenience is a small price to pay for worry-free natural products! It's peace of mind, really.

In accordance with my attempts to incorporate more natural products into my beauty routine and my obsession with all things rose, I was determined to attempt a DIY recipe for organic rosewater after finishing up my bottle of Burt's Bees Rosewater Toner and deciding it was too much of a hassle to order online again since it is so difficult to find in-store. I also wanted to do myself a favor and try out an alcohol-free version. Thayer's makes an alcohol-free version that uses witch hazel instead but after reading some recent reviews saying they might've changed their formula and still include alcohol despite the labeling, I decided to go ahead with a DIY recipe. It seemed so easy!

That's when I encountered some issues. So many websites and blogs claim an easy DIY recipe. But there's at least FOUR different ways to do it with little detail and barely any explanation as which was best and why! I had so many questions along the way so I decided to share my trials and errors with you. Because let's face it, no one wants to Pinterest fail!

Ingredients:
  • Organic Rose Petals
    • Cleaned and rinsed petals ONLY, not the stamens, stems, leaves, hips, etc.
      • Make sure you rinse thoroughly because the bugs on your roses can be very, very tiny and hard to see
      • I kept a couple rosebuds and petals around just for decoration because it looked so pretty but leaving any rose petals or rosebuds in your rosewater is a bad idea because it will eventually disintegrate and dissolve in your rosewater
    • Pesticide-free, NOT from the grocery store or florist, preferably from your yard 
      • Rinsing non-pesticide free/grocery store/florist roses will NOT get rid of the pesticides and method #4 will probably only make the presence of pesticides worse and more concentrated 
    • I used roses that were pink or red so that it would give a pretty tint afterwards (depending on which method you use) and so that I would know when they had lost their color as opposed to white or yellow ones
    • More fragrant small roses are best as opposed to large ones. Large ones are typically bred for size and looks rather than fragrance
    • I read here that the best types of roses to use are Rosa damascena, Rosa centifolia, and Rosa gallica but I was not about to spend the time hunt these specific types down so the ones in my garden just had to do
    • The fresher the roses the better, so just-picked ones will make better rose water. Petals more than a day old even sitting in the fridge won't give you good results (trust me, I tried). The same website I mentioned just now listed here also recommended that you pick the roses after the morning dew has evaporated (2-3 hours after sunrise). I picked mine in the afternoon at sunset after work and it worked fine so *shrugs*
  • Distilled water (I used bottled water and didn't realize it until after I was done, whoopsies! The only difference I read so far was that distilled water will help your rosewater last longer supposedly)
  • Ice (for method #4)
  • To preserve and make your rosewater last longer, you can add 1 part vodka or a bit of boric acid
  • To use as an astringent/toner, you can add 1 part vodka, alcohol, or witch hazel. I personally would add alcohol as I prefer it to the stench of the other two. I'd use it as I did with the Burt's Bees version I had purchased to disinfect freshly tweezed areas on my face or to cleanse acne afflicted areas.

Equipment:
  • Stainless Steel/Glass/Ceramic Pot (no non-stick) with glass lid
  • Strainer/sieve/fine mesh strainer/cheesecloth/coffee filter
  • Glass jar or glass spray bottle (to store you rosewater when you're finished)
    • Glass is recommended over metal because metal can alter your concoction and plastic can absorb
    • I got mine spray bottles from Daiso! They even had miniature rose shaped glass spray bottles! And they spray wonderfully! I grabbed a couple other different bottles of different sizes for variety and gifting as well.
  • A funnel or pipette (to help fill your glass jar or spray bottle - I got mine from Daiso surprisingly! It came as a set but I didn't use the mini spatula though)
  • A pestle and mortar or food processor (for method #3)
  • A small brick (for method #4)
Methods listed below from easy to hard, quick to time-consuming:
Method #0 - Steep: *I did not attempt this method because I thought I was too cool for the easy route but I wanted to share it with you anyway because ain't nobody got time for making rosewater 4 different ways (except me apparently!):
Pour boiling water over rose petals (one part rose petals to two parts water) and strain when cool. Store in a sterilized jar in the refrigerator where it can stay good for as long as a month. Eazy-peazy!

Method #1 - Simmer: Claims to be quick and easy but supposedly not as potent.
1) Add your petals to your pot and fill with enough water to just cover the rose petals (the petals will float I know but just try).

2) Put on low heat until it just SIMMERS (not boiling!)
3) Once the petals have lost their color, remove from heat.
4) Discard the petals by separating the liquid that remains using a sieve/strainer and carefully pouring the remaining liquid into your glass storage container with a funnel.
My notes: Making rosewater this way was certainly the easiest but smelled unappealing to me in comparison to the Burt's Bees Rosewater Toner I had used. It may have been my mistake as I had the heat on medium-low instead of low and may have overcooked the rose petals resulting in an unpleasant smell of overcooked rose (think along the lines of what happens when you overboil vegetables). It still worked fine as a toner and facial mist but the rosewater was tinted an unsightly pink color that leaned brown. Supposedly has a longer shelf life which I suppose can be attributed to the cooking.

Method #2 - Sunlight: Takes much longer but doesn't require much more effort than simmering. Probably got just as hot as using a stove since it's been so hot out lately!
1) Add petals to a glass bowl and fill with enough water to just cover the rose petals (the petals will float I know but just try). Cover with glass lid or plastic wrap.

2) Leave in a sunny spot for at least 12 hours.
3) Remove and discard petals with either a sieve or a strainer.
4) Carefully pour the remaining liquid into your glass storage container with a funnel.
My notes: This was really easy. Just throw the petals and water in a bowl, cover it, set it outside and forget about it! Seriously. I forgot about it. lol. And apparently a cat kept letting the curiosity get the better of it thinking it was food. But it was untouched and worked fine.

Method #3 - Crushed Combination: This was my own method I hacked together from the various methods I researched online and found that it produced the most fragrant, spot-on scented rosewater and best coloring in my opinion. And it didn't take too long surprisingly!
1) Divide your rose petals into two piles.
2) Simmer the first half of the rose petals as shown in Attempt #1.
3) Add the remaining half of the rose petals to either a food processor or do what I did and crush the petals using a pestle and mortar (I love this thing for really bringing out the oils and flavor when I cook so no surprise that I loved using it for this as well).

4) Pour a little bit of the rosewater you simmered into the mortar to make sure you collected all the crushed oils. Pour all of it into a bowl along with the simmered rosewater and stir a little bit to make sure the crushed rose petals are incorporated with the simmered rosewater.
5) Then strain all the liquid into your glass container. It should be a nice pretty pink somewhat clear color that smells extremely rosy.
My notes: I always reach for this method's batch of rosewater out of all the bottles of rosewater I made using the various methods because it smells the nicest.

And finally...!
Method #4 - Distilling: Much more involved and lengthy process. Produces clear rose water much like what is used commercially. I also thought this method produced a cooked rose smell that I mentioned earlier which smelled unpleasantly like overcooked vegetables.
1) Get a small brick and place in the center of your pot and place a small glass bowl or cup on top. The height of the brick and the glass should not be higher than the edges of the pot and there should be enough room for you to place the lid upside down with the handle.
  • No one ever explained what the hell the brick was for but now I know! It is to:
    • Elevate the glass
    • Prevent the glass you place in the center of your pot that collects the condensation from rattling around in the boiling/simmering water and driving you nuts!
    • And finally, to keep the glass from slipping away from the center of the pot ensuring that you catch every last drop
  • I learned the hard way and didn't use a brick so you won't see a brick in the pictures, you'll see two glass jars instead. Don't do it my way! I had to keep prying open the hot lid and shove the glass back into the center of the pot through the scalding steam to ensure all the condensation collected and dripped back into the glass.
2) Fill the pot with rose petals around the brick and add enough water to just cover the petals (the petals will float I know but just try!)
3) Place the lid on the pot upside down and turn the stove on to low heat.
4) Let the petals simmer so that steam will begin to collect inside the pot on the upside down lid.
5) Place pieces of ice in the center of the upside down lid to draw the condensation of the steam towards the center and hasten the process of the rosewater collection within the glass bowl. After the ice melts, continuously replace it with new pieces of ice.
  • I kept making the mistake of trying to check on how much rosewater had collected in the bowl and inadvertently dripped the melted ice water back into the pot when I lifted the lid (the lid had steamed up so much I couldn't see through it anymore). I wasn't sure if the water landed back into the pot or if any got into my glass bowl. *shrugs* Oh well. I'm pretty sure it didn't!
6) Continue simmering until all the water is gone. This will take a LONG time (1-2 hours). If you're impatient like me, continue until you have your desired amount of rosewater collected in the glass bowl and/or the petals have all lost their color.
7) Remove the glass filled with condensation. Again, be careful! The lid is hot and so is the steam so make sure you wear oven mitts or a silicon oven glove! The glass filled with condensation is your rosewater. It should be clear. Pour it carefully through your funnel into your glass container.
8) Discard the remaining water and rose petals from inside the pot around the brick.

Rosewater Uses:
Bath additive
Light fragrance
Toner/Astringent
Food
Add to lotion
Hair rinse

Phew! That was a long post! If you made it all the way through, I salute you! I hope this was helpful to you because I sure as hell would've appreciated something this detailed when I first started out!

If in the end, you want to just go ahead and buy a pricey bottle of rosewater instead, I found a couple of these (Links below are not sponsored):

Drugstore:
Roberts Florentine Rosewater $10 @Urban Outfitters
Boots Botanics Organic Rosewater Toning Spritz

High End:
Glossier Soothing Facial Mist Rosewater Spray + Aloe, Glycerin, and Honeysuckle $18
Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist @Sephora
Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs, and Rosewater
Fresh Rose and Marigold Floral Toner @Sephora $40
Chantecaille Rosewater 3.4 oz @Nordstrom $64



SIZZLE











I sincerely believe that Southern California has some of the loveliest weather in the world and we are lucky to have it but too much of a good thing can be a bad thing! All this sunshine and not a drop of rain! It's been very dry and hot and so I've been pretty much living in this dress on the weekends. I love how light and breezy it is. It has such an ease to it. Of course, anything floral, flowing, strappy, and backless pretty much is begging to live my closet!

I love that this dress can be dressed up or down depending on the jewelry. I usually don't wear a necklace with this dress but I added this Amarilo necklace with gold chevrons and it dressed things up. I opted for this beautiful dangly arm cuff from Amarilo jewelry which is super comfortable to wear! I usually don't like wearing arm cuffs but this one is made so well and doesn't get weirdly bent out of shape or cut off your circulation! This look feels right at home at the beach or even casual dinner with friends. Heels would over complicate the simple lines of this dress so I always wear it with my favorite American Eagle braided sandals as I do most of my maxi dresses to maintain the unfussy, casual vibe. Plus they're super comfortable and easy to put on! And since this maxi is a bit long on me (I don't like to hem my maxi dresses because 1) lazy and 2) I love the flowy feel), of course, that means the chances of me tripping and eating it increase tenfold. Stairs. are. the. enemy.

Funny story (or not) about these sandals: I'm obsessed with them. I wear them pretty much everyday! They're so easy to slip on and off with a simple zipper on the back so in my usual hurried morning rush out the door I can just slip them on unzipped until I get into my car and it just looks good with almost every casual outfit I can put together. They're so light and comfortable that I can wear them for hours with getting rubbed raw anywhere and walk around all day if I have to without any aching. The slight wedge is the perfect between a flat and a heel. So obviously I wore them to an early death. This is probably the only pair I've had in recent memory that I have abused in this manner! After two years straight of wearing them all day in and day out over long distances, the rubber cap on the bottom of the heel fell off at the airport when I was getting on a flight to SF and then everything went downhill from there! The ankle strap started coming apart and the front strap was getting stretched too thin. So I went on a mad crazy desperate hunt online to see if American Eagle or any other retailer carried anything similar to replace them with. Of course, no luck. Luckily, I turned to Poshmark and found 2 people selling my babies brand new/barely worn and I snapped them up instantly! Women and their crazy need for back ups, eh?

Bonus! I often pack this dress with me on trips because the material is made of a crinkled texture fabric so I don't have to worry about ironing out wrinkles!

Dress - Urban Outfitters Reformed by The Reformation // Shoes - American Eagle Brown Braided Leather // Amelia Arm Cuff - Amarilo

What's your go-to summer outfit when things heat up? Let's hear it in the comments below!

CASCADES

Summer is finally starting to wind down in L.A. and I can start bringing out the boots and scarves soon! But in this city, January daytime temperatures tends to get confused with July so there's no telling how long my autumn wardrobe will be allowed to have its day in the sun. Anyhow...

Extreme summer heat naturally called for this dreamy, floaty silk dress in cornflower blue. It is the physical incarnation of a cool breeze on a hot summer day. I love the way it catches the wind and the delicate straps that criss cross on the back. It's struck a happy middle between laid-back casual and all-dressed-up.

Maxi dresses never fail to make me feel a little bit princessy and elegant. I'm pretty sure it's a combination of having to pick up my skirt as I walk so I don't eat concrete and how twirly they inherently are... or is it just me? ; )

Points if you can spy that guy walking towards me in the bottom left corner of the first photo! Totally got scolded for standing up there because it would "set a bad example for the kids who play in the park." :/ I'm such a rebel!


Zara Maxi Dress with Fine Straps S/S 2014 - No longer available try here // MAC Russian Red lipstick

Stay tuned for more outfits of the day, fashion, and beauty inspiration!

WATERCOLORS

This dress hits almost every style point for me that I can think of. If it managed to have pockets without looking bulky, it would be heaven-sent! It is insanely comfortable, constructed out of some fabulously smooth and soft stretchy material that hides any indication of a big lunch or dinner. Its modern shoulder panels and sleek lines are incredible and how could anyone miss the big beautiful blue brushstrokes? The pattern is reminiscent of a beautiful painting, a work of art in itself.

I love wearing this for work as the neckline and hemline of the dress remain modest and ladylike. It's a welcome departure from the typical corporate black, gray, white, and navy. I feel it would also be perfect for other formal events. I'd wear it to a cocktail party or even a wedding if need be.

As for the bag: I snagged this little modern gem for a bargain at Forever21 if you can believe it! It looks so much like a mini 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli tote bag! I love the size and the color. I am particularly fond of mini modern crossbody bags to amp up an outfit.

Zara 2014 Flower Print Shift Dress - No longer available // Forever 21 White Crossbody Bag - similar here // Zara Leather High Heel Sandal Bootie here

Stay tuned for more outfits of the day, fashion and beauty inspiration!


SOLACE








If you ever get the chance to take a peek into my closet, you will find yourself swathed in a sea of lacy white dresses. Clearly I have no self-control when it comes to white lace. Chunky lace, eyelash lace, delicate web-like lace, you name it! Can you blame me though? It's so irresistibly timeless and effortless. Just throw one on and it adds an instant air of ladylike class and glamor. As a wrap dress with a playful grosgrain bow around the waist, this dress masterfully transcends classification as a passing fashion trend and can easily be accessorized with pearls, silver, or gold interchangeably.

If you would like to see a closet tour, let me know in the comments below!

Zara crochet crossover dress // Zara sparkly crystal bead necklace // Baublebar earrings // Kate Spade N.Y. ribbon bracelet // Bite Beauty Lipstick VIB Rouge // Bamboo glitter flats

If you'd like to see more, keep following for more outfit posts and inspiration!