creative direction CYNTHIA NGUYEN
photography VINCENT KO and myself in collaboration with VIMERIA
Hello everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful week.
I’m finally back on the blog to write about my current obsession with wearing timeless, gold and dainty jewelry.
There was a period of time where all I would ever wear were pearl stud earrings and arm parties (stacks of bracelets). Now, all I ever wear are dainty necklaces, long, drop earrings and sometimes minimal rings. These are the kind of pieces I picture myself still wearing 5 or 10 years down the road. Thoughtfully designed and timeless pieces are worth investing in. Recently, and I mean for the past year or so, I’ve been sporting long, gold, drop earrings and have been layering the cutest gold chokers and necklaces to accessorize my minimal ensembles. Because less in the summer is better, right? My love for statement jewelry has faded and I am now all about those refined, minimal pieces with a bit of geometric play to not only elongate my neck but to also accompany my silk dress shirts and slip dresses.
Based in Toronto, there’s an emerging label (est. 2016) that creates beautiful and modern jewelry, called Vimeria. The labour and vision behind Vimeria is my lovely friend, Anna Laskin. I’m delighted to share with you an editorial that Anna and I have collaborated together to create, featuring each and every one of her pieces. Something about these modern drop earrings (like these) or fun, semi-structure earrings (like these) add such a strong yet subtle statement to any look! I consider these, especially the first pair, my go-to earrings for just the right amount of elegance and simplicity. They add such a chic and timeless element to whatever it is that I’m wearing and I feel absolutely luxurious but in the upmost modest way.
Brunch: braised brisket poutine, green tea egg waffle and Matcha lattes at Té
It’s only been the fifth or six time that I’ve traveled to Asia and only to Vietnam. This time, I didn’t just remain at my lovely grandma’s house— I made a ridiculous amount of effort to fly up to the north side of Vietnam to Hanoi within an 8-day window vacation from Ho Chi Minh City, to visit Halong Bay. Halong Bay is known as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. To give you a bit of a run down, Halong Bay spreads on an area of around 1,553 km², including 1,969 islets (small islands), most of which are limestone topped with thick jungle vegetation, rising spectacularly from the emerald-coloured ocean. Despite the celestial blue skies, Asia is unimaginably humid compared to your average sunny destination, but between the little islands of Halong Bay, the salty breeze carries you through the waters.
It goes without saying that there was no better way for me to experience the majestic views than on a cruise boat floating through the whole thing— I was constantly exposed to photogenic views and magic. I was married to my camera and smart phone. Coming back to Vietnam has always been made up of beautiful memories spent participating in family feasts, festivities and staying close to relative’s homes. My experience was not like other people who have actually traveled through this very country. Before my recent visit, I have not been to Hanoi, Mui Ne, Hoi An, Nha Trang, or Con Dao, let alone Halong. Not until April 25th, 2017, did all that change. It was a constant battle trying to make the trip take place but eventually it happened. I hopped on a plane for a 3 hour flight* from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi and was on my way to Phu Quoc.
*Note: I strongly recommend not flying with Vietstar airlines— as you’ll experience ALOT of delays. I would pay the $40 extra to fly with Vietnam Airlines to avoid the troubles.Another tip people don’t tell you is if you’re traveling around Vietnam on tours, in hotels and on cruises, Vietnamese residences pay only half of what you pay for. So if you’re lucky enough to know someone who’s a resident in Vietnam who can come with you, kindly ask and have them book your travels and accommodations around the country as it’s half off! (They will ask for their Vietnamese resident card or passport to validate.)
Food was all inclusive during this trip. From the hotel‘s breakfast buffet we stayed overnight in Hanoi, to the snacks and refreshments they provide you before you board the boat as well as lunch, dinner, breakfast and lunch again. It’s almost insane to say that I was not successful with taking any photographs of my meals* on this beautiful boat as I was too busy eating and taking in the stunning views. Food was absolutely amazing on this boat, as it was not only all you can eat (with a la cart for dinner) but it was a harmonious blend of Vietnamese and French cuisine. From sea bass to filet mignon, surf and turf all the way to their scrumptious desserts.
*Note: I may re-edit this post and add some iPhone photos of my food!
During this trip, the more I ate, the more I felt the need to be active. Thankfully Paradise Cruise offers a cool itinerary to keep their visitors busy. We had the pleasure to visit the Surprise Cave (Hang Sung Sot in Vietnamese) on the first day. The surprise cave is the largest cave in Halong Bay discovered by a group of French explorers in 1901 and received its’ name for being one of most amazing caves in Halong Bay. The second day, we visited an islet called Titov Island, named after the Russian astronaut Gherman Stepanovich Titov during his first visit to Halong Bay. Titov Island remains the only island which has a beach in the bay with a 200-step path that leads to a spectacular view point of the majestic World Heritage Site.
What does one wear while visiting Halong?Sandals for the sand and trainers for the hikes up the islands. Perhaps a pair of heels if you plan to stay overnight on a boat. A button down blouse to wear as a cover during the evening. And the usual basic essentials, hat, sunnies and lots of flowy pieces. Wearing white is always a good summer go-to solution too. However, somehow and some way, inside my carry-on consumed with what looks like all-white is one navy outfit I managed to bring.
creative direction CYNTHIA NGUYEN
photography VINCENT KO
If this month couldn’t have gone by any faster.
Congratulations to little o’ me for turning the big 2-5. Hitting a quarter century while still being well-fed, standing on my two feet, living under a decent roof over my head and occasionally gifting myself fresh blooms calls for a couple milestones, no?
You’d think that hitting the age of 25 meant facing some sort of point of realization or wishing you were younger again— to have these sense of urgency to turn your life around or be free of major responsibilities like finding all your bills for your income tax, counting how many gin and sodas you’ve been conspicuously consuming every Friday and figuring out whether you’re doing enough for your own age. Especially when you’re comparing how many times you’ve treated yourself to how much work you’ve actually put into crafting your life.
It’s a strange and looming feeling if you ask me what this year feels like. If I can compare and apply metrics to the years since coming out of school, it’s feels quite similar to lightyears. The term ‘fulfilment’ seems to surface up in the back of my head more often these past few months. I was told that being in my early twenties meant doing as much as I can. To be grouped in this age bracket to be able to do things that seemingly are appropriate— to further explore yourself, make this a great time to take risks with likely results in failures and ensuring your youth doesn’t wither away. This kind of classification where one should celebrate independence and finding yourself before settling down. To push my career as far as I can the in the right direction where others see as success despite shaving off more hours left in my days. To cover as many areas of the globe to feel this sense of ‘fulfilment,’ to be ‘well-traveled’ or ‘cultured.’ To make myself available and desirable… so that I might eventually have a man fall in love with me without knowing, because I’ve built these extraordinary version of myself.
Boy, do we have a funny kind of way to define a way of living for your 20’s. But that goes without saying for the rest of the age brackets. It just so seems my 20’s hold more pressure to create this insane foundation for this version of yourself.
Everyday can be seen as a new beginning. A new project, meet a stranger, or try a different route. An age bracket shouldn’t dictate where and when things should fall. Each day can significantly or insignificantly shift around the rest of your days or even the rest of your life— when it comes to routine, relationships, engagement and your own behaviour and mindset. That’s why we should look at spending your 20’s as spending time with yourself and not pleasing others. Not making so many goals which you’ll eventually lose track of and spin your wheels. Let this be a time where you leverage it doing what you want and holding onto what you love or seek what might interest you.
It’s so crazy how much our mood affects the way we dress and how we dress seems to convey a particular image of ourselves. If a woman often wears tight clothing, she’s looking for attention. If a woman wears oversized clothing, she must be lazy or is less feminine. We’ve been conditioned and have developed this tendency to make snap judgements against other humans beings based on the way they present themselves. (Special thanks to such social and dating platforms like Tinder, Bumble and Instagram for re-enforcing this tendency…) With people’s physical attributes, we begin to draw assumptions and anecdotal observations based on their selection for apparel and the way they groom themselves. As most females nowadays dress up for the grams, the outings, or for other females and occasionally men too, we become less forgiving and are less likely to give the benefit of the doubt while maintaining this kind of behaviour. With certain notions tied into bucketed character types that dress in certain ways— it’s no wonder why our generation is perceived as so shallow and ignorant.
LEFT sausage rolls, bread and olives,
almond croissant, bread pudding from THE WALTON
Say You Love Me Sweater – PINK MARTINI. Top – LOFT.
Pants – BANANA REPUBLIC. Boots – OAK + FORT. Coat – BANANA REPUBLIC.
I used be very self-conscious of when someone would tell me that I was stepping out of my usual style, because it wasn’t consistent to my Instagram or blog… that I may be two faced because I dressed so extremely different for different groups of friends for specific occasions… or listen carefully to when my mother would say that something I was about to purchase or had owned if worn would make me less feminine. Hell, even my closest male buddies would strongly suggest me to wear more fitted clothing because it was more ‘flattering’ and pleasing for the rest of them to see. Not that it was wrong to hear, but it is a preference, right? But at the end of the day, I could really care less now who I’m impressing, as long as it’s still reasonable and doesn’t offend anyone. (By reasonable, I mean appropriate for the event/circumstances.) There will be days where I’ll wear a long, slouchy sweaters to work… because it’s terribly cold out and I foresee long hours in my office chair. On other days, I’ll break out in public in a tinsel suit over brunch. Because as lame as it sounds and I bet you $100 that it’s not the first time you’re hearing or more so reading this…but fashion is an art form. A form of self expression. Fashion may cover different realms in terms of price points, time periods, craftsmanship and genre of style… but to me, it’s a projection of your growth. The change in style from one age to another is so much like story-telling— about your experience and taste. People seem to be really drawn by liberation and the authenticity— so why not do what you want without the thought of others expecting it from you?
PS. Happy International Women’s Day to all my lovely ladies! To both love ones and friends!
creative direction CYNTHIA NGUYEN
photography VINCENT KO in collaboration with SASHION
A long while ago, and I mean basically last year. I was kindly asked to do a sweet Q&A with the lovely Sasha of the curated marketplace and online boutique, Sashion. It was so easy to connect with Sasha not because she’s the powerhouse behind the label, Sashion, which supports so many talented, independent designers, but because we has also shared the same hunger for soul food and authentic content. I had the opportunity to do a quick coffee date with her and run through some questions as well as received some amazing pulls, which included this phenomenal Masha Ma embroidered bomber jacket (as seen here throughout my blog article). Sasha was doing coverage on women who she felt were independent and had asked me to answer a few questions around what life is like being a UX designer while simultaneously maintaining my personal blog. Some questions included asking what ‘individuality’ meant to me, further insight on my feeling with regards to being in front and behind the camera, as well as how I spend my weekends and where I’d like to shop. You can read the article HERE.
If you aren’t familiar with Kasa Moto already, I finally made a trip to Yorkville to visit the contemporary Japanese restaurant and lounge with Vincent. Usually for first time dining experience or the foodie trial period as I would call it— I tend to go for brunch.
We grabbed the Breakfast Bento that features fried rice with eggs, salon, glazed pork belly and yam tempura, while Vincent grabbed the Breakfast Kamameshi that includes brown rice, quinoa, condensed milk (poured by our lovely server) topped off with real maple syrup, fresh granola and fruit to taste.
embroidered MASHA MA jacket SASHION
wool jacket ARITZIA ring MEJURI