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.
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
creative direction CYNTHIA NGUYEN photography VINCENT KO in collaboration with SHEIN and NICOLE VIENNA
Let’s understand what’S HAPPENED
This entry is my second article published in 2017— another little milestone reached! In between all this crazy hustling and bustling, there’s no better way to give yourself some positivity but to take a breather from reality and just start typing away your feelings…or ‘feels’ if you will.
Man, has this year gone by rocket fast… It feels like only a few months ago did I decide to start a blog in my little bedroom I was renting out in a student house during my final year of post secondary. My full-time work schedule has shaded so much of my vision and attention that I had completely forgotten that my blog had turned 3 years old! January 7th marks the day this site launch. I told myself 3 years ago that I only had 3 years to hit that ‘blogging peak.’ You know, that pinnacle of success— that tier where one gets all the endless invitation to Paris Fashion addressed with ‘Madame’, get offered cool collaborations with Louis Vuitton and be gifted Chloe Drew bags of every neutral shade. I told myself that if I didn’t reach that peak within 3 years that I was going to fail the rest of the way because that new wave of bloggers will simply come and surpass me and my reach. There was no real over arching purpose for Pinch of Chic, other than to share my favourite outfits, foods, rants as well as inspirational pins from my Pinterest boards. In my previous post, I had mentioned that I migrated from Squarespace to WordPress and during the midst importing all the photos, I came across all my earlier blog posts when I had just started back in 2014. It was super nostalgic and pretty heart-warming to see where I’ve begun. J.Crew obsessed and Sophia Webster-loving… Wow, talk about trekking down memory lane.
Now, seeing my spurts of effort in the form of blog posts created alongside such talented photographers makes me feel kind of touched. All my great efforts to keep this blog alive, even with the sporadic posting times still did me good.
Looking at today, I wouldn’t exactly say that I’m an established ‘influencer.’ I don’t have the numbers and I definitely don’t have the kind of time like the full-time, dedicated ‘established’ influencers do. I would much rather call myself a content creator if anything. With that being said— I don’t really know how far this blog will go but 3 years has certainly passed and I’m still sitting here writing in this text field… All in all, it’s just real nice to know that I got this far with this platform— with opportunities to create and collaborate with great people anytime. Pinch of Chic not only has just been a blog but a portfolio book for me, as well as a platform for people to be inspired and feel as if they were engaging in conversation with me. It’s funny to acknowledge that this blog has opened so many doors for me— making great friends, pushing my creative thinking, practicing my entrepreneurial and negotiating skills, working with cool brands and independent designers, encouraging me to constantly go out and uncover the hidden gems, network and hunt for the most awesome brunch places all around my city. To showcase my hood through my taste and brand voice.
I’d say I’m doing pretty alright, even if I haven’t received my Chloe bag yet.
You can find me me doing a victory dance to surviving 2016 in exaggerated ruffles (only $15! See details below) with my good friend, latte.
Caught up with Vincent over some beautiful, and I mean really beautiful brunch at Baddies. Test drove the granola yoghurt + chia pudding.