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.
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.
creative direction CYNTHIA NGUYEN photography VINCENT KO in collaboration with LIVSSTIL
Happy 2017! It’s another new year and what does that mean?
The whole ‘NEW YEAR, NEW ME’ kind of stuff. Which equals new changes! Good changes? We’ll see.
Here’s to hoping it all works out well of course. With that being said— it was time curate a brief hit list to post on my little o’ blog.
Time is indeed too precious to remain comfortable and not to take some risks. So I made some goals…
Number one— For this particular blog, I wanted to explore and further develop my articles more creativity and editorially.
For that, I had to migrated from different blogging platforms… THOUGHTS???
Number two— Realized that life is getting way too short for me to stick to basics all the time. Here I am, wearing sparkles from head to toe in broad daylight, out and about eating brunch at La Société on a regular Saturday morning. No, I was not performing a cover of Michael Jackson for Snapchat or Youtube. I decided for myself– I can enjoy a meal in public in a getup like this. Why not. Why shave off your years of youth without making at least a day or two outrageously fun for you and glorious for others to see.
Number three—I told myself to travel at least twice a year. I traveled to Europe for the first time just late last year! Yippee!
Number four— I [just] started working out. Confession, I don’t gym… at all. Only on a few of those blue moon days a year do I suddenly get that spurt of motivation that only lasts for about maybe 2-3 hours. But unfortunately for me… my metabolism HAS slowed down for me in the last year. I saw the shift in my weight, I whined about it for a bit before committing to change my lifestyle with regards to including time to do real fitness and choosing what I eat more mindfully. Next, I need a blender. Fancy shakes and acai bowls, here I come!
Number five— Start posting about interior. And get more furniture. I’ve lived in my home for just over a year now. (My home anniversary was December 14, 2015–YAY! Does such an anniversary exist? Who really knows.) Next thing is to print and frame my work, get a sweet rug and a couple of end tables.