Santa Clara 1728

creative direction, photography & editing 


Across the river, set in old town Alfama, Santa Clara 1728 is the ideal retreat to relax and escape into the beautiful world of Silent Living— illustrated with soft minimalism, contemporary details, and wholesome intentions. This property does not present itself as just any hotel, far from commercial, but instead a peaceful home where you are able to connect with yourself and with the moments made within the tranquil space. 

It was discussed that the owner of Santa Clara 1728, João Rodrigues, preferred that this charming property would be a place for close friends and family— where word of mouth and organic stories are favoured over commercial content and social media exposure when it came to sharing the existence of property. There are no televisions or fancy electronics. A stroll through the space can remove you from where you thought you originally were, while bringing instant and complete comfort through its bare essentials, which helps preserve the sense of intimacy within the space. This property was a sanctuary that left me to dwell in the vast space, with only my conscious thoughts and to wonder about the history that the building embodied. Inside, its original 18th century architectural heritage is maintained through its elegant arches and delicate decor. The romantic structure resides in the old cultural quarter of Alfama, which is also the oldest district in Lisbon.

The renovation of the 18th century property was carried out by Manuel Aires Mateus.


The property offers 6 suites, consisting of two different types of rooms:

The Suite Santa Clara: at approximately 70 square meters, comprising of a very large room with river views on one side, a wide sitting room and a bathroom overlooking the garden on the other.

The Suite Tejo: at approximately 50 square meters, includes a very large room with river views, a sitting area, and a bathroom.

Featured room is their Santa Clara Suite.


Held together by a majestic hallway, Santa Clara 1728 honours more than just presenting itself as home to host their guests. The thoughtful intents within the historical walls are to house and project a sense of time, family, silence, purity and higher quality of life to be lived. It is easy to be embraced by beauty, but to feel encouraged to express calmness and to reflect through a space is genuinely beyond me. Talk about thought-provoking…

One of the property’s form of intimate self expression is through Ceia Table, a family feast gathering concept that invites families, friends and strangers to one table to share their stories. The dining experience is comprised of 14 orchestrated moments and each day, the menu is carefully curated to feature the best seasonal ingredients— from the local farms, lands and sea of Portugal. There is no better way to remember a warm memory than through a sense of taste, accompanied by good company. 

Ceia Table is open from Wednesday to Saturday, only during the evening. Booking in advance online is recommended. You are able to hold a table that includes a party of up to 4 guests. You will be sharing a table that holds 14 guests. Special thank you to Head Chef Pedro Pena Bastos for giving me a tour of the dining room and humble culinary space.


At Santa Clara 1728’s doorstep, you will find “Feira da Ladra” also known as the ‘thieves market’, which has said to be the market where thieves would sell their stolen goods back in the day, which is open every Tuesday and Saturday. Monastery of “Sao Vicente de Fora”: 17th Century church and monastery. The National Pantheon: This is the old St. Engracia church.

Alfama Neighbourhood: The oldest Moorish quarter in Lisbon which predates the earthquake of 1755. Alfama is a maze of narrow streets with wonderful restaurants and bakeries filled with Pastéis de Nata, fado (1820’s Portuguese music) and the famous viewpoints (miradouro) Portas do Sol. Grab a stunning seafood dish at Cais da Pedra, which is a 12-minute walk. São Jorge Castle: Moorish castle occupying a commanding hilltop overlooking the historic center of the Portuguese city of Lisbon and Tagus River. 

City center: In order to get to the commercial city center (Baixa) you can either take a 15-minute walk or board one of the picturesque old Lisbon trams.


Campo de Santa Clara 128, RC, 1100-473 Lisboa, Portugal


Tejo suite at €400 / Santa Clara suite at €480 / 2 nights minimum stay


For information or booking, visit their website and Instagram

A special thank you to the property for hosting me during my visit.

As always, all opinions are my own.


free form

creative direction CYNTHIA NGUYEN
photography VINCENT KO in collaboration with MEJURI

“She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t suppose to look nice; it was supposed to make you
feel something.”—Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park 


dress ARITZIA shoes ISABEL MARANT (here and here)





creative direction CYNTHIA NGUYEN
photography VINCENT KO special thank you to
Tobi, Geox Boutique MinimalistGlossier
“that is the thing about selfish people. they gamble entire beings. entire souls to please their own. one second they are holding you like the world in their lap and the next they have belittled you to a mere picture. a moment. something of the past. one second. they swallow you up and whisper they want to spend the rest of their life with you. but the moment they sense fear. they are already halfway out the door. without having the nerve to let you go with grace. as if the human heart means that little to them.
and after all this. after all of the taking. the nerve. isn’t it sad and funny how people have more guts these days to undress you with their fingers than they do pick up the phone and call. apologize. for the loss. and this is how you lose her.
– selfish”
― Rupi Kaur

Stemmed from this very quote above is a feeling that is so relatable to so many, but brought up little in discussion. Is it because it makes us feel vulnerable and irresponsible for our actions when explaining to others? Or is because we believe that 90% people just simply don’t care? I question why concealing these kinds of emotions away from the public is being done while half the people feel uncertainty and depression from this.This way of feeling has reached me more frequently than I least expect it. It has made me question my standards, myself and my choices.

I would doubt myself after what I would say, wear or put out. I was judgemental and extremely critical of my own portrayal in public and online. What I delivered online became the foundation of how most new people got to know me before meeting me— Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram and online dating profiles as well.

However, what we often do is forget to recognize that others may not be as considerate, kind and self-assured as you really are. The shortage of communication and all the assumptions from the other side are derived from cowardliness and the scarcity of consciousness. Typically, people are selfish because they, themselves, lack understanding of what they really want and have their priorities arranged in a list that simply doesn’t align with yours.


Dress c/o Tobi
ANNYA black Chelsea Boots c/o Geox
Leighton earrings c/o Boutique Mininalist
Leather black backpack c/o Hieleven 
Balm dotcom c/o Glossier

Oh, Vimeria

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

LOOK 1 DETAILS— VIMERIA Lilly earrings, VIMERIA Bridget chockerNATALIJA olive slik dress
LOOK 2 DETAILS— VIMERIA cleo chocker, VIMERIA Eva earrings, VIMERIA Eva necklace, A.L.C silk top




creative direction CYNTHIA NGUYEN photography VINCENT KO in collaboration with SHEIN and NICOLE VIENNA

Pinch of Chic Shein Ruffle Sleeves

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.






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