In Another Universe

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In another universe, I will live in countryside, free from internet, disconnect from the world. I might be a flower farmer, or a carpenter, or both. Bathing in the natural aroma from flower and carving a teak wood chair will my everyday life. I don't care if Balanciage just released it's limited edition sneaker, nor if Celine just introduced its new coveted handbag. I belong to myself, not to other's perception. 

Hat - Jacquemus / Earring - Low Classic / Shirt & Skirt - unknown / Bag - unknown / Shoes - Maryam Nassir Zadeh

Hat - Jacquemus / Earring - Low Classic / Shirt & Skirt - unknown / Bag - unknown / Shoes - Maryam Nassir Zadeh

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My love and hate relationships with style blogging are equally intense. The experience of being a style blogger can be pretty magical. I can dress up like any person I want to be, not restricted to the role I play in the society.  If I dress up like a french country girl and go to work, people must think I am crazy, but not if this persona only exist in my blog. In this little corner of internet, my creativity and imagination are free. My talent can be recognized by strangers all over the world and they complement me in the way that I never expected. The reward comes so fast and easily, thus, so addictive. 

Before people realize blogging can make money, the blogger community was a collective  of dreamers who were genuine and supportive. I don't know if the commercial success of blogging industry has made it a better or worse. For me, after I realized the sneaky product placements in curated Instagram posts, my love for this world has diminished. Now, every time I see a post on social media, the first thing come to my mind is if its is sponsored. It matters less if you feel beautiful in the outfit, it matters more if you are the first person wearing the newly released garments, it matters more how much revenue you can create for the fashion labels. Since 2011 when I first start blogging, I saw so many bloggers become the slaves of consumerism. The sparkle in their eyes fade away in their journey from Zara to Valentino, even a oversized Dior sunglasses cannot conceal the tiredness on their flawless faces.

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Maybe I am too cynical, but I know many people feel the same way. In the world that people will only spend 2 seconds looking at a social media post, I don't expect anyone read my rant. I've been back and forth about being a blogger, because I feel the echo chamber on social media is making me to become someone I am not. Social media used to be the free land for all characters, now it's a platform for countless identical profiles. In the alternative universe, I wish things will work differently...

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Unexpected Beauty

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My favorite part of being a blogger is the process of creating images. I mean who doesn't like pleasant visual experience. 

This might surprise you, my photographer (also my husband) did not know much about photography at all when I started style blogging. He is not into photography, and he did not even possess any proper tool for taking photos. Years later, his best equipment is still his cell-phone. Somehow, we made it work. 

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I dreamed of being a fashion photographer. One of the major reason I started blogging was because I wanted to do portraits. I persuaded my husband to join my little adventure. I guess it was because love, he agreed to be my "mobile tripod". With his assistance, I was able to enjoy the entire process of creating portraits, except pressing the shutter. He is my best photographer: I am the most relaxed in front of him. It started as a chore to him, but then it become great memories for both of us. To create the ambiance we are pursueing, we learned to find the unexpected beauty near us.

                            Earrings - Faris Jewelry / Coat - Opening Ceremony / Top - The Frankie Shop / Jeans - Frame Denim / Bag - Marni / Boots - Opening Ceremony

                            Earrings - Faris Jewelry / Coat - Opening Ceremony / Top - The Frankie Shop / Jeans - Frame Denim / Bag - Marni / Boots - Opening Ceremony

Greenhouse

 
                                            Top - Rachel Comey  / Pants - Delfina Balda / Clutch - Mansur Gavriel / Mules - Mari Giudicelli / Earrings - Luz Ortiz

                                            Top - Rachel Comey  / Pants - Delfina Balda / Clutch - Mansur Gavriel / Mules - Mari Giudicelli / Earrings - Luz Ortiz

I've heard many good things about this greenhouse in the city center, but still was stunned by the exceptional beauty. It was almost therapeutic to me. The lively plants made me feel that everything will be okay. This place is photogenic, with all the social-media-celebrity plants: monster leaf philodendrons, fig trees, palm trees, cacti...

In recent years, Californians are leading the trend on social media. All the tropical symbols are filling our Instagram feed. Out of jealousy, people living in the colder states are owning tropical plants, although it is often against nature. I, as a bad example, purchased a beautiful 6-foot-high Ficus Ali. Since the moment it left the plant nursery, I can tell its life was slowly draining out.  My guilt grew with the falling leaves increased, but I could not reverse the situation.

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We always want what we don't have. The conflicting stage between the ideal and reality leads to our disappointment. A while back ago, I talked to a girl with adorable curly hair who felt insecure that she did not have time to straighten it. Another lady with model-skinny long legs thought she look hideous with short skirt without curves.  Our desire for straight hair or curly hair, skinny body or curvy body reflects our ambition to grow tropical plants in a unsuitable environment. We are so vulnerable when our happiness depends on things against our nature. Maybe we should just leave these tropical plants to where they belong.

Apartment Snaps

Relocating to a new city was our big step of adulthood. 

This is a place we call home. When I walked into this space the first time, I immediately fell in love with the hardwood floor. Although I was a not huge fan of beige wall, I have to say it actually goes with the honey-toned flooring.  I read a blogger calling beige the mom jeans of wall colors, which was brilliant. Without much thinking, we become the tenant of this place for past two years. 

I consider the home decor a extension to the style of the space itself. That says, it is not going to be a super slick modern home. When I saw this place, the image popped into my head was: warm-toned mid-century home with textures like brass and teakwood. I devoted tremendous time and effort into finding the best pieces that make this place  a home. Most of  the furnitures and decors were selected piece by piece from local consignments, antique stores, and a few were from some go-to retailers for home owners (ikea, west elms, crate&barrel, etc.). I've always had a thing with old items. Time is the best craftsmanship. 

The finding process of these items was a journey. We explored many neighborhoods in the city by driving among craiglisters. We found this gorgeous mustard velvet couch when we almost lost hope finding the perfect couch. We exercised our truck-driving skill and upper-arm strengthened moving solid wood home office desks. We tried all means to place dibs on industrial style chairs that others were also eyeing on. Most importantly, we learned the life lesson that rug stores are always having out-of-business sales.