THE VACAY AFTER YOUR VACATION

We’re a little over a week in on the new year, and most of us are slowly making our way back to reality, aka work.  However, I’m already thinking of all the places I want to visit this year.  I want to make my first trip as early as end of January/beginning of February.  Call this my vacay from my vacation.

I’ve been throwing ideas and destinations at my boyfriend, and he thinks I just want to go to these specific locations for the ‘gram.  True.  BUT, I also want to go because I want to go.  Some of these places are easy to get to, and some are just bucket list dreams, but here are my top destinations for 2018:

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO

The odds of this trip happening soon, and possibly be my first destination of the year is high.  Very high.  I’m actually hoping to buy plane tix by tomorrow.  (Yes, as in Wednesday).  I’ve heard nothing but great things about Mexico City.  The plane fares are very well priced, (~$300 from LAX), the food is phenomenal and cheap, and it’s apparently a pretty safe city to visit.  I’m just excited about the tequila and architecture…you know, for the ‘gram.

MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN

I’m not a big skier or snowboarder, but my boyfriend loves snow like white on rice.  He’s an avid skier and tries to hit the slopes as often as possible.  Mammoth Mountain is just close enough to go for a long weekend, (maybe MLK?), and has all the bells and whistles you need for the skier at heart.  We’ll probably hit this place up in the next weekend or so, and all that powder will look great as my backdrop.

SEYCHELLES, AFRICA

Seychelles has been on my mind since the beginning of the year when we met this older couple who just got back from Africa visiting The Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, Kenya.  I know, Kenya is another country within the continent of Africa, but this got me thinking about traveling to Africa.  Seychelles is just about as pretty as it gets for beach destinations.  The water, the islands, the year round beautiful weather are all screaming for me to come visit and take lots and lots of pictures while wearing the endless amount of swimwear that I buy but never wear.  This is the year Seychelles.  This is the year.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA

As if I didn’t watch enough #Kdrama to make up for the trip itself, I think it’s still best for me to experience it all in real life.  I am so utterly intrigued by Seoul and it’s Korean culture.  The food I’ve had here in K-Town is probably amplified by 10 folds there.  My good friend, Stripes Collide, is Korean, and she has promised me a trip to Korea.  I’m going to hold her to her words  and make sure this trip comes into fruition.  If not, I’ll always have to wonder if it’s all one big TV drama.

I’m sure there will be a trip or two to Palm Springs, Joshua Tree, Santa Barbara or NYC, but I’m really looking forward to those long travel, out of the country destinations.  Here’s to many more stamps on my passport this year!

Dress: Reformation / Boots: IRO (sold out | similar look) / Sunnies: Crap Eyewear / Earrings: Sugarfix by BaubleBar (on clearance)

Photographed by Laci Havens

MY DTLA

I am ashamed to say that I don’t know LA well outside of my little WeHo bubble.  I have lived here for over 9 years, and I still don’t venture out much from my mid-Wilshire/WeHo area.  And by “don’t venture out much” I mean I have only driven 54,000 miles on my car since 2009.  The average person drives 12,000 miles per year.  I have driven half of that.  I know that Arcadia is a city east of where I live, but I couldn’t tell you if it’s north or south of I-10 or how to even get there.  So when my now boyfriend tells me he lives in #DTLA, I was ignorant enough to think of only one thing, “that’s where Skid Row is, right?”

The DTLA that was 9 years ago…shit, the DTLA that was 2 years ago, is not the same DTLA that is today.  From Arts District, to The Broad, to Little Tokyo, DTLA has flourished, (to say the least), and is growing and expanding by the day.  Expensive commercial and residential real estate are popping up everywhere taking over junk yards and worn down, vacant factories.  Before I started dating my boyfriend I only knew of Bestia, the rooftop bar of The Standard Hotel, and Bottega Louie.  I have a whole new insight to what IS Downtown Los Angeles, and I would like to share with you my fav DTLA spots.

FEED ME I’M STARVING

My options for where to eat are somewhat limited as I am a pescatarian.  God bless my carnivorous meat eating boyfriend for being so accommodating, and have taken me to some of the best restaurants in DTLA.  The ones that we tend to go back to are:

Bäco Mercat – We come here for dinner and always get their Double Mushroom Coca, which is essentially a flatbread pizza that will blow your tastebuds.  SO EFFIN GOOD!  I also highly recommend their Moxie cocktail if you like a good bourbon drink.

Poppy + Rose – My favorite weekend brunch spot that doesn’t take reservations.  It’s in the middle of the Flower District, and yet people drive in from all over the city to wait in line for 30-45 mins to dine here. Yup.  It’s that good.  They only offer the Eggs Benedict on the weekends, and the hollandaise sauce is worth every calorie.

Lao Tao – As if fate couldn’t have been more perfect, one of my boyfriend’s favorite restaurants is a Taiwanese street food restaurant in the heart of Chinatown.  (In case you didn’t know, I’m also Taiwanese).  There aren’t many vegetarian options for me, but everything here reminds me of home.  We normally come here when Pine and Crane seem too far out of the way.

KazuNori – I wasn’t sure if I should list this place as it seemed too obvious of a choice, but it would be wrong of me to not mention it as we probably come here once a month.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would know of the deliciousness that is the hand rolls of KazuNori.  Once again, no reservations, small dining area, and the hand rolls are made to order right in front of you.  If you want an under $30 quality Japanese-cuisine meal, this is your holy grail.

SEE AND BE SEEN WITH A COCKTAIL IN HAND

We’re old and we don’t go out much, but when we do, this is usually where we end up:

Broken Shaker – The rooftop bar of the new hip Freehand Hotel has some of the best sunset views you can find in DTLA.  We haven’t day partied here, but there’s a pool (only for hotel guests) and there’s an award winning bar.  Nuff said.

Pattern Bar – Somehow we normally end up here after dinner in downtown.  They play great house music, and often fly in DJs from around the world to play there.  Their drinks are reasonably priced, and t’s also just down the street from my boyfriend’s place.  We can stumble back home without too much hassle (i.e. #NYE2018).

Cliftons – I can’t explain this place well enough but to say, “you just have to go there to experience it”.  Every floor has a different theme and genre, and you feel like you might be in a fun house/cafeteria/bar/dance floor.  We went here on our first official date and I can’t wait to go back.  It’s just a really cool f*cking fun place.

DO IT FOR THE ‘GRAM

None of this would become what it is if it wasn’t for the power of social media.  Artwork, murals and graffiti are placed all over DTLA for the sole purpose of being ‘grammed.  These are some of my favorite places to explore and take pics:

The Broad – Yes, the Infinity Mirrored Room is sold out.  Yes, the general admission tickets are also sold out.  Getting admission to see artwork here is like trying to get front row tickets to Taylor Swift’s concert.  However, if you have the patience and are free next month on a Tuesday at noon, you can get free general admission tickets to wait in line for an hour to see the Infinity Mirrored Room for 45 seconds.  Worth the InstaStory post.

Jesus Saves – The landmark neon signs of the Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles is right outside of my boyfriend’s window.  It’s definitely a cool spot to take pictures, but the Ace Hotel offers so many more nooks and crannies for you to snap pics.  The hotel rooms can be quite small, and their brunch can be quite salty, but overall this is a cool place to hangout.  If nothing else, do it for the ‘gram.

There are still many new places within #DTLA that I have yet to explore.  Any suggestions of places I may not know about?  Let me know!

Top: ZARA (sold out | similar look) / Jumper: Free People / Glasses: ZeroUV / Bag: The Daily Edited / Earrings (main hoops): Luv AJ / Earrings (assorted hoops): Luv AJ

Photographed by Laci Havens

BECOMING A BETTER BLOGGER

Happy 2018 everyone!  Hope your new year’s celebration was more eventful than mine.  Not to mislead you, it was great and with wonderful company, but my new year’s eve wasn’t full of dancing, raging and taking fun pictures until the wee hours of the night.  We pretty much called it quits after countdown, went home and fell asleep.  Haha!  It’s what happens when you get old.  I didn’t put much effort or time into planning NYE, and this got me thinking about what other stuff I’ve been slacking on…like my blog.

To be honest, I’m not that great of a blogger, and I find it hard for me to offer blogging tips when I don’t follow through myself.  It’s not so much my lack of passion as it is my lack of focus.  It was really hard for me to focus on KANGTHROPOLOGIE when I had to work 3 other part-time jobs.  However, that’s no longer an excuse, and now I want to concentrate on the things that I can do to become a better blogger (BBB).

BBB #1: READ

I don’t read enough.  Period.  It’s not just the books I own, but I need to start reading more online news articles, blog posts, newsletters, etc..  There is so much information out there, and I’m missing it all by watching Netflix marathons.  I think the more I read other blogs of fashion and lifestyle bloggers similar to myself, the more I can figure out what works and what doesn’t.  Why are some blogs more successful than others?  Are there new topics that spark people’s interests?

If nothing else, reading other content will inspire me to create new content and come up with better ideas and topics.  By reading other blogger posts, this will also help me become a better engager, which leads me to the second thing I need to improve on…

BBB #2: ENGAGE

I’m really bad at this.  REALLY BAD.  (Sigh).  It’s really important for me to engage not only with my readers, but with other bloggers and brands.  I have a blogger friend that’s really great at this.  I’m always at awe of her when she tells me so-and-so wrote about this on her blog, or sends me articles that I would find interesting.

It’s not hard.  It’s just a click away.  I need to be more proactive and reach out to other bloggers that I find interesting or have similar aesthetics.  People respond better when they know that you have an interest in what they have to say.  It’s a two-way street and it’s always good to support your fellow bloggers.

BBB #3: PLAN

My best collaborations and content have been those that were well planned.  The idea, the concept, the mood have all been laid out before the execution, and the images that come about are some that I will remember and treasure forever.  Obviously, I’m not referring to OOTDs but the trips and seasonal campaigns.  I would like to plan out more trips in advance and come up with seasonal campaigns at least a month before execution.  Mood boards and media kits are very helpful when you’re reaching out to brands, and those take time to curate.  My goal is to put in more effort into all of my events, no matter how big or small.

 

These are the top 3 #BBB things I can improve on that I can think of off the top of my head.  I’d be more than grateful to hear your thoughts on how I can improve.  I want to put my best blogger foot forward this year, and your input would be much appreciated.  Thanks for being so patient with me the last 2 years.  Here’s to 2018!

Top: Reformation (similar look on sale) / Jeans: H&M / Boots: Forever 21 (similar look) / Sunnies: ZeroUV / Necklace: Gorjana / Earrings: Sugarfix by Baublebar / Bag: Vintage Chanel / Lipstick: 100% Pure

Photographed by Laci Havens

BEST BEAUTY FINDS OF 2017

As a blogger, I am often gifted with tons of beauty products to try and use.  From skincare to haircare to makeup, there are just tons and tons of great products out there.  However, there were a few brands that just stood out after testing and have now become my daily go to staples.  The brands and products I’m about to recommend are NOT SPONSORED.  Yes, some of the products were gifted, but some were purchased by yours truly, and my reviews are 100% my honest opinion.  So here goes…my favorite beauty finds of 2017:

SKINCARE

Hands down, my favorite skincare line of 2017 is Dr. Dennis Gross, and specifically their Alpha Beta peels and C+ Collagen line.  If you have followed along on my InstaStories, then you would know that I’ve been using their Alpha Beta peels since the summer, and have raved about it ever since.  It’s the quickest and most effective 5 minute in-home peel you can buy.  Sephora runs a special of 5 bonus peels with the 30 treatments box.  I don’t use it daily as suggested, but every other day.  I feel like my skin just glows from the inside out.

Their C+ Collagen line was later introduced to me after I started using the peels, and I am OBSESSED with using the serum and deep cream every night.  I use to only use La Mer for my night cream, and did so for 10 years.  However, it became too costly, and I’ve been in search for a new night cream ever since.  The deep cream can be used in the AM and PM since it’s light enough to be worn during the day, but I like using it in conjunction with the serum, which is to be used once daily.

Frankly, for the quality and effectiveness of their products, I would expect Dr. Dennis Gross to be at a higher price point.  However, they’re still fairly new, and with so much competition out there, I can see why they have sustained at their current prices.  Don’t worry, I’m not complaining.  I’m just happy that I have found a skincare line that works and that I can afford.

HAIR CARE

Ever since I chopped off my hair this fall, I have noticed that I have to use so much more products in my hair in order for it to not look dead or limp.  From texturizing sprays to thickening hairsprays, I’ve been spritzing all kinds of stuff in my hair.  The two products that have made the cut are OUAI’s wave spray and texturizing hair spray.  They literally bring life into my hair.  I use the wave spray on my washed damp hair, blow dry, then spray in the texturizing hair spray to give it volume.  It works wonders.  I usually keep the hair style for a few days and just spray in more texturizing spray when need be.  Usually by day two my hair is good and ready for some curling action, and that’s when I bust out my T3 Micro wand.  It gives me the perfect loose wave, don’t care kinda look.

MAKEUP

I could pitch you a million products under the makeup category, but that defeats the purpose of this post.  There was just one makeup item that I really fell in love with this year, and that’s Stila’s Glitter and Glow Liquid Eyeshadow.  I love them in every color and finish.  They are the perfect enhancement to any eyeshadow look.  I thought they would be clunky and dry up sticky, but they are just the opposite.  They glide on smoothly when applied, and they dry naturally like a moisturizer going into the skin.  The glitter and metallic finish doesn’t irritate my eyes and I love the way they sparkle under the light.  I loved the first one I purchased so much that I got the eyeshadow set as well to test out all the other colors.  This would be a perfect addition for your NYE look.

 

There you have it.  My favorite beauty finds of this year.  I wish you all a safe and fun New Year’s celebration and I can’t wait to see y’all in 2018! Xo!

CHRISTMAS RECAP 2017

This Christmas season has been full of celebrations, gifts, food, friends and family.  I got to celebrate Sagittarius birthdays (TheLuxiLook & StripesCollide), an engagement (GlamaRosh), and births of new Kangs into the family, (congrats David and Kristine!).  I had fun photo collaborations with The LuxiLook, (as seen in these photos), shot by the wonderful Laci Havens.  I am very grateful for all the love I have in my family and I’m happy to share with you some of my favorite moments this Christmas.

GIFTS

Let’s start with the good, materialistic stuff.  I am a Taurus after all.  These are the wonderful and fabulous gifts I got this Christmas from my friends, family and bf:

DR. MARIO

My brother-in-law got my sister the old Nintendo system for Christmas and we spent the entire Christmas day and afternoon drinking about 4 bottles of red wine and playing Dr. Mario with my nephews.  It brought back so many fond memories of my childhood.  This game is ADDICTIVE!  I can’t wait to set it up at home and play it with my bf.  It’s just more fun playing it as an adult because now we get to add wine and alcohol into the mix.  Haha!

DAD

My parents currently live in Shanghai, China with my little brother, so any amount of time I get to spend with them is memorable.  My dad is about to turn 70 and has gotten to an age where everything is nostalgic for him.  I don’t blame him, because I started thinking about all of our childhood Christmas’ in Dallas.  My parents would throw the biggest Christmas party on the block, and all their friends and kids would come celebrate.

This Christmas, only my dad was able to make it back to Dallas.  I loved shopping with him at his favorite store, T. J. Maxx, and eating with him at his favorite restaurant, Olive Garden.  They might not be his actual favorite, but they were the places we went to as kids, and I think he likes remembering those moments.

NEPHEWS

My nephews and I have a Christmas tradition that we started 3 years ago.  I usually fly into Dallas a few days before Christmas.  I borrow my sister’s car, and I take the kids to Dave and Busters and Toys R Us.  The D&B portion is to celebrate their birthdays since I live in LA and am never able to attend their actual birthday parties.  Then I take them to Toys R Us, where they can each show me 5 toys that they would like for Christmas.  I then send them to the books sections, and I buy them a gift each from their selections.  I’m not the best Santa Claus, but at least it’s still somewhat of a surprise.

 

These little moments are what I treasure the most from my Christmas time spent at home with the family.  I hope each of you had a wonderful Christmas holiday, and that Santa brought you lots of goodies this season.  I have one more holiday post before the new year, so be sure to let me know what you’d like to read in 2018! Xoxo!


Dress (on me): Reformation (sold out | similar look) / Sunnies (on me): ZeroUV / Sunnies (on her): Quay Australia / Earrings (on me): Charming Charlie / Necklace (on me): Mejuri / Choker (on me): Mejuri / Socks (on me): H&M (sold out | similar look) / Heels (on me): Steve Madden

Photographed by Laci Havens

KEEP IT ON THE DOWN LOW

One of the hardest things for me to do during the holidays when it’s full of parties and dinner celebrations is to keep my weight down.  There are endless plates of desserts and sweets, lots of boozing and wining, and it’s just cold enough outside to where I don’t mind the extra layer of fat.  However, I made it a point this year to not only not gain weight, but also to keep my weight on the down low-end of the scale.  I am going to try and lose weight this holiday.

I can already feel your glares and sneers as I say that I want to lose weight.  No, I am not trying to promote an unhealthy weight or image.  Yes, I know that I “look fine”.  However,  I want to look more than fine.  My goal is to look the way I did two years ago when I first started blogging, (see EARTH FRIENDLY for reference).  I felt my best then.  I was working out a lot more: 5 to 6 days a week, and I wasn’t working in the service industry, so I wasn’t eating at odd hours of the evening.  I don’t have the time or the energy to do what I did then, so what options do I have to achieve my goal?

OPTION ONE: HOT YOGA

Yup, hot yoga is the answer to all my problems.  “What are you up to tonight?”  Hot yoga.  “Wanna go out for some drinks?” Hot yoga.  “Want to go workout?” Hot yoga.  As long as I answer with hot yoga, I can feel better about myself that day and the morning after.  My boyfriend doesn’t believe in toxins of the body, but I do, and I think sweating helps remove toxins from your body.  By choosing hot yoga over going out or having drinks, I automatically consume less calories, and lose a lot of water weight.  This is a win-win situation.

OPTION TWO: EAT AT NORMAL HOURS

I know there are studies that prove it doesn’t matter what time of the day you eat, but the amount of calories you consume.  However, I personally feel like I eat less when I have dinner at a normal dinner time (i.e. 6-8pm).  It’s hard for me to eat at these normal hours when I work at the restaurant.  I tend to eat when I get off work, which is 9-11pm.  Thus, another reason why I have scaled back the number of days I serve.

OPTION THREE: NO DRINKING AT HOME

 This by far is the hardest thing, but I’ve managed to get over the idea of having a glass of wine by myself at home.  (Trust me, you’ll drink plenty at the next holiday party event).  Of course it’s relaxing to come home from a long day of work and just have a glass of wine while you make dinner or have it with your dinner.  But that one glass usually turns into two, into another half, into “f*ck it, I might as well drink the whole bottle”.  90% of my pudge is from my diet, and my diet consists of a lot of wine.  By taking the extra wine-at-home out of my diet, I have seen a significant difference in my tummy.

OPTION FOUR: 7:30AM

A lot of you may already wake up this early, if not earlier, but 7:30am is early for me.  I don’t have kids, and I don’t have a 9-5 job that requires me to get up this early every weekday.  I do this voluntarily because it gets me up and out of bed and doing things.  My 4 part-time jobs keep me busy enough to where I need to be up this early in order to get things done, but it also gives me time to get my fancy coffee, post and engage a bit on Instagram, run errands (ie dropping off Poshmark packages at the post office), check emails, online shop, and go to a workout class.

POINT IS…

By implementing these four new things, I have already noticed a difference in my body.  I don’t own a scale so I have no idea how much I weigh, but I do know how I fit into my clothes and my clothes feel more relaxed.  I want to reiterate again that I don’t want to promote an unhealthy weight image, and this is just a personal choice that I’m sharing.  If keeping the weight off during the holidays is an issue for you, try one or more of these things and let me know how it works for you.  Just one more week til Xmas!  Good luck!

Coat: YFB On The Road / Bodysuit: Hot-As-Hell / Skirt: TopShop / Boots: Aerosoles / Sunnies: Ray-Ban / Necklace: Mejuri / Lipstick: 100% Pure

Photographed by Laci Havens

CHANGES

I just got out of a 50 minute massage at The Now.  My mind is clear and calm, and I feel like I can breathe for the first time in two weeks.  I have made some difficult decisions in my life that I’m starting to slowly implement, and it has already made my life much simpler and happier.  I wanted to share these personal life choices with you in hopes that you will consider what changes you may need in your life.  Especially with the new year abound, maybe now is the best time for you to start thinking of your new year resolutions.

Career Change

I have mentioned in previous posts that I’m juggling between 4 (sometimes 4.5) part-time jobs.  They come and go in terms of their own busy season, but the past two months have been nightmarishly busy with all 4 jobs.  Nothing in particular that would make one want to jump off a building, but enough to make one consider quitting.  I’m just spread too thin, and can’t focus on any one job.

I have decided that the server job is the one I have to let go.  For those of you who have never served, it is quite tedious.  Not the bussing of the tables or memorizing the menu, but dealing with the people itself.  People can be quite the pain when they want gluten-free, cilantro-free, onion-free or any other dietary restriction at a busy restaurant.  I’m a pescatarian.  I know what a pain I can be.  Point is, I am letting go of the one job that I know I can make considerable cash per shift.  As an actress and blogger, I can’t guarantee when I’ll get paid, but as a server, I know exactly how much I’m going home with each night.  This was a heavy decision to make, but I think freeing up my evenings will make my other jobs more enjoyable during the day.

Lifestyle Change

I don’t have much free time working 4 PT jobs, so when I do have time off, I’d like to make the most of it with eating out and having wine…and lots of it.  I decided to scale back on my shifts at my server job last week, and noticed that my lifestyle habits stayed the same. I still wanted to go out for dinner and drinks, but now with half the cash income.  Thank goodness a good girlfriend suggested that we go to hot yoga instead.  I’m so glad I took her suggestion.  I felt 10x better after class, and I went home and made myself a salad.  I didn’t have the hangover I would have the next day, and I woke up early and refreshed for my day jobs.  It was just a slight change, but that decision made all the difference.  SO, my recommendation is this: the next time you decide to take your work stress out on a bottle of wine, to instead try going to a workout class or even just yoga.

Love Change

I haven’t been in a long term, serious relationship in a VERY LONG time, (since 2007 to be exact), so now that I am in a committed relationship of 9 months I feel like a fish out of water.  I know how to go on dates, and I know how to date short term.  What I forgot was the stuff that comes with dating long term (ie. family issues, living situation, thoughts on how to raise a family).  I have to now train myself to be okay with caring for someone without expecting anything in return.  I have been just one for so long, and I don’t know how to not be selfish.  This will be a work in progress, but the more I care for him than myself, the happier I am.

Appearance Change

As you all know, I decided to chop off my beautiful, long hair back in August.  I chopped it off even further in October.  I am now reminiscing my long hair.  Most of my friends have long hair, but I do see that I stand out more as an actress with short hair, (at least that’s what my agents are telling me).  I’m trying to tell myself that hair grows back, that Kim K. also chopped off her hair, and that I will book more jobs with this new look.  However, there’s this pit feeling inside that says a lob is better than a bob.  I’ll probably grow my hair to shoulder length as a compromise.

Point from this is that don’t let others tell you how you should look.  As an actress, I’m always judging myself and comparing myself to other actresses.  Why did they get booked and I didn’t?  Was it my hair?  Was it this?  Was it that?  I have to remind myself daily to stop these thoughts.  That the only thing I can control is my performance.  Chopping off my hair did separate me slightly from the crowd, but my ability to act will dictate whether or not I do well.  So focus on your strengths and talents, and don’t let something like the length of your hair hold you back.

Happy holidays everyone!  My next post will show you some of the gifts I’m giving to my friends and family for Christmas, and hopefully that will give you some ideas for your own holiday shopping.  Thanks for reading!

Dress: Hot-As-Hell / Sunglasses: zeroUV (they’re only $10!) / Purse: Chanel / Shoes: Steve Madden

Photographed by Laci Havens

SAMPLE SALE QUEEN

KANGTHROPOLOGIE was built on the premise of sample sale finds.  I have become quite the sample sale queen since I first found out about them 5 years ago.  I believe one of my first LA sample sale was with Revolve.  It had brands like Lovers + Friends and NBD.  It was love at first swipe (of my credit card).

I must have attended at least 20 sample sales since then, and I have picked up some tips that I will now share to those who are curious about going to one of these bargain events.  (BTW, I post sample sales and online sales I find worthy on my SALES page.  Be sure to check back often so you don’t miss out.)

Tip #1: SHOW UP EARLY

This is probably the most vital advice I can offer.  If you’re going to a sample sale of a popular brand with a cult following, odds are people will start lining up as early as 4 hours in advance.  No joke.  Girls will travel far, and they will bring chairs, blankets, books, etc while they wait.

I remember going to my first Stone Cold Fox sample sale.  I went with a friend and we showed up maybe an hour before it started.  We ended up waiting in line for 3 hours.  Literally 3 hours.  By the time we made it in, all the good stuff have already been purchased and everything was picked through.  Showing up early will guarantee you the pick of the litter.  You get to sift through all the merch while it’s still nicely hung up on racks.

Tip #2: GRAB FIRST, TRY LATER

If you never been to a sample sale, be mentally prepared for a stampede of women who will push and shove past you to get the latest and greatest.  Walk through quickly and pick out stuff that instinctively jump out at you.  Don’t waste your time on deciding if it’s something you really like.  You can figure that out later when you try things on, which is another thing we will discuss in tip #3.  Everything is at a “first come, first serve” basis so if you grab the item first, you can decide if you want to keep or toss later.

Tip #3: WEAR APPROPRIATE UNDERGARMENTS

Rarely will you find a separate dressing room at these sample sales.  They’re usually held at some open space warehouse, and you might be lucky if there’s a mirror or two for you to try things on and see how they actually look on you.  A lot of girls like to bring their boyfriends as well.  With that said, wear undergarments that you wouldn’t mind being seen in by a lot of strangers, male and female.

The first time I brought a friend with me, I forgot to tell her that there were no individuals dressing rooms.  She didn’t wear any underwear that day, and basically couldn’t try anything on because she couldn’t take off her jeans.  I personally find it weird when girls bring boyfriends to these kind of things knowing that there will be a bunch of half naked women trying on clothes, but maybe they’re not the ones that are forking over the dough to pay for the clothes.  (Touché).

Tip #4: DON’T BUY FOR THE SAKE OF BUYING

It took me a while to get use to tip #4 because everything was so heavily discounted that I didn’t want to miss out on not buying something and regretting it later.  Here’s the thing, half the stuff you buy, you won’t end up wearing and it will just pile up in your closet collecting dust.  A lot of the stuff you find at sample sales are overstock items from past seasons.  There’s a reason the stuff didn’t sell when it was in season.

Be selective about what you actually will wear.  I like to bring a friend with me to these things because they’re usually my voice of reason.  Do I REALLY need another swimsuit or jacket or black dress?  Will I be able to wear this more than once?  Is the item worth purchasing “as-is”?  A lot of the stuff are also returned items or have a missing button or slight tear.  Yes, it might cost just a fraction more to have it fixed, but is it worth it?  Ask yourself all these questions before you buy. Just because it’s heavily discounted doesn’t mean it’s free.  You’re still spending money.  The only exception would be if you were purchasing for the sole purpose of reselling it on eBay or Poshmark.

Tip #5: THERE WILL BE ANOTHER ONE

I use to freak out whenever I would miss out on a fabulous sample sale, but know that there WILL BE another one, and probably within the same year.  Brands are constantly trying to offload their inventory after the season is over.  You will most likely find sample sales happening during big seasonal transitions, like from winter to spring (for winter stuff), and from summer into fall (for summer stuff).

Besides, you don’t want all of your wardrobe to be last season’s stuff.  Intermix the items into your closet slowly and you’ll be able to rock the coolest brands without looking like last year’s September issue.

Hope you’ve found these tips helpful and best of luck on your first/next sample sale excursion.  Happy shopping!

Dress: Hot As Hell / Earrings: Sugarfix by Bauble Bar / Necklace: Starletta / Briefs: Tiger Mist

Photographed by Stefanie Meier

REPEAT

So, I just want to forewarn my readers that this post may be a bit opinionated, somewhat politically incorrect, and fully soap-box charged.  These are simply my views and my views only, and has nothing to do with the brands I’m wearing in the pictures.  (Isn’t it sad that I have to actually write this disclaimer “just in case”?)

Anyway, I had originally planned to post this look yesterday.  Same outfit.  Same pics.  Same everything.  I was even going to throw in a bit about how I’m reworking an oldie back into my wardrobe, (SEE OVERALL).  However, once I woke up on Monday morning and heard about the gun shooting massacre in Las Vegas, I scratched my whole post.  I decided to write something more poignant to the subject of gun control, or lack there of.

When I was younger, my sister would play this prank on me.  She would say, “Pete and Repeat went on a boat.  Pete fell out.  Who’s in the boat?”  And I would answer, “Repeat!”  Then she would start again, “Pete and Repeat went on a boat.  Pete fell out.  Who’s in the boat?”  And sure enough, I would be a sucker and yell, “Repeat!”  This would go on and on until I caught onto the joke: ‘Repeat’.  I feel like this is similar to the American public being fooled over and over again by the government and their stance on tackling gun control issues.  How many times must we yell “Repeat!” before we realize that the joke is on us?  How many more gun shooting massacres?  How many more deaths?  How many more tragedies?  How many more families ruined and terrorized?  How many?  Is there a threshold we must break in order for the government and the NRA to finally realize that we’re not trying to take away their right to bear arm, but to control WHO gets to bear arm?

They say history repeats itself.  They also say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  Nothing has changed on gun control, so why would I ever think that there wouldn’t be another mass gun shooting tragedy?  This travesty will continue to repeat itself until we decide to finally do something about gun control.  I have family members that have their CCW (Concealed Carry Weapon) permit.  They claim it’s to protect their family in case of burglary, home invasion, and “just in case”, but I’m not sure that handgun would do much good in a situation where someone is shooting an automatic weapon from the 32nd floor.

Regardless of where you stand on the 2nd amendment or guns in general, I would hope that we are all praying for the victims and their families.  Not all history is bad.  There is compassion, bravery, and selflessness throughout history in times like this.  I’m no longer on my soap box, and I just hope that I can encourage everyone to speak up when it comes to love and kindness.  God bless.



Top: Free People / Overall: Rollas Jeans (sold out | similar look)

Photographed by Stefanie Meier

I’VE BEEN DATING IN LA FOR 10 YEARS…

I would just like to start off by first saying that I am no love guru.  I got out of a serious 2.5 year relationship at the end of 2007, then moved from Atlanta to Austin to Dallas to LA all in 2008.  I have been dating and in a number of short lived relationships ever since then.  Essentially, I don’t know shit about dating, which is why I have been dating in LA for almost 10 years.  However, through all my trials and tribulations I’ve learned a few things about dating in LA, and this is what I’ve learned through my experiences:

DTR

Define the relationship.  “The talk”.  “What are we?”  At any point in every dating cycle, you will eventually get to the place where you must define your relationship.  Are you two just dating, dating exclusively, or in a relationship.  This is the one town I’ve lived in where the gray zone is infinite.  You’re always somewhere in between seeing other people and dating exclusively.  I once dated a guy for 6 months, half of which was international long distance, flew half way around the world to see him, and found out we were in the gray zone.

Then there are times where you are already in a relationship and didn’t even know it because of his noncommittal behavior.  You don’t know where you stand in your relationship with him, so you don’t know if you’re allowed to call him out on his behavior.  This one time I found out I was in a relationship because he called me his girlfriend in a complaint email he sent to an airline acting as my lawyer AND boyfriend.  Expectations change the minute you realize you’re in a relationship.

Point is, there is no definitive time or duration in a dating cycle that is the perfect time to have “the talk”.  But most of my stress and paranoia in dating are relieved after I know where I stand in the relationship.  I feel like most women usually start the conversation after three months of seeing someone, but there could be a +/- 2 months difference for each individual.

CHOICES

One of the best things about dating in LA is that there are many choices.  If someone doesn’t work out you can quickly find a replacement, even within seconds (i.e. Tinder, Bumble).  One of the worst things about dating in LA is that there are many choices.  Too many.  There are so many men and women to pick from that no one ever sticks around to see if anything can actually happen.  It is possible to play the game and actually date someone for 3 months and it leads to nothing.

We’ll find little things we don’t like about the other person and find an excuse not to date them anymore.  I know I’m personally guilty of this.  I had dated a guy that was PERFECT on paper.  My parents would have killed for me to end up with him, but I just couldn’t get over him constantly clearing his throat.  It was like nails on a chalkboard to me.  I felt like he had permanent loogie, and the images of phlegm and bacteria would keep popping up in my head.  YUCK!  Was this indeed a deal breaker?  Probably not.  But I decided it was enough of a distraction for me to find someone better.

I think we move on too quickly rather than waiting it out to see if you find something nice about the person that takes away the distraction.  I would complain to my girlfriends about something I don’t like about the guy, and they would immediately call it a red flag and tell me to dump him.  All too quickly would I agree, and the relationship would end.  I think if I had more patience, I wouldn’t have been single for so long.  (Please don’t misread this as settling.  I don’t ever want anyone to just settle.  I’m a hopeless romantic and believe in find Prince Charming and true love.  But this isn’t the 50’s anymore, and Prince Charming doesn’t come packaged like they use to.  We have to fall in love with what we have now, and that could come with some kinks.)

CHICKEN OR THE EGG

Somewhere in the LA dating scene, someone became an asshole and someone became a bitch.  It’s like the chicken or the egg.  Did the asshole create the bitch or did the bitch create the asshole.  Not sure who started it first, but this epidemic had spread like wild fire.  Suddenly guys felt like they had to be assholes to get chicks, and women felt like they had to be bitches in order to keep their men.  The sad part is that it’s all too true.

I remember once joking with my girlfriends that we would have to drive out to the California state line and find guys to date there before they’ve been tainted by LA.  I wish I would have been okay with just dating, but I felt obligated to play “the game”.  I had to make myself busy and unavailable, and could only answer the text or call after 3 hours or 3 days.  I would make plans with my girlfriends and get super dolled up, and send him sexy selfies while we were out partying to make it seem like I was having so much fun without him.  Then drunk dial him at 1:30am.  Why ladies?  Why do we do these silly things that are not necessary, and set ourselves up for a floozy relationship?

I’d like to think that this behavior stems from youth and immaturity, but in reality, it’s just the vibe of LA.  Everyone has Peter Pan Syndrome, and no one wants to grow up and have a mature relationship.  If we can all just learn to play nice with each other, we might not have so many bitches and assholes out there.

LONG DISTANCE

Because dating was so bad for me in LA, I tried dating long distance…three times.  Yup.  THREE times.  The first guy was someone I met briefly 9 years ago, but had a mutual friend and sort of kept in touch.  He lived in Texas at the time, but then moved to San Fran and reached out.  I knew SF was 6 hours away by car, but it was only a short 45 minute plane ride.  The back and forth trips didn’t last too long and the relationship crumbled within 6 months of being on and off again.

The second guy was someone who I met in LA, dated for 3 months then found out he was leaving the country for 6 months for work.  (Read more on GOING THE DISTANCE).  Long story short, we didn’t work out either.  You would think that I have learned my lesson after the second time, but no, third time’s a charm.

Guy number 3 was introduced to me through a mutual friend.  We hit it off immediately, but I found out once again, about 3 months in, that he was going to go on an around the world trip for 2.5 months. I don’t know what it is with me and guys who want to leave the country after 3 months of dating me, but it wasn’t something I wasn’t already use to, so the two of us agreed to stay in touch while he went on his excursion.  We texted just about everyday and did video calls whenever he had decent reception.  I waited for him for 2.5 months, and it has paid off.  We are still together, and have also agreed to not take trips longer than 2 weeks without each other.

I not saying long distance is for everyone.  It takes a lot of patience, understanding and trust.  But if you can get over this hump, everything else is a piece of pie.  I have a friend who met someone long distance, dated him long distance, and is now married to him and they’re still long distance.  If you want to be with someone, you make it work.  No matter the odds.

☮❤︎☆

Top: Who What Wear / Shorts: My own vintage collection (similar look on sale) / Shoes: Steve Madden / Sunnies: zeroUV (sold out | similar look) / Earrings: Charming Charlie (on sale)

Photographed by Stefanie Meier