Shutting Down the Blog

April 17

Gingham two piece midi skirt

I knew I’d have to shut down this blog eventually. That being said, the actual process of wrapping up has made me a little sentimental.

I started blogging in undergrad under a different name. When I moved into law school, I rebranded and started targeting a different audience. I’m trying to see this move as another rebranding, but of myself this time.

In the fall, I’ll be starting at a law firm with a strict policy against side businesses. I suspected this in advance and even contacted the firm to discuss my blog. The policy justifications for this policy are reasonable: our firm represents many fashion clients, so it might be a conflict of interest for me to accept products from brands or praise certain retailers (some of which we might have to see in court!).

In addition, as any lawyer will tell you, the practice of law in a big market is challenging and time-consuming. I’ve been preparing to go into law for years now, and I’m eager to take that step with a clear focus on my career.

One of my first outfit posts

One of my first outfit posts!

However, I’ve been sharing parts of my life for years and made many good friends along the way, and it’s hard to let that go. The communities I’ve joined have also been full of ambitious and stylish women who I will continue to admire. I’ve even met some of you in real life. I’d like to keep in touch somehow and see how your blogs blossom.

Looking back, I’m thankful that I started blogging; through this experience, I’ve acquired skills in web development, search engine optimization, negotiation tactics (when brands don’t want to pay me my full rate), Photoshop, and photography.

I take 90% of my blog photos with a tripod and a self-timer, and I would feel proud when someone mentioned that they had no idea I didn’t use a photographer. My blog has been one of the few things in my life where I’ve gone at it alone, with no mentors or photographers for the first few years.

Another early blog post--I was never afraid of layering or colorful accessories!

But again, I prefer to think of this as a rebranding of myself, from student blogger into future lawyer. And I refuse to say goodbye: you can always keep in contact with me on my personal Instagram. I will continue sharing my outfit photos but it will no longer be linked to my blog. Additionally, I will no longer be taking sponsored posts after I finish the contracts that I have currently signed.

I’m actually excited by the prospect of reducing my online presence and returning to old-school blogging, without any fancy blog layouts or sponsored blog posts—just plain old pictures. I’ve always been wary about the rise of sponsorships and inauthentic content, so it’s a nice way for me to walk the walk and return to the purist roots of outfit inspiration without any sponsorship strings attached.

I hope you’ll follow me on Instagram, a more personal space without any pressure from brands. Thanks for following all these years. I appreciate it more than you know. Instead of saying goodbye, I’ll say “see you later.”




Lip Print

April 13
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Pink pleated midi skirtNew York embroidered denim jacket from Brandy Melville with patchesBrandy Melville denim embroidered jacket with patchesPink sequin lip print shirt

Remember that pink skirt that I claimed I couldn’t stop wearing? Well, here it is again. The temperature has risen and it finally feels like spring here. It hit 80 degrees this past week and people were outside in shorts for the first time since September. All of them looked confused, as if warm weather was something they could no longer comprehend. I feel the same way—I hope the rain and snow is gone for good!

Tee: F21 (old). This year F21 makes a white tee with red lips // Skirt: MANGO, similar here from Vince Camuto // Jacket: Brandy Melville (F21 makes one for $33) // Bag: Primark // Lip color: NYX

Does Pop Smile Whitening Kit Work? Yes, Here’s Proof

April 7
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Pop Smile recently asked me to try their Ultimate Teeth Whitening Kit and I was glad to take them up on the offer. Unlike a lot of other sponsorships, teeth whitening is something that’s pretty easy to judge—it either works or it doesn’t, and the results are right there on my face!

Pop Smile Ultimate teeth whitening kit reviewI had used whitening strips in the past and liked how disposable they were. However, if you’ve ever tried strips, you’ll know that

1) they’re super messy,

2) you can end up swallowing a lot of the distasteful gel, and

3) they take a while (the brand I tried asked for 15-20 minutes per strip).

In comparison, Pop Smile’s Ultimate Teeth Whitening Kit supposedly only takes 10 minutes twice a day for 5 days. It uses a peroxide-free gel applied to a mold that goes around your teeth. Although the mold in the Kit looks kind of clunky—it kind of looks like Invisalign braces—the plastic mold actually really helps the process, as I’ll describe below. The Kit also includes a pen included in the kit for touch-ups in the future to help maintain the results of your whitening.

Pop Smile pre-treatment for teeth whitening

For the first few times that you whiten, you get a Pre-Treatment swab that helps accelerate results. Just push down on the swab until the treatment appears at the tip, and apply to each tooth.

Pop Smile teeth whitening kit review - before and after

Next, you’ll open the packet of syringes that hold the whitening gel. Replace the tops with applicators (everything is included in the Kit and labeled) and squeeze out a specific amount onto your teeth mold.

Pop Smile teeth whitening gel and mold

The molds are actually super helpful in holding the gel in place so that it doesn’t leak into your mouth. If you’ve used strips, you’ll know the awful taste that comes with whitening gels. Pop Smile’s molds can mold to your precise teeth shape and prevent any gel from migrating into your mouth or out of place.

Pop Smile LED timer - whitening kit before and after

Pop Smile also includes a small LED timer that goes over your molds to keep them in place. You place your lips around the timer (the molds are held close to your teeth) and wait 10 minutes for the LED light to shut off. The LED light and the molds prevent any leakage, so you can move around and do what you want during the 10 minute wait. The light itself isn’t magic—it functions more as a cool timer for 10 minutes.

Pop Smile teeth whitening progress before and after

After 2 days (4 treatments), the results were already apparent. I took all my pictures in the same bathroom with the same lighting to reduce the chance that color distortions would occur. I also did not edit the final result, which you can see below:

Pop Smile review - before and after

No filters needed!

Is the Kit worth it? The Ultimate Teeth Whitening Kit is more expensive than a box of strips, but I’ve bought strips at least 3 times in my life, which brings the cost equal to that of the Kit (and obviously the strips weren’t as effective, since I kept using them). I also am a huge fan of the molds that prevented me from having to taste the whitening gel.

The Kit is also more budget-friendly than going to get a professional whitening appointment. For an at-home whitening experience, you get a good package deal that gave me results in under a week. I also used the Kit more often than I would have used strips, since I did not have to wait 20 minutes with a gross gel taste in my mouth like I did when I used the strips. As you can see from the “after” pictures, there’s no hiding that Pop Smile’s Kit worked–and I won’t be hiding my teeth now that they’re brighter and shinier.

Thank you to Pop Smile for sponsoring this post!

Behind-the-Scenes – No April Fool’s Here

April 1

My April Fool’s post last year talked about how the “perfect blogger life” can actually be a carefully curated façade. This curation can fool all of us into thinking that bloggers have everything together. I wanted to continue the tradition by showing some pictures of what my life is actually like and how blog posts come together.

For instance, take the picture above with the pretty flowers. If I were to slap that picture on instagram, I probably would caption it with “#prettyflowers” and be done with it. I probably wouldn’t mention that I bought these flowers when it was rain/snowing outside in Boston, so by the time that I got home, only 3 stalks remained intact for this photo. You’ll also notice that my backdrop is a little wrinkled. I would probably have cropped the photo so that none of that is visible. The end result however, is a little deceiving. It doesn’t tell you the 20 minutes I wasted putting my camera on a timer and trying to fix my backdrop, or the fact that the #prettyflowers sadly crumbled a few hours after I put them in a vase.

Fashion blogging secrets

The pictures that I end up posting are also prone to selection bias. I take dozens of pictures per post but I only post about 4-5 of the best ones. In in the screencap above, I ended up omitting nearly 15 pictures because my hair stubbornly refused to stay down. The final picture I ended up with is as close to neat and tidy as I can get, when it took me about 30 minutes to get my hair to cooperate.

I do save all my pictures even if I don’t post them and sometimes I like the candid pictures better. The above picture is probably not Instagram-worthy, but I love it a lot because there was a guy across from us who was pretending to duel with me while I was holding this photo prop gun. My sister captured the moment when I realized I was being challenged to a gunfight. It’s a moment I’ll look back at with a lot of amusement.

You might be asking why I don’t just post all these blooper pictures anyway. I already don’t much time and patience to edit pictures, so when i’m in a time crunch for a new post, it’s much easier to post the best 5 and move on. Blogging also requires a lot of time to plan and promote your material. My camera roll is littered with screenshots like this one of 29Rooms. I try to gather intel on the coolest places in a city so that I know where to visit for pictures. And after a post is live, I also try to spend a little time tweeting about it and posting it on Facebook. Add up all time I’ve spent on the post—time spent shooting, editing, planning what pictures to take next week, promoting my post on Instagram—and blogging becomes quite a time commitment in addition to my studies. Of course I enjoy what I do, but by the end of a post, I’m ready to move on.

I remember that last summer, while I was working, I had to take a hiatus from the blog for nearly two months because I simply didn’t have enough time. It wasn’t until I got back into it that I realized I had more free time to actually enjoy what I was doing when I wasn’t worried about blogging about it. As much as I love reading blogs and writing blogs, I have to acknowledge that it’s a pretty privileged hobby that can hide what the blogger’s real life actually looks like. Part of that has to do with the nature of blogging; we want our posts to look good and traffic well on Pinterest, so we put our best face forward. Yet some of that pressure to have the perfect post is self-imposed, so I’m happy to pull back the curtain on my blogging habits once in awhile and show you what really goes on behind the scenes.

An Ode to My Trusty Work Bag

March 31
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Business casual outfit for workLeopard kitten heels - business casual work outfitsRalph Lauren Newbury double zipper satchelDupe for Prada Saffiano double zip tote

O work bag, you’ve been with me through thick and thin. You are just big enough to fit my laptop in one zipper compartment while concealing my makeup, mints, and folders in another. You’ve survived New York subways and Texas summers.

Originally, I bought this Ralph Lauren bag because it looked like a dupe for the Prada Saffiano double zip tote. The shape is certainly similar but the price point is far friendlier to your wallet ($300 vs.$2100-ish). I realized today while typing this post that this bag has been at my side for nearby 3 years. I know I could have treated my bag better; I often neglect to stuff the inside when I’m not using it. And there is a dent on the bottom from when I put it down on something sharp. But I resolve to start treating my longest-lasting belongings better. Here’s to spending more years together.

Top: (old, this short sleeve version from Liz Claiborne for $22)would be great for layering) // Pants: Ivanka Trump // Heels: Sam Edelman // Bag: RL Ralph Lauren (I found mine at TJMaxx