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Monday, August 24, 2020

Secret Garden

I first heard about the Haskell Public Gardens roughly about 11 years ago in my freshman year of high school. And I was surprised to say that, in the span of eleven years, I had never actually visited the space. Unlike most of the city's parks, courtyards, and other green spaces, this garden is a truly and well-hidden gem. It's a primly kept expanse of six acres tucked directly off of a main road -- one which I've driven down more times than I'd ever be able to guess. But, suffice it to say, Sunday was my first official visit.
The gardens are the work of, and accordingly named after, the late Allen C. Haskell. Haskell was in an internationally renowned horticulturist, known for featuring a host of plants, trees, and animals in this diverse nursery. It's hard not to admire his work; he cultivated this public space for over thirty years, in the middle of a small but culturally rich city. It made me think, though, and I took some time to consider why I, someone who cares for and particularly enjoys natural spaces, might hesitate to step into a space that looks so assiduously private.

continued below...

I will preface the resulting thoughts by saying that I a) won't be going too deeply into this topic, but b) am going off of the assumption that you lovely readers have had either the prior experience or at least the prerequisite learning to understand.
To put it plainly, there's a foundation of racial bigotry in this country that follows every person of color, but specifically Black people here throughout every facet of our lives. This, of course, extends to being less than welcome in even public spaces, as exemplified by the recent spate of "Karens" on social media.
We end up having to approach many things we do with a cautious hesitance, considering which spaces are truly open, and to whom. So I'm glad to have reclaimed that fear, and that my experience was pleasant and undisturbed, but still want to share this bit of honesty to illustrate why a visit to an otherwise unobtrusive space might initially be intimidating from certain perspectives.

What I'm Wearing

Sunday, August 2, 2020

What I Wear In A Heatwave

Anyone who knows me personally knows that I constantly joke about being scantily clad. So it's not that I needed one, but I've taken the heatwave we're currently experiencing as a full-blown excuse to strip it down. I received this top in the mail recently -- in both baby blue and white because I couldn't resist -- and have been waiting eagerly for the right time to bust it out. I knew I didn't want to pair it with shorts despite my love for scant clothing; I'm a lover of a balanced outfit more, even. I also tried on a couple of skirts but none felt like the outfit I was going for. Still, funnily enough, absolutely nothing in me was even considering wearing jeans on the ~90 degree day on which I wore this outfit, until I pulled these Levi's out from my closet. These are the Mile High fit, an impossibly comfortable and lucky find from Marshall's a few months back. I haven't gotten many chances to wear these so far, but two things ended up making them the winner: there's a special place in my heart for truly high waisted denim paired with a crop top, and the appropriately cropped, perfectly flowy wide leg.

Keeping on trend with a stripped down look, a bare face has also been my favorite thing to "wear" in this heatwave. I haven't worn much makeup since the inset of this pandemic, but it's actually pretty recent that I've felt fully comfortable with my how my skin looks. It's been a little less than a month since I started using products from The Ordinary to address my skin issues and I'm honestly floored by the results. Click here for info + links to which ones I bought (hint: the Ascorbic Acid + Alpha Arbutin Serum was life-changing for my dark spots and acne scars). I share more skincare details on my IG story, so if you're not following me over there you're kiiinda missing out!

What I'm Wearing

Sunday, July 26, 2020

My New Favorite Dress

It's interesting how much of yourself you don't really see until you deliberately set out to do so. You certainly live everyday as yourself, but what I mean by that is, we're often so focused on the next accomplishment that we easily miss chances to celebrate even our smaller achievements.
Recently, while looking through some archival work of my own here on the blog and elsewhere for an upcoming project, I had feelings of pride in things I had forgotten I'd even done. And to my earlier point, I don't think I'd ever originally celebrated or expressed pride in myself for putting in the work to make those things happen in the first place. Of course, sometimes the pride is just in knowing that the achievement has been made, which makes sense. But it really stands out to me now that self love plays a role here; it's not just about getting things done, but taking the time to recognize your accomplishment as a reflection of your effort.

Unrelatedly, and with no philosophical implications, this dress actually is a new favorite of mine. I do have a good selection of dresses in my wardrobe, but was thinking recently that I wanted to correct my lack of variety in the area of flowy summer dresses. I knew I wanted something floral, and undoubtedly a small print. I do like larger prints sometimes, but smaller prints are truly timeless in a way that I just can't see for larger florals. I also feel like this dress will carry well into the fall, when we get there. Here I again took inspiration from Karen of Where Did U Get That and paired this very feminine dress with another constant favorite, my classic Tevas.

Monday, July 13, 2020

How To Wear Square Toe Heels

You know, of all the returns of early aughts trends, square toe mules are high on my list of favorites. Not all square-toed shoes are created equal, but this dainty and just plain pretty style deserved to have its day again. If you ask me there are countless ways you can style a pair of these heels, but here I chose to stray from your typical heavily feminine styling in the interest of something a bit harder around the edges.

Two of my favorite components of this outfit are the casual, longline blazer and the band tee. I think those are two of the easiest and most on-trend ways to style an outfit, as well as add contrast to the shoes. These days, I may choose to style this outfit with a pair of slightly oversized, distressed Levi's cutoffs over these (still, killer) leather pants, as the weather has predictably gotten hotter in the time since I shot this look (early May). But, that just highlights another thing I dig about a look like this: it's evergreen and adaptable.

What I'm Wearing

photos: Jose Flores

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

There's No Place Like Home

Being outside right now is pretty challenging. The USA is quickly phasing out quarantine, which would ideally be normal right now, but proves to be an ill-advised decision. Due to the government's response and the residual vulnerability of so much of the population to COVID-19, the curve still remains un-flattened.
Being a black person only multiplies that discomfort and fear, as we're faced with the more constant threat of racist violence. As we try to stand for justice, for the lives of those we've lost, and for our own safety going forward, we're met with brutality and tactics that have been banned in warfare. It's  just...hard.
Even making blog posts right now is actually hard, because I love fashion. I love style and sharing all the ways I wear and enjoy clothes. I just wish I always had the mental space to do so comfortably, right now.

I wasn't particularly thrilled about having to stay home at the top of quarantine -- I've actually talked about why it was somewhat relieving to be required to work throughout it -- so it's a bit ironic that it's now what brings me solace. I've also continued to get dressed even when I didn't have to, for many reasons; the most important of which is that it makes me feel good to look good.
Stylish loungewear is a favorite go-to option for me when I am home, and I'm sure I can say the same for most of you reading. Even in a cheeky t shirt and comfy, high waisted joggers from Femme Luxe, I feel that much more put together and ready to handle the day.

What I'm Wearing

This post is sponsored by Femme Luxe.