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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Halloween is a Lifestyle

Witchy wear is just my thang, and Halloween is a year-round experience for me (you should see my house decor). I love it when contemporary brands pepper their lines with darker pieces--this particular dress by LPA from Revolve caught my eye the other day. Billowy sleeves? Check. Sheer overlay? Check. Open corset-style sides? Check, check, check. A little Old World; a whole lotta romance.

I wore my babe Samii Ryan's lace-up choker with it because it's a match made in heaven. This look could honestly do in a pinch for a witch's costume if I just add a hat. Speaking of which (or witch?), what are you going to be for Halloween?? These are my favorite days--too bad I'm spending it in bed, as I've been sick for nearly a month. Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery for the actual Halloween weekend!

LPA dress / By Samii Ryan choker / Balenciaga boots

Photography by Bri Elledge


Thursday, October 20, 2016

5 Tips to Take Away from Create & Cultivate

Last weekend, I was whisked away to Atlanta, Georgia (my first time there!) For a very special convention called Create & Cultivate. The name is so apt--creators abound, creator teach others how to create, and everyone harnesses and cultivates their skills. On top of everything, it's a very femme-power convention, focusing on all-femme panels and dedicated to building other women and femmes up.

I was put up at the beautiful W Hotel Downtown Atlanta; words can't describe how chic it was (just look at that adult treehouse in the lounge area!). Our speaker happy hour and dinner were held here. I had such a wonderful time hanging out with fellow speakers and getting to know the people on my "You Do You: Creating a brand that thrives outside the box and cuts through the noise" panel (Jen Gotch of Shop, Sugar & Cloth, Studio DIY, and the Beckerman Twins, all moderated by Maxie McCoy).

The next day, it was time for the craziness of Create & Cultivate.

I couldn't believe how big the space was, and how many people there were! It was the biggest convention Create & Cultivate had thrown yet. I hung out alone for the most part, but I had so much to occupy myself with--there were brand booths, a nail bar, a hair bar, a massage table center, photobooths, prize giveaways, an open bar, and more.

Then came the best part, speaking at the convention. I was a little nervous but super excited. Create & Cultivate should be posting their highlight video, but in case full panels aren't in it, here are my 5 top tips from my panel:

1. Don't fall into the cookie cutter. There seems to be a method for blogging that "works": it's safe, it's easily digestible, and it's ordinary. But do you really want to be ordinary? When you limit yourself in your branding from the get go, you rob yourself of experiences that merge your two passions: financial success and intrinsic motivation. An example I provided was that if I had not been so vocal about things like sex positivity, I would have never scored the biggest job of my life to date with Tenga, a sex toy company. I got so much happiness out of being able to talk with leading sex educators that I look up to. The goal shouldn't be just to get hella followers. The overall goal should be to make a living doing what you truly love to do, be it traveling, speaking out about important issues, etc.

2. Going along with that, there's also the flip side of it. I know everyone's like, "Don't do any sponsored post that's not on brand for you", yadda yadda yadda. But the fact of the matter is, when the money is good enough (or when fiscal crises are dire enough), sometimes those values can be sacrificed. And I'm here to tell you that that's completely okay. I want all of us to be getting that guap (something I said, like, 4 times on stage). There have definitely been times in years past when I posted detox teas, so no judgement from my end. I would recommend packaging it in a way that doesn't mislead your followers. For instance, with a detox tea, say that it "helps get rid of bloat" or "it helps give you energy" instead of "it makes you lose weight". For hair vitamins, actually use them if you're posting about it. There has not been a single product I didn't actually use on the regular that I was sponsored for--even the detox teas, the teeth whitening, and the crazy/weird Ugg/Teva hybrid sandals (which I love). But all this being said, there was one thing I basically shouted on stage: No amount of money could get me to shut up about what I believe in. So know what you stand for, where your values are, where you draw the line with money, and stick to your guns.

3. Have backup content. Doing content creation full-time sounds fun and easy on the surface, but it's hard and time-consuming, especially for introverts/homebodies like me! And nobody has "on" days every day--sometimes you're sad, or you don't want to get ready to go out, or you just want to Netflix all day. Shoot a lot of content when you're already out, even if it's just multiple angles of the places you go/the things you eat/your outfit shot on your phone. I've taken to the habit of bringing around my little point-and-shoot for my #veryrare outings.

4. Getting a little bit more technical, Eva Chen (aka HBIC at Instagram) says it's ideal to post about 5 times a day. I know that's an insane amount, and heaven knows I fall short of that. But it helps boost your algorithm to where your posts aren't buried in people's feeds. Lots of backup content would definitely help in this department.

5. Something Sugar & Cloth originally said that I want to expand upon is to not worry about poised, refined photos. People want to see the real you, don't be afraid to show them! She talked about how she candidly spoke in a caption about how her dress looked like a nurse's dress and that it took way too long to try and take a good photo. I support this so hard. Sometimes I'll have posted 3 photos of my face in a row, so it's time for a filler photo. When I post a filler photo (of, say, my desk), I'll break down that fourth wall and say something like this. Don't be afraid to be a silly and be yourself--people are as interested in following the person behind the blog as following the blog's content.

I'm obviously on a roll with speaking at conventions, because I'll be speaking at Con Con ("Content Convention", lol) in San Francisco on November 4. Roll call! Who's going to be there?



Monday, October 17, 2016

Send Nudes

A little shadow play here in LA.

I just got back to Los Angeles, my monthly mecca back home. I've adapted wholly to the brisk fall temperatures of the east coast, so I'm totally overheating here. It is quite nice, however, to wear tanks and bare shoulders and bellies again--this time with a Tobi co-ord in a beautiful hue right between blush and nude.

I'm treating this mecca as a vacation. Can't wait to hit the beach soon!

Tobi top / Tobi pants

Photography by Tayler Smith


Friday, October 14, 2016

Fragrance Friday: Viktor & Rolf's Flowerbomb

The newest addition to my rapidly-growing fragrance collection is Viktor & Rolf's Flowerbomb.

Flowerbomb has been around since 2005 and is a cult classic--florals are truly timeless. You'll find a floral heart made up of rose, jasmine, freesia, and orchid, surrounded by milky and powdery notes, with an overall foundation of musk and patchouli (I'm swooning). This floral explosion is manifested in the crystalline bottle--intense and sophisticated, just like the diamond-like grenade form.

A week ago today, I had the honor of attending the Flowerbomb party in NYC.

The Flowerbomb party was just as bomb as expected. A DJ, braid bar, and champagne + rosé bar kept the good vibes flowing.

I grabbed myself a drink and sat down at the braid bar. You know how I love me a good braid.

Seeing elements of my favorite products and brands personified through cool events like this is one of the most fun parts about my job. I had such a great time celebrating the ongoing success of Viktor & Rolf's Flowerbomb with friends and I snagged two more bottles to give to my best friends (thanks guys!).

What's your current favorite fragrance? I'd love to know what your nose knows.


Find Viktor & Rolf's Flowerbomb here and here.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Lifestyle Retreats: The Santai & The Samata

Four words: Follow me to paradise.

Paradise was discovered at Lifestyle Retreats, and how lucky we were to experience two sides of it. Lifestyle Retreats has an impressive six properties around Bali, spanning a variety of environments. They have everything from a traditional hotel property on a busy, hip beachfront location (Ize, Seminyak), to secluded villa getaways in a national park (The Menjangan). We had the privilege of staying at two very different three-bedroom villas: one at The Santai in Umalas, and one at The Samata in Sanur.

"Santai" translates to "a lazy person", and The Santai wants to embody lazy relaxation. It's a quiet oasis in the middle of a bustling neighborhood. You'll find silence and serenity in your villa, but the opportunity to mingle with locals is only a few steps away.

Equipped with a beautiful private pool, outdoor kitchen and living room areas, and outdoor waterfall showers in all three bathrooms, there are plenty of beautiful photos to be had.

The Santai also provided us with a Balinese cooking class, where we made an entire 5-course meal with the help of our private chef. It's worthy of note that all Lifestyle Retreats properties have amazing gourmet fare, even straight off the room service menu. I've honestly never experienced anything like it from a hotel.

The Samata strives to balance both the body and the mind. Here, you'll find public (for guests) and private pools, a huge gym with an energy pool, and isolation from city life. But if you want to get away from the peace and quiet for a little while, all our taxi destinations were 45 minutes away and cost us only $6 USD per trip.

This villa was definitely bigger than our last, spanning two floors and with a pool about twice as large. It was the perfect ending to our 3-country tour. Closing our crazy, big city trips in Taipei and Seoul with lazy quality time together at our home away from home was just what we needed.

The Lifestyle Retreats properties are absolutely perfect for someone who wants both a tropical getaway and a slightly city vibe--at first, I was disappointed we weren't closer to Seminyak. But I soon realized how accessible everything was and how affordable transportation was (especially when split between multiple riders). To spend your days meandering in a beach city and your nights in a luxurious private villa with 24-hour personal butler service is, indeed, the perfect balance.

I've also never had so many brands reach out to me after arriving in a specific city as much as I did with Bali, so I think I'm going to have to make a trip back very soon. Which Lifestyle Retreats property should I experience next? Comment your favorite below!

© Feral Creature