Fascination with Embroidery

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I come from a culture with the utmost appreciation for embroidery. As a little girl, I would watch my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother sew traditional patterns and connect beads to coins as we prepared for the new year. I have a tiny Hmong dress my great-grandmother made for me when I was about three or four years old. Every few years I pull it out for memories’ sake and admire her work. The older women perfected each cross stitch and I wanted to learn. I was patient and poked my small fingers with a needle a hundred times over but was persistent. I still have not mastered the technique and will never specialize in the gift of embroidery. Of course, modern technology has developed and machine can mimic the hand-stitch method of unique Hmong patterns. Mom had told me that back in the day in Laos, families merely lived off selling these beautiful cloths to make ends meet. She was a young girl who sold her creations and put in long hours to finish one piece.

At this point, you have probably guessed that my love for vibrants colors originated from my heritage. I am instantly uplifted by bright colors and have been on this search for artistic murals. I spotted wall of random plants while driving through East Austin and it reminded of embroidered florals. Do you see the baby blue / red flower matching the one on my shirt? This top is nothing similar to the distinguished style that originated from the Hmong culture, but it’s a pattern I’ve seen in the Latino/Hispanic culture and I adore it. I drop by Marshalls often because of the affordable trends and snagged this cute top without hesitation.

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SHIRT: Isa and Ella / SHORTS: Forever 21 / NECKLACE: Forever 21 and Brit + Co. (self crafted) / PURSE: Cotton On / SUNGLASSES: Forever 21 / LIPSTICK: Viva Glam by Mac

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Dare to be more colorful

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Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I spent Saturday planning an upcoming trip and had dinner at New Fortune and dessert at Snow Monster with my Austin friends. When I’m eating lunch or dinner with the guys, we always order lots of dishes and I’m the food vacuum at the end of each meal. I have a no food wasted policy. We got three plates of BBQ pork fried rice (this is a tradition now haha), green beans with tofu and pork, chef’s special half steamed chicken and ribs. I got up early this morning and went on a solo photo adventure in East Austin and stumbled upon a crafts store I’ve been eyeing at forever. The temperature jumped from the 80s to 100s real quick and I hopped over to Patika to meet up with friends. This was the first time I drove to a South Austin coffee shop and I want go back because: 1) they play the music I listen to on the daily (i.e. Lucius!), 2) mod environment, 3) sweet staff and 4) delicious brunch. I ordered the Belgian-style waffle which was topped off with bacon jam, fried egg and spiced maple syrup. My friend ordered the avocado toast that came with fried egg, sprouts and jalapeno salsa. We had a productive day and then got early dinner at Tuk Tuk Thai Cafe. There we ordered som tum (papaya salad), chicken pad thai, pad see ew, pad kee mao and mango with sticky rice. They had great service and the food portion for the unbeatable price was amazing.

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In case you’re wondering .. yes, I eat a lot and bring a big appetite!

I can’t believe how fast the year is going and I haven’t committed to my blog as much as I would like to. I’ve been obsessing over filling my closest with more unique prints and patterns. And more color. Naturally, I think we all get comfortable with wearing shades of black, gray and white (basically half of what I own and what I wear Monday through Friday). These basics are easy to pair with anything and I needed a change – a bold statement in clothes. So I dangerously browsed the juniors section at Target (turning my Target run to a two hour adventure) and found this watercolor stripe off-the-shoulder top. It was the last one storewide! On another note, the silver/gray washed off my hair, leaving a light ashy blonde and I am going to make the most of it in photos before it all fades away.

What about you? What kind of changes are you pulling into your wardrobe? And are you ready for new hair? (I love mine!)

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TOP: Mossimo / SHORTS: Forever 21 / SHOES: Love Culture / RING: Kittsona / SUNGLASSES: Forever 21 / BRACELET: (Unknown) / NECKLACE: Forever 21 and Altar’d State

Crossing Point

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“You got me. Is that all you wanted? Did you not want to keep me?”

Today marks one full year since a quiet goodbye and I fell off the dating scene. I turned away setups encouraged by friends. I logged out of dating apps and haven’t returned. I rejected guy friends’ confessions in the kindest gesture. Not that I needed time off to find myself. Because it’s silly to say that when I figured myself out a long time ago before most people. I have been single a majority of my life because I choose to be (and by single, that also means not “talking” to anyone). They say that something good and real comes along when you’re not searching. That’s what I did exactly and at one point in college I had someone special. It was everything more than what I had hope for but then lost its course. And when I became single again, I was bothered by how I could lose the person who meant the world to me. He came along when I least expected it and I pictured myself growing old with him. Last year, I thought about how I spent my entire 26 years not looking for anything and I finally gathered up the courage to look for what’s out there. I did it for several reasons. Why sit around and wait? Truthfully, my biological clock is ticking and with each passing day I’m conflicted with: 1) I prefer being alone, 2) Being in love is not a big motivator, and 3) I want to have a family of my own someday.

For a while, it was difficult to adjust to the idea of sharing my life again with another person. I’ve gotten used to doing everything alone or with friends. I don’t latch onto guys easily and have very little attraction towards people. I wasn’t playing hard to get and I was late to dating. I was tired of asking myself to find “more” and when I did, it got hard to let go. I never had trouble being myself but I’m extremely uncomfortable about confronting my feelings when I’m involved with someone. It was not my intention to get with them right away. And don’t get me wrong – I’m happy for all my family members and friends who have their wonderful significant others. My two sisters are engaged to the most amazing guys and I couldn’t picture them without the other.

The boyfriends I had were not the right fit for me even when I tried to make it work. Although I wanted to stay long-term with the people I saw in recent years, I learned they were fooling around, running around an unending pattern of casual dating. I used to get emotional about this but now I quickly make my way out the door. People have a way of living their intentions and I have a way of living mine and this isn’t what I want. The loop continues for us and I have decided that it’s best for me to refrain from exploring new relationships. So yes – it’s awkward to remain friends, follow each other on social media or run into that person face to face – and learn that each one of them now has a significant other.

Let’s set something straight here. I avoided defining myself by my relationship status. I only define myself by my personality and actions. I care about people and all walks of life. I’ve been told by family and friends that I’m strong, bold, confident and easy-going. My grandmother and mother don’t see me ending up with anyone because no one will measure up to me. I’m not saying that I’m better than others – I have heart of gold and I don’t want to taint it anymore. Some days, I feel as though I can be too intense for someone because of the events I’ve been through.

I’ve come to embraced myself as a single person and as a person in a relationship. Yes, I’m single AF and I love it. Yes, when I was in a relationship I loved it (the non-toxic parts). I hope for a serious relationship but I’m not pursuing it. If I wanted it bad enough, I would be looking for one right now instead of sitting on my butt. And yes, I’m out there doing things on my own and with friends. I will be fine with whichever relationship status I end up in. I am grateful that I took a year long break from seeing people. I called this past year a cleanse of “dating sobriety” but friends made a great point – why label it sobriety when I wasn’t addicted or into to it in the first place? I won’t settle for less.

Here’s something worth watching. The dialogue in Wong Fu Productions’ latest video pulled my heartstrings. The female lead approaches her significant other in the most mature sense and breaks down their relationship. I’ve watched this video many times since its debut and end up in ugly tears every time. But I feel the same way, girl.

Mural Hunting

I fell in love with the quirks of this compact and bustling city from the get-go. Being a low-key creative, I had the vision of documenting myself in artsy places in Austin, TX. I do not feel the desire to express a statement but have sat on the urge of creating a sophisticated way to transform my lookbook.

I’ve resided in Texas for the last two and half years and the climate can be unbelievably warm. But that is what makes it perfect for my project compared to my cold and snowy birthplace, Minnesota. I’ve documented my fashion back in college in the same rooms/places with some chalk-screeching captions. I kept holding back on photographing myself in public spaces while my head was in the works of resolving how I would initiate something I have wanted to do for years. Why the hesitation? Partially because I’m embarrassed of carrying my tripod. Self-conscious with a timer and clicker, without a partner AND getting stares. It’s not like anyone would want to get up early in the morning with me before the harsh sunlight draws in. I can be awkward in photos and throw the oddest poses. I started thinking over the past few months about how it would be appropriate to get the perfect Instagram husband at this stage of my project.

And I’ve decided: IDGAF. I love scavenging for murals and walls wherever I travel. My eyes wander to colorful buildings and patterns as I snap a mental image for keepsake. But there I was last July, getting started on this project which ended after one weekend. And there I was last weekend getting out of bed at 7 in the morning to get back in the grind. This took some planning after I complained about not having hobbies. My friend looked at me and said, ‘You like walls!’ (not the Donald Trump kind of wall per say).

I will surely build some confidence as time progresses.

Follow me on my mural and (non-discriminating) wall adventures in Austin, TX at @shesaidyoyo.

#lookingforinstagramhusband

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Location: Art For The People Gallery in Austin, TX located on 1711 S. 1st by W Annie St.

Wearing: Vince Camuto maxi dress, H&M sunglasses, Mac lipstick – Heroine, Kittsonia earrings, Forever 21 necklace, Lauren by Ralph Lauren sandals

2016 Highlights

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Every year at the end of December before the New Year, I sit down and reflect on the most impactful moments over the last 365 days. I keep busy and am hard on myself when I make mistakes, but I have good head on my shoulder. I think I’ve done #adulting right in 2016 and let’s just say, I’m not one of those who is thinking to themselves, “I’m over 2016! I can’t wait for 2017!”

  1. Respect – I was fed up with upsetting news of rape across the world and had to do something about it. After five years of living with something I could not change about myself, I decided to come out and speak about being sexually violated. It was important for me to address this issue. Thank you for your love, encouragement and support. I was extremely touched with your response and send all my love to my friends who trusted me with their own personal story. #powerful Here’s my story: http://wp.me/p7w1ih-ha Let me tell you, I am stronger than ever and turned this negative event into a positive outlook.
  1. Friends – Moving to a brand new city, I’ve become close with human transplants from all over the world. We’ve celebrated birthdays, holidays, late nights and weekends together. I spend almost every day after work with some of y’all and why aren’t you annoyed with me yet?! Whether we met through friends, work, board game group, etc., I can’t imagine Austin without you and I’m glad to call you family.
  1. New Job – I had a hard time with my first couple jobs in Austin. You know the sick-to-the-stomach feeling? That’s what I felt every day going to work and now I wake up every morning looking forward to work. I have an amazing team and make sure they know it.
  1. YouTube Channel – I started vlogging and blogging again (slowly but surely!) under the name, “shesaidyoyo.” It’s a painful experience because I hate video editing. I posted a few videos up on my new channel and my 6 subscribers are always expecting delays. But in all seriousness, they probably had already forgotten me.
  1. Health – I like running outside due to the change of scenery but could not deal with the Texas heat. So I committed my body and mind to a 2-year gym membership. So far I’m enjoying two fitness classes, Body Combat and Body Pump. I’m not gonna lie, I hate going to the gym but as you can tell, I’m doing it for the fries (and bridesmaid bod goals). I guess I can try going to the dentist twice a year as well.
  1. Minnesota – Visiting and seeing family and friends back home in Minnesota makes my heart so full. I forgot how much I loved green, cool, muggy Minnesota summers .. and then reality settled in when I thought of Minnesota winters.
  1. Dating – Yes .. a human relationship that I prefer to keep low key but didn’t get past the exclusive phase. I began seeing other people this year, one by one, and it got to the point where I got tired of narrating my life story. I just wasn’t interested in the whole aspect of being with someone anymore. I did meet someone and for a while it was beautiful. We weren’t compatible in the long run and I couldn’t help but do the practical thing. I don’t feel blue about it because I’ve realized how much you can’t force to feel for someone and I prefer to not have a better half. I’ve encountered people from my past this year and it’s best to not be bitter because I would be miserable if I were still with them.
  1. Food  – I’m as plumped as a healthy chipmunk. I cooked less this year, which hurt my bank account but I loved discovering new eats. I have many more places on my bucket list to cross out in 2017. And I have many recipes to attempt with friends so I can’t wait!
  • MusicOK, I love WET. They are by far, my MOST FAVORITE breathing, living voices and music-making human beings. They released their first full album this year and I fan-girled the shit out of my pants when I saw AND met them live in person! If I resided in Brooklyn, I would be their neighbor and *cross fingers* become their friend so I can listen to their gifted tunes. OK, anyway, I experienced SXSW, which I still can’t stop thinking about, and discovered new music to my taste.
  1. Adventure – Discovering new spaces and in old places. Planning weekend trips and international/domestic getaways. Spontaneously going to a drive thru at 10PM on a weeknight just to get fries. Always putting my energy into an activity to get more out of life. Cheers to many more adventures!

Hope you got to see the amazing part of 2016 despite the hardships – let’s make the new year even better!

Deadline

My light-weight anxiety wore off when I knocked down pressure. Although I don’t keep a record of life goals on paper, I spent some years coming up with a master plan. I thought carefully about my next move and weighed out the pros and cons in the most practical way. Ultimately the real question was: What do I want to make of myself?

I compare myself to the person I was four years ago when I was starting my senior year of college, indulging my first day in a new country as an 18-year-old and the moment I moved away from home for my big girl job. I was constantly pitting myself against myself, and handling situations as they got to me. I confused people as my aspirations changed periodically and as a few remain the same.

I recently discovered that getting older has its rewards. I’ve benefited from quarter-century crisis, a year when I felt lost. There is something about hopelessness that could kill you or ignite ambitious sparks. I experienced both and made something of it.

A few months ago everything clicked. To my amazement, I no longer had the reoccurring thought, “What am I doing with my life?!”. I let go of the deadlines I set for myself from long ago. I put all these ideas and pressure into my head at 23. I was worrying about things that I didn’t have to in the first place. What no one told me when I was younger was not to self-destruct with a ticking bomb.

My plans transformed over time. I’m not living in Seattle and I’m not moving back to Minnesota anytime soon. My current occupation is different from what I imagined but I love the team I work with. My wedding didn’t happen on May 26, 2016 because I don’t want to force commitment.

I’m at a good place right now. No worries. I’m picturing adult life as a real adult and enjoying the adventure. “Life Deadlines” were motivation tactics set to inspire me and resulted in battling high expectations. I’m not saying all deadlines are bad – I make sure friends give me a crucial date to complete a design or edit photos by. There are some unrealistic tasks that I just shouldn’t give myself.

Genuinely

I am genuinely happy with the current direction of life. I wake up refreshed, pace throughout the day with good energy and head to bed with sweet dreams. My normal routine consists of the following: go to work and do my job right, attend an hour-long body combat class at the gym, eat delicious food with friends, catch up on shows via Netflix and scout for creative projects.

I will be visiting Minnesota a week from today and am beyond excited to see family and friends! I got a new carry-on luggage a few days ago and finished packing right away! I am notorious for planning and organizing my trips – see my itinerary below – TADA! I do this to not waste time and don’t get upset if something does go off schedule as I do appreciate spontaneity. Other than attending my friends’ wedding in Iowa and meeting my best friend’s soon-to-be husband for the first time, I am focusing on spending a majority of my vacation with family every chance I get.

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