Wardrobe / 01

04.22.2014

Wardrobe 01 | Observant Nomad

For the last few years my closet has been a muddling of styles, colors, and shapes. It comes with the 20-something territory. Style in your 20′s is littered with experimental items, cheaply made trendy tops, your basic jeans, the one classic piece you invested in, and a variety of colors and cuts from all over the board.

But with a wardrobe like that, it’s been really hard to feel 100% me in anything I wear. I’ve also begun to notice a more discerning eye when it comes to my clothing. I no longer have any desire to shop just to shop. And as I grow as a designer, defining my own style has become more of a priority. So I’ve decided to start my own wardrobe revamp with a 7 step plan.

Restyle 01 / Define | Observant NomadWardrobe 01 | Observant Nomad

Since I’m re-inventing my style from the ground up, I felt most comfortable creating a detailed strategy before-hand. First, I started this process with defining my personal style. Since I’m a visual person I started a private Pinterest board where I could collect specific products and styles I was drawn to. This made it much easier to see patterns, shapes, and cohesion between items.

After several weeks of collecting, I went back through and eliminated anything that I didn’t absolutely love or was an extreme outlier from the rest. Using Into Mind’s post, ’Using Moodboards to Define Personal Style‘ I analyzed my board’s cohesive patterns. Here’s what I found…

Wardrobe 01 | Observant Nomad

What are the key textures and materials? For me it was obvious that I was mostly drawn to relaxed everyday fabrics like cotton, denim, and leather. When it comes to textures, I really love thicker wools and silky looking polyester/rayon.

What is the overall color scheme? A strong black & white presence was almost immediate. Besides those I was also really interested in neutrals the most. But what surprised me was how much I was drawn to chambray blues, soft sage greens, muted plums, and blushes.

Wardrobe 01 | Observant Nomad

Which are the key proportions/ specific combinations? These were some predominant combinations that stuck out to me…

mini skirts & shorts + cotton sweaters
relaxed fit blouses + cropped tailored pants + heels
structured masculine outerwear + skinny denim

Wardrobe 01 | Observant Nomad

What are the main themes? Minimalist, modern, professional, feminine, and a little bit laid-back. Most of my board has a combination of structured pieces with approachable relaxed items. I discovered that I really love the contrast of tailored masculine shapes with casual sexy feminine accents.

Which single items stand out? Black skinny denim, black leather belts, delicate gold jewelry, relaxed white blouses, muted colors, chambray, boyfriend jeans, a structured black wool trench, folding leather clutch, short leather booties and black strappy sandals.

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Even though I could’ve told you some of my favorite pieces without doing the moodboard process, it really has been revealing in many other more specific ways. Before, when I found a look I liked, I would try to incorporate it into my wardrobe without thinking about the bigger picture or understanding if it worked for me. 

After this I have a much clearer vision about my style. I can also see how these pieces reflect who I am in a lot of ways. I am a pretty confident person and definitely not shy – all of which I think is reflected in my choice of structured masculine outerwear and bold uses of black & white. I also like to go with the flow, which some of these relaxed fit styles really show.

Can’t wait to get roll up my sleeves and get to work on step two…

 

DIY Bohemian Tassel Necklace

04.17.2014

DIY Bohemian Tassel Necklace | Observant Nomad

DIY Bohemian Tassel Necklace | Observant Nomad

It’s been a minute since my first DIY post huh? Well you might not know, but I actually really love creating things by hand. Plus there’s something truly satisfying about saying you made it yourself.

So I wanted to ease my way back into the ‘making’ world with something totally superfluous (oh yea fancy word) and fun, like a bohemian inspired tassel necklace.

DIY Bohemian Tassel Necklace | Observant Nomad

Lately, I’ve been channeling my self-entitled bohemian goth look. It’s a little bit 60s Stevie Nicks, little bit modern minimalist, and mostly black with lots of texture.

When it comes to experimenting with styles, I do believe in small doses, just like this. If you’re really digging the bohemian trend going around, this is a nice way to incorporate it into a basic outfit.

DIY Bohemian Tassel Necklace | Observant Nomad

Making this necklace is actually pretty straight forward. It just takes a bit of time to do the weaving, but it’s a good mindless activity, so it’s great for a couple of nights on the couch after work.

Let’s get started…

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Meet Toro

04.14.2014

Meet Toro | Observant Nomad

Meet Toro | Observant Nomad

Say hello to Toro.

About two months ago I fell in love with this tiny little kitten who is an absolutely playful sweetheart. For quite some time I had been pining for a furry friend of my own. I was always hesitant since caring for an animal is a huge commitment and I still wanted to spend my life traveling. So I never bit the bullet.

Then around winter last year I decided that my rationalization was really just fear. Fear of commitment. So I decided to get over it with and adopt a kitten for my birthday. After visiting MaxFund Animal Shelter and spending some time with different kittens, I knew this little tuxedo cat was the one.

He was so cute, playful, friendly, and wasn’t shy at all. Toro had a great disposition and didn’t mind being picked up quite a bit or having his paws touched a lot. It’s important to study how a cat reacts to your touch and how receptive they are to human interaction.

meet_toro_reach

After the adoption papers went through I got to bring Toro right home. Now no lie, in the beginning I had a little bit of new pet buyer’s remorse. I remember feeling anxious and worried a lot in the beginning. And on top of that I was starting to have some serious allergic reactions…

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Travel Beauty Essentials

04.08.2014

travel beauty essentials | observant nomad

Traveling lightly and staying gorgeous haven’t always been synonymous with each other. I’ve done the whole travel like a celebrity with half my check-bag full of liquids, mousses, and sprays. But I found again and again that it was both inconvenient, and I would never end up using everything anyways.

Fast forward to now and I’ve learned that while it may feel more comfortable to have so many go-to products at hand, it’s not worth the hassle or the room in your bag. You can achieve a light beauty routine that covers all the bases, and is great for traveling. So today I’m sharing with you some of my top travel beauty essentials for your next trip.

travel beauty essentials | observant nomad

1Neutrogena Hydrating Makeup Remover Wipes | Face wipes or even baby wipes are a must-have when I travel. They’re usually gentler than the antibiotic ones and clean a little better. When I travel, I use wipes for face cleansing everyday and even a quick “shower” if I’m in a really remote place without water.

2Lavanila Vanilla Summer Rollerball | Most places I visit, the locals don’t wear perfume at all. But if you’re planning on a couple special occasions during your trip or are the type of person who likes to wear perfume daily, I love the Lavanila rollerball scents. They’re simple yet smell great. A rollerball is a great way to bring your favorite scent with you.

3Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap Lavender | This stuff is amazing. They make a peppermint scent that is also delicious, but the lavender one is subtle and just as great. This soap can be used for shampoo, hand wash, body wash, or for shaving. Heck, I’ve even used it for laundry on the go. It’s all natural and a little goes a long way. This one is 4oz, perfect for traveling.

4 | Tarte BB Tinted Moisturizer and CoverGirl Lash Blast Mascara | When I travel I really pare down my makeup routine. I find that less is more and actually helps my skin from breaking out on the road. I prefer a little bit of tinted moisturizer, mascara, blush and lip balm. Looks good wherever you go. This tinted moisturizer is 20 SPF, has BB Cream, and is also made with Amazonian Clay. Which really balances out my skin for even coverage and moisture.

5 | LUSH Schnuggle Body Butter Bar | No one really thinks about how many liquids they use until they have to go somewhere. So when I found this body butter bar from LUSH I just couldn’t stop. I throw this baby in a small piece of tupperware (or you can buy their tin) and I use it before bed every night for great moisture and dreamy smell. It’s not greasy and won’t stain your sheets either. The perfect lotion solution for travelers.

6 | Johnson’s Baby Powder | Ok baby powder is the unknown powerhouse of traveling ladies. This is what I was using before people started putting dry shampoo in spray bottles. A little of this dabbed onto my scalp really lifts the oil, adds volume, and texture. I also use this stuff to freshen up, when I’m traveling somewhere really humid, or for those shoes that see lots of smelly wear and tear. Another beauty secret is that this stuff can be used to even dry shave in a pinch!

7 | elastic headbands and bobby pins | You’ve probably guessed, I don’t bring mousse, hairspray or any other hair product I normally use when I travel. I end up washing my hair every other day or so. Between all that, my hairstyles have to get a little creative.

I actually do something similar to what Megan showed off in Paris when I go abroad too. That or my hair is up, in a messy bun, braided, or in a ponytail. Headbands can actually look classy if they’re plain black or you can get stylish with fashion headbands too.

8 | Nivea Smoothness Lip Balm | Last but not least, my absolute favorite lip balm. I’ve tried a ton and they’re either too waxy, too shiny, or look like an extra layer over your lips. Nivea lip balm is none of those. It is the perfect light layer of moisture and I love the size as well. I stock up on these for traveling.

 

 

Comparison

04.03.2014

give yourself the best gift...photo by YanYan Zang

Too often in our digital-all-access society it becomes too easy to compare ourselves to others. It’s easy to see what someone else is accomplishing, creating, or doing and start thinking “Why am I not doing something like that?” or “Why am I not as successful at what I’m doing?”

I realized that this thinking is exactly what deters us from accomplishing great things for ourselves. The clearest example I can think of is years ago, when I started going to the gym. It had been a long time since I tied on my running shoes, but I wanted to get back in shape.

I bought a gym membership and treated myself to some new running shorts. When I arrived on my first day back, I couldn’t help but notice the girl on the treadmill next to me. She was running really fast and didn’t look in any better shape than I was (ha!) I thought, “She’s running so fast! I should be running like she is.

And I’m sure you guessed it, that competitive scenario did not work out for me. I tried to keep up to her level and end up being frustrated when I ran out of breath and had to quit 10 minutes in. And shortly after a few more failed attempts, I gave up all together, thinking well “why bother, I won’t ever be as fit as her. That’s just not me.

Flash forward to years later and I finished my first triathlon last summer and Tough Mudder the year before that. Yeah, I’m pretty good at running now. But that took years of re-training not only my body but also my mindset of comparison.

It started when I ran across a quote that really spoke to me, and changed it all.

Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.

Instead of truly enjoying my own accomplishment of going to go to the gym at all, I crushed myself. Of course I wasn’t going to be a great runner like that girl – she’d been there everyday for the last 6 months. I’d only been twice. I was being truly unfair in comparing my beginning to her middle.

Trust me, I believe it’s important to draw inspiration from these places. That girl at the gym inspired me to go everyday, she inspired me to get after my own goal. These kinds of sources can be your greatest tools in drawing fire and driving your passion to do better.

Just don’t take it to the next level. If you find your mind wondering towards comparisons, level the playing field. Try to imagine what that person’s first step looked like – it probably looked a lot like yours. They struggled, had hard days, and made mistakes too. They probably still do! It takes patience, dedication and self-forgiveness to get to the top.

So remember you’re just taking your first steps to whatever you’re striving for. A dream career, a better relationship, a really amazing blog, whatever! Enjoy and above all, embrace where you are in your journey. Make sure to give yourself the best gift possible. The gift of time, understanding, patience, and kindness. Give yourself a chance to succeed. You’ll end up experiencing more joy along the way and find out what you’re truly capable of.