When you meet someone for the first time around here the second question you’re bound to get is, “And what do you do in the city?” to which I take a deep breath and go through my schpeel. Over the past 6 months I’ve pared it down to some effect of, “I work for a small stationery graphic design company managing the operations/business side of things and freelance on the side in weddings and design” but most people [even most of my friends, frankly] still don’t understand what I do or what it looks like. I get this question all the time, so I thought I’d just write about it here.
As the studio manager of Fig. 2 Design, I’m in charge of all things operations – things like filling wholesale and retail orders, managing inventory, communicating with clients + fielding inquiries, marketing campaigns, you name it. Our company is made of 2 people: me and my fabulous boss, Claudia, the designer behind it all. Our studio is cozy and just perfect for us, but that also means that we both wear every and all hats of the business. There’s no room for “that’s below my pay grade” or “I don’t have time for that”. We’re team players and the heart and soul of my job is to make her job easier so we can produce and release more products. My life at Fig. 2 also consists of being a second pair of eyes for Claudia. I’m not a designer by trade, but have an eye for it [though it's different than the Fig. 2 aesthetic] she trusts my judgment. We go over the designs together and I’m able to input my thoughts from what I think needs tweaking to sharing my instant favorites and suggesting what would be great to photograph together for marketing purposes. If you ask me, we’re one fine team and as my Instagrams + Tweets often suggest, I do love every day working for her.
So I spend 4 days of my week at Fig. 2 and the other day(s) I freelance. Translation: I work on side projects for various clients [mostly other freelancers/small business owners] and what I do depends on the client. Sometimes I’m loading up content for a new website launch or pulling inspiration for moodboards, other times I’m formatting company documents to have a cohesive look and branding. I assist at styled shoots and have done a few on my own just for kicks. Many of you know I moved originally to the DC/VA area to consider pursuing wedding planning full time, which I don’t intend on doing but I still coordinate weddings as a side gig. The schedule of the rest of my week is generally flexible and I do get to enjoy the luxury of camping out at coffee shops, but don’t be mistaken…the work still has to get done! And while having a “flexible” schedule can be nice, the freelance life is a lot about self-management and often never sleeps because the work follows you everywhere if you let it.
Whew! Now what if I said all that to you when we first met? Pretty sure you would’ve stopped listening two paragraphs ago, so I think I’ll stick with that first one-sentence bit.
[ photos by Vicki Grafton and Kimberly Chau, respectively ]
I love Pinterest, but there’s an overwhelming amount of fashion inspiration that can make it hard for me to filter through what’s truly wearable in the day to day and what’s just eye candy. Snag a look at my Pinterest fashion board. It’s great to pin a bunch of beautiful pictures and slowly curate your style visually, but it’s got to be functional and applicable if you want to come close to looking like your Pinterest board. So I decided to start a little series of fashion posts for Pinterest in practice where I’ll show you how I interpret the images I see online and bring them to life. Here we go, part one!
The leggings + long shirt to cover your tush combo has been very overdone, so I loved this idea of putting my summer denim shorts to good use in the fall/winter. Grab an old pair of jeans and a pair of scissors to make them jorts if you don’t already have a pair you like. I’ve also been acquiring various gold necklaces which make for great layering if they’re different lengths. Wear as many chains as you’d like!
I chose to accessorize with some gold pyramid studs [these are similar] and layered 2 necklaces: a monogram necklace from my dear brother [get one in rose gold if you prefer!] and another I got a while back from Anthropologie. My gray Bordeaux U-neck is a favorite that I wear all the time and I like to half-tuck it in to my denim shorts. Gray fleece-lined leggings are a must in the cold so I usually wear those underneath with some heeled boots.
Remember the ideas is to make what you see on Pinterest your own and repurpose your wardrobe instead of purchase. All of these items I already had in my closet and are pretty basic essentials to have [read: most of them are out of stock / from past seasons]. But if you’re in the shopping mood, here are some great alternatives to get this look:
/ options for layered necklaces:
(1) coiled hoop necklace (2) dainty giving key necklace (3) gildpath necklace (4) arrowstack necklace
/ similar to my top:
(1) Ryan pocket tee in charcoal (2) U-neck tee in black (3) linen crewneck tee
Hope you’re inspired to put your Pinterest into practice! Thanks a ‘mil to Long Cao for shooting this series in film.
Back to the reality of this weather. Here are some things that have been helping me survive this indecisive season. What are some winter essentials you keep with you?
1 / Harney and Sons Paris Tea is my personal favorite.
2 / C.O. Bigelow Chapped Hands Soap Free Cleanser is a little saving grace to have in my bathroom mirror.
3 / This Bulleit Bourbon is great for making hot toddies on blistering cold nights.
4 / Candles. The more the merrier. These Sydney Hale Co. candles are made in small batches right in Virginia and smell absolutely divine. I love that they come in different packaging depending on the scent.
5 / These Nap socks from Brookstone are a definite must-have. I wear ‘em in my boots and around the house.
6 / My newest discovery is the Aesop Reverence Aromatique Hand Balm that I’ve decided will be forever stocked in my purse.
I promise after this I’ll try to stop talking about the weather. It really is the most ridiculous winter of my life.
I’m so ready for warmer weather. Every week has been snowy and windy [rinse and repeat] and I’m just ready for Spring! Thank goodness the sun’s out today to melt away the snow that’s piled up from the past week. Anyone else over it, too? Love these gorgeous shots that make me want to escape to Cabo or Bali right about now. This winter has been brutal for my Southern + Singaporean self. I could go for a good dose of humidity and weather above 30 degrees. Get me outta here!
[ photos by Vicki Grafton ]
I hope everyone had a fantastic long weekend for Valentine’s and President’s Day! I was on quite the journey if you couldn’t tell from my Instagrams lately – lots of fun [and great food!] with a handful of my favorite people. But hey, I’m back in DC and bringing you a few things with a pinch of pink.
Clockwise from top left: Short Wool Jacket with Hood from Zara / Dior Addict Lip Glow via Garance Doré / this welcome basket via Martha Stewart Weddings / this pretty bedspread via Parris Chic Boutique
In a world full of driven go-getters just trying to get ahead and climb “the ladder” it’s easy to get tunnel vision and ignore your friends’ journeys and everyone around you. But I think the sweetest moments in life include seeing the people you love succeed, accomplish their goals, and overcome adversity. There’s been a lot of movement in the lives’ of those around me and it’s such a joy to celebrate them [I mean, there's no reason not to!].
So I hope you’ll take a few minutes today or this week to practice celebrating others when you hear their good news. No jumping to play the comparison game or instantly moping about the status of your life. Take them out for drinks, send them a card, give them a phone call, grab a bite at that place you’ve both been wanting to try. Just celebrate and live in their happy moment.
[ photo by Long Cao ]