lifestyle

BIRTHDAY HAUL

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1. Teakwood + Tobacco Soy Candle

Urban Outfitters

$20

On my birthday week, my friend Roberto came to my doorstep with the most beautifully wrapped present. It came in a black translucent box with black ribbon and black tissue paper. I was floored by the gift wrapping, alone, since he put so much thought and effort into reflecting my style. Inside was this soy candle that smelled amazing. I’m extremely picky with candles, so I was really impressed that he was able to get the scent on point. I typically strive for musky and natural smells, like pinewood and cedar, so teakwood and tobacco is a similar combination. As much as I liked the scent, once I lit the candle, I could barely smell a thing. It was pretty anticlimactic, since it’s so rare for me to find one that I actually like. I think this would be perfect for an intimate space, like a desk or bathroom. If you want it to fill up a large area, like a bedroom or living room, then you would need a cluster of 2 or 3. This taught me that you can never truly tell what a candle smells like, until you set it.

2. Ruby Woo Lipstick

MAC

$15.30

I am a very loyal MAC consumer when it comes to lipstick. My friend, Angela, brainwashed me with MAC Cosmetics in middle school, so I haven’t bought any other lipstick since. I love their matte selections, since they have so many rich and bold colors. Their lipstick also doesn’t smudge and lasts all day long. I only have to reapply it once, if at all, throughout the day. Their packaging is my other favorite part, since the lipstick comes in sleek black tubes. I have accumulated many MAC lipsticks, but I’ve never owned one of their classic red ones. I will be dying my hair bright red, next month, so I wanted to get a shade that will match.

3. TOWEL SET

Target

$41.24

You know you’re getting “old” when you ask for towels for your birthday. My house has a plethora of towels, but 95% of them are plain white ones. The only set that actually belongs to me is a black and grey tribal printed one. I bought it for college and have been using it for over 6 years. After interchanging between this and my mom’s old white towels, I thought it was time to switch it up and add another color. This blush set includes 2 washcloths, 2 hand towels, and 2 bath towels. It’s always a good feeling when you get something that’s not only useful, but will last for years to come.

4. SNORLAX PLUSH

Amazon

$19.99

I’ve been wanting a Snorlax plush for so, so long. I just never bought one because I struggled with my “want vs. need.” My friend, Emily, actually surprised me with this Snorlax on my birthday. It sparked me with so much joy, so I guess I needed it, after all. For 3 nights in a row, I snuggled with it, like a 5-year-old, and every time I look at it, it makes me happy. I didn’t think I was a stuffed animal person, but now I want an Umbreon, Totoro and Puppycat to complete my collection.

5. BOTTLE OPENER

Amazon

$12.99

I hardly drink beer, but a bottle opener is such an essential kitchen tool. If you ever have people over, there’s always bound to be someone asking for it. I stumbled upon this beaut on Pinterest and knew that I had to have it. I mean, cat-shaped AND gold? This bottle opener was basically made for me. My best friend, Ann, got it for my birthday, which was the perfect timing. I used it immediately to open a bottle of rose at my party.

xx

Dana

FEBRUARY THRIFT HAUL

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1. TREND BASICS SNEAKERS

Eco Thrift

$4.49

Several months ago, I had to toss out a similar pair of shoes because they were tearing apart. It was a shame, since the white was so easy to coordinate with. When I went to Eco Thrift, I saw several of this same style, but by different brands. I chose this pair, since they looked brand new, and I wear them almost every week, now.

2. NIKE SPORTS BRA

Poshmark

$7

I actually owned this exact same bra in a small, but I sold it because it was too tight. Even though I’m an A-cup in regular bras, I’ve learned that with sports bras, I have to size up. Otherwise, it’s just straight-up painful. The beauty of Poshmark is that I was able to sell my old one and buy a new one at a lower price. If you play your cards right, on Poshmark, you can save so much money.

3. GOLD BASKETS

H&M

$15.75

I’ve been wanting to rearrange my bedroom for so long, but I’ve put it off for over a year. I have this old brown cabinet that I want to sell, but it stored so much of my papers and supplies. My temporary solution is to use small baskets to clear out the drawers. I browsed on Pinterest and on many home goods websites. I even went to Target and Marshalls, but the only look I liked was this metallic one. Spending over $30 on two baskets sounds ridiculous, but this price was surprisingly the norm. I’ve always had a thing for gold-wired baskets, and this one can fit A LOT of crap.

4. MORAL FIBER CARDIGAN

Goodwill

$9.99

Every girl needs a basic cardigan that goes with everything, and I finally found mine. The charcoal matches with any color, and the material is so soft and comfortable. It has that special hand-feel that would make people want to cuddle with you.

5. NOBLE U DRESS

Eco Thrift

$6.57

This burnt orange dress will be perfect for the fall, especially with some knee-high boots. It gives a lot of coverage, but is very form-fitting. The tight silhouette really accentuates the curves and toosh. There’s also a caged cutout that’s supposed to be worn in front, but it looks just as good in the back, as well.

6. METHOD BODY WASH

Target

$6.29

This body wash smells so, so good. It’s a blend of coconut, rice milk, and shea butter, and it feels so nourishing against my skin. One small dab goes a long way, so I think this large bottle will last a year, if not more. Method is known for its natural and cruelty-free cleaning supplies, like dish soap and detergent. It only just begun producing body washes, and for all the eco-friendly qualities that its products have, the prices are extremely reasonable.

7. FOREVER 21 TRENCH COAT

Goodwill

$6.50

For a Forever 21 duster, this fabric feels really smooth and luxurious. It’s almost like a baby version of suede. Although this is a piece of outerwear, it’s very lightweight and has room for very thick layers. Because it’s so thin, it will be a nice transition piece for spring, since the weather will be less chilly, but still slightly rainy and windy.

8. WILD FABLE TUBE TOP

Poshmark

$5

As a fashion graduate, I’m always coming up with new outfit in my head. Last year, I thrifted a mesh jersey, on Poshmark, and thought that it would pair best with a black tube top. Tube tops are such classic staple pieces, but I’ve never owned a simple solid one, like this. This is a versatile item that can be turned into so many different looks.

9. SKORT

Eco Thrift

$3.19

The last time I owned a skort was probably in elementary school. I’d choose a skort over a skirt, any day, but it’s unfortunately a rare find. Based on the stitching and lack of labels, this one was definitely homemade. Its vibrant shade of red is what caught my eye, and this alone, will make it a really fun piece to style.

10. NIKE AIR FORCE 1

Goodwill

$9.99

These kicks were released in 2016, so the previous owner certainly put good wear into them. I was hesitant to buy them, at first, since the white had faded to beige. Even then, there are no prominent stains. Unless you held the shoes up to your face, you wouldn’t be able to tell that they are 3-years-old. These sneakers have the magic of making sweatpants look good, so I’m looking forward to wearing them on my lazy days.

11. FOREVER 21 BIKINI TOP

Poshmark

$9

I was contemplating on buying this bikini for Indonesia, last summer, but I regrettably chose not to. It quickly sold out, within a week, so I’ve been trying to find it on Poshmark, since. I finally saw a listing, this month, but the seller had a different sized top and bottom. I only bought the top, and I’m really loving its fit and color combination. Normally I don’t like color, but I’ve always had a soft spot for blush and mauve. Fingers crossed that I can somehow find the matching bottoms to this set.

xx

Dana

SEASON'S GREETINGS

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Growing up in an Asian American household, we never did Christmas cards. My dad always carried a camera, taking tons of pictures of us, but we never had a professional family portrait. This is a concept that my parents, along with many other Asian immigrants, aren't used to. Hiring a photographer and personalizing cards, every year, is a very excessive and obscure idea. 

It actually wasn’t until my parents immigrated here, that they started celebrating Christmas. Since it’s such a big holiday, in America, my mom wanted my brother and I to feel accustomed to the culture. Although my mom was Buddhist, she did this to bring happiness and inclusion to our family. It has been my favorite holiday, for as long as I can remember, and I look forward to it every year.

This is my first time doing Christmas cards, and I got to share this moment with Basic Invite. My boyfriend and I happened to meet during the holiday season, so this is the perfect way to cherish that memory. Basic Invite has over 500 holiday cards, so I was overwhelmed by the many choices. I gravitated towards the foil finishes, which is available in gold, silver and rose gold. Aside from foil, the main customizations they offer are over 40 envelope colors and over 180 graphic colors. Once you choose the card you want, you can edit the fonts and colors, in any way.

Other useful services they have are custom samples and an address capturing system. Before placing a large order, you can request a sample to see what the final design looks like. To make collecting names and addresses easier, you will be given a link that can be shared on any social platform. Your loved ones can fill out their information, if they wish, and the best part is that address printing is free for all Christmas orders.

Instead of using their customized shipping method, I chose to bulk order a small batch to my house. Even though the estimated delivery was three weeks, I received my order within ten days. The cards came professionally packaged in a tiny stuffed box. It even included a complimentary paper ornament with our photograph. The cards were beautiful, but the color and lighting of the pictures were off. It was slightly darker than what I submitted, but I decided to keep them, anyways. I didn’t want to wait another two weeks for a reprint, but the option is there, if you aren’t satisfied with the quality. Basic Invite has a “Love It Guarantee,” where they will issue a full refund or reprint the cards to meet your standards.

I’m always open to new experiences, so I wanted to give Christmas cards a try. Would I do it again? Meh, maybe every five years, or so. As festive and aesthetically pleasing as it is, I don’t see the point in having them, unless I’ve reached a new milestone. Once I get married or have kids, I’d definitely to do this again, but for now, I’ll lay low.

Although I’ve never understood holiday cards, this won’t tarnish my love for stationary. Basic Invite covers all sorts of events and announcements, like births, birthdays and weddings. Creating holiday cards might not be my thing, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy receiving and collecting them. If you’re a Christmas fanatic, who lives for these traditions, then I highly recommend Basic Invite. The customer service is extremely accommodating, the process is user-friendly and the designs are endless. The website walks you through every corner of the card, making sure that it’s everything you want.

xx

Dana

NOVEMBER THRIFT HAUL

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1. FOREVER 21 JUMPSUIT

Goodwill

$7.99

The short person struggle of finding a jumpsuit is too real. When I grabbed this from the rack, I anticipated disappointment, but it was surprisingly a perfect fit. According to my boyfriend, vertical stripes also make people appear taller. Whoever owned these, must’ve hemmed the legs because it wasn’t cropped online and there’s no way 5’2” is a standard height. This jumpsuit hugs all of the right places and the bare criss-crossed back is very flattering. It even has pockets, which I always appreciate. 

2. TURTLENECK

Poshmark

$7

It’s about time that I own a turtleneck, like this. I’ve been wanting a black mesh one for so long, but had no luck thrifting it, until now. Even though it’s thin and sheer, I’d still wear it on a winter night out. It can be layered, both over and underneath, with undershirts and outerwear. There’re also so many textures that can glam it up, like fur, leather, and metalware. Black can essentially go with anything, so the options are limitless. 

3. ROC RETINOL COREXXION EYE CREAM

Amazon

$15.09

I’m finally popping my eye cream cherry at 24. My mom would always use it and most of my friends swear by it. I was reluctant to add eye cream to my beauty routine, since it’s already expensive, as is. I’ve always had this terrible habit of rubbing my eyes and realized that my crows feet were becoming more prominent. This triggered me into getting eye cream and taking extra care of my skin. Before, I would always forget to moisturize my under eyes, since they’re such awkward and delicate areas. They used to be so dry and crusty, but now they look much brighter and healthier. I actually saw an immediate change and couldn’t stop stroking my under eyes, due to how smooth they’ve gotten.

4. KICKEE PANTS PAJAMA SET

Two Birdees

$41 (wholesale)

If you haven’t tried bamboo clothing, then you’re really missing out, especially if you have kids. I can’t stress, enough, how buttery soft and comfortable this material is. It melts on your skin and cools you down, which is a godsend for babies. My company carries, Kickee Pants, a bamboo clothing brand, that has a big cult following. They’re best known for baby and kids’ pajamas, but also produce a small selection of adult clothes. Because of their eco-friendly manufacturing process, the prices are much steeper. For many moms, the benefits outweigh the costs, since bamboo is so soothing for sensitive skin. Before working at Two Birdees, I was completely unaware of this fiber, but now I want it in every product category, possible. If only adult-sized bamboo pillowcases and bedsheets existed, I’d totally splurge. Everyone wants to feel the utmost comfort, at home, so why not invest in high quality sleepwear? Aside from underwear, these are probably the most religiously worn garments in our closet.

5. ZARA SKIRT

Goodwill

$4.99

This isn’t a style I would typically gear towards, but I thought it would be useful for Halloween, one year. Bright, poofy and glittery are the main ingredients for a fairy or princess costume. It will probably come in good use for other holidays and special occasions, as well. This is a dressy skirt that can elevate any look and match with any color. 

6. WTF PLANNER

Hadron Epoch

$22.50

It’s November, which means the year is almost finished, along with my planner. I’ve always preferred writing down dates and plans, instead of typing them onto my phone or computer. This way, I retain the information better. It’s also very satisfying when I fill up every page and get a fresh start at the beginning of each year. Similar to the idea of a journal, I love being able to look back on old memories and accomplishments. For next year, I chose a simple grey planner that looks like a classic library book. It has everything I need and then some. What I look for, in a planner, are both monthly and weekly sections. I use the monthly calendar for main events and special occasions, and the weekly pages are for my daily schedule. The special thing about this planner is that it has a financial planning organizer. I’ve been using Google Sheets for budgeting, so it’ll be convenient to have one designated place for all record keeping. The cutest perks, of all, are the checklists for “Places to Go” and “Movies & TV Shows to Watch.” This must be every Type A’s dream.

7. GOJANE JERSEY

Poshmark

$5

I must admit, I bought this jersey just so I could wear it to Disneyland, one day. Being that it’s located in Los Angeles, I thought it would be fitting to wear this, there. I even own black mouse ears to go with it. The mesh material is incredibly breathable, which will be beneficial against LA’s heat. With a black tube top and denim shorts, I’ll be ready to walk in the sun, all day.

8. GAP VEST

Goodwill

$3.99

I’m always surprised when I thrift sportswear, in mint condition, especially if it’s white. This crisp and clean vest, I found, is entirely spotless. It has mesh, low-cut armholes that has just the right amount of “peek-a-boo.” My black Nike sports bra, in contrast with this stark white vest, would create the ideal sporty look. It’s sleek, modern and monochrome.

9. LOU & GREY T-SHIRT DRESS

Goodwill

$6.99

The minimal stripes are what caught my eye, but the touch of the fabric is what sold me. Lou & Grey is a women’s clothing brand that prides itself on softness. Their “soft” is quite different from Kickee Pants “soft,” though. Kickee Pants is made entirely from bamboo, which has a smooth and cool texture. The Lou & Grey dress I bought is a rayon and spandex blend, which feels heavier, yet cozier than bamboo. It’s actually one size too big, for me, so I plan on wearing it as a nightdress.

10. KICKEE PANTS BOXERS

Two Birdees

$10 (wholesale)

Men’s boxers are the best alternative for pajama shorts. Not only do I like boxer prints and colors more, but the prices are also significantly lower. I don’t normally like colorful products, but I couldn’t resist this beautiful koinobori print, by Kickee Pants. The design is like a work of art, and the color palette gives me a retro 60s vibe. My boss actually gave me a KP pajama set, a year ago, and it instantly became my favorite. I always find myself reaching for those pajama shorts, first. As I mentioned before, nothing can compete with the comfort of bamboo fabric. I can only imagine these boxers being just as loose and weightless, if not more, because of its baggy silhouette.

xx

Dana

SEPTEMBER THRIFT HAUL

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New flea market and thrift store recommendations are always welcome. Last month, I took on Dublin’s Savers and Walnut Creek’s Goodwill. It’s been years, since I’ve branched out from my local Goodwill, and there was never a comparable location, until now. Affluent cities have the best assortment of secondhand goods, and Walnut Creek is one of them. Unlike Goodwill, Savers is a chain I’m not familiar with, and it has a more “consignment” vibe. Everything is much more organized, but it’s also slightly pricier. It isn’t trend driven, like Crossroads or Buffalo Exchange, but it has a high quality standard. I didn’t buy much in September, but three new shoes, in one day, is definitely a my record. 

1. MERONA DRESS 

Goodwill

$6.99

The main purpose of this thrifting trip was to shop for my Halloween costume. One of the items I needed was a navy sleeveless minidress. Goodwill’s dress section was right near the entrance, so this was easily done in less than 15 minutes. I chose this lightly embellished dress that will also be great for summertime. It’s always my goal to find wearable, everyday clothes that can double as my costume. This saves me a lot of money and prevents me from having buyer’s remorse.

2. MINNETONKA MOCCASINS  

Goodwill

$2.99

Moccasins are one of those styles I always see and admire, but have never possessed. With a suede shell and sheepskin lining, these Minnetonka’s not only look, but feel expensive. $55 may be an average shoe price, but these are just slippers. It has become the norm to wear slippers, as regular shoes, but I could never bring myself to get these dirty. Walking in them, is like stepping on clouds, and the materials are very fragile. If it wasn’t for thrifting, I probably would have never bought these. Slippers are a luxury I mainly thrift, since they make life more comfortable, but aren’t a necessity.

3. CRISTINA USA DRESS

Goodwill

$6.99

This is one of those dresses that look questionable on the hanger, but great on the body. It has cutouts that hit all of the right places, and its black color is very flattering. The fabric is made of a poly spandex blend that’s both stretchy and breathable. This dress may look busy, with its many unique qualities, but it’s one of the most low-maintenance ones that I own. Its ease and comfort makes it the ideal going-out dress.

4. IVY + MAIN SWEATER

Savers

$12.99

I’ve always wanted a sweater with a cutout back. They remind me of elegant ballet cover-ups and make winter outfits more fun and sexy. In sweater weather, we usually have to bundle up in thick layers and rarely get to expose some skin. Designs, like this, add some visual interest and keep me warm, but not sweaty, beneath my outerwear.

5. ADIDAS SNEAKERS

Savers

$15.99

I only own one other pair of running shoes, but they unfortunately have bad traction. These Adidas have much better grip and are more suitable for hikes and runs. They are actually men’s sneakers that originally cost $140, but I got lucky with the price and size. I normally buy neutral-colored sneakers, like black and grey, but I’m more spontaneous when thrifting, since it’s so affordable.

6. UNISA MULES

Goodwill

$8.99

I was drawn to these for two reasons. One, they looked like painless heels, and two, I’m really feeling muted neutrals, right now. Mules were my mom’s go-to shoes, but I’ve never owned a pair, myself. I like how these effortlessly slide on and can match with nearly anything. They may be simple shoes, but they can elevate any look.

xx

Dana

JUNE HAUL

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1. CALVIN KLEIN BRA

Poshmark

$9

This basic bra was selling for $28, but I luckily found it, on Poshmark, for a third of that price. I never see this black on black version and was very excited when I saw it. I’m used to seeing the ones, with white elastic bands, circulating the internet. With my wardrobe, the more black, the better, so this was an easy selection. Although it’s a bralette, this won’t stop be from wearing it out, with a sheer top or set of overalls.

 

2. LAVENDER VIDA LOCA SOAP

LUSH

$7.95

I got this soap bar as a free sample with my purchase. For the past month, I have been taking a break from body wash, to use it. I have had LUSH samples, before, but not in this generous amount. The employees cut me a chunk of soap that has lasted me, weeks. I was never a big lavender lover, but this has a very settle and soothing scent. It may not have a creamy, hydrating formula, but it gets the job done. Most organic, hand-made products lack that nourishing lather that many of us are accustomed to. This is a likely compromise if you want something healthier for the environment and your skin.

 

3. REBELS REFINERY LIP BALM SET

Target

$9.99

Having dry lips is such an irritating feeling, so I can not leave the house without chapstick. I was running low on lip balm, and I wanted to try this skull-shaped one I saw on Facebook. Its packaging really reflects my style, since I am obsessed with skulls and the color, black. I got the three-pack, which comes with a mint, vanilla, and passion fruit flavor. They all smell good, but passion fruit was, by far, the most unique and refreshing scent. This set will probably last an entire year, and I can even use it as home decor, once the lip balm runs out.

 

4. AERIE ONE-PIECE SWIMSUIT

Poshmark

$18

I have been looking for a classic black bodysuit for so long. There are many different variations, so it was hard for me to find this exact silhouette, at an affordable price. This is actually a bathing suit, but I will mainly be wearing it as a bodysuit. It has a deep, low-cut back, along with plunged armholes that reveal a little side boob. This piece is very versatile, and I can’t wait to pair it with different styles, like maxi skirts or high-waisted denim shorts.

 

5. R+CO DRY SHAMPOO

Neiman Marcus

$17 (Travel Size)

Now that I'm blond, I wash my hair every two days, instead of every other day. The bleach has dried it up, which makes the shampooing and brushing process really tedious. The only time I ever tried dry shampoo was when I was in middle or high school. Not only did I use a cheap Walmart brand, but I did not apply it properly, either. This defeated its purpose and made my hair even greasier than before. I heard about R+Co’s dry shampoo from my favorite YouTuber, Jenn Im. She raved about how it absorbs oil really well and does not leave any white powdery casts. This review, along with the bottle’s beautiful packaging, convinced me to give dry shampoo a second chance. So far, I have used it, once, on day two hair. The formula removed any sign of oiliness and kept my scalp itch-free. Normally, my head gets really itchy, at this point, but the spray prevented any usual discomfort and irritation.

 

6. ENZO ANGIOLINI PLATFORMS

Goodwill

$8.99

I like Doc Marten’s infamous platforms, but certainly not its price point. I have always wanted shoes that resemble Creepers, so this cheap, toned down pair will do. They add extra height with zero ounces of pain and match nearly any outfit.

 

7. MARBLE-PRINT BEACH TOWEL

Society6

$29.24

I have had the same beach towel for six years, so it was time for an upgrade. Spending $30 on a towel may sound crazy, but I put that shit into good use. Summer calls for more poolsides, beaches, and traveling. I saw this while Googling “beach towel graphics,” for work, and was in awe. I love its color palette, marble textures, and geometric shapes. I have always had a radar on Society6, but was overwhelmed by its endless pages of graphics. The website has a plethora of unique prints by independent artists. Anyone can create an account and upload their work. Their designs can then be printed onto anything, from mugs and posters to bedding and cell phone covers. This is a great way to discover new art and to support talented people.

 

8. MOSSIMO LACE-UP FLATS

Goodwill

$8.99

I had a black pair of flats, just like these, but they were entirely ruined by sand and water. My boyfriend has this habit of taking me places at short notice. This leaves me poorly dressed for the occasion, and for this particular incident, he had us rock climbing along the beach. We live a bridge apart from each other, so if he doesn’t tell me what we’re doing over the weekend, I can’t just go home and grab different clothes. Suede lace-up flats are definitely not ideal for the beach, but at least I found a brown version, at Goodwill. This saved me from spending another $30 on the original GAP ones.

 

9. BUNNY EYESHADE

Miniso

gift

My boss went on a business trip to Shanghai and brought me back this soft, fuzzy eye mask. This has been on my shopping list, for a while, but all of the ones I liked were unavailable. I normally use these when I’m waken up by early lawnmowers or garbage trucks, throughout the week. Once I wake up during daylight, even at 6 or 7am, I have trouble falling back asleep. I’m super sensitive to light and sound, and the blinds in my bedroom are also broken. This mask has saved me a lot of sleep, and it will be very useful for traveling, as well.

 

10. THERMOFLASK WATER BOTTLE

Cosco

$24.99 (2-Pack)

For two years I had been using a large Voss bottle as my refillable water bottle. It worked, but the glass was very clunky and fragile. My brother bought us these 40 oz hydro flasks, since Cosco was selling two for $24.99. I drink a lot of water and would drink one to two refills of the Voss container, a day. My new flask is nearly double its size, so this encourages me to drink even more water than usual. I have never owned a stainless steal bottle, so it’s also been a luxury having long lasting cold water.

xx

Dana

 

FADED

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Going from black to blond hair is not easy. Believe me, I have had my share of fuck-ups. On both attempts of going lavender, my hair turned blue because it was not platinum enough. I love experimenting with color, but before going for round three of pastels, I wanted to perfect blond, first. It took me two sessions to achieve this shade, but there are still touch-ups that need to be done. This is my transition from brunette to blond, along with what hair routine works for me.

 

 

PHASE I

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Last summer, I dyed my hair dark brown and continued lightening it, using Sun-In hairspray. This is what it looked like hours before my first appointment.

 

 

PHASE II

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The first session took 5.5 hours, and three were dedicated to bleaching. After the foil started heating up, my stylist shampooed my hair with No Yellow Fanola. This turned the brassy color into a dirty, ash blond. She then applied toner to reduce any unevenness. There was a thirty minute wait, followed by a second set of shampoo and conditioning. She left my roots unbleached, since I wanted them to gradually blend to blond. This will save me from needing any touch ups, once they grow.

 

I did like the finished look, but it had zero resemblance to the picture I sent. Instead of an overall blond, I had a series of highlights. I wanted to trust my stylist’s judgement, and I knew that first sessions were never flawless. Even though I prefer having a grey tone over a golden one, I still expected the blond to be more prominent. The color was also uneven, but that’s typically the case in the beginning.

 

 

PHASE III

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Three months later, I finally booked my second appointment. I wanted to get this done much earlier, but my schedule didn’t line up with my stylist’s. She repeated the same exact steps, but this time it took 4.5 hours. I’m very satisfied with the result, but my roots still need to be toned. Right now, the top portion is brassy, but a few washes with purple shampoo should fix this. The most important thing is that my hair isn’t dead and still looks healthy.

 

 

GOING BLOND // DO'S AND DON'TS

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RESEARCH

Choosing the right stylist is critical, especially with Asian hair. I don’t recommend going to a white salon because the employees are probably not as familiar with dying black hair. Ours is much trickier to work with than blonds’ and brunettes’. I was referred to, Lan, by my friend, Angela. Her pricing is more affordable than other colorists’, who also specialize in Asian hair. In the Bay Area, there are many options in San Jose, but most of those stylists charge over $400 for one session. This is more than what I paid for both of mine, combined. I went to Precision 8, in San Anselmo, which is in Marin County. If you schedule an appointment, here, be sure to contact Lan, for coloring, since that’s her expertise.

 

PATIENCE

In the past, I found ways to squeeze a long and expensive process into one to two sessions. Consequently, I chose damaged hair over a damaged wallet. When going blond, you must accept the fact that it can’t happen in one day. For the first few weeks you will have to endure orange or yellow brassiness. Take this time to moisturize and condition your hair before bleaching it, again. The first time I bleached mine, I tried going lavender in one sitting. Not only was this unhealthy, but it was impossible, to begin with. After baking my hair for over ten hours, it turned extremely slimy, and I lost a lot of strands, that day. Those that remained, completely fried up. This is what happens if you rush the many stages, so don’t make the same mistake I did.

 

CONDITION

I’m sure there are fancy conditioners designed for dyed hair, but my priority is just to condition. I don’t think it matters which brand you buy, as long as you use it after every wash. When I have lightened hair, I apply a little more, and I let it stay longer than usual. The bleach will dry up your hair, so it’s essential to nourish it, as much as possible.

 

NO YELLOW FANOLA

In order to avoid brassy hair, I use No Yellow Fanola shampoo, just like my stylist did. Fanola is a pricey brand, but its hair products really work. As the name suggests, it prevents yellow tints by using cool tones to lift your color. The shampoo is a deep violet and is ideal for grey, blond, and purple hair. Similar to conditioner, the product should sit in your hair for five to ten minutes before being rinsed. I like to mix a drop of the purple shampoo with regular shampoo. The purple shampoo, alone, does not have that hydrating, foamy lather.

 

HAIR TREATMENT

I use Biosilk’s Silk Therapy to soften my hair, since bleach causes knots, split ends, and course hair. This treatment makes brushing a lot easier, since the oil helps loosen tangles. After showering, I rub a nickel-sized amount into my ends, and it leaves my hair with a really nice scent. This brand can be found nearly anywhere, including CVS, Ulta, Amazon, and Marshalls.

 

 

+ Hoop Earrings | Claire’s

+ Stud Earrings | Old Navy

+ Crop Top | Forever 21

+ Sweatpants | Missguided

 

 

xx

Dana

APRIL HAUL

APRIL HAUL.jpg

 

1. ABOUND MIDI SKIRT

Goodwill

$6.99

This skirt is made of stretchy spandex, with a layer of shimmery gold. The material is smooth and soothing against my skin, and the A-line silhouette is very flattering for my petit body. The high waist and midi-length makes my short self feel slightly thinner and taller. With its pleats and metallic sheen, this piece possesses a lot of elegance. 

 

2. SOPRANO SKIRT

Goodwill

$4.99

I own very few “going out” skirts, so this purchase will be put into good use. Mesh is one of my favorite materials, and I love the shape that it creates here. The dramatic pleats sets these bottoms apart from most ordinary black skirts.

 

3. BLOOD ORANGE CANDLE

Target

$9.99

Last winter, my boyfriend and I couch surfed at my friend’s apartment, in Los Angeles. In the morning, we woke up to the sweet and fruity smell of this blood orange candle. It’s always a challenge for me to find candles that I really like. This was immediately added to my shopping list, but my friend, Emily, ended up getting it for my birthday. I typically burn it, at night, when I’m doing a light workout or am winding down before bed.

 

4. LUSH SHORTS

Goodwill

$4.99

I always prefer clothes that look trendy, but are comfy and easy to wear. These floral shorts look best, high-waisted, with a crop top or a tucked-in shirt. They have an elastic waistband, so they slip on and off effortlessly. The stretchiness makes them very forgiving on food babies, and they're a refreshing break from tight denim shorts.

 

5. REFLECTIVE SUNGLASSES

lost and found

$0

My boyfriend, Adam, works at Century Theatres, and spotted these in the lost and found. He is in charge of this department, so he just gave the sunglasses to me. All of the ones I own happen to have mirror lenses. It’s not a choice I consciously make, but I do like how they completely shield my eyes. People say that eyes are the window to your soul, and as an introvert, I’d like to remain a mystery to most. 

 

6. SELFIE LESLIE MAXI DRESS

Goodwill

$6.99

Florals and pastels are heavily associated with weddings, so this dress is fit for the occasion. What’s special about its peony print is the watercolor-like design. This, along with the cut of the gown, adds a lot of romantic elements. It may reveal a little bit of skin, but in a very tasteful way. The high slit exposes one leg, while the neckline bares the shoulders. This thrift find came at the right moment, since I just received a wedding invitation, this week.

 

7. FRANCESCA'S MAXI DRESS

Goodwill

$6.99

I don’t normally do bold colors, but red has always been an exception. It’s a very sexy and striking color, even in this red-orange hue. This is an airy and lightweight dress that’s perfect for summer. Its back is entirely exposed, aside from a pair of criss-cross straps. A black leather jacket would accentuate the embroidery and really tie the look together.

 

8. CLEMENTINE KIDS SWADDLE

Two Birdees

$9

I already bought a Clementine Kids swaddle, last month, but I couldn't resist these colors. This is the company’s signature design, and it tends to sell out quickly. The print is very quirky, and I like how the mint and moss leaves compliment the bright orange. I thought this would look great as a beach or picnic blanket, so I’m looking forward to using this in the summer.

 

9. DEAD SEA MUD MASK

Amazon

$13.95

To remove impurities and keep my skin feeling soft, I use mud masks, once a week. All the masks I’ve used until now, had a 30-minute wait before rinsing. This one has a very creamy formula, and only takes a 10-minute wait and a light lather to wash off. Its other perks, include reducing pores and removing excess oil. The reason why I choose mud masks over sheet masks is because it lasts for months and produces less trash. In the long run, this will benefit both my wallet and the environment.

 

10. STILA MOLTEN MIDNIGHT EYESHADOW

Sephora

$24

I usually wear eyeshadow only for special events, like formals and weddings. After seeing YouTuber, Sophia Chang, demonstrate this product, I really wanted to try it. This liquid eyeshadow has a cotton swab applicator, just like lipgloss. I adore its sleek packaging, and unlike most glittery make up, these sparkles have minimal fallout. Emily knew that I wanted this, so it was part two of her birthday present, for me!

 

11. VSS DISPOSABLE WEED PEN

lost and found

$0

This is another lost and found article that I inevitably took. Adam cleaned it with alcohol wipes, so I won’t be catching any deadly diseases. Weed tends to make me drowsy, so I thought that getting a pen would help me fall asleep. I have to get up at 8am on weekdays, but my inner night owl has me tossing around. Adam already owns two pens, and this one basically has my name engraved on it. For one, it's made in my favorite color, and two, it says “BB” on the bottom. This actually stands for BBTank, but it’s also what Adam likes to call me. 

 

12. DOLLS KILL OVERALL DRESS

Goodwill

$6.99

The holographic leather is what caught my eye, but once I saw the Dolls Kill hang tag, I was sold. This is an overall dress with harness-like straps and metal hardware. It’s a bold statement piece that I would wear to a club, concert, or music festival. I have never seen anything like it, and I'm just waiting for any excuse to wear it.

 

13. ON THE BYAS JERSEY

Goodwill

$4.99

This jersey is from a men’s line that's sold at PacSun. It’s a size small, but fits like an oversized dress, on me. All of the cool tones work beautifully together, and I was very impressed with the quality. PacSun does not strike me as a premium store, so I did not expect to see this much attention to detail. Everything, down to the labels, was executed flawlessly. You know it’s a high quality garment, when even the labels look and feel luxurious.

 

14. LAUNDRY BAG

H&M

$17.99 

Ever since I moved in with my brother, I have been extremely spoiled. I was always babied growing up, and did not have to worry about cooking or cleaning, until I went to college. As soon as I moved back home, the same cycle persisted. My brother kept cooking dinner, cleaning the house, and even doing my laundry. We shared the same laundry basket, but have very different routines. In college, I would do my laundry every other week. This was the amount of time it took for my basket to fill up or for me to run out of underwear. My brother is the complete opposite, and often does laundry twice a week. I figured that buying my own laundry bag would force me to do laundry, and so far, it's been a success.

 

15. MISSGUIDED FISHNET BIKINI

Poshmark

$28

A fellow Drexel alum posted this on her blog, which lead me to an impulsive shopping moment. The suit was sold out on Missguided, so my last resort was Poshmark. The chances of finding the same suit in my size are slim, but luck was on my side. Everything was brand new, but the seller had sold the fishnet briefs, separately. All I got was the fishnet bikini top and thong bottoms. After days of searching the internet, I finally found an exact version, on Shein, to complete my set. 

 

 

xx

Dana

MARCH BIRTHDAY HAUL

BIRTHDAY HAUL.jpg

 

1. CLEMENTINE KIDS ZOOLOGY SWADDLE

Two Birdees

$9

I work at an organic, online kidswear company, called Two Birdees. We carry over 30 brands, and sell clothing, accessories, and toys. There are certain brands we have that make such cute prints, I wish they would design clothes in my size, too. Clementine Kids is the newest addition to our family, and they sell swaddles, which are basically baby blankets. They have so many beautiful, quirky prints, that I couldn’t resist buying one. I am planning on wearing it as a scarf or using it as home decor. One of the perks of being an employee is that I get to buy products at wholesale price, so it was 50% off.

 

2. ROSE GOLD HANGERS (30-PACK)

Amazon

$32.90

I have been using these hangers for years, but my brother got me more for my birthday. They were much needed because every time I plan an outfit, I end up piling my clothes onto “that one chair.” I have been using a dresser to store most of my wardrobe, but folded clothes quickly turn into a tossed-around mess. I am slowly switching everything to hangers, since it eliminates wrinkles and makes finding things so much easier.

 

3. MACRAME HANGING PLANTER

Amazon

$16.98

My boyfriend got me a Christmas Cactus last year, for Valentine’s Day, and it has begun blooming. Its branches can grow super long, depending on the size of its pot. Because it’s so unpredictable, I wanted to hang it from my ceiling, so that it can bloom, freely. I got this simple planter in a medium, but it comes in various sizes and styles on Amazon.

 

4. NUDE OFF-THE-SHOULDER SWEATSHIRT

Poshmark

$7

I love it when designers tweak basic staple pieces by adding a new, refreshing quality. All of the sweatshirts I own have an unusual twist, and this one has a single shoulder strap. The silhouette is off-the-shoulder, which slightly reveals my tattoo. It’s always nice getting to show off a little skin and ink. 

 

5. SETTLERS OF CATAN EXTENSION PACK

Amazon

$25.60

My friends and I often have game nights, and Settlers of Catan is one of our go-to's. We all wanted an extension pack, so my best friend, Ann, got me the Explorers and Pirates one, as a birthday present. I really enjoy strategy games, so I will definitely continue to build my collection and buy other extension packs.

 

6. URBAN OUTFITTERS LACE-UP SHIRT

Poshmark 

$6

I specially bought this shirt for my birthday, but I have been looking for something like it, for a while. Lace-up and cut-out clothes are two of my favorite styles. This top was listed at $8, on Poshmark, which is cheap as is. The seller then offered me an additional discount, and sold it at $6. With that money, I could probably just afford an accessory at Urban Outfitters, so this was such a good deal.

 

7. FENTY BEAUTY TROPHY WIFE HIGHLIGHTER

Sephora

$34

I only wear make up when I go out, and this consists of eyeliner, concealer, and lipstick. I don’t know jack about make up trends, so I never add anything extra, like contour or highlighter. After seeing raving reviews and pictures of Rihanna’s gold highlighter, I was convinced to change things up. I wanted that extra glow, and Ann treated me, once again, by getting this for my birthday.

 

8. CAT DISPOSABLE CAMERA

Urban Outfitters

Gift

All of my friends know that I am a crazy cat lady, so it’s inevitable that I would get something cat-related. My friend, Tony, gifted me this camera that comes with different cat graphics on each frame. The last time I used a disposable camera was either in elementary or middle school. Lately, I have been using my polaroid or Shutterfly account to print photographs. This is such a sweet and nostalgic present, and I am kind of intimated to use it. Hopefully I won’t waste any frames on bad pictures…

 

9. BRA(LETTE)

Poshmark

$13

I am all about freeing the nipple and refuse to wear a bra the majority of the time. Now that I have a full-time job, it would unfortunately be “unprofessional” for me to go braless. Most of my bras were extremely worn out, so I was left with a lot of bralettes. The best part about this bra is that it comes with removable pads. It has the appearance of a bralette, but can be worn as a regular, padded bra, when necessary. After surviving on pasties for months, this has become my new it-bra.

 

10. SEAMLESS UNDIES

UNIQLO

$7.50

I have finally found an alternative to thongs. Thanks to YouTuber, Weylie, I discovered that thongs are not the only option for hiding underwear lines. UNIQLO’s AIRism underwear are so thin, that no lines are visible. They are extremely stretchy and comfortable, and I hope that the company will produce more colors.

 

 

xx

Dana

SEPTEMBER HAUL

September Haul.jpg

 

1. CHRISTMAS LEGGINGS

Goodwill

$4.99

These velvet leggings are the softest pants I own. Not only is it stretchy and comfortable, but its tight fit is also very flattering. The Christmas pattern creates an optical illusion, and makes my booty look curvier, which I ain’t complaining about. I appreciate how the pattern speaks for itself and doesn’t go overboard with typical Holiday colors.

 

2. DISTRESSED SWEATSHIRT

Poshmark

$0

This was a long-awaited wish list item that luckily cost me nothing. Ever since I saw Off-White’s distressed sweatshirt, I’ve been looking for an affordable one that resembles it. I found a similar version, on Poshmark, and exchanged it with one of my bodysuits. I’m really into distressed clothes, and this will definitely be one of my go-to for lazy days. It’s effortless and comfy, but still makes a statement.

 

3. BODY CHAIN

Poshmark

$7

A body chain is the perfect piece to spruce up any simple outfit, like a t-shirt and jeans combo. I wear it over plain tops and dresses, whenever I want to add some more edge. Since it’s so delicate and minimal, it can be layered with other necklaces, as well.

 

4. FOREVER 21 BODYSUIT

Goodwill

$5.99

I found this bodysuit, brand new, at Goodwill. The neckline is more low-cut than pictured, but the straps prevent nip slips, while creating a sexy caged effect. Because this piece is so daring, I save it for nights out at a bar, club, or party. 

 

5. DARK ANGELS EXFOLIATOR

LUSH

$14.95

I’ve been in the market for a good exfoliator, and this product was on my radar for quite some time. I’m a big fan of LUSH because of its ethically-made products and environmentally friendly packaging. I also like the brand's overall aesthetic and quality. Due to my oily skin, this charcoal-infused product helps reduce my oil. I use this, once a week, to deep clean my face and to remove dead skin cells on areas prone to ingrown hair.

 

6. NO. 7 BEAUTY SET

Ulta

$45

My daily beauty routine consists of a cleanser, day cream, and night cream. Like all my other face products, this set is also designed for oily skin. | instantly liked this cleanser more than my previous Botanics one, since the foam has more moisture. This makes it much easier to spread and lather. I enjoy the floral scent of the cleanser and day cream, but the night cream smells like Chanel fragrances, which I’m not a fan of. Once I let the cream sink in, the smell isn’t as powerful, though. So far, I like the cleanser, but I’m still unsure about the face creams. I’ve only used them for two weeks, so I wonder if the Fall weather is drying up my skin, or if the creams extract oil, more than they moisturize.

 

 

xx

Dana

 

BAD + BOUGIE

IMG_8376.JPG

 

You can still be bad and bougie if you can’t afford For Love and Lemons or Agent Provocateur lingerie. Lingerie is probably the last thing most women would consider thrifting, but great quality, condition, and labels do exist at thrift stores. I’ve thrifted all sorts of intimates, from bras and nightgowns to robes and slippers. The only thing I never thrift is underwear and for obvious reasons. Although I can’t expect what to find while thrifting, depending on what I’m looking for, I use these three resources to hunt for lingerie.

There will always be better quality and designers at consignment stores, since all merchandise is inspected and pre-selected. Buffalo Exchange is where I normally find nightgowns from trendy brands, like Free People and Urban Outfitters. I bought my Free People nightgown at Buffalo during Halloween, since it typically blends lingerie into the costume section. There’s always a plethora of kinky finds, like fishnets, corsets, and garters, throughout this season.

If I’m shopping for bras, then I use the app, Poshmark, since bras are rarely sold in thrift stores, let alone ones that fit perfectly. Similar to eBay, clothing categories can be narrowed down to specifics, like size, color, and condition. Another convenient feature is being able to trade items, instead of purchasing them. This is actually how I got my black aerie bandeau. I swapped it with a lipstick that I never wore. With bras being so expensive these days, online thrifting is another way to find cute and affordable bras.

When it comes to regular thrift stores, like Goodwill and Salvation Army, it all results to luck. The chance of discovering spotless, high-end lingerie is much slimmer, but it isn’t impossible. After all, I snagged my Christian Dior robe for about $10 at Goodwill. Dior has stopped producing lingerie for years, so I was surprised to find this vintage piece in mint condition. Without thrift shopping there’s no way I could own valuable gems, like this.

Lingerie is definitely a luxury that many girls want, but can’t afford. It’s funny how something so thin and fragile can cost so much money. This is why thrift shopping is a great alternative for purchasing lingerie. It makes sense to invest in regular everyday clothes, rather than garments that rarely anyone sees, but thrifting has eliminated this dilemma for me. I never have to compensate one for the other. I can still shop for both, while saving an immense amount of money.

 

Choker | Forever 21

Robe | Dior (Goodwill)

Bralette | aerie (Poshmark)

Undies | Forever 21

Slippers | Donna Salyers' Fabulous Furs (hand-me-down)

Nightgown | Free People (Buffalo Exchange)

 

Photography | Adam Redfield

 

xx

Dana

FELT LIKE SUMMER

 

Last weekend my friends and I planned a last-minute road trip to Southern California. This was my first time doing a SoCal trip with friends and actually getting to explore San Diego and Los Angeles. As a kid I traveled south to go to Disneyland or visit family, but I never got to shop, go to beaches, or do site seeing. The main focus of this trip was beautiful views and lots and lots of good food.

The hills and beaches in SoCal are so breathtaking, and one of the highlights of San Diego was catching the sunset on a Torrey Pines cliff. I wish we had an actual hike or beach day there, but due to limited time, we just drove to the top of the hill. The other San Diego beach we visited was La Jolla Beach, which was in an affluent neighborhood surrounded by trendy shops and tasty eateries. 

For day two we drove up to LA and spent most of the day at Venice Beach. While La Jolla had many high-end shops, like Ralph Lauren and White House Black Market, Venice had unique art stores and fashion labels. The atmosphere also felt more young and vibrant, since it was filled with music, graffiti, and street artists. Unfortunately, we had to leave mid-day for the long drive back, so we only got to walk the beach and drive through the shopping strip.

It was bittersweet that the trip only lasted two days, but the 20 hours of driving was well worth it. We jam-packed as many people and places into our schedule as possible, so it was a very fulfilling trip. We caught up with many old high school friends, and I also got to meet some of my friend’s San Jose State friends. Most importantly, we ate a lot during our stay, and I was not disappointed by any of the food we tried. In case you need help planning a SoCal getaway, below is a list I compiled of all the cafes and restaurants we visited.

-

SAN DIEGO

Tacos el Gordo – You can’t go wrong with authentic Mexican food. If you need something cheap and fast, then I highly recommend going here. This restaurant is popular for its wide selection of tacos. Depending on the day, it’s open until 2 or 4am, so it’s perfect for midnight munchies.

Bobboi Natural Gelato – This gelato shop is on a strip along La Jolla Beach. It’s a mom and pop store that sells unusual, organic flavors, like cacti, rosewater, and vanilla charcoal. The shop has rustic vibes with wood, cacti, and chalkboard decorations, and there is also nice outdoor seating.

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters – Here I ordered the iced latte and tried some of my friend’s cold brew. Unlike some other coffee shops, like Starbucks and Peets, this place sells quality coffee that isn’t overly sweet or watered down. The store has plenty of space for getting work done, and there is a lot of interesting artwork along the walls.

Kogi BBQ – Like all Korean barbecue joints, this stuff will fill you up, so come with an empty stomach. Also make sure to go with someone who knows their shit because I had no idea how to order or prepare the meat. I’m not a huge meat eater, but their meat was so fresh and juicy. Even their side dishes, like egg soup and cheesy corn, were really good.

Kung Fu Tea – Most bubble tea places I go to don’t have a public restroom or a lot of seating, but this place has both. This is a good hangout spot for friends, since it has a bunch of tables that can seat large groups of people. The menu also has so many flavors to choose from, so there’s always something new to try.

 

LOS ANGELES

Café Collage – This is a small café one block away from Venice Beach. The dark roast cold brew was the only thing I tried, but it was definitely one of the best cold brews I’ve ever had. Although I didn't order any food, there was a lot of sandwich and salad options, and their pastry cases were filled with gourmet desserts. 

 

Photography | John Tran + Dana Nguyen

 

xx

Dana

STEP INTO MY WORLD

One’s private space is a strong reflection of their style, interest, and personality. From looking through my room, you could probably tell that I have a thing for skulls, candles, and photography. With so many white walls, I wanted to fill up the blank spaces as much as possible. Most of the décor in my room were produced for art projects, like the canvases, photography, and wooden sculpture. Some people may find my apartment’s awkward storage space and industrial walls off-putting, but that’s what I love about it. I had so many tiny pictures and knick-knacks to make use of the space, and I feel like the cement and metal walls add more character.

This was by far my favorite place that I’ve lived in throughout my college career. I’m going to miss falling asleep and waking up to the beautiful view of Philadelphia skylines. The city view, rooftop pool, and elevated park made living here so worthwhile. Having evo Philly as my second home was definitely a great way to end my senior year.

 

Photography | Dana Nguyen

 

xx

Dana

YOUNG, WILD, AND FREE

 

For Fourth of July weekend I crossed having an East Coast beach day off of my bucket list. My friends and I drove from Philadelphia to New Jersey to spend the day at Wildwood Beach. Let’s be real, the beach was not nearly as nice as West Coast ones, but that didn’t stop us from having fun. We sipped on fruity alcohol and splashed through the waves before strolling down the boardwalk. Everything about the trip felt effortless, and it was relaxing just to escape the city and be lazy beach bums for a day. 

My ultimate goal whenever I go to the beach is to pack light. This is one of the few places where you have an excuse to basically be naked in public. I wanted to take full advantage of that, and I also wanted to be as comfortable as possible for the long car ride. I decided on a lightweight halter dress that was very loose and flowy. This is yet another dumpster find that I snagged, and it’s an Urban Outfitters Kimchi Blue dress. Everything else I’m wearing is also secondhand, aside from my Zinke bikini, which I bought from an online Australian retailer.

 

Sunglasses | Buffalo Exchange

Earrings | Laney Flea Market

Dress | Urban Outfitters (dumpster dived)

Bikini | Zinke

 

Photography | Dana Nguyen + Alex Yang

xx

 

Dana

EAT, SLEEP, TRAVEL

Never have I ever had a getaway during Spring Break. Usually, I just use this time to sleep-in and to hangout with friends at local places. Last week all of that changed as I embarked on a five-day journey with my boyfriend and friends. Being a California native, I’ve been to Disneyland, but never visited Disney World or Universal Studios. Since Florida is such a warm and tropical destination, we figured that it’d be the perfect place to spend break. Amusement parks and beaches were the perfect combination, and here’s a recap of our day-to-day itinerary. 

 

Day One | The Poolside / International Drive

After waking up at 2:30am for an early flight, the first thing we wanted to do upon arrival was relax. Sipping on cheap wine and beer and napping by the pool were great cures for our jet lag. From the pool we could see a large pond full of ducks and small clusters of palm trees. We didn’t want to end the first day without doing anything eventful, so afterwards, we drove down to International Drive to see the Orlando Eye

 

Day Two | Disney World / Disney Springs

For day two I got to experience The Happiest Place on Earth with my favorite person. Although I didn’t beat my goal of going on ten rides, I got to go on the best ones. Standing in that two-hour line for Space Mountain was definitely worth it. After seven rides later my boyfriend and I met up with our friends for dinner at Disney Springs, which is a touristy shopping center. 

 

Day Three | Universal Studios

After a day of cute, family friendly rides at Disney World I was more than ready for the roller coasters at Universal Studios. Sadly, The Incredible Hulk, which happens to be the best one, was closed. As disappointing as that was, we still had a blast experiencing Hogsmeade and Seuss Landing. After going on a bunch of rides we ended our day exploring CityWalk and getting dinner at a Mexican restaurant, called Antojitos.

 

Day Four | Cocoa Beach

On our last day we drove an hour outside of Orlando to visit Cocoa Beach. After long waits in line, the first few days, it was nice ending the trip with napping and cruising along the beach. At 77 degrees, this was the hottest day during our stay, so it was perfect for a beach day. Before going to the tourist-filled boardwalk, we spent the morning on the secluded end of the strip. Aside from us, there were only three other groups of people there. It was as if we had the entire beach to ourselves, since all we could hear were seagulls and waves.

After our naptime on the beach, we drove down to the Cocoa Beach Pier, which was the complete opposite of our previous hideaway. Large crowds, loud music and pop-up shops surrounded the beach. Since it was a beach day, we obviously had to have seafood, so we had lunch at The Boardwalk Bar. After our big lunch we had to walk off our food babies, so we walked to the end of the boardwalk for a nice view.

Traveling to a new destination has taken my mind off of stress. It gave me time to catch up on the things I’ve been missing, like nutritional meals and sleep. I’ve come back from Spring Break more relaxed than ever, and am so ready to tackle my last quarter of college. 

 

Photography | Dana Nguyen

 

xx

Dana