September 15, 2014
Catalina Island, Part 2


My recent roadtrips this past Spring to Carmel and Sedona have widened my senses of inspiration and defined the world my soul rejoices in - a world of untouched nature, clear, starry nights, and wonders that steal your breath. Rediscovering the glittering constellations that shined from horizon to horizon in Sedona invigorated my soul and left me speechless - nothing could describe the profound beauty that had once been before my eyes when I was a child in a small town in North Carolina. Magical destinations like these have motivated me to get out of the city with Kyle and set ourselves on the road to discovery. Hoping to make this a monthly feature, we will journey and share with you places on the less-traveled path that will bring you back to an awe-inspiring world.

On me: Everlane shirt, Joe’s Jeans shorts, Wildfox sweater, Mary Grace one-piece, Patricia Nash backpack, Chloe sunglasses.
On Kyle: Kennington shirt, Everlane swim shorts.


Read Catalina Island, Part 1 here.


Waking up to the golden sun and blue waters of Catalina Island is a dream-turned-reality, a gratifying feeling I can’t believe I’ve denied myself for 12 years as a nearby SoCal neighbor. What surprises me is that most of LA’s born-and-bred whom I’ve questioned have yet to visit the island themselves. And that’s what I hope to change when I’m exclaiming at the top of my lungs to choose Catalina Island as your next weekender. You don’t even need to take a vacation day to feel like you’ve gone to paradise.

The next morning started off so sweet and mellow with a lovely, fresh breakfast in the tropical courtyard. Kyle and I packed away our travel essentials in our sturdy Everlane weekender bag and after we checked out of the Pavilion Hotel, we hit the boardwalk for some morning ice cream to beat the heat at Lloyd’s, a must-stop for amazing rocky road. We stroll a little easier to our daytime cabana at Descanso Beach, taking in the sights and sounds of Avalon on our last day here. So many little boutiques and fun, colorful restaurants are passing us by that we haven’t had the time for, which makes many more trips back a reasonable idea. The white, soft sands of Descanso Beach await us with a roomy cabana to lounge and lunch in and as soon as we settle, two refreshing strawberry daiquiris were set on the table. Free wifi is dangerously available on the beach, making this cabana the coolest office space Kyle and I have been in. But only a teensy bit of work was on the agenda, alongside a whole lot of relaxation. It’s a great place to snorkel and see the untamed wild in the super clear waters, but we’ll save that for next time because we were sunk into the lounge chairs and not getting up. Descanso Beach is like a little piece of Hawaiian paradise, except it’s 2,460 miles closer and easily accessible for even a day trip.

I hate to admit that we were enjoying life so much that we were debating on making it to our next and last activity, the Dolphin Quest. It was a little bit of having too much fun on the beach, a bit of having a sniffle from a hectic week, and mostly of denial in concluding our vacation with the last of our itinerary. But we were crazy to even think of missing out on the Dolphin Quest, especially in hindsight after an incredible breathtaking experience. We ran across Avalon to the docking pier and made our way into the speedboat and because we were the only ones to make it in time, it unintentionally became a private tour for just Kyle and me. We softly drifted through the harbor, passing yachts small and large and once we passed the quiet zone, the driver picked up the speed and turned up the volume to some heavy metal rock that made our saddle-seat experience like riding the mechanical bull in the sea (read: suuuper fun). The Dolphin Quest is literally as it titles itself - an adventurous tour to seek the graceful creatures that live along the coast of the island. We’re speeding, we’re seeking, and we’re rocking out, until we see in the distance a splatter of dots jumping in and out of the blue horizon. The driver zips us over there and my eyes widen at the beautiful sight that unfolds: a pod of 50-60 dolphins, many of them mother-and-baby pairs, majestically leaping through the water. As we get closer to the pod, they begin to move with our boat, swimming and leaping directly beside us like the playful beings they are and the splashes and the whistles were an awe-inspiring affair to witness. We followed along as they traveled along the coast of Catalina, letting Kyle and I explore other shores we’ve yet to see. The immensely moving experience of being able to frolic with the dolphins in their natural environment lasted for an hour that passed too quickly. But it was the most heartening way to end our trip and to leave us coming back for more.

Catalina Island is a dazzling, special place to experience the best of island life, not so far from home. For Kyle and I, this was a once-in-a-lifetime moment that couldn’t have gone any other way to have been a more perfect, relaxing and thrilling vacation. Could we summer here? That’s a question we asked ourselves after every activity, and our decision is making its way to the top of our priority list next year. It’s the perfect destination for the LA noncommittal, because it’s only an hour and one comfortable boat ride away and the weather is beautiful year-round, just like we’re used to here. Take note that the Catalina Express offers free rides on your birthday from ports near Long Beach and Dana Point, and everyone is remarkably sweet on your birthday (when they see your special birthday ribbon). If you’re feeling like you need to get out of the city, but you don’t know where or you can’t go too far, set your sights on Catalina.

Read Catalina Island, Part 1 here.

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September 7, 2014
Catalina Island, Part 1


A truly timeless getaway just 22 miles west of LA.


On me: Everlane shirt, Billabong shorts, Daniel Wellington watch, Electric sunglasses.
On Kyle: Everlane denim shirt, GAP shorts.

Time stands still on Catalina Island; the waves billow, the locals stroll, the sun shimmers. The air is breezy and the sounds of the island were soft and subdued to the whirring of golf carts, the call of wondering sea gulls, and a distant horn of one of many native boats. Coming upon the island by the Catalina Express gave us a magnificent view of Avalon, a hilly seaside town splashed in Mediterranean pastels, resembling the gems of European oceanfront along the Amalfi Coast. It was a quick and comfortable one-hour ride from the bustling Long Beach port where the Queen Mary lives, that led us to our unforgettable getaway.

The Catalina Express dropped us off at Avalon harbor and not five minutes later on foot, Kyle and I arrived at the beautiful Pavilion Hotel for our overnighter. With a lush, tropical garden, massive fire pit, and an ultra-cozy seaside room, the Pavilion Hotel is a worthy contender for staying in and never leaving. We were tempted to do just that because of our hectic week at MAGIC tradeshow, but we’ll save that for the next time we visit. The shining sun and twinkling blue waters were calling us.

The first stop on our agenda was the walking tour of The Catalina Casino, a gathering place rich in history and architectural beauty that would become a great first activity to learn much about the island. It was truly special and nostalgic, standing in the old art-deco ballroom and theater built from the dreams of hosting Hollywood’s glamorous elite. You could feel the life that went on when all the windows and ceiling-to-floor doors stood wide open, letting in the serene, cool breeze of the island.

After some delicious seafood back in the main street, we hopped on a shuttle to our next and craziest activity. Ziplining for Kyle and I is no small deal - we’re both deathly afraid of heights. But I did sneak away from MAGIC tradeshow in Vegas to zipline through Fremont Street with Mai just the day before this, so I luckily got some first-hand experience on the procedure. But looking 70 feet down to Fremont Street and 300 feet down into the Catalina canyons was a noticeably, frightening difference. It wasn’t any matter though, because the instructors we had were so down-to-earth, patient, and knowledgeable about everything Catalina Island and ziplining and they made sure we were always safe, secured and having fun. After the first nerve-racking zipline, it became easier and easier and by the end, we were practically doing backflips (not really because we’re not allowed to, but we did go one-handed!). It is one of the most beautiful and exhilarating ways to see the island at its entirety, with a gorgeous ocean view from above.

To finish our exciting day, we winded down by the beach and indulged in an incredibly savory dinner at the Avalon Grille. The relaxed, upscale atmosphere provided a great retreat following an afternoon in the wild and the hospitality from the entire restaurant team contributed towards one of the most phenomenal dinner experiences Kyle and I ever had. Sitting windowside allowed a spectacular view of the sunset against the horizon, while listening in on the waning sounds of the town getting settled into the night. Our first day in Catalina Island was more than I’ve ever done most days in my life and it set a precedent for an unbeatable adventure to come. 

Oh, and we are far from done. Read Catalina Island, Part 2 here!

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September 3, 2014
Twice Is Nice


As a young sixth grader, I was exposed to Coach as my first designer desirable. 

Minkpink jumpsuit. Coach bag via Twice. Kelsi Dagger shoes (old).

The ‘it’ bag in the halls was the tiny shoulder bag with the Coach C’s logo and it became one of those instances where everyone started wearing bra cutouts thanks to Regina George. The bag now lives somewhere deep in the garage stored away with most of my life’s regrets. 

I wish I had the sartorial eye when I was younger to covet Coach’s more minimalist, yet chic leather styles that have been making a big comeback recently, so I can go hunting in the garage instead of the internet for the perfect classic Coach. But thanks to Twice, a mobile app for buying and selling gently used goods, I was able to find this amazing and supple black leather Coach bag for as good as new. And to celebrate my newest purchase, I had to take this baby out for a spin on a hot summer date. Inspired by vintage Americana, I wore this adorable Minkpink jumpsuit with bold red lips.

As an avid user of buying and selling marketplaces, Twice is a worthy platform to check out. When you buy from Twice, their items are vetted and checked and in really great, like-new condition. And if you’re looking to make extra cash (who isn’t), selling to Twice is easy as shipping off the things you never wear to them and getting paid instantly. They just launched their new handbag section, so from September 2nd - 8th, you can get 50% off your first purchase of Coach, Marc Jacobs, and many other name brands! Check them out and get to some closet cleaning or replenishing :)



*sponsored post in partnership with Twice and Chictopia, however all opinions expressed are always my own!

September 2, 2014
Level 99 Leather


The inevitable, the essential.

Level 99 leather pants. LAMade tank. Out Incorporated sports bra. Electric sunglasses. Nixon watch. Dogeared earrings. JustFab heels.

As a practical girl who buys jeans two sizes up, loves boyfriend jeans, but loves dresses even more, I’ve been so far removed from the thought of owning a pair of tight, constricting leather pants. And the descriptives tight and constricting come from my own disappointing experiences. 

But Level 99 has completely revolutionized my perspective on leather with their newest French-imported stretch leather jeans. I’ve always been a fan of their denim because of their dedication to quality and comfortable fits that stretch and move with you, and now they’ve remarkably integrated all of that into the best leather jeans I’ve ever worn. These are so comfortable, I wear them all day around the house like any pair of soft leggings. If you feel how soft and supple the leather is, you’d understand how I can’t stop running my hands over my legs at any given time of day. You know how you have that go-to pair of jeans always lying on the back of your chair for easy access? These Level 99 leather jeans have stolen the chair-back spotlight for daily wear. I can go on forever about these sexy and leg-slimming jeans, but instead of hearing about it, feel it for yourself from Level 99.


September 1, 2014
By Day and Night


Cool enough by day and sexy by night.

H&M jumpsuit. Dogeared earrings. Anthropologie necklace (old). Made sunglasses.

Jumpsuits are the easiest day-to-night outfit you can rely on. They somehow transform completely from a cute brunch outfit to a flirty piece for the bar crawl, without you having to add a thing. Although not all jumpsuits are made equal, this amazing H&M jumpsuit perfectly fits the day-to-night bill. It’s from their latest “By Night” capsule collection, an exclusive party collection that adds a little more edge and femininity. I wore this yesterday to a birthday brunch at Sunny Spot in Venice Beach and let’s just leave it at the fact that I had a little too much fun.


August 31, 2014
Athleta IndiGO!



It doesn’t hurt to look cute when you’re breaking a sweat. Or when you’re cozy on your couch on Netflix night.



I appreciate style in every aspect of my life and in the realm of fitness, style is what motivates me to get off my butt. There’s no other excuse to be seen wearing this cute sports bra from Athleta and I can’t live a lie. So yes, the bra is what inspires me to get to my squats and jog around the neighborhood. But then again, put me in a pair of those fitted leggings and I’m noodles in bed with my iPad on my lap.

I’ve been a fan of Athleta’s unique prints and beautiful colors that they incorporate into each of their new collections; their latest collection IndiGO! keeps the pavement vibrant and electric with my favorite tones of blue. Their chic gym-to-street wear pieces make everyday outfits an effortless task for an active lifestyle, one that I strive to keep up consistently. But their fashion-forward and performance-inspired designs are versatile and relevant to all kinds of lifestyles, especially for the comfort-inclined. I’m obsessed with the comfort level of not only their sweatpants, but also their breathable leggings and it’s a no-brainer what I’m going to wear on the plane to New York and when I’m lounging in my hotel, right before I hit the fitness center (hopefully).

Athleta top and jogger pants.

No matter what lifestyle I pursue, I know Athleta is right there to support me with their high-quality fits, easily findable online and in their brick-and-mortar stores everywhere. I love that they’re conveniently in one of my favorite and nearby shopping destinations, Fashion Island, in Newport Beach! If you’re looking for the next pair of somethings to live in, head to Athleta and I guarantee your butt will thank you.


August 30, 2014
StyleBee


When you’re preparing for the biggest night of TV, you call the experts in.

Tibi jumpsuit, Chloe + Isabel necklace and earrings

I’ve always been hesitant and frankly against using a makeup artist because my past experiences have been disappointing. When they’re done and I look in the mirror, I see an AZN dragon lady staring back at me. It’s a common dilemma for Asian girls that the average makeup artist doesn’t have the skill or experience to work with the varying types of Asian features, particularly the eyes. The crease and contour on Caucasian eyes do not translate at all to Asian eyes and when they try, the results are scary. I am very comfortable with doing my own makeup for a lot of events and photoshoots, but the pressure was on for the big night at the Emmys and I knew I needed to let go of my doubts and call in a little help. 

Red carpet makeup is distinctively different and intentionally heavier than everyday makeup because of the strong flashes of light you’re under. I already knew my own makeup hand would create a look that would wither under a photo flash and make me look stark naked in the face. I called in StyleBee, an LA-based iPhone app that is the Uber for beauty. With two clicks in the app, you could be bringing a professional hair stylist and makeup artist right to your home. Or to your hotel room in my case. I noted in the comments I particularly needed a makeup artist with experience in red carpet makeup and with Asian faces and voila, the lovely Hope Zarro was sent to my rescue Monday morning. I wanted a glamorous look with a high ponytail to go with my champagne wear and she exceeded my expectations. When she was finished, I was super excited to finally put on my dress and accessories; pulling on the dress was like putting the final puzzle piece in place. Everything came together and I’ve never felt more glamorous in my life. 

It really does take an army to prepare a perfect look and I have to thank Hope and StyleBee for being a part of my team for the big night. I loved the fact that I can be comfortable in my own robe and “home” while the artist comes to you (think about not dealing with traffic getting to and from a makeup salon on an already stressful day). StyleBee was incredibly easy to use and I recommend you trying it out for your next date night. If you do, use my referral code *honey&silk for $10 off your service! And don’t be afraid to make requests or express your concerns in finding your perfect makeup artist or hair stylist, give StyleBee’s customer service a call and they’ll take care of your needs.

To complete my look, here’s the list of products she used:

Face:
Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Primer as the base
MAC Strobe cream mixed with L’Oreal BB Cream in Light shade
NYX Dewy Finish long lasting setting spray

Eyes:
NYX eyeshadow base in Skin Tone
Rimmel jumbo eyeliner pencil in Blackmail
Dior Extase mascara
Kiss EZ lashes

Cheeks:
Smashbox Baked Fusion Soft Lights
Urban Decay bronzer in Toasted
MAC cream blush in Improper Copper 

Lips
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Tokyo


August 29, 2014
If The Shoe Fits


Like chicken soup for the soul.

Show Me Your Mumu dress. Levi’s jacket. Free People shoes.

After a while of running around and dressing up for every occasion of the day, it feels so damn good to just throw on a no-fuss dress, my super old Levi’s jacket, and these comfortable Free People clogs that feel like a warm blanket tucked around my feet. 

They’re like the mashed potatoes to my hangry day or the dark chocolate to my late evenings; these clogs have earned the right to become the newest addition to my “comfort closet.” Free People has long been a master of unique and inspiring craftsmanship and the newest shoe collection is just full of perfect showpieces, from distressed leather lace-ups to Spanish crafted flatforms. To celebrate their newest work, they’ve created this adorable, modern Prince Charming video for their “If The Shoe Fits” campaign that you must watch here. But not before you seriously take a look at their shoe collection that I promise you’ll immediately obsess over.


August 27, 2014
Emmys 2014 with Dove

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To check off another dream come true is an incredibly humbling and blessed feeling.

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Dove invited me to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the 2014 Emmys, in conjunction with their big #OneShowerChallenge premiere during TV’s biggest night. In partnership with E! network, Dove debuted the One Shower Challenge during the “Live From the Red Carpet” coverage, inviting women all over to try the new, advanced, and sulfate-free body wash formula that provides softer, smoother skin after just one shower. 
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They graciously hosted me at The Ritz Carlton in Downtown Los Angeles for a relaxing and indulging two-night staycation, with a bathroom fully stocked with the new Dove body wash of course. I immediately jumped in the shower when I woke up the day of the Emmys and I couldn’t get myself out of there. I admit I indulged a little too long for our current drought situation, but Dove just made me do it. The new body wash lathers generously with the littlest amount and feels incredibly silky on the skin. I’ve always struggled with dry skin after showering, so I’m the one spent moisturizing every inch of my body for an extra 10 minutes after I’m towel-dried. But Dove’s NutriumMoisture formula leaves me feeling so smooth and complete without the need to lotion up, saving me such a chore in the mornings. I took the #OneShowerChallenge, and Dove truly won.
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After my luxurious morning rinse and wash, I slipped on this cute, brunch-ready dress from Laundry by Shelli Segal and I headed three floors up to the mega penthouse suite of the Ritz for a calm and sweet breakfast with the Dove team. Here we learned so much more about the campaign and their dedication to providing real beauty benefits to real women. Celebrity stylist Micaela Erlinger (in the beautiful blue cloud dress) shared some of her red carpet styling secrets that ultimately starts with beautiful skin. To demonstrate the formula of their new body wash, Dove had us feel the difference between two burlap samples, one that is unwashed and one that is washed with the Dove body wash. The difference was there and astounding. It goes to show, this product can help even the toughest of skin! With a glass of champagne, Micaela helped style our red carpet looks with beautiful Erickson Beamon pieces from the Dove bling bar.
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And here it is, my final red carpet Emmys look. My jumpsuit (yes, a jumpsuit, not a dress!) is by Tibi and I got it from Rent-the-Runway, an incredibly easy service that I’ve finally tried. I just loved the unique surprise of this Tibi piece and comfort it provided better than any Emmys gown I could have picked. All of my gorgeous statement pieces are from my favorite Chloe + Isabel girls Kendra and Kendall and my hair and makeup was done by Hope Zarro of StyleBee. Pairing the right shoes with a champagne gold dress wasn’t as easy as I imagined, but with the help of my always-right mom, I bought my first pair of beautiful, glittery, light-bronze Jimmy Choos that were surprisingly comfortable the entire night! All of the Dove girls and guests met for a couple final glasses of champagne before we hit the red carpet and I caught up with my gorgeous friends Jenny and Sydne. On another note, isn’t my date so handsome? 
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Now to the main event inside the Nokia Theater - we weren’t allowed to bring any cameras so these are all iPhone pictures. But it was an amazing experience to be sitting next to some of the most talented people in the world and watching them receive the honors they deserved. Seth Meyers was even funnier in person, the dresses are truly exquisite in detail and dramatic in real life, and the Emmy trophies are really, really stunning.  After the show, we were literally herded to the LA Convention Center (imagine all these hangry women in gowns and heels) where the spectacular Governors Ball and some delicious food was readily waiting for us. I was within one foot of a few of my most favorite actors, like Jon Hamm and Brian Cranston, but I’m just the shyest and not the type to just ask for a picture. I’m totally fine knowing I was here to celebrate their honors and to just dance the night away with my girls. 
Take a look at a quick video I put together documenting some of my favorite moments from my Emmys experience! Thank you all for following along my journey on Instagram and in life and for your unwavering support :)



August 25, 2014
Staycation


Sometimes you need a vacation from the vacation.

Karina Grimaldi jumpsuit. Chinese Laundry shoes. CC Skye bracelet. Chloe + Isabel necklace. Chloe + Isabel earrings.

I just got back from a week in Vegas and Catalina Island, and after being home in my own bed for just one day, I took the train to downtown Los Angeles to start my staycation at The Ritz Carlton. I took to their rooftop pool in my silky and airy Karina Grimaldi jumpsuit that matched perfectly to the Mediterranean-inspired resort decor. I’m here for a couple of days to attend the 2014 Primetime Emmys with Dove and I can’t be more excited to walk my first official red carpet with the glamorous ladies of Hollywood!

Follow along on my Instagram @honeynsilk to see some of my snaps from my personal adventure at the Emmys!