Monday, September 26, 2016

Kitch Hitch: Vietnam Meets Nigeria

Hi Y'all! Happy Fall! I just got back from an incredible wedding weekend adventure in Yosemite National Park! Mitch and I, along with Kasey and Niky got to witness the epic marriage of our two friends, Mandi and Eric, in an insanely gorgeous setting. I have a whole week's worth of blog posts from our shenanigans but THIS WEEK is dedicated to a different marriage- my own!

Last November, Mitch and I made the mutual decision to get married. Two weeks later on December 4th, 2015, we did. BTW I totally had to look that date up (no shame :P). We scheduled an appointment with the first judge that was available, invited a handful of very close friends and celebrated after our courthouse ceremony at the Old Spaghetti Factory with a DQ ice cream cake. I know that sounds so insanely practical, maybe almost too straightforward but our family and friends would tell you that is the most Kim & Mitch (aka Kitch) way to get married EVER. We are pragmatic people when it comes to these type of things.

I was never the type of little girl that day dreamed about her wedding day. To be clear, no shade to the girls that do but it just wasn't something that little Kim thought about it. As adult Kim, I didn't put a ton of emphasis on marriage as a milestone for our relationship. I mentioned it once, early on when we were trying to define the seriousness of our relationship.

Side Bar: Our relationship was one of our favorite discussion topics as a young couple. How we felt about our relationship, how we felt the other behaved in our relationship, conversations about conversations we had in our relationship- it was a bit overkill sometimes. It felt like we constantly talked about the state of our relationship back in those early days but it was a huge factor in developing our communication styles between each other and learning how to give feedback to one another. Those talks were often challenging, but I developed so much as a person, especially in my empathy skills, while participating in those discussions with Mitch.

I had been vocal early on about wanting marriage to be in our future. I think I phrased it like, "Please only continue to be in a relationship with me if you think marriage is a possibility". I didn't have a timeline for it but I wanted to be clear that I wanted a relationship that was going somewhere long term. And now that I really think about it, my request to Mitch was more about me wanting him to stay only if he felt building a life together was something he would eventually want. It was my way of asking him to actively choose our relationship. We didn't speak of this often, but it was a good way to check in with each other whenever we had our bumps in the road. HEY- do we still see a future here? Are we still in it to win it? Marriage was never an end goal in these conversations, but for us at the very least, it was one of our checkpoints. At just 4.5 years in, we found ourselves confidently and consistently answering YES to those questions. We eventually arrived to a point in our relationship where no matter what challenges came up, we knew we were committed to working through them.

So here we are :) Does it feel different to be married? No lie, it is fun AF to call Mitch my husband. Mitch is unbelievably gorgeous, undeniably intelligent, relentlessly driven, lovingly kind, and above all else, extremely thoughtful. And I am lucky enough to call this human my person! FOREVER! Being married has made us more comfortable in talking about those long term, financial commitments together but as most couples would agree, it hasn't changed how our relationship fundamentally works. I told you earlier, we are extremely pragmatic :P We still talk quite a bit about our individualistic wants and needs in the context of our relationship. And we're still growing and working through our differences. But yea, I have to admit it feels pretty fucking awesome to have reached this milestone.

I feel beyond grateful to have found and more importantly, earned this partnership with Mitch. I consider it one of my life's greatest works to have built this foundation for our life together. The possibilities for where we could go next feel limitless

I am so happy to have these photos to commemorate this time in our life. As much as this post is about diving into marriage without the fanfare, the one thing I knew I wanted was an epic photo session (hello, have you met me?!). it is wonderful to have an excuse to gather our families together and take photos that I will literally cherish for the rest of my life. We took these on a warm day in August, the day before threw ourselves a giant party (more on that in my next post). These photos represent a beautiful, crazy fusion of our cultures.

My parents are from Vietnam and Mitch is from Nigeria so we thought it would be cool to wear traditional outfits that showed off our cultures. In Nigeria, it is typical for each side of the family to wear matching, contrasting prints for the wedding ceremony so you know who is from the groom's side and who is from bride's side. Although we didn't have a ceremony, we loved this concept for photos. We picked purple for Mitch's family and yellow for mine. Mitch's family wore traditional Igbo outfits and mine wore traditional Vietnamese ao dais (literally translation is long shirt/blouse). My brother and sister-wifey had our ao dais, along with their ao dais and my parent's ao dais handmade in Little Saigon in California. For Kasey and Niky, we ordered these chinese qipao dresses last minute (Amazon prime, holla!) since we couldn't find ready-made ao dais that we liked. Technically, my grandfather is from China, so I think we can let is slide :) Mitch's mother had all of our Nigerian outfits made in Nigeria before she came to visit us.

Mitch and I had two sets of clothing. The red and blue outfits are a typical wedding outfit for Vietnamese brides and grooms. Doesn't Mitch look out-of-this-world uhhhhmazing in his blue brocade? I can't get over it. The gold designs on my ao dai are hand drawn. Up close, it's essentially gold puffy paint :D For my Nigerian outfit, my maxi skirt+blouse combo is less traditional (although to be quite honest, I'm not sure exactly what is traditional), but I am so stoked to wear this maxi skirt out in the real world. Hands down the best part of our outfits were our crowns! Each of our outfits was topped off with beautiful headwear.

In addition to celebrating our cultures, these photos celebrate the most important people in our lives, the ones who shaped us into who we are today. My favorite part of this day was witnessing our two families come together for the first time. It was perfect. As you can probably tell, we had a ton of fun taking these photos.

I can't say enough good things about my favorite photographer in the world, Dara Oke. These photos speak for themselves but she is incredible to work with. Spending your hard earned dollars on an exceptional photographer is rarely something you regret. The hard part is getting time on their busy books :) I am so grateful she shared her talent and artistry with us.

This day will forever be remembered as one of my favorite days in the history of ever. Many reasons to be beyond grateful.

Until we meet again!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Summer to Fall Staple: Embroidered Souveneir Jacket

Hey Fam! Checking in for Fashion Friday!

I spent the last week at dear old Penn State, where it was a balmy 80+ degrees every day. Nothing like some east coast humidity to make you appreciate the cool temps of the PNW. Some may roll their eyes at me for this, but I welcome the gloom and doom with open arms because.... FALL. FASHION. FINALLY. I know, every style blogger rejoices with the falling leaves, return of Pumpkin Spice Everything and fashion's favorite season. You just can't beat being able to layer comfortably again, breaking out all of the boots and booties, and being invigorated by all of the new fall trends. One of which, is the focus of this post.

I present to you, the satin bomber jacket, or souvenir jacket as they tend to be listed on Forever 21's website (I know I know, some things never change :D). GUYZ. I AM OBSESSED. You're going to see this jacket multiple times on the blog so #sorrynotsorry for the future repeat offenses. A trendy, flashy jacket goes a long way in adding that wow factor to any simple fall outfit.

Which fall trends are you most excited about? Until the next, y'all!

Satin Bomber Forever 21, see similar options below
Mock Neck Skater Dress Forever 21 exact
Faux Leather Chelsea Boots Forever 21 exact

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Whoa. Hi. Hello. Long Time No See!

Damn, y'all. HEY! It has been a hot second, amiright?! Sorry #notsorry for the hiatus #okaykindofsorry, but priorities in life shifted and when I need to drop something, the blog is the first thing to go. Life hasn't slowed down, but after getting through a crazy summer, I've decided it's time for me to bring the blog back :) Fingers crossed this revival sustains the test of my fall travel schedule!

So, what have I been up to? I know it's lame and self indulgent to complain about how busy you are, but here's what has been #forreals occupying my life these last 4 months:

Kitch Hitch

After going back and forth, Mitch and I decided to throw ourselves a reception to celebrate our marriage last December. THIS has been priority #1 for the last 4 months. TBH, we didn't really feel like a reception was necessary, but complete fomo on commemorating a momentous occasion in our relationship with our beloved friends and family motivated us to get our shit together. At the end of April, we secured a venue for August 21st (our 262nd day of marriage) and proceeded full steam ahead to throwing the biggest party of our lives. With the help of our amazing friends, we DIY'd the shit out this soiree. We grew our own succulents for the party favors and centerpieces, made our own flower wall (more on that to come!), had an EPIC Nigerian/Vietnamese fusion family photo session (definitely more on that to come!) and convinced our favorite restaurant, Araya's Vegetarian Place, to cater delicious thai food for our celebration. Was it stressful AF? YAS. Was it worth it? FUCK YAS!

Summer at Microsoft

Once the interns got here, this blog didn't stand a chance. Between hosting a 500+ person Intern Hunger Games event, spoiling my intern class with boba+ice cream on a weekly basis, bonding with my students by taking ALL the cooking classes (pizza, gnocchi, risotto!), hanging out with Elle Goulding and wrangling the 1700+ intern class with my 100+ Microsoft BFFs, I barely had time to water the succulents for Kitch Hitch. It has been a COMPLETE BLAST and I wouldn't trade these wild and crazy summers for anything. But for reals I love you, it's time to go home. I'll see all y'all out on campus (we're going to Disneyland!!!) or when you eventually return to me+Microsoft (where you know you belong!).

Living the shit out of life

Mitch and I somehow got adopted by a slew of power couples that want to take us on exceptional excursions. In the past 4 months we've been on two super romantic surprise PNW getaways with our extremely photogenic group of friends (it's a long story #obb), to Oklahoma City for an insanely lit Nigerian wedding, to Anchorage Alaska for ultimate nature bonding, to Portland (twice), and last but not least, had a rad weekend at Lake Chelan, a classic Washington weekend destination. We've been enjoying all of the delightful things a Seattle summer has to offer. I'm not sure how we got so lucky but I will happily and gratefully count my #blessings!

When I am so squeezed for time I find myself rationing out my minutes, it's important to pause and appreciate where my time has gone and remember why (and really figure out if) it was worth it. Looking back, I want to remember the positives but it's healthy to acknowledge the negatives as well. My main strategy for stress management has been to keep myself as even keeled as possible, not letting myself get overly excited about the festivities or get too down when my endless to-do list seemed insurmountable. Keeping a leash on my emotions was completely necessary for surviving this crazy summer, but it was also important for me to emotionally process all of my feelings once I had the head space and the time to do it. Pro tip, don't go too long without processing or you're going to freak the fuck out :P

Anyways, with the leaves already beginning to fall to the ground (thanks, Seattle), I am ready to welcome a new pace to my life. An endless summer sounds wonderful in concept, but I'll gladly take the change in seasons this time around.

I hope y'all had a super relaxing+productive labor day weekend! Until the next!

Rainbow Sheath via clearance at H&M
Sandals Ninewest via clearance at DSW

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mint on Prints on Prints

Happy Hump Day, lovers! This week feels like it's flying by. We are T-12 days to internz! It has always felt kind of cray cray before the kiddies arrive. On the one hand, we're trying our best to enjoy the downtime after finishing our hiring for the year but at the same time, I kind of feel like I'm running around frantically trying to tie up loose ends before they get here. It's all good though, it's a fun kind of busy and it's helpful to lean on the energy of my teammates. To say that we're "excited" about the arrival of our 2016 summer intern class is a serious understatement!

So, I'll keep this post short! I've been having lots of fun experimenting with prints and colors now that the temps are on the up and up! This kimono has been a longtime favorite in my wardrobe. It mixes surprisingly well with other prints (evident here) and in this case serves as a neutral against this delicately embroidered mint top and abstract printed shorts. On an average day I would have opted for my comfy birks but I must have been feeling a little sassy on this day because I went for some block wedges instead! I kept the shoe color neutral because there's already so much going on in the outfit.

That's it from me this time around :) I hope y'all are enjoying the week. Cheers until next time!

Mint Embroidered Top Lush, similar
Floral Kimono Forever 21, similar
Abstract Soft Shorts Forever 21, similar
Wedge Sandals Vince Camuto, similar

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Summer Blues & Whites and Chowing Down with Cycle Dogs

I told ya it wouldn't be too long before you heard from me again! Truth be told, I couldn't WAIT to share this post with you guys! One of the things I've been looking forward to most after work travel is spending time with friends in my favorite city. Yes, of all the cities that I could choose, I choose YOU, Seattle! I actually live east side now because let's be honest, dat 5 minute commute is seriously so clutch. However, I take every chance I get to cross the bridge to catch a good meal with a good friend, peruse one of the dozen farmer's markets or shop downtown. This past weekend, Mitch and I had a damn good friend visiting from Boston. Thompson is a former Seattleite and a Washingtonian through and through. I planned a fun Seattle Saturday which included nomming with our friends, Cycle Dogs, at Peddler Brewing Company, checking out a few open houses (because why not?!) and grabbing dessert and taking a stroll down memory lane in the u-district. I have a few more snaps to share from our awesome day but first, the outfit!

The temps have been rising in the great northwest so I took the opportunity to rock a couple new favs I picked up while shopping in Santa Barbara with my work wife, Sarah. I've always been a fan of soft shorts decked out in festival worthy details. Styles like these gained huge popularity with the rise of music festival culture thanks to events like Coachella and EDC. I've never been to a festival, but I absolutely adore the style vibes. When I saw these beautifully embroidered shorts on the front table at the A&F on State street, I was immediately enamoured. It didn't take much convincing for me to take these home with me. I purchased these beauties at full price for $40 and TBH, that's A LOT MORE than I would normally spend on an item like this but if I'm being even more honest, I am completely in love with these and they make me happy. So fuck it. TREAT YO'SELF, y'all. I also picked up a new chambray on clearance at Franchesca's for $20. Y'all know I appreciate the versatility of a good chambray shirt. There's a slit in the back that gives this chambray an interesting twist and helps the extra luxe fabric lay well on my body. I forgot to get a photo from behind of the shirt, but you can see it in action in the video at the end of this post! You may recognize the crop top from my previous post. This blue+white striped linen pretty is here to stay for summer :) And of course, my favorite necklace and a fun sandal finish the look.

Striped Crop Top Forever 21, exact
Teagan Chambray Shirt Francesca, exact
Embroidered Soft Shorts Abercrombie & Fitch, exact
Embroidered Lace-Up Sandals Forever 21, exact

I also needed to give a big ol' shoutout to my friends over at Cycled Dogs for keeping us happy and well fed after a day of house hunting. Cycle Dogs is a one-man vegan hotdog bicycle cart funded by a Kickstarter in October 2014. Keaton, the man behind the dogs, was a professional lead-certified architect in his previous life. He left his 9-to-5 to pursue his dream of bringing vegan goodness to his community. I am so inspired by Keaton's story that I've basically dubbed myself the official unofficial poster child for these stupidly delicious hot dogs AKA I plan to eat as many of these as I possibly can this summer and I'm hoping that you will join me!

The best way to stay up to date with where the bike cart will be is the Cycledogs instagram or their facebook page. Check out the super cute video that our friend, Thompson, made of our hot dog trip at the bottom of this post! Nobody had any idea he was filming so it's completely candid :) I hope y'all have a lovely weekend, lovelies!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

His & Hers: Tulips for Days

Oh Harrow, Friends! I'm FINALLY home from work travel and it feels so damn good to be back! I've taken the last week to get settled back into home life. Hanging with the handsome hubs, organizing my home and office, catching up with friends and soaking in the PNW sunshine. TBH, when I was on the road, I didn't miss the blog at all. My brain space was consumed with work and such. As I was getting ready to return home, I was wondering if I'd feel like picking the blog back up again since I hadn't given it too much thought for so long. But of course, it only took me a week before I was ready to get back in the style blog game :) It helps to have a loving and supportive network of blogger friends. Special shoutout to my blogger boyfriend, Hector of Geek-Q, for getting my excitement levels up up up with our visit to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival!

I wouldn't have made my annual pilgrimage this year if it weren't for Hector's encouragement. Thanks for making sure I didn't break my tulip streak, boo! Did any of you get the chance to make it out to the tulips this year? Fields of flowers have been blowing up my Facebook newsfeed these past few weeks!

Hector and I both had new camera equipment to play with and it definitely contributed to the best photo set we've ever taken together! As you may have noticed, Hector and I love our collaborative His & Hers series. Ever since our Christmas and New Year posts, we've been making more of an effort to do these more regularly. It's kind of silly, up until now we were relying on the unknown skills of kind strangers to get the shots of us together. Those days are behind us because Hector purchased a tripod for our adventures and we broke it in at the tulip fields! I wish I had my phone with me when we were taking our timed photos. It was SO CUTE to watch Hector daintily jog through the rows of tulips after setting the timer to get next to me in time for the shot.

As for me, I recently purchased a Sony a7ii from my photog hero, Dara of Love Darbie. Don't get me wrong, I love my Canon 50D but I needed something more lightweight. Before my parents gave me my first DSLR (it was a hand me down), I carried an easy going point-and-shoot with me everywhere. When I converted to the Canon 50D full time, my cameraphone became my everyday camera because it was super inconvenient to tote the big camera around. I regularly missed out on capturing high-quality candid moments because I didn't have my camera on me due to me being too lazy to carry it without a guaranteed opportunity to shoot. So, enter the Sony! This mirrorless camera is an absolute dream. The color quality is ridiculous. Every photo is basically upload ready straight off the camera. The tech features allow me to instantly transfer my photos to my phone. That, combined with it's lightweight design makes it a perfect everyday camera.

I can't wait to share more of my spring time shenanigans on le blog. You can expect more regular updates from me and my camera. Hopefully, you feel like that's a good thing :D Until the next one, my friends!

On Hector:
Peacoat Topman , similar
Floral Shirt Topman, similar
Pink Chinos J. Crew, exact
Polka Dot Bow Tie and Suspenders Asos, exact
Duck Boots Lacrosse for J. Crew, exact

On Kim:
Striped Crop Top Forever 21, exact
Striped Skirt Forever 21, sold out but this would pair well.
Rain Boots Forever 21, exact style, different colors
Classic Trench Vintage London Fog, similar

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Bloggers & Blossoms

HELLO. HI. Long time, y'all. There goes my "blog more" resolution for 2016, huh? Sometimes life gets actually crazy and you just have to do what you need to do to stay afloat. My travel schedule for work has been insane. Since January, I've had 7 weeks of travel with 2 more ahead of me before I can (kinda) take a break from airplanes and hotel rooms. I've spent a ton of time in SoCal (Irvine, Anaheim, San Diego, Claremont & Los Angeles), hitting up New York City, Austin, Las Vegas and Orlando with a couple days at home in between. Currently, I'm in Boston and I will have hit up middle-of-nowhere-Pennsylvania, Florida, Nashville and Santa Barbara before I get to sleep in my own bed again. It sounds glamorous and exciting and honestly, sometimes I feel too cool for school but it's official, I am HELLA ready to be done travelling. I need some serious down time when this is over.

I miraculously managed to find some time to visit the UW Cherry Blossoms before all the petals fell from their branches :) So I'm back for bit today to share some pretty photos I snapped with lovely Nini from The Nerdly Beautiful and handsome Hector of Geek-Q.

We woke up bright and early to catch the quad at a less busy time. WTF it's spring already?! My body does not understand which season it is because rotating through the 4 corners of the US will do that to you :D I've had super fun times with my minimal luxe babe vibe this winter but I am ready to return to the full skirted glory of the candy colored part of my closet starting with this butterfly dress from Lindy Bop!

Hopefully more blogging and fashion will be in my near future! Thank you to my blogger besties for now being put off by my adversity towards early mornings! I can't wait until next time!

"Holly" 1950's Inspired Blue Butterfly Swing Dress Lindybop, exact
Gold Ankle Strap Sandals Calvin Klein, similar
Cat Eye Sunglasses thrifted, similar