Next Garden

Vancouver (and some times Los Angeles) weirdo wears stuff, takes pictures, makes fashion blog.

Terminus

Before I get into it, I'm going to preface this post with a slight warning: It's not a happy one, but a real one.

It's been a whole year since I started this blog, and I have some questions/thoughts/conclusions/reflections. How was your 2017? Did you set goals? Did you achieve them? What projects were abandoned and why?

Throughout the whole adventure of putting together outfits, going on photoshoots, editing pictures, writing posts, I think I achieved most of the goals I had for this blog:
  • Create original content.
  • Explore personal style.
  • Chronicle cool places.
  • Practice writing.
I think I'm standing at a crossroads with this blog. Maybe I've been stressed, or maybe I feel like it's run its course. But as I sit here to reflect, I'm unsure of its future because I've been having a nagging little voice telling me that this is it, time to wrap it up, give it that coup de grรขce before it turns into something I resent.

Why?

Because one of my main goals couldn't be met, and that is I really wanted to be comfortable in my own skin, and be OK looking at photos of myself. To be completely honest, I hate looking at photos of me -- which is funny for a blog chock full of, well, photos of me. After a year of meticulously picking out pictures to post, I still can't look at a picture of me and not silently say to myself, "Yikes."

Instead of acclimating to my own face and gradually accepting myself, the overexposure pushed me to the other end, which is the dark corner of critical self loathing. I looked over some of my posts and thought, wow this was a cute outfit... now if only someone else was wearing it it would be 100% better.

I really can't say where this deep seated insecurity came from because I don't know, but I can't remember a time when I could look in the mirror and honestly say, "Yeah girl you look good!" I know everyone can be critical of themselves at one time or another, but this has been a lifelong battle that I'm a little bit too tired to fight right now.

I enjoy writing. I enjoy posting. I enjoy clothes, no wait, I love clothes and that has not changed. I just need a break from seeing my own face for a minute while I take care of things in life that need to be taken care of.

Maybe when I'm in a better place mentally I can make a return to fashion blogging, but I feel really exhausted at the moment. This summer I had a conversation with a friend about sticking with it. Sticking with something you enjoy and not just pick up and run when you hit an obstacle. Sticking with it through hard times, times that hurt, and see it through until things get better. I know it's a bad habit of mine to start something with a lot of gusto, but abandon ship the instant I feel a bit down. A part of me wants to continue, but the other part that wants to call it quits is loud and blaring.

Let's just say I'm very good at running.

So, this is a soft goodbye. I really really really appreciate everyone who helped take photos, had photos taken, read, gave me constructive criticism, left comments. I might be back after the dust settles but I make no promises.

I want to give myself a break until at least the new year, and see if anything changes. I wish everyone a great holiday season and happy 2018 in advance. Maybe you'll see me again.

In the mean time I'll probably still lurk around on Instagram. Drop by and say hi!

Photo cred: Collin Head @deklyn21 | EditingMe!
Outfit details: Dress, coat, shoes: Thrifted | Scarf: A lovely gift from someone super awesome  | Purse: Amazon | Leggings: Forever 21

Baby It's Cold Outside

WHAT DECADE IS IT? I ask myself after an unintended hiatus from blogging. My busy busy month of working 2.5 jobs is over and hopefully can get back into the swing of things.... quite a pleasant coincidence that the sun peeked out for a day after an entire month of rain.

It wasn't my intention to garnish such an 80's looking outfit, but whoop there it is... There's quite a difference between looking at this outfit in real life vs. looking at it on a the screen. I didn't realize how Lisa Frank the print was until I edited these photos, and I kinda love it.

I've honestly been dreading winter and how it would affect my blogging since... last winter. I can only spin my coats in so many ways, and I can only have so many coats! Half of them aren't even very warm... this one however, has been a faithful go-to. It's big enough to layer things under, it goes with everything, and in a pinch it will keep me dry for those days when I forget my umbrella... which is always.

Speaking of forgetting, I don't remember much these days (lack of sleep begets Swiss cheese brain,) so before I bounce to take a nap, I gotta ask, what decade is your favorite for fashion inspo? I've been insomniac browsing vintage sewing patterns and I gotta say... the 40's is up there for me. Maybe I can find something in that vein one of these days. Rev up that time machine, I'm ready to go!

Photo cred: Collin Head @deklyn21 | EditingMe!
Outfit details: Dress, bag: Target  | Shirt: Outlaw USA  | Coat: Calvin Klein | Leggings: Forever 21 | Socks: Ardene | Shoes: Thrifted

A Hot Mess

There comes a time (allegedly) in every fashion blogger's blog where an outfit doesn't make much sense. This is one of those times.

Ok, I'll admit it, I've definitely been overworked and haven't had time to plan out what to wear for a while now. Other difficulties include: It's really cold out, and most of my shoes have started leaking in the soggy weather because apparently I am a serial shoe killer.

So excuse me while I mix all the earth tones I have plus the only pair of boots that aren't leaking for another autumn post.

I'll be honest here, I have no idea what I was doing.

All I know is, I had to stay warm, and neutral colors were boring. Enter this Frankenstein of an outfit that I threw together in about 4 minutes. I have to say, I didn't like it when I walked out the door, but it looks not as bad as I initially thought in photos against a rich-yet-grey-storm's-a-comin' backdrop.

I have incredible admiration for people who can manage to wear weather sensible outfits and not look like someone just forcibly jammed some jigsaw pieces together and called it a day. (Guilty!) But over the course of the day, this outfit did start to grow on me a little, because it's so WTF that I quite enjoyed the mismatched-ness of it all.

So just how do style bloggers keep on keeping on as it gets colder and yuckier outside? If anyone knows how to not become a amorphous fluffy marshmallow in a thick coat I'd love to know your secrets.

And as for this hot mess of an outfit, well at least the barista at a hipster cafe liked it!

Photo cred: Collin Head @deklyn21 | EditingMe!
Outfit details: Dress, boots: Thrifted  | Bag: Amazon | Coat: Target | Leggings, belt: Forever 21 | Hat: Spirit Halloween

Frump Princess

Have you ever had a change of heart about how to dress? Since the season changed, I've also had a change of heart... mostly about pants. Mind you, I mainly wear them out of necessity because of the very simple fact that winter is cold. If I could get away with it, I'd be in a dress/tights combo until it was warm enough to ditch the tights.

But something about this year, man. It's been weird. Look at those weird things covering my legs.

Pants.

Prior to this, I was a one-pants-look wonder. Basic low rise skinny jeans with no frills. Not skinny? Forget it. Holes? Definitely not. Length that's shorter than ankles? THROW THEM INTO A FIRE! I gave myself a lot of pants rules probably because I hated pants. But people change! And this is the great thing about fashion -- it doesn't sit still.

So, even though a part of me still thinks girlfriend jeans are just a less crappy version of frump-to-the-max boyfriend jeans. that suits me just fine because I'm ready to style myself intentionally frumpy and comfortable after working on my feet all day.

Have you ever had a change of heart? Or do you like to stick by what you know?

Here's a little story: I remember back in 6th grade, I had a major change of heart one day -- I was a fuchsia shorts day in and day out kind of kid, but one day I decided I wanted to wear dark colors and *gasp* a skirt. Mom took me shopping and got me a dark purple sweatshirt and a black skirt. I was so excited to wear it to school but when I got there, my entire class laughed at me. It was too out of character, I suppose. They had branded me as the weird girl in fuchsia shorts, and anything outside of that was deemed ridiculous.

I hid in the bathroom at recess and changed into my PE clothes, which were, yup you guess it, fuchsia shorts.

I guess that experience really jabbed me in a sore spot. For a long time after that, I went low key with any clothing choices. Most of my things were extremely similar or just straight up duplicates -- I didn't want to step outside of the small corner I painted myself into out of fear. Fear of being ostracized as the weirdo.

But honestly, I was always a weirdo, I just didn't think it was OK to be one.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, it's absolutely A-OK to be a multifaceted peacock in your style if you want. It's A-OK to change it up completely from time to time if that's what you want. I have frilly shiny dresses, and now I have frumpy loose-y goose-y jeans, and I have shirts in every color of the rainbow, but sometimes I just want to wear basic black.

I was too scared to wear the things I wanted to back in those elementary school days, but the most important thing I've learned as I got older is that weirdos are cool, and weirdos wearing whatever their little weirdo hearts desire is ballsy and lovely at the same time.

Photo cred: Grace Yeh @myneighborkittykatsEditingMe!
Outfit details: Shirt: Joe Fresh | Scarf: Thrifted | Bag, socks: Target | Coat: Heavenly Couture | Belt: H&M | Jeans: Garage | Shoes: DSW

Losing Light

It's that time of year when the daylight is becoming scarce... but the days feel like they drag on forever. I've already caught a cold, gotten better for a few days, and then caught another one... so this post will be short because rest is a thing I should do at some point.

I've worn everything here in previous posts before except for once new addition to the family: the best bag ever! I got stars in my eyes the first time I saw it. While that is shiny and new, the rest of my fall/winter wardrobe is falling apart from being too worn out... I'm glad I got some pictures in these shiny rain boots before they tore on the sides because I really liked them!

I'm not sure what else to say until I a) feel like a fully functioning human, and b) go find me some more weather appropriate things before the rain rolls in again. Hope everyone is staying warm and taking their vitamins!

Photo cred: Collin Head @deklyn21 | EditingMe!
Outfit details: Shirt, romper, tights: H&M  | Jacket, boots: Joe Fresh | Bag: Target

Let's Play Dress Up

Last time Pauline dressed me, we hit the beach in a simple, breezy dress. This time was a bit more put together. Since she was to have free reign over what clothes to put me in, she immediately jumped on the chance to put me into a skirt that didn't make a good first impression for me the last time I saw it... But as the pieces started to come together, I was feeling pretty freaking cool. The final outfit was almost too cool for me. I felt super weird in it because it's so far out of my normal range of fashion in terms of color, print, silhouette... So I'll let Pauline talk about this outfit. All the pieces were hers except for the shoes. I might fit into some of her clothes, but my ginormous yeti feet would never squeeze into her tiny goblin shoes.

Angel: Let's start by stating the fact that you knew I would dislike that skirt, but chose to put me in it anyway... why?

Pauline: So I was positive you didn't like the skirt because I tried to get you to wear it in December,
and you said, "HA! No." So when you said you'd be willing to wear anything I wanted this time, I knew that I wanted you to wear that skirt because it's lengthening.

Angel: Not sure I need lengthening, tbh.

Pauline: Actually, I know you're tall enough to wear the outfit in the way I wanted, which is a crop top with a skirt. And whatever, lengthening is always great.

Angel: So basically, you had this in your closet but it doesn't fit on you the way you wanted.

Pauline: Yeah. I actually bought the skirt a year before the top because I loved how "Parisian" it looked. I tried to wear it with several shirts, and they never "worked" with it. I wanted a shirt with detailing, and the little laser bits were perfect.

Angel: What makes it Parisian, as someone who actually spent time in Paris?

Pauline: Because it's long and kinda conservative, and striped, and it has a tiny bit of pleats on it. Well, "paper bag" pleats.

Angel: Well, I do enjoy the paper bag bit -- I like it in shorts, but something about that length skirt makes me go nope. Not sure why.

Pauline: I know you're not into the length of the skirt. I've known you long enough to know you don't wear skirts that length ever.

Angel: It's like the longest tube of fabric ever. But... I was pleasantly surprised.

Pauline: Yeah, it was a good length, its unfortunate it was too big.

Angel: How long is it on you?

Pauline: Hm... I wear it on my waist, and its probably only like 3 inches up from my ankles. Very long on me.

Angel: Would you ever hem it?

Pauline: Nope. I like the length on me too, it's just not how I see it in an ideal outfit.

Angel: I felt very "blogger" in that outfit, as opposed to normally, I don't.

Pauline: I think that's likely an influence from me reading fashion bloggers for a long time, I've read some of them for over 10 years. Well... almost 10 years, and Ii think there's a very generic "LA blogger look" nowadays, which includes very specific silhouettes, solid colors, graphic prints, etc.

Angel: I get that aesthetic. it feels wholly impersonal to me because it's common.

Pauline: Yeah, it's an aesthetic I personally really enjoy. and my aesthetic for clothing and style is pretty sleek I think, like classic shapes.

Angel: You like structured stuff.

Pauline: Yeah.

Angel: You like a very specific silhouette. I don't even know what my aesthetic is sometimes, just that it's not even close to the same ballpark as yours.

Pauline: I think you have more of a whimsy, and like the romantic look of the skirts and dresses.

Angel: Was it weird seeing me in your outfit?

Pauline: Oh yeah. Baffling. Because it wasn't a very you outfit.

Angel: I'd be willing to steer more towards a "blogger" look, I just don't know where to start. Maybe look at something, think eww no way, and then buy it.

Pauline: I feel like that's the fun of fashion though, right? You're never really restricted to any one style or whatever.

Angel: Speaking of styling, you styled a photoshoot we did... not for me but for a model. Did you enjoy the process?

Pauline: Oh of course. I love styling. In an ideal world, I would do a lot more styling. I think its so fun to come up with different ways to put together outfits. I imagine in a perfect world, I'd have access to anything, and I'd be able to put together outfits.

Angel: In an ideal world, Brenda wouldn't have tripped on a banana.*

Pauline: LMFAO truuuuuuue. I actually like to collect clothes. Like what I said about that skirt, I owned it for a full year before I found the top. Sometimes things just come together. Fashion is cyclical, so things always come back into fashion. I mean we saw velvet slip dresses become a thing again this year. I think paperbag skirts and tailored pants will always be fashionable, I also think peplums will always be in fashion. I think anything tailored can be in fashion... and florals.


Angel: I hate peplums, are you planning on putting me in some peplums any time soon?

Pauline: Haha one step at a time.

Angel: I hope you had fun styling for my blog.

Pauline: I did! It's interesting to see you wear new things. It's exciting to see you like... try things you'd never normally wear. It's been cool to see how your personal style has changed over the years. Like remember you used to wear only jeans and a plaid shirt over a t-shirt?

Angel: Those were dark days.

Unfortunately, I'm back in Vancouver now and more styling by Pauline would have to wait until my next visit. I had a lot of fun, and at the same time, started to wonder about my wardrobe... Is it too much of the same? And how hard would it be to get a few things that at first glance makes me go yikes, but then later would have the potential to be great? I actually can't wait to wear more things that are seemingly out of character. Fashion is fun!

*The shoot in question with our model, Brenda, was never completed because before I even took my first shot, she slipped and skinned her knee horribly. She's OK though! And we have another Pauline styled, Brenda modeled, me photographed shoot that's set to be published in January! Hype!

Photos/styling: Pauline Hsieh @lauhte EditingMe!

One Last Hurrah

Excuse me while I faceroll my way back into blogging! It's been a crazy two months-ish. To be honest, I've lost track of time completely.

Suddenly, it's too cold for shorts. Suddenly, I found myself digging out that winter raincoat from the bowels of my closet.

But here is a set I didn't get around to posting before I bounced out at the end of August -- my bad! It was actually my favorite outfit this summer.

So before I start blogging about sweaters and rain boots, here's a happy send off to summer 2017.

As much as I love the lacy top flowy bottom combo, this outfit was a pain in the butt to find the pieces for initially. I got the shorts pretty early on in spring, but couldn't figure out what to wear with them. There was actually a matching top for it in store, but it had a horrendous fit -- too short, too puffy in all the wrong places. But oh the shorts, they were a dream come true. Print, color, fit were bang on. So the hunt for something to complement it was on.

I don't know about anyone else, but I get extremely distracted when trying to put clothing together into a cohesive look. It goes a bit like this -- See thing I like, get thing I like. See another thing I like that has nothing in common with first thing I liked, and so on and so forth. My closet is kind of an explosion of puzzle pieces that don't fit together. The perils of liking loud colors and prints is that I really have a lack of neutrals to pair things with.

Sometimes I have to remind myself -- You like hummus and chocolate, but you don't like hummus with chocolate. Applying that simple principle to shopping ethics, I was able to concentrate for a good 30 minutes and hunker down to get a matching set of tops in nice simple white. Yes, it's two pieces!

The second challenge of finding a solid white tank in the right length to go under an entirely too see-through lace top forced me to concentrate for another chunk of time. I honestly don't think I've ever made this much of an effort for something so light and summery. I had to suppress my usual impatient temperament and make it work... and it was worth it. As far as all my summery clothes go, I feel like this is the most me. I only wish I had more time to wear it.

So, this week I show you what I consider is super me, next post will be something completely out of my comfort zone.

And with this, I bid summer 2017 goodbye. It was much, much too short.

Photo cred: Meghan Latta @discomoon | EditingMe!
Outfit details: Lace top & shorts: Urban Behavior | White tank top: H&M | Bag: T'was a present from me mom | Hat: Dressew | Shoes: Thrifted | Panda Necklace: T'was a gift from me boo.