December 12 2017

10 of My Favorite Things Right Now – Beauty, Books and More

Hello, all! Yes, I’m back after a long hiatus. I’ve been busy working on Skylar Yoo, it take a lot to start up a whole new company. Sorry if I’ve been neglecting this blog, I feel like I have so much to write about now. I’ll start out with just sharing ten of my favorite things – from books to beauty products.

1. The Go-Giver book: This short story gives you some heartfelt lessons on business and life in general. It outlines five laws for stratospheric success. I love the concept of giving without asking for anything in return. Here’s a good quote: “Watch out for the other guy. Watch out for his interests. Watch his back. Forget about fifty-fifty, son. Fifty-fifty’s a losing proposition. The only winning proposition is one hundred percent. Make your win about the other person, go after what he wants. Forget win-win – focus on the other person’s win.”

This, too: “You give, give, give. Why?…Because you love to. It’s not a strategy, it’s a way of life.”

2. Rihanna’s Red Lip Paint, “Stunna“: I’ve always admired a woman who can carry off bold red lips. It’s hard to find the perfect shade, you get me, girls?! That’s why when I finally tried Rihanna’s brand Fenty Beauty’s “Uncensored” I was extremely happy! Unlike a lot of glosses and lipsticks these days that are totally drying, this one is less so. It stays on for hours and it’s a universally great shade of red. (See Rihanna in it, above.) Give it a go! You won’t regret it. (I’m now onto trying her metallic hot pink lipstick and her glitter eyeliner in blue.

3. Thick Classic Notebook with Pen Loop – Lately, I’ve been waking up early to journal. It’s a great, refreshing way to start the day (or end it). There’s tons of notebooks out there but this one spoke to me because it’s timeless, it’s not too bulky or too thin, and it has this handy pen loop so you’ll never lose your pen again. I’ll still collect my notebooks, but for my journals, I think I’ll stick to this one.

4. iPhone X: I recently received my iPhone X and can’t say enough how much I love it. I used to have the iPhone 6+ and that was a giant compared to this. The X is the perfect size, it’s not too heavy and I can use it with one hand. I love the the edge to edge OLED screen, how fast it is and, most importantly, Face ID. It’s weird not having a real, touchable home button but you get used to it. Good job, Apple, on making me fall in love with Apple again! (Speaking of which, I love my AirPods, too!)

5. Bandolino ballet flats in gold: I try to avoid heels whenever I can so when I see a good pair of flats I snatch them up. These gold ones, by Bandolino, are shimmery and cute. They don’t have a lot of support at the bottom, but they’re not for hiking a hill, they’re more for casual work wear. Lord & Taylor’s having a good sale on them right now!

6. Pentel EnerGel Liquid Gel Pen: This is by far the best pen I’ve ever used. It’s just so smooth and the the way it grips makes it feel so natural. I want 1000 of these. Speaking of pens, I use this black one for my journaling. Love it, too.

7. Baebody Eye Gel: Now that I’m past 40, I need me some eye cream. I checked Amazon and this one was far and away the best seller. Tried it on and loved it! It feels gel-like at first but then quickly absorbs into the skin. I used to suffer from dryness around my eyes but that’s all been cured.

8. Iconic Eyelashes at House of Lashes: These are my go-to eyelashes. They’re super full, I wear them daily, but you may want to save them for a special night out. House of Lashes has good eyelash glue, too.

9. Pink faux fur coat from Zara: This is one of my favorite coats right now. (I’ve started a small collection.) It’s super fluffy and warm. Who doesn’t love this color, too? It’s not too baby pink or too bright pink.

10. Today Matters: 12 Daily Practices to Guarantee Tomorrow’s Success (Maxwell, John C.) – This is kind of an older book (2005) but it still has a lot of valuable life lessons. Maxwell is a pastor so there are some references to God but overall you can learn a lot of what you can do today to be successful tomorrow. He includes a ton of quotes in this book so if that’s your jam, you’re going to love this. He narrows down the areas for critical success to 12 or what he calls the “”Daily Dozen.” This includes having a positive attitude, sticking to priorities and investing in good relationships. Solid.

November 10 2017

Skylar Yoo’s Debut at Platform’s Hip Marketplace?

Have you heard of Platform? It’s this relatively new spot in LA that one person described as “Culver City’s Hipster/Millennial Answer to The Grove.” With cool shops and hip restaurants, it’s a hidden hot spot. Vanity Fair called it, “L.A.’s Hottest Urban Development.” A new opportunity just opened up for us to possibly display our products there!

Here’s where you, our early believers, can help us out! We may get a chance to show off our inspiring apparel at Platform on November 25. You can nominate Skylar Yoo by going to our Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/skylar.yoo, picking any one of our photos, and then tagging @Platform_LA and hashtagging #SBSPLATFORM. Winners will receive a spot at Platform’s marketplace on November 25. Would appreciate your support! We’ll know if we’ve been selected by November 15. Thank you!

October 31 2017

Kick-Ass Mantras at Lenny Letter

I like subscribing to email newsletters but most of them are all about the news. Have you heard about Lenny Letter? Launched a few years ago, in 2015, Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner have a twice-weekly email newsletter with 500,000 subscribers. They write about everything from Style to Politics. One of their consistent series is this thing called Daily Affirmations. Here, they pair enlightening messages with cute and funny illustrations. They’re “mantras to help you start your day.” I’m smitten.

I also love this essay Tracee Ellis Ross wrote about Michelle Obama. Man, I miss our past president and his powerful wife.

October 30 2017

Please Welcome Skylar Yoo to the World!

I tried to soft launch Skylar Yoo last week but we had so many back-end problems I couldn’t do it…till now! Yay! We are now live. Thank you for going on this journey with me. For all my readers, (hello sisters, Arlene, Chris Kwok and Rachel!), I couldn’t have gotten here without all of your support. It took true “grit” to get this far. Countless nights wondering what this brand stood for, anticipation for how the photoshoot would go, and then making countless changes on the website till it felt just right.

I really have to give credit to my two partners-in-crime, Sam (my husband) and Kat (one of my best friends). Without you two, I would have gone psycho. Kat, the way you help turn my anxiety into excitement is pure genius, you’re like the ultimate guru. Sammy, what would I do without your pep talks and emotional support? I’d be a wreck! It reminds me of that old African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Let’s see where Skylar Yoo goes. We got some orders in today so we’re doing a little “happy dance” at the office. I know it takes years to grow a brand people love and connect with. I hope we can be one of those brands. There are real people behind this company who truly care about our mission: to inspire and empower women. Let’s be bold!

If you haven’t heard, we have a special promo going on right now. Be one of our first 100 customers and type in FIRST100 in the discount box and you’ll get 50% off your whole order. Seize the day! This won’t last long.

October 13 2017

I Love You California Print Raises $100,000 for CA Wildfires

I love a good art print, especially if the money raised by it is going to a good cause. This one touched my heart. Called “I Love You California,” 100% of of their online sales goes to helping support the relief efforts for those affected by the California wildfires. $100,000 has already been raised. Cool thing is that Dave Pell of Next Draft will match whatever they raise this week. I bought this floral one. NorCal, we here in SoCal are thinking about you! (This red leaf one is pretty, too.)

October 13 2017

Skylar Yoo: 10 Days Out Till Soft Launch!

Anxiety. Panic. Excitement. Worry. These are all of the emotions that have overtaken my body this last month. The launch of my new company, Skylar Yoo, is set for October 23, 2017. That’s 10 days away. There’s still so much to do. Some products have not even arrived yet, there’s still pages to be filled in which includes the “About Me” section. For some reason or another I’m having a tough time putting together a few paragraphs on who I am.

Sure, I have spilled my guts to you 10 readers out there about my mother’s suicide, my manic episodes I go through because I’m bipolar, but how can I succinctly convey my life story and how my tragedies and triumphs have brought me to creating Skylar Yoo? This, my friends, is the struggle.

Then again, I have a shirt that we’ll be selling that says, “The Struggle is Part of the Story.” We all go through struggles, we’re united by them, it’s what connects each and every one of us together. I love Brene Brown and the way she writes or talks about vulnerability.

My sister also got me into reading books and watching videos on Simon Sinek. His Start with Why book had me thinking about why I created Skylar Yoo. It helped me tremendously. For all the negativity that’s out there right now, I love that there’s articles upon articles about the rise of the women’s movement. In fact, my husband and I had a very spirited discussion recently about the word “Feminist.” Simply, it means that men and women should have equal rights. His view is that we should emphasize that girls should support girls or that women should band together to lift each other up. Maybe I’m an idealist but I want every person, man or woman, to believe that we should all have equal rights. That means men and women should support women, or as they say, “We should all be feminists.”

I’ll leave you with this. After days and days of thinking about my “Why?”(thank you, Simon Sinek), I think I’ve figured out Skylar Yoo’s. This will be a company dedicated to inspiring and empowering women. (In 10 days, you’ll have to read the About section to find out more.) I’ve already pondered, what’s next? In my efforts to dream big, I hope that Skylar Yoo can, one day, be a publication, an online and print magazine, that shares inspiring stories about women entrepreneurs. I’ve even toyed with the idea of rebranding this blog, Adventures of Yoo, to become a place to share those inspiring stories. Just a thought for now. I’ll let you know if or when we make that switch.

Out of all the photos we took at the photo shoot, the one featured here is my favorite. Why? Because the woman, with the city backdrop behind her, is looking up at the sky. She is confident and hopeful. She believes that she can be anything she wants to be. Nothing can stop her. She proudly declares to the world, “Yes, I can.”

September 30 2017

Behind the Scenes of the Skylar Yoo Photo Shoot

This past Monday, we shot professional photos for the shirts we’ll be selling at Skylar Yoo. We’re about a month out till launch, people! Isn’t that crazy?

Instead of worrying about morning traffic to LA, Sam, my friend and manager of Skylar Yoo, Kat, and I stayed at the Ace Hotel in downtown. That hotel is extra special to me because it’s where the thought of having an actual clothing line seemed like a possibility. The excitement of the day caused me to wake up at a frickin’ crazy hour, 5am. (Call time was 8am.) I just didn’t know what to expect for my first photo shoot. Did the photographer understand my vision? Would the outfits work? What if the model didn’t show?

I found my photographer, Karen Chen, while browsing through Instagram. I went to her website, dug around and found out that she had worked three years as photographer for one of the top fashion bloggers today, Chriselle Lim. I was sold. (If you’re out there reading this Chriselle, I love ya, girl. Same to you, Aimee Song. Go Korean girls!)

Included in Karen’s fee was her photography assistant and a MUA (make-up artist, don’t worry I had to Google it, too). I found out at the shoot that the make-up artist was Andrew Velazquez who is currently on a Lifetime show called American Beauty Star. Read about it, here, or you can watch snippets of it on Andrew’s Instagram.

Now, I needed a stylist and a model. Karen recommended Michelle Chan as well as Ford model Victoria Peyser. For a model, I was looking for someone with a mixed heritage. Victoria immediately caught my eye. The 19-year-old is a beautiful mix of German, Irish, Korean and Japanese.

I’d love to give you all the details about the shoot but you would probably be overwhelmed. All I have to say is that it was an A-MAZING day. Like one of those days that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Everything just came together perfectly. No drama, no chaos, every single person in the team brought their A game. We spent four long hours in the studio getting all the product shots done and then jumped around three different spots in downtown LA to get the editorial ones. My favorite part was working with Michelle in styling the outfits. It was so much fun pairing the shirts with jackets, jewelry and shoes. I know it’s such a girly thing but it felt like a cool, creative part of the project. Victoria made the clothes come alive!

Karen is a super talented, super hard working photographer. The girl had a contact sheet with all the photos sent to me that same night (it was right around 11:30pm). Talk about fast turnaround time. I would work with her again in a heartbeat.

Sam and I catch ourselves reminiscing about the day. How the weather was perfect, how hard everyone worked, how stunning Victoria looked in the shirts. I can’t wait to show you the final, edited shots.

At the end of the shoot, Sam, Kat and I went to this really cool vegan restaurant in the Arts District called Cafe Gratitude. We sat around reflecting on the day. All those long hours, working with the designers on the shirts, figuring out our brand and our message culminated in that moment. Though we haven’t launched yet it felt like we had reached a major milestone.

Thank you to everyone for helping us get this far. Skylar Yoo will be making her debut soon!

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