July 19 2017

Caroline Constas’ Gorgeous Rainbow Colored Clothing

I was browsing through Moda Operandi when I came across these rainbow colored clothes by New York-based designer Caroline Constas. How stunning is that gathered top with the ruffle skirt? As a person who loves ruffles and rainbows I almost cried when I saw these! (Not really, but it did make me emotional…like buy, buy, buy! But then, no, no, no.) I put these clothes in the, “Really beautiful but too expensive category.” (I should make a board called that on Pinterest!) The gathered top goes for $420. Yeah….no.

I have this theory that the retail industry is currently pushing out the middle market. High end luxury brands with beautiful unique designs will stay in business as will fast fashion brands that rip off the luxury market’s designs. With the rise of Instagram, I think a lot of women love following trend setting style influencers like Aimee Song or Chriselle Lim. I remember after seeing Aimee wear that black and white Self-Portrait blouse, I was like, “Where can I buy that?” The influencers know how to put their outfits together, they look A-MAZING so they amass a legion of fans who want to dress just like them too.

So who are the big losers? Coincidentally, they’re the same ones who built too many physical retail stores. BCBG, Bebe, J.Crew, The Limited, Abercrombie, Guess.

On the luxury end, it’s fun to discover new designers (or at least new to you/me). Browsing by designer, getting to know who they are is interesting too. In this Vogue article I learned that Caroline Constas is known for her off-the-shoulder tops (ok, like everyone) but ones that are “well priced, flattering, and not too flimsy as to pose a wardrobe malfunction risk.” She has a “straightforward signature—classic shirting with a twist.”

The woman is a force! “Constas is also savvy in that her business is vertically integrated, so her patternmakers, sewers, and seamstresses are all in-house. Not only does that maintain high margins, but it means she can be involved in every step of the process, from the size of the buttonholes to buying strategies. ‘Getting my hands in production and sales has been so important,’ she says. ‘I can’t imagine having a label and doing it differently. As a designer, you have a vision for what you think will do well in the market, but it’s great to be in those sales meetings and hear what buyers’ needs actually are. At the end of the day, it’s a business.’

That’s my kind of gal!

P.S. Sorry about the lack of posts! I’ve been swamped with Skylar Yoo, the fashion brand for bold women coming out in mid-October. I’ll try to post more!

    July 14 2017

    Welcome Model Victoria Peyser to Our Skylar Yoo Team!

    For weeks and weeks, I’ve been looking for the perfect girl to represent the Skylar Yoo brand. I can’t put into words who I was looking for, I just hoped and prayed she would appear. It now brings me great pleasure to introduce you to Victoria Peyser, a Ford model. You can see more pictures of her, here, or follow on Instagram, here.

    We’re set to shoot at the end of September. Can’t wait to show you the behind-the-scene pics!

    Excited to have you on our team, Victoria! We’re so lucky to have found you.

    July 13 2017

    Update on Skylar Yoo

    I wanted to give you a guys an update on how the brand, Skylar Yoo, is shaping up. We have 10 solid designs in the pre-production phase, we’re testing out colors to make sure they look exactly right. For photography, I’ve picked out the one that I think has the best experience and the eye. Her name is Karen Rosalie, she worked as the editorial manager for The Chriselle Factor from 2014-2016, leading the brand’s photography and digital content production. She has created strong editorial stories with Chriselle for brands like Viktor & Rolf, Dior, Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo. Her work with the Chriselle Factor has been featured on Vogue.com, Elle.com, InStyle magazine & Harpers Bazaar.

    Rosalie led me to the model I think we’re going to sign. (That hasn’t been locked in yet so I’ll introduce you to her once that deal is done.)

    Because there’s so much to do before the October launch date, I hired a good friend of mine, Kat, to help me part-time. We’re totally on the same page with everything but it’s tough trying to balance friendship with business. That being said, I thought about it a lot (A LOT A LOT), and I think she’s going to help me bring this brand alive!

    Yesterday, I broke down a bit because I’m feeling stressed. Excited, yes, but stressed. Will you all love the shirts? How can I be sure? I’m investing so much time and money into this new venture, I just have to hope and pray that I’m on the right track.

    July 8 2017

    Why I Love My Huge, Awesome, Amazing Family

    I will freely admit that, though I have over 2000+ friends on Facebook, I am truly only close to my family, two girlfriends and two guy friends. I think this is because I have a bad case of social anxiety and a fear of opening up. Though I’ve come a long way, I still get nervous around new people. Speaking up in crowds? Forget it.

    That being said, the most important people in my life are my family (and my friends who have become like family). When I get pissed off at one sibling, I call the other. We cry, we laugh, we just get each other. I’m lucky that my sisters are my best friends, though they are polar opposites in personality each brings a unique perspective on life. When I fight with my siblings, (ok, let’s just say it, my brother) we say things that are extremely hurtful, that cut deep. It’s no holds barred. But then, I remember that we’re blood and that ultimately we do love each other. That we have each other’s backs and that we’ll be there for each other when crisis hits.

    We call ourselves the “Kimdashians” because we have our drama moments just like the real world Kardashians. (My maiden name is Kim.) Every single person in my family, including my brother-in-laws and sister-in-law, have totally unique, awesome personalities. One brother-in-law was “green” (environmentally friendly) before it was cool to be, he picks up trash on the ground to make the world a cleaner place, he builds beds and tables out of wood he finds in the forest. How cool is that? My other brother-in-law is this super smart guy who can recount the date of any memorable event. He’s an “early adopter,” always getting the latest tech toy, especially when it comes to Apple products.

    One of my sisters is a fashionista, she knows what the hottest restaurants are and what the latest fashion is. My other sister is the DIY expert who isn’t afraid to take on a new hobby, whether that’s leather crafting, sewing, making pickles or creating gem stone rings.

    I’m the entrepreneur of the family, fascinated by business. I also have a love for art, design and photography, and though I’m not good at any of these, I have developed the eye for curation.

    I could go on and on but I’ll just stop here and say that, though my siblings and I have had a rough childhood, we’ve all come out of it stronger people. We’re as close as close can be. I thank God for these people in my life and I consider myself the luckiest person in the world to be a part of this family.

    July 7 2017

    A Stunning White Dress

    The rabbit hole we call the Internet led me to this online store called Ellis and Friends. I was perusing their website when I came across this stunning white dress. I love the bare shoulders, how it’s A-line (hiding my big hips), and how it’s made in lace, crochet and organza. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

    P.S. My favorite ruffled blouse, from Self-Portrait, is now being sold online. You can buy it on the company’s website.

    July 7 2017

    The Prettiest Purple Top

    I recently discovered the store MILLE. They sell clothes that are a little pricey but worth it for the unique style. This purple top with balloon sleeves, ruffles on the arms and a tie at the neck is so pretty! It’s called the Rayne Tie Shirt and it’s by Thierry Colson.

    Though sold out, I noticed that now a lot of sites let you enter your email address to get on an email list. They’ll notify you when they get a new shipment in. Genius!

    July 6 2017

    The Perfect Beach Cover-Up

    I’m not a big fan of crochet but when I saw this, I was immediately drawn to it. Isn’t it so pretty? I love the scalloped edges. Five out of five stars with 16 reviews. One person wrote, “This cover-up is stunning. Lots of compliments on it. Well made too.”

    It’s called the Crochet Cover-Up Tunic and it’s by Surf Gypsy.

    July 5 2017

    The Prettiest Chair (is Comfortable Too)!

    I have this weird fascination with chairs. If I had all the money in the world I would start a chair collection. So far I have the Sayl Chair by Yves Béhar (in white and red), the Eames rocker in red, and I have an accent chair for my office, a pretty turquoise Eames chair.

    One of my dreams is to get the classic Eames Lounge Chair in black. It’s the epitome of cool.

    Just to note, now that I’m moving (I only have one month left!), I’ll be scouting out cool furniture. Hope you enjoy seeing more posts like this (home decor).

    I just spotted this fancy gem on Room & Board’s website. It’s called Chloe and it’s made from luxurious velvet. It looks gorgeous in dark blue and in pink.

    It got really high reviews on the R&B website, 5 out of 5 stars, with people saying things like:
    “Such a great yet simple design and it’s comfortable looks excellent.”
    “Beautiful fabric! Gorgeous design. Perfect color. I love it and may get another.”
    “A good friend of mine has this chair in a different fabric. When we were looking for a good comfortable chair for our guest bedroom, I didn’t hesitate. This is a chair you can spend hours in. I just love it!”

    July 5 2017

    Probably the Coolest Thing You’ll See Today

    Though put up on YouTube in 2012, it’s new to me. For a person who has a YouTube attention span of like 10 seconds, I thought this was well worth the two minutes.

    “Dancers + camera + kaleidoscope = this infinitely gorgeous short video. (Watch in 1080p fullscreen if you can.) It’s made for TEDxSummit, an unprecedented gathering of TEDx organizers from around the world– and the video celebrates ‘the power of x’ to multiply great ideas.”

    June 25 2017

    How My Mother’s Suicide Shattered Me

    It’s a nice, warm Sunday here in California. Too hot, if you ask me. I was hanging out with my husband and my boys in my air conditioned house when I suddenly felt this “pang” to write something deeply personal. I told Sam (that’s my husband’s name), “I need to go to Starbucks and write.” Of course, my concerned husband asked me, “What do you want to share?” I told him that it was about my mother’s suicide, which happened exactly 20 years ago this year. (She was 47-year-old when she took her own life.) I’m probably going to cry as I type this, tears started to well up even as I told Sam the general outline of the story. But that’s ok. (I brought a whole box of tissue paper with me.)

    So, I’ve made it to Starbucks, paid for my cold brew and am now ready to process the gamut of emotions that will follow.

    Her name was Nanju but she would go by the “American” name Nancy. She was an RN (registered nurse) and often worked night shifts at the hospital. My grandmother, her mom, also lived with us and she sort of acted like my mother because my mom was too busy, always trying to put food on the table. We grew up in Wilmington, which as anyone will tell you, isn’t the safest neighborhood in America. We had metal bars on our windows and a long hallway made of metal that greeted guests before they even got to the door.

    Growing up, my mom was volatile. I can’t remember hugging her and we never said, “I love you” to each other. Mostly she was all rage. “Why didn’t you do that better”, “Use your head!” These were just some of the phrases she would yell at us. Perhaps it’s because of the Korean culture that one doesn’t verbalize “I love you”, instead, you show it through action. Can’t you see that I love you through my hard work?

    We were not close, I just sort of admired her from afar. She wrote poetry that got published in newspapers, she was head of the Korean nurses association, after the LA riots she helped Koreans get back on their feet. She even got an award from the President of Korea for her help in the Korean community.

    In fifth grade, we moved to Oregon and started a new life. Our house was huge, we had a pool. I guess we were moving up? We only stayed there for a year and during that time, I got a real glimpse into who my mother was. One day, my mother just up and disappeared. The next time I saw her she was at a mental hospital, strapped in a straight jacket. It was there that she was diagnosed bipolar. I couldn’t process it at the time. I was too young. Had she gone crazy? Who was this woman? I was scared of her.

    Fast forward a few years. As the third child of four (I have two older sisters and one younger brother), I was told to just follow in the footsteps of Carol (my second sister). So I did. I went to UCLA with a major in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. Was that my passion? Absolutely not. I had no idea what that even meant. I wasn’t brought up to speak my mind, I was directed to follow.

    Carol and I would live together at UCLA and it was there that we formed a strong bond. My mom would call us, yelling at us to come home and we dutifully would, scared sh**less that she would beat us up. She had no problem whacking us with a fly swatter or a plastic hanger. The hits would burn and the bruises would slowly fade. The trauma? Well, that would stay with us forever.

    It was spring break in my sophomore year at college when I decided to go home, back to Orange County, to see my grandmother, mother, father and brother. I’ll never forget that day. I knew my mom was deeply depressed, she had tried a few times to kill herself, one time by downing a whole bottle of vodka. I went to the gym to work out. When I returned I heard wailing. My grandmother was in the closet and she told me to call 911. I panicked. I couldn’t get into the closet, it was jammed, so I couldn’t see what was happening, or maybe I did go in but my head just won’t let me remember. All I know is that my mother had killed herself. Suicide. Death by hanging.

    One of the worst parts of this experience was hearing my grandmother wail. She wouldn’t stop. She beat her chest till it went black and blue. We had to put her into a hospital to get her to calm down. Looking back, I realize that she had lost her last living child, her daughter, and that there would be no greater pain than that.

    For the next ten years, I could not open up about my mom. Someone would bring her up and I would just bawl. Not a single tear, literally bawl. I would tell the person to stop, that it was just too much to bear.

    Then, two things happened. I became a mother myself and I got diagnosed with bipolar. These events would change my view of my mother forever.

    When you become a mom, you realize what unconditional love is. By this I mean, love with no strings attached. You care for your children because of the immense love you have for them. So, it dawned on me, if my mother loved us, as she biologically should, how could she just up and leave us? How could she leave her own mother as well as her four children? How could she be so selfish? Did she not realize that we all needed her? I got angry. I resented her. I especially resented her for leaving my grandmother behind. My grandmother no longer had a home, she would bounce from nursing home to nursing home for the last 10 years of her life.

    I’ll wrap this up by sharing with you my first experience of mania. I started to feel as though the government was watching me, I started noticing signs all around me, my brain had literally been taken over. Reason flew out the window. Sam knew something was wrong but couldn’t pinpoint the problem. We decided to get away, so we packed our bags and went up to downtown LA. There’s a lot to this story but I’ll just tell you that it culminated in me wandering the streets of LA at 2am, then blindly crossing a busy street. God wouldn’t let me die, I told myself. He would watch over me. I had lost it. I could easily have caused a major car accident. Not only could I have been killed, I could have killed the people swerving around to miss me.

    Sam didn’t know what to do with me. He called my sister and a good doctor friend and they all decided the best place for me to go would be to the UCLA psych ward. I have no memory of what happened during the next ten hours. All I remember is waking up at the pysch ward, alone, with a note next to my bed. Scribbled in my sisters’ and husband’s handwriting were words that shockingly said that they were sorry that they had me put me there, that there was no other choice. Next to the note was a big bag of quarters, my only way to talk to them would be by a pay phone at the end of a long hallway. I ended up staying there for six weeks, until they could figure out what combination of medications would work on me. I couldn’t leave the psych ward, I could only see visitors. Though traumatic, I learned an important lesson: that the brain was immensely powerful.

    It’s now been three years. I try not to let being bipolar define me. It’s just a part of who I am. Tying this back to my mother, I now realize how depressed she was when she took her life. For those people who have never experienced depression or a mental illness, you may not be able to understand how you can’t just “snap” out of it. The bad thoughts overwhelm you. It’s nearly impossible to function in society. When I’m depressed, it feels like I’m in a deep hole I can’t climb out of. My life is great, why aren’t I happy?

    I’ve learned to forgive my mom. It’s not like she was making a deliberate, calculated decision to commit suicide, she felt as though she had no other choice. I think she was so sad, she thought this was the only way out. Her suicide would bring the family closer, she had once told me. It was a completely irrational thought but she wasn’t of sane mind.

    So, I have come to understand her. I wish she could have been around to see her grandchildren. It would have been nice to have her teach me how to do something as simple as change a diaper. I’ve been blessed with amazing in-laws, and though, they’ll never replace my own parents, I am supremely grateful for the grandmother/grandfather relationship they have with our children.

    I opened up a lot today and it felt very cathartic. If there’s even one person who read this and now has a better understanding of a family member or friend who’s going through a mental illness, than this post was all worth it.

    Note: Instead of donating a portion of all sales of Skylar Yoo to raising the awareness of mental illness, I want it to go towards funding the research of mental illness. There’s still so much we do not know about it. I hope that we can all learn more.

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