Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Fall in Fur

Hat, Fur Stole, Necklace, & Skirt: Topshop // Sweater: Nordstrom Rack // Shoes: H&M // Bracelet: Vintage

Last weekend marked the occurrence of my last shopping spree during which I bought several items from Topshop (the pencil skirt was on sale for only $25!) and H&M that I recently had been coveting. If you know anything about shopaholicism, you'll know that the satisfaction of having everything you want lasts only so long... The problem with being caught up with all of your latest fashion bloggers, online style publications, Instagram and Pinterest is that you are left hungry for whatever items you saw- regardless of whether you truly need it or not! I usually try to stay out of this endless swirl of mindless buying but lately all I can think about are that turtleneck shirt that I want, those tall riding boots, and that MacBook I'll be getting during the holidays... I need to pick up on my older hobbies, such as playing the piano, drawing or reading. Speaking of reading, I've found ways to spend money even on that by buying several books on my Kobo Arc Tablet. It never ends!
On an opposite note from that rant on reckless consumerism and all-consuming materialism, I adored these ombre, clear-heeled booties from H&M that vaguely resemble Jeffrey Campbell boots for a fraction of the price. Apparently exotic dancers aren't the only ones who can rock clear heels nowadays! Also, I'm in love with my new hat (warm and the perfect shape for my head), my huge, warm fur stole, and the length of this pencil skirt (I've been lusting over a waist-to-over-the-knees skirt for a while now, just look at my Pinterest style board). Seeing how I received multiple compliments from random people about my outfit, I assume that I looked pretty good that day! However, you have to ignore my random blue socks that I hastily wore because I was heading to the gym afterwards and didn't have the time to look for tights or white socks...
What are some of your favourite buys from recent times? Or if you're also trying to cut back on shopping, what are some of your best methods for distracting yourself from heading to the nearest mall?

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

A Love Story: Caffeine Addiction and University Life

video
(Forgive the blurry quality of this video clip; for the original, click here)

For this week's PUB 101 assignment, we were required to make a story out of media, whether it was a sequence of pictures or a mini-film, with little or no guidelines to restrain our creativity. Since I was in no mood (and have no skills) to create a full-length motion picture, I settled for a 15 second long film montage that was easily made possible on Instagram. I had to shift through many uninspiring ideas before I came to the conclusion that I want to create something with a mixture of daily student life, fashion, and coffee.

Coffee is such a huge part of university life (and life thereafter) that it is a highly-relatable subject to discuss how much caffeine one has guzzled over the past few days in order to pull several all-nighters. Other topics include favourite coffee shop locations (hipster and independent spots vs. more corporate establishments), how coffee is drunk (black vs. double-double), how environmentally-friendly one is (reusable mugs vs. paper cups), and how much of one's pay cheque is drained by one's coffee habit. I can recount, as I am sure many others can, numerous occasions in which coffee has almost literally saved my life and sanity by bringing warmth to my fingers and mental function back to my brain. All in all, I think it's safe to claim that coffee brings us together in so many unexpected ways.

Back to the riveting story of my publishing assignment, I drew the most embarrassing little storyboard for my "cameraman" to follow so that we could get the "filming" over with as soon as possible. We headed over to a local coffee shop that was not Starbucks since I did not want to promote their easily-recognizable merchandise nor be stared at in a more crowded environment. I started off with an "establishing shot" of the coffee shop, then cut to a scene of myself pretending to be busily working on a class project, and so on. While the original video clips featured me fully savouring the flavour of my coffee, I found that the 15 second maximum greatly challenged my already limited story-telling capabilities. As an end result, I'm sure that most of my viewers see it as being a random montage of my outfit, my coffee, my work, and the coffee shop, rather than a coherent story telling of my love of/addiction to coffee.

Ultimately, I gained a much deeper appreciation for the abilities of my friends who are professional-grade videographers; they are able to create such profound, artistic, and, most importantly, intelligible stories that far outstrip my mediocre efforts. Let's just say that I won't be quitting my day job (or Publishing minor) any time soon to pursue a career in film.

Check out the original post in Instagram form here.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Weekly Instagram Diary

Hello everyone,
This last weekend and week has been a jumble of fun and stress, according to whether I was finishing my projects or enjoying some much-needed social/physical activities. Let's took a look at what I've been up to:
A friend of mine wanted to buy a Bath and Body Works candle so I helped her take advantage of the 2 for $15 deal by getting this "Pumpkin Cupcake" item myself. I have yet to use it because I've been using my Saje diffuser candle lately but I'll let y'all know how it is!
My latest project for PUB 131 (the third project due in three weeks) consisted of my recreating four pages of the Vancouver Sun on Adobe InDesign. Talk about a snorefest! But at least I guess I was learning something...
A friend of mine who works at the new Tory Burch store on Alberni Street invited me to the private soft opening last Friday. Although the store boasted a classy and chic interior, the amount of people crowded upstairs in the shoe and bag room had me feeling more than a little claustrophobic. 
... But at least we got really cute treats like these!
After Tory Burch, I headed off to Kamei Baru on Smithe St. to meet the bf for dinner and a movie (Captain Phillips). We feasted on delicious oysters, chicken wings, chicken curry, and sipped on Asahi Black (our favourite beer).

We also enjoyed a special Spanish Mackerel called Aji- this minute plate cost a good $15! 
The next morning the bf and I stuffed ourselves on a huge brunch at a local dinner. Omelettes are usually my breakfast of choice!
I am very thankful that I have recently upgraded my Club 16 status to Elite Plus as going to both the Coquitlam and Vancouver locations has allowed me to work out much more than I had been able to in the last few months. As a result, I can feel myself improving my fitness levels immensely lately, both cardio and strength-wise. A friend of mine has requested that I write a fitness post on running and general fitness tips so that might be in the works for the near future! 
Fright Night! Both a fun time and a complete waste of one. I was very happy to go with some of my ex-coworkers as we could all catch up with one another while stuck in HOUR long lineups. Yep, you read that right. An hour. For each attraction. My advice? Either don't bother to go or go on a weeknight, weekends are killer! The immense number of people and the length of the lineups are much more frightening than the actual haunted houses, believe me... 
I was very disappointed that the one haunted houses we managed to get into (after waiting impatiently in a ten-lane lineup) turned out to be the same house I went into last year. So I was very much unshocked by anything in there... Plus I have yet to scream in a haunted house, I think watching a million horror movies has greatly desensitized me to the experience. 
I haven't been to SFU Burnaby in quite a while so when I saw the Starbucks that recently opened up on campus, I was more than impressed with its lovely open door/patio concept that was perfect for catching up with friends in the fall sunshine.
As I was paid this last Friday, I felt it was high time to treat myself by going on a mini spending spree. I bought this Topshop hat and fur stole ($46 each... A bit on the pricey side), a Topshop pencil skirt that was on sale for only $24, and a pair of H&M booties. I was also debating whether I should buy this Canon 50mm f1.8 camera lens that I've been meaning to buy for a while now. However, since I'm a strict budget in order to save up for my L.A. trip, I decided to forgo the expenditure until next pay cheque.
Just last night I experienced a major food coma while eating an enormous hotpot meal with a bunch of my friends. The couple who hosted the event more than know their hotpot necessities; we were so stuffed by the delicious ingredients that we ended up not being able to finish most of the food. Today (Sunday), I had yet another hotpot dinner at Boiling Point with another couple... I think I need to take a break from hotpot dinners for the next while...

Friday, 25 October 2013

Follow Your Heart

(A my-nails-match-my-sweater shot)

Sweater: Old Navy // Blazer: Dynamite // Necklace: Smart Set // Shirt: Urban Planet // Pants & Shoes: Material Girl // Bag: 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target // Bracelets: Ily Couture & Forever 21

Happy Friday everyone!
Yet again, it's been one long week full of school-related stress and work; however, those beautiful bouts of sunshine in between the periods of mysterious fog really helped to keep my mood somewhat upbeat. I'm just glad that I'll be able to take a mini-breather before the next wave of school projects come my way. It's at this point that I'm starting to really look forward to my vacation in L.A. at the end of next month, even if it's happening right at the end of the semester and therefore will require me to bring along some work on the trip. 
For this outfit, I wore the sibling of the Old Navy fox sweater from this post. When I saw this particular version on sale for $20-ish, I knew I had to get it. Plus, burgundy is such a great shade for fall! 
How have the rest of you been holding up?

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Striped in the Shadows

Blazer and Tights: H&M // Blouse and Skirt: 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target // Booties: Material Girl // Bracelets: Aldo // Necklace: Ell and Em

(Photos courtesy of Lydia Ko)

 Hello to all my readers and fellow bloggers!
Lately I've been feeling so disconnected from my blog and from my usual need to update it in an overzealous manner; however, when I glance over at the calendar, it becomes glaringly clear that my mental absence from this blog is a result of that dreaded time of the school year: exam period. While both of my courses may not have any actual exams, they require me to complete project after project, lab assignment after lab assignment, quiz after quiz, and, well, you get the picture... I'm lucky that my PUB 101 class has only demanded one essay and occasional posts from me lately since my other PUB 131 has forced me to hand in three projects in as many weeks. As a result, I've been stressing out over how to finish all these checkmarks on my to-do list while also working, commuting (I now loathe the long commute from Coquitlam to downtown Vancouver), and hanging on to a social life. How have the rest of you students been handling your business as of late?

Monday, 21 October 2013

Publishing vs. Blogging: Is the Pen Mightier than the Keyboard?



As the phenomenon of digital media continues to permeate into the everyday lives of mankind, its constant transformations have caused an enormous shift in traditional understandings and structures of publishing. With the onset of the digital age, a growing number of ordinary citizens were and continue to be given the opportunity to create literary and/or visual content that could be consumed by an interested public. However, does the ability to place one’s creative works in a public sphere immediately transform into one a real “publisher”? Unfortunately conclusive answers are frustratingly elusive with the fluid and unset nature of digital media. Nevertheless, this paper will examine various aspects of blogging in order to propose that bloggers and social media users, under certain conditions and circumstances, can be considered as publishers.


A Radical Transformation: Publishing from Yesterday to Today
Prior to the digitalization of media, publishing had a very concrete and physical foundation upon which structure, ideas, and practices related to publication were based. For instance, the physical requirements for pre-digital publishing, such as typesetting, book-binding, and distribution to various vendors, would create the need for specialized roles such as craftsmen, financial investors, and marketers. As well, within an established publishing house, its publishers are responsible for “maintaining the brand and integrity of the house” (Norman, 24 Sept 2013, Posiel.com). In other words, these publishers act as the gatekeepers of what will become published and what will not; they decide what is good enough to be seen by the public and what will be thrown into the trash bin. In today’s digital-literate culture, however, many individuals are discovering methods of publicly posting content that circumvent the usual methods of publishing. Therefore, a brief examination of one of today’s most popular avenues of self-publication, blogging, might aid us in better understanding how publishing has radically transformed from a closed-house operation into an open doorway to opportunity.

Blogging 101: A Brief Introduction
As someone who runs her main blog on Blogspot, a sideline blog on Tumblr, and writes for an online publication via Wordpress, I have come to view blogging as a legitimate way with which to become a publisher. I first started blogging in high school with that once-popular site “Xanga” as a way of journalling my teenage angst; many of my fellow classmates and peers, who were also active on the site, would comment on my posts and write their own angsty posts about school, relationships, and growing up. It was at this point in time when I slowly became aware of the blogging community-- an audience comprised of both real-life acquaintances and strangers. A readership that was simultaneously tangible and imaginary to whom I voiced my deepest, innermost feelings of mortification and uncertainty with little hesitation. As a result of reliving these younger days, I began to contemplate the reasons for why we bloggers are so easily compelled to fearlessly bare our souls within such public mediums.  

Addressing the “Public” (Or Why We Write)

Michael Warner discusses in his work “Publics and Counterpublics” (2002) that “a public is a relation among strangers” and that in our contemporary society, strangers are “a normal feature of the social” and “a necessary medium of commonality” (417). In other words, our current world, which reveres success within digital arenas such as blogging and social media, often functions as a community of strangers who may not know each other personally but still can relate to one another based on mutual or opposing interests. For instance, within the fashion blogger community, I have found myself becoming friendly acquaintances with other like-minded bloggers who live in distant cities or countries. We invite others to become voyeurs of carefully-curated aspects of our lives in order to build relationships with strangers. While in the past, this kind of relationship could only be built between individuals who met in person or between published print authors and their readership, today’s technologies allow any determined person to establish a loyal audience on a transcontinental scale. As a result, I believe that this reality allows for individuals who are not associated with established publishing houses to be reasonably considered as publishers.


Blogging vs. “Legitimate” Publishing
The act of blogging should be considered as publishing as it does not merely constitute purposeless communication between strangers. Rather, it is a “carefully controlled performance” through which we present a very self-governed image of ourselves on our own terms (Papacharissi, 2002, p. 644). In opposition to our physical social interactions in which others can draw their own conclusions about your identity based on their personal observations, blogging permits us to display “fixed, singular, and self-conscious” versions of ourselves as fashion bloggers, financial advisors, beauty gurus or travel guides (Marwick & boyd, 2010, p. 2). Given the enormous amount of work required to maintain such self-representation, I think it is only fair that bloggers are seen as legitimate writers and publishers.
So how exactly do the duties of bloggers mirror the obligations of certified publishers? In the much-heralded (by style bloggers at least) website “Independent Fashion Bloggers,” Taylor Davies writes that bloggers, specifically fashion and personal style bloggers, “wear many hats [and] have an extremely varied array of marketable skills and talents” (2012, “IFB Poll: Are Bloggers Celebrities or Publishers?”). For instance, we can consider ourselves to be authors, publishers, photographers, marketers, entrepreneurs, brand ambassadors, and stylists. Although a traditional publishing house would consist of different departments specializing within the aforementioned fields, an independent blogger would have to gain some measure of expertise within many of these areas in order to become moderately successful. As well, there are quite a few well-known bloggers who have gone on to become marketers for various brands, editors for magazines, or self-published authors (albeit with the help of sponsors, literary agents, and publishing houses). Therefore, it becomes clear that even established publishing houses have accepted the fact that today’s forms of blogging are akin to, if not the same as, publishing.

Monetization and Audience Numbers
While many bloggers such as myself are happy to maintain a blog purely as a hobby, many others view their blogs in a more professional sense and work to make them viable sources of financial profit. In the IFB post “When to Start Monetizing Your Blog” (2013), Grechen Reiter writes that “once you have a good feel for your brand, your influence, and your “place” in the world of [blogging], you will come to monetization with a clearer understanding of your value and what to ask for.” In particular, this means that once a blogger understands that her or his site has grown a moderately-large and loyal audience who enjoy the blog’s content enough to click through links or read every post, it is time to stop thinking of their blog as merely a personal journal and more as a valuable method of personal branding. At that point in time, an increasing number of brands will begin contacting the blogger in order to conduct collaborations, promotional giveaways, contests, and other marketing tactics. As a result of such attention, onlookers and the blogger him or herself would more be compelled to view the blog as being an established online publication.
In terms of audience numbers, my experiences as a contributor for the online publication, AX3 Battery, have taught me how to gauge one’s influence on the web and to use it for monetary gain. This publication, which was originally created by a group of passionate university students, allows for all of its members to be quite hands-on and vocal regarding its management. For instance, during our tri-monthly editorial board discussions, we will often discuss ways with which to create posts that better appeal to our target audience (young Asian Americans) and to market our content more effectively. These conversations are invariably based upon audience tracking numbers that are drawn from tools such as Google Analytics; the information gleaned from such sources allows us to better understand every nuance of our audience’s habits and interests, such as whether certain content posted at noon tends to gain more attention than content posted early in the morning or late at night. Subsequently, we are able to discover more efficient methods of attracting potential paid campaigns with brands and businesses that wish to reach our particular audience. Through my time with AX3 Battery, I have come to understand that there are few concrete rules within the world of online publishing. As an digital editor, you must constantly re-learn how to remain a significant source of attractive and valuable information to your publication’s readers.   

Conclusion: The Difficulties of Digital Publishing
The PUB 131 reading “A Day in the Life of a Digital Editor, 2013,” which was written by the senior editor of The Atlantic, brought to my attention the sad reality that even well-established publications are struggling to stay relevant within a fast-paced digital age. In that post, Alexis C. Madrigal described the various hardships associated with online publishing to which I could more than relate. For example, Madrigal (2013) wrote that with the onset of “the digital transition,” “the ad market, on which [they] all depend[ed], started going haywire” and that most “large-scale general interest magazines” began to lose revenue as advertisers began to find cheaper ways to promote their wares (“A Day in the Life of a Digital Editor”). As a consequence, it becomes clear that if world-renowned publications are struggling to make sense of the digital age, then the world of publishing is indeed open to any blogger who is willing to work hard to post regular and high-quality content, whether it be literary, visual, artistic or analytical.   



Reference List:
Davies, T. (2012, September). IFB Poll: Are Bloggers Celebrities or Publishers? Retrieved

Madrigal, A.C. (2013, March). A Day in the Life of a Digital Editor, 2013. Retrieved from

Marwick, A.E. & boyd, d. (2010). I Tweet Honestly, I Tweet Passionately: Twitter Users,     Context  Collapse, and the Imagined Audience. New Media Society 20(10), 1-20.


Norman, S. (2013, September). The structure of a publishing house. Retrieved from http://posiel.com/2013/09/the-structure-of-a-publishing-house.


Papacharissi, Z. (2002). The Presentation of Self in Virtual Life: Characteristics of Personal Home Pages. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly 79(3), 643–60.  


Reiter, G. (2013, July). When to Start Monetizing Your Blog. Retrieved from 
http://heartifb.com/2013/07/19/when-to-start-monetizing-your-blog.

Warner, M. (2002). Publics and Counterpublics (abbreviated version). Quarterly Journal of Speech 88(4), 413-425. Retrieved from http://knowledgepublic.pbworks.com/f/warnerPubCounterP.pdf
    

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Loafin' Around

Cardigan: Urban Behaviour // Top: Zara // Leggings: Talula // Belt: H&M // Shoes: The Gap // Bag: 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target // Necklace: Forever 21

Good morning everyone,
It's so lovely to wake up later on a Saturday morning and to have the entire day to look forward to! I also had yesterday off so I was able to attend the soft opening event of the new Tory Burch store in Vancouver, have a delicious dinner at Kamei Baru (currently one of the bf's favourite spots), and watch the movie "Captain Phillips" (very intense and highly recommended for Tom Hanks fans). While today I do have to work on a project and paper that are both due this upcoming week, those things won't stop me from enjoying a lovely breakfast with the bf, a workout at the gym, a coffee/shopping date with a good friend, and Fright Night with some of my ex-coworkers who loved getting spooked.
In terms of this outfit, I wore this lovely but extremely cheap cardigan from UB that I bought to help my friend take advantage of the BOGO 50% off deal. I basically just took the first thing that caught my eye off the rack and tried it on; I was lucky that it turned out to be such a good pick! I've also been wearing these loafers everywhere even though they give me no support and were nowhere as comfortable as the $200 (sale price) Tory Burch loaders that I tried on yesterday. 
How are you guys planning to spend the weekend? 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Weekly Instagram Diary


(Taken while on a walk in my neighbourhood)

Greetings everyone,
How have you been enjoying this gorgeous fall season thus far? The beautiful weather has had a huge hand in keeping my mood bright and optimistic even throughout stressful school crunch-times. When I was not working, I managed to enjoy a great deal of delicious food (two hotpot dinners over the Thanksgiving long weekend), shop a bit too much (darn those Thanksgiving weekend sales), and enjoy the company of wonderful friends and family.
More gorgeous Vancouver scenery at Deer Lake Park. 
The first live hockey game I've been to this season: Canucks vs. San Jose Sharks. The dreaded SJS have beaten us badly for our first two bouts with them and I'm getting worried that we won't be able to get our edge back whenever we face off against them... Nevertheless, it was enthralling to see our boys in blue back in action!
I upgraded my regular membership at Club 16 to "Elite Plus" status, meaning I now have unlimited access to all gyms in the lower Mainland, unlimited tanning (not so interested in that), and discounts off random products. The most important thing is that I can now go to the Waterfront gym and enjoy this fantastic view! Also, I am slowly training myself again for my fourth Sun Run race- I am determined to beat my personal best of 45:06!
We enjoyed some delectable chocolate fondue at our friends' place. One of the hosts was creative enough to create a chocolate coating on top of a Melona popsicle- amazing!  
My obsession over home decor and accents continued. While at Metrotown, I bought this key accent/hanger and resisted buying more random things, like an amperstand-shaped bookend. 
The boyfriend bought me this awesome Saje stoneware natural candle diffuser along with a "Gratitude" diffuser oil. The perfect way to relax after a long day at work or school! 
Shopping a bit too much at Metrotown: China Glaze matte green nail polish that reminds me of Christmas cookie icing, a "Follow Your Heart" sweater from Old Navy to match my geeky fox one, a cardigan from Urban Behaviour ($8!), and a pair of print loafers from The Gap that I've been wearing everywhere lately!

Hope you all have been enjoying this fall as much as I have!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Bundled Hearts


 Coat: Ever New // Shirt: J. Crew // Skirt: Express // Tights: Forever 21 // Shoes: Material Girl // Necklace: Topshop

This past Saturday, which happened to be my only day off from work this long weekend, was filled to the maximum with the kind of fun activities that one can only enjoy with good food, great company, and a little bit of shopping (more details will be told in my next Weekly Instagram Diary post). :) And okay, you got me, I lied about doing just a little bit of shopping. 
Prior to my trip to Metrotown on Saturday, I bought this super warm and comfortable (and I'm hoping stylish) wool blend winter coat from the store Ever New in Pacific Centre, which I often describe to clueless friends as being a higher-end Forever 21. I learned from an Aussie tourist a while back that it's called Forever New in Australia but I assume that the company thought that the name would be too close to Forever 21. A fellow shoppaholic (Luv from Fashion to the Nine) and I had planned to buy something from there previously; however, I was unable to close the deal on anything until this coat came along.
It perhaps wasn't wise that I decided to wear my brand new coat to a hotpot lunch but sometimes you just gotta live life on the edge, ya know?