Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mirror Mirror



If you stare at this top too long, you might go cross-eyed. Or find yourself in the Twilight Zone.


It's been my dream for a while now to do a very dramatic black and white photoshoot. This bold striped top presented the perfect opportunity to execute this idea. I’ve paired this with velvet black leggings and one accent accessory to really allow the print to speak for itself.


Peplum tops are hugely popular finds in most all clothing department stores these days. It took me a while to jump on this big trend, but now that I've committed to it, I’m in love with the concept. It can be dressy or casual. I almost think of a small dress when I look at it. It’s flattering for most body shapes too – no matter what size you are, it gives you nice, exaggerated curves with the flared bottom piece.

One of the topics I wanted to expand on more from my last post was “Can I Do This DIY?” - This peplum top inspired me to want to research other ways to get a peplum top without finding one on sale somewhere, which is exactly where I found this beauty on the banana republic clearance rack over the summer.

I’ve discovered some tutorials online that show us just how to do that. Except the problem is, the tutorials require sewing, which I have very little skill in. I have all the resources at my disposal (sewing machine, needle, thread) but I’ve just never been great to know what to do with each material. However, this tutorial looks incredibly easy and I’m going to challenge myself to try this. I like the idea of converting an over-sized t-shirt into a peplum top. A band shirt would be very edgy, but I do like solid colors or patterns myself. There are ways you can play with the neckline in this tutorial, you can do a rounded edge like shown, or easily cut a V-shape into the neckline like the one I’m wearing. I fully intend on playing around with that. I also like that this is a video tutorial too – sometimes pictures don’t fully explain. You can watch the video at this link.

This isn’t a great example of my DIY posts to come, simply because with five college classes and working nonstop has prevented me from being able to sit down for one long evening and try it out. However, if you happen to be a great sewer, here’s your chance.







The most useful thing that has happened during my extended blogging leave is a proliferation of a whole new platform to share pictures with a larger community: Instagram! If you look to the sidebar, I've got this nice little widget that shows all my Instagram photos on a slideshow for your viewing pleasure and convenience. To make this more fun than just sharing the same old pictures, I’ve figured out how to make this more interesting: I will be posting outtakes from all of my photoshoots on my Instagram - @ water_lilies. These exclusive pictures will not wind up anywhere else. (Oh come on, don’t act surprised I’m shamelessly promoting my Instagram account. I’m a fashion blogger, it’s what I do.)


Next time, I'll be saying a warm farewell to lovely summer weather and summer clothes with one last outdoorsy, hiking look. Until next time!

-K.



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Welcome home


Hello again after two years later! Welcome back to any familiar faces, and a sincere welcome to any newcomers. Fancy a cup of tea? Champagne?

I think the most important thing at this moment to address is why – why I left, and ultimately, why I came back.


I abandoned this blog because I let a lot of things get to me. Let’s be real for a second: style blogging is a lot of work for relatively little recognition. You have to take photos, edit them, write an interesting post, promote it on other blogging platforms as part of an endless cycle while constantly maintaining a unique sense of style and always planning one step ahead. During my short time in the fashion blogging community, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered this complaint, but I personally couldn’t shake this feeling of being vain and it created an inexpressible internal conflict. As I neared the end of my blogging days, I started to become very experimental in the photo editing process, generating unique concepts that edged me to want to do more. However, I wasn’t focused in my endeavors and struggled to find relevant writing material.

And so I stopped without any type of closure.


I came back because, well, why else. I missed it. Bottom line. For a time, I would visit this blog and look through the pictures, either cringing or thinking to myself man, I really had fun that day. I’ve always loved fashion, that part of me will always remain true. But fashion is only secondary to what really drives me: It’s writing. I want to write, and what better way to do it than blogging, right?

The objective for this blog and this ongoing project is to focus on leading a creative lifestyle. There’s a weird phenomena with artistic-minded people in that creativity is best when balanced with other creative pursuits. If you devote all your time and energy into one thing, you’ll soon become burnt out and loose all inspiration you’ve invested into that one thing. When you challenge yourself to engage in multiple efforts at a time (reasonably speaking) you can develop better, stronger problem solving skills that will eventually sharpen each project over time and allow you to look at each of your pursuits in a new perspective. Confused? Don’t worry, I still am.

What I really mean to say is that the more writing I can do, the better I will be at it. Especially after I learn the art of pacing myself.


I want this blog to be a portfolio of my work: my writing, modeling, styling, and even web design work. This is a showcase of talent. I want my work to stand for itself and to do that, I need good content.

That brings me to the next important topic, what to expect from here on out.


I think an integral component of the Harlequin blogging agenda will doubtlessly be striking photographs. In a highly visual culture, we all know an image is more likely to capture one’s attention than words alone (the writer’s woe.) Fashion is all about seeing, and importantly, liking what we see. This blog isn’t going to be just streetwear anymore, but what I would like to think of as branching into “attainable high fashion” – that is, the most idealized form the self can take with no apologies. Haute couture and "high fashion” are, in my humble opinion, the pinnacles of the fashion world and I want to strive to bring that into my lifestyle, and hopefully, if I’m so blessed, to inspire others to do the same. Through my writing, I want to learn more about the representation of self and how we create identity through style and aesthetic choices.


I’m implementing new changes in all facets of this blog. One new and I hope very exciting change will be incorporating styling series. Some of the ongoing series I’ve come up with:

How to style specific clothing items…. Do you have that one item in your wardrobe that you are stuck forever pairing with the same pieces over and over? With this series, I’ll look at multiple ways of wearing the same piece and how accessories and other items can completely change the look depending on setting and mood.

How to accessorizeFor this, we’ll look at using one outfit and trying on multiple accessories. Or, say, you really are set on wearing certain accessories, and how you can plan outfits around them. This series will explore changing the ever changing tones of a look.

And this one, I’m really excited about….

“Can I do this DIY?” In this series, I will explore and test DIY fashion tutorials from around the internet, rating and reviewing them based on level of difficulty, practicality, and whether I would recommend it. I will provide additional notes, advice, and other commentary for further personalizing these tutorials. Since I’m not a great designer of DIY things, I’m better at trying out DIY stuff and seeing if it’s really worth it in the end. Let it be known to the ends of the earth, I lead a DIY life. But some of these tutorials want me to go out and buy materials, which really isn’t that resourceful in my opinion. Plus, many of them look amazing but you really need expert level skill to create the item.

~

Phew. I think I’ve said my peace.  It was a lot to say, way more than I anticipate saying normally, but very important nonetheless. I think this blog really is about finding a voice in a loud world.

Next time, we’ll talk about what happens when your selfie needs an update. Look forward to monochromatic styling, total absence of color, optical illusions, and peplum tops.

-K




Sunday, July 27, 2014

Announcing the return of Harlequin


After a two year hiatus, I'm back. And this time I've got a few tricks up my sleeve... Including the recruitment of longtime friend and photographer, Ryan Kooy, to help me execute some big plans. Stay tuned in the near future for more posts!

I am in the midst of making some major layout changes as well. As you can see, I've got a totally new design and am working more on content to fill the pages.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hello Sweetie










UO top, Levi's acid wash jeans, new york & company bracelet. 

I paid for that one-off silly idea of mine to write something (or rather, beg someone to write) on my back. Wearing a tank top around my home, my friend comes over and asks me "what's that on your back?!" The punch line is that the photoshoot was, like, a couple days ago. I had no idea I'd been walking around with "Hello Sweetie" still written there, albeit faded. I figured it had come off in the showers since. Moral: don't trust showers. Have the same person you bothered to write something on you remove it quickly thereafter. Because explaining why you desired the words "Hello Sweetie" on your back because it's a perfect reference to your favorite TV show and you wanted a crazy way to introduce your upcoming ideas just won't cut it.

I feel like the moment I have it in writing, I'm officially obligated to do it. So I'm not eager to marry myself to a project before I have everything set in stone.

But I may or may not be "cosplaying" of sorts soon (I shudder to introduce my idea in such way - cons/conventions come to mind with overweight men dressed in Sailor Moon costumes). And by cosplay, I mean invent an outfit that is a perfect reference to a costume that is also equally acceptable to wear in public/everyday - "inspired by" is the key phrase I've been using. You heard me right. Clearly with my shift in focus for this blog, I'm willing to experiment and be a little unorthodox. Plus, I've grown up a geek, been called that my whole life, it's time I embrace it and do something uncalled for with that part of my history. 

Speaking of nerdy things, this shirt kind of makes me feel like a villain out of Star Trek with it's high collar and block-y design. Maybe I'm still in the sci-fi geek mode...This is the first time I've worn pants on this blog in a long, long time. I just noticed that. Huh. 

If you consult google with the quote on my back and the hint I've used, you should be able to deduce exactly what I'm referencing. I will except all "geek", "nerd", "dork", or any variation of sorts in the comments below. doo wee wooooo....

-H. 


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dilettante










Top - thrifted (banana republic), skirt - Urban Outiffters, tights - don't remember, shoes - nine west, peter pan collar - f21, origami stock photos @ http://www.sxc.hu/, 




noun 1. a person who takes up an art, activity, or subject merely for amusement, especially in a desultory or superficial way; dabbler.
2. a lover of an art or science, especially of a fine art.

~

I feel like I'm very slowly and meticulously 'finding my niche' in this industry and it's simultaneously helping me discover myself on some level.

Let me explain the significance of 'the niche': when I first started this blog, I had all the support in the world from my friends and family. One of the most guiding pieces of advice I was given was to find a way to break a mold, find a specialized niche that is completely of your own invention - let's face it, there's a million beautiful girls out there with their own unique sense of style who want to share it with the world. That's great. Power to you. But if you don't differentiate yourself from the next girl, your style and personality are just going to be washed under the rushing sea of the rest of the community. I find myself saying these sort of things when giving style advice* to other girls: don't do that, it's too mainstream. Meh, it's been done before. I consider myself a snob in this manner, but how else are trends made if you're not a little daring and stubborn?

*I think that's the biggest perk of the blog. Somehow running one translates to people I know remotely anything about fashion/style. So I get told often "I'm gonna make you my shopping buddy!" Sure, if you want someone to tell you how mainstream something looks and suggest something else that looks terrifying on the hanger to you, I'm your girl. (That being said, I really should concoct a formula/blog post about how to shop in thrift stores, because that's what I keep running into - people who like the idea of buying reused, but have no idea where to start.)

Having just constructed a very snotty argument about not wearing conventional trends, I bring myself to talk about the peter pan collar - ok, ok, it is a trend right now, BUT I firmly believe it's one that I will stick with because A. I've always loved them and their childlike quality. B. With my hair, it superficially makes me feel like some sort of 60's mod and thus gets me one step closer to time travel. C. collars in general are decorative palettes to me. (I've been in the habit lately of taking clip-on earrings and putting them on my collars. Expect a blog with one soon.) and lastly, D. because they're such a trend now, I'm able to find them everywhere I go, whereas before, I was on eBay a few months back looking at some from Hong Kong. I just saved myself a bunch of shipping and handling.


-H.

When I have my own magical castle I call home, I'm totally doing this. 


Friday, May 18, 2012

Secrets, secrets are no fun.

Cardigan - J.crew factory, shirt - f21, shorts - DIY thrifted, necklace - f21 clearance wooot, journal - gift!







Meet Secrets. 

She's the shy little journal I take with me everywhere I go. She is the vessel for the one off, crazy ideas that come into my head before I pull a Kubla Kahn and am interrupted before I can finish my thoughts (that Coleridge poem has become the irony of my life.) Just the notion of someone snatching her from me and dissecting her content makes me shutter. Some of these ideas are bizarre even to me after a second glance, not to mention these are the barest essentials of things I find meaningful. Secrets would, of course, make very little sense to the outside perspective - I fear if I were forced to explain to someone what I meant by what I wrote at times, the value of having Secrets would be eradicated. Everything in  Secrets is like an abbreviation for an even bigger idea, or contributes to a higher purpose. Some nights I keep her by my bed and when I can't sleep, I'll write what I'm thinking about. Most of it is undecipherable handwriting, and not being able to remember what I was thinking about at odd hours of the night doesn't help break the code.

That seems to be the nature of most facets of inspiration these days - it's something gently realized as in a passing observation that rings truer and truer the more it's pondered. I don't understand these poets and writers who produce multitudes of stories, each with dimensions of plot that entertain sub-concepts when I feel like I use the same word too often. I only call a poem or story finished when I've given up the chase of expressing my idea in the realest translation possible. 

Someone told me Leonard Da Vinci wrote his to-do lists in his journals opposite the first draft sketches of his major masterpieces. While I juggle the heftier concerns of my artistic development,  I wonder about what I'll wear. My closet is like a puzzle that has no finished product, I just keep rearranging the pieces until I like what I see. I guess I do this with stories and poems too. Some days it comes easier than others. I just have to make the most of the days that count. 

Everyone needs a Secret in their life. Mine was a gift, and its one that continues to give. These pages are like mirrors where you can learn about the strangest ways the human mind ticks and tocks. 

-H. 





Monday, May 14, 2012

In and Out of Focus




top - banana republic (thrifted), skirt - j.crew factory, tights - new york & company, necklace - vintage


 You'll have to forgive me because I'm still learning the in's and out of my new birthday present, the tripod. These shots were mainly experimental on both the aspects of angling and camera settings. But I think I have a better grasp than what I started out with - somehow in my mind, I thought that since I now have my own camera and tripod the laws of science would bend for me but lighting is still the greatest foe of the photography world....I have not yet mastered that.

In happy news, I ended my insane six classes this semester with all A's and a B in Biology (I told you, science and I aren't friends...) and decided to regroup before I embarked on summer classes to finish up my degree. Plus, I thought this would be an opportune time to take this blog places where I would like to see it go, to grow exponentially and really have time to devote to these virtues.

It's wonderful to breathe again. But even more, it's wonderful to feel aspirations again. When we have countless obligations, what we really want to do for ourselves becomes tragically trampled - especially when what we want to do is better ourselves, or tend to our own happiness and well being. I get truly captivated by the ideas I come up with on a whim. It's a wonderful thing to feel like, "hey! I can do this and it would be cool!" 

I have tutorials upon tutorials to guide me through better portrait taking. This really reflects just how much emphasis I'm putting on myself these days - I can now fully rely on just myself to get what I need done and that's much safer. If I believe in myself, I should be able to rely on myself. It feels like for most of my journey in this blog, one or other element has been off balance in this scale where equilibrium is success. More proof that everything in life isn't handed to you, you have to build upon something to become greater. 

Being 20 feels strange. For the build up to my birthday, I did my best to avoid thinking of it for the duration. It's hard to express my feelings towards turning this age, but I struggle with age and numbers that determine maturity. 

Just waiting on the weather to improve before I experiment with the tripod and camera, i.e. the tools of my new trade.

-H.