These Are a Few of My Favorite Things...

It's the little things that make my day. Some of my favorite things are those that are as inspiring as they are pretty. Even the simplistic things like a sleek iPhone or quilted coin purse from Paris can be enough to empower my creativity. There are the obvious inspirations --It by Alexa Chung and a perfectly pink nail polished named after this here blog -- that also inspire the analytical and academic side of me. Alexa's heartfelt retelling of her modelling days inspire the same amount if enthusiasm for science as fashion. My favorite things are my favorite things because they inspire me and change me and discover me and influence me. Not me the fashion/beauty blogger; not me the science major. Just me . Me in my entirety .

Now that was sappy. Too sappy for a fashion/beauty blog. But I published it anyway because sometimes fashion and beauty are more than fashion and beauty.

Style Envy: Emily Schuman

Cupcakes and Cashmere, Style Blogger, Emily Schuman, lifestyle blog, Man Repeller, Winter Style, Fall
The common thread between every L.A. blogger is their immense lack of realistic winter style. Leandra Medine (a New York blogger through and through) always shares the oppressive blanket winter always lays on top of her personal style. Anyone outside of perpetually sunny Los Angeles has to spend the winter deciding between warmth and style. That usually means that I'm stuck swaddled in blankets while I scroll through L.A. based blogs like Cupcakes and Cashmere saying a paper thin sweater and stylistically draped windbreaker are "winter essentials."

Nonetheless, Emily Schuman and her peers' winter style is not a completely lost cause. I absolutely love Emily's winter outfits for the early days of fall when it's fifty-five degrees when I leave my apartment and somehow transforms to eighty degrees by lunch. Her eclectic take on classically chic style represents the ethos of personal style while still remaining adult-y and professional -- my new goal since I'm going to have to be a real adult living in the real world soon enough. But even before I attempted to become an adult, the undeniably "Emily" aesthetic in every Cupcake and Cashmere outfit was inspirational as much as it was inspiring. Red stripes and leather skirts seem innocent enough until you try and pull them off. Grey velvet heels and a sprawling messy bun are not easy trends to wear either, yet here we are. Even if this bipolar weather doesn't last long, at least I'll have the likes of Emily Schuman and her fellow L.A, bloggers to inspire me while they can.


prints: Daydream Prints

I wouldn't call the humble arrangement of artwork in my apartment a gallery wall in front of an interior designer, but I am rather proud of my little collection of pretty prints. Throughout the past couple of years I've added and taken away from my gallery wall's many incarnations. Recently I did an entire revamp of my artwork selection and layout creating a whole new aesthetic above my work space. I kept many of my original prints from the now defunct Etsy shop, Macarons and Peonies, as well purchased a few new colorful pieces inspired by the work of Andy Warhol (rather demure Andy Warhol, if we're really being honest). But most notably, I've adding several of my favorite greeting cards from Daydream Prints and converted them into mini wall prints. I chose You're Beautiful and Find Your Tribe from the newest collections and Love Letter #2, my all time favorite from in DP history. I spent an ungodly amount of time converting each one and then placing them just right within my gallery wall. I mean, it was all worth it because I've been in love with the results ever since I put them up about two months ago, but the moments of regret come when on wonder to and see what new things it has to offer.

Daydream Prints makes amazing greeting cards -- perfect for sending notes AND hanging on walls -- but what I wasn't expecting was for the Daydream Prints team to drop a whole collection of ready made 8 x 10 art prints that are just as amazing as its card selection. The realization happened in several steps starting with me seeing a subtle promo pic on Instagram and ending with my jaw dropping when I saw that Daydream Prints now sells actual prints and that they are simple yet bold yet sophisticated. And did I mention they're only $20?? I can try to convince myself that I'll soon be able to afford the hundreds of dollars worth of art that hangs in the gallery walls of real adults (i.e. non-college students/young adults) but c'mon. Instead of draining my wallet for all it's worth, I can get a bonafide gallery wall for the price of a single piece of uber-sophisticated artwork. I am already trying to visually incorporate my favorites, ADVENTURE, Two Cacti, and Lovely, into my pre-existing gallery wall so that once I order them they will already have a place to go and be the most aesthetically pleasing as possible as they hang from my inspiring little piece of wall.

Photos by Daydream Prints

Sit Still, Look Pretty

As I get older I've become more and more empowered and proud of who I am. It's not like I've felt particularly worthless or un-special in the past, but I never grasped how incredible somethings were about who I am and the life I live. I have been obsessed with Sit Still, Look Pretty by Daya (who I just bought tickets to see in February!) and every time I listen to it I am even more inspired by the things I do everyday. As a black women at an elite university sometimes I overlook the fact that there are not many people like me. Being a well-educated, incredibly talented women has not always been the norm. My hopes of going to professional/graduate school and earning the highest academic degrees in my field put me even further beyond what would be expected of me as a women and a person of color. Everyday I'm surrounded by amazingly intelligent women who are above and beyond what any average person could hope to become and it's inspiring. As Daya points out in Sit Still, Look Pretty the idea that men have this lustful dream of having great, powerful jobs while being married to loving and amazing women who stay at home and dedicate their lives to being trophy wives is a little unsettling. I've never thrown out the possibility of being a stay-at-home mom or ever hated the idea of women who choose not to work when married. However, the more I see PhD and MD clad women, the more I feel uncomfortable with the idea that a housewife (oh how I hate the words trophy wife) is the desirable partner for well-off, working men. I can't imagine being expected to not work despite the years of education and training I will undoubtedly have put in by the time I am married. I can't fathom being married to someone who believes I shouldn't use any of the education I'd have spent so much time, effort, and money acquiring.

There are many different types of wives and even more types of women in the world, all of which do amazing and incredible things in their own right. But sometimes there is a need for me to sit back, put Daya's album on repeat, feel empowered, and realize that I am a commodity. Not necessarily someone who is fighting gender norms or trying to show the world that I can be just as great as men. Simply, I am a highly valued asset to the world and every now and then I need Daya to make me feel good about that.

100% Boys' Tears

100% boys tears, Valfre, iPhone case, trendy, kitschy phone case, illustrator, Instagram
phone case: 100% Boys Tears by Valfre

I'm sure you've seen one or two (or ten) of Valfre's hauntingly quirky illustrations floating around on whatever social media apps you peruse. Her artwork has been floating around Pinterest, Instagram, and We Heart It for years and she's been featured in both Nylon and Teen Vogue (and probably others) within the last few months. Lately Valfre's been releasing more and more clothes for her namesake clothing line and I've been crying silent tears wishing I could buy everything. I've come to terms with my attraction to pretty much anything with a cheeky phrase on it (i.e. everything Valfre has ever created). I have a collection of hats, t-shirts, jewelry, office supplies and even drinkwear with snarky sayings on them. But one of my all-time favorite cheeky, kitschy accessories I own is my 100% Boys Tears iPhone case by Valfre. I had one for my iPhone 5 that I just got rid of and now have a brand new one for my iPhone 6. It's my fail safe conversation starter when I'm in a crowd of people and makes for some really quirky, cute Insta pictures on top of just being the perfect phone case for my personality. The phone case itself is rather wide, preventing me from ever putting my phone in my pocket ever again, but honestly why would I want to hide this piece of female empowered humor? There are always sacrifices you have to make in order to be great.

If cartoonish milk cartons are not your cup of tea, there are plenty of other fun phone cases on Valfre's website. Other popular designs include her Chill Pill cases in pastel pink or blue, Bruno 3D black cat case, and her Rose Coffin case with an old-fashioned telephone antenna. And of course there are a few plain jane cases with illustrations of plants, lipstick tubes, and the like for those of you who's rather not make a statement every time you pull your phone out. Not everyone communicates through tech, but even still there's something about a Valfre iPhone case that will always turn heads.

Photo by Valfre
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