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The temperature has been dropping these past few days in New York. I am very excited for autumn to come with all the sweaters, boots and hot chocolate. Although I am not at the age where most of my friends are married, there are a couple outliers who’s wedding photos remind me that we are in the middle of the wedding season.

Picking gifts is always hard, picking gifts for a couple is even more difficult (now you’ve got to worry about whether both people like your gift). Like any other gift, I value practicality above all other qualities. The team at Zola (a very cool wedding planning agency) put together several infographics outlining some of the logistics, like how much to spend and when to give the present.

Like the tip cards mentioned, “don’t bring the gifts to the wedding.” I think one of the best occasions to bring the gift is during a house warming party.  It’s an intimate location and the couple wouldn’t have to worry about bringing the gifts home. As for the actual presents, the wedding registry is always a good place to start. But sometime you just want to go that extra mile for your best friend. So I made a list of things I think would be good on their own or as an add-on. Of course this isn’t an extensive list and not only applicable to weddings.

just moving in

  • A comfortable textured blanket instantly make any space feel like a home.
  • Matching set of mugs. You can never have too many mugs. Especially huge ones that can hold more than one cup of tea/coffee.

who loves to cook

  • A miniature garden kit with a mini greenhouse and some herbs.
  • Pick a theme and start an old fashioned recipe book with some of the dishes you think they will enjoy. Include empty pages at the end for them to fill out.

wanting to travel the world

  • Help the couple start a travel fund by making a easy how-to-guide with resources online and you can customize the instructions based on their lifestyle. A little contribution to start the fund will be the cherry on top.
  • Groupon vouchers for cool events like hot air balloon ride or skydiving

If nothing on the list stood out to you, a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of wine is always nice. Some of my current flower favorites are hydrangeas, peonies and anemones.You can also personalize the wine like getting a bottle with the vintage of the year the couple met or the year of the marriage. To make sure the couple will enjoy the wine, a rule of thumb I go by is if they eat more red meat, go for the red and if they eat more seafood, go with white.

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Ultimately it is a celebration for two people coming together for the next chapter of their lives. There really isn’t a foolproof list of “here is what to get for a wedding gift”, everything is just a suggestion. They are your friends and you know them the best. At the end of the day, they will appreciate your thought and friendship than sweat over if you got the exact gift they are looking for.

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Hey there.

Today marks the beginning of the sixth week since I started my full time. As I settle into the new chapter of life, I'm often reminded by these lyrics in the song Home from the musical Beauty and the Beast:

"I was told,
Every day in my childhood
Even when we grow old
Home should be where the heart is
Never were words so true"

Through the numerous moves between dorms and apartments in the past few years, I've curated a mental list of things that are essential for me to turn a space into a home. My two favorite things are the inspiration wall and accessory corner. You would find some version of both if you were to visit all the places I've lived at. Like me, both of these are always changing. Each time I move, some bits get left behind while some pieces becomes part of the family.

One of the first things I do when I move into a new space is to put up my inspiration wall. I've always had the habit of collecting tickets and pamphlets with nice graphics. I also take photos everywhere I go. The main purpose of the inspiration wall is actually to provide a space to exhibit the physical reminders of places I've been or experiences I've had. It's a lot like the world map wall decal but in a collage form (and the best part is that it's free). Not everyone will have a large space available for this, another ideas of achieving the same goal is use an electronic photo frame, like the ones from AURA. Another idea is to put the collage on spaces you're already using. For example, DIY photo magnets (putting magnetic tape onto photos from Polaroids or regular prints) and arrange them on fridge doors or other magnetic surfaces.

The accessory corner is a space filled with things that brings me joy and use daily. It brightens up my day every morning when I reach for my perfume or a pair of earrings. Currently, this is located on top of my dresser but at the previous apartment, it was a shelf in the bookcase. Having a space filled with things you love can really help make place feel like home.

Like the lyrics say, "home should be where the heart is." If you fill up a space with things close to your heart, no matter where you are, it will always be home. What are some tips you have for making a place home? Let me know down in the comment section!

Cheers,

Jenn

P.S. Would you like me to potentially link products I show in photos? I can't promise I will always be able to find the products since some of them I bought overseas (i.e. I carried the MUJI organizer all the way from Tokyo even though the MUJI by my office sells it as well).

Hey there,

How you doing? This month is a productive one, especially for the blog. I have one more post scheduled to come live this month, that’s three posts in a month! I haven’t been this prolific since I started my last year of college.

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Although last week was filled with cloudy and raining days, the upcoming week looks a bit more promising with the sun. A look I’ve been loving this summer is the blue-and-white striped blouse like this one from H&M and this one from F21. Pairing it with a basic bottom, like a pair of white jeans or a black circle skirt, and you will be all set for a day in the sun. Sadly, I have yet to find one that fits well and could be incorporated into my work wardrobe (now I have to ask “can I wear this to work” to every piece of clothing I buy thanks to being an office worker). Instead, I substituted the blouse with a basic white tank and paired it with a sequined body con skirt for a summer date outfit. I’ve also included some of my current favorites in this flat lay: Narciso Rodriguez’s Fleur Musc (which I got in Europe), Clio’s pore priming sun block and Avene’s thermal spring water spray.

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Being someone without 20/20 vision, frames are a constant accessory for my outfits (especially on those lazy days when I don’t want to put on contacts). Thus, I added my current favorite vision glasses to help you imagine the whole outfit. This particular pair is from eyebuydirect.

Warby Parker‘s newest collection, the Sculpted Series, would be a cute accessory to outfits like this one. They come as both sunglasses and vision glasses. The four frames in the collection are based on stone-inspired hues, which I love, from Onyx Tortoise to Rose Clay. Being the summer and my girly ways, my favorite pair out of the collection is the black, almost cat-eye frames with rosy tones peaking through. The black matches most of my closet while the rose brings out a bit of personality. And for my face shape, large, cat-eye/trapezoidal shaped frames usually look the best.

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I’m going back of my usual style of keeping the things short and sweet. Last week’s super long post is a bit of an exception, but it’s honestly impossible to condense my first Europe trip to be any shorter. Anyway hope your summer has been going well so far and there’s lots of sun and fun in store. Let me know in the comments below where are your favorite pair of frames from or where else I should look for the blue-and-white-striped blouse!

Cheers,

Jenn

P.S. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen no matter the weather outside to prevent skin damage from wrinkles to skin cancer!

Dear 17-year old me,

We both know that this isn’t the first time a letter to the future or the past has been written. How are you?

I know you are not as excited about college as you could be and you’re skeptical about it being the best years of your life, but you really will have some of the most memorable experiences in the next four years. From the people you’ll get the chance to meet and connect with to the opportunities that presents themselves, every little detail helps built your values and beliefs. I wouldn’t say I changed drastically through college, but the values I hold most important has become clearer. Anyway, let’s cut to the chase and I will highlight what has happened in the past four years.

a brief summary of my college career

The first year was tough. It was tough not solely due to academics, trying to find a friend group was stressful to say the least. Coming from a rigorous high school that was more like a college than high school, it was relatively easy to adapt my previous studying habits to suit the new environment. Not to mention there are tons of aid online and offline giving out studying tips and guides. However, there’s no such guide for making friends. Although there were a decent amount of peers from high school who were going to the same college, I distinctly wanted to separate myself from them and find new people. I know many people did not face the same problems, many rather have the group of people they already knew, but I didn’t want to constraint myself in this high school bubble. We all know the college is expensive, and you may think not having a meal plan will affect anything important, suck it up and get the meal plan! I can’t count how many many opportunities to meet people were missed because I didn’t have a meal plan like a regular freshman. Even though the food can get tiring after a while, think about the potential relationship you are investing in.

Don’t feel pressured to stay in your major. Sure engineering is interesting, but you also find many other things interesting. Join that fashion magazine or try out for that dance group, don’t be embarrassed to go to something just because you don’t know anyone there and will be awkward. Use these opportunities to horn your interpersonal skills and find out what you like, or rather what you don’t like. If I had just done all the things that interested me freshman year, rather than dragging it out and regretting never went by senior year, I would have been able to find out more about what I really want to do or use the opportunity and switch into a more design focused major.

Another thing is to go with what you believe and feel like you can handle. Sure academic advisers could be insightful at times, but you don’t have to listen to her all the time. Taking 18 credits and joining a project team as a first semester freshman could sound daunting to someone who was having a hard time adjusting, but you could have tried it first before saying you can’t do it. Till this day, I still regret not joining the team that first semester.

Now let’s talk about the more ‘adult’ stuff, money and job. Financial aid application is something no one enjoy but is essential. Do do your research and know the difference between federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans, so you know which ones to pay off first to minimize the amount of interest accrued. Refinancing the loans, making them more affordable, is also an option, and accessible resources like Earnest can help simply the process. All in all, just make sure you understand all your options before making a choice! 

I’m sure you’ve heard about the myth that freshman don’t get internships. Although that is not necessary untrue, there are opportunities available, it just depends on how much you search. Go to the career office earlier, establish a relationship and know what resources are available. Even though you did eventually acquaint yourself with the staff through the coop program and ended up working in the office for two years, sooner is always better than later when initiating a relationship.

The last thing I want to bring up is about the party scene. What is college without college parties right? Don’t go crazy with the alcohol (those are some meaningless calories there) but don’t also be scared of them. Like with the meal plan, these are the situations where you meet new people, staying in all semester may be comfortable but you might miss meeting some really interesting people. Parties are not always about drinking (although knowing your limits would be good), there are house parties and frat parties. Go out and try. Don’t shut something out just because they are foreign and you’re scared.

If I were to tell you about all the details and warnings for the next four year it would take forever. Besides, that takes the “fun” out of life. Go out there and have fun. There will be ups and downs but everything happen for a reason.

Sincerely,

21-year old me

Hello there,

It’s been a long time since I’ve talked to y’all. Hope all is well. The first day of Autumn just passed exactly one week ago, so what’s better to do than reminiscent the tail of summer. Of course, nothing beats a good brunch filled with your favorite people and a little something extra, like mimosas! Paperless Post reached out to me and asked about what would my ideal brunch entail. So let’s go on a journey to my ideal breakfast bash and escape this fifty-degree reality.

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When I think of summer, I think of relaxing days filled with the sun and pastels. Imagine sitting in a field of green just hanging out with you besties. Everything will be pineapple themed. I mean what else is cuter than a pineapple right? The yard will be decorated with green and yellow streamers.  There will also be picnic blankets set up for guests to chill at before or after the actual brunch. Of course the one thing we can’t forget is have a photo booth location with DIY-ed props and a Polaroid camera to document the fun and the sun.

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The menu will be printed on the invitation,(check out some of paperless post’s really cute invitations for ideas). The guests just have to indicate what they want!

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There will be a small bar set up serving three summery mimosas in stemless wine glasses:

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Watermelon Goodness

Watermelon | Lime | Agave Nectar | Dry Sparkling Wine

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Pineapple Coconut

Pineapple Juice | Coconut Juice | Champagne | Syrup | Shredded Coconut

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Simply Orange

Fresh Orange Juice | Dry Sparkling Wine

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I hope you’ve enjoyed that small piece of imaginary summer.

This summer I was very much obsessed with pineapples. I’ve always loved the fruit, but the print just somehow gotten to me during the warmer days. I was THIS close to buy a pineapple printed sundress. I refrained because I’m still on search for that perfect daisy/sunflower dress which started around two years ago now. This will have to wait in line.

Happy Thursday! It’s hard to believe that tomorrow will be my last day at work and school starts in less than 15 days. Where has the time gone… I don’t think I remember how to school anymore. I’m thinking about doing a post on packing, since I will have to somehow fit my whole life for the past eight months in one suitcase. The only thing is I don’t know if I will have time to take pictures, hopefully I do.

So a couple of weeks ago SkinnyPop Popcorn I came across the wine + popcorn pairings they came up with thanks to Olivia Pope. Being a lover of infographics, of course I said yes! I’m not an avid wine drinker, the only ones I’ve tasted are chardonnay and pinot noir, and between the two, I’m all for the chardonnay. So I decided to come up with a list of non-alcoholic drinks that I think would go well with the different flavors.

Original: tea, soda, juice, basically any drink other than water.

White Cheddar: I personally don’t like cheese so I’m skipping this one

Dusted Dark Chocolate: drinks that are a little bit bitter, like black tea, black coffee, and earl grey. Think of it as a little dessert.

Sea Salt & Pepper: this is a bit tricky, cause I can’t imagine how it would taste. I imagine herbal tea and light juice (think lemonade, white grape juice) would go well with it.

Jalapeno: Pepsi; Ginger Ale; Spirit; anything that’s carbonated and light

Naturally Sweet: like the dusted chocolate, anything a little bitter would go well with this. I think sparkling drinks would go together with it as well.

SkinnyPop Wine

Honestly, when I saw the email I was a little freaked out because I absolutely adore the original SkinnyPop Popcorn. I would always eat a bag at work when they are available. I was like “Were they spying on me?!” I love how there are only three ingredients to the original flavor: popcorn, sunflower oil and salt. It’s great that sunflower oil is used, the flavor is not overwhelming like butter but still gives that buttery/oily taste. All in all, I really like the original SkinnyPop and hope you enjoyed my hypothetical drink pairings.

 

13835451_10206804876381478_310587415_o13838107_10206804876181473_1146845023_oTo me, summer weather means days of wearing nothing but dresses and skirts. Just last week, I wore nothing but skirts and dresses to work every single day and I enjoyed every moment of it. Recently, I picked up this flow-y dress from Fab’rik, which is a boutique like shop here in Wicker Park. I adore the theme of the clothing in the shop, all casual with a bohemian touch, which is right up my alley. As much as I love my black and basics, I love flower prints and comfy clothing. One cool thing about the dress is that under some lights it looks black and white, but under others it has hues of blue and purple.

I like how the rose prints on the dress is giant, but because it’s sketch print, it’s not totally in your face. Fun fact, I love the scent of roses and drawings of roses, but I don’t actually like roses themselves. I guess it’s because they’ve been too over symbolizes to the point that I don’t like them because people expect me to like them. My life and taste has been full of ironies, and I really enjoy being different from people’s expectations.

13835630_10206804876221474_56464858_oI’ve also picked up this pair of flats which is a hybrid of slingbacks and lace ups. I think I’ve been pretty late to the lace up party, but I’ve never really found a pair of flats that had the lace at the angle with pattern I liked (I know I’m very picky). I think most lace up look better with a heel since it helps elongate the leg, but this girl here can barely walk in heels so I had  no choice but to find a flat counterpart that didn’t shorten my legs. To be honest, I tried these on on Saturday but didn’t buy them right away because I told myself I really should not be buying more shoes (I’ve bought about eight pairs of shoes in the past year) and I will be moving back to the East Coast soon. However, after two days of thinking about them, I went back to the store and gotten them on a Monday evening after work. I made the mistake of not getting this other pair of slip-ons I really liked, I don’t want to regret not buying another pair of shoes I liked and thinking about it every other day. If you can’t tell by now, I really like shoes.

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