Le Bricoleuse

Greetings internet,

In the last two months of a mixture of gut-wrenching life-crisis, confusion, and fleeting bouts of joy and thankfulness, I took a leap of faith and started a styling side project. I call it Le Bricoleuse Styling and I have a whole Instagram dedicated to it. I showcase my own personal style, but my main focus right now is to build a list of clients that desire my services and my eye for conceptual style. The long-term goal is to style editorial or creative projects and so far, I have a gig!

I doubt I can say too much about the project, but I am doing freelance styling for a boutique agency and I am so gassed about it. It’s stretching my abilities a bit because it’s a menswear line and I’m used to styling women, but one thing I’ve learned since finishing school is that the stretching never stops!

Meanwhile, I have been using friends as styling subjects to get some work going. This was a fun and breezy shoot because my subject Gabby, is effortless in front of the camera (that was particularly helpful because I am not a professional photographer by any means). I styled, photographed and edited the whole ordeal. Pretty proud of the finished product and am currently scouting for my next face. Could it be you? If you live in the LA area and are interested, drop me a DM via my Instagram or comment below!

xx

-A

 

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The World’s Shortest Skin Care Routine

I promise. It’s just 3 steps.

In early 2017 I had theeee worst breakout of my life. Cystic acne. Cystic acne everywhere. Chin, cheeks, nose (not the nose!!), you name it. I tried every method out there to get rid of self-esteem killer–and little did I know that my diet was the real culprit of my face freakout.

So in addition to being non-dairy for a year now (yes, dairy is probably the culprit to your lifelong issues with acne but doctors don’t want to tell us this!)–I’ve incorporated a simpler skin routine that is less costly and for the lazy inclined.

Step 1: Cleanse

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Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser is the best facial cleanser I have ever applied on my face. It’s so luxurious to the touch and even though my face is oil-prone, I feel like it melts away all the layers of dead skin and makeup built up throughout the day. When I’m in the shower, I allow for steam to open up my pores before I pump the product into my palms. It leaves your face feeling clean but properly moisturized. It doesn’t feel stripped. Never going back to over-drying chemically-heavy drugstore cleansers.

Step 2 (ish): Face Mask

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Nobody told me that face masks are a game changer in skin care so when I snagged this from my local CVS and started to use it three times a week I was, as the youngins’ say, “shooketh”. I would apply the mask immediately after I showered and waited for 20 minutes while perusing Instagram. Not only was it therapeutic to have a mini spa session right before bed, it left my skin feeling plumper and detoxed. It does have a tingling sensation that could be interpreted as burning though. I don’t mind and it doesn’t have any negative effects on my skin, but it’s important to always check in with your skin so that you’re not putting unfavorable products on it. (Included in the slideshow is also the Glossier Mega Greens Galaxy Pack–facial mask. This also gave me the same results, but I know that this CVS brand is $10 as opposed to $22 if you’re trying to save a buck.)

Step 3: Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize!

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This last step was probably another reason why my cystic acne was off the charts. I wasn’t properly moisturizing. The truth about acne, aside from diet, is that an over-production of oil on your face can eventually seep into your pores, become infected and voila! You got a nasty one forming. BUT, if you properly moisturize (especially at night when your body is doing all it’s repair work) your skin won’t have the need to overcompensate with oil! I learned this from watching Liah Yoo’s Youtube channel dedicated to all things acne and skin care. She warns against moisturizers that just “sit on top of the skin.” With the Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich, it didn’t “sit” on my skin. How did I know that? When I woke up in the morning, I felt like my skin had some bounce to it. Try it yourself–you’ll thank me later.

I know, I sound like a talking billboard for Glossier–and I honestly wish I was and that they would pay me to promote them. They changed my skincare routine for the better and I think EVERYONE needs to have the answers. Granted their products aren’t drugstore prices–can you really put a price on healthy skin?????

xx

-A

Let’s Talk About Body Lava

And briefly why I’m so late to the game.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been moving for the past two weeks or that I graduated with a Master’s degree. Perhaps those are the reasons as to why I didn’t catch on to the amazingness that is Fenty Beauty’s Body Lava.

My interest was first piqued when I saw someone on Instagram (of course) buffing the dewy concoction on their collarbone in a short 5-second video. I was then led to the 10-minute Vogue video of Rihanna guiding us viewers through her makeup routine (which was really pleasant to watch because the girl’s personality is so surprisingly disarming–whatta gift!) and then towards the end you witness her slathering a generous amount of Body Lava on her chest and shoulder.

body lava

It was then that I decided that I MUST have it. I don’t know about you but ever since the dewy trend (spearheaded into the mainstream by Glossier I think) has taken the beauty-sphere by storm, I have had a grand ol’ time reveling in the fact that I have been on the “dewy”, borderline sweaty, train the day that my facial sebaceous glands started overreacting during puberty. Now when people ask, “Are you oily?” I can respond, “Nah fam, I’m dewy.” What a time to be alive! And to also give proper credit, my mom (the most moisturized female I have ever met. I have never once seen one streak of ashy on her in my 24 years of living) has been on the dewy tip circa 2000 when she taught me and my sister to put baby oil on our bodies immediately after we jumped out of the shower (thank you, Johnson & Johnson).

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Now with Body Lava, inspired by Rihanna’s Barbadian roots, she has made it totally cool to be a glowing light bulb all over. She is making oily great again and I’m livinggggg for it. Who said that highlighter is limited to the cheekbones? Some might find the whole thing preposterous. To that I say, come over here and let me dust some Killawatt on ya cheeks.

xx

-A

Moving Break

Taking a 20-minute break from packing up my stuff to give a quick update,

So in the past 5 months I had the pleasure of being drowned in final exams, a thesis, and life so to sum up, this cool thing happened:

That’s Master Adaobi to YOU!

So what’s next? Good question! All I know is that I’m ready to spearhead my career in the fashion/beauty industry and I don’t care how I go about it.

Another update: I’ve collaborated with an up-and-coming website called Shopary a spinoff of Shopify, and modeled a few of their products for their store. Here is one photo from the shoot:

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Excited to share with you guys more on this blog now that free time is…well a little bit more accessible. Stay Tuned…

xx

-A

Mindful Minimalism

Minimalism is 90% the mind.

I’ve begun to take the practice seriously for this year by culling my closet, old paperwork, and other miscellaneous items that I had been storing up for a year now. But I began to run into problems. I unearthed old papers that I wrote in undergrad and didn’t want to throw them away. I began to read old Christmas/birthday cards and felt my attachment to these cards grow. I would pull out an old unworn jacket, put it on and convince myself that I should give it 3 more months in my closet. That was when I realized that minimalism is 10% of getting rid of stuff physically, but you got to do the 90% work of psychologically letting go.

If you type minimalism on YouTube you’ll find hundreds of tutorials and how-to’s. The first thing they always tell you to do is to make three big piles of 1. stuff you want 2. stuff you don’t want 3. and the “eh we’ll see” pile. They never tell you how to properly handle the “eh we’ll see pile” and perhaps that is due to the fact that before you become a true minimalist you have to do some deeper work to find out why you are so attached to certain items, find a way to make peace with it and eventually let it go. No minimalist guru on YouTube can teach you how to do this deeper work.

For example, despite the fact that my Christmas/birthday card box is taking up way too much space in my closet, and it’ll be one of those boxes that will annoy me when I eventually move out again, the warm fuzzy feeling I get when I read other people’s notes to me continuously prevents me from throwing them out. The notes remind me that I’m seen and loved. Do I need to keep those cards to remind myself of that? No. But nonetheless that’s the barrier I’m running into.

benefits-of-minimalism

Of course there is no hard and fast rule to minimalism. If birthday cards (or anything else for that matter) are an absolute must for you to keep because it genuinely brings you joy then by all means keep it. But you surely can tell the difference between something that gives you joy and an unhealthy attachment.

In all, I’m learning that minimalism is a process. I’ve witnessed the finished products of other minimalist’s lives, but I got to remember that they didn’t cull their life in one hour. It took time to get to their place of satisfaction and ultimately, I have to figure out what level of minimalism I’m comfortable with. Because minimalism is not about arbitrarily throwing things away–it’s about creating more space to include the things you truly enjoy and implementing the lost art of discipline in all aspects of your life.

I spent a few hours this week watching tiny home tours for inspiration. Here is the channel I follow for your viewing pleasure.

xx

-A

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New Beginnings

Welcome back to my space.

It only recently made sense for me to create a list of new year resolutions. I feel like as I get older I become a lot more reflective and with reflection, you’re able to notice things that you’d like to change about yourself. And boy, do I want to change a lot of things.

But this post isn’t about what my resolutions are. This post is about getting back to the heart of what I enjoy. And that is writing and documenting. I was reading my old blog posts in 2014 (when I started this blog) and I was surprised at how dedicated, thoughtful, vulnerable, and optimistic I was. Life really has the ability to harden you and I think with that territory comes a natural tendency to shrink back. It’s not that I stopped thinking–it’s just that I stopped sharing.

I’m going to go back to sharing. Of course, I do so with a bit of apprehension and wariness because I am now fully cognizant of the foils having too much of a digital footprint. Nonetheless, I will give it a go.

Today I had brunch with a few friends from my church, wandered around Little Tokyo for a bit (this is becoming my favorite spot and past-time where I got a PB&J vegan donut and then went to go see Lady Bird in a small vintage theater in Los Feliz. A little surprised at the fact that all these years I’ve lived in LA and I haven’t properly explored Los Feliz. It was a two hour occassion that pleasantly turned into an all day one. Don’t you love that in life? When things go longer than planned because you’re genuinely enjoying yourself?

It’s important to spend more time in your present. Keyword: your. Because we do spend time in the present, but when we’re focusing on everyone or everything else but ourselves, those things begin to consume our livelihoods. So spend time in your present–and don’t succumb into the temptation to run on autopilot.

Some pictures of the day below:

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PB&J Donut!

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xx

-A

 

Little Red.

Greetings!

It has been a while since I last posted but I can assure you that lots of wonderful things have happened.

Including the fact that I have learned how to use InDesign as a tool! Granted that my skills are still rudimentary,  I still want to showcase them to you. I took some of the last photos and inputted them into a mock cd album booklet.

I am no song writer so pay no mind to the lyrics!

I’ve been really attracted to the color red this winter for some reason–even though the colder months are usually about muted neutral colors. But this wouldn’t be the first time that I break so-called “fashion” guidelines.

Enjoy!

Blog Post_Red

Easy, Breezy, Beautiful.

Hello and welcome back to my little corner on the internet.

I got some looks and a few thoughts to share per usual.

Some of my favorite style icons lately include Jeanne Damas (whom I recently have been stalking), Julia Sarr Jamois, as well as Freddie Harrel. What do all these women have in common? They are French yes, but what really intrigues me most about all of them is how effortlessly they dress, walk, and carry themselves.

It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly contributes to their blithely posture, but my best guess is that French culture highly values women who display elegance through natural beauty. Or as the French say it, je ne sais quoi. 

They don’t let their clothes wear them. They make their clothing fit their lifestyle however hectic or lackadaisical it may be, always incorporating a signature look that remains classic to their name. When I think of Julia, I think about how her cheetah print boots go hand in hand with her voluptuous fro. I think about Jeanne Damas’ impish eyes crowned by mascara and her finger-applied red pout when I see her wearing Prada pumps and a canary yellow sundress. I picture Freddie Harrel’s cheshire smile while posing in an electric blue jumpsuit reminiscent of the American 80s.

It’s about the woman in the clothes. It’s not about piling on embellishments for the sake of it.

When I think of natural beauty–the first image that comes to mind are flowers. When I bought these flowers and brought it to my office, people were gushing about how beautiful they were. Yet–they didn’t primp and pamper themselves. They just grew like dis. Luke 12: 27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

In fashion blogging where the emphasis on being beautiful is constantly advertised by burning through dozens of makeup palettes and buying new clothes every season, sometimes I have to remind myself that just being the person I am is enough and is beautiful enough on my own without the need for embellishments. It’s about the woman inside the dress. Besides, if God created the flowers of the field so beautifully, how much more me?

Yellow Dress: Thrifted.

Choker: Boutique shop.

Shoes: Doc Martens.

All Photos taken by : Ryan Jirapong + Edited: Yours truly.

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DMO (Digitally Modified Organisms)

Oh, hello it’s been a while!

Excited to share with you hands down one of my favorite shoots to date!

Whenever Karlo and I get together, every shoot is better than the last and I love the constant progression! Our conversation went something like this:

Me: I’m thinking, late 80s-90s, vintage, pixelated, analog feel….

Karlo: Say no more fam.

On a more serious note, I’ve been really thinking lately about the contrived, fabricated nature of social media especially when it comes to Instagram. Always touted as a highlight reel, somehow when we scroll through the explore pages of fabulous bodies, beautiful faces, and clear skin, we still get jealous, angry, and depressed about ourselves because we don’t look like Instagram models (you hear how crazy that sounds?)

Instagram is like a mythical dimension where people are always happy, photogenic, really fit, clear skinned, and teeth gratingly successful. To put it bluntly, sometimes it’s just fake news. For this shoot, I intentionally decided what I wanted you all to see. I thought about what photos I wanted, conveyed the type of editing I wanted, curated the photos, and slapped it up on the media space.

And while I love to produce impeccable work, you and I both have to realize that the image of me serving a look is like 10% of my life. 90% of the time, my head is buried in a book, writing a paper, with a bonnet neatly wrapped around my head to protect these curls. But for some reason, we aren’t inclined to think about that first.

My favorite aspect about this shoot is the fact that angles are manipulated to make it seem like I am larger than life– ethereal almost. And these shots were done purposefully because I want to remind you that if you stood in front of me during the shot, I’d look just as normal as you–maybe even a little funny.  There were plenty of passerbys that day giving me quizzical stares while I contorted my body to get a good photo. But the end result looks effortless! In the same way, behind those amazing selfies on Instagram is a killer filter and studio lights that are approximately the same cost of a Verizon cell phone bill. Meaning it’s not as expensive as you think (the studio lights, not the bill, lol) and ANYBODY can get their hands on equipment to make their content look extremely editorial.

If you’re anything like me, I don’t spend my time comparing myself to celebrities. They are on a different wavelength altogether, and I don’t think the issue really lies there–at least when it comes to Instagram. I think the issue is that everyday people like you and me now have the ability to appear untouchable, and we compare/judge ourselves on a harder curve because of it. I haven’t quite found a solution to stop that, except for not spending copious amounts of time on social media. And maybe, that’s just what we have to do.

However, this is not a post condemning the highlight reel itself. I understand the concept of wanting to put your best work, rather than the vulnerable parts of your life out there to the public. You can have a reel, so long as you don’t perpetuate or present it as authentic, real life. It doesn’t do anybody, including you, any good.

Shot & Edited By: Karlo Morcilla

Styling & Creative Direction: Me

*Clothes are thrifted. Boots are from Zara*

xx

-A