Tagged: Art

Build Beauty on a Strong Foundation

Fish and Cars
(Trench Coat – Burberry, Watch – Michele, Black Skirt – Theory, Basic T-Shirt – American Vintage, Denim –  7 For All Mankind, White Dress Shirt – Vero Moda, Khaki Pants – Lauren by Ralph Lauren, Pearl Necklace – Brooks Brothers, Pearl Studs – Astley Clarke, Little Black Dress – Nicole Miller, Black Blazer – Theory, Black Trousers – Theory)

“Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.” George Bernard Shaw.

Outer Beauty

A strong foundation begins with classic pieces that serve as building blocks for your personal style. They are essential and timeless pieces in your wardrobe; therefore, invest in them. Purchase quality and they will last for years to come. And you will shine!

You will look sharp in a black suit. Ensure that the black blazer has at least two buttons. I love black blazers that emphasize my waist as it gives definition to my body. Also, I prefer my black pants to be slim or straight legged. If you are petite, a pair of black pants looks best without pleats, which tends to swallow you. In anticipation for meetings or interviews where a skirt would be more respectful to be worn than a pair of pants, I usually purchase a matching skirt. And I love suits in quality materials – It immediately transforms a person!

A white dress shirt is also an essential classic. You could wear it with your black suit or you could wear it casually with a pair of jeans or shorts. I love shirts with a little stretch in it as they are more form fitting, feel better on the skin and easier to iron. And I cannot live without t-shirts, because they are versatile. Personally, I prefer V-necks and t-shirts made of thin, stretchy and comfortable material.

In addition to a pair of good fitting jeans and khaki pants, a strong foundation would be lacking without a black dress. You could wear your little black dress to any event. To dress up the black dress, I usually wear a strand of pearls with a pair of pearl studs – and a trench coat.  You will look classy.  To dress down the black dress, I may use a colored belt or wear a pair of fashionable sneakers.

Be creative with your classic pieces and shine!

Inner Beauty

“Integrity” stems from the Latin word “integer” which means “whole” or “complete.” In other words, if you have integrity, you are whole, sound and complete in your inner world because you are honest and congruent. I strongly believe that a person who has integrity has a strong foundation to being beautiful within.

1. Be branded. Have (and adjust from time to time) a set of moral values and principles that you will live by. Think of what values you stand for, what you want to be known as, what characteristics you want to work toward. Brand yourself. Your own set of values and principles will provide you with self-confidence, help you set boundaries and attract people with similar values to you.

Here are some of my own personal moral values and principles: I am responsible for my own education. I work very hard to further the best interest of the company I work for and do not take any short cuts. I am open, honest and loyal to the man I am with and do not cheat. I do not steal any of my girlfriends’ interest(s). I only keep friends I could trust (I use a 3 strikes policy for people who lie). I will not leave when my nephew fails to do an activity – only after he accomplishes it (to teach him not to quit and to build positive associations). I strive to do the right thing, even when it is difficult.

2. Be honest. Besides telling the truth to others, I believe it is important to be honest with yourself, to be personally accountable. Without honesty, I find that it is very challenging to grow because it is easier to lie to ourselves or point the finger at someone else.  For example, if you obtained a C on a calculus examination instead of your goal of an A, be honest about the mistakes you have made and the efforts you could have put into studying instead of blaming the test (It’s unfair!), the teacher (She sucks!), the school (If only I go to Harvard!) or the system (Discrimination!).

If your attitude is one that stems from the fact that you have the internal locus of control – you will thrive! For instance, if you say to yourself “I am responsible for earning a C because I incorrectly applied the fundamental theorem of calculus” and learn the correct application of the fundamental theorem of calculus thereafter, then you will earn an A.

The truth will make you whole – and you will become a better person!

3. Be congruent. To obtain and maintain consistency in your character, act accordingly to your own values and principles. Be congruent in your thoughts, words and actions. When I was in Tahiti last year, I was reading Brene Brown’s book “Daring Greatly” on having integrity and being consistent with the people who look up to you (in other words, watch out for hypocrisy!). When you find an unpaid item in your shopping cart, go back and pay for it! When I checked out of the hotel in Tahiti, I noticed that the hotel did not charge me for the delicious dinner I had, so I immediately requested the hotel to make the adjustment. Since I am the kind of person who would pay for a movie, go out of the theater and then pay for another movie, this did not present a challenge.

What is challenging to me is showing service professionals respect by not being glued to technology.  Thus, my phone is in my purse when I am in line ordering food. Incidentally, I spoke with a taxi driver today who thought that people in New York are rude because they do not say hello and are always on their phone, which reminds me – time to sign off and spend quality time with my nephew!

Have a beautiful day! – And let your inner beauty shine!

© 2013, Fish and Cars. All Rights Reserved.

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Use Your Courage to Follow Your Heart

Fish and Cars
(Dress – Free People, Shoes – Cole Haan, Necklace – Nordstrom)

Photo by Raj.

“And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement speech, June 2005.

Outer Beauty

A knit dress is usually flattering because it fits your body perfectly. Good tailoring and a proper fit could emphasize a person’s most attractive features. Here, I am wearing a red knit dress by Free People, one of my favorite brands. The knit in this dress is not too thick or too thin – just perfect. To match the dress, I am wearing a red necklace made of crystals by Nordstrom.

I love this pair of nude heels by Cole Haan with Nike Air technology as it is made for comfortable walking.

Inner Beauty

Courage is the ability to face fear, danger, difficulty, uncertainty or intimidation. In other words, one chooses to act regardless of one’s fear.

1. Leave your job if you are unhappy. If you are unhappy with your job but you are afraid of uncertainty and a lack of financial security, first be assertive by asking for more responsibilities or a raise and begin searching for a better opportunity. Find an opportunity that aligns with your personal values. You may be a lot happier as a result! If you are looking into a career change, begin research into the new career now. Take small steps to reach your goal until you are fully there. You will demystify the process and will become more confident as you step closer to your goal and and your dream.

2. Have courageous conversations. No relationships are going to be perfect and thus, resolving conflicts will be imperative throughout life. Personally, I prefer deep meaningful relationships over shallow ones, and in order to have deep meaningful relationships that last, one must maintain them. Instead of cutting people you love out of your life, openly and honestly discuss these conflicts, put yourself in their shoes and find resolutions to the conflicts so they will not repeat in the future. Most importantly, while having courageous conversations, remember the big picture – you want to maintain and deepen the relationship out of and with love.

3. Face your fears head on. I am afraid of heights. Thus, I was not thrilled to go zip lining in Costa Rica. However, I faced my natural fear of heights by first admitting that I was afraid. In conversations, I told people that I was afraid of heights and asked for advice that may help me face my fear. Some people told me that they were afraid too but after zip lining a few times, they loved it.  “Maybe it wouldn’t be that bad!” I thought. In addition, I considered other aspects of zip lining that may alleviate my fear such as safety wires and additional precautions that the company uses, encouragement from tour guides and written experiences of other people whom were also afraid of heights. Knowledge is power, and I had fun zip lining in Costa Rica despite my fear of heights!

Have a beautiful day! – And let your inner beauty shine!

© 2013, Fish and Cars. All Rights Reserved.

You are Naturally Beautiful

Fish and Cars

(Moisturizing Lotion – Clinique, Clarifying Lotion – Clinique, Anti-blemish Solution – Clinique, Eye Makeup Remover – Lancome, Baby Oil – Johnson & Johnson, Foam Cleanser – Clinique, Exfoliator – Lancome, Deep Cleansing Emergency Mask – Clinique, Sunblock – Neutrogena, Lip Balm – Clinique, Eye Cream – Lancome, Night Cream – Lancome)

Part of being beautiful is taking care of yourself, of your skin.

Outer Beauty

Wear sunscreen. Sunscreen is one of the most important steps in taking care of your skin because sun exposure can cause dark spots, wrinkles and skin cancer. I love the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock (with at least a SPF of 30) because it is non sticky and feels good on my face.

Because the skin around the eyes is very thin and delicate, I use an eye cream every day. Antioxidants such as Vitamin C boost collagen production and ingredients such as calendula reduce puffiness. I apply the Lancome eye cream for these very purposes!

In addition, I moisturize my face every morning with the Clinique moisturizing lotion so it is soft, smooth and shiny. If I have a break out, I use the Clinique Emergency Mask. I personally love this product, because all of my pimples disappear and my face is shiny again!

Because I have very dry skin, I could not live without Johnson & Johnson‘s baby oil. To moisturize and soften my skin, I use a dab of the baby oil immediately after a warm shower.  It helps to contain the moisture and soften dry skin.

Inner Beauty

Everyone is naturally beautiful. Society defines beauty as what we see in magazines. They are tall and thin and light-skinned. They wear expensive clothing that they may not own themselves. They have a team of service professionals whom apply their makeup, style and put on their outfits, photograph and market their beauty. Most of us are out there living our lives. Our faces are not printed in magazines but our faces, our bodies are still beautiful.

I have photographed models and non-models alike. I believe that make up could transform our outer beauty. I believe we could emphasize our best features and find our best angle. However, I find that the most beautiful people are those whose inner beauty shine. They are comfortable with themselves. They are who they are in their own skin. They have a confident attitude of – “This is who I am – Take it or leave it.”

Be yourself and embrace your uniqueness.

1. Do not compare yourself with others. All of my life, I am lucky that I am not jealous or envious. I learned as a child that someone somewhere could be smarter, prettier, wealthier or  more talented than you, and most importantly, that I am different. Therefore, I have learned to focus on what I want and what I need to do in order to create the future that I want. I have learned to be happy for others and learn from their success. Thus, acknowledge that you are different and unique. Define your life. It is yours to live.

2. Think independently.  As an independent thinker, I have the power of choice – what I would like to purchase, what I want to learn, whom I want to love, where I would like to travel, how I would like to make money. And this power of choice comes from knowing who you are and what you like. We are influenced every day by perceptions, perspectives, bias and values of other people. Thus, it is vital to discover and know your own values and live your life accordingly. Question and form your own opinions. Consider the perceptions of others but do not let others place a limitation on you or tell you what you should be. You choose what you want. You start and do the work. Don’t leave your life up to others.

3. Protect your dignity. Dignity is you as a whole. It is what you do, who you are. Do things that make you feel proud. Understand your personal boundaries and limits, and do not lower your standards to anyone.  Protect your self-esteem, and provide yourself with positive affirmations.  Separate facts from interpretations and do not jump to conclusions about what others think of you.  Respect and stand up for yourself and others. Although it is difficult, remain calm and practice empathy when you encounter a conflict. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you have made, and be grateful for what you do have.  Love yourself and others, and thrive to be whole and happy.

Have a beautiful day! – And let your inner beauty shine!

© 2013, Fish and Cars. All Rights Reserved.

Believe that Anything is Possible

Fish and Cars
Fish and Cars

Fish and Cars
(Nephew @ San Francisco Superhero Street Festival, 2010)

“You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.” – Man of Steel

Limitless Beliefs

My nephew has no limits, as small as he is.  He believes that he could accomplish anything.  When he grows up, he wants to be a chef or a mechanic or a marine biologist or a president. In essence, his beliefs have no limits.  I believe, no matter how old you are, you could accomplish anything as long as you believe in yourself and start taking actions now.

Inner Beauty

Each one of us is a superhero. For example – I celebrated one of my friends’ birthday in New York one year. One night, as she and I walked across town back to our hotel at the Waldorf Astoria, she noticed that a man followed us for a few blocks in the desolate streets of a warm July 4th celebration.  We immediately entered an Irish pub to direct the man to enter too. As we left the pub, she turned around and said to the man: “Stop following us. You know I could kick your ass right now.” The man left.  He was afraid. And my friend would have used her kickboxing skills to demonstrate some superhero action there. At the end, a kind man offered and escorted us safely back to our hotel.

1.         Write your own story.  You have the power to write your story, to change your past, experience heaven on earth and live in a future you create today. Sit down and write your story. Would you fall in love with the man of your dreams and experience a meaningful, profound relationship, the one you have always wanted? Do you envision a love full of sensibility, intimacy and emotional connection? Would you work at a place where you feel wanted and respected? Would you love to build a company that changes people’s lives? Would you spend time with your grandchildren and just enjoy the company of your love in your arms? Would you explore all the countries in the world and teach compassion to your children? Would you try the best you could to live in the state of happiness everyday? Begin creating your life.

2.         You could accomplish anything.  As you are creating your life, believe that you could accomplish anything. Anything.  You could find a job. You could find a happy, loving man. You could love yourself.  You could be happy. And you could change anything.

3.         Love your life.  Whether you have decided to love yourself every day or give your time to a non-profit organization or raise your children, appreciate life.  Do the best you could to do what you love and decide what you want to accomplish. For example, I love traveling and one item on my bucket list is to visit every country in the world.  Thus, I consciously choose to explore various nations, people and culture. And I love spending time with my nephew. Thus, I’ll watch Gary Mod episodes with him on YouTube and support his goal of creating a YouTube channel for his love of games. Whatever you love, begin living that reality – now.

Have a beautiful day! – And let your inner beauty shine!

© 2013, Fish and Cars. All Rights Reserved.

Spring Arrives With a Smile

Fish and Cars
(Dress – Lucca Couture from UO, Shoes – HK by Heidi Klum, Bag – Furla)

Photo by Larry.

I am excited that Spring is here!

Outer Beauty

I adore florals, and with Spring comes beautiful cherry blossoms and uplifting colors. Here, I am wearing a floral dress by Lucca Couture that I purchased from Urban Outfitters. I love the V-neck neckline and how the dress flares out gracefully from the waist. It is a simple dress; yet, it is gorgeous!

Not only is Project Runway one of my favorite shows but I also love Heidi Klum‘s shoes! This pair of nude heels fits me perfectly and I could wear it with anything!

To add a pop of colors, I am wearing a convertible bag from Furla, which is one of my accidental wanderlust while strolling the alleys of Chianti during a wine tour of Tuscany. The man who sold this bag to me carried an abundance of warmth. We spoke of the electronics in San Francisco and of course the leather finds in Italy. He listened attentively, wore patience and shared stories with laughter. Sold!

Inner Beauty

By being a warm person, you are showing others that you like them, enjoy being with them and/or are pleased with their accomplishments.

1. Provide a natural smile to convey and invite positive emotions! Sometimes, I smile to random people and I am amazed how many people just smile back! And it makes the day more positive.

2. Show interest in others by paying attention to what they are saying and feeling. Listen to their words with consideration of their body language. Instead of being interesting, be interested in others! They matter.

3. When others are feeling down, encourage them! by writing encouraging notes or using words of endearment. You have the power to positively influence others! and their lives!

Have a beautiful day! – And let your inner beauty shine!

© 2013, Fish and Cars. All Rights Reserved.

Reach for the Moon One Step at a Time

Fish and Cars

(Top – Grease Gas and Glory, Denim – H&M, Glasses – Vera Bradley, Shoes – Giuseppe Zanotti, Bag – Marc by Marc Jacobs)

The weather in California continues to be beautiful – the beam of the sun shines through crystal clear windows, naturally lightening the room. There is an enchanting chandelier made of antelope ears just right above me. I am thinking of times when someone tells me that I am “short,” “petite,” or “small.” I am an ordinary 5’2″ woman (and I am skinny) so it’s easy for bullies to yell, scream and rage at me either out of their insecurities or their need to feel better about themselves. Fortunately, this doesn’t occur frequently (I do bite!) but occasionally when I am at a random gas station or when I encounter a competitive, comparative and/or insecure male or female whom needs a small dose of esteem boost by pointing at my petite-ness. I thrive to reach for the moon, however, and readjust my perspective – and let my inner beauty shine!

Outer Beauty

If you are fabulously petite as I am, shine in a pair of nude heels! Not only will you be physically taller (not to mention sexier), the color nude will not cut off your height as a pair of black shoes would. Start investing in nude shoes now! And if you do not own any heels, get a pair and practice walking (and dancing) in them. They will boost your self-esteem and help you become more confident.

Wear form-fitting pieces of clothing, ones that accentuate your chest, waist and hips. They will emphasize the beauty of your curves, your femininity, your personality. When in doubt, a pair of skinny jeans and a blouse with a cut that shows off your wonderful chest and waist would allow your beautiful body to shine!

And of course – take care of your skin, the largest organ of your body. Wear sunscreen, eat healthy and be beautiful. Point your chest to the moon. And smile. ❤

Inner Beauty

Confidence and happiness usually come from within.

1. Begin by reminding yourself that you are beautiful,  you are confident, you are unique  because no one in the universe is just like you! You could do anything when you focus on it. Tell yourself that the moon is within reach and take actions to reach it one step at a time.

2. Accept your body as it is. I have curly hair that compelled salon artists to provide me with disclaimers (Ha! Nothing is wrong with curly hair!). And as mentioned above, I could be taller, bigger, etc. etc. etc. However, I love my curly hair. I love how I am and what God has given to me. I am just grateful that I could move and dance and read.

3. And lastly, understand that you are enough. I have been reading a lot of Brene Brown, PH.D., LMSW (author of DARING GREATLY, THE GIFTS OF IMPERFECTION and I THOUGHT IT WAS JUST ME (BUT IT ISN’T)).  It has been empowering to learn about shame, its triggers and resilience. I remind myself to embrace who I am every day no matter what happens. I hope you will embrace who you are as well!

Have a beautiful day! – And let your inner beauty shine!

© 2013, Fish and Cars. All Rights Reserved.

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Stars in the Daylight

Fish and Cars

Fish and Cars
Fish and Cars
(Top – Ann Ferriday, Coat – BCBG, Denim –Kate Spade, Bag – Prada, Clutch – BCBG, Pumps – Cole Haan, Scarf – Tolani)

Photographs by Raj.

Outer Beauty

Even with a little wind today, the sun arises just to take a peek at every smile. I am excited to be wearing some of my favorite pieces today.  I treasure the dreamy top full of stars by Ann Ferriday, which makes me feel happy and confident without fail every single time!  The denim by Kate Spade is comfortable and hugs my body perfectly.

I love the Mary Jane by Cole Haan, which I could walk miles and miles in because it incorporates Nike Air Technology. Recently, my favorite jacket is this BCBG coat – it looks like a dress! and outlines my body magnificently. And because I lust for the exploration of the world, this Tolani scarf reminds me of new cultures and new experiences.

The Prada bag is a gift for myself when I explored Rome, Florence and Venice (Italy) – I have fond memories of Renaissance and medieval architecture, manicured hills and grand gondola. And lastly, this pair of gold earrings comes from a recent trip to Santa Barbara – I could spend hours and hours appreciating art along the beach! and it is quite special.

Inner Beauty

Two of my nephew’s passions are fish and cars. When he was 1.5 years old, I took him to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and he would match the fish with the fish on the laminated sheet. He even fed his goldfish with milk, which sadly killed them. He was devastated as he would cry if he saw fish freshly caught in the sink to be prepared for dinner. Today, he could tell a salmon from a bass. He considers a marine biologist as one of his possible careers.

And his other passion is cars. When he was four, he beat every single adult at a party playing Need for Speed, even one of the engineers who built the game. Needless to say, when I recently purchased Need for Speed: Most Wanted for him, he beat the game only in a few hours, including winning a tournament. Thus, instead of watching a movie at the theater, I spent quality time with him by watching Top Gear on television, with him commenting on each car, its speed and features. This nine year old is passionate!

A while ago, I have a hope to create this blog simply because I love fashion, which is one of my hidden passions. And I envision fashion to be true to ourselves, if you will.  We could allow our inner beauty to shine. Loving something and taking the action to do it are two different things, and here’s what I inspired me to birth this star:

1. Focus on your most important things first. I was working on a few projects and volunteering activities for others, and a friend mentioned that one should work on your most important things first. I considered his feedback, allocated time and took action to create this blog after months of thinking about it! Thus, this hope becomes a reality.

2. Ask for help. I am very grateful that a few of my friends are happy to take photographs of me. I am appreciative of their time and help.

3. Do the things you love. When I was five, I wanted to be a writer. Growing up, I have designed my share of dresses and have helped family and friends shop. I love fashion, style, the perfect cut. I would never imagine I could combine the two – writing about what I love – and being happy doing so!

This blog is thus dedicated to my nephew, whose passions for fish and cars have inspired me to go after my own.

Have a beautiful day!  And let your inner beauty shine!

© 2013, Fish and Cars. All Rights Reserved.