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[Travel Diary] Hanoi, Vietnam

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The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind, while traveling from the North to the South of Vietnam. I wish I could have shared my experiences with you in real-time—aside from Instagram—but I wasn’t in any location more than a couple of days, as we toured through over a dozen villages/cities through a tour organized through VITOURS, by a family friend who’s native to Saigon.

I packed everything I needed for 16 days into a small carry-on sized suitcase and a carry-on tote, and made sure to only bring pieces that weren’t too valuable because we moved around so much, slept on a bus, boat, train, plane and of course, many hotels.

It was quite the challenge because I’m usually an over-packer and never travel without my laptop, but my nice camera and iPhone did make the cut. I was able to keep the packing to a minimum by the following ways:

-packing neutral colors that can be easily interchangeable in multiple outfits

-a small bottle of Woolite for hand-washing in the hotel

-packing pieces that can be worn multiple ways, like these fun pants (see below), which also can be worn as a romper and if you flip it around, a top. You can see how I styled it on Vagamundo’s site both ways

-packing comfortable, but versatile and not bulky shoes like these Birkenstocks that could be dressed up or down, Havaianas for the beach, Keens for hiking and TOMS for traveling

-scarves that could double as shawls, sarongs and even dresses

-minimal jewelry and accessories

The Vietnamese tend to not dress up, other than when the women where the traditional dress, an Ao Dai, but otherwise in the capitol city of Hanoi, anything seemed to go, though women were a bit more covered than the globalized city of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon). It makes sense to dress down when life revolves around work, drinking coffee, eating and getting around on a motorbike everywhere (literally EVERYWHERE). We hardly saw anyone walking on a mission, the way we do in NYC, probably because it’s too hot. The motorbikes lined the sidewalks to the point where you can hardly walk without bumping into one either parked or moving, and they fill the streets from every angle.

Crossing the street was no easy task in Hanoi, thanks to the packed streets and lack of traffic lights. Somehow it all works, like a school of fish, without any aggression and what seemed to be no accidents. It’s also common to see motorbikes carrying a family of 4 or even what looks like a truck should be carrying.

We took refuge at 6am, before the motorbikes come out for rush hour, and watched the streets crowd with food vendors and elderly practicing Thai Chi around the lake in the city center. It was the zen we needed in a city that makes much of New York look sleepy.

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|ABOVE| French Connection top (old) // Vagamundo pants (c/o) // Birkenstock sandals // Hathamade bracelet (c/o) // Urban Outfitters backpack // TOMS sunglasses

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|ABOVE| Zara dress // Winter Kate kimono jacket (old, similar online) // Scala hat (similar)


Happy Hour Shopping!

Vagamundo Sale

As you probably know by now, part of what I love about being a stylist is that I get to discover new brands and unique finds get them before everyone else does…and of course, share them with you so you can do the same.

One of my best kept secrets, as you may recall from all of my mentions on the brand is called Vagamundo. My friend Brandy designs and sources from around the world and brings unique pieces back from her travels. She’s in town from her travels (and from her new shop in Chile) this Thursday and we are co-hosting a trunk show together in NYC.

Please join us for Happy Hour, and round out your summer wardrobe with must-have Vagamundo pieces, and perfectly-paired etc… modern vintage jewelry, which is having a MAJOR sale at up to 75% off retail prices!
 
Hosted by one of my favorite photo studios in NYC:

DUNE STUDIOS @ 121 Varick St

THURSDAY, JULY 10 
6pm – 9pm
 
*SEE YOU THERE AND PLEASE BRING YOUR FRIENDS*
If you can’t make it, shop for Vagamundo online and be sure to check out how some of the pieces can be worn multiple ways, like how I styled them in the lookbook!


#NYFW Recap: Getting Beautified and What I Wore

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This fashion week has been so busy, but it worked out well that Birchbox set up a pop-up for beauty touch-ups across from MILK studios, where some of the shows this week were held. I dragged my stylish pal, Renata of Scorpion Disco, to check it out before we headed to see the Alice and Olivia presentation.

This was day 5 of NYFW, so my nails were in desperate need of help. Nicole J. for Color Club made me feel more polished (no pun intended) in a pale metallic nail color, which I picked out because if it chipped in the next few days and I didn’t own the color or have time, it would still look good.

Kerastase also saved my so-so hair day and envisioned a beautiful beachy wave with my bohemian outfit. My hair naturally does that wave, but it never looks as good as when someone actually spends time on it. What actually works, according to this stylist, was to curl the hair in a tighter curl, let it cool before touching it—no matter your urge to touch it! She used a hair spray to hold them in place, but broke apart the curls slightly by rubbing the hairs between her fingers. It really worked and even looked better the next day. It’s hard to want to wash your hair when your ‘do looks better each day!

After my touch ups, I was able to make my own Birchbox. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this brand, Birchbox is a great way to try out 4-5 new products that get sent to your mailbox each month with a membership (it also makes a great gift, which I’ve given and people love!). With the help of the Birchbox ladies’ recommendations, I picked out some great ones including a Stila lip gloss that was my perfect shade of red and didn’t come off until I brushed my teeth that evening!

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photos by Renata Certo-Ware

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jumpsuit: c/o Vagamundo | belt: vintage Dior | shoes: Kathryn Amberleigh (similar) | hat: Urban Outfitters | bag: 3.1 Phillip Lim | necklace: c/o Gorjana | bracelets: Kate Spade, c/o E. Kammeyer, c/o Antonym | lip color: c/o Stila

Thank goodness I got my touch ups because while Bill Cunningham didn’t snap me that day (he may have another day…but I he was getting the fashionista next to me!), Guest of a Guest did!

{SHOP THIS POST BELOW}


Easing Into Fall

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Happy unofficial first day of fall. Yes, fall isn’t here just yet, Labor Day usually marks the end of summer and the start of new beginnings. Though, after this Labor Day, I’m not quite ready to let go the ease of my summer wardrobe. It probably doesn’t help that it’s still extremely humid in NYC.

I recently styled a look book for a new store in Chile called Vagamundo and while the seasons are opposite to here, it seems that the wardrobes over there don’t need to be so black and white when it comes to seasonal dressing. This caftan/dress from the shop is so versatile that it can be the perfect beach cover-up, then wrapped into a cute boho top, then belted to make a slightly fancier dress, and you can continue to get creative with it. Plus, the rich colors make it seem kind of autumnal, right? If only winter dressing could be this easy breezy!

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dress: c/o Vagamundo | dress worn underneath: Loomstate | bandeau: Free People | hat: Urban Outfitters | belt: vintage | bag: c/o Gentlefawn | shoes: Kathryn Amberleigh | bracelets: c/o Chloe + Isabel, c/o E.Kammeyer, etc…

STYLIST TIP: When you don’t know how to wear a garment, just try it on. You may be surprised that it inspires a new way to wear it that even the designer didn’t think of. Also, never underestimate the power of a belt, which can transform a garment.

BONUS STYLIST TIP: If you want to wear a belt around your waist that’s meant for your hips, try using this handy tool that I keep in my kit and add some holes that are the same distance as the others.


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