Oranges and Gingham

WEARING: ZAFUL GINGHAM ROMPER | YOINS GREEN BATCHEL BAG W/ CONTRAST TRIMS | 
ZARA CORK & LEATHER WEDGES | VINTAGE JADE HOOP EARRINGS | H&M WOODEN BANGLES

THIS POST IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY ZAFUL & YOINS.

 

IT'S LIKE APPLES TO ORANGES, PEACHES TO PLUMS, YEAH, I'M BANANAS!

 

My last editorial was a bit somber and because it's also Friday, I wanted to share some more upbeat content. 'Cause life's also too damn short to sit around and feel sad all the time too, am I right? One thing I'm not too keen on expressing is my insecurities ['cause we all have 'em too (from time to time)] since most don't understand why I would be this way or that I'm just full of crap. To be brutally honest, I've had low self-esteem my whole life and though it does have a lot to do with my upbringing, I only have myself to blame. How did I get here? I was raised to believe that nothing I'd do would be ever good enough, that even "my best would never do", according to my father. Of course, that's stuck with me since he's said that to my face, and even though he's no longer with me, I'm still trying to prove him and the world wrong. That I am enough. That I matter. That I'm worth more than just a pretty face. 

What's upbeat about this you might be thinking? Well... the more time and energy I'm investing in what I'm doing when it comes to digital content, the more proud and courageous I'm becoming in sharing with you more about me, and also perhaps breaking the rules here and there while you follow me along the way. Because since taking creative content as seriously as I do, I've simultaneously have been healing from all the things from the past that do make us insecure and not feeling like we belong anywhere. No, I didn't need validation from social media. Did I perhaps in my past seek that kind of approval from a man? Perhaps... because no one's perfect – at least I have the balls to admit to my flaws. I create for myself because I HAVE to. Without it, I'd probably go insane, bananas, if you will... and hearing from you guys every day is what helps keep me going. Your support has been tremendous and just knowing I have some affect in your lives means everything to me. It has been so inspiring and I couldn't have felt this good about myself without you!

Be sure though that feeling good about yourself starts within. When I first started doing more editorial like shoots for MaQ + Suz, I was trying to elevate my skills & strengths to a higher level. Because of course, this, in turn, would make me feel productive and then really great. But the more involved I became in my research with fashion & photography, the more I craved to produce visual stories and to try and mix things up by taking risks and continuing to challenge myself. And the more story-telling I do, the more confident I am in my capabilities. That perhaps what I am doing is sort of right, that readers actually dig my work. It is true what they say, keep your head held up high and don't let 'em knock you down. The way you carry yourself and the way you let others treat you says a lot about you, so start from within and know that doing you without any compromise will not only get you far, but being an unapologetic badass and sticking up for what you want will reward you with all the self-love in return.

With my upbeat take on myself, I wanted to do a shoot with fruit but very much in street style mode. And because of the warm colors, I wanted to do a little spin on some good ole' 70s vibes. Mixing in my California roots with my saucy attitude, this gingham romper by Zaful is so freaking cute and comfortable! I love how breathable it is for hotter days and the girly cut on the bottom of this romper is too adorable. I knew I had to style it with chunky bangles and big hoop earrings. To keep it kind of pin-up girl-ish, I stuck with my favorites cork wedges by Zara and did my hair in a high ponytail (because let's face it ladies, when it's that hot out, you just got to put your mane up). Lastly can we talk about how amazing this green bag is from Yoins?! Stylish, iconic and versatile — a clever hybrid of the Satchel and the Briefcase, the 'Batchel' is the newest addition to my bag fam! And one of many of the summer gang... What do you guys think of this look? And when it comes to the insecurities we all face from time to time, how do you cope with them? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this! Comment and shop the look down below – wishing you all a lovely weekend!

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LOVE & XX'S,

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Plaid at No. 22

WEARING: VIP ME BLACK PLAID LONG SLEEVE SHIRT W/ WIDE LEG PANTS | 
MATT BERNSON MEZZA | ZAFUL TRIANGLE CLUTCH

THIS POST IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY VIPme

 

My mind has been stuck on Manchester.

 

What kind of world are we living in where our children can't even go to a concert without being safe anymore? Imagine - 13... 14... 15 years old and running for your life thinking it's the end. And yet we have people wasting their energy complaining on Instagram for having their photos (not even their photos actually) being reported and therefore taken down because of it. How about instead of posting tits and va-jay-jays that are solely for attention-seeking, we rather post content that either tells a story or tells a story within a story? Why does everything have to be instantly gratifying nowadays? Don't get me wrong. Everyone is allowed to do whatever the heck they want, and I'm not here to preach what one should or should not do... but can't we give this bullshit a rest? People are dying out there and you want to talk about why it's okay to post nudity because we're all naked in the end or whatever cockamamy excuse you want to use to call it a way of expressing art? Now, have I ever done a self-portrait of my booty? You bet your ass I did, but the difference is I didn't do it for anyone but myself. And I certainly didn't post it or someone else's work to grab any kind of reaction. 

Sure, everything is redone/copied/heavily inspired by someone else's work today, even sometimes making the fashion world quite an ugly one. Not everyone that's talented is kind or even decent for that matter. But what I appreciate is the story-telling that is ongoing, that leaves me with the desire to do the same. No, I may not have the power or finances to help with what is going on in the world at the moment, but my power to share the content I create, I believe, does help and inspire others to do more and be more. 

Like this British-inspired, two-piece made of plaid and leather by VIPme. After the Manchester attacks, I wasn't sure what deemed appropriate in terms of my next blog post, given the crazy times we're living in is much of what I've been thinking about the past couple of days. But as I was editing this shoot, I played around with the tones much more than I usually do. I think it has a lot to do with mood and your environment. And I'm more and more in tune with what can be told through a photograph, so for me, this is my teeny-tiny little tribute towards our current events. Plus, I've always had a soft spot for UK fashion. 

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Summer is coming but before the hot days are here to stay, you can mix this two piece with so many other styles. I accessorized with an old pair of gold hoop earrings and Matt Bernson flats. The triangle clutch from Zaful is from last Fall but is still a favorite in my handbag roundup. I love the linen feel of the two-piece, and really dig the black leather statement pockets in the front of the top. 

The bottoms have pockets too and I love that you can not only wear them together but also separately. The pants would look chic with a white tee and blazer and the top would look great with black jeans or even a cute white denim skirt. I love when pieces hold a ton of versatility and can be worn all year round, especially in places with all four seasons like here in New York. What do you guys think of this two-piece? How would you have styled it?

And lastly, I've recently been getting a lot of food content requests, with questions of when I will be getting back into video content as well. I'm happy to report that after a tiny hiatus (because video editing is my worst nightmare and least favorite thing to do in the world LOL) but also because I haven't found a story I really wanted to create for it, I have finally got something in store for you! It'll be out in the next couple of weeks, but it's something really special to me and I hope it'll blow you away! Stay tuned because I can't wait to just even share the behind the scenes!

Lots of changes happening right now and I'm excited, nervous and a bit overwhelmed at the moment, but I know me and I'll be just fine. At the end of the day, we have no one to answer to but ourselves. So be true to you and to others. Stop being full of crap, be nice, and go out there and get ish done! I know it sounds easier said than done, but remember that people love you and care about you, that includes me! Spreading nothing but Love + Light, forever and always. Until next time, take care of yourself and take care of others. Smooches. xx  

LOVE & XX'S, 

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Kimchi Risotto

A rainy start to the work week, I wanted to create some new food content as a lot of you have been making several requests as of late. Plus, I've been going through a lot personally, and cooking has always been therapeutic, for me, at least. Eating well never sucks and having others enjoy the food I make results in me being happy, which also never sucks :) So let's talk about this wonderful recipe I tried out - it's nutty, buttery, and tangy with just the right amount of heat, and perfect for a chillier day like today... kimchi risotto! What the heck did I just say?!

Kimchi Risotto

photos by © Suzanne Spiegoski

photos by © Suzanne Spiegoski

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1/2c Kimchi juice (squeezed from kimchi)

1/2 Kimchi (minced)

3c Vegetable stock

2Tbsp butter

2 Cloves garlic (minced)

1c Sushi rice

3-4Tbsp Gruyére cheese (grated with a microplane)

Directions:

  1. Squeeze the juice out of the kimchi using your hands to make 1/2 cup of juice and then weigh out 100 grams of squeezed kimchi. Mince the kimchi.

  2. Pour the vegetable stock into a pot and bring to a simmer over high heat. Turn down to low to keep warm.

  3. In another pot, add the lard and garlic and saute until fragrant.

  4. Add the minced kimchi and continue sauteing until the kimchi is translucent.

  5. Add the rice and stir until the rice has evenly absorbed all the oil.

  6. Add the kimchi juice along with a ladleful of hot vegetable stock and stir the rice until most of the water has been absorbed.

  7. Continue adding vegetable stock a ladleful at a time and stirring until the rice is your desired consistency. You may not need all the stock.

  8. When the rice is done, add the grated Gruyère and stir into the risotto. Serve immediately.

I know, initially the idea sounded a bit peculiar. Swiss cheese with kimchi and sushi rice? But the combination of flavors go wonderfully within this dish, and though I've made risottos in the past, I've never tried a fusion recipe of this kind before. And the results were sublime, I'll tell you! One of my favorite dishes is risotto, which would make sense given I'm such a rice girl. But the creamy warm flavors delight my taste buds, as I'm sure they do yours. I love a mean, mushroom risotto, but this kimchi risotto certainly takes the cake! The flavors are really all there, you don't even need to add salt! 

I normally use arborio or baldo rice when it comes to making risotto, but I found sushi rice to be an interesting type of rice to use in this fusion recipe. Though this recipe is derived from here, I did a bit of my own tweaking in terms of measurements and the different use in rice. You could also try using a different form of kimchi, such as turnip/radish, which would still bring the acidity into the risotto. I'd love to give a zucchini kimchi a go, what do you guys think about the sounds of that? 

Here are a few tips to achieving the ultimate risotto: Number one - the broth you use to mix the risotto should be very heat, it better cooks down the rice giving it that smooth, creamy goodness that should be when making risotto. Number two - you can use lard instead of butter should you want a more rich flavor but I like to eat pretty healthy (not that butter is any healthier lol), should you not want to use butter at all, you can try making it with coconut oil! And lastly, when it comes to making your own risotto, try to live a little on the wild side. Mix up the flavors, try something you haven't tried before. Get creative. After all, that's part of the fun when it comes to cooking, am I right or am I right? :) 

LOVE & XX'S,

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The Cutest Off the Shoulder Beach Maxi Dress

WEARING: VIP ME BLUE STRIPE OFF THE SHOULDER BEACH MAXI DRESS |
MAD STYLE WATERMELON CROSSBODY BAG | KLASSE14 VOLARE SKY MIDNIGHT WATCH | 
ADIDAS STAN SMITH LEATHER SNEAKTERS

THIS POST IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY VIP ME, MAD STYLE & KLASSE14.

Happy Friday, folks! With scorching temps the past few days here in New York City, I had to bust out one of the many summer dresses for the season! Let's get right down to it, how adorable is this blue, stripe, off the shoulder beach maxi dress from Vip Me I'm all about the buttons down the center, as this dress can easily be styled into a shirt dress. The tie-around waist hugs perfectly around my hips and really gives a wonderful shape. And what girl isn't into off-the-shoulder-anything, these days?! It's the perfect way to show just a little skin without being too revealing, which in some cases, less is more!

I styled the dress with a seasonal summer watermelon handbag from Mad-Style. It can be carried with or without a gold chain. This bag is the cutest for the hot days ahead of us! They come in different colors too if you're more of a lemon/orange type of gal. ;) Use my promo code, 'maqandsuz' to get 20% OFF your purchase from Mad-Style! They also carry a variety of accessories such as jewelry, clothes and even dog apparel!

Other accessories in this look are the simple but classic Stan Smith's by Adidas. When it's too hot out here in New York, I'm not one to wear sandals. I find it super gross to walk around in them in the city as it's so dirty, plus my figure skating feet are not exactly my strength. I call them 'lizard' feet because they're effed up like ballerina's feet... with bunions, too many veins, scars, and then some... it's not my most attractive feature lol.

This gorgeous Volare sky midnight watch is from Klasse14. I love the unique color and indentation of the face. You can also use another one of my promo code, 'suzannespiegoski' to get 12% OFF your purchase from Klasse14! 

Lastly, I have to give a shoutout to ARROJO, a wonderful NYC hair salon I had the pleasure of experiencing most recently. I literally had no time to even get a blowout due to double-booking events and running around like a maniac, but they were so accommodating and sweet! My hair stylist, Christina, gave me the perfect summer hair with loose, sexy hair and put the finishing touches on with a holding spray (by ARROJO) with accents of tangerine & jasmine, which is my newest hair product obsession! Thanks again, guys, for the wonderful time downtown, I'll be sure to come back again soon! They also have multiple locations should you not be a downtown gal... :) Have a lovely weekend, everyone!  

LOVE & XX'S, 

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Compartmentalization

WEARING: THE KOOPLES BLAZER | HONEY COAST USA T-SHIRT | 
ADIDAS NEO CLOUDFOAM DAILY QT HIGH-TOP SNEAKER | GUCCI BELT | BDG JEANS | 
MAD-STYLE TALL METALLIC GEO TOTE BAG | MAD-STYLE TRANSLUCENT CATEYES SUNGLASSES

HAIR DONE BY OMALIA FROM MB45 STUDIO

THIS POST IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY MB45 STUDIOMAD-STYLE & HONEY COAST USA

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"Compartmentalization is a form of emotional intelligence," according to Jeremy Yip, a lecturer and research scholar at Wharton. Psychology defines compartmentalization as a defense mechanism, or a coping strategy, which doesn’t exactly sound all that great (at first). But, it’s how our minds deal with conflicting internal points of view at the same time. Isolating and focusing on difficult issues separately is something I’ve used my entire life to get through trauma as a result of my upbringing; so one could say this skill was acquired through the years, however, I never really noticed its implications in business until recently.

When I was younger, I once heard from J-Lo (of all people) say that when it comes to one's personal life and professional one, it's crucial to be able to put one or the other aside as soon as you 'leave the door'. And she's absolutely right. You can't let either mix with the other, no matter what's going on. I know it sounds easier said than done, but I truly believe this is part of the key to success; refusing to compromise and not letting anyone get in the way of your dreams and ambitions. The way that I see it, and Eleanor Roosevelt too, "no one can make you feel inferior without your consent." So keep it together, don't give up and as my dad always used to say, "keep on keeping on." And having a couple of girlfriends to help you get through it all doesn't hurt one bit either. :)

A few mentions about this outfit since I got a ton of feedback from the Instagram post from the other day. Both my Cateye sunglasses and metallic tote bag are from Mad-Style, use my code, 'maqandsuz' to get 20% OFF your purchase. Lastly, my blazer is from The Kooples, skinny jeans are BDG and my high-tops are from Adidas, definite faves in the causal chic everyday wear department! What are your casual staple pieces in your closet and your thoughts on compartmentalization? 

Photos by: Layers of Chic 

LOVE & XX'S,

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