What I Learned from 2018


STAY ON THE TRAIN, THE SCENERY WILL CHANGE.

Life is a continuation of sorts - uphill battles, downfalls, and all the in between. And sometimes even in life’s most ordinary cycles, it seems nothing will ever change, improve, progress to your liking. Even if it is at a snail’s pace because yes, amazing things take time to cultivate I still struggle with the idea of remaining patient while continuing to be diligent in whatever I’m trying to accomplish. I truly sometimes think that no matter how hard I may try at something, it’s never going to be ‘good enough’ and that perhaps I will never grow. But after this year, I couldn’t be farther from the truth. Learning my strengths in the face of adversity definitely have shown that through discipline, perseverance and yes, a little bit of stubbornness will take you places. But you have to stay on the train.

YOU CANNOT CHANGE PEOPLE, ONLY YOUR REACTION.

And if you can’t change your reaction, then change your environment. For example, when you have to repeatedly tell a friend what they’re doing wrong (we’re talking moral values and such). If at some point they’re not getting it, it’s not your issue it’s theirs. Distance yourself from people who suck the living life out of you. There are all sorts of leechers out there and no one deserves to be taken advantage of. This goes for money, emotional manipulation and then some. Another example, I did a test shoot with a model a while back and was trying to take a street style shot with the person in the middle of the street with the Empire State building in the background. But no matter how I reacted in directing this person to be ‘in the middle of the street’, I shit you not, they did not understand. At some point I had to literally pin the person at the very center of the street and said, “Don’t move”, “stand still”… and YES they moved. So I eventually changed my environment because I knew it wasn’t working. Hahaha! :)

YOU CATCH MORE FLIES WITH HONEY THAN VINEGAR

Unfortunately, life doesn’t always turn out they way you thought it was going to turn out. And it’s easier to be spiteful, bitter and even down right vindictive over life’s unfairness. Sadly, I even saw this in my father near the end of his life. The first time I took a trip to New York, I came back so excited to share my experiences and all the photos I took. My mother found it exciting, even courageous, to want to venture out into the world. My father couldn’t barely stand to look at the photos, only to say one thing, that he hated New York and when I asked him if he had ever even visited the city and said no, he had no reasons other than negative ones to behave this way. I, too, can sometimes get angry at what life has thrown at me, like how I lost both of my parent before the age of 30 and yes I ask all the time, “why couldn’t You just have left me at least one?!” Or why I don’t have a single family member to even call when I’m feeling down. You just have to look at it this way, in that things don’t just happen. There’s a reason and rhyme to everything, and with a more positive, I guess sweeter, perspective, you’ll be sure to find your way. If I stayed bitter over my losses in life, I never would have found my way to my husband, my dog, MaQ, or even this blog that I consider to be my baby! And yes, in the caption’s saying - it is always better to be nice rather than rude too.

ALWAYS STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

I challenge myself on a daily basis in this living mantra. Especially when life’s daily routines become a bit too routine and nothing exciting is really going on. This year I took my very first solo international trip to London for work (loving it so much I did it again six months later). And even though for most people, it’s not a big deal, for me, someone who does suffer from anxiety, had a lot of nerves about it. But I took a leap of faith, and just went! Best decision ever, as it has really helped me grow personally and professionally. Not ready for something like that? Start small. Go to an event or party, be more social if not already - or start a new hobby you know that’ll make you a little nervous… maybe archery? That would make ME nervous! Ha ha! I think sometimes being impulsive is a good thing, because it pushes you to your limits (NO shopaholics do not apply LMAO) and you discover that you’re capable of so much more than you could even imagine.

EMBRACE YOU!

Yes, I still have trouble in loving my whole entire self. We all have flaws, insecurities, weaknesses, vices, etc; but you know what is truly amazing? No one is you and that is your power! How incredible is that… you’re one of a kind and unlike anyone else on this planet?! No one else can be you - you are loved and amazing just the way you are. I think too with age, you accept yourself more and more because you know that’s the way it’s going to be. So you might as well love your eccentricities, quirks and all - inside and out! I’m starting to more and more share this side of me on the blog and I think you guys too, really dig it! So yes, I always think the topic of self-love is a self-realization in growth for every year of my life.

I don’t want to go on and on about what I learned from this past year where I start to sound cheesy or too lecture-y. So, I’m going to leave it off with see you soon, wishing you all the best in the New Year, and yes, sending you Love & Light with all my heart. MaQ + Suz would not exist without its readers and we are extremely grateful for each and every one of you! So thank you as always, for the continued love and support of our brand, as we truly work very hard every single day to try and bring you the best styled creative images in the world of fashion, beauty, lifestyle and more.

Side note: ha ha! The paisley blazer from this post is by Saku New York, the cream fuzzy sweater is from H&M and the jeans are Levi’s. Hope you guys enjoyed our very first post on MaQ + Suz for 2019! What are some of the lessons you have learned from this past year? Don’t forget to drop them down in the comment section below! We would love to hear yours! Happy New Year, Happy 2019 and many, many blessings.

LOVE & XX’S,

 
 

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Bikini Questa Sera

WEARING: SAKU NEW YORK KNIT TOP | MAVI JEANS ANIKA CROP FLARE | 
TKEES JO SUEDE GEORGIA SANDALS | CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN BIKINI QUESTA SERA 

THIS POST IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN BEAUTE

NYC style blogger

Hi, everyone! How was your MDW? I have a new post up with an editorial video! For those who didn't catch my last post, I had been wanting to create more video content but given that video editing is not one of my favorite things to do, I do not create this kind of content often. However, so many of you, along with my peers have been strongly urging me to do more video so voila! When it comes to making a video, there's so much more that goes on besides a photoshoot. I feel like a like an internet browser... 19 tabs open, 3 of them are frozen, & I have no idea where the music is coming from! In all seriousness, that's another reason why I don't do videos often. It takes a lot of time and effort and if I don't see some sort of visual that I need to come to life, I wait until the inspiration comes. And when I received the Bikini Questa Sera perfume from Christian Louboutin, a strong sense of summer encouraged me to create this for you guys. 

We literally had a total of two people in production and on set for this video. My husband and I are a team: He is the photographer & videographer - I am the creative director, location scouter, stylist, hair and makeup, and editor. While shooting photographs, you're too thinking a million and one things at the same time. Is my shirt tucked in properly? What about my hair? Are the sunglasses on straight? Am I on the good side of my face? Where is the light? Don't blink. Okay... car coming. Back to my mark. Another cat call? Great... oh where did I put my phone? Is it almost noon? I have a meeting to run to, I have to leave in a bit. Honey, now there's car behind you! Phew! See what I mean?

And doesn't even get to the shooting film, imagine doing all that again plus the multiple takes to get the shots you envision. And the more specific the frame gets, the more time and patience it will take, which to be honest can sometimes be challenging to me. But videography strengthens that along with my visual eye and apparent need to create film. I'm sure many other photographers, writers, and artists feel this way, where you get so many visual images in your head and this sudden outpour, this compelling conviction to bring it to life. To try to show others what you see, think and feel.  

I hope this video (scroll toward the end of this post to view) brings you a certain feeling and appreciation for the artistic notion of oneself. I am still trying to get to a level where the content is super-glossy editorial, but alas, no one is perfect. But I am, every day trying to elevate my skills and to exercise them in the best way possible, and to me, I think that is through writing, photography, and film. So enjoy, and please leave me any feedback! I really appreciate and listen to what you guys look forward to on MaQ + Suz.

Lastly, a footnote on this summery outfit. The coral knitted top with shoulder straps is from Saku New York, the faded black crop jeans are by Mavi, and the coral suede sandals are by TKEES. You can shop the entire look at the beginning or at the end of each blog post. Don't forget to drop a comment in the section box down below. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel to stay updated on new videos! Happy Tuesday. :)

LOVE & XX'S,

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Summertime Crop Topping with Tweety Bird

WEARING: SAKU NEW YORK CROP TOP | DL1961 DENIM HEPBURN JEANS | EGO RAINA SANDALS | 
MOST WANTED USA TIFFANY SATCHEL | MONICA VINADER LINEAR BEAD FRIENDSHIP BRACELET | 
ODETTE + ODILE WHITE SUNNIES  

THIS POST IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY SAKU NEW YORK AND EGO SHOES.

It's almost the weekend and I've been cranking out posts today like a mad woman! Sorry for the delay yet again... I normally keep my blog very consistent but getting busier and busier means more problems and more things to do! Therefore, a little bit of irregularity up in here so I thank you guys for the patience and continued support, it means more to me than you'll ever know! (Yes, I know we bloggers will all say this, but I truly do mean this from the bottom of my heart!!!) This week has been jam-packed with more than the usual meetings and events so I haven't been able to get to my editing until today. Alas, I finally am releasing this outfit shoot and it's all about the crop top with details that are so extra - but oh so good. Continue reading to see more of the accessories from this look like the turquoise deets and this gorgeous personalized rose-gold bracelet that's perfect for Mother's Day!

If you're a new reader, (welcome btw) I style a lot for my wonderful dear friend's, designer label, s a k u New York. s a k u is both feminine and casual, with great attention in creating never-seen-before styles. What makes this off-white crop top unique is the neon peach trim in the front and the ribbon in the back. You can either leave it untied and loosely hanging on its own or bow tie it to make it even more feminine. It's a great versatile piece to wear with several summer staples like maxi skirts, denim shorts, and more. I love the playful tone to it and would totally wear it to a fair/carnival or festival of some kind. There's a zipper in the back center and it is also made out of polyester. 

I accessorized with my favorite pair of wide-leg denim jeans from DL1961. The Hepburn style is so flattering and comfortable. I've been wearing them on heavy rotation and am a total jean gal - I styled with turquoise pieces such as this Western belt and Tiffany blue satchel bag. Both are from Most Wanted USA, a handcrafted leather handbag and accessory line based in NYC for everyday wear and I absolutely adore this brand. I styled a different look with these accessories here but it is more of a winter look. I think the color balances well with the peach neon trim, what do you think? 

The kinda shoe that bloggers will love, the Raina studded slider is the must-have slider of the season with multi-strap upper, stud detail, and PU finish, it's perfect for those days on the beach. Throw these on with frayed denim and a crop top and you're good to go. They're not exactly a sandal you'll want to run around in, per se in the city, but it's a great relaxing, kicking it back, kind of summer shoe. It's definitely reminiscent of Alexander Wang, but hey, one can only afford so much high-end shoes. They come in at roughly $34 and are faux leather.

Lastly, I wanted to share this Monica Vinader sleek friendship bracelet that features five flat disks that line up perfectly on a double plaited adjustable cord. Each Linear bead is slidable to create your desired look and can be engraved with numbers, letters or symbols on both sides, introducing a playful new way of making your jewelry unique. It's a lovely sentiment for Mother's Day, and you can personalize it is many different ways. I had mine engraved with my blog name a while back at an event but never got a chance to share it on the blog. Link to the bracelet is here

LOVE & XX'S,

NYC lifestyle blog

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When Menswear Meets Boho Gypsy

WEARING: TOPMAN PINSTRIPE MEN'S JACKET | THACKER NYC WHITE BLOUSE | 
SAKU NEW YORK BLUE LACE PANTS | PATRICIA GREEN ESPADRILLES

THIS POST IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY SAKU NEW YORK AND PATRICIA GREEN.

Happy Hump Day, guys! Now that the weather is finally glorious, I'm sharing one of my new favorite pair of trousers on the blog. Today's outfit post is all about these cobalt blue lace-trim from Saku New York. I have known the designer, Lissa, for a few years now and I just can't get enough of her work! There are Korean traits within her designs, as this is her background, but she brings a twist in her collections by bringing feminine pieces and combining them with more sporty, athleisure type of styles. It's a beautiful mix, one I'm completely in love with, and these pants are the epitome of cool, boho-gypsy vibes. Continue reading to see how I styled these pants with an oversized men's blazer, a pair of fun, navy blue espadrilles and more.  

Side slits accentuate the relaxed fit of these wide-leg pants. The color is electric, and the lace trim on the side slit brings the perfect amount of feminine to the piece. There are also hidden side pockets, my fave with a snap closure and zip fly. I styled them with my trusty Gucci belt to go with the suede navy blue in my shoes. Now as far as comfort goes, these cobalt blue pants are superb. And I love the airy breeze you get as well from the side slits, these are perfect for this time of year but I feel like you could wear these during the fall and winter season too with some tights and extra layering. These pants also come in black and retail at $425. 

One of my favorite ways to style an outfit is to bring a piece from my husband's wardrobe into it. I tend to wear men's shirts/jackets in general since I've apparently caught the same Olsen twin syndrome of wanting everything oversized and exaggerated. Some might believe it's not a flattering look for a petite woman, but I think that if it's done in the right way and there's a good amount of balance between the pieces, then it can be done and is quite a complemented look for someone who's as tiny as me. The pinstripe jacket I'm wearing is the same jacket my husband wore when we had gotten married! I picked it specifically for its dark navy blue color, as I like to mix the colors within its same palette to bring a little variation to the outfit. It also works in interior design too!

Now, these navy blue suede espadrilles by Patricia Green are super cute and really easy to walk in. I'm usually a little iffy about wedges as I don't find them the easiest pair of shoes to walk in. But these Rockstar (love the name btw) espadrilles are amazing and I love the cool edge it has with the studs. They'd look great with a floral maxi dress, jeans/capri pants, skirts and more. I think it'd look fabulous with everything! This style is available in whole sizes only and tends to run small. If you normally order a 1/2 size it is recommended that you order the next full size up. For example, if you normally purchase a size 6 1/2 we recommend purchasing a size 7. They also come in black as well. I hope you guys liked this outfit as much as I do! Drop me a line in the comment section down below and as always, feel free to shop the look at the start or end of this post. Have a great sunny Wednesday, everyone! :)

LOVE & XX'S,

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8 Things I Learned From Traveling Solo

WEARING: SAKU NEW YORK LONG CLASSIC WOOL GREEN COAT | SHEIN FRINGE PATCH MESH TOP | 
SAKU NEW YORK TWO LAYERED WIDE SLIT PANTS | STELLA & DOT LAYERED FEATHER NECKLACE | 
GUCCI BELT | EGO NASH BACKLESS ANKLE BOOTS | THACKER NYC SAGE TOTE | 
ACCRUE BONNIE SUNGLASSES

photos by: Rowben Lantion 

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A couple of weeks ago I traveled solo internationally for the first time in my life. Yes, I've traveled here and there, even to Ukraine with a group of college students and such, but I've never gone anywhere outside the states completely alone. Now, it wasn't anywhere super exotic, as there was no language barrier or extreme culture shock, but I did want to start off somewhere and challenge myself. One of my greatest pleasures in life is doing things people tell me I cannot do. Not to prove them wrong, but to prove to myself that as my dad had always said, "You can do anything you set your mind to." Is this the craziest thing a person has set out to do? Of course not. However, everyone has their own personal journey and going on that road to find whatever it is they are looking for, I think, is courage enough. You see, for one, I have never set foot in London, let alone the UK - and two, it has been a dream of mine to attend London Fashion Week - so to set this into notion and actually have it take place has been a dream within itself. So in today's post, I wanted to share a reflection of my thoughts about what I learned from traveling solo.

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1. LOOK IN THE MIRROR... THAT'S YOUR COMPETITION

More than anything else, what I learned about myself from this trip, is that no matter how hard you may try to not compare yourselves to others, it's inevitable. Especially the digital world we live in, where observing others is constant. I've been making changes since London, and it's teaching myself how to monitor my habits as such. For example, I'm an Insta-Story watching addict. Like Pringle chips, once I 'pop' I can't stop. So now instead of watching them every time  I'm on the app, I only try to watch once during the morning, afternoon and evening. Even to how much time I spend on Instagram, which is an atrocious amount, I am cutting down on how often I check to see what's happening around me. Of course, it's important to know what's going on in terms of trends and current events but I also find it healthy and quite balanced to sometimes stop looking, keeping the phone out of my reach and focusing on my own sh*t. Remember... everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and own pace, and it's only when you accept everything you are and aren't that you'll truly get anywhere with yourself. And the more I've been doing this, the better I have been feeling not just about myself but with my work. The creative juices are flowin' and I'm excited and a little nervous to start a few of them! But onward we shall go :)

2. ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER

This isn't something new to me but still felt the need to share the importance of this. Sometimes getting away is the best thing to do when feeling unsure about things. Since traveling as a kid, I found that the ones you miss the most while away are the ones you truly love. Being apart makes me appreciate what I have with others and also always reminds me of what's important and who is important. Especially when traveling alone, it gives you the time to reflect and shows you what and who really matters in your life. It's like how the French say, "Tu me manques" which literally translates, "you are missing from me", and that's exactly how I feel to those while being away from home.

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3. I'M STILL VERY PRIVATE ABOUT MY LIFE & I LIKE IT THIS WAY

As much as I still love to share with you guys more and more about my life, there's a time and place for everything. I'm not one to show all my cards up front. Because the more involved I become in the blogging world/public eye, of course, I am aware that life may not always be as private as it once was. People love to talk, rumors get spread, and yes, many are nosy. And that shouldn't get in the way of sharing my life with you, but I think leaving a little to the imagination never hurts and quite frankly protects you from those that do want to cause harm to you. I have always kept my inner circle extremely close-knit. When others ask me what I'm up to these days, I'm rather brief. Why? I'd rather show you than tell you. 

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4. YOU ARE CAPABLE OF WAY MORE THAN YOU EVER IMAGINED.

I'm telling everyone my new secret remedy to feeling unconfident. Just go somewhere alone for a few days. It doesn't have to be overseas, but it should be to an unfamiliar place or includes something you've never tried doing because doing it alone will not just build that self-esteem, you'll learn to discover something about yourself while doing so. Never have I challenged myself did I end up with a disastrous outcome. It may not always go the way you imagine, but if you stand strong and get through it, you will be better from it. And traveling is one of the best ways to learn and grow. I definitely feel like me again and I have never felt more confident than I do now!

5. STAY CALM AND CARRY ON AS THE BRITISH DO

Keep calm and carry on? You betcha. I sometimes tend to get anxious but what I definitely learned while traveling alone to London was how better off you are if you keep your cool and stay focused on the problem at hand. If you freak out, you'll just make the problem worse. Easier said than done to others I'm sure, but to someone like me who's impatient and a slight-control freak, it's not. A more subdued manner in one's self while being aware carries a certain sophistication. I definitely find this more apparent than in America. 

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6. LET IT GO, LET IT GO, LET IT GO...

Try not to plan your itinerary right down to what time you get up to when you're having dinner. The best part of traveling is no plans, no map and wandering... getting lost and discovering new hidden gems that you'd probably never cross paths with otherwise with a plan of any kind. And with traveling, something can always go awry so be prepared and be willing to go with the flow because not being in full control is something one has to face when traveling, especially alone. And the more accepting you are of this, the better the experience your trip will be too!

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7. FACING FEARS ARE NOT AS SCARY AS THEY APPEAR TO BE.

I think what freaked me out the most was attending my first Fashion Week overseas with no assistant or helping hands of any kind. I was all by myself. So of course, when you’ve got to figure everything out yourself, you may feel anxious. Maybe you’re nervous about talking to strangers; maybe you’ll feel awkward by yourself in a restaurant or museum. From little fears to big ones, once you decide to face them, the truth shall set you free! Things quickly become less frightening once you step up to face them and will quickly realize there's not much in life to be afraid of. 

8. MAKING NEW FRIENDS ISN'T HARD TO DO

It’s true. You will build new relationships on your journey, even if you’re shy. It doesn’t take much. A friendly smile. A helping hand. Or a shared fear. Indeed, nothing brings people closer than fear. You'd think people in the fashion world are not the nicest people, which can be true to a certain extent, but overall, even just sharing a commonality like sleep deprivation while waiting in line for coffee or to a show can spark a wonderful relationship. It could be friendship or a building working partnership, or both, either way, I find traveling to be one of the loveliest ways to meet new people. 

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How about you guys? How many of you have traveled solo? I'd love to hear your experiences so don't forget to drop a comment down below and share your thoughts. Lastly, if you're ever in need of a street style photographer while in London, please go check out Rowben with whom I shot this look with while there for Fashion Week. He is an absolute sweetheart with some serious skills. Rowben, darling, please come to New York soon! As always, you can directly shop my look at the end of each outfit blog post. Don't be shy to leave any questions about this look too! Catch Y'all soon!

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LOVE & XX'S, 

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