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The final chapter of junior year, the first chapter of summer. 

romper C/O TOBI / necklace BUFFALO EXCHANGE / cuff bracelet C/O LARIMAR / bag STREET LEVEL / shoes BORN IN CALIFORNIA (similar) / hat WORLD MARKET

Is a life without alarm clocks, places to be, projects to do, and people to meet really the kind of life I crave at the moment? While summer is the epitome of liberation, I have learned that I only value freedom given the right geographic location — that is, the kind of freedom that comes with coconut mojitos and Caribbean paradises, and certainly not the urban variety. For me, summer in NYC translates to productivity — work first, play second. Can you blame for me adopting the city's career-driven (and cutthroat) mentality? 

This summer marks my first away from home in CA and my first officially in the city. Hello humidity, tourists who walk at 1/mph, and weekday happy hours. I'm glad to temporarily escape the burden of homework and exams, but don't get me wrong — there is still much work to accomplish, adult work. Networking, internship hunting, treating yourself to overpriced mani/pedis, somehow maintaining an apartment cleaning schedule, contemplating about your Tuesday night wine choice (but really).  

Though I'll no longer be a scenic drive fom the Pacific coast, I can always keep a slice of the ocean with me through, yes, jewelry. My new triangle cuff from LARIMAR has easily become an everyday essential — for more reasons than physical beauty. The larimar stone is found specially in the waters of the Dominian Republic and also doubles as a healing crystal, connecting to the throat and heart chakras to enhance creativity and serenity and remove negative energy. 

Having just finished junior year of college (!), my next plan of action involves worrying about everything post-school — aka, the terrifying job hunt and the quest to combat student loans. I think I'll need this larimar stone more than ever soon... 

Shop more of my Tobi favorites here: rompers, dresses, jumpsuitscrop tops, skirts
New customers get 50% off their first order — what are you waiting for? 

Photography: Areta Chen
May 18, 2016

vitamin sea

The final chapter of junior year, the first chapter of summer.  romper C/O TOBI / necklace BUFFA...

All laced up in denim and a splash of stripes (and fringe). 

dress C/O TOBI / top EMMA & SAM (similar) / shoes DOLCE VITA (on sale) / bag STREET LEVEL / sunglasses MANGO

One cold brew and seven page essay later, I did it: I discovered the meaning behind community — or so, the textbook definiton anyway. 

However, what Google and PDF articles can't teach you is the community experience in its tangible form. When it comess to the realm of blogging, I believe in the mantra of camaraderie over competition. Why treat blogging as a cutthroat battle when you could be striking offline friendships through online beginnings? 

For me, community is not A) the name of a cult TV show I have yet to watch or B) Natalie Tran, YouTube's most underrated comedic gem (though I do love her), but rather C) The NYC Style Collective. In a city like New York, it is easy to disappear in the shuffle of Instagram influencers and industry icons, but being part of the collective fixes just that. From uptown to downtown, borough to borough, the NYC Style Collective unites bloggers from every corner of the concrete jungle — whether that be over brunches, happy hours, or both (by law, I cannot reject a spicy margarita or a glass of rosé). 

Here's what I wore to a recent brunch outing with the NYC Style Collective girls — a denim lace-up dress courtesy of Tobi with a striped long sleeve tee underneath, rounding out the last batch of spring-worthy looks before I dive into full-on summer ensembles. 

Soon: here's to good 'ol NYC humidity and the return of sandals and therefore, pedicures. 

Shop more of my Tobi favorites here: rompers, party dresses, cardigans, bodysuits, crop tops
New customers get 50% off their first order — what are you waiting for? 

Photography: Areta Chen
May 13, 2016

jeanie in a bottle

Wearing all-white in NYC is just asking for trouble — but worth all the risks. 

romper C/O TOBI / vest LF (similar) / bag BRANDY MELVILLE  (similar) / shoes MIA (similar) / necklace TOPSHOP

One year ago, I was clinking glasses of vin santo and drinking in the magical sunsets of Santorini. Today, I lay bedridden and voiceless with the imminent threat of finals week on the horizon. Oh, what a difference 365 days can make. Wouldn't you too trade DayQuil and essay deadlines for filo pie and baklava by the Mediterranean? 

In tribute to my love for everything Santorini, I decided to break out the island's iconic hues. I finally got a chance to give my Tobi romper a spin last weekend — bless you NYC and your (temporarary) seventy degrees of bliss. Give me anything with lace bell sleeves and I'm a goner. To keep on the white-on-white theme going, I layered on my trusty shearling vest and topped the look with infusions of fringe (always) and '70s-style clog heels. As the Grecians do love their gold, my jewels naturally followed suit. 

So if the heavens cannot grant me a Greece Getaway v2.0 right now, then they can at least rob me of this cold. Lesson learned: I'm never taking my health (and travels) for granted again. 

Shop more of my Tobi favorites heredressescrop topsmaxi dressesjumpsuitsskirts
New customers get 50% off their first order — what are you waiting for? 

Photography: Areta Chen
Apr 27, 2016

city of angels

Also once the color of my nightmares — well, for six-year-old me anyway. 

shoes C/O BANANA REPUBLIC / top NEW LOOK (similar) / jeans AE / bag STREET LEVEL / hat WORLD MARKET (similar) / sunglasses MANGO

Believe it or not, young Kelsey was the complete antithesis of "fashion blogger" — in fact, of "fashion" itself. Skirts and dresses were met with resistance, floral print was absolutely out of question, and perhaps, most memorably, was the prejudice against the seemingly innocent color pink. In fact, anything remotely feminine went on the chopping block, and in place? Juvenile me preferred the tasteful slogan tees à la Limited Too and military green cargo shorts because, well, early 2000s.

Thankfully, we're now in a different decade — and fortunately, also beyond my short-lived Abercrombie/Juicy Couture era in junior high (back then, the mindset was: the more velour, the more mooses, the better). Nowadays, my style embraces all things free-spirited and California casual, which may or may not sometimes include a rose hue or two. In fact, give me pink over black anyday. And sandals and flats over boots. And the Pacific over the Atlantic — sorry, might be getting a little too carried away here. 

Part two of my collaboration with Banana Republic includes a lesson in styling a pop of pink. The key is to keep the rest of your ensemble neutral and fresh; think light denim and dreamy whites, mixes of lace and eyelet, silver chrome jewelry for modernity and simplicity. All I'm missing now is that sunkissed tan — who wants to generously donate a Bora Bora holiday for a kind soul in need? 

Photography: Areta Chen
Apr 17, 2016

think pink