The 8 Women-led Brands You NEED to Shop to Ring in Women’s History Month

Ladies (sorry, gentlemen!), this is our month. This is the month that we celebrate our collective history as women for the countless achievements in many industries whether it be politics, science, entertainment and the fashion. As a woman, I feel that we have came a long way since the beginning of time. However, I feel that not many women designers or entrepreneurs are revered in the same eyes as male entrepreneurs and designers as the latter generally scores more magazine features, press and clout in the fashion industry. (This is based on my personal observation of poring through the pages of Vogue, New York Times‘ Style section, T, NYLON and what not over the years!)

I don’t want to sit here and tell you to support women-led brands just because it’s Women’s History Month or their sex. Instead, the reason *you* need to support women-led brands is because these ladies started their brand without the backing of a big company. In fact, not many of them went to fashion school to pave their way to success. By using their talent to create genuinely amazing products, every single item I’ve had from them became a closet staple that I wear almost every single day. Although there are some brands that I have yet to shop, I feel that it’ll be cool to share a little slice of my brand crushes. 😉

Here are the brands you need to shop:

  1. Stella & Bow

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Founded by Lauren Brokaw, Stella & Bow is an LA-based jewelry line whose adorably cute charm bracelets and delicate earrings are perfect for everyday wear. Last year, they’ve grabbed headlines for making the “Nasty” alphabet bracelet to support Hillary Clinton. Although the election is over, you can still rock it to show off your unapologetic, badass self.


2. Rose All Day

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Grace, one of my really good friends who blogs on, introduced this brand to me as she applied makeup on me last spring. As a fellow Jakarta girl, Rose All Day is one of the best Indonesian makeup brands to ever exist! Locally produced and designed in Jakarta, Rose All Day delivers quality products and a whole chock of genius in the guise of a pink lipstick tube. Also, it recently teamed up with Love and Flair, an Indonesian online boutique (think Revolve, but more of a super hot trendy cousin of Phoebe Philo’s Celine-esque minimal luxe), to create three classic shades. Seriously, YOU need to get ’em because you don’t need to buy another piece of powdered blush or eyeshadow as you can it anywhere on your face! Trust me, their formula is as creamy as MAC’s, but hey, at least it’s cruelty-free! (Sorry to throw some shade in there, MAC.)


3. Creepy Yeha

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Need to find something to jazz up your outfit? Look no further than Yeha Leung’s line, Creepy Yeha. Her accessories and lingerie are crafted from the finest leather and hardware. If you are vegan, you can also go for her vinyl pieces, which are equally stunning, too! You can either go big with a harness or play it safe with a choker. Either way, everyone will turn heads when they see you.


4. Pop and Suki


If you haven’t caught wind of my Pop and Suki post I made previously, now’s the time to get acquainted. As a go-to handbag brand for myself and many famous faces, their bags are compact, but extremely spacious. Apart from bags, they’ve expanded into jewelry, clothing and desk side accessories. While it’s got a girlish aesthetic, it is so versatile: you can wear it to the office, beach, room, classroom and literally, just about anywhere in the world. Given that celebrity-backed brands swim in their own hype, this one does NOT play! In fact, it is here to stay.

(P.S. If you ever plan to shop there, put in “MICHELLEVARINATA15” for a 15% discount at checkout!)


5. SkinFood by AB

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Whenever I trawl on Etsy, I always love to find vintage clothes and artisan-made beauty products from small businesses. As much as I love natural skincare, I feel so happy to stumble upon SkinFood by AB. Founded by Aubrey B, all of her products are natural, vegan and organic. From lip balm to soap, everything is made in small batches. If you have yet to try natural skincare, this is truly all natural without any synthetic stuff that you find in “all natural” products on occasion.


6. Choked by a Thread

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Chokers are now a timeless staple all thanks to this brand, Choked by a Thread. Inspired by chokers, founder/designer Lorraine Zalta makes them in NYC. Spotted on the necks of Hailey Baldwin, Morgan Stewart of Rich Kids of Beverly Hills and blogger Danielle Bernstein of We Wore What, this is the brand you need to splurge on for the perfect necklaces. Although it’s more well-known for their chokers, they’ve expanded into earrings, swimwear, tees and mugs.


7. Matte

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As one of the hottest under the radar brands, Matte is often imitated by bigger names (e.g. Kylie Jenner) due to their simple, yet extremely sexy designs. If you are the type of girl who is looking for hot going out clothes, then this is the brand for you. Briana Wilson, the founder of Matte, draws upon the ’80s and ’90s with a dash of Y2K for a modern retro feel. What I also like about the brand is that their cuts are made for girls who are not a size 0. So, hands up for body positivity!


8. Amelie Pichard


This French shoe designer is one of the my go-to favorites for inspiration. In fact, I love how her retro campy aesthetic feels so fresh right now. When I first read about the brand, it was because she collaborated with Pamela Anderson for a vegan shoe collection. Although Amelie’s brand is not 100% vegan, I just love how she makes cruelty-free shoes go beyond its granola image. Apart from veganism, Amelie decided not to do any sales on her products as she feels that it is “killing fashion and creativity” (her words, not mine!). Unlike most Paris-based big guns, Amelie’s designs are truly worth paying for.



How to Shop Vintage: A Tell-All Guide on How Your Favorite Style Icons Do It

Spring cleaning is at peak season and I know that more than a handful of you are looking to find some new clothes/accessories to fit into your closet. If I have to find something unique, the only method I swear by is by shopping vintage!

Growing up in Asia, vintage shopping was seen as a stigma as it was associated with people who couldn’t afford much to buy new clothes. Also, it was deemed unhygienic as the garment was previously used. It wasn’t until I started reading Mary-Kate and Ashley’s Two of a Kind series that I learned what vintage clothing was since a character wore secondhand clothing from two decades ago. I was desperate to emulate the “cool girl” look by shopping vintage. As a diehard fangirl of the Olsen twins, I learned that their famous semi-homeless chic bobo style mainly included vintage clothing as their base. I mean, even Kate Moss’ style was deeply rooted in vintage clothes she scored at flea markets and thrift stores! Deeply incentivized by the urge to try vintage shopping, I walked inside What Comes Around Goes Around during a summer vacation in NYC when I was 12. Despite walking out empty-handed, I felt inspired to find vintage clothing and accessories whether it be from a boutique to my late grandmother’s closet.

Ever since I went to college, I treated myself to vintage goodies and based on the five years I’ve shopped secondhand, I feel like it’s time for me to (finally) give away my secrets. Gear up and take notes, ladies! (Gentlemen, you are included, too!)

  1. Study the popular silhouettes/trend of a decade

As history buff, I endlessly scroll through Google, pore through my mom’s fashion history books and hit up museums that display antique clothing. When I look at more than two garments, I begin to picture the silhouette on me.

If you are a beginner, try sticking to one silhouette that matches with your current wardrobe. It helps you identify what will flatter your body as vintage cuts are generally smaller than contemporary sizing. Also, the majority of vintage garments are built to be fitted to one dominant body type of an era.

2. Look carefully at the label or date on a garment

Carbon-dating sounds extremely tedious, but you can save yourself some time by investigating carefully at the labels. If you ever go shopping in the US, there’s a label “ILGWU“, which stands for the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union. This label was common in the ’60s to the ’90s, when it disbanded. Shall you encounter it anywhere at a vintage store, snap it up immediately as you can never find it again.

Also, labels help you indicate the era a garment was made. However, this issue of finding an era doesn’t stop there. In fact, dates on garment’s label or drawing are common as it will tell you when it was produced. But finding a date on the shirt doesn’t stop here…

3. Zoom closer on vintage tees

If you pop into a vintage store and run through the racks for vintage concert shirts, every single design will indicate the date. In fact, dates are a matter of life and death. As so many vintage band tees are being reproduced by fast fashion companies (ew!), it will basically give out the year when an old design is recently licensed for the company to produce it. For example, if you are looking at a Led Zeppelin tee, but the date is from 2006, it’s most likely to be a licensed repro than the real deal. (This happened to me once as I didn’t look at the date carefully!) For tours or events that are well known (e.g. Rock for Choice or Guns ‘n Roses and Metallica’s co-headlining Use Your Illusion Tour), these tees are super duper RARE! Rule of thumb: The rarer the shirt, the better.

4. Condition

Ideally, every single vintage item should be in pristine condition. In that case, it means no tears, smells, stains and other flaws your local dry cleaner can clean out. But in vintage terminology, these are the terms you need to know:

A) Deadstock – new unworn old stock. Sounds confusing, but it’s basically unworn old inventory that has been lying around in storage for YEARS! In fact, some of deadstock items you find will have a price tag attached.

B) Excellent – the garment has been worn multiple times, but there are tiny, yet extremely fixable flaws that aren’t that terribly noticeable from afar.

C) Good – a bit more worse for wear than an “excellent” vintage garment, but there are more flaws. This is where rips and tears or pilling fall in.

D) Fair – a bit average above poor, but the garment is super distressed and a LOT of repairs need to happen. If ultra distressed is your thing, then you got the best beaten up vintage treasure that a lot of fast fashion retail stores try so hard to achieve with heavy chemical processing and labor.

5. Types of vintage pieces you must invest in

In case you are wondering why some vintage pieces cost as much as your rent or year’s paycheck, it’s because the quality from eons ago was better. Not to mention, fast fashion wasn’t so prevalent; hence, the superiority in durability. No matter if the item is branded or unbranded, some things are worth saving up for. Here is what you need to start out with:

  1. Concert, TV show or movie tees – owning a piece of history feels so great and as a pop culture fiend, it rings a bell as I want people to notice my interests. Showing your passion for a band, TV show, solo artist or movie you love is best done via a graphic tee. It’s the type of understated statement piece that all of you must have! But only buy it if you TRULY like the topic. (No posers, please.)
  2. Leather jackets – details are king. In case you are wondering why Kate Moss’ leather jackets look so comfy, it’s because all of her pieces are vintage! Leather jackets from the ’50s to ’80s have drastically changed their silhouette to suit the popular fashions of each time. Despite the dramatic changes in style, I’ve noticed that all of my vintage leather jackets (from my Kate Moss Roncelli trucker jacket from the ’70s to the ’80s cropped studded leather biker jacket) end at the waist for a flattering, figure-friendly look. Whether it’s oversized, slightly long or shrunken, go for one that plays well with your proportions! Although buying jackets seem so tricky, it’s actually one of the easiest things to buy.
  3. Bags – no outfit can be complete without one. If you want quality purses, go for designer vintage pieces whether it be Dior, Fendi, Gucci or Chanel. Each piece from these designers never repeats the same design seasonally every year. Most importantly, treat your bag like it’s your ride or die as you want it to match with at least 75% of your closet.
  4. Dress – I LOVE dresses. I always swear by it whenever I feel too lazy to put on a pair of pants. Given that each of us are built differently, you MUST get one for at least 3 separate occasions: everyday, work and cocktail/party.

As easy as vintage shopping sounds, here are some gems I’ve picked up along the way:

  1. Try on things you can’t return at the (physical) store – I’ve had moments when I wanted to return things because they couldn’t fit. Mainly those things are button down tops and jeans. As vintage sizing for jeans is absolutely the trickiest, it’s best to try it on in store before you order it online.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask – if you shop online like I do, the first thing I do before I buy is to ask the owner. They will go out of their way to help you at all cost. At the end of the day, what you purchase is what you MUST KEEP as most vintage stores don’t accept returns. (True story, guys!!) This rule applies best for shoes as I’ve made the mistake of NOT asking if the chic leopard print furry Mary-Jane platforms were gonna crumble after wearing them for 2 years (RIP furry shoes! :’/).
  3. Measure yourself before you shop – one of my late granny’s go-to methods for shopping always included a roll of measuring tape. As strange as it sounded to me, it was purely handy. Size measurements are never ever wrong it can help you determine the fit of the garment. As each era has different cuts, pattern and styles, you always need to know if your body suits the shape of the actual garment no matter how trendy an item was 20-60 years ago.

Here are my top vintage picks for you:

  1. The Kickstart My Heart Jacketheavy metal hottie jacket.jpg

I am wild at heart and I also love how ’80s heavy metal reflected the energy of the artist’s super turbulent lives. While thrills are sexy, living the junkie lifestyle ain’t that hot. However, you can get a dose of ’80s rock ‘n roll from Dr. Feelgood with this super duper cool Motley Crue-esque jacket (Go find photo #17 on this Buzzfeed listicle –  it’s the closest you can get to Tommy Lee’s version!).

Like a true ’80s child, pair it with high-waisted jeans (or leather pants!) and a crop top. Or a band tee and high-waisted shorts with white ankle boots and matching socks! Aquanet hairspray optional.


2. The Cadet Kelly Crop Top


Remember the Hilary Duff teen movie, Cadet Kelly? Her uniform looked extremely similar to this super adorable vintage Boy Scout crop top from the ’80s! Shorn, sexy and with a touch of innocence, you can run wild with your imagination. Whether it be casual with mom jeans or music festival-friendly with faux leather shorts, you can take this top anywhere with you. Don’t be surprised if all the designers want to copy it on the runway. 😉


3. The Around the World in 80 Days Skirt

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Instagram photos may be the new postcards, but this skirt takes it a notch. With so many countries’ flags plastered all over the skirt, it adds such an interesting statement piece that adds color and character. If you are to pair this with anything, it can be ultra femme with a slip camisole or laid back cool with a white tee. Seriously, this masterpiece from Galliano-era Dior is not to be overlooked.


4. The Survivor Onesie

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I can’t let go of Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” music video, where all Beyoncé, Kelly and Michelle wore camo from head to toe. A camo onesie might seem super duper extra, but I like how this roomy design can look fierce with boots or a pair of high-heeled strappy sandals.


5. The VIP Mini Backpack

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Buckled details are a tale as old as time; however, they’ve always remained fresh. In case you missed it, one of the greatest examples of multi-buckled garments was in Pamela Anderson’s show VIP. (FYI, it’s on the first episode where Pamela tries on clothes with her friend, who wore a bondage-style multi-buckled top!) Multi-buckled bags are seriously one of the most underrated and overlooked trends of the ’00s, but once you see them on the street, always think about who wore them first. 😉


6. The Boho Babe Dress

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Part Seattle grunge (look up Bridget Fonda in Singles), part boho, this Anna Sui dress is pure ’90s dreams. Causal in a denim jacket or dressy in a PVC clear trenchcoat, you can style this dress anyhow you want. That’s why Anna Sui is one of my favorite designers: her pieces can be easily worn to dress up an outfit, even if it’s a simple clean white sneaker with denim or delicate gold jewelry!


7. The Cool Cat Sunglasses

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I love a cat eye and it’s a big part in my personal style as I like all things retro. Personally, this silhouette is SUPER flattering as it lets your eyebrows stand out and softens the most masculine features of your jawline. (FYI: my paternal grandpa thought that I look SO manly because of my jawline lol!) Whether you have a pixie cut, a Christina Aguilera-style ponytail or a fierce lob, go for it!


8. The Shoes Ariel Would Walk In


If Ariel and Drew Barrymore walk into a bar, then this killer pair of metallic blue boots is a cocktail you must sip. Part grunge, part mermaid and a whole chock of young Brittany Murphy in Clueless, the metallic hue helps to make an outfit pop! While most girls back in the day would wear this with coordinating pastel blues, you can work the millenial blue look by pairing it with a floral dress (with some bit of blue flowers!), small cross body bag and a suede miniskirt. It’s flirty, yet it can get great conversations to come out from it.


Will you try vintage shopping? If you plan to, what are the top 3 things you want to buy?

Photo by Hallie Geller

Clinking up with Pop & Suki

A few days ago, I was checking through my DMs in the morning before I headed out of my bed to get ready for work. Usually, I’d be expecting one from my friend as it’s one of the most convenient ways to keep in touch. However, one message surprised me.

In the message, it was asking me to be an ambassador, which means that I get to promote the brand and provide a special link to my readers/followers. The sender was Pop & Suki, an LA-based handbag brand. For the past two years since I followed them on Instagram, they just asked me to be a brand ambassador.

For those of you who are new to Pop & Suki, it was founded in 2016 by TV presenter Poppy Jamie and model/actress Suki Waterhouse. I discovered them through Suki’s Instagram, which I follow to keep up with her Marianne Faithfull meets L.A. girl sense of style. It’s also the brand whose famous versatile camera bag was spotted on so many celebrities from Pippa Middleton, Paris Hilton, Cara Delevingne to Lady Gaga. Given that more than a handful of you saw me wearing my trusty buttery smooth Pop & Suki camera bag over the past year, I really thank God so so much for opening up a door to let Pop & Suki give me the opportunity to be an ambassador.

As my treat, please type in “MICHELLEVARINATA15” to score a 15% discount when you shop on Pop & Suki!

Before I forget, all of you need to hit this link ( to score your perks!

Nothing means more to me than your support for women-led small businesses.



Honey, I Shrank the Sunglasses: A Guide on Finding the Right Pair That Flatters Your Face

One e-mail was all it took to make a trend happen.

On an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kanye West told Kim Kardashian to swap her signature oversized sunglasses for “tiny little glasses”. Despite being resurrected from the ’90s time machine in 2017, you’ve seen everyone from Rihanna, Bella Hadid and as of now, almost every “It” girl wearing frames shorter than their eyebrows.

As much as I like the trend, I have to say that it’s not universally flattering since you NEED to have the right face shape, size and style of the sunglasses in order to pull off this trend.

Since I’ve been rocking it on my Instagram, it’s time for me to finally share my style secrets with you! Here are my top five faves that you need to add to your cart:

    1. Kylie Jenner x Quay’s Purple Honey

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Kylie Jenner is not my favorite celebrity nor is she someone I dub a “style icon”. However, I acquiese myself to good design. Designed as part of her killer collab with Quay Australia, Kylie Jenner’s Purple Honey shades have this Léon meets Penny Lane vibe that I dig. Also, the honeycomb-inspired design makes it easier for me to wear the trend as it’s slightly larger than some teeny tiny pairs I tried on. In case you aren’t convinced, this is what it actually looks like on me:

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As I have a round face with a squarish chin, THIS is the pair for you. Seriously, you need to get it!


2. Giant Vintage’s Cray Cray

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This style is literally what it is: cray cray. As a deadstock pair straight from 20 years ago, these are authentically ’90s as no retailer will every carry shades like this today. They are truly tiny, incredibly avant garde and safe to say, appear like they’re incredibly hard to wear. But, don’t let its small size and shape intimidate you. If you got killer cheekbones and a long face, these sunnies are the pair YOU want to rock as it’ll immediately elevate your outfit from basic bitch to high fashion status. Believe me, there will be a 99.9% chance that either Bella Hadid or Cara Delevingne will ring up their stylist as soon as they see these. (My guess is that Cara will bring them back as she wore a similar pair like those in 2013! *gasp*)


3. Le Specs’ The Flex

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Man, I LURVE Le Specs as it dares to lead the game. Rather than letting the ball hover above the net, this Aussie eyewear brand makes it reach higher than the sky with one lethal swing. It’s no secret that its Last Lolita pair has been seen on everyone from Gigi Hadid to my favorite style icon, Miley Cyrus. As much as I love them, they’re getting a little basic. Despite the fact that I *did* wear the Last Lolita (see pic for proof) before selling them on Carousell, the one pair I should’ve purchased was The Flex. Lean and mean with all the right 90 degree angles, it feels so futuristic with a white and blue color palette. It kinda reminds me of Delos’ lobby, where Angela greets William in Westworld.  If the sci-fi inspired look is all you’ve been obsessing over, go get these stat!


4. Rad & Refined’s Nirvana



If you love Clueless, glitter, Britney Spears perfume and yet, you post pics of Kurt Cobain on your Instagram, then Rad & Refined is the brand for you. As the go-to brand for statement sunnies, I LOVE it as it makes me feel so glammed up and super extra. But what I like about this particular pair is that glitter is MADE to be worn in the daytime! If you want to look on trend, you need to score them.


5. ROC Eyewear’s Snakebite Sunglasses

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I’ve noticed that more than a handful of you like my Garrett Leight x Clare Vivier red lensed glitter cat eye sunnies. As much as I hate to brag, these are practically one of a kind. So, if you wanna cop a little slice of my world, a great trendy dupe that I highly recommend is this killer pair from ROC Eyewear.

Compared to most of the ones I’ve recommended, this one is entirely rimless. Rimless shades are the best for runway-ready looks as they match beautifully with a cat eye and a red lip. If you like red lenses and rimless sunnies, then this is the pair for you.



Will you ever try on tiny sunglasses?


Feature photo by Audrey Kwok

Music Madness: The New Artists You Need to Rock Out To

Music has always been a big part of my life. Growing up, I’ve swiped my sister’s or my dad’s CDs. From Avril Lavigne’s Let Go to the Reality Bites soundtrack, the groove of each beat lingers on my ear drums.

Before I delve into my top picks of the month, I used to work as a radio host at Loyola Marymount University’s online radio station and Blasts That Last, a local online radio station. Picking out songs seems like a chore, but what makes it fun is discovering what you’ve never heard before.

Grab a pen, a piece of paper (or iPhone if you’re more modern) and go!

    1. The Pink Slips

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(via Obey Clothing)

Dude, I don’t even know how to describe The Pink Slips. Fronted by Grace McKagan (a.k.a. Grave), her sound is basically punk with a little bit of synth. But, what I like about it is that you can really hear the drums, guitar and bass on the first listen compared to most L.A.-based bands. If you have yet to hear of their music, check out “Gimme” – it’s my personal favorite as it’s catchy, memorable and easy to sing to when you’re in an Uber. Although I have yet to see them live (it sucks for me as A) I live in Singapore and B) I REALLY want to so badly!), they’ve sold out a gig at The Troubadour, which is one of my favorite venues to catch up-and-coming acts. So, stay tuned for their EP because I’M GOING TO DOWNLOAD IT ON MY SPOTIFY THE MOMENT IT IS OUT!! (I’m ready to yell “Okurrr!” like Cardi B – OK!)

So, if you have any plans to travel this summer, they’re gonna be at Download, which hosts iconic acts like Guns ‘n Roses and Marilyn Manson. Thankfully, there’s also L7, an all-female fronted grunge band, so that makes it a nice balance to even out the heavy testosterone in festivals.

2. The Heirs


(via Facebook)

Moo-lah-lah!!! Where can I actually start?! I mean, if you’ve got a band with four good looking dudes and one incredibly hot chick, where are ALL of our eyes gonna be at? Fronted by two siblings, Brandon and Savannah Hudson, The Heirs is one of the very few bands you’ll hear of that has two vocalists. In fact, it creates a nice harmony too all of the synth-heavy inspired pop-backed beats. If you like Duran Duran and Fleetwood Mac, then you’ll like this band as their neo-retro look and sound are freshly contemporary.

Also, their music videos feel so cinematic. Seriously, YOU will be addicted! As for their songs, check out “Suburban Wonderland” – the track is dreamy, airy and something to dance to when you’re alone in your room.

(P.S. I’ve interviewed them before for Galore and they’re exactly as you see them: charismatic, fun and ready to blow you away!)

3. Tanerélle

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(via Instagram)

Watch out for this siren: Tanerélle‘s infectiously seductive hooks and alternative R&B sound will get you to listen to her music for HOURS. Based in Los Angeles, the Atlanta native’s main strength is a soulful, yet smooth velvety voice that is distinctly unique. It’s rich, but raw.

While a handful of artists use Instagram to promote their music, I feel that many are lacking in the engagement department as interacting with the fans can get them to feel his/her personality. This is why I adore Tanerélle: she’s upfront, unfiltered and hilarious. Trust me, you NEED to give her a follow!

As music is leaning into a politically-driven spectrum, one of the best songs to emerge is “In Women We Trust“, which calls for girl power in the wake of #MeToo and #TimesUp. Also, if you and your friends rant about bad dates with fuccbois, this is the song to raise all of your glasses to!

Fun fact: she DM’d me on Instagram to see if she can be featured on Galore and from there, I interviewed her! Although I did it last year, it’s one of my top faves.

4. Liz Y2K


(via Facebook)

She may sound familiar, but get ready to know her name: she is Liz Y2K. Backed by bouncing electronic beats, her Gwen Stefani meets Britney Spears voice and J.Lo swagger feels extremely reminiscent of your favorite pop CDs from the 2000s. Thanks to its extremely party-ready tunes, you can absolutely pop it in during a workout!

One of my go-to tunes is “Queen of Me” as it truly uplifts you into another world. If you can listen to it again on repeat, this is the one to jam to.

(In case you missed it, go catch my interview with her on The 405! Trust me, she’s like a human version of a trivia game.)

5. Mothica


(via Facebook)


If you are the type of girl that would watch old Winona Ryder movies and kiss your man in the pouring rain, Mothica has the perfect soundtrack for you.

Hailing from Oklahoma City, but based in Brooklyn, she has a unique voice that will pull you in like a tidal wave. In a sea of Lana del Rey wannabes that are invading Spotify, what makes Mothica stand out is her bewitching presence, which is something you can instantly feel when you hear her songs. Most importantly, she doesn’t bother to push out an enigmatic persona and/or try to put herself in the “indie pop” category. (Which is why I love her!)

Given that heartbreak bops are impossible to avoid, you need to get your ears ready for “Lovetalk“.  It’ll blow your brains apart, melt your heart like it’s a stick of hot glue and make you crank up the volume in your car. And also, it’s the type of song that you will most likely hear on an episode of Riverdale.

Open up your Spotify, follow her and if you are in NYC or LA, witness the litness because Mothica shows are NOT to be missed!


Who are your favorite new artists? Leave a comment and let me know!

No (Arche)type: How Trope Dares to Break All Molds

Christmas may be over, but the season of giving ain’t gonna end any time soon. As my birthday is five months away, the first present falls into my lap like a stork dropping off a newborn baby. Stuffed into a cardboard box, my gift was waiting for me to open it.

Instead of being wrapped in a luxurious red gift box, it’s wrapped in a white plastic bag with an Rx label on it. In place of small orange containers, I’ve been prescribed with three lipsticks and nail polishes as well a travel-sized mini highlighter. My doc is no other than Trope, a new beauty brand from Jakarta.

As a beauty junkie, the core trinity of my beauty kit consists of lipsticks, highlighters and nail polish as they strongly define my look. Regardless of the brand, I just cannot live without having every single shade under the rainbow. As much as I hate to admit this, but I get super peeved whenever beauty brands continue to peddle dupe after dupe of the same shade. (I mean, doesn’t it annoy you, guys?)

Not to overlook, but I’ve noticed that a handful of Indonesian beauty brands constantly get compared to popular Western beauty brands due to the similarities of aesthetics. Given the fact that the majority of them (e.g. Rollover Reaction and Layn) are drawn into the ’90s, each brand adds their own interpretation of it. As much as Trope is heavily inspired by the decade, it has a runway-inspired twist to its aesthetic that it reminds me of Pat McGrath. If I were to describe Trope, it’ll be the love child of Rodin (minimalist luxe aesthetic), Glossier (packaging), Pat McGrath (colors), Benefit (shimmer) and Milk Makeup (holographic highlighters, anyone?). Basically, it’s a personification of the ’90s-obsessed Instagrammer who would sneak into (before the name change) during class and read her mom’s backissues of Vogue after the cute English tutor leaves.

As a happy recipient of Trope’s bundle, I cannot wait to try it on!


From L-R: Duality, Peony and Flamingo

The ideal lipstick goes on like this: matte, yet creamy; soft, but not too soft. In terms of how it should look, the shade must be bright enough to seen on my lips, but muted enough for myself to wear it every single day. The pigmentation needs to feel boldly rich like whipped butter.

Thankfully, Trope has answered my prayers with their Velvet Matte Lipsticks. Despite being compressed into a flimsy Glossier-esque package tube, Trope’s formula feels similar to Revlon’s Super Lustrous mattes, which has an oil pastel crayon-esque texture. While the silhouette is similar to Glossier’s Generation G lipstick, it’s more sturdier and opaque.

Speaking of the shades, Flamingo is a beautiful terracotta-based tangerine that’s super flattering as it doesn’t make my teeth look outrageously yellow. As someone who loves orange lipstick, it’s my personal favorite as the muted red undertones remind me of a 1970s Playboy editorial.

Duality, a stunning mauvey violet, has smoky pink undertones that instantly remind me of the ’90s (i.e. Pamela Anderson’s purple bodysuit). When it’s worn on the lips, it looks a bit more pinkish than the tube, yet it’s still strikingly beautiful.

Last but not least, Peony is a stunning rosy pink color. It might look like any other pink you see at department stores, but deep down, it has has a violet red undertone that’s subtly bluish. If you have to go to the office and you want to rock a bold lip, this is the color to go to.

Since each color can stay on during drinks and meals, it fades subtly like any other lipstick. When I reapply it, bits of the color transfer on to the tube as there’s a lot of pigment; however, there’s zero patchiness. Anywhere than that, the lipsticks perform well.


Highlighters are one of the most essential products and I have to admit it, but the demand is incredibly oversaturating to the point where it’s hard for me to tell apart each shade.

But with Nirvana, it’s a ridiculously beautiful bronzy rose gold. What I like about it is that it’s neither too peachy, pink-ish nor yellow-based – zero gimmicks. I always wanted a highlighter like it and it truly delivers. Its creamy consistency that melts wonderfully on the skin, which makes it easier for me to apply with my fingers. While most brands like to use big batons with extremely little product (ahem, Fenty Beauty), this one is accurate to its sizing as there’s a LOT of product inside the mini-sized case. Given that most cream highlighters tend to pick up a bit of foundation on the surface, Trope’s Nirvana Illuminator doesn’t do that as it turns to powder.

I’m telling you, this highlighter DOES NOT PLAY!

(P.S. you can see it pop on all of my selfies!)

Nail Polish 

I’ve mixed up all shades for the sake of review, guys! But, it looks so nice together. 😉

OK, I am a sucker for nail polish and I’ve been painting my nails since I was 8. Growing up, I’ve always worn the super bold shades and I disliked anything sheer, nude or beige as I felt like it was “too naked” for me. If I have to pick a type of nail polish I’d wear on a repeating basis, it’ll be anything metallic.

Among all the colors there, the top three I’d pick are Dreaming 90, Dreaming 93 and Dreaming 87. Dreaming 87 (inspired by the founder’s oldest brother) is a pure metallic silver that instantly reminds me of the Olympic medal. I really can’t pass on it as silver nail polish lends a futuristic high fashion look to anything I wear.

Dreaming 90 (the number refers to the year her second older brother is born) is a glimmery gold that will instantly flatter anybody. As a great dupe of Chanel’s Gold Fiction, THIS is the shade that you need to buy as it’s the closest you can get to achieving the Chanel S/S 2008 runway look. (Although I myself personally owned Chanel’s Gold Fiction, I seriously regret throwing it away as I would’ve worn it despite the strong solvent-ish smell after not wearing it for an X amount of years! I know it’s bad to wear expired nail polish, but what can I say?!)

Dreaming 93 (inspired by her birth year) is the cherry on top of all nail polishes. It’s a rose gold/bronze hybrid with silver undertones. Frankly, that’s something I’ve never seen in any other nail polish. Not only will this match with anything, it’ll look good on EVERYONE! If you haven’t tried it, you abso-freaking-lutely NEED to add this to your cart stat!!

While the nail polishes were aesthetically pleasing, it stayed on after four days of applying it. There were no signs of chipping and a change in texture after I applied my Barry M matte topcoat. (FYI, it’s their recommendation!) As I applied it, the pigments coated my nails smoothly without any jerkiness. So, props to Trope for making good quality nail polish!

Verdict: If I have to pick out something from my beauty closet, I’ll happily stuff them in my Faure Le Page bag (that I wear for work, guys!) and wear it all day, every freakin’ day.

Art Stage: An Experience to Remember

“Are you experienced?” asked Jimi Hendrix.

Indeed I am, Mr. Hendrix. Although his phrase only refers to his music, it applies to feeling the vibe of an artwork. From the texture of paint to the life-likeness of a sculpture, you cannot turn yourself away from an object that’s begging you for completely undivided attention. As an art history major, I can tell you for sure that each object you are seeing (whether it be at an art gallery to a museum) has its own perspective of being seen on stage. Hence, it explains why one of Singapore’s own version of Art Basel is called “Art Stage” (get it?).

Annually, Art Stage opens a 4-day show from Thursday to Sunday every late January. But on the first day, it’s only open to VIP members of Chubb, an insurance company that sponsors the exhibit. Not to forget, they get an exclusive showing of all the artwork before it’s open to public – for free. (FYI, I just had to join my mom just to see this show!) Since it’s the first month of the new year, what’s better than being able to treat yourself to an art show?

Given that it’s running for three days, you can pop in there for two hours as the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Center isn’t terribly big compared to other expo sites (e.g. Milan Food Expo). If you feel that brushing past a plethora of people at Art Stage is intimidating, don’t let yourself down. In fact, there is more that meets the eye.

When you first enter Art Stage, you can start out in any direction; however, I highly recommend that you start out at the center as it’s easy to walk around anywhere. While there are galleries from Tel Aviv to Seoul running the show with so many contemporary pieces, here are some hidden gems to look out for:

Continue reading “Art Stage: An Experience to Remember”