Real Men Talk: How Important Are First Date Impressions?

A new decade has officially begun. A new leaf is ready to turn. Though we’ve made plans for our New Year’s resolutions, how can we get them to stick if we’re still holding on to our comfort zone?

No matter how many times we try to break our bad habits, I have to say that the worst ones extend deeply into our romantic lives. No matter how many times you want to have fun or go on a deep soul searching journey to find love, there’s bound to be a lot of frogs you have to kiss before you can find a prince.

Speaking of men, I still have yet to be someone’s Khaleesi and the search has been a painful journey that’s full of dark and terrors. No matter how many times I went on Bumble and Tinder dates, I realize that a handful of straight men (regardless of age, body type, race or occupation) think that they have the pass to present themselves however they want, assuming that a woman like me doesn’t care too much about how smelly his breath is, how stained his teeth are (eew!), how many pimples he has on his face (seriously, WHY?!), how hungover he looks, what his hair color or length is and how hairy his chest is. Now that we are in a social media-centric society, it’s becoming inevitable for us to present an artificial avatar of ourselves to the world as we whittle down the sides of a waist, sculpt cheeks, widen eyes and blur out angry red bumps with swift flicks across a flat glass-covered screen.

This issue isn’t going away anytime soon, but I do hope that we can start a conversation about it now. Although I originally proposed this discussion on first date impressions at the start of 2019, it feels rightfully appropriate now as we’re still trying to figure out who we are, what are priorities are for a partner and how we struggle to be our best regardless of whether we feel happy or sad.

Whether you’re straight, gay, bi or pan, I feel that dating is such a universal issue that affects all of us. Irregardless of a man’s sexual orientation, I realize that men are heavily affected on this side of the pendulum. Here, I’ve got a steady roundup of men of various backgrounds: Alvin (celebrity makeup artist/stylist/La Prairie ambassador), Aaron (beverage director at Zén), Marc (barista), Tony (sales engineering director), Hayes (mechanical engineer) and Shawn (writer/model). Having this second roundtable discussion on Real Men Talk carries over the same spirit of wit, intellect and high energies that sync with my ever-scattered ADD Gemini brain.

We talk about everything from dye jobs, manscaping, avoiding BO and the pressure to look hot on dating apps.

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@virgomood is the muse that every designer, fashion girl and stylist is secretly obsessed with

Two years ago, I was scrolling through Instagram on a cold NYC evening while taking a break from typing up an article. Constantly on a search for new inspiration, I stalked my friend’s account and stumbled upon a feed filled with photos of models strutting down a runway. As I clicked on each photo, my eyes couldn’t stay away from the caption. Rather than the familiar faces that I know of, I was shocked to learn that these stunning women were not named Naomi, Christy, Cindy, Kate or Linda. Not to forget, the designers (e.g. Todd Oldham) seemed relatively obscure to an outsider. From there, I realized that the entire feed expressed the inner emotions of a 22-year-old dental student who goes by @virgomood.

Based in Chicago, the fashionista has 324,000+ followers (myself included) who keep up with her eclectically curated photos of runway moments, red carpet arrivals, lingerie editorials and the occasional interior design shots. Thanks to its edgy, feminine and sensual feed, Virgo Mood attracts legions of followers from stylists (Mimi Cuttrell; Dani Michelle),designers (Area; Susan Alexandra), musicians (Sky Ferreira) and retailers (IRVRSBL).

We chat about the inspiration behind that iconic handle, her fascination with vintage lingerie, how Naomi Campbell sparked her obsession with all things vintage, the hardest about curating a feed and the model she’d love to style.

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#HERssentials: the city edition

New York, I’ve missed you terribly.

It’s been a month and a half since I left you. While I wanna sleep all day long and complain about the cold weather (ugh, I hate it!), there are few things that make me happy all day long. (I secretly wanna sing like Julie Andrews while trying to battle this nasty jet lag!)

IMG_0393.JPG Giant Vintage cat eye sunnies | Pop & Suki camera bag | Milani liquid lipstick | LMU Iggy the Lion keychain

Everyone always swears by the “one” thing they can’t live without, but there are a few that I need to start my day with. Since childhood, I’ve been collecting sunglasses and if there’s one that I legibly cannot live without, it’d be my vintage ’90s cat eye shades from Giant Vintage. From the pearly white frames to the elliptical oval lenses, these bad girls are alien chic at its finest. Although alien shades have a bad rap for being a ‘lil too cheesy, it’s always done right when you have ’em in a cat eye silhouette. If you wanna cop the exact look, you can get something similar to this.

If I need to have a purse, I’ll always grab my Pop & Suki bag. Honestly, it is THE best (bag) I’ve ever had! Although it’s small, it can stuff EVERYTHING: keys, Metrocard, phone, small wallet, lipsticks, etc! Unlike most bags in the game, you can sling it on your shoulder or let it go as a clutch. Price-wise, I have to admit that it was worth spending on. It’s so easy to find it in case I ever store it. 😉

Speaking of lipsticks, you seriously NEED to buy this. I’m being 100% dead serious. Milani liquid metallic lipsticks are HEAVENLY and freakishly regal! Among all the shades there, the one I swear by is Matterialistic, a brownish coppery red. Although metallic shades are always perceived to be “trendy”, it’s something to invest in since you never know when you need to add that “oomph”. WARNING: you will get TONS of compliments wearing this beauty! ✨✨

Last but not least, no purse is EVER complete without a cute stuffed toy. Every adult in your life older than your sister may say that it’s “too kiddy” to rock a plush, but screw it! As a firm believer that there’s no limit in age, this cute ‘lil lion is here to make me smile. Before I can go on, it’s the official mascot of Loyola Marymount University, where I went to college, and his name is Iggy the Lion. Any time I put ‘lil Iggy on, I just wanna pet him! I mean, don’t you wanna feel that mane?!

What are your essentials?

2017 Golden Globes: The Experimental Classics

Awards season is officially back in full swing and there’s nothing else better than the Golden Globes to kick off the festivities! With a new year, there’s gotta be a room for new silhouettes, right!? In this case, the Golden Globes has certainly proven me right.

For the past few years, the fashion game at the Golden Globes was SO boring after seeing the same old clean, lean and mean minimalist silhouettes that have dominated the red carpet since 2011. Did you even remember when you saw Jennifer Lawrence in that cutout Dior red dress last year? 😴😴😴 Talk about being utterly forgettable!

Although the Golden Globes are considered as a “warm up” for the Oscars, what’s so great about it is that you have more chances of seeing fresher silhouettes crop up on the carpet. Here are my top picks for the best in the game!

Sophie Turner, Janelle Monae, Nicole Kidman, Priyanka Chopra and Evan Rachel Wood KILLS it! What better way can I sum up their outfits?!

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