A passionate environmentalist and former yoga instructor, Melissa Chu founded activewear brand, RUMI X, in 2015 to provide a fashion forward solution to the global waste crisis. Before starting Rumi X, this San Francisco native graduated from the Art Institute of California in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in Business Marketing with a focus on fashion and retail. With an eye for design Melissa went on to work with fashion powerhouses BCBGMAXAZRIA Group, Tommy Hilfiger and LVMH Group.
The name Rumi stems from the inspirational 13th century Persian poet, scholar, and Sufi mystic whose words of wisdom have inspired for centuries.
“The RUMI X concept evolved from speaking to the yoga and wellness community”, explains Melissa. “It was clear to me that the apparel we wore was not contributing positively to our yoga experience”.
Committed to creating a line of apparel that both allowed its wearers to express their personality and better serve the environment, Chu insisted on using eco-friendly materials only. The result? Breathable, flattering and vibrant sports wear and everyday apparel, comprised from recycled plastic bottles and coffee grounds. “Trash is a growing problem, so finding uses for non-biodegradable materials like plastic is a must. Plastic, once cleaned, shredded, melted and stripped into thread, is indistinguishable from polyester," adds Chu. Coffee grinds are embedded into a fiber used to create the fabric, which allows for maximum odor control, a dry-fast texture, UV protection and breathability.
Priced all under $100, the collection includes stylish leggings, supportive sports bras, tanks and long sleeve tops in multiple colorways and prints. The leggings feature slimming wide waistbands and gusset lining for extra comfort and exclusive breathable and super soft fabric. Conveniently, for women on the run, all leggings also have a barely visible pocket to keep cards, keys and loose change safe, and can be thrown right into the laundry without any leakage of color.
Let’s get to know Melissa a little bit more as she shares her beauty secrets, de-stress tricks and more!
My style in 3 words...Color, comfort, casual
My nicknames are...Lissy, Snoopy and “Yeejai” which means “Little auntie” in Chinese (my 3-year old niece calls me that)
My drugstore must-have is…Contact lens solution, I know it’s super boring!
My last purchase was…Sonic care toothbrush
My top 3 make-up bag essentials are…Kenebo KATE Eyebrow Pencil, Fresh Sugar Lip Balm in Berry, RMS Lip2Cheek in Smile
My beauty secret is…Gel facial sheet masks, I discovered them in Asia. I travel often and my skin gets dehydrated from flying in planes. These gel based sheet masks are translucent and jelly-like. They work just like the paper sheet masks that are all the rage in K-beauty, but deliver so much moisture! I swear by it to keep my skin hydrated and looking fresh even when I’m exhausted.
I smell like…Frankincense and lavender, I love mixing pungent essential oils
I keep in shape by…YogaGlo at home (my favorite classes are Jo Tastula and Jason Crandell’s), pilates, kickboxing
My de-stress trick is…Getting outdoors and long hikes with my German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix pup, Kobe
My first celebrity crush was…John Francis Daley from Freaks and Geeks
My guilty pleasure is…Cheetos puffs
Right now, I’m obsessed with…Kayla Itsines Recipes Guide E-book, they are so tasty and light, perfect for quick and healthy meals in the summertime
When I have some free time, I…Read up on spirituality and self-healing, I’m current reading Deepak Chopra’s book, Super Brain
For breakfast, I always have…Egg whites, tomato and kale scramble with a side of avocado
My favorite restaurant is…I have a few different ones, my favorite place in Hong Kong is The Optimist. In California, I love Vietnamese Pho and Taquerias in the Mission. In New York I love Joseph Leonard.
My ultimate travel destination is…Bali, it’s a magical place and my happy place
In my career, I am most proud of…Starting a company and seeing it grow, shaping RUMI X as it stands today. It amazes me each and every day to see how far we’ve come and exciting to see what’s ahead.
The best advice I’ve ever received is…To give as well receive. It sounds so simple but I’ve always had a challenging time with receiving, I was always the giver. I’ve learned you must be willing to receive to allow someone else to give. It’s the flow of energy in the universe!
My goal in life is…To continuing growing in my path of spirituality, and to help others in becoming more mindful and conscious citizens
Known for her creative instinct, precise attention to detail, and love of color, it’s no surprise that this celebrity manicurist and all around nail expert, Michelle Saunders is a force to be reckoned with.
A native of San Francisco, Michelle began working as a manicurist at various Chanel boutiques in the city. It was there that she developed her gentle and thorough approach to manicuring. After a few years of refining her technique, Saunders finally decided that it was time to open her very own appointment-only nail salon. However, after a decade of success in San Francisco, Michelle relocated to Los Angeles.
In Los Angeles, Saunders became an agency-represented manicurist, working with many entertainment and fashion industry clients. Today, many A-list celebrities like Kate Beckinsale, Taylor Schilling, Pink, and Mandy Moore seek after her. She’s also worked with high-end publications such as W Magazine, Elle, and Vogue and shoots frequently with world-renowned photographers like Inez & Vinoodh, Mert & Marcus, as well as Peter Lindbergh. As a nail expert, Michelle constantly contributes manicure and nail care advice to readers of InStyle, Allure and Harper’s Bazaar, to name a few. When she’s not manicuring a celebrity or model for a shoot, Saunders plays key manicurist during New York Fashion Week for shows like Prenza Schouler, Alexander Wang, DVF, and Carolina Herrera.
One distinctive feature of Michelle’s nail work is its durability. She achieves this through precise preparation of the nail bed and the use of high quality products. A bicoastal artist, Michelle continues to explore and experiment to create visually rich, fashion-forward looks. Whether it’s a classic nude nail or some intricate design, Michelle can do it all!
Read on to find out how this super talented manicurist starts her morning and more now!
My style in 3 words...Eclectic mix of trend and classic
My nicknames are...I have none
My drugstore must-have is…Maybelline Dream Cushion Fresh Face Foundation
My last purchase was…Acetone
My top 3 make-up bag essentials are…Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil, Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage, Perfecting Gloss by Hydropeptide
My beauty secret is…Getting a full 8 hours of sleep a night
I smell like…Gardenia and Orange Blossom by Natalie
I keep in shape by…Pilates
My de-stress trick is…Watch TV
My secret talent is…Cooking
My first celebrity crush was…Rick Schroder
The music artist who always gets me dancing is…Michael Jackson
My fashion icon is…Diane Kruger
My guilty pleasure is…Chocolate
Right now, I’m obsessed with…Vitamin C cream
My favorite website is…Honestly WTF
My favorite TV show is…Face Off
When I have some free time, I…Travel
For breakfast, I always have…Eggs and a green drink
My favorite restaurant is…Republique in Los Angeles
My ultimate travel destination is…Kona, Hawaii
In my career, I am most proud of…Opening my nail salon
The best advice I’ve ever received is…You are never as good as someone says you are and you are never as bad as someone says you are.
As a manicurist, I’ve learned…Comparison is the thief of joy.
My goal in life is…See where my life moves forward as a manicurist.
Raised in the East Bay of California, Kris Jung had always practiced many artistic passions as a child. However, when the opportunity to become a model at the age of 17 arose, Jung became instantly hooked by the fashion world. Little did she know her love of creativity and background in fashion would someday collide, leading her to her career today as a make-up artist.
In her early years modeling, Kris met make-up artist Diane Catorc. After reconnecting at a shoot in 2015, Jung began to assist Diane on jobs. In her first year doing hair and make-up, she found herself working with many of the creatives she had worked with as a model. Jung also found herself gaining much experience, working with large companies like Pottery Barn and Walmart. Today, Kris is her own boss babe creating fresh new looks for clients like Twitter, Instagram, and Levi’s. In her spare time you can find her at home in Oakland (probably eating ramen), writing for her beachy shoegaze solo project Koneko Neko, or kicking back with her precious rescue bunny, Oatmeal.
From her obsession with tiny things to her favorite beauty must-haves, let's get to know more about this super talented beauty babe now!
My style in 3 words...vintage/kawaii/tomboy
My nicknames are...Bunny! My boyfriend also calls me Monkey, not sure why!
My drugstore must-have is…Any product by e.l.f! Specifically their smudge pot in Cruisin Chic. This color looks good on everyone. I use so many e.l.f products it's out of control. Their formulas are mostly sulfate, paraben, and cruelty free, and don't make me break out. Such an affordable and accessible line. I am always recommending their brushes and lip products to clients.
My last purchase was…Yerba Mate SPF 30 Mist by 100% Pure. I was going to the beach and needed to buy $40 organic sunscreen.
My top 3 make-up bag essentials are…Milk Sunshine Skin Tint with SPF 30, K-Palette Kuma Cover Control Concealer, and Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer.
My beauty secret is…Having great skin. I use eye cream twice a day; before applying makeup and before going to bed. The skin around your eye is so thin, it really needs to be moisturized at all times to prevent fine lines. I take very serious care of my skin! I also apply a clay mask once a week, sometimes even twice a week, especially if I'm having a break out.
I smell like…Hair products! I'm an Oribe fiend. I also really love the smell of R+Co products, I swear by the dry shampoo paste. Kenra is also a favorite brand of mine, their products always smell yummy.
I keep in shape by…Shopping! I try to walk to the grocery store and to my other errands, if the weather permits. I just bought roller skates too, so I am hoping that I will have a '70s roller goddess tush before summer!
My de-stress trick is…Food delivery. Caviar or Eat24 cures my blues no matter what. I love ordering my favorite sushi, and eating it in bed while I Netflix. Yes, my laziness is on another level!
My secret talent is...I'm a pretty good cook! I love making my own ramen. I make everything from scratch except for the noodles!
My first celebrity crush was…Christian Bale in Newsies was everything for me and my sister!
The music artist who always gets me dancing is…Prince, of course!
My fashion icon is…Sally Fields as Gidget. I own all 3 seasons of Gidget on DVD. Every outfit she wears on that show was pure gold, and her bangs and mini '60s bouffant were always on point. Her character in the show is to be honest kind of bratty and annoying but everything she wears, I wish I owned.
My guilty pleasure is…Watching RRcherrypie videos on YouTube. It's not really a guilty pleasure, as much as just a bizarre fascination. If you don't know what any of this means, google it! I have a weird fascination with small things.
Right now, I’m obsessed with…Cookies! I like to make my own, but I recently discovered this amazing vegan birthday cake flavor dough called 'Just Cookie Dough.' It has little rainbow sprinkles and you can eat it raw since it's vegan.
My favorite website is…Kollection K. I could browse through their new product page forever. I find all the collaborations with characters in conjunction with the Korean brands like APPIEU and Tony Moly so clever and adorable. Cute packaging is a necessity for me, and I'm a fiend for products!
My favorite TV show is…It's Always Sunny.. but also Rupaul's Drag Race because, duh.
When I have some free time, I…Try to work on all my creative endeavors. I play guitar and sing in a shoegaze solo project called Koneko Neko. Making jewelry, tapestries, and really anything I can decorate my apartment or myself in.
For breakfast...I always have some kind of egg dish. I make some world class baked eggs. A little bit of seasoned arugula greens on the bottom layer, 2 cracked eggs baked on a low heat for 20 minutes, and cheese on top!
My favorite restaurant is…Right now Blind Tiger in Oakland.
My ultimate travel destination is…Korea! The land of beauty and skin care. I've been to Japan once and cherished every minute of it and definitely plan to go back. But, first I need to go to Seoul!
In my career, I am most proud of…Making things happen by my own volition. In 2015, I was struggling with a slow season of (going on 8 years of) modeling. I always wanted to do makeup but was waiting for my time with modeling to slow down. I tried to model and do makeup but I realized I was just kind of wasting my time and energy modeling. I started to assist my favorite makeup artists who became my mentors and building my website and portfolio with test shoots. I owe a lot of my learning experience as a MUA to them. Since breaking out of my role of talent, I have really enjoyed taking my experience in the industry in the truly rewarding and creative realm of it. I have accomplished a lot in a short amount of time and I am very proud of myself for becoming my own lady boss!
The best advice I’ve ever received is…Fake it till you make it babe! I used to feel very self conscious about being the youngest looking person in the crew on a set, and that no one would take me seriously. I have put a lot of dedication into my 9 years in the industry and I've just learned to carry myself and earn people's respect with professionalism.
As a make-up artist, I’ve learned…To appreciate the industry. I have the best job in the world. I used to be jaded on the ways of the industry as a model, but I feel like I've learned to practice freelance karma and it's worked to my advantage.
My goal in life is…To never stop having goals! To be the happiest person I can, and never feel complacent.
What do you get when you take a whole lotta tassel and classic style? Lisi Lerch jewelry, of course!
A lover of fashion and antique jewelry, Lisi first started her company in the spring of 2001. While her new husband was getting an MBA, she worked full-time at the Cornell recruiting office and designed affordable women’s Kentucky derby hats. Although she loved making hats, Lisi decided to dabble in jewelry making and became hooked instantly.
While her hat business grew, so did her family. While pregnant with her first child, Lisi and her husband moved to Philadelphia. Not only did her company prove to be a success there, she was able to expand her line of hats to include winter ones as well. From New York to Virginia, Lisi would participate in trunk shows selling her hats from store to store.
With her hats becoming a hassle to travel with, Lisi decided to shift gears and pursue her true passion for jewelry design. To her surprise, her collection was well received. So, after her third child was born, Lisi started showing her line at AmericasMart in Atlanta. In time, her jewelry line grew into the sought after collection you see today of tassel earrings, colorful necklaces, and eye-catching cardigans.
Since we absolutely love all of Lisi’s accessories and are inspired by her hard work, we thought it’d be fun to get to know a little bit more about this jewelry designer who credits the creative direction of her line to her grandmother’s exquisite collection of jewels. Find out where she dines and more now!
My style in 3 words...Classic, fun, and happy
My nicknames are...Lis, Mommy
My drugstore must-have is...Lip gloss, antibacterial, and gum
My last purchase was...A fabulous bamboo lamp from the market
My top 3 make-up bag essentials are...lip gloss, mascara, and bronzer
My beauty secret is...A good lip gloss, mascara, and bronzer
I smell like...CHANEL N°5 Parfum or gardenias
I keep in shape by...Working out with my awesome trainer Ray every morning
My de-stress trick is...Chardonnay and a bubble bath
My secret talent is...Freakishly knowing everybody’s birthday and the all the state capitals
My first celebrity crush was...The Six Million Dollar Man Lee Majors
The music artist who always gets me dancing is...Michael Jackson or Justin Timberlake
My fashion icon is...Jackie O
My guilty pleasure is...Sunbathing
Right now, I’m obsessed with...My fluffy adorable dog, Boomer
My favorite website is...LisiLerch.com
My favorite TV show is...This Is Us, The Affair, and The Crown
When I have some free time, I...Play tennis
For breakfast, I always have...a protein shake on the fly
My favorite restaurant is...Atlanta Grill in Atlanta, GA
My ultimate travel destination is...Any 5 star Gilligan’s Island
In my career, I am most proud of...Being successful while continuing to be ladylike & kind.
The best advice I’ve ever received is...Just do it!
As a jewelry designer, I’ve learned...To accept competition with open arms!!
My goal in life is...To be happy
Spanning over a decade, Connie Wong’s career has taken her to San Diego, Los Angeles, New York, and now San Francisco. With a background in writing and public relations, it’s no surprise that Connie decided to open her own PR agency in 2008 called Moderne Press. Specializing in boutique brands, Moderne Press offers its clients a more dedicated and personalized service when forming a marketing plan. By working closely with each business, Connie is able to raise brand visibility directed by their goals and brand values. It is this tailored approach that sets this PR firm apart from other agencies of its caliber.
In addition to her enthusiasm, Connie’s experience working in various markets has increased Moderne Press’ client list. From beauty to home décor, fashion and accessories, this PR agency works with an array of brands. And, since it’s launch, Connie has worked with many sought after bloggers and high-profile editors securing an array of coverage in media like Elle, InStyle, Glamour, New York Times, People, Real Simple, Redbook, StyleWatch, and Refinery 29, to name a few.
Moderne Press may be slowly becoming a household name in the lifestyle and fashion PR industries but let’s get to know Connie a bit more. From her beauty must-haves to her guilty pleasures, this is one Founder we’ll definitely be hearing more from in the years to come.
My style in 3 words...Comfortable, minimal, polished.
My nicknames are...I don’t really have any nicknames, except for the endearments my husband and daughter use.
My drugstore must-have is…Aveeno Active Naturals Lotion! It’s affordable and hydrating – and as a bonus, it's a fairly “safe” beauty product according to the EWG Healthy Living App. (It’s a super helpful and time-saving app, as I’m trying to buy more clean and safe products.)
My last purchase was…Leggings for my daughter. She has a way cuter wardrobe than I do!
My top 3 make-up bag essentials are…Mascara, Shu Uemura eyelash curler, and Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer.
My beauty secret is…Wear sunscreen and wash your face before bed. Not so much a secret, but I like to think it helps keep your skin looking fresh and young(er)!
I smell like…Frederic Malle Lys Mediterranee.
I keep in shape by…Mostly from carrying and running after my toddler! I also make a concerted effort to go yoga class once a week. That’s all I’ve been able to manage in my schedule since becoming a parent!
My de-stress trick is…Taking yoga breaths, which help calm my mind down. Also looking at photos of my daughter smiling always works!
My secret talent is…Being able to solve Wheel of Fortune puzzles quickly! Not particularly useful in real life, but I swear, I would be an awesome contestant on that show (save the luck of the wheel)!
My first celebrity crush was…Gosh, I don’t really think I had one.
The music artist who always gets me dancing is…Maroon 5. My daughter loves a lot of their songs, so we have little dance parties.
My fashion icon is…The women around me! I’m honestly more inspired by street style and the women that I know in real life. (Then again, I know I’m lucky because I have the privilege of knowing and working with some very stylish women.)
My guilty pleasure is…Cookies. I have such a huge sweet tooth!
My favorite website is…Impossible to name just one, but I can try to narrow it down to my 3 daily must-reads: Humans of New York, Cup of Jo and Oh Joy!
My favorite TV show is…The Blacklist and Shark Tank.
When I have some free time, I…Haha, what free time?! Jk
For breakfast, I always have…Coffee!
My favorite restaurant is…Commis in Oakland. While it’s not on my regular rotation by any means, it IS my most memorable meal to date.
My ultimate travel destination is...Italy. Loved all my travels there so far, and would love to go back to explore more!
In my career, I am most proud of…Securing one-page features in Country Living and O, the Oprah Magazine for the same brand in the same month. It was not only an amazing career achievement, but really made an impact for the brand and led to some other amazing opportunities and partnerships.
The best advice I’ve ever received is…Be open to change. This is still a hard one for me, because I’m a planner by nature, but as I’ve grown both professionally and personally, I’ve tried to adopt a more of a go-with-the-flow mentality.
As an entrepreneur & PR professional, I’ve learned…Hire people that do it better. There’s no way you can excel at everything in life, so it’s important to hire employees, consultants and other experts that can help and support your growth – in both your personal and professional lives.
My goal in life is…To raise a smart, kind and thoughtful kid. Be a good to the people in my life – as a wife, mom, friend, boss, etc.
This week we're excited to introduce you to one of our new favorite up-and-coming jewelry designers, based out of the west-village in NYC, Trisha Okubo. Founder and Creative Director of Maison Miru, Trisha's personal mission is to make every day extraordinary - filling each day with friends and family, sparks of loveliness, and a bit of adventure.
Trisha’s love for jewels blossomed in childhood when she would play with the beautiful heirlooms in her mother’s jewelry box, viewing each piece as something precious and cherished. That idea that jewelry is memory incarnate remains at the core of the Maison Miru brand.
Offering classic and personal designs that can be worn every day and for special occasions, Maison Miru is an online, direct-to-consumer jewelry brand dedicated to connecting women to the people and experiences they love. From pieces to wear on your wedding day to gifts for the most important women in your life, the intention of Maison Miru jewelry is keeping those you love close to your heart.
Prior to launching Maison Miru, Trisha held business operations and product management roles at JOYUS and eBay Fashion, among others. She holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University and completed jewelry coursework at London College of Fashion.
Read more about Trisha, her de-stress tricks, and what she's most proud of in her career. Shop her jewels here, we highly recommend it!
My style in 3 words…New York Black? I love to eat, and I tend to spill a lot on myself.
My nicknames are…I don’t really have a nickname, but people love to call me Trish. I don’t mind it – it makes it feel like we’re already friends.
My drugstore must-have is…Dunkin Donuts coffee beans. Don’t get me wrong – I love third wave artisanal coffee as much as the next gal – but there’s something so comfortable and essential about a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee. I have seven different ways to make coffee at home, and fancypants beans from all over (Seattle to Copenhagen), but sometimes all you want (or have time for) is a cup of Dunkin.
My last purchase was…A family of vintage plastic penguins from the Brimfield Antiques market in Massachusetts. I saw them on a table in the market, turned to my husband, and said, “I have to have them.” The whole penguin family sits at the top of the stairs, and they bring a smile to my face every time I walk by.
My top 3 make-up bag essentials are…Marc by Marc Jacobs lipstick in Showstopper – a strong red lip is all you really need. Crème de la Mer for moisturizing cream that doesn’t make your skin oily. Foundation with SPF to avoid sun damage. I’m a minimal kind of girl.
My beauty secret is…A good night’s sleep is more magic than any set of creams and potions.
I smell like…Cake pudding. This is a thing. There’s a bakery called Sugar Sweet Sunshine on the Lower East Side in NYC, and they make the most amazing chocolate chip cake pudding. It’s a butterscotch pudding base with whipped cream, chocolate chips, and bits of cake. It’s heavenly. I just ate half an order of it.
I keep in shape by…Personal training three times a week. My personal trainer, Natalie, is one of my favorite people. She’s intense – and she always pushes me to try harder. I’m very all or nothing, so we get along fabulously.
My de-stress trick is…Remembering how small we are in space of the universe. There’s a great passage in Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking. She talks about how she found earthquakes deeply satisfying: the world is governed by the cycles and patterns of nature that are indifferent to human existence. Whenever things feel overwhelming, I remember that whatever is troubling me is No Big Deal in the grand scheme of things.
My secret talent is…Downing a cup of coffee and then promptly going to sleep. I’m a fast caffeine metabolizer.
My first celebrity crush was…I’ve never been into celebrity crushes – I find the people that are right in front of me much more fascinating than anyone I see on screen.
The music artist who always gets me dancing is…Anything Gershwin. Or old school jazz. I’m an old soul.
My fashion icon is…It’s hard to choose just one! I love the idea of a uniform – the ultimate embodiment of this idea is Steve Jobs and his black turtlenecks and jeans. But at the other end of the spectrum, I also love the theatricality of an Iris Apfel – more than anything in particular that she wears, I love that she dresses for herself. She’s not following anyone’s idea of fashion – she’s creating her own style.
My guilty pleasure is…A good afternoon nap. A disco nap, if you will.
Right now, I’m obsessed with…Mary Louise Parker’s memoir Dear Mr. You. It’s prose and poetry, all in one. It’s also hauntingly beautiful and laugh out loud funny at the same time. I’ve been on a memoir kick – from Jessica Fechtor’s Stir to Vladimir Nabokov’s Speak, Memory.
My favorite website is…Anything that allows me to connect with the people I love: Gmail, Facebook, Instagram.
My favorite TV show is…The West Wing. It’s old school – but I think the world would be a better place if it were scripted by Aaron Sorkin.
When I have some free time, I…Walk around and explore new neighborhoods. I love discovering new things.
For breakfast, I always have…Gardein 7-Grain Crispy Tenders. They’re like chicken fingers, but meatless – and actually ridiculously delicious.
My favorite restaurant is…Ahhhh….there’s too many to list. My favorite restaurant in my neighborhood (West Village, NYC) is L’Artusi. When my husband and I were looking at apartments, we were partially sold on the one we chose based on its proximity to L’Artusi. Even on the coldest days, we can pop by for their Tagliatelle Bolognese Bianco. It’s heavenly.
My ultimate travel destination is…Anywhere, as long as it is with the people I love. I’m not so much about the destination – it’s more about spending quality time and experiences with loved ones.
In my career, I am most proud of…Always moving forward and never giving up. Even when the going gets tough. Especially when the going gets tough.
The best advice I’ve ever received is…When you’re deciding what to do, you can’t make everyone happy. Someone is inevitably going to be upset with the decision you make. The most important thing is to make sure that person isn’t you. In other words: do what you think is best, and you won’t go wrong.
As a designer and entrepreneur, I’ve learned…The importance of down time. I grew up around the Silicon Valley tech culture, where working long, hard hours is glorified. I’m all for hard work – I do hard work – but I like to stop when I’m getting diminishing returns. When you’re staying late at the office just to say you’re working late, you’re just wasting time that you could be spending doing something amazing. A 24/7 work mentality isn’t conducive to creativity – or for building for the long haul. Building a movement, building a company you believe in – this is work that’s not done in a day, or a quarter, or a year. Save your energy, and refresh yourself by doing something fun for yourself.
My goal in life is…To make a positive difference in the world. To make life just a little bit better.
Creative, bold and beautiful are all things that come to mind when looking through talented fashion photographer, Becca Teal Batista's work. Whether she’s shooting a commercial fashion editorial or portraits, all of her photos seem to tell a wonderfully curated visual story resulting in quite striking photographs. It’s no surprise this Southern California based beach babe discovered her love of photography at such an early age.
Becca first began her photography career as a child; producing elaborate photo shoots with her siblings and other neighborhood children. She’d use the clothing she acquired while competing in beauty pageants to style them. She continued to pursue her love of photography throughout high school and eventually went on to attend the prestigious Brooks Institute of Photography. After graduating in 2007, she moved to New York where she worked as a lighting technician and photographer’s assistant. It was there; she first got a taste of working in the editorial and advertising industries, eventually becoming an expert in lighting and retouching.
After a few years in New York, Batista returned to her hometown of San Diego where she started a portrait studio with fellow Brooks graduate and friend, Jenny Siegwart. From then on, she’s been shooting for an array San Diego and Los Angeles brands including Child of Wild, Issa de Mar, BLNDN, and Mimi and Lu. In addition, she shoots regularly for publications like Modern Luxury, San Diego Magazine and InTandem. When she’s not out shooting, Becca likes to spend her days out on the water with her surfer husband Thiago and their dog Bastien.
Read more about Becca, her latest obsessions, and beauty picks below. And, peep her portfolio here, we highly recommend it!
My style in 3 words…Californian in New York - does 4 words count? ;)
My nicknames are…Becca, Baby and Boba
My drugstore must-have is…The African black soap by Shea Moisture. They carry it at CVS!
My last purchase was…A pair of black patent leather “shooting boots” from Zara. I like to go into shoots like I’m going into battle. My aim for my shooting wardrobe is a little comfort with a lot of style.
My top 3 make-up bag essentials are…I’m a naturalist these days, but I have at least 5 essentials always. My makeup bag always has Kopari Coconut Melt, tinted moisturizer by Laura Mercier, Perfecting Illuminator by Sonia Kashuk, a brow pencil by Anastasia and a shea lip balm by Pixi in Ripe Raspberry for a stained pink lip.
My beauty secret is…Water, sleep and daily sunscreen. Luckily for me I usually only have to get up to an alarm clock about once a month. Other than that I can casually roll out of bed around 8am. I usually start my day with a huge glass of room temperature water with sliced lemon and just continue to refill that throughout the day. I also cover my body, post-shower, with coconut oil by Kopari. I spend a ton of time in the sun so I’m all about hats and sunscreen (even on my hands) to help slow the roll on that early aging.
I smell like…I am a fairly anti-perfume these days because of all of the added chemicals, so I probably smell like a mix coconut oil and rose water.
I keep in shape by…I run an 8mile loop around Mission Bay about once weekly with my cousin, which is both my therapy and keeps me young. I also mix in kickboxing and spin for the other 4 days of the week. I get plenty of squats in while shooting. I should probably get back into my yoga routine as well because the stretching and meditation is good for everything.
My de-stress trick is…To be honest, I need to work on this de-stress thing. My friend opened a Kundalini meditation and yoga studio nearby, so I would like to get into that. I married a surfer, so anytime I spend in the water with him or at the beach is always a cleansing and calming time for me.
My secret talent is…Only my close friends and family know this about me, but I can sing! When I was younger I knew without a doubt that I would grow up to be a pop singer, but I hit my teen years and picked up a camera instead and that dream went to the back burners.
My first celebrity crush was…Oh, JTT and Devon Sawa!
The music artist who always gets me dancing is…Probably because I want to be her, Beyoncé! But, I also love Daft Punk, David Bowie and Brazilian music from the 1960s.
My fashion icon is…My fashion icon is my Grandmother Shirley. She grew up in the days of Hollywood Glamour and is always done to the nines, but always knows how to “dress down” with a crisp button down men’s shirt and cropped, tailored pants with flats. Her style has always been iconic to me.
My guilty pleasure is…I love Netflix right now! I am so happy to see the larger studios and networks being challenged with what Netflix has created with all of these independently funded shows like Stranger Things, The Get Down and Orange is the New Black. There is so much talent in that world right now!
Right now, I’m obsessed with…Listening to podcasts while I edit at my computer. I usually go through phases with what I am into and what inspires me. Right now I love listening to Marc Maron on WTF Podcast. Mark sits down, mostly with fellow comedians like Kristen Wigg, Billy Crystal, and David Spade. I am so inspired hearing about their stories and how they ended up in stand up and comedy. To me, like in any art, if you just let your life guide you and you are open to yourself, it just kind of comes to you. This concept is so cool to me.
My favorite website is…I love Leandra Medine and Man Repeller. She is killing it and she’s so fucking funny.
My favorite TV show is…I just finished The Get Down on Netlflix. It was created by Baz Luhrmann and is set in the South Bronx in the late 1970s. It basically is a disco dream, the story is so beautiful and it is so well produced, I tell everyone to watch it.
When I have some free time, I…Whenever I have a free Saturday, my husband Thiago and our dog Bastian are most likely out on our Miami Vice era speedboat. We spend most of our free time on or in the ocean.
For breakfast, I always have…I am a big avocado toast kind of gal. My go to breakfast is room temperature lemon water, a large coffee and a sourdough toast with avaocado, tomato, salt and pepper.
My favorite restaurant is…My favorite restaurant is a local spot called Fish Attack. They have the freshest fish around and the setting so laid back and far from stuffy, which I like in a sushi spot. Thiago and I can be spotted on their patio at least once a week with our dog, Bastian.
My ultimate travel destination is…My husband and I are planning a trip to Bali next year, which I have been looking forward to for years now. I am all about tropical vacations with dense culture and especially the $5 a day massages.
In my career, I am most proud of…I am most proud of the steady growth that I’ve had. I have learned a ton in the 10 years of working in the industry and am excited about what the next 10 hold for me. I think it’s going to be great. I am so ready to get in with the big boys and show them what I’ve got up my sleeves.
The best advice I’ve ever received is…My family was always so supportive of letting me do what inspires me and allowing me to take the “difficult” career path of becoming a photographer. They never doubted me. So, I would say the best advice I ever received was from my family and my high school photography teacher to just fucking go for it and follow my passion. I haven’t looked back since and am so happy to spend every day doing what I love and to be able to create every day.
As a photographer, I’ve learned…As a photographer I’ve learned that consistency is key. It has taken me this long to refine my visual style and it has continues to evolve and to be fine tuned, but the general style has remained consistent. I think that’s important to having a voice as a creative. Clients want to know what they’re going to get and they definitely know what quality and voice I offer in my work.
My goal in life is…My goal in life is to live happily and fully. I am a hungry girl. I love to experience with eyes wide open, a camera in hand and a smile on my face. It’s pretty simple.
From glittery hair ties to vintage barrettes, hair accessories are having their moment. And for good reason: With one cute piece you get a glam new hairdo without all the fuss of a trim, color, or cut. In fact, we're obsessed with this effortless trend. It's no surprise that when we stumbled upon Mane Message, an accessory company that specializes in handmade elastic hair ties, wire headbands, bobby pins, and vintage French barrettes, we were beyond excited.
Founded in 2009 by then college student Olivia Hayward, Mane Message first started out as a creative outlet. Olivia would make accessories, photograph them and post them onto her Etsy Shop. However once her small hair tie endeavor took off and became her main source of income, she knew she was on to something. For the rest of college, she ran her company out of her teeny tiny dorm room at Pitzer College. It was there; she also learned the importance of self-motivation, drive, time-management and how passionate she was about her work.
Currently, Olivia runs Mane Message out of her home in Berkeley, California. She is inspired by current fashion trends, bright-saturated colors, pop culture as well as the San Francisco Area. Her brand can be found at stores like Paper Source and has been featured in magazines such as Us Weekly, Shape, Elle, Refinery 29, and Teen Vogue to name a few.
Although Mane Message has grown in size, it's core goal of transforming everyday essentials into things of meaning and beauty has not. Through Mane Message, Olivia encourages women to ditch their run-of-the-mill drug store hair elastics and hair clips for handmade objects of substance. Shop her collection here.
Find out more about this cool girl and accessory designer below. She gives us the 411 on her make-up bag essentials, her personal style, and the best advice she's ever received.
My style in 3 words…Colorful, Funky and Feminine
My nicknames are…There’s a handful of people who call me Liv, but for the most part I’m just Olivia
My drugstore must-have is…This is hard for me! I have a serious drugstore beauty product addition. My top 3 products are: L’Oreal Butterfly Mascara, Covergirl Ready Set Gorgeous Foundation and Dove Beauty Bars.
My last purchase was…A big ol’ cup of coffee
My top 3 make-up bag essentials are…Oil blotting sheets, lip balm and eye shadow primer
My beauty secret is…Skincare is vital!
I smell like…Currently rocking Indigo by Nest
My de-stress trick is…Real Housewives
My secret talent is…Baking sourdough bread from scratch
My first celebrity crush was…John Mayer
My guilty pleasure is…Trashy reality television
Right now, I’m obsessed with…The podcast Bitch Sesh. It’s a Real Housewives breakdown show by Casey Wilson and Danielle Schneider.
My favorite website is…Jezebel or Etsy
My favorite TV show is…Oh goodness! How do I pick? Mad Men will always have a special place in my heart.
When I have some free time, I…Walk my dog Ramona around the neighborhood
For breakfast, I always have…Eggs, toast and coffee
My favorite restaurant is…Kirala in Berkeley, California. The sushi is amazing.
My ultimate travel destination is…So many places, but I’d love to eat my way through Italy.
In my career, I am most proud of…Building a business that challenges me and allows me to be creative on a daily basis
The best advice I’ve ever received is…“Make it Work” by Tim Gunn
As a designer, I’ve learned…It’s hard work! You have to constantly be thinking about what’s next.
My goal in life is…Happiness!
What do you get when you take a creative aesthetic eye and pair it with some talent and a make-up brush? New York City based make-up artist, Yuui Vision.
Originally from Japan, Yuui came to NYC to pursue a career as a make-up artist. Since then, she’s taken the fashion industry by storm by working for an array of well-known fashion brands including Armani Exchange, Diesel, Cynthia Rowley, and Nautica, to name a few. In addition to doing make up for fashion shoots and editorials, she also works with a number of celebrities like Sky Ferreira and Lion Babe. From natural beauty looks to more avant-garde ones, Yuui can do it all! And, unlike other make-up artists, she can also do hair and nails; she’s truly a well-versed beauty guru!
Aside from being talented creatively, Yuui Vision is a fun babe to be around. There are definitely no dull moments on set when she is around. From her happy, outgoing personality to her love of unicorns and glitter, Yuui radiates positive energy. Curious to learn more about her, we thought it’d be fun if we could get her to share more info about herself. From her guilty pleasure to her favorite TV show, 25 questions with Yuui, starts now!
My style is 3 words…Just Do You
My nick names are…Yuui Vision. This is what my long time friend, Kenyon Phillips, started to call me a while ago because it has been my website domain. Now, people just call me "Vision" and they believe it's my real last name sometimes.
My drug store must haves is…Starburst and RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream
My last purchase was…B12 tablets. Mama needs more energy.
My makeup bag essential is…Glitter
My beauty secret is…Good sex.
I smell like…sniff sniff ummm, Unicorn
I keep in shape by…Running around the city and hyperventilating from stress.
My de-stress trick is…To have a good time with friends and to reaffirm my goals.
My first celebrity crush was…Audrey Hepburn. When I first watched Roman Holiday at age 6, that was it for me.
My secret talent is…That I can make myself cry in under 10 min.
My fashion icon is…Wait I only need to pick one icon? Ugh, then my fairy god mother, Diana Vreeland.
My guilty pleasure is…Tequila for breakfast on my days off.
Right now, I'm obsessed with…Kim Chi!!!! She is too cute!
My favorite website is…Have you ever heard of a website called YouTube? It's great! You should check it out.
The music artist who always gets me dancing is…I don't really dance, but you know, Britney Spears. Forever.
My favorite TV show is…Law & Order Special Victims Unit
When I have some free time, I…Read manga
For breakfast I always have…A cup of coffee with some love and hugs.
My favorite restaurant is…Red Bamboo. I'm vegetarian and this place has good food for us.
My ultimate travel destination is…The Moon and the Mars
In my career, I'm most proud of…Meeting countless wonderful people/unicorns and became friends with them! What a lucky lady!
The best advice I have ever received is…Brighter the light darker the shadow. My mom is pretty wise.
As a makeup artist I learned…You become who you want to be
My life goal is…To fill the world with YAAAAAAS
Talk about love at first sight. Once I laid my eyes on Solkissed Swimwear a few years back, there was no other bathing suit I wanted to sit poolside or beachside in. Playful silhouettes? Check. Punchy prints? Check. Bold colors? Check. The brainchild of designer Alejandra Boggiano, this feminine yet edgy brand has it all!
Although Alejandra was raised along the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, CA (like me) with sand in her toes and salt in her hair, she was born in Miraflores, Peru. In fact, she spent much of her childhood in Iquique, Chile. It was there, she first realized her love of fashion, flipping through fashion magazines and circling the outfits she loved, dreaming of one day being able to wear them.
So, after college, Alejandra decided to leave her beach life in San Diego and move to New York City in order to pursue her dream of becoming a fashion designer. There, she attended the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology.
Wanting to create a line that tied her Latin roots, love of California beaches, and newfound NYC style, Solkissed Swimwear was born. From the beginning, Alejandra relied on the support of her family to turn her brand into what it is today. In fact, she credits a lot of her success to her mother, Ana Maria- Quintana-Gurt, who now works full-time at Solkissed, overseeing production in Lima, Peru.
As if working with your mom isn’t wonderful enough, Alejandra believes in giving back too. Her family-oriented values have remained with the brand as Solkissed maintains a commitment to work with women micro-entrepreneurs. These women not only get to sew from their homes, allowing them to take care of their families, but they receive fair-trade pay for their work as well.
In addition to her website, you can find Solkissed in stores like Nordstrom, Shopbop, and Diane's Beachwear.
From her beauty secrets to the best advice she’s ever received, read on to find out more about this talented young swimwear designer now!
My style in 3 words…Relaxed, confident and creative
My nicknames are…Maja- it’s short for my full name Maria Alejandra. Actually, nobody in Peru or Chile where I used to live knows me as Ale or Alejandra. Maja has been my nickname all my life and it wasn’t until I moved to the States that I lost that.
My drugstore must-have is…Toilet paper, lol
My last purchase was…A bagel for breakfast
My top 3 make-up bag essentials are…Chanel Perfection Lumiere, the Sephora Outrageous Curl Mascara and Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz (i have no eyebrows otherwise)
My beauty secret is…Eyebrows on point, I do my eyebrows even if I decide not to wear make up.
I smell like…Prada
I keep in shape by…Class Pass
My de-stress trick is…Think of the positive in each situation; there must be a reason for it.
My secret talent is…I’m hilarious
My first celebrity crush was…Nick Carter
The music artist who always gets me dancing is…The Biebs
My fashion icon is…Olivia Palermo
My guilty pleasure is…Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and NY, maybe also Atlanta.
Right now, I’m obsessed with…My boyfriend
My favorite website is…solkissed.com :)
My favorite TV show is…Scandal
When I have some free time, I…Drive to San Diego to spend time with my nephew.
For breakfast, I always have…Green tea latte with soy
My favorite restaurant is…La Mar in San Francisco
My ultimate travel destination is…Anywhere with clear waters and perfect weather.
In my career, I am most proud of…Building a strong brand out of nothing.
The best advice I’ve ever received is…Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.
As a swimsuit suit designer, I’ve learned…That confidence is beautiful and it shows. Sometimes the prettiest people are the most insecure.
My goal in life is…To live a simple life, have a happy home and strong business.