11/26/16

4725mag feminist commentary: standing with Planned Parenthood and anyone affected by the 2016 election


Like a lot of people, I was rocked to my core by the outcome of the recent election. A couple of weeks on, I still don't feel normal. But that is ok, I don't want to let go of that. Because if this ever does feel normal, I would've become desensitized to this situation. I would've accepted the madness and stopped caring about what actually makes sense to me in this world. And because of that, I never want to forget that November 9th feeling.

However, I did have to come to terms with the reality that the world did not stop turning that night. And despite the exhaustion, the desire to ignore the news, hibernate for a few years and blank out the world, realize that now is the time we actually have to find the energy, from somewhere, and get to work.


Part of my getting to work process entails a few things. One of which was having these pins made. All sales profits will go to Planned Parenthood, an indispensable, absolutely vital and under threat service in the political climate of today.

My aim here is that with your help I can turn an investment of a few hundred bucks into a couple of thousand bucks for Planned Parenthood. If we do this well, I'd love to do another run of pins with different designs and donate those profits across other pro-women, anti-bigotry, pro-earth and pro-immigrant organizations.

But first things fist, click here to help me make a solid donation to Planned Parenthood this holiday season and buy one (or a few) of these limited run pins.

XOXO,
Gemma.

11/17/16

4725mag travels: Hollywood Hills Hotel, Los Angeles

Join me for a cup of coffee and a story...

I used to hate Los Angeles.

The first time I visited LA, 10 or so years ago, I played in a band that opened up for a couple of much bigger bands at the House of Blues on Sunset Strip. We rolled in, hungover from our show the night before without much time to acclimate before having to soundcheck and quickly play.

The House of Blues has since shut down but I remember vividly it was at that show that I saw my first pair of IRL fake boobs; large, painful, curious looking and jarring to my early twenty-something self. Joel McHale was also at the show. That I was far less jarred by, and he even bought merch.


On the way home from the show, starving and tipsy (again) I needed to eat. I walked down Sunset until I hit a liquor store where I bought some snacks for the room I was sharing with my bandmates, our merch seller (I'm avoiding calling her a "merch girl" purposefully) and a friend of a friend who came to the show.

The merch slinger and said friend of a friend proceeded to loudly hook up with each other on the floor of our small, and over crowded, hotel room.

My outsider perception of people from LA being somewhat self absorbed, from the plastic surgery to the "I don't care if you hear me loudly hooking up with some girl I just met. On YOUR hotel room floor" had been notably fulfilled. It was safe to say I was eager to leave LA. To just get a good night of rest if nothing else.


Fast forward a decade or so and now, I love LA. 

As a M-F, 9-5 working woman, I have a newfound appreciation for the quick dose of escapism LA provides in just a short, cheap flight from OAK to LAX. A weekend of eternal summertime is just an hour away. I also love how insane and detached from reality LA is; simultaneously the birthplace and graveyard of dreaming big. And lastly, but not leastly, because of this absolutely falling apart in the next earthquake yet perfect little hotel nestled right in the Hollywood Hills.

Their pool is overlooked by Yamashiro restaurant - which has an insane history, FYI - with a view of Hollywood and a 600 year old pagoda (again, crazy history). I could spend my life at this secluded, under used pool.


The rooms are more studio apartment-esque. They are incredibly basic and could even be described as dreary, but they are always clean. I like to envision not having to work, yet somehow having the money to live, then buying and remodeling one of these apartments. 

My boyfriend and I would have to get rid of 98% of our stuff to live there, and we'd live this minimal life with tons of plants and I'd fill my days writing and taking photos... but yeah that ain't the case. So we just stay there once or twice a year. 

The balconies there are absolutely my favorite place on earth to have morning coffee. Overlooking DTLA, and looking up into Hollywood Hills feeling the sun on my bones.  


The lighting at this place is perfect. If I'm in LA I'm using these balconies as the back drop for my every IG. I'm obsessed with the sharp angles, shadows and the lines created by the sun hitting this building juxtaposed with the rolling landscape in which this home away from home is nestled. 

So, the point of this story? Yeah, there isn't really one. Just that I guess I'm getting a little older, less prone to snap judgement and I now have a big spot in my heart for LA. 


11/9/16

4725mag feminist commentary: a devastated citizen of planet earth


I have been up much of the night, sick to my stomach. Part awful pizza that was stress scoffed down for dinner, part the gut wrenching reality that Donald Trump has been elected as POTUS. I am British, months on I have still not really processed Brexit and what that taught me about how my home country has changed in the last 10 years that I've lived in the US. I am shocked and disturbed that I'm experiencing this same, stomach knotting disappointment at society twice within just a few months. 
I'm appalled, beyond appalled, that racism, xenophobia, sexism, misogyny, homophobia and a suffocating rejection of inclusion has become the norm for the world in which we live. I am at an impasse that America watched along at the toxic, mentally and emotionally ravaging last 18 months of this presidential campaign and that much of the voting US, the place I now call home, still felt that Trump was the right candidate for this job. It is deeply worrying that those who support Trump are now validated in their decision, united in their hatred and the message this screams out to the world. 

But this is not normal, none of this is. 

I am horrified to witness this mass vitriol and resentment as an adult woman in a way I've never before experienced, in a world that I naively assumed only moved forward, and didn't look back. I am mixed race, I am a woman and never before have I felt that either of these things mattered or held me back in anyway. I have a newly reinforced appreciation for how fortunate that makes me. However, in today's political climate, I am having a moment of weakness because this feels personal. Because this is a vote against people I love; against my mom, my sisters, my nieces, my friends, my friends daughters and my co-workers. It's a vote against women, against people of color and against any and all minorities. This scares me, and I can't deny that. I won't deny that. If I did, it would only down play and desensitize this absolutely unbelievable modern day segregation.

I believed, really believed, that he would be going away today. Off to develop, for personal financial gain, his news network to further whip up fear among those too ill informed, or lacking curiosity, to ever question him. However, that is not the case and I'm in utter shock. 

But, the sun is shining today. Birds are singing outside, flowers are blooming in my garden and life is going on around me. Life goes on and we move forward, away from this. 
So today I allow myself to lick my wounds, process my disbelief, eat saltines (damn pizza) and feel weepy. But, this shall pass. Under my shock and grief, I already feel the fire in my belly burning. Burning hotter than hell to fight the good fight in the best, most positive way I can by being the best example of a Nasty Woman I can be for my friends, my family, my friends kids and to always keep the bigger picture, the bigger vision in the forefront of my mind.

This is an undeniable, devastating set back, but hate will never win and despite how this feels right now, this will not defeat us. 

9/18/16

4725mag's daily fashion essentials: NYFW vs. LFW street style

New York this past week left me feeling kind of [insert emoji with hand questioningly on chin]. Not the shows, or more so the coverage of the shows that I devour on my commute (I only moonlight as a fashion blogger), but more so the street style on display coming to and from the shows. Being fair, there were some highlights I shouldn't ignore.


Jan Michael Quammie killing it in an ensemble best described as tropical (which I have a soft spot for) Fendi x comfort Adidas x WTH is that Loewe puzzle bag color combo?!


Leandra Medine maintaining eternal DILLIGAF style maven status in a "tiki hut roof dyed pink and purple" tiered skirt that has my heart going boom.


And lastly, but not least-ly, Chriselle Lim in my favorite, newly discovered designer Sies Marjan. To best describe this, I've coined a new term; 70s pajama clown. And I mean that in the best possible way, this blouse is x-quis'! But these ladies aside, there was a lot of *holds hand up to gesture "meh"*. 

The off the shoulder top? Been there and done that, much to the dismay of my must be bra-ed at all times rack. Monochrome? I mean, I love that. I work in corporate America so of course I do, but I already do that! Pink all over? Much love you too honey, but are you new? No.

I look to Fashion Week to give me a window into up coming trends and for style nuggets I can subtly inject into my everyday wardrobe. In order to get this fix, I expect need a little more from fashions leading edge than the rehashing of existing, current trends.

I'm probably the only person on earth who prefers winter Fashion Week street style. The layering and multiple accessory options cold weather gives provides me 1000% more inspiration.


Case in point; remember the sweater as a scarf? I live in Oakland, California where it rarely drops below 60 so I never got to do this. But did I like that is was an option? Yes.


Life is just better (opinion totally validated by Susie Lau's smile) in the snow while wearing a hat, coat and multiple knitwear accoutrements. I even see some fringe poking out there! This whispers to me... "take risks. Clash your patterns and textures. It all works together, have at it! And, have it ALL!"

You know what else is telling me this? LFW.

I'm going there; LFW has kicked NYFW's butt in terms of street style and the resulting inspiration this time around. TOPSHOP's Snapchat alone has had me salivating in a way NY couldn't manage.

As a broad generalization, I think it would be fair to argue that London is typically more eclectic and leans less heavily into trends and more so into pure expression through individual style. Not to discount New York street style, I adore its more polished approach equally, but London feels more "fuck it". Less concerned with what anyone thinks.


Here is Fanni Marie in a swimsuit (sans pool, but with rain), Circus Hotel pants - that could easily be vintage, Superga's tied like ballet slippers and a much loved Balenciaga purse. There is an ease and individuality to this that feels obtainable while simultaneously urging you to find your own personal version of this look.


I don't know who this beaut' is, and I don't know who she is wearing but I ADORE this ballsy mass of texture. And not only texture on texture, but texture on texture with a cropped silhouette. *Round of applause*

While I've not been blessed with the figure to pull this off, I high five anyone who a) has and b) wears it with a big f'n smile on her face. 


2 words: dream layering. It feels simple due to it's predominantly monochromatic coloring, but once you try to understand it, it is quite complex. Where do Nastya Lisanky's boots end and her skirt begin? And the ruffled pants expertly balance the volume of the leather jacket cape and the Sonia Rykiel sweater (RIP, lady). Not to mention, the minimal hair and make up, A+. 


And I've put these Alberta Ferretti mules in and out of my shopping cart more times than I'm comfortable admitting. But, would I ever have dreamt of tying a friendship bracelet or three around my ankles to accompany them? Absolutely not! 

So for the inspiration, I thank you LFW. And Milan and Paris, + the very many other less covered global Fashion Weeks, I look forward to what you have in store. 

7/25/16

4725mag's daily fashion essentials: it's getting hot in here, so put on all your tropical clothes

... Yes, that title is a bit of a stretch.

And I too apologize for falling victim to the throes of summer. The road trips, the weddings (latest wedding outfit post coming soon), the grilling, the eating and drinking, the not wanting to work out and the inevitable the lack of blogging that doing all of that and holding down a full time job brings.

But, despite a small hiatus, I'm climbing back into the saddle with a bombastic, classically clashing, high-low (mostly low) ensemble for a night out on the balmy, summer kissed town.


So you'll notice my head is creepily cut off in all of these photo's. Don't worry, I still actually own my head, but I was pool fresh here, make up free and a tiny bit sunburned. As my locale and my outfit are pretty full on and distracting, I thought I'd spare you the additional visual stimuli and just cut that shit out. 


I don't usually match with my interiors, but when I do, I make sure it's a tropical explosion. This top is a vintage *ahem* Forever 21 (so, like 7 years old) cover up that with a strategically placed safety pin magically transforms into a blouse. Just like magic. 


I've had this, almost Southwestern inspired, hot pink woven mini-skirt - scored at the GAP outlet -  for a few years. This statement piece has been dressed up, dressed down and dressed kind of crazy, ala this evening. It can do it all. Moral of this tale? Don't be afraid of a bright, colorful statement piece. Invest and then try it a few different ways to make it work for your closet and your style.


To accessorize, you could tone it down, but why? It's hot, therefore you are entitled to act a little bit cray and doing it through fashion is a totally responsible way to execute that right. These lace up sandals have been in firm rotation this summer. I am in the "leopard is a neutral" camp, so they have a lot of wide spread potential across outfits, plus this heel is leg flattering and totally walkable. Win win. And topping this off with a be-tasseled (and sadly sold out) Rebecca Minkoff Sofia clutch-to-crossbody purse was the only thing I could do.

Run wild and free, enjoy your summer and here's to pattern mixing like a freak.

7/10/16

4725mag travels: summer in the Pacific Northwest, a photo diary


















Top to bottom:
- Wild cat and a frog // Trees of Mystery, Klamath, CA
- Restroom // Trees of Mystery, Klamath, CA
- Shrub detail // Trees of Mystery, Klamath, CA
- Faux tree and Bigfoot // Trees of Mystery, Klamath, CA
- Plastic chair and flower detail // Trees of Mystery, Klamath, CA
- Fencing detail // Trees of Mystery, Klamath, CA
- Paul Bunyun and Babe // Trees of Mystery, Klamath, CA
- Super 8 selfie // Corvallis, OR
- Super 8 bathroom detail // Corvallis, OR
- Seattle skyline and the Puget Sound // Queen Anne, Seattle, WA
- Thrifted trinkets // Southwest Seattle, WA
- Thrift store mirror detail // Southwest Seattle, WA
- Shooting from the hip // Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA
- Over the head shot // Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA
- Lunch time rush // Downtown Seattle, WA
- Lunch time rest // Downtown Seattle, WA
- Mount Shasta // I5, Shasta, CA

6/1/16

4725mag's daily fashion essentials: welcoming summer with vintage resort wear, tropical prints and (even more) Gucci

So it's officially summer after this past long weekend, right? That means I can now exclusively dress in resort wear and it'll be totally normal? Even just to run the most benign of errand? Of course.


So, now I've granted myself this permission, you can bet your life savings that from now until Labor Day I will be wearing this to go and pick up my cocktail fixings from Safeway. And if not this exact outfit, some variation of maximum silhouetted, most definitely printed and always fabulous (or ridiculous, take your pick).


On a recent trip to Florida for a wedding I discovered this wonderful matching skirt and blouse set - in a Goodwill. I squealed like a piglet the second this print caught my attention, grabbed this outfit so quickly I may have even broken the sound barrier and prayed to the god of style that it would fit.


The "top" is an oversize (my favorite silhouette) shirt dress that hits a few inches above the knee. Perfect worn on its own, super easy to doll up with accessories or simply throw over a bathing suit.

Accompanying it is a glorious wrap around maxi skirt in the same mega tropical print. It brings the benefits of waist cinching to the wearable party to add shape to this "vacation in an outfit" ensemble. I ain't mad that it also has a thigh high split; even though this is from Grandma's vacation closet, this twinset is certainly not frumpy.


Especially when you pair it with some summer ready slides; cue my Gucci Tian Princetown Slippers. I bought these a few months back and have been waiting for the right weather and outfit to debut them.

They just feel wrong with a pair of jeans and a casual top - adorned with butterflies, parrots and a delicate bamboo + floral print, they command more originality and thought from an outfit. I've been sitting on them and occasionally cooing over the beautiful box just waiting for the right look these could bring together.

As high-low or vintage-modern style is my favorite, not to mention the mix of color and tropical vibes of the two piece, this top and skirt was just what I was looking for to compliment these slides.


And on that note, I'm off to the grocery store dressed like Elizabeth Taylor's ghost on vacation. Happy summer, everyone - finally!

5/22/16

4725mag feminist commentary: I confess, I'm a girl and I don't like Girls

At work when the show first aired, it often came up in casual conversation. "Did you watch Girls last night? Oh my God! Can you believe THAT happened?! And [insert character name] did that?!"

I would look blankly on as the conversation became more animated, often more high pitched in tone and then state with blunt candor, "I don't like Girls".

In doing this, I always halted the excitement and raised suspicion. As if it's my expected duty, being the owner of a vagina, to not question and to only champion the show. 

Image creditI chose this bummed looking pic of Hannah, but I'm sure she actually wouldn't give a shit about this POV.                                                                                       

I decided after watching a couple of episodes, in a fairly casual way, that I didn't like the show and my TV watching time would go to shows I preferred. I would openly share that positioning during those aforementioned workplace conversations, but upon reading the shock in the room I would almost apologize for my comments.

"Maybe I haven't given it enough of a chance yet, I've only watched a couple of episodes and I think Lena Dunham is great". 

Which, for the record, I do. I applaud the comfort she feels in her own skin and the success she is finding through the refreshing fashion in which she conducts her work, presents herself with a unique sense of personal style and her general no BS approach in interviews and beyond. 

Image credit. And you should be, I do like you, Lena. 

I am not here to bash a woman who is doing exceptionally well for herself. And I want to call out and address the obvious - I am not a naysayer because I feel a sense of bitterness or envy about her success with this show. And I've thought long and hard about why it is I don't like Girls and challenged myself on it because it seems like something, in the interests of championing women, I should like. 

Now, a few years into the show and a few more years into my career, I avoid participation in the water cooler Girls chit chat. But when the subject comes up amongst friends whom will not be shocked or surprised and shit, might even understand where I'm coming from, I freely articulate why it is I do not like Girls.

This POV didn't come lightly. As a result of the at work backlash of my Girls dismissal, I did a lot of soul searching and wanted to be fair in my criticism as it was so different to how a lot of other people felt about the show. I thought about the things that didn't sit well with me about Girls and questioned my own feelings toward them.

Image credit. Actual relatable quote from the show. 

Let's start with the nudity, because it is the literal definition of gratuitous. It takes away from otherwise poignant or relevant scenes and distracts from the relatable experiences there was an actual opportunity to authentically convey.

When something is being lauded for its revolutionary and fresh representation of your generation from a female perspective but it's riddled with a bunch of pillow fight 'til a boob falls out reinforcements of unrealistic female nudity, I'm not only wildly put off and less receptive to any clever writing throughout the duration of the episode, I'm also disappointed.

For example, within the two and a half episodes I've watched, there were two scenes where two female buddies took baths together in a moment of sadness. No matter how jobless, drunk or sad I've been - and I've been in my 20s so you can trust I've been all three - I've never sought solace in a nude bath with a pal. Definitely in a swimsuit in a jacuzzi tub with a friend after approx. 50 Modelo lights when we couldn't figure out how to use the hot tub because, well, drunk?! But never has my BFF popped her head around the door while I was chilling in the bath on a sober Tuesday evening and casually decided to join me so we could have a good naked cry or play footsie together.

This just doesn't happen. (Well, not amongst my friends. And if it happens with yours, I applaud your lack of inhibitions.)

Image credit. And I use this gif with tongue firmly in cheek.

The times I've been in conversation with hetero male friends and/or coworkers about the show, these are the scenes that stick in their minds. The irony and the relatable humor is lost, but the serving of boob, hint of a faux lesbian tryst or awkward sex scene prevails. Of course, a fella can appreciate smart writing or sharp wit, but when it comes with a side of boob, even the smart and respectful men in my life comment on that first. I'd be lying if I said that wasn't a bummer to me.

Does that mean human flesh shouldn't ever be shown because straight dudes can't handle it? Absolutely f'n not. But I strongly believe a woman's physicality should be used strategically, in the right situations (aka not in the middle of Walgreens for no apparent reason) and always secondarily to your brain. What I saw of Girls did not communicate that, and that too is a bummer to me.

Perhaps there is some grand irony I'm missing, which you can feel free to debate with me. But as a Millennial something or other looking to popular culture to accurately give me something funny and entertaining to relate to as I navigate relationships, my career and life at large, Girls just fell flat and I wish I did, but I don't understand its acclaim. 

5/15/16

4725mag's daily fashion essentials: off duty style, the "double denim + vintage collab" edition

Double denim; it gets a lot of stick. But it is a staple in my off duty wardrobe. Hell, it even sneaks into my M-F wardrobe on a Thursday or Friday with the right pair of professionalizing shoes or top. But we're not here to talk dressing up, we're here to talk #darlingweekend style. The days of the week where you can wear whatever you damn please, without the man putting perimeters around your look!


I prefer to call double denim a timeless style duo or a blank fashion canvas with near endless customizing options! I'm not sure what other fabric combination would allow me to wear these shoes and allow them the attention they deserve. Perhaps a dark colored chunky knit in cooler weather would work, but for spring my old and much loved Levi's denim jacket accompanying my cropped bootcut jeans just felt right.


Under my jacket I layered a vintage tank, representing my beloved Miami. I wanted to keep everything fairly simple so my shoes could steal the show, but I do like to mix in comfy, casual and/or vintage t-shirts during the weekend as they get zero air time during the week.


And here are all the parts working together, as I braved some seriously windy conditions to take this photo. All for the blogging cause!


And one last picture of the shoes, because vintage scores such as these patchwork suede beauties are special little things.


Godspeed and happy weekend double deniming.