Hello! It's been about a little over a year since I've penned a personal post, so I though it was about time that I reintroduced myself!
I, admittedly, don't share much personal stuff on here and Instagram (well, maybe a bit on my story), because I like to keep most of my posts streamlined so they're mostly fashion and lifestyle related. However, I've noticed that I tend to feel more connected to people who have opened up and shared themselves -- they suddenly don't feel like random strangers I follow online, but more like friends. I've had many opportunities to connect with readers and followers, and that's always left me with a warm fuzzy feeling.
I've gotten enough messages here and there about me and blogging that I thought I'd throw together this post to share with you all:
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in California.
What are some of your favorite places in California?
I shared my favorite spots for food in the Bay Area here. I think most of the San Francisco tourist spots are actually very cool. The only one that I'd suggest skipping is Alcatraz. My favorites are, of course, the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, and Union Square. A cable car ride is a must, and if you have time, perhaps catching a ferry or crossing the Golden Gate Bridge over to Sausalito to enjoy stunning views of San Francisco. If you need more recommendations for outside of San Francisco, feel free to contact me here.
If you could live anywhere, where would you choose?
I think I’d stay in California! I’m very lucky that I was born and raised in such a beautiful part of the country, and I truly love it here. The lifestyle is right up my alley. If I had to leave California, I would probably relocate to NYC, since I enjoy visiting so much. I’d also love to live somewhere warm, so perhaps somewhere in the south.
How did you come up with your blog name?
It took me forever to come up with the name, "Chic in Cali." I had initially wanted something like, "The ______," but obviously, that didn't work out. I now think of Chic in Cali as an homage to my home state.
Why did you start your blog?
I’ve always been interested in fashion. I used to spend hours watching fashion-related videos on YouTube, and at one point, partook in creating those videos. I stopped for a few years until I came across some beautiful blogger photos on Instagram. I decided to give my fashion hobby another shot on a different platform, and the rest is history! You can read more about my journey here.
What did you study in college? Did you study something expecting to go into blogging?
I didn't begin blogging until after college, so no, I didn't choose my concentrations with blogging in mind. However, I think that if I hadn't pursued my English concentration, I may not have begun writing my blog. I've loved writing from a young age, but my interests waned as English and literature courses became less like creative-writing classes and more analytical. It wasn't until I took an offbeat English course, Writing about Food, that I reignited my love for writing. If I were to go back, I would've probably studied marketing or something more fashion related.
What are some things that people don't know or don't see about blogging?
So much! Blogging is so much more than snapping a few photos and writing a few lines. Photo shoots, location scouting, planning the post, photo editing, social media calendars, etc. each take up a significant chunk of time. All that behind-the-scenes stuff is far from glamorous. The outcome, however, is worth all those hours. I go into depth about blogging behind-the-scenes here, if you'd like to read more about it.
Another secret of mine is that I actually put a lot of fashion choices in Samuel’s (or my mom's) hands. For example, a lot of the purses you see were chosen by him. Sometimes I’m too lazy to pick out a dress, and he'll pull a few from the ones that I've narrowed down for me to decide. He's been so supportive and helpful with my blog.
How do you plan for a photoshoot or a blog post?
Blog post ideas usually just come to me or are requested by readers. The primary part of planning a blog post is just visualizing how I want to lay it out and figure out the photographic story that I'd like to tell. I think planning for shoots is definitely more difficult, since it's quite challenging to execute your vision perfectly. That's why I love to work with my trusty photographer -- we're very in sync and I can blabber on about what I'd like and she'll just nail it. Most of the time is spent spent shooting outfits, while the rest is to shoot "styled" stuff, more product-focused content. There's a lot behind planning for a photoshoot, especially if there are multiple outfits involved. The planning usually begins 2 weeks prior to the shoot, and a large chunk of time is spent browsing online to put together my outfits. Once everything arrives, I have to make sure everything fits and works together, and rarely does everything work out perfectly. In that case, it's back to the drawing board. Leading up to the day of the shoot, I steam all my clothes, pack everything up in a suitcase, and prepare any finishing touches. On the morning of, I go out a purchase all the perishable "props," like flowers, pastries, etc.
How do you find a good photographer?
I found myself asking people this when I decided to work with a photographer. Unfortunately, it's 99% luck. I've worked with a handful of photographers who ultimately, weren't a good fit. Whether it was the quality of their work or they didn't deliver what we had agreed on, a good photographer is hard to come by. The best tip I can give you is to hash out all the details prior to paying the deposit, but not even that always pans out. If you're super worried, I suppose signing a contract makes it more official, but I haven't needed to do so yet.
Will you ever go into vlogging?
Never say never, but definitely not at the moment. I used to have a YouTube channel, and I have always found talking to a camera to be unbelievably awkward and uncomfortable.
What are some of your favorite stores?
I usually shop at department stores or online because it's so convenient. There’s something nice about purchasing almost everything I need under one roof. I also love Anthropologie, J. Crew, Lilly Pulitzer, and Brooks Brothers. But to be honest, this list is ever-changing.
What are some of your favorite designers? What are some of your favorite designer pieces that you have?
Chanel, Dior, Miu Miu, and Dolce & Gabbana are my all-time favorite designers. I love Chanel and Dior for obvious reasons -- they're the epitome of elegance. Miu Miu and Dolce & Gabbana satisfy my need for pink, feminine, and sparkly things. Each piece that I own is special and has so many memories attached. A few of my favorites include my Chanel vanity bag, my Lady Dior, my Dolce & Gabbana Sicily bag, and my Miu Miu bag. My favorite shoes include my classic Chanel ballet flats, my Chloé scalloped flats, and my embellished Miu Miu flats.
What was your first "splurge" item?
That would have to be my Chanel Boy Bag. It was the first luxury item that I purchased all by myself.
How do you store all your accessories?
My bags make up the bulk of my accessories. I keep my purses in their respective dust bags and/or boxes. I'm very careful and gentle with my bags. I'm aware that this isn't the prettiest way to store them -- I just can't bear to watch them collect dust. I also have drawers dedicated for clutches, crossbodies, and smaller leather goods.
Do you still post your unwanted clothes and accessories for people to claim? What do you do with items you no longer need or like?
I get this question a lot, as a lot of you may remember, I used to post items on here or on Instagram for people to claim for free. I started doing that because I thought it'd be nice to share some things with readers and followers, they'd enjoy and appreciate the item(s). I did it on a first-come, first-serve basis and I didn't set a limit on how many items each person could claim, so it resulted in people taking advantage of that and were just claiming everything just for the sake of it. Clearly, some people were bummed that their item of choice was already claimed, but it was the people who felt the need to lash out at me and harass me that made me stop offering my items to the public. That crossed the line. I've been debating whether or not to bring it back. If I were to do so, I think I would definitely set some limits and rules so more people could claim the items successfully.
I've always donated my unwanted items. Even when I was giving things away to readers, it was just a handful of things, and the rest would always go to charity.
If you could only wear one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I'm torn between dresses or comfy workout gear, but definitely something comfortable.
Do you actually dress like you do on your Instagram?
Not always. When we're going out or traveling, I like to dress up a bit more. But I'm usually just in something comfortable, like workout gear (tank, leggings, and sweater).
What's one thing that you've been wearing nonstop lately?
It's just beginning to warm up, which means that I can finally wear dresses again! A dress with sneakers has been my go-to look, but not because I think it's über stylish, but because I've been dealing with knee pain for quite some time now (~2 years), and it literally gotten to the point where it was the logical thing to do. But it's not that bad of a combo and definitely much kinder on my feet and knee. I find this look to be especially great when we're traveling and have to do a ton of walking.
How has your style changed over the years?
I used to wear everything from graphic tees to sweatshirts to dresses of all sorts. I purchased random pieces here and there and just had a ton of everything. I was guilty of buying things just because it was on sale, not because I actually liked it. My style wasn't consistent. Lately, I’ve really narrowed it down to more chic and refined pieces in mostly neutral shades. When I’m feeling bright, I reach for my Lilly dresses. They’re basically the only non-neutral clothing items I own.