Library Day

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High Neck Top with Pleat Detail: ASOS | Black Pleated Skirt: Banana Republic | The Billie Boot: Madewell | Turnlock Tote in Crossgrain Leather: Coach | AMANDA Wide velvet belt with studes: Maje

About every two weeks, Sangbin and I go to the midtown library branch to pick out books to read. I read mostly non-fiction, while Sangbin prefers Science-Fiction. You can check out the books and magazines I’ve read recently on my Pinterest, here.

Today on our way to the library, we saw part of the Pulaski Day Parade on fifth avenue! It makes me so happy to see so many different backgrounds come together and celebrate cultural events like this one. When we got home, I listened to a Curious City episode called, “The Making of Polish Chicago,” while cleaning the apartment.

So…a little bit about this look: I’m really glad that the weather has cooled off because it means I can comfortably wearing long sleeves and skirts again! Sangbin has never really been a fan of this skirt, but I think it’s so fun that I try to find new ways to wear it every year. Admittedly, I usually only wear it once a season, but I want to change that. I actually bought it because it reminded me of a skirt a girl I went to school with wore during a photo shoot we were working on. Her look was almost identical except that the skirt was a little bit shorter and she wore it with black flats and glasses.

I think black and white looks so sophisticated together, but I decided to dress down this look a little bit with my Billie boots and velvet belt.

Sangbin and I have so many exciting things planned for October, so hopefully we’ll have a lot more fun outfit posts in the coming weeks! I’m taking vacation (for the first time this year) later this month and am looking forward to filling all my time with New York adventures!

Hope you are all doing well!

XXXO Maria

Our Trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island





As you guys may have seen from our weekend vlog (watch here and start the video around 3:40), Sangbin and I went the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island this weekend!

In the vlog you saw us trying (unsuccessfully) to find my great grandfathers who traveled from Europe to the United States in the 1880s and 1900s. I was so excited to find them and learn more about their voyage and was really disappointed when we couldn’t find them. The vlog ended on kind of a sad note, but I have a happy update! My mom found out more information about their departure and was able to find them in the system! It turns out that for one of my great grandfathers, they misspelled his name and the other one came through Castle Clinton, which is where immigrants came before Ellis Island opened in the 1890s.

Since we discovered the error in their documents, mom is able to formally request a correction for my great grandfather’s name, which I know would make my grandpa happy if he were still alive.

I’m so excited to learn more about their trip over to the United States and what they did when they got here! From some of the first few articles I’ve read, it looks like it was pretty gnarly (a 9 day journey for one and a 17 day journey by ship for the other).

I wasn’t really expecting to discover so much about my family’s history on a touristy weekend in the city, but now I’m inspired to start learning more about where my family came from and their experiences.





Step into Fall

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Outfit 1: Sweater – Madewell | Turtleneck – Madewell |  Jeans – Mott&Bow | Sunglasses – Madewell | Litas (Platform Heels) – Jeffrey Campbell

Outfit 2: Sweater – Madewell | Turtleneck – Madewell | Jeans – Mott&Bow | Sunglasses: Madewell | Sneakers – Adidas | Backpack – Fjallraven Kanken Mini

Outfit 3: Turtleneck – Madewell | Jeans – Mott&Bow | Pearls – Gift | 99 Wedges (Platform wedges) – Jeffrey Campbell

Fall is here! And it’s also the only season that Sangbin and I haven’t experienced in New York yet!

Since the 1 Dress, 1 Month project has officially ended, I’ve been left feeling like I still want to continue to have a uniform since I enjoy having a consistent look, the easy, and have also become more conscious about how damaging the fashion industry is places like Bangladesh and India and to the environment. If you haven’t watched the documentary, The True Cost yet, you really should.

This weekend, Sangbin and I went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island for the first time!! (You can watch our vlog here). I remember the first time I came to New York City, I was so eager to see the statue and got excited when I saw it from Battery Park. I took the advice of what seemed like every travel blogger to see it via the Staten Island ferry (because it’s free), but it was crowded and we were still far away that I couldn’t get a good picture. Sangbin and I bought our tickets months and it was so worth the wait and ~$20 for tickets.

It was the most intensive tourist attraction we’ve done in New York (had to go through two airport security style checkpoints and show ID), so I’m not sure that I would recommend it for a large group or if you’re short on time. It was also pretty physically demanding (at least for me) with lots of stairs and walking.

We ended up walking up the entire pedestal and all the way up to the crown! Luckily they have a few landings off of the staircase if you need to take a break – we ended up stopping around halfway up the statue for a breather. The inside of the crown is SO small! There were maybe 10 people up there, so we only spent a few minutes before making our descent.

Hope you are all doing well – missed you!! xxxo


Thank you to Mott & Bow for sending me these jeans to try! So far, I really love the quality and think they are a great fit for my capsule (and evolving into uniform based) wardrobe.




1 Dress, 1 Month – My Experience

1 Dress, 1 Month Project | August 7-September 5, 2016

So, as you can probably see…I wore this black dress for 30 days. Actually, I’ve worn it for more than 30 days, but I’ll share more about that later.

Why did I wear 1 dress for 1 month?

As someone who has had difficulty feeling like they fit in, I’ve been obsessed with figuring out my own identity through fashion. The logistics of the project appealed to me because it allowed me to select an outfit to represent myself for a month and have the ability to make micro adjustments to fine tune my style.

My hypothesis:

  • People would notice and think I was weird (honestly, was REALLY concerned about this during the first week)
  • I would get tired of wearing the dress
  • I would get stressed trying to style the dress differently everyday
  • I would get ready for work in less time than before I started the project

Before starting the project I:

  • Bought this dress, here, from & Other Stories
  • Put away all my clothes except for a few pieces that I thought I would mix and match with the dress. Check out that post to see what I selected, here.
  • Bought this steamer, here. This project (with this dress at least) would have been IMPOSSIBLE without it. No joke.
  • Created an excel spreadsheet to track the project including:
    • How long it took me to get ready in the morning
    • The quality of my morning (good, bad, neutral)
    • If the dress smelled or needed to be washed
    • If the dress got damaged and needed to be mended


  • People didn’t notice or if they did, they didn’t say anything to me.
  • Most of the clothing items I thought I could pair with the dress didn’t work out. (As you can probably tell from the pictures – I styled the dress very minimally)
  • On average, I spent more time getting ready in the morning, but my mood in the morning was also better than before the project because I replaced the time it took me to get dressed in the morning with breakfast and listening to the morning news.
  • I spent a lot more time on my hair and makeup in the morning and that made me happier and more confident.
  • After about two weeks, I completely forgot that I was doing the project while getting ready in the morning.
  • After the 7th day, a seam in the back of the dress started to rip. (I was convinced that it was going to rip in public during the project, but somehow it managed to survive!) After the 8th day the hem in the right sleeve almost completely came out. After the 28th day, I noticed some pilling in a small section on the back. Wearing a damaged dress bothered me.
  • During the project, I saw a picture of my former ~40 piece capsule wardrobe and couldn’t believe how many clothes I used to have! (Click here to see that picture)
  • I enjoyed the simplicity of only having one piece of clothing to care for and store
  • I felt liberated. Clothing ads and drastic sale signs in stores felt like they didn’t apply to me.

How often I washed the dress: (and other topics regarding to the care of the dress)

  • I hand washed the 100% viscose dress with laundry detergent (designed for dark clothing) in the sink once a week. For the first two weeks, I smelled the dress (I actually made Sangbin smell it too) each day to make sure it didn’t smell bad. After that I pretty much trusted that it was ok and washed it once a week.
  • I steamed the dress daily to get rid of wrinkles and make it look presentable.
  • I really felt like an owner of my dress instead of a consumer of many things. I learned how to care of my things.

Am I still wearing the dress?

Yes, at least at work. On what would have been “Day 31” I went to work in black high waisted slacks, a fitted orange shirt, and a crushed velvet belt with small gold leaf details.

I wanted to go to work after the project in “normal clothes” at least once so I could get a better perspective on what this project had done to me.

The morning of “Day 31” was surprisingly difficult for me. I was excited to wear pants, but I also had a sense of fear that my outfit wasn’t “professional enough” – which was something I didn’t have to worry about with my black dress. About an hour into the work day, a co-worker told me that I looked different and then commented that it was because I wasn’t wearing black.

Should you do this project?

Maybe…here’s what I think:

Before starting this project, I wanted to know the answers to the following questions:

  • Do I really need an expansive wardrobe?
  • What am I willing to sacrifice to have my ideal wardrobe?

I would not recommend doing this project if your goal is to de-clutter your wardrobe. My guess would be that it would be too big of a shock and that you would be counting down the days until you could get back to your normal wardrobe.

At the time that I started this project, I had already gone through the following:

  • Dramatically reduced my wardrobe several times (when I was 16, 17, 18, 22 and again at 24). Those times helped me to maintain a small wardrobe, but the clothes within that small wardrobe cycled really quickly in and out to fit my changing styles. During this time, the only quality pieces I acquired were shoes. Almost all other clothes didn’t survive.
  • Consciously decided that I wanted to transition to a uniform wardrobe instead of a generic minimal based wardrobe after reading articles and seeing famous people do the same.

If you’re REALLY going to transition to a minimal wardrobe AND be happy with it – you have to pivot your beliefs and then pivot your behaviors. Meaning that you can’t just change a behavior (e.g. go from wearing a different outfit everyday to wearing the same one everyday)

I’ve noticed a lot of posts encourage hopeful minimalists to  go through de-cluttering exercises and while I do think they provide a buzz from a sense of accomplishment (look how much free space I have in my closet I have!) the results are often only short term. At least in my experience, it wasn’t until I changed my beliefs about clothes that I was able to be happy with less.

If you do the project, I would love if you used #1dress1month or #1outfit1month so I can see how it goes!

Thank you to everyone who followed along on my journey! Your words of encouragement and support mean so much.