Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Dreamy Jewelry by HerDream

I recently added some beautiful pieces to my jewelry collection!  The pieces are extra special and unique, as each one is handcrafted by Marylou, the owner and designer of HerDream.  I discovered this lovely lady's bohemian bracelets and handmade dreamcatchers on etsy.com.  Etsy is an e-commerce website where you can purchase and sell handmade or vintage items.  I originally started my small business selling my own designs for handcrafted iPhone covers on etsy, and have found the site to be an amazing resource and marketplace for small business owners like me.

HerDream is based in Central California, south of the San Francisco Bay Area.  Marylou clearly designs and creates each item with lots of love.  I think her shop name perfectly describes the jewelry she creates!  Each piece is simple and bohemian inspired, many of which feature turquoise accents with dreamy, earthy, natural tones. 

What I especially love about HerDream's handcrafted jewelry, is that it is not mass produced. The pieces are truly unique because each one will have individual differences in size, shape and the color of the beads.  If you are looking for something special for Mother's Day or your best friend, consider shopping at HerDream for a one-of-a-kind handmade gift!

I am completely smitten with my dainty dreamcatcher bracelet!  I have worn it everyday since I received it!  The dime-sized dreamer features a tiny turquoise bead in the center, with a small feather accent.  The dreamcatcher bracelet is my new signature piece, and I just LOVE it!

Thanks for reading...keep shining!
Photos by Berlynn Photography

Follow HerDream on Instagram, here
Shop for Handmade Bohemian Jewelry and Dreamcatchers at HerDream.etsy.com

Kim's Look:
Graphic Tank with vintage 60's heart logo, Zodiac Belt by lovestrength
Strappy Front Bra, Similar from Free People
Red Floral Ethnic Janis Bells by Novella Royale, Available here
Handmade Agate Necklace by HerDream

Michelle's Look:
Lola Tassel Coat by Spell & The Gypsy Collective, Similar here
The Daisy Chain Romper by Spell & The Gypsy Collective, Available here
Handmade Bracelets by HerDream

Monday, April 28, 2014

My Monday Muse - Lifestyle Photographer, Berlynn

I am so happy to introduce all of you to my beautiful friend & soul sister, Kimberly - a.k.a., Berlynn!  Some of you may already be familiar with Berlynn, especially if you are following me on Instagram.  She is the talented photographer who is responsible for all the images featured here on my blog!  Since shooting the "Whimsical Hearts" lookbook for lovestrength, we have become good friends! I credit Berlynn for being the catalyst who encouraged and inspired me to start my personal blog.  

I actually discovered  Berlynn's work on the website of a fashion blogger!  It was on Amanda's lovely fashion blog, www.casualfriday.co, where I fell in love with Berlynn's beautiful photos. Berlynn's photography is dreamy and playful, and each image reflects her artistic way of capturing light and beauty. She is based in San Diego, so if you are in Southern California, and looking for a photographer for your next event or photo shoot, she is perfect!  The reason why I love Berlynn's unique photography style is because her images have a magical quality that pulls at my heartstrings.

Taken from Berlynn's ABOUT page, she writes:

Me:  Hi!  My name is Kimberly a.k.a. "Berlynn".

I am:  a free spirited lifestyle photographer with a passion for creation and a lust for travel.

Who lives:  in San Diego with my wild Yorkie/Maltese mix, Shiloh (she thinks she's a lion).

My height:  is 5'2" a.k.a. "mini".

My mission:  is to tell a story through the use of emotion and light; capturing beauty in the day to day moments.

My vision:  is organic & raw in-the-moment photography.  I photograph not just people and places, but the way they make me feel.

"It is the photographing of ordinary things, in extraordinary light, which results in extraordinary photographs." ~David Young

Over the weekend, the two of us were able to connect and spend some time catching up. Needless to say, we had so much fun just laughing the day away, while snapping some photos! I was able to get BEHIND the camera this time, and I couldn't be more thrilled to switch it up and photograph her instead!  

All Photography by Michelle Cardona, that's me! ;)

Follow Berlynn on Instagram, here
Visit Berlynn's Photography Website, here 
 Berlynn's Fashion Blog, here

Berlynn's Look:
Graphic Tank with vintage 60's heart logo, Zodiac Belt by lovestrength
Strappy Front Bra, Similar from Free People
Red Floral Ethnic Janis Bells by Novella Royale
Handmade Agate Necklace by HerDream

Stay tuned for more dreamy pics from our impromptu photo shoot together!  

Thanks for reading...keep shining!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Perfectly Flawed

After recently discovering an article addressing the topic of "Self-Esteem," I found myself identifying with the stories and personal lives of 5 very different women.  The article's subtitle reads...

"Five women tell about the fresh, strange, liberating moment when they saw themselves in a new light."

After reading the article, it got me thinking about how I perceive myself and how that self-view, being a positive or negative one, can reflect how others may perceive me.  I have struggled with my own self-esteem as a teenager, and admittedly, I still struggle with it now as an adult.  

I was teased for the way I look and would constantly hear mean comments about how I look so young, or for being so short and little. I didn't pay too much attention to it growing up, especially since we all hate looking younger when we're young. I stand a little over 5 feet tall and my height and size were usually the punchline for constant jokes and teasing.  

It has been a real journey for me to be on this authentic path of self-love.  Instead of self-loathing and feeling depressed, I simply choose to be kind to myself.  Think about the way we speak to small children. We speak to them with love and encouraging words. Why isn't our own self-talk filled with the same love and encouragement?  I know I am my own worst critic. I find myself being so harsh on myself, and sometimes hating my own body.

I now embrace my stature and am certainly more comfortable and confident in my own skin!  I am not "model" tall,  with super long legs and a rail-thin figure.  I don't have Pantene-perfect hair.  I am short, and I am proud to say I have a shapely body.  I do have wide hips, big legs, messy hair, and blemishes.  Needless to say, I am a beautiful mess who is perfectly flawed.  

Whenever I feel any feelings of self-doubt, I think of the following quote from Shakespeare's play, A Midsummer's Night Dream...

All Photos by: Berlynn Photography

Desert Wanderer Tassel Kimono (Sunset) by Spell & the Gypsy Collective
White Crop Tee, Similar available from Free People
Dark Denim Shorts by AEO
Dreamer Belt by lovestrength (Coming Soon)
Platform Sandals by Steve Madden, Similar here

Click below if you are interested in reading the original article,

Thanks for reading...keep shining!
~Michelle xo

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Monday Muse - Vanessa Hudgens

All hail the Queen of Coachella, Vanessa Hudgens!  I am a big fan of this 25-year-old actress and I am kicking off my daily blog post series, and making her my Monday Muse!  Vanessa Hudgens is best known for her lead role playing, Gabriella Montez in the High School Musical Series on the Disney Channel.  She was born here in California, with her father being of Irish and Native American descent, and her mother, a native of the Philippines.  Vanessa is a regular attendee of the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California, and once again, this flower child did not disappoint with her signature boho chic style.  

This bohemian beauty is known for her dark, sultry, brunette locks.  However, at this year's festival, Vanessa was spotted with beautiful blonde, as she calls it,  mermaid hair!  She wore a playsuit by one of my favorite Australian labels, Spell & the Gypsy Collective!  I featured Spell in my first blog post and I just love seeing Vanessa Hudgens in the Desert Wanderer Playsuit! Just like the Playdress, the Playsuit is easy to wear and Vanessa makes it look so effortless.

Here she is photographed on Sunday afternoon (April 13), with her beau, Austin Butler. They look like two happy campers as they are seen enjoying the festivities and checking out the musical acts during weekend one of Coachella. 
Original Photo Source: Daily Mail and Just Jared 
Follow Vanessa Hudgens on Tumblr, here
Amu Darya Collar from Child of Wild
Desert Wanderer Playsuit by Spell & the Gypsy Collective, Available here

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Stay Wild, Flower Child!

Spring has sprung and I couldn't be more excited! Festival season is near, Coachella is now only days away, and that means Summer (my FAVORITE season), is just around the corner! One of my favorite statement pieces for the season are flower crowns! There is something whimsical and magical about wearing flowers in your hair. I personally love the way I feel when I wear a flower crown. It doesn't matter to me if I am wearing big, bold, blooming red roses, or a dainty crown with the sweetest little wildflowers - flowers always seem to put a warm smile on my face and wearing them in my hair especially makes me feel like a bohemian goddess. 

Among the many flowers I admire, the Gerbera Daisy, is one of my favorites! I have discovered that they are the fifth most popular flower in the world, and it's easy to see why the Daisy is known to be a classic symbol of beauty. The large Gerbera Daisies come in an array of vibrant colors, and they make for the perfect flower crowns! With Coachella fast approaching, I have been quite busy filling orders for my handmade flower crowns. Our most popular, are the beautiful Daisy Crowns, which I have available in a variety of color blooms. The possibilities are endless with these classic beauties! They are perfect for all the fun festivals you will be attending! They can be worn to concerts, the beach, or just a fun day spent at an amusement park. 

A flower crown is a sweet gift that will make anyone feel extra special! A few of my beautiful customers mentioned to me that they will be wearing their One Vintage Soul Daisy Crowns to their high school graduation ceremonies this May! Such a great way to stand out in a sea of graduates! Flowers are an essential for weddings, and adding floral crowns for the occasion will make any Bohemian themed wedding unforgettable. I think our handmade Daisy Crowns look amazing in photos, and even better in person! 

I was lucky enough to include them in our lookbook photoshoots for lovestrength! Whether you are headed to see Lana Del Rey perform at Coachella this year, or are inspired by Frida Kahlo (in my opinion, the original flower crown queen), I hope this post leaves you with a little flower power inspiration.  

Sending a big thank you to everyone who has taken the time to visit my blog, and read my first post! I am feeling beyond blessed and grateful. There has been an incredible amount of expressed support and love from all of you on Instagram, and I am so very humbled. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

All Photos by: Berlynn Photography

Kiki's Look
Follow Kiki Nguyen on Instagram, here
Wildheart Rose Crown by One Vintage Soul
Adventure Catsuit by Jen's Pirate Booty, available at Nasty Gal
Glorioso Belt by lovestrength (Coming Soon)

Sara's Look
Check out Sara Libby's fashion blog, here 
Daisy Crown in Sunshine Bloom by: One Vintage Soul 
Indian Summer Romper by: Spell & the Gypsy Collective
Leopard Print Indio Belt by: lovestrength

Michelle's Look
Daisy Crown in Classic Bloom by: One Vintage Soul
Lace Bell-Sleeve Dress from: Urban Outfitters
Turquoise Phoenix Belt by: lovestrength

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My 1st Blog Post!

Here it is.  My very first blog post!  I have kept a written journal for several years up until my college days at UCLA, many many moons ago!  Not sure why I stopped writing.  Perhaps it was because my 7+ year relationship ended and I simply did not wish to document that painful chapter in my life.  Or perhaps I stopped writing because I moved from yet another apartment to a new place I would temporarily call my "home". Today, I still can't find the reason why I chose to stop with my personal writing.  I would write down my fears, my regrets, my prayers, my every thought.  I wrote down lyrics to my favorite songs because I believed it brought me closer to the songwriter's heart.  I would be instantly transported to the time when they actually sat down to first write that very song.  I wrote down nearly every song by Sade.   

I have always admired all the beautiful fashion bloggers and all their gorgeous photos in far away places, wearing the most exquisite clothes.  Well, my blog won't necessarily be like that. This blog...my blog, will be, and is an extension of what I hold in my thoughts and close to my heart.  I don't wish to make it simply about fashion or my outfit of the day.  This will be more than that because I am more than the clothes I wear.  The fact is, although I do love fashion and own an online boutique, it is still only a small part of my life.  I want to share what I am feeling, the books I'm reading, the music I listen to, or the wacky documentaries I watch.  I want to introduce you to the people I love and share my life with.  I want to share what inspires me and hopefully inspire you by doing so.  I have many flaws.  I am not tall or thin like a model.  I am insecure.  I cry. I get lonely even when I'm surrounded by tons of people.  With that being said, I hope that you continue to watch this space and find some inspiration here.  

. . . 

My first blog post features the Desert Wanderer Playdress by Spell & the Gypsy Collective. The brand was created by two sisters living in Byron Bay, Australia.  I will be sharing a lot more from this amazing label in my future blog posts!  This playdress is so easy to wear and I especially love Spell's signature hem line that goes up at the hips.  It is a unique touch, which makes for a very flattering fit for someone like me who is on the curvier side!  I have styled it here with the Thunderbird Belt by lovestrength and the Crossbody Fringe Bag by The Boho Bazaar.

Thank you for reading...keep shining!
All Photos by : Berlynn Photography
 Desert Wanderer Playdress by Spell & the Gypsy Collective // Thunderbird Belt by lovestrength
Pink Fringe Crossbody Bag by The Boho Bazaar // Fringe Necklace by Free People
Platform Sandals by Steve Madden, Similar Here

P.S.  A special thank you to Kimberly Lucero.  Thank you dear friend, for encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone and face my own fears and insecurities. You have been a real catalyst for me so that I could make this blog a reality.  Thank you for inspiring me!