Where did you grow up?
I’m a lifelong Chicagoan and grew up in the North Shore suburbs of the city. The Windy City is my favorite destination in the world, and I can’t imagine myself living anywhere else (for now).
What’s your background/ethnicity?
I’m Asian American – my mom was Japanese and my dad is English, Irish, Scottish, Swedish, Finnish and Norweign. During WWII, my maternal grandfather was interned at Camp Minidoka where he served as an editor for the newspaper. After being released, he served the U.S. Army. He’s my hero, and I’m incredibly proud of my Asian heritage!
How tall are you?
I’m 5’4 on a good day! 🙂
How did you and Bob meet?
It’s a VERY long story! If you’re interested in reading the story. We’re creating a blog post with our story soon!
When and where did you get married? What about your honeymoon?
We met in 2005, got engaged in 2008, and married in 2010. Our wedding ceremony took place on top of a rooftop overlooking the Chicago skyline. Our reception took place in the courtyard of Saint Ignatius College Prep. Since we got married in September, our honeymoon locations were somewhat limited due to weather. We landed on Greece and Santorini (and LOVED our decision). I’d recommend Santorini to anyone.
How do you find the walls and murals for your blog?
Research, research, research. From Google and hashtags searches to reader recommendations and even driving around a city, we’re always on the hunt for new walls, murals, colorful walls and locations.
What comes first? The wall or the outfit?
Both! It really depends – sometimes we come across a wall or mural that inspires us for a photo shoot. Conversely, I may get an outfit from a brand in the mail, and then research a location that complements it. There have been MANY times we just happened to be at the right place at the right time.
Where can I find a specific wall?
Check all of our Wall Guides section to find the locations of various photo shoots. We try to update them on a consistent basis. Also, I tag the artist whenever and wherever possible. If you can’t seem to find the exact location, please check the artist’s page for more information (and likely the exact spot). Also, and this is very important), colorful walls and murals constantly change. It’s VERY likely you’ll arrive to a location and something will look different (i.e. the wall is tagged, the art has changed altogether, etc.). Please do not go out of your way to stop at a wall until you’ve done a lot of research to make sure it’s still there! We do our best to keep our guides updated, but street art changes on a minute-to-minute basis. It’s impossible to keep everything current.
You seem to be photographing less and less on walls. Why is that?
Since the very launch of my Instagram page (and even earlier personally), I’ve been photographing colorful outfits against murals and street art. That combination will always remain at the core of our content as it’s an authentic reflection of my style and the lens through which I see the world. However, I’m also making deliberate strides to change up on the content. I’m finding new things to be passionate about, which is totally evolving our images and the look/feel of our site. No one person remains the same throughout his/her life, and I’m finding new passions, interests, and locations that I’m getting excited about. Hence why you’ll continue to see more travel and destination content, home/interior photos and beyond. I’m also planning to do a bunch more videos. Stay tuned!
Why are you obsessed with United?
The better question to ask is why aren’t YOU obsessed with United? Haha! I absolutely adore everything about my personal United experience – from the aircraft to the food, international business class (i.e. Polaris), drink service to United Clubs. I’ve been flying the airline since I was a little girl. They are a phenomenal company, and having met countless members of their team, I am also impressed with the quality and caliber of their talent – from pilots to marketing, communications to the MileagePlus program. Chicago is also one of United’s hubs, so there are endless route options from our city.
To be clear, though, I am not a spokesperson for the brand. No company or airline is perfect (i.e. please do not @ me if you have a bad experience or see negative news about the airline in the press). Flight delays happen, a flight attendant may have an “off day” (who doesn’t?), a neighbor may be an armrest hog, and you may not get the seat you want. I’ve even had a flight delayed overnight, and Bob and I had to sleep in New York’s LGA food court. Things happen.
Regardless, the one thing I know for sure is United truly does everything within its power to make every passenger’s journey as smooth, seamless, and SAFE as possible. I’ll be flying the friendly skies whenever possible.
What are your best travel tips?
You can read all my best travel tips on the Travel Guides page. I’ll try to keep updating these tips!
What are some of your favorite international hotels or resorts in the world?
If I had to narrow it down to the top five international hotels/resorts we’ve ever stayed at, I’d say Playa Grande Beach Club, Round Hill, Arenal Nayara Springs, The Dunmore, and Pestana Palacio do Freixo.
What are some of your favorite domestic hotels or resorts in the world?
My top three domestic hotels/resorts thus far (who are not my PR clients), are: Castle Hill Inn, Sands Hotel & Spa Palm Desert, and The Spectator in Charleston.
Work + Blogging
Do you have a full-time job?
Yes, I’m the Senior Vice President of an integrated communications agency. Please note my opinions and content on this blog and my social media channels are my own and in no way affiliated with the company. I’ve been working full-time in PR for 16+ years, and I love balancing the job with the blog.
How do you manage both the blog and full-time job?
I’m a big believer that you can be a “workfluencer” – someone who has a full-time job and still manages a blog/social media channels. Like anything, it requires commitment, passion, and sacrifice. The best way I’ve learned to manage both is to create boundaries and to embrace the fact that I can’t say “yes” to everything. In the end, being a “workfluencer” is a personal choice. Best of all, I’m having fun at work and doing the blog.
When did you launch the blog?
I launched Style Charade in early 2015. Previously, I had a blog called Third Coast Bride that was launched in 2008, which was focused on our engagement and wedding planning process. In 2011, I closed down that site since I wasn’t interested in writing about bridal topics anymore. In many ways, I wish I had continued blogging, but the four year break allowed me to really refine the concept of Style Charade.
Would you ever leave your job to blog full-time?
In the wise words of Justin Bieber, “never say never.” But, having managed both sides for more than five years, I am confident they’re both possible long-term. The only way the balance of both wouldn’t be possible are outside forces. As long as I’m given the ability to flourish on both sides, I’d love to do both forever.
Who takes your pictures?
Bob, my husband takes 90% of the photos on the blog and social media channels. I manage all of the editing of the photos and videos. We have started to work with a few photographers to help with content creation – especially when it comes to travel. Bob can’t always take off of work, so we’ve leveraged amazing talents to breathe new life into our photos and blog. Right now, we work with Alicia of Aesthetiica and Allie of Pret-a-Photo.
Do you have a team of people who you work with or interns?
No, we do not have (nor have ever had) assistants or interns. That said, we have surrounded ourselves with experts for other aspects of our business. We have an accountant, lawyers, and in late 2018, I signed with DBA (Digital Brand Architects) to take the lead on brand partnerships and collaborations. For web design and coding, we work with Victoria of Victoria McGinley Design and Lisa of Elembee.