Palm Court Party Outfit | Lana del Rey, “Lust for Life”

Lana del Rey Lust for Life Dress

Lana del Rey Lust for Life Dress

Three times a year, my school hosts the Palm Court Party, a school-wide celebration where everybody is encouraged to dress up according to a theme.

We call these parties PCP for short (lol) and they happen on Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and graduation, respectively. The Valentine’s Day one is happening later today, so I thought I’d post this idea for anyone who is still thinking about PCP outfits (or costumes in general). I wore this look for last year’s Grad PCP. It’s based off of the cover of Lana del Rey‘s newest album, Lust for Life, and it’s super easy outfit that only requires the daisies and a lace dress or top. I bought a bouquet of $3 fabric daisies from Walmart, pulled them off the plastic stems, and hot-glued them to hair clips. If you’re still in the market for a look, this one’s inexpensive and durable — the clips didn’t fall off after a long night of dancing and running around.


How Fashion Modeling Made Me A Better Software Engineer

(and vice versa)

H&M Striped Dress | Sarasota Burns Court | Mimi Chenyao | Fake & Basic

It’s often implied that my two chosen careers are distinctive.

Upon first glance, they do seem contradictory — the mental image of posing in a put-together outfit is at odds with the one spent furiously typing away on a keyboard. It’s “interesting” how I model despite the fact that I also write code professionally, or how I program despite the fact that I also pose for photos professionally. But are the two really that different?

Not really, as it turns out. I started my blog around the time I started programming, and I got serious with shooting and editing photos as I started considering being a full-time software engineer. When I refined my skills in the two areas, I started noticing how the mentality and best practices I picked up from one trade easily translated to the other.

Both are highly technical at the core, but require a certain amount of intuition and creativity to enjoy. Both are essentially creating something (hopefully beautiful) out of nothing. Both require solid project management skills and an eye for detail.

I use tools from the two trades on an everyday basis — I gather requirements, estimate work times, and use a Kanban board for my shoots. I debug and approach code reviews with the perception of a model after the perfect shot. I’m not an engineer despite being a model, or a model despite being an engineer. I am one (at least a far better one) because of the other.


What Photoshoots are Actually Like

Jadelynn Brooke Aloha Darling Cami Dress | Mimi Chenyao | Fake & Basic

Dress | Jadelynn Brooke

Photoshoots are my favorite form of escapism.

Since I’ve started inserting photo sets into my newer, non-fashion-related posts, I’ve toyed around with the idea of having two narratives per post, one through photos and one through text. Now, when I’m shooting photos, I think about the story I’m trying to tell. What kind of feeling am I conveying through the setting, the clothes I’m wearing, and the poses I’m using?


Something’s Rotten in the State of Blogging

Black Crop Top and White Shorts // Mimi Chenyao // Fake & Basic

There seems to be an unspoken rule in blogging: You can be smart, or you can be pretty, but you can’t be both.

Inevitably, someone’s going to read that statement and be all, “you’re wrong! How dare you insinuate that fashion bloggers are vapid, or that smart people can’t be attractive?”

Relax, Max. I’m not talking about the bloggers themselves — I’m talking about their content. There seems to be a huge discrepancy in it. Blogs seem to either feature beautiful photos with some fluffy words (“Black crop top and white shorts: I did this shoot for a boutique a while back and was sweating like a pig the whole time while old people passing by gave me strange looks, haha!”) or feature minimalist themes with deep, thought-provoking essays and little to no photos at all.


End Game

End Game // Taylor Swift Reputation Lookbook // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

End Game // Taylor Swift Reputation Lookbook // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

Romper | Molly and Zoey

As far as tracks on Reputation go, “End Game” is a prime example of “Taylor Swift trying too hard to be in-your-face.”

The song has its moments — I’ve sung along to “End Game” more times than I’d like to admit. It’s fun to play when you’re driving down a scenic road somewhere and in the mood to scream “OOH YOU AND ME WE GOT BIG REPUTATIONS, AHHHH” out the window of the car.

But, for the most part, “End Game” is a song that I find both confusing and exhausting to listen to. The entire thing just feels so forced. Forced attitude. Forced feelings. Forced vocals, even. Taylor x Future x Ed Sheeran is a three-way that could have worked but didn’t. I don’t listen to much of Future or Ed Sheeran’s music, yet I get the distinct sense that Future had to tone himself down for this collaboration while Taylor and Ed tried way too hard. It’s cringey. [1]


The Daily Outfit Algorithm: Sweater Weather Edition

Cute Sweater Weather Style // The Daily Outfit Algorithm // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

(This turned out to be more of a guide than an algorithm per se, but it works for people of all gender identities!)

At this point, I could teach cartoon characters how to dress.

I’ve been living in Florida for four years, and I had a fancy-but-easy style that allowed me to jump out of bed each morning and not worry about what to wear.

Dressing myself was so predictable that I made the whole routine into an algorithm.

There was a slight problem, though — every time the temperature dropped below 70 degrees, I’d be cold, and then I’d complain about the cold, and everybody would be like “well, yeah, you’re wearing a dress, you totally brought that on yourself.”

They were right. Instead of only having a single outfit planned out and thus defaulting to misery when slightly cooler weather came, I decided to get over myself and come up with a new outfit combination that included pants.


… Ready for It?

// Ready For It? // Taylor Swift Reputation Lookbook // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

// Ready For It? // Taylor Swift Reputation Lookbook // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

Choker from IconaWear | Dress from Vera Wang Princess collection

Baby, let the games begin!

Surprisingly, most of the people I’ve talked to don’t like this song — it’s one of my favorites on Reputation and never fails to put me in a good mood. Maybe I’m a fan because I think the rap parts all sound like singing, so I don’t have to think about Taylor Swift rapping.

I personally like to play this song at a high volume when I’m about to take a test, go on a date, or tackle a tough programming exercise, because “… Ready For It?” is the musical equivalent of looking someone straight in the eye and asking them to try you.


Announcing Taylor Swift Reputation Lookbook / Album Review

Taylor Swift Reputation Lookbook // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

Sweater, shorts, necklace, and sunglasses from Molly and Zoey | shoes from Charlotte Russe

Taylor Swift’s new album, Reputation, breaks down like this — 67% love songs about her current partner, 20% shade thrown at Kanye West and the hater media in general, and 13% about past exes.

That’s a different than what I was expecting. The vindictive lead single “Look What You Made Me Do” and the aggressive snake symbolism led me to expect an album of nothing but shade, anger, and revenge, full of songs similar to “Picture to Burn”, “Better than Revenge”, “Bad Blood”, and the occasional “Teardrops On My Guitar.” Instead, it’s filled with songs that sound like more grown-up versions of “Enchanted”, “Fearless”, and “State of Grace” — embracing infatuation, lust, admiration, and companionship while finding out who your real friends are. (more…)

Up All Night to Get Lucky: Lucky Cat Halloween Costume

Maneki Neko Lucky Cat Halloween Costume // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

Maneki Neko Lucky Cat Halloween Costume // Mimi Chenyao // Asian Barbie

Happy Halloween!

This year I decided to dress up as the Maneki Neko, or the Lucky Cat. These creatures actually come in many different colors; white represents happiness, purity, and positivity. It was a lot of fun to DIY my costume (and weird out my sister, who shares my Amazon Prime account, by buying a large bell and cat ears many weeks before Halloween).