Summertime Buzz

My boyfriend used to work at one of those kitschy boutique hotels in Palm Springs. He tells a story about a guest who approached him rather frantically a few years back, demanding to know what “all that buzzing” was. No clue what she was talking about, he asked her to repeat the question. “That buzzing! It’s all over the hotel!”

It’s cicada season. The buzzing is back, sometimes so loud you simply can’t escape it. I hear it now, from where I type at my cluttered little desk. And if you have plans to visit Palm Springs in the near future, you’ll hear it too. The bugs spend most of their life underground — some, upwards of 15 years. They emerge seasonally when the temps warm up and live for about a month up in the trees.

If these photos had a soundtrack, it would be that quintessential summertime buzz with a little indie acoustic laced subtly throughout. That Saturday feeling. A day off to kick my heels up, lounge a little, and catch Suicide Squad at the theatre. (Margot Robbie is such a babe.)

Talking style, I’m digging these clear rimmed cat eye sunnies from ZeroUV. What can I say? I’m a fan of cut-outs. And the corner detailing on these babies slays. The quilted handbag is vegan “leather” from 88. The perfect shade of baby pink, and the perfect match for this pleated midi skirt. But can we just take a moment to appreciate these sleeves?

What to wear in Palm Springs #ootd

What to wear in Palm Springs #ootd

What to wear in Palm Springs #ootd

What to wear in Palm Springs #ootd

What to wear in Palm Springs #ootd

What to wear in Palm Springs #ootd

What to wear in Palm Springs #ootd


Happy weekend, loves!

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Nomad’s Land


Weekend wanders have me seeing stars, with ZeroUV.


According to my man, “nomad’s land” is an inherent contradiction, but I beg to differ. Sure, a nomad technically doesn’t have any land to call their own. They’re wanderers. But the desert’s a gathering place for rugged bohemes. It’s the ideal place to get lost. It isn’t no man’s land. It’s nomad’s land.

We took the Cruiser out last week amid arid heat. Dripping sweat or not, it’s one of the best landscapes to slow down, get lost and contemplate life. And with things moving at seeming warp-speed, that’s a necessity.

Working under deadlines can be all-consuming. Most often, it implies nonstop nine to five projects brought home on the weekends, late nights staring into the computer screen, and early mornings to get at it once again. Balancing magazine editorials with blog life means strict time prioritization and lots of multitasking. So quiet moments like these are a must. Just me, and my guy, and a massive stretch of endless sand.

Cactus and Fog / Nomad's Land / Wearing H&M, ZeroUV out in the desert. #festivalstyle

The desert’s got me gravitating toward breezy, low-key bohemian styles. I miss layers worn on blustery San Francisco days, and I’ve been finding ways to continue layering in the heat. This vest of sorts is an old button-down dress, a hand-me-down from my aunt found packed away in storage. It never got much wear as a dress, because it’s totally sheer. But it makes for a wicked cape, essential for outfits that verge on too-revealing-for-daily-wear.

ZeroUV has long been one of favorite sunglass brands. They’re affordable (read: averaging $10) and they offer just about every hue and style you could possibly think up. Endless options. That’s my jam. Needless to say, when they reached out for a campaign I immediately began planning adventures on which to take each pair of shades.

Sunglasses say a lot about your personality. They’re expressive. And the right pair will transform a few pieces of mismatched clothing into a total-package outfit. These star-faced beauties reflect the forward motion and all the gratefulness I’ve been feeling lately. Things are happening.

Here’s to new. Here’s to seeing stars.

Cactus and Fog / Nomad's Land / Wearing H&M, ZeroUV out in the desert. #festivalstyle
Cactus and Fog / Nomad's Land / Wearing H&M, ZeroUV out in the desert. #festivalstyle
Cactus and Fog / Nomad's Land / Wearing H&M, ZeroUV out in the desert. #festivalstyle

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White Out

Cactus and Fog | White Out

Wearing: Simple Retro cotton A-line shirtdress / Tommy Hilfiger sandals (similar here) / Saks Fifth Avenue tote (similar here) / borrowed jewelry (similar necklace & bracelets)


Cactus and Fog | White Out
Cactus and Fog | White Out
Cactus and Fog | White Out
Cactus and Fog | White Out

Wearing: Simple Retro cotton A-line shirtdress / Tommy Hilfiger sandals (similar here) / Saks Fifth Avenue tote (similar here) / borrowed jewelry (similar necklace & bracelets)

It’s nonstop sun in Palm Springs, and my boots and heavy San Francisco coats are packed away in boxes. Currently living in sandals and sundresses.

This white wonder comes from Simple Retro. Seems to run a little large, but rolled sleeves and a tie-waist does the trick. Paired it with a plain black bandeau, and jewelry courtesy of my guy’s mama from her many travels.

I’ve been writing about vintage shopping in the valley for Palm Springs Life this week. These hand-me-down pieces are exactly the kind of statement details that transform a basic outfit into a look fit for holiday weekend frolics. If you’re on the hunt for some quality handmade accessories from around the globe, check out National Geographic’s online shop Novica.


SAVE7NOW

Wishing everyone a safe and happy fourth! Come find me on Insta and Snap (just snap the icon in the sidebar) to join in on our shenanigans.

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Journalism: From blog-life to print magazines

Photo by Eric Chan

I began this blog in April of 2014.

After shooting event photos for Guest of a Guest at Coachella Fest and Vestal Village, I wanted a platform to share the images. And I was inspired by the slew of fashion bloggers taking over Instagram in tricked out designer duds, traveling to faraway countries, paid to frolic Pinterest-worthy coastal coves and write stories about the adventure.

In a sense, blogging encapsulates all of the things that I love: There’s the web aspect, and social media, and analytics; photography, location-scouting, and styling; storytelling (because, let’s face it, I’ve always enjoyed scribbling down my thoughts no matter the reader — I’ve had a million personal “blogs” in some form or another, dating back to about 1998); there’s art in blogging, too, and seemingly limitless creativity.

Recently, I’ve gotten a few questions about blogging as a business. This topic begs its own post, but a little elaboration here feels appropriate. I started without expectation. My Instagram following was over 1,000 because I’d won a few contests and made the OG popular page once or twice. I’m sure a lot of those were bots, because that’s unfortunately how Insta works. To connect with brands as an affiliate (blogger/influencer), you need content. Write everyday, share things you’d like to read about, and start networking with other bloggers in your vertical (niche/area of interest). In time, you’ll want to connect with affiliate networks, which act as liaisons with all of those brands that you want to work with. And then you’ll open up that door for sponsorship opportunities. I don’t make a steady income with this blog, but I earn a little extra spending money through commissions and the occasional paid post, and sometimes there’s complimentary product to style and review (you can view my sponsored posts here).

I was waitressing that April, two years ago, and had been for seven years, save for a stint hocking memberships at a local gym. I’m into sales, but I wanted something more. Frankly, it was my experience writing and shooting photos for this blog that pushed me toward completing my bachelor’s degree in journalism. That felt like an appropriate area of study to further my pursuits. And it was.

I moved to San Francisco on my own in January 2015, leaving family and my guy behind to finish up the remaining four semesters of college. GE classes were already done before I dropped out initially, and it was just a matter of completing SF State’s journalism department requirements. That fresh locale offered renewed energy and excitement about storytelling. I opted to enroll in a few extra-curricular social media marketing courses to hone my blog skills. But I was honestly pretty naïve about the print journalism major — little did I know I’d be writing news, attending City Hall meetings and press conferences with the University president, learning scrupulous video production and 360-degree videography (and loving every minute of it). All the President’s Men, Spotlight, Nightcrawler — these are just a few of the movies that have inspired me along the way.

Photo by Eric Chan

Unless you’re following me on Instagram or Snapchat (@helloitsm), I’ve been seemingly missing-in-action. My last blog post went live more than a month ago, but I haven’t stopped writing. I’ve spent the last three months reporting for Golden Gate Xpress, and after much departmental support and recognition, I suppose I can now call myself an “award-winning journalist.”

If you feel like diving into a story-hole, here are a few of my favorites to get you started:

story1

I finished up my studies last month, and just like that I’m back in the desert — with my guy, with my family, and with a new position as editorial assistant at Palm Springs Life Magazine. Big picture, the journey’s really interesting to me. Had you asked me if this is where I saw myself when I posted those first festival photos back in 2014, I have no idea what my reaction would have been. Sitting in on magazine editorial meetings couldn’t have been fathomable.

Palm Springs Life

Thinking back on childhood dreams, working at a magazine always seemed idealistic. Movies portray the industry as rough and drama-filled. The assistants are always crying, and the editor-in-chiefs are spine-chillingly aloof. I never thought to pursue the profession because it never seemed plausible. Yet here I am, like it was meant to be, and it’s not nearly as frightening as it once seemed.

These new ventures have me once again rethinking the blog. I fully plan on maintaining Cactus and Fog, but it feels like prime time for a major freshening. Over the next few weeks, you’ll probably see things start to evolve for a heightened user experience. It’ll be a balancing act on my part, prioritizing articles for print (currently writing about lush living and the local scene), regular blog posts, a brand new app (our current iOS app will disappear from the app store in the next few weeks, as I begin to produce something new), and a sweeping esthetic redesign of cactusandfog.com.

My life is evolving, and so should Cactus and Fog. I’d love to hear from you guys, to find out the type of content that resonates with you most — which posts do you look forward to most? Are you attracted more to photos or the story that coincides, or maybe video is more your thing? Do you read posts on your desktop or mobile, on the site or the app, or are you getting them delivered by email? Feel free to comment or share your thoughts by email: hello@cactusandfog.com. Thanks so much for your opinions!

Until next time, xo

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Chilling out with Pura Vida

This photo is an interactive image! Hover for links.

Pura Vida x Cactus and Fog
Pura Vida x Cactus and Fog

I love the beach. I’ve said it before, salt water soothes the soul. And this particular spot will forever hold a special place in my heart. It’s where I go to clear my head.


The ocean makes me feel so alive.


And I feel like, somehow, it knows me. Each time I visit there seem to be new critters milling about, waiting to say hello. Some days there are crabs peeping out from the surf, some days sand dollars are scattered about. When I shot these photos, the rocks were covered with ladybugs. The little guy I picked up seemed to like these Pura Vida Bracelets just as much as me. He nestled onto the strings and hung out while I watched the waves.

Pura Vida x Cactus and Fog
Pura Vida Bracelets x Cactus and Fog / Desert Dunes Pack

Local artisans handcraft these festival-worthy wristlets in Costa Rica. It all began when a couple of dudes from San Diego visited the island country and met a couple of bracelet-makers living in poverty. They teamed up and Pura Vida Bracelets now provides full-time jobs to more than 100 people in Costa Rica.


Pura Vida is a way of life.


It’s the Costa Rican mantra of “pure life” — taking things a bit more slowly, helping others, appreciating life’s simple treasures and choosing to live life to the fullest.

(And BTW, their collection of printed clutches slay me! You will love the popsicle party print!😍 Keep scrolling for a 20% off coupon code.)

Pura Vida Bracelets x Cactus and Fog
Pura Vida Bracelets x Cactus and Fog
Pura Vida Bracelets x Cactus and Fog / Desert Dunes Pack
Ladybugs (via @cactusandfog)


Take 20% off your Pura Vida purchase with the coupon
CACTUSNFOG20

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