Tag Archives: photography

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Lil’s Favorite Photography of 2015

THEY SAY WE ARE WHAT WE LOVE. If that’s true, these photos I cherished in 2015 comprised bits and pieces of the kind of person I was. Some of these photos I took and some are others’ depictions of empowering moments for me this past year.

Me and a mini-Predator

All are photos that inspired me, made me smile, and, not to get sassy, made me proud to own me. 2015 was one of the first years during which I have truly sensed a change for the better in myself.



My Dog and My Work Tools, © 2015 Lillian Gao

mickey mouse bandaids

Boyfriend-given Mickey Mouse Bandaids, © 2015 Lillian Gao


Makeup-less Adele, Photo via Rolling Stone

doll2nd Ave F train Exit Mural, © 2015 Lillian Gao

CUUgdd8VEAAbmc8Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Photo via Entertainment Weekly

IMG_7555Gwyneth Paltrow, aka “GOOP,” as a coaster, © 2015 Lillian Gao


A Predator/Yautja in the East Village, © 2015 Lillian Gao


Daisy Johnson aka “Quake” on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, Photo via ABC

IMG_6322New York Street Hustle, © 2015 Lillian Gao


My 1st Encounter with a Teacup Vietnamese Potbellied Pig, © 2015 Lillian Gao


Bobbi Morse aka “Mockingbird” on Marvel’s “Agents of Shield,” Photo via Comic Book Resources

IMG_7562Mixed Media Artwork by Christopher G. Asberry, © 2015 Lillian Gao

taylorTaylor Swift’s Cat Eye-Side Eye, Photo via Variety


Stuffed Bunny Wearing a Rosary, © 2015 Lillian Gao

walking dead collage.png

The Walking Dead Season 6 Collage, Photo via AMC

There is so, so much more, but I wanted to narrow it down to just the favorite of the favorites.


FASHION: Sneakers Are the New Girly-Chic

THANK YOU, CARA DELEVINGNE. Thank you for proving that oh-so-comfortable-looking sneakers can be chic as hell, as well. Maybe singlehandedly so, in fact.

Cara rocking blue mid-tops with white laces with distressed jeans, casual tee, and a long, tailored fall shawl coat.

As someone who’s always hated wearing high heels, I have limited options for footwear and get bored of my low-heeled booties and ballet flats time to time. Sneakers are sooooo comfortable but even the androgyny look of the 90s did not embrace them. I’m not talking Keds or Toms. I’m talking straight-up running or jogging Nikes, Adidas and Converse All-Stars.

Even the androgyny look of the ’90s did not embrace sneakers. No more.

Ways to cool up an outfit with sneakers, à la Cara:

A Prorsum Coat with Leather leggings and Wedge sneakers
Wanna get chic and comfy in a sec? Oversized black blazer over just a bra and Black skinny jeans with Hi-top sneakers.
Beige cigarette jeans, Canvas sneakers, and a Sleeveless crop top for the summer.


Snapback, Silky white blouse, and Harem pants tucked into Black hi-tops



DEMI LOVATO‘s latest album is called “Confident” for a reason. I find these photos on which she and Vanity Fair collaborated neither exploitative nor too in-your-face-feminist-reclaiming-her-own-body. Just awesome.

As Vanity Fair itself described it:

Vanity Fair photographer Patrick Ecclesine was with Demi Lovato this week when the singer was suddenly inspired to pose for a series of portraits, with only three rules: “no makeup, no clothes, no retouching.” These are the results.

Patrick Ecclesine for Vanity Fair
Patrick Ecclesine for Vanity Fair
Patrick Ecclesine for Vanity Fair

Please see the rest at Vanity Fair. The best photoshoots are often the spontaneous ones, I have too found.


Lilosophies ~ Part One


“Perfection is Perception.”

When LI’L GRIPES first began, I knew it would be a project based off my rather… unique worldviews. All my writing thus far has proven this emphatically. I think I form a lot of witty thoughts on a regular basis (ask my boyfriend ha…ha) and while I can write rambling manifestos on how detestable the concept of a big wedding is (see below), I have discovered it just as effective to be pithy on certain occasions.

Hence, I have distilled some of my more poignant observations on life into succinct blurbs I proudly call LILOSOPHIES. Welcome to Part One:


“Most people in New York City are in long-distance relationships, just factoring in commute time.”


IMG_8564“NYC has too much going on all the time….You could miss the Zombie Apocalypse while shopping a sample sale.”



“Why do people bother snooping through others’ medicine cabinets? I just assume everyone’s taking Prozac and Lipitor and probably Adderall.”



“Weddings are a huge waste of money you can otherwise spend on things likely to last longer than the marriage.”



“Do you ever feel like everybody’s just living the same exact life?”



“In everyone’s life toolkit should be a doctor friend, a lawyer friend, and a cop friend.”



Fashion Mixology — TOMBOY-GIRLISH CHIC: Mission Possible



The Art of Mixing + Matching – Easily, Lazily

~ Lillian Gao

All photography by: Min Gao


A NEW YORKER WHO COMPLAINS about the heat during summertime should be brought before an [insert dictator-led] firing squad. We apologize–A bit harsh, huh? It is characteristically Big Apple to, well, gripe about everything. The heat, the cold, the line at the local bodega being too long, etc.

Now that August has officially dawned, it will be just a wrinkle in time before we are frosting it out on our daily commutes to-and-fro work. So, I implore you to enjoy the heat–yes, even the suffocating humidity–before it all goes to hell in mid-late October.

One way to commemorate these waning days of summer is sartorial expression. It is Hail Mary time, fashionably speaking. We, as well as our wardrobes, have nothing left to lose. One of the last #LazyGirlChic “Mixology” combos of summer is blending the palates of Tomboy Chic with that of Upscale-Coquette.



My closet is RIFE with columns of white, grey and black. Routine “girly” for me signifies beaded or ruffled white tank tops and tunics.

Fortunately, there is the occasional florally printed, geometrically patterned, or tropically hued shirt, dress, or romper rattling about in my tragically non-walk-in closet (a quality I intend on changing VERY SOON), as well.

My Millau floral romper is indubitably the girliest affect I have in my wardrobe. As I have declared several posts back, I always begin with, then build upon, a central nucleus piece–which, in this case, is the romper. The key to combining, rather than clashing, the worlds of boyish and girlish is adding masculine accessories deliberately tailored for women and women only. Thus, I chose my azure-blue New Era LA Snapback Hat for Women (any friend or even an associate knows I have been wavering on whether to online-purchase this hat or not for months) and my reliable Chucks. For jewelry, I added a black-and-gold chain clover necklace to keep with the floral theme. Slip on a few dainty, stackable bracelets and you have achieved one of the dopest last hurrahs of 2015 summer fashion.



The key to combining, rather than clashing, the worlds of boyish and girlish is adding masculine accessories deliberately tailored for women and women only.



  1. ROMPER: Millau floral romper, $156 (Buy Millau’s closest style ON SALE at Poshmark!)
  2. SNAPBACK: NEW ERA LA Snapback Hat for Women, $52 (Topshop, NOW $24!)
  3. SNEAKERS: Chuck Taylor All Star Classic Colors in Black, $50 (Converse)
  4. COSTUME NECKLACE: Black-and-Gold Clover Necklace (closest style- Chic Flower Necklace, $99, Bling Jewelry)


  1. SUNNIES: Cole Haan Modern Metal Aviator Sunglasses in Yellow Gold, $160 (Cole Haan)
  2. BRACELETS: Dainty bracelets of your choice (do NOT overstack–Henri Bendel is ever so reliable and usually attainable!)

 Much love,

Lil xx