An aesthetic delight, Modesty Mae @modestymae, brings a fresh take on vintage-appreciation through her style and her creative pursuit. She shares her beautiful, creative musings at modestymae.com.
She talks more about her quarantine life, including habits she picked up along the way –
Produced by Diane Bernardo and Modesty Mae
What does your stay at home look like right now?
It’s a mix of work and rest everyday. I try to approach things more mindfully now that we’ve entered another year. My day begins at 5:30AM with a short prayer and journal session. I jot a few things I’m grateful for since it really helps put me in the right headspace. Work from home starts at 9AM, so I sit and meditate, do a bit of cleaning to prep myself for a productive day ahead. I make sure to take breaks in between! Overworking the past two years really put into perspective how important rest is. I take a lunch break (maybe even a snack or a book break at times) just to recharge for the rest of the afternoon. At 5-6PM, work f inishes and I meal prep some evenings so I can easily reheat them for my meals. I like working out at night so I can get a good night’s sleep.
I’m grateful to be back in the city after staying a few months in the province because of the pandemic — it’s a good change of pace. Life is a bit more fast-paced again, since I work two full-time jobs, some days from home and other days in the vintage store. It’s a blessing, really, to be working with creative people in two different industries. It’s also a great reason to dress up on the daily!
Given how the landscape of mobility and travel have changed because of the pandemic, how do you f ind creativity?
I walk everywhere. A lot of the places that I frequent are in close proximity, like the park or grocery (only when necessary). It’s nice to look at my surroundings and get a little exercise as well. Quarantine taught me to appreciate the little things, and this is where I f ind inspiration. I’m also on Instagram a lot and often go window shopping, admiring all the cool products made by the brands I look up to. Sometimes I get a bit from these and add them into my looks for quick errands or work. I also like going through old magazines!
What’s your process on learning something new?
I learn by experience and read/watch about things I’m interested in on the internet. Some things I picked up this past year are: sewing, editing images on Photoshop and videos on Premiere Pro. The latter skills are so helpful with the work that I do now, and allow me to express myself better. I’m a visual person, so learning how to manipulate images and videos really excites me. It’s a bit time consuming and everyday is another opportunity to learn something new or develop my skills. If I need a little help f iguring out how to do something, I reach out to my friends. While Google/Youtube is a great teacher, my friends make it quicker since it’s a f irsthand experience learning from them.
What self care practices or rituals do you do when you need a boost?
Rest. When I’m too in my head about something, I slow down or do something I love. I make vision boards so I can show myself what I want to happen. It’s a super helpful tool, since I can add anything that sparks more ideas, or helps me feel better in a snap.
What would you tell your younger self?
It’s OK to be different. I was pretty hard on myself growing up because I was different. For years, I dressed differently from the people at home and for a time, this was diff icult because I didn’t have anyone to talk to about the latest trends or about fashion in general. I f inally felt at ease when I got my f irst intern styling gig and it was like a breath of fresh air! I was f inally surrounded with people who liked the same things. It took awhile, but I’d totally tell my younger self to be proud of who I was (and am).
What habits are you most proud of?
Four things come to mind! Since 2016 I’ve been committed to making healthy food choices and working out regularly. I used to put in the effort to make all my meals look good; what’s important to me now is having nutrient-packed meals over photo-ready plates. Although you can count on me to make a meal look cute if I’m in the mood (or have time) for it!
I can’t go three days without doing some form of exercise. I have a trainer who keeps me in check, I exercise to get stronger!
Being more introspective is the third habit I’m proud of. I used to brush things off and just work harder, but now I take the time to really feel and be with my emotions. It brings me at ease and helps me be a better person for others too, since it gives me more balance internally.
Tracking expenses and shopping responsibly are the last two habits I’m proud of. I set f inancial goals that I really want to reach by the time I’m 30 and tracking where my expenses go helps me inch closer toward these goals. Also, I completely ditched fast fashion in 2019, buying only secondhand or shopping from independent and responsible, local labels. You can check out my visual diary www.modestymae.com for my day-to-day outf its, self-care buys, aesthetic f inds, and creative musings.
Hopefully I keep this up for the next year (and the years to come). Slowing down and being more mindful with work and leisure is so important to me. Maybe in ten years I’ll be proud of these decisions, and hopefully reach my personal goals then.