The Country Music Hall of Fame + Hatch Show Print

I should first disclose I am not a fan of country music, or at least new country music. I like old country music like Johnny Cash and Wanda Jackson, and going through the Country Music Hall of Fame museum introduced me to new old artists (does that make sense??) I'll admit half of the museum I didn't know who the artists were, but it did show me how much music is embedded in Nashville. Even if it wasn't my favorite type of music, I can't deny how much I loved the history of the city. Plus I got to see Elvis' ridiculously tacky gold piano and Johnny Cash's boots! I also had a chance to see the Hatch Show factory. I got a tour of the history, how it's made, and I even got to see them make a poster of what The Ryman would be selling at the Jenny Lewis show. I wasn't allowed to take photos of it, or any others before their clients saw but it was so cool watching them make it. 

The Country Music Hall of Fame is located 222 5th Ave S, Nashville, TN.

The Hatch Show Print Shop is located 224 5th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

January 2016 Favorites

Ah yes, favorites are back! And with a fresh start! I think I hated this series for a while because I really didn't have any favorites of much for some time. I was consumed with stress, anxiety and I found no enjoyment in what I used to love. Now, I'm feeling better and I'm excited to share. 

+ Favorite app Okay, so I'm a little biased because I support a lot of ABM, but what I like best about A Color Story, the ABM app, is how convenient it is. I've written about how much I love their Adobe actions and this app reminds me of the usability but for my iPhone edits. It's one click away and I can even save favorite custom filters. Find A Color Story in the app store. 

+ Favorite TV show Ah, Agent Carter is back! This is season two and it's set in LA. Agent Carter is already a very stylish TV show (think early Mad Men plus hot women with guns) but the LA backdrop adds an element of aesthetic to it, and the vivid jewel toned colors and wardrobe to Peggy Carter add more life to the show. Of course I love the story line and the plot but as a visual person, I'm so happy it was renewed for season two.

+ Favorite album Mutemath's Vitals is one an unexpected gem for January. I've been listening to Mutemath for years and after this album was sitting in my library for weeks, I was surprised. It's an updated sound, but I also rate music on the danceability of it, and yes, this one is a dance-y one. There are a couple slow jams on it, but it's been my soundtrack to my office music the past week, non-stop. 

+ Favorite moment We were offered a great opportunity in Nashville. We prayed about it, talked about it, and it felt like God was telling us to give him these next few months to see what amazing things He can do. It's a leap of faith not just for our marriage, but for our livelihood as well. I'm back to work as a creative director working with some great people in the publishing industry and being mentored by them to grow in my career. It's an opportunity I can't pass down and the moment our plane landed, I knew it was the right decision. Hello, Nashville! 

I can't wait to see what favorites February brings

Free Month Trial

There's a Tumblr text post going around, 2016 is going to start February 1. January was a free month trial. That's exactly what January felt like. It was a lot of catching up from the holidays plus we are temporarily moving to Nashville for a few months. By the time I had confirmation, I've been so busy getting everything ready and packing, and blogging had to be set aside for this month. Do you know what it's like to pack 4-6 month's worth of clothes (including work attire, which I haven't worn in years) in one suitcase? It didn't happen but it was a fun challenge. We're excited, nervous and it's the perfect opportunity for us. There will be no other time in our life we just pack and go live across the country. We both work from home, we have family to take care of our pets and house, and we have no kids. So January may not have been the month I began blogging again, but I'd like to call it a head start into February. Thank you everyone who's emailed, and left motivational comments, I didn't think my lack of blog presence would be noticed, it's encouraging!

Marvel Monday: Civil War by Stuart Moore

Marvel Cinematic Universe is releasing the highly anticipated Civil War this year, the trilogy to the Captain America series. I’m one of those annoying “I read the book before the movie” people so when I found out there was a novelized version (not just the comic), I had to read it. 

The story is about two superheroes, Iron Man, Tony Stark, and Captain America, Steve Rogers. Tony who wants government support and and a stabilized ID documentation and Steve who wants full control of their personal status. They each have a team of superheroes on their side, some end up betraying their own side, others end up being killed. What I loved about this book is when you take away the superhero part of it, it's a political story. As far as the writing goes, Stuart Moore writes the characters and sticks to their mannerisms the way Marvel has built them for the past few years. I don’t know how to review this book without giving much away but I would recommend it if you’re a fan of the Marvel series, especially with so many movies and tv shows lined up over the next year and Netflix having a contract with Marvel. There are appearances by familiar characters like Daredevil and Spiderman, but this is a great book to introduce the reader to unknown characters. The action is detailed, it reminds me of watching a Marvel movie and there was no gore or anything too horrific, but mentions of blood from fighting and death scenes. 

I don’t think I’ve been this excited for a movie to come out in a long time (yep, even compared to Star Wars, I’m more excited for this), and I know Marvel Cinematic Universe has their own story changed around but I can’t wait to see the comparisons. Even if you’re not a huge reader of the comics, this is a great start to the Marvel world. Buy it here

Hopes for 2016

I was so excited for 2015, blog-wise, but then life happened and all my personal goals were put on hold. I don't need a Jan 1 to start over, but I'll take the opportunity to start fresh. Here are some goals for my blog in 2016. 

+ Photoblog- If I don't blog, I get cranky. Even if I have 20 readers or 20k, over time I've learned to do it for myself and it's really like my own digital diary. One of my favorite things to blog about- taking a million photos of one detail that I fall in love with whether it be in a Barbie, a pair of shoes, or even a lipstick packaging, I love beautiful things. I love having a photo journal of things I currently love at the moment. One of my absolute favorite things to do is turn on music, have a cup of coffee, and edit in ABM actions. I'm excited to do that more. 

+ Series- I love having a collection of series. It gives me a sense of discipline, and I can't wait to share more favorites, and Marvel Mondays. I'm also happy to introduce photo journaling (even the ugly ones, yikes), and more outfit posts. 

+ Less business driven, more personal driven- I just want to blog and if a company likes what I blog about, great! I'm tired of chasing after companies to pay attention to me. If they wanted to, they would have already. I'm hoping to find companies that fit my blog in 2016. 

+ Share more joy- I shared so much grief and pain the past two years, I almost don't know what to blog about if I'm not experiencing pain. There are so many more happier moments, and while those are more special and saved for my personal life, I have to remind myself it's okay to share, too. 

+ Be nice to my blog- Every time I open my blog, I treat it poorly. I don't pay much attention to it, and when people subscribe, or compliment it, instead of saying thank you, I just go on and on how my life isn't worthy of sharing (but yet, I still share, lol). I need to remember I have a story tell and it's okay to admit people want to hear it. Chill, Diana, you're good. 

+ Reading- An update on the Library Challenge- I stopped going to the library because I got so many free books from BEA/BookCon in NYC, I didn't bother going much but I did save $208!! Please remember to support your local library, and you'll support your wallet, too! 

Happy New Year! Thanks for reading this blog! 

Barbie x Tokidoki Collaboration

I never thought I'd blog about Barbie, but here we are. I love collaborations, I love Tokidoki and I love details. This limited edition Tokidoki x Barbie doesn't disappoint. 

Maryam introduced me to the limited edition Tokidoki x Barbie collaboration but the $100 price tag was too much for something I normally wouldn't collect. However, I got this as an early gift and Santa couldn't beat the $30 price tag right now on Amazon.  There are way too many photos here if you want to see more. 

ourcitylights by Diana La Counte is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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The Joy of Specs

I always talk about minimizing and this is a good place to start, I’m pulling off the band aid right where it hurts. I’m saying goodbye to my glasses collection but not without a few photos to immortalize them. They’ve been there to style me when other accessories weren’t enough, they’ve been in backgrounds of numerous instagram photos to style with, and most importantly they’ve been there to express myself. They’ve also been there to hide. When I didn’t feel comfortable with my face, I would use glasses as a distraction. The more comfortable I become with myself, the less I hide. 

Last year I found a pair of glasses from Bon Look I love so much, I stopped rotating my other pair and bought in another color. They are the perfect fit of masculine with a feminine hint and they compliment my face rather than hide. Another reason I had so many glasses was because my face would go from wide to thin over the years like my weight and so did my style of glasses. My new pair are universally fit to any size face and there’s no need to constantly change styles (or diets, ha.) Another benefit of letting go of my glasses is someone else will need them. I remember how difficult my legally blind prescription was to get to slim down in a pair of glasses (and for years contacts didn't go up that high in prescription). You can donate your old pair here Lions Club, and All About Vision.

Better Late Than Leather

(sorry not sorry for that pun)

I haven't done an outfit post in awhile, it feels like I'm running behind and catching up. I'm ready to go to some holiday parties and this coral dress and peplum shaped faux leather jacket are a good mix. Plus I rarely wear pink and I have to document how cute this dress is. I love traditional colors but I especially love unexpected colors in a silhouette that makes it work. One of my favorite things about this dress is the cotton stretch and the simplicity of it. I can add a ton of jewelry (although I'm allergic to most metals so I guess you can add a ton of jewelry), silk scarves, or wear it alone and stand out in a sea of reds and greens. 

Details- bow stretch belt, Torrid. dress, Forever 21+. boots, Kate Spade (out of season but here is a new style with a higher heel). jacket, Forever 21 +.

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Giving Tuesday

Between Cyber Monday, Black Friday and Shop Small Saturday, I hope you were able to save some money for Giving Tuesday. You can read more about it here

This is a great opportunity to give to an organization close to your heart, support your community or just give back to someone else that needs it more than you do. If you don't have money to give, that's okay, sometimes time is an even better option for the program. It's a good time to keep things in perspective. Here are some of the organizations that I believe in

826 Valencia- Originally started by McSweeney's, started by Dave Eggers. It's a center to help under-resourced kids to read and write. Sometimes the kids even get published! 


Keep A Breast- I love KAB because it doesn't sugar coat breast cancer, and it targets a younger demographic to educate and take better care of their health. Plus they offer breast cast art, how cool is that!

Books to Prisoners- Even if you're incarcerated, I still believe everyone should have access to books. This program sends books to inmates who are in jails that have shut down libraries or have stopped giving new books due to budget cuts. 

Milk + Bookies- This is an "after school" type program for kids in lower economic neighborhoods who's cities have closed libraries (an already free service). They expose kids to reading and help built their eduction. 


Animal Assistance League of Orange County- AALOC is a no-kill shelter. We have cats and dogs, all that have been adopted through shelters. We love our pets and we were stunned at the kill rates when we first began looking. Every animal needs a chance and even if this program isn't in your location, look into your county for no-kill shelters to support. 

There are a few others I love such as World Vision (we've sponsored Hannah from India for 8 years and we love watching her grow in her education and help feed her family), and Libraries Without Borders. If you have favorite organizations, please comment below. 

Star Wars + Irregular Choice Shoe Collaboration

I love Star Wars and I love shoes so when I saw Irregular Choice, a UK based shoe company, partnered with Lucasfilm to license Star Wars shoes, I fell in lust with the collection. They truly look like a work of art to me, the details are amazing. There is a glitter heel, an iridescent rainbow lining, and a photo of Han on the sole (kind of weird when you walk on him) and the design on the front of the shoe is embroidered. I even took photos of the paper that stuffs the shoe. I was such a fangirl mess when I got these, they are so beautiful. 

They fit true to size and the shoe is a little stiff at first but once you break them in, they are fine. You can purchase them on ThinkGeek, Irregular Choice UK, or get them at Disneyland like I did with a pass holder discount. 

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