Interview with a Blogger: Carolyn Yuen Marino from “Hey Pretty Thing”

Interview With Carolyn Yuen Marino - Hey Pretty Thing

Today we’ll start a new category of posts here on MyCasualStyle, called “Interview with a Blogger” where we’re going to feature interesting fashion, travel, lifestyle and beauty bloggers that we get to know from time to time during this beautiful and fun blogging journey.

In this first interview we’ll ask a few questions to the beautiful Carolyn Yuen Marino, an English teacher and blogger who lives in Seattle, Washington, and writes at Hey Pretty Thing.

Let’s start right away! We hope you enjoy it as much as us. We’ll begin with some travel and fashion questions.

1. From the “Travel” page of your blog, we can see that you’ve visited so many places around the world. Can you tell us one or two of these travels that have been important to you more than others and have a special place in your heart? Why?

The most special place I always travel to is Hong Kong because that’s where I’m from and where my family lives. The city is so energetic, and all the sounds and smells make me nostalgic for childhood. They say there is no place like home!

Hong Kong - Hey Pretty Thing

Another place is probably Iceland, because we recently traveled there in the summertime and it felt like we were transported to another world.

Iceland - Hey Pretty Thing

You can drive to soak in geothermal pools of the Blue Lagoon, check out the tectonic rift valley at Thingvellir National Park, and so much more.

Blue Lagoon - Thingvellir National Park

2. You have been to many places in Italy. Which one did you like most?

It’s so hard to choose! I LOVE Italy. My husband and I hiked through the five towns of Cinque Terre, and the views were stunning. We ate and drank along the way (lots of pesto and limoncello!) so it was also a fun culinary experience!

Cinque Terre - Hey Pretty Thing

I have to mention Civita di Bagnoregio (nicknamed “the dying city”) as well, where I traveled with my best friend. It was founded by Etruscans over 2500 years ago, and the town itself is near collapse due to erosion. There is anywhere between 12-100 people who live there. The quaint community, surrounded by gorgeous sights of the Tiber river valley, is just so unique to visit.

Civita di Bagnoregio - Hey Pretty Thing

I promise I’ll stop after this! But as touristy as Venice is, the city of water, canals, and bridges is too charming to pass up.

Venice - Hey Pretty Thing

Related: 3 Destinations For An Italian Summer Trip + An Outfit Idea

3. Your favorite bag that you already have or that you’d like to purchase in the future?

My favorite bag is my Chanel WOC. My husband gifted it to me on our honeymoon to Europe almost 5 years ago and it’s still my most-worn bag. I don’t carry much with me so it’s the perfect little crossbody bag for being on the go!

Chanel WOC - Hey Pretty Thing

4. Which is your favorite Italian fashion brand?

Gucci is killing it right now! I’m definitely a minimalist but Gucci makes me dabble in maximalism.

Gucci - Hey Pretty Thing

Related: 7+ Interesting Facts About 5 Italian Fashion Brands You Probably Didn’t Know

5. Do you have any fashion accessories that you use often?

I like a good matte red lipstick (my go to is Smashbox “Bawse”), an embellished bag (my Saint Laurent “Kate”), and a pair of sunglasses (my Clic Clac mirrored sunnies).

Saint Laurent Bag Kate - Smashbox Bawse

Clic Clac Mirrored Sunnies - Hey Pretty Thing

6. Do you have any books that have influenced you more than others, that you’d like to mention and recommend?

As an English teacher, my favorite text to teach is Hamlet by William Shakespeare. The language is achingly beautiful, and I can’t help but be sympathetic toward Hamlet even though he’s arguably a whiney, cowardly, misogynistic egomaniac.

When I was in high school, my favorite book was The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

One of my favorite passages in literature is in Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson:

“…Everything must finally be made comprehensible… For why do our thoughts turn to some gesture of a hand, the fall of a sleeve, some corner of a room on a particular anonymous afternoon, even when we are asleep, and even when we are so old that our thoughts have abandoned other business? What are all these fragments for, if not to be knit up finally?”
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Now we’ll continue with some questions about blogging.

Since we like blogging very much and are always curious about how other bloggers are doing, we’d like to ask you a few questions about life as a blogger.

7. Firstly, what part does blogging take in your day to day life? The time it takes to write articles, take pictures and edit them, being active on social media, etc.?

I’m not a very good “blogger” haha. I don’t like playing the game that sometimes social media has become. Since I work as a full-time teacher, I spend some of my free time blogging after work. As I’m relaxing and watching TV, I’ll catch up on Instagram once in a while.

I blog twice a week, so I will prep those posts during the weekend. Depending on the post, it’ll take anywhere from an hour to edit and write (outfit posts) to eight hours (travel posts). Shoots are pretty quick (under 30 minutes most of the time) because I photograph with my husband and we work well together, unless we are shooting for a campaign, then we’ll take longer.

8. Which are, in your opinion, the biggest difficulties or obstacles that a fashion blogger can encounter?

I think a difficulty for me is consistently creating quality AND quantity of content because I am also balancing blogging with a full time career. Also, I live in Seattle, where the weather is rainy and cold about 9 months of the year, so shooting outfits outside is not always fun.

9. What advice would you give to those who are thinking to start a fashion blog?

Have fun with it! If you’re just starting off, it definitely should be because it’s a hobby. I’m a believer of doing things genuinely and passionately.

10. And lastly, what are your favorite ways / methods, that you’d recommend, for promoting a fashion blog?

I like when the “promotion” is natural and organic, like when I post outfits or beauty products that I love and always wear, and the brands repost and promote my images.

Thank you very much Carolyn for this interview! It was so much fun 😉 .

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