5 Questions with SPPR Featuring Monica Wang

You’ve seen Monica Wang’s work before. Her bright, light filled photos have appeared on The Every Girl, Rue Magazine, Glitter Guide and even the Soda Pop PR blog. As an interior and lifestyle photographer popping up on all our favorite Insta feeds, Monica is one of our go-to ladies for photo magic and style inspiration. This week, we asked her to give us a little insight into balance, creativity and why it’s all about the lighting.

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1. You’re an amazing photographer but it’s actually your side hustle. What’s the biggest struggle in balancing photography with your finance career?

I would have to say that my biggest struggle is to maintain a normal personal life with two jobs and it isn’t balancing between a photography and a finance job. I am a workaholic! I can work hours on end and I love the feeling of achieving something and feeling proud of the work I have put together. So after juggling all my work responsibilities the thing that I spend the least amount of time on is with family and friends. I have to remind myself that I can’t complain because I have been given so many amazing opportunities.  However, now I only say yes to the gigs that I really want to do vs saying yes to everything.  Work/life balance is the real struggle for me.

2. Do you have a favorite, or particularly memorable, photo shoot?

My recent favorite shoot was with my dear friend, Anne Sage of City Sage (a previous 5 Questions with SPPR guest). She is a styling genius and I always love working with her so it doesn’t matter what we are shooting together. When you find the right creative partner, that is when you are able to produce the type of work that you are most proud of.  Work doesn’t feel like “work” and it is quite a milestone to find that within your career!  I always have to take a step back to reflect and be thankful that I am able to do what I do and call it my job.

3. Where do you look for inspiration?

I am constantly influenced by what is around me in LA. There are always new shops and restaurants popping up all the time so I try to keep my radar out for all the good ones I want to check out.

The IG accounts that I follow religiously are @garypeppergirl, @lucywilliams02, and @haleboyd for fashion and lifestyle related things.  I try not to look at other photo work so much because when you do that, your work starts to look like theirs instead of your own. I try to do my own thing as much as possible.

4. What would be your dream photo shoot?

My dream photo shoot would be traveling to Anguilla, Morocco or some other magical destination to photograph beautiful homes or hotels for Architectural Digest or Elle Decor. That would truly be a dream!

5. What is your number one tip for amateurs who want to take better pictures?

Find good lighting. It doesn’t even matter if you are shooting with your iPhone or a super high-end DSLR, as long as you have good natural lighting you can always take a good photo! My favorite kind is soft window light in the early morning.

Lunch like an Italian with Lucini

After a long two weeks of winter (sarcasm intended), the sunshine has returned in Southern California and there’s no better way to greet spring’s perfect temperatures than dining al fresco. A few weeks ago, Soda Pop PR and Lucini Italia gathered friends together at one of our favorite succulent sources – Rolling Greens Nursery – to enjoy a long, leisurely lunch in the spirit of the Italian concept of “Dolce far Niente”; the pleasure of doing nothing.

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The afternoon featured four courses of Italian-inspired dishes by La Femme Epicure alongside an epic Lady & Larder cheese and charcuterie board.

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Seasonal herb cocktails were shaken up by our friends at The Spirits in Motion who created photo-worthy signature cocktails unique to the event.

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It wouldn’t be an Italian feast without gelato and if you haven’t had Nancy Silverton’s Nancy’s Fancy gelato yet, we recommend the Butterscotch Budino gelato and Chocolate Fondente Sorbetto with a little Lucini olive oil and sea salt on top. Trust us.

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We hope our afternoon of lunching like an Italian inspires you to gather some friends and enjoy a beautiful homemade meal of your own. Buon Appetito!

Team Soda Pop PR

5 Questions with SPPR Featuring Anne Sage

This week, we’re pleased to welcome the lovely Anne Sage to join our fabulous list of guest “5 Questions with SPPR” contributors. A style maven, blogger and author of the recently released Sage Living: Decorate for the Life you Want, Anne’s been inspiring us since her days as co-founder of Rue Magazine. Read on for a few tips, tricks and #DesignGoals.

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All photos c/o Anne Sage


1. We love your new book Sage Living. Can you tell us how this 3 year project came to fruition?

It was a long journey to be sure! It all started when I left Rue Magazine. A friend introduced me to my literary agent, and we spent a year throwing around ideas until we had something that resonated deeply enough for me to spend a year of my life working on it! From there we put together a proposal and shopped it around to different publishers. I was thrilled when Chronicle Books wanted to work with me on this project! From there, I spent nine months scouting and shooting homes, interviewing homeowners and writing their stories, and then working with my editor and designer to refine the copy and layouts. A year after I delivered my manuscript, the book went on sale and the rest was history. Given my short Internet-induced attention span, I’m still amazed it all worked out!

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2. We happen to know from your recent Rue Magazine tour that your own home is gorgeous. In earlier days, did you ever make a big design decision that you ended up regretting?

I definitely don’t have any design decisions that I regret, because they’re all a reflection of where I was at a particular time in my life. But I definitely wouldn’t buy the tufted wingback sofa that I had in my Brooklyn apartment for my house here in LA!

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3. What is one way that decorating for the life you want has played out for you personally?

One of my most important values is a healthy relationship with my partner, one in which we both feel heard and respected. We’ve worked hard to make our place feel like a reflection of both of us, and I’m proud to say that we’ve received exactly that feedback from friends who have visited our home!

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4. Could you share a couple of your favorite sources for unique props and home goodies?

I love CB2 for cool, modern tabletop props that don’t break the bank. Coco Carpets does gorgeous, one-of-a-kind vintage Moroccan rugs for a hit of color and comfort. And finally, Brika is a great resource for handmade decor items like ceramics and textiles!

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5. What do you do when you need creative inspiration?

The best thing for me when I need creative inspiration is to get outside: a trip to the beach, a walk with the dogs, even a stroll down the high street of my neighborhood. Whether it is people watching or being with nature, it helps me to take my mind off whatever project I’m working on so my subconscious can assemble the missing pieces of the puzzle!

For a daily dose of design inspiration, check out Anne’s blog and follow her on Instagram.