Happy midweek, friends! It’s officially T minus 2 days until the weekend so hang in there! In the meantime, maybe these links can help to get you through.
1 I LOVED the rainbow dripping candles at the Rosie Assoulin FW16, but I never even thought of recreating the look myself as a centerpiece. Good thing Ashley came through with this brilliant DIY. (Sugar & Cloth) | 2 Anyone else take their earrings off all over the place? I’m thinking this cute brass pyramid earring holder could be a good office solution to help reign in the never-ending pile that accumulates on my desk. (A Beautiful Mess)
3 I always love these hand-written posts by Adam J. Kurtz, and this one about conquering the common creative fears is especially on point. (Design Sponge) | 4 This IG account features an anonymous Londoner snapping pics as Where’s Waldo at nostalgic landmarks. Aside from being hilarious that this is someone’s real life, the pictures are actually really beautiful. (HonestlyWTF)
5 I love a good behind-the-scenes, and this interview with celebrity designer Naeem Khan, backstage at his Spring 2017 bridal show, doesn’t disappoint. All the intricate details and dreamy colors- it’s really just breath-taking. You’ll have to click through for the video, but I promise you won’t regret it.
One of the hardest things about being a “creative” is that it can be a real challenge to wrap up for other people that age-old small talk go-to, “What do you do?” Sometimes I think you could ask my closest family and friends what I do all day and many of them wouldn’t exactly know. I wear a lot of strange design “hats” and I’m not always the best about sharing the finer details of that with the world. Maybe it’s classic middle child syndrome or something, but attention or praise is just about the last thing I even think of when I’m working on a project. It was pointed out to me recently that because of this, I don’t really share enough of my creative work and that it possibly holds me back in progressing my career. This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. I often feel like the act of blogging alone is so self-focused that saying, “Hey guys, look at this other stuff, too!” is a little bit of overkill, but according to my friend (and every biz post ever written) this opinion is pretty off base.
Anyway, that is the long-winded backstory on this new post series. The short version: I’m hoping to start chronicling and sharing more of my projects here on the blog. My life lately has been pretty consumed with launching a clothing/accessories brand with my design partner, Shiree Houf. The brand, HOWL, is a combination of our last names. We just created a Facebook page and Instagram account about one minute ago (literally), so if you want to be among the first likes and follows, please hop on over! We have been very busy working on our first full collection for Alternative Fashion Week here in Columbus.
These are some very preliminary sketches. They’ve changed A LOT since this picture was taken, but I don’t want to give away too much of our final designs. 😉
I’ve been a part of Alternative Fashion Week before as a band stylist and blogger. Those pics above, taken by Meghan Ralston, are of local bands, Trachete and The Salty Caramels. I LOVE styling shoots, especially with bands because they always have such cool personal style, but I’ve never actually shows a full fashion collection as a designer before, so that makes this year even more exciting for me.
In an attempt to not let a little thing like an out-of-reach budget hold us back, we ran a fundraising campaign selling handmade friendship bracelets and, because our friends and family are obviously incredible, we reached our goal! We actually met it on my birthday, so that was extra special. The materials list is pretty endless (think zippers, snaps, linings, garment bags, shoes, etc.) so these bad boys are still on sale for anyone interested. Donations of $10 come with a friendly rope bracelet, while $25 gets you a mix-and-match set of three.
Now that you’ve heard my official Shark Tank investment pitch, let me tell you about our collection! There are several points of inspiration: Star Wars, the 70s, athletic wear, chunky woven textures. It’s got a lot going on, but there is one thing that every single piece has in spades and that’s COLOR!! We are using a rainbow-inspired color scheme. The specific goal was to have a rainbow that was a little bit “off.” Colors that are non-traditional to the good ole’ ROY G. BIV, like salmon and mint, are what really make the color palette exciting to me.
We’ve been doing a lot of hand-crafted textiles, like the picture above. It’s a black quilted “vegan” leather that we cut into strips and sewn into tubes, which we then used those to create our own woven textile. For now you’ll have to use your imagination on what this will become, but I think the woven pieces are turning out so cool! They make me really excited to see everything in it’s final stage.
We have a lot of white and denim pieces, but each look, even a classic flowing white shirt dress has a pop of color with a row of rainbow buttons. These buttons we actually made ourselves (and by these I mean several hundred of these) with a button tool because the only rainbow sets we found were the standard spectrum and, like I said, we’re pretty committed to those “off” colors.
We have made a lot of fringe. We looked into buying fringe at first, but decided instead to make it out of white cotton denim and dye it an assortment of colors. In retrospect this idea might possibly have been crazy (I won’t be starting a fringe-making club anytime soon), but I do love how the colors came out and I’m really excited for the fringed garments.
Thanks to the help of some friends, we were able to put together a little impromptu promo shoot. Our model, Madison Wilz, and photographer, Laurel Harvey, both deserve trophies because they helped squeeze this shoot into the narrowest of scheduling slots. Luckily, they’re both total pros, so as much as we were flying by the seat of our pants that afternoon, I think the pictures turned out so good! If you’re in the South/Central Ohio area and are looking for a great photographer, Laurel is really talented and working with her was wonderful. Our model, Madison, is actually my future sister-in-law and she’ll be walking in our runway show, too. Isn’t she the cutest? 🙂
The show is June 12th so the next weeks are going to be pretty intense. We’ve got a lot of Alternative Fashion Week-related events coming up, including model fittings, an event called Couture Cuisine, where chefs will create dishes inspired by some of the designers’ past looks, a Gallery Hop Pop-up Shop, where we’ll be selling some of our jewelry and accessories, and filming our designer interview videos, which will be played before our runway show.
Now the real question is, when in the world am I going to have time to get my ridiculous roots done?! For real though, I’m thinking about kicking my platinum up a notch to icy white, almost gray, like this gorgeous ‘do. Please live up to your reader’s civic duty and place your hair vote in the comments. 😉 I can’t wait to share more of the process and eventually the final product with you!
What do you think of the new blog series? Do you ever have a hard time taking credit for your work?
I’ve always had a thing for gemstones. My older sister had a collection when we were growing up which I obviously thought was the coolest thing ever. We used to go to this store in the mall, and I have no recollection of any details about this store, except that they had little gemstone grab bags for a couple dollars. Every mall trip we would each get one and it was so cool because it was like playing the childhood lottery. You could end up with our most coveted, an amethyst geode, or the baby’s breath filler of the gem world, a stinking piece of petrified wood (which, to be fair, I still kind of loved). Anyway, with today being Earth Day and all, I thought it was the perfect occasion to celebrate the fact the our planet is so cool that it actually makes its own jewelry. Earth, you are truly a gem. 🙂
Hey pals! I hope you’re looking for a little distraction today, because I’ve got some great links to share!
1 Have you heard of microblading? As someone who draws in about 70% of their eyebrows everyday, I’m really dying to try it. This post gives the scoop on the process and the results. (Maskcara) | 2 My fave fitness guru, Cassey Ho of Blogilates, just launched her second POPFLEX collection. It’s inspired by mermaids, so obviously it’s beautiful, and the silhouettes are really innovative for fitness wear. (POPFLEX Active)
3 I absolutely love the theme of this “Good Vibes” ladies lunch. Plus, the dramatic mix of design elements makes for a really glam tablescape. (Mimosa Lane) | 4 As an Interior Designer, Editor at Vogue, and Creative Director for Domino magazine, Sara Ruffin Costello obviously has great taste. This peak inside her home is so good at actually made my heart race. New life goal: get a showgirl headdress for my mantle. (One King’s Lane)
5 With Mother’s Day just around the corner, this seemed especially appropriate. And funny…. and very true. I love you, Mom!
I’m linking up again with my gal pals for our #MonthlyMani! I was half-tempted to skip out on this month because, after working on our Alternative Fashion Week collection for the past month, my nails and cuticles have seen better days. But since this month’s theme, Art-Inspired, was so close to my heart, I couldn’t pass it up! So here it is, dry skin and all, my DIY brushstroke mani.
I was drawn to this idea of creating abstract brushstrokes for a number of reasons. Firstly, I love a splash of color and this look has that in spades. Secondly, it just doesn’t get much easier than randomly placed paint dollops and in my book that is something to celebrate.
To get the look, I started with a nude base coat. Then I chose my rainbow of colors and instead of flicking on the color with the nail polish brush, I used a paintbrush for a more jagged edge. To switch colors, all you have to do is swish the brush around in some nail polish remover, pat dry on a paper towel, and you’re good to go.
I’ve loved that every time I look down and get a glimpse of my hand, I have all these great colors looking back at me! I think this mani was one of my favorites to date. It’s what I consider the perfect combo- pretty and a little messy- and the art inspiration really suits my personality.
Make sure to check out the other art-inspired nail looks from these ladies:
If you’re a regular reader, you know now that Zach and I have been working through The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Chapter One was great for us as we worked on adding more routine into our lives and began tackling things that were weighing on us. Chapter Two is all about relationships and focuses on topics like fighting right, showing proofs of love, and, the one I felt I most needed to work on, quitting nagging.
Zach is a really wonderful partner. He’s masculine but also very sensitive and romantic, a combination I know not to take for granted. He never judges me or asks me to change. He never sets expectations for me to live up to or thinks I should look or behave a certain way. This list is what matters most to me and why I know he’s my perfect match. On the other hand there is another list of things he does that are a lot less perfect, such as not noticing messes around him and not doing any housework unless prompted, often many times. That list is obviously less important, but it can make managing a household with him incredibly frustrating, hence my transformation into the nag I never thought I would become. When he was sweeping me off my feet in the first few years, I never imagined having a full-on crying fight about the still unclean bathroom, but it has happened more than I’m proud to admit.
So what’s one to do? Well, according to the book, on some degree, I should let it go. I should stop nagging, stop making demands, stop being let down when my expectations aren’t met. After all, Zach doesn’t do that to me, and that’s one of my favorite things about him. To stop nagging is much easier said than done, though, isn’t it? It’s something I am most definitely not going to win at every single day, but I can try. If this is a topic that’s been on your mind, too, I’m sharing a few tips from the book to help to ease up in the name of love.
Find ways to suggest tasks without talking. When you think of nagging, you picture a shrill, annoying voice, am I right? And let’s be honest, no one wants to deal with that. If you can find ways to communicate that involve less talking, or even no talking at all, the prompt is often better received. Rubin gives an example that she leaves mail that needs to be dropped off on the ground by the front door. Since her husband knows the system, he just picks it up and goes. No nagging, no problem. Zach usually takes out the trash for us, but he often lets it pile up for longer than I would like. By simply saying, “Trash!” as he’s on his way out the door, it gets taken out and everyone is left unscathed.
Realize that tasks don’t need to be done on your agenda. Just because I think the kitchen needs cleaned now doesn’t mean Zach feels like sharing in the work right now. If he’s agreeing to split the responsibilities, sometimes I need to accept that in whatever time frame it’s going to happen. The same goes for how exactly a task gets done. For instance, I think cleaning the toilet involves making the entire thing sparkle, but Zach thinks it means cleaning the bowl and calling it a day. It’s like this on a lot of tasks because he (and, frankly a lot of people) are not as obsessed with details as I am. If he’s going to clean the toilet bowl, I need to take that as it is and not gripe to him that there’s still dust on the tank lid.
Take responsibility for your own expectations. This one can be more simply summed up as, if you want something done, do it yourself. I knew about Zach’s aversion to cleaning before we even started dating, so is it really fair to expect him to get up on Saturday morning and immediately start scrubbing? No, not really. He needs to help because we are a partnership, but as long as he’s helping, anything more than that is my own responsibility. When we moved in, I hung his shirts in order by color and sleeve length. I then explained the system to him so he could maintain it himself and he literally laughed out loud. “You can’t really expect me to keep my shirts color-coded,” he said. And you know what? I can’t. It makes me happy for the closet to be like that but he could care less. So I take it upon myself to hang up his shirts. I don’t mind it, the closet stays neat, and at the end of the day we are all fine.
And because all of this talk about cleaning makes it sound like Zach doesn’t carry his weight, I feel like I should take a moment to explain that he deals with a lot of the more horrifying aspects of our life, like the time there was a dead mouse in our kitchen and I hid until it was over. He also pumps our gas because I don’t like to do it and he cooks at least half of the time. My point in all of this is not to point out his flaws but to give examples on picking your battles.
After all, I’ve started being more aware of nagging and trying to do it less of it, and I’ve had some interesting realizations. First of all, absolutely nothing is worse. Our household hasn’t crumbled without me being on top of his every undone chore. A lot of it is the same. He is, after all, not going to become a completely different person, and I wouldn’t even want that. And, most importantly, some things have really improved. We’ve both been overall much happier. He’s even gotten up early and cleaned on a few occasions without prompting.
What’s your take on this topic? Is “stop nagging” a pipe dream or the path to romantic bliss?
Major nostalgic trend alert! Embroidery, appliques, flare pins, patches, even paint- basically anything from your craft closet is taking over the denim world right now. I love this look, not only because it reminds me of my childhood, but also because it offers so many incredible options for adding a boost of personality to an old jean jacket on the cheap. I’m overflowing with DIY inspiration right now!
Last week my sister, Brooke, used her super-human wizarding skills to win free tickets to see X Ambassadors. (Seriously, you guys, she wins concert tickets all the time. It’s a pretty weird and awesome skill.) Lucky for me, I got to reap the benefits of her dark magic and tag along. While I was watching the concert, I was so inspired by the performances that I just had to share.
The opening act was Seinabo Sey and she killed it. If you are unfamiliar with her, I totally recommend checking out this video. She’s got pipes like Adele but paired with an edgier sound. What really struck me about her was her unapologetically simple performance. She wore a long dark coat that essentially hid her entire body and literally just stood and sang. No dance moves or glittery crop tops or fancy light shows. She was just like I wrote these songs and I’m going to sing the daylights out of them and you’re welcome.
Then X Ambassadors came out and gave an equally strong, yet totally different performance. The lead singer was throwing guitars and dancing all over the place and just overall had amazing stage presence. It also added to the inspiration factor that so many of their songs are about self-acceptance and defying odds. (I mean, I know you’ve heard Renegade 1000 times on the Jeep commercial, but have you seen the video? So inspiring.)
So anyway, I was standing there admiring how brave both of these performances were and I thought how cool it must be to be that fearless. But these people are human. I can almost guarantee that they are not 100% fearless. The difference is that they are just owning who they are and giving it their all regardless of fears. I myself have to face fears that come along with my creative career all of the time so I wanted to share some of my methods on how I deal when I’m feeling less than courageous. Hopefully these tips might help you embrace your courage if you’ve been feeling stuck in fear.
1 Change Your Perspective on Fear and Failure
First off, not all fear needs to be tackled. Fear, especially in the form of an aversion to, say, alligator wrestling, is practical and keeps you safe. However, if you start to notice that you are being held back from life accomplishments because you fear things like looking foolish, being rejected, etc., then fear has become a problem. The good news is that it doesn’t need to remain a problem. If you embrace fear as a challenge to conquer rather than an omen of doom, it can become a great motivator. Yes, this is easier said than done, but a simple trick is to pay attention to your language. Instead of saying, “I’m too nervous” or “I’m so scared,” re-frame it in your mind as, “I’m so excited.” If these phrases just made you immediately picture a caffeine-pill-induced Jessie Spano freak out, that actually works to my point. The reason “I’m so excited” can turn into “I’m so scared” is because the feelings are basically exactly the same. You have the power to control whether they take on a positive or negative tone.
While we’re talking perspective, it’s important to look at one’s views on failure. This is a hard one for me and I’ve often put off starting tasks or following up on ideas because I’m not ready. Read: Everything is not perfect yet. If you are in a creative field, this simple mistake can be a career crusher because- spoiler alert- your work will likely never be perfect and it definitely won’t be in the beginning. You know the saying: Strive for progress, not perfection. This video on storytelling from Ira Glass was a game-changer for me in this department.
I have had a tough time with both of these thoughts in my creative career when it comes to having a public presence. If you’re a regular reader, you probably know that I’m extremely uncomfortable both with having my picture taken and public speaking. I have tried all the methods for getting better at both of these things (I even studied Communications for years), but I finally just had to face some facts: I am never going to be a perfect spokesperson. I have many talents and these two things are just not included in that list, and that needed to be okay. By accepting my shortcomings in these areas, I am freed from stress of perfection. It means those fears don’t have to win. When an opportunity comes along to be on a news program or have photos taken for an editorial, I could easily say no because these things make me nervous. Instead, I have to choose to do my best, awkward and flawed as that may be, for the benefit of gaining exposure and furthering my career.
2 Find Your Guides
I can not say enough about the importance and value of mentors, especially when you are embarking in a more creative field, where the path may not be so clear. If you struggle with asking for help or advice, something that works for me is to realize how flattering it is to be on the receiving end of such favors. Imagine someone coming to you for guidance because they admire you as an expert in your field. It feels great, right? Keep in mind that your reaching out to a mentor might be a major boost in their day.
Secondly, find different mentors for different needs. For instance, my dad is an entrepreneur and has a life-long networking list so he’s always a big help whenever I have a broad idea and need to know who to talk to or what the next step should be. I also have a few business-savvy Type A friends who are great to turn to when I need very specific guidance, such as send out X amount of networking emails this week to reach your X% desired growth rate. And then of course I have a few blogger and designer mentors that I admire to help guide and inspire me in areas that most people wouldn’t be able to relate. As you can imagine, if I went to my dad for design help and my artist friend for business help, there’s a chance I’m not going to get the optimal advice. It’s important to know where to look for specific mentorship in order to maximize your results.
There is an Elizabeth Gilbert quote that says, “All procrastination is fear.” I realize that you are not shivering with fear in your bed at night because of that email you keep “forgetting” to send, but somewhere inside you, there is an apprehension. Are you afraid of getting back a rejection email? Are you worried that the recipient will think your request is ridiculous? Are you maybe just lacking the self-confidence to believe it could be well-received? Whatever the reason, it’s important to do a little soul searching and get to the root of the problem if you are looking for permanent change.
That part is tricky, but the good news is that once you’ve addressed your fears, the act of conquering them is much simpler: you just have to do it. Simple, yes. Easy? Maybe not as much. You can make the job of tackling goals easier on yourself by breaking them into smaller, more doable chunks. For instance, if your dreams list includes, “start a blog,” break it down into smaller goals like, “meet with a blogger friend for advice,” or, “choose a blogging platform.” The cool part about this is that once you start checking off manageable tasks, your confidence in your abilities will snowball, making it easier to face the bigger, scarier tasks on the list. From there, it’s simply lather, rinse, repeat until you are clicking publish on your first post!
(PS- If you like this little doodle, make sure you’re following me on Instagram, where I share more of my creative work. Send me a message and I’ll make sure to follow back. 🙂 )
Do you have any fears that are holding you back? Do you think these methods work?
It’s officially my birthday weekend! Let’s start it off by celebrating my favorite links of the week! Are you in? Cool. Let’s get this party started!
1 I would have never thought to DIY a filing cabinet to look like a public trash can, but the result is surprisingly clever and super cute. Don’t you think? (Studio DIY) | 2 I loved this piece on quirky textile artist, Kate Jenkins, who knits unexpected everyday items like sardines and sausages. Her life is focused, fascinating, and completely out-of-the-box. (We Are Scout)
3 One of my favorite jewelry designers launched a gorgeous seascape-inspired collection that would be perfect to wear to a beach wedding. I want ALL of those rings. (Melissa Joy Manning) | 4 I melted over this charming animal-themed nursery room that walks the perfect line between designer chic and adorably sweet. (Cup of Jo)
5 I’m sure most of you have already seen this by now, but let’s be honest, it cannot be watched too many times. The roller skating bit is comedic gold. And the end? I’m dead.
Want some more?
Have you seen La Ligne, the Vogue editor-founded line about lines?
Fashion is home on the range as of late, with embroidered denim, flowing fringe, and even flashy belt buckles popping up everywhere. It makes sense with the overflow of 70s trends, since so many of these two styles overlap or mix together seamlessly. Think a fringe jacket over a 70s tie neck blouse. A western denim shirt tucked into a pair of flares. A pair of cowgirl mules with a romantic flowing maxi dress. A bolo necklace paired with a low-neck jumpsuit. You get the idea. If it’s 70s, if it’s western, it’s on the radar.