VIBES // Blogger in Hiding

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Hi old friends! In case you've been wondering, I've been on an unofficial hiatus from blogging over the past week as I'm gearing up to show my collection at Fashion Meets Music Festival this weekend. I'm really excited, as it's a pretty big honor. The festival boasts an incredible lineup, with musical acts like BORNS, Matt & Kim, and Passion Pit, to name a few. Plus there's a great lineup of fashion shows, including a collection from Project Runway All-Stars winner, Michelle Lesniak. I was a big fan of hers while she was on the show, so I'm extra excited for her runway show.

I won't be back posting until next week, but when I do get back into the game, I've got a few things up my sleeve, including some great giveaways, a look at fall's best trends, and a whole lot more! In the meantime, I thought these images were a pretty funny look at how I feel when I'm on a blog break. It's basically a mix of glorious stress-relief and horrible, horrible "Don't look at me" shame.

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Until next week!

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ON THE RADAR | July 2016

I'm sorry for the light posting schedule last week, but I've got a really good reason: WE ARE MOVING! You may remember when I worked wardrobe on the film Tiger this past winter in Cincinnati. Well, the work itself was a dream but the commuting and staying out of town was tricky, to say the least. Ever since we've been talking about moving from Columbus to Cincinnati for a while and we've decided to take the leap! Zach is smack dab in the middle of interviewing and making a career change so it's all really exciting... and stressful. We'll be moving to our hometown of Dayton for a few months while we solidify jobs and look for our new home. There are SO MANY things I'll miss about Columbus, but at the same time both of us our really excited to be back around family. Lots of positive change is brewing!

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1  NEEDING  //  Area rugs.  New home equals new decor! I've been shopping for area rugs for a while now and am really loving the finds at Hesby. The colors and patterns are total knockouts and the prices are better than many other places I've been looking.

2  COVETING  //  These blue suede shoes.  The pale blue on these No.6 stacked heel loafers sets my heart aflutter. I think they're a perfect combination of pretty and practical, polished but fun. They're out of my price range, but a girl can dream, right? I'll be keeping an eye out for a pair that fits better in my budget.

3  PINNING  //  Colorful collections.  I'm often inspired by the color palettes of found objects, like this pretty spectrum of gummy bears. It can be anything really - pastel pieces of gum, brightly colored soaps, and on and on. My Color Wheel board on Pinterest holds all my favorite sources of color inspiration.

 4  WANTING  //  A pretty wax seal.  I love paper mail and, with blogging and design projects, the opportunity to send a thank you card comes up quite often. I'd love to up my stationery game with a classically cool, personalized wax seal. Backtozero on Etsy has some great affordable kits.

5  APPLAUDING  //  @alliepal's #the100dayproject.  Local creative boss lady, Allie, has challenged herself with the impressive task of creating a painting every day for 100 days. I'm a big fan of the series and her fresh color choices. They're really unlike anything else I've seen. You can check out her paintings for #the100dayproject on Instagram or sign up for news of when they become available for sale.

6  PLANNING  //  Our photo shoot for The Columbus Book Project.  I've been working on creating looks for an upcoming photo shoot as part of The Columbus Book Project, which will eventually become a Columbus-based coffee table book featuring high-fashion spreads to celebrate local creatives and landmarks. Our shoot is this week and I've been going crazy over the sneak peeks they've been leaking on Instagram. The photos are so impressive and I feel really honored to be a part of this project.

7  REMINISCING  //  With Marissa and Summer.  I've been re-watching seasons of The OC while I work and it's been hilarious and amazing. The main attraction has definitely been the early aughts fashion time warp of pretty much every ridiculous thing I wore in my teen years. Plus it poses the ancient philosophical question: who is the true sartorial queen of the OC, Marissa or Summer?

Are you Team Marissa or Team Summer?

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FRIDAY VIBES // Viva Vivetta!

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A lot of designers are talented and make beautiful clothes, but Vivì Ponti, the genius behind the label Vivetta, goes beyond that: she makes my soul sing! Her surrealistic clothing and accessories (those collars!) seem both classic, with their clear Schiaparelli-esque style notes, and entirely modern. I mean, have you really ever seen anything like these pieces? Vivetta is fresh, dreamy, and completely inspiring. I. AM. OBSESSED!

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Are you a Vivetta fan?

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FRIDAY VIBES // You're a Grand Old Flag

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Happy Fourth of July Weekend! It's a big one for our family because both my dad and his dad were born on the 4th. It's pretty much as big as Christmas for us. I'm really looking forward to celebrating them, cooking out, and just having some relaxed family time. It will also be a big weekend for fashion, as stars & stripes are having an even bigger moment than usual as of late. I absolutely love this motif both for its graphic nature and glam rock vibes. It's classic but also feels a little bit rebellious, don't you think?

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Will you be sporting stars and stripes this weekend?

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STUDIO DAYS // The Beginning Stages of HOWL

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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.

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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. ;)

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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? :)

 

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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?

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Work and Life Goals for November + A Little Blog Update

That's a close up pic of the tree costume that my co-designer, Shiree Houf, and I designed for Highball Halloween (photo by T. A. Mueller Photography) . We were actually so busy working on this in October that I never set any official goals for the month other than "finish Highball collection" and "shower as much as possible." This season gets so intense for me that I actually didn't even really accomplish any of my September goals except the silliest: Learn a rap song on piano. (Enjoy friends...)      

Not the best performance of my life but a cool party trick, nonetheless. :)

September goals aside, I did make headway in a few other areas in the past two months. Notice my new pic in the sidebar, taken by the wonderful Alexa of Alexa Marie Photography. If you click through I also have a new About page and another profile pic featured there.

Alexa was great to work with because I am quite possibly the least photogenic person on Earth. And I'm not just being hard on myself, I simply have never been able to do it well. At all. I've got the half-smirk selfie thing down, but let me tell you, it takes some real camera magic to get a professional, smiling picture of this face. And one that I actually like to boot. That's a real feat. So I really just have to give a big thanks to Alexa for her camera wizardry. And if you happen to be in the market for a photo session, I strongly suggest booking with her! You can check out her website or facebook page for more info.

And now onto this month's goals! Because I've been coasting a little on the organized goal front, some of these are going to look pretty familiar. I've got a few new goals and few I STILL haven't conquered (but will never give up on!). Here are the things taking priority for me this month...

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A few of these things are long-standing goals of mine so I'm really trying to light a fire inside of myself to finally get them done!

Do you have any long-standing goals that you struggle with?

What things are you working on this month?

Let's talk goal-conquering in the comments! :)

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