Mani Monday: Ella+Mila's "Little Plum Dress"

Part of leading a sustainable lifestyle is paying closer attention to even the smallest of details - including what goes into making everyday products. For a while now, I've been more careful about buying nail polish brands that are 3-free and 5-free, which means they exclude dangerous chemicals (Check out this article from Bustle to learn more about that.). But, it's not enough to just try to stay chemical-free. I'm focusing more and more on vegan and cruelty-free products. Throw in the ingredient of the company being founded by a woman, and you've really piqued my interest. Enter Ella + Mila, a brand of polish that local shop Parsimonia carries. Not only does Ella + Mila make it all the way to 7-free, they're also made proudly in the USA.

Part of me always wants to give off a "don't mess with me" vibe, but let's be honest - I don't have much of a bark or a bite, but I like to think I'm sassy. I'm not. I just like moody vibes, especially during darker months. This beautiful deep plum polish is perfect for that. At night, it looks almost black, but during the day, you can tell it's a rich purple hue. 

I have to say I was highly impressed with the quality of this polish! The application is smooth and even, and cleanup around the edges was incredibly easy. I had a handful of people (pun intended) ask me if I'd had this done at a salon. I've gotten fairly good at applying polish over the years, but that is also just a testament to the quality of the product itself.

I'm excited to pick up a new color from Parsimonia as soon as I can. I have to admit that I've been trying to buy other items to take care of myself lately instead of new polishes to feature on the blog. My skin hasn't been the happiest lately, so I've dropped some pretty pennies on new skincare in hopes of treating it more nicely. But, because I know this brand is nearby, I'll have to snatch up a new one soon. 


Polishes Used:
Deep Purple: Ella + Mila's "Little Plum Dress"
Base and Top Coat: Seche Vite

OOTD: Oversized Comfy Neutrals in Winter

Saint Louis winters can be totally batty. We've recently had mid-day snowfall, followed by a 60+ degree day. Luckily, my wardrobe is just about as nuts. I don't really even have seasonal clothing any longer, which works out well for the wild weather changes we've seen in our city. Something I also don't have much of happens to be lounge-oriented casual clothing, so I've slowly been gathering items that I feel cute in while doing just about nothing, whether it's hanging at a friend's place or reading a book at a coffeeshop. 

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Most of my everyday wear is compromised of a mix of new and old, but the only new thing in this outfit are the leggings. A few months ago I started seeing a lot of online promotions for a company called Girlfriend Collective, advertising that they were manufacturing and selling the best leggings in the world - or so they claimed. Because of their strong advocacy for recycling, being Earth-friendly, and their transparency regarding their facility practices, I thought I'd see what all the hullabaloo was about. I ordered a pair and waited a few weeks for them to arrive. My verdict? I like how high-waisted and thick they are, so that I feel comfortable wearing them without them being see-through, but they're not the perfect pair for me. Having athletic legs makes me feel like I'm pulling on a scuba suit with the Girlfriend leggings, and I end up feeling like they fall down a lot because my waist is smaller than my thighs. However, for the mere $20 I paid for them during their promotion (their full line of items should be released this spring), they get the job done. 

This oversized Christian Dior sweater I snatched up at a Goodwill has kept me warm through several winters, and this rather ridiculous coat also hails from a secondhand shop. Honestly, I feel if you have the patience and dedication, you can find some of the most amazing and unique items secondhand. This little elf hat, however, was picked up at a handmade market probably a good five years ago, and I don't wear it nearly as often as I should. It's a testament to how many clothes I truly have - even after I donated FIVE bags when I moved two weeks ago - to say that I also don't wear these boots as often as they deserve. 

I may never be just a t-shirt and sweatpants type of gal, but I'm definitely trying to find my comfort zone when it comes to all occasions. We'll see what happens. 

Photos by Allan Crain.


Outfit Details:
Coat, Sweater & Necklace: Goodwill|  Leggings: Girlfriend Collective  |  Glasses: Zenni
Sunglasses: Parsimonia Vintage  |  Boots: Avalon Exchange  |  Hat: Handmade
 

Clean and Classic: Nubar's Charmeuse

Recently, a locally-based company reached out to me to ask if I'd like to collaborate with them on a few posts. As soon as I saw the name Face and Body Shoppe, I knew I was in (good) trouble. I have a not-so-secret obsession with beauty products. However, leading a sustainably-focused life can get tricky with all the options available these days. Finding products that are health-oriented and not tested on animals sometimes feels like a wild goose chase. Luckily, Face and Body Shoppe - a start-up company based in Chesterfield, MO - is committed to moving towards only offering natural makeup and health products. Starting with only cruelty-free items sounds like they're on the right track to me! 

They graciously have let me try out a few items from their site, and you are absolutely correct if you guessed I started with nail products. I've never had the chance to play with Nubar polishes, so I jumped at the chance. Nubar was founded by a fellow on a mission after family members battled cancer - create nail products that are without harmful chemicals as well as cruelty-free. 

This gorgeous dusty rose color, "Charmeuse," is a creamy polish that applied well. I didn't do *the best* job as I was in a bit of a hurry, so you can see that by day two, I suffered a little unevenness along the edges of my nails. However, I'm currently at almost 7 days and the polish is still hanging in there! "Charmeuse" is perfect for me at this weird point in my life - I feel like my personal style is all over the place. Having a polish handy that is classic, clean, and cute makes me feel a little less scatter-brained. Clean up with an eyeliner brush dipped in polish remover helped give my nails an almost salon-like look, too. 

Thanks to the Face and Body Shoppe for sponsoring this post! I'm super excited to try a few more of their products - stay tuned for more coverage on the blog. 


Polishes Used: 
Dusty Rose: Nubar's "Charmeuse" (c/o Face and Body Shoppe)
Top Coat: Seche Vite (c/o Face and Body Shoppe)
Base Coat: Seche Vite

#TatChatTuesday: STL's Brittany Browers

If you're a bar-goer in Saint Louis, and have an affinity for alternative or indie music, and have frequented fashion events, you might have bumped into this groovy lady at some point. Brittany Browers has been DJing for several years, for both party people and stylish folks. She's also spent a good deal of time collecting a variety of tattoos. Welcome to our first installation of #TatChatTuesday, where I feature friends and their love of this old art form!

When it comes to “collecting,” Brittany and I both share the same background: we’ve both always wanted to join the tattoo crew. She says, “As long as I can remember as a kid, I would draw on myself and pretend they were tattoos (I mean, that's what gel pens were for, right?).” With about 10 pieces, Brittany says that a few of her pieces are significant, but others represent something she likes. For as long as I’ve known her, I can recall her interest in extraterrestrial life, which the beautiful work photographed in this post showcases (find the artist that did her UFO tattoo here). One of the best things about getting a tattoo to represent something you’re passionate about is that it can be done in just about any way - including humorous ways! 

Everyone collects tattoos for their own personal reasons, but I also agree with Brittany when she says "I also feel like someone can tell a lot about me by the subject matter of tattoos." We both have work by Lauren Busiere, an artist you might remember hearing about a few times on my blog (here and here). Lauren has referred to a lot of her work as "cosmic jewelry," and Brittany views her collection as a sort of "permanent jewelry," which also echoes my opinion. It's art that I will have forever. 

Speaking of the permanency of ink, Brittany has a few thoughts for those considering to jump into a chair: "Make sure it's something you're committed to. Even if it's 'funny' or a 'joke' tattoo (hey, we all have 'em), that shit is going to be on you forever, so make sure it's something you're ok with for always. For example, when getting a Friday the 13th tattoo, I almost got a little beer mug. Funny now, yes, but then I thought about being like, a 50 year old mom or something, and did I really want beer on me? The answer was no. So I went with something else (the little dice duo you see pictured)."

One of the questions people often ask is "Does it hurt?" Every location on your body is different, and everyone handles the pain in their own way. Brittany has a gramophone done by Lauren Busiere on the inside of her upper arm, and says that it was likely her most rough piece to receive. She pointed out that in the same tattoo piece, one part may hurt much worse than the other, and I can confirm this! I have a large piece on my right leg, and the back of my thigh is infinitely more tender than just several inches over. Something I always reiterate to folks interested in starting a collection of their own is this: getting tattooed is essentially undergoing a prolonged moment of receiving an injury, and you will have to learn how your body reacts to it. Brittany suggests paying attention to your breathing and focusing on that helps her stay steady during sessions.

I asked Brittany if there was anything she wishes she'd known about tattoos before diving into a collection, and she says that being warned how addictive they truly are may have helped. She says, "I don't know of anybody who has just one tattoo and is totally satisfied with having just one. I'm sure those people are out there, but I don't know them." I myself will realize that I'm in the middle of getting tattooed, and my mind wanders off to what I might potentially want next! Brittany says she's also almost always thinking about what is next on the docket for ink - even if it just happens to strike her out of the blue. 

A lot of people have a dream tattoo that they're chasing down. Some people get it immediately, and some people take a few years and sessions to happen upon the idea. Brittany's dream piece is a large work based on a photograph of her Nana riding a horse. Because I'm an ultra creep, I remember that Brittany once posted an Instagram of this photograph, so I dug it up for you. It's so joyous! I bet it will make a stunning tattoo, and I'm excited to see her start it. 


Thanks to Brittany for being a lovely subject!
Follow her along on her own blog, Denvious, and her DJing page here

Photography courtesy of A. Gillardi Photo.
 

OOTD: Post Holiday Plaid & Print Play

Holy shoot, y'all, it's 2017. It's winter, the weather is finally acting like it, and we're officially moving out of the year from hell for most people. I'm pretty stoked on what's to come. I've been focusing a lot the last few days on feeling grateful for all the best parts of my life currently, some of which include: my supportive family, my super rad coworkers/company, hard personal work that is paying off both career-wise and financially, and an expanding circle of amazing friends.

Sometimes those new friends are even talented photographers, who also then become your latest coworker at your super rad company! I met Lily Voss last year, and she just started working with me this week. Outside of her new voyage into the email marketing world, Lily is a photographer with her own business, which you can find more on here. We met up last weekend so I could hop back on my outfit post wagon in order to start 2017 off strong. This past year, my blog fell a little (okay a lot) to the side, and I'm prepared to revitalize it, bit by bit. 

Something I used to be totally, utterly terrified of was print-mixing! I feel like so many people can pull it off effortlessly, while I hem-haw in the mirror wondering if I look like a dweeb. However, I simply need to remind myself that I shouldn't give a flying flip what people think of how I dress. Another thing I'm focusing on this year (call it a resolution, if you must) is to actively work on pleasing myself first and foremost. That includes wearing whatever I want, whenever I want. Especially when it comes to fantastic vintage blazers and secondhand shirt dresses. 

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I've said it before, and I'll say it again - sometimes I feel like "meeting" a piece of clothing is meant to be. I was having a "treat yoself" day on Christmas Eve, and popped into Parsimonia Vintage, where this lovely little number jumped out at me. I slipped it on and knew immediately that it was coming home with me. 

Because I'm a certified weirdo, I find wearing just one item boring, and that's why I couldn't leave well enough alone and wear this shirt dress by itself. It was a find on the site thredUP - an online resale shop and giant consignment marketplace. Because I'm dedicated to only buying secondhand or ethically/sustainably-sourced/USA-made clothing, this is the PERFECT place for me to shop online. You'll find anything from fast fashion to designer digs. Y'all know I'm not really a dress person, but the collar, length, and stripes on this piece screamed my name. 

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I finally also joined the Ray-Ban band, too. I've been eyeballing these on just about ALL of my friends. The rounded shape and size is flattering on just about everyone. I have to give a major shout-out to Simon Premium Outlets for inviting me out to a blogger shopping spree last month, which gave me the opportunity to afford these bangin' shades. I know, I KNOW - Ray-Bans are no longer USA-made as of the late '90s. I broke my rule with these babies - but I did spend the rest of my shopping spree on holiday gifts for my family. So for that, Premium Outlets, I am indebited to you!

Thanks again to Lily Voss Photography for these snaps!
Find her on Facebook here

Outfit Details: 
Dress: c/o thredUP  |  Blazer: Parsimonia Vintage  |  Necklace: Gift  |  Glasses: Zenni Optical
Rings & Bracelets: Vintage  |  Dr. Martens: Secondhand  |  Ray-Bans: c/o Simon Premium Outlets

Mani Monday: Essie's "Smokin' Hot"

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Guess who fell asleep too soon after doing their nails recently. It's me! One of the worst feelings when you spend a lot of time on your nail polish application is discovering fabric prints later. Oh well. You live and learn, eh?

I was feeling a darker color for the wintry weather we have here in STL, but I have been such a good girl with not purchasing polish lately! I finally popped by an Essie display and picked up Smokin' Hot, which is described as "a stone-cold fox gray." The polish was super hard to photograph for me, and pulls so, so dark gray here. There is actually a lot of purple in this shade, and I feel like this Polished Cousins' post has much better color accuracy. Their beautiful images also remind me that at some point it would be smart for me to eventually setup a "real" way to shoot for my blog when it comes to beauty products. Hello, 2017 resolutions.

Application was a little difficult with this one - the brush worked beautifully as usual, but I feel like my first coat went on rather streak-y. I used three full coats to get to this opacity, and that likely affected dry time and allowed me to get the little fabric depressions. I think I'll likely use this again soon on my toes because I like the color, though!


Polishes Used: 
Smokey Gray: Essie's Smokin' Hot
Base & Top Coat: Seche Vite

Tune Tuesday: The xx's new single "On Hold"

When you think of indie music and its rise to hey day level in the early 2000s, fewer groups come to mind as quickly as The xx. As I branched out in music taste in late high school and early college, their album xx was in heavy rotation with the likes of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Hot Chip, and Tegan & Sara, just to name a few. They were one of my first forays into electronic music of sorts, and their vocal style is pretty indicative of my preferred kind - clear yet intimate, intense yet soft. 

Following groups closely can be hard to do when they take large gaps between album releases, and their last drop in 2012 gave a lot of us something new to dance to in our bedrooms while getting ready to go to school/work/out. I sure love Coexist, but I didn't really think any song by The xx would have eclipsed "Heart Skipped A Beat" - can any tune ever really grab you by the throat and force you to accept love lost than this?! - until "On Hold" came out. 

Filmed in Marfa, Texas, a desert city of just under 2,000 residents, the video for "On Hold" is an almost nostalgic love letter to small town Americana. Focusing on high school students and iconic cheerleader-football player chemistry, and delving into the bizarrely tight-knit ecosystem that is teenaged community, the video is beautifully shot. The lyrics fit so well with young love and all the dizzying confusion that comes with it, like "My young heart chose to believe/We were destined." 

The xx has always been one of those groups that pulls at all of my heartstrings, all at once. I seem to have an affinity for groups that create music that makes me want to both dance and cry simultaneously, I am fairly sure their new album I See You (due out in January) will not be any different. They recently performed on SNL and I am hoping that they'll make their way through the US late next year while on tour. 

Stay up to date with The xx here: http://thexx.info/

OOTD: A Blazer, Boots & Bowood Farms

It seems that fall weather has finally descended upon Saint Louis for real. It's time to take advantage of my wardrobe fully because I'm a big, big fan of layers. I feel most at home with about 18 different items on my body at any given time - hence why I hate summer and its outfit-killing weather. Another thing I'm a huge fan of is a good, vintage blazer. I've been on the lookout lately for a few to rotate into my daily layers, and this Goodwill find is just the right amount of oversized.

Let's talk a little about transparency for a minute. I've mentioned before that I have moved in a direction where I personally am choosing to only purchase clothing items that are vintage, USA-made, or come from companies that focus on eco-conscious and sustainable efforts. However, that does not mean that my entire closet is full of these items. I have been living under these terms for months now, but there are still items that I wear that were purchased before this direction. 

I recently had a conversation with a friend regarding how we feel as though we must apologize for and acknowledge that a particular clothing piece came into our lives before we changed our tune. I've learned a lot of lessons this year, and one of them is that people will judge you for just about everything and a half. I worry that as I focus more and more on sustainability on the blog, someone will come crying out, "But those jeans you're wearing! You admit you bought them at Forever21!" I should not have to explain that some items are over a year old, and therefore pre-date my current direction. These boots also fall into that category. That does not mean I will cast them aside simply because they came before I woke up when it comes to the fashion industry's issues with sustainability. 

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This fun shoot happened directly after an absolutely delicious brunch at Cafe Osage in the Central West End. The Cafe falls under the umbrella of the Bowood Farms family - all in one location, you can eat an amazing, locally-sourced meal, shop gifts, or pick up plants of all shapes and sizes for your home or garden. I'd like to start being more of a plant lady myself, so you can bet I'll be back to do a bit of shopping. 

Photos: Abby Gillardi


Outfit Details:
Blazer, Sweater & Turtleneck: Goodwill   |   Jeans: Forever21 (old)   |   Earrings: Fable&Lore
Necklace: Thrifted, Unknown   |   Boots: Dolls Kill (old)   |   Glasses: Zenni Optical

Hers & Hers: JORD Wood Watches

If there's anything I know about myself for sure, it's that my time management skills really are not the best. It's something that I'm always working on - and if you don't have something that you're always working on, I need to take you out to coffee and learn your secrets. When I'm on the go, I often reach for my phone - but I've been much better about keeping my wrist fabulous since JORD came into my life last year. I don't have to dig around in a bag or pocket for the time. 

JORD recently rolled out a new style of watch that caught my eye not only for its good looks, but its name: the Frankie 35. I've been obsessed with the show Grace & Frankie since it came out, so I knew I needed to investigate this gorgeous lil timepiece. Luckily, JORD reached out to a few bloggers in my area to see if they'd like to check out the Frankie! I was pleased as punch not only to be asked to take part in the collaboration, but also because my partner, Megan, had been chattering about wanting a JORD for herself. We were just about to take a roadtrip out west, and what better way to stay on track than with complementary watches! 

After our trip, I wrangled my talented friend Allan Crain for some fun photos of us sporting our watches together. The watch coordination was purposeful (duh), but the outfit matching was completely unintentional. I guess it's how you know you found yourself a good match! 

Megan keeps her accessory game pretty minimal, so having a simple watch with just the right amount of personality makes perfect sense. The zebrawood has such a great natural pattern and makes the golden face of the watch pop. One of the best things about ordering a watch from JORD is the ability to give them your exact wrist measurements so that the fit is spot on. 

I've been all about supporting local lately, so if you're looking for a nifty new timepiece designed by a company located here in STL, please check out JORD! I have a few friends who work there, and they're absolute sweethearts. 

Find more about Frankie 35 HERE.  
Visit JORD's women's watches HERE
Follow along with JORD on Instagram HERE

My entire outfit is thrifted/secondhand, except for my Zarie booties, c/o Naturalizer. Stay tuned for an upcoming post all about Naturalizer and a super fun shopping experience I had with them!

Although all opinions & thoughts are my own, this post was sponsored by JORD wood watches.

Saint Louis' Shark Tank Fashion Venture

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Everyone loves a friendly competition, right? Bright lights, cameras, judges. Big money prizes! What makes it all even better is if the talent is home-grown. Saint Louis Fashion Week has extended its season this year, stretching out across several weeks of haute happenings, shows, and events. The 2016 season's biggest bang is the Caleres Fashion Entrepreneur Competition, which gives five local makers the opportunity to compete to win the grand prize of $10,000, second prize of $5,000, and a People's Choice award. Intrigued? Learn more below, and enter to win two tickets for the event on November 10th!

Not only will you find five of Saint Louis' most talented and up-and-coming names showcasing their work, you'll also be treated to interactive fashion and video presentations, designs inspired by Caleres' shoes, and in true Shark Tank-style, live pitches from the competitors. Something I always yearn for when peeping a fashion show is more insight into what makes the designer tick, and here's my (and yours!) chance to hear from creators first-hand about their processes. The panel of "judges" for this event even includes Eric Johnson, Executive Director of Saint Louis Fashion Fund - you might have heard that the Fashion Fund had its official launch this week! 

I'm excited to not only be there in support of our city's talented folk and learn more about how the Fashion Fund is supporting funding, mentorship, education and professional development to fashion design entrepreneurs in St. Louis, but also in a music capacity - I'll be DJing for the cocktail hour and party aspect. Every gig is a chance to learn more about an industry, and this is already one I love! 

It should come as no surprise that the finalist that might immediately pique my interest would have a strong focus on footwear! Claire Flowers is named directly after its designer, who resides here in Saint Louis. Intent on having shoe that fused fashion and function, she opted to design her own. Feminine silhouettes with a heel that flares out at the base have helped the brand of Claire Flowers excel - you can snap up a pair of these beauties in several local shops, like 10Denza & Ivy Hill, as well as a few national stores in states such as New York, Kentucky, and Illinois. One of my favorite little features about Claire Flowers' new approach to crafting a comfortable shoe is the material used in the heel cap: TPU, the same material roller skates are made out of! I grew up roller blading and always thought the wheels were pretty neat - sturdy, yet with some give in order to take force. Sounds like the perfect heel cap to me! I can't wait to hear more from Ms. Flowers herself at the event, and see more of her work in person.

Get acquainted before the event! The five finalists for the Competition are:
Beltshazzar Jewels  |  Qristyl Frazier Designs, Inc.  |  Claire Flowers  |  Rafael Adón  |  Fauxgerty

If you're interested in joining me on November 10th at the fabulous Majorette on Manchester Avenue, you have two options!
1) Get Lucky! Head on over to my Instagram profile for a chance to win 2 tickets! 
2) Head on over HERE and use code CALERESFECSOSM in the referral box - that way we can know how you heard about the event!  

Follow along on social!
Facebook for the event
@STLFW  |  #STLFW  #FECSTLFW