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 AdΓ³n  |  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

OOTD: End of Summer Shades

Just because summer has ended doesn't mean we have to lose all the color in our wardrobes! Personally, I don't pay too much attention when it comes to seasonal shades anymore. Part of trying to organize my closet and really focus on wearing what I want, when I want, is having items that work almost all year round. This wild-print vintage Wrangler shirt came to me by way of my beloved Avalon Exchange, and I practically live in it. Perfectly broken-in, with the right fit and funky flair... I think this shirt is me if I had to be a clothing item. 

As part of my moving into supporting almost strictly USA-made products, sustainable-focused companies, and shopping mostly secondhand, I did a little research while searching for a new pair of skinny jeans. I had learned about Agave Denim a few months back as the local men's boutique Mister Guy carries them, and was pleasantly surprised to find a pair of their women's jeans on super sale. Agave Denim is crafted in the USA and the quality is A+. Wearing these jeans feels like a second skin - they're that soft and stretchy. However, I think I might have them hemmed a bit, as my legs are obnoxiously short. 

Having friends that participate in and support your shenanigans is still something I'm getting used to. For a while there, being a young adult was difficult when it came to making new friends. However, this lovely lil' lady happened into my life by way of the hair salon I frequent, and she moved into an apartment on my street this year. Terresina and I have started getting together to work on our personal creative writing, and I'm stoked she let me take her photo for the blog as well. Hopefully we'll be able to share some of our work eventually!

These goofy round glasses get a lot of attention when I wear them, so I feel that I should mention I snapped them up for about $15 from Zenni Optical. It's a website where you can fill in your eyeglass prescription from your doc, and get some ridiculously cheap specs. I have a few pairs from Zenni now because the price is so right! 
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Outfit Details:
Shirt & Shoes: Avalon Exchange   |   Jeans: Agave Denim   |   Necklace: Thrifted

Tune Tuesday: Tycho @ Murmuration Fest

If you peeped my post about Murmuration Festival a couple weeks ago, you'll know I was stoked to take in this new event dedicated to art, tech, and music! My weekend was already rather packed to the gills, so I managed to pop out just in time to spy Tycho on stage on Sunday night - and boy am I glad I stopped by! 

Seeing Tycho was, amongst other things I'll get into, a significant reminder that doing things alone is good for the soul. I don't think I've spent that much time in public in silence. The only time I spoke to anyone after arrival was to order a beloved City Wide from the bar tent. If you're going to do a festival based on elevating and educating St. Louis, it's a smart move to have one of our currently most popular brews available.

I was pleased to see a bit of a crowd forming at the beginning of their set, but by the end, nearly the entire lot dedicated to this stage area was full of people. I've always struggled with Saint Louis' propensity for small turnouts and un-enthusiastic crowds. For a brand new festival, and a show on a Sunday night, I was impressed and pleased to see such a turnout. Tycho, fronted by Scott Hansen. He is the primary creator, writer, producer for all things Tycho, and has a long background in creation and design, which is evident not only in the project's album artwork, but also in the visuals used during live shows. For a festival focused on the intersection of tech, art, and music, Tycho was an obvious choice! Peep a quick clip from my Instagram:

A few weeks back, I went on a winding roadtrip out west to desert and canyon country (I hope to have a fun little recap post up soon enough!). On the drive home, knowing that I'd be seeing Tycho live soon, I listened to the new Epoch album. Tycho's video visuals during their live show last Sunday featured sweeping landscapes that may have actually been Arizona and some of the rocky vistas I happened to spy, and I just about cried in the middle of the crowd. Funny how life works like that. I was intrigued, captivated, and drawn in by the pulsating designs, shimmering effects, and pretty silhouetted ladies throughout their set, and I could definitely tell that the visuals were calculated perfectly for each song. I can't wait to check out some of their older work on YouTube now that I've seen them live!

I'm disappointed that I couldn't attend more of Murmuration this year because I saw so, so, SO many fun, informative, interactive, and interesting activities being shared on social media! I sure hope it returns for a second year - I plan on trying to find a way to help advocate for it next year if possible. Our city is ripe for a recurring weekend of learning and entertainment like this. 

If you're interested in learning more about what this year's Murmuration was about, check out:
- Murmuration's website
- Murmuration on Twitter
- Murmuration on Facebook
- Murmuration on Instagram


This post was sponsored by the Midwest Influencer Network. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Music Monday: Lizzo's "Phone"

There are fewer things I love more than finding a musician that not only makes me dance, but also laugh. If I'm laughing because the topic is relatable, I'm even more a fan. If the musician is a body-positive, feminist, lady rapper - then color me completely smitten. I thought I recognized her name when she popped up on my Spotify a while back - she was featured on Prince's "BOYTROUBLE" track a few years ago. 

Lizzo, which seems to be loosely derived from her name Melissa, hails from Minnesota, and was been named by Time as a musical artist to watch in 2014. She's released two albums already, but dropped her latest tune, "Phone," just three days ago. Outside of music, she's crush-worthy because she approaches body positivity in a way that I definitely look up to. In her interview with the sensational webseries What’s Underneath by StyleLikeU, she mentions feeling "big," but in a way that encompasses her personality, her identity, and her overall appearance. I have always felt that my appearance is directly tied to my personality and confidence - I feel most beautiful when I feel most like myself, and when I feel confident in myself. I think many of us can agree that confidence is sexy! 

While speeding (literally) back from my road trip last week, "Phone" popped up on Spotify's shuffle and I was laughing out loud immediately. We all have had that moment during a night out where our phones appear to have vanished, and we spend a great deal of time looking for them. My lifestyle involves being up till 4am on many weekends after DJing, and lemme tell ya - in the hurry to break down, get home, and get in bed, there have been several times where I have actually said out loud "Where the hell is my phone?" 

The video for "Phone" dropped today, actually, so check it out below! 

The Lou's Newest Fest: Murmuration

Saint Louis has become seriously well-known for its bevy of startups, and for an environment that is ripe with potential. A testament to this city's willingness to explore new ideas, a new festival has sprouted up in the Cortex district of the Central West End-Midtown area. Welcome Murmuration, a weekend dedicated to bringing together art, music, science, and technology. Because I've always been a nature nerd, I personally am stoked that the festival is named after the spiraling, swirling patterns created by a group of starling birds. 

Murmuration is the perfect festival for people who are nerds like me for other things as well - especially the intersection of technology and music. Due to some previous engagements, I'll only be able to attend Sunday's activities and performances, but I lucked out and a few of the talks that interest me most fall on that day! I can't wait to hear more about Gil Weinberg's work with robotic androids that perform music and prosthetic robotics that assist amputees with playing instruments. If you know me "in real life," you'll also know that I'm a circus nerd, studying various focuses over several years as a youngster. I just about squealed out loud when I saw that Calum Pearson, the Vice President of the Resident Show Division for Cirque du Soleil, is also giving a talk on Sunday - "A Look Inside The Technology of Storytelling." A personal project I've been working on is writing, and I can always use some inspiration when it comes to storytelling. If I can *possibly* swing in on Saturday, I'll definitely attend "What's Really Happening On Earth, And What Should We Do About It?" - a talk by Peter Raven, president emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 

Outside of the informative talks, music also takes (pardon the pun) a main stage at Murmuration. Three of the acts that I am most thrilled about all fall on Sunday, so I'll be bumping and jiving to the sounds of Tycho, Deerhoof, and Dan Deacon. Tycho especially excites me - for Scott Hansen's use of samples of organic sounds and I'm also interested to see how much of a band he brings along since Tycho began as a solo project. 

I'd highly recommend you join in the fun! Find tickets here

If you'd like to follow along with Murmuration, check out:
Twitter & Instagram: @MurmurationFest
Facebook

Mani Monday: Essie's "Loot the Booty"

Recently, my nails have been growing, growing, growing. Before I painted them, I filed them down a bit, so they were even longer than they are in these photos! I've been eating a diet high in protein, which I think has helped, but honestly - I think it's because I haven't been filing them very often lately! I know filing is damaging to the tips of your nails, and I think this helps prove it. 

At any rate - I was looking for something that says "summer," but wasn't too bright. Nothing like a color that reminds you of sparkling water, whether it be in a pool or by the ocean. I love shades like this Essie blue. At night, it appears almost black, and during the day, the shimmer makes it come alive. 

With only two coats needed, and the classic easy to handle Essie brush, application was a dream. I only had to do minor cleanup with an eyeliner brush dipped in polish remover (my go-to for making the edges pretty). As far as staying power goes - I applied this last Monday, and over the weekend I sustained a number of noticeable chips. Not bad, but also not the best on finger nails. However! I also applied it to my toes on the same day, and they're holding up very well, so I will definitely use "Loot the Booty" again on my tootsies. It looks classy!

I'm pretty stoked for next week's Mani Monday - it's a vegan, cruelty-free polish line I've just gotten my paws on. Stay tuned to hear more!

Polishes Used:
Blue: Essie's "Loot the Booty"
Base & Top Coats: Seche Vite

An Update: No NYFW This Year & Why

Being sick this past week has given me a lot of time to think. It's given me a chance to sit still, be in quiet spaces, and approach myself. As well as time to hang out with my beautiful pitbull pup Cher, who you see above looking rather serene in a scene of chaos she once created. In a few days, I went from having a severe head cold to stomach virus-like symptoms that had me crying this morning in pain on the couch. When you're so totally out of your general head space, it gives you an opportunity to pour over ideas, questions, and concerns you may not have dedicated previous consideration. Bear with me - I've had a lot of things to pour over lately. 

I have been quiet a lot on the blogging front, and it's because I have been giving some serious consideration to WHAT this blog means, is, and represents. First of all, I know that it represents me - and what does that mean for me? What does this blog's existence showcase? A few days ago, I posted an update that came from a feverish desire to put into words thoughts that were tumbling around inside my head. I was struggling to even come up with content to post here, because I'm in the planning stages of shifting the focus of this blog in a new direction.

And then, suddenly, it occurred to me that going to New York Fashion Week this year would simply be a waste of time and money. The first year I went, it was about getting into a handful of shows, experiencing Fashion Week up close and personal, and establishing myself as a blogger. Last year, I chose to make it more of a personal trip with a few events thrown in. This year, I was planning to use the personal angle again, and then it struck me that I just am not as excited to go as I should be. I haven't planned for months, I haven't looked at events, and frankly - it's not who I am anymore. 

I'm constantly evolving on a personal level - so why shouldn't my blog? Why should I spend money I'd rather save (heavens knows I NEED to save) on a trip that isn't anything new for me, and currently doesn't align with my values? 

I've had a handful of conversations with friends lately about 1) Being personally creative and 2) How social media defines who you are. For me, this blog has been an outlet for creativity. It was a chance to have fun with my clothes, share my experiences, and collaborate with other creative minds, photographers, and companies. Just as another person might sketch, paint, write music, or bake to fuel their creative side, blogging helped me have a focus on making something. 

A problem that comes with blogging is the misconception that it's for attention, having your photograph taken, receiving free clothes, or for any number of selfish reasons. Certainly - I have received a number of items in trade for blog posts, but I've chosen to work with brands and companies I would support on my own if given the chance. I've worked so hard to be as genuine as possible on this platform, but I know that there will always be people who take one look at me and have the wrong idea. Social media perpetuates this over and over and over. We put up our prettiest images all over the internet. We share what makes us feel good. We want to show the world how happy we are, even when we might not be, because no one wants to see what's really going on below. I feel that my blog and social media should accurately represent me - all of me. 

I know what makes me feel real, honest, and most connected to myself, so why take a trip to an event that isn't representing who I am at the moment? I'd much rather pour energy into poetry (another personal project I've been tending to ever so gently and brings me great joy), building stronger personal relationships, booking fun DJ gigs, saving my hard-earned money, and maybe taking a trip somewhere else that would be more fulfilling. I had a dream last night I was in Hawaii, which has always been a place I'd like to visit. Maybe I'll start a piggy bank for an island trip. I miss traveling to new places with a burning heartache. I miss being in a place completely unknown to me, and discovering more about myself while at the same time, I discover a new city, country, mountainside, sleeping volcano.

New York, I love you - but you're not for me this year, and here's a bit more on why:

My personal taste and this blog's main emphasis have always been tilted towards vintage, secondhand, and local clothing or items. I much prefer to know the source if possible, or to recycle and reuse. That has become, recently, a much more serious topic in my personal life and choices. Have you seen The True Cost? If you're interested in learning more about where your clothes are crafted, and ready to face the harsh reality of the fashion industry's detrimental effects on our planet and human race, sit yourself down and watch that documentary. 

Even before watching that film a few weeks ago, I had already made up my mind that fast fashion is something that can be avoided completely in my life. I'm ready to no longer buy cheap clothing for the sake of having options. I'm ready to dedicate time into finding and supporting conscious, sustainable, and USA-made companies and products, and willing to spend a little extra money on them. In this vein, I know so many folks who are into using handmade, DIY, and natural products. Using natural products at home is great for the environment, but do you understand that saving our planet goes beyond that? 

The fashion industry, for the most part, ignores the dangerous repercussions of cheap mass production. In turn, much of the general population remains uneducated on how the US alone generates approximately 11 million tons in textile waste. I want to remove myself from this equation, and research more fully how I can reduce my wasteful footprint - in and outside of fashion. I hope to find a contact within the local community to speak with regarding sustainability in St. Louis Fashion Week, and I'll keep y'all updated on how that goes. 


So, in short, thanks for hanging around and listening to me babble. I try my best to be genuine, and it's time for me to take that further and become genuinely responsible. 

On Being Purposely Uncomfortable

We've all heard inspirational quotes referring to instances of struggle leading to a happy ending, right? Today, I've been spending a lot of time with Florence + The Machine's "Shake it Out" and the particular line "It's always darkest before the dawn." This song comes back to me again and again, whether it be by way of shuffle or the afore-mentioned line creeping into my mind. 

At the end of last week, I started feeling dragged down, lethargic, and emotionally quiet. I chalked it up to being over-stimulated by social happenings, but then Sunday morning I woke up with the head cold to end all head colds. By Monday morning, I was a walking, certifiable mess. I could barely stay upright for fear of the congestion knocking me back over. All I could stomach was Campbell's chicken noodle soup. That night, I stood under my shower's waterfall, shaking in exhaustion. 

Here's a fun fact about me: I'm terribly temperature sensitive. Hot water will send me screeching to the hills, and I am forever skittish around cold pool water even on the warmest of days. However, I know it's beneficial to steam out congestion if you can when you're sick, so I stepped into my shower and cranked that sucker up pretty damn high. 

I cried because I was uncomfortable, I cried because I was tired, I cried because I felt silly for staying home from work, I cried because my friend Maddy was kind enough to agree to bring over "get better" supplies, I cried because I forgot to bring my face wash into the bathtub. 

As I was wrapping myself up in my towel, sniffling through tears, I realized I most definitely could breathe more easily. I was red as a tomato from the heat of the water, but I also no longer felt like my head was going to pop from the pressure inside. 

So then I cried some more.

Society conditions us to avoid being vulnerable. We're taught from an early age to never give up, to push through pain, to always be on top. But there will come days when a head cold knocks you off your feet and you have to be honest with yourself and choose to stay home from work. It's probably best for your coworkers, too, but you feel like you somehow let them down, even when you do your best to complete your work remotely. You'll toss and turn all night and have strange dreams that feel too close to reality, but they slip through your fingers as you fumble to turn off your alarm in the afternoon sunlight. You'll open can of worm conversations because you're trying your best to understand situations you'll never grasp. You'll feel ashamed that you napped for three hours in the middle of the day, even though it helped you feel monumentally better. 

And in the end - you might learn that there is strength in stepping into a hot shower on purpose because you know that it will help, no matter how much it hurts at the time.