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.

OOTD: Secondhand Summer Fringe

Hi, lovelies! It's been a little quiet around the blog, but it's because some new things are brewing. I'm working on a new direction in my personal life that will bleed over into the blog, and although it's not an entire departure from my current ideals, it's going to be a serious focus. I can't wait to get more in-depth with that, but for now, here are some long-overdue photos from my darling photographer friend, Abby!

I'm sure I sound like a broken record when I say I generally avoid dresses, but this little tank dress gets worn pretty often during the summer. I scored it at Avalon Exchange last year, and it has just the slightest hint of acid wash, which speaks to my nostalgic love of '80s fashion. To up the interest factor, I layered this fringe shawl on top, which is just another way to hide peekaboo bra straps (my biggest pet peeve in the clothing world).

You've seen these sandals before, and they ended up being the only pair I've worn all summer. You should see the sweet tan lines I have going on now. I think I might do this every year - buy just one pair of nice sandals and wear the heck out of them. Black and white goes with everything, right? 

My addiction to shopping local comes through with my Fable & Lore necklace and JORD watch. I can't wait to have more Fable & Lore in my life - I plan to keep all my jewelry purchases from here on out from local or small shops. I'll cherish them more, and treat them better than $5 earrings picked up at the mall. 

My hair has since grown a little longer, but seeing these photos sure make me miss the super-short crop! Will I ever have long hair again? Who knows!  

Photos: A. Gillardi Photo

Mani Monday: Kylie Jenner's "Kommotion"

You probably have noticed that I haven't been posting my Mani Mondays as regularly as I used to! I admit that I've fallen a bit behind on blogging. Outside of lots of "stuff" happening in my life, I've actually been enjoying having natural nails for some time now. Plus, with exercising regularly and eating a protein-heavy diet, I've seen my nails become stronger and stronger on their own, and not require a protective coat of polish to keep them from breaking.

However! Polish is still a love of mine, so I'm going to try to keep back up with my posts. Today brings you another Kylie Jenner x Sinful Colors shade, "Kommotion." You might recall my other Kyle color post from May featuring a pretty light lilac-lavender shade, "Kurtsey." This is also from the velvety demi matte line called Trend Matters, and I have to say that the finish is indeed a mid-matte look, even with my usual top coat. 

I remember once reading a blog post featuring a color that walks the line between blue and purple, and the author called it "blurple." I think this shade qualifies. The pearl shimmer gives it depth, and keeps it from falling too matte. Because "Kommotion" is a softer color, I bet it would look great on long nails, too! 

The staying quality was pretty run-of-the-mill for Sinful Colors: longer lasting than you might expect from a cheap nail polish brand. I think I had a significant chip about day 5, and then tips started jumping ship shortly after. I've worn this on my toes as well this summer, which I'd suggest as it looked pretty darn cute. 

Have you tried any of these demi matte polishes? Do you use a shiny topcoat with them, too?

Polishes Used: 
Pastel Purple: "Kommotion" by Kylie Jenner x Sinful Colors
Base & Top Coats: Seche Vite

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Saturday Sounds: Gallant

It admittedly took me quite some time to finally jump on the Spotify train. I joined just a few months ago with the intention of really broadening my music horizons. Outside of being a music-lover through and through, exploring new sounds is vital to a DJ's career - and if there's anything I hate, it's being stuck and stagnant. Spotify has been turning me on to artists right and left, including this incredibly talented young artist, Gallant. 

He's only been around for about 3 years, and I think that's pretty amazing considering he was just on Jimmy Fallon (above) to support his new album, Ology. His smooth R&B sound and vocal range immediately caught my attention, as it did for the Fallon audience. His performance was met with serious enthusiasm from Fallon himself, as well as a standing ovation from the crowd. 

I'm a big "feeler," and sometimes I just really don't want to listen to love songs or breakup songs or songs about getting turnt. Gallant is the perfect medium for those moods. His lyrics lean more towards poetry than you might find on the radio, but they're still accessible. For instance, if you're in a spot in your life where you're not entirely sure where you're headed, check out "Skipping Stones." It's honest, heartfelt, but not entirely too sad. 

Let me know if you check Gallant out!

Tat Chat: Saint Louis' Cammeron Donnelly

You might have heard I have some new ink. I'm turning into one of those people that requires acquiring a new tattoo every few months, otherwise I start to get a little antsy! In January, I sought out the super talented Cammeron Donnelly to do a David Bowie tribute tattoo. Camm is patient, thoughtful, creative, and easy to work with. I love collaborating on projects with my tattoo artists so that I get something pretty unique, and also allows the artist to put their own style into the work. After the success of my Bowie piece, I knew Camm was the one to continue working with! I started my leg sleeve with him in May, and wanted to help you get to know him as well. Read on below to learn more about this awesome human!

Camm has been tattooing for about 11 years after starting his first apprenticeship around 2004. He bopped around in shops until landing in Seattle's Lucky Devil South with Ernie Gosnell, Paco Rollins and the rest of the team. He says of the shop, "It wasn't until I met them that I realized what I was looking for the whole time. Community, family, a sense of belonging. They are truly my family and never will let me forget it." I think most of us look for that in a work space! 

When I asked Camm about his inspirations, he mentioned Alphonse Mucha, which I can see reflected in Camm's renderings of beautiful women. Another inspiration is a familiar name to the public: Don Ed Hardy - famous for his tattoos on clothing and accessories. One of his other inspirations is R.K. Sloane, who is well known for his macabre and fascinating works of art. I think you can see that a little bit in Camm's personal work and original designs - I love some of his "spookier" work! Speaking of spooky, Camm houses some of his equipment in a stunning mini-coffin with gorgeous velvet interior. Maybe he's a vampire as well as a tattooer. The coins embedded in his machine caught my photographer Abby's eye, and Camm tells us that they represent his grandfather: the big coin is from his cremation and the little ones are Liberty coins from his birth year.

I asked Camm out of curiosity if there's anything he'd never tattoo on someone based on his personal preference. I was thinking he'd say something more along the lines of "knuckle tattoos" or an image he finds silly, but he responded with "Hate tattoos. Tattooing was meant to be a form of self expression. if thats something you feel expresses who you are than your money could be better spent talking to someone about your misguided priorities." Agreed, Camm. The projects he prefers to work on are larger scale, such as sleeves or back pieces. I often joke about those areas being "prime real estate," and he echoed my sentiment with "I enjoy the labor of making the tattoo look like it was supposed to be there - like it's always been there. Let's be honest, there's more room to sink your teeth into and really give it all you've got."

Speaking of great real estate, I started working on my leg sleeve in May with Camm! I'm a huge nerd (if you didn't already know), and an important part of growing up for me was ravenously devouring books. The Tolkien world of Middle Earth was one of my favorites, and I really wanted to pay homage to my love for his work. If I was going to start with a large piece, I knew it needed to be dynamic, fantastical, and fun. One of the most climatic events in Tolkien-tale is when Smaug the dragon is smoked right out of the sky, so I focused on that - I knew Camm would be down to dance with a dragon and do some incredible work. And here we are! 

The majority of this outline session was pretty easy - but I can say with certainty the back of my leg was an absolute nightmare. I am NOT looking forward to working on that again. I'll be adding color in a month or two, and I cannot wait to see how it all turns out. Stay tuned!

Camm is a dream to work with, so if you're in the market for a new piece, seek him out currently at Iron Age in the Delmar Loop. He welcomes consultations, so give him a call there and talk to him about your next idea! 

Find more of Camm here:
Instagram
Facebook

Photos: Abby Gillardi

Mani Monday: Nonie Creme Clacker

If you spied my Mani Monday post a couple weeks back, you'll know I picked up a new nail polish from a pretty display in Walgreens. This lovely little polish comes from Nonie Creme Colour Prevails, and I gotta say, the bottle design is what really sold me. The butterfly wing is so striking! If you read the other post, you'll know that the wing design was inspired by Alexander McQueen's 2001 runway spectacle, "VOSS." It's also designed to be easier to hold, which in turn should make application fluid. 

I have to say, I was pleasantly pleased with the handling of the brush due to the butterfly wing! It felt natural to hold, and I was able to angle my hand comfortably to paint my nails. This polish in particular needed three light coats, and I really liked the color. I'm not a big fan of totally matte polishes, and "Clacker" has a teensy amount of shimmer, which keeps it from looking flat. I applied the polish on Wednesday afternoon, and by Sunday I'd sustained an unusual chip right in the middle of a pinky, but nothing super noticeable along the tips of my nails, so I was pretty happy with the staying quality. 

Although no other polish colors really jumped out at my in terms of uniqueness, I definitely would like to grab another just out of curiosity. Plus, the pretty packaging will just look nice on my shelf!

Polishes Used: 
Grey: Nonie Creme Colour Prevails "Clacker"
Base and Top Coats: Seche Vite

OOTD: When A Dress Makes Sense

Guess what, y'all? It's hot as all get out in Saint Louis. I don't really mind summer - I like camping, pools, nights in the park, and all the activities that accompany the season. However, when it gets too hot to wear jeans, I start to get grumpy. I'm a denim girl through and through. But when our temperatures start hovering around 90 degrees and up, I start falling apart. I feel boring in dresses, and I also feel like so many dresses these days are poorly designed, don't fit well, and are generally unflattering. However, every once in a great while I stumble across a vintage pretty that fits well, is breezy, and still sort of fits with my style. 

I hit a secondhand jackpot at my local Goodwill recently, and this dress happened to be there that day. The 90s are so in right now, as well as dark florals. Now that it's hot as heck in Saint Louis, and I also have been healing up a new, large leg tattoo, I've gravitated uncharacteristically towards dresses, so this one has seen a lot of use since I snapped it up for like $9. I can't really argue when it fits so well, too! 

Many thanks to my darling friend Emmy for snapping these photos recently when we met up for brunch! Check her blog out over at That Cheap Bitch - I heard a rumor that she'll be updating again shortly! I can't wait to see her this fall when I'm back in NYC for Fashion Week. 

Outfit Details:
Dress: Goodwill   |   Bag: Avalon Exchange   |   Sandals: Revive Thrift Shop
Necklace: Fable & Lore   |   Sunglasses: Hand-me-downs from Grandma

Tune Tuesday: Kaytranada's 99.9%

A few Tune Tuesday posts ago, I featured LΓ₯psley, a young artist who's exploding on the scene. Imagine my surprise when I just discovered that prominent producer, DJ, and creative master Kaytranada, is only 23 years old. I often joke that this makes me feel like I've accomplished nothing in life, but that's silly business. But when Kaytranada has already been touring, opening for Madonna, and worked with names like AlunaGeorge, I sure feel like I need to get working! 

Born in Haiti, but raised and based in Canada, Kaytaranda's style is modern, electronic, and much to his father's joy, features cultural beat references. There's something for everyone on the album, but my best recommendations are "Glowed Up" and "Vivid Dreams." Otherwise if you're looking for something super chill, hit up "Bus Ride." The song "Got it Good" features Craig David, who has Usher-like pipes, and is great for those who wanna spend all their cash on their babe. If you're feeling like hitting up something a little more retro, peep "Breakdance Lesson N.1." 

Do you have any young artists you've been grooving to lately?