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. 

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

NYFW Backstage: Raul Peñaranda Runway

My last day at NYFW included my very first day backstage at a runway! Through PR Girl, Inc, and my connections with the lovely and gracious Gina Doost, I was able to provide live Instagram coverage from backstage at the fabulous and flirty Raul Peñaranda show on Wednesday, September 16th at the Metropolitan West. Because no blogger interaction with runway shows is complete without a dash of trouble, I had to put on my sassypants and demand to be allowed backstage. The check-in crew didn't seem to believe me that I was there in place of someone else, so this trip became the Trip of Terrible Firsts: breaking into an apartment and throwing a fit to be allowed into a show. 

Once backstage, I connected with the amazing crew doing hair on the models. Michele, the lead hairstylist, walked me through the look that Peñaranda requested for the runway, using all Not Your Mother's hair products. She said that  Peñaranda wanted a "clean, slick look" that complemented the collection, and gave off a feeling of "elegance without being old." The products they picked up the most in the NYM arsenal while creating the show's look were the You're So Gelous Glossing Gel Glue and the Rise & Shine Silky Smooth Shine Mist. If you're wondering why the dry shampoo bottle and sea salt spray bottle are all up in this photo's business, it's because they're two of my personal all-time favorite hair products!

I headed over to the makeup area to get a feel for the faces the audience would see on the runway. Makeup artist Mariani Villanueva (below on the right) was applying some of the gorgeous false eyelashes that made up the models' look. On the left, you'll spy nail artist Dull Like Glitter painting away on the model's hand. This model received a simple wash of white polish on her fingers. 

The finished look! Lovely oversized doll-like lashes, simple and clean skin, and the slick hair. I spoke with the prolific James Vincent, head of the makeup team, about the overall look. He said that Peñaranda wanted the minimal makeup to reflect the active women he kept in mind while designing this collection. A little gold swipe was added to the eyelids, and then topped with clear gloss for an editorial feel. The lashes were wetted as well to bring to mind glossy pool-side faces. 

The makeup company providing products for Peñaranda's show was Mustaev, which I have to admit I had never heard of before that day. Angela Wilson, Mustaev's COO, was the sweetest thing in the world and we spent a good deal of time during the show and afterwards chatting. She explained that Mustaev is a Korean line and is still based there. Salons tested the product before it launched worldwide, and although it is aimed at the professional-level consumer, it features a broad price range for the everyday user or the luxury level. 

I really enjoyed being able to see the chaos backstage against the glam of the runway!

Many of Peñaranda's looks featured this flexible netting fabric, which reminded me a lot of performance sports products. I loved the layered look on the above left, and the juxtaposition of the athletic fabric against the sparkle. 

After the runway concluded, I visited Angela in the Metropolitan West's common area to chat and learn more about Mustaev. She very graciously gifted me a goodie bag with their 10 Shade Lip Cream/Pro Palette, one of their Glazing Lip Glosses, and their Tension Fit Liquid Liner Brush Pen. I'll be writing a longer post dedicated to the products soon, so keep an eye out for that!

Thanks again to PR Girl, Inc for sending me along to take part in the backstage madness, and to Gina of What the Doost!? for connecting us!

Day Two: NYFW'15 Adventures

My second day in New York City for New York Fashion Week was fun, busy, and full of beauty. Monday night, I had to crash at a different apartment than where I had left my belongings due to miscommunication and a lack of a key, so all of Tuesday morning was wasted trying to get my stuff back. I eventually (with permission), broke into the apartment my items were stranded in, collected them, and hoofed it back to NYFW fun. After a much-needed shower, I caught an Uber to Pier 59 Studios to see the stunning Michael Costello SS16 collection. 

I had my only celebrity sighting while at this runway. Paris Hilton walked right past me, and before I realized who she was, I thought, "Now that's a cute Wednesday Addams-inspired dress." I don't care about or for Paris Hilton at all, so when I figured out it was her, I laughed to myself. Apparently she and Costello are fairly close, and she texted him that morning to tell him she was flying in last minute for the show (according to one of the show's workers that Gina and I bumped into afterward). Costello's pieces were toned down significantly from his extravagant gowns in his SS15 collection, but I absolutely adored every piece. I have such a thing for capes and cape-shouldered dresses! The mustard yellow number was so stunning to see in person. The material floated beautifully as the model walked. Runway images courtesy of Bennet Cobliner

After the show, Gina and I hung out on the rooftop balcony at Pier 59. Either this area is new or I had no idea it existed last year. It's gorgeous and these strangely over-size lounge benches were perfect for some photographs. I'm pretty positive Gina is one of the most gorgeous women I've ever met, both inside and out. She was the sweetest this entire trip. I wouldn't have had so much fun if it weren't for her passion, kind spirit, and generosity. 

Gina invited me to attend a re-launching of a restaurant in the Gramercy Park area, and I couldn't say no because food, duh. It turns out that Darrow's Farm Fresh had more to offer than just bites to eat. The atmosphere is lovely, with large bistro-style windows that open during nice weather, and an array of freshly-pressed juices for you to savor. I tried the watermelon and coconut, and both were very refreshing. The cocktail menu also incorporates their juices, so I tried the "Darrow's Smash," which brought together the unlikely companions of rye whiskey, kale, pineapple, and basil for an incredibly tasty drink! Their sweet potato fries were more soft than crispy, and I loved them that way. Gina and I probably ate our weight in the avocado toast - crunchy crostinis with avocado, baby greens, pepitas, pickled onions, and local goat cheese. The quinoa and black bean burger was also delicious. We were visited at our table by Darrow's founder, Peter, and his personality was lively and welcoming. I always enjoy getting to know the owner of a spot I enjoy. If I connect with them, it makes me much more likely to return!

After dinner at Darrow's, I popped into a nearby Starbucks to rest my feet (even though I wore almost strictly flat shoes this trip, my tootsies were wailing), and spend just a last little bit of time with Gina. Soon I was in an Uber back home to Sarah's apartment, where we watched a bunch of silly YouTube videos and I finished an entire carton of Ben & Jerry's. See a food theme from this trip? Eat entire everythings. I'm a glutton. 

I'm off to try to run some errands while hobbling around. I got smacked down by a gnarly kidney infection yesterday, and am feeling better, but not 100%. If you've never had one, you're lucky. If you've had one, you understand the distinct and frustrating pain and fatigue that comes with it. In the past day alone I've finished two 64oz bottles of cranberry juice, so I'm hoping I'll recover quickly. Check back for my next post on NYFW, which will feature backstage access to the Raul Penaranda show, as well as peek at a NYC-based, woman-run luxury leather collection!

Day One: NYFW'15 Adventures

Rain Dove's artist loft apartment, williamsburg 

Rain Dove's artist loft apartment, williamsburg 

leather cuff and leather clutch made in stl by designer ryan moore

leather cuff and leather clutch made in stl by designer ryan moore

Trying out brode electrolyte tablets with the lovely gina doost of what the doost?!

Trying out brode electrolyte tablets with the lovely gina doost of what the doost?!

android chic with thync - a device that helps control your mood

android chic with thync - a device that helps control your mood

after our thync sessions. i chose the de-stress option and gina chose the pump-up option!

after our thync sessions. i chose the de-stress option and gina chose the pump-up option!

lifetherapy scents for all your moods. i went home with vacation!

lifetherapy scents for all your moods. i went home with vacation!

Pizza, my darling!

Pizza, my darling!

Hi, lovelies! I'm back and recuperating from my now-annual trip to New York City for New York Fashion Week! I still feel like I could sleep for days, but I've got stuff to do. Like drink Vinho Verde and write this blog post! 

After a 4:30am rise on Monday, I landed in NYC at about 11:00am, and called an Uber. I arrived at the artist loft building that model Rain Dove lives in, and we caught up over ramen noodles and a movie. I then caught an Uber to meet my darling friend Gina Doost, publisher of What the Doost?!, for the very first time in person. She invited me to attend the TechStyle Lounge with her - "the ultimate retreat for perfectly primped, shamelessly chic fashionistas." At the Lounge, we sampled beers, cookies, upped our electrolyte game with Brode, altered our moods with Thync, checked out custom bra fittings with Peach, and much more. Gina seemed to know every single person in the Lounge, and it's so much fun having a knowledgable, friendly friend showing you the ropes! After the Lounge, we met my friend Sarah and headed off to LIC Bar for drinks and live music. Sarah and I were hungry so we ordered a pizza. We ate the whole. damn. thing. NYC will do that to you. I ended up staying the night with Sarah (mad shouts to her incredibly gracious roommates), and in the morning I learned how to break into an apartment (with permission) in order to retrieve my stranded belongings. That's a long story that I can tell y'all about in person sometime if you desire. 

This year, instead of going to as many shows as possible and running myself totally ragged, I opted to set a more easy pace for myself. I wanted to spend time with friends, enjoy the city, and not spend hundreds of dollars Ubering around like a mad person to make all the shows I was invited to. I still spent more money than I'd like to admit (okay, I spent all the money), but I had bunches of fun! Check back in a couple days for Day Two's recap! 

NYFW Adventures on the Blog Soon!

Hey loves! If you've been snoopin' around on my social media accounts this week, you'll know I've jetted away to New York City. I am in town for a few days to take part in some New York Fashion Week festivities, see fashion shows, and hang out with friends.

In fact, I'm headed to my first backstage experience this coming morning! On behalf of What the Doost?!, I'll be checking out the behind the scenes action before the Raul Penaranda SS16 collection hits the stage. I'm so stoked! I'll be uploading away on social media, so don't forget to be my friend on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Look for a NYFW recap post on the blog in a few days as well!