Holiday Shopping Vibes: Philomena & Ruth

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Holy cow, y'all. It's December. This year simultaneously felt like it crawled by and also vanished within hours. Luckily, the end of the year brings the holidays, and for a lot of people, that means SHOPPING. Shopping for others, shopping for yourselves, shopping for Secret Santas in the workplace. I really strive to support local shops when picking up goodies for people, and St. Louis has a huge variety of places for you to hit. Today, we're gonna talk about Philomena + Ruth!

Just across the river in Waterloo, IL, Philomena + Ruth is an eclectic store in a 100 year old building, complete with a pair of shop kitties that will keep you company as you browse. It's a favorite stop for accessories, household items, and more. From hand-rolled incense to eye-catching pins and patches, they've got just about something for everyone. Try to go in that store and not leave with your gift-giving game on point this holiday season, I dare ya. If you can't get to the store, you can order online, and now through December 15th, you can get free shipping on your order with the code NEWFREE at checkout!

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Now, when I say that this sweatshirt from Philomena + Ruth is the softest sweatshirt I've ever owned, I'm not exaggerating one bit. Considering I don't wear a lot of, um, athleisure... I don't have a ton of things to compare it to, except maybe my 8 year old band sweatshirt that I refuse to give up. But this blue, bleach-dyed number takes the cake. I slipped it on and woke my dog up from her nap with a "WHOA." 

I love that it's a little longer in length because my DNA played a cruel joke on me and left me with super short legs and a long torso. This size medium is the perfect amount of snug and roomy, and I'm looking forward to basically vibin' in it all winter long.

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I've been feeling all over the place lately with style and wardrobe choices, and that also bleeds into my makeup and beauty choices. I waffle between wanting to dress in an androgynous manner all the time, but also bend all the "rules" society set in place for presentation choices. I haven't worn nail polish in probably six months, but if I'm gonna go in, I'm gonna go ALL IN. Black nail polish calls for black lipstick, too. If you haven't heard about Lipsense yet, you might be living under a beauty rock because this brand is getting a lot of attention. This lipstick stays on for a long time, and when you want to wear wild colors like black, that's important. My friend Emily is a rep for Lipsense, and hosts a fun Facebook group here that you can join if you'd like more info as well!

Thanks to Philomena + Ruth for sending me along the comfiest sweatshirt in the world! 
And thanks to Allan Crain for the photos. 


Outfit Details: 
Sweatshirt: c/o Philomena + Ruth  |  Jeans: Levi's  |  Dr. Martens: Secondhand
Hat & Sunglasses: Red Fox Vintage, Portland  |  Necklace: May's Place  |  Lipstick: Lipsense

This post was sponsored by Philomena + Ruth. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

On Breaking My Own Big Rules

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The only thing constant about St. Louis' weather is that it's forever, always unpredictable. We just saw a wild November with both cold and warm temperatures, and I had a hell of a time keeping up with my wardrobe. One thing that made it even more difficult: I've officially sized out of a whole lot of my clothes. 

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Jeans are my safe zone, but finding denim that feels good on my body right now can be difficult. I've mentioned a bit of weight gain before on the blog, but I've officially hit my heaviest yet. The thing is: I love my body. I just don't love dealing with finding clothes that feel good on it. Most of my closet is thrifted and vintage clothing, but I'm having a hard time drumming up the right sizes on secondhand shopping trips. 

A rule I've basically lived by for nearly two years is this: I try to, within reason, only purchase secondhand, vintage, or USA-produced clothing, shoes, and accessories. 

The issue, however, is that eventually there comes a breaking point. 
And that breaking point is here. 

A few weeks ago, I was sitting at work and realized the waistband of my jeans was cutting into my middle so badly that I couldn't focus. I kid you not - I unbuttoned those suckers and went about my day. But it had become painfully clear I could no longer depend on my trusty, stretchy Agave skinnies to carry me through whatever the sweet heck my body is doing. 

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Because I'm still ballin' on a budget and desperately needed a pair of jeans FAST, I drove out to the county and purchased a brand new pair of jeans from Levi's at Simon Premium Outlets. I've mentioned the Outlets on the blog before here and here, and since I'm familiar with them, I felt confident I'd find what I needed. This shirt was also picked up new while visiting a Wildfang shop in Portland. I especially knew it was likely I'd find something to fit me at Wildfang as their brand is created for ladies like me. 

But, I try to stick to my guns as much as possible. Most of my closet is still secondhand. And living an eco-friendly life is still always a main focus. In fact, this perfectly granda-chic cardigan is a vintage gem from a brand spankin' new shop in town over on Cherokee. Thrift Gold has a great little space, with a pleasant variety of clothing and accessories to sift through. I even picked up a ridiculously neon Doritos-branded scarf. 

Being kind to yourself is always important. And while I take my commitment to being kind to my planet seriously as well, being happy and comfortable is just a smidge more important right now. 

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Photography by Dave Moore Photography
Fresh Haircut by Amy Sin at Union Barbershop.

Outfit Details: 
Jacket: Goodwill  |  Sweater: Thrift Gold  |  Shirt: Wildfang
Bolo Tie: Pop & Pop Vintage  |  Jeans: Levi's  |  Shoes: Coach, found at Avalon Exchange

Back At It: JORD's Wood Watches (Contest!)

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I've never been the best with accessories. I typically stick to the same earrings, several necklaces, and a bandana here and there, but I know there's always room to up the ante on my accessory game. Everyone seems to be jumping on the smart watch train, but for me, I've decided to stay a little more traditional. A couple years ago, I teamed up with JORD for the first time, but they've since expanded their offerings, and have even more stylish options. I'd been thinking about looking into a dark or black watch to wear, and with perfect timing, JORD reached out to see if I'd like to do another collaboration! This time, I'm also able to offer a little contest, so that you could win a gift card towards your own watch as well. 

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The watch I'm wearing here (and will have more photos to share of soon!) is the new edition of the Frankie watch. You can find more about it and get a closer view HERE.

With JORD's help, I'm sponsoring a little contest! One lucky winner will receive a $100 gift card to spend on JORD's site, and all other entries receive an automatic $25 off. Enter from now until 11:59pm on 10/22! Contest link: https://www.woodwatches.com/g/bl128906ig

Both the $100 and the $25 codes will expire on 11/30/2017.
Best of luck! 

Photo c/o Roach x ReprsntSTL

A STL Night Out: The Grand Experience

If you've followed my blog for a bit, or you know me personally, you know that I really do love my city. Saint Louis has been my home since birth, and although I've been tempted to move away, I never have. This city just always has more to discover, and I'm forever grateful for opportunities that come my way to explore it more deeply!

Saint Louis is home to a thriving, diverse arts scene. One of the driving forces behind our artists is the Kranzberg Arts Foundation. I recently had the privilege of visiting several of the Foundation's locations throughout Saint Louis's city center, such as the Kranzberg Arts Center, the .ZACK, the Grandel Theater, and The Dark Room at The Grandel. A group of influencers and their guests were invited by Socially Jen to explore, taste, and enjoy a few our way through a lovely summer evening - and I've been dreaming of the night since! Follow along with us below! 

My darling friend Ellie joined me for the evening, and you can find her blogging over at Eudaimonia. We began the evening meeting up with the other influencers at .ZACK, where we sipped cocktails at Sophie's Lounge and learned the Foundation's mission. From programs that give proceeds directly back to artists (Sophie's, for example, puts any profits from its bar directly back into the artist scene), to maintaining multiple venues and galleries, and supporting emerging creators, the Foundation has its hands in just about every aspect of the arts community. 

After we sipped cocktails on Sophie's rooftop patio, we were treated to a tour of .ZACK, which houses Music Record Shop, the .ZACK Theatre, a wedding venue, small business offices, and more. I had a little too much fun climbing into the tub featured in the wedding venue's suite. 

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Photo courtesy of We Eat Stuff STL.

After peeping .ZACK, we took a stroll through Grand Center over to the Grandel Theater. This gorgeous theater is inside an old church, and we were invited to not only view the theater's seating area (which I've seen productions within when the space used to house the St. Louis Black Repertory Co.), but also climb all the way up into the bell tower. I was already fairly hungry, but we all certainly worked up an appetite on a 90+ degree day traipsing around in the belly of a church - luckily, dinner was next. I'd heard some pretty stellar reviews of the Dark Room, but this was my first time eating there. I have to say I was delightfully surprised with the quality and flavor of everything! Add in an expansive wine menu and a stunning charcuterie board, and you know I'll be back soon.

After filling up on some phenomenal food, we walked a little further south to the Kranzberg Arts Center. The group checked out the "Variations and Adaptations" exhibition, which is brought to the Center by Artists First - a non-profit that nurtures and cultivates the talents of artists with disabilities. We then sat down in the Center's cozy black box theater for a production of "Tangled," a feisty tale of three women vying for power, money, and attempting to maintain a friendship in the face of their struggles. With the perfect amount of drama and comedy, and perfect pop culture references, "Tangled" kept me engaged and was a perfect end to a fun evening. I have to admit that prior to this Friday night, I didn't even know there was a theater inside the Center! I'll be keeping their show calendar in mind for future entertainment. 

Thanks again to Socially Jen for the invitation to such a art-ful evening, and to the Kranzberg Arts Foundation for being wonderful hosts!

Photos (unless otherwise attributed) courtesy of Socially Jen

Find Kranzberg Online: 
http://www.kranzbergartsfoundation.org
www.twitter.com/KranzbergArts
www.instagram.com/KranzbergArts
www.facebook.com/Kranzbergartscenter

OOTD: Lil Plants and Ripped Pants

Last month, I had the opportunity to host an amazing shopping party at one of my favorite places, May's Place. In conjunction with May's Place and Hex STL, I spent a Sunday afternoon hanging out with friends, drinking local tea from Big Heart Tea Co, and supporting sustainability in Saint Louis (and beyond). I wrote a blog post before the event, if you'd like to check that out!

Since I focus a lot on sustainability in my personal life, I knew that when it came time to decorate my apartment, I'd want to curate my space accordingly. I found a fun set of vintage barrel mugs at May's Place before our event, and knew they were perfect to use as planters! Why buy new, boring pots for your green babies when you can repurpose something with a lot of character?

I don't mind a mono-chromatic look in my outfits - if you know me, I'm regularly guilty of wearing denim on denim. This soft, lightweight top I found at May's Place is perfect for transitioning into summer. I look forward to wearing it with my cutoff shorts and sandals all season long. Recently, local shop Living Collective had a sidewalk sale that I scooped a few new items up at. I've mentioned before that my figure is currently a bit more curvy than it has been in the past... and when you wear jeans constantly, you find that you need a couple pairs that have a lot of stretch and wiggle room. I also found these cute beige flats at the sidewalk sale, which are perfect for just about everything. My footwear game used to be loud and wild, but I've become a lot more function-focused in my old age (ha!). 

I hope you'll visit some of my favorite shops this summer while searching for your warm-weather wear! May's Place is on Ivanhoe near Lindenwood Park. Living Collective in just over in the Central West End. That amazing bolo tie is from a Manmade pop-up shop, and they'll be hosting another one soon in Alton, IL! 

Photos: Lily Voss Photography


Outfit Details: 
Top: May's Place  |  Jeans and Shoes: Living Collective  |  Bolo Tie: Manmade

Love Your Mother (Earth) at May's Place

Hi, friends! If you're in the Saint Louis area and are looking for weekend plan ideas, I've got something for you to do! You might remember me posting about May's Place before on the blog (here) because I'm a huge fan of its mission and lovely, curated vintage finds. In collaboration with Hex STL and May's Place, I'm hosting an afternoon of shopping, socializing, and supporting charity this coming Sunday, May 7th. We will have tea to sip from local favorite Big Heart Tea Co., and we're inviting everyone to bring in an item to donate to Support the Girls as well. Read on below!

With Mother's Day right around the corner, and Earth Day just passing us by, we knew we wanted to tie these two elements to our event. May's Place's slogan is "Be Green, Buy Vintage," and you're probably familiar with my goal to live a sustainable lifestyle. Think of our original mother, Earth, when shopping for your mamas! Buying vintage is the ultimate green option. Supporting local pours funds back into our own communities. Change your mindset, change the world. 

May's Place not only offers a hand-selected variety of vintage goods and clothing, but also carries local items. Lonesome Traveler (pictured above) has built a huge following in our city with their darling hand-crafted accessories for both men and women. Also found in-shop are candles poured just for May's Place. I suggest you sniff the Egyptian Amber because it's absolutely heavenly. If you're looking for a sweet, easy way to liven up your home, you can snatch up an embroidered hoop by local maker, The Wind and the Sun, like the one below!

We're looking forward to hanging out with you this Sunday! We're even more excited to offer you 10% off your purchase with a donation of gently used bras or new feminine hygiene items like tampons, pads, and other menstrual hygiene products to benefit Support the Girls - a local charity that distributes these items to homeless women in the St. Louis community. See you soon!

Love Your Mother (Earth)
When: Sunday, May 7th, 12 - 4pm
Where: May's Place, 3249 Ivanhoe Ave

RSVP on Facebook Here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1760429714286395/

#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.
 

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

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! 
 

Outfit Details:
Shirt & Shoes: Avalon Exchange   |   Jeans: Agave Denim   |   Necklace: Thrifted