beauty, Fashion, footwear, NY Fashion and Trends Examiner, Photography, Style

feet, footwear, and feet… (kind of a beauty post)

I found out something about myself 5 years ago- I have a shoe fetish. I LOVE shoes. Somehow this knowledge had escaped me for years. I only let myself have one or two pairs of shoes, always in serviceable black. Then one day, I was passing a 9 West outlet in Chicago and the shoes spoke to me… It was ON.

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I love how heels can be tomboyish and ladylike…

I was working retail then, H&M, so that sharpened my hunger. I was always scheming for shoes. When I moved to New York I had to unload a bunch of shoes, only keeping a few favorites.

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Yum… snakeskin, spectator style, patent leather and lucite…

Unfortunately, NY (obviously) opened up new opportunities at different price levels. You could even get designer shoes super cheap at thrift stores (See my instagram about the Underground Thriftstore in Brooklyn).

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The collection in summer 2010

I went NUTS. Cheap flats from Rainbow all the way up to $300 leather boots from Nordstrom. Sigh.. but everything has it’s price, and when you start gathering shoes you also start gathering maintenance costs.

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Boots! Not just a chemist’s shop in London…

 They have to be polished, soles need to be replaced, and rain damage needs to be repaired. If you spend $150 on a pair of combat boots, you don’t just throw them away when they get worn down, you send them to Luz’s on 23rd and pay $80 t have them resoled and winterproofed. It’s like, shoe stewardship. 

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From 2990 to 2013- I never met a sandal I could say no to.

This week, I took stock of myself from head to toe and realized that my toes were less than satisfactory. While it’s only February, at some point sandal season will be here and since I love being almost barefoot, measures had to be taken.

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The offerings at Duane Reade.

People are always going on about makeup, or hair, but if you don’t take care of your feet you’re dunzo. Calluses, corns, ingrown toenails, foot fungus, bunions… You’re feet carry you around all day, and obviously without them you’re in trouble. It’s not just about pedicures, it’s about the podiatrist, foot health, and taking care of you.

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My go to is the salicylic acid do or die treatment. I got this bottle at Target, because it’s a tad cheaper than the Dr. Scholl’s version. You basically melt corns and calluses with the acid. It usually takes about 2 weeks. It looks like zombie feet, but it’s worth it. You should also be servicing the heels and ball of your feet with a good pumice stone. Once all of this is done, use a rich creamy foot lotion and softening socks.

Don’t let your feet make you look unfashionable.

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beauty, Fashion, footwear, haircare, makeup, Photography, Sassy Ethnic Bohemian, Style

Flashback: my first (fashion) year in NY- 2010

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Cute little Bushwick gypsy in um…Forever 21,and H&M.

I just got an email from someone that I knew in Chicago asking me what it’s like to live in New York. I answered, but it got me thinking… what have I been doing for 4 years?

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3 faces of weave…and yes- that is THE Dior tshirt. 

When I first came, I stayed at the Chelsea Hotel for 2 nights and then moved over to this place called the La Semana. My ex-bf had given me some money (think Mr. Big and Carrie, but scale it down about 100 notches and you have that relationship all figured out), but I had to find a place and a way to live all by myself. Alone. In this massive city. By myself.

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It was a floral thing: steel necklace and Calvin Klein dress

There are easier and less expensive ways to break up with someone, I’m just sayin. But my forst year in New York, I got to spend without worrying where the money was coming from.

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NYC look: jacket from R.A.G, Forever 21 necklace, Steve Madden boots

Eventually, I found a room and a job at Buffalo Exchange. I had already finished an internship at modaCycle and had moved on to The Fashion Spot. I never wrote about myself, just other people. So, these are actually the first time I’m posting these photos.

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Styling- first on me, then for a test shoot with model Heidi Gaudet

I was constantly shopping, but also styling more aggressively. I modified this Guess dress, work here with a Nicole Miller leather jacket. I think the dress looked better on my model, lol! I wasn’t blogging or anything, but I was always in my little room taking pictures of myself. After my frumpy Chicago days, I was ready to dive in and wear all the fun things I hadn’t had a chance to wear in Illinois.

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The closet, the rack, the shoe corner- Bushwick 2010 

I loved how easy it was to get a hairweave. I loved how easy it was to pick up designer clothes cheap. I loved going to Housing Works and looking for bargains.

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My Abatha bag…

But I also loved splurging…I actually got on the LIRR to go to Southhampton just to buy a Brahmin bag. I just did it. I got my hair done at an expensive salon, and got my mani/pedis at Bliss.

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Everyday was a style challenge. 

It made me realize that I would rather just be myself. so after all those weaves and clothing changes? I ended up looking like this:

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Velvet label tshirt from Scoop NYC., hair by Amoy Couture Hair

These days, I have to  take care of myself so I don’t have tons of cash to spend of things like that. Looking through these pics, I see that what I bought and who I was with didn’t make me happy. I I love clothes, but I love the idea of being valued and doing something worthwhile with my life even more.

I loved me more, when I gave myself some credit for being ok alone. 

beauty, haircare

the hair experiment (ojon, redken, evanyc)

I know its still winter, but I am already looking forward to Spring. It’s true. I feel like every day we get closer to the rebirth of green leaves and flowers, and Easter. I’m goofy that way.

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I already started laying plans (kind of) for how I’m going to look by starting an intense ‘hair growing’ project. I got some samples of Ojon Rare Blend Oil Total Hair Therapy back in November and I have been faithfully using them every night and morning. I used to just wash my hair and leave it in a clump, you know…just being ‘natural’. But I think I can do a little better.

So now, every night I braid it into two cornrows. It’s winter, so I just throw a beanie over it… My biggest problem is that while the oil and brushing and braiding are working, I still end up with an intolerable dry scalp and a lot of dandruff.

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I have used various shampoos with the oils, and found this Redken Allsoft formula. It’s supposed to be for color-treated hair, but it was amazing on mine. I noticed a difference after one wash. My hair was soft, and I was able to comb and braid it easily. I would definitely pay money for this. I got these samples free at the Vincetta SS2014 preview. (Thank you!). When my hair dried down, I noticed a real shine and even braided up it looked great.

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I got this Get up and Go hair Care Travel Kit from EvaNYC during my PR internship. I was so curious, that I broke my already established routine to try it out just before Thanksgivng. The results were confusing.

On the one hand, after using the Clean It Up shampoo and Soften Up conditioner, my hair did feel softer. That time, I went ahead and used the Therapy Session Hair Mask, followed by the Hungry Hair Oil Treatment. I definitely felt more moisturized, but somehow my hair felt…shorter. It was weird. I had a lot of trouble braiding it.

I used it again last week, just the Clean It Up shampoo and the Soften Up conditioner and let it dry down. Same result. My hair actually felt brittle and I had to section my hair in smaller braids because I couldn’t make one continuous plait. Not sure why. I looked on the shower floor to see if I had left extra hair behind, but there was nothing. I’m going to try again and see what happens after a week.

For spring/summer I want to experiment with more natural braided styles and hairbands. I have been so preoccupied with other things that my hair has been left to fend for itself. That was ok before, but now I want something a little more planned and polished- without resorting to relaxers. So, stay tuned for that.

I wanted to tell you about this dress, but this post ran long. Next time- we’ll talk about what to wear to a grown-up cocktail party. ;-D

Fashion, NY Fashion and Trends Examiner, Photography, Sassy Ethnic Bohemian, Style

all about the pop up swap I went to.

I spent last week kind of goofing off, going to the movies ( you can read my reviews of Her and Wolf of Wall Street here), finally had some pastry & hot chocolate at Lady M and comforting myself because I didn’t get an editor’s job that I wanted (next time, right?), because that’s what bacon cheeseburgers are for.

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hanging out with Tracy and her friend- check out my scarf!

Now that I’m slightly over not being hired, I can write about my PopUp Swap experience. A friend passed on the invitation, and next thing I knew I was joining the Fashion Bloggers Meetup group. I have never been to a swap before, but I did have 8 pieces of clothing that weren’t right for me so went. 

It wasn’t so bad! I gave in my pieces, they were inspected and I got some tickets for them. Then I met up with my friend, writer Tracy Hopkins, and checked out the refreshment table. Bags of Popchips (which I love) and sparkling apple cider were here to celebrate the New Year. After a few announcements, the doors opened and the swapping began in earnest.

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I seem to have a thing for embroidery…and velvet!

I think I did pretty good. I got a velvet 60s inspired embroidered velvet jacket, an embroidered bag, a chocolate brown velvet blazer, a GREAT plaid flannel shirt, a pair of cropped leggings, a ginormous color-blocked scarf, a mustard/olive Kurt Cobain-ish cardigan, and a black sweater. Nothing crazy, but all things that I’ve had the pleasure of wearing repeatedly since the swap.

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Three layers of swap items- with jeans and loafers? Grungy prep look!

I heard that they may be getting another swap event together, so follow PopUp Swap them on twitter or follow them on tumblr for news.

*Thanks to Chioma Ozuzu Photography for the photos of me at the swap. (I took the photos of my stuff).

 

Fashion, makeup, Style

Lupita Nyong’o and the Christie doll

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Although I haven’t seen 12 Years A Slave Yet (I can’t. I’m gonna wait for netflix or something and watch it alone- because I know I’m gonna cry and get angry),  I have been watching one of it’s stars, Lupita Nyong’o rise to the top of the red carpet lists. Her gorgeous dark-skinned beauty and natural hair stand out in a crowd. She is without doubt one of the brightest stars in Hollwood today.

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She reminds me of a doll that I had growing up, named Christie. Dark, cocoa brown skin  and a killer wardrobe made her my go to for long afternoons of pretend. She reminded me of myself, and my mom. I so loved her! She belied the myth that black girls aren’t pretty.

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Nyongo’s success is a win for women who don’t see themselves in the blonde beauties like Wolf of Wall Street’s Margot Robey. Her confidence and grace, her effortless charm is the affirmation of everything that we’re told we can’t be. She’s the coolest girl in the world…just like Christie.

beauty, Fashion, Lucky Community, NY Fashion and Trends Examiner, NY Fashion Blogger Project, Photography, Sassy Ethnic Bohemian, Style

Why Bloggers Don’t Belong at NYFW

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There’s a lot of emotion swirling around recent rumors that bloggers will not be asked to participate in NYFW. While the blogosphere has gained traction within the industry, the fashion insiders have become leery of the kind of exposure that they provide may not be as desirable as retailers and designers first thought. After 5 years, it turns out that the blogger boom has busted.

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The first round of bloggers to storm the front row were probably just as surprised as the Anna Wintours and Carine Roitfelds to find themselves front row instead of relegated to standing room only (or worse- uninvited). People like Bryan Boy and Tavi Gevinson made it. Their oddness, social isolation, and inventiveness are what sealed their fate.

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They had the elusive ‘it’ factor that made people seek their opinions. They were shaping the tastes and opinions of their readers, and with each and every post both of these bloggers revealed a taste level far above the ordinary masses comprehension. Five years later, they’re both irreplaceable figures on the fashion landscape. The problem is the other million people that tried to rush in with them.

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At this point, everyone thinks they have a valid fashion point of view. EVERYONE. Small children, plumbers, the cashier at the grocery store, the man who makes the donuts, your mom, your grandma, and anyone else with a webcam. Because EVERYONE has an opinion, now EVERYONE is expecting to receive some sort of reward for that opinion, no matter how uninformed, unbalanced, and unwelcome it may be. Now EVERYONE expects to go to Fashion Week in New York- and to be honest there is just no room.

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The fashion explosion is kind of like the tech bubble or the housing boom, or the collapse of the banking industry. When EVERYONE wants to do the same thing, that field gets overcrowded. When that field gets overcrowded, it starts to dilute the power of the people voicing the opinions. EVERYONE knows everything, and that devalues the information. EVERYONE cannot go to Fashion Week- whether it be NY, Paris, London, or Milan. Why? Because it’s just not necessary. Too many amateur opinions spoil the whole thing and drags fashion off of its pedestal. And that can’t happen.

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We need fashion professionals, people who are invested in keeping up the standards of the items produced and to monitor the creative output of fashion designers. We need professional models to wear the clothing, showing it to best advantage so that we can see the possibilities and dream of ourselves wearing the same thing. We need professional photographers to create dreamlike fashion spreads in exotic locations produced for magazines. We need their imaginative ideas about accessorizing; we need fashion editors to round up shoes and belts to show us what’s out there.

Why should I, or anyone, trust a fashion blogger with limited access and a limited worldview- when I can open a professionally produced magazine and see EVERYTHING and be inspired by professionals who live the lives depicted?

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I think that bloggers need to be carefully vetted before receiving invitations. There may also need to be an agreement that the blogger will delay coverage somewhat to stymie rip-off artists. Also, is the blogger just another freeloading tourist looking for goodie bags and celebrity sightings?

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Let’s be real- if you’re not someone like Alexa Curtis– who’s writing appears on Huffington Post and Parade Magazine.com, who models and regularly appears on TV, and who was recently spotted on Soulcycle’s blog touting her own original smoothie recipe- who’s working feverishly to build credibility, then maybe you don’t deserve to get a free pass to fashion insider status.

Fashion is a billion dollar business built on dreams.It’s about the shows, the clothes, what’s new, and what’s amazing.  If you’re just gonna run around in your Forever 21 crap, kicking holes in the gossamer walls that separate that world from cold hard reality, then stay home.

*All photos by Faith Bowman, taken at Bryant Park and Lincoln Center during NYFW.

Fashion, Lucky Community, NY Fashion and Trends Examiner, Photography, Sassy Ethnic Bohemian, Style

The leopardskin cardigan, or what makes an item of clothing your best friend.

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One day I was walking around in the Village, near Washington Square Park and saw this cool thrift store. I went in and started poking around. Finding the prices reasonable and the merchandise appealing, I settled in for a good long browse with intent to buy.

After looking, holding things up, turning things inside out, feeling fabric, sniffing, trying on, discarding, and searching item by item and rack by rack for the ONE thing? I found my leopardskin cardigan. Behold the resulting sartorial glory!

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The print is a perfect palette of neutral browns and a hint of black- as a result, it goes with ANYTHING. Just anything. It’s just thick enough and is made from a soft, stretchy cotton that has held up to repeated washings without fading. The 3/4 length sleeves make this rock with a retro dress or tshirt and pencil skirt, but then you can get grungy and put it with a rock tshirt and coated jeans or shiny leggings. The card has it’s own swagger, but can be a backup singer if neccessary.

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(the cardi goes to NYFW. I love this outfit so much)

If I’m feeling lost and alone, I throw on my cardi. Ok, that’s weird- but I do end up looking through the cardigan pile and saying -‘hey you! let’s go out’ and putting that cardigan on. I cannot say enough about my leopardskin cardi.

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Thank you.