Introducing Gina DeSimone: an extraordinary photographer, goofball and pal. I met this girl just a few months ago in my new city, at my new church!
I am so grateful for the Church. I can't think of a better place to make friends as an adult. The church is all about community. The church is community. And the beauty of meeting the women that I have through The Block meant that I met them in bible study, where you get down to the nitty-gritty right off the bat. You're instantly vulnerable and open up on another level where other social settings may not allow for that sort of rawness. I'm pretty sure I shed tears the very first day I met Gina. And with zero judgment and only comfort, she shared her trials with me along with this verse: Colossians 3:23 "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." And immediately everyone else at group grabbed their Bibles and started sharing other verses that lift them up, too. They rallied around me. It was a beautiful, empowering moment with what once were strangers at the time. And that beautiful moment had a lot to do with this beautiful woman! No longer a stranger, but... a pal.<3
I thank God for that. I thank God for her! And all her spunk, creativity, comedic relief, oh, and the hilarious viewings of The Bachelor she provides in her cute studio apartment, consistently stocked with veggies and four cases of Diet Mountain Dew (at all times!!) because Gina is a woman of balance.
Though the transition of moving to Philly has been a tremendous feat for me (and my patience is still tested every day in different ways), it is true that good things come to those who wait. For me, in the midst of waiting to make friends for instance, I experienced loneliness for the first time in my life. And while this feeling wasn't so much the "good" thing I was waiting for (the good-good was that I found an awesome community of course), maybe there was even good from the "wait." Now that I've undergone lonely times, I'll be able to relate with those that have, too. Another lesson amidst this struggle/feeling, was truth—that we are never really alone, no matter the strength of that lonely bug inside us. There's a friend out there waiting to befriend you back! A friend ready to make you feel beautiful with her photography skills, or expose you to awful reality television shows. Whatever it is! Whoever they are, know they're out there, ready to fill your life with goodness. This may mean putting yourself out there; going to church alone and taking it a step further and signing up for a small group. And while you may walk in "alone," you will not leave alone. I promise.
Gina is wearing a Free People top, Gap jeans, and shoes so cute she doesn't remember where she bought them from.:)
Gina is a [bad ass] photographer at Urban Outfitters and we got to play in the studio on this luscious couch, and explore the Navy Yard-based headquarters of URBN. It was a beautiful, sunny day full of smiles, hair flips, chasing airplanes, and lots of outfits documented.
More to come!
If you were unaware, this right here is my sister, Charlotte. You can also call her Charli, or Chuck when she’s feeling sassy (though that’s her regular disposition). I think you can see a bit of that in her outfit, too. She’s a one-button-rebel wearing our mama’s vintage cardigan, + denim shorts, Doc Marten’s, & grandma’s clip-on earrings.
We wound up in Westwood of Cincy where most wouldn’t assume there are many treasures to be had in this part of town, but we spent some time digging that day and found ‘em; murals that recently popped up by Girl Mobb, and the cutest playground you ever did see.
Charlotte has the perfect, sprightly spirit to roam with me and explore. And even if we were to come up empty-handed, time with her would still always be worth my while.
I look forward to packing up a picnic basket and heading to this park with my sisters & niece next time I visit Cincinnati in warmer days ahead.
I was fortunate enough to spend a month in Philadelphia this summer. I had to live out of a suitcase, which is difficult for a woman who dresses based on her mood... I loathe packing. Probably because my luggage is overweight 90% of the time. Luckily I could cram my shoes and purses in my boyfriends suitcase. Not so sure how I am going to get back to Cincy without paying that overweight fee but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.
While in Philly, I met the lovely Khrystyna Ryan. I found her through Insta and reached out and offered to buy her a cup of coffee and chat on creative things! Not only did she reply promptly, she bought me the cup of coffee! And along with coffee and good company, she fed me honest advice and sincere encouragement. She invited me along for a shoot the following day and brought her beautiful cousin along to model for us. We roamed quaint streets of Philly, and I scrambled some outfits together out of my crazy suitcase to style Vladka (These Ukranian beauties with cool names—I think that's a requirement of models these days, no?)
Luckily Vladka and I are similar in size! And she finally made my vintage Gucci scarf-made-shirt come to life! Along with a Reformation denim mini, a thrifted lil' purse, and vintage men's Levi's with a vintage men's Hawaiian button-up from Reunion Clothiers #vintagevintagVINTAGE.
Philly, you've been kind to me thus far. I am falling in love with this city of brotherly love.
Molly, Molly, Molly. Where do I begin with you? You vivacious, crazy creature, you.
Molly and I have been friends since I moved to Cincinnati at age 9. That was a scary time for a shy girl like me knowing absolutely no one (yes, me, shy, I know. There was actually a time when that was the case). One thing that helped me break out of my shell was joining a local cheerleading squad. That's where I was first introduced to Miss Molly Farrell. Not only did Molly physically cheerlead, she as a human gives off an aura of all things peppy, cheery, fun, and entertaining. She is a cheerleader. And as the years have gone by and our friendship grows, she's been one heck of a cheerleader for me.
Recently Molly and I went to a local bar where absolutely no one we knew was dancing, and very few people were dancing in general. With Molly by my side, that didn't matter. We had so. much. FUN. Given that we were of the few on the dance floor, the DJ basically played every request we gave him. It was like our own private event. Excursions like this are to be expected with this rambunctious, silly lady.
When we aren't sweating and making fools of ourselves on (and off) the dance floor, we both enjoy the fun in beauty and fashion. Molly is pretty open-minded when it comes to dressing, but I loved being the one to dress her and have complete control, pushing her out of her comfort zone just a little further. Molly is wearing my clothing; head-to-toe. Okay, and a little bit borrowed from my sister (but what's hers is mine at this point).
Molly ka-hills it in my For Love and Lemons Dress that I purchased from the beloved (and local) Idlewild Woman. What I love about this dress is its juxtaposition of innocent and sexy. Everything about it screams girly, with a touch of unexpected "hot" from a dramatic front cut-out. She's wearing my sister's Aldo boots (on sale too!) that are cute and magically comfortable. And peeking out of them are my thigh-high socks from Urban Outfitters (also seen, here). Lastly, atop her head is a felt hat to tie it altogether.
My ultimate favorite thing about doing this--dressing women and photographing them--is the ability to make people feel special. Molly thanked me for "making her feel pretty." She admitted to me that she doesn't always feel that's true about herself. While that broke my heart, it also encouraged me to keep doing what I'm doing. As a lover of people, I know I was put on this earth to lift up others. As a woman myself, I obviously relate to women (and our fashions) the best. As I continue with my blog, I want to regularly feature women that I find inspiring (not to say that men are excluded!)
We all need to be encouraged... constantly. If I can do that by styling someone and making them feel like a model, I will most definitely continue to do so.
Ladies (and gents if interested), of all ages, shapes, sizes, etc. I'd love to rummage through that closet of yours and help you feel confident in the skin you're in and the clothes you like. Feel free to reach out to me if you are ever in need of a confidence boost. Let's get together, take some pretty photos, and just have fun.
You are beautiful. Please know that. And if you don't, well, that is why I'm here to show you that that is the beautiful truth.
It is my honor to introduce to you, my best friend, Megan Yards! I am so excited to finally feature her on my blog, especially because she has been a creative source behind many of my posts.
Megan is such a reliable friend--even at a moment's notice (given my random/last-minute nature), she's always eager to do what it takes to support me. A girl like me needs a gal like her.
Simply put, she is an all-around good friend. I am oh, so lucky to have her.
Our love for exploring new places and picking out outfits together is why her help really has made this blog possible. Anytime you see me photographed, it's usually Megan behind the lens. Overdue it may be, but it was finally her turn in front of the camera.
We went to the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) to shoot our photos for today, 1) because it was freezing and we needed to be inside! and 2) because this building is a work of art all while letting in enough light for great photographs. I love that they are constantly changing the installations at CAC, making it a new escape each time you go (yet remains a reliable source for great coffee, always, thanks to Collective Espresso--best mocha in the city, FYI).
From its currently sloped, skateboard ramp-esque walls, to the kaleidoscopic dome in the UnMuseum, the CAC is simply spectacular time and time again. Its modern interior pairs well with Megan's personal style. She embodies the words "sleek" and "simple." She is a lover of black, black and more black. In terms of color, black may seem boring, but in the game of fashion, it is the epitome of chic. While I myself am drawn to color, I can agree with Megan in the sense that nothing will ever compare to a woman's
little black dress.
What I truly respect about Megan's style sense is that she sticks to what she loves and knows. She is conscious of what works for her and what doesn't. And as you can see, she's savvy in keeping black from being too unadorned; her lips coated in color with L'Oréal's Infallible Pro Matte Gloss in Shanghai Scarlet, her body draped in a blush cape from Forever 21, and some shimmer she picked up from TJ Maxx, around her neck, all help to keep her look current and polished.
The sunlight against this artpiece made for some stunning photos of Megan.