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.
One of my favorite spots downtown is the 21c Museum Hotel. While I am a resident of Cincinnati, and don't really need a hotel in my own city, (not that I'm opposed to the idea of a stay-cation), I take advantage of the 21c for its museum attached. It's opened to the public for free, 24/7. While it is a smaller gallery, it's a nice escape from your average bar-hopping at 2 a.m. (or of course you can go at 2 p.m. like a normal person, unlike myself). My favorite part is an installation they have that glows and changes colors as it drapes from the ceiling. You can grab one of their bean bags, lay down and stare up at it. My sisters and I have had the best belly laughs laying in the middle of the floor of this museum hotel.
My most recent visit to the 21c was with my friend, Megan. We were enjoying a leisurely Saturday with coffee and pastries, followed by burgers & whiskey sours for lunch, then capped off the night at the hotel's restaurant, Metropole, with more coffee and desserts, naturally.
An eventful, chilly day called for comfort and warmth; I paired my big, fur coat with a Nirvana t-shirt, dark skinnies, and my all-black Converse. While all that fur seemed to be too much for the folks around us as we sat in a casual coffee shop, it's always fun to make a statement. That's what fashion is about, right? To wear what you like and have fun with it, even if it isn't to another's liking.
If you know me well, you know that I am, and always have been in awe of the Asian culture. So, when gifted this vintage, Japanese robe for Christmas, I was freaking ecstatic and completely honored to have something so beautiful and authentic to call my very own.
I'm not sure finding such a thing would have been so easily feasible if it weren't for Swoon. Swoon is the neighborhood's latest lingerie boutique of Over-the-Rhine. It's the sexiest, coziest, little shop you ever did see. Swoon is a shop that you didn't realize you needed in your life until it was created. In my opinion, there's no store that compares to Swoon and all that it offers, in Cincinnati. And once you step foot in it, I promise you'll be hooked.
I'll always appreciate a thoughtful boutique over any store in the mall. You get real interactions and given the freedom of creativity, the space always feels more intimate and inspiring. And it's where you'll find me sitting! What better way to demonstrate my lounge-y outfit than in the store that inspired it?
Melissa, the store owner, also has a love for the art of Asian dressing. She takes time to hunt out each of these vintage items herself, so we can sit back and bask in all of their glory. Thank heavens. Each kimono and robe at Swoon is unique to itself. You won't find two of the same, which makes it feel all the more special when you purchase (or are gifted) one.
I love my robe far too much to restrict it to indoor-use only; something so pretty should be seen! To take it to the streets, I kept it luxe but simple. I paired my robe with my mother's vintage Bebe trousers, black heels, a bralette, and a wispy ponytail. The modesty of the high-waisted pant helps keep the top from being too sexy.
My best friend/teammate Megan and I headed towards the front of the store for some natural light where we discovered this adorable, wired design tucked in the hanging plants. To our dismay, it's an earring! And even better, it was made by the store owner. In fact, every piece of jewelry sold at Swoon is handmade by Melissa. You'll find her behind the counter, creating new pieces all the time.
Make a unique, feminine statement with this piece hanging on the left: The Sterling Tiny Dancer Earring(s).
One of the two luxurious racks where you can find one-of-a-kind, vintage kimonos and robes of all colors, shapes and fabrics. The hardest thing is how to choose...
Precious displays are all around you, here at Swoon. My favorite details: the sweet, custom neon, the picturesque couch, and dressing rooms with an Old Hollywood feel (and glow).
Besides the rack of kimonos I find myself running to each time I enter the store (there's new ones to be seen just about every week!), Swoon carries pieces for every mood, personality and body type.
Anyone and everyone can find something that suits them.
And what better timing to do so than with Valentine's Day approaching? Make it a point to visit the shop and indulge yourself (and your lover) with something swoon-worthy. You won't regret it.
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.
There is so much beauty around us. So much to look at and be thankful for. Yet, why do we have an easier time focusing on the bad than the good? For me, it's a constant battle to redirect my thoughts from negative to positive. Sometimes I forget the tactic of grabbing ahold of that negative thought as it creeps in and immediately tell it to leave, where there are times I let it linger and it can affect my whole day (or days to come).
I was having a moment; a moment where I didn't deal with anything. I let the bad thoughts not only creep in, but build up. And as they built up, I wallowed in them. I didn't deal with them. I just swam in my worries. It got to a point where I really broke down. I broke down alone at first, but finally opened up to my loved ones (which is a must, people!) and it was my dad that actually said a phrase that has been sticking with me since. He brought up the idea of "pressure" that this feeling of pressure I've been putting on myself, (whether it be career, finances, collegiate debt, etc.) can be of good use. He told me to not sit in this pressure and keep it as a bad thought, but to utilize it. This pressure, that in some shape or form dwells in all of us, does not need to tear us down, but it is to be used as fuel. It is fuel that drives us to change our daily patterns from bad to better. It's fuel that pushes us to get off our asses and create that beautiful life we were intended for.
Pressure is a wonderful tool.
While it's still a struggle, I've been trying to get back to my old self--the self that didn't seem to think any of the bad was worth even a millisecond of my brain's time; that self was given the gift of always viewing circumstances with the glass half full. So, I had my moment, but it's time to get back. Back to good thoughts, back to taking action when my life is in need of change.
These photographs are some of "the good stuff"; stuff that helps me see that there's always something lovely to marvel in (like a sweet child's hand holding a teensy chick), and that the pressure of life ain't all that bad.
Little hands, little chick.
Man's coloring, God's coloring.
Sweet, late-night diner moments with Sarah.
The beauty of a Midwest Fall represented in one, majestic building @ Short North Columbus.
City kiddos field trippin'.