November 16, 2017

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Admittedly, it’s been a while. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before but I’ve spent the last year struggling with what to do with this space. For years, I cranked out content faithfully, holding myself to rigorous schedules and pushing myself to continuously increase quality of content. I kept it up for a good five years and am very proud of what I accomplished in that time. Lots of things have changed in my life in that time and like so many others, I found myself totally burnt out after a while. Suddenly I wasn’t motivated to blog at all and after starting a new job last year, I had even less time and energy for it. Prior to that new job, I was also blogging professionally for others on the side and trying to make a career of it. I had some great clients but it wasn’t enough to enjoy the lifestyle I was accustomed to (hello, I write a blog about things I’m buying/want to buy) so that aforementioned job came into play when I ran out of time to grow my client base without falling behind on bills. Turns out, I ended up in a pretty great place that I’m still happy to be.

Given that, I decided to focus on that career and while I had ideas for reinventing the blog (like, seriously great ideas), I just didn’t have the time and energy to get any of them going. Not to sound too pitiful but I also struggled with engaging you, my audience. If I had a dime for every person who told me how awesome and needed my blog was, I’d still be doing it full-time, but the truth is those same people in the same sentence would also admit they hadn’t read in a while. And my numbers reflected it. While I’d love to do this simply because I enjoy it, when it takes up as much time as a full-time job (and believe me, it does), I’d like to know that people are actually checking it out. While I had a nice peak about two years ago, for reasons unknown to me, readership started to slowly dwindle. Bottom line, why work so hard if no one’s really paying attention? That was kind of the last nail in my coffin of burn out.

Fast forward to now. I haven’t updated since last June. My life long love of fashion was in a phase of disinterest, something I’ve experienced all my life as trends wax and wane. Even when I wanted to update, I felt there was nothing worthwhile to post about. I’ve since realized that my focus has moved to design as a whole, from fashion to art to interiors. I began calling myself a Design Blogger on social media a while ago and suddenly the focus was off fashion and redirected towards things I genuinely find intriguing. While on vacation in Japan last week (haha, how awesome is it to be able to say that?!) it occurred to me that perhaps the way out of my blogging rut was to apply my newly adopted title to the blog, and not just social media. Done! While I still have projects galore percolating in my brain – including a total rebranding of the site – burn out or no, low numbers or no, I miss it here. And the handful of you faithful readers. Who knows, maybe if I start to blog again, people will come back. And if not, maybe I stop with the rigorous posting schedule and post just for me, just when I feel like it.

So, coming soon: I went to Japan!


look book : fruit salad by wasted effort

June 14, 2017

Hand crafted by jeweler Marie Foxall in Vancouver, BC Wasted Effort has been one of my favorite indie jewelry brands to watch. With styles ranging from cosmic to whimsical, modernist touches like clean lines and empty space keep each collection fresh, contemporary and cohesive.

WE’s latest collection, Fruit Salad, is just in time for summer and cleans up in the whimsy department without going full on twee. Modeled by one of my fave Instagram style bloggers, Style Is Style’s Lydia Okello, I love the playful and colorful nature of this look book –

Photos by Helen Shaw

MUAH by Karly Paranich

Now I have to decide which fruit best sums up my sartorial needs this summer – pear, banana, grape? I’m thinking I should just take a cue from the collection name, Fruit Salad, and mix a few different styles into my look.

Shop Wasted Effort online or at Day Off Shop in Vancouver, BC.

rad ladies : emily pf dart-mclean harris

June 7, 2017

Today I want to tell you all about my darling friend Emily PF Dart-McLean Harris, aka official VGS mix master DJ Big Booty Judy. Having taken time off last year from mixing it up to birth and rear her adorable son, Apollo (uh, best name ever), she has begun a new podcast project entitled PDX Living Room Chats & Tunes.

Hosted in Emily’s SE Portland living room with co-host Francis the Cat, PLRCT aims to check in with diverse and interesting women for a short and sweet fifteen minute chat, ended with a tune hand-picked by Emily for her guest. Emily’s first interview was with her sister, artist Dana Hart-McLean, and two months since debuting she has added activist Emily Greene, photographer Shola Lawson, gallerist Jessica Breedlove Latham, oh and yours truly to the roster.

Pop over to Emily’s Spreaker page to take a listen and be sure to listen to my interview which was super fun. Be sure to bookmark that page as new interviews will be coming in hot and often!


indie designers : frond

June 6, 2017

Photo by Eva Verbeeck

Portlander by way of Texas, Krysta McDaniel turned her hobby of sewing into up and coming indie apparel label Frond after sharing her signature deep-v neck tops on social media. The resulting demand for those tops was immediate and has shown no signs of slowing, thus Frond was born and has since added more staple worthy designs to it’s roster including jumpsuits, rompers (perfect for summer!), dresses and wrap tanks. With the focus on reclaimed materials and natural fibers, designs are small batch and sometimes even one of a kind given the reclaimed aspect of much of the fabric used.

I love Frond’s sustainable approach, easy silhouettes and unique fabrics. Once Krysta finds a fabric that fits the Frond aesthetic (think neutrals and vintage florals) she creates her design and cuts and sews the fabric in her home studio. The approach is slow but Krysta has obviously found a system that works as in addition to limited custom work, she sells ready made pieces via her website and via local boutique Altar. It’s been a pleasure watching Frond grow and I look forward to whatever comes next, even if it’s just more of the same.

Photos by Hannah Key


Shop Frond online and in Portland at Altar Boutique.

Be sure to follow @shopfrond on Instagram to see the latest designs and get info on pop-up events.

Photo by Eva Verbeeck

indie designers : oru ss17

February 10, 2017

I’m pretty psyched to be sharing the new spring / summer line from Portland-based jewelry line Oru. Designer Agnieszka Zoltowski began making jewelry while in middle school using brightly colored Japanese seed beads, which turned out to be a staple in her designs as the years passed. A few seasons ago, she began casting those beads in metal which resulted in a unique texture that has allowed her to build truly intriguing shapes with a minimal twist. Oru’s latest collection, Praxis, has taken that method and is running with it to great results –



Praxis is coming soon, in the meantime shop all Oru designs online

and follow @love_oru on Instagram for updates.

beauty beat : ceremony salon

February 3, 2017

I love my long-time stylist but after she moved to a salon across town (to one of the busiest, trendiest neighborhoods with no parking, natch), I decided it was time to reach out and find someone closer in. Recalling Ceremony Salon as the place that gave Ragen Fykes, the fly AF manager of West End Select Shop, her rad ‘do as well as the place keeping VGS Sister Style Alumna / food blogger Alison Wu looking sparkling, I decided to try them out.

This is where the universe seemingly pulled some strings because the very next day I received an email from Ceremony manager, Sasha, asking me if I’d be interested in checking out the salon. Uh, yes please. Total kismet.

After researching Ceremony’s carefully selected roster of stylists, I settled on Irisa Elaine. It was a tough decision as everyone had informative bios and an impressive Instagram feed but Irisa’s portfolio showed a diversity of hair types. The biggest issue I have with my hair is that I have a super wonky wave pattern that, if cut incorrectly, causes me all sorts of grief. Not only that, I have extremely thick hair that’s on the coarse side and does whatever the eff it wants. I’ve learned the hard way that not everyone gets it. (Thankfully, and as I predicted, Irisa got it.)

Arriving at Ceremony for my appointment I was immediately dazzled by the salon’s Palm Springs-meets-Portland vibe – in fact, the first thing you see when you walk in is bright pink neon promising Good Vibes Only and you guys, it’s completely true. The large white space is bright and open but anything but boring with resplendent displays of plants, plants, plants all over, beautiful brass light fixtures, cinder blocks reminiscent of The Parker and super fun, groovy wallpaper in unexpected places. Owners Stephanie and Lauren told me to be on the lookout for handmade art objects they’ve picked up over the years and placed throughout the salon and it was super fun to spot a Friend Assembly planter here and Liv and Dom incense holders there.

Best friends and veterans of the industry, Ceremony owners Stephanie Hand and Lauren Kolb, began with the idea of creating their own space and ran with it, tapping top talent (mostly people they’d worked with previously) to join them. The result is a highly curated roster of Portland’s most skilled stylists and those aforementioned Good Vibes.

Ceremony Salon Owners Stephanie Hand and Lauren Kolb
Ceremony Salon Stylist Irisa Elaine

Settling in with Irisa, I was immediately charmed by her easy-going and friendly attitude. Before I could even tell her about the weird things going on with my hair that I wanted to address, she called them out and suggested how we could fix them while taking into account my special instructions: thin my hair but hide the layers so it looks more or less one length and no face framing pieces, please. Off to the groovy shampoo room we went where Irisa made sure not to scrimp on the head massage portion of the wash and kindly refrained from shaming me for my truly greasy hair.

Next up was the cut. Taking all angles into account, I could tell Irisa was fully focused on the task at hand, something I don’t always notice when getting my hair cut. She also asked me questions as she went to ensure she wasn’t over or under doing things. After drying and styling my hair she also gave me tips on cutting my own bangs in the event that I couldn’t make it back in for a free bang trim, something she offers for all clients.

So here’s my Before and After –

Before: An okay cut that I had to keep straightened at all times to hide a weird, random chunk that was cut out on one side only. I also botched my own bang trim so I cut off face framers on one side of my face but not on the other.

After: A freewheeling cut that took the length up a bit to fix the weird and random missing chunk while allowing my weird wave pattern to fly it’s freak flag so I could give the straightening iron a rest. Irisa also fixed my bangs to remove my random remaining face framers and even out the sides. (The stars are obvs a filter, meant to convey just how sparkly I was feeling with my new hairs.)

Overall, I loved my experience at Ceremony. It’s location on East Burnside is much more convenient for me, the space is so lovely and I felt like Irisa was really listening to me and my needs. Plus, she was super easy to talk to! There’s nothing worse than awkward silences when getting your hairs did. I will definitely be going back and can’t wait for my next visit.


Check out Ceremony Salon on Instagram for more info and stop in at 1101 E. Burnside in Portland or book an appointment online.

rad ladies : ashley hardy

December 29, 2016


Portland boasts a great many talented women ceramacists and it almost feels wrong to highlight just one of them, but since I am, I’m glad it’s Ashley Hardy. With model good-looks, a pinch of rock n’ roll attitude, and a kind, open heart, Ashley is truly a Rad Lady.

I chanced upon her ceramic work a year or more ago and have watched it evolve from simple (though beautiful) minimalist shapes and colors to more experimental, and dare I say sexy, work. Case in point, Ashley’s latest experiments in organically shaped vessels glazed in dark, shiny chrome.

A former make-up artist, Ashley’s ceramics hobby morphed into her full-time passion while she worked on her education. Now on the cusp of graduating with a license to teach secondary art, I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot more from Ashley in the near future – and I can’t wait.


VGS: What was your path to becoming a ceramic artist / designer? If you hadn’t gone down that road, what do you think you’d be doing instead?

A: I am not sure I had a direct path to becoming a ceramic artist. My previous background was as a hair and makeup designer for theatre/film. I would have to sculpt prosthetics and make molds, use paints, highlights and shadows to create characters. I suppose ceramics always felt very comfortable to me. I had been accustomed to working with my hands, not afraid of getting dirty. Ceramics was something that I had as a hobby and blossomed into something more.

Currently I am venturing down two roads as I am working on my masters in education. I will be graduating this upcoming spring, with my teaching license in secondary art education. I am beyond excited to begin my teaching journey with art. I chose two paths, having my ceramics business and teaching high school art.

VGS: How has your style evolved since your beginnings? How did you come by your current style?

A: My style has evolved to play on shapes and silhouettes. I used to make more simple, delicate shapes. I feel like now I am trying to push the boundaries of “what is a vase” or “what is a mug”. I want my pieces now, to act as functional conversation starters. I think currently my work is a product of experimentation as well as inspiration I have extracted from what I enjoy about architecture.


VGS: What has been your biggest challenge in your work so far? How did you overcome it?

A: The time management piece! Typically each of my ceramic vessels goes through a 10-step process (sometimes more), so I definitely can get lost on how long pieces take. Some pieces are more intricate and I have tried to remind myself that I always take longer than I believe. I am trying to be more organized and work in a way that makes sense aka being efficiently productive. It is really a challenge.

VGS: Tell us about your typical day …

A: Oh man! My days are never the same! Since I am working on my masters degree as well as trying to run my ceramic business I try to have flexibility in my day. I have most days planned, you know, the goals you have to accomplish, and then have backup B and C lists just in case. I have a lot going on, as most folks do, but I am trying to balance my professional and person life daily.

VGS: How do you stay motivated?

A: I am a perfectionist in regards to my artistic work. I stay motivated by having the mindset of constantly trying to improve. I enjoying try to figure out what works, what doesn’t, troubleshooting ideas. Ceramics is probably the only thing that I have ever enjoyed testing with! Also, thinking about future projects and predicting ceramic trends keeps me on my toes and continuing to move forward. On to the next!


VGS: What are your biggest inspirations currently?

A: I am very inspired by architecture. Currently, I have been collecting inspiration from ceilings in buildings. Especially taking notice of high open industrial ceilings. There are so many shapes and shadows that occur from the beams, pipes, and metal. I am also into textures that have formed from thick layers of paint on the sides of building and alleyways- that has really peaked my interested in using textural glazes on some of my pieces.


VGS: What are your feelings about Portland’s creative / maker scene? What, if anything, could make it better?

A: The maker scene in Portland is really exciting! I think it really brings out a sense of community and allows for artists to be embraced as well as letting an artist’s work have exposure. It is a really special thing to be able to create and do what you feel passionate about. The maker scene is allowing this to be possible.

VGS: What are you doing to prepare yourself for fall + winter? [Ed Note: Interview was conducted in September]

A: Well, I am already in holiday mode. Literally. The holiday started about a month or so ago for me, so I have been making pieces and preparing orders! I am trying to take my own advice and stay organized. I am also thinking about some new pieces I would like to introduce this winter! So stay tuned…






Big thanks to Ashley for inviting me to her studio and for being so lovely! Check out Ashley’s website here and follow her on Instagram to see her newest works and occasional animated videos of her work in action – trust me, they’re worth it!

sister style : margo

December 27, 2016


To break up the usual holiday mumbo-jumbo in your feed, I’m pleased to offer something completely different today. Since introducing my Sister Style feature a few years back, my goal has always been to feature all types of women and their diverse styles (the only styles I have actively avoided are those comprised solely of fast fashion items). I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job – especially given how many women have agreed to be photographed by me for this column only to back out later on or just disappear completely – which I get! It’s a bummer for me but as someone who HATES having their picture taken, I understand the anxiety or hesitation that comes from being asked to model.

Margo Crable has been high on my list of ladies to feature forever now but after we had to cancel her 2015 shoot twice due to illnesses, she left Portland for LA and I figured a Margo Sister Style just wasn’t in the cards. Thankfully, Margo didn’t forget about VGS and on a recent visit to Portland, she met up with me and sometimes VGS photog, Shola Lawson. Having packed a resplendent selection of lingerie from her personal collection, we styled a boudoir shoot in Shola’s super cute apartment. The results are just stunning, if I do say so myself …


VGS: What inspired you to model for Sister Style?

M: I’ve been wanting to do a Sister Style shoot with VGS for a long time, and was super happy to have the chance when I visited Portland recently. I love fashion that’s centered around the everyday, around accessible/recycled clothing, and around “regular” people using the resources around them to dress themselves. I think VGS really embodies that mantra and I appreciate the way the magic of the everyday world is honored so completely by Allison. Also, Shola and Allison have such lovely, dreamy aesthetics and I was so happy to be captured by them.


VGS: What is your first fashion related memory?

M: I have a strong memory of owning a silky sort of slip as a child, flowered and intended to wear under a dress, that I liked to sneak outside and wear in the garden. I must have been … 5? I remember my mom running down the driveway and telling me to put something different on, but I just loved that slip and I loved the way the fabric mimicked the garden, the way the silk contrasted with playing on the dirty ground, and the taboo of wearing something you’re supposed to keep hidden outside in the daylight.


VGS: Which one item can you never have too many of?

M: Lingerie, DUH. Also, clogs and slides.


VGS: What are your tips for styling lingerie for every day wear?

M: I think wearing lingerie in the everyday world works well if you contrast it with the earthy and utilitarian. I have these baggy oatmeal linen slacks with a drawstring that I sometimes wear with a black lace-up bondage top. When I was in Portland last and went to the TBA opening night, I wore a strappy Herve Leger swimsuit under a giant silk men’s shirt, with knit shorts, and it felt provocative but also sort of mysterious. I’ve gotten lots of quizzical comments in LA, because I love chunky comfortable clogs, but will also wear them with a pleather corset top to dinner.

I think other advice I’d offer people who want to wear lingerie out, is that it’s important to remember that sexualizing yourself is regarded as déclassé rather than liberating at the moment. You’ll get lots of curious or snide comments, which you’ll have to learn to field. I’ll admit that it was only when I moved to LA, where showing skin and celebrating the body is the norm, did I feel free to finally wear what I wanted.

margot-5-of-16 margot-4-of-16 margot-3-of-16

VGS: If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?

M: I think I’d have to say Sade’s outfit at the 1985 Live Aid concert. She’s wearing black high-waist pants, gold hoops, and this long-sleeved white turtleneck, but then she turns around and it’s almost completely backless, with her hair in a long braid on her bare skin. It’s the perfect, titillating combo of aggressively sexy and dumpy/functional.

margot-7-of-16Photos: Shola Lawson




A big thank you to Margo for finally making this feature happen and many thanks to Shola for bringing this dreamy vision to life!

rad ladies : fuchsia lin

November 14, 2016



When I first met Fuchsia Lin through a mutual friend, I was blown away by her personal style. Her mix of print, pattern, color and texture was so deft she appeared to me like a jewel, something so beautiful and special you just have to share it with the world. Of course, Fuchsia is much more than her unicorn style, she’s an amazingly sweet, talented and creative individual as well. With a resume that includes costume and fashion design, textile arts, production and direction, I had to know more and thankfully Fuchsia was willing to let me take a peek into her life and her closet …


VGS: What was your path to becoming a textile artist? If you hadn’t found this path, what do you think you’d be doing now instead?

F: I was a first generation Taiwanese American wearing overalls as a kid growing up in a small Michigan town. I had no fashion sense at all, but I loved creating art. I was very serious about drawing, calligraphy, painting and Chinese paper cutting. At one point, it was my goal to become a professional calligrapher. It wasn’t until later on in high school and college that I developed an interest in fashion and textiles. When I studied art in college, I was drawn to textiles and surface design techniques because it integrated what I loved doing as a child with my current interests.

After I received my BFA in textiles design, I went onto study fashion at Parsons School of Design. After graduating, I worked a few years in the fashion industry. Eventually I transitioned into costumes because I wanted to create one-of-a-kind pieces for the performing and visual arts. Musicians, Bjork, Karen O and Rebecca Chamberlain wore some of my pieces, and that was super encouraging to continue the path which eventually led me to where I am now.
I can’t imagine myself doing anything other than what I’m doing now. Since I was four years old, I knew I was going to be an artist, and that’s always been the path that I’ve been driven to pursue.

VGS: Though your work primarily consists of costume design and working with textiles you also explore other media such as film, performance, and sculpture. How do these extra elements usually present themselves to you and how do you adapt them to make them flow into your work?

F: I think of myself as a conceptual artist/director/producer now more than a costume designer or textiles artist, although the main focus of my projects will always be the costume. I create a concept for an art project and I find the
collaborators I want to work with and what the most effective medium is to get the message across.

My work has evolved into film for my current project, Crystals of Transformation. I had been producing/directing live performance for many years; however, it seemed natural to evolve into film so that I could incorporate different locations into the performance.

Through this process, I also realized that film is a much more effective medium than live performance is in delivering the details and artistry of a costume. One of my steadfast goals is to bring recognition to the art of costuming and “slow fashion”. Through film, the costume can be seen up close and in detail, in slow motion, with controlled lighting that really shows it off. Film can also create abstraction from chosen compositions of the body in movement. These abstractions resemble forms in nature that are the inspiration for the water crystal costumes in Crystals of Transformation.


VGS: What drew you to living in Portland?

F: I had always been an east coaster, big city person. I’ve lived in NYC, Paris, and Taipei but when I met my boyfriend in New York City, he just kept talking about the Pacific Northwest. Eventually I took a trip out here to visit Seattle, Portland and San Francisco nine years ago during the beautiful summertime. I chose Portland because I felt like I would be able to live a life of higher quality, as well as being in a unique city.

VGS: What, if anything, do you think is missing from or would improve Portland’s creative / art scene?

F: A costume institute just like the one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York!

VGS: What has been your biggest challenge so far and how did you overcome it?

F: My biggest challenge that has already happened that I overcame was the 2013 fundraising campaign I did through USA Projects and raised over $6,000 to begin my project, Crystals of Transformation. This was the first fundraising effort I have ever made in my whole life. I had a lot of shyness about asking people to donate money and maintaining a strong social media presence to in order to promote my project.

I had a lot of wonderful support from my boyfriend, family, friends, collaborators and co-workers. I also had a great fundraising advisor at USA Projects who believed in me and gave me encouraging pep talks (that I still go back to read now and then). A friend of mine, Kim Dawson, a creative consultant, donated her expertise and coached me on PR tactics.

I don’t know if I would have reached my goal without the help of all these wonderful people, but ultimately, I had to really believe in myself and be courageous and passionate about sharing my mission and my art with the world.


VGS: How do you stay motivated?

F: It’s many things; the Taiwanese culture I was raised in is all about working hard and striving to excel. Being the first generation of Taiwanese immigrants, I have a lot of pressure to succeed in this country. It’s in my genes – I come from a family of PhD’s.

I am usually working with a personal/professional coach or mentor to improve some aspect of my life. I am grateful to have found wonderful teachers and healers to share their gifts, expertise and skills with me.

I recently received a Regional Arts and Culture Council professional development grant to work with an art coach/film consultant this fall/winter. Also, acupuncture, yoga, swimming, cooking, bike riding, taking naps, and listening to Ted Talks.

VGS: What’s inspiring you most right now?

F: Water is always my inspiration! Dr. Masaru Emoto’s research on water. My Dad. The incredibly talented collaborators I am working with for my Crystals of Transformation film!


VGS: What can we expect from you in the future?

F: Crystals of Transformation, an environmental film trilogy about water, featuring original water crystal costumes, dance and music composition. The first film has been completed and the second film, Inner Glacial Melt, is currently in production. The third film will begin production in 2018. (You can watch the trailer for the first film here.)

VGS: Lastly, what are you most looking forward to wearing this fall/winter?

F: I’ve always loved capes and ponchos. They are my favorite fall/winter wear! I also love wearing my favorite purple knit hat with huskies on them.






For more on Fuchsia’s projects, including her Crystals of Transformation trilogy, check out her website and the Crystals of Transformation Facebook page.

indie designers : fieldwell home

October 2, 2016


Portland-based Fieldwell Home is a burgeoning home goods atelier focusing on textiles, namely quilts and cushions. Aiming to bring heirloom quality into the modern age, Mary and Steven Wise, the husband and wife duo behind Fieldwell use high quality natural materials that will age over time as opposed to degrade while focusing on modern designs in neutral palettes to keep designs fresh throughout the seasons – and years.

Utilizing Mary’s background in textile design and appreciation for traditional practices, Fieldwell hopes to cut through the disposable clutter that bogs down many homes by inspiring thoughtful purchases that will last for generations. I have to say I’m on board with that line of thinking.

fieldwell14fieldwell9fieldwell8fieldwell7fieldwell6fieldwell4fieldwell5fieldwell11fieldwell12Photos by Mikola Accuardi




Shop Fieldwell Home online and follow @fieldwellhome on Instagram to keep up on new items and events like their recent pop-up at Tea Bar Division and a natural dye workshop at Field Trip.


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