You’re Welcome

howdy!

November 16, 2017

Image credit unknown

 

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!

XO, ABT

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!

 

east meets west : buried diamond + rogue minx

July 7, 2016

GroundKontrol (3 of 6)

Last year I thought it would be super fun to produce my own photo shoot and though I’d done somewhat similar shoots before, this one was taking things up a notch with borrowed wardrobe, an actual location, and two models. Looking to have some fun and the opportunity for a learning experience, I got both. In fact, that learning experience was so steep I’m just now at a point where I feel the photos are ready to share. Lessons learned? 1. Do work with awesome designers you admire 2. Don’t use photos from your big shoot to test out a new photo editing program that you’ve never used before 3. Don’t be so married to one set result that you sit on your photos for a year. Check, check, and check. Sure, the vision I had in my head was worlds apart from what I ended up with but they’re still cool pics and in the end, that’s the point.

Back to the shoot, I envisioned bored girls in an arcade: anime inspired styling, bright colors, a tinge of goth-ness, garish lights, junk food imagery and the like. I decided on a local arcade as my backdrop and enlisted my friends Hillary Boles and Shola Lawson to be my girls and was psyched to be borrowing clothing from New York based designer Martha Moore Porter of Buried Diamond and Portland based designer Anne Marie Cooper of Rogue Minx. Hence, east meets west – coasts, anyway. I loved the bright colors and cartoony prints of Buried Diamond and couldn’t wait to contrast them with the dark and edgy designs of Rogue Minx in an homage to my own teenage dressing habits circa 1996; a staunch #summergoth (though that wasn’t even a thing then and we certainly didn’t have hashtags!), it was then that I broke up my black habit in truly devoted attempts at emulating Bjork’s wackily colorful ensembles of the time.

So yeah, that but 2015 …

GroundKontrol (9 of 30)GroundKontrol (29 of 30)GroundKontrol (30 of 30)Tops: Rogue Minx | Skirts: Buried Diamond

GroundKontrol (5 of 30) GroundKontrol (4 of 30)GroundKontrol (7 of 30)GroundKontrol (8 of 30)GroundKontrol (2 of 6)Dresses and resin jewelry: Buried Diamond

GroundKontrol (2 of 30) GroundKontrol (1 of 30)GroundKontrol (3 of 30)Custom print tops: Rogue Minx

GroundKontrol (6 of 6)GroundKontrol (20 of 30)GroundKontrol (23 of 30)GroundKontrol (5 of 6)GroundKontrol (26 of 30)Tops: Rogue Minx | Skirts: Buried Diamond

GroundKontrol (12 of 30)
GroundKontrol (10 of 30)GroundKontrol (11 of 30)GroundKontrol (16 of 30)GroundKontrol (17 of 30)GroundKontrol (18 of 30)GroundKontrol (19 of 30)GroundKontrol (13 of 30)GroundKontrol (4 of 6)Dress and jumper: Rogue Minx | Resin jewelry: Buried Diamond

GroundKontrol (28 of 30)

face-savouring-delicious-food

Huge thanks to Rogue Minx and Buried Diamond for lending clothing and being so patient. Huge thanks too to my lovely models Hillary and Shola and to Ground Kontrol for letting us shoot our fashiony stuff around their games.

around portland : VGS turns 4!

August 10, 2015

VGS4thBDAY-13

Oh hai, guys! In case you missed it, I threw a big party last Friday to celebrate the journey of VGS and how far it’s come these past four years since I claimed the Votre Grande Soeur domain and went live with my thoughts on fashion. What started as a personal fashion journal that I kept to myself for the first year and a half has become something that I now proudly share with the world, and it’s been a crazy trip.

I feel so incredibly lucky to have the support that I do – so many lovely friends and fans came out to help me whoop it up and I couldn’t have asked for a better party. From Jillian at Seven Sisters who hosted my fete, to my bestie Jessica who helped me get everything ready, to DJ Big Booty Judy who kept the records spinning, to Eastside Distilling who provided the booze, to Nikki of Beach Bones Jewelry who provided one of my dreamiest giveaway prizes, to Tina of TNT Color Lab and artist Carlyn Wutkee for helping add some dazzle to the goodie bags, to Caroline of The Full Moon Gathering who provided my rad VGS balloons … I can’t ever thank you gals enough!! To everyone, just thank you. I can’t say it enough! A million times, thank you.

I’m seriously at a loss for words with all the gratitude welling within me, so I’ll just leave you with some pictures from the evening –

VGS4thBDAY-2VGS4thBDAY-47VGS4thBDAY-24VGS4thBDAY-26VGS4thBDAY-23VGS4thBDAY-25VGS4thBDAY-27VGS4thBDAY-33VGS4thBDAY-28VGS4thBDAY-37VGS4thBDAY-44VGS4thBDAY-43VGS4thBDAY-46VGS4thBDAY-48VGS4thBDAY-49Fitting Beach Bones ring winner, Melanie – aka my new sister wife

VGS4thBDAY-50VGS4thBDAY-55VGS4thBDAY-56VGS4thBDAY-57VGS4thBDAY-58VGS4thBDAY-59VGS4thBDAY-62VGS4thBDAY-66Thanks to Josh Latham for the evening’s pics!

two-hearts

VGS4thBDAY-4

 

miscellany

April 17, 2015

Happy Friday! I guess I’ve decided to switch things up and start posting Miscellany on Friday’s from now on. I couldn’t think of a better share for this gorgeous sunny day than this perf new video from QT which I am all about.

Hey QT! Yeah? You’re welcome!

 

 

peace out

miscellany : you’re welcome edition

April 1, 2015

Boys-Over-Flowers-Poster-3

Oh K-Dramas, it’s been too long. After a sitting through a few unfortunate series (Cunning Single Lady & Cheongdam-dong Alice, which I never actually finished) I decided to revisit the holy grail – Boys Over Flowers. Based on a Japanese manga of the same name and considered the end all be all of K-Dramas, Boys Over Flowers was my introduction to the weird, wonderful, and wacky genre. Not for the faint of heart, BOF runs for 26 episodes, each clocking in at 65 minutes.

I still fondly recall the summer I spent obsessively hunched over my ipod touch, ‘borrowing’ wifi from the Starbucks by my work just to squeeze in as much watching time as I could on my lunch break and all the nights I stayed up way past my bedtime, giving myself permission for ‘just one more episode’. How could I not be obsessed with story highlights including Jan Di’s comically over-the-top performances, extreme bullying by dudes who call themselves ‘Four Flowers’, forced makeovers, fantasy shopping sprees, kindnappings, roofied drink plots, psychotic mothers ruining peoples lives, arranged marriages, and of course, always weepy Kim Hyun Joon …

yoonjihoo

I sat down last night and started right up at the beginning and oh man, it’s still as amazing as I remember. While watching the first episode again, I had a few thoughts…

Our heroine Jan Di is so goonish and exaggerated, I’m not sure who is supposed to identify with her. Sure she mostly does what’s right in the face of immense Korean pressure to look the other way while rich people do as they please but ugh. How unfair too that the dudes look amazing with their Raquel Welch do’s while poor Jan Di gets stuck with an infantile Prince Valiant bowl-bob. I mean, just look at this getup they style her in for a beach vacation. Someone hated her …

boys-over-flowers

Back to the first episode – where are all the teachers?? Students regularly gather in groups of 30-50 to watch the latest outcast get humiliated and beaten and no authority ever shows up to stop it. This school is for the richest 1% of the richest 1% and there’s no security? Now that I think about it, I’m not sure a teacher is ever really shown. It’s ok, Jan Di manages to see what really matters after she’s peppered with eggs and has flour dumped on her as she wonders ‘How many pancakes is this?’.

Back in the Flower Cave, “Ringo” (I don’t remember his actual name since he’s such a throwaway character but there’s always a Ringo!) solidifies his bizarre and out of place membership in the Four Flowers by randomly yelling English slang such as ‘Cool bro, yo!’ at top volume and punctuating with high fives. Then again, this is the leader of F4 …

GooJunPyo

Oh Jun Pyo! Good ol’ Curly Head. He’s actually impossible not to fall in love with. Oh no, the music! It was about halfway into the series the first time I watched that it occurred to me I was starting to really dig the beyond terrible soundtrack of, like, five songs played NON-F’ING-STOP. No really, turns out they’re super good.

Ok, well that’s all I got from Episode 1. If you really love genius tv – and especially love binge watching – you can follow along with me since Boys Over Flowers is on Netflix. You’re welcome!

peace out

you’re welcome : how anxiety made me miss a very important fashion show

February 26, 2015

Duckie_Smiths

 

Today I’m writing in my rarely used ‘You’re Welcome’ category. I thought it up over a year ago when there was a lot of discussion happening about social media envy – you know, that time everyone was bummed because their lives weren’t as perfect as everyone else’s seem to be when viewed through proverbial (and literal) Instagram filters. I have never assumed that the image I put out there comes off as perfect to anyone, all the same I thought I could help alleviate some feels by sharing a few non-glamorous aspects of my reality. I envisioned ‘You’re Welcome’ as a parody via tongue-in-cheek photo shoots of, like, me vacuuming my house in curlers – something I never do. Obviously it never materialized and it’s probably for the better. Anyway, I finally have something on my mind that falls under this category, so here we go …

Last night was the first half, or Winter installment, of the third annual Fade to Light fashion show here in Portland. I’ve never gone to a FTL before but last night’s line up was pretty great: Michelle Lesniak, Rogue Minx, Altar Houseline, Veil & Valor (a new collab project from the ladies behind Primal Haunt), Bryce Black, and more. I was into it! So many rad people were going too, I knew I’d have lots of friendly faces greeting me throughout the night. I emailed the producer and she graciously put me on the press list. I was all set.

Guys, I did not go.

Instead, I threw on leggings and a sweatshirt and watched the Blazer game from my couch. I love the Blazers but sports are not even a blip on my radar. So much so that I was on Instagram the whole while. After a while my feed started showing friends at the venue looking happy and excited and the regret set in. I should have gone! Why didn’t I go?? I held myself back, that’s why. An unfortunate effect of my anxiety disorder, I have a bad habit of holding myself back out of fear.

Once the producer (again, very graciously) put me on the list, I started freaking out: I’ve never gone to a fashion show by myself before! It will be so awkward! OMG, I have to take pictures! The lighting will be tricky! What if all my pictures suck and I can’t use any of them? Where am I going to stand? What if someone stands in front of me (which always seems to happen)? I can’t possibly ask them to move! I could get there as soon as the doors open and get a front row balcony seat … but then I’ll have to sit there for well over an hour before the show starts and if I move to walk around and mingle, I’ll lose my seat! What if the balcony is too far away to get decent pics from anyway? Shit, what is the runway set up like? Ugh, where will I park? What the hell will I wear?? Shit, it’s going to be a late night! I’ll get home way after my bedtime! I have to work in the morning! (Seriously though, why are fashion shows almost always on weeknights?!)

You get the picture. This is my every day life and you can be sure that at any given time that sort of dialogue is running through my head regarding just about anything I have to do. I’ve made huge strides over the last two years in overcoming this sort of thing – I used to never, ever, ever leave the house if I didn’t have to! – but the truth is, it never goes away. If there’s something to worry about, I’m already on it. If there’s nothing to worry about, rest assured – I’ll find something to worry about. It’s pretty f’ing exhausting.

So to all my lovely friends and friendly acquaintances that I missed last night: I’m sorry I missed you. Truly. To that producer: I’m so sorry I wasted your time with my press request. I hope you’ll continue to take me seriously for future requests. To all the designers who presented: I’m so sorry I missed your big night! I should have been there! To all my readers: I’m sorry I have no coverage of this event for you, I shoud have sucked it up and gone.

One of my biggest goals with the blog this year is to provide coverage of events just like this one. I was able to take my first step in realizing that goal with the recent Unmentionable show and I just can’t even express how bummed I am that I dropped the ball here. The difference? I had four friends at Unmentionable with me, one of whom drove us there, I had a front row press seat and professional photogs to send me pics. Guess what? I was still worrying about that event beforehand but things like making plans to go with someone and knowing photography will be handled for you make it much harder to flake. Still, I’m a big girl and I need to be able to go somewhere by myself and take pictures if I want to. I can’t promise anything but I do sincerely hope this is the last time I allow myself to miss something I’m genuinely excited about because my dumb brain won’t shut up.

Bottom line: I decided to share this today because dealing with anxiety is something that can be very isolating. When I confide in new friends about my social anxiety and struggle with not becoming a full-on agoraphobic they always seem surprised to hear I deal with these issues. I like to think it’s because I have come so far in my ability to cope and move past them but I’m realizing that no matter how good I get at coping, it’s still coping. I don’t think I will ever get to a point where anxiety isn’t niggling at me but despite hiccups like last night, maybe I’m proof that you can learn ways to deal and move past it more often than not.

So there you go. I am not perfect and the struggle is real.

You’re welcome.

miscellany

November 11, 2014

There isn’t much I can say to add to today’s video, just watch and bask in the splendor of this kid who is apparently really, really passionate about church music –

 

clothes reporter : layering for fall with mod cloth

October 15, 2014

No matter how many times I go through this, once summer ends and fall begins, the struggle is real; more often than not the mornings are dark and cold, the afternoons are warm and sunny, and the evenings are somewhere in between. The past few weeks have seen me changing my daily wardrobe more often than I care to admit and I’ve realized it’s time to bust out the old layering skills once again. Just in time, ModCloth asked me to showcase some of my favorites from their current offerings with fall layering in mind. I chose pieces that will work for most occasions and with just about any style of bottom, from a cute skirt to a skinny jean.

 

 

 

Fall Layering

 

Clockwise from top left:

Savvy Sommerlier top | Deco the Distance top | Wild and Freelance cardigan | Significant Spirit wedges | Mapmaking your Move wedges | Heads or Tails hat | Casual Influence boots

 

First things first, your base layer is key. Working double duty it’s the first layer in your warmth burrito, if you will, but it should also hold it’s own when you’re overheating in a crowded bar or music venue. I chose a feminine camisole in a rich fern green with a comfy drape that’s flirty and chic. The scalloped hem provides dimension along with the bronze tone beading which adds an edge of muted glamour.

Next is your main layer. It should add to the warmth burrito by providing more coverage than your base layer. It’s also the main attraction of your outfit and should have special details. I chose a pretty merlot blouse that’s a little bit 1920’s and little bit 1970’s. The pleated front, lace yoke detail and sweet rounded collar add up to just the right amount of special. Wear it in the office, to meet a friend for coffee, or for date night.

Last is the outer layer. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m uncomfortably cold most of the time and the outer layer is perhaps the most important layer since it’s what keeps me from hypothermia. ModCloth has an awesome selection of cardigans and it was a tough choice but I chose a boho 1970’s style knit cardigan in a neutral cream with wine and navy accents. It compliments but doesn’t overpower the blouse and would look sexy over the camisole. On the weekend, I would also wear it over a chambray shirt or white tee. The great thing about the slightly over-sized & open style is that once winter hits, it will fit over other knits for maximum warmth burrito layering.

Ancillary to layering are accessories. Portland is temperate compared to the rest of the country but fall and winter typically bring rain storms. Nothing is worse than slogging through your day with cold, wet feet. Accordingly, I take my footwear decisions seriously. First up, I chose a very practical but stylish boot. The low heel makes them easy for walking and the full coverage will ensure your feet stay dry. Another option are the map-patterned wedge booties from Jeffrey Campbell. Still providing full coverage, they’ll definitely add +10 style points to your outfit. And because sometimes you just want a break from boots, I chose a cool pair of wedge sandals to throw in your bag. Wear the cute & sensible boots for your commute and change into the sandals when you get to your final destination. People will be envious of your super style and wonder how you kept your feet dry.

Finally, it is known that true Portland babes never carry umbrellas. A floppy hat is the mode du jour for keeping your hair dry and pushes the boho vibe up a notch. Wrap it all together, add loose waves, a berry lip & cheek, and a neutral eye with lots of black mascara on top and bottom and you’ll find yourself comfy and stylish no matter what the weather throws at you. Find more cute layers for your warmth burrito on ModCloth.

miscellany

September 16, 2014

Summer isn’t over yet- five days remain and I intend to savor the living hell out of each one of them. Even so, I am so psyched that my favorite holiday (Halloween, duh) is approaching. Accordingly, I’m already on the look out for all things odd & creepy which is how I explain this week’s video –

 

 

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