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October 18, 2017

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4 Easy, NO-EFFORT Halloween Costumes for the Costume Impaired

I love fashion but I’m bad at costumes. People are always so shocked when I mention this, but it’s true! It’s in large part because I hate buying clothes that I’m not going to wear, but also because I’m NOT CRAFTY. Like, at all. If an “easy halloween costume” requires any DIY effort it’s a no for me. Luckily […]

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September 27, 2017

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I’m Changing the Way I Blog

I bought a dress… Now I’m changing my blog.

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{dress not pictured… yet}

I didn’t realize it at the time, but this past August I hit 8 years of blogging. The Fashionista Lab has certainly evolved from the early days, when I mainly talked about shopping conquests and things in my closet, and has gone through many iterations since. 8 years is a long time! I’ve changed, technology has changed, and the game has changed… I don’t want to be on the fashion blogger hamster wheel anymore. I can’t compete and I don’t want to. I’ve never been good at playing others’ games — only my own.

Plus, after gaining a lot of weight I wondered if I had anything to say. If I didn’t like how I looked in photos, and if none of my favorite clothes fit anymore, what could I offer?


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New Dress, Old Ideas

Then I bought a fabulous dress. A dress that I jumped through all sorts of hoops (many of my own inadvertent making) to acquire. It’s a spectacular story and I couldn’t wait to tell it. And you know what? I’ve actually been thinking about stories a lot lately. I miss telling them like I did in the early days of this blog. The dress got me thinking, and I realized that I do have quite a bit more to say. In fact, here are just a few topics I can think of:

  • how obsessed I am with Everlane’s GoWeave fabric, and how it used to be more common for clothing brands to devise and patent their own textiles
  • my mixed feelings about companies like Everlane – I appreciate basics, a girl cannot live on basics alone
  • my shopping conquests and my strategies for scoring deals
  • the few things I have bought at full price and how they’re working out for me
  • Rent the Runway – should I be renting my wardrobe instead of buying it?
  • how ridiculous the fashion industry is, in that so much money is left on the table by people who don’t care about the bodies in their clothes
  • lipstick. There’s a lipstick art project I’ve wanted to do for a couple of years now
  • books! I recently (ish) read Gods and Kings by Dana Thomas. It was an affecting read, made even more so by having Savage Beauty (which I also have on my bookshelf) on hand for additional illustration. I take great pride in my collection of fashion books and I should talk about it more often!
  • research: I have a research project about couture, fast fashion, fashion blogging and late stage capitalism. It’s slow going with a full time job and without institutional resources, but in my own way I’m making it work
  • TV? I’m catching up on Game of Thrones and I will have so much to say when the 8th season airs. I also maybe finally quit the Bachelor, so that may or may not be a thing I’d like to talk about
  • my FAVORITE topic, and one of the central themes of my Master’s thesis – the professionalization of fashion blogging, i.e., influencer marketing
  • and outfits, when I feel like it

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New Direction!

I’m excited to be changing my blog and taking it in this new direction: more stories! I’m working on a re-design too. While I’ve been dissatisfied with the layout for quite some time (and my theme is no longer supported), it wasn’t until I realized the kind of content I want to put out that I decided how I want it to look. The idea is to make it easier to find all the different sorts of stuff I’m writing about. At some point in the near-ish future (the next 3-6 months?) keep an eye out for some changes.

Now that I’ve given myself permission to have fun again, I think we’re going to have a great time!


Photo Credit: @BOTBW2013
Location: Soho
Clothing: Top – Banana Republic | Skirt – J.Crew | Shoes – Freda Salvador

August 20, 2017

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A Weekend in Livermore Valley Wine Country

With Dan of Dante Robery winery

Since moving to New York I like to say that seven years in San Francisco made me a wine snob. Wine Country is certainly one of the things I miss the most about the Bay Area. While Napa is the most well known wine destination in California, there are actually SEVERAL wine regions! One I recently discovered is the Livermore Valley. In fact, I was invited to participate in Livermore Valley Wine Country’s annual Taste Our Terroir festival, and as luck would have it, it coincided with my plans to be out in the Bay Area.

Art of the Flambé

Chef Darnell of Nashville does a cooking demonstration Chef Darnell of Nashville The flame of flambé prepared by Chef Darnell of Nashville

The first event my friend Sarah-Doe and I went to to was this cooking demonstration at Page Mill Winery. To be honest, I was paying more attention to everything else besides the actual cooking tips. I’m getting better in the kitchen, but I’m far from even attempting a flambé. One piece of knowledge I did glean is that when you’re cooking with garlic, rub the raw garlic around the edges of the mixing bowl to help everything soak up the garlicky flavor. In so many ways it was just an ideal evening. I spent the evening in a beautiful setting with one of my besties, we met interesting people at our table (including a woman who had given birth the week prior!), and we were entertained by a husband & wife couple who put on as much a show as they did a good dinner.

Rosé Tasting

ivy covered trellis at Dante Robere vineyard three glasses of wine wine glasses

This event, at Danté Robere Vinyard, was perfect for me because I’m quite a recent convert to rosé. This is the first summer in New York that I’ve been able to relax with job security and no school pressures. Naturally, this is when I discovered that my favorite oaky buttery Chardonnays, no matter how chilled, feel too heavy in oppressive heat. Red wine is obviously out of the question. That’s where rosé comes in! A good rosé is crisp, refreshing and flavorful. I used to think that rosés where just reds or whites that needed to pick a lane, but they’re as complex and varied as any other varietal or blend. Plus, I learned that blending grapes and grape skins in order to get the desired shade of pink is a whole other level of winemaking. Sarah-Doe noted that winemaking is a special blend of agriculture and art.

She and I are pictured above with the “Dan” of Danté and Robere. It was great to meet one half of the dynamic duo behind the winery. It turns out their names are Dan and Robert, but as Dan put it, those sound like names you would put on a brewery, so they went with Danté and Robere instead!

Wente Tasting Room

bottles of wine and champagne

When I mentioned to my friend Julie that I’d be visiting the Livermore Valley Wine Country, she spoke very highly of the Wente Vineyard Chardonnay. They had one that was supremely oaky and buttery. I was not disappointed! Second only to the top-notch wine, another highlight of the Wente excursion was their summer concert schedule. On August 31st they’re hosting Collective Soul – a band at the center of hilarious college adventure that Sarah-Doe and I shared.

Taste Our Terroir was the best possible way to kick off my 10-day #goldenstategallivant adventure. Many, many, many thanks to Tami Kelly with the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association, and Visit Tri-Valley for making such an amazing weekend possible. I can’t wait to come back!

July 12, 2017

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When a Good Hair Day Means So Much More

Bed-Stuy Farm brooklyn brownstone saturday_in_BedStuy_7

Do you ever have days where you wake up feeling fabulous? I used to have more of those days, and I didn’t even realize I was having them. There was a time when feeling comfortable in my skin was the only way I felt. Now those days are rare. I got a taste of that recently, thanks to a good hair day.

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For the past little while I’ve been focusing less on my clothes and more on different aspects of my appearance – namely my hair. I’ve been experimenting with various twist styles since last summer. For a while I was biking a lot, so I started twisting my hair and pinning it back in order to fit it under a helmet. Then I realized it was a look that could stand on its own. In February my sister treated me to a session with her hairstylist in D.C., and I loved the style she gave me. Turns out, it was a twist-out! I tried doing it myself. Then I tried, tried, and tried again. This is the best I’ve done so far. I think I did a good job!

On this particular day, I attribute the combination of a good hair day (and recently done brows – more on that later) to the fact that, strangely, I felt OK about myself in a pair of shorts. That, ladies and gentleman, is the equivalent of Jedi mind games for my psyche.

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That said, I almost didn’t post these photos at all. I had more internal debate about it than I care to admit. But whatever the insecurities that creep up, I wanted to remember and recognize the good moments and quell the self-criticism. That’s the power of a good hair day!

Denim shorts available at & Other Stories
Photos by Ali Rivera

honeysuckle bush on fence afro hair twists girl with honeysuckle vine vines growing on fence woman with power pose

 

 

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