Love is a Roarrr: ‘Cutie and the Boxer’

By August 18, 2013 The Vault

Cutie-and-the-Boxer-poster

There are films that are very good, well-composed, heartwarming even. Then there are films that are paradigm shifters, that change the way you view the world or reinforce what you’ve always known to be true. ‘Cutie and the Boxer’ a documentary film by Zachary Heinzerling is precisely the latter: heartfelt, reflective and beautiful.

‘Cutie and the Boxer’ follows the life of Ushio Shinohara, a famous Pop and performance artist from Japan living in New York since the 70s, and his strife-ridden but passionate marriage to fellow artist Noriko. Ushio, then a 41-year old sculptor prominent in the New York art scene meets 19-year-old art student Noriko. They fall in love instantly, get married and have a son Alex.
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Hi My Name is Windy: My Chicago Whirlwind

By November 20, 2012 The Vault


Eventually, I think Chicago will be the most beautiful great city left in the world.

~ Frank Lloyd Wright

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I’ve heard a lot about Chicago; some great, some not so great. It’s the home of the Blues, the Cubs, Kanye West, high crime rates, R.Kelly and Obama! When I found out I would be visiting the City of Wind for a work conference, I had lots of interest in getting to know the it firsthand. Was it really as cold as people say? Would I run into Lupe Fiasco? What was all the fuss about that silver bean?

I got into Chicago late Wednesday evening, checked into The James Hotel, which is a very nice hotel in the Magnificent Mile neighborhood and near the Razorfish Chicago office. I grabbed late-night sushi and sake with coworkers and got ready for the next day’s activities.

~ Obligatory Mirror Pic ~ 

Before the sightseeing adventures could begin work had to be attended to. The reason for the visit was a Social Media Summit to discuss the latest and greatest in the practice.

Razorfish Chicago is a pretty outstanding office, my favorite one so far (sorry New York & Philly). Neon walls, bright lights, lots of glass conference rooms. And did I mention… beer on tap. I’m not the biggest beer drinker but you have to admit that’s pretty awesome.

~ Whoop, there it is!  ~ 

Over the next two days there was a ton of exchange, idea sharing and thought leadership. Did I mention I love my job? Well I do. After long days in meetings, it was time for a little Chicago style food sharing. Deep dish pizza, anyone? I now fully understand why Chicagoans are wild about their pie!

~ Delizioso! ~ 

After more meetings, Friday finally winded down and the weekend was set to start. We transferred hotels to the sex-ay W Hotel Lakeshore!  How sparkly is this sign? Very posh!

We headed out on the town and hit up Wicker Park area for scrumptious tacos at Big Star and evening cocktails at Violet Hour, which is a clandestine undercover spot that doesn’t allow cell phone use and has hilarious house rules like: “No O-Bombs. No Jager-Bombs. No bombs of any kind.” and “Please do not bring anyone to The Violet Hour that you wouldn’t bring to your mother’s house for Sunday dinner.”  I love it!

With three cold Chicago nights under our belts, Saturday was officially dubbed the CHICAGO CRAM!

With one full day to sightsee, we decided to see as much of Chicago as we possibly could. I think we accomplished that and more. There must be some sort of award for the most frenzied, yet controlled tourism ever! We’d certainly win.

Dressing for city walking and cold temps is no easy feat. I think I managed well with dark skinnies, black & white striped shirt, leopard blazer (unpictured), bright green scarf, my Shelli Segal coat and comfortable suede boots.

First stop was brunch at the absolutely delectable Yolk, a top rated brunch in the city. It was jumping good!

~ Jaimie loves Yolk! ~ 

Next stop, the TOP of the WORLD! Well the top of Chicago at least! We hit up the John Hancock building and got a view of Chicago from the 96th floor. Insider tip, hit up the ladies’ restroom in lieu of going to the observatory. Backdoor tricks FTW! (Thanks Deanna) 

It was so surreal to see all of the immaculate buildings from so high up. Chicago truly has beautiful architecture and many throwbacks to a classier, jazzier age.

We came down from our high and decided to take an old school horse & carriage ride to get a quicker view of the Chi. Chicago has lots of luxury shopping, traditional hotels, cathedrals and amazing signage. Every storefront has its own unique flair. There was even a cow on the front of a building!

~ Say Cheese ~ 

Next we shot across town to Millennium Park. I didn’t know what to expect of the giant Cloud Gate sculpture except that it seemed pretty cool. Cool is an understatement! Millennium Park is beautiful, has so many different sections, great sculptures and lots of energy. There were about 3 different wedding parties taking pictures!

You’d think we’d be exhausted at this point but we kept the party going and headed to do an Architecture Boat Tour on Lake Michigan. As we rushed through throngs of people (the annual Lighting Parade coincided with our trip – what fate!) we prayed we wouldn’t miss our boat.

And guess what…. WE DID!  Bye Bye Boat.

All was not lost. With the lighting parade came a fireworks display and a later boat ride that ended with seeing the fireworks. On. The. Water. SCORE!

For me, the boat tour was the highlight of the trip. Coasting on Lake Michigan, learning all about the buildings, the companies that inhabit them and the history of the city. Chicago is truly lovely at night.

We parked on the lake and watched the fireworks. It was the cherry on the Chicago sundae. Dinner at the famous Ditka’s (the food was superb) for Jaimie’s birthday dinner and eventually the night ended at the legendary Wiener Circle. I couldn’t get good video because I was laughing entirely too much at the crazy characters behind the counter! But this clip from Conan will show you what WC is all about.

I played a hilarious game and won a T-shirt. Wiener Circle is truly hilarious place and a must visit when you’re in Chicago.

Exhausted from a long day, I conked out ready to head home.

Sunday with only a few hours to spare, we trekked to the Navy Pier, the top tourist attraction in Chicago. The Navy Pier has a giant Ferris Wheel and lots of arcade games.

~ We’re Mad for Chicago ~ 

All in all, Chicago is a pretty spectacular city. It’s like a modern day Pleasantville: clean streets, beautiful buildings and lots to do. Seeing the glorious facade of Chicago makes me want to delve deeper into the parts unseen. 

~ It’s safe to say I’m smitten with the Windy City ~

x Until next time, Summertime Chi!

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Go See: Middle of Nowhere

By October 26, 2012 The Vault
Middle of Nowhere

Sometimes we are caught between two selves; an old, comfortable self that wants so desperately to hold on and an alive, but scared new us waiting to burst out.

The other night I went to see the highly praised (Sundance awarded, Oprah approved) Middle of Nowhere from director Ava DuVernay. Shot through a lush palette of rose colored scenes, DuVernay tells the story of Ruby, a woman married to a man in prison and caught between the life she has on pause and pressing play.

Watching Middle of Nowhere is like taking a walk in someone else’s shoes. Wearing Ruby’s determined and loving shoes we learn, as she does, that while the destination may not be clear, sometimes we have to finish the journey all by ourselves. Ruby vacillates between loyalty to her husband and the loneliness of reality and ultimately chooses a path of her own making.

Captivating and emotional, you will be brought into Ruby’s world, one that is rife with the complications of love, life and the unknown.

Go see Middle of Nowhere, open in select cities now. I highly recommend it.

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Know your Rights… Reproductive Rights That Is!

By June 20, 2012 The Vault

As a young woman I’ve grown up with my reproductive freedom in tact. I’ve have always had access to legal abortions, contraception and quality health and pregnancy care.

However, as the election heats up and religious-right attacks on women’s reproductive freedom continue it seems that a generation of women are forgetting (and forgoing) their rights. Here is a quick primer on reproductive freedom and what it means for you.

What is Reproductive Freedom?

Reproductive Freedom is the right to to choose freely and responsibly the spacing and timing of your children. It is the right to choose whether or not you have children and it is the right to safe and quality reproductive health care including safe and legal abortions, contraception and pregnancy care.

In the U.S. we have seen our reproductive rights challenged from abortion to the most recent firestorm surrounding contraception and health care providers obligation to provide birth control. It’s scary to think that something we’ve always had is teetering on the edge of being taken away. 

For so many of us, our rights are something we don’t even think about. “Of course, we’ll have access to insurance subsidized birth control, abortion will always be legal” Maybe not. Can you imagine a world where women aren’t allowed to decide when and how to raise a family?

Exercising our freedom, as women, to choose our life’s path, whether that path includes children and how many children, is our birthright and we should be aware of the issues surrounding our most precious right.

Stats on Reproductive Rights

Even if you’ve never had an abortion (or wouldn’t get one) there are millions of women worldwide who deserve access to this legal and safe procedure.

And if you take birth control pills and use other contraceptive you may soon find that access restricted as well. Here are some stats on reproductive health worldwide:

  • One in three American women will have an abortion by the time she is age 45
  • 58% of women having abortions in the US are in their twenties.
  • Of women having abortions, 61% have one or more children; 85% are unmarried; 69% are economically disadvantaged 
  • In addition to preventing pregnancy, birth control helps reduce the risk for endometrial and ovarian cancers
  • The use and access to affordable contraception helps lower the need for abortions
  • 5.1% percent of women 15-44 have been treated for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease ; a disease that can be prevented by the use of oral contraceptives
  • 1000 women die a day worldwide from pregnancy and childbirth related complications 

Attacks on our Reproductive Rights

Even with the major need for access to reproductive care, government has placed multiple restrictions on our access to abortions and contraception. 

  • Texas has instituted a Sonogram Law that requires women to have a sonogram 24 hours before having an abortion
  • Blunt Amendment allows employers to object to specific insurance coverage for religious reasons
  • In 2009, Dr. George Tiller was murdered inside a clinic in Kansas. He was killed because he performed abortion services.
  • The 2003 Federal Abortion Ban outlawed second trimester abortions and does not provide exception depending on a woman’s health condition. 
  • 15 states have unconstitutional bans on near-total abortions with some states having case-exceptions like rape or health
  • The Hyde Amendment denies abortion services to Medicaid recipients; 33 states have similar laws restricting low-income women’s access to abortions
  • Most states don’t have enforcement birth control laws, meaning pharmacies can refuse to fill your prescription
With laws being passed to restrict our access to affordable contraception and legal abortions, it seems that young women’s rights are being infringed on. While our rights are still intact, in the years to come it could be harder and harder to live the life you want, not the life others impose on you. 

What are your thoughts on the war on women’s reproductive freedom?

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33 Tips on Finding your Passion Today!

By October 27, 2011 The Vault
Pursuing-Your-Passion

Life is a constant pursuit in finding your passion. So often, it feels like we are chasing the things that society, our family and friends believe we should. In a world where it seems everyone is following their passion it’s easy to feel like you are being left behind or worse, feeling like you have no clue what your dream is. Don’t fret my pet, we’ve all been there.

Instead of letting the weight of immediate decisions deter you, get still and listen to your heart. What is it saying? What is it telling you to do? That beat, that thump in your chest, that vigor that awakens whenever you do blank is your passion. It’s calling out to you, won’t you answer?

Finding your passion doesn’t mean you have to quit your day job straight away and start your business. It simply means you should take the steps (sometimes baby steps) to do more of the things you love.

As a soft kick in the pants here are 33 tips to cut out the white noise, listen to your heart and start down the splendid path that is your dreams.

1. Stop watching TV in favor of working on your side business at night

2. Join a Meetup group of like-minded people passionate about your hobby

3. Get still. Don’t rush into things without first consulting your inner compass

4. Talk to your best friend; ask them what they think you’re good at

5. Start a blog where you madly talk about your favorite cause/passion/thoughts

6. Take your mother out to dinner and have a chat about your goals. Mothers know it all!

7. Enter that art competition you’ve been longing to win. Can’t win unless you enter!

8. Cut out your shoe shopping habit in lieu of making your business legit

9. Quit negative thinking. Stop. Right. Now

10. Start a sister circle for other women looking for support and advice

11. Help someone else pursue their passion

12. Be prepared. When opportunity knocks you need to answer the door

13. Seek the counsel of a career consultant/coach/cheerleader

14. Take a break. Go out of town and forget about the chase. Come back renewed

15. Say No! To everything you don’t want to do so you have more time to do the things you love

16. Schedule a daily power hour; where you spend an hour working on your projects sans interruptions

17. Get yourself an Etsy, Ebay, Bigcartel, etc… storefront right away. It takes 5 minutes tops!

18.  Wake up an hour earlier and work in the peace & quiet of the morning

19. Leave excuses at the door; get to work and worry later

20. Exercise regularly. A healthy soul is a passionate soul

21. Create your “team” of people who wholeheartedly support you

22. Realize that:

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream…”, C.S. Lewis

23. Have a game plan. Write out your personal mission statement to guide your actions

24. Incorporate your business. Marry your passion. Put a ring on it.

25. Make a vision board or actionable chart of things you want to achieve

26. Schedule daily meditation/ prayer/reflection

27. Seek out people whose career you look up to. Talk to them. Make them your mentors

28. Create a “Passion Fund”.  Add a small amount daily and spend it on things that contribute to your business

29. Accept failure. Failure is a stepping stone to success

30. Ask yourself, “What would I do for free?”

31. Surround yourself with other passion pursuers. Go-getting is contagious.

32. Start a Dream Journal, where you write your dreams into existence 

33. Be thankful for where you are right now and you will go further

I hope these 33 tips have sparked your interest and have given you the surge to go out and start doing more of the things you love! 

How are your pursuing your passion?

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A Woman’s Right to Shoes

By June 20, 2011 The Vault
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“Not diamonds but heels are a girl’s best friend.”-William Rossi

There are few things in a woman’s life that bring as much excitement as a new pair of shoes. It’s the euphoric rush that accompanies trying on a fantastic pair that were seemingly made for your foot.

From $500 Louboutins to $5 canvas shoes, whether it’s a 6-inch stiletto or a Bass loafer flat, every woman deserves the right to beautiful shoes.

While all my shoes are created equal, here are a some of my favorites and a few new additions!

first row: (l to r) Chinese Laundry, Aldo, Aldo loafers, Miss America
second row: (l to r) Harajuku Lovers, Steve Madden, Envy, Bakers
third row: (l to r) Aldo platforms, Nine West, Steve Madden, Kelsi Dagger

Shoes Glorious Shoes! Isn’t that right Audrey?!

Have you exercised your right to shoes lately?

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Are you a Savage Blogger?

By May 16, 2011 The Vault
savage blogging

The fashion blogging world was rocked last week when Scott Schuman, the Sartorialist, stated his very strong opinion on personal style blogs.

“I’m not really a fan of personal style blogs—you know, the ones [on which] these girls just shoot their outfits and all this stuff. I haven’t seen one that I really like or that draws my attention every day. The good and bad of that is that most these girls only have a limited wardrobe; they don’t have many clothes to shoot and I don’t think most of them have come up with looks that are that interesting, that draw me.”

One would think that Scott would understand the power and influence that these “girls” have not only had on blogging as a whole but on his own blogging career and to not bite the blogs that feed him. Please read Decoding Dress’s Open Letter to Scott Schuman for more on the Sartorialist-Gate.

 

What is Savage Blogging?

While I think Scott is totally entitled to his opinion, it does reek of fashion snobbery and what Vahni of Grit & Glamour so eloquently defined as “Savage Blogging”

Savage blogging: When your objective ceases to be the art of it, the connection, and you are devoured by an obsession with your numbers. When you get so big that you forget you used to be a nobody until fellow bloggers read your blog and lifted you up. When you stop conversing, and simply become a talking head. With a camera. No thanks.

~ From the Dictionary of V

We’ve seen it a million times. Small town blogger starts a blog for the love of fashion, to meet like minded people and for the fun. He/She posts outfits to Lookbook.nu, Chictopia and builds a readership. Initially they respond to comments and are genuinely engaged. Large company sponsorships roll in, fashion week and now they are lauded as the next “It-blogger”. Their community of supporters is now a by-product and their blog is simply a digital scrapbook of their lives and outfits.

Are you a Savage Blogger?

  1. You obsessively check your Google Analytics, in fact you’re main motivation for blogging is to get thousands of visits, get free shit, become the face of a brand and then sell your blog for a pretty little penny
  2. You no longer respond to your readers’ comments and emails, because you’re too popular and too busy taking outfit photos
  3. Instead of writing useful posts or meaningful commentary, you drone on about how much your new shoes/bag/life costs
  4. You accept sponsorships, advertising, free stuff like it’s Christmas. Does it matter if the brand is one you love? No, you blog for the swag any way
  5. Your Twitter/Facebook/social channels are a one-way conversation. You don’t engage with your followers, only re-tweeting every great thing they say about you

If you are guilty of any one of these offenses against blogging, then you may be on your way to becoming a Savage Blogger, one who readers will eventually see through and abandon. But there’s hope! You can avoid falling into the fame trap by being a Sophisticated Blogger.

Isn’t she fancy? {Flickr}

10 Ways to be a Sophisticated Blogger

1. Put your readers first!

2. Craft useful content that helps your readers in some way, shape or form

3. Have fun, always remember to have fun!

4. Engage for the sake of engagement but….

5. Be Genuine

6. Don’t take yourself (or your blog) too seriously

7. Support your blogging community (Read IFB, comment on other blogs, etc…)

8. Be Consistent

9. Content First, Analytics Later… Repeat

10. Live More, Listen More, Learn More

While, I don’t see anything wrong with wanting to have a “successful” blog, when your trajectory towards that success comes at the expense of your readers and the true connection of blogging than you’ve enter Savage Blogging territory.

Let’s all make a push to uplift the Art of Blogging and become Sophisticated Bloggers that build useful communities, support other bloggers and show the Sartorialist what blogging is really about!

What do you think of Savage Bloggers? Have you ever stopped reading a blog because of it?

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10 Things I Wish I Had Known About Blogging

By April 6, 2011 The Vault
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“I’m a blogging girl, in a blogging world! ” ~ Me

When I look over the last 4 years of my life there are few things that still remain. I’ve changed jobs, lost boyfriends and even quit my stint at being a professional intern.  However, one thing that has stayed with me through the last 4 years is my love of blogging and this very blog. It still amazes me that my initial outlet for writing about fashion and style would still be with me after all this time.

I jumped into blogging (similar to everything else) a wide-eyed, busy tailed young adult ready to take on the Internet and after 6 months of posting and comments few and far between, I realized that maybe there was more to this blogging thing I didn’t know about. Famed blogger Sarah Wilson contemplates what she would have done differently if she started her blog over and while I can’t say I would do much, I do wish I would have been privy to a few bits of information on blogging.

1. Blogging is Work… no like forreal

When I started I was under the impression that all I had to do was dream post ideas and they’d magically be done. Boy was I delusional. Blogging, like any other worthwhile endeavor, takes a lot of work. Writing, editing, commenting, promoting, reading other blogs. If you are allergic to work or want readers served to you on a silver platter, then maybe blogging isn’t for you.

2. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time to blog… and that is A-Ok

Did I say blogging is like a full-time job? Because it is. But even with the hamster wheel cycle of “post post post”, life gets in the way and sometimes there’s just not enough time. And that’s ok. Feeling guilty about not posting is futile and if you really want to blog make it fit your life, not the other way around.

3. Change is good, in fact its the only way your blog will survive

Your blog will change, evolve and grow over time. Roll with it. Let go, let flow!

4. You will meet amazing people through blogging, be prepared to encounter greatness

They say Content is King, well for me Community is King! One of the greatest things about blogging for the last 4 years are all the talented, thoughtful, funny, stylish bloggers and readers I’ve encountered. Like women who write books (Michelle of Wicked Whimsy) or make cake hats (Marie) or are sisters in my head (Katrice)

5. Shut down the computer once in awhile…don’t even blog from your phone

Something I still struggle with, but disconnecting every once in a while is Chicken Soup to the Blogging Soul

6. Being yourself is the only prerequisite

When I first started blogging, I had a generic idea about what I wanted to write about. Snarky blogging was in full effect (Fug Girls) and I followed suit. While I can be snarky IRL, I wasn’t really being true to my voice. Honing your voice comes with time and the more you blog the closer you get to your true style.

7. There will be days when you hate your blog and want to murder it!

Resist the urge to hit the “Delete Blog” button

8. There will be days when you love your blog; over the stars in love

Cherish these days and funnel that love into great content and genuine engagement

9. Have as much fun as humanly possible

Fun first, blog later. This is my next tattoo. Seriously, having fun in life reflects through your blog. Write about what you love and what gets you fired up and it will come shinning through in your work

10. Blog cause you love it, not cause you want to make money

Not that making money is bad, or that making money from your blog is bad, but if that is the sole purpose for your blogging than you better go to medical school, its probably easier. Making money won’t sustain your blog, loving your subject matter will and you know what they say “Do what you love and the money will follow”.

“They” are pretty smart.

What do you wish you had known before you started blogging?

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