Thursday, July 9, 2015

Brand Crush: Vivetta Resort 2016 Collection Lookbook


ALL PHOTOS TAKEN FROM STYLE DOT COM C/O VIVETTA

Be still, my kitten heart! Vivetta's Resort 2016 Collection debuted last week, and I am completely blown away. I've been obsessively tagging all of my fashion enthusiast friends on Facebook with sentiments like "THIS COLLECTION CHANGED MY LIFE" or "I CAN'T STOP THINKING ABOUT THAT SWAN SKIRT, SEND MONEY PLZ!" 

Vivetta is an Italian fashion label based out of Milan created by Vivetta Ponti.  I learned recently that she previously worked at the fashion house Roberto Cavalli (!!) and credits that experience as inspiring her to start her own clothing line with an emphasis on iconic embroidery, most famously the hand collar popularized a few years ago.  She also really likes animals, which inspires a lot of her work such as the swan details pictured above.  For Resort 2016, she credits the socialites of the 60s and the photography of Slim Aarons as a major catalyst for the collection.
Ponti recruited renowned stylist Leith Clark (my favorite fashion stylist currently working) to find the balance of posh and weird:  the combination of the striking details in the embroidery, the incorporation of pastels paired with bold colors and the graphic elements present in the designs ooze nostalgia while simultaneously maintaining a fashion-forward vibe ideal for the retail circuit.  Now if only I had expendable funds... T_T (More photos of the collection can be found on the Style.com website.)

'Til next time, kittens!



Friday, June 26, 2015

OOTD: Big Hair and BB Dakota


Sometimes all it takes is looking at things from a fresh perspective. 

The title of this post is a bit misleading: these are actually outfit photos that I took around a month or two ago.  When I originally looked at the camera roll, I wasn't really feeling the shots Jordan (my now ex-boyfriend) took, so I just decided to give up and try again later. At the time, I was feeling incredibly self-conscious about my weight, and it was painfully obvious (to me) how awkward I felt just by looking at these pictures.

I've been doing a lot of computer work recently, and I came across the folder these photos were stored in. I scrolled through (because I was bored, duh) and started wondering to myself why I felt so crummy about these shots in the first place--they look fine! I think because of the factors I had going on in my life back then (quitting my stable full-time job, reflecting on a disappointing doctor's appointment, being in a relationship that had soured), I overanalyzed these pictures and discarded them from my editorial calendar without really thinking through my actions.  Amazing how your emotions can really affect your outlook on life, and in the future, I'll really consider this point before writing off blog content.

Since this point, I have come to appreciate my curvy new figure, and I'm enjoying finding new styles to wear and cycling out clothes that don't fit anymore. I'm thinking of it less as a "Holy shit, I've gained 40 pounds!" and more of an "Oh, I'm 26, and the body I have at 26 won't be the same as the body I had at 19. Let's get some new clothes to show off that bootay."  Body acceptance is rad.




Dress: BB Dakota (via ModCloth)
Mules:  J. Crew
Cat Eye Sunglasses: ModCloth
Denim Jacket: Forever 21 (I got this jacket when I worked there, but that's a story for another time)
Big Hair: genetics

This dress is from BB Dakota, a style blogger favorite.  I love BB Dakota because they don't play into the stupid notions of exclusivity and financial privilege that are generally associated with the fashion industry; they instead believe that glamor is achieved by the person wearing the clothes and living life in a bold way, not by a price tag which dictates what you can and can't do for fear of messing up your garment. As they say, "It's only fashion." #preach  You can check out the full brand manifesto here, it's a really great read.

'Til next time, kittens!


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Reflections on My First Adult Relationship

My boyfriend and I elected to split up recently.  He was the first person I ever really loved who truly reciprocated my affections, and I don't regret the time we've spent together.  Jordan represented my first real adult relationship, and I've not only learned a lot about relationships but about myself over these past six years.
A little-known fact about me:  I've always been a hopeless romantic.  I live for those cheeseball unlikely-teen-love-story movies from the 80s, referring of course to classics like Sixteen Candles and Say Anything..., and I spent a lot of my life wistfully waiting for a Lloyd Dobler of my very own--a guy to come to my window at wee hours of the morning playing the latest pop-punk ballad (at that time, probably Fall Out Boy or something equally angsty) and confessing that I was the girl he'd been waiting for, that he understood me, that I wouldn't have to be alone anymore.

Despite what you may believe, I didn't garner much attention from the opposite sex growing up.  I was an awkward, gangly teenager with braces and hair twice the size of my head.  It would be YEARS before I discovered hair products, so I furiously tried to brush out my curls as evidenced by my horrifyingly hilarious sixth grade yearbook photo.  I was also really into anime, and I played with Barbies until I was 13 years old.   I didn't get my first boyfriend until I was fourteen, and even then it didn't feel natural. (History of our relationship: My friends bullied him into dancing with me at eighth grade prom, he signed my yearbook with a vague and subsequently overanalyzed sentiment, and we broke up over Yahoo! after three weeks.  How romantic.)  My group of friends continued to find relationships while I sat around quasi-dating a bunch of duds and pining for my shroom tea-drinking next door neighbor, hoping that one day he would notice me. (We kissed twice: once during a game of spin-the-bottle at a party and another time the day his girlfriend at the time cheated on him--the girl and I became pretty good friends, by the way. This one other time he let me borrow his book of poems for a theatre project I was working on.  He also signed my yearbook in a very enigmatic way, leading me to believe that he might've had a fleeting crush on me at one point during our friendship. He married someone shortly after high school ended, it was all very anticlimactic.)  At the tail end of high school, I eventually settled on a relationship with a guy who took my virginity in a traumatizing way and broke things off once he became too obsessive and began semi-stalking me.

Once I came to college, I was surprised at the number of guys who showed interest since the dudes at my high school didn't even notice I existed. Still, I realized that the attention I was receiving was purely for physical merit (hey, I wasn't necessarily opposed), and I longed for an adult relationship with someone that I could really share my hopes, dreams, fears, and other insights with.  After a prior false-start with a long-distance relationship, I met Jordan.

We began dating when we were both 20, and we both grew a lot over the years, as is normal in your twenties, and we both underwent many changes in our time together:  He got me my third cat as an early Christmas gift in 2009, which fueled my cat mania. He left his first band, Sequoyah Prep School, and began playing more seriously with other bands like Brave Baby and SUSTO. I changed my major like five times and eventually graduated with two BA's in 2012.  I cut off all of my hair shortly after graduation.  He got really into Jurassic Park, which got me really into Jeff Goldblum. He helped me through the death of my grandparents. We moved into our first apartment together in 2013.  We talked each other through various midlife crises and career changes, usually ending with me ugly-crying and him chain-smoking. We said hateful things to each other and often were annoyed at each other's company. We moved into our second apartment in January.   We're expected out of said apartment by July 31. I was supportive through his mom's cancer diagnosis and initial rounds of chemotherapy.  I gained 40 pounds. He started drinking more. We celebrated five anniversaries and travelled to a lot of really cool places. We watched our friends get married and become parents. He began to prioritize his friendships, I began prioritizing sleeping to avoid how unhappy I was with my life. We fought about things ranging from my laundry scattered across the floor to his smoking habits and how we were going to move our relationship forward.  We grew up faster than we realized, and before I knew it, we were both 26.

Not all stories have a happy ending, and unfortunately over the years, we discovered that our goals and dreams didn't align the way I'd hoped. I always envisioned us building a future together:  maybe moving to a larger metropolitan area and bouncing back and forth between somewhere like New York and Charleston, buying an apartment or house of our own, travelling the U.S. in a vintage Winnebago, maybe even one day retiring at a farm with our army of cats.  What I didn't realize in all of this dreaming, this planning, is that I'd essentially created an idea of a person without really taking into account his own thoughts for his future. He expressed to me in clear and relatively harsh terms that he didn't want any of those things, and not surprisingly, I was taken aback.  What do you MEAN you don't want those things?! I thought to myself rather selfishly. We've been together for six years, where did you think this was headed?! Did you imagine that our relationship was going to stay the same?! 

I guess I'd foolishly hoped that if we stayed together long enough, he may want to change his mind and follow suit; looking back, I was being unrealistic and supremely unfair, and so was he. Contrary to what those brat pack films taught me, love does not conquer all, and so we have been forced to go our separate ways.

Over these past few weeks, I've reflected on my early thoughts of love as demonstrated by John Hughes movies, and I've come to the conclusion that these films strategically portray a certain point in a relationship: the build-up.  They illustrate how couples fall in love but never quite breech the experience of falling out of love with someone. For so long in my head, I idolized these movies without acknowledging the fact that the people portrayed were fucking teenagers, and the relationships were likely as short-lived as most of their careers.  I was hoping to find my soulmate based off of this preconceived notion of what love was, not realizing that destiny is a farce and that real relationships sustain from hard work, honesty, understanding and compromise, among other attributes. Sometimes you can give your all, and it still doesn't work out.  People grow up, and sometimes they grow apart.  That's the reality.

People keep telling me that I'm brave for leaving a long-term relationship I'm unhappy in. Others have said that these past six years have been a waste of my time. I have to say I don't agree with either of these sentiments.  Being alone doesn't need to be considered an act of bravery; dating someone you love for an extended period is never a waste of time, regardless of whether it works out or not.  In some way, I'll always care for Jordan and currently consider him my best friend, and I wish him the best in future endeavours; but, it's time for both of us to move on and focus on being alone for a while.

For now, I need to focus on what I want out of life. It's easy to lose who you are in a relationship, and the way it feels to be forcibly alone for the first time in six years is too weird to describe.  I'll be taking time for self-reflection, for planning, for learning, for creating, for dreaming. For posting more frequently to my blog as a means of catharsis.  For trying things that scare the ever-loving shit out of me. For cat snuggles and rebuilding friendships that fell to the wayside.  For making new friends and working on new projects.  For working on that novel I've been putting off. For not making any more excuses. For figuring out what's next.  For believing in myself.

If I've learned anything over the last six years, it's that your relationship doesn't define who you are. It's okay to be alone and want to pursue your passions, and it's okay to admit that you're not as happy as you thought you were. It's okay for me to to be sad right now about my relationship ending, because I know I won't be sad forever.  It's okay for me to be excited about new opportunities that may come my way even though Jordan is no longer a major part of my life.  It's okay for him to feel the same way.  It's okay for me to prioritize myself, for once.

Most importantly, I've learned that my life isn't over just because my relationship is. 

I know that each day, everything will get better, and that's all that matters.