Sneak peek: Neon Esquire photo shoot

Neon Esquire photo shoot

Mondays don’t have to be a drag. I had a fun morning this week with the Neon Esquire team helping with a photo shoot for an upcoming Meet Minneapolis event planners conference. The theme is “City by Nature” and it’s going to be an amazing opportunity for five local fashion designers and Minneapolis to showcase why this town is one of the best for art, entertainment, music, food and more. Stay tuned to the Neon Esquire blog for more details on the event, the runway show and to see the stunning photos by Taylor Hall O’Brien that will appear in look books for 2,000 event planners from around the globe.

I captured a couple shots on my iPhone (and a short video below) during the shoot which was held at The COMN in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis.

Photo shoot credits:

Creative direction and production: Tara Murphy of Neon Esquire

Styling: Josie Pace of Neon Esquire

Hair: Brittany of HAUS Salon

Makeup:  Lauren O’ Leary

Models: Taylor and Mattea of Ignite Models

Crowns/Headpieces: Ashley Fox Designs

Photography:  Taylor Hall O’Brien

Neon Esquire photo shoot Designer: Lindsey Hopkins

How amazing is that headpiece? The construction alone is impressive and Josie attached the orange flowers last minute which brought it to a new level of beautiful.

Neon Esquire photo shoot

Designer: Lindsey Hopkins

Mattea of Ignite Models looks like a fierce garden warrior in this shot. Tara and Josie really did a fantastic job with the backgrounds on these shots which are meant to represent the different seasons in Minnesota.
Neon Esquire photo shootDesigner: Idle Child

This shoot wouldn’t have been right without Idle Child. Their boho style looks perfect against the greens and the horn headpiece completes the look.

Here’s a little video on some behind the scenes action. I can’t wait to see these looks come to life on the runway next month!

Less is more: one piece inspiration

one piece swimsuit 1

Yep, less is more – skin, that is. One piece swimsuits have slowly become more on-trend the last few summers and it seems like they’re finally the must-have item for 2014. I’m going to go ahead and credit Jessica Simpson for giving the one piece the final push into mainstream when she debuted her “bikini bod” in a bright, patterned suit with cut outs by Mara Hoffman. There’s something extra sexy about a little modesty, isn’t there? And, of course, one pieces allow for a little less stress when chowing down on that Chipotle burrito before heading out on the boat.

Happy Friday!

one piece swimsuit 2

one piece swimsuit 3

one piece swimsuit 4

one piece swimsuit 5

one piece swimsuit 6Sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6


Music festival style: Shop local for Basilica Block Party 2014

BBP logo_largerCities97

It’s one of my favorite times of year: music festival season! And coming up is the 20th annual Basilica Block Party taking place in downtown Minneapolis on July 11 and 12. The lineup features a mix of national and local acts across three stages.

Planning on attending? Don’t miss local songstress Caroline Smith who plays Saturday on the Sun Country stage. Her album, Half About Being a Woman, came out late last year and I still listen to it all the way through an average of three times per day. She’s a fantastic live performer as well and is sure to bring the goods.

Also be sure to check out Black Diet playing Friday on the stage. They’re another local group with some serious soul vibes and winners of’s 2014 Are You Local? band contest. I saw them perform at Art-A-Whirl and have been a fan ever since.

Of course, music festivals and style go hand-in-hand so if you’re still in need of something to wear, check out these items from local boutiques and vendors to don while you dance to some outdoor music.

Tickets for Basilica Block Party are available now through and at Electric Fetus record store through July 10. If still available, tickets can be purchased at the door the day of the event.

Music Fest items 21. Hackwith lyndale top – Cliché

2. Leather front tank – Roe Wolf 

3. Poolside straw fedora – Goorin Bros.

4. Leopard shorts – Cliché

5. Legacy handbag – J.W. Hulme Co.

6. Animal print shades – Cliché

7. Mackenzie dress – Roe Wolf

8. Festival tank – Parc Boutique

9. Cut off shorts – Parc Boutique

10. Headphone necklace – b. resale

11. Francesca poppy tunic – Velvet Moon

12. Vera felt fedora – Velvet Moon


Hackwith Design House x ARC collaboration for a cause

Hackwith Design House "Haven Top" for ARC

I love a good designer collaboration – especially one that gives back – and the latest comes from Twin Cities’ own Hackwith Design House who has teamed up with American Refugee Committee (ARC) as part of their first “garment that gives back” initiative.

Owner and designer Lisa Hackwith has done an amazing job at establishing her brand and an army of loyal followers which seems to be growing in numbers on the daily. And that’s why it’s great to see her offer a limited-edition Haven Top top available for purchase on World Refugee Day, June 20, at 9 a.m. where 100% of the proceeds go to ARC.

All of Lisa’s designs are available in limited quantities on her website and tend to get snatched up quick. So set your alarms to get your own Haven Top (only 15 available!) and feel good knowing you contributed to ARC helping people in natural disasters get the basic necessities to rebuild their lives.

To learn more about ARC, visit




City livin’ skin care with Simple + Giveaway

Simple Skincare

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve gone through some pretty bad skin care habits in my days. Tanning beds (just stay away!), sleeping with makeup on (raccoon eyes!), not drinking enough water, using any old face wash to get the job done, etc. But as I’ve grown older, and the effects of things like sun damage become more recognized, I’ve taken a much different approach to taking care of my skin.

First of all, I’ve accepted my Irish/Midwestern skin tone and will never set foot in another tanning bed. I also make sure my makeup and moisturizers all have SPF in them. And I’ve recently discovered the genius of self-tanners (cancel your tanning salon membership and buy some St. Tropez.)

Exfoliating and moisturizing is a twice-a-day thing for me now. It’s the key to keeping a youthful glow and getting rid of any dead skin and dirt acquired throughout the day.

One thing I can’t really control is my environment. I’ve spent the majority of my adulthood living in urban settings and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But with that comes exposure to all kinds of harsh elements for your skin: wind, sun, dirt, debris – all things that can compromise the state of your skin. And while I’ve outgrown many of my bad habits, I’m still not perfect. So I definitely look for products that will protect my face all while not forcing me to devote an hour a day to a skin care routine.

And I’m not alone. Simple Skincare recently polled women across 40 top U.S. cities (Minneapolis included) as part of a global initiative designed to help women understand the impact that city living – both environmental and lifestyle-related factors – can have on their faces.

Some findings:

More than a quarter (27%) report that the longest they’ve gone without washing their face is at least two days.  

Fifty-nine percent (59%) are not actively trying to protect skin from environmental elements such as the sun or wind.

Sixty-three percent (63%) know that their stress level affects the health of their skin, yet more than half (53%) are not actively trying to reduce it right now. Making a dedicated effort to unplug and unwind can make skin less permeable to external factors like weather and makeup. 

Simple Skincare aims to offer products that can help combat those kinds of bad habits that have no harsh chemicals for your skin. I was sent some products to test out and, overall, I’d recommend this brand for any city dweller, anyone with sensitive skin, or someone in need of a low-fuss skin care regimen.

The eye makeup and facial wipes work like a charm. These would be awesome to throw in your purse, desk or car when you’re on the go. There is no oily residue with either which is always my biggest pet peeve with eye makeup remover. These get an A+.

The foaming cleanser is light and easy to apply. Because I’m used to using a thick exfoliant to help cleanse, I didn’t feel like I got a deep clean from this cleanser. But it is quick, easy to use and would be great for when you don’t have a ton of time.

I was hesitant to try the ultra-light gel moisturizer as I love my current product that is pretty thick. I’ve never used a gel-based product like this before but after testing it out, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s definitely light in texture but feels refreshing on the skin. I didn’t notice any SPF listed in this product which I typically require. So if you’re looking for something light, and know you won’t be outside much when applying, definitely check this out.

But if you’re looking for something with sun protection in it, Simple did just come out with a protecting light moisturizer with SPF 15. As with all of these products, it’s really lightweight and fragrance free. I’ll be throwing this in my purse when spending the day on Lake Minnetonka or an outdoor show like Rock the Garden.

Want to try out Simple Skincare for yourself?

Enter to win a package of the following products: Simple Ultra-Light Gel Moisturizer ($10.99), Simple Nourishing 24-Hour Day/Night Cream ($10.99), Simple Protecting Light Moisturizer with SPF 15 ($10.99), Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes ($5.99), Simple Eye Make-up Remover Pads ($6.99) and Simple Foaming Facial Wash ($6.99).

How to enter:

Simply leave a comment on this post by May 26, 2014. Be sure to fill in your e-mail to contact you if you win! This contest is open to U.S. residents only.

**This giveaway is now closed.**



Disclosure: I participated in this sponsored campaign on behalf of One2One Network. All opinions stated are my own

Support local artists with Color Space Editions


If you’re looking to get your hands on some great limited-edition art at a reasonable price, consider checking out this new venture from Color Space Editions in Minneapolis.

The print production company is now offering the opportunity to purchase affordable, limited-edition prints from local artists through The museum quality prints start at $65 and go up depending on desired size and framing options.

Once prints are sold out, they may never be in print again.

I love this idea of helping artists reach a broader pool of consumers by offering these prints online. Below are some of my favorites that are currently available for purchase.

Be sure to check out the Color Space Editions website and Facebook page to stay on top of the latest available prints.

Aaron Norberg_Untitled 24

By Aaron Norberg | Untitled 24ColorSpaceEditions_Logo Joe Sinness_Shining Indiscretions (I)

By Joe Sinness | Shining Indiscretions (I)

Shawn Mcnulty_Limerick

By Shawn McNulty | Limerick

John Diebel_Reconnaissance Drone Malevich Ma-9 Acquiring TargetBy Joe Diebel | Reconnaissance Drone Malevich Ma-9 Acquiring Target

Chuck Avery_Dale & Roy, Mother Road Route 66 Museum, Barstow, CABy Chuck Avery | Dale & Roy, Mother Road Route 66 Museum, Barstow, CA

Elliot Ross_Elsen Tasarhai VII, Mongolia, 2013By Elliot Ross | Elsen Tasarhai VII, Mongolia, 2013


Friday Finds

Miley Cyrus at Xcel Energy Center


Happy Friday! Sharing a mixed bag of goods I’ve come across from around the internet this week.

• The 2014 Minnesota State Hockey “All Hockey Hair” video is here and it’s hilarious.

• Strangers make out on camera as some sort of social experiment. It sounds creepy but is actually quite sweet.

• I went to the Miley Cyrus show at the Xcel on Monday. I know you’re curious about how it was (and intrigued by the hot dog photo above), so I recapped the highlights on

• Chromeo gives some amusing sex advice on The Guardian. So excited for the First Ave. show in May.

• 73 questions with Sarah Jessica Parker. Vogue does a rapid fire video interview with SJP in her NYC brownstone.

Have a wonderful weekend and happy early St. Patrick’s Day!

Out and about: Some save the dates for spring



As of late my inbox has been getting flooded with save-the-dates and invites for upcoming events around town. I thought I’d share some of the style-focused happenings in the Twin Cities taking over the next couple months. Mark your calendars and get ready to break out those open-toes.

  • March 13: Gentleman’s Gazzette Trunk Show at Goorin Bros. Hat Shop - Live music, hat discounts, networking, prizes, drinks from Prairie Vodka
  • March 21: Idle Child Trunk Show at Cliché - Shop designs from local design label Idle Child
  • March 28 – 30: lululemon athletica Warehouse Sale at Minneapolis Convention Center, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. – Get some cute workout gear at a seriously marked-down price. Word is to get there early and expect lines.
  • March 30 – 31: Bb.U Model Project at FIVETWOSIX Salon in St. Paul – Need a fresh cut for spring? Bumble and bumble is looking for hair models to receive free cuts from licensed stylists. Click the link to sign up.
  • April 5: North Loop Fashion Crawl – Women’s apparel shops in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis will be hosting a fashion crawl with stores offering sales, raffles, drinks and FREE parking for shoppers. Plus a grand prize of a $500 shopping spree will be up for grabs. Participating shops include: Roe Wolfe, Arrow, C’est Chic, Statement Boutique, Lolë, D.Nolo and Handsome Bicycle.
  • April 21: Buffalo Exchange Pop-Up Shop – In celebration of the company’s 40th anniversary, Buffalo Exchange will be sending a vintage Airstream around the country for several Western-themed pop up shops. Head to the Lyndale Ave. shop for some gently-used clothes and other fun activities.
  • April 22: I AM EVERYTHING featuring Emma Berg at the Ritz Theater – Local designer Emma Berg will showcase a collection of prom dresses as well as her capsule F/W 2014 collection.
  • April 26: Envision Spring 2014 at Orchestra Hall – Envision, the bi-annual runway event, is relocating this season from the Graves 601 Hotel to Orchestra Hall. The show and party will feature runway collections from local designers and boutiques including Cliché, Atmosfere, Martinpatrick3, Caroline Hayden, MAI, Stephanie Lake Design and more. Get your tickets quick!


(Photo credit: Ignite Models/Envision)

You are classy enough for a hat + Goorin Bros. shop tour

Goorin Bros.

I recently came across this article from Esquire titled, “Why Can’t Americans Learn to Love the Hat?” The writer talks about how appreciation for the hat from men and women in this country has declined since the 50s and 60s due to a handful of possible theories: Americans put more emphasis on hairstyles now. Cabs and cars are less accommodating to the extra needed room for a cap. Or – gasp! – Americans just aren’t classy enough to rock a hand-made, carefully constructed hat anymore. We’ve let ourselves go.


But that last theory has a point. There is something about a well-made hat that makes everything about a person look more polished, elegant and purposeful. Those are all words that don’t really fit the stereotypical adjectives of style in the U.S. And perhaps even more so in the Midwest (damn you, Anna Wintour).

So, are Minnesotans classy enough for hats? I say yes. Sure, hats are practical in these parts but Minnesotans have the style to pull them off. The market we have here is proof of that with the many local boutiques, designers, galleries, specialty stores and, oh, just the largest mall in the country. Shopping, style and design are important to us in Minnesota.

Which is why I think we should start embracing this timeless accessory more. Because there’s nothing like a great hat to pull an ensemble together and tell the world, “I give a shit about how I look.” And not in a pretentious sort of way. They show effort and intention. Hats don’t have to be just for the hipsters or your next Kentucky Derby party — just squash that notion right now. Hats are for everyone.

Fortunately for us Minneapolites, we have some great options for finding your next hat. One of which could be considered my new favorite neighborhood shop: Goorin Bros. hat shop in Uptown.

I made a visit last weekend with my friend Sophie to check out the space and peruse the new “Last Originals” collection I had heard about.

If you’re new to the world of hats, I would say Goorin Bros. is a great place to get a start. Mostly because their walls are stocked full with tons of styles, colors and sizes. The space is cool and old-timey with walls covered in floppy hats, straw hats, fedoras, fascinators, trapper hats, ball caps, stocking caps, flatcaps…you get the idea!

Check out some of the photos Sophie snapped while we shopped below. And get inspired to take that extra step in making a statement about yourself without saying a word. Hats off to that! (Sorry, had to.)

Goorin Bros.

Goorin Bros.

Sophie and I cheesin’ in the County Line hat complete with glasses of prosecco. This hat is adorable and, as you can see, comes in black and berry. Soph is the proud new owner of the County Line.

Goorin Bros. Goorin Bros.

Add a little something-something with a feather!

Goorin Bros. Goorin Bros.

I walked out with the Old Gulph which I am pretty excited about. I feel like I’m channeling Pharrell a little bit here but I swear this style isn’t nearly as tall as his. I am pro-Pharrell’s Hat, by the way.

Goorin Bros. Goorin Bros.

Whoever is responsible to the decor and styling of the Goorin Bros. shop has done an excellent job. This Underwood typewriter caught my eye immediately because it’s cool-looking and also reminds me of Frank Underwood. Here’s a “House of Cards” fun fact: if you’ve seen the first episode of season 2 on Netflix you might remember Frank sporting a hat in one of the CRAZIEST scenes of the series. Guess where that hat is from? Yep, Goorin Bros.! Click here for a photo.

Goorin Bros. Goorin Bros.

Goorin Bros. hat shop is located at 2906 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55408 (directly next to the Uptown Theater).

Thanks to Rachel, Apryl and the rest of the team for a fantastic shopping experience!

And if you need some hat-styling inspiration, check out my Pinterest board.

Align Senior Fashion Show

Mai See Heurth Align Senior Fashion Show

Mai See Heurth

Laura Schaefer Align Senior Fashion Show

Laura Schaefer

Kora Gleason Align Senior Fashion Show

Kora Gleason

I had a fun night with my friend Tara at the Align Senior Fashion Show at the University of Minnesota on Saturday. Seniors in the College of Design sent four looks down the runway as the capstone project to their time in the program. The collections ranged from bridal to children’s wear to conceptual to very wearable.

A few of my favorites are pictured above.

Congrats to all the students on an excellent show!