Considering a chop

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Some long bob hairstyle inspiration. I’ve been considering this for a while but am scared to execute. I love how fresh this looks with very subtle layers. Now just have to work up some courage.

Update: Chopped! 6 inches gone. Shout out to Jaimie at TC2 Salon.

long bob cut

A little apartment inspiration

entryway pinterest

 

via the189.com

couch pinterestvia trendnet.is

mugsvia Tumblr

tablescape

via ModernSauce

cornervia the marion house book

bedroomvia Tumblr

kitchenvia Ann Street Studio

I’ve lived in my Uptown apartment for almost three years now and am still working on decorating the space. I’m in an older building but was lucky enough to snag a unit that was recently remodeled. So I’m blessed with having nice hardwood floors, granite counter tops and newish appliances while still having an old, rustic charm. I’m slowly getting closer to my goal of how I want it to look, but I’ve still got a ways to go! These are just a couple of images I keep coming back to when scouring shops and home decor stores as inspiration.

More ideas on my Pinterest.

Chatting apps, social media and Prince with Nina Garcia

Nina Garcia and Katie SchutropCreative Director for Marie Claire, judge on Project Runway and now celebrity representative for Verizon Wireless, Nina Garcia is a busy woman. The mogul was the last of three female celebrities to stop by the first-ever Verizon Wireless Destination Store in the Mall of America on Saturday and I was one of the media peeps who got to tag along as she experienced the different interactive areas of the store.

Dressed in all black with a Kenzo lion sweater, Givenchy trousers and boots fit to stomp through the streets of NYC, Nina perused the walls of gadgets with the same intrigue one would the shoe department at Nordstrom.

Which isn’t a surprise, really. Nina is an avid Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook user with millions and millions of followers. She’s a techie. And an example of why fashion designers are increasingly creating products to appeal to people like her and her followers (see Rebecca Minkoff, Marc Jacobs for their trendy iPhone cases.) It’s no secret fashion and tech are overlapping more and more these days and Nina is a perfect example of that.

Nina GarciaSo why was she in town? To scope out the space and be a spokesperson for the Customize It section of the store. We watched her get her photo taken in front of a green screen which was then printed onto an iPhone case by the time she was ready to leave.

Props to Verizon for setting up the coolest electronic store I’ve ever been to (sorry, Apple.) Check out my Vine I made in one of their stop motion scenes set up in the center of the store.

Afterwards, Nina answered questions from the group about her favorite apps, social media and advice for emerging designers.

So what does Nina Garcia use on her phone? To name a few: Lyst, Uber, Trendable and SnapSwitch for Instagram.

Also, Moda Operandi for “if I want to shop before anybody else,” she said. “And I also think that they have things that are early in the season so you can reserve them. And you can have them before anybody else.” Gotta check this one out.

And while I usually use Shazam while I’m sitting on the couch watching TV, Nina says she uses it “when I’m at the shows and I can’t figure [the song] out, I love that.” Of course.

I thought it was also cool how she talked about that, yes, social media and technology can be distracting and tiresome, but it has an integrated role in sparking creativity for her many roles.

“You can lose yourself in that process, I think it’s also very inspirational,” she said. “It doesn’t feel like I’m working, it feels like I’m feeding my imagination.”

If you follow her Pinterest boards, you can tell she’s always “feeding her imagination.” She’s constantly updating and pinning the latest runway looks and trends pretty much on a daily basis (which, by the way, she says she manages herself with little help from an assistant.)

With the ever-evolving world of social media and the state of the fashion industry being so hard to break into, it can be hard for emerging designers to really find their voice artistically and also make a living. Nina gave some good food for thought for any designers who struggle to find that balance.

“There’s a marriage of art and commerce. Yes, you want to have to have art, but at the same time it’s got to sell. But I think that the most important part is really understanding what kind of designer you want to be. What is your message? What is your look?” she said.  “And it takes time. It doesn’t happen instantly. I think it’s a question of maturity. It’s a question of working and gaining experience and finding your own voice. It’s like growing up in a way. At 15 or 16 you’re a certain way and at 20 you’re another way. So it’s the same way a designer matures. Maybe you start here and in 5-10 years you’re there. So it’s about keeping a consistency to your image.”

Well said.

She really could not have been more nice and genuine during this whole time. Not that I was surprised, but she definitely has been pegged on Project Runway as the hard ass judge. But we didn’t see any of that as she chatted up everyone, even us media types and some kids who had special passes to meet her, while we followed her around like little ducklings.

Maybe what really jazzed me about her was after taking our picture she giddily asked, “So do you ever have any Prince sightings?” Why yes, Nina, we do! Tara and I filled her in on our own personal run-in’s with The Purple One and I didn’t forget to mention the gold, light-up heels he wore at the Dakota in January. She seemed to approve.

Blood orange gin sparkler recipe + Prescribe Nutrition

It’s almost turkey time, folks. A time for family gatherings, serious shopping and constant temptation around every corner by red and white treats and pumpkin flavored everything-under-the-sun.

While I usually start out being strong-willed when it comes to consuming holiday goodies in moderation, I would be lying if I said I haven’t made a tray of cookies disappear before (specifically those peanut butter ones with the Hershey Kiss in the center. I mean, I’m only human.)

But the holidays don’t have to be so tough if you’re trying to eat healthy and not down 10 cookies in one sitting. I’ve recently been introduced to a new online company (with Minnesota ties!) that helps you think differently about healthy living and gives great food for thought for before you get into a situation where you could really go crazy on the calories. It’s called Prescribe Nutrition and they’re here to prove eating healthy doesn’t have to be scary. They offer online nutrition programs that arm you with the knowledge you need to make smart choices but still be able to live your life. (Their next program is a 7-day Holiday Disaster Prevention Program which starts Dec. 9. Hello, perfect timing. Use code katie20 for 20% off. Thanks for the hook up, PN!)

I’ve asked co-founders Katie Jasper and Megan Morris to give some tips and ideas over the next few weeks on how to eat, drink and look your best for the holidays (see a Q&A with them down below!)

First up: cocktails! Check out this yummy recipe for blood orange gin sparklers and consider making this for your upcoming holiday party. You will impress your friends and do everyone a favor by not making them drink something loaded with sugar (ain’t nobody got time for a holiday hangover.)BloodOranges_cocktailBlood Orange Gin Sparkler

You can keep the rosemary simple syrup in the refrigerator for a week or so. You can do this ahead of time. Also, if blood oranges are hard for you to come by – navel oranges are also delicious.

2 cups / 480 ml water

1 cup coconut palm sugar

4 tablespoons (~2 sprigs-worth) fresh rosemary leaves

1 bay leaf (optional)

blood oranges

gin (or vodka)

ice cubes

sparkling water

Combine the water, palm sugar, rosemary, and bay in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer for 3-5 minutes, or long enough for the sugar to dissolve, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let infuse for 10 minutes. Strain into a jar to cool completely.

In the meantime, juice and strain your oranges, you’ll need 3 tablespoons / 1.5 ounces of juice for each drink.

To make each drink you’re going to combine equal parts gin (or vodka),juice, and sparkling water with a bit of syrup and ice. So, its 3 tablespoons / 1 1/2 oz gin, 3 tablespoons / 1 1/2 oz freshly squeezed blood orange juice, and 1-2 teaspoons of the rosemary syrup in each tall glass (I used kolsch glasses here). Stir to combine, fill each glass 2/3 full with ice and top off with 3 tablespoons / 1 1/2 oz tonic water. Stir again and you’re set.

Prep time: 5 min – Cook time: 10 min

Yum!

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pn-circle_FULLnameI love a good digital concept and I’m digging what I’m seeing Prescribe Nutrition do for people. We do everything online these days – shop, work, date – why not work with a nutritionist to plan a healthy lifestyle? They’re only a year old and have started to build a great online presence that folks are responding to which is fun to see. Oh, and their co-founder is a Minnesotan!

Here’s a little more from Katie Jasper and Megan Morris.

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1. Katie and Megan – Introduce yourselves! Where are you guys from? What are your professional backgrounds or connections to the health industry?

Hey Katie, it’s Katie. So I’m the Minnesota gal.  Grew up in Edina, moved a few places (Iowa to Montana) and then landed back here and have lived in St. Paul for the past 8 or so years.  My professional background is well, a bit lengthy.  You’d think I was fifty.  I’m pretty sure I stressed my parents out to no end.  But, what I found in all the job “exploration” was where my passion lives.  Honestly a gift.  I’ve had some health challenges of my own – both with food and some more chronic health challenges.  The power of food is pretty ridiculous.  When I learned that food had the wild ability to make me feel like a different person, it was clear as a bell that I needed to know more.  I have a background in communications and production so I took all I learned there and jumped back into school.  I graduated with a Master’s Degree in Holistic Health Studies from St. Catherine’s University and went to the Institute of Integrative Nutrition as well as some extensive continuing education in hormone and brain health as they relate to nutrition.  I never considered myself brainy – I actually wasn’t a smarty growing up – but I LOVE the connection with food and the health of the brain.  Anxiety and depression are everywhere and nutrition’s role in that is huge.  Ok, enough on that.  It makes me very hopeful though!

And hey Katie(s), it’s Megan here, coming at you from San Francisco. I, like Katie, have ended up where I’m from.  I was born and bred in the Bay Area, lived in Colorado during college and moved back to San Francisco which I’ve called home now for 10 years…yikes…how did that happen?  I’ve always had a quite the travel bug and have been lucky enough to explore many different countries and cultures during my backpacking experiences, and hopefully more to come in my future.  My somewhat random choice of majors in college, cultural anthropology, now seems like a pretty spot on reflection of what my interests have always been – learning about other people and the way they live.  My career afterwards was a random hop, step and jump around San Francisco – working in everything from educational travel to architecture and design to insurance.  It wasn’t until I was on one of my “let’s freak my parent’s out” 6 month backpacking trip through South America that I uncovered two things: 1) I had serious, chronic health issues.  2) Food was related and I was going to have to figure it out on my own.  When I came back I worked my day job and at night studied nutrition at Bauman College. The clinical side of it all fascinated me to no end, and still does.  My focus has always been on nutrition and digestive health, but man do I love digging deep with all topics.  One lucky day over a year ago I met Katie Jasper, my MN soul sister, and the rest is history.

2. How did Prescribe Nutrition come to be?

Megan and I met just over a year ago. We were exploring a mentorship program where we both selected as residents for a nutrition company out of Portland.  We immediately became thick as thieves. We aligned across the board. We now joke that we share the same brain (speaking of brains.)  The original partnership didn’t work out BUT we did!  The bottom line is that our philosophies on food are actually pretty basic at the core.  Whole foods are the foundation for health and healing and we’ve lost that connection.  We believe that real food goes bad, that dieting sucks and the more alive your foods are, the more alive you’ll feel.  Beyond that there is so much therapeutic healing that can be achieved through food/nutrition.

3. What are you most proud/excited about with Prescribe Nutrition?

Oh gosh.  We are proud of a lot.  It’s just been a year since we found PN and our biggest successes have been with the clients and program participants we’ve gotten to work with.  I don’t think there is anything better than a testimonial.  Those make us smile more than anything!

“I have always described myself as a “low energy person,” even with what I thought was healthy eating habits and exercise. I didn’t sleep well, and almost every morning after taking the kids to school I couldn’t wait to hop back into bed. Now I sleep well and after I get the kids to school, I can’t wait to start my day! I finally feel “normal” and can breathe so much easier too. No more tight chest and feeling like I never get a full breath. I will definitely pay attention as I reintroduce foods because I do NOT want to go back! Thank you!”

Jen

4. Many think eating healthy can be difficult or intimidating. What would you say to those folks?

Sure it can be… and IS for many.  It was for us.  We get it.  In our minds, it’s not about revamping everything all at once, it’s about making shifts and seeing those shifts slowly improve the quality of life.  Like Jen (testimonial) said above, we sort of just accept where we are at – sub par for many and once we realize what good really feels like, the rest is history.

We also believe that (in the long run) NOT eating healthy is far more difficult (and expensive) than not.  Chronic disease and health issues are rising exponentially.  And the only big thing that has changed in the last 50 years? …our food.

5. I’m a snacker. Favorite quick, healthy snack?

We are HUGE fans of snacks!  ”Blood sugar support” in our geek’ed out world.  Here’s our little trick – fat, fiber protein.  That’s the magic trio.  Nothing beats a great raw nut (almond, cashew, peanut) butter and a fruit – we love that snack.  We also love a fun bar like this – Brazil nut bars.  YUM.

6. You are St. Paul and San Francisco gals. Tell me your favorite places to eat in each of your cities:

Katie: I have to say that Megan’s San Fran picks are going to trump mine any day.  It’s the mecca of great eats.  Here in Mpls/St.Paul, I’m a big fan of Wise Acre, Peoples Organic, and then I always dig a night out a Crave.

Megan: Well I’m going to have to say I get real excited every time I get to head back to the Twin Cities.  You guys have a ton of amazing places out there, one of my favorite being Mill Valley Kitchen (which is actually a shout out the city where I grew up!)  My favorite places in San Francisco…a tough question but I’ll say they are predominantly Mexican related, including Nopalito and Tacolicious, but I also adore Limon Rotisserie, Sol Food (seeing a theme here?) and Nopa.

H&M Ridgedale opening

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Thank you to H&M for allowing me to be a part of the Ridgedale store opening last week! The space is huge and a perfect addition to the mall. I posted more about the store here, but wanted to share some photos of the space and me shopping with my contest winners!

photo_138With Tara and Blair

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I bought just about everything I’m holding here and then some. In fact, I’m wearing that scarf as I type this :) Definitely stocked up for fall!

All photos courtesy of H&M

H&M is coming to Ridgedale + giveaway

hm image

Western suburb shoppers rejoice! H&M is coming to Ridgedale Center in Minnetonka and will officially open Thursday, October 10 at noon. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to explain the beauty of H&M, but in case you’ve been living in Antarctica for the past 10 years it’s an international retail brand that offers tons of trendy clothes, shoes and accessories at a very reasonable price point. Honestly, it would be hard for me to leave the house everyday without wearing SOMETHING from the store – and I know I’m not alone. The brand has also done some great designer collaborations with the likes of Versace, Stella McCartney and Jimmy Choo. And this November they’ll be launching a collection with Isabel Marant which, according to some leaked images on the interwebs, looks amazing.

The store at Ridgedale will be 20,000 square feet and carry collections for women and men along with “store within store” sections for accessories, lingerie, athletic wear, maternity, kids and their plus-size line, H&M+.

If you plan to stop by the store on Thursday, be sure to bring any clothing items you want to part ways with to recycle as part of H&M’s global recycling program. For each bag of clothing donated, you’ll be entered to win H&M gift cards ranging from $50 – 100. Also, the first 100 customers at the Ridgedale location will get an H&M t-shirt and an Access to Fashion Pass ranging from $10 – 300. So much suspense to be had! I love that.

But here’s the really fun part…

H&M reached out to me to give three lucky Minnesota readers of this blog the opportunity to shop the new location before anyone else (Thursday at 11:30 a.m.) AND win a gift card to the store. How cool is that?

So here’s what’s up for grabs:

Grand prize winner: $100 H&M gift card + early store access

2nd prize winner: $50 H&M gift card + early store access

3rd prize winner: $50 H&M  gift card + early store access

How to enter:

*This giveaway is closed*

While you’re at it, follow H&M on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Thank you to H&M for this fun opportunity and good luck to YOU! Happy shopping.

Minneapolis-St. Paul Fashion Week recap

This past week has been a fashion, event-planning, media blitz whirlwind. Minneapolis-St. Paul Fashion Week has wrapped up and I can finally give my feet a rest from running around in heels every night (ok, I’m not really complaining here).

MNfashion’s The Shows (which I volunteer as Marketing Director for) pulled off another successful season showcasing some of the best local designers as they sent Spring/Summer ’14 collections down the runway at Aria. Here’s a look at some of my favorite moments:

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Christopher Straub presented a collection of mostly street wear with an underwater vibe. Octopus motifs and metallic scales fit for a mermaid made their way throughout many of his pieces. But I loved this comfy sweatsuit look glammed up with a pair of high heeled boots and silver talon necklace the most.

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Emily Trevor is still a design student but proved to be one us at MNfashion were lucky to secure as part of The Shows because her talent and skill is hardly that of someone still in college. Her collection veered slightly conceptual with some pieces but still easily wearable with the right styling. I was getting a real disco-nun vibe as the models glided down the runway and it was a joy to watch.

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I love Lindsey Hopkins! Her collection was inspired by Catholicism in Latin America and the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared on tops, dresses and, oh yes, panties. Her edge and ability to push boundaries is complemented by her design skills and creative use of fabrics. I would like this entire look complete with pink hair.

Caroline Hayden

We are so lucky to have Caroline Hayden in the Twin Cities. If you are looking for a showstopping number for your next event or party, you must check her out. She’s known for her impeccable gowns and bridal dresses, but she’s also no stranger to beautifully tailored pants, jackets and, my new favorite, jumpsuits. This pink, beaded number was one of my favorites she showed this week.

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Lisa Hackwith has been designing in the Twin Cities for a few years but she seems to be popping up everywhere now. And it’s no surprise. Her clean, breezy pieces are ones you can dress up or down and wear for years. This bleaching pattern appeared throughout her collection this season and was one of the looks people around me were buzzing about the most. What’s cool about Lisa is she only makes a limited number of pieces to sell either on her website or in a few local boutiques. So if you buy something, you’re one of maybe 10 people who have it.

(All photos courtesy of Rhea Pappas for MNfashion. See the rest of the runway photos on MNfashion’s Facebook page.)

Weekend project: DIY window wall frames + new entry table

Another weekend project is complete! It’s been almost three years since I moved into this apartment and I’m still figuring out ways to decorate it. I’m pretty picky with what I put on my walls and try to steer clear of mass produced art work and other wall decor – which is hard to do! If I can thrift, craft or buy something one-of-a-kind, I will. But that takes time hence the extended amount of time I’ve spent getting this place together.

But thanks to extensive Apartment Therapy and Pinterest browsing paired with a Craigslist ad that convinced me to pull the trigger, I decided to try to clean up some old window frames and find them a home on my walls.
Windows before

The windows are from an old barn in Iowa. They needed some TLC so I scrubbed the glass, sanded the wood and added a fresh coat of paint.

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After that, I added some frame hooks on the back and that was it! Here’s the vertical window being displayed in my entry way.

Window and entry table

By the way, I’m so excited about the entry table I just purchased this weekend at James J. Hill Days in Wayzata. The table is made by a local woodshop called BORD. They make custom and one-of-a-kind furniture out of reclaimed wood with super cute hair pin legs. Check them out if you are looking for some fun, different pieces to add to your home. You can even just buy the legs and attach them to something you already own!

Related articles:

Moods of Norway grand opening at Mall of America

The Mall of America is getting a little more blonde after adding international retailer Moods of Norway to their list of stores. The high-end brand whose tag line is “happy clothes for happy people” has been around since 2003, has store in New York and L.A. and made its Midwest debut at MoA just last week. I got a chance to attend the opening, check out some of the merchandise and totally “wig out” at an after party in Radisson Blu hotel.

If you’re not familiar with Moods of Norway clothes, think fun, hard-working, polished farmers. Yes, farmers (hey, there are pink tractor logos all over the place in there!).

They’ve got a ton of blazers perfect for the workplace but using velvet, polka dots, bright colors and pops of patterns to make them your not-so-average-blazers. Large suede tote bags, sturdy/colorful booties and metallic sweaters are available for the gal who needs to dress professional but still maintain her personal edge. Oh, and a sparkly, navy party dress thrown in for good measure.

I loved a lot of the items for men in the store, too. For a guy who could pull it off, a pink polka dot blazer was one of the biggest statement pieces available for purchase (and worn by a number of the staff). The shoe selection was nice as well. Any dapper fellow needs to check out their “dancing shoes,” boots and sneakers.

Moods of Norway 11. Atle Tonning Dots men’s blazer 2. Anne Mari Lurex dress 3. Gunvor women’s blazer 4. Rikke clutch 5. Haugesund 2/Farmer Green boot

After we browsed the store, it was time for the “Really, Really Blonde Party” up in the new Radisson Blu hotel connected to the mall. Upon entering, we were handed blonde wigs and directed to the WOW Beauty Bar where we got styled in our new do’s. Moscow mules were flowing, the jams were spinning and Norwegian grandmas were whipping up waffles like nobody’s business. Such a fun concept to celebrate the opening of the store!

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Fall Trends: Leather Mini Skirts

leather skirts 1Let’s talk more leather! It’s turning out to be my favorite staple in my wardrobe and I’m pumped it’s part of another fall trend this season: mini skirts. I’m typically not a skirt kind of gal because they can often make me feel too girly (not really my style). But leather mini’s are skirts I can get behind because they still bring in that element of hard, rock, gonna kick some ass vibe.

Not to mention they’re super versatile. Pair them with a fancy blouse, a t-shirt, bare legs, tights, heels, sneakers,  – you’re good to go with whatever you choose!

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1. Nordstrom  2. T by Alexander Wang 3. Tess Giberson 4. Asos