The Naked City Category Archives

The Power of the Mood-Board

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My mom used to keep one tucked inside the inner pages of her work agenda. It had mostly pictures of my father and me, some pictures of beautiful homes that she cut from magazines and of course pictures of far-flung locales that she would one day travel to. She has since traveled to them, because that is the power of the mood-board.

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Oprah suggests that you create your board using images of your hopes and dreams and that, somehow (magically), the act of you cutting out photographs from a magazine and taping postcards to a piece of paper or tacking it to a framed piece of cork manifests your destiny and actualizes your aspirations. Philip Lim collages images of galaxies, cacti, exotic flowers and shaggy rabbits and it leads to the season’s most coveted runway looks. That is also the power of the mood-board.

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My personal recipe is simple: mix in equal parts happy memories and fanciful wishes, add some photos of loved ones, tack up quotes and excerpts that help to guide your journey, make it image heavy and always leave a bit of blank space on the canvas for tomorrow’s daydream.

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Just as I began this winter, hunkered down with some of my favorite ladies at our solstice & chill, I plan to revel in this weekend’s pending blizzard with some expressive mood-boarding. It’s been a season full of sacred nesting, craft and collage and there is no reason to stop now with temperatures dropping.

Happy snowstorm!

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Jewelry Awards Season

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This Friday kicks off the jewelry awards season with the annual Gem Awards held by the Jewelers of America in New York City. Tomorrow we head to the Waldorf Astoria for the 24 Karat Club Gala and, finally, Sunday is the 2016 Golden Globes–a veritable smorgasbord of glimmering eye-candy!

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Tonight’s Gem Awards is much closer to my heart than in past years, as the master Sevan Bickaci has been nominated for a prestigious award. We will all be holding our breaths as the announcement is made for the GEM Award for Jewelry Design!

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In other exciting jewelry news, the designer Kassandra Nicholson with whom I worked to brand her newly launched collection, Kassandra Nicholson Jewelry, was just featured on GemGossip.com. Danielle of Gem Gossip has an incredible way with the stunning jewels she photographs and styles on the site and she was an absolute pleasure to work with as always. Both of these ladies make me excited to be a part of this industry and I wish them all of the best in 2o16. Be sure to check out both GemGossip.com and KassandraNicholson.com for more!

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And, it wouldn’t be a true round-up of the best of the jewelry world if I didn’t speak to my true gem-love Anthony Lent. With a newly launched website and a complete branding makeover, Anthony Lent is set to take 2016 by storm. And, what better symbol of soaring to new heights, than the gilded wings pictured above in the newly designed Flying Heart Ring. All of Anthony Lent’s winged pieces are in the spotlight this month, so visit us on Instagram to keep up on the #TakeFlight series.

Now, it’s time to get dolled up and kick off the weekend in our black-tie best!

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Patti Wilcox of Awestruck Ciders

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Meeting Patti in September at The Blogcademy, I was immediately taken by her sweet, spritely demeanor. But it is her badass business chops as founder/purveyor of the fine cider brand Awestruck that is the inspiration behind this week’s segment of Wisdom Wednesday. Since Patti is a busy entrepreneur and a traveler by trade and by passion, we hooked up via email to bring you the pearls you’ll read below. In the spirit of the New Year and in the pursuit of fulfillment professionally, creatively and spiritually, may you find something in the words below that makes you tick.

1. Tell us a bit about your brand, how you became involved and how you see the brand growing.
I am a founder at Awestruck Ciders.  Our brand is really focused on creating those “Wow” moments for adult beverage consumers.  I love when I see a customer’s face light up with surprise and delight, that’s what being Awestruck is all about.
We are currently distributed in only half of NY State and just beginning to break into NYC.  We are also going to begin exporting to Quebec over the coming months.  It’s my dream to build an international brand.

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2. What are the biggest challenges you face day to day as a creative entrepreneur building a brand?
This is such a beautifully personal question.  For me, it has been learning that I am the rule maker.  I have always been a really good rule follower and now I have this brand that I have to set the rules for.  It has taken me a long while to finally realize it’s up to me, and now my task is to make decisions, analyze outcomes, and create policies based on that information.
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3. What are the skills that you’ve cultivated throughout your life that help you in your work?
I think travel is the root of all goodness.  I have spent the past 10 years living for travel.  It taught me to bootstrap and prioritize, it taught me the rewards of hard work,  it taught me the
power of flexibility, and the good-will of the world.    The kindness in the
world is humbling and amazing.  I remember waiting in line at a street kiosk in Morocco to buy some candy (I love weird candies) and the man in line behind me was so overjoyed to see a visitor in his village he insisted on helping me choose the best treat and buying it for me.  It’s such a simple thing, but when we always stay within our comfort zone, we don’t’ have access to those special moments.
So we basically founded Awestruck almost as we would pursue a gap year.  We did our best research before hand and knew we’d have to learn along the way.  We have found the most wonderful mentors and friends on this path.  It brings tears to my eyes to think about the incredibly talented, intelligent people who are helping us grow and build our brand.

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Don’t you love to meet those people who just know themselves?

4. When you’re not working, what are you up to?
I love the feeling of productivity.  So I have serious problems not
working.   I really really like audiobooks, because I can go on a fun jaunt
in my brain while still getting things done.  I think my dream day-off would be to pick a random subways stop in an amazing ethnic neighborhood like Jackson Heights or Flushing and just spend hours getting lost and discovering new drinks, fashions, and cultural habits.  It’s amazing how authentic these communities are even so far from home.

5. What are your words of wisdom for other people on how to chase your dreams?
Start now keeping track of what you like.  Write lists of  things that make you happy.  Spend time thinking about what you enjoy and what comes easy to you.  Amass this information about yourself.  Don’t you love to meet those people who just
know themselves? And only you can do that for yourself.
6. What are the 5 items you can’t live without?
1. My Nokia Lumia 1020.
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/mobile/phone/lumia1020/ Best phone ever.
2. OverDrive App https://www.overdrive.com/  (+ my Brooklyn Public Library Card http://www.bklynlibrary.org/)
3.  My IIID Foundation Palette from Maskcara – It took me forever to buy this, I was wincing at the price, but it is worth every penny, as a business woman on the road a lot, I don’t know how I went so long without it.
4. Credit cards that earn flight miles.  I’m always amazed at how far my Southwest miles go, but be sure to wait for at least a 50,000 point offer https://creditcards.chase.com/a1/southwest/25kPremierR
5. Apples.  I am awe-inspired by apples.  They are a staple produce.
They last for months without chemical preservatives.  They make delicious
alcohol.   They are genetically fascinating – did you know an apple seed
will grow into a tree completely unique unto the world?  They don’t just inherit the traits of their parents, they become their entire own varietal, they can only be exactly reproduced by cloning and grafting.

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For more on Awestruck Ciders, visit www.awestruckciders.com.

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Solstice: New Season|New Vision

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We gathered on Monday night to light candles, burn palo santo, make art and connect in Winter’s fresh wake. It was a solstice celebration in the best way possible–entering the next phase in the spirit you’d like to maintain. The dawn of a new season, especially one with the new year fast on its tail, always makes me think about what more I can be doing. Sometimes this can lead to a pity-party in thinking of the things I don’t make enough time for in favor of other, less creative/soul fulfilling activities like sleeping and eating pizza. But, other times, it presents itself as an opportunity to take inventory on what I am spending the majority of my energy on and which practices should carry on in this new chapter and which should be quietly dismissed into the night. Here are a few of those practices I wish to continue and grow…

C R E A T E :

One thing that I know I want to make more time for in this new season and new year is creation of all manner. Recently having taken on new responsibilities with a fabulous designer, I have found myself with less time to cook, collage, think and write. I am gloriously enthralled by this new professional role, but I do miss unfettered time to engage in my favorite activities. Spending time in the tangible hum of minds at work in peaceful creation on Monday night was invigorating. Anytime I feel uninspired to make something or write something or do something, I want to call upon my community of inspired souls so that we can bring out the best in each other and create some magic.

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C O N N E C T :

 

I am starting a new section of the blog called “Wisdom Wednesdays” as another way to reach out and connect with the people that give me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. The essence of Naked City Style is a platform for me to share what inspires me in hopes of giving the reader some inspiration along the way. What inspires me most are the innovative and rad people that I interview and spend time with for these stories. What I hope to be a weekly installment, “Wisdom Wednesdays” will be q&a’s with admirable humans that push limits and create incredible things by sheer self motivation and determination (not to mention a little help from their friends).

And speaking of friends, I’d like to take a pause to truly appreciate the gorgeous goofballs | the true-blues | the insanely talented, special, radiant beings that I am lucky enough to call my friends. Thank you for all that you do to bring me up everyday.

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C OM M A N D :

What might seem like an aggressive goal for any new beginning, I view “command” as a positive, uplifting, life-affirming stance. In that vein, I want to take ownership for my choices and responsibility for all that I do, good and bad. In this new season and new year I won’t let my demons mandate how I view myself or how I spend my time. I will command the energy, the self love and the determination in myself to kiss the sun. And I will have a blast doing it.

 

With wishes for you to lift latches, swim in raindrops, never not smile, breathe fresh air and do something totally new, Happy Winter.

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Blue Suede at the Beach

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This winter has been full of surprises already. 60 degree weather, foggy mornings and feelings of spring-come-early have me all mixed up. But a weekend in the Hamptons on the beach was exactly the thing to do when the traditional and seasonably appropriate activities seem strange.

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Here, Rachel and Amanda unknowingly demonstrated two extremes of beach attire…in other words what to wear and what not to wear. While Amanda was able to frolic through the waters in her knee-high rubber boots, Rachel was land bound in her blue suede at the beach. A classic juxtaposition of fashion vs. function, you decide which look you prefer.

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Should the snows come eventually, we’ll all be tucked away inside until spring. So, for now, let’s make the most of this sunshine.

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Old Haunts

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To know that you’ve done your time in New York City is to have recognizable phases. To be able to look back and say, “oh, that was my couch surfing phase”, “that was my living above the bodega phase”, “that was my I had a ton of time and used to walk home from work/go out drinking on week nights phase.” These phases all have routines—kineticly responsive routes, familiar cashiers at the grocery store, Sunday morning rituals—that, as deeply entrenched as they are during the 3-5 years of your experience, become erased and replaced once you move on to a new phase. As quickly as these routines slip out of consciousness, they just as quickly flood back in a bathtub of nostalgia when spontaneity finds you back in your old haunts.

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I rode the M Train across the Williamsburg Bridge this past Wednesday night to meet the ladies out for dinner and drinks and to toast a new month. Walking through the station at Delancey/Essex was like stepping back in time. And I found it funny, as I actually stopped to read the signs to ensure I was approaching the correct platform, that  just three years before I could have traversed the subway station in my sleep.

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That particular stop on the M, and the surrounding neighborhoods (my former neighborhoods), symbolizes a time of extremes. The joys were extremely joyous and the trials, extremely trying. It was my youth. In a few splashes of memory, the time is marked by backyard birthday parties next to the fig tree, Nina Simone records at dinner time and feverish interaction with people, places and things that were all fresh and full of potential (and stories that were written and are still to be written). It was my phase of complete exploration in New York City as an adult, sandwiched between my time away in Korea and my current New York phase—that of blissful stability, overflowing abundance of gifts and gratitude for all that I’ve learned and all that I have to learn. A time when my youthful adventures are behind me and my heartfelt, bold, mature adventures are just beginning.

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I was moved, as I often am when I think about the Bushwick days, to look through old pictures from that time. A tapestry of art making, love, baby faces, best neighbors and growth into the woman I am filled my computer screen and filled my heart. It brings me joy to let these photos—these memories—have their place on Naked City Style as an homage to all that was and all that will be.

Cheers to old haunts.

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The Way Life Should Be

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This post features photos from our makeshift reunion trip to Maine, two weekends back, where we ventured for a little bit of salt air, togetherness and to experience the way life should be. Considering we ALL fell ill during the trip in one way or another (colds + hangovers + general old age…) and I’ve spent the past week in bed recovering and avoiding the world, these images are the latest and the greatest from my photo roundups!

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The weather was a perfect vision of fall in the Northeast, if not even a bit warm for the season. Once again I got to see my hometown through the eyes of people close to my heart and, this time, had the rare opportunity to have my eyes opened in turn to things I didn’t know existed. Our friend who still lives in Portland took us to the Flea-For-All, apparently open and operating for the past couple of years, which is three stories of vintage shopping heaven tucked away on the East End. I nearly had a heart attack at the discovery of this local haunt. Clothing, house wares, accessories and all-the-in-between can be found in bounty in this curated space. True treasures abound at the Flea-For-All (think thigh-high shag boots from the 70’s, antique card catalogue, and Cameroonian feathered headdress wallhanging, to name a few). I scored a vintage Bottega Veneta bucket bag and shearling throw for myself this time around and I plan to make this a regular stop on my trips to Portland from now on!

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The beginning of November had come in like a lion for me with many projects, new responsibilities and other matters to sort through. Even though months have passed since the end of summer it has been taking me longer than usual to get into the swing of things this season and I think the trip to Maine was just what I needed to gain a little perspective on everything and prepare myself to hit the ground running through the new year. Now, with this awful cold behind me, I feel my spirits lifting in preparation for all the holiday cheer!

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I’ll leave you with this “album cover” that we unintentionally posed for at the Portland Head Light! It pretty much sums up our trip north.

 

Cheers for now!

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Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life

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I can’t say that I remember exactly when my love for Frida Kahlo developed. Her tragic passion, her drive and talent, her admiration for the natural and the indigenous  and her infectious artistic spirit have always my greatest source of inspiration.  With that comes my love for Mexican culture at large, but, those who know me know that I have still yet to visit the country of my dreams and the birthplace of my idol. I am happy to report that (fingers crossed) this great folly will correct itself in 2016….but in the meantime, it was incredible to have Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life at the New York Botanical Garden. Not only does the exhibit delve into the art and life design of Kahlo, but creates a living environment transporting the visitor to the rainforests and deserts of Central America, providing a natural (and breathtakingly gorgeous) context for the colors, textures and subjects that permeate her work.

Last weekend was the Day of the Dead festival at the garden featuring parades, musical and dance performances and a pumpkin carving competition. It was a great time to visit (except for the serpentine lines stretching at great distances from each exhibit) because the halloween mood was truly in the air. It was appropriately chilly, the trees had turned and children were running about with faces painted. There are also events scheduled for this, the final weekend of the exhibit, and I would highly recommend the trip if you haven’t been to visit the show yet. For those of us in Brooklyn, it is certainly a trek, but a soul affirming pilgrimage for lovers of Frida Kahlo.

Wishing you all a fantastic Halloween. Let’s embrace the cycle of life and death, the spiritual journey of all living things and the celebration of the season!

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Halloween Inspiration from Unsplash.com

Mallory Johndrow www.vintagraphproductions.com

Working in digital marketing and branding always calls for the use of stock images. But interesting and original stock images are hard to come by which is why I love Unsplash.com, introduced to me by fellow bloggers.  The site houses gorgeous imagery by independent artists who offer their work for any use as long as credit is given. And, with the Halloween sprit that I am feeling this week leading up to the holiday, I thought I would curate a small gallery of Halloween inspiration from Unsplash.com to introduce the stunning photographs. The spooky images below are by artists Andrea Boldizer, Simon Wijers, and Jesse Bowser (featured image by Mallory Johndrow). Enjoy and pop over to Unsplash.com for all of your stock photo needs!

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Jesse Bowser www.jesse-bowser.com

Simon Wijers

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Vegas in the Fall

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It was brilliant being in Las Vegas in October. The sauna-like heat of the desert that I experience annually on my late-May visit for the Couture Show was replaced by breezy days, mid-70’s temperatures and evenings that require layers to sit comfortably outside. But, beyond the temperature, perhaps the most lovely characteristic of Vegas in the Fall is the dramatic sky that kissed the mountain tops in the distance and the towering hotels all around us. Although we were working long hours and didn’t make it outside much, we were always met with awe-inspiring views when we did.

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_MG_1670Vegas rarely allows for much time outdoors, be it the aforementioned infernal heat or the heavy work load (the only reason I have ever been to Vegas is for work, and it may be the only reason I return for the years to come as work finds me there at least annually). But I was happy for the long hours of work that this trip brought at the International Spa Show because of the truly great community I was introduced to. The press, vendors, and spa executives that we interacted with this past week had an infectious energy all in the name of wellness and health and I left with a reinvigorated desire to take the best care of myself, my family and friends, and my world that I possibly can.

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These gracious people shared their knowledge as well as their incredible products with us all (amazing gift bags were delivered to us all in our rooms each night)  and I have already had the pleasure of trying many of them. One morning, in fact, the long hours (and late night brainstorming) had made way for a rough wake up and I used the Shower Spa Mist infused with lemongrass and eucalyptus for a jump-start to the day. The Chaleur self-heating facial mask is also super, and the mineral process in each one sounds like the pattering of rain when you wear it in bed at night for a soothing treatment. I highly recommend it!

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I am looking forward to using all of these incredible wellness products to sustain me through the growing cold and through all of the hard work in the next weeks. The show also brought an amazing bevy of new opportunities that I am so excited to dive into.

Happy to be back in NYC!

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