Singer-songwriter, Model, and New Friend: Olivia Kurofsky

 

 

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Dressed in two almost completely thrifted outfits, Olivia showed off her iconic brows and intense smolder. For this post, we decided to go back to the roots of the blog and focus on a shoot, while also including an article about Olivia. Olivia Kurofsky is a local Seattleite with a passion for singing and interest in modeling. She is not signed to any particular agency (although we have no doubts she totally could be) and explained that she models just for fun. She wrote and co-produced her first EP at the age of 15, and at 17 years old she performed at venues including the Showbox, Vera Project, Chop Suey, The Moore, Town Hall, and the Royal Room. She is working to release a full-length album this fall to showcase her vast development as a songwriter and vocalist. Olivia has also been a part of various projects such as films about local artists, fashion blogs, her school’s house band, and teen artist showcases. She hopes to land a marketing/social media internship for KEXP this summer to supplement her retail job and, of course, the infamous “struggling artist” income.

Olivia started off by saying that, “I cannot, and do not intend to represent/speak for all girls. When discussing how a society favors a specific type of person it is necessary to identify the narrative being highlighted to tell that story in order to accurately analyze that bias.” She explained to us how much of a privilege it is for her to, generally, fit into what America considers as beautiful, being a white female. She then dove deeper into her thoughts and experiences surrounding beauty standards and body positivity.

She noted that as a girl in high school, she feels deeply conditioned to be critical of her own body. She recounted times back in elementary school, and middle school when she said she, “actively hated my body”. She also remembered times when she would search online for clothes that hide your stomach, and how she would avoid any situations regarding swimsuits. She even went as far as buying appetite suppressants in 7th grade. It wasn’t only those times, however, it also came down to being insecure about the hair on her arms and legs. With some included humor she mentioned, “bless my Greek genes #browsonfleek”. Being able to talk about tough times in the past, she was also able to add a humorous side, which reflects her lightheartedness.

Today she remarks how she’s lucky enough to have always had a healthy body growing up, so the fact that she hated her body is, “deeply troubling and reflective of what we value girls and women for.” She openly told us that she was so blinded by what others thought about her that she didn’t see that her values as a person were boiled down to how appealing other people found her. She says, “Today I often think ‘well okay I shave my legs because I want to, I think it looks good and I like how smooth it feels’, but when I really think about it, I like the way it looks because it’s “feminine”, and I’m worried whoever will be feeling my legs will think it’s unattractive.” She explained how this shows a relationship between beauty and the value of women. When you fit an unrealistic standard then you are automatically considered beautiful, which means you are now attractive for men. “Women are not for consumption, and beauty is not how appealing you’re deemed by someone else. By no means does this mean subscribing to the so-called standards is a negative thing; it becomes negative when it works in conjunction with the mass portrayal of women as sex objects with no agency of their own, to only please men,” she says.

The idea of body positivity to Olivia means, “loving and appreciating your body for its function, purpose, and inherit artful and beautiful form.” She brought up how nudity plays a role in how the female body is viewed. While she strongly believes that the female body is inherently beautiful, she also agrees that there is a certain context for nudity, but in today’s society, the female body tends to be overly sexualized. She adds, “#freethenip”. While Olivia has made lots of progress loving and accepting her body she says, “there are still so many critiques, pressures, and limitations regarding appearance.” She is particularly aware of this when she is modeling. She described to us that she always thinks about how to make her stomach look flatter, butt look bigger, and face look the best it can. She is mindful of the fact that photos that are taken of her will be posted on social media and gets worried if others will consider her ugly. “In this way, social media can be so harmful to a person’s journey to self-love.” With that in mind, she is also inspired by unconventional models who post on platforms such as Instagram. This led her to the conclusion that like most things, social media has positives and negatives about it.

In a more reflective tone, Olivia said that she has grown to really love her appearance and is so grateful and appreciative of her body and all of its abilities. She importantly noted, “as valid as my struggle was/is, I saw so much representation of women who look like me on T.V. and other media. I think a key reason that I learned to love my appearance is that I could literally see girls and women who look like me on a daily basis succeeding and being praised for their looks.” In the future, Olivia would like to see the cycle of eurocentric features being the only traits praised as beautiful be broken. She remarked that this country only deeming white, thin, physically able, straight hair women as worthy of beauty adds to “the oppressive systems in which this country operates.” She believes beauty standards are “incredibly toxic” and ends the interview by saying she has become very desensitized to the issue as a whole because of how prominent the “praise of relative thinness and shame of anything other” is.

Follow her on IG @oliviakurofsky to keep up with her rad tunes, upcoming website/blog, modeling, and pets!

Molly Repurposes Jeans: Part Two – Altering

Here is the long-awaited part two of my repurposed jean look.

The jeans were a little bit baggy and long so I decided to equally measure out a few inches on both pant legs

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I then pulled out a few seams to give the jeans a fringed look.

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The jeans still seemed very baggy so I tried to use a sewing machine to alter them…

I started this process by putting on the jeans inside out and marking how tapered I wanted them to be.

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I then threaded a sewing machine and sewed along the line that I had drawn. One of the legs turned out fine, but Chris and I quickly realized the needle broke and the machine had become unthreaded.

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We tried over and over again to try and rethread the machine and use different needles, but nothing seemed to work.. 😦

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After becomingIMG_4402.jpeg exceedingly frustrated, I found that the best solution was to simply cut the jeans into shorts.

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Final look after cutting them and giving them one small cuff!

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Body Positivity Club Leader, Johanna

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This article goes deep into a personal story about living with an eating disorder. If that is in any way a triggering topic for you, Chris and I would urge you to not read this post and reach out to loved ones if you are in need of support or help.
          As you can tell from the title, for this post we talked to a leader of a body positivity club, Johanna. Johanna is bilingual, speaking both German and English. While she grew up in Seattle, her European ancestry remains a big part of her identity. In addition to her background, Johanna plays the violin and sings (mainly opera because she is “really passionate about bringing stories to people through the use of my voice.”) One last important character traits Johanna finds essential to her identity is that she identifies as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. (yay for pride month !!)
          Johanna was very willing to discuss her own personal experience in dealing with an eating disorder and first started by saying, “Before I start I just want to say: my story isn’t nearly as intense as other people’s. I was lucky to already be a part of a community who quickly snapped me out of what I was doing. I was lucky to realize that what I was doing was unhealthy, acknowledge that, even though I continued against better judgment for a while, finally stopped me before my habits became dangerous. I want you to be aware that people have it harder than me. This doesn’t mean my struggle isn’t valid, that it’s not worthy of being heard (because hidden eating disorders/disordered eating are dangerous, too), but this is not a typical story, it’s relatively mundane in comparison to many people in this community.” Johanna grew up in a household where bodies that weren’t considered skinny were taboo. She reminisced about the fact that both her parents had been on shake diets when she was younger and told her to “eat (especially snack) less because I didn’t want to end up ‘fat and unhappy.'” Comments similar to this one pushed her to develop habits such as, eating in secret and sneaking food when she could. As Johanna got older she started to gain more weight and soon both she and her parents noticed that she had become the heaviest one in her ballet class. She gave one specific example she remembered from middle school where she was walking out of the studio after a parent watch day and her father told her she should watch out because she had become “the roundest girl in my ballet class.” As you can imagine, comments like this one slowly started to overcome her mind, despite her constantly trying to ward them off. There was a point in time when she had lost 10 pounds in one month with little effort while on a school trip. Even though this amount of fluctuation may not have been healthy when she returned home her mother was proud of how skinny she had become calling Johanna her “beautiful skinny girl.” While this temporarily made her happy, when she gained the weight back she hit a serious problem.
          In the middle of discussing the specific amount she weighed at different points in her life, she paused to say: “your body weight does not define you, just as mine doesn’t define me. It’s just a number, your relation to gravity. Don’t focus on it as much as I’m focusing on it in this story.” Anyways, towards the end of her freshman year, she decided she was going to lose weight, eat healthier, and start exercising more in hopes of ‘improving’ herself. However, she quickly realized she was not interested in a full-on diet (a big reason being that she didn’t want her parents to know.) Her solution to this was to start using a calorie counting app instead. She said she kept to a 700-1,300 calorie budget when an average teenager should be consuming closer to 2,000 calories a day. Johanna added, “I lost 6 pounds in 4 weeks. By this time, my mom was proud of me. She bragged to my extended family about how much weight I’d lost when they came to visit, but I still wasn’t happy.” Even though she was calorie counting pretty intensely she said, “calorie counting was hard, though, and my lack of self-control kept causing my restricting to falter. I’d begin to binge whenever I allowed myself a small “luxury”, using the excuse of being on a cheat day.” This continued for months without her realizing just how unhealthy her habits had become.
          During her sophomore year, a friend that was aware of her calorie counting obsession explained to her that, “there are so many more eating disorders than those that people talk about.” Her friend described to her a type of eating disorder where individuals secretly eat, hide food wrappers, and limit themselves if they believe they’ve eaten too much. “This description struck a chord with me because I engaged in all of those habits. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized that I had a real problem.”
          Since Johanna understood she had a problem she has been “combating toxic thoughts, making lifestyle changes (including quitting ballet!), and trying to lead a more body positive life, including creating this [body positivity] club!”
          Body Positivity Club started because she was inspired by all the other clubs at her school fighting different types of social justice, but still found little to no space for people with eating disorders to connect within her school community. “I wanted to start the club as a way to connect people who had struggled the way I had, so I tried to set it up almost as a type of support group for people who had fought eating disorders, were currently fighting, or were just curious.” At times, she has struggled to keep this club a space for discussion and not just a hangout space because not everyone is willing to share their eating disorder experiences, which is understandable because they are so personal. In the future, Johanna plans to focus the club more on educating the community on the seriousness of the topic.
          In addition to running a body positivity club, she also manages a blog about her own journey with her eating disorder. Even though it is hard for her to always find time and motivation to write, she is proud of herself and relieved to have a space to express all her thoughts. “If I can inspire just one person to join the fight for body positivity and self-love, then I’ll have done my job.”
 
          Johanna explained that today beauty standards mainly affect herself and those around her through “negative self-talk.” These are comments that may seem harmless but really add to a toxic and fatphobic diet culture. “Not only do they contribute to self-hatred that can be truly dangerous, they affect everyone around.” This is because when one person says something like, ‘I need to start my summer body’ then others around them will start to compare themselves to that person and will doubt if their body is ‘ready for the summer.’ (Even though the idea of a summer body is not logical) With all the negative remarks that Johanna hears in her life, I asked what advice she would give to people to encourage body positivity. She said small things like, “look at yourself in the mirror every single day and compliment yourself. Tell yourself that you love the way you look in that outfit, that you love every inch of yourself, that you love your body” can make all the difference. Another thing she recommends is to catch yourself everytime you say something negative about your body. “Whenever I find myself thinking, ‘wow I wish my legs were as skinny as hers,’ I combat that thought with at least two good things about myself. For example, ‘her legs are beautiful, but that doesn’t mean mine aren’t.'” This helps you appreciate your own body while not putting down another person. Her last piece of advice is to wear clothes you’re comfortable in. “Wearing clothes that you enjoy wearing makes you so much more confident, and that confidence allows for a strong basis of self-love.”
          In the future, Johanna would like to see everyone be completely comfortable in their own skin and have the stigma of self-love stop being weird. She told us, “I’ve had so many people come up to me and say that when they first met me/before they met me, they thought that it was weird to be confident, to be happy with your body, to love yourself.” Her other hope for the future is that “diet culture and fatphobia disappear.” This includes having more diverse people shown in advertisements, media, etc. and also having the word fat not be used as an insult.
          Chris and I are beyond grateful for how open Johanna was to share her story with us. If you wish to find out more or keep up with her experiences you can read more about it at https://josrecoveryjourney.wordpress.com/

Fashion Friend, Flora

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For today’s post, we talked to a friend and aspiring designer, Flora. She is a current student that loves to surf, sing, and do theater. One of her main inspirations for creating is her very own father. She says, “he’s an architect and a musician and has always brought art into my life in whatever way he could.” Not only have visual and performing arts been a constant outlet in her life, but the communities she has found through theater and playing music have helped shape Flora into the creative individual she is today. Being a feminist is also another huge part of her identity. She stated that “being a feminist definitely transitions into my work because I don’t like to work with traditional norms and standards, I like to create what I like, and what I think truly expresses myself and those around me.” This led to a conversation about beauty norms and standards, especially with regards to being a young female. She said that beauty norms “are always in my head and impact the way that I see myself and others. I think it’s especially hard as a woman of color, because female beauty standards are so skewed towards white features, as a person with darker skin, and curly hair, it can be really hard to feel beautiful when I in no way resemble the women my society tells me are beautiful.” She explained to us that in the future she would like to see beauty standards “expand to include people that haven’t been able to see their beauty for what it is” and generally have more people feel comfortable embracing their own beauty.

We then dove further into her aspirations. Flora says that she wants to be a designer because she is “really drawn to the strength of nonverbal self-expression.” She additionally noted on the beauty of being able to express oneself without words and have others interpret it. Design helps Flora “create things that foster self-love and love for others.” She hopes that her designs will one day help people find their true self and feel comfortable in their own skin. To spread her love and knowledge for fashion she runs a fashion-themed Instagram account, @floraamedina. She says that it can be stressful as hell because she wants to “be able to create as much as possible and share that work with others, but it is really hard to pursue while also being a full-time high school junior.” While her account brings her joy, she was very open to the fact that it can also be hard on her mental health when she’s having low moments. She admits that running this account sometimes makes her feel like she can’t do enough of what she’s convinced others she can. Even with the pressures of balancing this account with school and mental health she greatly appreciates all the love on her posts and says followers can look forward to more illustrations, mood boards/collages, and fun projects in the summer!

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One of Flora’s very own designs featured on her account

On a less serious note, we were curious to see what some of her favorite and least favorite trends are in her fashion-forward opinion. She decided that her favorite trend at the moment is “ugly” clothing because it “disregards the traditional human figure and rejects societal norms and challenges you to see things in a way that goes against everything you once thought you knew.” And for least favorite, she was set on camo cargo pants. This is not because she particularly hates the print or the physical garment, but doesn’t truly understand the hype around the piece.

We’re thankful for Flora’s insight and would urge everyone to go follow her account right now!! Once again, her handle is @floraamedina!

The Ironic Use Of The Term “Plus Size”

In a world where we are bombarded with glamorous magazines and flashy ads it can be almost irresistible not to compare yourself to the models you see before you. As the general opinion about body positivity changes, so does the fashion industry. What once was just a place for six-foot-tall skinny blonde girls is now a place for people of all shapes and sizes. But is all of this good?

For starters, yes. Plus-size models have worked incredibly hard to prove that they can even be in a position to model, which is truly admirable. No matter what you look like as a model it can be hard to book model jobs as companies are searching for specific looks. But for plus-size models it is that much harder as a large majority of people still have the belief that women that weigh over a fixed amount are less attractive and therefore won’t be able to sell the product at hand.

Ironically, that is where big companies stand corrected. Take model Ashley Graham for example. She’s a plus-size model that has appeared in magazines such as Vogue, Glamour, and Elle. She was also the first plus-size model on the cover of Sports Illustrated, has given a TED talk, and even has her own Barbie. These steps help pave the way for other women looking to pursue a similar career path. It also promotes the overall importance of body positivity and widens the scope of beauty. Even with these advancements, there are still a few flaws in this.

While all of this may seem good, there are some problems with the plus-size model movement. First of all the name itself is problematic. Using a separate term for anyone bigger than a size 10 sections them off from the sizes below them, which can cause these women to feel as if they are not part of the norm. Even when it can be near impossible for some women to reach the ever desirable size two that society wants them to be (which is not what they should strive for anyway). To set a more positive tone some women are switching from the name “plus-size” to “curvy.” However, it is not only the name that is controversial.

Another issue in the plus-size model category is that it is mostly filled with women who perfectly fit the hourglass frame. While these women are beautiful and are now established in a field they were not always welcome in, a common reader can still find herself comparing their body to ones that don’t look like their own. An additional problem that is clear in all types of modeling, not just plus-size, is the lack of inclusion and diversity. Companies still strive to display predominantly white models and/or traits such as straight hair, and blue eyes, as these are the attributes that society tells women, and people, to achieve. Again, even if that is impossible for women to obtain.

These plus size or curvy models are making tremendous strides in the fashion world to challenge traditional beauty standards, yet we as a city, state, country and world are just not quite there yet. It can be hard to say how much of a difference these models are making if there is still a gap between women of different races, and other characteristics for that matter such as, gender, and being differently abled. This growing trend of a curvy girl aesthetic is a good place to start, as long as we remember the fight to broadening the fashion industry is not over until everyone is represented.

Former CEO of Banana Republic, Jack Calhoun

Today’s article is about the former CEO of Banana Republic, Jack Calhoun. Prior to his work he attended Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Purdue University, and Harvard University. After attending higher education, Calhoun went on to lead an extensive life in the fashion industry. He stated that he, “worked in retail fashion for seventeen years starting in beauty as I ran CoverGirl cosmetics.” In addition to working in beauty, he has a vast amount of experience in the fashion world ranging from marketing manager at Levi Strauss & Co, to account director of Foote, Cone & Belding, to the Vice President of Citron Haligman Bedecarre. He later went on to become a general manager at Young & Rubicam in San Francisco. Also in San Francisco, he worked on brand management at Charles Schwab. In 2003 Calhoun launched his career with Banana Republic as their Marketing and Merchandising expert. Jack’s passion for design did not simply stop at clothing as he joined the board of directors for Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams in 2005, which is an organization that works with furniture design and manufacturing companies. He was later in the board of directors for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants.

By the beginning of 2007, Calhoun was the global president of Banana Republic, where he continued to be CEO for a respectable twelve years. This job entailed running a $3 billion global business, staying true to the brand, and promoting a healthy working environment for all 22,000 employees that work at the 700 stores around the worldwide. Chris and I were both very curious about the amount of sway a big company like Banana Republic has on the fashion industry as a whole and Jack mentioned to us that “Banana Republic redefined what business casual means, before Banana Republic, people were wearing suits to work. So I think that in the early 2000’s it had a lot of influence.” During his time there he explained to us that he has seen many brands rise and fall as the world of fashion evolves. He claimed that quality brands “don’t try to market to everybody.” And that if a brand is struggling that they should return to their roots and continue to create high-quality clothing.

As more of a side project, Jack was an executive board member of the San Francisco Opera in which he helped fundraise and increased engagement, especially for younger participants. He is now a vice-chair board of directors for the Fine Arts Museums Of San Francisco and continues to be an essential and informative member of the fashion industry through his work as a senior advisor for McKinsey & Company, consulting with high-end luxury brands. He says that this job has a “more flexible schedule” than his work at Banana Republic and he enjoys his work. He travels a lot for work so were we grateful for the opportunity to interview him.

Once we had a good understanding of Jack background we dove into one of today’s growing trends: sustainability. While this is probably not the first beauty trend that comes to mind, it is one that is becoming increasingly popular due to Millennials and Generation Z. “People were just marketing sustainability, but not really doing it, so people your age now or in college actually really care, so they’re not buying brands if they think they’re fake or just a marketing gimmick.” As today’s youth are more conscious of how clothing is processed, they have a deeper desire to have clothes that are not only good for the planet but also made through ethical practices. This pushes companies to be more sustainable because they know it will be more profitable if they manufacture clothing how their customers want them to. I was curious to understand if there was a way to verify if companies were genuinely being sustainable and Calhoun answered by saying, “if you start looking at their annual reports on what they’re talking about on sustainable you can start to really see if they’re actually doing something because it’s a lot about how they source or where they source and even if they report certain things. So you can really see on a companies report are they talking and have details about what they’re doing to promote good ethical practices. So that’s a huge trend.”

This led us into a discussion about different trends and how social media effects these trends. Jack explained to us that, “new trends are starting to come out of Asia which is unique”. This is because in this day and age everything, especially in the fashion industry, is being mobilized. This makes it easy to watch high fashion runway shows and then have cheaper brands, such as Forever 21, rip them off. Social media has also changed the way we advertise. As we mentioned in some of our other posts, today’s “influencers” are becoming the new way of marketing a brand or style. It is much more effective to have a celebrity wear clothes and post about it than to spend money and time on a full shoot. We asked Jack about how this new way of marketing would change the attitude of beauty norms and what his personal opinion on the matter was due to his intense amount of experience. “I kind of feel like at the moment there’s a little bit more fun happening with beauty. It’s more transformative and becoming less gender specific. So I think it’s just creating more fun out of it vs everyone just trying to look like a supermodel which is not very realistic.”

Chris’ Nighttime Skincare Regiment

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Hi everyone! In this post, I will be showing you my daily nighttime skincare routine. As you can probably see from the vast amount of products above, it is pretty extensive. So let’s get started!

Make sure to check below for links to all the products talked about in the post!

Step 1: Cleansing

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My first step is cleansing. I have a few cleansers I use, but I tend to use this one the most. It’s the Classic Rice Enzyme Powder by Tatcha. Essentially, it is a condensed rice powder which when mixed with wet hands creates the traditional foam-like consistency seen in most face washes. I simply wet my face, do as above, then apply it to my entire face and neck, being gentle around the eyes.

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After the product is applied to the face, I take a Foreo exfoliator and work in clockwise motions around my face. Doing this helps remove any excess dirt or debris that may be on your face from the day. This exfoliator vibrates, further helping the exfoliation process. To finish the cleansing process, I simply take a damp towel and wipe away the excess soap.

Step 2: Toning

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The next step in my routine is toning. The toner I use daily is the Glossier Solution. It contains 10% BHA/AHA/PHA, and salicylic acid which is huge in combatting acne. Since I purchased this product a few months ago, I have seen a huge change in my skin. I get acne way less frequently, and my skin looks better than ever. It has done wonders to my skin. To apply this, I take a traditional cotton round/square and apply around 3 pumps of the toner to it. After this, I take the cotton square and apply the product to my whole face, and neck. When finished with this, the skin is left with a relatively dewy/shiny look, true to Glossier’s brand.

Step 3: Refreshing Spray

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After using this relatively harsh to the skin toner, it sometimes may leave a stinging sensation on my skin. To combat this, I like to use one of Mario Badescu’s hydrating sprays. They come in three variants, rose water, cucumber & green tea, and lavender & chamomile. My personal favorite is the cucumber & green tea, I find it to smell the best and be the most soothing on my skin. (I also carry one on my person pretty much daily!!)

Step 4: Serum, Serum, Serum

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Serums are key to my skincare routine. Many may find them a bit ‘extra’ but serums can actually do wonders to your skin. for me specifically, I have a growing obsession with them. What started out with one serum nightly has now turned into three (a bit much I know). Given that I am not a dermatologist, or a skin care guru, I’m not sure the exact correct way to layer serums. However, through the articles I’ve read, I think I have a decent idea.

The serum I like to start with is the Truth Serum, by Ole Henriksen. The Truth Serum is a hydrating and brightening serum. It is also anti-aging, containing vitamin C and collagen for a hydrated look all day. I take one pump of this on the tip of my fingers and apply it all over my face and neck. Similarly to the Glossier toner, this leaves a shiny effect on the skin, showing your truly hydrated skin underneath. Along with this amazing look on the skin, the product also smells amazing, a citrus scent of sorts. This is my first step, as, through my research, I found that serums that contain vitamin c should always go first.

Following the Truth Serum, I go in with ‘Super Pure’ by Glossier. This serum simply targets any imperfections in the skin. Formulated with niacinamide, and zinc it is perfect for getting rid of any blemishes. Because of this, I typically don’t put this serum all over my face. Usually, I will place it only in areas that I may have a breakout, or feel one coming. These areas include my forehead, temples, chin, and occasionally my jawline and nose.

Lastly, following both the Truth Serum and Super Pure, I go in with the Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Serum by Peter Thomas Roth. This serum is formulated with hyaluronic acid, which leaves immense hydration for the skin. Hyaluronic acid attracts up to 1000 times its weight in water from moisture in the atmosphere, thus leaving skin very hydrated. I apply this to the entire face, making sure to include the neck. This is the last serum I use, as I feel it locks in all the prior moisture put into my skin from the serums mentioned previously.

Step 5: Eye Cream

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Following the layering of serums, I go in with my eye cream. Lately, I’ve been using the Eye Duty Triple Remedy Overnight Balm by First Aid Beauty. To apply, I just take a pea-sized amount for each eye. Before applying, I like to warm up the product in my fingers for easier application. To apply eye cream, the best finger to use is your ring finger. This is because the ring finger is the most delicate one, and because the skin around your eyes is very tender, this is key. To apply, simply have the cream on your ring finger, and lightly tap around the eye area, remembering to include the lid as well. The eye cream is a huge part of the routine because it’s so important to keep the undereye hydrated; who wants wrinkles?!

Step 6: Moisturizer

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One of my favorite parts of the routine is moisturizer! The one I personally use is Creme de La Mer. It is obscenely expensive, but definitely does the job better than I could ask. This moisturizer is quite a thick cream, so like the eye cream above, it definitely needs warming up before application. La Mer as a brand prides itself on having multiple formulas/consistencies of this creme to suit different preferences. For example, they have the moisturizing cream (as shown above), the soft cream, the gel cream, and the soft lotion. The only difference between these products listed above is consistency, and finish. Each provides an equal amount of moisture, anti-aging benefits, and various other benefits the moisturizer offers. To apply, I use the spoon (as shown in the photo) and take a small amount onto my fingers. After rubbing it together, warming it up I pat it into the skin making sure to reach every area of my face. This product leaves a luminous look to the skin as it hydrates.

Step 7: Sleeping Mask

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Last but not least is a sleeping mask. I only occasionally do this, because I tend to get a bit lazy. A sleeping mask goes right on top of your moisturizer and other products, after your routine. The one I personally use is the Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask by Glow Recipe. This is a relatively new addition to my routine, but it is a leave on mask that sinks into your skin overnight. After waking up, you simply wipe it off with a damp cloth and continue with your morning routine. This leaves your skin perfectly hydrated and glowing for the day.

 

PRODUCTS:

Cleanser –  https://www.sephora.com/product/polished-rice-enzyme-powder-P426340?skuId=1673813&icid2=tatcha_lp_polished_carousel:p426340

Facial Exfoliator –  https://www.foreo.com/luna-play-plus

Toner –  https://www.glossier.com/products/solution

Refreshing Spray –  https://www.ulta.com/facial-spray-with-aloe-cucumber-green-tea?productId=xlsImpprod15471023

Serums – https://www.sephora.com/product/truth-serum-P42343?skuId=1910470&icid2=products%20grid:p42343

https://www.glossier.com/products/super-pure

https://www.sephora.com/product/water-drench-hyaluronic-cloud-serum-P222818

Eye Cream –  https://www.sephora.com/product/eye-duty-triple-remedy-overnight-balm-P393601?skuId=1670116&icid2=products%20grid:p393601

Moisturizer –  https://www.sephora.com/product/creme-de-la-mer-moisturizing-cream-P416341?skuId=1932193&icid2=lamer_lp_bestsellers_carousel_us:p416341

Sleeping Mask –  https://www.sephora.com/product/watermelon-glow-sleeping-mask-P420160?skuId=1955764&icid2=products%20grid:p420160

Local Seattle Photographer, Alex Lim

On Friday, Molly and I met with local Seattle photographer, Alex Lim. We met him at his studio in SoDo. Covered with plants, and other aesthetically pleasing interior decor, it was a nice setting to conduct this interview. To start off, we wanted to ask him a little bit about his background. Alex decided that he wanted to become a photographer after college in 2005. Prior to this, he had no formal art training, and didn’t attend art school. He mentioned that he, “started just like everyone, by just picking up a camera after college.” He started off by telling us that his career began when, “digital was not brand new, but it was still at the point where people were still asking the question, ‘Do you shoot with film or do you do digital?’ ” He then elaborated by mentioning that he shoots digitally because he had bought his first SLR camera around that time he started in the business. Initially he was shooting photos for clubs, such as his martial arts clubs, and various other events, and fundraisers. He bought the camera for those reasons, and through this, he found a true passion for photography. He also mentioned that this passion conveniently coincided with when he was graduating from school. His first job after college was working at a graphic and web design studio, but shortly after starting there, he figured out that working on anything that involved coding was exponentially changing year by year and it wasn’t really his interest. His career path became a natural evolution. Once he found his place in the photography industry, honing in on what he really wanted to do, he began his career. He spent the first 4 or 5 years learning, growing, networking and building a strong portfolio which he could use to get photoshoots. Today, having been in the industry for around 13 years, an average day for him as a freelance photographer is sporadic. We asked what a typical day looks like, and Alex mentioned that he doesn’t really have a regular schedule. Every week, month and year is different. Over time, he found that his interest and specialty lies more with model type photos, as opposed to commercial shoots. He likes to use his unique style to tell a story with his pictures; each photo goes beyond the person who is standing in front of the camera. He feels that shooting in foreign locations is a good way of achieving this. We were curious about the process of choosing his models, and how he works with them to create the outcome he is looking for. For Alex, personality is very important. He likes to look for models who also have unique personality traits that will make a shoot more interesting. Sometimes he will have models participate in test shoots to test not only the model, but also the location and the concept. He doesn’t want these to feel like an audition though, so sometimes he will work with a heavy hand, and sometimes not, depending on the model. We were curious about what photographers have influenced his work and his thinking around photography over the course of his career, and Alex mentioned that he admires different artists for different reason, but he named in in particular. He admires portrait photographer Peter Lindbergh for his talent capturing expression and emotion, and also Erik Almas, who is a digital photographer with a real ability to visually conceptualize a shoot/project, and bring everything together into a composite of hundreds of photos.

 

We followed these questions about Alex’s personal story with some questions about the photography industry today in general. To start this conversation off, we talked about how Alex has seen the industry change throughout his time in the field. He talked about how the industry is constantly changing, especially with the addition of the social media boom. Social media has changed the culture a lot, where many influencers can post photos for a brand, and get sent free clothes for example. This is very different from before, as some brands don’t even need to hire a professional photographer to get their brand exposure throughout platforms. “There is a homogenization of everything” Alex noted. There is less specialization and he finds that people today don’t notice the small details as much as they used to, and they don’t care as much about real quality of photos. This he feels has lead to a change in the perception of the field of photography and of the industry as an occupation. Nowadays almost everyone has access to devices with camera capabilities. With the huge influx of social media posts and the integration of modern smartphones, our next conversation moved into the difference between professional photographers and hobby/Instagram photographers. Alex feels that there are a few main difference between the two. Professional photographers naturally work with strong degree professionalism and experience with equipment and technique. This experience is not only with cameras and other photographic equipment, but also working with and directing the models. Professionals know how to engineer a mood board and create the desired effect with their own style vs. an amateur who wouldn’t have those skills, and Instagram photographers, for example, can only create good content for one medium, i.e. Instagram as opposed to a variety of different mediums. Next, the idea of what makes a photo really stand out from the rest got brought up. He simply said that if you look at it in a thumbnail size, or Instagram cube size for example, it should draw you to it. He gave us an example we could easily relate to, looking at someone’s feed on Instagram. He mentioned that usually, you won’t click on every single photo on a feed. Instead, you will click on the ones you are drawn to. That is how he explained how a good photo stands out. Finally, we asked Alex what he felt was the hardest part about being a professional photographer today. His answer was simple, “I don’t know if there are any easy parts.” He said that to him, the key is keeping the interest and the passion and sticking with it, and that can be very hard. In his 13 years in the business, Alex has seen so many people come and go. People these days get so easily distracted; either their expectations for their career didn’t match up, or they didn’t know how to direct models, whatever the case, Alex stressed that “if you don’t stop, you won’t fail”, so just stick with it.

Check out his website! http://www.alexlim.com

Meet The Head of Amazon Fashion, Aimee Carroll

 

For today’s post, Chris and I met with the Head of Amazon Fashion, Aimee Carroll. Before working at Amazon Aimee attended Providence University and worked at Michael Kors, and Diesel. She is typically traveling, does retail negotiation, and is a master at networking so we are very grateful for this interview. She let us in on subtle tips that every brand uses to market clothing and the frustrations she has faced in her line of work.

Aimee says she, “did not grow up reading the pages of Vogue.” However, was bred into the fashion world as her mother was a French model that moved to America at the young age of 15. Her mother and other strong female role models in her life led her to be a creative and determined individual that ultimately resulted in her successful position at Amazon. To join the fashion industry Aimee started working in retail. She recounted to us her first retail job at Abercrombie and Fitch and how even today she has a “physical reaction to the woods cologne.” When it came time for higher education, Aimee went to Providence University to study political theory. Part way through her freshman year she realized that was not her calling and transferred to design school to study painting and printmaking. During school, she interned at Ralph Lauren working in departments such as men’s design, photo studios, and architecture. She admitted that after school she had no idea what she wanted to do, but got a job at the first Brooks Brothers store on the sales floor at the age of 22. She explained to us how hard it was managing 24 people at a union job when she was so young. Even though her boss was an intense woman who constantly wore “orange Manolos all day, all day long”, Aimee reassured us that this was a good learning experience for her. After that, she worked for menswear designer, Joseph Abboud. Although this was hard work with little pay and vacation, she said that this was the job that really launched her career. (and who really needs a vacation when you’re 24 and living in New York City.) Following this job, she worked at Michael Kors and found her true passion for managing and stepped back from design. She remembered a specific moment when she wanted to become the vice president of menswear at Michael Kors and the CEO told her that he would “never put a female in charge of men’s.” Even though she decided to stop working there at that point, she notes that we are in a very different time now and it was still fun and interesting to work there. On her next work venture, she got a job working at Diesel. Aimee said that working for Diesel “was a 180. I went from working with a CEO who wore beautifully tailored suits to a CEO who looked like a pirate and had a tattoo on his face.” She also mentioned that Diesel “alienated the American consumer completely because the euro and pound were so strong and the dollar was so weak that people were coming from Europe to buy Diesel jeans.” Diesel was also losing American buyers because they refused to put stretch in their denim, despite having customers expressing a desire for it.

This led us to a deeper conversation about customer demographics. Brands will put out what has the highest demand at the front of the store. Aimee remarked “a decade ago there were entire floors dedicated to petites. Now they’re completely gone.” To put it simply, it comes down to profit and when a type of clothing or brand is not making enough, what is put out on display will change. And this can happen very rapidly. Aimee communicated that “Fashion wants one thing. And the world wants another.” While the average size in the U.S. has been a 16-18 for almost a decade, the plus size section of clothing in stores like Nordstrom will shamefully be placed next to the kid’s section on the top floor. Even though it proves to be more profitable to have the full range of sizes together in a store, this is why Old Navy is so successful. This was a concept that both Chris and I had never thought about before. She explained to us that being able to buy your clothes whether you’re a size 000 to a 28 in the same environment is incredibly empowering. This is a point that is extremely true and often looked over when it comes to reshaping beauty standards. “Changing not just the way we perceive beauty standards, but also the way we manufacture” was another point that Aimee made clear to us during the interview.

During her time at Diesel, Amazon approached her about their online company wanting to branch out to fashion. Due to Amazon’s persistence, she agreed to do a little bit of bussiness with them, however, she said she “gave them [Amazon] horrible numbers to work with. I was like if you can make money off of this then we’re in business.” In two years the company was making 10 million dollars through selling their product from Amazon because the demand was there. Even with these numbers, Aimee was very hesitant to continue business with Amazon because of how horrible the website was presented. “It was like putting lipstick on a pig,” she said, the clothes didn’t fit the models, the layout was horrible, and in the end, this would only do damage to the brand. Ironically enough, in 2012 the woman that was the Head of Amazon Fashion at that time offered Aimee a job working with them. Aimee promptly shut this offer down because she had just received a promotion and said she would have nothing to offer them. A month later she flew out to Seattle and was offered a job at Amazon Fashion recruiting brands. She decided to take this job offer even though she had to move to Seattle.

In general, at Amazon, Aimee says she spends most of her time connecting and learning from others in the fashion industry, traveling, and deciding what brands should pair with Amazon. The brands they reach out to are chosen through customer demand, which is sometimes brand driven and sometimes not.

One of Aimee’s major tasks was to create a list of the top 50 brands that Amazon Fashion should pair with. Nike was number one. For years and years, Nike refused to pair with Amazon because the market was simply too big and they were unsure of how production would work. They were able to find a solution and there launch last June actually affected the stock market. Aimee said that this was her “drop the mic moment.”

Another project she worked on at Amazon was a celebrity collaboration with Drew Barrymore. Aimee’s advice was, “knock-off Free People, make it size 0-24, and make the price better.” After agreeing to this deal, Drew decided she wanted to cut the line to have it be only sized 0-12. Even though she wanted it to be an “every woman’s line.” This caused a range of different emotions from upset to angry when the line launched.

Aimee is hopeful of what Amazon has to offer in terms of innovating beauty stands, but remarks that “even though there are all these articles, all this news, Ashley Graham, Nicolette Mason you know all these people out there doing amazing things, the needle has not moved. Because it comes down to the manufacturer. And until the dollar can denote it, it’s not going to change in a big way.”

Molly Repurposes Jeans: Part One – Embroidering

Good evening, readers! Today I decided to try my hand at embroidering. For this project, I first went to a local thrift store and purchased a $30 pair of 90s Levi’s (a pretty good deal if I do say so myself).

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To embroider my jeans I used embroidering thread and needles. It is important to use embroidering thread instead of sewing thread as it is thicker and will be more visible.

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Then I used an embroidering hoop to make sure the denim was nice and taut.

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After the hoop was in place I drew a few simple designs that I wanted on my jean pockets. Once I had sketched out the designs I started embroidering away. I was worried about what the final product would look like as I don’t have much practice hand sewing, but because I went slow and followed the lines the task turned out to be relatively easy and fun!

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Final jean pocket looks:

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