Black & Gold

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Happy Paris Fashion Week, guys!

I wanted to do something special to embrace a city that means so, so much to me. And of course, the first thing I thought of when I tried to imagine a Parisian outfit was … black!

This Helmut Lang blazer instantly came to mind, because the boxy shape provides an effortless style you’d see on someone like Emmanuelle Alt, editor-in-cheif of Vogue Paris. I absolutely love pairing my suede over-the-knee boots with leather-coated leggings, because the mixture of black textures makes each layer of this outfit pop.

Pretty much any top could work under a blazer like this (I almost went with a flowy charcoal tank to keep it monochromatic), but I opted for a little dazzle. We’re talking about Paris, after all! This gold pleated top from Zara was mega on sale, so I didn’t even feel bad about adding it to my already-overflowing bag, and I’m glad I did. Black and gold is possibly one of the greatest color combinations of all time, whether you’re inspired by rock-star style or classic glamour.

So, who wants to go with me to Paris? Wanderlust is kicking in!

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Blazer: Helmut Lang | Top: Zara (still on sale!) | Leggings: Express (similar here) | Boots: Charles David via Nordstrom | Bag: Marc Jacobs | Rings: Aldo (similar on sale)

Photos by Michael Ciuni

 

Oscars 2017 Best Dressed

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It’s always fun to take a break from Fashion Week coverage to tune in to the Oscars to see runway looks and couture gowns in action. Last night, I turned my attention to the red carpet arrivals at the 89th Academy Awards and waited for the stream of sleek tuxes and dazzling dresses.

White was a popular choice (Naomie Harris, Karlie Kloss, Sofia Carson, Chrissy Teigen to name a few), even for the men (David Oyelowo, Dev Patel). The carpet arrivals shined with Oscar-worthy gold (Emma Stone, Jessica Biel) and, as always, pastel hues (Nicole Kidman, Octavia Spencer). The reds were redder and brighter than the carpet they were floating above (Viola Davis, Ruth Negga). I was excited to see a range of long-sleeve choices, too!

As for the men, perhaps my favorite was best supporting actor winner Mahershala Ali, who wore Ermenegildo Zegna in all black. I appreciated Pharrell Williams’ bold Chanel look, and if you’re on the fence about Ryan Gosling’s ruffled shirt, I’ll clear the air for you and say he definitely pulled it off (but you still can’t beat the classics).

And the winner is…

Hailee Steinfeld in an absolutely fairy-like Ralph and Russo gown (it’s even better in the back!) and Taraji P. Henson in a sultry, deep blue velvet Alberta Ferretti dress. Because my top three were so close, shout out to Olivia Culpo, who shimmied and twirled for the cameras to show off the flapper-style fringe on her silver Marchesa.

Here is a round up of my Oscars 2017 best dressed. Who made your list?

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Hailee Steinfeld in Ralph and Russo // 89th Academy Awards

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Taraji P. Henson in Alberta Ferretti // 89th Academy Awards

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Olivia Culpo in Marchesa // 89th Academy Awards

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Chrissy Teigen in Zuhair Murad // 89th Academy Awards

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Janelle Monae in Elie Saab // 89th Academy Awards

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Viola Davis in Armani Prive // 89th Academy Awards

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Octavia Spencer in Marchesa // 89th Academy Awards

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Emma Stone in Givenchy Haute Couture // 89th Academy Awards

Photos by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images 

Wear the Cape

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Let’s face it, the weather here in the Midwest is crazy (it’s 70 today but might snow tomorrow, soak that in). Stocking your wardrobe with layers is key, and I’ve discovered that a cape is an easy alternative to figuring out which jacket fits best.

I never would’ve thought to seek out a cape while shopping, but it was included in my first Trunk Club order and I fell in love. You can throw it over whatever outfit you’ve already picked out for the day, and the black-and-camel color combo makes it easy to match a range of outfits. And the most important part? It feels as cozy as wearing a blanket!

I chose to wrap it over a simple black top, leather-coated leggings and my over-the-knee boots. But the cape works with jeans and dresses, casual clothes and fancier attire. I like to think of it as model-off-duty, because it’s so easy and versatile.

Shop the look below. Want to learn more about Trunk Club or sign up? Click here! A stylist will ask you questions about your style, hand-select items for your trunk, and then you have the convenience of trying it all on at home. (And no, this isn’t even a sponsored post haha!)

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Capelet: Nordstrom | Leggings: Express (similar on sale) | Boots: Charles David via Nordstrom | Rings: Aldo (similar on sale)

Photos by Michael Ciuni

Wednesday Wisdom: Like a Sunflower

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“Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you.” —Walt Whitman

Whenever I think of sunflowers, this quote comes to mind. Yes, I love how the cheery blooms brighten up a room. But there’s something so magical and awe-inspiring about seeing them in a field, angled in unison with one common goal: grow, live, thrive.

Like this quote suggests, sunflowers face the rising sun, soaking in as much light and energy as possible. (Sunflower in French is tournesol, derived from to turn/tourner and sun/soleil!) And like flowers, we also have to let our shadows — our burdens, fears, anxieties — fall behind us from time to time in order to thrive.

I’ve seen it written like this and credited to Whitman, and I’ve also seen a version said to be a Maori proverb. Either way, it’s a beautiful quote that reminds me to be strong, take challenges head on, strive toward optimism and focus on the light instead of the sometimes-persistent shadows of everyday life.

Photo taken at Maria’s Field of Hope in Avon, Ohio, by Michael Ciuni

The Birth of Light: Elie Saab Haute Couture S/S 2017

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Look closer at the shimmering, sheer gowns gliding down the runway, and you’ll spot a glistening palm tree that you almost mistook as a simple texture, or boats dancing on the blue waves of the Nile River.

The Elie Saab Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2017 collection is “inspired by an Arab epoch that left us with a priceless cultural and artistic heritage,” according to the designer’s Instagram account, @eliesaabworld. “Enjoying an atmosphere of stability and freedom in the beginning of the 20th century, Egypt turned into a hub of creative talent allowing Arabic culture to flourish.”

The colors range from a warm beige to sky blue to navy, with accents of crystal and gold, keeping in line with the majestic theme. Think sand, sky, water, warmth, royalty. And like the scenes the collection is inspired by, each look is perfectly cohesive, and the colors blend from one design to the next as the models take their turn on the catwalk.

Elegance is a word that can’t be avoided when describing Elie Saab’s haute couture. Delicate fabrics, princess-like silhouettes, old-Hollywood glamour. It’s no secret Saab loves to celebrate the beauty of women, but not without also expressing their power. Despite the softness and femininity of this collection, there is not a lack of strength. The patterns are bold, the slits are high, the styles accentuate and empower.

With feathered cuffs at the wrist and a belt synching the waist (in signature Elie Saab style), one dress is elaborately embroidered with crystals inspired by the popular Arabic cinemas. Nearly all of the 57 looks in this collection sparkle, a touch that will surely make a fabulous effect at the galas and red carpets where these dresses will be worn.

But Saab is making a point: he’s evoking an era that shines in his, and many of our, memories. And don’t our fondest memories have a warm glow and magical sparkle, too?

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See the full collection here.

Photos by Marcus Tondo / Indigital.tv via Vogue.com 

Layered Up

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One of my favorite things about fall style is the ability — and necessity — to layer up. I love how throwing on a jacket can completely change an outfit you’ve already worn, giving a fresh look to your go-to staples.

In the winter, my energy levels are low and my desire to throw together a cohesive outfit is usually overshadowed by whichever giant sweater is already draped over my dresser. But a look back at these pictures taken in October gave me a boost of sartorial inspiration: bling out your casual crew neck sweater with a statement necklace; step into a boot with a little bit of a heel; choose a pop of color instead of your go-to blacks and grays.

Winter doesn’t have to take all the fun and glam out of fashion! Plus, wearing an extra layer on a chilly day can’t hurt. Let this fall throwback inspire you, and shop the look below!

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Faux Leather Jacket: Steve Madden via Avalon Exchange Lakewood (love this one!) | Sweater: an oldie via Nordstrom (similar here, on sale!) | Jeans: Express via Avalon Exchange Lakewood (similar here) | Booties: Dolce Vita (love these) | Necklace: Francesca’s | Purse: vintage Coach (Avalon Exchange in Lakewood and Coventry often has vintage Coach purses come in, so check them out!)

Photos by Michael Ciuni

Best Dressed: Golden Globes 2017

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My couture-loving soul thrives on red carpet events, especially when these glamorous awards shows fall during the winter, a season filled with nothing but oversize sweaters and cozy leggings.

The first look I saw last night at the 74th Golden Globes was Mandy Moore, who was absolutely glowing in a Naeem Khan gown featuring a gentle shade of midnight blue. She was just one of many ladies rocking a plunging neckline. Priyanka Chopra looked like a golden goddess in a gilded Ralph Lauren design, and Kristin Cavallari sparkled in Idan Cohen.

Naturally, my best dressed lists lean toward my personal style, but last night I really tried to think about fit — both physically and fitting the star’s personality. Janelle Monae’s Armani Prive dress isn’t usually my taste, but the adorable high-low gown was perfectly suited to her style. And Drew Barrymore looked like the ethereal flower girl she’s known as in Monique L’huillier.

I loved the whimsy of Hailee Steinfeld in Vera Wang, and I adored the delicate and feminine dress worn by Chrishell Stause. Naomie Harris’s Armani Prive look reminded me of tree bark glowing in the moonlight (a compliment, I promise), as it was a perfect fit for her rocking body and skin tone. And have you seen the amazing details on Olivia Culpo’s Zuhair Murad design?!

Lastly, Evan Rachel Wood joined Octavia Spencer in proving girls can wear the pants, too. Wood killed it in her tuxedo-inspired Altuzarra outfit, possibly my favorite look of the night.

Take a peek at my best dressed below. What were your favorites from the 2017 Golden Globes?

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Mandy Moore wearing Naeem Khan

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Evan Rachel Wood in Altuzarra

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Hailee Steinfeld in Vera Wang

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Priyanka Chopra in Ralph Lauren

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Chrishell Stause with Justin Hartley

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Janelle Monae in Armani Prive

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Naomie Harris in Armani Prive

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Olivia Culpo in Zuhair Murad // Photo via REX/Shutterstock

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Drew Barrymore in Monique L’huillier

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Kristin Cavallari in Idan Cohen

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The “Stranger Things” cast looked fab! Pictured above: Millie Bobbie Brown in Jenny Packham, Caleb McLaughlin, Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp and Gaten Matarazzo

 

All photos Frazer Harrison/Getty Images (via Buzzfeed) unless otherwise noted.

A Year to Remember

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Another year down! As I was looking back at the last 12 months trying to recall key moments, it hit me. This wasn’t just a good year for Cleveland and, by association, me — 2016 was the year of the 216.

I traveled to two new states (hey Georgia and Texas!), connected with old and new friends, chased after countless sunsets, dined (brunched) my way through Cleveland’s fantastic food scene and got promoted.

I sat in the stands as the Lake Erie Monsters brought home the Calder Cup. I celebrated with my entire city when the Cavaliers broke our 52-year championship drought. Visitors from across the country chimed in about what a gem this city really is (thank you, RNC). And the Indians won the pennant, taking us back to the World Series for the first time since 1997.

As for Midwest Perspective, I got artsy at the Cleveland Museum of Art, prayed in Maria’s Field of Hope, explored Cuyahoga Valley National Park and tested out some fun style trends (Crop tops! Faux fur!).

Here’s looking at you, 2017. I hope it’s everything and more!

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National Treasure

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From sprawling fields of corn to the foothills of Appalachia to the Lake Erie shore, Ohio boasts a magnificent range of terrain. It’s also home to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and since our country is currently celebrating 100 years of the National Park Service, I made it a point to finally make a visit. I was long past due.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is criss-crossed with trails, roads and even the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. The 33,000-acre treasure also features farmland and marshes, waterfalls and dense, boulder-strewn forests. That’s where I went: to the Ledges at Virginia Kendall Park, where I hiked beneath a thick canopy of just-changing foliage to explore the caves and Ledges Overlook.

The forest is a magical place. I fell in love with the whimsy of the oversize rocks and the green glow of light passing through leaves. Right now (three weeks since I’ve gone), the park is most certainly an autumn wonderland — so it’s not too late for you to lace up and hit the trails, too!

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Photos by Michael Ciuni

Rally Together

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2016 is proving more and more to be the year of the 216 — from the Cavaliers ending the championship drought to hosting a successful Republican National Convention to the Lake Erie Monsters winning the Calder Cup. And now, the Indians are making their run.

The Cubs are long overdue (longer even than the Indians, who last won the World Series in 1948), but as the “Cleveland till I die” fan that I am, I can’t help but think this is our year. Baseball is the great American pastime, and it holds a special place in my heart, too. I’ll always remember my grandparent’s season tickets, the foul balls we’ve caught (or didn’t), ringing a cowbell for Albert Belle and watching as the sky faded from one color to the next during the long summer evenings. Some traditions change, players come and go, parties move to Napoli’s — but John Adams continues beating the drum. (A local legend!)

There’s been so much excitement in the City of Champions all summer long, and I can’t even wait to kick off the World Series right here in my favorite city in the whole world. And let’s not forget, just next door to the stadium, the Cavaliers will be getting their championship rings and defending the title.

I couldn’t be happier to call Cleveland home. Roll Tribe!

Photos by Michael Ciuni