Making Moves

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I love so many different styles of houses, it’s impossible to choose a favorite: Colonial, Victorian, Craftsman, Tudor, a farmhouse with a wraparound porch, a storybook cottage straight out of a Thomas Kinkade painting. (I just now remembered I used to be obsessed with his works!)

But I think deep down I’ve always loved one more than the rest, and I’m overjoyed to share that I found my brick house with shutters and a flag waving next to the front door. I’m officially a homeowner!

Change isn’t always something I embrace with open arms (I’m working on it!). Downtown has been my “big front yard” for five years, and leaving this place I’ve called home is what pushed me to pen my Downtown Cleveland Bucket List. I’m already overwhelmed by all the tiny (and big) things that have to be addressed in this old house, and we haven’t even moved in yet. But for the most part, it’s in excellent shape for being 80 years old and I feel overwhelmingly excited and blessed.

I can’t wait to make it my own, decorate, rearrange and rearrange again, to find that perfect cozy nook for drinking tea on a rainy day, and most importantly to grow into it and watch this old house become home. Many amazing memories have already been made here. I can’t wait to add our history to it as well.

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Downtown Cleveland Bucket List

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“Carpe diem” is more relevant to me than ever lately.

I’ve lived in Cleveland’s Warehouse District for five years now — and I love it. This year, though, we decided to start house hunting, and giving up our downtown digs is going to be hard. I love being able to walk to work. Or to eat. Or to drink… Or to run frantically out of my apartment to take pictures of an exceptionally great sunset.

It’s so easy to take something for granted when you’re in one spot for five years: It’s raining, so you stay in. You don’t want to wait for dinner, so you revisit that same old spot. That’s all fine, honestly. But when you see an end in sight, everything seems immediate again. Suddenly, your list of must-visit spots grows.

That’s where I am now. So, back in March, I put that list on paper and started creating my “Downtown Cleveland Living Bucket List.” I had a slow start (thanks, Cleveland spring), but now I’m heating up. Although it’s bittersweet, I know it’ll be hella fun.

For anyone who’s living downtown, planning to move here or just wants to visit for a day, this list is for you, too!

Downtown Cleveland Living Bucket List

• Walk across the Hope Memorial Bridge
• Get boozy at Porco Lounge & Tiki Room
• Watch the sunrise at Edgewater Beach
• Watch the sunset at Edgewater Beach
• Go to as many Indians games as possible
• Soak in the views from the Azure Rooftop Lounge 
• Go to the Terminal Tower Observation Deck
• Photograph the Fountain of Eternal Life
• Bar crawl through Ohio City (Note to self: don’t forget Bookhouse Brewing)
• Brunch at Alley Cat Oyster Bar (my favorite Cleveland brunch!)
• Jog on the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Trail
• Go to mass at the Cathedral
• Take photos at the murals in Ohio City
• Triple threat at Hilton Cleveland Downtown: Eliot’s Bar, The Burnham, Bar 32
• Patio hop on East Fourth Street (I just did this!)
• Buy treats at the West Side Market (Just did this, too!)

This is just a quick peek at the list (I’ll spare you the finite details haha). For anyone looking to really explore Cleveland, someday maybe I’ll make a “50 Things to do in Cleveland” post. Until then, here are a few go-to favorites:

• See a play or ballet at Playhouse Square
• Visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
• Wander through the free Cleveland Museum of Art
• Take a walk in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens
• Sunbathe at Edgewater Beach
• Eat everything, from L’Albatros to Il Rione to the West Side Market
• Brewery hop at Great Lakes Brewing Co., Collision Bend Brewing Co. and beyond
• Go to a game: Indians, Browns, Cavaliers, Monsters!

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All photos my own.

Gone Camping: Met Gala Best Dressed

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If you didn’t get the theme of this year’s Met Gala, you’re not alone. Had I not looked it up beforehand (and again and again, because I still couldn’t put it into words), I would have been watching that pink carpet thinking everyone’s lost their minds.

This gala wasn’t about the typical glamour we’re used to from red carpet events. This year’s theme reflected The Costume Institute’s spring exhibition, “Camp: Notes on Fashion” — which examines how the elements of irony, humor, parody, pastiche, artifice, theatricality and exaggeration are expressed in fashion.

These costumes are already making more sense, right?

The exhibition was curated in the framework of Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay, “Notes on ‘Camp.’” Here’s a tidbit: “The essence of camp is its love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration. The hallmark of camp is the spirit of extravagance. Camp is a woman walking around in a dress made of 3 million feathers.”

And feathers flourished. Among my favorite ladies in plumage were Anna Wintour wearing couture Chanel and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who wore an Oscar de la Renta gown with more than 70,000 hand-embroidered Swarovski unfoiled glass lochrosen stones and the most glamorous cape of hand-dyed feathers. Her ensemble took an Old Hollywood approach to camp with the extravagance of Jean Harlow and Marlene Dietrich.

Oscar de la Renta also teamed with Regina King in a look inspired by Nina Mae McKinney. Then there was queen Celine Dion’s fringed wonder, influenced by Judy Garland and the glitz of the Ziegfeld Follies.

This theme means something different to everyone. Drag culture is a huge part of camp, though not mutually exclusive. And camp, as this exhibition shows, dates back to the royal courts of Louis XIV. Camp is also Cher and RuPaul and Bjork’s swan dress. It’s also movies and art — notably, John Waters.

With all the different interpretations and opinions, it’s not up to me to say these are the “best dressed” from the [pink] carpet. Rather, here are some of my favorite looks, which range from beautiful to cool to full-amp-on-the-camp. Besides, it’s about having fun. As Sontag notes, “The whole point of camp is to dethrone the serious.”

Who topped your best dressed list?

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Celine Dion at the 2019 Met Gala // Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

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Anna Wintour at the 2019 Met Gala // Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

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Cara Delevingne at the 2019 Met Gala // Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

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Janelle Monae at the 2019 Met Gala // Angela Weiss / AFP / Getty Images

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Lupita Nyong’o at the 2019 Met Gala // Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

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Charli XCX at the 2019 Met Gala // Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

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Diane von Furstenberg at the 2019 Met Gala // Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

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Laverne Cox at the 2019 Met Gala // Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

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Naomi Campbell at the 2019 Met Gala // Angela Weiss / AFP / Getty Images

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Billy Porter at the 2019 Met Gala // Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

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Rosie Huntington-Whiteley at the 2019 Met Gala // Angela Weiss / AFP / Getty Images

 

 

Oscars 2019 Best Dressed

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It’s always fun tuning in for the red carpet arrivals during award show season, and the Oscars are one of the most glamorous nights of all.

This year, I noticed that there seemed to be less “heavy hitters” and big names than in years past. Or am I just getting old and not quite in the loop with the fresh faces of Hollywood?!

Either way, I saw a lot of fun, beautiful and crazy looks this year. One thing you couldn’t miss was the color of the night: Pink! It ranged from pretty pastels (like Kacey Musgraves in a Giambattista Valli tulle gown) to hot and vibrant (Gemma Chan in Valentino Couture) to multi-tonal (Helen Mirren in Schiaparelli). Ruffles and fun silhouettes were also a big hit.

I also want to mention the fabulous duo Lisa Bonet and Jason Momoa. Besides looking impeccable, their red carpet style was a tribute to Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s creative genius who passed away last week. Lagerfeld designed Momoa’s tux personally for him, and Bonet’s muted beauty is from his last Fendi couture collection.

Without further ado, here’s a handful of my favorite looks from the 91st Academy Awards. Let me know your red carpet best dressed!

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Amandla Stenberg wearing Miu Miu // Steve Granitz/WireImage

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Gemma Chan wearing Valentino Couture // Josh Haner/The New York Times

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Marina de Tavira wearing J Mendel // Josh Haner/The New York Times

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Michelle Yeoh wearing Elie Saab Haute Couture // Josh Haner/The New York Times

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Jennifer Lopez wearing Tom Ford // Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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Constance Wu wearing Atelier Versace // Steve Granitz/WireImage

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Allison Janney wearing Pamella Roland // Josh Haner/The New York Times

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KiKi Layne wearing Atelier Versace // Josh Haner/The New York Times

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Regina King wearing Oscar de la Renta // Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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Jason Momoa in a custom tux by Karl Lagerfeld and Lisa Bonet wearing Fendi Couture // Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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Helen Mirren wearing Schiaparelli // Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

 

See my Oscars 2018 Best Dressed red carpet style here.

Wednesday Wisdom: Shine From Within

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Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.

Today would have been Dr. Maya Angelou’s 90th birthday. She was a poet and an activist. She is celebrated for her wisdom and her insightful writing. But life wasn’t handed to her on a silver platter, and she worked hard to better herself — and in doing so, helped to better the world around her.

I’ve kept this photo saved on my desktop at work since 2014. My screen is messy, with icons scattered evenly across it. It looks alarming, but to me it’s organized. And right there on the top left I have a string of photos that I’ve refused to stash away in a folder. This image is one. Right there in plain sight and ready at a moment’s notice to click, expand, read, and motivate.

I’ll leave you with another favorite quote, words I’ve tried to live by even before I saw them written down. In essence, treat others kindly. Raise people up.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Looking to the Stars

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Stephen Hawking

Photo Credit: David Parry/PA

Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.

A brilliant star left our universe today. Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking died at the age of 76, but he leaves behind his wisdom and moments of humor. I can’t say I know much about this amazing man’s teachings or theories, but I’ve admired him for years.

This quote is a beautiful reminder to live life to its full potential. To add to it, in a 2010 interview with Diane Sawyer, Hawking said: “If you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.”

Let these wise words continue to inspire you.

Oscars 2018 Best Dressed

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The Oscars is always a fashion event to look forward to, with guests arriving to the red carpet in their most glamorous ensembles. And unlike events like the Grammys or the Met Gala, the stars aren’t over the top, yet they still find ways to insert a bit of their own character.

It’s also fun spotting trends. Metallics were a major theme of the night once again: Jennifer Lawrence in Dior, Sandra Bullock in Louis Vuitton, Lupita Nyong’o in custom Atelier Versace, Zoey Deutch in Elie Saab, Sally Hawkins in Armani Prive and so many more. This year, many of the “Black Panther” stars brought the spirit of Wakanda to the Dolby Theatre.

Ladies in red also made a splash, donning a particularly vibrant hue. This includes best supporting actress winner (and Ohio native!) Allison Janney wearing Reem Acra, Maya Rudolph, Meryl Streep in Christian Dior Haute Couture and Christine Lahti in Romona Keveza. (Fun fact: the red carpet is a patented shade of garnet red that’s unique to the Oscars!)

I absolutely love that Rita Moreno wore the same dress that she wore when she won best supporting actress for “West Side Story” during the 1962 Academy Awards. The gown, which was made in the Philippines, still looked vibrant, unique and glamorous, and the 86-year-old actress paired it with statement gloves but sported a new neckline.

Then there’s James Ivory. The 89-year-old “Call Me By Your Name” screenwriter took home the Oscar for best adapted screenplay, becoming the oldest Oscar recipient in history. He also won style points for his shirt created by artist Andrew Mania, which portrayed the face of actor Timothée Chalamet from the film’s final scene.

There are so many more notable moments, including Tiffany Haddish who wore a traditional Eritrean dress in tribute to her late father. But without further ado, here are my best dressed moments from the 90th Academy Awards. Who topped your list?

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Rita Moreno // Kevin Mazur/WireImage

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Sandra Bullock in Louis Vuitton // Kevin Mazur/WireImage

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Allison Janney in Reem Acra // Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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Lupita Nyong’o in Atelier Versace // Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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James Ivory // Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

90th Annual Academy Awards

Octavia Spencer // Steve Granitz/WireImage

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Jennifer Gardner // Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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Gal Gadot in Givenchy Haute Couture // Kevin Mazur/WireImage

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Chadwick Boseman // Steve Granitz/WireImage

In Frame: Warby Parker Resort 2017

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The Warby Parker Resort 2017 collection is here, and it already has me dreaming of warmer days … And Clark Kent?

As someone who used to wear giant shades (which, in hindsight, made me look like an alien), it’s refreshing to see a streamlined and updated look. The Warby Parker Resort 2017 collection style is classic in its simplicity with a vintage flair, yet still feels modern.

When it comes to style, I’m a sucker for details — whether it’s the addition of a dainty pendant necklace to a simple outfit or bold embroidery that’s the star on its own. The Resort 2017 collection takes this a step further with hints of metal that are only visible from certain angles.

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Tate in Hazelnut Tortoise, Wren in Jet Black

Starting at $145, the collection features both eyeglasses and sunglasses in a range of shapes and hues. Jet Black with Rose Gold, Marbled Walnut with Gold, Hazelnut Tortoise Matte with Silver, Oak Barrel with Riesling, to name a few.

While I love a good tortoise frame when it comes to everyday eyewear (and this collection does tortoise right), I’m surprisingly drawn to the thick black frames of the Wren (also available in a gorgeous opal tortoise) and Archer (which is the reason I have Clark Kent on my mind).

For sunglasses, I typically like them to be as black as my year-round attire. Playing on the mix of modern and classic, my favorite styles in this collection are the Avery (perfect for men and women) and Cleo (which leans more toward a vintage, feminine flair).

The Warby Parker Resort 2017 collection officially launches today. Find it online and in-stores, and check out the full collection here! Which pair is your favorite?

All opinions are my own.
Photos provided by Warby Parker

All in a Sunset

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Nothing takes my breath away quite like a beautiful sunset. Whether I’m relaxing on vacation, stealing glances from my office window or stopping mid-jog to snap a picture, I can’t help but let the changing sky move me. This time, though, was a bit more profound.

On the surface, this is a gorgeous display of light just after the sun dropped behind the mountains in Palm Desert, California. But I have a confession about this evening. Just a couple hours before I was marveling at the sunset, I was complaining about the very same clouds. Tanning is often an important part of my vacations (I’m from the Midwest, can you blame me?!), and the clouds were blocking my rays.

Later, as I was staring in awe at shifting colors that faded from fiery orange to neon pink to soft purple, something hit me. I tried to hide the embarrassing squeak that rises in my voice whenever I get emotional as I turned to my dad: “You know I was complaining earlier,” I admitted, “but without these clouds, the sunset wouldn’t be nearly as beautiful.”

To me, it was a learning moment — and just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. I was moved by the beauty of nature and reminded why we should always aim for grace and humility.

Be grateful for the little things, recognize your blessings.

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Met Gala 2017: Best Dressed

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At the heart of the Met Gala is this year’s Costume Institute exhibition, “Rei Kawakubo / Comme Des Garçons: Art of the In-Between.” The display of avant-garde styles and unusual silhouettes shaped the evening, which paid tribute to Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, founder and creative director of Comme des Garçons.

To state it best, for Kawakubo, “the whole point of clothes is to challenge the established notions of beauty,” as The Guardian reports.

And as the New York Times further points out, “ … she refuses to accept any of the rules that govern normal clothing design: that clothes need to be flattering, for example, or that they need to have armholes. Instead, she is interested in challenging our ideas about what defines beauty, identity and gender.”

For reference, scroll down to see Tracee Ellis Ross actually wearing Comme des Garçons. (Rihanna and a few others were, too). Is it fashion I’d wear? Probably not. But I can respect the style for its artfulness and the boundaries it’s pushing. Like the New York Times says, it is, perhaps, not dressing to be beautiful or sexy and not necessarily to accentuate your body type or gender.

Katie Holmes looked grand and elegant in Zac Posen, but it’s not the soft, billowing gown you first expect. On closer inspection, it’s structured and almost rigid. It’s fashion that takes what you expect and alters it slightly, and that, to me, is key to last night’s “avant-garde” theme.

It might be the Costume Institute’s gala, but I never fully enjoy the over-the-top costumes some guests wear. This year, though, I can see more and more that I appreciate the stars who take black-tie glamour one step further, altering their look slightly with an interpretation of the evening’s theme.

The 150-foot red (err, blue) carpet and grand staircase lend themselves to a lineup of gorgeous trains. There were feathers galore and leggy slits Angelina Jolie-style. Black-and-white-and-silver was a clear favorite, as seen on Cara Delevingne in a Chanel pantsuit, as well as Chrissy Teigen and Halle Berry, who added a sheer element to the monochromatic trend. Janelle Monae went extra bold in her go-to uniform of black and white.

What’s one look I can’t get over? Blake Lively’s golden Versace dress that bursts into a mermaid-blue feathered train. (Nicki Minaj was a fan of her look, too.)

Here are my 10 Best Dressed ladies from the 2017 Met Gala. Who topped your list?

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Blake Lively, wearing Versace, with husband Ryan Reynolds

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Reese Witherspoon wearing Mugler

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Cara Delevingne wearing Chanel

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Katie Holmes wearing Zac Posen

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Diane Kruger wearing Prada

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Zendaya wearing Dolce and Gabbana, via Getty Images

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Hailey Baldwin wearing Carolina Herrera

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Fei Fei Sun in Alberta Ferretti Limited Edition, via Vogue.com

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Stella Maxwell in H&M, via Vogue.com

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Tracee Ellis Ross wearing Comme des Garçons

Photos by Benjamin Norman for The New York Times unless otherwise noted.