You’ve probably figured that out by now. But something has changed over the past few years…
As I’ve grown older and have added the very important role of “Mom” to my resume, my focus has definitely shifted a bit. While fashion and style still inspire, nothing — and I mean NOTHING — is more important to me than the well-being of my kids and family. I know there are thousands of moms (and dads) out there who feel the exact same way. I also know that there are thousands of parents who are not as fortunate as I am and who struggle daily to keep their family safe, warm and well fed.
When the HUNGER NETWORK OF GREATER CLEVELAND reached out to me about partnering on a post and helping them get the word out about the amazing work they do, I couldn’t help but jump at the chance to help those less fortunate.
Since relocating to Cleveland, I’ve been on the hunt for unique, stand-out boutiques with something special to offer. If I’m going to shop local, I want to look different from every other girl/guy that walks in and out of a department store, or mass retailer. As a woman, this task is pretty tough, but I think it’s actually way harder for men! Contemporary menswear just doesn’t change that much season to season, or even year to year. More importantly, if you’re going to buy these pieces that you could potentially wear for years (at least, my guy does!) you want them to be the best quality possible.
Each time I make a shopping trip, the first question I get from my guy when getting home:
“What’dya get me!?”
Generally, my response is:
“Not much… they didn’t really HAVE anything for you.”
Now that I have XHIBITION in my life, my answer is different.
A few days ago, I was invited to attend a brunch at one of the newest boutiques and retail concepts in Cleveland. Called XHIBITION, this menswear and lifestyle driven retailer is focusing on emerging designers and lifestyle brands that have a story to tell. Through unique art, design, interactive events and of course, fashion, XHIBITION seeks to give each visitor a totally unique shopping experience and perhaps educate them along the way.
The XHIBITION team does a truly bang-up job curating a tight collection of up and coming designers. From sportswear staples ADIDAS and Y-3, to lesser known, in-demand labels like PUBLIC SCHOOLand PLAY by COMME DE GARCON, you’re bound to find something for the man in your life. Actually, you’ll probably find something for yourself, too. Many of the pieces carried by the store are unisex and can be easily sized to fit a woman’s body. Oh, and sunglasses! All of the sunglasses. Two of my favorite new sunglasses brands- SUPER & ILLESTEVA are carried by the store… Get them while you can.
Now, onto my favorite topic: shoes!
The collection of shoes at XHIBITION is pretty epic. Even if you’re not a full-on sneakerhead and just want a cool looking shoe for weekends, you’ll be pretty hard pressed to not fall in love with everything on that glowing shoe wall. Ladies, again, don’t feel left out. Most of these shoes are unisex and can be purchased in smaller men’s sizing (FYI, a women’s size 8 is the equivalent of a men’s size 6). Personally, I’m totally enamored with the PHARRELL x ADIDAS collaboration. Candy colored original Superstar trainers?! Yes, please. #becauseimhappy
Lest we forget the small things in life, XHIBITION carries some of the best smelling and best looking lifestyle and gift items. How cute are those Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat art-inspired candles above? From unisex moisturizers, to quirky home decor items and even a fantastic selection of fashion magazines that are worthy of a spot on your coffee table display (I picked up a CR FASHION BOOK, myself!), XHIBITION has got you covered.
P.S. — For those in the local CLE area, Xhibition is located at 2068 W. 25th Street in the Ohio City area of Cleveland. For out of towners, there IS an E-COMMERCE SITE that carries a selection of their in-store merchandise. If you are looking for something specific that is not available online, don’t hesitate to contact the store directly (216-298-4770)- they are always happy to assist!
Even after 3 years of being away from New York City, I still get occasional pangs of homesickness for my hometown city that no substitute could realistically fill. When the holidays roll around that feeling of homesickness just gets amplified when I recall unique places and gritty details about NYC that have significant meaning to me: restaurants, bars, parks, streets and yes, even boutiques! So when the incredibly kind folks at BRIGADE in Beachwood invited me to check out their space and their clothes, I went with fingers crossed hoping I would discover that special something that the mass retailers and department stores in my region just couldn’t fulfill.
Well, to say I was impressed is an understatement. If you haven’t heard or shopped at BRIGADE before then let me give you the scoop. BRIGADE is a locally owned and operated clothing and lifestyle boutique with 2 locations (Beachwood Mall, Main Level & Columbus), specializing in contemporary designer fashion for both men and women like Rag & Bone, Helmut Lang, IRO, and Pas de Calais. They are also one of the few retailers in the area to carry a wide selection of G-Star brand denim and apparel.
(Keep reading to find out how YOU can take home a piece of Brigade with you!)
Founded in 2004, BRIGADE and its staff are committed to curating a sophisticated collection of clothing and accessories to meet all of your fashion needs and expectations. You could literally walk into that store and walk out with an entirely new wardrobe that could easily be mixed and matched for any occasion. Each article of clothing and every accessory is precisely on trend for the season, yet classic enough to last for years to come. How do they do that!? An amazing eye for fashion and serious style skills. That’s how.
Kate, a womens’ apparel buyers/stylist, helped me put together two fantastic looks that immediately felt like “me.” She picked out pieces that I would have never selected for myself but once I had them on, I didn’t want to take them off. So I didn’t. Instead, I hit up one of my favorite parts of Cleveland- Tremont, and checked out a new bar on the scene called, THE SPOTTED OWL.
Once inside THE SPOTTED OWL I was immediately drawn to the warm, reclaimed woods, buttery leathers and industrial loft feel. Totally, NYC, right? I was surrounded by a good dose of masculine infused with elegant feminine details – just like the clothes I had on! So obviously, I made myself at home… with the help of some very talented bartenders and perfectly mixed cocktails.
If you’re wondering about that delicious cocktail in my hand, it’s the THE QUICK FIX NO. 2: orange-peel smoked russian standard vodka; lemon; vanilla & ginger beer. THE SPOTTED OWL prides itself on its selection of unique craft cocktails using only the freshest and finest ingredients available. I’ll take another, please!
This might have been one of the most delicious FRENCH 75s I’ve ever tasted… dangerous. Between the fabulous clothes, great atmosphere and warm and welcoming people, I felt totally at home. Although my homesickness for NYC may never fully disappear, it’s nice to know I have new places to come home to.
OK, so here’s the fun part:
In the spirit of the holiday season, BRIGADE has agreed to give away a G-STAR “STURWED” V-NECK SWEATER valued at $170+ (PSSSssst… it’s the one I’m wearing above) to one lucky Heart’s Delight reader! Participants must reside in the NE Ohio area and claim their prize at BRIGADE’s Beachwood location. There are a few fun ways to gain entries, so please make sure to read the instructions closely. The giveaway will end at MIDNIGHT on SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7th so get your entries in and spread the word!
P.S. My non-NE Ohio friends, if you’re interested in any of the clothes featured in this post, please, please, please support local small businesses and drop a line to my new stylista-extraordinaire, Kate at Brigade (email@example.com // 216.765.0099). She’ll hook you up!
(Disclaimer: While I was asked to promote Brigade and received a G-Star sweater to giveaway, all opinions remain my own. My readers and overall editorial integrity are the two most important aspects of The Heart’s Delight. Know that I will only promote or recommend products and services that I would personally use and/or purchase independently of this blog.)
As I anticipated, August has been a crazy, but very fun month (see my recent mini freak-out HERE). Last night was spent in the company of about 20 lovely ladies and a joyous bride-to-be at an engagement celebration, which I coordinated and styled for a client. My poor feet are hating me today- big time. No matter how much you try to convince yourself that a pair of heels is comfortable, 6-8 hours standing in them will make you change your mind.
With all of my running around yesterday (in heels, obviously) dealing with deliveries, pick ups and set-ups, my original blogging plans got derailed… that’s life. Instead, I thought it would be fun to give you all a look at some of the details from last night.
The hostess wanted the party to have a casual, elegant ease to it, so what’s more casual and easy than Mexican food? Definitely a crowd pleaser! I rang up one of my favorite Cleveland restaurants, Momocho, and Chef Eric Williams and I put together the perfect menu of party friendly foods- assorted guacamoles, salsas and chips, empanadas stuffed with goat cheese and roasted veggies, chorizo queso fundido, mini tacos with the most delicious fillings (coffee and ancho braised brisket, Oaxacan mole roasted chicken, cumin roasted carrots and spinach)… are you drooling yet? There may have been a few margaritas involved as well. Two tequila infused thumbs-up to the watermelon-mint variety!
For floral design, I wanted to continue the feeling of casual, elegant Mexican without going too “Mexican Fiesta” happy. My floral design guru, Brandon at Urban Orchid whipped up the perfect solution: muted pastels with bright pops of color, natural burlap fibers, bright greenery and of course, everyone’s favorite little plant- succulents!
Brandon was able to source 20 mini succulent plants in assorted varieties which I then wrapped in pieces of burlap fabric and finished off with some bright twine. The finished plants looked so cute and served as the perfect decor for the entryway console. At the end of the night, each guest got to take a little piece of the party home with them.
Ummm, can we discuss dessert for a second? What you see below was probably the perfect end to our Mexican soiree. Momocho provided churros with a warm chocolate dipping sauce. The churros may have been crack-laced. People could not get enough- they were THAT good. The Mexican spiced chocolate truffles were no joke either. They were the perfect balance of sweet and heat. I taste tested for quality. I’m good like that.
So, that’s what I did last night. Now, it’s time for coffee.
Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening”
After living in this city for over 2 years, I can say with certainty that Cleveland definitely gets a bad rap. “The Mistake on the Lake” may have had its ups (i.e. the opening of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995) and downs (i.e. the unfortunate burning of the Cuyahoga River), but from the time I’ve spent here I can only speak positively about the “216” (the CLE area code, for those not in the know). From the amazing food scene, to the young and energized vibe across areas throughout the city, Cleveland really is undergoing a major transformation and revitalization. What was once a “Rust Belt” relic is now a city thriving with new life and it’s hard not to get excited.
I’ll tell you what else I’m excited about: THIS DRESS! I purchased it on shopbop.com about a year ago and honestly love it more each time it gets worn. The cutaway neckline, the sliver of exposed midriff, the flowing fabric… I’m in love.
(I may or may not have a goofy grin on my face because directly to my left is a large table of drunken beer dudes enjoying my impromptu photo shoot while sipping their delicious locally-brewed beers at Nano Brew #easilyembarassed)
1) It’s crazy the lengths that women have gone through over the years, all in the name of beauty. And you thought that eyelash curler contraption was bad! Read about some of the most dangerous beauty treatments through the ages. (nymag.com)
2) After living in NYC apartments for most of my 20’s, I know that space is definitely a luxury to be cherished. If you’re struggling in your small space, here are 34 genius tips for an instant home upgrade. Oh, and yes, it’s perfectly acceptable to utilize your never-used oven for additional shoe storage! (refinery29.com)
3) Now, why didn’t I think of that?! Numbing foot spray is going to be hitting the market in a few short weeks. Stiletto lovers rejoice…and break out your shoe stash from the oven! More importantly, this should definitely be added to the aforementioned list of dangerous beauty treatments (see link #1). (fashionista.com)
7) So, this past week, THIS happened. Learn more about The Heart’s Delight, my style inspirations, my fashion icons and my best everyday style tips! (cleveland.com)
Wow, it’s been a crazy and exciting week! I’m looking forward to a little calm before the Christmas/New Year storm sets in to get myself organized, relaxed and ready to go. Great things await, and I’m ready to end 2013 on a high note. Hopefully, you’ll be joining me for the ride.
This post should actually be titled, “How to Look Cute When it is Beyond Freezing Outside, Your Nose is Running Non-stop and You Are Wearing Your Heaviest Down Puffer Coat for the 10th Day in a Row.” #CLEproblems
Isn’t it ironic that during this festive season, when it’s all about sparkles, rhinestones, little cocktail dresses and heels, Mother Nature decides to create her own version of “Survivor: Winter Edition?!” Between Thanksgiving and New Years Eve, Mrs. Nature does all she can to drive you into cold-weather submission and retire you to your sweatpants and hoodies (not that there’s anything wrong with that… on occasion!). Well guys, I’ve done some serious research on this cold weather dressing topic, and having spent most of my life in the North East, attended college in Ithaca, NY (a.k.a the Snowbelt), currently residing in Cleveland, OH (a.k.a. mecca of lake effect snow) and being of Russian heritage, I think I qualify as “expert.” Now, listen up and focus… I’m about to divulge the #1 secret to looking put-together even in the coldest of winter spells:
ACCESSORIZE! ACCESSORIZE! ACCESSORIZE!
With proper accessories, your arsenal of cold weather tricks will include (in no particular order):
Hats are great. They keep your head and ears warm, they cover up any serious flyaways/frizz/static/dirty hair issues and they can add some fun color to any outfit. If I hear, “…but I don’t look good in hats!” one more time, I’ll scream. I swear. Just like dating, there is someone out there for everyone. You may not have found your Mr. Right, but you definitely need to keep looking. He’s out there, I promise.
Gloves are such an inexpensive and easy way to change your look, even when wearing the same coat. During the day, I tend to go for the more utilitarian options- the warmer, the better! However, for a more dressed up look, don’t be afraid to throw on some color. What better way to update a neutral coat, than a fun pop of color peeking out!
Out of all cold weather accessories, scarves are by far my favorite. Aside from the fact that I am probably cold 80% of the time (my husband claims that I have zero blood flow), I think any sort of color by my face makes makes my skin look more radiant and makes my overall complexion brighter. When the temps dip below freezing, I’ll take what I can get! As you know, I’m also a HUGE advocate of multitasking workhorses in your wardrobe… and these scarves fit the bill. Even in warmer weather months, you’ll find me layering a lighter weight scarf over a basic shirt or dress to give it a little oomph, or wrapping a larger scarf around my waist for a quick cover-up at the beach.
So, what do you guys think? Are we going to rock this cold weather look, or what? Take THAT, Mother Nature.
What are some of YOUR best tips and tricks for looking great in cold weather? Please share!
1) First. I must apologize in advance for those cat-lovers out there who will find offense in the link about to be provided. Second, I must apologize to those ladies who take the bouquet toss tradition at weddings very seriously. Brides throwing cats. Enough said. (bridesthrowingcats.com)
2) In the beginning, celebrities had the traditional assistant. Then came the bodyguard. Next, there was the professional umbrella holder (P.U.H. for short)… which we non-celebrities mocked. So how do we feel about the new “Instassistants?” Discuss. (nymag.com)
3) They’ve come a long way since their days playing Michelle Tanner on ‘Full House.’ The Olsen twins are officially the cool “it” girls of fashion. Between their multiple fashion ventures (Elizabeth & James, The Row, etc.) and multi-million dollar fashion and entertainment empire, Ashley & Mary-Kate still manage to pull off the “Oh, I just rolled out of bed and my hair looks perfectly frizzless and tousled” look. Find out their hair secrets, courtesy of their long-time hair pro. (thecoveteur.com)
4) Cheese is perhaps my #1 guilty food pleasure. I just can’t ever get enough of it. This grilled cheese recipe elevates the humble sliced cheddar to new proportions. (flourishingfoodie.com)
5) I’ve found the perfect dress to help me transition into the Cleveland winter tundra. NOW: wear it with a light denim jacket and strappy heels. LATER: wear it with black tights, leather booties, big layered scarf and moto jacket. All for less than the cost of your weekly Starbucks habit. (asos.com)
6) Thinking about updating a bathroom or powder room? Before you make any changes, read this. (apartmenttherapy.com)
7) I love home decor. I hate browsing through a design magazine, falling in love with a piece of furniture, and then getting my heart crushed when I find out it costs $12,000. Well, the editors at ‘The Everygirl’ heard my cry and have come to the rescue with 10 Money Saving Decorating Tips. (theeverygirl.com)
I finally came to the determination that this Clinton Kelly quote should be my new mantra. At least to get me through the next few months. I realized Thursday night at 11pm while I was cleaning up an epic mess in the playroom that I just can’t do it all, no matter how much I will myself. Sometimes, it’s just too much- kids, house, renovations, school activities, sports, charity work, blogging and trying to maintain friendships and relationships. Crap, I have a hard time maintaining my hair color! I’ve been missing a calm in my life and I’m steadfast about getting it back. Learning to say no seems like a skill that’s simple enough, right? I mean, my two-year old has no problems with it, so why is it so challenging for me, and for women in general!? Anyone have any good theories?
Regardless, I’ve moved on. I’m going to be more selective and smarter about the responsibilities I take on and totally kill it. Starting with my weekend. For whatever reason, even though it was the standard weekend, I just feel like I was able to get so much accomplished and most importantly, had a blast while doing it all. Here are some glimpses into the fetes and fun:
A sippy for mommy and a sippy for baby… everyone stays happy. Thank you Mad Tex for providing an environment that makes it socially acceptable to order a cocktail while having an early bird (ummm 5:00pm, anyone?) family night out.
Cleveland rocks! At least my husband and I did at the Rock and Roll Mini Marathon. Big winners.
To compensate for all of those calories burned, may I present the Lucky’s Cafe gingerbread waffle with apple compote, homemade whipped cream and caramel sauce. Hello friend.
Yeah, the stuffed brioche french toast with plum compote, whipped cream and candied pecans wasn’t too shabby either!
Looking forward to a wonderful week ahead… maybe my little one will give me some pointers on how to use the word “NO!” She truly is an expert.
2) In e-commerce news, H&M just launched their online store in the US! Bargain shoppers rejoice and avoid the terribly long lines and crowds! (hm.com)
3) It’s August… prepare for the Back-to-School retail floodgates to open. How adorable is this t-shirt? Better yet, it’s on SALE. Your little guy will definitely fit right in at the cool-kids table with this gem. (momastore.org)
4) Nothing better than a trick (or ten) up your sleeve when it comes to your beauty routine. Five top fashion editors divulge their best beauty secrets. (byrdie.com)
5) As the tail end of Gen X, I 100% agree that Gen Y could stand to learn a few things. Starting with this list. (forbes.com)