Monday, March 30, 2015

Adventures in Modeling: Part Deux

Next Strides: Building a Modeling & Fashion Styling Portfolio

Last month I kept up my modeling and styling momentum with a second test shoot. This time I teamed up with the lovely and talented Momoko Fritz of Momoko Photography. Mo and I met at Anthropologie (sound familar?) and remained good friends. She played a major part in my decision to explore modeling.

We collaborated in October of 2013 for a mini shoot where she took the photograph pictured above. Mo really captured my spirit in this photo and the response I received from family and friends was overwhelming. The shoot stuck with me and had my gears turning. I was psyched to work with Mo again.

Additionally I had the opportunity to work with the multifaceted makeup artist Alyson Lyon again. Alyson has become such an awesome friend and resource since our shoot with Wittefini in January. Every time I leave this woman's side I take a wealth of knowledge with me.

Once again, before the shoot I shared an outfit lookbook I put together as well as a pinterest board of inspiration. Check out my look layouts below!

For our February shoot Alyson gave me a natural look for the majority of the photos and a dramatic eye and lip for my third outfit. Mo helped me transform my humble studio into, well... a photo studio!

We shot mainly film, which after shooting mainly digital for my first test shoot, was both nerve wracking and exciting. I love how the shots turned out. Mo and Alyson thank you for making me look and feel beautiful.

I'm seeing my growth from shoot to shoot and can't wait for what's ahead!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Conquering Menswear : Trumaker Style

After many years of fashion styling women's wear I've decided to expand my repertoire into men's fashion. I just started working as an Outfitter with a new menswear line called Trumaker. We make shirts built-to-fit men's unique measurements. Pretty cool right?

I'd say we've all scrolled through our closets to find shirts we really like but (there's always a but) they're too baggy in the waist or too short in the arms... I could go on. Something is always a bit "off", when buying straight off the rack. Trumaker is determined to eliminate this issue while creating a convenient service for guys to shop.

"Made-to-measure—or as we call it, built-to-fit—has its roots in a different era of personal style, when clothes were cut and sewn to fit individuals and be worn for years, not fill discount shelves and wear out after a season." - Trumaker

How Does it Work?
Great question! Gentlemen, book an appointment with an Outfitter like myself and we'll come to you at a place and time of your choosing. To ensure the service is convenient and accessible, your local Outfitter will meet you at your office, home or favorite coffee shop. There we'll learn about you and your personal style, take your measurements and show you our catalog of shirt fabrics. Check out a Fitting Breakdown here.

After your first appointment your first shirt is built and sent your way in a few weeks. Once you try on your first shirt and the fit is accurate, future purchases are simply a click away through the online store or contact with me, your Outfitter!
Now Trumaker was created based around built-to-fit shirts but we've taken it up a notch with handmade built-to-fit blazers. Additionally we carry sweaters, t-shirts, ties, belts and wallets. Basically we're a one stop shop fellas.
Why I'm in Love?
I'm a social butterfly and since I started with Trumaker a week ago today, I've had the opportunity to reconnect with friends. As Outfitters get started we book appointments with friends, family and people we know. I'm loving catching up with everyone and learning about my friends' style.

A brand who holds fit and quality at the utmost priority has my respect. Plus I LOVE helping people look and feel good! Watch out menswear :)


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Interview: Hugs & Harmony, A Conversation With JMSN

Photo: missthaxton

On a blisteringly cold Sunday night, Chicagoans ventured to Subterranean to warm up to the R&B sounds of JMSN and Rochelle Jordan. Opening acts and Chicago's own, Different Sleep and The GTW benefited from a very early crowd. With a line formed outside the venue more than an hour before doors, there was a mutual understanding that this tour and the performances ahead would be significant.

Photo: missthaxton

Rochelle Jordan's debut 1021 is an easy album to put on repeat. Representing Toronto, Jordan and her production counterpart KLSH delivered a set of familiar and new tracks to an excited crowd. A remix of my personal favorite "Ease Your Mind" had the floor moving. Jordan's performance excelled on tracks "Day Ones" and "401", which showcase her range from airy to hard hitting.

With a breadth of work, two full albums, an EP and a plethora of features, JMSN has built a steady cult like following. The singer/ songwriter/ producer has defined a genre, "hippy R&B", for his rich, dreamy contribution to the future of R&B. While touring in support of his latest self-titled album (The Blue Album) he made sure to balance his set with plenty of deep cuts for his avid and loyal fans.

With an unrelenting passion and pristine vocals, JMSN live is exhilarating. His free spirited fervor encompassed the entire energy in the room. I'm definitely going to borrow a few of those dance moves. A sense of camaraderie transcended from performance to the meet and greet, where no fan was slighted from a hug and a photo with the artist. The merriment continued backstage with bandmates recalling moments from the night.

Prior to the show, I had the opportunity to sit down with Christian Berishaj, the hard working man behind JMSN.

How is the tour going?
Real good, unexpectedly good you know. It's been surprising but it feels good. You hope for stuff and then when it happens, it's still surprising.

Has there been any city in particular that's been really responsive so far or stands out?
Yeah, there's been several. New York City was crazy. DC was crazy. Atlanta was crazy. There's been a lot of good ones.

How would you describe that feeling of walking on stage before your set?
It's different every time... I think that initial walkout is like when you first get a gauge of the energy of the room. And then sometimes it's wrong. Usually it's right on...

Sometimes it turns mid-set.
Yeah, sometimes it turns but you feel somethin or you feel nothing [laughs] you figure it out, right quick.

Do you have any travel rituals?
Hmm, that's a good question uhm... coffee, I gotta have my coffee. That's probably the only ritual, you know so we can stay up through the drive I guess [laughs] for sure.

There are a lot of great coffee breweries in Chicago.
Yeah I imagine, when you come to spots like this I get excited cuz I know there's going to be good coffee... not just Starbucks. I do not want Starbucks you know [laughs]... I will go to a gas station and get coffee.

You're from Detroit and you're living in LA, are there any cities or anywhere around the world that you're drawn to that you'd like to live eventually?
Yes, aww man... Coeur d'Alene in Idaho. It's such a beautiful place by the water. I would love to live there at one point. I just went cuz we were driving through to Washington, Seattle. It's kind of right by Spokane, which is like a college town in Washington. It is just the most beautiful place I've ever seen. I don't know how you could go through there and not want to live there [laughs].

"It's all in the eye of the beholder whether they like something or not but your surroundings are always going to influence you no matter what." 

Do you feel like your music is being influenced by your time in LA?
Yeah definitely, for sure... positively and probably also negatively but you know there's different aspects of both. It's all in the eye of the beholder whether they like something or not but your surroundings are always going to influence you no matter what. I could live in Detroit still and it would affect me positively and negatively, there's gonna be some good things about living in Detroit but there's also going to be some bad things... I won't even go into it [laughs]. I don't want to talk Detroit [laughs].

Your Nirvana cover of "Rape Me" has been getting awesome reviews, do you have a favorite cover that you've done so far or any songs that you would really love to cover?
Well that's the only cover I've ever really done... it's probably cuz they (Pigeons & Planes) asked me to do the cover. I'm not going to do a cover on my own. I never feel the urge to do a cover song. They asked me to do that cover and I was like yeah, sounds cool. I'd love to try that... it's fun to not to have the pressure of writing a song. It was cool.

Who are you listening to right now?
Good question, hmm... trying to think the last time we listened to music in the car. I have a playlist I listen to that's just a bunch of stuff from Bee Gee's to Lauryn Hill to Minnie Riperton to you know, like everything. I usually just listen to the songs that I like. I mean I guess sometimes I listen to a particular artist, but I actually really gravitate toward songs. When it's a good album, that's great. There's plenty of good albums but right now I've just been listening to songs. I don't know why, not really albums.

Are there any collaborations, producing or otherwise, coming up that you're excited about?
Yeah, uh Ta-ku has a record coming out and I'll be on that. And uh Kaytranada has a record coming out that I did a song for. Sango, Dpat, Freddie Gibbs, Ab-Soul and I working on something, another thing. I just had one with Joey Fatts that came out. Tryin to think if there's anything else I'm missing. That's quite a few but working on it.

It's interesting your collaborations kind of pop up. I heard your collaboration with Devon Baldwin recently, that was awesome... it's always different types of artists.
Yeah it's fun to do everything cuz I don't want to be limited ever to anything. I want to do whatever. It's art, it's music you know I love all of it. So I just want to be involved in whatever. Make it the best that I can make it. And hope the other artist tries their best to make the best they can.

How would you describe hippy R&B?
hippy R&B, like that [laughs] that's how I would describe it. No I mean... that term kinda came from the look of us, we don't look like your average R&B people. So it kinda stemmed from that, let's just call it hippy R&B cuz we kinda look left of center. Kinda like hippies were back in the 60's, wearin their long hair, and bell bottom pants or whatever. [laughs] It's just kinda outcast R&B, outcasts of everybody doing it... well I wouldn't say everybody.

Most of your body of work, your albums are available for streaming, how important is it for you to have your music so accessible for your fans?
Well the streaming thing is kinda like putting it out there for new fans. Cuz really, the real fans and whoever really wants to listen to it, I would hope that they would buy it only because the way I make albums, they transition and flow. When you listen to it on Spotify or Soundcloud it's gonna cut in between tracks and put whatever in between it or YouTube, there's an ad there or whatever. So the only way to really get the full experience is to buy it on a record and play it like that, the way it was meant to be listened to and heard. That's the only way you're going to get that experience. But streaming is for... like try it before you buy it I guess [laughs]

I think a lot of people feel uncomfortable about taking that risk and it seems like you kind of know that your fans are going to invest in you, your true fans.
Yeah and there's interludes and stuff that are on the record that aren't on Soundcloud and shit like that. There's always going to be stuff, that's special for the record.

Do you think there will be space for any new signees on White Room Records soon?
Yeah, for sure, I'm working on this girl named Alcordo. Trying to figure out how to get her record out and package it up. We did ten songs, so it's almost ready. I just need to get off tour and finish the production.

And she's from Canada?
Yeah, Toronto... she's great, she's real great. So we're trying to work on that and uhm and if something else comes along that'd be awesome. But I also have to focus on this [laughs].

"Being free is one the most intense feelings ever... it's joy."

How's the liberty of having that type of freedom, not being assigned to any label?
It's awesome. That's all I want in life is artistic freedom to do whatever I want. You know what I mean? Being free is the most important thing I think in my life. It's something I constantly try to strive for, is freedom. It's, I don't know... it's so... awesome. It doesn't just go for music. I think in general being free is one the most intense feelings ever... it's joy. Free to do whatever, even if it's nothing. Even if you want to do nothing, then do it. Just have the freedom to do whatever you want. So it might seem bohemian or whatever but that's the truth for me.

I feel you... I'm in a similar situation, exploring my blog, exploring what I want to do, taking the direction that I want and taking advantage of opportunities like this. 
You gotta just do you. That's important.

Being that my blog is called Shower & Food... Do you have any food addictions?
I like avocados. I do like avocados. Anytime, any day [laughs].

With your longer hair, the man bun has become ever popular, do you have any recommendations for hair products or tools or anything?
Nah, I mean that's funny you're asking this cuz right before you came in I was talking about shaving my head. I was like I'm so "over it" yeah, change, I need a change. So it's funny that you ask that. I don't use any products or anything so I don't really know. I just hate combing it [laughs].

"I really like singing. That really nourishes my soul, for sure."

On a deeper level, for me Shower & Food represents nourishment for body & soul. You've spoken to freedoms, is there anything in particular that nourishes your music or nourishes your soul?
Ahh well... music kinda nourishes my soul. I mean that would probably be the cut and dry answer, music. And then singing. I really like singing. That really nourishes my soul, for sure. When I'm good at it I guess. When I'm not fucking up, [laughs] but sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's hard, depends on the day.

What drives your affinity for the retro influence in your videos and photos; using film vs digital?
I don't know, I'm not into digital so much. I kinda like the classic feel of film. There's something about it. Maybe it's cuz I grew up on that stuff so it seems more real to me. But there's some kind of depth within that, that I feel you don't get with digital stuff, you know and... it's probably why it's never gonna die. You're never going to get that depth with digital and there's something real about that depth that makes you feel somethin else. And I love that, I love that.

Right on yeah, I'm actually exploring modeling a little bit. I had one shoot where we used all digital and then the last shoot that I had we used mainly film. And after it was over I was like, I don't know how to feel about this. I didn't get to see anything. I didn't know how it turned out and I'm still practicing you know so I was feeling a little insecure about it but just hearing you say that... it's true, there's something really special, there's a special quality about it. 
Yeah you have to catch those moments. It makes you appreciate the moments even more too cuz when you're developin 'em and you get 'em back, you're like, oh shit look at this, look at what we got, look at what happened. It's not contrived. With digital it's like, you know actually put your hand like this... c'mon man you know, it's like it's gotta be a moment. You can't recreate what you're seein. It's I don't know, gotta be magic. It's gotta happen. It can't be forced. So it's kind of similar to making music. There has to be this magic about it. This natural thing that happens. So that's probably why... long, long version [laughs].

How would you describe your personal style or fashion sense?
I don't know, I try to pick stuff that nobody else would wear cuz it's not in style and wear that, [laughs] ill fitting. It's fun to... I don't know, I guess it's like going back to the freedom thing. It's freedom to wear whatever the fuck you want, know what I mean? It doesn't have to be cool. It could be the most ridiculous stuff ever but it's what you're wearing. It's about you as a person.

This is one of my favorites of JMSN's gear but check out the rest here. Pick up a tee or a record and if your city has an upcoming date on this tour do not hesitate to see him live. Support this dude!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Be Mine 2015

For my boo and yours 

Happy Valentine's Day from Drake

The surprise release from Drake, If You're Reading This It's Too Late made for an eventful evening Thursday. Personally it held me up from my nightly routine, a shower and food naturally. When I reached track 8 "Star 67", the mixtape was removed from Soundcloud proving the tape's name pretty amusing.

I read one tweet stating Drake "wants so badly to be Beyonce." Although a pretty fun mental image, I don't really see how Beyonce has claimed the surprise release for all time. Drake clearly has the star power to demand large scale attention. That much is evident after hearing the his own perceptions of celebrity on the opening track "Legend".

By track 3 "10 Bands", the sing song stylistic Drake we've all grown to love was nowhere to be found. He's hitting hard on this mixtape. The reservations of fame have dwindled as he approaches a new phase of his career. On "Know Yourself" he raps, "I'm turning into a nigga that thinks about money and women like 24/7, that's where my life took me, that's just how shit happened to go!", a track where iLoveMakonnenn's influence particularly shines through.

So thanks for the early Valentine's gift Drake. You stirred up quite an entertaining couple of hours buzzed with excitement for your next contribution to the airwaves. One thing though, are you running through the six with your "woe's" or "whoa's"? Ahhh never mind, I'll keep listening.

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Adventures in Modeling

Building a Portfolio: Modeling & Fashion Styling

I'm trying new things this year. Exploring the world of commercial and print modeling is underway.

Recently I teamed up with Chicago based Wittefini for a test photo shoot. Jeremy Witteveen and Tina Serafini are not only a talented photography duo but an adorable couple as well! Tina was one of my favorite clients when I was a Personal Stylist at Anthropologie. We've been scheming to work together for some time so I was thrilled a collaboration was finally coming to life.

Makeup artist Alyson Lyon executed two beautiful looks. The first was natural while the second was a bit edgier with a cat eye and bold lip color. I loved both and took a list of every Mac product she used.

Before the shoot I shared a lookbook of over ten potential outfits for the shoot as well as a Pinterest board of inspiration. I aimed to gather a range of moods, focusing on form fitting pieces to accentuate my figure. We were able to shoot four outfits in three hours!

Tina, Jeremy and Alyson truly made me look and feel beautiful for my first test shoot. Our collaboration was an amazing way to start building my modeling and fashion styling portfolio. I can't wait to work with this team again! Check out a few of my favorites below and head to my spankin new portfolio to see a few more :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Red Bull Art of Can Chicago

If you find yourself in downtown Chicago in need of an energy boost, make your way to Millennium Park to visit Red Bull Art of Can. These days the sun sets as early as 4:30pm and Winter chills are encroaching quickly. The inspiring public art exhibition including a complimentary Red Bull is the perfect pick me up to counteract any Winter fatigue.

Hundreds of artists from across the nation conceptualized and submitted sculptural pieces of art created primarily of Red Bull cans. Thirty works were chosen for exhibition. Each prove inventive and impressive ranging from realistic to fantastical. "Mr. Bull a Community Brand", created by Kaleb Dean of Caldwell, ID is made entirely of can tabs. His subject is still, yet seemingly ready to spring to action similar to the artwork's material.

Red Bull Art of Can is a fun, interactive experience with personalized video sequences that are instantaneously sent to your cell and projected on the event's big screen. (Have you spotted me yet?) It doesn't stop there! Votes are cast for the "People's Choice Award" on Twitter and Instagram.

Although difficult to choose a favorite. I voted for "Swing of Things" by Angie Weaver of Delray Beach, FL. This piece is playful and evokes the invigorating and thrilling feeling of flying through the air on a swing as a kid. Red Bull gives you wings right?


Venue: Millennium Park - Chase Promenade South
Dates: November 7-16, 2014
Times: Monday-Friday: 7am-10pm, Saturday: 9am-10pm, Sunday: 9am-6pm