All You Need Is Love, A Sense of Adventure and An Appreciation For 36 Foot Pieces of Art

Top: Saks Grey Label Bottoms: Saks Red Label Hat: Saks Boots: Chloe Savannah Boots Necklace: House of Harlow Sunnies: Prada

Top: Saks Grey Label Leggings:  Saks Red Label Hat: Saks Boots: Chloe Savannah Boots Necklace: House of Harlow
                                                                                      Sunnies: Prada

My recent trip to Texas was significantly better than my first one. This fact is entirely due to the fact I had the opportunity to meet my brand new niece, who for the record is the most beautiful baby to grace this planet. Ok, so my opinion might be slightly biased but facts are facts and the fact is, she’s perfect.

Alas, in addition to gaining about 20 pounds (no thanks to Whataburger which has nothing on In N Out, BBQ and Blue Bell Ice Cream shakes) I gained some intel on some pretty interesting places to visit when in Houston. The last time I was in Texas, the only place i visited was the inside of my hotel room, and my time was spent entirely watching a Harry Potter marathon on ABC Family. In all fairness it was disgustingly hot and humid outside. I can’t enjoy a place that causes my hair to frizz. Fortunately this time around it was just cold. Not freezing, but cold enough to make me appreciate our 80 degree winters in So. Cal.

While much of my time was spent bonding with my new favorite person, and catching up with my long lost furry four legged friend Bella (whom I lovingly refer to as Fluff) I made a commitment to see at least one interesting place before I left. So our last night in town, I did what any adventure seeking tourist would do and googled interesting things to do while in Houston. Of course the space thing and Whataburger popped up, but so did the work gallery of sculptor David Adickes. 36 foot tall statues of the most infamous band in the world? Now that’s a place I wanted to see! Not only was it free, but it was on the way to the airport. Perfect! While other visitor recaps included 18 foot busts of Presidents, my visit only included the Beatles and two headless president busts. Which was fine. Ringo Starr is far more impressive to me than the Ronald Reagan anyhow.

When I arrived I was beyond thrilled to find the giant statues of the fab 4 standing in what appeared to be an abandoned dirt lot. While I was bummed I only brought my 50 mm lens, and my telephoto lens therefore preventing me from capturing the brilliance of this art work at an acceptable angle and decent light, I did the best I could with what I had. It’s my understanding that the availability of work featured at the lot changes as pieces are obviously sent to more permanent locations. I checked affiliated hash tags on various social media sights to confirm that work had been sighted recently. It’s visiting places such as this, where someone has imagined and created aw inspiring works of art that can forever be shared with the world that inspire my sense of adventure. So, while I didn’t get an opportunity to visit the space center, or the park where alligators roam free, I did get to look into the statuesque faces of 4 rock legends, ironically in the form of rock. The world is full of so many wonderful things, all ya have to do is look for them.

*On a fashionable note, apparently it’s a dead giveaway to Texans you’re from California if you wear a large brimmed hat. I thought wearing a hat and my Chloe boots was my way of fitting in (nobody ever said your hat had to be a cowboy hat!) One woman stopped me to inform me she was in love with my favorite large brimmed black hat. “I don’t’ have a hat like that but I know they have those in New York and California” she explained. Well what’d ya know! I am from California! I told her next time I visited I’d bring an extra one in the event I run into her again. After all, it’s one thing to share a work of art with the world, but it’s also pretty cool to share a fashion statement.

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Fashion For A Cause: Meet Angela and Roi

Handbags for a cause.

                                         Handbags for a cause. All photos courtesy of Angela and Roi. 

When Angela and Roi initially reached out to me regarding their collection the thing that caught my attention was the fact that all of their stylish and high fashion hand bags were made of 100% vegan leather. And all this time I thought Stella Mcartney was the only designer who cared about protecting our furry friends in the name of fashion. Angela and Roi though is so much more than animal friendly fashion. Their philosophy of business is to “value customer satisfaction not profit margins.” They also believe in the ability to use their resources to positively impact the greater community. First of all let’s talk about their bags. From their minimalist and classic styles in an assortment of shapes and colors, all bags are available at affordable prices ranging from $58-$165. My favorite is the “essential backpack” priced at $128. Just like any other shopping experience I innocently perused through the color options not realizing each color represented a cause. For example, green bags benefit the “Anxiety and Depression Association of America.” Every green bag sold, Angela & Roi donates $5 to help in the prevention, treatment and cure of disorders related to anxiety and depression.

Also, similarly to other leading fashion forward charitable causes Angela and Roi dedicates a portion of their website to educating their customers on the statistics and what you can do outside of purchasing one of their bags to support the cause. And if that wasn’t enough, there is also “The Ribbon Project” a unique concept of bringing Angela and Roi followers directly to cancer and disease fighters. How it works is, Angela and Roi includes a post card with the story of a cancer or disease fighter with each purchase. A&R followers can then write a “hopeful message on the post card, snap a picture of it, and share it on their Facebook page and Instagram with the #ribbonproject and #angelaroi. With the “Ribbon Project” Angela and Roi aims to “bring hope and support to our fighters while we inspire our followers to do good!” The best part of this amazing project is you don’t even need to buy a bag to send a well wishes message. Visit Angelaroi.com and meet some brave souls battling intense illnesses.

Fighting battles is something my family and I are all too familiar with. My mom passed away 10 years ago in a battle against brain tumors. She fought long and hard but in the end it was a pain patch called Fentanyl that killed her. Then there’s my little cousin, Elizabeth, or our families little angel as we like to call her. She’s been battling Alstroms Syndrome since 2 or 3 months after she was born. Alstroms Syndrome is a genetic disorder with only 800 cases world wide. In a nutshell it’s a debilitating terminal illness that effects all major organs. Throughout the course of the disease one endures blindness, deafness, obesity and diabetes. It doesn’t end there, all those things ultimately lead to chronic heart failure, severe lung problems, and liver failure. Sadly, there is no cure for this syndrome. Heart issues are one of the key factors of this debilitating disease but ironically she has one of the biggest hearts I know. I remember a few years back and she was in the hospital. Naturally she was the recipient of well wishes and get well gifts. She didn’t want any gifts, unless her little sister Kayla got something too. I could go on and on about how amazingly brave and kind hearted she is but just know there probably is nobody sweeter than Elizabeth.

As if that wasn’t enough of a strike to our family’s heart strings, my twin cousins, one of which is Elizabeth’s mom was also diagnosed with a terminal illness called gastroparesis. Never heard of this one either? Ya, neither had I until I got another gut wrenching phone call that something was wrong. In a nutshell, they can’t eat anything because their organs that process food don’t allow their bodies to do so because their digestive system started shutting down. This is heart breaking for a billion reasons one of which is they could probably open up their own restaurant with all the delicious plates they put together. In case you were wondering these diseases, as rare as they are have their own awareness colors as well. Alstrom’s syndrome supporters are raising awareness every time they wear denim. And green is also shared with the gastroparesis community. Inspired by Angela and Roi, I would love if next time you my precious reader, wore denim or green, you could share with me and hashtag your photo on social media either #forelizabeth for denim or #foraimeeandbeth if you’re wearing green. They don’t ask for extra attention but I’m sure love and support from around the world would mean just that, the world. At the end of the day, we all know someone who is battling unfortunate diseases and ailments. Kudos to Angela & Roi for stepping up to help out in the most fashionable way possible. MoaToteWebMain A&RMoaWine RedRibbon BucketWhite4

Focused On Fashion With A 50 MM Lens

Top: Helmut Lang Shorts: Planet Funk Hat: Saks

Top: Helmut Lang
Shorts: Planet Funk
Hat: Saks

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Every time I wear this shirt I’m always going to be reminded of the time my boss spilled a plate of nachos on me. First time wearing it too! And for the record, nacho cheese sauce does come out of silk!

So despite popular belief, there is more to fashion blogging than having a fabulous wardrobe. Ugh, I really wish that were all there was too it. Glorified and perfected selfies on a camera phone don’t cut it either. If you want to be taken seriously in the blogging world, an investment in a top notch camera is a must. Then begins the mission of perfecting the use of a high tech camera. Which is a lot harder than it looks. I’ve done the Youtube tutorials. I’ve invested in the books. And I’ve blown up the phone of some of my photography savy friends. Thanks Mike! You’re always a life saver!

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Even though I’ve grown to love a sharp image. I still like having fun with Photoshop. This image was created using Photoshop Elements.

And while I’ve been at this for a little over a year now, I’m just barely starting to get the hang of this thing called photography. Looking back at some of my older posts, I really do cringe. Filters are not always the way to go. Even on an Instagram photo. After finally investing in a 50 mm lens (thanks to my supportive BF) I’ve grown to appreciate a sharp picture. Oh but the mission of photography doesn’t stop there. It took me over a year to get accustomed to the starter lens, and now I start the mission of learning how to work the 50 mm lens. It’s quite simple really with regards to zoom. There is none, and that’s where the only issue exists, especially when you’re at a place like Disneyland and a stranger offers to take pictures of you and your friends. The first thing I have to say is “there is no zoom” and despite this disclaimer everyone still looks for the zoom button.

Contrary to what a veteran photographer told me, this lens really is amazing. A few months back I went and had a chat with a guy who owns a photography shop and he explained that this lens was cheap and not worth the $100 price point. He explained that the purpose of the lens was to pronounce the subject with pristine focus and then blur the background. Something one could argue could be accomplished with even the most basic photoshop tools. However, the focus on this thing does not compare to even the best photoshopping tool. So far I’ve only had a few issues with the lens. First it’s super loud and can sometimes take a while to focus. I highly recommend shooting in manual to achieve the most desired outcome. Another issue I discovered today with this lens  was it’s hard to focus on a tripod when doing a photo shoot solo. I’m sure there’s a technique to mastering this that I just haven’t’ discovered yet. In the meantime I think I might just utilize the age old tradition of trial and error and invest in a marker to mark the focused spot.

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One of my co-workers introduced me to the term “vegan leather” to what I formerly called “faux leather.” I think we can all agree using “vegan” as opposed to “faux” has a more positive connotation, and even sounds animal friendly.

Animal Friendly Fashion Choices

Animal Friendly Fashion Choices

I have proudly always been against the use of any kind of animal for fur products. Even if this meant refusing a beautiful rabbit fur coat my grandma once wanted to bestow upon me. At the time I had a pet rabbit named Foofers, and I just didn’t think I could explain that to her.

So after stumbling upon a PETA video, that depicted the cruel and inhumane killing of fluffy little puppies (it was horrific, and I still have nightmares), I have since been on a mission to only purchase products in which no animals would have to suffer.

Some may think I’m a hypocrite. I love my leather bags but it took me a loooonng time to finally come to the conclusion that this was an environmentally ethical decision. I suppose my decision followed the logic that I am by no means a vegetarian, and if I could justify a bbq with steak a quilted leather Stan Bag could be equally justified. I would like to think the cow that was sacrificed in the name of fashion was very old, and very ill and the decision was one that only had the best of interest in mind for the animal.

I know, I know this is probably not true, but it helps me sleep better at night.

Since becoming more aware of other countries manufacturing ethics, or lack thereof I have since come to the conclusion that I don’t buy products made from China any longer, at least leather products. If I am faced with a decision that involves me choosing between a cotton piece made in India vs. China, or whatever the case may be I choose the other country. Something made entirely in the USA is ideal. Which surprisingly includes some of my favorite labels. J Brand and Wildfox to name a few!

In the case of leather, I’ve gladly discovered vegan leather. Even if it’s faux I don’t care. I’ve also discovered some designers make a concertive effort to produce animal friendly bags, Stella Mcartney being one of them. Which could explain why since discovering this tidbit of information I have been dying for one.

Celebs rock their animal friendly Stella bags.

Celebs rock their animal friendly Stella bags.