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Year in Review

It's the first week of 2017, and before the year is in full effect I want to take a moment to reflect on the past year before moving forward.

A few hours before jumping on a flight to come home for the holidays, I had one last shoot with Alia Rocha. With shortened days and little sunlight, it can be hard to be creative; but we found a way to make it work with the help of a happy light. Don't know what that is? Imagine a freestanding Ipad giving off an insane amount of light. It may not be the most conventional light source for photography, but it worked great!

It's not always easy but I have learned to appreciate and enjoy the simple shoots; ones that don't require multiple moving parts, studio lights, or extravagant clothes. I am thankful for the creative community I have come across in my new home.

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Over the course of 2016 I have experienced some major life changes, moments of growth, and plenty of high and low moments in 2016. I started my fitness journey and began really focusing on myself- body, soul, and mind. I spent some of the most amazing weekends in Panama City Beach with my other half, took a road trip from Atlanta to Seattle, moved to Alaska...oh and I got engaged and married in the time span of a week. Though the move to Alaska has been somewhat of a setback for my blog, it has been a major growing experience for me as a person.

So here's to the moments in life that make us stronger and prepare us for the journey ahead. See you guys in 2017!

xoxo

Lookbook

I have found a real appreciation for local businesses thanks to my time living in Seattle. My fashion roots started in Ohio where supporting local business isn't as big of a deal as it is in the Pacific North West. Since my move I have found a new respect for those who've created a brand and make clothes by hand. I recently had the opportunity to meet Victoria, the woman behind Kheops.

Her story is a little different from most I've met; she recently moved to Seattle from Europe in hopes of making a name for herself and her clothing line. Back home her brand is well known and has sold hundreds of pieces, so you might be asking yourself why she chose to move to Seattle. Not knowing much English, she decided to move to an area where she already had a network of friends and family who could help her make this the perfect starting point.

40 plus looks; 3 models in 8 hours! It was humbling to be a part of something so fabulous. You can only see five looks here but you still see just how versatile she is. Something fun, sophisticated, short, long, fitted, and loose- she has made all of this and even more! I love how unique the clothes are, not like anything you may see on the runway. A one stop clothing shop with various kinds of fabrics, all sorts of colors and various styles of clothing. Kheops is set to launch their website at the beginning of May but for now you can follow all of her adventures and new designs on Instagram and Facebook!

Photographer: Tereza Janakova / Makeup: Taylour Chanel

Georgia, Georgia

2700 miles and a three hour time difference separate us, but I have never been happier than I am with this man. Before I continue I will warn all readers that this isn't my usual post on fashion, but something a little more personal: the story of us.

Sometime last December I found myself bored and on Tinder- I said it, Tinder. Left swipe, right swipe, match...nine months together, and the rest is history. But seriously, last year I matched with Tristan and we spent his winter vacation messaging back and forth. Plans were made to try and meet up for Molly Moons and maybe go to the park but our schedules never seemed to match up. January came around and Tristan had to go back to school in New York so we decided to take it to the next level and text. Texting turned into late night calls, which led to Facetime dates. Tristan then was attending West Point and set to graduate in a little over 100 days. The school holds a formal dinner 100 nights before graduation and students bring dates, family members, and friends. He invited me to come as his date and also offered to fly me out for the weekend; I couldn’t say no!

On February 19th, 2014 on a cold street in New York City, we met for the first time, and he was just as handsome in real life. A stranger I met on an app has become my best friend, the love of my life, and the editor of my blog. Life really is like a box of chocolates, you just never know what you're gonna get- I think it's safe to say that I got lucky with this one.

Fast forward to now, our relationship stretches from Seattle to Georgia, but we have been fortunate enough to sneak in weekend visits here and there. God, life, the universe has a way of putting the right people in your life at the right time. Two days before leaving for another weekend visit I left a comment on Faith's Instagram page, a photographer in Georgia, inquiring if she would have any time or interest to do a quick shoot while I was in town. A few hours later I was surprised to see a reply from her in my inbox, and the next thing I knew we had plans to shoot! Here are all the pretty things we captured that day.

Until the next adventure.

xoxo

Photographer: Faith Allen

Summer in Seattle

Summertime...and the living is easy.

Summer is slowly but surely coming to an end, and I'm so thankful to be able to say it has been one of the best of my life. My first summer in Seattle has been filled with new friends, cool music, good food, and fun adventures.

I was so nervous when my mom brought up the idea of moving away from Ohio, the place I considered to be home- but it turned out to be the best decision.

I first met Stephen Klise this year in January. One night as I was searching the world of hashtags on Instagram, I came across his work. I instantly fell in love with his natural lighting photography and natural style of editing.

Stephen and I were looking to have a little adventure; I had a day off from work and the sun was out, so we decided to take some photos at Carkeek Park. Even though the park is just around the corner from downtown Seattle, it was just the outing we were looking for. Sometimes, even a small adventure to the beach can provide a fun escape!

Photographer: Stephen Klise

Shop Local

Do you know where your clothes come from? That may sound like an odd question, but take a second to really think about the answer. If you answered a store name I want you to think a little deeper, before the clothes reach the rack how did they come to be?

This is not a post to judge or talk down to anyone, but more to inform. I myself shop at name brand stores, but it is something I work to change as much as possible every year. Part of that whole less is more, quality over quantity-update wardrobe kick I'm on.

Dress: $95

Melanie is a Seattle local designer who creates all of her pieces by hand. Yes, people still do that. Melanie, founder of Klad Apparel spends up to eight hours a day creating one piece of clothing by hand. Some items may take a little less or a little more time depending on the design.

A few posts ago I made a comment about Zara being one of my new places to shop. In my mind it was an upgrade from Forever21 quality, but in reality they are all the same. U.K. magazine Daily Mail did a piece on Zara in 2013 after a lawsuit was brought against the company. Employees were found working 12 hour days, and only making between $147 to $272 a month. How does that add up?

Think about the pay rate of the person who made this dress from Zara, and the cost of the dress. Now I want you to think about the cost of the material, time spent creating the pieces with prices listed from Klad Apparel- all of a sudden shopping local seems like a very reasonable option.

Dress: $85

Huffington Post did an interview in 2013 with TS Designs about manufacturing and the ins and outs of the clothing business. Based in North Carolina, TS Designs pays their employees $15 an hour- according to the Institute of Global Labor and Human Rights, an average factory worker in Bangladesh makes $0.21 an hour. Let those facts sink in for just a second. This pay rate difference is the reason TS Designs produces less clothes, but is able to keep their brand state side. Ridiculously low pay, child labor, and workers from impoverished countries are being used to create multi-billion dollar companies.

If you think this only happens overseas, you are wrong. Before I started writing this post I did a lot of reading and came across two articles by Huffington Post and Business Insider on Forever21 that changed how I looked at the company and their clothes. Before a lawsuit in 2001 many of Forever21s clothes were being made in LA, where employees complained they were being paid CENTS per item they made. Cents- I couldn't believe it, however after reading countless interviews and lawsuits, I came to the realization that this is a real problem. Little pay, unsafe, and unfair work conditions are a reality for many people who work for many different companies.

So the next time you go shopping, think of where your clothes come from and consider shopping local. I know I will.

Photographer: Angela Carlyle/ Makeup: Sable Desiree/ Hair: Shontia Delpin/ Stylist: Frilancy Makungu/ Jewlery: Lembas/ Clothing: Klad Apparel