Finding Inspiration

IMG_9966

When I started down my path of fashion design in college I had to discover a new way of learning and a new way of thinking. I was no longer completing my coursework through worksheets, quizzes and exams, I was completing projects; projects that included sketches, mood boards and original sewn garments. The most difficult part for me though was not learning how to sew or pattern my creations, it was finding the inspiration for those designs.

When I started my design work, the hardest part was to let my mind wander and to not overthink things. I felt as though my ideas were always safe and predictable. It took me a long time to realize that some of the best ideas come from some of the most unexpected places.

A lot of creative people suggested visiting art museums or looking at architecture or nature for inspiration. Well, living in Ames, Iowa made finding inspiration like that pretty difficult. I had to learn to look at the small things in life a little differently. What I learned is that you can find beauty and inspiration in some of the most mundane and random things around you. For example, my latest collection is inspired entirely off of office supply items, that’s right, items like pencils and rubber bands. The key is to take in the small moments of each day and pay attention to what you are doing and what is going on in every situation. Think about it; everything you interact with each day has some type of texture, color, shape, purpose and story.

IMG_0818 IMG_0734

Talk to people around you, read books on history or art, visit museums (big or small) and take in everything when you venture outside. Let your mind wander and explore the ideas that seem the most ‘out there’ or impossible. Those crazy ideas are the creations that will set you apart.

Andy Warhol’s work has recently become my greatest inspiration. He was always able to find beauty in the most unexpected places. If he can make a Campbell’s soup can a work of art, anything is fair game.  IMG_0727

Manayunk, Philadelphia

corner house As I’m sitting here back in the Midwest, classwork in full swing for my last year of college, I cannot help but reminisce on all of the beautiful places I have visited in the last year. One place in particular that always comes to mind is Manayunk, Philadelphia.

After my visit to Philly this summer I never really wrote about my stay in Manayunk, so I figured I would go back and write about my experience.

canal flower Now, for those of you that don’t know, Manayunk is a neighborhood in the Northwestern section of Philadelphia. It is located on the banks of the Schuylkill River and contains the first canal began in the United States. It is a beautiful hilly little neighborhood, full of colorful buildings, art and lots of fun shops and restaurants.

hill manyunk rest manyunk neighborhood There are a lot of great little bars there with tons of character. We enjoyed getting away from NYC for a weekend and enjoyed more affordable prices. You’ll notice a lot of locals around town, but there is also a very young presence there.

If you’re looking to visit Philadelphia for a weekend I would definitely suggest staying the night in Manayunk. It was a very relaxed getaway for the night. We had a lovely breakfast at Greg’s Kitchen the next morning too (so delicious and ridiculously affordable).

painting1 ice cream place street art My favorite part of our visit to this neighborhood was our walk along the water. There was a great little boardwalk, surrounded by plants and artwork. There were locals riding their bike along the path, and families eating ice cream near the water.

This was the perfect little escape from NYC.

man hil

Until next time Philly!

Dress Bright and Feel Bold

smiling far1

For a long time growing up I always played it safe with my wardrobe. I would put together creative, bright, kind of “out there” outfits, but then I never had the confidence to wear them out. I was scared of standing out in the crowd and always decided on the safe route.

looking down sitting1

Now, as I’ve gotten a little older and wiser, I’ve learned that standing out is actually a really amazing thing. Dressing bright and dressing bold and dressing a little “out there”can turn into confidence. I love putting together a super bright and colorful outfit, like this one, because it instantly puts me in a cheery mood. How can I not have a good day, and a confident day, when i’m wearing a cobalt blue dress and a plaid primary-colored scarf. This outfit is powerful, and instantly makes me feel like I can take on anything that is thrown my way.

walking

Interning at Kate Spade this summer has taught me so much, but one of the most amazing things that it has taught me is that living colorfully, being confident, and having fun can truly become a lifestyle. Life doesn’t have to be serious, and neither does your wardrobe! Reflect who you are, and your confidence, through your wardrobe.

bag pic

Manhattan Dinner Cruise

sunset1

Every year Kyle comes up with the most creative and meaningful birthday gifts, but this year he totally outdid himself. For my gift this year he booked a sunset dinner cruise around Manhattan. I had never seen the city from the water before, so I was extremely excited for my birthday adventure.

skylineday us

Our cruise was through Hornblower and they did a wonderful job planning the trip. There was an hor d’oeuvres and cocktail hour on the boat, followed by a three-course meal and after-dinner dancing. The boat cruised around the Hudson and the East River and had great photo-ops near the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.

There was a beautiful deck on the boat where you could stand or sit outside before or after dinner, or between courses. The weather was beautiful, so we enjoyed sipping on our drinks outside while taking in the breathtaking views.

drink bridgeboat

As far as our meal, the different courses were pretty tasty. I ordered the Tamarind and Orange Glazed Duck Breast for my appetizer, and the Oven Roasted Chicken Breast for my entree. Both were extremely well-prepared and had great flavor. The sweet potato puree with my appetizer was so well-seasoned I could have eaten a whole bowl of just that.  Kyle ordered the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake as his appetizer, and the Pan Seared Filet of Beef for his entree and they were pretty amazing too.. I had bites of course.  For dessert, I ordered the cheesecake, my absolute favorite NYC specialty.

food

The DJ played great music, mixing in the old with the new, and got everyone on the boat in a great mood. He played some top pop hits, some salsa music, and even some Frank Sinatra.

The Manhattan skyline lit up against the night sky is unlike anything else you will see in your life. We stood outside for almost half an hour just taking in the view.

skylinenight

For anyone living in, or visiting, NYC looking for a fun night out with friends or a romantic dinner date, I would definitely suggest booking a boat cruise through Hornblower. It was one of the most memorable nights in NYC I have had yet.

Brimfield Antique Show

audrey

Two and a half hours from Manhattan sits the little New England town of Brimfield; a quaint community surrounded by apple orchards, horse farms and rolling grassy hills. If you were visiting the area on a normal weekend it would appear as a simple charming small town, but three weekends a year this town actually holds one of the largest and best-known antique shows in the country.

Picture over a mile of tents, lining a hilly tree-lined road in Massachusetts. Brimfield Antique Show features more than 5,000 different vendors and sells anything from antique furniture and decor to one of a kind vintage fashion items.

horse think

When the handbag design team invited me to come with on their trip to Brimfield I couldn’t wait. It is the perfect place to find design inspiration and draw new ideas from vintage pieces of the past… Of course, I had to do a little shopping there too!

The show had everything you could imagine. From weird and quirky yard art, to trendy dishware, to spunky vintage clothing and accessories it was a maze of amusement. I loved wandering from tent to tent and exploring all of the old items. Some were weird and hilarious, some were dainty and beautiful and some were just plain historic… but I loved experiencing every angle of the show.

flamingo

lawn stuff fruit clothing

When it comes to eating there, they have any type of food vendor you could think of. a mac n’ cheese truck, lobster rolls, tacos, bbq, Italian paninis, wraps.. just about anything you could crave! Not to mention ice cream and treats of course. I had a fabulous lunch there mid-day, and was perfectly fueled to finish my antique hunt in the afternoon.

If you live in the area, or have an apartment in NYC, Brimfield would be the perfect place to shop for home decor and antique furniture. The prices, for the most part, are awesome, and incorporating a vintage piece into any apartment adds instant character. Unfortunately I will have to fly back home to the midwest soon, so I only shopped for things that I could realistically fit in my luggage… I think I did pretty well though!

Check out my little Brimfield haul below.

brim