Silkstaq Update

Last August...Florencia of @florencia95 and I journeyed to Montreal and although we had managed to successfully connect with only one bloggeuse (the radiant Blondie In Canada) prior to arriving, we ended up joyfully meeting up with 8 bloggers! 

However...in Sep or so (honestly, I forget when), I had a bit of a early-midlife crisis, and complete writer's block, before we had managed to document our interviews with all of the bloggers, for which I am sincerely, deeply sorry. 

I am overjoyed to say that I have just emerged from this crisis, renewed and wholly new, and am very excited to finish the blogs posts for the bloggers I had neglected to carry out my promise of showcasing. To Chloe Dumont, Westmount Fashionista, and Hey Maca, I'm really really sorry. I know apologies tend to be wholly inadequate, but I hope you'll forgive me.

Since last August, my co-founders Gordon Turibamwe (of ProfileZone.com) and Zack Ma and I have been working closely together to reconstruct Silkstaq from practically scratch as it were. Honestly, this has been an arduous and surprising process and it has all but killed me. I've been, quite honestly, practically a nervous wreck for the past 7 months, because it's really scary, making something that has no guarantee of success. 

It's also taken far longer than any of us dreamed it might. You'll laugh to hear that initially, I thought - very delusional - that we would be able to do this in a mere 2 weeks. I have no idea why I thought this at the time, except that I was just frantically scrambling. I basically had scrambled eggs for brains. Actually that's gross...sorry for that horribly disgusting metaphor.

The new Silkstaq will do some amazing things that the old Silkstaq only distantly dreamed that it could do... for example, the new Silkstaq will gift the blogger who signs up with an almost instantaneous shop from their existing affiliate links (that have been mentioned in your blog). It will also do some cool collage-y things. To be unveiled very soon! We aim for April 7th, although experience has taught me not to be over-confident about deadlines. However, I am quite cheerfully optimistic that we may keep our word this time.

So - wishing you a lovely day, and successes in all your endeavors!

xoxo,

Rujing
Silkstaq co-founder

 

Montreal Fashion Influencers: Jon Arseneau

Q. What brought you to Montreal?

Music. I knew music was going to be a part of my life. I just didn’t know to what degree. Now I make a living as a musician. I wanted to study somewhere the music culture was actually happening. Just to get to listen to a bunch of stuff, also the programs here are pretty good. I finished that about 2 years ago, and now I make a living playing music.

Q. Are you in a band?

I’m a freelance musician. I have a few steady bands that I'm a part of. Mostly I play with Quebec artist Bobby Bazini. I got to play all around Quebec last year - he’s releasing a third album shortly. I also play in the chamber pop band Shyre - we’ll be playing at the Jazz Festival. I play in a Hip Hop Collective called Urban Science - it’s the best Thursday night in town. 

Q. Tell us about your interest in fashion

I think it started with sneakers when I was younger. I had an obsession with sneakers and I still do. That’s what got the foot in the door, no pun intended. Slowly but surely, I was looking at dressing better when I moved to Montreal 6 years ago. It was maybe a year-and-a-half ago when I really started getting into fashion and st trying to see what’s out there. 

Q. So how many pairs of sneakers do you own?

Over 50. Not sneaker head level, but it’s embarrassing.

Q. Kanye West is a huge influencer in menswear and sneaker culture, how do you feel about him?

I like it (West's brand Yeezy), I just can’t justify paying 2K for a pair of 350s right now. He’s definitely helping men get into fashion. He’s probably the #1 influence. A lot of people are getting into streetwear and boots right now. I have a noragi partly because Kanye started wearing it. 

Q. Why does fashion matter to you?

For me, I just like expressing myself through clothes. It gives me a way to just express myself other than playing music. I just choose to express myself in that way. I like feeling about myself, when I put on an outfit I really like, you feel good about yourself.

Q. How would you describe the Montreal style?

Where I’m from, style was a lot of skateboard brands. When I moved here, I felt like people had a different aesthetic. I completely changed wardrobe when I moved here. I just felt like people cared more about what they are wearing than in New Brunswick.

Q. What are your top 3 favorite items right now?

One is loose crop pants. I think those will be big for men in the future. slowly people are getting away from skinny and skin tight. There’s definitely wave out there of people who are dressing looser. Two, white sneakers for summer.. and three is pastels. Light wash denim, pastel colored tees boxy, less-fitting items. 

 

 

 

New York Fashion Week S/S 2017

Emerging designers you NEED to check out!

 

Well, sadly, NYFW has come and gone, but there are still a couple collections we wanted to share. My name is Cecile Bizet. I am a Fashion, Lifestyle, and Travel content creator on Youtube, as well as Silkstaq's influencer representative at NYFW. Which, is why I'm here to share my favorite looks.

While many highlighted shows such as Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hilfiger, and Oscar De la Renta. I decided to share some smaller designers that you may not have seen yet. So, shall we?

Georgine

The Georgine show was definitely one of my favorites. They styled short 90s style dresses with oversized outerwear for a sleek, but relaxed look . Showcasing an elegant, rocker-chic style complete with LOTS of metallics. What's not to love?

KUHO

Korean fashion label, KUHO, hosted it's US debut during NYFW. The presentation is sure to make anyone who appreciates minimalist concepts very excited for what's to come. KUHO takes inspiration from architecture and art, adding to the structured, yet still casual, style.  

Amanda Maria

Canadian designer, Amanda Maria, brought the boho-minimalist style to a whole new level. Staying within a neutral color scheme, the show had the perfect balance of trend and originality. It featured pieces that would surely complement any woman's wardrobe.

IAHAI

Swiss Knitwear designer, IAHAI, brought a wave of creativity to the runway. With pieces that seemed suited for a washed ashore beach goddess, there was truly room for the mind to wander. The collection was clearly reminiscent of nautical and menswear-inspired styles, and was presented in an unconventional manner. Making it unique in comparison to the standard New York fashion scene.  

Jill Stuart

Last, but definitely not least, we have New York designer, Jill Stuart. She is known for her signature schoolgirl plaid ensembles, prominently featured in 1995 film Clueless. Due to this background, it is no wonder that the runway was abounding with classic 90s trends such as detached sleeves, metallics, and slip dresses. Each one with a fresh twist, fit for more current times. Honestly, I might have to buy every piece. 


Thanks for reading! Be sure to keep up with Cecile's other adventures on Instagram and Youtube.

Photos by Lumirend.

Flower girl: Inside Stephanie's Closet

Okay, so we didn't actually get to go into her closet - but we got to spend a lovely afternoon with Stephanie, first at Montreal's iconic Atwater Market, then for a slightly-damp stroll (it had just rained) along Canal de Lachine that she very sportingly acquiesced to, in spite of her suede Zara sandals, and finally ending up at one of those Amélie-esque cafes that...

Read More

Rocker on the Beach: WRECKLESS GIRL

The Silkstaq Team met Christine AKA Wreckless at Venice a California surfer-themed restaurant in Old Montreal. Over sushi bowls and some sort of tacos, we got a glimpse of Christine's fascinating life. Having grown up on the South Shore, Christine is a Montreal native who is inimitably comfortable in her own skin. She calls downtown Montreal "the island" (which, being geographically ignorant Americans, we were like, "what island?"). From her day job as a visual planner for a trendy apparel store to her edgy-yet-chill rocker/LA-vibe, Christine is living life to the fullest, embracing the joy of the moment, and sharing her supercool perspective. You can stay up to date with her blog and social media by following her on Silkstaq.

Q. How did you get started blogging?

I started back in 2007. It was mainly just for fun! I was posting about things I love and it was a way of self-expression. In the beginning, it was just a hobby that I would do on the weekend sometimes. At some point, I became more and more active on the blog. At a certain point, I had to change the name, because it was just a random name at that time. I was getting a lot of feedback from my followers, and I decided to change my name. I changed my social networks, and now everything is aligned, and it’s easier to find me.

Q. Aha, the genesis of 'wreckless'. So how did you come up with Wreckless?

I was looking for a short name for the blog. It was a few weeks of searching and writing down some names. It was my best friend who came up with it. "How about reckless?" It was the Urban Slang Dictionary who added the W in the front. It means someone who doesn’t give a sh*t. I read the description and felt like, yeah, that’s who I am. It’s different. It’s bold. As soon as I read the description, I was like: this is it. I found it. It was a hard thing. I had a whole page scribbled with various words!

Q. Gotta ask, what was your pre-wreckless moniker?

ChristinaPirate. I created my first Instagram account at the beginning of Instagram. I downloaded the app just for the filters - there was no interaction with anyone. I chose 'ChristinaPirate' because pirates are badass. Around that time, I created my blog with 'ChristinaPirate' too. 

Q. How would you characterize your style? 

Edgy - rock - 90's and grunge era: the chokers and the leather jackets! Then last year I started skateboarding, just for fun. The more I did it, the more interested I got in California style. So I also have this side that’s really beachy and tomboy. Now, I sometimes try to mix the edgy rock style with CA. I like to wear boyfriend jeans, crop tops, and I’m always in Vans sneakers. 

Q. It's obvious that music is very central to your style.

Music is really important to me. I’m always listening to music. Attending a music festival or going to a concert is my favorite thing to do. I like every type of music, but I especially love rock music: punk rock and alternative. It’s been like that since I was a teenager. I started listening to music on my iPod and going to concerts when I was really young. When I was a child, I listened to my father play lots of instruments. He really loves rock and roll too. My style is definitely influenced by rocker style. When I go out, I'm more rocker- and grunge-style at night, beachy by day. I’m a weird contradiction sometime. It's like I have two personalities clashing. 

Q. Who are some of your favorite bands?

You may not know these bands if you're not into this kind of music...I listen to a lot of Bring Me the Horizon and Architects, a band in the same vibe from the UK. I've also loved The Used since they got started!

I love pop music as well - Lady Gaga, Melanie Martinez. I love girls that have their own style and aren’t afraid to accentuate it. These two are my favorites. I also love rock bands with female lead singers: Metric, The Pretty Reckless (with Taylor Momsen who plays Jenny on Gossip Girl). 

Q. Can you tell us about your awesome tattoos?

I love tattoos. This is my first tattoo [right wrist]. It’s just a star, really simple. I did that maybe 10 years ago. I have a little heart [left outer wrist] and a lightning bolt on my left ribs. They don’t have specific meanings. I’m a person who can't know in advance what I'll want. I follow a lot of tattoo artists from around the world. Sometimes artists are posting sketches. I have an original piece of a skull with moth wings on my right thigh. I was following this girl from Montreal - she was posting sketches and one day I saw it, fell in love it, and the next day I was going to her shop. 

I like to draw a lot, so maybe one day I can draw something. I really love Valfré, an artist who draws very girly graphics, the kind of stuff I draw. I really love her style - she’s one of my favorites.

Q. What are you fav places to shoot in Montreal?

I never really plan my shoots. I'll just be somewhere with one of my girlfriends or my boyfriend and "okay, let’s take pictures." I feel that if I were to plan something, it's not going to be as interesting as I wish it would be. 

Outfit

Jeans (high-waisted mom jeans with zero stretch and ankle crop) - Garage
Lace-up top - Garage
Choker - Garage
Shoes - Vans
Leather jacket - vintage
Leather bag - vintage

Check out Wreckless on Silkstaq, where you can discover influencers in your style and size.

Plus check out this Wreckless-inspired Youtube playlist.

 

 

50 Shades of Beige: Frenzr Founder Mariella Katz

We were lucky enough to meet up with and chat with Mariella Katz, founder of the Montreal-based social media agency Frenzr. Mariella showed up with incredible hair (hair tips below) and a killer bag. With her naturally exuberant personality and vibrant high energy, it's easy to see how she's launched a successful startup in less than a year. We had a blast photographing her on the sunny medieval-gray-stone streets of Old Montreal, and we're excited to share with you here her entrepreneurial story, tips, and style advice.

First things first - your hair is amazing. How did you do that?

I used a curling iron. You simply have to wrap the hair around the iron from the middle of the strand, away from your face - towards the outside of your face. 

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Russia and spent my early childhood in Bulgaria. I immigrated with my parents to Montreal 14 years ago. I grew up on the south shore of Montreal. I didn’t speak the language when I first came, not English, not French. It was a very hard period of adaptation - I was lucky enough to build a great circle of friends with whom I was able to practice the two languages.

How did you start Frenzr?

I studied interactive media and web tv, later transitioned to advertising and PR, and that landed me a job in corporate advertising. I really liked it at first because of the experience. Who doesn’t want to land a good job as your first one? But it wasn’t creative enough for me. I felt like a lot of entrepreneurs were walking in the door and they were being told no because they didn’t have the budget. They were all brands I really wanted to work with. I started doing some freelancing on the side - I probably had 3 or 4 customers. I decided a month later to quit my job. Funnily enough, Frenzr came out of being a university project. I had just taken a project a little bit further than usual. I put one and one together, my site and the existing customers - that’s how an agency was born. Today we have an amazing office in Little Italy, about 15 active customers, 3 full-time employees, and 10 collaborators with whom we work on contract bases.

So you were in school when you started Frenzr?

I was finishing up university while I was working. I was still in university when Frenzr first first started. It was evening classes, because I had my full-time job during the day. I had maybe 3 crazy months when I was working full-time, going to university full-time, and I was trying to start my own company!

What gave you the courage to take the plunge?

After having a little taste of the entrepreneurial life by doing freelancing, I simply started to want it more and more and to really take it to a bigger scale, although the risks were a lot higher. I knew that if I quit my corporate job, I wouldn’t be making the same salary. I knew the time investment would be a lot bigger, and the efforts required would be higher as well. But there was no going back. That really was how I felt. I just knew my passion was in this direction - I was inspired, I was driven, I found all these entrepreneurs super-inspiring, and their motivation towards their projects motivated me. Imagine working with 15 people who are super-driven towards their products and startups! It super charged me.

What was the biggest step you had to take?

The biggest step was when I got an office. That was 2 months after I quit my job. My business had grown already by a lot in a matter of 2 months, which was amazing but also extremely scary. I started having to do a lot of meetings and photo shoots and I simply needed a space. I had just hired my first employee - so I really had to make this happen!

How did having an office change things?

It made everything more organized. I started really building a team. Now we’re 3 people full time and we work with a lot of collaborators, photographers, writers, so on. It created the company dynamic. Before, it was two or three freelancers coming together. Now it’s a company. On top of that, it's an amazing studio, so we get to be a lot more creative, take a lot more pictures, and just have more fun as well.

How did you come up with the name "Frenzr"?

Frenzr comes from the word friends. It’s becoming friends with your target audience, which is what social media does - it gives you the opportunity to create personal interactions with the people who you would ordinarily never meet or get a chance to talk to. I really wanted to translate that action into a name for my company. Although it’s hard to pronounce for most people, I feel like Frenzr stands for making friends. 

What does Frenzr do?

We create content, we grow communities, and we manage them. So a lot of times, our clients are businesses who are doing great in their day-to-day life, but they don't yet have a digital presence. These businesses are very focused in what they do, but their digital presence doesn’t translate the quality of their work. That’s where I like to step in, and that’s why I like to work with a lot of small-to-medium-sized businesses. I love making all the difference.

What are 3 tips you'd give to small businesses or first-time entrepreneurs?

1. Give yourself short-term goals.

2. Be specific but think at large. It’s important to put effort into every single tactic you’re going to use. But it’s also important to have different tactics, especially when you’re just starting up. You need to have a steady income somehow, so figure out your steady income first, and then take your risks.

3. Be out there! Become the face of your business. Talk about it, become annoying, go to networking events, coffee shops, talk with people, and post in social media about it.

What are a few resources for start-ups that you'd recommend?

  1.  50 Sources of Funding For Women Entrepreneurs
  2. For Canadians - Canada Business Network
  3. Gary Vee article on "What to do After You Graduate From College"
  4. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell - a different take on success
  5. The Lean Startup By Eric Ries

How would you distinguish your agency from other agencies out there?

I think the approach I have with my clients is a lot more personal than other agencies. I understand and translate their needs a lot better visually and editorially. I’m simply passionate about what I do and I want to bring the results. I’m not about getting more clients, bigger amounts - this is why I stepped down from my corporate job. My goal is to be able to work with entrepreneurs, be more creative, and allow them to stand out with a creative vision. It’s your branding translated into all of their facets. There are just so many ways you can go with that, so you really need to think outside of the box to make it! 

What do you think the main style in Montreal is?

It’s unique. It's classy, sometimes casual, sometimes vibrant. I’ve been to a lot of cities, and people in Montreal like to dress nice and look good, of course not comparably to Europe for sure (in Bulgaria for example, which is a fairly poor country, you can spend your last dime to get a manicure, buy a lipstick, or get your hair done - and that’s accepted by society). I really like how you can be taken seriously in a meeting even if you're wearing sneakers - okay, maybe that's just my field ;) 

Did your sense of style change when you transitioned into being an entrepreneur?

Yes, it did change. I have a lot more freedom in the way I dress. Some days I can be really dressy, and some days I can dress just as if I'm at home. I have the freedom of doing that. That also carries over into my personality, where I don’t really take myself too seriously. It’s nice to look good. But it’s also important to go with how you’re feeling, your mood - if you’re tired and you feel like having a bun and flats, that’s fine. 

How would you characterize your style?

Diverse! But I’m obsessed with beiges…. 50 shades of beige would be the best way to describe it. I can’t get enough of beige, and it’s been years now. I can’t get it out of my wardrobe, I try to add a lot of color, in the summer especially, but my biggest essentials are in the beige spectrum. 

What do you think is worth splurging on?

Stuff that will last you and that you will take care of. For me, I know that it’s not worth spending a large amount of money on a dress, because I know I’m going to wear it for one season, and a season in Montreal is 2 months. Shoes: they end up breaking, you go out and mess them up - the expensive shoes I’ve bought, I’ve regretted them all. I think bags are a great investment, or a great hair color or haircut is more worth the money. Jewelry - I prefer to just wear gold. It’s all about mixing and matching and making it fun for yourself. There are people who will put an etiquette towards fast fashion vs. high fashion, but at the end of the day, I would say it’s all about making it fun for yourself. 

What are your fav places to shop in Montreal?

I honestly never go out just to go shopping. When I buy stuff, it's when I’m out for a coffee or when I’m walking down the street after a meeting. It’s never intentional. I walk into a store because I’m passing in front of it and something catches my eye. I like discovering places. When I travel, I search for independent stores and small boutiques mostly. 

Outfit

Zara. perforated thin faux-suede dress

Aldo. fringe stilettos

Givenchy. Antigona bag

Check out Mariella's Silkstaq profile and stay tuned for more interviews with Montreal influencers coming soon!

Introspection Series#1: Mirror, mirror

Thrilled to turn the spotlight once again onto Her Teenage Fabulousness, Cecile Bizet. You'll find included below an amazingly genuine heart-to-heart by Cecile on body image issues. As someone who grew up with a ton of body image issues myself, I was incredibly inspired by a chat I had with Cecile when she last visited Boston. If someone as vibrantly gorgeous and, if you'll forgive the admission, beautiful by every mainstream convention, can suffer from body image distortions, then truly we can see how deeply runs our cultural malaise. Bringing light to the darker corners of cultural hypnosis is the first step to healing both individuals and societies, so without further ado...ladies and gentlemen, Cecile Bizet.

Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all?

This line has been repeated in our heads since childhood. Mirrors are the only ways we truly see ourselves in real time. You would imagine that we wouldn’t doubt them, but what I have realized is - I do.

Mirrors have been a huge part of my life since childhood. Growing up as ballet dancer, they were used for checking our alignment and making sure we looked the way we were supposed to. With ballet training comes a subconscious awareness of one’s body. This can be a good thing. For example when my body is out of alignment, I automatically fix it without thinking. But ballet conditioning can also lead to body image issues. Just as the general population aspires to look like photo-shopped cover models, ballet students aspire to look like stick-thin ballerinas. Ballet studios usually have a wall with many full-length mirrors all lined up. I remember that it was a well-known fact to the students at my studio that some mirrors made us look skinny and others were more unflattering.

This environment led to me having a warped perception of my body. Some days I look in the mirror and think “Damn, I look good.” Immediately afterwards, this thought is replaced with: "the mirror isn’t showing me what I actually look like.” When in actuality, away from the distorted "skinny" mirrors of the ballet studio, the mirror at hand usually isn’t lying at all. I actually do look like my reflection.

I realized this a couple days ago after shooting my Boston Calling lookbook with Silkstaq. Upon looking at the pictures my thought was again, “Damn, I look good”, and again it was replaced with "the pictures aren't showing me what I actually look like”. For some reason, in this instance, I actually fully acknowledged what I was saying. Instead of it remaining a subconscious thought, I was suddenly conscious of it. This awareness has helped me to be more conscious of my inner dialogue, and made me realize that it is okay for me to tell myself “Damn, I look good.” 

Outfit

dress - H&M
shoes - Jimmy Choo

Shot, styled, & edited by @florencia95 at Restoration Hardware, Boston. Thank you to RH for being kind enough to allow us to use their fabulous showrooms as a location.

Strolling the Mile End With @blondie_in_canada

After our Saturday morning shoot with Anaïs, the elegant bloggeuse of Blondie In Canada, we were fortunate enough to be shown around the Mile End and get a glimpse of some of her fav shops, bakeries, and eateries. For a lazy Saturday late afternoon, it was EPIC. Sorry, I have to be a nerd about this. There's little I get more excited about than an artistic utopia (in French, no less) where everyone is matter-of-fact about the fresh and bright mixing of cultural influences and unabashed individuality that seems to characterize Montreal. See below for where we went, what we ate, what we schemed (successfully) about returning later in the week to eat, and what we now, back in the States, dream about eating again...

The Mile End is perfect. Understatedly sweet boutiques, artisan breads and bagels, world famous gelato, and impossibly delightful restaurants whose walls are laden with local art. It's easy to see how this is the neighborhood of Montreal that gave us non-Canadians Arcade Fire and Grimes (full disclosure, I had to look that up on Wikipedia, but still! Grimes!) Just a block away from the effervescent bubble of exquisitely artsy shops and food so good that it was actually devastating to think of my life soon-to-be without it, vistas of residential dwellings lay, cool and shady despite the 80's heat, each front door topping an elegantly long flight of front steps. These houses, situated so closely together as to almost seem to be one long structure, are each painted a whimsical hue in the buttery pastel spectrum. People sat out on on their elevated verandas, some on rocking chairs, or moved about audibly just inside their screen doors. Everything was in French.

Mile End Itinerary

Unicorn - Located at the juncture of St. Laurent & Laurier, this hip boutique specializes in Montreal-made clothing and accessories. There's a certain glossy edginess that distinguishes Unicorn from the other shops we visited.

Vestibule - Right next door to Unicorn and beyond cute. Clothing and household goods organized neatly and chicly on shelves by color. Think Urban Outfitters without a college-binge-drinking vibe. 

Lowell - okay, we didn't go here, but this is another one of @blondie_in_canada's recs. Their website looks amazing.

Annex - corner of Rue Clark & Rue Saint Viateur. Mixing second-hand clothes with paraphernalia (pins, cards, stickers, signs) with a certain emo-hipster kind of design. Strong "sadness" theme that was oddly cheering, as though to celebrate the dark lining of a silver cloud. 

Kem Coba - Avenue Fairmont O & Rue Clark. Go here for delicate ice creams, sorbets, & gelato with flavors that sing and a texture as light as air. Especially if you like to eat violently pink things.

Guillaume - a bakery out of a picture book located near the corner of St. Laurent & Laurier. This open-air bakery has a counter where you line up and shuffle past reams of loafs, in all flavors and shapes, although everything is, well, bread-colored. But a nostalgic, insouciantly-tannish bread color. So basically, you just choose breads and they ring you up, and you waltz away laughing at your former Dr. Atkins pretensions. 

Patisserie de Gascogne - corner of Laurier & Jeanne-Mance. We didn't end up going here, but we heard it's exquisite.

Fairmont Bagel - Rue Fairmont & Rue Saint Urbain. Very close to Kem Coba (ice cream), this tiny bagel shop makes delectable bagels that are rather crunchier and sweeter than the norm. Don't leave Montreal without at least half of dozen of these to give to your lucky friends. 

P.S. Check out Blondie In Canada's post about Silkstaq and keep up to date with her Instagram, Blog, and Pinterest in one easy place by following Blondie In Canada on Silkstaq.

Love ya, Montreal

xoxo

 

 

Style Ninja: Blondie In Canada

We met Anaïs Lauvergnat at Café Tommy in Old Montreal Saturday morning while the weekend was still young. Anaïs AKA Blondie In Canada is a transplant from Lille, a city in Northern France that Lonely Planet describes as having a "well-deserved reputation for friendliness." The first Montreal blogger we had the pleasure of meeting, Anaïs was instantly charming and quickly made us feel at home. Although she apologized for her English, she spoke with a lilting grace that I've tried my best not to edit out in her interview below. 

What really struck me about Anaïs, besides her excellent posture and her kindness, is that she looked so chic and put-together. We just assumed she was wearing and carrying high end brands. However, when we inquired about her outfit details (below), we were shocked to discover that most of her outfit was highly affordable. Anaïs explained that after moving to Montreal, she found her focus in blogging about mixing very affordable style with (pricier) local brands. Her simple white button-down shirt, for example, looked so classically well-fitted, that I was shocked to discover she had purchased it at H&M. Okay, Montreal, either your H&Ms are superior, or Anaïs is a ninja-style-genius. 

Q. How did you get started blogging?

This is a really recent blog. It went online 6 months ago. I'm from France - I moved to Montreal two-and-a-half years ago. I was always passionate about fashion and beauty, but in France, there are a lot of bloggers and I didn't feel like I had a unique point of view. I needed something more to decide to go for it. When I arrived here in Montreal, all of my fashion and beauty routines completely changed. A lot of the brands I used in France are really expensive here. I started exploring local brands and I thought: this is a good point of view for a blog.

What I'm trying to do on my blog is to feature mostly small brands made in Montreal. Montreal is a really great place to start new things, because everyone is really supportive. When I first told people around me that I was doing a blog, I was really scared because people can perceive things like this as superficial. But people are so supportive here. 

Q. Why did you move to Montreal?

I moved to Montreal for my job. I'm a communication manager for Elektra Festival. We put on the International Digital Art Biennal and organize exhibitions all over the city.

Q. Has working in digital media inspired your style?

In the digital art community, people are always dressed in black. It's an unspoken dress code. No one would ever say anything if you didn't wear black, but everyone just wears black. So when I’m not working, I try not to wear black.

Q. How would you describe your style?

I like casual and preppy, but one of the most important things for me is to be comfy in my clothes. I hate wearing heels. I don't blog about heels. I want to talk about what I’m really wearing and the beauty products I use every day. There are a lot of blogs I read where I just can’t afford the clothes. I blog about clothes that are affordable for me. It’s quite personal, it’s really about me.

Q. What would you say the style of Montreal is? How do people dress here?

It’s quite edgy. I live close to the Mile End. People are really taking care of what they are wearing. But really, you can wear whatever you want, and nobody will ever judge you here, which is so different from France. There are so many different styles. Downtown people are really chic and wearing heels. Mile End is edgy hipster style. 

Q. Would you call your style the Montreal style?

I think I still have a French touch in my style. My colleagues always tell me, “oh you look so fancy.” It’s in the details, it’s not something huge. 

Q. How would you characterize French style? 

Every french girl has a style, even if she doesn’t know it. When I came to Montreal, I realized we really do care in France. We have so many brands. I think it’s more difficult here, because clothing and shoes are so much more expensive here than in France. 

Q. Where do you see yourself with blogging in 5 years?

When I started my blog, I thought "okay, I'm doing this. If one day a brand contacts me to go to an event, then great, but I’m not doing this for free products." Then in the first couple of months, I got an invitation to go a brand’s event! 

I hope this will continue but I want to remain myself. It's really cool to see the evolution of the Youtubers and bloggers I'm following. I really appreciate it when they remain true to themselves while they are evolving. I want to work with brands I really believe in.

Q. What do you think about Silkstaq?

I think it’s a really exciting and new idea. I really like the fact that it brings people together. Sometimes, I’m just on Instagram and scrolling and scrolling, trying to find new people I’m interested in, and having this website could really be helpful.

Outfit

Shirt - H&M
Skirt - Top Shop
Shoes - Converse
Bag - Forever 21
Watch - Komono
black glass ring - Clio Blue (French brand)
Necklace - Top Shop

Later in the afternoon, our new BFF met up with us in the vibrant Mile End neighborhood and showed us her favorite Montreal boutiques and eateries. Look out for our next post where we share some of the amazing things we saw and ate. Follow Anaïs @blondieincanada on Silkstaq!

Incredibly Instagrammable: Meet Jourdan of TLDNE

We met Jourdan of fashion and lifestyle blog TLDNE on the backyard patio of Saturday's Surf Shop, a surf apparel store with a coffee bar. In case you were wondering, yes, it was as awesome as it sounded, and it was also just one of the many "Instagrammable" places Jourdan had up her sleeve. Jourdan was the last blogger we had the pleasure of meeting in New York last month. TLDNE, by the way, is an acronym for some words to live by: The Limit Does Not Exist.

We headed out onto the streets of Noho for photos before adjourning to Happy Bones Cafe, another place on Jourdan's list of Instagrammable locations. Recently graduated from Marist College, Jourdan is currently off traveling the world, living up to her aphorism. She dreams of creating her own clothing line and using her design skills in the real world. Her outfit here epitomizes her personal style philosophy of mixing thrifted items with high-end designer pieces. We're excited to see where Jourdan's design path leads her, as we simply adore her style. 

Q. What inspired you to start your blog?

I decided to start my fashion blog when moving to New York City for the first time. I was truly inspired by the amount of self expression on the streets of the city. I finally felt like I could show my true personal style in a place where true individuality stands out. I have always loved fashion and have also collected a number of high fashion and vintage pieces over the years. I felt like blogging would allow me to utilize my creative style on a regular basis while influencing others as well. 

Q. Who is your top style icon?

My top style icon would probably be somebody who isn't influenced by trend and is a strong and powerful woman. I absolutely love the Olsen twins' style as well as Kate Moss in the 90's.

Q. What are 3 of your go-to items for the summer? 

My go-to summer items would definitely be an off-the-shoulder maxi dress, a silk bandana for hair or to wear around my neck, and boyfriend ripped denim shorts.

Q. What are your top 5 Instagrammable places?

- anywhere with a rooftop view
- Soho-cobblestone quaint streets
- The High Line
- Brooklyn bridge
- ByChloe West Village (vegan restaurant)

Q. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

a cake decorator

Q. If you could give every person in the world one thing, what would you it?

clean water

Q. Why do you think fashion is important?

Fashion is important because it's free self expression. Fashion brings the world together as it's something we all have in common.

Q. What gives you confidence?

glowing skin

Q. Where do you see yourself in a year?

travelling

Q. What are you most grateful for?

I'm most grateful for my supportive family. 

 

Outfit

jacket - Zara
dress - angora, thrifted
bag - Chanel boy bag, limited ed.
boots - Stuart Weitzman
shirt - BCBGMaxazria
ring - Gabrielle and Co.

Check out Jourdan @thelimitdoesnotexist on Silkstaq

Keeping it classic with dMg Simplicity

I don't know about you, but classic is one of my fav words, especially as pertaining to fashion. Classic connotes the effortless chic of Audrey Hepburn x Givenchy, streamlined menswear as popularized by Coco Chanel, and the clout of tradition in an industry frantic for novelty. The most culturally revered books are the classics. Classic suggests not only classiness, but something that transcends mere trendiness, so as to be always on trend. Coke understands the power of the word 'classic', as do all of those nostalgic sneaker brands - Adidas, Converse, etc. 

NYC blogger Miguelina of dMg Simplicity understands classic, and not only does she incorporate it beautifully into her own style, her blog is full of tips to help other women shine. We interviewed her in a Canal St. Breather during our NYC trip last month.

When Miguelina walks into the room, you want to stand up a little straighter because she projects such confidence. She has a quiet glow that speaks eloquently of her personal philosophy: the importance of simplicity. Miguelina's lovely, effortless style reminds us that simplicity and ease with dressing translates to a joyful life. After all, when you know you look great, you can concentrate on living life to the fullest. 

Interview and outfit details below - enjoy!  

Q. When did you start blogging?

I started my blog at the end of July 2015, so it’s going to be a year soon. Yay! I’m very excited because I’m going to be branching out into a lifestyle blog. Right now, it’s solely a street style blog. I want to branch out into beauty, fitness, health, and all that.

Q. What brought you to New York City?

I actually grew up here in the city. New York City is amazing. There’s so much inspiration. The energy you get from the city is awesome.

Q. What are you passionate about? 

Obviously, I’m passionate about fashion! Ever since I was little, I used to like to dress up. I’m very curious about different trends and styles. Right now, my passion is focused on fashion. 

Q. What inspires your everyday style?

New York City! There are so many cultures, different ethnicities, in the city. Literally every little corner of NYC has so much to offer. 

Q. How do you stay informed on what's going on in the city?

Right now I’m a student at FIT [Fashion Institute of Technology]. So I get a lot of my information through school. I've been in the fashion world before I went to school though. I used to be a personal shopper and stylist. Just being in the city and in the fashion world helps me see more about what’s trending and what’s happening.

Q. What was your experience with being a personal shopper?

I truly love personal shopping. It’s simply another way of helping someone to dress. It’s just the simple question, what do I wear with this? I love helping someone feel good about themselves. Wearing the right clothes makes you feel confident. It’s the first thing you see when you meet someone. When someone feels confident, they just glow, which is very empowering.

Q. How would you characterize your style?

I try to keep my style simple, not too crazy, because I want to inspire people. Once you start going too crazy, people go, "that’s so hard to try." I want to make fashion fun. That’s why my blog is called dmg Simplicity! 

Q. How do you convey your style in your blog?

I keep everything nice and simple. I want someone to go to my blog and go, "hey that’s very simple, I can try that." I also leave tips on my blog. Sometimes, the simpler the details are, the farther they go. You really don’t have to go all crazy in an outfit. Also, confidence is key. Feeling good and comfortable in an outfit, that’s the most important.

Q. What's the most important item to splurge on?

Hmm, I would say a classic item. One of the things I truly believe is investing in classic items that will last you a long time. Also I believe in quality versus quantity. I know sometimes it’s hard to splurge on an item. However, I would suggest splurging on a classic Chanel bag or classic trench coat from Burberry, because they will last you for a very long time, and you can style them in so many different ways.

Q. What do you like about Silkstaq?

Silkstaq is pretty amazing. I like how you can find different bloggers on one platform and I definitely see a lot of potential. I can’t wait for the new features!

Outfit

Bag - Ralph Lauren Collection: The Ricky

Jacket - Maje tweed with leather sleeves

Shoes - Miu Miu

Shirt - Zadig Voltaire

Jeans - JBrand

Sunnies - Lavin

Remember to check out dMg Simplicity and follow Miguelina @dmgsimplicity to scoop her classic styling tips! 

#SilkstaqBloggers Ep 3: Tangoella

Ella Tang once designed a dress worn by Oprah. It's always exciting when someone comes bearing (fashionable) gifts, especially when that individual is so thoughtfully stylish and talented. When Ella showed up, laden with an armful of silky fabrics, a thrill raced around the room. Without further ado...introducing Tangoella: The Clothes.

Thanks for reading! We hope you enjoyed our 3 episode recap of our June 11 blogger event. Huge thanks to all of our sponsors, bloggers, and Tangoella! 

 

#SilkstaqBloggers Ep 2: Rainy Day Shoot

Some Bostonians criticize the city for developing high-rise buildings right on the waterfront, as these block the water from being seen from most of the city. However, the Boston Harborwalk is one of my favorite places precisely because these tall buildings serve as a buffer from the bustle of the city. They make the walkway along the water feel secluded and safe, a demurely secret pathway. There are all sorts of interesting stairs, bridges, and underpasses, that altogether lend the Harborwalk an almost Alice-in-Wonderland aesthetic. And then at one particular juncture, there's this utterly bizarre sculptural quartet (note: they don't really have logos on them - that's just a joke). 

This cluster of giant laptop-looking sculptures was one of several spots on the Boston Harborwalk where Silkstaq had planned on shooting with our bloggers on June 11th. Since it started raining as soon as we walked outside though, we never made it there. 

To duck the rain, we tried to shoot in a nearby stylish hotel lobby, but no sooner than Jackie had snapped a few portraits of Malaysha and Erica in front of some very plush leather sofas, we were summarily kicked out. So, as the rain began to pick up and beat its melancholy patter with more intensity, we made the best of it by picking a close-by spot on the waterfront to take a few shots. 

Although everyone was getting chilly and increasingly drenched, there was nevertheless something deeply lovely about that rain and those gray skies, like the sky was crying itself clean. At least, that's how I remember it now, although at the time, I was deeply annoyed with the weather.

For this shoot, we asked the bloggers to each wear an outfit that best expressed their unique style. For the most part, the Boston style seems to be casual but elegant, with lots of summer whites. Unintentional accessories: umbrellas. 

#SilkstaqBloggers

Alexa Curtis - A Life In the Fashion Lane
@alexa_curtis / Silkstaq

Christie Ashley -
@christieashley / Silkstaq

Christina - ChristinaBeex3
@christinabeex3 / Silkstaq

Emily - Hello, Emy
@lovelyemy / Silkstaq

Erica - The Glamourous Guide
@ericalcal / Silkstaq

Florencia - Flo Loves Clothes
@florencia95 / Silkstaq

Leigha - The Lilac Press
@thelilacpress / Silkstaq

Malaysha - Lay Summers
@laysummers / Silkstaq

Melina Dania - Dallianse
@melinadania / Silkstaq

Nishat Nguyen - @nishatnguyen
@nishatnguyen / Silkstaq

We missed Helena (@metropolitanfashionista / Silkstaq) of Metropolitan Fashionista at the Rainy Day shoot, but she'll appear in #SilkstaqBloggers Ep. 3 - Feat. Tangoella! Look out for our post this Wed! 

xoxo,

Silkstaq

 

 

 

 

#SilkstaqBloggers Ep 1: Gift Bags!

It was our pleasure last Saturday to host a group blogger event in Boston's wildly expanding Seaport District. Eleven bloggers - one amazing photographer, one superchic designer, and one startup founder (me) all beautifully coordinating our schedules, notwithstanding unexpected last-minute thunderstorms (I'm looking at you, Weather.com).

What's that, you say? You only count 7 bloggers? That's right - a few of them had to go home after lunch, but fear not! You'll be seeing them in our next two posts.

What's that, you say? You only count 7 bloggers? That's right - a few of them had to go home after lunch, but fear not! You'll be seeing them in our next two posts.

We will be presenting the event in a series of three blog posts. This first one is dedicated to our fabulous gift bag and food sponsors. Without further ado...

The Feast

Hungry bloggers are no good for anyone, so after our "Rainy Day Shoot avec Bloggers Huddled Under Umbrellas" (see our post next week), we were relieved to be able to offer nourishment. "I propose a group lunch," declared Melina Dania of Dallianse, as we were preparing to trundle back from the drizzly waterfront, everyone between 20% - 47% soaked. 

"Yes, we have lunch," I announced. Au Bon Pain had sent over some delicious lunch boxes with wraps - Waldorf Turkey or Veggie Hummus. Who doesn't love a lunchbox? 

"You do?" Melina perked up visibly. Our bloggers had so gamely traipsed down the Boston Harborwalk in the increasingly ferocious drizzle, all so that Jackie could snap photos of them, even as she herself got rained on for her art - of COURSE we would feed them (THANK YOU AU BON PAIN). They even sent lemonade!

The Swag

When I was 8 years old, I walked to school everyday, and oftentimes, I would stop at the top of the street before the crossing to enter a convenience store. My childhood brain was absolutely captivated by the unmarked brown paper bags that this store displayed, under a sign that said "Mystery Bags - $1". Now, a dollar was not something that I had ever had at that point, but I still remember how wistfully I stared at the tantalizing promise of treasures untold, just beckoning to be discovered. 

Gift bags are kind of like that, no? Granted, ours were marked with our logo, but the plain canvas bag, I think, is a lovely film guarding the joys of imminent discovery. Jackie is such a talented photographer that - let me tell you - it was VERY hard to select among the dozens of gorgeous photos she captured with her insouciant grace, but I want to share one extra photo, that I think captures the excitement of discovery. 

The look on Nishat's face (right) is how I imagine my 8 year old self would have felt upon opening one of the magical "mystery bags". Follow Nishat @nishatnguyen

The look on Nishat's face (right) is how I imagine my 8 year old self would have felt upon opening one of the magical "mystery bags". Follow Nishat @nishatnguyen

Enjoy the photos! Sponsor and product lists below.

Thank you!

Adore - sparkly gold gel eye masks
Insta / Tw / Fb

b.good - Kale & Grain Bowl Coupons
Insta / Tw / Fb

Captain Blankenship - Mermaid (blue bottle) & Golden Waves sea salt hair sprays
Insta / Tw / Fb

Coola Suncare - Classic Sunscreen Fresh Mango SPF 50 samples
Insta / Tw / Fb

ELEMIS - Pro-Collagen Marine Cream
Insta / Tw / Fb

 

Ona Cookies - Coconut Shortbread & Maple Pecan Cookies
InstaTwFb

Sinful Colors - nail polish trio
Insta / Tw / Fb

Travalo - Travalo Classic (refillable atomizer bottle for perfume on the go)
Insta / Tw / Fb

VoloVitamins - energy drink mixes w/ blend of premium vitamins, fruits, nutrients, and NO sugar
Insta / Tw / Fb

Zotos Professional - 180 Pro TEASEles Volumizing Powder Shake
Insta / Tw / Fb

Au Bon Pain
Insta / Tw / Fb

Thanks for reading! We'll properly introduce our bloggers in #SilkstaqBloggers Ep. 2, the Rainy Day Shoot, and Tangoella's designs in Ep. 3. Stay tuned! 

Meet Rachel of Bubbles Wardrobe

Q. You are such a creative and prolific Polyvore user! Who or what inspires you to make new sets?

It depends, really! Sometimes it may be a specific item that I love, like a bag or a pair of boots, and I’ll create the set around it. Other times I’ll see a celebrity and I’ll try to recreate their outfit! Also during festival season or fashion week, it's easier to be inspired because we are constantly bombarded with new looks and ideas!

Q. We noticed that you love YSL, Givenchy, Dior, and Valentino from your sets.. do you have a favorite designer?

I have definitely loved the last few years of Saint Laurent with Hedi Slimane, even though he drifted away from what the house was originally about. But if I have to choose just one designer, I will say Alexander McQueen because he was a visionary: he understood fashion as an art.

Q. What is the story behind the name "Bubbles Wardrobe”?

The story is quite simple! My Polyvore username was originally just my name, but I saw that everyone had catchy names. I chose “Bubbles” because - who doesn’t like bubbles? And because I’m a pretty bubbly person when you get to know me!

Q. What are the top 5 pieces you wear most?

Leather jacket, black Dr Martens, white sneakers, a pair of mom jeans, and a white blouse.

Q. Which spring / summer trend are you most excited about?

I am super excited to try slip dresses! You can wear them as a comfy outfit with flat mules and a cross-body bag, but you can dress them up too. I love the  versatility. I also have a feeling we will be seeing a comeback of the “bra over t-shirt” trend thanks to Kendall Jenner wearing her bralette that way. I can’t say I'm going to jump on the bandwagon but I would like to see how other people style it! 

Q. If you could only wear one of the two, which would it be: denim or leather?

Tough question! As much as I love denim, I am gonna have to choose leather. I don’t see myself carrying a denim bag even though they are super on trend!

Q. How would you describe your everyday style?

My personal style is pretty laid-back! I am running around the city most of the day so I tend to wear comfy clothes. I have lots of sneakers, flat mules and loafers, as well as every pair of jeans you can imagine. The main colors I wear are black, grey, and white with the exception of a couple patterned shirts I own, so I’d say my everyday style is casual, although I try to keep up with most trends!

Q. If you could swap wardrobes with anyone, who would it be and why?

Probably Alexa Chung, because she has a very specific style and knows how to incorporate new trends without sacrificing her own look. I would love to be able to achieve that timeless style she has!

Q. What are your tips for new Polyvore creators?

I would tell them to create as much as they can! Experiment with items that you would never wear, try new set layouts, take a pair of shoes and style them in different ways, etc. Making new sets is a way of learning what you like and what works for you. Also, you can take part in contests or check what items are on trend, so that will give you ideas. At the end of the day you don’t have to worry too much about your follower count as long as you are passionate about what you are doing!

Q. What features would you like to see from Silkstaq?

I love the idea that you can filter bloggers by size and fit because that gives you an idea of what would potentially look good on you. Many times I find myself thinking “oh I wouldn’t be able to wear this or that because I’m too short!” and then seeing that one of your favourite bloggers is the same size as you and she is rocking culottes or lace up flats makes you step out of your comfort zone and try new things. As something new, I would like to see the “Trending” feature expand. Right now we have the trending hashtags, but I would like to see trending bloggers or trending blog posts, that way it will be easier to discover new people!

She's got the glow: interview with Alicia a.k.a. Neon Fox

In our last post, we introduced you to Alicia of Neon Fox blog. Watch our interview with Alicia in NYC last May as we get to know her a little better. Thanks for posting about us, Alicia!

Q. Please introduce yourself and your blog

My name’s Alicia, and my blog is called Neon Fox. I started Neon Fox about 4 years ago. It's a blog that showcases my personal style, my passion for fashion, beauty, and some lifestyle aspects as well.

Q. How did you come up with the name Neon Fox?

It was honestly just that I needed 2 words that go together. I like neon colors, and my personality is a bit foxy. I'm cunning - I can be a little sneaky sometimes. It's hard to read me. Some people can't tell what I'm going to do next - cuz I'm always full of surprises. Also, neon stands for having an electric neon-bright personality - it just made sense. It works!

Q. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you like to do in your free time.

It's weird to talk about myself - I feel like I'm weird. I'm super goofy, I love to have a good time. I'm always down for some fun - I'm the unexpected. In my free time, if I ever actually HAVE free time, I'm probably creating photography, beauty, things like that...networking, or eating...

Q. Fav place to eat in NYC?

I have a long list of places I go to. My #1 spot would be Ruby's. It's a cafe/restaurant with nouveau American food. I love pasta! Anything with cheese, meat, sauce - we're good.

Q. You're a student at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology). What do you study there?

I study fashion business management - basically the business side of fashion.

Q. Who or what is the biggest influence on your style?

Before I started blogging, I was reading a lot of other blogs. Fashion Toast was one of the first blogs I stumbled onto. That's the blog that made me want to create my own space. Right now, my biggest influence would have to be Rihanna. I just really love her. She just doesn't care - she wears whatever she wants and she rocks it. That's very inspiring.

Q. Which item in your closet do you wear the most?

Black jeans are my go-to. I have several pairs in different styles and washes. Black jeans, black jeans, black jeans, all year long.

Q. How has living in NY informed your style?

Before I moved here, I had a very summery style, because I lived in Texas and Georgia, and it was hot most of the time. Now that I've moved here, I'm drawn to black, and lots of boots, and different styles of coats. I express my style now in layers and layers. My style is transforming into this minimalism with an edge. That's New York for you!

Q. What 5 items do you always carry with you?

My chapstick, my portable charger, my metro card, my (regular) charger. And lipstick.

Q. What do you think of Silkstaq?

Silkstaq is a really cool platform to connect bloggers and influencers all in one space, where you don't have to search for a blogger's other social media networks, cuz it's all there. And it connects people with the same style, look, fit, body type, budget - it's a nice little seamless space.

Thanks Alicia! Check out Neon Fox on Silkstaq to see her Youtube, blog, Instagram, and Tumblr in one place!

Silkstaq meets Alicia of The Neon Fox

Ah, New York. Here in Boston, we look to New York and New Yorkers with a mixture of admiration (for being simply the best), trepidation (falling AC units kill innocent pedestrians!), and something akin to awe. New York has a certain visceral quality that is impossible not to respond to, whether you're quietly terrified of overly confrontational pedestrians or thrilled at the relentless pulse of talent that New Yorkers seem to take for granted. 

I never did get around to writing 'Silkstaq NYC Trip Part 2' (so forgive me these oddly-timed musings), but had I done so, I would have told you about the thrilling Sunday when we met three glowing NYC fashion bloggers, one after another. In retrospect, that day was so weirdly beautiful...we had only just gotten in touch with the bloggers, quite happenstance, I think because Flo had used some likely nyc/style hashtags, like the Insta-genius she is. Then, like something out of a fairy tale, three lovely fashion bloggers materialized. That it was our last day in New York made it even more special. Alicia was the middle princess. 

We met Alicia ('c' like 'sea', not 'she') in a Breather, a commercial room rentable via the eponymous app (promo code for free credit: MRBNUZ) on Broadway St around lunchtime. She came in like a whirlwind of electric goodness: her golden bronzer lit up her face and her electric personality lit up the room. Amazing photos were taken. Bonding over mutual adoration of Rihanna occurred, hence the music selection above. We loved getting to know a little bit about her super-charged NY life, and think you will too.  Check back in Friday June 9th to watch our video interview with Alicia!

 Outfit Details:

Bag: Vintage Thrifted Perlina

Jacket & Shirt : Forever 21

Shoes: ALDO

Pants: Boohoo

Choker: H&M

Pinky ring: Tarin Thomas

 

Fashion Blogging in the Midwest: Meet Lydia of Chic and Modish

We chatted with Lydia, creator of Omaha, Nebraska-based fashion and lifestyle blog Chic + Modish, about how to launch a successful blog - while working full time and mothering two young children.

Q. How did you get started blogging?

While I was pregnant with my first child, I created a pregnancy blog and kept up with it for the entire 9 months. This past January, I thought, gosh I really want to get back into blogging. I’m a teacher by day, so I do have some free time after school and I’m off in the summers. I knew I could totally do this! I published my first post in late January of this year. I really enjoy it. It’s really fun, something for me to do after my kids are in bed, when I have time to myself, something to play around with it. I do most of my posting during that time.

Q. When you started blogging, what came easily and what aspects of blogging were challenging for you?

Finding an audience was the hardest part. I have a personal Facebook account, so I would post about my new blog on Facebook for all of my friends and family to see, but figuring out how to get other people to see it was a challenge? So I've been learning how to market myself and my blog. I've found that joining Facebook groups really helps a lot in growing an audience, and of course social media in general. Blog linkups have been enormously helpful too.

The easy part: writing about fashion is something I’ve always been interested in, and have cared about since I was a little girl. I knew I wanted to share that part of myself. It’s been really exciting to start from nothing and get to where it is now, and watch it grow!

Q. Who/what are your greatest fashion inspirations?

I used to subscribe to a ton of magazines, but now that I have absolutely zero time, I mostly just look at other blogs for fashion inspiration. I used to look up to celebrities - I loved Sienna Miller and Nicole Ritchie - but now I just peruse fashion blogs, such as fellow Omaha blogger Sabby Style. Also, while you might not think it, Omaha actually has a vibrant fashion scene. We have Omaha Fashion Week every year, and while it's nothing like New York Fashion Week, it is kind of a big deal around here. Actually people in Omaha are really into fashion. We have a ton of trendy boutiques and the market for fashion over here is very high. "Oh, Omaha Nebraska, you guys don’t just walk around in overalls and eat a lot of corn?" But it’s not like that at all! It’s actually a big city with a great downtown, nice restaurants - it’s not all corn fields like people think.

Q. Your top 3 pieces of advice for a new blogger?

  1. Start slow, don’t overwhelm yourself. Take your time at first to learn the tricks, learn about blogging, and do your research. A lot of people who try blogging get burnt out quickly, because they get overwhelmed. It’s definitely a marathon, not a race. It takes time.
  2. Pick a couple different social media networks to focus on advertising your blog at first. Don’t try to cover every social media site under the sun, because you’re going to spread yourself too thin. Just focus on 2, maybe 3 social media sites, and really work on building those up at first. As you become more well known, you can start adding in other social media sites to advertise your blog.
  3. You don’t have to spend a lot of money blogging. There are so many "how to be a blogger" things out there, so many people are trying to sell you advice, make you pay for different packages. But you really don’t have to spend a lot of money blogging. Get used to blogging, get your feet wet, and figure out whether you like it or not first. If you realize you do enjoy blogging, then you can start hiring people to help you or purchasing things for your blog, but don’t rush into spending a lot of money right away. 

Q. How do you fit blogging into your busy schedule? 

Breaking it up into pieces is the only way I can manage my time. I try to post twice a week, on Monday and Thursday. As soon as I've posted, I start thinking about what to write about next, and I start the new post the same day. Then I come back to it over the next 3 days, adding to it. The last day, I just do edits and all the little stuff you need to do before you post.

I work on my blog every day, even if it doesn't seem like it. I don't have the time to sit down and make the entire post at once. Piecing it out, bit by bit, day by day, is what works for me. Sometimes when my youngest naps, I try to squeeze in a little time for blogging, but mostly I find time to work on my blog after everyone goes to bed.

Q. What do you like about Silkstaq?

I think it’s really cool to be able to see the size and shape bloggers are, because if you’re following a blogger, they don’t typically tell you what size they’re wearing on their blogs. They'll link up to the clothing, but you never know what size it is! Clothes can run big or small so what size are you wearing in those pictures? Having a Silkstaq account and being able to follow some of your favorite bloggers allows you to see, "oh she’s a medium, I would never have guessed, so this how a medium of that shirt looks on her." So you get an idea of what to get if you’re trying to copy their style or buy the shirt they’re wearing in the pictures. I also love that you can see the hashtags that other bloggers are using, so you know what hashtags are working. 

While we love to take photos of the bloggers we interview, we haven't quite made it out to the Midwest yet, so the photos above are all courtesy of Lydia's blog.

We hope you enjoyed this post and check out Lydia on Silkstaq !

 

Boston Calling Day 3 // Cecile Bizet x Silkstaq

Here's the third and final post of Boston Calling festival style with Cecile Bizet. For the last day of the festival, Cecile styled a flowy black dress tucked in the front into a pair of black denim shorts, but left untucked in the back. The result is an almost mermaid-like effect. As a stark contrast to Saturday's intense humidity and heat, Sunday was gray and a bit rainy, so Cecile mayyyyyyy have had to throw on a jacket over this... 

Q. What was your inspiration for this outfit?

I feel most comfortable in things that are breezy! My style isn't very "girly" though, so this outfit to me was a balance, where it wasn't too frilly and it was (my fav color) black, but it still had that flow that's very feminine and beautiful. I feel very comfortable and confident in this outfit.

Q. What bands were you excited to see on Sunday?

Actually, the band I was most excited to see the whole weekend was on Sunday - Unknown Mortal Orchestra! Since they’re not hugely well known yet, I didn’t have to compete for space. I had plenty of room to dance at the front near the stage and it felt very personal. Disclosure was also unbelievable! As they were the last show of the night AND it was the last show on their tour, it was n indescribably amazing moment. It's the whole idea where people don't appreciate things until they're gone. Ahhhhhh this amazing weekend is ending - we need to have as much fun as we can. Everyone was really into it. There were these blow-up watermelons and ice cream cones floating around. Disclosure kept on saying, "You guys are the loudest crowd we've played for on this tour!" It was bittersweet, because the show was ending, but it was awesome. 

Q. Now that Boston Calling is over, what are you up to for the rest of the summer?

I'm finishing up my sophomore year of high school in Maine. At the end of June, I'll be starting a gelato shop with my mom, called Gelato Rose. So I'll be crafting and serving gelato and spreading positivity in the community. 

Q. What flavors will Gelato Rose carry?

A rose flavor definitely, also we came up with lavender-lemon, Nutella-crunch, blueberry pie for that Maine theme, strawberry rhubarb, and maple syrup...and lots more!

Q. What are you most excited for this summer?

I'm erally excited to put my energy into making an impact on my hometown. As a Youtuber, I've mostly focused my energies online, reaching out to the world, and I feel like I haven't been too present in my hometown community of Rockland, Maine. So I'm excited to get grounded and in touch with home. 

Outfit

black dress - Urban Outfitter

shorts - H&M

sandals - Steve Madden

necklace - LF

Thanks for shooting with us, Cecile! We have one more post with Cecile planned, so stay tuned for the first installment of the Introspection Series

Boston Calling Day 2 // Cecile Bizet x Silkstaq

We're back with Portland, ME Youtuber Cecile Bizet for Day 2 of Boston Calling. On Saturday, the weather climbed into the 90's - yikes! It was crazy hot and humid for a late May day on the East Coast. Here's a super breezy look to stay cool (or as cool as possible) in the crowds. We shot this on a boat dock with the sun beating down, but Cecile manages to look pretty chill right? 

Q. How do you stay cool on brutally hot days like Sat?

Yeah, it was pretty hot, but I stayed hydrated and just embraced the fact that I was sweating. It's all about having the right mindset. "Hey, I'm with all of these people, we're all sweating, we could all be miserable, but we're all having fun."

Q. Who were you excited to see at Boston Calling Day 2?

BORNS. He was unbelievable! He's an amazing performer and his songs are so uplifting. I love how comfortable he is expressing his own unique style and flirting with the edge of traditionally-defined masculinity. I also enjoyed Odesza - I love how electronic music serves as a map for your movement. When the beat drops, everyone starts dancing like crazy! It really brings people together. Everyone's hugging each other afterwards. I had an amazing place too close to the front of the stage.

Q. Any tips for landing a good spot?

Yeah, I have a lot of tricks for getting a great spot. So, approach from the side and go as far to the front as you can. Once you're about two or three rows of people deep, start going in from the side. Nicely say "excuse me" and smile at people, and when you're at a place with a good view of the stage, you can slowly start inching towards the front. And of course, it helps to go early!

Q. How do you stay in such good shape?

With my busy schedule, I don't have a lot of time to work out. I really rely on eating healthy. I try to eat real and whole foods as much as possible and stay away form sugar and unnecessary food additives. I've been pescatarian (I eat fish but not meat) for a month now and have become more mindful of what I eat because of it.

Outfit 

Shirt - Free People

Bralette - Urban Outfitters

Backback - Urban Outfitters

Shorts - "Mom jeans from Goodwill for $4.50 that I cut"

Shoes - Vision Street Wear $10 thrifted from Jonette's Ravishing Recalls in Rockland, ME

Necklace - LF

Hope you enjoyed this post! Leave us a comment if you liked Cecile's outfit. Check out more of Cecile's awesome style on her Silkstaq page. Lookout for Sunday's outfit on the Silkstaq blog tomorrow!