Prepping for a Profile …

If you’re like me and would rather get drunk and online shop from home, but love the appeal of well-worn vintage clothes, then people that actually scour the racks for you become something special in the quest for the perfect wardrobe. And online etsy shops really provide the best of both worlds.

Emily Bolles from Sturnelle Collection has graced the ‘pages’ of this blog before, and tomorrow, I aim to add another favorite online fashion  forum to my repertoire with a visit to the pop-up shop event for MILKMONEY. I’m bringing Jimi along with me so we can get good and sauced and find all our favorite pieces to gush about on this here blog.

Check them out now or wait for my profile, but either way, let’s hear it for the girls – the local Portland girls especially – that love fashion so much they’re willing to go out and find it for me. xoxo, Lou

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Arabella Salon

The trick about Arabella Salon on NE MLK in Portland is finding it. After heeding my excellent advice and making an appointment to see my girl Alex, I typically give friends directions that sound something like this: So it’s really hard to find, it’s pretty much a door, and there’s some graffiti around, and maybe it’s by an alley? But like, just look for the geese on the wall and then go through the door and walk up these stairs and open the door and you’re there.

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See it there? On the left?

Even though it can look a bit sketch from the outside, especially in the dark ass Portland winter, this salon quickly confronts its diffident exterior the moment you walk through the door and start up the steps.

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Taken from the top of the stairs looking back at that plain old gated door. Not bad, right?

And the charm doesn’t stop with that partially exposed brick, red walls, or chandelier either. The inside is equally absorbing with giant windows set against more exposed brick lining the front looking out onto MLK and only a handful of stylist chairs and no receptionist, the salon lends an inviting feel as if you’re supposed to be there.

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Notice – the wine, the adorable stylist stations – unique to each stylist and all with incredible vintage charm, and back there behind the shampoo bowls is where you enter.

There is a small waiting area in the center of the salon with comfortable couches and always updated magazines. And like I said, there’s no receptionist and no need to check in since all of the stylists there run their own show and know most of their clients by sight. And if you’re new and yet to get to know them, take comfort in the fact that they will know you on account of your newness, because regulars are so common – they will know you’re there for them simply on account of being a new face showing up at the appointed time.

Arabella

Photo Credit: Portland Mercury

There is also a very small jewelry case and art on the walls that rotates the wares of local Portland artisans – all of it for sale. It is a nice contrast to some salons that throw any old crap in their retail areas hoping just to make a sale. It is clear Arabella attempts to pick artists they think their clients might actually enjoy while also remaining very discreet about their showcasing.

I love this salon, it’s true, but I wouldn’t have ever discovered it if it weren’t for my girl, Alex. She is incredible. We met years ago when I worked as the receptionist at the Aveda salon where she got her start. And … Whatever I don’t need to say anything else about her other than she has phenomenal style, almost all of it mined from thrift stores, and has been doing my hair for … going on 5 years now?

She loves what she does and strives to stay educated about her craft, so even after 5 years, her methods and techniques for styling have evolved and I’m always really thrilled and proud of her when she shows me some weird new French technique she recently picked up at one hair show or another. Plus, she is just really fucking genuinely nice and sweet. And a total goofball.

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Alex being gorgeous.

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Alex showing off her effortless style.

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Alex getting drunk with yours truly.

So Arabella. It’s fucking awesome. And oh yeah, it’s stupidly eco-friendly of course, so you know, if you’re from Portland and obsessed with that like we all are by some sort of default of living here – then don’t fear. They even won an award for it. Read about their rad reputation here.

They were recognized as the winners of the Davines Premier Eco-Salon Contest. They were chosen over thousands of applicants in a world-wide competition and it’s no wonder why when you look at the list of green practices they promote in their salon (see link above).

Also can we just talk about Davines real quick? This is their primary product line and it’s embarrassing to admit, but I have no qualms about spending $25 each on a bottle of shampoo/conditioner. When I go back to my old school less expensive, but always all-organic stuff, I can feel the difference. So of course last night I splurged again on the good stuff.

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I’ve also used their “LOVE” shampoo/conditioner and I well, loved that too. Get it?

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Their hairspray is also the best. And I got a sample of this OI oil, but shit man, I wish I could have afforded an entire bottle last night. Smells SO good. Is SO awesome. Next time.

Oh right, ok, so should we look at my hair now? I started to lighten up my ends. That’s it. That’s what I did. But it’s a start to a process. I guess looking back on my hair post, I realized that while I might change it slowly, I still change it. And so I suspect 9 months from now, we will be looking at a whole different color of hair on this head.

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I like it, I like it, I love it! After all that fucking obsessing, I left a very happy customer. As always. Because Alex and Arabella seriously do so much to make me feel that way.

xoxo, Lou

Portland Focus: Sturnelle Collection

In addition to helping me pick out some shoes, I wanted to give you a heads up on some Portland-specific fashion happenings. Tomorrow morning I’ll be helping my beautiful friend Emily take photographs of some very rad vintage clothing from her Sturnelle Collection. Check out her Etsy here and her Tumblr here.

The fact that I am waking up before 10 on a Saturday to help her with this shows how great I think her style choices are. In addition to possessing a solid aesthetic, she is crazy knowledgeable about fabrics, which a lot of the time makes me feel like I have a lot to learn. Luckily she’s my friend and can teach me. I win!

Check out her stuff and watch for my profile piece next week on her style and her burgeoning business.

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BTW that scarf is totally for sale. 

See ya next week, babes!

xoxo, Lou

Badass Jewelry Follow-Up

After yesterday’s post about ass kicking jewelry, BLTN got a lot of love in response! I don’t know if it was subconscious or what, but apparently this is the line that my best friend wears almost exclusively. She also knows the designer and said she could look into a visit to the work space, which we should totally do that don’t you think?

Anyway, I wanted to follow-up and give some more love to this awesome line using my beautiful bestie Jessica as an example/reference/inspiration.

This girl knows and loves her jewelry. To illustrate, here’s a bowl full of it looking all cute and stuff:

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Those rad crazy shape bangles are a BLTN staple of hers. I knew I could text her and request a pic yesterday because there was no way she wasn’t wearing them and I was right:

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Old school turquoise rings are not BLTN, however they are no less beautiful. Much like this ass kicking necklace, also a part of Jessica’s collection:

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The Crystal Necklace below is also somewhere in her collection and as she told me, aside from looking rad, she covets her BLTN jewelry and is willing to pay a little more because “she [the designer I’m going to stalk and profile] solders all of her openings so they never break. That’s why I am am able to wear them for so long. They last.”

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So unless you get wasted and lose your precious jewels, these gems are built to stick around. While we look at this next ring, can we also just appreciate Jessica’s fucking nails. Bitch got major nail swag.

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Right? The double finger ring is not BLTN. I think that thing is from France. And she has definitely gotten drunk and misplaced it on more than one occasion and I always get to hear about it. Hold on to that shit girl! She needs a honing device …

And finally, one last look at those bracelets … and her leg tattoos because why not?

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If you still need more proof about how rad BLTN is, my girl Crystal, who has been featured on this site a couple of times (time for a new post from you btw babe), has this to say about the jewelry: “I covet BLTN’s stuff and follow her on Instagram, but I just don’t have that kinda scratch.” Sounds like Crystal needs to save up because according to the reviews I’m getting, this shit is worth it.

Until she comes up with the dough, Crystal read the post from yesterday and bought herself some AMAZING Barabara Pellegrino, which I am so stoked about:

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Amethyst Slice Necklace

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Freeform Tourmaline Necklace

Great choices, girl! And can we just give her super sweet fella a shootout for buying her this Geo Drusy Ring in Aquatic?? Find it HERE.

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Ok so good job everyone. Way to rock out in awesome jewelry. Keep sending more comments about cool new stuff if you got it. I live to feature and share and drink.

For upcoming posts, I literally started 4 last night:

  • Help me buy shoes – I’m just going to throw a bunch at you and then take a poll – you better not fuck this up for me! 
  • Body chains and knee-braces as accessory … yay or nay?
  • Other cool stuff I love on Instagram – gonna show you some cool shit I found and hope you think it’s cool too. Cool hunting!
  • Celebrity —I don’t know what yet, I just want to talk about a celebrity’s style – throw me ideas if you have someone in mind.

Until then!

xoxo,

Lou

MapleXO: Get at it

So last week I told you I had awesome friends, right? Well here I am ready to prove it.

I’ve known Miss Lindsay Jo for probably about, oh, a year. I’ve seen her here and there, out and about, at different Portland events, or the river, or whatever it is we do around these parts, and every time I see her we promise each other we’ll hang out soon. Isn’t that just how it goes? But this time I actually followed through.

And I can’t begin to tell you how glad I am that I went and was able to learn about such a rad business! All started by one of my most rad friends.

A couple of weeks ago, I hopped the bus after work and didn’t get off until I was dead center on one of Portland’s cutest, and probably hippest, avenues. I strolled down a side street into the residential portion of the neighborhood and found the only warehouse it contained, headquarters of MapleXO where the homegirl Lindsay Jo and her small, but incredibly productive team spend their days, and sometimes nights, creating one of  a kind jewelry and accessories from recycled skateboards. Cool, right?!

Look. I’ve admired this girl’s jewelry for a long, long time, but nothing could have prepared me for how cool it was to see where that jewelry came from. For example:

This is the pile of donated skateboards that takes up a small section of the cavernous space. Each bunch of donated boards represents one plate of freshly baked, homemade cookies, that are sent in return as a thank-you.

“When we first started getting donations, I didn’t want to give people money, didn’t want to enter that gray area, but I had to do something..” Lindsay Jo explained, all 4’11” of her (I was right!), garbed in a simple hoodie, blue jeans and adorably scuffed, tan patent flats.

“So…cookies?” I asked.

“Cookies,” she confirmed.

And then I died a little cause that tradition is so fucking awesome.

Well ok, so this is what happens to those skateboards:

And then fast forward through Lindsay Jo’s impressive explanation of a variety of power tools (go girl!) to this:

And this:

And this:

RIGHT?!

So wait, back up. You want to know how she got here, don’t you? I did too, so I asked …

“One day, when I was younger, I decided I wanted a clock in my house, so I took one of my skateboards [what up skater girl?] and my boyfriend at the time, his jig saw, and literally like, just tried to saw off the top and bottom to make a flat wall clock. Except I couldn’t get it to cut straight and all these slivers kept peeling off where you could see all the colors and it was just a matter of snapping them into pieces, stringing them on to paper clips, and wearing them as earrings.” (and yes, she still has the clock to this day).

I, Lou, am paraphrasing. For the record. This is how I remember her stories, so girl, correct me if I’m wrong. Oh also, for all the thousands of publishers reading this, I also have a way cleaned up, professional version of this article, ahem. 

SO, I guess the paperclips eventually lost a little of their charm and Lindsay Jo was spurred to action.

“There’s this wood working shop in Portland and I just showed up one day and was like, ‘I want to cut circles!'”

She went on to tell me that, hilariously, this shop was geared toward people that already knew how to use the tools, knew what they were making, and just wanted to come take advantage of the space and equipment. However, the owner assured her she could stay and she fell under the reluctant apprenticeship of fellow workshop frequenter, Paul.

“He actually works in the space next to me now,” she says pointing through a door behind us, “he’s one of my, I mean he’s a 45-year old guy, but he’s probably one of my closest friends, and I think after like, the third day, he realized I wasn’t going anywhere.”

The story is all sorts of charming and I can just see Paul, exasperated, helping this tiny girl, warming to her each day she fearlessly walked through the door to keep learning. I mean, that could just be my wine sentimentalizing everything for me right now, but whatever.

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The relationship that began five years ago has turned into a tried and true friendship and opened the door for multiple collaborative endeavors. She takes me over to show me his work and I’m once again enamored at the camaraderie that seems to exist not only within MapleXO, but within the entire workspace.

The MapleXO team spend their workdays creating classic hoops and bangles, necklaces, rings, belt buckles, and most recently, SkateBacks, their latest collaborative project with local company, Grove. They retail their products at small stores around Portland, recently had an order of SkateBacks picked up by Urban Outfitter, sell products online (here!: http://www.maplexo.com/collections/all/), and also have an adorably small showroom in the entrance of their warehouse:

And yet, in addition to the end goal of selling a really incredible product, what really stood out to me was the fun, creative environment this group works in. There’s minimal drama, everyone has their part, and they play and experiment with making new things everyday. Overall, it just seemed … fun! And genuine, so very genuine. Like, good job in doing it all so well you guys! And… don’t you want to work there?

As we closed up shop and tried on jewelry:

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I couldn’t help but develop a total girl crush on Lindsay Jo because it’s not everyday you meet a girlfriend who can complain about not having a fresh coat of shellac on her nails while also explaining to you how she became comfortable using a sander.

Hoodie Twins!

“My nails aren’t done,” she complained as we left the shop and walked down the street to grab a couple (ok, it was like five in the end) drinks at the bar, “it’s just working all day and getting all dirty, I like to have my nails done. It’s my thing, makes me feel put together.”

“Well, we should go get our nails done!” I suggested, and from there, a very, very cheap wine friendship was born.

And that does it for my first profile post. Fashion-wise I should tell you that aside from liking a fresh coat of nail polish, Lindsay Jo is one of those assholes whose tiny feet can fit into all of the vintage shoes at all of the vintage shops. I’m always so pissed when every pair of perfect boots I find is for like, a size 5. What is with people’s feet from the 60’s and 70’s!? Lucky bitch!

And I love that she shows up to her dirty, sawdust-filled, work still looking adorable. You’ve seen the proof. Now go buy her jewelry.

xoxo, Lou

Here are the links that matter:

http://www.maplexo.com/

http://www.grovemade.com/